Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oil Pastry Recipe

A healthy alternative to butter pastry
What you need: 
  • 2 cups ( 500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ( 5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 125 mL) canola oil
  • 4 tbsp ( up to 6 tbsp, 60 to 90 mL) ice-cold water
  1. Mix flour and salt into a bowl
  2. Make a well in centre, add oil and mix with a fork until particles are the size of small peas
  3. Mix in 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of water until dough almost lifts from side of bowl. If dough is dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon (15 mL) at a time
  4. Dough is ready for use
Recipe adopted from Chateliane

Thursday, November 25, 2010

No bake chocolate oat squares/balls recipe

WARNING: do not continue reading if you have no willpower. This dessert is so simple and tasty - you can be literally in and out of the kitchen in a few minutes with a tasty treat in your hands...

The recipe is a variation of the Swedish chocolate balls and the American (?) oat squares. It is really delicious, and perhaps relatively healthy as well. The key ingredients, rolled oats and cocoa are very healthy, almost considered super foods, butter, coffee and syrup are relatively healthy and lets not talk about sugar. 

In addition to being really simple to make and delicious, another weakness is that it is almost impossible to screw it up, unless you are really adamant in doing so. I make it without following the recipe since its easy to adjust as you go along. 

The recipe is quite versatile. If you are feeling in a healthy mood, use less butter, or substitute with oil. If you use less butter the mixture will be dry. You won't be able to form squares or balls but its delicious served in a bowl with a spoon, as an ice cream topping or as crumble over fruits. 

300 ml rolled oats
100 grams butter or margarine
50ml sugar
1 tablespoon dark or golden syrup
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon instant coffee
Optional topping: Dessicated coconut or grated chocolate
    • Mix butter, sugar, syrup, cocoa and coffee
    • Add rolled oats and mix well
    • Put mixture into a cake tin and press down, or form into balls 
    • Sprinkle dessicated coconut or grated chocolate and press down lightly
    • Chill for 1-2 hours
    • Slice and serve

    Rice, lentil and carrot porridge

    Simple, easy and nutritious
    Sorry about the picture, it does not look very appealing. But I can promise it tastes much better than it looks.

    • ½ cup rice
    • ½ cup lentil
    • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
    • 4 cups water
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • Saffron or tumeric (optional)
    • Olive oil or butter
    • Salt
    • Wash the rice
    • Add all the ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil
    • Reduce heat and simmer covered until rice is mush, about an hour
    • Stir frequently
    • Add olive oil and mix/emulsify
    • This is a variation of congee - Chinese rice porridge
    • Eating overcooked mushy rice may sound revolting but its actually quite nice once you overcome the initial hesitation
    • I used lentil and carrot because thats what I had available. The carrot added sweetness, color and carotene while lentils added nice flavour and proteins!
    • You can use vegetable stock or stock cubes for even more flavour
    • Don't forget to stir frequently otherwise the rice will stick to the bottom and burn
    • You can switch olive oil with butter - flavour, taste vs health benefits, its your choice!

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Coconut Cake Recipe

    Coconut polenta cupcake with vanilla custard sauce
    This is one of the simplest cake recipes I have ever come across. It requires only 4 ingredients, and cake mix is not one of the ingredients. Neither are eggs or butter. In spite of the absense of eggs and butter, the cake is moist, bit dense in a good way, with a relatively intense coconut flavour. And it is also very easy to remember, 1 part each of self raising flour, sugar and coconut and ¾ milk. What I do is mix together equal parts of flour, sugar and coconut, then add milk until it forms the right consistency. I don’t measure milk. There you go, that’s the whole recipe.

    You can vary the recipe relatively easily. I substituted half of the flour with polenta. The coconut polenta cake was delicious. 

    • 1 cup self raising flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup dessicated coconut (toasted - optional)
    • ¾ cup milk
    • Preheat oven to 180 degrees
    • Mix milk and sugar
    • Add shifted flour and coconut and mix well
    • Bake for around 30 minutes

    Note: If you don't have self raising flour, a substitute is 1 cup flour, 1½ teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt

    Coconut Cake

    Curried corned beef, potato and rice

    Delicious and deceptively simple
    • Corned beef or lamb, 1 can
    • 1 potato
    • 1 cup rice
    • 1 tablespoon curry powder
    • 1/2 onion
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 2 cups hot water
    • Heat oil in a pot on medium heat 
    • Add curry powder, sliced onions and minced garlic 
    • Cook until onion has softened, stirring frequently
    • Add corned beef and cook uncovered for 5 -10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a table of water if it starts to stick to the pot
    • Add 1 cup rice, 2 cups water and cubed potatoes (cm cubed)
    • Turn heat to medium low, cover and cook until rice is done, about 20 minutes

    • You can use any type of rice, I prefer long grain rice
    • Rice and meat combinations appear in many cultures, each having its own little variaion. Central Asians add carrots and fat, Pakistani's are heavy handed with spices while the Spanish throw in seafood. Whatever the variations, two things remain in common - the name always seems to start with 'p' (plov, pilaf, pulau, paella, pilota...) and the end result is always tasty

    Egg spread

    Simply delicious and nutritious

    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably homemade
    • 1 boiled egg
    • Salt
    • Mix egg yolk and mayonnaise
    • Add chop egg white, salt and mix well
    • For extra oomph, you can add finely chopped onions and/or pickled vege’s

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    50% Butter Spread

    More flavour, less cholesterol and cheaper
    • Butter
    • Oil
    • Flavours (optional)
    • Make sure butter is at room temperature
    • Mix butter and oil in equal amounts
    • Add any flavourings such as stock cubes, spices etc
    • Keep in refrigerator
    • You can use any oil. Neutral oil such as soya bean or canola oil will maintain the butter taste. Olive oil adds a distinct flavour

    Garlic Mayonnaise Recipe

    Mayonnaise is really really simple to make, using ingredients found in most pantries. And homemade mayo is so much nicer, cheaper and it does not have 'mystery ingredients'. 

    • 1 egg yolk
    • 100 ml oil
    • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard (or 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder)
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

    • Mix egg yolk, garlic, mustard, salt and lemon juice
    • Slowly add the oil while continously whisking until it reaches a smooth consistency
    • You can use any oil. I prefer neutral oil such as soya bean or canola oil. Olive oil adds a distinct flavour

    Lemon Cookies Recipe

    Light, chewy, tasty and low in fat

    These lemon cookies are unbelievably addictive. They are light, slightly chewy and have low fat content. It is the first time ever I made lemon cookies. For me lemons are used generally for salad and fish, not cookies or cakes. But after eating these beauties, I completely changed my mind. 

    These cookies are very addictive so in case you baked a whole batch they will disappear. In other words, they don’t keep well! I have a sweet tooth and generally low willpower and I could foresee this happening to me so I decided to freeze part of the dough for later consumption. Cookie dough normally freezes very well without affecting flavour or texture. 

    When forming into shapes, for few cookies I made an indent in the centre, in other words, slightly concave shaped. The end result was a flatter cookie. I got the idea from Rachel Ray who made indents when forming burger patties. While flatter cookies looked more flatter it requires more effort and still tastes the same. Unlike burgers where you make one or few only and you can do all sorts of fancy things, its more time consuming with cookies. But there is no harm experimenting when you have time.

    Here comes the recipe which has been adopted from Tastes of Home, who in turn adopted it from Perfect Light Desserts by Nick Malgieri and David Joachim. Tastes of Home calls it lemonade cookies but I prefer to call it lemon cookies.

    By the way, since the recipe uses egg whites only, I used the egg yolks to make garlic mayonnaise

    • 1 1/4 cups flour 
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 large egg white
    • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • Preheat oven to 175 degrees celcius
    • Beat butter and sugar together until well mixed
    • Add egg white and lemon zest and beat until well mixed
    • Add shifted flour and baking powder, and lemon juice and mix well
    • Make small balls, flatten slightly, place then about 3 cm's apart on greased baking tray
    • Place baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are pale on top and slightly brown at the bottom

    Pickled Carrots Recipe

    Pickled carrots are really easy to make, its nutritious and delicious. 

    I prefer using apple cider vinegar for pickling because of flavour and it is also one of the best vinegars from the health perspective.

    In the recipe I have not given amounts. If you use a small amount to coat the carrots it is better to stir the carrots from time to time to ensure that all the carrot slices get the opportunity to spend time with the vinegar. Alternatively you can completely cover the carrots for even better results. The same pickling vinegar can be used more than once.

    Vinegar - apple cider or any other vinegar

    1. Thinly slice carrots
    2.  Add vinegar and salt
    3.   Let it marinate for at least an hour in the refrigerator, the longer the better

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Swedish meatballs with potatoes Recipe

    This is the cheats method that uses store bought meatballs. You can make your own of course, in which case this recipe would be less simple and easy, but more delicious.

    In Sweden there is a dish called pytt i panna, which translates into 'little pieces in the pan.'  Small cubes of meat, sausage, potato and onions are shallow fried and lightly spiced. If you travel east you will come across Kurdaak in Central Asia. Kurdaak involves larger cubes of meat, potatoes and onions, shallow fried with a good dose of fat. Whichever variation you prefer it is simple to make and really really delicious. 
    • 6-8 meatballs, cut into small cubes
    • 1 potato, cut into small cubes
    • 1/3 onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon harissa
    • Salt
    • Heat oil on medium heat
    • Add all the ingredients
    • Stir occasionally and cook until done, about 15-20 minutes
    • This is the cheats method, using pre-made meatballs from the supermarket. You can make your own of course, in which case this recipe would be less simple and easy 
    • Meat and potatoes: Sweden has pytt i panna or 'little pieces in the pan' - small cubes of meat, sausage, potato and onions, shallow fried and lightly spiced. Go East and you will come across Kurdak in Central Asia, larger cubes of meat, potatoes and onions, shallow fried with a good dose of fat.

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Spaghetti with Spiced Carrot Yogurt Sauce Recipe

    This sauce is really really quick and easy to prepare. You can prepare a little extra and have it with toast or with rice and pasta. 

    • 2 large carrots
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 cup yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon spice such as curry powder or cumin 
    • Spaghetti
    • Salt
    • Heat oil on medium heat 
    • Add minced garlic and spices and cook until fragrant
    • Add finely grated carrots and salt
    • Cover and cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes
    • Add yogurt 
    • Serve with spaghetii
    • You can use the sauce as a delicious and nutritious sandwich spread

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Cinnamon Yogurt Scones Recipe

    Gingerbread Carrot Scone
    These scones are a variation of the regular milk based scones. The fizz in yogurt makes the scones much 'fluffier' and the yogurt flavour is hardly noticable.

    The recipe can be varied. To make:
    - chocolate scones add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder or 50 grams of melted chocolate. 
    - coconut scones add 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
    - gingerbread scones use gingerbread flavoured yogurt if its available where you live, otherwise use gingerbread spices (ginger, cinnamon, all spice etc) 

    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 25 g sugar
    • 50 g butter, cut into small pieces, or 50 ml vegetable oil
    • 75 g/1/2 cup) sultanas (optional)
    • 125-150 ml/3/4 cup natural yoghurt
    • Preheat oven to 220 degrees C
    • Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar
    • Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs
    • Stir in the sultanas, make a well and add the yoghurt
    • Mix with a knife to a soft non-sticky dough and knead gently for 30 seconds
    • Shape into discs around 1.25 cm thick
    • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they begin to brown on the top

    Soy Hoisin Braised Chicken Recipe

    Braised meats are awesome, I love any meat. I have already published a recipe for braised pork. Braised chicke is less popular but very delicious nevertheless. I remember having braised chicken in a restaurant in Fiji. It was braised simply with soya sauce, garlic and ginger, and served with braised bok choy. It was extremely simple and delicious. 

    In my recipe I have used hoisin sauce. If you don't have hoisin sauce you can leave it out. If you prefer a slightly sweet braising sauce you can add sugar and/or molasses.
    • 1 chicken (preferably braising chicken)
    • 3-4 cloves garlic
    • 1 inch of ginger, sliced thinly
    • 100 ml soy sauce
    • 200 ml water
    • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
    • 1 teaspoon chinese 5 spice powder
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • Heat oil to medium heat in a pot
    • Add garlic and ginger, cook until light brown
    • Add chicken cut into large pieces and caramelise (brown) all sides
    • Add the rest of the ingredients
    • Braise on low heat for 1.5-2 hours, until meat is tender
    • You can use any type of chicken. I prefer braising chicken since it has better flavour, texture and price
    • The liquid should reduce to a thick consistency. Add more water during the cooking process if the amount of liquid runs low
    • Save some sauce and cook vegetables like spinach in it. Adds a great flavour

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Chickpea Yogurt Spread Recipe

    This is a really simple spread that you can have with your toast, with pasta or rice or any other way. It is a twist to hummus but instead of tahini I am using yogurt. Yogurt adds nice tanginess.

    • Chickpeas
    • Garlic
    • Yogurt
    • Salt
    • Chilli powder
    • Add together mashed chickpeas, minced garlic, yogurt, salt and chilli powder
    • You can add olive oil and spices such as cumin.
    • Keep it refrigerator for few days. Since its so simple to make, make enough to last a couple of days

    Spiced Herring and Potato Soup Recipe

    This is a really simple and healthy soup made using herring. Herring is one of the cheaper fish and it has lot of omega-6 and other healthy fats so it is really good for you. 

    Herring, salmon, mackerel and sardines are the four fish varieties having the highest amount of omega-6. And these varieties of fish are also very tasty.

    In the recipe you can use any type of fish.

    ½ teaspoon of spices of your choice such as curry powder or mixed spice
    ¼ onion, diced
    1 small garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    ½ teaspoon harissa (optional)
    2-3 whole herring fillets
    1 medium sized potato, cubed
    1 tablespoon oil
    1 cup hot water

    1. Heat oil to medium heat in a pot
    2.  Add onions and cook until it turns translucent
    3. Add spices, minced garlic, tomato paste, harissa and salt and cook for 1-2 minutes
    4. Add potatoes, fish and hot water
    5. Simmer covered on low heat for about 15-20 minutes
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