Crispy Garlicky Halloumi & Veg. Quinoa Salad

My son loves cucumbers and tomatoes, but getting him to eat any other veggies is a little tough at times. However, any Salad that contains cheese, in any form seems to work wonders. Hence, this warm Quinoa Salad with lots of veggies and crispy Halloumi cheese.

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I had a packet of Garlic herbed Halloumi that I wanted to use up, so I sliced it first and rolled it in a little seasoned flour before crisping it up in a non stick skillet until it went all gooey inside and crispy outside. It was delicious on its own!

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Boiled some quinoa with water seasoned with lime juice and zest. Sauted a bunch of vegetables chopped into tiny cubes – red pepper, yellow pepper, green peppers, green onions, shallots, carrots, green beans and garlic. Mixed these into the quinoa with some fresh parsley, oregano and basil.

Before serving, I stirred in cucumber chopped into cubes and cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters. Drizzled some good quality balsamic vinegar and some extra virgin olive oil. Served with the crispy Halloumi strips on top.

Whilst I was eating the left overs in the evening, I decided to add some sweet spice to it by adding some spicy Tamarind chutney that I had. It was absolutely amazing!

Gingery Meyer Lemon Chickpeas & Rice

I needed to make the quickest lunch in less than half an hour yesterday and when I looked in the fridge, the Meyer lemons were calling out for attention. Adding the Meyer Lemons to some fresh Ginger sounded like a good idea but it wasn’t enough to make lunch. Having found a couple of cans of chickpeas, I decided to make some rice and chickpeas. But these are made with a Meyer twist.

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I love using Citrus in most of my recipes and given half the chance, I am zesting and juicing anything to add an additional zing to everything.  Meyer lemons are one of my favourites, as it has a unique taste of lemons combined with an orange sweetness. It is amazing in smoothies too.

Since I only had minutes to get this all ready, I’m not very accurate with the measurements of what I used. I was expecting a friend for lunch, and had lost track of time, hence the rush.

Meyer Lemon Rice

I added around 1 tsp of Meyer Lemon juice and some zest in with Extra virgin oilive oil when I made the rice. I seasoned the rice with salt as it cooked.

Gingery Meyer Lemon Chickpeas

2 can chick peas / garbanzo
1 Meyer lemon – zest and juice
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 green chillies, finely chopped (according to taste)
2 tbsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 tbsp chick pea masala / chana masala
1/4 tsp clove powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 cup freshly chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp tomato paste/puree
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. As they start to sizzle, add the green chillies. Stir well and add the onions, followed by the ginger. As soon as the onions start to soften and turn translucent, add the chickpeas.

Stir in the tomato paste followed by all the remaining ingredients. I also added 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil uncovered. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low/medium, cover the pot and let this cook for 30 minutes stirring every once in a while.

Serve with lemony rice and a side salad.

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Spicy Sticky Chicken Wings

A quick and easy to bake some Chicken Wings for a party or Game night

I greased a baking sheet, sprayed a bit of oil (olive and vegetable oil mix) onto the wings, sprinkled some salt and pepper and let the wings wait on the sheet whilst the oven preheated to 375F.

Once the oven was hot, I cooked the wings for 15 minutes. In the meantime I put together the sauce – (it was one of those ‘pour in anything I can find’ days) I had some bbq ribs sauce so I started with about 3 tbsp of this sauce, added in some Sriracha sauce, 1 tbsp spicy garlic sauce, 2 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp honey, salt, black pepper and cumin powder about a tsp each. The sauce was a bit runny and sticky.

I poured this sauce over the wings so it was all wet and sticky, and returned them to the oven for another 25 minutes (or until they were all cooked through and a bit browned).

Needless to say, the wings disappeared pretty fast!

American Chopsuey made Delhi Style

This version of American Chopsuey is something that is unheard of in America or in China where the world famous Chopsuey actually comes from. The spicy, sweet and sour chopsuey full of nutritious vegetables sitting on a nest of crispy Egg noodles and a fried egg sitting atop with the yolk oozing onto the dish, sprinkled with fresh cilantro and spring onions – is only available in India. I have only tasted the Delhi version, and I understand there’s lots of different versions available across the Indian sub-continent, but this is my adaptation of a delicious memory that I have tried to recreate in Canada after a number of years.

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Whilst my version differs from the original recipe in many ways (no food colouring, no MSG and no ketchup), it is packed full of flavour and nutritious vegetables. It involves a lot of chopping up of vegetables, and being the little fuss pot that I am with the way I like my vegetables to be all of one size, it took a bit of extra time putting it together. But the result was worth every minute.  The combination of the sweet, spicy, tart, sour, crispy, soft and crunchy all at the same time.

Don’t feel intimidated by the long list of ingredients, there’s nothing complicated in putting the dish together and the results are well worth it.

with no meat or meat products
without MSG, without ketchup
without any artificial colour or flavourings

Stock ingredients:-
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 large apple
1 large orange
1 large lemon
2 inch piece of ginger

Sauce ingredients:-
2 cups stock (plus more to get desired consistency)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp red chilli paste
Salt and black pepper
Corn flour and water paste to thicken the sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar

Fresh vegetables:-
1 cup cabbage, thinly shredded
2 carrots, in thin julienne slices
1 cup mixed peppers, in thin julienne slices
1 onion – thinly sliced
2-4 green chillies – very finely shredded (optional)

Egg noodles/ chowmein noodles
Oil to fry the noodles
1 Egg per person

The Stock:-
Since we are not using ketchup in this recipe, it is important to make a pot of flavoured stock to achieve a delicious sweet and sour taste in the sauce.

Simply combine these ingredients in a pot with enough water to submerge them fully. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot and let it simmer for 30-45 minutes. Instead of water, we use this stock to make our sauce. This stock can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.

The Vegetables:-

My chopped up vegetables lining up for the pot of sauce. I cooked this dish for 14 people so there’s a lot here.

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I would advise keeping all vegetables a similar size, it helps in cooking all the vegetables evenly and at the same time gives a wonderful result.

The Noodles:-
Boil the noodles according to the packet instructions and drain them under cold water. Heat some oil in a pot, ready to fry the noodles once they are taken out of the cold water. Only fry a small batch at a time, as the noodles need to have enough space in the oil to untangle or they will end up being poached/steamed in oil instead of being fried crispy.

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I lined a tray with lots of kitchen paper to to prevent the excess oil getting into the dish.

The Sauce:-
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For the sauce, heat a pot with 1 tbsp of oil and add the green chillies and the onions. These don’t need to be stir fried, just softened slightly before adding all the remaining vegetables into the pot. Add the stock and all the other ingredients for the sauce, except for the white vinegar and the corn flour paste.

Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. You may need to add more stock to cook the vegetables in this sauce for about 5 minutes. Whilst the sauce is cooking, start assembling the dish with the fried noodles at the base of the dish and also frying the eggs in a skillet or griddle using spray oil. The yolk needs to be runny, so be careful not to over cook the egg. I like mine turned over to cook the egg white fully, but this is a matter of choice.

Add the corn flour paste to the sauce first and as soon as the sauce thickens turn off the heat. Add the vinegar and pour some sauce over the plate lined with the egg noodles. Top the sauce with a fried egg and sprinkle some coriander/cilantro leaves and green onions for garnish. I also like to drizzle some white balsamic vinegar to my plate. Alternatively, some extra white vinegar works drizzled on top works just as well.

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The first thing to do, when you are ready to eat is poke the egg yolk. There’s something about the combination of the runny egg yolk with all the mix of flavours on the plate that makes this dish addictive and satisfying. Even those who are fussy with their veggies would enjoy this dish and ask for more.

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I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.

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A Tale of Two Biryanis


Our Biryani Cooking Sunday

Originally posted on Dish 'n' the kitchen:

Now that I’m back from vacation and cooking again I wanted to jump right in…with both feet! I don’t know if you have where ever you are but there are meetups for pretty much every age, hobby, or fitness level out there. I’m part of several groups but I initially got involved via the geocaching meetup group. I then started to search around for more groups tailored to my interests but I was disappointed with the selection of cooking related groups. There were lots of foodie groups for visiting restaurants, one for vegans (not me!), and one based on water-less cooking (?). Eventually I got the notification that a new cooking group had been formed and it was based in the south of the city which was very close to me. I joined without hesitation.

The main reason for these meetup groups is to meet like minded people and…

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