Chicken Curry with Green Beans

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3 onions, in wedges

4 green chillis, halved lengthways

3″ ginger, peeled and grated

6 garlic cloves, bashed

4-6 chicken breasts, in thinnish pieces

tin of tomatoes

a squeeze of lemon juice

a handful of green beans

fresh coriander

spices:  ground coriander, ground cumin, paprika, turmeric, cardamom pods, bay leaves

First make the sauce:

Put one of the onions, half of the tomatoes, the ginger, 3 garlic cloves, the 4 green chillis, a big handful of fresh coriander, stalks and all (reserve about the same amount for sprinkling later), and 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a small pan with a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of turmeric and 200ml water.  Boil together with the lid on for 20 minutes.  Now use a hand blender to blitz this into a sauce.  By all means leave some of the chillis unscathed, if that’s how you like it.

Now, make the curry:

Put 3 tablespoons olive oil into a frying pan.  When it’s hot, add 3 bashed cloves of garlic, 2 bay leaves, and 6 bashed cardamom pods.  Let them sizzle for a few moments, then add the remaining sliced onions.  When they are just starting to burn, add the chicken and a little more salt.  Let the chicken colour for a couple of minutes before turning down the heat and adding a teaspoon each of ground coriander, cumin and paprika.  Stir well, and add the remaining tomatoes, the green beans, the sauce from Stage One and about 100ml of water.  Before popping the lid on, add a squeeze of lemon juice.  Simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.  Stir in some more fresh coriander before serving.  Serve with a drizzle of natural yoghurt and some basmati rice.

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Beano-style Cakes

Beano-style fairy cakes with a halved glacé cherry on top – half the calories of a swirly, whirly buttercream-topped cupcake, probably.

To make about 15:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Crack and weigh 3 eggs.  Weigh out exactly the same amount of self-raising flour, golden caster sugar and soft butter.  Pop into a bowl with a teaspoonful or two of vanilla essence and a teaspoonful of baking powder.

Use a hand-whisk to beat thoroughly over about 2-3 minutes, scraping down the edges of the bowl so that you don’t miss any of the mixture.

Put into a couple of lined tins and bake at 180 degrees for 12-20 minutes.  When they smell of cake and are bouncy to the touch, they are ready.

Once they are completely cooled, ice with normal, thick water icing and top with a halved glacé cherry.