Tag Archive | dinner

VEGETABLE ROULADE

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This is a beautiful Vegetarian dish – delicious and stunning to look at when gracing a buffet table or served as (maybe) first course at a dinner party and perfect as a main course for a light summer lunch! I know in many parts of the world at this time, ‘Summer’ is slowly saying good bye for now, but…….

Despite what many people may think, the “job” of being the wife of an Ambassador (or that of a very Senior Diplomat) abroad does not mean GLAMOUR 24/7 with an unlimited Official Budget to spend on Entertainment. Far from it – first of all those budgets are as tight as they come and if you could listen to the talks away from strangers, you would quickly find out, that this applies to more or less all diplomatic representatives. Here is where the “job” of a wife comes into full force – she will have to be able to come up with a wonderful menu plan suited for each of their many many dinners and luncheons – and since frequently the same people will/have to attend any of those functions, the menu of course cannot be a repetitious one.

And so, since I always enjoyed having people around, serving them nice food, good wine, trying to make them relax, laugh and be happy, this part of my then ‘job’ was not too difficult to deal with. I was also fortunate to have during all those years met a great number of kind and wonderful people who helped me to learn and gain the necessary experience which was needed for me to become a good representative of my own country – a very good Hostess.

But what do you do when you are in a country where most of the (food-) items you need are not available and your Government will or cannot fly them in (i.e. West Africa)– you simply improvise!!! And you would be surprised to find out, how very much the simple but delicious “home cooking” for example, is appreciated by most of those guests who often get ‘wined and dined’ on Beluga Caviar and Vintage Champagne.

Yes, of course, I too like Caviar and Champagne, but not every day, lol – lol!!! Give me a delicious sandwich and a cup of home-made vegetable soup or just a bowl of ‘Spaghetti e limone’ any time.

So, enough of this for the time being. I just like to bring you a few recipes of dishes which over the years have appeared on one of my buffet tables and for which I had a ‘repeat order’ by the same guests, who tasted it for the first time in my house.

Today’s Roulade has always been and still is, one of my great easy Buffet Stars. Occasionally I made 3 separate sheets of Spinach but for the actually filling I used 1 x red, 1 x yellow and 1 x green capsicum and laid the finished slices out in alternate fashion – looks very attractive.

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Ingredients:
This once again is for 2 people plus some left-overs.
At least ½ kg spinach (or green jeera – 4 x bunches) – picked, well washed, kept aside and left to drain.
1 x large red capsicum ( sweet pepper), all seeds taken out, slightly cooked for a few minutes, drained, kept aside.
Some grated nutmeg
A good dollop of unsalted butter
4 x Tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese (or sharp Cheddar)
4 Tbsp of double cream
Salt, pepper and some sprinkling of paprika
Garlic bread seasoning
2 eggs – separated and kept aside –
250 g of cream cheese or better Quark (I used my own home-made Quark – for recipe look at Quark-Glorious Quark of 16.08.2016 – mixed with garlic bread seasoning, salt, pepper and paprika)

Method:
Heat oven to 200 C
Cut grease proof paper to size of your Swiss roll tin (or any other).
Cook Spinach just for a few minutes.
Take off flame and let cool slightly.
Take clean Tea-towel, put spinach in middle and now ‘wring’ as much water out as possible – and then chop spinach finely.
Now mix this with nutmeg, softened butter, parmesan cheese, cream and some seasoning. Beat in the egg yolks.

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Separately whisk egg whites into soft peaks and gently fold into your spinach mixture. Spread this onto the prepared tin, smooth out and bake in pre-heated oven for 15 minutes or so until firm (but not hard!)

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When done, turn spinach upside down on another clean tea towel and let it cool, without removing tin, for maybe 30 minutes.
In the meantime ‘blitz’ capsicum lightly (do not make it into purée).

Mix with cream cheese or better, Quark!! – season well.

When spinach is cool, peel off paper. I find this is the only tricky part – so do it very slowly.

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Spread this with the earlier prepared capsicum and Quark mixture.

Now carefully, using the towel to lift baked spinach etc. up, turn this into a fairly tight roll.
Let it rest for 20 minutes or so, cut (best with a serrated knife) into thick slices and serve.

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That’s it – enjoy!
Namaskaram, Carina

PS. This keeps well inside your fridge, and is also delicious used just as a spread on toast, crackers, stuffed inside Hoops (Arabic bread) etc.

Surfing on Mango Wood

For the last 10 days I have been at war – at war with the twice annual flu-bug! Not nice at all, especially in our heat. But in the end I emerged as the winner – thanks to my Doctor, some antibiotics and of course because of the loving tender care of my husband!  🙂

So here now is the conclusion, as previously promised, of our short ‘sojourn’ in Kovalam.

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For our last evening at VIVANTA by TAJ KOVALAM  the golf buggy took us right down to the shore of the Arabian Sea to the hotel’s new contemporary restaurant appropriately named “BAIT”, a very rustic looking place befitting its location.

Our table was set not inside the restaurant, but outside, close to the edge of the beach.

The smell of the sea, the crashing of the waves against the huge bollards along this strip of private beach, competing with the soft sound of music coming from the main restaurant, set us into the right mood to look forward to Chef Elangovan’s promised culinary surprise for that evening.

We could hardly wish for a more romantic setting – the tiny flickering lights of hundreds of fishing boats way out at sea, the clear stars above us high up in the sky, candles on our table and all over the garden.

B

But to top it all, we had a huge full moon shining down on us, sending its silvery light across the water.

It was then that we decided that we will come back here in a few month time – just for a little break again.

Chef, for this occasion, had prepared indeed a very special treat for us. Something, I must confess, I had not come across before on all my travels around the world.

C

Red Snapper on Mango Wood

Ingredients:

Red Snapper Fillet                     300 g

Green chilly                                   10 g

Salt                                                a pinch

Small onion                                  5 g

Curry leafs                                  a few

Ginger & garlic paste                 1 tsp

Turmeric powder                        ½ g

Tamarind or lime juice               1 no

Coconut oil                                    5 ml

Mango wood or

Tamarind wood slab                    2 nos

D

Method:

Make paste out of chilly, ginger, garlic, turmeric and tamarind or lime juice.

Grate the small onions and mix with marinate paste and coconut oil.

Apply the marinate all over the fish, rest for a couple of minutes.

Grill the fish in hot pan on both sides

Place the fish on mango wood slab and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Before serving garnish with sprig of curry leafs.

Accompaniment with roast baby potatoes and char grilled vegetable.

This is a truly delicious fish dish, light and delicate in flavour. I will have to go out hunting for Mango tree slabs from a ‘friendly’ timber merchant since I have a feeling that this preparation will be arriving on our table a few times soon.

PS. Since I have been talking about ‘Mangos” here I cannot get a well known song out of my head; a song which I learned whilst living for 3 years out on the wonderful island of Trinidad/W.I. and was made popular in the James Bond Film “Dr. NO”.  “……..Underneath the Mango tree me Honey, And me can watch for the moon …..”

E

Carina

(Photos: CS and JS/Manningtreearchive.com)

Mysore – Part III

For the next few months  this is going to be my last report from Mysore.

On our last night here at The Regaalis Hotel we had ordered 3 different dishes from Executive Chef Aga and for me it was

Zaffrani Kajuwala Murgh

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500 g              boneless chicken

50 g                Amul cheese (or mild cheddar)

50 g                Amul cooking cream

05 g                green cardamom powder

Some              chopped coriander leaves

01 tsp            white pepper powder

15 g                ginger paste

15 g                garlic paste

100 g               hung curd (thick yoghurt)

50 g                cashew nut paste

To taste           salt

1-2 nos            green chilly, chopped

Method of Preparation:

Cut the chicken into small pieces and marinate with ginger, garlic, cheese, hung curd and chopped coriander, green chilly and the cooking crème. Check seasoning.

Allow chicken to marinate for about 1 hour.

Cook the marinated cubes of chicken on a skewer in a clay pot oven (or under a grill, turning frequently) until 3/4th done.

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Cashew Base Gravy:

100 g                 whole cashew nuts

2-3 nos              green chilly

50 g                    sliced onions

30 ml                 Ghee or Oil

15 g                    ginger paste

15 g                    garlic paste

100 g                  yoghurt

To taste             salt

05 g                    white pepper powder

1 pinch of          saffron strands

2-3 nos               green cardamom, whole

Method of preparation:

Soak and puree the cashew nuts in warm water.

Empty the paste in to a container.

Take some water in a pan, add the sliced onion and green chillies and cook until soft and opaque. Puree the mix once cold. Keep the puree aside.

Take some oil or ghee (clarified butter) in a pan, add the pureed onion, saute for 2 to 3 minutes and add the ginger and garlic paste, cashew nut paste, green cardamom powder, add a cup of water (200 ml). Continue to cook on a slow flame for the next 10 to 20 mins or until the oil starts to separate from the gravy and begins to ‘float’. Add the saffron strands, previously soaked in milk for at least 10 to 15 minutes, and check for taste and seasoning. Keep gravy aside.

Andrea1-12Mix the Murgh Malai kebab in to the cashew gravy and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Garnish with fresh crème, fresh coriander and cashew nuts. Sprinkle some saffron strands on top.

Zaffrani Kajuwala Murgh is now ready to be enjoyed with oven fresh Parantha or steamed rice.

This is, as you can see, quite a rich dish. But do not try and cut out the cashew nuts, or the dish becomes something quite different. And once in a while I like to indulge – but I assure you, there is no space for pudding or ice cream left afterwards!

So, and as I bid you ‘farewell’ for today from this ancient city of Mysore, I leave you with just a few pictures until next time. We have already earmarked a whole day at the Royal Palace and its surroundings and I know that Andrea will be only too happy to show you around.

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Statues are handcarved out of those kind of granit blocks.

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Flowers for the Temple

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A lorry load of Party Supporters

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A house entrance decorated for a social function

Mysore – Part II

–  Mutton Curry Rogan Josh –

As you will remember from my previous posting, our time in Mysore was hectic, full of appointments, in short, we were a bit rushed off our feet and not able to enjoy this beautiful ancient city – until the next time!

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The swimming pool at our lovely hotel “The Regaalis” looked so inviting but we had to forego the pleasure of a refreshing swim and also the Barbecue in the evening. Instead we chose to have our meals in the pleasant restaurant – and by the look of it, it surely was a very popular choice by the large number of local- and foreign guests.

Chef Aga prepared for Jo a most delicious Mutton Curry – I can even now whilst writing this smell the aroma coming out of the Kaddai in which it was served in.

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Oil                                                                           4 Tbsp

Leg of Lamb                                                         800 g

Onion, sliced                                                       200 g

Tomato, pureed                                                 250 g

Ginger paste                                                           35 g

Garlic paste                                                             25 g

Kashmiri Chilly Powder                                     15 g

Dhaniya (Coriander) Powder                           15 g

Whole Garam Masala                                           05 g

(a mix of cinnamon, cloves, black cardamom and bay leaf)

Black pepper powder                                          05 g

Chopped Coriander                                              for garnishing

Salt                                                                               to taste

Bay Leaf                                                                      02 to 03 nos

Method of Preparation:

Cut the Lamb leg into 35 to 40 g pieces and keep aside.

Slice the onions, puree the garlic and ginger separately. Chop the coriander leaves and cut ginger into juliennes.

Heat the oil in a pan; add the whole Garam Masala and the sliced onions Fry the onions till golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic paste. Mix in the lamb pieces and continue to stir for few minutes.

Add the pureed tomato and continue the cooking for the next 02 to 03 minutes. Add in the Kashmiri chili powder, Dhaniya powder, black pepper powder and check for the seasoning. Add water and continue the cooking till the lamb is cooked well and the gravy starts to thicken and the oil separates from the gravy and starts to float on the top of the pan.

Once the lamb is well cooked empty this into a serving dish, garnish with chopped coriander and ginger juliennes.

Mutton Curry Rogan Josh is ready to be relished with some Roomali Roti or some steamed rice.

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This dish also tastes very nice using beef.

Carina

Mysore and ‘Petter Pan Fish’

No, this is not a spelling mistake and to be frank, I was not even able to find out why exactly this dish was called ‘Petter Pan’.

Having driven by car for 13 hours to see our youngest daughter, Andrea, we were able to take her out of her College for at least one day and two nights and moved her into our hotel “The Regaalis” in Mysore – the City of Palaces.

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Of course we were more than happy to be with her for at least those few hours, but we did not have time to go and visit the Royal Palace (again) – which really is nearly a whole day affair (and worth a blog entry by itself), if one wants to do it properly. It is certainly worth it and if you can plan it try to go on a Sunday evening, when the whole Palace is illuminated with thousands of small lights.

The Regaalis is a very pleasant 4-star hotel not too far from the city centre with swimming pool and an excellent reputation especially for its local cuisine. I was taken into the very spacious kitchen to meet ‘the man in charge’ of this gastronomic territory, Executive Chef Aga Thammar Murthuza, who, in his own words, “… wishes to make the dining experience of each and every guest of his a special one….” And he most certainly did not disappoint any of us.

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Andrea chose the above fish dish from the menu and Chef happily parted with his recipe for me to share with you. I promise it is really delicious. In fact I went to my local fish market nearby this morning to see if I could get Basa. And lucky me, I was able to get a nice piece which I will make tomorrow for lunch. If you cannot get Basa fish, any other white (softish) fillet will have to do – but take pain to pull out all the little bones before you cook this fish (I have a thing about bones in fish and will forego to eat even the most delicious dish if there are any bones left!).

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Ingredients:

Basa Fillet                                                               500 g

Salt and pepper                                                     to taste

English Mustard Powder (or readymade)      1 tsp

Lemon Juice                                                         3 Lime

Capers                                                                   10-15 no’s

Blanched Spinach                                                50 g

Baby Potatoes                                                      50 g

Chopped Parsley                                                  15 g

Assorted Vegetables                                            50 g (Broccoli, Zucchini, Carrot)

Garlic                                                                       10 g

Method of Preparation:

Slice the fillets of Basa, marinate with fresh lime juice, mustard powder, salt and pepper.

Allow fish to marinate for 5-10 minutes.

Grill the marinated fillets on a griddle.

In the meantime roughly chop the garlic and the blanched spinach.

Heat 1 tsp of butter in pan, add the chopped garlic, sauté till golden brown, add the spinach and stir for 35 to 40 seconds. Boil the assorted vegetables, drain the water, sauté the vegetables with some butter, a pinch of salt and some dried herbs. Toss the boiled baby potatoes with some butter and chopped parsley. Finally heat some butter in a pan, add the Capers and the lime juice and stir for a couple of seconds.

Once the fish is completely done, dish it out on to a plate. Add some sautéed Garlic Spinach, Parsley, Baby Potatoes and the butter sautéed Vegetables. Top the fish with the caper-butter sauce. Garnish with some chopped parsley and a slice of lime and enjoy the first of our three “Regaalis” dishes created by Chef Aga.

Carina

Some like it HOT

Yes, my friends – I do mean this! This recipe should come with a ‘health warning’. This dish is really delicious, but …. If you cannot stand the heat (and have to leave the kitchen), you will have to tone down drastically on the chilies – green and red! Although they are of course a vital part of this dish.

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Yesterday we had one of our busy ‘running around in town’ days and because it was already way past our normal Lunchtime we decided to pop into the Grand Hotel on MG Road. We both felt like having a little chili kick so we ordered this dish which their Executive Chef Joseph happily made for us and he also shared his recipe with me and my readers.  And don’t you like his decoration on my plate? The Grand Hotel is on nearly every foreign tourists ‘I-must-visit’ list and not only the foreign visitors flock to this Hotel, but most Indians from the North and further South, when they are in Cochin, will come here, because this place is famous for their variety of fish specialties – Kerala style!

Carina

Hydrabadi Pickled Beef

(Hydrabadi Acchar Erachi)

1 kg Beef, washed, cut into medium cubes

4 tsp red Chili powder

2 Tbsp Ginger/Garlic paste

3 tsp of coriander powder and jeerakam (cumin), made into a paste

6 Lemon, juice of ……

6 twigs of curry leaves

6 green chilies cut into 2

Salt to taste

 

For Tempering

2 tsp jeerakam (cumin)

½ tsp of black jeeakam (black cumin)

6 dry red chilies

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp Uluva (fenugreek)

60 ml vegetable oil

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METHOD

 Take your washed and cubed beef and dry thoroughly (best in a clean Tea-Towel) and keep aside.

Take pot with a thick bottom and put all the above ingredients from the first set (NOT the one for tempering!) and mix well! After this add the beef and with your clean hands mix everything well into each other, really squeezing , so that any juices/aroma get mixed with the meat.

Keep this aside and let it rest for ½ hour.

Now, in another pot heat the oil, add dry red chilies, jeerakam and mustard seeds.

Once the mustard seeds have ‘popped’ add uluva and karim jeerakam.

When the red dry chilies start to turn dark pour everything onto the ‘resting’ Beef.

Cover and first cook on high heat and later continue on low heat until it is cooked to your liking.

It is most important however that you keep stirring to make sure, nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. If it nevertheless does, don’t use more oil but just sprinkle (with your fingers) a little water onto your Beef.

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TIPS:

This dish is also very good using chicken (skin removed and medium cubed ).

DON’T ever try to cook this in a pressure cooker – it just will not work.

To get the very best result you have to make sure nothing will ever stick to the bottom of the pot.

This dish will go well with Appam, Chapatti, Naan or Basmati Rice.

PS: This will be appearing on our Dining Table for Sunday Lunch. Those of you, my friends, who wish to share with us, are invited. lol

Carina

(Photos: ManningtreeArchive)

Thai mild yellow curry in a Pineapple Boat

Although fresh Pineapples are available here more or less all year round, I tend to make use of this delicious fruit mainly freshly cut and eaten either after a meal or as a little snack, but not so much in cooking, which is a shame really.

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So when on my recent trip to Bangkok I visited the well-known AMARI Atrium Hotel on Petchburi Road I got engrossed in a serious discussion with their excellent Executive Sous Chef Chumnong Kehathong about the versatility of pineapples in cooking in general and in Thai cooking in particular.

Since I could not make up my mind that day what to have for my lunch he suggested making this delicious dish here not only for me to try but also for all of you who do read my Blog and might like to prepare this in your own kitchen.

It is so easy and quick to prepare and very versatile. On that day he made it with tender chicken breast pieces. But since I am home again I already had it prepared with wonderful big fat fresh prawns, since Jo does not eat anything which flies.

Also thinly sliced pork goes very well with this preparation – so in fact it is entirely up to you and your taste buds on that day what you actually use. I like the fact that I have those various options and needless to say, I do like all three of them very much.

I did not have any rice or roti with this dish, but this of course is always an option, in which case, I think, the “pineapple boat” can be shared between two people.

So Chef Chumnong greets you all with a smile and “Sawasdee krap” and hopes, like I do, that you enjoy his dish.

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Thai mild yellow Curry

300 gram chicken breast

3 Tbsp yellow curry paste

3 cups of creamy coconut milk

1 cup of chicken stock

30 gram Onion

30 gram Potatoe (boiled and cubed)

30 gram of pineapple

1 piece of red chilly

½ Tbsp palm sugar

1 Tbsp fish sauce

1 cup vegetable oil

Preparation:

Cut chicken breast into nice even strips or small cubes.

Take wok, heat on low heat and add oil with curry paste and mix well.

Then add chicken and cook, stirring all the time, until 80% cooked.

Now add coconut milk, chicken stock, onion, potato, pineapple, chilly, palm sugar and fish sauce and bring to boil and cook until chicken is finally cooked.

Now either serve with rice (it’s up to you and your individual taste buds which rice you prefer) or in a “boat”.

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For this cut off carefully lengthwise a slice of the pineapple and scoop out the flesh without damaging the outer shell, and use as stated in recipe. When everything is cooked, re-fill the “boat” and serve with ‘arjat’ which is very thinly sliced cucumber and shallots mixed with some pineapple juice and a little white vinegar (as per your taste). Delicious! 

Carina

(Photos: Manningtree Archive)