Friday, September 14, 2007

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I'm back!
Apologies for the lonnnnnnnng absence, it was travel and generally not cooking.

Here's something I stole from the back of the lid of a tin of oats, and the end result was fabulous! Though I must say, who says oatmeal raisin cookies are healthy???

  • 1 cup butter, I prefer salted cos I like the salted taste. Softened.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar. The original calls for 1 brown and 1/2 white. I find it doesn't make a difference.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups wholewheat flour
  • 3 cups oats, the normal "old fashioned" kind
  • 1 cup raisins. Heck make it 1 1/2
  • 1 tsp baking SODA
Beat butter and sugar till fluffy/creamy/however you like it. I find it really doesn't make a difference and when you're using a fork.... Add eggs. I advise beating them a bit in a separate bowl before adding. Add vanilla essence. Add flour and baking soda and mix well. Fold in oats and raisins. You might want to use fingers at some point, it's fun. Gooey, but fun. Lay out on ungreased but nonstick baking sheet and bung in the oven at 350F for 15 min. The original said 10-12 min, but since i like my cookies large and cooked I played it by ear.

Eat! Take to a Mets game! Cram into mouth while reading murder mysteries! You get my drift...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Yellow Rice or Arroz a la Mexicana

There are some seven billion versions of this, and here is MinCat's very own special hybrid!

1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/4 medium pepper [the first time I used green and yellow and a lot more than 1/4th, so improvise], diced
1 cup rice
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup water [or more depending on how soft you want it]
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
less than 1/4 tsp cumin powder
1 tbs olive oil
salt to taste

In large pot heat oil. Fry garlic and onions till onions are translucent. Add peppers and fry for a few minutes. Add rice and spices. Stir. Add water, broth and salt. Cover with lid and leave to cook on very low flame. Check on it periodically to see if it needs more water.

Suggestion: Serve with Beans and Plantains

Mint Dark Chocolate Cake with Strawberries and Cream

Madness has resulted in the extremely belated post. Sorry. I haven't cooked in AGES. But I'm back! With two recipes today.

  • 2 bars dark chocolate (60% cacao, 43g)
  • 1 bar mint chocolate (43g)
  • 125g butter
  • 6 eggs, separated, with whites beaten stiff
  • 250g sugar
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 4 tbs flour
  • Sweetened whipped cream to put between layers and cover cake
  • Strawberries to decorate

Melt the chocolate and milk in a saucepan. Add the butter and melt it in. Remove from heat and add sugar, flour and egg yolks. Fold in beaten whites. Bake at 400F in a greased pan for 45 min. Remove cake and allow to cool. Slice some strawberries longitudinally. Cut it horizontally and spread sliced strawberries and whipped cream across the bottom half. cover with top half, making sure that there is enough cream to make them stick. Cover cake with more cream. Decorate with strawberries as desired. Chill in freezer or refrigerator till serving.

This is a modified version of a recipe the Food Alchemist sent me

edit: alternative icing
chocolate truffle

Melt 100g of dark chocolate in a saucepan. Take it off the fire and let it cool a bit but not solidify. Stir in 50g of cream. Allow to cool some more, spread on cake and stick in fridge. Devour once set.

For alternative desified version, Evil Chocolate Cake Redux.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Corn Thing

Okay I was hungry and I found corn in the fridge, so I made


Corn (frozen or fresh) : 1 cup
Spring Onions : 2
Cajun Pepper Powder : To taste
Salt : To taste
Lemon Juice : 1 tablepoon
Olive Oil : 1 tablepoon

Heat oil in a pan, and add onions, sliced finely. Fry until softened and then add corn. Fry for another two minutes and then add lemon juice, peppers and salt. Continue to push around the stuff in the pan until you are satisfied with their degree of cookedness, and then remove.


Midnight snack!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Goat Cheese Pizzettes

So this is a recipe I concocted based on the amount of peppers and goat cheese in my fridge that could go to waste...

You need:

Baby spinach
Goat cheese, crumbled
Onion, sliced fine, can use green onions too
Bell pepper, I used red, you can use any, sliced fine
Olive oil
Garlic cloves

Preheat toaster oven to 400F.

Crush two or three cloves of garlic into the olive oil. I used three cloves for 1/3 cup of oil.

Brush the bread with garlic oil. I used about 2 tsps for one slice. Put a handful of baby spinach leaves on the bread. Add sliced onions and peppers. Drizzle another spoonful of garlic oil on the veggies. Pile on as much goat cheese as you would like. Sprinkle salt to taste.

Bake in toaster oven for 10-15 minutes depending on how crispy you'd like the "crust".

Eat up! Preferably with nice red wine.

This is really easy, you can go wild with this. Add mushrooms, whatever. The only thing is that veggies have to be sliced fine otherwise they won't cook in time. You can also use pizza dough to make pizzas, in that case I woudl pre-bake the crust for about five minutes otherwise the spinach will die. I like the bread version because it uses up leftover bread and I don't risk contaminating my cultures the next day with any lurking yeast from the pizza dough (Yes, it happens, despite gloves!).

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Patatas Bravas (Strong Potatoes)

Oh sweet jesus. I was watching this movie, L'Auberge Espagnole, sert in barcelona and i was reminded of this delightful thing, one of many many many, that the Spaniards do to potatoes. A regular tapas, its the first Spanish food I ate. And I sit here with a plateful.

For the Patatas:
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced to about 1cm cubes

For the salsa brava:
4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 small onion, minced
1/3 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp white vinegar
6 tsp mayonnaise
salt to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

Shallow or deep fry the potatoes till golden brown. I recommend a low flame to start and then turn the heat up. Fry the garlic and onions in 2 tsp olive oil, add the tomato paste and the spices and salt. Cook for about 10 min on a low flame. Allow it to cool. When the potatoes are done, spread on paper to soak up the extra oil. Add mayonnaise to tomato salsa and mix well. Spread potatoes in plate. Drizzle salsa over potatoes. Serve. Drizzle just before you serve so that they stay crisp.

Recommended: serve with Spanish red wine [Rioja I like best] and tortilla de patatas cut into squares, and croquetas. Recipes will follow. Enjoy!

Supernatural Brownies

This is a recipe from the New York Times! Yes really.

They have a fantastic texture, not chocolatey enough for me, though as Minkie will testify I like my cake really really chocolatey.
I used Ghirardelli's semisweet baking chocolate. Definitely microwave melted the butter and chocolate, very convenient! I would start with the chocolate and add in the butter later cos it melts faster. I used wax paper instead of parchment and regular supermarket-issue dark brown sugar. And yes, they do taste better the next day.

Enjoy! Lemon cake recipe will follow.
Recipe: Supernatural Brownies
Adapted from “Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers,” by Nick Malgieri (Morrow
Cookbooks, 1998)
Time: About 1 hour
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter, more for pan and parchment paper
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, such as muscovado
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or 3/4 cup whole walnuts, optional.
1. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and line with buttered parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In top
of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, or on low power in a microwave, melt butter and chocolate
together. Cool slightly. In a large bowl or mixer, whisk eggs. Whisk in salt, sugars and vanilla.
2. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Fold in flour just until combined. If using chopped walnuts, stir them in. Pour
batter into prepared pan. If using whole walnuts, arrange on top of batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until shiny
and beginning to crack on top. Cool in pan on rack.
Yield: 15 large or 24 small brownies.
Note: For best flavor, bake 1 day before serving, let cool and store, tightly wrapped.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gobi shikshty five

I *love* cauliflower. And this is the BEST way to eat it! (Those who disagree can treat themselves to a big bowl of cole-slaw...)


Cornflour-3 tbsp

Capsicum/ green bell pepper - 1 small cut into tiny strips

Onion- I prefer green onions, but suit yourself - 1 cut into crescents Tomato sauce- 1 ½ tsp
Soya sauce- 1
Chilli powder- 1 tsp

haldi/ turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp


Oil (sunflower/olive)
To make:

Clean the cauliflower and cut into small pieces. Soak it in hot water with haldi for 3-5 minutes.

Drain and add corn flour,salt and chilli powder to it. Mix it in with your hands. If needed just sprinkle very little water.
Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the wrapped pieces till golden brown.

Drain oil well. Set aside.
Add 2 tsp of oil in another pan and saute the onions and green pepper for 2 to 3 mins till the onions are translucent. Remove from fire and set aside.

In the same pan add 1 tsp of oil and add the soya sauce. Immediately add the cauliflower and saute for 2 minutes in a slow flame.

Then add the onion ,greenpepper strips. Saute for a minute or two till everything is more or less homogeneous. ;)
Remove from flame. EAT!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Quesadillas with Cheese and Vegetables

Quick-fix lunch for all us in Ye Forn Lands.

  • Shredded cheese [You can grate if you're enthu enough. Trader Joe's Mexican blend for preference. Cheddar, queso blanco and Monterrey Jack]
  • Tortillas [Trader Joe's sundried tomato and basil flour in this case]
  • Veggies of choice, chopped long and thin [Onions and peppers are a good staple]
Heat oil in frying pan. Toss veggies in with salt, let them cook about 5-10 min. I hate crunchiness so I let em cook. Lay out a tortilla. Sprinkle cheese across half. Lay out veggies as you wish. Sprinkle more cheese. Fold over. Toast in frying pan till cheese melts. About 1 min each side should do. Eat.

Goes well with orange juice and the Colbert Report.

Chole (with Alu)


Serves: 2-3
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 30 min

1 16 oz can chole/chana/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 medium potatoes, diced to about 1 cm cubes, peeled if you wish
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp haldi
1 1/2 tsp dhania
1/2 tsp jeera
1 tsp chana masala
5 tbs tomato paste or 2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped fine
2 tsp oil
salt to taste

Heat oil in pot. Fry ginger paste for 30 seconds. Add onions and fry till translucent. Add spices and stir. Add tomato paste and fry for about 1 min. Add potatoes. Fry for 1 min. Add chana. Add water to cover the chana and potatoes. Add salt. Cover and cook for 20 min.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Frijoles Negros Cubanos con Plátanos or Cuban Black Beans with Plantains

This is my favourite Latin American food. Period.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 min
Cooking time: 30 min

For the beans:
  • 2 16oz cans black beans [Goya rules]
  • 1 medium onion, chopped [fine or coarse, it doesnt matter because it cooks so long]
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
  • 1/2 large pepper diced small [I've used green and red both, it depends on how strong you want the pepper flavour to be]
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbs orange juice
  • 1/2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs olive oil [actually any oil]

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Nonstick is a VERY good idea because this gets sticky. Add garlic and toss for 30 seconds. Add onions. When they're translucent, add peppers. Cook about 5 min. Add spices. Cook about 5 min. Add beans, water, orange juice and salt. Stir. Cover and let simmer for 30 min, stirring periodically. Whenever you stir, mash some of the beans up into the gravy. By the end about one third to half the beans should be coarsely mashed, so that the gravy becomes very thick. This works very well with any beans in a gravy actually. Add vinegar and turn off the heat. Stir. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

For the plantains

  • 2 ripe plantains, preferably with blackened skin
  • olive oil

Peel the plantains and slice them about 1/2 cm to 1 cm thick. depends on how much oil you want to use and how long you have to cook them. Thick is good because the sugar caramelises best that way. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Again, how much you use depends on you, I like to shallow fry them not deep fry them, so I have about 1 or 2 mm of oil in the pan and add more as required. When the oil is hot place the slices in the pan. When they are brown on the bottom turn them over. When brown on the other side remove from pan and leave on paper to absorb excess oil. Serve hot. If you must, nuke em, but they have to be warm at the very least.

Serve with tortillas, arepas or white rice.


NOTE: the sugar I'm talking about is the sugar in plantains, they have a sugar content.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Chicken Meatballs

You can add any gravy you like to these, from spaghetti sause to szechuan sauce. Just be careful not to overdo them or they will be rubbery and dry.

  • Chicken mince (I use lean) - 1/2 kg
  • Garlic paste/minced fresh - 3 tsp
  • Ginger paste/minced fresh - 3tsp
  • Green chillies finely chopped
    (you can seed them too if you want) - 2 medium sized
  • Paprika - 1tsp
  • salt/pepper - to taste
  • lemon jiuce - 1 tsp
  • oregano - tsp

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, making sure it is well mixed. Use your hands, they are way more effective. Once meat is evenly flavoured (i would recommend touching a tiny bit to your tongue to make sure that they taste ok) form into... ahem.. balls. I like big... ahem.. balls, mostly because i get impatient, but you can make itty bitty bite sized ones if you dont mind standing around for ages.

Arrange on a baking sheet or tin or whatever you usually use. I cook this is a microwave, so i use glass. Shove into heating device. Now here you will have to guess what heat will work best. It takes me twelve minutes to get these perfect in my microwave. The idea is to get them to sizzle. Tun them over about halfway through, and wait till they brown lightly but still look juicy and wet before you take them out.

I apologise for the lewdness of this recipie.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Banana Bread

What to do when they get spotty all over and leave the faintly sickly sweet aftertaste and make you gag from the squishiness? [Yes I have banana perfection issues]

Preparation time: 30 min [if you, like moi, are sadly bereft of an electric beater. Otherwise I'd say 10]
Baking time: 50 min or so

4 ripe to overripe bananas
2 1/2 cups wholewheat flour
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
1/2 tsp baking soda [cheat and use 1 1/2 of baking powder if you cant be arsed to get the soda]
2/3 cup sugar
1 stick butter [sorry I didn't translate into cups]
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350F*. In a bowl beat the eggs till frothy or whatever makes your OCD behave. Add sugar, and beat some more. Add butter, I like to use it melted because it makes the batter easier to manipulate. Beat some more. Get all that anger/frustration out. Mash the bananas and add them. Start adding the flour, mixed with the baking soda and baking powder while folding it in. Again, if it's an electric beater, just chuck and whizz. If you're doing it by hand, use a spatula and just keep folding, lift it up from the bottom and bring it over to the top, endlessly till it all looks smushed and grossly lumpy from the bananas. Use the milk to moisten the batter periodically if the flour makes it too thick. Use the milk anyway, it's part of the recipe. :D Add the vanilla extract. Stir it up. Grease [or not, I forgot and nothing evil happened] your baking dish of choice and bung it in the oven. I'd advise checking on it at 40 and 45 min. Stick a knife in and if it comes out cleanly it's done. Might not be perfectly clean since banana bread is essentially gooey. One good way to check is if its coming away from the sides.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd enjoy!

Some variations:
Food Alchemist likes to use elaichi, cardomom I think tis called, though I can never be sure.
I add some cinnamon powder sometimes, and this time I stuck in some chopped walnuts.

Now if you'll excuse me, we're having the first glorious day in a while and there's a cup of coffee and a park bench with my name on them, calling me!

*Appylollyogies for the Farenheit, it's just easier cos here everything works that way. I think I'd go with 150 C.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Apple Martini

So I decided I wanted some, googled about 70 million recipes which all have a dizzying variety of requirements and made up one. So far I like it. It's also very pretty, if the camera were here I'd post a picture.

Serves: 2

2 shot glasses vodka (grey goose)
1 shot glass apple schnapps (puckers)
1 shot glass dry vermouth (martini & rossi)
1 shot glass apple juice (red jacket orchard's fuji apple juice)

Pour ingredients into cocktail shaker over ice. Shake. Pour into martini glass. Drink. Repeat.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Strange Primavera Pasta

In delight at the success of this blog so far [snh snh] I've been cooking up a storm. This is the result of a pasta craving and a zucchini in the fridge. I'd say use what you have in the fridge, but I reccomend atleast some peppers, green beans and zucchini.

Serves: 2 and a bit
Cooking time: 30 min

6 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 medium red bell pepper*
1/2 cup green french beans *
1 medium zucchini*
4 tbs tomato sauce [not ketchup]
1 tbs dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
4 tbs milk [cream actually but I shudder at the thought]
1/2 cup white wine [optional]
1/4 grated edam cheese [substitute as you wish, it's what I had in the fridge]
2 tsp oil
salt to taste
as much cooked pasta as you like

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot, I'm told the one I used is called a Peking Wok. Add garlic and toss. Add onions and when they are transluscent, add remaining vegetables. Add spices and stir fry for about 5 min. Add tomato paste and wine. Stir for 5 min, add milk. It might split. Don't worry. Add salt and allow it to cook for 10 min or till vegetbles are done. Turn off the heat and add drained pasta. stir in the cheese while still hot and serve.

*Try and cut the veggies to match the pasta, I used fettucini so they were [fancy cooking word alert] julienned.

Quesadillas and Tequila salsa

My first recipe here...

In keeping with the green onions and 10 minutes or less meme, here is my quesadilla recipe. Minkie, thou remeberest?


Wholewheat tortillas, burrito size (I recommend Trader Joe's, but I usually do)
Shredded Cheese

Salsa, made according to following recipe,
2 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
2 green onions
1 clove garlic
A small fistful of coriander/cilantro, chopped well
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped, optional
2-3 tbsps really good olive oil
Dash of tequila

Combine all ingredients for salsa, ergo you have salsa!
(Would recommend making double the amount of salsa to go with chips and cooking-time margaritas)

Heat a tortilla on a skillet, medium high heat. Once it is warm all the way through put some cheese on one half. Use your discretion about cheese. Remember, quesadillas are generally folded over, so plan accordingly. Add as much or as little salsa as you like. Fold over, heat well on both sides, the cheese should melt.


Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar

Alritey then! I 'invented' this dish a few weeks ago, and it really does come out lovely. Its also ridiculously easy and very quick.

Prep time (including chopping) - 10 Mins

  • Boneless Chicken Breasts - as many as you want, either dice them or cut them into strips. I usually dice, but whatever shape is cool.
  • Green Onions - 2 for every chicken breast, sliced small right upto the ends.
  • Garlic - Either fresh or paste. If fresh say about two cloves for each breast, and if paste about half a tsp for each breast.
  • Balsamic Vinegar - This depends on how strongly flavoured you want it. I usually keep pouring until the chickens turns a nice dark reddish colour. Id recommend, on average, 3 tbls per breast.
  • Salt/Pepper/Chilli powder or flakes - To taste.
  • Olive Oil - 1 tbls.

Heat olive oil in a wok. Add onions and garlic and saute untill onions soften. Add chicken, and cook on a high flame until it browns lightly. Switch to low flame and add Balsamic vinegar and salt/pepper/chilli, and stir until the chicken is evenly coloured.

Remove and serve.

*You can also add chopped celery or any other leafy veggie just before the vinegar stage.

Monday, April 16, 2007

आलू मटर or Alu Mutter

Saturday morning I awoke with the Greatgrandmother of all hangovers. And all I wanted was पूरी आलू। Of course I couldn't get at any, but here's what I came up with.

Serves: 3-4
Cooking time: 30-40 min

4 medium potatoes, washed and diced into small cubes. I like the peel, but it's optional
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
4 oz tomato paste
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tsp धनीया (coriander) powder
1/2 tsp जीरा (cumin) powder
1/2 tsp हल्दी (turmeric powder)
2 tsp oil
Salt to taste
Chilli powder to taste
Chopped धनीया (coriander) leaves to garnish

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, preferably nonstick. Add the onions and saute till translucent. Add the spices and chilli powder if using and stir for about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and stir for 1 min. Add potatoes and peas and stir for 1 min. Pour enough water to cover the vegetables. Add salt, cover and let simmer for about 20 min or till potatoes are cooked to your liking. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve.

Serving options:
With roti or paratha. Good option is wholewheat tortillas heated on a skillet.
With rice and curd on the side.

Strawberry Daiquiri

Assuming kitty's allowed to get a wee bit tizzy in the kitchen, here's me favorite *fruity* cocktail.

Half a glass o white rum
3-4 fresh strawberries (save half a wedge to stick on side of glass in the end to make it look pretty before u destroy it)
4 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar (the brown variety tastes nicer)
1/2 cup crushed ice - if you want a frozen strawberry daiquiri

To make :
Dump all ingredients into blender and blend for 10-15 seconds.
Pour into chilled cocktail glass (and don't forget the half a wedge o' strawberry you saved earlier!).
Bottoms up!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Caribbean Rice with Kidney Beans

Serves: 2
Cooking time: 1 hr

1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped
1 16 oz can kidney beans, washed and drained
1 cup rice
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4 oz tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/s tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
water as per rice instructions, plus 1/2 cup
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs orange juice

Heat the oil in a large pot, preferably nonstick, on medium to low heat. Add garlic, and then onions. When onions are translucent, add peppers. Add cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano, bay leaf and chilli powder. Stir for about 1 min. Add tomato paste. Stir for about 1 min. Add kidney beans, rice, water and salt. Turn heat to low, cover and let simmer till rice is cooked, adding more water if necessary. Fluff and transfer to serving dish.