Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Spinach and Ricotta Tartlets

21 Oct

Here’s a recipe I’ve had tucked away from way back in Jan, Spinach and Ricotta tartlets. Spinach and ricotta has got to be one of my favourite savoury flavour combinations, I love it in tart form, in a pie and my absolute favourite would have to be spinach and ricotta cannelloni. Give this recipe a try if you’re a lover of spinach and ricotta too.

Spinach and Ricotta Tartlets

Spinach and Ricotta Tartlets

250g ricotta

1 big handful baby spinach

1 egg

pinch of salt

1/2 cup parmesan/tasty cheese (finely grated)

3 sheets puff pastry

Pre heat oven to 200c and lightly spray 2 muffin pans. Use an 8cm round cutter to cut circles from the pastry (8 pieces from each pastry sheet). Firmly press pastry circles into muffin pans and pierce each piece a few times with a fork (piercing the pastry ensures it does not rise more than necessary). Place muffin trays into the oven. In the meantime,  finely chop the spinach and place in a bowl with ricotta, egg and salt, give this a good stir and set aside. Remove pastry from the oven once lightly golden (about 6-10 mins) and place half a tablespoon of the spinach and ricotta mixture into each pastry tart, top each tarlet with a little of the grated cheese and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

easy spinach and ricotta tartlets

These spinach and ricotta tartlets make a great starter or snack, crispy on the outside and smooth and delicious on the inside. Enjoy!

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Chai Macarons

30 Nov

Yes, I know, I haven’t blogged in a while, its been a busy time for me. I’ve been in the process of completing my teaching diploma and was on my first practical, a six week placement in a year one class. It’s hard to run a household, a marriage and look after a child while having to be out of the house for 7 hours a day, alhumdulillah, the experience was great and extremely fulfilling, although I am relieved that it’s over (for now anyway).

For those of you that read my blog and remember, I took part in a Dilmah competition a few months ago where I entered these Chai Macarons (if not, you can read about it here and here). These macaron shells were flavoured with tea, cardamon, cinnamon and sandwiched with a chai white chocolate ganache. I’ve finally gotten the chance to post the recipe. Yippee!!

Chai Macarons

I’ve attached the recipe in .pdf format because that’s how it’s saved on my computer as I needed to give a copy to the Dilmah officials and figured it would be the easiest way to share it with all of you. This recipe is made using the Italian meringue method (pouring a hot sugar syrup into egg whites) instead of my usual French meringue, if you have a handle on the French meringue method, feel free to use that, just remember to add the spices to the almond/icing sugar mixture.

Give these a go, and if you’re not too afraid (and have a thermometer lying around) try the Italian method. Chai macarons with a pot of tea, perfect late night snack, enjoy!

Spice up your dates!

21 Jul

Ramadhaan has dawned upon us once again. Dates are out in full force, from fruit shops, to grocery stores and even the local supermarket chain. Dates are very nutritious, full of fibre and great to stave off hunger pangs, no wonder it’s the perfect food to break fast with. The best part is that this wonderful treat is not only good for you, it tastes good and most importantly it’s Sunnah!

We go through a lot of dates during Ramadhaan, so I’ve come up with some date recipes to spice things up a little. There’s no doubt that dates taste great just by themselves, but if you do want to try something a little different, are having guests over or even need a treat outside of Ramadhaan, give these a go.

Pistachio Cashew Dates

Split date on 1 side and remove pit. Crush pistachio and cashews. You’ll need 1 tsp of nuts per date. Fill dates with crushed nuts.

Coconut Almond Dates

This is an old classic. Split date on 1 side and remove pit. Fill 1 almond in each date. Heat butter on stove, throw in coconut, again you’ll need approximately 1 tsp per date. Roll dates in heated butter and coconut mixture.

Cream Cheese Walnut Dates



Split date on 1 side and remove pit. Fill each date with approx. 1/2 tsp cream cheese and 1 walnut which you can crush by hand. This is my personal favourite, it’s a recipe given to me by a friend. Thanks Christina!

Give these a try sometime, great during Ramadhaan or any time really. Ramadhaan Mubarak to everyone out there, hope you all have a blessed month.

India: An Experience, A Wedding, Paneer

13 Jul

Just over six months ago we embarked on a journey to the subcontinent. My husband, son and I left in late December to make a few stops along the way. Phuket and Kuala Lumpur were on the cards before getting to India, a country neither of us had been to, despite our Indian heritage. This was not a holiday by any means, our sole purpose was to attend the wedding of Abdullah’s sister (my wonderful sister in law), Aasiya. What we never expected was to leave feeling humbled, grateful and renewed.

India is an amazing place with amazing people and beautiful sights. One of the most enjoyable parts of our trip was definitely the wedding and the functions that preceded it. And coming a close second was the food, there is honestly nothing like Indian food, so intricate in flavour and colour. My favourite dish in India was anything that had paneer (an Indian cheese, looks like a block of fetta, texture and taste of cottage cheese).

It’s something I always order in an Indian restaurant here and usually cook with the frozen bags at home. As in India has a high population of vegetarians, paneer is extremely popular, and depsite having over 20 paneer dishes while in India, not one of them was the same, there was paneer in different types of curries, paneer with marinates that were grilled, paneer balls, crumbed paneer, paneer stuffed in chillies and vegies, and too many more to mention. Even after all that, I wasn’t sick of the paneer, and forunately for me, on my last day in India I watched an Indian chef on TV make paneer from scratch, I couldn’t believe how easy it was.

Since our trip, I have made paneer countless times, and there’s nothing like the fresh stuff, I’ll never go back to frozen again. I will be doing a recipe on how to make paneer from scratch sometime in the near future. For now, here’s a recipe using paneer.

Paneer Malai** Tikka

500g paneer
1/2 bunch corriander
3/4 tsp salt1 tsp ground cumin
1 whole green chilli
1 tblsp lemon juice
1/2 cup cream (**malai is an Indian term for cream)
Cut the paneer into cubes and set aside in a bowl. Grind all ingredients except for cream in a blender, once blended into a paste mix in cream. Pour over paneer and leave to marinate. Cook off on a medium to high heat in a about 1 tblsp oil. Serve with naan bread.

Variation: This recipe works well with chicken, just substitute the 500g paneer with 500g chicken pieces.

India is a definite must see and it’s a place I’m sure we’ll be visiting again. For now, enjoy some photos from our trip.

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Try out this paneer malai tikka recipe, great with chicken as well. Oh and Happy 6 month Anniversary Aasiya and Salim!

Strawberries ‘n Cream Macarons

7 Jul

It’s the Wimbledon finals this weekend, and if you follow the tennis you’ll know that strawberries and cream is a big Wimbledon tradition. My sister in law is staying with us at the moment and she is a huge Federer fan, needless to say she is ecstatic that he is in the finals tomorrow. We’ve therefore decided to get all decked out and have strawberries and cream while watching, any excuse for a treat I say. Since I like to get creative with flavours and love macarons I figured I would just slap some strawberries and cream into a macaron. The flavour is subtle, light and fresh. So yummy!

Macarons

I used the recipe in this post, with the addition of a tiny hint of red food colouring instead of the green.

Strawberries ‘n Cream filling

1/2 cup whipping cream

3 strawberries

1 tsp icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Place sugar, cream and vanilla essence in a bowl and whip till stiff, be careful not to over beat or your cream will curdle and turn into butter. Remove leafy end of strawberry. Finely chop strawberries and fold into cream. Use a piping bag or just spoon the cream filling into half the macaron shells, top with the other halves.

Make sure to add these to the menu for the finals tomorrow, it’ll take the ordinary strawberries ‘n cream to the extreme!

Peanut Butter Banana Pastries

22 Jun

I don’t usually keep a lot of junk food in the house, so when I need a treat I have to be creative. If you’re in need of a simple, easy treat, with ingredients you’d already have in your fridge or pantry, give this a go.

Peanut butter banana pastry

I made a very small batch, this made 4 pastries, feel free to double or quadruple if you need more.

1/2 a sheet of puff pastry (you could just use slices of bread)
1 banana
2 tblsp peanut butter
1/2 cup cream
1 tblsp icing sugar

Pre heat oven to 190C. Cut pastry into 4 rectangles. Cut 2 pieces of baking paper and place your pasty inbetween them on the tray. Place something heavy on top of the pastry to keep them flat (I sandwiched the pastry between 2 baking sheets and also used ramekins for some weight). Put in the oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden, mine were more like golden brown, oh well, still tasted good.

Slice bananas. And whip cream with icing sugar. Once pastry is cooked and cooled split the pieces in half, this can be tricky, so you can skip this step. And just have an open pastry instead.

Spread a layer of peanut butter on each of the pastries, fill with banana slices and cream, top with remaining pastry slice and decorate how you wish!

This has got to be considered a healthy dessert right? It’s got nuts, fruit and dairy, must be good for you! Enjoy these little peanut butter, banana pastries, they’re a tasty treat for any time of the day!

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

17 Jun

A few weeks ago, I made these Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies from Picky Palate. They were delicious. My little man, Muhammad Uzayr loved them too, he even learned how to say “cookie”, I now call him my little cookie monster, for a little kid, he can devour a cookie in minutes!

Since he is so into cookies lately I decided I would whip some up for him (secretly, they were for me too). I didn’t have chocolate chips, so I had to come up with something else. I decided on peanut butter and white chocolate. I always have peanut butter in the house and I also had half a bag of white chocolate chips in the pantry. These white chocolate, peanut butter cookies were amazing, the flavours make a great combo. Especially when the cookies are still slightly warm, and the white chocolate is still gooey inside.

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

80g Butter

50 g peanut butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 3/4 cup plain flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup roughly chopped white chocolate melts/buttons

Pre heat oven to 180C. Cream butters and brown sugar on a high speed till light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and mix well. On a very low speed, tip in flour, salt and baking powder until combined. Lastly throw in chocolate chips and ensure they are mixed through well, you may need to do this part by hand. Roll dough into balls and place an inch apart on a baking sheet. I made fairly small balls.

Tip: I only baked 10 balls. The rest I left to freeze on the baking sheet, then packed them into ziplock bags once they were frozen. Here’s another secret, I would pop 1 or 2 out of the bag and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Who knew microwaves could cook cookies? Best thing I ever did! I had little peanut butter white chocolate treats when ever I wanted (I wanted them everyday, sometimes twice a day. Shhh!)

These white chocolate, peanut butter cookies are a must to try out! Let me know if you give it a go!

 

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