Appetisers and Hors D’oeuvres

Im back, with a baby! (and the Perfect Summer Salad)

Hi there,

Its been a while.

Almost shy of a year, but who’s counting?

(I am, its been 10 months).

My last post was in June, while braving the summer heat and the insane humidity that is a forbearer of my beloved monsoon, when I was slaving away making pasta from scratch, figuring out innovative ways to use morel that was freshly brought in from Kashmir (which now, 10 months later, is still lying patiently in a glass jar in the pantry). But all this aside, we’ve been blessed with the most adoring little baby girl, and I’m over the moon. She’s almost 2 months now, which is why I now feel slightly able to hit the kitchen again (I couldn’t stand the strong smells in the kitchen for all my trimesters, and all I wanted to cook was comfort food like manchurian and iced tea which I wasn’t risking to eat out due to the fear of MSG overload).

My pregnancy was a ride, but a really welcome one! Now that baby is out, mama’s feelings towards the smells have alleviated, letting me slowly but surely return to my beloved kitchen. I wondered whether my first post-natal blog post would include any of my pregnancy experiences, like aversions / obsessions / recipes and  Read more…

Spinach & Homemade Ricotta Ravioli with a Morel Mushroom Sauce

I’m a tad confused on the title of this post (yeah, real first world problems). I kind of want it to look and sound like a restuarant menu dish with the hero ingredients followed by the sauce and frills in italics below. You know, something like:

Fresh Ravioli with Spinach & Homemade Ricotta

Morel Mushroom Sauce with Chestnut and Walnut, Almost-Burnt Butter Crispy Sage

Now doesn’t that sound fancy? Well, firstly, this post has been long in the making, and its ingredients have been accumulated even longer – waiting impatiently to be purposed into a meal. For some odd reason, over the last few months I’ve received bottles and tubes of chestnut puree/cream. And to be blatantly honest, I had absolutely no idea how to use it – and then began the incessant googling. The French may have some suave and sophisticated ways to use it, but little old me sure doesn’t! Then comes morels, or guchhi, which SS insisted his parents bring back from Kashmir (not that he as *any* intention of cooking with them ahem ahem). I also bought the pasta attachment to my kitchen aid, which was an extremely considered and thought through decision, but till date I have only been able to successfully use the roller (my last attempt to cut the rolled sheets into fettuccine was a big glubby disaster.

Since that fateful day, I have found a pasta recipe (from Taj’s Favourite Vegetarian recipes book – the ravioli which coincidentally, we have had the privilege of eating –  Read more…

Kale Salad with Pecans, Cranberries, Apple and Baby Radish

Is there a thing such as ‘Blogger’s Block’, you know, like writer’s block? Essentially, I too am writing, but just online and on a blog, so does that make me not a writer? I’m not so sure about that hypothesis, but what I am sure about at this hot, humid, sticky moment in the beginning of what threatens to be a horrendous summer, is that I have a case of whatever block you may term it. So now coming to the crux of my irrelevant public analysis of what block I am being plagued by – I am basically looking for an excuse to not continue tapping my fingers feverishly over the keyboard, as if it is a mission which I cannot fail.

But today, I am going to delve right into this beautiful, summary and fresh salad recipe. I know I’m (fashionably) late to join the Kale Revolution – but better late than never! This salad first came together as a beautiful mish-mash of ingredients in the fridge plus a big bunch of kale that was incredibly inviting at the supermarket, I had to get my hands on it. I started with apple, to add a bit of sweetness to the otherwise bitter kale, but this batch of american kale was far from bitter! Adding some thinly sliced baby radish, plump ruby red cranberries, toasted pecans, white & black sesame seeds and a few tablespoons of garlic scented cheese (you can easily substitute cheddar or crumbly cheeses like feta or goats cheese) with a basic and effective honey mustard vinaigrette to tie it all together!

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Birthday Tikkis

I made these (birthday) tikkis a last week from the Indian Accent cookbook, which now dominates my kitchen counter (not only because it is gorgeous, but its also HUGE!). Not a day has gone when I haven’t opened the book and perused the recipes, salivated at the pictures, and read chef Manish Mehrotra’s stories that prelude each and every recipe. Some of the recipes are complicated, requiring a team of sous chefs to help you – while the others, like our tikkis here, may look difficult to make, but in fact aren’t as cumbersome as I thought – and taste fantastic. A real Indian Accent dish, from my kitchen and my heart to yours, marking the occasion of Joie De Vivre’s 6th year – this really is a treat worthy of the celebration!

 Read more…

Sweet Corn with Miso Butter

Inspiration for the combination of miso + sweetcorn came while watching Masterchef AU, the episode where Sara makes a roasted quail dish, on a bed of miso sweetcorn puree with a blackberry vinaigrette. As usual, I look at the side elements on a protein dish that I can re-create at home, maybe not in the same exact form, rather as a flavour pairing that I can then create my own recipe with. Now let’s be honest, we’ve all eaten butter slathered corn on the cob, and even steamed corn with a dollop of butter and spices, and it is safe to deem the bowlful of goodness as a warming and comforting snack. Adding miso and some other relishes, well that just makes it burst with flavour in an understated and perfectly rounded way!

For some reason, a lot of people like to boil their corn before using it, or steaming it. I personally find this not only wasteful and cumbersome, but I find that repetitive cooking  Read more…

Scallion & Sprouted Mung Bean Sauté with Peanuts

SS and I just celebrated 5 years of being together, in Hong Kong. I mention this because while exploring Soho one sleepy Sunday, we stumbled upon a store called Pantry Magic, which transported me back to any good European or American kitchenware stores (picture a Williams Sonoma meets Divertimenti) – from where I took home the pictured gorgeous wok, perfect for cooking up Asian fare at home, without taking up too much space in my already congested pantry cupboard! Now, one Sunday after that purchase was made, I decided to use my Clean Foods cookbook (for much needed detox after last night’s revelry and general HK indulgences!) and repeat this Scallion & Sprouted Mung Bean Sauté with Peanuts which I previously made with some pak choi, but this time left it out.

 Read more…

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