Sunday, 11 June 2017

Baingan ka Bartha ~Roasted Aubergine Curry


I have inherited my passion for food from my father, he was a real lover of good food and relished the idea of cooking, eating and feeding others too. My family originate from India but my father immigrated to East Africa when he was a young lad to seek his fortune. In East Africa he worked hard and set his business in a very small town, where he had a grocery and hardware shop with a petrol pump. Travellers used to stop to fill up and my father was always hospitable and invited many of them to share lunch/ dinner with our family. His heart was so generous that we were used to having total strangers at our dinner table sharing our meals. My mother was an excellent cook and between both my parents, they had a great understanding of food and we enjoyed many elaborate feasts.

On festive days it was common practice that my parents hosted large parties in our back yard for all the neighbours and friends. My mother with the other ladies from the neighbourhood would cook big pans of dhals, curries, chapatis and sweet dishes and there would be mountains of food to enjoy and devour by all.

One of my fathers favourite dishes was Baingan ka Bartha or traditionally in Gujarati cuisine it is known as Orro. This dish is created by rubbing large aubergine with oil, pricking them and then roasting them on an open file till the skin is charred. The charcoal flavour imparted by the coals gave this dish a very aromatic and wonderful taste. The aubergines once cooked are cooled and the charred skin is removed. The flesh is mashed up and cooked with tomatoes, ginger, garlic and onions and it is one of the best Indian curries I have had to date, I am not surprised its was my fathers favourite too.


Photo Credit http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/

Jagruti of jagrutiscookingodyssey, a lovely friend and fellow  food blogger has request some bloggers to create their fathers favourite recipe in time for Fathers day which is on Sunday 18th June this year. As a tribute and in remembrance to my father I have created his favourite dish Baingan ka Bartha which translates to aubergine mash!!! Unfortunately the weather did not permit cooking the aubergines on an open fire so I did the next best thing by roasting them in the oven. For best results try and cook the aubergines on charcoal.





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Baingan ka Bartha (Roasted Aubergine Curry)
Char-grilled aubergines cooked with ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Large Aubergines
  • 1 White Medium Onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 Spring Onions (finely chopped whites and green)
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger paste
  • 2 Green Chillies (cut into slits)
  • 4 Fresh Tomatoes (diced)
  • 4 sprigs Fresh Coriander (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Tomato paste
  • For garnish 1 red chilli finely chopped and 1 spring onion finely chopped.

Method:

1. Wash and prick the aubergines with a fork. Rub the aubergines with a little oil.2. Place the aubergines on a tray and place the tray in a hot oven for 30 mins (200 degrees C) or until the aubergines are soft and charred, you may require to turn them half way to get an even cook. (Alternatively the aubergines can be cooked on a barbecue) 3. Remove aubergines from oven and peel the skin off and discard, finely chop up the flesh. Keep aside.4. In a pan heat the oil, next add the mustard seeds.5. Add the onions and garlic and cook till onions are translucent.6. Add the chopped tomatoes, green chillies, ginger, salt, chilli powder, turmeric, cumin powder and coriander powder. Mix well.7.Cook the mixture until the tomatoes have softened and oil starts to separate, add tomato puree and mix well.8.Add the roasted aubergine and spring onions and mix well into the sauce.9. Add 2 table spoons water and cook for 5 minutes until the spices have infused into the  aubergines.10.Transfer to serving dish and garnish with fresh coriander, red chopped chillies and spring onions
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Serves 4


For other Fathers day recipes created by fellow bloggers do check the links below:
Misti Doi
Puran Puri
Masala Baigan
Masala Upma
Sugar-free Mango, Basil and Cashew Yogurt Popsicles 
Sweet Vermicelli with Jaggery
Lotus stem Kofta

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Barbecued Corn with Roasted Pepper and Mint Salsa


In my previous post I wrote about attending the John Lewis barbecue evening where with a bunch of food bloggers we created some wonderful and tasty barbecue dishes. My three foodie friends, Jagruti from jagrutiscookingodyssey, Manjiri from travelsfortaste and Lisa Moore and I are featured below with one of our signature dishes.


One of the dishes my group created was Barbecued Corn with Roasted Pepper and Mint Salsa. It turned out really delicious and I could not wait to recreate it again at home. The smokey flavours that barbecuing gives to food is lovely and this sweetcorn paired really well with the mint and roasted pepper salsa.






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Barbecued Corn with Roasted Pepper and Mint Salsa
Barbecued sweet corn with a lovely roasted pepper and mint salsa, the mint, the spices and the lime sets this dish off beautifully.




Ingredients:
  • 4 Fresh corn on the cob
  • 2 Long red peppers
  • Few sprigs mint
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 lime cut into wedges for serving.
  • 1 teaspoon sumac powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder(optional)

Method:
1. Place the sweet corn on the barbecue and roast it until its cooked, keep turning it to get an even roasting. 2. Add the peppers on the barbecue and roast them too, keep turning them to get them roasted evenly. 3.Remove the roasted corn from the barbecue and cut it into bite sized rounds pieces approx 2 cm thick .4.Remove the peppers from the barbecue and peel off the charred skin, remove the stalk and seeds. Roughly chop the peppers up and put them into a large bowl.5. Reserve 6 mint leaves and finely chop the remaining mint and add it to the bowl with the peppers. 7.Add the sumac, paprika, chilli powder, salt, juice from the lime, honey and olive oil to the peppers and mint and mix well. 8. Add the sweet corn to the salsa and toss it well so that its coated thoroughly with the salsa. 9. Transfer the corn to a serving dish and garnish with a few more mint leaves and lime wedges
Details:
Prep time: Cooking time: Total time: Serves: 6-8 people







Friday, 19 May 2017

Roof Top Barbecue with John Lewis.


The month of May has brought so much rain that my longing for a spell of dry weather is growing itensely. I know that rain is good for farmers and the gardens and the soil etc but I do hate wet weather and I can't wait for a proper summer to emerge. I love being outdoors and relish alfresco dining so when John Lewis invited me to their recent roof top barbecue, I jumped at the chance all along keeping my fingers and toes crossed that the sun shines on the day. As if by magic my request was fulfilled as the evening turned out bright and sunny and warm with not a sign of a raindrop!! The venue a film studio -Brunswick studious with a terrace garden set in residential area of Kilburn was perfect and really quaint.



The barbecue was organised to showcase John Lewis's finest electric and gas barbecues and we all had a wonderful opportunity to test them out. Our chef for the evening was non other than Ed Smith from Rocket and Squash, a lawyer turned chef who has recently launched his cook book "On the side" which has a collection of 140 side dishes. Ed showed us how to "burn" food on the barbecue!!!! I think he really meant how to char. 



We watched a demo of beetroot and red onions being char grilled and then served with a lovely dill and feta dressing. This followed by char grilled leeks and spring onions and baked butternut squash and sweet potatoes. The leeks were served with a romesco sauce made from char grilled red peppers and almonds. Ed also barbecued some lamb for the non vegetarians.



Ed showed us that barbecue food does not have to be boring and all you need to do is be a little more imaginative with your ingredients. With this thought in mind we split into groups, mainly vegetarian and non vegetarians and created our own dishes from all the lovely produce that John Lewis had provided.



With three other foodie friends, Jagruti from jagrutiscookingodyssey, Manjiri from travelsfortaste and Lisa Moore we set about making our two dishes. Jagruti and I concentrated on the savory dish of Barbecued Sweet corn with Roast pepper and Mint salsa whilst Manjiri and Lisa created a sweet dish Smoky-n-Crunchy BBQ Pineapple. 




The other teams created some skewers of vegetables and lamb, roasted sweetcorn and sweet potato mash, sweet potato wedges served with a lovely creamy dip and a dessert of baked apples made on the barbecue served  with vanilla ice cream.



All our creations were photographed by Charlie Richards who is the photographer for the John Lewis Magazine. Once the photo shoots were over, we all tucked into the lovely barbecued feast over lots of chit chat and prosecco. The evening ended with gifts of beautiful signed copies of Ed's book.




You can find the recipe for the Barbecued Sweet Corn and Roasted Tomato Salsa with mint dressing recipe in my next post.
I would like to thank  John Lewis for inviting me to this lovely event, it most certainly brightened the rainy month of May. All the opinions and views expressed in this post are my own as are all the photographs.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Masala Milk- Mums Recipe.


Mothers day is celebrated all over the world, in the UK it is usually celebrated in March, however in other parts of the world its celebrated in May. Mothers are special and there can never be too many days to honor their status. This May, Mayuri Patel a very good blogger friend of mine who writes at  Mayuris Jikoni has set a challenge to create a post dedicated to your mother.

My mother passed away when I was very young, however I still have fond memories of my mum mostly about her cooking. She was a wonderful cook and homemaker and she spent endless hours in the kitchen creating scrumptious dishes.
As a child I was a picky eater or so my family tell me and I still remember my mum encouraging me to drink milk which I hated. However I never had any problems gulping down this delicious Masala milk she used to make. The masala milk was flavored with saffron, cardamom, nutmeg and had a blend of  mixed nuts which are rich in protein, fibre and essential fats. When we were running a temperature or had a cold she used to add a pinch of turmeric to the milk too. This was definitely "Mothers love and goodness in a glass."

You can make the milk masala in bulk and store it in an air tight jar to use as and when needed.





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Milk Masala
Creamy and Delicious saffron and cardamon flavoured Masala Milk




Ingredients:
  • 50 g Almonds
  • 50 g Cashew Nuts
  • 50 g Pistachio Nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon Saffron strands
  • 1 teaspoon Cardamon powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
  • 400 ml Milk (I used skimmed milk but you can use any)
  • Sugar to taste

Method:
1. In a coffee grinder, coarsely grind the nuts. 2. In a bowl add the ground nuts, stir in the cardamom powder, saffron and nutmeg and mix thoroughly.  3.Fill  a sterile glass jar with the masala mixture and use as and when required. .4.To make the masala milk, pour the milk in to a milk pan and bring it to boil. Add two tablespoonful of the milk masala and add sugar to taste. Simmer the milk with the masala for a couple of minutes. 5. Pour the masala milk into tall glasses and serve warm or cold as per preference. You can stir in a pinch of turmeric if desired. 

Details:
Prep time: Cooking time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings of milk.




NB- For this recipe you will only need two tablespoons of the milk masala, the surplus can be stored up to a month in an airtight jar for future use.

To see what other fellow bloggers have posted as a tribute to their mothers, do check out the links below:

Strawberry and Pomegranate Swiss Roll
Beetroot Cutlets
Rajasthani Raabdi
Mango and Coconut Mousse Tart
Aloo Paratha
Mogre ka  Sharbat
Malpua
Paal Poli
Classic Apple Pie
Lavender Corn Muffins
Mango Cream Cake
Matar Kachori
Apricot Sweet Rolls
Mango Ice Cream
Mango Mastani
Mustard Green Chilli Pickle
Thengai Podi
Pogaca

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies ~A tribute to Isabella -Coriander Queen


I have been blogging for almost 8 years and over this time I have read many blogs and made numerous friends in the blogging world. Luckily, I have had the opportunity to meet some of these blogger friends in person and others I know them virtually through their blogs. One such person was Isabella who wrote the blog Coriander Queen. Her blog has a varied collection of recipes, all captured beautifully on camera too. I have followed Isabellas' blog for a long time, although I had never met her in person, I felt I knew her from her work. Sadly in March she passed away after a long illness. The blogging community are saddened by such devastating news and will miss her tremendously in the blogosphere. We all wanted to do something special to remember her by, so an idea emerged to take inspiration from her recipes and recreate them as a tribute.

I have chosen her Eggless Chocolate Cocoa Cookies recipe and have remade it with minor changes. You can find the original recipe here. Please do check the linky at the bottom of this post for all the other recipes.





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Chocolate Chip Cookies
Delicious Chocolate cookies with white chocolate chunks and pecans.




Ingredients:
  • 115 g Self raising flour
  • 85 g granulated sugar
  • 115 g butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 30 g birds custard powder
  • 1 tablespoon Milk
  • 30 g Cocoa Powder
  • 1 bar 100 g White chocolate cut into chunks
  • 12 Pecans roughly chopped (optional)

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. 2. Grease two baking trays with butter and keep aside. 3.In  a bowl sieve together the flour, cocoa powder and the custard powder and keep aside. 4.Cream together the sugar and butter and then add the flour and make a dough, only add the milk if the mixture will not come together. Add the chopped white chocolate chunks and pecans.5.Roll out walnut sized balls from the cookie dough and place them on the greased baking tray, making sure you keep plenty of space between them as they will spread whilst baking.6.There is no need to flatten the balls they will spread during baking.7. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes and remove from the oven, leave them to cool on the trays. Do not over bake the cookies, as they will firm up when they cool.
Details:
Prep time: 1Cooking time: 15Total time:30 minsYield: 22 cookies





To see what recipes the other bloggers have made see below:




You can also click on this linky to add your posts and also take you to the relevant posts.
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