Spinach Paneer (GF)

Spinach Paneer (GF)

Spinach Paneer

The word Paneer is of Persian origin and is used to refer to any type of cheese. Paneer is normally homemade by Indian families, boiling whole milk and adding some lemon juice. My Grandma tried several attempts to make Paneer using Soya Milk and Almond Milk, but it didn’t work, so this is a vegetarian recipe using full fat dairy paneer and is dedicated to my brother

My brother loves Paneer and will eat it, in pretty much any form. This paneer dish is packed with amazing healing spices and antioxidants from the spinach and thus is a complete meal full of your veggies and protein. I hope you love it, a much as I love you, Mr D!

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. cayenne
  • ½ tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 12 ounces paneer
  • 16 ounces spinach
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chilli (deseeded)
  • ½ tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder

Method

  • In a bowl mix the turmeric, cayenne and salt and paneer, make sure the pieces are well covered
  • Heat half the oil and pan fry until at least golden on a couple of each side, set aside
  • Steam the spinach in a little broth, let cool and blend
  • Add the remaining oil to the pan, add the onions, tomato, chilli, ginger and garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to caramelize
  • Add the garam masala, cumin, coriander continue to cook until the spices are well incorporated, c. 5 minutes
  • Add the spinach, combine and cook for another 5 minutes
  • Add the paneer and continue to cook, make sure well combined and try not break the paneer pieces as you mix
  • Serve hot with rice or roti
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Mushroom Pate (Raw, Vegan, GF)

Mushroom Pate (Raw, Vegan, GF)

Raw Mushroom Pate

This is a lovely starter/canapé. It has a silky texture and earthy tone from the walnuts and mushrooms so your carnivorous guests will think it is made of liver, whilst your herbivore guests will lap it up for exactly the opposite reason.

It takes 5 minutes preparation and can be used for many different things, including a pasta sauce, an umami topping on a burger or a dip for crackers. I edited the recipe, which I took from Plant Food (Matthew Kenney, Meredith Baird, Scott Winegard), decreasing the amount of mushroom powder used to decrease the saltiness and adding fresh thyme to give a little brightness.

Mr B who is not a fan of liver Pate, loved this, although thought I was trying to trick him into eating traditional Pate until I showed him the process pictures.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups mushrooms (Portobello’s, Oysters, Shitake)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup mushroom powder
  • 1 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. agar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil

Method

  • Blend all ingredients, for around 8 minutes or until the blender is warm. (I wouldn’t usually recommend this, but in this case you need it to get warm to activate the agar)
  • Pour into a lined terrine mold (I used a small bread pan) and refrigerate for 2 hours to set

 

Baingan Bharta (Eggplant, Onion and Tomato Curry) (GF, V)

Baingan Bharta (Eggplant, Onion and Tomato Curry) (GF, V)

This is a beautifully smoky dish, with the smokiness coming from the quick charring of the eggplant in the pot. There is a similar dish in Greece and Italy, with different seasoning, in both of those it is eaten cold. This dish can be served hot or cold, alongside or as the main dish.

Mr. B and I debated my posting of this recipe, as I couldn’t seem to get a blog worthy picture out of this, but in the end we decided to post it, as the it really is an amazingly deep and smoky curry and we wanted to make sure you got the chance to taste it

IMG_8030

Ingredients

  • ½ tsp. peanut oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 large eggplants
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Almond yogurt (optional)
  • Coriander/cilantro to garnish

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan, layer on the onion and tomato (make sure you do this first as it supplies the moisture)
  • Add the eggplant next and then the spices
  • If you have a pressure cooker, cook for 5 minutes
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, put a lid on the pot and cook on medium high for 20 minutes
  • When eggplant is cooked through, add in the yogurt if using and stir, top with coriander, and serve

Easy Delicious Mango Chutney (V,GF)

IMG_MangoChutney

Easy, Delicious Mango Chutney (Vegan, Gluten Free)

I love Mango, to me it tastes like nectar from the gods and I honestly prefer it to candy. Whilst I have always been a fan of the mix of sweet and salty, fruit in savoury recipes just doesn’t work for me. I do however think, fruit and spice goes well together, almost a counter balance of fiery and cooling (similar to me and Mr B)

This is a quick recipe for mango chutney that can be used as a condiment on anything, from Indian samosas to grilled vegetables/chicken. The best thing about this recipe is that it gets better with time, as the longer you leave it, the more the flavours infuse, so you can make a big batch and use it to spice up your dishes for months to come.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peeled and grated unripe mango
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 2 tsp. honey or raw sugar (more or less to taste)
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (increase if prefer more spice)
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. almond oil/neutral oil
  • ¼ tsp. black mustard seeds

Method

  • In a small bowl, combine the mango and onion and mix well
  • Add the sugar, cayenne, cumin and salt. Taste the mixture. You want a good balance of hot, salty, tart and sweet so adjust accordingly as the tartness/sweetness of the mango may vary
  • In a small saucepan, over a high heat, heat the oil and when it starts to shimmer, add the mustard seeds. Once they have popped take them off the heat and add the seeds and infused oil to the mixture
  • Let the flavours blend for 10-15 minutes before serving
  • The longer the flavours sit together the more infused they become, so I tend to make this a few days ahead
  • Refrigerate and you should be good for at least a few weeks/months

Chana Dal

Channa Dal

Chana Dal

This is a lentil dish for beginners with little process and just a few of your everyday spices.

These lentils are sweet and nutty and come from black chickpeas that are split and the outer cover is removed. There are different ways to make this dish, with this one being northern Indian inspired.

My grandma made this without the tinned tomatoes so hers would have been more traditionally yellow in colour. I like the addition here of the tomatoes as it combines my Italian and Indian family roots and makes the dish a little more tart, to be served with rice or pasta

This dish is natural and healthy, gluten, dairy free and full of herbs and spices that have multitudes of health benefits. It is also high in protein and low calorie

Mr B and I took great pleasure eating this on a snowy day, sitting in our home near the window and pretending we were in our own snow globe!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chana dal
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli (optional)
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • ½ tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander/cilantro to serve

Method

  • Pick and rinse the chana dal well in running water
  • Soak the dal in water for an hour
  • Drain the lentils, add to the pot with the water and turmeric and bring to the boil
  • Boil until the lentils are soft, skimming any white foam off the top as you go
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil
  • Add the cumin first and fry for a few seconds
  • Add the garlic and fry for 20 seconds
  • Add the onions and fry for another 30 seconds
  • Add the tomatoes, ginger and green chilli
  • Stir and add all the dry spices, stir
  • Once thoroughly combined, add to the lentils
  • Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine
  • Add salt to taste
  • Serve with coriander

Butternut Squash Carpaccio

Squash Carpaccio

Butternut Squash Carpaccio

I found this recipe in a raw vegetable book, in which everything looks more like art than food. This dish is no exception, with it variety of vegetal colours including the deep orange from the butternut squash, the garden fresh green from the arugula and the beautiful vibrant pink from the pomegranates that look like jewels on the plate

This is a light starter and super healthy, it will impress your guests but hardly has any process or time involved. Mr. B as always is my primary taster and I wasn’t sure he would like my raw art adventure, however to my surprise he gave quiet a few nods, noting it as ‘a light and refreshing dish with a nice variety of textures and tastes’

Ingredients

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 tbsp. virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic glaze
  • Cracked black pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 butternut squash, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp. pomegranate seeds

Method

  • Peel the butternut squash
  • Use a mandolin to slice the butternut squash
  • Place the slices in the olive with salt and pepper and leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes to a few hours depending on when you are to serve
  • Once the slices have softened place them on a plate
  • Mix the arugula with the balsamic glaze and place on top of the Carpaccio
  • Sprinkle the pomegranates over the top and serve

 

Kitcheree (rice porridge) and Oyster Mushrooms

Rice Porridge

Kitcheree (rice porridge) and Oyster Mushrooms

I lived with my maternal grandmother (Bigmama) for the larger part of my childhood and she influenced so many parts of my personality in those former years, including my love of food. For my grandma food was a tool. A means to show love, a way of bringing her family together, a way of connecting to the community and a way of retaining the parts of her heritage she had left so far behind.

One of the first memories I can recall from living with Bigmama was the incense she used to use with prayers at 4am in the morning. Scents of earthy sandalwood would enter my dreams, taking me to enchanted places as the sun started to rear its head over the horizon.

At 6am, the smell of poppy seeds being tempered in ghee (clarified butter) would start making it’s way up the stairs and into my coax me awake, signalling the start of a new day. By the time I got down the stairs the table would be set with chutneys, all different type, spicy carrot, sweet mango and sour tamarind, as well as different types of poppadum’s, fried, baked, flat, round, all giving a different texture when mixed in with the kitcheree. As we sat and mixed up our porridge my grandma would talk about her life before coming to the UK, bringing up her children and the shop she had run, where she would import food from all over the world, creating a liturgy of foodie children.

This is an ode to that wonderful warming porridge, with a modern twist using mushrooms, since I haven’t quite developed my chutney or poppadum recipes. I’ll never replace the conversations, but Mr. B tries pretty hard and I love him for that.

Ingredients

Porridge

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ¼ cup split green moong dal
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Ghee or oil
  • 2 tsps. Mustard seeds

Oyster Mushrooms

  • ½ pound oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Method

  • Soak the rice and dal together for an hour
  • Bring to the boil with 4 cups of water, skim the white foam off the top
  • Add salt and leave to simmer, c. 30 minutes
  • Cook till you get a soft texture and taste to add more salt if needed
  • Mash with a potato masher or the back of a spoon
  • Heat oil/ghee in a separate pan and add the mustard seeds, when they crackle add them to the cooked porridge
  • Mix it and serve hot
  • For the oyster mushrooms, heat the oil with the garlic to infuse the flavour into the oil
  • Place the oyster mushrooms in the pan. Keep in one place in the pan for 3-5 minutes until to braise and add colour, flip once near the end of cooking to cook the other side
  • Serve with the porridge, providing a different texture and flavour profile