Istanbul Yoghurt Treat

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There was always yoghurt, tahini and honeycomb, amongst many other things, in our hotel in Istanbul for breakfast. One morning, I had an idea to combine them, and so I did. It was delicious! I loved it, and had it with my breakfast every day while we were there.

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I am not claiming this is an authentic Istanbuli treat. I have no idea, and so I wouldn’t even try. But I do know it’s absolutely delicious. Do try it! The bitterness of tahini added interest and nuttiness to sweet honeycomb, which in turn provided an interesting texture to nibble on. All this enveloped in delicious creamy, Turkish yoghurt.

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It really makes a stunning treat. At home, I use honey, as I don’t usually have honeycomb, but it’s still delicious. Just take a bowl of yoghurt and swirl some honey and tahini over it, and there you go!

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For the winter blues: Sri Lankan coconut dhal

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Hello! How are you, how’s the world at your end? Here in the UK, we’re cocooned in layers of snow of varying thickness, depending on where you are. When I was coming home tonight, around 6.30 pm, I felt this thick layer of snow under my feet is starting to freeze. I wonder what we’ll wake up to tomorrow. As idyllic as it all looks, us Mediterranean types are not faring to well in these conditions. All I want to do is hibernate until the sun shines back on us again. But though I refuse to believe it, the life goes on. There are jobs to do, people to see, dinners to cook… Yes… Dinners… Here’s what kept me awake and re-energised me this evening. Remember that delicious Sri Lankan dhal I was telling you about earlier? Here’s the recipe. Without the photos for now, until my camera awakes from its winter sleep. (I meant to take photos this evening, but my camera failed me.)

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This dhal is a serious contender for the title of my favourite dhal, so far held by the seductive Bengali Red Dal. It has a rich gutsy flavour of red lentils cooked with onion, garlic, chillies, and cumin and black pepper, imbued with the heady aroma of curry leaves, and with a squeeze of lime to heighten your senses. I normally prefer to eat my dhal on the same day I make it, but this one I find improves with time. That is if you can stay away from it and leave some for tomorrow. I’m proud to day that this time I managed to do just that. Not even I can eat this much dhal at one sitting!

Let not the long list of ingredients intimidate you. This dhal is really very easy to make, and you can leave it to look after itself while you’re doing something else. Like making Sri Lankan coconut rotis, for example. Yes, that’s a good thing to do. (Recipe coming soon.) 

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Sri Lankan coconut dhal

 

SOURCEJasmine’s recipe

PREPARATION TIME: under 5 min

COOKING TIME: about 45 min

CUISINE: Sri Lankan

SERVES: 3 – 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a main

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of red lentils

1/4 red (medium to large) onions, or 2 shallots

2 large cloves of garlic, sliced

3 green chillies, roughly chopped

a handful of fresh curry leaves, shredded

1/3 tsp turmeric

2/3 tsp roughly ground cumin and black pepper mixture

1 scant tsp of fenugreek seeds

1/5 – 1/4 can of coconut milk

Juice of 1/2 lime, or more to taste

3 – 4 dried red chillies

salt to taste

a handful of (preferably fresh) curry leaves

1 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee

1 tbsp tempering spices (mixture of brown/black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds – see Sri Lankan spices for recipe)

1 1/2 tbsp fried onions (or 3 – 4 shallots, shredded and then fried as below)

 

METHOD:

Place the lentils in about 2 – 3 cups of water. Then chop the chillies, onions, garlic, shred the curry leaves and add them to the lentils, together with turmeric, fenugreek and the cumin and black pepper mixture. Boil together until the lentils turn soft.

When the lentils are soft, add the coconut milk and stir through.

Before you’re ready to eat, prepare the tadka or tempering for the dhal. I usually don’t have fried onions at hand, so this is what I do. I heat the oil and then add the chillies and the curry leaves to it. when the curry leaves are starting to turn crisp, I pop in the onions/shallots, and cook them until they’re almost copper brown. Then add a few more curry leaves (if you want, which I invariably do), and the tempering spices. Stir for 10 s or until they release their fragrance. Now pop the contents of the pan into the lentil mixture, reserving perhaps some for the garnish. Stir, put the lid back on, and leave it for a minute or two for the flavours to mingle and make friends.

Don’t forget the lime. I sometimes add it before adding the tadka to the lentils, and sometimes after the tadka. Either way, don’t leave it out. It really does make all the difference.

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More dhals from this blog:

Bengali Red Dhal

Minty dhal (2 versions of  recipe)

 

Also:

More recipes with beans and lentils

More Sri Lankan recipes

 

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We’re at the 8th helping of My Legume Love Affair hosted and organised by the talented Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. This is my entry for the event.  

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Eating with the Seasons: DECEMBER Round-up!

This has been a very busy six weeks. I’m looking forward to slowing down a little, taking long restorative walks and spending some quiet time with friends and family. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for blogging, but I’ll be reading your blogs.

Here is the round-up for Eating with the Seasons: DECEMBER! We have some very interesting entries here, with a Christmassy twist to match the season. Enjoy!

 

Northern Hemisphere

 

 

Fruit

 

Apples

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Corsican Caramelised Apple Tart ~ Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen (London, Ontario, Canada)

I adore the combination of apples and caramel. Look at this lusciousness! And check this description: “Custard-like, coated in caramel and gooey with apples and their juice.” Leaves me speechless, and with a huge craving for some of this gorgeous tart!

 

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French Apple Tart ~ Priya from Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes (Paris, France)

After the Corsican, here comes a French apple tart! Check out Priya’s simple and delicious version!

 

Cranberries

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Spiced Cranberry Raisin Bundt Cake ~ Soma at eCurry (Texas, USA)

I’m very impressed by this moist and spiced cranberry and raisin bundt cake. What a great addition to the festive table!

 

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Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti ~ JZ at Tasty Treats (USA)

Here comes another cranberry treat from the USA!  Who can resist fresh home-baked goods on a cold wintry day, asks JZ. These biscotti are best enjoyed with a warm cup of tea or coffee, and make a wonderful Christmas treat for the ones you love.

 

Pear (and chestnuts!)

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Pear and chestnut crumb cakes ~ Suganya at Tasty Palettes (USA)

Suganya is a big fan of chestnuts, and cooks them regularly. ‘The cakes were very moist and mildly sweet, thanks to the pear and chestnuts’, she says. ‘They also freeze well, making them a perfect snack, any time of the day.’

 

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Pear and Fig Whole Wheat Pancakes ~ Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen (London, Ontario, Canada)

I love Lisa’s savoury dishes, but she is starting to wow me with her sweets, too.  These pancakes with dried figs and fresh pears are elegant and impressive, and yet really simple to make. The filling is enhanced with a little cinnamon, cloves and orange zest, which I think is a great touch. 

 

 

Vegetables

 

Brussels Sprouts

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American Brussels Sprouts with Cream and Nutmeg ~ Catherine at Wheatless Bay (UK)

   Brussels sprouts is one of those vegetables that really does get a lot of bad press, especially around Christmas. But does it really deserve it? Doused in cream, with a sprinkling of nutmeg, they do sound tempting even to a declared Brussels sprouts avoider like myself. So, if you’re planning to inflict the obligatory sprouts on your not-unsuspecting family members this Christmas, why not try Catherine’s recipe for Brussels sprouts with cream and nutmeg?  must admit I do like the sound of this dish, not because of the cream, but because I think this flavour combination really does work.    

 

Carrots

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Carrot and leek soup ~ Priya at Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes (Paris, France)

This simple and healthy soup will warm you up on any cold day.  It looks lovely and creamy, and it’s gently spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin.

 

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Creamy carrot soup with rose harissa ~ Maninas at Maninas: Food Matters (UK)

I’ve made us a carrot soup this month, too, featuring my farmers’ market finds (carrots only from the above picture). The basic carrot soup recipes comes from the 1977 edition of ‘Mousewood Cookbook’ via Slashfood. I increased the amount of spices, and added the rose harissa and the cheese. Also, I used a mixture of butter and olive oil to cook the onions, because I really like the flavour of this combination. But it’s the harissa that’s the star of the show. It really does transfer the soup to another dimension and gives it soul! Gutsy, interesting, inviting soul. It makes it hot, garlicky, moreish. Rather funky for a carrot soup! I loved it!

 

 

Kabocha Squash

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Kabocha no nimono ~ Greg at Sippity Sup (California, USA)

Nimono is a cooking style that refers to “the quiet, gentle simmering of food in a flavorful broth.” Kabocha squash lends itself to it beautifully. This is comfort food the Japanese way. Many thanks to Greg for introducing me to it!

 

Southern Hemisphere

 

Fruit

 

Blackberries

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Apple and Blackberry Jam ~ Cathy X at aficionado (Sydney, Australia)

We learn something very interesting from Cathy. Did you know that blackberries are not berries at all?  ‘They are, in fact, an aggregate fruit – a bunch of tiny fruits fused together at the base, unlike real berries including surprisingly, citrus, cucumber and papaya,’ says Cathy. Also, she tells us that using frozen blackberries will cause less streak and make baked goods taste fresher and lighter!

 

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THANK YOU ALL FOR TAKING PART! SEE YOU IN JANUARY FOR ANOTHER EATING WITH THE SEASONS!

Eating with the Seasons: JANUARY

What will you be cooking in January? Share your seasonal recipes with us!

Let’s eat seasonally!

Join me!

 

EATING WITH THE SEASONS

 

  • Go and find out what’s in season where you live in JANUARY.
  • You can choose: fruit, vegetables, fish, meat.
  • Write a post/text if you are a non-blogger containing a recipe and/or information about your chosen seasonal item. You may post more than one recipe.
  • Post it and email it to me before 15 JANUARY, and I’ll post a round-up in a few days. The plan is to go from 15th to 15th in the month (eventually), so we have some time to enjoy the recipes for dishes that are in season.

 

To take part:

 

Please send an e-mail to maninas [DOT] wordpress [AT] yahoo [DOT[ co [DOT] uk including the following information:

  • your name and country (and town if you wish)
  • your seasonal item
  • name & link to your blog
  • name of your post & link to your post
  • one photograph
  • with ‘Eating with the season’ in the subject line of your e-mail
  • & please link to this post.

The best carrot soup ever!

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 Farmers’ market finds

 

Creamy. Gently spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. Cooled with a hint of mint. Fired up with some spicy, garlicky rose harissa. – In short, the best carrot soup ever! 

The basic carrot soup recipes comes from the 1977 edition of ‘Mousewood Cookbook’ via Slashfood. I increased the amount of spices, and added the rose harissa and the cheese. Also, I used a mixture of butter and olive oil to cook the onions, because I really like the flavour of this combination. But it’s the harissa that’s the star of the show. It really does transfer the soup to another dimension and gives it soul! Gutsy, interesting, inviting soul. It makes it hot, garlicky, moreish. Rather funky for a carrot soup! I loved it!

Here is something you could do if you don’t have the harissa (I used the Belazu brand.). It’s basically a simple tarka or bhagar with garlic and chilies. Heat some oil and add dried red chilies. Fry for a 10 – 15 second, but be careful not to burn the chilies. Then add the chopped garlic. Remove from the heat and let sizzle. Stir into the soup. – Although it doesn’t reach the complexity of the flavour of a good quality rose harissa, the chili and garlic really do take the soup to an entirely different level.

I found this great website about British carrots. Check it out for some fantastic carrot recipes and fascinating facts.

This is my entry for Eating with the Seasons: DECEMBER. Join me and send me your seasonal recipes by 15 December!

These days, I have very little time to cook, or to take photographs. Or live for that matter! I miss my blog and reading other blogs… A couple of more weeks and I should be back to normal… Fingers crossed.

UPDATE 15/12/2008: I made it with pumkin tonight (and milk instead of yoghurt). It was lovely and creamy. It worked great, too!

And now the famous soup:  

 

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Creamy carrot soup with rose

 harissa

 

SOURCE: the basic carrot soup recipe is from ‘Mousewood Cookbook’ (1977), via

Slashfood

PREPARATION TIME:10 – 15 min

COOKING TIME: 30 – 40 min

CUISINE: ?

SERVES: 2 (generously)

 

INGREDIENTS:

0.5 kg carrots, peeled and chopped

water

chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tbsp butter

1/2 large yellow onion

3 small cloves of garlic

a small handful of almonds and cashews

1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp dried mint

75 ml single cream (or less, according to taste)*

2 tsp rose harissa

salt and pepper

a handful of grated cheese (I used Double Gloucester)

 

METHOD:

I. Cover the carrots with water and  stock and boil until tender.

II. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a pan, then add the onion and a pinch of  salt. (The salt will draw out the moisture from the onion and make it cook more quickly). Add chopped garlic and nuts and saute until the onion is soft. When the onion is soft, add nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir and cook for 5 – 10 seconds to give time to the spices to release their flavours. Stir in the mint.

III. Put the onion mixture and carrots into the food processor and blend until smooth. (It’s easier to blend if you retain some cooking water and add it to the soup later on as necessary.)

IV. Return the vegetable puree to the pan, add cream and check for salt. Add water to achieve desired consistency. Stir in the rose harissa and the black pepper and heat through.

V. Fold in some cheese into the soup, and sprinkle the rest on top. Add another pinch of freshly ground black pepper and serve. Enjoy! 

Serves two generously for a hearty lunch or dinner.

 

 

Verdict

This is the best soup I’ve ever made, and one of the best ones I’ve ever had. How’s that for a verdict? 🙂

 

NOTES

*You can also use milk instead of cream. The soup is already rather rich because of the addition of nuts and cheese.

The soup lends itself to lots of variations. For example, you can use different types of nuts to add richness. Different dairy products instead of cream. You can also play with different spice combinations.

Also, I really like the idea of adding a tarka to perk up the flavours of soups! 

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Other soups at Maninas:

Dalmatian fish soup

Fragrant and aromatic salmon soup with noodles

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