At the end of last month H. & I took off for a few days in Devon to celebrate my new doctor status! As dedicated readers will know, we love the British countryside — the perfect antidote to crazy capital chaos. The highlight for me as ever were the ponies! Thanks to E. & L. for their much-appreciated financial contribution that made this trip possible.🙂
Now that fall is here, sometimes you just crave a simple, healthy, fulfilling meal. That’s how I would describe this one. Both recipes come from Vij’s Indian Cuisine. The book says that they serve the two dishes together in their restaurant, so that is exactly what I decided to do as well.
We had this on a Monday and I made the soup the day before, so just had to warm it up. (This type of prep is something I am trying to do more of — I will get into it more in a future post). The soup is very gingery. It calls for 30g; I didn’t have quite that much so used around 25g. With 15-20 curry leaves, 1tbsp ground coriander, and 1 tsp cayenne as well, it’s pungent, but not offensively so. I liked it.
Onto the pakoras: I decided that pakoras for 6 would be too much, so modified the recipe to make enough for 4. Even so, I ended up with had a huge batch and was able to freeze 2/3 of them. You make them by combining chickpea flour, buttermilk, a potato (which I cut up and parboiled beforehand), cauliflower florets (most of a large cauliflower), hot peppers of your choice, ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and salt. What I liked about making these is that they were so easy to fry — I didn’t have to worry about them falling apart. As long as the oil is hot enough (a lesson I’ve learned the hard way over the past few years!), they are remarkably stable. You can also play around with the ingredients as well. As long as the flour/buttermilk ratio is ok, I think they are fine (the recipe calls for 3.5 cups gram flour to 2.5 cups buttermilk).
I served them with some plain Greek yogurt mixed with a bit of garlic and salt. These are so good — and freeze really well — that I am going to be making another batch very soon since cauliflower is so plentiful at the moment.
◌ Currently reading this (English title: Second-Hand Time). It’s very long — 700+ pages — but engrossing.
◌ Two ‘real crime’ podcasts: Untold is an absolutely brilliantly done story of one of the most horrific inciences of corruption in British history. Essential listening. Bowraville . I sped through both of them.
◌ Beautiful, especially the last paragraph: “When you leave the room, do not yell at the medical student who has a question. When you get home, do not yell at your husband. If he left his socks on the floor again today, it is all right.” (Via Cup of Jo).
Fall is here! The leaves are starting to change, the nights are closing in earlier and earlier, and days are feeling crisp and cooler. I love this time of year.
I have been itching to get back to cooking and sharing. In the first half of September, eating was about survival. There was no innovation or fun dishes, I just wanted to get something on the table. It was some of the most stressful times of my entire career. But, I’m on the other side now: I successfully defended my PhD thesis and am now Dr. saturdayedition! There might be an upcoming post with more reflections on this new stage of my career….or there might not be!
I’m now 10 days post-defense, but just starting to come out of my cocoon. I had (have) a huge “post-viva” (defense) to-do list that I will be working my way through for months. However, with a slightly less crazy schedule now, I hope to be cooking a lot of new dishes this fall.
I’m starting with this cake.
It caught my eye in the September edition of delicious magazine. The recipe comes from Edd Kimber, the winner of the inaugural season of the Great British Bake Off (RIP). The is very much a multi-stage cake. It’s not one that you mix up in one bowl and then forget about in the oven. No, there is lots to do: make the chai butter (hindsight: not worth it), make the salted caramel, simmer the pears, make the batter, bake the cake, cool it, make the icing, and decorate it. Whew. I made it over a 5-hour period (and the magazine says 40 mins hands-on time! Ha).
I had a bit of a disaster moment when I heated up the caramel and didn’t let it cool down enough before I started drizzling it over the cake — it melted some of the buttercream. Luckily I avoided any true disasters and put it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up again.
I’d rate this cake a 6/10: the icing was too sickly sweet for me and overall I found it a touch too much work. I don’t think the extra step of making chai butter was really evident in the taste. Also, despite cutting about 1/3 of the sugar in the icing, I found it too overpowering for me, though the taste of the base is quite good.
As usual, I’m often quite hard on things I made. I gave half of this cake to my friend/neighbour, D., and her husband and they seemed to love it (or were very polite!), and H. liked it too.
Delicious is no longer posting their recipes in real time, which is a shame. If anyone would like the recipe please let me know and I will take a photo of it for you!
◌ Last but certainly not least, I’m on a major binge of the podcast Chat 10 Looks 3. Big ups to my friend K for telling me about it! Don’t let the odd title put you off — this podcast is two Australian journalists talking about what they read, watched, ate, saw, etc. It’s fantastic. They are both extremely well-spoken and eloquent. Really loving it, although the recommendations I’m getting from them just keep getting longer and longer.
There are so many parts of the UK that are jaw-droppingly beautiful. Recently we got to experience another one of them: the western Lake District/west Cumbria. This visit was short and mostly sweet. Our job was to drop off my aunt J and her good friend L, who started the 190-mile Coast to Coast walk on Friday. After a horrendous drive north on Thursday (bank holiday weekend + rush hour), we were rewarded with a full day of excellent weather on Friday.
We managed to pack a lot in in just 24 hours. We did the first third of day 1 of the C2C, which took in some stunning views of the Cumbrian coast and Irish sea, and then turned back for St Bees as J and L continued on their way. That afternoon, we walked partway around the stunning Ennerdale Water before visiting a local pub for some yummy fish and chips. On Saturday morning we headed back south, down the loooong M6 (fortunately not nearly as much traffic), and back to London life.
This trip was really the last of the summer wine hurrah. It’s back to school now, and I’ve got a very busy first 2 weeks of September to prove it!
Having moved more than 6 times in the past 10 years, I’ve learned not to keep much. I’m not a collector of anything (yet), with one major exception: books and magazines. I find it hard to get rid of these. My rule for books is to give away what I would never want to read again, and I’ve recently devised a magazine rule too: only keep them for a maximum of two years. In a small flat with no storage, even that is pushing it.
So, 3-4 times a year I go through my collection, which is mostly delicious as I have a subscription, and rip out recipes I want to keep (yes, I know… old school). I do it seasonally so that I can better be in the time of year frame (no use sorting summer recipes in the middle of Feb.). I recently went through a bunch of late spring/summer ones and (re)discovered this recipe, which comes from the May 2013 issue of delicious.
This is one of those dishes that really grabs me. I love a cake (this blog is full of them), love millet, and the flavour combinations really seemed to work.
Here’s how to make it:
Put 125g millet in a pan with 300ml water and bring to a boil. Then, reduce and heat and simmer until cooked, ~15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile make the red pepper sauce: chop up 1 red pepper and put it in a pan with 1 tbsp maple strip, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, and a pinch of chili flakes. Cover and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes. The pepper will lose water and become tender.
When the millet is finished, mix it in a bowl with 1 can of drained and rinsed mashed chickpeas, 3 tsp Thai curry paste*, 4 tbsp chopped coriander, and 2 chopped spring onions. Mix together, and then form the mix into 6-8 cakes.**
Heat 1/2 cm of oil in a pan and fry the cakes in batches. Fry until they are golden.
Meanwhile make the dip: mix together 3 tbsp maple syrup and 2 tsp Dijon mistard.
Serve the cakes with the dip, red pepper sauce, and a side salad!
*Use your preferred curry paste, or make your own. It called for red but I’d run out of red so used green.
**Here’s the thing: there was a major flaw with this meal….the cakes did not want to stick together! There is no binding agent in them and even with a lot of pressing it was touch-and-go. The mixture may have needed to be colder.
As you can see from the pic below, at a certain point I sort of gave up. The cakes weren’t sticking together well and so I cooked the second half of the mix on its own. But guess what….the TASTE was spot on! We loved this meal. The sauce, composed of just mustard and maple syrup (3 tbsp), with a pinch of chili flakes, was SO good, and the red pepper sauce worked perfectly. While the cakes may have been a bit of a failure I wouldn’t call the overall meal that at all. Just a good lesson for me to stop being such a perfectionist and concentrate on what matters…delicious food.
Nova Scotia, you never disappoint. Ever. The 2 1/2 weeks sped by and H. and I had a packed but fantastic time. The air, the scenery, the water, the sunshine (perfect weather), the food (and drinks!), the sunsets, the people, the space…. did I mention the people?
I’m so lucky to call this place home and to have been able to visit frequently since I moved away.
“Yogurt cheesecake” doesn’t really capture the deliciousness that is this simple cake. I used the base cheesecake recipe here –which is a great staple base — but made it with strawberries instead of rhubarb.
I’m not quite sure what I was doing with the strawberries– I was sort of doing this without thinking. At first I thought about roasting them but ended up just putting them in a pan on the stove and simmering with some balsamic vinegar and sugar. The result was….well, basically jam. Ha! Not really what I was going for, but it worked taste-wise. If/when I make this again with strawberries, I would simply put them on raw. I think this would work well with pretty much any fruit!🙂