Mango Lassi

My normal choice of lassi is just spiced sweet lassi, but I have a tub of frozen mango I am slowly working my way through… This takes seconds to throw together but really does add another dimension to an Indian banquet at home.

For 2 tall glasses of thick, luscious, cooling comfort you need:
1/2 tub value runny yogurt
handful ice cubes
handful frozen mango
1/2 yogurt tub of cold water (or more if you want a thinner lassi)

Lob everything in to a blender and blitz till smooth (about 1 minute or so). Serve.

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Northern Indian Curry (v)

This is a recipe adaptation from Anjum Anand’s recipe for Northern Indian Chicken Curry. The sauce it makes is delicious and very versatile. I added quorn chunks but next time I think it’ll be chickpeas 🙂

For 4-6 portions you need:
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
7 cloves
7 bashed cardamon pods
1/2 stick cinnamon (or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
salt and pepper
1 fresh chilli, chopped
2 dried whole chillies, bashed
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
2 tbsp ground corriander
1 tsp ground cumin
30g crushed garlic (yes I know that’s a lot but it’s worth it)
2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp tumeric
3 tbsp oil

Begin by frying the whole spices in the oil for a few seconds. Add the onion and cook over a moderate heat for about 20 mins till browned. Add everything the dried spices, chilli, garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Add everything else including the main protein (e.g. 1 can drained chickpeas or 1 packet of quorn chunks). Add 1/2 can water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 mins or so until thickened and cooked and delicious. Serve as you would normally with rice or roti and sit back basking in gut busting satisfaction 🙂

Marmite Pasta (v)

This is a Nigella recipe, and one that’s done the rounds recently between some of my online friends. It’s utter simplicity, utter savoriness and utterly delicious.

For one person you need:
100g pasta
1/2 tsp marmite
1 tbsp butter/vegan marge

Cook the pasta in water as per usual. In a separate pan put the fat and marmite and meld together with a little of the pasta water. Bubble gently and then add the pasta, taking care not to drain too carefully. Toss thoroughly and scoff. If you’re not vegan add lashings of grated cheese to it 🙂

Chocolate Orange Cake

This should have been Nigella’s marble cake but I didn’t read the recipe properly and added all the cocoa powder at the beginning thereby making chocolate orange cake instead. It still tastes nice but Lex was disappointed Mummy hadn’t made his request. Oops…

For 2 loaf cakes you need:
250g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
zest and juice of one orange
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk

Cream the butter and sugar and then add the eggs, flour, raising agents and cocoa. Mix in the orange zest, juice and milk. Scrape into 2 lined loaf tins and bake for 30 mins or so in a moderate oven.

Veggie Eggs Benedict

I adore this, and still hanker after the real thing, but this is an acceptable veggie substitute.

For one person you need:
1 english muffin, split and toasted and lightly buttered
2 eggs, poached (see perfect poach egg recipe for how)
2 tbsp hollandaise sauce
2 rashers veggie bacon, cooked

Place the bacon on the muffins, trimming to make it fit. Place a poached egg on top and then drizzle over the hollandaise sauce. Serve as a lazy brunch or late supper and feel suitably decadent.

Perfect Poached Eggs

Remember, this blog is to teach my son to cook. That is all.

For a perfect poached egg you need:
1 egg
1 pan simmering water
1 tsp vinegar

Place the vinegar in the water and bring to the boil, then reduce to the barest simmer. Crack the egg into a glass and pour gently into the water. Cook for 3-4 mins till the white is set and the yolk is runny. Drain, pat on a tea towel to absorb the excess water and serve as you wish.

Fruit Flan

I have always scorned those ready made sponge flan bases in the supermarket but for some reason I brought one last week along with a carton of creme patisserie. Lex was delighted. Apparently this is one of his favourite puddings (who knew…). For mummy and daddy I raided M&S for the last of the British berries.

For 6-8 slices you need:
1 ready made sponge flan base
1 carton proper posh creme patisserie
Assorted seasonal berries (we had strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries)

Place the custard on the base and then decorate with the berries to make a pleasing pattern. Leave some flan and custard bare for Mr Fussy Pants.

Tempura (v)

I have never ever made tempura before. I was under the (mistaken) impression that it was difficult. How wrong I was. It’s easy peasy and tastes delicious. Pass the batter!

This is based on the delectable Ottolenghi’s recipe…

For 4-6 people you need:
About 1.5 kg of different vegetables (I used onions, peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauli, courgettes)
80g cornflour plus a little extra
80g self raising flour
200ml sparkling water
2 tsp oil
pinch salt
oil for frying

Chop the veggies in to bite sized pieces, taking care to make sure the harder ones are sliced quite thinly.

Mix the flours with the oil, salt and water. Mix lightly. Toss the vegetables in a little extra cornflour and then dip them, one at a time, in the batter. Heat some oil for frying in a large wok. Drop the batter coated veggies in one at a time, taking care not to crowd the pan or the temperature will drop and everything will go soggy. Turn in the oil to ensure even cooking and then drain. Serve with soya sauce and sweet chilli sauce for dipping.

Beghrir (Moroccan Pancakes)

Yet another variation on the pancake theme… These were served in our hotel for breakfast with lashings of butter and honey. They were very very good indeed.

For 12-16 pancakes you need:
2 eggs
125ml warm water
2 tsp yeast
125ml warm milk
250g plain flour
225g semolina
1/2 tsp salt
vegetable oil for frying
honey and butter to serve

Begin by adding the yeast to the water and leaving it for 5 mins to dissolve. Put the flour, semolina and salt in to a bowl. Add the eggs to the milk and mix well. Pour the eggs and milk in to the flour mixture and then add the yeasted water. Mix well to form a very sticky dough/very stiff batter. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for at least 2 hours (I leave it overnight in a cool room).

When you’re ready to make the pancakes, mix the batter again and heat a large frying pan. Add a little oil and then pour some of the batter into the pan. Spread out to make a pancake about the size of a side plate. Cook gently until bubbles perforate the top. Eat topped with honey and butter.

Saganaki

OK OK I know this isn’t strictly middle eastern an’ all but it tastes nice and goes well with the other offerings on the mezze table…

For 2 people you need:
1 pack feta
fine breadcrumbs
lemon juice
vegetable oil

Coat the cheese in the breadcrumbs and chill for about 30 mins. Heat a pan until very hot and add a little oil. Briefly fry on both sides till golden brown and the cheese is warmed through. Serve with lemon juice. Delicious!