Coconut cake


It could have been the sudden onslaught of summers or the desperate need to eat something sweet or even the fact that my pantry boosted a most comprehensive collection of coconut milk that I suddenly felt this overbearing need within me to bake a coconut cake and not just any coconut cake but beautiful bundt at that and thusly here we have a gorgeously sweet, tropically kissed and easily made coconut cake.

The ingredients are eggs, flour, baking powder, butter, sugar, coconut flakes or dessicated coconut, sugar, lemon zest and coconut milk. Also vanilla extract (not pictured)

I used a food processor to mix the lemon zest in with the sugar just so it’s evenly distributed and renders a more aromatic scent. This step didn’t do much to affect the end result so it’s optional.

crack eggs in a clean mixing bowl

and add in the sugar

and beat well for a few minutes until pale

Heat coconut milk and melt in the butter ensuring it doesn’t get too hot and reserve for later.

Add vanilla extract

followed by the flour and baking powder. Add it in batches. Mixing constantly and scraping the sides of the bowl intermittently.

Once the flour is well mixed add in the coconut flakes and mix again.

and finally pour in the coconut butter mixture.

Beat well ensuring there are no dry lumps in the batter.

Pour into a well greased baking tin. I’m using a bundt pan but feel free to make it into a regular sheet cake or even cupcakes.

Bake at 170ºC for 45-50 minutes in a preheated oven or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

Dust with powdered sugar or sweetened coconut flakes before serving.


Ingredients

Flour: 240g
Sugar: 250g
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Baking powder: 1 heaped tsp
Butter: 80g
Eggs: 4 
Coconut milk: 200mls
Dessicated coconut: 150g
Vanilla: 1 tsp
Lemon zest: 2 tsps

Note: The picture shows 6 eggs but the recipe uses 4.

Recipe instructions

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and keep aside.

In a clean pan heat the coconut milk and melt in the butter. Don’t let the mixture get too hot. Reserve for later.

Crack in the eggs in a large bowl and beat in the sugar and lemon zest until the batter gets well aerated and turns pale. It will take a few minutes and add in the vanilla extract.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt mixture into the egg and sugar batter in batches until well incorporated. Keep scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure no lumps or dry bits of flour are stuck to the sides.

Once the dry ingredients are mixed in beat the coconut flakes/desiccated coconut followed by the coconut milk and butter mixture.

Mix well until you have a sunkissed pale yellow batter punctuated with grainy bits of coconut flakes.

Scrape the batter in a well greased baking pan and bake at 170ºC for 45-50 minutes or until the top of the cake is copper hued and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in its pan for at least 10 minutes before inverting on a cooling rack where it needs to cool down for another ten minutes before slicing in.

Finally dust with sugar or sweetened coconut flakes before serving.

Enjoy!

Vegan spring rolls


Wrapped in rice papers crammed with crunchy vegetables and piled with a delicious marinated tofu, these spring rolls which I do agree are a much larger almost dumpling sized kin to their fresh and slimmer relatives are a perfect treat either as a snack or even as a post workout meal when eaten in huge quantities since these are annoyingly delicious and guiltless and making them isn’t nearly as tedious as one would think.

Of course cooking anything in the kitchen requires a bit of work and these aren’t as much work as one would think and in fact they’re rather fun to make.

The filling is entirely personal and often depends on what’s present in the refrigerator; also a great way to use leftover vegetables.

The ingredients which I used were tofu, thinly sliced carrots, capsicum, avocado, cucumbers, coriander and leftover roasted asparagus. Like I said, the filling depends entirely up to you and the contents of your fridge.

You want to slice your carrots in a way that they’re almost julienned, so begin by slicing them lengthwise

and slice them lengthwise again to get matchsticks

also slice the rest of the veg as thin as manageable.

Slice firm tofu in long strips and the firmer the tofu the better its tenacity to not crumble.

we need flavour in these spring rolls since everything else is going to stay raw and crunchy with a play on textures, the tofu in question needs to have a punch and marinating it for a few minutes really does the trick.

Sizzle the marinated tofu on a very hot pan with a drizzle of oil.

let it char on both sides for a minute or so

Before finally adding the marinating liquid the tofu sat in. Let it cook and bubble and get absorbed.

And here you have it. What was once a rather pallid looking block of protein is now a bronzed vivacious looking filling for our spring rolls.

Now for the assembly which is where the fun begins. You need a large plate filled with water which can fit the rice papers, a clean damp kitchen towel and all the accoutrements sat neatly in front so the conveyor belt process can work.

Begin by immersing the rice papers in water on both sides for a few seconds until the entire surface is wet but not wilting.

Then transfer it to the damp paper towel

and begin layering the vegetables. I start with coriander first just so the rolls look pretty after getting rolled up, however because I stuffed them to spilling the final outcome wasn’t prettiness but greed and so the layering didn’t much matter but if you want to make them look presentable and dainty then maybe fill them a little less audaciously.

then came leftover asparagus. It’s absolutely optional. You can instead use cabbage, shredded lettuce or whatever you feel like.

next came in avocado

closely followed by capsicum and carrots

and finally tofu and cucumbers.

Next comes the rolling part where you gently but with purpose and intent enclose the vegetables in their transparent rice veil by folding the now very sticky rice paper over in a manner of wrapping.

and fold the two opposite ends to meet the first roll. Doesn’t matter if there are small tears in the paper or if all the vegetables don’t stay inside the first fold because we will roll it again.

Keeping the wrapping firm

Since the rice paper is sticky it will stay glued and the chances of making mistakes are few. Roll it up until it’s a roll.

something like this and there you have it. Giant spring rolls to stave off any hunger pangs.


Ingredients

Rice papers: 4 to 5
Firm tofu: 200g
Carrot: 1 small
Capsicum: 1 small or half a large
Coriander: 1 large bunch
Avocado: 1 half
Cucumber: 1 small
asparagus: 3-4 roasted and halved.

For the tofu marinade
Sesame oil: 2 tsp
Light soya sauce: 1 tbsp
Apple cider vinegar: 2 tsp
Sriracha or any chilly sauce: 2 tsp
Brown sugar: 2 tsp

Recipe Instructions

Slice vegetables into thin slices. Cut tofu into strips and marinate for 5-10 minutes. Heat some oil in a pan and gently place tofu strips until browned or lightly charred for a minute. Turn them over and after half a minute pour the marinting liquid in the pan. Let it bubble and thicken for another half a minute before turning off the heat. The tofu should be glossily bronzed on both sides.

Lay out all the ingredients for the rolls in front and fill up a large plate, big enough to fit the rice papers with water.

Dampen a clean kitchen towel and keep in front. Gently lower the rice paper in the plate with water and wet it on both side for a few seconds. Do not let it begin to soften. Transfer on the damp kitchen towel and begin layering the paper close to the edge near you to form into spring rolls.

Once the vegetables are stacked, fold over the now soft and sticky rice paper once. Fold the opposite ends on the sides to stick over the first fold and roll again to seal the edges.

Enjoy with some soy sauce or your favourite dip.

Olive rosemary focaccia


It’s been a while since everything and among other things that I love and crave, bread is definitely the frontrunner and not finding any upon opening the refrigerator can be a bit surprising, agitating and often tends to send me on a downward spiral of domestic crisis which is why and when I ended up with this coppery slab of carb heaven.

The thing about focaccia apart from creating your very own custom flavour is the straightforwardness of the whole process because there isn’t any particular shape that we need fret over and it’s all too easy to begin tearing into one the moment it’s out of the oven, moreover I like slicing stale focaccia into slivers and toasting it in the oven to make crispy crouton like sticks.

As all breads go, focaccia also begins life with flour and yeast and so here we have bread flour, tepid water, olive oil, yeast, salt, rosemary and olives.

Begin by adding yeast into the water which is just warm to the touch and let it sit until it foams. You need good, fresh yeast for that or else the dough won’t rise.

Once the yeast has nicely bubbled up, add it to the flour

along with half the olive oil, reserving the rest for later

add salt and mix it with a spoon until it forms a shaggy dough

Transfer to the countertop and knead until smooth and pliable adding more water a little at a time without making it sticky.

Let it rest in a warm place for a couple of hours until doubled in size. You can even leave it in the fridge overnight.

Once risen it is ready to be formed into bread.

Punch it to deflate. Not only because it’s important but also because it’s fun.

Prepare the baking pan by oiling it generously

Sprinkle some semolina. This is an optional step but helps in the crisping of the bottom.

Scrape the dough into the tray

and brush the top with reserved olive oil. Be generous with the oil here. It’s crucial to this bread making process.

Push the dough with fingertips until evenly distributed in the baking tray, also giving it the typical focaccia dimpled look.

Stuff the dimpled surface with rosemary and olives and push them right into the dough.

Cover and let rise for another hour before baking at 200ºC for 25-30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the bottom is slightly crisped up

Brush the just baked bread with olive oil and let it rest at least ten minutes before serving.

Here’s a cross section of this delicious focaccia. It’s soft, spongy and moist and deliciously satisfying.


Ingredients

  • Flour: 700g
  • Yeast: 2 tsp
  • Warm water: 300mls + more for kneading
  • Salt: 2 tsp
  • Olive oil: 50mls
  • Olives: 100g
  • Fresh rosemary: 10g
  • Semolina: 2 tsp

Recipe instructions

Add the yeast to warm water and let it bloom. Make sure the yeast is fresh and not expired or it will inhibit the rising of the dough.

Add the water to the dough along with olive oil and salt and mix with spoon until just combined to form a shaggy dough.

Transfer to countertop and knead to a smooth pliable dough. Add more water if need be but a little at a time to keep the dough from getting sticky.

Let the kneaded dough rest in a warm place for a couple hours or until doubled in size. You can even let it rest in the fridge overnight.

Once the dough had doubled in size, deflate by punching and scrape into a well oiled baking tray sprinkled with semolina.

Push the dough to fit into the tray with fingertips giving it the typical dimpled look and stuff the surface with rosemary and olives.

Cover and let rest for an hour before finally baking in a preheated oven at 200ºc for 25-30 minutes or until the top has bronzed and the bottom lightly crisped.

Brush with olive oil and let rest for at least ten minutes before serving.

Wholewheat bagels


Do you ever wake up and suddenly remember something delicious you had months ago and feel the sudden need to recreate that moment or eat something similar? I’d ordered a bagel sandwich while out for brunch and though the sandwich was pretty lacklustre, the bagel in question was extraordinary and so it stuck and one day I woke up craving a bagel.

Bagels aren’t as easily available where I live and so it’s better and more entertaining to make some yourself which is exactly what I did and these came out pretty good, though I do intend on tinkering and tweaking a bit more with the recipe.

Whole wheat bagels with absolutely everything on top, fluffy on the inside and chewy on the out!

The premises are the same as any leavened bread. Start with some risen whole wheat dough. Recipe here. You also need some sugar, baking soda, and a mixture of whatever seeds or toppings you’d like on the bagel. It could be as simple as salt and sugar or a mixture of poppy, sunflower, black and white sesame seeds as I have here.

Divide the dough into equal sized dough balls. I made a total of eight from a kilo of dough for medium sized bagels. Each dough ball is 125g. You can make larger fewer bagels or smaller.

Make even sized balls

and let rest covered for 25-30 minutes.

Once they’ve slightly risen poke a hole in the centre and stretch the dough around to create a doughnut shape which is essentially also the bagel shape.

Like so.

Bring some water to the boil and add in sugar and baking soda.

Once the water comes back to a boil slowly drop in the bagels

and let boil for a couple of minutes on each side

use a long spoon or chopstick to flip them over.

Fish them out of the boiling water once you see them floating, cover generously with the toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes at 200ºC until crisped and browned at the top.

Enjoy!


Ingredients and recipe instructions for whole wheat dough.
Ingredients for bagel

Wholewheat bread dough: 1 kilo
Sugar: 1tbsp
Baking soda: 2tsp
Poppy seeds: 1tsp
Black sesame seeds: 1tsp
White sesame seeds: 1 tsp
Sunflower seeds: 1tbsp


Recipe Instructions

Make the whole wheat dough a day before and let rise overnight in the fridge. Let rest at room temperature for an hour before dividing the dough into eight equal sized portions.

Roll each portion into a ball and let rest once again, covered, for 25-30 minutes.

Poke a hole in the middle of each dough ball and stretch around the hole to create a doughnut like shape.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in the sugar and baking soda.

Once the water comes back to a boil slowly drop in the bagels carefully, not spilling any water. Let boil for a couple minutes on one side before carefully flipping using a chopstick or a long spoon and boiling on the other for the same time.

Fish out onto a baking tray and sprinkle over the toppings.

Bake at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes until the top has browned.

Let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. The outside should be chewy and the inside fluffy, and since these are whole wheat bagels the texture within will be a bit denser than the usual refined flour ones, but they will be just as delicious.

Black pepper chicken curry


The first time I ever had this chicken curry was at my brother’s house and he’d tweaked several version over the years to find a perfect format to cook this delicacy because one bite and I was hooked, so lush and delectable was this particular chicken curry that I had to ask him for the recipe which he most graciously provided and so here I am, trying to do justice by cooking it exactly as he’d asked me, because the point of this whole recipe is the different stages and the precise ways of cooking.

The gravy is a rich velvety emulsion of tomatoes, onions and spices and the consistency can vary according to what one likes to eat it with. Thicker gravy for when you eat it with bread and a bit thinner if eaten with rice, though I must say that it’s rice which brings out, almost helps to bloom each flavour of this curry. Rice provides, in my opinion, a better base than bread for this chicken curry and so I’ve cooked this accordingly.


Spices for chicken marinade. Turmeric, Black pepper and some lemon.

add spices to the chicken

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squeeze in the lemon and throw in the rind while marinating and add some oil.

Rub the spices into the chicken and cover to let marinate for an hour.

Ingredients for onion gravy

To make onion gravy, which is really the base of this curry we need a bay leaf, a cinnamon stick, some cardamom seeds sans green shell, a few cloves, some garlic and onions which will go into a blender to get a smooth spice enriched onion paste.

So we have an onion paste made with all the spices and some crushed tomatoes which I made by blending one large tomato.

To make the curry, add some oil to a wok or pan of choice and let it come to near smoking, after which add the now marinated chicken and let sear boldly on one side until deliciously bronzed before turning.

make sure both sides are nicely golden.

Let it sear on the second size and bear with me while I do this because it might come as something odd, but we will make the curry in the wok with the chicken still in it instead of fishing it out.


Add the onion paste and cook continuously taking care that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

the onion paste should begin thickening after a few minutes

Once thickened add garam masala, salt and plenty of black pepper and stir well to combine

Once all the spices are mixed in add the crushed tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until you reach a thickened gravy consistency

Once the tomatoes have cooked in with the onions add some chicken stock or water.

Little by little while continuously stirring

Add some more black pepper and stock/water until you reach the desired consistency and let cook.

Add a half teaspoon of sugar to balance out the tastes. This won’t sweeten the curry. Cook and check for seasonings. Add salt if needed and let bubble away covered for at least 5 minutes.

Serve Hot!


Ingredients

For the marinate

Chicken: 300g
Black pepper: 1 tsp
Turmeric: 1tsp
Oil: 1/2tsp
Lemon: 2 tsp

Marinate the chicken with the spices, lemon and oil and let rest for an hour or overnight in the fridge.

Ingredients for curry

Chicken: 300g bone in
Cicken stock or water: 250-400mls
Onion: 1 large or 2 small
Garlic cloves: 3-4
Bay leaf: 1
Cloves:2-3
Cinnamon stick: 1
Caradmom seeds: from 2-3 pods
Black pepper: 2-3 tsps
Garam masala: 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar: 1/2 tsp
Tomatoes: 1 large or 2 small

Blend together the onions, cinnamon stick, garlic cloves, bay leaf and cardamom pods to a paste and crush tomatoes separately.

Note:  use only the seeds and not the green shells of the cardamom pods.


Recipe instructions

In a large wok heat oil and add the marinated chicken to sear on both sides. Once each side is evenly brown add the onion paste and cook until golden and fragrant.

Sprinkle in garam masala, salt and a teaspoon of black pepper and cook for a minute before adding in the crushed tomatoes and cook until gravy is thickened and the tomatoes aren’t raw anymore.

Add in the stock or water in small batches stirring it in continuously to homogenize with the mixture until the desired consistency has reached and add in the remaining black pepper and sugar and let the curry bubble away another 5 minutes covered.

Finally check for seasonings and add salt if needed.

Serve over a bed of hot rice or with flatbreads.

Taiwanese pineapple cakes


It was a new dimension of desserts for me the first time I ever ate these little cakelets which somehow blur the thin line between shortbread cookies and cakes and in fact these are stuffed in the middle with a sweet pineapple filling, one bite is all it takes get transported into a sweet dreamy land of flaky crust and delicious jam.

These are irresistible if anything and my dear Taiwanese friends who were kind enough to share these treats informed me of their importance in their culture as a staple during coffee, tea or snack time and even shared the recipe which I used to make a version of my own which though not nearly as beautiful as the ones they shared comes decently close in taste. 

The pineapple cakes have a particular mould which one can easily buy but I tried improvising and came to the conclusion that making them in their particular moulds would be a far better option, however, if you want to try them just as then, by all means, use a muffin tin as I did as I’m about to show you.

Ingredients for the pineapple jam filling

 Cook the crushed pineapples on medium hot flame 

until they begin releasing water and add lemon juice

once most of the water is cooked off add cinnamon

and sugar

the pineapple mixture will become wet once again after the addition of sugar so keep cooking and stirring until it’s thickened to a paste. Chill the jam for an hour before forming cakes so that it slightly firms up.

ingredients for shortcrust pastry case

I made this using a processor but you can use these just as easily with a wooden spoon. Mix together the butter and sugar

until evenly combined

add egg yolk and mix

and tip in flour, baking powder, cheese and milk powder mixture and evenly combine

until it comes together and begins to clump

form into a dough without kneading it much and shape into a log

and slice into equal portions. You don’t have to be precise because you can always add or remove some dough during the cake forming process.

Roll each part into a rough circle about 1.5-2 inches in diameter.

and now for the fun part that’s filling each casing with the now cooled pineapple jam. Add about 2 tsp worth in the middle of the pastry.

and fold so that opposite ends meet in the middle. Squeeze them together with thumb and index finger smoothing the seam and form into a ball.

Place into muffin tins if you do not have a mould and press gently before baking at 170º for 10 minutes

and then flipping them over to brown on both sides. Bake again for another 10-15 minutes

until they’re lightly golden. Some of them broke in the process but that didn’t keep them from tasting remarkable. Let them cool for at least 10-15 minutes before eating because they’re hot and extremely soft. Their shortcrust casing gets firmer with time and somehow I like them better when they’re firm so I let mine be for a couple hours.

I also tried making some free-form ones and concluded that these are better off aesthetically in their respective moulds but they taste just as divine even in their unorthodox shapes.

They aren’t as difficult as one would think, just a little time consuming if you are new to their realm which I was and to eat one of these is to know how different these cookie cakes can be and the pure pleasure that something so tiny is capable of imparting in each bite.


Ingredients for the jam filling 

  • Pineapple- 500g (use fresh or tinned)
  • White sugar- 50g (1/4 cup)
  • Brown sugar- 50g (1/4 cup)
  • Lemon juice: 1 Tsp
  • Cinnamon powder- 1/4 tsp (optional)

Ingredients for shortbread dough

  • Butter- 100g
  • Sugar – 45g
  • Parmesan cheese- 10g
  • Milk powder- 10g
  • Egg yolk – 1
  • Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Flour- 130g

Recipe instructions

Make the jam filling by crushing the pineapples in a food processor and cooking over medium heat until the water begins evaporating. Add lemon juice, cinnamon powder if using and brown and white sugar and cook until the jam is thickened.

Chill until further use.

Mix together the flour, parmesan cheese, baking powder and milk powder in a bowl and set aside.

Make the pastry by mixing butter and sugar using a processor or wooden spoon. The butter shouldn’t be cold. Add the egg yolk to the mix and evenly combine before adding the flour mixture. Mix them but do not knead and form a shortcrust pastry until the mixture begins to clump.

Lightly form into a log shape and cut into even pieces.

Roll each piece into a 1.5-2 inch circle and fill the middle of each with 1-2 tsp of the now chilled pineapple jam.

Form into a smooth ball by squeezing together the opposite ends and smoothening the seams.

Press into moulds or muffin tray putting gentle pressure to flatten each cake.

bake at 170ºc for 10 minutes and flip over the cakes to bake on the other side for another 10-15 minutes until evenly browned.

Let cool on a wire rack before serving.

Can be eaten fridge cold or warm.

Enjoy!

Black rice salad


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This was a sudden salad in that it came to happen rather abruptly in my repertoire while I was experimenting with a bit of culinary expansion in terms of recipes and cuisines and the sight of black rice always invited me with such fascination and enigma that I caved in and bought a few kilograms to experiment with and this salad was the result of a thrilled happenstance.

I hadn’t expected the results to be as delicious because this is a fairly simple recipe but seeing how it’s near impossible to be content with a small bowl of this black rice salad I found myself making it more of it almost every chance I got.

Black rice tends to be far less starchy and more pronounced in its nuttiness and provides a perfect vehicle to harmonize with simple, accurate flavours that work in tandem.

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It’s a fairly large amount of ingredients and this salad works to serve not just as a side dish but also as a meal. Great as a post-workout snack or dinner this salad does double duty. The vegetables you use depend on their seasonal availability but as long as there’s crunch, piquancy and dried fruit to balance it all it can’t go wrong. A bit of sweetness in terms of dried fruit is most desirable because it elevates the mood, texture and taste of this salad.

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Chop the vegetables, cheese and chillies in fairly small pieces. Deseed the chillies if they’re too spicy.  I have also scooped the seeds out of this cucumber. It’s an optional step.

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Chop oregano and rosemary fairly fine. Use dried herbs if you can’t find fresh ones.

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Put the chopped cheese and vegetables into a bowl

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along with the herbs

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and raisins

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Add lemon and salt

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followed by a drizzle of olive oil

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and mix

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until evenly combined

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add cooked black rice to the vegetables and mix well.

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There we have black rice salad. Cover and let rest for at least an hour before serving.

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It is delicious, colourful and nutritious. Won’t you please try it.


Ingredients

Black rice: 250g

Tomatoes: 3-4 small

Cheese: 100g

Chillies: 2

Herbs: rosemary and oregano fresh or dried mixed herbs

Capsicum red: 1 small

Raisins: 2-3 tbsps

Olives: 2-3 tbsps

Cucumber: 1

Lemon: 1 tbsp

salt to taste

Olive oil: 2 tbsps

NOTE: To cook black rice soak them the night before or for at least 5-6 hours and cook using 1:1.5 black rice to water ratio.

Use whatever vegetables and cheese are seasonally and easily available.


Recipe instructions

Chop the vegetables and cheese into small bite-sized pieces. If using fresh herbs mince them fairly fine and add to the bowl with vegetables and cheese along with the raisins, salt, lemon juice and olive oil.

Mix well until evenly incorporated and add the cooked black rice and mix again.

Let sit in the fridge for an hour before serving.

Green coriander chutney


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It’s an amplification of harmonious flavours put together in a way as to extract the maximum potency of their parent ingredients is what chutney I believe is and this recipe extracts, exaggerates and emboldens every flavour that found itself in the making of this luridly green almost viciously spicy and flavour festooned green chutney.

Chutneys are of course not meant as a solitary treat because of their main purpose in life as an enhancer, that is they upgrade any dish from their current pedestal and double as dips, dressings even spread and this particular coriander chutney especially works hard to earn its keep not least because it’s an old recipe using few readily available in season ingredients.

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The spice levels on this depend on the creator but it’s good to have it on the not so mild side of the spectrum and keep them a bit on the more tear-jerking levels, not to be vulgar or anything but because that’s really how this stuff works and it’s meant to. Ingredients are few and simple. Coriander, green chillies, garlic, dried red chillies, salt, cumin seeds and dried mango powder.

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It’s just a question of blending everything together. So along with the coriander leaves and the stalks which contain most of the flavour

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add the garlic and chillies, halved or chopped to convenience

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the dried red chillies

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and the spices that are cumin, dried mango powder and salt and blend

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until you have a somewhat smooth paste. Make sure that all the ingredients have been incorporated and that there aren’t any large chunks left. Add a little water but not too much and use a spoon to clamp down the leaves and chillies to avoid too many air pockets.

And that’s it. Your green coriander chutney is ready.

I especially love it sandwiched between two slices of bread with lashings of butter and a dollop of this chutney. But really, over rice, in salads, as a dip for anything fried, this chutney is where it’s at!


Ingredients

Coriander: 100g

Chillies: 3-4 (use fewer for a milder taste)

Garlic cloves: 2-3

Cumin seeds: 1 heaped tsp

Salt: 1.5tsp (or to taste)

Dried red chillies: 2-3

Dried mango powder: 1tsp heaped



 Recipe instructions

Wash the coriander well and rinse under running water until no grit or dirt remains and add to a blender with green chillies, garlic cloves, salt, cumin powder, dried red chillies and dried mango powder.

Blend to form a smooth paste. Add a tablespoon of water if it feels too dry but do not add extra because it can make the resulting chutney watery. Clamp down with a spatula or spoon for even blending.

Remove to a clean container and store in the fridge. It will stay fresh for at least 3-4 days.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin soup 2.0 (Vegan)


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Pumpkin soup has a special place in my repertoire and I’ve been dabbling with a lot of different recipes and ways to make this soup and not that I’m trying to be smug or anything but looks like I’ve finally perfected a recipe that I might sick to, and that it needs no pottering over a stove really does help.

The thing about soups and pumpkin soup, in general, is that it’s a very non-fussy way to create deliciousness from a rather humble looking vegetable and it’s versatile in a way that there’s never just the one way of cooking it just like there’s never one way of eating something and this particular recipe can be adapted to make pasta sauce, pizza sauce and curry base as well. Just a question of thinning or thickening it to your liking and I like it on the thicker more velvety side of things and that’s what I said and say.

Right, this blog is no stranger to pumpkin soups and in fact, I’m linking a previous pumpkin soup recipe here as well which is just as delicious but not nearly as quick and mad with flavours.

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Did I mention it was simple as simple as can be? The taste and colour are amped up with spices and how much or how little you add is up to you but I like it very spicy especially in this weather and turmeric helps with the goldenness of it all. Like molten sunshine on a chilly afternoon. There’s pumpkin, onion, garlic, salt, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg and black pepper.

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Chop the vegetables to an almost equal sized thickness and add some oil. The amount of oil you want to add is up to you. It could be a drop, a drizzle or a glug. Did I mention this is an atrociously healthy recipe as well?

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Next, come the spices and this is really what maketh the soup. I’ve been known to add almost three times the amount of pepper I show here and so can you. The spiciness is really a personal choice and so is salt. No nutmeg at this stage. It comes in later.

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there you go. All in.

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Time to smoosh it all together. Coating the vegetables with spices and oil.

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Bake at 190º for 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin is almost falling apart and the onions and garlic have softened but not burnt.

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At this stage, you can modify it to how you’d want the final results to be. You can add stock, cream, coconut milk, regular milk or just plain water which is what I’m doing because it’s choke full of flavours but having said that I do add coconut milk to it on days when I’m in an altogether different mood.

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grate in a bit of nutmeg and add that as well. Not too much or it’ll overpower. Just enough to haunt the soup with a peripheral kiss of the exotic and blitz.

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Pulse until it’s all emulsified and you have glorious golden soup. Oh, how it glows. taste for seasoning and thickness and adjust by adding more of whatever is required.

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and lo and behold!


Ingredients

Pumpkin: 250g

Onion: 1 small

Garlic: 3-4 cloves

Turmeric: 1heaped tsp

Paprika: 1tsp

Black pepper: 1/2tsp

Salt to taste

Cinnamon: 1/2tsp

Nutmeg: 1/4tsp

Oil: 2tsp

Water: 200mls



Recipe instructions 

Chop the vegetables into equal sized portions and drizzle over oil and mix in the spices and salt except for nutmeg. Place in a baking tray and bake at 190º for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkin is very tender and the other vegetables softened.

Add the vegetables to a mixer, grate in the nutmeg and add hot water and blend to a smooth puree.

Serve hot with bread or even rice.

 

 

 

 

Earl Grey tea cookies


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There isn’t any particular fondness for Earl Grey tea that I nurse in my heart, in fact, I never much thought about it but that was before I had an Earl Grey cookie at a speciality speculoos shop and one bite had me converted. The subtlety in its aroma bonded so luxuriously with the flavours of butter and a very slight hint of cinnamon that there was only so much I could do to not go through them like a savage.

I had tried unsuccessfully after that to recreate the magic of those crunchy bites but almost every time they came out too dense for my liking, until a few weeks ago when finally I found myself biting into one of these and finding them admirably crunchy and deliciously fragrant. Easy to make and all too easy to devour.

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The ingredients are few. Just flour, butter, sugar, salt, earl grey tea, cinnamon and vanilla extract.

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To get the tea to impart maximum flavour it’s best to lightly toast it first on a very low flame. Toss it on a dried pan until fragrant, for a minute or so and then let cool.

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mix it with sugar and pulse it a few times to disperse equally,  this enables the sugar to absorb the tea scent.

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Like so

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In a separate clean bowl cream the butter

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and add in the tea and sugar mixture

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beating it thoroughly

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add in the flour

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vanilla extract

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cinnamon (it’s better mixed in with flour)

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and salt

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and mix the ingredients. It should begin to clump once everything is well incorporated. This mixture here was still a little crumbly and so I remedied it by adding a spoonful of full-fat milk.

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and thoroughly mixing

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to get a cohesive mixture

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which clumps if you press it together.

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for this mixture to form cookies we need to shape it into a log. Place plastic wraps over the work surface and scrape the cookie dough on it.

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Cover the dough with the wrap and roll it like it were a rolling pin to form a longish log shape which is not too thin because we should be able to slice fat coin shaped cookies out of it.

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Once you’re satisfied with the shape and dimensions of the log, refrigerate for an hour until it firms up, making it easier to slice.

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Unwrap and place on chopping board once firm.

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and slice into cookies, ensuring they’re neither too thick nor too thin because the former won’t be that crunchy and the latter might catch too quick.

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something like this. these are about quarter of an inch thick.

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place on baking mat and bake at 180ºC for 12-15 minutes or until the edges turn light gold.

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Let cool before serving. These keep well in an airtight jar for up to a week.


Ingredients 

Earl Grey tea: 6g

Sugar: 120g

Flour: 160g

Butter: 100g

Vanilla extract: 1tsp

Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp

salt: 1/2 tsp

Milk: 1-2 tbsp (optional)



Recipe instructions:

Lightly toast the tea on a low flame for a minute until lightly fragrant and let cool. Pulse it with sugar until evenly dispersed.

In a clean bowl cream together the butter and sugar and add flour, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and mix to form a dough. The dough should begin to clump together and if it doesn’t then add a spoonful of full-fat milk and mix again.

Form the dough into a log by placing it on a cling wrap sheet and rolling it to an even log shape.

Refrigerate for an hour until firm and slice into even sized cookies.

Bake at 180º for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden on the sides.

Enjoy.