Salad therapy – roasted corn and coconut

A simple salad to pull together as an accompaniment  or a summer barbecue staple.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • 3 tbsp grated coconut
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4 as a side dish

How do I make it?

Roast the corn cobs over an open flame and then shuck them once cooled.     Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together.

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.

Chestnut flour pancakes

The love affair with chestnut flour continues and we are tinkering with different flavour combinations to our standard pancake mix (one cup chestnut flour, one cup milk, one egg and one teaspoon baking powder).  Over the last week we have made two versions, one savoury and one sweet.   For the savoury option we added a pinch of salt, one teaspoon of English mustard, some chopped spring onion, fresh coriander, 1 Thai red chilli and a handful of a blend of 4 cheeses.   The subtle taste of the mustard made it quite delightful.   For the sweet version we added one tablespoon of smooth peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of Nutella and  1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.  This was equally delightful but then again we don’t think one can go wrong with Nutella in any sweet dish!

Mustard and four cheese pancake

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Peanut butter and Nutella pancakes

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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.

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.

 

Coffee flavoured chestnut flour pancakes

Having discovered the versatility of chestnut flour as an adequate replacement for normal flour in our baking endeavoors we have been making pancakes regularly with it.  We decided yesterday to try something different and incorporate some bold coffee flavours into the batter and are pleasantly surprised with the outcome.   We think this could work brilliantly as a dessert option with scoops of vanilla or coffee ice cream or a syrup made with Kaluha.  The pancakes have also given us an idea for a  tiramusu alternative – more once we have tried it.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 cups chestnut flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp  sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 shot of espresso
  • 2-3 tbsp Kaluha (add more for a boozy dessert pancake)
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Butter to grease the pan
  • Pinch of salt

How much will I make?

8 medium sized pancakes depending on size

How do I make it?

Beat the egg and milk in a bowl and then add the chestnut flour and baking powder.  Use a whisk to beat further to ensure no lumps.   Add the remaining ingredients, whisk further and batter should coat your ladle.   Heat frying pan on medium heat and add a knob of butter some batter and cook on both sides,   Serve hot as a breakfast pancake or as a dessert with a scoop of coffee/vanilla ice cream.

Chinese egg drop soup

We have gone quiet for the last week with little to share in the way of new recipes.  Furthermore we had a little mishap with our oven which died on us – trying to replace it has been a challenge – old built in oven was 90 cm wide and 48 cm tall and over 10 years old – all newer off the shelf models are 60 cm wide and around 60 cm high – note to self avoid built in ovens if we move house!  Our interim solution is a counter top rotisserie oven which so far seems to be doing a remarkable job on the grilling front – although we haven’t tested it with any serious baking so far (we are going to make some chestnut flour chocolate chip cookies later in the week – let’s see how the oven copes!).  We digress – this evening we had  “Chinese egg drop soup” – which was extremely easy to prepare and can be whipped up in fifteen minutes or less.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 small piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 1 red chili finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • 3-4 button mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup of tinned corn (if using frozen – cook it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes)
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 tsp soya sauce
  • Dash of white pepper
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2 hearty bowls

How do I make it?

Heat pan and add oil to it.  Saute the ginger, garlic and red chili for a couple of minutes before adding the mushrooms and sweetcorn.  Sprinkle the Chinese five spice powder and saute for another couple of minutes before adding the stock cubes and 400-500 ml of water.   Simmer on low heat and once the soup comes to a boil pour in the beaten eggs and mix vigorously.   Sprinkle the white pepper, soya sauce and adjust for salt.  Bring soup to a boil and then add the spring onions – turn off heat, garnish with fresh chopped coriander.

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.