I need to have a talk with the trees.
No, I’m not a tree hugger. Nor do I have conversations with my root vegetables to help them grow better. It’s just that the trees surprised me yesterday, in a sneaky kind of way. They changed on me.
Why start changing colour now? Is it reasonable to be orange so soon? It’s just August, for the sake of seasonal smoothies! I need to hang on to the last dregs of summer.
I need a few more days of cherries, and mango kulfi.
A few more picnics, with baguettes, cheeses and olives, and wine in cheap plastic glasses.
More trips to Holkham with buckets and spades and fishing nets.
More barefoot walks in the grass.
I’d like the long hours of light, just a little bit longer.
I’d like to unpack the woollens just a little bit later.
I want to leave the windows open a few more nights.
I’m not done with you summer!
I love autumn, with it’s warm rusty colours and cold whipping winds, but I’m not ready for it just yet. And until I am, I’ll ward off the odd cold, wet day with a steaming hot stew. Of lamb and coconut milk. Of kaffir lime leaves and coriander. Of spicy shrimp paste and tangy tamarind. Flavours from a warm place.
Lamb in Coconut Milk with Spicy Shrimp Paste
500 gms boneless lamb
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 inch ginger
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1 green chilli, more if you can take the heat
1 star anise
2 cups coconut milk
3-4 kaffir lime leaves
2 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp black peppercorns
Put the onion, garlic, ginger, coriander and chilli in a mixer and blitz into a coarse paste.
In a cooking pan, mix the lamb, the paste, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, star anise, peppercorns and salt. Bring to the boil, then immediately lower the heat, cover and simmer on medium till the meat is cooked.
Stir in the shrimp paste and tamarind paste, and simmer till meat is very tender. Add water, if needed, to adjust the thickness of the gravy.
Serve hot with steamed rice and slices of lemon.