Tag Archives: Potato

Potato and aubergine Sabzi

13 Apr

This is yet another beautiful recipe shared by my friend Monica. It is one of her mother’s recipes and one of Monica’s favourites and I can see why, it is absolutely delicious.

Before I share the recipe I would like to share a very interesting article Monica wrote on basmati rice.

“The Story of Basmati Rice – The crown Jewel of Indian Cuisine, In Foreign land people try to achieve the biryani that they ate in a indian restaurant or rice dishes that they ate during their trip to India. They try to get all the possible spices to put in a biryani and yet they buy a regular Basmati Rice available in Regular Non Indian Supermarkets and fail to get the same result of each rice grain fragrant and apart in a Biryani. Also in today’s time where Brand is all what people talk about, they buy a particular branded Rice and yet fail to achieve the result.
By reading this article you will know how to choose best Basmati Rice for your home. People who like to stick to points can directly go to the bottom of article and people who like stories and culture around a food can continue to read on.
When I was a child, I accompanied my mother to grocery stores and at that time we didn’t get branded rice, dal or flours but yet we ate the best quality food. My mother would touch the grain, smell it, see the size and colour of it and would choose the best one. I am sharing the same with you all today.
A Good Basmati Rice is at minimum aged 2 years, So does it mean the older the basmati rice, the better it is. “Oh Yes” As the years pass the long grain basmati rice changes it’s colour from white to off white and the fragrance of rice increases. It also means that Basmati Rice doesn’t have any expiry date if it is well stored.
My Mom would buy a quintal of Rice, Wheat, Dals and Whole Spices and would store it well in Big Metal Drums, she used dried Neem Leaves(Its a medicinal tree with bitter leaves and stems) to prevent grains from getting any pests. Before making rice she would spread grains on a plate to check for any stones and wash it 2-3 times and then cook. It is important to wash it 2-3 times until the water is clear so when you cook the rice the grains don’t stick due to presence of starch.
Off Topic – It was also a tradition in India when a girl got married the parents gifted her metal drums and utensils to make her own kitchen in the new home, though now since big companies have started packing things in plastic and in small bags, and also we do not live in joint families anymore plus we often eat outside (when I was child until 12, we only ate out when travelling) we do not need these big drums to store our Rice and Grains, But still my mom followed the tradition (knowing I am getting married to an NRI and I can never take those drums and utensils with me to Spain) she bought me those drums, filled it with homemade sweets and papad for my Husband’s entire family and also for distribution. (Well In India you can’t stop your parents or family to do anything in your wedding, they like to fulfill all their dreams in their daughter’s wedding)
Back to Rice – To retain the fragrance and taste we do not drain water (except in some dishes), we have ratio of water and rice (depends on the kind of basmati rice you have got, since my mother bought in bulk she would understand the ratio and apply it for the rest of the Rice) plus we add some oil or ghee and salt. I do remember from my childhood and even now when we cook a good basmati rice I can eat it just plain.
Also I find how previous generation cared for optimum use of energy sources, they were better at planning important things like meal (Not like us who would want every thing ready to use like pastes, frozen food etc) which not only fed their family better quality food but also saved expenses on cheap meals and medical bills due to malnourishment(well this is an entirely different topic, coming back to Basmati Rice) They did soak it for 30 mins before putting it to cook which saved Gas, time and also make the rice fluff up and evenly cooked. And they did the same for lentils, beans, chickpea etc.
Here are the Pointers for making a perfect Basmati Rice”

Thank you Monica!

Here is the recipe. We had it as a side dish but it would be great as a main and perfect with other small dishes to have with puri. I hope you enjoy it.

Potato and aubergine Sabzi – serves 2 as a main or 4 with other small dishes

  • 1 large, firm aubergine
  • 2 medium waxy potatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Red chilli powder to taste

1. Cut the aubergine and potatoes into small cubes, about 1/2 inch

2. Put some vegetable oil, about 2 tbsp, into a pan and add 1/2 tbsp of fennel and 1 tsp turmeric. Make sure the seeds don’t burn. When it start to smell fragrant add the vegetables and mix well to cover with the spices.

3. Cover and on the lowest heat cook gently until the potatoes are tender and the aubergine is soft and creamy. Check on it occasionally to make sure it’s not catching. It can take anything from 15 minutes to 45 minutes depending on the size and type of potatoes etc.

4. When cooked add some red chilli powder to taste 🤣🤣

Patatas Bravos – you don’t need to be brave to try these!

14 Oct

 Once again, the photos are rubbish but the flavour of these potatoes is absolutely divine.  I can see me making them over and over again.  They are a traditional Tapas dish but I think they will be a fantastic accompaniment to steak or lamb chops on the BBQ.  The dish translates as ‘brave potatoes’ due to the hot tomato sauce you drizzle over the roast potatoes.  I made mine for friends so I was economical with the chilli.  The result was quite mild but absolutely exquisite.  I think I will always make them like this as the heat does not overpower the delicate flavours in the rest of the dish.  Of course, those who like hot food can add more chilli but I would take care as the tomatoes readily absorb the heat and, once added, it is impossible to remove. 

The potatoes are supposed to be crisp.  I made mine in Fuerteventura and the oven is very peculiar.  I think if I had left them in there for another hour they would still not have crisped up.  In the end I served them golden but soft.  Once again, I prefered them like this and will try to replicate the texture when I next cook them in my oven back home.

The tomato sauce is so easy to make and has a great texture and incredible flavour.  I am going to try it as a pasta sauce, finished off with Parmesan cheese, when I get a chance.  I also think it would be great in a pasta bake, tossed with courgettes and red peppers that have been softened in a little olive oil, carefully mixed with cooked pasta shapes, poured into an ovenproof dish and topped with cheese before baking in the oven.  I might try this one out on my daughter-in-law.

Anyway, here is the recipe.

Patatas Bravos                                            Serves 4

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 300g canned, chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsps paprika (get the sweet variety if possible but definitely not smoked)
  • small pinch chilli (either dried and crumbled, flakes or powder)
  • 1kg / 2lbs potatoes (King Edwards or Maris Piper)
  1. Gently fry the onion in about 3 tbsp of olive oil until softened and not coloured.  Takes about 10 minutes.  Add all the other ingredients (except the potatoes).  Mix well, season with a little salt and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Take off the heat and reserve until the potatoes are cooked.  You can refrigerate the sauce for 24 hours if you want to prepare ahead,
  2. In the meantime, peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes.  Put in a baking tray and drizzle with oil.  Season with salt then mix well so the potatoes are completely coated.  Bake in a hot oven, 200C/190C fan/gas 6, for 50 minutes or until the potatoes are a golden brown.
  3. Reheat the sauce .  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a serving dish and drizzle with the hot sauce.  Serve immediately.

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Mushroom hash – perfect with a fried egg!

21 Apr

I have been making corned beef hash for years  (see recipe on blog) and thought how great it would be to make a vegetarian hash.  This mushroom hash is so simple and yet so delicious.  I served it with a fried egg to make it a complete meal, they went really well together.  I’ve included a little chopped chilli but this is optional as I know some of my friends don’t like spicy food.  I try to include at least one day a week when I only eat vegetarian food, but of late I have tried so many great vegetarian recipes I have found I am eating them more frequently.  I have to say I am no expert on vegetarianism so I thought I would see what I could find out.

The Vegetarian Society Defines a vegetarian as ‘Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or by-products of slaughter.” 

in the early 1800’s, there were a number of groups in Britain considering adopting a meat-free diet. They varied considerably but one key group involved in the setting up of the Vegetarian Society were the followers of Reverend William Cowherd, known as the Cowherdites. Reverend  Cowherd was the founder of the Bible Christian Church who believed that eating flesh was unnatural and was likely to make people aggressive.  He would preach abstinence from eating flesh to his congregation in Salford, and worked with them, encouraging self-improvement through education.  It was probably the practical support he gave that swung them around to his way of thinking, by providing warm food, medical help and free burial. His followers continued his work after his death and the wife of one of these, Martha Brotherton, published the first vegetarian cookbook in 1812.

If anyone is interested and wants to know more about the history of vegetarianism it is worth visiting the Vegetarian Society’ website. Just click on the link below:

https://www.vegsoc.org/

Here is the recipe.

Mushroom hash                               Serves 2

  • 12 oz floury potatoes (Desiree are good), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 small handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 oz mushrooms, thickly sliced
  1. Simmer the potatoes in boiling salted water for about 4-5 minutes until just tender.  Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat half the butter with a little of the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the potatoes over a medium to high heat, turning occasionally, until they are starting to go crisp and golden (about 10 minutes).
  3. In a separate frying pan heat half the remaining butter with a little olive oil and fry the onion over a low to medium until it is golden (about 10 minutes).  Tip into the potatoes, mix well and cook together for a couple of minutes.
  4. In the empty pan, melt the remaining butter and olive oil and cook the mushrooms and chilli (if using) over a high heat for a couple of minutes until they are lightly coloured on all sides.  Add the mushrooms, parsley and garlic to the potatoes.  Mix well and cook over a high heat for 1 minute to allow the flavours to meld.  Season to taste and serve with a fried egg. 

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Potato, asparagus and mint salad – absolutely divine!

3 Aug

 This salad has to be my number one favourite.  I could eat it alone but it excels as an accompaniment to any meat or fish dish.  We served it with the barbecued poussins and it was absolutely delicious.  The mint flavour really lifts it and, of course, it contains one of my favourite foods, asparagus.

Did you know that asparagus can grow 10 inches in 24 hours?  It comes in three colours, green, white and purple.  The green asparagus is readily available and is possibly the most popular.  I have seen the white asparagus in Spain, usually limp and soggy out of a jar or on a salad.  I, personally, think there is no taste to this and it is repulsive.  I have never seen the purple variety. 

Asparagus is loaded with vitamins and minerals.  Potassium, crucial for heart function and a key player in muscle contraction.  Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting.  Folate, prevents anaemia.  It is a strong diuretic and has been found useful in treating swelling associated with rheumatism and arthritis as well as bloating in PMS related water retention.

The fact that I was most interested in, however, is why does it make your pee smell?  Apparently you must have the right gene to be able to smell it but for those who have, which includes me and my husband, I can tell you it is a really strong, weird smell.  I first noticed it when we started eating asparagus while we lived in California.  I thought there was something wrong with the drains to our apartment!!!  The smell is caused by sulphur-containing compounds that are created when asparagus is digested.  They don’t have any harmful effect on our health so , no worries, just don’t pee in a public lavatory after you have eaten asparagus.  The smell is noticeable after only 15 minutes of eating it!

We were introduced to asparagus by Chinese Eddie.  He was a fantastic old gent (over 90 yrs old) who lived in our complex.  In his youth he used to work in the asparagus fields around Woodland Hills.  His top tips were always buy asparagus with the thickest stalks as these have matured and have a much better flavour. Hold the tip and the end and bend the asparagus, it will break at the natural point so you can discard the woody bit, and don’t over cook, it needs only 3-4 minutes in boiling salted water before it is ready.

Here is the recipe.  I hope you try it, you are in for a treat.

Potato, asparagus and mint salad                                 Serve 4

  • 500g new potatoes
  • 2 packs asparagus tips
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • handful fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into bite sized pieces.  Put in a pan of boiling, lightly salted water.  Bring back to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes or until just tender.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and cool.  Reserve the cooking liquid.
  2. In the meantime, put the onion in a bowl and add the vinegar and oil.  Mix well and leave to marinade.
  3. Bring the pan of water back to the boil then add the asparagus.  Bring back to the boil again the simmer for 3 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender.  Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Dry on kitchen paper.
  4. Add the potatoes, asparagus and chopped mint to the onion.  Toss lightly so all the vegetables are coated in the dressing and serve.

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