Lamb Curry

Lamb Curry

Today’s feature is a guest post from my favorite baking goddess – my lovely mum Marilyn – who graciously offered to make this delicious lamb curry during a recent visit to our home in California. The original recipe (from Food.com) is S-P-I-C-Y – just the way I like it! – but can be adjusted for those with less adventurous palates. You may also substitute chicken breast for lamb, if looking for a more budget-friendly family meal. The combination of spices – cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and garam masala – is delectably fragrant while cooking, and absolutely heavenly (if someone fiery) while eating. I would definitely make this curry again, and encourage you to give it a try as well. Enjoy!

LAMB CURRY

Yields: 6 servings

  • 14 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 1 (2 inch) cinnamon stick (or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • 10 whole peppercorns (or 1/2 tsp ground black pepper)
  • 4 whole cloves (or 1/4 heaping tsp ground cloves)
  • 1 12 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger paste
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 12 lbs boneless lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 12 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 12 tsp garam masala
  • 4 cups + 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Steamed basmati rice and naan bread, to serve (optional)
  1. Heat oil in large pot or pan; add bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and cloves.
  2. When leaves begin to sizzle and fragrance starts to release, add onions and saute until light golden, about 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in the ginger paste, garlic, and lamb.
  4. Season the lamb with salt; continue cooking, stirring mix for about 20 minutes more, adding a little water if necessary to keep ingredients from sticking to pot.
  5. Add turmeric, coriander powder, cayenne, and garam masala; stir for 5 minutes, adding 2 tablespoons water.
  6. Add diced tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Then add remaining 4 cups of water and simmer for 15 minutes, or until meat is almost tender.
  8. Lower heat.
  9. Whisk the yogurt with a fork; then add to pot slowly.
  10. Then cook until meat is done to your liking and sauce is thickened.
  11. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with steamed basmati rice, or hot naan.
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Peach and Raspberry Clafoutis

Peach-Raspberry Clafoutis

My parents have had quite the bumper crop of raspberries at their home in southwest Washington this year, and my mum and I have been racking our brains for interesting new recipes in which to use them. We have also – inexplicably – been talking about making a clafoutis for years, despite never having tried one. Hundreds of raspberries + irrational clafoutis obsession = raspberry clafoutis!

What the heck is clafoutis, you might ask? Clafoutis (pronounced klah-foo-tee) is a French dessert of stone fruits arranged in a buttered dish and baked in thick, custard-like batter. Originating in the Limousin region of central France, clafoutis is typically made with whole, stoned cherries, but can also be made with other fruits, including plums, pears, or apples. I went a bit rogue with this recipe (adapted from Woman’s Day), using peaches and raspberries instead, which technically makes this dessert a flaugnarde (for all intents and purposes, a non-cherry clafoutis). That said, my mum and I were crushed at the prospect of having our clafoutis dreams dashed, so … we’re calling it a clafoutis. Call it whatever you want, just make it – it’s so yummy!

When I make this again, I’ll double the raspberries and omit the peaches. I LOVE peaches, but very little peach flavor comes through in this recipe (and the raspberries are fantastic!). Otherwise, its delicious served warm as breakfast or dessert – enjoy!

PEACH AND RASPBERRY CLAFOUTIS

Serves: 6

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh yellow peaches
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 large fresh eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Confectioners’ sugar, to serve
  • Soft whipped cream or ice cream, to serve (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Grease a shallow 2 1/2-quart baking dish with the butter and lightly dust with granulated sugar.
  2. In a medium bowl, finely grate the lemon zest (about 2 teaspoons), then squeeze in 1 tablespoon juice. Add the peaches, raspberries, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and gently toss to combine.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. In a blender, combine the eggs, milk, flour, salt, spices, 1/2 cup heavy cream, remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and vanilla seeds and pulp (discard the pod). Blend on high until slightly frothy, about 1 minute.
  4. Transfer the fruit to the prepared pan along with any juices and pour the batter on top. Bake until just set, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Dust the clafoutis with confectioners’ sugar and serve with softly whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Bacon Hasselback Potatoes

Bacon Hasselback Potatoes

The humble potato first received the sophisticated hasselback makeover in the 1940s, when Scanic Hasselbacken – an 18th century hotel in Sweden’s capital city – served up the carefully sliced spud in its dining room. With the addition of crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream and chives, the recipe below (courtesy of Food Network Magazine) is decidedly American – but no less delicious than the original! Despite 1 1/2 hours of cook time, prep is done in almost no time flat – and the result is well worth the wait. Enjoy!

BACON HASSELBACK POTATOES

Serves: 4

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, each cut crosswise into 9 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (optional, to serve)
  • Low-fat sour cream (optional, to serve)
  • Chives, chopped (optional, to serve)
  • Bacon, fried to crisp (optional, to serve)
  1. Lay the bacon pieces on a baking sheet and freeze until hard, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Using a sharp knife, make crosswise cuts in each potato, about 1/8 inch apart, stopping about 1/4 inch from the bottom.
  3. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and carefully transfer to a baking sheet; let cool slightly. Pat the potatoes dry, then insert pieces of the frozen bacon into the cuts of each potato, spacing the bacon evenly and letting it poke out of the top. Melt 5 tablespoons butter and brush generously over the potatoes and in the cuts. Reserve any excess butter for basting. Season the potatoes with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Transfer the potatoes to the oven and bake until the outsides are browned and crisp, about 1 1/2 hours, basting halfway through with the reserved melted butter. Transfer to a platter and top with shredded cheddar, sour cream, chives, and crisped bacon, if desired.

Spaghetti with Chorizo and Rosemary Pangritata

Spaghetti with Chorizo and Rosemary Pangritata

I’ve been quite keen to make this pasta ever since discovering the recipe in the January 2012 edition of Olive magazine. Chorizo, garlic, tomatoes, fresh herbs, breadcrumbs – how can you go wrong?! As a matter of fact, you can’t go wrong with this dish, as it’s quite possibly the easiest and quickest homemade pasta I’ve ever tossed together (literally).

What is pangritata, you may ask? A mixture of breadcrumbs and fresh herbs lightly toasted in olive oil, pangritata (or ‘poor man’s Parmesan) is the ingenious invention of southern Italians eager to add flavor and texture to pasta without the added expense of fine cheeses and other ingredients. In this recipe, pangritata is made from the crumbs of a day-old ciabatta loaf and fresh rosemary, although other hardy, aromatic herbs – including thyme and sage – are also excellent substitutes. Toasted pangritata adds great color and crunch to this hot and flavorful dish, one that goes from fridge to table in less than 20 minutes!

Enjoy!

SPAGHETTI WITH CHORIZO + ROSEMARY PANGRITATA

Serves: 2

  • 150 grams dried spaghetti
  • Olive oil
  • 100 grams chorizo, diced
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1 fresh garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 150 grams fresh cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 loaf day-old ciabatta bread, crust removed + pulsed to rough breadcrumbs
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, needles chopped
  • 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes (optional)
  1. Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. While cooking, heat two tablespoons in a pan and add chorizo. Cook over medium-high heat until starting to crisp – approximately 3 to 5 minutes – then add chili flakes, garlic and tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes just start to burst, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. In a small frying pan over medium heat, warm one tablespoon olive oil. Add breadcrumbs and toast, stirring often, until crisp and golden. Add rosemary and stir through.
  3. Drain the spaghetti and tip into the chorizo pan. Toss together with 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes, if desired, then sprinkle with rosemary pangritata to serve.

*Re-posted from my old blog, Cucina Fresca*

Dill Pickles

Dill Pickles

Full disclosure here: I hate pickles. HATE them. Absolute least favorite food in the world. If the shocked look I receive when mentioning this is any indication, the vast majority of humanity suspects I may be some form of mutant, but I stand firm in my aversion. Inexplicably, however, people love these crunchy, nauseating little things, and as such, I’m bound by culinary duty to share this epic dill pickle recipe with the world. You’re welcome… I guess?

Pickle rant now delivered, this recipe does hold a special place in my heart. The ingredients listed below reflect the original recipe first created by my great-great-grandmother Ada Babcock (born 1875), including her ultra-secret weapon for perfect pickles: grape leaves. The original Baking Goddess – my beloved grandmother Bonnie Jean – was adamant about those grape leaves – leave ’em out, and the whole batch of pickles will be in ruin. My parents happen to have a grape arbor at their home in Washington state, but they can also be found in well-stocked supermarkets or Mediterranean specialty markets.

Note: The ingredients below (with the exception of the cucumbers and those for the brine, which should be adequate to fill approximately 7 tightly packed quart jars of pickles) are listed as per quart-sized jar. In other words, to make a full batch, you’ll need 7 fresh grape leaves, 3 1/2 teaspoons peppercorns, 7 teaspoons mustard seeds, etc.

DILL PICKLES

Makes: 7 quarts

  • 65-70 fresh pickling cucumbers (approximately 3- to 5-inches in length)
  • 1 large fresh grape leaf
  • 1/2 tsp pepper corns
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 piece fresh dill umbel
  • 1/4 tsp powdered alum

Brine:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 quart vinegar
  • 2/3 cup rock salt
  1. Wash interior of canning jars (seven in total) with hot water (if re-using, sanitize). Set aside to dry.
  2. Wash cucumbers; set aside. Line interior of each canning jar with one grape leaf, dark green side facing outward. Place 8 or 9 cucumbers in each jar (should be  tightly fit), followed by peppercorns, mustard seed, garlic cloves, dill and alum. Each jar should include the full amount of each ingredient listed above.
  3. In a large saucepan or pot, bring brine ingredients to a boil over high heat. Pour boiling brine into each jar until liquid reaches 1 inch from rim. Quickly top and tighten lids. (Note: Lids may make a popping noise at any time over the following several hours as the jars seal internally.) Allow jars to seal and cool for 3 to 4 hours. After cooling, transfer jars to a cool, dark area to pickle for at least 6 weeks.

*Re-posted from my old blog, Cucina Fresca*

Individual Blackberry Cobblers

Individual Blackberry Cobblers

Blackberry cobbler is – HANDS DOWN – my favourite summer dessert. As soon as I spotted the world’s largest blackberries for sale at my local farmer’s market this week, I knew cobbler was in my near future.  I used a recipe that – while in my family for decades – differs from others floating around the Internet these days. It’s actually a recipe for ‘cottage pudding’, featured in the 1918 edition of the AMAZING Fannie Farmer cookbook (if you don’t have one, visit your local bookstore ASAP!!). With the addition of fresh berries, the original Fannie Farmer recipe becomes the BEST cobbler you will ever taste! And by ‘taste’, I mean DEVOUR.

While I divided the recipe into individual serving-size portions, it can just as easily be made in a shallow baking dish. Enjoy!

INDIVIDUAL BLACKBERRY COBBLERS

Makes: 4 servings

  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup finely granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup butter + extra for greasing
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Grease four 6-ounce ramekins with butter.
  2. Rinse blackberries and pat dry. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk and melted butter. Stir gently into the flour mixture to combine.
  4. Place a layer of blackberries in the bottom of each ramekin. Spoon a layer of batter over the berries, repeating this process until the ramekin is full (I like to add several berries to the top of the final batter layer). Transfer ramekins to a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes (cobbler topping should begin to brown lightly at the edges). Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

*Re-posted from my old blog, Cucina Fresca*