Tuesday saw the the first, real rain, and by lunchtime I'd already received SMS's from two different shoe stores, offering a discount on winter boots.
It never fails to amaze me how we live with courage in a political hot-spot, yet the entire country falls apart when the seasons change.
In the spirit of 'battening down the hatches', I offer you the beef curry dish I make most often, as it's super speedy and ultra delicious.
Because it's made with ground beef - which is conveniently on offer this week - it cooks way faster than beef cubes and is guaranteed to be tender. The addition of red lentil and spinach adds texture, and added protein, plus it stretches a single package of ground beef to feed 6 to 8.
Let 'winter' do its worst...with new boots and warming curry we're prepared for anything.
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 heaped tablespoon curry powder OR Ashoka paste*
2 teaspoons each cumin, ground coriander & turmeric
3 x star anise (from spice shops)
500 grams ground beef
800 gram can chopped tomatoes
1 cup red lentils, rinsed but not soaked
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (optional)
3 cups beef or onion stock (Ina Paarman is great)
2 cinnamon sticks or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 to 2 teaspoons salt (begin with one and taste before serving)
2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 large handfuls chopped baby spinach leaves (optional)
1: Using a large, wide based pot, heat the oil and fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes till softened.
2: Add the ground spices and allow to sizzle briefly then reduce heat, add the ground beef, and toss till lightly browned.
3: Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, then turn heat to low and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes till the mixture is thick but moist.
4: Remove cinnamon and star anise and serve over yellow Basmati rice.
COOK'S NOTES: If using Ashoka curry paste - Curry Basic, Biryani, Tikka, Madras or Vindaloo - you'll enjoy even more flavor as these are amazing. Dish freezes well and serves 6 to 8.