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Easy Indian food

Not-quite-bhurta and a simple dhal, served with rice and raita.


Yesterday before work, I soaked some yellow split peas thinking I would make a pea and ham bacon soup. But when I got home I was tired so I just reheated some quiche and promptly fell asleep on the sofa. Today I realised I had soaked more peas than I needed, so I decided to make a dhal tonight and save the rest for soup tomorrow.

While dhal can be delicious with rice or roti, I had an eggplant in the fridge so I decided to make Sabotabby‘s not-quite-bhurta AKA generic quick n’ dirty Indian eggplant. Then I steamed some rice and threw together a quick raita and an Indian style dinner was ready.
Serves 3-4, with lots of leftover dhal

Very Easy Dhal
I haven’t unpacked A Taste of India, by Madhur Jaffrey yet, but luckily there is a dhal recipe in this month’s Delicious, so I used that as a guide

4 cups of soaked split peas (about 1 and a half cups when dry)
1 can of diced tomato
2 cups water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
pinch of cardamom
pinch of salt

In a saucepan, heat the oil and add all the spices except the salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add the split peas, the tomato, and the water. Bring to the boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the moisture is absorbed and the peas are tender. Stir regularly to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot, and add extra water if needed. Add salt to taste, just before serving.
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Caramelized Kangaroo, Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Mash, and Pear Salad

Kangoroo is a very lean and somewhat gamey meat. This means that unless you are careful, it can come out pretty tough. One way around this is marinating. Another is to cook it so it’s either quite rare or stew it until tender, as anything in between tends to be pretty chewy.

This time, I marinated the meat in apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar for about 4 hours before cooking, then I caramelized the meat in the marinade to make a sweet and tangy dish. Because the meat was so flavoursome, I made a simple vegetable mash and a fresh tasting salad to accompany it. This dish requires fast cooking and paying attention, so it’s a good idea to make the mash and salad first.

Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Mash

1 large sweet potato
1/2 a cauliflower
1 tbsp olive oil

Dice vegetables into 5cm cubes, boil. Drain, add olive oil and salt and pepper, mash by hand. Use electric mixer for a smoother consistency, if desired.

Pear Salad

Two of the nicest meals I’ve had in the last few months were accompanied by a salad with fresh greens, cheese, and pears. Here’s my version of a pear salad:

2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 Lebanese cucumber
1 cup green beans
1 firm pear
Romano cheese, about 1 handful, grated or shaved
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and Pepper

Pear Salad

Wash spinach leaves. Steam or blanch green beans, top and tail. Cut cucumber lengthwise, first in half, then quarter, and eighth. Cut these pieces into 10 cm lengths. Cut pear in half, remove core, slice thinly, so that the pieces are almost transparent.

Lightly toss these ingredients together. Sprinkle on the Romano, and gently mix through. Drizzle the olive oil and the lemon juice over everything. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pear Salad

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Ginger Beer Cupcakes

Or, “Let’s see what I have in my pantry cupcakes”

I was still feeling peckish after dinner last night, and the good thing about muffins and cupcakes is that they are easy and quick to make. I had all the basics, but as I hadn’t planned to bake, I didn’t have any thing with which to flavour them.

But then I had a brilliant idea, possibly helped along by the (alcoholic) ginger beer we were drinking with dinner, and the fact that I’d recently read this recipe for chocolate and beer cupcakes, thus the idea for ginger beer cupcakes sprang out of my head fully formed. Just like Athena. (Okay, so I made it up as I went along. But it worked.)

ginger cupcakes

Strictly speaking, they are ginger beer and mandarin marmalade flavoured. But I accidentally put the marmalade away before I got the camera out.
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