Monday, October 21, 2013

Hallowe'en Soup

In Australia we don't tend to have fields of pumpkins lying waiting for us at this time of the year.  But when I made a pot of soup this week I realized that I must have been influenced by my recent indoctrination in the US.  This soup actually came about because I had a cauliflower that needed cooking, espied the butternut pumpkin and wondered how that would work. I cooked it as one would a standard vegetable soup and added cummin and turmeric as these are flavours I like with both cauliflower and pumpkin.  The amounts for the spices are indicative so please add what you would like.

It is my hommage from afar to the pumpkins in the US and to my fellow travellers who have allowed me to indulge in my fascination with the cult of the pumpkin. You know who you are!


1 butternut pumpkin
1/2 cauliflower
1 onion
Olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cummin
1 tsp turmeric
2 litres chicken stock
1 tbs Greek yoghurt per serve


Slice the onion
Peel and press the garlic
Peel and roughly chop the pumpkin
 Heat olive oil in a pan or pot large enough to contain the soup
Add onion and cook until soft
Add garlic, cummin and turmeric and mix
Add chopped pumpkin and stir
Break cauliflower into florets and add to mixture
Allow vegetables and spices to sweat for a while until flavours are mixed
Add the chicken stock
Bring to the boil
Reduce to simmer and simmer until all the vegetables are tender
Check for flavours and add more cummin and/or turmeric according to taste
If needed, simmer to incorporate extra spices
Blend until smooth
Place a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt in each serving bowl and add soup

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Butter Chicken

One of the real perks of working in Hawthorn was being able to go to my favourite student Indian place in Burwood Road (and previously in its tiny location in Glenferrie Road).  I loved their butter chicken.  I also used to be able to get a butter chicken simmer sauce from my local supermarket and make it at home.

Alas, I no longer work in Hawthorn and, what is worse, the simmer sauce is no longer on sale at my local supermarket. What to do?  Obviously I needed to work out how to make it myself.  I researched quite a few recipes but also found some Fern's butter chicken curry paste to use as a basis. I fear that traditional butter chicken is not a very healthy meal, but I tried to mitigate this by using light Greek yoghurt rather than the full fat yoghurt and cream I saw in some recipes, by leaving out the added salt and sugar, and by minimizing the amount of butter. I also left out the ground cashews because I didn't have any in the house.

I really enjoyed the resulting butter chicken. I served it with white rice and some vegetables (cauliflower, onion and green peas cooked with oil, turmeric and fenugreek and water). The vegetable recipe is for another time as I forgot to take any photos. But try the butter chicken recipe and let me know what you think.


1 kg skinless chicken thighs (about 7 thighs)
4 tsp Fern's butter chicken curry paste
1 lemon
300 gr light Greek yoghurt
100 gr unsalted butter
1 onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
50 gr tomato paste
400 gr crushed tomatoes


Combine the juice of the lemon and half the yoghurt and half the curry paste in a bowl
Roughly chop the chicken
Add to the mixture and mix thoroughly
Cover and marinade for at least 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 220c
Place the chicken and marinade in a flat baking dish
Bake for 15 minutes and put aside
Dice the onion and crush the garlic
Melt the butter in a pad on the stovetop
Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent
Add the tomato paste and the rest of the curry paste and stir through
Add the crushed tomatoes and blend together thoroughly
Add the rest of the yoghurt and stir through
Finally add the chicken and marinade mixture and stir
Cover and simmer until all the ingredients have combined and the chicken is tender.
You can see the difference in colour and texture between the mixture before it has simmered and the final product at the head of  the post.

Meatballs with Middle Eastern flavour

Readers of this blog know that I really love meatballs in every shape and form and am constantly experimenting with different combinations of flavours. Recently I felt like some lamb ones and thought that Lebanese type flavours would be the way to go.  The resulting meatballs were indeed yummy.

450 gr minced lamb
1 onion
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp sumac
Couple of grinds of black pepper
1 tbs pine nuts
1 egg
Olive oil


Place lamb in bowl
Dice onion and add to lamb
Chop parsley roughly and add to mixture
Add spices, pine nuts and egg and mix
Combine mixture thoroughly using hands
Using a dessertspoon and hands form meatballs
Roll balls in flour
Heat olive oil in pan
Add meatballs to oil and seal quickly
Continue to cook in pan turning regularly until cooked through
Enjoy with salad or vegetables

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

#blog12daysxmas Day 11 Citron salt chicken

I am very lucky to have a nephew who understands my love of food and cooking. This year for Christmas Bast gave me a few ingredients that I want to cook with.  One was citron sea salt flakes.  These sea salt flakes are the product of Cyprus and contain in addition to salt flakes turmeric and lemon flavour.  I love that these are products of the Mediterranean which is an area that Bast knows I love.

So I was wondering what to cook with them.  Then it hit me!  Abla's lemon chicken!  So that is what I did.  I did a variant of my variant of Abla's chicken using drumettes and citron salt.


10 chicken drummettes
2 teaspoon Citron salt flakes
250 ml lemon juice
1.5 tablespoons minced garlic (purchased prepared)


Preheat the oven to 220c
Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in a baking dish
Sprinkle citron salt over
Roast for approximately 30 minutes until browned
Meanwhile squeeze lemons and add minced garlic to resulting juice
Remove chicken from oven and pour over garlic and lemon mixture
Stir through
Cook for another 20 minutes.

I ate these chicken drummettes with a cucumber and tomato salad and they were delicious.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin