Kale Pasta

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My favourite blog Smitten Kitchen had posted a pasta recipe with broccoli rabe. Broccoli rabe is a fabulous greens with a slightly bitter flavour and with pasta it tasted wonderful. I have made it often but yesterday tried it with Kale and while it was not as good as with the rabe this pasta still did good. This is a very easy dish to rustle up in no time.

I have made this before with just the greens and no olives or capers and it tasted great. This time I added olives and capers.

INGREDIENTS

500 g fusilli pasta

1 bunch kale

4 garlic cloves

salt and pepper

1 tsp red chilli flakes

2Tb capers

1/2 cup chopped green olives

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

lots of grana padano or Parmesan cheese grated

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METHOD

Wash greens and strip all the leaves. Discard tough stems. Chop the garlic.

Bring a big pot of water to boil cook pasta and towards the end of cooking time add the chopped kale cook for another minute and drain.

While pasta is cooking heat the oil, add the chopped garlic and when it is golden add chilli flakes, capers and green olives. Remove and pour over the hot drained pasta. Top with the grated cheese and serve ASAP with more cheese to serve.

Serves 4 generously

Tomato Gojju

You can see that I am still harvesting tomatoes from my garden! Another tomato recipe…. This is from the blog Mysoorean. Her blog has some wonderful, simple, delicious recipes. This Gojju is easy to make with just a few easy ingredients.

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INGREDIENTS

5-6 tomatoes

1 onion

3 green chillies

1 tsp sambar powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 cup of water

salt to taste

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp each of mustard, feungreek seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder

few curry leaves

2 Tb oil

METHOD

Heat oil in a pan and add fenugreek, mustard, asafoetida and the curry leaves. Then add onion and the green chilli. Fry two minutes, then add tomato chopped up and turmeric powder.  Fry two minutes add the sambar powder and the chilli powder then 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook 20 minutes.  When done add salt and sugar to taste and remove.

Serves 4

Two Salads

These two salads are nice sides for rotis. One is a potato salad with mustard oil and smoked red chillies. Both  mustard oil and smoked chilli are vital to the taste of the salad. The other is a peas salad from Bill Granger, with fried onions and feta cheese added to compliment the sweet salty dressing.

POTATO SALAD

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Boil three potatoes. Peel and crush.

Roast 4 dry red chillies on  your gas flame till blackened. Crush and add to the potatoes.Chop 1 big red onion in rings and add. Chop some coriander leaf  and add.

Dress with 3 Tb of mustard oil and salt to taste. Mix with your hand crushing all lightly. That’s it. The mustard oil is a must as it adds to the flavour.

PEA SALAD

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Boil 200 g peas.

Fry 1 red onion in 2 Tb oil for five minutes. Add to the cooked peas. Salt to taste. The feta cheese is quite salty so be conservative with the salt.

Make the dressing with 1 Tb honey and red wine vinegar each, 2 tsp Dijon mustard and 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil.

Toss through the peas and onion mix.

Add 75 g of feta cheese and two handfuls of spinach. Mix everything and serve. You can substitute spinach with any salad leaf. I used iceberg lettuce.

Both salads serve 4

 

 

 

 

Pasta with preserved lemon

Preserved lemon is a great condiment to have around.  It’s easy to make, keeps for a long time too. When I came across a recipe for this I had to make it. And then when I found a way to team it with a pasta recipe I was delighted.

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Spaghetti cooked with lots of capers,lemon, fennel and chilli and then with, it is a tasty treat when the preserved lemon is added for that extra kick.

INGREDIENTS

500g spaghetti

325g tuna in oil

1 tsp each fennel seed, red chilli flakes, pepper crushed

3 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

2 Tb capers

1/2 cup of olives

3Tb chopped preserved lemon

2 tsp zest of lemon

olive oil

salt as needed

1/4 cup of pine nuts

1/4 cup parsley

METHOD

Peel garlic and chop. Crush the pepper.

Heat 3 Tb oil and add bay leaf, pepper, chilli flakes, fennel seed and lemon zest. Heat on very low for 15 minutes.

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Add the tuna, olives, lemon pieces, capers and salt. After five minutes add the nuts.

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Meanwhile cook spaghetti. Add the hot pasta to the tuna mix adding 1/2 cup of the cooking water from pasta mix well, toss in the parsley  and serve immediately.

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Serves 4

 

Prawn sambal

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Prawn sambal, a perennial favourite, is a spicy  concoction of tomatoes onions and very few other spices. This dish is the end result of consulting various recipes, tailored to suit my family’s taste buds.

INGREDIENTS

4 red onions not the small variety

4 cloves garlic

3-4 fresh tomatoes

Small lemon size tamarind

1/2 cup oil

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp red chilli powder

salt to taste

20 jumbo prawns

METHOD

Peel onions and garlic. Grind to a coarse paste. Soak the tamarind in half a cup of water.

Heat the oil and fry this paste. You need a fair bit of oil to fry. Using less oil will only steam the paste as opposed to frying. Stir often, and after about 10 minutes add the chopped tomatoes. Fry till oil floats. This will take 10-15 minutes on low heat. Add the red chilli powder and salt. Drain the tamarind and add the water. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile fry the cleaned prawns lightly till they turn pink, just a couple of minutes.

When the tomato-onion mix has boiled and reduced add the prawns, taste for salt and heat, stir one minute and remove. Boiling prawns for too long makes it go hard.

Serves 4

 

 

 

 

Almond and Spice Cookies

From an old issue of The Age newspaper, this recipe by Mat Evans, is my go to cookie recipe. The small cookies spiced with nutmeg and ginger never fails to please. Easy to whip up and delicious with a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot chai!

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INGREDIENTS

125 Gm soft butter

135 Gm caster sugar

1 egg

180 Gm plain flour

125 Gm whole almonds

1/2 tsp each of baking powder, ginger, salt, nutmeg powder

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180c

Grind almonds to a coarse mix, not too fine not too chunky. A few small pieces here and there won’t hurt but make sure it is not too coarse either.

Cream the soft butter with the the sugar till pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well.

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Now sift the dry stuff and add the almond meal to it. Fold the whole thing into the wet mix and stir till it comes together.

Take tablespoons of the mix, space it out on two trays and bake for 8-10 minutes till they are just turning brown.

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Leave for two minutes on tray then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before storing.

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Makes about 35 small cookies.  If you want bigger cookies you could do that but increase baking time by two more minutes.

 

Onion thoran

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Buying a big bag of onions because it is cheap has its pros and cons. What do you do with five kilos of onions? Sometimes you are clever and create an onion thoran with a few reluctant okra thrown in. And create a new tasty side for rotis or rice. Here is what I did with a few of those non-diminishing pile of onions I still have left…

INGREDIENTS

3 Onions

A handful of okra

1/2 cup of coconut

3 green chillies

some curry leaves

oil

1 tsp mustard, urad dal each

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

salt to taste

METHOD

Peel the onion. Wash okra and dry thoroughly. Cut the onions into fine dice, chop okra into small pieces.Chop the green chilli. Grate coconut coarse.

Combine onion, okra, coconut and green chilli and mix well.

Heat couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Add mustard and urad dal, then the curry leaves. Add the onion mix, turmeric powder and salt, mix well  and fry five minutes. Now cover and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Open it a couple of times to stir well. When cooked taste for salt and remove.

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The red bits you see are fresh red chillies which I used instead of green chillies. Best eaten warm.

Serves 4

 

Broccoli Salad

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Broccoli is one of my favourite vegetables. It takes no time to cook and needs hardly any seasoning. So it features frequently at my table. But eating broccoli raw was not something I ever thought would work for me. Until I made this. I came across a Jamie Oliver recipe for a broccoli salad. I tweaked it a bit by pulsing the broccoli very fine and then dressing it with a tangy vinegar and cut out the bacon from the original recipe. Tasted great and I knew I had a new favourite salad!

INGREDIENTS

One head of broccoli

2 TB extra virgin olive oil

1 Tb white wine vinegar or 2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 fresh tomato

salt and pepper to taste

INGREDIENTS

Wash the broccoli very well and pulse it in a food processor till it is grainy. Dice the tomatoes into small cubes and add.

Combine the vinegar or lemon juice, oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

Pour on the dressing to the broccoli tomato mix, stir well and serve after 10 minutes.

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This salad keeps in the fridge for three days. I added some of it to a creamy pasta and it gave a nice oomph to the dish!

Serves 1-2

 

Pasta with Beans and Potato

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When I first read this recipe in Nigella’s book Kitchen where she calls it Pasta alla Genovese, I was quite sceptical. Beans and potato with pasta? But I still decided to give it a go and it did prove a hit at home. It may not be for everyone but if you like trying out something new, this one’s for you. The potato is just a part player in this recipe and there is some vegetable in the form of green beans which means it has to be healthy! And the whole thing comes together with a spicy pesto clinging to each strand of the pasta. A definite keeper of a recipe.

INGREDIENTS

500gms floury potato chopped up

500gm linguini pasta

200gm green beans cut in half

Extra Parmesan and extra virgin oil for garnish

1x190gm bottle green pesto ( or make your own pesto)

(I cooked with bottled pesto. I did not need the whole bottle)

PESTO

100 gm basil leaves

100gm grated Parmesan cheese

1 clove of garlic

100 ml olive oil

100 ml extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

If you are making your own pesto whizz all the ingredients in a food processor.

Boil the potato in a big pan of water salted well, after 20 minutes add the pasta. Check cooking times on the packet and towards the last 4 minutes of cooking add the beans. You could cook it all separately too but this method saves washing up!

Preserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Drain pasta and add the pesto to the pasta mix. If you make your own pesto add the whole lot. If like me you went the lazy way and used a bottle, add half to 3/4 of the bottle, taste and add more if you feel you need more pesto. Mash the potato to the pasta to make it meld into everything. Add the reserved liquid, taste for salt. Top with grated Parmesan and drizzle more extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.

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Serves 4-5

 

 

 

Paal Payasam

A family member and a friend celebrate their birthdays today. This recipe is for the two of them, although only one will taste it😀

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INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup of raw rice

1 litre or 4 cups of full cream milk

1 cup of sugar

4  green cardamom

2 Tb cashew

2Tb ghee

METHOD

Wash rice and place in a pressure cooker with the milk. Cook under pressure for two whistles. Cool fully and open when pressure dies down. Add the sugar and crushed cardamom. Bring back to pressure, lower heat to very low and cook for 30 minutes.

Heat the ghee fry, cashews till they are golden. When it is safe to open the pressure cooker add the fried cashew to the payasam.

You can easily double the quantity.

Serve hot or cold.

Serves 4 small cups.