Sunday, 15 September 2013

Mad Moroccan Lamb

For todays post I'm sharing a recipe that isn't one of mine, nor one that is of my mothers. It's a recipe from a chef who I am a huge fan of, from his very early days as The Naked Chef - the amazing Jamie Oliver.

In all honesty I stumbled on Jamie by pure chance, bored at home one weekend channel hopping and I caught an episode of The Naked Chef half way through and I was instantly hooked. Fast forward 16 years and I am still very much a fan of him & religiously watch his shows, and own (almost) all his cookery books

I love his drive for healthier school meals, his passion for his foundation set up to help youngsters step into the world of cookery and that he really tries to show how cooking can be enjoyable, easy and not just a chore.  

I absolutely love this recipe as not only is it the base of a roast, but with a Moroccan twist - and I'm definitely a fan of foodie twists !!

This recipe was the perfect excuse to invite people over to eat with the 4 of us -  so I invited my cousins & their kids, and am quite chuffed with how much it was enjoyed, considering it was my first attempt. I followed the recipe to the exact specifications, if i were to change anything, it would be to half the amount of cous cous as you end up with quite a bit left over !

For 6-8 people you will need :

for the lamb:
1 x 2kg lamb shoulder
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp black peppercorns
2-3 dried red chillies
2 tsp salt
small handful rosemary leaves

for the chickpeas:

4 large red onions peeled and sliced
1 cinnamon stick
bunch of marjoram or tyme leaves
2x 400g tin of chickpeas
200ml balsamic vinegar

for the cous cous:

2 pints of water
250g mix of  dried apricots, raisins, sour cherries & cranberries
700g cous cous
2 lemons halved

for serving:
500ml plain yougurt
handful fresh coriander
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded & finely sliced

  • Preheat your oven to 220c/ Gas mark 7. Score the lamb in criss crosses about an inch apart. In a grinder or pestle and mortar smash up the spices till you have a powder, and with a little olive oil rub this all over the lamb, and push some rosemary into the cuts of the lamb. Put the lamb in a roasting tin, cover with foil and cook in the oven for 2 hours.
  • Next, heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry your onions, along with the cinnamon and marjoram or tyme for about 15 minutes or until the onion have softened. Add in the chickpeas with 3/4 pint of water and balsamic vinegar. Simmer on a low heat till nice & thick and remove from the hob.
  • In a saucepan, bring your water to the boil & add in the dried fruits, simmer for 5 minutes, the fruit will plump up. Remove from the heat and add in the cous cous with a little olive oil and leave to soak up the water. When there is no liquid left in the cous cous, pour onto a baking try and spread out flat evenly.
  • After 2 hours, the lamb should be golden and just roasted all the way through. Lower the heat to 200c/ Gas mark 6, remove the lamb from the oven and set aside out of the roasting tin. Add a little water to the roasting tin, and scrape off any sticky bits from the bottom of the tin.
  • Grab a large pot or another roasting dish with 4-5 inch high sides and lightly brush with olive oil, add in a quarter of the cous cous, or just enough to cover about 1 inch of the bottom of the pan.
  • Place the lamb into the pot, and sprinkle over the chick peas- remember to remove the cinnamon stick. Put the lamb on top, pour over the roasting pan juices and then add the rest of the cous cous, covering the lamb evenly. Place the lemon halves on top, lightly oil and wet a sheet of greasproof paper and cover the cous cous. Cover with a sheet of foil and place back in the oven for an hour - hour and a half.
  • Use a knife to pull some of the cous cous away, and the meat should pull away and fall of the bone- it's now done. Leave to rest for 5 minutes while you spike the yogurt with the juice from the roasted lemons.  
  • Dollop some yogurt into the middle of the dish, scattered with the chopped coriander and chilli and serve !

Friday, 16 August 2013


Today's post is a dessert that is traditionally made with paneer* dumplings soaked in cardamon milk and served chilled. Rather than use the method of making paneer from milk to make the dumplings, this method uses milk powder**

Using milk power I find is much easier & quicker than the traditional method as you're not having to wait on the paneer to set. 

The amounts below will serve 6 people - 2 dumplings per person : 

For the milk :
1 litre milk 
1/2 cup sugar
6-8 cardomon pods
Few drops of rose water

For the dumplings:
1 cup milk powder
1 medium egg
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter 
Pinch of soda bicarbonate 
Chopped pistachios & almonds
Pinch of saffron 

•Start by bringing the milk to boil in a heavy based pan, with the sugar & cardamon pods. 

•When the milk comes to boil, leave to simmer on a low heat and make the dumplings

• Place the milk powder in a bowl with the soda bicarb and stir together. Add in the melted butter & the egg, mix together to form a soft dough. Knead together gently for a couple of minutes

•Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into round balls. Don't worry if they are not perfectly round !

•Gently place the balls into the simmering milk, and they will double in size.

•Leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes and leave to cool. Add in a few drops of rose water, garnish with saffron & chopped nuts 

•Once cooled, place in the fridge to chill completely and serve 

*Paneer is a soft cheese made by curdling milk as it comes to boil

**most supermarkets now sell Asian branded milk powder, you should be able to find a whole isle dedicated to Indian & Asian produce. I normally use Nido milk powder

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Cumin rice

This is a quick way of adding a tasty twist to boiled rice. It's great for when you want rice, but plain just won't cut it, and may not have all the essentials for traditional Pilau. The simplicity of this recipe is what I think actually makes it so moreish 

It goes great with most daal dishes as lentils and cumin are just a beautiful combination, or even just a drizzle of natural yogurt !

This will easily serve 4-6 people and you may even have enough for the next day :

4 cups of rice
2 tablespoons cumin
1 large onion
1 tbsp salt
7 cups water
125g butter
1 fl oz vegetable / olive oil

  • Melt the butter in a heavy based pan, and add in the oil. Finely slice the onion and add to the pan. Fry the onions on a high heat till the are dark brown in colour. You will need to keep stirring to stop the onions from catching at the bottom of the pan.
  • When the onions have browned, add in the cumin, and slightly lower the heat, stir the cumin with the onions for a couple of minutes. The cumin should brown and their aroma should come through
  • Pour the water into the pan & bring back to a high heat. When the water reaches boiling point, add in the rice & salt.
  • Boil the rice until the water has almost completely been absorbed. Remember to keep a close eye as the rice will can stick and burn at this point
  • Lower the heat completley under the pan, place the lid on the pan* and leave for about 10-15 minutes on the low heat
  • Fluff the rice through with a fork and serve

*cover the lid with a tea towel first as this helps absorb the excess moisture in the rice and gives them their fluffiness

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Split chick pea daal & bottle gourd curry

I'm starting this post with a confession, I have made this dish on countless occasions but never blogged it,  I made this for Iftar last night, (breaking of fast at sunset) as I thought of sharing this recipe I realised that although I knew in Urdu the name of the vegetable in question for this dish  .. but what of the English name ? Well I was totally clueless

How could I possibly post a recipe without knowing what i was referring to ? So I asked for help from my fellow Tweeters, thankfully the mystery was solved. This particular beauty is whats known as bottle gourd and looks like this , it's a much milder version of bitter gourd which is an acquired taste. The slight sweetness of bottle gourd works extremely well with the spice in a curry.

So here we go Channa Daal & Thoriyaah: (pronounced tho-ree-yah)

1 cup/ 125g channa lentils ( split chick pea lentils)
1 large bottle gourd
4 medium onions
1 tbsp garlic paste / 6-8 crushed cloves
2 tsp salt
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 green chillies
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
125g butter

  • Start by washing the lentils till the water runs clear. Soak the lentils in a bowl with warm water*, whilst the lentils are soaking, roughly chop your onions and fry in a large non stick pan with butter
  • When the onions have softened, add in the garlic, salt & green chillies. Stir on a medium heat and  when the onions are golden brown, add in the tomatoes & curry powder. Add a splash of water, cover the pan and leave to simmer on a low heat for the tomato to soften 
  • Peel your gourd, chop of the stalk and bottom and give it a quick rinse under water. Cut the gourd in half lengthways, and then slice the 2 halves. Place to a side
  • Check back on your masala in the pan, if the onions have softened, then drain the water from the daal, add the daal to the pan.
  • Let the daal simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, it should almost double in volume as the lentils cook through.Check that the lentils have softened by taking a few between your fingers and squashing. They should break easily without too much pressure. If they still feel raw, add a little water and leave to simmer on a low heat for a little longer.
  • When the lentils have softened** add in the sliced gourd & stir together. If most of the water has evaporated, and the daal is looking dry, add just enough water to cover the daal, cover the pan & leave to simmer on a low heat once more for about 20 minutes.***
  • Check back on the daal, the gourd by now should have softened & cooked through. The way to check this is that the colour of the gourd will have changed from white to them becoming see through, as well as being soft in texture. You can do the finger test with a slice of the gourd just as with the lentils earlier. 
  • When your gourd has cooked and softened, depending on the consistency, you can add a little water if it loos too dry. Serve with either plain boiled rice or my cumin rice

*pre soaking the lentils helps speed up the cooking, even if they are left for just half and hour it's a bonus 
** the lentils should be soft but not mushed, you want to try and keep the lentils whole
***whenever you cover up the pan, do remember to keep an eye on it so your daal doesn't end up sticking to the pan

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Garlic Naan

My last post was a recipe for Peshwari Naan a delicious twist on the staple plain naan. Tonight it's another naan recipe which is very much loved amongst not only family members but pretty much all my friends.

I know that whenever I'm out for a meal with my friends, without fail, garlic naan has to be ordered, no matter if we've ordered other varieties, and there's always a battle for the last piece !

This recipe will make 4-6 naan and they literally will go with any curry whatsoever:

2 fl oz warm water
pinch of sugar
1 tsp dried active yeast
500g plain/bread flour
whole bulb of garlic (crush the cloves)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
50g melted butter

  • In a small bowl mix the yeast sugar and warm water together, leave for about 10 minutes for the yeast water to become frothy
  • In another bowl, put together the flour, salt and crushed garlic cloves, add in the yeast mix and enough warm water to make a soft dough
  • turn out onto floured surface and knead it together for about 10 minutes
  • Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave to rise for about 2 hours. If you're a bit short of time, you can add in a pinch of baking powder to speed up the process
  • Put a non stick pan on your hob to a medium heat and turn your grill on full
  • In a small pan, melt the butter on a low heat and stir in the garlic powder 
  • Divide and roll out your dough into 4 balls, roll one out into a circle about a quarter of an inch thick
  • Place onto your non stick pan and cook, just as in step 7 for Peshwari Naan
  • Place the naan under the grill, to lightly brown the top, when you take the naan off the grill, lightly brush the top with the melted garlic butter and serve 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Peshwari Naan

Naan's are a real favourite of mine.. wether it's the staple plain, the moreish garlic or keema filled. Naan's to me always add that bit of decadence to any meal compared to your everyday chapati. 

I can remember growing up  whenever we would have guests over for dinner, mum would always get out her tandoor out and I'd know that naan's were on the menu. 

Peshwari naan are a real twist on the basic recipe .. this one has sultanas  added in for a sweet bite, Granny Smiths for added tang which goes quite well with a fiery curry, and flaked almonds for added crunch. I could happily eat this with nothing but a good helping of a hot pickle !

This is a recipe for 4-6 naans, 1 per person:

2 fl oz warm water
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp active dried yeast
500g bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 fl oz natural yogurt
2 oz raisins
2 granny smith apples (grated)
2 tbsp desiccated or grated coconut
1/4 pint tepid water

  • Combine the water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and leave for about 10-15 minutes for the mixture to become frothy
  • In another bowl, place the flour, salt, grated apple, raisins & coconut and make a well in the centre. Add the yogurt to the yeast mixture, then into the flour till combined. Add the tepid water in slowly (you may not use all of it) and mix to form a soft dough
  • Turn the dough out on to a floured surface, and knead for about 10 minutes till it's soft and elastic.
  • place back into a slightly oiled bowl, (the oil prevents the dough from sticking) cover and leave to prove in a warm place for about 2 hours or till it's doubled in size
  • Next, switch your grill on, full whack to heat, and on your hob,on a medium heat, heat up a non stick pan up while you roll out your naan
  • Divide your dough into 4-6 balls on a floured surface,roll one ball out to about 20 cm or 1/4 inch thickness and pull one end gently, your naan should resemble a tear drop shape.
  • Prick the naan gently with a fork, brush lightly with melted butter and place into the non stick pan. The top side of the naan should begin to form bubbles as the underside is cooked
  • Next place the naan under your grill till the top begins to bubble and lightly brown, you should get brown 'spots' this should take no more than a couple of minutes. Brush lightly with a little melted butter & serve
  • Repeat steps 6 + 7 for the rest of the dough, garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve 

Mango Lassi

I've made it very well known that I'm no fan of cold weather, so with the last few days of stunning weather, I've been a very happy bunny. Hot weather doesn't just mean a happy Foody Mama, it also means it's the perfect time to indulge in copious amounts of mango lassi; Let's be honest drinking lassi on a cold wet miserable day just doesn't go does it ?

For those of you that may not be familiar, lassi is the Asian take on the British smoothie. In Asian cuisine, there are a few variants, from the salted *pulls face at thought* version to fruit based ones  .. Fruit sounds more like it .. I hear you !

So I thought since it's made a rather regular appearance in our fridge over the last few days, it just had to be blogged about

This recipe will easily give you 5-6 rather generous servings and will need an electric whisk or liquidizer jug :

1x 454g tub natural yogurt
1 x 850g tin mango puree
250 ml cold water
6 tbsp sugar

  • place all the ingredients into your liquidizer or in a large jug if using an electric whisk
  • whisk/ blend till all the ingredients have combined together, leave to chill in the fridge
  • serve in tall sundae style glasses 

That is really all there is to it. For a bit of a twist, you can always add in a few chunks of mango for a bit of texture and dive in with a spoon. For a slightly naughtier version, top up with squirty cream ! If like me you've got a weak spot for strawberries, swap the mango puree for a punnet of strawberries and wizz up in the exact same way.

I'll leave you with a rather brilliant advert for mango lassi by HSBC ..

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Lamb Korma

Korma .. Probably the most popular curry for non Asians due to it's cream based non chilli flavour, but to me a curry isn't a curry if it doesn't have that hit of heat - wether it's mild or blistering hot there needs to be some form of  spice !

With this dish I did exactly what i love- experimented, tweaked and tested and the recipe below is the end result. If you're not a fan of lamb, I will be putting up my chicken version too.

This is a fab dish for when you've planned an evening with friends or family as not only is it indulgent  and aromatic- a real palate pleaser, it can be done in advance and frozen half way through cooking, and finished off on the day you require it 

The amounts below are for about 5-6 people:

2 medium onions
100ml ghee
4-5 garlic cloves crushed
1 inch piece ginger crushed / 1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp salt
1tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cloves
1tsp black peppercorns
4 green cardamoms
1 tbsp curry powder
zest & juice of 1 lemon
2- 2 1/2 lb lamb*
2oz ground almonds
200ml double cream
2oz flaked almonds 
  • Heat the ghee in a heavy based pan, slice your onions and add to the oil along with the ginger and garlic. Fry on a low heat, stirring frequently until the onions have softened and just begin to colour.
  • While the onions are cooking, grind the the cumin, cloves, peppercorns & cardamom in a blender mill or with a pestle and mortar.
  • Add the ground spices to the onion along with the curry powder stir well  and cook through for another couple of minutes
  • Turn the heat up to almost full and add in your lamb. Cook and stir through until the lamb has browned well, add in the lemon zest, juice, salt, ground almonds and stir through
  • Cover the pan and leave to simmer gently for about an hour till the lamb is tender. Stir in the cream once the lamb is cooked, sprinkle in the flaked almonds
  • Serve with boiled rice or naan 

* You can substitute the lamb for chicken instead if you prefer, and to make a slightly lighter version  swap 50ml of the double cream for natural yogurt or even creme fraiche 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Cheat's Pilau

My cheat's pilau is exactly that- cheating your way to making a short version of the spice filled rice but tastes just as yummy and requires hardly any effort at all !

Traditionally in pilau you have several spices, it's often made for big family get togethers and can be quite time consuming, but this recipe really doesn't take up much time and is a definite winner with my girl friends when we're having a get together.

The amounts below will serve 4-6 people and it goes well with practically any curry but really compliments my recipe for saffron chicken

so to make Cheat's Pilau you'll need

5 cups basmati rice
9 cups fresh boiled water
1 large onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
1bay leaf
small piece of cinnamon
1 bay leaf
3 cloves
1 star anise
2 tsp salt

  • start by slicing your onion as finely as you can, then add into a large heavy based pan with some oil and on a high heat you need to cook the onions till they are dark brown. (You will need to stand by the pan to keep your eyes on the onions as you want them quite dark but not burnt.
  • Add in your bay leaf, and cumin seeds. On a medium heat, cook until the cumin seeds have slightly browned, pour in your water then add in your salt, cinnamon paprika & food colouring. 
  • When the gets to boiling point, add in the rice. Boil the rice until almost all the water has absorbed, lower the heat and place a lid on the pan- cover the lid with a tea towel*
  • leave to rest on a low heat for about 20-30 minutes, remove the lid and fluff up with either a fork or gently with a fish slice and serve !

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Saffron Chicken

In my last post Sweet Chilli Chicken Noodles I mentioned about chicken making regular appearances at our table and having to find different ways to cook with it. This a is one of those recipes that is just that. I like to serve it as a starter for guests but if we're having it for our main meal it's great with salad on the side or with a bit of my cheat's pilau

For this recipe I've used a whole leg piece per person, as chicken on the bone really does give you more flavour, but if you prefer you can use chicken breast - one per person is more than enough. To serve 4 people you will need :
         large pinch of saffron 
         50ml/2fl oz boiling water
         4 chicken legs / chicken breasts
         1 green chilli (chopped)
         1/2 tsp coriander seeds
         1 bay leaf
         1 inch piece cinnamon stick
         1 tsp smoked paprika
         2 tsp mustard seeds
         250ml of greek style yogurt
         2 tbsp flaked almonds 
  • Start by combining the saffron & water in a bowl and leave to soak. Next make  a few small cuts with a knife in the chicken (this helps the chicken cook through )  then in a large frying pan, heat a little oil, add your salt and green chillies and stir on a medium heat till the chillies have slightly softened.
  • Add your chicken and brown on both sides - you can do the pieces in batches rather than all in one go.
  • Once the chicken has browned, remove from the pan and put aside. In the same frying pan on a low heat add the coriander seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon & paprika. Stir for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the mustard seeds to the pan, when they start to pop, put the chicken pieces back in, add the yogurt & saffron water, (and the strands) stir through and cover. Leave to simmer on a low heat for about 40 - 50 minutes 
  • toast the almond flakes by putting them in a small frying pan and stirring on a low heat for no more than 2 minutes - keep your eye on them as they catch easily ! Garnish the chicken with the almond flakes & serve 

** if you'd like the sauce slightly thicker simmer for an extra 15/20 minutes  

Friday, 8 March 2013

Sweet Chilli Chicken & Noodles

Today's post is one of those dishes that comes about from just experimenting with bits that are either left overs from the day before or just plain & simply ingredients that need to be used up as they are about to expire - I really am one of those 'waste not want not' types.

Chicken  definitely makes regular appearances at our table, so I've always got some in the freezer and am always trying to do something different with it. This recipe was literally made with 10 ingredients, which was eaten for tea and we even had left overs which served as lunch the next day

Now this recipe technically isn't an Asian dish, but it does have a touch of spice ! The 10 ingredients you will need are :

2 x 300g pack of pre cooked noodles

1 kilo / 2 lb chicken breast - cut into chunks/strips
1 medium onion
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes/powder
BBQ sauce
1/2 yello sweet pepper
1 tbsp sesame seeds 
coriander to garnish (optional)

  • start by dicing your onion, then fry till golden brown on a medium heat in a heavy based pan or wok, when the onions have browed, add your chicken and cook till browned and no pinkness remains.
  • add the chilli flakes and pepper. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt, lower the heat and stirring occasionally,  cook till the  pepper has cooked but still has a slight crunch. (soggy peppers for me are a no )
  • add a good squirt of honey and BBQ sauce of your preference. Keeping on a low heat, add in the noodles, stir through.
  • at this point I normally do a taste test to see if I want to add more honey, sauce or chilli flakes.
  • finally sprinkle over the sesame seeds and coriander & serve 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Cauliflower & Sweet Pepper Karahi

What comes to mind when you think of Cauliflower ? Most likely the words 'boiled' & 'bland' or you'll be instantly transported to your school days in the canteen and being served cauliflower cheese at lunchtimes - enough to put you off cauliflower for life ?

Fear not for tonight's recipe is a fantastic Karahi recipe for cauliflower with the addition of sweet peppers, lemon zest & juice for extra 'Oomph'

This recipe will serve 4-6 people, you'll need the following:

1 large cauliflower
4 medium onions
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 green chillies
2 tbsp garlic paste/ 1/2 bulb crushed
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
juice of 1/4 of lemon
1 large sweet pepper 

  • Heat a little oil in a heavy based pan, add the ginger & garlic, fry on a medium heat till lightly browned. Then add in your chillies , keep stirring so the garlic & ginger don't catch*. When the chillies have softened, add in the onions that have been roughly chopped.
  • Brown your onions and then add in the salt & tomatoes, and simmer on a low heat till mixture has reduced a little and add the cauliflower (I quite like to keep the tomatoes & onions chunky for a bit of texture)
  • Place the lid on your pan, lower the heat completely, and leave for about 30 minutes to let the cauliflower soften. Make sure you stir half way through to prevent any catching at the bottom of the pan, and also to check how the cooked through the cauliflower is*.
  • When the cauliflower has softened, add the sweet pepper, again I normally just roughly chop it.
  • Let the cauliflower & peppers simmer on a medium heat for about 25-30 minutes, stirring in between to stop any of it catching.*
  • When the peppers & cauliflower have softened, and the water has reduced, add in the cumin, mustard seeds & the lemon juice
  • Garnish with fresh coriander, again I roughly chop it and sprinkle.
  • Serve with your choice of  Naan 

*Remember it' s always handy to keep the kettle filled with water so you can add a few splashes to stop any catching/burning

*any leftovers are fab layered up as lasagne with the addition of mushrooms and potatoes - curried vegetable lasagne,  or simply place leftovers into an oven proof dish, add any other vegetables of your choice, pour in a generous amount of b├ęchamel sauce, top with your fave cheese, sprinkle on some herbs and bake in the oven at 180c for about 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling & golden - Another Foody Mama twist !!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Kidney Bean Daal

This is possibly one of my all time favourite Daal's. For those that aren't familiar with what Daal is, it's a curry using lentils. Most often Daal's are garnished with what is called a tharkaah, (pronounced thur-kah) which is crushed garlic browned off in butter separately, then added to the daal. Adding tharkaah makes your daal that little bit more indulgent and the overall aroma is far more pungent.

This daal is one that's made without a tharkaah, but is just as delicious. The tang of tomatoes, combination of the spices and toasted cumin left tingling on your tastebuds is heavenly. It's also quick and cheap to make too, and will easily feed a family of 4.

You'll need the following ingredients:

1 medium onion
1 tsp salt
6-8 cloves crushed garlic / 2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 x 400g tin red kidney beans
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 green chillies 
1 tsp curry powder 
fresh chopped coriander (to garnish)

  • Chop your onions, and in a heavy based pan, fry in olive oil till golden brown, add the garlic & ginger, and chillies,* cook until the garlic & ginger has browned and chillies have softened.
  • Add in the tomatoes , curry powder & cumin seeds. Cook the mixture till it has slightly reduced and the tomatoes have slightly 'mushed'**
  • Add in your kidney beans, without draining them, then half fill one of the tins with boiled water and add the water to the pan.
  • leave to simmer on a low heat for about 10-15 minutes, add the chopped coriander and serve with boiled rice or chapatis 

*if you'd like your daal spicy, chop your chillies up as this releases more of their flavour, otherwise leave them whole.
** I like to leave the tomatoes slightly chunky, it gives a nice texture and brings out their flavour more

Monday, 4 February 2013

Mixed Vegetable Karahi

Tonight I'm posting a recipe for all the vegetarian curry fans. Personally I think that vegetable curries are so underrated, I try to make a vegetable based curry at least once a week for my family. This particular one is brilliant for using literally any vegetable you like. 

If like me you have 2 kids that have a favourite veg, then just add extra amounts of it to make up for bits they might not be so keen on. Its's also great to use any left overs with a bit of stock and blend into a delicious winter warmer soup.

So for my Mixed Vegetable Karahi you'll need :

5 medium onions
1 bulb of garlic crushed OR 3 tbsp of garlic paste
2cm fresh ginger crushed OR 2 tbsp ginger paste
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 green chillies
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tin plum/chopped tomatoes
1 tin baby new potatoes 
1 medium cauliflower 
4 small parsnips
1 sweet pepper
a good handful peas
a good handful of grated cabbage 
a good handful of chopped spinach leaves
2 large carrots
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp seasame seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
A good squeeze of lemon juice
Handful of chopped coriander to garnish

  • start by slicing the onions and on a medium heat, fry in a heavy based pan in a little olive oil till soft, then add the salt, garlic, ginger & chillies. Fry these together till the onions turn golden brown & chillies have softened. Make sure that you stir the mixture to stop it from catching on the bottom.*
  • once the onions have browned, add the tomatoes & curry powder and again stirring, keeping an eye that the mixture doesn't catch. Keep cooking till the mixture has slightly reduced and the consistency is sauce like.. this normally takes about 10 minutes, turn off the heat and next make a start on the veg.
  • Peel & wash all your veg as required, then roughly chop. As in my roast vegetables, rough & varied sizes is fine. For the baby potatoes just remember to drain the water.
  • Turn the heat back on under your pan, again have a medium heat, add the cauliflower first and stir well so the cauliflower is coated with the curry masala. Pop the lid on the pan, lower the heat and leave for about 10-15 minutes to softened. When the cauliflower has softened slightly, add the parsnips, carrott & cabbage. Again place the lid back on, leave for another 10-15 minutes to let the veg soften.**
  • When the carrots & parsnips have softened, add the potatoes, spinach, pepper, peas  & the lemon juice. Turn up the heat and keep stirring every few minutes to cook all the veg through ***  This stage can take from as quick as 10 minutes up to 30 minutes, depending on how soft you want your vegetables to be. I like my veg to have a slight crunch & not completely softened.
  • Finish off by adding the cumin, mustard & sesame seeds, garnish with the chopped coriander & serve with naan 

* if the onions begin to catch, add a splash of water and stir. This also helps to soften them too
** again make sure you keep an eye on it, and stir every few minutes

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Quick style, but just as fab roast chicken, with all the trimmings

It's been a few weeks since my last blog. I've been so busy between housework, kids appointments, and the general madness of a hectic household my blogging's been neglected. 

Whilst the kids are now occupied with their collection of bricks & have got their dad joining in, I wanted to get this blog down.

On a Sunday I absolutely love nothing more than a good old roast with the trimmings, and it's a brilliant way for me to get the kids into eating their vegetables- they aren't keen on them when  just boiled, but roasted in the oven with herbs & a little bit of spice, they will wolf them down.

so today I'm posting the recipe for the lunch we've just polished off- with some sent off to my mum & baby sister in law . (she's 27 but the youngest out of us lot, so sorry Sadaf if you're reading this)

I love this recipe for roast as it's a variation that cuts a few corners, with the use of Nando's seasoning, really doesn't require too much effort & tastes just as good as a version that may take you hours 

 To serve between 4-6 people you'll need the following :

2 medium chickens cut in half/ quarters
2 sachets of Nandos BBQ Seasoning
1 sachet of Nandos Hot seasoning
2 sachets of Nando's Lemon & Herb seasoning
5 Large potatoes 
3 large parsnips 
1 large sweet potato 
a good handful of sprouts
3 large carrots 

  •  I normally start by placing the chicken in large bowl, then I add enough olive oil to just coat the chicken, and then add in the BBQ & Hot Nando's seasoning.* with my  hands, then mix the chicken together and make sure all the chicken is coated well with the seasoning. 
  • I'll leave the chicken in the fridge for at least 2 hours to marinate**
  • I then peel the potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips & carrots and chop into chunks/quarters, don't worry about them being all the same size & perfectly cut, it's much easier & quicker than trying to make them all look perfect.
  • To get the veg crispy on the outside, I tend to par boil my veg so it's just slightly softened, drain them from the water, then put them in a roasting dish, add the sprouts & pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil and then coat with the Nandos lemon & Herb seasoning.
  • To roast the chicken, I preheat the  oven to 200 C, remove the chicken from the fridge and place it in my roasting dish & cover with foil. I put in the oven for an about and hour & a half.
  • Half way through I take the foil off, turn the pieces over and let  the chicken crisp up, & then place the veg in the oven.
  • To make sure the veg doesn't catch or over cook, I give them a toss around when they've been in the oven for about 30 minutes.
  • I'll then serve the chicken & veg with good old yorkshires & lots of gravy

So that's my quick style, but just as fab roast chicken, with the trimmings - I hope you'll give it a go and let me know what you think or let me know of your own variations so I can give it a go. 

* I normally buy the seasoning from my local Asda, but I'm sure the other large supermarkets will sell it too

** If I'm in a real rush for time, I'll leave the chicken for the minimum 2 hours, leaving it overnight is best as it gives more time for the seasoning to do it's job

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Corker of a curry sauce

It's Saturday night and that means if you're not going out then you're most likely about to watch some form of a reality program and you've had to order your favourite take out .. Lets face it, reality tv and a good old take out go hand in hand.

For me it's got to be the British classic fish & chips - chunky chips, fish in a crispy bubbly batter and a good kick of vinegar. My favourite side would have to be a tough choice between onion rings and curry sauce... (it's the Asian in me screaming out for some spice)

Being the perfectionist I am when it comes to food, I haven't found a take away curry sauce that I love enough to have with my beloved fish & chips , so I always make my own ( surprise surprise !)

This curry sauce can be made in advance, I sometimes even freeze batches as it can be used as a base for almost any curry

You will need:

5 medium onions
1tsp salt
3 green chillies
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp smoked paprika powder
1/2 tin chopped / plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons garlic paste
1 tablespoon ginger paste

Start by slicing your onions and fry in a heavy based pan in a little oil. When the onions have softened , add the salt, chillies, ginger and garlic paste.

Stir over a medium heat, stirring to ensure the mixture doesn't catch the pan. If you find it begins to catch, add a splash of water.

When the chillies have softened and the onions are turning golden brown, add the curry powder, paprika, cumin seeds and tomatoes.

Leave to simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes , then blend together with an electric hand blender. If you've not got an electric blender it's just as good to quickly mash with a hand masher.

And that's all it takes ! If the consistency is too thick for your liking add a little water and simmer for a couple of minutes to heat through