Saturday, 22 September 2012

Coconut Blondies.

Well its the end of a non existent summer in the UK, as is every year. And even after all these years I still cannot get my head around to what to wear while leaving the house.....when I'm dressed for rain..its dry as a dessert, and when I dress up warm...its cold as hell...hmmm...guess as the saying goes "In Britian the weather changes with the blink of an eye" lol!!

Well all said and done, I've enjoyed some wonderful days out, at some awesome food festivals in an around Dorset. The Dorset Chilli Festival, Sturminister Newton Cheese Festival and the Dorset County Fair have been truly enlightening and worth every minute (pictures to follow in future posts).

                                                                                                                        Coconut image source : We've also managed to finish work in our garden and 20 month old Baby A finally has his own little play area with a Sand and water pit, garden patch, and a messy area. After a hard day in the garden, Baby A will happily wolf down one of these coconut squares, often asking for more. Hubby too says these are one of the best cakes ever made, and to prove it, has hidden the cake box from me..hehe (its a good thing in one way, keeps my calories in check). I did manage to bake a few more and take them to work and to Baby A's nursery. End results...lots of praise and recipe demands :))) so here it goes..

Todays absolutely heavenly recipe for Coconut Blondies with white and dark chocolate chips is another winning recipe from the Queen of cakes "Linda Collister. I've tried so many of her cakes, and each of them have been delightful. My most recent one being Apple Cake with almonds (recipe coming soon). These coconut blondies are sweet, chewy and moist on the inside, with a wonderful coconuty crunchy crust.... a perfect sweet treat for those who love coconut.

For those of you wondering what a Blondie is? Here is an insight from Wiki. A blondie (also known as a "blond[e] brownie" or "blondie bar") is a rich, sweet dessert bar, made from flour, brown sugar, butter, eggs, baking powder, and vanilla. Blondies resemble the traditional chocolate brownie. They are baked in a pan in the oven similar to how traditional brownies are baked, then cut into rectangular shapes for serving. Like brownies, blondies may include chocolate chips. They may also contain coconut, nuts, toffee, or any other chunky candy for added texture.

Recipe for Coconut Blondies from "Sweet Treats" by Linda Collister

Ingredients: Makes 20 blondies.
Shredded unsweetened dessicated coconut: 175g
Unsalted butter: 175gm
Packed light brown muscavado sugar: 300gms
Large eggs, lightly beaten: 2
Vanilla extract: 1tsp
Flour: 50gm
Baking powder: 1 tsp
White chocolate chips: 50gm
Dark chocolate chips: 50 gm
Brownie tin 20.5x 25.5 cms greased and lined with baking paper
1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease and flour a 9- by 13-inch pan.

3. Put the shredded coconut in a baking dish and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned. Watch carefully, as the coconut can go from brown to burnt quickly. Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate to cool.
4.Melt the butter in a large vessel over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the brown sugar with a wooden spoon ( make sure the vessel not hot/ alternatively transfer the sugar and butter mixture to a large mixing bowl).
5. Gradually beat in the eggs, then the vanilla extract. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the sugar mixture and stir until only a few streaks of flour remain.
6. Finally, work in the toasted coconut the white and semi-sweet chocolate chips. When everything is thoroughly combined, transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread evenly.
 Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on the top and a skewer inserted halfway between the sides and the center of the pan comes out just clean. Do not over bake, as the best bit of this is their chewy centers.

Leave to cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting. Store in an airtight container. Consume within a week.
Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

Carol Sequeira Pereira

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Oven Roasted Swede with Mangalore Baffat powder- Nativity Day Special

Nativity Day is here and to celebrate I am blogging about one of my favourite oven roasted vegetable dishes. 

'Swede' or 'Rustabaga' originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnipIn England, they are regularly eaten mashed as part of the traditional Sunday roastOften they are boiled together with carrots and served either mashed or pureed with butter and ground pepper. 

I decided to treat them like sweet potatoes and oven roast them. Seasoned the Swede with the Mangalore special Baffat powder ( see note below), curry leaves, green chillies and tossed it into the oven, baked till soft. The end result was pretty awesome. The outer crunchy spicy surface gives way to a soft, mildy sweet centre thats is yummm! Substitute your regular potato chips with these spicy cubes.

To make Oven roasted Swede with Mangalore Baffat powder.
Swede: Chopped into 1/4 inch cubes: 250 gms
Mustard seeds/ : 1/2 tsp
Naked Urad dal: 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves: a few
Green chillies slit: 2-3
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
Hing: 1/8th tsp
Baffat powder/ Sambhar powder/ Ready Vegetable spice mix: 2 tsps
Coconut oil/ any other vegetable oil: 1-2 tbsp or as required.
Salt to taste
Lemon juice 

1. Preheat oven to 200C
2. Heat a large wok with coconut oil, when hot add mustard seeds, splutter, add naked urad, curry leaves and green chillies and fry for  a minute, add a pinch of turmeric and hing fry for few seconds, then add the cubed swede, stir fry for a minute, sprinkle over the baffat powder/ sambhar powder/ vegetable spice mix, salt  to taste, coat all pieces well. 
3. Place all the spice coated swede cubes flat on a greased baking sheet, center of the oven,  sprinkle over 2-3 tbsps of water and roast for 45-60 minutes or till soft and done. Turn in between 2-3 times. Sprinkle water over swede cubes in between if needed. Taste for salt, adjust. Squeeze over lemon juice if needed, serve hot.

Enjoy as an accompaniment to beef/ lamb steaks or grilled fish or traditional rice and daaliso saar.

Caysera's Notes:
1. Mangalore Baffat powder can be made at home (recipe here) or can be brought ready made from Konkan Traders, Don Stores or Costa Bakery in Mangalore, India. This powder is so versatile it can be used in various preparations like Dukrachemas/ Pork Bafat Style, Kori Sukka ( Chicken dry style with coconut) , Baffat Chicken/ fish curry and is a good seasoning for vegetables like marrow (Cucumber Baffat sukke) or starchy vegetables like yam, potatoes, plaintains and swede. As an alternative if you cannot find Baffat powder you could substitute with Sambhar powder or a ready vegetable spice powder available in most Asian stores. For a milder flavour substitute the baffat/sambhar powder with a sprinkling of 1-2 tsps of Smoked Paprika powder.


Carol Sequeira Pereira

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Mangalorean Black Channa/ Sonay Sukke.

Well its that time of the year when we Mangaloreans celebrate "The Nativity Day/ Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary" or in Konkani 'Monthi/ Monti Fest' which falls every year on the 8th of September.

To celebrate "Nativity Day" last year I prepared the "Mangalorean Mixed Vegetable Coconut Curry with Spinach, Broccoli and Soya Beans".

This year I would like to add to my list of "Novein Jovaan", my favourite dish "Black Channa/ Sonay Sukke".

This is my mom's treasured recipe for a wonderfully spiced Mangalore black chickpea preparation. It is wonderfully spiced and very addictive.
This dish adorns many a Mangalorean family's  table on a regular basis. It could be considered a 'celebratory dish' as it is served during many a occasion such as the "Monthi Fest,  "Roce Ceremony/ Coconut milk ceremony before a Mangalorean Catholic wedding" and almost every party that mom organises at home. It is a good accompaniment with hot drinks too. 
Unlike most recipes that ask for a ground spice paste/masala, this recipe can be made with with home store cupboard spices. Do give it a try and let me know how you enjoyed it.

To make Mangalorean Black Channa/ Sonay Sukke

Recipe Source: My Mom
Black channa: 1/4 kg washed and soaked in water overnight.
For Gravy:

Onion: 1 chopped finely
Tomatoes: 2 small chopped finely
Bedagi or Kashmiri Red chilly powder: 1 tbsp ( adjust t o your preference)
Coriander powder:1 tbsp
Cumin powder: 1 tsp

Pepper powder: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
Tamarind extract: 1tsp or to taste
Salt to taste
Sugar/ Jaggery: 1 tsp ( optional) 
Grated coconut: 1/4
For Seasoning
Mustard seeds : 1/2 tsp

Crushed garlic flakes: 5
Curry leaves:a few
Garlic flakes: 5
Coconut or any other oil: 1 tbsp

1. Wash black channa and soak overnight. Next day, drain it and pressure cook along with minced onion, minced tomato, salt and sufficient water to cover the channas by 2 cms above it. Cook till channa's are soft (and retain their form and shape) and not mushy. Should take around 4-5 whistles. Then turn off the gas allow the pressure to condense before opening the cooker.

2. Open the cooker and check if the channa's are cooked. Turn the heat back on add all the spice powders and bring to a boil. When the gravy is almost drying add the freshly grated coconut. Turn off the heat.
3. Heat oil in a large kadai, add mustard seeds allow to splutter. When they splutter add crushed garlic and curry leaves. Fry till garlic lightly browns, add the channas from the cooker into the kadai. Add the tamarind extract, let the channas simmer for another 5 minutes, add the sugar, mix well, turn off the heat.

Caysera's Notes:
*For variety you could substitute the above spice mixture with 2 tsps of sambhar powder or baffat powder.
For More "Novein Joovan or Vegeterian recipes" please click  the "Tickle My Senses Recipe index tab" and scroll down to "Recipes for Nativity day/ Novein Joovan".

Hope you Enjoy!! Happy Monthi Fest!

Carol Sequeira Pereira

Monday, 3 September 2012

Chicken Noodles with Mushrooms and Spinach for little monkeys!!

Most children love noodles and this is Baby A's favourite chicken noodles recipe. This delicious noodles preparation is packed with the goodness of vegetables and chicken, and is a super easy way to get your lil ones to enjoy a balanced meal.

Its a joy to watch Baby A having fun slurping up these soft egg noodles with chicken, mushrooms and spinach. Even though he has learned to eat with a fork, when it comes to noodles it is his fingers he prefers. 

First he picks up a string of noodle with his fingers, does a bit of dangling, twirling, twisting, then pulls it through his lips and eventually eats it :) 

The not-so fun part for mommy begins when he comes chasing with those sticky fingers ;) Make sure you've got some wet wipes handy or else you're in big trouble!!

To make Chicken Noodles with Mushrooms and Spinach.
Ingredients: Serves 1 toddler
Cooked egg noodles: 1/4 -1/2 cup based on childs appetite
Shredded chicken: 1 small piece
Tomato: 1/2 chopped finely
Mushrooms: 2 nos. sliced thinly
Baby spinach leaves: a few
Onion minced: 1 tbsp
Hot water: 1/2 cup
Knorr chicken stock cube ( MSG free with reduced salt): 1/8 th of a cube
Ghee: 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon stick: small piece
Lemon juice: few drops
Cornflour: 1/2 tsp dissolved in a tbsp water

1. Heat oil in a non stick pan add cinnamon stick fry for a few seconds, then remove, add minced onions to the same oil and fry till golden brown, add the minced tomatoes fry for a minute, add cooked shredded chicken, thinly sliced mushrooms, baby spinach and cooked egg noodles. Add 1/2 cup of  water, 1/8th of chicken stock cube (or if you have ready stock use instead of water and skip the stock cube). Close the pan and allow all the ingredients to infuse its flavours for around 4-5 minutes.
2. When the mushrooms have cooked and there is still around 2 tbsps stock remaining in the pan, taste for salt, add the cornflour mixture. Allow the stock to slightly thicken and coat the noodles. Turn off the heat, add a squeeze of lemon juice, mix well. 

Serve warm in a bowl with a child safe fork.