Cauliflower Curry with Spiced Gram Flour Flatbreads

I made this curry after a visit to Chennai Dosa on the London Road in Croydon.  It’s an ace South Indian restaurant that has canteen style decor and  friendly and receptive staff.  It does Dosa by the dozen in any form you could think of and is delicious and very reasonable, they even do a 5 foot family dosa – now that’s something I might have to come back for!  When we went we tried the Gobi (cauliflower) Dry Curry to start and then had Masala Dosa and Masala Dosa Paneer for mains.  I love dosas but unfortunately haven’t tried making them as yet, I think it involves fermenting ground rice and that is perhaps a step to far in our a little flat.  But it was the gobi that got me thinking, cauliflower is an excellent vegetable for taking on spice in a curry and after buying myself a nice head of it at my local green grocers I felt I ought to have a go.  I went for a dry style curry like they served in the restaurant ( I think this is a bit more of a north Indian dish, tell me if I’m wrong).  It is really easy to make and instead of the dosas I had dreamed of, I whipped up a kind of flat bread/pancake style gram flour mix to eat the curry with. 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a head of cauliflower, split into little florets
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • An inch of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of medium curry powder
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • Salt
  • Splash of water

For the flat breads:

  • 2 heaped tablespoons of gram flour (chickpea or besan flour)
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon of mild curry powder
  • A big pinch of salt
  • Water

Method:

Par boil your cauliflower florets for 5 min, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside. 

Soften the sliced onion until translucent then fry for a couple of minutes with the garlic and ginger and the spices.  Add the cauliflower and spring onions and mix together in the pan making sure the cauliflower absorbs all the flavours whilst still frying and heating through.  Season and add a splash of water if it begins to stick.

For the breads: 

Mix the flour, spices and salt with water until you get a pancake like batter the consistency of double cream.  Heat a large frying pan and add enough oil to coat the base of the pan.  Once hot add a ladle of the batter and tip the pan like your making pancakes so the batter spreads into the shape of the pan (basically treat this as a pancake batter).  Once air bubbles appear on the surface, flip and cook until golden brown.  If you are making more than 2 keep them warm in the oven whilst you finish off your curry. 

Serve the curry and the breads together with some raita and get stuck in! I reckon this would work well as hot wraps as or as an additional dish to whole banquet of other curries. 

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Courgette, Feta and Mint Burgers

I suspended the weekly supermarket shop this week for a couple of reasons; 1.  I’m skint, 2.  I’m sick of the Saturday morning trudge round the aisles, and 3.  I want to do more with vegetables this week and if all that fails I’m going to try and use up some of the contents of the freezer (which contains meat!).  So instead of the monotony of the Saturday morning supermarket run, I relaxed on my morning off and spent the afternoon taking a little stroll down to my favourite greengrocer in Addiscombe.  They’ve recently had a fire so they’ve moved a little down the road to what was a small deli and set up shop there.  It’s still great though and they have oodles of gorgeous, fresh produce with lots of variety to get that recipe brain ticking.  I bought lots of things, in fact I was one of those annoying mums who load the pushchair with too many bags, but it was worth it.  I bought some gorgeous veggies and I hope to post another recipe of my awesome cauliflower curry later.  So to whet your appetite here is a little taster in the form of these lovely, light burgers.  I say burgers, I didn’t put them in a bun, but I’m not sure what else to call these little beauties.  They would be smashing in a bun or with a nice salad, a few chips or wedges or unadulterated in a large portion with a trickle of sweet chilli sauce.

Serves 1 on their own, or 2 with additions, makes about 4 burgers   

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium courgette, grated
  • 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • A gluten free muffin (or a slice or 2 of stale bread)
  • A third of a packet of feta, crumbled
  • A handful of mint
  • An egg
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Blitz your bread, mint and spring onions in a food processor until crumbed.  Mix crumbs with grated courgette, feta and egg then form into patties.  It makes quite a wet mixture, to compensate you can squeeze some of the juice from the courgette before you add it to the mix and once you have made the mix and formed into patties refrigerate for a while to set the mixture. 

Fry the patties in a little olive oil until browned on both sides.  Be gentle when turning, but have faith the egg will set it together! Serve on their own for a full on veggie burger feast for one or share in buns, with a salad and maybe a few cheeky chips!

p.s. If you don’t like feta (I’m talking to you E ;), try halloumi, grated – this was what I had intended to do but my local shop didn’t stock any so I used up the feta in my fridge instead.

Tandoori Chicken and Potatoes with a Cucumber and Mint Raita

I love Tandoori Chicken, brick red and charred from the tandoor, nothing quite beats that authentic cooking. However I’ve found a way to recreate it at home, ok you can’t necessarily replace the tandoor oven but you can get a good replica of the spicing by using a packet! (and a few other key ingredients)  I’d never thought of making it myself until I saw this seasoning in the supermarket and thought why not?  A little piece of advice though, don’t buy the teeny pots for about £2/3 browse around and look out for the massive bags of the stuff for less than £2 in the Asian food aisle or in more specialist shops.  I bought Natco’s Tandoori Masala which worked a treat but I’m sure there are other reputable brands around. It’s really easy to make and after you’ve bought a big bag of the stuff you’ll be wanting to tandoori everything in sight.  I even sprinkled it on my potatoes before I roasted them and what a treat they were, do try them.

Serves 2/3

Ingredients:

  • A packet of chicken thighs and drumsticks, there were about 3 of each in my pack

For the marinade:

  • A small tub of yoghurt (I used that greek fat free stuff)
  • A heaped dessert spoon of Tandoori Masala powder
  • 3/4 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
  • 2 inches of ginger, grated
  • Juice of half a lemon 

For the tandoori potatoes:

  • 12 or more baby new potatoes, washed
  • A drizzle of oil
  • 2 teaspoons of  Tandoori Masala powder

For the raita:

  • 1/2 Cucumber, cored and sliced
  • Small tub of  plain yoghurt
  • A large handful of mint, chopped
  • A dessert spoonful of sweet chilli sauce

Method:

Slash your thighs and drumsticks down to the bone.  Mix the marinade and coat the chicken.  Leave to marinade for as long as possible, mine were in for a few hours, over night would be plenty.

Heat an oven to 250 degrees.  Put your potatoes in a pan and drizzle with a little oil, sprinkle on your Tandoori Masala powder and toss together until evenly coated. 

Shake off excess marinade from the chicken and lay on a baking tray.  Put the potatoes and the chicken in the same oven for 20/25 min.  I’d put the chicken on the top shelf as that needs more heat. 

Whilst the chicken and potatoes are cooking make your raita.  Core and slice the cucumber, mix with the chopped mint, yoghurt and sweet chilli, if you want extra heat add some freshly chopped chilli to the mix as well. 

After 20/25 min check the chicken is cooked through and is slightly charred (slightly!!).  Serve together with the potatoes and raita then rave about how you made your own Tandoori Chicken! 

You could make this more authentic and healthier by taking the skin off the chicken pieces, I forgot, but lets forget health for a while and indulge in crispy, spiced Tandoori Masala chicken skin, mmmm, oh boy that skin was delicious. 

Puy Lentil and Roasted Vegetable Salad

I knocked this up for dinner last night and packed some into a lunch box for work today.  It is delicious, full of flavour and pretty darn healthy.  If you want a veggie option then forget the chorizo but I’m a bit of a chorizo fiend at the moment.  Puy lentils are a recent addition to my cupboard, I wasn’t sure what to do with them before but now I have worked them out they are in more and more of my concoctions.  They are a nice, firm lentil with a good bite that absorb dressings and flavour yet still hold their shape.  Anyways, enough guff onto the recipe!

Serves 2 

Ingredients:

  • 2 big handfuls of puy lentils
  • Half a large courgette
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • Half a large sweet potato
  • 2 inches of chorizo, chopped into rough cubes
  • Olive oil
  • 1/3 block of feta
  • A handful of basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

For the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Heat the oven to about 220 degrees.  Chop the veg into 1/2cm cubes (ish).  Chuck veg in a big baking tray with the chorizo, drizzle with oil, season and toss together.  Put into hot oven for 20/25 min. 

Rinse the puy lentils and boil for about 20/25 min.  

Mix the dressing together then once the lentils are cooked mix in the dressing.  Add the roasted veg and chorizo to the lentil mix and throw in your basil.  Toss together and plate up.  Top with crumbled feta and serve. 

This works great as a warm salad or cold the next day for lunch.

Weekend Shenanagans and Easy Peasy Sweet Jacket Potato

Good afternoon! I am still recovering from one of my oldest and dearest friend’s 30th birthday party at the weekend.  I would love to show you pictures of my rather inebriated attempt at barbecuing late on Saturday night but unfortunately (not) I have no evidence of said activity.  So luckily I can now spread the word of my rather inspired veggie burger creation.  Ok, ok, here’s the truth, I burnt quite a lot of halloumi that night and in an attempt to reconcile with the veggie quota of the party I had to fish around in the kitchen (with some help from some ace sous chefs, might I add) and rustle up a concoction off the top my head.  The results were some very delectable Halloumi and Carrot Burgers consisting of grated carrot, grated halloumi, bread crumbs (I improvised with the grater and a bit of rustic tearing), paprika, basil and egg. Mix the ingredients in a bowl and form into patties then transfer to the BBQ for a quick grilling, and da da! A little cautious turning and transferring later,  sit back and wait for your praise.

Anyways in terms of a proper recipe for today, one involving a picture, I had a little scan through my hard drive and found this simple jacket potato filling idea and thought I would share.  I know this is not fine dining, but it is tasty and it’s the best I can come up with whilst still feeling the effects of too many Jagermeisters, eurrgghh, never again!

Ingredients:

Sweet potatoes

For the filling:

An onion, sliced

Some chorizo, chopped into little chunks

A red pepper, sliced

A blob of creme fraiche

Butter and salt

Method:

Bake your sweet potatoes in a hot oven.  Whilst the potatoes are cooking fry the onion, pepper and chorizo until soft and lightly browned.  When the potatoes are cooked, split, fill with salt and butter, the onion, pepper and chorizo and top with a blob of creme fraiche.  What more could you want? Simple, no hassle supper served with a salad.

Sweet Potato Jackets with Chorizo, Pepper and Onion Filling

P.S.  The Roasted Red Pepper Burgers had an outing at this BBQ and were a big success, if you a fancy a meaty addition to your BBQ/grill then look here.

Cardamom and Cinnamon Kulfi Lollies

As promised, here is that lovely Kulfi recipe I mentioned a few days ago.  This recipe was very kindly donated to me by my friend Reshma’s mother.  I used some pretty nifty little rocket lolly moulds from the legendary Poundland! This amount of mixture made enough to make 12 mini lollies.

Ingredients:

1 small tub of double cream

1/2 tin of evaporated milk

1/2 pint of milk

6 cardamom pods, crushed

1 stick of cinnamon

Sugar to taste

Method:

Heat the milk and cream together in a saucepan with the spices.  When it comes up to the simmer, take off the heat and add sugar, probably about 3 tablespoons.  Stir and leave to cool.  Then pour into lolly moulds and freeze.

Roasted Pepper Beef Burgers with Spiced Brown Rice

I made these burgers a while back to bring to a friends BBQ, they were very warmly received even before the punch started flowing so I’m pretty sure they were a hit.  I made these ones last night with some brown rice.  I’m always looking for ways to make brown rice a bit more interesting, it can be quite hard work, and this worked very well.  I used Harissa at the end to give some heat and fresh flavour and it did its job, you can make it (see recipe in link) but I bought a jar from my local supermarket.  I’m quite new to Harissa, I remember seeing it years ago and being a little afraid of its potential heat and kick but used in moderation (or not) it adds heat and an immense fresh flavour that can really lift a dish.

Serves 2/3

Ingredients:

For the burgers:

A small pack of lean steak mince

An onion, finely chopped

A red pepper

A small handful of breadcrumbs

Half a beaten egg

Salt and pepper

A splash of Worcester Sauce

For the rice:

150ml of brown rice, rinsed

350ml of boiling water

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

A red and green pepper, cut into small dice

A bunch of spring onions, sliced

1 carrot, grated

2 teaspoons of smoked paprika

1 teaspoon of veg bouillon or a stock cube

Salt

A teaspoon of Harissa (or more if you like it hot!)

Method:

Roast 1 red pepper in a really hot oven for about 10/15 min, or scorch on the gas hob, until blackened.  Put pepper in sealed container/plastic bag and leave to cool.

Soften the onion in a pan or in the microwave.  Chop the roasted pepper.  Add the onion and pepper to the mince, add the breadcrumbs, egg and seasonings, don’t forget the Worcester! – and mix, with your hands.  Form into patties and chill until needed.

Heat a big saucepan and add a tablespoon of oil.  Chuck in the spring onions, garlic, peppers and carrots and fry for a minute or so. Add the paprika and the rinsed rice and stir, making sure the rice is evenly coated in the oil and veg mix.  Pour on the boiling water, add the stock and bring to the simmer.  Cover, turn down the heat and leave to cook for 25 min. 

Whilst the rice is cooking pan fry you burgers and keep warm in the oven until the rice is ready.  Once rice is cooked, stir through a teaspoon of Harissa and serve with the burgers.  I even got all fancy and put my rice in a cup then turned it out, timbale of spiced rice anyone?!

Optional extra – As I’m a condiment queen, I am obsessed with sauce, I whipped up a little spiced mayo to go with it.  I mixed a tablespoon of mayo, a teaspoon of ketchup and half a teaspoon of Harissa together and served it on the side.