Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I AM FISH...

This is not about a recipe, but very much about food - the fish- whose home is the oceans.

I get a newsletter from the David Suzuki Foundation called Marine Scene Conserving the Oceans This is what it asks/tells us in this Issue:
" I Am Fish
Did you know plankton helps produce more than half the world’s oxygen? Or that oceans provide 99 per cent of the planet’s living space? The David Suzuki Foundation’s “I Am Fish” campaign, launched this fall, was designed to bring Canadians a little closer to the vast, blue expanse that surrounds three sides of our country and makes it possible for us to live on Earth."

David Suzuki is also this years Swedish Right Livelyhood Award (also called the Alternative Nobel Prize) winner.

Below is the IAM FISH video. I have seen the video earlier, but thought of sharing it with you.
You'll love watching this video, it is not only compact and informative but also beautifully made.
Go here: I AM FISH narrated by David Suzuki.
or here (at the Healthy ocean blog)

And for those who want to know more:
PNCIMA
Interactive tour of the ecosystem services off of Canada's Pacific North Coast
Some more information on I AM FISH here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Diwali!

Not getting much time to post. My picture folder is growing in size, though! :D
But, still if you happen to pass by...


A very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Diwali!
May it bring light and happiness
into your homes and lives...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home grown for my mom's birthday!

a herbal bouquet from my garden

This tuesday was my mom's birthday. I usually cook something nice to make that day special, a wonderful cook as she was. I knew I was going to make something light this time as all our stomachs needed a break from eating too much as we had invited friends for a barbecue on the weekend and like always I had prepared too much and we were left with enough for the next day as well. But until her birthday I really didn't now what. Then, it so happened that I went with sunnyboy to have a look at our kitchen garden in the afternoon and realised that we could make something nice with the potatoes waiting to be digged out, as my mom would have been so proud of me - of my first potatoes.
Both of us got our gloves, sunny boy has got his from his aunt who keeps buying all kinds of fancy things for him everytime she comes. It was uttermost pleasure for both of us to take them out of the earth and collect them in our bowl. Every time sunnyboy found one, he would scream with excitement "here's one more!...". We just dug out one plant for this and we still have nine. Yipeeeeee!
I couldn't believe that planting them so spontaneously end of March (or was it April?!....don't remember, need to note it down next time) actually gave results. I had planted an early potato variety and they came through without any diseases. I think they will be the only ones in my garden without any diseases this year, as I found signs of tomato blight on a couple of my still green tomatoes today. I removed those I found. My zucchini, just like my Hokaido pumpkin, are suffering from mildew now. Luckily we have had enough Zucchinis and so far they don't seem to be minding the mildew on the leaves. But the pumpkins on the plant seem to have stopped growing and no new ones are comig either. I'll have maybe five pumpkins this year of which only three would be the normal good size. I think for a pumpkin it seems too little. But the mildew is getting stronger and stronger even though I have already sprayed a lot of baking powder on the leaves. Initially it seemd to help a lot but not anymore and I don't wish to use any chemicals.
But hubby says five is not bad from a plant, more than enough for us. Well, he's right that way!

So, coming back to the potatoes. I washed them and scrubbed them clean. I didn't need to peal them as the skin looked so fresh and thin. I prepared them along with the zucchini from our kitchen garden. And we ate them along with a simple daal, rice and an avocado guacamole made with cucumber instead of the onion in it usually.

Sukhi Aaloo ki sabzi (Potatoes sauteed with veggies)
Recipe by PG of My Kitchen Stories

Ingredients:
6 -8 small early potatoes, skin scrubbed clean and cubed
1/2 zucchini (or 1 small), cubed
3 spring onions, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into squares
1 tsp cumin
1 pinch asafoetida, crushed
1 pinch coarsely ground fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp Pav Bhaji masala (Everest) or any other curry powder of choice
red chilli powder to taste
salt to taste
rapeseed oil


Method:
  • heat oil in a saute pan and add cumin and asafoetida to splutter, stir and add the potatoes immediately.
  • cook on medium heat covered, keep stirring in between
  • after about 10 minutes add spring onion, ground coriander and red chili powder stir and cook further
  • add salt in between and stir. Once done, take out and set aside covered to keep warm
  • add little or no oil as per choice in the pan and stir fry zucchini and red pepper on medium high heat till they get a golden brown colour and cooked through but still firm to the bite
  • add salt and put back the potatoes into the pan and cook further for no more than a minute (if using an electric or ceramic cooktop, switch of heat and leave on the cooktop)
  • serve warm with rice, roti or any kind of bread. We ate it with daal, steamed basmati rice and guacamole made with cucumber instead of onion.
  • Bon Appétit!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pisto Manchego and my first prize at a blog event!

It is already a very old story now, but I must share it with you. More so to thank Ivy of Kopiaste.

So, the story goes like this: I had taken part in an event (the Round up) at her blog where she also had a giveaway, a Tupperware® Chef's knife. Well, do I need to tell you that I actually won the prize through lucky draw! She sent me the knife, with registered post. I waited excitedly. Well .....we waited and waited and waited, but the knife never came, I contacted her once but we thougt that it might be taking longer, especially the registered ones do.
One day she emailed me saying that the knife had been returned back to her and was puzzled. I was not totally surprised but very irritated as it was the second packet which had been returned that very month. I even went to the local branch office and talked to them but as you know I knew nothing could really be done. I also felt sad for Ivy as she had put enough money and efforts to send it and asked her to let it be. But, she refused and was determined to send me a gift again and asked if we try with soemthig else as we both were a bit unsure if it was not for the fact that it was knife that it was returned. I agreed as she offered to send me a book. And yes, I got it! I was nervous the whole time I waited for it!

Thank you so much, Ivy!

The reasons it took me so long to post about this are manyfold. But one was that I wanted to cook something from it before posting about it and I got the book shortly before I took a break from blogging so it never came to that. So, here it is finally!

The two things I have tried from the book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tapas : Pisto Manchego which we ate together with Tortilla de patatas, also from the book.



Pisto Manchego (Spanish)

Recipe by PG of My Kitchen Stories

Pisto Manchego or simply Pisto is a spanish dish made with seasonal vegetables, especially zucchini or eggplants combined with tomatoes, onion and bell peppers. The whole thing is prepared in olive oil and resembles ratatouile in some ways.

Ingredients:
1 large Zucchini (450 g), finely cubed
1 yellow white onion (80-100g), finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 green bell pepper, cut into squares
1/2 orange bell pepper, very finely cut into squares (both peppers together 250 g)
6 medium ripe tomatoes (~600g), chopped
a few small sprigs oregano, the leaves and tender stem parts only, chopped
1 pinch dried thyme
red chilli or cayenne pepper, to taste
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
1 large, grillled and peeled long red bell pepper (sweet pepperoncini) from the jar, chopped (optional)
olive oil
flat parsely for garnishing, chopped

Method:
  • prepare vegetables as given above
  • in a large sauté pan or fry pan, heat two tbsp olive oil on high heat and sauté zucchini in it for a few minutes, reduce heat to medium high and add onion and garlic, sauté further
  • add bell peppers and sauté for a few minutes
  • add chopped tomatoes, and herbs, cook on medium heat, stirring in between, till they become tender (about 10 minutes)
  • reduce heat to medium low, stir in tomato paste, the red bell pepper, salt and spices
  • keep cooking, stirring and mashing in between till the whole thing becomes tender and thick
  • garnish with chopped parsely and serve warm with fried eggs or tortilla de patate (Tortilla Espanõla)
Tip: The pisto can also be eaten cold and tastes even better the next day.

Typically Pisto is served with fried eggs, but I saw a picture in the book where the pisto was served together with tortilla de patatas and I liked the idea and thought of trying that combination out.


Tortilla de Patatas (Tortilla Espanõla)

Tortilla de patate or Tortilla Espanõla, as called in Spain, is a spanish omelett and is a typical and well known spanish potato dish prepared all over Spain. The main ingredients are poatoes and eggs and optionally yellow onion. All kinds variants with peppers, ham, chorizo etc also exist and every region and household has its own way of preparing the omlette. To differenciate it from the typical french omelett the french omlette is called Tortilla francesa. When served as a tapas it is sometimes called pincho de tortilla when cut up into small cubes and served with cocktail sticks. (source Wikipedia)

I prepared it without onion because sunny boy doesn't like onion and the way I have eaten long time back, prepared by a Spanish classmate in our German class, it was without onion too.
Recipe by PG of My Kitchen Stories

Ingredients:
about 1 kg potatoes, peeled and sliced or cubed (after peeling and being cut: 900 g)
1 cup olive oil
4-6 medium eggs, slightly beaten with salt to taste

Method:
  • heat oil in a fry pan and add all the potato slices so they are more or less covered in oil and fry till that they get cooked but not turn crisp or brown
  • take them out and drain the potatoes over kitchen roll, dab them with the paper roll if neccesary
  • remove oil from the pan, but don't clean it or wipe it, heat it on medium high heat
  • put back the potatoes and the beaten eggs and cook covered on medium heat till the egg is no more fluid. Take a large flat plate and place over the pan so it covers the pan completely.
  • turn the pan upside down holding the plate against it, so the omlette comes out onto the plate
  • place back the pan on heat and slide the omelett back into the to fry the other side as well, till done.
  • serve warm with pisto or as a part of tapas, cut into mouth sized cubes
Note: Do not add too many eggs into the dish. The proportion of potato to eggs should be such that the potatoes should be mainly coated with eggs.


The meal was lovely! And very filling too. I liked the combination a lot and would surely try it again. I was too lazy to peel the skin of tomatoes but might actually do it next time. Despite that I found the pisto so full of flavours being full of fresh red ripe summer tomatoes, especially since the zucchini was from my own garden *wink*. Sunny boy didn't wish to eat the pisto, though. Too many veggies together, especially those without any clear shape and form are not very welcome on his plate right now. But he enjoyed the tortilla, of course!
The next day I ate the pisto cold with some toasted bread, it was heavenly! I added the remaining pisto into a casserole I made with potatoes in the evening which gave the casserole a wonderful and peppery flavour too.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I've been away too long (and Myyyyyy zucchini plant)

It could get too long to explain to you why I had to take leave from blogging. It was unexpected but the reasons are gone now, unfortunately. That was another reason why I didn't feel like coming back as I was in no mood to do anything. Since last month I have been thinking of coming back, but somehow during my absence here a lot new happenend and I also realised that I had been neglecting a lot of other important things.
So, today I want to show you what all I have been up to in the last few months. I started working in my tiny kitchen garden a bit late this year but just about managed to plant some plantlets and just about managed to start the tomato seeds, but I don't know if it won't be too late by the time the tomatoes come. Though this time the sun had the mercy of showing up more often this summers than last year so, they almost seem to have made up for their small size. I hope i get atleast one round of tomatoes.
This time I even planted potatoes for the first time with hubbys help. They have been growing like wild. I have planted one zucchini plant and one Hokaido pumpkin which I bought from a local small groccery shop. They have come out very nicely. Now I have sown carrot seeds, a bit late, I feel, but lets see. And also seeds of radishes and a lettuce called 'pflucksalat' which are salads from which you can pluck just the leaves and new ones keep coming.
The Zucchini plant has been producing zucchini endlessly, but so far we haven't gotten bored of eating them.



I have made very many different things with it. Here are a few examples:
You see I wanted to post about it last month but I'm getting the time now. Sunny boy actually ate Zucchini. Yes! the biggest wonder of this year happpened on the day I served this dish , Zucchini with chickpeas. These were his words: "this is the best zucchini of the world". He was as happy and proud of the zucchini from his own garden as me.
But, don't worry, his enthusiasm went as soon as it came! :(




My zucchini plant, still going strong....
Although hubby loved all the things I prepared so far, but this was his favorite, Gobi manchurian a la PG, with zucchini and a lot of other veggies. The basic recipe came from the awesome blog of Sailu's Kitchen.

So that you know I will be writing but it will only be every now and then. Time has made me change priorities. I loved each and every moment of food blogging and I have been wanting to post so often but to no avail. I still keep taking pictures hoping to post about it. :D Maybe one day I will have more time for this hobby of mine.
I'm sorry for not replying to your emails and querries immediately. And thank you so much for your concern! I hope to post a couple of more posts soon.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Roasted bell peppers salad

A German friend of mine is an "India"-freak, if I may say so. She is a vegetarian, loves Indian food (she had lived in England for a year), and has fullfilled her dream of seeing India on a trip with me and wishes to go again. Last year she even tried a class called "Bollywood dancing" with another colleague of hers. The first time I heard about it I had to laugh. Though I did not want to be mean to her tried to resist it not to make fun of it. But, with time I realised that I am the one not up to date, as it looks like, it is a serious business now. I was recently reading in the online New York Times an article and my eyes fell on this article heading in the sidebar on Bollywood Excersise (note: not Hollywood, just in case you didn't know about it) in Health blog column "Well" at NYT.
Bollywood is big in coming here, so much so that they now show Indian movies, as always translated in German, on German TV channels like RTL. And I have heard from a French friend of mine who is now living there, that there also they get to see these translated movies on TV. And from what I know they produce Bollywood films now keeping the 'global' viewers in mind with the third generation of 'Indians' growing up outside India and globalisation showing its impacts on Indian culture as well.

Now coming back to the lovely roasted bell peppers. I had been wanting to eat them like this since a while until I finally took out the book and checked the ingredients, got some nice fresh bell peppers and the anchovies in salt and brine I required for it and got going that very day.

Roasted mediterranian bell peppers

Recipe by PG of My Kitchen Stories

Based on a recipe from the book Le Cordon Bleu 'Vegetables'

Ingredients:
1 red belll pepper, washed, cleaned, stem and seeds removed, and cut into stips lengthwise
1 yellow bell pepper, (same as above)
1 green bell pepper,
(same as above) - I substituted it with red bell peppers
1 red onion, halved vertically and then thinly sliced
olive oil to brush on bell peppers while roasting/grilling
2-3 tbsp capers, optionally with a few tsp of the brine (if using capers in salt, soak in warm water and use the water)
4-5 anchovies, finely chopped
3 -4 tbsp fresh basil leaves, washed and chiffonaded
2-3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
1 garlic, finely chopped
5 tbsp olive oil (EVOO)
1-2 tsp lemon juice, as per taste


fresh green lettuce leaves like Roma
some Italian bread (like Ciabatta), sliced

Method:
  • wash the salad leaves and set aside
  • Clean and cut the peppers into 6-8 long strips each and brush the skin with olive oil
  • spread the sliced onions in a small flat baking dish
  • place the bell peppers on a baking try with the cut skin showing upwards along with the onion and grill in a preheated oven for 20 minutes till the skin gets charred and the peppers have turned soft
  • set the onion aside to cool down
  • place the bell peppers in a freezer bag, close it for a few minutes till the peppers cool down a bit
  • remove the peppers from the bag and peel the skin
  • In the mean time chop anchovies, herbs, capers and garlic and mix with the olive oil and lemon juice
  • add the peeled bell peppers along with the onions to it and refrigerate for a few hours to let them take up flavour
  • serve with some Italian bread slices and fresh salad leaves
NOTE: I for got to add the onion while taking the first picture, but you see it in the next one, which i just about remembered to take. :)

In addition to the salad and the bread I had also boiled some potatoes and to make them a little more flavourful I mashed the potatoes and fried a small onion in 1 tbsp olive oil in a fry pan till golden and added the potatoes on top of it and pressed it down and cooked for another two minutes to have a 'sort of' rösti.
We all enjoyed our meal fully. I had put a bit too much of olive oil at the very end before serving. But, no one of us minded that. :D I think I'll have to do some dieting soon, I've been eating so uncontrolled lately :I
Recently we got to know of sunny boy's allergies, right now we know that he is allergic, though mildly, to wheat, rye and spelt. Haven't tested it with other things like barley and he seems to be doing fime with oats, though I'm not 100% sure. The doctor says the important thing is to see how his body reacts to the food than the tests. But since we don't use barley as such much I don't care. Luckily he is only mildly allergic and we can live with it. Luckily his Kindergarten can offer gluten free food so I don't need to worry in that regard.
So, I always have to have an option for sunny boy which he can eat. Here it was potatoes, or we would have simply eaten bread, toasted or plain withthe peppers.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Carribean adventure


This is how I feel like calling it and it took me some time to have enough confidence to try out these Carribean recipes. Like always I wanted to make things more complicated and wanted to get a feel of what Carribean food is all about before trying out something. Until I realised that the best way do it was to 'try out' the recipes than to just keep reading them all.
Initially I had no time at all and at the end I had just about a couple of days time left. Then came the problem of finding sources which I felt were reliable enough, but this post of Meeta at WFLH helped solve both the problems. Even now, I just about managed to cook these recipes I had choosen, to my utter happiness.

To make sure I got the 'Carribean' feeling just right I tried to buy all the ingredients I could get hold of yesterday. As I also happened to go to the city centre, I went to the Chinese shop there for cilantro and bought dried 'American' black beans (according to the packet) - not canned - and ground allspice from the local supermarket. I haven't used alllspice in this form so far and, infact, the last time I had bought whole allspice was more than 10 years ago and while cleaning up the kitchen on our move few years ago the remaining packet was discarded and I, somehow, never required to buy it again. But, things will change now that I have taken up this challenge! *smiling big*

These are the recipes I decided upon and took help of, after going through the links given by Meeta:

Carribean Rice and Carribean Vegetables (Sweet potato and Zucchini)

I tried to make them as true to the recipes as possible as this was my very first trial at cooking or, for that matter, eating Carribean food. However, I changed the first recipe slightly as I felt that a combination with sweet potato made the use of sqash unnecessary and because I just could not get this recipe of a Cuban Salsa Verde out of my mind and at the very end decided to add it as well to the rice and, despite my fears, it was fantastic!
Since I have modified the recipe of the Rice dish, I will write down the recipe here:


Caribbean Coconut Rice with Cuban Salsa Verde

Recipes by PG of My Kitchen Stories

A combination of two recipes of Caribbean Rice and Rice with Cuban Salsa Verde

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup parboiled rice (I used regular Basmati rice)
2 tbsp olive oil (EVOO)
1 cup red onion, finely chopped
1-3/4 cups (1/4-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (I left this out)
1 tsp chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (I used dried thyme)
1/8 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper from the mill
2 handfuls of black beans, soaked for 6-8 hours, rinsed and drained 3x in between
4 tbsp Cuban Salsa Verde*

Method:
  • cook the black beans in a pressure cooker or a deep saucepan till very tender
  • Bring the vegetable broth and coconut milk to a boil in a saucepan over high heat untill it starts to boil, add rice.
  • Cover with a lid, reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and uncover lid.
  • In the meantime, heat 2 tbsp oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add chopped onion, sauté for a few miutes till golden brown.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add squash, if using, and cook until done, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in thyme and remaining spices, stir for a minute and add the black beans.

  • Add rice to beans mixture, stirring gently and not too much to combine but not to break the rice too much.
  • prepare the salsa verde by grinding all the ingredients together and cooking in the microwave for 2 mintes at 900 W (optionally for 5 minutes on stovetop) until it starts to throw bubbles
  • eat warm or cold combined with a salad

Cuban Salsa Verde*


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro leaves, washed throughly and chopped coarsely
2 green onions, cleaned and chopped
1 tbsp lime juice (I used lemon juice)
1 tbsp olive oil (EVOO)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper (I used black pepper and a pinch of red chilli powder)

Method:
Grind all the ingredients in a food processor or with a hand mixer until smooth.

oh! What a lovely combination did it make! So flavourful. We all loved the spices in the sweet potato, even sunny boy, who initially was abit hesitant , but after persueing hin to tr it again, he finally was of the opinion that 'it tastes good'. I have a small portion of it left for me to enjoy tomorrow.
It feels good to send these entries, though almost last minute, to Carribean Cooking, this month's Monthly Mingle at Meeta's What's For Lunch Honey.

And it feels so good to be back blogging after a long break!