Category Archives: Lunches

Sangeeta’s Quinoa, Chia & Flaxseed crusted Chicken

Another from Sango’s kitchen, table, imagination, research, cookbook …

  • 200 gms chicken breast boneless
Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 8.24.39 AM
chicken fillet
Marinade
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp Coleman’s double superfine mustard powder,  into a paste with 1 tbsp cold water
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 cloves of garlic finely grated
  • finely chopped herb of your choice, basil or coriander
Crust  
  • 2 tbsp quinoa raw, whole
  • 2 tbsp chia seed raw, whole
  • 2 tbsp flax seed raw, whole
Grind the above very coarse together – best to start with the flax seeds before adding the quinoa and chia.
  • 2  tbsp almond meal
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dehydrated cheese flakes (optional)
Mix all the above four dry ingredients together.
  • 2 to 3 tbsp cold pressed oil
  • 20 gms butter (optional)
  • 1 whole egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water
  1. Slice the chicken breast in half, lengthwise, so it is thinner and will cook quicker.
  2. Place between two sheets of cling film and use a meat hammer to beat it out to make it a little more thinner. The ideal thickness should be 1/2 an inch. Marinate a minimum of 2 hours up to overnight, in the fridge.
  3. Heat a pan and add 2 tbsp of any cold pressed oil.
  4. Take the chicken out of the marinade and hold up so the excess marinade is removed.
  5. Dip in the beaten egg, and again drain of excess egg wash.
  6. Place gently on the dry crumb mixture, coating both sides.
  7. Just before putting it into the hot pan, add 20 gms of butter (optional) to the heated oil, and as it melts and amalgamates with the oil, place the crumbed chicken gently into the pan, lower heat and keep the pan closed , flip the side gently and cook till both sides are a golden brown.

Pix off the web, and with thanks.

Sangeeta’s Beet Hummus

I have the very very good fortune of knowing gifted, intuitive cooks who – apart from being close friends – are willing to share recipes, thoughts, innovations, suggestions.

Sangeeta is one such, and one of my dearest treasures is the handwritten cookbook she gifted me over 30 years ago.

Now a passionate advocate of Intermittent Fasting (IF) and healthy eating, Sangeeta continues to experiment and tweak, and this hummus recipe is the first of many to come (I hope) from her current kitchen.

  • Half a cup of chickpeas, soaked overnight (none of the canned stuff)
  • Salt
  • half a sliced onion
  • 2 pearls sliced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sesame seeds, roasted and soaked for at least an hour
  • Beetroot,
  • Whole garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • pickled lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook the chickpeas on low heat in plenty of water, adding a little salt halfway through. Keep skimming the top of water to remove any grey foam.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf to the water.
  3. Roast beets in oven with the whole garlic, salt and some Italian seasoning, covered, for the first 20 minutes and then open, so it caramelizes a bit.
  4. Once everything has cooled down, blend the lot with some pickled lemon ( I chuck  them in some salt and leave  them to pickle for about 2 weeks … tastes good in so many things).
  5. Adjust seasoning and serve drizzled with olive oil.

Served it with crudites, wholewheat pita grilled with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper and chicken kebabs.

Thanks much Sango, as always !

Sylvia’s Poached Chicken

With Syl’s recipes, the making is as easy as the reading.

Thanks much.

  • 2 or 3 chicken breasts
  • Garlic paste or ginger-garlic paste
  • whatever herbs you have lying around
  • tiny amount of salt and pepper (just for the flavour)
  • few peppercorns
  • a bay leaf
  • few cloves
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • boiling water, to cover and a bit
  1. Marinate the chicken with garlic, herbs and salt and pepper for as long as you can but one hour is just fine.
  2. Place the chicken, peppercorns, bay leaf and cloves in a frying pan, pour boiling water over and place on a stove. Add the stock powder, let the water come to a boil for a minute.
  3. Turn off the heat, leave the chicken in the pan till the water cools.
  4. Now you have poached chicken that’s not dry. And you can use the cooking liquid as stock or a base for chicken soup.

Pix borrowed off the net, as usual, with thanks.

Pam’s stir-fried Paneer

Another light, easily made dish. Stir fry, serve.

Paneer is a fresh cheese from South Asia, particularly the Indian subcontinent. It is unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer or curd cheese, made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar or any other food acids.

malai-paneer-cubes-355

  • paneer, cubed
  • a bit of oil
  • whole jeera (cumin)
  • pinch of sugar
  • green capsicum, cubed
  • 1 big onion, cubed
  • salt
  1. Heat oil in a wok, add the cumin/jeera and when it sputters, add the capsicum and onion and stir fry till just about done.
  2. Add the paneer, sugar and salt and give it a bit of a toss till flavours are blended.

Great with chappattis or rice.

Thanks Pam.

Pix borrowed off the net.

 

Pam’s Beetroot Salad

Had this @ Pam’s on a hot summer afternoon, at lunch, and it was lovely.

I normally dislike beetroots, but these half boiled ones retained a hefty crunch.

Top-15-Benefits-and-Uses-Of-Beetroot-for-Skin-Hair-and-Health

  • Beetroot, parboiled, chopped fine
  • 1/2 to 1 big onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tomato, chopped fine
  • green chili (as per taste), de-seeded, chopped fine
  • dressing – salt, pepper & lemon juice
  • chopped coriander to garnish

Toss all together.

Pix off the net, with thanks.

Kuko’s Grilled Peppers

I know this sounds like a no-brainer … but when served piping hot, with meat and salad on a cold Gurgaon evening, music playing, wine in hand and catching up with old friends after yonks, it was delicious beyond belief.

  • Green, red and yellow peppers, sliced, de-seeded, pith removed
  • olive oil
  • crushed garlic
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper
  1. Marinate all of the above for a couple of hours.
  2. Grill in a pre-heated oven, over a surface sprayed lightly with olive oil.
  3. Turn over once after a few minutes, grill till just done, not limp.

This can be made with yellow and green zucchini as well.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s Broccoli-Date-Pomegranate Salad

Another winner from the Kuko table !

Source and mix. Serve.

  • Broccoli florets, steamed
  • Pitted dates, sliced
  • pomegranate arils
  • toasted almond slivers
  • honey mustard dressing

Honey mustard dressing

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  1. Mix vinegar, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, dijon and honey in a bowl.
  2. Whisk  to combine, stream in the olive oil.
  3. Once combined and emulsified, taste, adjust salt, honey or vinegar as necessary.

Recipe for the dressing from http://violetmeyer.com/honey-mustard-dressing/

‘Kitchadi’ elevated to a party dish !

Lentil and rice based Indian comfort food – heartwarming, nourishing, filling and especially for those days when you don’t have much stuff at home or want to finish bits and bobs of vegetables.

We usually make it on Mondays, when supplies are low, we haven’t yet been grocery shopping and I want to spend as little time as possible even thinking about a meal.

These amounts serve 6 people.

With a little experimentation (steaming instead of cooking), it turned out looking pretty good, fit for a party !!

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  • 1 cup masoor dhal
  • 1 big tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp hing or asephoetida
  • 1 big onion, chopped

Pressure cook the above with some water – just above the level of the ingredients. When done, strain the dhal, tomatoes and onion, keep aside and save the cooking water.

  • 1 brinjal, diced
  • 1 raw banana, diced
  • murunga leaves
  • any left over vegetables, all diced
  • 1 big onion, diced

In hot oil, sputter mustard, add onion and stir fry till brown. Add all the vegetables and stir fry for a few minutes till done. Keep aside.

  • 1 1/2 cup Ponni or Basmati (or both mixed) rice

Cook the rice. Just as the water is almost absorbed into the rice, add the cooked vegetables and the dhal mixture along with the saved cooking water.

Cover and cook till done.

If steamed in a rice cooker, it can be upturned and served like a cake in the pictures.

  • Mustard
  • Urud dhal
  • curry leaves
  • murunga leaves

Sputter the mustard first, then add the urud dhal, then the curry leaves and finally a whole bunch of murunga leaves. Use this as a garnish any which way.

Pix of ingredients off the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s Celery Soup

Continuing the Kuko kitchen legacy … an absolutely delicious soup in its simplicity.

  • Celery, chopped
  • 2 big onions, chopped
  • garlic, crushed
  • chicken stock
  • dash of cream
  • 1 boiled potato (optional) for a thicker soup
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 tbsp port wine
  1. In olive oil, saute the celery, onion and garlic. If using the potato, add. Cool. Blend. Strain.
  2. Return to heat with the stock mixed in. As it simmers, add the cream, sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Take off the heat and swirl in the port or whatever wine is on hand.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Veronica’s well-loved ‘Ayam Kuning’ aka ‘Yellow Chicken’

Veron is an ace in all dishes Indonesian and this was a particular hit with my niece, visiting from university and interested in trying out different dishes.

This one is for you, Pooj !

  • 5 chicken drumsticks
  • a 2″piece of fresh ginger
  • a 3″ piece of fresh turmeric
  • a 2″ piece of galangal
  • 1 stem of lemon grass
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 7 shallots
  • 4 candlenuts (or macadamia nuts)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • salt and pepper
  1. Blend all ingredients except chicken to a fine paste, ideally with no water.
  2. Rub the paste into the chicken, add a bit of water if too dry. Marinate a while.
  3. Boil, cool, refrigerate till required, ideally overnight.
  4. Fry the chicken pieces the next day.

The chicken pieces, once boiled, can be stored up to a month in the fridge, after boiling and cooling.

Candlenut or aleurites moluccanus is a flowering tree in the spurge family, also known as candleberry, Indian walnut, kemiri, varnish tree, nuez de la India, buah keras, or kukui nut tree. The nut is often used cooked in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine, where it is called kemiri in Indonesian or buah keras in Malay. On the island of Java in Indonesia, it is used to make a thick sauce that is eaten with vegetables and rice. In the Philippines, the fruit and tree are traditionally known as lumbang

Wikipedia

Galangal, also known as Siamese ginger, is a member of the ginger family – Zingiberaceae. Its skin is smoother and paler than ginger root’s, the interior ranges from white to yellow to pink, and its flavor is stronger and more astringent.

http://www.foodrepublic.com/2014/01/22/what-is-galangal-and-how-do-i-use-it/

Pictures from the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s Grilled Mushrooms

I’m a sucker for food that delicious, easy to prepare and involves the least work.

So these few posts are all things Kuko, as she whips them up effortlessly, remains elegant and relaxed and entertains with gracious facility !

  • Button mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, patted dry
  • Finely chopped onion
  • cheddar cheese
  • a dash of mayonaisse – a tablespoon or more
  • breadcrumbs
  1. Mix the cheese, onions and mayo and stuff the mushroom caps.
  2. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes till browned.

Utterly delicious ! She said the addition of the mayo makes all the difference and she picked this tip up when she was in the Philippines.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s Mutton in Cream

So, spending a night with old friends in Gurgaon, after years and years, and there’s this splendid dinner served piping hot on a cold December night.

Old friends, terrific food, music, wine and much reminiscing …

This dish was particularly delicious.

  • Mutton with bone, cubed
  • garlic paste
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • oregano, or mixed Italian herbs, thyme …
  • salt and pepper
  • brown sugar
  • red wine
  • dash of cream
  • caramelised onions
  1. Marinate the meat overnight in a mixture of garlic paste, red wine vinegar, olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper and a bit of brown sugar.
  2. Pressure cook and when done, add a dash of red wine and the cream. Adjust the salt and pepper.
  3. Garnish with caramelised onions before serving.

This same dish can be made with chicken instead of meat.

Pix from the Net, with thanks.

Kuko’s (Indian) twist on a salad dressing

To give regular salad dressing a bite …

… sputter in olive oil, some mustard seeds, curry leaves and a couple of dry red chilies.

Mix this into the vinaigrette and lift with the addition of a couple of tablespoons of fresh orange juice.

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Goes brilliantly with grated carrots.

Pix off the web, with thanks, as always.

Apricots. Apricots. Apricots.

The fruit is everywhere, warm, orange, gold, offering all kinds of suggestions.

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Sauces. Appetizers. On the side.

Three recipes I haven’t yet tried. Sound delicious though.

As an accompaniment, from Alon Shaya, Executive Chef and Owner of Shaya in New Orleans.

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  1. Stir together :
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp orange juice

2. Whisk in

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water

3. Set aside.

4. Chop into 2 cm pieces :

  • 3 apricots
  • 2 tomatoes

5. Toss with the prepared dressing (above). Sprinkle with 2 tbsp sesame seeds and serve with grilled fish.

As a sauce, from Eric Banh, Executive Chef @ Ba Bar in Seattle.screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-1-00-45-pm

  • 2 cups diced, fresh apricots
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  1. Cook the above over medium heat for about 10 minutes, till the alcohol evaporates and the sauce thickens.
  2. Transfer to a blender and puree till smooth.
  3. Drizzle over roasted vegetables, grilled bread or baked chicken.

As an appetizer, from Jason Hotchkiss, Director of Culinary Operations @ the Patio Group on Goldfinch in San Diego.

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  • 6 fresh apricots, halved
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • shredded basil
  • chopped cucumber
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  1. Drizzle the cut sides of the apricots with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill over high heat, flesh side down for about 2 minutes or until charred.
  3. Cool. Cut into wedges. Arrange, top with the feta, basil, cucumber and lemon juice.

None of this is mine, neither the recipes not the photographs. All borrowed – with thanks – from print and the internet !

Kumari’s chicken

On a visit to Chennai last week, Mum’s helper, Kumari, brought this steaming dish of chicken to the table. It was delicious with a paratha and a pat of ghee !

  • Chicken, in pieces
  • 1 big onion, diced fine
  • 1/2 (or more, as per taste) tomato, diced
  • 1 tsp or so ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2″ cinnamon
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • turmeric powder
  • chili powder
  •  salt
  1. In hot oil, fry cinnamon, cloves and fennel. Add onions and saute till golden.
  2. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry till the aromas are released.
  3. Add tomatoes and curry leaves and fry to a liquid-y paste.
  4. Add the chicken, turmeric and chili powders and salt.
  5. Add a splash of hot water, as required, cover and cook till done.

This same recipe, with the addition of mint and lemon juice (and in a larger quantity) can be used to make a biryani.

Pix borrowed off the web.

Sweet Paul’s Famous Feta & Lemon Dip

Came across this first in his cookbook and then online – will be trying it out very soon. Looks and sounds terrific.

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This is the most blogged, tweeted, and pinned recipe I have ever created. It’s also one of the simplest recipes ever. Just a few ingredients, 2 minutes in the food processor, and voila, you have the most amazing dip. I’ve even used it as a topping for baked chicken or white fish.

– Paul Lowe

Serves 4

  • 7 ounces feta cheese (about 1 cup crumbled)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish
  • 1–2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Crudités, chips, toasts, or pita crisps, for serving
  1. Place the feta, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil in a blender and whir until combined but still slightly chunky. It’s dense, so you may need to stir it with a fork once or twice. Taste, and if it’s too salty add more lemon juice.
  2. Spoon into a serving bowl, drizzle with a little oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of pepper flakes and some lemon zest.
  3. Serve with crudités, chips, toasts or pita crisps.

 

Thanks Paul !

http://www.sweetpaulmag.com/food/lemon-and-feta-dip

Patates Bravas by Navzer

A tapas dish from Spain, this is Navzer’s version, served on a cold Vancouver evening, quite the shining star among an abundance of delish platters.

  • potatoes with skin, in small pieces, or small potatoes halved
  • olive oil
  • mayonnaise
  • any hot sauce
  • paprika or crushed red chili flakes
  • chopped garlic, about 4 to 5 cloves
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tomato, pureed
  • dash of ketchup
  • chorizo or spicy Italian sausages, chopped, pan fried and kept aside
  1. Boil potatoes in a pan of salted water, till almost done.
  2. Drain and cool.
  3. Toss the potatoes in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, bake for 35 minutes till browned, edges crisp.
  4. Separately, mix 3 tbsp mayo, hot sauce to taste, paprika, chopped garlic, lemon juice and pureed tomato along with a dash of ketchup (for tang).
  5. When the potatoes are slightly cooled, toss with the sauce/dressing and stir in the fried sausages.

Good both hot and cold, absolutely delicious in fact.

Images off the web, with thanks.

Elsie’s Brinjal ‘meykewerti’ (in Malayalam, a vegetable dish)

All-types-of-Brinjal

  • brinjals (aubergines) of any kind, cut in thinnish long wedges
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • 1 heaped tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • chili powder, to taste
  • 1 big or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup tamarind water (soak tamarind pulp in hot water for a bit, and extract clear tamarind water)
  • a couple of spoonfuls fresh grated coconut
  1. In hot oil, fry the onion till glassy. Add the ginger-garlic paste and chili powder and cook till the ‘raw’ smell evaporates.
  2. Add the tomato and salt and cook to a paste.
  3. Add the brinjal pieces and the tamarind water and cook till just done.
  4. Garnish with grated coconut.

Images borrowed from the web.

Elsie’s Prawn Curry

Another dish, south Indian, and easy to make (along the lines of the egg curry … with a couple of omissions and additions).

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  • prawns, cleaned, de-veined, shelled
  • 1 big big onion or 2 small small onions (I love the sound of this !!), chopped or sliced
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, crushed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 green chili, seeded and sliced (can increase or decrease according to taste and this is balanced by the chili powder added later)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 piece cokum
  • 2 small tomatoes or 1 big one, chopped
  • salt
  • coconut milk
  • fresh coriander leaves, chopped, to garnish
  • 1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)                     )
  • red chili powder, according to taste             )
  • 2 heaped tbsp coriander powder                   ) mix into a paste with a bit of water,
  • 1 tsp vinegar                                                        ) keep aside

MAIN-prawns

  1. In hot oil fry the onion, ginger, garlic, chili and curry leaves, and brown on low heat, stirring all the while till the ‘raw’ smell disappears.
  2. Add the paste and keep stirring and frying, again till the ‘raw’ smell evaporates. Add the tomatoes and salt (the salt makes the tomatoes cook faster), and cook well to desired consistency, adding water in spoonfuls to ensure the paste does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the cokum and coconut milk, cook a bit and add the prawns and cook gently and carefully till just done. Do not overcook the prawns.
  4. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Images borrowed from the web, with thanks.

 

Elsie’s Egg Curry

So, another friend is visiting and I have mined her trove of easy-home-food recipes in an attempt to coax Mum into eating …

… because when I try Mum’s recipes, they are never up to par as far as she is concerned. Mona suggested I don’t even try to replicate her recipes, but offer different ones instead, so they remain new and fresh … and there’s nothing to compare them to. Smart lady !!

main1

  • 4 eggs, boiled, or 4 egg whites made into an omelette with chopped tomato, onion, green chili, coriander, salt and pepper – and cut into squares
  • 1 each – cardamom, clove and a small stick of cinnamon
  • 1 big big onion or 2 small small onions (I love the sound of this !!), chopped or sliced
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, crushed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 green chili, seeded and sliced (can increase or decrease according to taste and this is balanced by the chili powder added later)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 small tomatoes or 1 big one, chopped
  • salt
  • coconut milk
  • fresh coriander leaves, chopped, to garnish
  • 1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)                     )
  • red chili powder, according to taste             )
  • 2 heaped tbsp coriander powder                   ) mix into a paste with a bit of water,
  • a pinch of garam masala (optional)             ) keep aside
  • 1 tsp vinegar                                                        )
  1. In hot oil sputter the cardamom, clove, and cinnamon stick.
  2. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chili and curry leaves and brown on low heat, stirring all the while till the ‘raw’ smell disappears.
  3. Add the paste and keep stirring and frying, again till the ‘raw’ smell evaporates. Add the tomatoes and salt (the salt makes the tomatoes cook faster), and cook well to desired consistency, adding water in spoonfuls to ensure the paste does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the coconut milk, cook a bit and spoon the boiled egg halves or omelet squares into the gravy.
  5. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Images borrowed from the web, with thanks.

Sweet Summer Kale Salad

Discovered in Kitsilano, Vancouver, this salad and dressing was outstanding ; the kale elevated by the sharp contrasts between the piquant, nutty and sweet accents.

IMG_1169

  • Kale
  • Chopped apples
  • Cranberries
  • Almonds

Dressing

  • olive oil
  • orange juice
  • balsamic vinegar
  • shallots, diced
  • garlic, diced
  • honey
  • red chilies
  • oregano
  • sea salt
  • pepper

Most pictures borrowed from the web.

A Sunday lunch with prosecco and friends

Unplanned, on-the-spur-of-the-moment and impromptu, this lunch was sunny, sparkly, air-conditioned and frothy both in liquid sustenance and atmosphere : good cheer, good friends, good food (even if I say so myself).

With Raising Sand (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss), thank you Neena.

Menu

Prosecco, prosecco, prosecco. And good old G & T. And fresh, tender coconut water.

Ok, so these are not my pictures, they’re off the web, but they encapsulate the moments and are the visual ooh’s and aah’s elicited by chilled bliss on a humid summer day.

On to the food :

Kurmur, crunchy, fresh, crisp, in bowlfuls, with the drinks.

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Melon with proscuitto and a honey mustard vinaigrette. (The vinaigrette was part of the plan, but it didn’t get made).

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Here’s the recipe anyway – 4 tablespoons of your best olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 20ml runny honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard and a pinch of salt – mixed and stirred and shaken. Got the recipe off the net and the pix were stunning.

A Curly Kale Salad with tomatoes, olives, cubed feta, a minced red onion, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red radishes and Japanese cucumber, sliced mushrooms – and for the kick – fresh betel leaves, minced. The whole lot gently tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. And just a dash of apple cider vinegar. Pomegranate arils. Roasted sunflower seeds, scattered.

A word about the kale. A serendipitous discovery – this was organic, fresh, crunchy and wonderfully green. Home delivered by Ben of Sustenir Agriculture which practices urban farming in Singapore.

Urban farming, thus described : controlled environment agriculture : growing plants without ever exposing them to the outside world, using artificial lighting, exacting specific nutrients and controlling every aspect of the air and water environments … perfecting a plants habitat: giving them exactly what they need, when they need it. Their lack of exposure to the hazards of traditional field farming (insects, temperature changes, cleanliness and purity of water, parasites and inconsistent levels of sunlight) … ergo clean, healthy produce …

Yes, it tasted clean. And healthy. And fresh. And good, considering : kale is the king of healthy leafy greens, a widely regarded super-food that brings more nutrients to the table than any other green on the market. Rich in beta-carotenes, Vitamins K,C, A and calcium, consuming it raw, cooked or juiced will give you boundless energy. With the highest anti-carcinogenic properties of any salad, this is the mighty green that might just save us all!

Arabian Beef Kebabs

These were especially delicious, a new recipe.

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  • 1 kg minced beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 fresh cup coriander leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • big onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves and 4 cardamom, and some cinnamon, blended
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • salt
  • 100g olive oil or butter
  • ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  1. Mix all together well.
  2. Set aside for 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Shape, pan fry.
  4. Garnish with mint and coriander leaves.

Pita wedges tossed with sea salt, olive oil and freshly minced rosemary.

Hummus and Baba Ghanoush.

Roast chicken with chunks of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Smoked salmon with cucumber and soft cheese.

And dessert was Mango Fool with Lime and Toasted Coconut

A puree of Alfonso mangoes (in season), swirled with the zest and juice of half a lemon and Greek yoghurt, chilled, then spooned into ramekins and topped with toasted coconut flakes and sprinkled with black chia seeds. (Couldn’t find passion fruit which was part of the recipe – a drizzle of passion fruit seeds. Substituted with chia).

One did float on the bubbly a bit, which is why my photographs are less than par. Some pix borrowed off the web.

Elizabeth’s Sardine Curry

David and Elizabeth have been endlessly kind, preparing different kinds of food to entice Mum into eating.

Sardines, suggested David, a curry of sardines, the easiest thing to make. I had not heard of sardine curry, and the next thing I knew was Elizabeth had made and sent across two versions, one spicier than the other. It was delicious. David said this was the standby dish in their home, the last resort almost when one was out of ideas or when guests landed up unexpectedly.

Thank you Elizabeth, for painstakingly writing out the recipe.

It is reproduced below exactly as she wrote it.

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  • I can sardines in Tomato sauce ( bones removed,  retain the sauce)
  • 1 radish (sliced and fry with 1tsp oil on high heat)
  • 1 brinjal cubed
  • 3 to 4 strands long beans cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 potato cubed
  • 1 big onion sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic split into half
  • 1piece ginger and 5 cloves garlic (coarsely pounded)
  • 2 tomatoes quartered
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asaphoetida)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1tsp fish curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
  • lime sized tamarind lump mixed with 3 tbsp water and the liquid extracted
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 green chili de-seeded and split
  • 2 cups water or more if needed
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 sprigs of coriander leaves chopped for garnish

Heat oil in a pan .
Fry the mustard seeds till they sputter, then the fenugreek seeds.
Add the onions, curry leaves, green chili and garlic and fry till the onions are slightly brown.
Add the pounded ginger – garlic and sauté for 1 minute till fragrant.
Add all the curry powders and the sauce from the sardine and saute for 2 min.
Add potato, water and salt to taste.
Once potato is 3/4 cooked, add the vegetables and tomatoes.
When the vegetables are cooked add in the tamarind juice and let it boil for 2 more minutes.
Remove from heat.
Garnish with coriander leaves

NOTE: drumstick /Raw banana also can be added.

Photograph by Elizabeth and David.

Mum’s Mango Chutney which turned out to be Dad’s recipe

There is this accompaniment – a mango chutney or chamandi as it is known in Malayalam – which was and is a household favourite, to die for.

So, with Mum at home, we decided to revive old traditions and boy oh boy, did it vanish in seconds !

  • 2 raw green mangoes (the sourer and rawer the better) skinned and chopped into smallish bits
  • Some dried red chilies, stir fried in a dash of oil
  • A knob of ginger
  • Salt
  • Curry leaves
  • A splash of coconut oil
  • Fresh grated coconut

Blend the lot (except the coconut oil) together to a fine paste, then add the coconut oil and give it another whirr.

Its OMG all the way. And in the process, learned a bit of family lore – it was Dad’s recipe all along. Mum would prepare the ingredients (and quantities) and his greatest joy was in the blending before the eating.

Brilliant with rice, dosas … as an accompaniment to South Indian dishes.

All photos borrowed from the net, with thanks.

 

 

Dahi vadas aka dumplings in spiced yoghurt a la South India

Delish beyond belief. Now craving South Indian cuisine.

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  • curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 inch knob ginger
  • 2 green chilies (or more, according to taste)
  •  2 handfuls urud dhal, washed, cleaned and soaked for 6 hours or overnight in water
  1. Grind all of the above with minimum water added, adding it judiciously and a little at a time to get a batter that is thick and not runny, yet smoothly ground.
  2. Mix in salt
  3. Heat oil in a wok over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, drop rounded spoonfuls into the oil and fry till a golden brown, turning them over to even the browning. This will take a few minutes as the inside of the vadas or dumplings need to be cooked as well. Perhaps about 8 minutes ?
  4. Remove from the water, gently squeeze them till a bit dry and arrange in a dish.
  5. Drain on absorbent paper, then soak them in warm water for about 5 minutes. This will draw out the excess oil.
  • Yogurt
  • Water
  • Grated ginger
  • Cumin powder
  • Salt
  1. Whisk yogurt and water to a thick yet runny consistency, add the remaining ingredients.
  2. Pour over the dumplings.
  3. Tarka with urud dal, curry leaves, asephoetida (hing) powder – a pinch, mustard seeds and dried red chili.
  4. Remove from the heat and ad 1/2 tsp red chili powder into the hot oil.
  5. Pour over the yoghurt-vada mixture in dish.
  6. Garnish with plenty of chopped coriander.

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To die for.

Rice Dishes

Tried out a number of easy rice dishes, all good, all quickly done. You could either use a rice cooker or make it in a pan.

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Coconut Rice

  • 1 cup rice
  • big onions, chopped
  • green chili
  • cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt
  1. Sputter the cinnamon stick in hot oil, add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Mix the coconut milk and water, add and cook till just done.
  4. Tarka with mustard seeds, urud dal, dry red chilies, curry leaves.

 

Mushroom Rice

  • Big onions, chopped
  • garlic, chopped
  • 1 star anise
  • lots of sliced button mushrooms
  • chicken stock
  • green peas
  • lots of coriander leaves
  • salt
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups warm water

 

  1. Sputter the star anise in hot oil, add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. As it turns golden, add the mushrooms and peas and stir till just turned colour. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Add the coriander leaves and the chicken stock (either as liquid stock with the water, in which case adjust the amount of water accordingly, or crumble the stock cube into the rice).
  4. Add the water and cook till just done.

 

Mint Rice

  • Oil
  • Cumin seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Green chilies
  • Cloves
  • Big onions, chopped fine
  • lots of fresh, chopped mint leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Basmati rice, washed, drained
  • 2 3/4 cups warm water
  1. Sputter the cloves in hot oil, add cumin and fennel. Then add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. As it turns golden, add lots of chopped mint and keep stirring till brown. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Add the water and cook till just done.

Pictures off the net, and thanks for the loan.

Murgh Methi Malai aka Chicken with Cream and Methi

This chicken dish was done in a very short time. The fresh fenugreek leaves made all the difference, I think, compared to the dried ones. Whatever the reason, this one is a winner.

  • 500g chicken breasts or thighs, cubed
  • 3 big onions, on the smaller side
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch knob of ginger
  • 2 or 3 green chilies
  • 1 tbsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) or a cup of chopped fresh leaves
  • 1 cup yoghurt, hung in muslin to get the thick curd
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 bay leaf

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  1. Grind the onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies to a paste.
  2. Sputter the bay leaf in hot oil in a wok, add the ground mixture and keep stirring as you fry it over a medium flame till just brown.
  3. Add the chicken and saute for about 8 minutes, then add the yoghurt and a little warm water and cook for about 15 minutes or till done.
  4. Add the kasuri methi, pepper, garam masala and salt. Stir well, cook a bit more.
  5. Add the cream, swirl, and cook just a bit more.

Gosh, this was delish ! Went superbly with both naans and/or fragrant mint rice. Kudos to Mona, again.

Ambrosia

This quintessential southern American salad (or dessert) was a light and refreshing to end a light and refreshing plated dinner at the peak of Singapore’s hot, humid, steamy summer (having jettisoned the traditional cherries, marshmallows and cream).

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I don’t know where I discovered the recipe years ago, but the slip of paper in my book had excellent scrawled beside it, so obviously it had been tried, tested and had come out tops …

It was fun rediscovering it : sourcing the freshest coconut in the wet market, watching the grim and focused vendor balance the coconut on a tin can, use a small knife in swift, precise, clean strokes to strip the brown pith off, slice through the meat, release the coconut water ; quartering it in two quick movements. (Fresh coconut is an absolute imperative, I gathered, from reading an interesting piece on ambrosia).

Examining a pile of pineapple from Malaysia. Seedless grapes from Chile. Black. Mandarins, tangerines, murcotts from Florida, Pakistan, Australia. Picking and choosing.

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  • 4 oranges, segmented, seeds and pith removed
  • grated zest of 1 orange, and juiced
  • 1 tbsp clear honey or light muscovado sugar
  • small bunch of small seedless grapes, halved
  • 1 small pineapple, cubed
  • chunk of fresh coconut, shaved into thin slices or a handful of fresh grated coconut
  • handful pecan halves
  1. Add honey or sugar to the zest and juice, mix well.
  2. Add grapes and pineapple to the orange segments and juice.
  3. Stir coconut into salad.
  4. Sprinkle with pecans before serving.

Ambrosia is traditionally served as part of the Thanksgiving meal in America. It is a perfect dessert after a rich main course.

Prawn Aglio Olio

Mona has been turning them out, dish after dish, and here’s the latest.

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  • Spaghetti, cooked al dente in salted water with a dash of olive oil, reserve a bit of the water
  • Prawns, marinated for 10 minutes with oregano, black pepper, salt and a dash of lime juice (optional)
  • Red chilies, sliced
  • garlic, finely diced
  • shallots, sliced
  • fresh basil, sliced
  • salt
  1. In hot oil, over high heat, stir fry the prawns and sliced chilies till just done; keep aside.
  2. Add more oil to the pan, saute the garlic and shallots till golden, taking care they don’t blacken.
  3. Add the cooked spaghetti and salt as required.
  4. Add the prawns and chopped fresh basil, toss lightly, adding a bit of the reserved water if too dry.
  5. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and some more crushed black pepper, serve immediately.

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmmm ….

Saturday Lunch

When family visits, its food, drink and long conversations well into the afternoon.

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Menu :

  • Bubbly
  • Roast chicken with pumpkin and sweet potatoes
  • Blanched asparagus spears with brussel sprouts and diced prosciutto
  • Greek Salad (a variation)

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The leaves were fresh and crisp, the avocado just right. Added pomegranate arils, cubed feta, sliced button mushrooms and quartered cherry tomatoes. And kalamata olives, black and green. With a dressing of olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of raspberry vinaigrette.

 

Mona’s Pumpkin with Black-eyed Beans

Another of her simple superlatives … great with plain rice.

South Indian to the core, and lovely.

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  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • a handful of fresh grated coconut
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 1 or 2 green chilies, deseeded
  • 1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)

Grind the above ingredients to a fine paste.

  • black-eyed beans
  • red pumpkin, skinned, cubed
  • haldi (turmeric powder)
  • 1 green chilie, halved
  • 1 tsp sambhar powder
  • salt

For the tarka / garnish

  • oil
  • dry red chilies
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • curry leaves
  1. Pressure cook the black eyed beans with the haldi, green chili and the sambhar powder (2 whistles).
  2. Remove the lid, add the raw pumpkin, salt as required and the ground paste. Simmer on a low flame for about 10 minutes till the vegetable is cooked.
  3. Tarka (sputter the garnish ingredients in hot oil, pour over the dish) and serve.

Mona’s Fish Curry with Raw Mango

My sister in law is visiting, she is one of those gifted people, intuitive and instinctive around food (like Syl, Jen and Kalpana) and everything she makes is simple and superlative.

This is her South Indian fish curry, whipped up in no time.

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  • 1 kg mackerel   (aka tenggiri, batang … ), cleaned, sliced and each slice quartered
  • 4 or 5 Kashmiri dry red chilies                      )
  • 1/2 tsp methi (fenugreek)                              ) roast and
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds                          ) grind to a fine
  • 1 heaped tsp jeera (cumin seeds)                ) powder
  • 2 heaped tsp coriander powder
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 fresh green chilies, sliced
  • 2 tsp ginger, in thin strips
  • 2 tsp garlic, in thin strips
  • 3 to 4 tomatoes, pureed
  • a pinch of haldi (turmeric powder)
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste in half cup water
  • 1 green mango, skinned, cubed
  • coconut milk
  • salt

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  1. In hot oil, fry the sliced onion, curry leaves and green chilies to a light brown.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic, continue frying.
  3. Add pureed tomatoes with the pinch of haldi, continue frying.
  4. Add the roasted powdered mixture and the coriander powder.
  5. Continue frying well on a low fire, ensuring the paste does not turn a dark brown.
  6. Add the diced mango, the fish, the tamarind paste/water and bring to a boil; immediately lower the flame and simmer for about 10 minutes or till the fish is just done.
  7. Add the coconut milk and salt and simmer another 5 minutes.

Thanks Mona, it was like old times and the curry brought back memories.

 

A Beer Marinade for Chicken

Rooting around for something different, to marinate 3 chicken legs overnight for a quick lunch with a salad. Nothing much in the fridge, except the beer, and a few onions.

Came out pretty well, except tried to pan fry instead of grilling it and that didn’t cook the chicken, so turned everything into a pressure cooker and gave it a couple of minutes after the whistle.

That did the job and the marinade came out as a thick sauce which was pretty darn good.

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  • 1 big onion, chopped fine
  • parsley, chopped fine
  • few cloves garlic, minced
  • splash of olive oil
  • sea salt
  • cumin powder
  • chili flakes
  • a can of beer

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Prawn Barley Risotto with Chili Gremolata

Here’s another one, part of the weekly mission to source and try out ‘something new’, something different. This was interesting and the addition of a fresh fig salad both brightened and lightened the density of the risotto.

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  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl barley
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • peeled, medium king prawns
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • arugula
  • 160g labne

Chili Gremolata

  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 fresh long red chili, seeded, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
  1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan on a high heat, cook onion and garlic till soft. Add barley, cook, stirring till coated.
  2. Add stock, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for a half hour, or till the barley is almost tender.
  3. Add prawns, simmer uncovered till the barley is tender, liquid absorbed. Add parmesan and arugula, stir to combine.
  4. Mix the gremolata ingredients in a bowl, serve risotto topped with labne and the gremolata.

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Notes

Didn’t have labne, so gave that a miss.

The gremolata would do well with a dash of salt and the spicier the chili, the better the piquancy and contrast.

Didn’t mix the arugula into the hot barley mixture – didn’t want it wilted or soggy – so a salad, with arugula, served on the side worked better.

And as for the salad, used whatever was on hand – fresh figs, mixed salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, olives, avocado …

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Watermelon Steak Salad

On a visit to Vancouver a few weeks ago, I had a phenomenal Tuna Watermelon Salad at the Fable Kitchen in Kitsilano, with chunks of seared tuna tossed with feta, cucumber, egg, anchovy and guanciale (cured meat from Italy, prepared from pork jowl).

I came across another watermelon salad recipe and it was pretty good. (I can add the seared tuna when I learn how to sear tuna !)

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  • arugula
  • pitted black olives, roughly chopped
  • pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds
  • red onion, finely chopped
  • unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • fresh mint, chopped
  • goat’s cheese
  • pita wedges, to serve
  • a whole watermelon

Dressing

  • a dash of Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • a dash of caster sugar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Mix the ingredients for the dressing, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix arugula, olives, seeds, onion, pistachios and mint, set aside.
  3. With the skin on, cut 2.5 cm slices from the mid section of the watermelon, slice the skin off to make watermelon ‘steaks’, pick out and discard seeds.
  4. Crumble the goat’s cheese, add to the arugula mixture, add dressing, toss.
  5. Place a watermelon steak on each plate, top with arugula mixture, serve with the pita wedges.

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Roasted Pear and Apple Roquefort Salad

This one’s a winner – saw the recipe somewhere and remembered to try it out. Light, and satisfying. Prepare earlier, assemble before serving.

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  • 2 pears and 2 apples, cored, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
  • Olive oil, as required
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • arugula
  • 60g proscuitto, sliced
  • 60 g crushed pistachios
  • 60g Roquefort or other blue cheese, crumbled

Prepare the Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 120g Roquefort or other blue cheese
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • Cracked pepper to taste
  1. Roast the fruit first. Toss the slices with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven till tender. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender/food processor, blend till smooth. Refrigerate. (Extra dressing can be used later as a dip.)
  3. Divide the arugula between 4 plates, stack the rings of roasted fruit in the middle, alternating between apple and pear, arrange proscuitto around the fruit. Drizzle dressing over the salad, sprinkle the pistachios and crumble the blue cheese over it all. Ready to go !

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Grilled Fruit with a Palm-sugar-Rum syrup

Came across this recipe, haven’t tried it out but sounds delicious.

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  • 2 bananas, unpeeled, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 slices pineapple, peeled, cored
  • 2 mangoes, unpeeled, sliced to obtain 4 cheeks

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup gula melaka or palm sugar, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp dark rum

Garnish

  • Roasted peanuts
  • Mint leaves
  1. Heat a ridged grill pan, spray lightly with canola oil, heat to smoking.
  2. Place banana halves, cut side down in pan, leave undisturbed till sear marks form. Remove.
  3. Repeat with mango cheeks, followed by the pineapple slices.
  4. Carefully remove skin from grilled bananas and mango cheeks.
  5. Make the syrup by boiling the palm sugar and water, stirring to dissolve all lumps, then adding the rum. Keep aside.
  6. To serve, arrange fruit, drizzle with syrup, garnish with roasted peanuts and a sprig of mint.

Pix off the web, will upload the ‘done’ dish when its made, should be good.

Indonesian Vegetable ‘Urap’

This is an easily repeatable dish – brings a different flavour to the table and the vegetable. Very interesting.

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  • 500g winged beans, washed, sliced crosswise in 0.5 cm pieces
  • 300g cabbage, sliced in 1 cm pieces
  • 3 large red chilies, sliced
  • 4 or 5 bird’s eye chilies, sliced                                                             )
  • 5 to 6 shallots or 1 small purple onion                                            )
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, chopped                                                               ) ground to
  • 50g kencur or galangal, washed, skin removed, chopped      ) a paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar                                                                                                )
  • 1tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 pairs kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 250g freshly grated coconut
  • Salt to taste
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add sliced beans and cook for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon to a colander, rinse under running water to stop the cooking, let the beans drain.
  2. Bring the water back to a boil, drop in sliced cabbage, cook for 4 minutes, drain into a colander, set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add ground spice mixture and kaffir leaves. On medium heat, stir fry for about 5 minutes, don’t let it burn. Add the grated coconut and stir to coat it with the spice mixture, cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt, give the mixture another stir. Remove and discard the kaffir lime leaves.
  4. In a large bowl, lightly toss the winged beans, cabbage  and coconut mixture before serving. Good with rice and other dishes.

Recipe from The Straits Times, pix off the web. Tried it, came out well.

A light lunch before Golf !

A reprise of an earlier meal, but better each time, and the pictures speak for themselves !!

Grilled Salmon

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Mango & Kiwi Salad

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Herbed Mozarella with Beef tomatoes and Basil

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Mango Sorbet

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Photographs by A Thomas except pix of mango sorbet, borrowed from http://www.babble.com

A Celebratory Lunch with Friends & Family

They say a happy cook is the secret to a great meal …

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And what came out of that kitchen ?

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SONY DSCStarting with champagne and not necessarily in this order …

  • Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
  • A chili relish to spice it up
  • Indonesian Balado
  • Indonesian fried chicken, tempe and tahu
  • Lots and lots of basil and mint
  • White rice
  • Krupuk Udang (prawn crackers)
  • Dessert : Candil
  • Fruit : Mangosteens

The Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

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  • 3 or 4 star anise
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 pods garlic
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 1 kg sliced beef
  • 2 litres water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 packet meat balls (optional)
  • a slice of ginger

Boil all of the above, together, simmer on a medium flame. This is the base for the soup, none of the ingredients need to be removed.

If using glass noodles, immerse in boiling water and leave be for about a half hour. Drain before serving with the soup.

Serve separately as topping and garnish :

  • mint sprigs
  • Thai basil
  • coriander sprigs
  • strips of red capsicum
  • bean sprouts
  • spring onion, chopped

The chili relish

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  • Garlic, chopped fine
  • Chili padi (green and red), sliced (these are the local ‘fire’ chilies)
  • Fish sauce
  • Lemon juice

Proportions to taste – to suit your palate.

The Balado, with Brinjal

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A popular sambal or relish in Indonesia, the word balado means ‘with chilies’. This version is made with brinjals.

  •  2 long eggplants, sliced into 3 cm thick pieces

Soak these in salted water for about 10 minutes, half cook/fry in a little oil and keep aside.

For the milder ‘spice’ version, blend together the following (you can make it as spicy as you wish by increasing the quantity of the ingredients, especially the chilies) :

  • 2 chilies (mix the bird’s eye and the red chilies)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 6 shallots

 Fry the blended mixture and add to it

  • pounded lemon grass
  • 2 small tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt

Fry till most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve ladled on top of the brinjal and garnish with basil.

The Herbs

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The Chicken (Ayam Penyet), Tempe and Tahu

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1 kg chicken legs

Blend together the following :

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 whole garlic pod
  • 8 shallots
  • 2″ fresh turmeric (kunyit)
  • 4 candlenuts (kemiri)

Mix this blended paste with

  • 3 bay leaves (daun salam)
  • 3 stalks lemon grass, pounded
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 slice ginger
  • the chicken legs
  • 500 ml water
  • Salt

Mix well, rubbing into the chicken, then cook, bringing to a boil and simmering for a half hour. Cool and refrigerate overnight.

For a medium-hot chili sambal, fry

  • 5 green chili padi
  • 2 big green chilis
  • 5 big red chilis
  • 5 pods garlic
  • 5 shallots
  • 1 big tomato
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste (belachan), optional

Roughly pound this mixture, add salt, keep aside.

Before serving, take out the chicken pieces and deep fry. Add cubes of tempe and tahu to the marinade and fry them.

Serve together with the chicken, chili sambal, cucumber and lettuce.

Prawn Crackers

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And the Dessert : Candil

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A kind of a porridge with glutinuous rice flour dumplings (candil) in a sauce of coconut milk and gula melaka or palm sugar.

For the Candil

  • 250 g white glutinous rice flour (tepung ketan)
  • 175 ml warm to hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the rice flour, salt and water, knead to a dough. Form little balls, keep aside.

For the Porridge

  • 900 ml water
  • 300 to 400 gms gula melaka or palm sugar
  • 4 pandan leaves

Mix all these in a pan, bring to a boil. Add the candil balls and cook till they float on the surface of the liquid. Remove from the heat, keep aside.

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For the Coconut Milk Sauce

  • 200 g rice flour
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 200 ml water
  • 2 pandan leaves

 Mix the rice flour, water and coconut milk and cook on a slow flame to a thick sauce, ensuring no lumps form. Then bring to a boil with the pandan leaves added, cook to a nice consistency and remove from the heat, keep aside.

To serve, ladle the coconut milk sauce into the dish, top with the candils and garnish with coconut milk.

Mangosteens

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As always, thank you Veron !

Photographs : Anita Thomas

Elizabeth’s & David’s Biryani in a Rice Cooker

Elizabeth kindly shared her biryani recipe – most interesting as the rice was cooked in coconut milk instead of water. It was utterly delish and needed no accompaniment other than a raita … perhaps not even that !

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  • 2 cups basmati rice, cleaned
  • 2 ½ cups coconut milk ( use the ‘first’ milk and add water to dilute, or 1 to 1 1/2 cups of concentrate diluted to the specified amount)
  • 1 kg chicken, in pieces, skinned, cleaned
  • 3 to 4 tbsp ghee
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder / haldi
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken into pieces
  • 3 star anise
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 green chilies, seeded, slit
  • 4 big onions, sliced thin, separated
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped fine
  • 4 tbsp ginger garlic paste (from a 3” piece of ginger & 10 cloves garlic)
  • Handful mint leaves, chopped
  • Handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • pinch of saffron (optional) in 1 tbsp water, kept aside
  • big onions, sliced thin and fried crisp                    )
  • chopped coriander                                                        )      for garnish
  • hard boiled eggs                                                             )
  1. Place rice in the rice cooker, add the coconut milk and set it aside to soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat ghee, add cinnamon, star anise, cloves and bay leaves, sauté for a minute.
  3. Add onions, green chili and a dash of salt, sauté till half cooked.
  4. Add ginger garlic paste, sauté 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes, mint, coriander and sauté all till soft.
  5. Add turmeric and chili powders, salt, continue sautéing for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken, sauté for 3 minutes, then add half a cup of water and cook the chicken till half done, gravy thick.
  7. Add this mixture to rice, mix well, taste for salt. Cook till done.
  8. Sprinkle the saffron mixture and lime juice, fluff up the rice.
  9. Garnish and serve.

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All images borrowed from the net.

Elizabeth, David, thank you for this !

A Cleansing Crunch of a Salad

Beetroot, Carrot, Sprouted Mung Bean and Mint Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

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Some days you just feel your palate need a cleansing crunch and this salad is perfect for it. I just happened to have the ingredients on hand and hoped it would work – and it did.

  • I medium sized beetroot cut in thin strips – as close to julienne as you can be bothered with
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1/2 cup sprouted mung beans
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves torn up a bit

Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 1 tsp Dijon style mustard
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 generous tsp olive oil
  • a squeeze of lime
  1. Lightly cook the beetroot in a small saucepan with a little water. You want to retain the crunch. Cool. (The beetroot can be left uncooked as well, depending on your preference. You may choose to grate the beetroot so it’s quite fine and doesn’t require cooking).
  2. Mix all the salad vegetables together in a bowl.
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients together.
  4. Combine the two.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste … and it’s ready.

Bon Appetit

This is to kick off the memories : Paris 2009 with friends : a holiday of the senses, an effervescence of food, an exploration of haute cuisine, gastro-tourism, Michelin stars, Michelin guides and just plain ordinary eating.

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The compact, businesslike (soon to be rated Michelin discovery) Le Gaigne in the Marais quarter (third arrondissement) makes a persuasive case to the purse; it is a reason to dress up for some fine dining, and best of all, is just around the corner. Preceded by the ritual of trying on outfits, shared make-up and compliments, the five course Le Menu Dégustation, each paired with a wine and exquisitely served on slabs of black slate, is both delightful and a trifle disappointing. The seafood starter in a shot glass – Verrine de Coquillages en gelée, mousse et coulis de Céléris – is not unpleasant and deserves mention if only for the layered, pureed, spinach; and the braised endives with ham or Millefeuilles d’Endives étuvées et véritable jambon de Paris de M. Leguel, is an out and out winner, a mélange of the sweet, the sour and the piquant.

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The closely packed tables are enveloped in a buzz of conversation, rising and falling in a miscellany of accents. The food is local, organic and fresh, and if organic is unavailable, ‘alternatively produced’ replacements are substituted, where possible. Chef Mikael Gaignon is young and known, having worked in two Pierre Gagnaire restaurants and this, Le Gaigne, is his first restaurant as patron. Given the prices are not Michelin star prices, it certainly offers value for money – and the wines are superbly matched.

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Ladurée (75 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Tel : 01.40.75.08.75), opened as a tea room in the 1930’s  at a time when women were not allowed to enter cafés (an exclusive domain of men) and soon became hugely successful with the ladies of Paris. Today, a brand unto itself, it is famous worldwide for its pastries and double-decker macaroons (of which 15,000 are sold everyday according to their website). These legendary macaroons featured in a scene between Marie-Antoinette and Ambassador Mercy in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.

Originally founded in 1862 as a bakery, it was burnt down in the Paris Commune uprising of 1871 and rebuilt as a pastry shop. It came into its own in 1930 when Desfontaines, the grandson, came up with the idea of sticking two macaroon shells together with creamy ganache (a whipped filling of chocolate and cream), reinventing the macaroon originally introduced by Catherine de’ Medici to France in the 16th century.

The celadon interiors and the waiting in line is an experience in itself, almost like being caught in a boudoir web within a time warp. Brunch has a very ‘ladies who lunch’ feel to it, made inelegant by recalcitrant swiveling seats which make it hard to look graceful, much less balance a china cup of tea delicately. Depending on your taste, the macaroon is either a fantastic melt-in-your-mouth experience, or not quite all that it is cracked up to be.

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Ladurée macaroon boxes are available from their counter at the Charles de Gaulle airport (should you want to take some home) and it is recommended that the macaroons be eaten within three to four days.

Le Trumilou (84 Quai de L’Hotel de Ville, Tel : 01.42.77.63.98,) will be remembered for a perfect meal on a sunny autumn day, a Sunday lunch of escargots lusciously awash in butter and garlic, chilled Sancerre, foaming Leffe, canard pruneaux (duck with prunes), ris veau (veal sweetbread), oeuf a la neige (floating islands) and tarte aux pommes, apple tarts, warm and melting.

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dsc07351It will be remembered as a quintessential French bistrot experience; traditional farm fare and dishes lovingly cooked for hours … and warm sidewalk café crèmes served in the sun, fueling hours of insouciant banter; and your table’s giddy, infectious good humor snags the attention of the man at the adjacent table (ostensibly reading a French translation of Dan Brown’s latest offering) … all this, followed by a siesta on the banks of the Seine on a sunny afternoon.

Le Baiser Salé aka The Salty Kiss (58 Rue des Lombards, Tel : 01.42. 33. 37. 71) is for the nights, for the atmosphere and the perfect evening of jazz, (no fancy wannabe jazz bar in an upstart slick street); this is cellar and decrepit loft, knee to knee in appreciation with other music lovers. A jazz festival is on, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino, salsa, merengue, R & B, fusion … and tonight is mellifluous and the mojitos, margaritas and 1664’s enhance the sweetly evocative articulations of sax and bass guitar.

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For a quick dinner before the show, or between shows, nip across to La P’tit Cantine (22 Rue des Lombardes, Tel : 01.42. 71. 44. 48) for a decent meal of meat and wine.

Le Connétable (55 Rue des Archives, Tel : 01.42. 77. 41. 40) is a chance encounter turned good. The bread is fresh and crusty, the Côtes du Rhône deeply red and invigorating, and the conversation is about men. Pork filet mignons in a Roquefort sauce, veal medallions, rump steaks in (green pepper) saus poivre vert, celery puréed with butter and cream … unpretentious food and robust wine.

Known for its local artists and chanson music (a la Edith Piaf); tonight, in the cellar-cave below, three painfully young men sing French a cappella, gentle croons, warbles and a harmony that has the young audience rapt. Berets are doffed; a battered saucepan is passed around for coins.

Angelina (226 Rue de Rivoli, Tel : 01. 42. 60. 82. 00) is the renowned Parisian gourmet teahouse in the elegant style of the Belle Époque era, designed by the French architect Edouard-Jean Niermans. An institution since its inception, it is known both for its clientele (aristocracy, fashion designers, authors, philosophers et al) as for its Mont Blanc gateau and hot chocolate (closely guarded century old proprietary recipes). The famous Mont Blanc – as well as most of their gateaux – have all been consumed by the end of the day, so if the intent is to eat, get there before teatime. The queues are long and so is the waiting time. The house special, the African Hot Chocolate, is worth every second of the patient wait and the sorbets are richly satisfying, beyond any imagination.

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Restaurant Le 404 (69 Rue des Gravilliers, Tel : 01.44.71.57.81) Le 404 restaurant … exhibits all the vibrant flavours and colours of North Africa. Retrofitted into a 16th century building, 404’s interior is all Berber with pouf seating, exposed beams and stones, tooled leather, authentic artifacts. … The menu features all the dishes … from that part of the world: couscous, tagines, grilled meats, skewered things. The wine list features some unusual Mahgrebi bottles … Grab a drink at Andy Wahloo’s, the sibling bar next door – everybody does, and ‘everybody’ includes show-biz and celebrities.

The evening is an sensory extravaganza; the warm glow of Moroccan lanterns, suspended, lamps and candles holders of iron fretwork dispersing flickering light on dishes heaped with Middle Eastern fare, meat, pigeon, chicken, semolina, pickled lemons, nuts, dates, figs, raisins; the fragrance of spices – cumin, coriander, saffron, chiles, ginger, cinnamon, paprika; a décor of earthen hues, the murmur of conversation, the hiss and sizzle from the stove, the pop of a champagne cork … epicurean hedonism.

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Our last dinner in Paris, Le 404 remains burnished in the memory as a golden experience, beginning with the first mojito, redolent with fresh mint. Chilled Chablis follows with fava beans & olives, Mechoui Maison (roasted shoulder of lamb), pastilla pigeon plat (wild pigeon in pastry), tagine poulet citron (chicken with preserved lemon and olives) and the couscous 7 legumes. And to end a meal of meals, salade d’oranges et fleur d’ orange and pastilla dattes (pastry with dates) accompanied by fresh, aromatic coffee.

Le Pain Quotidien, 18-20, Rue de Archives, Tel :  1 44 54 03 07, is a quiet delight, part of a global chain that first opened in Brussels in 1990. Bakery and communal table; breakfast, lunch, brunch (organic where possible, with vegan and vegetarian options) and simple boulangerie fare – soups, salads, tartines, homemade pastries, handmade organic bread – artisanal dishes, community eating at a long wooden trestle table.

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No gastronomic journey is complete without a nod to junk food and the Googrill beef and chicken burgers at Quality Hamburger Restaurant (63 Boulevard Saint Michel, Tel : 01.42. 71. 44. 48) … ils sont délicieux, elles sont parfaits.

Bon appétit, says the garçon, placing the bottle of Sancerre on the table, gently.

And so we do, meal after meal after glorious meal.

Jen’s Raw Papaya ‘Subzi’ with Mustard

don’t ask for proportions … the regular, like we do our indian sabjis, but it has to be mustard-y … so the ground mustard paste … be generous !
its quite delicious

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  • raw papaya, cut in thin, small slices
  • urud dal (urud dal explained)
  • hing (asephoetida)
  • mustard seeds
  • green chilis, slit (de-seeded if you want less fire in the dish)
  • 1 dried red chili
  • a bit of water
  • salt
  • ground mustard seeds or the kasundi mustard sauce
  • chopped coriander
  • juliennes of fresh ginger, for garnish
  1. add the urud dal and hing to hot oil
  2. then add mustard seeds, slit green chili and 1 dried red chili
  3. when it stops sputtering, add the papaya and a little water and salt and cook till the water dries up/papaya is cooked(it should retain its bite, not become pulpy)
  4. now add the ground mustard seeds OR prepared mustard (kasundi) and chopped coriander

Best hot, with steaming, freshly cooked white rice.Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 5.19.33 pm

Notes :

Mustard powder : do you just grind the seeds or do you soak them first and grind with green chili and salt to a paste ?

soak it, not too long and grind it with or with the chili and salt for a one time use. i guess if you want to store it, then some vinegar and salt makes sense. ask a bengali … they do a fresh grind very often … i am not the expert.

Grinding a fresh green chili with soaked mustard takes some of the bitterness away – from my Bengali sister in law.

Veronica’s Chicken ‘Aroma’

Cutting calories and food portions gets  repetitive and boring : its the same old, same old with some slight variations, at least as far as I am concerned. Its a drag to explore new variations on 100 or 150g of chicken per meal, month in and month out. Veronica, who is a part of the how shall we cook the chicken today dilemma produced this absolutely delish dish, skewered and very lightly pan fried – from watching a TV program on Indonesian food.

Measurements are, as they say in India – andaz se – or as per your preferences – increase or lessen as you desire.

Boneless chicken breasts, cubed

Coriander powder

Cumin powder

Chili powder

Turmeric powder

Garlic, minced

Shallots, minced

Ginger, minced

Curry leaves

Salt

  • Marinate the chicken pieces in the coriander, cumin, chili and turmeric powders for at least an hour.
  • In a dash of oil, fry the onion, garlic and ginger till fragrant and just browned.
  • Add the chicken pieces and marinade, and a bit more oil, if necessary. Stir fry till just done.
  • Season with salt, add the curry leaves, give it another good stir and its ready to eat.

 

 

400 Calorie Lunches

These may hold a few surprises – so little yet so much … or vice versa.

Guacamole & Pita

  • 2 tbsp guacamole with 1 wholemeal pita,85g rocket and 1 tbsp olive oil / vinegar dressing.

Salad

  • Salad leaves, a few cherry tomatoes, 1/2 sliced avocado, 50g goat’s cheese, 1 tbsp pistachios and a drizzle of olive oil.

Year: 2008 Month: 07 Page: 165-184Chickpea & Chorizo Salad

  • 3tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 125g (4oz) chorizo, skinned and diced
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 large red pepper, finely sliced
  • ¼ cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 3tbsp each roughly chopped mint, flat-leafed parsley and coriander

Mix together the vinegar, oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice in a large bowl. Add the chickpeas, chorizo, onion, pepper and cucumber. Season, toss everything together, then add the herbs. Toss lightly again and serve.

Year: 2005 Month: 06 Page: 204Roasted Tomato Salad

  • 900g (2lb) plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 5tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 ripe but firm avocados, peeled, stoned and thickly sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6. Put the tomatoes into a shallow roasting tin, cut side up. Season, scatter with garlic and drizzle over 2tbsp olive oil. Roast for 40 45min.
  2. Meanwhile, make the salad dressing. Mix together remaining oil, chilli and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl.
  3. Transfer tomatoes and any cooking juices to a large serving platter and leave to cool. Add avocado to the dressing and toss to coat. Spoon over tomatoes.

Year: 2012 Month: 08 Page: 148Deluxe Fig & Ham Salad

  • 200g (7oz) fine green beans, ends trimmed
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices white sourdough bread, cut into large cubes
  • 4 Little Gem lettuces, quartered lengthways
  • 85g pack Parma ham
  • 4 figs, quartered
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
  1. Bring a small pan of water to the boil and cook the beans for 4min or until tender. Drain and leave in a colander to steam dry until needed.
  2. Heat 1tbsp oil in a large frying pan and fry bread cubes, tossing frequently, until golden and crisp. Season with salt and set aside to cool.
  3. Arrange lettuce quarters cut-side-up on a large platter. Roughly rip the Parma ham slices in half lengthways and weave among the lettuce quarters. Dot over the figs, beans and toasted bread cubes.
  4. In a small jug, mix together the Dijon mustard, vinegar, remaining oil and some seasoning. Drizzle over the salad and serve.

Chicken & Feta Frittata (with leftover chicken)

  • ½tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 100g (3½oz) baby spinach
  • 225g (8oz) cooked skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2tbsp roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 6 large eggs, beaten and seasoned
  • 100g (3½oz) feta
  1. Heat the oil in an ovenproof 20.5cm (8in) frying pan. Gently fry the onion and pepper for 10min until softened.
  2. Preheat grill to medium. Add spinach to onion mixture and leave to wilt for 30sec. Add chicken and basil, then pour over the eggs. Cook over a low heat for 8-10min until just set.
  3. Crumble feta on top, then grill until cooked through. Cut into wedges. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Year: 2012 Month: 02 Page: 152White Bean Salad

  • ½tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ red cabbage
  • 2 courgettes
  • 410g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 100g (3½oz) stale unsliced bread, torn into small chunks
  • 125g ball low-fat mozzarella, torn into small pieces
  • Handful basil leaves, chopped
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the red wine vinegar and olive oil together with plenty of seasoning and a splash of water to make the dressing.
  2. Cut out and discard the tough core from the cabbage, then finely shred the leaves and put into a large serving bowl. Peel the courgettes into ribbons, using a y-shaped peeler, and add to the cabbage bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and dressing, and toss well to combine. Serve.

All recipes, information and pictures from http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/

The Mediterranean Way

Much has been written and discussed about this uber-healthy diet and food lifestyle. I came across this set of simple RULES to print and stick on the fridge – so as you don’t forget, or wonder … or lapse. Even if you do, this daily reminder should put back on track very soon.shutterstock_94559782

THE MED DIET RULES

DailyCALIFORNIA WALNUT COMMISSION MEDITERRANEAN DIET

  • 2 portions or 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 portion or 25g walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts
  • 7+ portions or 80g to 100g of fruit and vegetables
  • 1 to 3 portions or 150ml dairy products
  • 3 to 6 small portions or 25g wholegrain bread, rice, pasta or other grains
  • 1 small glass wine (optional)

I love the last one, but the article goes on to emphasise that it is optional, so exercise some judgement.

WeeklyMediterraneanDiet

  • 2 to 3 portions or 100 to 150g fish or any other seafood
  • 3 + portions or 150g cooked weight of pulses
  • 1 to 2 portions or 100 to 150g poultry

 

 

Monthlyred-meat-660

  • Up to 4 portions or 85g to 125g red meat

 

 

 

In addition, minimise sugar, salt and processed food, fill up on fresh vegetables and salads, use olive oil and butter ( yes, butter !) instead of vegetable oil and margarine.

And follow the RULES as a guideline .

Photographs have been borrowed from http://www.news.discovery.com, http://www.foodscienceacademy.org, http://www.techglam.com and http://www.blisstree.com

Are all changes good in a food programme ?

There will be changes to your body when you start a food programme – that is the whole point. But are all these changes for the good ?
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A friend wrote in about her spouse who lost 10 kg on his nutritionally controlled diet but developed painful hemorrhoids, possibly because he did not vary his vegetable intake, or consume sufficient greens. Another friend found her nails getting brittle, but the nutritionist upped her calcium intake and that was sorted out.

The takeaway from these shared experiences is that one must be aware of changes to one’s system while on a food programme, and more importantly, share this with the nutritionist or doctor or whomever is guiding the programme.

Some points to keep in mind :

  • Rotate your fruits – eating the same one most days (like apples, because they are convenient) with perhaps a pear/papaya for relief may not provide a balance. Include softer fruits like peaches, bananas etc.
  • Eat leafy vegetables even if these are not favourites. Green vegetables are insufficient, they need to be supported by the leaves – spinach, sprouts, lettuce. Have them as soups or salads.
  • Have a bit of rice occasionally. A little change always helps.
  • Monitor the intake of dairy products – milk can contribute to insufficient bowel movements, if your body is inclined that way.
  • Don’t change your diet too drastically and suddenly – it will show on your skin and face.
  • Lastly, look out for warning signals and tell your dietician so that they can modify your diet. Nothing is too frivolous or serious not to warrant mention.

As another of the gang sagely commented, “every body responds differently and that’s why there are so very many theories out there. its a matter of finding the one right for you.”

Emails were exchanged, all with good tips, suggestions.

“… go for the water, the greens and the feedback, and I personally would recommend a laxative or two.”

“Try adding a lot of lettuce, sprouts (the leafy ones like alfalfa, pea, wheatgrass), and how about wheat grass powder in water ? First thing in the morning ?”Blog-27-Image

“pl do consume yr full quota of water and salad”

That’s the whole point of this blog. Shared information for better results !

Check these posts :

15 Healthy benefits of Wheatgrass Juice you never knew.

Pictures from http://www.dillnerfamilyfarm.com/catalog/i149.html and www.getsomezen.com.

 

Strangely beautiful Veggie Mix for Wraps

Just cooked my 1/2 cup veggies for lunch. Yum.

I doubled the quantity (for tomorrow as well) so I’ll just give you ingredients.

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Handful of green beans diced in 1 cm pieces
Handful of corn kernels
Handful of peas
1 red onion
Chili flakes
Panch Phoran
Garlic flakes
Pinch of Za’atar – Middle eastern spice mix with lots of parsley, oregano, sesame etc.
Mint sauce (bought – no oil)

So, I dry fried the onions on a low fire, then sprinkled a generous few dashes of chili flakes, 4-5 garlic flakes, pinch of panch phoran and the za’atar.

Meanwhile microwaved the beans, corn and peas for one and a half minutes. Tossed the vegetables into the pan. Added a generous dash of mint sauce and salt to taste.

Piled it onto my warmed up pita bread, topped it with a slice of cheese.

Strange but beautiful.