Tag Archives: ginger

Indian-Inspired Kerala Stir-Fried Beef and Rice

Beef Stir-Fry (9069)The other day I posted one of my favourite entries in C&T on my Facebook page. It was an assignment for a Blogging University course (which has now ended) that included a quote. I remember not knowing what quote to choose, but being a creature of habit, and thus feeling like a hobbit most of the time, I decided to go for one from Tolkien’s masterpieces. I got loads of positive feedback for that piece and the recipe I included in it is one that I make again and again. I’m sure you’ll agree that a walnut and banana loaf cake is one of the most comforting bakes around. That and a scrumptious cup of thick hot chocolate.

So you won’t find many recipes on this blog that venture too much out of my comfort zone. C&T started out, and still is I think, a place to share what I cook at home, primarily in a small kitchen, as the ones I had back in the UK. Now I have a somewhat larger room to play in. I am lucky and I like the space, though it wasn’t easy to adjust to it.

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Two Simple Recipes: Vegetable Soup and Garlic and Chilli Kale

Garlic and Chilli Kale with Chunky Vegetable Soup (8631)

It’s still reasonably cold in the Med and I’m still nursing a very bad cold. My neighbour’s kid is having a ball running amuck right above my head, most probably sitting on a desk chair and sprinting across the corridor. Either that or playing boċċi. Who knows? Can’t imagine the grief he’s giving his mum, but I can definitely picture the grief he’s giving me!

So just when my head starts to ache I decide to post two recipes on C&T. Simple stuff but they are just the things I want to eat when I’m inside with quite some time to spend in the kitchen. There will be plenty of chances in the future for chips. That’s exactly what’s keeping me going! *Checking my forehead for fever*

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Easy Noodle Soup

Noodle Soup from Express (7068)

This recipe – or various variations of it – is what I go for when I want something warm and comforting, with a little saltiness and some veggies thrown in, and whenever I’m eating alone in the evenings. I generally prefer to eat my main meal for lunch and keep things very light during dinner, say for example Greek yoghurt with honey and some fruit, porridge (yes, porridge), a salad or simply a warm drink before bed. It’s got nothing to do with strange diets or the likes; it’s just something that works well for me.

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Holiday Hot Cake Revisited

Holiday Hot Cake Revisited (8607)

I hope you have excused my absence but I haven’t been well at all. This year the flu came down with a bang, fever and all. J was not that good either, poor thing. I just couldn’t eat anything substantial during that time – I’m sure you know what I mean. So when the fever finally went away and I was able to get up, this cake is all I wanted. I must stress that this is not something we eat every day. I would so like to, but I like to make this mainly around Easter and of course, during this time of year. It might not look pretty, but it’s good.

Holiday Hot Cake Revisited (8600)

The recipe is an adaptation of the one you will find in Nigella Express; incidentally there’s a similar one using chocolate in her first book How to Eat, but this one is even easier,  making it the one I like best. (You will find another post similar to this with a link to Nigella’s website, but this time I’m also giving you the recipe.) I find Christmas to be very stressful and honestly I am not often filled with seasonal cheer, but this is my pick-me-up. I just love it and it does taste of Christmas if you know what I mean. So for me, it makes sense to kick off the prep with this holiday bake. It will give you 4-6 servings.

Holiday Hot Cake Revisited (8603)

  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g light brown sugar, plus another 150g needed later
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 125ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 teaspoons butter
  • 500ml boiling water

Holiday Hot Cake Revisited (8608)

Holiday Hot Cake Whipped Cream (8605)

Preheat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan and place a baking sheet on to the middle shelf. Put the kettle on and boil the water.

In a medium bowl mix the flour, 100g of the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of the ground ginger, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, milk, oil and egg. Be careful not to overmix the batter. If the mixture is lumpy, then so be it; you’ll have a softer spongy base.

Lightly grease a round baking dish, preferably a ceramic or pyrex one, and pour the batter into it.

In a small bowl, tip in the 150g remaining brown sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon of ground ginger and the 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Mix these well together and sprinkle this over the batter in the baking dish.

Take the 6 teaspoons of butter and place each one gently over the sugary mixture. Now slowly pour the boiling water over this. Slowly. Don’t worry, everything will work out fine!

Place the baking dish onto the baking sheet already in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. You will end up with a lovely cake on top and gorgeous toffee sauce on the bottom layer. Let it stand for around 10 minutes before serving. In the meantime whip up some double cream into soft peaks and serve up. Make sure to give everyone some toffee sauce together with the cake.

Holiday-Hot-Cake-with-Cream-(6611)

Holiday-Hot-Cake-with-Cream-(6612)

Reserved for special occasions, but well worth the wait! Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express, Chatto & Windus, 2007.)

Fajitas.

Beef-Fajitas-(5418

My idea of a lovely evening would be inviting some friends over for a simple supper, which I can prepare in less than 30 minutes – in less than 10 preferably! I love my kitchen and spend days and days cooking and baking but I do get tired sometimes. So anything that can help me prepare an informal party in no time for and with the people I love spending time the most is always welcome in my book. It takes away the stress and panic, and I think that the simplest meals can be the best meals. These fajitas also take away the assemblage, which in this case is done by others! All you have to do is some prepping – cooking the meat in minutes in a pan and chopping the veggies. Easy stuff.

You can make these fajitas with chicken or beef, or any mixture of veggies you like. If you’re using any kind of meat, the trick is to marinate it well ahead of time to make it moist and tender. Who would want a dry fajita anyway? I had one once and it was stringy and chewy. Not nice. I made this some weeks ago after a very full day when I really didn’t want to spend more time in the kitchen than I had to. There was a little planning beforehand, nothing big – I knew I wanted to cook something quick, simple, and without too much work.

So I bought some rump, cut it into thick strips when I got home and marinated all of it for a couple of hours in the fridge. I then shallow-fried it and left it in the pan till it cooked to medium/rare, keeping an eye on it, as always. You don’t even need any oil if that’s what you prefer, especially if you use a non-stick pan – the marinade has plenty of moisture anyway. But I don’t like burnt meat, so this time I played it safe. All you have to do then is to chop a red pepper, throw in a yellow pepper for luck, dice one or two fresh tomatoes. Place these in individual serving bowls, together with a packet of ready washed rockets leaves and you’re done. Place everything on a corn tortilla, wrap it up and eat. For something extra you can serve it with cornbread for a meze style meal. Perfect for summer. The following is what you need for the marinade:

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed or very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 small cubes or crystallized ginger (or ¼ teaspoon ginger powder)
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cold water

Place the meat in a bowl and pour the marinade over it. Mix it well, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge for an hour or two or until needed. Cook and serve on corn tortillas with greens and other vegetables. Easy!

Rob x

Christmas Meals (3): Extra Rich Christmas Gingerbread

Gingerbread-(5226)

This should come with the following disclaimer: boy, is this rich! You’ll see that from the ingredients, but it does make a lovely thing to have on hand at Christmastime for friends and family who might drop in for a coffee at home. (Make that Irish, won’t you?!) I guess one advantage of having so much sugar in one cake is that it will remain moist for two weeks give or take, stored in a cool place and covered with kitchen foil or wrapped in greaseproof parchment. The taste of ginger is not so prominent, so it could potentially be devoured by almost everyone. Also you won’t need to take a large piece either. This recipe is taken from Nigella Christmas, with just small changes just because I didn’t have some specific ingredients. It really doesn’t need any tweaking. It’s classic and simple, and all you need is some icing sugar to make it look pretty.

Gingerbread-(5216)

You will need:

  • 150g butter, unsalted
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 200g molasses or black treacle
  • 125g dark brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon whole cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda), dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 300g plain flour

Gingerbread-(5223)

Grease a square cake tin with some butter or margerine and line the bottom and sides with greaseproof paper or kitchen foil. If you are using the latter, make sure to grease it too. Make sure you have some extra paper overlapping at the sides so that you can lift it up easily from the tin later. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4.

Melt the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup, treacle, ginger, cinnamon and crushed cloves in a saucepan over medium heat. When these are melted, switch the heat off immediately or take it off the heat if you use an electric hob.

Add the milk, eggs and bicarbonate of soda (remember: dissolved in water) into the melted ingredients.

Put the plain flour in a large bowl and add the liquid mixture, and beat in well until combined. The batter is very liquidy which will make the cake extremely sticky, but that’s the fun of it really!

Pour the batter into the lined and greased tin and bake for around 40-50 minutes. Always keep an eye on it. Mine was ready in 40 but it depends on the oven. The cake will rise and it will carry on cooking for a while even while it cools.

Let the gingerbread cool in the tin for a while, before removing it altogether on a serving dish. Decorate with some icing sugar if you wish. Happy times indeed!

Happy Christmas!

Rob x

Christmas Meals (1): Ham

Ginger-Glazed-Ham-(5190)

This year something happened: I’ve been immersing myself in the Christmas spirit way ahead of time. This isn’t normal. Usually I say to myself that October (or even November) is really too early to start thinking about Christmas. This time round I’ve been trying out recipes and shopping for Christmas ingredients from last month (so not *too* early) and I’ve been really enjoying every minute of it. So I have ditched the idea of overcomplicating things so I’m going with manageable cooking this year. It will still be somewhat tiring, but I need not stress about the food because I will either prepare it beforehand, or it will be easy peasy stuff on the day itself. I will cook and still enjoy the festivites. Yay! I’ve also sorted out quick meals for the run-up; uncomplicated food which can be prepared days ahead and heated for lunch or supper. Weatherwise they’re saying that it’s not going to be that cold either, so we will manage a nice afternoon walk too. What more can I ever wish for?

So for an easy take on Christmas lunch, I used Nigella as my muse and tried a recipe for ham. One thing is true here: there are no frills but it will still be a lovely sight on your table and it will stretch for extra guests. The size of the joint will depend on how many people you want to feed, but I will give you what I used for 6 people as a rough guide. With this recipe you will be able to roast your potatoes* (preferably par boiled beforehand) in the same roasting pan. I also added some sliced apples about which I will tell you later. (In between helpings it is important not to let the gammon dry out. All you need to do is to immerse it again in the stock once you have carved some of it.) So without further ado, here we go.

  • 1.5 kg joint of gammon, unsmoked & boneless
  • 1 large onion, cut in half or quartered
  • 2 carrots, whole or cut in half
  • 1 stick celery, cut in half
  • 1 leek, cut in half
  • a handful of whole peppercorns
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • around 2 litres of chicken stock or enough to cover the ham and vegetables

For the glaze you need:

  • either 250g ginger preserve or marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons hot English mustard
  • 100g soft dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves (you can use whole cloves here too)

For roasting together with the ham you will need:

  • Par boiled potatoes, around 16 small ones or 8 large ones cut into quarters
  • 6-8 apples, sliced not too thinly

Put the gammon in a large pan with the vegetables, peppercorns and dried herbs and pour enough stock to cover everything. Don’t be afraid to use some extra if you have some left. It won’t do any harm. Turn on the hob and leave it to boil. Turn the gas to a medium/low heat and leave it to simmer away; for how long depends on the size of the gammon. Calculate 30 minutes for every 500g. (If you have a thermometer, the temperature should read 71ºC.)

In the meantime line a roasting pan with kitchen foil, even if it is non-stick. Believe me, you”ll thank your lucky stars later, because you’ll have less cleaning! Also preheat your oven to 180ºC/370ºF/Gas mark 7.

Prepare the glaze by placing the ginger preserve or marmalade, mustard, sugar and cloves in a measuring jug and mix well. Leave it to stand and give it another mix before covering the ham.

When the ham has cooked completely in the stock, carefully lift it out of the liquid and place it in the roasting pan, together with some par boiled potatoes cut into quarters and around 6 raw apples sliced into not-so-thick slices. Everything has to fit snuggly into the pan to avoid burning.

Cover the ham with all the glaze and use any extra to cover the potatoes and apples. Bake for around 20 minutes until the ham turns golden. Carve around 150g per person and serve with the apples and potatoes, and with some festive couscous. (The recipe is coming right up!)

Happy Christmas!

Rob x