Baking | Chicken, Mushroom & Roasted Pepper Julienne … where French cuisine deliciously meets Russian Cuisine in India!

“Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.”
Marcel Boulestin

Chicken, Mushroom & Roasted Pepper JulienneYes, I was back at a delicious food blog, The Mansurov’s, a favourite, but lack of time the past 2 months has kept me away from most of my faves. I have no idea what happened to time, but can’t believe that it’s December already! Hello? Still so much to do before the year goes by, bookmarked posts to try, breads to bake, cookies to make, fruit to soak for the cake, drafts to finalise … time to hit the panic button! If 11 months flew by so fast, then the rest of 2010 will be gone in a heartbeat!I’ve always wanted to bake a chicken pie at home, ever since we had some at Harry’s in Sydney way back in November 2008. Harry’s pies were served with peas and mash, and probably had gravy too. It’s been on my list to make forever, but I’ve never found a recipe that appealed to me a 100%. I had a vision in my mind … it would have a yummy ‘chicken with veggies’ interior, held together by a luxurious creamy sauce, with this puff pastry top etc. I repeatedly ‘chickened’ out each time, and my home made puff pastry found other use.Chicken, Mushroom & Roasted Pepper JulienneThis time as well was the same, well almost. Push came to shove, and we had folk for dinner. I sorted out almost sorted out the menu, but couldn’t get the right main course. Browsing the net, I saw this at Lola’s and I just knew it had to be the one. Her opening lines were as delicious as the dish itself. Just the fact that this is where French cuisine met Russian had me virtually eating the julienne right off her blog. Seriously, something strangely beautiful happens to the flavours of the sauce when you roast the flour before you add the butter. I think Lola mentioned clarified butter somewhere in her conversation. Will try that the next time… mmm!Chicken, Mushroom & Roasted Pepper JulienneIt’s become a favourite in our house already. I’ve made it twice in the last 2 weeks. Am contemplating making a vegetarian version of the julienne, maybe using broccoli, mushrooms, roasted bell peppers and cauliflower. The sauce is creamy and comforting. Once it bakes with the chicken and mushrooms, and stands for a short while, it takes all the ingredients into a ‘warm embrace‘ of sorts. YES, it’s quite the dreamy chicken pie I’ve been waiting for!Chicken, Mushroom & Roasted Pepper JulienneChanges? Yes, but just a few and more for want of substitution. No full fat cream available here, so I went with low fat cream. Added milk to thin the sauce out as mine was very thick the first time around. I added a grating of Gruyère, chopped garlic greens and roasted bell peppers too. The second time around, I sautéed chicken and mushroom in a huge wok and mixed the warm white sauce through. I then ladled them out into the ramekins. I found it easier to work this way as I was making the dish for a crowd. It’s a great make ahead main course dish, and nice for the hoilday season. You can set up the individual ramekins, or one large serving. Top with mozzarella at this time, {or even later}, cover it with foil and refrigerate it. Before serving, heat in the oven covered for about 15 minutes, and then grill for about 10 minutes on high until the cheese is bubbly and golden on the edges. Don’t skip the mozzarella and the pinch of cayenne … it does contribute beautifully to finishing the dish well!

Chicken, Mushroom & Roasted Pepper JulienneChicken, Mushroom & Roasted Pepper Julienne
Adapted from Mansoravs
Makes 12-14 small ramekins
Prep: 45 mins | Bake: 20 mins | Oven: 180C
Ingredients:
6 small breasts of chicken, cooked, chopped
200gms button mushrooms, sliced fine
3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 large onion, chopped fine
4-5 stalks garlic greens, chopped fine
3 roasted bell peppers, red & yellow, chopped
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt to taste
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp flour
50gm butter
200ml low fat cream {I use Amul 25% fat cream}
50gm Gruyère, grated {or cheddar}
1 1/4- 1 1/2 cup milk {as required}
200gms shredded mozzarella {I use Himalayan Buffalo Mozzarella}
Paprika
Chicken, Mushroom & Roasted Pepper Julienne
Method:
Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large wok. Sauté the chopped onions, garlic and garlic greens until fragrant, and the onions begin to colour a bit. Add the chopped chicken and mushrooms, and stir fry on high heat till the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt & pepper, and red chili flakes if you like. Take off heat, stir in the roasted peppers, cover and keep warm.
Now make the white sauce.
In a dry heavy saucepan, gently roast the flour on very low heat till light brown and fragrant. Add the butter and stir through well. Almost immediately begin to pour the cream in, whisking with a balloon whisk constantly to avoid lumps getting formed. Follow the cream with about 3/4 cup of milk, keep stirring and adding more milk as required. The sauce should be thick, and will continue to thicken as it cools. Grate in some Gruyère or cheddar, a grating of nutmeg if you like, season with salt and once the cheese has melted through, mix it into the warm reserved chicken, mushroom, bell pepper.
Divide this equally into 12-13 ramekins, or turn into one big baking dish, top with mozzarella, a pinch of cayenne and bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to turn a little golden. Stand for about 10 minutes, and serve hot.
Chicken, Mushroom & Roasted Pepper JulienneServing suggestions: Char-grilled broccoli salad, potato-mushroom croquettes, and a rustic garlic bread.
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{Baking/Vegetarian} ROASTED BELL PEPPER, MUSHROOM & RICOTTA CALZONES … l♥ved ‘em!

“Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?”
Author Unknown
Happy ‘hump day‘!! Am battling the flu and a flu ridden family but seem to have gotten the better of Wednesday. Wordless Wednesdays prove elusive as always, maybe because I have too much to say. For that matter I never seem to make it to a ‘Meatless Mondays post either; guess that’s fine because my food isn’t ruled by days of the week. That said, I make sure the grub is meatless at least 3 times a week, and these calzones proved to be just the thing. The combination of the filling, the depth the roasted bell peppers provided and the yumminess of the ricotta in here was a winner! This is one recipe I shall make often! {By the way, Tuesdays mean ‘Tuesdays With Dorie‘ for me, even though I haven’t had the courage to join the group!}
Saw them on FoodGawker the other day, and something about them stuck in my mind. The very thought of ricotta and bell peppers had me captivated, and I imagined how good they must have been! A trip down to Nummy Kitchen had me sold as she said “Calzones are such a fun dinner and are easy to personalize for the kids and picky husband. This recipe is from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food and starts with his basic pizza crust recipe”. So here I am, having made these delicious calzones as soon as I could.

The basic dough is Mark Bittman’s pizza dough. I loved that I could make it the night before and leave it to rise in the fridge overnight. Seems to make bread and pizza making so much more appealing. No need to worry about it being warm enough to double rise, done or not done etc? Let it slowly rise in the fridge, while you sleep over it, and wake up the next morning to magically well risen dough! I just love the option. Of course, you can do it the normal way of letting it rise n a warm place for a couple of hours too!
As Andrea writes, Mark suggests using ricotta and spinach, but leaves the options wide open, suggesting the use of pizza toppings mixed with the ricotta. She chose to use roasted bell peppers, and why ever not? These roasted beauties tasted absolutely rustic delicious in there. I went a step further and sautéed some sliced mushrooms in EVOO with garlic and red chili flakes, and added those too. They tasted just wonderful, and me thinks next time I might just double the mushrooms in there. The filling had the most beautiful flavours possible!
Do you make your own ricotta? I made the ricotta at home from a David Lebovitz recipe, and you can too. Do make sure you drain the ricotta well, else you just might end up with soggy calzones. Making ricotta at home might sound tedious, but I assure you it’s not. I made it 2 days prior to making the calzones, and let it drain, wrapped in cling-wrap in the fridge for 2 days. I roasted the bell peppers in advance too, and having done the dough the previous night, I was left with just basic mushroom filling to make, and assembly for the next day! Easy and breezy!
I think these will make handsome little bites for a kids birthday party too, and great snack box fillers! My kids had them for an after school snack, and then later for dinner too! I absolutely loved the option of a vegetarian calzone that would win over a non vegetarian option. Pizza toppings as filling? YES PLEASE!!

Roasted Bell Pepper, Mushroom and Ricotta Calzones

1 recipe Mark Bittman’s pizza dough {recipe follows}

Filling
Adapted from Nummy Kitchen
2 cups ricotta cheese {homemade from 1 ltr of whole milk, 1/2 cup yogurt and 200ml low fat cream; recipe here}
4-5 red & yellow bell peppers, roasted and chopped
1 cup shredded mature cheddar {I didn’t have mozzarella, but this worked great}
200gms button mushrooms, finely chopped / sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
A handful fresh basil leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil { I used Borges from here}
Salt and Pepper
I got 6 medium sized calzones from the dough. You can even make 4 large ones.

Method:
Heat the olive oil gently with 1/2 -1 tsp of roasted chili flakes and chopped garlic. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and sauté on high flame till the liquid evaporates. Add the chopped bell peppers with their juices and sauté again until dryish. {Not bone dry, but not drippy either, else they will make the calzone soggy}
Reserve in a large bowl until just warm. Now add the basil, grated cheddar and ricotta to this, stir well to mix. Adjust seasoning if required.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Divide the dough into 6 equal balls, and roll out into circles about 8 inches each, by rolling or patting the dough down.
Divide the filling equally among the six rolled out bits of dough. Fold over and pinch the sides to seal.
Bake for about 30 minutes until nice and risen, and brown. {You could give them an egg wash for a rich colour. I just gave them a brush of olive oil}
Cool for 5-7 minutes, and serve. {Be careful when you serve them to kids, as it might have hot air trapped within as they tend to puff up.}

Mark Bittman’s Pizza Dough
3 cups all-purpose plus more as needed
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1 to 1¼ cups water
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Method:
Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 teaspoons salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube.{I did this in a large bowl, using the hand mixer with dough hooks}
Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. {In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour, a tablespoon at a time.}
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough, in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rise in warm; draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. You can, cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 or 8 hours. {I made the dough at night and let it rise in the fridge overnight… and how it rose!!}
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Mushroom Soup, Fougasse, Char-grilled Broccoli Salad… & Holiday Gift Ideas!

“I live on good soup, not on fine words”
Moliere
It’s time for a savoury break… short & crisp recipe as most of my family has been bitten by the flu bug. We have a house full of sniffles & coughs, and this soup is the call of today. This is also my Mom’s fave soup which she now makes more often than me. I put together this simple recipe ages ago, yet had to call her for the recipe yesterday because amnesia struck me!!


It’s off for Meeta’s Monthly Mingle which is rightfully calling for warming soups this time. I think I am just about making it in the nick of time. The mingle this month is being hosted by SunshineMom @ TongueTicklers. I used some wonderful superfood milled nut flour in the soup, which I got from my FBC09 goodie bag. This Linswood milled nut flour is about the most versatile superfood I have come across. easy to use & a great larder necessity, I find myself reaching out for it all the time.

I used it here in this wonderful French Fougasse, a beautiful bread which has become a firm favourite in our house. I make this bread often, with different fillings to keep the monotony at bay.… This time it had a little lingering taste of the milled nut flour within, and the filling was of roasted red bell pepper, mature cheddar cheese and chopped walnuts. You can find a Red Bell Pepper, Walnut & Gouda French Fougasse recipe here, & a French Fougasse with Ricotta, Walnuts & Romesco here. I brushed the top of one loaf with sea salt, and used roasted sesame seeds for the other.

Our meal was yummier with the addition of this beautiful , deep flavoured char grilled broccoli salad from a book that my sweet friend Hilda of SaffronBerry recently gifted me in London, the Ottolenghi – The Cookbook. I have been eyeing that salad from day 1, and today was just the right day to make it. I will share the recipe at a later date… but here is a picture of how robust and delicious broccoli can get!

Quick Mushroom Soup
Ingredients:
200gms button mushrooms, sliced
2 spring onion, chopped with greens
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp butter
250ml cold milk
1 tbsp cornflour
250ml chicken/vegetable stock; or milk (I used milk this time)
Dash of cream
1-2 tbsps milled nut seeds, optional
Salt and pepper to tateMethod:
Saute onions and garlic in butter til they become translucent. Add mushrooms and stir fry till they release thier liquid
Dissolve the cornflour in cold milk and add to above, stirring constantly till it begins to thicken.
Add chicken or vegetable stock and stir till comes to a simmering boil.
You can grate some cheese in if you like, or add a dash of cream/half and half if you like. Season with salt and pepper.
Cool and blend with immersion blewnder to keep slightly chunky consistency.
Before serving, heat through, add a tbsp or 2 of milled flour seeds. This adds a wonderful nutty texture and flavour.
Serve hot with a swirl of cream, sprig of fresh basil and wholewheat, oven baked croutons.

Oven baked croutons

Cube 2 slices of whole wheat bread, toss in 1 tbsp of olive oil / canola oil, 1 tbsp of milled nut seed flour, and a dash of salt. Make sure it is mixed well. Bake at 180C for 10 minutes till crisp and golden. Cool and store in an airtight box.
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥


I’d like to offer some holiday gift suggestions too for a season which is full of the spirit of goodness, joy & sharing. It has been my ultimate pleasure to work with BloggerAid for the following cookbook which has now become a reality. It’s a wonderful book to gift for the holiday season, more so because 100% of the proceeds from sales will go to the UN World Food Programme. About the book…


Available from createspace at https://www.createspace.com/3405882.

Recipes from bloggers around the world making a difference By BloggerAid-CFF, Rhonda Renee, Mark Haak, Peter Georgakopoulos, Deeba Rajpal

Food does not simply nourish the body; food also celebrates what makes the world diverse, as well as, what unites us. The BloggerAid Cook Book is a collection of international recipes illustrating that we can work together and unite for a greater cause. The authors of this cookbook are food bloggers from around the world who have endeavored to make a difference by raising funds for the World Food Programme and encompassing their passion for “all things foodie” at the same time. Through these recipes they share their traditions and insatiable curiosity about new flavours. They pay tribute to the home cooking of our grandmothers, while celebrating the exoticism and richness of a world brought closer together by their hopes to make a difference. With recipes such as Tomato-Cheese Ravioli with Eggplant Sauce, Spicy Serundeng Tuna and Peanuts, Serrano Ham Paella with Oyster Mushrooms, Raspberry Mascarpone Bites and Triple Layer Orange-Passion Fruit Tart we are doing our part to say that bloggers can change the face of famine.

We chose the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) to receive the funds generated by the cookbook because of the wonderful work this organization does. The WFP has touched the lives of our members, many of whom are from countries where poverty is often a way of life. More specifically, 100% of BloggerAid’s proceeds from the cookbook will benefit the WFP’s School Meals Programme, which benefits an average of 22 million hungry children each year. School meals are important on many levels. In countries where school attendance is low, the promise of at least one nutritious meal each day boosts enrollment and promotes regular attendance.

This book is a virtual way for all of us, wherever we may be and however rich or poor we may be, to pull up a chair at the same table and share what we have.

Publication Date: Nov 10 2009
ISBN/EAN13: 1449561926 / 9781449561925
Page Count: 224
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 8″ x 10″
Language: English
Color: Full Color
Related Categories: Cooking / General

I was thrilled to see the BloggerAid Cookbook being offered by Meeta @ What’s For Lunch Honey as part of her bidding package for Menu For Hope. Do stop by at WFLH to see what more the package includes… you will not be disappointed!


A few days ago I was pleasantly surprised to receive a beautiful package ,via Val’s blog More Than Burnt Toast which had an assortment of pretty glass bottles filled with spice blends. They are from an artisanal food company, ‘Made With Love, whose product range includes ‘Spice Blends and Delectable Edibles‘. Made with Love is a family run business with a back to basics focus on integrity, insight and simplicity. We create our Spice Blends & Delectable Edibles from whole dried foods blended and packaged with care and attention to detail.

It was a beautiful gift to receive. Do stop by and take a look at what they have to offer. Their vision and commitment reflects that they work hard to source earth-safe packaging and organic materials.


Another great gift idea for foodies would be this excellent cookbook software from The Cookbook People. I received my own copy of this fantastic software from BloggerAid for winning an in house competition, and am really enjoying building my own cookbook page by page. The cookbook people are “committed to helping families keep their cherished recipes, so they designed their own family cookbook software. Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software prints your home-made family cookbooks. One copy…or as many copies as you want. Whenever YOU want. Because you make it yourself on your own computer!”

If you like, you could even add on a recipe binder or recipe box!


There is always place for yet another cookbook on our already stuffed bookshelves. One book I have immensely enjoyed reading, drooling over & planning to cook from is the ‘Ottolenghi – The Cookbook’ that Hilda gave me. It’s a book from the heart. It has history, it has stories, it has beautiful pictures & it has the ‘pick me up & cook‘ urgency in it! (I just cooked from it this afternoon; a char grilled broccoli salad … irresistible!)

In the author’s words “The Cookbook is our first attempt at “summing up” Ottolenghi food for the home cook. The 140 recipes cover everything we do: our prominent salads and roast vegetable dishes, cold meat and fish, substantial main courses from our dinner menu in Islington, some of our wholesome breads and savoury pastries, and a good mixture of the sweets that distinctively adorn Ottolenghi’s windows. We encourage you to use this open window into our world.


My last gift suggestion for today is a blend of foodie goodies like what we got in out goodie bags at the FBC09. Linswood has a wonderful array of super foods on offer. Throw into the bag some matured cheddar cheese, some quality organic olives, some Maldon sea salt, & you will be thanked forever!

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