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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Salad therapy – roast chicken & rocket

We shared with you a simple recipe to use up some of the Christmas leftovers in a hearty corn soup – here’s another recipe using the remainder of the leftover chicken.   What initially started of as a filling for a Vietnamese rice paper roll ended up as a topping for a warm salad (had a bag of rocket leaves that was going to go past it’s expiry date and needed to be used).  In hindsight, we think this would have worked even better on a bed of iceberg lettuce or on some plain boiled Jasmine rice.  We have used the same core ingredients as with the tarragon butter made for the roast chicken (recipe below) and embellished it with more fresh herbs to give it a Vietnamese slant.  We have managed three wholesome meals with one medium sized bird – the humble Christmas roast chicken – the gift that keeps giving 😉

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 bag of rocket leaves
  • 500 gm shredded roast chicken
  • 2 Thai red chillies chopped
  • 2 long red chillied chopped
  • 4 large closed cup mushrooms sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • Handful of fresh tarragon chopped
  • Handful of Thai basil, mint and coriander leaves chopped
  • 100 gms of peanuts roasted, skinned and pounded to a coarse powder in pestle and mortar
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

2 large portions or 4 side salads

How do I make it?

Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan and saute chopped garlic for 30 seconds.   Add the chillies and stir for another minutes before adding the chopped tarragon and sliced mushroom.   Saute over medium heat for a few minutes – sprinkle some salt and then add the shredded chicken.   Warm the chicken through for five minutes – switch of the heat and add the remaining fresh chopped herbs.   To serve, place a generous portion of the warm chicken on a bed of rocket and garnish with the ground roasted peanuts.  Enjoy.

Roast chicken and creamed corn soup with corn bread muffins

Here’s our contribution to the “What do you do with the left over roast from Christmas ?” conundrum.  On Boxing day we had made some corn muffins for a lunch get together with some dear friends.   Having used some of the creamed corn in the corn bread muffin mix we had planned to use the remainder in a soup combined with the left over roast chicken (using tarragon butter – recipe posted earlier) from Christmas lunch.   We think it is one of the better soups we have made in a while with the fresh tarragon adding incredible flavour and enhancing the overall deliciousness of the soup.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 handfuls of left over roast chicken
  • 300 gm creamed corn
  • 2 large closed cup mushrooms sliced
  •  1 Thai red chilli chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • Handful of fresh tarragon chopped
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • Dash of pepper
  • Knob of butter

How much will I make?

2 hearty bowls

How do I make it?

Heat a pan and add a knob of butter followed by the garlic.   Saute for a minute over medium heat ensuring the garlic does not brown before adding the chopped red chillies.   Saute for another minute before adding the tarragon and left over chicken.   Warm the chicken through and switch of the heat.   I a separate pan add another knob of butter to saute the mushrooms for a couple of minutes.   Pour in 400 ml of water and add the stock cubes and bring to a boil.   Add the creamed corn and chicken to the stock and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.  Pour into your soup bowl and enjoy.

 

Corn bread muffin

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup of corn meal
  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup skimmed milk
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup creamed style corn
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped spring onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped jalapenos
  • 1/2 grated cheddar cheese (substitute with your favourite cheese)
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt to taste

How many will I make?

12 medium sized muffins

How do I make it?

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.   Add the chopped spring onions, jalapenos, cheese, milk and oil – mix thoroughly before adding well beaten eggs.   Fold the eggs into the mixture and spoon into greased muffin cases and bake in pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Centigrade for 40-45 minutes till they are golden brown.  Enjoy on its own with some sweetened butter (honey mixed with softened butter) or as an accompaniment to soups.

Christmas meal 2013

Both of us want our little ones to grow up with an appreciation for Indian traditions and festivals such as Vishu, Pongal and Diwali whilst at the same time embracing Western mainstays of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We are trying to start our own special way of celebrating Christmas, including the decorating of the tree, buying of presents for dear friends and most importantly a family sit down lunch.  Our Christmas lunch menu comprised of a Gordan Ramsay inspired tarragon and red chilli butter roast chicken stuffed with a chickpea mixture (our table top oven can’t cope with a turkey!) – sides included rosemary roast potatoes, steamed and buttered Brussels sprouts (this year we used the Brussels sprouts grown in our own little vegetable patch – whilst not as big as the store bought alternative they definitely tasted a lot sweeter and better) and candied sweet potatoes (a favourite in the Southern States of the US).

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Tarragon & red chilli butter roasted Chicken

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 medium chicken washed and patted dry
  • 125 gm tarragon butter (see below)
  • Chickpea stuffing (see below)
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Tarragon butter

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  •  4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large red chilli (we used 3 small Thai red chillies for a bigger kick!)
  • Handful of chopped tarragon
  • 125 gms soft unsalted butter
  • salt to taste

Use a pestle and mortar to pound the garlic, chillies and tarragon with a pinch of salt till you get a coarse paste.   Mix the paste into the soft butter and keep aside till you are ready to prepare the chicken.

Chickpea stuffing

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  • 400 gm tin of chickpeas drained, washed and boiled till soft (shouldn’t take more than five minutes)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 Thai red chilli chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Handful of fresh coriander chopped for garnish
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan – first add the cumin seeds and saute for a minute before adding the garlic.   Saute for a minute and then add the chopped onions and red chilli.  Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes – sprinkle the ground cumin and add the drained chickpeas.   Mix together, adjust the seasoning and garnish with the fresh coriander.   Keep aside and let it cool down before stuffing the chicken with this mixture.

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Grease an oven proof baking tray and place chicken on it.   Season with salt and pepper and place chickpea stuffing in the cavity followed by the lemon – use toothpicks to seal the cavity.  Lift the skin and form a pocket before massaging the tarragon butter all over the chicken.  Massage some of the butter on top of the skin and rub some over the legs as well.  Place the tray in a pre-heated oven at 200 degree centigrade and cook for an hour or till done.  Once cooked, remove the stuffing and place in bowl as an accompaniment.  Carve the chicken and enjoy.

Candied sweet potatoes

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What do I need to make it?

  • 3 sweet potatoes – boiled, peeled and cut into 1 inch circles
  • 3/4 cup of light muscavado sugar
  • 5-6 cloves
  • Small piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat the cloves, cinnamon, sugar and butter with 1/3 cup of water and bring to a boil over a medium heat till you get a syrup that coats the back of your spoon.  Place the boiled sweet potatoes in the syrup and continue to cook for 5 minutes before transferring to an oven proof dish and placing in a 200 degree Centigrade pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes.  Serve hot.

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.

Coconut fish soup revisited

Having previously discovered the simplicity of preparing a fish soup infused with Thai flavours, tonight was an opportunity to experiment a bit further with different ingredients.   Net result was a wholesome bowl of coconut fish soup with bags of flavour.  The ingredients are predominantly Indian by nature but the soup has more of a Pan Asian feel to it because of the coconut milk and the fresh sambal.  The soup uses ‘kokum’ to provide a bit of tang to the dish – this is typically found in India and commonly used in west coastal fish dishes.   If kokum is not available in your local Indian grocer then feel free to substitute it with some tamarind pulp.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 large fillet of cod cut in half
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger cut in julienne
  • 4 medium sized mushrooms sliced
  • 75 gm of baby leaf spinach
  • 400ml tinned coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 kokum pieces chopped
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • 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)
  • 4-5 small dried red chillies (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp 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 caraway seeds, ginger and curry leaves.   Stir for a minute before adding the sliced onions, green chillies and cook for a couple of minutes.   Pour in the coconut milk with 400 ml of water and season with salt and white pepper.   Reduce the heat to low and cook for ten minutes before poaching the cod fillets in the stock till cooked through.   Remove the fillets and add the mushrooms and spinach 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.

Thai flavoured casserole

Having caught the casserole bug a couple of weeks ago we have been busy experimenting with different ethnic flavours (posted our take on Moroccan and Creole/Mexican casseroles in earlier blogs, links below).   Tonight we tried putting together Thai ingredients to create a casserole which was not as thick as previous attempts as there are no starchy ingredients but flavour and taste wise was delicious.   You need some standard Thai ingredients to ensure you maximize the flavour.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 500 gms boneless chicken thighs (6-8 pieces)
  • 1 large white onion sliced
  • 1 red pepper cut into cubes
  • 1 yellow pepper cut into cubes
  • 2 green chillies roughly chopped
  • 5-6 garlic pods
  • 1 carrot roughly chopped
  • 6-8 button mushrooms halved
  • 5-6 baby corn cut into bite size pieces
  • Handful of green beans chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 200  gms sliced bamboo shoots (small can drained)
  • 6-8 snow peas/mange tout
  • 1 stick of lemon grass bruised
  • 1 piece of galangal bruised
  • 1/2 tsp crush dried birds eye chilli
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 2 tsp Sriracha chilli paste
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Few sprigs of fresh coriander chopped to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

First marinade the chicken thighs with the Sriracha paste and a bit of salt – set aside for a few hours.   Heat your oven proof casserole dish and add 1 tbsp of coconut oil – sear the chicken pieces on both sides and remove.   Add another tablespoon of coconut oil and stir the crushed birds eye chilli for 30 seconds before adding green chilli, garlic, lemon grass, galangal and kafir lime leaves and stirring for another 30 seconds.  Add the onion and  peppers and stir for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining vegetables, stock cubes, coconut milk, chicken and about 200 ml of water.  Sprinkle a little salt and black pepper to taste and place the casserole in a pre-heated oven at 200 degree Centigrade for an hour or till the chicken is cooked through.   Garnish with fresh coriander and serve on its own or with a bowl of Jasmine rice.