This was one of my mother's most complex dishes and often had a smoky flavour as, inevitably, she let the bottom of the pan burn. Last autumn, I revived this memory of former times at home due to a bumper apple crop in the garden. It is far from a sophisticated dish and bears little resemblance to anything you might eat in India, Bangladesh or even Birmingham but on a cold dark day is quite a solid, cheering meal to eat while watching Eggheads or Great British Railway Journeys. Anyway, the ability of British cuisine to absorb elements from many other countries is what makes cooking in Britain superior to, the literally preserved in aspic, French cuisine, for example.
There are four core ingredients: apple (sorry), onion, corned beef and, latterly I have added red pepper. My mother's version didn't have red pepper (try and buy one of those in the seventies and see how far you got) but did include sultanas, something I eschew in favour of peas. I chop the onions, peppers,corned beef and apple into cubes and gently fry it. Eventually the corned beef breaks down and once the onions are browned you add a tin of chopped tomatoes. Liberally douse with black pepper and curry powder of your choice (again back in the seventies and eighties you could only get one sort), add a dash of tomato puree to thicken it and after ten minutes or so it is ready. About five minutes before serving I throw in some frozen peas and maybe a bit of turmeric.
This is foreign food as interpreted by a housewife from over thirty years ago and is very different from the cooking my father did, as he strove for authenticity in trying to cook continental food in the sixties and seventies.
Even more inauthentically, I chose to serve it with lemon and coriander cous-cous, although of course basmati rice is best, except my doctors have told me to cut down on this, unfortunately.
More about corned beef on my main blog here.