Category Archives: Cooking

Recipes that are easy to make

Harpos Colombo Fort Cafe at the Fort Dutch Hospital – Eat, Share & Connect

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An ideal place to chill out after work, to catch up on an old friendship or make it a family outing. during the weekend. A choice of mouthwatering and delicious combinations of Italian food will help you enjoy your night. Eat, Share and Connect is what they profess.

The Colombo Fort Café by Harpos is a popular restaurant among the dozen of restaurants available for choice at the Colombo Dutch Hospital. When you say Dutch Hospital it may sound strange to a foreign visitor but not to the local clientele who frequent the place. This colonial building complex that was once actually a hospital serving the foreign occupied forces Dutch, Portugese and British. It was beautifully renovated and elevated into grand scale a few years ago. Every attempt was made to retain the original Dutch architecture. As a visitor enters the Dutch Hospital and walks into the stone paved courtyard you automatically begin to relax.

The ambiance was wonderfully set for dinner with my colleague facing the open courtyard at the restaurant. A candle was at the center of the table adding a glint of romance to the evening. Inside the restaurant consisted of dim lit space with rows of tables lining the room. The whole place had a rustic feeling. However seating outside under the patio I felt was a better choice. The open space with the wind blowing in your hair was relaxing.

We were actually their to review the food . So to get down to business we politely requested for the menu. The food selection was made easy with a menu that carried detailed descriptions of items. The full spread of selection included roast meat, batter fried sea food, a range of pastas, tapas, pizzas and lots more.

Accompanied by a glass of red wine that was specially selected by the Restaurant Manger, Winslow Quyn we were served batter fried Calamarie and hot chillie sauce as a starter. The Calamarie was fresh and succulent, the crispy golden coating added spice to every bite. The main course was roast beef steak by choice because a restaurant that gives a good roast will most likely get everything else right.  My colleague selected chillie prawns accompanied by long-thin pasta.

The steak was wonderfully done, tasted so good I thought it was the best I’ve had in town. Two-thumps-up for getting the roast right. We enjoyed every bite. This was accompanied with vegetables and French fries.

So to comment about the rest the chillie prawns sitting on a bed of vermicelli, stirred in a thin sauce was both a simple and elegant choice of food. The prawns tasted delicious wrapped in rounds of pasta dripping in the sauce. Having been served large prawns made it easy to handle the crust.

The choice of dessert was far too many each sounding equally delicious. We selected Chocolate Mouse which was a wonderful chocolate cream melting in the mouth and a mound of passionfruit-cheese cake dressed with fresh strawberries and sweet caramel sauce. The creamed cheese blended well with deep sour taste of the passionfruit, tiny black pip scrunched with every mouthful – I was actually sorry when the dessert was done. The dinner ended with a hot cup of cappuccino which helped us relax further in the comfort of the courtyard, chat and watch other customers at their tables equally enjoying their dinners.

Colombo Fort Café by Harpos goes well recommended for those seeking a long meals to catch on an old friendship.

Location:
Harpos, Fort Cafe

Old Dutch Hospital Complex Echelon Square, Hospital St, Colombo
T:011 2 434946

Open: 7 AM – 10 PM

How to get there: Google Map

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Chicken Cordon Bleu

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Cordon Bleu means Blue Ribbon in French, the highest distinction given to a chef. And Chicken Corden Bleu is  delicious and easy to make. I did this dish with my son and I am sure he can do it by himself the next time.

Use the largest chicken breasts you can buy and make sure they are completely thawed before you start. To take off the bone place the knife just below the bone on the thick side of the chicken breast and slide it down while pressing the meat firmly with the other hand. (the remaining parts can be boiled and used seperately, the broth for soup). I used the rolling pin to gently pound and soften the chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 4  skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices cooked ham
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Method:

Season the 4 pieces in salt and pepper, cover and let it marinate for an hour.

Place the chicken on a flat wooden surface, place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese in the center. Start from the edge and roll it up, firmly pressing down. Secure with tooth pricks, if the meat is large enough it will hold nicely together and you wont need these.

I let my son do the rest of the chicken and washed and drained tomatoes, lettuce and pepper for an accompanying salad.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and butter a baking tray that could hold all four pieces.

When ready to go into the oven sprinkle the tops with seasoned bread crumbs to give that dressed up look. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes till the chicken is done. You can test it by pricking it with a skewer. Take the tray out and place half a slice of cheese on each pice of chicken and bake for a a few more minutes.

Serve with an accompanying fresh salad. This recipe yeilds 4 servings.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Pineapple Crumble Tart

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M"Pineappleonths back when we were at Herritance Tea Factory I fell in love with a tart.. in a typical ‘love at first sight’ sort of way. I was strolling across to the dessert section for fruits after a heavy meal of typical Herritance cuisine and my eyes set upon this warm pudding craddled in white china and thoughts of a slice of yummy pie! Well you know where that leads and how many more slices I actually had. Oh no not there. I spoke to the dessert chef and got the recipe and made it myself at home.

Kids and friends have tasted what you see in the image above and requested me to pass on the recipe. So here it is.

Ingredients:

For the Tart shell you will need

  • Butter                       250 g
  • Icing Sugar             125 g
  • Egg                            1
  • Flour                         375 g

Pineapple mixture

  • Pineapple cubes     300 g
  • Sugar                         150 g
  • Cinnomon Powder     5 g
  • Almonds                     50 g
  • Cake Crumbs           100 g

Method:

We start with the tart shell. I used a 9′ Teflon Tart Pan that you can buy at Arpico. Cube the butter add flour, icing sugar and mix. Break the egg and pour it across the whole surface and mix again. Take it off the bowl and knead by hand. Make a flat dough, wrap in kitchen foil and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Take the out the dough onto a floured flat surface and roll it thin using a rolling-pin. Should the dough crack or split patch it up with pieces. Make it large enough to drape over the tart pan leaving an excess of about 1 inch. Press it into your tart pan, making sure to get it to butt up against the corner edges of the pan. If you get tears in your dough, patch it with the scraps. The excess can hang over the edge. Use the rolling pin again to press the dough around the edges, cutting off the excess. Use a fork to prick holes in the shell, this will let the steam escape while baking.

Place the tart shell in the freezer for atleast 30 minutes before baking. (helps preserve the shape)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.Get the tart shell from the freezer and tightly fit a sheet of foil inside the tart shell, taking care to tuck it into the contours. No need to wrap over the whole tart. Let the tart breath. The foil is just to help the shell hold its shape. You can put some gram or rice to weight the foil down. Bake for 20 minutes

Mean while place the cubed pineapple and sugar in a saucepan and stew it for 5 minutes under a low heat. Add the cinnamon powder and Almonds. Let it cool for some time and add the cake crumbs and let it soak up all the syrup.

Take the foil out after baking for 15 minutes. Bake till the center becomes golden brown – sometimes a little longer than 20 minutes, may be 25 minutes.

Take the tart shell out and fill it with the Pineapple mixture, sprinkle some brown sugar on top and bake a further 5-10 minutes.

Remove from the over and let it cool.

Served with whipped yogurt.

For more inspiration http://www.pastrypal.com/2009/08/lemon-berry-tart/

Gotukola Kanda

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Bunch of gotukola and scrapped cocunut

I wanted to make something as ordinary as Gotukola Kanda worthy of a blog entry. Kanda (or porridge) has become part of our breakfast lately, as a healthy alternative to cereal. When I’ve run out of Gotukola I have also tried a mix herb kanda (Hathawariya, Karapincha and Polpala) picking most of it from my mother’s garden. You could say that Gotukola Kanda is #1 in our home.

Gotukola is a perennial which roots at the nodes as it spread across the ground. It has kidney-shaped or fan like leaves. The size of which could vary according to soil and amount of sunshine recieved. Gotukola is known to be a plant with medicinal value, and is heavily used in the practice of Ayurvedhic medicine. Also known as Pennywort it is a popular herb used in  South American, Indian and Chinese herbal folk medicine. It’s believed to be a cure for  rheumatism, urinary disorders and inflammation. I grow them in a pot at the back of my kitchen. A handfull from that is not adequate so I usually buy a bunch from the Supermarket.

Ingredients:

  • Small bunch of Gotukola, picked, washed & drained
  • 1/4 cup red rice
  • 2 garlic
  • 3/4 cup grated coconut
  • salt

Coconut, handful of red rice and garlic

Method:

I bet you could do this in just 20 minutes. Keep the rice on the fire wih just enough water to cook, add garlic, halved and salt. While it cooks grate the coconut and chop the bunch of Gotukola. Add to the liquidiser and add water to the half way mark and blend. Strain the liquid and add to the rice on the stove, let the porridge simmer for about 4-5 minutes. Take it off the fire and let it stand for another 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with yummy Kithul Hakuru! or plain.