Pumpkin Dal

Cause’ tonight is the night when two become one and its DALICIOUS!!!

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My fridge may not always be stocked up but my pantry always is! I make sure I am always fully stocked with dried herbs, spices, lentils, noodles, pasta, ghee, mustard oil and olive oil. These are few of my favourite things. In terms of fresh produce I always tend to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. This way you get the best produce, for a fraction of a cost and there is hardly any wastage.

So one night when all I had in my fridge was half a pumpkin and curry leaves. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, until I looked in my pantry and found a can of brown lentils and black sesame seeds. Just like that this dish came together. Serve it with a side of steamed rice or naan bread or just eat it like a soup, it’s delicious.

Ingredients: 15  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Half a pumpkin, cubed ( I used kent pumpkin)
  • One can (400gms) of brown lentils
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • One tomato, finely chopped
  • 8 -10 fresh curry leaves
  • Three to four garlic pods, coarsely chopped
  • Half a bunch of coriander (stem and leaves), coarsely chopped
  • Two to three green chillies, finely chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Half a teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to season
  • Two tablespoons of mustard oil
  • One tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)

Heat mustard oil in a pan. Add garlic, once aromatic add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chillies and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds begin to splutter and curry leaves start crackling, add onion, coriander stem and cook until onions are lightly browned.  

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Now add the tomato, cook on a medium heat until the tomato is soft. Then add pumpkin cubes and turmeric powder. Mix well. Finally add the lentils (rinse thoroughly before adding them to the dish), four cups of water, lemon juice and season with salt. Cover the pan with a lid and let the dal simmer for 15-20 minutes.  

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Now add the remaining coriander, stir the dal well. Let it simmer for another five to seven minutes.The pumpkin should now be really tender and the lentils broken down. This gives the dal a smooth texture.   

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Your lip smackingly delicious pumpkin dal is now ready to serve. Garnish it with toasted black sesame seeds and serve on a bed of steamed rice or with some naan or just devour it by itself. Foodgasm is guaranteed. 

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Thai Basil Noodle Soup

A soup you can eat all day, everyday…

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I can’t believe how time is flying. Feels like  one minute I was pregnant and now baby SK is almost four months old. Parenthood really does change your world in so many ways but all for the better.

One thing that hasn’t changed is my love for cooking and eating. It was one of my biggest fears, baby SK consuming my world to the point where I can no longer venture in my kitchen and cook up a storm. My husband was worried too because after all he is the prime beneficiary of the LSD culinary spree. 

While we are still cooking and eating lip smackingly delicious dishes, I am guilty about not blogging them as swiftly as I previously would. I promise, I will try to change that and bring recipes to you quicker rather than just teasing you.

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Today’s recipe is a real burst of flavours. Inspired by beautiful Thai flavours such as lemongrass, kaffir lime and lots of Thai basil of course. What are you waiting for checkout the recipe below.

Ingredients:  15   Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 500 gms of rice noodles
  • Assorted vegetables (I used mushrooms, carrots and beanshoots)
  • Two lemongrass stems crushed (discard first two layers)
  • Fix to six spring onions, chopped 
  • One birds eye chilli, finely chopped
  • 250 gms of Thai basil leaves
  • One to two kaffir lime leaves
  • Fresh coriander, leaves and stem
  • Juice of one lemon 
  • Two tablespoons of tom yum paste
  • 100 gms of roasted and crushed peanuts
  • 1.5 litre of vegetable stock
  • 0.5 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste 
  • Two tablespoons of oil

Heat oil in a large pot. Add white ends of the spring onion, cinnamon stick, red chilli, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and six to eight Thai basil leaves. Stir all the ingredients and cook until aromatic. 

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Now add tom yum paste and mix well. Cook for seven to ten minutes on low heat or until the oil separates from the paste. Then add 1.5 litres of stock, remaining Thai basil leaves (save some for the garnish), lemon juice, sugar and season with salt as desired. Cover the pot with a lid and let the broth simmer on a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

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While the broth is simmering cook the rice noodles as per packet instructions and keep aside.

Once the broth is aromatic add the veggies. You can use any vegetables of your choice. Let the vegetables simmer for five to seven minutes or until tender. Don’t overcook the vegetables.

Your soup is now ready to serve. Place handful of rice noodles in a bowl. Add a generous serve of the broth and veggies. Garnish with coriander, Thai basil and crushed peanuts.

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Enjoy this lip smackingly delicious soup on a cold evening or a hot day. One bite will teleport you to Thailand!!!

Winter Shakshuka

Shake a leg or two with a Shakshuka…

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Shakshuka is a traditional Israeli breakfast dish, which in the west we popularly know as baked eggs. Gooey, runny eggs cooked in an utterly flavour packed tomato sauce full of herbs and spices, lets be honest what’s not to love about it! I have previously made a harissa spiced Shakshuka, you can find the recipe here

While traditionally a Shakshuka is always made in a tomato sauce, I decided to change things up a bit. Today’s Shakshuka recipe is an ode to a chilled winter morning where all your heart yearns for is a pan full of comfort, flavour and indulgence. Butter, cream, leeks, peas and eggs these ingredients scream winter with a passion and you can most certainly guarantee that you are in for treat when these flavours combine together.

So what are you waiting for checkout the recipe below

Ingredients:  12   Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

  • Four free range eggs
  • One leek (white part only), finely chopped
  • 200 gms of peas (I used frozen)
  • 200 gms of spinach (I used frozen)
  • One small brown onion, finely chopped
  • Half a bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 10 to 12 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 100 ml light cooking cream
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season
  • Quarter teaspoon of smoked paprika

In a skillet melt butter and add the chopped onion and leek. Cook until leeks are soft and aromatic.

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Now add peas, spinach, parsley and mint. Give all the ingredients a good stir, once they a mixed well add cooking cream and olive oil. Season with salt as required and let the sauce simmer on a low heat for five to seven minutes.

Before cracking the eggs you can blend the ingredients into a smooth sauce, but since I love the different textures and prefer the sauce to be rustic, so I have not blended it.

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Crack the eggs into the sauce, leaving space between them. Lower the heat, cover the skillet with a lid and cook until the egg whites are cooked. The whole point of a Shakshuka is that the eggs should be runny, but if you don’t like runny eggs you can continue to cook the eggs until they are the consistency of soft-boiled eggs. Note, if you cook the eggs past this point you rather not make this dish at all because a hard-cooked egg is really not worth a Shakshuka. 

Lastly sprinkle some smoked paprika on each of the egg, this gives them a little extra flavour boost and makes them look really pretty too.

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You can serve this dish with warmed up Lebanese bread, chargrilled sourdough, Indian flat breads and if you are utterly health conscious then serve this dish with a simple green side salad.

One bite will give you a taste of nirvana. So don’t wait and try this recipe for your next weekend family brunch and remember to shake a leg or two with a Shakshuka.

Mexican Friday Night Feast

Arribaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Need I say more…

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I have always wanted to go to Mexico! Remember the Sex and the City movie? When Carrie and the girls go to Mexico on Carrie’s honeymoon after she and Mr Big have that pre wedding spat. I was watching it the other day. All I could think of was how amazing would it be to be in Mexico with my girlfriends – the beach, a Corona, sunshine, a big bright sombrero, lots of tacos. Oh please teleport me to Mexico. Alas, going to Mexico could be a while, but that can’t stop me from bringing Mexico to me! How? Simple, through those big bold beautiful Mexican flavours – beans, salsa, jalapeno, guacamole, corn chips and more.

Recently for our Friday night in (Yes! My husband and I are too cool to go out for after work drinks on Friday lol), I decided it was time we took a culinary trip to Mexico. I had just watched the Sex and the City movie the night before and was clearly obsessing about Mexico all over again. I decided to change things up a bit and rather than the usual tacos or enchiladas I tried something different.

I tried to uplift the down trodden veggie burger by giving it a Mexican twist. You will know why I am calling it a down trodden Veggie Burger if you have eaten one here in Australia – it’s either too dry, or too soggy, under seasoned, over cooked, all in all just pathetic. To top it all there’s no McVeggie burger in McDonald’s either, which is the pride and glory of vegetarian burger lovers in India. So for all my Australian and other veggie burger lovers until McDonald’s doesn’t introduce the McVeggie here or wherever you are, please find a winner in this Mexican veggie burger. 

Ingredients: 22   Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

For the burger
  • Four large potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 250 gms of red kidney beans, boiled and coarsely mashed
  • Half cup of breadcrumbs
  • One red onion, finally chopped
  • Half bunch of coriander, finally chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon of coriander powder
  • Salt to season
  • Oil for pan frying
  • Burger buns (I used English muffins)
For the salsa
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • Two tomatoes, finely sliced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Half a bunch of fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
  • Half teaspoon of cumin powder
For the mayo
  • Four tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • One tablespoon of Jalapeno sauce
  • One tablespoon of Habanero sauce (or less if you don’t like it hot)
  • Juice of half a lemon
Burger toppings
  • Cheddar cheese slices
  • Fresh lettuce
  • Fried egg (optional)

To make the burger patties, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mash them up. Divide and shape the mixture into four equal sized patties, roughly 2 cm thick. Place them in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up while you prepare the other elements of the burger.

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To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. You can add more or less of the ingredients as desired, I personally prefer a zingy, spicy sauce and it goes really well with the patty. My vegan readers you can replace the mayonnaise based sauce by combining smashed avocado with the Habanero and Jalapeno sauce.

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To make the salsa, simply combine all the ingredients. Taste to make sure the flavours are to your liking. 

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Pre heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius. Heat oil in a frying pan and add the burger patties, cook for five to six minutes on each side or until crispy. Transfer them to the oven while you prepare the remaining elements of the burger.

Halve, butter and toast the burger buns on a hot griddle pan or under the grill. Once ready, add a dollop of Mexican mayo  or avocado relish and spread of both buns evenly. Remove and place the patty from the oven on the base of the bun, top it up with more mayo, salsa, fresh lettuce, fried egg (optional), cheese slice and finally the burger top. Your lip smackingly delicious Mexican Veggie Burger is ready to be devoured.

I served the burger with a side of corn chips, avocado relish and char grilled corn – I was definitely teleported to Mexico!!!

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Chicken Momos

You will definitely want more more…

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Thanks to social media the world has become such a small place. Connecting with people has never been easier. Today’s reader recipe is from a dear friend Sarah, we got acquainted through Instagram and share extremely similar passions – family (including our pets), food and fashion to name a few. I had been pestering Sarah to share her culinary masterpiece, her Chicken Momo recipe for ages because every time she uploaded a picture on Instagram it had me and the whole Instagram community drooling. So without further ado, find Sarah’s lip smackingly delicious Chicken Momos recipe below.

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“Momos like any traditional dish, has been passed down to us generation by generation. Every household has a different recipe, here is mine.”

Ingredients: 14    Cooking time: 20 minutes

For the filling:
  • Half kilo ground chicken (use thigh meat as it is juicier), can be substituted for any protein of your choice
  • Two onions finely chopped
  • Two to three inches of ginger peeled and made into a paste or finely minced
  • Few cloves of finely minced garlic (this is not authentic but I like the flavor of garlic)
  • 0.5 cup of vegetable oil (especially for the chicken momos as chicken has hardly any fat. This will produce juicier momos)
  • 1 bunch coriander finely minced stems and all (again this is my personal preference)
  • Salt to taste
For the dough
  • 3 to 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • Water as needed to make a firm dough
For the Achar (Pickle)
  • Handful of dry red Indian chillies or as per taste
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 10 to 12 cloves of garlic
  • Salt to taste

Mix the all-purpose flour and salt well. Add water as needed and knead like you would dough for rotis or pooris. Knead till the dough is firm and there are no flour visible on your kneading bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest while you start on your filling

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Another option – Look for white dumpling wrapper in the freezer section of the Asian Grocery Store. They are stacked high and packed together. You can use this to make it a bit easier but nothing tastes like homemade momo wrapper. If you buy the frozen wrapper, make sure to let it thaw in your fridge and keep it covered with a wet paper towel as you make your momos as they tend to dry quickly

For the filling, add the ground chicken, chopped onions, ginger paste, garlic if using, and chopped coriander in a big mixing bowl. Add salt to taste as well as the oil and mix well

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Take a small amount of filling on a plate and microwave for a few minutes. Taste for salt, adjust accordingly

Divide the dough into smaller portions and roll them like a long log. Cut them to small pieces and make round balls out of them like you would for pooris. Coat them in reserved flour and roll into small round wrapper

Add the filling in the center of the wrapper. This depends on the size of your wrapper. Start with a tablespoon and adjust according. Crimp and fold into any desired shape (You can watch videos on youtube to learn how to fold dumplings – Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Momos can be folded the same way). I just crimp and fold. The key thing is the shape doesn’t matter, as long as the momos are sealed shut properly as they cook with steam. So make sure that your momos are crimped shut.

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Arrange the momos in a greased steamer (I spray cooking oil spray in mine) making sure that they are not touching one another. I use a dumpling steamer so I add water to bottom of the steamer, half way through and bring it to a rolling boil.

Add the steamers with the momos on top. Close the lid. Put the timer for 20 minutes. We like to eat the momos when they are steaming hot and straight out of the steamer, so we time everything accordingly, like the achars and stuff.  

To make the Achar, begin by boiling the dry red chillies in water for at least 20 minutes (So that your tummy won’t hurt). Let them cool

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or if you have gas stove or grill you can simply char your tomatoes and garlic in the grill or over gas, If not cut the tomatoes into halves. Grease a oven tray lined with foil with oil. Add tomatoes to the tray. Cook for about 20 minutes till the tomatoes are nicely roasted. Add the garlic and cook for another 10 minutes or till nicely roasted.

In a blender, add the boiled chillies, the roasted tomatoes and garlic, and salt. Blitz, taste for salt, adjust accordingly. Your simple Achar is ready.

I hope you enjoy Sarah’s lip smackingly delicious Chicken Momo recipe!

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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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Roasted Pumpkin and Tomato Linguine

Yet another glamourous vegetarian meal…

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Being an avid foodie I love eating delicious food, but also pushing the boundaries when cooking. Professionally I work in human resources where everything is done procedurally by the book, so I find my creative outlet through cooking. I love trying different herbs, spices, vegetables to create my culinary masterpieces. Coincidentally the results are always, well almost always very rewarding.

My dream is to someday own an all vegetarian restaurant, showcasing vegetarian dishes from around the world. The key to delicious vegetarian meals is always using fresh produce that is in season. Another important tip is know your herbs and spices and the only way to learn all about them is by incorporating them in your everyday cooking.

Today’s recipe is about showcasing the delicious pumpkin we currently have in season in Melbourne. Nothing says winter like a warm hearty pumpkin soup, but today we are stepping the humble pumpkin up a notch with a lip smackingly delicious linguine. 

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Ingredients: 19  Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One packet of linguine pasta
  • Half a butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cubed
  • Three truss tomatoes, cubed
  • Eight to ten kalamata olives, pitted and diced
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • Five to six pods of garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
  • One tablespoon smoked paprika powder
  • One teaspoon red chilli powder
  • One teaspoon of cumin powder
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Six to eight sprigs of fresh rosemary 
  • Six to eight sprigs of fresh oregano 
  • One tablespoon of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Two teaspoons vinegar
For the garnish (optional)
  • Four eggs
  • Two tablespoons of goats cheese
  • Two teaspoons toasted black sesame seeds
  • Fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

In a baking dish add the pumpkin, tomatoes, olives, onion and garlic. Sprinkle the spices and tear up the fresh herbs, if you don’t have access to fresh herbs you can use dried rosemary and oregano (one tablespoon each approximately). Add a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, season with salt and pepper as desired and toss all the ingredients. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.

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Cook the pasta as per packet instructions. Once the veggies and the pasta are cooked, toss the linguine thoroughly and ensure the pasta is coated with the ingredients evenly.

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For the garnish I have used a poached egg, which gives this dish another flavour element and combined with the other ingredients it becomes a lip smackingly delicious sauce. To poach an egg, start by individually cracking the eggs in small bowls. Next bring water to a boil in a deep saucepan. Add vinegar, lower the heat and slide each egg one by one into the water. Depending on your pan a really runny poached egg will take two to three minutes and a medium poached egg will take about five to six minutes.

To assemble the dish plate the linguine. Place the poached egg on top and finally garnish with goats cheese, parsley and toasted black sesame seeds.

Your lip smackingly delicious Roasted Pumpkin and Tomato Linguine is ready to serve. Try this dish for your next pasta night and be sure to impress family and friends.

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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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Palak Dal (Spinach Lentil Curry)

Never judge a book by its cover…

Palak Dal and I have crossed paths many a time, but it never really interested me. I think it’s because it didn’t sound glamourous enough to eat when dining out and didn’t sound simple enough to make at home. Moreover with so many varieties of dal that are my favourite, palak dal didn’t really stand a chance.

So just when I ruled out palak dal, it came back into my life. One night I had a massive craving for dal and rice and surprisingly not many options, I only had chana dal in my pantry. Some days to satisfy a craving you have to make do with the dal you may not necessarily eat on other days.

There I was cooking chana dal for dinner only to realise I had no fresh coriander!! This may sound like a first world problem but it is a really big issue when you don’t have fresh coriander to uplift the spirits of the dal you don’t really like. After ransacking my fridge and freezer, I found some frozen spinach. Turns out I ended up making Palak Dal!

The truth is this not so glamourous and seemingly complicated dal was so comforting, flavourful and easy to make that I have been kicking myself wondering why I did not try it earlier. My lesson learnt is never judge a book by its cover. Without further ado find this lip smackingly delicious recipe below and take my word it will become your go to comfort food on days when you crave dal chawal.

Ingredients: 16   Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One cup chana dal (yellow split chickpeas)
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • Two medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Three to four green chillies, finely chopped
  • Five to six pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One cup of spinach, finely chopped (I used frozen)
  • Three tablespoons of desiccated coconut (or four tablespoons of coconut milk
  • One cinnamon stick
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 0.5 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 0.5 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • One teaspoon dried coriander powder
  • One teaspoon sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Two tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Salt to season

Start by rinsing the lentils a few times under water. Soak the lentils in water for an hour prior to cooking and if you have less time then soak it for 30 minutes in hot water. Drain the lentils and add them in a pressure cooker or saucepan with 3 cups of water and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Cook the lentils until they are soft.

To pack a punch in the lentils let’s make the tadka. In a pan heat mustard oil (mustard oil gives the dal a real earthy flavour but you can use ghee or olive oil) , smoke the oil for two minutes or so to get rid of the pungent mustard aroma. Now add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and cinnamon stick and let them sizzle.

Add onion, garlic and green chillies. Cook until the onions are lightly caramelised. Now add chopped tomatoes , cook the mixture on a medium heat until the tomatoes are soft. 

Now add coriander powder and desiccated coconut, followed by lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients well to distribute the flavour evenly. Finally add spinach and half a cup of water, season with salt and sugar and let the tadka paste simmer for 10 minutes on a medium heat.

Its time for the holy matrimony of chana dal with the tadka. Mix the boiled chana dal in the tadka paste, check for seasoning (add more salt or sugar as required). Cover the pan with a lid and let the dal simmer for five to seven minutes.

Your lip smackingly delicious Palak Dal is ready to serve. I served this beauty with a side of peas pulao (you can find a recipe for peas pulao here) and plain yogurt, truly a match made in heaven.