Saturday, 29 June 2013

Mumbai Disco Fry Eggs

Definitely the winner for best name ever for a dish. Helen (Food Stories) blogged about this recently and it quickly became something loads of people on my Twitter stream were cooking up for themselves. I've never heard of it before but it seems to be made in several places in Mumbai. It's a mixture of soft fluffy eggs and crispy bread fried up spices and lots of chilli.

You break eggs into a pan of very hot oil, add spices then lay two halves of a white bread roll on top, add more spices and then begin a lot of squishing and flipping to get a crispy, eggy spicy flat pancake sort of thing.

It's a super easy breakfast or lunch and you'll probably have all the stuff in your kitchen already. Do it!
Helen also says it is a perfect hangover cure, but I've not had a hangover to test that out on, but I can see how it is.

Find the recipe here (and watch the video).

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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

A quick one from me, a ridiculously simple and awesome way of turning some watery supermarket tomatoes into sweet, intensely flavoured ones. Rachel at Gastronomic Girls posted this a couple of weeks ago and I was drawn to the simplicity of it, and because I had some tomatoes getting lonely in my fridge.

You simply coat halved tomatoes in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic (which I actually didn't bother with), sugar and seasoning and then roast on a tray for around 3 hours until they are 'semi dried' - still juicy but packed with flavour.

Rachel used hers to make pesto and tomato tarts for cocktail nibbles. We had them alongside some roasted aubergine and feta, and then the next day on a pizza.

You must give it a go, you don't need anything special and you can pretty much leave them alone for the whole three hours. I bet they'd be great stirred into pasta or with a cooked breakfast.

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Saturday, 22 June 2013

Healthy Snacking: Bounce Balls

I'm all for snacking, but I find it hard to make it healthy. I'm not a big fan of fresh fruit (it makes you hungrier than when you started, right aren't I?), save for really nice summer berries, but that reduces my fruit snacking options to about 3 months of the year. Plus I love chocolate bars, I've written an ode to them before.

I recently tried a Nutribox subscription, which contained a Bounce Ball, which I loved. Shortly after the lovely people who make Bounce Balls offered to send me the range, which was rather nice of them!

Waitrose currently stock them, but only two flavours, so I got to try others that I wouldn't be able to get hold of locally. I'd already tried Cashew & Pecan (in my Nutribox) and also the Almond protein ball - which Waitrose have. The range I was sent was Coconut & Macadamia, Peanut, Almond and Spirulina & Ginseng.

I've got quite a sweet tooth and this is the reason I like bounce balls, a lot of other health food bars and snacks I've tried have lots of goodness in them but can be a little lacking in sweetness. Bounce Balls don't achieve this with sugar, but with Brown Rice Malts, Grape Juice and Vanilla.

By no means are Bounce Balls low calorie, they are designed to be eaten was a protein packed snack  before exercise, or as a snack to nourish you. They are really filling, which I like, as it stops me snacking on empty calories through the day, plus as they are dense and chewy they are satisfying. They are more expensive than a chocolate bar (around £1.80) so they are an occasional treat, but you can save money if you buy them in packs from their online shop - plus they are better for you than a chocolate bar!

My favourite flavour was, surprisingly, the Spirulina & Ginseng. It looks a little strange as it is a green colour but it has a really nice fudgy taste and the earthiness of the Ginseng really works.

Coconut & Macadamia was reminiscent of those snowball cakes you used to get in the 90s. The Peanut was a little too chewy for my taste, it was a little hard to eat! And it was a hot day so I would have thought it would be softer. The Almond, which I'd had before, wasn't as chewy as the peanut, so easier to eat.

I've noticed they've got a fudgie walnut ball, which makes me think (hope) it might taste a bit like a chocolate brownie, I'll be looking out for this one too.

Bounce Balls are priced at around £1.80 and you can buy them in Waitrose, Holland and Barratt and other health food stores. Find out more here. Bounce Ball also have their own online shop where you can buy packs of 12 and 40.

Thank you to Bounce Balls for my samples.

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Monday, 17 June 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Meal Planning Monday

I've seen a few blogs posting up Meal Planning Monday posts, and I've just thought about ours for the week, so if you're stuck for inspiration, here's what we are eating:

Monday - Pesto Pasta
Standard post-Zumba dinner of pasta + sauce. Will be adding some sage as my plant in the garden is over growing.

Tuesday - Ottolenghi's Barley Risotto
Spotted this whilst flicking through Jerusalem looking for something that didn't require too much shopping for expensive ingredients. It's a tomato-ey risotto with barley instead of rice, finished with marinated feta.

Wednesday - Veg Box Day - Falafel, Houmous, Carrot Salad, Wraps
Getting some carrots in our veg box so will make up a grated carrot salad with the other veggies plus a light chilli dressing. Every attempt I have made at making falafel has been a disaster so it will be shop bought all the way. I like to make wraps when I have the time, they are much better, but this is a weekday so will be good old Warburtons Square Wraps, which are great.

Thursday - Cauliflower Butter Chicken
Spotted this recipe on Pinterest, its a healthier version of butter chicken, but with cauliflower and coconut instead of cream and chicken. Very interested to see how this turns out.

Friday - Creamy mushroom stroganoff
I've got some nice egg noodles which go really well with stroganoff, and mushrooms are coming in the veg box. Will add some more of that overgrowing sage too!

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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Cheddar Risotto

Nigella has the best ideas. I persevere with her television persona and fondness for alliteration because her recipes are generally great and she has a real knack to for knowing how to find a guilty pleasure in food. This cheddar risotto is a prime example - all the comfort of macaroni cheese and the cosiness of a risotto (see I'm talking like her already...).

As Nigella says, the Italians may not necessarily agree with this recipe, but sharp cheddar and creamy risotto works so well - if parmesan, mozzarella or blue cheese can work then so should cheddar.

It's a cinch to put together, and a lot less work than macaroni cheese but with the same feeling. I didn't alter the method of Nigella's recipe, only the quantity - 300 grams of risotto rice was far too much to serve 2 as a main, 150 grams saw us fine.

I used a very strong crumbly cheddar, Tesco Finest's Wookey Hole cheddar was ideal, a cheap cheddar will result in a claggy oily risotto. 

Nigella's recipe is here.

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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Linton Kitchen

Linton has been crying out for some interesting food options for ages! It's a pretty village south of Cambridge with lots of chocolate box cottages winding down their high street, and now the street is peppered with some interesting places to eat and shop. First there was Jigsaw Bakery, now there is Linton Kitchen, and soon there will be a new butcher's shop opening.

I worked very close by about 3 years ago and the only things of note nearby were the greasy spoon around the corner and the fact that the nearest BP garage had an M&S food. You can imagine. 

Linton Kitchen is a coffee shop and local produce shop run by Gemma, which opened in April. It's a small shop packed with local goodies - Kandula tea, Hot Numbers coffee beans, jams, chutneys, oils, eggs, Saffron Ice Cream Co. ice cream and lots more. She even sells local crafts - tea cosies, little fabric clocks and mugs. 

I'd stopped by soon after opening for a coffee and custard tart, but I was keen to go back with the Mr again and to have brunch. 

There are lots of options - centering around traditional breakfast foods - eggs, mushrooms, sausages and of course bacon - the menu changes daily. There are also a selection of sandwiches for lunch and of course there are sweet treats to be had.

We both had the mushrooms on (Jigsaw Bakery sourdough) toast with creme fraiche, and added bacon for me, washed down with an excellent flat white. The quality of everything really shows in Gemma's food - the mushrooms taste of something, there is a good whack of garlic and the bacon is excellent. You can tell the produce is fresh and well chosen. 

Cakes are baked by Gemma or provided by the lovely Afternoon Tease. There are also housebaked brownies or flapjacks and muffins. You can also find Norfolk St Bakery's custard tarts for sale, which is rather nice for a Shire dweller like me who finds it difficult to get into the city. She even made my recipe for Banana Oat Cake and had it for sale last week, and it is very popular (beaming). 

The Linton Kitchen has only been open for just over 6 weeks but Gemma has already done so much, there is always something new available (which she tweets about each day) whether it is a new cake or some fresh produce that has just come in. There are local strawberries in this week, the first batch of the summer.

If you're a little bit further afield it is definitely worth making the trip out to Linton - there is Jigsaw Bakery, Linton Kitchen and then you can go and visit the Zoo as well! And if that isn't enough you can make lots of Alan Partridge jokes whilst you are there (sadly there isn't a travel tavern). 

I'm looking forward to being a regular customer, it's a lovely spot to chill with a coffee and it's nice to have a proper breakfast / brunch option in the area.

30 High Street 
CB21 4HS

Open Tues - Saturday (8-6) and Sunday (10-3)

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Monday, 10 June 2013

An Excellent Potato Salad

I'm not a big fan of cold foods. Room temperature and hot foods are where it is at for me. I think there is just more flavour when something hasn't come straight out of the fridge. If I remember, I will take a lunch intended to be eaten cold out of the fridge half an hour before lunch, so it is edible (to me). So you are probably wondering why I am telling you about potato salad?

Well potato salad is fine as long as it is served at room temperature, and there are some other things you can add to make your potato salad much better than the ordinary.

I find adding strong flavours like spring onion, sharp pickle and a strong herb like parsley helps to break through all the clagginess you can get with a straight mayonnaise and potato mixture. Eggs are a no no for me, so don't ask me about those! And skins on please, as Nigel Slater would have it, there is flavour (and fibre!) in those skins!

An Excellent Potato Salad
Serves 2 as a side with lunch sized leftovers

300g of new potatoes, skins on
3 tablespoons Hellman's mayonnaise*
3 spring onions
1 large pickle
juice of 1/4 lemon

Dice your potatoes in to large chunks, and boil in a saucepan until cooked through - but be careful not to overcook otherwise they'll be mushy when you prepare the salad.

Chop your spring onions, pickle and parsley finely and add to a large bowl with the mayonnaise.
Leave the potatoes to cool completely.
Mix with the mayonnaise mixture, season to taste and then add the lemon juice.

* This is not a sponsored post, I just think Hellman's is the best ready made one to use, and the light version is perfectly acceptable.

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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Bhel Puri

Hands down, bhel puri is my favourite savoury thing to eat. Closely followed by pani puri and then from a completely different culture - macaroni and cheese.

Bhel Puri is a type of Chaat - which is simply savoury snacks sold at the roadside all over India, but many associate them with cities like Mumbai and Delhi. I love the origin of the word chaat.

From Wikipedia "The word derives from Hindi cāṭ चाट (tasting, a delicacy), from cāṭnā चाटना (to lick), from Prakrit caṭṭei चट्टेइ (to devour with relish, eat noisily)."

You can also buy (or make yourself) chaat masala which is made up of amchoor (dried mango) powder, black salt, coriander, ginger, salt, pepper, asafoedita and chilli powder. This is used in all kinds of chaat to easily season, plus it tastes great! Add it to your next chickpea curry.

Bhel puri offers everything - it is a Gujarati snack made popular in Mumbai by migrants to the city-  it's crispy, crunchy, soft, sweet, savoury, spicy and sharp. The base is a mixture of puffed rice (mamra) and fried chickpea noodles (sev) which is then topped with chopped onion, sometimes tomato, boiled spicy potato (often with chaat masala), mint chilli coriander chutney and tamarind chutney. You mix it all together and eat it up immediately whilst it is still crunchy. Fancier versions I've had, at Dishoom for example, also contain pomegranate or diced mango.

As I've said, it is traditionally a snack, but if you love it like I do, it's more than ok to eat three portions and call it dinner. You'll find sev, mamra and tamarind in most Indian grocers and also very large branches of the main supermarkets. If not The Asian Cookshop has everything you'll need, and their delivery charges aren't too dear.

Tamarind can be bought in a large scary looking block, which needs to be soaked and then passed through a sieve, it is a bit of work but you can freeze the resulting paste and take out as needed. You can also buy jars of tamarind paste in most supermarkets, but it often has added ingredients.

Bhel Puri Serves 2 generously for dinner, 4 for a snack 

 200g sev
200g mamra puffed rice
 ½ onion, diced finely then soaked in water
 2 medium sized potatoes diced and boiled
¼ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp chaat masala salt (boil til soft, drain, cool and then add seasoning and spices) 
2 tomatoes, diced

 Green Chutney 
15 mint leaves
large bunch of coriander
¼ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp cumin ½ cm ginger salt
¼ green chilli (or more to your taste!)
4 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
scant 1 tsp sugar 

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor - you want a thin sauce, a bit like salsa.

Tamarind Chutney 
1 tablespoon of tamarind paste
1 ¼ tsp caster sugar
pinch of garam masala
5 tablespoons of water
pinch of salt

Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and simmer over a medium high heat til boiling. Turn down and then simmer gently for 5-10 minutes til it thickens to just a little thinner than ketchup.

To Serve
When serving put all your separate ingredients in to bowls and then let diners make their own bhel puri by piling up ingredients and chutneys to taste in a bowl.

I'll be serving bhel puri plus plenty of other yummy things at my upcoming Gujarati Supperclub in Cambridge in August, dates to be announced soon - sign up to the mailing list here

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