Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Parsley Pesto

Since I have been busy making a whole heap of crackers lately (see previous post) I thought I'd make myself a yummy dip to go with them. However, the only ingredient I seemed to have in a large supply was parsley, so voilà, parsley pesto was born. Funny thing is, I much prefer to use it as a pasta sauce. The manthing loves it on the crackers but I find it a bit too earthy. But mix it with some pasta and a bit of extra parmesan and wow I'm in heaven.

  • 80g walnuts, toasted
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 50g parsley leaves, chopped (about 1 large bunch)
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper


Blend/process/crush the walnuts and garlic together until it resembles coarse grains.
Add the parsley and blend a little longer. I use an immersion stick blender thingy.
Keep the blender running and add the oil in a slow stream.
Once blended to a thick grainy paste, fold in the parmesan.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add more oil if you wish to thin it down.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sesame and Caraway Crackers

There is something really satisfying about knowing how to make items that you'd normally not think twice about buying at the supermarket. You might scoff at the idea of making your own crackers, but it is easier than you might expect (not to mention economical and tasty). My cracker recipe was inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe for 'Hot Discs', which are a slightly puffed up tortilla chip/poppadom hybrid. They are yum and great for dipping, but I now prefer to make them as crackers (just prick them with forks before baking to prevent any trapped air from puffing them up. I also changed the seasoning because the original didn't have enough zing for my liking, and I added some seeds to give them more substance. Feel free to mix and match your own seasoning, perhaps you could come up with your own favourite combination.


250g plain flour
1 heaped tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
3/4 tsp sesame seeds
25g cold unsalted butter, diced
100ml hot milk


Add the flour, salt, spices and seeds to a bowl. Rub in the butter (like you would when making pastry).

Gradually stir in the hot milk. Lightly kneed the dough.

Cut the dough in half and roll it out quite thinly, just a few millimetres thick.

Use a 5cm round cookie cutter and stamp out as many rounds as you can. Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Prick tops with a fork.

Bake them for approx 5 minutes at 220 Celsius, however, keep an eye on them during baking as your baking time may vary. They will be done when they start to get a slight brown tinge.

Remove them to cool on a wire rack.

Repeat process with the rest of the dough.

Makes 60-70

Monday, November 08, 2010

Rhubarb Lime Sherbet

The garden is still overflowing with rhubarb, and while I enjoy using it in baking I thought I should find a new use for it; a girl can only eat so many rhubarb muffins, cakes and crumbles. So when I stumbled upon a recipe for rhubarb sherbet I knew I just had to try. At first I didn't even know what a sherbet was, but after reading I discovered it's a mix between ice cream and sorbet (as it contains some dairy). And wow it is good, so good that I'm already set to make another batch today. The sherbet is so light yet creamy, and the rhubarb flavour really comes through and your mouth is left with a a yummy sweet tang thanks to the lime. This is the best frozen dessert I have ever had, and it is amazingly easy to make. I made it by hand and don't have an ice cream maker and it turned out perfect, so this an accessible recipe that would be ideal for anyone to make, even if you've never made a frozen dessert before.

Recipe adapted from Modern Domestic - original recipe here


  • 255g rhubarb (2-3 large stalks), washed and trimmed (the redder your stalks, the pinker your sherbet will be)
  • 130 g (2/3 cup) sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (approx 1 or two limes, don't scrimp on this)
  • 1 cup whole milk


Chop the rhubarb into thin slices and add them to a non-reactive saucepan along with the sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium heat and simmer it for 5 minutes, so that the rhubarb softens and cooks through. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, pour in the lime juice.

Puree the mixture using an immersion blender, food processor or standard blender.

Add the milk and pulse until fully combined.

Fill a large bowl, or even your sink, with some ice and some cold water (enough to just float the ice).

Place the rhubarb mixture into a bowl and set it over the ice water bath. Let it stand for about 20 minutes, stir it occasionally. Now place the bowl into the fridge to chill even further, at least 4 hours.

If you have an ice cream maker you can now use it as you normally would. Otherwise pour the mixture into a sturdy freezer-safe container and place it in freezer.  Remove it from freezer every 30 minutes or so, and break up the ice crystals. Do this until the mixture is completely frozen and can no longer be beaten (about 4 hours).  I used an immersion blender to beat it, but you could transfer the mixture to a blender or just beat by hand with a hand tool such as a sturdy whisk.
If my instructions are a bit confusing, you may want to read this great article about how to make ice cream without a machine.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Grilled Chicken, Tandoori Style

I spotted this recipe in a book on healthy Indian cooking, and while to me it doesn't compare to proper tandoori chicken, it's delicious in its own right and has now become my new favourite 'go-to' recipe for grilled chicken. So while I find it a stretch to call it a tandoori chicken, I have no trouble labelling it as amazing, succulent, tender, and guilt-free. Problem is, though it maybe lower in fat than other grilled chicken recipes, you may find you want to eat more portions 'coz it is just so damn good!

(Recipe adapted from Shehzad Husain's Healthy Indian Cooking)


1 whole chicken, weighing about 1.5kg
150ml plain unsweetened yoghurt
1 tsp ginger pulp
1 tsp garlic pulp
1 Tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala


Skin the chicken and cut it into 8 pieces. Make 2 deep slashes in each piece to allow flavours to penetrate through. Alternately poke holes in it using a fork (hint courtesy of my manthing).

In a large bowl: mix the yoghurt, ginger, garlic, tomato puree, paprika, lemon juice, ground coriander, garam masala and 225ml water and add salt to taste.
Pour mixture over the chicken and marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, heat oven to its highest possible temperature. Lift the chicken pieces onto a lightly greased baking tray and place in oven.

Cook for 15-18 minutes, but keep an eye on it during this time to make sure it doesn't brown too fast. If it does, just turn the oven down a bit.

Check if it's done by piercing the thickest part of the chicken flesh with with a knife, the juices should run clear not pink.

Serves 4.

I like to serve it with black-eyed-bean-salad.