Saturday, May 29, 2010

Journey to India Part I - Butter Chicken

This is the first post of 4 I will be making. I feel each dish I made deserves its own post not only because they are equally fantastic dishes but for future reference its easier to find them as I will be using them again.

Firstly I suggest that if you decide to tackle all these dishes (and make your own naan bread to go with them),t hat you plan to have lots of time OR do some of the work in advance.

Lets start our magical journey into the east with Butter Chicken

This version is lower in fat then the original. There is no butter and the cream is replaced with yoghurt and cornflour. I did move away slightly from the original low fat version slightly by adding cashew nuts.

The best thing about this dish is that there is no problem in making it veggie friendly. Trade the chicken for paneer, which if you ask really nicely your local Indian restaurant may supply with enough notice, or instead using haloumi (rinse well and soak in some fresh water for a bit to draw out the saltiness) 

What you need:

1 large onion, sliced finely
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
500 g chicken breast fillet or boneless thighs (cut into large chunks)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon tumeric
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoons tandoori masala
2 tins tomatoes
½ cup low fat plain yoghurt mixed with 2 tablespoons of cornflour and water to 500 mls
¼ cup crushed cashew (crushed with a pestle and mortar)
Corainder leaves to garnish

What to do:

In a large wok, fry onions until golden.
Add ginger and garlic and fry for a few minutes.
Add chicken pieces and fry for 10 minutes until firm.
Add salt, cumin, red chilli, tumeric, tandoori masala and garam masala, cashew nuts, and fry for a further 5 mins.
Add tomatoes and cook for 5 mins.
Add yoghurt mixture, stir well, and leave to simmer for 10 mins.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, and serve hot with rice and/or naan.

The Shopping List

Part II - Palak Paneer 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vegetable Egg drop soup - a recipe

The problem with me and recipes is that I can NEVER follow them to a T. Thats why I find baking challenging as that could lead to a serious disaster. Either way I decided to do the free soup from weight watchers which turned into a not so free but very delicious winter warmer.

What you need:
Baby sweetcorn
Green beans
Tin of mexican style tomatoes (if you dont get them where you are just used tin tomatoes, add some chilli and coriander/cilantro)
Olive oil
1 egg white
500ml Vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of sugar (optional)

What to do:
Chop up all your veg. Fry off the onions in a tiny bit of olive oil in a soup pot. Throw in the rest of the veg and toss a little. Add the tinned tomatoes and and the vegetable stock. Allow to cook until all the veggies are nice and soft and add you herbs and spices, salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of sugar to balance out any acidity. Once the soup is ready, whisk your egg white (or the whole egg if you are not watching your weight/cholesterol), take the soup off the heat and stir it, as you stir SLOWLY pour in your egg.

Either eat is as is or serve with a fresh, warm roll (I love the woolies heat and eat collection)  

The Shopping List

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sticky Fingers BBQ - A review

When you walk into Sticky Fingers BBQ you notice 2 things. Firstly the thick wall of delicious grill smell and then the great posters on the wall. Closer inspection gives you a great! pinup bar counter and bottlecap holders.

The atmosphere is friendly and inviting and the music, well its up to the crowd says the owner and I proved it by pulling funny faces on songs I didnt like till they played one I did and I smiled. Look up if you want a menu, nothing on the table jus ton the wall over the grill and everything is on there.

Now rest assured all you meat eaters that are connected to vegetarians, there is loads to eat for any lacto ova vegeterians, all the side dishes and there are loads are veggie friendly. Another thing that will make the meat eaters happy is the fact that the meat is all fresh. The owner doesnt like freezing meat so he doesnt. It does mean that if it was a busy lunch service you may not be able to get everything on the menu but that, my friend, is a price i am willing to pay for freshness. While we are on the price side, what would you think the following combination would cost you:

Add to that 3 cups of coffee and 2 cool drinks.

Any guesses?

C'mon, you all eat out...

The total bill came to R178. Nope I didnt forget any zeros, that was really the whole bill.

The owner is really friendly, even came round to give everyone free vodka jelly shots (normally R10). Man they tasted like high school. The guys who work there are both waiters and cooks and everyone is very friendly and helpful. you get a knife and fork but only cause so many people have asked, if it was up to the owner you wouldnt get any, even the "garden salad" is served as veggie sticks so you can eat it with your fingers. No waist of time with serviettes, you get a whole role of kitchen towel.

I will go back for sure, had a great and a great meal.
So for my ratings
Food ❤❤❤
Service ❤❤
Price ❤❤

Find them at :
93 Station road, Observatory

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mexico meets Italy - A recipe

This blog post is brought to you by:
Do you know what this is:

Shall I tell you?

Its what I termed "Nachos Lasagne"


What you need:
For the mince layer
1kg mince
1 onion
1 carrot
1 large celery stick
Cayenne pepper
3 cloves of garlic
White pepper and salt to taste

For the cheese layer
2 tubs chunky cottage cheese
1 tin mexican style tomatoes
½ small tub plain yoghurt
1½ circles of feta
1-2 tbs milk

For the rest of the layers
1 bag Nachos Grande
½ bag grated cheddar
½ bag grated mozzarella

What to do:

Put the carrot, onion and celery in a food processor so its chopped very small. Fry it off in a little bit of sunflower oil. Add the mince and continue frying till almost cooked. Add garlic, spices and seasoning and cook for a bit longer until mince is fully cooked. Take off the heat.

Mix together all the cheese layer ingredients adding the milk until you get a nice consistency


Start with a layer of cheesyness, followed by nachos and then mince. Top the mince with JalapeƱos and repeat. I managed 2 layers in my baking dish. The last 2 layers must be nachos followed by cheese. Put in a hot oven for about 5 minutes then under the grill till brown and bubbly.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Friday night traditional bread - a recipe

Every friday night we have Challa, some people know it as kitkah others joke that it's Jew bread (sometimes I have to say that to clarify what I am talking about) Even when we dont celebrate with my family the Sabbath eve I go to Carlucci's and buy the baby version.Some families cut it, mine rips it. It also makes GREAT french toast and really yummy toasted sandwiches. Challa is an egg enriched bread so not the usual recipe and if you do it right it has a stringy sort of flaky consistency and not bubbly like regular bread. Until I found the following recipe I was making bread like challa but this recipe changed it all and this challa was perfect (I also learnt how to do the proper braiding)

What you need (warning this makes loads of challa):
For the dough
2 Packets active dry yeast
½ cup warm (45°C/110°F) water
2 cups hot milk
½ cup white sugar
½ cup butter
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup water
5 eggs
11 cups cake flour

For brushing
1 egg
2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds

What to do:
1. Proof yeast and ½ cup warm water in a large mixing bowl.
2. Combine hot milk, sugar, butter, salt, and ½ cup water in a medium bowl. Cool to 45°C/110°F.
3. In small bowl, slightly beat 5 eggs, then add to cooled milk mixture. Add milk mixture to yeast mixture. Add 2 cups flour and beat until smooth. Slowly add remaining flour until it forms a stiff dough. Knead on a floured board for 10 minutes (5 minutes with a bread hook). Place in a large glass or plastic bowl lightly greased. Turn dough over to grease both sides. Cover and let rise in a warm, dark place until doubled in volume, approximately 60 minutes.
4. Punch down, cover, and let rise again until double, approximately 30 minutes.
5. Punch again, and form into 5 parts. Braid bread on a large, greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled.
6. Lightly beat remaining egg and brush loaf. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in preheated 175°C/350°F oven for about 55 minutes until nicely browned. 

Replace the sugar with honey