Indian Flatbread

red onion flatbread

I love the idea of being able to produce a healthy, nutritious and delicious bread. My Indian students who gave me their delectable fresh homemade flatbreads to try made me wish that such a tradition could be part of my daily life too. Following some video blogs such as “Show me the Curry” convinced me to begin practising at least every now & then, and I now have a small repertoire of easy favourites. This chickpea and wholemeal flour with red onion, chilli, herbs & seeds is really nutritious and quick to make. It’s good to make for immediate use with a curry or dip or for freezing some balls of dough to cook later. The chickpea flour gives the bread a lovely nutty flavour. I found this recipe in “Fresh Indian” by Sunil Vijayakar.

150 g plain wholemeal flour,150 g gram (chickpea flour),1 red onion, finely diced, 1 red chilli, de-seeded & finely chopped,1 Tablespoon chopped fresh coriander, 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon black onion (Nigella) seeds,100-150 mls lukewarm water, salt, sunflower or olive oil for brushing.

chickpea flour flatbread

Sift both flours in a large mixing bowl. Add onion, red chilli, chopped coriander, cumin & onion seeds. Season with salt & mix together. Gradually pour in enough of the measured water for mixture to come together and knead on a lightly floured surface to make a soft dough. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then divide the dough into 8 portions. Shape each into a ball. (You can seal in ziplock bags at this stage to freeze if you wish.)

balls of dough

roll out flatbread

Roll the balls out on a lightly floured surface to a 12 cm (5″) diameter disk.
Heat a large flat griddle pan till hot. Cook the disks one at a time for 30seconds, flip, brush with a little oil or ghee, flip over & cook for a minute, moving the bread around. Flip the dough again and cook on the other side for a minute or until bread is lightly browned both sides.

fry in griddle pan

Remove, cover in foil, serve warm.

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Zucchini Flower Pasta

zucchini flowers
The flowers are dazzling and the growth of the zucchini itself defying belief… almost triffid-like … if you look away they double in size- but snatched first thing with their gorgeous flower still open they are tender and delectable.

Inspired by Silvia Collaca’s “Made in Italy” which I’ve been loving to watch recently, I just had to make Saffron Pasta with Zucchini Flowers. So simple,quick and easy,using my favourite dried pasta.
chopped zucchini
saffron pasta dish

First caramellize the onion & garlic in olive oil, add the zucchini & flowers-Season & cook gently for about 10 minutes and add the saffron soaked in a little warm water. Meantime have the salted water boiling to cook the pappardelle-they only take 4 minutes. Drain, tip into the pan & stir. Add a little more oil & lots of pepper and serve with parmesan.
Delicate,fresh and delicious!
saffron pasta with zucchini & flowers

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Last Summer Fruits

still more sour cherriesIan pitting cherries

Cherry pipping is done… (time management specialist & willing kitchen helper on hand!)…last lots frozen to make Ursula’s cake in more dreary days to remind us of such a fleeting delight.

On to the apricots & peaches!
The birds have had a feast on the upper canopy, and luckily we’ve savoured a few sun-warmed gorgeous ripe apricots…but necessity meant a rescue mission of the not quite ripe to make an apricot and almond crumble (once again from “Jane Grigson’s Fruit Book”) and a peach tart- this time from Elizabeth David’s “Summer Cooking”.
I’ve loved going back to these much worn & loved paperbacks to unearth some past favourites & to think about all those untried with such pleasure…to make one day?
apricot & almond crumble

peaches & zucchini

Actually these peaches came from Araluan…ours are not quite ripe yet. We went to Braidwood for a post Christmas breakaway…and came back loaded with beautiful white peaches and nectarines from a footpath vendor -a grower- up from the valley.

The zucchinis are from our garden though…and they’re beautiful. Had to make a side dish with them-pan-frying lightly in olive oil & garlic with thyme, some lemon zest & juice. Delicious! (“River Cottage Everyday” suggestion!)
zucchini,thyme & lemon

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dumplimg making
Dumplings…we love them!
Recently we’ve been eating the most delicious Shitake mushroom mouthfulls encased in a bouncy sticky Cantonese pastry (CHANS’s YUM CHA from the supermarket freezer) for fasting day lunches.Emily has decided she likes them too.
I found a recipe from an old Delicious magazine for a chicken & shitake filling with similar sounding seasonings so tried this different non-vegetarian home-made version!

3 dried shitake mushrooms, 250 gms chiken mince,3 spring onions,( white part only, finely chopped), 1 garlic clove crushed, 2 teasps grated ginger, 2 Tbspns grated ginger, 2 Tbspns finely chopped coriander,1/2 teasp Chinese 5-spice, 2 tsps soy sauce, 1 tsp honey, 25 round wonton wrappers (from Asian supermarket freezer)
chicken & shitake mushroom filling
making dumplings
dumplings for freezer

I’m sure these won’t anywhere near approach the authentic Cantonese dumpling skins version…but they will at least be a handy extra freezer fast food lunch (and they’re fun to make!)

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Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding weigh up
Myrtle’s pudding recipe has vanished…or at least is tucked away somewhere I haven’t discovered yet…
so this year’s pudding is a breakaway in a basin. It’s a pale imitation in more ways than one…I used golden raisins which I had on hand for a walnut cake recipe and they gleam brightly instead of melting mysteriously into the mix. It was a huge amount & had to be divided into a larger & smaller basin.
Tying the covers of paper & foil over the tops with string proved the trickiest part of the procedure with both Ian & I struggling to fit them (the baking paper wasn’t quite wide enough)…and both of us wishing I’d put the mixture in a rag as usual & hoping for the rainy weather to stop while it seasoned. Anyway,now they’re done,some other Christmas cooking can be contemplated.
finished Xmas puddings

Meantime our summer veggie garden is beginning to bear fruit (garlic & some onions harvested) and we had the first medley of our beautiful Lebanese eggplant & lime green zucchini. Yum!
first summer veg from the garden

Luckily we’ve snatched a few delicious fresh apricots down in the bottom corner away from the baby Wattle bird…the mulberries have been a great decoy for the Currawong baby and all the Silvereyes and now for this boofy baby too- mostly keeping them away from the other ripening fruit… and the mulberries are continuing to ripen in a second flush.

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Summer Abundance

Summer abundance-redcurrants & cherries
Glistening jewels of redcurrants & drooping clusters of ruby red cherries in our best harvest in years led me on the path of distraction (from the more pressing task of Christmas cooking) to deciding what to do amongst this ephemeral glimpse of plenty.
Fruit dillemas-spoilt for choice
Jane Grigson to the rescue and some more delightful tangents…reminders of an Austrian redcurrant Tart cooked long ago…and internet diversionary searches …till deciding on some redcurrant tarts which could be frozen for later.baking blind
So this time a sweet shortcrust (3 heaped teaspoons icing sugar added to my usual) and a filling made with brown sugar,eggs and cream.
400gms redcurrants, 2eggs, 4 Tablespoons brown sugar, 100mls heavy cream.
They look pretty…hope they taste good too.
redcurrant tarts

As for the cherries…made a clafouti and found a bookmarked recipe for a cherry cake in Ursula Ferrigno’s ‘Italian Cakes and Desserts’ still not made….Before the glut of sour cherries I’ve brandied the last of our sweet cherries for the store cupboard.
more brandied cherries

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Mulberry Pie

Well…we’ve shared the first one…no doubt there’ll still be more on the tree for another one…or possibly for a mulberry frangipane tart or mulberry jelly.

Made a shortcrust pastry…and tossed up how to make the filling…In the end I took the simplest route and just put the fresh berries(de-stalked) with added cornflour & sugar gently mixed then placed on the uncooked bottom pastry, & covered with the top piece. Not so pretty..but delicious,especially with ice-cream!

crumbly pie secondsneeds some icecream

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