10 days of fasting

Being an Indian is tougher than you would think. Bollywood movies makes it seem like we randomly bust out a dance move every times something happens… Far from reality.

The last time I danced was in 2006 and the last time I saw a group of people busting out a move was a couple of years ago at my cousins wedding, where I dodged all the aunties looking to match make.

80 percent of the time being Indian is easy…. well its easy because my mum allows me to eat anything that my heart desires as long as I don’t bring it into her house she is fine. So if its a thick juicy steak I am craving then its off to Spur we go.image

But come the main temple services which is 10 days in January and 10 days in July then I have no idea what to cook and all I want to cook is meat. In the past I used to speedily cook a tin of beans for 10 days… you can make the bean and legume supermarket range last long, I mean there is lentils, sugar beans, butter beans, bake beans, soya beans, borlotti beans, cannellini beans, double beans… that is 8 different meals for 10 days of fasting and trust me as soon as the flag comes down, know one wants to even look at a tin of beans.image

So this July fast day I decided it was time for some change with regards to the meals I was making.image

Keep watching this space for recipes such as puli curry, paneer chutney, cauliflower and pea curry, potatoe chutney, savory rice, yellow rice, pumpkin, green beans and pea curry, braised cabbage, wedding dhal, dhal with spinach, dhal with brinjals, yellow mong dhal and even an Indian veggie friendly dessert and don’t forget the salads to add an extra something to go with these dishes.

Just typing all these dishes is making me hungry and my mouth water.

What is your go to meal that you make over and over again during the fasting period?

imageI love watching the Food network channel especially The Pioneer women and Barefoot contessa.

I try to replicate a lot of the recipes I see on the shows, what is life if you don’t actually those recipes you watch?

I have been dying to try out crostini,  ever since I saw it being made on Julia and Julie, but all the recipes I have come across have been so complicated, until I saw this simple recipe on the early morning episode I happened to watch.

I of course deconstructed the recipe and then recreated it to become more Indian.image

Ingredients:

  • 250g x cream cheese, at room temperature.
  • 250g x crumbled feta cheese.
  • 2/3 x cups olive oil.
  • 1 x lemon, juiced squeezed out.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning.
  • 2 x tsp garlic and ginger paste.
  • 2 x tbsp. white wine vinegar.
  • 2 x pounds cherry tomatoes.
  • 3 x tbsp. chopped coriander.
  • 2 x tbsp. pine nuts.
  • Tabasco sauce.
  • Sliced green chillies.
  • French loaf.

Method:

  • Cut the French loaf into diagonal slices.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the top and pop into a preheated oven to bake for 5 minutes at 180 degrees till the bread is nice and crispy.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • In a blender, add the cream cheese, 1/3 x cup olive oil, the garlic and ginger, feta cheese.
  • Blender till nice and smooth and well blended.
  • Using a butter knife, spread generous amounts of the mixture onto the toasted slices.
  • In a bowl, add the quartered cherry tomatoes, the vinegar, the remaining oil olive and the lemon juice. Mix and allow to set for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully spoon the mixture onto each slice of toast.
  • Sprinkle the sliced green chillies over the top.
  • Dash some tabasco over the top.
  • Add the pine nuts.
  • Finally sprinkle chopped coriander over the top and season well.

Burritos

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I never knew such a thing existed so close to home. The first time I tried a burrito was when KFC added it to its menu.

Did I like it? NO… I was expecting it to be like a twister, but it was far from it. It was heavy and very very filling.

Then I came across a recipe in one my recipe books on how to make a burrito. I have had this particular recipe book for almost 2 years, but I keep paging past the burrito recipe as I thought it was this complicated recipe, but when I actually took the time out to read this recipe it was easier than I thought.

The only complicated thing that I found dreading was that the recipe asked to use Passata… I have never heard of it before. But when I looked up how to make passata I found that it was actually tomatoe puree… see simple, there I was stressing that I had to make passata before I could actually make the burrito, when all I had to do was open a bottle of tomatoe puree.

Ingredients:

  • 1 x tbsp. olive oil.
  • 1 x onion, finely chopped.
  • 1 x clove garlic, finely chopped.
  • 500g x lamb mince.
  • 1 x 420g tin of chopped tomatoes.
  • 4 x jalapeno chillies, sliced.
  • 1 x 420g tin borlotti beans, rinsed and drained.
  • 125ml x vegetable stock.
  • 1 x tbsp parsley, chopped.
  • 12 x store bought ready made tortillas
  • Tomatoe puree.
  • 50g x cheddar cheese, grated.
  • 3 x spring onions, chopped.
  • Salt and pepper to season.

Method;

  • Heat a pan with the oil, add the onions and garlic and saute till transparent.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the mince to the pan and cook until the mince is nice and brown and there are no more pink meat left.
  • Add the onion mixture to the mince as well as the jalapeno chillies.
  • Add the borlotti beans, the stock and parsley.
  • Mix well and season.image
  • Cover the pan and allow to cook for 20 minutes on a medium heat.
  • Remove the lid and allow to cook uncovered till all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Remove from the heat .
  • Fill your tortillas and roll up.image
  • Place side by side on a baking tray.image
  • Pour a little tomatoe puree over the top of each tortilla.image
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.
  • Pop into a pre-heated oven and bake at 180 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chopped spring onions over the top.

Spinach and feta frittatas

imageI love muffins, in all shapes and sizes, savoury and sweet, they have my name on it.

A while back I came across a spinach and feta muffin that I tried over and over again and it never came out right. It rose beautifully and then as soon as they started cool they sunk. I tried everything, from swopping out the feta cheese for cheddar cheese, adding more cheese, baking it longer, adding more flour to make a stiffer mixture but nothing seemed to work.

So when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it out. I was a bit dubious and I left the room for 20 minutes while it cooled. I was scared that it would sink just like the other batches I tried. But it seems like adding egg and taking out flour worked like a bomb .

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 x cups baby spinach, chopped.
  • 60g x feta, cubed.
  • 7 x eggs.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

  • Mix the spinach and feta cheese together in a bowl.IMG_9244
  • Line your muffin tin with paper cups.IMG_9245
  • Spoon the mixture into the paper cups. Fill cups about 2 spoons per cup. Remember as this muffin bakes it rises.
  • Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper.
  • Using a soup ladle, pour 1 ladle mixture into each cup.IMG_9246
  • If you want you can sprinkle some chia seed over the top before baking.IMG_9247
  • Pop into a preheated oven and bake at 180 degrees for 15- 20 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are nice and golden brown.

Paul Hollywood’s soda bread

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Gone are the days where homemade bread was a regular daily activity. Now the only regular bread activity in my household is to stop at the store and buy a store loaf bread, that is pre-cut into slices for me… convenience is at my fingertips.IMG_9241

I am new to the whole BBC Lifestyle shows and well the bug bite me and now that is the only channel I am watching. I just love Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood on The British Bake off masterclass.

This past week I watched the bread masterclass and I couldn’t stop writing down recipe after recipe, because Paul made bread making look so easy.

I am not that confident enough to make a baguette especially the part of creating steam in the oven.

But what I was dying to try was the soda bread, it didn’t even require any yeast and no resting time for the dough to rise. I bite my nails and send out silent prayers hoping the bread will rise correctly, but not with this loaf.

The cut with the sharp bread knife in the end just added a beautiful touch and the easy recipe made me look like a pro baker.

I of course tweaked the recipe to meet the contents of my pantry cupboard.

Ingredients:

  • 500g x cake flour.
  • 1 x tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • 1 x tsp salt.
  • 420ml x buttermilk.
  • Extra flour for dusting over the bread.

Method:

  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt together.
  • Add the buttermilk and using your hand mix the dough till it comes together nicely.
  • Gently pour out onto a floured surface and bring the dough together to form a ball. Do not knead.
  • Flatten the ball slightly with the palm of your hand.IMG_9237
  • Using a sharp bread knife cut the dough from side to side.IMG_9238
  • Dust the top with some flour.IMG_9239
  • Put the pieces next to each other very closely on a greased baking tray.
  • Pop into a pre-heated oven and bake at 180 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes on until the tops are nice and brown and crispy to the touch.

Naan Katai biscuits

imageWho doesn’t love naan katai biscuit?

I love these beauties okay I lied, sometimes I am not a huge fan, sometimes I just love to pick out the colourful almonds and eat them.image

Now in our household naan katai is only made Diwali time and I only tend to get the burnt ones or to taste test before my mum makes her trays.

But now that I can finally make them there is no stopping me, no more burnt samples, only freshly baked goodies for me.

Ingredients:

  • 200g x rama margarine
  • 1/2 x tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • 1/4 x tsp elatchi powder.
  • 3/4 x cup castor sugar.
  • 1/4 x tsp nutmeg powder.
  • 2 x cups cake flour.
  • 1/2 x tsp baking powder.
  • 3 x tbsp semolina.
  • colorful slivered almonds.

Method:

  • Cream margarine and sugar together, till light and fluffy in a bowl and set aside.image
  • In another bowl mix all the other ingredients, mix well.
  • Add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture one spoonful at a time.
  • Mix well and knead till everything is well combined.image
  • Break off small pieces and shape into balls.image
  • Place a slivered almond in the center.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 18- degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Becareful the biscuits become browner as they cool.
  • Half way through the baking time, you will have the gentle press the almonds back down into the biscuits. As they rise the almonds push up from the biscuit.

Caramel tart

I love anything with caramel in, but sometimes the store bought package is soo tiny that you can’t enjoy it.PICTURES 058

Seeing as I am learning to make delicious Sunday treats, I destructed the dessert and tried to replicate it myself.

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Ingredients:

  • 1L x caramel mousse.
  • 1 x tin Nestle caramel treat.
  • 1 x pack mini caramel swiss roll.

Method:

  • Arrange the swiss roll in a square dish, so that the entire bottom is covered.PICTURES 035.JPG
  • Pour the mousse over the swiss roll and evenly spread it, so that all the swiss roll is covered.

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  • Pour the caramel over the moussee and spread it evenly.PICTURES 038
  • Grate flake over the top, this is optional, but I think it adds a special touch to the dessert.PICTURES 040
  • Pop into the fridge to chill for 4 – 8 hours or over night.

Macaroni and cheese take 2

I love macaroni and cheese, it has never been cooked in our house, unless you talk about the ready made box meals you can buy from the super market.

It is not an Indian dish, so there was no reason for it to be made and enjoyed in the house hold and the recipes online all have eggs.

Lucky for me, I came across an eggless version and I really really wanted to try it out.

 

image

Ingredients:

  • 250g x dried macaroni.
  • 600ml x milk.
  • ½ x tsp nutmeg powder.
  • 55g x margarine plus 2 tbsp for the pasta.
  • 55g x cake flour.
  • 200g x grated cheese and extra for the topping.
  • 200g x grated parmesan cheese.
  • Salt and pepper to season.

Method:

  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil and generously add salt to the water.
  • Add the pasta and cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta and return to the pot add the 2 tbsp of margarine to the pot, cover with the lid and set aside.
  • In a saucepan mix the mix and the nutmeg and allow to get warm on a low heat… do not bring it to the boil.
  • Once warm, remove from the heat and set aside.
  • In another pot, melt the rest of the margarine over a medium heat, add the flour and stir to make a roux.image
  • Gently cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add the milk mixture a little at a time, mixing the milk into the roux mixture.
  • Cook for about 10 – 15 minutes, until the mixture resembles the consistency of custard.image
  • Add the parmesan cheese and the cheddar cheese and mix till melted in.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.
  • Grease a rectangular oven proof dish.image
  • Pour the cooked pasta into the dish and evenly spread it out.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the sauce over the pasta.
  • Evenly spread the sauce so that all the pasta is covered.image
  • Sprinkle grated cheese over the top… as much as you like.image
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to brown.

Childhood memories

What is your fondest most remembered childhood food memory?

Mine is probably the cold meat sandwiches my gran used to make for me not forgetting the delicious coffee.

To dip those sandwiches in the coffee and eat it. That was pure joy.

Back in those days, my gran had her own butcher. That butcher man used to scare me, he had a claw for a hand. In those days prosthetics were not as advanced as it is today.

That hook he would open it and close it and laugh at me while I hid under my grans table while he delivered her meat.

That cold meat never even made it to the fridge, it was made into sandwiches with mayo and lettuce straight away.

But when she passed on we stopped using that butcher and started buying cold meat from the local super market.

Those cold meat sandwiches were so delicious and so tasty, nothing can compare.

To this day, I am still trying to replicate her sandwich’s taste.

Nothing comes close I say.

I think the secret ingredient was just LOVE.

 

 

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Apple tart

june 536This dish used to be a regular Sunday dessert, that was before everyone became health conscious and before I was in charge of dessert.

There was no recipe for this that I could try out hence I never attempted it, until I came across this recipe on a cooking page on Facebook and it screamed at me… make me Bobby… make me… so what did Bobby do?

On a cold winter’s afternoon I made it, but instead of serving it with cream or ice cream, I served it with warm custard.

Ingredients:

1 x cup cake flour

1 x cup castor sugar

1 x 420g tin Koo unsweetened pie apples

2 x eggs

2 x tbsp. margarine.

1 x tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 x cup milk

Sauce:

1 x cup fresh cream

3/4 x cup castor sugar

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Whisk eggs.

Add the castor sugar and beat till all the sugar has been dissolved.

Melt the margarine and mix in the milk and set aside.

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture

Add the milk mixture in and mix well.

Pour mixture into a greased dish

Top with apple pieces

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes at 180°C or until the top is nice and golden brown.

Sauce:

Bring sauce ingredients to the boil and boil for 10 minutesjune 525

Using  a fork, poke holes in the tart so that the sauce can seep inside.

Pour the sauce over the apple tart as soon as it comes out of the oven

Serve with fresh cream or ice cream.