Friday, January 31, 2014

Lasagna (The Pioneer Woman)

The Pioneer Woman's Simple, Classic Lasagna 

2 pounds hamburger
1 pound hot breakfast sausage
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
ounce one 28- can diced tomato
ounce one 6- can tomato paste

freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

10 ounces lasagna noodles
1 pound mozzarella
10 to 12 fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 cups low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 eggs, beaten
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the hamburger, sausage and garlic until brown. Drain off the excess fat. Add the tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Stir together well. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the olive oil and a dash of salt. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the noodles and lay them flat on a piece of aluminium foil to keep their shape.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grate the mozzarella cheese and set aside.

Cut the basil into a chiffonade by stacking the leaves on top of one another, rolling them tightly and then cutting across. Finely chop the parsley. Add half the herbs to the meat mixture and stir together. In a medium bowl, combine the other half of the herbs, the cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and the eggs, and stir together well.

Now let's assemble the lasagna! Begin by laying 4 lasagna noodles in the bottom of a deep rectangular baking pan; the noodles should slightly overlap. Spoon half the cottage cheese mixture onto the noodles; spread to distribute evenly. Sprinkle half the mozzarella on top of the cottage cheese mixture. Spoon just under half the meat mixture on top of the mozzarella, and spread evenly, being careful not to disrupt the layers below. Now repeat the process, beginning with a layer of lasagna noodles, followed by the cottage cheese mixture, followed by the mozzarella and ending with a thick layer of the meat mixture.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan over the top. Bake until the lasagna is hot and bubbly, 35 to 45 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Helpful Hint: Lasagna can be fully assembled and frozen, unbaked!

Gobi (Cauliflower) Manchurian

Gobi or cauliflower Manchurian is a popular Indo Chinese dish. This is a super delicious appetizer or main dish. Gobi manchurian satisfies both your savory and spicy cravings! It consists of fried gobi (cauliflower) simmered in a flavorful gravy made with soy sauce and red chili sauce.

Serves 4

20 cauliflower pieces cut into medium size florets
For Sauce
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon ginger paste or finely shredded ginger (adrak)
1 green chili chopped
1/4 cup celery finely chopped
2 tablespoons red chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch or arrow root powder
Approx. ½ cup water
For Batter
1/3 cup all purpose flour (plain flour, maida)
3 tablespoons corn starch or arrow root powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Approx. ½ cup water
Mix the corn starch with water and set aside.
Heat the oil in sauce pan over medium high heat; add ginger, celery and green chili stir for about two minute. Add all the ingredients for sauce except corn starch, (chili sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, tomato paste, and sugar).
Stir for 2 minutes add corn starch and cook for another two minutes, sauce should be thick, consistency of a dosa or pancake batter. If needed add more water, sauce gets thicker as it sits.
Sauce is ready, set aside.
To make batter mix flour, corn starch, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the water slowly to make a smooth batter (batter should be consistency of pancake batter or dosa batter).
Heat at least one inch of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Oil should be moderately hot. (If oil is not hot cauliflower will be greasy).
Dip the cauliflower into the batter one at a time, making sure it is completely covered by the batter. Then drop the cauliflowers slowly into oil in the frying pan. (do not overlap them)
Fry the cauliflowers in small batches, four to five minutes per batch. Fry them turning occasionally, until they are all sides golden brown. Take them out over paper towel.
Repeat this process for the remaining cauliflowers.
Fold fried cauliflower/ gobies into gravy and serve hot.
Manchurian tastes best when cauliflower has some crunch. If you have fried them earlier, refry them before dipping in the sauce as fried cauliflower becomes soft as they cool off.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Healthy Chicken Curry

This light and fresh healthy chicken curry is a great source of protein and provides a fantastic main meal which can enjoyed by all. Serve with fluffy basmati rice of fresh roti or naan.

400g of either boneless chicken or baby chicken cut into pieces
2 tbsp of mild and light olive oil (not extra virgin)
one medium sizes onion finely chopped
2-3 potatoes peeled and chopped into 4 cm cubes (optional)
1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
⅓ tin of plum or chopped tomatoes (liquidised)
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
2 green chillies finely chopped OR ½ tsp red chilli powder
1 heaped tbsp coriander and cumin powder (dhania jeera)
1 tbsp of low fat Greek yogurt (optional)
handful of chopped coriander
½ tsp of garam masala

Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onions until slightly brown and softened
Add the salt, pepper, jeera, cumin seeds, green chilli (if using this), garlic and ginger paste and stir fry for one minute
Add the turmeric, red chilli (if using this), coriander and cumin powder and stir fry these powdered spices for one minute
Add a splash of water if the powdered spices appear to be drying out
Add the chicken and stir fry until the chicken has changed colour from pink to white
Add the tomatoes and half a cup of water, (and potatoes if using) and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender
Add the yogurt (if using) and simmer for 2 more minutes
Switch off the heat and garnish with garam masala and coriander and serve

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Brownies With Hot Chocolate Sauce

Makes: 16 squares and enough sauce

However much people have eaten, there is always, I've noticed, room for a brownie. This is a different kind of a brownie, most definitely for party-pudding, melting, fudgy and damply rich. I compound these qualities by serving it with ice cream and the hot chocolate sauce, but there is no need. Need is not really what we're talking about here, though, is it?


for the brownies
225 grams dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
225 grams butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200 grams caster sugar
3 large eggs (beaten)
150 grams ground almonds
100 grams chopped walnuts
for the hot chocolate sauce
75 grams dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
125 ml double cream
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon golden syrup


For the brownies:
Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/325ºF. Melt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan.
Take the pan off the heat, mix in the vanilla and sugar, and let it cool a little.
Beat the eggs into the pan along with the ground almonds and chopped walnuts. Turn into a 24cm / 9 inch square baking tin or, most sensibly, use a foil one.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, by which time the top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey. Once cooler, cut carefully, four down, four across, into 16 squidgy-bellied squares.
For the sauce:
Break up the chocolate and put into a heavy-based saucepan.
Dissolve the instant espresso powder in the water and add this, along with the remaining ingredients into the saucepan, then place the pan over a gentle heat and let everything melt together.
Once everything has melted, stir well, take off the heat and pour into a jug to serve.

Chocolate Cheesecake

Makes: 10-12 slices

In the past, I've been apologetic about adulterating your basic cheescake, but I've moved on. This is exceptional: exactly the right balance between satiny sweetness and smooth tang. Regard the glaze as optional: it makes it into more of a dinner party thang, but there is no call to get busy if you'd rather not. A few raspberries alongside would be heavenly, but again, no need to bother adding a single thing.


for the base
125 grams digestive biscuits
60 grams butter
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
for the filling
175 grams dark chocolate (chopped small)
500 grams cream cheese
150 grams caster sugar
1 tablespoon custard powder
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
150 ml sour cream (or just use a 142ml pot)
½ teaspoon cocoa powder (dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water)
for the glaze (optional)
75 grams dark chocolate (finely chopped)
125 ml double cream
1 teaspoon golden syrup


To make the base, process the biscuits to make rough crumbs and then add the butter and cocoa.
Process again until it makes damp,clumping crumbs and then tip them into a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin. Press the biscuit crumbs into the bottom of the tin to make an even base and put into the freezer while you make the filling.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180ºC/350ºF. Put a kettle on to boil. Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler, and set aside to cool slightly.
Beat the cream cheese to soften it, and then add the sugar and custard powder, beating again to combine. Beat in the whole eggs and then the yolks, and the sour cream. Finally add the cocoa dissolved in hot water and the melted chocolate, and mix to a smooth batter.
Take the springform tin out of the freezer and line the outside of the tin with a good layer of clingfilm, and then another layer of strong foil over that. This will protect it from the water bath.
Sit the springform tin in a roasting pan and pour in the cheesecake filling. Fill the roasting pan with just-boiled water to come about halfway up the cake tin, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.
Peel away the foil and clingfilm wrapping and sit the cheesecake in its tin on a rack to cool. Put in the fridge once it's no longer hot, and leave to set, covered with clingfilm, overnight. Let it lose its chill before unspringing the cheesecake to serve.
To make the chocolate glaze, very gently melt the chopped chocolate, cream and syrup. When the chocolate has nearly melted, take off the heat and whisk it to a smooth sauce. Let it cool a little, and then Jackson Pollock it over the chocolate cheesecake on its serving plate. Use the remaining glaze as an accompanying sauce.
Additional information - if using another brand of cream cheese make sure it is suitable for vegetarians.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rajasthani Dal Baati

Split green gram skinless (dhuli moong dal)1/4 cup
Split black gram skinless (dhuli urad dal)1 cup
Split Bengal gram (chana dal)1/4 cup
Red chilli powder1 teaspoon
Ginger,chopped2 inch piece
Turmeric powder1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds1 teaspoon
Asafoetidaa pinch
Whole dry red chillies,broken stemmed2
Green cardamoms2
Cinnamon1 inch stick
Bay leaves2
Curry leaves5-6
Tomatoes2 medium
Green chillies,chopped3
Saltto taste
Oil4 tablespoons
Fresh coriander leaves,chopped1/4 cup
Lemon1 medium
Whole wheat flour (atta)2 cups
Carom seeds (ajwain)1 teaspoon
Baking powder1/4 teaspoon
Pure ghee +for soaking and serving1 cup
Soak moong dal, urad dal and chana dal in about three cups of water for an hour. Boil the dals with turmeric and salt till done and mash them properly with the back of a round ladle. Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, dry red chillies, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, curry leaves, ginger, green chillies, tomatoes and red chilli powder. Sauté till the oil surfaces.
Add the cooked dals to this and blend properly. Finish off with juice of lemon and
chopped coriander leaves.

For bati
Take atta in a bowl. Add salt, baking powder and half a cup of pure ghee. Mix well. Add sufficient water and knead into a stiff dough.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Take lemon sized portions. Press firmly and roll into round balls.
Grease a baking tray. Place the baatis on it. Press them slightly.
Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake at 180°C till done. It may take fifteen minutes to half an hour.
When done, serve it hot with a bowl full of pure ghee to soak baatis and dal.

Jodhpuri Vegetable Pulao

Cauliflower12 small florets
Fresh green peas1/4 cup
Basmati rice,soaked1 1/2 cup
Ghee1 1/2 tablespoons
Cumin seeds1 teaspoon
Fennel seeds (saunf)1/2 teaspoon
Dried dates (chuhare),chopped2-4
Ginger paste1 tablespoon
Yogurt3/4 cup
Saltto taste
Garam masala powder1/2 teaspoon
Black peppercorns,crushed10-12
Heat one tablespoon ghee in a deep non-stick pan. Add the cumin seeds and fennel seeds and sauté till fragrant. Add the raisins, cashewnuts, almonds and a little water and cook for a minute. Add dried dates and cook for a minute. Add the ginger paste and rice and sauté for a minute. Add the cauliflower and yogurt and mix well. Add salt, garam masala powder and freshly crushed peppercorns and mix. Add two cups of water and green peas and stir. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook on medium heat till done. Serve hot.