Spiced roasted tomato soup

Last night we made a fiery roasted tomatoes and coriander soup which despite being spicy was quite difficult to stop eating.  Guess it is true what they say about the addictive nature of chillies.   We will probably tone down the chillies next time around but the rest of the ingredients work well together to produce a delicious soup.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 8 medium tomatoes
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 2-3 red chilli peppers
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 small handful of fresh coriander chopped
  • 50 gms butter
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

2 large portions or 4 smaller servings

How do I make it?

Drizzle a little olive oil over the tomatoes, garlic, chillies, onion and green pepper and roast in a 180 degree pre-heated oven for 45 minutes to an hour till the vegetables begin to char a bit.  Squeeze the garlic out of the skin and blend to a paste with roasted chillies, onion and green pepper.  Remove the skin from the tomatoes and blend to a puree.   Heat butter in a large pot and add the paste – stir over medium heat for 5 minutes before adding the chopped coriander.   Stir for a minute and then add the pureed tomatoes and sugar.  Add the stock cube and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil over a medium heat.   Adjust the seasoning before finishing off the soup with some roasted cumin seeds and creme fraiche.

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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.

 

Coconut fish soup with fresh sambal

We tried a dish tonight inspired by Thai flavours and were pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  It was dead simple to make and turned out to be a heartening meal especially on a wet, cold and rainy night as tonight.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 large fillet of cod cut in half
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 red chillli chopped
  • 3 kafir lime leaves (optional)
  • 1 stick of lemon grass bruised
  • 1 inch piece of galangal sliced thinly (use a mandolin slicer)
  • 1/2 carrot sliced thinly (as above)
  • 2 baby corns sliced thinly (as above)
  • 2 medium sized mushrooms sliced
  • 400ml tinned coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Small handful of fresh coriander to garnish
  • Salt to taste

For the sambal

  • 1 cup of shredded coconut roasted till light brown
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small shallot (we used small Indian onions)
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1/2 tsp palm sugar
  • Salt to taste

Pound all the ingredients (except the coconut) to a paste in a pestle and mortar.   Once the roasted coconut has cooled, mix it with the paste and it is ready to serve.

How much will I make?

2 large bowls of soup

How do I make it?

Heat a pan, add coconut oil followed by the sliced onions and cook for a couple of minutes.   Pour in the coconut milk and 400 ml of water.  Add the kafir lime leaves, galangal, red chilli, lemon grass, white pepper and stock cube and bring to a gentle boil,  Reduce the heat to low and poach the cod fillets till they cook through.   Remove the fillets and add the vegetables to the stock – increase heat and cook for five minutes.   To assemble the dish, place the cod fillets in the middle of the bowl and pour stock with vegetables over it.   Garnish with a tablespoon of the sambal and some fresh coriander.  Enjoy.

Spicy aubergine and potato curry

We’ve extolled the virtues of the aubergine and potato combination in an earlier blog and that dish inspired us to create another but with a thick sauce this time.   This dish works really well with a simple rice pilau and probably just as well with an Indian bread of choice.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 8 baby aubergines quartered (not a small aubergine but the bulb variety)
  • 6 small potatoes – peeled, quartered and par boiled and then fried till golden brown
  • I medium onion chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2″ piece of ginger
  • 6 small green chillies
  • Handful of coriander and mint
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 3-4 tbsp ghee
  • Coriander for garnish
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Coarsely grind the peppercorns and cumin seeds first and then mix with the caraway seeds.   Use a pestle and mortar to make a coarse paste of the garlic, ginger, green chilies, coriander and mint.   Heat a heavy bottom pan and add the ghee.  First add the coarse powder with caraway seeds and stir for 30 seconds before adding the paste.   Stir the paste for a few minutes before adding the chopped onions.   Cook over medium heat till the onions start to brown and then add chopped tomatoes.  Continue cooking till the fat leaves the masala before adding the aubergines and a cup of water.   Cover and cook on low heat till the aubergines are cooked through.   Add the fried potatoes, adjust the seasoning and garnish with fresh chopped coriander.  Enjoy.

 

Gluten free caserole

We had an amazing homemade casserole for dinner last night for the first time and are now inspired to create different ethnic variations for future dinner options.  The casserole used very few spices, tasted wonderful and was the ideal dinner for the onset of winter  (yesterday was the first of many cold rainy days ).

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What do I need to make it?

  • 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • 6-8 potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 8 mushrooms halved
  • 1 stick of leek chopped
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped
  • 1 parsnip peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 baby onions peeled
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 jalapenos chopped
  • 200 gms tinned butter beans drained
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns crushed coarsely
  • 2 gluten free chicken stock cubes (we use Kallo cubes – taste great)
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of fresh parsley chopped for garnish
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Wash and dry the chicken thigh fillets and marinade with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, dried mixed herbs and salt.    Let the chicken marinade for as long as you can – we cooked it after an hour.  Heat a cast iron casserole and brown the chicken thighs.  Remove chicken and add remaining oil to saute the whole onions and garlic for a couple of minutes.   Add the crushed red chilli flakes and leeks and continue sauteing for a couple of minutes before adding  remaining vegetables.    Give it a good stir and add the stock cubes, coarsely crushed black peppercorns and a dash of salt for taste.   Pour in 600 ml of water and add the butter beans and the chicken thighs.  over the casserole and cook in pre-heated oven at 190 degree for an hour.   Remove and check that most of the water has evaporated before garnishing with fresh chopped parsley.   Serve hot with a nice crusty bread of choice.

Roast aubergine and Charlotte potatoes

I think aubergines/egg plant/brinjal what ever you prefer to call it with potatoes is a great combination of flavours.  We had some left over small aubergines in the fridge which I decided to cook with some seasonal Charlotte potatoes – the dish was spiced and roasted in a pan.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 4 small round aubergines quartered (get these in most Indian and Chinese shops)
  • 5-6 Charlotte potatoes skinned, cut into wedges and parboiled
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 3-4 as a side dish

How do I make it?

Crush cumin seeds and peppercorn to a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar.  Heat pan, add oil and then add coarse mixture .  Saute for a couple of minutes before adding the sliced onions.  Saute for five minutes till the onions turn golden brown.  Dissolve the turmeric, red chilli and coriander power in about 60 ml of water and add to the onions.  Give it a good stir before adding the aubergines.  Cook for 5 minutes before adding the par boiled potatoes.   Adjust the seasoning and cook over low heat till aubergines are cooked through.   Enjoy with Indian bread of choice.

Roast chicken and root vegetable – Indian style

We had a lovely roast for lunch a few days back with enough left over to make spicy chicken Vietnamese summer rolls last night.   Both of us like our food spicy and this was an opportunity to try something different with a traditional roast.  End result is a succulent bird with a bit of an Indian kick to it.  We used traditional vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnip and swede) for the roast and added garlic, button onions and green chillies from the garden and Indianized it further by adding a dollop of ghee and roasted cumin seeds before cooking in the oven.

 

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 medium chicken washed and patted dry
  • Wet marinade
    • Handful of fresh coriander
    • Handful of fresh mint
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1″ piece of ginger
    • 4-5 green chillies (increase/reduce to taste) – we used the Apache chillies from our garden which was fairly pungent
    • Salt to taste

Put all the ingredients into a blender and puree to a fine paste.

  • Dry marinade
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 tsp black peppercorns
    • 1 tsp fennel seeds

Roast all the ingredients over a medium heat for a few minutes.  Grind to a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar.

  • 100 gms butter
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Season the chicken with a bit of salt and then rub in the wet marinade all over the bird.  Remember to rub some in the cavity and lift the skin above the breast and rub in some marinade.   Next sprinkle the dry marinade over the chicken till you have an even coat.   Cut the lemon in half and place inside the cavity.   Cut the butter into pieces and place under the skin above the breasts, on the legs and wings.  Place the bird on greased baking pan in a 200 degree pre-heated oven and cook for an hour or till chicken is cooked.   Periodically remove from oven and baste the chicken with the melted butter and juices.   Half way through the cooking process put your root vegetables in and fifteen minutes before the chicken is done add the boiled potatoes.  Sunday roast done!