Many years ago SPAM® was a treat on a Sunday evening. My mother would say that she had been cooking all week and refused to cook after a good old fashioned Sunday Lunch. In hindsight that’s fair enough, I suppose. So we always had a cold meal such as salad or sandwiches and soup.
One of the highlights of that salad or sandwich was a can or two of Spam. In fact, I still really enjoy a can for my supper or a light lunch. Only recently my youngest daughter asked me what it was so I duly explained. She asked if she could help me produce supper. We made the most delicious curried SPAM® pilaf, it was quick easy and delicious, she had it for her supper and really enjoyed it.
In this day and age, we are bombarded with all sorts of information about the food we eat. Some good and some not so good. But I look back on my growing up years with great affection. My parents were not well off by any stretch of the imagination, but we always had well-cooked, simple food, a philosophy that I have carried right through my professional career. Included in that diet were certain foods that I remember really well, one of which was Spam.
For me, there’s a lot of chin rubbing when I hear certain chefs publicly not approving of certain foods these days, then eating them or giving them to their families quietly. A recent survey in the broadsheet newspaper asked 6 chefs what convenience foods they secretly adored. All went to great lengths to say they would NEVER use them in their businesses but did like them privately. Hello, what’s the difference?
SPAM® for me has the feeling of growing up, coupled with being rather tasty and delicious and also strangely comforting. That’s why I’m more than happy to sing its praises, along with the other 5 billion can buyers over the last 73 years.
So why not share your own SPAM® recipe and join the Cook of the Year 2010 competition. To get you started here’s one of my recipes to get your SPAM® taste buds jumping. For more recipes, ideas go to my Recipes section and click on Brands ‘Spam‘ or for even more go to the SPAM® website.
MILD CURRIED SPAM™ PILAF WITH CASHEW NUTS
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes in total
Serves: 4-6 persons
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 courgette, cut into 1cm cubes, roughly
- 1x 410g can chickpeas, drained well
- 100g frozen peas
- 225g Basmati rice
- 2 x 200g cans Spam, cut into 1cm cubes
- 600mls boiling water
- ½ tsp pepper
- 4 tbsp unsalted cashew nuts
- chopped fresh coriander, optional
- natural yoghurt, optional
- Heat the oven to 200°C gas 6.
- Heat the oil in a deep pan.
- Add the spices and cook for 2-3 minutes without burning.
- Add the onion, garlic and courgettes and cook for 2-3 minutes to brown
- Next add the chickpeas, frozen peas and rice and mix well to coat the rice.
- Add the Spam, boiling water, pepper and nuts and mix well.
- Bring to the boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven.
- Cook for 14-16 minutes, or until fluffy and all the water absorbed.
- When cooked, remove from the oven, fork up well, then place the lid back on
- and leave for 10 minutes before eating.
- Serve with a little chopped coriander and a blob of natural yoghurt.