Malai Kofta

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mal 20/06/2018

What do you do when you don’t look at the packet properly and buy a block of paneer instead of feta? Get creative – The Greek salad can wait!

Delicately spiced paneer and nut stuffed potato dumplings are simmered in a velvety smooth and creamy gravy in this malai kofta recipe. It has a few stages but is very simple and totally worth the effort. You can use shop bought garam masala but I highly recommend taking the time to make your own as the flavours are so much more alive and layered.

Serves 2-4 depending on your appetite

Ingredients:

For Kofta:

  • 200g potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 100g paneer
  • 10 cashews
  • 1 Tbsp raisins (optional)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp corn flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying

For Gravy:

  • 200g tomatoes
  • 150g onions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbsp green chili paste
  • 1/ 2 cup fresh cream (malai)
  • 2 Tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste

For making garam masala:

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 whole dry red chilies
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 cashews

Instructions:

  1. Place the boiled and mashed potato in a mixing bowl and add the grated paneer into it. Now add all other ingredients and mix them well. Add some corn flour for binding so they don’t break up when frying.
  2. Make small balls out of the mixture by rolling in your hands. Around 15 balls can be made.
  3. Now coat the balls with a little more corn flour.
  4. Heat the oil on medium heat and deep-fry all koftas until a dark golden brown colour.
  5. To make the garam masala spice mix, take all dry spices and blend in a spice blender or pestle and mortar to make a fine powder.
  6. Make a puree from the tomatoes. I use a stick blender but you could just use passata for time.
  7. In a frying pan, heat the ghee, add chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes. Then add garlic, ginger and green chili paste.
  8. Cook for another 3 minutes then add the homemade garam masala powder. Let it cook in ghee with onions. Cook it for 2 minutes.
  9. Then add tomato puree and cook until the majority of the water contents evaporate. (If using passata, the water won’t evaporate so add less water in the next stage).
  10. Now, add half a cup fresh cream or malai, and red chili powder (optional), salt and 1 cup of water. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  11. The gravy is ready. Add koftas to the sauce when ready to serve.
  12. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with Indian roti or paratha.
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Spicy Masala Buns

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3 28/04/2018

Can you tell I have a lot of potatoes to use up at the moment? If I see another jacket potato any time soon, I might scream so this recipe jazzes up the humble spud with a bit of spice. Wrapped in a flavoured wholewheat dough, these tasty warming buns  deliver on flavour and comfort.

Ingredients:
For the dough:

  • 1 cup Plain Flour
  • ½ cup Whole Wheat Flour or Atta
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 7g packet instant dried Yeast
  • ¼ cup Hot Water
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • 2 tsp Chilli Powder
  • ½ cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp Oil, plus extra for preparing the dough
  • a few pickled Jalapenos

For Potato Filling:

  • 4 Boiled Potatoes, crushed
  • 1-2 Red Onions
  • 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 inch Ginger, grated
  • 1 Green Chilli, chopped
  • ¼ tsp Asasoetida
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh coriander, chopped

4 2 1

Method:

  1. For preparing wet ingredients add salt, sugar and hot water in a bowl and mix for the salt and sugar to dissolve. Add milk to bring the liquid to room temperature and then add yeast and allow to sit until it foams. Then add oil.
  2. For dry ingredients add the flours, chilli powder and coriander and mix them well. Add the liquid and mix to form a dough. Make a ball and then apply 1 tsp of oil to coat the dough and allow it to rest anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. The dough has to double in size.
  3. For the filling heat the oil in a wok. Add asafoetida, green chillies, garlic, onion and salt and cook until the onions are well done. Then add turmeric, potato and cilantro and mix well and cook it for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before making the buns.
  4. Set the oven to 200 degrees C and when the dough is ready, take a little over a golf ball size dough and pat it. Place a heaped tablespoon of the prepared stuffing in the centre and cover up the filling with the dough. Place it on a baking tray and add jalapenos on top and bake for 14 -15 minutes.
  5. When the buns are done brush them a little with melted ghee or butter for a lovely gloss and serve them hot with any chutney.

Balinese Fish & Potato Curry (Kari Ikan)

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Capture 04/09/2017

Vibrant and flavourful and full of healthy ingredients, this dish will take you to a warm and sunny place. Once you have the ingredients in order, it’s surprisingly quick. The flavours that set this dish apart are kefir lime leaves and fresh turmeric root, blended right into the curry paste. I really recommend tracking down these ingredients from an Asian supermarket as the flavours are so fresh and full. Once you have the flavourful base made, you can use whatever fish you like. The Balinese commonly use swordfish but I used cod loin with fantastic results.

Ingredients:

For the paste:

  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced ginger (skin on)
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh turmeric – thinly sliced – skin on ( or sub 2 teaspoons ground)
  • 2 x 5 inch sticks lemongrass, thinly sliced into disks
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 green chilli (this will be mild)
  • 5 kefir lime leaves

For the curry:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 8-10 ounces baby potatoes, cut in half
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 lime- juice
  • sambal oelek, or chili paste or chili flakes for additional heat
  • 10 -12 ounces white fish – (I used cod loin. You could use tilapia, halibut, sword fish)
  • 1 cup peas, sugarsnap peas, green beans, pak choy ( veggies that can cook in 1-2 minutes)
  • Garnish with lime wedge,  crispy shallots, fresh mint, basil, spring onions and/or fresh coriander
  • Serve over Thai jasmine rice (it’s nice to toss a couple of kefir lime leaves in with the cooking rice for a beautiful aroma)

Method:

  1. Set the rice to cook.
  2. Place the thinly sliced ginger, lemongrass, shallot and turmeric in the food processor. Add the jalapeño, garlic, and lime leaves. Pulse until it becomes a paste, scraping down sides if necessary.
  3. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat. When hot, add fragrant paste and stir constantly until it browns lightly, about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 cups water, give a stir, bring to a boil. Add potatoes, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
  4. Remove the lid, and reduce the liquid just a little, letting it simmer uncovered for a few minutes. Add coconut milk, salt, fish sauce and the juice from one small lime. Taste. Remember this will go over the rice, so the flavours will mellow. Add chili paste or flakes for more heat.
  5. Place the fish into the coconut sauce and simmer gently for 5 more minutes. Toss in the spring peas, snap peas or green beans and cook for just a minute or two, keeping them vibrant and snappy.
    Serve over rice with a lime wedge, crispy shallots, fresh mint, basil, coriander and/or spring onions.

Dal Khichdi

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khichdi 05/06/2017

So my brother has recently decided to pursue the vegan diet as have many people recently for various reasons. While I could never give up meat myself, I don’t like to eat it all the time and vegetarian and vegan dishes can be just as satisfying if not more so. So to give my brother some inspiration and to showcase how tasty vegan food is, I’m posting a vegan series of recipes that do not require strange substitutes or try to be a vegan version of meat but that are simple and delicious in their own right.

The first of these is Dal Khichdi. It is an Indian style lentil and rice casserole recipe, an ultimate comfort food and super simple.

Ingredients:

  • ½ Cup Rice
  • ¼ Cup yellow dal
  • ¼ Cup red dal
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 medium size tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium size potato cut into small cubes
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 inch root ginger, grated
  • 1 green chili, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp each coriander seeds, methi seeds, fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili power
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp ghee (oil if vegan)

To garnish:

  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 1 medium size tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 – 3 sprig of coriander leaves roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp ghee (oil if vegan)

Instructions:

  1. In a dry frying pan, gently toast the coriander, methi and fennel seeds over a medium heat until they just begin to crackle and smell nutty and aromatic. Remove from the heat and grind to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar. Set aside.
  2. In a large cast iron pot, heat ghee over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and as the seeds turn light brown, add the garlic and ginger and sauté until light brown in colour.
  3. Next add the chopped onion and green chili. Stir and sauté for few minutes over medium heat or until onion become soft and golden.
  4. Add the chopped potato along with the freshly ground spices, cinnamon sticksalt, turmeric powder and red chili powder. Stir to combine.
  5. Ass the lentils and rice, stir to combine and sauté for a few minutes.
  6. Add approximately 500ml of stock along with tomato. Stir to combine and seal the lid. Let Dal Khichdi cook over medium heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring every so often. You may need more stock so keep checking. Turn off the heat.
  7. While the Dal Khichdi is cooking. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the sliced onion until golden. Drain and keep aside.
  8. Serve Dal Khichdi warm topped with the caramelized onion, chopped tomato and fresh coriander leaves along with raita (if not vegan), salad and poppadoms.

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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Cheese & Onion Pasties

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screenshot_2016-09-23-21-24-02-11 26/09/2016

Pasties! As the weather begins to turn, nothing hits the spot more than a comforting pasty with crisp, golden pastry with an oozing cheesy filling. Mmmmm

Different fats produce different characteristics in baked or fried foods and hard fat will produce a crisper texture than any other. I have tried using beef dripping with this pastry and lard. Both have given extremely crisp results with their own savoury character.

The use of some strong flour in the pastry also makes the dough a little more resilient to make shaping easier without sacrificing tenderness.

The mix of different mustards is purely my preference so if you have any favourites then feel free to experiment.

Either way, the mix of fresh spring onions with hearty potato, autumnal swede and melting strong cheddar is an absolute winner encased in a crisp, buttery house of loveliness.

screenshot_2016-09-23-17-50-48-11 screenshot_2016-09-23-21-20-09-11

Makes 6

Ingredients:

For the rough puff dripping crust:

  • 300g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 100g strong white flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g beef dripping or lard, at room temperature
  • 150ml lukewarm water

For the filling:

  • 150g Extra mature cheddar (I used Barber’s Cruncher)
  • 100g peeled and diced swede
  • 100g peeled and diced potato
  • 3-4 large spring onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon each of wholegrain mustard, Dijon mustard and English mustard powder
  • A few sprigs of thyme – optional
  • 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

Method:

  1. For the rough puff dripping crust:
  2. Place the flours and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into little pieces and rub into the flour then cut the dripping or lard into 1cm pieces and toss it through. Do not rub it in. Stir the water in without kneading until the dough just combines then leave for 10 minutes.
  3. Generously flour the work surface to stop the dough sticking then roll out the dough to 50cm x 20cm. Fold the dough in by thirds then roll out again towards the unfolded ends and fold in by thirds once more. Cover the dough or place in a bag and let it rest somewhere cool (but not as cold as the fridge) for 30 minutes.
  4. Repeat the rolling, folding and resting twice more. The pastry is then ready to be used. You can also freeze it at this point in a sealed ziplock bag then just allow to thaw completely before using.

For the filling:

  1. Place the grated cheese and spring onions in a bowl with the swede and potato, add the salt, pepper, flour and thyme, if using, and toss this together and chill.
  2. Roll the pastry out to about ½cm thick and cut out circles using a side plate as a guide.
  3. Mix the mustards and mustard powder together in a small bowl. Lightly coat the centre of each pastry circle with the mustard and brush the edges with water. Place a generous spoonful of filling on one half of the pastry leaving a clean ½cm border.
  4. Fold the pastry over the filling and press the edges together gently to seal. Crimp as you like. Repeat with the remaining pasties then place on a greaseproof lined baking tray.
  5. Chill the pasties in the fridge while you heat the oven to 200C then brush them with egg wash and bake them for 45 minutes until the pastry is rich and golden and the filling is piping hot.

Potato Scones

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IMG_20160223_133921[1] 23/02/2016

Another classic case of leftovers being better than the original dish! This particular batch of scones was made using a leftover baked potato from which I scooped out the insides and discarded (ate) the skin. I’ve also made the scones with leftover mash which gives equally light, fluffy and comforting results.

Makes 8-12

Ingredients:

  • 6oz plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 oz margarine
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz leftover mashed potato
  • About 3 tablespoons milk
  • Spring onions, cheese (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/200C. Lightly grease a baking tray.
  2. Measure the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the margarine and run in with your fingertips until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add spring onions and cheese at this point for flavour if you wish. Stir in the salt and mash, mixing with a fork to prevent lumps. Add enough milk to form a soft but not sticky dough.
  3. Turn the mixture out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead very lightly. Roll out to a thickness of about ½ inch and cut into rounds using a 2 inch cutter. Alternatively, cut the dough into triangular wedges, as pictured.
  4. Place on the prepared baking trays and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Best served warm and buttered.