Monday, June 30, 2008

Spicy curry soup

I'm currently trying to incorporate more vegetables into my diet.
That said, I have grown slightly tired of the green leaf salad. Or most salads, actually. (And we are not half way through summer. Doh!)
So I have turned to soups.
I'll probably grow tired of soups by autumn, but then I can always go back to salads. Until then, this is a wonderful soup that will satisfy most people. Even dedicated meat eaters, I believe.

This soup is tasty, spicy, filling and healthy.
What more can you ask from a single soup?
I serve it with whole grain rolls and garlic butter. It's delicious!

2 carrots
2 spring onions
1/4 root celery
1 yellow onion
1 garlic clove
1 inch fresh ginger
1 green apple
2-3 tablespoons canola oil or other vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1/2 cup red lentils
1 15oz can coconut milk
2 quarts vegetable stock or vegetable bullion
juice from 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cube vegetables.
Peel and finely shred the ginger. Finely chop the garlic clove.
Peel and core apple. Cut it into cubes.

Heat the oil in a three quart casserole.
Saute vegetables and the apple cubes in oil for 2-3 minutes.
Add the spices, and saute for a couple of minutes more.
Add vegetable stock, coconut milk and lentils, and let boil for an hour.

Puree the soup in a food processor or with a hand held blender. (Make sure to keep the hand held blender well into the soup to avoid having it turn into a fiercy hot soupy vulcano.)

When pureed, add juice from 1/2 lime and salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


If you were to give only one shot at making home made salsa, this should be it.
I made it once and never turned back to the store bought kind.
It's good, it's hot and it only takes ten minutes to make.
(adapted from The cookbook critic)
Red Salsa
2 cups ( 5 large) diced ripe tomatoes
1 minced jalapeƱo pepper (use more or less depending to how hot you want the salsa)
2 chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 clove finely chopped or pressed garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp ketchup
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nigella's sesame peanut noodles

This recipe comes from Nigella Express.

It's fast and easy to make, and delicious both warm and cold. I make it for dinner one day and bring leftovers to lunch the next.
I usually use what vegetables I have.
Today I used some broccoli florets, sliced carrots, sugar snap peas, sliced spring onions and some sliced white cabbage. Use what you prefer, but for a start, here's Nigellas recipe with the vegetables she uses.

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon garlic-infused oil or 1 tablespoon oil and 1/3 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice

1-1/4 pounds cooked noodles, ( I use egg noodles)
2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed
1-1/2 cups snow peas, whole or cut in half or strips
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into small strips
2-4 scallions, finely sliced
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Boil noodles according to package. (Let cool if you want to serve the salad cold.)
Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a bowl or small pitcher.
Mix the noodles, bean sprouts, snow peas, radishes, sliced red pepper and scallions into a bowl.
Pour over the dressing and mix thoroughly to coat everything well.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chicken curry

(photo by: Romulo Yanes)

This recipe is from Gourmet in January 2005.
It's the best curry recipe I have ever come across!
"In this recipe adapted from Charmaine Solomon's Complete Asian Cookbook, ground cashews thicken the curry and give it a rich, nutty flavor. Both roasted and raw cashews work well, so use whichever you prefer."
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 (3 1/2- to 4-lb) chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup cashews (1/4 lb)
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

Accompaniment: cooked basmati or jasmine rice
Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro

Heat butter in a 5- to 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately low heat until foam subsides, then cook onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, including juice, and cilantro and bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Just before serving:Pulse cashews in a food processor or electric coffee/spice grinder until very finely ground, then add to curry along with yogurt and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.

Cooks' note:Curry, without yogurt and cashews, can be made 5 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat over low heat before stirring in yogurt and ground cashews.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Potato salad for warm days

It's been too hot to cook lately.
But after several days of iced tea and salads, I started craving some real BBQ food.

I made grilled salmon, as salmon on the grill takes just a few blinks compared to a T-bone steak. (It was so hot I could hardly bare the thought of standing next to a hot grill!)

I served the salmon with potato salad and buttered corn. Not that buttered corn and salmon is a great combination (not by any stretch, really), but corn with butter is almost as good as chocolate, and have you ever heard anyone say that you can't serve chocolate with anything?
Because you can. ;-)

Anyways, here's the recipe for the potato salad:

2 pounds cooked potatoes, cooled and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sunflower oil
8 raddishes, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

I usually boil the potatoes a day ahead. I keep them in the fridge overnight so they will 'set'.

Mix mustard, honey and lime juice in a bowl. Add the oil little by little while whisking all the time. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix cubed potatoes with the raddishes and onion in a separate bowl. Fold in the oil, mustard and honey dressing.
Sprinkle chopped oregano on top.

(If you want, you can add 8 slices of fried bacon to the salad. Fry the bacon and let it cool till room teperature. Chop the bacon roughly before adding it to the potato salad. NB! Watch the salt if you are using bacon. The bacon is salty and you will need a lot less salt in the dressing.)