Prawn curry

Prawn curry

prawn-curry

prawn curry

This prawn curry is the ultimate indulgence for Indian food lovers. You can make it with coconut milk or cream to suit your taste. It’s a Bengali recipe that will really impress your friends and family. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients…. most are spices. (for 4 people)

What you need

600g large peeled prawns with the tails on
20ml lemon juice
50ml oil
1 small onion finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cloves
6 cardamon pods
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
180ml coconut milk/cream
Salt to taste
Oil

The process

Place the prawns in a bowl, add the lemon juice, toss and allow to sit for about 20 minutes then drain off the remaining lemon juice.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan or wok to medium hot and fry the onions until they begin to brown. Add the cardamon, turmeric, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, ginger and garlic and cook for about another 2 minutes stirring constantly.

Add the chili powder a pinch or so of salt and the coconut milk or cream and bring to almost boiling(the edges of the pan will begin to bubble). Toss in the prawns, give it a shake to distribute the prawns and simmer with the lid off for about 5 minutes or until the prawns are cooked but still firm.

Serve it immediately with homemade roti.

Calzone

Calzone

calzone-recipeThis is a real classic pizza dough recipe that you should print and keep somewhere for future use. It requires a bit of effort and patience but if you follow it exactly, your pizza and calzone will turn out perfectly every time. I have tried a number of recipes and there is just no quick version that tastes anything like a real pizza.

What you need

Pizza dough

1 envelope dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water from the tap
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Fillings
Here you can go to town using all of your favorites from the fridge with mozzarella, cheddar and a few spoons of chopped peeled tomatoes.
Chicken, mushrooms and onions(cook them first to a light golden colour in a little olive oil). I have added cooked butternut and all sorts of things before, so send it.

The process

Dissolve the honey and the yeast in about 50ml of the warm water(not boiling)

Then in a large bowl, add the flour, salt, oil, the rest of the water and the honey mixture and mix with an electric mixture fitted with the dough hooks, for the unitiated those are the hooks that are twisted. Mix until the dough comes away from the inside of the bowl easily and seems to get stuck in the twists of the hooks. This is the sign you are looking for.

Now spread a little flour onto a clean surface, remove the dough from the bowl and knead for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it forms a smooth mound that is quite elastic.

Place a tiny bit of oil in a bowl and coat the inside of the bowl, place the dough into the bowl, cover with a slightly dampened cloth and allow to rise for about 1/2 an hour.

Lightly flour a surface again and divide the dough into equal portions. Knead each ball by stretching it and then tucking the edges into the bottom and patting the edges to form a ball again. You need to do this about 6 times for each ball.

Now place the kneaded and smooth balls on a tray and cover with a damp cloth again to rest for another 20 minutes or so.

Hey, hey, it’s finally pizza time.

Heat your oven to very hot, about 250 Celsius.

Roll out each piece into a round that is no thicker than 2 or 3mm, fill the one half with your favorite filling, making sure you have left an edge of about 1cm, fold over the filling and give it a little stretch then press the edges together firmly, stretch and fold to create a seal. Twist the ends to ensure they are closed tightly.

Place on a baking tray, lightly brush with a little olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes in the center of the oven or until golden brown.

Remember that you can keep[ the dough for 2 days or so once left to rise the second time. Simply wrap in cling film and into the fridge.

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If you are looking for a quick and easy way to make pizza type food, just get a packet of puff pastry, place in an oiled baking tray, fold over a 1cm edge, prick the base with a fork and add your ingredients, then place in a 200 Celsius oven till the crust is golden. It’s not the same but a good alternative when time is an issue.

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Mutton curry “Kalia”

Mutton curry “Kalia”

mutton-curry-recipeOK folks, this is the real deal that is as good as any lamb or mutton curry you will find in the finest Indian restaurants (or in some of Durbans fine home kitchens). It takes a while to make but is not complicated and lets face it, with the weather as it is right now a little time in the kitchen to make something that is truly memorable is well worth it. It’s called Mutton Kalia or Lamb Kalia if you decide to use lamb. (6 people)

What you need

1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1kg mutton chunks (approx 3cm cubes) You can use lamb as well but this curry is tradionally made with mutton.

Oil
2 large potatoes in chunks similar in size to the mutton
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of cardamom
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
3 medium onions halved and sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup water

The process

In a bowl combine mix together youghurt, cumin, vinegar, ginger, chili powder, and turmeric, mix well and then add your meat, cover and marinade in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours for mutton and 2 hours for lamb.

Add about 1cm of oil to a heavy base pot or stainless steel casserole dish on a medium to high heat and cook the potatoes until borwned. Remove and drain on paper towel.

Remove some of the oil, reduce the heat to medium low and add the onions, cinnamon, cardamom, garlic and sugar and cook to soften the onions. Add the potatoes now and the meat to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add the water, bay leaves and tomato paste, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour, check that there is enough water and add about another 100ml if necessary, stir and simmer for another 1/2 hour.

Now check that the sauce is thick and quite gluey and if not, simmer for another few minutes with the lid off.

It’s quite a process but OH so worth it.

Another of my favorite meals is this Chunky Lamb cottage pie.

Chicken broccoli bake

Chicken broccoli bake

chicken-broccoli-casserole

Chicken Broccoli bake

This is a really great meal that is truly effortless. You can quite easily add all sorts of things to it like extra mushrooms or bacon pieces. It is serious comfort food and being a fan of broccoli, this one is a keeper for me. (serve 4 hungry people)

What you need

300g shell pasta
3 or 4 Boneless skinless chicken breast
1 tin cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
2 cups broccoli florets (break them up quite small)
Black pepper
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs

The process

Poach the chicken breasts in slightly salted water for about 10 minutes until cooked through and then either shred using 2 forks to pull apart or cut into smallish cubes.

Boil your pasta in salted water until al dente and drain

Boil or steam the broccoli until cooked, you don’t want them soft, there should still be some crunch in them and drain.

In a bowl add the shredded chicken, broccoli florets, cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise and mustard and combine. Season with black pepper.

In a casserole dish, add the cooked pasta and cover with the chicken and broccoli mixture. Use 2 spoons to mix gently, much like tossing a salad.

Cover with the grated cheese and breadcrumbs and place in a 200 Celsius oven for about 20 minutes or so until the cheese toping is golden brown.

It’s easy to make for many people and served with an easy dessert like sticky toffee pudding using a bought cake couldn’t be simpler to please a whole load of people.

Curried beef Chinese style

Curried beef Chinese style

beef-chineseBeef curries are really fantastic but take a fair amount of time and when I read this curried beef in a Chinese recipe book, I just had to try it. The very essence of Chines cooking is good fresh ingredients that are cooked swiftly on a high heat in just minutes so the thought of a great curry in just a few minutes really appealed to me. The sate sauce makes a huge difference to the flavour so if you don’t have any add a little peanut butter that has been watered down. Well I was so impressed that I will certainly be making this curry recipe often. (4 people)

What you need

500g fillet steak finely sliced
3 medium potatoes in small cubes (2cm)
2 medium onions roughly chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder (mild, med, hot – your choice)
Oil for frying

Sauce
3 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons sate sauce
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
80ml water (1/3 cup)
1 chicken stock cube crumbled
3 teaspoons maizena (cornflour)
1 tablespoon rice wine or sherry

The process

In a wok or pan on a medium heat add the oil and cook the potatoes until they are nicely browned and cooked through. They tend to want to stick together so toss them around a bit. Add the onions and 2 teaspoons of curry powder, toss to combine and cook for about another 3 minutes. remove from the pan and set aside.

Clean the wok, add a little more oil, turn up the heat and cook on high, tossing frequently until browned. Add back the potato mixture and all of the sauce ingredients. Stir to combine and bring to the boil. Immediately reduce heat and cook for 3 minutes.

Thats it, a really fantastic curry in minutes.

The fillet steak is soft, tender and because its so thin the sauce permeates right through it.

Enjoy it folks and perhaps treat yourself to the banana fritters for dessert.

Eggplant and ricotta rolls

Eggplant and ricotta rolls

eggplant-ricottaI had some ricotta left over from the Mushroom and Ricotta canneloni and being a big fan of eggplant decided to try these very simple eggplant rolls that are great as a starter or just a little something to nibble on. You could quite easily serve them as a vegetable dish with a main meal like the Chicken parmagiana and drizzle over some of tomato sauce. It actually turns out a really impressive looking  dish that you will be proud to serve. (about 12 rolls)

What you need

2 medium eggplants sliced along the length about 1cm thick
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (loosely packed)
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper

Tomato sauce or a bought chunky tomato sauce.

The process

Place the slices of eggplant on a baking tray that has been lightly oiled with olive oil and then sprinkle a little olive oil over the top. Sprinkle salt over the top and place in a 200 Celsius oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the eggplant is soft and beginning to go brown on the surface.

Place the ricotta cheese, parmesan(leave about 1/4 for the topping) and basil in a bowl and mix to combine, season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, place a heaped tablespoon of the mixture onto the eggplant slices and roll them up.

Place all of the eggplant rolls into a baking dish packed closely together, cover with a tomato sauce and sprinkle over the rest of the parmesan cheese.

Bake for a further 10 minutes or so until the cheese has melted.

Serve straight away with a little more basil.

Really good and tasty folks, give it a try.

Mushroom and ricotta canneloni

Mushroom and ricotta canneloni

canneloni

Canneloni

This was so tasty and really quite simple. Not having used canneloni shells before, it was a bit of an experiment that turned out really well. I just love Italian food, pasta dishes, vegetable dishes and one of my favorites is spaghetti meatballs, but this Canneloni dish hit the spot I tell you. (6 people)

What you need

1 cup white sauce

1 to 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

Dry canneloni shells
1 small onion finely chopped
250g mushrooms (use 2 types different types)
125g ricotta cheese
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 cup strong cheddar cheese grated
1/3 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
More grated parmesan to top

The process

In a pan on a medium heat with a little splash of olive oil, cook the onions until soft, then add the mushrooms and cook until soft and the pan seems quite dry.

Remove from the heat, taste and season with salt and pepper. Don’t add salt while the mushrooms are cooking, it draws out the moisture too quickly.

Now add all of the cheeses and 1/2 the beaten egg, mix to combine well.

Now here is the challenge. If you have a piping bag, use the largest nozzle you have, fill and squeeze the mixture into the shells. I place the on end and fill from the top. If not, wash your hand and and fill or use a teaspoon. Don’t get the filling onto the outside of the pasta shells.

Place enough white sauce on the base of a baking dish then place the filled shells on top close together, cover with the tomato sauce and then again with the rest of the white sauce and sprinkle over a generous amount of parmesan.

Place in a 180 Celsius oven for 30 minutes or so.

You will know that they are ready if you prick the canneloni shells with a toothpick and it pierces easily. The top should be brown and the sauce bubbling gently.

Serve with a nice simple salad and some warm crusty bread.

Banana fritters

Banana fritters

banana-frittersBanana friters are a fantastic winter dessert and this recipe can be used for any firm fruit, make banana, apple or even pineapple fritters. They are best served with a really good ice cream. (4 servings)

What you need

4 bananas ends removed and cut in half
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1 1/2 cups water
cake flour
Oil for deep frying

Cinnamon and caster sugar for dusting.

The process

Sift together the self raising flour and the bicarb of soda into a bowl. Add the water and mix to form a smooth batter.

Heat about 5cm of oil in a pot on a medium heat.

Place the cake flour on a plate and roll the banana pieces to coat, then drop them into the batter, remove and allow the excess batter to drip off.

Place them in the hot oil and cook until golden brown and slightly puffed up.

remove and drain on paper kitchen towel.

Put 2 pieces per serving, dust with a mixture of caster sugar and cinnamon and serve with a dollop of ice cream.

Yummy

If you are a banana fan, here is a hot banana pudding recipe and a banana bread recipe

Mild lamb curry

Mild lamb curry

curry-recipe

Aloo Gosht Mild Lamb curry

This is a really fabulous north Indian dish called Aloo Gosht that has all of the subtle spice flavours with only a hint of heat. The gravy is thick and tasty and the potatoes are soft and delicious. It is essential to use the seeds so if you haven’t been to Atlas trading in Cape Town or the Oriental Plaza for your spices yet, now is the time. (for 6 people)

What you need

1.5kg leg of lamb including the bone
400g potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 large onion finely chopped
2 bay leaves
pinch of turmeric powder
2 tablespoons garam masala
1 400g tin chopped peeled tomatoes
3 green chilis chopped
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
4 cm piece of ginger finely grated
1 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste

The process

Cut the meat from the bone and then into 3 or 4cm chunks. Keep the bone one side, we want to use the flavour from the marrow in the sauce which also helps to thicken the sauce.

In a pan over a low heat add the coriander seeds and the cumin seeds.Cook, tossing them around for a few minutes until the aroma reaches you. Romove from the pan and gring in a pestle and mortar(also available at spice shops)

Now place a cast iron casserole or large heavy base pot on the heat, add the oil, the onions and bay leaves and fry until the onions have browned.

Add the ground cumin and coriander seeds, turmeric and half the garam masala. Stir it and then add the tomatoes, chili, ginger and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes. You will notice the oil separating to the sides of the dish.

Add the tomato paste and water, stir. Add the lamb as well as the bone, mix to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Taste and season with salt.

Add the potatoes, the rest of the garam masala, give it a good stir, recover and simmer for a further 1 hour. Check on it every 15 minutes and give the pot a shake, if the meat is beginning to stick to the sides and there is not much liquid, add another 1/2 cup of boiling water.

Remove the bone and enjoy this thick and tasty lamb curry. Serve it with Yellow rice.

If you need a good North Indian chicken curry recipe try the Kerala country chicken.

Macaroni and cheese

Macaroni and cheese

macaroni-and-cheeseMacaroni and cheese is a staple in my kitchen and this is a really fantastic recipe that can be made with or without the bacon. It is really easy to vary a macaroni and cheese recipe by adding you favorite tasty extras like bacon, Vienna’s or even left over chicken. Macaroni and cheese makes for a really hearty meal.

What you need

500g macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon mustard powder
3 cups milk
1/2 cup onion finely copped
pinch paprika
250g bacon (sliced Vienna’s are great as well)
1 egg lightly beaten
350g cheddar grated
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

The process

Preheat oven to 200 Celsius, put a large pot of water on to boil, add salt and when the water is boiling, add a teaspoon of salt and your pasta. Follow the cooking times on your pasta package cooking until the pasta is al dente.

Cook the bacon and onion together is a separate pan until onion is translucent, remove from the heat.

In a pot on a medium heat melt the butter and when foaming add the flour, mix well with a spoon or whisk, add the mustard powder and mix constantly for 3 minutes or so to cook the flour. Add the milk and whisk furiously until the mixture is smooth, add the paprika and cooked bacon and onion mix, reduce heat and simmer slowly while you add the egg, 200g of the cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the mixture from the heat, drain the pasta and add to the cheese mix, fold it all together distributing the pasta evenly.

Pour the entire contents into a casserole dish and sprinkle over the rest of the cheese.

Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the topping is brown and crisp.

Serve immediately.

You can get a little creative and add peppadews to the topping as well as a few more bits of bacon. Have a look through some of the other pasta recipes. or this 3 cheese bolognese pasta recipe