Category Archives: Snacks

What would you feed me…Sonal?

IMG_6100I almost feel that Sonal needs no introduction, but just in case you don’t already know her, let me tell you that Sonal is an amazing, stunning cook, producing endless dishes, mainly of Indian, and always of vegetarian, food, packed with so much wonderful flavour I think I bookmark every single post!! It seems to me that her kitchen produces food fit for Gods on a daily basis, all shared with us in beautiful photos! At the same time as being this goddess in the kitchen, Sonal is also a friendly, supportive, sharing blogger, whom I count amongst my friends 🙂

Let’s see what delights she has brought me today…(then go and rifle through her blog and see even more of her wonders)…

IMG_7105Tea with Elaine : Kahwa, a Kashmiri Green Tea; Date, Figs n Pistachio Salami; Eggplant Fritters (Baingan Pakode), Pan Grilled

Elaine and I decided for a date to meet up. I was so excited that I am meeting one of my oldest friends from wordpress, even if for a virtual date. There is no better love to share than the love for food! Right Elaine? I totally love her and her gorgeous food! The dips, the vegetable roasts, the goodness bars are just to die for.

Sometimes I wonder, how lucky I would have been if I was her neighbor. Sigh! I wish I had known her when I lived in UK 10 years ago.

When she said that let’s catch up over your food, I had these dishes whirling on my head. Knowing her love for Middle East food, vegetarian, eggplants, gluten free and healthier dishes in general; I had a full lunch menu in my mind but that became too ambitious for me. So I cut it down to the Brunch Menu!

A Brunch Menu which has an aromatic and healing Green tea from Kashmir, called Kahwa, infused with spices and saffron. Accompanying it, is Dates Figs and Pistachio Salami. Salami for the shape of it but is is oh-so-yum! I am sure Elaine is going to love it with her Kahwa. A delightful combination. A brunch is not complete at my place without a hearty savory dish. So I made Baingan ke Pakode or Eggplant Fritters. These are traditionally deep fried and people just love these back in India. Though not as common as potato and onion fritters, they have they own cult. I took a leap on these and pan grilled these so we both can enjoy these guilt-free. Yay! Elaine loved it! Right Elaine ;).

Now off to preparation part. 3 easy recipes and a gorgeous brunch was ready to be shared, devoured and I had a heartfelt session of laughter and fun with a good buddy of mine….Elaine :).

IMG_7101Kahwa, a Kashmiri Green Tea

Serves : 2

Kitchen Equipments Required : a suave pan with lid, a tea sieve, spoon, 2 cups.

Ingredients :

Green tea bag : 1 or use 1 tbsp loose tea leaves
Water : 2 &1/2 cups
Cloves, whole : 2-3
Cinnamon bark : a small piece
Green cardamom : 2
Saffron : a fat pinch
Almonds : 2 tsp, chopped coarsely. Blanched almonds are recommended but may use them as is.

IMG_7102Method :

1. Crush the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

2. Add water to a sauce pan along with crushed spices. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Put the gas stove off.

3. Add saffron and tea bag to the pan. Cover with lid and let steep for 3-5 minutes.

4. Add 1 tsp of almonds to each cup. Pour this steeped gold in the sauce pan to the cups. Here is the thing! Some people like all that crushed spice in their cup and some don’t. So pick and choose your style. I like my cup of Kahwa with everything in it.

5. Stir with a spoon. Sip it warm. It is soothing. It is smooth. It is just wonderful.

IMG_7107Date, Figs n Pistachio Salami

Yields : 1 small log

Kitchen Equipments Required : food processor, parchment or butter paper, a rolling pin.

Ingredients :

Dates : 12, pitted and chopped
Figs, dry : 12, chopped
Pistachio : 1/2 cup, chopped
Cardamom powder : a small pinch

IMG_7106Method :

1. Throw all the ingredients in the food processor. Blitz it on pulse for few times. Bring it all together in a kind of dough.

2. Transfer all of it in the middle of a big parchment sheet. Collect it like a log. Roll it tight in the parchment / butter paper. Fold and tick the paper from the sides.

3. Take the rolling pin. Flatten it further and even it out.

4. Refrigerate the dry fruits salami for 3-4 hrs before serving.

5. Cut it with serrated bread knife and enjoy! It is an excellent way to eat your food raw and healthy. Sweet but sugar free ( no processed sugar).

IMG_7103Eggplant Fritters (Baingan Pakode), Pan Grilled

Serves : 2-4

Kitchen Equipments Required : 1 big heavy bottom pan, flat spatula, a big bowl, plate covered with paper towel, chopping board, knife.

Ingredients :

Eggplant : 1 medium size cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, approximately 8-10 slices.

Besan / Chickpea flour : 1/2 cup

Salt to taste

Red chili powder : 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp

Ajwain / carom seeds : 1/2 tsp

Garam masala : 1/2 tsp

Turmeric : 1/4 tsp

Water : 5 to 6 tbsp

Oil : 1 tbsp

IMG_7104Method :

1. Take the big bowl. Add chickpea flour and spices to it. Add 5 tbsp of water and make a thick paste kind of batter, which doesn’t flow but spreads at your command. If it is too tight, add 1 tbsp of water more. Make a lump free pasty-batter.

2. Heat oil in the pan. When it is hot, lower the flame to medium.

3. Dip one slice of eggplant at a time in the batter and coat it well from both the sides.

4. Place the slice in the hot pan. Repeat with all the slices and cook 5-6 slices at a time.

5. Cook from each side for 4-5 minutes on medium flame, till they are golden on both the sides.

6. Serve them warm with Cilantro and Mint Chutney!

Wow! I wish I had known you when you lived in the UK too, Sonal, I would have been your weekly house guest!! What a fabulous tea and what a great date we had, thank you so much for sharing your gorgeous food and beautiful spirit xx

Time for some goodness snacks (and how to make them!)..

2015/01/img_6873.jpgIt’s been a while since I’ve posted any of my goodness goodies, I make different ones every week, but don’t always share them – I don’t want anyone to get bored!!!

Last week I read two different recipes on two different blogs, one for making your own coconut butter, and one for making your own sunbutter…so that’s what I did, I made them, then used them in some bars.

To make coconut butter you literally just throw raw coconut into your nutribullet and whizz it until it becomes liquid. After a while it then solidifies and becomes butter. The same with the sunbutter – whizz up sunflower seeds with coconut oil (I used my newly made coconut butter), it liquefies then sets more solid.

2015/01/img_6922.jpgI wanted to make some goodness bars that were nut free, so the sunbutter was perfect for binding the bars. I just threw various seeds and dried fruit into a blender and chopped it all up, mixed it with the liquid sunbutter plus some extra coconut oil, then left it to set. I made some with nuts at the same time..

2015/01/img_6923.jpgI also threw together some others with a mixture of unsulphured apricots and mixed nuts, almond butter and coconut oil (more details at the end of this post)..

2015/01/img_6924.jpgI have recently discovered two new fabulous products which I used in these, Pip&Nut almond butter and Lucy Bee Coconut Oil:

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2015/01/img_6891.jpgBoth very very nice products, and I’ve tried and used many and various nut butters and coconut oils, and I can tell you that these are both rather lovely! (This is my opinion as a consumer, I have not been asked/paid to write this).

There are lots and lots more versions of my goodness snacks in my recipe index, but to give you the basics of making any of these, here is what I do..

I just chuck whatever dried fruit/nuts/seeds I have or fancy into my small bowl blender and chop them up to a fair sized crumb.
Then mix a good couple of tablespoons of nut butter of your choice and coconut oil together and melt them together in the microwave, usually takes 60-90 seconds, then stir this through the mixture, mixing well through the fruit and nuts. You basically want a good coating on everything.
I then use a silicone ice cube tray, fill each cube up and press it down with the back of a spoon, then freeze for 30 mins.
Press them out and store them in the fridge.
Et voila!

Enjoy xx

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My FF Anniversary gift: my ‘holy grail’ homous recipe..

2015/01/img_6816.jpgAs I prepared for this post, I thought about all of us around the world who were all prepping and photographing and writing about our offerings for this Fabulous First Fiesta Friday Anniversary Party – I could almost feel the connection between all of us as we prepared to celebrate the wonderful weekly gathering that Angie has created, and it made my heart sing, it really did.

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I cannot go any further without also mentioning all of the co hosts who have supported Angie as the parties have grown; you are all so welcoming and do such a great job, thank you all so much. And this week, Julianna and Hilda will no doubt continue the great work and look after us all superbly 🙂

And so, for my part, I have decided to bring you an gift: my ‘holy grail’ homous recipe. This is the recipe that I stand by and use to make my own homous every week; it works every time for me and I hope it will for you too. I must add that I now only ever make my homous in my NutriBullet and it does a super fast job of making super creamy homous. If you don’t have a NutriBullet, use whatever you have to create the texture you would like. If you only have a food processor and would like a smoother dip, use a stick blender to create finish it off.

Please note:
*I’ve tried making homous with dried chickpeas that I’ve cooked and cooled, and with canned chickpeas, that I’ve washed (and washed!) and drained; I’m happiest with the canned chickpeas. They are in salt water, so I don’t add any extra seasoning to the dip. This is only my choice of course.

*I use arabic tahini; this is a key point as I have recently been researching tahini (yes, I am that sad!) and arabic tahini is a lot thinner than greek tahini. If you use a greek version, maybe Cypressa or Sunita, you may want to add a tiny extra bit of water, but wait until you’ve made and chilled the homous before you decide that as the mixture will stiffen in the fridge.

So, here it is…
1 x 400g can of chickpeas, washed well and drained
100g tahini
100-150ml water (add the lesser amount then increase to get the consistency you want)
50-75g lemon juice (to taste – I like the higher amount, and lemon juice is key to good homous)
2-3 garlic cloves (again to taste – I like lots!)

And that’s it. Chuck it all in the blender and whizz it all up, and there you have it. A beautiful, easy, fresh homous.

2015/01/img_6837.jpgI happily eat it as it is, love it in fact, or I add other things to it to make different versions and tastes. Today I added some of my homemade harissa to some; some homemade ‘toum’ (Lebanese garlic sauce) to another; and some chopped black garlic to the rest.

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2015/01/img_6801.jpgAnd these are what I used to create my canapés for the Fiesta Friday block party, I hope you like them!

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2015/01/img_6800.jpgI used red peppers to create little boats, but you could use celery sticks or cucumber slices, bread/toast discs, whatever you like. I topped some with toasted pine nuts, some with sumac and other with aleppo chilli flakes.

And I’ve been waiting to use these beautiful dried rose buds that I got from Just Ingredients for ages – this is the perfect opportunity!

2015/01/img_6814.jpgI hope you enjoy my canapés and enjoy the party: happy fiesta and happy weekend 🙂

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What would you feed me…Selma?

2015/01/img_61003.jpgHere we are on the third week of my new guest blogging series and I, for one, am loving it! I love you guys and how you’ve embraced my idea, those of you who have taken part and those of you who have read the posts – thank you so much for your support 🙂

This week it is the turn of my lovely Selma from Selma’s Table; Selma’s blog is full to bursting with amazing recipes, wonderful stories and great tips, you have to have a visit, and at the heart of it all, is a wonderful, warm, supportive, highly knowledgeable, lovely lady. It’s not news that I love this lady, I’ve said it often enough on here, but I really do!

We were lucky enough to meet for the first time almost a year ago now, and we are now in touch almost daily; she is my guru is so many areas; Selma is yet another wonderful reason I’m glad I started this blog. So, let’s see what she’s brought…over to you, Selma…

2015/01/img_6697.jpgI discovered Elaine through a blogger who had re-blogged one of Elaine’s posts, which was of all things, a pavlova. I read her ‘About Me” page and was so touched by her story that I immediately followed her. I left a comment on the pavlova post and that was it; our friendship blossomed. We’ve met up a couple of times and chat incessantly, whether it’s on the phone or on social media. We pick each other’s brains for ideas, buoy each other up when things look a little bleak and generally behave as if we have known each other forever. Now, I bet that many of you are reading this and thinking – hey, that’s the relationship I have with her. Well, it’s a testament to Elaine that she spreads her love far and wide and we are all so much the richer for it. I was absolutely thrilled when Elaine asked me to guest post for her and decided to make something sweet, with her favourite ingredient. These Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits are something that she can serve her guests after one of her famous lunches, with a cup of tea. Or, in my case, an espresso – and a double, at that.

2015/01/img_6696.jpgThe Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits have Elaine’s name written all over them. Wheat free, refined sugar free but chock full of almonds and tahini of course! They are also dairy free and egg free, making them suitable for vegans. While these do have honey in them they are not very sweet so they won’t kick your sweet cravings into high gear.

They are super simple and quick to make. Just combine the wet ingredients, stir in the dry, roll into balls, top with an almond, coat with the sesame seeds, flatten and bake for 10 minutes! The mixture is quite sticky and much easier to roll with wet palms. And, purely in the name of research, of course, I found that the ‘dough’ is so delicious that you could eat it without baking too! I managed to myself! The orange and cardamom flavours work beautifully with the nutty flavours of the tahini and almonds. The Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits bake up crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside – just begging to be dunked in a cuppa!

Elaine, I hope you enjoy these – thank you so much for having me!!

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Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits

  • Servings: makes 25 biscuits
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Inspired by recipes for Chinese Almond Cookies which are traditionally made for Chinese New Year and Elaine’s favourite ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

175 g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
135 g honey
135 g tahini
1 tsp vanilla extract
finely grated zest of one orange
4 drops cardamom extract or the seeds from 4 cardamoms ground to a fine powder
½ c sesame seeds in a shallow bowl
25 whole or halved almonds
INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. The biscuits spread a little, so you will either need two baking sheets or should bake in two batches.
Whisk together the ground almonds, salt and baking powder in a small bowl to combine.
In a mixing bowl, combine the honey, tahini, vanilla and cardamom extracts and the orange zest. I used set honey and heated it up for few minutes so that it was easy to blend with the tahini.
Stir in the almond mixture and mix well. The dough should hold together firmly enough to shape into balls. If it’s too wet, sprinkle in some more ground almonds. If it’s too dry, spray a tiny amount of water on it.
This is quite a sticky mixture so to help with the rolling, fill a small bowl with water and wet the palms of your hands between rolling each of the balls. Using a teaspoon as a measure, roll into approximately 25 balls and roll in the sesame seeds to coat.
Place an almond on top of each ball.
Flatten, using the bottom of a glass and place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a little space between each one as they do spread.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown. They will need to cool slightly on the sheet before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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OMG! these look amazing!! Selma, you are a star! I love that you’ve included tahini – we’ve had so many conversations about tahini – and that they are not too sweet, just perfect. Thank you xxx

Super simple fast flatbreads..

IMG_5324.JPGI love Masterchef Australia; for some reason I watch the series religiously whereas I don’t watch the UK version at all!

One of the judges is a food critic called Matt Preston and he also gets involved in the master classes and shares lots of ‘cheat’ recipes; the first time I came across banana ice cream was from watching one of Matt Preston’s cheats.

Last week this really grabbed my attention: the simplest, fastest flat bread recipe ever! I’ve used this method twice now and it doesn’t fail!

IMG_5312.JPGJust mix 1 cup of natural yogurt with 2 cups self raising flour (basically any measurements as long as the flour is double the yogurt);
mix well – probably easiest in a food mixer;
separate the dough into balls and roll flat;
cook on very hot griddle/tawa without any oil.
Turn over when you see brown spots forming and cook the other side – et voila! Done!

IMG_5322.JPGI made these again at the weekend:
I used a thinner, 0% natural yoghurt (I used Greek yoghurt previously) and it was easier to mix;
this time I rolled them a bit thinner and made the rounds a bit smaller;
I heated the tawa over my medium gas ring instead of the biggest hottest ring so that they cooked a bit slower;
They puffed up more and cooked through better;
I also added some spices:
1tsp Coriander
1tsp Cumin
1tsp Nigella seeds
1tsp Aleppo chilli flakes
1tsp Garlic granules

YUM!!!!

I will of course now be working on a gluten free version – you know me!

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