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My Butternut Squash Massaman Curry Recipe

My Butternut Squash Massaman Curry Recipe

There is nothing more delicious or satisfying then a lovely home made curry. Cooking something from scratch allows you to customise the recipe to your taste. By cooking from scratch you also know what has gone into your food. Using a set of prepped ingredients you can get this delicious Massaman Curry Recipe from chopping board to plate in under 90 minutes. This Massaman Curry Recipe is vegan but you could add chicken or meat if you wished.

Massaman Curry Recipe – Ingredients

SPICES
1 tsp of Garam Masala
1 tsp of Cumin
1 tsp of Tumeric
2 tsp of mild curry powder
1 tsp of smoked paprika
Pinch of salt
Pinch of Black Pepper

OTHER ITEMS
2 tsp of oil (I used rapeseed oil but Olive oil can be used also)
1 Garlic clove minced
1 large onion finely chopped
1 inch of fresh root ginger grated and peeled
Can of chopped tomatoes or 450g of chopped tomatoes
Can of Coconut Milk
1 Butternut Squash (you will only use half of the squash, peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces)
100g of baby spinach leaves
3 large potatoes, cut into eights
1 vegetable or mushroom stock cube
10-15 large button or chestnut mushrooms (optional)
Handful of Cashew Nuts (toasted)

This is my own Massaman Curry Recipe and it is a mixture of a few different recipes which I have cooked. This always works well for me. Apart from the first 25 minutes of cooking the rest of the cooking time requires little work on your part.

Recipe Method

  1. In a pan, heat the oil on a medium head and cook the onion and ginger until it begins to soften. Then add the garlic and stir so the garlic does not burn.
  2. On another pan fry and caramelise the butternut squash on a medium heat for about 15 minutes until you start to see a colour and the veg begins to soften a little.
  3. Place the chopped potatoes into boiling water and par-boil while the butternut squash is cooking in step 2.
  4. Make a paste with all the spices using a drop of warm water
  5. Once you have been cooking the onion for a few minutes add the spice paste to the onion, garlic and ginger mix.
  6. Cook off the spices for a few minutes and then add the chopped tomato and the caramelised butternut squash. Mix to coat the added ingredients.
  7. After a few minutes add the coconut milk and the par-boiled potatoes
  8. Mix the stock cube with 250ml of boiling water and add to the ingredients.
  9. Simmer on a medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the pan.
  10. Taste the sauce at this point and if you wish to add more elements from the set of spices used then feel free to do so. e.g. if there is not enough of a kick, add a few dashes of chilli powder or even a whole finely chopped chilli with the seeds. This is your opportunity to customise the flavour of the curry.
  11. Meanwhile, toast some cashew nuts lightly under the grill and ensure to toast both sides. You can also add some sesame seeds to the toasting mix also if you wish.
  12. Reduce the heat and on a low heat (3/9 on my cooker) leave to cook slowly for another 40 minutes until the sauce has thickened. If it has not thickened to your liking, you can increase the heat for a few minutes and this should do the trick.
  13. Once you are ready to serve, blanche the baby spinach in boiling water dry and place on the plate. Serve the curry on the bed of warmed spinach leaves (they will cook slightly in the heat also), top with the toasted nuts.
  14. Enjoy !

Suggested Accompaniment for this Massaman Curry Recipe

One thing which goes really well with this Massaman Curry Recipe is Chapati. These Chapati, known also as roti, safati, shabaati and roshi, are unleavened flatbread. They come mainly from the Indian Subcontinent but are really similar to other middle-eastern and asian flatbreads.

To make you need around 1 cup of flour, preferably chapati flour. (I don’t have this so I use half bread flour and half plain flour.)
Now add a good pinch of salt and 1/3 cup of warm water (added slowly). You need to get a non sticky dough. So keep working the dough until you have a wet-isa dough which is not sticking to your hands.

Flour the surface and roll 2-3 inch pieces into a very thin sheets. At this point you can add some crushed fennel seeds to taste (i like this).

On a medium hot pan, place the rolled dough onto the pan and press down. Once it starts to colour or small humps form , turn over. It might swell with air and puff up, if it does, just press it down with a spatula until it is slightly coloured and warmed on both sides.

You may need to experiment on temperatures but you will soon get the perfect thickness of dough and perfect temperature for a delicious chapati.

The most people applying sunscreen World Record Attempt

The most people applying sunscreen World Record Attempt

Event Rescheduled

Event now takes place on Friday May 4th.

Sunscreen World Record Attempt – Waterford, 4th May 2018

With the weather getting warmer and sunnier we all need to be aware of the risks of UV rays. After a long winter, people will jump at any chance to get a bit of sun. There are a lot more cases of skin cancer these days. You may not know this but, skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland and indeed the most preventable. Every year there are over 10,000 new cases are diagnosed in Ireland. With this in mind, there is a very novel way to get the message of sun-protection out there…. while raising funds for cancer support. There is a very unusual event taking place in Waterford, Ireland on Friday 4th May 2018. The Solas Cancer Support Centre is attempting to break a Guinness World Record. The record is for ‘The most people applying sunscreen’.

This Sunscreen World Record attempt was scheduled for July last year but the weather wen’t against the event. This rescheduled event is taking place in The People’s Park, Waterford on 4th May 2018 and participants will need to arrive at 10.30am.

Now, I was not aware that there was even a category for this. Apparently, there was already a World Record for ‘The most people applying sunscreen’. This was set in the USA in May 2014 by the Ann’s Hope Foundation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In that world record 1,822 participants were involved.

Hopefully there will be a good turnout for this Sunscreen World Record attempt. It would also get the Solas Centre and their great work into the news and on the map.

More Details on the Sunscreen World Record Attempt

For more details or to register to take part in this free event please go online to www.solascentre.ie . Once registered you will receive details about the Sunscreen World Record attempt. You must bring this confirmation email with you on the day.

Only pre-registered participants will be able to take part. Also, the Sunscreen World Record terms asks that participants must apply their own sun screen for 2 minutes. Therefore, any children taking part must be over 5 years of age.

Best of luck to all involved in the world record attempt on May 4th!

Solas Centre Film for Life 2018

On another topic Film for Life is in it’s second year. And this year, I decided to give it a go. So I will be involved in acting out a scene from a famous movie.

Over a 6-week training programme we will be tutored by a professional actor. At some point in May we will act-out a scene from a famous film. The Premieres will take place at a red carpet themed event in the Tower Hotel, Waterford on Saturday 16th June. The inaugural 2017 Film for Life event was great fun and seemed to be enjoyed by all who took part.

This exciting Film for All event will help fund the activities and services that will be provided by the Solas Cancer Support Centre in 2018.

I am looking forward to being involved and I will post more about the event in the coming weeks on shanemcdonald.ie!

The Solas Cancer Support Centre offers free cancer support to those affected by cancer, their families and carers in the South East. These services are available in their centre at Williamstown in Waterford City and in their West Waterford service based in the Alternative Health Clinic in Dungarvan.

Support my "Film for Life" Fundraising event

If you wish to donate to my “Film for Life” fundraising event please click the button below. Any amount will make a difference and I appreciate all donations to this worth cause.

Cat The Play Returns to Waterford – Book CAT THE PLAY Now…

Cat The Play Returns to Waterford – Book CAT THE PLAY Now…

CAT the Play returns to the Theatre Royal, Waterord after a recent stint on London’s West End.

This is a show not to be missed. This show is written by a good friend of mine and well known Waterford actor Jamie Beamish along with Richard Hardwick. I saw this show on it’s last visit to Waterford and it is a hilarious show with a bit of an edge where you least expect it. It strings you along with song and well written script and then it …. well, I will leave you find out for yourself!

DAVE WAS IN THE ORIGINAL CAST OF CATS.ON OPENING NIGHT HE WAS SACKED. HE WAS NOT A HAPPY PUSSY…

Visit the Official ‘Cat the Play’ Website for details

A roller coaster, tongue-in-cheek homage to the world of musical theatre, CAT (THE PLAY!) is the fictitious account of how Dave the Cat was sacked from the iconic musical CATS just minutes before ‘curtain up’ on opening night.

As dreams of West End acclaim and adulation turn to tatter, this riotous parody of show business offers audiences a comedic, fictional insight into Dave’s turbulent theatrical career, beginning with his first role as Jesus’ donkey in the original cast of Jesus Christ Superstar and ending with a grand finale of backstage drama, romance and anarchy that led to his hopes of stardom becoming nothing more than a distant ‘Memory’.

After a sold out run at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this comedy about the greatest musical star that never got to shine. Starring Gerard McCarthy, CAT isn’t so much a love letter to musical theatre more a death threat. It is humorous while still having a darker undertone. There’s a lot to keep you entertained and I feel you will be listening to ever word which CAT utters.

Reviews of 'Cat the Play'

“A WOW OF A ONE MAN SHOW”, Liam Murphy

“AN AMAZING PIECE OF THEATRE!”, Pat McEvoy

“A quirky, sometimes awkwardly funny and always appealing package of melody and movement, CAT offers something for just about everyone – even a darkly unexpected conclusion (Five Stars)”, Belfast Telegraph

Book Tickets to CAT The Play - Theatre Royal Waterford , 11th May 2018

Tickets for ‘Cat The Play’

11th May,
Theatre Royal,
Waterford,
Ireland

Cat The Play - London's Westend April 2017 - Book NOW

Map Location – Cat the Play, 11th May 2018, Theatre Royal, Waterford

Cat the Play at Theatre Royal Waterford

The Hampton’s – Review, Luxury B&B accommodation, Kaikoura, New Zealand

The Hampton’s – Review, Luxury B&B accommodation, Kaikoura, New Zealand

The Hampton’s Kaikoura – Review

This is a B&B review of the Hampton’s Kaikoura – A luxury B&B in Kaikoura, New Zealand
Kaikoura was the first stop after visiting the very friendly city of Christchurch. We spotted The Hampton’s Kaikoura on the Booking.com app which is one of my first-calls when booking accommodation online. The pictures looked amazing and the reviews were very positive. It’s quite a drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura but it is worth it when you have good accommodation.

On arriving we met Patrick the owner and he showed us to our room. Wow…. When I saw the room and view on checking in I was blown away. Patrick brought us through the features of the room plus advised us on the route for the local peninsula walk (see below).

The Hampton’s Kaikoura overlooks the coastal front of Kaikoura village, and you have amazing sea views.

The Hampton's Kaikoura, Review, The Room
The Hampton’s Kaikoura – The Room

The room was amazingly comfortable with cable TV, free WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities plus fresh home-made cookies. The view as mentioned was amazing and there was a small terrace / veranda outside if you wanted to enjoy the sun. We were there in New Zealand’s winter, so that was not always an option.

The bathroom included a very nice power shower and was well appointed. There was also underfloor heating in the shower which was a very nice feature.

Kaikoura has so much to offer, and with the Hampton’s Kaikoura being so central, you are spoiled for choice. I recommend doing the Kaikoura peninsula walkway, where you can see a huge seal colony. There is also a very good tourist information centre in the middle of the town which has information on the many whale watching excursions you can enjoy from Kaikoiura.

If you are looking for somewhere to eat in Kaikoura I would certainly recommend The Whaler which is at 49 The West End and only a few minutes walk from the Hamptons. The fish and chips was excellent and we enjoyed watching the live Rugby League.

The breakfast at the Hamilton’s was delicious and more than enough for me. Overall a wonderful place to stay and worthy of such praise. Thank you again to our hosts Patrick and Marie Claire.

The Hampton's Kaikoura, Review, View
The Hampton’s Kaikoura – The View from the room

Address:
The Hampton’s
138 Esplanade
KAIKOURA
New Zealand

The Hampton’s, Kaikoura – Location Map:

The Hampton’s, 138 Esplanade, KAIKOURA, New Zealand

The Hampton’s Kaikoura, 138 Esplanade, KAIKOURA, New Zealand

The Kaikoura Peninsula Walk

The Kaikoura Peninsula Walk

Things to do in Kaikoura

We were only in Kaikoura for one day but there is a lot to enjoy. If you are here during the summer you can enjoy a lot more, including whale watching. In the winter, the nicest thing to do is the Kaikoura Peninsula Walk (see the more southerly marker on the map below).

The walking trail crosses the peninsula south of Kaikoura. You can walk along the clifftop, with excellent views of the Seaward Kaikoura Range. You also get stunning views of the ocean and coastline, towards South Bay. The Peninsula walkway then returns to the township via South Bay and a section called ‘Toms Track’.

Near Point Kean car park, there are signs warning that seals may be in the area. Most of the seals which are in the car park are males. These seals may appear to be harmless but may become aggressive if disturbed. These are wild animals and should be left alone, A male seal, especially an irritated one, can inflict a nasty, infectious bite. Observe from a distance and respect their territory.

Be advised that the Marine Mammals Protection Act states that you MUST NOT disturb the seals. Stay at least 20m away!

There are many more seals on the rocks and these are normally the females and their pups. As you know, female animals will defend their young so again, remain a distance back.

Photography on the Kaikoura Peninsula Walk

As you get further into the talk you will come to a section which gives you a vista of the sea from the cliff top. I recommend that you look down onto the rocks. The major seal colony is here – there are hundreds of seals on those rocks. If you are a photographer, a 300mm lens will get you some great shots of the seal activity.

There are also some great birds in the area. Again, photographers, get the camera ready! You can enjoy a very large shearwater colony which is protected. There are also albatross, shags and gulls.

I got a photo of what I think is a rare ‘Cirl Bunting’. Apparently this is one of the rarest of New Zealand’s introduced species. They can be elusive on the peninsula walk but it might have been a Yellowhammer which I saw!

The Kaikoura peninsula walkways is denoted by distinctive marker posts and interpretation signs. This walk is a decent walk and you should really set aside a few hours, perhaps 3 hours, to fully enjoy the complete walk.

The Hampton’s Kaikoura, Overall Review

Based on the shanemcdonald.ie rating scale which reviews 10 categories and scoring 10 points per category.

Overall Score : 95%

%

Overall Score for The Hampton's, Kaikoura

Getting to Kaikoura

Kaikoura lies around midway between the towns of Picton (154 km) and Christchurch (183 km). This is off SH1 on the east coast of the South Island. Regular bus and train services pass through Kaikoura.

Kaikoura Tourist Information

For more information on Kaikoura and the activities you can enjoy in the area, please see the tourist information details below.

Kaikoura i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
Phone: +64 3 319 5641
Email: info@kaikoura.co.nz
Address: West End, Kaikoura

La Frontiere, Luxury Accommodation in Gisborne, New Zealand

La Frontiere, Luxury Accommodation in Gisborne, New Zealand

Staying at La Frontiere Gisborne

If you intend visiting Gisborne when in New Zealand then I highly recommend La Frontiere Gisborne, a luxurious modern self-contained studio, set on an avocado orchard and farmland, and is about 5 mins drive to Gisborne city centre. This was one accommodation which we were very lucky to get at the last minute.

The accommodation was booked and secured via the AirBnB mobile app, our last resort as all hotels and motels in the area were booked up on the day of our visit, due to a Maori event. I’m not one for overstating the mark, but La Frontiere was indeed luxury accommodation…. read on!

Jennifer was the most wonderful host. On arrival at La Frontiere we got a tour of the villa which was decorated superbly and had wonderful colours and quality furnishings make this villa compete with 5 star hotels when it comes to comfort and making you feel at home.

The villa has an excellently fitted and provisioned kitchen which ideal for whipping up some dinner of your own. The bathroom is very nice with a power-shower. The villa also comes with a private spa hot tub and swimming pool. There is fast and free Wifi, radio and a wonderful smart TV also available.La Frontiere, Gisborne, New Zealand - Luxury Accommodation

The bed is very comfortable and it’s very easy to oversleep and miss your check-out time. La Frontiere is like a home away from home. I felt it was better than any hotel as you were in a private and relaxed environment.

La Frontiere, Gisborne, New Zealand - Luxury Accommodation Pool

Features of La Frontiere Gisborne

The Space

“Indulge in a truly relaxing stay at this luxurious sunny self-contained Villa. Set in picturesque gardens on the boundary of the city (4 mins drive to the city centre and beaches).
Enjoy your very own private spa during the cooler months and in the warmer months enjoy the pool next to your Villa.
If you are looking for a restful holiday this is the place to be, set on an Avocado orchard.”

Linen provided
No disabled access
Children not allowed
No smoking / No pets
Air Conditioning
BBQ
Cleaning supplies
Clothes line

Dryer
DVD
Electric blankets
Ensuite Bathroom
Extra Bedding
Food processor
Fridge/Freezer
iPod Docking station

Iron
Microwave
Off Street Parking
Outdoor furniture
Oven
Phone
Shower
Swimming Pool

Tea, coffee, sugar etc
Tennis court
Toaster
TV
Washing Machine
Wifi
Studio Kitchen

Things to do in and around Gisborne

La Frontiere Gisborne is only 5 minutes from the centre of Gisborne. The town of Gisbourne is also known as ‘Gizzy’ to some locals.  Gisborne is pronounced Gis-born not Gis-bun. The town itself is a very nice place to visit and lies on the east coast of the north island, north of Napier and 480km south east of Auckland (around a 6 hour drive). Gisbourne claims to be the first city on earth to see the sun each morning. It has a very relaxed vibe and is ideal if you are looking for somewhere to enjoy some beach time.

Gisborne is well known for wineries and amazing beaches such as Makorori. I’m not much of a beach person but museums and historical/cultural attractions would be more my style. The Tairawhiti Museum has exhibits on indigenous and colonial history, with Wyllie Cottage, an early European house, and Maori artefacts.

While we were staying at La Frontiere in Gisborne we had many drives around the area. It is very picturesque and you could easily spend a few hours each day finding nice spots to walk.

Some of the things we did in Gisborne included;

Titirangi Reserve

This is a park in Gisborne and you can find it on your SatNav at “Titirangi Dr”. It is located just off Queens Drive.

It is a high on a hill overlooking Gisborne. It gives fantastic views of the area. Titirangi was once a pā or a Maori fortified village. You can also reach Titirangi Reserve on the track from the Cook Monument. As you approach the lookout at the top, there is yet another Cook edifice, at Cook’s Plaza. Adjacent is a pohutukawa tree, with its crimson flower has become an established part of the New Zealand Christmas tradition – this one was planted by Princess Diana in 1983. The statue at Cooks Plaza apparently bears no resemblance to Captain Cook. But the views here and on Queen’s Drive are spectacular.

Visiting the historic Gisborne Town Centre

Gisborne is a very vibrant town. It has unique buildings and there is a sense in certain areas of stepping back in time a little. I found it was a very authentic taste of the New Zealand lifestyle. The architecture in certain areas is spectacular and one of the highlights is Gisborne Clock Tower. The Art Deco style Gisborne Clock Tower was erected in 1934 and was built after the severe earthquakes that hit the region in the early 1930s. At night, the clock tower is illuminated.

We had a wonderful time in Gisborne and staying at La Frontiere and would certainly return. It was great to also make the acquaintance of the dogs and cats on site – it is such a relaxing place to stay. Thanks again to Jennifer for her wonderful hospitality. We look forward to returning if we are lucky enough to get back to New Zealand again.

Overall Review : 10/10 all round

La Frontiere Gisborne – Location & Information:

La Frontiere Gisborne, 1 Main Road , Makaraka, Gisborne, New Zealand
+64 6 8684931. +64 274412876

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/LaFrontiereBoutiqueAccommodation

Information on Gisborne : http://www.gisbornenz.com/

La Frontiere Gisborne, 1 Main Road , Makaraka, Gisborne, New Zealand

La Frontiere Gisborne, 1 Main Road , Makaraka, Gisborne, New Zealand