While I like writing about food, I prefer to write about the inspirations behind what we cook. Inspiration has been thin on the ground of late and Tonight's Menu has taken the full force of the blow. The last two weeks' musings are littered with posts no longer than a demi baguette. Over the next week I'm aiming to rediscover my muse, become inspired by food again and get back to cooking.
Inspiration comes from the strangest places. You can't really force it. You'll be sitting there, minding your own business and it will hit you. That's what happened to me last night. Every day, we get a sheet from R's nursery, telling us what he's been up to and what he's eaten. Yesterday he'd had beef curry and naan bread. I wanted beef curry and naan bread! I didn't get beef curry and naan bread. We were all out of naan bread and to add insult to injury, we had no beef.
So this morning I set about rectifying the situation. I already had to go food shopping but I amended the shopping list and set off. Having slept on my need for beef curry, I dropped the naan idea and changed country. I skipped across the Bay of Bengal from India to Malaysia and started making a fragrant and punchy curry paste. I've not cooked beef rendang before and I don't know why. It's so easy, the flavours are superb and the meat is so succulent after a couple of hours cooking that it knocks spots off a lot of the curries we get in the UK.
The paste consisted of lemon grass, ginger, garlic and chillies. This was fried off in a little oil until the fragrances started to fill the kitchen. Then braising steak, red onions and turmeric were added. Once the beef had taken a little colour a tin of coconut milk and a pint of beef stock are poured over the meat and allowed to simmer for one and a half to two hours. I think it's fair to say that we have a new family favourite on our hands. Thanks nursery!