Archive | May 2016

Hot and Sweet Chicken-breast

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This week has been a bit crazy – in other words, there were never enough hours in the day to do even a fraction of the things either of us wanted or had to do.
Frequent power-cuts (due to the heavy onset of the refreshing monsoon) did not help either – and today, when I am writing this, it is only Thursday – so more to come.

So therefor I will not keep you busy as well by having to look at a long post, instead here is another one of my “speedy-gonzales” recipes (kitchen is not being used that much right now).

It will take you maximum 20 minutes from start to finish.

For 2 people I used:

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2 x Chicken breasts, cut into nice cubes

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A few pieces of fresh pineapple, cut into cubes

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2 x heaped Tbsp of Peanuts, crushed
1 x Tbsp liquid honey
1 ½ Tbsp of mustard (coarse grain)
1 shot of cream (or 2 if you like it creamier)
1 good sprinkling of curry powder
1 x Tbsp of Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

How to do:

Wok on medium heat, add oil and cubed chicken.

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Stir and quickly fry for couple of minutes. Add honey, mustard, curry powder, salt and pepper and whilst stirring keep on cooking the chicken.

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When ready carefully add the cream (don’t let it curdle) and the crushed peanuts. Simmer for a couple more minutes.
That’s it – serve with Rice or as in my pictures, with Penne and maybe some blanched spinach or broccoli.

Tips:
Place unsalted peanuts into your Mixy and ‘blitz’ only for a couple of seconds. Don’t make them smooth, you will want a slight bite.
This sauce is really simple but so nice, maybe you like to make a little bit more!?
If you have no fresh pineapple, then use tinned one.

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Enjoy your meal and have a wonderful safe week-end wherever you are in the world, my friends.

Carina

Caribbean Sweet and Sour Mango Chicken

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As I have mentioned somewhere before, when I lived for 3 years in the Caribbean (in Port-of-Spain/Trinidad), I too, like many of the other ‘diplomatic wives’ on this Island, went for a couple of weeks to a charming old Chinese Lady to learn the basics of ‘Chinese-cooking-with-a-wok’. Her name was Suzie Wong! Yes, film buffs of course will immediately connect this name with the very beautiful young actress Nancy Kwan, starring in her first film “The world of Suzie Wong”.

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Wok cooking is so quick and easy to do – then why did I put this onto my kitchen back shelf for quite some years once we had left Trinidad, I kept asking myself. Maybe because I had nearly worn out my own Wok in those wonderful three years – and of course, living on the Island with its multi-racial population, who did not like Chinese food???

So now that I started writing easy to follow (I hope) recipes for elder daughter, living away from home, and her friends, my Wok has come into his own again – certain weeks with a vengeance!.

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So here now a recipe which includes two of our favourite main ingredients – Chicken and Mango. I found this scribbled down note in my box of loose “Recipes from around the world” and immediately I decided late at night to make this for today’s Lunch.

Caribbean Sweet and Sour Mango Chicken

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I used for 2-3 portions:

3 x Chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 x very large ripe mango peeled and cut free from its large seed and then cut into nice longish strips. Keep aside.
2 Tbsp good sunflower oil
12 x biggish shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1.5 x tsp of fresh ginger, cut into long thin slivers
Some leeks, washed thoroughly and cut into thin rings
3 x garlic cloves, crushed well
1 x cups of green gram beansprouts

To make Sweet and Sour Sauce
2 x Tbsp white wine vinegar
4 x Tbsp of water
2 x Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 x Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
2 x Tbsp clear honey
2 x Tbsp very good tomato ketchup
1 x tsp cornflour
2 x chicken stock cubes (I used KNORR), crumbled

First start making your sauce.

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Combine all the above mentioned ingredients in a jug incl. the cornflour, which will slightly thicken the sauce. Set aside.

Heat up your Wok (or large frying pan) on medium flame, add oil and after 1 minute also the prepared chicken. Quickly brown the meat for maximum 3 minutes (keep stirring). Transfer with a slotted spoon into a small bowl and keep aside.
Into the same oil add the shallots and the ginger, stir for a couple of minutes only, after which you add your sauce and the mango.
Bring gently to the boil and continue simmering for another 2 minutes.

With this particular dish we like to alternate between long-grain basmati rice and Chinese noodles.

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请享用
Qǐng xiǎngyòng = Enjoy your meal
Carina

Mango Relish – Companion for Mushroom and Okra Curry

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Yesterday I decided to “blitz” the inside of my 2 refrigerators – clearing out an array of containers with bits and pieces which by now most definitely were beyond their ‘best- sell- by- date’.

And when I came to my bottom vegetable drawers I knew that this was the end of a lazy Saturday afternoon for me. I know, I know – I should have attended to this matter in hand a week earlier, but….for one reason or another I never got around to it. Please do tell me, how often do you actually clear your own vegetable drawers?

Once I had started I decided to fill a number of boxes with cleaned and cut up vegetables. Beans – top and tailed, cauliflower and broccoli – cut into florets, the usable stalks of those cut into small pieces and kept for my soups, Carrots peeled and cut into nice little ‘matchsticks’ – ready to be nibbled on whilst writing on my computer or/and late night snack when watching a movie; I am sure by now you get the picture. By the time all this was done, labelled and put back into the fridges after having thoroughly cleaned them I was in no mood to start cooking much.

But since we do like Mushrooms, Okra and Mango – we decided that I would make this little light Lunch for us – its quick, nutritious and most of all delicious. I peeled the Mango and onion and put some nice music on whilst I quickly did the rest.

Mango Relish – Companion for Mushroom and Okra Curry

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I did not weigh anything, so just go as well by how hungry you are.

I used for the 2 of us the following:

2 handfuls of nice firm Okra (Ladyfingers), topped and tailed and cut lengthwise in half (or rounds, if you prefer)

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1 pre-packed button mushrooms, wiped clean with dry cloth, (never ever use water!)
1 biggish onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
4 small garlic pods, sliced
2-3 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
3 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped into small cubes
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander seeds (or ½ Tbsp coriander powder)
1 handful of coriander leafs (cilantro), washed and chopped
1 Tbsp of Vegetable oil
½ cup of water
Salt to taste

How to cook:

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Take a Wok and over medium heat add oil and when hot add fenell- and coriander seeds and allow them to sizzle for only a second (or they will burn).
When this is done, add turmeric- and ground cumin powder and stir quickly.

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After only 1 minute add onions and cook for another 5-6 minutes and then add garlic, ginger, tomatoes and little bit of water (so that Masala will not stick), stir and now add all your mushrooms and okra.

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Stir carefully again, cover and let it simmer for maximum 10 minutes.
Check for salt and maybe add just another Tablespoon or two of water to this and uncovered let it cook for just another 5 minutes or so. Keep checking the ‘bite’ on the okra – you want them just a little bit crunchy but not soft or mushy.

When ready, take off the flame, stir in some of your chopped coriander leafs and serve.

It is delicious with just plain (long grain) Basmati rice and some of the mango relish on the side.

For the mango relish you will need:

1 or 2 large ripe Mangos, washed, peeled and cut away from the big stone inside
1 medium sized onion, chopped into small pieces
1 small piece of ginger
2 red chillies (or more!) – deseeded
Pinch of each salt and sugar

How to make:

Add the chopped mango(s), garlic, chilli, ginger and onion into your Blender and ‘blitz’ this for a couple of seconds until the relish is quite smooth.
Check your seasoning: you may want to add more salt since the mangos are quite sweet.

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Note:
I used the famous Alphonso Mango, which Jo brought back from the market. The Mango season has just started and so the kitchen is never without this delicious fruit right now.

According to Wikipedia, Alphonso mango is a seasonal fruit, considered to be among the most superior varieties of the fruit in terms of sweetness, richness and flavour.

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The variety is named after Alphonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese general and military expert who helped establish Portuguese colonies in India. The Portuguese introduced grafting on mango trees to produce extraordinary varieties like Alphonso.

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The fruit was then introduced to the Konkan region in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and some parts of southern state of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

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Courgette Fritters With Fiery Onion Jam

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In 2013, Jo and I took our two girls for a one month vacation to beautiful Madrid. Ostensibly this was meant to be a little “educational trip” for Bianca to look at fashion (she is now a qualified Fashion Designer) and for Andrea to look at Architecture; she too has since qualified and is working as well.

One of the Studios/Salons Bianca and I visited was to this very beautiful Store of “Adolfo Domínguez“ (for more details look at my blog entry of 23.06.2013 – Fashion for comfort & love!). After our “work” we always made our way to the top floor where, to put it simply, we felt a bit like inside the world of “The Devil Wears Prada”. Sometimes it seemed to us, that every woman there nibbling on a lettuce leaf and/or having their glass of delicious wine, had walked straight out of pages of VOGUE. In retrospect I would have liked to eat (and photograph!) my way through Chef’s small but very delicious looking menu.

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(Pic. Above: Inside the top-floor Cafeteria at “Adolfo Domínguez” – a little heaven amidst the noise and hectic of Madrid.)

But one item from his blackboard I really loved and in the end he very kindly shared the recipe with me.

I have altered it a little bit – in order to suit our own pallet giving it a little bit more ‘kick’ especially re the spices -.

This is lovely for Snacky food served on a bed of beautifully crisp green salad with the Onion Jam as an accompaniment and when made smaller and a bit thicker also as cocktail party food.

So, why not give those little Fritters a try – maybe you too end up liking them as we do in my own little family.

Little Courgette Fritters with fiery onion jam

Recuerdos de Madrid – Memories of Madrid

Right at the beginning a little word of advice, when you make the onion jam, make double or even treble the amount you want for your fritters, this thick chutney like jam is so Moorish, it keeps well in your fridge up to a week – you also might want to have it with your favourite cheese!!!

I used the following:

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Appr. 1 lb courgettes (yellow or green), top and tailed, coarsely grated and kept aside in a bowl
A small chunk of hard cheese (either freshly! grated Parmesan or Cheddar), kept aside

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2 eggs, slightly beaten with a fork
App. 4 Tbsp of Besan (yellow) flour also known as garbanzo bean flour, chickpea flour (or plain)
Salt and pepper (you will need a bit more salt here than usual)
¾ Tbsp of Kashmiri Chilli powder
½ tsp of fennel powder
½ tsp of cumin powder
Small bunch of Spring onions (use the green part only!)
Vegetable Oil for frying
1 very clean cheese clothes
A few sheets of kitchen paper towel

To make the onion jam I used the following:

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4 large onion, thinly sliced
½ Tbsp Oil
3 green chillies
5 small garlic pods
1 Tbsp (maximum) soft brown sugar
½ tsp of dry red chilli flakes
Heat oil in a wide pan, add your onions and the garlic, stir and on low heat and cook this for the next 20 minutes, approx.. or until onions are very soft.

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When done let this cool down quickly and transfer to your Blender with the chillies, sugar and the chilli flakes and “blitz” until everything is very smooth.
Return to the pan and once again on very low flame cook for an additional 10 minutes. Done! And ready to be used with the fritters.

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Tip the grated Courgettes onto the cheesecloth and wring out as much of the liquid, which will have appeared, and move to a large mixing bowl. Now add the eggs, cheese, flour and all the spices and the spring onion greens and mix well. Check seasoning.

Take your pan, add just enough oil to cover the pan and heat on medium flame. When hot add dollops of your fritter mixture with a big spoon carefully into the oil, flatten the fritters slightly and gently fry for 3-4 minutes on either side. A word of warning: do not take your eyes off them for a second – they can turn dark very quickly (see my own disastrous first attempt: delicious but near cinder top and bottom!!)

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Remove and keep on the sheets of kitchen paper to lose some of the oil (do not cover). If you make a large batch, keep them on a baking sheet inside your oven on very low heat to keep warm.

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When you finished making all your fritters, bring them to your table with the beautiful jam in a separate bowl and enjoy!!

Carina

Notes: You can of course also use half/half (yellow/green) courgettes.
The amount of chillies used is suited for our own pallet; tone it down if you want, but……you do want ‘the kick
’!

Potato Curry Kerala style

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This past weekend was supposed to be a very relaxing one – we had plans, like most people, to do this, that and the other, but….. like all well laid out plans things went slightly wrong. No – wait! – what do I say here, have to correct myself by typing “…things went from bad to worse!

I will not bore you with my problems, you might have some of your own and the last thing you want me to whine on and on and on…….

Just one thing I will tell you briefly, so you understand for this very short entry today.

Our small fridge in which we keep most of the items I plan to cook for this Blog (and for us of course) decided to go into sort of hibernation, i.e. stopped working!! Having just been to our fairly new Hypermarket we had stocked up on many things, like meat, fish etc.

But on Saturday night (do these things not always happen either over a weekend or holiday??) this little fridge decided to pack up. No electricity went in to feed it. So everything had to be moved to the big fridge which was already packed. Sunday I cooked as much as possible of the by now thawed items in order to rescue whatever I could.

So today finally all this was sorted out and the fridge is finally working again!

So I leave you for now with our own house-version of Kerala Potato Curry, which we enjoyed for lunch.

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Potato Curry Kerala style

For 2 large portions I used:

6 x medium potatoes, cubed
1 x big onion, cubed
6 x garlic cloves (ours are quite small), chopped
Some fresh ginger, chopped
4 x green chillies, split
A generous pinch of Turmeric powder
2 x tsp of Sambar powder
1 x Tbsp Garam Masala powder
1 x Bay leaf
Salt and black pepper, to your own taste
1-2 x Tbsp of Coconut oil
Some Mustard seeds and some Fennel Seeds
1 x Bayleaf
½ cup of good Vegetable Stock
A couple of dried red chillies
Coconut Milk
Some Curry leaves

Method:

Boil your prepared potatoes until they are just a tiny bit under-done. Drain and keep aside.

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In a deep pan or wok heat 1 Tbsp of oil on medium heat and when slightly hot add the mustard-, fennel-seeds and Bayleaf, stir for a couple of seconds only and then add the onions, ginger, garlic and the green chillis.

Let this simmer for a couple of minutes.

Make sure your heat is on low, because you do not want to burn your Masala.

Add Sambar powder, Garam Masala, salt and pepper and turmeric – keep stirring for a few more minutes. Add Vegetable Stock before it gets too dry.
Now add your boiled and drained potatoes to your Masala and stir gently; check seasoning.

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Keep heat still on low whilst you add ¼ to ½ cup of thick coconut milk and let this simmer for 5 more minutes.
Take off flame. Keep aside.

In a separate little pan heat little bit of oil, mustard seeds, some curry leaves and 2 red chillies and after a few seconds pour over your finished Potato Curry.

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Bring to your table and enjoy.

Guten Appetit – enjoy your meal – znegosmac – buon appetito – bon appétit – ทานให้อร่อยนะ –
Carina