This year alas we will not be travelling to one of the most romantic places for us in Italy but our memories of this beautiful place, Torcello with the Locanda Cipriani, will have to do for now and therefor I like to re-blog my Valentine’s post from 2016.
Have a wonderful happy day.
Carina (13 Feb 2020)
PS: A funny quote to our loved ones: ‘I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.’ Rita Rudner American comedian
Below is my Valentine’s Post of 2016:
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It is already Epiphany, 06th January, and Christmas is now most definitely over – until next time.
But before I post my Prawn Moilee today I like to share with you a picture of our own (Christmas) Crip with the Three Wise Men having now arrived at The Stable. Jo gets all the credit for actually building this one and the figures, angles etc. were all purchased by us over the years in Germany, England, Thailand and here in our own town in India. So many good and happy memories are attached to this tableau.
For New Year’s Eve we once again stayed at home – we have always preferred it like this.
But what to cook for this special occasion? –Very simple, one of our other favourite dishes, Prawns Moilee! Prawns simmered in slightly mild and creamy coconut gravy. Having the Arabian Sea as our coast, gives us all this beautiful sea-food for our kitchen. The prawns used in this preparation by me are acquired directly from the Chinese Nets (pictured above) workers.
Kerala is known of course, amongst other things, as the land of coconuts and there for one will find in most of our local cuisine either freshly grated coconut or/and coconut milk –absolutely delicious.
So, come and join us at our table, have a glass of wine or whatever, and enjoy this wonderful local dish
PRAWNS MOILEE for 2
For you who like to know – Moilee just means “An Indian curry, originally from Goa, containing fish or seafood and coconut milk”
To make the Moilee you need:
2 x Tbsp Coconut oil (or any other vegetable oil)
1 x large Tomatoe, sliced
Curry leaves (10 – 15 numbers)
1 x cup of Onions, sliced
3 x green Chillies slit in middle
1 x Tbsp Ginger, finely sliced
2 x Cardamom
2 x Cloves
½ x tsp Fenugreek seeds
½ x tsp Mustard seeds
A small piece of Cinnamon (stick)
3 x dried red Chillies
3 x Garlic pods, very finely chopped
½ x tsp Turmeric powder
1x tsp Coriander powder
1 x cup of Coconut milk
How to make the Moilee:
1. In a bowl mix together all the items mentioned under ‘to marinate…’ and keep aside for ca. 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil and when hot add and fry the Fenugreek seeds. After this add the Mustard seeds until they ‘pop’. Add Cardamom, Cloves, Cinnamon stick, dry red Chillies. Stir and add Onions, Ginger, green Chillies, Garlic and the curry leaves and fry until the onions turn translucent.
3. After this add Coriander- and Turmeric powder and keep stirring for ca. ½ minute. Now add the prawns, ½ x cup of Coconut milk and the sliced Tomatoes and cook until the Prawns turn pink.
4. When this is done add the remaining ½ cup of Coconut milk and bring this to a slight boil for a minute only.
5. Serve with Rice or Appam and enjoy!
Having all the fresh Coconut at our disposal we make Moilee with two kinds of Coconut milk; first we squeeze the freshly grated Coconut with some water to extract the initial thick (first) milk and repeat the process on the same to extract the thin (second) milk.
That’s it! And Happy New Year to you all.
Hello my friends – after a somewhat lengthy hiatus I now have come back and will try to share one of our delicious recipes again once a week.
But first of all Jo and I like to wish you all the very best for the coming year; good health (and good fortune), joy and happiness and may at least some of your wishes, if not all, come true!
Christmas came and went – now is the time to say “good bye to 2019 and hello 2020”. Like most of us we too will be spending time with relatives and friends here in India whilst dreaming of snow, cold etc. in my own native country Germany. Hm – maybe next year!
Today I like to share with you one of our most favourite dishes, Jo’s very special Pork Vindaloo from a recipe he has devoped into his very own over the last few years. For any kind of celebration we will serve, amongst others, Biriyani and of course his Vindaloo. It is so delicious that we will never have any left-overs here.
We like our food really hot, but if you want to scale down on chilli by all means do so, but remember Vindaloo is by nature a very spicy dish. It is a jumbled pronunciation of the Portuguese dish “carne de vinha d’alhos” (meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic), which was introduced to Indians in 15th century by Portuguese explorers.
So, go ahead and enjoy this Vindaloo and, if you like, let me know what you think.
1 kg Pork, cut into medium sized pieces
3 x big onions, thinly sliced
4 x Tbsp grated coconut
1 x inch ginger, crushed
5 x large garlic pods, crushed
4 x Kashmiri Chilli, dried and whole
1 x tsp cumin powder
1 x tsp fenugreek
5 x cloves
3 x cinnamon pieces
5 x cardamoms
6 x black peppercorns
1 x star anise
1 x small bay leaf
2 x tsp mustard seeds
1 x cup white vinegar
½ x tsp black pepper powder
3 x Tbsp chilli powder
2 x tsp coriander powder
1 x tsp turmeric powder
1 x tsp ginger/garlic paste
4 x Tbsp Vegetable oil
2 x sprigs of curry leaves
2 x cups of water (initially)
Salt, as required
Method of Preparation:
1) Wash the pork pieces well, drain and pat dry with kitchen paper.
2) Rub a little bit of chilli powder and salt into those pieces and keep aside.
3) In a Mixi grind into a fine paste, with a little water, grated coconut, portion of one sliced onion, cumin powder, mustard seeds (1 x tsp only), pepper powder and coriander powder.
4) Heat oil. When quite hot add fenugreek, cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamoms, pepper corn, star anise and the bay leaf and mix. After a few seconds add the remaining mustard seeds and let them ‘pop’ and then add the Kashmiri chillies and the sliced onion.
5) Fry this on medium heat until the onions turn golden brown.
6) Now add the grinded mixture, ginger/garlic paste and turmeric powder and fry until the oil rises.
7) Add the Pork pieces and fry in this mixture for app. Five minutes.
8) Add vinegar, water, salt and curry leaves and slow cook until the water almost dried up and the meat is deliciously tender.
9) Done – serve with rice, chapatti, naan or paratha and enjoy!
A beautiful Cauliflower and green peas curry.
Our festival season is slowly starting off with today’s Independence Day celebration and most people will have been watching on their TV the splendid celebrations all over the country.
Next week Kerala will be celebrating their most famous annual festival – ONAM. Malayalis around the world are all ready to welcome the Hindu mythological king Mahabali. Onam is mainly a Hindu Harvest festival.
The Onam feast, also known as Onam Sadhya, is one of the most important parts of Onam celebration. The Sadhya comprises mainly of 26 sensational dishes and there is a set order in which the dishes are served during the Onam fest, wherein the meals are only served on fresh, clean banana leaves (locally known as “Kerala plates”).
There is of course no way that we will cook 26 dishes just for the two of us, but instead we will enjoy some of our well liked and tasty (vegetarian) dishes during that time.
I will start Onam off with this lovely Cauliflower and green peas curry – a curry enjoyed by Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian alike.
This recipe here is for 4 people.
1 x big cauliflower, cut into small florets
4 x big potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 x cup of green peas (I use frozen peas, thawed)
2 x tsp sugar (or jaggery, if you can get it)
¼ x tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
4 x big onions, peeled and cut into pieces
2 x inches of fresh ginger
4 x green chillies
4 x green cardamom
2 x cloves
Piece of cinnamon stick
4 x big tomatoes
Small ball of Tamarind paste
2 x tsp oil
1 x tsp cumin seeds
Boil potatoes until nearly ready – add cauliflower florets and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Drain and keep aside.
In a wok heat 2 x Tbsp of oil, add the cooked vegetables plus the green peas, stir and cook for 2 more minutes. Take off flame and keep aside in a dish.
Now, in your ‘mixy’ grind all the above mentioned ingredients into a smooth paste, adding tomatoes at the end. Keep aside.
In your wok again heat 2 x tsp of oil and fry cumin seeds for a few seconds. Add the grinded masala, salt, turmeric powder and 2 x tsp of sugar (or jaggery). Stir.
Add all the cooked three vegetables and mix gently. Let gravy thicken for just a couple of more minutes (this is not a liquid curry).
Rice or any roti (chapatti, paratha etc.) and some pickle are good with this.
That’s it – enjoy
“……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..”
(Cabbage and Potato curry)
Do not be put off by just reading what I cooked the other day. For some of you this dish seems far too simple and ordinary – but, and here is the big ‘but’ – it is a truly delicious curry filled with some of our beautiful warm spices. This curry is one of my Indian ‘comfort’ foods – a dish which suits me just right during this very heavy Monsoon season, when days sometimes look like we were back in UK – dark, wet and very moody.
Did you know that potatoes (with their skins) have 25% more potassium than bananas? For example and turmeric is a very healing spice.
So I suggest you give this recipe a try; after all, the whole meal can be ready in just 30 minutes. This curry can be eaten with rice or just roti (chapatti, etc.).
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 onion, finely sliced
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 bay leaf
1 Cinnamon stick
1 lb gold potatoes, diced into ½” cubes
½ small head green cabbage, cored and sliced (about 12-14 ounces)
½ cup diced fresh tomatoes
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes until they ‘pop’
Add onions and stir. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
Now add garlic (or garlic powder), bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cayenne, turmeric, coriander, garam masala and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
Add the potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ cup water.
Mix all this well. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 – 35 minutes. Watch and if it becomes too dry just add 1 or 2 Tbsp of water.
Remove bay leaf and cinnamon stick and discard.
Once cooked, add salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Remove from heat. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Transfer curry into a serving bowl and sprinkle chopped coriander over the finished dish and serve.
That’s it – enjoy
One of our favourite vegetables in Indian as well as in European cooking is Capsicum/Bell pepper/Sweet pepper – green, yellow and red – it really does not matter – we just love this vegetable!
Even though China is the world’s largest producer of capsicum, followed by Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia and the United States – this vegetable is now grown in most countries (I even managed to grow some of our green capsicum and chilli peppers needed for our weekly cooking in our garden in England).
Did you know that this vegetable is a rich source of Vitamin C (and some other vitamins) and contains a staggering 94 % water – good to include in food as part of a calorie controlled diet.
When I go shopping to my local Hypermarket to buy vegetables and fruits (especially items which I cannot find in my local markets) I always seem to linger longer at the beautifully displayed Capsicum section. The vibrant colours of my “bejeweled capsicum” reminds me of a child’s coloured crayons. They are so shiny and plump – but can anybody shed light on the phenomenon why the green ones are always the cheapest with the red ones costing double or even triple???? After all, we do know that the green capsicum, although mature, has been picked rather than being left to ripen on the bush, has a slightly sharper, more savoury, flavour than the red one – which is fully ripe with a sweet-tasting flesh.
Did you also know that it was dear old Christopher Columbus who, when he returned to his Spanish patrons in 1492, brought back evidence of the rich plant life he had discovered, amongst which were members of the capsicum family – sweet peppers and their kinsmen, chilli pepper.
The following recipe is one which we love very much and therefor I like to share it with you, dear friends.
1 x tsp Fennel Seeds
2 x Tbsp Peanuts
1 x Tbsp Cashew Nuts
2 x medium to large potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 x Capsicum (green, yellow and red – if possible) deseeded and cut into small squares
3 x small onions, chopped
3 x tomatoes, chopped (do not remove skin or seeds)
4 x green chillies, chopped
¼ cup of fresh coriander, chopped
1 x Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 x tsp Mustard seeds
1 x Tbsp Urad Dhal
A few curry leaves
1 x tsp Garlic and ginger paste (if possible, homemade)
1 x tsp turmeric
2 x Tbsp Chilli powder (or less)
2 x tsp Garam Masala
1 x Tbsp of Lingham’s Chilli Sauce (for ‘kick’)
1 x cup of water
Salt, to taste
In a wok, dry fry fennel seeds for a couple of seconds only, keep aside.
Now again dry fry peanuts and cashew nuts for seconds only.
Grind those 2 items in your ‘Mixy’ to a fine powder.
Add oil to the wok and when hot add the mustard seeds and urad dhal as well as a few curry leaves. Stir.
Add onions and some salt and green chillies and stir for 5 minutes.
Add raw potatoes. Stir and covered with a lid, cook for a couple of minutes.
Add ginger and garlic paste, stir.
Add coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and stir again.
Add tomatoes and some water, cover wok again and cook until potatoes are nearly ready.
Add above mentioned ‘Mixy’ powder, all the capsicum, and maybe a little bit more water if needed and cook a further 5 minutes with the lid on.
Taste, and when potatoes are completely cooked add some garam masala, stir and sprinkle with finely chopped coriander leaves before serving.
Ideally, both potatoes and capsicum should retain just a little bit of ‘crunch’.
Serve with rice or any kind of roti (Chapatti, Naan etc.)
That’s it – enjoy
This here is such an easy and quick fish recipe, which I first tasted in Florence/Italy in one of our friend’s houses. She knew that Jo absolutely adores fish (coming from the coastal area in Kerala this is no wonder!) – and so this was really for him.
Tilapia recipes are seen in profusion all over the Net but it has not, here in Kerala, quite reached the appeal this fish has outside our State.
Compared to Seer fish/King Fish (which is the absolute number One fish here), the price of which has gone literally through the roof, Tilapia is much easier on one’s pocket and apart from that it is a delicious light fish and our freezer is always well stocked.
So I do hope you will enjoy my “<strong>Italian Tilapia dish” as we do. Buon appetito!
For 2 people you will need the following:
For the fish:
400 g Tilapia fillet
25 g Butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly grounded pepper
For the Sauce:
1 Tbsp Butter
1 ½ Tbsp flour
250 ml Milk
Juice from the other ½ of your lemon
A nice handful of Parsley (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
And here is what you do:
Line a baking sheet with baking paper and keep aside.
Heat oven to 190 C.
Wash fish well and dry completely, using paper towels.
Melt butter and stir in the lemon juice.
With a pastry brush, spread this mixture all over the fish fillets, grind the pepper over this and bake in the oven for app. 30 minutes.
In the meantime melt butter on the lowest!! heat.
Add the flour into this and cook for app. 3 minutes, keep stirring all the time.
Now add the cold!! milk and with a balloon whisk, mix everything together.
Bring to a slight boil and then turn down heat to medium for 5-10 minutes – stirring all the while.
Finish this off with salt, lemon juice and chopped up parsley.
Place your fish on a plate and top it with the sauce and some basmati rice or a few “finger chips” on the side.
That’s it – all done. Enjoy.
It’s been now close to 9 long months since I have been able to post my last Recipe.
Unfortunately I had a couple of health issues to deal with. But now it seems that I am ok again – toi-toi-toi (as we say in Germany wishing Good Luck!)
And so I use one of the famous (film) quotes of Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger “…. I am back” and so happy too.”
Actually I intended to post this last week Thursday, but I had forgotten that it was the famous “Thrissur Pooram” – meaning to sit in front of the TV for a few hours to watch this incredible spectacle and so unique to our part of India – our Kerala!
A few years ago, I had the chance to visit Thrissur with Jo. Thrissur (Trisivaperoor) is less than 70 kms by road from our Cochin. Perched on top of a beautiful hillock right in the heart of Thrissur (in central Kerala) is the ‘Vadakkunnathan Temple’ – one of the oldest temples in Kerala. Having begun in the 11th century, it underwent modifications and additions until the 19th century. The annual festival of Pooram with its elephant pageantry is celebrated on these temple grounds.
Amongst the Pooram festivals of Kerala, the most famous is the magnificent Thrissur Pooram. Introduced during 1789 – 1805 by Shakthan Thampuran, the then King of Cochin, and it takes place in the month of “Medam” (April/May in the Malayalam calendar).
During this year’s Pooram held on April 25, for 1 ½ days, a great parade of thirty richly caparisoned elephants carrying ceremonial umbrellas with ‘Aalavattoms’ and ‘Venchamaroms’ were displayed. On the elephant in the centre rides the temple deity ‘Vadakkunathan’ (Shiva). They come out through the magnificent temple entrance tower and line up in the open ground. A most beautiful site, those magnificent creatures clearly enjoying all the fuss and the extra culinary titbits of leafs, bananas etc. and their giant ‘earlobes’ flapping in unison to keep the heat and flies away.
Fifteen elephants in a row facing the other fifteen for the famous ‘Kudamattom’ (exchange of those colourful umbrellas).
For ‘Kudamattom’ two parties representing the two divisions of Thrissur. ‘Paramekavu’ and ‘Tiruvampadi’ each puts forth their best exertions to make their display grander than the other while bands of musicians playing their traditional instruments of drums, cymbals, etc., add local melodies to the occasion.
During this grand community event celebrated by the entire citizens of Thrissur, a vast crowd from near and far gather on the grounds to witness and support the Pooram. The renowned grand display of fireworks related to the Pooram should not be missed.
The next Pooram is on Medam 29th, which is Monday, May 13th 2019 (for those who might be interested visiting)
But now to our “meal of that Pooram day” – a most delicious Prawn dish with green mangoes – a recipe which I extracted from Jo, whose Indian cooking I absolutely love.
Prawns with Mango Jo’s Style
Altogether you will need:
½ kg prawns, peeled and deveined
19 Ullis (keep of those appr. 8-10 whole for curry)
4 green chillies, to be used for blending in Mixi (keep 2 for curry)
5 dry red chillies, halved for tempering
2 green mangoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp Ginger & Garlic paste
1 1/4 Cup of grated coconut
3 Tbsp of coco oil
½ tsp Fenugreek
3 medium sized Kokum’s, washed and soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
5 tsp coconut powder
1 ½ cup of water
1 ½ tsp black pepper powder
1 ¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ Tbsp of coconut oil
½ tsp of mustard seeds
2 sprigs of curry leafs
Salt to taste (to be added only at the very end!)
Prepare in advance
Grind 4 x Ullis and 2 x green chillies and 1 x tsp Garlic and Ginger paste and 1 1/4 cup grated coconut, and if available, some left-over home-made chutney, very very finely.
Peel 2 x green raw mangoes and cut into large pieces and keep aside.
Put aside 5 x dry red chillies, cut in halves, and 5 x sliced Ullis for tempering later with some Curry Leafs.
Take a large pot, heat up 3 x Tbsp of coco oil (or Veg oil), ½ x tsp Fenugreek,– stir and add 10 x sliced Ullis and 2 x green chillies, sliced, stir and sauté.
After 5 minutes add fully drained Kokum’s (3 x) and half fry only – do NOT add salt yet -.
Mix 5 x tsp of coconut powder in 1 ½ x cup of water and keep aside.
After some time add around 8-10 x Ullis (for bite) and sauté.
Add 1 ½ x tsp black pepper powder and 1 ¼ x tsp yellow powder (Turmeric).
Add 1 x tsp Coriander powder (heaped) and mix.
Add grinded lot and fry for appr. 10 minutes. Only now add cut mangos and salt to taste. Boil for another 10 minutes until raw mango is cooked.
Now add all the earlier prepared prawns and add the 1 ½ x cups of coconut milk, cook for 5 minutes until prawns have all turned pink,
Heat ½ x Tbsp of coconut oil, add ½ x tsp Mustard seeds and 5 x dry red chillies, cut in halves, 5 x sliced Ullis and 2 x sprigs of Curry leafs, stir for 1 minute and pour over the curry.
Serve with Rice and Poppadums.
That’s it – enjoy your meal.