Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Delia's Quick Brown Rolls or Rocks

So I thought I'd make a change from my normal Leith's brown roll recipe and try Delia's for a change. I have to say I like the Leith's ones better, these are a bit too crusty and didn't really rise all that much so are a bit small for burgers!

Quick Brown Rolls (from Delia's Complete Cookery Course)
(Makes 12)

225g wholemeal flour
225g strong white flour
2 level tsp salt
275ml hand-hot water
1 level tsp brown sugar
2 level tsp dried yeast
1 level tsp butter
a little extra flour

Measure the flours into a bowl, add the salt and mix thoroughly together. Then warm the flour slightly in a low oven.

To prepare the yeast measure the hand-hot water into a jug, then pour half of it into another jug or bowl. Sprinkle the sugar and then the yeast into one lot of water, stir and leave aside till a good 2.5 cm frothy head has formed.

Now remove the flour from the oven, rub in the butter, then make a well in the centre, stir the yeast liquid and pour it into the well. Pour the other liquid into the yeast jug to rinse it out, then add this to the flour, gradually stirring with a wooden spoon at first and then finishing off with your hands, until you have a smooth dough that leaves the bowl clean.

Now transfer the dough on to a flat working surface and knead it thoroughly for about 6 mins, by which time it will have become very elastic and springy.

Next divide the dough into 12 portions to form the rolls. If you want your rolls to be absolutely the same size, you can weigh the dough, divide the total weight by 12 and then weigh each individual piece. Stretch each piece into an oblong and fold one end into the middle and the other end over that. Then, with the folds underneath, slap the roll into a round ball. Place the rolls on to the well-greased baking sheets, cover with a sheet of oiled clingfilm, or encase the baking sheet inside an oiled polythene bag. Leave the rolls to rise until they have doubled in size: 35-40 mins in a warm place or 1-1½ hours at room temperature. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 220°C. 

When the rolls have risen, sprinkle them with flour and bake them on a high shelf of the oven for 20-25 mins. They should sound hollow when you tap them underneath if they are cooked. Cool the rolls on a wire cooling rack.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

My Mum gave me a small butternut squash that she had grown last summer and so I was on the look out for recipes. The first was the Chicken Laksa I made a couple of weeks ago and then I found this mac and cheese recipe. It was really simple to make and a lovely addition of veg made it feel healthy.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (from Pinch of Yum)
(Serves 4)

250g dried macaroni
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion
1 small butternut squash, cut into small cubes
1l chicken or vegetable stock
175ml milk
1 tsp salt
75g cheese

Cook the macaroni according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.

Heat the butter in a large  frying pan over medium low heat. Add the onion to the pan, and sauté over a low heat until fragrant and golden, about 20 mins.

Bring the broth to a boil and add the squash. Cook for 5-7 mins or until fork tender. Drain, reserving 125ml of the stock, and transfer the squash to the blender. Add the onions, milk, salt, and reserved stock and puree until completely smooth and creamy.

Pour the pureed sauce over the pasta and add the grated cheese. Stir to melt the cheese; add water or milk to adjust the consistency as needed. Serve.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Meal Planning Monday

So I had a really lovely eventful week. I had an appointment in Leicester Square on Thursday evening so I took the opportunity to stop in China Town and buy myself a Moon Cake from Wonderful Patisserie on Gerrard Street. It was only a tiny individual one so didn't have the salted egg in but I must go back and try one with the egg!

Then we had Macmillan Coffee Morning at work on Friday and this is what the staff room table looked like on Friday morning! Needless to say I started my cake eating at 9am! I brought along some dirty s'mores cookies.

Then on Saturday I met my sister for a coffee in Highbury and then we walked to Primrose Hill where I met a friend for lunch. We went to Manna, which is a vegetarian restaurant. We both opted for the Bangers and Mash, which were fennel and pumpkin seed sausages with parsnip and carrot mash served, kale and a red wine, leek and thyme sauce plus onion rings. I have to say that it was delicious and incredibly filling! I also had a Mango Lassi which was delicious.

We then walked up Primrose Hill from which there is a super view of London looking east, so you can see all the iconic buildings in the city. I have never been to Primrose Hill before and it wasn't until a colleague said are you going to look at the view that I even realised there was one! We then walked to Euston and home.

On Sunday I went to watch The Great British Bake Off - An Extra Slice be filmed. I went with a group of 5 girls and it was a fab afternoon/evening out. It started at 3pm and we left at 8pm! I brought along the famous triple chocolate brownies

There was also a Chocolate Bavarois

And a Chocolate Avocado Tia Maria Cake.

So this week life gets much busier. Tonight, it's pilates, tomorrow I am going to learn how to make steamed buns, on Wednesday I'm going to Science Museum Lates to look at the Cravings exhibition, Thursday I am off to the theatre and at the weekend I am going home to see my parents, older sister, brother in law and nieces.


Prawn Cocktail Salad
Out learning to make steamed buns

Quiche and Salad

Asparagus and Farro Soup
Out before the theatre

Seafood Laksa (Fish)

At my parents house

Tuna and Creamed Corn Pasta Bake

Potato and Leek Gratin

I had most of a pot of creme fraiche leftover about to go out of date and I was looking for a recipe to use it so it didn't go to waste, a bit of googling produced this recipe. It isn't as good as a gratin recipe with cream but it was edible and used up ingredients that I already had in the cupboards.

Potato and Leek Gratin (from Vermont Creamery)
(Serves a large number of people)

30g butter
3 leeks, sliced in half lengthwise, cleaned, and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
375ml whole milk
225g crème fraîche
1.8kg potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
100g cheddar or gruyère, grated

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat.

Add the leeks and garlic, stirring occasionally to allow the leeks to soften and caramelise a little. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and milk, and allow to come to a boil, stirring frequently. 

Lower the heat and stir in the crème fraîche. Add the sliced potatoes and allow to simmer for a few mins. Make sure to gently stir the potatoes so they are all coated. Butter a large gratin or casserole dish, and pour the potatoes and sauce into it. Sprinkle with the cheese, and bake for 1 hour, until the potatoes are soft.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Ham, Green Bean and Tomato Pasta Salad

I'd love to say that the green beans came from my garden but sadly the plants have been decimated by caterpillars and I have none left! However, the tomatoes did come from the garden. This is a really simple but flavourful lunch box dish.

Ham, Green Bean and Tomato Pasta Salad (from Thyme for Cooking)
(Serves 2)

110g dried pasta shapes
170g green beans, cut in half
1 tbsp olive oil
90g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 slice ham, cut into chunks

For the dressing:
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp plain or Greek yogurt
1 tbsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp chopped basil

Cook pasta according to packet instructions, add the beans in for the last 3 mins of cooking time, drain, rinse in cold water and toss with olive oil.

In a small bowl whisk the mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard and lemon juice together add the herbs and stir lightly to combine. Put the pasta, beans, tomatoes and ham in large bowl. Add the mayonnaise dressing and toss to combine. Serve.

Saturday, 26 September 2015


I saw this made on an episode of Nigel Slaters - Eating Together, where he met people from all over the world and got them to make a traditional recipe. This one really caught my attention and I knew I wanted to make it. That and I have almost a whole bottle of pomegranate molasses sitting in my cupboard, (any ideas of things to do with it greatly welcomed!). I really loved this dish, nutty but delicious. I served it with brown rice.

Fesenjan (from Minimalist Baker)
(Serves 3-4)

1 large yellow onion, diced
3-4 tbsp olive oil
70ml pomegranate molasses
170g walnut halves
2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
500ml chicken stock
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp sea salt
pinch each cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper

Toast the walnuts in a shallow pan over medium heat for 8-10 mins or until golden brown and fragrant. Once cooled, transfer to a food processor or blender and blend into a fine meal. Set aside.

Heat a large pan over a medium heat. Once hot add 1 tbsp olive oil and the onions. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally.

In a separate pan over medium heat, cook the chicken in two batches in a bit of olive oil. Once browned, add it directly to the pot with the onions. Once all the chicken is in the pan, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the pomegranate molasses, honey, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and walnuts. Simmer for 15-25 mins, until desired thickness is reached.

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve over rice or with a naan.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Potato Crusted Sea Bream with Greek Baked Chickpeas

This one of my best things that I have made recently. It was really tasty and I loved the crunch of the potato crust on the fish. I made up the chickpea recipe as I wanted something with a little more sauce than in the original recipe and I had onions that needed using up.

Potato Crusted Sea Bream with Greek Baked Chickpeas (from Kalofagas)
(Serves 4)

For the chickpeas
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 400g tins chickpeas, drained
200g cherry tomatoes

For the fish
4 sea bream or sea bass fillets, rinsed and patted dry
4 tsp mustard
1 large potato
4-5 cloves garlic
zest 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1 tsp of paprika

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion, cook until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add in the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and cherry tomatoes. Pour the mixture into an oven proof dish and place into the oven for 30 mins.

Drizzle each fillet with some olive oil and rub all over to coat. Now spread a tsp of mustard on the top-side of each fillet. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

Place the potato (with skin on) and garlic cloves into a pot of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 mins. Drain the hot water and replace with cold water and allow to cool for 5 mins. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins and place in a bowl. Mash them with a fork.

Grate the potato on a box grater into a bowl. Add the lemon zest, juice and parsley and gently toss until mixed together.

Divide the grated potato mixture and spread on top of each fish fillet. Drizzle some olive and sprinkle the paprika. Place in the oven for 15 mins. Remove the chickpeas from the oven. Move the rack into the grill position and set your oven to grill. Grill the fish for another 2 mins or until the potato crisps-up and becomes golden-brown. Serve the fish on top of the chickpeas.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Black Bean, Sweetcorn and Tomato Quinoa

The original recipe made this into a burrito filling, which I did initially but I ended up with so much leftover filling that I decided to just freeze some as a quick easy meal. I have to say that I really liked this both as a burrito and as a dish in it's own right. The flavours were fab and the burritos were great to take to work for lunch.

Black Bean, Sweetcorn and Tomato Quinoa (adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)
(Serves 4)

250g quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp oil
1 shallot, chopped
340g frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 red pepper, chopped
salt and pepper
400g can black beans, drained then rinsed
125ml vegetable stock
1 tomato, chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
juice 1/2 lime

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the quinoa, cook according to packet instructions. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat then add the shallot, corn and red pepper, season with salt and pepper, then fry until the shallots are tender, 4 mins.

Add the black beans, vegetable stock, chili powder, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper then simmer until the liquid is nearly absorbed, 4 mins. Add the tomatoes then simmer until tender, 2 mins. Remove the pan from heat then stir in the coriander and lime juice. Set aside to cool slightly (the liquid will continue to thicken and be absorbed as the mixture cools). Serve.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Meal Planning Tuesday

So I'm late by a day with this even though I planned it the week before last! Too much going on at the moment! So as you gathered from my post a couple of days ago I had a brilliant time in Vienna.

This week is thankfully much quieter as I am shattered. I went to pilates last night and that's it for the evenings. On Saturday I am meeting a friend for lunch and then on Sunday I am going to watch a recording of the Great British Bake Off - Extra Slice, we have priority tickets this time so fingers crossed we get in. Still trying to use things up from the freezer so I can get some of the stuff I have stored in my Mum's freezer into mine!


Bream Fillets with White Bean Purée and Bulgar (Grains)

Kedgeree (Jamie's 15 Min Meals)

Crab Guacamole Pitta/Wrap with Crisps
Salmon Burger

Green Enchiladas

Out for lunch

Chicken and Ham Sandwich Pie and Crisps

Monday, 21 September 2015

Hot Mustard Lentils with Beetroot and Spicy Sausages

Looking for an interesting way to use up merguez sausages I came across this recipe using lentils and beetroot. I cheated a little and used ready cooked beetroot that I heated up in some foil in the oven for about 20 mins, making this a really quick and easy meal. It was also really satisfying.

Hot Mustard Lentils with Beetroot and Spicy Sausages
(from Good Food Magazine January 2015)
(Serves 4)

500g raw beetroot
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tsp caraway seeds
8 merguez sausages
2 x 250g pouches ready-cooked puy lentils
75g watercress, stalks removed

For the dressing
4 tsp Dijon mustard
juice 1 lemon
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 180C. Top and tail the beetroot, then cut into wedges. Put the beetroot in a roasting tin, drizzle over the olive oil and toss with the onion, garlic and caraway seeds. Roast for 45 mins until the beetroot is tender and the onion is sticky and charred.

Heat the grill and cook the sausages until golden. Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients. While the beetroot is still warm, toss with the lentils and dressing.

Put the watercress into a bowl, top with the beetroot and lentils and serve with the sausages on top.

Sunday, 20 September 2015


So, I have just spent 4 days in Vienna, 3 of which were spent on a workshop and today I had a free day. Even though we were busy during the day, we managed to get into central Vienna in the evenings and explore. The city is beautiful with lovely old buildings and I had no problems despite my extremely limited German.

On the first evening we went to Stephansdom, the main church in Vienna, which was spectacular. We then asked a lady in a shop for a recommendation for dinner and she sent us to a local typical Austrian restaurant on Dorotheergasse called Reinthaler's Beisl. I had smoked pork, sauerkraut and knodel or dumpling. It was delicious although very filling! We tried to have apple strudel for pudding but he didn't have any left. So we had an ice cream walking back to the U-Bahn.

The second evening we ventured out of the U-Bahn at Schwedenplatz and went to a cafe called Motto Am Flusse on the river. This seemed to be an organic restaurant that serves lots of vegan food alongside meat dishes. Also be warned that the menu is only available in German, luckily we had a German speaker with us but the staff spoke good English so it probably wouldn't have been a problem! We started with a delicious carrot and ginger soup with sourdough bread.

Then I had a burger with cheese and speck and potato wedges.

We didn't fancy any of the desserts there so we went off in search of something more Austrian and ended up at Cafe Central, one of the oldest coffee houses in Vienna, previously frequented by Freud. We ordered the Kaiserschmarrn as it was one of the dishes recommended to me by a colleague. Here is me looking very happy with my dessert:

Here is me 5 mins later when I realised just what I'd taken on! The picture was taken without me realising so this sums up beautifully how I felt!

It was huge! Easily enough for 2-3 people! I ate about a quarter and then gave up! So I'd advise you to share!

On the last night we visited the Austrian National Library before dinner. As we arrived about 5 mins before closing the last let us in for free, so we had a quick wander round and it was beautiful, reminded me of the library at Trinity College Dublin.

For dinner we went to Cafe Diglas on Wollzeile, where I finally had Wiener schnitzel, although I went for the pork version rather than veal as the veal was 9 euros more! Again, it was huge!

And came with a potato salad that was very different to the potato salads I make at home.

For pudding I went for sachertorte, another Austrian speciality.

For breakfast each morning I had one of these. It's a croissant but I think it's made out of dough similar to pretzels as it's much darker than a normal croissant.

On the last day I explored Vienna on my own. I went first to the Secession House to see the Klimt Beethoven Frieze. Then to the Kunsthistorichsemuseum, where I found the Vermeer painting, although much of the Dutch art was missing as some of the galleries are closed for refurbishment. Then I went to the Leopold Museum, which was disappointing as they were preparing for an exhibition opening in a few days time so there wasn't much on show. Finally I went to see the Imperial Apartments, silver collection and Sisi museum at the Hofburg. I did a whistle stop tour through as I didn't have much time but the apartments were spectacular. I stopped at a wurst stall for a bratwurst with mustard and ketchup for lunch, basically they punch a hole in a half baguette, squirt in some mustard and ketchup and push in the sausage - delicious!

Then I followed it up with a visit to Demel, which had an amazing selection of cakes.

I didn't have time to sit in the cafe, so I bought an Annatorte to take away and sat in the street eating it! Very chocolatey! 

So, how would I characterise Austrian food? Well the portions are large, the food is stick to your ribs and there's lots of cake! I can't wait to come back!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Breakfast Salad

So I'm back to packed lunches for work. Hopefully there will be lots of new salads and lunchbox ideas on the blog as I get back into the swing of things at work. This is an interesting breakfast salad which I had for lunch. It was very tasty and I used lovely fresh tomatoes picked from the garden including a variety called Lemon Tree which looks just like a lemon!

Breakfast Salad (from Fed and Fit)
(Serves 4)

400g pork mince or bacon
4 eggs, hard-boiled
400g cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 avocados, diced
handful coriander, chopped
salt and pepper
2 lemons, juiced

Season the pork mince and roll it into 1-1/2 inch meatballs. Over a high heat, cook and stir until brown on all sides and cooked through. Set aside to drain and cool.

Peel the eggs and cut each into 8 pieces.

Combine the eggs, tomatoes, onion, avocado, meatballs, coriander, salt, pepper, and lemon juice into a large mixing bowl. Stir until the egg yolks and avocado become a little creamy. Serve.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Jamie's 15 Minute Meals: Thai Chicken Laksa

This is possibly one of the best things I have made recently. I loved the flavours and it was so easy to make. I used beans instead of asparagus as that's what I had in the fridge but the addition of butternut squash was just genius.

Thai Chicken Laksa (from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)
(Serves 4)

For the chicken
4 skinless, boneless higher-welfare chicken thighs
1 heaped tsp Chinese five-spice
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 fresh red chilli

For the laksa
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
1 butternut squash, (neck end only)
2 cloves garlic
1 thumb-sized piece ginger
1 fresh red chilli
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ bunch spring onions
1 heaped tsp peanut butter
4 dried kaffir lime leaves
½ bunch fresh coriander
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp low-salt soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
300g medium rice noodles
2 bunches asparagus, (600g)
1 x 400 g tin of light coconut milk
3 limes

Ingredients out, Kettle boiled, Griddle pan, high heat, Large lidded pan, high heat, Food processor (coarse grater & bowl blade)

On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper and the five-spice. Fold over the paper, then bash and flatten the chicken to 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin. Place on the hot griddle pan, turning after 3 or 4 minutes, until nicely charred and cooked through. Pour about 800ml of boiling water into the large pan and crumble in the stock cube

Trim the stalk off the squash, roughly chop the neck end (don't peel, and keep the seed end for another day), then grate and tip into the boiling stock. Swap to the bowl blade in the processor and add the peeled garlic and ginger, the chilli, turmeric, trimmed spring onions, peanut butter, dried lime leaves, coriander stalks (reserving the leaves), sesame oil, soy and fish sauces. Blitz to a paste, then tip into the stock and add the noodles

Trim the asparagus and cut in half. Add to the pan, pour in the coconut milk, and as soon as it boils, taste, correct the seasoning with soy sauce and lime juice, then turn the heat off. Drizzle the honey over the charred chicken, squeeze over the juice of 1 lime, scatter with the sesame seeds and toss to coat. Serve with the laksa and lime wedges, sprinkling everything with the coriander leaves and slices of fresh chilli.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Braised Rabbit with Broad Beans, Bacon and Mint

I bought some wild rabbit from the farmers market in Walthamstow to make this beautiful dish using up the last of the broad beans from my garden. It was delicious and the sauce was just perfect.

Braised Rabbit with Broad Beans and Mint
(from Grains, Seeds and Legumes by Molly Brown)
(Serves 6)

12 wild rabbit joints
15g butter
40ml oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g broad beans, podded weight
150g bacon, cut into chunks
5 mint sprigs, leaves picked and torn

Season the rabbit joints well with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and half of the oil in a saute pan over a high heat, add the rabbit and brown well. Remove the rabbit from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and saute over a medium heat until soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 mins.

Return the rabbit to the pan, then add the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to very low, cover and gently cook the rabbit until it is tender, about 1 hour 40 mins. MAke sure the rabbit stays moist and add a little more stock if you need to. Meanwhile, cook the beans in boiling salted water until tender, then drain. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and set aside.

Once the rabbit is cooked, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and reduce the cooking liquid if you need to - there should be enough to just coat the rabbit. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry until the bacon is golden. Add the beans, bacon and rabbit to the pan with the reduced cooking liquid. Heat through and check the seasoning. Add the mint leaves and serve.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Foraging Walk along the New River and Meal Planning Monday

So yesterday afternoon I went on a guided foraging walk along the New River at Manor House. It was run by Manor House PACT and they take place every other month. 

We started at the Castle Climbing Centre and were given some Alexander seeds to try, which tasted a bit like pepper but more bitter. We then moved on to Rose Hips, which can be made into syrup or jelly.

Slightly further down we were shown some Hawthorn Berries, which can be used again to make jelly or to make ketchup a la Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall!

We meandered down the river and were shown some St John's Wort

And then most exciting of all for me was the wild horseradish. When you picked a leaf it smelled spicy and it tasted it too! The young leaves are good for use in salads and the larger ones in stir fries.

Then finally we were shown some white dead-nettle. 

We were shown other things including wild mint and then after the walk we went to a Community Centre and tried blackberry cheese, blackberry chutney and apple and plum chutney that had been made from foraged fruits. All in all it was a really interesting afternoon and lovely to have a walk.

This week is a little different. I'm going to Pilates tonight and then the theatre tomorrow. Then on Wednesday evening I am off to Vienna for four days for an International Baccalaureate workshop. So I'm eating lots of oily fish before I go as I suspect there's going to be a lot of meat in Vienna as well as cake!

Jambalaya with Salad

Out at Rossopomodoro before the theatre

Indian Mackerel Pitta with Crisps
Fed on the airplane

Daring Cooks September 2015: Modaks

For the month of September, Rutvika the talented lady behind challenged us to make modaks: a delicate preparation of coconut and jiggery filled in a tender rice flour covering that is later steamed to produce a delicacy that is usually served in the Ganesha festival in India.

So I don't like coconut so I went for a savoury filling for my Modaks. I really enjoyed the flavour of these dumplings but I was a bit rubbish with my shaping, but I loved having a go! My second lot turned out better than the first. I ended up with loads more dough than mixture so I made double filling and used up all the dough and froze the leftovers.

Recipe 2: Steamed vegetable modaks

Servings: Makes 12 steamed vegetable modaks
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Cooling time: to be served hot


For the filling
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon green chilli paste (or cayenne pepper)
  • ½ cup or 50 grams cabbage , finely chopped (I used the purple cabbage which has a milder flavor)
  • ½ cup or 50 gms onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup or 35 grams green stalks of spring onions
  • ½ cup or 50 grams French beans, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the covering / shell
  • 1 heaped cup of Basmati rice flour, sifted (310 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup water (180 m)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 35 grams unsalted butter


Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a wok. Add the chilli paste in the oil and let it sizzle for a minute.

Add all the vegetables and stir fry it for a couple of minutes over low heat. Add the salt and sugar. Cover it with a lid and steam the vegetables till just softened, but still crisp.

Add the soy sauce, mix well.

Take it off the heat and let it cool down completely.

To make the covering, sift the rice flour and 1 tablespoon all purpose flour with the smallest sieve twice so that it is very smooth. The all purpose flour is used to make the rice flour more sticky.

In a thick bottomed vessel, take the water and add butter and salt to it. Let it come to a boil.

Once water starts to boil, add the flour mixture all at once. Take it off heat and mix it together with a spoon.

Then put it back on heat and sprinkle 2 tablespoon water. Cover and let it steam for 1 minute over low heat.

Take it off heat and let it stay in a corner covered for 10 minutes, It will get softened.

Once it has considerably cooled down, pulse it in a food processor for a minute, take it out and knead with hands to bring it together to form a smooth dough.

Prepare the steamer. Fill a large vessel with water covering the bottom of the steamer. Place steamer on top and keep it ready. We place the modaks on a banana leaf for steaming, but you can use a plain tea towel instead.

Make 12 equal balls of the dough.

With a little water, flatten each ball into a thin disk with your hands or in a non-electric roti maker, about 4 inches in diameter. Then take it into the palm of your hand. Stuff it with some mixture leaving ½ inch on all sides. Start pinching the corners into petals with the use of your index finger and thumb and middle finger on each side. Make several such petals all around the edge of the disk

Then start getting all the petals together by pressing it closer with your fingers. Seal the top and keep it covered with a damp towel till a few are ready to be steamed.

Immerse each modak in water before placing it in the steamer filled with boiling water. Steam for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with some pickle or ketchup.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Lentil Sloppy Joes

I would recommend using something other than red lentils for this! Red lentils seem to end up too, well, sloppy and just squeezed out of my sandwich. They were fantastic and lightly spicy. I think I'm going to serve the rest over rice!

Lentil Sloppy Joes (from Lemon and Basil)
(Serves 6)
1 cup dry lentils
½ tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
6 tbsp tomato paste
1½ tbsp chili powder
½ tbsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp sea salt
½-1 tsp black pepper
½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp honey
6 hamburger buns

Rinse and sort the lentils then cook according to the package instructions.

While the lentils cook, add the coconut oil. Add onions and bell peppers and cook until onions are translucent, approximately 3-5 mins. Add the minced garlic to pan and cook over medium heat for 1-2 mins.

Then add the cooked lentils to the onion and peppers and cook for 2-3 mins to heat through.

Meanwhile, add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, all seasonings (chilli powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper), apple cider vinegar, mustard and honey to a food processor, blender and blend for 20-30 seconds or until smooth. Once sauce is well mixed and smooth, add it to the lentil and veggies and stir over medium-low heat until hot.

Divide out for sandwiches, I used approximately ½ cup (American measure) of sloppy joe mixture per sandwich and got six servings.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Jamie's 15 Minute Meals: Cajun Steak with Smoky Baked Beans and Collard Greens

I had another go at a 15 Minute Meal, I seem to dip in and out of this cookbook, mostly when I've been watching the TV programmes and think, yes, that looks yummy! This was pretty good, the beans and the steak were really flavourful. I didn't really do the veg properly, just steamed some kale, spinach and carrots.

Cajun Steak with Smoky Baked Beans and Collard Greens
(from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)
(Serves 4)

2 rashers pancetta
olive oil
1 big bunch of mixed fresh herbs, such as bay, thyme and rosemary
1 carrot
4 spring onion
½ bunch radishes
1 chicken stock cube

2 x 400g tins mixed beans
350g passata
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp tabasco
2 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp HP sauce
1 tsp runny honey
1 heaped tsp English mustard
40g cheddar cheese

2 x 250g sirloin steaks, fat removed
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp dried thyme

Chilli Vinegar
1 fresh chilli
1 bottle white wine vinegar

Before you start it is recommended (in order to complete in 15 minutes) that the ingredients are out, kettle boiled, oven at full whack 240C, large lidded pan at medium-hgh heat, medium ovenproof fry pan medium heat, large fry pan high heat.

Slice the pancetta, put it into the lidded pan with 1 tbsp of oil, then pick in the herb leaves. Trim, finely slice and add the carrot, spring onions and radishes, stirring regularly. Drain and rinse the bans and put into the medium frying pan with 2 tbsp of oil to fry and crisp up.
Slice the kale (if needed) and add to the lidded pan, crumble in the stock cube and pour over 300ml of boiling water, then put the lid on. Stir the remaining bean ingredients (except the cheese) into the beans pan and bring to the boil. Grate over cheddar then place into the oven until golden and sizzling.

Rub the steaks with salt, pepper, paprika and thyme. Put them into the really hot large fry pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, turning every minute until cooked to your liking. Slice the chilli and add to the bottle of vinegar with a couple of bay leaves then add a drizzle to the greens before serving. Carve the steaks on a board at the table and serve with the beans, greens and a splurge of mustard.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Seren's Pan-Fried Prawn Cakes

I may have had the heat turned up a little too high on these, they weren't burnt but they were definitely dark brown! They were however delicious. The recipe came from a fellow blogger over at WW Foodie and I used up almost all of my steamed buns. I froze the dough when I made the Pork Belly Mantou and I have to say it defrosted and steamed quite well. The prawns cakes went perfectly with the buns and I squirted over some mayonnaise and some chilli sauce and served it with stir fry veg.

Pan-Fried Prawn Cakes
(Serves 4)

300g raw king prawns
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 medium shallot, roughly chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp flour

Oil for frying

Blitz the ingredients in a food processor until it becomes a paste, form the paste into burgers.
Heat oil in a frying pan on high heat and place the burgers in the pan. Fry on both sides until golden brown, about three minutes per side.

Serve with wasabi mayonnaise and iceberg lettuce

Monday, 7 September 2015

Meal Planning Monday

At the weekend I met a friend and we went on a trip to Vauxhall City Farm, where we met these Alpacas, who had been shaved a bit funny! This one reminded me of Gwyneth Paltrow for some reason!

We then went to the Tea House Theatre for tea and cake, except they didn't have any cake so we played scrabble and had brinner instead!

Then on Sunday I had some friends over for lunch and made a pasta bake and apple and blackberry crumble.

This week there is more going on. I am going to pilates tonight, then to the theatre tomorrow and Thursday and at the weekend, I am going to Red Hair day on Saturday and then on a foraging walk on Sunday afternoon. This weeks meal plan is about using up leftovers from this week really and stuff from the freezer that needs eating!

Smoked Salmon Wrap with Crisps
Southwestern Quinoa

Soup with Bread
Out before the theatre

Hummus Falafel Pitta with Pickles and Crisps

Fed at school

Bacon and Leek Quiche with Salad
Chicken Kiev, Potato Wedges and Veg

Veggie Burger


Saffron Prawns with Bulgar Pilaf (Super Grains & Seeds)