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.
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Lamb, Artichokes and Edamame Tagine

  
Moroccan food, especially the tagines, are close to our heart. Or rather more accurately, close to our palates and our stomachs. The cuisine uses a lot of the same spices; coriander, cumin, saffron, mint etc but in different ways and combinations. And the zing of the preserved lemons is a joy to the tastebuds. So whenever we feel like have something nice, but not Indian, one of our defaults is a Moroccan tagine. I’ve got a couple of books on Moroccan food and have enjoyed working my way through most of the recipes.

I’ve adapted this particular one from ‘The Moroccan Collection‘ by Hilaire Walden. The cooking process was fairly standard for a tagine, some attention up front and then a little peek every now and then while it simmers away. The result was very nice and because of the artichokes, something slightly different than usual.

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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. 

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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