Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Pistachio and cardamom cheesecake

the cardamom in this makes for a unique warm, sweet and slightly spicy taste. i made (reasonably) small individual cheesecakes with not too much cream cheese for a lighter dessert after a heavy meal. i originally tried it out with around 150ml of low fat cr√®me fraiche instead of the cream which made for an even lighter dessert, though you will have a softer consistency and the cheesecake won’t be able to hold it’s own without being in a serving dish if you go for this option.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Lamb Biryani

very much for sharing, lamb biryani is a regal dish, apparently invented by mughal emperors. it is a fantastic combination of flavours - rich marinated lamb is layered among sweet, crispy, caramelised onions and cardamom and clove infused rice. this isn't a dish to opt in for if you want to knock up something quick and easy for guests. be prepared to prepare for this one. you really will get a more flavoursome dish with wonderful textures if you rinse, and rinse, and rinse and soak the rice, keep frying those onions within a second of being completely burnt, marinate the lamb for hours, and perhaps get your spices in order before the full performance. 

biryani is often the centre piece of a wider assembly of dishes and i served mine with a rich black dahl and some yoghurt. this recipe makes for a very full-flavoured dish and if you would rather go for chicken instead, try out this recipe

ingredients (serves four generously):
for the lamb:
400g of diced lamb (i used neck fillet)
2 tbsp of natural yoghurt
1 heaped tsp of each of these: ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric and paprika
1 tsp of black peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp of salt
2 fresh green finger chillies, chopped
juice of half a lemon

for the rice:
220g white basmati rice
a generous knob of butter
600ml of vegetable or lamb stock
10 cardamom pods 
8 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 stick of cinnamon
a pinch of saffron strands, soaked in some warm milk

other ingredients:
rapeseed oil for frying the onions and lamb
3 large onions, sliced length-ways  (i.e. don't finely chop them)
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
about 5cm piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
generous handful of fresh mint and coriander, finely chopped
handful of pomegranate seeds

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Chocolate Chai Brownies

this has taken me a few tries to perfect and the result is around 15 small, very moist brownies, like nothing I’ve ever tasted  - unsurprising when your brownies have allspice, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, black pepper and more. but trust me, they taste delicious with a lovely balance between sweet and spicy to make for a festive treat. the good thing about these is that you can adjust quite easily to taste – if you prefer a dry, more cakey brownie, leave them in the over for around 5 more minutes. with the chai mix, adjust to taste - if you know you don't want a very ginger dominated brownie and prefer the sweet spiciness of cinammon, tone down the ginger measures and ramp up the cinammon.  


120g unsalted butter
100g of good quality dark chocolate (at least 70%)
50g of pistachios, chopped (optional, or use another nut if you prefer)
35g plain flour, sifted
45g of good quality cocoa powder, sifted
170g of caster sugar
Half tsp of baking powder
2 large eggs

for the chai mix (but adjust to taste):
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp all spice
seeds of 4 cardamom pods, ground
2 cloves, ground

preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper 
melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl (I just did this in the microwave, checking and stirring often so it didn’t burn)
stir in the nuts
in a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar and chai mix
add this to the chocolate mix in intervals, folding the mixture
beat the eggs one by one until you have glossy mixture
pour the mixture into the baking tray and place in the oven for around 15 minutes for a moist brownie, but check with a knife to make sure they are baked through (the knife should still come out quite clean when you pierce into the brownies)

set aside to cool and cut into slices

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Curry and Cocktails with Coupe Half Full

this is a repost from my friend ginny's fantastic cocktail themed blog Coupe Half Full when we joined forces for a curry and cocktail evening that our friend and guest navid took full advantage of. 

ginny tells you all you need to know about the amazing cardamom and rosewater and chai whiskey sour. you can also recreate the chicken with the recipe here and the daal here. and I will post the prawn curry soon - it's actually one of my most popular dishes when it comes to dinner parties so i will stop keeping it to myself and share the love very soon. 

enjoy eating and drinking! 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Paneer Kebabs

paneer is a great, sturdy cheese very common in india and a vegetarian staple. you can vary these kebabs to include whatever you like to eat on a skewer but given these were part of a big diwali meal and i didn't want to many ingredients and flavours, i kept it simple and alternated the paneer with a chunk of pepper. 

this recipe made around 12 or so medium sized kebabs so do adjust it if you have fewer guests, though they will keep in the fridge for a few days once cooked. 

bamboo skewers
500g paneer, chopped into large cubes
3 peppers, chopped into chunks
1 heaped tbsp greek or natural yogurt 
1 small knob of ginger, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chilli powder or chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
juice from half a lemon
2 tbsp chickpea flour (gram flour) 

soak the skewers in warm water for at least an hour.
pre-heat the over to 200 degrees.
mix the marinade ingredients together. 
in a large bowl mix the marinade with the paneer and peppers until they are covered in the marinade.
leave for at least half an hour if you can. 
put the paneer and peppers onto the skewers. 
place on an over proof tray or dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turning the kebabs half way through the cooking time.
to finish off, place the kebabs on a griddle pan on a high heat on the stove to give it some chargrilled marks.
serve as a starter, with salad or with rice or naan as a main.