The Adventures of the Foodie Therapist with Four Teenagers – By Leoni Ryan
Food is evocative. To evoke? Stimulate, vex or irritate. At the mere mention of the Keens curry powder I am sure that many of you would be irritated by the memory or join me in retrospection (if you are old enough) to the delights of this culinary savior from the seventies. . .
In my last article the old Keens Curry Powder was one of the heroes (oh and of course my Mum).
Continuing along this theme seems logical, as I have more to say about the use of Keens (and my Mum), and the memories they evoke.
Hard to believe but I was a teenager once and Keens curry powder was an essential ingredient in the first Valentines meal I created as a naïve and overly enthusiastic seventeen year old living away from home. Now that I have two daughters around this age I am pleased that my efforts (they would laugh at the thought of me having any influence over their taste or style), have had an effect over their choice of “out to impress” culinary creations.
My 17 year old self took the day off work to create a gourmet extravaganza to impress the all too gorgeous town planner who would become a historical character in my story for more reasons than just this meal. So what did I take all day to cook? Now go easy on your judgement of my menu choice. Money was scarce, so the trusty can of tuna was the ‘star’ of the dish……a tuna curry made on ….? Water and ….Keens curry powder!!! Well I can assure you he didn’t stick around for my culinary skills which I am relieved to say have significantly developed.
More Keen’s memories. I have referred to Mum as a simple yet wholesome cook. One of the treats I would look forward to was Mum’s curried prawns and rice. Now foodies please be patient. I too understand that a proper curry requires the grinding of beautiful spice, fragrant herbs blended with coconut milk and cream – none of which appear in the recipe. And I also know that green prawns are to be used in hot dishes …yet…bear with me.
I decided to recreate Mum’s dish for my brood of three (three daughters as No 1 son is overseas for an indefinite time). Daughter no 1 said with a look of distaste “ I can smell curry” …to which I replied reminiscently “You can …Mmmm …” … She took one look and was mildly converted to the idea of at least trying the sauce “Not bad Mum ..what’s in it?” ….How does a mother answer that question? I was relieved it went unanswered as my hoard of loving children devoured my retro reconstruction.
To replace Mum’s white Sunrise I adapted her Curried Pineapple Rice (yes using Keens and tinned pineapple pieces) yet I added my modern twist by combining the new trends of quinoa and buckwheat and lots of fresh herbs. All in all it was a hit.
I am putting the Keens back in the pantry for a while as I don’t wish to risk evoking irritation and not stimulation.
I will sign off here and leave you until my next article which I am thinking may be more progressive ( albeit momentarily).
Oh …and I am actually a psychotherapist (thus the title of my blog.) My children of course would just say I am psycho which is possibly accurate on any given day. Whether I am a little crazy or not, I do see a correlation between what and how we eat and the way we are as individuals and as a family unit . I love the concept of the Movie Like Water for Chocolate ie. our emotional state can be infused into our cooking. Well if my children are right and I am a psycho …things are definitely hotting up in the kitchen with or without the Keens.
Enjoy Mwah x
A cup of brown or white rice (cooked to instructions but just slightly undercooked)
1 large brown onion diced
1 red capsicum diced
1 yellow capsicum diced
1 green capsicum diced
1 cup of raw cashew nuts
3 sticks of celery diced
1 tablespoon of curry powder
A couple of good splashes of soy sauce
1 small tin of pineapple pieces
Optional – I now add a cup of cooked quinoa (tri colour ) and a heap of English spinach and top with a bunch of chopped up coriander .
Stir fry all vegetables in a tablespoon of olive oil in a fry pan until onion is translucent. Add curry powder and stir. Add rice and a bit of extra olive oil. Add pineapple drained of juice. Allow to fry until rice becomes a little crispy. Add soy to taste .
Noeline’s Curried Prawns
1 large brown onion diced
½ kg of peeled, cooked deveined prawns
1/3 cup of plain flour
1 cup of milk
Tablespoon of sugar
Bunch English Spinach
Melt the butter in the pan and then add the onion and fry until translucent without allowing the butter or the onions to brown. There should be lots of melted butter in the pan otherwise add some more at this point. Sprinkle flour and make a roux ( a buttery paste ) ..cook for about a minute to cook the flour out of the butter . Add curry powder and milk gradually so that you end up with a thick sauce. Add prawns and stir. Add some English spinach to the pan. Turn off the heat and let it sit so spinach wilts.