So here we are in late January, caught between the magic of the new year and the expectations of Valentines Day; the perfect time of year for the film Bridget Jones’s Diary. Bridget Jones is an average thirty something struggling against her career, her weight, getting older, and her lack of a boyfriend. To help with her New Year’s resolutions, Bridget decides to take control of her life by keeping a diary in which she will always tell the complete truth and track her commitment to changing her life. It is great for anyone that has set goals for the year (romantically based or otherwise) and are having trouble following through. It also gave me the idea to attempt turkey curry.
The film opens on a New Year’s Day with Bridget heading to her parents house for their annual turkey curry buffet.
It all began on New Years day, in my 32nd year of being single. Once again I found myself on my own and going to my mother’s annual turkey curry buffet. Every year she tries to fix me up with some bushy-haired, middle-aged bore and I feared this year would be no exception. –Bridget
In this scene, her mother tries to fix her up with Mark Darcy but instead of fireworks there is a mutual dislike between Bridget and Mark. Their relationship transforms over the course of the year which Bridget chronicles in her diary. However, it is in this scene that the random idea of a turkey curry buffet actually has a significance to Bridget’s life.
Her parents have this buffet every year, her mother fusses about Bridget’s clothes and tries to fix her up every time, and Bridget drinks and smokes at the party despite her claims that she is quitting (again) this year. The point is that the turkey curry buffet is symbolic of the fact that in Bridget’s life nothing changes, she does the same thing every year with the same results.
Annual turkey curry buffet also foreshadows her relationship with Daniel, not only has she not changed her habits, she also hasn’t changed her taste in men. This idea is reinforced by the fact that at the curry buffet her and Mark do not like each other, he is a different sort of man than Bridget is used to and she is obviously not ready for her life (or the men in it), to change.
According to my research, curry is one of the best hangover foods.
In fact, the best time to eat a curry is when you’re hungover. There are several reasons for this: you can’t be arsed to cook; you’re craving carbs; the piquant flavours of a good curry will penetrate the muggy fug in your head like few other foods; eating something with a decent chilli heat feels restorative (erroneous endorphin claims or not); and it’s a great excuse to crack open what you really want, which is a belated hair-of-the-dog beer. -Tony Naylor
I have also learned that curry in general varies greatly with location. I tried to find what’s common in England but they incorporated the dish as far back as the 18th century and it has come to be a kind of common menu term. The term curry on British menus encompasses a lot of different dishes in terms of ingredients, spices and what area of the world it is associated with.
Admittedly, I have never prepared a curry before and I have actually never eaten one. Because of this I decided that instead of creating my own recipe for this post, that I would just follow one from a good source. After researching a “British curry recipe”, I was able to find one from BBC Food that sounded pretty good. I will write out the recipe as I made it below but you can find the original one I looked at here: http://http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/turkeycurry_78850
To make this you basically put some onion, garlic, ginger and spices on the heat. Then you add broth, potatoes and cubed butternut squash. You wait for the squash and potatoes to soften, add the leftover turkey and the cream, yogurt and lemon juice and you’re done. I chose this recipe because it sounded easy, which it was and the ingredients sounded reasonable-nothing wacky or out of place. I was happy with the finished product which I served over white rice. I did not expect to enjoy the seasonings as much as I did, however I felt that this curry was extremely mild. I prefer spicy food and so I added a few dashes of ground red pepper to my plate to kick the heat up and I enjoyed it more that way.
For me, turkey curry meant a totally new experience in terms of cooking and eating which made this dish exciting for me. For Bridget, it is symbolic of things staying the same year after year. What is it going to represent for you?
Bridget Jones Turkey Curry:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1in knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 red chili pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 3/4 of a butternut squash peeled, seeds removed and cut into cubes
- 1pt chicken or turkey stock
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 3 oz cream
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 6 large handfuls leftover turkey, chopped
Heat the oil and butter in a large non-stick casserole pot.
Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, chili, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and ground coriander. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft, being careful not to burn the spices.
Add the potatoes and butternut squash and cook until the potato begins to stick to the bottom of the pan slightly.
Add the stock and bring to the boil. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes and butternut squash are tender.
Stir in the yogurt and cream, then add the lemon juice.
Add the cooked turkey, fold in and simmer to heat through.