Falafel with tahina sauce

chick peas dry- soak overnight with a pinch of baking soda- 200 gms

fresh parsley- few sprigs – enough to make the mixture nice and green and give it a burst of flavour

fresh peeled garlic cloves – 4 nos.

lemon juce- from 1 lemon

salt – to taste

white onion peeled- 1 no

sesame seeds- about 2 tsp/10 gms

now drain the chickpeas, and grind to a semi smooth paste, without any water,(ok maybe 20 ml or so)  but with the onion, parsley, and the garlic. add in the lemon juice, the sesame seeds and season with salt.

form into about 20 gm patties and deep fry till browned and cooekd through.

serve with tahina sauce (tahina thinned down with some natural yoghurt ) called taratoor sauce in lebanon/syria

good as a snack or in a bun as vege filling.

Crab cakes

Heres a really nice crab cake recipe , but you have to be using real crab meat.Doesnt matter if its frozen , but not that awful stuff called crab sticks they have about 1% crabmeat and flavour and is cheap and nasty.

crabmeat- 250 gms / canned or frozen claw meat( lump is nice but thats for eating in salads and stuff for cooking claw meat is more economic and makes more sense to use.
mayonnaise- 25 gms +50 gms the 1st bit gets mixed in and the remainders for the dipping sauce
breadcrumbs- 50 gms – or just enough to bind the crab, we want the cakes to be moist and juicy not like a lump of cement.
egg- 1 nos
salt and pepper – to taste
chopped red onion- 50 gms
garlic- 2cloves chopped
parsley- small sprig
thyme
oil to shallow fry
chipotle chillies- 1/4 of dry chilli/can use the canned ones too.

method

heat about 10 gms of oil and lightly saute the onion ,garlic ,thyme and crab meat.  cool down
add mayonnaise, egg, bread , seasoning and shape into 30 gm flat round cakes
heat oil and shallow fry on both sides till crisp
for the sauce, whizz chipotle chillies with mayonnaise add some lime juice and zest.

 

Dosa -pour Gerard Mouille

for the uninitiated this is the south Indian version of a crepe which is bloody delicious.its made from a fermented batter comprising rice and split and de husked black lentils, which have an off white centre which is called urad dal in Hindi.it was a long standing thing, for me to have made some for my friend Gerard Mouille who was owner /operator of La bastille, one of my favourite french restaurants in Trinidad.

now the method.

1 part by volume of urad dal
3 to 4 parts by volume of cheapest rice. since you are going to be grinding it to a paste, you dont need specifically some extra special one.
1-2 gms of fenugreek seeds-called methi in Hindi.
15-20 gms of split peas/chana dal
Salt and sugar to taste

Soak every thing together , execpt the seasoning ingredients for about half an hour. grind to a coarse paste, add salt and sugar and leave overnight to ferment and rise naturally.

How to cook them is another thing altogether and needs much practice. the idea is to spread the batter thin over a cast iron/ cast aluminium griddle plate called a tawa and cook it on one side only really. there are many important factors, the batter should be the right consistency , the griddle plate the right temperature.and should start to separate from the griddle really before you sprinkle a few drops of oil or butter or ghee and can be eaten with coconut chutney or tomato chutney or sambar , which are a few different lessons altogether.

For practical lessons pls contact me !!

Oriental rice.

This is the one served with ouzi or the arabic styled roasted lamb.its really aromatic and flavourful.

you will need

  1. lamb mince- 200 gms

  2. onion chopped- 1 no / 150 gms

  3. garlic- 2-3 cloves chopped

  4. bayleaf-1 no

  5. baharat powder- 1/2 teaspoon ( you can make this one at home and use for shawarma etc, needs cinnamon, cloves, some green cardamom  and some pepper, quite strong on the cloves)

  6. cinnamon powder as well again -1//4 tsp

  7. black pepper powder-1/4 tsp

  8. Gum arabic/ gundar/ gond/mistika – 1/4 tsp- pounded with some rock salt to a fine powder

  9. Basmati rice- 250 gms soaked in cold water and washed well.

  10. Saffron strands- 1/4 gm or less.

  11. oil+Butter mix-25 ml

Process

  • heat oil and add onions and garlic, lightly brown and then add the mince, which has to be really well browned and caramelised.

  • then add the spice powders and stir fry even more. add bayleaf and the rice and continue to stir fry till the rice is well coated with the mince and the oil . that will make the rice grains quite separate and nice when the mix has cooked.add in the gum arabic powder.

  • Add in enough hot stock or water (you can add some chicken stock powder to cheat) to cover the rice and a little more still.

  • Top with the saffron which you must have soaked in a little water.(what you dint know that?.Then get out of here).

  • cover with a lid for about 15 minutes on a low heat .

  • Serve with roasted lamb as an accompaniment.you can top the rice with fried almonds, cashew, pistachio ..

maa bahen sauce- name inspired by Chris francis

Adapted from the Trini hot pepper sauce, which was more important than the salt and pepper for every dinner function that we did , when in trinidad, this sauce has the potential to blow the top of your mouth off. learned how to make tonnes of it by watching Wendy forde, Heston morreira and Sophia ghany, each one  had a slightly different version to it.

the english name for this sauce has been inspired because of the fiery heat of this sauce, which im sure when you taste for the first time , is like one step closer to suicide.

For the hindi name , i must owe homage to my good friend Christopher Francis, De bloody bugger from Bandra..that and the fact that there was a silly sounding sona chandi chywanprash at some point in the indian market. we transmogrified the name to maa bahen chywanprash and from there onwards, a few years later, when i was struck by a bizzarre idea to call it by this name.

there is no fixed recipe really, because every time in the name of creative spirit, or inspired genius.. i make new version. so far i have not decide to market the product for commercial gain,but instead give away free samples to friends.

 

the purpose of this is to add heat,  zest..life to all things which are duller..

Please wash hands after making and before  visiting the toilet or rubbing your eyes.

Too much will cause acidity/ heartburn/ reflux..and the need to call the fire service the next morning.

Update on this, i did sell quite a bit of this on neighbourly.co.nz…

Hummus – by Petit Fleur De liban Ibrahim hadla

For this delicious and sometimes gassy levantine dip you need chick peas, tahina(sesame seed paste),garlic, lemon juice or citric acid.and olive oil to top it off.

  • chick peas- 250 gms
  • Tahina – 40-50 gms ..look for the ones from lebanon, habibi ibrahim will be most upset if its an israeli tahina paste, and not kanater abu naoum or mounir bissat from good old lebanon. having said that i use an israeli one in nz, though ibrahim will have a fit if he knew that.
  • garlic- 2-3 cloves peeled
  • lemon juice- from1 lemon . alternatively you can use a citric acid dissolved in water.
  • soda bicarb- 1/4 tsp to soak the chickpeas.
  • salt- to taste.

method.

  1. soak the chickpeas overnight with soda bicarb and plenty of water. the next day the soaking and soda will have softened the skins of the chickpeas.
  2. These then should be drained and washed very thoroughly. Put it with some fresh water and cook, for really very long. Chef ibrahim hadla, would famously take one chickpea and throw it on the wall. it should be cooked so much that it will stick to the wall.
  3. after they are cooked till really soft and mushy. drain and wash these very well in water.let them soak in a bowl of cold water and let the skins float on top.take these skins off and discard.
  4. Then you need a good food processor.like a food chopper, moulinex or any similar ones. at work we used one called robot coupe, which is the Mercedes Benz of food processors. start to blend .also add a few crushed ice cubes to the mix or really chilled water about 20 mls or so..
  5. this will make the mixture very light and airy and fluffy.add in the tahina and garlic,salt and lemon juice.it should be slightly garlickly , and lemony, but most importantly very very creamy and smooth.
  6. arrange in a flat- ish sort of dish nd then top it with some fruity good quality olive oil, and enjoy with pita bread.
  7. this can be topped with toasted pine nuts or small cubes of lamb/ beef sauteed with onions garlic and some lemon juice as well.
  8. Sahten as they say in arabic, or Bon appetit.
  9. Dedicated to le petit fleur de liban!!!! god how much we laughed when chef ibrahim used to say that.

Chocolate zucchini cake by Dina

Dina, who is a childcare educator at Viraajs day care , is an ex-chef and had this recipe which wowed all the children, so this post is dedicated to her .

Ingredients

To cream together

  • 125 gm butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 +3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Sour milk

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Dry ingredients( sieve twice to ensure they get well mixed)

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • pinch of ground cloves( here ive reduced the qty which dina had)
  • 2 +1/4 cups plain flour

4 tablespoons dark cocoa powder

To add

2 cups of grated zucchini

  • 1/4 cups of dark chocolate chips

method

  1. preheat oven to 180 C/ 375 F.
  2. cream butter, sugaroil then add in eggs and vanilla till well blended
  3. Mix in milk and lemon juice.( the acid in the lemon juice helps the baking soda to act). +the baking soda when used with cocoa powder gives it a richer darker colour.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients to the creamed mix.
  5. Stir in the zucchini.pour into large cake tin or 2 loaf tins, and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  6. Check that’s done by inserting a toothpick or wooden skewer in the center, it should come out clean.

anzac cookies by Cherie Green

Cherie Green is/was  one of my fellow tutors at Whitireia, and she had made some fabulous anzac cookies one day very very long back. after much persuasion and bribery she kindly parted with her recipe, which is what im sharing down here.Since that time cheries mood on literally to greener pastures and has her own farmland or section as its called in New Zealand

 

Anzac biscuits

  1. Mix Flour -50 gm
  2. Sugar- 75 gm
  3. Coconut dessicated- 2/3 cup
  4. 2/3 cup rolled oats
  5. MELT Butter- 50 gms add
  6. Golden syrup- 1Table spoon
  7. Dissolve Soda bicarb- ½ teaspoon in 2 Tablespoons of Boiling water.Mix in with the dry ingredients.

Form into round biscuit shapes and bake in pre-heated oven at at 180C 15-20 mins.

 

Daves fruit bread

Dave our It dude, made some fabulous fruit bread and here’s the recipe straight from heart.

self raising flour sifted -3 cups
Mixed nuts and seeds- 1 1/2 cups
mixed berries- 1 cup
Dried mango- 1 cup
Milk- 1cup
water- 2 cups
Extra virgin olive oil- 1 glug ( yes 1 glug)

Method

mix all the dry ingredients. mix water, milk and glug and add the dry ingredients to the this mix.

pour into a greased baking tin or 3 and bake in preheated oven at about 180 c for about 35-40 minutes.

cool down , slice toast and butter and you’re ready to roll.

Sitafal panacotta.

A take on a classical italian dessert- pana- milk , cotto is to  cook so literally cooked milk, set with gelatine and creamy, this one is flavoured with sitafal, an amazing fruit from india, there is a caribbean relative called soursop, but sitafal is sweeter and creamier.

  1. cream- 500 ml
  2. milk- 500 ml
  3. sugar- 100 gm
  4. gelatine- 15-20 gms depending on which country you are making it in.
  5. water – to soak the gelatine- 50 ml
  6. sitafal puree/ pulp-  750 gms
  7. cardamom powder- large pinch

Method

  • Soak gelatine in water.
  • heat milk and cream, add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  • add in the sitafal pulp and gelatine and whisk well. depending on how sweet the sitafal is you might need to slightly increase sugar quantity.
  • flavour with cardamom and  allow to cool down. set in individual glass bowls of small plastic shot glasses like i did( 80 x 60 ml) + got some extra.
  • chill for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight