Pumpkin Curry (Baraboa Riha)

Pumpkin curry (Baraboa riha)

Making the havaadhu (spice mix) from scratch is laborious, especially when ready made spice mixes are easy and convenient to buy and use. Trying to make my own havaadhu came out of necessity (I had run out of all Maldivian havaadhu) and also out of feeling inspired after the success of recreating the havaadhu for my Grandma’s Rihafolhi (you can find the recipe for the rihafolhi here).

If you are making this pumpkin curry, you can certainly substitute the homemade havaadhu and use a ready made roasted spice mix (hanaakuri havaadhu). I once used a roasted Sri Lankan spice mix (again, I didn’t have any Maldivian havaadhu on hand) and it tasted lovely. But the feeling of making your own havaadhu from scratch is so rewarding.

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Chocolate and Coconut Granola

Chocolate and Coconut Granola

I first shared my gutsy granola recipe almost three years ago (you can find the recipe here) and with warmer weather approaching, I fancied making some granola. I was thinking of ideas for gifts for my wonderful work colleagues and thought some granola would be universally liked, so I set to work on this chocolate granola recipe.

I like eating granola during summer. It’s perfect to eat for a cold breakfast, to top some yoghurt or eating with some fruit and cold milk. It’s nice to indulge and have some chocolate for breakfast, and you can top it with some dark chocolate chips if you’re wanting something even more decadent. While it feels over the top indulgent, in reality, all the sugar in the recipe comes from the honey and the dried fruits.

Chocolate and Coconut Granola

One of the things I found when making this recipe was how quickly the coconut toasted in the oven. I almost burnt the batch which was on the top layer of the oven. One minute they had just the slightest tinge of brown and then the next time I checked it was getting to a really dark brown I had to get it out quickly. So keep an eye on your coconut when toasting in the oven. You could also toast them separately and then add it when you mix the dried fruit.

I used dried cranberries, but you could add any fruit you fancy, be it dried apricots, blueberries or prunes. One of the things I like about making granola is how versatile it could be. Instead of almonds, you could add macadamias or hazelnuts. Add chia seeds or cacao nibs, you can do whatever you like.

Chocolate and Coconut Granola

Chocolate and Coconut Granola

Chocolate and Coconut Granola

Ingredients:

  • 400g rolled oats
  • 150g almonds
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 100g dried cranberries

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line 2, 20cm x 30cm trays with baking paper.
  • Add oats, almond, seeds, cocoa powder and salt to a large bowl and mix until combined (cocoa powder covering the oats and the seeds). Then add the oil, honey and the vanilla and mix until combined. Mix it until there are no oats clumping together in the honey.
  • Spread the mixture on the pre-prepared trays. bake in the oven for about 15 minutes and stir the mixture and bake for further 10 minutes. Add the coconut flakes and then bake for 3-5 minutes or until the coconut flakes have turned golden.
  • Remove the trays from the oven and let the granola cool completely. Once cooled, add the cranberries. Serve with yoghurt, as a topping for a smoothie bowl or just eat it as an afternoon snack!

Food in Istanbul

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Spending 5 days in Istanbul was everything I had hoped it would be. It was gloriously hot, I got to catch up with one of my best friends, we had leisurely strolls around the town, got to see some great sights and got to experience the city for it’s food.

When I told people I was going to Istanbul everyone said ‘You’ll love the food’. But I did not really anticipate how much I would enjoy it and how much I would miss and crave for it after I leave. I’ve shared some of my favourite food ventures in Istanbul.

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Food in England

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Visiting London has been a balance between sight-seeing and also trying to get to the best food in London. I had done the research of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to eat and it also helped having a friend who is very savvy about all the good cafes and restaurants to go to in London. Having only 3 and half days was not enough to get everything in; I probably needed just a week of food visitations to get through it all. Good food is everywhere in London, from delicious Indian to great bakeries. Here are some of my favourite food memories in London.

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Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake
People either love this cake or love to hate it. I’m not sure why this cake seems to divide people. I only recently ate it for the first time and it was a winner for me. My husband on the other hand, politely declined it.
The most complicated part of the cake is separating the eggs. Don’t feel tempted to skip this step because the whipped egg whites gives the cake a really light texture, which works perfectly when it is then soaked in milk. Because the cake is so light, I don’t think it matters if you soak the cake when it is hot or once it’s cooled down. It will have plenty of cooling and soaking time when you make it the day before anyway.

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Feel free to play around with the toppings. Some recipes just sprinkled cinnamon powder one top. But this cake went really well with sour fruits that have some bite to it. Berries are perfect (I loved the combination with the strawberries). I also don’t put sugar in the whipped cream on top. There is already a lot of sweetness in the cake, so the unsweetened cream really helps balance the sweetness. But that being said, this probably is a cake for people who have got a sweet tooth.
Make this cake the day before so you can leave it to soak over night. Also, bake the dish in which you are going to serve in. I thought I could cut out lovely pieces once it had been soaked, but it was really hard. The first piece came out in such a mess (I had at this point put the whipped cream AND the strawberries so the top was heavy and sliding down everywhere), but it was a delicious mess.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup thickened cream

For topping

  • 3/4 cup thickened cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g strawberries, thinly sliced

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven for 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour a 9×13 oven proof dish. Or prepare two 8inch
  • Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix. Next place the eggs yolks, vanilla and ¾ cup of the sugar in a bowl and whisk until it turns pale and creamy. Add the egg yolk mixture into the flour and whisk with milk until combined.
  • Next place the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add ¼ cup of sugar and beat until the mixture is glossy and white.
  • Fold in the egg white in the flour mixture gently until combined. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake in oven for about 30 minutes or till skewer comes out clean.
  • Meanwhile, combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream in a jug. When the cake is cooked, poke holes in it with a toothpick.
  • Pour the milk mixture over the cake. Cool the cake in the fridge over-night. The cake is best baked in the dish that you plan to serve it in as removing the cake from pan once it is soaked with milk is difficult.
  • When ready to serve, prepare the topping. Place the cream and vanilla in a bowl. Whip the thickened cream with an electric beater until soft peaks form. Spread the cream over the cake and top with strawberries.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Spinach and ricotta cannelloni

This recipe has become a crowd favourite among our friends due to my husband’s eagerness to cook cannelloni. Which suited me perfectly, because it meant this recipe was getting tested multiple times before I got to share it with you.

This Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni has become somewhat of a staple on our dinner menus. It is the easiest thing to whip up, because of it’s everyday ingredients. And anything that tastes like pasta, I am a fan.

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Ingredients:
Tomato sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1–2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Filling

  • 90g baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 300g fresh ricotta
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (plus extra for serving)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cannelloni shells (recipe fills about 15 shells)

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • First make the tomato sauce. Heat olive oil in a saucepan, and add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Next add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and water. Bring to boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. When the sauce is almost ready, add the basil leaves and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  • Next make the filling.
  • Place the spinach, ricotta, egg, garlic and cheese in a bowl and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Fill the cannelloni shells with the ricotta and spinach mixture (you can place the mixture in a piping bag and pipe it or or spoon it in). Place the filled shells on in a single layer in an oven-safe tray and then top with the tomato sauce. Cook in the oven for about 40 minutes or till the shells are cooked. Serve topped with extra parmesan cheese.

 

Nutella Biscuit Pudding

Biscuit Pudding

I feel I don’t make this under-rated dessert enough! I had made this version of biscuit pudding with my uncle, way back in 2011. Biscuit pudding is one of those desserts that everyone has a recipe or version they use, and they all result in the delicious layers of chocolate and milk-soaked Marie biscuits.

When I Googled biscuit pudding, the result seemed to indicate this dessert had it’s origins in Sri Lanka. But it’s also really popular in the Maldives and the words Nestle Cream and Marie biscuits are synonymous with this dessert. Everyone knows what you’re talking about when you mention theses ingredients. Some recipes use egg, and a lot use cocoa powder. But I’ve modified this recipe from my friend Sheeni who used dark chocolate (the higher cocoa percentage you can find, the better) which gives the pudding a deliciously bitter undertone which then is cut through by those layers of Nutella.

Biscuit Pudding Nutella

This pudding can made the day before. If you want to omit the Nutella, just double the chocolate mixture.

Nutella Biscuit Pudding:

  • 200g Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 500ml Nestle Cream
  • 1/3 cup (70g) caster sugar
  • 1 ½ packet Marie biscuits
  • 1 ½ cup Nutella
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk, lukewarm
  • cocoa powder to dust

Method:

  • Place dark chocolate, cream and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Stir the mixture until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Dip the biscuits in the milk and arrange a layer of biscuit on the bottom of a rectangular dish (approximately 23cm x 15cm x 4cm). Cover the biscuit layer with the some of the chocolate mixture.
  • Add another layer of biscuits and then spread half of the Nutella over the biscuits. Add another layer of biscuits and continue making alternate chocolate and Nutella layers with biscuits till you run out of mixture. You should be able to make about 5 layers of biscuits, 2 layers of Nutella and 3 layers of chocolate (final top layer will be a chocolate layer).
  • Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours. Dust with cocoa before serving.