Tag Archives: saffron

Recipe: Saffron and Cardamon Yoghurt (Shrikhand)

I originally encountered this recipe in a pack from the glorious (and sadly, now on hold) Curry Delights startup.  It is a beautiful, pale-yellow-tinted, cooling yoghurt dessert flavoured with cardamom and the honey-like scent of saffron, and I absolutely loved it – so much that I made it two nights running, in fact. 

Ambika and Vikram’s version of this dish was super-easy and very quick, but relied on a couple of products that I was unable to source in Australia, so once I ran out (i.e., about four days after first encountering the recipe), I was out of luck.  I did have recipes for Shrikhand in other books, but none of them looked quite right (though I *highly* approve of the one that suggests adding popping candy, and I will be doing this at the first opportunity), and most of them, being more traditional, required a longer preparation time, as the recipes relied on drained yoghurt.

But I was really craving those lovely, cooling flavours again this week, so I decided that it was time to see if I could cross the various recipes, modified slightly to my tastes, and make a version that was feasible here.

Short version?  I did, and it was glorious, and I’m writing it up right now, so that I don’t forget the quantities…


Your Shopping List

saffron strands – a big pinch, crumbled between your fingers into a little bowl
250 g light cream cheese
1/3 cup icing sugar (slightly heaped, to be honest)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder, also heaped
350 g low fat Greek Yoghurt (nothing wrong with full fat, but the low fat Black Swan one is nicer than the full fat anyway, and frankly, this dessert does not need to be any richer than it is)
200g raspberries, to serve.  Trust me, you want something fresh and acidic. Continue reading

Recipe: Golden Snake Bread for Chinese New Year

bakedIt’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Apparently, the first week of work was rather more overwhelming than I expected, because while I felt totally fine at work, I was remarkably disinclined to cook when I got home each night this week.  This is particularly sad, because I’m yet to even make something for my own Vegetarian Lunchbox Challenge (fortunately, lots of other people have, so the page is  very much worth a visit).

Anyway, I’ve been invited to a Vegan pot-luck for Chinese New Year this evening by Steph (Edited to add: and it was awesome!), which requires suitable baking.  My initial plan was to make crysanthemum biscuits with red bean paste, but I was unable to find red bean paste, so I tried to make my own, and that turned out to be a big mistake, so I finally decided that instead of doing something that might be authentically Chinese (difficult, since I never cook Chinese food at all), I might as well go with the red and gold and Year of the Snake as my themes.  And how better to achieve gold than with the gorgeousness that is saffron?

I actually have several recipes for saffron bread.  Mostly, they are full of eggs and butter and milk, because this is the sort of bread people make for festivals, and nothing says ‘festive’ like enriched bread dough.  But eggs and butter and milk are not notably vegan, which is OK, because I also have a book of vegan and gluten-free breads with a saffron bread recipe in it.  The trouble with *that* is that it calls for a variety of gluten-free flours that I have not yet been able to find (largely because I was so tired after my first week back at work that I slept until midday and thus missed the various little shops that are only open on Saturday mornings).

So I decided to cross the recipes.  This bread is enriched with almond milk and olive oil, with chia seeds standing in for the eggs in some weird way that I do not fully comprehend but am willing to take on faith for now.  I’ve replaced the currants that are traditional to Saint Lucia buns with cranberries, which are much more red, and instead of the classic braided loaf, this bread is shaped into a rather fat serpent shape.

It tastes like honey, and has a texture like a moister, softer version of pannetone – very soft and tearable and delightful.  I thought at first it would need butter or honey, but it really doesn’t – it’s perfect just as it is, gorgeous and golden and vegan and full of happiness.  What more could you ask of bread?

Your Shopping List

1 1/3 cups almond milk
1 tsp saffron
2 tbsp chia seeds (white is better, aesthetically speaking, for this bread)
2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cups of bread flour
3/4 cup cranberries, preferably unsweetened, or barberries
A couple of tablespoons of almond milk and a couple of raw sugar, optional

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Recipe: Potato Salad with Saffron and Herbs, for Beth

This is another recipe that I promised to pass on more than  a year ago.  Maybe two years go.  Oh dear.  Sorry, Beth… Anyway, this recipe’s a real delight – light and herby and tangy, without the creaminess of traditional potato salads, but with so much more sharpness and flavour.  Also, it’s vegan!

The recipe originated in Julie LeClerc’s cookbook, Made in Morocco, which I can heartily recommend, though not quite as much as Taking Tea In the Medina, which I love even more and is one of my go-to books for things middle-eastern. I’ve added more herbs, and have upped the dressing-to-potato recipe because I’m evil like that.  Enjoy!

Your Shopping List

750g new potatoes, washed but not peeled
a good pinch of saffron threads
2-3 little red salad onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
several handfuls of herbs – Julie suggests mint and coriander or parsley (and in much smaller quantities) – I tend to use all three, plus whatever else I can find in my garden – a few sage leaves, some rosemary, basil, chives, tarragon, whatever. I recommend this approach!
salt and pepper to taste

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Recipe: Rosemary Chicken Skewers with Fruity Pilaf

I wanted to do something beautiful with those rosemary branches.  That’s pretty much all the commentary this gets, because that was the entire inspiration for this meal.  This recipe is truly mine – I’ve made jewelled pilafs to a number of recipes, but this isn’t any of them, and marinades are something I tend to improvise.  I had to make an effort to measure things.  Depending on the size of your dish, you may need to use more or less marinade – just keep the proportions about the same and you’ll be fine.

Your shopping list (serves 4)

8 large, woody rosemary stalks
4 chicken breast fillets with tenderloins, or 8 chicken thigh fillets
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
couple of splashes of white wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, sliced
seasonings of your choice – I used a teaspoon of French Lavender Salt and a little rosemary and it was amazing, but salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme would be a lovely combination too
25 g butter, pref. salted
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup water or stock
a good pinch of saffron
1 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries, halved (dried cranberries, currants or dried figs would do if you can’t get cherries)
1/4 cup dried apricots, sliced
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 red capsicum
1 lebanese cucumber
extra virgin olive oil (infused with lemon or blood orange, ideally)
white wine vinegar
Greek yoghurt, to serve

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Recipe: Date and Pistachio Petits Fours (Mersu)

Date and pistachio petits fours

Inspired by The Silk Road Gourmet’s Mesopotamian Cookoff, I went a little crazy in the kitchen today and made not one, not two, but three versions of Mersu.

The sum of the Mersu recipe was “Ingredients: dates and pistachios”.  The rule was that one couldn’t go too far beyond the ingredients listed, and should stick to ingredients found in the Near East in ancient times.  My personal rule was that the first two recipes I thought of were too easy and so I had to make something really insane for the third one.  Hence, we have dates stuffed with saffron and honey pistachios, date sweetmeats with pistachio and coriander seed, and something I’m going to call a pistachio and honey macaron with date curd.  But I’m lying a bit about the macaron part, because I’m pretty sure you can’t make a proper macaron without using sugar (not commonly available in ancient times), so the biscuit part has a texture and flavour somewhere between  meringue and nougat. Nothing to dislike there.  Though if I weren’t doing a Mersu challenge, I would probably have made a dried cherry filling rather than a date one.

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