Posts filed under ‘The 4 Velveteers’

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 20 comments

Raw Banana cutlets and Mix Friut Chutney for The 4 Velveteers!

I received a bag full of home-grown green/raw bananas from my mother’s backyard last week. I have never actually cooked anything with raw banana. My recipe search led me to this wonderful Raw banana and peas cutlet recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor.

These sinful cutlets made with cooked Raw banana, Green peas and a handful of spices make a very good party starter or a tea tine snack. It does not require any binding and are very easy to shape and fry. I tried a shallow fried version but the original deep fried version tastes better. The cutlets were crisp and crunchy and the raw banana-peas was a super hit ‘made-for each other’ combo. It is a keeper recipe and I am going to make it whenever I can lay my hands on raw bananas, even if it means some sinful-deep fried indulgence!

I made a few changes to the original recipe in the proportions of the ingredients to suit our taste.

I serve the Raw banana and peas cutlet along with a Mix fruit chutney (recipe follows) here for the 4- Velveteers challenge for August.

The 4 Velveteers  (started by Pamela, Aparna, Asha, and Alessio) is ‘A food bloggers monthly event spanning the 7 seas. Different cultures,different palates, different backgrounds are the best spices to excite our palates

I joined the group this month and the lovely Asha of Forkspoonknife challenged us to create a savory dish where fruit(s) play the lead role!

Here’s the recipe for the Raw banana and peas cutlet:

Ingredients:

7-8 green/raw bananas peeled, cubed and pressure cooked till soft

~3/4th cup green peas boiled and mashed

4-5 green chillies finely chopped

½ tsp Red chilli powder

½ tsp Amchur (Raw Mango) powder

1 tsp Garam Masala powder

1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Few sprigs coriander leaves, cleaned washed and finely chopped

A pinch of Asafoetida

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

 Method:

Mash the cooked green bananas.

Take the mashed banana and mashed peas in a mixing bowl.

Add all other ingredients except the oil.

Mix well.

Shape the mixture into round or heart shape cutlets.

Heat oil in a wok.

Deep fry the cutlets till golden brown.

Drain on an absorbent paper.

Serve hot with mix fruit chutney or any sauce of your choice.

 Mix fruit Chutney:

This mix fruit chutney was made in an attempt to save the fruits lurking in the fridge which were threatening to rot.

I have used up whatever fruits were available balancing the sweet and sour taste. I knew this would not have passed up as a jam, So to make it more flavourful I added some red chilli powder ,other spices and some refreshing mint leaves. The result was a fabulous Sweet-sour and spicy chutney which can be used as a dip for almost anything. I also had it as a substitute to tamarind chutney in pani puri!

Recipe for Mix fruit chutney:

Ingredients:

2 Golden delicious apples peeled and chopped

4-5 red plums chopped

3-4 canned pineapple rings chopped

5-6 dried figs chopped

5-6 dried apricots chopped

~ 2 candied Indian Gooseberries (Amla)

4-5 dried pitted prunes chopped

1/4th cup raisins

3/4 cup dates (Khajur) chopped

2-3 tsp Red chilli powder

2 tsp Garam Masala

1 tsp Black pepper powder

1 tsp Chaat masala

2tbsp apple cider vinegar

½ cup mint leaves chopped

Salt to taste

 Method:

Mix all the fruits fresh as well as dried in a deep pan along with ~1/2 cup of water.

Cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring in between and adjusting the water as required.

Add the spices, salt and vinegar and cook for another 15- 20 minutes or till all the fruits are mushy and cooked.

Set aside to cool.

Run in a blender along with the mint leaves to a smooth chutney consistency.

Serve with cutlets or chips, puris, crackers or crudities or use as a breadspread!

This chutney refrigerates well for about 1 week.

 

Please also checkout what the other Velveteers have created:

Aparna : Eggless Vegetable- Nut Loaf with a sweet and spicy Mango Jalapeno sauce

Pamela: Green Papaya Curry

Ken : Skillet Roasted Sweet n Sour Pork

August 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm 19 comments


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