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Showing posts from February, 2009

A fast forward year (maybe!)

I've decided to take the plunge. After months of admiring the trio of bakers from A Year in Bread and reading their blog from start to finish, I thought it might be fun to try and do what they did.

A bit of a background first - in March 2007, three bakers - Kevin, Beth and Susan - decided to start baking bread together. The idea was that they will come up with a theme for the month, and all three will do a different recipe matching the theme. Twelve months, twelve kinds of breads - kind of cool, isn't it! For a novice baker like me, it's a crash course in bread baking. And I even get to choose from three different recipes, get three perspectives for every kind of bread there is.

They started in March, I start this last day of February. And I might not wait a whole month to try each bread - who knows how many times I fail, and I might have to try two or all three to get where I want to be. So you might see at Bombay Foodie a fast forward of the year that was. Or maybe no…

Spinach and Cheese Sandwich

I've had a falling out with sweet corn. We aren't fighting or anything, but we don't hang around much together nowadays. You know how when you cook or eat something twice a week, and suddenly realize that you aren't such a big fan. Or maybe just bored for a bit, which I am sure is pretty much the case and I will get back to putting corn in everything soon. But in the meantime, there's this small issue of my favorite sandwich.

Every time I go to Cafe Coffee Day, I order their spinach corn cheese sandwich and a cappucinno. Some days, when they are out of this particular sandwich, I just drink my coffee. Now, CCD is not going to change their sandwich at my whim. So I made the sandwich myself instead, replacing corn with paneer. And it tastes better than theirs, I am proud to say.

To make spinach and cheese sandwich, you need 1/2 cup finely chopped spinach, 1/4 cup finely chopped spring onions (just the green bits, not the onion), roughly 2 tbsp crumbled paneer and a …

A Tale of Two Puddings

Life has come a full circle for "This Book Makes Me Cook" in more ways than one. This is the ninth edition of our book club, a number significant because we are nine members around here and all of us have picked our favorites for the group to read at least once in the past months. And for me, there's another reason - my very first entry, before we set up the club, was for the event Bhags ran with the same name. And the big Agatha Christie fan that I am, I chose Hercule Poirot as an inspiration to cook.

We are again reading a Christie this month. The group picked "Adventures of a Christmas Pudding", her collection of six short stories. This is one of Christie's non-murder books. Well, murders do happen, but not in every story. Yet, each of the six stories is totally gripping. Five of six feature the quirky Hercule Poirot, whose passion for order and neatness borders on obsession. And for the final entree, we have Miss Marple, the entirely adorable old lady …

An Orange Medley

Are you one of those who don't like Baskin & Robbins icecreams? Or do you always go there and order the chocolate chip flavor? Next time you pass by a B&R counter, I suggest you look for something called Orange Tango. There's a good chance you won't find it, but buy a scoop instantly if you do. Make that a double scoop; for you are looking at the only sorbet in this icecream store. It's light, it's fresh and it has a flavor that can make you an instant fan. Specially if orange was on your mind because it is the color of the month at FIC.

Aparna and Harini, are you beginning to fear I am shortchanging you and sending in a Baskin & Robbins icecream as my FIC entry. Banish the thoughts, for this is just a prelude to two symphonies coming your way.

There's a healthy option and an unhealthy option. Let's pick the healthy one first. It's called London Dreams and I have no idea why. I noted this recipe many eons ago, I guess from a magazine. But he…

Eureka! Moments

Some life long loves, some one-meal stands, the milestones on the life’s culinary journey; these are times when you want to grab the nearest person and say “Here! Have you tasted this”!Presenting, the profoundest food moments of my life.

1. The uncle from Westend bakery around the corner pulled the loaf of bread (white – the only one I knew existed then) out of the old fashioned clay oven, sliced it right in front of me and handed it over wrapped in a brown paper bag. I was all of 8 years old and I could feel the warmth, the anticipation all the way home. Bread never tasted quite the same after he started making it the night before.

2. The first time I had pasta (macaroni with baked beans) made by a school friend’s mother, I didn’t finish it. In fact, I hated it. And I didn’t touch pasta again until my cook came up with the Indian version many years later. Made with beans, onions and potatoes, the pasta very closely resembles a pulao. I’ve lost count of the times I made a meal of it.

Is that gobhi in my bread?

When my friend first suggested the humble cauliflower as a sandwich filling, I was skeptical. But she persisted, knowing I won't resist tasting a new flavor for long. Specially when she was cooking dinner. And I liked it. So much so that I made it again for dinner tonight, just for myself.

To make one sandwich, tear a chunk from a cauliflower head and grate the florets finely. We need roughly 2 tbsp of grated cauliflower. To this, add 1/2 tbsp cream, a tbsp of grated cheddar, 2-3 finely chopped mint leaves and a hearty pinch each of salt and crushed black pepper. Mix well, then spread on a white bread slice. Top with another slice of bread, apply butter on both sides and grill or toast until lightly browned.

This unusual sandwich goes to Mythreyee, who is hosting JFI: Cauliflower; this month's edition of the event started by Mahanadi

Where there was Rain...

A few years ago, Bombay had a stylish watering hole called Rain. Set in the winding bylanes of Juhu, purposely obscure with no signboard in sight, this restaurant was a place where you would go not just to eat but to mingle, gawk and have a fabulous evening. Every time I spent an evening at Rain, I left with a special feeling that comes from perfect food, perfect ambience and perfect service (that grey haired uncle who would find you just the right table and the right drink).

Then, some two years back, Rain closed down, and someone replaced it with Café Penne. Gone were the brilliant frozen Red Eyes; my standard order of Cottage Cheese Tortillas & Mexican Corn Rice and the complimentary bread basket that had more appeal than anything I ever ordered on their menu. Instead, there was this slightly casual restaurant claiming to serve Italian food.

Penne took time getting it's act together. My first couple of visits were not disastrous but mediocre. So it was after a year and a…

The Fudge Factor

What do you do with leftover khoya (mawa)? It's not a question I am faced with often as I rarely buy this rich condensed milk, the base for countless Indian sweets. But with bright red carrots now in season, I got myself a pack to make gajar halwa. That was last week, and once gajar halwa was over and done with, I still had half a cup of khoya fast approaching it's expiry date. As I said, there are countless ways to use this khoya. Almond fudge was my quick and easy way.

I thought of this one on the spur of the moment and it took less than a minute to make, so it's a bit hard to write down the recipe. But let me try. Crumble 1/2 cup khoya in a microwave safe bowl. Mix 2 tbsp ground almonds and a tbsp of castor sugar. Sprinkle on the khoya. Microwave at 50% power for 20 seconds, mix to blend all the ingredients and return to the microwave for another 20-30 seconds until the khoya is really soft. Pat into a rough square on a greased dish, let cool a bit then cut into square…

A sushi from a long time ago

Flash back two years. I was passing by Nobu on London's Berkeley Street. Not a place, I knew, you entered without a reservation. But it wouldn't hurt to ask, and they actually had a place for one. Not a table, but a seat on the sushi bar. Just perfect, for I only really wanted to eat sushi (and watch the chefs as an added bonus). I ordered a drink, then told the elderly sushi chef I am a vegetarian, and the rest of my dinner was in his hands. Two rolls? I nodded yes, thinking we both meant the standard maki.

But he had other plans. He carefully cut a square off a red bell pepper. Then he brought out a torch and charred the little bell pepper. The effect was dramatic, but very carefully orchestrated. Then came out the little ball of rice, the now peeled grilled pepper was put on top and the whole bundle was tied up with what I knew to be some sort of seaweed but it was surely not nori. He carefully pondered on his choice of flavors, then picked one little bottle and sprinkled …

Peppermint Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

The hot chocolate is the easy bit. I just followed my now-standard recipe but used Hershey's mint chocolate chips instead of the regular dark chocolate. The real excitement was when i decided to make my own marshmallows. This recipe comes straight from Nicole over at bakingbites. I halved it, as I am apt to do with everything. But apart from that, it was just a straightforward recipe. At least at first.

I found a large bowl and soaked 10 gms gelatine in 1/4 cup water for 10 minutes. In the meantime, I mixed 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup corn syrup and 2 tbsp water in a pan and boiled it for a minute, then poured it on the soaked gelatine and added a pinch of salt and a tsp of vanilla essence.

Next you are supposed to switch on the hand mixer to high and whip the gelatine/sugar mix. This is where the fun begins. Not a single recipe I've read warned me that sparks will fly. And does hot liquid sugar fly! After 3-4 minutes, I swapped into a deeper, much larger bowl. And by the time I fin…

It's been a great one year!

Life is...

- A butterycookie

- Books and conversations

- Strawberries in season

- Tea and pakoras on a rainy day

- The perfect pasta

- Sandwiches on a weary afternoon

- Celebrations with friends old and new

- Paneer Butter Masala and Paranthas..anytime, anywhere

- Hot Chocolate with marshmallows on a winter evening

- Whims, fancies and fantasies

Life is memories...

Happy Birthday, Bombay Foodie