Archive for May, 2012

Look what I found in the garden………

Posted in Recipes, The Pantry with tags , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2012 by ninasnosh

En-route to the Gold Coast we have spent a couple of weeks in Alstonville (North Coast NSW) with my in-laws. We arrived just in time to reap the fruits of my Father in-law’s chilli plant.

He’s not quite sure what kind of chillies they are but one thing’s for sure they are of the hot variety!

Given I have either used up or given away what was left of my last batch of masala I decided to make a fresh batch using these chillies.

As there were only about 100g of chillies I only made  2/5 of the fresh masala quantity which is probably a good amount for the occasional user.

As you can see, this masala is a light green colour as the majority of the chillies were green and full of seeds.

If you know me well you will know how much I love shopping in kitchenware shops. I was recently sent some great storing/preserving jars from KitchenwareDirect to add to my vast array of kitchenware.

I’m always on the look out for great storage and I love this jar. It is called the ‘Bormioli Rocco Fido Jar’ I used a 0.5l capacity jar which was perfect for this quantity of masala – there is even enough space to keep a teaspoon in there!

I’ll definitely be growing my own chillies going forward 🙂

Quick snack to impress the unexpected guest….

Posted in Recipes, Snacks, The Pantry, Vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by ninasnosh

As I’ve learnt more about food I’ve generally avoided anything that is ready made and processed. This however, is quite a find and definitely worth having in your pantry. My mum makes them from scratch, something I will eventually do but it’s quite cumbersome so will have to wait until I am a little more settled. In the mean time I say,  ‘go with the tin’.

‘Patra’ are a vegetarian snack very popular in the Gujarat region of India. They are made up of Colocasia leaves which are rolled up with gram flour and spices. The method of making them from scratch involves preparing the leaves, making the paste, rolling them, steam cooking and then pan frying.

The tinned version can be found in all good Indian shops.


  • 1 x tin  Patra
  • 2 tbsp oil (sunflower or canola)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium heat, so it is hot but not too hot that the patra burn when they are placed in
  2. While the oil is heating remove the Patra from the tin and slice into about 1-1.5 cm thick circles
  3. Once oil is hot add the sesame seeds and sliced patra
  4. Cook the patra for about 2-3 minutes on each side so that they are nice and golden in colour
  5. Place them on a plate (including the crunchy bits) and serve while they are still hot

I promise you they won’t last long. I cooked these up on our weekend away when the Brain family popped round to our cabin for a quick visit and then again for Scott and I when we were packing and didn’t have time for dinner.

Tin of Patra

Sliced Patra


Vegetable Roti

Posted in Recipes, Snacks, Vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by ninasnosh

We’ve had a very busy month and I have been less than attentive to my children’s eating habits! Realising I had been dishing out a lot of pasta (homemade sauce of course) and fish fingers  – I decided to make some vegetable roti as a heathy snack.

These are a wonderful snack and you can pack them full of almost any vegetable you have lying around. You make a spicy or a non-spicy version so they are perfect for kids. If I ever feel like my kids aren’t eating enough veg I roll out a few of these and they are eaten faster than I can cook them. They are also great to take on a picnic or if you want something tasty to pack when you are going on a long journey.


  • 1 & 1/2 cups of Atta (chappati/roti flour) – you can buy this in the supermarket
  • extra bowl of Atta for dusting
  • 1 medium potato cooked in the microwave – skinned and chopped up roughly
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas – cooked
  • 1 carrot chopped up and cooked
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 1 tsp of sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 heaped tsp of ground cumin and coriander ( 2 parts coriander to 1 part cumin)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp fresh masala (optional – only if you want the spicy version)
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder (optional – only if you want the spicy version)
  • small bowl of oil and teaspoon for cooking
  • boil some water in the kettle


  1. Cook the potato in the microwave, skin and chop up roughly
  2. Boil the peas and carrots
  3. I didn’t do this because I was being lazy but I would generally advise roughly chopping the peas and carrots in a chopper/blender once they are cooked
  4. Heat a heavy based frying pan/tawa on a low heat
  5. In a large bowl add the Atta and oil – rub the oil through the Atta using your finger tips
  6. Next add the rest of the ingredients to the Atta – vegetables, seeds and spices
  7. Using your hands bind the mixture together to form a dough
  8. The liquid from the vegetables should be enough to bind it together but you may need to add some boiled/hot water to help you bind it together
  9. The dough should be soft, smoothish and not dry
  10. Divide the dough into 3/4 golf ball sized balls
  11. When ready to roll out the roti – roll the ball in your hand to smooth and squeeze it between your 2 palms to flatten
  12. Coat each side in atta to help when you roll
  13. On a lightly floured work surface or rolling board gently roll the roti – using a narrow rolling pin if possible
  14. The roti should be round and about 5mm thick  – but don’t worry this will come with practice and as long as it’s even it’s a good start

To cook

  1. Place the rolled out roti on to  the heated pan
  2. Turn heat up slightly
  3. Cook on the first  side for about 7 seconds
  4. Flip over to cook on the other side 10-12 seconds
  5. While it’s cooking on the second side dip a teaspoon in the bowl of oil and rub it on to the roti
  6. After 10-12 seconds turn it over and rub the other side with oil
  7. Cook for a further 10 seconds – turn over cook for a couple of more seconds and remove from the pan
  8. The roti should be nicely toasted and not oily – adjust cooking time if needed
  9. The roti is now ready to eat

I roll and cook at the same time. If this your first time making anything like this it would probably be a good idea to roll a few (or all) then cook.

Remember you can use other vegetables – sweeet potato (pre-cook), broccoli (pre-cook), spinach, methi, etc

I’ve gone a bit quiet….

Posted in All about food on May 16, 2012 by ninasnosh

For those of you who enjoy reading my blog, apologies, but I haven’t had a chance to update it for a while. I’ve had my hands full packing up house and home for our big move to the Gold Coast.

I might have been busy packing, but fear not I have also been busy cooking easy meals and snacks. As soon as I get a chance I will update my blog with new recipe ideas.

In the meantime please check out my friend KayKay’s blog. We were lucky enough to have a yummy food delivery from KayKay so we didn’t have to cook on our last night in Turramurra ( or order takeaway)!

Everything but the kitchen sink…….

Posted in My top tips with tags , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2012 by ninasnosh

We’ve just returned from a fab few days away in a lovely place near Lemon Tree Passage in Port Stephens. We stayed in a cabin (which the boys loved) in a holiday park which had it’s own resident koalas!

Since we’ve had kids it’s impossible to travel light….and for 3 nights away our car was rammed! Scooters, books, dvds, toy cars etc, etc. It got me thinking about the essential foodie/cooking items I would not go without if we are staying somewhere self catering.

When we go away we try and have lunch out and our evening meal in. So I always try and plan at least a couple of the meals. I hate having to go out and do a massive shop on my first day so try and raid my cupboard for anything essential I might need.

Here are a few things I just have to try and take with me:

  1. A good knife – they are are always rubbish in self catering places
  2. Thick tea towel or oven glove – they never have oven gloves
  3. My spice tin
  4. Fresh Masala
  5. Tin of tomatoes
  6. Oil
  7. A large cooking pot – preferably my Le Creuset (which is still going strong 10 years later)
  8. A few potatoes
  9. Few handfuls of rice
  10. Cleaning spray – not a fan of bad food hygiene!!!
I’m sure there are a 1 or 10 other items I could add to this list but I won’t ;).

This time round I also took:

  1. Frozen – rich tomato sauce (which I used with some chicken drumsticks  and potatoes for our meal on Thursday night)
  2. All the vegetables we had left over in our fridge – which we used over the few days we were away
  3. Tin of Pathra – which I will blog about soon

It goes without saying I take things for breakfast, sandwiches, ete, etc! I just can’t help taking the full contents of a fridge – but honestly it’s normally what I already have in my cupboard so very economical 😉

It’s all about variation….

Posted in Recipes, Vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by ninasnosh

I wasn’t really planning to blog this dish but thought why not!  I’m in the process of having a good go at using up the contents of my pantry and fridge, and thought it would be a good opportunity to show you how easy it is to vary a dish. A slight change in ingredients or method of cooking can easily change a dish and add variation to your culinary repertoire.

So after my pizza making on Sunday I was left with 1/3 jar of passata and needed to find a use for it. Here is a variation of my earlier recipe of ‘Tuver, Aubergine and Methi’. Substituting the fresh tomato with the passata creates a dish where the vegetables are cooked in a sauce.


Serves 4 people if served with another dish

For the vagar:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp sunflower/canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 1 medium size aubergine (eggplant) chopped into 3cm sized pieces
  • 1 frozen bag of tuver (about 300g) – you could substitute with frozen peas
  • 1/3 jar of passata – topped up to a half a jar with with water
  • 2 blocks of frozen fenugreek leaves – taken out the freezer 30mins before cooking
  • 1 potato peeled and cut into cubes of 2cm
  • 1 heaped tsp of fresh masala
  • 3 tsp of ground coriander and cumin
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 1-2 tsp of salt


  1. Prepare the aubergine and potato – soak the aubergine and potato in water once chopped or it will go black (strain when ready to use)
  2. If you haven’t had a chance to take the fenugreek out the freezer defrost it in the microwave
  3. In a largish non-stick saucepan heat the oil for the vagar
  4. Once the oil is hot add the hing and mustard seeds
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat once the mustard seeds have popped
  6. Now add the aubergine, tuver, potato and fenugreek leaves – mix through
  7. Return the saucepan to the heat, add all the spices and mix through
  8. Cover with a lid and cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes
  9. Now add the passata and water, mix through, cover with the lid and cook on a low-medium heat for around 25 – 30 minutes
  10. During the cooking time gently stir to prevent sticking – add water if the dish starts to get too dry
  11. Cooking times will vary so check the aubergine, tuver, and potato to make sure it is cooked – adjust cooking time accordingly
Remember, alway taste your food before serving, add extra spices if you think you need to, then cook through a little longer

Serve this dish along side a dahl with roti, naan or rice.

Recipe: Cauliflower, Peas and Potato

Posted in Recipes, Vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2012 by ninasnosh

The Pampel family are yet again surrounded by packing boxes so apologies, but I haven’t managed to update my blog for a while.

This is my sister Rowaina’s favourite dish it takes a somewhat dull vegetable (cauliflower) and transforms it. This savoury dish takes on a subtle sweet flavour from both the peas and cauliflower.


Serves 2 hungry people or 4 if served with another dish

For the vaghar:

  • 2 – 3 tbsp sunflower/canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing

And the rest:

  • 1/2 a cauliflower – florets cuts into about 4 pieces each (see images below)
  • 1 potato peeled and cut into small pieces (about 2-3cm)
  • 2 cups of frozen peas
  • 1 tsp of fresh masala
  • 2 tsp of ground coriander and cumin (1 part cumin to 2 parts coriander)
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp cooking salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • water – may be required


  1. Firstly prepare all the vegetables
  2. Heat the oil for the vaghar in a large deep frying pan
  3. Once the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and hing – cover with a lid
  4. Once the mustard seeds have popped/cracked in the oil remove the pan from the heat
  5. Now add all the spices to the oil and stir
  6. Return the pan to a low heat and add the cauliflower, peas and potato
  7. Mix everything together
  8. Cover with a lid and cook on a low-medium heat for about 20 minutes
  9. Stir occasionally making sure the food does not stick to the pan
  10. If you find it is sticking/burning turn the heat down and add 2-3 tbsp of tap water to loosen
  11. Taste to ensure there is enough salt and spice – add more if you think it needs it ( remember to always cook a little longer if you add more spices)
  12. Once you are happy the dish is cooked remove from heat, allow to rest for a few minutes and serve
Best eaten with roti or other indian bread

cauliflower, peas and potato – raw