Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Tagliatelle with Seafood

Tagliatelle with seafood in a light lemon butter sauce.

Fresh pasta is hard to beat. It is easily available in supermarkets and cooks in minutes.

This was a lemon pepper tagliatelle, half a Dungeness crab, a pound of fresh shell on prawns, and a few snails thrown in. It took 10 minutes to put together, tasted delicious, and needed just a glass of wine to accompany it.

The recipe is the most versatile and can be prepared with pantry ingredients. The choice of anything lemon, any flavour of liquor, wine, chilli, will all result in a delightful seafood pasta.






Serves 4

4 nests of  fresh lemon pepper tagliatelle

deep pot of salted boiling water with a tablespoon of olive oil

125 g/4 oz salted butter or garlic butter

olive oil

454 g/ 1 lb deveined prawn with shell

12 snails

454 g/ 1 lb Dungeness crab in the shell in pieces

1 crushed garlic clove

1 teaspoon of fresh green herb of choice

salt and pepper to season

pinch of red chilli flake or alternate

white or rose wine

sherry or brandy

lemon juice or lemon liquor

1 tsp mustard

1/4 cup heavy cream

For the sauce:

Melt the butter and a drop of olive oil. While it is bubbling, add the shrimp and cook them for 5 minutes, turning just once. Remove and place in a dish.

Add the snails and cook for 5 minutes. Shake the pan to keep them moving. Add the crab in pieces, and let it cook for just 2 minutes. Add the garlic and a teaspoon of finely chopped herbs of your choice—tarragon, parsley, coriander, chives would all go well. Add the prawns back to the pan, lightly salting all over. Add a touch of red pepper from your pantry: paprika, chilli flakes, siracha sauce, chipotle, ancho chilli, tabasco, bomba mix; the choice is yours to pick from.

Add a splash of white wine or rose, and a splash of sherry. Add a tablespoon of yuzu lemon liquor, limoncillo, or fresh lemon juice. A teaspoon of mustard. A good glug of cream and let it all come together. Boil it for a minute. Add the ready pasta, one spoonful at a time, mixing it all in. A tablespoon or two of the pasta water will add to the flavour and help the sauce stick to the pasta. Allow the pasta to soak up the sauce. All of this should take a maximum of 5 to 7 minutes, otherwise everything will be overcooked. Serve in 4 pasta bowls with freshly cracked pepper, or Japanese nanami togarashi spice powder, or simply Parmigiano Reggiano.

This cannot be reheated. Buon appetito!

Photo credit Niloufer Mavalvala

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

Monday, 5 September 2022

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Roasted vegetable salad

Eggplant-red pepper-chickpeas-onions

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

 

These are my favourite ingredients for a salad that has no greens, makes a healthy lunch and can sit at a buffet table for hours without wilting away. The star ingredient in this is the pomegranate vinaigrette. The tides are changing as many of us are making a conscious effort to eat more vegetarian food in our daily meals. I see it more as a necessity and less of an option moving forward.

Last week I threw an evening soiree for friends visiting. They are vegetarian. It was rather challenging to prepare a table laden with food that was not all cheese-based, the easy option. It was quite a success, and hopefully next time round it will be easier to think up a menu.





In a jar, to photograph the details and the perfect way to carry it to a potluck or a hostess gift.


The food from the left hand corner - roasted vegetable salad served in a bowl, watermelon feta and olive salad, my selection of cheese board with dry fruits, nuts, grilled artichokes, hummus, crackers, crusty bread and butter. Deconstructed papayta na pattice ( layers of egg, green coconut chutney and mashed potatoes, baked and grilled, yoghurt with toum and cucmber served with garlic pita and baby cucumbers. Walnut Mocha Torte and lemon cheesecake with fresh strawberries and a savoury roulade with a sherry mushroom sauce. Prunes soaked in caramel brandy. Most of the recipes are available on the blog. 


Serves 12 at a buffet

2 large Sicilian eggplants

2 red peppers

1 medium onion

1 1/2 cups of chickpeas

1 tsp salt

2 cloves of garlic

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp pomegranate preserves

2 tbsp of fresh mint

Sumac and fresh mint to garnish

 

Chop or slice the eggplant, toss this in a touch of oil and place on a baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper to avoid sticking.

On a tray lined with foil, roast the whole peppers, lightly brushed with oil. Alternately, use roasted red peppers from a jar. 

Place the vegetables in the oven at 190C | 375 F for 45 minutes. Remove the tray of eggplant, and sprinkle with salt. Leave aside. 

For the peppers, pull up the sides of the foil to cover the peppers, and return them to the oven for another hour, leaving them to sweat with the oven turned off. Remove and peel the blistered skin off and cut into pieces.

Prepare the chickpeas (see tips)

In a small pan, warm the olive oil with the thinly sliced or hand chopped garlic. Allow this to simmer for 5 minutes. Do not boil it. Remove this from the stove, allow it to cool for a minute, then add the pomegranate preserve and mint. Mix it well.

To assemble, toss the eggplant, pepper, and chickpeas together with the vinaigrette. Garnish with fried or roasted onions (birista) and fresh mint. Season with sumac. Serve. 

 

Tips

Roasting the vegetables at the same time, on different trays, is economical. Chickpeas in a can (I prefer bottled) must be drained and washed to remove the preservatives required for canning.

Alternatively, you can soak the chickpeas and cook them for an hour or two in salted water, until tender. drain and use it.

Pomegranate preserves are made up of sugar, lime juice, cumin, and a fresh red chilli that is not hot or spicy. You can make your own by adding pomegranate molasses to a sweet chilli jam.

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala 

and Zavare Tengra.

Friday, 19 August 2022

Tomato Chutney

Tomato Chutney

Tamota ni chutney

 

A favourite of my mother, Shireen, this was prepared each year toward the end of winter when fresh tomatoes were in full season. We often grew our own, and the abundant crop ensured its way into our jars, shared among family and friends.

My mother, the perfectionist, made one of the best tomato chutneys-this was a given. But what I did not realise then was how the simple ingredient list was a reflection of my Persian heritage. The addition of warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and black pepper and the local kishmish raisins makes this recipe unlike most other recipes that Parsi cookery books share. And now, with some help from my cousin Hormuz, I have managed to get it exactly the way I enjoy it. 

An incredible flavour accompaniment with rus chawal, bheeda per edu, and papayta per edu, as well as any kind of green bean.




Makes  3 kg/ 6.6 lb


1 cup apple cider or fruit vinegar

40 g/1.5 oz red chilli powder 1/2 cup or 4.5 tbsp

1 long cinnamon stick

2 tsp salt

50 g/  2 oz thinly sliced ginger slivers - the size of a thumb

500 g/ 1.1 lb sugar

2 kg/ 4.4  lb fresh tomatoes

250 g/ 8 oz kishmish, soaked in water for an hour

 

Optionally add

115 g / 4 oz crushed jaggery

in a spice bag, place a few cloves, black peppercorn and cardamom pods


Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and place them in a deep cooking pot with a thick bottom to keep them from sticking.

Add the sugar, salt, and cinnamon, ginger, and chilli powder. 

Use a wooden spoon to stir. mix off and on. Keep boiling to reduce it to a sticky chutney. Check that it is not stuck.  After 90 minutes, add the vinegar and the kishmish. Continue cooking for another hour. 

When the chutney is nice and sticky and easily leaves the bottom of the pan while stirring, turn the stove off.  Allow to cool before storing in glass jars.

Tips

Fresh large tomatoes in season work best for this chutney. Traditionally, the Arka Saurabh-long variety of tomatoes was used.

Jaggery gives the chutney an additional glaze, and allows it to thicken easily. 

You can adjust the red chilli powder to enhance the heat of the chutney. It is the warm spices that give this chutney the warmth in the flavours. 

Using the potli-spice bag of warm spices helps it be easily discarded after the chutney has cooked. 

Kishmish is a dry, green, long, seedless raisin. It is sweet and juicy and is typical in foods prepared according to recipes of Persian origin. 


My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.


Thursday, 21 July 2022

Liver with Preserved Kumquats and Cognac


Liver with Preserved Kumquats and Cognac

This recipe has been developed for Le Bon Magot to include their Kumquat Preserve. 

Chicken liver is simple to cook and packed with vitamin B and iron. It's an acquired taste that not all of your friends will appreciate. 

The chicken liver must be fresh, washed and cleaned properly of all the fat. Using a pair of kitchen scissors does the job very well. Leaving it slightly pink ensures it will be moist. 





Serves 12


2 tbsp garlic butter or butter and fresh garlic
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp crushed powdered cloves or nutmeg
stir for minute and add
500 g/ 1.1 lb chicken liver 
season with salt
2 tbsp cognac
1 tbsp kumquat

In a pan, melt the butter, garlic, mustard, and spices. Stir and add the chicken liver and salt. Saute` until the liver is half cooked. Add the cognac and shake the skillet. Toss in the kumquat preserves to coat the liver completely. Continue to cook it on a high flame for a few minutes, allowing the liquid to evaporate. Do not overcook. Remove it from the flame.
Place the liver on a cutting board and roughly chop .
In the same pan, stir in125 ml/ 4 oz of cold cream cheese to thicken the gravy to a soft butter consistency.
Lather this on toast. Place the pieces of chicken liver on it sprinkle with shallots. Drizzle more kumquat preserve.
Serve warm with a radish salad on the side.

Tips

Chicken liver cooks quickly and can become overly dry when overcooked. 
Prepare the toasts before adding the spread and liver on it.
Serve immediately-do not reheat.

 Photo Credit Niloufer Mavalvala

Scallops -Asian flavour infused

Scallops—Asian flavour infused

A recipe developed for Le Bon Magot that includes their Kumquat Conserve

Fresh scallops smell like the ocean breeze. They can have a bag of orange roe attached to themwhich is delicious to eat and not to be discarded. Cooking them in butter or brown butter-beurre noisette adds to the deliciousness. The kumquat comes through vibrantly with the addition of orange juice.




Serves 4 

340 g - 3/4 lb fresh sea scallops
sprinkle of Nanami Togarashi
2 tsp salted butter

Wash and pat dry the scallops. Sprinkle with Nanami Togarashi.
In a skillet, heat half the butter until it sizzles and foams. Add half the scallops. Cook over high heat until the scallop has caramelised. Turn and cook the other side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining butter and scallops.

To prepare the sauce/vinaigrette in a pan, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 7 minutes. This should become slightly thick and sticky enough to coat the back of the spoon.
2 tbsp sake
2 tsp le bon magot kumquat conserve
1.5 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp light tamari soya
1/3rd cup orange juice
1 small piece of fresh ginger to infuse
1/2 tsp wasabi powder

To assemble
Pour the sauce as needed over the scallops; sprinkle with seaweed salt, crushed nori, and toasted sesame seeds. 
Add a side of daikon radish also with a drizzle with the same vinaigrette, zucchini flowers if available.

Tips
Yuzu sake is a good option if available.
No salt is needed in this recipe as the ingredients seem to have enough.
The sauce has plenty of umami flavour. I found the ginger really helped round up the flavours.

The kumquat comes through vibrantly with the addition of orange juice.

Allow the butter to foam up before placing the scallops to the pan.



Photo credit Niloufer Mavalvala

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Chicken Tagine

 Chicken Tagine 


A certain mystique still surrounds the Tagine, its magical charm continues to enchant the foodies of the world. What was once concentrated in certain corners of the world is now flowing freely everywhere. It is being promoted, its mystery being unveiled by many top chefs. It is being adapted in fusion cuisine and the presence of tagines are  being felt very strongly in the culinary world. An elegant way of presenting your food, a healthy way of cooking it, simplicity and glamour all rolled into one.



1 kg/ 2.2 lb chicken pieces, bone -in that are patted dry. 

Dry Spice Mix

1 stick of cinnamon
10 to 12 cloves 
10 to 12 black peppercorns 
1tsp paprika 
2 long dry red chillies 

½ tsp saffron, dry roasted 
1tsp salt 
¼ tsp brown sugar 

2 +1 tbsp brown butter -smen
4 thinly sliced garlic cloves 
1 small fresh piece of ginger smashed
1 tbsp honey 
1 dry bay leaf 
1/2 cup fresh herbs coriander and parsley work best. 
57 g/ 2 oz olive oil
1 cup of chicken broth 
1 finely chopped fried onion 
A preserved lemon 
125 g/ 4 oz fresh green olives 

 
 Dry roast in a pan the dry spice mix -  grind until fine and then add the dry roasted saffron, salt and brown sugar. 

Prepare the Marinade  
In a bowl make a paste with ground spices adding the brown butter  -smen, garlic, ginger and honey .

Apply the marinade liberally to the chicken pieces and leave to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

In a skillet heat more smen brown butter, and a little olive oil. Fry the chicken pieces; (try to keep the marinade in the bowl until later as it burns easily). 
Add the left over marinade, plus a bay leaf and the finely chopped herbs, The chicken broth, fried onion, the preserved lemon and the fresh green olives. Cover and cook for 30 minutes until cooked through. Transfer to the tagine ready to reheat and serve. 
Sprinkle with additional coriander and parsley. 

Tips
You can cook the chicken in the Tagine in your oven covered for the last 30 to 45 minutes on a 350F/180C oven instead of the stove top after it has been browned. 

Saffron is generally crushed and placed in a little warm water to blossom before adding. Alternatively you can dry roast it - be extra careful as it will burn easily.
While its wonderful to be generous, excessive saffron can bring a bitterness to the food. Store saffron in the refrigerator. 


Smen is a very important part of the flavour. Preparing smen; melt a stick of butter over the stove on a low simmer for 30 minutes. The butter will separate and there will be brown residue. Pour into a glass bowl or measuring cup and use as needed.  This will keep well in the refrigerator. Use the remainder in your soups, rice and other cooked foods.
Lemon pickle is available in larger supermarkets in the deli section. It can be a whole lemon or just pieces. If you wish to make it yourself it is best to pick the smallest lemons available. For best results buy the lemon with thin skin. Add 1 tsp of salt to the bottle, tightly seal and leave it to cook in the sun. Shake it daily. This will take a week. Refrigerate and use as needed. If you do not have access to it, used the zest of a lemon for flavour.

From Niloufer's Kitchen: Moroccan Cuisine

Friday, 15 July 2022

Lobster Salad

 Lobster Salad


This recipe was developed specifically for Le Bon Magot  using their delicious Kumquat Conserve. It is a versatile product that pairs well with seafood and can be enjoyed on buttered toast. It is delicious in a gin and tonic or another cocktail of choice. 

Lobster meat can be replaced with fresh crab meat, prawns, or scallops if preferred.



Serves 4

Using the whole lobster, this will serve 6 to 8. 

4 small (1.5 lb each )  lobsters that are steamed, cleaned and the tail left whole, while the claws are in chunks.

Vinaigrette
8 tsp olive oil
4 pinches of salt
4 tsp kumquat conserve
4 tsp white balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp sweet white Muscato wine

Ribbons from 2 small baby courgette/zucchini
2 cupful of micro greens
1 ruby red grapefruit - cleaned 
4 red radish in thin slim pieces

To assemble
Drizzle the vinaigrette evenly over four plates. 
Place the ribbons of courgette, and place all the cut pieces of lobster in the centre on top with the microgreens. Place the whole lobster tail. Place the grapefruit around sprinkled with the radish slims. Serve with freshly cracked pepper.

Photo credit Niloufer Mavalvala

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Zucchini and Nut Loaf Cake

Zucchini and Nut Loaf Cake 

Every recipe tells a story. This cake always amazes people and tends to become a conversation piece! The zucchini keeps it moist, and it makes a light, fluffy dish that is not very sweet. A perfect tea cake. If you must ice it, a cream cheese frosting makes the perfect match. My family eats it with a slice of cheddar. The one in the picture is a sage cheddar, which pairs well.





  • Bakes 1- 8 inch /20cm loaf pan

  • butter and flour the pan

  • Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C


  • 2 eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 1/3 cup yogurt

  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 ½ cups + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • ½ tsp. baking soda

  • ½ tsp. sea salt

  • 2 tsp. cinnamon powder

  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts

  • 1 ½ cups green zucchini, grated with skin

Whisk the eggs until light. Add the sugar and continue beating; drizzle the oil in a gentle stream. Add the yogurt and vanilla extract.
Lower the speed to stir and add a third of the dry ingredients—flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon mixed in with the walnuts.
Add all the zucchini and add the rest of the dry ingredients, ensuring everything is combined but not overbeaten. Pour into a prepared cake pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the tester comes out clean.
 
Tips
Check the cake at 35 minutes. If the centre is still not baked through, cover it lightly with a piece of foil to avoid getting darker. Reduce the heat to 175C| 350F and bake for 10 minutes more.
Test the deepest part with a skewer to make sure it's clean.



Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.





































Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Chocolate and Strawberry Tart

Strawberry and Chocolate Tart

My mum prepared this delicious delight to perfection. She lovingly placed each strawberry  to bring the flower to life. I shall cherish the memory of her gentle hands working with passion as she created something she loved. 


 



Prepare a  23 cm /9-inch tart pan
Preheat the oven to 165 C| 350 F

Dry ingredients

1 cup flour - plain or almond
1 cup ground almond
3/4th cup sugar
A pinch of salt
1/3rd cup salted butter
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

With the tips of your fingers or two butter knives, mix together all of the dry ingredients, - cutting in the pieces of butter until it resembles crumbs.

Mix the yolks and vanilla and pour them into the crumbs. Lightly bring it all together. It will resemble dough. Do not overwork.

Alternately, use a food processor, working with only the pulse button.  

Flatten the pastry onto the base of your prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until a light shade of golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.

Chocolate Ganache

125 g/ 4 oz dark chocolate
1/2 tbsp butter
125 ml/ 4 oz  or half cup whipping cream - 35 % fat 
1/2 tbsp sugar
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cognac

24 strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut as desired to decorate.

In a pot, preferably a double boiler, melt the chocolate with the butter. Mix in the cream, sugar and salt. When all of it comes together, add the vanilla and cognac. 
Cool until it is the right consistency to pour over the pastry but not too thick to apply.
The chocolate must be set yet soft enough to place the strawberries into it if desired.


Serve immediately or chilled

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is an award-winning book. It was self-published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking: Reviving an Ancient Cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through Amazon Book Depot, Book Depository, and from the publishers.

Monday, 13 December 2021

Cheese Souffle

                                                   Cheese Souffle



Cheese Souffle

 

Souffle, mousse and custards have been adopted into the Parsi cuisine repertoire from our colonial days. Often a ‘party’ dish, a savoury souffle was rare to be served. Cheese was expensive and hard to come by, and large families meant delicate foods like freshly baked souffles were only meant for treats. I recall an aunt adding potato to her cheese souffle and another adding corn.
The flavour is subtle, and yet the cheese should come through properly. With such a large variety of cheese now available, pick a sharp cheddar that melts well for best results. The other challenge is to await it at the dinner table – it will deflate in minutes
.

 

Serves 6

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C | 405°F. degrees

Prepare the bowl and refrigerate it until ready to use.

A 1.6 litre/ 6 cup soufflĂ© bowl, well buttered and sprinkled with bread crumbs or finely grated cheese like a parmesan. Alternatively, 12 smaller ramekins. 

 

 

57 g/ 2 oz unsalted butter

2 tbsp flour

½ tsp dry mustard powder

325 ml/ 11 oz whole milk -warmed

5 eggs -separated in two bowls

140 g/ 5 oz cheese – see tips

½ tsp salt

Pinch of sugar

Freshly cracked black pepper or nutmeg

5 drops of Tabasco

 


In a pan melt the butter, add the flour and mustard, stirring to prepare a roux. Cook for a minute and then pour in the warm milk stirring it constantly with a whisk to keep it smooth.
Bring it to a boil and allow to bubble for 3 minutes, continuously stirring it.

Remove from heat and add (while still warm), lightly beaten egg yolks -briskly whisk to incorporate.
Continue to add the cheese, salt, sugar and freshly ground black pepper or nutmeg. Add a few drops of tabasco.
Once the mixture is ready, whisk 5 egg whites -adding a pinch of salt, until soft peaks form.
Fold in 1/3 of this into the roux, gently breaking it up to soften.
Continue to gently fold in the rest keeping it nice and puffy and light.
Drop it into the soufflé bowl, run your thumb around the edges, and sprinkle with some of the grated cheese.
Reduce heat to 180 °C | 355 °F. degrees after 7 minutes and bake for 30 minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown.

Eat immediately.

 

Tips

Swiss Gruyere, Comte` or any strong grated cheddar will be best.

Beat the egg whites at the end, after preparing the rest of the recipe.

Optionally for additional flavour, add 2 tbsp of finely chopped fresh herbs chives, basil, or tarragon. The tender green ends of green onions/scallions work well too.


My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.