Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tomatoes in Coconut Cream - Weekend Herb Blogging

This week’s Weekend Herb Blogging event is being host by Katie from the exciting blog Thyme for Cooking. Kalyn from Kalyn’s kitchen is the creator of this lovely event that has been taking place every week for the last two years. Every week it is hosted by a different blog host.
I am rushing to post this recipe. It has been a very busy week as I hold a blog in Portuguese which is only about events and this week I had loads to do on it.This beautiful recipe was one I prepared for WHB as it just seemed perfect. It is a gorgeous tomato dish with beautiful spices and coconut cream. I could not stop eating it. Honestly. I baked some ciabatta bread and just over ate. I know, not a nice thing to admit to.
Tomatoes are just so wonderful and full of goodness. Tomato is a good blood purifier, it is a natural antiseptic therefore it can help protect against infection, they can be helpful to reduce blood cholesterol, thus helps prevent heart diseases, they contain lycopene (the red pigment in tomato), this pigment is a powerful antioxidant that can also fight cancer cells.
In the summer they are plentiful and I am always looking for different ways of preparing it. This time Nigel Slater inspired me with this beautiful dish which was in the Sunday issue of the Observer Magazine.

3 tbsp olive or groundnut oil
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 hot, green chillie chopped with seed and all – ok. If you don’t like heat, leave the seeds out of it
A thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped really finely
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp cumin seeds
6 green cardamom seeds, slightly crushed
12 moderately large tomatoes, cut into slices
50g creamed coconut
Handful of coriander leaves

Preparation: Heat the oil on a high-sided frying pan and then add the garlic, ginger and chilli. Let it all soften over a moderate heat without colouring it. Add the chilli flakes, coriander, turmeric, cumin seeds and cardamom and stir them in. Once they have warmed through throw in 4 of the chopped tomatoes and stir in 100ml water. Mix it all and bring it to the boil. Add the remaining tomatoes, add the coconut cream, mix it all, let the coconut cream dissolve and warm through. From now on the sauce should not boil, just keep the heat. Once the tomatoes are tender, sprinkle the coriander leaves and serve with slices of toasted lovely bread.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

fennel and feta with pomegranate seeds with sumac

This week’s Weekend Herb Blogging event is being host by Srivalli from the wonderful blog Cooking 4 all Seasons. Kalyn from Kalyn’s kitchen is the creator of this lovely event that has been taking place every week for the last two years. Every week it is hosted by a different blog host.

I bought the Ottolenghi cookbook for the cakes recipes. Having been to their stores many times I just dreamt of being able to recreate some of their creation. Funny enough I have used a lot of their salad recipes quite intensively. In fact I have barely baked any of its cakes. I hear that Kalyn has purchased it as well and I really hope that she I enjoying it.
One of the things that drive me to choosing this or that recipe to take part in the weekly Weekend herb Blogging is trying to add something new and exiting to this event. Kalyn is always preparing amazing salads in her blog and I feel that I ought to keep the game up.

This salad is so refreshing and crunchy. As I have already mentioned here, crunchiness in a salad is something that I cannot resist. The original recipe had salt in it but I chose not to use because of the feta cheese.
Tarragon which is used here, is a herb full of medicinal properties. The ancient greeks chewed it to treat tooth infection I have read.Why you might ask, because it numbs the mouth. It is also known to being a very good digestive. Fennel which is the main actor, is full of so many great properties: vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, folate..Not only is this salad delicious as it delivers a handful of healthy benefits in very mouthful. I had mine with some smoked trout. And it worked a treat.


½ pomegranate
2 medium fennel heads
1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon sumac
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons tarragon leaves
2 tablespoon roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
70g greek feta cheese pieces
Sal and black pepper to taste


1.Start by releasing the pomegranate seeds. Some people swear by the wooden spoon treatment: Place half of the pomegranate on one hand, cut side facing down. Hit it with the back of the spoon and you will see the seeds start falling on your hand
2. Remove the leaves of the fennel, keeping a few to garnish and the rest for future use. Trim the base of the fennels, and slice it very thinly lengthwise – I chose not to. Put the olive oil, black pepper, sumac, lemon juice and herbs in a bowl and mix. Throw the fennel slices in the bowl and toss well. I chose not to add salt because the feta cheese has enough salt on it.
3. When ready to serve, place the fennel on the serving dish first, followed by the feta cheese and pomegranate seeds. Garnish with the dill leaves and sprinkle some sumac if you like

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mixed mushrooms with cinnamon and lemon

This is my contribution to this week Weekend Herb Blogging event which is being hosted by Marija from the blog Palachinka. To the blogsphere novices, this event was created by the lovely Kalyn from the lovely blog Kalyn's Kitchen which is packed with great recipe and posts. WHB is now 2 years old and it is a very successful event.

This week I have opted for a mushroom salad. As last week's, this recipe was taken from the Ottolenghi the cookbook. It is one of my favourite books at the moment.

I read that mushrooms contain vitamins A, B, C 7 D. There is a cancer research facility that even suggested that they may prevent cancer.

When it comes to preparing them, remember that they should not be washed. Instead, they should be brushed to remove the dirt on them. The only mushroom that should be washed before cooking is the morel variety.

Every one has a favourite mushroom. I am personally very addicted to shitake. Unfortunatelly I could not get hold of any for this dish. I used button, oysters, enoki and abalone. You can pick your own selection. A lovely thing is to have a nice bread to eat with this salad- use it to mop up the juices

Ingredients for 6-8 people – adapt the quantities depending on how many you will feed:

400g button mushrooms

400g chestnut mushrooms

300g shitake mushrooms

400g oyster mushrooms

200g enoki mushrooms

160ml olive oil

30g chopped thyme

10 garlic cloves, chopped (I crushed mine)

100g flat leaf parsley, chopped

6 cinnamon sticks

25g coarse sea salt

1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper

60ml lemon juice

  1. Get your mushrooms ready – clean them without adding water, just using a brush;
  2. put a large non-stick frying pan over medium-heat and add the olive oil to it so that it can heat slightly. Then sprinkle the thyme, the garlic, the parsley and cinnamon stalks. Add the button mushrooms and let them cook for about 5 mins without disturbing them. Then give the pan a good shake and add the oyster mushrooms, season with salt and pepper. Stir it a bit and then let it cook for about 3 minutes. Add the enoki mushrooms and then turn the heat off. Add the lemon juice, give it a good shake. Serve still warm with slices of brown bread.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cucumber and radish salad

This is my contribution to this week Weekend Herb Blogging event which is being hosted by Divya from the blog Dil Se. For the ones of you who do not know, this event was created by the lovely Kalyn from the equally lovely blog Kalyn's Kitchen which is packed with great recipe and posts. WHB is now 2 years old. When I was not able to publish in English one of the things that I missed most was taking part on this event. So glad to be back. I missed last week 'sas the posts had to be submitted by the Saturday and I got ready to post my entry on the Sunday, the last day.

This salad is inspired on a recipe from the Ottolenghi book which I purchased in early June. I used to live just down the road from the first Ottolenghi shop in London and have grown quite fond of their creations. When trying to select a salad for the event I thought that this one would be just perfect.

I love a crunchy salad, the ones that make lovely little noises as you chew. They make the jaws work hard, and on top of satiating they also turn out to be great fun – in my eyes anyway. I have mixed feelings about cucumber and whenever possible I try to avoid the seedy ones as they are very watery. I tend to stick to Lebanese cucumbers as they are crunchier. I give it a good wash and try not to peel it as the vitamin A is mostly on its skin. This salad is very simple, very few ingredients, but full of goodiness. Plus it looks so pretty with its greens, reds, whites and the sprinkle of poppy seeds.
We tend to take cucumber for granted many times, but it is rich in vitamin A and C, folic acid and potassium. When I was in my teens I was really into my natural beauty treatments and the cucumber slices over my eyes were popular with me. Raddishes are not only beautiful with their lovely colour but contain a significant amount of vitamin C as well and are linked with anti-cancer properties. As one would say, not only a little pretty thing.


Lebanese cucumbers



Poppy seeds

Olive oil


White wine vinegar
Wash your cucumbers and radishes, pat them dry with kitchen towel. Chop cucumbers diagonally, in medium thickness pieces. The radishes should be sliced not too thinly. Throw both of them in a bowl. Chop the parsley very thinly and sprinkle it over the cucumber and raddish. Make the dressing with olive oil, vinegar and salt.Remember the ratio 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar and you will be fine. The poppy seeds are added last. It is ready to eat. Very simple and sure to give you a lot of pleasure.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Chocolate Biscuits

I have already been a great cookie/biscuit eater. Nowadays I have greater self control - much needed self control with extra pounds that insist on staying with me, like a best friend. However, that does not stop me from recognizing a good recipe when I see one. And I try to treat my friends with them. If I cannot have them I might as well see other people having pleasure. In this spirit I chose this recipe for my good friends Namrita and Prashant who work in the Singapore office but were in the London office for 5 weeks. Elson, who joined their team about 6 months ago, was also in London so he also got a nice treat.

I only made a change to the list of ingredients below. Instead of using plain flour I used 100g brown rice flour and 50g chestnut flour. The biscuits turned out quite lovely and I will be making this recipe again in the near future.


100g dark chocolate , chopped coarsely

80g butter, chopped

1 cup ( 220g) caster sugar

1 egg beaten slightly

1 cup (150g) plain flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

¼ cup(40g) icing sugar

  1. Melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. I tend to wait until it is all quite melted, I then remove it from the heat and the heated saucepan gives enough heat to finish off with the melting process.Transfer mixture to a bow.
  2. Get the caster sugar, plain flour, cocoa and flour, and sieve them into the chocolate mixture. Add the egg, and mix it all well until you reach a firm consistency.
  3. Transfer mixture to the fridge for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile heat the oven – 180oC/160oC oven assisted. Grease and cover baking tray with parchment paperl.
  5. Make little chocolate balls and roll them in the icing sugar. Place the icing sugar covered balls on the baking tray, leaving at least 5 min between each one. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool on tray.