Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

As spring begins to unfold and the weather changes to beautiful sunny days and chilly evenings, I like that we can still enjoy warming and wholesome soups. Butternut squash is so versatile and there are various ways to use it in soups, curries, salads etc.

This recipe is created by Chef Annie James at Sunrise of Tettenhall  for Sunrise Senior Living who make sure that all of their recipes are nutritious and tasty, making them great for everyone, not just the elderly. Of the many recipe options they sent me I choose to make this one because I simply adored red lentils as those who read my blog will know. The buttery aroma of onions sauteing which filled my kitchen was simply amazing and very satisfying. Needless to say the soup went down and treat and even normally fussy hubster greedily licked his bowl clean – no better compliment than that folks ins’t it? I must admit I couldn’t resist adding a bit of my own personal finishing touches as my palate is so used to all the spicy and tangy little ad-on’s that I normally use 😉

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

Serves:4  Preparation Time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: approx 25 minutes Ingredients:

  • 400 ml vegetable stock
  • 150 gms butternut squash – peeled and diced into bite sized bits
  • 12 gm unsalted butter
  • 2 red onion – peeled and chopped fine
  • 3 carrots -peeled and diced into small bits
  • 60gm dried red lentil ie. masoor dal – split without skin
  • Sea salt with a hint of garlic
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • small quantity of fresh coriander to garnish
Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

Method:

  • In a large saucepan or stockpot melt the butter on a medium flame
  • Saute’ the finely chopped onions in the butter for just under 4- 5 minutes till they turn a beautiful golden brown colour and reduce
  • Then add in the chopped carrots, squash and saute’ for a further 2- 3 minutes

    Bite sized Carrots and Butternut Squash sauteed in butter and onion

    Bite sized Carrots and Butternut Squash sauteed in butter and onion

  • Now stir in the vegetable stock and the red lentils.
  • Reduce to a low flame and let the soup simmer gently.
  • Cook until the vegetables and lentils are tender.
  • Allow the soup to cool down to room temperature, then using a hand blender puree’ until smooth or like I did give it a whizz in your food processor.
  • Season with sea salt with a garlic or plain sea salt and add a generous sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Garnish with a just a small amount of finely chopped fresh coriander.
  • Serve hot ideally with a warm crusty bread with a dollop of butter. If your conscience allows it stir in a small amount of fresh cream into the soup or smother your crusty bread with some freshly made garlic butter 😉
Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

*With thanks to Sunrise Senior Living and the  PR team for reimbursing the expense for ingredients . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

Jus-Rol Turkey, Ham and cheese tart

Hello Everyone!

I have been away on a long holiday in Indian for almost four weeks. I got back last week and it has taken my system a few days to throw off the jet-lag completely and my internal thermostat to acclimatise to the massive difference in the weather.But am back now all refreshed and raring to go! So expect a lot of new and fun recipes, LOTS of travel posts and many photographs from my foodie and travel adventures – oh yes not to mention more exciting competitions, fabulous restaurant reviews and events that I will be going to soon – woohoo!

While I was in India I did a fair bit of travelling to Chennai, Pondicherry and shuttling between Mumbai and Pune. So all the resulting fatigue has taken it’s toll too.

Besides have discovered that I do have a fair amount of catching up to do with my blogging as well. hummm

So dinner the day after I landed had had to be a simple affair, because my body clock was still following IST. We decided to make a quick and super easy yet delicious Turkey, Ham and cheese tart using my own recipe. Hubster and me are both big fans of Jus-Rol as it really can save the day when things are crazy busy or plain lazy 😉

I have made a few minor tweaks to the original recipe but other than that it was smooth sailing. Here is my version:

Prep. Time: Less than 10 minutes
Makes: 2 servings
Total Time: 35 mins
Ingredients:
  • 320 gm Jus-Rol™ puff pastry ready rolled sheet
  • 2 medium onion peeled & chopped fine
  • 100 gm cooked ham diced
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  • 3 heaped tbsp Gran Luchito smoked chilli honey
  • 250 gm cooked turkey diced
  • Salt & black pepper
  • 75 gm grated Parmesan Cheese

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan, gently sauté the onion until it is translucent, then add the diced ham and cook on a low flame for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile remove the Jus-Rol™ puff pastry ready rolled sheet and allow it to rest while the filling is being prepared.
  2. Add the turkey,season to taste and then add the smoked chilli honey. Stir continuously to ensure the chilli honey does not burn and cook on a gentle, low flame for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Prepare a baking tray by lining with a baking sheet and carefully place the Jus-Rol™ puff pastry ready rolled sheet onto the baking sheet.
  4. Preheat oven to 220°C/(200°C for fan assisted ovens)/Gas 7.
  5. Spoon out the turkey and ham mixture onto the baking sheet and sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the mixture.
  6. Bake in the preheated for 20 minutes and serve hot.

IMG_9451 (Copy)

I remember going to buy Jus- Rol at a supermarket two years ago post Christmas and it simply wasn’t available anywhere. Clearly people had been smart and stocked up on this lifesaving fridge fav for all those leftover meals after the big day. And have since then made a mental note to stock up well in advance for future occasions. There have been numerous dinners and surprise tea time treats for unannounced but welcome visitors who have been fed piping hot treats with several hot cuppas thanks to that pastry roll lying in my fridge! So like many of my store  cupboard essentials this is one of my life savers and will almost always be found living in my refrigerator.

I loved this recipe and now am looking forward to more experiments with Jus-Rol .

If you need more inspiration to get creative with Jus-Rol why not check out these gorgeous recipes on the Jus-Rol website ?

*With thanks to Jus-Rol and the  PR team for sending vouchers to buy some samples of Jus-Rol  for review . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Spicy Chorizo Pasta with loads of veggie goodness!

I often struggle to get the hubster to consume hero veggies like Broccoli and Mushrooms ,both which I quite frankly love .. always have ! So what started off as a veg pasta was met with a grunt and audible grumbling and had to be re-engineered to create something fabulous ! I am therefore grateful for the grumbling  – totally depends on the end result right? 😉 Its also a very good recipe to use all the veggies lying around in your fridge and many some store cupboard excesses to start that spring clean you have been itching to do ( yes I love cleaning – am quite certain I have a mild OCD too)

Preparation Time: 25 minutes Cooking Time:40 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm Penne
  • 300 gm Chorizo chopped bite size
  • Broccoli a handful
  • Button Mushrooms – half a small packet – std supermarket size-chopped bite size
  • 200 gm Sweet Corn and Red Peppers canned
  • Grated parmesan Cheese – generous amount;)
  • 1/2 of a large Red Onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes pureed
  • Sea salt
  • 2 large tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Chilli flakes as per taste
  • 2 large Spring onion finely chopped
  • 1/4th cup low fat cream
  • Dried italian herb mix for pasta 2 teaspoons

Method:

For the creamy sauce

  • In a saucepan heat one and a half large tablespoon of oil and saute the finely chopped garlic and when it begins to brown add 2 cloves of garlic chopped spring onion and saute for about 1 min
  • Then added the finely chopped broccoli
  • Now add the chopped button mushrooms and the sweet corn and red pepper mixture.
  • Add the cream and cook on a low flame for 2 – 3 minutes,season with salt  and then add generous amounts of cheese.
  • This sauce should have a balance between creamy and chewy with the mushrooms on the broccoli can retain a bit of its crunch so if you use a lid it may overcook

Before starting on the spicy sauce boil the past in a large saucepan and add sea salt and olive  a generous splash I use flavoured oil – the bottle had a large sprig of rosemary some crushed garlic and chilli flakes tossed inside to give it a deep rich flavour- so , so good!

For the Spicy Sauce

  • In a saucepan heat half a tablespoon of oil and fry the red onion chopped lengthwise and 2 garlic cloves finely chopped.
  • Then add the bite  sized pieces of Chorizo and reduce the flame to low.
  • Let the chorizo almost start to get crispy and  then added the pureed tomatoes,dried herb mixture,chilli flakes and salt as per taste.

In a clean bowl add a generous portion of the creamy sauce, top it with cooked pasta and then add the spicy chorizo sauce.Sprinkle with as much cheese as you want and watch it melt into the steaming hot pasta.If you want just a bit of guilty pleasure drizzle some chilli olive oil on the pasta before mixing the whole thing together!

1-IMG_6688 (Copy)

Chicken and Red Lentil Stew – a complete ONE POT meal (Suran & Red Lentil Stew)

There are times when I really want a hearty meal but don’t have the energy to stand and cook an elaborate meal. Its a times like that I turn to One pot meals, served with a warm baguette it is a filling , healthy and easy and quick to meal option which NO compromise on taste whatsoever! Moreover its home made , has flavour and is a satisfying experience to make .

I had been meaning to try and cook a stew using red lentils (masoor – Marathi for red lentil )for some time , they are my most favourite lentils and I am ALWAYS stocked up on a large 2 kilo pack of dried red lentils split and without skin , from my local Indian grocery shop at Tooting called Dadu’s. Also since all the other fresh ingredients were procured from my local LIDL this dish is GREAT value for money too! Am totally in love with the FRESH fruits and vegetable selection at LIDL right now.I bought some bright red long crunchy sweet peppers, a pack of medium hot chillies, fresh chicken breast fillets, a very cute packet of garlic, mixed pack of cauliflower and broccoli florets and a packet of gorgeous looking Shallots.( I have always wondered why the lentils are called RED when clearly they are a  lovely light orange colour !)

I love inventing a recipe as I go along and when I got my vegetable tray out on Sunday morning I had all these lovely vegetables staring at me and I just threw in what I thought would taste good together and VOILA ! A Steaming hot , thick, wholesome and tasty chicken and red lentil broth was born.

I love having some baby potatoes in stock and they are always handy in a stew , besides being quite the self proclaimed ”queen of curries” I always am well stocked on Indian spices so bay leaves and cinnamon sticks aplenty in my kitchen larder – oh yes

Please don’t feel put off by the ingredient list , trust me they marry well together in the taste department and the end result is well worth your time and effort!

The biggest bonus of this stew recipe is that you can create your OWN vegetarian version by replacing the chicken with Quorn or if you don’t for some reason like or have never tried or have no access to Quorn then try replacing the chicken fillets with  Suran/Elephant Foot Yam, it can be chopped into big chunks and it takes up flavours very easily. But with the yam the cooking time drastically will reduce as it can go from just right and chewy to soft, goeey or totally disappear into the stew ! My aai (mum) always used suran as a meat replacement and marinated it well in the spices we would use for chicken or lamb and made a thick gravy dish with it, when I was younger she has managed to fool me many times over thinking it was mutton 🙂 – Aai I miss you and all the food you cook – sigh…. no India trip in sight anytime soon 😦

(Dangerous though it looks the elephant foot yam is very very tasty! )

suran

Cross Section:

surancut

Above 2 Images Credit here

4-IMG_6502 (Copy)

Serves:4  Preparation Time: 10 minutes  Cooking time:35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Red Lentils / Massor Dal -3/4th cup
  • Chicken breast mini fillets – 750gm / Comparable Quorn fillets
  • 5-6 baby potatoes
  • 6 shallots approx 200gm
  • 2 large sweet and crunchy pointed Red Peppers – approx 200gm
  • 2 short medium hot chillies
  • 2-3 bay leaves dry
  • red chilli flakes as per taste
  • sea slat as per taste
  • 1 veg stock pot
  • 3 dried red kashmir chillies
  • 1 large roll of cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • handful of Broccoli and Cauliflower florets
  • 2 large tbsp of tomato puree or half of a large tomato finely chopped
  • Red chilli powder
  • Sugar 2 tsp

Method:

  • Wash and soak the red lentil in water to soften them so they cook more quickly then get on with all the other chopping and cutting prep’s.
  • Chop the shallots lengthwise.
  • In a large stew pot or huge saucepan heat the oil and add the bay leaves,cinnamon stick and dry red kashmiri chillies which I have a very big packet of and am trying to finish , they only add colour and no heat so if you don’t have these you can totally leave them out – no harm done here.
  • Now add red chilli powder and sugar and just when the sugar starts to caramelise add the shallots and shallow fry them till they reduce and begin to turn a lovely brown colour.
  • Now add the 2 large tbsp’s  of tomato puree or half of a large tomato finely chopped and stir till it mixes well with the shallots.
  • Add the roughly chopped long red peppers and baby potatoes and saute’ for 2 minutes.
  • Add the washed chicken fillets/suran (elephant yam), soaked red lentils with the water it was soaked in.
  • Add the washed and roughly chopped Broccoli and Cauliflower florets and now add enough water.
  • I did not measure the water I added but add enough to get a nice thick stew , while the ingredients are cooking together on a low flame ,feel free to top up with more water as the lentils easily soak up as much water as you feed it with. Having said that you don’t want to end up with a watery stew so don’t add more than 3/4th cup at one go.
  • Season with sea salt , I love MALDON SEA SALT which I use and I have a few packets ALWAYS stashed away, great n salads it is!
  • Then sprinkle red chilli flakes and gently place a veg stock cube on top on this lovely pot of goodness bubbling away. I prefer the KNORR veg stock cubes , they have a great bouquet of flavour and are very handy at times when am exhausted and need to quickly cook up something tasty!
  • Stir well, cover with a lid and cook on a medium flame.
  • The red lentil will froth as they cook not to worry simply stir now and then and mix well, don’t allow the stew to get too thick we want enough lovely gravy to slurp this stew and dip the baguette into!

1-IMG_6495 (Copy)

I was so hungry that I didn’t click any photos of my lovely fresh ingredients but it was a brilliantly sunny day yesterday and after this wholesome stew for lunch we had to really force ourselves to go and get some much needed fresh air at Morden Hall Park – I happily left my smartphone behind so photos to share but suffice to say that it was a gorgeous walk through the huge grounds and we saw many happy families ,happy couples and cute old folks and even happier kids and dogs romping around in the muddy park  fun! And because we were so good we treated ourselves to hot tea and a sandwich at a local Turkish Cafe 😉 hehehe

Am very happy and proud of this new original recipe creation from my experimental kitchen. Next time I make this stew I will smoke the sweet and crunchy long red peppers and peel off the skin , to add a deep smoky flavour to the stew and not have the skin floating around – double whammy I say 🙂

1-1st Feb'14 Chicken & Red Lentil Stew1

Am linking this recipe to Made with Love Mondays hosted by Mark at his wonderful  blog called  CookinwLuv

Made with Love Mondays Resized Badge

Vangyache Bharit- वांग्याचे भरीत (Baingan ka Bharta) (Smoked Aubergine)

I have noticed that I have become a bit more inclined towards celebrating festivals after coming to London , maybe its out of being homesick during festive times and also to ensure that I remember the traditions involved I guess. ‘Makar Sankrant’ is  a Hindu festival celebrated by my community ”Maharashtrains” with great pomp and enthusiasm as it heralds the season of Harvest. Similar to this festival is Lohri which is celebrated by the Punjabis in the North of India, Pongal in the state of Tamil Nadu , Uttaryan in the state of Gujrat. One festival so many names and so varied ways of celebrating! Its not only in India that this festival is celebrated it’s also welcomed in Nepal, Sri Lanka ,Cambodia and Laos amongst others!

My mother always used to make a smoked aubergine vegetable dish called Vangyache Bharit – written in Marathi as – वांग्याचे भरीत on Makar Sankrant so I decided to make it too for Sankrant this year which was on the 14th of Jan’14. We also exchange small ladoos made of sesame seeds and jaggery called ”Tilache Ladoo” and wish each other by saying ”tilgul ghya god god bola” (तिळगुळ घ्या गोड गोड बोला) It means that we shall forget and forgive any past bitter exchange of words and start afresh with this sweet offering and only speak sweet words of love.

The recipe is modified in various regions of the state of Maharashtra and also the variety of vanga/eggplant/aubergine or brinjal as we know it in urban India, is different in various parts of the state and in various states of India, of course differing due to climate and soil .Aai ( meaning Mother in Marathi language – my mother tongue) always looked for the light green vanga or eggplant with white stripes  on its skin which she rightly said tastes way better than its darker purple skinned cousin.

Aai’s recipe which I will share now is how we have always made this dish at home. There are several variations and styles depending on which part of Maharashtra you hail from and also various sub-cultures and availability of local ingredients and palates.I guess what makes this recipe so special is that it brings back happy memories of childhood, festivity ,celebration and the unmistakable smoky and rich vanga (eggplant/aubergine) taste with the crunchy red onion and a slap of hot spicy green chilli mixed in between ,all balanced so well with the various masalas that go into this bharit ummm!

 bi_makar_08_dec_26_162509

Image Credit click here 

Serves:2 -as a main with chapatya(Marathi for Indian Naan Bread also called chapatis in Hindi)

Preparation Time :15 minutes

Cooking Time:25minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large vanga/baingan/eggplant/aubergine
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 5-6 large cloves of garlic
  • a few mustard seeds
  • Cumin/Jeera
  • Garam Masala – 2 heaped tsps
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of hing/asafoetida
  • Turmeric – 1.5 tsp
  • Red chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
  • Oil – 3-4 large tbsps
  • Coriander/Cilantro to garnish

Method:

  • The beauty of this dish lies in the deep and rich smoky flavour of the eggplant , I would love to use charcoals and do this bit on a open rustic fire but well I make do with my hob.You could use the oven  but it will take much longer but directly on the hob – though a bit messy , it’s quicker! Roast the eggplant completely turning it on the side and moving it up an down so you don’t miss any bits.

IMG_6465 (Copy)

  • Allow this to cool and then charred skin will come off easily.

IMG_6467 (Copy)

  • Mash with your hands in a smooth mass of soft cooked ,smoked eggplant.

IMG_6477 (Copy)

  • While the eggplant is smoking on the hob , finely chop one large red onion.
  • Skin the garlic and use a mortar pestel to smash the green chillies with the garlic
  • In a  dry saucepan ,add the oil and after it is hot , add a pinch of hing/ asafoetida  and mustard seeds , as the mustard seeds begin to pop add the cumin seeds and the garam masala powder and  the finely chopped red onion and stir it often till it turns colour and is still crunchy to taste.

IMG_6472 (Copy)

  • Now add the turmeric and red chilli powder
  • Then stir in the ”thecha”(Marathi for the green chilli and garlic mixture) and saute’ till the raw garlic becomes one with the mixture.Vary the green chillies depending on your personal tolerance of heat
  • Reduce the flame to a low and add the eggplant mash into this mixture and stir well so as to ensure equal distribution of the onion and all other flavours.
  • Cook with lid for under 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with finely chopped coriander/cilantro.
  • Serve with hot chapatya or steamed rice and dal.
  • We also enjoy this cold , cool the dish completely and serve with a generous helping of set curd/yogurt.
  • My aai didn’t add tomatoes to this and at times used some goda masala as well as it has dry grated coconut which can really alter the taste.
  • For Baingan Bharta add one finely chopped tomato as well after the onion has been fried.

IMG_6482 (Copy)

I found some very interesting variations to my recipe here are a few :

  1. For a recipe using Tamarind try this 
  2. For beautiful photos and an open air fire used to smoke the eggplant see this
  3. For a recipe using freshly grated coconut try this

I am adding this recipe into the Made with Love Mondays blog link love started and hosted by the lovely Mark aka Javelin Warrior – very interesting to read how that name came about !

Made with Love Mondays Resized Badge

 

Just linked up to In my Veg box with Onions as the theme for April’2014 hosted by Tina who blogs at The Spicy Pear and created by Nayna who blogs at Simply.Food and CitrusSpice . I wasn’t able to download the logo for April but here’s a general logo that Nayna uses.

 

 

In my veg box event logo1b resized 2

Sweetcorn and Paneer Bhaji/Sabzi

In March I had rushed to be by my mothers side when her recovery post a double knee replacement surgery which was supposed to give her a new lease on life went badly wrong.

She was put on a very strict diet and asked to avoid more food stuff than she could eat, besides the heat in Pune was killing and the numerous medicines made her terribly hungry and moody. Not to mention the times when she was in so much pain I regularly went in the room next door and sobbed my guts out into a pillow…

On one of the better days when she really wanted to eat something tasty and refused all the options I gave her my maushi (that’s we call mum’s sister in Marathi language – my mother tongue) saved the day by making her this simple yet delicious vegetable which was packed with flavour in-spite of having on onion,no garlic and no tomatoes which mum was not allowed at all…If you have someone at home who is being given blood thinner medicines to avoid blood clots you may be asked to avoid foods that contain Vitamin K which is a natural blood coagulant.

Since this was only for one person we took a handful of each ingredient and used spices as we thought appropriate to suit her taste buds dead with all those medicines. Please feel free to amp up the spice if you wish.

Serves 2 as a side or 1 as a main

Preparation of veggies and Cooking Time:45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Cauliflower florets 150 gm
  • sweet corn 50 gm
  • carrots chopped into tiny cubes 50 gm
  • green peas 50 gm
  • Paneer cubes/Cottage Cheese 50 gm
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt as per taste
  • a pinch of red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin and coriander powder mix
  • a small pinch of ground clove powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Finely chopped fresh green coriander leaves -just enough to garnish.

Method:

  • In a pan take 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and sautee the bay leaves, clove powder and cumin and coriander powder for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the sweet corn and cook for about 3 minutes with spritz of water on a very low flame with lid to allow the corn to cook well.
  • Add the chopped carrot cubes and add water and cover an allow to steam for 2 -3 minutes on a low flame.
  • Reason for cooking the sweetcorn first and then the carrots is that they will take longer to cook than the cauliflower and peas which will become mush in the vegetable if all these are added at once. To save time you could used boiled sweetcorn and carrot. Avoid canned and ready to eat variety.
  • When carrots are almost cooked add the cauliflower florets ,green peas and season with the turmeric and red chilli powder and salt.Mix Well.
  • Add very little water just enough to allow the veggies to cook well.

IMG_2312 (Copy)

  • When they are almost cooked after not more than 5- 8 minutes , add the soft paneer cubes and mix well and serve hot with a chapati fresh off the pan.
  • Garnish with a tiny bit of fresh coriander leaves finely chopped.Ensure they are washed thoroughly to ensure no muddy bits are hiding between the delicate leaves.

Needless to say aai loved the bhaji and after almost 15 days of bland food she was really upbeat. Soon after she really began to recover at a desirable pace and was coming up with many of her own ideas to make delicious food with less oil, minimal spices and without any tomato. Cheers to you aai , you are a very brave person to have come out of such a bad health situation only a few months ago, to a point where you are 100% independent and cheerful as ever.God bless all those that stood by us and the few special people who came to help me in the hour of need, no questions asked, you know I love you people tons right ?:)

IMG_2310 (Copy)

Disclaimer: Please note this is a true account of what my mum had to eat with her many food restrictions and is not meant to be treated as a medical advice for anyone following a diet where they have been asked to stay off Vit K .Please always consult your doctor before eating anything that is out of the ordinary for your condition.

Achari Mutton Curry – Mutton in a rich pickle flavoured curry.

I had tasted Achari Chicken a few years ago when we were all at my bosses house in Pune and one of my buddies who is a trained chef made Achari chicken and roti’s for us in a flash ! It tasted so divine!

When I was to fly to India for an unexpected development when my ma-in-law’s health suddenly went downhill and she was due for an open heart surgery on the 7th of Nov, I had to do something to lift hubby’s spirits and comfort food had to be manufactured. A good afternoon nap after a reasonably heavy meal of mutton curry and rice sounded like just the thing.

Fresh Mutton was procured but I didn’t have any puree’s to marinate them in and then a brainwave happened ! I got out my most treasured bottle of mango pickle made by my sister’s mum in law who is an expert with pickles and makes a minimum of 10 varieties every summer, these are then packed and sent all over the world !!

I really didn’t want to use up all the pickle but for a kilo of mutton I just had to , ah well small scarifies for the larger good I say 🙂

Serves :4

Marination Time :overnight + 30 minutes , more if freezing overnight

Cooking Time: 1.5 hours on hob and 30 minutes in pressure cooker

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo mutton curry pieces
  • 1/2 bottle of mango pickle – about 250 gm of pickle
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of freshly ground ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tub of yogurt – 200gm
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 3 small red onions
  • 4 heaped teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 3 heaped teaspoons turmeric powder
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a small stick of cinnamon
  • 4 heaped teaspoons coriander and cumin mix powder
  • 3 and 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 4 boiled eggs peeled and sliced into halves.

For the Chilli Marinade:

  • 3 green chillies
  • Juices of 1 lime
  • 1 large tablespoon oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon red chilli powder

Method:

  • Wash the mutton pieces thoroughly and then pour the pickle over them and add the ginger garlic paste and mix well such that each piece coats well in the pickle.
  • Ideally I would marinate this mutton overnight to really let these flavours seep deep into the fibers of the meat,also as as mutton curry takes longer to cook than lamb it is necessary to ensure that for full maturity of flavours to develop marination must be for over 5 hours.
  • Cover the meat with a plastic cling film and leave in the refrigerator overnight, do not freeze unless the temperature outside is over 35 deg Celsius as at that temperature if the cooling in the fridge is not good the meat may go bad. If freezing the mutton allow at least 4 hours to totally defrost by first moving from freezer to fridge and then keeping it outside.
  • Pour the yogurt over the marinated meat and mix well,leave aside for 20 minutes
  • Just when you are ready to cook the mutton peel and roughly chop red onions into chunks and also made big pieces of the tomatoes and puree them in the food processor.
  • In a large vessel heat the oil and add a pinch of asafoetida, sautee the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick for about 30 seconds on a medium flame.
  • Then add the  red onion and tomato puree , sautee in the oil ,stirring well and let it simmer on a low flame with 1 cup of water.
  • Add red chilli powder,turmeric powder, coriander and cumin mix powder.
  • Let this cook for about 10 -12 minutes.
  • Now add the marinated mutton and add enough water to make a good amount of gravy , if you are going to use the pressure cooker then add a little extra.
  • Cook on a medium flame for about 1 and a half hour , in a pressure cook give it 8 whistles.
  • Mutton pieces have a lot of fat attached on the sides which also adds to the oil used for cooking hence I have used less oil.I am unable to eat the overtly oily curry which leave a huge layer of oil on the top if allowed to stand.
  • Now for the spicy dip, slit the green or red chillies lengthwise and dip into the oil and red chilli powder mix and add the juice of one lime.
  • When the curry is cooked serve hot on a bed of steaming hot rice with half a boiled egg.For extra flavour bite into the fiery red chilli with the lime-chilli mix.It’s not for the faint hearted though, but if you really do manage to relish the aftertaste of hot chilli you can safely say that you can now eat any fiery dish without breaking a sweat or getting the runs, a sort of baptism by fire food ritual!! One only for only for the brave souls!This powerful blast of heat on the tongue will see your forehead  dotted with beads of sweat.Truly a labour of love.

IMG_5527 (Copy)

The resulting mutton curry is rich in flavour and served hot with fluffy Jeera rice it is such a satisfying and comforting meal. But the best bit is when you leave the balance of this curry overnight , the next day the taste is so much better I’d almost choose left over curry over the fresh 😉

IMG_5533

Highly recommend serving this curry with a cooling curd side dish – half a cup of yogurt mixed with  with sliced red  onions and cucumbers ,seasoned with a pinch of salt , half a spoon of sugar and 1 heaped teaspoon of toasted cumin powder ,garnished with some freshly chopped coriander leaves.I’d wash down the meal  with butter milk or a good glass or two of a full bodied red wine .

IMG_5523 (Copy)

 

IMG_5539 (Copy) (2)

Love Salmon, Love Easy Meals!

This is probably my simplest ,fastest and yet very tasty AND healthy meal option. All you need is 2 slices of salmon some salad leaves and a hotch potch collection of any thing that can yumm up a salad! Few Minutes in the oven and hey Presto ! a healthy meal is ready to tuck in.

What I love about the after feel of this kind of a lunch or dinner is that it leaves me full and satiated and not feeling bloaty or heavy or drowsy for that matter!

So my ingredient list goes like this , but honestly for the salad just use any combination of leafy stuff and spices that you have in your fridge and cupboard and slam them together to make your own accompaniment!

  1. 2 slices of salmon fresh
  2. 2 thick slices of lime to wedge into the fish and a large slice to splash over the salad.
  3. one spoon olive oil
  4. Mixed italian herbs to season the fish – better if you have fresh herbs
  5. crushed black pepper and rock salt to sprinkle
  6. some capers for seasoning
  7. Salad leaves of your liking I use the mix leaves packets from the supermarket – rocket,spinach,lettuce mixed with some peppers and red onion sliced  for some colour, crunch and taste.
  8. Cherry Tomatoes
  9. A cheese slice – anything that you fancy
  10. Some onion flakes to dust over the salad

This meal takes lesser time to cook than it took me to write this blog post 🙂

Method:

  1. place the salom piece on a foil, lightly drizzle olive oil , wedge a slice of lime in between and sprinkle sea salt and crcaked black pepper and a generous sprinkle of italian herbs, mine came out of a bottle.
  2. Give the Salmon just enough time in the oven to cook, fish cooks fairly fast and these 2 slices took less that 7 minutes in a pre heated oven.
  3. Once done serve the salmon alongside a generous helping of salad leaves and juicy cherry tomatoes,toss a few capers , tear some cheese to season, give another drizzle of olive oil and a big squeeze  of lime ,finally add some crispy fried onion bits, finish off with sea salt.
  4. Dig in and feel full inside and light and skippity on a full stomach.

P.S: of the time you save when you choose this light, easy and quick dish , grab that novel you have been waiting to get done with enjoy a relaxed afternoon curled up on the sofa…I did…:)

The salmon is ready for the ovenThe salad is all done!Dig into crunchy wholesome goodness and juicy fish

Angel Hair Pasta and Prawns in Thai Red Curry and white wine sauce

I loved the name of this recipe by Chef Delia and hubby was also so excited about eating that we went to supermarket that she endorses and got us some really nice White Cooking wine and vermicelli pasta which I used as ”Angel Hair”. The other thing about this recipe that I found appealing was that it was easy to make, serves 2 as a main meal if prepared with suggested quantities and is a really satisfying dish to both cook and eat!

Why is it called Angel Hair ? Capellini Pasta literally means Angel Hair – because this pasta is the finest, thinnest… and when boiled it opens up and is so delicate , almost like how an Angel’s hair would be! Since it is a very light pasta it pairs well with sea food and is sold in nest like shapes that open up into silky strands on boiling …ummm perfect !

Ok my cheat sheet for this recipe , I used Thai red curry paste from a bottle but you can make your own too.As with other types of pasta, it is generally cooked until it is al dente, or firm to the teeth.

I love this angel hair pasta as it cooks really fast and the sauces are taken up so well by the strands.

Serves:2

Marination Time: 4 hours Preparation Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time:25 Minutes

Ingredients:

  1. 175gm Angel Hair Pasta.
  2. 2 packets of prawns.
  3. 2 tablespoons light olive oil.
  4. 4 large tablespoons Thai Red Curry Past.
  5. 4- 5 large garlic cloves skinned and very finely sliced.I love the skins so I kept them, they add a diferent twist and crackle that I cannot resist!,
  6. 2 large tomatoes skinned,de-seeded and chopped.This was the first time in my life I skinned tomatoes and must say it was fun 🙂
  7. Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  8. 200ml dry white wine
  9. For the garnish – 3 tablespoons fresh coriander finely chopped,fresh lime thinly sliced.

Method:

  1. Marinate the deveined prawns in the Thai Red Curry Paste and set aside for as long as you can before cooking the meal, as suggested by Delia for 4 hours in a fridge is ideal.
  2. To start with the sauce ,add oil in a pan and the chopped garlic, fry till i is a beautiful golden brown and the kitchen starts to give away a delicious aroma that tantalises your senses…ummm , then go in the pan the lime zest and juice , the tomatoes and wine  and on a high heat cook and eventually reduce  for about  8 minutes.
  3. Now add the prawns and mix well on a high heat, then reduce to a low flame and let this bubble again for 3- 5 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat once prawns are well cooked and cover and keep warm till the pasta is done as we have to be ready to serve this immediately when the pasta is ready , being thin it does not stay very easy to scoop out and handle once boiled.
  5. In a large vessel boil water with salt and cook the pasta , it is done in 3 minutes precisely.
  6. In bowls ready for serving spoon out the pasta ,whatever water comes with it , wil be soaked up by the pasta and the sauce.
  7. Serve the prawns in the Thai red curry paste and white wine sauce on top of the Angel Hair Pasta.
  8. In one word – Perfect !

Finito;)

Now for some pics- hover over each pic for a description, pics are followed by credits to the sites which inspired this blog post,Cheers Folks and do drop me a line if you liked this recipe and made it for your family 🙂

And last but not the least my sweetheart, my patient hubby for buying me the ingredients and for being my time keeper for this dish,I am eternally in love with you …..

Shahi Khichadi

I have decided to finally upload some of the recipes which received a lot of comments on my Facebook food album and I ended up sending out the recipe by email to many of contacts . Here is one of the easier and more popular ones . When I was a kid when my mother said ”khaichadi” in response to what’s for dinner ? it usually meant that one of us feverish and needed something gentle on the tummy or one of us was trying to recover from an upset tummy .Of course the taste of the boiled rice and green gram halved and with skin on or the yellow version without skin , is ultimately satisfying a great comfort food when served piping hot with a dollop of ghee and some warm milk ,a good night’s sleep guaranteed !

But my version is spicy ,with a tasty twist and a lot of fun to cook and even more fun to eat .

I adopted this recipe from the way my mother makes khichadi and also from how my pal S of http://www.jainfoodie.com makes Jain Dal Khichadi . I choose to call it Shahi meaning Regal or Royal here because it is rather a posh version of the humble boiled version. Khichadi meaning an Indian for a slurpalicious RICE and lentil dish cooked like a pulav /pulao/pilau /pilaf.

Ingredients (enough to serve 2 with second and maybe a third helping !)

  • Rice 1 cup
  • A Mix of the following in equalish parts in the same cup used to measure the rice – Massor Dal also called Red Lentils-split and skinless, Moong Dal also called Green Gram yellow we will use the  spilt skinless variety and the split green moong dal with green skin on , Urid Dal also called Black Gram halved with skin ,some Toor Dal also called pigeon peas – yellow spilt and skinless .
  • 1 large red Onion
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2-3 Bay leaves
  •  Bits of Cinnamon bark
  • 2 cloves of garlic smashed with skin on
  •  2 green chillies
  •  Jeera / Cumin
  •  Hing / Asafoetida
  • Salt to taste
  • Red Chilli Powder
  • Turmeric Powder
  •  2 small potatoes
  •  Few Curry leaves
  •  Few Cloves
  •  Few black whole peppercorns
  • 18. Oil for sauteing
  • Some Ghee – maybe 2 spoons – Clarified Butter

Method :

  • Wash the rice and lentils and place them in a pressure cooker ,add 4 cups (use same cup as the one used to measure the rice and the dals) of water and another to make it a little softer than regular rice ,pressure cook till 4 whistles are done.
  • Once the steam slowly releases from the cooker , you can open the lid and it will look like the picture below but a bit different in colour because when I made this I was short on red lentils so didn’t add them . Actually even you make this dish with rice and only yellow moong dal it will taste just as good 🙂

  • While the cooker is cooling down ,chop the potatoes into longish strips and stir fry them in hot oil till they turn brown, add some salt, sprinkled over them just as they get done, these potato fries are our garnishing to add that REAL REGAL or SHAHI touch to the dish . Once done keep them aside and STOP yourself from munching on them before your dish is ready , my husband managed to gobble quite a few ,pretending he was helping me ”stir” the onions while I clicked pictures ..grrrrr

  • Now Lets prepare the tadka /tarka or the tempering. First slice the onion and the tomato vertically into thinish slices .
  • Add oil about 2 large tablespoons into a pan and one teaspoon of ghee just for flavour and aroma , when this mix is hot add some hing , then add the jeera and the crushed garlic and the 2 green chillies spilt along the middle lengthwise as it opens them up and allows the pungent seeds to spread through the tempering , one kick ass way to add that hotttt KICK to the dish ,trust me this one is explosive spicy HOTT as it has all the ingredients to help the taste explode in your mouth, saute till the garlic is brown and the garlic’s skin starts to crackle , then add the cloves, the whole black peppercorns , bits of the barks of Cinnamon ,curry leaves, bay leaves and keep stiring this mixture to prevent charring or over heating ,it will look like in the picture below :

  • Then add the chopped onion, It should look like the picture below:

  • Then after a while when the onion has begun to turn a lovely pinkish ,brownish colour and looks the picture below it’s time to add the tomato .

  • Now add the vertically sliced tomato slices , I can assure you that now the potent aroma of all those lovely spices and the onion are stirring up quite an appetite inside you and making you hungrier every passing minute .

  • I dislike chunky bits of tomato floating in my mouth while I gobble up the khichadi so I jus a flat wooden spatula and gently ensure that the tomatoes are totally mashed  in a way that allows the mixture to become one entity, it should look like in the picture below :

  • Add just a bit of red chilli powder and some turmeric powder to the mixture above and add salt to taste ,Now add the cooked rice and lentil mixture to the above tempered mix of spices ,onions and tomatoes ,mix well stirring well, add salt again enough to flavour the rice and lentil mix .

  • It’s almost done , just keep this on a low flame for about a minute or two to allow the flavours of the spices to penetrate deep inside the rice and lentils .

  • The SHAHI KHICHADI is now ready to be garnished! Yay 🙂

  • WOW now doesn’t that look awesome ? I am quite proud about this creative production from my kitchen , hope you relish it as much as I did errr we did , hubby had to agree 🙂
  • If you fear that all the spices may be a bit too much for your sensitive palate prepare a quick cooling cucumber and curd accompaniment . Beat 2 spoons of set yogurt or thick flowing yogurt and add tiny square bits of fresh cucumber , season with a bit of salt ,some sugar and some jeera powder to taste .

Enjoy !