Japanese style potato salad


It was at a Japanese deli that I came across perfectly shaped ice cream scoops which upon further inspection turned out to be made of potatoes with bits of ham, bacon and cucumbers dotted about the perfect potato spheres and I absolutely had to buy some. It was different in a way that there was sweetness, some tang, and bites of chew courtesy the bacon alongside a refreshing crunch from the cucumbers and it was this interesting mingling of textures within the creamy heft of potatoes that made of me a complete convert.

I’d had japanese potato salads before , but perhaps never deconstructed their anatomy the way I did while eating these, mostly in part due to the scooped out shapes or perhaps because of the crunchy cucumber texture, but I knew I had to make these and so here we are.

There is boiled potato, cooked bacon shopped into tiniest possible bits, chopped ham as tiny as can be managed, thin cucumber slices, salt and sugar (not pictured)

and most importantly Japanese mayonnaise which makes this dish what it eventually will be. It’s a lot more different than regular mayonnaise in that it’s sweeter has a peculiar flavour to it which is both tangy and sweetly pungent.

Sprinkle over some salt and sugar on the cucumber slices and wait for them to release water, which then must be thoroughly squeezed out.

Mash the potatoes until it isn’t chunky. Potato ricer works best but if the potatoes are warm then just mashing it with an overzealous intensity will guarantee similar results. Add the japanese mayonnaise to it and mash until well incorporated.

Once the potato is well mashed with the mayo and there are no lumps add in the bacon and ham pieces. I switched to a wooden spoon once everything was well blended because it’s much easier to work with.

Mix well

Finally add in the squeezed and drained cucumber slices and mix well. Check and adjust seasoning. The cucumber slices will retain a lot of the salty sweetness from the previous sprinkling of salt and sugar.

I let mine sit in the fridge for half an hour before scooping out using an ice cream scoop.

Of course this salad can be eaten just as but then you wouldn’t reflect upon the beauty of this salad or ponder over its subtle sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy texture.


Ingredients

Potatoes: 2 large boiled
Bacon: 2 rashers chopped and cooked crisp 
Ham: 2-3 slices chopped fine (2 tbsp)
Cucumber: 1 small
Japanese style mayonnaise: 2 heaped tbsp
Salt: 2 tsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Recipe instructions 

Add the salt and sugar to the thinly sliced cucumbers and keep aside for ten to fifteen minutes to draw out the water from the vegetable. Squeeze and drain the cucumbers and reserve.
Peel and mash the potatoes until there are no lumps. Add in the mayonnaise and beat it in, Add the chopped bacon, ham and mix well again.
Add in the cucumber slices and mix in. Check for seasoning and refrigerate for half an hour before serving.
can be served just as or can be scooped out using an ice cream scoop.

Cheese chilli scones


These are triangular scones made with little effort and lots of cheese which is why they hardly last as long and taste delicious if a little bit naughty and with every bite they get progressively enjoyable.

These aren’t something I’d eat everyday of my life which is why they’re special, made on days when the mood is light and gym bag out of sight or when it’s rainy, dull and the air is sullen;these cheese chilli scones are just as good as cake at uplifting spirits and go well with tea and coffee and they’re best eaten when hot but that’s not an absolute requirement because they taste just as great when cold.

The ingredients aren’t many and they’re the makings of every good scone. Flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, butter, any sharp cheese, paprika and yogurt or buttermilk.

I have already mixed in soda, salt, baking powder and sugar together in with flour.

have the butter fridge cold, cut into cubes and mix in with the flour. I find fork and fingers work best.

One the butter has been worked into the flour, its texture becomes lumpy which is the cold butter clinging on bits of flour.

Pour in the yogurt and briefly mix to form a shaggy dough.

until it looks like this and transfer on the work surface.

Don’t knead the dough because it doesn’t need to form gluten. We just need it to come together with minimal effort.

use your hands and a bench scraper to put it together. It’s not going to be uniform and it will be broken and falling apart but it’ll all come together.

Sprinkle the top with half the cheese paprika mixture and fold both the ends like a book. I forgot to take the picture of the cheese sprinkling part.

Turn it over and around. Sprinkle on some flour and roll it out with a rolling pin.

like so. Some cheese might spill out but it doesn’t matter.

Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese reserving a bit for the topping.

now fold it again like a book and turn it over and roll to the thickness you like.

If you desire tall and thick scones then roll it thickly, if however you don’t mind skinny scones then roll thinner. I rolled mine out to almost 1cm thickness and cut them into square which I further cut into triangles.

Spread on a well floured baking tray and sprinkle the remaining cheese over.

Bake at 200ºC oven for 20-25 minutes until the scones have risen slightly and the cheese has begun to melt and ooze out.

Let cool for only a moment before indulging.


Ingredients

Flour- 250g
Baking powder- 1 tbsp
Baking soda- 1/4 tsp
Butter- 80g
Cheese- 150g
Paprika- 2 tsp
Sugar- 2 tsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Buttermilk/yogurt- 120mls

Recipe instructions

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder and whisk well.

Mix together the cheese and paprika and reserve.

Add the cold cubed butter to the flour mixture and using a fork or fingers rub into the flour until the butter fuses with it to form a grainy buttery texture.

Pour in the yogurt and mix briefly with a spoon before inverting on the work surface. Bring it together without kneading into a rough rectangle. At this stage it won’t matter if the mixture isn’t cohesive.

Sprinkle some flour and roll to form a half inch thick square. Sprinkle half the cheese and fold both the ends of the dough to meet in the center like a book.

Turn it over and around and roll out the dough again.

Sprinkle over the remaining cheese reserving a small handful.

Fold over both ends again and turn it over and around and roll it out again to desired thickness.

Use a round shaped cutter to cut out round scones or simply slice into squares and then triangles with a knife.

Finally sprinkle over the last bit of cheese and bake at 200ºc for 20-25 minutes or until the scones have beautifully puffed up and the cheese has begun to melt and bubble.

Can be enjoyed as a solitary snack or with tea and coffee.

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!

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!

Chicken katsu


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Chicken katsu, one of those exquisitely done Japanese morsels of fried cutlet done just right. Golden, crunchy and juicily subtle. These breaded pieces of fried chicken encompass the elegance that somehow a chicken bucket does not. Either cut into dainty strips or fried in small portions, chicken Katsu is a sure fire easy as breath and quick to jeuje up fantastical dish that everyone can easily have in their repertoire.

 

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it’s done pretty much the same way you would these fish fingers    . The principles are the same and so is the technique, though you can play around with how you’d like these cutlets to taste.  The usual fare of eggs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, flour, bread crumbs and chicken breasts that I have sliced into fillets.

The one thing to note here is that instead of regular breadcrumbs Panko breadcrumbs would be more appropriate while preparing katsu, but all I could find in the grocery store were ‘Japanese style breadcrumbs’. 

 

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begin by seasoning the chicken with garlic powder

 

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pepper

 

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and salt

 

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smoosh them together until chicken is well coated and let it rest while we get on with the breading station.

 

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I used two plastic food bags to coat and bread the chicken because I didn’t think I wanted to wash too many dishes, and this just works.

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Season the breadcrumbs with some paprika because it helps brings out a better colour when fried.

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flour in another plastic food bag.

 

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so here you have it. the stage is set for frying

 

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Into the flour

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coat it well

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followed by an egg bath

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after which a casual lay about in grainy crumbs

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you can also scrunch about the plastic bag to make sure it’s all coated.

 

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It hardly takes time and before you know it, there are three richly swaddled pieces of chicken sitting pretty on your station.

 

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You can deep fry these if you want, but I’m totally into shallow frying things, because deep frying makes me nervous.

 

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Lay these gently in a pan once the oil is hot and cook each side for 4-5 minutes depending on the thickness of chicken pieces until the outside is bronzed and crisp while the insides retain their juiciness without being overdone or undercooked.

 

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fish them out on a paper towel to let them drain

 

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check for doneness if you want. This one was well done, moist and delightfully flavourful

 

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serve with fresh vegetables or salad or even fries if you want. I like mine with a bit of steamed broccoli.


Chicken katsu Ingredients

Bread crumbs: 75 g (1 cup)

Flour: 60g (1/2 cup)

Garlic powder: 1 tsp

Pepper: 1/2 tsp

Salt: 1/2 tsp (the image shows 1 tsp, but 1/2 tsp should be enough, or to taste)

Paprika: 1/2 tsp

Eggs: 2

Chicken breast: 150 g either sliced to fillets or flattened out to quicken and ensure even cooking.

Oil for frying


Recipe instructions – Coat the chicken evenly with garlic powder, pepper and salt and let it marinade for a few minutes.

In separate dishes assemble the eggs, flour and breadcrumbs. Add paprika to the breadcrumbs.

Coat the chicken first with flour, followed by eggs and then breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat, slowly place the breaded chicken pieces. Cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side until the exterior is crisped up well and the insides are cooked. It’s for this reason you don’t want to use a thick piece of meat.

Drain on a paper towel for a minute and cut through to check for doneness.

Serve hot and crunchy with a cooling salad or steamed vegetables.

Enjoy!

 

 

Fish finger sandwich


 

DSC_0338A little backstory on fish fingers from my nostalgic archives. The first time I ever had these was when I was little, nay, wee, hardly a sapling of sorts and my dad had ordered a plate of fish fingers and it was the first time ever I’d set my eyes on something that literally looked like fingers, smelled like fried food and came crumbed in crunchy bits of golden deliciousness.

I had only to bite into them to begin a life long, albeit clandestine love affair with all things crunchy, fried and finger like.

I’d no idea something coming from the aquarium could ever taste so wonderful, and of course as I grew up I since learnt that fish from aquariums aren’t meant to be eaten (usually) and that ones that grow up in rivers and seas are far better, and I’ve since then had a good share of fish fingers tucked in my belly (they sometimes show on weekends) and also gained more insight that as wonderful as they are on their own, they taste even better sandwiched between slices of delicious bread. It could be a carb thing, but fish finger sandwich is a more complete meal, whereas fish fingers are, umm, finger food.

So, for days that need to be substantially filled with something comforting, something extravagant and something out of the ordinary, fish finger sandwich is the answer.

 

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You need a boneless fillet of any sturdy fish. This is a commonly found basa fillet

 

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that I’ve cut into finger wide pieces and lightly salted on both sides. This not only flavours the fish from inside, since there will be many coatings on it, but also helps tighten the raw fish a bit, so it can stand the shallow frying without breaking apart.

 

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Now it’s just a question of assembly. Something of a conveyor belt procedure. I have here a plate of flour, eggs and breadcrumbs

 

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and this is also the part where you can season this dish. I like to season bread crumbs, because that’s the first element to come in contact with your mouth once you bite into these fish fingers. So a cracking rain of fresh pepper.

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imbued with the redness of smoked paprika. It’s these colour from paprika that’ll come through in tones of red orange once the fish fingers are fried.

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so the eggs are beaten, the crumbs are seasoned.

 

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and thus begins the first layering, wherein salted fingers of sliced fish are first placed in flour

 

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to be coated generously on both sides, Be sure to shake off the excess flour

 

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and dip in beaten eggs for the second coating

 

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followed by a burial in gravel like seasoned breadcrumbs for the third and final coat.

 

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This is what all my fish fingers looked like, I let them sit before frying so the final stage could be executed with all the efficiency of a kitchen virtuoso, who could hardly wait to get her hands on these sumptuous  lovelies.

 

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One could deep fry them, but shallow frying is just so much easier, not to mention safer. Fry in a couple tablespoons of oil on a medium high flame.

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I used a fork to turn them on all sides to get an even tan, and added more oil when needed. Never said it was a low calorie recipe.

 

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This was the first fried batch, and I let excess oil drain out on a paper towel. Somewhere around this time I also realized that one single fish fillet ended up making a good many fish fingers and that meant leftovers! Praise be lord.

 

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whip out your favourite bread. I used a whole wheat mini baguette for no reason other than I had this on hand. Spread copious amounts of butter. yes, butter is important.

Now if only someone had at this moment told me that my plate of choice is totally the colour of fish fingers and that it’s going to camouflage the entire sandwich in pictures, I’d have kissed that person on the mouth I tell ya..alas, no help was forthcoming since I was alone and my cat wouldn’t warn of incoming death let alone suitable plates.

 

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spread generously some mayonnaise, a layer of greens (spinach in my case) and tomatoes. In short get all the fixings you’d like in a sandwich. You could be as elaborate or minimal as you like. This is YOUR sandwich.

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layer on them fried fish fingers and voila! You have the most fabulous fish sandwich ever. It’s absolutely out of the world. Crunchy, filling with the distinct flavours of a well cooked fish encased in crispy crumbs entombed in buttery bread with all the fixings. This makes for such a lovely meal that you’d be left reminiscing this moment during your darkest hours. I speak from experience.

But wait! this isn’t the end. What do you do with the remaining fish fingers.

WEll, you can have them as is, or make another breakfast sandwich the next day.

 

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which is precisely what I did. A no frill white bread sandwich, with a layer of butter, a slice of cheese and remaining fish fingers.

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breakfast of ever fattening gods.

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Ingredients

Standard boneless fish fillet  : 1

Salt: 1/2 tsp (or more to taste)

Pepper: 1/2 tsp

Paprika: 1 tsp

Flour: 1 cup (120gms)

Eggs : 2

Breadcrumbs: 100gms (1 cup)

Oil for frying: 3-4 tbsps

For sandwich

Slices of bread or a baguette

Spinach or lettuce leaves: 3-4

Tomato: one small

Butter: 1/2 tbsp

Mayonnaise: 2 tsp

(you can customize this sandwich to your liking. Add mustard or cheese slices or pickles)


Recipe instructions

Cut finger wide pieces of fish and lightly salt on both sides. Keep aside.

Arrange three separate dishes for flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Season the bread crumbs with paprika and pepper and beat the eggs well.

Coat each fish slice with flour. Shake off excess flour and dip into eggs until well coated and finally coat with seasoned bread crumbs till all fish fingers are well crumbed

Shallow fry on medium high heat in enough oil to make it golden and crunchy. Don’t add too many fish fingers in one pan. Add more oil as needed.

Once evenly fried and golden on all sides take them out and let drain on a paper towel.

Smother bread slices with butter and apply a layer of mayonnaise for sandwich. Add a layer of crunchy spinach and juicy tomatoes and top with as many fish fingers as your sandwich can accommodate.

Fish finger sandwich is now ready.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Spicy baked chicken and potatoes


DSC_0275When you can feel the carnivore inside of you bubbling with primal instincts to tear into something meaty, something delicious and spicy, this chicken recipe with potatoes is just the thing. Savagely inoculated with flavours on a loudspeaker, there is nothing remotely subtle about this dish. It’s deliciously loud with mouthwatering piquancy, tender, juicy of flesh and drool inducing. The balance of tastes rendered stupefyingly lush with succulent aromas is so heady that it’ll send your entire house warming with tempting incense of tantalizing proportions.

Cooking it with potatoes just makes it a more complete meal, and there’s nothing more you’d wish for a better lunch.

 

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It doesn’t involve much in the way of fanfare, and most ingredients are easily available. Chicken drumsticks, olive oil, honey, crushed garlic, oregano, cumin powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, lemon juice and potatoes. I’ve used two different kinds of potatoes, but feel free to use whatever potatoes you like or have on hand.

 

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for tender, juicier results we want to marinade the chicken for which you begin by slashing said chicken down to the bone. This helps with even cooking, and lets the spices penetrate in deep.

 

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The marination is easy. Mix all the spices in a bowl

 

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along with lemon juice

 

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honey

 

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and olive oil

 

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mix it all together to form a sort of paste.

 

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Coat the drumsticks in the the marinade, making sure it’s seriously coated.

 

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cover with a cling wrap and let it marinade in the fridge for a couple hours. You can do this bit of activity sometime during breakfast if you want to make it for lunch.

 

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Prep your potatoes by cutting into bite sized cubes

 

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drizzle a bit of olive oil

 

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and a bit of salt. Nothing else needs be done to the potatoes.

 

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Be sure to take the chicken out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before baking, so as to allow them to come to room temperature.

 

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give it a final quick mix in the marinade before baking

 

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place drumsticks on a bed of potatoes and bake at 200° for 30-35 minutes

 

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about half way between baking time pull out the chicken and slather all the remaining marinade on top and under using tongs to rotate these pieces to get an even marination.

You won’t believe how good it smells.

 

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This is it! they’re done. Let them rest for a few minutes before chomping in. Tender, moist, juicy, succulent. They’re so delicious you’d have to find another word for delicious, and don’t even get me started on the potatoes that have soaked in the flavours from the marinade and turned into crispy pieces of delectable spuds. YUM!

 

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Ingredients

Chicken drumsticks: 3-4 in nos.

Potatoes: 2 in nos (1 sweet and 1 regular baking potato)

olive oil: 1 tsp

salt: 1/4 tsp

For the marinade

Crushed garlic: 1 Tbsp (2-3 garlic cloves)

Dried oregano: 1 Tbsp

Cumin powder: 1 Tbsp

Paprika: 1 Tbsp

Crushed black pepper: 1/2 Tbsp

Salt: 1 tsp

Lemon juice: 2 Tbsps

Honey: 1 tsp

Olive oil: 4 Tbsps (60 mls)


Recipe instructions

Make slashes on the chicken drumsticks to the bone, especially on its thickest parts, and make sure the meat has no water sticking to it or dry it with a paper towel. This helps the marinade cling better.

For the marinade, mix all the spices, salt and crushed garlic in a bowl along with lemon juice, honey and olive oil. (the addition of honey doesn’t sweeten anything except balance the tartness and spiciness of the marinade). Give it a good mix until everything is well incorporated and toss in the chicken. Use tongs for even coverage of the mixture on the meat.

Cover and let rest in the fridge for a few hours before baking.

Pull it out of the refrigerator at least 10-15 minutes before baking time to let it come to room temperature, thus ensuring even baking.

Chop potatoes into bite sized cubes and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt. Cover baking tray with aluminium foil and place the potatoes and chicken drumsticks. Bake in a preheated oven at 200° for 30-35 minutes.

Halfway between baking time pull the chicken out of the oven and drizzle all the remaining marinade to coat or rather smother it, using tongs to flip the chicken on all sides to soak up the marinade.

Bake it for remaining time and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

NOTE: To know whether the chicken is done, insert a knife in the thickest part of the drumstick, and if the juices run clear then it’s cooked. If the juices are still red then you need to put it back into the oven.

Serve on a warm plate.

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Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Hot chocolate mix


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When this world feels like a rotting dump of methane filled sewage, there are few comforts you turn to. A loving voice, a soothing touch, a reassuring moan.. and all these things are impossibly hard to come by; why else would this world have turned into a venomous pit of hate infected flies?  You need something restorative, with the potential to remedy some aches and provide warm succour.

You need a cup of hot chocolate and not just any ol’ hot chocolate but a homemade version. One that’s a pre mix, which needs nothing save pouring in hot water or milk if you think you need it. But it’s a mix, which means there’s milk present already, so really just hot water is all you need.

There’s a sort of whimsical poetry, like a fluttering tune about ‘hot chocolate’. The fact that it’s chocolate in pourable form that can be drunk warm. Wisps of chocolatey fog hitting your face and thick sweetness with all the richness of terra cotta cocoa pouring into your system provides instant calmness and an upbeat feeling of general wellness.

 

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Unlike store brought hot chocolate mixes that are doused to the teeth with chemicals that you couldn’t pronounce, this is one is fairly docile. Just sugar, vanilla pods, milk powder, cocoa powder, corn starch and salt.

 

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Split the belly of vanilla pods to extract all the wonderful flavour of the seeds. Sometimes it’s also called vanilla caviar. hmm.

 

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add it to the sugar. Don’t throw away these emptied out vanilla pods. Stick them in a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar. ah, the wonderful fragrance.

also- if you do not have vanilla pods or you’d rather not bother with vanilla in this recipe, simply omit this step.

 

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add in the corn starch to this mix

 

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whisk it about. Though it’s not needed because the next step will take care of the mixing.

 

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whizz it in a blender or a processor, whatever you have on hand to make this coarse sugar vanilla corn starch mixture into a powdery mix.

 

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something like this. See how it’s flecked with vanilla beans.

 

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add milk powder to the now powdered sugar+vanilla+corn starch

 

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in with the cocoa powder.

 

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and sea salt

 

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use a whisk to mix it well. Get rid of any lumps. And it’s done.

 

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there you have it. Your very own homemade hot chocolate mix. Store it in a jar and have fun with it.

 

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this is how you make it. Scoop out 3 heaped spoonfuls into a mug.

 

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add hot not boiling water.

 

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there you have it. Hot chocolate in the comforts of your own home. Made in lesser time than it would take for you to go out and have some. This mix is not only easy but so convenient. Anytime you need a fix just scoop out and pour.

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Ingredients

Sugar: 180g (2 cups)

Vanilla pods: 2

Corn starch: 30g (1/4cup)

Powdered milk: 200g (2 cups)

Cocoa powder: 70g (1 cup)

Salt: 1/2 tsp


Recipe instructions

Split the vanilla beans and scrape out their seeds and mix with sugar. add in corn starch and blend in processor or blender to make it into a fine powdered form.

Note: if you’re using fine powdered sugar then simply whisk in these ingredients until there are no lumps present.

Into the powdered sugar mixture add in milk powder, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk well and ensure there are no lumps. Once well mixed store in a jar.

To make hot chocolate scoop 3 tablespoons into 3/4 cup of hot water. Alternatively you can even using milk and also use the mix to create many shakes or desserts of choice.

 

 

 

 

Awesome breakfast sandwich


DSC_0768There’s no reason to call this an ‘awesome breakfast sandwich’ when this can be as easily called an ‘awesome brunch sandwich’, and does in fact serve as a fantastic brunch idea. It’s fast, filling and satisfying. Monstrously heaped with all things good, it’s indulgent, comforting and a fantastic fuel for moments when your body craves a morning laden with carbs and greasy crisp bacon.

No excuse ever needed for gorging thyself with bread, or sandwich, and this gorgeous tower of kindly extravagance can help sort of fill the voids in your sad mundane life, or pep up an already exciting one. It’s very versatile this sandwich; it doesn’t discriminate.

 

DSC_0730 copyif you were to edit bacon out of this picture, you’d have the ingredients for a a very veggie sandwich. There’s also mustard and mayonnaise but they’re working behind the scenes.

 

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I used the same skillet that had the bacon cooking, and wiped out most its grease.

 

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added an additional tablespoon of regular vegetable oil

 

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and tipped in my colorful medley of vegetables.

 

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a bit of salt to get them going

 

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sweat them on medium heat, cook for about ten minutes, until there’s a visibly pleasant shrinkage of the caramelized and cooked kinds.

 

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like so. The vegetables will be a bit watery at first, but as you keep cooking them low and slow, they will soften and become more flavourful.

 

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Take this slow vegetable cooking time to lather bread with mayonnaise and mustard

 

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and spread it about

 

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now for the lovely assembly. I have lined a baking sheet with parchment paper, because these sandwiches will get a short burst of heat in the oven and also because there is scant cleanup in case of any drips and melts. So, top the now lathered bread with lettuce leaves

 

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with the green leafage as a receptacle for our sandwich fillings, pile high the cooked vegetables.

 

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followed by crispy bacon. As many pieces as your conscience would allow. I do not have a conscience at the moment.

 

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you can grate some cheese, or tear and Jackson Pollock them about. This is sharp cheddar and I didn’t even do a good avant garde bit..let’s call it modern art , and top off with a smattering of pepper.

 

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blitz in the hot oven at 200°c for 10 minutes, and Voila! indecently luxurious and voluptuous with a big V sandwich. Life’s answer to an overwhelming need to feed your greed.


Ingredients

sliced bread or bread loaves

Bacon crisped: 4-5 rashers

Lettuce leaves : 4

mushrooms: 5-6 chopped

bell pepper:1/2 chopped

onion: 1 small chopped

salt: 1/2 tsp

mayonnaise: 1 tablespoon

mustard: 1 tsp

cheese: 3 tbsp

pepper: 1/2 tsp

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Recipe:

Cook the chopped vegetables over medium heat. Add salt and saute for ten minutes until caramelized and well cooked.

Spread mayonnaise and mustard over bread and top with lettuce, cooked vegetables, crisped bacon and cheese.

Bake in oven at 200°c for 10 minutes, until the cheese had melted, the lettuce has slightly wilted and the bottom of the bread has crisped.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Mint & tea sorbet


DSC_0722Since the gods are being all sorts of unkind with the sun, what with the blazing rays and scorching heat, it’s only natural to pour in copious amounts of coolants into your body, without skimping on the sugar.

This is where sorbets come into existence. Like feathery ice, kissing the insides of your mouth ever so daintily, melting softly on your tongue; sending shivers of exquisite chill to your temples. The flavours are so delicate that you’re forced to down a few dozen scoopfuls, before you realize you’re a being surreptitiously iced. Lighter than air, frozen sweets, they are like the elegant cousins to boisterous ice creams and much too easy to make.

Easier still if you have an ice cream/sorbet machine/maker, because making these sans modern contraptions takes away the chill factor from the sorbets, and you’re left churning semi frozen liquid every hour of the day, and we are not here for that. NO!

It’s about making life comfortable sometimes, and summers aren’t for survival of the self righteous. Summers are to chill, and that’s exactly what this sorbet is about. Accentuated with cool vibes of mint and earthy tones of tea, this is easier than going out to buy a frozen ice treat.

 

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I didn’t lay out ingredients this time, because this is much too easy. This is the beginning of a simple syrup. Sugar + water that you bring to a boil till all sugar is dissolved.

 

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like so. It’s hot, really hot so don’t go around poking your fingers in.

 

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throw in a pinch of salt.

 

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and fistfuls of mint, and a tea bag.

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cover and let it steep for half an hour

 

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fish out the tea bag and add in some lemon juice. Let it cool completely and transfer to a fridge for a few hours or overnight. The flavours mingle and intensify in the syrup.

 

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I let mine stay in the fridge overnight and the next day the mint leaves were weepy and the liquid was a fabulous murky brown.

 

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sieve into a clean bowl

 

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bring out the heavy machinery and we are en route to making joy

 

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turn on the machine, pour in the minty tea syrup (as per your machine instructions)

 

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a few seconds in and you can see the early beginnings of snow

 

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churning into polar beginnings of your personal sorbet

 

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twelve minutes in, and the syrup was a sweet scrunched ice berg

 

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the glacial quality of this bowl was an indication enough to stop. Took about fifteen minutes.

 

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This sorbet right here, in its most sherbet form is good enough to eat, but not quite frozen to the point you could scoop.

 

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transfer to a freezer safe container for a firmer consistency and freeze for a few hours. I let mine gestate for about four hours.

 

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scoop and serve.


Ingredients

Water: 800 mls (3 cups)

Sugar: 350 g (1.1/5 cup)

Mint leaves : 1 cup

lemon juice: 90mls (5 tbsp)

1 tea bag

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Recipe

Prepare a simple syrup with water and sugar by dissolving them in a sauce pan over medium heat until sugar has dissolved into the water.

To the syrup add in mint leaves and tea bag. Cover and let steep for half an hour.

Discard the tea bag and add lemon juice into the mixture. Once its completely cooled, transfer to a fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Strain the now chilled mixture and pour into ice cream maker according to machine to instructions.

 

Transfer sorbet into a freezer safe container for firmer consistency.

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enjoy!