Coconut Vegetable Curry

Go Nuts for Coconuts…

As a mother of two, I am always finding ways to make haste in the kitchen. I am always on the quest for quick recipes, which are easy to make and equally tasty and nutritious. It’s hard to imagine but such recipes do exist!

Today’s recipe is a good way to introduce your little people to curry and vegetables. My boys adore this dish and will happily eat thirds too. It combines the warm earthiness of garam masala with the coastal flavours of coconut. What makes this recipe fuss free is that you can pretty much use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. My meat lovers, you could add chicken or fish or prawns to this dish, either way it’s lip smackingly delicious.

Ingredients: 16 Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves : 4

    One small cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
    Two potatoes, cut into bite size cubes
    Two carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
    One red capsicum, roughly sliced
    Handful of green beans, roughly chopped
    One cup of green peas
    One onion, finely sliced
    Two pods of garlic, finely chopped
    One thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
    One heaped teaspoon of garam masala
    Half teaspoon of turmeric
    One medium size cinnamon stick
    One bay leaf
    800 ml of light coconut milk
    Salt to season
    Four tablespoons of vegetable oil

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add cinnamon stick, followed by onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until aromatic and onion is translucent.

Now add the vegetables and dry spices, except bay leaf. Mix well.

Add coconut milk, bay leaf and season with salt to taste. Simmer the curry on a medium flame for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve with steamed rice or savoury flatbread or simply eat it as a soup. So moorish, so tasty

Spinach and Potato Bake

Love what you do, do what you love…

After a long break, I am sitting here staring at the screen thinking of something profound to say. Trying to make a come back, with a bang. However, words fail me! I don’t have an explanation for my absence. I don’t know how long I am back for or how frequently I will post a recipe for you. What I do know, is I love food and as long as I can cook, I will share it with you.

Today’s recipe is a simple, hearty winter warmer. Layers of potato, garlicky spinach, cream and cheese, a perfect matrimony of decadence and nutrition.

Ingredients:  11          Cooking time: 60 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One large bunch of spinach, finely chopped
  • Three medium potatoes, thinly sliced
  • one small onion, finely chopped
  • two to three garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Two eggs
  • 300ml of cream
  • 250 gms of grated cheddar cheese
  • 125 gms of grated parmesan cheese
  • Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • One teaspoon white pepper
  • Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Heat oil in a pan. Add onion, once translucent add garlic. Cook until aromatic.

Now add the chopped spinach, season with salt. Once wilted, drain the excess liquid (tip: you can use the liquid as stock in your gravies or pasta sauce).

In a bowl, combine eggs, cream, pepper and salt. Mix well.

Now grease a baking dish with some olive oil. Make a double layer the of the sliced potatoes, then add the spinach mixture and finish with a double layer of potatoes.

Pour the cream and egg batter and finally top it with grated cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until cooked and golden brown on the top.

I usually serve this with a side of roasted vegetables or a salad. Either way it is lip smackingly delicious.

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Shepherds Pie

A hearty wholesome winters delight


I started my blogging journey with great pomp and flair. Trying to take the perfect photo, making sure I use the high appeal hashtags to get lots of likes and comments, checking my stats every few hours to see how it was all tracking, etc. As the months went by this passion started turning into bit of an obsession. The pursuit of perfection got even more intense. On the flip side the number of likes and comments  took a downward turn. The more I watched my posts being less liked, the lesser I was inclined to publish new content.

Life also got busier, I went from being a mother of one to a mother of two. While parenthood is the most beautiful thing in the world, the constant demands it has of you means somewhere, something has to give. For me it was blogging. Days turned into weeks and weeks to months before I knew it, it was over six months since my last post.

Why am I telling you this? Simply because it dawned on me one late evening as I was feeding my newborn and watching my toddler sleep. You must do all that it takes to keep doing things that make you happy and pursue happiness not perfection. Life is too short to care about the camera angle or the perfect photo or about the number of  likes and comments on your social media. What matters is what makes you happy! After all life is a pursuit of happiness. So is this recipe!!!


Don’t get deterred by the list of ingredients. You can use frozen or fresh vegetables, basically whatever you have in the fridge. Enjoy this hearty, wholesome winters delight that may not be a perfect picture but it is a perfect meal. Lip smackingly delicious in every way.

Ingredients:  Cooking time: 45 minutes 

Serves: 4

  1. Two tins of canned brown lentils
  2. One tin of four bean mix
  3. One leek, finely chopped
  4. One small onion, finely chopped
  5. Four to five pods of garlic
  6. One zucchini, chopped
  7. Two parsnips, chopped
  8. Half a bunch of spinach
  9. 1.5 cups of frozen vegetable mix of peas, corn and carrots
  10. 1.5 teaspoon of garam masala
  11. Half a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  12. 1.5 teaspoon of dried basil
  13. 250 gms of grated cheddar
  14. 125 gms of grated Parmesan
  15. Salt to season
  16. Black pepper to season
  17. Three tablespoons of olive oil
  18. Two tablespoons of butter

For Mash Potatoes

  1. Six to eight medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  2.  300ml of milk
  3. Two tablespoons of butter
  4. One cup of grated cheddar

Heat butter and two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add garlic, leek and onion. Cook until leek is soft and lightly caramelised.


Add all the vegetables, lentils, beans and spices. Mix well. Season with salt and add a cup of water. Cover the pan and let the lentils and vegetables simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.

To make mash potatoes, boil potatoes until extremely soft. Drain water and add milk, butter and cheese. Mash the potatoes until smooth.

To assemble the pie in a baking dish add the lentils and vegetables at the bottom. Top this with a layer of mash potatoes. Add grated cheddar and Parmesan on top. Drizzle remaining olive oil on the potatoes ( this will prevent them from drying in the oven.


Place the bake dish under a grill and grill until cheese is caramelised. Your Shepherds pie is ready to serve.

Serve hot along with a simple green side salad and let this hearty winter delight fill your belly and soul with warmth.

Fish Curry

There’s nothing fishy about it 


I grew up in a vegetarian household and was strictly vegetarian until recently. Then one day just like that I decided to order a seafood pasta and haven’t looked back since. With that said I still can’t stomach fish that smells like fish, for instance, salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc. Nor can I eat oysters because they look like snot. After all food is an all inclusive experience. We eat with our eyes and taste with our nose first. 

Over time I have built my knowledge about various kinds of seafood and the flavours, spices, etc that are complimentary to each other. This fish curry recipe includes a mix of dried spices and fresh herbs. It’s similar to the Kerala fish curry called ‘meen moillee’. 


So when my mother in law and father in law were over I decided to indulge them in an all encompassing flavour explosion. I served the fish curry on a bed of basmati rice and with a side of crispy potatoes. I was so pleased to see everyone wipe their plates clean and even go back for thirds. 

Ingredients: 18   Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

  • Two large white fish fillets, without skin and cut into bite size pieces (I used barramundi)
  • 800ml of coconut light cream 
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • Two tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Three to four pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One thumbsized piece of ginger, grated
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves 
  • Two to three green chillies, chopped
  • Two kaffir lime leaves
  • Half a bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • Two teaspoons of dried mint
  • Two teaspoons of coriander powder
  • One teaspoon of red chilli powder
  • Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Half a teaspoon of asafoetida (hing), optional
  • Four tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Salt to season 
  • Fresh coriander to garnish (optional)

Heat mustard oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once aromatic add garlic, ginger and onion and cook until onion is caramelised.


Add tomatoes, turmeric, chilli and coriander powder, cook until tomatoes are soft. Then add dried mint and fresh mint (leave some fresh mint for garnish), coconut cream, kaffir lime leaves and two cups of water. Season with salt as required.

Simmer the curry on low heat for 30 minutes. Now add the fish and cook on low heat for another seven to ten minutes or until the fish is cooked.

Garnish with fresh mint and coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice or roti bread. Either way this curry is one hell of a winner!

Pumpkin, Carrot and Potato Soup

Autumn in a bowl 


Autumn is one of my favourite seasons in Australia. There’s a slight chill in the air and beautiful heartwarming colours of orange, red and yellow everywhere. It is one of the most picturesque sites to see. 

This autumn was made even better with the birth of my second son Jai Alexander. I mean how time flies my older son is nearly two, I am a mother of two and life is just that little more chaotic but oh so beautiful. The merriment around the house tripled as my parents were visiting too. I can’t explain watching my parents with my children in words except that it filled my heart with so much love, warmth and gratitude. 

To celebrate our little bundle of joy and the last remaining days of autumn, I decided to cook with colours of autumn.  I’m not a fan of pumpkin per say but I have to admit when combined with other warming flavours, it truly shines. So I decided to make a pumpkin, potato and carrot soup with chilli, lemon and ginger oil. 

Ingredients: 16   Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

For the soup

  • Half a pumpkin (I used butternut), peeled and cut in cubes 
  • Two carrots, peeled and diced 
  • Two to three potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • One onion, chopped
  • Two pods of garlic, chopped
  • One bay leaf
  • One teaspoon cumin powder
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One vegetable stock cube
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt to season 

For the lemon chilli oil

  • Five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • One to two red chillies, chopped
  • One thumb size piece of ginger, grated
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One to two kaffir lime leaves

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add garlic, once aromatic add onion and cooking until lightly caramelised.


Now add all the vegetables, followed by all the spices (except the stock cube). Mix well. Then add one litre of water, stock cube, season with salt and cover the pan with a lid. Let the soup simmer on a low heat until vegetables are cooked.


To make the flavoured oil, combine all the ingredients in a pan and let them simmer on a low heat for five to seven minutes or until aromatic.

Using the stick blender, blend the soup until smooth. Season with salt as required, add more water if needed to reach desired consistency. Again let the soup simmer for another 10 to 12 minutes.

Garnish with a generous drizzle of the chilli, lemon and ginger oil. Serve with a side of garlic bread and feel your heart and soul warm up with this autumnal goodness.

Fridge Clean Out Pasta

A little bit of this, a little bit of that


Some days you can plan all you want but nothing goes to plan. Most days in the life of a stay at home mum are like this. Since baby number two has come along, all I seem to be doing is feeding him and trying to stop my toddler from poking his baby brothers eyes out. The struggle is real!

Amidst all this craziness I find taking out even 15 minutes to cook gives me composure and peace. After all when you do what you love you are one step closer to nirvana! Today I was all set on making my husband his favourite chicken schnitzel with mash potatoes and roast vegetables. Only problem was I had none of the ingredients in the fridge. Talk about things not going to plan!

While last minute food shopping was out of the question! Yes you do lose basic liberties like running out to the shops on a whim when you are a parent. My 15 minute window to put a meal on the table was rapidly closing too. After ransacking the fridge and pantry, I managed to pull together – a pack of spaghetti, a punnet of grape tomatoes, handful of kalamata olives,  capers, half a bunch of parsley and a bag of frozen peas. There was only one way this was going, we were heading to Italy (well metaphorically anyway) with a big bowl of pasta.

 

Ingredients: 12  Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One packet of pasta (I used spaghettini)
  • One punnet of grape/cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 250 gms of peas
  • Handful of olives, cut into halves
  • Two tablespoons of capers 
  • Half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • One onion, finely sliced
  • Three to four garlic pods, finely chopped
  • Five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Salt to season 
  • Cracked black pepper to garnish (optional)
  • Grated Parmesan to garnish (optional)

In a heavy bottom sauce pan bring water to a boil. Cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, in another saucepan heat three tablespoons of EVOO. Add garlic, once aromatic add onions and cook until onions are lightly caramelised. Then add half of the chopped parsley, along with the olives and capers. Mix well. Cook on a low flame for four to five minutes.


Now add peas and toss the mixture thoroughly. Once peas are slightly soft add the tomatoes, season with salt and cook on a high heat for two to three minutes. 

Finally add the pasta, followed by the rest of the parsley and EVOO. Toss through to make sure all the ingredients are evenly mixed. Your fridge clean out pasta is ready to serve. Garnish with cracked pepper and Parmesan. 

Dill and Lemon Fish with a Pea Mint Mash

Something a little special 


One of my favourite things to do over holidays is have family or friends over and indulge in leisurely and delicious dinner parties. Something a little different from the usual culinary fare and something a little special too. The recipe I’m sharing today is just that. 

I made this meal when our family was over and staying with us for the easter long weekend. Like me, my family is made up of devout foodies, we all live to eat. I wanted to make something a little extra special for them but also something that didn’t require slaving in the kitchen for hours on end.


Inspired by flavours from Greece this fish recipe makes the perfect use of fresh herbs and dried spices. I love the  freshness and simplicity of Greek food. This dish is so aromatic, with every bite you can smell and taste each distinct flavour. Served on a bed of pea mint mash not only makes it healthy but also a little extra moorish.

So the next time you have guests over, pull this trick out of your hat. It’ll be a meal they remember for a long time to come. 

Ingredients: 14  Cooking time: 30 minutes 

Serves: 6

For the fish 

  • Six fillets of white fish ( I used gummy shark)
  • One punnet of dill, finely chopped
  • Half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 100gms of capers, chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • One teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 300ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt to season 

For the pea mint mash

  • 500gms of peas
  • Two teaspoons of dried mint leaves
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt to season 

Begin by marinating the fish. In a large bowl combine, oil, dill, parsley, capers, oregano and chilli flakes. Mix well. 

Add the fish and using your hands gently rub the marinade on all the fillets. Cover the fish with cling wrap and put it in the fridge for five to six hours. This will allow all the flavours to seep into the fish.

While the fish marinates prepare the pea mint mash. Boil the peas for seven to ten minutes or until soft. Rinse with cold water and drain them. Now mix all the ingredients in the blender and blitz it. Season with salt as required, pea mint mash is ready.

To cook the fish, heat a heavy bottom frying pan and add the oil from the marinade. Use more extra virgin olive oil to cook the fish if required. Place the fillets in the pan and cook for four to five minutes on each side or until the fish is cooked. Drizzle lemon juice on top of each fillet and sprinkle salt to taste.

Before plating up warm up the pea mint mash. Add a large spoonful of the mash on a plate and gently place the fillet on top. Drizzle the oil from the pan on top for more flavour. Season with cracked pepper and serve.


 

Roasted Cauliflower and Lemon Spaghetti

Let this heal your broken heart


Yesterday as I was prepping for dinner, Donald Trump was announced as the President of the United States. I needed a minute to digest what I had just heard, how could this be? My heart immediately reached out to all the blacks, the Muslims, the women, the lgbt community. What would happen to their American dream?

My hangry, screaming toddler got me to snap out of my downward spiralling thoughts. Yep, hurry up Mum, I’m hungry, focus!! So I looked over my kitchen bench and saw half a cauliflower  staring at me. A thought crossed my mind, what if this was our last meal? After all Trump becoming President is a sign of all hell breaking loose.

What was going to be a plain old boring dinner, suddenly got very glamourous and this is how.

Ingredients:  12   Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One packet of spaghetti
  • Half a cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • Half a bunch of parsley (stem included), finely chopped
  • One onion, finely sliced
  • Five to six pods of garlic, crushed
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1.5 teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 1.5 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 100ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Cracker pepper to taste
  • Goats cheese for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Celsius.


In a baking dish assemble the cauliflower florets. Add three crushed garlic pods, sprinkle with chilli flakes and smoked paprika. Drizzle about three to four tablespoons of olive oil. Bake the cauliflower for 20 – 25 minutes until slightly charred and crispy.

Bring water to a boil in a stock pot and cook pasta as per packet instructions.

In another saucepan, heat remaining olive oil. Add remaining garlic, once aromatic add onion and half the parsley (mostly chopped stems). Cook this mixture for four to five minutes.


Now toss in the spaghetti into the onion mixture, followed by lemon juice and season with salt. Mix the spaghetti well. Then add the roasted cauliflower and gently toss the pasta. Add more olive oil if the pasta looks dry.

Garnish with the remaining parsley, cracked pepper and goats cheese.

As you eat dinner tonight spare a thought for all the people in the world, send out positive vibes and always spread goodwill and love.

Curried egg and Broccoli open sandwich 

It hits the spot and how…

 
 

Little Samuel Kabir absolutely loves broccoli and eggs, which means our fridge is always stocked with them. Every second day I find myself steaming broccoli or boiling eggs for my little monster. 

While SammyK can happily eat steamed broccoli and boiled eggs just as they are. Mummy needs a little something extra because that’s just eating way too healthy for my liking. I decided to make myself an egg and broccoli and open sandwich. It was so good that I’ll definitely be making this for lunch more often.

Ingredients: 10   Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 1

  • Two slices of crusty sourdough bread, toasted 
  • Two boiled eggs, chopped
  • Three to four medium sized broccoli florets, steamed and chopped 
  • One teaspoon of capers
  • Two tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • One tablespoon lemon juice
  • Half a teaspoon curry powder
  • Salt to season 
  • Crushed black pepper to garnish
  • Chilli flakes to garnish

In a bowl combine all the ingredients, mix well. Season with salt.

Assemble toasted bread on a plate. Scoop the egg and broccoli mixture and layer it on to the toast. If you are health coscious you can turn this into a salad by adding lettuce.

Garnish with pepper and chilli flakes. Some fresh herbs like parsley or coriander would be great for garnish too. 

A simple lunch for days when you are too busy to cook but never too busy to eat.

  

Hyderabadi Baigan 

When memories create meals, they are one of a kind…

  

Many things in life are easy to forget but one seldom forgets a delicious dish. One such dish I found myself recently reminiscing about and relentlessly craving was Hyberabadi Baigan, also known as Bhagare Baigan. An eggplant curry inspired by flavours from Hyderabad, a former princely state in the southern belt of India.

Hyderabadi cuisine has evolved over centuries through local and foreign influences. The key ingredients of Hyderabadi cuisine are coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds. While the cuisine is more meat based, you can also find some real vegetarian gems in the mix.

Here’s my take on this Hyderabadi classic. To be enjoyed with parathas or rice,  every mouthful is lip smackingly delicious.

  

Ingredients: 15  Cooking time:  45 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 1.5 dozen of baby eggplants, quartered and soaking in water 
  • One medium-sized onion, sliced
  • Two medium tomatoes, quartered 
  • 200 gms of peanuts, roasted
  • 400 ml of coconut milk 
  • Six to eight curry leaves
  • One lemon sized tamarind ball or juice of one lemon
  • One bay large bay leaf
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Half teaspoon chilli powder 
  • One cinnamon stick
  • Three tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Vegetable oil for pan frying the eggplants.
  • Salt to season 
  • One teaspoon sugar

For tempering (optional)

  • One tablespoon of ghee
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Six to eight curry leaves

Begin by pan frying the quartered eggplants until they slightly change colour and are soft. Keep aside.

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To make the sauce, heat oil in a kadahi or a heavy based pot. If you can’t find mustard oil you can use vegetable oil, ghee or olive oil.

Once the oil is aromatic add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and curry leaves. When the spices splutter and are aromatic add sliced onions. Cook until onions are slightly caramelised.

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Now add roasted peanuts and mix well. Cook onion and peanuts for about five to seven minutes. Then add the tomatoes and dried spices. Mix well. 

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While the tomatoes soften, soak the tamarind ball in quarter cup hot water. Once soft squeeze the pulp and strain the juice. If you don’t have tamarind you can also use juice of one lemon. Add the tamarind  juice, one teaspoon of sugar and two cups of water to the tomato mix. 

Give the ingredients a good stir. Once it comes to a boil turn the gas off and let the gravy cool. Then blend until smooth. Finally add coconut milk to the gravy, season with salt and cover the pot and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on a low heat.

  
Now the gravy is ready for the eggplants. Drop eggplants gently into the gravy. Let the gravy simmer again for 10 to 15 minutes so the eggplants soak in all the flavour.

 

Last step is to add the tadka or temper the gravy with aromatic flavours of mustard seeds and curry leaves. Heat ghee in a skillet. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once they splutter and are aromatic add to the curry and mix well to infuse the flavours.

Your lip smackingly delicious Hyderabadi Baigan are ready to be served.