Wednesday, 28 November 2012
So, heat 2 tbs oil in a pan, and add 1 finely chopped onion and 2-3 finely chopped cloves of garlic. Fry on a medium heat until deep golden brown.
Lower the heat and add half a can of tinned tomatoes, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 2 green chillies if desired, chopped or not to taste, 1tsp salt and 1 tsp garam masala.
When the mixture becomes shiny and the oil separates, add a pound of mince.
Stir throughly to coat, and then add 2 cups of frozen peas and stir well again. Stir fry for a few minutes, breaking up the clumps of mince.
Add a cup of boiling water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a low heat, cover and simmer for 20 mins. Take the lid off and stir fry for a few more minutes. The meat should be moist, but not swimming in water. Add a tbs of dark soy and a tbs of light soy sauces, and serve with rice or naan or chapatti.
So I got home and got a good slosh of olive oil + veg oil heating and tipped the aubergine cubes in and set them squeaking. As the character Sebastian is always singing, and in Bengali we refer to the aubergine as singing when it is cooking at the correct heat, I was quite amused to call Littl'Un in for a listen. She was delighted.
After a few minutes, I added finely chopped onion, about half a large one, and a teaspoon of cumin seeds. I put the lid on and let it cook down. I have a real abhorrence of any bite left to the aubergine, so I like the pieces small and mushed down. I got on with the other dishes while this magic happened, in this case my turkey mince curry which I've been requested to post up too, and will do in my next post.
When I felt it was cooked enough I poured in half a tin of tomatoes, and a teaspoon of my garam masala. I wanted a sourness to it too, so I added an extra half teaspoon of ground cumin and also at the very end, a teaspoon of green mango powder.
I may have added water and obviously salt to taste, some tomatoes in tins are thicker so would probably need a little water added to make this gravyish enough to mix with rice.
I'm sure it was the green mango powder, also known as amchoor, that made all the difference, so don't leave it out if at all possible.
Both girls loved it too, and there wasn't any left!
Friday, 12 October 2012
I'm currently feeding an extra person, a dear friend who has a badly injured hand and so cannot easily cook for herself, so I'm trying to make as many one-handed-eating meals as possible. Here's what I've come up with for this week:
Saturday: jacket potatoes with chilli com carne and salad.
Sunday: jerk chicken, coconut rice, fried plantain.
Monday: khichdi, fried eggs and veg.
Tuesday: my parents wedding anniversary, we will have take out together.
Wednesday: crumbled sausage meat with orzotto and veg.
Thursday: oven baked bacon and tomato risotto and salad.
Friday: pasta with tinned salmon and creme fraiche and beans.
Let's see how that goes.
Friday, 29 June 2012
This is another food idea brought to me by my dear Sis In Law, Sonia, and I guess it would be best on a weekend, or perhaps if eating them cold then anyday. They make a nice packed snack/breakfast/lunch too.
Imagine you made your preferred daal on Monday evening for supper, and you served it with rice. But perhaps you ate all the rice, or you there is more daal left than would go with the leftover rice, so you put the left over rice in a tupperware (or "dubba" - a catchl-all word for box, tub, tupperware, container) with the portion of daal to go with it, and you have some daal left.
Or perhaps you want something different or more long-burning than rice and daal (rice always messes with my blood sugar these days), then this would be perfect for you too.
So, either as you clear up on Monday evening, or on Tuesday morning, or whatever morning you want this, or the evening before whatever morning you want this, you empty the left over daal into a large flattish bowl, and then you slowly add your chappatti flour (atta) to this. Now, I really truly can't tell you how much atta you need, as daal varies in liquidity obviously, and I don't know what amount you have to start with!!! With a medium thickness daal, like porridge, you'd probably need about double the volume of atta, but basically add small amounts and mix, until you get a soft, not stiff or dry, not sticky dough. If you have made chappatti before, then that is basically the dough texture you want, allowing for the bits from the daal!
Now refrigerate for 10mins-half an hour if you can.
When it has rested awhile, heat up your tawa or a good heavy frying pan, and break the dough into pieces about the size made when you make the OK sign with your index finger and thumb. Roll the pieces into flattish balls, and roll out one by one til about 2 mm thick, about a saucer size. You can make them bigger if you prefer, but my kids get daunted by big looking food. I find it easier to get a round shape if I flatten the ball on the rolling surface with my palm before rolling with a slight clockwise twisting motion. I also use a this Indian "belan" rolling pin stick which kinda does the shaping as you roll.
I have a tiny kitchen, so I roll one while the previous one is cooking, but if you have space, roll them all out if you want. I test the tawa is hot enough by dripping a drop of water onto it, if it fizzes and vanishes, the tawa is hot enough. As this is a paratha, you will use some oil or ghee to fry these, but remember there will have been one or other in the daal in the first place.
I slap the rolled out paratha onto the tawa and then using a teaspoon of the oil or ghee, I "draw" a circle around the edge of the paratha and spread a little onto the centre of the upper side too. After about a minute (longer if the paratha is thicker or larger) I lift an edge up and if I see black or brown spots, I flip it over, and repeat the oil/ghee circle ritual. When the 2nd side is spotted too, I remove the paratha and put it in a chapatti "dubba" to keep warm. Feel free to store the cooked ones between 2 plates if you don't have such a thing! Repeat until dough used up, or you have enough for your needs, and store dough for the next day.
There, it is honestly is that simple, serve with a dollop of yoghurt and some pickle or chutney, marmite, some salad, veggies, hot cup of tea or whatever takes your fancy!
Here are the links I'm supposed to link to, which inspired this post...
I shall try and add a pic of this next time I make it, but if you try it, do post a pic on Twitter or FB or elsewhere and comment a link to it!
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
So after a fun afternoon at a slightly damp Jubilee Street Party, where the kids ate their fill but we didn't quite feel we'd had enough, we put the kids to bed, and I whipped up this combo in about 20 mins, basically the kadhi was cooked while the khichdi cooked in the rice cooker. Here's how I did it. (Oh I have to add that the recipe was handed to me by my dear Sindhi sister-in-law, who was brought up in Gujerat, but the addition of the veg was mentioned online lots, and I was inspired by Monica Shaw. My dear SIL posted on Facebook to mention that she also makes a fishhead version which is slightly thicker, omits the sugar and has the addition of pan fried fishheads which give great flavour and goodness.) In another post I shall post a recipe for some chickpea flour dumplings that can be added to the kadhi is desired too.
So I put 2 cups of rice and half a cup of washed (yellow) moong dal in the rice cooker with 3 slices of ginger and added 3 and a half cups of water and switched it on and let it get on with it.
In small pan, I mixed together a cup of yoghurt with 4 cups of water, a tea strainerful of chickpea flour (about 3 tbs, I used the teastrainer to sieve it so it didn't clump too much) and then I whisked like mad while heating it gently.
Once it was thoroughly mixed, I added a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt.
I then brought the whole mixture to the boil very gently - it is REALLY prone to boiling over - and let it softly boil for a few minutes until it seems to have a sort of "soft" texture and there is no longer a raw taste of chickpea flour in it.
At this point the recipe says to heat some oil or ghee and fry slices of garlic (3-4 cloves for this amount of kadhi) and a teaspoon of mustard seeds, about 7 curry leaves, a sliced green chilli and a couple of little dried red chillies. These are normally then added to the kadhi.
However for this variation, I now fried a big stir-fry pack of veg containing edamame, cabbage, shredded carrot, pak choi, slices of red onion and stuff in a big pan, added the garlic, mustard seeds and curry leaves as stated above and then we poured the kadhi onto this.
The khichdi was also done by this point, so we served it up, and I shall admit that it was totally yummy, and I followed Monica's lead and had some left-overs for breakfast in the morning too! One last important note about this, is not to use fresh mild yogurt. Use yogurt that has been open a few days and has started to sour, or that unopened tub at the back of the fridge that is a few days out of date, obviously, use your judgement and don't get ill, but this dish should taste sour, and mild sweet fresh yogurt just won't do this.
Saturday, 19 May 2012
There is a lovely recipe in a book by Anjum Anand for a pink pickled prawn curry, and I really fancied cooking it, but when I got round to cooking it, I was tired, and fed up, and wanted something quick and simple and I just couldn't handle following each step slowly to build up the layers of flavour. I glanced over the ingredients and realised that the spices she uses are basically those in the Bengali "panch phoron" or 5 spice, and I have a home mixed pot of that ready in the cupboard*, so I fried a teaspoon of my panch phoron in the karahi for a few seconds, then added a tablespoon of Patak's tandoori spice curry paste from a jar in the fridge.
The (thawed) raw prawns then were added and fried until cooked (pink and curled up) and I added a couple of tablespoons of water and tinned chopped tomatoes to gravy it up a bit. A twist of lemon juice at the last minute zinged this up so that it was fresh and light and exactly what I wanted.
Simple steamed basmati was the perfect foil and some crunch crispy salad leaves.
Littl'Un had 3 helpings.
* panch phoron=
1 tbsp nigella seeds
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
Mix together in a spice jar and store until needed.
Sat: saayi daal, tandoori (?) salmon cubes, rice, maybe a few chapatti
Sun: oxtail stew & rice
Mon: jacket potatoes, Littl'Un's egg mayo, cheese, baked beans, roast spiced squtternut bosh.
Tues: sausage & chips with brocolli (giggly pig sausages and some organic chipolatas I have in the freezer)
Weds: steak & rocket in pitta bread (inspired by an amazing steak sandwich I had last weekend at Boyden's Kitchen.)
Thurs: chicken, mushroom, sweetcorn in cream sauce with pasta - maybe conchigle
Fri: pickled prawn curry, spinach sweetcorn curry, rice
Monday, 7 May 2012
This was a REALLY frugal meal, and if one has time and inclination, can really boost your budget a lot, as it's cheaper even than a few sandwiches for lunch for the family.
The paratha dough is easy, similar to chapati, but with a tablespoon of oil added - 2 cups of atta, half a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of garam masala, aforementioned oil, bound together with a quarter cup (ish) of water. Firmly kneaded until smooth, and then left to rest for half an hour.
I then rolled small balls
A kid thali! She had mango chutney with her yoghurt later, and a boiled egg for protein. Even the Baby loved smushing his paratha into some yoghurt on his tray. He even ate some!
Saturday, 21 April 2012
I sliced up the 2 fennel bulbs in the v-slicer and then fried them with a finely chopped onion until they were all going soft. I sprinkled in a teaspoon of fennel seeds and then a teaspoon of ground cumin to aid digestion. I then crumbled in the pack of pork mince (on a BOGOF in Ocado) and browned it, then added a teaspoon of Marigold powder, and a slosh of white wine. At this point I added a small pack of baby new potatoes.
I left this to simmer for around 20 minutes, and at the very last minute I stirred in a splash of cream.
This was served with some greens and some lovely sourdough bread from Boyden's Kitchen of course.
Monday, 16 April 2012
(If you want to see what inspired me, have a look on Twitter & Flickr at Monica Shaw's tweets & pics.)
I planned a daal and rice, I wanted to practice my chapatti making and thanks to Monica, I wanted some veg curried in some way too. I looked in the fridge and saw the pack of baby courgette I had bought for dips and baby led weaning food, and decided to try something with that, thinking if I can't get my family to eat courgette curried in some way, then I'm giving up trying to get them to eat it again!
I sliced a couple of garlic cloves and fried them in a couple of teaspoons of ghee and then added a teaspoon of cumin seeds. I then added the sliced up courgettes and fried for about 5 mins til the slices were softened and starting to crisp at the edges.
I had used half a can of chopped tomatoes in the daal, and reserved the other half for dinner tomorrow, but I poured about an inch of water into the tomatoey tin and swished all the juice out into the pan. Waste not want not. I then halved a handful of organic cherry tomatoes (cos that's what I had, otherwise I would have used some of the tinned actual tomato or chopped up a couple of normal tomatoes.)
Then I sprinkled on half a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of my garam masala. I left this to cook on a fairly high heat, to smush the tomatoes down, and then just before serving I stirred in a dollop of natural yoghurt.
I have to say, I did myself proud, the flavour was exactly what I'd been going for, and it perfectly complemented the creamy smooth masoor daal. Littl'Un had 4 helpings, including the last 2 slices from Papa's plate. Papa had 3 helpings. Yes, Papa who won't eat courgette!
I have to add a note that I also served a really yummy salad of sprouted beans and lentils with half a mixed leaf bag, dressed with olive oil and blackcurrant & rosemary vinegar by Womersley Foods. The sweetness was the perfect dimension needed to complete the experience for this meal.
Sunday, 15 April 2012
The decor is charming and fun, evoking the Bombay Cafe feel, with the retro Indian posters and sepia family photos on the walls, lazy ceiling fans and the cabinets of medicines and tonics in the loo cubicles. The joss stick smell made me smile as we walked in, and the music widened my grin further. I had spent time in cafes in Bombay and Calcutta and Delhi in my childhood, the effect was there undoubtedly, with a safe, hip, western feel, so I didn't feel it was so authentic I couldn't drink the water, but not so copied that I felt I was in a theme park.
The welcome was warm and friendly, and we didn't at all feel unwelcome with a baby, even though it was lunchtime and all the other customers seemed to be office workers and locals. Our waiter wasn't exactly smiling and friendly, but he was solicitous and not unfriendly. He explained how the menu works and recommended 2 to 3 small dishes per person, but our budget was unlikely to stretch to that, and to be honest, the 1-2 dishes were ordered per person were WAY too much! To be fair, he did suggest that we might not need the plain rice, but we pointed out that the biryani rice might be too spicy to give Littlest with the daal.
The other dishes all arrived together, house black daal, lamb biryani, rumali roti (literally handkerchief bread,) perfect plain rice and the special of the day - phaldari kofta, as well as a bowl of raita as suggested by the waiter. A trio of chutneys were brought and described, and the waiter even offered an extra bowl instead of a plate for Littlest, without my having to ask. I just wish the waiter had smiled a bit!
Monday, 9 April 2012
Saturday, 7 April 2012
Opening day was today, and although I'd been asked to provide a cake for the Bishop's visit on Sunday, so needed time to bake (and boy what a recipe I chose, more on that another time...) I was not going to miss the first day excitement, and what a lot of excitement it was!
We trundled down on foot after a good giggle at GodPapa who asked if we'd be driving (he hadn't figured out how close it is!) and after an initial worry about whether it would be too crowded, we were happy to note that even very full and busy, there was plenty of space, to park the pushchair and spread out around their big table and relax.
Ben seemed to remember us from our stop-by a couple of weeks back, and was helpful in seating us to our satisfaction. And that seemed to be the theme of the place - nothing seems to be too much trouble, and everyone seems happy to help.
There were only drinks "menus" up on the blackboard above the till and counters, and that was choice enough. I plumped for a rooibos and cherry tea, Papa went for the Masala Chai, both supplied by Little Sparrow Tea and brewed in lovely cheery red teapots with removable strainers "because we hate over-stewed tea" (though I never know what one should DO with a removed infuser, even though I have 2 teapots with them at home too!) Tea was served in lovely eclectic china cups, and the food plates were random but lovely too. They also serve Monmouth coffee, which the coffee drinkers appreciated, and also Fentimans fizzies and Chegworth Valley juices. Littl'Un had the pear, and it was really smooth and creamy.
There wasn't a lot of savoury food on view, but there were some very tempting looking basket baked focaccia style breads (this really needs a photo to show you, so I will just HAVE to go back soon) so I plumped for one topped with leek and goat cheese, and it was GORGEOUS, and Papa had a beetroot leafy goatcheesey salad so we shared both, and they worked well. We recommended Womersley foods dressings to them to complete the salad, and Anna noted down the name, which was typical of how you feel the staff care and are listening. Littl'Un needed lunch too, and Ben was more than happy to make her a lovely simple (good quality) ham and cheese sandwich on lovely white bloomer bread, which she loved, and we also had a couple of bacon and avo baguettes which were perfect in their flavour and ripeness, which is rare when eating out.
We did have a few sweet things, and Littl'Un had a her face painted really spectacularly by Miss Lala, and was so happy there the whole time, that we never even had to break out the colouring books and activities we had brought with us!
I had a lovely chat with Anna about babies, knitting and more (her son is just a month older than mine) and I really felt included and a sense of belonging.
At the back of the shop, I finally found the knitting yarn and craft sales corner, having already spent a few minutes wandering and mentally building a shopping list of jams and breads and other groceries on sale from shelves tucked away in corners, but adding to the display effect in the shop.
Prices were very very reasonable, well within Credit Crunch budget, so not just an aspirational place to go to, it's very real and accessible.
We were all thoroughly impressed all round and look forward to becoming regulars, getting involved in events & I could even see myself looking for a job there when the Littlest is bigger... (and that's saying something from a die-hard stay at home mum!)
Saturday, 11 February 2012
Saturday: bacon and sausage pasta with caulibroc salad
Sunday: we are away, GodPapa will fend for himself
Monday: we may be back, we'll have roasted veg & cheese or beans & cheese wraps if we are.
Tuesday: Papa is going to make spag bol.
Wednesday: garlic and chilli buttered prawns with a mushroom risotto and some steamed veg.
Thursday: chicken, leek and mushroom pie
Friday: cheats mac & cheese and salad
On Thursday I will also bake some little cakes to take to playgroup on Friday, as it's BigUn's birfday on the Sunday thereafter... Hopefully will throw together some free-from ones too...
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
So here is this week, and it's been going to plan so far too:
Saturday: Roast gammon (was half price in Morrisons) with halogen oven roast potatoes and roast beetroot with creme fraiche, parsley sauce and a bag of steamed mixed veg.
Sunday: oxtail stew & rice
Monday: jacket potatoes (microwave then halogen crisped) with egg mayo, cheese and baked beans
Tuesday: ethically sourced British veal, with mushrooms, spring onions and paprika in a cream sauce with Spaetzle & brocolli.
Wednesday: left over gammon, toast, carrots batons, olives, fruits.
Thursday: decent quality chipolata sausages with Smash (we didn't actually end up having this last week)
Friday: cubes of salmon marinated in orange juice, sherry, soya sauce and sesame oil and grilled on skewers. With rice and stir fried green.
Tuesday, 17 January 2012
My meal plans have really changed as I have only a small window of time to cook in the day with a nursling in my arms, and it's important to me to savour every moment of every stage, and to respond to his needs as much and as quickly as possible. We won't die from a few months of speedy meals. I'm also using lots of pre-prepped veg once or twice a month as I get Healthy Start vouchers for fruit and veg, which I can't use with my organic box or with online shopping, so I use the vouchers to reduce my prep time in the kitchen, but still give the kids a variety or fruit and veg every day. My weekly plans reflect the shifts of Papa, and whether GodPapa is around to hold the baby or chat to him in his chair or similar.
For example, Wednesdays are often toast and toppings, because I'm relying on the girls to keep Baby entertained while I put things out, and they usually clear the table while I feed him during and after they eat. On weekends I try to indulge my cooking creativity a bit more when there are more people around to keep him entertained for longer, tho if it's a feed he wants, obviously, no one else can substitute!
On Tuesdays I should also have time to cook, but Papa and I like to spend the day together and often have errands to run and shopping to do, or even cleaning and organising of the house to do together, so we actually often end up with a fast meal, or even taking the kids to eat out! I'm talking Ikea, or the chip shop, not McD's, or KFC, nor posh restaurants either!
This week, we had a lovely impromptu visit from a lovely friend on Sunday, and I stretched the meal to make sure there was enough, but otherwise, here is the meal plan as I wrote it on Saturday:
Saturday: Pizzas from the supermarket, with salad and garlic bread.
With multi buy deals and varying toppings, this was a nice, inexspensive compromise between take away and home made.
Sunday: jeera chicken in a hurry (not marinaded, but cooked in the spices and with yoghurt added at the end), pulao rice (with peas), creamy spinach and sweetcorn, and Littl'Un's fave raw cauli/broc salad.
Monday: cheat's mac & cheese, using creme fraiche instead of making a white sauce, and this was using up ends of cheeses from Christmas cheese platters too.
Tuesday: Swedish meatballs, spaghetti and cream sauce and veg. (Tho we may sneak to Ikea for similar instead!)
Thursday: sausages and Smash and mixed veg (from the freezer). I'm not ashamed!
Friday: Jamie Oliver fish cakes (which were on offer) for me and GodPapa, tuna mayo rolls for the kids.
Saturday: roast gammon which was half price in Morrisons, which will give us plenty for left overs too. :D