Moroccan inspired casserole

What better way to celebrate our 100th blog and Anna’s birthday than with a Moroccan inspired casserole and a sweet bottle of muscat wine.  It has taken us a good seven to eight months to get to this point and we have really enjoyed sharing our culinary exploits.   Thank you for all those that have taken the time to read through, like and follow our blog.   We would love to hear from you and do share any thoughts and comments on improving some of the dishes.  So please join me and raise a glass to toast our next 100 blogs and Anna’s next … birthdays 🙂

Anna has been wanting to cook a Moroccan flavoured dish for quite some time (she has a dish in mind which we will write about in the near future) but I decided to use this as an inspiration to cook her a wonderful casserole for her birthday.

PS.  For the culinary purists – we know parsnip is not a typical vegetable in Moroccan dishes.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 500 gms boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds – toasted
  • 1 big onion sliced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 courgette cut in thick slices
  • 6 small potatoes halved
  • 1 large parsnip cut in chunks
  • 1 large carrot cut in chunks
  • 1/2 butter nut squash
  • 1 stick of celery roughly chopped
  • 1 large green pepper cut in big pieces
  • 400 gm canned chickpeas drained
  • 8-10 dried apricots
  • 4-6 green chillies
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp harissa paste
  • 2 preserved lemons sliced
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of coriander chopped for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

First marinade the chicken with 1 teaspoon of harissa paste and the toasted cumin seeds and leave for a few hours.   Heat a oven proof casserole dish and brown the chicken pieces, remove and add the olive oil.   Saute the garlic and onion for a couple of minutes before adding the green pepper, celery and green chilli.  Cook for a few minutes before adding the remaining vegetables, chickpeas, ground cumin, harissa paste, apricots, preserved lemons, stock cubes, honey and around 500 ml of water.   Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.  Cover the dish and cook in a pre-heated oven at 190 degree Centigrade for an hour till the chicken is cooked.   Garnish with some fresh chopped coriander and enjoy.

Parsley chutney

In the South of India you get two different varieties of chutneys – either one with fresh ground ingredients or the cooked type.   We tried using parsley as the core ingredient for a cooked chutney and were pleasantly surprised with the outcome.   The taste is slightly unusual at first as parsley is not a native Indian herb but after the first few mouthfuls your taste buds get used to it and it is quite enjoyable.

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What do I need to make it?

  • Large bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped with stalks
  • 3 tbsp split urad dahl
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • Piece of asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

A cereal bowl full

How do I make it?

First heat a tablespoon of oil and temper the urad dahl, red chilli and asafoetida till the dahl changes to a golden brown colour.  Cool and dry grind the ingredients to a powder.   Heat a pan and add a tablespoon of oil and then add the chopped parsley and cook for five to ten minutes till the parsley has wilted and cooked.   Transfer the cooked parsley into a blender and add the tamarind paste and a bit of salt and blend to a paste.   Place paste in a bowl and then add the powdered ingredients till it is full incorporated into the paste.   Enjoy with plain boiled rice or as a spread on toast.

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 penne with lamb meatballs

We tried making meatballs for the first time without the obligatory bread crumbs since going on our gluten free journey.  It turned out pretty good as we substituted the breadcrumbs with chestnut flour to act as the binding agent.   The meatballs maintained shape through the cooking process and tasted great.

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What do I need to make it?

Meatballs

  • 200 gms lean minced lamb
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp crush red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 2 tsp chestnut flour
  • Handful of fresh parsley chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tomato sauce

  • 400 gm tinned plum tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 small green chillies chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2-3

How do I make it?

Place all the meatball ingredients in a bowl and knead together.   Roll the meat mixture into small balls (should get around 20) and refrigerate for an hour.   Heat a pan with some olive oil and brown the meatballs off before placing them in a 200 degree Centigrade pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes or till the meat is done.

For the sauce, heat a pan, add the olive oil followed by the garlic and bay leaves.   Stir for 30 seconds before adding the onions and green chilli.   Sweat the onions for 5-8 minutes before adding the dry and fresh oregano.   Pour in the plum tomatoes (if whole crush or chop them first) with a cup of water and simmer over gentle heat for 20 minutes.   Add the sugar and adjust the seasoning.   Once the tomatoes have cooked through, add the meatballs and garnish the dish with fresh basil and parsley.   Pour over your favourite pasta and enjoy.

Spicy mutton with coconut

A favourite dish with many a Keralite, this dish makes a great starter for dinner parties.   The dish is simple to make with many variations but the recipe below is one handed down to us from Anna’s mum and it hasn’t failed us so far.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 500 gms mutton cubed (can substitute with lamb/beef )
  • 1 large red onion sliced
  • 4-6 green chillies
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • 2 inch piece of fresh coconut cut into slivers
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil

For the paste

  • 1 large cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 6-8 cloves of  garlic
  • 2 inch piece of ginger skinned
  • Handful fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tbsp dhania (ground coriander) powder
  • Salt to taste

 

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Grind all the paste ingredients in a blender till you get a coarse paste (add a bit of water if needed).   Wash the mutton and pat dry before mixing in the paste ingredients.   Add salt to taste and allow the meat to marinade for a couple of hours (the longer the better).   Place the marinated meat in a pressure cooker and cook for 30 minutes or till the meat is cooked.   Once the pressure cooker is switched off and if you notice liquid build up then place the meat on the stove till all the liquid has evaporated.   Heat a large pan and add the coconut oil, then add the curry leaves and green chillies  and stir for a minute before adding the sliced onions.   Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes before adding the cooked mutton and coconut.   Keep tossing over medium heat till the meat begins to brown a bit.   Take off the heat and serve with a nice ice cold pint of lager or beverage of choice.

 

Gluten free spaghetti without sauce

Ever get tired of eating pasta or spaghetti with a tomato or cream based sauce – here’s an alternative which I personally love as it is simple to make and tastes great.

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What do I need to make it?

  • Handful of gluten free spaghetti cooked and drained
  • 1/2 courgette halved and sliced
  • 1 stick of celery chopped into bite size pieces
  • 4-5 button mushrooms quartered
  • 2 green chillies
  • Small onion/shallot sliced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

1 large serving

How do I make it?

Heat a heavy bottom pan and add olive oil and garlic – saute for a couple of minutes.   Add the sliced onions, chopped green chilli and celery and cook for 5 minutes till the onions go translucent.   Add the remaining vegetables and cook for 4-5 minutes.   Season with dried Italian herb, salt and pepper.   Add the cooked spaghetti and give it a good toss.   Finish with garnish of fresh chopped parsley, Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Aloo matar subji (Potato & peas in a spicy gravy)

Lunch today comprised of my take on an Indian classic, aloo matar subji with some gluten free rotis (recipe posted earlier with a couple of tweaks – added an egg and some caraway seeds this time).   There are a few vegetable combinations with potato that work really well and peas is one of them.   I picked up some fresh peas from the supermarket last week and did not want to see them go to waste and so I shelled them and kept them in the fridge with a view to using them today.  I can’t wait to make this again for Anna when she’s back – I think she will love it.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 4-5 medium potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup of fresh peas
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 3 green chillies
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1″ piece of ginger (skin off)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (mango powder)
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) optional
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves chopped for garnish
  • 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

 

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Par boil the potatoes and peas and keep aside.   Use a pestle and mortar to make a paste of the ginger, garlic, green chillies and black peppercorns.   Heat a heavy bottom pan and add ghee and cumin seeds with a pinch of asafoetida .  Stir for a minute before adding the paste – stir for another couple of minutes, add the chopped onions and cook for 5-8 minutes till the onions start to turn brown.   Add the turmeric, red chilli and coriander powder with a dash of salt.  Give it a good mix before adding the tomatoes.   Cook over medium heat till the fat leaves the masala.  Add the potatoes and peas with a cup of water.   Cover with a lid and cook on low flame for 10 minutes till the vegetables are cooked.   Add the amchoor and fenugreek at this stage  (if you can’t find amchoor then use juice of half a lime), adjust the seasoning and mix well.  Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with your favourite Indian bread or rice.