Indian Essentials: How to Make Garam Masala

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

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 a mixture of spices, and the combinations vary with each household. They say it is basically Persian in origin, but is now indispensable in North Indian cuisine.

Garam Masala is particularly loved in the North 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?

Generally, but not always, Garam Masala is sprinkled over food towards the end of the cooking to retain its aroma.

The garam masala spices can also be used whole, but more traditionally, they are ground together in a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have one, a blender or spice grinder will do. If you want to use whole Garam Masala, 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.

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Warm Olives with Spiced Oil, Lemon and Herbs

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 being.

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 Spiced Oil, Lemon and Herbs”

Indian Essentials: How to Make Ghee | Nature’s Fabulous Food

Ghee is said to be the essence of a cow – first the cow produces milk, then cream is made from the milk. The best of the milk is extracted to make butter and then the best of the butter extracted to make ghee. How close to “essence of cow” is that!

I have been making ghee for myself and others since around 2000. It does take a few practice attempts to perfect, but once you have done it you will never buy ghee again. It is quite different.

All it requires is butter and mindfulness – it does need to be watched continually. The end point tricky to judge the first couple of times that you make it. But after that, you are a pro. It takes about 30 minutes all up. The amount of time that it takes depends on the amount of water in the butter, and different brands of butter will take different times.

Feel free to browse our Indian recipes here. Or try recipes using ghee here. Our Spring recipes are here.

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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.

Mind you, I am no baker. A little too conceptual and impatient for that, but nevertheless we love this bread. I hope that you enjoy it.

Are you looking for other breads? We don’t have many. Try  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. 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 | Egg Free

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 | Egg Free”