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CIM Professional Certificate – I’ve Finished!

In Marketing Wallah on November 29, 2011 at 11:24 am

For the last year I have been working on my Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Professional Certificate. There have been moments of sublime delight in my subject but generally it has been a bit of a slog.

In a nutshell; studying and doing anything else is hard work (I don’t know how the other people on my course did it – they had jobs!); studying on-line is a true commitment to self motivation and not to be taken lightly; lastly, I think the course is much harder than it needs to be for what it is trying to achieve.

Anyway, it’s done now so let’s just hope I’ve passed!


The Curry Diaries – Cardamom-Sented Chicken Curry

In The Curry Diaries on September 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm

This curry is brought to you courtesy of Anjum Anand (“I Love Curry” page 102)

I am learning how to cook Indian food. It is one of the things that I want to achieve while I am India. It’s going OK.

I have two cookbooks to help me on my quest. One of them is by Anjum Anand who is (ironically) a British Indian. There is one vital thing that you should know when you are using a British cookbook to cook curry in India – everything is much hotter here. As one of my friends said, “even the garlic and ginger are spicy.” I cooked Chilli Chicken Balti also by Anjum Anand (page 99) and nearly killed my husband AND I only used half the chillies stated!

There are a number of reasons for learning to cook curry. One is that I am thinking of have a curry night at ours; I’m thinking a range of dishes, different meats, some hot stuff, some not so hot, rice, bread, sides and dips. Now, while that’s a nice idea it’s not that easy so I’m practising. Also curry is a good dinner party food in any country because you can cook large quantities of it and cook it the day before, so it’s a skill that I am happy to have. As you may remember, I have also committed to filling my husbands four-tier deluxe tiffin box every day. This may seem foolhardy (it often does to me) but I do actually derive a considerable satisfaction from feeding my man. My final aim is all about pleasure: It’s taken me a while to get this but cooking is my hobby and in my crazy world of shifting identity I am over the moon to have rediscovered something that is all about me.

Anyway, here’s the deal: You need to refer to the book to understand the detail:

It’s cool to adapt curry recipes so I have.  I buy the ready ground garlic and ginger because you can use a whole bulb of garlic in one curry recipe and life’s too short. I used a tub of puréed tomato (about 4) because that’s what I had available. I cut out the chilli altogether because 1) I’m worried it’ll be too hot even without the chilli considering my past experience and 2) my palate is sensitive to the heat and I want to really taste the flavours while I learn to cook and 3) we are eating other dishes prepared by my housekeeper which will be quite hot. I didn’t use cornflour.

The ingredients used in most curries seem quite similar to me. I think it’s the way that you put them together that gives you the taste. However, I haven’t encountered cardamom seeds before. I cracked open about 15 green cardamom pods to get them. This seems unnecessary so I may consider just bunging in the pods next time. You can probably just buy them in Tescos in the UK. I think I’ve smelt cardamom in Iranian cooking but I’m not sure – I’ll check this. This also gave me the confidence to leave out the chillies because Iranian cooking is rich but not spicy.

I had to joint the chicken legs that I bought because you can rarely buy what you actually want in India. Getting the rest of the ingredients together was fine. You would hope so in India but actually if you live here you learn to expect nothing.

Generally, what’s really missing from my Indian cooking is a depth of flavour. I have picked up two tips on how to achieve this, 1) you need to let the onions go deep brown and 2) you need to let the spices cook before you add the meat. This definitely makes a difference.

Cooking chicken without skin and not browning the meat are both alien to me in my cooking but when in Rome! I also cook my chicken so it is falling off the bone. I don’t think that this is very Indian but I can’t get out of the habit. I added more water than the recipe said by mistake but it all boiled away so it wasn’t a problem.

It took me about an hour to cook it. When it was done we ate it with boiled rice, a daal and a pumpkin side dish. The pumpkin came from our garden which I think is quite impressive. It was a really nice supper. I would recommend it.