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Alan Ladd’s Kidney Deluxe

As some of you may remember, we have a vast collection of “Golden Oldies” (movies) – limiting the movies up to the early 1980s……. (See much more on Jo’s own Blog “manningtreearchive.com” for your enjoyment).

We enjoy watching those wonderful movies leisurely in our home with a glass of wine (or two!) and appreciate the many ‘stars of yesteryears’ and we bemoan the sad fact that they don’t’ make stars and films like that anymore, and what a pity it is.

A few days ago I wanted to see a 1957 film which at a much younger age I must have seen at least three times; “The Boy On A Dolphin” – I remember that I liked the story, I liked Alan Ladd but most of all I liked Sophia Loren whom I had met and had tea with at a fashion show in Frankfurt/Main.

There is a song in this film, sung by (unaccredited) the smoky-voiced Julie London – oh how we love this song (ok I admit it here – we love them all) and particularly, her wonderful voice and interpretation of each individual song (you remember her “Cry Me A River?”). Who cannot remember this (to us) slightly haunting performance of one of her most famous songs “…Saddle the Wind” from the film with the same title which was released in 1958 (See in-depth review of this film posted on October 18, 2012 in Jo’s own site.)

“There’s a tale that they tell of a dolphin
And a boy made of gold.
With the shells and the pearls in the deep,
He has lain many years fast asleep;
What they tell of the Boy on A Dolphin,
Who can say if it’s true.
Should he rise from the depths of the ocean,
Any wish that you wish will come true.
You say he’s only a statue,
And what can a statue achieve.
And yet while I’m gazing at you,
My heart tells my head to believe.
If the boy whom the Gods have enchanted,
Should arise from the sea,
And the wish of my heart could be granted,
I would wish that you loved only me.”

And whilst Jo was looking for the Alan Ladd film in our library he came across an old recipe, tucked away many years ago in the cover of this DVD of one of Ladd’s favourite recipes “Kidney Deluxe”. It is a slight variation of our very own “Devilled Kidneys”, which I nevertheless will post here shortly.

I was not able to get mushrooms, bacon and Sherry for the moment and so I cannot show you any photographs. But I leave you with some images from this enjoyable movie instead.

So, here I am with the recipe (for 4 people) for Alan Ladd’s “Kidney Deluxe

Ingredients:
¼ x kg lamb kidney
2 x Tbsp butter
4 x slices bacon, diced finely
5 x Spring onions, chopped
10 x large button mushrooms, chopped
1 ½ x Tbsp butter
1 ½ x Tbsp flour
¼ x tsp salt
Dash of pepper
1/3 x cup Sherry (dry) (or equal measure of red or white wine)
Parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Method:
Wash kidneys. Cover with cold water. Bring slowly to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and slice, cutting away fat and tubes.

Sauté bacon in 2 Tbsp butter until crisp. Add scallions and mushrooms; sauté for 5 minutes.

Add kidneys and cook for another 5 minutes.

Melt in a saucepan 11/2 Tbsp butter and stir in flour. Cook over low heat until blended. Add water. Bring to a simmer, stirring: cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add gravy, Sherry wine, salt and pepper to kidney mixture. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

That’s it! Enjoy.
Carina

Bejewelled Cupcakes

Hallo – hallo! I am once more back again!

Some of you might remember telling you that my late mother never taught me to bake any of her beautiful cakes. Was that the reason why I never even attempted baking for my family and friends? I don’t know really; and to be frank with you I also was always a bit “scared” in case I made quite a fool of myself.

Luckily neither Jo nor I have a so called ‘sweet tooth’ – so we never missed that divine piece of ‘sweet temptation’ on our extensive travels around the world, with the exception of one of the various times when we visited the world famous Hotel Sacher in Vienna. How can anyone decline a piece of their Sacher Torte (with 2 spoons, please) and a glass of delicious champagne?!

But the other day we suddenly both felt like having a piece of cake with our tea but could not be bothered to call a UBER to take us to a bakery. Then I remembered a cake recipe my friend Heidi in Berlin used when cake was needed at very short notice. So a quick call to her, recipe written down, needed ingredients checked, cake baked and 20 minutes later enjoyed with a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst listening to the heavy unseasonably rain outside.

So here now I share with you Heidi’s recipe and hopefully you too will bake this cake.

I am quite proud of myself for having done this after decades shying away from this but, as the saying goes “…one is never too old to learn” – so watch out for maybe another cake experience soon.

Take care and Namaskaram
Carina

Ingredients for 6 Cupcakes
100 g Butter, softened
250 g Flour
200 g Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of Salt
Ingredients for top
100 g Almonds (skinned and cut into little sticks)
100 g Sugar
Any good jam (solid, not liquid)

Method
Heat your oven to 200 C.
In a bowl mix Butter, Sugar and Vanilla Sugar very well until creamy.
Slowly add eggs, one after another, and mix well
Mix flour, baking powder and salt and add to the above mixture.
Now butter your baking sheet or cupcake pan, sprinkle flour over this and shake off any excess flour.
Cover your baking sheet with the batter, smooth out top.

With a small spoon make a dell in the batter and add a good generous dollop of your favourite jam into this.
Mix the almonds and the sugar and sprinkle over the batter with tiny butter flakes on top.
Bake in the hot oven for app. 20 minutes.

That’s it – enjoy Heidi’s recipe with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

PRAWNS MOILEE for 2


My goodness – does time fly!

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 marinate the prawns you will need:
1 x cup of shelled and deveined prawns
1 x tsp Turmeric powder
½ x tsp chilli powder
½ to 1 whole lime
1 x tsp Salt

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!

Notes:
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.
Carina

A beautiful Cauliflower and green peas curry


……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..

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.

Ingredients
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

For Grinding
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
For frying
2 x tsp oil
1 x tsp cumin seeds

Method
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
Namaskaram
Carina

The Colour Purple

……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..”

A fruit of many different names – its common name is ‘Eggplant’, in British English it is called ‘Aubergine’ and here and the whole of South Asia and South Africa its ‘Brinjal’. And although it is technically a fruit – the Brinjal is all over the world used as a vegetable.

I have been collecting different Brinjal recipes now for a very long time – so today I take you to Italy, to Milan to be precise.

My friend Antonia had a splendid housekeeper, Maria, who was an excellent cook. Every time we visited Antonia’s home she used to spoil us with one delicious dish after the other. I have only one major regret – that I did not take lessons from Maria. There was always so much to do in a relatively short time that cooking lessons, I am afraid, were put on the back burner.

If and when you make this dish, try to get the little Baby Brinjal – ok, so they will be 5 minutes more work but, oh, your effort will be well rewarded.
Maria served those with polenta, cooked, cooled and then cut into squares and fried in little olive oil. Do not count calories this time, just use little oil. Those little ones are also very good to be used as part of a buffet, hot or cold – they are equally good. Two bites – and they are gone. But do not fret too much if you cannot get the baby Brinjals – just use their big brothers instead.

Maria called this “una ricetta da cucina povera” (a recipe from the poor kitchen).

This recipe is for 2 as a starter or for 1 hungry person a main dish.

Ingredients

6 x Baby Brinjal
1 x cup (homemade) pasta sauce
6 x cloves of garlic
A handful of fresh basil leaves (or 1 tsp dried basil)
1 x tsp of red chilli flakes (or 1 ½ tsp of paprika powder)
½ x cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or more!)
2 x Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Wash and dry (with a paper towel) your Brinjal.

With a sharp knife cut each one in half and then cut out enough flesh to make a ‘boat’ without cutting into the skin. Do not remove the little stem

Cut the flesh very finely and keep aside.

With a brush ‘paint’ olive oil inside and outside of the Brinjal.
Add 2 tsp of oil into a pan, when hot fry garlic quickly without letting them get brown.
Add chilli flakes (or paprika), stir and then add the chopped Brinjal flesh.
Cook on medium to low heat for a few minutes, until the flesh is quite tender.
Now add your fresh basil (or dried) and the pasta sauce, stir and let simmer for another few minutes.
Add salt and pepper – taste.

When everything is cooked fill your little Brinjal ‘boats’ with this mixture and sprinkle plenty of grated cheese on top of each one.

Transfer to a baking pan or to a low (ovenproof) serving dish – as seen in my photograph – and bake in oven at 180 C for 20-30 minutes.

That’s it – enjoy

Namaskaram
Carina

Riches of the soil

“……… 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.).

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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
Namaskaram
Carina

Bejeweled Capsicum

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.

Ingredients

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

Method

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
Namaskaram
Carina