Thursday, 27 September 2007

Flat Bread with Mushroom & Corn ...and one with Crab..?!

Without Cheese, With Cheese

Another quick meal - Seems to be a recurring theme with me nowadays and here is the genesis of this one.... It was a Saturday night and we decided to eat home. I wasn't really up for cooking. Thus, I tried to think of the simplest unconventional (i.e. anything but the usual) meal I could put together with whatever I had bought at the grocery store that afternoon. So, here goes.... I made flat bread with mushrooms and sweet corn with some salad on the side. Ummm...was tasty!
2 Flat breads (already had garlic and parsley added to it)
Sweet Corn
A box of Chestnut Mushrooms thinly sliced
1/2 Red Onion thinly sliced
Green Chillies - chopped
Emmental Cheese - grated
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Heat the oil in a saucepan, then add in the chillies and onions and saute for about 2 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and cook for another 4-5 minutes until partially cooked. Remove from heat and spread the mixture over the flat bread; add the corn, sprinkle cheese, add salt and pepper to taste and pop into a 200 degree (Celsius) oven for about 10-15 minutes.
As you can see, there isn't much of a science to it. When using frozen corn, ensure it is defrosted so the water does not run into the bread as it melts, making the base soggy.
Since the flat bread was a hit with us, the next time round I made a CRAB VERSION for my husband. I used the same flat bread which had parsley and garlic already added to it. I spread crab meat (found easily at Waitrose) across the top, some chopped spring onions, chopped red pepper, chillies and Emmental cheese and put it in the oven for 20 minutes. Voila - I had a happy husband! :)

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Cupcakes - A new discovery in London

One Fine Saturday Morning......

I was going to buy some strawberries from Partridges in Chelsea (a last minute request from a friend to bring two boxes over for lunch) and I walked right into their 'farmer's market'. I had forgotten about the farmer's market (since farmer's markets to me mean the one on Portobello road or Borough market).

Anyway, though I was in a rush, I could not help looking at all the stalls and guess what I find - some lovely cupcakes! The stall was run by Crumbs and Doilies. They sold only mini-cupcakes in about a zillion flavours and toppings...chocolate, lemon, carrot cake, gummy bear, name it. Gotta try these........mmmmm..lip smacking and cute..quick pop into the mouth!

More from the Holiday but New York this time!

Before Spain, we were in New York for a couple of weddings. It was so great to be back...surrounded with endless sky scrapers, endless sea of people and the endless electric buzz that is New York City!
At one of the weddings, we had this beautiful, creative dessert that I just had to share.... the menu below describes it...

..and here is a picture of the deliciously creative dessert!

After rehearsal dinner on a Friday night, we went out and ended the night in NY style i.e. with a quick bite to eat at what was it - maybe 2 or 3am?!? Yeah, I can still stay up that late ;)
There are loads of places to get food at that hour but a strong favourite (at any time of the day really) is 'The Kati Roll Company'. It is located in the West Village on MacDougal (& Bleecker...the cross street). They have mouthwatering rolls...Achari paneer, Aloo masala, Beef Tikka, Chicken Tikka, Shami Kebab and 'Unda' (Egg). If ever in NY, you must try these! It's mostly a take out joint though there is some seating and somehow, we always manage to score a place. There is another branch in mid-town (times square) which is a favourite with the office lunch crowd. And ok - I admit, the paratha is a bit oilier than one would like but guess that's what makes it so tasty!

Paneer Kati Roll

Aloo Kati Roll

The other place I really like (especially in the hot NY summer) is Jamba Juice. It's a chain of juice/smoothies stores that started out in California. Delicious smoothies, health booster shots (not that I believe in those) and good old down to earth fresh juices. They have got to have the best blend of orange and carrot juice I have ever had!

Not to be missed - especially on warm days when the juice is so refreshing and soothing!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Marbella Club

Spain again - Had a lovely drink at the Marbella Club beach side bar. Citrus, banana...completely tropical. Ideal for the hot weather!

Luckily, the bartender spoke a little bit of English and between pointing at bottles and drawing the portions, I think I have the recipe for a soothing tropical cocktail.

1 part Grenadine
1 part Banana Liquor
1 part Campari
1/2 a glass of fresh Orange Juice
Shake well with ice. Garnish with Orange and Strawberry and drink up!
P.S. Guess I've never mentioned the reason for 'cocktails ' in the blog name. Well, it's very simple - I like cocktails and unlike the US, seem to encounter lots of creative cocktails in London. They look exotic and taste fantastic! The only cocktail ingredient I have not found often in London, is Guava. Aah..but I can always buy Guava juice at a store and make my own at home ... then again...too much work for just one drink!


Mushroom and Prawns in butter sauce

Ok. Am not going to bore you with every detail. One of the highlights of our trip was dinner in a small city called Logroño. It's in the Rioja region and is a modern city, with a small historic quarter...ok..ok. All that's from the guidebook! We were staying about 20-30 minutes from the city, almost in the middle of nowhere at a beautiful winery. Anyway, one night we decided we wanted to get some local food and were directed to Logroño.

Calle Laurel, Logroño

In Logroño, there is a street called Calle Laurel that is filled with Tapas bars. It was a fantastic experience - the sights, sounds and smells! The area was filled with Spanish tourists - no one spoke a word of English and we spoke no Spanish...yet, had an amazing time eating (and ordering food)! Each tapas bar is known for a specialty and you order food and a small glass of wine or beer and then move to the next bar. We tried some delicious grilled mushrooms with prawns (I had to figure out how to order them without prawns), then we tried some typical pocket bread kind of sandwich, then meat skewers (not me) and yummy - patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) !!! There were lots of other types of food but we were so stuffed ...we decided to leave the rest for another trip ;)

It was such an amazing authentic experience; the food was delicious, the people friendly, the atmosphere buzzy! The two pictures above is probably where we really struggled on how to order our 'Rotos' i.e. sandwiches. They had four kinds, squid, sausage, egg/cheese and mushroom. Don't ask how..we managed to get one sausage and one veggie!

Meat Skewer

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Craving a basic meal

Am back and have a few holiday food pictures to share. But before I get to those - With over a week in Spain, we came back craving for some basic Indian food.. Dal-Rice!!

I made yellow dal and jeera rice the first night back. The second night (first day of work, a long day at that) we decided to have leftovers from the night before. However, I wanted something different and after racking my brains for a relatively quick and healthy add on, I had a eureka moment - how about Masala Papad??!!
The recipe/experiment is just from memory...memories of yummy masala papad served in indian restaurants.

Udad Papad
Red Chilli powder
Dhana Jeera powder
Spring Onion - finely chopped
Tomato - finely chopped
Coriander - finely chopped
Chaat Masala
Lime juice

Roast the Udad papad - I did it over a the gas burner flame though do know of some people who microwave so they get a absolutely flat papad. I never have much luck and prefer the traditional method. Then I made two versions -

First version - I sprinkled the onions, tomato, coriander, red chilli and dhana jeera powder over the roasted papad. Squeezed lime juice liberally over the mixture to add flavor. The juice soaks into the powdered masala ensuring that the powder does not fly into your eyes when you bite into the papad.

Umm...honestly, I meant to put the lime juice - forgot and there went the red chilli into V's eyes and the light clicked on - I had forgotten the lime juice!

Second version - I kept everything the same except, skipped the Tomato and added in chaat masala.

It sure made the meal a little different from the night before.