Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Feeding Birds



I think the sound in the background of the robin clip must be a train. It's not that I don't hear them - I do. If I'm awake early and hear the first one go past at ten to six, it usually registers on my awareness that that's the first train I've heard, so it must be ten to six. And if I'm going out in the car and going to be crossing over the railway line, I might realise that I've just heard a train go by so it's a safe bet that the level crossing will be open. But to hear the level of noise on the video surprised me. I've seen that little robin starting to venture into the back porch where all the seed is kept, but he's so much more timid than last year's ones - the slightest movement and he's gone again.

I tried a different curry over the weekend, using a Mughal-style Masala. C is not (to put it mildly) a fan of cardamom. I don't like it on it's own, but as part of a background flavour I tell him it's like trying to paint a picture and not having any yellow - or whatever colour. So I use it anyway, and just do my best to remove all the pods before serving, or he's bound to bite into one. Anyway, this recipe had a LOT, so I was surprised that he said he liked it and I could make it again some time. Admittedly I cut back a bit on the cardamom - there was so much in the Masala that I left out the extra 1/2 tsp of ground powder that was meant to be added also.

Spicy Lamb ( I used beef, our last curry was lamb).
2 1/2 lb lamb or beef, cubed.
1 tsp ground turmeric

2 tbslp oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1" ginger root peeled and finely chopped (I usually grate it)
1 tblsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper / ground red chilli
1 tblsp lemon juice,
* 1 tsp Mughal style Garam Masala
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 green chillies, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 tomatoes skinned and chopped
fresh coriander / cilantro to garnish

*Mughal-style Garam Masala - this makes 4 ounces, I knew I'd never use that much, so I scaled it down.
4 ounces green cardamom pods, husked (I'll admit I'm not clear if this is the weight of seeds or of the pods before husking - I went with seed weight)
2 cinnamon sticks broken in pieces
1 ounce each whole cloves and black peppercorns
1 tblsp ground nutmeg.
Roast in a small heavy pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Grind to a fine powder and store for up to 6 months in an airtight jar.

Stir the turmeric into the meat and leave for half an hour.
Heat the oil and fry the onions, garlic and ginger till soft and golden-brown.
Add the curry powder  and cayenne and fry for one minute.
Stir in the lemon juice and salt, then add the meat and stir till it's coated with the spices.
Add the Masala, cardamom, green chillies, mint and tomatoes, cover and simmer till tender - obviously longer for beef than lamb. I added some water as well, as we tend to prefer a wetter curry. This was quite hot, even though I scaled the cayenne back a bit. The chilli peppers available just now are pretty hot.

I don't think I ever posted a favourite card for April. There are three or four I really liked and enjoyed making, but I'd say these two are my favourites.


  1. I've lived near a railroad track for almost all of my life. You do get quite accustomed to the sound, but I use it as an alarm clock of sorts myself. If my husband has left for work already and I'm still in bed when the train goes by I know I'll probably be rushing. Your bird clips are fun and Kirby got very excited when he heard the robin! I'd have a hard time picking just one favorite of your cards - they're all so expertly done.

  2. aha I thought that card was yours on the challenge! I love your little birdy videos, it makes me feel as if I am right there watching them. We don't live near enough to the railway line to hear the trains, but I've always thought there is something very soothing about train noise, something continuous and steady, like a gentle parent just waiting in the background. But then again, I don't get woken up at ten to six by a train!