Tag Archives: mango

Zanzibar Pumpkin Pilau with wholemeal chapatis

17 Jan

Zanzibar is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean situated off the coast of East Africa. Known as The Spice Islands because of the many spice plantations the cuisine is an eclectic mix of African, Indian & Arab influences. Pilau, the famous spicy rice dish found in Zanzibar, was brought by Arabs or Persians and Biriani was brought by the Indian traders.  The original Zanzibar Pilau is a rice dish seasoned with lots of spices and traditionally made with meat & potatoes. This is my vegetarian interpretation of the dish made with pumpkin (it should be sweet potato but I couldn’t find any!) and beans (an African staple).

I used some mixed rice I found in Mercadona (a Spanish supermarket) that I think is new. It is a mix of white, red & wild rice and it worked really well in this dish. The nutty flavours from the wild & red rices gave it an extra dimension. If you live here in Spain I would definitely recommend it.  Or is just that I am a sucker for anything new…?

Zanzibar Pumpkin Pilau Recipe

serves 6, vegetarian

  • 4oo gr/2 cups uncooked rice  (a mix of wild, red & white if possible)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 cardamom pods, bashed to open
  • 7 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 chilli finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced/grated ginger
  • 1 & 1/2 onions chopped
  • about 750 gr pumpkin/squash or sweet potato, washed well & cut into 2cm chunks
  • 880 ml (4 cups) veg stock
  • 450 ml (2 cups) boiling water
  • salt
  • a handful of whole almonds plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tsp tamarind (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 3 or 4 tbsp tomato puree (tomate frito)
  • 2oo gr red beans (cooked) about 1/2 jar/ tin, drained & rinsed
  • about 200 gr fresh spinach
  • 1 lime or lemon
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped plus leaves to garnish

Combine the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cloves & cardamom pods in a teacup & cover with warm water from the kettle, stir and set aside. (This softens the seeds & releases the flavours). Wash and drain the rice.

Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a deep pot over a medium high heat, add the onions & pumpkin and cook for about 10 minutes until softened and slightly browned. Heat the veg stock up to boiling in another pan. Add the garlic, ginger & chilli to the pumpkin and cook, stirring for another 2 minutes (don’t burn the garlic). Tip the contents of the pumpkin pan into a bowl and set aside. Add the rice to the emptied pan with the boiling veg stock & boiling water. Add the soaked spices and the powdered spices along with a good teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. Bring back to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now add the pumpkin mix back into the rice pot along with the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, beans, tamarind & almonds. Combine everything well, replace the lid and simmer over a low heat for about 15 – 20 minutes until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed. Check on it occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking and add more hot water/stock if necessary. When all the liquid has been absorbed stir in the spinach & chopped coriander, season again with salt, taste and squeeze over some lime/lemon juice.

Serve in warmed bowls garnished with some almonds & coriander leaves and some extra wedges of lime on the side. The perfect accompaniments to this pilau are wholemeal chapatis and mango chutney….

Wholemeal Chapati Recipe

makes 4, vegetarian

  • 3oo gr wholemeal flour or a mix of 150 gr wholemeal 150 gr unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or other oil)
  • about 110-120ml warm water

Combine the flours & salt in a large bowl. Add the oil, then trickle in the warm water a bit at a time stirring to combine with a wooden spoon.  When it has cohered into a ball of dough put it on a floured work surface and knead for 2 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to stop it sticking. Put the ball of dough back in the bowl cover with cling film or a clean tea towel & leave for 30 minutes or longer.

Cut the ball into quarters, flour your work surface and start rolling out one of the balls, turning it, clockwise to make a thin(about 2mm), round -ish/oval chapati. Heat your non stick frying pan to hot and cook the chapati for about 1 & 1/2  to 2 minutes on each side until they are golden with charred spots. Meanwhile roll out your next chapati so it its ready to go when the first one is done. Keep them warm under a tea towel or in a low oven while you cook the rest.

If you would like to make your own mango chutney see my Mango & Tomato Chutney Recipe.

There is so much flavour in this dish from all the whole spices this definitely won’t be the last time I cook an East African recipe. The cuisine mixes all the best flavours from India & Arabia with the indigenous African recipes creating stunning food that makes you want to try more. Why not give it a go…….

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Caribbean Vegetable Patties with Mango and Coriander Yoghurt Chutney

13 Dec

These little pasties/patties were part of a Caribbean meal I made for friends on Friday night. They remind me of the vegetable pasties they sell in the Caribbean shops in Notting Hill and Portobello Road, the ones in the clear plastic packets. I used to live on them when I was working around there, well working & shopping, actually mostly shopping!! I do miss London occasionally, the multicultural buzz and the food, obviously. The fantastic choice of vegetarian food from all over the world. You could eat from around the world just in one street. Anyway, I suppose that living here, in Spain, makes me more creative. It means I continue to learn about food by cooking recipes from around the world rather than going out to eat, cheaper too…!

Caribbean Vegetable Patties

adapted from an www.101cookbooks.com recipe

makes about 15 mini patties, Vegetarian

  • 1 pack (375gr) frozen puff pastry, defrosted in the fridge overnight. If you want to make your own authentic pastry see recipe here
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (I used 1 scotch bonnet fresh chilli, chopped)
  • salt & white pepper
  •  2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • the juice of 1 mandarin & 1/2 a lime
  • about 75 ml of veg stock
  • tbsp grated coconut
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, scrubbed & diced
  • a handful of frozen peas
  • a handful of frozen sweet corn
  • 1/4 cabbage finely shredded
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • the other 1/2 lime juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • cumin seeds

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat, add the onion, spices & salt and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft and caramelized slightly. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more then stir in the juices, veg stock, carrots, sweet potatoes & coconut. Reduce the heat slightly, cover with a lid and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10- 15 minutes. Stir in the peas, sweetcorn, cabbage, herbs and the rest of the lime juice and cook for 3 minutes more (you don’t want any liquid). Taste & season again with salt & white pepper and leave to cool for at least an hour (I left mine in the fridge over night)

When your filling has cooled preheat the oven to 210 degrees. Flour your work surface and rolling-pin and roll out the pastry, if necessary, to about 2 or 3 mm thick.  Cut out circles of pastry about 12cm (4 1/2 inches) in diameter (I cut around a small bowl). You will have to re roll the off cuts of pastry to get about 12 – 15 circles. Put a heaped tbsp of the filling in the middle of one half of the circle, being careful to leave the edges clear. Get yourself a cup of water, wet you fingers and wet the edges of the pastry. Fold the other half over the filling, press together with your fingers to seal and then crimp around the edges with a fork.

Place the patties on a baking tray lined with baking paper, brush the tops with beaten egg, sprinkle with few cumin seeds and bake until golden brown (about 25 minutes) turning half way through.

These patties are great served hot or cold so they would be perfect for a buffet table or as party food nibbles. Serve them with a chilli sauce or my easy mango & coriander yoghurt chutney. You may have some of the filling leftover, I did, so I made an individual Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie by topping it with mashed potato, grated cheese & breadcrumbs and baking for about 3o minutes. Really tasty Caribbean comfort food!!

Mango & Coriander Yoghurt Chutney

  • 2 pots greek yoghurt about 250 ml
  • about 3 tbsp mango chutney, if you want to make your own see my recipe here
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • a good squeeze of lime juice

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, taste and adjust as required. You may want more sweetness from the chutney or more lime juice, it’s up to you.

I served these as a starter as well as a Caribbean Lentil Soup (I will blog this tomorrow) and my Caribbean Squash & Plantain Curry with Roti Bread see recipe here.

The Art of the Tart-ine!

24 Nov

It’s a posh word for an open sandwich but it makes all the difference in the world to your lunch break if you can take that sandwich to another level by making it look and taste really beautiful.

The thing is, it is really easy, all you have to do is look in your fridge, come up with a theme and fire up your grill. At the moment, here in Spain, we have a mountain of  ripe tomatoes and avocados both in the height of season, flavourful and well priced.

That’s where my inspiration came from for this Tartine Tricolore. My favourite Italian salad as a toasted sandwich…

 It all starts with the bread, buy some nice bread. Italian would be good to follow the theme. A nice Ciabatta or even Focaccia.

Tartine Tricolore

Serves 2 Vegetarian

  • 1 small ciabatta about 18 – 20 cm
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut in half, scooped out and sliced
  • 1 ball mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 large tomato(or 2 small plum tomatoes) sliced
  • mayonnaise
  • basil pesto
  • fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • rocket
  • salt & black pepper

Slice the ciabatta in half lengthways so you have flat sides to pile your filling on. Preheat the grill to high and line a baking sheet with foil. Spread each side with some mayonnaise then spread a small amount of pesto on top of the mayo. Place your avocado slices on each half, then the tomato slices, season with a little salt then top with the mozzarella slices. Drizzle with olive oil then add some freshly cracked black pepper and put the open sandwiches on the baking sheet under the grill for about 2 or 3 minutes until the cheese is melting nicely. To serve scatter some fresh basil leaves & rocket over the top and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. This is the kind of sandwich you need a knife and fork for either that or a very large napkin!!

This next idea started when our friends Terry & Joan kindly brought us some Lancashire Crumbly cheese over from England. The Washer Up is a Lancashire lad and he has cravings for it occasionally. It is a creamy, mild but sharp, crumbly cheese that is really delicious served with something sweet & fruity. This got me thinking about a proper old English lunch called The Ploughman’s. A 60’s/70’s thing served in pubs which consisted of a big wedge of cheese (normally Cheddar), pickled onions, Branston pickle and some sort of scary salad.

I decided to take the Cheese & Pickle thing and bring it up to date by serving the Lancashire Crumbly topped with two types of chutney and watercress…

 Start with the bread again, it should really be something English and crusty, like a Bloomer or something similar. We can’t get that sort of thing here so I used a baguette (sacrilege, I know)! You can use whichever chutney you have around but this combination of Mango & Fig was heaven…

Posh Cheese & 2 Pickle Tartines

Serves 2 Vegetarian

Preheat the grill to high and line a baking tray with foil. Get your four slices of bread or baguette sliced lengthways drizzle with a little olive oil, layer over some generous slices of the cheese and top with a couple of spoonfuls of chutney. I like the contrast of using 2 different types, it stops you getting bored half way through. Stick it under the grill for few minutes until the cheese melts then scatter over some watercress…

The Washer Up says this should be enjoyed with a nice hand pulled pint of warm bitter….mmm. I’d go for a nice chilled glass of Albarino myself.

The next version uses Halloumi, a Cypriot Sheep’s milk cheese that is totally addictive. If you have never tried Halloumi give this a try, I promise you, you will be hooked…

Marinaded Halloumi Tartine 

serves 2 or 3 vegetarian

  • some nice bread, maybe pita or a flatbread (I used a baguette because that’s what I had)
  • 1 pack halloumi, thinly sliced about 1/2 cm
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 80ml olive oil
  • fresh mint, parsley & coriander, chopped
  • the juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • 1 red chilli deseeded & finely chopped or 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sumac* (optional)

*Sumac is a crushed dried berry sold in flakes which is used a lot in Middle Eastern dishes it has a smoky, lemony flavour which is fantastic with the Halloumi.

In a shallow dish large enough to fit in all the Halloumi slices, mix together the olive oil, lime juice, chopped herbs, spices, black pepper and chilli and set aside.

Dry fry the Halloumi slices in a hot pan for about 2 minutes on each side until browned and crispy(you will probably need to do it in 2 batches). When each batch is done place in the oil & lime juice marinade and toss to coat on both sides.

Meanwhile preheat the grill to hot, drizzle your bread with olive oil, place the sliced tomatoes on the bread, season with salt, pepper & olive oil and put under the grill for a minute or so to toast the bread and warm the tomatoes.

When the bread & tomatoes are toasted, layer over the cooked, marinaded Halloumi and pour over some of the herby marinade.

This really is an amazing sandwich, the combination of the salty Halloumi with the fresh herbs, chilli & lime juice is fingerlicking good! If a little messy…. Prepare to feed your Halloumi addiction!

Indian Dhal Soup with Potato Stuffed Parathas

20 Nov

Dhal is the Indian word for lentils. There a lots of different types of dhal; moong dal, urad dal, the list goes on and on. For this quick and easy recipe I cheated and used a jar of cooked lentils because it is a lot faster and the consistency is perfect for a soup as they are really soft and mushy anyway. I wouldn’t use them for a dish like a lentil salad because you need the firmer texture & bite you get from cooking dried lentils. You can, of course, cook your own lentils for this recipe as well.

Indian Dhal Soup Recipe

serves 2 -4 vegan

  • 1 jar/tin cooked lentils (400gr), drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 large onion chopped (you will need the other 1/2 for the parathas)
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 litre veg stock (depending on how thick you want & for how many people)
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon

Cook the onion & cumin seeds in the oil, over a medium heat, until the onion is soft. Add the garlic, ginger and the rest of the spices and cook for a minute. Tip in the lentils and cook  for another minute while coating in the spices. Add 1/2 litre veg stock, take off  the heat and carefully blend with a stick blender(you don’t want to splash yourself or the kitchen!) until it is smooth ish but still has texture. Put it back on the heat, add the lemon juice, fresh coriander, salt & black pepper then taste it. You may need more salt or lemon juice.

You can serve it like this as a thick soup with the parathas to scoop it up or, if you want it thinner, add some more veg stock, that way it also serves more people.

This is also really delicious served at room temperature as a dip with some mini poppadoms or batons of carrot and cucumber. Just don’t add the veg stock and blend to the desired consistency.

The reason I made this dhal soup was because I wanted to make Aloo Parathas and needed something to dip them into. I had seen a recipe on The Hairy Bikers and on a lovely food blog I follow called For The Love Of  Yum. I saw both of these recipes in the same week, so it was like they were calling to me, I just had to make them….

Aloo Parathas Recipe (Potato Stuffed Indian Bread)

Adapted from The Hairy Bikers recipe

Makes 3 Vegetarian

For the dough:

  • 2oo gr plain flour plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • about 100 ml milk

For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 medium potatoes boiled & mashed (or some leftover mashed potato)
  • salt & black pepper
  •  a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 3 or 4 tbsp veg oil

First make the dough. Sieve the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a large bowl then add the beaten egg and gradually pour in the milk  mixing with a wooden spoon to bring it together. With your hands, make it into a ball of dough then knead it on a floured surface for about 5 minutes until smooth (You may need to sprinkle over more flour to stop it being sticky).

When the dough is smooth, put it back in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave it to rest for about 15 minutes or until you are ready to make the parathas.

Meanwhile make the filling. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, fry for 2 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger & fresh chilli and fry until everything is soft. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes then stir in the mashed potato. When the mash is incorporated into the spice mix season well with salt &  pepper and stir in the fresh coriander.

Leave to cool slightly then roll the potato mixture into 3 equal sized balls and set aside.

Back to the dough. Divide it into 3 equal sized balls, flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll each ball into a round about 1/2 cm thick. Place a ball of potato mixture in the middle of  each circle of dough and bring the edges up around the filling so it looks like a big dim sum dumpling then twist the top to seal it. Turn the ball-shaped paratha over (so the seal is underneath), sprinkle the top with flour and very gently roll it into a flat circle again about 1 cm thick. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

When all your parathas are made, grease a frying with oil and heat until hot. Place a paratha in the pan with the twisted side down and leave for 2 minutes to cook. Brush a layer of veg oil on the top side and flip it over then leave it to cook for another 2 minutes. Cook until golden on both sides then put it in the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest.

Serve hot with the dhal or whatever curry you like. Some yoghurt & mint raita would be nice with this just mix some chopped mint, salt, pepper, cumin seeds, & lemon juice into a pot of Greek yoghurt.

Or why not make some delicious Mango & Tomato Chutney to go with it. This recipe is really easy, it is a great accompaniment with any curry dish and it also makes fantastic homemade presents for people..

Mango & Tomato Chutney Recipe

Makes about 1 jar maybe slightly more. Vegan

  • 1 large mango chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 red chilli chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • the juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tsp balsamic/sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp punch pooran*  (or use 1 tsp fennel seeds & 1 tsp onion seeds)

*Punch pooran is a whole spice mix made up from cumin, fennel, fenugreek, black mustard & onion seeds. It gives a great rounded flavour to any indian dishes & is available from East End Foods.

Blend all the ingredients except the oil and punch pooran until smooth ish. Pour into a saucepan and cook on a low heat for about 30 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until it is well thickened and reduced.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the punch pooran seeds and fry till they splutter. Pour this over the chutney and mix well. Taste for seasoning you may need more salt/sugar/lime juice.

Pour into a hot sterilized jar and seal with a lid. Leave to cool then store in the fridge. Serve as a side with curries or samosas or as a gorgeous addition to a cheese board..

Enjoy!!

Baked Feta with Mango Salsa Recipe

6 Oct

Having been inspired by my Dad’s comment on my “70’s” Stuffed Tomatoes recipe about bringing back the cheese & pineapple on a foil hedgehog, I have called his bluff & brought it up to date! 

We have a mountain of our homegrown scotch bonnet chilli peppers in the freezer & I had been thinking about doing a Caribbean inspired dish using them & the mango I have in my fridge. I was watching a programme called Caribbean Food made Easy (I think) where they cooked fish with Caribbean spices in foil on the barbecue & served it with a mango salsa. Obviously I don’t eat fish so I had to come up with replacement for it which is when I remembered the Foil Baked Feta recipe in Vicky Bhoghal’s book Flavour which is delicious. It was all starting to come together… 

Feta Ready for the Oven

 

Baked Feta & Mango Salsa Recipe 

Serves 2 Vegetarian 

For the Feta: 

  • 200gr block Greek Feta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 clove garlic chopped
  • 1  small scotch bonnet chilli (deseeded & chopped) you can use any fresh chilli or dried 1/2 tsp
  •  a sprig of thyme leaves
  • some coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tomato chopped
  • 1/2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 red onion finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Some crusty bread  for mopping up the juices
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  2. Tear off a large piece of foil, put the feta in the middle and add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Make a little pouch by folding up the foil and bake for 10 mins

Meanwhile make the Mango Salsa: 

  • 1 mango chopped
  • the other half of the tomato
  • the other half of the garlic clove
  • 1/4 red onion chopped
  • the juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 chilli deseeded & chopped(you can’t use a scotch bonnet as the heat only comes out when they are cooked)
  •  a handful of chopped coriander
  • a handful of chopped fresh mint
  • salt & black pepper
  1. Mix everything together in a bowl, taste for seasoning, and place in  a serving dish or bowl.

Mango Salsa

 

Baked Feta & Mango Salsa

 

Enjoy this straight away and imagine yourself on a Caribbean/Greek island! 

Obviously you can keep it real with Greek flavours in the pouch, oregano, parsley, chopped olives, whatever you fancy, just make it gorgeous…

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