Thursday, 1 January 2015

Pennies and Bhajis for the New Year

It turns out that £40 is not statistically significant because the total in this year's found money pot is an impressive £89.42p, though I did have to take out £30 the other week when the man came round to fix my bike and the long term wear and tear was rather more expensive than I had anticipated.
I am however left with enough for a nice new year treat.

I spent my new year's eve with friends. We ate dhal (lentil curry) with all the trimmings, had a Dr Who quiz, danced to the soundtrack of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, played tiddlywinks and 'Midlife Crisis' and drew pictures of what we wanted from life in 2015. I had anticipated a grown-up evening ending at a sensible hour, but the young people decided to join us so we soldiered on til midnight and popped a few corks. Jill's house is quite tiny so it was hard to get the camera far enough away to get everyone in.

My now traditional contribution to the evening was vegetable bhajis. There are many, many variations on the recipe for bhaji so I am just giving you here my adaptation.
You start with the batter:
besan or gram flour, this is about 8oz, but quantity depends on how many people you are cooking for
finely minced red chilli (I used half of a huge one)
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric (just to make them nice and yellow)
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of salt
cold water (some recommend chilled sparkling water)
The batter should be very thick. If it goes too thin just add more flour.
(Health and Safety Warning: do not rub your eyes after chopping the chilli, even if you have washed your hands several times)
Into the batter you stir some finely chopped veggies. I put the batter in two bowls and put two sliced onions in one portion and a chopped head of cauliflower in the other. Mushrooms are good, as are potatoes. I did courgettes once, they are ok but cook very quickly and go a bit soft. Feel free to mix and match according to your own preferences. You want them to be mainly vegetable with just a coating of batter, otherwise they can get a bit stodgy.
Deep fry in small batches. I just drop spoonfuls into the hot fat and turn them over several times. I set the timer on the oven to 3 minutes for each batch and that seemed to work out well:
Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in the oven (they are still ok gone cold but I like them hot).
Enjoy with mango chutney:
Hoping everyone has a great 2015.

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