These builders could drive a woman to drink! They've been working on the staircase for the last two days, using their own cement bucket for the crane - because they've ruined ours by not cleaning it out properly so now the lid doesn't shut and the concrete spills out when it's lifted up.
It's nearly the end of the ski season so I invited a couple of our ski instructor friends from Courchevel over for dinner tonight and made wild boar curry with some sanglier I had in the freezer by adapting Delia Smith's beef curry dopiaza recipe. After dinner we all went to have a look at our new staircase and although we couldn't stand on it, it was instantly apparent from the top that there wasn't enough headroom to descend without hitting your jaw against the ceiling. BB just exploded - so now there's going to be a show-down.
2 lb/900 g chuck steak cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm pieces
1 rounded tsp cumin seeds
1 rounded tsp corinader seeds
3 cardamom pods
1 level tsp fennel seeds
1 level tsp whole (or ground) fenugreek
3 tbsp groundnut or other flavourless oil
3 tbsp onions, peeled and sliced into half-moons ½ inch/1 cm thick
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 green chillies, deseeded aaaand finely chopped
1 level tbsp ground tumeric
1 level tbsp freshly grated root ginger
2 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
3 oz/75 g creamed coconut
5 fl oz/150 ml natural yoghurt
salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1 lime and fresh chopped coriander to serve
1. First of all you need to roast the whole spices, and to do this place them in a small frying pan or saucepan over a medium heat and stir and toss them around for 1-2 minutes, or until they begin to look toasted and start to jump in the pan. Now transfer them to a pestle and mortar and crush them to a powder.
2. Next place 2 tablespoons of the oil in the casserole over a high heat and, when it is really hot, brown the pieces of meat a few at a time. Remove them to a plate, then add the rest of the oil and, when that's really hot, too, fry the onions till well browned – about 10 minutes – then add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes.
3. Next return the meat to the pan, add the crushed spices, fenugreek powder (if you were unable to buy it whole), turmeric, ginger and tomatoes and stir everything around. Next grate the creamed coconut into a bowl and combine it with 10 fl oz (275 ml) boiling water using a whisk, then, when it has dissolved, pour it into the casserole, followed by the yoghurt and some seasoning. Now bring the mixture up to a slow simmer, put the lid on the casserole and simmer very gently for 2 hours. Just before serving, add the lime juice and sprinkle over the chopped fresh coriander. Serve with basmati rice.