Turkish cornbread (Misir Ekmegi)

I have a Turkish colleague and a few weeks ago, she was relishing some cornbread that her mother had made for her and couldn’t stop raving about it. As is my reaction in these situations, I set out to make some for myself.

Upon surveying the internet for some recipes, I came across one at Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook which looked simple enough  and so I decided to give it a go. Of course, I added a few of my own touches like fresh chives and chilli flakes to flavour the bread and really loved the end result. It was soft yet had a crunch to it, and tasted good warm and cold. Slather some butter on it or eat it with a dip or chutney. It’s absolutely delicious and what’s even better is that it is a one-pot dish and preparation time is less than 15 minutes !

I did go back to my Turkish friend and give her some of my cornbread to try. She liked the taste of it but said it was quite different to her mum’s. She said her mum’s version was made of  only cornmeal, corn oil and salt as corn grew abundantly in the region of Turkey where she came from. However, she did also say that in regions where wheat was available, people did add standard flour to the cornbread and so my recipe was also genuinely Turkish. Woo hoo!

Yellow corn meal
Yellow corn meal

Continue reading

Weekend French toast

I’m pretty sure I’ve ranted before about the lack of places to go to for brunch where we are in England. Compared to the choice we had in Melbourne, this town is pretty dire. What we did try one Saturday morning is a chain restaurant called Bill’s. While Bill’s has the atmosphere of what a brunch place, the food itself was OK. My partner had the French toast and I the vegetarian breakfast stack with avocado, hummus and poached eggs. Just as he got though his French toast, my partner looked up and said – I’m sure you can make this a lot better!

Challenges like that never go unmet in our house. In many places, a breakfast order of French toast comes with a scoop of ice-cream in the centre but it was at  Cafe Arcadia in Melbourne that I first saw French toast being serves with yoghurt and a berry coulis and thought to myself – “Now there’s an idea worth stealing!”. Equipped with a challenge and a stolen idea from our former home, I set out to make the most delicious, yet slightly healthy French toast I ever did ( or so I thought). Turns out this isn’t the first time I tried to make French toast as in my folder of food photos, I found a whole lot more pictures of French toast as did I in my folder of photos from France.

The tastiest and most indulgent French toast is when a day old loaf of Brioche is used as the bread. However, I’ve gone for more generic bread that looked pretty. While slicing the bread, I sliced a little bit of my finger too and the bit of bread you find missing in the pictures are where my injury made itself obvious shall we say. Don’t be grossed out as indeed, the French toast was tasty and much better than Bill’s French toast. Though I will admit that their maple-flavoured syrup was tastier than my real maple syrup 🙂

Bon apetit!

French toast for breakfast anyone ?

French toast for breakfast anyone ?

Continue reading

2. Main: Twice-baked blue cheese soufflé with a creamy tomato sauce and apple, walnut, rocket salad

There are 3 parts to this recipe (a) the souffle (b) tomato sauce (c) salad

(a) The soufflé 

Source : http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10556367

Changes:

1. I left out the parsley and I forgot to add salt and pepper but that’s OK, the cheese has enough flavour to make up for this.

2. I used thyme and sage as herbs to flavour the soufflé. To incorporate them, I heated the milk on the lowest setting with sage and thyme for 15-20 minutes allowing the flavours to infuse. It was this milk that I then used to make the white sauce.

3. I have included images of the process of soufflé making in the collage below. When I added the milk to the butter-flour mixture it went really thick and I panicked as I’d never made soufflé before. It got worse when I added the cheese and then the egg yolks (Pictures 5,6,7). However, the addition of soft peaked egg whites fixes it all up (Picture 9). Yay! Trust me when I say it tasted amazing – a very forgiving recipe I concluded!

4. Once the soufflés have cooled, they deflate (Picture 13). At this point, ease them out of their ramekins and place them in a larger baking dish upturned (Picture 14)

5. The recipe makes exactly enough batter for 2 soufflés so follow it to a tee if that’ s all you want. Most other recipes I found seemed to be for 6-8 servings which I wasn’t interested in.

(b) The tomato sauce

Source : Inspired by http://www.addictedtoveggies.com/2012/09/cherry-tomato-cream-sauce-nut-free.html

My partner and I are both not huge fans of cream and I thought I’d give the creamy sauce a bit more flavour before baking the soufflé for the second time. I got the idea from the recipe link above but my recipe was as follows.

Changes:

Ingredients:

1 punnet cherry tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic with skin

100 ml cream

2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 level tsp of salt

1 level tsp of sugar

Method:

1. Roast the tomatoes and garlic at 180ºC until the skins of the tomatoes crack and they start oozing out juices. Discard the garlic.

2. In a small saucepan, add the tomatoes, cream and spices and cook until the tomatoes go mushy and the flavours blend into the sauce. You want it to taste a bit sweet as the soufflé will be on the salty side.

3. Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan over the upturned and cooled soufflés and bake for 15-20 minutes at 150ºC until the tops are golden brown.

4. Serve with the apple and walnut salad (Pictures 15 & 16).

5. It is a rich and decadent main so take your time…..

 

(c) Apple, walnut and rocket salad

Source :  

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10784/twicebaked-goats-cheese-souffls-with-apple-and-wal

Changes:

1. I used rocket leaves only

2. I used a golden delicious apple instead of a red apple

3. I toasted the walnuts slightly in a pan on dry heat

4. I tossed the apples in a bit of melted Manuka honey to give them a bit of flavour and to ensure that they didn’t turn brown.

5. I left out the chives.

6. I used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar.

 

Blue cheese soufflé method

Blue cheese soufflé method

My take on a vegetarian moussaka

Those who have seen “My big fat Greek wedding” might remember the scene when the other kids in school mock Nia Vardalos’ lunch calling it “Mous-ka-ka”. I thought it was hilariously cruel (it’s easy to make me laugh at silly things shall we say). So I decide to run around the house on evening announcing that I was going to make a Vegetarian mous-ka-ka and my partner looked at me like I’d lost it. Clearly, he hasn’t watched the movie.

This Greek dish has forever eluded me as I can’t say I’ve come across any restaurant posing a vegetarian moussaka.So I decided to take matters into my own hands and create one for dinner. First stop – the interwebs. Thanks to my fellow wordpress-ers  or wordpress-ites, I found some rather good recipes. My recipe is mainly inspired by the following two recipes http://www.culinaryadventuresinthekitchen.com/2012/02/08/785/ and http://oolongrouge.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/my-big-fat-vegetarian-moussaka/. I’d made pizza for dinner the day before mousakka Sunday so I decided to salvage some of the leftover vegetables into the dish.

Hope you like it!

Vegetarian moussaka

Continue reading