Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Katsu Curry At Home

Who doesn't love a good katsu curry? Be it chicken or some kind of tasty deep fried vegetable alternative, it's a favourite for many, and something I often find myself daydreaming about. I recently had lunch with a Annie, a lovely Illustrator friend up in Leeds for an internship which I am soOoO jealous of, and we went to my favourite Japanese restaurant in Leeds, Little Tokyo. Although I was beyond satisfied with my veggie sushi set and pork gyozas (bloody amazing), her Katsu made my mouth water and I was determined to make my own ASAP. I'm a student, I can't justify eating out thaaat often..

This isn't a 30 minute recipe, I'm afraid. It was my first time making this so I know I dragged it out longer than necessary, plus I was taking photographs, but a few elements require prep work, so give yourself an hour and a half.. ish.

I don't really have a perfect recipe post layout sussed yet, so what I'm going to do is walk you through the photos with notes and pointers and such, then give you a more refined method and ingredients list at the bottom. Sounds good? Okay.

Whisk up your egg and blitz your bread in a blender. I grilled the crumbs off just to get rid of most of the moisture.

Beat your chicken breasts until they're flatter and wider, so will cook quicker and get more crispy coating! So gross juices don't go flying everywhere, put them in freezer bags, remembering to squeeze out all the air before sealing. I didn't have a rolling pin so I used the edge of this chopping Cover the breasts fully in flour, then egg.

Add a little seasoning to the crumb mix, then cover the eggy chicken in the breadcrumbs, pushing them in so they're completely covered in a nice thick layer. Cover these and pop them in the fridge so the coating sticks well to the chicken.

Cover the sushi rice with water and rinse thoroughly, about 4/5 times. I didn't have a sieve... but it would be much easier with a sieve. The packet should give you instructions on how much water to add and cooking instructions. I covered mine well in a saucepan, brought it to the boil for 10 minutes with the lid on, then took it off the heat and let it sit for a further half an hour with the lid still on. Only lift the lid once you're ready to serve, stirring in a very small amount of sushi seasoning just for some added flavour. This will keep it hot!

Instead of searching around for Japanese style ingredients, you can find good alternatives in most small supermarkets.

That lumpy, green monster is in fact frozen spinach. I think I'm incapable of just leaving curry sauces as they are. I have a NEED to add extra stuffs. I can't help that I'm so wild and free and such.

I didn't really know how to approach the chickpeas, but it worked perfectly in the end. Rinse them thoroughly, then cover them in water on a low heat to simmer away for about 30-40 minutes. I cooked a whole tin but only about half went in the curry.

The curry sauce! What is life without some onion, eh? Don't, I don't want to think about it. Dice it up fairly small and fry it off for 5 minutes before adding the chickpeas. Stir them around for 2 minutes, then add the curry paste (or sauce), spinach and hot water. With this particular curry paste, I used 4 cubes out of 6 because it apparently serves 5, HA. 

That can simmer away for as long as need be, just remember to keep stirring and don't let it reduce too much as you want it to be thick and lovely, but not burnt! 

Cut up the chicken all fancy like they do in Wagamamas. This will also let you make sure it's fully cooked through! 35 minutes on 180 should do it, but even so, we don't want any poisonings, do we.


For the breaded chicken:
2 large chicken breasts 
1 large egg
Plain flour
A few slices of bread, blitzed up (I used rye as that's all I had)
Seasoning (I used garlic powder, onion salt and pepper)

For the curry:
Curry paste/sauce (go for the mysterious "curry" curry. Not anything specific like chicken tikka, unless you absolutely insist on chicken tikka. It's yellow)
-EDIT: 1tbs Curry powder, a similar amount of flour, stock water and a dash of soy sauce makes a perfect curry sauce!!
1 medium onion
Half a can of chickpeas (not dried)
A few handfuls of spinach (fresh or frozen)
Olive/rapeseed/coconut oil (Please stay away from sunflower oil. Article)

Sushi rice or your normal favourite
Sushi rice vinegar, if you want
Greens!! I chose mixed leaves. Green beans, broccoli or peas would be nice!


Blend up your bread slices into crumbs and grill them for a few minutes to get rid of most of the moisture. Mix in your seasoning, to taste. Whisk up your egg, pouring it onto a plate with raised edges, same with the bread crumbs, and cover a chopping board in flour. 
Put your chicken breasts in freezer bags then flatten them with a rolling pin. Cover the chicken in flour, then egg, then press in the breadcrumbs so they're covered in a thick layer. Leave in the fridge for half an hour+ so the coating sticks.

Rinse your chickpeas then place in a saucepan, covering them with water, to simmer away for at least half an hour. In the mean time rinse the sushi rice and according to the cooking instructions on the box, place on the boil. Mine needed to be brought to the boil for 10 minutes, with the lid on, then left to sit, without taking the lid off, until serving. The rice can be slightly cooler as the curry will heat it up. Pre heat the oven to 180/200.

When the chickpeas are ready to come off, drizzle olive oil into a baking tray, place on the breaded chicken and drizzle a little more on top. Place into the pre heated oven. Dice the onion into fairly small pieces then drain the chickpeas and store them in a bowl. Fry the onions in oil for 5 or so minutes before adding the chickpeas for a further 2-3, then add your curry paste and hot water/curry sauce and spinach. Allow the sauce to thicken on a low heat, stirring periodically until the chicken is ready. The chicken should be turned about 10 minutes before taking out.

To serve, take the lid off the rice and stir in some sushi seasoning (completely optional), then wet/oil your hands and gather a ball of sticky rice onto each plate. This can get messy but it looks pretty, ha! Slice up the chicken, then pour over the curry so it covers half the chicken and half the rice, keeping both from becoming soggy. Add a few greens and voila!! 

I do hope you liked the recipe! I wouldn't trust myself to make the curry sauce from scratch, but with all the additions and home made breaded chicken (bloody nice by the way!) I think it still counts as a recipe, right? If you do make it, let me know how it goes! :)


Saturday, 20 August 2016

A Weekend Doodle Diary

Last weekend I took Jack along to a little weekend getaway with my mum and two sisters. We rented out a really lovely house in the farmy hills of Cumbria. It was a massive and weird and lovely thing to introduce Jack to my family for the first time. Amazingly, they got on really well. If they hadn't, Jack wouldn't have been able to flee anyway. Many hills, no Uber.

As some of you will know, I've actually switched degree courses to Illustration (from Graphic Design), and our summer project is to keep a sketchbook. I started this summer very enthusiastic about it, however, such is life, I've been an absolute shit and have not kept up with it very well at all. Part of the problem is that I've never had a single sketchbook before. I tend to have many on the go and grab one whenever I feel a new product design bouncing around in my head. So, on Friday the 12th I sat in a coffee shop and decided to draw what I'd done that day, and it turned into quite a fun little weekend series. I hope you find it fun to read through. A pen vlog. For obvious reasons I'm very happy I documented it :')

Uni pin fine liner in 0.2
Promarker in Cool Grey 2


Sunday, 7 August 2016


SIGHH IS HEADING TO NEW PLACES. Yes. I'm not quite sure where, but Art Print mountain and Watercolour valley seem likely destinations. With a new year at university fast approaching, I'm working on diversifying and developing my art style lots, which will no doubt have an impact on the products coming out in my shoppy shop. I really don't know why I've held off on making proper art prints for so long. It was obviously very stupid as who doesn't love decorating their walls?? But DO NOT FEAR for I have many ideas and great equipment at uni.

At Sighh I'm all about creating products to make you feel positive, inspired and motivated. "No time for pricks" is a snappy way of getting yourself in the zone each morning to go out, be yourself and remove negativity from your life. All in a bit of a funny way because cacti...pricks....we all know it's funny okay.

It's a bit dramatic to say I had the time of my life designing this, but I kind of did. If you've followed me for a while or had a look through my work, you'll see its almost exclusively smooth, digitised work (hand drawn then edited with Adobe Illustrator). Although this has boded well so far, for years I've been itching to develop and try something new so I'm going to be making a real effort from now on to do just that. I'm thinking traditional print, paint, gold foil, hand finishing as much as possible and just experimenting. So it was a breath of fresh air to spend a day or two filling up pages in my sketchbook, feeling that repetitive movement from paint, to paint water, to paper. 

Product details:

The phone case files have been designed and are ready to go, but the A4 prints still need to be printed, which I aim to do at uni next week. However, as I can't absolutely guarantee the dispatch date, they're going up for pre order. This way I know how many to print in the first batch! :)

As always, there are a wide range of phone models available! Check out the drop down menu on any of the phone cases to see for yourself.

The frame is not included, so I can't wait to see how you mount them/where/or what kind of washi tape you use!

LAUNCH: 6PM 07/08/2016

Also, I just wanted to say a big thanks to everyone on Twitter this morning who got involved with the idea of me designing new products like pyjamas/bedding/colouring books! The discussion has lead to loads of new plans for the future!! Thank you for showing excitement because it really is the fuel to my art train.

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