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.

SONY DSC   SONY DSC

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.

Advertisements

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).

SONY DSC SONY DSC

Tarragon & red chilli butter roasted Chicken

 SONY DSC SONY DSC

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

SONY DSC  SONY DSC

  •  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

SONY DSC SONY DSC

  • 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

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

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

SONY DSC SONY DSC

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.

 

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.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

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.

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.

SONY DSC  SONY DSC  SONY DSC

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.

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.

SONY DSC   SONY DSC

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.

 

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.

SONY DSC    SONY DSC SONY DSC    SONY DSC

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.