Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble

Nothing quite says Spring than a the bright pink, long stalks of the vegetable yet eaten as a fruit, rhubarb. I've always seen think pink hued beauties at my local supermarkets and often passed them to  fruits which I am more familiar with. I really want to cook more with seasonal British fruit and vegetables this year. Fruit and vegetables always taste better when in season and so hopefully I'll be hearing more and more recipes using seasonal ingredients.

The last few weeks was the first time I've ever cooked with rhubarb. The first thing I made was rhubarb crumble, it reminded me school puddings -such fond memories. I noticed, though that when the rhubarb is baked, some of the vibrant pink hue was lost, so when I remade this, I added an early seasonal bunch of strawberries to add further sweetness. The end result is a rich, fruity and comforting crumble which will keep you satisfied from Spring to Summer.





Ingredients
4 x rhubarb, cut into 2cm thick
75g demeara sugar
150g plain flour
50g oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
25g margarine (e.g stork)
250g strawberries, hulls removed and cut in half.


Method 
Preheat the oven to gas mark 5. Place the rhubarb in a pie or oven dish, sprinkle the brown sugar over the rhubarb and roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, add the flour, oats, cinnamon and margarine. Using your fingers mix together - the idea is to have finer pieces of crumble, alongside some large clumps.
Remove the rhubarb from the oven, add the strawberries and gently mix with the rhubarb. Place the crumble on top and bake in the oven on the top shelf for between 35-40 minutes.

xxx
Share:

Friday, 14 April 2017

Chicken Chow Mein

I've previously blogged this recipe four years ago - i've come a long way in term of my food photography skills! I've used udon noodles for this version which I much prefer as it's thicker and more robust than egg noodles. I've also added a splash of the fiery thai sauce sriracha to an extra chill kick. What I love most about this dish is that it's quick, easy and healthy. 




Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook In: 10 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients
150g  medium egg noodles (I used udon noodles) 
2 dashes of toasted sesame oil
300g skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
Dash of soy sauce
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp chilli sauce (optional)
1 tbsp cornflour
1-2 tbsp of groundnut oil
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced
150g beansprouts
1 large spring onion, sliced lengthways
2tbsp light soy sauce
ground of black pepper
Sriaccha (optional) 

Method
1) Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until al dente, or according to the instructions on the packet. Drain, then rinse under cold running water and drain again. Drizzle with a dash of sesame oil and toss together to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.
2) Place the chicken strips in a bowl and season with the dark soy sauce, five-spice powder and chilli sauce (if using). Mix well, then lightly dust the chicken strips with the cornflour.
3) Heat a wok over a high heat until it starts to smoke and add the groundnut oil, then add the chicken pieces and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and golden.
4) Tip in the red pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the bean sprouts and spring onion and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Stir in the cooked noodles and season with the light soy sauce, the remaining dash of toasted sesame oil and freshly ground black pepper. Divide the noodles between plates and serve immediately.
Share:

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Mountain Berries and Desert Spice Review and Giveaway.

This is the second book from Sumayya Usmani, the chef introducing the UK to the delights of Pakistani cuisine. I've previously reviewed her debut book Summers Under The Tamarind Tree and I must say, I much prefer this book, Mountain Berries and Summer Fruits. Perhaps it's because I have a ridiculously sweet tooth, or that the book brings back memories of my teenage years. Growing up in a multi-cultural city, I tried many an Indian sweets and there are some sweets featured in this book such as the Jalebis which I developed a slight addiction to when I lived in Leicester. But there are many other sweet recipes, some which uses familiar ingredients and others where you may have to source out.

There are key ingredients which are featured in many recipes and alternatives given - so you can easily recreate the recipes featured. It's hard to describe how the recipes are split into different chapters as there are reference to type of fruits and also regions and seasons. The recipes feature a range of delicious sweetness and spice which will spice up your usual sweet treats. There is also a wonderful guidance and informative history of the diversity of Pakistan. The climate, for example can influence the fruit and spices grown, heck the diversity of the dishes. I've pencil marked a number of recipes and so far have made the Shahi turka brioche bread, although I plan on making many more.




This cookery book is split into the following chapters.

  • Sour morning berries, Rising to mouth-watering spice. Recipes which stood out for me include Sharbat (Buckwhet porridge with pink salt, cardamom and stewed Hunza apricots), Hunza barove giyaling (Buckwhet pancakes with summer berries, walnuts and apricot oil) and Sweet parathas (filled with date, walnut and milk fudge).
  • Sugar almonds and buffalo milk, The sweetness of diversity.  Recipes include Gajrela (Carrot rice pudding), Bejewelled Parsi wedding custard, Dar ni puri (sweet bread filled with channa daal and candied peel) and Memon lappi (crunch oats with jaggery, cinnamon and fennel seeds).
  • Kits, kingdoms and cardamom samosas, Flavours from Lahore and the Mughal Empire. Recipes to devour include: Pakistani jalebis (spiralled fermented doughnuts in turmeric - infused syrup) and Shakarkandi ki kheer (sweet potato pudding with rice flour and spices. 
  • Through mulberry valleys, Summer fruits in harsh winters. Standout recipes Spiced apple samosas, Chamborough (Stewed Hunza apricots with cream and apricot kennels) and Gajar mukhadi (Semolina and carrot pudding).
  • A saffron blaze, Following the spice caravans. Recipes to try include Khanfaroush (Spiced saffron crumpets with honey) and Peshawari pistachio ice cream. 
  • Festive spice and roses, Celebratory sweets. Standout recipes include Shahi turka brioche bread pudding (with saffron, ricotta, cranberries and chopped nuts), Milk fudge fill samosas with coconut, cloves and pomegranate and Kashmiri shufta (paneer cheese with floral spiced nuts).
  • Chilli mangoes and ocean breeze, The sweetness of homecoming. Recipes to try include Mummy's panjeri semolina granola with mixed nuts, dried fruit and puffed Arabic gum and Karachi halva with pumpkin seeds and cashews.
The recipe that I tried and enjoyed was the shahi turks brioche bread pudding. I found this recipe incredibly easy to make, with all the ingredients available in my local supermarket. This pudding is rich, indulgent and sweet - a perfect end to a lazy weekend. 

Preparation: 25 minutes and chilling 
Cooking: 30 minutes
Serves 6-8

Ingredients 
1 litre whole milk
250ml generous 1 cup condensed milk
a pinch of saffron threads
4 cardamom pods, seeds removed and finely crushed
150g ricorra
3 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
10 slices of brioche loaf, cut in half
handful of chopped pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, dried cranberries, cherries and raisins

Method
Put the milk, condensed milk, saffron and cardamom together in a heavy-based pan and bring to the boiled over a low-medium heat down to low, add the ricotta, stir until smooth (tiny lumps may remain which are fine) and cook for 10 minutes until thick. Take the pan off the heat and set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon of the ghee in a pan, add a brioche slice and fry until it is toasted on both sides. Transfer the brioche to an ovenproof dish and repeat frying all each slice of brioche in 1 teaspoon of ghee.
Pour the milk mixture over the brioche and decorate with nuts, berries and raisins. At this point you can either refrigerate or bake in an oven preheated to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

The lovely people at Frances Lincoln are giving a copy of this lovely book. To be in with a chance follow the instructions on the blog.

  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget. 
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the right side of the website using Google Friend connector) this is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT. 
  • For additional entries, like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus. 
  • All entries will be checked and verified. 
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 03.04.17 - 01.05.17.
  • Winners will need to respond in 5 working days of being contacted. 
  • The competition is open to UK residents, aged 18 or over. 
  • Frances Lincoln will post a copy of the book.
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this cookery book from the publishers. All opinions are my own.
xxx
Share:

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Meatballs in a sweet, sour & spicy tomato sauce.

I fancied a change from the usual meatballs with pasta which is one of my go to mid-week meals. The thing is with my relationship with mince, I usually make the same fare with mince: meatballs, in-authentic spag bol  and chilli con carne. This is despite having a cookbook dedicated to mince. This is meatballs, but not as you know it. Seasoned with intense Middle Eastern spice and a lovely combination of beef and mince meatballs. I was a bit hesitant and apprehensive what the sour flavours would be like, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you think of sweet and sour of a well-known takeaway dish, but more sour and with a little more heat. I decided on serving this with bulgar wheat, hummus and za'tar roasted vegetables.





For the meatballs 
250g minced lamb
250g minced beef
1 large onion, peeled and grated
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated or finely chopped
30g breadcrumbs
1 tsp smoky paprika
1/2 tsp chili flakes or cayenne pepper
1 tsp harissa paste
1/2 tsp salt
a pinch of white pepper
a pinch of ground cinnamon



For the sauce
2tbsp olive oil
the rest of the head of garlic, peeled and chopped (about 30g)
5 tbsp tomato puree (about 80g)
1 tsp harrisa paste
1 tsp smoky paprika
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp demerara sugar
2 strips of lemon (use a peeler)
100ml lemon juice
750ml water
2 large pears, cut in thick wedges, seeds removed but skin on.

Method
Heat your oven to 200C/180C/Gas Mark 6
Mix all the meatballs ingredients together in a large bowl and form into twelve balls of roughly 50g each. Place on a lightly oiled baking tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, put the olive oil, chopped garlic and salt in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring all the while, until a strong garlicky smell emerges and the garlic begins to stick to the pan (it should not colour). Add the tomato puree, harissa, spices, bay leaves, sugar and lemon skin and mix well. Keep stirring and cooking until everything begins to stick to the bottom of the pan again (about 4-5 minutes), then stir in the lemon juice and bring to the boil.
By now your meatballs should be just about ready to jump into the sauce. Tip them in along with all the juices that have come out of them - there's tons of flavours there. Bring the sauce to the boil again, then reduce the heat to a minimum, cover and leave to cook slowly for an hour. If you using pears, add them now. Cook for 15 minutes on a low heat without the lid in order to reduce the liquid slightly - when it's ready, the sauce should resemble a thick soup.
Serve with white rice

Share:

Monday, 20 March 2017

Smashed Banana Pancakes

I fancied something tropical and healthy for breakfast but not something boring. I'm trying to eat more protein based dishes as I find that protein based dishes keeps me going for longer. I never associated pancakes with being good for you, but I found a recipe that combines both sweet and is protein based from Caribbean Modern. I'm a big supporter of anything Caribbean and I loved the tropical and sunshine feel to these pancakes. I topped mine with a drizzle of golden syrup and dates, which combined with the bananas made a welcoming change for the usual breakfast fare.



Serves 4-6
Makes about 8-12 pancakes
Time: 10 minutes prep & 20 minutes cooking.

Ingreidents
25g self-raising four, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp cocoa nibs or chocolate chips
pinch sea salt
4 large, overripe bananas, roughly mashed with a fork
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 small free-range eggs, beaten
2 tbsp natural yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 free-range egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
virgin coconut oil, for frying,

Method
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips) and salt until well combined. 
Place the smashed banana in a separate, large bowl, along with the maple syrup, then stir in the flour mixture then the beaten eggs, yoghurt and vanilla extract until well combined.
In a separate  bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks remain when the whisk is removed.
Mix a quarter of the egg whites into the banana mixture then gently fold in the remainder.
In a large frying pan, on a medium heat, a tablespoon of coconut oil, tilting the pan to ensure the oil covers the base. Ladle out a little of the batter (about 4-5 tablespoons) and tilt around the pan so that the batter forms roughly a 10cm pancakes. Cook until the pancake is golden and dry underneath, about 30 seconds to a minute, then flip over and cook for a further 30 seconds to a minute, until the pancake is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining bate and serve immediately with a topping of your choice. 

xxx

Share:
© Charlene Flash | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig