Zingy Turkish Poached Eggs with Total Greek Yogurt

I am a fan of eggs in any form and when I chanced upon this delightful Turkish recipe for combining eggs with thick and fulfilling greek yogurt I just had to go ahead and experiment! Total Greek Yogurt 0% is fat free, gluten free and suitable for vegetarians and pregnant women – all good , no nasties! Besides these virtues its consistency is great and I have in the past few days consumed one of the smaller pots per day part in smoothies and just a dollop with my rice and curry dinner. There are so many versatile combinations that are possible with this yogurt. From smoothies and shakes to use in cooking as a marinade or cooling dip with chopped goodies like fresh chives,garlic,chilli flakes etc.The thick and creamy consistency is a bonus if you’re trying to watch your weight too !

I made these poached eggs for brunch and served them with wholemeal pitta toasted in the same pan where I made my chilli butter – fabulous!

Traditionally this dish is called Çılbır (pronounced as chillburrr, roll the r’s!) is a Turkish dish of poached eggs with yogurt (often with garlic mixed in).There are records of çılbır being eaten by Ottoman sultans as far back as the 15th century. It is now common to serve the dish topped with melted butter infused with Aleppo pepper, for which paprika can be substituted. (Source:Wiki)

 

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Serves :2

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs – 2 per person
  • a handful of fresh mint roughly chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped fine
  • 500gm Total Greek Yogurt 0%
  • Butter 50gm
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Plenty of freshly cracked black pepper
  • Sea Salt as per taste
  • a pinch of chilli powder – as per your tolerance levels

Method:

  • Boil water in a large sauce pan(my time saving trick -boil water in the kettle and add to saucepan), then cover with lid and boil on medium flame for some more time.
  • When water is absolutely boiling remove the lid and reduce the flame to a very low simmer and carefully crack the eggs into the water one by one. They sort of seems to freeze frame inside the boiling water. Give them about 30 seconds and when it seems like they have been poached carefully remove them one by one using a slotted spoon. If you suspect that the yolk will just burst open it means it needs some more time inside. Don’t worry if this process isn’t perfect the first time around , its a learning curve and you will get it right in a few tries – in case of disaster scoop out as much of the egg as you can and after you are done with all the eggs use a sieve to save the remaining egg:)
  • In2  bowls or plates scoop out the yogurt and divide equally – season with sea salt and a generous sprinkling of cracked black pepper and a pinch of chilli powder.
  • Create a bit of shallow space in the middle of the yogurt mix and place the poached eggs on top.
  • On a non stick pan melt some butter and before it starts to brown add the finely chopped garlic and  smoked paprika.
  • Then add some sea salt .
  • Quickly pour this delicious golden spiced goodness the butter has become over the eggs and yogurt.
  • Sprinkle some freshly mint leaves roughly chopped over this.
  • Toast the mini wholemeal pitta breads in the same pan that was used to melt and spice the butter and it will give your pitta a kick of flavour!
  • Scoop the flavoured poached egg and the cooling yogurt with the pitta bread. It’s a beautiful sensation as the cold yogurt and smoked paprika work their magic on your taste buds.

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Disclaimer: With many thanks to Total Uk  for the generous amount of samples ,goody box and vouchers sent  to me to test and review.I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated monetarily for this post.Like all my previous posts about events and reviews, ALL opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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McCormick Schwartz Flavour Challenge – Tawa Chicken Frankie Roll

In 2014, global flavour leader McCormick, parent company of leading herbs and spices brand Schwartz, is celebrating its 125th anniversary. The yearlong celebration kicks off with the launch of the 125th Anniversary Edition of the Flavour Forecast (a new, annual prediction of what ‘flavours’ will be most popular in the cooking world) and the Flavour of Together programme, with the goal of connecting people around the world as they share 1.25 million stories about the special role food and flavour plays in our lives through.

To inspire people to share their flavour stories and tell the blogger community about Flavour Forecast, McCormick challenged me and a few other lucky bloggers  to come up with a new recipe that is based on the Flavour Forecast trends :

1. Chillies Obsession: Food lovers everywhere are seeking out their next big chilli thrill.

2. Modern Masala: Indian food is finally having its moment, breaking free of its traditional confines with modern interpretations.

3. Clever Compact Cooking: Proving that big flavours can come from small spaces, cooks in urban kitchens are making the most of what’s available.

4. Mexican World Tour: Mexican flavours are making their way around the globe, with people everywhere discovering new aspects of this bright, casual cuisine.

5. Charmed by Brazil: The world’s attraction to Brazilian cuisine is heating up, thanks to its seductive mix of global and native influences.

I decide to take up Modern Masala as a flavour trend. Coming from India , using a complex mix of spices as part of our daily diet has always been a part of my life. The  beautiful large open fruit n vegetable  markets even in major cities are a visual treat and there is a lot of passion involved in say getting the right type of chilli powder. So I think my recipe is an amalgamation of these  two big flavour trends together – Chillies Obsession and Modern Masala and of course because I manage all my culinary experiments in my tiny urban kitchen which is the size of a postage stamp I am sure my recipe also covers the theme Clever Compact Cooking!

My most vivid memory of spices being sold loose is of this huge wholesale and retail market in an area called Parel , Mumbai in India.There are many tiny shops and vendors which hand carts with huge piles of spices , bright red chillies in jute sacks and mini yellow mountains of turmeric and ever imaginable spice being sold in the open.Of course with our modern industries being so well developed we always used masalas out of a packet but the sheer variety available locally in any small town in India is mind boggling.

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In London I trudge to my local Indian shop and bulk buy the packets and secretly wish I could get an unlimited supply of aai’s home made garam masala and red chilli powder where she carefully selects 2 types of chillies with varying degrees of heat and roasts them in a kadhai after they have been dried in the blistering hot afternoon sun! Then she takes it to a local mill where it is ground and packed into a large ceramic jar and then stored at home.

I have made a simplified version of Tibbs Frankie using boneless mutton and a variety of Schwartz spices which were sent to me.You could safely say that this fella ”Frankie” is a distant cousin of the Fajita and the Kathi Roll.How this Frankie came into being is also a very interesting story which I shall share in a few lines here.

”The year 1967 Mr. Amarjit Tibb on returning back from England had a stopover in Beirut. During his brief stop there he stumbled upon a very ingenious Lebanese preparation, which was a pita bread wrap, with a variety of stuffing’s, this fascinated him. Upon his return the idea still lingered on and he kept innovating it to suit the Indian palate, after a year of research along with his wife they hit upon the perfect concoction. This Indianised wrap was soon tried among friends and family and after testing brilliantly it hit the markets. That was a new era to the term fast food in Mumbai, it caught on like fire in the Jungle, people accepted it and kept asking for more.Now came the problem of naming the product, again a number of brainstorming became the order of the day till a unanimous decision on the name was taken i.e. Frankie”

This explosion of flavours in a handy easy to eat roll which was given a  modern food truck makeover is a gastronomic delight and is available in a large variety of stuffings both veg and non-veg.I have rather fond memories of my college days and spending my pocket money which was always in short supply on these spicy, tasty rolls with a bunch of friends giggling away and then gathering any loose change we had left amongst us to buy a bottle or two of some fizzy cola to quench our thirst. Alert : have been suddenly been hit by a huge wave of nostalgia 🙂

I have created what is my version of a tawa chicken roll (tawa meaning pan in Hindi), the original Tibbs frankie filling is a tangy spicy  taste which they attribute to a secret ”Frankie Masala” – humm , well I think I got pretty close 😉 – evil laugh follows 🙂  You can go crazy and creative with the fillings and use this recipe idea to use up meat from your sunday roast, try various different veg and non veg patties with meat and masalas rolled into boiled potato casing and shallow fried. Great way to use a lot of colorful veggies and create a stir fry filling too – the possibilities are endless.

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Image Courtesy :Hindustan Times

Serves: 2 (with 2 rolls each and leftover filling)

Preparation Time for roll:5 mins

Preparation & Cooking Time for the ”TAWA Chicken filling”:30 mins

Preparation & Cooking Time for the chutney:10 mins

Ingredients – ”Tawa Chicken” Filling:

  • 500 gms chicken breast
  • Schwartz Asafoetida – a tiny pinch
  • 2 heaped tsp Schwartz garam masala
  • Schwartz Onion salt as per taste
  • 1/2 tsp Schwartz Garlic Minced
  • 2 heaped tsp Schwartz Coriander Ground
  • 1 heaped tsp Schwartz Cumin Ground
  • Schwartz Red Chilli powder as per taste
  • Ginger fresh – about the size of your thumb
  • 2 medium sized red onions finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 large juicy tomatoes chopped very fine
  • 1 large green chilli split lengthwise
  • 1 red pepper slit lengthwise
  • 3 large tablespoons of cooking oil

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Ingredients – for the Mint and Coriander Chutney:

  • 1 large bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 small bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • 2 green chillies
  • juice of half a lime
  • salt to taste

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Ingredients – for filling :

  • 1 large red onion chopped lengthwise

Ingredients – for the paratha  coating:

  • 2 small sized eggs
  • salt for seasoning

Method for the Chicken Filling:

  • Heat a saucepan on medium heat and add the oil, when it is hot add the asafoetida, split green chilli and crushed bit if fresh ginger ,saute’ and add the garlic granules, when the garlic begins to give out a strong fried aroma its time to add the finely chopped red onion.
  • Cook the onion till it reduces and turns a delicious brown, then add the coriander and cumin powder and garam masala and mix well.
  • Then add the finely chopped tomato and add very little water and cook for 1 -2 minutes without lid , stirring frequently, so as to ensure the mixture does not stick to the saucepan. Now the spices have been thoroughly cooked along with the onion and tomato to make a thick gravy.
  • Now add the washed and cleaned chicken breasts after cutting them into long lengthwise strips , toss in the red pepper cut into lengthwise strips
  • Cook on a low flame with lid
  • Add onion salt to the mixture, red chilli powder and turmeric

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Method for the Mint and Coriander Chutney:

  • Wash the coriander and mint leaves and spritz them in a food processor with the green chilli chopped – to reduce the heat use 1 chilli de-seeded.Add the salt and lime juice and spritz once again.
  • A smooth thick green paste is the consistency we are after – add some water to adjust the consistency.
  • This chutney stores for upto 10 days in the freezer in a clean ,air tight jar – rarely lasts that much in my house though – love making Bombay sandwich for dinner ummm.

Method for coating the Paratha :

  • Crack the eggs in a bowl and beat with a fork ,add salt to taste
  • Using a plastic brush spread on the surface of a frozen ready to eat  paratha and place the eggy side down on a hot pan coated with some cooking oil.(Paratha – ready to eat Indian bread readily available in the World Food Frozen section)

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How to put the Frankie Roll together:

  • Once the paratha coated with egg has been cooked on both sides on a pan slather it with the mint and coriander chutney and add some red onion chopped lengthwise.
  • Add a generous helping of the chicken filling , roll and wrap one end with some kitchen foil or baking paper .Enjoy hot.
  • Dip into the chutney or tomato ketchup as you munch along.

After I received the samples and wrote up my flavour story, my left hand was operated on (unexpected rescheduling) – a minor but rather errrmmm painful surgery and I walk around most of the time with a sling (promptly remove it as soon as OH leaves home for work hehe) So I had a bit of a panic attack about getting this post up on time,I know I missed the deadline by a few days  😦

But am really grateful to the kind folks up at McCormick  for bearing with me.Also I would like to thank OH for patiently chopping and cutting all the fresh ingredients for me and helping me to click these lovely photographs – what would I do without you? Sighh…

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After I received the samples and wrote up my flavour story, my left hand was operated on (unexpected rescheduling) – a minor but rather errrmmm painful surgery and I walk around most of the time with a sling (promptly remove it as soon as OH leaves home for work hehe) So I had a bit of a panic attack about getting this post up on time and I missed the deadline 😦 But am really grateful to the kind folks up at McCormick  for bearing with me.Also I would like to thank OH for patiently chopping and cutting all the fresh ingredients for me and helping me to click these lovely photographs – what would I do without you? Sighh…

The company has pledged to donate $1 to United Way Worldwide and it’s UK partner Focus on Food, for every story shared on the Schwartz website, Facebook page or other social channels.

Disclaimer: I was sent samples of  Schwartz by McCormick to create a dish and write a review and was also sent a generous voucher to compensate me for the ingredients.I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated monetarily for this post.Like all my previous posts about events and reviews, ALL opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Chocolate Coconut Cake with Coconut flavoured Icing

I was having a bit of  ”Nigellisma” attack on Tuesday ,if thats possible!I have been planning on baking an indulgent and rich chocolate cake.Also after reading Ren’s post  where prompted by Dom’s Random Recipes challenge,Ren baked a Vegan Chocolate Cake using a recipe for Affinities Cake from the book titled Rococo,,  I asked my neighbours 5 year daughter to flip through Nigella Lawson’s book ”Feast” – Food That Celebrates Life, lucky for me she stopped at  Nigella’s Old Fashioned Chocolate cake  recipe ,made using only the food processor – so very perfect.

Besides no better way to bring in Valentines week than by baking a decadent chocolate cake with hints of coconut flavour and adding some coconut flavoured icing on the top.I love Nigellas original recipe which I have (dared to!) modify as I wanted to I had been thinking of ways to use the lovely samples sent to me by Sugar and Crumbs .

And what great timing I say with Valentines , Hubby’s birthday and our wedding anniversary all lined up one after the other! Such a mega celebration calls for a grand cake – at least 🙂

I have modified the original recipe by using three medium sized regular eggs ,thick yogurt instead of sour cream, and have reduced the quantity of ingredients for the icing because I am not a big fan of slathering a very thick layer of sugary icing in between the layers nor am I very fond of a huge layer of icing on the top but I guess even after reducing the quantities of ingredients for the icing I still managed to get lots to smother the cake with.I have used Sugar and Crumbs flavoured cocoa powder in Chocolate Coconut and Sugar and Crumbs flavored natural icing sugar in coconut  flavour, result – a perfectly balanced taste of coconut without being overpowering. So am calling my cake – ”Chocolate Coconut Cake with Coconut flavoured Icing”.For the remaining part  the original recipe is perfect, basic,simple and therefore beautiful as it is foolproof and even a novice can get an excellent delicious, fluffy and intensely chocolatey cake – very satisfying indeed! Thank You Nigella!

Serves: 8 Preparation Time:25 mins  In the Oven:25 mins

Ingredients – cake:

  • 200 grams plain flour
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 40 grams Sugar and Crumbs flavoured cocoa powder in Chocolate Coconut
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 175 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 3 medium sized eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 150 ml thick set yogurt

Ingredients – icing :

  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 125 grams best quality dark chocolate (broken into small pieces)
  • 225 grams icing sugar
  • 100 ml sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  • Sift the plain flour through a sieve into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the caster sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Mix well with a spatula and transfer into the food processor.
  • Crack the eggs into the mixture, add the vanilla essence and the yogurt and mix roughly with a spatula before running the food processor to ensure that the loose flour doesn’t fly all over the place. For the first 30 seconds I lightly covered the chute of the processor with my palm to prevent the flour from flying out in a mist . Now this is the reason I want a Kitchen Aid 😉
  • After an initial spin , use the blunt edge of the knife to scoop out what stuck to the walls of the processor and mix well with the cake batter.
  • Don’t worry if you think the batter is very thick ,another spin for about a minute should give you the required consistency to ”pour” into the cake tins.

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  • Grease two removable base 8 inch tins with butter and equally divide the cake batter into each tin.
  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF
  • Bake for 25 minutes and then test the centre of the cake with a cake tester or thin skewer.
  • My cakes were done in 25 minutes but you may need up to 30 minutes depending on the type of oven. The cakes rose beautifully but the top had cracks. The icing was there to save the day and make the cake look pretty.
  • Remove cakes from baking tray and leave to cool down on a wire rack.
  • While the cakes are in the oven prepare the icing by mixing together all the ingredients of the icing ,the original recipe calls for adding golden syrup but I totally gave that a miss. Why? Because I had already borrowed some butter, some yogurt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda from my very patient neighbour H 😉 – yes, yes she did get a large portion of this cake 🙂
  • Now to ice the cakes place the slightly domed part of one cake face down and slather icing on the flat part and place the other cake flat side down on the icing and then slather icing all over the cake.
  • I had some pretty pink and white sugar stars which I used to decorate my cake.

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I have also been sent Sugar and Crumbs Coffee Flavoured icing sugar and a pack of salted caramel powder, maybe cupcakes need to be baked next ?:)

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Happy Valentines Day – just realised its past midnight ! If like me you haven’t yet figured out what you can do for that special someone in your life ,maybe its time to send them a cute little surprise they can see through the day on their phone or email , something I haven’t done in a long long time, send an e-card!

Greeting Games is  a digital greeting card combined with a casual game.  It’s a really fun way to send eCards to people, and the brilliant thing is it works on smartphones as it’s not Flash-based.The site, which works seamlessly on all devices from tablets to PCs and smart phones, also has greeting games for numerous other occasions including birthdays and “just for fun.”As the sender, you get to choose the occasion, choose the game and then tweak various options including adding a personal message to the recipient. After February 11, customers will be able to send up to two greeting games for free.Think of it if you will as a new way to communicate their love and affection with tailored casual games and in-game messages.

I have been meaning to link with the Tea Time Treats challenge hosted by Karen who blogs at Lavender and Lovage ,for sometime now, finally am getting around to doing just that.The theme for February is – you guessed it  – CHOCOLATE! This cake is definitely gorgeous enough to be served as dessert and as a rather special tea time treat and with such a mega celebratory week for us I couldn’t think of anything more apt 🙂 This challenge is co-hosted on alternate months by my lovely blogger friend Jane who blogs at The Hedgecombers.

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Thanks to Ren, I found about all these wonderful recipe challenges that I will be linking to for the first time.My recipe is being  linked to Dom’s Random Recipes event hosted by Dom who blogs at Belleau Kitchen , where for February the challenge is to  select any chocolate-themed recipe book and to make a randomly selected recipe from that book.The idea of this recipe challenge is to make us home chefs step outside our comfort zones and make something that we would otherwise hestitate to and totally avoid. Humm ok I got off easy this time 🙂

Also linking to the We Should Cocoa event hosted by Choclette who blogs at Choc Log Blog  where the challenge is to use an ingredient and that ingredient is chocolate – how apt for Valentines, and with all that gorgeous dark chocolate this cake certainly qualifies!This month, Dom has also joined forces with Choclette,result –  two round ups at the end of the month instead of one and two great challenges linked to make one mega event– what fun!

Another first – entry into Nayna of Simply Food’s Lets cook sweet treats for Valentine.Also for the first time. I’m  joining in with Jibber Jabber’s Love Cake first ever event where the theme for the month of love BAKING WITH PASSION and this is a cake baking challenge.

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Above Joint events image courtesy Ren

Since I did bake this cake on Tuesday am linking it with Anyonita’s Tasty Tuesday’s Blogging Party – !

Disclaimer: With many thanks to Sugar and Crumbs for the generous amount of samples to test and review.I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated monetarily for this post.Greeting Games has offered me a 2 month free subscription in exchange for supporting the launch of their e-card games.Like all my previous posts about events and reviews, ALL opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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Demystifying Tapas – ‘TAPAS REVOLUTION’ – Chef Omar Allibhoys new cookbook

Excited that I would be meeting the young and talented Chef Omar Allibhoy at the Launch of his Book called Tapas Revolution at his Tapas bar by the same name I couldn’t wait to get myself to The Balcony at Westfield,Shepherd’s Bush. The district Line managed to live upto its reputation of being the most non trustworthy of all the tubes lines with delays and finally after 3 changes I managed to reach the venue! Gaah!

Any feelings of angst soon vanished when the I saw familiar faces at the Tapas Bar. A few of the food bloggers I met at FBC’5 were there and as the evening progressed I met some more interesting foodies. It’s the best part of being a foodies, talking food with like-minded people and feeling totally normal discussing spices,ingredients, chefs and cookbooks, never a dry spell in conversation I say.In all we were a  group of about ten to fifteen food bloggers invited to Chef Omar’s book launch – TAPAS REVOLUTION – 120 simple CLASSIC Spanish dishes.

What followed was an evening of great food, lots of Sangria (for me), an insight into Spain’s rich culinary traditions and of course lots of picture-taking,posing for pictures and in my case eating some foods I have never dared to try until now!

If one thing is apparent as I  watch Chef Omar effortlessly dishing out one plateful of flavour after another is his passion for food. All of 29 this young man has taken it upon himself , a mission of sorts to revolutionize the Spanish Tapas and put them firmly on the U.K Map and as Tom Parker Bowles of the Mail on Sunday has said ”….with this talent,passion and dedication the revolution’s in good hands” and mind you all this and his Charm and good looks is a perfect combination for success! Lucky for us especially knowing the humble beginnings of Tapas which literally meant ‘tapa’ or ‘to cover’ and according one of the theories of their origin they were served free to cover one’s drink and save it from flies!

Chef Omar and his cheerful team orchestrated the whole evening well ,after all not a mean task to serve 14 different dishes perfectly plated and all this while ensuring that our glasses never ran dry!

Some of the mouth-watering delights we tucked into :

Jamon (Ham) Ibe’rico – Ibe’rico  ham gets its rich nutty flavour from the  pigs that roam freely in the woodlands of Spain eating acorns and herbs.

 Salmorejo – Bread served with Chilled and  divine Tomato dip called Salmorejo – a chilled tomato dip traditionally from Seville.  I am not ashamed to admit that I wiped off every last drop of the Salmorejo dip off my plate and all this with a very innocent face and while making polite conversation;)This dip is very similar to the cold cucumber soup or Gazpacho because it is served chilled.

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BOQUERONES – Anchovies Marinated in black olives,red onion,paprika and cumin (Image on the top of collage)

Pimientos De Padron‘ – Fried Padron Peppers (Image on the bottom of collage)

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Tortilla De Patatas – Spanish Omlette with Charlotte Potatoes served with a dip called ALIOLI or Mayonnaise made with – get this MILK!

tortilla, and with an aioli made with MILK

I was now feeling like a true Spaniard and was thanking the generous crew with my new favourite Spanish word ”Muchas Gracias” though instead of the quick and correct way in which they seem to gently throw this word, my tongue doesn’t oblige me and as a result I get a puzzled look to my strange-sounding word.I still firmly maintain that this is going to be my most loved word in Spanish after Jamon and Pimientos.I plan to land these words on unsuspecting subjects all of next week (shall have to refrain from doing that in public particularly on the tube for fear of getting whacked by shocked commuters who would assume I was saying naughty abusive words in a foreign tongue to make them squirm in their seats while I try to balance my errremmm not so slim self un-gainfully around the pole with 5 other people trying to get their paws on it for support) hummm

Pulpo a la Gallega – Steamed octopus with potatoes and Pimenton – This dish looked so tempting that I happily ate it and only when I was home and typing this up did I realise that it’s the first time ever I have dared eat an Octopus after a singularly scary episode of eating one years ago and breaking out in a rash before I could blink, I have since steered clear of this delicacy to avoid turning into a puffer fish and scaring fellow diners away.But no any more, Tapas Rule woohoo!

Calamares fritos – deep-fried baby squid (Image on the right)

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Pollo en pepitoria – Moorish Chicken. Chicken in saffron, cumin and vegetable sauce, honestly not my favourite  but still great depth of taste because of the saffron and cumin together some notes of taste would be similar to that of an Indian curry but with many other levels of flavour.

Chicken(Pollo) in a gracy with spices and almonds

By now our gastronomic journey had traversed from simple to exotic in about 3 platefulls and this juicy beef skewer was supremely satisfying on all counts, the sea slat hits the palate after your teeth has sunk into the meat and the spices have enveloped your mouth in an avalanche of taste – this is my clear favourite and only the Tortilla and Alioli with its surprise ingredient – Milk manage to scrape their way in as close second favorites.

Pinchos morunos con mojo picón – marinated beef skewers with a spicy dipping sauce.Everything about this dish including the dip was so perfect, I could eat this everyday and not get bored.

Beef Skewers

Breaking bread with fellow foodies today over Sangria and some Bubbly Cava ,it seemed natural to chew on a Pimento now and move onto more complex and vibrant flavours. Now am quite stuffed and happy and chatting with Li and Dee (nice ring there huh,almost musical !) and am secretly hoping no more food but they don’t seem to stop wanting to feed us!And its too good to resist anyway…

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Papas Arrugadas Con Mojos – Wrinkled Potatoes with Mojo – This is the Chef’s hand me down family recipe and how they do potatoes in the Canary Islands, again another spectacular dip with coriander , very tasty and appealed a lot to my Indian taste buds a lot.

Croquetas de jamón – deeped-fried Iberico ham croquettes, these look innocent but are little parcles of delight as they go from cripsy to gooey soft full throttle taste machines as you bite into them,Advance Warning – Seriously addictive and I did try and steal more than my share from the sharing platter ….obviously Unsuccesfull  and a bit let down, the crew wouldn’t have it, so they served me some Cava!!

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The clear winner for me though was the Pinchos morunos con mojo picón which has rich, robust and full bodied taste. I am certainly going to try and cook that sometime very soon. I see a Tapas party at mine happening soon enough with a few good friends some time soon, all they need to do is bring the Cava 😉

Oh wait, just when I was about to put my camera away, we were served Crema Catalana – Catalonian Custard Pots and Churros con Chocolate.OMG! Those custard pots are bits of perfection with a crunchy caramelised top and a creamy smooth custard with hints of vanilla. And those Churros….oooooo, instantly transported me to sunny shores on a perfect summers day.It took all of me to resist not dipping my finger into the liquid chocolate.

Helen,thanks for patiently letting me attempt clicking a picture of the Churros dripping chocolate while Chef Omar urged us to give the churros a generous dunk into this brown liquid goodness.

Crema Catalana

Churros

Dripping goodness

Mind you I left the venue a convert,with Spanish Cuisine demystified and Tapas explained,many firsts for me here:

  1. First Time I dared eat Octopus Yeah!
  2. Best Calamari I ever ate
  3. First ever Book Launch
  4. 3 glasses of Sangria and was able to walk in a straight line – all thanks to how stuffed those deceptively small platefulls can make one feel! Wow

Armed with a signed copy of  Chef Omar Allibhoy’s wonderful new book – TAPAS REVOLUTION (with food pictures that give me weak knees) ,I am confident that even a novice like me can make a valiant attempt at dishing up some of the delightful tapas and learn some fun tricks along the way. The beauty of the book lies in the fact that one can source these ingredients very easily in their local supermarket or simply raid their kitchen cupboards to create something absolutely wonderful. No fuss ,no do-dah. Just pure and  simple Food – for each one of us to create a  Revolution.

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Chef,me with book

Cheers!

Muchas Gracias to the organisers for inviting me to this wonderful evening of food, fun and tipples and watch the charming Chef Omar cook us Tapas!

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Vintage Frittata recipe inspired by ”Angel”

Well as my previous blog post mentioned I am quite besotted with my latest cookbook – The Vintage Tea Party by Angel. She is such a talented lady and anyone with orange hair,a vivid imagination, a vast collection of Vintage odds and ends and a great cook to top is all is my kind of hero!

So I first ate a Frittata at my workplace where it was served during tea time,anything remotely associated with eggs and I simply must try it, I could live on fried eggs ,omelettes ,scrambled eggs and yes Frittatas!

I surfed up info about the origin of Frittata because that’s the beauty of food and recipes, they start from someplace and then suddenly are popular world cuisine and everyone’s making their own versions. Some food blogs have really well researched posts about the Frittata and I do recommend reading them:

http://www.delallo.com/articles/la-frittata-egg-dish-endless-possibilities

http://www.theoldfoodie.com/2008/12/i-have-change-and-treat-for-you-today.html

http://www.thefoodadvicecentre.co.uk/reference/recipes/frittata/

Wikipedia defines a Frittata as : The Italian word frittata derives from fritto, the past participle of “to fry” (friggere),[1] and was originally a general term for cooking eggs in a skillet, anywhere on the spectrum from fried egg, through conventional omelette, to an Italian version of the Spanish tortilla de patatas, made with fried potato. Outside Italy, frittata was seen as equivalent to “omelette” until at least the mid-1950s.

Well,Angel’s recipe is an antithesis to this logic,why? well because it’s OVEN BAKED not fried and secondly is rather basic yet tasty,her recipe recommends using flower petals to decorate and also cutting it into shapes to make it more visually delightful and intriguing. Ofcourse what I’ve cooked isn’t a patch on the beautiful Angel’s creation but it’s a sort of a tribute to her, in a demi god,fan like behaviour sort of a way…!!

By all means if any one of you does create one anything close to Angel’s original, please do share your feedback and pictures !

I have scaled down the ingredients for 2 people and added a few twists here and there for experimental touches of my own!

Ingredient list to whip up a mean frittata- Vintage and all that 🙂 remember to roll up ur hair in a bun while making it and think Vintage :),Angel style !

  1. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  2. Half a white onion sliced
  3. 1 Courgette  finely sliced into half-moon slice
  4. 5 large free range eggs
  5. Salt
  6. cracked black pepper
  7. Goats cheese crumbled

Method

  1. Pre Heat the oven to 220° C /Fan 200° C/ Gas mark 7. Line a baking tin with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Heat oil in a small frying pan and fry the onions until soft for about 2 minutes, stir in the chopped courgette bits,fry on a higher flame for about 4 minutes till it’s goldenish. Angel advises not stirring or tossing this too much in her book and I do agree.
  3. Beat eggs in a bowl,season with salt and add the onion and courgette mixture.

4. Crumble some goats cheese and  then transfer above mixture to a baking tin of your choice, I simply used my small cake tin. Bake for about 15 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and serve hot.Season with cracked black pepper sprinkled on top.

I think this makes for a really delicious and filling tea time snack and is really easy to make when time is a constraint,which is almost always in our busy lives.

Of course,Angel’s recipe differs and requires some more cooking as there is cheese and is seasoned with edible gerbera petals, I will try it once am able to lay my hands on those delicate beauties.

To check out Angel’s website visit the following link http://www.angeladoree.co.uk/

Trust if me if you already haven’t , her books are a MUST HAVE in everyone’s personal collection of recipe books, I for one am totally smitten!

Basic Chocolate Cake with Frosting

What better way to celebrate a new FOODISTA Badge for my post on Shahi Khichadi than by baking a chocolate cake , I firmly believe that chocolate is the one word that instantly lifts sagging spirits and the whole baking process itself is cathartic ! So sistah’s lets BAKE !

Prep: 25 mins | Cook: 30 mins

Level :EASY PEASY !

You will Need the Following :

  1. 225g butter, softened
  2. 225g caster sugar
  3. 4 Eggs
  4. 220g Self Raising Flour
  5. 3 tsp Baking Powder
  6. 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  7. Half tiny spoonfull of Soda Bicarbonate

For the FILLING

  1. 100g Butter
  2. 100g Icing Sugar
  3. 1 level tbsp Cocoa Powder
  4. Chocolate for adding chocolate shavings,or crunchy choco balls or FRESH strawberries sliced – whatever suits your mood , mine says GO ALL OUT FOR CHOCOLATE !

Preparation:

  1. Lightly Grease two cake tins and line the bottoms with non stick-parchment. Perheat Oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. I manage without parchment , it’s up to you, if your baking for the first time use it as it prevents the sides from burning.
  2. Ensure butter is completely softened or else use the old foolproof way – heat water in a pan ,place a vessel on top with the butter inside minus any packaging, watch it soften like a man melts when he looks onto the eyes’s of his dearest ,ahem …
  3. Measure the Butter and sugar into a bowl and mix well they form a creamy mix, I used a fork and gave it a good old whipping:) – think of someone you dislike – your boss , your mil, your annoying neighbour, Baba Yaga the Witch – whoever – just whip away hehehe
  4. Add 3 medium or 4 small eggs, I used 3 medium-sized eggs.
  5. Swift the self-raising flour into this mix ,followed by the baking powder, soda bicarbonate ,cocoa powder and beat till really smooth , I didn’t even need a hand blender as the butter was perfectly soft and the flour well swifted , though do go ahead and use a hand blender on low setting for about a minute , have added a picture so you know the look of consistency.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two tins and put into the oven to bake for 25-30mins.I used the foil of the butter packaging to grease the cake tins, no wastage in my kitchen !
  7. While in the oven make the icing by creaming together the butter and icing sugar and add cocoa powder, mix until smooth.
  8. Sandwich together the two cakes with the icing.Add some on the sides and sprinkle the crunchy choco balls on the top , go all crazy and add some chocolate shavings , I did !
    When you bake this and sink your teeth into the chocolately heaven , enjoy the moment and then….drop me a line ! 🙂
    PICTURES !
    Hover over the pic for a title …

”POSH ”Victoria Sponge Cake

What better way to celebrate the excitement surrounding the Olympics happening in London than sinking my teeth into a perfectly delicious soft Victoria Sponge Cake !

It’s an easy recipe and the result left me feeling like so very happy !

I tried to read up online why it is called a ”Victoria” Sponge cake and the apt answer seems that since Queen Victoria loved this soft cake with her afternoon tea ! So I am going to savour the cake and afternoon tea as I cheer myself hoarse in front of the telly whilst watching the Olympics 🙂

Lovely! So let’s get baking and when your done gobbling some of it , drop me a line and let me know how much you enjoyed creating this yummy delight !

This cake serves 8 people, takes about an hour to prepare.

I choose to call it ”POSH” because that’s Victoria Beckham’s pop name,our very own British star and this cake is modernised version of a British Classic recipe with a twist as it is layered with Creme Chantilly’ – very posh sounding indeed !

Ingredients:

  1. 225 g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  2. 4 Medium sized eggs, organic if you please
  3. 225 g caster sugar
  4. 225 g self-raising flour
  5. 4- 5 Large tablespoons of Strawberry Jam , the traditional version uses raspberry Jam, I used strawberry conserve.
  6. 250 gm fresh strawberries sliced lengthways
  7. Icing Sugar for dusting on top of the cake
  8. Soda Bicarbonate – 1 teaspoon
  9. Baking Powder 1 Teaspoon

To make the  crème Chantilly:

  1. 300 ml double cream – so sinful 😉
  2. 25 g icing sugar
  3. I tiny cap full of Vanilla essence , the original recipe inspired by The Good Food Channel advises to use – 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways and seeds scraped or vanilla extract- Please click on the hyperlink to see the original recipe on The Good Food Channel website !

METHOD :

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line two 18cm cake  tins with a removable based with baking paper.I inauguarted my brand new weighing scales and cute cake tins I purchased for all future cake making experiments !
  2. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream well until light and fluffy – this will take at least 10 minutes to get it properly aerated.Use the 10 minutes you have to wash and clean the strawberries and slice them lengthwise.This was also a first for me in terms of using my food processor to mix the butter and sugar mix.Then empty this butter sugar mix into a large mixing bowl , I also have a NEW nice bright Orange bowl !
  3. Break each egg and add one at a time , whisk the mixture  well after each addition to ensure its soft and fluffy.
  4. Add the self-raising flour to the above butter ,sugar and egg mixtures , I added one spoon at a times and mixed it really well each time . Add the Bicarbonate of soda and Baking Powder to this mixture , I used this as I do in every cake but the original good food channel recipe does not mention these 2 ingredients.Later I used a hand blender to really get this mixture feel like one entity and till it felt right to pour into the ready cake tins .
  5. Now pour the above cake mix in equal portions into the  2 cake tins and smooth the top with a plastic spoon, the type you get with a food processor.
  6. Bake for 20 minute,with a timer , until risen and golden. Ensure you do not go over the 20 minutes,also if you are using a fan oven like I do , use only the setting that heats from below.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the baking pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the crème Chantilly:

  1. Put the cream in the food processor , add the icing sugar and  the vanilla essence. Whip to the soft peak stage, using the slow speed setting  then refrigerate until slightly firmed.
  2. Take the strawberry jam into a small pan and warm gently whilst stirring ,use low flame and do not leave on pan for tool long.
  3. Remove the cakes from the cake tin , on the top of one cake spread the jam from the pan and add the chopped strawberries .
  4. Then get the Creme Chantilly’ from the fridge and spread generously over this.
  5. Place the second cake on this and press down ever so gently .
  6. Dust the top of this lovely sponge cake with a bit of icing sugar and decorate with a blob of the Creme Chantilly’ and some sliced strawberries !

Voila , the classic British cake with a twist – Posh Victoria Sponge is ready for you to savour, impress your family and friends and enjoy baking over and over again !

The above recipe is now part of an exciting link up with Delicious Dish Tuesday , to find out more please click on the link below- please copy and paste the below URL into your browser window,also look for the ”Delicious Dish Tuesday”Badge on this blog 🙂

http://www.mamachocolateblog.com/delicious-dish-tuesday-recipe-link-up-23.html

 

An Omlette with a twist

What’s life without a bit of a twist I say !

So here’s one of my “different” omelette recipes, I love eating eggs in all shapes and forms and am more so obsessed with omelettes and scrambled eggs.

This recipe is for hungry morning times when you have a rumbling tummy and need time to hold the tummy quiet and prepare for rest of the day .It’s a filling , satisfying yummy start to the day , I serve this with 2 slices of toast generously buttered and a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice to wash it down 🙂

Ok so you will need the following ingredients:

2 eggs

1 medium size of half or a large sized red onion chopped lengthwise

half a garlic cloves sliced very fine lengthwise again, will tell u why soon..

1 large chicken sausage roughly cut up

1-2 green chillies chopped into pieces which are visible n too fine

Salt and red chilli powder to taste

Preparation: time 15 minutes

Chop the red onion lengthwise and so also the garlic clove, why? Because in a omelette the tiny square bits will loose themselves and vanish I like to chimp on and feel the taste of all the ingredients as I eat the omelette and appreciate each and every ingredient, it’s just so much more fulfilling and creates a immense feeling of happiness as a creator of a true mouth-watering masterpiece.

Sauté the red onion n garlic slices in a generous blob of butter on a pan until the onion starts to reduce turns a mild brown n stays a bit soft so that when you bite into in it releases a sweet burst of onion taste on your palate.

Toss the above mix into 2 eggs in a bowl and add the sausage ,chopped green chillies and salt and with a  fork mix thoroughly till the eggs begin to froth  and the sausage is all mashed up and mixed into the whole set of ingredients.

Next take your favourite omelette pan , again add a generous blob of butter on a slightly heated pan , to reduce your guilt use a low fat option , I do – either Lurpack’s latest or any one that you fancy.

Pour onto this pan the omelette mix and cover for sometime as this helps the omelette fluff up and it looks chubby almost and you start to salivate at the every sight if it 😉

Turn it when the sides are done n there is just a bit of centre that needs cooking

I like mine slightly brown if you prefer it to be less well done just flip it sooner n don’t cook it for as long.

Enjoy it with hot buttered toast and as you bit in enjoy the bits of buttery toasted garlic as they hit your tongue and finely balanced by the yummy red onion caramelised to perfection almost.

AAAHHH pure omelette pleasure.

If you do make and enjoy eating this share your partners or husband or children’s reactions, it will surely make me smile.