Archive for the My top tips Category

Virtues of the pressure cooker….

Posted in All about food, Children's Food, Dahl, My top tips with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2012 by ninasnosh

I’m going to be introducing quite a few more dahl recipes but before I did that I just wanted to write a bit about my friend the pressure cooker.

Whilst I’ve had a pressure cooker for over 10 years I haven’t always been a fan. There was an incident about 12 years ago when I didn’t listen to my mothers instructions (or use my common sense) and opened the lid without releasing all the steam first. This resulted in dahl on the ceiling and every other nook and cranny in my kitchen!! So my main tip  – always makes sure you release the steam before opening it.

I am now a big fan of the pressure cooker. I use it to cook most of my dahls and I also use it for some of my kids food as you will see. I can make a chicken curry for my kids in about 10 minutes! So it reduces cooking time and if used for the right dishes produces some amazing flavours.

Not that many people I know own a pressure cooker but I think it’s a good investment – you don’t need to buy a huge one. The above picture is of my pressure cookers they are basic ones that you’d probably find in most indian households (where they cook) but I know there are snazzier more colourful versions on the market.

Lamb curry with extra goodness!

Posted in Lamb, My top tips, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by ninasnosh

By adding eggplant/aubergine to the lamb curry recipe you can make a healthier dish and vary the taste slightly. The eggplant/aubergine makes the consistency of the sauce thicker – you simmer it for as long as you cook the lamb so it actually disappears into the sauce.

If you would like to try  ‘Lamb curry with extra goodness’ then follow my recipe for ‘lamb curry’ but also add the following steps.

  1. I used 3/4 of the above eggplant/aubergine and chopped it up into small pieces
  2. Once the tomato sauce is ready add the chopped eggplant/aubergine
  3. Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes
  4. Then add the meat and follow my original lamb curry recipe
  5. As always taste the dish before serving – we have added an extra ingredient you may need a touch more of the spices

adding the eggplant/aubergine

as you can see the eggplant has disappeared into the sauce resulting in a lovely tasty and filling sauce

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 😉

Fresh vs Frozen

Posted in My top tips, The Pantry with tags , , , on April 5, 2012 by ninasnosh

Everyone knows that fresh vegetables are the best option…..but there are some occasions when it is perfectly ok to buy frozen.

When it comes to indian vegetables the fresh ones are not always readily available. If you want to get variety out of your indian meals you really will need to invest in some frozen vegetables (from you local indian grocer). Most fresh indian vegetables are available in the UK, here in Australia they are much more difficult to find. Even my mum occasionally uses the frozen ones so I feel perfectly comfortable advocating it 😉

Here’s list of the frozen veg I always keep in my freezer :

  • Fenugreek leaves/Methi
    • This is a must have for a budding indian cook. They come frozen in handy sized frozen blocks perfect for adding to the appropriate dishes. In the UK you can buy bunches of fresh fenugreek, but I would still recommend having the frozen stuff in your freezer, as the fresh bunches need a lot of preparing before using.
  • Ladies Fingers/Bindi/Okra
    • You can buy these frozen whole or chopped up. This is quite a sticky vegetable when cut up, so when you cook it from fresh it is advisable to cut them the day before. When you buy them frozen you can add them straight to the oil without any preparation – and they still taste just as good as the fresh ones.
  • Guvar/cluster bean
  • Tuver/Pigeon Peas
  • Papdi Lilva (broad bean family)
  • Frozen peas – my freezer is never without them 🙂
Check out my next post to see how I have used a couple of these items.

Tinned Tomatoes – they are not all the same!!

Posted in My top tips, The Pantry with tags , , on March 24, 2012 by ninasnosh

A lot of the cooking that I do is tomato based so my cupboard is never short of a tin or ten of tomatoes. Over time I have bought the cheap tins, expensive tins, chopped, whole etc etc. One thing I have learnt is that is if your dish is tomato based it is really important to buy a good tin of tomatoes – that doesn’t mean expensive. There are so many on the market now that it is easy to think that they are all the same or just to go with the cheapest. I would say always buy whole plum Italian tomatoes as they break down much easier than chopped ones. Test a few out and compare them but you’ll find that if you put a tin of the cheapest tomatoes next to a middle of the range you will see that the cheaper ones look really pale and will not cook as well – you may end up using more or adding puree – so it’s really a false economy.