Paneer in Pepper Sauce with Coconut Sambal

coconut sambal

This is a delightfully simple dish that is brightened up by this beautiful coconut sambal (that I could just eat by the spoonful).  Paneer cheese is one of my favourite things to put in a sauce and this is a nice change from my usual tomato based Matar Paneer.

Matarpaneer

The original recipe called for Halloumi, mostly because Paneer is not always easy to find.  I make my own Paneer from fresh raw milk and it’s SO easy, give it a try.

peppers

Summer came late this year so I had this recipe put aside waiting for the green peppers to turn orange, red or yellow.

paneer peppersauce

Paneer in a Pepper Sauce with Coconut Sambal

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For the Curry:

1 or 2 x 225g blocks of Paneer (if you use one, its just more saucy 😉 ),  patted dry and diced into 1cm cubes (or make your own)
2 red peppers, roughly chopped
2 red onions, roughly chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp of salt
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon plus extra wedges (add juice and taste before adding all !)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
A handful of coriander leaves

For the Sambal:

150g desiccated coconut
1 clove of garlic
zest and juice from half a lime
a small handful of coriander leaves

Add the sambal ingredients to a food processor and blitz until combined. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat and add the paneer cubes. Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until golden-brown. Then transfer them to a plate and set them aside until later.

Return the pan to the heat, add the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil and add the garlic. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the garlic starts to brown (carefful not to burn it).  Remove and put aside. Pile in the onion, pepper and salt. Stir-fry until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the zest and juice of the lemon, the turmeric and cumin seeds. Mix well, add 250ml of water and cook for another 10 minutes.

Transfer the sauce to a food processor or use a hand blender to blitz to a paste.

Return the paste to the pan and place over the heat. Stir in the paneer and mix in until warmed through. If it’s dry, add a splash of water to loosen it.

Transfer it to a serving bowl, scatter over some coriander leaves, the crispy fried garlic. Serve with some lemon wedges and sambal with basmati rice.

Bon Appetît !

**Adapted from a recipe by Nadiya Hussain

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Low Sugar Oatmeal Chocolate Muffins

muffinchoc

It’s HOT HOT HOT outside, but I need to fill my freezer with “not too nasty” snacks to keep me and the kids happy with our afternoon tea.

What’s a girl to do ?  Get out my solar oven !

Foursolaire

Baking in a solar oven can be a bit limited, but when the oven temp gets up to around 150°C I have a few favourite recipes that seem to work well (this Berry Clafouti is nice too).

These delicious muffins freeze really well (to then be quickly defrosted in the …….  SOLAR OVEN 😉 ) They have hardly any sugar (the dark chocolate helps though) and lots of oats to add structure and fiber.  They are practically good for you 😉

This is a forgiving recipe.  Any milk will do and I sometimes play around with the flours.  I had some beautiful Farro flour that a friend brought me from Provence.  So here I used half of the whole wheat flour I can get locally and half Farro flour.

I make my own vanilla extract by soaking sliced open vanilla pods in vodka for about a month.  WAY better than the shop bought stuff and dead easy !

Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins - low sugar

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup milk (whatever you have, I used fresh Jersey cow milk)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or any other spice you fancy with chocolate)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

Prehead your oven to 180°C (350°F) if you are not using a solar oven 😉 . Line or grease a muffin tin.

Mix your oats with the milk and set aside to soften while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large bowl whisk the egg and sugar until smooth.  Add vanilla and melted butter or oil.  Add flour, oat-milk mixture, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Stir until well combined but don’t over mix (muffin rules !).

Fold in the chocolate  and distribute the batter between the 12 muffin tins.

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  In my solar oven at 150°C they took less than an hour.

Bon Appetît !

**Directly inspired by the Family Food on the Table blog

 

 

Carrot Ginger Dressing

A jar of this in the fridge…  Good idea 🙂

carrotginger

This couldn’t get any easier.  Do you have a blender ?  Oui ?  You’re in !

Along the same lines as that delicious dressing served on the salad in a good Japanese restaurant this dressing is a bit odd as it starts with a raw carrot !

Don’t worry if you don’t have a high speed blender, I made this before I invested in my VitalMix Blender (aka the German made version of a VitaMix !) and it worked well.

Dip for crudités – Salad dressing – Topping for grain or rice bowl –  Dunking bread, pita or fingers in.

Slightly sweet, tangy and full of healthy ginger.

Carrot Ginger Dressing

  • Servings: bit more than 1 cup
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons peeled and roughly chopped ginger
  • 1 or 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • “up to” 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Tamari or soy sauce

All goes in the blender and blend away until you reach a nice smooth texture.  I suggest adding the lime juice and the honey gradually until you reach the mix of sweet and sour that pleases your palate.  Add more salt if needed and blend one last time.  This will keep in a jar in the fridge for at least a week…

*Inspired by Cookie & Kate

Bon appétit !

 

 

 

 

Mayo Revolution !

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Up until today, I generally have fought with homemade mayonnaise.  By hand (too lazy), beaters (works most of the time), blender (too much washing up) etc…

This recipe from Serious Eats has changed my “Mayo Game” !

stickblender

AND this is a whole egg mayo !  No more forgotten egg whites in the back of the fridge.

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Due to the egg white being included its lighter in colour and, to me, tastes more like shop bought mayo (in a good way 😉 ).

mayo

Below is the basic recipe, but add stuff to your hearts content !  I added a clove of my sun roasted garlic and a chunk of the white part of a spring onion. You could add raw garlic to make Aioli or herbs, roasted red pepper, a touch of fresh horseradish, pesto, wasabi, hot sauce, smoked paprika, blue cheese, chipotle, ginger etc. . .

Keeps for about 2 weeks in the fridge.

One Egg Mayonnaise

  • Servings: about 1 cup
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

  • 1 whole egg (room temperature)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (room temperature)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

All ingredients go into a recipient that is just wide enough for the head of the stick blender (very important). Most stick blenders come with their own jug, which is perfect.

Slowly lower the stick blender into the jug until it touches the bottom.  Start blending (high speed is fine).  Very quickly the mixture will start to emulsify, you can then start to slowly lift the stick blender up whilst blending.  You may need to move it from side to side near the top to get all the oil down.

Et voila !  In less than 2 minutes, you have mayonnaise 🙂

*original recipe on the Serious Eats website

Bon appétit !

 

Spring veggies

aspergesHEAVEN !  I love this time of year…  One by one, the spring veg show up in the market and in the garden 🙂

asperges1Lunch becomes more fresh and simple…  Quick to prepare.  Less cooking, more green, more crunch, feels healthy…  The chickens LOVE radish greens, so everyones happy 🙂

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To celebrate the arrival of the first broad beans and peas in our garden, I made a simple lunch adding fresh purple asparagus, bright red radishes and fresh herbs piled high on a beautiful slice of toasted sourdough bread after smearing a thick layer of the first fresh goats cheese from Anita’s farm.  A good shake of Espelette pepper and some local fleur de sel and we felt like we where the richest people in the world.  Quite sure that any great chef would be delighted to have access to this quality….

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Feeling fortunate and pretty pleased with myself !

Bon appetit !

Wild Garlic Pesto

Pestoailours

Wild Garlic season is upon us !  Where I live, you are sure to find fields of beautiful fresh wild garlic from early spring.

ailours

I was a bit late this year so they are starting to flower…  Even better !  The flowers are more pungent than the young leaves.  To eat wild garlic raw in salads, the young leaves are nicer so its wild garlic and nettle soup and wild garlic pesto on the menu today 🙂

pestoailours1

Pesto is pretty forgiving stuff, so play around with the ingredients to adapt to your taste and what you have on hand.  I used a few cashews and a few more almonds this time.  Strong Ewe’s milk cheese gave it a wonderful flavour.  Use more or less olive oil depending on what you will use the pesto for (for pasta it should be runnier).  This made enough for one meal of pesto on roast chicken and potatoes and tossed through pasta the next day.

Wild Garlic Pesto

  • Servings: 2 meals for 4
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

  • 1 bunch or large handful wild garlic leaves (flowers are ok too)
  • small handful parsley (optional)
  • 70g or a small handful of nuts (pine nuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts etc.)
  • 70g hard Ewe’s milk cheese (or pecorino or even parmesan)
  • extra virgin olive oil (around 150ml’s depending on the finished texture desired)
  • a squeeze of lemon juice to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste

Everything goes in a food processor or herb chopper (use a blender for a smoother finish, I like mine chunky) and give it a whizz until you have the texture you are looking for.

Store any leftovers in a jar, covering the pesto with oil, in the fridge.

Bon appétit !

Simple Lentil Dal

lentilescorail

I could live off Dal (I think quite alot of people do in India !)…  Isn’t it wonderful when “healthy” also falls under the heading of “comfort food” ?

Dal (daal, dhal etc.) is a broad term that refers to legumes (lentils, peas, and beans) that are cooked and spiced.  I’m sure there are an infinite number of recipes for Dal though one of its endearing qualities is the lack of need for a recipe.  Get the water to lentil ratio about right and play with it from there.  One of my favourites is this base, made with red (actually orange, go figure ;)) lentils.  PS :  red lentils are a great source of iron ….

lentillesred

The most exciting bit of this dish lies just before serving. . . TEMPERED OIL. Once you try tempering spices in oil, you’ll be flavouring all of your curries this way….

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Oil, or even better Ghee is heated, spices are added and the whole sizzling lot is poured into your finished dish.  Total transformation, trust me 🙂

Dal

Simple Lentil Dal

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup (200 g) red lentils (picked over if needed, and rinsed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 4 cups (235 ml) water

Tempering Oil

  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons oil or Ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 or 2 whole dried red chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (lightly crushed in a mortar & pestle)
  • Finish the dish with the juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime if you like

Put the lentils into a large saucepan with the turmeric, salt and water.  Bring to a boil and skim the foam that rises.  Simmer, covered on a low heat until the lentils are soft, 20 minutes or so.  Add more water if necessary and taste for salt.  Some like their Dal thick some like it soupy, its up to you.

For the tempering oil, combine the oil, coriander seeds and the cumin seeds in a small pan and heat over a moderate heat, stirring until they colour slightly (1 minute).  Add the chilies and cook, stirring for another 30 seconds.  CAREFUL NOT TO BURN THE SPICES.  Pour the oil and spices into the Dal, add the lemon or lime juice if using  and simmer for another 5 minutes before serving.  Serve on its own, with rice or Naan bread, or as part of a curry feast.

Bon appétit !

Some yummy variations to play with:

  • Before adding the lentils, fry a grated onion until soft adding chopped ginger and garlic just before the lentils and water go in.
  • Add a chopped fresh tomato just before the lentils are done.
  • Replace half the water with coconut milk.
  • Top with fresh coriander (cilantro).
  • Play around with other spices, either added with onion at the beginning or in the tempering oil; cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, garam masala, black mustard seeds, curry leaves etc…
  • Top the dish with crispy fried onions or leeks just before serving.