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.

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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.

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.

Salad therapy – lambs lettuce with pear and Sharon fruit

We can’t believe that neither of us had tried Sharon fruit (persimmon) till earlier this year but having done so it is now a regular feature in our fruit bowl.  Tonight we had a simple salad combining thinly sliced Sharon fruit and pear (used a mandolin slicer) topped with lambs lettuce dressed in olive oil, balsamic white vinegar, salt and pepper and finished with shavings of flavoured Gloucester cheese (onions and chives).  Hope you enjoy as much as we did.

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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.

Salad therapy – Kerala dry chicken with coconut & yogurt dressing

We had a relative visit us over the weekend and had prepared some of Anna’s mum’s dry roast chicken curry as a snack.  We had some left over and this has formed the inspiration for this salad.  The dressing is simple to make and probably could work well with any Indian grilled/baked chicken dish (ie. tandoori chicken or chicken tikka masala).   The recipe for the chicken  (Chicken Ularthiyathu) was posted in an earlier blog – link below.

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The Dressing

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 tbsp fresh grated coconut
  • 3 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander and mint
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

100-150 ml

How do I make it?

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a fine paste.   Place warmed left over chicken pieces over salad leaves of choice and drizzle the dressing over.   Enjoy.

Related Links:

Chicken Ularthiyathu –  http://wp.me/p3oBch-M

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.