Broad Bean Curry

Healthy and nutritious broad beans cooked with a blend of spices in a garlicky curry sauce.

Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking Time - 20 Minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients

8oz fresh or frozen broad beans
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tomatoes deseeded and pureed
1 teaspoon tomato puree
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ tablespoon fresh chopped coriander
1/2 cup water

Method

1. Steam the broad beans in a steamer or alternatively place in a microwaveable bowl with a little water and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender.
2. Heat the oil in a pan, when hot add the mustard seeds and cook until they start popping. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds. (Do not burn the garlic)
3. Add the pureed tomatoes and tomato paste.
4. Add the salt, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin and coriander powders and sauté the tomato spice mixture for about 5 minutes until oil starts to separate from the sauce.
5. Remove the beans from the microwave and add to the sauce.
6. Add half cup water and simmer for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens.
7. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with chopped coriander.

Serve with hot chapattis.

Instant Mango Pickle

A “crescendo” of mangoes takes place every year in India between the months of March and July. They roll into the markets in small numbers at the start of the season, being quite expensive. By the time the harvest peaks they are all over the place, playfully cheap and ready to be squeezed and used in kitchens all over the country.

Right now, this mango frenzy is in full swing, not only in India, but in the United Kingdom, too! We Indians have indeed become very fond of a fruit that is absent for a long time of the year. Outside the season many must console themselves with their mother’s homemade mango pickles. As soon as the mango season arrives women all over India start picking mangoes. I remember my mother was one of them. Many homes make signature pickles that have been passed on through generations of women.

This recipe of a mango pickle, is one that my mother used to make at the beginning of the mango season. A great thing about this pickle is that you can consume it as soon as it has been made. Also not much heat from the sun is required for it to be prepared here in the United Kingdom, where the sun plays hide and seek with us all the time. This pickle is ideal to be made and consumed in a short amount time. Small portions can be made on the stove and served freshly. Ideally, most type of pickles are made in the blazing sun where the fruit and vegetables required for the pickles are dried. Such pickles have a longer shelf life.

You will need:

  • 1 cup raw mango (green) peeled and cubed
  • 1 tsp panch phoran (optional, if you want just use 1/2 tsp each fennel seeds and nigella seeds)
  • 3-4 tsp dhana jeera powder (dry coriander and cumin seeds powder)
  • 11/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/3 cup jaggary (can use sugar)
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp oil

Method:

Boil water in a pan, add mango pieces and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Drain the water but keep it aside. Heat oil in a non stick pan, add the panch phoran or fennel and nigella seeds. As soon as they pop add boiled mango cubes and sauté them for 1-2 minutes. Add all the powder, jaggary or sugar with salt. Add 1-2 tbsp of water. Stir and simmer till the jeggary or sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture cool completely.

You can store the pickle at room temperature for up to 2-3 days and in the fridge for up to 5-6 days.

Ideally, serve with puri, paratha or sandwiches.

Carrot & Coriander Soup

My New Year’s resolution this year is to have more leisure time for myself and therefore,  I am hoping that most of the food I cook will be quick and easy to make without losing any of the taste.   Here’s my first quick and easy dish for this year.

It’s winter time in UK so it’s nice to be able to cook something warm and tasty that everyone can enjoy.   This dish is lovely to have on it’s own as a lunchtime snack or can even be served as a starter with some lovely garlic rolls – a recipe I hope to post for you next week.

Ingredients for 4 Servings:
Cooking time 30 minutes

2 tablespoons of melted butter
5-6 medium sized carrots
1 mediumonion
3-4 cloves of Garlic
1 litre of vegetable stock ( I used a Knorr cube)
3 tablespoons of rice ( I used American easy to cook rice)
Small bunch of fresh coriander
2-3 tablespoons of cream or fresh yogurt (I used Yogurt)

 

Method

1. Wash and soak the rice in cold water whilst you prepare the vegetables.

2. Wash and peel the carrots and chop or grate them.

3. Chop or grate the onions and garlic too.

4. Melt butter and add the garlic to it. (I love the smell of butter and garlic cooking!!)

5. Add the carrots, onions, coriander and stir.

6. Add boiling water to the vegetable stock and add to the carrots.

7. Drain and add the rice.

8. Cover and cook for 20 minutes on a medium heat.

9. The soup should now be cooked. Add the fresh coriander.

10. Using a food processor, blend the soup. As this soup has cooked rice, it makes the soup rich and creamy.

11. If the soup feels too thick, you can add half a cup boiling water.

12. Just before serving, you can add cream, yogurt or butter if you like. I added some fresh yogurt and it tasted great.

13. The carrots I had were bought from the local farmer’s market and were really sweet and juicy so did not need much garnishing. However, you can add salt and pepper or even chilly flakes to the soup depending on your preference.

Garlic Rolls with Sesame and Coriander

I had these rolls at a friends place and couldn’t resist asking her for the recipe. I followed her recipe mostly but as my aim this year is to have  more leisure time – I used a store bought bread mix with yeast to save time.  Hope that you will try out my version and let me know how the rolls turned out.   Try out these rolls instead of plain rolls next time you have soup.

Ingredients for 8 Rolls:
Cooking time 20 minutes but requires preparation.

500 grams ready mixed bread flour ( Easily available at all supermarkets)
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
350 mls of warm water
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

For the Garlic butter:

50 grams of butter
3-4 cloves of finely grated garlic
a small bunch of fresh coriander

Method:

1.  Add a tablespoon of Olive oil to the Bread mix with 350 mls of warm water.

2. Knead until you get a smooth dough.

(Please follow the recipe on the bread mix packet)

3. Transfer the dough into a clean dish and cover with a dish cloth. Allow it to rise for 40-45 minutes. The dough will double its initial size.

4. Whilst the dough is rising make the garlic spread : Mix the butter and the finely grated garlic to it. Add some coriander to the mixture and keep it at room temperature.

5. After 45 minutes, mix the bread dough so that the air is knocked out.

6. Divide the dough into 2 portions.

7. Roll out the first portion dough into a square of about half inch thick.

8.  Spread the garlic spread on the rolled out dough.

9.   Roll in the rectangle dough to form a cylinder shape (Similar to a swiss roll).

10. Divide the roll into two equal parts.

11. Now divide the 2 halves into 2 again giving you four pieces.

12. Place the rolls with the cut side up in the greased cake tin.

13. Repeat the same procedure for the remaining dough. Or you can add sesame seeds to make a different variety. Sometimes – I have also added jalapeños or sun dried tomatoes at this stage to give the bread an interesting taste.

 

14. Apply any remaining garlic butter to the rolls and sprinkle some sesame seeds .

15. Cover the rolls for a further 20 minutes. The rolls will raise again.

16. Cook the rolls at a temperature of 180 degrees C.

17. Bake the rolls for 20 – 25 minutes.

18 . The aroma of garlic bread will fill your kitchen and I promise you that you will fall in love with the rolls.

19. These rolls taste great on their own or with hot soup.

Caramel Fudge

Delectable pieces of melt-in-the-mouth soft brown fudge topped with flaked almonds.

Ingredients:

240 ml  / 8 oz Caramel Condensed milk

300 g  / 10 oz Milk Powder

Flaked almonds

Butter to grease the pan

Method:

1. In a large microwaveable dish add the caramel condensed milk and the milk powder.

2. Mix the ingredients and microwave on high for 6 minutes, stirring the mixture every 2 minutes.

3. Remove from microwave and leave to cool slightly. The fudge will start to harden slightly.

4. Once it is cool enough to handle, grease a shallow dish and transfer the fudge to it, smooth it out using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the fudge with the almond flakes and leave to cool.

5. Once it is cool and fudge has set cut into desired shapes .

 

Baby Potatoes with Oat Stuffed Aubergine

I am a great fan of aubergines, and in whatever way they are prepared, I am in heaven. My husband and son love them too. I cook and stuff aubergins with diffrent versions of masalas. So every time I prepare them, and I take photographs as I normally do, but for some reason I have not yet posted recipes with stuffed aubergines before. Hence, my daughter forced me to write this article and asked me to publish it as soon as possible. And interestingly, although she get hiccups when hearing the word aubergine she had a whole stuffed eggplant herself! Thus we kept this recipe on our menu and believe me, you won’t be disappointed after trying this:

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 baby potatoes – cut into 2 pieces (you can use normal potatoes, too)
  • 4-5 baby aubergines
  • 3-4 medium onions chopped
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2-3 green chillies finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup plum tomatoes chopped (you can use fresh plum tomatoes, too)
  • 1 tbsp panch pohran
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 /2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3-4 tsp oil

Oat Massala:

  • 3-4 tsp porridge oats
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp each garam masala, tumeric powder, red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp coriander and cumin seeds powder

Mix everything and keep it aside.

Method:

Wash the baby potatoes and prick them with a fork or knife. Wash the aubergines and slice them half way, stopping at the stem. Make another cut in the same way on the other side. Stuff them with oat massala and put them aside. Add the remaining massala .

In a heavy bottom pan heat the oil, add the chopped onions and panch pohran. Fry the onions until they are light golden. Now add ginger-garlic paste and green chillies. Cook for 2-3 minutes, add salt, plum tomatoes and all the massala powder and let it cook on a low heat until oil comes out.

Add  potatoes with oat massala and mix very well. Keep the heat very low. Cover the pan and cook the potatoes until they are half cooked. Check whether they are cooked by piercing with a small knife. Now add stuffed aubergins and mix very gently, cover the pan again and let it cook for about 12-15 minutes.

If the massala gets too dry add some water and cook on a very low heat. Occasionally turn the massala and keep mixing all the massala with vegetables. Cook util potatoes and aubergines are tender and cooked completely. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve hot with paratha, Naan or Roti.

Eggless Banana Muffins

Moist eggless banana muffins with a hint of spice and a surprisingly crunchy nutty crumble topping.

Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time -25 minutes
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

For muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Brazil nuts (can use any nut of choice)
2 tablespoons apple sauce (or 1 egg)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas mashed
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For Topping:

2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Brazil nuts
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
25 grams butter chilled

Method:

For muffin batter:

1. Preheat oven to 175C (350 degrees) and line the muffin pan with cases.
2. Mix sugar, salt, oil and apple sauce until well blended. Add mashed banana and chopped nuts. Mix well.
3. Sieve the flour with the bicarbonate of soda 2 times.
4. Gently fold in the wet ingredients into the dry with a metal spoon, Do not over mix.
5. Spoon batter into muffin cases about 3/4 full.

For crumble topping:

6. In a separate bowl add the flour and butter from topping ingredients. Gently using tips of your finger rub the butter into the flour to form a breadcrumb type mixture.
7. Gently stir in the sugar, cinnamon and nuts.
8. Sprinkle this crumble topping over the muffins and bake in oven for approx 25 minutes. Muffins are ready when a skewer inserted in them comes out clean.
9. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Spicy Coriander & Mango Chutney

A lot of Indian restaurants and take away places serve complimentary green chutney which is usually eaten as a dip with pakora, samosa, kachoris etc. Having worked in a restaurant and knowing the secrets of some their cooking, I never eat these chutneys as I am never too sure how fresh they would be.

My mum used to make this chutney fresh every single day by mixing all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle. This used to make the chutney full of lovely fresh-tasting flavours. The chutney used to have a lovely coarse texture too.

With the invention of the food processor and blenders, these chutneys are very easy to make but they look more like a dip or sauce.

Ingredients:

Preparation Time – 20 minutes

5 small cloves of peeled garlic
1-2 small piece of washed and scrapped fresh root ginger
1 dozen fresh chopped green chillies
1 small raw chopped mango
1 tablespoon salt
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 bunch of coriander washed and chopped roughly

 

Method:

1. Put the ginger, garlic, raw mangoes, chillies and fresh coriander in a food processor.

2. Add the lemon juice, salt and a quarter cup of cold water.

3. Blend everything using a slow speed for a couple of minutes.

4. The mixture doesn’t require any more water as long as you blend everything slowly. The salt and lemon juice will help produce the moisture required to blend all the ingredients.

5. Once you get the mixture very fine, the chutney is ready to serve. To make a dip or spread, you can transfer this mixture to a blender and give it a couple of swirls .

6. Save the chutney/dip in an airtight container in the fridge. Use a glass or a plastic container as the lemon juice may react with metal. This mixture will be fine for a week.

Additional Tips:

Tip 1 – The combination and amounts of ingredients used in the chutney can be varied to suit your taste.  You can even substitute coriander for fresh mint or use both if you like.

Tip 2 – As all the ingredients in this recipe are fresh, you can use this mixture to flavour your curries too.

Tip 3 - You can transfer the mixture to an ice cube tray and freeze it. Remove the frozen cubes the next day and save them in a zip lock bag in the freezer.  Again you can add a cube to flavour your curries and dalls.

Potato & Mixed Vegetable Curry

Mina Joshi brings you Taste of India – the new indian cookery series for City Connect. Try Mina’s recipe for this yummy vegetarian curry and fall in love with the Taste of India.

I am always telling friends how quick and easy it is to make tasty curries at home. Most of my recipes are easy to follow and cook, using ingredients available in most supermarkets. This potato and mixed vegetable curry is a perfect dish to serve with rice and naan bread. The mixed vegetables make it a healthy curry choice for lunch or dinner.

POTATO AND MIXED VEGETABLE CURRY

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients for 4 servings

1 teaspoon cumin seeds or mustard seeds
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of chilli powder
½ teaspoon of turmeric
½ teaspoon of a mixture of cumin and coriander powder
2-3 cloves of crushed garlic
2 tablespoons of sunflower cooking oil
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (optional)
1 tablespoon of brown sugar (optional)
2 medium sized boiled potatoes
3 cups of any frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup of passata ( or crushed tinned tomatoes)
Small bunch of coriander (for garnishing)
2-3 green chillies (optional)

Method:

1. Soak your frozen vegetables in hot water and once they soften, chop them into smaller pieces.

2. Heat the oil in saucepan and add the cumin and mustard seeds to the oil.

3. The mustard will pop when the oil gets hot and the cumin will start to get darker. This means that the oil is ready.

4. Rinse the frozen vegetables and add them to the heated oil.

5. Add the salt, turmeric, chilly powder, crushed garlic and cumin coriander to the mixture and stir well so that all the vegetables get coated with the spices.

6. Cook this for a minute and add the passata to this mixture with one cup of hot water.

7. Allow this to simmer gently for 6-7 minutes.

8. Chop the boiled potato into small cubes and add it to the mixed vegetables.

9. Stir well and allow to cook for 5 minutes.

10. Add the lemon juice and brown sugar if you like a sweet and sour taste.

11. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with green chillies or coriander.

12. Serve hot with Basmati rice.

Tip: You can add chicken (or Quorn chicken style pieces for vegetarians) to make a more substantial curry when entertaining friends.

You can also use fresh vegetables if you like but the cooking time will be a bit longer if using fresh vegetables.

If the curry gravy looks runny, you can add a teaspoon of cornflour to thicken it.

Images courtesy of Mina Joshi

Chocolate Coins

These simple and delectable little chocolate coins are simple and easy to prepare and make wonderful Easter treats.

Ingredients:

8 oz / 220 grams White chocolate

8 oz / 220 grams Milk chocolate

Edible coloured sugar or sprinkles to decorate.

Method:

1.Break up each type of chocolate into small pieces and place it in two separate bowls that are  microwave safe.

2. Melt the milk chocolate first once it has melted  drop spoonfuls of it onto an acetate sheet that is placed on a baking tray.Spread the chocolate with the back of a spoon to form round circles about 5 mm thick and 2 inches in diameter.

3. Sprinkle coloured sugar or sprinkles of choice on the chocolate circles and place the tray in the fridge to set.

4. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave and follow the same method as for the milk chocolate.

5. Place it in the fridge to set.

After 2 hours gently peel off the acetate sheets and remove the chocolate coins. You can place these in a cellophane bag and tie the top with ribbon to make Easter presents.

 

 

Touarits – Tunisian Stuffed Semolina Bread

Crispy Tunisian style stuffed semolina bread with a spicy vegetarian harissa filling.

Preparation time 30 minutes
Dough Resting time 1.5 hours
Cooking time -25 minutes
Makes 5

Ingredients:

240 g / 8 oz fine semolina

1 teaspoon fast acting yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 -1 cup warm water( use as much as required)

1 tablespoon plain flour for kneading and dusting.

Filling:

1 medium carrot finely shredded

1 red onion finely chopped

1/4 red capsicum finely diced

1/4 yellow capsicum finely diced

2 medium tomatoes de seeded and finely diced

1 tablespoon harissa paste – Tunisian chilli paste( add more or less to taste)

1/4 teaspoon  cayenne pepper

1/3 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

Method:

1. In a large bowl add the semolina, salt, sugar and yeast and stir together.

2. Add the oil and add a little water at a time until you have a soft pliable dough.

3. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, cover and place inside the bowl.Cover and leave in a warm place to prove for 1 hour.

4.To make the filling , heat oil in  pan and sauté the onions in it, once the onions soften slightly add the capsicums and grated carrot and sauté for about 5 minutes until both carrots and capsicums are cooked.

5. Add the diced tomatoes, salt, cayenne pepper and the harissa paste and sauté for 3-4 minutes until the filling is thick and almost dry.

6. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

7.On a floured surface knock the air out of the dough and knead for 3-4 minutes, divide the dough into 10 parts and keep aside.

8. On a floured surface pat out two of the dough balls to form 3 inch circles.

9. Take a generous spoonful of the filling and place it in the centre of one of the dough discs.

10. Cover this with the second dough disc and using your thumb press the edges down to seal them.

11. Take a fork and make indentations around the edge to further seal the edges and make a pattern. Repeat for remaining parts of dough.

12. Place the bread rolls onto an oiled baking tray and cover with a cloth. Leave aside for 20 minutes.

13. Preheat an oven to 180 degrees C/ 375  degrees F. Bake the Touarits for about 25-30 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

14. Remove from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Serve with soup

Watermelon Pops

 

 

Refreshing and delicious water melon pops that make perfect summer coolers.

Ingredients:

1/2 watermelon
2 tablespoons icing sugar

Method:

1. Cut the water melon into pieces and remove all the seeds.
2. Place the water melon pieces into a blender jug and add the icing sugar.
3. Blend the water melon to form a smooth pulp.
4. Pour the watermelon pulp into small glasses and push into the centre of each glass a lolly stick.
5. Freeze the pops for 5-6 hours.
6. To serve the pops, remove the pops from the freezer and dip the glass into some warm water, the heat from the warm water will release the pop.

Eat immediately.

 

Yoghurt, Coconut and Green Chilli Chutney

Over the last few months, you will have seen my recipes for green chutney/dip and tomato chutney.  Both these chutneys are perfect to serve with potato bhajias, onion bhajias, pokoras etc.  This yoghurt, chilli and coconut chutney/dip is also perfect for serving with any Indian starter.  The sweet and sour yoghurt with the hot chillies helps give a real kick to any Indian dish without much effort.

Ingredients

1 cup Greek style yoghurt
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
¼ teaspoon salt
Grated fresh coconut for garnishing (optional)
2 green chilles for garnishing
2 teaspoon of my green chutney (recipe here)

Method:

1. Mix the yoghurt with a fork.

2. Add the green chutney, dessicated coconut and salt and mix.

3. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish it with chopped green chillies and freshly grated coconut.

Left over chutney/dip should be stored in the fridge and eaten within a couple of days.

Pizza Bites

Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 20 minutes
Makes about 40 small pizza bites

Ingredients:

2 sheets of ready rolled puff pastry
2 tablespoon sun dried tomato paste
2 tablespoons tomato puree
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
200 grams grated mature cheddar

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
2. Oil two baking trays and keep aside.
3. In a bowl add the tomato puree, sun dried tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt and chilli flakes and mix well.
4. Open out the ready rolled puff pastry sheets and spread  the tomato filling evenly over both sheets leaving approximate 1 cm rim at one end.
5. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the tomato spread.
6. Using a pastry brush wet the 1cm rim end.
7. From the opposite end tightly roll the pasty to encase the cheese like a roulade.
8. Press down firmly to seal the wet edge.
9. Cut 1cm thick slices of the pastry roll and place the cut slices onto prepared oiled baking tray. (Cover  with cling film and freeze for later use at this stage).
10. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until pizza bites are crisp and golden brown.
11. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to serving plate.

Serve with tomato ketchup or chilli dip.

Cherry Ice Cream

Delicious creamy and smooth ice cream with succulent pieces of cherry. A subtle hint of vanilla compliments the sweet cherries making this ice cream not only a visual treat but a gastronomical treat to the palate too.

Preparation time – 20 minutes
Cooking Time – 10 minutes
Freezing  Time – 9 hours
Serves 4

Ingredients:

480 grams black ripe cherries
2 oz sugar
60 ml water
240 ml double cream
387 grams sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:

1. Stone the cherries and place in a heavy bottom saucepan.
2. Add the water and sugar and bring to boil, keep stirring the mixture until the cherries soften and break down slightly and a sauce begins to form with cherries and sugar (approx. 10 minutes).
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
4. In a bowl whip together the condensed milk and cream and the vanilla.
5. Fold in 2/3 of the cooled cherry compote into the cream mixture and chill the remaining third for serving with ice cream.
6. Transfer mixture to a tupperware container and place in freezer.
7. After 2-3 hours remove the ice cream from the freezer and stir thoroughly to break any ice crystals.
8. Repeat this process at twice more every 3 hours.
9. To serve the ice cream remove from freezer and allow to stand for 2-3 minutes.
10. Scoop the ice cream into serving bowls and top with the chilled reserved cherry compote.

NB – If you have an ice cream maker steps 6-8 are not needed , instead freeze ice ream as per ice cream maker instructions.

Pizza Bread

Delicious savoury bread with italian pizza flavours.

Preparation time – 20 minutes
Cooking time – 40 Minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:

240 grams / 8 oz wholemeal flour
240 grams / 8 oz plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese grated
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pizza sauce (homemade or shop bought)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 spring onions finely chopped
6 cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 green pepper finely diced
1 teaspoon salt
200ml water

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/400 degees F
2. Spray/grease the bread tin.
3. In a pan add 1 tablespoon oil and heat it up, fry the onions and green pepper in the oil for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the pizza sauce, salt, chilli flakes and italian seasoning and tomatoes mix well. Remove from heat and cool.
5. In a big bowl, sieve flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add cheese, yogurt, olive oil , vinegar and the vegetable mix and combine with a spoon.
6. Add water little at a time and gently mix everything together. (Only add enough water to make a dropping consistency mixture)
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared bread tin and smooth the top.
8. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Test if done by inserting a skewer in the bread, if it comes out clean it’s ready.
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing.

Serve with garlic butter.

Roti Canai: Malaysian Flaky Flat Bread

Flaky Malaysian flat breads that are delicious with curry or pickle

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 cups All purpose flour
1 egg or 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
2 tablespoon cooking oil for dough
4 tablespoons for cooking the Roti Canai and kneading the dough
Salt to taste
Water for kneading

Method:

1. Place the flour in a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons oil , salt and the yoghurt . Mix together.
2. Add water a little at a time and make a very soft dough.
3. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes and place it in the bowl.Cover the dough with a little oil. Cover the bowl with a muslin cloth or tea towel  and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead again for 2-3 minutes, divide the dough into 8 parts.
5. On a clean work surface smear a little oil , pat out one of the dough portions into a circle gradually making it larger and stretching it to make it  almost paper thin.
Check this video out for the authentic way to make these Roti Canai.

6. Once the dough is almost stretched into a 12 inch by 12 inch square, smear some oil over the dough,fold the top edge over to the centre, then fold the bottom edge over to overlap the top edge trapping air in between the layers.
7. Next Fold the open edge  from the right side to meet in the centre and then fold the left side over the right side. You should now have a perfectly formed square shaped Roti Canai.
8. Heat a frying pan when it is warm place the Roti Canai on it and wait 1 minute. Flip it over and smear some oil  on top of it. Flip it again to cook the oiled side. Smear some oil on the top again and flip it once more.
9. Roti Canai is ready when both sides turn slightly golden with brown specks. Remove from pan and repeat for rest of dough.

 

Raisin Pillows

Its that time of the year again. Time to bake plum cakes and cookies, lavish meals being planned and families are eagerly awaiting the Christmas lunch with loved ones. Christmas trees are being decorated with star lights, there are carols being sung. All in all, its music and lights and laughter and sharing everywhere!

As part of the Christmas menu, these soft, melt-in-your mouth pillows are simply perfect! `Pillow‘ is the right word to name these cookies. For the outer layer is just that, soft and delicate with the delicious aroma of butter and vanilla. The `pillows` are sandwiched with soft raisins having a hint of freshly squeezed lemon that perfectly complement the butter-y-ness of the cookies.

Skip the filling and make plain butter cookies, adding flavorings of your choice – orange zest, lemon zest, all spice, vanilla and so on..
Happy baking & Seasons Greetings!

Raisin Pillows

Raisin Pillows

Makes about 7 to 8 pillows OR 15 to 20 plain butter cookies, depending on size

Ingredients

For the cookie dough
Butter – 100 gms, at room temperature
Icing sugar – 100 gms
Vanilla extract – ½ tsp
Maida/ plain flour – 200 gms
Baking powder – 1/8 tsp
Salt – a pinch, only if using unsalted butter
Milk – 2 to 4 tsps, as needed

For the raisin filling
Black raisins – 100 gms
Lime juice – 1 ½ tsp
Water – 2 to 3 tbsps
Sugar – 2 tsps
Cornflour – ½ tsp

 

Method  

For the cookie dough

In a mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and icing sugar (sieved in case of lumps) till light and fluffy, about 6 to 8 mins. Add in vanilla, beat again to blend.

Measure 200 gms flour in measuring cup, add in the baking powder  and salt if adding.

Seive the dry ingredients together into the creamed butter-sugar mixture. Beat lightly to mix the ingredients.

Then knead gently to a semi stiff dough, adding 2-3 tsps milk as needed to form dough. Do not over knead and avoid adding too much milk as it can result in a tough cookie. Add just enough milk do bring the dough together.

Wrap dough in cling film and let chill in refrigerator till the filling ready.

 

For the raisin filling

In a saucepan put in all the ingredients and stir once to blend well. Keep the pan over heat and simmer on low heat for 4 to 6 mins or till raisins are plumped up. There should not remain too much liquid but the filling must be moist and soft.

Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Proceed with making pillows

Preheat oven at 1800 C for 10 mins. Grease (and line if preferred) baking tray.

Unwrap dough and divide into 3 portions for easier handling. Roll out one portion by dusting rolling pin with some flour to avoid sticking OR keep the dough between 2 plastic sheets and roll out into 1/8 inch thickness.

Cut into desired shape/ size with cookie cutter. I used a 3” diameter cutter. Take one cut cookie, keep 1 to 2  tsp filling in the centre. Cover on top with another cut cookie and press very lightly at edges. No need to seal completely as it will stick on baking. Be careful as you sandwich them as the dough can be very delicate.

Repeat for entire dough.

Place the pillows on prepared baking tray. Bake for 10 to 12 mins or till just start to turn pale golden at edges. Remove and cool 5 mins in the tray and then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. Store in airtight cookie jars at room temp for 2 to 4 days. These pillows are soft yet firm and buttery.

 

For making plain butter cookies

Preheat oven at 1800 C for 10 mins. Grease (and line if preferred) baking tray.

Skip the filling. Unwrap dough and divide into 3 portions for easier handling. Roll out one portion by dusting rolling pin with some flour to avoid sticking OR keep the dough between 2 plastic sheets and roll out into ¼” thickness.

Place cut cookies in prepared baking tray. Bake for 10 to 12 mins or till edges just start to turn pale golden. May go upto 15 too depending on your oven.

Remove and cool 5 mins in the tray and then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. Store in airtight cookie jars at room temp.

Tzatziki

A rich and creamy yoghurt and cucumber dip flavoured with garlic .

Preparation Time – 10 minutes
Chilling Time – 1 hour
Serves 4

Ingredients

500g Total 0% fat Greek yoghurt
½ cucumber
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 pinch paprika powder

Method

1. Empty one pot of Total o% fat Greek yoghurt in to a bowl and mix well.
2. Peel the cucumber and cut in half, remove the seeds and grate the cucumber.
3. Squeeze the grated cucumber to remove surplus liquid..
4. Peel the garlic and finely mince it to a smooth paste.
5. To the yoghurt add the cucumber,the garlic and olive oil and salt and mix well.
6.Transfer to a serving bowl,cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Before serving sprinkle with a pinch of paprika powder.

Serve with warm toasted pitta bread or crackers.

Beetroot Relish

Sweetness of the beetroot and the tang from the lemon makes this relish delicious and tasty.

Ingredients:

2 medium raw beetroots

1/4 small  white cabbage

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Juice of half lemon

1/2  tablespoon  sunflower oil

1 green chilli finely diced

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 red dried chilli

1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

1. Remove the core from the cabbage and shred it finely.

2. Peel and grate the beetroot.

3. Add oil in a pan when it heats up, add the cumin seeds and dried red chilli, once  the cumin starts to crackle add the grated beetroot and cabbage.

4. Stir fry till both vegetables start to wilt but still retain their crunch, add the sugar, chillies, lemon juice and salt and stir fry for 2 more minutes.

5. Transfer to a serving dish.

Serve as a side dish to a main meal, alternatively use it as a sandwich filling.

Aubergine Caviar (Baigan Bhartha)

Today’s recipe is a very easy and versatile dish using Aubergines. Aubergines come in all shapes and colours ranging from light green to purple to almost black. You get small aubergines, long ones and the most popular are the big fat aubergines sold in all western supermarkets. In India, aubergines are eaten regularly and parents are always telling their children about the goodness of aubergines. Its dark colour does put off some people but this recipe will change your minds.

This recipe has been modified from one my parents used to cook years ago. My parents were farmers in India about 80 years ago. My mum used to make thick millet chapatis called rotlas  and take them to the farm with either fresh garlic chutney (recipe to follow), raw onions and green chillies or yogurt. In the meantime, my dad would have plucked the aubergines from his farm and barbequed it over an open fire. When my mum got there, she would peel the outside burnt aubergine skin and add the garlic chutney to it and serve it to my dad with the rotlas and yogurt.

So Baigan Bharta is really a poor man’s dish but it’s become very popular in all Indian restaurants. In a way it’s a perfect dish to make during the recession.

Method:

Cooking  time 30 -40 minutes

Ingredients ( will serve 2 -3 ):

1 large aubergine
A handful of frozen peas (optional)
1 medium onion
2 small green chillies (optional)
A small bunch of coriander (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chilli power
½ teaspoon tumeric
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1½ tablespoons sunflower seed oil (or any oil is fine)

Method:

1. First oil the aubergine, prick it and put in under the grill, turning it every 4 or 5 minutes or when the aubergine skin starts to wrinkle and burn. You can also oil and prick the aubergine, place it in a cooking tray and cook it in the oven for 20 minutes.

2.  Remove the aubergine, slice it and let it cool for 10 minutes

3.     Remove the burnt skin and scoop out the inside white part  into  a clean bowl.

4.   Mash the aubergine with a fork. This mixture is often referred to as caviar, or bharta or oro in the Indian restaurants. (This dish is versatile and at this stage, you can simply garnish it with the spices and add yogurt and eat it as a side dish). But the following steps will make it taste nicer.

5. Add the frozen peas to the mix.

6. Chop the onions and chillies (caution with the chillies!).

7. Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and add the cumin seeds to the oil.

8. Once the seeds go slightly golden brown, add the chopped onions and chillies.

9. Add salt, turmeric and chilli powder. The use of green chillies and chilli powder should be done with caution as not everyone likes hot food. You can use pepper instead but the taste will be slightly different.

10. Let the onions cook for 2 minutes – try not to overcook them.

11. Add the aubergine mixture to the onion mixture.

12.  Stir the Baigan Bharta well and transfer to a serving bowl.

13.  Sprinkle some coriander and serve with naan, chappatis, rotla or any Indian bread.

To make an aubergine dip:

Just mash the grilled aubergine flesh and then add yogurt, salt, finely chopped coriander and a tiny bit of garlic  to the mixture.

Next time you see Baigan Bharta on a menu in an Indian restaurant and see the cost, you can tell yourself that you could have cooked it yourself for under £2.00.

Apple Cake

The delicate flavour of sweet apples and cinnamon baked in a soft, moist and spongy cake. Delicious served hot or cold making a superb dessert or teatime treat.

Preparation time – 20 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes
Serves 8

Ingredients

250 grams all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
125 grams caster sugar
2 eating apples
200ml milk
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
100 grams melted butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon icing sugar for dusting

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade or 350 fahrenheit.

1. Sieve the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and the flour together and keep aside.
2. Peel, core and grate the apples.
3 .To the melted butter, add the sugar, eggs, milk, yoghurt and beat lightly.
4. Stir in the grated apples into the wet mixture.
5. Gently fold the wet mixture into the flour, do not over mix. (Mixture may appear lumpy that’s fine.)
6. Pour the mixture into a prepared lined and greased baking tin.
7. Bake for 35-40 minutes. To check if cake is done insert skewer in to cake if it comes out clean cake is ready.
8. Remove from oven and cool on rack.
9. Dust with icing sugar.
Serve with cream, vanilla ice cream or vanilla custard.

Mini Puff Pastry Apple Bites

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 Minutes
Makes 20

Delectable cinnamon and apples bites that will melt in your mouth.

Ingredients:

1 sheet ready to roll puff pastry
2 Granny Smith apples
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon icing sugar for dusting

Method:

1. Peel the apples and grate them.
2. Add the sugar and the cinnamon to the apples and mix well.
3. Place the puff pastry on a flat surface that is dusted with a little flour.
4. Spoon the apple mixture on to the puff pastry rectangle and smooth the filling out right to the edges of the pastry.

5. Starting at the long edge of the puff pastry rectangle,  start to roll the pastry tightly encasing the apple filling. Stop when you get to the centre of the pastry rectangle.
6. Roll the pastry in the same way from the opposite end of pastry rectangle to meet in the centre.
7. Slice the roll into 1 inch pieces and place on a greased baking tray. Shape the pastry so that it resembles hearts .
8. Bake in a pre-heated oven 190°C / 375°F for 20 minutes until golden brown.
9. Remove from oven and immediately transfer the apple pastry bites to a cooling rack.
10. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a cup of coffee.

Chick Peas and Potato Curry

Chick peas are really Garbanzos beans and are a good source of proteins. They come in several varieties such as the white Kabuli ones or the dark brown ones.  This recipe works for all varieties of chick peas.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

2 cups of boiled chick peas
2 medium sized potatoes, washed and chopped into small cubes
1 cup of tinned tomatoes
2 tbsp Sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 small pieces of cinnamon,
3 small cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
A small bunch of coriander

Method:

1. Lightly warm the cumin in a wok or saucepan until you get the lovely cumin fragrance. Add the oil to this, add the cloves and cinnamon and allow the cumin to cook until it looks dark.

2. Add the potatoes and stir until they are coated with the oil. Now add the spices such as salt, chili powder, turmeric, garlic and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes or until potatoes start to soften.

3. Now add the boiled chick peas to the mixture and cook for a further 5 minutes on a medium heat.

4. Blend the tomatoes, lemon juice and brown sugar and add to the curry and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Transfer the chick peas and potato curry to a serving dish and garnish it with coriander. Serve this with naan bread and fresh salad.

Tips:

1. Tins of boiled chick peas are available in most supermarkets. Wash them in plenty of cold water before using them for this recipe.

2. Add some chopped onions and green chilies to the chick pea curry and serve it as a starter with papadums or any tortilla chips.

Sweetcorn Curry with Nuts & Dessicated Coconut

I have always loved sweetcorn especially the canned version. I love eating it cold in salads and I’ll often open a small can for my lunch and just eat it cold. This reminds me of my student days!!

If you like your curry to be rich and creamy and slightly sweet, you will like this sweetcorn curry. You can use frozen or canned sweetcorn for this recipe.

Cooking Time – 20 minutes

Ingredients for 4 servings:

4 cups of frozen sweetcorn ( For canned sweetcorn, drain the juices and rinse the sweetcorn with cold water)
1 cup chopped fresh or tinned tomatoes
½ cup mixed peanuts and cashews
¼ cup desiccated coconut
2-3 tablespoons cooking oil (I used sunflower oil)
1 teaspoon dry cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon chilli powder (use more if you like hot food)
2-3 cloves of blended garlic
Small bunch of coriander or some curry leaves for garnishing

Method:

1. Roast the peanuts and cashew nuts either on a non-stick saucepan or for 2-3 minutes in a microwave.

2. Grind the nuts and mix them with the dessicated coconut and set aside.

3. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan and add in the cumin seeds.

4. Once the seeds go dark brown, add the sweet corn and stir.

5. Add the spices – salt, turmeric, chilli powder and stir.

6. Add the garlic and once the sweet corn is soft and cooked, add the tomatoes together with half a cup of water.

7. Now add the ground nuts and desiccated coconut to the mixture.

8. Allow this to cook for 5-7 minutes and transfer to a serving bowl. garnish it with coriander or curry leaves.

9.  Serve the curry hot with chapatis or Naan bread.

Greek Halwa

Greek Halwa ~ a rich and fragrant sweet semolina dessert that is flavoured with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, star anise and garnished with nuts. 

Ingredients:

60 g / 2 oz fine semolina
60 g / 2 oz unsalted butter
few pistachio nut to garnish

Sugar Syrup

60 g / 2 oz sugar
250 ml water
3 cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1 star anise

Method:

1.Add the water and sugar to a heavy bottomed pan . Add the cinnamon, cloves and star anise and bring the water to boil.
2. Allow the sugar to dissolve completely .Once all the sugar has melted  turn off the heat and remove the cloves, cinnamon and star anise.
3.In a heavy bottom pan add the butter and let it melt, once it has melted add the semolina and roast the semolina in the butter for 7-8 minutes until semolina changes to a nice golden brown colour.
4. Add a ladle full of sugar syrup to the semolina and mix , keep adding small amounts of syrup until all is used up.(Don’t be tempted to add all the syrup at once as the semolina will start to spit and bubble and can cause burns to your hand)
5. Once all the sugar syrup has been added , keep stirring the semolina until it thickens and stars to leave the side of the pan.
6. Once halwa has thickened remove from heat.
7. Transfer the halva to a serving bowl and garnish with pistachio nuts.

Serve Warm