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

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.

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.


 

Aloo Mutter ki Tahiri (Potato and Pea spiced Rice)

A simple indulgence 

Somewhere over the last few months, I lost a little part of me. Priorities shifted from what I like to do vs. what I need to do. While I like blogging a lot, my growing toddler’s needs meant I had to put it on hold. Add to this being pregnant and bringing another little wonder into our lives. Busy has a whole new meaning in my world today. Also, truth be known, I got lazy! Free time meant catching up on sleep, watching a little TV, etc. 

So here I am, trying to rekindle my food blogging love affair. I assume you missed having your daily dose of LSD too? Today I bring to you a quick, simple yet hearty recipe of Tahiri. This dish has its roots in Lucknow, an eastern Indian city known for its artistic flair and as the seat of Nawabs ( Indian Royals). Interestingly, Tahiri is also enjoyed across Pakistan which makes me wonder if India and Pakistan could just make peace over a plate of Tahiri.

Ingredients: 16    Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

  • Two cups of basmati rice 
  • One medium size onion, finely chopped
  • One thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
  • Two to three green chillies
  • Two medium size tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Two medium size potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 250gms of green peas
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One large bayleaf
  • Four to five cloves
  • Two green cardamom pods
  • 1.5 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Two tablespoons of ghee
  • Salt to season

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom pods. 

Once the cumin seeds splutter and are aromatic, add the onions. Followed by ginger and green chillies. Cook until onion is lightly caramelised.


Now add the tomatoes and remaining dry spices, except bayleaf. Mix well and cook until tomatoes are soft.

Then add the potatoes and peas. Followed by basmati rice, mix well. Add enough water to cover the rice. Add bayleaf, lemon juice and season with salt. Bring to a boil, cover the saucepan with a lid and cook on a low heat, until rice is cooked.


Tahiri is now ready to be served. Serve alongside plain yogurt or with an Indian pickle or just by itself. I guarantee every mouth full is lip smackingly delicious.

Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry

Keep calm and curry on…

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I am a big believer of experimenting with ingredients. Combining different spices, herbs, vegetables and proteins to create lip smackingly delicious flavours is my thing. After all variety is the spice of life

Take this curry for instance, both chickpeas and cauliflower are very humble in flavour. However combined with bold spices like cinnamon, black cardamom and smoked paprika even humble flavours are brought to life. This curry was so quick and easy, I didn’t even get a chance to take photos along the way. Not to mention we were so hungry at the end that we devoured this beauty without a photo pause. 

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Ingredients: 16 Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

  • One cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 400gms of chickpeas (I used the canned ones)
  • One medium onion, finely chopped
  • 250gms of tomato pasata (or canned tomatoes)
  • Two pods of garlic, minced
  • Thumbsized piece of ginger, grated
  • 400ml of light coconut milk
  • One large cinnamon stick
  • One black cardamom
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon red chilli powder
  • Half teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to season
  • One tablespoon of ghee or two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

Melt ghee in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add cinnamon and crushed black cardamom. Once aromatic add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until onions are lightly caramelised.

Add tomato pasata, followed by all the dried spices. Mix well. Now add the cauliflower, chickpeas (drain and rinse prior to use) and two cups of water. Mix well and cover the pan, let the curry simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Now add coconut milk and season with salt as required. Cover the pan and let the curry simmer for another 15 minutes. Your lip smackingly delicious curry is ready to be served.

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve on a bed of steamed rice. This is a perfect way to enjoy a mid week meal.

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Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Carrot Stroganoff 

Show off with your stroganoff 


Somedays even the most devout foodies struggle to come up with ideas for mid week cooking. I don’t know if it’s the lack of inspiration or sheer laziness but for some reason cooking has felt like a real chore this week.

 Thank god Melbourne’s takeaway scene is delicious and bountiful. However when you have a rapidly growing little hungry hippo to feed, meals have to be more about nutrition than convenience. If you can find a meal that’s both nutritious and convenient then you’ve hit the jackpot. 

So after a few nights of sparing my kitchen, I got in there last night determined to whip up something lip smackingly delicious. This is how one sweet potato, couple of carrots and a tin of black beans came together to make a quick and easy, healthy and tasty meal for my family.

Ingredients: 12  Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into three inch sticks
  • Three carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 275 gms of black beans (I used canned one)
  • One medium onion, chopped
  • Two pods of garlic, chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Three teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cracked black pepper
  • Five tablespoons of sour cream
  • Salt to season
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil

Heat oil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add onion and garlic. Cook for one to two minutes until onions are slightly caramelised and aromatic.

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Now add sweetpotatoes, carrots and black beans. Mix well. Then add smoked paprika, chilli flakes, black pepper and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Add one cup of water, cover the pan and let the veggies and beans simmer on a medium heat for 15 minutes.

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Once the sweetpotatoes and tender add sour cream. Mix well. Season with salt to taste and cook for another three to four minutes. 
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Your lip smackingly delicious stroganoff is ready to serve. You can serve it with polenta, cous cous, pasta or rice. I have served it with some steamed rice, lemon butter asparagus and minted peas. A wholesome meal for those hectic week nights.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese 

My vegetarian bolognese brings all the Italian Nonnas to the yard…

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Everytime I go to an Italian restaurant I’m so tempted to order Nonnas homestyle spaghetti bolognese. After all there is nothing more comforting than rustic homestyle Italian food. The only problem is that a classic bolognese sauce is cooked with mince meat, which makes it a deal breaker for me. Not anymore! I can have my bolognese and can eat it too.

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This vegetarian bolognese packs the rustic Ialian homestyle flavourful punch, no animals were harmed or killed in its making and it’s just so easy.  You could make a big batch and freeze it too for ready to eat meals on weeks nights when cooking is the last thing on your mind.

Ingredients: 16  Cooking time: 60 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 400 gms of canned brown lentils
  • 300 gms of firm tofu, crumbled
  • One red onion, finely chopped
  • Two medium Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 400 gms of canned tomatoes or Pasata
  • Three to four pods of garlic, minced
  • One cinnamon stick
  • One large bayleaf
  • One teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon cumin powder
  • Half a teaspoon chilli powder
  • Two teaspoons of sugar
  • Salt to season
  • Four tablespoons of olive oil
  • One litre of vegetable stock

Drain the lentils, thoroughly rinse them  and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pot. Add cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Once aromatic add garlic and onion, cook until onions are lightly caramelised.

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Now add tomatoes, Passata and all the dried herbs and spices, mix well. Add crumbled tofu, cover the pot and cook the ingredients on a medium for seven to ten minutes.


Once the tofu is soft, add the stock and lentils. Mix well, cover the pot and cook the sauce of a low heat for 40 to 45 minutes. Stir the sauce from time to time to help break the protein and infuse the flavour thoroughly.


Season with salt and mix well. Let the sauce simmer for another five to seven minutes. In the meantime cook spaghetti as per packet instructions.

To serve toss the sauce with pasta and ladle a generous serve on top. Garnish with cracked pepper and grated Parmesan. I can guarantee this spaghetti will bring all the Italian Nonnas to the yard and you can say – Damn right it is better than yours!

Masala Aloo Gobi (Indian Spiced Potato and Cauliflower)

You haven’t eaten it all till you’ve eaten Aloo Gobi…

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Every Punjabi mother  dreams of a world where she cooks all day and her children eat all day. There are few vegetarian dishes every Punjabi mother swears by. These staples made up most of my childhood and continue to delight my tastebuds even today. For instance Rajma Chawal (red kidney bean stew with rice), Kaali Dal aur paratha (creamy black lentils with crispy flatbread), Kadhi Chawal (Chickpea flour and yogurt curry with rice), Aloo Paratha ( Potato stuffed crispy flatbread) and finally Aloo Gobi (potato with cauliflower).

So far I’ve brought you recipes for Rajma, Kaali Dal, Kadhi, and Parathas. Therefore it only makes sense to add Aloo Gobi,  another lip smackingly delicious dish to sort of complete your vegetarian Punjabi repertoire. There are many different ways to make aloo gobi but my favourite is cooking it in a onion, ginger and tomato paste with loads of garam masala, cumin and coriander powder.

So without further ado here’s the recipe for masala aloo gobi.



Ingredients: 15  Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: 6

  • One medium sized cauliflower cut into florets
  • Cauliflower stalks, roughly sliced
  • Three to four medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • One red onion, roughly chopped
  • Two tomatoes, cut in big chunks
  • One thumbsized piece of ginger grated
  • One tablespoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon cumin powder
  • One teaspoon coriander powder
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Half a teaspoon chilli powder
  • Quarter teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to season
  • One tablespoon of ghee
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Once aromatic add onion, cook until lightly caramelised. Now add tomatoes, grated ginger, one teaspoon of garam masala and all the other dried spices.


Once the tomatoes are soft, add potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan and cook the potatoes for five to seven minutes on a medium heat. Now add the cauliflower, stalks, remaining garam masala and season with salt. Mix well, cover the pan and cook the vegetables on a medium heat for 20 – 25 minutes. From time to time stir the aloo gobi to cook it evenly.


Take the lid of at this point, cook the aloo gobi on a high heat to crisp it up for about four to five minutes. Your lip smackingly delicious aloo gobi is ready to serve. It’s best eaten as a side along with dal, rotis and rice. Alternatively it can also be served with a nice piece of fish and some salad.

Aloo Shimla Mirch (Potato with Capsicum)

A childhood memory, a taste of home…


Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my Beeji (maternal grandmother) and Massi (maternal aunty). These two women are cornerstones of my upbringing. I owe a big part of who I am today to them. Even now every year when we visit India, I can’t help but feel the same excitement I did when I would visit Beeji and Massi during my school holidays.

Life was pretty simple as a child. Eat, play, nap and repeat. Although I think all I did was eat, eat, eat and eat. Among all the lip smackingly delicious dishes Beeji and Massi made, Aloo Shimla Mirch was my favourite. So much so I demanded that it be cooked everyday.

After all what’s not to love about potato and capsicum cooked in an onion and tomato paste. Flavoured with cumin and coriander powder. This dish right here is a perfect side dish to an Indian meal.

Ingredients: 11  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Three to four medium potatoes, sliced
  • Two medium green capsicums, sliced
  • One medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • Two medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons coriander powder
  • Half a teaspoon chilli powder
  • Quarter teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to season 
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil 

Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds, once aromatic add onions and cook until lightly caramelised.

Once the onions are browned, add tomatoes. Followed by all the dried spices. Mix well and cook the onion tomato paste on a medium heat for five to seven minutes.


Now add the potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan, turn the heat down and cook the potatoes for ten to fifteen minutes.
Finally add the capsicum, season with salt and mix well. Coven the pan and cook the dish on a low heat for another 15 minutes. 


Your lip smackingly delicious Aloo Shimla mirch is ready to serve. Serve alongside dal tadka and plain yogurt, enjoy it with warm rotis or plain rice.