Monday, May 26, 2014

Pan-fried fruity aubergine...

You know how I like Indian food and usually it's really fuss free and labor free meal. The below dish, even tho there aren't many ingredients, turned out to take quite a long time to prepare. Imagine you have few different veges and you have to pan fry each and every one separately... I know - not a good start! But that serves me right - for reading only list of ingredients and the "how to" section only briefly ;) But fortunately it was all worth it! I thought I wouldn't like the apples in it, thought it might be too sweet - but it really wasn't. All the spices, sweet apples, sour tomatoes and lemon juice really lifted the dish and all worked well together. I ate it just like that, plain and simple, although you can serve it with a side of rice and cucumber raita.
I took this recipe from one of my new cookbooks - which by the way looks so good, with so many deliciously sounding recipes inside - "The three sisters Indian cookbook: Flavors and spices of India" by Sereena Kaul.





How to make it...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tomato and pepper chutney...

I'm a big fan of chutneys, but surprisingly I'm not a fan of vinegar, doesn't matter which one, I just can't stand the smell nor the taste of it... But then again, nothing better than a tangy chutney on my cheese (which I love!) or on my sandwich with cooked, smoked bacon to "cut through" that fatty part ;) Just recently I saw a recipe for tomato chutney, but something wasn't right for me there, proportions of vinegar to sugar were odd so... I decided to make my own. I had one, sad red pepper sitting on the counter, so it found its way to my tomato chutney too - it gives it just a tiny hint of pepper taste and brings some warmth to the chutney, I had chilies too, but didn't fancy anything too hot or too spicy so left them out.
Result -> sticky, slightly sweet, but tangy, ruby red tomato chutney. So proud of myself :)




How to make it...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Caramel banana tart / upside down cake...

At this stage I really can't count how many times I've baked a cake/bread using bananas. Unfortunately it was always, but always a disaster... Cake was either not cooked, or too dense, or too "floppy" - there was always something wrong, really wrong with it. But yet again, I've found myself in a situation where I had a bunch of bananas, going very quickly somewhere beyond ripe... This time I decided to trust one of my "cooking bible" - Ballymaloe Cookery Course cook book - and it didn't disappoint, as always! :)
I just love this cake, tart or whatever you want to call it. The topping is literally to die for! Caramel and bananas - what's there not to like?! It was very quick and easy to make - actually I can't take full credit for it this time, as all the smashing and mixing was done by my two little sous chefs (2 and 4 years old), so you can imagine it's really easy to make. The only difficult thing about this is flipping it over... Do and try it! It is a perfect cake for weekend with your friends and family or it would look really pretty and would go down a treat, as a "finale" to some special meal :)


caramel banana upside down cake


How to make it...

Friday, May 16, 2014

How to dry orange slices in the oven...

I wanted to make dry orange slices for ages. It's not that difficult (actually dead easy) and you really do not need a dehydrator. Just recently I got a big bag of oranges and decided to do just that with them - dry them :) I'm very familiar with dry apple slices (even smoked ones, which I'm afraid I'm not a fan of) also so popular dry banana. Orange is very popular around Christmas time, but really it's great idea to have them at hand all your round. All you really need are oranges and a working oven and you're ready to rock! :)




How to make it...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pigs in blankets... or sausage rolls!

I made those good few times already. I prefer that version over store bought one - which is very greasy and made from kind of french pastry. This version, which is Nigela Lawson's recipe from "Nigela bites" cook book, is more of a roll dough, but is surprisingly very light. Addition of the cheddar cheese (which I always add way more than in the recipe) gives it a nice taste and goes so well with that sausage. Pigs in blankets are a hit with my two little girls, who of course(!) eat it with ketchup, but they eat it with pleasure :) Hope you'll try this version of so popular sausage roll - either for your family lunch or a party, as a fantastic finger food, which won't leave your guests with greasy fingers!




How to make it...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Raspberry & peach yogurt cupcakes...

Yes, yet another cupcakes :) It just makes my life, and that of those two little people living with me, so much easier. I found that recipe (originally for a cake) in Ballymaloe Cookery Course cookbook. I seem to do a lot from it recently - but it's hardly surprising as the book is full of information, advise and all the recipes I made up to date are literally foolproof! I wanted to use plain yogurt but then thought why not make it more "exciting". I found delicious raspberry and peach yogurt sitting on my fridge shelf and went for that. Some frozen raspberries (which are always in my freezer - just in case), sprinkled on the top, worked perfectly and gave my little cupcakes a great colour!




How to make it...

Thursday, May 08, 2014

French madeleines...

I wanted to make world famous madeleines for ages now, but there was one thing stopping me - lack of that traditional madeleine mould. But, just recently I've finally treated myself to one! :) I just wish I've done it earlier... Unfortunately the "quest" wasn't over. Now, there was a much more difficult task ahead of me - to find that perfect recipe for French madeleines. If you google it you'll get hundreds of them - but which one to trust. As I can't complain for the lack of cookbooks I decided to turn my attention there... First attempt ended... in total failure :( I used Trish Desein's recipe which resulted in "madeleine pancakes", which even tasted OK, but that's where all the positives end... Didn't give up and within a week decided to try again. This time I turned to Rick Stein's "French Odyssey" cook book. Which I've done it the first time round! The result - little crispy/crunchy on the outside and so soft and crumbly inside. Proper tasting AND looking French madeleins :D 
As I treated myself only to one such tin, I had to make those madeleins in two "goes", as the quantities in the recipe below will give you exactly 24 of those heavenly treats.



Recipe taken from "French Odyssey" by Rick Stein. I've made only one small change, as the original calls for a tablespoon on honey added to the batter along with the butter, but I wanted the most original version of madeleins I could get, so I omitted that step.

How to make it...

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Carrot cupcakes...

This is my second attempt at making carrot cake/cupcakes. First one was rather bad and I can't even remember what recipe I used at that time. This time round it was a completely different experience :) I used a recipe that wasn't recommended to me, but I reached for a book that is one of my "cooking bibles". There are few cook books that I have my full trust in - one of them is Ballymaloe Cookery Course. The original recipe is for a normal, full on size cake, but seeing that in my family cupcakes have far way better rate of success among little eaters than a slice of cake, again I reached for my trusted cupcake baking tin. The result - moist, soft with a crunch from the walnuts, little crumbly, sweet but not too sweet and very aromatic carrot treats! Please DO try them - they're really worth it (not to mention that there's only a little of grating and stirring involved and that's all you have to do!).





How to make it...

Friday, May 02, 2014

Rhubarb and apple pie...

If you're familiar with scones you'll be able to imagine straight away what kind of pie this is. The topping isn't a shortcrust pastry, puff or any other that you might traditionally associate with the pie, but a scone type one. I love scones and decided to give this one a try immediately. The result was amazing! Crunchy dough on top and soft and crumbly inside. The original recipe - which I took from a fantastic cook book "Ballymaloe cookery course" - calls for turning your baked pie up side down, but honestly, how could I do that to my little beauty :) I'll be making this soon again, but this time I think I'll use different fruits - maybe apple and berries, or peach pie - yes, that sounds delicious!




How to make it...