L Cook With Jovi: April 2017

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Whip up guacamole in under 10 minutes

There are a zillion guacamole recipes on the internet. I notice that there really is no standard way of making guacamole. So here is my version of this avocado dip. Its fresh, tasty, superbly easy to whip up and can be on your plate in less than 10 minutes.

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Makes: A small bowl
Serves: 2

  • 2 avocados
  • ½ a small onion
  • ½ a small tomato
  • 2 pods of garlic
  • 1 green chilli
  • A bunch of fresh coriander leaves (roughly ½ a cup when chopped)
  • 1 tsp sour cream
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Salt to taste

  1. Destone the avocados and scoop the flesh out using a spoon.
  2. Roughly chop the onion, tomato, green chilli and coriander leaves.
  3. Pound the garlic coarsely.
  4. Put everything into a blender. Add the lemon juice, sour cream and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  5. Blend to desired consistency.
  6. Check for salt and lemon juice. Add more if required.
  7. Dip in your nachos and enjoy your homemade fresh guacamole.
  8. Get your favourite movie on too!

Jovi’s Notes

If you are vegan, you can make this without the sour cream. I just feel that the sour cream gives it a nicer consistency but really it does taste good even without it. 

Monday, 24 April 2017

Cauliflower Couscous Infused with Aromatic Indian Spices and Green Peas

Food stores nowadays have abundant stock of cauliflower couscous or cauliflower rice as some call it. To make ‘cauli rice’ you just grind up fresh cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble couscous. It’s healthy, its tastes great, its vegan and versatile. You can do so much with it, steam it, saute it, bake it. This is a simple, humble, and super easy way to turn your couscous into a delicious side.

Preparation Time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2
  • 1.5-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300 gms cauliflower couscous
  • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 small green chilli, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder or more if you like it hotter
  • 1.5 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin seed powder
  • ½ tsp curry powder (garam masala)
  • Salt to taste

  1. Microwave the frozen peas for 3-4 minutes with little water. Drain and keep aside
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Allow them to splutter for a minute and add the ginger. Saute for 2 minutes. 
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook till them become a bit mushy. I added ½ a teaspoon salt and the turmeric at this stage.
  4. Now add the couscous and the peas.
  5. Stir in the spices- coriander powder, cumin seed powder, chilli powder and curry powder. A little more salt will be required. Adjust as per taste. Mix well and cover for 5 minutes on medium flame.
  6. You do not need to add any water to this as the couscous leaves moisture.
  7. Uncover after 5 minutes and continue cooking on medium to high heat for another 5-7 minutes. It is important to cook the couscous uncovered, otherwise it can become quite limp.
  8. Check for seasoning one last time.
  9. Serve hot garnished with some chopped coriander. This dish is a great side to have. You can have this just by itself, with some flatbread, stuff it in a sandwich, create your own cauliflower couscous tortilla wrap. The possibilities are endless!

Jovi’s Notes
If you don’t have any ready made couscous, you could just blitz a few cauliflower florets in your mixer and hey, there’s your fresh cauliflower couscous.

Feel free to play around with this recipe and add more of your favorite veggies to it!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

No butter, No sugar, No flour, No egg Sweet Treats!

No sugar, no butter, no egg, no flour….have you ever heard of cookies without any of these ingredients? These are not what you merely dream of. Yes, these super healthy cookies are a reality. These are not your usual crunchy cookie variety but are the soft and gooey types. They are sweet and flavourful and the perfect snack for a hungry and health conscious tummy! They make for a great breakfast bite too. Whats even better is that you can make them in about 20 minutes flat!

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Baking Time: 15 mins
Makes: 10 cookies

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 bananas
  • 2-3 tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • A handful of almond flakes

  1. Preheat the oven and keep a baking sheet ready.
  2. Peel and mash the bananas.
  3. Add the rolled oats, honey and cinnamon powder. Mix well. Using your hands does the job best.
  4. Now throw in some almond flakes. You can add as many as you like. The almond flakes help bind a wee bit better and also add a bit of crunch once baked.
  5. Make small balls using the mixture and place them on your baking sheet. Press each ball gently to flatten it out a bit.
  6. Bake in the oven at 180 C for 15 minutes.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool and enjoy biting into the healthiest and easiest cookies you have ever baked. Cheers!

Jovi’s Notes
I used Quaker Oats.

Try tasting the mixture for sweetness. You can vary the amount of honey as per your sweet tooth. 

These taste best when consumed within 2 days of baking. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Black Eyed Beans Curry

Black-eyed peas, also known as black-eyed beans, are great to experiment with various spices and vegetables or even just by themselves. Their name comes from the prominent black spot on their creamy skin. As a kid I always thought black eyed beans were the perfect pirate food! 
This quick and delicious Indian style black eyed beans curry makes for a great weeknight meat free option, even if you're not a pirate. 

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup black eye beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1.5 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ chilli powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander for garnishing

  1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter for a minute.
  2. Now add the ginger paste and saute for a minute. Add the chopped onions and cook till golden brown. This should take about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Once the onions are done, throw in the tomatoes, and stir well. Cook for 2 minutes on moderately high heat.
  4. Start adding all the spice powders-turmeric, coriander powder, chilli powder and garam masala. Make sure everything is combined well.
  5. Next add the washed black eyed beans into the onion tomato mix and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
  6. Pour 2.5 cups of water into the pressure cooker.
  7. Add a teaspoon of salt and stir everything well.
  8. Close the pressure cooker and bring to full pressure on high heat.
  9. Reduce heat and cook for 8 minutes.
  10. Remove cooker from heat and allow to cool naturally, till there is no pressure inside.
  11. Serve hot garnished with coriander.
  12. A bowl of rice or quinoa would be a perfect accompaniment.

 Jovi’s Notes

Black eyed beans are available at Tesco

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Blueberry Lemon Treats with Chocolate Chips

I love almost anything and everything to do with blueberries. Muffins with blueberries in them are such a delight, and these are exactly that and even better! Big juicy blueberries baked in the goodness of lemon curd and topped with chocolate chips! I know you’re thinking if it sounds so good, how wonderful would it be to bite into them. These treats make a great afternoon tea addition or the perfect end to a summer party.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Baking Time: 20 mins
Makes: 12 muffins

  • 1/8 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup lemon curd (see notes)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup plain flour + 2 tsp plain flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • Chocolate chips
  1. Preheat your oven and line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases.
  2. Add the egg, yogurt, melted butter and lemon peel into a bowl and whisk until blended.
  3. To the blended mix, now add flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda and combine well.
  4. Throw the blueberries into a bowl and add 2 teaspoons of plain flour to them. Mix gently to coat the berries with the flour.
  5. Now gently tip the blueberries into the batter and stir again so that they are even distributed.
  6. Use a spoon to scoop the batter into the muffin cases. Do not fill the muffin cases to the brim as the batter needs space to rise.
  7. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on the top of each muffin batter.
  8. Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees.
  9. Take out of the oven once the tops are golden brown and leave to cool.
  10. Now go indulge yourself!

Jovi’s Notes

I bought my lemon curd from Tesco

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Almond Cookies

Everyone loves almond cookies! I do too. Did you know how easy they are to make? I bet you didn’t. Go try these yourself and you shall know. They are soft and chewy and just delicious with a cup of tea. 

Preparation Time: 25 mins
Baking Time: 25 mins
Makes: 12-15 cookies

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup ground almonds (see notes)
  • ¼ cup almond flakes (or more) (see notes)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • A pinch of salt

  1. Beat the egg and butter together for about 2-3 minutes in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the sugar, flour, almond flour, baking powder, vanilla essence, and salt. Mix well.
  3. While you are mixing this, the batter will be all sticky and you might think this recipe is no good. But hold on!
  4. Add the almond flakes now. I added ¼ cup but you can add more if you like.
  5. Use your hands to make a sticky dough combining everything. Now place this dough in the fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Before you place the dough in the fridge, switch on your oven and preheat it.
  7. While your dough is in the fridge get a baking sheet ready.
  8. After 20 minutes, take the dough out of the fridge and knead again for 1-2 minutes. You will notice that the dough has become much more manageable now.
  9. You could roll this dough out thinly and cut into desired shapes. Or like me just make small balls and place them on your baking sheet.
  10. Take a small glass and rub some plain flour on its bottom. Press each ball gently with the bottom of the glass to flatten them out.
  11. Scatter a few pieces of almond flakes on each cookie and press them down gently.
  12. Bake in the oven at 180 C for 25 minutes.
  13. Allow the cookies to cool and go on, munch them with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

Jovi’s Notes
Brush lightly with egg wash before popping them into the oven, if you want the tops to look nice and golden.

I bought the ground almond from Sainsbury's and the almond flakes from Tesco. 

Monday, 3 April 2017

Potatoes and green bell peppers, for the perfect side or sandwich filling

Green bell peppers and potatoes make for a hearty meal that’s quite easy to prepare. You can use this as a stuffing for a grilled sandwich or enjoy it with naan or pita bread.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Serves: 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium sized potatoes, chopped into bite sizes
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped into chunks
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder or more if you like it hotter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp curry powder (garam masala)
  • Salt to taste

  1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and add the cumin seeds. Allow them to splutter for a minute and add the potatoes. Cook for 3 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Then add the chopped garlic and ginger paste and continue stirring for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Next add all the spices, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, a good sprinkling of black pepper and salt. Mix well.
  4. Add the chopped bell peppers and stir thoroughly.
  5. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes. After every 5 minutes, open the cover and stir to ensure that the vegetables are not burning. Scrape the bottom of the pan well each time.
  6. After 15 minutes, add the curry powder and check if the potatoes and bell peppers are tender and cooked. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes, if required.
  7. Check for seasoning one last time. Try cutting through a piece of potato. If it cuts easily, it is done. If not, you might need to cook for a few more minutes.
  8. When done, serve hot garnished with some chopped coriander. You can enjoy this with naan or any other flatbread. 

Jovi’s Notes
Different varieties of potatoes take varied times to cook. So do keep an eye, lest they get cooked earlier or later than the cooking times prescribed in this recipe. 
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