The Gnocchi gods must be smiling upon me: Potato Gnocchi with Garlic and Parsley

Watermark There’s a good reason when I say that the Gnocchi gods must be smiling upon me. There have been relentless attempts  at making a Potato Gnocchi in my kitchen. The compulsive behavior stemmed from a love for a good Gnocchi and numerous rounds of disasters ranging from a magnitude of 7.5 to 9 on the Gnocchi Richter scale. The first time around the potatoes were over cooked. The next time I just decided to mash them with a fork ,didn’t bother with  potato ricer  (despite having bought  one just for the Gnocchi making event) and had a lumpy mess. There were the eggless recipes which fell apart and  went straight into the trash can…and the list went on, too dense, undercooked, hard and so and so forth. Continue reading

Olive Foccacia-Hot off the oven

Dear son’s request for dinner tonite was some cheese Ravioli(store-bought).I haven’t yet tried my hand at making fresh pasta from scratch.One day,some day is what I keep saying.Certainly on my “to try out”list though.I thought a nice garden salad with some black olives would go well with the pasta.Actually I saw a fair amount of the olives and wondered if it was that time of the year again to get down some bread baking.

I love baking this Olive foccacia and its been awhile since I made it.One of the best breads you could possibly eat.This one’s a family favorite.You could always play around with the ingredients and use some variations:

  • Sun dried tomatoes and herbs
  • Garlic and Rosemary
  • Green olives and garlic

I personally love black olives…so Olive foccacia it is.If you do use garlic please be careful with the amount you use and it can make the bread pretty pungent.Olive paste is a good alternative,however fresh olives just gives it a wonderful fresh flavour.

This post is actually dedicated to a very dear friend Rohini.Thanks Ro for sharing this wonderful recipe with me.I remember learning to make a sun-dried foccacia with her many years ago. She now lives in Melbourne with her family and I sure miss our foodie times together.As you follow the recipe you will notice that I”ve used Weetabix in the dough.This is a great addition to this bread as it makes it high in fibre,healthier and wholesome.I like the bread slightly thickish,however you could always make it thinner so it results in a crisper foccacia.

Some Important Tips on baking Olive Foccacia:

YEAST:

  •  I’ve just used some DCL(brand name) active dry yeast.Please ensure the water is lukewarm.Any hotter than that will kill the yeast.
  • Whisk the yeast and the water well.Cover this mixture and let it rest in a warm dark place for at least 15-20 minutes.I usually keep it in my un heated oven.
  • You know the yeast has fermented well if you see a thick frothy foam on top of the cup.

OLIVE OIL:

  • Please use a liberal amount of olive oil while knocking down the dough.This will make the final product soft and light.

KNEADING AND KNOCKING DOWN THE DOUGH:

  • This is a very important step.At first the dough had to be kneaded well.Once it has rested for at least an hour.You can add the olives and you literally have to knock down or punch this dough

 

 

Happy Bread making dear friends and thanks for reading my post.If if have an interesting ingredient that you would like to add to this foccacia,please do and I’d love to hear about it.I do hope this bread will be baked in your kitchens as well.It’s delish to say the leaast.And I doubt I’m going to have any remaining for dinner tonite…my son’s dipping a slice into some olive oi and devouring it.

With much love from my kitchen to yours…untill Ipost again.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200 gm plain flour
  • 2 Weetabix biscuits
  • 1 cup (lukewarm water)
  • 11/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped olives,plus some extra for the topping
  • 1 tablespoon dried Oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

  1. Crush the weetabix biscuits and add it to the flour.
  2. Add the yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water and whisk well.
  3. Keep the yeast mix in a warm and dark place for 15 minutes.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil,salt and the yeast to the flour mix.
  5. The consistency of the dough at this stage will be soggy.
  6. Knead the dough well.Cover witha damp tea towel and let it rest for about an hour.
  7. Knock down the dough and add the chopped olives,pepper and dried oregano.
  8. Add the remaining oil as well.
  9. Again let this dough rest for about an hour.
  10. Grease a baking tray and shape the dough into a thickish oblong.
  11. Add the chopped olives and brush with oil.
  12. Bake at 180 C for about 25-30 minutes or till the crust is a medium brown.

Q is for Quinoa

I’ve heard about it.My friends talk about it.I’ve read umpteen reviews,blogs and recipes on the benefits of it…bought it,stored it,gave it away and forgot all about it until last week,I saw it  while shopping for my groceries.So this time I decided I must cook it.The results were a fresh,satisfying and a delicious salad.

Now you are probably wondering what all this fuss is about.Well its time for my kitchen to say hello to this wonderful grain called Quinoa(to be pronounced “Keen-wa”).I have to correct myself here it’s rightly classified as a seed and not really a grain.Quinon is gluten-free and power packed with goodies.High in fibre,loaded with vitamins and popular with vegetarians.You could use Quinoa in salads,casseroles and soups.

I’ve put together this simple and delicious salad here.It light and healthy.I’ve used fresh chopped tomatoes,chopped avocados,black olives and cucumbers.Feel free and add your favourite vegetables as well.

As I’ve said before turning to healthy choices is always an option.I’ve contemplating way too long on cooking Quinoa.We had this on the side with some steamed fish the other night.And I was quite pleased that I had discovered such a wonderful new salad.A nice nutty bite to it and very satisfying.I even enjoyed having the left over salad for lunch the next day.So yes would could make up a batch and keep it handy to have.

Tips on cooking Quinoa:

  • Rinse the quinoa under running water.(About 1 cup is good for 4-5 servings)
  • Use 1 1/2 cups of water for every cup of quinoa.
  • Bring to a boil. Then cover and let it simmer till all the water is absorbed.
  • The Quinoa is cooked when the water is fully absorbed and the grain becomes translucent.
  • Remove and let this cool by spreading it on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil.
  • I’ve added chopped tomatoes,cucumbers,red onions,black olives and some avocado.

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon(squeezed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • You may even mix a bit of balsamic vinegar if you wish.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander or parsley.

Cheers to healthy cooking dear friends and I hope you enjoy making this Quinoa Salad.

Rucola with Warm Goat Cheese Salad

I discovered Rucola and must say it was love at first taste.Such a burst of wonderful flavours…Aromatic,nutty almost bitter and peppery at times.

And so I decided I must grown a whole bunch this winter.Quite a hardy plant.You could just sow the seeds in a row…They do best in spring to summer.Grown best under filtered sunlight compared to direct as the sun in UAE could be really strong.

This plant sure grows fast and in no time I tons of it for “Many a salad days”

Last night I paired this lovely salad with some pan seared Goats Cheese and dressed it with a balsamic vinaigerette.You could add Cherry tomatoes( I choose just regular ones),black olives,capers….I l like to keep the flavours simple as the Rucola in itself is pretty powerful.

This delightful salad can be served along  with a Pasta or even some grilled chicken.

Another great dressing if you like is a nice one with honey and some Dijon Mustard…This would add some more kick to the already hot Rucola…also known as Rocket or Arugula.I love to add the capers in this as it gives the salad a nice crunch…even toasted nuts …pine nuts,walnuts would be a great addition.

I’ve used some ready store-bought Goats cheese here…Love the variety of flavours..basil cheese,plain and pepper…

Add this cheese to a hot frying pan and let it warm up slightly.Turn around once till both sides are slightly brown…

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups Rucola leaves,rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes of plain ones
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 3 small rounds of flavoured goats cheese

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese(optional)

METHOD:

  1. Gently rinse the Rucola leaves and pat dry them.
  2. Place them on a flat dish.
  3. Heat a non stick pan and gently warm the goats cheese till both sides are light brown in colour.
  4. For the dressing mix the olive oil,balsamic vinegar ,salt,pepper and capers together.
  5. Drizzle over the salad.

Best eaten when the Goats cheese is warm…..Enjoy and thanks for reading my post.

Baba Ghanoush

ImageThis is a wonderful dish made from grilled eggplants.It has a strong smoky flavour especially if the eggplants have been grilled on a charcoal barbecue.

I often serve this a dip with toasted pita bread.However it could also be used as side dish or even a salad if topped with more garnishing.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Medium eggplants
  • 50 ml tahina(store-bought)
  • 25 ml lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic(minced)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate seeds
  • chopped parsley
  • chopped tomatoes
  • sprinkling of cumin powder
  • sprinkling of paprika
  • salt to taste