Local Heart, Global Soul

November 12, 2015

Stroopwafel Taart… A Step By Step Tutorial

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Nothing is more typically Dutch than Stroopwafels.  They can be found in every Dutch supermarket,

there are mini versions, the double biscuit (cookie) version, cheap ones and expensive ones.
If you are really lucky though, you might be on the street and find a vendor making and selling fresh Stroopwafels, these are in an entirely different league, soft, chewy, warm sticky caramel dripping delicacies of deliciousness.

My personal favourite is the double biscuit version because I find the other types overly sweet, my children, given half the chance (increased if visitors have come to stay) inhale as many of any sort as they could get their hands on and Himself likes all varieties but does moderation far better than the children do.

A few years ago I was musing about other ways to enjoy these biscuit treats, and wanting a really different dessert, decided to try a sort of ice-cream cake using these as the main ingredient. Not having a recipe I just eyeballed the ingredients and made it up as I went along.

This is a recipe where no stove-top or oven cooking is necessary but it would be handy to have a really large bowl or even a large saucepan to mix things with. You will also need some thick rubber gloves because you need to use your hands and things get very cold and messy.

I have a Tupperware container in my cupboard that contains rubber gloves of the washing-up variety which I only ever use for food. They come out if I am cooking and prepping beetroot (beets) for bottling (canning), and whenever I have to mix a lot of ingredients by hand.

Before I start with the ingredients, I first need to line a low sided pie dish with cling film, so that I can get the taart back out of it later.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Open several packets of Stroopwafels, using the thicker double-sided biscuit ones as well as the normal ones, added to a food processor and reduce to crumbs. Split this crumb mixture into two parts, reserving one half for use later in the recipe.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Put half of the crumbs into a large mixing bowl, add half a cup of white caster sugar, a teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and enough margarine, approx 2 heaped Tablespoons to form the mix into a dough that holds together. (I took these photographs on an occasion when I made two of these at once and didn’t have quite enough stroopwafels, so added come plain biscuit (cookie) crumbs… Maria’s, Graham crackers, Vanilla or Round Wine biscuits would all do).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Next, press your cookie dough mixture into your low sided pie dish, covering the base and curving the mix up the sides to reach to top of the dish. If the weather is warm, refriderate to firm up the mix until the next step is completed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is where the largest bowl you pocess and an extra pair of hands will come in handy. Either way you will have to work very fast and have everything you need to hand. I usually rope in Himself or Kiwi Daughter to help with this stage.

Take two 1 liter containers of icecream, (in our case we also have Stroopwafel Icecream in the Netherlands, but vanilla would be just as good) (Ideally the first person gets the ice-cream out of the tubs whilst the second person mixes like crazy) get all of the ice-cream out and into your large bowl. Add ¾ of the remaining Stroopwafel crumbs and (the person wearing the rubber gloves) mix into the ice-cream as quickly as you can.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The mixture will become mushy very quickly so work at speed, you don’t  want all of the ice-cream to melt, in fact it’s even nice to leave whole sections of the ice-cream as-is so that you get variation in your cut slices at the end. Get your now rapidly becoming soft mixture into the pie dish as quickly as possible. (if the base was in the fridge your helper can get it out at the last minute for you). Push the mix onto the crust and smooth over the top…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then quickly add the remaining crumbs over the top of the taart and cover with plastic cling film (your helper is useful here too) and get it all into the freezer as quickly as possible. The entire time for mixing and getting everything back into the freezer should be only a few minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cover with foil as well if you would like to freeze this for a month or more… and freeze for at least 24 hours before cutting.  To cut, you will find that cutting the entire taart in half will release the rest from the sides more easily, in fact this is usually so successful that I can lift half of it our in one piece, which when transferred to a cutting board, can be then easier cut into small pieces with a large knife. Do work fast when cutting the pieces, and keep them small, a piece of this is very  filling. Be warned the pieces will be really solid and you will have to work hard to cut it, for this reason I now cut it into pieces in the kitchen well before needed, then return it to the freezer so that it’s already in pieces when you bring it out to serve.  I’ve managed to get as many as 18-20 slices out of each taart, especially when serving in partnership with other desserts or after a large buffet meal.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 8, 2014

Diversification Comes Naturally…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are having a quiet rest day in Platania  when my sister-in-law asks me if I would maybe mind to do a favour for one of their friends in the village.

Like many Greeks, the locals here have had a difficult time in the economic crisis and we have heard many of stories of  hard times and forced diversification.

For instance after government cut-backs meant withdrawal of subsidies for physiotherapy treatments, many patients faced with the full tariff simply cancelled their treatments because they could no longer afford them.

In turn the physiotherapist has become the local odd-job man, turning his hand at various D.I.Y. needs in the local region to make his own ends meet.

He is not alone, some people in the village apparently have several part time jobs, some seasonal, some year round and many former professionals in the district now survive by the same method.

Unlike in the big cities, people here have the advantage of  having their own garden plots and chickens as an important way to keep within budget.

The tourist trade, partly because of bad press about Greece and unrest in cities like Athens at the time contributed to a roughly thirty percent downturn in tourist trade (at least this was so in 2012) and local businesses across the board were feeling the pinch.

Nikos, The owner of  Des Roses Hotel in Platania has been interested in ecologically friendly tourism for a long time now a some years back began hosting local eco-tours and then int0 making his own soap products with local organically grown herbs, flowers and spices and fresh local olive oil.

The favour that is being asked is that Nikos’s website needs updating and could I maybe help out by taking some photographs for him to use please?

I was delighted to be of help and immediately got a demonstration from Nikos on how to make natural, organic and amazing soap. The process begins with his own crops of organically grown thyme, lavender, myrrh, bay-leaves, roses, camomile, rosemary, mint and geraniums. Each of these is harvested and put into large jars, which are then filled with pure olive oil. This is then closed and left to infuse for at least two months.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The colours in the jars are like jewels. the smell when the lid comes off is amazing…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Let the soap making process begin…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The infused oil (in this case it’s lavender)  is strained though a sieve into a large pan…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You need to get every drop of oil but sieve out the lavender bits (they have done their job).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

More olive oil is added…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now starts the stirring process… the liquid at this stage is very yellow in colour and thin in consistency…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The stirring process thickens it very slowly…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And the colour slowly but surely changes to a soft creamy yellow…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now it’s noticeably thicker…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Time to add a little bit of Vitamin E oil…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And stir well until it’s well mixed…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The tray for the bars has been lined and prepared…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And the mixture is now poured into the tray…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are too many photographs for one post so I will continue with Nikos’s demonstration tomorrow…

http://www.greecepelion.com/desroses/

http://www.peliondesroses.gr/desrosessoapactivities-en.pdf

July 16, 2014

Greek Thomas’s Divine Family Recipe For Curing Olives…

Filed under: FOOD,GREECE,PHOTOGRAPHY,Platania,Recipes,Step-by-Step Tutorials — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are lots of advantages of having family who have become very familiar with a particular place over a long period of time.

Our in-laws have holidayed  in Platania for several decades and now own a small holiday home there.

Not only are they excellent friends with many of their neighbours, they have learned Greek and the whole village knows who they are, and many locals are also good friends.

One of their Greek friends is Thomas, the owner of the small local grocery shop, and I had instructions from my sister in law when I went there to let Thomas know that I was “family”.

The smile and friendly greeting that I was received with quickly got broader and I soon had recommendations of places to go, the best products to buy, and by the end of our stay,  his family recipe for curing olives. We visited Platania in the last week of October 2012. It was our children’s half-term school holiday but luckily for us, it was also the beginning of the olive harvest in Greece. Himself and I are olive lovers, Kiwi Daughter is slowly acquiring the taste  and mega fussy Little Mr, who knows, might discover the taste of many a gastronomic delight one day in the future.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Two days before we left Greece the olives started to arrive in the shop…  there are trees everywhere and naturally many local cure olives from their own gardens but there are also freshly picked olives for sale in the shops.

I tentatively asked the price thinking they would be expensive but got a very pleasant surprise when I found out that 1 kilogram of olives costs only one Euro.

This was the moment I started ruing the fact that we had packed light for our budget airline flight and had squeezed everything into a small bag for the convenience of having only one bag and not two.

Fortunately my brother in law had bought some tools  for their renovation project from home and was planning to use them when he came back in the new year for a “work week”, so there was space in their luggage I could use.   I stocked up on five kilograms (approx 10 lb) of fresh olives for the princely sum of five Euros and with Thomas’s recipe ended up with the best souvenir I’ve ever bought in my life.

Tip: Thomas said you know your salt water mix is good if you take a raw egg (in shell) and float it in the water, if only 5mm of the shell sticks out of the water your salt solution is a good one. (the egg is only used to see how salty the water is, you don’t use it anywhere in the recipe)

Kiwidutch Tip:  Our In-laws cured the olives off their trees at the same time as I did mine. Both lots were edible around Christmas time and they couldn’t resist trying theirs: once they did, their entire stash of olives was gone by the time they rang in the New Year. Family Kiwidutch put our olives into jars and stashed them out of sight so we wouldn’t be tempted. We opened the first jars in April 2013 with extended family members present and the in-laws who had finished their olives, immediately conceded that we had hit the jackpot by leaving ours a few months more…the olives were soft and beyond delicious. Commercially bought olives taste nothing like these… so if you think commercial ones are good then you would find this recipe simply divine.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Greek Thomas’s Divine Family Olive Curing Recipe: 

– Take each olive and slice lengthwise three times.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

– cover with water at least 1 week and change water every two days.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

– after 1-2 weeks tip the most recent water out and for every litre of water you put in new, add 80g salt. Soak olives in this mixture 1 week.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

– after 1 week rinse off the salt water, and make the following mixture: 50-70 ml olive oil + 150g vinegar + 80 grams salt for very litre of water used(the water should cover the olives). Keep the olives in this new mixture for two weeks.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In “theory” the olives are ready to eat at this point BUT if you keep the olives in a cool dark place the flavour will improve with age.

If you want to flavour your olives with garlic etc then add the garlic into this mix. You can also put the mix into glass jars after the two weeks so that you can age them, and the olive oil in the mix should float to the top and seal the jar.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Enjoy!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

April 1, 2014

Chicken Roulade: Quick Prep, Slow Cook, Divine Result….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I scored this recipe from a fellow foodie friend after a dinner out at their place over a year ago.

Since then I have made this recipe fairly regularly and have even tweaked the original recipe in a way that I think makes it even better.

The recipe in question is a “roulade” and the name comes from “rouler” (French for “to roll”) and in the Netherlands at least,  consists of  raw meat tightly rolled up and encased in a net of butchers string.

The meat is slow cooked, lifted out to cool, very finely sliced and a jus (gravy) made from the resulting stock.

The cooked roulade meat is then served in the gravy.

I know that roulardes come in pork meat and in chicken, this recipe is for the chicken version.

What I like most is that there is minimal work needed for maximum flavour, the slow cooking is the secret and who doesn’t like an easy recipe?

Don’t worry at all about this recipe being to “mustard-y”, even if you use a really strong mustard the resulting meat will have a lovely full flavour but rather surprisingly not at all be of overpowering  mustard. In fact, I never would have believed how much mustard this was made in had I not made it myself. The onion and chicken seem to balance things out perfectly. If cooking this recipe in bulk don’t be afraid to add as much garlic as you like and also some extra onion, as you will see later in the recipe, I use it all in the end anyway so nothing is wasted and the flavour just gets better and better. Since this meat is slow cooked, I usually cram my le crueset pan as full as I can manage and then later when the recipe is finished, freeze the rest of the meat for easy meals at a later date.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I haven’t yet tried to make this in my crock-pot / slow cooker, simply because it’s so easy to make on the stove top: prepare and leave for hours to simmer.

The only hassle is that sometimes the supermarket only has three roulades on their shelves, when I really would have liked there to have been five so that I could fill the pan up. I took the step-by-step photographs over various cooking sessions.

Ingredients:

1 chicken roularde (already prepared and tied up in butchers netting)

2 large onions

3-6 large cloves garlic (depending on how much you like garlic)

100 grams  (3.5 oz) butter

2-3 bayleaves

1/2 of a 350 gram / 12 oz jar coarse mustard

water

Method:

Chop your onions and garlic…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

With a spoon or a spatula, coat the roulade as evenly as you can with the mustard.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Melt the butter on a low heat in a heavy based cooking pan, then place the roulade into the pan and gently brown it on all sides.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and enough water to cover. (The roulade will want to float so I often place a soup plate on top of them to keep them better immersed in the liquid)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cook on a very low heat (the water should be just moving) for 3 to 3 1/2 hours depending on the thickness of the roulade.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Remove the meat from the liquid, be careful because the meat is soft and the roulade can break apart at this point (even inside the string net). Whilst the meat is still hot, use tongs and scissors to gently cut the net away from the meat. (doing this whilst the meat is hot can be a little tricky but if you wait until the meat has cooled then the net will stick to the meat and tear chunks of it away when you try and remove it). Try not to break the roulade as you take the net off. Leave the meat to cool completely before cutting it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Take the cooled roulade and using either a very sharp knife or a cutting machine, cut as thin slices as you can manage. (my cutting machine setting made slices 1-2 mm thick).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At this point in the original recipe my friend usually makes a packet mix of vegetable gravy and adds the meat to it to serve, my own addition to this recipe is as follows: Making sure to keep all of the liquid, Sieve the mustard/onion  and bay leaf from the water,  discard the bay leaf, and using a stick blender, blend the mustard and onion pulp so that it becomes a paste. Add some flour to this paste to thicken the gravy, cook it on a low heat and then add several cups of the liquid that the roulade cooked in for added flavour.

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Bag and freeze any bulk cooked chicken (with or without the gravy as preferred)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This recipe is divine with mashed potato, and I’ve mixed the chicken sans gravy into stir fry and pasta dishes. Yum!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 26, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Peas Pulao (Rice)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Peas Pulao (Rice)

2 Cups (260 grams) Basmati rice (for best results use Tilda): approx for 4 persons
Water for rinsing the rice
4 Cups water for cooking the rice

2 Tablespoons Gee or vegetable oil
½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
3-4 small piece cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
1 onion (finely chopped)
3 Tablespoons Gee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil

Frozen peas (approx 50 grams) (the amount can be varied according to taste) Take them out of the freezer at the beginning of the recipe so that they begin to thaw.

This is the final recipe in my Indian Cooking Lesson series… and I’m ending the series as I began it: with one of my favourites of all the recipes.

This is a recipe that I can see myself making again and again and again. It’s spiced up enough to give it some flavour but not so much that you will scare off the fussy eaters. It’s the kind of side dish that will go not just with other Indian dishes, but also with food from around the rest of the world, it’s more exciting for the numerous vegetarians in our family than the usual plain rice and ever since I discovered that the rice can be cooked first in the microwave, it’s easy, easy. easy to make!  Your buffet table will never look the same again.

Our teacher cannot stress strongly enough the importance in getting Basmati rice if you can… it might cost a little extra but the difference in taste is streets ahead every other type. I also like the fact that after splashing out on the rice, all the other ingredients are mainstream ones, cheap and easy to find in the average supermarket.

Yes, there is Gee in the recipe, but you can make your own by slowly simmering a block of butter for some 40 minutes… the butter during the process clarifies itself and turns into Gee. When it’s cooled a little pour it into a container, keep it in your fridge and hey presto, you have Gee (clarified butter) on hand for whenever you want it.  A recipe that’s easy on the budget, tastes great and is simple to make: What’s not to like?

Method:

Wash the rice thoroughly in cold water (three times) in a pyrex or microwave proof container. Add 4 cups of cold water (Important note: always use same cup for measuring rice as well as the water) Place in a microwave for 20-21 minutes at 900 Watts.
For step-by-step photographs of this please see:   https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/new-1118/

In the meantime, heat the gee (or vegetable oil) in a deep frying pan (wok pan is ideal). Our teacher used a little of both which also works…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

To the heated gee and oil  add the cumin seeds and fry for one minute until slightly brown.(Important: do not let the cumin seeds burn or your whole dish will taste bitter).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the bay leaves and cook gently for a few minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the chopped onion and fry for 3-4 minutes until it  starts to often.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add the cinnamon sticks and continue frying for a further 3-4 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cook until the onion is well sauteed and a soft pale golden colour …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the peas,  stirring them in..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Finally add the cooked rice and stir thoroughly over a low heat until everything is mixed and the peas are fully cooked.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Serving Tip: Perfect accompaniment  with any type of curry.

Kiwi’s Note: tomorrow a surprise!

June 25, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Keer with Orange

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Keer with Orange

1 litre (2 pints)full fat milk
a few strands of Saffron
2-3 teaspoon sugar (according to taste
180 ml jar of oranges in syrup (or 1 cup fresh orange segments, must be sweet)

Before I get on with the step-by-step photographs, there are a few tips and notes from or Indian cooking lesson teacher to mention.

The milk should ideally be reduced on the stove at a time when you are not frying any strong flavoured things, particularly garlic or onions, because otherwise the garlic and onion odor will be absorbed into the milk.

The reason that a commercial jar of orange or mandarin segments is used in this recipe is that  our teacher says that usually fresh oranges are too dry and simply not sweet enough to given enough flavour to this recipe.

Method:

Heat the milk in a large pan and simmer gently until it reduces to three-quarters of it’s original volume. This will take approximately 30-40 minutes. Stir frequently, fold in the top skin, scrape the side of the pan and mix into the liquid. Continue until the milk thickens and darkens in colour.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the saffron strands to the milk and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then remove from the heat and allow to cool down completely.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the sugar (photograph not included)  and the orange segments. Mix well, taste and add a little more sugar if required. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Note:  This dessert can be made a day before and kept in the fridge.

Kiwi’s Notes: I’ve mentioned earlier that desserts that are heavily dairy based wreck havoc with my asthma, so  this milky dessert really isn’t for me, and was never going to be a personal favourite. I can tell you that the milk, once the keer process is finished is very creamy in taste, which was nice but there was a less strong orange taste to it than I imagined there would be.  Again, my cooking classmates loved it so it’s all personal preference and comes down to if you like this type of dessert or not. It’s definitely easy to make, I think it’s safe to say that you need more time than effort for this one! Enjoy!

June 24, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Easy Chicken Kebabs

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Chicken Kebab

500 grams Chicken mince
2 Tablespoons grated garlic
2 Tablespoons grated ginger
3-4 finely chopped shallots (or one medium onion)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2-3 Tablespoons plain yogurt
1 egg yoke
3-4 Tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
2-3 finely chopped chilies (optional)
3-4 Tablespoons Laziza’s seekh kabab powder (optional, it gives a more spicy taste).

I’m almost at the end of my Indian Cooking Lesson Series and I understand that people around the world may have difficulty in finding (or not) many of the specialist ingredients in the recipes that I’ve posted in recent weeks.

Therefore in just a few days time I will be running a competition where you  are  invited to make a comment on getting to know these genuine Indian recipes… or review them if you have tried them out!

One lucky winner will then receive a parcel of the more specialist items so that they can make and enjoy these recipes at home as well.  It could be YOU so  …..Watch this space!

Method:

To your chicken mince…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

…Add the finely chopped onion (or shallots)…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then the grated ginger…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And the garlic… and mix well into the minced chicken.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the lemon juice…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

…and the chopped chilies (if using)… and mix well again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Separate the egg,  (you will only be using the yoke for this recipe)… add the yoke to the chicken mixture.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the freshly chopped coriander…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And the yogurt…  and mix again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is what Laziza Seekh Kebab powder looks like,  it gives extra flavour to the mix…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the Laziza Seekh Kebab powder to the minced chicken mixture…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cover the bowl and put into the fridge for at least one hour so that the flavours meld…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Moisten your palms with a little water and roll the meat mixture into 20-25 evenly sized balls that you flatten slightly…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Place the kebabs under a moderately hot grill for 8-10 minutes… or until they are cooked and golden brown, turning them over once or twice as necessary…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Turned over and back into the oven..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

All cooked… just have to plate them up nicely.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The finished kebabs… Serve hot!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Serving Tips: These tasty kebabs can be served with drinks or as a starter with rice and lentils (dal). Serve with chopped onions/ spring onions and lemon wedges. These can be frozen but reheat using an oven. The kebabs can also be barbecued or fried in a shallow pan.

Kiwi’s Notes: These are amazing… I’d personally choose a spicy sauce, the raita or coriander chutney recipes from this set of lessons to go with them and my biggest tip? Make a double batch because these are going to disappear fast!

June 23, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Fresh Coriander Chutney

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Fresh Coriander Chutney

1 large bunch of fresh Coriander
1 green chili
1 clove garlic
½ Cup tamarind juice (or lemon juice)
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt (to taste)

Although our Indian cooking class teacher refers to this as a “chutney”recipe, for me personally the fact the it doesn’t have large solid bits of fruit or vegetable in it makes it more of what I’d call a “sauce”or “dipping sauce”.

Then I googled “Fresh Coriander Chutney” to see if I could find some history behind the recipe and instead found a whole slew of recipes that look somewhat similar to this one (same thin-ish consistency as far as I can make out) so I hold my hands up and stand completely and utterly corrected, this is what more people call “chutney”. (you learn something new every day!).

Method:

Place all ingredients together in a blender and blend into a thick smooth paste. If the mixture becomes watery, place on the heat and let the chutney thicken.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Put the garlic and coriander to the blender…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the salt and sugar…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the tamarind water…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Blend the mixture until all of the coriander has been pureed…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Check the seasonings and serve…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The chutney can be used as a dip for any starter (e.g. samosa, kebabs, fish fry etc).
Teacher’s Notes: The chutney can be kept in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for a month, in an airtight container.

Kiwi’s note:  This is a very tangy chutney / sauce so if you are looking for something bursting with freshness and flavour to go with your spicy dishes, this would be an excellent bet.

p.s. If anyone would like a copy of the Indian Cooking Lesson series of recipes (just the text and not the photos) for easier printing,  just let me know via the comments.

June 22, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Gajar-ka-Halwa (Carrot Halwa Dessert)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa Dessert)

1 litre full fat milk
200 grams (grated) carrots
2 Tablespoons Gee
6-7 Tablespoons sugar (to taste)
1 ½ Tablespoons raisins
1 ½ Tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
2 teaspoons crushed cardamom seeds

This particular Keer / Kheer recipe is a little different because grated carrots replace the rice often found in these desserts, so I went looking for more information about one of India’s national desserts.

Wikipedia tells me:

“Kheer is prepared in festivals, temples, and all special occasions. The term Kheer (used in North India) is derived from Sanskrit words Ksheeram (which means milk). Other terms like Payasa or Payasam (used in South India) or payesh (used in Bengal region) are derived from the Sanskrit word Payas which also means “milk”. It is prepared using milk, rice, ghee, sugar/jaggery, Khoya. Some also add a little bit of Heavy Cream to give it more richness in taste. It is often garnished using almonds, cashews, raisins and pistachios.

It is an essential dish in many Hindu feasts and celebrations. While the dish is most often made with rice, it can also be made with other ingredients. It is one of the most significant desserts served in Assamese families and quite often a part of religious ceremonies.

The South Indian version, payasam or payasa is an integral part of traditional South Indian meal. The South Indian payasam also makes extensive use of jaggery and coconut milk in place of sugar and milk.
In a South Indian meal, payasam or payasa (Kannada) is served first at any formal or auspicious occasions.”

Method:

Pour the milk into a medium sized non stick pan and heat over a gentle flame. Stir regularly until the milk thickens and reduces to approximately half its volume, which is a process known as “keer” and takes roughly 40 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the grated carrots to the keer and stir frequently (to prevent burning) for a further 40-50 minutes until the mixture thickens into a paste-like consistency.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cover the pan and let the carrot mixture cook down…  remember to stir it every so often.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the sugar…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the raisins…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the pistachio nuts and stir to mix thoroughly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continue cooking the mixture down so that it become less liquid…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add the gee for extra flavour and to slightly thicken the mixture…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Gajar-ka-Halwa needs to be quasi-dry so continue cooking for another 10 minutes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Remove from the heat and spread the mixture evenly in a shallow dish…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the crushed cardamom seeds…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Serving Tip: This delicious dessert can be served hot or cold. It can be kept in the fridge for a number of days without loss of taste. It is neither too heavy or too sweet whilst retaining the goodness of the carrots.

Kiwidutch Notes: We were advised that some people prefer this dessert served when it’s still warm and others when it’s cold. My classmates and I tried it both ways and my personal preference was for the warm version. One thing  surprised me:  it almost tasted like there might have been rice in this, even though  I had seen with my own eyes that there wasn’t.

As I’ve mentioned earlier elsewhere in this blog I have a lung condition and severe asthma  and have to avoid dairy products most of the time because they give me problems.  Himself isn’t  actually allergic to milk, but suffers from some measure of intolerance to it so unless we are having enough visitors to help us polish off most of this, it’s not realistically going to be high on our family  list of desserts. ( This also means I miss the cooked rice puddings with loads of cinnamon that I love too.)

I was still delighted to have tasted this… and to have learned all about a dessert that was totally new to me.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kheer

June 21, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Chingri (Prawn) Malai Curry (An Original Bengali Speciality)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Chingri (Prawn) Malai Curry (An Original Bengali Speciality)

16-20 medium sized prawns (approx 1kg)
½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
2 medium onions (finely chopped)
3-4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoon (grated) root ginger
3 bay leaves
4-5 whole green cardamoms
4-5 cloves
½ small stick cinnamon
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon gee (or vegetable oil)
½ teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
1 chopped chili or ½ teaspoon chili powder (optional)

In this recipe we will be using creamed coconut, which at first I thought was coconut cream by just another name and raised the question: How then are either of these different to coconut milk?

I didn’t know so I googled: Wikipedia tells me: Creamed coconut is a coconut product,  the unsweetened dehydrated fresh meat of a mature coconut, ground to a semi-solid white creamy paste. It is sold in the form of a hard white block which can be stored at room temperature. It has an intense coconut flavor. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In cookery it is chopped into pieces or grated before it is added to dishes.

By adding warm water it can be made into coconut milk or coconut cream.
Creamed coconut is added to Indian, Thai and Asian recipes to enrich curries and sauces.

In the west it is primarily used in confectionery items, ice cream, and sauces. Not to be confused with the related coconut cream, which is a liquid.

Coconut cream is very similar to coconut milk but contains less water. The difference is mainly consistency.

It has a thicker, more paste-like consistency, while coconut milk is generally a liquid. Coconut cream is used as an ingredient in cooking, having a mild non-sweet taste.

Coconut milk is the liquid that comes from the grated meat of a coconut. The color and rich taste of the milk can be attributed to the high oil content. Most of the fat is saturated fat.

I understand that people around the world have different access (or not) to specialist ingredients and therefore since I have a few more  recipes in this series I will also soon be running a competition where you will be invited to make a comment on  these genuine Indian recipes.One lucky winner will then receive a small parcel of the more specialist items so that they can make and enjoy these recipes at home as well. Watch this space!

Method:

Clean and wash the prawns thoroughly. Add a little salt and turmeric powder to the washed prawns and leave to one side.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In a medium shallow pan or wok, heat the oil…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Crush the whole green cardamoms slightly in a mortar and pestle to get maximum flavour…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the whole green cardamoms and the whole cloves to the oil…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the pieces of cinnamon and the bay leaves… and saute for a few minutes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add the chopped onions and chili (optional) and stir fry until the onions turn soft brown (approx 7 minutes).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Next add the ginger paste  and continue frying the mixture until the oil separates from the masala (spices)  This should take 4-5 minutes. If the mixture sticks in the pan add a little water to prevent burning.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add about 3/4 the coconut milk (don’t  use it all yet!) and simmer for about 5 minutes. Here is what our block of creamed coconut looked like…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The coconut cream mixed with water…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

How much of it we used at this stage of the recipe…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ok, this photo should have come before the last one, this the first lot of coconut cream and water going into the pan…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Let it gently simmer for a few minutes on low…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the sugar (not pictured) and salt…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Finally add the prawns to the mixture and stir thoroughly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add the leftover coconut cream and water…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Simmer gently so that the shrimp start to cook through… (they will start to turn from a grey colour on the outside to pink)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add  the gee (clarified butter) , it adds a richness to the taste and helps thicken the sauce just a little. Cook until the prawns are done (5-6 minutes)  Teacher’s Note: Do not use garlic sauce since it will over-power the delicate taste of the prawns.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Finally sprinkle with gram masala powder…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Serving Tip: serve with Peas Pilau or Indian bread.

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