Cheese and chutney 

  

Sometimes it’s not about gourmet cuisine, but just about combining a few key flavours and making quick, simple but yet delicious food. And this little tidbit is a exactly that. 

Slices of homemade wholewheat and spelt seeded bread. Slivers of butter and a spread of sweet, tart sun-dried fig chutney. Topped with chunks of extra-hot Mexicana cheese. No cooking, no fuss. 

And the best part is that you can switch things around and try different combinations. Go for a different chutney. Use goats cheese or feta. Experiment with the flavours and use what works for you. 

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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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Sabudana Khichdi (Tapioca pearls with peanuts and potatoes)

Sabudana (Sago) Khichdi

Sabudana Khichdi (literally meaning a ‘mishmash’) is a very popular breakfast dish, especially in Maharashtra. Growing up in Mumbai, one sees and consumes this everywhere and even now this is a firm favourite in our household, especially on weekends when one has the opportunity for a more leisurely breakfast.

Sabudana or Tapioca pearls are a processed form of the Tapioca root, and are a common ingredient in Indian kitchens. Sabudana is an accepted food during most religious fasts (vrat) and so it is used extensively on such days to make a variety of foods from breakfast dishes, fried snacks and even desserts.

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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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Spaghetti with piri-piri sausages and black olive tapenade


Last weekend, at Chez Kalra’s we made some really awesome black olive tapenade. And joy of joys, we brought the leftover tapenade home with us, leaving our lovely hosts to make some more.

Now while the tapenade tastes lovely with some toasted bread and possibly a little cheese, since that day I’ve been drooling at the idea of having it tossed with a little spaghetti. I happen to have some chilli garlic spaghetti that I got on my last trip to Milan and I figured the taste and colour would go perfectly with the glistening black tapenade. Add in some thick piri-piri sausages, and some garlic and herbs and we have a winner. A delightful dinner for two, so quick and easy that I made in the time it took for the pasta to cook.

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Akuri – Spiced Scrambled Eggs, Parsi style


My friends Rhea and Kurush have never missed an opportunity to extol the Parsi love of eggs or ‘eedu’ on and with everything. And one of their classic egg dishes is the Akuri, a delightful Parsi version of scrambled eggs, cooked in an onion-tomato masala and spices. Ever since Rhea posted a recipe for Akuri, it’s been lingering at the back of my mind. And so the other day, when I was craving eggs, but still something slightly different, I thought to dig up the recipe and give it a go. To my pleasant surprise, it’s not so different from the Punjabi version we usualy make at home… just subtle differences that you think will affect the dish subtly, but still makes for a fairly distinct dish in the end. I think the biggest difference was the use of ginger, garlic and turmeric.

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Korean style Pork belly bulgogi with Lettuce


I love Korean food and in particular Samgyeopsal. I think the idea of wrapping slices of roast meat in lettuce is great. It allows you to focus on great flavours and not feel guilty about consuming loads of carbs in the form of rice, noodles or rotis. Pork belly works beautifully in such dishes, with the streaks of fat providing a lovely counterpoint to the meat and packing loads of yummy pork flavour.

We were feeling like having a light meal tonight, and luckily there was lettuce in the fridge, and some pork belly as well. But rather than just grill it plain, like the Samgyeopsal, I decided to go for a spicier, bulgogi-like variation, with the flavours modeled after the chicken bulgogi served at my local Korean restaurant (the very aptly named Bulgogi).

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