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Masala papad 6 February 2012

Posted by cath in mildly spicy, Recipes, shopping notes.
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Everyone loves poppadums… don’t they?
When I was young, living with my family in Hong Kong, we used to eat a lot of Indian meals out at a restaurant called ‘The Tandoor’ if i remember correctly. They had a dish there which we all loved called masala papad and although i don’t know their recipe, this is inspired by memories of that place.

Basically, it’s a poppadum topped with fresh tomato, onion and herbs. You have to add the topping at the last minute, but it looks and tastes great.

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A picture of tonight’s starter of masala papad.

Here’s how you make it…

Finely chop a small onion, a few ripe tomatoes, a clove of garlic, some fresh chili and coriander leaf. Mix together with a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Leave to let the flavours mix.

Then cook some poppadums. I use the hotplate on the aga but you can also cook them in the microwave. I love the flavoured ones you can buy from Asian shops, like these:

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Once cooked, the poppadums can be topped with a sprinkle of the tomato mixture, try to drain each spoonful on the side as too much liquid will make the poppadums soggy! Eat right away.

Of course you can just have poppadums with a range of chutneys instead, but either way i would definitely recommend cooking your own. Try it and see!

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Scones 4 February 2012

Posted by cath in cakes and treats, comfort food, easy, Recipes, variations.
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Quick and easy, the secret seems to be: don’t try too hard! Instead of rolling the dough, just pat down with cool hands. Also, don’t cut them too thin, 2 cm or a bit thicker is best.

Here’s the full recipe, makes 8 or 9 small scones (6 cm size cutter):

250g self-raising flour
Pinch salt
1 level tsp baking powder
25g caster sugar
50g butter, fridge cold
125ml full fat milk
1 large egg, beaten

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degC, grease a baking sheet.

Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Cut the cold butter into cubes and either rub in by hand or process very quickly.

Now add the sugar and mix briefly again. Add about half the beaten egg and process again adding the milk pouring it in slowly, or do this using a knife mixing until a sticky dough is formed. In the processor, keep going until a ball is formed. You should have a splash of milk leftover. By hand a little kneading in the bowl helps, but don’t handle the dough to much and keep those hands cool!

Lightly flour a board, using s-r flour again. Don’t use too much extra flour, you won’t need it. Turn out the dough ball and quickly flatten it to about 2 cm thick, no thinner!

Cut using a 6 cm round, press down evenly and then remove the excess dough from around the first scones. You need to very quickly press the dough back into a ball and push down again. Repeat until its all cut.

Place cut scones on the baking sheet. Add any remaining milk to the beaten egg leftover, mix and brush onto the top of the scones.

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden and hollow when tapped on the base.

Remove and place on a rack to cool, best served warm.

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This makes a basic, white, plain scone, perfect for cream tea…but anything can be added before mixing to a dough, so experiment away with savory and sweet additions. My favourite has to be cheese, a strong grated cheddar is good… and although you can add as much as you want, for this quantity about 50g of cheese/ dried fruit/ nuts etc. should be about right.

I’ve been eating my scones with raspberry jam and clotted cream – yum, and perfect with a nice cup of tea. Hope you enjoy making scones of all sorts.