Monday, 26 January 2009

Chai's up

Busy day today, as I had to go and watch J's lessons at school. Of course, had M with me and so I was expecting it to be challenging to keep her in angelic mode for 4 and a half hours, and it was. PE first, and naturally she wanted to run around with Big Bro, however they were doing skipping so far too hazardous. Music next, playing pianica and woodblocks. Way too tempting for M, she broke free but in doing so caught her nose on my nail and - arghh, blood - permission to leave granted! It wasn't as cold as I'd anticipated, but I suppose the body heat from 40+ is enough to take the chill from the air. I was impressed to see that each classroom had a humidifier to help reduce the risk of bugs being passed around - they are on stand-by for a flu epidemic.

I'd better let you have the recipes I started to tell you about yesterday. First up is the soup, again taken from my Weight Watchers cookbook and only 100 calories per serving.

Spicy Prawn Soup

1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
200ml tomato puree
1200ml hot vegetable stock
100g large tiger prawns, shelled and de-veined

Melt the butter in a pan, add the Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and tomato puree, and heat until it starts to splutter. Stir in some of the stock and mix until smooth, the pour in the rest of the stock and simmer gently for five minutes. Stir in the prawns and continue to simmer until they are cooked. Season and serve.

I set aside a portion for myself before adding the prawns, and it was tasty enough for me without. I wish I could show you the photo from the book, it looks so delicious! Unfortunately, I didn't have time to try and get a very good photo (I was too occupied trying to look calm and get all the dishes prepared, I'm sure you can relate!).

Next up were the curries. The mushroom curry was featured in Good Food magazine, and I managed to find it on their website (

Mushroom and Potato One-pot Curry

1 tablespoon oil
1 large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 aubergine, in chunks
250g mushrooms (I used shimeiji and eringi, for a change!)
3 tablespoons curry paste
150ml vegetable stock
400ml coconut milk (recipe said low-fat but I could only get full-fat)
coriander (I couldn't get fresh so had to use dried)

Fry the potato and onion for five minutes, then add the mushrooms and aubergine. Cook for a few more minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. Simmer until tender.

This was definitely my favourite part of the meal - I will certainly be making this again, in fact just remembering it is making me hungry! The other curry was a supposedly a chicken balti, although it was unlike any chicken balti I had ever come across. There wasn't a picture of this in my book so I don't know what it is supposed to look like, but it was very yellow. K did say that he enjoyed it, though, and he is very honest about my food so I trust that it tasted alright.

Chicken Balti

2 onions, sliced
2 red peppers, cut into thick strips
600g diced chicken breast
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 inches fresh ginger, grated
2 green chili, de-seeded and finely chopped (couldn't get one so I had to miss this out)
2 teaspoons curry powder
4 cardamom pods, crushed slightly (looked everywhere for these but had to use ground cardamom in the end)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 tablespoons low-fat plain bio yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Fry the onion and pepper for about five minutes, then add the chicken and brown all over. Add the other ingredients and heat gently until simmering. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and allow the sauce to thicken and reduce slightly. Season and serve.

We finished the meal off with a pot of chai. I'd never made it before, and really I don't like milky drinks, but I was keen to give it a go a so many people rave about it. I trawled through tons of recipes and ended up concocting my own based on what was available. I was surprised at the amount of time required to make this, not exactly a quick cup of tea!


1/2 star anise
10 cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice (I couldn't get the berries)
2 sticks cinnamon
6 white peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (again, only because I couldn't get pods)
2 Yorkshire teabags
5 cups milk

In a pan, add the spices to 1 cup of water, bring to a boil and then turn off the heat and leave to steep for 10 - 20 minutes. Add the milk and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, add the teabags and leave to steep for another 10 minutes. Strain and serve.

This made a huge pot, and so I put what was left over in the fridge to let M try the next day, and she absolutely loved it!


  1. I love the ware.. I LOVE white Ware... and Chai.. you are on a roll this week!!! Chicken Balti, can I have a bite?

  2. Thank you - I love my Wedgewood! I need to use it more though, not just save it for really special occasions...

  3. That soup looks so rich but only 100 calories is great! I really like the look of the chicken balti and chai too. A good cup of chai is so restorative and aromatic!