Friday, 18 November 2011

Eating Mushrooms ...Good for you


Mushrooms not only taste good but also a great source of healthy food
Remember those stories of mushrooms making somebody big or playing shields against the dreaded monsters. So, if diseases are considered as monsters then you know how to deal with them. The answer is simple: Enjoy your share of mushrooms. Mushrooms are full of proteins, vitamins and minerals, amino acids, anti-biotic and anti-oxidants. From pizzas, pastas to omelettes, mushrooms can really add taste to a dish.
The health benefits of mushroom include the following:
B Vitamins are vital for turning food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which the body burns to produce energy. They also help the body metabolize fats and protein. Mushrooms contain loads of vitamin B2 and vitamin B3.
Mushrooms have zero cholesterol, fats and very low carbohydrates. The fiber and certain enzymes in them also help lower cholesterol level. The high lean protein content in mushrooms helps burn cholesterol when they are digested.
Mushrooms can be an ideal low energy diet for diabetics. They have no fats, no cholesterol, very low carbohydrates, high proteins, vitamins and minerals, a lot of water and fiber. Moreover, they contain natural insulin and enzymes which help breaking down of sugar or starch of the food.
Ergothioneine, a powerful anti oxidant present in mushrooms is very effective in giving protection from free radicals as well as boosting up immunity. Mushrooms contain natural antibiotics (similar to penicillin, which itself is extracted from mushrooms) which check microbial and other fungal infections.
Mushrooms are the only vegetable and the second known source (after cod liver oil) to contain vitamin-D in edible form. They are rich in calcium (good for bones), iron (cures anemia), potassium ( good for lowering blood pressure) and selenium. The best source of selenium is animal proteins. So, mushrooms can be the best choice for vegetarians to obtain selenium.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Vegetable and Rice Muffins...Cakes





These muffin-shaped vegie cakes contain boiled rice, finely chopped/grated vegetables, egg and cheese. After baking them until golden brown, we serve them hot with sweet chilli sauce as a snack, side dish, or vegetarian meal.

We used a small onion, a medium carrot, and a medium zucchini in this recipe.

Preparation time: about 45 minutes (excludes baking time)

Makes 6.

150g (2/3 cup) rice
140g (1 cup, lightly packed) grated zucchini
20g (1 tablespoon) butter
90g (1/2 cup) finely chopped onion
1 small red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
90g (1/2 cup, very firmly packed) grated carrot
40g (1 cup, lightly packed) finely chopped baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
2 large eggs (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
44g (1/2 cup) grated parmesan cheese
36g tasty cheddar cheese, cut into six equal pieces
3 cherry tomatoes, halved (or 6 small slices of tomato)
Sweet chilli sauce, to serve

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Celsius fan-forced).

Grease 6 holes in a muffin pan (1/3 cup capacity holes). Line the base of each hole with a circle of baking paper.

Boil rice according to directions on packet. Drain cooked rice and set aside.

Squeeze excess moisture from grated zucchini (we do this over the kitchen sink). © exclusivelyfood.com.au

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, chilli, and garlic and cook for two minutes, without browning, stirring occasionally. Add carrot, and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini, baby spinach, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for another minute.

Remove saucepan from heat and transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Stir in rice. Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

Stir eggs and parmesan cheese into rice mixture. Fill the prepared muffin holes with the rice mixture, pressing the mixture down so that the cakes hold together.

Top each vegie cake with a piece of cheese and a piece of tomato.

Bake for about 24-30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve hot with sweet chilli sauce.

Store vegie cakes in a covered container in the refrigerator. They are suitable to reheat in the microwave or oven. If you are reheating the vegie cakes in the oven, cover them so they don’t dry out.


Variation: Rice and Vegie Slice

Use 50g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) grated tasty cheddar cheese in place of the cheddar cheese pieces. Use one small-medium tomato in place of the cherry tomatoes.

Grease base and sides of a 20cm non-stick square pan. Line base with baking paper.

Firmly press rice and egg mixture into the prepared pan. Cover top of rice mixture with tomato slices and sprinkle with tasty cheese.

Bake at 200 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Celsius fan-forced) for about 35 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown. Cut into slices, drizzle with sweet chilli sauce and serve.

Potato egg and Bacon Salad


Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

550g small potatoes, washed 
120g (about 4 pieces) short-cut bacon, finely diced
3 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
2-3 green onions (green shallots), finely chopped
188g (3/4 cup) good quality mayonnaise
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Place unpeeled potatoes in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover potatoes. Cover saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a medium boil and cook until potatoes are just tender (you should be able to pierce the potatoes with a knife and meet no resistance). Drain potatoes and cool to room temperature. © exclusivelyfood.com.au

In a small frying pan or saucepan, fry bacon over medium heat until cooked and lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Remove skin from potatoes, if desired. Chop potatoes into bite sized pieces. Chop eggs.

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir gently to combine. If you like, you can reserve some of the bacon or green onions to sprinkle over the salad before serving.

The salad can be served immediately, or refrigerated until cold. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.


How to hard-boil eggs

Place eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Cover saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from heat, drain eggs and cover with cold water to stop further cooking of the eggs.

Savory Potato Pancake Recipe


Makes about nine (9cm diameter) pancakes.

1 small onion
625g potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)
1 large egg (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
28g (2 tablespoons) self-raising flour
Salt and pepper
Oil, for pan-frying

Peel onion and grate into a small bowl. © exclusivelyfood.com.au

Peel and grate potatoes into a large bowl. Remove excess moisture from potato by firmly squeezing handfuls of grated potato over the kitchen sink. 

Add onion, egg, flour, pepper and a generous amount of salt to the potato and stir well to combine.

Heat oil in a heavy-based, non-stick pan over medium to medium-high heat. Drop scant 1/4 cups of mixture into pan and flatten slightly.

Cook pancakes for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through. Adjust the heat if the pancakes are browning too quickly or too slowly.

If you are cooking the pancakes in batches, you can place the cooked pancakes on a baking tray in a warm oven while cooking the remaining pancakes.

Drain pancakes on paper towels and serve.

Baked Vegetable Cake...Recipe


The recipe includes instructions for roasting capsicum, but if you wish to purchase chargrilled/roasted capsicum, you will need 125 grams. The cooked fresh corn could be replaced with 165 grams (one scant cup) frozen corn kernels or drained canned corn kernels.

Preparation time: about 40 minutes (excludes baking time)

Serves about 6 as a light meal with a salad.

We use a 20ml tablespoon and 250ml measuring cup for all of our recipes.

275g (about 1 large) red capsicum
1 teaspoon (5ml) oil, for frying onion
160g (about 1 medium) onion, peeled and finely chopped
9g (about 1 large) garlic clove, peeled and crushed
460g (about 1 very large) corn cob, husk and silk removed
200g (about 1 medium) zucchini
150g (about 1 medium) carrot
8g (2 tablespoons) finely chopped parsley
25g (1/4 cup, lightly packed) grated parmesan cheese
56g (3/4 cup, lightly packed) grated tasty cheddar cheese
112g (3/4 cup) self-raising flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 large eggs (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
83ml (1/3 cup) oil (we use peanut oil, but any mild-flavoured oil could be used)

Line an 18cm by 28cm rectangular baking dish or slice pan with baking paper. A different sized pan can be used if desired, but you will probably need to adjust the baking time.

Preheat grill on high.

Cut capsicum in half and remove the stalk, seeds and membranes. Press capsicum with your hand to flatten (you may need to cut through any lumpy parts to help them flatten). Place capsicum skin side up on a baking tray.

Place capsicum under the hot grill (broiler) for about 8-10 minutes, until most of the skin surface blackens.

Remove capsicum and tray from under grill (leave capsicum on tray), place a sheet of greaseproof paper on top of the capsicum, and set aside until cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes).

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan-forced). If you are not using a fan-forced oven, move the oven rack to the middle shelf position.

Heat one teaspoon of oil in a heavy-based nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Fry onion for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until softened and very lightly browned. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.

Set onion mixture aside while preparing remaining ingredients.

Place the corn in a saucepan of boiling water, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Peel skin off capsicum and discard skin.

Dice the capsicum into small pieces and place in a large bowl. © exclusivelyfood.com.au
Remove ends from zucchini and carrot and finely grate. If you weren't able to weigh the carrot and zucchini before starting, the approximate cup measurements are 1 1/2 lightly packed cups grated zucchini and 1 lightly packed cup grated carrot.

Squeeze handfuls of grated zucchini and carrot over sink to remove excess liquid (this prevents the slice from being too wet). Add zucchini and carrot to the bowl with the capsicum.

Remove corn kernels from cob (stand cob upright on a chopping board, and use a sharp knife to cut down the length of the cob).

Add corn kernels, parsley and cooled onion mixture to the bowl with the vegetables and stir to combine.

Add parmesan and cheddar cheeses, flour, salt (we use a rounded 1/4 teaspoon fine salt) and pepper to the bowl and stir to combine the ingredients.

Use a fork to beat the eggs and 1/3 cup oil together in a small bowl. Add egg and oil mixture to the other ingredients and stir until just combined.

Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and spread evenly.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until slice is golden brown and firm to the touch.

Store slice in the refrigerator or freezer. When freezing the slice, we cut it into single serve pieces, wrap the pieces in plastic wrap, and place them in an airtight container. The slice is suitable to reheat

Baked Zucchini and Bacon Cake


This savoury slice can be served hot or cold, as a side dish or with a salad as a main meal. You will need about 3 large bacon rashers for this recipe.

Preparation time: about 35 minutes (excludes baking time)

Serves about 6 as a light meal with a salad.

We use a 20ml tablespoon and 250ml measuring cup for all of our recipes.

550g zucchini
1 medium (about 160g) onion, peeled and finely chopped
130g bacon (after fat and rind has been removed)
75g (1 cup, lightly packed) grated tasty cheddar cheese
112g (3/4 cup) self-raising flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 large eggs (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
83ml (1/3 cup) oil (we use peanut oil but any mild-flavoured oil could be used)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan-forced). If you are not using a fan-forced oven, adjust the oven rack to the middle of the oven.

Finely chop bacon. Heat a heavy-based nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. © exclusivelyfood.com.au

Fry bacon and onion for about six minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened but not browned. Set aside to cool.

Line an 18cm by 28cm baking dish or slice pan with baking paper.

Wash zucchini, remove ends and finely grate. Squeeze handfuls of grated zucchini over sink to remove excess liquid (this prevents the slice from being too wet).

Combine grated zucchini, cooled onion and bacon mixture, cheese, flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Use a fork to beat eggs and oil together in a small bowl. Add egg and oil mixture to the other ingredients and stir to combine.

Pour mixture into baking dish and spread evenly.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until slice is golden brown and firm to the touch.

Set aside for five to ten minutes before slicing.

Garlic Bread Recipe.....

garlicbread21
Makes about 20 pieces.
125g salted butter (or unsalted butter with salt added to taste)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (about 10g [1 1/2 teaspoons] crushed garlic)
1 tablespoon (5g) finely chopped parsley
1 large (450-500g) French bread stick (about 65cm long)
garlicbread10
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Celsius fan-forced). Adjust the oven rack to the middle of the oven.


Place butter and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When butter has melted, cook and stir for an additional minute. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. © exclusivelyfood.com.au
garlicbread12
garlicbread11
Using a serrated knife, cut the bread stick in half (to make it easier to fit in the oven). Cut each half in half horizontally.
garlicbread20
Spoon the garlic butter onto the cut surfaces of the bread stick, distributing the garlic and parsley evenly.
garlicbread17
garlicbread16
Join buttered sides of bread together to re-form two half loaves.
garlicbread15
Wrap each half loaf in aluminium foil, making sure the bread is fully enclosed. The garlic bread could be refrigerated or frozen at this stage (we suggest defrosting before baking).


Place garlic bread on a baking tray and cook for about 15 minutes or until hot in the centre.


Remove the aluminium foil. Using a serrated knife, cut the garlic bread into
serving-size pieces. Serve immediately.

Baked Potatoes...with Cream and garlic


300ml (1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons) cream (35 to 40 percent fat)
166ml (2/3 cup) milk
1 medium garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1kg potatoes (about six medium-large desiree potatoes)
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper, or to taste
100g (1 cup, firmly packed) grated tasty cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Celsius fan-forced).


Stir cream, milk and garlic together in a medium bowl or jug.


Peel potatoes and cut into 3-4mm thick slices.


Layer the potato slices, seasoning with salt and pepper between the layers, in a 2.6 litre capacity baking dish. We use a baking dish that is about 6cm deep. © exclusivelyfood.com.au

Pour cream mixture over potato.

Tightly cover the baking dish with greaseproof paper then aluminium foil.

Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until potato is tender when tested with a skewer or knife. Discard the paper and aluminium foil.


Increase oven temperature to 220 degrees Celsius (200 degrees Celsius fan-forced). Sprinkle potato with grated cheese. Return potato bake to the oven, and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden.


Allow the potato bake to stand for about 20 minutes before serving. Alternatively, store the cooked potato bake in the refrigerator, and reheat in the microwave or oven.

Tempura Prawns


Tempura Batter
75g (1/2 cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
188ml (3/4 cup) cold soda water


Uncooked king prawns (the above recipe should make enough batter for up to 1.5kg of medium king prawns)
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying © exclusivelyfood.com.au


Shell and devein prawns. We left the tails on for presentation purposes.
Sift flours together in a medium bowl. Add egg and soda water and mix until just combined (it is okay if the batter is a little lumpy). Allow batter to stand for a few minutes.


Heat oil in a large saucepan or wok. Holding prawns by the tails, dip in the batter and allow excess to drain away. Deep-fry prawns until batter is very lightly browned and prawns have turned pink and are cooked through. (It is best to fry the prawns in batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan.)

Drain and serve

Garlic Chutney



1 whole bulb garlic (crushed into a fine paste)
1/2 tsp jeera
3 tsp oil
1/2 tsp red chili powder (or as per your spice level)
1/3 tsp cumin-coriander powder
salt to taste


1. Heat oil, add in the jeera and when it pops, add the red chili powder and pour this mixture over the gine garlic paste. Or anltenately, add the garlic paste to this mix and saute for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add cumin-coriander powder, salt and (additional) chili powder -if required and serve the the Dal-Bati.

No Pakori Kadhi



3 cups dahi/yogurt made into buttermilk (consistency should be moderately thick)/ 1 liter buttermilk
3 tbsp gram flour/besan
150 gm green onions-chopped
2 tsp garlic paste
2 green chilies
1 whole dried red chili
2 tbsp coriander
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/3 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
1/3 tsp mustard seeds
a pinch of asafoetida'1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

1. Mix the besan with the buttermilk, so that there are no lumps.
2. Add the salt and turmeric and keep aside.
3. Heat oil, add the cumin, mustard and fenugreek seeds and when they pop, add the asafoetida and the green onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes- Do not let the onions turn brown.
4. Pour in the besan-buttermilk mixture and cook on medium heat till it starts boiling.
5. Reduce heat, add the garlic paste and green chilies and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
6. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with rice.

Coconut Burfee/Fudge



1/2 cup dessicated unsweetened coconut (you can also use fresh coconut)
2/3 cup 2% milk (you can use whole milk or condensed milk too)
1/3 tsp cardamom powder
4 tbsp sugar (you can add more or less depending on your taste)
3 coarsely crushed almonds
a few strands saffron(mixed in 2 tsp of hot milk)
1/2 tsp ghee

1. Heat the ghee and add the dessicated coconut. Saute/Mix it well for 2 minutes (dont let it turn brown).

2. Add the milk, cardamom powder, almonds, saffron and sugar and let the concotion boil, stirring it once in a while till it thickens and becomes dry and firm (of a fudge consistency) but still soft.

3. Pour into a plate already greased with a little ghee and with a flat spoon roll/pat out evenly in the plate. Cut it into diamond shaped pieces and let it cool. Do not remove from the plate.

4. After its completely cooled, put it in the refrigerator so that it sets in firmly and doesnt break.

5.Remove after 5-6 hours 

Daliya Khichdi





Ingredients
1 cup cracked wheat ...Daliya
1/2 cup split green moong dal
1-1/2 cup chopped veggies of your choice (carrots, peas, cauliflower, potatoes)
1 small onion diced
1 tsp garam masala
1/3 tsp chili powder
salt to taste


To be ground into a paste
4 green chilies
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 inch piece of ginger


For tempering:
1 tsp mustard seeds...or jeera
1/3 tsp turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
A closer look at how the cracked wheat looks like:




1. Wash and soak the cracked wheat and moong dal for 1/2 an hour before cooking.


2. Heat oil in a cooker, add the mustard seeds...or jeera and when they crackle, add the ingredients for tempering.
3. Add the cracked wheat and saute it for 5-7 minutes till it turns golden brown and then add all the veggies and the onion and saute it till 5-10 minutes.


4. Add the ground paste, garam masala and salt.


5. Add 1 cup of water and let it cook for another 10 minutes.


6. Add the moong dal and 3-1/2 more cups of water (the cracked wheat swells a lot, so you need lots of water) and cook it for 3 whistles. The consistency should be semi-solid (simply put it will be a "lachko" or "sarsarit" khichdi). At this point turn off the gas and let it cool for 15 minutes.
This is what a semi-solid khichdi should look like.



7. Serve hot garnished with coriander and a dollop of ghee or with any raita or lassi(salty)



Palak Raita



1-1/2 cups spinach chopped
1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts
salt to taste
sugar to taste

For tempering

2 tsp ghee
2 green chilies-chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
a pinch of turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida

1. Wash and chop the spinach.
2. Combine the yogurt, spinach, crushed peanuts (they must be roasted and semi crushed to provide crunch), salt and sugar
3. Heat the ghee, add cumin seeds and when they splutter, add the green chilies, turmeric and asafoetida.
4. Pour over the spinach yogurt mixture.
5. mix well and serve.