Cauliflower Tabouleh with Glazed Tempeh: Heavenly Healthy and Devilishly Delicious

Published February 18, 2015 by The Feminist

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This title probably has far too many alliterations and rhyming vowels in it.

No scratch that. It definitely has too many alliteration and rhyme in it. But who cares? This dish was simply too life-changing, mind-blowing, heart-warming for me to ever care about such trivialities like wordplay.

Mark my words, dearest readers: THIS. WILL. BLOW. YOUR. MIND. (and taste buds, for that matter)

But enough with this uncontrollably euphoric gibberish! I’m assuming you all would like to know more details about this “cauliflower tabouleh with glazed tempeh”, right?

Cauliflower tabouleh, as the term suggests, is a tabouleh made with cauliflower (duh.). So instead of using couscous, I blitzed an entire cauliflower into my blender until it looked like couscous grains. I then tossed in some heavenly healthy hemp seeds, toasted almond flakes, cumin, fresh mint, lots of pomegranate seeds and last but not least topped it all off with a devilishly delicious dressing of harissa and maple syrup.

This tabouleh on its own already is the tastiest thing you can ever imagine –and a brilliant lunch alternative!- but since I wanted to make the meal a bit more substantial,  I added some glossy glazed tempeh; the sticky glaze made with –again!- maple syrup and harissa.

Ingredients:

For the tempeh:

  • 100gr tempeh, cut into thick strips
  • 1 tbsp mapley syrup
  • ¼ tsp harissa pasta

For the cauliflower tabouleh:

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp mint
  • ½ pomegranate
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 4 tbsp almond flakes, toasted
  • ¼ tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp harissa
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Put the mint and cauliflower together in a blender and mix until the cauliflower has a couscous texture.
  2. Transfer the cauliflower and mint mix to a large bowl and add the pomegranate seeds, spring onions, hemp seeds, toasted almond flakes and spices.
  3. Mix the harissa, maple syrup and harissa together and pour over the cauliflower mix. Stir well and season with salt to taste.
  4. Meanwhile, fry the tempeh in a pan until golden brown. Pour the mix of maple syrup and harissa over the top and lower the heat. Let the tempeh caramelize.
  5. Serve the cold cauliflower tabouleh with the hot and glazed tempeh
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Partying with Paneer: fragrant Indian Green Beans and Lentil Curry with Fried Paneer Gems

Published February 13, 2015 by The Feminist

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Julia Child once said that “a party without cake is just a meeting”. To my mind, the same kind of metaphorical analogy can be made about the wonderful South Asian cheese paneer :an Indian dinner without paneer is just bad takeaway. (Ha! Put that on a bumper sticker!)

Just like the better-known (at least to us, Westerners) halloumi cheese, paneer is a firm cheese, ideal for frying, because it marvelously holds its shape. Unlike halloumi, which has a rather pungent, salty flavour (some pussies would say too salty), paneer is subtler and creamier in flavour and therefore balances perfectly with the strong and spicy flavours of a wonderful Indian curry, for it slightly mellows the fiery blow.

The vegetarian curry I decided to pair with the seared paneer is one containing a very comforting mix of green beans, lentils, bell peppers and lots of ground spices. To make the curry truly stand out, I added a fruity touch to the mixture… yes, I added a heaped tablespoon of apricot jam with chili flakes. I recently bought this very delicious jar of jam and was so delighted by its flavour, that I decided to throw it in savory dishes as well. The fruity jam is a great alternative to palm sugar, which is traditionally used in Asian dishes. The jam will not only slightly sweeten the curry and balance all those spices, but it will also add that heavenly fruity touch of apricot… Sigh. Sometimes, I really am … good.

So here it is: the perfect Indian meal! Rejoice!

Green Bean and Lentil Curry with Fried Paneer

Please don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients! It’s mainly all spices, and you cannot make a good curry without the appropriate load of spices.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 250gr paneer cheese, cut into cubes
  • 80gr dried lentils
  • 350gr green beans, cut into chunks
  • 1 orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500ml tomato passata
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander stalks, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp asafetida
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 heaped tbsp. apricot jam (with chili flakes, if you want the truly fancy stuff)
  • Fresh coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. Put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and add onion, garlic, coriander stalks and all the spices (apart from the garam masala). Sauté on a medium heat until the spices start to smell incredibly aromatic.
  2. Add the lentils and stir in the tomato passata and coconut milk. Add a teaspoon of salt and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chunks of pepper and the apricot jam and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
  4. Finally, add the green beans and the garam masala and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes until the lentils are soft and the beans tender.
  5. Taste the curry. Season with salt and a bit more chili if necessary.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a pan on maximum heat and add the chunks of paneer. There is absolutely no need to add oil to the pan, the paneer will fry beautifully on its own!
  7. Serve the curry and paneer in cute bowls and sprinkle with coriander.

Bold. Beautiful. British: a BAFTA red carpet report

Published February 9, 2015 by The Feminist

Whereas most eyes were fixed on the Grammys , there was also plenty of glitz and glamour happening across the Atlantic at the Baftas. As befits a proper posh British party, there were no weird, distasteful, skanky outfits detectable (eat this, Grammys!). On the contrary, this year’s Baftas was a celebration of sheer elegance!

Here is my shortlist:

Keira Knightley finally wears a dress that truly matches her pregnancy glow. Much better than the monstrosities you wore at the other award shows, Keira!

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Eddie Redmayne, per usual, looks like an old-school, I-will-climb-your-ivory-tower gentleman in his velvet Armani suit and his wife Hannah Bagshaw is wearing a glorious dress that is making me even more envious of her being Eddie’s wife . Some girls truly have all the luck…

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Natalie Dorner’s dress may not be mention-worthy enough to make it onto my best-dressed list but the gloves! Those gloves!

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Not sure why both Lea and Monica look as if they got something sharp stuck up their ass. Why the sour faces, ladies? You both look stunning!

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Sunglasses. At night. At a red carpet event. With a tux. And a scarf. Any other man who would ever dare to wear all these things together would look absolutely ridiculous… not Cuba Gooding Jr., though. He looks like a god. A weirdly awesome and bonkers god.

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Luke Evans and Douglas Booth: not exactly memorable outfits, but who cares? Look at them. When you are that handsome, you could probably even pull off wearing a garbage sack as a pair of boxers. (Now, wouldn’t that be glorious?)

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There was only one Hollywood actress that missed the elegant boat that night: Felicity Jones .

According to E! Online she “wowed” in this Dior gown…

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Not sure what they mean with “wowed”, but it looks to me as if her dress has been made during “arts & crafts” hour by a group of pre-school toddlers.

The Meh, the Weird and the Fabulous: It’s The Grammys (What Else?)

Published February 9, 2015 by The Feminist

Last night the Grammys were –as expected- not only an ode to music, but also a celebration of weird and wonderful fashion. Some outfits were –yamn!- booorrrinnnngg, others were completely bonkers and –thank God!- some were absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful.

So without further ado, I present to you the Meh, the Weird and the Fabulous!

The Meh:

Miley Cyrus shows some skin… again…

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Nicky Minaj… shows off her curves…and boobs… once more…

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Nothing we haven’t seen before.

Although I absolutely adore Beyoncé and her sense of style, her choice of dresses has been rather predictable lately.

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Black. Sheer. Lace. No matter how gorgeous this combo is, when you wear it all the freakin’ time, it can get quite dull, Queen Bey!

The Weird:

Madonna in Givenchy, also known as “This Is What Horror Looks Like”

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I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something just seems off with Katy Perry’s dress…

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Or maybe it’s just her purple hair that is making me hallucinate. Both are possible.

Lady Gaga:

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Yikes.

The Fabulous:

Gwen Stefani looks fierce and foxy in Versace

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Another Versace lover: Ariana Grande finally embraces her inner glamour queen and let go of the slutty teenager look. I wonder how long this is going to last though?

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Taylor Swift demonstrates once again that you really can’t go wrong with Elie Saab. And I luvvv how she colour blocked her shoes with her dress. Go Taylor!

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Iggy Azalea is elegant yet incredibly sexy in Armani Prive

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Rita Ora shines –both literally and figuratively- on the Grammy red carpet in this stunning Prada sparkling silver gown. Gimme Gimme!

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Normally, Rihanna doesn’t shy away from skin-showing, daring, provocative outfits, but let me tell you: this new, pink and puffy version of Rihanna is a true revelation!

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I never thought the following words would ever pass my lips: I like what Kim Kardashian is wearing.

Boom.

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Surely, this must mark the end of the world?

Or maybe my approval of her dress has nothing to do with Mrs. West, but everything with the gorgeous design of Jean Paul Gaultier? Yes, it’s probably the latter. Everyone – even the skankiest skank (no offence, Kim)- would look classy in Gaultier.

Phew. Thank God that’s been cleared.

And here we have Jane Fonda in Balmain.

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One word: WOW.

Let’s not forget that there were some fabulous men at the Grammy’s at well! Not a lot, I have to confess (most of them wore boring suits or weird gangsta outfits), but a couple of our favourite dudes opted for more class. For example the ever so cool Aloe Blacc.

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Dense, Dark and Devilishly Delicious: This Chocolate & Orange Cake Has It All

Published January 30, 2015 by The Feminist

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Chocolate and orange: it’s a classic combination that works every single time. But be prepared: this wonderful cake takes this traditional match-made-in-heaven even one step further onto the delicious scale, for this is not just a regular chocolate cake flavoured with orange zest or juice. Oh no. This cake is like a giant cake version of chocolate covered candied orange peel, for it boldly not only contains the zest or juice of this citrus fruit, but the whole – yes , the whole! – orange.

If you think putting whole oranges in a cake sounds a bit bonkers, I totally feel ya. It is not something I, an amateur Belgian baker, do on a regular basis either. But nevertheless, I was so terribly intrigued I simply had to try it! After all, the Spanish have been doing it for centuries! And if there is anything the Spanish know how to do – apart from dancing the flamingo and making paella- it is baking orange cakes. (Preferably using Valencian oranges, of course.)

So there I was, in my tiny Belgian kitchen, boiling two oranges (I used the smaller, but very flavoursome Minneola oranges) in a pot for about an hour until they were completely tender and my kitchen smelled like a Spanish beach party. After that heavenly scented hour, I blitzed the oranges in a blender. Whole. Including juice, flesh and skin. This amazing puree is then mixed through the other ingredients, poured in a tin, baked in the oven  … et voila! You will have never tasted such a wonderful chocolate cake in your life! Thanks to the orange puree, the cake is dense, moist and incredibly pudding-like; anything but what you’d expect from a traditional flour-based chocolate & orange cake. Moreover, the orange notes are punchy, but not too overwhelming, and seem to make the chocolate taste even more chocolatey.

What did I say again? Oh yes, the best chocolate and orange cake EVER.

So my dearest readers, you can stop being skeptical. Bake this cake. You won’t regret it.

Ingredients:

  • 50gr butter
  • 25gr cocoa powder
  • 2 Minneola oranges (or you could use 2 smaller regular oranges or clementines)
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 1 egg
  • 140gr caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 85gr flour

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. Cook the 2 oranges in boiling water for about 1 hour until they are soft and tender. Drain and let them cool slightly before blitzing into a pulp in your blender.
  3. Once you’ve blended the oranges into a puree, put the puree in a large mixing bowl together with the cocoa powder, rum and sugar.
  4. Stir in the egg, mix well, and finally add the flour.
  5. Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for 30 minutes in the oven.

SAG Awards 2015: Seriously. Alluring. Gowns.

Published January 26, 2015 by The Feminist

Last night the crème de la crème of Hollywood gathered together for the SAG Awards. This can only mean one thing: we’re again one step closure the big finale, i.e. The Oscars.

So without further ado, here is a quick summary of last night’s most fabulous  (or in some cases: most disastrous) looks:

In the category “White is not just for weddings”:

White gowns are usually associated with weddings and flying doves, but these two stunning leading ladies demonstrate that there is nothing more breathtaking than a white gown worn with an attitude. Please, give it up for …

Reese Witherspoon

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Viola Davis

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In the category “Purple Rain”:

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It’s Keira Knightley, who still hasn’t figured out how to wear elegant pregnancy clothes that don’t look like a pile of granny tea towels.

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Although this category may contain one of the worst looks of the evening, it luckily also contains one of the night’s stunners. Camila Alves is the embodiment of pure elegance in this regal purple gown. Eat this, Keira!

In the category: No award show is complete without some dashing fellas

Camila’s husband, the ever so cool Matthew McConnaughey, shows everyone how it is done with this breathtakingly gorgeous tux. He’s the living proof that a suit doesn’t always have to be black.

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Side note: not so sure about that beard though.

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Eddie Redmayne looks swoon worthy in this classic, yet stylish suit. I can’t wait what he has in store for us at the Oscars!

In the category: Dark hues = instant glamour… Or maybe not?

Black is always a safe choice when it comes to award shows, for it will give you an instant elegant look…

Or at least that was what I thought, because Patricia Arquette gives us all a demonstration of how a gown with a dark colour can actually be quite the opposite of elegant and can make you look like an Ursula impersonator.

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So thank God for Julia Roberts! Not only does her outfit look incredibly elegant, her choice to opt for an unconventional jumpsuit makes it also one of the quirkier looks of the evening.

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In the category “Showing cleavages doesn’t necessarily guarantee a sexy look”

Whereas Kate Hudson blew everyone away with her plunging neckline at the Golden Globes, Jennifer Anniston looks kinda… I don’t know… cheap?

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To be honest, I even think I once had a bed spread with that print. (In my defense, that was a long long long time ago.)

In the category “Wear the colours of the rainbow”

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Julianne Moore wore one of my favourite dresses of the evening. This emerald green bejeweled beauty by Givenchy almost seems too gorgeous to be real.

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Uzo Aduba is proving herself to be one hell of a stylish woman. I could stare at this bright yellow intricate gown for days.

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The phrase “feeling blue” is given an entirely different interpretation by the Good Wife star Julianna Margulies. Forget depressive thoughts, this cobalt blue dress could possibly be the epitome of optimism.

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And last but not least, how could someone ever do a red carpet recap without mentioning the gorgeous, the wonderful, the absolutely stunning Lupita Nyong’o? For the umpteenth time Lupita looks like a dream come true in this envious Elie Saab gown.

Sigh. We can’t I be a Hollywood star?

Spicy Food: Because Everyone Could Use Some Vavavoom in the Kitchen

Published January 24, 2015 by The Feminist

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I know it has been a while since my last post, but I’ve got a really good excuse for this minor absence on the world wide web.

No, sorry, that’s a lie. I was just lazy.

But here I am, dear readers. Back with an incredibly yummy post (Because how else would I make up for an entire week of blogging silence?)

This post is all about – you’ve guessed it!- spices.

I know I’ve said this plenty of times before, but I won’t stop repeating myself until every freaking home cook on this planet has an entire spice cupboard in his or her kitchen: spices are the source of life. No matter how tasty your other ingredients may be, if you forget to add some spice, the end-result will be dull, flavourless and downright disappointing.

Many (inexperienced) cooks only think about spices sporadically –that is, if they think about spices at all!- as if spices were some long lost acquaintances you never really got to know when you were little.

They only add spices right at the end of a recipe, or just throw in the tiniest little pinch, because they don’t really understand the purpose of this strange looking and pungently powerful acquaintance.

Basically, most of us are too scared. We would rather live a plain, boring and dull life that is safe of risks, than try and take the spicy road.

Making a close friend out of an acquaintance is indeed a work-in-progress. You will stumble, you will fall, but once you’ve got the doses right, it will feel as if your heart has finally caught fire. You will feel alive.

That’s what spices can do for you. Not only will they add some vavavoom to your daily meals, but they will also –and more importantly- warm your heart.

So make spices your best friend and you will never be cold again.

Vegetarian Chilli Sin Carne with a Coffee and Spice Blend

For this naughty little vegetarian chilli, I decided to make my very own spice blend. Believe me, there is nothing more therapeutic than grinding some spices together in a pestle-and-mortar and making the aromas spread through your kitchen.

To make this spicy dish even more special, I added some instant coffee granules to my spice mix. This will add another dimension of bittersweet intensity.

Last but not least, right near the end, I dropped a tiny piece of dark chocolate in the sauce. You won’t be able to taste the chocolate per se, but it will give the already fabulous sauce even more depth and richness.

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Ingredients (serves 4):

For the Coffee and Spice Blend:

  • ½ tbsp. instant coffee granules
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the Chilli:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 courgette, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 400gr or 1 tin of red kidney beans
  • 400gr or 1 tin of cannellini beans
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 5gr of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
  • Fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

To serve:

  • Sour cream
  • Homemade guacamole
  • lime
  • Any type of flat bread

Method:

  1. Make the spice blend by grinding all the spices and coffee together in a pestle-and-mortar or a large and heavy bowl. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Take 1 tsp of the spice mix and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Mix until you get a nice paste. Brush the chunks of sweet potato with it and put them in the oven on some baking parchment and bake for 15 minutes. Once these beauties are roasted and are slightly turning black on the edges, take them out of the oven and set aside. The roasted potatoes will add an extra smokey flavour and will give the chilli an indulgent texture.
  3. In a large pan, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and add the onion, garlic, a tablespoon of finely chopped coriander stalks and the spice blend. Stir for one minute and now add the peppers and courgette. Let it fry for 3 minutes or so before adding the tinned tomatoes. Stir well and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add the beans and give it a quick taste. You will probably need to add more salt.
  5. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes before adding the roasted potatoes. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes to enhance all the flavours. Just before serving stir in the chocolate and let it dissolve.
  6. Sprinkle on some fresh coriander and serve it with a good dollop of sour cream, guacamole, a squeeze of lime juice and a slice of bread.

White Bean Curry With Rum-Flambéed Pineapple

This is an incredibly easy curry. Beans. Coconut. Spices. That’s all you need. Add to that some marvelous pineapple slices flambéed with rum and you will be dancing around your tiny kitchen like a Disney Baboon on steroids.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

For the flambéed pineapple:

  • 3 thick slices of fresh pineapple (Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use tinned pineapple!)
  • 2 tbsp Rum
  • Zest of ½ lime
  • Pinch of chilli flakes

For the white beans curry:

  • 200gr or 1 small can of white beans (but you could also use chickbeans, flageolet, black-eyed peas,…)
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3cm piece of ginger, grated
  • Fresh coriander
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Juice of ½ lime

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil or ghee in a small pan and add the ginger, garlic and all the spices (apart from the garam masala). Let it fry on a low heat for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the beans and stir.
  3. Add the coconut milk and season with salt. Let it simmer away for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garam masala, the desiccated coconut and the lime juice.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a knob of butter in a pan and fry the pineapple slices until they start to caramelize. Sprinkle on the chilli and lime zest.
  6. Finally, flambé the pineapple with the rum. Be careful. You don’t want to lose all your hair.
  7. Serve the curry with the pineapple slices and sprinkle on some fresh coriander.