Curry Flavour When It Rains In November

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Curry Flavour When It Rains In November

111 years ago on this day my Grandmama was born. How the world has changed, the only thing that hasn’t is the rain! Bob Hope was also born in 1903 and Konrad Lorenz (Austrian Zoologist 1903-1989) said "I have found the missing link between the higher ape and civilized man: It is we." George Bernard Shaw wrote Man and Superman in that year and in Act 1 writes " A lifetime of happiness! No man alive should bear it: it would be hell  on earth."

Famous people born in 1903 include: Diane Freeland – Journalist; John Dillinger – Thief, organised crime;  Louis Leaky – Academic, anthropologist, Archaeologist; Evelyn Waugh – educator, artist, author, journalist; Dr. Benjamin Spock – Medical Professional, journalist; Anais Nin – Author and journalist!

Jo Ross Frames Knight was a student at Roedean School. The school was founded in 1903 by Theresa Lawrence and her close friend, Katherine Margaret Earle.
The school began with 22 pupils, and was situated in a small house in Jeppestown, Johannesburg. In 1904, it relocated to its current site in Houghton, Johannesburg.

After matriculating she attended a finishing school in Switzerland and then lived in Paris for a year. She was a feminist and activist, she was a fast bowler in the Kimberley cricket team, and she owned a motorcar. She certainly lived a very privileged life; she loved travelling and encouraged us to do so too. She was an avid reader and for my 16th birthday gave me “Caravans” by James Michener. I’m sure she would’ve liked it if I’d upped and left and gone off smoking hassish with hippies in North Africa somewhere! She smoked cigarettes and I’m sure the odd cigar too!

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I don’t think she cared much for food, but I imagine she enjoyed entertaining friends, having parties, getting dressed up and being the life and soul at her soirees. She told me “My girl you can never be too rich or too thin and you must play bridge as it takes you everywhere”! My first car (and love of my life) was a present from her, a blue Mini Clubman GTX. She was brutally honest, never minced her words, hated Vorster, Verwoerd and Botha calling them buffoons. She didn’t suffer fools gladly, but she was progressive, kind, funny and exotic. Christmas and birthdays were made spectacular once her parcels arrived from London!

She loved gardening and for years I believed "My Granny", a pink antique rose, was named after her, and Just Joey, I always had that in my garden!  She loved her Gordon's Gin and Rose’s Lime Juice and French Champagne. We could set the clock on her punctual timing of drinks at 12h00 and 18h00! She played bridge, did dressage and spoke French, receiving the Paris Match until shortly before she passed away. Until I visited France I couldn’t understand how she could have supper at midnight, then I understood! She met Ernest Hemmingway in Harry’s bar in the 1920’s and loved Maurice Chevalier!

She was as thin as a rake, always groomed and well shod, she wore Hanro and dabbed Joy behind her ears and on her wrists. When we asked her why she won’t drive a Rolls Royce she replied “Oh, God! No! The Beatles drive those”! 

Happy Birthday Jo Knight you’re still remembered and you’re going to hate the recipe below! But then I remind you of your favourite quote "There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it." GBS  She survived two World Wars, knew the Wall had crumbled and heard the rumbles of change in her beloved Country but didn't live to see it.

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12 Chicken pieces (I like using thighs and drumsticks, halved and end-bone of drumstick removed)
2 large onions, sliced
30ml Canola oil
4 Star Anise
4 Cardamom pods, seeds removed from the shell
15ml fresh Ginger, grated
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 long red chilli, seeds removed and cut into thin slices
10ml curry powder, mild or medium (whichever you prefer)
5ml coriander seeds
10ml turmeric powder (fresh is always preferable, 2cm, grated)
10ml brown sugar, 2 Bay leaves, slightly bruised
1 stick of cinnamon
6 red tomatoes, skinned and chopped into small pieces
6 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 handful fresh coriander leaves, broken into pieces
125ml Greek yoghurt

Tomato sambal (diced tomato and red onion, seasoned with salt and pepper, 45ml vinegar and 45ml water and sugar to taste, pour dressing over the tomato and serve)
Cucumber sambal
Sliced banana (South Africans do it this way)
Naan bread

(I often serve peas with my curry as we enjoy vegetables.)

Pre-heat the oven to 150°C (a low heat)

1. In a large saucepan or casserole dish, heat the oil, turn the stove down to a medium heat, sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger until sweet, fragrant and transparent.
2. In a pestle crush the star anise, coriander seeds, cardamom (remove pips from the tough outer shell). Add curry powder, turmeric and sugar. Add these spices to the onion and sauté for a minute or two at a low temperature.
3. Add the sliced chilli and sauté
4. Add the chicken, turn up the heat slightly and brown the meat to a golden colour. Transfer to casserole if you haven’t been using one. Add bay leaves and Cinnamon sticks.
5. Add the carrot, potato and tomato, season to taste.
7. Cover with a sheet of tin foil so that no moisture escapes, plus the lid
8. Transfer to the oven and cook for 90 minutes at a low temperature.
9. Check after 60 minutes, if the curry is too watery add a finely grated potato to thicken, but it should be fine.
10. Cook 1 cup of Basmati rice for every 4 guests as instructed on packet.
11. Garnish curry with the coriander leaves. remember to remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
12. Serve with the sambal, chutney, yoghurt, banana and Naan bread.
13. If you’d like more heat serve some sliced chilli in a small bowl on the side

TIP:  Mutton may be used instead of chicken pieces (1,5kg)


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In this romantic adventure of wild Afghanistan, master storyteller James Michener mixes the allure of the past with the dangers of today. After an impetuous American girl, Ellen Jasper, marries a young Afghan engineer, her parents hear no word from her. Although she wants freedom to do as she wishes, not even she is sure what that means. In the meantime, she is as good as lost in that wild land, perhaps forever....
"An extraordinary novel....Brilliant."