Borlotti Bean Soup

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I was thrilled to have been asked by Shruti @ Cooking With SJ to write my very first guest post recently. SJ and her blog are very much an inspiration to me and I am constantly learning from her. Thank you for asking me honey x

“A warming your cockles” kind of soup I’ve put together in this cold, wet weather we are having here in the UK. A fushion soup of Mexican bold bean and coriander flavours and the wonderful Italian pasta to add even more body to this dish! So easy to prepare and quick to make. An ideal supper with some crusty buttered bread on a frozen February evening!

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INGREDIENTS

½ white onion sliced into crescents
175g tin of Borlotti beans drained and rinsed
A few handfuls of tiny pasta shells
400ml vegetable stock
½ tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove crushed
⅓ tsp garlic granules
½ tsp paprika
Pinch of dried red chilli flakes
Salt to taste
Freshly chopped coriander to garnish

METHOD

• Sauté the garlic and chilli flakes in the olive oil on a low heat, so that it infuses the oil for about 4 minutes

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• Stir in the onions, when translucent throw in the beans along with the rest of the seasoning

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• Pour in the vegetable stock and mix in the pasta shells, bring to a boil and then simmer the soup for 10-12 minutes

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• Garnish with coriander and serve

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A Potato & Aubergine One Pot Biryani

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A one pot wonder! Quick easy and not a lot to prepare. The saucepan and ingredients work their magic in this soothing and wholesome Indian vegetable rice dish. It simply can be served with some yoghurt or salad. Excellent for a lunch or an early dinner

A great recipe, so good for busy parents with younger children. Dice, combine, cook and keep warm. My two loved the spices and this way they get their vegetables too!

INGREDIENTS

1 medium potato diced 1 cm cubes
1 medium aubergine diced 1cm cubes
1 medium onion diced
1 tbsp sunflower oil
⅓ tsp mustard seeds
⅓ tsp cumin seeds
½ cinnamon stick
3 cloves
Pinch of asafoetida
½ vegetable stock cube
2 tsp coriander & cumin powder
⅓ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 heaped tsp biryani powder
1 tsp garam masala
Boiling water
100g tomato passata
1½ cup basmati rice washed

METHOD

• Heat the oil in a large metal saucepan. Add in the mustard and cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves and asafoetida, once the seeds start to sizzle. Gently place in the aubergine, potato and onion

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• Season with salt and all the spices, crumble in the vegetable stock cube, mix and cook for 5 minutes on a low heat

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• Throw in the washed rice into the saucepan and pour in enough boiled water to cover the vegetables and rice

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• Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stir in the passata and cook for a further 10 minutes on a low simmer

You may need to add a little more boiling water to cook the rice through

• I put the metal saucepan in the oven to keep warm and to add a depth of flavour. If you wish to do this then heat your oven to 170-180°c and leave for 15-20 minutes with the lid on

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• Making sure at all times that the rice doesn’t dry up completely

Serve with some fresh natural yoghurt

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Bruschetta for Brunch

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Recently I have been seeing a lot of bruschetta recipes and couldn’t wait to make some and sink my teeth into some balsamic dressed juicy tomatoes and soft toasted bread.
Normally I make it with onion and tomato but this time I wanted something creamy and refreshing.

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So you will be getting two bruschetta toppings in one post! One with a pan fried asparagus and cherry tomatoes and one with asparagus in a garlic béchemel sauce! I do love my creamy textures whilst my husband likes more oil based or tomato dressings. This way we were both really pleased! Hope you enjoy! Have a restful Sunday, Much love D x

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INGREDIENTS
For the pan fry asparagus
8 asparagus spears sliced
1 garlic clove minced
½ tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt

10 cherry tomatoes sliced into thin rounds
½ tsp dried oregano
A dash of balsamic vinegar

For the garlic béchamel sauce
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp butter/low fat butter spread
1 clove garlic minced
¾ cup milk
salt to taste

Garlic bread slices toasted

The pan fried asparagus will be divided and used in both versions of bruschetta

METHOD for the asparagus

• Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the asparagus on a medium heat and mix in the garlic and salt

• Leave to cook for 5-7 until tender on a low to medium heat. Set aside in the pan

METHOD for the garlic béchamel sauce

• In a small non stick saucepan stir together the flour and butter, keep stirring til combined, add in the garlic and keep mixing to cook the flour and garlic out for 2-3 minutes

• Pour in the milk, and whisk the sauce on a low heat until all smooth and thick. Take off the heat and throw in half of the pan fried asparagus prepared earlier and season with salt

To prepare the cherry tomatoes topping

• Add the tomatoes to the rest of the asparagus, sprinkle in the oregano and mix in a few drops of the balsamic vinegar

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• Both toppings are ready. Individually plate up onto the garlic bread that has been toasted

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Spiced Candied Almonds

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Sweet, spicy and a hint of chilli is the trio of flavour you will get with these candied almonds that crystallize as they cool down. The sugar flecks off of them with salt to lift the sweetness.

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Almonds are great for vitamin E and in turn for your skin and hair. What better way than to have them do a wonderful job for the body but also a taste sensation for our palettes!

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I used less sugar so that I got a crisp coating on the almond rather than a sticky one, I know I will be making these again! And very soon!!

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup whole almonds
½ cup granulated sugar
⅓ tsp mixed spice
pinch of red chilli powder
1 tbsp water
Sea Salt for sprinkling

METHOD

• Line a baking sheet with some greaseproof paper

• In a thick bottom base saucepan gently heat the sugar, water, chilli and mixed spice

• After a minute or so slowly add the almonds and keep stirring with a wooden spoon still on a low heat

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• When the caramel starts to get sticky and brown, transfer the almonds to the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with some salt

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• Once the almonds cool, separate them and store them in an airtight container. But to be honest they might not get from the baking sheet to the container! Ours didn’t! Lol 😉

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Daal Dhokli With Coriander (Indian Pasta)

A velvety Indian pasta dish which gives you a protein punch from the lentil soup/daal

Shivaay Delights

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A lovely wholesome lentil soup recipe to fill you up and satisfy your hunger pangs. Traditionally a gujarati dish made in all gujarati homes. One of my staple meals I have grown up on! Hope you enjoy the coriander running through the dhoklis (pasta) as much as we do!

INGREDIENTS

For the daal
250g red lentils
1700 ml Boiling water
200g tomato passata
1 tbsp oil
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp ginger finely grated
1 chilli finely chopped
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander and cumin powder
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 juice of small lemon

For the pasta
200g chapatti flour/medium white flour
10g fresh coriander chopped
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander and cumin powder

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Vegetarian Cacciatore

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I’ve always seen traditional Italian cacciatore recipes and felt that I would really enjoy a vegetarian version. A light meal with my substitute of Quorn pieces that really absorbs the Mediterranean flavours of tomato, garlic and onion. An extremely quick and satisfying meal to make when you back home, from a long day at work! Or for the kids? as believe me, mine went through a whole pot!

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One dish I will be adding to our family favourites’ list and know I will be making time and time again!

INGREDIENTS

300g frozen quorn pieces/soya chunks (pre soaked)
1 punnet closed cup mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
200g tomato passata
250g cherry/mini pomodorino tomatoes
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
½ cup vegetable stock

METHOD

• Heat the oil in a large saucepan, brown off the quorn/soya chunks, onion and garlic

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• Add the tomatoes and mushroons, mix and cook until the mushrooms have released some water

• Season with the basil, oregano and salt. Cook for a further 5 minutes

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• Pour in the vegetable stock, stir in the passata and taste for further seasoning if needed

• Cover and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes. I served mine with some long grain rice or you can serve it with some granary bread

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Pav Bhaji With Chickpeas

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I’m having one of those weeks where I would like to try and use up as much food  there is in the larder and fridge.  Before we do our big food shop again!  So I found all the ingredients for my husband’s ultimate favourite which is pav bhaji.  He loves the soft buttered rolls and buttered infused veg bhaji/curry.  But I’m afraid I’ve gone all healthy and added chickpeas and used a healthy buttery spread instead of butter in the bhaji.  However the taste is not compromised as the pav bhaji masala does its magic as always!  One to try for sure x

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INGREDIENTS

1 tin of chickpeas rinsed and drained
500g frozen mixed veg
200g broccoli
200ml water
250g tomato passata
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp chilli finely choppe
1 tbsp sunflower oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
2 cloves
1½ tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin and coriander
½ tsp garam masala
2½ tsp pav bhaji masala
1 squeeze of tomato ketchup
1 tbsp butter
Handful of chopped coriander

METHOD

• Boil the mixed veg and broccoli together for 5-7 minutes. Drain and add to the food processor with the chickpeas and 150ml water. Blend to a soft mushy puree with all the veg mashed

• Heat oil in a large saucepan. Put in mustard and cumin seeds, cloves and asafoetida. Once seeds start to pop stir in the passata, garlic, ginger and chilli. Throw in all the ground spices, ketchup and seasoning and cook on a low heat for 4 minutes

• Slowly combine the veg/chickpea puree into the tomato gravy and mix well. Pour in the 50 ml water you may need to add more if it has been absorbed. Stir in the butter and taste the bhaji/curry. You may need to season further with a little salt if needed and to make it more spicy add more pav bhaji masala

• Sprinkle some fresh coriander.  Traditionally served with pan fried buttered soft white rolls

I decided not to pan fry the rolls but just spooned on some of the bhaji curry and sprinkled some mature Cheddar cheese to give it a mellow note ~ Delicious!

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Note-pav bhaji masala available in local Indian food stores and sometimes in large supermarkets

Come visit and “like” me at Shivaay Delights share your recipes and see lots of tips! 🙂

Mini Garlic Jacket Potatoes

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I had bought some mini baby potatoes that are good for boiling or steaming but my love of roasted/jacket potatoes got in the way! And rightly so! The outcome was gooooood! I didn’t want to peel them and roast them in the usual way but instead wanted to serve them as mini mini jacket potatoes with a crisp skin, that I just adore!

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Again such a versatile ingredient and so cute and small that there was no need to parboil them. Just straightforward oil, garlic and herb coating and roast til perfection.

I also made hasselback potatoes but this time a healthier version with olive oil and not butter. We enjoyed both types with mature Cheddar cheese omelettes and freshly boiled veg! Superb comfort food for a cold Saturday evening!

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INGREDIENTS

500g mini baby potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
salt to taste

METHOD

• Preheat oven to 190°c and pour the oil into a baking tray lined with foil, place in the oven to warm the oil through

• Meanwhile prep by scrubbing the potatoes and pierce each of them

• Take the baking tray out of the oven, add the oregano and crushed garlic, mix into the oil

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• Gently place in all the mini potatoes, sprinkle salt all over them and massage the oil into the skins with the herbs and garlic too

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• Roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes until the potatoes are nice and crispy and golden on the outside and super fluffy on the inside

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Sautéed Vegetables Transformed = 2 Vegetarian Dishes!

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Still embracing our new diet, which we are quite enjoying as both my husband and I are seeing results and the weight is being shed, slowly but surely

We have really focused on our intake of fresh vegetables and protein. He has cut out pretty much all the carbs but yours truly hasn’t been able to do that. I have just reduced the amount! I’m sorry! I can’t live without bread and pasta!

Cous cous has become a great alternative, so that is what we had last night. Whilst I couldn’t resist making my boys a fluffy omelette using the prepared vegetables, which I must admit that I munched on too!

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It was like making one and getting another dish for free! It worked well in both dishes and I know I will be making this combination again very soon! Hope you enjoy it! Have a tremendous Tuesday! Much love D x

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INGREDIENTS

300g closed mushrooms sliced
180g fresh baby spinach
1 green bell pepper diced
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of dried red chilli flakes
⅓ tsp dried oregano
Paprika tp taste
Salt to taste
1½ cups dried couscous
2½ cups boiling water
½ vegetable stock cube

METHOD

• Prepare the cous cous by bringing to the boil in the vegetable stock, simmer for 5 minutes until the water has evaporated. Take off the heat and set aside. Separate grains with a fork

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• Heat up the oil with the red chilli flakes, add in the peppers, sauté until tender

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• Throw in the mushrooms, oregano and salt, combine well. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes then stir in the spinach. Let it wilt gently and cover for a few minutes. Take off the cooker and let the residual heat cook the spinach through

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• Serve the sauteéd vegetables along with the sauce it has released onto a plate of cous cous

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The sauteéd mushroom, spinach & pepper omelette

• Beat 3 large eggs till bubbly
• Stir in a dash of milk
• Season with just a little salt
• Add in 2 tablespoons of the spinach mix
• A handful of mature cheddar cheese…combine
• In a hot frying pan with a little olive oil, fry off your omelette, flip when the egg has settled on the first side. Both sides will be golden brown against the yolky yellow of the egg

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Okra Masala ~ A special guest post!

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This is an amazing recipe from my one and only. Yes I am biased! Lol! But no, seriously my husband has always and will always be an inspiration to me and my cooking.

He has never been afraid of throwing spices together and his food always reflects this. I would normally ask him what he put into his individual dishes and he’ll say a little bit of this and a little bit of that, meaning lots of special flavours combined. The dishes come out superb and are very much a tantalising taste sensation!

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If you like spiced curries not just hot but spiced you are very much in for a treat. I finally persuaded him to do a guest post for me, so I won’t keep you waiting much longer! I’m sure this recipe is one of many that will come from him!

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INGREDIENTS

For the dry masala combine
1 tsp garam masala
3 tsp tava fry masala
2 broken pieces of cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
4 cloves
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp garlic granules
1 tsp dried coriander leaves
2 tsp coriander & cumin powder
⅓ tsp turmeric powder
2 pieces of weetabix (wholegrain cereal below) crushed

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For the curry
30 whole okra/bhinda
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 medium to hot green chilli finely sliced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
250g tomato passata
1cup water
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Large handful of fresh chopped coriander including stalks

METHOD

• Heat up the oil and mustard seeds in a large saucepan, sauté the onion until translucent, add the dry masala without the weetabix on a low heat for 5 minutes mixing occasionally. Throw in the garlic, ginger and chilli

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• Meanwhile chop off the okra tops, pan fry them in a little oil so that they are tender and ready for the absorption of the base

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• Add the sugar and then stir in the passata and a cup of water, stir well. Add half the chopped coriander, cover and simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes

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• Gently place the whole pre-cooked okra into the masala gravy, dunk all of them completely and cover again to simmer for 15-20 on a very low heat

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• Serve with naan bread or some rice, garnish with the rest of the fresh coriander

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