Coriander Zucchini and Corn Fritters

Stop fretting, just eat a fritter…

While we were in India among other things one of the big things to happen was, Samuel Kabir eating solids. Yes my little boy is growing up way too quickly but I couldn’t be more excited. I was so eager for him to start solids, so I could cook some real tasty treats for him.

I adopted the ‘baby led weaning’ approach for introducing SammyK to solids. I’m not going to bore you with the details of baby led weaning. In essence there are no purees, no ice-cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veg combos. It’s just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family.

So today I made my little prince zucchini and corn fritters for breakfast. There was a salt free baby version and a salted adult version with lemon chaat masala yogurt aioli. 

  

 
Ingredients: 10  Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves : 2

  • One zucchini, grated
  • One small can of creamed corn
  • Half a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
  • One egg
  • One heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • One heaped tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • One teaspoon garam masala (optional)
  • Half a teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Salt to season
  • Olive oil to pan fry

Begin by squeezing out all the water from the zucchini and transfer it to another bowl. In the same bowl add all the other ingredients and mix well using your hands.

  
Heat olive oil in a non stick pan. Now pour one tablespoon per fritter in the pan. Let them cook on a medium heat. Flip over gently to the other side once the edges are browned.

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Cook on both sides until golden brown. The key to a good fritter is crispy on the outside and yet moist (sorry, for lack of a better word) on the inside.  

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To make the aioli to go with the adult version – In two tablespoons of Greek yogurt add quarter teaspoon on chaat masala, one teaspoon lemon juice and one teaspoon extra virgin olive oil. Voila done! 

Your lip smackingly delicious fritters are ready to be served. 

 

Paupers Soup…

Winter is coming, bring out the crockpot…

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Hello gorgeous readers, I’m back! After an eight week holiday in India, Singapore and Indonesia, I was well and truly ready for home. 

After the sweltering heat in Asia, we are back to the cold in Australia. Though I love winter and everything about it. Especially soups and the warmth they bring on a cold winter evening.

Here’s a simple silverbeet and butterbean soup known as Paupers Soup. Why paupers? Mainly because it used all the basic ingredients and seasonal vegetables you would find in an Italian kitchen. Simple, rustic Italian, the kind which kicks pretentious, petite portioned food in the nuts.  Full of deep earthy flavours and utterly nutritious. It will definitely help you and your family keep the cold and flu at bay.

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Ingredients:  14  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

  • One bunch of silverbeet, chopped
  • Two medium sized potatoes, cubed
  • Two carrots, peeled and sliced into discs
  • One medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • Three pods of garlic finely chopped
  • One red chilli, chopped
  • Half a bunch of continental parsley (leaves and stems), finely chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 400 gms of butterbeans ( I used the canned ones)
  • One bay leaf
  • One teaspoon of crushed black pepper
  • Salt to season
  • One litre vegetable stock
  • Four tablespoons of olive oil

Heat olive oil in a crockpot. Add garlic, cook until aromatic. Now add onions and red chilli, cook until onions are translucent.

Add the veggies and parsley. Mix well. Now add the stock and bayleaf, season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for 15 – 20 minutes on low heat.

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Once the veggies are slightly tender add the beans, followed by lemon juice. Add more stock or water if required. Cover the pot again and let the soup simmer for another 15 minutes on low heat.

While the soup is simmering you can prepare equal number of poached eggs per serve to garnish the soup with. Poached egg is a great accompaniment with this dish.

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Your lip smackingly delicious winter warmer is ready to serve. Serve this with fresh sourdough bread. I can most certainly guarantee one bite will teleport you to Italy.

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Cucumber and Pea Salad 

Who would have thought this odd couple would be so good together…

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I love the idea of summer. Why wouldn’t you when you think of summer you think of the beach, pina colada, flowy summer dresses and perhaps sailing across the seas on an all indulgent yacht. Then summer comes and you are nothing but a giant mess of grime and sweat!

On hot days my tip is eat well to feel good and stay hydrated. Lots of salads and greens to chill your insides. Moreover when they come in the form of this lip smackingly delicious salad, you will instantly go from hating summer to loving summer.

Ingredients: 10  Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One continental cucumber, finely sliced
  • 125 gms of peas, steamed
  • One tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
  • One teaspoon dried mint leaves
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One tablespoon black sesame seeds,toasted
  • 125 gms of goats cheese, crumbled 
  • One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to season

In a bowl combine sliced cucumber, steamed peas, dill and mint. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

For the dressing, in another bowl combine EVOO, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Pour the dressing over the salad. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and goats cheese. Toss well before serving.

Enjoy this summer salad and feel thanda thanda cool cool!

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Curried Carrot Soup

Why work hard, when you can work smart…

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I have never been one to take shortcuts in life, but I do abide by a philosophy which says ‘why work hard, when you can work smart’. This mantra holds especially true when I have had a hard long day at work and can’t be bothered cooking. While we all want our family and friends to think all the meals we prepare for them are a labour of love, wouldn’t it be nice if you could focus on adding more love and a little less labour in your everyday cooking.

On a recent trip to Adelaide, one of the pantry ingredients in my mother in law’s kitchen has changed my culinary world forever! Clive of India Curry Powder!!! Of course in my Indian spice repertoire there was no such thing as curry powder. Talk about British efficiency they took our gazillion Indian spices, combined it into one and unashamedly called it Clive of India. Besides the curry powder, here’s a little bit of a History lesson for you, Clive of India also known as Major General Robert Clive is credited with securing India, and the wealth that followed, for the British crown. 

The growing awareness and love of Indian food has meant that more and more people are buying spices individually, mixing them themselves for curries and to be truly impressive, grinding the spices and herbs themselves too in a mortar and pestle. This is definitely the right way to make a curry, but on weekdays when most of us are working on reserves there should be no embarrassment in choosing convenience without compromising on flavour. This curry powder offers just that!

So what exactly does the curry powder entail? There are two varieties – one  the traditional curry powder which uses 11 different herbs and spices, such as, coriander, turmeric, fennel, black pepper, cumin, chilli powder, fenugreek, garlic granules, ginger and salt. The other one is the hot madras curry powder which has a bit of a kick to it and in addition to the spices in the traditional curry powder this includes cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg.
248866By now I am sure I have made you a Clive of India convert and if not then continue to read because I recently used this magic powder in a Carrot Soup and it worked a treat. 

Ingredients: 10  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Six carrots, peeled and cubed
  • One brown onion, sliced
  • Four to five pods of garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 250 ml of light coconut cream
  • One large bay leaf
  • One tablespoon of hot madras curry powder
  • One vegetable stock cube
  • One litre of water
  • Three tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt to season

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In a large saucepan heat olive oil. Add the onion and bay leaf and cook until onions are translucent. Now add the garlic, cook the mixture for three to four minutes on a medium heat or until aromatic.

Add the carrots, hot madras curry powder, vegetable stock cube (you can replace this by using liquid vegetable/chicken stock instead of water) and season with salt as required. Place a lid on the pan and cook the carrots on a medium heat for seven to ten minutes.

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Now add one litre of water followed by the coconut cream. The coconut cream goes really well with the curry powder and elevates the flavour of this dish to a whole new level. If for some reason you don’t like the coconut flavour you can use normal cooking cream or even milk. Once again coven the saucepan with a lid and let the soup simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

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Finally using a stick blender blend the soup until smooth and creamy. I have garnished it with toasted black sesame seeds, you can also use fresh coriander, crispy shallots or just a swirl of cream as a garnish. 

Serve this lip smackingly delicious winter warmer with some crusty bread. Dig in and watch your winter blues vanish away.

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Cream of Leek and Broccoli Soup with Rosemary Oil

A warm soup, a cold evening is a match made in heaven…

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I must be the only weirdo who truly loves winter. Honestly, what’s not to love? You can overdose on carbs, drink hot chocolate endlessly, eat a piece of cake with your cup of tea without feeling guilty and if you pack on a few pounds you can cover it all up under that trench coat without a worry!

Apart from all the indulgence, there’s one more way to enjoy the winter chill and that is by trying and testing different soup concoctions. Soups are the perfect winter warmer and they are so incredibly versatile! There are smooth and creamy soups, chunky soups, soups with meat, soups with vegetables, soups with pasta, soups with lentils, the list is never-ending.

Recently I had a craving for the classic potato and leek soup, which screams comfort in every bite. So the other night while I was all set on making potato and leek soup, little did I know it was not meant to be that night! I was out of potatoes! The problem with being a foodie is once an idea germinates in your head it is impossible to settle for something else. Potato or no potato, I was determined to make a soup that was as good as potato and leek soup without potatoes. Lo and behold I found a beautiful lush green broccoli head in my fridge. I know you are wondering, how can broccoli ever replace potatoes in a potato and leek soup? Take my word for it, very easily!!!

To quote my husband “it’s the best soup I have ever eaten, I was shocked at how good it was” I believe him considering he went back for thirds.

Ingredients: 13  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

For the soup
  • One leek pale section only, sliced
  • Three pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One large head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • One massel vegetable stock cube
  • Four cups of water 
  • 300 ml of fat reduced cream
  • One teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • Salt to season
For rosemary infused oil
  • Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Four stems of fresh rosemary leaves (approx 4 inches long)

Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and stir continuously, cook for five to seven minutes until soft. Now add garlic and cook for a minute or two, until aromatic.

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Add the broccoli florets, lemon juice and stock cube to the leek mixture. Stir until the stock cube has disintegrated. Now add four cups of water, followed by the dried rosemary leaves and season with salt as required. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the soup simmer until the broccoli is tender.

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Once the broccoli is tender, add cream and stir it through. Lower the heat, cover the saucepan and let the soup simmer for another five to seven minutes. Finally with a stick blender, blend the soup until smooth.

To make the rosemary oil, heat extra virgin olive oil on a low heat. Add rosemary leaves and temper for about five to seven minutes. Remove from heat and let the oil cool to room temperature.

Garnish the soup with rosemary oil and cracked pepper. Serve this lip smackingly delicious winter warmer with a side of char grilled sourdough bread.

Enjoy!

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Tomato Pea and Basil Frittata

Frittatas are always an eggcellent idea…

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Ahhhhh!!! Eggs!!! I remember my favourite TV commercial as a child was the one about eggs, even to date I remember their ad jingle – Sunday ho ya Monday roz khaao ande (Be it Sunday or Monday, eat eggs everyday). Eggs are so versatile. Boil them, poach them, scramble them, bake them, eat them by themselves or mixed up with other tasty ingredients, they never disappoint!

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While poached and baked eggs are my top two favourite ways of eating eggs, from time to time I do enjoy a good omelet or frittata. In the strictest sense, the difference between an omelet and frittata boils down to a matter of folding in a filling rather than mixing it in. Omelets traditionally have the egg mixture cooked and folded around a filling, while a frittata just mixes it all up, cooked in a mishmash combination all at once. Frittatas are often served at room temperature, making them perfect for brunches or larger groups.

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Today’s frittata recipe is inspired by the Australian spring. Even though we are currently in the middle of winter, this recipe creates an illusion with its aromas whereby I can almost smell and feel the freshness of spring. Tangy tomatoes, sweet peas and aromas of basil are enough to allure even the harshest frittata critic and convert them to a lover.

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Ingredients: 10  Cooking time:25 mins

Serves: 4

  • Six eggs, lightly beaten
  • One medium red onion, finely sliced
  • Half cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Half cup of peas
  • Eight to ten basil leaves
  • Two tablespoons of goats cheese or feta (optional)
  • One red chilli, sliced
  • One green chilli, sliced
  • Three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Lightly beat the eggs and season them with a pinch of salt and keep aside.

Heat three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan. Add sliced onions and chillies, cook until onion is translucent.Roughly tear up the basil leaves and add them to the onion mixture, this will ensure that beautiful basil aroma permeates through the dish.

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Now add the peas and tomatoes and cook for seven to ten minutes on medium heat. 

Take the pan off the heat and pour in the egg mixture. Crumble goats cheese on top. Place the pan back on low heat for five to seven minutes until the eggs have set.

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Finally place the pan in the hot oven for ten to fifteen minutes or until the frittata is golden and risen.

Garnish with fresh basil leaves and sliced tomatoes.

You can serve the frittata with a fresh salad or charred toast. Enjoy this lip smackingly delicious meal on days where you want to eat something tasty but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.

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