22 Jun 2011

Pizza

Not the best picture in the world,
it tasted better than it looked!
Well it's been a while since I posted here so I thought that I should post another recipe. Today it is going to be pizza from scratch. This is actually very easy, the dough can take a while but there is a very quick version that I will post in the next few days if you don't have the time.

For the dough:
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of warm water (roughly, you may need more)
  • 2 teaspoons of dried yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar


Put the flour in a large bowl and add the yeast to one side. Add the salt and the sugar to the other side.

Make a well in the middle and start adding the water. Mix the water in with the flour yeast and salt, bringing a little in from the edges a bit by bit.

Once you have added enough water to the flour to create a soft dough, remove from the bowl and start kneading on a well floured work surface. Knead for at least ten minutes until the dough is springy and smooth in texture.

11 Jun 2011

Chinese Five Spice


Chinese five spice is dead easy to make but tastes fantastic. It's easy to make and will really make a difference to your Chinese dishes.


You need: 

  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 whole star anise
  • roughly 10 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of fennel seed
  • 2-3 tablespoons of whole black peppercorns

Just grind all these spices in a spice grinder or a blender until they are a fine powder and then transfer the mix in to an airtight jar.

Store in a dark place and use up within a month or two for the best flavour. Add to stir-fried vegetables with noodles or rice for a quick and tasty meal.  

8 Jun 2011

Bengali Potato Curry

This sweet potato curry is dead easy to make and tastes amazing. You can use the panch phoran that was in my last post. Quick, nutritious and delicious, this is ideal for a quick dinner or lunch.

Should serve two people (or one very hungry person). 


You will need: 

  • A few tablespoons of oil
  • 1 teaspoon of panch phoran
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • About 400g of sweet potatoes, chopped
  • A pinch of coriander
  • A squeeze of lemon or lime
  • Salt

6 Jun 2011

Bengali Five Spice (Panch Phoron)

Panch Poron (literally 'five spices') is another Indian spice mix which is easy to make and makes a real difference to curries. Try it in place of garam masala, it tastes lovely!

There is no need to grind this mix but I'm sure it would be just as nice if you wanted to, it would save you getting a big taste of one of the spices when you bite in to one.


You need:
  • 2 tablespoons of fenugreek
  • 2 tablespoons of nigella seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds

1 Jun 2011

30 May 2011

Potato Stuffed Paratha (Indian Bread)

I make this all the time, it so tasty and very filling. It's makes a great lunch or accompaniment to a curry.

The finished paratha!
You need:

  • Chapati dough
  • A few potatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • Half a teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1 chilli (or as much as you think you can take)
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • Cilantro/coriander (optional)

29 May 2011

Potato Skin

Just a really quick post today, a little tip. Most of us waste so much from the ingredients we use so this will hopefully improve this situation a little.

When you peel potatoes to make mash or chips, or whatever you peel potatoes for, don't through the skins away. Make sure you wash the potato before you peel it and then sprinkle the skins with a little oil, add salt and pepper, and then just put them in the oven for 15mins or so. They come out all crispy and are a delicious little snack.

Experiment with spices or herbs. Paprika is a particularly nice addition but you could also add cumin or parsley, basil, even the garam masala I posted here.

You can also do this with lots of other vegetables with which you would normally just throw away the peel. Carrots are lovely (although you have to be very careful not to burn them), and parsnips and cumin taste great.

The skin often contains the most nutrients so if you throw this away and don't eat it you are wasting one of the most valuable parts of the vegetable.


27 May 2011

Long Green Bean Curry

I made this last night and it was delicious. It one of the quickest curries to make that I've ever seen or made yet it tastes very fresh and is packed full of flavour. Unfortunately, as usual, I had nearly eaten it all before I thought taking a photograph for this blog but I'm sure I will cook it again soon so hopefully, sooner or later, there will be some pictures to accompany the recipe. This would be a fantastic starter or a quick lunch.

You need:

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
2 or 3 handfuls of long green beans, chopped
2 or 3 small tomatoes
A squeeze of lime/lemon
salt to taste

26 May 2011

50 Followers!

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to all of you for following, I've just hit the first milestone of 50!

I made some amazing garlic bread today so I will be posting the recipe for that soon, I even took some pictures for once! I also have some pizza dough and topping recipes, some killer pasta sauce recipes and even a couple of cake recipes coming up soon so keep following and checking this page.

Also, I tried a new fruit today, it's called a guaba. It was ok, a little bit strange, you just suck/chew off the flesh around the seeds. It's a little bit sweet but didn't have a great deal of flavour. It seems that there's a new fruit in season every week here in Costa Rica.

25 May 2011

Banana Smoothie

I make this every morning as I live in a banana producing country and they are so cheap to buy. This smoothie isn't the most exciting in the world and is fairly basic really but it's delicious and very nutritious. A great way to start the day, this will keep you full for a good few hours. It's also a good way to not waste bananas when they're starting to ripen too much but you don't want to eat them, for whatever reason, just throw them in the freezer! Peel them and put them in a plastic bag and freeze, so easy!

You need:

one banana, frozen
about 1/2 a pint of milk
a pinch of cinnamon
a tablespoon of ground flax seeds
sugar to taste


You basically just put all these ingredients in to a blender and blend until smooth. As long as you don't use too much milk, they mixture turns in to a thick, almost ice-cream like texture. If you prefer it not so thick, just add more milk - the measurements are really just approximate.

23 May 2011

Sopa Negra (Costa Rican Black Bean Soup)


This is a recipe from Costa Rica, a staple in every Tico diet. Is it very simple to make, like a lot of Costa Rican recipes, but it is lovely and full of flavour. It is a black bean soup with rice, flavoured with coriander and sweet peppers. The quantities are not exact and they don't really need to be. You can use tinned or dried beans, although I prefer dried.

You need:

1 onion chopped into very small pieces
1 clove of garlic crushed/chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped in to very small pieces
1 tin of black beans or the rough equivalent of dried beans, soaked overnight and boiled until soft (preserve the water you cook them in)
a handful of chopped coriander/cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

22 May 2011

Coffee

This isn't a recipe but more of a tip. I absolutely love coffee and am completely addicted to it, so I care about how it tastes and about the quality of it.


21 May 2011

Naan Bread

A perfect addition to a curry, or any other meal really, this naan bread is very easy to make and quick to cook. There is no yeast so it is doesn't take long to make at all.

You will need:

250g flour
120ml milk
a couple of tablespoons of oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Plus whatever you want to put on as a topping



In a big mixing bowl mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre, add the oil and slowly start adding the milk by bringing in more and more flour from the side. Eventually you should have a smooth and soft dough, if it is too wet then add some more flour or if it is too dry add some more milk.

17 May 2011

A Classic White Loaf of Bread


I had always stayed away from making proper bread (as opposed to flat breads) because I thought they were difficult and took forever make. I think I had tried to make some years ago and it tasted of yeast and was dense and heavy. Well, I finally took the plunge and I'm glad I did because this recipe is so simple and makes such good, fluffy and crusty bread. It doesn't last too long so it is best to eat it the day or day after you have made it. The measurements are not exact, the flour is easy enough but I kind of guesstimate the yeast, a teaspoon or two seems to be enough.

You need:

  • 500g white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon or so of dried yeast 
  • some lukewarm water (NOT cold!) 
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar

14 May 2011

Want a Curry? Make your own Garam Masala

Why would I want to make my own garam masala I hear you ask. Well, garam masala is not available where I live so I thought I would try to make my own as I could get hold of most of the spices individually. It actually turned out to be the best thing I've ever discovered as far as curry making goes, the freshly roasted and ground spices taste so much better than the ready mixed-packets you can buy and this makes such a difference with the dishes you cook with it. And the best thing about it is that it is so easy to do.




In a dry frying pan (no oil!) add the following spices and dry fry for a good few minutes. The spices will give off aromas so fry them until you can smell them well and they are starting to take colour.






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