Monday, March 30, 2015

Yun Chow Quinoa

I have been trying out various rice recipes using Quinoa for quite some time now.  What fascinates me is that Quinoa, the super grain is cooked like rice and has so many benefits including a high protein content and a low glycemic index.  Fortunately it is well liked in my household, so I have no qualms in substituting rice with quinoa.   It tastes good and smells good.  What more could one's palate want?

The Recipe:

2  cups quinoa; 1 cup mixed, stir fried vegetables (carrots, beans, peas, cauliflower, whatever); 1 omlette cut into strips; ½ cup shredded cooked chicken (optional); 1 tbsp minced ginger garlic; 2 spring onions cut really fine; oil for frying; large wok; 1 soup cube (salt not required if using soup cubes). 

Cook the quinoa, the same way you would cook rice.  If you have stock at hand use that instead of water and cut out the soup cube. 

For instructions how to cook Quinoa see my earlier post 

Heat oil in wok. Add the ginger garlic and stir fry a minute. Smash the soup cube and add to the wok. Lower flame and add the vegetables (I used only peas) and chicken and gently mix. Next, add the quinoa a little at a time and mix well. Add the spring onions and omelette strips and transfer to serving dish.   Serve hot with or without a side dish.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Oval Pizza Bread

 Pizza Bread

Some time ago I got a bread maker thanks to the points we had accumulated on Bonus Link.  I was elated when it arrived and have been collecting bread recipes ever since.  It is so fulfilling to bake your own bread and watch your friends and family tucking into it with great gusto.  Ever since I bake something new every week and hope for the best.  Last week it was Pizza Bread.  I saw the photograph on Pinterest and was lured by its attractiveness.

When I clicked on the photograph it led me to  and I had a fantastic time browsing through this site.  Many thanks for all those recipes.  Anyhow I made a few changes to the recipe to include the ingredients I happened to have and the result was more than I expected.  I not only enjoyed baking it I enjoyed showing it off to the entire household!!

The Recipe:

2 tsp instant yeast; 1 ½ cups warm water; 3 cups maida (flour); 3 tbsp protein powder; 2 tsp salt; 1 ½ tbsp brown sugar;
1 1/2 cups grated vegetables - I used 1 medium sized zucchini; 1 medium capsicum, 2 cloves garlic; 1 medium carrot; 1 cup cooked, diced chicken sausage; 1 cup Parmesan cheese; 1 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese;1 tbsp olive oil.

Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large bowl. Let it stand for 3 minutes. Add  the flour, salt, and sugar. Mix using a spoon just until it comes together.

Add in the grated vegetables, diced sausage,  Parmesan cheese and mix well. The dough will be sticky. Dust with a little more flour if required. Let rise for about 1 hour, then put in the refrigerator to continue rising for another hour.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator.   Sprinkle flour on lour your board and  roll out the dough into a rectangle about 11×17”. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese  over top. Then, fold along the long side, like an envelope. Seal sides so cheese is not exposed. Let your loaf rest while you preheat oven to 220 C.
Bake the bread, either on a pizza tray  or like I did  in a bundt pan for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.   About 3 minutes before taking it out, lightly brush the top with olive oil and let it finish baking.  Let rest on a wire rack to cool slightly before slicing.

Serve warm with olive oil or garlic butter.  We ate it plain and I can't wait to bake it again. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mutton Pulav

I have a friend Rose,  who keeps sharing inviting recipes on Facebook.  All of them are beautifully presented and very attractive to boot, literally enticing the viewer to fall prey to their mouthwatering seduction.  The other day she posted a video which was irresistible and I succumbed.  However I used my own measurements and ingredients as the recipe was a very basic one.  You have to be a versatile, experienced cook to be able to turn out a great dish from minimum instructions.  So then, here goes...

The Recipe:

1 kg Mutton with bones, cut into large chunks, washed and drained; 4 onions, sliced fine; 1 inch piece ginger, grated; 4 large cloves, garlic, minced; 2 tsp red chilli powder, adjust to taste; salt to taste; 3 tbsp olive oil;4 medium tomatoes, quartered ; 2 cups (500 ml) water.

For Rice:   3/4 cup curds; 1/2 kg basmathi rice; 4 green chillies, slit; 1 tsp ghee for aroma and flavour;  small bunch of mint leaves, washed and chopped; a small bunch of coriander leaves, washed and chopped;  1/2 vegetables of your choice, cut large; 1/2 tsp turmeric powder; 1 inch piece of cinnamon and 4 - 5 cloves

750 ml hot water to cook the rice; salt to taste

Heat the pressure cooker on meidum flame, add the oil and stir fry onions, ginger, garlic till onions are glazed.  Add the mutton, chilli powder, tomatoes, salt to taste (1 tsp), turmeric powder  and pressure cook mutton for 20 - 25 minutes.  Remove from fire, cool before you open the cooker.  Stir in the curds gently.

In a seperate non stick pan stir fry the washed and drained basmathi rice and spices in 1 tbsp ghee.  When all the grains are coated with the ghee add it to the mutton mixture.  Gently mix.  Add the rest of the ingredients and the hot water and salt to taste.  Pressure cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Remove and open the cooker.  Let the steam escape so that the Pulav cools down and has a dry consistency with the grains well seperated  (should not be mushy).  Garnish with boiled eggs and serve with Cucumber & Tomato Curd Pachdi.

Cucumber Tomato Curd Pachdi:  Mix together 1/2 cup curds with 1/4 cup sliced tomatoes and 1/4 cup cubed cucumbers and salt to taste.  Sliced green chillies optional.

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Focaccia Fancy

The smell of olive oil reminds me of my grandmother, the late Wilhelmina Soans ( nee Tholar), which is every day since I use olive oil in all my cooking.   One whiff is enough to take me back in time and I can see her gently  admonishing us to take good care of our complexions.  Every night, before we slept she would open her cabinet ( a source of great interest to me) and give each of us girls a ball of cotton dabbed with olive oil to clean our faces. Once done and we had passed muster, we were dismissed to our  bedrooms and fell asleep with the delicate smell of olive oil on the air.  

All of us love bread and I have been baking a lot of breads of late.  

This recipe is from and I am very grateful to her for sharing this recipe on I get most of my recipes from there. And I have also changed the recipe to include the ingredients that I have in my kitchen.

The Recipe:

Focaccia is a  flat Italian bread, that can be used as a base for pizzas, paninis, sandwiches and toast tips. The yeast-based wheat bread comes in flat rounds, brushed with olive oil and often dusted with herbs.

Prepare a 10" x 15" Swiss  roll pan by coating it liberally with olive oil.
I finally got to use my pan which I bought ages ago.
For the Dough: 2 tsp. salt;4 cups ubleached flour; 5 Tbsp. olive oil; 2 tsp. active dry yeast; 1 and 2/3 cups warm water (about 110 degrees); 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh coriander leaves; ¼ tsp  finely dried Mixed Herbs.
For finishing:
3 Tbsp. olive oil;  ¼ tsp salt which was more than enough; 1 tsp. chopped coriander leaves:
¼ tsp Mixed Herbs
In a large bowl, stir the salt into the flour and rub in the oil with your hands, making sure it is evenly absorbed by the flour.Add the chopped herbs in and mix them in with a fork.  ( Rubbing oil into flour with your hands, makes the flour absorbs it incredibly quickly and the flour still feels quite dry ).
In a small bowl, whisk the yeast into the water, and use a plastic spatula to stir it into the flour mixture.  Stir vigorously to make an evenly moistened dough that does not need to be very smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until it has doubled in bulk.   I usually place the dough to rise in my cooking area which is warm and dry.
Once the dough has risen,  spread it evenly on the swiss roll pan with the palms of your hand. I used my right hand only.  The dough should be elastic and very easy to spread out.  If you cannot do it let it rest for another 10 minutes before you spread it out. Cover the dough on the pan with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise in the pan until it is puffy, for approximately 30 minutes.
About 15 minutes before you are ready to bake the focaccia, set a tray in the lowest level of your oven, and preheat the oven to 220 Degrees C.
Use your fore finger to press the dough at 1 and 1/2" intervals. Drizzle olive oil all over the bread (it will puddle in the indentations) and sprinkle the herbs and salt.
Bake the focaccia until it is deep golden in color, about 30 minutes. Check the bottom by lifting a corner up carefully with a spatula before removing it from the oven, to make sure the bottom is well-colored as well.
Slide the focaccia off of the pan and onto a rack to cool.  Cut into squares and serve warm.  Wrap the leftovers in foil and heat it up another day.  

I must say this turned out really good and we all enjoyed eating it.