Monthly Archives: June 2014

Spicy beef with chickpeas, radish and tomato stir-fry

We are constantly trying to have a low-carb, zero-grain lunch. This means that all varieties of rice and wheat are out, and we keep searching for ways to make this meal more interesting. Its usually soups or salads, but sometimes, you want some hot food, and a quick stir-fry is usually the answer. This is a light yet filling lunch that I quickly threw together the other day. The chickpeas have a Moroccan flavour to them, which is complemented by the indian flavourings in the beef.

Serves 2

Beef with chickpea & radish stir fry

Beef with chickpeas, radish & cherry tomato stir fry

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Komaj, a Persian bread with dates, turmeric and cumin

I recently joined a bread baking group on Facebook, called ‘We Knead to Bake’. This is run by Aparna from ‘My Diverse Kitchen‘ and it is essentially a group of like-minded bread enthusiasts, who get to do a common new bread recipe every month and share their results.

This month’s selection was Komaj. These are Persian buns, made with turmeric and cumin in an enriched dough and stuffed with chopped dates and cardamom. They’re a lovely combination of sweet and savoury, and despite my initial misgivings, actually turned out to be a wonderful treat. They are apparently meant to be served with tea, and I can imagine them making a perfect addition to any afternoon tea party.

Komaj; Persian bread with dates, turmeric, cardamom and cumin

Komaj, a Persian bread with dates, turmeric, cardamom and cumin

Komaj; Persian bread with dates, turmeric, cardamom and cumin

Komaj, a Persian bread with dates, turmeric, cardamom and cumin

The recipe that Aparna provided is is taken from Greg and Lucy Malouf’s  book, Saraban – A Chef’s Journey Through Persia. An unusual thing about this recipe is that it calls for three rounds of proving of the dough rather than the usual two. I did a few modifications when made this. I chose to go with a round cookie cutter to shape the buns, but a lot of people have used heart-shaped ones too. I reduced the sugar in the dough by a third and also avoided the final dusting of icing sugar. Instead, I opted to go for just a final dusting of toasted, crushed cumin.

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Beautiful Bentos

A few months ago, V and I decided we needed to clean up our eating habits somewhat. We took a good look at what we were eating and when. In particular focus were the lunch-time meals I had every week at work. One of the perils of working with a pub-chain is the plentiful and cheap pub-grub they serve in the canteen. So we decided that had to be a key area of change for us. But the main challenge was always my complete and utter lack of interest in the same boring old ‘dabba’ or ‘tiffin’ and my refusal to eat the same thing more than two days in a row. We compounded the problem by setting ourselves the challenge of ridding ourselves of grain or starch-based carbs for that one meal of the day.

V took on the challenge of making the effort to get a freshly cooked meal ready for me every morning. And the extra effort of making it look appealing enough that I look forward to lunchtimes, and my colleagues who lunch with me don’t (as they still chow their way through the canteen fare). We were inspired by a cookbook featuring Japanese bento recipes, and we loved the concept, if not the over-dependence on rice.

And so the Beautiful BentoBox was born. We have been sharing our exploits and efforts on Facebook as we have experimented our way across various flavours, textures and colours. Always trying to keep it visually attractive, but at the same time healthy and good to eat, with fresh ingredients, and a good mix of meat, fruit and vegetables. We discuss ideas, V turns them into reality and I faithfully document & photograph each attempt.

Today, just in time to be a belated birthday present for my darling wife, our efforts (in all honesty, mainly her’s) were rewarded with a 4-page feature spread in the Chef At Large monthly magazine CaLDRON.

Here’s the link to the magazine http://bit.ly/caldron614. The feature is on pg66. We’re looking start sharing our beautiful bentos on this blog too.

Roasted radish, spring onion and orange salad

One day, while browsing around random food-related sites, I came across a very intriguing recipe for a warm salad of roasted radishes and spring onions (here). I’ve always had radishes either raw, or cooked in indian stews & curries. I’ve never roasted them. And the photos looks so tempting. I had a bunch of French radishes knocking about in the fridge so I thought I’d give this a go at some point. I had got an orange as part of my ingredient swap a week or so ago, when I met up with some great people from the Chef At Large group, and I wanted to make something unusual and unique from that too.

And so, I ended up with this lovely warm salad. I must admit that the taste was a fair bit different to anything I had ever had as a salad, but it was nice. I loved the roasted radishes and will definitely do this again when I see a nice fresh bunch in the market.

Roasted radish, spring onion and orange salad

Roasted radish, spring onion and orange salad

Roasted radish, spring onion and orange salad

Roasted radish, spring onion and orange salad

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