Archive for September, 2010

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Caponata recipe and a ‘Festive Giveaway’

The Monsoon is retreating (having a hail storm outside as I type this) but we are moving into another season of festivities. I am excited to host my first giveaway from CSN stores for the festive season.

CSN stores carries everything from Dining tables to cookware to shoes and bags .CSN stores has generously offered one lucky reader of My Foodcourt from USA and Canada a Gift certificate worth $60 to use on any of the CSN stores websites.

I would like all my readers to please leave a comment below this post letting me know what you like about this blog and what would you like to see more often on My Foodcourt. Please leave one comment per person along with your E-mail address. All you silent readers, now’s your chance to share your thoughts with me.:).

The Giveaway is restricted to USA and Canada readers and there may be international shipping charges in the case of Canadian addresses.

One lucky winner will be chosen randomly and the winner will be announced on 17th October 2010.

Here are the Giveaway details:

Gift certificate: A one-time-use certificate worth $ 60 at any of the CSN stores

How to enter: Leave a comment  with Email ID below this post letting me know what do you like about this blog and what would you like to see more often on My Foodcourt.

Giveaway closes: 16th October 2010, winner will be chosen on 17th October 2010.

Giveaway Valid for: Readers from USA and Canada (there may be international shipping charges in the case of Canadian addresses.)

A Special Thanks to CSN stores team for generously sponsoring this giveaway

§§§§§§§ ♥♥♥ ♪♪♪♪ ♥♥♥§§§§§§§

After the exciting  Giveaway now for an exciting Caponata recipe…..
Over the past few years Food blogging has changed my perspective about different cuisines. Chinese is no longer restricted to Hakka noodles and Fried Rice; Mexican is no longer just Tacos and Salsa; Italian is not just pizza and pasta. Surfing the various blogs each day has made me explore many vegetarian recipes beyond these popular dishes of that particular region.

Alessio  challenged us to make a Sicilian speciality-Caponata for this month’s Velveteer’s Challenge.

‘The 4 Velveteers was started by Aparna, Asha, Alessio and Pam, who are passionate about different cuisines and food in general. Each month, we will attempt a new dish and share our experiences and the recipes we used. If you’re interested in joining the Velveteers, please feel free to drop by our Google group
I have never made a Caponata before, so was quite intrigued by it.

Wikipedia describes Caponata as a Sicilian aubergine dish, a cooked vegetable salad made from chopped fried eggplant and celery seasoned with sweetened vinegar, and capers in a sweet and sour sauce usually served as an Antipasto.

In my quest for a simple Caponata recipe I came across this recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi. I loved the use of Harissa paste- the ‘Ottolenghi  treatment’ as the recipe says- in the traditional Caponata recipe. I had some Harissa seasoning which my brother had gifted me some time back. Also the addition of raisins was quite interesting. I did not have capers neither did I have red-wine vinegar. I skipped the capers and substituted the red-wine vinegar with white-wine vinegar. I also substituted the canned tomatoes with fresh blanched tomatoes.

The loved the array of colors that the vegetables brought to the Caponata. I love eggplants in most of its form but here the humble eggplant/ aubergine was transformed into a flavorful salad with just a few ingredients. The fresh celery leant a refreshing flavor to the Caponata and the harissa added the much desired tang. The raisins were a welcome ‘sweet’ addition to the already ‘tart-spicy’ caponata.

I also added some fresh Basil leaves, which for a change are in abundance right now. I served this delicious Caponata on Bite sized- Chilly rusks.

As recommended in the original recipe, it also makes a great sauce for pasta or couscous. It’s also delicious with cheese: try spreading it over rustic bread and topping with mature vegetarian pecorino, much like the English cheese and pickle sandwich.

I could not save the Caponata to be savored the next day but you might want to make an extra batch since it tastes better the next day!

Here’s the recipe:

Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi ‘s Caponata recipe

Ingredients:

2 slender Eggplants/ Aubergines diced

2-3 tender celery stalks cut on an angle into slices

1 small red pepper diced

1 onion diced

~ 3 small tomatoes blanched, peeled and chopped

Few green olives sliced

3 tbsp chopped parsley

~ 2 tbsp Fresh Basil leaves chopped

2 tbsp Harissa Seasoning

1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar

Handful of Raisins

½ tsp sugar

1 tsp Lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Red Chili flakes as required (optional)

2 tbsp Olive oil+2 tbsp sunflower oil

Method:

Heat both oils in a heavy-bottom pan or a non stick pan.

Add the diced aubergines and fry for 5-6 minutes till golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the aubergine to a colander and sprinkle with a bit of salt.

After a few minutes, transfer to soak on a paper towel.

Add the celery to the hot oil, fry for three minutes, add the pepper and cook for two minutes. Transfer to the colander, then to a paper towel.

Sauté the onion and harissa seasoning in the oil (add a little more to the pan, if needed) for seven minutes, until soft and golden.

Drain off any excess oil from the pan, add the tomatoes and vinegar, stir and bring to a simmer. Add the fried vegetables, olives and sugar, and season.

 If the mix is too dry, add a few tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat taste and adjust the seasoning.

Add the raisins.

Leave to come to room temperature, add the lemon juice and parsley,basil leaves and Red chilli flakes(if using)

Serve with sliced baguettesor garlic bread or some spicy rusks as I did.

Thanks Alessio for introducing me to the delicious Sicilian favorite, I am going to try several other versions in several different ways from now on.

Do Check out the various versions of the Caponata on the other Velveteer’s blogs:

 Aparna’s Eggplant and Fig Caponata

Asha’s Sicilian Caponata over Zatared lavash

Sarah’s Caponata- A Sicilian Relish

Veena’s Sicilian Caponata

Ken’s Caponata jam

                                      

September 29, 2010 at 4:23 pm 17 comments

Petite Lemon Meringue Pies

This is a very quick post, but I had to make something for Aparna’s -Bite Sized desserts for Sugar High Friday. Life has been very very hectic here and so I could not manage to send my entry by Friday. Aparna has been very kind and is accepting my late entry too. Thanks Aparna for hosting as well as extending the deadline for me. :)

Petite Lemon Meringue Pies- I found the name itself quite refreshing when I first saw the recipe in the book Petite Sweets by Beatrice Ojakangas. Incidentally, I won this book (some time back) at a Giveaway hosted by Aparna. I have been meaning to post some of the recipes I have tried from this lovely book but somehow have not been able to do that.

Bite sized desserts for Sugar high Friday was the perfect occasion to make one of the cute looking desserts from this book and to Thank Aparna for introducing me to the cute bite sized dessert wonderland.

I chose the Petite Lemon Meringue Pies since I had a bottle of Lemon curd (from Fabindia) saved for a ‘Special Occasion’. I also had some homemade Mascarpone,I found Lemons (not limes) at the local supermarket and I had some petite glass bakeware. The only apprehension I had was the meringues, since I have never made one and did not know how ‘eggy’ it would taste. My doubts were put to rest the moment I took out the first pie from the oven and my son instantly gave a Thumbs up to the pie.

I made a small batch of 8-9 petite pies (I actually halved the original recipe). I had some problems with the temperature and the meringues were browned more than I would have liked, but the refreshing citrusy flavor of the pies more than made up for that. My photos do not do much justice to the sinful lemony morsels, but they are absolutely delightful, so go on and try the recipe and let me know about it.

Meanwhile I am sending this to my dear Friend Aparna for Bite Sized Desserts.

Here’s the recipe:

As adapted from Petite sweets by Beatrice Ojakangas

(I halved the recipe and got about 8 small Lemon pies)

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

3/4th Cup All purpose flour

2 tbsp butter cut up (I used salted butter)

1 tsp sugar (I used Vanilla sugar)

 1 small eggyolk

½ tsp fresh Lemon juice

2 tsp ice water

For the Lemon filling:

½ cup Lemon curd

½ cup Mascarpone at room temperature

For the Meringue:

1 Eggwhite

1 tbsp sugar

Method:

For the Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 200oC  or 400oF.

Prepare small muffin pans or like I used petite glass bake ware.

Pulse the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor till it resembles coarse meal.

Turn mixture into a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl mix together egg yolk,lemon juice and icewater.

Sprinkle the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and mix till the dough holds together without being sticky or wet.

Knead and shape into a ball.

Flatten into a disk, wrap and chill for 30 mins.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about ¼-inch thickness.

With a 3-inch round cookie cutter cut rounds and fit into the muffins/baking moulds.

Pierce bottom with fork and for ~10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Cool before filling.

For the lemon filling:

Beat the Lemon curd and Mascarpone till smooth.

Spoon about 1 tbsp of the mixture into each of the baked pie shells.

For the Meringue:

Preheat oven to 180oC or 350oF

Meanwhile, beat the egg white until frothy.

Gradually beat in the sugar until the mixture is glossy- meringue like.

Spoon or pipe the meringue onto each pie and bake for ~ 10 minutes (it took~12-13 minutes for me) or just until lightly browned.

Cool and serve.

September 26, 2010 at 10:47 am 3 comments

A Festive Tea party

Last One month we having been celebrating one festival or the other and the festivities still continue with the Ganesh festival. I am not a typical ‘rituals person’ but enjoy the festive food that is prepared during the festivals. We have been indulging in all kinds of traditional feasts and still continuing with it maybe for another month! As my grandmother would say ‘you do not think of the calories during these feasts’. Homemade fresh sweets and savories (majority made with homemade ghee (brown butter) are stored in steel containers luring you with their delectable aromas each time you pass by! I have decided to give up concern for my growing waistline till the festivities last and indulge in the feasts without any guilt! :)

Last week we celebrated the festive season with some family friends over to our house for high tea. Usually this is referred to here in the local language as Faraal (snacks) instead of tea party. A variety of Indian savories and sweets are served along with tea or coffee. Given our guests’ festive diet restrictions we decided to have dishes without onion and garlic, which was really difficult for an onion-garlic addict like me.

Apart from some fried crispies we had Tamarind Poha and Sweet Corn Appe (recipe below) as the main snacks along with some Mint-lemon Tea for the tea party. I do not have the photos of the actual party since I was very busy making and serving hot Corn Appe , so these are all ‘after’ photos with whatever leftovers I had.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I had some 2 kgs of corn to be used up, I made a no onion- sweet corn version of Appe. Appe are small round savoury steamed cakes usually made with the Idli batter and spices to enhance the flavor. An Appe mould or tava as it is called (Aebleskiver pan) is a must for making these delightful little balls of goodness.

The Sweet corn added a lovely crunch to the spicy appe and I did not miss the onions at all. Infact, everyone asked me for the recipe. A simple sweet corn twist in the recipe changed the taste of the humble appe!

I served mint-lemon tea along with the snacks. This was a welcome change from the traditional double boiled, tannin loaded dark brown tea that is normally served with Faraal.

My small high tea party is going to be a part of the Big Tea Party at A Mad Tea Party hosted by the wonderful Anita. I love her yearly parties and thanks Anita once again for a lovely theme!

 

Here’s the recipe for the Sweet Corn Appe:

For about 10 Appe

Ingredients:

1 cup Idli batter (I used readymade)

½ cup Sweet corn kernels

3-4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

2-3 tsp green chilli paste (adjust to your taste)

Salt to taste

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 tsp oil for the tadka(tempering)

more Oil for shallow frying the Appe.

Method

Mix together the idli batter, sweetcorn, coriander leaves, chilli paste and salt.

In a small pan heat 2 tsp oil and add the mustard seeds and heat till they crackle.

Add the mustard seeds+oil to the above batter.

Mixwell.

Heat the Appe pan/tava.

Drop spoonfuls of the batter into each round mould in the pan.

Drizzle little oil from the sides of the batter.

Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes on low heat or till the lower part of the Appe turns golden.

Turn each Appe with a wooden skewer (if using non stick pan) and cook on the other side for another 5 minutes.

Insert the skewer and test the Appe for doneness. (The batter should not stick to the skewer).

Serve hot with chutney or sauce.

Note:

I used readymade Idli batter since I had to make ~ 50 Appe’s.

My mom makes a version of Appe with a mixture of daals and rice for the batter. So you can also add a mixture of Daals instead of just Urad daal to the batter.

Corn- ذرة on Foodista

September 15, 2010 at 10:42 am 7 comments

A Savory Sweet Punch- Golden Onion Corn Quiche

Managed to get this month’s Sweet Punch challenge made just in the nick of time. Having missed the last month’s challenge, I did not want to miss this one, that too, a savory bake. This month Ria challenged us to a Savory Sweet Punch- Golden onion Quiche.

This month’s challenge seemed quite simple and I had all the ingredients. The moment I saw it I had decided to do it right away instead of the usual last minute rush! I made the Quiche –photographed it- wrote a post about it… all in my mind! :)

Everyday I kept thinking there’s still time for the posting date. Shravan festivities made the Quiche schedule take a back seat until finally yesterday I realized that its already the 6th and I had to bake the Quiche ; procrastination still rules here as far as Food events are concerned. Reminds me of my exam days in the college. :) Now I have decided to do the next month’s challenge way ahead of the posting date; and the cycle continues….

Ria wanted us to bake a simple Golden Onion Quiche. Her recipe used Chicken along with the caramelized onions; I substituted that with Sweet corn (I had 2 kgs of Sweetcorn given by a friend waiting to be used up!) and spiced it up with sliced green peppers on top.

I also added some Buckwheat flour which Deeba sent to the Quiche pastry shell. I almost halved the recipe for the filling and this gave me four mini Quiches + a small muffin sized Quiche.

I served The Golden Onion Corn Quiche for dinner along with a red bell pepper soup and some Zucchini crispies! My Quiche crust was a little crumbly, maybe due to the addition of the Buckwheat flour. The caramelized onions paired very well with the sweetcorn in the rich cheesy filling. It is a perfect recipe for a simple weeknight dinner.

Thanks Ria for the lovely recipe, I had great fun (though last minute) doing it!

Here’s the recipe:

Golden Onion Corn Quiche

Ingredients:

 For the pastry:

150 gms All Purpose flour/Maida

50 gms Buckwheat Flour

100gms Butter (frozen) (I used salted butter and skipped the addition of salt)

1/4 tsp Baking powder

1 egg beaten

 For the filling:

3 medium sized onions chopped

½ cup sweet Corn kernels

½ cup milk

½ cup Cheddar Cheese grated

2 eggs beaten

2 tsp oil

Chopped green chillies/peppers for topping (optional)

Salt and black pepper powder as required

Method:

I first made the filling and then the pastry

For the filling:

Heat oil in a pan.

Add the onions fry till they caramelize.

Add the Sweet corn and fry for another 5-6 minutes.

Take off from the flame.

Slightly cool and mix in the remaining ingredients for the filling except the green chillies if using.

Keep aside and make the pastry shell.

 For the pastry:

Preheat the oven to 180oC

Sieve Maida and baking powder together.

Add the Buckwheat Flour.

Grate in the butter and mix it with the flour with your fingertips till it resembles coarse sand.

Add in the beaten egg and gather it into a soft dough. (Use a few drops of ice cold water if does not gather together, I did not need the water)

Roll it out on a lightly floured surface and lift it up carefully and line the tin/tins that you will be baking it in. For mini Quiches roll I made 4 balls of the dough and rolled out each ball separately and then lined the tins.

Press the dough evenly to line the tin for the pastry shell and make sure make sure the dough comes a little way up the sides, so that it can hold the filling.

Pour in the filling in all the pastry cases and top with the green chillies.

Bake in the preheated oven till golden brown. (it took about 35 minutes for me)

Cool in the tin completely and then serve it in wedges.

Drop in here to see some more versions of the lovely Golden Onion Quiche.

September 7, 2010 at 8:04 pm 9 comments


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