Where do I get the time?

I’ve been hearing this question from quite a few people after they have viewed the blog. The cooking happens after Abhi gets back from work.

After he leaves for work in the morning, I have rest of the day to think about what I want to prepare for dinner. I frequent tastespotting.com for inspiration. Check it out and you will know what I mean. I own a few resourceful cookbooks and some times I borrow a dozen or so from the library and spend whatever free time I get between taking Yohann to mass, walking him, playing with him, feeding him, bathing him, changing his diapers, putting him to sleep, browsing through these. I also check out cookery shows on BBC iplayer and 4OD.

Once a recipe catches my fancy I go to the supermarket, which is a few roads across from where I live,  with Yohann in his buggy and pick up the ingredients that I don’t already have at home. Now and then, a recipe calls for more exotic ingredients, and for this, I make my way to one of the specialty food shops or delis. All within walking distance of where we currently live. Then once Abhi gets back home I hand over Yohann to him and cook to my heart’s content. ha ha. Well, it isn’t this easy on all occasions. Every so often I may have to put Yohann to sleep before I start in the kitchen or stop mid-way to do the same. I’ve never abandoned the effort entirely on account of Yohann. Thanks to God he is a good little baby. Very understanding. On weekends, Abhi is at home for longer so more elaborate cooking and entertaining happens then. So there you have it, that’s how I make the time for cooking.

Last week’s round up follows. I rehashed a lot of last Sunday’s leftovers over the course of the week, so I haven’t photographed those specific dinners.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DINNER

Corn and Turkey Chowder with Fig Crostini

Recipe for the Turkey Chowder was adapted from here and the idea for the Crostini came from Ottolenghi’s Plenty

 

*** The original Crostini recipe used pears, I had figs at home so decided to use those instead. Figs and Goat’s Cheese on slices of sour-dough bread. The bread was pasted with a pine nut, olive oil, garlic and pepper paste and baked for 10 minutes before being laden with the cheese and fruit. Delish!***

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

DINNER

 

Griddled Peach Salad with oven-baked croutons

Inspired by one of Ottolenghi’s.

*** Griddled peaches, salami and oven-baked croutons on a bed of rocket with some of my papaya chutney dressing. I had a wee bit of the chutney left in the bottle, so I poured in some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and orange juice and gave the bottle a good shake – and it was all ready to dress the salad.***

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Out and About in Bath

***The idea was to attend mass in a convent and buy some fresh fish from the farmer’s market. Of which neither happened; we looked for the convent in the pouring rain and didn’t find it. Then we realised we had walked far across the town from where the farmer’s market was. As it was raining cats and dogs we decided to seek shelter in a cafe and had some lasagne for lunch and shared a bannoffee cheesecake. Naughty naughty, I know.***

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

LUNCH

Menu

Beans mezhukkupuratti (beans stir-fried)

Mushroom Thoren (mushrooms stir-fried with coconut)

Chemmeenum Thakali Olathiathu (prawn and tomato saute)

Meen Pappas (fish curry)

Beef Cutlets

and

Banana and Rum Tatin with Vanilla ice-cream

 

Banana and Rum Tatin with Vanilla ice-cream

Recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Secrets

***I used a plaintain (nendrapayam) instead of a regular robusta. The plaintain was halved and then quartered, then covered with shop-bought shortcrust sweet pastry on the curved side. The original recipe used puff pastry. Then I made a caramel from butter and caster sugar, once ready, I took it off the hob and cautiously poured in a  generous glug of rum as it was going to and did splutter.  Then I poured the the mix into a baking try, laid the pastry-covered banana slices cut-side down in and placed it in the freezer for a few minutes. The recipe instructs that it is placed in the fridge for 30 minutes. I was running short of time so I had resort to the quick-fix way. The tray was then placed in a pre-heated oven and baked for 20 minutes. Served with shop-bought vanilla ice cream.***

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Keeping it simple?!

We had a few friends over for lunch and I decided to do the whole shebang with a Keralite meal (except for the dessert!). So with tending to Yohann, trying to get the house looking in some presentable shape and cooking the entire meal, I’m totally beat. Therefore, I’m skipping the usual introductory and substantial write-up and heading straight to last week’s line-up.

Sunday, October 11, 2010

DINNER

Spicy Cheese Souffles with Melba toast and pan-seared peaches***A basic cheese souffle with coriander and pureed broccoli thrown in and spiced up with red chillies. We ate this with some diminutive melba toast and pan-roasted peaches. The peaches were first drizzled with olive oil with a good pinch of salt then seared in a very hot pan. Two minutes on each side.***

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Monday, October 12, 2010

DINNER

Multi-vegetable Paella

Recipe adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty

***I used Sona Masuri rice because I didn’t have Calasparra rice.***

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Tuesday, October 13, 2010

BREAKFAST

Irish Soda Bread - a loaf and some scones

I followed this super-easy recipe by Rachel Allen

***I didn’t have buttermilk or sour milk as recommended in the original recipe so I mixed some semi-skimmed milk with sour cream and still got great results.***

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Wednesday, October 14, 2010

DINNER

Recipe adapted from Tamasin Day-Lewis’ Good Tempered Food

***The veggies were done first. Onions, red,yellow and green peppers (capsicum) were first stir-fried. Then some par-boiled potatoes were fried in olive oil; I tipped out the oil once they were well-browned and slightly crispy. Cherry tomatoes were thrown in, followed by the previously cooked stir-fry. 15 minutes before the veggies are ready the cod loins were seasoned with chillie powder, pepper and salt, then brushed with the reserved olive oil and baked in the oven for 20 minutes.***

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Sunday, 17, October

LUNCH

Menu

Pineapple Pachadi

Olan

Mushroom Thoren

Chicken Pepper Roast

Dried Prawn coconut curry with mango and cucumber

Fish Cutlets

and

Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse, Honey Roasted Peaches and Creme Anglaise Mascarpone cream

 

Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse and Honey- Roasted Peaches

Recipe for Chocolate Pavlova from the Joy of Baking and the idea itself from the very impressive blog – What’s for lunch Honey.

***I forgot to take pictures of the lunch table before we began and the ones taken half-way through the meal didn’t quite make the mark for the blog. Hence, the picture of the dessert alone.***

 

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Ottolenghi

I haven’t cooked Ottolenghi recipes all of last week! However, as his recipes will be featuring a lot on the blog, I’ve decided to shed some light on this chef and his fail-proof recipes. I was first drawn to Yotam Ottolenghi’s weekly column called The New Vegetarian for the Saturday edition of the UK newspaper, the Guardian. I initially found his combination of ingredients quite intriguing and I imagined the final taste would never suit my palate, but all of this was proved wrong when I successfully recreated Kosheri, an Egyptian lentil and rice dish, with a spicy tomato sauce. Following that I plated up these dishes again, for my friend Mona and explained my fascination with this chef. Mona, being a Londoner, said that an apt thank you for that night’s dinner would be treating me to lunch at Ottolenghi’s (Ottolenghi runs a few restaurants and take-aways in London). And, I’m so grateful to Mona for taking me there. The food in my opinion is the best I’ve eaten in a restaurant in the UK and the food display is both exquisite as it is exciting. What’s more, Mona also gifted me a signed copy of Ottolenghi – The Cookbook and every one of those recipes is a winner. I haven’t tried all of them, but having tried over a score of them, I’m certain that any  of the recipes would turn out well.

Apart from emphasizing the use of the freshest ingredients, Ottolenghi’s food is characterized by a lot of unusual pairings of flavours and seasonings,a definite influence of his Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean food heritage. A lot of weight is placed on presentation and the finished preparation always ends up in a vivid display of colours. The recipes are very easy to recreate here in the UK owing to the ready availability of the ingredients. More importantly, after attempting many of the recipes, I have grown in confidence with mixing flavours that I previously wouldn’t have and getting more adventurous with what I eat. The cherry on the icing on the cake is that Ottolenghi’s food is HEALTHY as it is flavourful!

And, now for what we’ve been eating since last Sunday…

Sunday – October 3, 2010

DINNER

Thai Noodle Soup

Recipe adapted from Nigella’s Kitchen (the program will only be viewable to those living in the UK).

***I used the left-over beef stock from the pulled beef I had made earlier in the week and some left-over fish instead of chicken.***

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

FOR THE NEIGHBOURS AND NEW ACQUAINTANCES

Watermelon Jam

Recipe adapted from here via the Tastepotting website.

***The finished product unexpectedly tastes a bit like Halwa! I may add some more lemon juice the next time I make a batch and also add some hibiscus and rose flower petals.***

DINNER

Chicken in a coconut-milk stew with rice-flour dumplings

Recipe adapted from Recipes for All Occasions (B.F.Varughese)

***A bit of Keralite comfort food – a spicy chicken-coconut milk stew with rice-flour dumplings. First the chicken stew is made and towards the end of the cooking process the dumplings are dropped in. The dumplings are made by mixing a cup hot water with a cup of rice flour which has been seasoned with salt and pinch of powdered cumin. The mixture can then be rolled into lime sized balls to be dropped into the stew. Let’s say it’s an easy preparation for the more seasoned of cooks.***

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Thursday, October 7 2010

DINNER

Watermelon, Feta and Kalamata Olive Salad

Another one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes adapted from here.

***I used Kalamata olives as I prefer these to regular black olives. I also used a mixture of baby salad leaves and coriander and parsley. I forgot to buy the mint leaves 😦 and I think that addition would have made the salad even more refreshing.***

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Saturday, October 10, 2010

LUNCH

STARTER - Fish baked in brown paper parcels

Recipe adapted from The Suriani Kitchen by Lathika George.

***The original recipe calls for wrapping the fish in banana leaves and cooking it in a mannu chatti (mud pot) over a flame. While I have a mud pod I ended up cooking the fish, slathered with a spice paste, in brown paper parcels on a tray in the oven, because it was more convenient.***

MAIN COURSE - Prawn Biryani

Recipe adapted from The Suriani Kitchen by Lathika George.

***A prawn gravy was made first, then mixed with basmati rice and water and cooked over low temperature until the rice had absorbed all the liquids and was entirely cooked. The dish is garnished with browned onions and cashew nuts. I served this with a cucumber raita.***

DESSERT

A filling of whipped cream and strawberries

Meringue, cake, whipped cream, strawberries, cake and meringue studded with almonds

 

 

 

Another view of the finished product - Strawberry Meringue Cake

 

Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Lemon Meringue Cake from Feast.

***I added the zest of one lemon to the cake mixture and replaced the lemon curd for the filling with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. I also add almond flakes on the upper layer of the meringue as suggested in the recipe for Strawberry Meringue Cake from Forever Summer.

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Sunday, October 11, 2010

BRUNCH

 

Brunch at Bacchus Bistro

***Abhi hurriedly finishes up a plate of poached eggs with hollandaise sauce served on freshly toasted muffins with bacon and hash browns while Yohann lets out little screams for us to exit the restaurant. ***

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Copyright Issues and Recipes

Since my first post, I’ve received a few requests for the recipes to be posted on the blog. However, having considered this suggestion and done my bit of research, I’ve decided I will not be doing so. Firstly, the recipes I tried out last week aren’t my own and I don’t want to run into copyright issues by featuring them on this blog. Secondly, while I did adapt the recipes to my own taste and depending on the availability of ingredients, it should be okay for me to post the adapted recipes; however, this would take more of my time and I just can’t devote that sort of time to the blog right now. So if you are interested in a particular recipe, get in touch with me at preeya(nospace)josef_at_yahoo_dot_co_dot_in and I will be very happy to share the recipe with you. In some cases the recipes are also available online so I could direct you to the appropriate website. If I do get inventive and concoct a totally new recipe I will try and share it, but that would be quite challenging as I hardly follow precise measures when I cook like this! I also understand it can be hard to decipher the ingredients included in a preparation from a picture and an exotic name, so I will provide short descriptions.

I hope these changes make for a better reading experience. Please do let me know and don’t be afraid to post comments, even critical ones. 🙂

Sunday – September 26, 2010

DINNER

Yaki Ramen

Recipe adapted from the Wagamama cookbook

***This is basically a stir-fry of chicken, vegetable and Chinese noodles (Ramen). The original recipe calls for Soba noodles, but I only had Ramen, hence Yaki Ramen!***

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Monday – September 27, 2010

DINNER

Sweet and Sour Celeriac and Carrot on a bed of baby leaves with Mozzarella Pearls

Recipe adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi and Sam Tamimi’s Ottolenghi

***Basically a salad comprising shredded root vegetables that have been massaged with a dressing and left to marinate for at least an hour. Finally served on a bed of baby salad leaves with a few pearls of mozzarella.***

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Tuesday – September 28, 2010

DINNER

A salad of Strawberries, Arugula and White Stilton with Apricot

Recipe adapted from this one on the Saveur website

***A salad of strawberries, raspberries, rocket, almonds and White Stilton (cheese) with apricot***

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Thursday – September 30, 2010

DINNER

Mexican Pulled Beef Salad

Recipe adapted from this one on the Saveur website

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Friday – October 1, 2010

DINNER

Steamed Fish in Soya Sauce

Recipe adapted from here

***I used Cod and it tasted just fine. The dish goes well with plain white rice***

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Saturday – October 2, 2010

BRUNCH

Oriental Salad - I had this.

and Abhi had this - preserved meat platter with a fresh baguette and side salad.

at Cafe du Jour

DINNER

Mexican Seafood Cocktail

Fish Tacos

Recipes adapted from here and here on the Saveur website

***I couldn’t get hold of the different Mexican chillies so I used Jalapeno, which is Mexican too and readily available. Incidentally, I’ve also found a Mexican store (Otomi) here in Bristol that sells Chipotles, Anchos and the like and I will head there before I attempt these recipes again or other Mexican ones.***

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Sunday- October 3, 2010

LUNCH

South Canara Chicken Biryani (Karnataka)

Recipe adapted from Pratibha Karan’s Biryani

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My foray into photo-blogging

I’m a first time mom and I’ve decided to stay at home for the next few months looking after my dear little son. While I’m taken up with his cooing and tumbling and totally squish-able smiles, I also have this pressing urge to be creative. I’ve always striven to be creative in the kitchen and I think the kitchen is proving to be the perfect platform for me express this need, at this point in my life. So this blog is about capturing my efforts in the kitchen.

My husband and I are total foodies, and in the past, in order to satisfy our gargantuan appetite we’ve eaten huge quantities of what qualifies as junk food (fast food, confectionery etc.). For this reason, I also want this blog to serve as a food diary; I think this would make me more conscious of what I’m plating up at the dinner table and work to check the food habits I’m inculcating at home. As for the dishes I prepare, I may not always have the time to go into the nitty gritties of the process, but I will try my best to blog the finished effort in pictures, from Sunday to Sunday. I hope you enjoy this food journey with me!

Sunday – September 19, 2010

LUNCH

Oriental Noodle Salad

Recipe adapted from Tamasin Day Lewis’ Good Tempered Food

DINNER

Figs with Young Pecorino and Honey

Recipe adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi and Sam Tamimi’s Ottolenghi

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Monday – September 20, 2010

LUNCH

Uncle Ben's Sweet and Sour sauce with Chicken and Vegetables on a bed of rice and watercress

DINNER

Chargrilled Asparagus, Courgette and Halloumi

Recipe adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi and Sam Tamimi’s Ottolenghi

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Tuesday – September 21, 2010

Spiced Vegetable stir fry

DINNER

Recipe adapted from the Wagamama cookbook

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Thursday – September 23, 2010

FOR THE LARDER

Papaya Chutney

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Friday – September 24, 2010

DINNER

Kisir

Adapted from Ottolenghi’s new book Plenty

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Saturday – September 25, 2010

BRUNCH

Abhi waits for his Full English Breakfast at a small cafe in Clifton village

DINNER

Moroccan Harissa Chicken

Take-away from the specialty store Cook

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Sunday – September 26, 2010

LUNCH

Egg Biryani (Tamil Nadu)

Recipe adapted from Pratibha Karan’s Biryani



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