Semolina,coconut and marmalade cake

A Middle Eastern cake where the cake is, after baking, soaked in syrup. As days go by the taste actually improves and if that sounds improbable try it out! It keeps for a week if wrapped well. And it’s another recipe from Ottolengi so you can’t go wrong, naturally.



180 ml sunflower oil

240 ml orange juice

160 g orange marmalade

4 medium free-range eggs

grated zest of an orange

70 g caster sugar

70g dessicated coconut

90 g plain flour

180 g semolina

2 Tb ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder

Soaking syrup

200 g caster sugar

140 ml water

1Tb orange blossom water( I did not use it)


Preheat oven to 180C. Whisk oil, juice, marmalade, eggs and zest. Separately mix all dry things and add to wet. Mix well. It will be runny.

Grease and line two 500g loaf tins. I baked in one loaf tin and one 23 cm square pan. Fill the tins dividing filling evenly. Bake for 45-60 minutes or till a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Mine took 50 minutes.

Meanwhile near the end of baking time melt the sugar with water, bring to boil and as soon as the cakes come out of the oven gently pour over the cakes, dividing the syrup equally. Leave to set for some time. When cooled remove from pans and cool completely.

Original recipe suggest serving with some Greek yogurt flavoured with a drop of orange blossom water. I have not tried this out.

I found that the cake made in the square pan was great because I could cut the cake into dainty squares.

Recipe source: Jeruslaem by Ottolengi and Sami Tamimi



Beetroot salsa with lemon and orange

A beautiful salsa from Ottolengi’s Jerusalem book. Tart, sweet and yummy all at once. You have to try it to believe it.



100g beetroot( about 1 medium)

1 Orange

1 lemon

30 g pitted kalamatta olives

1/2 a red onion

1/2 tsp each coriander and cummin seeds toasted and crushed

1 tsp chilli powder

a handful parsely

1Tb olive oil


Boil Beetroot in water till soft. Cool and dice. Peel the orange and the lemon halved, remove the white bits and cut into small pieces. Add to Beetroot with the olives and sliced onion.

Mix the oil and spices with the lemon juice from the lemon half and add to Beetroot with some salt. Leave aside for at least 10 minutes.

The original recipe served this with grilled fish. I served it as a side with rice.

Recipe source: Jerusalem by Ottolengi and Sami Tamimi


Fennel and date salad

A healthy tasty salad with fennel,dates,carrots mixed with nuts and dressed with a simple dressing and all brought together with cheese. I had to make alterations to the original recipe since I did not have some of the ingredients.



1 fennel

1 carrot

1/2 red onion(original recipe used torpedo onions)

a handful slivered almonds(original recipe used pistachio)

1/2 cup slivered dates( I used cranberries)

2/3 cup salt cured olives chopped( I used kalamatta)

1/2 cup shaved manchego cheese( I used ricotta salatta)

2Tb white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Slice the fennel in thin slices. Chop carrot into thin coins. Slice the onion very thin. Add the nuts, dates and olives.

Mix the oil and salt with the vinegar whisking to make a dressing. Pour over the salad. Top with shaved  cheese.

I can see my salad is pretty different to the original. But it still tasted delicious.

Recipe source: QUITOKEETO


Anjum Anand’s Cannellini Bean curry

Anjum Anand’s New Indian cookbook is a delightful book chock full of great recipes, all simple and doable which for me is a big “yesss”. This Cannellini curry is all the more great because there is no soaking of beans etc. Open a can or two of cannellini beans, add a few spices, some coconut milk made tangy with tamarind and voila you have a bowl full of goodness to have with bread, roti or rice. I have made a few minor changes to the original recipe to suit my taste.



1 tsp mustard seeds

pinch of asafoetida

some curry leaves

1 onion chopped fine

3 cloves of garlic chopped fine

1/4 ” piece of ginger grated

turmeric powder

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 big tomatoes

1 tsp brown sugar

salt to taste

1 x 400g can cannelini beans drained

a marble sized tamarind soaked in 1/4 cup water

coriander leaves to garnish


Fry in oil the mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves. Add the chopped onion and fry till golden. Now add the garlic and ginger, fry for a few minutes then add the tomatoes. Fry till oil floats.Add the spice powders, coconut milk and 3/4 cup water. Boil and simmer covered for 10 minutes.

Now add the drained can of beans, sugar and tamarind paste. Mash the beans against the sides of the pan to thicken the gravy a bit. Taste to adjust the salt etc garnish with coriander leaves and serve .

Serves 4

Recipe source: Anjum Anand’s New Indian


Snake gourd with coconut (chichinger chhechki)

This Bengali style of cooking snake gourd is easy, tasty and delicious. The fact that it is quite different from my usual preparation of snake gourd is an added bonus.



500 g snake gourd

1/2 a coconut grated

1 tsp mustard seeds

a small piece of ginger

turmeric powder

1 tsp sugar

salt to taste

1 fresh green and 1 dry red chilli

1tsp of nigella seeds, fenugreek, mustard and cummin seeds together not each

oil to cook



Wash snake gourd remove the middle bits and slice thinly.

Grind ginger and mustard and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add the seasoning spices. Then add the chillies, coconut and turmeric powder. After 3 minutes add the snake gourd and cook till done. Add salt, sugar and the ground paste fry for 3-4 minutes and remove.

This is a dry curry. If lots of oil is used it tastes even better😜

Recipe source : Traditional Indian cooking by Amiya Chaudhuri


Being an upma fan I have generally sneered at polenta. Can’t beat our upma I used to think because polenta is a kind of upma right, the bland watered down one that is. Well ignorance is not always bliss and my curiosity got the better of me. I decided to try it out. Delicious! It had its drawbacks. It had to be eaten ASAP while still hot and runny. And a lot of butter and cheese equals tasty polenta. ( I still have to work out how to use the brick-like left over bit. Fry it maybe.) And it takes some time to cook.

I topped the polenta with some zuchini and mushroom mix. And pesto.



1/2 cup polenta

2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup pecorino/ parmesan

3Tb butter

For garnish

1 small zuchini

4 mushrooms (any kind will do)

1/2 an onion

Few stalks of thyme




Boil water with salt and add the polenta whisking till it cannot move easily. Now reduce heat to very low cover and cook for 30 minutes whisking every 10 minutes. At the end of cooking add the butter and cheese mix and serve with topping.

For topping fry the onion, zuchini and mushrooms chopped fine till it is well fried then add thyme and salt. Place on the polenta with a couple of tsp of pesto on top. I have a pesto recipe posted earlier.

Serves 2 generously



Squid curry

Glancing through Rick Stein’s’s India cookbook I happened upon this recipe and gave it a go. It did not fail to impress.



1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp fennel

1 tsp cummin

5 garlic cloves

4 dry red chillies

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 cup coconut

1 onion

2 green chillies

1Tb ginger paste

400 g squid cleaned weight

1 tomato


50 ml tamarind juice

1 tsp brown sugar


Dry roast the coriander, fennel, cummin and red chillies. Grind coarsely then grind to a paste with the garlic, coconut and turmeric with some water.

Heat 3 Tb oil in a kadai, fry the onion till golden then add the  ginger and green chillies. Fry a couple of minutes then add the tomato chopped fine. After a couple of minutes add the paste.  Fry for 5 minutes. Now add the chopped squid and salt. After 3 minutes add the tamarind water bring to a gentle boil and remove. Add the brown sugar. It is important to cook the squid for a short time otherwise it becomes rubbery. I added more chilli powder to make it more spicy.

Serves 4-5

Recipe source: Rick Stein’s India



Prawn fry

This is my favourite prawn fry recipe. From the blog Mishmash ( unfortunately she does not blog anymore) it is a delicious concoction of fresh prawns and spices with little shards of coconut to give it texture.



500 g prawns

juice from a lemon

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt

Clean the prawns and marinate in the above mix and the raw powder given below while you prepare the rest of things.

Raw powder

1Tb fennel

1/Tb pepper

1 clove and cardamom

small piece cinnamon

Powder the whole lot raw and use in marinating prawns

For curry

1 cup small red onion or pearl onion ( do not use other types of onion)

1/4 cup garlic cloves

4 green chillies

2 Tb ginger

curry leaves

2 tsp red chilli powder

11/2 tsp coriander powder

salt to taste

1 Kerala tamarind or kudam puli soaked in water or gamboge

1/3 cup  fresh coconut diced not dessicated coconut

For authentic taste use coconut oil to cook.


Heat the coconut oil in a kadai, about 3Tb, and add the sliced pearl onion. When fried well add the garlic and ginger with the green chilli and curry leaves. Use curry leaves generously for good flavour.

Add the turmeric, coriander and chilli powders, and after a couple of minutes add the gamboge with soaked liquid, the prawns with the marinade and the  coconut slices. Cook covered on very low heat till prawns change colour. Now open lid and fry on very low heat for 15 minutes till it turns a deep brown and is dry. Add some more curry leaves , a drizzle of coconut oil and serve warm. Best made in a kadai.

Recipe source : Kitchenmishmash






Mango chutney

A tangy mango chutney perfect with some rice and yogurt.



1 to coriander seeds

1 tsp jeera seeds

1/2 cup coconut

6 red chillies

4 garlic

3/4 cup mango chopped


2 tsp oil

1 tsp urad dal and mustard each

1 red chilli

some curry leaves


Dry roast coriander, jeera, chillies and garlic. Grind coarsely then add mango and coconut and grind smooth. Add salt to taste.

Heat oil add the seasoning stuff, fry and add to the chutney.

The amount of chillies depends on how tart the mango is.

Alu Gobi fusion

This recipe appeared in the Epicurean awhile ago and ever since its been my favourite. The cranberries, fetta and nuts did it for me!



2 potatoes

1 medium sized cauliflower

1 onion

1 Tb ginger and garlic paste

3 tomatoes

1 Tb coriander powder, jeera powder

1 tsp Garam masala powder, chaat masala, red chilli powder and turmeric powder

A handful cranberries or currants

A handful pine nuts/walnuts/ almonds/ pepita/sunflower seeds/flaked or slivered almonds, one or more of these

Coriander leaves

125g hard fetta cheese

1-2Tb extra virgin olive oil

oil to cook

salt to taste


Prep vegetables by peeling potatoes and chopping into small pieces. Chop cauliflower into small florets. Wash and keep.

Boil some water add salt and cook the potatoes and cauliflower till half cooked. The potatoes will take longer to cook so cut them into thinner pieces. Drain and keep.

In a large frying pan add oil and fry the onion then the garlic and ginger. When golden add the tomatoes along with the spice powders except the chaat masala and Garam masala. Add salt to taste and cook till tomatoes are cooked to a paste, then add the cooked veggies. Mix well.

Heat oven to 190C and place the cooked veggies on a large tray to spend in one layer, bake for 15 minutes. Now add the nuts and cranberries and toss. Roast for another 5-8 minutes. Remove and sprinkle chaat masala and Garam masala powders. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Grate the fetta over it and and then drizzle with your best extra virgin olive oil.

You can serve it in tacos, with rice as a side, as a salad with cooked millet/quinoa or over creamy polenta.