Sunday, 16 July 2017

Chickpea Tikkis (cakes) and Saffron Soul book review.

It has been ages since I added a cook book to my collection. Saffron Soul by Mira Manek, is more like a journal than a vegetarian cook book, exploring her family's traditional recipes that she has grown up with. I like this book as it shows the author's personality and heritage which is similar to my own and it brings back my childhood memories of learning to cook with my mother and grandmother.

The book features many recipes shared by her family, together with new fusion recipes that have been inspired and adapted with ingredients of this day and age. The recipes are easy to follow and beautifully illustrated. Other than the recipes, I loved reading  the snippets of personal family history the author has shared together with her family photos.

There are many recipes in the book that I have grown up with and I can see similarities, however I also loved the fusion recipes such as Warm curried courgetti salad with maple chillied seeds, Quinoa Bhel on chilled watermelon and the Spelt and quinoa rotis.

Book Details :
Saffron Soul by Mira Manek
ISBN 978-1-911127-18-5
Retails  £20.00

My score for the book: 14/15

Content -5/5
Recipe Instructions-4

 **I was sent a copy of the book to review as always all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

I have chosen to make the Chickpea tikkis, which are savoury cakes from the book. I have recreated the recipe with a few minor changes.

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Chickpea Tikkis
Chickpea pattis cooked with spices and herbs and shallow fried.
  • 240 g Pre boiled white chickpeas.
  • 2 Spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 Red chilli finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Roasted peanuts ground coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon Corn flower
  • 1 tablespoon Water
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 3 tablespoons for shallow frying Sunflower oil
  • For serving-Hummus, pitta bread, salad and lemon wedges 

1. Put the chick peas in a large bowl and coarsely mash them with a potato masher.2. In a frying pan add 1 tablespoon of oil and when its hot add the spring onions and red chilli and saute for 2 minutes.3. Add the salt, chilli power, turmeric powder, coarsely ground peanuts and the mashed chickpeas. Mix together and cook for another 2-3 minutes until all the spices infuse.4. Take the mixture off the heat and allow to reach room temperature. Once cooled add the chopped coriander, lemon juice, corn flower and water so that you can bind the mixture into small golf sized balls.5. Flatten the balls into pattis and roll them in sesame seeds. Place on tray and chill f pattis or 30 minutes.6. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and shallow fry the pattis in small batches until golden brown on both sides, remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper.7. To serve toast some pitta bread and spread the inside with hummus, add salad and chick pea pattis and serve with lemon wedges.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 10 Tikkis

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Mango- London Indian Restaurant Review.

London is a goldmine for restaurants, on every street corner you will find, Contemporary, Indian, Chinese, Mexican and Continental cuisine. You will find riverside dining, pubs, clubs and also street food, its a food lovers heaven.  In central London there are many hidden gems of restaurants tucked away near the tall office buildings and nestled in and amongst the side streets. Mango is one of these restaurants. Nestled in aside street, a stones throw from London Bridge Station, its a small Indian restaurant on Redcross Way very near Borough Market.

My foodie friend Heidi Roberts and I were invited to Mango to sample their Cuisine. As we made our way to the restaurant I felt rather sad walking past the street where the recent London terror attacks took place. Seeing the flowers placed on the street corner brought a lump to my throat. However the streets were still buzzing and people were carrying on as normal.

We went on a Tuesday evening thinking it will be nice and quiet, how wrong we were the restaurant was busy with a great atmosphere. It is perfectly located for office workers enjoying a meal before heading home.

The restaurant is fairly small and the tables are tightly packed, but we were fortunate as the waiter sat us at a window table. We started our evening with glasses of iced water with lemon as London has been experiencing an Indian summer and the temperature outside was sweltering. We nibbled on Papadums with a tray of condiments, the usual stuff like finely chopped onions, mango chutney and mint chutney.But what really got my taste buds tingling was a spicy red chutney that had the most wonderful tangy spicy taste I have ever encountered. I was rather cheeky and asked the waiter for the recipe which I hope to recreate.

The Mango menu was excellent and there was a good range of dishes to choose from. For starters  I chose vegetarian option of the Aloo Tikki (V) - typical Mumbai street food - potatoes and chick peas spiced with fresh coriander and cumin seeds served with a coriander & mint chutney. 

Heidi Chose the Aachari Paneer (V) slices of paneer marinated with pickling spices and slow cooked in the tandoor oven. Both our starters were delicious and extremely tasty. The Aloo Tikkis were well spiced had a lovely crunchy outer coating and the Paneer was well marinated, and really moist to eat.

For the main course we took advise from the waiter as to what dishes we should try, there were so many lovely vegetarian dishes it was hard to choose so he suggested to order them as side dishes so we could try a few. 

I ordered Dhai Baingon which was a dish made from baby Aubergines cooked with yoghurt, lightly spiced with turmeric and coriander. I am a big aubergine fan but have never cooked aubergines in yoghurt. The dish was truely magnificient in texture and taste and one I will surely recreate at home.

Lentils are a must and always accompany any Indian meal, our waiter recommended the Dall Makhni, slow cooked black lentils in a creamy sauce served with a drizzle of cream. The Dall was indeed rich and creamy and was the perfect accompaniment to the rice.

 I also ordered the  Saag aloo, baby potatoes and spinach lightly spiced with garlic and cumin seeds. 

The Sagg Aloo was mildly spiced, the sinach was creamy and the baby potatoes were tender and had absorbed all the spices making the dish delicious.

To complete the meal we also ordered pilau rice and a basket of breads to share and we had a complimentary side salad. The rice was perfectly cooked each grain separatist and fragrant and the selection of breads were soft and tasty.

Heidi on the other hand chose the Chicken Dum Biriyani , slow cooked basmati rice, caramelised onions layered and cooked in a dough sealed dum pot. It was served with Raita, a cooling yoghurt dip.Heidi was totally mesmerised by the presentation of the Biriyani, and she definitely said the taste was as good as the presentation.

All the dishes were delicious, each dish had its own unique flavour and they were moderately spiced. The portion sizes were huge despite the fact that they were ordered as sides and we were not able to finish the food which the waiter kindly packed for us to take home.

We were offered the dessert menu however we were so full at this stage we declined. In all our experience at Mango was a lovely one, the service was attentive, the food was piping hot and fresh and flavoursome. The only thing I would say was that the tables are really packed together so closely that it was difficult to not over hear diners on the next table and getting in and out of the chairs was really tight.

To see what Heidi thought about the restaurant please do check out her post.

I was a guest at Mango restaurant and all the views expressed in this post are of my own, I was not asked to write a positive review.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Aldi's Summer Kitchen Extravaganza

For years I used to have to travel far to visit the Aldi stores as I like their home ware products and find that they are reasonably priced too. Last summer  Aldi store opened not far from where I live. I attended the opening and now I am a regular visitor to the store. I love all the specials that they have in store and my favorite area is the home ware section, where I have picked up lots of lovely items. This Thursday  6th July, Aldi are launching some fantastic new home ware so I am sharing with you my favorites from the range. You can check out the full range on line at Aldi

The New Aldi Retro Range is beautiful and you can get matching items in the range too.The Retro range comes in three lovely colours Red, Cream and Light Blue

Retro Microwave £49.99-A digital microwave with 6 Power levels,8 auto cook programmes and a glass turntable
Retro Juicer £12.99-Hand press juicer has a simple lever-arm design. It includes a steel collecting cup and strainer.
Retro Toaster £ 24.99- This retro-look 2 slot toaster with a crumb tray has a cancel, defrost and reheat setting and also an adjustable browning control & toasting time
Retro Kettle £24.99- This unusual style retro kettle  kettle  has a stainless steel body with a dry boil cut-off protection, automatic safety shut-off feature together with a cordless 360 base.  It also has a  high power of boiling at 2520 - 3000 W.

In the Kitchen you can get matching cookware too.The two tone range consists of matching casserole dishes, pans and oven dishes, they are made from carbon steel with an enamel coating making them durable and freezer safe too.

  • 2 Tone Oven Dish £12.99
  • 2 Tone Oven  Casserole £12.99
  • 2 Tone 16 cm pan £9.99

Retro Storage Jars £ 5.99 -These beautiful ceramic jars with wooden lids perfect for storage on Kitchen work top.

With the heatwave we are experiencing,  I am loving eating out doors , the reversible Aldi 3 in 1 grill can be used indoors or outdoors and its a bargain at £29.99. This versatile temperature control grill combines a hotplate, griddle and kebab grill. It has a nonstick die cast grill plate, with self rotating skewers, a drip tray and a detachable skewer rack.

There are many more items in the Aldi Range that is available to order on line or can be purchased in store from Thursday 6th July, so why not pop into your Aldi store to check out the range.

**I was sent samples of the Aldi home ware to test in my kitchen, all views and opinions expressed in this post are my own. All images are supplied by Aldi and used with their permission.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Campsite Baked Apples

Summer times are all about enjoying the outdoors, be it in the garden, out camping or for the more adventurous hiking holidays. I adore hazy summer days and alfresco cooking and the first chance I get to go out doors, I am happy to pack a picnic basket, a blanket and a portable barbecue and set off for the day.
The smell of the charcoal on a hot summers day brings distance memories of brownie camp and girl guides where we we went on our annual camping trips. In those days putting up our antiquated tents was painstakingly difficult, not in this day and age with all the new easy to put up waterproof tents and camping equipment that are now readily available, making camping and outdoor holidays so much more fun and civilised.

As a brownie, I remember trying to cook veggie sausages and baked beans on the trangia cooking stove in the aluminium pans, which proved to be a challenge in it self. I have strong memories of surviving on a packet of biscuits that I used to sneak into my rucksack. As an adult, my outdoor cooking skills have improved by far and I love barbecuing a variety of fruits and vegetables and making homemade mushroom and veggie burgers on the barbecue. Most of all I love cooking desserts on the barbecue, charcoal roasted bananas in their skins, toasted marshmallows sandwiched between two digestive biscuits and cinnamon baked apples. Nothing beats opening a baked apple foil parcel and adding dollops of Greek yoghurt before devouring the whole thing. My baked apple recipe is fail safe and drool worthy which would be perfect to create on any camping holiday or home barbecue.

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Campsite Baked Apples
Cinnamon spiced apples baked on charcoal and served with greek yoghurt.

  • 4 Braeburn apples
  • 2 tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons Crushed walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon Sultanas
  • 1/2 tablespoon Butter
  • 4 tablespoons Fat free Greek Yoghurt

1. Light the barbecue.2. In a bowl add the brown sugar, cinnamon and crushed walnuts and sultanas and mix together and keep aside.3. Wash the apples and remove the core.4. Fill the cavity of the apples with the walnut, brown sugar mixture packing it tightly.

5. Get a double piece of foil square and place the filled apple on it. Add a dollop of butter on the top of the apple and wrap the foil parcel up securely.

6. Place the apple parcels on the barbecue and cook for 30 minutes, turning them with tongs to ensure an even bake.

7.Remove the parcel from the barbecue and open it, sprinkle the apple with the remaining walnut and sugar mixture and serve it with a dollop of fat free Greek yoghurt.

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: serves 4

This post is in collaboration with simplyhike.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Spiced Rhubarb Chutney

I love chutneys of any sort and I always have jars of different chutneys in my fridge. They are perfect to serve with crackers and crisps or as sandwich fillings. I have been known to stir a spoonful in cooked pasta or into a bowl of soup to add extra flavour. Making chutneys is fairly simple and you can make chutneys with any fruit or veg.

My food blogger friend Heidi from heidirobertskitchentalk has an allotment. I am very lucky to be able to get lots of organic seasonal vegetables from Heidi's allotment. She grows, courgettes, beetroot, chard, herbs, rhubarb, squash, strawberries and blackberries. The produce is seasonal and there is always something new to pick each month. On a recent visit to her allotment, I picked some rhubarb and came home ladened with two full bag. There was so much of it that I had a week of testing rhubarb recipes. We had rhubarb crumble, rhubarb muffins, rhubarb and apple soup and also rhubarb chutney. I gave my chutney Indian flavours with aromatic spices and it tasted deliciously sweet, sour and spicy. You can watch the video below of my visit to Heidi's allotment and learn how I made my Chutney.

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Rhubarb Chutney
Spicy and Tangy Aromatic Rhubarb Chutney with Indianised flavours
  • 480 g Rhubarb
  • 2 Green chillies (use more if you like spicy)
  • 1 Teaspoon Fenugreek seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Chilli Powder
  •   1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 75 g Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1. Wash the Rhubarb and remove the strings, Cut it into 1 inch pieces.2. Slit the chillies, remove the seeds and cut into 1 inch pieces 3. In a saucepan pan dry roast the Fenugreek Seeds, Coriander seeds, Fennel and Cumin seeds for two to three minutes. Transfer the roasted seeds to a coffee grinder and grind to make coarse spice powder.4.In a large saucepan, add the oil, when its hot add the cinnamon stick and cloves, followed by the rhubarb and green chillies. 5. Add the salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder and cook the chutney for approx 3 minutes. After three minutes add the sugar and spice mixture and cook until the sugar has all melted and the Rhubarb is soft but still holding shape.6. Turn off the heat and let the chutney reach room temperature.7. Transfer the chutney to sterilised jars and keep refrigerated.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 3 Small Jars
NB -Please note that this is an instant chutney and since the sugar has not been boiled and no acidity is added to it it does not have a long shelf life. It must be consumed within a week and kept in the fridge.

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