Faux Egg Fried Rice

I’m The Domestic Princess and I’m a carboholic.  There.  I’ve said it.  It’s out in the open.  In fact, I’m not only addicted to carbohydrates in the obvious form (pasta, rice, bread, potatoes), but chocolate and sugar too.  I love carbohydrates.  No, make that adore.  I like nothing better than crusty white bread, slathered in salted Jersey butter topped with Marmite. Or what I wouldn’t give for a steaming bowl of spaghetti bolognaise.  Even a plate of creamy mash on its own can make me the happiest girl on earth.  And don’t even start me on what a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk does to me.  But the problem is my relationship with these food groups is not a fair one.  No, no, no.  You see, my love is just not reciprocated.  I eat these foods and all they do is make me fat, lethargic and generally, quite unwell.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock since January, you’ll be completely au fait with the war that is being wielded against sugar.  Some are even suggesting it’s more addictive than cocaine.  Having never tried the white stuff, I can’t confirm or deny this.  What I can confirm, is that once I start eating sugary things, I literally can’t stop.  Not only does sugar make you put on weight, it has also been attributed to increasing your risk of heart disease (The Domestic King is evidence of this), type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, ageing, exacerbating autoimmune diseases and causing wrinkles.  Not pretty at all.  Sugar pretty gets into most ready-packaged food.  Take a look at some of the packets and bottles in your cupboard, you’ll be surprised at how many have sugar added to the ingredients.  If it ends in an ose, then it’s a form of sugar.

Any form of carbohydrate eventually gets broken down by your body into glucose.  Glucose is the most simple form of sugar.  Whilst the body can use glucose for fuel, levels that exceed what one actually needs, is toxic.  Excess carbohydrates such as pasta, potato and rice do in fact have the same impact on your body as say a Coke, Mars Bar or handful of Haribos.  The fructose that’s present in fruit and the carbohydrates in vegetables are treated by your body in exactly the same way as well.  The body doesn’t have the ability to differentiate between the sugar in a chocolate bar vs fructose in pineapple.  The overriding problem is when there’s glucose floating around in the body’s bloodstream.  Any glucose that’s ingested that’s not immediately used, is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles.  This would be absolutely fine, if our bodies didn’t have a limited number of glycogen receptors.  When these are at capacity, as they typically are in inactive people, the body only has one choice:  to store all the excess glucose as saturated fat and normally around one’s organs.  Not ideal is it?  I don’t want to turn this post completely into the affect of carbohydrates on our bodies, so will save all the other facts for a future one.  

So, what has my ramblings about carbs and sugar got to do with today’s recipe?  Well, when you follow a low-carb diet, you end up trying to be quite creative with your menu.  Just because carbs and I aren’t friends, doesn’t mean we weren’t at one point and I miss them terribly.  I’m an avid pinner on Pinterest and can while away many an hour.  One of the recipes I kept coming across was something called cauliflower “rice”, cooked in many ways, which of course peaked my interest.  I’m not a massive fan of plain, boiled rice, but put a bowl of egg fried rice in front of me and I’m one happy Princess.   Some of the cauliflower rice recipes I came across were for “fried rice”.  I was all over this like a rash and started experimenting toute suite!  The result?  A VERY  suitable alternative to proper fried rice.  Even The Domestic Prince, who’s not known for his love of vegetables loves this recipe.  He can’t actually get enough of it.  If you’re not a fan of cauliflower, let me assure you, this tastes NOTHING like cauliflower, you have my word.  I also need to apologise for the lack of photo, the gannet otherwise known as The Domestic Prince, wolfed it all down before I’d had a chance to take a picture.  I’m making another batch of this heavenly food this week, so will take a picture and update the blog with it.  Oh, and the feedback on various other versions has been it’s gone down a storm with children too, who had no idea it wasn’t actually rice.  

Serves 2 hungry adults

Ingredients

  • 4tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1tbsp ginger, minced
  • 4 carrots, diced into cubes
  • 150g broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 3tbsp soy sauce
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • Splash of Chinese rice wine vinegar
  • Generous handful of cooked shredded chicken or shrimps
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 spring onion, chopped

Method

  1. Tear the leaves off the cauliflower and chop into tree-like pieces.  If you’re lucky enough to own a food processor (I’d be lost without mine), pop them in and pulse until the cauliflower resembles rice.  If you don’t have a processor, then just use your regular cheese grater.
  2. Put 2tbsp of the sesame oil into a hot wok.  When the oil has heated-up, add in the crushed garlic and minced ginger and let it fry until it’s just turning a light brown colour (around 30 seconds).
  3. Put the broccoli and carrots in the wok and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they start to slightly char.  Remove from the wok and set aside.
  4. Pop the remaining sesame oil into the wok and add the “rice”.  Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the “rice” starts to colour slightly.
  5. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and rice wine vinegar and coat the rice.
  6. Put the chicken (or shrimp) and broccoli and carrots in the work and stir until combined with the “rice” and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Make a well in the middle of the wok and pour in the beaten eggs.  Stir until they scramble and then incorporate with the rest of the dish.
  8. Throw in the chopped spring onions and give a quick stir for about 30 seconds.
  9. Serve immediately.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. If your cauliflower rice feels a bit on the damp side, put it in a tea towel and give it a good squeeze to get rid of any excess water.  This will ensure a better texture of “rice”.
  2. If you like your dishes to be spicy, then add a finely chopped red chilli at stage 2 of the recipe.
  3. My vegetable and protein suggests above, are just that, suggestions.  This is the perfect recipe to use up any veggies or meat/fish you have leftover in the ‘fridge.
  4. I can’t stand coriander, but if you like it, a sprinkle just before serving would be great.
  5. I always serve mine with a small little bowl of soy sauce.
  6. This is a very low-calorie recipe, so is perfect for those of you following the 5:2 Fast Diet (100g of plain cauliflower rice is only 24 calories), a Paleo lifestyle, or are on a plan like Weight Watchers (cauliflower “rice” is zero points) or Slimming World etc.  And obviously, perfect for you low-carbers!!

Just a little word of warning….this dish isn’t that pretty to look at, but I guarantee what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste!  It’s like a hug in a bowl; perfect for those times you fancy something really comforting. 

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Posh Chilli

It’s been quite awhile since I put up a savoury recipe, so what better one to share with you than a classic:  chilli con carne.  This isn’t your regular chilli, oh no, it’s a posh one!  Well, that’s what we call it in the Domestic Abode.  And why is it posh?  Instead of using minced beef, I’ve switched it for braising /stewing steak, or if you’re in India, it’s truly posh, as you’ll need to use beef fillet.
This is one of the Domestic Prince’s favourite dishes in my repertoire, which he wolfs down in double quick time.

Posh Chilli

Serves 4 to 6 (depending how greedy you are)

Ingredients

  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg braising / stewing steak, cut into chunks
  • 250g chorizo, cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne chilli pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper

To serve

  • Tortilla chips
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan or a large casserole dish that has a lid. Fry the beef until it’s nicely coloured. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
  3. Pop the chorizo into the pan, fry until it just starts to release its juices and starts to brown. Take out the chorizo and set aside with the beef.
  4. Fry the onion and garlic in the chorizo oil until the onions just start to colour.  Add the spices, chillies and tomato puree and cook for 2 to 3 mins.  Add the balsamic vinegar and chopped tomatoes.
  5. Put the beef and chorizo back in the pan along with the stock. Bring up to a simmer and cover with the lid. Transfer to the preheated oven and cook for 2 hours.
  6. Remove from the oven, add the kidney beans and pop back in for another 50 to 60 minutes.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. The chunks of steak can obviously be swapped for regular minced beef.
  2. If you want to lessen the heat of this dish, scrape out the seeds from the chillies before adding them in.
  3. If you can’t get hold of smoked paprika, use ground chilli powder instead.
  4. Check after about an hour, as you might need to add more liquid.  I either add plain boiled water, or a drop of stock.
  5. This recipe freezes really well.

What’s your favourite classic dish?

Have a lovely weekend!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Roasted pumpkin, red pepper & sausage casserole

Just like my love of soup, it doesn’t matter if there’s blazing sunshine or a swirling snow storm going on outside, I always enjoy a tasty, hearty casserole.  Bar a bit of chopping, this dish is relatively quick and super easy, making it perfect for a mid-week supper, when you don’t really have the time to be slaving over a stove for hours! And any recipe that results in minimal washing-up afterwards, will always be a winner with me! Serve with creamy mashed potatoes or if time allows, a delicious crispy jacket potato.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 400g sausages
  • 180g red (bell) pepper (capsicum), chopped into rough chunks
  • 700g pumpkin, shopped into 3cm cubes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 to 1tsp of smoked (or regular) paprika
  • 50ml red wine
  • 250ml beef stock
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 400g tin of haricot beans, drained
  • Salt & pepper to season

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Put 1tbsp of the olive oil, the chopped pumpkin and red pepper in a roasting tin, give them a good toss to make sure the pumpkin and pepper has a coating of oil and season.
  3. Put the sausages in a separate tin and pop both tins in the oven for 30 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, turn the sausages over.
  5. Whilst the veggies and sausages are roasting, get a heavy-based casserole dish and heat up the other 1tbsp of oil.  Add in the onions and garlic, and sauté until they’re turning golden brown.
  6. Add in the smoked paprika and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Pour in the red wine, beef stock, chopped tin of tomatoes, Balsamic, vinegar, Worcester sauce and haricot beans and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. When the pumpkin, peppers and sausages are ready, chop the sausages up into bite size chunks (be careful not to burn your fingers) and put them and the veggies into the casserole dish, clamp the lid on and put back in the over for 20 to 25 minutes.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. When cooking with olive oil – just use the regular one and not the extra virgin option.
  2. Choose the highest percentage meat sausages that you can afford.  I use the 97% pork ones from M&S, which are not only scrumptious, but gluten-free too.
  3. Bangaloreans, Bamburies sell tasty “no spice” sausages.
  4. Instead of pumpkin, you can swap it for butternut squash.
  5. Any bean can be used instead of the haricot ones – aduki, butter beancannellini etc. – whatever you can lay your hands on.
  6. For a spicier result, add in half a finely chopped red chilli, or increase the amount of smoked paprika. I found 1tsp a little too spicy, but The Domestic Prince said the heat of the dish was perfect.
  7. If making it for little ones, I’d leave out the smoked paprika.
  8. Double the recipe and pop in the freezer for future meals.

Have you got any casserole recipes you can share?  And would you like to see other casserole recipes on the blog?

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Cheesy potato & bacon bake

You’ve probably gathered that eating scrummy food in our household is extremely important.  We love food.  And none more so than cheese, potatoes and bacon.  I’ve been thinking about creating this recipe for awhile.  We love dauphinoise potato, we love cheese and we love bacon, so why not combine all three?  This can be served as a main course with a salad on the side, or as an accompaniment to a main dish.  It would work really well with a chicken dish and some lovely steamed veggies.  This is by no means a healthy dish; it’s completely indulgent and absolutely yummy!

Serves: 4 as a main course, or 6 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • Knob of butter
  • 1kg potatoes
  • 300g unsmoked back bacon (approximately 8 rashers)
  • 200ml full fat milk
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 400g Gruyere cheese, grated

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
  2. Grease the dish you’re using with the knob of butter.
  3. Slice the potatoes into slices about 2 to 3mm thick and put in a bowl of cold water until you’re ready to use them.
  4. Grill or fry the bacon (cook it as crispy as you like it!).  When cooled enough to touch, cut into small pieces and set aside.
  5. Pour the cream and the wine into a saucepan and add the crushed garlic.  Bring to just below boiling point.
  6. Take the saucepan off the heat and sieve the creamy mixture into a jug.
  7. Take your buttered dish and place a layer of overlapping potatoes on the bottom.  Then sprinkle some of the bacon pieces and finally a layer of the Gruyere cheese.  Repeat.
  8. Once the dish is about half full (about two complete layers), pour half of the creamy mixture in and continue with the layers.  You want to end up with a layer of potatoes at the top and with enough cheese left over to sprinkle on top.
  9. Pour the rest of the creamy mixture in and cover the top with cheese.
  10. Put it in the oven for an hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. Keep a close eye on the boiling cream & wine mixture as it goes from simmering to boiling over very quickly.
  2. Gruyere cheese can be substituted for Cheddar cheese.
  3. The milk can be swapped for single or double cream if you want to make this more indulgent!
  4. Be sure to pat dry the potatoes before placing them in the dish.
  5. This dish can be made in advanced and just warmed through before serving.
  6. Don’t leave your sliced potatoes out, as they’ll go brown.  Pop a couple of drops of lemon juice and they definitely won’t go brown!

Enjoy lovely readers!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Low Carb Lasagne

I would be lying to you if I said that I didn’t LOVE carbohydrates.  I’m not fussy when it comes to this food group:  delicious, warm crusty bread, an ice cold, crisp glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a slab of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (I can sometimes be a cheap date!), a crispy baked potato, oozing with butter and filled with baked beans and the strongest cheddar cheese I can lay my hands on, or some sort of pasta dish – I’ll take any of them; when it comes to this food group, I’m not at all discerning!  One of my favourite Saturday night suppers in London was the divine Marks & Spencer’s “Lasagne Al Forno”, which sadly cannot be bought in India.  Now, whilst I love carbohydrates, they DO NOT reciprocate their love.  Unwilling to give up my fix of lasagne, I needed to be creative and come up with a low carb version, which still satisfied my taste buds, but without the high carb content.  After a bit of playing around, this recipe definitely gave me the taste I was after, but without the 47g of carbs in one of serving of the M&S offering.  Serve with a large salad, and if you’re not a carb watcher, a large hunk of garlic bread.

Serves:  4, or 2 greedy people!

Ingredients

  • 2tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 200g of button mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g of minced beef
  • 2tbsp of worcester sauce
  • 2tbsp of tomato puree
  • 1tbsp of Italian dried herbs
  • 100ml of red wine
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 75ml milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 40g of butter
  • 40g of plain flour
  • 400ml of milk
  • 100g of strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1 courgette (zucchini),
  • 50g of parmesan cheese, finely grated

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven 180C.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium to high heat.
  3. Add in the onions and fry until the onion is just starting to brown.  Add in the garlic and continue frying for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots and mushrooms in and fry for a further 3 minutes.
  5. Make a well in the middle of the pan and add in the beef, use your spoon/spatula to break it up.
  6. Once all broken-up, mix in with the contents of the rest of the pan.
  7. Pop in the tomato puree and Italian herbs and stir in thoroughly.
  8. Carry on stirring until all the beef is browned.
  9. Pour in the wine, mix it in and let it cook until all the alcohol has burned off.
  10. Next, add in the tinned tomatoes and combine with the other ingredients.  Simmer over a low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, whilst constantly stirring before adding in the milk and giving a good stir.  Season as necessary
  11. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan.
  12. Add the flour and stir until it forms a paste.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over a medium heat.
  13. Take the saucepan off the heat and add in about half the milk, whisking as you pour it in to prevent any lumps forming.
  14. Add the rest of the milk and put it back on the heat and constantly whisk.  The sauce will thicken up quite a bit.
  15. Once the sauce is nice and thick, sprinkle in the ground nutmeg and cheddar cheese and continue to stir until all the cheese has melted.
  16. Take a vegetable peeler and peel the courgette.  Still using the vegetable peeler, create long ribbons of the courgette and place to one side.
  17. Take your dish that you’re going to use (I use this 20cm one from John Lewis) and cover the bottom of it with a good thick layer of the meat sauce.
  18. Next, put a layer of the courgettes.  Make sure that all the meat is covered.
  19. Now, pour on a layer of the cheese sauce.  Keep repeating until all the meat and cheese sauces have been used up.  You want the top layer to be a layer of the cheese sauce.  I normally get around 3 layers of each in.
  20. On top of the final layer of the cheese sauce, sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese and pop in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it’s golden brown on top.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. If making this for fussy little ones, omit the mushrooms and grate the onion and carrot, so they become undetectable.
  2. If you want to make this a more luxurious dish, swap half the milk for double cream.
  3. Not a low-carber?  Then you’ll need approximately 6 lasagne sheets.  I recommend the ones that don’t need any preparation – you just pop them on dry and in the oven it all goes.
  4. The Domestic Prince is a massive cheese fan, so if I’m feeling particularly fond of him when I’m making this, I’ll sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of each layer of the cheese sauce, to make it extra cheesy!
  5. If not using the cheese sauce immediately, put some cling film directly on top of the sauce to prevent a skin forming.
  6. When making this dish, I always make a double quantity of the cheese sauce and freeze it to use at a later date.

Do you love carbs like me, or can you take them, or leave them?  Do you follow a low-carb eating plan?

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Jhinga Nisha: Southern Indian Prawn Curry

About 2 years ago we went on a mini break to Kerala (to escape the noise of Diwali) with the Domestic King.  We stayed at the Kumarakom Lake Resort, and whilst lovely, it definitely wasn’t worth the price we paid….However, one thing that was definitely worth it, was the food.  The Domestic Prince and King (both lovers of Indian food) had an amazing dish called Jhinga Nisha, which is basically a prawn curry.  The preparation for this dish might be a bit laborious, but it is so worth the effort to produce a traditional, authentic southern Indian curry.  And as some of you might guessed, this isn’t called Jhinga Nisha in our household….oh no!  The Domestic Prince and his friend, Andy, have renamed this “Ginger Knickers”!  What else can I say, apart from enjoy!!

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 50g unblanched almonds
  • 50g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1kg large raw prawns, shelled
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 3tbsp milk, warmed
  • 8 green cardamom
  • 4tbsp ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 20g fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 6 to 8tbsp of cold water
  • 75ml single cream

Method

  1. Boil two saucepans of water and pop the almonds in one and cashew nuts in the other and boil for around 20 minutes.
  2. After 20 minutes, drain and let cool slightly.
  3. When cooled, slip the almonds out of their skins and whizz them in the food processor, together with the cashew nuts, until they’ve formed a paste.
  4. Wash and dry the prawns.
  5. Sprinkle the saffron into the warm milk and put to one side to infuse.
  6. Remove the tiny black cardamom seeds from the pods and grind to a fine powder.  Pop to one side.
  7. Heat the ghee in a pan over a medium heat.
  8. Add the onions to the hot ghee and sauté until golden.
  9. Add the chillies and ginger and sauté for around 1 – 2 minutes, constantly stirring.
  10. Next, add in the almond and cashew nut paste, stirring continually for approximately 2 minutes.
  11. Pop the prawns in the pan and add 2 tablespoons of the cold water.
  12. Keep stirring, and add another 2 tablespoons of cold water.
  13. Keep adding the cold water until the sauce has a nice thick consistency (this will be around 6 to 8 tablespoons).
  14. Pour the saffron infused milk into the pan.
  15. Have a quick taste and add any seasoning.
  16. Simmer for a minute or so until the prawns are cooked.
  17. Add the cream and combine with the rest of the dish.
  18. Just before serving, sprinkle the cardamom powder over the curry.
  19. Serve with rice.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Single cream can be swapped for coconut milk or cream.
  2. If you’re watching your carb intake, grate some cauliflower, pop into boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, drain and serve.
  3. If you’re allergic to shellfish, substitute the prawns for chicken.
  4. If you want to make it a milder curry, scrape out the seeds when preparing the chilies.
  5. If you can’t get hold of any ghee, then just use a flavourless oil.

Please let me know if you make it and what you think.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Creamy Tomato & Rosemary Risotto….without any cream!

There is something extremely comforting about eating risotto; it’s probably my favourite comfort food.  Many people find risotto fiddly to make and are put-off by the need to constantly stir the rice.  This is actually why I like making risotto.  Standing at the stove pouring and stirring for around 20 minutes, is actually my idea of bliss.  I find it extremely relaxing and gives me time to just “be”.  I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Even though the title of this recipe might suggest there’s cream in it, there’s actually not, the creamy texture comes from the starch molecules that are released through the constant stirring, together with the addition of the cold cubes of butter and grated parmesan cheese that are stirred in vigorously at the end, just before serving.

Serves: 4 as main, or 6 as a starter

Ingredients

  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 1tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 shallots or 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500g of Carnaroli, Arborio or Vialone Nano rice
  • 300ml of white wine
  • 1.2l of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g of tinned chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1 ½tsp of rosemary (fresh preferably), finely chopped
  • 100g of Parmesan cheese, finely grated and extra for serving
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. Melt half of the butter and olive oil in a heavy, wide saucepan that has a lid.
  2. Add the shallots or onion and gently fry for around 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the rice and give it a good stir to ensure all the grains are covered with the oil and butter.  After about a minute, the rice will start to look translucent.
  4. Add the wine to the rice and keep stirring until the rice has absorbed the flavour of the wine and the harsh alcohol flavours have evaporated.
  5. In a separate saucepan, heat up the stock and keep it at a low simmer.
  6. Add a ladle of the stock to the rice.
  7. Turn the heat down and keep stirring the rice until the rice has absorbed all the stock.
  8. Add another ladle of stock and stir again.  Add the tinned tomatoes and chopped rosemary.
  9. Continue adding the stock until the rice is al dente.
  10. Once the rice is al dente, take it off the heat and add the remaining butter and Parmesan cheese.  Stir well.
  11. Have a taste and season if required.
  12. Pop the lid on the saucepan and let sit for 2 minutes.
  13. Sprinkle some more grated or shaved Parmesan on the top of the risotto and serve immediately.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Do not wash the rice.  The starch in the rice is essential to make your risotto creamy.
  2. Don’t be tempted to leave your post of chief stirrer – this is probably the most critical part of making a delicious risotto.  Stir, stir stir!
  3. Don’t rush the adding of the stock.  Each ladle needs to be absorbed before the next one is added.
  4. The stock must be hot when adding it to the rice.  Cold stock will result in hard, uncooked rice.
  5. As you come towards the end of the cooking process, add smaller quantities of the stock, as adding too much will mean an overcooked risotto.
  6. Start tasting the risotto around 15 to 17 minutes after adding the first ladle of stock
  7. You may not need to use all the stock; equally, you might use all of it with the rice still not cooked.  If this happens, add hot water instead of stock.
  8. Risotto should be eaten as soon as it has finished cooking, as otherwise it clumps together and can dry out as it carries on cooking.
  9. If you want to make this a vegetarian dish, choose a vegetarian Parmesan cheese.
  10. Bangaloreans, you can buy fresh Rosemary in most Namdharis and also the new supermarket in 1MG.

Please don’t be put-off by the constant stirring, it really is easy and is so satisfying to make.  Oh and did I mention absolutely delicious?  What’s your favourite comfort food?  Please share it with me in the comments box.

With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

Scrumptious Steak Pie

Pies are extremely popular in our household….I’m not sure if it’s a case of wanting what you can’t have, since we can’t easily pop into M&S and buy one of their delicious offerings, or that we genuinely love a good pie.  I’m erring on the latter since this is my second post for a pie recipe!   And it doesn’t matter what season we’re in; we will always fancy a pie for our supper!

Again, either puff or shortcrust pastry will work really well in this recipe.

Serves 4 to 6, depending on how hungry or greedy you are!

Ingredients

  • 1kg of steak, cut into approx. 5cm chunks
  • Plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, to lightly coat the beef pieces
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 800ml of beef stock
  • 100ml of brandy
  • 100ml of red wine
  • 500g of puff or shortcrust pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. Lightly coat the beef in the seasoned flour.
  2. Heat 1tbsp of the oil up in a heavy based casserole dish or deep frying pan.
  3. Pop in the finely chopped onions and cook on a low heat for about 10 mins, until they’re golden brown.
  4. Take the onions out of the dish/pan and put them aside.
  5. Heat up the rest of the oil and when smoking, add in the floured steak pieces and fry the meat, stirring frequently until they are browned all over.
  6. Take the steak out and pour in the red wine and brandy.  Flame off the alcohol by lighting a match over the fumes.
  7. Once the flames have died down, add the onion and steak back into the pan, pour in the beef stock and bring to the boil.
  8. Turn the heat down and let it gently simmer, uncovered for 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Keep checking it, as you don’t want all the lovely sauce to evaporate, nor the steak mixture to stick to the pan!
  9. Transfer the steak mixture into an ovenproof dish and leave to cool.
  10. Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
  11. When cooled, roll the pastry to the required shape and pop on top.
  12. Egg wash the top of the pastry.
  13. Put into the oven and cook for 45 minutes.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. The key to this recipe is caramelising the beef.  Make sure the oil is smoking hot.  If it’s not hot enough the water in the steak won’t evaporate and your steak will stew instead of caramelising.
  2. When frying the steak, be careful not to over-crowd the pan; fry in batches.
  3. Don’t be tempted to put the pastry on your hot pie filling, as you’ll end up with a melted lid!
  4. If you don’t want to have alcohol in the pie, you can substitute it with more beef stock.
  5. To make this a steak and ale pie, replace the 1 litre liquid (stock, red wine & ale) with 600ml ale and 400ml beef stock.
  6. Use any cut of steak for this recipe.
  7. If the pastry is browning too much during the cooking time in the oven, cover it with some tin foil.

So, there you have it a tasty steak pie!  I normally serve mine with mashed potatoes, carrots and broccoli.  Please let me know if you make this.

With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

Creamy Roasted Pumpkin & Sage Soup

This post was originally intended for Friday, however, for logistical reasons beyond my control, I’m posting it today and the post I had planned for today will appear on Friday.

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I always enjoy eating soup – even when it’s 100F outside!  One of my favourite soups when I’m back in the UK is the Daylesford Organic Butternut, Sage & Honey Soup.  Not having access to a shop to buy this delicious soup prompted me to try and recreate it.  Butternut squash isn’t available in India, but pumpkin is, so I gave it a whirl to see how it would turn out with pumpkin and whilst not exactly the same, it is extremely tasty.  This soup is filling, nutritious and once made, provides a quick and easy lunch or supper, or a starter / appetiser ahead of the main event.  The Domestic Prince was a complete skeptic when I told him what was for supper one evening….but having had seconds, I think I can safely assume he likes it, and as we say in our house, it’s a keeper!

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 750g chopped pumpkin (approximately 2cm cubes)
  • 3tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 – 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 500ml of vegetable stock
  • 500ml of chicken stock
  • 200ml cream (single or double)
  • 30g of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 heaped tsp of finely chopped fresh sage
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • 3 rashers of bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces (to garnish)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Put the chopped pumpkin into a roasting tin and drizzle 2tbsp of the olive oil over the top and grind some salt and pepper for seasoning.  Toss the pumpkin around, making sure it’s all evenly covered in the olive oil.  Put in the oven and roast for 25 – 35 minutes, or until the outside of the pumpkin is just starting to char.
  3. Heat the remaining 1tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped onions and crushed garlic and cook for around 5 minutes, until the onion is just starting to brown in colour.
  4. Once the roasted pumpkin is ready, add it into the saucepan with the onion and garlic, and with the heat on, mix them all together.
  5. Add in the vegetable and chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Using either a hand blender or an upright blender, puree the pumpkin, onions, garlic and stock until there are no lumps of pumpkin or onions.
  7. Take the pureed ingredients and sieve them into a clean saucepan.  This will ensure your soup is velvety smooth.
  8. Add in the sage, cream and parmesan and simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. If needed, add salt and pepper to season.
  10. To serve, sprinkle on the small pieces of bacon on top of each portion.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. If you prefer butternut squash to pumpkin, simply swap the 750g of pumpkin for 750g of butternut squash.
  2. Dried sage can be used instead of fresh sage.
  3. The cream can be substituted for the same quantity of milk.
  4. If using an upright blender for pureeing the soup, let the mixture cool down a bit, as otherwise you run the risk of the lid exploding off and getting scalded by the soup (I’m speaking from experience here!)
  5. If you prefer a chunkier soup, omit the sieving stage at step 7.
  6. Double the ingredients up to make a larger batch for freezing.
  7. If you’re living in Bangalore, fresh sage can be bought from Namdharis.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!  What’s your favourite soup?  And unlike me, do you only eat soup in the colder months?

With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

Gooey Chocolate Brownie Recipe

I love chocolate; you could say it’s my Achilles heel.  You’ll understand then, my determination to make the most delicious chocolate brownies ever.  It took a few attempts to get to the recipe right, but I think the experimenting was definitely worth it.  Unlike traditional brownies, I’ve omitted any type of nut from this recipe, as I feel they detract from the dense, smooth texture.

This is an easy and foolproof recipe for perfect fudgy brownies.  I think these are the ultimate brownies and you won’t ever need another recipe!  A bold statement, I know, but give it a try and let me know if you agree.

Ingredients

  • 150g dark (bittersweet) chocolate, chopped
  • 50g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 250g caster sugar (extra fine sugar)
  • 3 tsps vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 125g plain flour

Method

Serves:  Approximately 20 bite size pieces or 10 large squares

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line a 20cm x 20cm x 6cm tin (or there about) with baking parchment.  I bought my tin from Williams Sonoma on a trip to NY, however, John Lewis and Lakeland have good alternatives.
  2. Put the dark chocolate, milk chocolate and butter into a bowl and suspend it over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water.  Stir occasionally with a plastic spatula.  Alternatively you could use your microwave for this stage.  Put a microwave safe bowl into the microwave for 30-second blasts on full power, stirring after every 30 seconds.  This should take around 2 – 3 minutes.  Once the chocolate and butter have completely melted, leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. When the chocolate and butter mixture has cooled down, stir in the caster sugar, vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  4. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl and then whisk into the chocolate mixture.
  5. Finally, sift the flour into the chocolate mixture and gently fold it in.
  6. Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin, making sure you scrape in every last drop!
  7. Pop in the oven for 30 minutes.  After 25 minutes, check on them and then continue to check every 1-2 minutes until they’re done.  This is crucial, as a minute too long and your brownies will go from divinely squishy to a cake texture, albeit a nice one!
  8. Test the cake with a skewer – what you’re looking for is for it to come out a little bit gooey – not raw though!  The top should have a lovely thin and cracked crust. Remember, it will continue to cook for a little while once out of the oven.
  9. When you think it’s done, remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing and placing it on a cooling rack.
  10. Once completely cooled, cut into either bite size pieces or larger squares.

Domestic Princess tips for the perfect brownie:

  1. When melting the chocolate, do not allow any water to get near it, as this will cause it to split and you’ll have to start over again.  Make sure all your bowls and utensils are bone dry.
  2. Try and use dark chocolate that has a cocoa content of 70% or more.
  3. Don’t omit the 1/2 teaspoon of salt, adding it in helps bring out and intensify the chocolateyness.
  4. Don’t stir the mixture for too long, over working the mixture can release too much gluten from the flour, making the finish product tough.
  5. Always try and choose vanilla extract over vanilla flavouring.

I like to eat mine on their own with a nice cup of tea, but a generous square could easily be served as pudding with a scoop of delicious vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge sauce, or with a dollop of crème fraiche, which will cut through the richness of the brownie.

So, throw away your packet brownie mixes and get baking!  I would love to hear how you get on when making these.  And if you’ve got any questions, please just ask!

With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

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