Indian Chicken Curry

I love chicken, so I’m always on the look out for easy chicken recipes. I decided to search online for some curry recipes, boy did I find many. I eventually settled on one that had easy to get ingredients. Armed with a shopping list I was ready to embark on this new journey of curries.

Upon reaching home I realised I missed some ‘minor’ ingredients (garlic,lemon juice) but that didn’t stop me. The great thing about cooking is even if you miss some ingredients you can still cook. This being chicken curry, then it’s safe to say the must have ingredient is chicken then again you can substitute it for fish. To eat is your own.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
salt and pepper to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into chunks
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup plain yoghurt
3/4 cup coconut milk

In a skillet heat the vegetable oil, then saute the onions.

Sizzle sizzle

Once the onions are tender, stir in the ginger, curry powder, paprika, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper.

Stir for about 2 minutes

Add the chicken, yoghurt, tomato paste and coconut milk.

Stir in all the ingredients
The mixture

Bring the curry to a quick boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

The curry thickens after the simmering.

Serve over steamed rice or if you want to go all Indian serve over naan bread.

Tip: As a garnish, just before serving the curry, you can sprinkle some chopped dhania for extra flavour and colour.

Verdict:

Delicious!! Not to toot my own horn but I was shocked that I had cooked the meal.

The great thing with curries is that they taste even better the following day.

Treat yourself, try making this curry I guarantee you it will be a hit.

Surprise: Chocolate Banana Cake

This past weekend was hubby’s birthday, so I decided to bake him a surprise birthday cake. Planning a surprise for someone you live with can be a bit difficult. The biggest challenge was where to hide the cake.

I recall earlier this year, on the eve of my birthday, hubby had prohibited me from opening the fridge. Well it was sorta obvious he had hidden something sweet, well it turned out to be a tasty white forest cake (my favourite) 🙂

Back to the surprise, I schemed to have the cake hidden at my friends place, they are also our good neighbours. Next challenge was to bake the cake in record time, frost it and eliminate all evidences of cake bearing in mind the way the house smells when one has baked.

Ingredients:

Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter/margarine (I used margarine)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 ripe bananas mashed

4 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

1/4 teaspoon salt

3-4 tablespoons of water

Frosting;

Chocolate Ganache

300ml double cream

300gm chocolate chips/chunks

Lemon Icing

Juice of one lemon

Icing sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

As usual start by pre heating your oven at 350 degrees.

Grease and flour your baking tin. This time round I also lined the bottom of the tin with some parchment paper.

Using a wooden spoon/spatula/electric mixer cream the sugar and the margarine.

Once the mixture is creamy and fluffy mix in the eggs one at a time. The mixture will look a bit curdled but it’s ok. Add the vanilla essence.

Mix in the mashed bananas.

The mashed bananas

Once well incorporated add the flour,cocoa,baking powder and salt into the wet mixture.

The dry ingredients

Fold in the dry ingredients until well incorporated. I found out recently that the cake batter should have a dropping consistency, that it when you scoop it with a spatula it should be able to drop. Don’t confuse this to mean that it should free flow. Even if it drops some huge dollops that’s ok. Well since mine what not at the right consistency I added some 3 tablespoons of water.

Pour out the batter into the prepared tin then put it in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick/spaghetti inserted in the middle comes out clean.

AS the cake was baking I prepared the ganache and lemon icing.

In a bowl pour the lemon juice.

Juice of one lemon

Add the icing sugar, small quantities at a time. We want the icing to be a bit viscous.

The icing sugar

Patience is key while making this. I used about 3/4 cup of icing sugar.  Add the vanilla essence then continue mixing till you get the desired results. Then set it aside.

Lemon Icing

Thirty minutes or so later, my cake was evenly cooked and a toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean.

Place the cake tin on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes.

Taking a chill pill on the rack

Remove from the tin and let it cool further since, we’ll be frosting the cake.

I was really working in a rush and to be honest the kitchen counter was a bit messy. Since I was trying to eliminate all evidences, as the cake was baking, I also washed all the used equipment.

To be honest, I didn’t wait for the cake to cool completely, time was against me.

Since I had prepared the ganache earlier that morning, it hadn’t completely set, I wished I’d put it in the freezer, oh well.

Pour the ganache on the cake and spread it out.

The counter was full of chocolate. After putting the first layer of ganache, I squeezed the cake into the freezer for like 10 minutes to see whether it would at least set, well that amount to more mess O-o.

Add the final layer of the ganache. The dripping result.

Drip drip drip went the chocolate ganache.

Now for the lemon icing, I don’t have a pipping bag so I had to be inventive, so just using a polythene bag, pour the icing into the bag, push it to one edge of the bag then make a small hole. Then ice as desired. (sorry no pics, handy were messy).

Now for the end result.

Happy birthday hun 🙂

I forgot to mention, just as I was beginning the second layer of frosting the cake,hubby called saying that he had just alighted from the bus and that he was on his way home O-o (the horror). Trying to buy time I requested him to go buy fruits, I even recommended some vendors that were a bit far, sneaky I know.

Safe to say, the cake was hidden at my neighbours, all the utensils washed, wiped dry and tucked away in their respective cabinets. One big problem remained, the cake smell… Well I’d earlier lit an aromatic candle so when he got home and got to sniffing (pun intended) I just said it was the candle.

Tip: Please prepare the ganache the night before to avoid the mess I made.

For those who might be wondering the surprise worked out great and hubby loved the cake.

PS. Sorry for the longest post ever. Also, I apologise for the lack of step by step pics, I was really in a hurry and took what I could.

Chocolate Ganache

I was charged with the great task of baking a cake for a friend’s bridal shower. Boy was I nervous, I kept asking myself, will they love it? Will they compare my cake to previous cakes? Oh well, I took the challenge. I decided to make my chocolate banana cake.

Since, the cake was for a big event, I needed to do what I don’t really like and know, frost/ice it. I searched around Dr. Google and landed on a recipe for ganache. It looked pretty simple to do.

Ingredients:

300ml double cream

300gms chocolate chips (dark/semi-sweet) (you can but dark chocolate and cut it into chunks)

150ml Double cream

In a sufuria, bring the double cream to a boil.

boiling

As the double cream is coming to a boil, put the chocolate chips in a bowl.

I used chocolate chips

Once boiled, pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let the mixture stand for 3 minutes.

oops, shadow in the photo

Using a spatula or spoon, gently stir the mixture.

Initial stages of stirring.

After some minutes of gentle stirring.

shiny, glossy ganache

Since it’s a bit runny and not to mention warm, let it cool on the counter overnight. Remember to cover with some cling film.

In the morning it will be more firm and one can easy spread on the cake. If you want it to be more solid, put it in the fridge.

Next I’ll post the cake plus ganache, that is if I can locate the photos.

Tip: The double cream and chocolate quantities should be 50/50.

Peas and Sausage Fried Rice

I love when I get home and discover I have leftover rice, because that translates to dinner in under 20 minutes. This happened to me some 2 weeks ago and boy was I happy.

I had a feeling I had some sausages in the freezer and lucky me, I spotted the last three. I also had some peas that I had boiled and stored in the fridge. The beauty of boiling peas prior is that when it comes to the actual cooking all you’ll need to do is thaw them then cook as desired.

This dish is similar to the egg fried rice I made sometime back sans the eggs.

Ingredients:

1 onion chopped

1 cup of pre cooked peas thawed

3 sausages fried and diced

1/2 bell pepper (hoho) cubed

Leftover rice

Salt and pepper to taste

2-3 tbsps of vegetable oil for frying

In a skillet add the vegetable oil then fry the onions till tender.

The onions sizzling

Add the bell peppers.

‘dancing in the onions’
cold leftover turmeric rice

Add the rice  and peas into the skillet.

more green

You just need to get them warmed up, since they are already cooked.

Finally add in the sausages.

season with dried herbs (optional)

Dinner is served.

enjoy

Verdict:

Delicious.

Mango and Tree Tomato Smoothie

A while back my loving mother in law sent my husband with some tree tomatoes/ tamarillos (matunda ya damu) . I had a mango that didn’t seem sweet and since I had some vanilla yoghurt in the fridge I decided to make a smoothie. Well with my excitement of inventing a smoothie I forgot to take photos.

So last week as I was doing my grocery shopping I saw some tree tomatoes on sale and I just had to buy.

Ingredients:

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced

3 tree tomatoes

400ml vanilla yoghurt

In a blender add in the mangoes.

mango and yoghurt

I should mention, hubby was making the smoothie as per my directions as I was busy doing other chores, (multi tasker). So hubby dearest had even forgotten about the tree tomatoes, luckily I was quick to ask if he had added them 🙂

tree tomatoes

When making smoothies with tree tomatoes, I prefer using vanilla yoghurt, just for the sole purpose of colour change.

The colour splash is just amazing

Blend for 2 minutes and voila.

Chill in the fridge.

Smoothies are also great as a quick breakfast.

Verdict:

Delicious

If I could do it over again:

Reduce the number of tree tomatoes to 2 or even 1 the taste completely overshadowed the mango… oh well, still tasted great.

PS. I forgot to mention, I had some strawberries like looked a bit lifeless so I asked hubby to throw them in.

So it should be strawberry, mango and tree tomato smoothie.

Broccoli

Powerpuff girls are responsible for making us hate broccoli even without having tasted it. Well fortunately, I decided to give it a try and I loved it.

I made some to accompany the pasta alla marinara.

Normally I stir fry broccoli with carrots but sadly I didn’t have any in the house 😦 Oh well we still had to eat.

Ingredients:

Broccoli florets

1 onion chopped

Salt

2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

The broccoli florets

In a pan saute the onions and season with salt.

Sizzle sizzle

Once the onions are tender, add in the broccoli florets.

Green with envy

Cover for a few minutes then start the stir. Continue till the green is more pronounced. The broccoli should be firm to bite but cooked through.

Beautiful

Verdict:

Delicious, even without the carrots

Hubby’s plate

Marinara Sauce

Marinara (mariner’s) sauce is a South Italian tomato sauce. The most of basic recipes has tomatoes, garlic, herbs and onions. It’s pretty good to serve with pasta, rice or even seafood.

I prepared this sometime this week to serve with pasta (pasta alla marinara as Italians would call it) and some broccoli on the side.

Ingredients:

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ginger crushed

1 onion chopped

4 tomatoes diced

Dried herbs, i used basil and oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

First put quite an amount of water in a big saucepan, season with salt and bring that to a boil. The water is for cooking the pasta. Then start to prepare the sauce.

In a saucepan fry the onions, ginger and garlic.

Season with the salt and black pepper

Once the onions are tender, add the tomatoes.

Add the herbs- basil, oregano and parsley

Cover the saucepan and let the tomatoes cook down.

Add some little water and cover.

After around 10 minutes of simmering over low-medium heat

Remember the pasta should be al dente. Drain the water over a colander.

Pasta draining.

Return the pasta into the saucepan. Then pour the marinara sauce over the pasta.

Toss the pasta to ensure the sauce is well distributed.
Dinner: Pasta alla marinara

Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if you have and serve immediately.

We had this with some stir fried broccoli.

Verdict:

Delicious, the pasta was just right and the seasoning in the sauce was flavourful. Once can basically have this as a full meal on it’s own.