Thursday, January 11, 2007

Christmas Recipe 3 - Cornish Hen with Fresh Herbs and roasted potatoes

And now onto the third and final recipe for the Christmas spread I prepared -Cornish Hen with fresh herbs and roasted potatoes.You will find a little backdrop on cornish hen Here.

Before I decided on a menu for Xmas I thought about Cornish Hen with great trepidation because I was scared of cooking it.Why,you ask ..because I have never cooked a stuffed or roasted whole bird..chicken or turkey.Picking up a rotisserie chicken at Safeways or Fred Meyers is as far as I have gone(giggling just thinking about it).Besides,Iam from the land of curry :-) A roasted bird with just a little bit of seasoning could be a little bland for my taste if not marinated with the right spices(kidding)

However,my sister cooked a delicious turkey this past thanksgiving (pics of which I shall post sometime)and that gave me hope.She said I could do it too ..Yeah ,I thought let me not do a 15 pound turkey or 5 pound chicken but a 1 pound cornish hen I can do.

So,I bought a twin pack of Tyson premium rock cornish game hen and after much cleaning ,seasoning and roasting I was able to turn out a fairly tasty and nice looking bird :).Try it , its fun I guarantee you.


A frozen tyson cornish hen

You need :
1 cornish Hen (without giblets)
6 small red potatoes
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary and sage, plus extra sprigs for stuffing cavity and garnishing plates
3 lemon slices
3 slices Onion(red/white/yellow)
Kitchen string (optional)

This is how you make it:
Since this bird was in the freezer for a while,I set it outside to thaw a day in advance.(yes it takes a lot of time to thaw)

Preheat oven to 450°F.Cut potatoes into small,bite-size pieces;toss with salt and pepper,garlic, and sage and place in a large, shallow roasting pan.Set in the oven.

Rinse the hen inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.Fold back wings.Rub with butter and sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper.Sprinkle with finely chopped herbs,and place a few more herb sprigs into each hen’s cavity.Also stuff the onion rings and the lemon slices into the bird.You can tie the hen's legs together with kitchen string to hold shape,if you want.(I did not do so.)

Remove potatoes from oven and place the hen on top.Return to pan and roast for 50-55 minutes, or until the hen's juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a fork and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 180°F.

Remove the cooked hen from the pan and cover with aluminium foil for 10 minutes before serving.(why ?? if you slice right away ,the juices will drip and the bird will be bland.But if you let it sit then the juices are reabsorbed,bird will be taste better).

Garnish with fresh herb sprigs .To serve, place some potatoes and a piece of the hen you desire alongside mushroom-shrimp pulao and bean salad.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Christmas Recipe 2 - Green Bean Salad

Lets go to recipe number 2.This is a recipe my sister picked up from Food Network which I enjoy watching by the way.She and I made for the Thanksgiving getogether.I loved it so much that I had to make it again.Its so so simple and delicious (that's if you are a bean lover).I will admit that I do not know how to make too many things with beans apart from various kind of bhajis .This western take on them was super appealing to me.

Go ahead , try this and Iam sure you will love it.Thankyou to Ellie Krieger whose recipe this is:)

You need :
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 teaspoons walnut oil or olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

This is how you make it :
Bring a large pot of water with a steamer basket to a boil, add green beans and steam for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they become fragrant, about 2 minutes, and then transfer them to a small bowl to cool. Add the parsley and onion to the walnuts and stir to combine.

In another small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Toss the dressing with the green beans, top with the walnut mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Christmas Recipe 1- Mushroom and shrimp pulao

I enjoyed writing about my afternoontea experience in British Columbia and based on the comments from some of you ,you all seemed to have enjoyed reading it too(apparently it took us all back to my Enid Blyton days).Thanks for reading and getting back to me.Hearing back makes me feel that Iam talking to someone and makes it all worthwhile :)

Some of my loyal blog friends read my xmas post and asked for the recipes for the Cornish Hen, Mushroom &shrimp pulao and bean salad .Here Iam posting them one at a time .

While I was writing the recipe for this dish,I also realised that while I have posted pictures of some of my food ,I havent posted recipes for those .I guess thats how I started out,unknowingly titillating some of the readers with the pictures.yeah ..just pictures.(Gosh ,I was almost sadistic)

Well,high time I share the recipes .You ask which ones ???Well,I have piyaaz maach(fish cooked in spicy onion and garlic paste), aloor dom(bengali style),keema with vegetables,Doi maach(fish cooked in yogurt),khichudi, Labda (a lovely sweet-savory vegatble mix, bengali style),bandakopi torkari(cabbage with peas),baigun bhaja(panfried aubergine slices ),tomato chutney,khejur guder payish(rice pudding in date palm jaggery),rumali roti)...amongst others..Phew!!I need to stop,the list is getting too long)

Anyhow, so shall return to posting those unposted recipes intermittently .For now ,let me just get back to the pulao I made for Xmas :-)

You need:
2 cups -Basmati(or any other long grained rice)
1 cup sliced button Mushrooms
1 cup (thawed)- Shrimp (frozen precooked baby shrimp)
1 large sliced onion
1 Tsp- Cumin
2 Tbsp- Ghee or Oil
Salt to taste
Chopped corriander to garnish

This is how you make it:
Heat oil /ghee in a skillet and add the cumin.Once the cumin starts popping add the the sliced onions.Saute them till they are golden .Then add sliced mushrooms and shrimp and cook till they they are soft .

Now Add the 2 cups of rice and pour 4 cups of the water into the skillet .Add salt to taste and cover .Cook on medium heat Keep checking for doneness and cook about 20 minutes.Once the rice looks cooked , turn off the heat and let it sit.This leaves the rice fluff up.

Enjoy with Cornish hen, bean salad and yogurt:)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Care for some Tea ..eh??

What is it about little girls and tea parties??When I was a little girl , I would have imaginary tea parties with my dolls(they were not sophisticated and did not include all the fancy-schmancy things kids have today).But they were so much fun. They made me feel grown up and in charge.I have seen my 6 yr old niece have the same tea parties with her freinds.Those tea sets and all that pretend food (scones, cookies, sandwiches )is so pretty ,I sometimes forget Iam an adult and all grown up.I admit I have indulged ina tea party or two with my little niece.

A little girl's tea set
(courtesy: Here)

Talking of various kinds of tea parties and events ,I knew there was something called high tea (The Enid Blyton books during my childhood helped here) but afternoon tea ..now, that I did not know .Apparently they are both different .

Afternoon tea ceremonies began back in the mid 1800s, when the Duchess of Bedford started having a tray of tea with bread and butter served to her in the mid-afternoon. In those days, lunch was served at noon but dinner was not eaten until 8 or even 9 o'clock at night. The Duchess found herself hungry during those long afternoon hours. It became a regular occurance and as she began to invite other high-society ladies to join her, having Afternoon Tea became the 'in-thing' for the upper-class women. Along with tea, there would be small pastries with clotted cream or preserves, delicate sandwiches, and scones. Oh, how Lovely and very Lady like,Dont you agree!!

High Tea on the other hand is a term used by many people to describe the event mentioned above, probably because it sounds more elite. But High Tea is a much different thing. It was served later (around six in the evening) and consisted of a full, dinner meal for the common people. Tea was still served, but there would also be meats, fish or eggs, cheese, bread and butter, and cake. It was more of a man's meal, than a ladies social diversion.
Courtesy:(Here)

Now, that I feel more educated , I have to tell you all about the afternoon tea I had at the Fairmont Empress, BC last week which was not just tea but an experience in itself .The Empress which is an epitome of the British style and grace in the new world has been hosting England's most beloved ritual in its majestic lobby for almost a century.

Afternoon tea , I heard is served at various locations including the harborside room or under the hand painted ceiling of the Library lounge but we chose the very opulent Tea Lobby .I was utterly charmed by the Victorian elegance and grace that permeated the space around me.The dress code is "smart casual" (torn jeans, short shorts, tank tops, sport shoes, etc snottishly looked down at)so we all took care not to dress in typical tourist fare.But, wait ...we made a gaffe, we hadnt made reservations( somehow we were naive enough to think that we would be able to get in at noon .But guess what, that did'nt happen.)So we made reservations for 3:45pm and decided to go have something to eat at Smithy's , go the British Coumbian Museum in the meantime.


The opulent tea lobby at the Empress

We returned again at 3:40pm to be greeted by Pritam who seated us in the tea lobby. We had comfortable,high backed , chairs upholstered in green .The Christmas melodies on the piano provided the perfect backdrop. Our decadent journey then began with a bowl of seasonal fruit topped with a dollop of chantilly cream. Next came the coppery-gold ,signature Empress Blend tea which was poured into our Royal Doulton tea cups. I had my tea with cream and two "lumps" of sugar .Finally, came the porcelain tier ladden with magnificient goodies.Puurfect !!

Here's the sample menu :
  • Tea sandwiches filled with cucumber, smoked BC salmon & cream cheese, carrot & ginger with cream cheese, pesto egg salad on foccacia crustini and curry mango chicken salad
  • Traditional English raisin scones served with clotted cream and strawberry preserves
  • Delicate bite-size pastries, including valhrona caramel chocolate truffles in a chocolate cup, lemon curd tarts with glazed berries, choux pastries filled with green tea white chocolate cream, sour cherry almond pound cakes, and traditional shortbread cookies

Oh Heaven!!!



Afternoon Tea at the Empress

We also ordered some sparkling wine , a mimosa and a glass of sparkling wine with cranberry liquer(not sure ).

After several cups of tea and these bite sized delights we had to cancel dinner because this can be seemingly light but actually hearty meal .We were full and extremely pleased.When it was time to leave our server promptly delivered the check to our table along with a small box of Empress Blend tea for each of us to take home. What a wonderful surprise.


Happy to have afternoon tea for a day


I left the place with a big smile on my face and tonnes of appreciation for my husband who me and my sister dragged to this event.As for my niece and I , looks like we had ourselves a real tea party at last :-)






Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Kolhapuri Kombdi

I have always loved chicken and toned down the spices and the heat after marraige because hubby dear does not do well with very hot dishes .

Lately however my taste buds were craving something HOT,something spicy that makes me reach out for that glass of water and so I had to look around for a recipe which uses something other than the usual onion, tomato, ginger and garlic ..that gives it a kick ..

I landed this recipe for Kolhapuri chicken also called Kolhapuri kombdi (chicken's called Kombdi in the western Indian state of Maharashtra) cooked with lots of hot dry red chillies to sharpen the tastebuds.Needless to say this dish delivered and was well loved ..even by diserning audience such as my hubby who shies away from such concoctions.While the roasted poppy,sesame and coconut added the "x" factor , the chilli powder gave it that KICK ...

This is a chicken dish I definitely recommend ..

You need :
8 medium sized pieces of chicken (I use chicken drumsticks)
1 cup( browned onions
2 tablespoon(s) each of sesame and poppy seeds dry roasted
2 tablespoon(s) grated coconut roasted till dry
½ teaspoon(s) turmeric powder
1 tablespoon(s) each of ginger, garlic pastes
4 medium onions finely chopped
1 tablespoon(s) red chilli powder (please tone that down if u wish)
2 large tomatoes chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoon(s) coriander leaves finely chopped
2 tablespoon(s) oil
salt to taste
finely chopped coriander leaves for garnishing

This is how you make it :

Make slits on the chicken pieces.In a bowl make a marinade out of half of the ginger-garlic paste,turmeric powder and salt to taste.Rub this marinade into the chicken pieces very well and allow to marinate for about an hour. Meanwhile ,grind together the browned onions, roasted coconut, sesame and poppy seeds to a paste.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan till hot. Add the chopped onions and fry for a few seconds. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry till the onions are browned. Add the red chilli powder and fry.Now add the chopped tomatoes and fry on medium heat till the fat separates from the sides of the pan.Add the chicken pieces and fry on high heat for for about 2 minute.

Now,add the ground paste, water and sprinkle salt to taste and mix well. Bring to a boil. Stir in the garam masala and chopped coriander leaves.Cover and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes or till the chicken is fully tenderised.

Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.Enjoy with nan , roti or rice .

Happy New Year



Heres wishing you all a wonderful and eventful 2007 .

Do you know that almost all countries have special and lucky foods which if eaten in the first few days of the new yr bring wealth, luck or success in the new yr.Here are some of those foods and the stories behind them.

Japan

Food:New year foods that are believed to be particularly auspicious are soba noodles which are especially long noodles that should be sucked up and eaten without breaking them to ensure long life, and mochi rice, which is a rice that is more sticky than ordinary rice and is pressed into cakes called omochi -- then it's either broiled or eaten in soup called Ozoni

story :large omochi cakes are first offered to the gods, then cut into pieces and eaten by the family to bring the opportunity for luck and good health to every New Year's meal.

Greece

Food: Vasilopita (a cake baked with a coin inside)

Story: the Greek tradition of eating Vasilopita originated from the famously high taxes that the Ottoman Empire imposed on the Greek people during the long Ottoman reign.It is believed that a Bishop of Greece, through some miracle, managed to recover a large portion of the Greek people's riches from the Ottoman's grasp. When he attempted to return the riches to their respective owners fighting among the Greek people broke out -- no one could agree on who had owned what!

The second miracle of the story unveils itself here: Saint Basil asked the women to bake a large cake with the valuables inside. When he sliced the cake, the valuables miraculously found their way back to their rightful owners! Today, a cake is baked in honor of this miracle and one coin is baked inside of it. The person who bites into his piece of cake and finds the coin will be blessed with good luck in the coming New Year.

Italy

Food: cotechino con lenticchie-pork sausage served over lentils

Story:: This New Year food is eaten because of the presence of fatty rich pork sausage and lentils in it.Cotechino sausage is a symbol of abundance because they are rich in fat;while lentils symbolize money (being both green and coin shaped).This New Year food promises a double-packs of luck!

Spain

A magnificently large harvest only happens every so often, and when it does, the year that the harvest blossomed is celebrated. At the turn of the century, Spain experienced a gigantic grape harvest. The harvest was so grandiose that the year is marked as a time of great luck. Every year since, Spanish people have brought in the New Year by eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight. At each strike of the Plaza del Sol clock (which is broadcast to the entire country much like the United States broadcasts the Time's Square clock), another grape is eaten in celebration of lucky years past, and in hope of a lucky year to come.
(http://www.123newyear.com)

Do you have any New yr stories and lucky foods you know of ?Let us know how we can bring on the luck and prosperity this yr:-)
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