Healthy Carrot and Oat Cake

Easy to make, full of flavour and nutritious ingredients, this stunning cake is great with tea or serve as a dessert. I add Sri Lankan cashew nuts and herbs.

INGREDIENTS
3 cups grated fresh carrot
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups ground oats
1 cup honey
1 cup yogurt
2 eggs
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 chopped cashew nuts
1/2 cup mix seeds and nuts (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, crushed almonds)
1/2 cup sultanas and dry cranberries
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
METHOD
Heat the oven to 180*
In a bowl mix together the yogurt, honey, eggs and oil
In a separate bowl mix together the carrots, oats, cashew nuts, dry fruits, herbs and baking ingredients
Combine both mixtures togethers
Bake in a lined cake tin (22 x 6 cm) for 30 minutes in a hot oven, 180*
Then reduce the heat to 170* and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Sesame Marmite Chicken

Roasted sesame seeds, lemon zest and Marmite bring amazing taste to this chicken recipe! I hope you’ll love it as much as we do in our house.
INGREDIENTS
500g chicken breast or thigh (skinless and boneless)
 2 tbs sesame seeds (roasted)
1 tbs coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbs crushed chilli
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbs lemon zest
1 tbs Marmite
1 tsp thyme leaves
3 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs ginger
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt
METHOD
Heat the oven to 180*
Blend all the ingredients together as a paste
Marinade the chicken and then bake for 30 to 40 minutes
Cover and keep on one side for around 10 minutes, then slice and serve with  rice

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Lentil Rice with Noodles

Lentil rice with noodles is well-known Persian dish. When I lived in Dubai I followed this same recipe, but I did it in my own way using a few Sri Lankan ingredients to create more flavour. I hope you will enjoy it.
INGREDIENTS
2 cups (256g) Basmati rice (washed and drained)
1 cup (128g) green lentils (par boiled)
1 cup (128g) noodles (roasted to golden brown)
100g potato (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup (64g) sultanas
1/2 cup (64g) dates (pitted and chopped)
1/2 cup (64g) pine nuts or cashews (roasted)
100g chopped onion
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
3 tbs chopped ginger
1 dried lime (chopped)
2 small capsicums (chopped)
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 tbs butter
4 tbs olive oil
3-4 cups boiling water
1 tbs cumin powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp mace threads
1 tbs ground black pepper
1/4 tsp saffron
METHOD
Heat the pan. Add 2 tbs olive oil then add garlic, ginger, onion, capsicum, cumin powder and stir well until the aroma comes out.
Then add potatoes, lentils, noodles and rice and the rest of the ingredients. Add hot water to cover the mixture, mix well and cover with a lid. Cook on a low heat until the rice is fluffy and the potatoes are cooked through. Remove from heat, mix slowly with a fork or the edge of a wooden spoon. Remove the bay leaves. Serve with a sesame chicken (recipe to follow) and creamed spinach.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Chicken and Vegetable Quiche

This is a delicious yet simple bake for lunch, full of flavour too. Instead of chicken you can just use vegetables.

 

INGREDIENTS 

Frozen puff pastry roll

300g skinless and boneless chicken (diced)

250g potato (boiled and diced)

150g leeks (sliced)

100g grated carrot

150g baby spinach (washed and dried)

2 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 eggs (beaten)

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs lime juice

1/2. cup double cream

150g cheddar cheese (grated)

50g parsley (chopped)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

METHOD

Heat the oven to 175*

Line the pastry tray with the puff pastry sheet and keep in the fridge

Heat the oil in a pan, add garlic and leeks cook for about 5 minutes

Add the chicken and for cook another 15 minutes, then add salt and pepper

Remove from heat, add spinach, carrot, lime juice and half of the parsley

In bowl mix the eggs and cream

Take the pastry out of the fridge, fill with the chicken and vegetable mixture then pour the egg mixture over the top

Sprinkle with the cheese and rest of the parsley

Bake around 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown

Serve with mixed salad leaves


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Stuffed Cuttlefish

In Sri Lanka we use fresh cuttlefish in a variety of different ways. I have my own recipe for this curry using my Mum’s curry ingredients. It tastes so amazing that I just had to share it with you all.

INGREDIENTS

500g small cuttlefish (cleaned and washed – ask your fishmonger)

1 medium onion (chopped)

3 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 tbs chopped fresh ginger

1 big tomato (chopped)

1 tsp chilli powder

1tsp roasted curry powder

1 tsp black pepper powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

3 cardamom (chopped)

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 inch lemon grass (chopped)

2 sprigs of curry leaves

2 tbs fresh  lime or lemon juice

2 tbs coconut oil (or vegetable oil)

1 cup coconut milk (200ml)

Salt to taste

For the stuffing 

50g leeks or spring onion (chopped)

100g carrot (grated)

100g cauliflower (grated)

100g parboiled potato (diced)

2 tbs fresh parsley or chives (chopped)

1 tbs olive oil or butter

Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD 

Heat the oil or butter in a saucepan, add spring onion or leeks and cook for about 7 minutes

Add the remaining vegetables and cook all together for another 5 minutes, then check the seasoning

Remove from the heat and let it cool down

Stuff the vegetables mixture into the cuttlefish, and keep on one side

Heat the oil in a pan, add garlic, onion, ginger, lemon grass, curry leaves, cardamom and cinnamon.  When the aromas come out add the chopped tomato and mix well. Then add the curry powders and cook for another five minutes

Add the coconut milk and let it simmer, check the seasoning

Then arrange the stuffed cuttlefish carefully into the curry, cover and cook for a further 7 minutes

Remove from the heat, and add the lime juice

Serve with rice or bread


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Three Flavour Risotto

Rather than make a standard mushroom risotto, I decided to liven it up a bit by adding some fresh vegetable flavours and grated halloumi. I am very happy with the result – three dishes in one!

INGREDIENTS 

400g risotto rice

1 white onion, chopped 

3 tbs olive oil

1 tbs white wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves 

3 sprig of thyme 

3 cups vegetable stock

1 cup white wine 

2 tbs cream cheese (or creme fraiche)

50g  Parmesan cheese, grated

150g halloumi cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Extra Flavour Ingredients

  1. 100g green peas (fresh or frozen) and 3 tbs fresh mint, chopped
  2. 1 cup oven-roasted pumpkin (seeded and peeled) with 2 tbs chives, snipped
  3. 100g cherry tomatoes (remove the skin) with 3 tbs fresh basil, chopped

 

METHOD 

Heat the pan, add the oil and then the garlic and onion. Sauté until soft.

Add the rice, stir for 5 minutes on low heat then add the wine and herbs. Mix well, then add the vegetable stock a little at a time.

When the rice is cooked add the cream, halloumi cheese and vinegar. Check the seasoning. 

Separate into three bowls and add one set of flavourings into each bowl (peas, pumpkin and tomatoes). Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the top.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Aubergine and Courgette Bake

The vegetables are coated with bread crumbs and shallow fried, then we add tomato sauce and finish in the oven, we get a dish that is so full of flavour.
INGREDIENTS
1 big aubergine
2 courgettes
1 white onion
3 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves and 2 sprigs of thyme
3 tbs fresh basil
1 tin chopped tomato (400g)
1tbs tomato purée
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp crushed chilli
3 tbs olive oil
150g fresh bread crumbs
2 tbs flour
2 eggs, beaten
150g grated cheddar cheese
For the béchamel
2 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
2 cups milk
1 egg
1/2 cup white wine
METHOD
Wash the vegetables, and cut the aubergine and courgettes into thick slices. Coat with flour, then dip into the egg wash and then breadcrumbs. Heat a shallow pan and sprinkle with some olive oil. Fry the vegetables until golden brown, and keep on one side.
In another saucepan heat the rest of the olive oil, sauté the garlic and onion and add chill, then add the tomato purée, sugar, bay leaves and salt and let it simmer until oil appears on the top. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stems.
In a pan melt the butter, add the flour to make a roux. Then add the milk little by little until the sauce becomes a thick puree without lumps. Add the egg and wine and check the seasoning.
Heat the oven 180*. Arrange an ovenproof dish with one layer of aubergine, then a layer of tomato sauce and the béchamel. Follow in the same way with the courgettes, etc. Finish with the rest of the béchamel, cheese and chopped basil. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with a mixed leaf salad.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Sweet Potato and Potato Dumplings

This pure vegetarian dish is a favourite in our house! Serve with a simple salad.
INGREDIENTS
1 cup boiled and mashed potato
2 cup boiled and mashed sweet potato
1 cup flour
3 tbs chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
For sauce
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tbs flour
3 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup milk
50g grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
METHOD
In a bowl mix flour, potato, sweet potato, parsley and salt. Cover and keep on the side. In a pan heat the butter and oil, then add the garlic and onion. Sauté then add mushrooms to soften. Add flour, mix well and add milk a little at a time. Remove from the heat, mix in the white wine, basil and salt and pepper. Check the seasoning.
On a chopping board or worktop sprinkle some flour and roll out the potato mixture. Cut as you like into 1 inch pieces.
Boil the water then add the dumplings a few at a time. When they float to the surface, remove from pan and place into an ovenproof dish.
Heat the sauce on a low flame, add the dumplings and sprinkle with cheese and basil. Serve immediately.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Crespelle

Italian crespelle is often made with a tomato sauce. In my own recipe I use béchamel instead, and tasty almonds flakes. My friends are so impressed with the taste, and I am happy to share this recipe with you all.

INGREDIENTS

500g fresh spinach (washed and drained)

200g leeks (washed and sliced)

50g parsley (washed and chopped roughly)

3 garlic cloves (chopped)

200g ricotta cheese

75g Parmesan cheese (grated)

3 tbs olive oil

Salt and black pepper

 

Ingredients for Pancakes

200g plain flour

2 eggs (beaten)

3 tbs olive oil

200ml coconut milk

1 tsp dry herbs (oregano or thyme)

1/2 tsp baking powder

Salt

Method

Mix eggs, milk and olive oil together

In another bowl, mix flour, herbs, baking powder and salt

Beat both mixtures together until a thick puree without lumps

Keep on one side

 

For the béchamel 

100g butter

75g flour

350ml milk

100ml white wine

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp mustard powder or paste

Salt

 

Method

Melt the butter in a saucepan then add flour, cook until nutty brown

Remove from the heat, add the milk and mix until silky pure without lumps, then add wine

Add mustard and nutmeg, and check the seasoning

 

METHOD

Heat the oven 180*

Heat a pan with olive oil, add the garlic and leeks and cook for around 7 minutes

Add spinach and parsley, remove from the heat and mix well

Let it cool down then add the ricotta cheese and check the seasoning

Start making thin pancakes with a nonstick pan

Sprinkle the spinach mixture in each pancake and roll it up

Arrange the pancakes in a ovenproof dish

Finish with the béchamel, sprinkle with parmesan and flaked almonds

Bake in the oven until golden brown and the pancakes have crisped slightly

 

 


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Coconut and Apple Cake

This is my first cake recipe with fresh coconut, coconut oil, and apple as well as spices from Sri Lanka.
I was very happy with the way it came out! The apple retained some crunch, and it was full of delicious fresh coconut flavour.
INGREDIENTS
3 cups any sweet apple (peeled and diced)
1/2 lemon (juiced)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp cloves powder
100g walnuts (roasted and chopped)
3 eggs
1/4 plain yogurt
1 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
For the caramel coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbs hot water
1 cup freshly scraped coconut
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Pinch of salt
Butter Caramel sauce
100g soft butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup double cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
METHOD
For the cake
  • Heat the oven to 180*
  • Line a baking tray with baking parchment
  • In a bowl mix lemon juice and apple, and keep on one side
  • In another bowl mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices)
  • Mix the wet ingredients together in another bowl (eggs, oil, yogurt and vanilla essence)
  • Combine both mixtures together with the apple
  • Transfer mixture into the lined baking tray, and bake for 40 minutes
For the caramelised coconut
  • heat the pan with the brown sugar and caramelise lightly
  • then add the hot water and cardamom powder, coconut and salt and cook on a low heat until the syrup absorbs into the coconut
  • remove from the heat and let it cool
For the caramel butter
  • melt the butter in a pan and keep stirring without burning until light brown
  • then add the sugar mix and well on low heat
  • when the sugar and butter mixture starts to boil remove from the heat and add the cream and vanilla, whisking well
  • allow to cool
To assemble the cake
  • when the cake is ready to sandwich, separate it into two halves
  • spread one half with the caramel sauce and walnuts
  • put the other half on the top, and finish with the caramel topping and sprinkle over the caramel coconut and the rest of the walnuts

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.