Baked Brie

Baked Brie: Brie, Jam, Filo Dough

Baked Brie: Brie, Jam, Filo Dough (Photo by Azi)

Baked Brie

Baked Brie is super easy to make, requires few ingredients, and tastes really yummy too.

Ingredients

1 small Round of Brie

2 T Jam of your choice

1 Sheet of Filo Dough

To Prepare

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celcius.

Spread the Jam on top of the Brie, then place it face down in the middle of the sheet of Filo Dough. Wrap the dough like you would wrap a gift, folding the corners around the Brie, sealing the seams with water. Place in the middle of a shallow baking pan. When the over is preheated, bake for about 10-15 minutes, until the dough is slightly browned. Serve hot with crusty bread.

Mirchi Ka Salan

Mirchi Ka Salan: Green Chillies, Sesame Seeds, Coriander Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Roasted Peanuts, Red Chillies, Ginger, Garlic, Mustard Seeds, Curry Leaves, Onion, Turmeric, Tamarind Pulp

Mirchi Ka Salan: Green Chillies, Sesame Seeds, Coriander Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Roasted Peanuts, Red Chillies, Ginger, Garlic, Mustard Seeds, Curry Leaves, Onion, Turmeric, Tamarind Pulp (Photo by Azi)

Mirchi Ka Salan

This dish is a classic accompaniment for Hyderabadi Biryani. “Mirchi” means “chilli” in both Hindi and Urdu. Please see “Sofiyani Biryani” for that recipe. This comes from “Royal Hyderabadi Cooking” by Sanjeev Kapoor and Harpal Singh Sokhi.

Ingredients

18-20 Large Green Chillies

Oil, for deep frying

2 T Oil for sautéing (I used Mustard Oil, but any cooking oil will work)

2 T Sesame Seeds

1 T Coriander Seeds (Dhania)

1 t cumin seeds (Jeera)

1/2 c. Roasted Peanuts

2 Dried Red Chillies, broken into bits

1 in. Ginger

6-8 Garlic Cloves

1 t Mustard Seeds

8-10 Curry Leaves

1 medium Onion, minced or grated.

1 t Turmeric Powder

2 T Tamarind Pulp (I substituted Tamarind Paste with 1 c. water.)

Salt to taste

To Prepare

Wash the Chillies and dry them. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit lengthwise without cutting them all the way through. Heat the oil in a deep pan and deep fry the chillies for 1 minute. Wipe off the excess oil and set aside.

In a skillet, dry-roast the Sesame Seeds, Coriander Seeds and Cumin Seeds. Cool them and grind them to a paste along with the Peanuts, Red Chillies, Ginger, and Garlic. This is the Masala Paste you will use later.

Heat 2 T of Oil in a pan and add the Mustard Seeds. When they begin to sputter add the curry leaves and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the Onion and sauté, stirring continuously, until light golden brown.

Add the Turmeric Powder and mix well. Add the Masala Paste and cook for 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Stir in 1 1/2 c. of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the Tamarind Pulp (or Paste plus 1 c. water). Add the friend Green Chillies and Salt and cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6

Sofiyani Biryani

Sofiyani Biryani: Halal Chicken, Basmati rice, Cardamoms, Cloves, Cinnamon sticks, Yoghurt, Onion, Almond paste, Ginger paste, Garlic paste, Ricotta cheese, Green chilies, Lemon juice, Ghee, Ginger-Garlic paste, Milk, Cardamom powder, Cream, Salt

Sofiyani Biryani: Halal Chicken, Basmati rice, Cardamoms, Cloves, Cinnamon sticks, Yoghurt, Onion, Almond paste, Ginger paste, Garlic paste, Ricotta cheese, Green chilies, Lemon juice, Ghee, Ginger-Garlic paste, Milk, Cardamom powder, Fresh Coriander leaves, Cream, Salt (Photo by Azi)

Sofiyani Biryani

This recipe takes several hours to prepare, and I can almost guarantee your kitchen will be a mess while making it. However, the result is worth it! This recipe comes from “Royal Hyderabadi Cooking” by Sanjeev Kapoor and Harpal Singh Sokhi. Please note, if you can’t find Almond Paste in your grocery store, simply soak almonds overnight in water, then grind them until they are very fine.

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

600 g Chicken Wings on the bone, cut in pieces

6 Green Cardamoms

6 Cloves

2, 1 inch pieces of cinnamon stick

1 c. Yoghurt, whisked

2 medium Onions, sliced

2 T Almond Paste

1 T Ginger Paste

1 T Garlic Paste

2 T Ricotta Cheese

4 “Birds Eye” Green Chillies, juilienned

1 t Lemon Juice

2 T Ghee (clarified butter)

Salt, to taste

For the Rice:

1 1/2 c. Basmati Rice (Biryani Basmati Rice is preferred)

1 T Ginger-garlic Paste

6 Green Cardamoms

6 Cloves

2, 1 in. pieces cinnamon stick

1 c. Milk

Salt, to taste

For Layering the Chicken and the Rice:

1 t Green Cardamom powder (If you can’t find Cardamom powder, simply pulverise whole green cardamom)

2 t Cooking Cream

4 T Ghee

Coriander Leaves, for garnish (optional)

To Prepare

Place the Chicken, 6 Cardamoms, 6 Cloves, 2 Cinnamon Stick pieces, whisked Yoghurt, Onions, Almond Paste, Ginger Paste, Garlic Paste, Ricotta, Green Chillies, Salt, Lemon Juice and 2 T Ghee into a deep pan. (I used a Handi pan, but any deep pan is okay.) Cover and cook on Low heat until the Chicken is tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Put the Rice in a bowl and soak in water .

In a separate pan, add 5 c. water, salt, ginger-garlic paste, remaining 6 green Cardamoms, remaining 6 Cloves and remaining 2 Cinnamon Stick pieces and bring to a boil. Drain the water from the Rice, and add it to the pan with Milk. Cook until the rice is 3/4 done, for about 10 minutes. The rice should be bigger in size, but still too chewy to eat.

When the Chicken and Rice is done, remove from heat. It’s time to layer the chicken and rice. Put half of the chicken into a bowl. Spoon half of the rice on top of the chicken. Sprinkle half of the Cardamom Powder over the rice. Drizzle half of the Cream over the Rice layer as well. Repeat the layers. Place half the chicken on top of the rice, then add the remaining rice to the top of the chicken, the rest of the Cardamom Powder and Cream. Finish by drizzling the remaining 4 T Ghee around the outer edges of the pan. Cover and cook on Low for about 15-20 minutes. Garnish with the fresh Coriander Leaves. Serve hot.

Serves 6-8

Virgin Blueberry Mojito

Virgin Blueberry Mojito: Demerara Sugar, Lime Juice, Mint, Blueberries, Tonic Water, Ice

Virgin Blueberry Mojito: Demerara Sugar, Lime Juice, Mint, Blueberries, Tonic Water, Ice (Photo by Azi)

Virgin Blueberry Mojito

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Here is my recipe for Virgin Blueberry Mojito, for all you designated drivers out there. Hint: If your guests finish this too quickly and you need a quick and easy second round, have a 1 L bottle of cranberry juice handy to mix with the remaining 250 mL tonic water left in the bottle.

Ingredients

Juice from 10-12 small Limes

10 g Fresh Mint, chopped

350 g Demerara Sugar

125 g Blueberries

750 mL Tonic Water

2 Cups Ice

To Prepare

Put Sugar, Mint, Lime Juice, and Blueberries into a medium sized pitcher and muddle using a wooden spoon. Add Ice and Tonic Water. Stir gently and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Salad

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Salad: Chicken, Green Olives, Red Capsicum, Yellow Capsicum and Tomatoes on a bed of Mixed Greens

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Salad: Chicken, Green Olives, Red Capsicum, Yellow Capsicum and Tomatoes on a bed of Mixed Greens

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Salad

After making Ratatouille last Friday, I had lots of leftover capsicum. I also had some olives that I wanted to use to free up space in my rather smallish refrigerator. So, I bought some halal chicken, mixed greens and tomatoes, and made a salad for tonight’s dinner.

Ingredients

2 pieces Chicken breast, halal boneless, cubed

200 g Cherry Tomatoes

113 g Mixed Greens

approximately 1/4 Red Capsicum, thinly sliced

approximately 1/4 Yellow Capsicum, thinly sliced

about 10 Green Olives, garlic stuffed

1 Tsp Herbs de Provence

2 Tsp Olive Oil

For Dressing

1 Part Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp Rosemary

2 Parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil

To Prepare

Wash Mixed Greens and place in a bowl. Wash Tomatoes and place them on top of the greens. Place the sliced Red and Yellow Capsicum on top of the greens as well. In a skillet, heat the Olive Oil on Medium. When it comes to the proper temperature, add the cubed chicken and herbs. Heat until thoroughly cooked. The chicken must no longer be pink on the inside, and it should be slightly browned. Remove from heat and place on the salad.

For the dressing, put about 4 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar and 1 tsp Rosemary in a container. Add 8 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Cover and Shake well. Pour desired amount onto the salad.

Serves 4

Ratatouille

Ratatouille: Sliced Vegetables, Pureed Vegetables, Goat Cheese

Ratatouille: Sliced Vegetables, Pureed Vegetables, Goat Cheese, Olive Oil, Spices

Ratatouille

A variation of a classic French dish.

Ingredients

2 Cups Tomatoes, pureed

2 Small Red Onions, finely chopped

2 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced

1 Yellow Capsicum, thinly sliced

1 Red Capsicum, thinly sliced

1/2 Zucchini, thinly sliced

1/2 Aubergine, medium sized, thinly sliced

Herbs de Provence or similar spice mix

Olive Oil

Goat Cheese, crumbled

1 Cup Couscous

To Prepare

Preheat Oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees F).

Puree the Tomatoes and place in a mixing bowl. Finely chop the Onions and add to the tomatoes and stir. Set aside and prepare the Capsicum, Zucchini, and Aubergine.

For the Capsicum, remove the stem and seeds from the middle and rinse before thinly slicing them using a sharp knife or a mandolin. For the Zucchini, remove the stem, then slice as you did the capsicum. For the Aubergine, remove the stem, slice as you did the Zucchini, then place the slices in a bowl of cold water. (This avoids them turning brown.) Any leftover ends of capsicum, zucchini, and aubergine can be finely chopped and mixed with the tomatoes and onions. Slice the garlic and set aside.

Using a large baking dish, place the mixture of chopped vegetables on the bottom and spread evenly. Place the garlic nicely and evenly on top. Then layer your sliced vegetables such that the layers overlap, as shown in the photo below:

Layering the Sliced Vegetables

Layering the Sliced Vegetables: Aubergine – Zucchini – Capsicum

Sprinkle spices on top of the vegetables. Drizzle Olive Oil on top of the vegetables, then cover with parchment paper. Bake for about 55 minutes, until the vegetables are well cooked but not browned. While waiting, prepare the couscous according to package directions. Remove from the oven, remove the parchment paper, and crumble the Goat Cheese over the whole thing. Serve the ratatouille over a bed of couscous.

Ratatouille Served with Couscous

Ratatouille Served with Couscous (Photo by Azi)

Serves 6-8

Parmesan and Artichoke Dip

Parmesan and Artichoke Dip: Artichoke Hearts, Parmesan Cheese, Mayonnaise, Crushed Red Pepper

Parmesan and Artichoke Dip: Artichoke Hearts, Parmesan Cheese, Mayonnaise, Crushed Red Pepper, Black Olives (optional)

Parmesan and Artichoke Dip

This is a variation of a recipe my Mom would make whenever we had company. It pairs beautifully with crackers.

Ingredients

285 g Jar of Artichoke Hearts

1 Cup Mayonnaise

1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated

2 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper, or to taste

To Prepare

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celcuis.

Rinse and Drain Artichoke Hearts, then mash them. Thoroughly mix Artichoke Hearts, Mayonnaise and Parmesan Cheese in a mixing bowl. Add crushed Red Pepper. Spread the mixture evenly and thinly into a medium to small sized baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until it starts to brown slightly.

Variation: Top with Olives or Sun Dried Tomatoes.