lobster and chard coconut curry with lemon-cumin grains

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Without going into too much horrific detail, I’ve been sleep training our 7 month old on my own, my husband has been away a LOT and in short it’s been exhausting and emotional, but also lovely to wake up and not feel like i’m sleep wading through another day like a total zombie. Just a little bit of a zombie. Which is fine and much more manageable than dealing with a sleep deprived toddler – one that has grown out of afternoon naps and sadly isn’t really old enough to medicate with double espressos. Anyway, don’t get me wrong I fully realise how lucky I am  – I’ve been sent some completely rubbish things but also some pretty wonderful things to blog about over the years. One of the very best has to be this silver box of gorgeousness from Colchester Oyster Fishery.

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The Colchester Oyster fishery are based in Mersea island just off the coast of Essex and supply directly to top chefs across the capital and beyond. You can imagine my delight at opening this after a very long week of copious crying, wailing, sleep deprivation and well meaning people telling me how knackered I look. I decided to make a South Indian style curry and to add a bit of chard for the vitamins. We’re all out of rice and in my bid to use up everything in the cupboard and not buy any more food, made use of some freekeh grains instead (the curry sauce is also excellent with prawns if you think lobster’s a bit extravagant)

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The result? Some of the sweetest lobster meat I’ve ever eaten (although I must admit to not having eaten a huge amount in my life) which paired terrifically with the curry sauce, a sauce that managed to be both complex and fragrant without being overpowering. Basically, a bloody triumph and one of the best meals in I’ve ever produced. By heck it was good. The oysters were fat, minerally and needed absolutely nothing bar the merest whisper of lemon juice. If you’re considering blowing a bit of dosh on some shockingly fresh seafood delivered right up  to your front door in a fetching silver box with some frozen block things, then you can’t go far wrong with these guys. Thanks to Colchester oyster fishery I am one sleepy but extremely happy mama.

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you need to make sure you cook everything out properly at every stage for this. So brown the onions for ages over a low heat and simmer the sauce properly before adding the seafood.

500g of lobster meat

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp. cumin seeds

about 20 curry leaves (buy a big bag and keep them in your freezer)

2 dried red chillies

5-6 cloves of garlic, crushed

a thumb of ginger, finely chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 tsp. each of curry powder, chilli powder and turmeric powder

1 small cinnamon stick

200g tinned tomatoes

2 tsp. tamarind paste, dissolved in a little hot water

200ml vegetable or fish stock

400ml coconut milk

a bag of roughly chopped chard, leaves, stalks and all

-heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and once they’ve started popping, add the curry leaves.

– add the dried chilli, garlic, ginger and shallots and cook low and slow until everything is translucent and smells wonderful.

-Add the curry, chilli and turmeric powders, stir and keep going for another 5 minutes or so until the spices have started to cook out.

– Then add your tomatoes, tamarind and half the stock and simmer for another 10 minutes.

-Add the coconut milk and remaining stock and simmer for about 15 minutes. Throw in the lobster and the chard and cook for another 5 minutes or until the stems have cooked through.

for the lemon-cumin grains

½ tbsp. butter or ghee

1 heaped tsp. cumin seeds

2 cloves of crushed garlic

a mugful each of  buckwheat and freekeh

enough vegetable stock to cover the grains

salt

the juice of half a lemon

-in a pan, melt the butter/ghee, and when it’s foaming add the cumin seeds and garlic.

-Pour in  the buckwheat and freekeh. Add vegetable stock and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Stir through lemon juice and salt. Serve

 

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