The 100th Post: Baked tuna cutlets

I fell in love with fish cutlets over the summer while at a family friend's dinner party -head over heels in love. Served initially as an appetiser, it soon became part of the main course as I couldn't help but make multiple trips back to the kitchen for more. I had never known fish cutlets to be so addictive. At the end of the night, after rather sheepishly admitting how many I had eaten, I realised that I couldn't leave without getting the recipe. When Deepavali came around this year, I knew that I had to give the recipe a go, but using canned tuna instead of fresh fish.

Tuna in brine, 5 185g cans
8-9 (depending on size) potatoes
3 large onions, chopped
Ginger, finely chopped
Chilli, chopped
Coriander leaves
Mustard seeds
Garam masala
Curry powder
Chilli powder
Fennel seeds
Soy sauce
2 eggs

Boil the potatoes until soft and make a mash out of them.
Pre-heat the oven at about 180 degrees celcius. Line a baking tray with foil and drizzle some oil onto the foil.
Saute the onions, chilli, ginger and spices (except the coriander leaves) until the onions are soft and the spices fragrant. Add the tuna into the mixture together with the rest of the seasoning and allow to cook. This is where discretion becomes key - I would suggest adding the chilli powder, curry powder, garam masala and soy sauce a little at a time.
Take the tuna mixture off the stove and combine with the potatoes and coriander leaves.
Add the beaten eggs into the mixture and mix well.
Form small patties out of the mixture and roll the patties around in the breadcrumbs before placing them onto the baking tray. I personally like the patties to be on the thinner side as they crisp up quicker.
Place into the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

While most fish cutlet recipes call for deep frying, I decided to go down the healthier (and easier) path by popping them into the oven instead. To cater to the vegetarian diners that night, I made a vegetarian version by omitting the tuna and just using potatoes as the base.

It definitely helps when you've got a spare potato 'masher' in the house.

Deepavali at No. 42

You know how much we love our festivals and special occasions, especially when they give us the excuse to have a cookout. No matter how hard we try, we always seem to go just a tiny bit overboard with the amount of food - I daresay it's really a subconscious choice to do so since it means not having to worry about the next couple of meals. Ah yes, the joys of waking up to a buffet.

Our excuse this time? Deepavali - possibly the most deliciously aromatic of all festivals.

What started out as something small turned into quite the operation when our lack of foresight in terms of groceries turned into a 'let's see how much we can pile into this shopping cart!' last-minute spree. Needless to say, the kitchen was in a bit of a frenzy as we realised how much we had to cook and how little time we actually had. Clad in your bathrobe with your head in the oven while the first of your guests arrive - not exactly the look one would be going for.

The Deepavali must-have, chicken curry

Indian-style cauliflower and potatoes

Spicy tomato chicken

Spinach and cottage cheese - the absolutely divine sag paneer that was the only dish that didn't make it to the next day.

Potato puffs and tuna cutlets

To complement everything, vegetarian biryani.

I've probably said this countless times but the thing I love most about Indian cuisine is how the flavours are always so robust. As someone who is a lot more confident cooking with oyster sauce and soy sauce than say, mustard seeds or garam masala, cooking with the housemates can be quite the educational experience in terms of spices and new flavours.

Of course, the joy isn't simply in the cooking but in the sharing of a meal with good company. Conversations, failed attempts at ice cream making, laughter, chocolate that wouldn't melt, sparklers and far too much eating - oh yes, we were more than content.

I hope you had a delicious Deepavali too.

For the bittersweet tooth: a quick tiramisu dessert

The new housemate is quite the happy cook, and when he announced one afternoon that he was going to make "a little treat for the house", needless to say, the house became quite the happy house as well.

With a prep time of about 20 minutes, this is the ideal student recipe and absolutely perfect for potlucks.

300 ml double cream
300 ml cream cheese
Trifle sponge
300 ml black coffee
50 g sugar
Cocoa powder
(optional) Kahlua or Amaretto, to taste

Whip the double cream, cream cheese, sugar, liqueur and half of the coffee until smooth.
Line a baking tray or dish with clingfilm and arrange the trifle sponge to form the base.
Pour the remaining coffee evenly over the trifle sponge before spooning the creamy mixture onto the base.
Sprinkle some cocoa powder over the top and pop into the the fridge for at least 45 minutes to allow the dessert to set.

The result is a satisfying, creamy, coffee-infused dessert. It's one of those desserts that tastes better the longer it is kept as the flavours take time to get fully soaked up by the sweet sponge.

I've always been a fan of the quick and simple recipes - this one is definitely a keeper and a crowd pleaser.

Tiramisu on FoodistaTiramisu

Stuffed Courgettes

"What in the world am I going to do with these courgettes?"

On a whim. Yes, that's how it happened. You know how they say that you only end up buying things you don't really need when you're shopping in-store? Well, that's not entirely true - browsing on Tesco's online grocery site presents the same sort of temptation with the added bonus of not having to carry anything home after that.

Anyway, after a quick chat with mum and some online recipe-hunting, I decided to give stuffed courgettes a shot. The idea seemed simple enough and appeared to be quite popular within the online cooking community.

Eggs (one for every courgette)
Black pepper
Soy sauce
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius
Chop the mushrooms, tomatoes, celery and onions
Cook the courgettes whole in boiling water for about 4 minutes
Slice open courgettes lengthwise and using a spoon, scoop the flesh out. Chop the flesh up.
Saute the onions in some olive oil and add to that the chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, celery, onions and courgette.
Add a little soy sauce and let the ingredients soften.
In a bowl, mix the cooked vegetables with the egg, adding pepper and herbs to taste.
Put the mixture into the courgette cases, lay them onto a foil-lined baking tray and pop into the oven for 15 - 20 minutes.

Having never really been a fan of cucumbers or courgettes, I armed myself with a myriad of sauces, anticipating the stuffed courgettes to lack strength of flavour. I cannot be more glad that I was wrong - the courgette cases had taken on a delightful soft, slightly springy texture after spending time in the oven and the simple recipe really allowed the delicate sweetness of the vegetables to mingle and come through. Needless to say, the sauces went right back into the cupboard.

I love how the dish can be tweaked to suit your fancy - next up, curried stuffed courgettes, perhaps?