Baked Pea Kachori

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kachori1 12/05/2017

Kachoris are a traditional Gujarati snack, often filled with spiced dhal. I find that using green peas, instead of pulses, gives them a fresher, sweeter flavour that combines wonderfully with the warmth of the spices. I’ve used peanuts for a little added crunch too.

This version of kachori are filled with spicy pea filling and served with a cooling coriander and coconut chutney. Yummy! They will make a delicious starter to a curry night. Like most Indian snacks, traditional kachori get a deep-frying treatment but these beauties have been baked in the oven with excellent results.

Adding citric acid to the dough helps to keep the chapatti case crisp and adds a little citrus zing to balance the flavour but it is completely optional. You can omit it if you don’t have any.

Makes 20-25

Ingredients:
Dough:

  • 150 g plain flour, sifted
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp / 15 ml of oil (I used olive oil)
  • about 75 ml / 5 tbsp of boiling water
  • ½ tsp citric acid (if using)

Filling:

  • 300g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 25g unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp of grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil, for sauteéing
  • about 1-2 tbsp / 15-30 ml of lemon juice
  • small bunch of mint, chopped

Chutney:

  • 1 cup of fresh coriander
  • about ½ cup / 120 ml full fat coconut milk
  • lime juice to taste (I used ½ lime)
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

kachori3

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, citric acid and salt. Add oil and rub it into the flour with your hands. Now add 60 ml of hot water and start bringing the dough together. If it is too dry add another 1-2 tablespoons but do it gradually so that the dough doesn’t end up too wet. Knead for 5 minutes. Brush the surface of the dough with a tiny bit of oil and cover with a damp tea towel to prevent drying up.
  2. Whiz defrosted peas in a food processor with the mint until coarse chunks remain.
  3. Warm up a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat in a pan. Add mustard seeds and wait until they start popping. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry them briefly until the garlic has softened. Mix all the spices in a small bowl with a bit of water to make a paste. When you add them to the pan, this will prevent burning. Now add the spice paste, peas, peanuts and salt to the pan. Stir-fry for a few minutes but do not let the mixture dry up completely. Let the filling cool down.
  4. Pinch a small amount of the dough and roll it into an 8 cm / 3” circle. Place a heaped teaspoon of dough in the middle and gather the dough around the filling so it looks like a little money bag and tear away/cut off excess dough. Roll the kachori in your hands to make it more circular in shape. Keep kachori ready under a damp kitchen towel.
  5. Heat up the oven to 200° C. Place kachori on a baking tray and brush them with a bit of oil. Bake for about 40 minutes, until browned.
  6. To make the chutney, blitz all the chutney ingredients (apart from lime, salt and pepper) in a blender. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.

kachori2

Welsh Cakes

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welsh 31/03/2017

This tasty offering is a spiced fruity drop scone that is baked on a griddle pan. You can whip up a batch in no time and enjoy them hot from the pan slathered with butter and jam or sprinkled with sugar.

Makes 18-24

Ingredients:

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g butter, cut into small pieces plus extra for frying
  • 50g currants
  • 25g mixed peel, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • splash milk

Method:                                            

  1. Tip the flour, sugar, mixed spice and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Then, with your fingers, rub in the butter until crumbly. Mix in the currants and mixed peel. Work the egg into the mixture until you have soft dough, adding a splash of milk if it seems a little dry. It should be the same consistency as shortcrust pastry.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of your little finger. Cut out rounds using a 6cm cutter, re-rolling any trimmings. Grease a flat griddle pan or heavy frying pan with butter and place over a medium heat. Cook the Welsh cakes in batches, for about 3 mins each side, until golden brown, crisp and cooked through. Delicious served warm with butter and jam, or simply sprinkled with caster sugar. Cakes will stay fresh in a tin for 1 week.

Baked Chorizo Dip

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chorizod 23/03/2017

My rubbish phone picture really doesn’t do this dish justice but for something I rustled up out of odds and ends in the fridge, it tastes and smells incredible! The rich, spicy sauce is perfect for dunking fresh garlicky bread into.

Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side

Ingredients:

  • 1 cooking chorizo, case removed and sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • dash of balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil
  • Handful of spinach
  • Strong goats cheese
  • Garlic bread, to serve

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 200C. Place a frying pan over medium heat and add the sliced chorizo. Cook the chorizo gently until it begins to release its oils. Flip the slices and continue to fry until beginning to brown. Drain and set aside.
  2. Discard most of the chorizo oil from the pan but keep a little to fry the garlic and peppers in until slightly softened. Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, balsamic, seasoning and basil to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Put the spinach in the pan along with a dash of water and cover the pan so the spinach wilts.
  3. Return the chorizo to the pan and stir everything well to combine. Transfer to a little baking dish. Top with crumbled goats cheese.
  4. Place the dish on a baking tray long with some garlic bread and bake in the oven for 12 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the garlic bread is crispy.
  5. Remove from the oven and try to resist the temptation of shoving it in your mouth instantly. This will result in searing pain although it would be totally justified and expected once you smell how amazing this is!

This dish would work really well with any bread or even as a stir through sauce for pasta as the meaty juices would combine beautifully.

Pierogi – Polish Dumplings

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pp 14/01/2017

Pierogi are a Polish dumpling that can be filled with a variety of things from mushroom and saurkraut, ground meat or potato and cheese to sweet versions such as cream cheese and cherries or prunes.

They are very simple to make but are quite time consuming. They are quite therapeutic to make though so set aside an afternoon, drag a friend in to help and knock up a batch of fluffy, delicious dumplings to enjoy.

I don’t claim that these are the most authentic version out there but they sure are tasty.

Makes approx 50

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 3 cups plain flour, plus more for rolling and dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 cup room temperature water

For the Potato Filling:

  • 1 large baking potato, diced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • ½ tsp salt and a few grinds freshly ground black pepper
  • Small handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream

Instructions:

To Make the Dough:

  1. On a clean work surface, place all of the flour into a pile. Stir in salt then make a well in the centre of the flour. Crack the egg into the centre along with the sour cream. With a fork, start stirring the eggs and sour cream into the flour pulling the edges toward the centre. Then gradually add the water a little at a time as you continue to stir with a fork. You may not use all of the water so check texture and slowly incorporate another half cup of water. The texture should be soft and only just sticky to the touch.
  2. Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough ball and surrounding counter and with a scraper or a palette knife, scrape the dough from the counter over onto floured surface and continue this process adding flour as needed until you have a soft, pliable easy-to-handle dough that does not stick to the rolling pin.
  3. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough mass out to 1/16th inch thin.
  4. As you roll, keep flouring the counter under the dough so when it is completely rolled out, none of the dough mass sticks to your counter.
  5. Using a 3 inch round pastry cutter, dip the cutter in flour if needed then cut out the circles as close to each other as possible. After filling this batch, gather up the scraps and roll back out and cut more circles. Finally roll up the last of the scraps and cut one last time. The dough is soft enough to get rolled out three times but no more. Also try to keep the dough covered with a slightly damp cloth to keep the dough from drying out.
  6. The final count should be approximately 50 circles.

To Make the Potato Filling:

  1. Boil potatoes in salted water for 10-15 minutes until tender, then drain and place back into the pan. Mash the potato then remove to a bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, melt butter over medium heat and add onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook 3-5 minutes until tender. Remove from heat and add to the mashed potatoes along with the parsley, spring onions and sour cream. If not filling right away, refrigerate until needed.

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To Fill, Prepare and Cook the Pierogi:

  1. Place 1 tsp of the filling in the centre of a circle of dough that you have cut with the cutter spreading it out into the shape of an oval. Have a small cup of water close by and with a pastry brush, lightly wet the outside of the circle half way around. Then lift the dough circle in your hand and pull the edge of the dry side to the edge of the wet side together in the centre and pinch tight. Then work from the centre out and pinch the rest closed, poking any filling back in as you go. Set the finished pierogi on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  2. Place a medium to large pot of water on to boil as you finish the remaining pierogi. Have a large sauté pan on a burner with the melted butter on medium low.
  3. Once you have made as many as you plan on making, place about ten at a time into the boiling water (checking to make sure that they haven’t stuck to the bottom of the pot) and boil until they float (about 2-3 minutes). Then cook for an additional minute and remove with a strainer. Immediately add to pan with melted butter. All you are doing with this step is coating them in butter so they don’t stick to each other. Toss in the pan of butter for about 30 seconds and remove to a platter. Repeat for all of the pierogi you intend to cook.
  4. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter and add onions and cook for about 4-5 minutes until slightly browned. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Using the same pan over medium heat, melt butter and add cooked pierogi. Cook flipping occasionally until browned on both sides, about 5-8 minutes.
  6. Serve pierogi with sour cream and sautéed onions.

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Cheesy Chicken Schnitzel

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screenshot_2016-10-13-20-19-10-11 13/10/2016

Normally, I’d be dead set against ready grated cheese but it tastes incredible in this recipe and delivers a super savoury umami hit along with the crunch of the panko and the succulence of the chicken for a super tasty meal.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 75g panko breadcrumbs
  • 75g ready-grated parmesan
  • ½ tsp each smoked paprika, dried rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • a knob of butter

screenshot_2016-10-13-20-21-27-11

Method:

  1. Butterfly the chicken breasts by cutting them open to spread them out without cutting all the way through. Cover with some cling film and gently bash them with a rolling pin to tenderise and flatten each breast. You should be left with two large ‘sheets’ of thin chicken about 1cm in width.
  2. Take 3 shallow bowls. Place the flour in one and season. Place the beaten egg in the second. Place the panko, parmesan, smoked paprika and rosemary in the third bowl. Season the breadcrumb mix well.
  3. Take each chicken breast and coat with the flour, then the egg and finally the cheesy panko. Press the panko mix gently so it sticks well to the eggy chicken.
  4. In a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the chicken breasts and fry for a few minutes until the bottom is crisp and golden and you just start to see the sides of the chicken turning white.
  5. Turn the chicken over to make the other side crispy and golden and ensure the chicken is cooked through. By now, the kitchen should smell of amazing cheesy goodness.
  6. Remove from the pan and slice up each piece to serve. I have served mine with rosemary roast potatoes and a rocket salad.

Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes

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screenshot_2016-10-01-19-41-38-11 01/10/2016

I don’t know if this is the ‘right’ way to make fishcakes or if this recipe uses the ‘right’ ingredients but I do know that this version is seriously tasty.

I used oak smoked tinned mackerel as my partner can’t stand smoked fish (strange man) so I always have a tin lurking in the back of the cupboard ready to use for when I only need dinner for one. You can, of course, use whatever fish you like but I find smoked mackerel particularly flavoursome.

The rest of the ingredients are also what I had in the cupboards. I made this up the other day as I was craving fish cake and I couldn’t be bothered to leave the house so needed to use whatever I had. To be fair though, I tend to have absolutely everything and anything in my cupboards that maybe a normal (not obsessed with wacky food stuffs) person wouldn’t have.  But I can assure you, this recipe requires bare minimum ingredients and is so easy to make! Again, adapt it to your tastes. If you don’t like something, swap it.

As mentioned, I made this meal for myself so the quantities are for 1 large portion but if making it for more people, use 1 mackerel fillet per person and adjust the other quantities as necessary.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 small new potatoes
  • A chunk of peeled swede, diced
  • 1 tin of oak smoked mackerel, drained
  • 1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50g Panko breadcrumbs
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 tsp Smoked paprika
  • A few sprigs of sage
  • Knob of butter

Method:

  1. Cut the potatoes and swede into equal sized chunks and boil in a pan until tender. Drain and mash together until fairly smooth. A few lumps are desirable.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, flake the mackerel up and add the mustard and seasoning. Add the mashed veg to the bowl and stir well to combine.
  3. Beat the egg in a separate bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the panko, parmesan, smoked paprika and a few leaves of finely chopped sage. Season and set aside.
  4. Using a little flour on your hands, shape the mix into 3-4 patties. Dredge the patties in the beaten egg then transfer them to the panko bowl and coat evenly.
  5. Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Drop a sprig of sage in to flavour the butter then place the fish cakes into the pan to sizzle in the herby butter and become crispy and golden. After a few minutes, gently flip the fish cakes and fry for a few more minutes until the wonderful smell of herby cheesy goodness fills the house. Remove and serve with a fresh green salad.

Special Fried Rice

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screenshot_2016-09-23-17-55-52-11  25/09/2016

A super speedy, cheap and tasty meal…

I’ve left some of the quantities undisclosed here as it is really up to you on your preferences and what you have to hand. I love the salty savoury note of soy sauce so tend to be quite liberal with it. Sometimes, I add a little oyster sauce to the mix too.

It is important to use cold rice as just boiled rice will turn mushy in the wok and will not be very pleasant to eat.

Add leftover meats, bacon, crunchy veg, beansprouts, sweetcorn, mushrooms… whatever you like. Duck and five spice is a fantastic addition or you could even keep it really simple and add a separate stir fried dish to it. Go crazy!

Ingredients:

  • Cold leftover rice (I used brown rice)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 250g pack raw king prawns
  • 1 large egg
  • Tenderstem broccoli
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • 2-3 spring onions, sliced
  • Soy sauce
  • Ground white pepper
  • Fresh coriander, to serve

Method:

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a wok over medium-high heat and fry the onions until soft and golden. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the tenderstem broccoli and peas to the pan and stir fry for a minute to begin softening the broccoli.
  3. Add the prawns and stir fry until just pink.
  4. Add the cold rice and stir to combine everything. Crack the egg into the wok and gently fold into the rice mix as it cooks. You should be left with some clumps of egg while binding the rice at the same time. Season with soy sauce and pepper generously and stir in the peas. Cook for a couple of minutes and serve topped with coriander and another drizzle of soy sauce.