Category: Daring Kitchen

Lets Get Chatty…Chatti Pathiri that is (Daring Kitchen)

Here is something you don’t know about me.  

Chatti Pathiri
Chatti Pathiri

You know how some people step up and excel under pressure?  I’m not one of them.  I warp.  I buckle.  I crumple and fold.  When the going gets tough you can usually find me sobbing in a corner.  And one of the things that really fazes me is cooking for other people – not so much for dinners but a bake sale?  Guaranteed disaster.  Last time?  Yes, that was me running into the 7-11 well after midnight, (after the first four attempts at cupcakes had failed) wild eyed, smeared with flour and frosting and slightly twitchy.  “Where’s your cake mix?  I need a box of cake mix.  And I need it now!!!!”  I was like a demented Betty Crocker junkie desperate for my fix…..

Chatting Pathiri

Sigh.

The April Daring Cooks Challenge was brought to us by Joanne from What’s On The List. She taught us all about Pathiri and challenged us to create our own version of this inspirational Indian dish! 

Challenge was right, I felt the first stirrings of panic rising even as I read the recipe….

Chatting Pathiri 2

So, let’s take a step back before I start hyperventilating (again) and look at this dish called Chatti Pathiri.  For those of you, who, like me had never heard of Chatti Pathiri, the best way to explain is that it’s kinda, sorta like an Indian Lasagne where crepes step in for the pasta sheet and, in my case a spicy chicken and chickpea curry acts as the filling.

Chatti Pathiri 3

Yeah, you heard it….yummy, yummy crepes and delicious chicken and chickpea curry.  And after you layer these two bits of deliciosuness, you slather them in coconut milk and bake it all together. And mark my words….It’s all good. 

So why the fear?  Why the cold hand of dread on my spine I hear you ask?  Not because of the recipe, that was awesome!!!  But because I kind of know Joanne.  She reads this.  She comments.  She’s a lovely, friendly delightful person.  And she has entrusted me (and yes,  ok thousands of other people on the Daring Kitchen) with a recipe that is obviously very special to her.  

And what if I took her delicious recipe and totally screwed it up? 

Arrrgggghhhhhh!!! 

The pressure….

(I know.  Such a Drama Queen.  Feel free to roll your eyes.  I would be.)

Luckily for me, Joanne’s recipe proved to be idiot proof!!!  And super delicious!!!! You can find it here.

I added a little bit more chilli and a can of chickpeas into the chicken mix but apart from that I used Joanne’s recipe as is.  

Chatti Pathiri
Chatti Pathiri

I served my version of Chatti Pathiri with a coconut and coriander sambol and some cherry tomatoes drizzled with a little bit of pomegranate molasses.

Coriander and Coconut Sambol
Serves 4
A spicy and refreshing side dish, perfect for eating with your Chatti Pathiri or any other indian dish
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 tbsp coriander leaves
  2. 75g coconut (freshly grated is best, I used dessicated)
  3. 3 green chillies, deseeded
  4. 1 clove of garlic
  5. 2.5 cm piece of ginger
  6. 2 tsp mint leaves
  7. 1 tsp sugar
  8. Salt and freshly squeezed lime juice to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients, except lime and salt in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  2. Add salt and lime juice to taste.
  3. Serve as an accompaniment to curries
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 The sambol will last in the fridge for about a week if you seal it up.  Which is perfect because the Chatti Pathiri is also pretty good reheated on the second day!!!

Joanne, if you’re reading this,  thank you very much for the recipe.  I loved making it and I loved eating it even more.  I hope I have done your recipe and you proud!!!

If this has piqued your interest in Pathiri and /or you would like to see how other Daring Kitchen members interpreted the challenge, you can see some of the completed dishes on Joanne’s blog here.

Or just head over and have a read, you won’t be disappointed!

And speaking of reading, I joined the Goodreads Food and Fiction book.  And here’s another thing you may not know about me – my first venture into blogging was trying to match food to the books I was reading.  It’s an idea I return to every now and again and I may start adding in one or two of those in the not too distant.  In the meantime, if, like me you love food and you love fiction…the Goodreads group may be something for you! You can find a link over on the right.

Have a great week!!!!

And if you want to get chatty, leave a comment!!!!

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Dressing For Success: 1971 vs 2013

For March’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, (yes, I know I’m a little behind the times) Ruth, Shelley and Sawsan asked us to totally veg out! We made salads and dressings, letting the sky be the limit as we created new flavors and combinations that reflect our own unique tastes.

My own unique tastes huh? Oh boy. Who smells trouble? With a capital T.

Vanilla Horseradish Dressing with Roast Beef Salad
Vanilla Horseradish Dressing with Roast Beef Salad

 The salad dressing challenge actually came at a good time as I had just started on “Salads For All Seasons” and the 1971 recipe comes directly from that. 

Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned that the word “Surprise” when contained in a vintage recipe generally denotes something dubious? Well here’s another instalment of words to strike fear into the heart of any retro cooker.  Beware words denoting parsimony of any description – Pennywise, Frugal, Thrifty.  Even more than the “Surprise” these should best be avoided.

And for a double whammy, check out Erica’s great post on Retro Recipes for “Thrifty Drumstick Surprise”.

Yeah…See what I mean?

Then brace yourselves, because today we are taste-testing Rosemary Mayne-Wilson’s recipe for….

ECONOMICAL MAYONNAISE

On page 23 of  Salads For All Seasons“, Rosemary Mayne-Wilson describes mayo as

“A process of forcing egg yolks to absorb oil and to hold them in an emulsion, thick and creamy”

And ok, not the most romantic of descriptions but technically correct. 

I can only assume that somewhere between writing page 23 and page 24 she was possessed by the devil.  It’s the only way to explain the eggless, oilless monstrosity that is the economical mayonnaise.

Economical Mayonnaise Recipe

 A lot of the time, if I think something is going to be awful, I don’t make it because I hate to see food wasted.  However, by its own definition this is economical.  So I thought I would give it a try.  So, I made it.  And it was…

Drumroll please….

 Absolutely fucking horrible.

Economical Mayonnnaise

The best thing you could say about it was that it looked like mayonnaise. And that it tasted like condensed milk mixed with vinegar.

Yeah, I know normally that wouldn’t be a plus.  Believe me, I’m scrambling for positives here.

The worst was….

Have you ever bought berry scented nail polish remover? This tasted like how that smells – there was an initial sickly sweetness followed by a throat catching, eye watering sharpness…it was really bad. And not one iota like lovely, gorgeous, creamy, delicious mayonnaise.

However, I wanted to be fair to the recipe and it’s not every day you eat mayo straight off the spoon – which is what provoked the above reaction.  And here at Retro Foods For Modern Times we are nothing if not scientific – so I had the idea to do a blind taste testing of the Economical Mayo vs a normal mayo. And what better item to test this on but what is fast becoming this blog’s favourite ingredient, the humble egg.

 The Egg Experiment

The Egg Experiment

I wanted to keep this very plain so the flavours of the mayo would be “pure” so I found a very simple recipe for Stuffed Eggs – pretty much just egg yolk and mayo. The idea was to make up two identical mixes, one with a bought mayo and one with the Economical, then mix up the egg halves so it was impossible to tell the difference between them – and blind taste test them. If I couldn’t tell them apart…then any snarkiness on my part was utterly due to my own prejudices and not fact.

That didn’t work. 

Primarily because the two versions looked completely different to each other. It was utterly impossible not to tell them apart:

Stuffed Eggs
Stuffed Eggs

 Even though the recipe was too heavy on the mayo, the bought mayonnaise behaved as it should when mixed with egg yolk and formed a rounded dome. Mixing the boiled egg yolks with the economical mayonnaise just made a yellow runny “mayonnaise”. It was so runny that when I bit into it, the mixture ran out of the egg all over my hand which was gross. The egg did temper some of the sharpness of the vinegar but in this instance – Epic Fail for 1971!!!

 So, after the disaster of the Economical Mayo, I was a little apprehensive about trying the modern recipe for salad dressing which also mixed a sweet ingredient with something quite pungent.  

The following is based on a recipe for Vanilla Horseradish dressing which I found in “500 Paleo Recipes” by Dana Carpender. 

I would have through cavemen would have been too busy trying to survive to be pfaffing about with vanilla beans.  Then again, my entire knowledge of the paleolithic era is based on B grade movies where scantily clad cavewomen and dinosaurs co-exist. So what do I know?

 

Vanilla Horseradish Dressing
Vanilla and Horseradish liven up a Vinaigrette!
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup vinegar – I used white wine, the original recipe calls for white balsamic
  2. 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  3. ¼ tsp white pepper
  4. ¼ tsp salt
  5. ¾ cup (175 ml) olive oil
  6. ¼ tsp mustard powder
  7. 2 tbsp horseradish
Instructions
  1. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and mix together until it looks creamy – around 30 seconds.
Notes
  1. If you can lay your hands on fresh horseradish, it would be good to finely grate your own. I used bought horseradish sauce from the supermarket
Adapted from 500 Paleo Recipes by Dana Carpender
Adapted from 500 Paleo Recipes by Dana Carpender
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
This was awesome!!! Really, really good. I had this on a salad I made with some left over roast beef which was rather dry. By the time I came to eat this at lunch time, the beef was gorgeously, melt in your mouth tender – I suspect this was some action of the horseradish or maybe the vanilla.  Either way, it was delicious!!!

Vanilla Horseradish Dressin
Vanilla Horseradish Dressing

The vanilla is quite subtle, initially providing more of an aroma and only the teeniest undercurrent of flavour. You know, it’s of those times where, if you didn’t know what it was, you wouldn’t know what it was. But it would drive you mad trying to pinpoint what exactly it was.  

I also had this on a few other salads and it was good every time!

I would caution against adding more vanilla into the mix as I found that the longer I kept this in the fridge, and I had it in there for close to a week, the stronger the taste of vanilla became.  My vivid imagination? Possibly. 

I  would love to know what other people think of this recipe and if they noticed the same thing. Please let me know if you make it!!!

 Oh, and just in case you thought I meant a different kind of dressing for success, lets take a peek at what the cool kids were wearing in 1971.

For the ladies, it was definitely the year of the hotpant…

Hotpants

 Whereas for the gentlemen, it ranged from the high necked and tightly belted straightlaced work attire….

Men's Fashion

  To the “manly gown”   which was both smart and comfy for lazing in.

Toupé and soap on a rope optional extras. Sold separately.

Men's Fashion3

And then there was the downright bizarre….hang on…isn’t this the same guy from the first photo? Is this what he’s wearing under that tightly belted turtleneck? 

Men's Fashion 1971 4Eww…I’m going to go before this gets creepy…or should that be any creepier?

Have a fabulous week!

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Get Me To The Greek – Spanakopita – Daring Kitchen

God Bless the Greeks.  They invented democracy, philosophy and some damn fine food.  Including fried cheese.  How good is that stuff?  You take cheese…which is one of my all time best ever foods to begin with…and fry it.  That;’s not even eleven.  That’s twelve! Possibly thirteen.  But, I digress, yeah, I know opening paragraph…and we’re already off track, because today we’re talking about the second wonder of the Greek cuisine pantheon…(or should that be Parthenon?) the cheese and spinach pie, also more formally known as the Spanakopita.

Spanakopita 1
Spanakopita 1

I live in Melbourne, which as anyone in Melbourne will tell you has the largest population of Greek people outside of Athens.  I have no idea if this is actually true or just one of those urban myths about the city you live in.  Regardless of numbers, there are a lot of Greek people and hence a lot of super delicious Greek food.  In fact, just as much as some families have the local Chinese or Indian restaurant, my family would go Greek.

No, not like that you bunch of perverts….I meant we would celebrate family occasions at the local  Greek restaurant.

Spanakopita Ingredients
Spanakopita Ingredients

Mind you, this did come after a debacle at the local Chinese.  You know the classic tale of the gauche family who drink the fingerbowls?  Not that old chestnut for my family.  No way.  Uh huh.

We’re a much classier lot.

So when, towards the end of our meal, the waiter delivered some small bowls of water to our table we dutifully dipped and dunked and positively soaked our fingers revelling in our (sub) urban/e sophistication.  He then reappeared with a plate of…I can best describe them as  caramel coated sweet dumplings.  The idea being that you dipped your caramel dumpling into the icy cold water thereby changing the caramel from a hot liquid to a crispy shell. We all looked to our now slightly grubby bowls of warmish water and the thought of dessert suddenly didn’t seem so good.

Now, I can’t speak a word of Mandarin, but believe me, that wasn’t a prerequisite to  understand what our waiter was muttering as he swished away the original bowls.  There is a certain tone people adopt when they say “You people are morons” that is pretty much universal.

We celebrated with Greek food from then on.

Spanakopita Ingredients - pre massage
Spanakopita Ingredients – pre massage

The February Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Audax of Audax Artifex. The challenge brought us to Greece with a delicious, flaky spanakopita – a spinach pie in a phyllo pastry shell.  I had thought I was au fait with the cooking of this particular dish as it is something I make fairly regularly.  However Audax’s version had a few curve balls.

First there was massaging the ingredients.  It made me think about those Wagyu cows…

Spanakopita 2
Spanakopita 2

Then post the massage there was the squeeze….this was both kind of disgusting and a shit ton of fun.

Squeezing...kind of gross.
Squeezing…kind of gross.
Squeezed Spinach (and my abnormally large man hands)
Squeezed Spinach (and my abnormally large man hands)

Post the squeeze, you end up with two bowls.  Once containing a dry mixture, one containing a milky green liquid.

Post Squeeze Spanakopita
Post Squeeze Spanakopita

It is at this point that I would diverge from the recipe as given by Audax and add some more cheese into the dry mixture.  I don’t know what happened to the cheese but somewhere during the massage or the squeeze it kind of disappeared, leaving a less cheesy spanakopita than I  would normally have.  For me, it’s all about the cheese.

Anyhow, then you add some couscous to the liquid and let it soak it all up.  This is utter brilliance.  The couscous bulks up the mixture so you can have a higher pie and it stops the bottom pastry getting soggy.

Spinach Juice and Couscous
Spinach Juice and Couscous

Another brilliant idea?  Cutting the squares before baking.  Stroke of genius!

Pre-Baked Spanakopita
Pre-Baked Spanakopita

 

Spanakopita - hot from the oven
Spanakopita – hot from the oven

You can find the recipe here.

Huh, I just realised I’ve mentioned fried Greek cheese in at least two out of the last three posts.  I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something.

I’m going to be spending my week having at least one trip to the Paradise of Lindos to partake of some plate smashing, some haloumi and maybe even a little bit of this…

ZorbaZorba

Have a great week whatever you get up to!

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Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Rice? (Daring Kitchen Arancini)

Ever made food where just looking at it made you feel happy?

Spinach and Cheese Arancini
Spinach and Cheese Arancini

That’s how I felt with the December Daring Kitchen Challenge.  Just looking at these golden balls of goodness made me smile.

Yes, I did just say golden balls of goodness, and yes, I did have a little smirk as I did.

Sigh.

I so have the mind of a 12-year-old boy.  And you know what?  This whole post is full of stuff like that.

So, you know, take a moment….watch this clip from a British tv show called, I kid you not,  Golden Balls, which appears to be a game show version of the Prisoner’s dilemma.   (Yay, I knew that Philosophy major would come in handy one day!  Stay tuned, next week…Baking with Nietzsche…)

Anyway, marvel at the British nuttiness of it all and come back ready to talk about arancini….

Golden Balls

Ok, I’m ready.  Arancini.

January’s Daring Cooks’ challenge was a ball! The lovely Manu from Manu’s Menu brought our taste buds to the streets of Sicily and taught us her family tradition of making arancine – filled and fried balls of risotto. Delizioso!

These were super delizioso but believe me, you’re not making them in any sort of hurry.  These babies need some time and devotion to the cause.

First you’ve got to make:

The Risotto

Arancini Ingredients
Arancini Ingredients

I’ll put the full recipe at the end.  but this is actually a great risotto recipe.

What you end up with is this.  How gorgeous is this bright yellow?

This lovely sunshiney yellow is well on its way to becoming my favourite colour. And mmmmm…butter….

Saffron Risotto
Saffron Risotto

Then you lay it into a tray to cool and then you make…

Golden Balls o’ Sunshine…

Saffron Risotto Balls
Saffron Risotto Balls

And you know what?  You could stop right here and crumb these babies and they would be all kinds of delicious.  But in the daring kitchen, we’re turning that flavour experience up to 11.  Yeah.  EL-EV-EN.

Starting With:

The Bechamel

Wow.  has there ever been a bigger moment of cognitive dissonance?

Did you all just fist pump the air Eye of the Tiger style and then do a double take?

Bechamel?  WTF?  BlecHHHHHamel  more like.  Isn’t that the creepy white sauce that tastes like glue?

Bear with me..this one’s good.

You need to make it quite thick.

Bechamel Sauce
Bechamel Sauce

And finally:

The Filling

I chose to do a spinach and mozzarella filling.  The recipe has a meat ragu version and  a cheese version.

I didn’t get  a photo of the sauteed spinach.

But it looked like sauteed spinach.

Trust me.

Filling the Arancini 1
Filling the Arancini 1

You make a hole in the Risotto ball and add the filling ingredients – sauce, cheese, spinach.

And close.

Word to the wise.  Do the sauce first.  I’ll show you what happens in a moment if you try to do the sauce last…

Filling the Arancini 2
Filling the Arancini 2

One of these things does not quite belong…guess which one of these was the one where I put the sauce in last?

Filled Arancini
Filled Arancini

See what I mean about this being a labour of love?

It’s not all over yet folks, now you gotta egg them, crumb them and fry them up.

Bet you’re thinking you can sit down and have a quiet bottle of vino and some valium  now aren’t you?

Not so fast, Speedy.  These are fabulous and you could quite easily eat them as is.  Look at that oozy goodness….

Yep, oozy goodness from my golden balls…don’t roll your eyes…you were warned.

Spinach and Cheese Arancini 3
Spinach and Cheese Arancini 3

But remember when i said we were taking this up to eleven?

For eleven you need my spicy tomato relish (recipe below)

The arancini have a delightful crunch, then the aromatic risotto and the creamy cheesey garlicy goodness of the filling. The relish brings some heat and some tanginess. And that my friends is the five food groups covered.

Plus it has spinach so it’s good for you.

Like I said.  Eleven.

Spinach and Cheese Arancini with Tomato and Date Relish

Arancini recipe:

HERE

And just because I love you all, here’s the classic Spinal Tap clip about….

Eleven

Have a fabulous week,  And what ever you love doing – this week, take it to eleven!

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Rolling, Rolling Rolling…Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Daring Kitchen & Spice Peddler recipe)

I’ve been doing some wicked multitasking over the last few weeks – moving house has taken up just about all the time, energy, patience  and sanity I had left…which, particularly in the case of the last two was not a huge amount to begin with.

So, how to get through the move, life in general,  and a couple of cooking challenges for the month? Multitasking is how.  November’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge had us on a roll! Olga from http://www.effortnesslessly.blogspot.com/ challenged us to make stuffed cabbage rolls using her Ukrainian heritage to inspire us. Filled with meat, fish or vegetables, flexibility and creativity were the name of the game to get us rolling!

The Spice Peddlers this month sent their Big 5 Pepper Steak Rub which consists of black, green, white, pink, Szechuan and Tasmanian pepper plus cardamom, garlic salt, nutmeg and cloves.  This is a delicious blend which should by no means be limited to Pepper Steaks…although, having said that, it would be pretty great used like that.

Cabbage Rolls 2

So, the basic recipe for the cabbage rolls can be found here along with a vegetarian and a fish version which I am just itching to try!

I made some changes to the original recipe.  I’m not a huge fan of pork so I used lamb mince as my meat of choice.  I also added a teaspoon of the Big 5 Pepper Steak rub into the lamb mixture.

DSC00278When I made my rolls, I had a quite a bit of the meat mix left so I made up some meatballs and lightly fried them up before adding them to the pan with the rolls.  As I was frying them up, I also sprinkled more of the Pepper Mix into the pan so the meatballs picked up the pepper mix and got a kind of crunchy peppery coating on them.  Delish!!!

???????????????????????????????

Then into the oven with tomato sauce, another light sprinkle of the Pepper Mix and some salt to finish and a lovely hearty meal was had by all.

Perfect timing too because, whilst Melbourne’s weather cannot compare with the Ukraine, it has been an unusually cold summer and the cabbage rolls and a glass of red were the perfect accompaniment to a chilly night where we had to put the fire on!  The warming spices in the Big 5 Pepper Rub were a perfect blend for this hearty and warming dish.

Stufffed Cabbage Rolls
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This wasn’t the quickest of things to make as it has many moving parts – pre-cooking the cabbage, and the rice, making the filling and the tomato sauce, then the baking all takes time.  However, no single  part is difficult and it is delicious and was as good, if not better when re-heated for lunch the following day

Also, I used half the quantity in the given recipe and, as you can see, it made a huge amount….

Meantime, i was inspired by this recipe’s Ukrainian heritage to have a look at some of the great old posters produced in the Eastern bloc…

I think this is the one that insprisred the Franz Ferdinand cd cover:

1920’s Communist Poster
Franz Ferdinand

These are some awesome Polish movie posters:

Polish Movie Posters

And this is apparently an anti-drinking message…yep, I’ve had mornings where my head felt like that too…

Last month’s Bloody Mary was kind of a hit so I’m going to be spending the new few days thinking about how I can incorporate the Big 5 Pepper Steak Rub into a cocktail…stay tuned!

Have a great week!

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