Brunch: Bombay Toast Kerala Style 

Sweet Bombay Toast….Sweet Bombay Toast with Banana, Coconut, honey and Tayberries I first discovered this delicious breakfast treat in a very special place in Kerala called Varkala 10 years ago. This dish was expertly prepared for my husband and I by a lovely old guy called Babu, who also made us gallons of Masala chai and who offered to let us stay at his house for 100 rs a night the next time we visited. My husband and I reflect fondly about Babu and how proud he was to show his spices and prepare food for us. I should mention Babu’s version of Bombay Toast was a delicious spiced French toast lightly fried in coconut oil and topped with slice banana, freshly grated coconut and drizzled with honey.
After leaving Varkala we visited Kovallam and to our delight we discovered Bombay Toast was on the menu….. it came …..and what lay before us was an oily soggy pale limp piece of bread…. Oh the disappointment!! On arriving back home I made it my mission to cook this special dish in the style of Babu for my friends and family, who thoroughly enjoyed it and have reproduced the dish for their friends too.
I have returned to Kerala a number of times, but I have yet to return to Varkala to find Babu to ask him if his offer still stands and if he would kindly make us Bombay Toast.
This is my version in honor of Babu
Serves 4
Ingredients
4 thick slices from a stale brioche loaf

4 eggs, free range organic

1/8 cup double cream

2 tbsp golden caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp Masala chai spice blend

2 tsp coconut oil

2 large ripe bananas sliced

100gms freshly grated coconut

4 tsp of runny honey, I like to use orange blossom

12 tayberries optional

Method
In a shallow bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and masala chai.
Heat a large frying pan over a medium flame, add the coconut oil.
Dip each slice of the brioche into the egg mixture remove and place in the frying pan.
Cook each slice of brioche until golden on both sides, taking care not to burn.


Place on a serving plate, top with sliced bananas coconut and a drizzle of honey.


Top with Tayberries


Serve straight away with a smile and enjoy.

Kerala Prawns

In the last few months I’ve closed down my beloved Malabar Aaanaa food business for various reasons and returned back to paid employment (it’s not that bad), but to keep my hand in so to speak I’ve created The Dish Served to satisfy my need to create food and to share with lovely people.I had a number of recipes on my old site and wanted to share them afresh, so I’m in the process of transferring all my recipes over to here.

Kerala Prawns  is a spicy little dish to serve,  that will satisfy those cravings for deep flavours of the sea and warm destinations.

SERVES: 2

PREP TIME: 10 mins

COOKING TIME: 20 mins
INGREDIENTS

RICE:

1 cup basmati rice

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 star anise

2 green cardamom

salt to taste

drop of oil

MARINADE:

1 inch of ginger, grated finely

1 fat garlic clove, finely grated

salt to season

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp Kerala garam masala

MASALA:

1 diced large red onion

1 inch of ginger, finely grated

2 fat garlic cloves, finely grated

1 tsp, heaped Kashmiri chilli powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 sprig fresh curry leaves

1/4 tsp turmeric

2 tomatoes chopped

100ml coconut milk, thick
200gm shell on prawns, deveined. I like to use the shell on prawns as it gives a better flavour to the dish.

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp fresh coriander leaf, finely chopped

METHOD:

Add all the marinade ingredients to the prawns and mix together, put to one side until needed.

Wash the rice.

Heat the oil for the rice and add the whole spices, let the aroma develop from the spice.

Add the rice to the oil, spices, 2 cups of water and salt, cook until the water has disappeared.

While the rice is cooking start the masala, heat the coconut oil in a wide pan and add the mustard seeds, wait for these to start crackling and add the curry leaves, then the onion and cook over a medium heat until translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic, cook for a further 2 minutes and until the raw small has gone then add the chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric, continue to fry for 1 minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook out until the oil separates from the mixture, once this happens place the masala in a bowl.

In the same pan add the coconut oil and heat, then add the prawns and all the marinade. Fry the prawns until nearly cooked, then add the masala and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and reduce to the desired consistency, finish with some chopped coriander leaf.

The rice should now be ready to serve with the prawns.

Please use your hands to eat this its a traditional way and will connect you with the dish

Enjoy !

judion butterbean, chorizo, chicken and piquillo pepper stew

 

 

After what seems like a never ending two weeks of festive celebrations and 6 months of eating very very very little meat, its time to consider what would I like to achieve food wise in 2017.

Over the last 6 months I’ve eaten meat 4 times and had fish 5 times, its always good to review what we eat and if we are actually enjoying the food that we eat. In the summer I did this, as I was not enjoying the taste or the texture of meat, so I decided to “go veggie” which was fairly easy decision for me as my food business at the time was producing vegan food and I’d previously been veggie for 7 years. The news of giving up meat and fish again was received with a mixed bag of reactions, the hubby was supportive and decided that he would join me but didn’t want the label of “vegetarian” as he had just decided to give up eating meat and fish no take on the principles, my mother went into panic mode but calmed down once I reminded that when I visit, I cook anyway. Some friends are meat free, which helped and others were supportive but fearful of my vegetable and pulse loving ways.

I have enjoyed being challenged in my approach to cooking and have regained a love for cauliflower, which I wouldn’t eat at all for the last 12 years but I have to admit I have missed meat and fish. I also have found it incredibly difficult to get decent quality vegetarian food when out at restaurants and also being limited with the options on offer. Maybe if I lived nearer to larger cities I’d have more options available, sadly I don’t and local restaurants are not as innovative in their approach to food as I’d like.

So putting aside my justifications for returning back to eating meat, the hubby and I celebrated New Years Eve with Persian Roast Guinea Fowl with roast vegetables and gravy……….oh my word I HAVE MISSED meat gravy, the meat was ok but the gravy was awesome! As my love for meat gravy had been rekindled, I decided to make a dish I haven’t made in some time mainly due to lack of access to my favourite Spanish products. I was lucky this Christmas as the hubby organised a little order from Brindisa, so it was all systems go for my judion butterbean, chorizo, chicken and piquillo pepper stew. I would like to encourage you to make this dish using the Spanish ingredients listed as they add so much to the dish and provide the most delicious deep flavour that just satisfies the soul.

I hope you enjoy and Happy New Year.

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Judion butterbean, chorizo, chicken and piquillo pepper stew

Prep: 15 minutes

Cooking: 50 mins approx.

Ingredients 

  • 1 660mg jar judion butter beans
  • 150g picante cooking chorizo, diced
  • 2 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 large chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 tbsp pimiento choricero (nora pepper) paste
  • 1/2 tin piquillo pepper strips
  • 4 plum tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • chicken stock 300ml
  • 2 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 140ml red wine, I used a Marcus de Caceres Rioja
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2tbps fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

Method

Prep all the ingredients in advance

Over a medium heat place a pan, I like to use a cast iron pan for this recipe but any heavy bottomed pan will do.

Add the chorizo to the dry pan and start to fry, there is no need for oil, as the chorizo will have enough for the dish. Once the oil from the chorizo has come out add the onions and fry until soft.

Add the garlic, pimiento choricero paste, tomato puree, parsley, thyme and smoked paprika to the pan and cook for approximately 3 minutes, if the mixture starts to stick to the base of the pan add a little water and reduced the head slightly.

Add the chicken and seal in the spice, onion and chorizo mix

Then add the tomatoes, cook for a further 3 minutes

When the tomatoes have cooked down add the butter beans, piquillo peppers and red wine, combine all the ingredients in the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding salt, pepper to season and the chicken stock.

Cook for 20 -25 minutes over a low heat

Check the seasoning and serve with some decent sourdough.

 Enjoy

 

clementine, chocolate, and date m’hencha…an alternative christmas treat.

 

As I’m twiddling my thumbs until I start my new job next week, I’ve been looking at what ingredients I’ve got hanging about the kitchen and what deliciousness I can make. I first came across a recipe for M’hencha a couple of years ago but didn’t make it, although I was interested in making one at some point. Then this year I bought a date and orange one, it was delicious, the m’hencha was just on another level and for the last couple of months it’s been at the back of my mind that I need to make one. So I did and it turns out it’s really easy to make, which could be a little dangerous.

The dish served today is a spiced clementine, date and chocolate m’hencha, otherwise known as a snake cake from morocco. This M’hencha is a mix of nuts, dates, spices, and chocolate encased is crisp phyllo pastry, dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon. I’m really pleased with my first attempt and think it makes a rather nice alternative to a mince pie or piece of Christmas cake. I’ll definitely be making this later in the month for the festivities and I hope you do too.

Clementine, Chocolate and Date M'hencha
clementine, chocolate and date m’hencha

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 12 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 150ml clementine juice
  • Zest of 4 clementines
  • 200g date paste
  • 165g almonds
  • 50g pistachios, shelled
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 100g vanilla sugar
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom, ground
  • 1/4 tsp cloves, ground
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted

Decoration

  • 2 tsp icing sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon, ground

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180c

Grease and line a 10-inch cake tin

In a food processor place the clementine juice, zest, almonds, pistachios, cocoa powder,  date paste, vanilla sugar, icing sugar, egg white, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and orange blossom water, pulse the mixture to get a textured paste and place in a bowl.

To assemble the pastry, melt the butter and lay out a large length of cling wrap.

Unwrap the phyllo pastry, placing 4 sheets each over lapping short ends on top of the cling wrap.

Using a pastry brush work quickly and brush the pastry with the melted butter, ensure you brush between the over lapping edges. Then place a sheet of pastry over each of the buttered layer and repeat with the rest of the phyllo, making sure the top layer is also buttered.

Take the m’hencha filling; make a line of filling along the longest edge of the pastry nearest to you.

Using the cling wrap to help you start to turn the edge of the pastry over the filling and continue to roll, remove the cling film and discard.

Ensure the pastry seam is on the underside of the rolled pastry, brush with the remaining butter and gently coil the pastry around itself, at the end tuck the pastry slightly under the coil, place in the cake tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool in the tin.

When cooled, remove from the tin and dust with the icing sugar and cinnamon. Serve on its own or with some whipped cream and a mint tea.

 

cwtch up hot chocolate 

Last week was a bit of a disastrous week for me in terms of getting things done, the hubby was working super late, the kittens were going mental, my phone screen shattered and I still didn’t have a start date for my new job. Basically I just needed a cwtch ( it’s a Welsh word for a cuddle) as the hubby was otherwise engaged in work, my cwtch would take the form of a Lindt hot chocolate from Costa Coffee.Lindt hot chocolate COsta Coffee

I was initially tempted by their PR material showing a luscious velvety smooth glass of thick hot chocolate, and as I needed a little pick me up and I love Lindt chocolate and Costa Coffee, why not give it a go.  The hot chocolate is made using a Lindt powder and when poured didn’t quite fit the image that’s been presented in the PR material. I’m presented with a frothy thin hot chocolate with semi dissolved powder bombs. I was grateful for its small size but didn’t complain and maybe I should have, but I was lacking confidence that day. I’m wondering if any other Costa customers have been disappointed by this product or if I was just unlucky and the product pictured in the official PR material is a true representation of the product itself?  Needless to say I didn’t get my cwtch from this little glass of hot chocolate and that kinda saddened me.

A week later and I am still wanting a chocolate cwtch, especially as its got even colder. I reach for the little bit of Valrhona chocolate I have left and set to making a delicious glass of chocolate heaven….and there it is…..my cwtch up hot chocolate, blissful. 

cwtch up hot chocolate 

Hot chocolate
Time: 3 mins 

Serves: 1 

Ingredients 

Valrhona chocolate approximately 40g (I just use a chunk from a kilo bar) or a chocolate of your choice with a high coco solid.

One cup of milk, of your choice (I used a whole milk)

1 tsp heaped cornflour (optional)

Method 

In a saucepan place the cornflour and 1/3 of the milk, combine and add the chocolate. Place the milk and chocolate over a medium heat stirring continuously until melted,then add the rest of the milk.

Turn the flame to low and heat until the hot chocolate has thickened, remove from the heat and serve.

Notes 

If you would like the chocolate to be really super thick, add 1/2 tsp extra of cornflour at the start.

For an extra cwtch, add a good glug of armagnac 

For a fancy cwtch, add marshmallows and whipped cream before serving 

lemon and keralan vanilla drizzle cake

Left to my own devices on a gloomy Sunday afternoon my attentions focus on baking, it’s also a welcomed distraction from doing my accounts!  

Now, I’m not one for fancy cakes except for my Persian Orange Cake of course, I tend to opt for plain cakes such as this Lemon and Keralan Vanilla Drizzle Cake. So to brighten up my day  I decided to make a lemon drizzle cake and as I’ve got an abundance of 1st grade Keralan vanilla beans, I couldn’t resist adding this spice to the mix. The results of which have been very satisfying.

So why vanilla pods from Kerala ? 


Well when I visited a little while ago, I say a little while ago but my first encounter with Keralan Vanilla was while I was in Kerala 14 years ago. I thought the vanilla vines were most unusual just growing in gardens, certainly not the usual plant in the gardens of Wales, thats for sure. The memory has always stuck with me and so too my obsession for Kerala. Last year on one of my regular visits to the state, I was introduced to a spice merchant and somehow ended up returning home with 10 kilos of spice at no cost and 1/2 kilo Keralan vanilla pods at a ridiculously low cost. I was so struck but it’s quality, heady aroma and complexed flavour, I fell back in love with the spice that I had previously taken for granted using Madagascan varieties. I still have a fair bit of vanilla left and amazingly the pods are still sticky, plump, flexible pods with an intense in flavour and aroma. 


Prep time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 45-55 mins

Serves 8-10 

Ingredients:

For the cake

3 eggs, free range/organic 

75g unsalted butter, melted 

200gm vanilla caster sugar 

75g plain full fat yoghurt

200g plain flour, sieved

1tsp baking powder

2 unwaxed lemons, juice and zest

1 Keralan vanilla pod, seeds

For the icing:

80g icing sugar, sieved

1 lemon

1/2 Keralan vanilla pod seeds

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160c if fan assisted, or 170c without a fan.

Grease and line a 1 pound loaf tin.

In a bowl add the lemon juice, sugar and vanilla seeds mix with a spoon to dissolve the sugar. 

In a food mixer bowl add the eggs and whisk until a little fluffy, then add the sugar mix, melted butter and yoghurt, whisk again until combined.

Remove the bowl from the food processor and add the flour and baking powder, fold in gently with a metal spoon.

Pour the cake batter into the lined tin and cook in the oven for 45-55 minutes. Do the cake test with a skewer after 45 minutes, if it’s not clean, cook for a further 5-10 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin

In a bowl combine the icing sugar, vanilla and lemon juice, mix until smooth.

After 10 minutes pour the icing over the cake, while it’s still in the tin.

Leave the cake to cool completely then remove from the tin. 
Notes

If you would just like a lemon drizzle cake just leave out the vanilla.

fish taco

I’ve wanted to make fish tacos for a while, as I liked the sound of the crispy batter adding a new texture, the sweetness from the fruit salsa working with the sweetness of the fish and spicy smokiness of the chipotle salsa. With all that in mind and taste buds going into overdrive, dinner last night turned into “Friday Fish Fiesta”, such a fun way to celebrate the start of the weekend. It was fish tacos and classic margaritas with salt rims galore.

fish-taco

Serves: 3 

Prep time: 30 mins 

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

For the pineapple and mango salsa:

  • 3 of each mango and pineapple sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste

For the fish

  • 4 fillets of fish, boneless and skinless. I used medium sized fillets of sea bream
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • 1tsp salt, for the batter and extra for seasoning the fish
  • 1tsp black pepper, ground
  • 120g plain flour
  • 150 ml beer approximately, I used Lagunitas Ipa. I don’t drink beer and so got terrible confused trying to figure out which one to use.  This one gave a nice flavour to the batter.
  • Vegetable oil, enough to cover a depth of 1 1/2 inch of the frying pan

Garnishes: 

  • Sour cream, thinned down a little
  • Yellow cherry tomatoes, chopped and seasoned with sea salt
  • Red cabbage, finely shredded
  • Fresh coriander leaf, chopped
  • Chipotle salsa, I used shop bought
  • Mini flour tortilla, warmed
  • Wedges of lime

Method:

In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the salsa, check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Portion the fish into your desired sizes; I kept the portions on the larger size.

Season the fish with salt and rub with the crushed garlic

In a mixing bowl place the flour, baking powder, mustard, salt, pepper, oregano and coriander.

In a frying pan, add the oil and heat to 190c

Back to the flour mix. Add the beer gradually, whisking until a smooth batter is formed. The thickness of the batter should be like yoghurt.

When the oil has reached temperature, dip the fish into the batter mix, removing the excess before placing the fish in the hot oil away from you. Cook each piece of fish for approximately 4 minutes or until golden brown. If you have done it right, your fish batter should be golden and crispy, if its soggy the oil was too hot and the batter too thick.

Remove from the cooked fish from the oil using tongs and drain on kitchen paper.

Warm the tortilla in the microwave for 30 seconds or place in a hot oven making sure the tortillas are coved so not to dry out for 5 minutes.

This is where Friday Fish Fiesta begins, grab yourself a salt rim margarita (the classic is the best, but I do like hibiscus and tamarind versions too), a little music and good company. Then load your tacos with the salsas, cabbage, tomatoes, fish, sour cream, coriander and squeeze of lime, and go in for the bite.

Notes

I really liked the crispy batter but for a healthier version, I would omit the batter and frying opting for a marinated grilled fish.

For the marinade use 2 garlic cloves crushed, 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds, 1 tsp salt, 1tsp pepper, 1tsp dried oregano, 1tsp dried coriander, juice of 1/2 lime and 1 tbsp oil. Place all the ingredients in a processor and blend, pour over the fish and marinade for 1hr. Griddle the fish with the skin left on, cook until the skin is crispy, flip the fillet and cook for a further minute or two until done.