Category Archives: Appetizers

Baked Brie (with Sundried Tomatoes, Parsley, Dukkah)

I am a total cheese platter freak.

And that’s ironic coming from someone who absolutely hated cheese till about ten years ago. I remember my mom used to force me to eat cheese when I was a little girl. I was rather thin and scrawny (still am!) so she thought that she can get some more meat on my bones by feeding me all the high calorie stuff. And I used to detest it so much.

I started enjoying the taste of cheese around the time I was doing Masters. There was a local sandwich shop which sold cheese toasties of all kinds, and the cheese and chilli one really bowled me over. The sharp pungent heat of the chopped green chillies against the gooey creaminess of the cheese somehow won my tastebuds over.

There’s no way you can avoid cheese platters if you live in Australia. It is ‘quintessential’ at almost every kind of party and my world suddenly opened up to the world of cheese.

Slowly, I began to learn more about cheese, the different varieties, textures, and the right way of using each cheese. And that’s when the love affair with the cheese platter began…..

This time, I wanted to try out a baked cheese recipe for the platter, especially after coming across absolutely delicious images on Pinterest. In fact, I have a whole board dedicated to just cheese on my Pinterest page, so if you are a fellow cheese lover, do check it out.

Baked Brie (with Sundried Tomatoes, Parsley, Dukkah) - thespiceadventuress.com

A recipe from ‘Taste and Tell’ really stood out to me; and my version today is simply an adaptation of that.

What I really loved about this recipe is the intense savoury notes from the sun dried tomatoes, parsley and that generous sprinkle of Egyptian dukkah. Think of an extremely creamy cheese topped with a hint of tangy sweetness from the tomatoes, freshness from the parsley and that hint of spice from the dukkah.

Perfect when paired with crackers or toasted sourdough as I did.

Baked Brie (with Sundried Tomatoes, Parsley, Dukkah) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 wheel Brie (choose a good quality brand, makes all the difference)
  2. ½ cup sundried tomatoes (with oil); chopped into smaller bits
  3. ½ cup flat leaf parsley; finely chopped
  4. 1 ½ tbsp Egyptian dukkah

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven (fan forced) to 170°C
  2. Line baking/parchment paper in an oven proof dish.
  3. Top the brie with the sundried tomatoes, parsley and half of the dukkah. Drizzle with some of the oil from the tomatoes.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes (in most cases, the cheese will start to ooze out from the sides but not necessary as it depends on the rind).
  5. Remove and sprinkle with more dukkah
  6. Serve warm with crackers or crusty/toasted bread.

Baked Brie (with Sundried Tomatoes, Parsley, Dukkah) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

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Indian style Chana Tikki (Chickpea Patties)

Snacks are a big thing in our home, not store bought but homemade ones that are devoured with much gusto after the boys get back home from school and work.

Snacks are also an important part of every party we hold at home, because we really love the sit down, relaxed, course by course dinner over the buffet style anyday. Hence there are plenty of recipes on my blog for this category but I realised that somehow there aren’t many vegetarian options in the list.

And I often get requests from friends asking for vegetarian snack or appetizer recipes which got me thinking that I need to make more of these. And that’s how these chickpea tikkis happened.

Indian style Chana Tikki (Chickpea Patties) - thespiceadventuress.com

Chickpea is a popular ingredient worldwide, amongst all cuisines, vegetarians and nonvegetarians alike. We also know that it is a really good source of protein which makes it a pretty healthy option too. I love using chickpeas in curries, rice dishes, salads, dips etc…. but this is the first time I have tried out a tikki using it.

This recipe is actually an adaptation of several kebab and tikki recipes that I have made before or read in books. I didn’t want to use potatoes as the binding agent, so instead used soft white bread and flour. Since the latter are in small amounts, the taste and texture of the chickpeas really shines through. And these are grilled with very less oil on a flat nonstick or cast iron pan because it has a crumbly texture.

So let’s get on to making these delicious, super moreish chickpea or chana tikkis/patties, best paired with this mint coriander chutney. And if you try it out, do tag me in your photograph (#thespiceadventuress) so that I can see it too.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups chickpeas; cooked in salted boiling water till mushy
  2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  3. 2-3 medium garlic cloves; grated
  4. ½ inch ginger; grated
  5. 1 medium red onion; finely chopped
  6. 1 tsp chaat masala
  7. 1 tsp coriander powder
  8. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  9. A pinch of asafoetida/hing
  10. 2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs (more if necessary)
  11. 1-2 tbsp white flour
  12. Vegetable oil
  13. 1 tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  14. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight; cook in salted boiling water till soft and mushy. Drain and keep aside.
  2. Add 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and allow to crackle. Then add the chopped onions, garlic paste and ginger paste. Sauté till the onions are softened and light brown.
  3. Next add the cooked chickpeas, coriander powder, red chilli powder, chaat masala and asafoetida. Season with salt (remember the chickpeas already has salt) and cook on low heat for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped coriander leaves and remove from heat. Allow to cool well before grinding.
  5. Once cooled, grind the chickpea mixture without water. Then add the flour and breadcrumbs and knead to dough like consistency. Add more breadcrumbs till you get the desired consistency.
  6. Slightly grease your palms using oil and shape the chickpea mixture into round patties/tikkis. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes just to firm up but bring back to room temperature before grilling.
  7. Heat oil in a nonstick pan, just enough to coat the surface as we need to lightly grill the patties and not shallow fry. Place the tikkis on the pan and cook well on one side before flipping over. Take care as you flip over as the tikkis have a crumbly texture or it will break.
  8. Serve warm with mint coriander chutney.

Note – Another way of enjoying these tikkis or patties is by crushing it between a pav; add a dollop of chutney and you have another version of your favourite vada pav. Or go Western by crushing it lightly between a slider bun and add some greens and your favourite mayo for a vegetarian slider.

Indian style Chana Tikki (Chickpea Patties) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Lamb Cigar Rolls

“I have a son, who is my heart.
A wonderful young boy, daring and loving
Strong and kind.”

-Maya Angelou

Today our little munchkin turns 9.  And our hearts are filled with so much joy and happiness…..

Adi is a happy child, a genuine kind soul who finds happiness in humor, music and bear hugs. And as much as we would like to take credit for his upbringing, the truth is that it is not us. His kindness and generosity comes from within him and we are really blessed to have him in our lives.

And just as every other parent, we wish him good health and a joyful heart always.

All of us call Adi the ‘gourmet’ boy. His love for oysters is legendary; yes he can down a dozen of the raw ones which always get us attention at any restaurant we go to. But he is equally at home with traditional South Indian food especially dosas and this tomato egg chutney which is the ultimate combo for him. In fact that’s exactly what I will be making for his birthday dinner!

Lately he has also taken fancy to homemade snacks, especially the savoury ones. These days, he comes home ravenous from school. The growth spurts are real and that means I am always hunting for interesting recipes for quick after school snacks, especially ones that can be made in bulk and frozen to alternate through the week.

The Lamb Cigar Rolls fit the bill perfectly.

Lamb Cigar Rolls - thespiceadventuress.com

Frozen puff pastry sheets are a real blessing; and I always have some stocked in the freezer. Which means that I just need to make a filling for a quick, healthy and delicious snack. These lamb rolls were inspired by the paneer rolls I made last year for Adi’s birthday; it was hands down the best loved starter of the party.

The filling is really simple; lamb mince spiced with cumin, dried mint, paprika and turmeric with chopped onion, garlic and ginger through it. A few spices and aromatics can work wonders with lamb and the flavour of the meat really shines through. A handful of chopped raisins too for that intermittent sweet burst of flavour.

If you are fond of puff pastry snacks, then here’s another delicious one using kangaroo mince.

Lamb Cigar Rolls - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

(Makes 18-20 rolls)

  1. 5 Puff pastry sheets; each sheet cut into four
  2. 500gm lamb mince
  3. 1 small or ½ medium onion
  4. 3 medium garlic cloves
  5. ½ inch ginger
  6. 2 heaped tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  7. ½ tsp cumin powder
  8. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  9. ½ tsp dried mint
  10. 1 tsp paprika (or use Kashmiri chilli powder)
  11. Salt, to season
  12. A handful of chopped raisins (optional)
  13. Sesame seeds, for garnish
  14. Vegetable oil

Method:

  1. Defrost the puff pastry sheets before use.
  2. Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a pan and brown the lamb mince in batches. Remove and keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, add the onion, garlic and ginger; sauté till the onions have softened.
  4. Next add the lamb mince back and season with the spices and salt. Mix well to combine and then add the raisins and coriander leaves. Mix well and remove from heat. Allow to cool completely.
  5. Pre heat the oven (fan forced) to 200°C
  6. Divide one pastry sheet into 4 equal squares.
  7. Place 1-2 tbsp of the prepared mince at one end of the square. Wet the edges of the sheet and roll tightly to form a cigar shaped roll. Repeat for all the other sheets.
  8. Place in a tray lined with baking paper. Spray the rolls lightly with oil and sprinkle the sesame seeds.
  9. Bake in the oven at 200°C for 30 minutes or till golden brown (time taken may vary depending on the type of oven so check intermittently).
  10. Serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce.

Note – If you want to freeze for later, prepare the rolls and freeze in an airtight container. Keeps upto 2 months.

Lamb Cigar Rolls - thespiceadventuress.com

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster

I have a very vivid memory of the first time I tasted lobster.

Must have been about eight or nine years old, I was living in Dubai at that time. One of my dad’s friends who worked in the Merchant Navy had gifted him some as a Christmas present.

Lobsters were literally unheard of, at least in my home. But I could sense the excitement as if something expensive was bought home. Little did I know that it was indeed super expensive and quite an out-of-reach ingredient for most people.

Lobster - thespiceadventuress.com

I don’t remember clearly what was the exact dish my mom cooked but it was a South Indian one, pretty much like how she would cook prawns. The lobster meat tasted sweet and plump, and I couldn’t really see the comparison with prawns. And that taste remained a memory for so many years till I moved to Australia.

While it is still expensive, lobster is no longer an out of reach ingredient. It is available easily at leading seafood stores, and very common during the summer months.

Lobster always evokes a sense of indulgence and that makes it the ideal choice during the festive season. The lobster meat is so succulent, juicy and sweet that it needs very little accompanying flavours.

But today I am going a bit heavy handed with the flavours.

Indo Chinese is one of our favourite cuisines and thus came the idea of putting a spin on a much loved classic. Chilli Lobster – a true indulgence for the taste buds!

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster - thespiceadventuress.com

An excellent starter to serve at your parties and its fingerlickin good with sweet, spicy flavours coating the lobster pieces. You could serve it on a beautiful platter as shown or serve it inside the shell of the lobster if kept intact.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 Lobster tails
  2. 1 medium red onion; diced

Find the full recipe here.

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster- thespiceadventuress.com

 

Disclaimer – Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood

 

 

Pan grilled Prawns (spiced with Z’hug)

Yet another spice blend to add to my repertoire!

Z’hug or Z’hoog (as pronounced) is a traditional blend from Yemen. Traditionally, the blend is in the form of a wet marinade made from fresh and moist ingredients like parsley, garlic, cilantro and the local Marash pepper.

Pan grilled Prawns (spiced with Z’hug) - thespiceadventuress.com

Amongst the cookbooks I own, one of my most prized ones is the New Moroccan by Mourad Lahlou. It’s an amazing book where Chef/author Mourad Lahlou delves into traditional Moroccan cooking, basics and fundamentals but executed in a modern, contemporary style.

So there’s information about so many spices, ingredients, techniques from in and around the region; great for those who do not know much about Morocco or its cuisine. Yet the recipes and dishes outlined are global fare.

Though Z’hug is a wet blend as mentioned, Mourad has outlined a recipe in the book for a dry version which is often used in his restaurant. And that’s what I have used too, except that instead of Marash pepper, I used semi dried chillies. Even though I do stock the Marash pepper, it’s not an easy one to find for most people so I decided to use the chilli variety that is available locally and easily for all. But if you do have it, use it by all means.

There are plenty of ways to use Z’hug. It can be used as a dry rub for steaks or roast chicken. It can also be used to spice up casseroles, lentils or roast vegetables. Roast nuts spiced with Z’hug is also a great idea.

Z’hug and seafood would also be a delightful combination. And I wanted to make something that’s quick and simply to put together for a midweek meal or as a party starter. The spice blend can also be made in excess and stored; one that is great to have in the pantry always.

I decided to use prawns marinated with Z’hug and then pan grill it. Prawns do not require prolonged marination, so it’s a dish that comes together in no time at all. And with the holiday season upon us, this is a great dish to add to your party table.

Pan grilled Prawns (spiced with Z’hug) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 600gms tiger prawns; deveined and deshelled
  2. Z’hug blend
  3. Salt; to season
  4. Vegetable oil
  5. Lemon wedges; to serve

Z’hug:

(I have used Gourmet Garden’s semi dried chillies and herbs; but you can substitute with any brand you have access to. Or you can use fresh ingredients to make a wet spice marinade)

  1. 2 tsp semi dried chilli flakes
  2. 3 tsp ground coriander
  3. 2 tsp dried cilantro/coriander leaves
  4. 3 tsp dried parsley
  5. 1 tsp garlic granules
  6. 1 tsp ground cumin
  7. 1 tsp ground caraway
  8. 1 tsp ground cardamom
  9. ¼ tsp citric acid
  10. ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Method:

To make Z’hug:

  • Combine all the ingredients, grind if necessary and store in an airtight container.

To prepare the final dish:

  • Clean and pat dry the prawns.
  • In a non reactive bowl, marinate the prawns with Z’hug and season with salt. Mix well and keep for 15-30minutes.
  • Brush enough oil and heat the grill pan to high. Pan grill the prawns in batches till done.
  • Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Pan grilled Prawns (spiced with Z’hug) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

Salmon Kebabs

Today’s recipe was the result of a happy accident.

Salmon Kebabs - thespiceadventuress.com

I had actually set out to make salmon cutlets or croquettes for a client. And the plan was to make a version similar to these Kerala style beef cutlets. So I minced the salmon, added the sautéed onion spice mixture and rolled it into round balls before doing the customary egg breadcrumb routine. But something important came up and I had to go out only to return late,  just in time for dinner. There was not enough time to coat and crumb and then deep fry; and I needed to make something quick with the salmon mixture for dinner.

While shaping the mixture, I realised that since salmon is an oily fish, it held shape pretty well and didn’t really need any other binding agent. So I flattened out the prepared balls into small patties and shallow fried in a pan. The result was these delicious Salmon kebabs. I had struck gold!

Salmon Kebabs - thespiceadventuress.com

And ofcourse, I had to share the recipe with all of you. Because these kebabs are delicious, really simple to make and can grace your dinner tables in so many different ways. Have it as a starter/appetizer, serve it as a canapé topped with relish or chutney or serve it on a bed of salad for a simple light lunch. You can also make slightly bigger patties and have a salmon burger or slider.

The salmon mixture is great for making croquettes too just as I had initially intended.

So let’s get cooking these delicious Salmon Kebabs which is best paired with this tangy mint coriander chutney.

Ingredients:

  1. 1-2 salmon fillets; skinless (weighing approximately 300gms)
  2. 1 red onion; finely chopped

Click here for the full recipe….

Salmon Kebabs - thespiceadventuress.com

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Time management has always been a roller coaster ride for me. Some weeks, I am organized, motivated, super productive and all the good stuff but other weeks, it just drowns and overwhelms me completely. And this is not something that has happened post my blogging/self-entrepreneurial journey; it has always been the case.

Last week was one of the latter. I have no clue what went wrong but nothing was really getting accomplished. My mind was not in the right space, a wavering mish mash of random thoughts that left me emotionally drained for no reason at all. And soon the writing work was getting piled up which left me all the more frustrated.

Unlike many people who say that cooking is a stress buster, I cannot bring myself to even boil water if I am not in the right mood. But takeaways do not sit too well with me so I had to force myself into the kitchen. Instead of elaborate meals, I opted for no fail recipes that required minimal prep time, one pot meals etc…. and these chicken drumsticks fit perfectly.

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks - thespiceadventuress.com

Fried chicken is an all time comfort food. If crunch is the end result of dunking anything in oil, then it wins my heart…always. And if it’s savoury, then all the better.

So as the name of the dish goes, these are fried chicken drumsticks with some Asian flavours going on. You can use any part of the chicken; I went ahead with drumsticks because it had been a while since we had it. The only difference from any regular fried chicken is the Asian style marinade in which the drumsticks are marinated before going through the flour-egg-flour routine.

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are not a fan of the flour coating, then use breadcrumbs instead. And if you can find Panko, then all the better for the crunch. Remember that you only need a light dusting of the flour or the outer coating can be quite floury and gluggy. And get that oil temperature right before frying the chicken if you need the crunchy deliciousness.

If oven baked is your preference instead of deep frying, then I suggest the breadcrumbs as I feel the texture is better with crumbs than flour.

So there you go; so many options to make these delicious fried chicken drumsticks. And please do tag me #thespiceadventuress if you are posting on any social media; gives me great joy to see your creations.

Sichuan peppercorn salt - thespiceadventuress.com

Sichuan peppercorn salt - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 8 medium sized chicken drumsticks
  2. 3 tbsp soy sauce
  3. 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  4. 2 tsp sesame oil
  5. 2 tbsp sriracha (can be replaced with any chilli sauce)
  6. 3 tsp crushed ginger
  7. ½ tsp crushed Sichuan peppercorns
  8. ½ cup cornflour
  9. ½ cup plain flour
  10. 2 eggs, beaten
  11. Salt, to season
  12. Vegetable oil; for deep frying
  13. Sichuan pepper-salt
  • 2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 50gms salt

Method:

  • To prepare the Sichuan salt, toast the peppercorns in a pan (without any oil) on low heat for about 2 minutes. Shake the pan constantly to avoid burning the peppercorns. Remove and allow to cool. In the same pan, lightly heat the salt for about 30-40 seconds and then add to the peppercorns. Using a mortar and pestle (or grinder), crush well to get the Sichuan peppercorn salt. If you prefer a fine powder, you may sieve this but I like to use it a bit coarse.
  • To prepare the marinade for the chicken, mix all the sauces, wine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and pepper. Add the chicken and mix well; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or longer if possible. Taste and season with salt only if required.
  • Combine the corn flour with the plain flour in a bowl. Add ½ tsp Sichuan salt to the flour and mix well.
  • Beat the eggs well in another bowl.
  • Remove the excess marinade from the chicken and then coat lightly with the flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour before dipping in the beaten egg. Return back to the flour mixture for another light dusting and keep aside.
  • Heat oil for deep frying and fry the drumsticks in batches till golden brown and crispy. (Remember if the oil is too hot, the outside will brown up quickly without cooking the chicken inside properly).
  • Serve hot with Sichuan pepper salt.

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

The ‘Hummus’ Revolution (with recipes for Beet Hummus & Kashmiri Chilli Hummus)

Hummus, a simple rustic chickpea dip that has somehow bridged geographical, cultural and religious borders. Today it graces our dinner tables in a zillion avatars, from simple to gourmet.

I love hummus, not just for its soul-satisfying taste, but because it is a taste of my childhood. Growing up in the Middle East, there was no way you could avoid this condiment. And it was such an integral part of the food we ate, because hummus was one of the very rare dishes that my dad would eat outside the traditional Kerala cuisine. So it made its appearance constantly sitting unassumingly alongside a platter of kebabs and tikkas.

And when we returned back to India, it was one of the main things that we missed; so much that my mom would request every friend who travels from Dubai to get her a bottle of tahini (which was very difficult to source in India at that time).

Today, we aren’t just talking about hummus as a dip, but as a medium for social and religious cohesiveness…..and it’s through the #spreadhummusnothate campaign spearheaded by Lina J, an award winning food blogger and the creative force behind ‘The Lebanese Plate’.

I have been following Lina’s work on Instagram for quite a while now and I really appreciate the work that she is doing to spread awareness and help address unwanted social and religious stigmas we have as a society. So here are excerpts of an interview with Lina and the significance of the #spreadhummusnothate campaign.

The first question and perhaps the most relevant one to this conversation….Where were you born? Are you an Australian?

I was born & brought up in Sydney.

Why #spreadhummusnothate? Could you tell us what led you to take up this campaign?

This campaign came about after coming across the hashtag #spreadhummusnothate. I felt there was increasing negativity towards people from diverse backgrounds & especially people of Muslim faith. I used the hashtag online but really felt that I needed to take it off line into our everyday lives in order for it to have a lasting effect. This is when I came up with creating opportunities for everyday Australians to sit & converse with everyday Australian Muslims & literally ‘spread hummus’ together.

You are an award winning food blogger but is that the only reason why you chose ‘food’ as the medium to express your opinions?

I don’t even think of myself as ‘award winning’ to be honest!

Working with & around food naturally led me to use it as the basis for this campaign. I think we tend to take for granted the power of food, not just as something to nourish the body, but also as a tool to bring people together.

 Is it a single person initiative or do you have a team working along with you in this campaign?

It is just me really. I have certainly had people help here and there along the way, but mostly just something that I have been pushing on my own.

What is the primary message that you want to spread through this campaign? And how do you go about it?

That all it takes is one conversation (over food) to break down barriers. I hope that people will be able to see that although we have some difference, we actually have a lot more in common. Life isn’t about agreeing with or being exactly like the next person, it’s about understanding & respecting our differences & still be able to converse in a positive way.

 How has the response been so far?

I would say 99% of response to this campaign has been quite positive, which really gives me hope.

I have seen on your Instagram account that you host events in relation to the campaign? How are these done and is it open to the public?

The events have been smaller gatherings up until this stage. I am currently in some collaboration talks with some lovely people who really want to help take this to the next level, where hopefully there will be more opportunities for a wider range of people to attend such events. There’ll be more detail soon about these events on my social media.

What are the different ways in which anyone who interested in this campaign be of help?

A number of people have helped spread the word, which is really important! But a number from my Insta family have assisted in providing goods for the #SpreadHummusNotHate Brunch, cake & desserts, meat & poultry, fresh fruit & veg. Couldn’t thank these people enough for their support.

And on a lighter note, you have become the ‘queen of hummus’ platters with all sorts of flavours including beautiful looking ones like the beet hummus. But which is your favourite?

I do love the Beet hummus, especially topped with a marinated feta, but at the end of the day, the original hummus will always be my favourite!

Do check out her blog and Instagram page (for some amazing photography and mouthwatering food).

Of course, I cannot leave you without sharing any hummus recipes so there are two delicious ones today. First, it’s the super gorgeous beet hummus recipe, one of Lina’s favourites which she has kindly shared with all of us. And second will be my signature hummus recipe with Kashmiri chilli (you will love this!)

So let’s #spreadhummusnothate

Beet Hummus

Beet hummus - thespiceadventuress.com

Photograph courtesy – thelebaneseplate.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup dried chickpeas; soaked overnight
  2. 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (optional)
  3. 250g roasted beetroot
  4. Salt, to season
  5. 3 cloves garlic
  6. ¼ tsp ground cumin
  7. 1 tbsp  tahini paste
  8. 1/3 to 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  9. olive oil for serving
  10. 1 tbsp Persian feta (optional, for serving)

Method:

  1. Beginning the night before, soak the dry chickpeas in a bowl of (approximately) 3 cups water with the teaspoon of bicarb. The chickpeas will need to soak overnight and will double in size.
  2. The following day, rinse chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker (see note) with plenty of fresh water. Lock the lid and turn to the LOW pressure setting. Once it comes to pressure (mine begins to whistle when at full pressure), turn heat to low and cook for a further 20 minutes. Take pressure cooker off heat and allow the pressure to release and cool naturally. This may take a further 30 minutes or more depending on the type of pressure cooker you have.
  3. As the chickpeas are cooking, preheat oven to 200ºC and prepare beetroot for roasting. Cut off greens and scrub beetroot thoroughly. Using a large enough piece of baking paper, wrap beetroot loosely and enclose by folding both ends into the middle and folding up ends to create a bag. Place paper bag with beetroot on an oven tray and into the oven. Roast for approximately one hour, or until beets are soft and cooked through. Remove from oven; allow to cool before peeling skin.
  4. Once pressure is released from the cooker, drain away as much liquid as you can leaving only chickpeas behind. You will find that the chickpeas look mushy, but do not fret…that’s exactly how you want them! I find using the pressure cooker softens and almost melts away the chickpea skin that you don’t need to remove them.
  5. Place the garlic, salt and cumin into a mortar and pestle and crush to create a paste. Set aside with the lemon juice.
  6. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and blend until a smooth puree is formed.  Add the beetroot and continue to whiz until you have a vibrant puree.
  7. Add tahini, garlic, salt and cumin paste and blend some more. While processor is on, add 1/3 cup of lemon juice in a steady stream. Stop to scrape down sides and taste for more lemon juice.
  8. Serve with Persian feta and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

NOTE: If you do not own a pressure cooker, use a large saucepan instead. Add chickpeas to pot with plenty of cold water and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least an hour until chickpeas are very soft.

Kashmiri chilli Hummus

I used dried Kashmiri chillies for this recipe which can be easily found in any Indian/Asian store. These chillies have a beautiful deep red colour but very less heat when compared to other varieties.

Kashmiri chilli hummus - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup dried chickpeas; soaked overnight
  2. 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (optional)
  3. 3-4 Kashmiri chillies (soaked in warm water)
  4. Salt, to season
  5. 2 cloves garlic
  6. 1 tbsp  tahini paste
  7. Juice of 1 lemon
  8. 1 tbsp thick greek style yoghurt
  9. olive oil for serving
  10. Dried chillies (for garnish)
  11. Green olives (for garnish)

Method:

  1. The first step (just as in the beet hummus) is to soak the chickpeas overnight with bicarb. Canned chickpeas can be used if you are really rushed for time but soaking and cooking the chickpeas yourself makes a big difference to the taste.
  2. Next day, rinse the chickpeas well and cook in a pressure cooker or pan till well done and lightly mushy. Season the chickpeas with salt while cooking.
  3. While the chickpeas is cooking, soak the Kashmiri chillies in warm water for at least 15 minutes or more if possible.
  4. Using a blender, grind the chillies, garlic and a pinch of salt to a coarse paste.
  5. To this add the drained chickpeas (reserve a little for garnish), tahini paste, yoghurt and half the lemon juice. Blend till a smooth consistency is achieved (you may need to scrape down the sides in between). Taste and add more salt or lemon juice as required.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and serve with olive oil. Garnish with the cooked chickpeas, sliced olives and crushed dried chillies.
  7. Enjoy

Kashmiri chilli hummus - thespiceadventuress.com

Omelette Brochettes

We are big time egg lovers and go through quite a few cartons every month. In fact, if its egg curry bubbling on the stove, my son would sniff it a mile away and come running all excited about dinner.

All forms of egg dishes are welcome in our home and fried runny yolk eggs are a hot favourite of the kiddo for weekend brunches. We are lucky that so far, there has been no restrictions at school too because Adi really loves egg sandwiches in his lunch boxes.

Even though there are plenty of different egg dishes I cook, I was still on the hunt for new ones especially that cater to the after-school-hunger-pangs category. With a growth spurt happening, Adi comes home from school totally ravenous and needs something really substantial. And that’s how I came across a similar recipe for Omelette Brochettes in a cookbook called ‘Mini Treats’ by Hinkler Publications.

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

This one’s pretty simple to make, almost like a frittata. Though I have used onions, bell peppers and ham, any combination of meats or veggies can be used depending on your preferences.

It’s a really easy and simple dish to make and one you can make in bulk which also makes it as an excellent starter choice especially for children’s parties. If you are a light eater like me, it makes a delicious lunch option too when paired with a simple green salad.

I have not used cheese in this recipe, somehow I don’t like the texture too much if I have to refrigerate and then re-heat it later. But I would,  if I was making it for a party or to have immediately afterwards.

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

Do try it out and let me know if you enjoyed it and don’t forget to tag your creations with #thespiceadventuress while posting on social media so that I can see it too. Happy cooking!

Ingredients:

  1. 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 cup whole milk
  3. 12 large eggs
  4. 1 onion; finely chopped
  5. 8 ham slices; chopped
  6. 2 mini red bell peppers; finely chopped
  7. ½ tsp red chilli flakes
  8. 3 tbsp parsley leaves; finely chopped (reserve a bit for garnish)
  9. ½ tsp dried Italian herbs (a mix of dried oregano, thyme and rosemary)
  10. Salt, to season
  11. Freshly milled black pepper; to season

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan forced).
  • Line an oven pan (32x26cm) with baking paper. (You can also use a square or rectangle cake tin).
  • Heat olive oil in a pan and add the chopped ham; sauté for about 2-3 minutes and then add the onions.
  • Once the onions are softened and translucent, add the bell peppers. Season with salt and allow to cool slightly before adding to the egg mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the chilli flakes, dried herbs, parsley and the cooled onion ham mixture. Season with salt and pepper and whisk well.
  • Pour into the pan and cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes or till the egg has set.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before turning it out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve with your favourite sauce.

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan Lamb Chops + Snippets from my Early Easter Party

It was an early Easter party for us this year. Actually totally unplanned; it was meant to be a barbecue party with a few friends which eventually turned out to be sort of an Easter lunch.

Succulent - thespiceadventuress.com

Before we get to the party and the recipes, let me share with you the story of my Weber and how it came into our lives. Way back in 2013, when I had just started blogging, I came across a giveaway hosted by Kikkoman in association with Weber. The prize pack was the new Kikkoman condiments being released that year along with a Weber Q200.

And on a lark I participated (I enter a lot of giveaways guys and its pretty common knowledge amongst my friends) and won!

The prize pack arrived and the interesting bit is that we were living in an apartment at that time where the Weber could not be used. And it stayed in a box for the longest time till we moved homes late last year. So finally the Weber that I got in 2013 was inaugurated in 2016 for a Christmas party. So naturally we are very excited to use it after waiting all these years that every party planned eventually ends up as a barbecue themed one.

There were a few recipes I had scheduled to be developed and photographed for the blog as well as clients and two of these fit in perfectly for the party menu. So the idea of a casual get together turned into an early Easter party. And coupled with other dishes, we soon had a feast on our table.

So here’s what I had on the menu for the day…

For starters, we had Cajun sausages and grilled corn.

The recipe for Cajun sausages has been there on the blog for the longest time and is a favourite in our home. It’s quick to put together and hence features regularly on our weekend entertaining.

No barbecue would be complete without grilled corn and we had it the classic way, rubbed with butter, lemon and chilli powder (substitute with paprika for less heat).

Cajun sausages, a delicious party starter - thespiceadventuress.com

Grilled corn with butter, lemon and chilli - thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, we had two meat dishes – Moroccan lamb chops and the Middle Eastern style beef kofta platter.

I have been dying to try out Noha’s beef kofta recipe for the longest time and this seemed to be the perfect occasion for it. No adaptations or tweaks; just followed the recipe as such. And yes, good quality beef mince with a bit of fat is highly recommended.

If you aren’t already following her, please do for all the deliciousness she puts up on her space.

Middle Eastern beef kofta platter - thespiceadventuress.com

Coming to Moroccan lamb chops, I had to share it with you guys because it’s simple, tastes awesome and everytime I have made it, it’s been a big hit.

Lamb chops with a bit of fat attached is recommended especially while grilling because it helps keep the meat moist and tender. The marination is simple and is best done a day ahead. I have frenched the lamb chops because it looks nice and pretty that way but you don’t strictly need to.

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Our choice of wine for the day was the Yering Station Pinot Noir 2015, a really balanced wine on the palate with hints of cherries, dark berries and savoury forest floor spice. I loved the fact that the tannins are not overpowering and has a delicate finish, thus pairing beautifully with grilled Moroccan lamb chops.

Yering Station Pinot Noir 2015 - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe adapted from Cooking with Alia

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg lamb chops; frenched
  2. ½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley; finely chopped
  3. ½ cup fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
  4. ½ cup fresh mint leaves; finely chopped
  5. Salt; to season
  6. ½ cup olive oil
  7. 3-4 garlic cloves; grated
  8. 1 tbsp paprika
  9. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  10. 1 tsp cumin seeds; crushed

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix the herbs and spices with olive oil.
  • Add the lamb chops; season with salt and allow to marinate for at least 6 hours, overnight if possible.
  • Grill on high heat on both sides till done.
  • Enjoy!

And finally it was time for dessert. I had created an Easter themed icecream cake as a guest post for Stuff Mums Like. Since it was a warm day, the icecream cake made the perfect dessert to end our happy meal.

Easter themed icecream cake with chocolate nest - thespiceadventuress.com

An extremely simple one, this cake consists of three different icecream layers on a base of cookie crumble. Store bought icecreams were used; saves time and great for parties. Choose whichever flavours you prefer and the number of layers too. A totally customizable cake, it’s great for birthday parties too especially if you are hosting one at home for children.

The addition of the chocolate nest and chocolate filled Easter eggs add that special touch of festivity.

So hop over to their website for the full recipe.

Easter themed icecream cake with chocolate nest - thespiceadventuress.com

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