Curried roasted parsnips

Ever had that situation when you find a vegetable in the fridge and don’t feel like preparing it as you normally do but want something more exciting.   Last night was one of those nights we had parsnips in the fridge and wanted to try something different.   The dish tasted good and will probably feature as an accompaniment with our next roast dinner.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 5 parsnips peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 sticks of rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mango powder (adds a bit of tang to this dish)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Simple – place cut parsnips, minced garlic  and rosemary (pull leaves of the stalk) in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the curry powder and dry mango powder with a bit of salt.   Drizzle olive oil, mix and transfer into an oven proof dish.   Bake in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees for 25-30 minutes till the parsnips are cooked through.

Savoury chestnut flour pancakes

We have been having sweet pancakes with chestnut flour as a base and Anna has been challenging me to come up with a savoury alternative.  We had some delicious savoury pancakes for breakfast this morning and it’s worth trying if you are tired of sweet pancakes.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup chestnut flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 small green  chillies chopped
  • 1 small shallot finely chopped
  • Handful grated Cheddar cheese
  • Handful grated Red Leicester cheese
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Butter to cook
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How many will I make?

6-8 depending on size

How do I make it?

Use a whisk to mix the flour, egg and milk.   Once blended add the onions, chopped chilli and cheeses with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Heat a frying pan and add a knob of butter, pour in a ladle of batter and cook on both sides to a nice golden brown colour.   Enjoy on its own – we want to try it with some chilli jam or Thai sweet chilli sauce next time.

 

Gluten free Chinese noodle soup

In a hurry, here’s a recipe for a hearty Chinese noodle soup which is very warming/satisfying and helps endure the sudden change in weather.   We have gone from warm low twenties one week to low teens the following week – I guess that’s English weather for you.  With the barbecue going into hibernation it’s time to get the creative juices flowing with some new recipes for soups, casseroles and stews starting with this one.  Hope you enjoy it as much as Anna and I did.

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What do I need to make it?

  • Handful brown rice soba noodles boiled with a pinch of salt and drained
  • 1 closed cup mushroom sliced
  • 1 chestnut mushroom sliced
  • 2 baby corn chopped
  • 4 mangetout
  • 1/4 carrot finely chopped
  • 1/4 celery stick finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of spring onion chopped
  • Small clove of garlic chopped
  • 1 gluten free chicken stock cube
  • 1 tbsp Shaohsing wine
  • 1 tsp Tamari soya sauce (gluten free)
  • 1 tsp Sriracha chilli sauce
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red chilli oil
  • 1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • Handful chopped coriander to garnish
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

1 hearty serving

How do I make it?

Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped garlic.  Stir for a minute before adding the carrot and celery.    Stir for another couple of minutes before adding remaining vegetables (except the spring onion and coriander).   Sprinkle the 5 spice powder and pour in 500 ml of boiling water.   Add the stock cube, sauces and seasoning and simmer over a low flame for 5 minutes.   Toss the spring onion in and switch off the heat.    Place cooked noodles in a large bowl and pour the soup over it.   Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and enjoy.

Salad therapy – rocket, apple and cheese

Our local TESCO supermarket had some amazing regional cheeses on offer and the salad we had the other night featured a cheddar and garlic/mixed herb soft cheese whirl.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 bag of rocket leaves
  • 1/2 gala apple cored and sliced
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 3 tbsp red pickled jalapenos
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/4 large cucumber de-seeded and chopped
  • 100 gms of cheese whirl cubed
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp apple balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2 main portions or 4 side salads

How do I make it?

Place all ingredients in a large salad bowl.   Sprinkle the salt  and pepper before before drizzling the olive oil and apple cider balsamic vinegar.   Toss gently with your hands and portion into serving bowls.  Enjoy.

Salad therapy – Mediterranean flavours

Had a lovely salad tonight using the last of our garden cherry tomatoes and an Apache chillie in the vinaigrette.   The vinaigrette was a bit of an experiment but I think the flavours work really well together.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 bag of mixed salad leaves
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 baby cucumber deseeded and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 100 gms of feta cheese cubed

For the vinaigrette

  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 green chillie de-seeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp of capers chopped
  • Lemon rind and juice of half the lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • Handful pomegranate seeds
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2 big portions or 4 side salads

How do I make it?

Prepare the vinaigrette by add the oil to the chopped ingredients and then whisking in the lemon juice.  Place the salad ingredients in a large bowl and dress the salad with the vinaigrette.   Transfer into salad bowls and enjoy.

Ragi (red millet) uthappam

Following yesterday’s post I decided to try Anna’s recipe for ragi uthappam.   I must admit my preconceived notions on ragi (based on childhood years in Bangalore) have not done this flour justice.  It is quite filling and based on the two dishes I have made so far appears to be fairly versatile.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup ragi flour (red millet)
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 2 small shallots
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 medium tomato
  • Handful of fresh coriander chopped
  • Salt to taste

How many will I make?

Depending on size around 4

How do I make it?

Chop all the vegetable into fine pieces.   Mix the ragi with 1 cup of water till you get a medium consistency batter.   Add the chopped vegetables and season to taste.   Heat a frying pan or dosai pan if you have one and spoon a ladle of the mixture, drizzle some oil around the uthappam.   Cover with a lid and cook for a couple of minutes before turning over and cooking on the other side.  Enjoy on its own or with a chutney/sambar of your choice.

Gluten free chestnut flour pancakes

We are loving the discovery of chestnut flour (singoda) which we probably never would have used had we not started experimenting with gluten free flour options.  We are still trying to perfect the sweet potato/chestnut flour “churros” but tried using the flour today to make some delicious pancakes – they are not as fluffy as traditional pancakes but taste divine.   So for all those who want a gluten free breakfast option this recipe is for you.  Enjoy!

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup chestnut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp fruit sugar (sweeter than normal sugar)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (we used 1/4 tsp vanilla paste)
  • Butter to grease the pan
  • Pinch of salt

How much will I make?

6-8 medium sized pancakes

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 butte,r some batter and cook on both sides,   Serve hot with topping of your choice – we had three different toppings today – icing sugar, Greek honey and Agave nectar (amazing alternative to sugar – natural and tasty).

Gluten free churos (work in progress)

Building on the success of the chocolate cake we got our creative juices going to make a dessert with some chestnut flour we had picked up recently.   We are calling it gluten free churos as this is closest thing it resembles but still needs a bit of work to get the texture just right.   We are pretty happy with our first attempt and thought we would share this with you in the hope that you can input your ideas on improving and perfecting it.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup of chestnut flour
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and boiled with a few cloves and a black cardamom pod and then mashed
  • 2 tsp fruit sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • Oil to fry

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Mix all the ingredients in bowl and knead together to form a soft dough.   Heat oil in a frying pan and fry long strips till done.   The end result is a crispy exterior with a semi chewy interior.  We used a traditional South Indian muruku press to place the dough into the oil – works a treat.

Salad therapy – Artichoke revisited

After a late lunch today both of us did not feel like having a big meal for dinner and settled on a salad.  Next year when artichokes are back  in season we are going to make it a point to cook them fresh but till then the simpler tinned route will have to suffice.  This evening’s salad was a blend of artichokes, cherry tomatoes from the garden, Greek salad cheese and large chili stuffed olives dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and some fresh mint and basil from the herb patch (traditional artichoke salad uses chopped parsley but the combination of basil and mint works really well).   A dash of salt and pepper to taste and dinner was ready.

Artichoke Salad

Mexican night

In the legendary words of Hannibal Smith “I love it when a plan comes together”.  Dinner tonight was inspired by Mexican flavours and the discovery of an amazing marinade for our chicken and fish barbecues.  Anna had some left over pickled chipotle peppers in the fridge and I decided to try it out in a marinade for some cod fillets.  The corn salad that accompanied the fish was an experiment to avoid wasting some unripened heritage tomatoes that fell off the vine when moving pots.  End result is one kick ass marinade (literally not for the faint hearted – I didn’t realise chipotle peppers packed that much of a punch) and a fresh corn salad with green tomato salsa as the dressing.  What made making the salsa most enjoyable was having our little son in tow in the kitchen with his plastic knife (courtesy of his Dubai aunt).  He wanted to help out and I must say he makes one helluva sous chef.

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Chipotle Fish

What do I need to make it?

  • 4 cod fillets (tends to take on different flavours well)
  • 5-6 pickled chipotle peppers
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced finely
  • 1 tbsp Manuka honey
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • Handful chopped coriander
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it.?

Place peppers in a blender and puree to a fine paste.  Then add the remaining ingredients and give it a good stir.   Clean and pat dry the fish fillets and coat both sides with the marinade and refrigerate for a couple of hours.   Take the fish out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature before baking in a pre-heated 200 degree Centigrade oven for 20-25 minutes (the last five minutes switch the oven to grill to char the top of the fish).  Serve with fresh tomato salsa and corn salad.

Corn salad

What do I need to make it?

  • 3 ears of fresh corn – roast on open flame
  • 3 small heritage tomatoes finely chopped
  • 2 small shallots finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 Apache green chillies (use jalapenos or any other fiery green variety) – picke fresh from our garden
  • Juice of a lime
  • Handful of chopped coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

First roast the corn, then shuck it and keep aside.   Mix all the salsa ingredients in a bowl and then add the corn to the mix.