Lemon tart

Lemon tart

This is a dessert that goes well with a heavy meal of meat or chicken. It is light and tartness of the lemon custard is really good after a curry or steak. Use fresh lemons and the custard can be made earlier. It stays fresh in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Ingredients

Pastry pie crust

Zest of two lemons

Sugar 3/4 cup

Corn flour 2 tbsps

Water 2 tbsps

Butter 120 g

Lemon juice 3/4 cup

Condensed milk 1/2 cup

Method

Make the pastry pie crust according to the recipe given here. Divide the dough into two halves and use just one half. The rest can be frozen for use later.

Line a greased pie dish with the rolled pie crust and pierce the bottom with a fork. Line the crust with aluminium foil and add fry rice to weigh down the crust. Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and rice and bake for another five minutes.

Add a teaspoon of sugar to the zest in a pestle and grind to a paste.

Dissolve the corn flour in the water and keep it aside.

In a saucepan bring the butter, lemon juice, sugar and the zest paste to a boil. Continue to boil for four minutes, stirring all through.

Add the corn flour and simmer for three minutes, stirring continuously. It will thicken.

Take it off the heat and add the condensed milk. Stir well. Cool for 15 minutes.

Pour the lemon curd into the baked pie crust and refrigerate for two hours.

Slice and serve.

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken is a favourite dish from northern India that has become popular across the globe. Traditionally, it is made with a lot of butter and cream, but I have cut the quantity of oil, butter and cream for a healthier but still tasty version of the dish.

Ingredients

Chicken 1/2 kg, boneless cubes

Red chilli powder 2 tbsps

Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Ginger 2” piece

Garlic 10 cloves

Oil 2 tbsps

Butter 2 tsps

Cream 1 tsp

Tomatoes 4 medium, roughly sliced

Onion 1 large, roughly sliced

Cashew nuts 8-10

Kasoori Methi 1 tbsp

Garam masala 1 tsp

Apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp

Salt to taste

Method

Make a paste of the ginger and 5 garlic cloves.

Marinate the washed chicken cubes with 1 tablespoon of red chilli powder, salt, turmeric and the ginger-garlic paste. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the marinated pieces till the surface changes colour. This will take about 2 minutes each side. Keep it aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the oil and add the the onions. Fry the onions till they become transparent.

Add the tomatoes and cashew nuts.

Crush the rest of the garlic and add to the pan.

Add salt, the rest of the red chilli powder and garam masala. Add 2 cups of water and cook on medium heat till the tomatoes become mushy. This will take about 10-15 minutes.

Cool the mixture for about 10 minutes and blend well in a mixer or with a hand-held blender. I use my Braun hand blender.

Strain the blended mixture back into the pan. Add the rest of the butter, the cream, the fried chicken cubes and the kasoori methi. Heat through for five minutes.

Serve with rice or naan.

Bacon and Potato Pie

Bacon and Potato Pie

This recipe was shared with me by a friend and I would make it very often for my son when he was a teenager. This is certain to be a hit with every hungry teenager and it is quick as easy to make. It makes a hearty meal because of the meat, potatoes and cheese, and it is easier to make than ordering takeout.

Ingredients

(Serves 2)

Streaky bacon 200 g

Potatoes 3 medium, sliced

Mushrooms 1 cup, sliced

Oil 1 tbsp

Italian herbs 2 tbsps

Cheddar cheese 2 cups, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Snip the bacon roughly with a pair or scissors to 1” pieces and add it along with the mushrooms to heated oil in a frying pan. Fry till the mushrooms are brown and the bacon is cooked.

In a baking tray, pour a tablespoon of bacon grease. Arrange a layer of potato slices. Add a layer of the bacon and mushroom mixture. Add a layer of overlapping potato slices. Sprinkle a layer of cheese and Italian herbs. Add another layer of potatoes.

Repeat the layers again. Finish with a thick layer of cheese.

Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste and herbs.

Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 20 minutes till the cheese is bubbling.

Rest for 10 minutes and serve with a green salad.

Book Review: Pasta & Risotto

Book Review: Pasta & Risotto

Hugh Redman; Hamlyn, London; 2004 edition

A volume I go back to frequently

This book is like a trusted friend to me. I love the range of dishes it offers — from salads to rice dishes to pasta dishes, cannelloni and lasagne. The recipes are incredibly easy to follow and ingredients are simple and available easily.

The introduction is extremely useful as it offers tips on how to choose the right pasta or kind of rice for each dish, how to cook them and even how to gauge how much is needed according to the number of people at the table. It also has recipes for the basic sauces including pesto and how to make fresh pasta. This book took out all my fear of making fresh pasta and inspired me to make my own ravioli and gnocchi.

Some of my favourite recipes from this book are Coronation Prawn and Pasta Salad, the Insalata Mista made with fresh market produce and a light oil and vinegar dressing, Tomato and Mushroom Risotto, Stuffed Rice Croquettes made using leftover meat gravy, Pasta alla Marinara with Ginger with a lovely rich seafood flavour, and Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Pancakes. If you are new to gourmet Italian cooking, start with the Potato Gnocchi. It is easy but delicious.

Singapore Fling

Singapore Fling

I created this fruit punch when my son was about 10. He was complaining that at our dinner parties in Singapore, adults had a plethora of alcoholic drinks to choose from, but children had to make do with just Coke or fruit juice. I made this for our next dinner party for the kids, but adults enjoyed it even more. A friend’s daughter came up with the name Singapore Fling because I literally fling the ingredients together to create this delicious thirst quencher.

Goes well with movie night

Ingredients

Tropicana Orange Juice 2 litres
Lemon cordial 1/2 litre
Tropicana Pineapple Delight Juice 2 litres
Real Fruit Power mixed fruit juice 1 litre
Jimmy’s Cocktails Mango Chilli Mojito 1/2 litre
Tropicana Mango Delight Juice 1 litre
Roohafza or mixed fruit syrup 1 cup
Sprite 750 ml
Sparkling water 1 litre
Ice cubes
Mint leaves

Method

Mix all the ingredients in a punch bowl. Serve in cups with a sprig of mint each.

Spinach and Coriander Rice

Spinach and Coriander Rice

Winter vegetables in northern India beg for creativity in cooking. This is a popular dish that I cooked for the first time when a friend’s mom was visiting Singapore. Recently my gardener brought in a large bundle of spinach and coriander and I decided to make this dish again.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

Rice 3 cups, cooked
Spinach leaves 6 cups
Coriander leaves 1 cup, chopped
Garlic 4 cloves, sliced
Green chillies 2 chopped
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Oil 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method
Wilt the spinach leaves in dry nonstick pan. Remove from heat and let it cool. Grind it to a paste, using as little water as possible.

Add oil to a wok and add the garlic. Fry till the garlic slices become slightly brown. Add the spinach puree and the dry spices. Add the cooked rice. It is best if you cook the rice the day before and refrigerate it. Add the coriander leaves and toss it well.

Serve hot with homemade pickle or dal.