August 29, 2012

Izy's Chilli Con Carne

I had the pleasure of having Izy cook tonight. The theme was Mexican and mind you he hasn't cooked this recipe before, but can I tell you it was AWESOME! So much better than the ready made stuff you get in packets.  

Thanks Bro!


  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 500g beef mince 
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • black pepper and salt to taste
  • small handful pickled jalapeno,chopped
  • 1 small hot chilli pepper (fresh)
  • 2 cups soaked and blanched red kidney beans (or beans in a can)
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes


  1. Fry garlic in olive oil for about 1 minute
  2. add onion and cook onion for about 5 minutes. Make sure it goes golden brown, keep stirring whilst cooking
  3. add mince, and stir whilst cooking for about another 5 minutes, or until it changes to a light colour.
  4. add spices
  5. add fresh chilli
  6. add tomato paste and pickled jalapenos
  7. add diced tomatoes and add the beef stock last.
  8. bring to boil and then simmer for 45 minutes
  9. now add the pre soaked and blanched beans (you can use beans in a can)
  10. cook for another 45 minutes.
  11. serve with tortilla bread, sour cream, grated cheese.

March 4, 2012

Yoghurt Soup with Rice (Yayla Corba)

I have yet again revised my Yoghurt Soup recipe. This one is by far the best AND easiest I have made up until now. My previous yoghurt soup recipe contained egg, but this one doesn't include egg nor do I feel it needs it.

It's a Turkish recipe so their measurement for a cup is 200ml not the standard 250ml.

Yoghurt Soup with Rice
from Hunerli Bayanlar

  • 4 cups or about 800 ml Chicken Stock
  • 3 cups or about 600 ml water
  • 1 cup yoghurt (I used 250ml cup)
  • 3 heaped tablespoons Rice (I used medium grain)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 heaped tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • Salt
Sauce for top of Soup: (not essential)
  • butter
  • paprika

  • Put water, chicken broth, salt, and washed and strained rice into a saucepan. Cook on low heat, until rice is tender, and comes to the boil (about 15 minutes)
  • Put butter in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat without burning. Add the flour, stirring until golden and turn the stove off.
  • Take up to 3-4 tablespoons of the rice water and add to the buttered flour, whisk to make a paste like slurry.
  • Add this slurry/paste mixture back into the saucepan with the rice and whisk quickly to ensure there are no lumps
  • In a bowl, whisk yogurt, take 3-4 tablespoon of the rice and flour mixture and whisk again. This ensures we increase the temperature of the yoghurt to prevent it from curdling. 
  • Add the yoghurt mixture to the soup and whisk 
  • Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionaly
  • Add mint, stir once and turn off the heat
  • Make the sauce for the soup by heating some butter in a separate pan and adding paprika once the butter has melted.
  • Serve fresh and warm as possible.

February 10, 2012

Green Lentil Bocconcini Salad


This is what you get when you have some leftover bocconcini, boiled green lentils and various other salad ingredients in the fridge. I used tomatoes, mint, green chillies - sweet ones that is. I would have liked to use parsley and green onion (shallots) but didn't have any on hand.

As for the dressing I thought I would try something a little different to my usual lemon, oil and salt dressing . Although that works well too. I used a mustard vinaigrette - 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, salt, black pepper and I also added about 1-2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard.

You really can use whatever ingredients you have lying around. Enjoy!

February 4, 2012

To Die for Blueberry Muffins, with Choc Chip Streusel Topping

These muffins are called "To Die for Blueberry Muffins", and you know what? it's really truly the best blueberry muffin recipe that I have come across to date! I think what sets this recipe apart from the others is the wonderful crumbly topping.

I found the recipe off All Recipes, however, as usual I modified the recipe. I did this by adding chocolate chips and reducing the sugar content.

To Die for Blueberry Muffins, with Choc Chip Streusel Topping
adapted from All Recipes,
makes 12 large muffins.

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (I put less than 3/4 cup, something like 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (I used brown sugar instead and only put in 1/3 cup)
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup choc chips (a very full 1/2 cup that is) - (half will go in batter and the other half to go into the topping)
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line muffin tray with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar (I used less), salt and baking powder. 
  3. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. 
  4. Fold in blueberries. Fold in half the chocolate chips which would be 1/4 cup worth. The rest of the chocolate chips will go in the topping. 
  5. Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way, I don't want mine to spill over the muffin liner, and there really is only enough batter to make 12 muffins so divide as evenly as possible.
  6. sprinkle with crumb topping mixture or otherwise called streusel
  7. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup), 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.Mix with fork (I used fingers), and sprinkle over muffins before baking. Note: If you want more crumb topping, then stick to the original measurements. I found when I reduced the
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

January 22, 2012

Quinoa Tabouli Salad with Beans (Fasulyeli Kinoa Kisir)

Let me introduce to you a new favourite grain (technically classified as a Pseudocereal) of mine — Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah). It's a bit like Bulgur (Cracked Wheat) but is loaded with protein, iron, & fibre. It contains other vitamins and minerals like Vitamin E, it's low GI, and gluten free. What else can you ask for?

Cooking Quinoa is easy, you need to rinse it in a sieve and let it soak for minimum 5 minutes  — however some sites recommend at least 15 minutes to an hour. Reason for soaking is so it loosens up any traces of saponin (which is usually removed in processing anyway), which can give a bitter taste.

After soaking you need to drain it, add water and simmer. When it comes to what ratio of water to cook it in, again this varies. Some recommend 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water. You cook it on a low simmer for about 10-15 minutes. I usually use less liquid, about 1.5 cups water to 1 cup grain.

I had about a cup of quinoa left in the pantry and all the right ingredients to make a tabouli. So I figured I would make quinoa tabouli, I also threw in some beans for some extra goodness.

Again, let me stress that when I cook I don't really measure exact amounts. I toss things in and taste as I go. Here is a rough indication of what went in.

  • Quinoa, cooked (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • parsley, chopped
  • spring onion,chopped
  • green pepper, chopped (mild or hot)
  • 2-4 tablespoons of tomato paste (I like my tabouli red, use more or less according to your taste)
  • lemon juice
  • handful of canned beans (4 bean mix), any beans would work
  • paprika
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil

Mix all ingredients together. Feel free to mix with your hands. Easy!

January 16, 2012

Avocado Salad with Sumac (Sumakli Avokado Salatasi)

We were having our usual salad the other day, when I decided to sprinkle some sumac onto the salad. A little sumac goes a long way — it added a nice tangy zesty flavour to the salad. You can use whatever vegetables you like for your salad.

  • tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • red bell pepper/capsicum
  • red onions
  • avocado
  • Lemon Juice
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Sumac (I just sprinkled it on my salad, you can always add it to dressing as well)

January 13, 2012

Banana Date Chocolate Chip Streusel Coffee Cake

Firstly, I should apologise for not blogging lately. I have realised it has been one year since my last post!!!

Thanks to some special guests that came to visit from London today, and some very ripe bananas crying out to be eaten in my fruit bowl...the result was this super yummy banana, date, choc chip struesel cake. Oh and of course, what brought it all together was the recipe - I should thank Elizabeth from FreeFoodBoston who originally found and adapted Megan's who found it at Epicurious. I should add, I did deviate from Elizabeth's and Megan's adaptation.

The original recipe uses walnuts in the struesel, however as I did not have any walnuts in my usually well stocked pantry, I did by great chance have some fresh dates in my fridge — Totally lucky! Perhaps one day I'll try the walnut version, but for the time being this cake is a keeper!

I also used less chocolate chips and self-raising flour instead of the whole wheat flour.

However, I should note that this recipe is quite sweet — the natural sweetness of the dates combined with sugar makes it quite rich. If you are wanting to use dates, but don't have such a sweet tooth, I would suggest you reduce the quantity of sugar used to 1/2 cup where it says 2/3 cup.

Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip Streusel
adapted from Elizabeth at FreeFoodBoston
Makes 12 servings
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips - (I used 1 cup)
  • 2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar (use 1/2 cup if making with dates)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts - (I used about 4 large fresh dates instead)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour - (I used self-raising flour)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda - (I didn't use this)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar (use 1/2 cup if making with dates)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/3 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 large)
  • 3 tablespoons milk

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Butter and flour 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan.
  2. Stir chocolate chips, 2/3 c. brown sugar, walnuts or dates, and cinnamon in small bowl until well blended; set streusel aside.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda (if using Self Raising flour I guess you can leave this out), baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 2/3 c. brown sugar, room temperature butter, and egg in large bowl until fluffy.
  4. Beat in mashed bananas and milk. Add dry ingredients and blend well.
  5. Spread half of batter (about 2 cups) in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel.
  6. Bake coffee cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool coffee cake in pan on rack.
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