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Tag: coriander

Pumpkin Soup – two (of one million and a half) ways

It is pumpkin season and it is time to cook those suckers up before you realise you’ve had enough pumpkin to last you another decade. There are many, many ways of making a successful pumpkin soup, and these versions I’ve offered here are just two of them. The first is inspired by the flavours of the eternal crowd pleaser known as butter chicken, or murgh makhani. However, since it contains neither chicken nor butter, and for lack of a better name, I’ll call it my Indian-inspired pumpkin soup for now. Close on the heels of the first, the second soup is a nod to one of my other all-time favourite flavour combinations, the zingy hot and sour tom kha soup, which, if not for tradition’s sake, will be known as the Thai-inspired pumpkin soup in this series. Enjoy.

Pumpkin Soup – two ways

Serves 4

Pumpkin base

A splash of neutral-tasting oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

8cm of ginger, finely grated

½ – 1 small chilli, thinly sliced 

1.5 kg pumpkin

1 litre of veggie / chicken / beef stock

Indian

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

8 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground

2 Tbsp tomato paste

200ml thick cream (plus extra, if needed)

soy sauce / salt

To serve

200g Greek yoghurt

50g roasted cashews, chopped

sweet paprika, to sprinkle

Thai

3 lemongrass stalks, bruised

8 kaffir lime leaves

200ml coconut milk (plus extra, if needed)

1-2 fresh limes, juice, to taste

1 bunch coriander, chopped

Fish sauce / soy sauce / salt

To serve

A few extra tablespoons of coconut milk

A few extra coriander leaves

A few extra slices of chilli

To start off, add the oil and the onion to a big pot and fry on medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir for a minute.

Indian

Add all the spices and the tomato paste, and stir for another minute. Add the pumpkin and the stock, and bring to a boil. Simmer until the pumpkin is soft. 

Remove from the heat, adding the cream, and puree with a hand-held blender. Season to taste with the salty substance of your choice.

To serve, ladle into bowls, swirl with some Greek yoghurt and scatter with some cashews and a few pinches of paprika.

Thai

Add the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, along with the pumpkin and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until the pumpkin is soft. 

Remove from the heat, adding the coconut milk and coriander , and puree with a hand-held blender. Season to taste with the salty substance of your choice.

To serve, ladle into bowls, swirl with some coconut milk and scatter with some coriander leaves and chilli rings.

Serve either soup with bread or rice or whatever you’d like to have it with.

Cabbage, Carrot and Crispy Fish Tacos with Chipotle Mayo

IMG_7999

I’ve been making this recipe for a good year now, and I’ve been making it at least once a month. It’s stupidly easy and delicious, as any good taco should be. It’s also the home diy version of this incredibly fantastic one you can get at Los Hermanos in Brunswick, Melbourne (miss you), if you’re ever there.

Again, this is one of those “throw together / non-recipe” recipes, but it’s nice to have some sort of instructions, so here they are. Go forth and adjust and enjoy as needed.

 

Cabbage, Carrot and Crispy Fish Tacos with Chipotle Mayo

Makes 4

 

6 fish fingers (you can go as glamorous or as childhood nostalgic as you like here)

 

150g white cabbage, thinly sliced

1 medium carrot, grated

½ bunch of coriander, leaves picked, roughly chopped

salt

 

5 Tbsp mayonnaise

½ tsp chipotle

½ tsp smoked paprika (you can go all chipotle here if you like it super spicy)

½ tsp honey

2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp water, to thin it and make it easier to drizzle

 

4 small (mini) flour tortillas

a few wedges of lemon, to serve

 

Preheat oven to 200°C. Add the fish fingers and leave them for about 20-25 minutes – you want them to be super crispy. Alternatively, heat some oil in a pan and transform your place into a deep-fry venue.

In the meantime, combine the cabbage, carrot and coriander with a pinch of salt. I find this helps soften the cabbage, making it not only easier to eat, but also less bland.

Combine the chipotle mayo ingredients. Remove the fish fingers from the oven once they are done, and let them cool a little. Once they are cool, halve them at an angle for no other reason than to make them look fancy. Skip this step if fancy isn’t your jam.

Get out a big frying pan, and heat each tortilla on each side – a few toasty spots are highly welcome here, but keep an eye on them, because they darken pretty quickly. Place one of the tortillas on a plate, add a smear of mayo, followed by the cabbage mixture, 3 fish finger halves and top it off with a drizzle of more mayo. Repeat with the remaining tacos. Serve with lemon wedges.

Vegetarian Harira with Date and Almond Couscous

harira

I feel like it’s high time I give you guys something sweet for you to sink your teeth into, but for some reason it’s the savouries that have captured me and taken me on a trip to enthusiasmville, and I must say I quite like it.

Up next is a soup I had forgotten about for more than two years, which is bordering on criminal because it truly is a beautiful soup. Harira is one of those exotically seductive yet immensely comforting soups, flashy enough to serve as a special dinner but also perfect for a midweek meal. To make up for the lack of lamb in this vego version, I’ve added a few chopped up dried porcini mushrooms. I’ve also replaced celery, not because I have split feelings about it, but because I think that parsley stalks have an incredibly complex flavour, which cooked along in the soup do a fabulous job at adding that dynamic that usually le celery is responsible for. The medley of spices work spiffingly with the vibrant tomatoey broth, and is made even better by the accompaniment of the sweet buttery almond-flecked couscous. The soup will taste better the next day, as most soups do. But even a few hours after you’ve cooked it will do if that’s all the time you’ve got.

And yes I have a thing for shooting food in tiny (blue) dishes. And no, that is not a serving size I would ever dare to serve someone, let alone myself.

Vegetarian Harira with Date and Almond Couscous

Serves 4

4 slices dried porcini mushroom, very finely shopped

3-4 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cinnamon quill

1 tsp each of ground turmeric, ginger, cumin and paprika

1 pinch saffron

the stalks of half a bunch of parsley, tied in a knot

1 large red capsicum, finely chopped

400g tin chopped tomatoes

800ml stock

1 can chickpeas, half of them crushed with a fork

splash of soy sauce, salt

¼ tsp chilli flakes

half a bunch parsley, leaves finely chopped

half a bunch coriander, leaves picked

Place the chopped porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion and carrot. Fry until softened. Add the garlic and the spices, and stir until fragrant. Add the soaked mushrooms with their liquid, the capsicum, parsley stalks, capsicum, chopped tomatoes and the stock, and bring to the boil. Let it cook until all of the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Add the chickpeas and soy sauce and season to taste with the salt and chilli flakes. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and top with the parsley and coriander. Serve with the couscous (below).

almond and date couscous

Almond and Date Couscous

Serves 4

1 big nob of butter

1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped

1 cup / 190g couscous

1/2 tsp cinnamon, plus more to serve

1 cup /250ml boiling vegetable stock

10 dates, chopped into tiny cubes

1/3 cup /40g slivered almonds, toasted

In a small pan, melt the butter and add the garlic. Once it starts to go golden, remove from the heat and stir in the couscous and cinnamon. Pour over the boiling veggie stock and cover for about 5 minutes until completely absorbed. Fluff with a fork and stir through the chopped dates. Divide the couscous amongst serving dishes and top with the toasted almonds.

Zucchini and Onion Fritters

zucchini and onion fritters

Yay it’s fritter time! One of my very favourite form of food is finger food. It’s so easy and casual while still being completely alluring – a little nibble here, a crumb there, maybe even with a drizzle of this, or a scoop of that. There are few things more satisfying than sharing a few plates of delightful nibblies with your favourite humans, I think we can agree on that.

This is such an easy little number to whip up. If you have onions, zucchini and chickpea flour, you’re most of the way there. The rest is just improvisation and decoration.

Serve them with both a sweet chutney and a tangy yoghurt sauce for a bit of fun and contrast.

While you’re at it, you might as well make some samosas to accompany them, or maybe even some herby spinach and cheese triangles.

 

Zucchini and Onion Fritters

Inspired by The Tiffin Box

 

2 large firm zucchini (700g)

1 tsp salt, plus more to taste

1 large red onion, quartered, then finely sliced

½ bunch coriander, leaves picked and reserved for the yoghurt, stems finely chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

½ tsp turmeric

freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp baking powder

1 ½ cups chickpea flour

½ cup water

oil for deep/shallow frying

 

Coriander Yoghurt

250ml plain Greek yoghurt

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp water

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

the leftover leaves from the coriander from above, finely chopped

1/3 tsp salt

 

Date chutney, to serve

 

Grate the zucchini on the big holes of a grater. Transfer to a colander, and sprinkle over the salt. Give everything a good squish, then let it sit for 15 minutes or so. You can either wait longer or not at all – the point is, we want to get as much liquid out of the zucchini as possible. Get back to your colander and smoosh the zucchini around, trying to squeeze all that liquid out. When you find there is simply no more liquid left, and you have zucchini shreds of about half the volume you did before, dump them into a large bowl. Add the onion, coriander stems, spices, baking powder, chickpea flour and water, and give it a good stir. Give it a little taste, because it might need more seasoning. If so, add extra salt. The mixture shouldn’t be too wet – it should just hold together nicely.

Preheat your oven to 150°C. While you’re frying your fritters, you can keep the already fried ones warm in the oven, so when you serve them, they’ll all be the same temperature.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and drop in little spoonfuls of mixture. Once they’re golden on one side, flip them over and finish the other side. Let the cooked fritters rest on a bed of kitchen paper while you continue with the rest of the mixture.

For the yoghurt, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve with the fritters and the date chutney.

Coriander and Coconut Chutney

coriander coconut chutney

You’ve looked at the photo, haven’t you, and gone, “ But Laura, I can see more triangles there. Aren’t you going to talk about them? I like triangles, and I sort of really want one for breakfast now.” Yes and no kitten. This week I want to dedicate this post to this glorious chutney. Why? Because it’s delicious and I don’t think you’d bother if I’d give you the triangles first. And because I like being a tease.

But seriously. This chutney man. Ugh. It’s beautifully mild, yet complex in flavor. The sweet creaminess of the coconut marries beautifully with the fresh coriander and mint, with a subtle complexity added by the curry leaves.  It’s delicious in sandwiches, but most of all, amazing paired with Indian food. Especially samosas. Crunchy potato and pea samosas.  Tasty ones.

Enough teasing, lets get to the recipe.

Coriander and Coconut Chutney

 

Makes quite a bit – about 1 ½ cups

 

We’re aiming for a thick, runny consistency, which is exactly what you’ll get once you’ve made it. However, after a couple of hours in the fridge, it will become quite firm. Just add a bit of water to thin it out, and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

1 cup (90g) shredded coconut

250ml coconut milk

1 tsp ground cumin

1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped

12 mint leaves

1 tsp salt

1 big Tbsp peanut butter

¼ lime, juice

for tempering

1 Tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

8 curry leaves, torn (dried are fine)

¼ tsp chilli flakes, or more to taste

Place the shredded coconut in a heatproof bowl. Boil the kettle and cover the coconut with water. Let it sit for about half an hour or until cool. This will soften it and make it easier to puree.  Once it’s cooled, pour off any water remaining. Add the coconut milk, and whip out your hand held blender. Give it a blend for a couple of minutes, until the coconut shreds are shreds no more, then add the cumin, coriander leaves, mint leaves, salt, peanut butter and lime juice, and continue blending. It’s up to you how smooth or chunky you want it, but I tend to aim for smooth.

Now, in a fry pan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and chilli, and give them a bit of a shake. Once the mustard seeds start popping – which won’t take long – remove from the heat and pour over the coconut mixture. Stir it in and bam! Ze chutney is ready to go.

Keeps in an airtight container for about a week.

Avocado

guacamole

Oh guacamole. It feels like we’ve known each other for ever. No matter where I go, or what I do, you will always sneak your way into my life. I have loved you, and hated you, as well as looked at you in pity. You have been good, bad, and extremely average. Before however I continue what could end up being a novel about the many facets of your personality, answer me this. What’s the go with that jarred version of you one finds at supermarkets next to the salsa and corn chips? Do people actually eat that or is it just to please the eye, to complete the colour composition of the snack isle? If it were, I’d pat you on the back and go “Nice one! But between the two of us, keep an eye on the natural flavoured corn chips. The two of you might clash a bit…” But whom are we kidding. I don’t know what you are but you will sure as hell not get the honour of being called guacamole. I have not dared look at your list of contents, but I assume it would include hydrated lettuce, tapioca, MSG and concentrated synthetic diluted reconstituted imitation guacamole extract. I know baby, I know. But I really appreciate how much effort you put into being perfect at home with me on the table, in that delicate white and blue bowl. You look beautiful together with those corn chips, they really bring out your smooth side. The slight bite of the lime, the tangy saltines of the goat’s cheese, the aromatic bouquet of the garlic and the spices. I will dare go as far and say baby, in my eyes, you are perfect.

Guacamole

2 large or 3 smallish ripe avocados

½ lime, juice

2 Tbsp sour cream

2 large garlic cloves, chopped finely

1/3 tsp ground cumin

1/3 tsp ground coriander

½  tsp salt

1 bunch coriander, leaves and stems, chopped finely

50g soft goat’s cheese or soft feta, crumbled, plus more to decorate

fresh chilli, as desired

Scoop out the beautiful avocado flesh into a bowl and mash roughly. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, adding as little or as much chilli as you’d like. Top with a little more cheese and maybe a few leaves of coriander for added prettiness. Bring out the tortilla chips and start that party.

Carrots, Cashews and Goodbyes

I’ve never been a big fan of goodbyes. I’ve had my fair share of them, and no boubt there will be more to come. Change is good, even if it’s hard to come to terms with that fact at the beginning. My last “change” was three years ago, from Switzerland to Australia, from (little) capital city to tiny country town. And as much as I may have complained about the scarce public transport and the sleepy, laid back life style here, I have grown to love Mullumbimby. I have met the most interesting and beautiful people here and made incredibly good friends. I will miss working with my best friend at the local coffee shop/takeaway deli. I will miss knowing every coffee shop customer’s coffee order. I will miss making sandwiches, and I will miss hating making fresh juices. I will miss jogging the same old track to the cemetery every day. I will miss apéro time down the road. I will miss all the hugs, all the laughs and all the smiles shared. I will miss being here, in this sleepy little place, where people drive like lunatics, where nobody will give you a second glance if you walk to town in your pijamas, where pseudo hippies ask for spinach in their banana smoothie.

However I know my time here is up. I am ready for new adventures, for a change of scenery. Melbourne, you beautiful city, here I come.

But first, off to Switzerland. A month of freezing toes and old friends. Life’s good. Life’s great.

So in the meantime, I would like you to consider this little dip here. Yes, I recall telling you I have a thing for dips. Dips are awesome. They turn every end-of-day cup of wine into a little celebration. And in my opinion there’s never enough to celebrate. This one’s especially spectacular. The vibrant orange with speckles of green, the creamy, velvety texture offset by crunchy little morcels of cashew. The sweetness of the carrots complemented by the saltiness of the nuts and the zing of the lemon. If there’s something that could turn carrots into superstars, this would be it.

Carrot, Cashew and Coriander Dip

 

2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

100g roasted cashews, plus 50g extra, roughly chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ garlic clove, roughly chopped

½ lemon

½ tsp salt

dash of soy sauce

2 pinches chilli

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp coriander, leaves finely chopped

Place carrot in a small saucepan and add a few tablespoons of water. Cover and let simmer until the carrot is cooked. Scoop it out and transfer into a jug. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend them with a hand held blender. Stir in the extra chopped cashews. You might have to adjust the seasoning later. Now, top with more nuts, maybe a slice of lemon, some paprika or maybe a few leaves of coriander. Let’s be hippies together, one last time.

By the way this goes really well with dukkah – crusted focaccia, jus’ sayin’.

Coriander

I have an affinity to add coriander to pretty much everything I cook. I can’t help it, coriander haters, it is just so that I can have more and you have to sit there sulking. Get over your hate for that green leafiness and direct it at something that needs your hate more, like sweet mayonnaise (seriously, who came up with the genius idea to put sugar in it? Did some housewife one day go: Man I really want dessert but all I have is mayonnaise…or maybe it was her husband who thought she was making custard and after having a taste, threw in a kilo of caster sugar…we can only speculate. And hate.). I promise you’ll love it one day.

I love it in Thai- and Indian curries, atop cheesy nachos, especially in salsas, in zingy guacamole and in good old pumpkin soup. And in this pesto. Inspired by the Woolworths dip section, minus the preservatives, citric acid, food acid, lactic acid and any other sort of acid they can get a hold of. Dangerous stuff I’m telling you.

Make this if you’re over pesto, if you want to jazz up your evening apéro selection of chips and dip, or if you just really want to give coriander another chance.

Thai Style Pesto

2 bunches of coriander, roots, stems, leaves, roughly chopped

4cm knob ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves

1 stick lemongrass, finely sliced

2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced

½ chilli, finely sliced

1 lime, grated rind and juice

80g roasted cashews, plus an additional handful of chopped cashews, to stir in at the end for texture

4+ Tbsp olive oil

salt

Blend the lot with a handheld blender in a measuring cup or jug until smooth, adding more oil as needed.

Use immediately or transfer to a jar and cover with olive oil. This will keep for about 1 week in the fridge.

I love this as a dip, with crisp pita wedges, with fried eggs on toast,or with rice noodles, some freshly chopped mint and a sprinkling of crispy-fried shallots.

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