Friday 31 July 2015

Spinach and Potato Parathas

As a child I remember coming home from school, throwing my shoes off and blazer and running into the kitchen where my mum was always found. She would be at the kitchen stove cooking these amazing mouth watering parathas.The kitchen would be filled with a smoky haze from the griddle, her arms dusted in flour as she magically rolled one paratha after another to simple round perfection. The fillings would vary from season to season but the spinach and potato parathas were always a regular. I devoured these hot and spicy paratha straight from the griddle served with sweet, tangy yoghurt and her home made mango pickle. You didn't need anything else with these. They were heaven on a plate.I am sure my mother felt secretly satisfied with a glee of triumph that she had won the battle of feeding her children the dreaded spinach!

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Spinach and Potato Parathas
Indian flatbreads stuffed with spicy spinach and potato mixture.
  • 3 medium Boiled potatoes
  • 1 cup Blanched spinach
  • 1 teaspoon chilli paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 240 g Plain all purpose flour
  • 90 ml Sunflower oil
  • 90 ml water
  • 60 g Plain flour for rolling
1. In a bowl add the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon oil and make a soft dough adding a little water at a time.2. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and keep aside.3.Finely chop the blanched spinach and add it to a large bowl.4. Using a potato masher, mash the boiled potatoes and add them to the spinach.5.Add the salt, green chillies, ginger, lemon juice and turmeric powder and mix all the ingredients together ensuring there are no lumps of potato.

6. Divide the mixture into 8 golf sized balls and keep them aside.7. Knead the dough and divide it into 8 parts.8. Roll out a 3 inch diameter circle of one of the dough balls and place a potato ball in the centre of it.9. Gather the dough around the potato ball to encase it and pinch the dough ends together to seal them.10. Slightly flatten out the potato encased dough ball and dip it in flour. Very gently roll out a 7 inch circle with it.11.Heat a frying pan on medium heat and then gently place the rolled paratha on it for 1 minute.12. Flip the paratha with a spatula and brush this top side with some oil and allow underside to cook for 1 minute or until brown spots appear.13. Flip the paratha so that the oiled side is down and cook for 1 minute until brown spots appear.14.Brush some  oil on the top side and flip the paratha and to cook the second side for one minute until brown spots appear.15. Transfer the paratha to a plate and repeat procedure for rest of dough.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 parathas

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Megahome Water Distiller review and Giveaway

I live in an area where the water is very hard and it tastes awful. We are forced to buy bottled water and this is not only costly but it’s inconvenient to have to lug heavy water bottles from the supermarket each week.
I use water filter jugs but still the water does not taste that great, so when I read about the Megahome water distiller from J D Harris, I jumped at the chance to try it out. Megahome water distiller is a domestic water distiller which filters out all impurities that we find in tap water such as like lead, mercury and asbestos plus contaminants like fertilizer.

The distiller is easy to use, all you have to do is fill it up with water and press the on button, it switches off when the water is distilled. The distiller first boils the water, the steam released from the water is captured, which is cooled to convert it back to water. The cleaned water is passed through charcoal before its ready to drink. It takes around five to six hours for the distiller to produce four litres  clean water. The newly filtered, distilled water is collected in a BPA-free polypropylene jug that you can keep in your fridge. There is also an option to purchase a separate glass jug.

The unit is not compact but it’s not overly huge either. It can be easily plugged in and left on the kitchen top for daily use. On average it costs 9p a litre of water to distill which compared to bottled water is a lot cheaper.
The unit is made of stainless steel with an option of black or white fittings, it comes with a power lead. Included with the unit is a 4 litre plastic or the option to purchase a glass jug at an additional cost and 250 g residue cleaner and 6 carbon filters. It retails at £ 124 with an extra £10.00 for the glass jug.

The Water distiller is very easy to use and clean too, however you do need to plan and be organised as distilling the water takes up to six hours and  you can’t rush the process. It is recommended that you distill the water overnight so that's its ready for use for breakfast.

I have purchased some glass bottles and I fill them up with my lovely distilled water for drinking.The rest I leave in the glass jug for cooking with or for using it to make infused flavoured waters and cordial. My family have certainly noticed the difference in the taste and I don't think we will ever go back to drinking tap water again.

To encourage my family to drink more water  I have started to infuse my distilled water with fruits such as berries, melons, oranges and mint. Not only does it give the water a refreshing kick, its delicious too and with the recent hot weather it keeps every one fully hydrated.

Here is a very quick and delicious recipe for cucumber and lemon infused water that my family absolutely adore.It not only is very refreshing but it healthy too.

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Cucumber and Lemon water
Refreshing citrussy cucumber and lemon water.
  • 500 ml Distilled water
  • 10 Cucumber slices
  • 10 Lemon slices
1. In a jug add the distilled water and add to it the cucumber and lemon slices 2. Place the jug in the fridge to chill the water for 30 minutes and to allow the flavours from fruits to infuse into the water. Serve chilled.
Prep time: Chill time: 30 mins Total time: 3Yield: 500 ml

I was sent the Water distiller to review, all views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and unbiased.

As always I love my readers to have a chance to try out products that I use. J D Harris have been very kind and they have agreed to send one simplyfood reader a Megahome Water Distiller to try.

How To Enter

  • Tell me in the comments section below what flavours would you infuse your water with ?
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  • Closing Date 24th August 2015 12.00 am

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Monday 20 July 2015

Quinoa Salad ~Secret Recipe club challenge 20th July 2015

This is my assignment with the Secret Recipe Club.The aim of the club is that you are allocated a blog from which you have to select a recipe and try it and blog about it. For the month of July my assigned blog is Feast on the cheap written by Mary Anne and Mariel a mother and daughter duo.There were many interesting recipes but I chose to make the salad recipe as we are currently having a heat wave in UK and we are making the most of the warm weather by eating outside al fresco. Salads are perfect for this.I chose the Quinoa Salad recipe although I did change a couple of the ingredients to make it vegetarian for our dietary requirements.

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Quinoa Salad
Light and tasty salad with Quinoa and a medley of salad vegetables.
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 each finely diced Red, Green , Yellow peppers
  • 200g Precooked Kidney Beans
  • 1/2 finely diced Cucumber
  • 4 finely chopped Spring Onions
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • Pinch Chilli Flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
1. Place the quinoa in a strainer and run it under cold water. Next add the washed quinoa in a pan with 2 cups water and bring to boil.2. Once the water comes to boil reduce flame and simmer quinoa on low heat for 15 -20 minutes until all the water is absorbed.Remove from heat and leave to cool. 3.In a large bowl add the cooled quinoa, diced cucumber, chopped spring onions, kidney beans and peppers and mix together.4. In jug add the lemon juice, olive oil, chilli flakes, pepper, cumin, honey and mix it together.5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss together. Transfer to a serving dish and serve chilled
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings

Sunday 19 July 2015

Peruvian Cookery at Cactus Kitchens with Encona

I love food and I am always looking for new types of cuisines to discover. A while back I hosted a series of events called "Flavours of" where I cooked my way around the world experimenting with new and unusual ingredients and cooking techniques. Digging deep in to different cultures and cuisines for vegetarian recipes was challenging but fun. The virtual culinary journey was really educational and I had lots of fun in the process trying and sampling dishes which were unknown to me.

One country I missed out on  was Peru, so when I was recently invited to go and cook some Peruvian cuisine with Julio Brujis from Panka Peruvian Food and Encona sauces at Cactus Kitchens.I jumped at the chance. Encona sauces are my firm favorite. I love the spicy sauces, as my palate always craves a hint of spice in all my dishes.This is primarily due to my Indian roots and heritage where chillies and spices are given paramount importance in the kitchen. 

The new launch of Peruvian Amarillo chilli sauce really excited me. Amarillo chilli peppers are  part of the capsicum family. They range from 6-7 inches when fully grown and change from green into a deep orange when ripe. They have a very unique fruity flavour with a slight spicy kick. The chillies are delicious when added to salsas, sauces and added to vegetables and salads. They also work extremely well when roasted or dried and preserved.

The evening at Cactus kitchens  with our chef Julio was very enjoyable. My fellow blogger friends cooked  non vegetarian recipes where as I had my recipes were adapted to suit my vegetarian diet.
The non vegetarians made Cebiche "Aji Amarillo" a salad with fish, Peruvian choclo corn, onions, garlic, ginger, limes, fresh coriander and the Encona Amarilli chilli sauce. 

The vegetarian version was the Cebiche of Baby mushrooms and Artichoke Hearts. This had lovely flavours of roasted peppers, cooked artichokes, Peruvian chocolo corn, garlic, ginger, limes, coriander,onions, and the Amarillo chilli sauce. The salad was packed with a spicy, citrussy flavours that were simply delectable.

The second recipe that we created was Seafood Quinotto for the non vegetarians and I created a a delicious and mouthwatering Vegetable Quinotto, this is a risotto but made with Quinoa instead of risotto rice.The Quinotto of courgettes, asparagus, tomatoes and peppers flavoured with garlic, onions, parsley and Amarillo chilli sauce was absolutely divine and full of flavour.

I attended the event cookery class with my friend Heidi who blogs at Kitchen Talks. You can see us both here proudly posing with our masterpieces.
I was invited by Encona to participate in the Peruvian masterclass, all views and opinions expressed in this post are of my personal experience and unbiased.

Saturday 11 July 2015

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable and Feta Tart

I really adore continental food, and different cuisines from around the world is something I love to discover and sample. One particular cuisine I really love is Greek Food. Whilst studying I had many Greek friends and when I visited them I relished eating eating Moussaka, Dolmades, Baklava, Tiropites, Tzatziki and Spanakopita. Being a vegetarian I find that there are many Greek dishes  that I can enjoy. I am particularly partial to olives, pickled peppers and especially the rich and creamy Greek yoghurt.

On our recent visit to Skiathos we enjoyed lovely Mediterranean vegetables and this tart I have made with oven roasted vegetables in phyllo pastry and feta has been inspired by my recent trip to Greece.

The light airy phyllo pastry, is the ideal component to the the delicious roasted vegetables and the slightly salty and crumbly feta on the top. The simple ingredients go well together and makes the tart colourful and delicious.

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Roasted Mediterranean Tart with Feta
Delicious roasted vegetables in crispy phyllo pastry crumbled with feta cheese.
  • 8 Phyllo Sheets
  • 12 Orange cherry tomatoes
  • 8 Asparagus
  • 4 Mushrooms
  • 1 Small Red Onion
  • 1/2 each Red, Green, Yellow, Pepper
  • 6 Brocolli Florets
  • 1 Courgette
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
  • 90 g Feta Cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C2. Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves,3.Peel and chop the onions into 1 inch pieces.3. Chop the peppers into 1 inch pieces.4.Dice the courgette into 1//2 inch pieces5. Peel and slice the carrot thinly 6. Cut the broccoli into small florets 7. Slice the mushroom thinly.8. Cut the tips off the asparagus and discard. Cut the remaining into 1 inch pieces.9.Add all the vegetables on to a baking tray and drizzle the vegetables with two tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and oregano.10.Place the vegetable tray in the oven and cook the vegetables for 20 minutes.11. Cut the phyllo sheets into 4 equal squares.12. Take a round loose bottom flan dish and oil it.13.Separate the phyllo sheets and brush each one with oil. Line the flan tin with layers of phyllo pastry, overlapping each square so that the corner of each square stands proud about the rim in a diagonal shape. 14. Keep layering the flan tin in a circular motion until all the phyllo sheets are used up.15 Brush the inside layers of the phyllo lined flan tin with oil.16. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and toss them together.17. Spoon the roasted vegetables into the prepared flan tin and crumble some feta cheese over it.18 Place the tart in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown. 19. Remove from oven and allow it to cool slightly before removing from the tin gently.2.Serve warm.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 Tart

This post is in collaboration with Expedia who sent me a wonderful hamper filled with a selection of Greek ingredients to take part in the World on a plate Challenge.

Thursday 9 July 2015

An evening "Putting On The Ritz"

Ritz, the world’s number one savoury biscuit brand has just launched their baked crisps called the new Ritz Crisp & Thin. The oven-baked potato snack comes in four tasty flavours – Cream Cheese & Onion, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, and Sweet Red Chilli.
Since the crisps are baked they are healthier, they are perfect for serving with dips and cocktails for parties, barbecues and picnics. The crisps come in sharing bags and single serving bags that are ideal for on the go or lunch boxes too.

I recently attended the Ritz crisp and thin launch party. The party was hosted in an amazing penthouse overlooking London. As we mingled amongst friends, we had a band serenading us some live music to set the mood. Glorious summer weather and drinks on the open planned living room surrounded by stunning views from open balconies made the perfect setting for the party.

We sampled these delectable crisps with some wonderful dips and cocktails especially designed to go with each of the crisp flavours. The cocktails were created by Richard Wood, on offer was the  Ritz -Sweet Chilli Julep made with Jack Daniels, marmalade mint leaves and orange zest.  This was paired with the Sweet red chilli Ritz Crisp & Thins served with a smoky lemon yoghurt dip made by Alice Levine,

The Sea Salt and Black Pepper  flavor Ritz Crisp & Thins were served with a summer tomato salsa and paired with Ritz –Lovers Cup a cocktail made with Bacardi, Martini  and Tio pepe stirred with Maraschilo liqueur, sugar syrup and strawberry infused balsamic vinegar and Prosecco.

Ritz- Mates Mary made with Vodka and Bloody Mary Consommé was the perfect combination for the Cream Cheese and onion Ritz Crisp & Thins which were also served with Beetroot Ripple Dip.

The sea salt and vinegar Ritz Crisp & Thins went beautifully with the  Ritz- Pea & Dill GnT@No Big Dill Cocktail. The crisps were served with The Pea, Mint and Feta dip which was creamy and delicious and an absolute perfect accompaniment to the crisps.

I really enjoyed the evening and will most certainly purchase the Ritz Crisp & Thins for my next party. The pairing of the dips and cocktails have given me lots of inspirations and I am going to see if I can come up with some mocktail alternatives to the cocktails to go with these lovely crisps. I was a guest of the Ritz Bakery and was I was given samples of the crisps to try. If you would like some tips and  on how to Put on the Ritz do watch this video.

Monday 6 July 2015

Strawberry Panna Cotta ~ Vegetarian

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Strawberry Panna Cotta ~Vegetarian
A creamy and delicious strawberry flavoured panna cotta dessert.
  • 1 cup /250ml Double cream
  • 1 cup /250ml Skimmed Milk
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Agar Agar powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons Strawberry essence
  • 4 teaspoons  Strawberry Jam
  • 3 tablespoons Sugar
1. Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed pan and bring it to a slow simmer. Add the agar agar powder and stir the milk until the agar agar has dissolved.2. Pour the milk mixture into a blender and blend it so that any agar agar remaining will be powdered and mixed with the milk fully.3. Transfer the milk back to the pan and add the sugar and stir the milk until all the sugar has melted.Add the cream and bring the mixture to a slow simmer again.4. Add the strawberry essence, stir it into the milk and cream mixture.The mixture will start to thicken slightly, remove it from the heat and allow to cool slightly.5. Melt the strawberry jam and spoon 1 teaspoon in the bottom of each of the 4 serving cups or moulds.Pour the panna cotta mixture into serving cups or moulds. Leave to reach room temperature after which chill for 2 hours before serving. Turn out the panna cotta out of moulds and garnish with chopped strawberries
Prep time: Cook time: Chill time: Total time: 2 hrs Yield: 8 servings

Friday 3 July 2015

Round Up~Lets cook for DAD

Thankyou to everyone who sent some lovely dishes that they created for their Dads.
Here is the round up

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