I was wittering about why I blog on Radio Nottingham . The other guest was another Nottingham blogger also called Becky ,a professional blogger and author who makes a living from her blog Baby Budgeting. It’s full of great tips on how to survive parenthood without going broke.
I don’t make any money from my blog but it still has such tremendous value to me, in the six years I have been writing it it has allowed me to record my life moving from a single 20-something South Westerner to a 30-something coupled-up Midlander mother.It might seem strange to do it through food but honestly it’s always been a key memory for me, my solo foraging forays , my commuting woes meeting Nick , camping trips , weekends away , fun at festivals moving to the Midlands , catering challenges , I even annouced my pregnancy and the birth of Baby Em through the food on my blog.
So often for me food marks the challenges and success in my life . This time I am happy to report it’s a celebration, it might seem a small one but foe me it’s massive because after 7 months Emily has begun sleeping for 12 hours a night without me getting up every couple of hours to feed her.
Of course I expected the sleepless nights.In fact when people asked me if I was ready for the sleepless nights I always replied that having been an insomniac for years I cope with lack of sleep, this will be a breeze. I was an idiot in fact pretty much everything I thought pre-baby has proved to be wrong.
Because when you can’t sleep, you read a book , do some work , watch TV or take a walk. You know you will be tired the next day but you can drink another cup of tea. But when it’s your baby who cannot get to sleep , who is crying because they are so tired but still can’t get to sleep or stranger still blowing raspberries and singing at you rather than going to sleep. Slowly she got better, she learnt how to go to sleep, but she still wanted to feed every couple of hours in the night, so I was still pretty sleep deprived, slowly very slowly she went longer and in the last few weeks , she started going all night
So we celebrate, with a classic indian festival dish Biryani.
Making biryani is a series of stages , cooking the meat, soaking the saffron in milk, washing and cooking the rice and layering it all together, finally sealing a pot for the final cook. It suits taking care of a baby because there are some natural breaks , it also has a flexible end time , leaving the biryani sealed in the cooking pot it will keep warm for up to an hour.
300g of basmatic rice
1/2 tsp of saffron
20ml of warm milk
3 medium onions
4 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp of garam masala ( Mix of seeds coriander , cumin , cloves , mustard , nutneg, star anise)
3 green chillis
2 bay leaves
3 dried red chillis
1/2 lamb shoulder (750g) either removed from the bone and cubed or left whole ( this will require a longer cooking and then striping from the bone but I prefer it cooked this way)
5 tbsp of plain yogurt
Preparing the meat
- Warm a large cast iron pot on the stove
- Add the onions , garlic, chilli , bay leaves and garam masala
- Stir in the lamb , if it is a whole half shoulder cover and place in the oven at 150degC for 3 hours until the meat is falling off the bone ( or low in a slow cooker for 6 hours), shred the meat If the meat. If the meat is already cubed it will only take an hour at 180degC to become softened.
- Stir the yogurt into the juices
Making the saffron milk
Warm the milk add the saffron and leave to steep for several hours
Preparing the rice
- Wash the rice until the water runs clear
- Simmer in salted boiling water for half the cooking time , approx 6 minutes
- Remove from the water , drain well.
- Alternatively , I like to cook rice in the microwave in a well sealled tupperware container just cover with boiling water and cook for 10 minutes then leave for 15 minutes covered. For this recipe half the cooking time.
Assembling the biryani
- First place a layer of the lamb
- Then the rice, repeat
- Finally drizzle over the saffron and milk
Cooking the biryani
- Seal the pot lid with a mix , equal amounts of flour and water paste , spread around the lid of the pot. Or you can wrap the whole pot in foil.
- Bake in the oven at 160degC for 1 hour
- To serve break open the pot seal