Thursday, February 4, 2016

A new first around here - Crepe Paper Flowers Tutorial - Buttercups

It's been ages since I posted about anything crafty. But I will today. I have been wanting to do something like this for ages, but something or the other has always come in the way. I'm happy to report that finally, FINALLY, I took the plunge and posted my very first You Tube tutorial. Yikes! I still can't believe I've done it. My first video is a tutorial on how to make these beautiful paper Buttercups.




You can see the video here.

If you'd like to play along, you can use this template.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this attempt. Of course, feel free to share this video with your friends and I'd love to see what you create.



Sunday, January 31, 2016

SRC: Dutch Baby Oven Pancake with fresh berries

Yay for the first SRC reveal of 2016! Even though we just had a teeny tiny month off from SRC to enjoy the holidays and spend time with family, I must admit I've missed and an am happy to be back in the swing of things. For my first assignment for the year, I had the absolute pleasure of perusing Dorothy's blog, Shockingly Delicious. I was so excited with this assignment. I've been a big admirer of Dorothy's blog ever since I first set eyes on it. She has one of those blogs where you want to make everything you see. Which tells you what a task picking out a recipe for this months reveal was. With great difficulty I finally narrowed my picks down to these beauties - Almond Polenta Cake, Irish Elephant Ears and a delicious looking sesame dressing. Now, those of you who don't know Dorothy, she has also been called the "Pie Lady of Malibu" and with good reason. She has won 23 ribbons at the Malibu Pie Contest in all among other accolades. Check out her award winning recipes here. I have bookmarked her recipe for a pie called The Bob and Andy Pie, a curiously named pie that looks pretty darn good. I was tossing between the pie and her Dutch Baby Oven pancakes and in the end, by a very short margin, the oven baked pancakes won.

Truth be told, I've been waiting for the opportunity to try out the Dutch Baby Oven pancakes and this was the perfect time. I love my pancakes and was eager to check out this version that bakes in the oven and you just cut it up and serve with your favourite things. This time around I had to use fresh berries which are at their prime at the moment. Where do I start with this recipe! It is super simple to put together and the flavour is phenomenal. It is like no other pancake I have tasted. I loved the flavour of the nutmeg and the vanilla in the batter. And do not leave out the fresh fruit. It really adds to the taste and the whole experience. I used fresh berries because they are gorgeous and in season. You could use whatever fruit you like and is in season and I'm sure it will turn out fabulous. Thank you Dorothy for a fantastic recipe!

I halved the recipe and it was pretty good for breakfast for 2. The amounts mentioned below serves 2.




Dutch Baby Oven Pancake

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
A pinch of salt
1/8 cup butter

For the toppings - 
Fresh blueberries
Fresh strawberries
Maple Syrup

Heat the oven to 245ºC.

Place an 8" pan in the oven to heat up for about 5 minutes.

Place the butter in the pan and let it melt, till foamy.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk up the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and salt.

Add the flour and whisk till combined.

When the butter is foamy, carefully take the pan out of the oven and swirl the butter around to coat the bottom of the pan.

Pour in the pancake batter and bake for 20 minutes.

Sit back and be amazed as the sides rise up first, followed by the centre. This will deflate after you take it out of the oven and cut into it.

Serve up with berries and a drizzle of maple syrup.

I think some good greek yogurt would also do well with fruit or you could stick with some fruit and sprinkle some icing sugar over the top.

Enjoy!!!



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Garlic & Paprika Chicken

So here's the very delicious Part 2 of the meal - Garlic & Paprika Chicken. For those of you who haven't seen Part 1, click on the link for the recipe for Lemon Orzo with Asparagus. What can I say about this chicken recipe? The flavours are pretty spectacular. Its just a simple chicken roast but what rocks it up is this really flavourful garlic and paprika marinade. I was so happy with the flavours here, I can't wait to use this marinade the next time I make a chicken roast. I think it is safe to say that I've found my favourite marinade for roasting chicken. Whipping this up with pieces of chicken is also a brilliant idea, because this way you can sit down to a nice hot meal much quicker than what it would take to roast a whole bird.

So without any further delay, lets get on to the recipe.



Garlic & Paprika Chicken
Recipe from: Jo Cooks

6 chicken drumsticks
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp red chilly flakes (optional or to taste)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Wash and pat the chicken drumsticks dry. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the garlic, smoked paprika, chilly flakes and oregano to the oil and cook for 1 minute. Do not burn the garlic.

Pour this marinade over the chicken drumsticks and mix well making sure that the chicken is evenly coated with the spices.

Place the drumsticks in a single layer in a baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes or till the chicken legs have cooked through.



Serve hot.

I served this up with some lemon orzo with asparagus.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lemon Orzo with Asparagus

I sometimes find myself trying to plan my meals for the week and nothing I can think of sounds appealing. Has that happened to anyone before? This was one such week. I had a few things in the fridge but I wanted to whip up something new with them, not the same old stuff I've tried before. So I went off to scout on Pinterest (which, by the way is one of my most favourite sites in the whole world ... lol) and the internet at large. After tossing up a few ideas, I found exactly what I was looking for. Turns out I wanted some good comfort food but didn't feel like spending all the time the traditional versions require.

This is a 2-part meal idea. Part one is all about the lemon orzo with asparagus. All I will say about part 2 is YUM. That's the next post. You should definitely come back for that one. Its a new favourite for me. This lemon orzo is a combination of some of my favourite things - pasta, asparagus and lemon. I love the vibrant colours and beautiful flavours. This is something you can serve up with a nice Sunday / holiday roast or as a side dish for your next lunch / dinner party. I can also see this working really well at your next backyard barbie (BBQ). Try it out and you'll be glad to have something so simple but so delicious to add to your recipe box.

I have tried to shop for Orzo before, but have never been able to find any. I did the next best thing and bought Risoni instead. From what I understand they are very similar except for a slight difference in the size. One is made to resemble an unprocessed grain or barley and the other rice. You could use either. I should have just titled this Lemon Risoni I guess, but I'll leave it as is, for now. I substituted the parsley with some fresh cilantro as thats all I had. Also, the next time I make these, I might either cut down or leave out the lemon zest. I love lemon zest in certain things but this time we personally found it too strong a flavour.



Lemon Orzo with Asparagus 
Adapted from: Jo Cooks
Yields: 4 portions

1 bunch asparagus (about 1/2 lb or thereabouts)
1 cup chicken stock (use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
1- 1 and 1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
A pinch of turmeric powder
1 cup dry uncooked pasta (orzo or risoni)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

For the dressing -
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced / grated
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

To cook the asparagus - 
Trim the asparagus and lay the spears in a shallow dish (a baking tray works best), pour enough boiling water over it to cover it.

Season with a little salt, to taste.

Cover with some cling film or another tight fitting lid and leave aside to till the water is just warm to the touch. (You can cook your pasta and prepare your dressing in the meanwhile.)

Drain out the water and cut the spears into about 2 inch long pieces.


For the dressing - 
In a bowl, place the zest and juice, garlic, salt and pepper.

Add the oil and whisk till it emulsifies a little into a nice dressing. Set aside.


For the pasta - 
In a large pot, bring the stock and water to a boil.

Add the salt and turmeric and bring back to a boil.

Add the pasta to the pot and cook till the pasta is done. (I like to leave it a little al dente.)

Drain the pasta.

Place the hot pasta in a large bowl with the asparagus and cilantro.

Whisk the dressing a little, if needed and add to the bowl.

Mix well.

Top with a little butter. (This is optional.)

Enjoy!!!




Thursday, January 21, 2016

Methi Poori - Fenugreek speckled, deep fried flatbread

I seem to be on an Indian bread / flatbread roll at the moment :) A while ago, I had spotted someone posting a picture for Methi Pooris and ever since, I've thought about them every once in a while when I try and work out what we're going to have for dinner. What are Methi Pooris? Pooris are little deep fried flatbreads. Methi is nothing but fenugreek. So basically, these are just little deep fried flatbreads with a little fenugreek in them. Now, not always, do these thoughts get acted on, but not this time. This time, I am proud to say I actually made these pooris. I did a little reading up on them and with every recipe I read, I found myself with a little ingredient hurdle I wasn't going to conquer. So on went my thinking cap and I decided that I was going to bravely venture into conconting my own version of the pooris. I took bits and pieces from 3 different recipes that I thought would work together, made a few minute changes and was very happy with the result. I didn't get any step by step pictures this time, since I wasn't sure how well the pooris would turn out. But when we tasted them, I knew I had to share this recipe with you as soon as I could.

So, if you are looking to add a little variety to your routine Indian meals, try this out. A lot of folks make the pooris using fresh methi / fenugreek. I didn't have access to any, so I replaced it with some Kasuri Methi / dried fenugreek leaves. These are readily available in any Indian grocery store and keep well for months. I served this up with some Aloo bhaji, or mildly spiced Indian curried potatoes. You can find the recipe for that here. If you'd like to try the basic poori recipe, the plain one, you can find it here. If you're a noob at cooking Indian food the potato stir fry is a good place to start. It is nothing more than a quick stir fry and if I can make it, anyone can :) So don't let the thought of cooking Indian food scare you. Give these recipes a try and you'll be hooked.




Methi Poori

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaped tbsp natural, unflavoured yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
Oil, for deep frying

Mix the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and salt in a large bowl.

Place the kasuri methi in your palms and rub a little to release their flavour. Sprinkle over the flour.

Tip in the turmeric powder and mix everything together.

Add the yogurt and stir through.

Gradually add a little water and knead to a soft, pliable dough.

Add the water gradually as you don't want to end up with a sticky dough. If the dough turns out too sticky, sprinkle a little flour over and knead it in and you should be good to go.

Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for about half an hour.

Heat the oil for deep frying over medium heat.

(To test the oil, drop a tiny pea sized ball of the dough carefully into the oil. It should sizzle and rise to the top fairly quickly. If this happens, your oil is at the right temperature. If it browns straightaway, your oil is too hot. Take it off the heat for a while and then start frying. If it just sinks to the bottom without any sizzle, your oil is not hot enough.)

Make small walnut size portions and roll to form a disc. Do not roll out too thin. (According to my mum, they need to be a little on the thicker side to puff up. I simply follow that and get brilliant results each time.)

Deep fry as you're rolling them out. Don't stack the raw discs before frying.

When golden brown, drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

Serve hot!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Green Peas Parathas - Whole Wheat Flatbread with a savoury green pea stuffing

Ooh I have a good one to share with you today. A while ago I was browsing the web for some cooking inspiration and I came across the recipe for green peas parathas. What are they? Basically, stuffed Indian flatbread, the stuffing is a mildly spiced green peas mix. This way you get some veggie while you're enjoying your rotis. The recipe for the stuffing is so simple and quick to put together. I am very happy to add another paratha to my repertoire. We usually make parathas for breakfast, but they are great to have with lunch or dinner, or as a slightly robust snack. I love my parathas and am always on the lookout for newer variations. So for I've made Aloo Parathas, Methi Parathas and Gobhi Parathas. Do you know or have you tried a yummy paratha recipe that is your absolute favourite? I'd love to hear about it. Leave me a comment and let me know.

So back to this paratha. This paratha is easier to make than the Gobhi Paratha, because of the filling. This filling has lesser moisture and so is so much easier to roll. I was happy with that. I love the little green peeking through the paratha with the finished product. Try it out and see what you think of it.




Green Peas Parathas
Recipe from: Show Me the Curry
Yields approx. 9-10

For the dough - 
2 cups wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Water
1 tbsp olive oil / ghee

Mix the flour and the salt well.

Drizzle the olive oil and mix through.

Bind with a little water at a time to form a soft pliable dough. The dough should not be sticky.

If you find the dough sticky, add some more whole wheat flour. If the dough is too dry and difficult to knead, add a little water.

Knead well, roll into a ball, cover with a damp cloth and keep aside while you make the filling.


For the filling - 1 1/2 cup frozen green peas (you could use fresh too), rinsed, thawed and thoroughly drained

2 birdseye chillies, or to taste

1 tbsp garlic minced

1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves and stalks, chopped

Salt, to taste

1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) (alternatively you could use olive oil)

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Into the bowl of a food processor, place the green peas, chillies, garlic, coriander and salt.

Pulse a couple of times. You want a coarse blend and NOT a paste or puree. You want some larger pieces and some smaller bits, much like what you see in the pan in the next picture.

Heat a pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp ghee.

Add the cumin seeds and let them sputter, being careful to not burn them.

Add the green peas mix.



Stir around and let it cook out for about 2 minutes.

Remove from the pan and let it cool completely.




**Additionally you will need some dry whole wheat flour for dusting your work surface and some ghee to brush over the parathas.

To make the parathas - 

Place a thick bottomed pan / tawa on a medium flame and let it heat up.

In the meanwhile, divide the dough and the pea mix into portions.

1) and 2)  Dust your work surface with some flour. Roll a ball of dough between your palms to form a smooth ball. Flatten and using a rolling pin roll out to a disc about 6 inches in diameter. While rolling you need to make sure it doesn't stick to the work surface. Don't flip the dough over while rolling. (Note that these measures are approx. just to give you an idea of the sizes).


3) Place the disc in the palm of your hand. I am right handed, so I place the little disc on my left palm.

4) Spread a few drops of ghee on it.

5) Place a spoonful on the filling mix in the centre. You don't want to overfill the parathas or rolling can get messy.

6) Pick up opposite sides of the disc and press together to seal.

7) Gather in the rest of the edges. Press the edges against each other (like a little dumpling) to seal. Then flatten it gently and press the edges down. Here you are trying to roll it into a little ball carefully without smashing it.

8)Dust a little more flour on your work surface, if needed. Place the seam side down and gently start rolling the little ball out.

9) Roll out to about 8 inches wide. Again, you need to make sure it doesn't stick to the work surface. You can dust with more dry flour if needed. You also don't want to roll it too thin because the filling will just ooze out.

Place this on a well heated tawa / griddle and roast for a while moving it around till light brown spots appear on one side. Turn over and cook on the other side till light brown spots appear on the other side as well.

To finish off, spoon a few drops of clarified butter on the paratha and spread. Flip over and repeat this on  the other side letting it roast for a few seconds after you add the clarified butter to the side.



Serve hot with butter and a mug of hot coffee for a yummy Indian breakfast or brunch option.

This time around, I served this up for dinner with some mildly flavoured yogurt (plain raita) and some sweet mango pickle. (The pickle is called Chunda / Chundo and you should be able to find it in any Indian store.)



These parathas go very well with any Indian style veggies too.


**Notes - 
You can leave out the clarified butter if you want an even healthier version, but it does wonders for the taste.

If you have any dough or filling left over, simply refrigerate and use the next day.

You can also make a plain paratha by simply rolling out the dough, spread the ghee, wrap and re-roll and roast it without the filling. This can be served with your favorite jam or cheese or scrambled eggs or an omelette or anything else you'd fancy.

You could serve this up with plain yogurt too.


For the plain raita - 



Good quality, unflavoured yogurt
Salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste (I use about 1 tbsp to 1 1/2 cups of yogurt, approx)(This will also depend on how tart the yogurt is. I sometimes use lesser than that)
Cumin powder
Red chilli powder

Mix the yogurt, salt and sugar and still thoroughly to incorporate the salt and sugar and beat till you are left with a smooth yogurt.

Place in the serving bowl and lightly spinkle some cumin powder and red chilly powder over.

Enjoy.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Sriracha Teriyaki Meatballs

Where do I start with this post? I love meatballs. There I said it. I don't make it often enough. But when I do, I enjoy it so very much. I've noticed so many variations of the humble meatball pop up all over the blogosphere, I have got to try some soon. Also, I love Asian flavours. I've always been a big fan of Chinese food. Very recently, I've sort of gotten hooked on to some amazing Malaysian and Japanese food. But back to the topic at hand. When I saw this recipe for Sriracha Teriyaki Meatballs, I knew I had to make it and soon. It combined meatballs with Asian flavours and the added bonus was the heat from the Sriracha sauce. What's not to love about that?

I love how quick and simple this recipe was to put together. With a physically demanding job, that is sometimes more than I full time job, I need recipes that a simple and quick without compromising on the taste. This recipe checks all the boxes for me. You could make the meatballs ahead of time and that way you could put this recipe together even quicker. It is as simple as making the meatballs. Mixing all the ingredients for the sauce together and simmering. Tossing the meatballs in the sauce and that is it. Try this recipe out for yourself and you'll be amazed. You can thank me later.  :)




Sriracha Teriyaki Meatballs
Adapted from: Baker by Nature

For the meatballs - 
1/2 kg ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
2 tbsp fresh coriander / cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
1 tsp Soy sauce
3 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 onion, finely chopped
2 birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
2 slices bread
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
Salt, to taste
2-3 tbsp olive oil, for frying

Soak the slices of bread in water, squeeze out all the liquid and crumble the bread into a mixing bowl.

Tip in all the above ingredients, except the olive oil.

Mix well till combined evenly.

Shape into meatballs.

Heat a couple of spoons of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the meatballs till nicely browned and cooked through.

Don't overcrowd the pan while frying the meatballs. You may need to fry them up in batches.




For the Sriracha Teriyaki Sauce - 
1/2 cup low sodium Soy sauce
1/3 cup raw honey
1/2 cup + 3tbsp water, divided
t tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp sesame seeds

In a small saucepan, combine the Soy sauce, honey, 1/2 cup of water, sesame oil, Sriracha sauce and ginger. Heat it over a medium low flame and stir constantly till the honey is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. 

In a little bowl, combine the cornstarch and the 3 tbsp water till dissolved. Add to the glaze and stir well to combine.

Increase the heat to medium high and keep stirring as the sauce cooks and thickens. It should take about 2-3 minutes. 

Once the sauce has thickened, take it off the heat and stir in the sesame seeds.



Add the sauce to the meatballs and stir to coat well. 

Garnish by sprinkling some sesame seeds over.



Serve over some nice brown rice or noodles of your choice.