During the first real conversation my man and I had, I asked him what he would cook a new girlfriend. He answered “lamb joint with garlic” and the first seeds of a crush were sown.
We got together five months later and have been together for two years now. He has cooked me maybe ten meals in that time, each and every one of them based on sauce from a jar. Broccoli in sauce, chicken in sauce, pasta in sauce, but not a roast in sight. I figured he’d just been trying to impress me and wasn’t actually much of a cook. No big deal, since I am always happy to do the cooking. In fact, I thought it was sweet he’d tried to woo me even then and gave him credit for saying precisely the right thing. Nothing like a man who can read your mind.
Still, yesterday’s discovery came as a bit of a shock: my man owns herbs and spices. A whole bag of them. I was in his kitchen, brushing my teeth, when a plastic bag caught my eye. I had a little snoop, as you do. There, in that innocent-looking bag, they were: oregano, tyme, paprika and quite a few more. Plus things like bread crumbs, flour and semolina. A whole world of culinary activity that I had never known about!
Guess what is going to change around these here parts? I’m already dreaming of lamb roasts with garlic and home-made semolina pudding. In the mean time, I’ll share one of his sauce-in a jar specialties with you; because it is actually quite tasty.
My man’s chicken-cherry-curry
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
a little oil for frying
1 clove of garlic, minced
small jar of mild curry sauce
chili paste to taste
½ cup of crème fraiche
1 tbsp of capers
ready-made croissant dough
¼ cup of grated cheese
Preheat oven to 220C. Fry the chicken in the oil until just done. Add garlic and fry until it starts to smell nice and garlic doesn’t look raw anymore. Add a small dab of chili paste (you can add more later if you like). Mix well, add curry sauce and crème fraiche. Mix again, add cherries and capers and give a final good stir.
Take a baking dish that will comfortably hold all chicken-curry mixture and line the bottom and sides with the croissant dough, sealing any gaps as you go. Make sure you leave enough dough to cover the top of the dish. Put the chicken mixture in the dish. (Yes, the dough will be soggy if you add the sauce while it is still raw, but in a pillowy, dumpling-like way that is not unpleasant. Also, my man doesn’t do pre-baking.) Cover the chicken mixture with the remaining dough and cut a few slits so steam can escape. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until dough is golden and has puffed up.
Serve hot, with a side of plain ice-berg lettuce, if you’re my man.