Peas and corn rice pilau

Yesterday we strayed from our standard jeera pilau recipe and made it with a few twists.   We took a gamble and served it to the kids  for their supper last night and surprisingly it was well received (surprising as they are fussy eaters – fingers crossed this in not a one off).  Although we had the rice with a vegetable curry we think it can work on its own with a simple raita as an accompaniment

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 cups of basmati rice washed and drained (we used a Tilda extra long grain variety that resembles basmati when cooked)
  • Whole garam masala (stick of cinnamon, 5 cloves, 5 cardamom pods, 1 black cardamom, 2 bays leave, pinch of mace)
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Bahraini spice mix (a blend of coriander, turmeric, red pepper, cardamom, cloves, ginger, black pepper, garlic, anise and sesame)
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Handful fresh coriander and mint leaves chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat a pan with the ghee.  Add the whole garam masala ingredients with the cumin seeds and saute for a minute.  Add the sliced onions and saute over medium heat for five minutes.   Sprinkle the Bahraini spice mix (you could probably find something similar in your local Middle Eastern grocer) and add the peas and corn.   Stir for a minute and add the washed rice and saffron – continue stirring for another couple of minutes before switching off the heat.   Add the chopped coriander and mint, adjust the seasoning and transfer into electric rice cooker.   Add 4 cups of water and set to cook.   Once cooked stir the rice and serve hot.

 

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Moroccan baked eggs

We have been eager to try a baked egg dish for quite some time and the recent purchase of an oven proof frying pan provided the right impetus to experiment.   We have come across several recipes with different ethnic twists and interpretations and so here’s ours with Moroccan flavours.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 green pepper cut in squares
  • 5-6 closed cup mushrooms sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 green chillies chopped
  • 1 tsp of Ras-Al-Hanout spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 400 gm tinned brown chick peas drained and washed (smaller variety but could use regular chick peas)
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped for garnish
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2 main portions or 4 sides

How do I make it?

Heat oven proof pan and melt butter and olive oil before tossing in the garlic – stir for thirty seconds before adding onions, green pepper and chillies.   Cook on medium heat for ten minutes till the onions soften.   Add the cumin powder and Ras-Al-Hanout spice mix and stir for a minute.   Toss in the sliced mushrooms and cook for five minutes.   Add the chopped tomatoes, brown chick peas and harissa paste with a bit of water.   Continue cooking on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes till the raw smell of spices disappears.  Adjust the seasoning and garnish with fresh chopped coriander.   Take off the heat.   Make four cavities in the sauce and crack an egg into each (ensure you don’t break the yolk).   Place the pan in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes till the white is cooked through and the yellow is at your preferred consistency.  Enjoy.

Aubergines in tomato sauce (a.k.a. melanzane alla parmigiana)

Tonight was an opportunity to try our take on a classic Italian aubergine dish ‘melanzane alla parmigiana’.   There are probably several recipes out there but essentially they all entail grilling slices of aubergines, layering them with tomato sauce and then topping it with fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheese before placing under a hot grill.   That is pretty much what we did and the personalization comes with each individuals preferred version of the tomato sauce.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 large aubergines – cut into 5 cm thick slices
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400 gms)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2-3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano (optional – we have some growing in our herb patch)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 3/4 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • Small handful of fresh basil and parsley chopped
  • Handful grated Parmesan chesse
  • 125 gm fresh mozzarella cheese sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Enough for 2 mains or 4 sides

How do I make it?

First rub the aubergine slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place on a griddle pan and cook till they begin to caramelize – keep aside till assembly.   For the sauce, heat some olive oil in a pan and saute the garlic for a minute before adding the red chilli flakes, chopped onion and bay leaves.  Continue to cook on medium heat till the onions are translucent – sprinkle the dried oregano and fresh oregano if you have it.   Add the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of sugar with around 200 ml of water.    Cook on low heat till the sauce thickens.  Adjust the seasoning, add the balsamic vinegar, garnish with fresh basil and parsley and then turn off the heat.

To assemble the dish place alternating layers of aubergine and sauce and finish with sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a layer of fresh mozzarella cheese.  Place under grill at 220 degrees Centigrade till the cheese melts and forms a nice golden crust.  Cut into portions and serve hot.  Enjoy.

Curried roasted parsnips

Ever had that situation when you find a vegetable in the fridge and don’t feel like preparing it as you normally do but want something more exciting.   Last night was one of those nights we had parsnips in the fridge and wanted to try something different.   The dish tasted good and will probably feature as an accompaniment with our next roast dinner.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 5 parsnips peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 sticks of rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mango powder (adds a bit of tang to this dish)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Simple – place cut parsnips, minced garlic  and rosemary (pull leaves of the stalk) in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the curry powder and dry mango powder with a bit of salt.   Drizzle olive oil, mix and transfer into an oven proof dish.   Bake in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees for 25-30 minutes till the parsnips are cooked through.

Garden fresh – cream of tomato soup with a simple pasta

We have been blessed with plenty of tomatoes this year and having used it in our daily cooking for the last three weeks last night was an opportunity to make some fresh tomato soup.  There is something to be said about picking vegetables fresh and cooking them as there is a distinct difference in flavour versus supermarket bought vegetables.   The soup was simple to make and tasted great with a simple pasta starter.

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Cream of tomato soup

What do I need to make it?

  • 15-20 cherry tomatoes boiled, pureed and strained
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 100 ml single cream
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp oilve oil
  • Small handful Thai basil chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Heat the oil in a pan and saute the garlic for a few minutes before adding the onion and carrot.   Cook for 5 minutes till the onions appear translucent and then add the paprika and strained tomato.   Add a vegetable stock cube with 500 ml water and simmer over a low heat for another 20 minutes.   Blend the soup and return to heat.   Adjust the seasoning before adding the single cream and chopped Thai basil.  Enjoy.

Cherry tomato pasta

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 large handfuls of gluten free penne boiled
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 6-8 queen size olives sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • Handful fresh oregano and basil chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp oilve oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Heat oilve oil in a pan and then add the garlic.  Saute for a minute and make sure the garlic doesn’t burn before adding the chilli flakes.   Stir for 30 seconds and then add the tomatoes.   Cook for five minutes before adding the sliced olives and cooked penne.    Adjust the seasoning and add the fresh organo and basil.   Enjoy as a starter or make a larger portion for a main meal.

Garden fresh – warm salad of rhubarb chard and black eyed beans

This is the first time I have grown rhubarb chard in our garden and Shiv and I were pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it tasted.  It tasted similar to Amaranth, a red spinach like leaf that is considered a super food and is grown and eaten widely in India.  After the first time we cooked it, Shiv and I decided that we had a winner and rhubarb chard is going to be a regular yearly feature in our veggie patch. The recipe we used is normally made with amaranth and jackfruit seeds.  We adapted this and swapped the amaranth and jackfruit seeds with rhubarb chard and black eyed beans.  The dish was delicious and I would like to share the recipe with you.

Rhubarb chard  Rhubarb chard and black eyed beans

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 bunch of rhubarb chard leaves washed and finely chopped
  • 1 cup of black eyed beans pre soaked and pressure cooked till soft yet firm
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsps coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp split urad dhal
  • 1/2 tsp channa dhal
  • 3-4 dried red chillies broken to pieces (can be reduced or increased to suit tastes)
  • 4 tbsps freshly grated coconut
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat coconut oil in a skillet or wok.  Add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds splutter add the urad dhal, channa dhal and broken pieces of dried red chilli.  Fry for a minute or so till the dhals are golden brown and then add the chopped rhubarb chard and the turmeric powder.  The rhubarb chard should cook in its own moisture.  When the chard is cooked, season with salt, garnish with freshly grated coconut and remove from heat.  Serve hot  as a side with rice or roti of choice.

Two for the price of one

The advantage of growing our own vegetables is that we get to use a wide variety of leaves either in our salads or in our daily meals.   Today I cut a whole bunch of radish leaves to make a family favourite.  I’ve always loved sauteed radish leaves as a child and have introduced Shiv to this tasty dish after we started growing our own vegetables and he has developed a fondness for it too.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 bunch of radish leaves
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 green chilies
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp split pigeon peas (channa dahl)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • A few curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

How do I make it?

Wash and chop the radish leaves finely.  Make a coarse paste with the onion, chilies and garlic.  Heat pan and add coconut oil, once hot add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds start to splutter add the pigeon peas and curry leaves and stir till the peas change colour.  Add the paste and saute till the raw smell disappears.  Add the finely chopped radish leaves and season with salt.  Saute for a minute or two and then add turmeric powder and about half a cup of water.   Continue cooking till the water evaporates and then garnish with freshly grated coconut before turning off the heat.

The same recipe can be used for french bean leaves, pumpkin leaves and tender cabbage leaves.