Oh well, in a few more weeks it'll be acceptable to talk about the C-word (no, not that c-word, I'm talking about Christmas), and then the cold weather will suddenly become festive rather than just plain depressing.
Until that time, I think we should all warm up with a bowl of curry and rice - not only will it heat up your belly, but the faint tingle that a spicy dish leaves in your mouth is pretty warming too.
I suppose this is more of a Thai-style curry than anything, since it has quite a thin, but very fragrant, sauce, rather than the thick, tomatoey sauce that you often find in Indian curries. However, I have absolutely zero expert knowledge about varieties of curry, so I can't claim that this is authentically Thai in any way. Either way, it was seriously delicious, and I scoffed a big bowlful with no problems. It was only afterwards that I remembered that there's a chance I'll be having curry for dinner as well... whoops. Good job I like curry.
I'm not a vegan (um, obviously), but I can imagine that veganism might cause some people to miss the creaminess that dairy provides. Of course there are dairy-free versions of a lot of things, and coconut milk is another great option - this curry was luxuriously creamy, and it was completely vegan. This is definitely the sort of dish I'd make if I was trying to convince my meat-eating friends that not all vegan food consists of lettuce with some carrot on top - just like not all non-vegetarian food consists purely of a steak with a sausage on top (though to be honest I can think of many people who would eat that happily).
Now I'm going to stop being such a stereotypical Brit, talking about the weather allll the tiiiiime, and instead I'm going to have a cup of tea and watch Downton Abbey. Oh, wait...
Creamy mushroom and chickpea curry
1 small onion
4 cloves garlic
2 red chillis, seeds removed (make your choice depending on how spicy you like your food - the ones I chose were fairly mild)
Small handful fresh coriander, stalks included
1/2tsp ground cumin
1tsp garam masala
1tbsp cooking oil
300g mushrooms, cut into fairly large chunks
400g tin chickpeas, drained (240g when drained)
400ml tin coconut milk
2tbsp dark soy sauce
First, prepare your curry paste. Cut the onion, garlic and chillis into large chunks and put them in a food processor. Pulse several times until a coarse paste is formed, then add the coriander, cumin and garam masala. Process until well mixed.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the mushrooms and your curry paste. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms are almost tender (you still want them to have a bit of bite, but not taste raw). Add the remaining ingredients, and increase the heat to medium. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes, until the sauce is hot and slightly reduced. Serve with boiled white rice and top with more fresh coriander if desired.