Peri Peri Chicken Wings

Peri Peri Chicken Wings – a perfect , spicy dish to serve up at a party or game night, or even with a nice big salad for a quick weeknight meal. Either way, these are super delicious and while looking through the blog recently, I realized that I haven’t shared many chicken wings recipes here. So today, I’m going to rectify that. I bring you some spicy, delicious Peri Peri Chicken wings. These are made from scratch and bake off in the oven. So there’s very little hands-on time required for this recipe. All you have to do it put together a simple marinade paste and then work on a dip, a salad or anything else you’d like to serve these wings up with.

PeriPeriChickenWings
Peri Peri Chicken Wings
 

If you’re prepping your own chicken wings, split the wings and either set the tips aside for a stock or discard. I bought Marco’s Wing Nibbles from Woolworths that has this stage dealt with so you use the wings as is. 

This recipe couldn’t be any simpler. After prepping the wings, you simply wash them and pat them dry. Sprinkle with salt and use our beautiful homemade marinade. Peri Peri is known to be a spicy sauce / marinade and this one is. If you enjoy a good Peri Peri, but don’t want it too spicy, you could substitute some of the birdseye chillies with a milder pepper. That way you will still get the color and volume in the marinade but it won’t be too spicy. 

In our house, we love spicy food, so I’ve used birdseye chillies with the seeds and all. And can I tell you, these wings turned out so very delicious. It packs the perfect amount of kick for us and when you pair this with the homemade Blue Cheese Dip, it is absolutely divine. 

The Blue Cheese Dip has the perfect cooling affect to counter the spiciness of the wings. Let me tell you, once you taste this, you won’t be able to stop at one. But don’t just take my word for it. Go ahead and make these wings and try them out for yourself. 

So let’s take a look at the recipe now, shall we?

Lamb Kebabs … and how to make quick pickled onions and a yogurt dip.

Nothing says ‘Spring is here’ more than some Lamb kebabs. Spring Lamb is in stores now and while some of the premium cuts can be very pricey, today’s recipe uses ground lamb (lamb mince). This is not just easy on the hip pocket, but cooks up really fast too.

You can serve these kebabs as a starter, or with a salad as a main too. Today I’m serving it up as a wrap with some homemade, quick pickled onions and a yogurt dip. Start off by making the pickled onions and the dip, so that they have a little time to let the flavors develop. 

Quick Pickled Onions

1/2 onion, sliced
Salt, to taste
1-2 tbsp Lemon juice
Separate the half rings of the onion slices. 
Sprinkle salt and lemon juice over the onion and mix well to let the seasonings get to all the onion slices. 
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. 
Yogurt Dip / Spread

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar, or to taste
1/2 clove of garlic, finely chopped
A few mint leaves, finely chopped
Mix all the ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. 
Lamb Kebabs

500g lamb mince
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 chillies, finely chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
Oil, for frying
Mix all the ingredients and shape into kebabs. 
Heat some oil in a pan. 
Fry kebabs for a couple of minutes on each side, or till you get a beautiful golden brown color on each side and till its cooked through to your liking. 
Serve hot. 
** To make the wrap, I use some homemade, whole wheat chapatis, layer some salad greens on top, add a couple of the kebabs, smear some yogurt dip over and top with some pickled onions. Wrap up and enjoy.  

Spinach, Feta and Ricotta Rolls

Back when I was working at my last job, a colleague, who happened to be my work bestie, introduced me to this treat. We’d take our breaks together whenever we could and hop over to Muffin Break. Our Muffin Break outlet made the best Spinach and Feta Rolls (sidenote – their Bran muffins were to die for). But I’d never noticed these little beauties before this. I was on a first name basis with its Non-vegetarian counterpart – the sausage roll. I’ve had quite a few of those. But on this particular day, when we went over to Muffin Break, she ordered a Spinach and Feta Roll to go with her coffee. Needless, to say, I was intrigued. So I ordered one for myself too. And the rest, as they say, is history.

From that day on, if I ever need to grab a bite and am in the mood for something savory, I pick up one of their Spinach and Feta Rolls. They are seriously good. And, I like to think that I’m getting a little extra Spinach in my diet that day.

So getting back to yesterday. When I found myself with a big basket of Ricotta cheese and a bag of Spinach I needed to use up, I decided to see if I could use the two together and come up with something delicious. After a little looking around, I found just the thing. I’ve based my rolls on a similar recipe I found online and I just switched it up to my liking. This time around, I used store bought Puff pastry. I had a packet in the freezer that I wanted to use up too. This recipe has just 2 basic components – the pastry and the filling. The filling is really easy to put together. You just mix up all the ingredients and your ready to go. The verdict – These rolls are really good. They’re not exactly like the Muffin Break ones. I am now convinced that there is some flour added to their filling, possibly to bulk it up. But these homemade rolls can give them a serious run for their money. And this time, I know for sure that there’s a heap of spinach in there. And everyone knows that Spinach with Ricotta and Feta is a match made in heaven. So let’s have a look at these Spinach Rolls, shall we?
Spinach, Feta and Ricotta Rolls
Makes 18 rolls
3 sheets Pampas all butter Puff pastry
200g Feta Cheese
300g Ricotta Cheese
150g Baby Spinach, finely chopped
Red Chili Flakes, to taste
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 egg
Black sesame seeds, to sprinkle over
Preheat your oven to 180ºC.

Place the baking tray in the oven.

Thaw 3 sheets of puff pastry. The pastry should be soft enough to work with but still cold. If it warms up too much, it gets sticky and difficult to work with.

Crumble the feta into a bowl.

Now add the Ricotta and crumble that in as well.

Add crushed black pepper to taste.

Taste the mix and add more salt if you want. I didn’t need to add any salt at this stage.

Add the spinach and red chili flakes. Mix well.

Crack the egg into a small bowl. Whisk and keep aside.

Working with one sheet at a time, cut the sheet in half.

Spoon the mix to form a long log in the center of each half of the pastry (lengthwise).

Brush one side (along the length) of each half of the sheet with the whisked egg.

Roll the other side of pastry over the spinach into a tight log. The egg will help seal the pastry.

Place the rolls on greaseproof paper, seam side down. Repeat with the rest of the pastry.

Carefully place the paper onto the heated tray.

Brush the tops of the rolls with the whisked egg (egg wash).

Crack some black pepper on the top of each roll and sprinkle some black sesame seeds on the rolls.

Bake for about 30 minutes or till golden brown in color.

Serve hot.

Goan Beef Cutlets

I have always had a love affair with food. Even as a kid, both my brother and I, were never picky about food. I guess we had Mum to thank for that. She was, and to this day is a fantastic cook. Given, now because of her health, she cannot do as much as she used to, back in the day. But when we were growing up, every meal was home cooked. I don’t remember eating out till much later, when I was in college. Right from breakfast, through to lunch and dinner, snacks and desserts, she made everything. And a great variety of it too. I’m happy that now, I can proudly say, I try to do the same. I still have a lot to learn and experiment with, but I owe my love for cooking and good food to my Mother.

These Beef cutlets have got to be one of my favorite recipes. When we were kids, my brother and I would wait for Mum to make a batch of these cutlets at home. It wasn’t made very often, but when it was, it was a real treat. I have, for the most part, stuck to my Mum’s recipe, with just a few tweaks.

These cutlets are very versatile. Make them smaller in size and serve them up with some tomato ketchup or Barbecue Sauce as starters or Finger food, make them larger and use them as patties in Burgers or make a medium size and serve it up with some Mashed potatoes / Roasted potatoes / Fries and a salad .

I have posted a beef cutlet recipe before, but that was a really long time ago. This recipe is the same, with just the addition of some Worcestershire sauce. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to take some new pictures. After all, its been a long journey from ‘My Hobbie Lobbie’ to ‘The Aspiring Home Cook’. I’ve also filmed a little video with some handy dandy tips too. I will link the video at the end of this post.

Goan Beef Cutlets
(Makes about 14-15)


500g ground beef (beef mince)
1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2″ ginger, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 egg
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/4-1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt, to taste
2 slices of bread
Bread crumbs, to coat the cutlets
Olive oil, for frying (You can use whatever cooking oil you have on hand)






Soak the slices of bread in water for a few seconds, drain out all the liquid and crumble. Mix together all the ingredients except the bread crumbs and vegetable oil.


Make sure all the ingredients are well mixed and evenly distributed.


Shape into cutlets.


Coat with bread crumbs.


Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Carefully place the cutlets in the pan and let it cook on a medium heat till its done to your liking. Turn over and cook the other side as well.





Repeat till you’re done with the meat mix, adding more oil to the pan as and when you need to.


Serve hot.



Enjoy!!!

Here’s the video –

Goan Potato Chops

Hello everyone and welcome back. A few days ago, I whipped up another batch of Potato Chops. This is my favorite way to enjoy Savory Mince. For those of you who have never eaten a Potato Chop before, it is a handled, single serve version of Shepherd’s Pie. Ofcourse, this recipe is a tad spicier than the original one, because of the use of Goan spices. As always, you can adjust the spice level to your liking.

If you haven’t had potato chops before, you really should. These little beauties are served up in lots of Goan homes, not just in Goa, but around the world. They are a must at any party or family gathering, in my house at least. I have posted this recipe before, but that was years ago. The recipe is still the same one. I’ve just got some new pictures and I’ve made a little video to show you how I make these potato chops. They are pretty simple to make, but if you’re a visual learner like me, the video will help make the process simpler. So go on over and have a look. Let me know if you have any questions at all. The step by step recipe is just below.

Potato Chops


1/2 a recipe of Beef Mince (Beef mince video recipe here – https://youtu.be/RhSfsw2EC1U ) (You can substitute mutton mince, if you don’t eat beef)
4-5 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp cumin powder
A pinch of turmeric powder (optional)
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 egg
Bread crumbs / Panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying


Make half a portion of beef mince and keep aside. This should come down to room temperature before you proceed with this recipe.


Boil the potatoes only when you are ready to make the chops you need to work when the potatoes are still warm. Cold potatoes make handling difficult.


Peel and mash the potatoes well. Make sure there are no lumps. Add salt to taste, cumin powder, turmeric powder and coriander leaves and using your hands mix well to ensure all the spices and herbs are evenly distributed. Feel free to adjust the quantities of the spices and herbs used to suit your taste.


Take a portion of the mashed potato, the size of a tennis ball, roll into a ball and flatten to form a thick disc on the palm of your hand. Place a spoon of the mince in the center and bring the sides of the potato disc up and over the filling to cover it well. Make sure that no mince is sticking out. If you feel the need to add more potato to it, feel free to do so. The mashed potato merges well. Shape it to form a patty and keep aside. Continue till you’ve used up all the mashed potato.


Crack an egg in a shallow bowl, wide enough to fit the chops. Beat well to incorporate the white and the yolk.


Pour some bread crumbs onto a plate and keep it ready. I have a little assembly line going for this, starting with the chops at one end, followed by the bowl with the beaten egg, the bread crumbs and a plate lined with some absorbent kitchen paper at the other end.


Heat some oil in a pan.


Briefly dip a chop in the egg and turn over, making sure it coats the chop well.


Dredge it through the bread crumbs making sure the potato chop is well coated. This is what will give it a good crunch.


Carefully place in the pan with the heated oil and shallow fry till it takes on a nice golden brown color. Turn and let the other side fry as well till it gets golden brown.


Carefully take it off the pan and repeat till you’ve used up the rest of the potato mix.







NOTE: You don’t need to fry these one at a time, place as many as your pan can accommodate, making sure theres a little space between them to help you turn these over.  


Here’s what it looks like on the inside –




These potato chops are best served hot with some tomato sauce. Any leftovers refrigerate and reheat well.


Enjoy!!!

Witches Broomsticks …. another savory Halloween treat

So continuing from my last Halloween post, here’s another quick and easy savory treat I put together for the same party. If you haven’t yet read that one, go check out the Monster Eye Crackers I posted about here.

If you’ve been around these parts before you know the most important part of food for me is taste. It helps if it is quick and easy to make and bonus points if it is cute and quirky too. This little treat ticks all those boxes. I found this one in quite a few places on the internet and decided that I had to try them out. They are perfect to make for a Halloween themed party. I will admit that the cheese stringers were a little fiddle to begin with, but eventually things started moving along much faster. And, considering there was zero cooking involved, I still give this little snack a thumbs up. Kids will love the novelty of these ‘Witches Broomsticks’. I made these to serve at an office party and the adults couldn’t keep their hands of them either.

These snacks also use only 3 ingredients – pretzel sticks, cheese stringers and fresh chives. There is not much of a process involved either, so let’s get straight to the instructions.

I hope you make these savory treats this Halloween and enjoy them as much as we did.

Witches Broomsticks


Pretzel sticks
Cheese stringers
Fresh Chives

Start with the cheese. Cut the cheese stringer sticks into about 1 inch pieces or one thirds.

For each of these pieces, cut up or pull apart two thirds of the length of it to make the bristly edge of the broomsticks.

Now simply pierce the uncut end with a pretzel stick.

Finish them off but tying with a piece of fresh chives.

Serve up.

What treats are you planning for this Halloween??? 

‘Monster Eye’ Crackers – a perfect savory option for Halloween

** This post contains affiliate links.

Around this time of the year, especially if you partake in the Halloween festivities, you will find yourself inundated with candy and other sweet treats and bakes. In a nutshell, a sugar overload. While I love my cakes and sweets / candy as much as the next guy or gal, if you are like me, you will need a little bit of savory to cut through all that sweetness.

Last year, I was really excited about Halloween. We were supposed to have a big Halloween party at my workplace. However, as luck would have it I quit that job in early October to focus on building up a little business. When my colleagues threw me a small farewell party, they decided to roll with the Halloween theme. I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to whip up a few treats. These little cracker bites were one of them. I will share the rest of them with you over the next few days. My job was extremely physically demanding and boasted quite a few really long days. So I had to come up with treats that were quick and easy to put together. I knew the candy part of the party would be taken care of, so I stuck with the savories.

These Monster Eye crackers are perfect for a party or get together. They are a Halloween Play on cheese and crackers. They can be whipped up really quickly with all of 3 ingredients. So, I knew I was going to make them. I was a little skeptical about them considering how simple they are, but let me tell you, they vanished really quickly. I wish I had made more. If you decide on making these, make sure you make a big batch. So to make these, all you need are crackers. I love the Eton crackers found in Aldi stores locally, but if you cannot get your hands on them, Ritz Crackers will work just as well. You can use any other crackers you’d like. Now that the crackers are sorted, the next ingredient is the cheese. I used Kraft Cheese Slices, but again, you can use any cheese slices you like. The last ingredient you need are olives. You can use Pitted Kalamata olives or pitted Green olives, if you prefer.

The process is fairly simply, and works fastest if you create an assemble line. I hope you enjoy these little snacks this Halloween as much as we did.

Monster Eye Crackers


Eton crackers (You can also use Ritz Crackers)
Kraft Cheese Slices
Pitted Kalamata olives

You will also need a circle cookie cutter, just a little smaller than the size of the crackers you choose to use.

Cut the cheese slices into circles using the cookie cutter and keep aside.

Cut the pitted olives in half and keep aside.

On a serving platter, place the crackers in a single layer.

Top the crackers with a circle of cheese and top that with half an olive.

And that’s basically it. Serve up.

Enjoy!!!

Goan Fish Cutlets

UPDATED: to add recipe video.

Fish cutlets are one of my favorite seafood recipes to make and to eat. I love seafood and I also happen to love cutlets. They are so versatile. You can serve them as a snack / appetizer (they go so well with a chilled beer), as a meal with a side of chips and / or a salad or you can use them to make a fantastic burger. I have shared a recipe for fish cutlets previously using fresh fish. You can find that one here. This recipe is fairly similar with the exception of one main difference. This one uses canned tuna.

Now, I love my fish fresh. I believe that fresh is the best way to enjoy fish. But yesterday, I found myself longing to eat some fish cutlets but didn’t have any fresh fish. Now that was just not going to do. So I put my thinking hat on and eventually decided to try to make cutlets using canned tuna instead. I had heard that some people make their cutlets with canned fish, but I’d never tried it out for myself. I happened to have a few cans of tuna chunks in the pantry, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

The cans I used were tuna chunks in spring water. You need to make sure you drain the tuna well. I didn’t know what to expect and found that I had to use a little extra egg for binding but in the end I was delighted with the results. The cutlets were delicious. It took a fraction of the time to make compared to if you were to use fresh fish because the fish has to be cooked and deboned. So in all, I was extremely pleased with this attempt.

The type of canned tuna will determine how much egg is needed. I would recommend starting out using one egg and if you can shape the cutlets easily without them falling apart, then you are good to go. If not add more egg to the mix.

Goan Fish Cutlets
Yields: 12 cutlets


4 cans of tuna (I used 95g cans of chunk tuna in spring water) (Or 1 can x 495g Tuna)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 red birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped (or you can use paste)
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or you can use paste)
A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1-2 eggs
2 slices of bread
Bread crumbs, to coat the cutlets
Oil for frying

Drain the tuna thoroughly and flake it in a large mixing bowl.

Soak the bread slices in water for about 5 minutes and squeeze thoroughly. Crumble the bread as fine as you can and add it to the bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the panko bread crumbs and the oil to the bowl.

Place a layer of the breadcrumbs on a dry plate.

Using the fish mix, shape into cutlets and carefully coat on both sides with the bread crumbs.

Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a pan on medium heat and carefully place the coated cutlets on the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes on medium heat till golden brown on one side.

Then carefully flip over to cook to a golden brown on the other side too. Add another spoon of oil to the pan as needed.

Repeat till the batter is over and all the cutlets are fried.

Serve hot.

If you enjoy a good cutlet, try out some of these recipes –
Fish Cutlets
Beef Cutlets
Eggplant Patties
Thai Inspired Chicken Patties
Quick and Easy Crab Cakes

Mungode – Split moong (mung) bean fritters

I love snacking. Probably more than I love my meals. There, I said it! I think this is because I grew up in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. Mumbai is famous for its street food, which are mostly snacking options. Some light snacks and others can be more substantial and work well as meals in themselves. Its their easy availability and their reasonable prices that makes them so popular.

Since I am not in Mumbai anymore, you can only imagine how much I miss these delectable treats. So out of necessity and a healthy amount of curiosity, in the past couple of years, I’ve found myself looking out for Indian snack recipes to try out at home. Once you start looking it up, you will be amazed at how much variety there is out there. India is a big country with rich, cultural diversity and that is reflected in its food as well. This has worked very well for me, because it gives me an opportunity to try out heaps of different recipes, like this one. Mungode is a one such treat that I recently stumbled upon. Yes, it is another deep fried treat, like a lot of other Indian snacks, but its not like you’d indulge in this everyday. It is a simple recipe to follow with minimal prep work involved, just the kind of recipes I like. These little deep fried Moong dal (split and hulled mung bean) fritters are crunchy on the outside, full of flavor and are best served hot with some ketchup or your favorite Mint chutney.
Mungode
Recipe from: Swati’s Kitchen
Serves 3-4 as a snack

1 cup moong dal (Split and hulled mung beans)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
1-2 green/red birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Oil, for deep frying
Wash the moong dal and drain the water. Do this about 3-4 times.
Soak the dal in fresh, tepid water for about an hour.

Grind it to a coarse paste and empty into a mixing bowl.
Add the onion, ginger, green chillies, coriander and salt to the bowl with the dal and mix well.
Heat oil for deep frying. 
Drop in little portions of the batter. I used portions a little less than a teaspoonful. (You don’t want large fritters or it might not cook through.) Also, keep the fritters uniform sized so that they cook evenly.
Don’t overcrowd the pan and fry the fritters in batches.
Let the fritters fry till golden brown on medium heat. Drain using a slotted spoon.
Drain on some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil for a couple of minutes.  Repeat with any remaining batter. 
Serve hot with tomato ketchup or mint chutney and a nice hot cup of tea.
Enjoy!!!

Bombay Street Food Special #13 – Dal Vada

As a food blogger, someone who loves learning new things and basically a lover of good food, I have an ever-growing list of ‘Recipes to try’ and ‘food I’d love to learn how to make’. And that list grows like it has a life of its own. Just the other day, my husband, in all innocence asked me what I would do when I ran out of recipes to share on the blog. My response – I laughed. He thought I’d lost it. Then I showed him just a glimpse of these lists and he knew it wasn’t going to happen any time soon. 

Today’s recipe is one I’ve wanted to try even before I’d started any of these lists. You see, Dal Vadas are easily available street food in Bombay. These aren’t as popular as Idlis and Medhu Vadas (South Indian Food), but I’ve always had a soft corner for this treat. These deep fried dumplings are made from split and hulled chickpeas aka Chana Dal, easily found in any Indian grocery store in the aisle with the lentils. They are everything I love in a snack, small portion size, crispy on the outside and chock full of flavor. 
The recipe I tried is a little different from the commonly found Dal Vada. It is amped up with some Garam Masala (an Indian spice blend) and fennel seeds, which you typically don’t find in the Street Food variety, I must admit it adds a lot of flavor. You could skip the fennel for a more tradition version of the vada. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make. You could serve this with your favorite chutneys like this Green Mint Chutney (Pudiney ki chutney) and this Tamarind and Date Chutney (Imli ki chutney), or you could just serve it with some Tomato Ketchup. Or be like me, throw caution to the wind and serve it up with all three for a little variety. Whichever way you decide to go, I hope you try it out. 
Dal Vada
Adapted from: Swasthi’s Recipes
 
1 cup chana dal
Salt, to taste
1″ cinnamon
1-2 dried red chillies
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp fennel seeds 
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 sprigs curry leaves, roughly torn / chopped
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Oil, for deep frying
Wash the chana dal a couple of times and drain the water. 
Soak the dal in fresh water for an hour and a half. Make sure there is ample water in the bowl. after soaking drain the dal thoroughly using a colander.
Grind the cinnamon, red chillies, cumin and fennel to a coarse powder. 
Keep this aside along with 2 tbsp of the chana dal.
Grind the rest of the drained dal and salt by using the ‘Pulse’ function on your blender to grind it coarsely and transfer to a bowl. 
To the bowl, add the curry leaves, onion, coarsely ground spices, green chillies and the reserved dal and mix it all well. 
Heat the oil for deep frying. 
To shape the vadas, roll a golf ball size of the mix to a ball and flatten them. 
Deep fry on medium heat till golden brown on both sides. (Using high heat will just brown the outside and leave the inside uncooked, so be sure to fry it on a medium heat.)
Drain and place on some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
Serve hot with either chutney or ketchup.
Enjoy hot with a steaming cup of tea !!!
Click here for some more Bombay Street Food options.