Onion, Chicken and Cheese Pizza

No special story for this one…just thought I’d try making Pizza at home…from scratch…as in preparing the dough and all. Frankly, it wasn’t that tough…pretty straight forward. The best pizza place in town is Pizza Express. Luckily for us, it’s just 5 min walk from home šŸ˜€ We absolutely love going there after a movie, after a walk or just like that…for no reason at all šŸ˜€

So here goes the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Quantity Basic Pizza Dough*
  • Plain Flour for dusting
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, for oiling

Topping:

  • Olive Oil – 2 Tbsp
  • Onions (sliced into rings) – 250 gm
  • Garlic Cloves (crushed) – 2
  • Red Pepper (deseeded and diced) – 1
  • Chicken – 100 gm
  • Mozzarella Cheese (sliced) – 100 gm
  • Tomato Puree – 1/2 a tin or can be made at home by using 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  • Jalapeno Peppers – 2 Tbsp
  • Rosemary springs for garnishing

*To Make Pizza Dough:

(makes 1Ɨ25-cm/10-inch pizza)

Ingredients:

  • Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting
  • salt – 1 tsp
  • easy-blend dried yeast – 1 tsp
  • warm water – 6 tbsp
  • olive oil – 1 tbsp

Method:

  • Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and add the yeast. Pour in the water and mix the dough. Finish off with olive oil. Knead for about 5 minutes, then leave in the bowl until double in size. Covering the bowl loosely with cling film helps.
  • Knock out the air from the dough after then knead lightly.
  • Roll out on a floured work surface, ready to use

Toppings for Pizza:

  • Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough to form a square shape, then place it on an oiled baking tray,Ā pushingĀ out to the edges until even. The dough should be no more than 1/4 inch thick because it will rise during baking
  • To make the topping, heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan over a low heat. Add garlic, red pepper andĀ chickenĀ pieces and fry for a couple of minutes (chicken does not have be completely cooked as it will baked later)
  • Spread the tomato purĆ©e over the pizza dough, then spread the chicken and pepper topping evenly over the pizza base. Finish off with onions, mozzarella and rosemary.
  • Bake in a preheated oven, 200Ā°C/400Ā°F/Gas Mark 6, for 20-25 minutes. Serve the pizza hot!

Njoy!!

Recipe: Nasi Goreng

I get bored preparing the same old Indian recipes at home…so S and I have been experimenting with some other cuisines. I made Nasi Goreng, an Indonesian Rice dish couple of weeks ago. Absolutely loved it. I love anything with rice in it…except probably octopus and other similar creatures šŸ˜€

I moulded the recipeĀ accordingĀ to our taste…but not much…just a bit of chillies and bit of salt..

Here goes the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • Rice – 250 (g) {I used Sona Masoori but Basmati is fine}
  • Boiling water – 1 (lt)
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 (tsp)
  • Vegetable Oil – 3 (Tbsp)
  • Spring Onions – 1 Bunch
  • Fresh Root Ginger – 2 1/2 (cm) finely chopped
  • Green/Red Chillies – 2/3
  • Chicken Brest Fillet – 500 gm/thinly slice
  • Garlic Cloves – 2/crushed
  • Soy sauce – 4 Tbsps
  • Prawns – 200 (g)/cooked, peeled, defrosted if frozen {If you want to get rid of the sea smell, cook prawns in some ginger+garlic paste, turmeric powder and salt}
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Coriander for garnish

Method:

  • Cook the rice in boiling salter water, with turmeric added
  • Leave it to dry completely (to avoid rice becoming mushy (mixing with a forkĀ occasionallyĀ helps quicken the process)
  • Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a wok or any heave based pan
  • Add half the spring onions, ginger and chillies and stir fry over low heat for 2-3 mins until softened.
  • Add remaining oil and increase the heat to high
  • Add chicken and garlic and stir fry for 5-7 mins
  • Now add rice in 3 batches, stirring after each addition to mix well with other ingredients
  • Add soy sauce and prawns and stir fry for 2-3 mins until hot
  • Transfer to a bowl and mix in lemon juice
  • Sprinkle withĀ remainingĀ spring onions and garnish with coriander

Suggestions:

You can add green peas to and vegetables like boiled carrots and beans Ā to make it more nutritious.

Enjoy!!

How to Make Strawberry & Raspberry Jam

My very dear friend R made some Blackcurrant jam a while ago. We recently ran out so I decided to make some of my own. It is very easy and everyone can make some. I decided to make some Strawberry & Raspberry Jam. Strawberries were bought from a local super market and I had some frozen Raspberries.

Ingredients:

  • Strawberries (coarsely chopped) – 1 Mug (A Coffee Mug)
  • Raspberries (coarsely chopped) – 3/4 Mug
  • Sugar – 1 Mug (add more if necessary)
  • Lemon Juice – 2 Tbsps

Method:

  • Add the finely chopped Strawberries and Raspberries to a non-stick pan and mix for few minutes.
  • Now add the lemon juice and sugar and mix well.
  • Keep mixing on medium flame until the berries become soft and bubbles start appearing.
  • Now reduce the flame and keep mixing, making sure the mixture hasn’t hardened.
  • Once the mixture reaches the consistency of Jam, turn off the flame and let it cool for a bit. Do not over cook the mixture. Try to keep it mildly liquidy as it will solidify when left out to cool.
  • Transfer it to a clean air-tight bottle.

Tips:

  • Do not let the berries boil until the mixture becomes hard. It has to be loose and you should be able to easily transfer it to a bottle. If it does turn out hard, just heat the jam a little bit before using.

(OK..before you think I took a picture of some ready-made jam…let me tell you that I did not have any fancy jam bottles so had to re-use with an old one šŸ˜¦

Food Processor for Indian (Asian) Cooking

If you’ve read my ‘About‘ page, you must know that I am a lazy person by nature. I absolutely hate chopping veggies…esp onions and I think most of us do…and I also don’t like cooking for hours and hours together. Some people have all the patience in the world but I don’t šŸ˜€ I like it quick. So, I recently bought a Kenwood FP730 Food Processor.

My friend bought one (Kenwood FP530) some time ago and she strongly recommended that I get one too. I was doing some research on the internet to choose the best one but also one which was economical. I read a lot of reviews but not one on how food processors could help with desi cooking so I decided to write one! šŸ™‚

I will write this in an orderly manner…starting with the attachment I use the most and so on.

  • The most important attachment of all is the knife blade (5). I use this attachment for chopping onions, tomatoes, herbs and other vegetables. It is most useful when making Non-Vegetarian dishes which need large quantities of finely chopped onions. I also use this attachment for chopping cabbage, potatoesĀ  and variety of other vegetables for a nice veggie dish. You can also use this attachment to finely mince boneless meat for burgers etc.Ā  There’s also a smaller jar (1) with a knife blade (6) attachment for chopping smaller quantities of onions, tomatoes, herbs and veggies.
  • The next attachment I use quite often is the dough tool (7) for chapathis. It takes only a few minutes for the processor to knead the dough and you can re-knead it in a bowl. Try adding as little water as possible.Ā  Here is a very helpful video.

You can also use the dough tool for mixing ingredients for baking.

  • When making Pilaus, Biriyanis, and any vegetable curries, I prefer long, thin slices of onions. For this, I use the slicing side of discs 3 (you can use disc 2 to get very fine slices). Just chop the onions into a size that fits through the opening. You can also use this if you want long thin slices of carrots, cucumbers for salads. Also use this attachment to chop Beans, Tindora (Dondakaya/Ivy Gourd), Carrots…literally any veggie you prefer in a thin, round shape (I haven’t tried Ladies Fingers yet…will let you know how it goes when I do try them). Make sure that you push in the vegetables holding them vertically with the help of the pushers for a nice round shape.
  • There are some attachments which I don’t use that often but are equally useful…like the julienne style chipper (4), the whiskers, juicers and the shredding sides of discs 2 and 3 for shredding cheese and veggies.

What used to take me at least half hour now takes me just a couple of minutes. It saves time and energy. The hubby made Mutton Pulao today in literally under an hour when it used to take atleast 2 hrs.Ā  All the chopping, the tears are gone!

The FP730 has a 1000 watts motor which is quite powerful and takes only a couple of minutes to chop. It is very quick and efficient piece of machinery. I will suggest everyone to buy one šŸ™‚

Recipe: Banana and Walnut Cake

I spent the morning fighting a bee which refused to leave my territory. The bloody thing. I hate bees. I still remember my friend who was bit by a bee on her cheek and she swell up like a balloon. Nyways, seems like this bee won’t be coming back anytime soon….Muahhahaa (evil laugh) šŸ˜€ {Why can’t wordpress have emoticons? Saves me from typing crap!)

Okies..coming to the recipe…here goes..

Banana and Walnut Cake

Preparation Time:Ā Ā 30-45 minutesĀ (Quicker if you’ve baked a cake before)

Cooking Time (in a pre-heated oven at 180 Ā°C): 50 – 60Ā minutes
Ingredients:

  1. Kitchen Scale (Max upto 2 Kgs)
  2. 3 medium Bananas, ripe if possible (approx. 400 g)
  3. 300 gm Self-Raising Flour
  4. 150 gm soft Butter
  5. 150 gm soft Brown/White sugar (Demerara)
  6. 2 medium Eggs (at room temperature)
  7. 80 gm Walnut Kernels
  8. 2Ā Tsps Lemon Juice
  9. 2 Tbsps Olive or Vegetable oil
  10. 1Ā Tbsp Vanilla Essence

Ingredients for Cake Topping/Icing (Optional. I bought a ready-made Icing Sugar tube and decorated the cake.Ā Little effort and saves time too…esp when you are super lazy like me!Ā :D)

  1. 125 gm full fat Soft Cheese
  2. 75 gm Butter
  3. 200 gm Icing Sugar

Kitchen Equipment

  1. 2Ā large bowls to mix the ingredients
  2. 900gm loaf tin (rectangular, square or circular)
  3. Small amount of greaseproof baking paper
  4. Kitchen Whiskser/Handheld Blender/or just a Fork šŸ™‚

Method

Note: Butter must be soft. The best way to achieve this is to measure out the butter an hour or so before
it is needed and leave it at room temperature. If this is not possible, break up the butter with a fork
and beat it for a minute or so. If all else fails, put it in a bowl and float the bowl in warm water.

  1. Turn the oven on, setting it to 180Ā°C / 350Ā°F / Gas Mark 4.
  2. Next, grease the loaf tin with margarine or butter, and line the tin with greaseproof baking paper.
    It’s not essential to cover 100% of the tin but make sure that it lays as flat as possible on the inside
    of the tin.
  3. Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork until they are really mushy.
  4. Chop up the walnuts reasonably fine.
  5. Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and blend together with a fork. The idea here is to mix the two ingredients thoroughly and at the same time incorporate as much air asĀ possibleĀ into the mixture. Mixing with a fork in a figure of eight shape will help to incorporate air into the cake mix.
  6. Now, stir in the bananas and chopped walnut kernelsĀ and mix thoroughly.
  7. In a separate bowl, add two eggs and mix with a blender, whisker or a fork until there is a layer of froth formed.
  8. Now sift in the self-raising flour, 2 Tbsps at a timeĀ to avoid any bubbles or balls in the mixture and mix thoroughly in a figure of eight.
  9. Now add this mixture to the bowl containing the mixture of butter, sufar and walnut kernels.
  10. Add 2Ā Tbsps of Olive or Vegetable Oil and 2 Tsps of Lemon Juice and mix thoroughly again in a figure of eight with a fork. The oil and juiceĀ will keep the cake moist.
  11. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin, smooth it level and place in the oven for 45-50 minutes.
  12. After that time take it out and test that it is cooked by piercing the cake with a fork and if it comes out clean it’s cooked. If not cook for another 5 minutes and retest.
  13. When you take the cake out of the oven, take it out of the tin and place it on a wire rack or something similar. This will stop the cake sweating and getting damp.
  14. Allow the cake an hour or so to cool down before icing it.

Method for Icing

  1. Make the icing by pouring the icing sugar, soft cheese, butter and vanilla into a bowl and mixing it all together with a fork.
    Spoon the icing onto the cake and spread it evenly with a knife. Pop a couple of cherries or walnuts on the top if you want to decorate it.

Don’t fret looking at the length of the post.Ā This is aĀ very easy recipe. The only time consuming part is the mixing and the baking. You just need to concentrate a little while measuring outĀ the ingredients. Trust me…a home baked cake is much more delicious than the ones you get outside.