A Fusion of Raita & Tzatziki

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Yesterday evening we had a chickpea masala curry and naan bread. I craved something tangy and spicy to go with it. I peered into our fridge, found an interesting set of ingredients to fulfill this craving.

This combination resulted in an Indian raita and Greek tzatziki fusion. One that cools down the palette yet warms the senses. By that I mean, the yoghurt and cucumber cools and the garam masala warms you up. The lime cuts right through the creaminess of the yoghurt. And is oh so refreshing!

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Another twist to the fusion is the addition of baby spinach leaves instead of coriander in a raita or mint in a tzatziki. The yoghurt dresses the shredded crisp leaves in the most delicate fashion and as it is not a herb does not overpower the whole dish.

Give it a go and let me know how you like it! Much love D x

INGREDIENTS

½ large cucumber finely grated
2 large handfuls of baby spinach shredded
1 clove garlic crushed
300g natural yoghurt
⅓ tsp garam masala
Pinch of dried red chilli flakes
Salt to taste
A squeeze of fresh lime 1 tsp or so
Drizzle of olive oil

METHOD

• Put all the ingredients into a medium sized serving bowl, apart from the lime and olive oil

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• Combine well, making sure the yoghurt is smooth and coats all the cucumber and spinach

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• Lastly stir in the lime juice and drizzle with a little olive oil

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• Ready to serve with an Indian meal or Greek! Enjoy!

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Hot Chilli Tomato Chutney!

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A hot, fiery, tangy chilli chutney sure to awaken all your senses and tingle your tastebuds.  I made this extremely quick condiment to go with my spinach flatbreads last night. 

My husband loves this chutney and I made it extra hot as we both fancied something a little out there and boy was it gooood!  You can vary the heat or spice according to taste.  By making a mild version (leaving out the chilli) it can be used as a great dip for little ones and introduces their palettes to something different. Give it a go and let me know…look forward to chatting to you all my friends…Have a tremendous Thursday! Much love D x

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INGREDIENTS

6 medium tomatoes chopped
4 hot green finger chillis chopped
1 tbsp sunflower oil
⅓ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp salt
½ tsp dried coriander leaves
⅓ tsp garlic granules
pinch of sugar
Squirt of tomato ketchup

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METHOD

• Heat the oil in a medium saucepan with the cumin seeds, once they start to sizzle, throw in the chopped tomato and chilli

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• Season with the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.  Squash the tomatoes and chilli with the back of your wooden mixing spoon, to release flavour

• Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in the tomato ketchup and cover again and simmer for a further 12-15 minutes

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• Serve hot or cold with a flatbread of your choice.  We had spinach chapattis spiced with garam masala

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A Perfect Pasta Sauce For Children

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A hearty, robust vegetable pasta sauce where no vegetables are in sight! Excellent for the fussy toddler or child that loves pasta with comforting tomato sauce. The hidden vegetable component in this sauce makes life easier for you and your children. It’s a win-win situation, where you are providing them with their vegetable intake and they are simply getting their lovely tomato pasta sauce and penne!

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So very tasty and good for you! My little ones devoured this and wanted more. I hope your precious stars enjoy it as much as mine did!
Have a beautiful weekend! Much love D x

INGREDIENTS

1 shallot
1 large courgette
2 sticks celery
3 garlic cloves
2 tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
400g tomato passata
1 vegetable stock cube
½ tsp dried oregano
⅓ tsp garlic granules
Salt to taste
⅓ tsp sugar

Pre cooked penne (al dente)

METHOD

• Place all the vegetables with the garlic in a food processor and blitz into a fine paste

• Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan with the dried oregano

• Stir in the paste and cook for 5-7 minutes on a low simmer

• Pour in the passata, crumble in the stock cube and add the garlic granules and sugar. Stir well and simmer on a low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally

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• Serve with the penne that will seep the sauce into the shells and grate over some cheddar cheese!

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A Tomato & Soya Bean Spaghetti

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You already know how much we love our pasta, especially a simple spaghetti pomodoro! But sometimes you want to feel a little healthier alongside the carbs that you are about to devour.

So on that note! Soya beans, please come to the stage! It’s time you made a special appearance! The Soya bean contains up to 40% protein and has the highest protein content amongst plant products. It is also the only vegetable food that contains all eight essential amino acids!

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An appetizing pasta dish with protein! You just can’t go wrong! Yay! A brilliant way to get the kids to eat soya beans as they all love pasta. However, if you wish to disguise the beans, pre boil them and blitz them into a paste and then add to the tomato sauce! Enjoy x

INGREDIENTS

1 onion diced
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano
250g tomato passata
Salt to taste
1 cup frozen soya beans
Fresh Spaghetti

METHOD

• In a medium saucepan heat up the oil, sauté the onion and garlic until the onion becomes golden, mix in the oregano and cook for 2 minutes on a low heat

• Pour in the passata, stir in the salt
and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes

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• Boil the soya beans alongside the fresh spaghetti upon instruction

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• Once done, place the cooked spaghetti into the sauce, combine well and serve with grated parmesan or a mature cheddar

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Don’t reach for packets of instant pasta!

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We are having a bit of a pasta phase in this household, which seems to have kicked off earlier in the week.

“Mummy I want pasta please?” translates into I want some pasta NOW please! How impatient are our little babies?!
“Don’t cook the pasta mummy, I want to eat it!” Lol! Everyday gets more and more interesting and fun!

I have to put my hands up to using the instant packet pastas that you add water or milk too, before I had children.  I now find myself quickly boiling some wholegrain brown fusilli for 12 minutes, draining the water though leaving a few tablespoons of the boiled starchy pasta water then adding

• A tsp of olive oil
• A little tomato passata or crushed tomato
• A pinch of dried oregano
• Fresh clove of garlic crushed or garlic granules
•A little paprika or pepper

Stir well to coat all the pasta.  Cook on a low heat for a further 5 minutes.
Serve with some cheese or in our case some pimento olives

The sauce will have penetrated the fusilli and you will also be left with a silky tomato pomodoro sauce

Hope you enjoy your homemade instant pasta! Much love D x

A Breakfast Treat!

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My husband found a whole bunch of used coriander in the fridge and most importantly the stalks were still very vibrant and aromatically fresh.
The first thing he suggested was a typical Indian green chutney. So I woke up this morning and started to work on it!

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Normally we would add peanuts but I only had walnuts in my pantry from my baking endeavours so they went in first. To bulk up the vitamin and mineral content I threw in some crisp baby spinach leaves. All the Indian flavours followed and within minutes I had a tangy, hot chutney resting in the fridge just chilling away until the dhoklas were ready for it! Have a restful Sunday! Much love D x

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INGREDIENTS

40g walnuts
100g fresh coriander with stalks
Handful of fresh baby spinach
½ tsp of grated ginger
3 cloves garlic crushed
2 hot green chillies
½ the juice of fresh lemon
1½ tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp salt or more to taste
A little water

METHOD

• Blitz the walnuts into a grainy paste.

• Add all the other ingredients and whizz into a chutney paste. You may need to thin the chutney out with a little water, but please do check seasoning after using the water

Serve up with some fluffy Khaman Dhokla

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My first caramel sauce!

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I was extremely inspired by John from the Bartolini kitchens when he recently baked and posted his Aunt Mary’s apple cake recipe. I had some apples and wanted to bake something sweet and appleee for a while now and this was the perfect recipe

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I adapted it and left out the raisins as I’m not a raisin fan and replaced the walnuts with flaked almonds as a crispy topping. The main component of this dish was the caramel sauce but hands down to John! your caramel looks stunning. Mine came out a lighter colour, I was afraid that I would burn it on my first attempt. Next time I will caramelise it more!

This cake has no butter in it but oil, so I thought I could get away with having a little caramel sauce with it. In which I cut down the fat content by replacing cream with milk. The caramel came out well but I did make less on purpose and thought I could make more when needed…and I think we will be needing more soon!

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INGREDIENTS

3 large apples cored and thinly sliced
3 eggs
400g plain flour
Pinch of salt
120g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¾ cup sunflower oil
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Toasted flaked almonds

METHOD

• Preheat oven to 180°c/350°f/gas mark 4. Line and grease a deep baking dish

• Mix all the ingredients together except for the apple, beat and combine well. Batter will be stiff

• Fold in the apples and pour out the batter into the baking dish. Liberally scatter the flaked almonds on top and bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when inserted

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• Slice into squares and leave to cool in the dish

Meanwhile to make the light caramel sauce
You will need ~
50g light brown sugar
150g butter
40g caster sugar
60 ml milk

• Melt the sugar and butter on a low heat, wait for the sugar to dissolve

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• Then pour in the milk, still on a low heat, stirring continuously until the sauce starts to thicken and bubble

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Take off the heat, ready for the cake!

Drench the cake in this sweet sweet sauce and devour warm! Enjoy D x

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Baked Half & Half Spinach Macaroni

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In our household we do love pasta! We also have a situation where I really like white sauce pasta and my husband very much likes tomato based pasta.

So I decided to come up with the perfect pasta dish to please us both and the children! Macaroni half and half one side red and one side white but spinach in both.

I was naughty, as I had a bit of both! actually quite alot…lol.
It really was a very comforting meal but macaroni cheese always has that effect.
Hope you enjoy D x

INGREDIENTS

For the tomato spinach sauce ~
250g crushed tomato passata
5 cubes frozen spinach (ice cube size)
3 cloves garlic crushed
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Pinch of sugar

For the white spinach sauce
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
½ tbsp mild olive oil
Milk
4 cubes frozen spinach
Salt to taste
Pinch of black pepper
sprinkling of garlic granules (optional)
Handful of grated mature cheddar cheese

300-350g macaroni precooked
Cheddar cheese for topping

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METHOD

• In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and add the garlic and passata together. Put in all the seasoning apart from the spinach

• Simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes. Gently add the spinach cubes and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally

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• In a separate medium saucepan, heat up the oil and butter for the white sauce

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• Throw in the flour and form into a roux. Cook on a low heat, stirring throughout for 2 minutes

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• Pour in some milk approx 180ml-200ml , add the seasoning and continuously stir slowly. As the sauce starts to thicken add the cheese and frozen spinach, simmer for a further 10 minutes. If the sauce is too thick after this pour a little more milk and stir

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• Now that both sauces are ready. Divide the macaroni amount into two. Put half into the tomato sauce and half into the white sauce. Combine well individually

• Use a deep small baking dish and place the tomato macaroni on one side and the white macaroni on the other

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Sprinkle generously with cheese, bake in oven at 180°c/gas mark 4 for 10 minutes

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• Then put under the grill to brown the cheese. Serve with a crisp fresh salad and some dressing

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Homemade Tzatziki

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I tried tzatziki only a few years back and my love of yoghurt allowed me to like it very much! Such a wonderful refreshing taste it makes a wonderful dip or a sauce as an accompaniment.

Initially I used to buy shop bought tzatziki and then ventured in making it at home. Since then I’ve not looked back. It is quicker to make at home than to go to the shops, take it off the shelf, pay for it and bring home!

I served mine as an accompaniment to my Vegetarian quorn kleftiko dish. I also love it as a dip to crudités!

INGREDIENTS

1 cucumber grated
2 small cloves of garlic crushed
6 tbsp natural yoghurt
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt to taste
Drizzle of olive oil

METHOD

• Place the grated cucumber, garlic in a medium sized bowl and stir in the yoghurt. Combine well

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• Squeeze in a little lemon, season with salt and mix. Drizzle with a little olive oil to finish

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