Archive for the ‘Cooking for 1 or 2’ Category

Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Pesto

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

sun-dried-tomato-basil-pesto

I only started using pesto after marriage and used to buy ready made jars. It was a convenient thing to do, as at the time I was on an interior design course on Tuesday evenings, so that was a pasta day 🙂 . It used to be a chore to find the vegetarian version of this classic Italian dish. Then about three or four years back I had bought a basil plant for the kitchen window sill and it had produces so many basil leaves, so I thought I should venture into making my own pesto. It was successful and so simple to make that I decided I would buy a basil plant each Spring and make my own pesto.

From looking at various TV chefs and other recipes, as well as a friend (who lives in Italy) telling me that I do not need to add cheese or pine nuts (as they are so expensive), just normal salted nuts are fine – I started making my own version as below. To make it more creamy I sometimes use almond, cashew, and pistachios nuts powder.

There are many uses for pesto, not only as a pasta sauce but also as a dressing for salads, for adding flavour to soups, a spread for sandwiches and roasted mushroom or eggplant. You can also create many different versions like I did by adding the sun-dried tomatoes. Other herbs and vegetables can also be added to give it an extra added flavour.

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Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

moroccan-style-vegetables-with-couscous

On a recent visit to my local library I met a friend who was looking for ideas on hosting a dinner party for a few friends. She was thinking of a Moroccan theme so in my enthusiasm  I suggested serving Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous as it is so simple to make and would fit the theme she was thinking of.

I first saw a version of this recipe a couple of years back in a supermarket magazine where it was giving ideas on how to use a tagine and this was the vegetarian option. The vegetables were slightly different in the magazine so when I recreated it at home, I just used the vegetables that I had and it turned out to be really good. As I don’t have a tagine I just roasted the vegetables in the oven.

This recipe reminds me of the time when we went on a desert safari excursion on a trip to Dubai.  The desert  safari included a traditional meal and this dish was served as the vegetarian option. The vegetables were less tasty but the idea of the couscous I got from there so I mixed the two together to create this meal.

This dish of Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous works well for large gatherings where you want to try and have fuss free cooking plus it would be good to take on picnics as it tastes good when served cold. The best thing about this dish is the fact that not only is it simple to make,  especially for a large group, but it is vibrantly colourful, which to me is brilliant as half of the way we enjoy food comes from the visual impact.

I was told by Parita from Parita’s World about this event on Moroccan food hosted by Home Cook Recipes and originated by Holy Cow!

I look forward to seeing other vegetarian/vegan recipes from this event.

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Curly Kale, Rice and Beans

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

curly-kale-rice-and-beans

There are times when I am challenged by my dear husband to use  new ingredients and come up with a meal that meets his seal of approval 🙂 . I sent him shopping one day and he came back with an extra item to the list – Curly Kale. As soon as I saw it I thought Oh NO ! I have tried to cook with curly kale before some years back but found it too irony in taste and it did not quite work with what I made. So this time I thought I will look for some inspiration and then try and create a dish. I did a search and looked at a blogger and from there to a site dedicated to curly kale, which had lots of recipe ideas and nutritionist information. Both the sites seem to talk about the curly kale with a lot of fondness and suggested to use it as a cabbage. So I thought, right, looked at the ingredients I had then added the ingredients to this dish until it was an aesthetically pleasing. Then I served it up and it tasted great, even my son enjoyed it – I removed the green pepper corns from his dish. I thought that something so good for us and tasty, can’t go wrong really. So I will not be avoiding this vegetable in the future. I got some more curly kale soon after and used it in a curry as well as in a pasta sauce, which also tasted good.

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Puri (Fried Indian Flat Bread)

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

puri

Puris are flat bread that can be made savoury or spicy and puff up into balls when fried (if cooked and rolled out properly). Puris are considered to be a little treat, something different to the normal rotis. These savoury little balls were a little bit of naughty food, something that was not really healthy because it is fried as opposed to roasted. It used to be eaten mostly on special occasions or just to make a slight difference to the normal meal. Puris are good eaten as a snack or for breakfast / lunch or as a accompaniment to curries, or with sweet foods such as kheer (rice pudding) and shrikhand (made with yoghurt and sugar, saffron & nuts or fruit added to it). They also go well with mango pickle and equally with a nice hot cup of tea.

I remember my mother telling us to learn how to roll out small round shapes and allowing me and my sisters to make a few which used to be such an achievement when we actually came to eating them. Our father would help with the frying and always used to try and assure that each of the puris would become small round balls of yummy food. Last year while visiting my older sister in Hong Kong we made puris together and her younger daughter was helping us make little hearts and flowers shapes. My son enjoyed that, so now when ever I make at them at home he helps and makes little star shapes and ‘puri men’ and of course the cut-out of his hands. It is so much fun and then he says to everyone ‘I made them’ 🙂

puri_2

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