A Little Plug- Curry Nights of Maldon

from website

from website

I celebrated four years of glorious togetherness with Him this week. For roughly three years and fifty weeks of this time he has been banging on about ‘the best curry’ he has ever had, and how we will go there one night. I have to confess I’ve never been that keen on taking Him up on the offer as he is massive fan of either mouth cripplingly hot dishes or coconut heavy, sweet sauces from hell. Both of which you can keep, thank you very much.
Finally the time came to relent. It was Sunday, it was special offer night, we had missed the Sainsburys shut down and knew we were going home to a fridge containing two courgettes, half a jar of Dijon mustard and some congealed salad dressing. Fine. We’ll go for a curry.

The_Curry_Nightsp1

photo from website

You will find Curry nights in the same place it has been for the last 15 years, tucked away towards the Prom end of Maldon High St. The first points they get are awarded for having perfect internal Curry House Decor. High backed chairs, immaculate white table linen, chrome and neon and that back lit bubble screen behind the bar. Brilliant. The old greats are old and great for a reason. Staff are friendly and attentive, wheeling your dishes to the table with some ceremony on a large, old-school service trolley which becomes reasonably theatrical if you opt for the flambe house special Chicken Agnee Korai. On an average night the soft sounds of 80s covers albums may aid your digestion but keep an eye on their website/facebook for regular Elvis nights. I’ve never been to a live Elvis dinner you know. I still can’t decide if that will change.

And on to the food. If you go on a Sunday or Thursday you will get a whopping amount of grub for not much money- who can resist a starter, main, rice, naan and side at less than a tenner per head? Not this girl for sure. So it’s mega value, but does it taste any good?

curry long

from the bottom: very paneery saag paneer; chicken mango delight; awesome plate; chicken monochori; garlic naan; bombay potato; garlic chicken piaza.

Well. He said it was the best curry he had ever had. I have had some pretty alright curries in my time, and some cruddy horrible watery burny ones too. I think there is a 99% liklihood that the next curry I go out for will be from Curry Nights. It was brilliant, and not just because I’m cheap. The house special curries are hard to pick between but offer a good range of sweet-safe options up to mega hots. Then there is lots in the middle for those of you, like me, who seek some heat and spice without first degree burns to the roof of your mouth. Naans and rice as you would expect from such an establishment and the usual sides, well executed. Take advice on the sides from their waiting staff for the best compliments to your overall meal and expect more paneer than sag in your sag paneer, which could split the opinion on your table. Sweet and smooth fans should abandon the korma and check out the Chicken Mango Delight, or if you like a bit more kick in your dinner I vouch for the Monochori- a rich, hefty sauce with lots of coriander and a great, sharp contrast provided from the odd surprise lump of pickle. The prawn puree starter was exceptional.

I’d tell you about dessert, but if you can manage that after all your meat and rice and naans and fizzy lager pop then you are a bigger man than anyone in our party managed to be that evening. The menu suggests the expected pre-fab ice cream and pistachio based treats common in this kind of establishment.

So that was Curry Nights, and this is me telling you to check it out if you have a chance. Click on them here and bookfacelike them here and tell them I sent you 🙂

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Adventures in Slow Cooking- Easy Onion Soup

fml-Slow Cookers Anne Shooter-4.jpg

A quick, easy recipe for you and a rare success from my slow cooker, debuted for Booze Booze Booze night at the September meet of the Victoria Inn Cookery Club. It was then titled ‘French Soup’ though I must now confess I used a Kiwi wine. It’s dead easy to do and was well received, by them and by me!

Full write up of that evening pending.

Easy Onion Soup

All times & quantities assume a 4.5L slow cooker

250ml white wine- for heavens sake use something you would drink, not the £2.79 value stripes cooking wine!
1l chicken stock
500g shallots
1 stick of celery, plus leaves if possible
6 cloves garlic
Butter
Double cream
Fresh thyme
Bay leaf
Salt & Pepper

Put the wine into your cold slow cooker with a big bay leaf and 5-6 sprigs of thyme (strip the leaves off if you can be bothered and discard the stalk) then add the garlic either crushed or very finely chopped. Finely chop the celery and shred the leaves if using.

Make up your stock if using cubes or concentrate then put to one side. I like Kallo organic cubes if you don’t have the real thing. If you are using made stock, warm it up on the stove to aid the cooking times.

Chop the shallots reasonably finely and soften for two minutes in at least 20g melted butter then transfer into your slow cooker. Pour over the warm stock, season well with black pepper and sea salt ( I love Maldon Smoked sea salt for this) then cover and allow to cook on high for at least 6 hours.

Just before going to the table check your seasoning, fish out your bay leaves and thyme stems then add 4 tbspns double cream. Serve with fresh crusty bread and butter.

Variations- easily vegetarianise by swapping to vegetable stock or go vegan swapping butter for rapeseed oil and forgoing the cream. If you don’t have time to soften the onions  or warm the stock just put them in cold along with the butter and add an hour to the cooking time. This is intended as a light dish or starter/appetizer, it would work well with some baby potatoes added or carrots to make a heartier dish, use extra liquids also.