Thursday, 28 May 2015

Comforting Mushroom Soup!

Hard/Bad day at work?

Mushroom Soup is synonymous to comfort, warmth, relaxation and things like that. All this time I thought making this soup from scratch can only be done in restaurants and requires high end skills! So wrong though! It's super easy. So easy and so quick. The only special requirement is a blender. And you will definitely end up with leftovers and have it for a couple of more meals.

Ingredients: Mushrooms (I used button mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms) chopped, white big onion chopped, garlic chopped, salt, pepper and stock cube (either vegetable or chicken), dash of olive oil, sour or fresh cream (optional)

1. Slightly heat up the pan with olive oil, add chopped onions and garlic.
2. Sweat the onions till a bit translucent and then add chopped mushrooms to it.
3. Let the mushrooms sweat as well and leave them until the mushrooms turn brownish.
4. Dissolve a stock cube in hot water.
5. Pour in the stock. Add enough hot water to cover the mushrooms well.
6. Turn the heat to medium and let it boil for a good 20-30 mins. Don't try to add any seasoning since a lot of the water will be evaporated.
7. Once the broth has had a good boil take it off the heat and try to cool it down a bit.
8. Use a simple blender and blend all the contents of the broth until nice and smooth.
9. Put the pot back on heat, at this point add your seasoning according to taste.
10. Add some fresh cream or sour cream according to preference and serve hot.
So, that is all you need to do and who doesn't like a nice bowl of mushroom soup after a hard day of work :)

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Meat balls are Amaze balls !!!

Another weekend comfort food, a result of lazy surfing through the internet. They called it Moroccan meat balls, I call them yummmmmm! It is way easier than you think and tastes amazing. And you can totally customize it your way. So, with a round of applause, I present: Amaze-balls ;)

For meat balls: Beef/Lamb mince (I used beef), finely chopped shallots/red onions, cumin powder, coriander powder, fennel seeds (optional, but gives that extra edge), parsley or coriander leaves, salt, pepper

For sauce: One onion chopped, a can of chopped tomatoes, chopped clove of garlic, cumin powder, parsley, eggs, salt, pepper

1. In a mixing bowl take the mince and add all the above mentioned spices.

2. Mix really well (preferably use your hands to mix them thoroughly) and form small balls of your preferred size. 

3. Get a pan nice and hot, splash a bit of olive oil and fry the meat balls until nice brown all over.
4. In another pan, alongside, heat a bit of oil and saute chopped onions and garlic with parsley.

5. Once a bit translucent add chopped tomatoes, cumin powder, salt and pepper. Mix well.

6. Add a bit of water and let it boil to form a thick sauce.
7. After it has come to boil, add the meat balls carefully in the sauce and let it boil away for 30 mins approx. Keep checking that the sauce does not become too thick and gets stuck at bottom.
8. After 30 mins and the meatballs are nicely coated with the tomato sauce, crack eggs into the gravy. Do not disturb and let it cook for 3-4 mins.

9. Sprinkle some parsley or coriander on top.  
10. Serve with either pitta bread, naan or maybe cous-cous.

Interestingly, these meat balls are also known as Kofta or Kefte. In India, we also have vegetarian-balls in creamy gravies. And the chinese food we get in India has something similar, Manchurian, we call it. I am not sure about its authenticity though. However, it's amazing how these meatballs could roll over the face of earth and cover such a distance (west end of Europe to east end of Asia)!
Well, hope you enjoy cooking this.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Roast Chicken Stuffed with Mushrooms

A really simple dish to begin with and a perfect weekend roast. There are a lot of recipes around the world and this shows how versatile a roast chicken can be. I took inspiration from Jamie Oliver's Roast Chicken and mixed Mushroom Stuffing dish, although I have not followed the recipe exactly. Here is how my Roast Chicken was prepared.

Ingredients: One whole chicken (preferably with skin), rock salt, table salt, bunch of thyme, mushrooms, onions, garlic, an egg, bread crumbs, oil/butter, red wine, coarsely grounded black pepper.

Procedure: Firstly clean the chicken properly and pat dry. Leave it aside until the stuffing is ready.

For stuffing, heat oil in pan. Add diced onions and chopped garlic and sweat it out a bit but not till brown. Add the diced mushrooms, salt, pepper and thyme (and/or any herb). Cook it until the mushrooms are done, take it off the heat. Mix in your bread crumbs and an egg.

Next, take the chicken, place it in the roasting tray and give it a good massage with oil and rock salt. Try to push the oil and salt mix in between the skin and flesh on the breast and back part of the chicken.

Use a small spoon to stuff the hollow of the chicken with mushroom mix. No need to seal the ends of the chicken.

Add a cup of red wine on top of the chicken. In a pre-heated oven, place the chicken for about 45 mins or until done, turning the chicken once in every 20 mins. Everytime the chicken is turned, baste it with the oil and wine mix from the tray.

Potatoes on the side: Wash big potatoes and cut them as you prefer with your chicken. Put them in a pan with cold water and put to boil. As soon as the water starts boiling remove from heat and drain the water. Put salt and oil as well as some herbs (optional) on the potatoes and put them in the oven to get the perfect chips. I had put my potatoes in the same tray with the chicken at around 20 mins to go so some potatoes take up the wine and chicken juices and some are simply roasted.

The interesting thing with a weekend roast is you have leftovers, almost always. This helps in getting over the Monday blues, as you know there is some nice roasted chicken in the fridge waiting to cheer you up. Try doing a stir fry or a sandwich with the leftovers or add a gravy along with the chicken !!