Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Chicken soup for the soul on a cold day like today

It sure is getting cold and in the two years we have been around, we have never used the heater this much..and its not even winter yet! The Paris trip planned for Christmas has been scratched because we realised we wouldn't enjoy the place with the biting cold creeping in through the clothes....and with the amount of walking we might have to do, it isn't that rosy a picture and id hate Paris instantly. Now i really don't want to hate the most romantic city in the world do i?
Soups are a new addition to our system and it wasn't soon that i realised it was one of the easiest dishes to make and a whole, fulfilling meal that too. Ro however wants all the possible veggies in it including my current enemy 'the broccoli.' This is a 'cream of chicken' infused recipe which turned out really tasty. I have put in a whole lotta veggies, which are optional, or you can add whatever you have at home.

Chicken- 1 large piece, bone in
Leek- 1, shredded
Cauliflower- 1/2 cup
Carrots- 1/2 cup
Soup cube- 1, diluted in some water or just crumble it (I used Knorr)
Water- 1/2 cup (or just enough to cover the veggies and the chicken)
Salt and pepper- to taste
instant Soup- 1 sachet (i used Knorr again, a 5 minute soup sachet)

Put in the veggies, chicken and water into a large stock pot over medium heat. Crumble a soup cube into the water and give it a good stir. Cover and cook. After about 15 minutes, take the chicken out and shred it...the meat will be way too tender and will come off easily. Put it back into the pot along with the bone and continue on high heat, this time without the lid on. Leave it on for another 30 minutes and towards the end add an instant soup sachet into it as per instructions and season with some freshly ground pepper powder and salt. Make sure it doesn't boil. If you want to make it creamier, add some low fat milk as well.
Serve immediately with some croutons or garlic bread.

Notes: The Knorr instant soup is optional..i used it to get a more thicker and creamier soup.
Leeks are completely changes the flavour.
The bone in piece is also an additional flavour enhancer, but you can also use boneless pieces.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Gobi/ cauliflower Manchurian

We are in the process of adding broccoli and cauli's to our daily food and i must say i hate broccoli and so does Ro but he tries hard to eat it and doesn't complain. We try to include it in our soups and its still raw and horrible. For me, its more like keeping the one and only broccoli floret till the last gulp and then try and chuck it without Ro looking. But he manages to catch me just before that and i have to chew it like a mincing machine and swallow it with great difficulty. Cauli's also are not that great in soups, but not as bad as broccoli so i manage to eat that. We had left over caulis from one of the soup sessions and i couldn't handle it raw again. So i tried out a Manchurian recipe which turned out great, although Ro was eating my head while i was preparing it saying, 'I'm hungry whats there to eat, il die of hunger etc.' So pardon the 'not so presentable pic' which i had to hurry through.
I mixed the recipe from mariasmenu and from another blog and came up with this. Also, Swarhas an interesting recipe for gobi Manchurian on her blog.

Cauliflower florets- 2 cups

To marinate:
Corn flower- 2 tbs
Maida- 1 tbs
pepper pwd- 1/2 tsp
Water- enough to make a loose paste
Salt- to taste
Oil- enough to fry

Bell pepper- 1, sliced into cubes
Onion- 1, thinly sliced
Green chillies- 2, slit lengthwise
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
Soy sauce- 2 tbs
Tomato sauce- 1 tbs
Chilli sauce- 1 tbs (i didn't have any so i made a paste of 1/2 tsp of vinegar and 1 tsp of Kashmiri chilli pwd)
Pepper pwd- 1 tsp
Spring onions- to garnish
Salt- to taste

Boil the cauliflower florets for about 5 minutes, drain it completely and dry on kitchen towels. It must be completely moisture-free
Mix all ingredients in the 'to marinate' section with enough water to make a loose paste (not too watery though). Dip the florets in this mixture and deep fry in hot oil. Drain on paper towels.
In a frying pan, heat some oil (leftover from frying) and sautee the onions, bell pepper and green chillies till they become soft. To this add the Ggp and sautee well, till the raw smell goes. Next, add all the sauces, pepper and salt and mix well. In goes the fried florets and combine well with the sauces and masala. It must be well coated. Add some spring onions to enhance the taste, or just garnish it when you are ready to serve.

Notes: I don't like the florets completely coated with cornflower, so i don't over do it
Bell pepper is optional, but it brings an authentic Chinese taste to it, i think!
I marinated the florets in the refrigerator for over an hour which was quite accidental, but i guess it was for the best.
Fry the marinated florets in oil till crunchy brown and serve it with garlic mayo mixed with a bit of tomato ketchup and it serves as a great starter. Have tried it a lot of times.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Pan seared Scallops with a Thai Sauce

This is our first time with scallops and i must say i wasn't too disappointed. Ro got all excited at the prospect of making a scallop dish and he completely took over. We paired it with noodles stir fried in a spicy Thai sauce and a Chardonnay to accompany the spicy, tangy food.

Scallops- 8 to 10 meduim ones
Olive oil- 2 tbs
Salt and pepper- for seasoning

Olive oil- 2 tbs
Fish sauce- 1 tbs
Lemon juice- of half a lime
Dry red chillies- 2 crushed (we used 1/2 a tsp of Thai massaman paste)
Garlic- 2 cloves, thinly sliced
Butter- 1 tsp
Coriander- 2 tsp,finely chopped. We used the dried ones..fresh would be apt

Wash the scallops and pat dry
Warm a wok (or large frying pan) over medium-high heat (allow pan to warm up at least 1 minute). While the pan is warming up, use a paper towel or clean tea towel to gently dab any remaining moisture from the scallops.
Add 2 Tbs oil to the frying pan and swirl around. Gently place the scallops in the pan, leaving enough space between so you'll have room to turn them. Cook the scallops for at least 2 minutes (or skin will tear) and while doing so, season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Turn the scallops and season the other side with salt and pepper. Scallops are done when both sides have a nice crispy-looking crust and are firm to the touch. Remove cooked scallops from the wok/pan and drain on a kitchen towel.
For the sauce, place all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat-high. Stirring occasionally, warm the sauce for 1-2 minutes only, without actually cooking it. Add the seared scallops to the sauce or palce the scallops on a serving plate and pour the sauce over it.

Notes: The scallops must be very dry before frying them in order to achieve a good sear on both sides.
We made the sauce a bit runny so it teamed up as a nice side to the noodle dish.
Recipe has been adapted from

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Baked tuna steak with garlic and rosemary

Saturday brunch is completely taken over by Ro while i sit around watching something on TV or browsing and if i feel a bit enthu, id help him chop the veggies or something. But most probably, i avoid being in the same space with Ro which ultimately ends up in a fight about 'the masala containers don't go there' and the 'this is not how you should be doing it' sagas. So this Saturday was one of those days and i just sat and watched the episodes of HIMYM while Ro went out, bought fresh tuna steaks and decided to do a conti preparation.
This is a recipe from the BBC good food guide and we had it with jacket potatoes, steamed veggies and this new Belgian fruit beer we discovered called fruli.
Verdict: The fish was way too fishy for my taste and i ended up having left over pizza from the previous night. So I'm warning you, if you are not a big fan of fish (read bland and fishy), then this is definitely not for you. This is as Brit as it can get:) Also, the rosemary was a bit overpowering and i guess its an acquired taste.

All you need
Tuna steak- 1 or 2, about 200 gms (can be substituted with any white fish as well)
Roasted garlic- 3 cloves (drizzle the garlic cloves with some olive oil and salt, wrap them in foil and roast in a hot for about 10mins)

Dry red chilli- 1, crushed
A few sprigs of rosemary
Dry white wine- 3 tbs
A pinch of salt
Extra virgin olive oil- 25ml
Parsley- a few sprigs, chopped
Lemon- half, squeezed

Preheat the oven to 220C.
Make a paste of all the above ingredients (except the wine) and generously rub over the steaks.
Place a large aluminium foil, large enough to hold the fish steaks, on the kitchen top and cover with a baking paper, almost the same size. Fold over the edges so that both the foil and paper are joint at the edges. It should look like a bag.
Now place the marinated steaks into this and pour the wine over this along with the roasted garlic. Make sure you crush it a bit so that the flavours get infused with the gravy. Seal the bag and place inside the oven. The fish steams inside and so the bag has to be sealed well. Cook for 15 minutes. Once done, serve the steaks on a plate and pour the gravy over.

Notes: The same marinade can be used for white fish or even prawns
Jacket potatoes are the easiest. Cook them in the microwave for about 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally and once a knife cuts through easily, take it out and slice them into quarters, but not all the way. Apply some butter or load it with cheddar cheese and about 2 or 3 mins before the fish gets done, chuck the potatoes into the oven as well. This is just to melt the cheddar.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Beef Curry

This is a damn easy beef curry especially if you have a pressure cooker. I usually avoid buying beef out here cos after all the cleaning i am kinda put off the whole thing. It also somehow ends up tasting too beefy...i am sure all of you must be wondering what i mean..but yes i do feel its a lil too obvious for me. This curry however proved me wrong and turned out real well. It was more like a stew but went great with roti.

I followed Maria's recipe to the dot except i used the pressure cooker to do all the cooking. It cooked faster and was more convenient. I kept it on for 3 whistles on low fire and after it was cooked, added the thick coconut milk, stirring in between, till it started boiling. And ofcourse the tempering does the trick for me.

PS: Sorry for the lazy post. After the long break I'm now finding it difficult to start again. All i need is a know where:)
PPS: Ro asked me where the beef was in the pic and i said it was all under there. So sorry for the hidous pic as well.