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.

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

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. You can also add spinach to the aubergines to give it different twist as in Mina's Spinach and Aubergine Mash recipe or you can make these delicious Stuffed aubergines with bulger and buckwheat.

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

  • 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.


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
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
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