Rupa’s Salsa Verde…

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Salsa verde is a green salsa, it can be quite chunky but the one that was prepared by my youngest sister in law last Saturday, was something extremely special.  Rupa had called us round for dinner and  Oh my did we enjoy ourselves!  She had prepared grilled vegetable and golden halloumi skewers with a jewelled vegetarian couscous along with the salsa that tantalised our taste buds and made all the the different ingredients on the plate sing!

The consistency was very smooth and the colour so very vibrant.  I just deeply regret not taking a picture to show you all, I was too busy eating away! Sorry!
I have however, found a picture that shows the type of consistency of the salsa we had.  The colour here, is more a lime green but the colour you will achieve with this particular recipe will be slightly darker due to the mint. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did.

Thanks to R & V for a wonderful evening and for this lovely recipe!

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch parsley, chopped leaves only
1 bunch basil, chopped leaves
1 bunch mint, chopped leaves
2 tbsp capers drained
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
Olive oil as required
Sea Salt & Ground fresh pepper to taste

METHOD

Simply blitz all the above ingredients together in a food processor, grinder or Nutribullet if you have one

Pour into a bowl and leave in the fridge until your ready to serve

Picture courtesy of https://fortheloveofyum.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_5766.jpg

Fresh Baby Leaf Spinach & Garlic Penne

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Yesterday I had a really busy day! It was go go go! It was also very warm here in the UK so I didn’t really fancy anything too heavy to eat! We had some fresh baby spinach leaves in the fridge to be used and my husband decided to take control in the kitchen. Yay! dinner was going to be made for me! Wooo hooo! Whilst I carried to clean up after the kids….

I was treated to an aromatic and extremely tasty penne pasta salad with bright green spinach and glorious garlic running through it. Enough garlic to compliment the spinach and chilli flakes to lift the oil dressing. One pasta recipe I know I will be wanting again and again…Thanks H, lots of love xx

INGREDIENTS

1 packet of baby leaf spinach
3~4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt to taste
Dried red chilli flakes optional
Pre cooked fresh penne upon instruction

METHOD

Gently heat the garlic with the olive oil, mix and combine the oregano so that it infuses into the oil

Stir in the penne, making sure all the pasta is covered in oil. Season with salt, mix.
Tear in our roughly slice the fresh baby spinach leaves

Turn off the heat, sprinkle in the red chilli flakes and the spinach will wilt a little as you toss the pasta

Serve up with some grated parmesan or in my case some grated mature cheddar to add a sharpness to the dish

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Magical Spaghetti Pomodoro

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This spaghetti dish is truly MAGICAL!!! You put in all the gorgeous ingredients into one pot and in 15 minutes you will uncover a cooked dish ready to eat!

Such a rustic looking recipe which allows for the spaghetti to be cooked in its own starchy silky sauce. You will find that all the flavours are absorbed into the spaghetti and are more intense as it all fuses together in this abra-cadabra pot!

I made this on Sunday when my brother and family came round for an early supper. I went into the kitchen, prepped the ingredients, did my magic and casually kept returning to see my work in progress…I love this recipe as you can spend more time with your loved ones whilst the supper is happening on its own!

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A real winner for us that evening, combined with some soft tear and share garlic bread courtesy of my brother as soon as he found out we were having pasta!
Thanks Bro and family, we thoroughly had a nice time and it was sooo good to catch up!

INGREDIENTS

400g dried spaghetti
1 medium onion sliced into crescents
3 garlic cloves sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1½ tsp dried oregano
vegetable stock at least 800ml
1 green chilli chopped (optional)
½ tsp paprika
Salt to taste
1½ tbsp olive oil
10-14 fresh basil leaves chopped

METHOD

• Put all the ingredients apart from the basil in a large non stick saucepan and cover with the vegetable stock

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• The stock should soak all the ingredients, bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally to avoid sticking

• You will find that the stock will be absorbed quite quickly so add to the pot to help the cooking process. Do check seasoning as this will alter with the extra stock

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• Once the spaghetti is al dente (firm to the bite) it is ready, Throw in the basil so that it will permeate with the sauce

• Serve with some grated Parmesan and in my case a mature Cheddar!

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Coriander Quorn Curry

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A tantalising, aromatic and succulent quorn curry! One so appealing you could just chomp away on it’s own! Yes and I did lol!

A quick protein fix with satisfying tummy filling jeera rice! Just the type of meal if you want something that bit special! Full of flavour and impact ~ it was eaten by my nearly 3 year old and the verdict? “Mummy this is very tasty!” That’s all I needed to hear! Hope you enjoy, much love D x

Have a wonderful week x

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INGREDIENTS

1 medium white onion sliced in crescent shape
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp grated ginger
Large handful of fresh coriander chopped
400g frozen quorn chicken style pieces
200g tomato passata
1 heaped tsp paneer masala
2 tsp cumin and coriander powder
⅓ tsp turmeric
⅓ tsp red chilli powder
¾ tsp salt or more to taste
Pinch of sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil

METHOD

• Heat the oil up on a medium heat and sauté the onion, ginger and garlic until onion is translucent

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• Pour in the passata and and the rest of the spices and seasoning, reduce to a low heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes

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• Add half the chopped coriander and frozen quorn pieces. Combine and coat the pieces well. Thin out the tomato sauce by adding a little water. The quorn pieces should now be cooking and simmering in enough sauce, so that it is just soaked

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• Cook and cover for a further 15 minutes on a low simmer

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• Pour over more water if evaporated and season again if required. Stir in the remainder of the coriander and serve on a fluffy bed of white jeera rice

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For the love of South Indian food ♡

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A delicate chutney that I just put together by whizzing it up in the blender at the very last minute. I had made onion and tomato uttapa on the request of my husband but he always likes sambhar with it.

I had forgot to put the lentils on for the sambhar and already started making the fluffy soft uttapas..so ummm a chutney? Yes that would do perfectly.

I had to use coconut as it is a staple in South Indian food and I love it so! And yoghurt to give the dish a little sharpness. It went down really well and I couldn’t resist just eating the chutney by itself! What?! At least it’s healthy this time lol x

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INGREDIENTS

40g fresh coriander with stalks
35g desiccated coconut
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 green chilli
5 tbsp natural yoghurt
½ tsp salt or to taste

METHOD

• Whizz the coriander, garlic and chilli in a grinder/blender

• Once you get a coarse paste, pour in the yoghurt, throw in the salt and coconut and blend until just combined

• Whizz….blend…chutney done!

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Serve with your uttapas on the side or directly onto it and then fold the uttapa over so that the chutney does its thing and oozes out…
Enjoy x

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Hasselback potatoes to die for!

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I’ve been seeing these potatoes on pinterest for quite a while now and have been meaning to get round to making them. Finally the opportunity arose when my husband bought a whole big bag of baking potatoes. I thought it would be a lengthy process, especially in the roasting but found that these Hasselback potatoes are even quicker to make than the jacket potato.

I know that you can also melt cheese into the potatoes but I tried to keep them healthy. However if you want to go super healthy then use olive oil instead of melted butter in the recipe!

Such a wonderful crispy sensation when you eat it and sooo very delicious! I even managed to convert my younger brother who doesn’t like baked potatoes into loving these. He ended up having 2! lol. A proper comforting meal!

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INGREDIENTS

4 large baking potatoes
2 tbsp melted butter
Salt to sprinkle

METHOD

• Preheat oven to 210°c

• To prepare the potatoes ~ wash and scrub them, place a potato on a large metal spoon and slice from the edge, making cuts along the whole potato but at the same time making sure that you don’t slice the whole way through. The metal spoon will help avoid this problem

• Repeat above process for the rest of the baking potatoes

• Then place on an oven tray, paint the melted butter on the surface of the potato and a little into the cracks. Season with salt after buttering

• Put the potatoes into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, then remove and re apply some more melted butter

• Bake for a further 15-20 minutes until potatoes are really crispy and tender inside

•Serve with a juicy ratatouille and mature cheddar cheese. My ratatouille recipe will be up very soon!

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Garlic buttered paratha

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In every Indian restaurant you will find the garlic naan, which is lovely for a heavy meal but if you fancy something light then I’ve come up with these garlic buttered paratha.

I adore garlic bread so I applied the same principle to this recipe. However instead of just smothering the paratha in garlic butter which I did, I also penetrated the paratha with the garlic butter from the inside for ultimate flavour!

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As I was making them..they kept disappearing! My little ones were munching on them with the kidney bean masala I had made. I was lucky to get a couple myself! So definitely a hit with children who like their tasty food!

INGREDIENTS

250g white chapatti flour
100g plain flour
3 tbsp sunflower oil
Boiling water to bind
2 tbsp butter/low fat butter spread
2-3 cloves of garlic crushed
Plain flour for rolling
Sunflower oil for pan frying

METHOD

To make the garlic melted butter ~

• Throw in the crushed garlic and butter together in a small saucepan and melt on a low heat. Let the butter bubble slowly for a few minutes until the garlic is soft and infused into the butter

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To make the parathas ~

• In a large mixing bowl add the chapatti flour and plain flour. Stir in the oil so that the flour resembles bread crumbs

• Pour in some boiling water a little at a time and combine with a spoon until you can handle it with your fingers. Bring the dough together and knead for 5 minutes

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• Preheat a non stick frying pan on a medium heat. Flour a clean surface, take about a palm full of dough, roll it out into a 5-6cm diameter round

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• Using a spoon spread some of the melted garlic butter on the round, sprinkle a little flour. Fold up bringing all the corners in

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• Dust in some flour again and roll out gently into an 8cm diameter round or approximate

• Place the uncooked paratha into the frying pan, wait for it to bubble and raise and then flip over using a spatula

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• Use a little oil on the second side whilst cooking and again on the third turn until both sides are cooked nice and golden brown

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• Spoon a little of the garlic butter onto the cooked paratha, to give it more of an intense flavour

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• Repeat with the whole dough, in exactly the same way

Tasty khichdi? Is that possible???

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Khichdi, an indian rice and dal staple dish. In my opinion, especially when I was younger a little bit bland and boring! But guess what? I’ve managed to change that as I’ve got older. I decided to “pimp it up!” with ultimate flavour.

As it stands alone khichdi is a very healthy and nutritious dish but the addition of spinach makes it super healthy! A great comfort food on these colder evenings and absolutely fantastic for weaning babies and toddlers…just reduce the salt intake for them.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup split mung dal
1 cup basmati rice
4-5 cups of water
1½ tsp salt or to taste
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
4-5 cubes of frozen spinach
1 tbsp sunflower oil
¼ mustard seeds
¼ cumin seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
Pinch of sugar
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp coriander & cumin powder
⅓ tsp chilli powder

METHOD

To make the khichdi base ~
• Combine and rinse the mung dal and rice a few times in a large bowl. In a large saucepan add this mung rice mix with the water, salt and turmeric. Bring to a boil and then gently simmer for 10 minutes

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• Stir occasionally and check if all the water is absorbed you may need to add a little. Cook for a further 10 minutes until rice and dal are soft. Turn off the heat and set aside

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• For the spinach sauce ~ Heat up the oil along with mustard, cumin seeds and asafoetida. Once they start to sizzle and pop throw in the onion and garlic, sauté until onion becomes translucent

• Stir in the chopped tomatoes, garam masala, salt, cumin & corainder powder, chilli and sugar along with the frozen spinach

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• Mix well and simmer gently on a low heat for 10 minutes

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• Once sauce is done, simply pour it into the khichdi saucepan, stir and season with salt if needed

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Then you are ready to serve! With a little fresh yoghurt, enjoy!

Family dinner!

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Last night my younger brother and sister in law called us round for dinner along with my parents.

I had had a random weekend! And the wet, dreary weather had contributed to that also but my weekend definitely ended on a massive high.

I was a little tired when I got to their place but was very much re energised with the fantastic food that awaited us. Normally we would wait to eat together but yours truly was famished and the aroma of stuffed aloo paratha and dal was way too inviting that I had to have some immediately!

My sister in law insisted that I ate and I couldn’t wait! I was dipping the paratha into my dal only then to be greeted with these vibrant yellow dhokla (savoury cake) and a delightful hot green chutney. A healthy salad appeared on my plate of which the raw chunks of beetroot that I had always eaten pickled, sweetened my palate. I will be eating beetroot this way from now on. The earthiness and crunchiness had me hooked.

There is one thing I need to learn and that is “rai vara gaajar”(pickled carrots in a mustard seed dressing) This accompaniment really made the dish. Especially with the addition of tangy slices of bell pepper. One recipe I must get off my sister to share with you all!

Thank you sooo much for an amazing evening! And for lifting my spirits with great company and delicious food.
Missed my other brother and family as did my little one, that he said he wanted to go to his house after leaving his younger uncle’s home!

Here’s to even more fabulous family get togethers! Your all just brilliant! and thank you for being a part of my journey x

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Perfect pizza @ home

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My very first memory of eating pizza was at my grandparents home. My uncle and aunts would treat us to Pizza Hut, which they would go and pick up. I will always remember my uncle bringing in the brown pizza boxes with the famous hut logo with the salad container that he was so good at filling up to the brim! He always has said there is a technique to his salad bowl filling! I must learn this from him soon!

I absolutely adored the margherita and the mozarella cheese! Omg! The cheese! I would leave some of the cheese to savour at the end and I still do lol!

I would say pizza is my ultimate comfort food from deep pan to thin and crispy to the Italian base. I just love pizza as does my whole family. So what better than to make delicious pizza at home from scratch. That includes the base! But you maybe thinking what a long process! but I assure you it is much simpler than you think, as I found out.

Nothing beats homemade pizza so come on… pour yourself a glass of wine, put some music on and start rolling out that dough!

INGREDIENTS

For the dough
500g strong white bread flour
7g yeast
2 level tsp salt
30ml warm milk
25ml olive oil
325-350ml warm water
400g tomato passata
Dried oregano

Pizza toppings of your choice

METHOD

Mix the flour, yeast, oil and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the warm milk and water and bring together to form into a dough

Knead for 5 minutes with a little olive oil, cover with a plate and set aside in a warm place. I put mine in my airing cupboard. You could preheat the oven at 160°c for 10 minutes and then turn it off and place the dough in there. Prove the dough for 1 hour

Knock back the dough and knead again using a little plain flour, form into a smooth ball and prove again for a further 30 minutes

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Preheat oven to 220°c. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Roll out onto a clean floured surface

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Oil out a pizza tray ideally with holes in it using a pastry brush. Place the uncooked base in the oven to bake for 5-10 minutes. The base may rise and once cooked remove from the oven

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Spread 2 to 3 tbsp passata and sprinkle a little oregano onto the cooked pizza base and then add toppings of your choice. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes until your toppings are cooked, tender and the cheese has melted.

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We had Buffalo mozzarella, green chillies, baby plum tomatoes and onion

Also check out my homemade pizza top tips!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend x