Courgette (Zucchini), Feta and Brown Rice Torta (Pastry-less quiche)

 

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Quiche without pastry, whatever next?!

I found this recipe in my favorite magazine from the UK, (Grazia) that my mum is kind enough to send over with friends and relatives in amazing care packages, which also include delights such as earl grey tea, Waitrose chef ingredients and M&S underwear.

The magazine always includes a new and ‘up and coming’ healthy food blog and a few of the featured recipes. This recipe caught my eye as it looks like a quiche but has no pastry and so is good for those who are gluten free. It also uses sheep cheese, so good for those who are lactose/cow milk sensitivity.

The blog is a feel good life style blog; http://calgaryavansino.com

The only adaption I made was to substitute wild rice for brown rice, as I personally prefer the taste and texture.

Ingredients

  • 300g brown rice/wild rice, cooked and cooled
  • 130g feta sheep cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 400g (4-6) courgettes, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Small bunch fresh basil leaves (picked, washed and finely chopped)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Method

  • Heat oven to 180C/ 350F
  • Coat a casserole or quiche dish with the coconut oil
  • Combine the cooled rice and half of the feta cheese in a bowl and then press firmly into the dish
  • Steam the courgette slices until al dente (5 minutes or so). Then press the corgette slices between paper towels to remove excess water and combine it in a bowl together with the other half of the feta cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper, place this mixture evenly over the rice.
  • Using the same mixing bowl, add in the eggs and basil, stir well and then pour the mixture over the courgette layer
  • Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden and the eggs have cooked through
  • Leave for 5 minutes to cool down before serving
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Moong Dal (a.k.a. Mug/Wednesday Dal)

Food is everything we are; it’s an extension of identity, your personal history, your childhood, your development, your family tree and your grandma’s love.

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Life is short: Eat healthy, breath deeply, love limitlessly.

We used to call this dish Mug growing up and as a kid I used to make a lot of fuss when I was served it. The Moong Dal when cooked is a yellow green due to the green of the moong bean and the yellow of the turmeric added. I didn’t like the color much and so used to whine. As I got older I missed the wholesome qualities of this warming dish, with the deep notes of garlic and ginger and just that hint of fragrant spices and would ask my grandma to make it for me so I could freeze it and eat it once a week. As I cooked this dish, the memories of my grandma cooking it every Wednesday came back, those amazing aromas that I now miss so much.

Thank you Mama for your open arms, your listening ears and your unconditional love. You loved me from when I was born, but I loved you all my life; always on my mind, forever in my heart.

I decided to make this recipe as it takes less process that most lentil dishes and can be done in less than 30 minutes.

I am also working in collaboration with my mum on the Indian dishes and she is kindly trying them out so she is able to help me recreate them accurately. This as you can imagine takes time and I’ll therefore be switching back and fourth from the Indian to other tasha.kitchen healthy recipes.

I adapted a recipe from http://vegetarian.about.com, with a few edits from my memory and my mum’s tips.

Moong Dal is naturally low in fat and high in fiber and protein. A 1-cup serving of cooked moong dal has less than 1 gram of fat, over 14 grams of protein, 16g of dietary fiber and around 212kcal, according to (www.livestrong.com). Of course it depends how you cook it, but those stats are pretty impressive. Lentils are also counted as the top 10 healthiest foods on earth (www.goodnet.org).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup moong dal
  • 4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. turmeric (Haldi)
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (or chili powder)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil/ghee/water (optional)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds (Jira)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. Finely chopped ginger (2cm x 2cm)
  • 1 tbsp. Crushed garlic (2 cloves)

Optional

  • You can sweat the onion mixture in water rather than sautéing it with olive oil/ghee and this makes a healthier version.

Method

  • In a large soup or stock pan, combine the moong dal, vegetable broth, turmeric, cayenne/chili and salt.
  • Bring to a slow simmer. Cover partially with a lid and allow to cook for at least 20 minutes, and up to 30-40 minutes if you prefer a smoother dal. You can add a bit more liquid if needed.
  • In a separate skillet, sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin seeds and cloves in ghee/olive oil or water for just a few minutes, until onions are soft.
  • Add the onions and spices to the dal and allow to simmer for a few more minutes, stirring well to combine. Sprinkle with a dash of black pepper and add extra salt to taste, if needed.
  • Serve plain, as soup, or over rice.
  • Dal tends to thicken up a bit as it cools, so you may want to add a bit more water if you are planning on having leftovers, but there’s also a bit of personal preference involved with just how thin or how thick you prefer it to be.

Loli

This is a really easy, relatively healthy and very sentimental recipe for me.

Loli is a Sindhi* breakfast dish. In all honesty it is much more than this as it is the quintessential Indian ‘on the go’ travel food and because of this it plays a prominent role in family life and memories.

It is a flavorful flat bread to give it a more universal description, but you won’t find it in any Indian restaurant.

It is an item that keeps well and therefore travels well. It is used for breakfast, picnics, for taking food with you for a plane or car journey. My grandma used to carry them in her pockets, handbag, suitcase and in fact after she had passed we found 30 Loli’s packed up and ready for the various Loli fans she fed every week, including 4 wrapped up in foil and newspaper and packed in her suitcase for Mr. B.

Everyone loves Loli’s, and my grans kitchen always had a stash in her kitchen. Family would come in and give her a hug and then move over to the silver tin she had to the right of the stove and dip their hands in, like a cookie jar, to find what treat was in store.

She was always in the kitchen, making us our favorite foods (of which there are many family members and many favorites). The only video I can find of my grandma, which I must have watched over 1000 times in the last few weeks, was of her making Loli’s so I’d like to think she was next to me when trying out this recipe. She would have laughed however, as I used a wine bottle instead of a rolling pin and struggled to get my Loli round instead of oval.

It is easy to vary the spice levels of a Loli as Chili is added to the dough mixture and so can easily be added or subtracted. My grandma made a variety therefore, just like in everything she did, to make sure everyone was happy.

Thank you Bigmama, for always putting us first. Miss you everyday, xoxo

*Sindhi cuisine refers to cuisine from Sindh, formally of India, now part of Pakistan. There is a lot of intense history and culture wrapped up in Sindhi cooking, but it is best known for its variety and simplicity.

This recipe was adapted from simplysindhirecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (healthy version)
  • 1 medium Onion finely chopped
  • 1 green Chili finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Mint leaves finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. Red Chili powder
  • 2½ tbsp. Oil
  • ½-1 cup of water
  • ½ tsp. Cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for rubbing on Loli

Optional

  • The original recipe asks for just wheat flour, which just means use any flour with gluten. My mum noted you could use chapatti flour, which is also called ‘Atta’. This is made of durum wheat and has high gluten content that helps with the elasticity and therefore can be rolled out very thin. Using whole wheat flour as I did, makes for a healthier but more dry and dense version.

Method

  • Chop onions and green chilies, you want pieces no bigger than 2/3mm
  • Chop coriander leaves and mint leaves, small dice
  • Sieve flour and add salt, cumin seeds, red chili powder, onions, green chilies, coriander leaves, mint leaves and oil
  • Mix well and add very little water, knead into stiff dough.
  • Divide the dough into 6 even sized balls.
  • Roll each one with a rolling pin, you want a round shape and for the Loli to be not more than 1cm thick
  • Prick the Loli with a fork. This will ensure cooking of the Loli from the inside.
  • Heat a frying pan, and oil
  • Place Loli on the frying pan and cook on a medium heat on each side adding a little oil from sides, until small brown dots appear on surface (this will take a couple mins).
  • Use a flat spatula to press Loli as this will help in cooking the inside as well as to get a crisp texture on the outside.
  • Cook till both sides are done with spots all over and nicely browned.

Kedgeree

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Wholesome and protein dense

This is an old colonial dish, said to have been created as a mix of kitcherie, a classic Indian dish of rice and legumes and a Scottish addition through smoked haddock.

This recipe is an adaptation of Jamie Oliver’s recipe. I prefer to make things a little easier and quicker, and so I use pre-cooked, smoked haddock. I also prefer to use poached eggs rather than the boiled eggs used in the classic version of the recipe. This is due to my South East Asian influence, where poached eggs are used to add extra richness to the dish.

This may sound like a strange list of ingredients to put together, but it is an amazing cacophony of taste.

The dish is also protein rich, allergen free and is good served any time of day.

You might think it odd that I am cooking an Indian influenced dish, but you should expect to see more of this.

As most of you will know, my best friend and grandma passed recently. It was very sudden and the day she was admitted to hospital was the day she was due to fly out to visit me in the states. She had packed her suitcase full of ingredients as this was going to be the start of her passing down her recipes to me. I had recently moved to the USA and was missing her dishes so much, that we hatched this plan for when she was over.

My grandma’s food was nourishing and fulfilling but not just to the body, to the soul also. Everything she cooked was so tasty and good for you. She even cooked meat without tasting it, due to being vegan for over 30 years. I was her official taster but nothing ever needed adding to. I can’t even begin to imagine how you do that.

I miss my grandma everyday and hope that in cooking her dishes I can be closure to her and bring some comfort to my family.

Please bare with me as practically the only Indian food I ate and liked was my grandmas, so this will be a new adventure for me and you (and poor Mr. B, who is my official taster).

I hope you are happy to travel it with me!

MYandBigM

Ingredients

  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 2 smoked haddock fillets, from sustainable sources, cooked and smoked already
  • 170 g wild rice
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure ghee
  • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium onion 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 heaped tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 lemons, juice of
  • 2 good handfuls fresh coriander, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 fresh red chili, finely chopped

Optional

  • Natural yogurt, if you are not dairy free and need to cool the spice from the chili down

Method

  • Poach two eggs for 5-7 minutes and put aside
  • Remove the skin from the fish, flake into chunks and set aside
  • Cook the rice in salted water for 30 minutes and drain. Refresh in cold water, drain again, and leave in the fridge until needed.
  • Melt the ghee in a pan over a low heat.
  • Add the ginger, onion and garlic. Soften for about 5 minutes and add the curry powder. Cook for a further few minutes, and add the chopped tomatoes and lemon juice.
  • Add the fish and rice to a pan and gently heat through
  • Add the coriander and the chili and stir gently.
  • Place in a warm serving dish and add the poached egg and the rest of the coriander before serving

 

 

Winter mushroom medley

Mushroom medley

It is gluten, nut and soy free

It can be made as breakfast, a canapé or a side dish

This recipe can be made dairy free and whole30 compliant by substituting the butter for a tbsp. coconut oil

Ingredients

  • mixed mushrooms (e.g. shitake, oyster, king trumpet)
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Himalayan sea salt and ground black pepper

Method

  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat
  • Arrange the mushrooms in the pan and let them cook undisturbed, until golden brown on the bottom, c. 3 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper, toss and continue to cook, tossing often and reducing the heat as needed until golden brown all over, c. 5 minutes
  • Reduce the heat to medium
  • Add the 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, 2 thyme sprigs and 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • Tip the pan towards you so the melted butter pools. Spoon the foaming butter over the mushrooms until the butter smells nutty, c. 4 minutes
  • Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and place on the plate