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I was cooking for a party last night at which a gluten free cake was served for dessert. I had a few bites and aside from the cake being dry and the frosting very sweet, there was that tell-tale grittiness that GF baked goods seem to have. This particular bakery uses a blend of millet, sorghum, tapioca and potato flours. I used some Bob's Red Mill GF flour to satisfy a customer request for GF shortbread and found the same grittiness - they use garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, whole grain white sorghum flour, tapioca flour and fava bean flour.
Obviously some sacrifices of flavor and texture are made when trying to replicate the magic of gluten, but why can't these flour blends be softer? Can't they be milled more finely? Or is it just the way the particular starches or proteins in those other flours are felt on the tongue?
It's like that chalky cold cooked rice texture, do you know what I mean? Why can't it be better? Almost every time I eat something made with substitute flours, it makes me sad and want to fix it.
Today I would like to share with you a recipe for a slightly different sandwich. Instead of traditional vegetables, I recommend strawberry salsa, and rather than a slice of ham – a golden grilled slice of Halloumi cheese. Only one thing is missing – a fresh and fragrant bread roll.
Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese made with sheep's milk or a mixture of sheep's, goat's and cow's milk. It is semihard and so flexible that it is excellent for frying and barbecuing, and it is great fresh too.
Ingredients (for two people)
2 fresh rolls of your choice
2 big lettuce leaves
4 slices of Halloumi cheese
2 teaspoons of butter
half a chili pepper
2 tablespoons of minced peppermint leaves
¼ a red onion
2 tablespoons of chopped almond without the skin
1 teaspoon of honey
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of balsamic sauce
Start by preparing the salsa. Wash the strawberries, remove the shanks and cube them. Dice the onion and chili pepper. Mix the strawberries with the onion, chili pepper, peppermint and almonds. Spice it up with honey and lemon juice. Leave in the fridge for half an hour. Grill the slices of Halloumi cheese until they are golden. Cut the fresh rolls in half and spread them with butter. Put a lettuce leaf on each half of roll, then a slice of the Halloumi cheese, one tablespoon of salsa, another slice of cheese and two tablespoons of salsa. Spice it up with balsamic sauce. Cover with the other half of the roll. Prepare the second sandwich in the same way. Serve at once while the cheese is still hot.
Enjoy your meal!
I make this a lot. Traditionally served with dosa, but great with all kinds of Indian food, even just scooped up with bread or pappads for a snack. Although it's slightly different every time, depending on the tomatoes and chillies used, plus the strength of the tamarind, it's easy, quick to make and always delicious.
In a blender - half a medium red onion chopped, 7 dried red chillies broken up a bit, 2 ripe tomatoes chopped, 1 tsp of sea salt, 3 tsp tamarind paste.
Whizz until purée like about 2 minutes.
In a sauté pan over medium heat add 60 ml sesame oil (gingelly), when it's hot but not smoking add 1 tsp black mustard seeds.
Quickly cover the pan to prevent escape and sizzle for a minute.
Add 1 tsp of urad dal (black lentils, skinned and split they are light grey).
Fry until golden, another minute or so.
Throw in about 20 curry leaves. These splatter so cover the pan again.
Lower the heat and add the blender contents.
Simmer, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, until you get a runny jam consistency.
Ta da !
Every now and again I come across a recipe that is awesome.
It started with a discovery in my local South Indian take away near work. This is a true South Indian place, not your usual run of the mill Indian restaurant which we get around here.
In the bain marie was a red, slightly oily, dry spiced chicken dish scattered with onions and green coriander. A dish with no name. I asked what it was, and they replied it was "spicy chicken". I bought some and I was hooked.
It was obviously a favorite of patrons as there was never a day when this dish was not in the bain marie and it sold out quickly.
Here is my take on that recipe, which I believe is called Double Chilli Chicken.
Apologies in advance, but I dont work to quantities when cooking. Hopefully you can make your own judgement but just ask if you want more clarification.
The ingredients you will need are:
- oil or ghee (mustard oil if my wife is giving me grief over health, ghee for best flavor)
- Chicken mini drumsticks (about 1kg)
- About 3 brown onions, cut in half and then sliced (red onions would be better, but I only had one for garnish)
- About 20 curry leaves
- Sliced ginger
- Sliced garlic
- 10 to 15 whole dried chillies (I remove most of the seeds)
- Ground dried chilli powder (medium hot)
- Ground coriander
- Ground black pepper
- Jaggery or Palm Sugar
- Lime juice
- Chopped fresh coriander for garnish
- Chopped red onion for garnish
I start with a heavy base fry-pan that has a fitted lid and add the ghee.
Choose a dried whole chilli of your liking and remove most of the seeds, as they can burn and become bitter.
Saute your dried chillies in the ghee for a few minutes
You will notice they start to darken quickly
Don't let them burn, but take them a bit darker than shown in the photo above and then remove into a spare bowl to cool with a slotted spoon. You can leave the ghee and seeds. Quickly add the onions to stop the remaining seeds from burning. Add salt to help the onions cook.
I should have also added the curry leaves to the oil first, but I forgot so I added them later.
As the onions soften on the heat, finely julienne some fresh ginger and slice some garlic. Exact quantities dont matter so adjust to your preference.
Add the garlic, ginger and chillies to the pan once the onions soften and take on some colour
After a few minutes of cooking out the garlic and ginger, add the ground coriander and chilli powder. Again, exact quantities don't really matter but I used about 1 Tablespoon of each. What matters more is the quality of the ground powders. The coriander is ground in my coffee grinder just before use, and I make my own chilli powder from dried Spanish Padron chillies I grow each summer. If you can, always make your own ground spices. For the ground chilli powder, remove the seeds before grinding as you will get a redder product.
A quick word on chillies : There are hundreds of varieties, but I choose the Spanish Padron due to the balance between heat and flavour. I want an intense chilli flavour without searing blow your head off heat, and this chilli has that right balance.
Stir the powders into the onions and cook for a few minutes.
Add the chicken and arrange such that the chicken has good contact with the bottom of the pan. We need this to get the meat to release its own moisture, which is what makes the sauce and prevent the dish from burning
Cover with a lid and lower the heat. After 5 minutes you should notice some liquid from the chicken. This increases to a maximum around 15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes but don't remove the lid until 15 minutes have elapsed.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare some jaggery or palm sugar and squeeze the juice out of one lime.
After 15 minutes of cooking with the lid on, remove the lid, add the jaggery and lime juice, and now increase the heat. What we are going to do is evaporate the remaining liquid and turn it into an awesome sauce that sticks to the chicken.
For another 10 minutes, you will need to pay careful attention to ensure the dish does not stick and burn. You need high heat to help caramelize the sauce and constant movement. Taste for seasoning. Add extra salt, lime juice and heaps of black pepper.
Prepare some slived red onions for garnish.
And some roughly chopped green coriander. This stuff grows like a weed in my garden as I let the kids loose with the seeds and they scatter them far and wide!
Serve the chicken on a bed of steamed basmati rice
And garnish with onion and coriander. Serve and enjoy with a glass of cold beer. Awesome stuff!
Not sure if the subject line really reflects the situation and my question.
Sweetie made a couple of loaves of soda bread the other day, and cut the top of the loaf in order to make a pattern something like THIS. However, the pattern or cut mark didn't show on the finished loaf. I don't know much more other than she said she made the cut "pretty deep."
What might be the cause of the cut mark not showing on the finished loaf? Thanks!
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