Mincing Around Aint What it Used to be.
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Diary and Notes
Any British person, over the age of thirty, who claims not to have eaten this dish is telling lies. I don't care how much spiel they give about their parents were Hari-Krishnas in the seventies and were vegetarians, or some gumph about proper middle class families used to eat proper Indian food etc... they are still telling lies. When I mentioned to my boss what I was having for dinner today, he chuckled knowingly - and his family are quakers!
A lits of curry myths from the 1970's:
You can put anything in a curry, it doesn't matter
Curry is best made from leftovers
A curry must contain desiccated coconut and sultanas
There are three types of curry: Korma, Madras and Vindaloo
Eating curry makes your breath smell bad for weeks
Five times Olympic skating champion John Curry, is not a homosexual
I remember being at school in the 70's and if I said I had curry for dinner the general response was "Eeergh!" and that was just the teachers. Eating curry was considered an unpleasant experience and as such, recipes like the one below were born. Everybody ate this once in a while when they fancied a change. Sometimes schools would even do curried mince for lunch. No matter who made it or where, it was always the same, the ingredients are flexible but certain rules with regards to the flavourings must be adhered to and they are given in the directions below.
Another strange thing that struck me today when I was making my curried mince was that people used to boil mince. I seem to remember my Mum and Nan always boiled their mince in water and scooped off the scum before using it. Why, I have no idea - is there anyone who still boils mince today? Being a child in the 70's, the very word - mince - sends a shiver of fear down my back and the thought of eating my Mum's home made bolognese or mince and onions has given me nausea. Don't worry, 1976 will be over in a few days Jon and we can time warp back to 2005. Yippee!
For a legal explanation as to why curried mince was made as it was, see: 26/12/2004.
Pineapple upside down cake: Remember the pineapples I opened for my gammon and then used for fritters? Well, there were enough left (using my thrifty 1970's housewife skills) for an upside down cake as well. I should write a housekeeping book 1970's style and have a whole chapter entitled: How to get the most from you mince.
Minced beef (on no occasion should you use anything other than beef for this dish, minced lamb is far too 'foreign'), vegetable oil, onions, carrots, peas, mushrooms (you can use any vegetables, the more the merrier, my old chum Chris Pook used to use parsnips and a can of mixed veg), desiccated coconut, sultanas, salt, curry powder.
Firstly, you want to get hold of some really bland curry powder. I would have suggested Lion Brand, but you just can't get it any more. I checked the internet and found out why, Lion Brand curry powder was so crap, the company have gone into receivership. If you can't find some really crap curry powder, just omit it completely - there's no sense in overflavouring your food and ruining the experience. Curry made without curry powder was fine back then, just add a bit of pepper or some paprika and nobody will mind.
Curry: To make this delicious curry, dice and then fry your onions in a little oil, add the chopped carrot and the mince and fry until the mince is brown and any clumps broken up (if you boiled your mince then there's no need for frying I imagine). Add the rest of the vegetables, some sultanas, desiccated coconut, a little water, giant handfulls of salt (you can never have this dish too salty) and one grain of curry powder (if you are able to cut the grain into a half using a scalpel this is probably best). Cover the pan and allow it to stew for about 30 minutes. Serve with mango chutney (if you are posh) or tomato ketchup (for the rest of us).
Note: It is essential, if you want that authentic 1970's feel, to make a ring of rice on the plate and pile the curry in the middle. Remember those Vesta adverts? They knew how it was done.
Pineapple upside down cake: In a bowl cream some butter and sugar. Whisk in a few eggs and then some sifted self raising flour, whisk in a little milk to make it a thick batter consistency. Grease a tin and layer the pineapple rings inside. Pour over the cake mix and bake for 20 minutes. Turn onto a cooling tray. Eat with some custard or syrup (I had maple syrup, because I'm a snob).