Spiced Coconut Rice

Spiced Coconut Rice (serves 4)
300 ml Basmati rice (measured in a pint jug)
300 ml coconut milk
150 ml water
25g butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 piece cinnamon stick
4 cloves
6 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
Method
Measure the rice in the measuring jug and rinse under running water several times until the water runs clear and then soak the rice in 500 mls water for 30 minutes.  Drain the rice into a sieve. Measure the coconut milk and water into the measuring jug.

Melt the butter into a medium sized pan, when it’s foaming add the spices and cook gently for a minute or so until they release their delicious smells. Add the rice and stir carefully until the rice is coated in the spicy butter.  Add the coconut milk and water mixture and the salt to taste. Stir once to make sure the rice is all covered.  Bring to the boil. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Turn the heat to low and cook the rice for 25 mins.  Remove from the heat and take off the foil and cover with a clean tea cloth and leave to stand for 5 mins before serving.

Tip: If you would prefer to make this without the coconut milk just omit and use 45o ml of water.  It is just as delicious.

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Chapati

chapati

I add cumin seed to the chapati which gives a lovely hint of spice to these delicious flatbreads.
Chapati (makes 6)
125g wholemeal flour
80 ml water
1 tsp cumin seed

Melted butter or ghee for brushing the chapati when cooked
Method
Heat a pan over a medium heat and add the cumin seed dry-frying until it begins to release its smell. Lightly grind the seed with the back of a spoon.
Put flour and cumin seeds in a large bowl and slowly add water combining the mixture with your hands until a soft dough is formed.
Knead the dough for 5-7 mins until smooth.  Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave for 30 mins. 
Heat a griddle or heavy pan until its very hot ( I use a tortilla pan which is perfect for the job).
Separate the dough into six balls and roll out each ball on a lightly floured surface into a thin round. Cook each chapati for 1 minute on the first side, turn and cook for 30 secs on the other side.  If the pan is hot enough they should puff up.
Brush each chapati with melted butter as soon as it is cooked and keep warm until you are ready to serve.

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Pumpkin and Apple Soup

We planted some pumpkin seeds earlier this year which have turned into monsters and taken over our veg patch.  Not wanting to waste them I came up with this soup, which was delicious.  I have a feeling we will be eating a lot of it…

Pumpkin & Apple Soup

Pumpkins in our garden

1kg Pumpkin/squash
300g apple, peeled, cored and chopped
(I used eating apples as this is what I had available)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 heaped tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin seed
1 pint vegetable stock
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 200c (400f/ gas mark 6)Cut the pumpkin into slices, removing the seeds.  Place onto a baking tray, season and sprinkle with olive oil.  Roast for 20 mins until soft.  Leave until cool enough to handle and remove skin.  Chop into cubes.

In a large pan, sweat the onions in a small amount of olive oil over a medium heat for five mins. Add garlic and apples and cook for a further five mins on a low heat, making sure that they don’t start to brown. Add curry powder and cumin seeds and fry for 2 mins, stirring. Add the roasted pumpkin and stir well so that it all gets covered in the spices.  Add the vegetable stock and simmer gently for 20 mins.  Do not boil as this will ruin the flavour of the soup.

Take the pan off the heat and blend or sieve the soup.  Serve in warmed bowls with croutons or crispy bread and a few sage leaves that have been fried in olive oil until crisp.

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