Thursday, May 30, 2013

Souper Thursday: Asian-Esque Beefy Broth

So; I mentioned last week (on what would have ideally been last Thursday; but was, if fact, last Friday... Whoops!) that it's a Swedish Tradition to serve soup on Thursdays. Which is awesome.

I'm using my love of Sweden and Swedish culture to influence what I am now referring to as "Souper Thursday" wherein I force my family to eat soup every Thursday. Thus far, this proposition has gone down remarkably well. It is coming into winter in NZ, after all.

I like soup.

This is an easy soup. It looks fantastic and classy.

Look at that classy soup. With that fancy, mixed focus photography.
But all it is is beef stock boiled with a couple of star anise and a few, whole cloves before being poured over vermicelli noodles and thinly sliced beef (here I used schnitzel)... Topped off with some bean sprouts and julienned carrots and cucumber, a soft(ish) boiled egg and sprinkled with fresh coriander and finely sliced chilli and spring onion.

And that's it. Honest.

In other news I'm about to move (back) out of home and down to my beautiful capital city... in the hopes that being in the city I want to work in will improve my chances of being actually employed.

I'm excited because this will be my first time cooking for one in my "natural" (or rather "familiar") environment! I will now be able to augment my previously "flat friendly" meals with meals and baking designed for one. Because, although I am no longer a student (I graduate in December - WOO!), I will still be on a budget, and cheap, flavourful and healthful food will still be my aim!

Here's to an exciting, if unknown, future together: you, me and this blog!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Taste & Create: Broccoli Soup

Did you know that in Sweden it is traditional to have soup on Thursdays? Specifically; yellow split pea soup because yellow split peas are associated with Thor and Thursday is, after all Thor's Day!

This recipe is not for yellow spilt pea soup. This recipe is for Broccoli Soup. This is because we had approximately a million (AKA 2) broccolis and no spilt peas (I used them making soup for last Thursday!)...

This soup that I made for Taste & Create this month is simple, tasty, vegan (if you let it be, I didn't) and requires very few ingredients. It's fantastic for Students and Real People alike! It also came out the most fantastic shade of green:
I fried the cumin seeds and garlic in butter as PJ of Seduce Your Tastebuds recommended in butter because I like butter. And I think garlic tastes better fried in butter, over oil... But, as oil is such an easy substitute; I still think it's fair to store this recipe as a vegan option.

The potato gives the blended soup a creamy texture without the addition of milk or cream. PJ pressure cooks her potatoes and broccoli; but I don't have a pressure cooker in my student kitchen so I boiled my potato and steamed the broccoli over it... Feel free, however to boil your broccoli and potato together; bearing in mind that the broccoli won't need quite so long to cook as the potato and over-cooked broccoli is a kinda funky colour...

I really enjoyed this soup, and hope you do too!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Taste & Create: Thali - Tomato Riata

This is my penultimate Taste & Create Thali recipe from Seduce Your Taste Buds... :)

It's a year, one month and 23 days since I posted my original review of 6 of PJ's delicious recipes... and today I will tell you, in greater detail about the 6th: Tomato Riata...

I really loved all the colour matching going on with the riata in this particular bowl...
Now, you may be like me, and of the belied that riata always contains cucumber. And cumin. And mint. Yes? No? Well; it turns out - we're wrong. Shocking, I know!

If you check out PJ's Menu page and scroll half way down (ish) she has a whole HOST of riata dishes! Only one of which contains "cucumber" in the title... So there. You learn something new every day.

This riata is a little more acidic tasting than its more conventional contemporary - but tasty none the less! I recommend giving it a go even if only to say that you have...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Taste & Create: Thali - Sambar

Taste & Create Thali recipe from Seduce Your Taste Buds #4!!

For today's Sambar recipe, you will need 3 teaspoons of yesterday's Sambar Spice powder recipe...

Hand ground Sambar Spice
Sambar, as a general rule is not my favourite way to serve lentils. I chose to make this recipe in the hopes that making my own Sambar, completely from scratch, would teach me otherwise.

It didn't.

Don't get me wrong! This Sambar is lovely! My friends and family think it fantastic! It's just not to my taste...

The original recipe called for "drumstick" which is not something I'd encountered before... PJ offers a variety of alternatives at the end of her post; I used peas because that's what I happened to have at the time.

So today, I will provide you with the recipe and encourage you to come to your own conclusions...

Clockwise from top left: Garlicky Spinach Rice, Aloo Fry and Sambar

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Taste & Create: Tahli - Sambar Powder

You're going to need today's Sambar Spice recipe for tomorrow's Sambar Curry Recipe... It's pretty simple, really - just the ingredients together and away you go!

The quantities listed here will make more than you need for the Sambar; but the spice powder will keep will in an airtight container for future use...

I had a great time blending these all together by hand with a mortar and pestle! But use a spice blender, if you have one... or whatever else you have available to you. :)

You'll need:

1/2 cup coriander seeds

1 Tbsp gram dhal
1/2 Tbsp fenugreek seeds
Red chillies, to taste (I used 1)
1/4 tsp Asafoetida (hing) - this is an anti-flatulence herb and won't affect the taste of the Sambar Powder if you can't find any to use.
1-2 tsp oil

Dry roast the coriander seeds until fragrant.

Add the oil and the rest of the ingredients and fry briefly until all oil is absorbed.

All to cool before grinding into a fine paste.

Store in an airtight container until needed.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Taste & Create: Thali - Garlicky Spinach Rice

Further catch up on my rather delayed Thali collection today... and this instalment is Garlicky Spinach Rice!

This rice comes out the most extreme, green colour - it's fantastic!! As I have mentioned before spinach is my favourite food; so this dish was always going to be a winner!

The three chillies ground into a paste (with more garlic, fresh ginger and water) give it a bit of a bite... So either label it as not for the faint of heart, or use fewer chillies to dial it down a bit...

This recipe is fairly similar to a Greek one I've presented previously; only with extra garlic and chilli and ginger added... Puréeing the spinach also make this final dish much greener than the previous one! I'd be hard pressed to pick a favourite out of the two; the Greek dish being much richer and this being more punchy - you should try them both out and see which you like better!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Taste & Create: Thali - Aloo Fry

Hej, hej!

Remember my Thali from Taste & Create way back? Well... I've been paired with PJ of Seduce Your Tastebuds once again and I feel this is the optimum opportunity for me to finally get around to posting the full recipes I made last time... thus reminding both you and me how awesome they are! (It's a sign from the Gods, I tell you!)

Top: Tomato Riata, Aloo Fry, Garlicky Spinach Rice
Centre: Black Sesame Chutney
Bottom: Sambar made with home-made Sambar Powder
Although I really liked (most) of the dishes I made... Far and away my favourite (and the one I've made most often since) was PJ's Aloo Fry...

The crunch provided by the whole spices and slightly crispy fried potatoes in this dish really blew me away. Think; pan roasted, Indian spiced roast potatoes!


Most of the spices required here (mustard seed, cumin seed, coriander seed) are not all that "unusual" and if, as a student, you were to go out and buy a packet - I'm sure you'd find many reasons to use them again and again. (Packet curries very rarely stand up to their homemade counterparts). The fenugreek (kasuri methi) leaves are a liiitle bit more unusual... and although they definitely add an enjoyable extra dimension to the dish; I hope I'll be forgiven for suggesting that you can probably get away without them if it's beyond your means.

Do try this dish out! I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kitchen Sink Quiche

 This is one of those dishes that is so easy and such a part of my everyday life that it never even occurs to me to photograph and post it...

Not the prettiest thing ever, but still pretty damn tasty!

I call it "Kitchen Sink Quiche" but it could just as well be "Fridge Scraping Quiche"... Kitchen Sink just sounds... nicer ... to me, y'know? And Kitchen Sink or Fridge Scraping it's a great way to use up any left over bits and pieces you don't know what else to do with!

The recipe it technically "self-crusting" which means you don't need to worry about a pastry case and the batter is made with both wholemeal flour and bran flakes (although you can leave out the bran flakes or substitute for plain, all-purpose flour if that's more your jam...) so it's full of fibre!

I'll attach the recipe (almost) as I found it in the (old) Edmond's Junior Cookbook... but this is just the humble beginnings of what could be a great dish! The original is vegetarian, but the photographed one here had bacon in it as well...

Or; sub out the cheddar cheese and mushrooms and chuck in smoked chicken, brie and apricot for a rather more up-scale quiche!

The only things limiting you are your imagination and the contents of your fridge!

Younger Brother was hungry and couldn't wait for me to snap a posed photograph...
So what are you waiting for?! Dig in!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Nigella's Mexican Scrambled Eggs

I'm starting to detect a theme here...

I feel that I have yet to learn how best to photograph scrambled eggs...
These scrambled eggs are pretty fantastic Nigella totes these as the ultimate hangover cure; even going so far as to suggest that they're worth deliberately hanging yourself over for... I'm not convinced anything is "worth" a hang over... but they're still pretty dang good!

There's something about eggs and chilli that just works for me! The kind of remind me of "Parsi Eggs" which are a spicy, Indian style of scrambled eggs my whole family enjoys... at some point I shall have to make and photograph 'em for y'all!

Now, Nigella calls for corn tortillas in her recipe; to the best of my knowledge you can't get corn tortillas in New Zealand... In fact, I've never seen a corn tortilla in the flesh my whole life! (Sheltered much?) I used the easily available flour tortilla to provide the crunch for my eggs... and to that end they worked fine! :) You could use the bottom few chips from a bag of corn chips, or even toast to the same effect, I would imagine...

A word on scrambling eggs: when I was first "taught" how to scramble eggs (ie; sans microwave) at school we were told to cook them reeeally slowly over a very low heat, stirring all the time 'else they'd go rubbery. This leads to very soft, but slightly grainy eggs, in my experience, not a texture I particularly enjoy. What I like to do is to crank the heat right up on a non-stick pan, melt a knob of butter and whip the eggs into a bubbly frenzy. Then I pour the eggs into the hot pan and allow them to set on the bottom before slowly pushing them 'round (wrinkling them, really) with a silicone spatula. Once you've wrinkled the first layer of egg, stop and let the next layer set on the hot pan before wrinkling again. Continue until all the eggs are neeearly cooked. Then turn off the heat and tip out onto a plate/piece of marmited toast... smother with HP Sauce and you're away (although I'd skip the marmite/HP sauce for Mexican eggs...)!

You don't want to cook the eggs all the way in the pan because they'll continue to cook in their own heat off the pan... over cooking eggs WILL make them rubbery!

The point of all this, I think, is scramble your eggs in the way that makes you most happy!

Click on for the ingredients...