Currying Favour and Favouring Curry

Lamb CurryWe had a good night on Saturday at the Blog Awards Ireland 2013. For me, it was more than just a chicken dinner. It was the culmination of a year of slaving over a hot stove, slaving over a hot camera and slaving over a hot computer. I was nominated for the Best Food Blog (after a subtle campaign) and I entered one of my recipes for the Glenisk competition. Given that I haven’t won anything since accepting a carton of 200 Benson and Hedges in a rugby club raffle over 30 years ago, I was not anticipating a lot. 

So, I was pretty delighted, amazed and thrilled when I won Best Food Blog AND the Glenisk competition. I had obviously managed to curry favour. How could I give something back? How could I honour the Blog Awards and Glenisk? Curry seemed like a good idea and that’s where my headline comes from. So it is time to favour a Lamb Curry.

I promise to not flaunt the awards in every photo. They are pretty all the same.

I promise to not flaunt the awards in every photo. They are pretty all the same.

My ingredients:

  • 1 leg of lamb or 1.5 kilos of lamb chunks
  • 3 onions
  • 1 cooking apple
  • 100 gms of raisins
  • 1 small tin of tomato purée
  • 750 ml of top quality yoghurt.
  • 1 big handful of fresh coriander
  • A curry spice mix. I made my own (as you do).
Make your own curry mix once and you will never go back to shop bought.

Make your own curry mix once and you will never go back to shop bought.

The mix:

  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of mixed peppers
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of chili flakes
  • 3 teaspoons of cardamom pods
  • 3 teaspoons of turmeric (if you are lucky enough to have an international traveling friend, get the dried roots and crush them yourself).
    Those turmeric roots are tough as granite. Next time, I'll use the powder.

    Those turmeric roots are tough as granite. Next time, I’ll use the powder.

Dry fry the cumin seeds until they start to change colour. Pod the cardamom and throw away the shells. Crush the turmeric if you are using dried roots. Then add everything that needs crushing into a mortar and crush with a pestle.

Once crushed and mixed we end up with a nice curry powder.

Once crushed and mixed we end up with a nice curry powder.

If you are using a leg of lamb (they are very cheap at the moment and it made sense to do so), de-bone the leg and chop into nice chunks discarding the fat, skin and other bits as you go.

Side note of kitchen caution: If you are deboning a leg of lamb, don’t do it the morning after the night before using a big, very sharp knife. You might do what I did on Sunday….

When you have stemmed the bleeding, pieced your thumb back together and bandaged the appendage, get on with the lamb preparation.

Yes, that is the offending knife. It is very, very sharp.

Yes, that is the offending knife. It is very, very sharp.

Put your injured hand into a plastic glove to keep the spice out of the wound and the blood out of the meat. Toss the meat in the spices.

The gloved hand tossing the meat in the spices. Lovely aromas.

The gloved hand tossing the meat in the spices. Lovely aromas.

Next, fry the meat until nice and brown on all sides.

Fry the meat in batches. Don't touch the brass handle of the hot pan!

Fry the meat in batches. Don’t touch the brass handle of the hot pan with your injured hand!

Meanwhile chop the onions into chunks and sweat them off in a casserole dish. Then add the meat.

I love it when a dish starts to come together.

I love it when a dish starts to come together.

Let the frying pan cool down a little. deglaze the pan with a nice big dollop of yoghurt.

It would be a shame to let all that spice flavour go to waste.

It would be a shame to let all that spice flavour go to waste.

This picks up all the fried spices left in the pan.

It saves on the washing up too.

It saves on the washing up too.

Add the pan scrapings, the tomato purée and the delicious, organic, tasty yogurt to the casserole.

With those colours, you'd have to take another picture.

With those colours, you’d have to take another picture.

Add a small amount of water (or beer), some salt to taste and then throw in the raisins and stir them in.

Ready to go in the oven.

Ready to go in the oven.

Put it in a 200ºC oven for 45 minutes, adding the apple, sliced, with about 15 minutes left on the clock. Take it out, chop the coriander, and stir it in.

Now that's what a curry should look like.

Now that’s what a curry should look like.

Serve this delicious (and not very hot) curry with Basmati rice. Serve it with a nice beer and eat it with a fork, using your good hand.

A daft amount of para-Indian props go into my last shot.

A daft amount of para-Indian props go into my last shot.

The curry was pretty delicious. It was a fitting celebration meal for having curried the favour of those fine, fine people at Glenisk and Blog Awards Ireland. Thank you all. I greatly appreciate the awards.

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Latest comments
  • Congratulations! Great lamb curry!

    • Thanks Rosemary. Difficult replying with a big bandage on my right thumb.

  • Congratulations on the awards, truly deserved – I do really enjoy the stories from your kitchen as well as the bloody great use of local produce!

    • Thanks Rachel, It’s good to use local when we can.

  • Congratulations Conor and well deserved.

    • Thanks Brian. I have to admit to being a bit surprised.

  • Congratulations!! Well deserved!! 🙂

  • Conor, Well done with the award, and keep up the great food ideas.

  • Terrific! And that curry looks mighty good, too!

  • Congratulations!

  • Congratulations, Sir. I knew you when…

  • double happiness, double congrats

  • Congratulations mate and you deserve the award! Thanks for the effort you put into your recipes and photography, the hallmark of passion shines through!



    • Thanks Willie, You are too kind. I do have a deal of fun doing it.

  • Really well done, Conor. Much deserved.

    • Thanks Adam,
      There are lots of great Irish food blogs around and I am amazed somewhat to go all the way.

  • Congratulations Conor, you really deserved both awards 🙂 The look of this recipe/ blog post is currying favour chez moi at the moment too, must try it! Hope the hand recovers!

    • Thanks Emma, Do give it a whirl, it’s not difficult and is very tasty. Thumb well bandaged and not so stingy this evening.

  • Oh wow! Congratulations Conor! I guess this puts you in a whole different field, doesn’t it? I hope you can still find the time to visit our little blogs… 🙂 I love curry and your lamb curry looks fabulous!

    • Thank you Lidia,
      Less of the whole different field. The idea is that we inspire each other and you certainly do that for me. This is easy enough if you avoid the thumb slicing and worth trying, if you are minded to.

  • Congratulations on both awards Conor! Well deserved! The dish looks amazing, and I could just about smell the curry through the computer! My best – B

  • No one is more deserving of this award than you. Congrats Conor!

  • Many congratulations Conor. Looking forward to another year of your posts. I wonder what you’ll enter next year.

    • Thankfully, I have a couple of weeks posts done and have some breathing space to plot out some more. All good fun!

  • Wowww!!! Conor, I am so, so impressed (with both the curry and your awards). Congratulations – you deserve every bit of recognition you get. Oh, and by the way… I think curry is a very worthy celebratory meal!

    • Thanks Laura,
      We enjoyed it twice. There was plenty for a Monday evening re-celebration too.

  • Great news! Not surprised though.

    • You are too kind to me. You know that I get great fun out of it and the Wife insists I continue to do it (the cooking at least).

  • Congrats Conor, seriously well done on the awards! That recipe looks pretty nifty too.
    ps your post sent me off on a tangent to find out where the expression “to curry favour” came from. It seems it might be a derivative from the 16th century. One for another post perhaps?

    • Thanks Nicki, A 16th century curry could be a fun thing about which to post.

  • Nice post, as always, Conor. You are definitely a better man than I for crushing dried tumeric root. I bet this was very tasty. Nice plating shot, too. Sorry about the knife bite. Have you thought about buying a boning knife? It gives you a little better control although knife bites and oven burns are an unfortunate hazard of cooking. Ah, the price you have to pay for a quality meal. 😉

    • Thanks Richard, The turmeric root put up quite a fight. The Wife had to leave the kitchen while I bashed it into submission. She had to come back when I did the slicing. A boning knife is a good idea. I even have a spare space in my knife block. The good news; Christmas approaches…

  • Congratulations Conor! Your pictures are glorious (mouthwatering) and always fresh with new styles of writings. Btw Conor, I am getting to this food photography. My husband got me a pentax K5 II and I don’t know how to use it. Manuals are too thick and heavy for me..where should I start? links, suggestions? all are very welcome

    • Thanks Mama, I spent a lot of time on You Tube having searched for ‘Digital SLR Photography’. Get a tripod! I also try to do most of my food photography using a fixed 50mm 1.8 lens. I believe you can get one for the Pentax.
      Give it a go,

      • Ok..I got the tripod..and will check the key words. Well about the lens, maybe next year..Let me explore the basic package first..thans alot Conor

  • Well done! No, not the lamb. Ouch, re thumb! Thankfully you refrained from showing a gratuitous shot of it. And you were restrained with showing (off) your new trophies!

    • Thanks Johnny, I did think of taking a “blood in the water” shot over the sink. The Wife cured me of that. She is wise.

  • I love this recipe. I am less of a meat eater, so my partner is very glad I have found this blog! It inspires me to cook more meat for him. Thank you for making everything look so beautiful!

    • Think you Heather, hopefully I can tempt you further.

  • Wonderful! Warmest congratulations from a very warm Antipodes!!

    • Thanks Eha. I appreciate the comments from afar.

  • The good, the bad, and the curry. Congratulations on winning both awards, Conor! How wonderful and so very well-deserved! So sorry to read of the mishap involving your hand. I hope it wasn’t too serious, though it didn’t appear to affect your cooking nor curry. It looks delicious and being it was prepared by Ireland’s number one blogger, I know that it must be. 🙂

    • What a great turn of phrase. I wish I had thought of it. A series of spaghetti western inspired recipes could be great fun. Quince upon a thyme in the West, For a few dollops more….

      • Quince upon a thyme got me. Good one!

  • Congratulations again for those very well-deserved award! You are without a doubt the best Irish food blog I follow 😉 Seriously, except for the missing gratuitous meat shot this is another classic. Love how you subtly included the awards in the ingredients shot. Also love that you make your own spice mix. First time I’ve seen deglazing with yogurt — always important to use those tasty bits but what a great way to do so! Sorry you injured your hand — happens to the best of us.
    The glove is a good idea — I usually make do with bandaids. Can you believe I’ve never prepared a curry? Perhaps this should be my first, in honor of your rewards!

    • I would love to see your approach to curry. This one is pretty mild, though tasty. On the slicing end of things, the glove was essential. Healing quickly all the same.

      • Apart from never having prepared curry, I’ve also hardly ever eaten one. So I’ll stick pretty close to your recipe for my first 🙂

  • Fantastic, Conor – I’m very impressed and not at all surprised. It truly is a wonderful blog with wonderful food. Damn fine curry too!

    • Thanks Nick, I was on yours ogling that risotto with goat’s cheese. I love that concept. I placed my vote. As we say here in Ireland “Vote early and often!”

      • Wonderful – thanks, Conor. Vote as much as you are able ;).

  • Hi Conor,

    I stumbled across your wonderful blog this morning, and I have to say that your curry looks delicious. Definitely one to try. From the posts that I have had the time to read, I couldn’t agree more with all the other lovely comments, your award is thoroughly well deserved and I’m sending you lots of Congratulations from my (very small) blog!

    Best, Holly.

    • Hi Holly,
      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your kind words. I popped over to your blog. Love the Lidl of this….

  • Oh, well done, Conor! I couldn’t be more pleased for you. Huge congratulations, very well deserved – and the curry looks great.

  • And you clearly deserved both awards!

    • Thanks Glyn, very kind of you to say so.

  • Congrats on the award, well deserved 🙂

    • Hi Claire,
      You are very kind to say so. I’m now faced with a choice; Stop altogether or try to get better. I think I’ll go with the latter as there is plenty of room for improvement.

      • Ahh don’t stop, is there such as perfection, and would we want it? (sounds quite boring to me); there’s always room for a little improvement 🙂

  • Congratulations on your award Conor just spotted your Blog tonight..looking forward to trying your curry mix

    • Excellent. It’s not too hot but is quite tasty. If you want heat, dial up the chilis.

  • Big congrats. Did you take Lucy with you? She’s got to be proud.
    A delicious looking dish but the shot with the glove- ouch. I hope it’s healed by now.
    Keep up the slaving!

    • Thanks Wendy,
      Yes, Lucy came along and gave me support (and a hard time). Well healed though I did repeat the exercise at the weekend. That thumb is getting pretty battle scarred.

  • Congratulations Conor! Love how you were so distracted with getting your awards into the photos (and maybe a little hung over) that you ended up stabbing yourself…hope the finger is all better now.

    • Thanks Caroline, a lot of truth I that. Just as the nerves were healing, I sliced the same thumb again this weekend. I need a chain-mail glove.

  • Hi Connor, sorry to be ridiculously late to this post, but just to add my congratulations. Very worthy of the award!

    • …and also to apologise for just misspelling your name, which I realised as I clicked ‘comment’. Aaah.

    • Thanks Phil,
      You are too kind. I appreciate it.

  • Congratulations! Couldn’t happened to a nicer guy–must have been the obsession with pour shots. (And thanks for the curry recipe.) Ken

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