Wednesday, 23 July 2014

420.braided pesto bread

aroma therapy

  While the bread was baking, the whole house was filled with the aroma of basil. My neighbour smelt basil all the way near the lift of our floor. She came to check what was cooking. Remember in my last post I mentioned that I made some pesto, well I used it to make some delicious bread which I wanted to bake for such a long time. Using biga to make the bread was the other temptation. Using biga makes the bread more flavourful. It gives more strength to weak flour. So the plain flour that we get in Kenya and India is quite weak compared to the ones available in the western countries. Its also amazing how two pinches of yeast can ferment a whole loaf of bread. Biga is the Italian word for preferment. Traditionally, bakers use a bit of the previous fermented dough to make a new batch. At home its easier to mix flour, water and a pinch of yeast to start the biga.The biga should appear wet and sticky. The biga is left covered with cling film at room temperature for 6 to 24 hours. I usually leave it overnight. Biga can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days. Remove from the fridge and leave it outside till it reaches room temperature. Biga can be frozen. To use it remove from the freezer and leave it at room temperature for 3 hours or until it is active and bubbly again. Usually the biga should be triple the original size.Other common names used are poolish (French), sponge, starter or simply preferment.Other flours can be used to make the preferment like rye, wholewheat, spelt, etc.
   So here is the recipe for the braided pesto bread and the pesto.








BRAIDED PESTO BREAD
1 loaf

PESTO SAUCE :
Makes about ½ cup

1 cup basil leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 -2 garlic cloves
4 tbsp parmesan  cheese
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt

  1. Chop up the basil leaves roughly. 
  2. Add the leaves, garlic and pine nuts into a food processor. Process the mixture to a smooth or rough paste.
  3. Remove the paste into a bowl.
  4. Add salt, oil and cheese and mix it well.
PESTO BREAD 
Biga or Preferment:

½ cup plain flour (bread flour, all purpose flour)
⅓ cup warm water
pinch of instant dry active yeast

Dough :
1½ cups wholewheat flour
1½ cups plain flour (bread flour, all purpose flour)
all of the above biga
2 tbsp warm milk
1 cup warm water
pinch of instant dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil

 extra flour for dusting
extra oil for greasing/ oiling

Preparation of biga:
  1. Mix flour, water and yeast with a wooden spoon. Pour it into an oiled container. Wrap it with cling film and let it ferment for 12 to 16 hours.
Preparation of the bread dough:
  1. Sift both the flours, salt, sugar and yeast together.
  2. Mix water and milk together.
  3. Rub oil into the flour.
  4. Add water and form a dough.
  5. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes till it is smooth and silky. Can use a dough machine to knead the dough if you like.
  6. Form the dough into a ball and rub oil over it.
  7. Grease a bowl with oil and place the dough in it.
  8. Cover with cling film and let it ferment in a warm place till it is double the size. This will take about 1½ - 2 hours.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  10. Knead the dough gently. Dust a board or worktop with flour.
  11. Roll the dough into a rectangle of about 12 X14 inches.
  12. Spread the pesto sauce all over it. 
  13. Roll the dough from the widest part into a swiss roll.
  14. Pinch the seam to close completely.
  15. Tuck in the ends.
  16. Place the rolled dough on a greased baking tray.
  17. Using a sharp knife or steel spatula, cut the roll into half lengthwise.
  18. Form a braid using the two parts. Leave it as a long braid or shape it into a wreath.
  19. Place the dough into the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  20. Remove the bread from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.
  21. Serve it with yummy soup or have it just the way it is.
Tips:
  • The biga will be glutinous. Try and break it into smaller portions and add to the flour.
  • If you find some of it is stuck to the container, add flour and rub it. Add to the main flour.
  • If your pesto sauce has lots of olive oil, strain it out. When you cut the bread, you don't the baking tray to be flooded with oil. Add the flavoured oil to dough for parathas, rotis, bread or pasta. 
  • Sprinkle the bread with more parmesan cheese before baking if you like.
You may want to check out the following:

basil garlic bread
feta  olive and basil bread

barley broccoli roll


Sending this recipe for the following events:





Tuesday, 22 July 2014

419. orange basil juice

fragrant and cooling
   Basil is a herb which is highly fragrant. Walk into a greengrocers shop and you will be able to smell basil if he/she is selling it. Related to the tulsi (holy basil) family, it tastes different from the tulsi. The name basil is derived from the old Greek word basilikohn which means royal. The name denotes that in the ancient culture it was considered a noble and sacred herb. Basil reduces swelling and inflammation, is rich in antioxidants and has anti aging properties. It has anti bacterial properties and is a rich source of Vitamins A and C, iron, manganese, calcium,potassium and magnesium. Basil is widely used in herbal teas,sandwiches,soups, with chicken, fish, pasta, meat, in salads by adding the leaves to the salad, or in a dressing. I simply love the herb basil. I have tried growing it in a pot but have not succeeded. But will keep on trying. Did you know that you can use basil infused water to dab on your face to combat pimples. Add a few leaves of basil to 1 cup hot water. When it cools, dab it on your face using a cotton wool. Leave it for 10 minutes.
   Our niece from Nairobi stayed with us for a couple of days with her hubby and daughter. She asked me what I wanted from Nairobi and the first thing I could think of was basil. I asked her to bring some for me, specifying that I just needed little and not too much. She bought so many bunches. Some I used to prepare pasta, some I used to make pesto and some I froze it, for future use. I left about a handful in the fridge to make a basil and mint lemon drink. However, the idea cropped up that why not add it to the fresh orange juice. I did that and loved the juice, it was cooling and full of fragrance and refreshing. Try it, am sure you will love it.

basil : Close-up view on a fresh basil bouquet.





ORANGE BASIL JUICE
2 servings

2 cups of fresh orange juice
10 to 12 basil leaves (about ½ cup)
ice cubes

  1. Chop the basil leaves roughly.
  2. Add the leaves and orange juice into a blender.
  3. Process till the leaves appeared crushed.
  4. Pour into serving glasses.
  5. Top with ice cubes and serve.
Tips:
  • Basil turns very fast compared to other herbs. To store them in the freezer for future use, wash the leaves, pat them try on a towel. Put them in a ziploc and put it in the freezer. Take out the required amount as and when you need it.
  • Make pesto sauce and store in the fridge. Use the sauce when preparing pasta, chicken, fish, meat, sandwiches, salad dressings etc.
  • Add fresh basil to your dish towards the end of cooking to preserve fragrance.
You may want to check out the following :

basil mint lemon drink
Sending this recipe for the following event:

DishItOut


418. corn and beans quesadilla

Tragedy

  The world was shocked on July 17th. The news that the Malaysian Airline MH 17 was shot down while flying over the Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur left the world in a state of shock. A buk missile shot it down near the border of Russia and Ukraine. Who is at fault will take forever to find out but in the meantime a nation has to once again in a span of four months face the tragedy of losing yet another aircraft full of passengers. Families and friends have to mourn the dead. None of those passengers had anything direct to do with the fight between Ukraine and Russia and yet they all paid with their precious lives. So many questions cropped up in my mind... how was a plane flying over 33,000 ft shot down by a missile. How destructive are all these war weapons? If Ukraine was a problem spot, how come the plane was allowed to take that flight path? Who is responsible for this? Will the world just sit back or will action be taken against the guilty? Just 4 months ago a whole plane MH 370 disappeared under mysterious conditions. It just vanished completely with all its passengers and crew. How is that possible? 
   All these incidences just acts as a reminder to all of us that life is unpredictable and short. Its not time to hold grudges, speak ill of others and waste life in meaningless talk. Life reminds us to put into action whatever good we want to achieve.

A person's a person, no matter however small - Dr. Suess






CORN AND BEANS QUESADILLA
Makes 10

Wheat flour tortillas:
2 cups wheat flour (atta)
½ cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ - 1 cup warm water
3 tbsp soft butter

extra flour for dusting 
extra oil for shallow frying

Filling:
1 cup cooked sweet corn
1 cup cooked red kidney beans (or beans of your choice)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup diced onion
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp olive oil
¼- ¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup fresh chopped coriander (cilantro)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Preparation of the tortilla:

  1. Sift the flours, salt and baking powder together into a bowl.
  2. Add butter and rub it into the flour.
  3. Add water and form the flour into a soft dough. It should not be too sticky or too hard.
  4. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel or cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat a frying pan or tawa over medium heat.
  6. Divide the dough into 10 parts.
  7. Roll each part into a ball.
  8. Using some extra flour, roll one ball into a circle of nearly 8 to 9 inches.
  9. Put it onto the hot tawa. Roast lightly on one side till small brown specks appear. Flip it over and roast the other side.
  10. Keep in wrapped in a tea towel so that it does not get dry.
  11. Repeat steps 8 to 10 using the rest of the dough.
Preparation of the filling:
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir fry the onions for 30 seconds. 
  3. Add the garlic paste and mix well.
  4. Add mushroom slices and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  5. Turn off the heat. Add the cooked corn and beans. Mix well.
  6. Let the mixture cool down completely.
  7. Add salt, pepper, chilli flakes, oregano and coriander.
  8. Mix well.
Final preparation:
  1. Take one tortilla. Put about 2 tbsp of the filling on one half of the tortilla.
  2. Add  about 2 to 3 tbsp of the grated cheese.
  3. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling. Press down gently.
  4. Place the filled tortilla over the frying pan or tawa.
  5. Drizzle about one teaspoon of oil around it and cook it light brown specks are formed.
  6. Flip it over gently and add more oil if needed and cook till light brown specks appear.
  7. Cut into half and serve with guacamole and salsa sauce.
Tips:
  • Add any vegetable of your choice.
  • Add any cheese of your choice.
  • You can use ready made tortillas.
You may want to check out the following:

veg enchiladas
mexican salad
Sending this recipe for the following events:





Thursday, 17 July 2014

417. barley broccoli rolls

Shhhh cooking secretly

         I joined this group of enthusiast bloggers just recently. The initiator of this group is Priya of  Priya's Versatile Recipes. She pairs members each month and they send each other two secret ingredients.We get a month to prepare the dish, be it a sweet or savoury one. The fun part is when fellow bloggers post the picture on the group's facebook page and we have to try and guess the secret ingredients. Sometimes, the secret ingredients are obvious but most of the time very difficult to guess. The exciting part was waiting for the partner to give you the two ingredients. As soon as I got mine from Sandhya Ramakrishnan, broccoli and barley, the first thing that came to my mind was soup. Pretty obvious, then I thought of salad and finally debated between making pizza base with barley flour or the rolls. The rolls won and I enjoyed working with barley flour for the first time. I have joined four groups and each one presents a challenge every month for us to try out. When I served hubby dear with the rolls today, he simply asked what am I cooking tomorrow as a challenge! 
       Though the bread dough did not rise as much as the one I normally make with plain flour or wheat flour, it was not too difficult to handle. I will at some point try the barley flour pizza base. The bread did not brown easily like the other normal breads do, but overall I was pleased with the result. Its challenges like these that makes me take that one tiny extra step to do something different; otherwise it is so easy to just get into a comfort zone and be happy. Looking forward to the next two secret ingredients and in the process making a new blogger friend. In the meantime here is the recipe for my first challenge.










BARLEY BROCCOLI ROLLS
Makes about 10 to 12 rolls

For the bread dough:
2 cups barley flour
1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour, bread flour)
2¼ tsp instant dry active yeast
1-1½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 plus 2 tbsp warm water

For the filling:
1 cup broccoli small florets
1 cup chopped spinach or baby spinach
3 - 4 garlic cloves, sliced
 ½ cup grated cheese
¾ - 1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coarse pepper powder
1 tsp chilli flakes

For brushing and greasing olive oil
extra flour for dusting

Preparation of the bread dough:
  1. Sift the barley and plain flour together. Add sugar, salt and yeast and mix well.
  2. Rub the oil into the flour. 
  3. Add warm water and form a soft dough.
  4. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes till it becomes soft and silky.
  5. Make the dough into a big ball and rub oil over it.
  6. Grease a bowl with oil.
  7. Place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a cling film and let it rise for nearly 2 hours.
Preparation of the filling:
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat. 
  2. Add garlic slices and saute for a few seconds.
  3. Add the broccoli florets and stir fry till they are slightly cooked.
  4. Add the chopped spinach and mix well.
  5. Let the mixture cool down completely.
  6. Add salt, pepper, chilli flakes and cheese and mix.
Final preparation:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a baking tray or line with foil.
  2. Knead the dough gently. 
  3. Using some flour, roll the dough into a rectangle of 12"X10".
  4. Place the filling at the widest end of the rectangle, leaving a space of about one inch from the edge.
  5. Gently roll the dough like a swiss roll.
  6. Place the seam side on the baking tray.
  7. Cover the roll with a tea towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Brush olive oil over the roll.
  9. Place the dough in the oven to bake for 25 minutes or till the top becomes light brown.
  10. Remove the roll from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.
  11. After 10 or 15 minutes cut into thick slices and serve with chilli sauce. I served it with chimichurri sauce.
Tips:
  • Use any vegetable of your choice for filling.
  • You can use any cheese of your choice.
  • While kneading the dough, if it appears a bit hard add some more water. Different barley flours will absorb different quantities of water.
  • I will probably add a bit more filling next time. This time round I was a bit scared that over filling it may cause the dough to break.
  • Enjoy this healthy rolls without much guilt.
You may want to check out the following:

stuffed masala buns
Sending this recipe for the following events:





sumee's culinary bites

Cooks joy

DishItOut

green dishes at Cooks Joy



Sending this entry to Ahlan Ramadan – The Healthy Way

Sunday, 13 July 2014

416. Lebkuchen and Chimichurri

World Cup finals


Embedded image permalink
BBC world news

         


   For so many days I had pages open on my ipad researching vegetarian cuisines from Brazil, France, Germany, Costa Rica, Argentina, Netherlands, Belgium, Chile, etc. The search was narrowed down to Brazil, Germany, Netherlands and Argentina.Unfortunately Brazil suffered a humiliating defeat in both the hands of the German and Dutch team. So today the finals will be played between Germany and Argentina. I must admit I didn't watch the matches from the beginning, I usually wait for the quarter finals to get a bit excited. It has not been easy staying up till late watching football. What got me through, was the anticipation of that one or more goal. The most exciting game has to be the one played between Germany and Brazil. It was actually raining goals but what was sad to watch were the tears and disappointment on the Brazilian fans. I had decided that I would blog recipes from the two countries that reach the finals. Am I an ardent fan of football? Not really but love watching the world cup matches. I prefer watching cricket and football any day compared to tennis, golf or formula racing. For the past month the main topic being discussed is football. Before the world cup began if anyone asked me to name a few footballers, I would had said Pele, Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo. But now I have heard of Suarez (the biter), Neymar, Messi, Drogba, Sneijder and so many more. The whole team can be kicking the ball around for 90 minutes but I still feel the toughest job is that of a goalkeeper, who has to defend a length of 7.32 metres. He has to be alert throughout the game as the ball can appear from anywhere. For tonight's game, both the German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and the Argentinian goalkeeper Sergio Romero have  tough job on their hands. 
             Coming to the cuisine of Germany, what comes to mind is wurst and beer. However schnitzel, Eintopf, Kasespatzie, Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) kartooffelpuffer, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (black forest cake) are some of the famous dishes of Germany. Then you have the humble potato salad made with bacon. However, I decided to make Lebkuchen. Lebkuchen is a honey, spices, candied peel and nuts cookies  baked during Christmas. It is similar to the gingerbread cookie or biscuit but is softer. The cookies seem to be a mixture of a cake and cookie. We loved the rich spicy and honey taste of the cookies. 
           As for Argentina, its a steak country. Some of the famous dishes of Argentina are Empanadas, Asado, Milanesa, Locra, alfajores etc. Argentina is also famous for its Chimichurri. Chimichurri  is a green sauce used in grilled meat. The sauce is easy to make using flat parsley and/or coriander.Its different from a pesto. We normally use parmesan cheese and nuts to make a pesto. The sauce is nowadays widely used to serve with not only meat but with sandwiches and pasta too. 

Recipe from Germany:

Flag of Germany


LEBKUCHEN
 Makes about 30 to 32 cookies
Recipe source : woman and home

2 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
⅔ cup ground almonds
2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp nutmeg powder
a generous pinch of clove powder
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
½ cup candied mixed peel or crystallized ginger
⅔ cup honey
⅓ cup(75g) soft butter 

For topping:
200g dark or milk chocolate

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease baking trays with butter or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift (sieve) flour, almond powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger powders, baking soda, baking powder and cocoa powder into a big bowl.
  3. Add the mixed peels or crystallized ginger and mix into the flour.
  4. Put honey and butter into a small pan. Heat it over low heat and stir constantly till the butter melts.
  5. Pour the honey mixture into the flour mixture. Mix the flour with a spoon or spatula.
  6. Knead the flour into a dough.
  7. Initially it maybe a bit sticky. Leave it for 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Take about a tablespoonful of the dough and roll it into a ball. Place it on the tray. Flatten it a bit (it should be about an inch thick).
  9. Repeat step 8 with the remaining dough. Remember to leave a space about an inch between the cookies.
  10. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or till the edges are brown.
  11. Remove the cookies from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool.
  12. Place the chocolate pieces in a heat proof bowl or a small steel bowl or pan. Heat water in a pan. Place the bowl with chocolate pieces over the boiling water (bottom should not touch the water). Mix till the chocolate melts.
  13. Dip the chocolate into the chocolate or top it with chocolate. 
Tips:
  • If the dough is too sticky place it in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes before you begin rolling the balls.
  • Top the cookies with glace icing.
  • adding candied peels or crystallized ginger is optional.


Recipe from Argentina:







pasta with chimichurri sauce


CORIANDER/ CILANTRO CHIMICHURRI
Makes about a cup

2 cups fresh chopped coriander (or flat parsley or both)
3 to 6 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp chopped onion
½ cup olive oil
¼ tsp red chilli flakes
1 tbsp lime
¾ - 1 tsp salt


  1. Put the garlic and onion in a food processor and grind to a paste.
  2. Remove the paste into a bowl.
  3. Process the coriander till it is finely chopped but not a paste.
  4. Add to the onion garlic paste.
  5. Add rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  6. Store in the fridge till required.
Tips:
  • Use the sauce to serve with grilled meats, fish, paneer or vegetables.
  • Add about a ¼ cup fresh oregano if you want to.
  • Add red wine vinegar if you want a more tangy sauce.
  • Next time I will be adding a bit of green chilli to the sauce.
  • Tastes absolutely yummy with pasta.
You may want to check out the following:

empanadas

roasted sweet pepper pesto
         

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

420.braided pesto bread

aroma therapy

  While the bread was baking, the whole house was filled with the aroma of basil. My neighbour smelt basil all the way near the lift of our floor. She came to check what was cooking. Remember in my last post I mentioned that I made some pesto, well I used it to make some delicious bread which I wanted to bake for such a long time. Using biga to make the bread was the other temptation. Using biga makes the bread more flavourful. It gives more strength to weak flour. So the plain flour that we get in Kenya and India is quite weak compared to the ones available in the western countries. Its also amazing how two pinches of yeast can ferment a whole loaf of bread. Biga is the Italian word for preferment. Traditionally, bakers use a bit of the previous fermented dough to make a new batch. At home its easier to mix flour, water and a pinch of yeast to start the biga.The biga should appear wet and sticky. The biga is left covered with cling film at room temperature for 6 to 24 hours. I usually leave it overnight. Biga can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days. Remove from the fridge and leave it outside till it reaches room temperature. Biga can be frozen. To use it remove from the freezer and leave it at room temperature for 3 hours or until it is active and bubbly again. Usually the biga should be triple the original size.Other common names used are poolish (French), sponge, starter or simply preferment.Other flours can be used to make the preferment like rye, wholewheat, spelt, etc.
   So here is the recipe for the braided pesto bread and the pesto.








BRAIDED PESTO BREAD
1 loaf

PESTO SAUCE :
Makes about ½ cup

1 cup basil leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 -2 garlic cloves
4 tbsp parmesan  cheese
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt

  1. Chop up the basil leaves roughly. 
  2. Add the leaves, garlic and pine nuts into a food processor. Process the mixture to a smooth or rough paste.
  3. Remove the paste into a bowl.
  4. Add salt, oil and cheese and mix it well.
PESTO BREAD 
Biga or Preferment:

½ cup plain flour (bread flour, all purpose flour)
⅓ cup warm water
pinch of instant dry active yeast

Dough :
1½ cups wholewheat flour
1½ cups plain flour (bread flour, all purpose flour)
all of the above biga
2 tbsp warm milk
1 cup warm water
pinch of instant dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil

 extra flour for dusting
extra oil for greasing/ oiling

Preparation of biga:
  1. Mix flour, water and yeast with a wooden spoon. Pour it into an oiled container. Wrap it with cling film and let it ferment for 12 to 16 hours.
Preparation of the bread dough:
  1. Sift both the flours, salt, sugar and yeast together.
  2. Mix water and milk together.
  3. Rub oil into the flour.
  4. Add water and form a dough.
  5. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes till it is smooth and silky. Can use a dough machine to knead the dough if you like.
  6. Form the dough into a ball and rub oil over it.
  7. Grease a bowl with oil and place the dough in it.
  8. Cover with cling film and let it ferment in a warm place till it is double the size. This will take about 1½ - 2 hours.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  10. Knead the dough gently. Dust a board or worktop with flour.
  11. Roll the dough into a rectangle of about 12 X14 inches.
  12. Spread the pesto sauce all over it. 
  13. Roll the dough from the widest part into a swiss roll.
  14. Pinch the seam to close completely.
  15. Tuck in the ends.
  16. Place the rolled dough on a greased baking tray.
  17. Using a sharp knife or steel spatula, cut the roll into half lengthwise.
  18. Form a braid using the two parts. Leave it as a long braid or shape it into a wreath.
  19. Place the dough into the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  20. Remove the bread from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.
  21. Serve it with yummy soup or have it just the way it is.
Tips:
  • The biga will be glutinous. Try and break it into smaller portions and add to the flour.
  • If you find some of it is stuck to the container, add flour and rub it. Add to the main flour.
  • If your pesto sauce has lots of olive oil, strain it out. When you cut the bread, you don't the baking tray to be flooded with oil. Add the flavoured oil to dough for parathas, rotis, bread or pasta. 
  • Sprinkle the bread with more parmesan cheese before baking if you like.
You may want to check out the following:

basil garlic bread
feta  olive and basil bread

barley broccoli roll


Sending this recipe for the following events:





Pin It

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

419. orange basil juice

fragrant and cooling
   Basil is a herb which is highly fragrant. Walk into a greengrocers shop and you will be able to smell basil if he/she is selling it. Related to the tulsi (holy basil) family, it tastes different from the tulsi. The name basil is derived from the old Greek word basilikohn which means royal. The name denotes that in the ancient culture it was considered a noble and sacred herb. Basil reduces swelling and inflammation, is rich in antioxidants and has anti aging properties. It has anti bacterial properties and is a rich source of Vitamins A and C, iron, manganese, calcium,potassium and magnesium. Basil is widely used in herbal teas,sandwiches,soups, with chicken, fish, pasta, meat, in salads by adding the leaves to the salad, or in a dressing. I simply love the herb basil. I have tried growing it in a pot but have not succeeded. But will keep on trying. Did you know that you can use basil infused water to dab on your face to combat pimples. Add a few leaves of basil to 1 cup hot water. When it cools, dab it on your face using a cotton wool. Leave it for 10 minutes.
   Our niece from Nairobi stayed with us for a couple of days with her hubby and daughter. She asked me what I wanted from Nairobi and the first thing I could think of was basil. I asked her to bring some for me, specifying that I just needed little and not too much. She bought so many bunches. Some I used to prepare pasta, some I used to make pesto and some I froze it, for future use. I left about a handful in the fridge to make a basil and mint lemon drink. However, the idea cropped up that why not add it to the fresh orange juice. I did that and loved the juice, it was cooling and full of fragrance and refreshing. Try it, am sure you will love it.

basil : Close-up view on a fresh basil bouquet.





ORANGE BASIL JUICE
2 servings

2 cups of fresh orange juice
10 to 12 basil leaves (about ½ cup)
ice cubes

  1. Chop the basil leaves roughly.
  2. Add the leaves and orange juice into a blender.
  3. Process till the leaves appeared crushed.
  4. Pour into serving glasses.
  5. Top with ice cubes and serve.
Tips:
  • Basil turns very fast compared to other herbs. To store them in the freezer for future use, wash the leaves, pat them try on a towel. Put them in a ziploc and put it in the freezer. Take out the required amount as and when you need it.
  • Make pesto sauce and store in the fridge. Use the sauce when preparing pasta, chicken, fish, meat, sandwiches, salad dressings etc.
  • Add fresh basil to your dish towards the end of cooking to preserve fragrance.
You may want to check out the following :

basil mint lemon drink
Sending this recipe for the following event:

DishItOut


Pin It

418. corn and beans quesadilla

Tragedy

  The world was shocked on July 17th. The news that the Malaysian Airline MH 17 was shot down while flying over the Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur left the world in a state of shock. A buk missile shot it down near the border of Russia and Ukraine. Who is at fault will take forever to find out but in the meantime a nation has to once again in a span of four months face the tragedy of losing yet another aircraft full of passengers. Families and friends have to mourn the dead. None of those passengers had anything direct to do with the fight between Ukraine and Russia and yet they all paid with their precious lives. So many questions cropped up in my mind... how was a plane flying over 33,000 ft shot down by a missile. How destructive are all these war weapons? If Ukraine was a problem spot, how come the plane was allowed to take that flight path? Who is responsible for this? Will the world just sit back or will action be taken against the guilty? Just 4 months ago a whole plane MH 370 disappeared under mysterious conditions. It just vanished completely with all its passengers and crew. How is that possible? 
   All these incidences just acts as a reminder to all of us that life is unpredictable and short. Its not time to hold grudges, speak ill of others and waste life in meaningless talk. Life reminds us to put into action whatever good we want to achieve.

A person's a person, no matter however small - Dr. Suess






CORN AND BEANS QUESADILLA
Makes 10

Wheat flour tortillas:
2 cups wheat flour (atta)
½ cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ - 1 cup warm water
3 tbsp soft butter

extra flour for dusting 
extra oil for shallow frying

Filling:
1 cup cooked sweet corn
1 cup cooked red kidney beans (or beans of your choice)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup diced onion
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp olive oil
¼- ¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup fresh chopped coriander (cilantro)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Preparation of the tortilla:

  1. Sift the flours, salt and baking powder together into a bowl.
  2. Add butter and rub it into the flour.
  3. Add water and form the flour into a soft dough. It should not be too sticky or too hard.
  4. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel or cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat a frying pan or tawa over medium heat.
  6. Divide the dough into 10 parts.
  7. Roll each part into a ball.
  8. Using some extra flour, roll one ball into a circle of nearly 8 to 9 inches.
  9. Put it onto the hot tawa. Roast lightly on one side till small brown specks appear. Flip it over and roast the other side.
  10. Keep in wrapped in a tea towel so that it does not get dry.
  11. Repeat steps 8 to 10 using the rest of the dough.
Preparation of the filling:
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir fry the onions for 30 seconds. 
  3. Add the garlic paste and mix well.
  4. Add mushroom slices and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  5. Turn off the heat. Add the cooked corn and beans. Mix well.
  6. Let the mixture cool down completely.
  7. Add salt, pepper, chilli flakes, oregano and coriander.
  8. Mix well.
Final preparation:
  1. Take one tortilla. Put about 2 tbsp of the filling on one half of the tortilla.
  2. Add  about 2 to 3 tbsp of the grated cheese.
  3. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling. Press down gently.
  4. Place the filled tortilla over the frying pan or tawa.
  5. Drizzle about one teaspoon of oil around it and cook it light brown specks are formed.
  6. Flip it over gently and add more oil if needed and cook till light brown specks appear.
  7. Cut into half and serve with guacamole and salsa sauce.
Tips:
  • Add any vegetable of your choice.
  • Add any cheese of your choice.
  • You can use ready made tortillas.
You may want to check out the following:

veg enchiladas
mexican salad
Sending this recipe for the following events:





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Thursday, 17 July 2014

417. barley broccoli rolls

Shhhh cooking secretly

         I joined this group of enthusiast bloggers just recently. The initiator of this group is Priya of  Priya's Versatile Recipes. She pairs members each month and they send each other two secret ingredients.We get a month to prepare the dish, be it a sweet or savoury one. The fun part is when fellow bloggers post the picture on the group's facebook page and we have to try and guess the secret ingredients. Sometimes, the secret ingredients are obvious but most of the time very difficult to guess. The exciting part was waiting for the partner to give you the two ingredients. As soon as I got mine from Sandhya Ramakrishnan, broccoli and barley, the first thing that came to my mind was soup. Pretty obvious, then I thought of salad and finally debated between making pizza base with barley flour or the rolls. The rolls won and I enjoyed working with barley flour for the first time. I have joined four groups and each one presents a challenge every month for us to try out. When I served hubby dear with the rolls today, he simply asked what am I cooking tomorrow as a challenge! 
       Though the bread dough did not rise as much as the one I normally make with plain flour or wheat flour, it was not too difficult to handle. I will at some point try the barley flour pizza base. The bread did not brown easily like the other normal breads do, but overall I was pleased with the result. Its challenges like these that makes me take that one tiny extra step to do something different; otherwise it is so easy to just get into a comfort zone and be happy. Looking forward to the next two secret ingredients and in the process making a new blogger friend. In the meantime here is the recipe for my first challenge.










BARLEY BROCCOLI ROLLS
Makes about 10 to 12 rolls

For the bread dough:
2 cups barley flour
1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour, bread flour)
2¼ tsp instant dry active yeast
1-1½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 plus 2 tbsp warm water

For the filling:
1 cup broccoli small florets
1 cup chopped spinach or baby spinach
3 - 4 garlic cloves, sliced
 ½ cup grated cheese
¾ - 1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coarse pepper powder
1 tsp chilli flakes

For brushing and greasing olive oil
extra flour for dusting

Preparation of the bread dough:
  1. Sift the barley and plain flour together. Add sugar, salt and yeast and mix well.
  2. Rub the oil into the flour. 
  3. Add warm water and form a soft dough.
  4. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes till it becomes soft and silky.
  5. Make the dough into a big ball and rub oil over it.
  6. Grease a bowl with oil.
  7. Place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a cling film and let it rise for nearly 2 hours.
Preparation of the filling:
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat. 
  2. Add garlic slices and saute for a few seconds.
  3. Add the broccoli florets and stir fry till they are slightly cooked.
  4. Add the chopped spinach and mix well.
  5. Let the mixture cool down completely.
  6. Add salt, pepper, chilli flakes and cheese and mix.
Final preparation:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a baking tray or line with foil.
  2. Knead the dough gently. 
  3. Using some flour, roll the dough into a rectangle of 12"X10".
  4. Place the filling at the widest end of the rectangle, leaving a space of about one inch from the edge.
  5. Gently roll the dough like a swiss roll.
  6. Place the seam side on the baking tray.
  7. Cover the roll with a tea towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Brush olive oil over the roll.
  9. Place the dough in the oven to bake for 25 minutes or till the top becomes light brown.
  10. Remove the roll from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.
  11. After 10 or 15 minutes cut into thick slices and serve with chilli sauce. I served it with chimichurri sauce.
Tips:
  • Use any vegetable of your choice for filling.
  • You can use any cheese of your choice.
  • While kneading the dough, if it appears a bit hard add some more water. Different barley flours will absorb different quantities of water.
  • I will probably add a bit more filling next time. This time round I was a bit scared that over filling it may cause the dough to break.
  • Enjoy this healthy rolls without much guilt.
You may want to check out the following:

stuffed masala buns
Sending this recipe for the following events:





sumee's culinary bites

Cooks joy

DishItOut

green dishes at Cooks Joy



Sending this entry to Ahlan Ramadan – The Healthy Way
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Sunday, 13 July 2014

416. Lebkuchen and Chimichurri

World Cup finals


Embedded image permalink
BBC world news

         


   For so many days I had pages open on my ipad researching vegetarian cuisines from Brazil, France, Germany, Costa Rica, Argentina, Netherlands, Belgium, Chile, etc. The search was narrowed down to Brazil, Germany, Netherlands and Argentina.Unfortunately Brazil suffered a humiliating defeat in both the hands of the German and Dutch team. So today the finals will be played between Germany and Argentina. I must admit I didn't watch the matches from the beginning, I usually wait for the quarter finals to get a bit excited. It has not been easy staying up till late watching football. What got me through, was the anticipation of that one or more goal. The most exciting game has to be the one played between Germany and Brazil. It was actually raining goals but what was sad to watch were the tears and disappointment on the Brazilian fans. I had decided that I would blog recipes from the two countries that reach the finals. Am I an ardent fan of football? Not really but love watching the world cup matches. I prefer watching cricket and football any day compared to tennis, golf or formula racing. For the past month the main topic being discussed is football. Before the world cup began if anyone asked me to name a few footballers, I would had said Pele, Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo. But now I have heard of Suarez (the biter), Neymar, Messi, Drogba, Sneijder and so many more. The whole team can be kicking the ball around for 90 minutes but I still feel the toughest job is that of a goalkeeper, who has to defend a length of 7.32 metres. He has to be alert throughout the game as the ball can appear from anywhere. For tonight's game, both the German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and the Argentinian goalkeeper Sergio Romero have  tough job on their hands. 
             Coming to the cuisine of Germany, what comes to mind is wurst and beer. However schnitzel, Eintopf, Kasespatzie, Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) kartooffelpuffer, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (black forest cake) are some of the famous dishes of Germany. Then you have the humble potato salad made with bacon. However, I decided to make Lebkuchen. Lebkuchen is a honey, spices, candied peel and nuts cookies  baked during Christmas. It is similar to the gingerbread cookie or biscuit but is softer. The cookies seem to be a mixture of a cake and cookie. We loved the rich spicy and honey taste of the cookies. 
           As for Argentina, its a steak country. Some of the famous dishes of Argentina are Empanadas, Asado, Milanesa, Locra, alfajores etc. Argentina is also famous for its Chimichurri. Chimichurri  is a green sauce used in grilled meat. The sauce is easy to make using flat parsley and/or coriander.Its different from a pesto. We normally use parmesan cheese and nuts to make a pesto. The sauce is nowadays widely used to serve with not only meat but with sandwiches and pasta too. 

Recipe from Germany:

Flag of Germany


LEBKUCHEN
 Makes about 30 to 32 cookies
Recipe source : woman and home

2 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
⅔ cup ground almonds
2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp nutmeg powder
a generous pinch of clove powder
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
½ cup candied mixed peel or crystallized ginger
⅔ cup honey
⅓ cup(75g) soft butter 

For topping:
200g dark or milk chocolate

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease baking trays with butter or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift (sieve) flour, almond powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger powders, baking soda, baking powder and cocoa powder into a big bowl.
  3. Add the mixed peels or crystallized ginger and mix into the flour.
  4. Put honey and butter into a small pan. Heat it over low heat and stir constantly till the butter melts.
  5. Pour the honey mixture into the flour mixture. Mix the flour with a spoon or spatula.
  6. Knead the flour into a dough.
  7. Initially it maybe a bit sticky. Leave it for 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Take about a tablespoonful of the dough and roll it into a ball. Place it on the tray. Flatten it a bit (it should be about an inch thick).
  9. Repeat step 8 with the remaining dough. Remember to leave a space about an inch between the cookies.
  10. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or till the edges are brown.
  11. Remove the cookies from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool.
  12. Place the chocolate pieces in a heat proof bowl or a small steel bowl or pan. Heat water in a pan. Place the bowl with chocolate pieces over the boiling water (bottom should not touch the water). Mix till the chocolate melts.
  13. Dip the chocolate into the chocolate or top it with chocolate. 
Tips:
  • If the dough is too sticky place it in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes before you begin rolling the balls.
  • Top the cookies with glace icing.
  • adding candied peels or crystallized ginger is optional.


Recipe from Argentina:







pasta with chimichurri sauce


CORIANDER/ CILANTRO CHIMICHURRI
Makes about a cup

2 cups fresh chopped coriander (or flat parsley or both)
3 to 6 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp chopped onion
½ cup olive oil
¼ tsp red chilli flakes
1 tbsp lime
¾ - 1 tsp salt


  1. Put the garlic and onion in a food processor and grind to a paste.
  2. Remove the paste into a bowl.
  3. Process the coriander till it is finely chopped but not a paste.
  4. Add to the onion garlic paste.
  5. Add rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  6. Store in the fridge till required.
Tips:
  • Use the sauce to serve with grilled meats, fish, paneer or vegetables.
  • Add about a ¼ cup fresh oregano if you want to.
  • Add red wine vinegar if you want a more tangy sauce.
  • Next time I will be adding a bit of green chilli to the sauce.
  • Tastes absolutely yummy with pasta.
You may want to check out the following:

empanadas

roasted sweet pepper pesto
         
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