The Foodie Blogroll

Chickpea and Spinach Stew + Curry Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread + Saffron Shortbread Stars

Chickpea and Spinach Stew

The other day when I woke up I had a huge inkling to cook something. What I was craving was protein, starches and carbohydrates. I'm not really sure why. However, with this desire to cook also came the desire for Indian food. I decided that I wanted something to do with chick peas. I love chick peas and I really should be incorporating more of them into my diet since I don't really get much protein other than fish, the nuts that I do eat and certain dairy products.

I searched around and around for different recipes that contained chick peas. I really wanted aloo gobi, but seeing as I didn't have cauliflower and no one was home to drive me to the grocery store that wasn't going to happen. I mean, I could of just made it with potatoes but cauliflower just adds so much perfection to that dish. Instead I settled on this chickpea and spinach dish.

When I came across this recipe at about 10:30 am, I waited and waited and told myself that I would make it at noon so that I would at least be eating lunch at a reasonable time. Well, as you know, once I get an idea in my head, especially when it comes to baking or cooking, I have to do it right away. Well, this day was like no others. The clock turned 11:00 am, and I was in the basement grabbing my can of chick peas and my frozen spinach. I start making the dish and almost instantly the kitchen was filled with beautiful Indian aromas.

I absolutely adore Indian food, and it really is such a great treat when I decide to have it. I don't have it much, mostly due to it's cost, but when I do it's well worth it. I used to be like that with sushi, but now that all you can eat buffets are springing around on every corner it's more of a treat than a luxury, I mean, I literally have sushi 2-3 times a week. I don't want that to happen with Indian. I really do treat myself to it and see it as a luxury.

This dish was absolutely divine. I decided not to serve it with rice since I felt that the meal was going to be heavy enough from the chick peas alone. This was such a beautiful flavour combination that I can't even really explain what I tasted. There was sweet, but not your typical sweet, and then there was spice but again not your typical spice. I mean, you're probably thinking, "okay, so what is she saying?" Really, I don't know what I'm saying either then, my taste buds were definitely, and sincerely thanking me for this meal. I loved it, and there was enough for dinner and lunch the next day! If you are a fan of Indian this is a must, it was incredibly simple to make, easy, and didn't take much time at all, plus it was incredibly filling (however, I did go back for more due to it being so darn tasty!)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup water
  • 14 ounces frozen baby spinach
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • Sea salt
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas with their liquid
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

Directions:


Pour the water into a large deep skillet and bring to a boil. Add the spinach leaves and cook over high heat, tossing frequently, until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Drain the spinach in a colander, pressing hard on the leaves to extract the liquid. Coarsely chop the spinach.

Using the flat side of a large knife, mash the garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the saffron. Transfer the garlic paste to a small bowl.

Add the paprika, cumin, cloves and black pepper and mash until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chickpea liquid.

Wipe out the skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and tomato and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, about 3 minutes.

Add the spiced garlic sauce to the onion and tomato in the skillet and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chickpeas and the remaining liquid to the skillet. If using, add the raisins and bring to a boil over moderately high heat.

Add the spinach, reduce the heat to moderate, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Transfer the chickpea stew to 4 deep bowls, drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top, and serve.

Curry Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

Recipe thoroughly adapted from here

Since I was still in the mood for some Indian inspired flavoured dishes, I figured that I would go to my saved recipes collection and pick up a recipe I had recently saved. At first glance this could seem a little bit odd, but let me tell you, it works.

When I first came across this recipe I was instantly intrigued. Who would ever think to put curry and chocolate together? I mean, I'm sure people have thought about it, well of course they have hence they sell a curry-chocolate combination, I have just never seen it. I knew that I would not be able to find that chocolate around my area so I played around with the recipe a bit.

I loved the changes that I did, it added a hearty crunchy feel to the loaf. I divided the flour into four different type of grains. I also added yoghurt to make it a little bit fluffier, reduced the sugar, and added a small amount of chocolate chips. I absolutely loved this loaf! It was definitely one of my favourites I've ever had. It had a lot of my favourite flavours including bran, vanilla yoghurt, banana, coconut, and curry. The combination of all these flavour combinations mix so well together, I was really impressed with the way it turned out.

This loaf was so good that it kept calling my name. I tried putting it away on more than one occasion that I kept hearing it whisper into my ear, "Saaaaam, Saaaaam, Saaaaam". Well how can I turn that down? I mean really. I would walk by and tell myself, "NO, you need to keep some for tomorrow!", well it worked a few times, then I gave in, time and time again, until there was none left. I was really sad, I mean, this wasn't a gigantic loaf since I reduced the recipe in half, but it was so good that I would of made it the next day, however, I didn't trust myself having this near me again.

Well, I would definitely make this again, that's for sure, just not right now, hehe. How did the curry end up tasting in this loaf you ask? It was brilliant. It didn't have the typical spice the curry usually has, it was more along the lines of sweet. The chocolate and the curry blended really well together and made not only a beautiful taste but the aroma took you back too it was just... a different experience that I don't think I've ever had with a loaf before. Next time I would definitely a little bit more curry, I really love curry, and even though we have curry straight from India the amount I put wasn't as forthcoming as I wanted, I mean, I wanted the curry to be the thing that stuck out the most, the ingredient that would be the secret that no one would be able to identify what's in the loaf, but, we shall see for next time. I'm thinking next time I would make a cranberry orange curry loaf, oh that sounds oh so delicious!

I definitely think you should try this out

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dessicated coconut
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 cup WW flour
  • 1/4 cup bran buds
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 mashed overripe banana
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tsp curry powder

Directions:


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and butter and flour a 9x5 loaf pan.


Toast coconut in a skillet on the stove, being careful not to let it burn. Set aside to cool.


Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and coconut in a bowl and set aside.


In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then add the yoghurt and beat until fully incorporated. Next add the bananas and coconut extract and mix well.


Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.


Pour batter into buttered and floured pan and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then remove, allowing it to cool to room temperature before slicing.


Saffron Shortbread Stars

Recipe taken from here

The next recipe I tried out was for a saffron shortbread. I was really intrigued by this just because I don't really steer away from your typical shortbread recipe since most of my family are more into the traditional flavours, however, they did like the lavender shortbread, but not the cardamom. Anyways, I thought this would be a really nice shortbread to introduce just because it is not really a kick in the face out of the ordinary flavour, instead it has a little bit of spice from the cardamom and a subtle yet sweet beautiful flavour from the cardamom. I really enjoyed this recipe. It tasted great, smelt great, and unlike a lot of shortbread recipes I have worked with recently this one was very easy to work with. I would certainly make this again. My mom and her boyfriend brought them (along with another dessert that you will see shortly) to a Christmas party and they apparently got devoured!


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsalted butter – 4 sticks
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp saffron
  • 2 tbsp milk


Directions:


Cream butter and salt.
Cream both sugars with the butter/salt until light and fluffy (around 2 minutes).

Whisk cardamom into flour.
Gradually add flour to butter. Mix on low until combined.

Add saffron milk and mix until combined.
Form dough into disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F.


Take dough out of refrigerator and allow to warm for a few minutes before rolling it out in a sheet ¼ - ½ inch thick.


Cut into whatever shape you wish and place cut outs on parchment lined tray.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. The edges should just be starting to brown.

Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.

Come back soon :)

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