28 February 2007

Mediterranean Brunch

I made this 3 months ago, took pics, uploaded them and forgot all about it!!! well, now is the time for updates.

When the bun was still in the oven, I had this craving for Mediterranean. My menu was simple, falafel-wraps, with lots of dips.

All I had to do was whip up lots of tahini, make some hummus, lebneh and baba-ganoush, fry up some falafels, slice some tomatoes and onions, and serve it all with some pita bread. Yes, it is as simple as it sounds.

Now that I'm finally writing it up, I want some! But most of the stuff in it isn't recommended for a post natal diet... ah well... later maybe....


1/2 cup white sesame seeds
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp tepid water

Blend everything to a fine paste in a blender and use as called for in recipe.

clockwise from top:
falafel, lebneh, hummus and baba ganoush

Baba Ganoush

1 large eggplant
3 tbsp tahini
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
salt to taste

Grill eggplant over gas flame (or broiler) till blackened all over. Peel away skin.
Blend with tahini and garlic to a smooth puree.
Adjust salt to season.
Serve with wedges of pita bread.


2 cups cooked chickpeas (drained)
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin powder
juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste
chopped cilantro for garnish

Blend all ingredients (except) to a smooth puree.
Add salt to taste.
Garnish with chopped cilantro


3 cups cooked chickpeas (drained)
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
5 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Blend chickpeas, flour, cumin, garlic cloves and salt in processor until almost smooth.
Shape mixture into 1/4-inch-thick patties.
Heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add patties and cook until crisp and golden.
Drain over paper towels.

pita pockets stuffed with galafel, lebneh, tomato and onion slices

Open pita breads, slide in falafel patties, sliced tomato and onion into each.
Spoon in some lebneh.

Cream of Pumpkin Soup

I've not blogged in absolutely ages. I do a lot of cooking, I do take pictures, but I just don't find time to post anything.

And I'm catching up on it all today!

Today I was determined to take time to post all the yummy glorious soups I've made all month long. The littlest one too, co-operated and took a long nap!

The pumpkin is a very soup friendly vegetable. It's sweetness can be balanced with myriad spices. A simple cream of pumpkin soup, garnished with a little curry powder does go a long way in making a cold and dreary winter afternoon way more bearable.

Cream of Pumpkin Soup

1 lb grated pumpkin
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup cream
salt to taste

2 tbsp cream
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin powder

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pan.
Add pumpkin, cover and cook till pumpkin is tender.
Puree in blender.
Add salt to taste, stir in cream and bring to simmer.
Garnish with cream and spices.

Broccoli ... (yum or yuck?????)

Broccoli... yum!!!!
Broccoli... yuck!!!!

Where broccoli's concerned, there seem to be just 2 schools of thought. Love it or despise it. A friend once made this soup for me, and I'm no more a broccoli-hater. This soup is also very easy to make. Dunk every thing in a pressure cooker, cook, puree, season, simmer, and voila... Soup's up!!!!!

Broccoli and Everything soup

2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 small potato (peeled)
1/2 carrot (peeled)
1 cup peas
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp pepper powder (or to taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste

Cook all vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, corn, potato and carrot) in a pressure cooker with enough water.
Cool and puree.
Add seasonings, and bring to simmer.
Add water to adjust to desired consistency.
Blend in sour cream.
Serve hot.
Garnish with more sour cream, if desired.

Roasted Capsicum, Carrot and Squash soup

This month was like a soup-a-day gala at our home. The significant other had some heavy duty dental work done, and found it easier to eat his dinner with a straw. And that meant Soup Glorious Soup. All this month, I've experimented with different combinations of vegetables in soups. Some were great, some were not bad at all.... and as for the rest, well, let's just say I'm not about blog those in a hurry... better still, I'm not about to block those EVER!

After way too many varieties of tomato soups, I decided to try something different. And this was the end result. Taking pictures at dinner time, in bad light, doesn't really do justice to this wonderful orange-hued soup! The balance of flavours was appreciated by both the gourmets at home.

This is one of the better experiments of the month! Do try it out.

Roasted Capsicum, Carrot and Squash Soup

3 large Red capsicums
3 medium sized carrots (peeled and cubed)
400 grams squash (peeled, deseeded and cubed)
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1tsp garlic powder (Optional)

Char the capsicums over a gas flame (or in a broiler) until blackened on all sides.
Put in a paper bag and keep aside for 10 minutes.
Peel the charred skin off the capsicums and deseed. Keep aside.
Heat oil, and toss in carrots and squash.
Add a little water if required and cook till tender.
Puree capsicums, and the cooked squash and carrots.
Add water to adjust consistency. Season with salt and garlic powder.
Bring to a simmer.
Serve hot.

For an oil-free version:
Char capsicums as above.
Cook the carrots and squash in a pressure cooker.
Puree with the capsicums, and proceed as above.
Tastes delicious either way.

2 in 1 soup

February... brrrr....

This has to be the first time in my life I've seen what winter is for myself. For a girl who's spent all her life in tropical areas, and who thought winter was a cold 18 (Celcius). A Japanese winter was an... experience of sorts. Days that ended by half past four called for hot comfort foods, and soups were the ultimate comfort food. And Veggie Venture's February round-up of Soup Glorious Soup couldn't have come at a better time!

I'm a big sucker for visual presentation.... no matter how humble the food, but I'm always impressed by presentation, however pretentious! Hubby is someone who doesn't have time for fancy foods. There have been times when we've gone out to try new restaurants (back when we used to live in Singapore) and he'd finish a lovely (in my opinion at least) meal and then say, "I like your version better". Not that it isn't flattering, but sometimes I think great presentation is wasted on A!

Ah well! my husband, the typical south Indian, isn't happy unless as many square millimeters of his plate are filled up with as many varieties of something. Think tpyical south Indian traditional meal with 2 vegetables, appalam, vadai, sweet, rice sambar, rasam, kootu, 2 salads and pickle.. and let's not forget the rice and curds at the very end. Now you get the idea.

I digress... but it will (begin to) make sense soon. A few weeks ago, I decided to try my hand at an artistically presented 2-colour soup. The refrigerator was loaded with tomatoes and spinach. What more contrast can one ask for. So I made a lovely tomato soup, and a nice cream of spinach soup, and served it like this.

The Significant Other took a look, gave one suspicious sniff, went into the kitchen, got 2 bowls, served himself each soup in a different bowl, and declined to eat his spinach. His reasoning: 'Green soup?? No one drinks green soup.' Now I know for a fact he never watched Popeye cartoons! After a little cajoling, the 3 and a half year old, and the 3 and a half decade old admitted that they liked both soups, but the older one still wishes the spinach soup could be made in some other colour. Sigh.. I give up....

The Basic Roux
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
5 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Melt the butter in a soup pot.
Add the onion and cook until the onion is softened but not browned.
Sprinkle the flour over the butter mixture and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the milk, bay leaf, sugar, and salt and stir until slightly thickened.
Discard bay leaf.
Divide roux in two equal parts. Keep aside.

Tomato soup
1/2 of prepared Roux
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups tomatoes chopped (fresh or canned)

Stir the baking soda into the tomatoes.
Add the tomatoes to the roux, and bring just to a simmer.
Remove from the heat, allow to cool and puree.
Adjust seasonings and heat before serving.

Spinach soup
1/2 of prepared Roux
5 cups chopped, spinach
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 small potato, boiled, peeled and diced

Blanch spinach.
Puree with roux and boiled potato.
Return to soup-pot and bring to simmer.
Adjust seasonings.

To serve:
Two equal sized cups
Take one helping of each soup. Pour into soup plate from opposite sides, simultaneously.
Garnish with sour cream.
Serve hot.