Indian Lemon Rice

This is a super-quick and easy recipe but very tangy and the green chillies give it a great kick! The measurements for the ingredients are approximate, I spied my housemate while she was cooking it and this is the combination I came up with but you can add more or less quantity of whatever you want. Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

Vegetable oil

1 tbsp black mustard seeds

A pinch of fresh curry leaves

5 green chillies (or to taste)

1 tbsp Gram Dal lentils

1-2 tbsp roasted & salted peanuts

1 tbsp of fresh ginger

1/2 tsp of Turmeric

Juice of 1 large lemon

2 bowls of already boiled basmati rice

Salt and water

How to do it:

Heat vegetable oil on a pan, once hot throw the mustard seeds in, when they start popping add the curry leafs and stir for a little while.

Add the green chillies, Gram lentils and stir for a couple of minutes, then add the peanuts and stir well. Roast at mid-low flame to brown slowly.

Once lightly brown add a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger, salt, turmeric, the lemon juice and a tablespoon or two of water. Cook for only two minutes once you put the lemon juice in otherwise it will become bitter.

Add already-boiled basmati rice and cook at low flame until the rice is hot. And it’s ready!

Serve on its own or as a side for any curry. It’s deliciously tangy!

Lemon Rice - Elumichai Sadham

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Simple side rice with garlic

Perfectly simple recipe of rice cooked with garlic, very easy to make and extremely tasty. A perfect side to any dish.

Ingredients:

Olive oil

Rice

1-3 garlic coves (as many as you want really)

Salt

How to cook:

Fry the peeled garlic cloves with plenty of oil until golden brown.

Add rice and stir, fry until grains become transparent, keep steering until they turn white again. Like in the image below:

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Add twice as water to the volume of rice you used (e.i. 1 cup of rice = 2 cups of water)

Stir until water reaches heavy boil then turn the hear right down and let cook slowly until all the water is gone. You will know when that happens because the sound of the rice cooking will change.

And you’re ready to go!

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Mushroom Puff Tartlets with Balsamic Spinach

For Valentine’s Day this year we cooked Mushroom Puff Tartlets with Balsamic Spinach. They are delicious and soo easy to make! It takes about 20 minutes to prepare all the ingredients and about 35 to cook it. This recipe serves 2 and it would go very well with steak or Salmon.

Ingredients:

100g puff pastry

1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra

1 shallot, finely chopped

100g chestnut mushrooms, chopped

1 tsp chopped thyme (You can use dry thyme too but the flavour won’t be as noticeable)

3 tbsp port or Madeira (or strong bodied red wine)

1 tbsp double cream

250g young spinach leaves

A splash of Balsamic vinegar

How to cook: 

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Roll out the pastry to about the thickness of a £1 coin, then cut out 2 x 12cm circles using a cutter, or by scoring around a saucer (I made them square because I couldn’t be bothered and it really doesn’t matter). Score 2cm from the edge and prick the pastry inside the border. Lift onto a baking tray, then bake for 20-25 mins or until golden and puffed. Press the risen middles down a little, ready for the filling. Can be made a day ahead, then reheated in a hot oven.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the shallots, then fry until softened. Add the mushrooms and thyme, then fry until mushrooms are softened and any liquid almost gone. Add the port or Madeira or wine, then bubble for 2 mins. Add the cream, simmer for 1 min more until the sauce is slightly thickened, then set aside.

Wash spinach leaves thoroughly, removing any tough stalks. Set the spinach leaves in a colander, then pour over boiling water from the kettle until all the leaves are wilted. Press out as much liquid as possible with the bottom of a saucer. Heat a drizzle olive oil in a pan, add the spinach and a splash balsamic vinegar, season well, then warm through.

To serve: Pour the mushroom mixture on top of the puff tartlets, you can have the spinach on a side as a main dish or do it chef-style and pile everything up on top of the tartlets. See both examples below.

Hope you enjoyed this, it is a truly delicious recipe!

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Spinach & Ricotta Pie

This is a great pie, different form traditional English pies this one is made using Puff Pastry so the result is similar to a quiche but you’ve got the nice pastry cover on the top of the pie. Ready in a bit over 1 hour this pie is one f my favourite spinach dishes. Let´s go!

Ingredients

2 bunches of spinach washed and roughly chopped up

1 large sliced onion

2 cloves chopped garlic

350g ricotta

2 eggs

olive oil to grease pie dish

3 puff pastry sheets

1 tablespoon of milk

Directions

Saute sliced onion and chopped garlic in frying pan.

Add spinach until tender.

Mix ricotta and eggs in a bowl.

Add spinach and sauted onion and garlic to ricotta and eggs.

Stir thoroughly and set aside.

Spray pie dish with olive oil.

Line pie dish with 1 1/2 pastry sheets.

Add spinach & ricotta mixture to pie dish.

Use the rest of the pastry sheets to put a lid on the pie and decorate it.

Brush pastry top with milk using a pastry brush.

Put into oven at 200 degrees C for 45 minutes.

Once cooked let pie rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Arancini

Ever wondered what to do with the leftover risotto when you’ve cooked a large amount of it? Well, this is a great way to transform leftovers in a tasty Italian dish. Let’s make Arancini di Riso!

Ingredients
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups Risotto
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Salt

Directions

– Pour enough oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat.

– Stir the eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl.

– Using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 3/4-inch-diameter balls. Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.

– Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot ail and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, about 4 minutes.

– Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot with some sort of sauce like tomato sauce.

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Béchamel (white sauce)

This is a very easy and really good white sauce recipe. My mum thought me how to make this béchamel sauce and I have never used any other recipe, let alone pre-cooked packs! Allez allez!

Ingredients

50 g unsalted butter

25 g plain flour

1 glass of cold milk (1/4 litre)

Salt & black pepper

Nutmeg (optional)

Procedure

Melt the butter in a sauce pan at low heat.

Add flour and whisk constantly until it becomes lightly golden (not brown!)

Little by little add cold milk whisking constantly in an 8 motion around the pan until it thickens.

Add salt and black pepper and if you want freshly grated nutmeg to add spice to the sauce. Et voilà

You can use this sauce for infinite recipes: pasta, lasagne, cannelloni, stuffed vegetables, cauliflower cheese, meat… Virtually whatever you want. You can also add some cheese at the end and make it a cheesy sauce that will go great with any pasta or a potato gratin. Bon appétit!

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Stuffed Aubergines

This is a great recipe of stuffed aubergines because it’s slightly healthier than other recipes without compromising the awesome tastiness of stuffed aubergines. This recipe makes 2 servings.

Ingredients

2 aubergines

200 g chicken or turkey mince

100 g diced bacon

80 g tinned chopped tomatoes

70 g onion

30 g green pepper

30 g grated cheese to grill

250 g white sauce

olive oil

Salt & black pepper

Procedure

Preheat the oven at 180ºC

Cut the aubergines in half vertically and make several deep cuts into the meat of the aubergine without breaking the skin. Like on the image below:

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Put them in the oven with drizzled oil and salt for 20 minutes.

While you wait dice the onion very finely and cook in oil for about 2 minutes.

Meantime dice the green pepper also very small, add to the onion and cook for further 4 minutes.

Add the salted  minced chicken/turkey to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.

Cook the bacon in another pan until golden brown and add it to the pan with the other ingredients.

Take the aubergines out of the oven and (very carefully because they are really hot) scoop the inside of the aubergines and add it to the pan, cook for further 5 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, cook for another 5 minutes, add salt and pepper and turn off the hob.

Prepare the white sauce. If you want to make it from scratch this is my recipe.

Put the aubergines in a glass/ceramic pan suitable for the oven and fill the aubergine halves with the mix.

Cover the aubergines with the white sauce and sprinkle cheese on top.

Put it in the oven for about 10 minutes. For the last 10 minutes change the oven settings to grill so the cheese will get golden and crispy.

And they’re ready to go!

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Guacamole

My dear friend Martina travelled to Mexico and she brought me the best souvenir she could have, a genuine Mexican recipe for guacamole! It’s so easy to make and so tasty that you will never ever buy ready-made guacamole again. Let’s do this!

Ingredients

2 ripe avocados

1 ripe tomato

1 small onion (or ½ big one)

Juice of ½ lime

Tabasco sauce

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Procedure

Cut the avocados  in half vertically, mind the bone inside, you will have to go all around the avocado with your knife. Twist the two halves in opposite directions and separate them.

To scoop the bone off easily stab it with the blade of the knife and slide it out.

With a tablespoon scoop all the avocado meat on to a plate. Do the same with all the halves. Once you have all the avocado on a plate crush it down with a fork until you get a smooth paste.

Now cut the tomato and onion, dice them quite small and mix them with the avocado.

Add the juice of 1/2 lime (that will prevent the browning of the avocado as well as giving it nice taste) drizzle oil and add salt and pepper.

Mix well and add Tabasco sauce to taste. Mix well again and you’ve got your guacamole ready!

Serve it with nachos (Doritos), toast, crackers or whatever you want, you can even use it as salad dressing.

Today I am having it on toast with my Cherry tomato and feta cheese salad. Delicious! 

guacamole

Tip!

It’s said that putting the bone of the avocado in centre of the guacamole in the serving bowl will keep the green colour of your guacamole for longer. Not sure if it’s true but it looks nice! 

Carrot Soup

When it’s freezing cold and lunch time approaches the last thing you think of is having a sandwich or a cold salad… This recipe is my favourite carrot soup so far (and I’ve tried a lot of them) it is smooth, flavourful and it’s very easy to make! It freezes very well – perfect for those of us who don’t have time to cook everyday –  and you can even have it cold in summer!

Ingredients: 2 tbsp butter, 1 onion, 8 medium carrots, 1 litre (4 cups) boiling water or chicken/vegetable stock, salt and freshly ground pepper.

*You can add a potato to lighten it a bit and make more amount.

Procedure:

Peel and slice the onion, do the same with the carrots. Cut them roughly so they’ll cook evenly, no need for fancy techniques!

Melt some butter in a large pot and fry the onion until it has softened.

Add the carrots and stir well so they will be completely covered in butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place a lid on the pot and let the carrots cook gently for about 10 minutes. You can add a bit of water if necessary.

Dissolve a vegetable or chicken stock cube in a pint of hot water and add it to the pot. You might want to rectify with salt and pepper to taste again.

Simmer for around 20 minutes until tender.

Take the pot off the hob and carefully blend it all while it’s still warm. If the soup is too thick you can add a more stock or water.

To serve your soup you can add double or single cream to it or any grated cheese and let it melt. The Laughing Cow cheese is ideal for this recipe because it’s soft and creamy. You can have it with the traditional bread and butter.

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Spinach Catalan style

Everyone says that all kids hate spinach, well I actually loved them! Specially when my parents prepared Espinacs a la Catalana.

Ingredients: 1 kg Spinach, 300 g bacon, 1-2 garlic cloves, pine nuts and raisins (to taste) *You can substitute the pine nuts by almonds if you prefer.

Put the raisins in a bowl with hot water, leave them to soak.

Meantime boil the spinach until soft and drain well.

Fry the bacon with little olive oil until golden.

Drain the raisins and add them to the pan with the pine nuts, fry until toasted.

Add the spinach and stir-fry all together for a couple of minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

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There’s far too much bacon here! 😛