“You know what, basil is available in Spar! What say shall we experiment with some Thai?”
“Sounds good, lets get some coconut milk, lemon leaves and some sea bass…this should let us come close to something Thai-ish”
At Spar…all excited we pick up the fish and rush to the veggies section. Another reason for chasing basil is cause we have been hoarding
pine nuts and olive oil ever since one of us had some brilliant pesto pasta. As luck would have it, they had to be out of basil only today! Bloody! Well this isnt gonna stop us from making the Saturday night dinner…scanned the shelves and spotted the best looking cherry tomatoes, leafiest corriander and some fresh organic mint. Morrocan it is!! (you know what, we would like to take a moment and gloat about the fact that we thought on our feet 😛 )
Just to rewind a bit, earliar today we were going through the Moroccan recipies by Ghille Basan. Awwman, the ingredients like cumin, bell pepper, corriander and mint are so familiar to us but the cooking techniques and process are so foreign, it kind of stayed on.
So, Moroccan it is.
10 cherry tomatoes
1 tomato (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
1 spoon ginger garlic paste
15 large cloves of garlic
8-10 green olives
5 sambhar onions (those bonsai onions)
Handful of mint and coriander
1 tbl spoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoons of paprika and one of ground cumin
Marinate the the fish in lemon juice, 5 cloves of garlic, paprika, 1 tbl spoon of oilve oil and chopped coriander, cumin powder and salt to taste. Keep aside for about 15 mins. In the mean time, in some hot oil saute the onion, tomato, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of paprika anmeric, for about 5 mins. Bring it to room temp and grind it to a coarse paste.
Now, shallow fry both the sides of the fish till it is cooked. Keep aside.
In about 2 tbls spoons of olive oil, add about 5 chopped garlic cloves, when it changes color, add the cherry tomatoes, shallots and saute till thy e tomatoes are soft. To this add the groud paste add about 2 cups of water, olives, rest of the coriander and bring to a boil. Slide the fish in with some mint and close it wit a lid for at least 5 mins.
Garnish with corriander and serve on a hot bed of rice!!!
1 large green pepper (capsicum)
1 large yellow pepper (capsicum)
2 large ripe firm tomatoes
3 big potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
2 cups finely chopped button mushrooms
5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup of pitted olives
1 tb sp mixed herbs
2 cubes of cheese
mozzarella/pizza cheese to go on top of the peppers
salt and pepper for seasoning
Mix the potatoes and sweet potato together with the olives, herbs and cheese. Cook the mushrooms with garlic for 10 minutes.
Tip this into the potato mix. Season it with salt and pepper.
Now cut the tomatoes and peppers (capsicum) horizontally into halves and core them making sure there is no pulp or seeds left. Stuff these with the mix made earlier and grate some mozzarella or pizza cheese. Pop them into your pre-heated oven and let it bake for about 10 minutes at 180 C, or till the pepper and tomato shells are soft and cooked. Take them out and serve hot with bread or eat’em up just the way they are.
We had some cooked sweet potato left, so we stuck it into a skewer and put it on the stove and seasoned it. Great alternative to mashed potato as well. What we also had was leftovers from the stuffing. We broke and egg into it, gave it a nice mix and made a patty, let it cook on the nopn-stick pan and what have we got? Voila! Stuffed hash browns! haha.
Figs with cream and honey:
We found fresh figs just about the time we found those beautiful peppers. We didnt want to cook these either. So we just picked some fresh cream instead. After we cooked dinner that night, I whipped the fresh cream till it turned fluffy and light. Cut the figs in half. Drizzled some honey, dipped it in the whipped cream and savoured every last bit of that juicy li’l fig.
So this was a totally impromptu decision after watching Masterchef Australia! This is usually the after affect, but this time I chose to put it to practice…Headed out in the evening towards Spar with the intention of picking up the simplest of ingrediets to cook the simplest and quickest prawn dish. As I was walking through the ‘sauces’ section, there was this whole array to experiment with and their prices allow you to do so…the one that I picked up was a Sweet & Chilli sauce, little did I notice that it read ‘Thai’ underneath in bold. Here is what followed the sauce in my pushcart:
One packet of dehydrated mushrooms
250 gms of frozen and cleaned prawns
One bunch of spring onions
200 gms onions and 100 gms garlic
By the time I was home, I had already planned in my head that this dish would be best served with just plain rice and may be some red wine. I was all set to get started on my quick experiment.
Process: Ground the onions and garlic to a fine paste and throw them into the pan of a generous dollop of butter. Let them turn slightly brownish-goldenish (you know what I mean). To this add finely chopped spring onions, stir them to perfect blend and cover it for a about 2 mins and keep aside. In the mean time empty the packet of dehydrated mushrooms in a vessel of hot water and cover for about 10 mins.
Now in a thaw the frozen prawns and then light fry them in two teaspoons of butter. Add a pinch of salt per your taste. This should take about 5 mins. Now pour in your gravy into the pan, if you feel its a lil to dry, add half a cup of water, the Hydrated mushrooms (I used half a packet in this preparation) and half a cup of the ready made sauce into it and lid it for about 5 mins…well this is now when the magic happens and the flavors totally blend with each other.
In the mean time I already served myself some wine in my favorite big goblet.
So there you go…this was the quickest prawn dish I ever prepared besides just frying them with salt & pepper and soya sauce (telling you thats my all time favorite quick starter).
Suggestions: When the prawns are de-shelled, it just very magically contributes to a very ‘sea food’ kinda flavor. You could also try this dish by not removing the tail of the prawns you pick up. Feel free to experiment with the kinds of ‘ready made sauces’ available in the market…the plain sweet and chilli and chilli garlic should be great too…Mine was just a template for you guys to play around with. Bon apitite!
August 1st. Friendship Day, 2010.
An impromptu brunch brought all the ladies together after quite some time…and yes…over some good cocktails and home made spread of a good English breakfast.
Our fabulous menu included made to order omlettes with a variety of toppings to choose from like salami, sun dried tomatoes, veggies and the likes with herbs to choose from along with some mozerella…toasted bread, vegetarian and meaty pizzas, apple cinnamon muffins, sauted vegetables, sausages, roasted salami, chips and cream cheese dip, green apple lettuce wraps, cut up fruits, beer and other cocktails, tea….yes the list does seem endless…
Green Apple Lettuce Wraps:
Our good pals, Everon and Shwetha who are members of the Food Lovers Club, introduced us to this refreshing easy to make starter. All you need is fresh lettuce, some goat cheese, strips of green apple, drizzle of fruit vinegar, drops of lime juice and a sprinkle of sugar.
Spread the lettuce leaf and neatly place the apple strips. Add the vinegar, lime juice and sugar to it. Now, gentle place a generous pinch of goat cheese on it and wrap it up…and its ready to take a bite off…CRUNCH!
Apple Cinnamon Muffin:
Ingredients: 2 cups flour, 2 eggs, 1/2 milk, 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 chopped green apple, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder.
Process: Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and salt. Now, add keep adding the flour in batches alternately adding the milk. This gives you a batter, to this add the chopped grenn apple and cinnamon powder. Mix ’em up.
Now pour in the batter, filling 3/4th of your greased muffin tins.
In your pre-heated oven, bake these muffins for 30 mins in 210 C. Tada!!
Chicken Salami Pizza:
Smear a hearty portion of tomato ketchup on your ready made pizza base. Now throw in some thick julliane onions, capsicum, sundried tomatoes, baby corn and pitted olives. Now, place the salami on the veggies, sprinkle herbs of your choice (we used oregano and thyme). Go berserk with mozerella topping. Pop it in your pre heated oven at 220 C for 20 mins or till your crust turns pleasant golden. Enjoy your pizza as you chug some chilled beer!
It was a perfect setting with bustling live counters, too many helping hands, singing along to ‘our’ feel-good bollywood numbers, sipping some citrus cocktails with olives and laughing away to nostalgic stories…all this at Zaanz!…this is how we turned an overcast gloomy Sunday into our Happy sunshine Sunday. Happy Friendship Day chickas…Shwetha, Riya, Ananya, Bhakti, Asha, Dimpz, Everon and Akshu!
Ingredients for (my) arrabiata sauce: