A Double Success In The Kitchen

Unusually, I have succeeded in creating and recreating two very tasty recipes this afternoon. First off, I made some creamy “chicken” and mushroom pasties, which would have been difficult to mess up, thanks to the shop bought puff pastry. The filling was mild enough for both daughters to test and then ask for more. I was reasonably confident that at least one of them would appreciate it, but to have all family members on board exceeded my expectations.

Whilst the pasties were in the oven, I attempted a Mediterranean quinoa salad with capers, from the raw food book “Crazy Sexy Diet”. I did not have any lemon zest, capers or leek, and threw in a stem of steamed broccoli which was looking sad in the fridge. The result was a resounding success. Both Jo and I loved it, despite having three times more garlic than stated.

3 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons dill
3 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lightly roasted pine nuts
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped leek
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Serve warm or cold.

Steamed Aubergine With Chili Sauce

Continuing with my current interest in tasty side-dishes, my next experiment took me to the realm of the aubergine. I like aubergines a lot, though I am not so keen on the amount of oil used to soften them. I found a decent looking recipe on the website withaglass, which used steaming as an alternative method to frying. I was also curious about Chinese black vinegar, which I had neither used or seen previously.

This recipe is definitely one I shall use again. There is a subtlety to the taste that the chili oil and vinegar lend to the dish that sets it apart from anything else I have tasted.

Ingredients (serves two):

1 medium aubergine

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar (Chinkiang, easily found in Asian shops)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon chili oil preferably containing flakes; I used my home made Taberu Rayu, but I think any chili oil with the addition of chili flakes will do

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Cut the aubergine in two. If you have a separate steamer, the author advises to steam the aubergine for 5-10 minutes over a high flame. Cut the aubergine into bite-sized pieces and serve either hot or cold with the chili sauce aside (as a dip) or pour the sauce directly over it (this is the way I preferred it).

Korean Mung Bean Sprout Salad (Nokdu Namal)

I have been making quite a lot of food recently. More specifically, searching for interesting recipes and trying to emulate them (I believe the term is “cooking”). Easter has come and gone, which gave us a delightful four days’ holiday, and much of that time Jo or I spent preparing for the traditional Easter lunch and testing out new and tasty (or sometimes not so) recipes.

One thing that strikes me when I attempt something new, is the amount of time it takes to create something that is, more often than I would wish, not really worth the effort. I am not saying that they become a failure, or disliked, but they do not add anything new to something I could do without the effort of reading/obeying the recipes.

So I am starting to look at simpler recipes, ones that I normally overlook, to spice them up a bit. And so, my first venture into less time-consuming cooking began yesterday with Korean Mung Bean Sprout Salad. The ingredients did not really offer any surprises, and the end result was pretty much how I had expected it to be. The main ingredient, sprouted mung beans, is something that we do eat on occasion, though it was exactly what I wanted: an easy, tasty, quick side dish that would lift a simple main dish.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Ingredients (serves two):

150 g/about 5 oz mung bean sprouts
1 teaspoon soy sauce (or more if you use low-sodium soy sauce)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small clove garlic
ground pepper
1 green onion
toasted sesame seeds

Blanch the mung bean sprouts in boiling water for a minute. Quickly drain and, if you wish to serve the salad very cold, rinse it with very cold water. Drain once more.

Crush the garlic and chop it finely. Mix it with the soy sauce, the vinegar, the sesame oil, the ground pepper and the salt (if you need it).

Put the sprouts in a big bowl and combine with the dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped green onion.

This salad can be served very cold or at room temperature.


I found this simple and tasty recipe the other day:

1 cucumber
1 tsp salt

1/4 dl vinegar (ättika, to be precise)
1/2 dl sugar
3/4 dl water
chopped dill

Skala gurkorna och skiva dem tunt. Strö över salt och lägg dem i en djup tallrik eller skål. Lägg på en tungd och låt stå minst 30 minute så att saltet drar ur vätskan. Pressa ur och häll av vätskan.

Blanda lagen i en skål och lägg i den avrunna gurkan. Blanda ner hackad dill eller persilja.

As said, easy to make and a fresh alternative to the smörgåsgurka you can but in the shops.

Aloo Baingan

I am quite partial to Indian food. I have fond memories of memories of the British curry houses. Though the recipes I find on the internet are not similar to the take aways I am used to, there are some very interesting and tasty meals out there, the latest being Aloo Baingan (taken from Manjula’s Kitchen (.com).


1 medium purple eggplant (baingan), un-peeled, cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 medium russet potatoes (aloo), peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
4 medium tomatoes (tamatar) cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (hara dhania)
1 tablespoon oil
Pinch of asafetida (hing) – in its absence I used 1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 chopped green chili adjust to taste
1 teaspoon ginger paste (adrek)
1 tablespoon coriander powder (dhania powder)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (dagi mirch)
1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
2 tablespoons water

Also needed:

Oil to fry


Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
Frying pan should have at least 1 1/2 inch of oil. To check if the oil is ready, put one piece of potato in the oil. The potato should sizzle right away. If vegetables are fried in low heat they will be very oily.
Fry the potatoes till they are cooked through, turn the potatoes few times while frying. Take out potatoes with a slotted spoon (this allows excess oil to drip back into the frying pan) and place on a paper towel.Test the oil again with a piece of eggplant. Fry the eggplant pieces same way.
In a small bowl, mix the shredded ginger, green pepper, coriander powder, paprika, turmeric, and 2 tablespoons of water to make a paste.
Heat the 1-tablespoon of oil in a pan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if seed cracks right away oil is ready.
Add cumin seeds and asafetida after seeds crack add the spice mixture and stir-fry for a minute until you see the oil start to separate from the spice mixture.
Add chopped tomatoes stir-fry for a minute.
Add fried potatoes and eggplant mix it gently, let it simmer for three to four minute on medium low heat.
Subji should be not very dry if needed add three to four spoons of water.
Turn off the heat and add chopped cilantro mix it well.

I have just eaten this dish, and the taste of green chili is still causing me to sweat. And this with only half a chili instead of one. It is still a wonderful, fresh recipe, and one that will be added to the list of favourites (minus chili).