Eating out · Food · Life style · Restaurant Review · The Good Home

The Good Home

Having witnessed this restaurant being built from scratch, we have wanted to try this restaurant for a while now. Situated in the Landing area of Wigram Suburb, in Christchurch,the Good Home , Wigram restaurant has a spacious outdoor seating area . img_4110One is greeted by a warm, relaxed atmosphere as one walks in. The large open space with comfortable sofas for seating, dark modern art deco floral wallpaper ceiling, the wooden bead board on the side of the wall,the display cabinets with little knick knacks and books, the large TV above an artificial fireplace, not to mention the white piano ,all create a  homely, relaxed and very pleasing ambiance.The  friendly and attentive staff in their checkered blue, red and white shirt  and jeans uniforms (which was a welcome change from the drab black and white one usually sees in restaurants) added on to the cheery and easy vibe that the restaurant exuded. We ordered the Summer Salad, and requested the Gluten free version for the toasts and Mussels steamed in thai green curry. The service time was good as we had enough time to catch up on all the weekly news,but did not have to wait too long.

The flavours of the salad with Gluten free toast, goat cheese, salad greens, toasted walnuts, pear and beetroot with lemon vinaigrette all worked very well together . It was a fresh and refreshing side to have with the other dish we ordered .img_4318.jpgThe other dish we ordered was the Mussels steamed in Thai green curry. This Mussels dish came with toast and fries. Again we requested Gluten free toast which the staff accommodated for us.Speaking of the Mussels dish, the Thai green curry was so flavourful and yummy, that we wiped the plate clean! The mussels themselves were seasoned just right, juicy , tender and cooked just right. The Good Home Wigram offers great value for money as the portions are quite large. Plus they offer a good selection on the menu to cater to all the ages, with a kids menu and pizza too on their Menu.

The Good Home Wigram is definitely a great place to visit for lunch or dinner with friends or family.

Eating out · Food · Life style · Preserved Cafe · Restaurant Review

Preserved Cafe

Nestled in amidst the stunning scenery of the Diamond Harbour village sits a quaint little cafe called Preserved offering locally produced , sustainable food.img_0205.jpg

Taking the ferry ride from Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour Village and visiting the Preserved Cafe to grab a bite were the two top things  on our to-do list for the day.

After the walk to the jetty in Lyttelton, the 10 minute ferry ride , the stroll up the hill to the Diamond harbour Village and peeking in and around the historic Stoddart Cottage, we were so ready to have lunch .

The interior of the cafe has a heartwarming rustic charm with burlap and lace buntings, fairy lights and distressed wood industrial type seating. Carrying on the rustic theme, there is a lovely child friendly outdoor seating area on a deck, overlooking the lush green fields, hills and tall eucalyptus trees. 
They had a variety of cabinet food and beverages with a fair amount of gluten free offerings to try . We decided to order three dishes from their to share menu when some of our choice dishes were not available. It was understandable considering their menu is tailored around locally produced seasonal ingredients.

We ordered the Parmesan Polenta Fries which came with inhouse made aioli sauce, the Pork Bites encrusted with seasame seeds came with a vegetable purée and were sprinkled with white snow drop flowers as a garnish and Mussels cooked with chilli and garlic which came with a lemon slice garnish.

The polenta fries were as crispy and cheesy as the name suggested and were lip smacking paired with aoli dipping sauce.The pork bites were soft and succulent with a nice crunch from the  roasted sesame seeds. The vegetable puree was a nice touch and was yummy and the flower garnish was so pretty.
img_3031.jpg The mussels were done just right ! Juicy, tender, fresh mussels with the chilli, garlic and lemon giving the dish a nice kick and tangy zest. This was my favourite dish.

Prices are nominal and the atmosphere relaxing and friendly . The attentive staff dropped by our table twice to check if we were enjoying our dishes. The verdict between the two of us: we both loved the polenta chips and the mussels. I’m not a big pork fan and after the flavourful mussels I couldn’t appreciate the pork bites much.  Louise, however, loved them and if you’re a fan of pork recommends you definitely try them.

All three dishes were gluten free.

We both would have liked a little more vegetable or salad  garnish to go with the dishes.

If you are looking for a cozy ,out of the way fun place, Preserved Cafe provides the perfect spot.

Food · In and around Christchurch

HOW TO MAKE IDIYAPPAM AKA STRING HOPPERS : the easy way

Idiyappam or string hoppers is a very common and a very traditional breakfast dish in my part of South India. It is a very simple dish to make. Made with roasted rice flour , water and salt,and steamed in pressure cooker or a steamer , it is a dish that is well loved by adults and kids alike. It  is also often prescribed by doctors as part of a soft meal diet for patients.
Idiyappam is one of those dishes that I never tried to make before I got married. Jacob however loved  Idiyappams and that meant I  had to learn how to make it , you know, the way to a man’s heart and all that, so I  called  my mom  straight away to get the recipe . As it turned out, making the dough was  a much easier task compared to coaxing  the dough out of the Idiyappam press.
However hard I tried, I could not manage to  get the dough out through the press. Jacob ever willing to help around the kitchen,offered to help me . But only ended up breaking the  Idiyappam press  one too many and left me flabbergasted  how  someone could break something that I couldn’t even get move an inch !
Then my mom discovered a ‘magic press “as she called it and Idiyappam making has been a breeze ever since.
As much as I enjoy cooking  for my friends and family , if there is a easy way to do something, then thats what I  go for.
So here goes.
Ingredients to serve 4
 1 cup Roasted Rice flour .  white or red ( I used Double Horse Appam/ Idiyappam mix , available at Yogiji Christchurch
3/4 _1 cup Boiling water
1tsp oil
Salt to taste.
Method
Take flour in a mixing bowl, add salt . Pour boiling water slowly

little by little mixing with a wooden spoon to form a soft smooth dough

Pour in the oil

When it cools down enough to touch, form into soft dough .Taking care not to knead too much

Grease the hollow part of the Idiyappam press with oil and fill in the dough inside the press.

Fill upto the brim of the press hollow

In the meantime, grease the Idli mould with oil and keep aside.
Press Idiyappam presser onto greased idli moulds
Repeat until all the dough is pressed on to the moulds.
Steam in the pressure cooker without the pressure ,for 7-9 mins on medium  flame. Once done, let it stay covered in the pressure pan for a minute or two
When the steam stops coming out of the vent,open and transfer the cooked Idiyappam to a hot pack.
I like to serve Idiyappam with sweetened  thin fresh coconut milk or chicken stew. Ofcourse, chicken curry and mutton curry also taste great with idiyappam.
Cook book Scribbles :
  • when  the Idiyappam is cooked through is , it starts to look glossy.
  • Idiyappam tastes good served hot or cold.
  • Scrapped coconut can be sprinkled over the cooked idiyappam

 

Food · Home Making

How to make Fresh Coconut Milk at Home

Coconuts are abundant in my hometown , so it is widely used in our cuisine. Making coconut milk at home for using in Stew and some of the traditional dessert is very common, instead of using tinned coconut milk or powder.

Coconut milk is made in three stages. This first one being the thickest, the second one a little thinner and the third one is very light. The third milk  is usually used for cooking the vegetables or meat for the gravy . Personally I prefer to cook them in the third milk as it enhances the taste of the gravy.

(This is a recipe that can be tailored as per need)
Method:
To make one cup of thick coconut milk.
Ingredients:
2 cups of grated fresh coconut
3/4 th + 1 tbsp cup of warm water
First, pulse the freshly grated coconut for a second.Then add the warm water and blend till the coconut is all ground and appears milky.
Squeeze out the milk by wringing or pressing the blended coconut really well with your hands through a sieve or cheese cloth.
The FIRST blend of fresh coconut milk  that is the thickest is the first milk.
Add water again to the the left over  squeezed out coconut pulp and  blend again , the consistency of the coconut milk gets thinner and this is the second milk.
Repeat the process and the third and Last blend is the thinnest coconut milk.
Cook Book Scribbles:
  • The most important thing to keep in mind when using the thick first coconut milk is to never let it boil (in the curry or stew etc)  as it will curdle  and spoil the taste.
  • If fresh coconut is not available, frozen fresh coconut can also be used . It is available at Yogiji Christchurch.
  • Dry desiccated coconut however, has not worked for me and Louise.

 

Christchurch · Costa Taverna · Eating out · Family · Food · In and around Christchurch · Life · Life style · New Zealand · Restaurant Review · Uncategorized

Birthday Celebration at Costa Taverna

Birthday was fun with wishes pouring in from friends and family and my boys made it extra special for me with presents ,cake and a lovely dinner IMG_0329.jpgat the Greek restaurant  Costa Taverna.

We really enjoyed the ambiance and the food. Also the special birthday voucher I got , which made my birthday dinner free!
Food · Uncategorized

Meat Croquettes aka Meat Cutlets Indian Style: Step by Step Tutorial

DSC_0987This is a season of parties. Christmas party, Year End party, New Year party, BBQ party and one dish that will be a hit as a party appetiser, I promise, is the Meat Croquettes (or Meat Cutlets).DSC_0991

Although these are called Croquettes here and the rest of the world, growing up in South India, we have only known these as cutlets. They make a great tea time snack and my early memory of having these croquettes was at a beach. Cool sea breeze, soft swash of the waves and the scent of the sea in the air, chomping away on hot cutlets, playing catch and digging our feet into the grainy sand vividly stands out in my memory. Food always takes me down memory lane.

My kids love these meat croquettes. I make them in a batches and freeze them to use when they ask for it. The meat croquettes are easy like that. It can be made ahead, frozen and fried just before the party. Its just so crunchy to bite into, so lip smacking good, that they will disappear in no time! Ask my family and they will tell you. These are a huge hit every time I’ve made them!!

I had been making  meat croquettes a different way for  a long time. Then, by chance I happened to make croquettes with meat left over from Mutton curry I had made earlier…. and  everything changed!!
I really liked the texture of the meat I got as a result and haven’t gone back to the old one.
I have made this on several occasions . For parties, picnics, travel, camping. I serve it as a snack or as a side dish. I also use it as a burger and make sandwiches too.

 

Method:

Ingredients:

500 gms Lean Meat ( we get stew meat here, which is very handy)
3 medium potatoes
1 large onion (chopped finely)

DSC_0944
2 green chillies ( chopped finely)
1” piece ginger (chopped finely)
a little coriander leaves (optional)

 To Marinate:
1tbsp ginger garlic paste
1tsp pepper*
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder*
1 tsp chilli powder (mild)*
1 tsp Garam Masala powder (you can buy Garam Masala from the Indian store to save time. I prefer Eastern Royal Garam Masala)
2 eggs
Curry leaves, a few (optional)

DSC_0966

1 1/2 -2 cups bread crumbs
Oil to shallow fry, saute

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Preparation:

Marinate the meat with the chilli powder, coriander powder, ginger garlic paste, salt and pepper, keep aside for half an hour.

**Then pressure cook for 20 mins with no water or very little water.
When done and cooled put it in a mixie (food processor) and pulse it , coarsely DSC_0942This is the texture you are going for.DSC_0945.jpgBoil the potatoes, remove the skin and mash it well with a potato masher.DSC_0943Beat the eggs lightly , mix with salt and pepper to taste and keep asideDSC_0967

Method:
Mix the meat and mashed potato well together.Keep aside.DSC_0951.jpg

Pour oil in a skillet and saute the finely chopped onion, when they turn limp add the finely chopped ginger and chopped chilli.DSC_0956Saute for a couple more minutes till the onions turn pink. Switch off stove. Allow to cool for a few minutes.DSC_0957.jpgMix the sauteed onion mixture with the mashed potato meat mixture.DSC_0958Roll into balls.DSC_0965Flatten them to your desired shapeDSC_0971.jpgDip in the Egg mixtureDSC_0978Roll out in bread crumbsDSC_0974Deep fry in  oil. When they turn golden brown, drain and remove on to paper towels.

DSC_0982Serve HotDSC_0989.jpg

Cook Book Scribbles :

  • Make sure the meat/ potato mixture is dry and not too loose.
  • The Oil needs to be almost smoking  hot  to prevent the croquettes from breaking
  • Also make sure the oil covers the croquettes completely, again to prevent the cutlets from breaking.
  • If you want to make it Gluten Free, you can dip the croquettes only in the egg mixture, skip dipping in the bread crumbs. You will not have a crispy outer cover but the taste does not differ much. OR use Gluten Free Bread Crumbs.
  • I use the term Meat Croquette because you can either use beef , mutton, or chicken
  • *The spice levels with the chilli powder, coriander powder and the pepper powder can be reduced to half  (or increased) according to taste
  • ** If you do not have a pressure cooker, use a thick bottomed pan, keep the heat on medium to medium high. Close and let it cook without adding any water for 20- 25 mins. The Meat will cook in its own juices.
  • The croquettes freeze really well,so you can make a big batch  of the bread crumb coated croquettes , days before a party or dinner or just so you have them handy for hungry kids and fry them straight out of the fridge without thawing…. in that case, take care not to burn the croquettes.
Christchurch · Coriander Restaurant · Eating out · Food · In and around Christchurch · Life style · New Zealand · Restaurant Review · South Island

CORIANDER INDIAN RESTAURANT

It’s a little over six months since we landed in this country. As each day passes on, we are feeling a little more settled than the previous day.
Like it always happens in a new place, where everything from the traffic rules to the things in the supermarket are different from what we’ve gotten used to, with each new day, we learn something new.
Sometimes, it takes a little bit of asking around, taking recommendations from people who’ve been there for a while and at other times, we learn through trial and error before settling on something we  enjoy. So I decided to put out our experiences so that it would help other people who are new around here.

CORIANDER INDIAN RESTAURANT

J and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary on the fifth of February.Big B offered to  babysit Lil B for us and so we both went out for a nice dinner at a restaurant called  Coriander on Asaph street.Christchurch

At the outset,We were very excited to find a nice parking spot close to the restaurant.
We had to wait for sometime before we could be seated at the tables we had reserved earlier. In all fairness though ,we made our reservation very late.
The forest green with gold lined  walls , the lowlight interiors,the dull gold moroccan lanterns hanging from the ceiling gave the place a very Indian ,sophisticated air.

 All the staff were very attentive.  Our friendly waitress came checking on us often to see if we were happy . She even took a picture of us both when we told her that we were celebrating our wedding anniversary.The managers too came and checked on us , which left us feeling very special .naturally!

.
For starters, we ordered Onion Bhajis. The Bhajis were tasty and the serving quite big for the both of us.
For the main, we ordered Chicken Madras, Kashmiri Naan and Kashmiri Pulav .
I found the Chicken Madras, a little too salty for our taste. I also  did not like the abundant use of desiccated  coconut in the Kashmiri pulav.  I wonder if our order was a bit off.  The Kashmiri Naan was ok.
For dessert, we had Gulab Jamun with  French Vanilla Ice Cream . I’m not a big fan of sweet stuff in general and so took just a couple of spoons to taste. J did enjoy it even though in his opinion it was nothing to write home about.
It was a nice finishing touch that the manager brought the Eftop machine to our table ,so that we could pay the bill without having walk around to the counter intruding on the dancing couples.
I really enjoyed watching the couples dancing  on the deck to some lovely music , as we waited for our bill .
What I missed and would have liked , is the complimentary Indian papad with mint chutney that we are so used to getting in India and Kuwait before the meal arrived.This is New Zealand and like everything else I think we’ll get used to that too!
Briyani · Food · Handmade · Life style · Summer

Yearly Review :2014

little recap of my projects in 2014. I was really surprised with the finished projects, when I put together this collage.

2015 started with a wonderful fellowship with friends and then our family. 

slept in , had a leisurely breakfast and later went and got a haircut.(amma , don’t panic..hahaha… Just a few inches and layers to get the weight off my head ).

We then got back and made biriyani to celebrate the New Year. It turned out to best one I ‘ve ever made so far!

I wonder if it’s the mint , coriander and tomatoes from our container garden that made it so special.

Food

Pepper Mushroom Masala

PEPPER
Growing up in the southern most part of India, I had only heard of edible mushrooms in storybooks and seen them  in picture books. The ones that appeared out of nowhere during rainy season in my hometown were usually very tiny. We were warned not to touch them as they were poisonous and so we never did .
By the time I was in college, my family had moved to a town that was dry for the major part of the year and mushrooms were rarely seen around.
The University Of Agriculture which was situated in a village nearby was conducting an one day training course for growing Oyster Mushroom in homes. They were promoting it as a small business idea for small scale farmers.
My mom’s friend and our neighbor (whom we lovingly called Lawyer aunty because her husband was a Lawyer), is a science teacher and she wanted to go and learn the process of growing mushrooms for profit at home. She wanted company and asked me if I wanted to go, when my mom couldn’t get leave from work. I tagged along with her because I could skip college .
I must confess that although I went there without expecting much, I came away very fascinated by what we learnt there.
Along with the training on how to grow mushrooms at home, each participant was given a little booklet with detailed instructions of all that we learnt there and some recipes plus a bottle of spawn.
I promptly got to work. All the stars aligned. Amma let me use the little shed outside our home. Since it was harvest season, there was plenty of hay from our paddy fields which  I used to sow the sample spawn I got at the University, to grow my very first batch of mushrooms .
pepper mushroom masala-2
I was so thrilled when those pristine white oyster mushrooms appeared on the little hay bundles I had prepared for the mushrooms to grow! For you see, the green thumb thing completely skipped me even though I was born into a family of agriculturists.
After a bountiful harvest we didn’t know how to cook the mushrooms so we gave some to friends and neighbours and Amma added them to the curries she made.
One day, I decided to try a recipe from the little booklet we got at the University. The recipe was rather simple but quite tasty! And quickly became a regular in our home. DSC_0474Later, I found out that our farm help on my dad’s farm also used this same recipe to cook wild mushrooms. The only spices used here in this recipe are pepper and cumin.
The original recipe used Oyster Mushrooms, but I’ve substituted button mushrooms and the taste does not differ muchDSC_0008



INGREDIENTS:

250 gms Mushroom (chopped )
1 tsp pepper
1 Onion (chopped)
1 small tomato
1 tsp grated coconut (optional)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp mustard
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
Curry leaves, salt to taste

METHOD:

Heat oil in a skillet.

Add Cumin, curry leaves and mustard seeds. Let it splutter.

Add Chopped onions, cook till they are pink in color.

Then add the tomato pieces. Saute well till mushy.

Add salt and pepper.

Now add the Mushroom. Saute well.

Sprinkle a little water. Cover and let it cook.

Add chopped corriander leaves.

Cook till the mushrooms are soft and well cooked but still firm .

Sprinkle grated coconut.

Serve as a side dish for rice.

Cook book scribbles: Without the coconut, this masala can also be used as a sandwich filler.