Tomato Rasam | South Indian Spicy Tomato Broth

Who can go past tomato rasam?

Yesterday I had made some Garam Masala and the house was full of wonderful aromas. As I worked at my desk I became hungrier and hungrier. What to do? I needed something wonderfully spicy.

After peeking in the fridge to see what was left after a hectic week, the solution was a wonderful, spicy tomato rasam.

One of the easiest way to describe Rasam is that it is a very thin, sometimes watery, spiced dish where lentils are used for flavour but are not obvious. Rasam is often confused with Sambar. Sambar is a thicker dish based on lentils. Traditionally both dishes are spiced differently. You can read more about the difference between Sambar and Rasam here.

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Golden Saffron Spice Tea

I first came across this beautiful tea in a small shop in a village in South India.

There are certain “C” words that I love when in the kitchen. It is especially true when it comes to spices. My favourite and indispensable spices all being with C — Cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coriander seed, Cumin.

If you have these in your pantry, you have some of the Indian cooking Essentials. For example, Garam Masala uses them as a strong, warming basis.

But did you know that you can also make a very special infused tea from these same spices?

You might also like to try Phanta (Basil) Tea, Ayurvedic Teas, or Herbal Teas. Try Saffron Rice with Dates and Almonds also.

Or browse all of our Teas. Our Indian dishes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Late Spring Recipes.

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How to Make Garam Masala

Garam Masala is a wonderfully warm and versatile mix of spices used in a range of Indian dishes.

Make your own Garam Masala

If you are even the smallest bit familiar with Indian food, you will have heard of Garam Masala. It is a wonderfully warm and versatile mix of spices used in a range of Indian dishes. Not necessarily spicy hot, it consists of spices that warm and nourish the body, such as cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

Garam Masala is particularly loved in the North of India where the winters are cold. It is not a prescriptive mix – it is open to interpretation with each region of India creating distinct blends with flavours characteristic of the region. A teaspoon of Garam Masala gives a North Indian character to any dish – try it with Basmati rice, or sprinkle it over cooked dishes.

The variety in recipes is easily explained. The cuisine varies so much across India that the spices in Garam Masala are chosen to best compliment the local foods. Each region and each family adjusts their mix to suit the flavours of the cuisine, personal preference and the dish being made. When you have such a large canvas of spices to choose from, why would you not do that?

Occasionally Garam Masala spices are used whole. Try a rice dish in which you grind only the nutmeg and add the other spices into the rice water as it boils.

Are you looking for spice blends? Try Sundakkai Podi, Rasam Powder, Sambar Powder, Malaysian Curry Powder and Sri Lankan Thuna Paha.

Browse our other Spice Mix recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes. If you are looking for information on spices, our spice articles are here.

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Warm Olives with Lemon and Spices

Serve with crusty bread, chargrilled eggplant and other vegetables, and/or a range of antipasto or grazing dishes

I spent January in London this year. There was a baby on the Horizon, and I was there to see his transition into this life. It was a beautiful thing. He is a beautiful thing.

I was chief cook and bottle washer during the month I was there. And best of all, it was so luxurious to cook from (mainly) one cookbook. The book was a Xmas present to my daughter from a good friend. The author is an Australian, but the book itself is full of recipes so very suited to the Street and Farmers’ Markets in London. Despite a baby in the house we ate so well that month. Continue reading “Warm Olives with Lemon and Spices”

Pane di Prato | A Tuscan Bread

A wonderful, beautiful flavoured, light textured but very crusty bread.

I so rarely buy bread now. Except for some very special bread I might come across, and of course sourdough. And more recently the Afghan shop nearby has begun making their own flatbread. It’s just that we don’t eat bread much any more. Just occasionally we love to make our own. We don’t do it every week, mind you, although there have been times in my life where I have made bread several times per week – we had a rhythm going, and it was easy a log as we kept to the rhythm. The kids were younger then, and it was a good way to feed their constantly empty stomachs.

Are you looking for other breads? We don’t have many. TryΒ  Olive Oil Bread with Parsley and Dill, No Knead Focaccia, Schiacciata and Rosemary Focaccia. And we have some Toasties – try Pan Fried Toasties with Fontina, Paneer Toasties and Potato and Pea Stuffed Toasted Sandwiches.

But we do have Italian recipes. Try Marinated Zucchini and Tomato, Roasted Pepper Salad with Mozarella and White Beans, and Puy Lentil Soup.

You might also like to explore all of our bread recipes here and here. Or all of our Italian recipes here. Or simply browse our beautiful Mid Spring recipes.

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How to make Eggless Pasta | Semolina Pasta Dough, Besan Pasta Dough, Sesame flavoured Pasta/Noodles

Making pasta without eggs

Let’s be clear up front. No matter what other sites will tell you, it is not really possible in a home environment to produce the type of pasta that can made with eggs, or the commercially produced egg free pasta. We can make other pasta, however, that will good, and have a special taste and texture of their own.

I work with several different recipes for eggless pasta. One with semolina flour, one with besan, or chickpea flour, and one with both. Each gives quite a different result. It pays to experiment with each of them until you find a pasta noodle that you prefer. The third type has been my most successful and is my current favourite, so make sure that you check that one out below.

You are probably interested in some pasta recipes too. Try Hand Made Pesto (Zeffirino Pesto), Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce, and Pasta with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato.

You might like to browse all of our pasta recipes. Or explore all of our Italian recipes. Or take some time to check out our beautiful Early Spring recipes.

Continue reading “How to make Eggless Pasta | Semolina Pasta Dough, Besan Pasta Dough, Sesame flavoured Pasta/Noodles”