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Indian Style Savoury Rice
Here is a simple, versatile recipe for savoury rice which can be eaten on its own as a nutritious lunch, or as a tasty side dish with a main meal. Try it. I am sure you will agree that itís the Biz!
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11 November 2013

Ingredients

1 onion (finely chopped)

2 tbs sunflower oil

2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

1 birdseye chilli (chopped with seeds)

1 green bell pepper (chopped)

100 g (3Ĺ oz) mushrooms (sliced)

250 g (9 oz) Leftover chicken pieces (chopped)

1 tsp curry masala (details are given in the Chicken and Vegetable Curry recipe here)

250 g (9 oz) basmati rice

450 ml (1 US pint/16 oz) chicken stock.

50 g (2 oz) sultanas

Ĺ tsp salt

 

Method

Choose a medium sized saucepan with a lid.

Fry the onions in the sunflower oil until they soften.

Add the garlic, chilli, pepper and mushrooms. Stir fry until the mushrooms and pepper are cooked. Add the curry powder, salt, rice, sultanas and chicken pieces. Continue stir frying until the rice and chicken are coated with the spices and oil.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, cover with the lid and turn the heat down to minimum.

Do not remove the lid under any circumstances.

Leave to simmer/steam for 12 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave undisturbed for a further 6 minutes.

Remove the lid and stir to evenly distribute the ingredients before serving.

The quantities specified here are sufficient to make a healthy lunch for three people at about 530 calories per serving.

Leave out the chicken and use as a side for four people at about 300 calories per serving.

Experiment with different ingredients.  For example, use a 400g can of kidney beans instead of chicken for a vegetarian option.

Mulled Wine, Cider or Apple Juice
25 November 2013
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The Spicing

 

Push about 12 cloves into an eating apple and pop it into a small saucepan. Add two medium sized cinnamon sticks and the zest of half an orange.

 

 

The Liquor

 

Add to the spices either:

 

        75 cl (1Ĺ pints), apple juice for the teetotal version

         75 cl (1Ĺ pints) of still cider

         1 bottle of good but not premium quality red wine

 

Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes before straining into mugs.

 

If you use apple juice the drink should be sweet enough as it is. If you use wine or cider, you may like to add some sugar to taste.

 

If you are feeling particularly festive, a shot of dark rum or brandy adds some kick. It more than replaces any alcohol that might have been lost to evaporation.

 

Enjoy responsibly, this one will knock your socks off!

Here is another winter warmer for your delectation and delight. It is perfect for the Christmas and New Year holiday season. Whether you are tee total, or a hardened drinker, you will be able to partake of this seasonal libation.

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Luxury Black Forest Ham and Shropshire Blue Ravioli
09 December 2013

We are lucky in the UK these days. In the sixties and seventies our cuisine was looked down upon worldwide as bland and unimaginative. Since then, we have embraced the cuisines of many cultures. Our supermarkets and ethnic minority retail outlets (EMROTS) burst at the seams with exotic foods, herbs and spices. As a nation, we have become adept at mixing and matching flavours and techniques to create unique dishes.

 

The unique thing about this recipe is the particular ham and cheese flavour combination. Black Forest ham, as its name suggests, is made in Germany. It is claimed to be the best selling smoked ham in Europe. It is cheaper than prosciutto, and has a very distinct flavour. Shropshire blue cheese originates here in the UK. It is creamy and strong tasting.

Itís not often I am surprised by the taste sensation I get from a new dish. This one is an exception though. It really is a delight.

 

Ingredients

 

300 g (10Ĺ oz) Ď00í grade plain flour

 

3 large eggs

 

1 small onion (finely chopped)

 

4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

 

2 tbs olive oil

 

500 ml (1 pint) passata

 

1 tsp dried basil

 

200 g Shropshire Blue or any other strong blue cheese

 

200 g (7 oz) Black Forest Ham/prosciutto slices

 

Salt and ground black pepper

Making the Pasta

 

Put 300g of '00' grade plain flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Crack three large eggs into the well and lightly whisk.

 

Gradually combine the flour until you have a sticky dough.

 

Knead the dough in the bowl until all the flour is incorporated and then tip out on a floured surface.

 

Continue kneading for a few minutes until the dough is smooth, with an even texture devoid of any air bubbles. Leave to rest for about 30 minutes.

 

In the meantime prepare the sauce.

 

 

The Sauce

 

Finely chop a small onion and fry it in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.

 

About half way through cooking, add four finely chopped cloves of garlic.

 

When the onions and garlic are done pour in 500 ml (1 pint) of passata and a teaspoon of dried basil.

 

Season the sauce to taste with salt and black pepper, then gently simmer for about 20 minutes before turning off the heat.

 

 

Making the Ravioli

 

It is easiest to use a pasta making machine and ravioli maker. Work about a quarter of the dough into a thin sheet (work down to the thinnest setting on your machine).

 

Cut the sheet in two and place one piece over the ravioli maker. Drop the former onto the sheet to make small pockets.

 

Now fill each pocket with some chopped Black Forest ham and a small cube of Shropshire Blue.

 

Lay the remaining piece of pasta on top and use a rolling pin to separate the Ravioli.

 

Repeat until all the dough has been used up.

 

If you donít have a pasta making machine you can use a rolling pin. Make sure you only use small (golf ball sized) amounts of dough so that you can roll it thinly without taking up too much space. Cut 75mm (3 inch) circles with a pastry cutter or the rim of a glass. Fill with ham and cheese before folding in half. Seal with water and crimp the edge with the tines of a fork.

 

Put the ravioli on a rack and allow to air dry for an hour.

 

Boil a large pan of salted water and bring the sauce to a light simmer.

 

Cook the ravioli in the boiling water for 6 to 8 minutes before draining and dishing out onto plates. Cover in the sauce and serve.

 

The recipe is enough to make about 48 ravioli to serve four normal people or two very hungry people.

 

I havenít calculated the calories for this one. It is too dependent on how generous you are with the filling. In any case, it is a bit decadent and probably ought to be reserved for special occasions.

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