Baba Ganoush and Flatbread

Baba Ganoush! Have you ever tried it? I think I just made it because I like to say it…Baba Ganoooooush. Go on say it with me, I can hear you trying to pronounce it.

Baba Ganoush is a mezze or dip that is made from roasted aubergines and it widely eaten in Lebanese cuisines. Now I know what you are thinking, it is not the most attractive looking dish, but what it lacks in appearance it makes up in flavour.

It is very easily made and you can whip it up in no time. Just roast an aubergine in the oven until dark and soft (don’t forget to prick the aubergine with a fork before roasting, otherwise it will explode and you will end up wearing it) and leave to cool afterwards. Then scoop out the flesh and roughly chop it up. After this, simply add 1 tsp tahini (sesame seed paste), 1 fresh garlic clove (minced), lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil. You can spice it up a bit with some cumin seeds if you want that extra flavour and it’s done!

It’s a great dip that can be eaten with flatbread, pitta bread, or veggies. Yes it is slightly unusual and people might frown at it, but my husband is known for loathing aubergines, and he happily lapped this up. I think the freshly baked bread helped though.

I made a flatbread called ‘Maneesh’ from Paul Hollywood’s recipes (click here for the recipe) and it is so delicious. Easy to make and soft and airy.

So next time you have some people over, why not give it a try? Thanks for reading!

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Chapatis!

Chapatis are a staple food in our Indian culture and is found regularly in our homes. They are so easy to make (after a bit of practice) and taste great with all different types of curries. Dipped in lentil daal or used to dive into a spicy fish or chicken curry, chapatis are delicious.

I remember when I was young, I would stand by the stove where my mother would be churning these chapatis out in no time. Perfectly round, thin and soft, it was like watching a professional. One after the other, they would come off the hot stove all puffed up and ready for me to slather butter all over it. I wouldn’t even wait to sit down and eat it with my curry, I would simply eat it right there. I think many of my fellow Indian friends/family would have the same memory!

Granted, I don’t put butter on them anymore unless I am trying to recapture my youth but I still love them. Simply combine wholemeal flour, oil and hot water, knead together and you have your dough. Different cultures make them in their own way, for example Hindus tend to make them thin and small, whereas Sikhs make them large and thick. Both equally delicious!

So next time you have a curry, rather than buying naan bread or eating it with rice, try giving chapatis a try! They can be cooked in a normal non-stick pan if you don’t have anything else. But keep the pan dry, there is no need to cook them in any oil or butter as they will just get greasy. But by all means slather them with butter afterwards!

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Daal and Chapatis

How to make creamy tomato soup…without the cream!

If you want that comforting bowl of creamy tomato soup but don’t like the idea of adding lugs of cream and throwing the calories through the roof, then I have a little tip for you…bread!

I love roasted tomato soup and its a great simple dinner or lunch. I place some tomatoes, red onions and garlic on a tray, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast them in the oven for about 45 minutes, depending on how much I have. I sometimes add sweet red peppers to this recipe but didn’t have any at the time.

Then I put everything into a pot and add some boiling water. Now before I blend it into a smooth soup, I add a chunk of stale bread into the pot. Let it soak in all the flavours and this is what makes the soup creamy! You can also do this with some rice, which ever you prefer. Then blend into a smooth soup and add fresh basil if you want.

It’s a great cheat to get that creamy taste…or you could just add cream!

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Roasted tomatoes Tomato soup W

Fresh bread…what’s not to love?

I don’t know about you but I can’t seem to resist fresh bread. If you bring a fresh loaf of crusty bread to my house it will not last long. Warmed through in the oven to crisp up the crust and steam the soft centre and then slathered with butter. And hearing that crunch when I bite into it against that soft airy centre. And I like to blame the ‘newlywed happy weight’ for my extra pounds, but I think I know where I am going wrong. But what can I do, I need it for my ‘work’.

Yet it seems sad that all we eat are these convenient loaves from the supermarket that have little flavour and can be squashed back into dough. Don’t get me wrong I buy slice bread all the time, but I do wonder what’s in it. I see the difference in quality when I buy a fresh loaf and it makes me question what I am buying.

Do we really know what’s in our food? After watching so many programs on food and health, I don’t know what to believe anymore. Back in the day people had no choice but to buy bread from their local bakery, knowing that it was made by hand. But now we buy bread that is massed produced in a factory and seems to be full of preservatives. What do you think?

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Fresh bread - Crusty french baguette

Fresh bread – Crusty french baguette