Drink: As much cheap gin as you can handle.
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bird’s eye chilli, deseeded and minced
A piece of ginger as big as your eye
1/2 tsp each of garam masala, turmeric, hot curry powder, cumin seed, coriander seed and fennel seed
2 cardamom pods, deseeded
2 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 long red pepper, chopped
2 handfuls frozen peas
Handful of coriander leaves, chopped
1 375g pack puff pastry
Olive oil for frying
1 beaten egg for pastry wash
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so bear with me…
After-school and extra-curricular activities are all very well, but I ain’t no tiger dad. (1) Thursdays present a dilemma at dinner as I’ve usually accompanied Number Two son to his swimming lesson and we will need to eat within half an hour of returning home to prevent us turning into intolerable brats. The children look forward to pasta and pesto as a rare treat but I’m after something altogether more substantial.
I don’t know what it is about swimming that turns me into a raging, intolerant monster. The gym is a place of mystery to me. If there is an etiquette or credo, I didn’t receive the memo. I thought at first that I was allergic to other people’s testosterone as I regarded the men walking around as if they’d just crapped their pants or that their genitalia was made of some impossibly heavy metal. Perhaps it’s part of their fitness regime?
(“Yeah, I’ve just been to the gym. I lost two pounds but I’ve had to chuck my shorts. If I could lose my three-stone platinum penis I’d be at my target weight”.)
That locker-room mentality jars horribly, as you may shudder to recall school changing-rooms and the pant-hoots of youth gone bad. But it’s not just the sleeve-tattooed yahoos that grind my goat and gets my gears. Yesterday I was ploughing my lonely furrow up a lane in the pool when I was joined by a lady in her seventies. Fair enough, I thought. It’s quite busy. As I reached the end I turned ’round to see that she’d been joined by two of her mates. There they were, bobbing and chatting like a grey pod of OAP orcas, quite unconcerned by my huffing approach as I vented my blowhole. I had to stand to pass them, muttering my sorrys and excuse me’s. They never looked the side I was on. I gave up and retreated to the sauna, dreaming about day-passes for Dignitas.
Faced with these iniquities and discourtesies, I need to plan ahead for a massive intake of calories to soak up the anger and resentment that attempting 32 lengths usually engenders, hence the samosa pie. As with most Indian cooking in this country, it’s a hybrid bastardisation of the original dish, which is why I’ve toned down the spice element. You want a warmth and a hint of Eastern mystery rather than a slap in the chops reminding you that you’re eating A CURRY PIE, albeit one that Pound Bakery regulars would bridle at.
I suppose you could make your own pastry, if you’re a show-off. I haven’t got pastry hands. Warm hands, cold heart, see? Since taking redundancy I feel like a jackpot winner in the time lottery but so many people do it so much better I’ll leave it to Jus-Rol to sort me out.
Start by dicing the spuds and steaming them until they’ve got a tiny bit of bite to them. They’ll cook again in the oven and you don’t want mash. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, get the pastry out of the fridge.
Warm a frying pan and toast your spices (minus the powdered elements). When they’ve started to pop and release their fragrance, tip them into a bowl or a passing child’s cupped palm then add some olive oil and add the onions, stirring and cooking til soft then add the garlic, chilli and ginger. Cook and stir for a couple of minutes, then add the garam masala, turmeric and curry powder. Give it a good stir and cook til you can smell that ghost of the Raj then tip in your fried spice, carrot, pepper, peas and cooked potatoes, making sure to coat everything in spicy goodness.
Let this mix cook for a while then take it off the heat and allow it to cool. No good will come of applying hot filling to cold pastry. Sogginess will ensue. When the mixture has cooled sufficiently, unroll your pastry sheet and spread your filling. Brush the edges with beaten egg and roll up any way you see fit, then wash all pastry with the remaining egg. You could make this recipe vegan by omitting the egg wash, but I won’t be seen to pander to extremists. Bung it into the oven at 190C for twenty-five minutes or until it reaches your required level of done-ness. Guaranteed to cure your hard-won misanthropy, if only temporarily.