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Cover Girl Curry
My Guest Column in Waitrose
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They say, we eat with our eyes first. Well…eat this beauty! My recipe as Guest Columnist on Waitrose Weekend and a COVER GIRL! Yes, she’s on the cover!
I am beaming, full of joy to have my recipe celebrated on the cover of this beautiful publication, one will find in all Waitrose supermarkets across the United Kingdom. To our friends from beyond the United Kingdom, Waitrose is considered to be Britain’s poshest supermarket. The royal family and the late Queen Elizabeth shopped there. No, I don’t mean she physically shopped there, neither am I suggesting you camp out at the closest store to Buckingham Palace just to catch a glimpse of your favourite royal. The supermarket chain holds a Royal Warrant, a mark of recognition for those who supply goods or services to the Royal Family. I have always loved Waitrose for their hyper focus on provenance, quality and being an industry leader in sustainable and environmental food practices. The weekend paper and magazine are bold and beautiful, with a strong focus on seasonal produce and hearty home cooking. I confess to hoarding quite the collection as quick guides for seasonal cooking. And so when food & drink editor, Alison Oakervee, invited me to be a guest columnist, this was an absolute dream. Off I went, travelling through memories and flavours to create a recipe that is very typical of my repertoire. Super seasonal, bewitching and transporting with layers of flavours and textures.
Coconut Fish Curry with Scotch Bonnet & Makrut Lime Leaves
Layers of flavours
A journey through East and West Africa, without leaving my home on the Sussex coast. If you have cooked from my cookbook Africana, you may recognise my style of layering flavours and travelling through food. From marinading the fish in lime zest and juice, turmeric, sea salt and ginger coated in coconut milk, to the curry base of cherry tomatoes in celebration of the sweet British summer bounty, with ginger, garlic and a generous amount of fragrant makrut lime leaves, inspired by Indonesian and South Asian flavours that have influenced the cooking in the East African Archipelagos, also reminiscent of the coconut rich Tanzanian Kuku paka in my book. You will also find red Romano peppers with an enticing rouge, which also thickens the curry blend. A mix of toasted spices and dry spices for a contrast with fresh and earthy flavours. Scotch bonnets of West Africa for fruity and fragrant heat restrained by the sweet tomatoes, peppers and coconut milk, and slices of fresh coconut reminiscent of our first cookery retreat in Ghana where I topped a curry with flakes of fresh coconut, instead of dried as I had written in the book. Quite the revelation, with their juicy crunch, like a light mist of rain in your mouth.
I love that we have this newsletter where I can share much more with you, beyond what is published in the media. Like more ideas for cooking this recipe.
No drop of oil was added to this curry because it simply didn’t need it. Coconut milk is rich and with enough fat to bring the sauce, spices and dish all together, beautifully. Just in case you thought there was an an omission.
Make an easy swap of ingredients with chunks of aubergines added in the final 10 minutes, chickpeas to bulk up a plant based version, you can add left overcooked lentils, black eyed or red kidney beans or cook with your favourite proteins. In the magazine I used hake, a firm white fish. Slightly sweet, succulent, flaky yet almost creamy once cooked. Feel free to use other firm fish that are available to you.
Fresh coconut can be bought in ready-to-eat chunks, so no need to fetch a hammer or engage in coconut cracking Olympics. We will try our hand at that later. If not, use coconut flakes as a substitute.
In your copy of Africana, you will find my guide on cooking with chillies. For a first time scotch bonnet user, you can cut it in half to use less of it, by carefully holding the stalk to avoid touching the insides of the pepper, or make an incision and simply drop the whole pepper into the curry for less heat. You can also swap them for whatever chillies you have, although the unique fruity flavours of the scotchie is a dream to savour in this recipe. Find more tips in my column.
As you leaf beyond my Cover Girl Curry, Waitrose Weekend is packed full of wonderful writing, fabulous recipes including Diana Henry’s column, and an interview with a Game of Thrones star, Gemma Whelan ~ remember Yara Greyjoy, Queen of the Iron Kingdoms? I rooted for her, very briefly.
I hope you enjoy my recipe, and you know I love reading from you, so pop your comments or messages below, if you picked copies or two or three, tell us! As I have seen some of your pictures and I thank you for your support. I love you all. Read my post about it here.
Stock up darlings, and let’s get cooking!
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Cook with me
Previous posts you don’t want to miss!
My Award Winning debut cookbook, thanks to you!
AFRICANA ~ Treasured recipes & stories from across the continent by HQ, HarperCollins (UK) & Amistad (USA)
AFRICANA - The modern classic book on African Cookery.
This is inspiring writing that works! - Jamie Oliver
Telegraph's Best Books of Autumn 2022 - The Telegraph
"There isn't a recipe I don't want to cook." - Diana Henry
"An outstanding new book. Lerato is a genius with flavour" - Delicious Magazine
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