Tag Archives: What to make for Christmas

Christmas coloured nibbles-balsamic, garlic and chilli roasted tomatoes and soybean and red onion dip

9 Dec

Christmas coloured nibbles-balsamic, garlic and chilli roasted tomatoes and soybean and red onion dip

It’s red and green…Christmassy…get it? Alright, alright I know. It’s not exactly the whackiest idea for colours but it does look festive and it is fun.

I’ve been recipe testing for a few submissions recently and the over day my husband said, ‘I’m tired of eating new things every day, I just want something simple’. My first reaction was to laugh, who gets tired of eating new stuff? My laughter then turned to a, ‘wait a minute, that’s so ungrateful..you get fed well’.
I then explained to him how many of our friends and family don’t cook, or will rustle up a jacket spud. How rude!

But then I thought, he has a point. Sometimes unfussy, simple, clear and punchy flavours just feel good. Like a good plate or pasta, or a deep and earthy soup, maybe a bowl of steaming hot khichdi. All simple, but beautiful dishes.

During Christmas my family seems to graze through the day. We have one meal, the late lunch and then the rest of the day is filled with grazing, munching, nibbling and picking. There are only so many crisps anyone can eat so here a fabulous and festive coloured option. The tomatoes take on an intensely deep and sweet flavour when roasted and the garlic really comes through with a kick of chilli at the end. The dip left my husband in sigh’s of ‘mmm’s and he’s polished off the entire bowl of dip! I have to say that this nutty dip is really very good. The handy thing with this recipe is that it’s great warm or cold. I served with warm pitta and some smoked cheese.

Ingredients for 4 people

For the tomatoes ;

8 large red tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp chilli flakes
Salt to taste

For the dip;

400g soybeans
1 cup plain and natural yoghurt
One red onion, finely diced
25g coriander, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Juice of one lime
1 clove of garlic
A handful of shredded basil.

Method
1. Wash and dry the tomatoes. Half the tomatoes.
2. Lay a large sheet of baking paper and smear across the oil, balsamic, garlic, salt and chilli flakes. image
3. Lay the tomatoes, open side downwards onto the baking tray and roast then at 160degrees for 45minutes.
4. When the tomatoes are warm but not too hot to handle, turn the, over and sprinkle with the basil.
5. To make the dip, boil the beans for 3-4 minutes and them drain them. Blitz them together with the yoghurt, salt, chilli, lime juice and coriander with half the diced onion. When it turns to a coarse paste, fold in the rest of the onion. image

Serve with warm pitta.

Christmas curry? Malaysian inspired curry of Brussels sprouts, tofu and potatoes

2 Dec

Christmas curry? Malaysian inspired curry of Brussels sprouts, tofu and potatoes

On Christmas Day, one of the things I most enjoy eating is a good, crisp, roasted potato that is a fluffy and moist cloud on the inside. The subtle sweetness just takes me away to a land between the chippie of my childhood and a really good gastro pub that makes juicy and delicious vegetable sausages with steaming hot onion gravy.
I think I kind of enjoy the roastie banter too. My dad thinks he makes the best ones though, naturally. He does this funny thing of squashing them just before they are ready.

The sprouts though. Some of us love them (like me) and some won’t even give them a friendly prod at Christmas. As a result, we always have loads of them knocking around in the bottom drawer of the fridge. I love the Brussel sprout with its many layers, pretty like a flower. I love that they are silky, they soak up juices between those layers and I love that they are in season.

This curry is one of those that warms the tummy and keeps it flickering and teases the taste buds. It’s a glowing bowl of aroma and an utterly balanced dish for the senses. It looks mor complicated than it is…once you’ve made the curry paste, it’s very, very straightforward. What you get is a heat, sweetness and zing. You get the perfumes from star anise, kaffir lime leaves and some wonderful lemongrass. The great thing is that the potatoes, Brussel sprouts and tofu soak up all these juices.

It’s a Malaysian inspired dish. There are so many varieties of a Malaysian curry, even the term Laksa refers to plentiful variety. This is my way…give it a go.

Ingredients

One pack of firm tofu, drained and cubed into 3cm chunks
3 tbsp ground nut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 star anise
1 stick of cinnamon
2 medium potatoes, cut into 3-4cm chunks
200g Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 can of coconut milk
2-3 kafir lime leaves
300ml water
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Salt to taste
1 tbsp lime juice

For the paste

5-6 small shallots
2 red chilies
1.5 inch galangal
2 cloves of garlic
2 sticks of lemongrass
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground nut oil

Method

1. Shallow fry the tofu in 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan until they are lightly golden. Remove onto kitchen paper.
2. Make a paste by grinding together the ingredients for the paste, it should be smooth.
3. Heat 2tbsp oil in a pan and add the cumin, coriander, star anise cinnamon and lime leaves and heat through for a minute.
4. Stir in the curry paste and on a low flame, cook for 4-5minutes until the oil is absorbed into the paste.
5. Introduce the potatoes, sprouts and tofu and mix gently.
6. Add the coconut milk and water as well as the lime juice.

Serve hot with rice.

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