Category Archives: European

Avocado, mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes on toast

  
Avocado for breakfast is a continued passion for me. The creamy nuttiness of soft, ripe avocados is a taste that can be savoured again and again, and I will never tire of it. And I keep trying different combinations of what can be done with this wonderful produce, often depending on what else I have in the fridge at the time. 

This morning, I remember led a box of mixed heirloom tomatoes that I had bought the other day. Different shapes, colours and sizes, these little gems are so attractive to look at. I’m the first to admit that I’m no tomato connoisseur but even I could make out some subtle differences in taste between them. And with no sundried tomatoes in the house, what better alternative on my avocado breakfast?

  • Take one slice of toast. I used a big slice of tiger bread (or giraffe bread as some shops call it nowadays). Definitely make it crunchy, the contrast in texture to the other ingredients is a delight.
  • Layer on slices or chunks of ripe, soft avocado. You could mash it up slightly with a fork, if you feel like having a more even spread. 
  • Cut up some heirloom tomatoes into rough chunks. Don’t need to be fancy, just don’t keep the bite-sized. Scatter them across the toast. 
  • Also add chunks of mozzarella (cut around the same size as the tomatoes). 
  • Sprinkle a pinch of salt and then add dots of sriracha sauce. 
  • Serve immediately.

Pea, ham and ginger soup

I love soups, and after consuming many a store-bought litre, we bought a few recipe books and started making our own. Our homemade soups are healthier, fresher and free from hidden ingredients and preservatives. What more could one ask for? The biggest problem with the recipes given in books though, is that they often have ingredients like potato for thickening. We find that we are perfectly happy either with thin or clear soups, or with the consistency got by blending the ingredients together. And after trying a few, we’re now at the stage where we have been improvising and even inventing our own soups.

One of my all-time favourite soups is the classic English pea and ham soup. Which is really surprising because I am not all that find of peas. But I love the simplicity of a good pea soup, with the meaty morsels of ham in every other spoonful. In this particular recipe though, I experimented a bit and added a bit of ginger, which I felt gave the dish a lovely back note of heat.

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Pork chops with a beer, ginger and tarragon sauce


After a recent visit to my local butcher, I brought home some gorgeous looking thick pork chops. One of my preferred ways to cook them is a low and slow simmer in cider, with apples, onions and sage. But this time, wanting to do something different, I turned to the Porkaholics community on Facebook for ideas. And the suggestions came flooding in. One of the recipes that really caught my fancy was suggested by Arindam Hazarika, who co-founded Arohan Foods, a pork products business in India. Working day in and day out with the product, one would expect him to know what he’s talking about. He described a dish using cardamom, star anise and ginger. And best of all, a beer sauce! How could I resist?

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Pesto, Parmesan and Sundried tomato pull-apart rolls

Pesto, Parmesan and Sundried tomato pull-apart rolls

I have been eyeing my friend Rhea Mitra-Dalal’s recipe for pesto pull-apart rolls for a long time. She makes them quite often, and the whole idea of tear and share rolls, flavoured with pesto has always appealed to me. I had even attempted something on similar lines a while ago, unfortunately with little success. But now, after having done a few different breads earlier on Aparna’s We Knead to Bake challenges in previous months, I felt more confident of being able to achieve the desired softness and texture that I was looking for. So, I thought of trying this again for this month’s challenge – which was to have a savoury, filled, decoratively shaped bread.

The end result was all I could have hoped for and more. The soft pillowy texture of the rolls, the goodness of the pesto and the sweetness of the homemade sun-dried tomatoes, all prefectly complemented by the rich umami of the parmesan cheese. These rolls were a massive hit at home. I have made two batches already, and they disappear almost as fast as I can make them.

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Avocado breakfast

Avocados are something that I tasted for the first time when I came to the UK, and I immediately fell in love with the delicate nutty flavour of these wonderful wonderful fruit. And they are so versatile, fitting into recipes for all meals. Here are a couple of my favourite breakfast ideas using avocados. I think the subtle nuttiness of the fruit combines very well with the intense hits of the sriracha sauce, and the soft mellowness of texture perfectly offsets the crunch of the underlying toast.

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Muffin-sized Mango Cheesecakes

To my mind, the alphonso mango is the king of fruit. Available for only a few months of the year, the best ones come from an area in Maharashtra called Ratnagiri. As children, we would eagerly await the summer, for that was when the markets were flooded with this gorgeous golden bounty. Even now, the mere thought of it evokes memories; the smell of a ripe alphonso with hints of the straw it was packed in, slightly warm and with just that touch of give that indicates the perfect ripeness. All hinting towards the ecstacy of that first mouthful, that first bite just overflowing with gorgeous sweet juiciness.
Mango Cheescake

*ahem*

Sorry, got distraced there for a minute. As you may have noticed, I am a bit of a mango nut, and one of the drawbacks of not living in Mumbai anymore is the lack of ready availability of the really good alphonsos. This year was particularly harsh because of the EU ban on alphonsos. So watching the dozens and dozens of posts of mango recipes on my favourite facebook food group was particularly painful, and I found myself having to resort to the tinned version of the fruit. Not as good, but perfectly adequate for recipes like milkshakes and cheesecakes. So when we had some friends coming over for sunday lunch, and V asked for suggestions for dessert, the first thing that leapt to my mind was a mango cheesecake, like mum used to make back in the day. I’d also recently seen a few instances of people making individual portions of cheesecake, and both V and I were intrigued by the idea. So we thought we’d give that a try as well.

The results, as you can see from the photo, were fabulous and went way beyond our expectations. We had a few debates about whether a muffin-sized portion would be sufficient to be an individual serving, or was it too big. This debate has not yet been settled. Personally, I could eat two of the things, and would gladly skimp on the main meal to be able to do so.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe for the gorgeous, amazingly yummy muffin-sized mango cheesecakes whipped up by my darling wife

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Pea, Rocket, Ham and Pesto soup

Soups are a big favourite in our house, especially homemade ones, and we are constantly on the lookout for new and interesting recipes. I had got a packet of rocket leaves the other day to use in salads, but as usual, forgot to add them when making the salad. I hate wasting and throwing away food, and so started thinking of other ways to use the leaves. This soup has a brilliant attractive green colour that just pulls you in to give it a try. I kept the texture a bit thick and grainy, but it can be easily made into a smooth velvety soup as well.

Pea, rocket, ham & pesto soup

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