Friday, 8 April 2016

365 Mutton Curry

Being gluten and dairy free, visiting the Falklands was always going to be a bit of a challenge for my beleaguered gut. The only places we could get food were small- town shops in Stanley, and the NAAFI shop on the airbase, and I wasn’t even allowed to shop there being an ordinary mortal. It stands for Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes, in case you were wondering (I was, but nobody could tell me whilst I was there).

Stanley was an hour away over tricky rugged roads. I could hardly believe the poverty of vegetables on sale in Stanley. In one of the larger shops, there were vegetables, but they were obscenely priced and in small quantities. As an example, I saw half a pepper in a foam/ cellophane wrapper (more wrapper than pepper) and it cost £4. Incredible! One thing I liked about the cost of goods in Falkland was the price of Chilean red. Of course, Chile is quite closeby, and there are several flights per week there. You can get a nice bottle of Malbec for £3.20. Even more incredible!

Some more interesting facts about Falkland: (i) There are no cash points, and only one bank; (ii) There is no McDonalds, no Tesco, no Starbucks – in fact no chain shops or restaurants of any kind; (iii) There are only seven pubs in Stanley, but you’ll struggle to get a pint in any of them. Beer is mostly sold by bottle.

Thankfully the solution to the food problem came in the form of potatoes, eggs and large amounts of lamb. There are about 167 sheep per head of population in Falkland, so it is quite plentiful. In fact, its called “365” by the locals because it is eaten on most days of the year. And unlike more choosy consumers, there are no hang ups about eating mutton as opposed to lamb. Hence my curry is called “365 Mutton”.

Some of the farmsteads have meat hooks outside the main building, which look a bit grizzly. But with so many sheep around it makes sense not to cull and freeze them (costing energy when you are off grid). Hungry? Just nip outside for a fresh one! No wonder there are no McDonalds in Falkland. Who would bother to travel all the way to Stanley for a gob full of goop when you can have the pure grass fed home grown version. I do rather wish we could get fresh Falkland burgers back in the UK. Meat hook included.

So, making the most out of lamb and potatoes, and with no curry spices available, I embarked on the following recipe.

1 Kg of Mutton, diced
1 heaped tsp salt
1 large knob butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped

Fry off the mutton in the butter/ salt/ garlic & onion until it browns. Seeds of most varieties would be a great addition: cumin, fennel, mustard, fenugreek etc. Sadly, I didn’t have any but celery powder in the All Purpose Seasoning made up for this a bit.

1 Tin Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp All Purpose Seasoning
1 tsp brown sugar
1 medium glass Chilean Malbec
1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar

The coconut milk is a real boon if you can get it. Add to the frying mixture and bring down to a simmer. Add in the other ingredients mixing thoroughly.
1 red pepper, sliced
Any other vegetables you can find provided they don’t overpower the recipe
(Mushrooms would be good)

.. or half of a red pepper if you’re paying through the nose for it. Add to the mixture. Now simmer on low heat for minimum 1 hour, and preferably 90 minutes.
2 large, peeled & cubed potatoes.
1 Tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Pinch of black pepper

Mix the oil, potatoes, salt & pepper and put them on a roasting tray, 200oC for 40-50 minutes, turning towards the end of the roasting.
Serve together as illustrated.

Serves 2-3 people.

North Utsire

No comments:

Post a Comment