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Showing posts from August, 2009

This Book Makes Me Cook : Pomegranate Soup

I had a sense of deja vu reading our book club's pick for August. Marsha Mehran's Pomegrante Soup is a story of three Iranian sisters who escape the revolution, flee to London, then land up in an Irish village where they set up a cafe. The book is replete with references to food, and has plenty of drama thrown in both as a clash of cultures and the memories haunting from the past.

Now where have I read this before? You're right; the plot, down to the minutest detail, is from Chocolat. The village bully, the friendly folks who reluctantly get drawn to the exotic cafe never seen in these parts before - you've read everything from this story before in a French setting. Yet Pomegranate Soup is a pleasant way to pass a weekend afternoon. Certainly, everyone on the book club loved it.


The best part of the book is that each chapter starts with a recipe, and that dish is then folded into the story being told. There are plenty of great ideas to pick from. What I picked was a br…

Be careful what you wish for...

For didn't I say last month that the daring bakers challenges were getting to be too simple. And just a few days later, Angela and Lorraine, this month's hosts, responded with a Dobos Torte. I haven't heard of this Hungarian torte before and I read the eight page pdf of the recipe with growing apprehension.

You'd know when I explain what a Dobos Torte is. It's a five layer sponge cake with chocolate buttercream, topped with caramel. Now I've never made a sponge cake before. I've made buttercream once but I wouldn't know how to apply it neatly on a cake. And caramel! Isn't it that scary thing that goes from just done to burnt in a second.

To make it easier, I decided to make a mini cake with just 1/6th the original recipe. That's where Audax comes in. You don't know Audax? He's got to be the most helpful daring baker. And because he usually completes the challenge the day it's announced, we rely on him to clarify techniques and occasi…

It's arrived!

It's good that flipkart sends you a mail the day they ship the books you have ordered. Or I might have fainted, or something. As it is, my heart skipped a few beats as I opened the brown packaging and came face to face with this most beautiful of cookbooks.

Or rather, it's so not a cookbook. It's a chronicle of Alinea, the restaurant and the dining experience it's vastly talented yet whimsical chef Grant Achatz has created. I don't think I will have the courage to cook a single recipe in this book even if I can find the ingredients (right now I cant!). But at least in the meantime, or at least until I get to Chicago and eat at Alinea, I can gawk at this beautiful work of art.

Healthy Spinach Rice for Microwave Potluck Party

Is it really two years that Srivalli has been running her innovative microwave cooking event. She's prompted me to try my microwave for more than just heating several times. Just like last year, Srivalli celebrates the event anniversary with a potluck party. I took a dessert to the party last time around, but this time I was rooting for something healthier. I turned to last year's roundup, and there was this spinach rice. Valli, hope you don't mind getting the same dish on the menu again.

To make spinach rice, wash and soak 1/2 cup rice. In a microwave safe dish, heat a tsp of ghee for 30 seconds. Add 5-6 peppercorns and heat for another 10 seconds. Now add a small onion, chopped finely and microwave for another 30 seconds. Add a cup of finely chopped spinach, 1/2 a tsp of garam masala and another 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes until the spinach wilts. Add rice to the bowl, and a cup of water then pop it back in the microwave for 5 minutes. Bring it out and…

Go Nuts!

This recipe is pure coincidence. I was baking shortbread last week, and ran out of chocolate chips to top the cookies. So, instead, I pressed an almond in the center of each one. One of these almonds was less than stuck so it popped out, and I just ate it right out of the oven. Bliss! I first thought I will pull out the almonds and eat them, each one of them. But then, I just decided to be nice and make the roasted almonds by themselves.

This time around, I mixed half a cup of almonds with a tsp of olive oil, 1/2 a tsp of sea salt and a generous pinch of herbs de Provence. Then lined a baking tray with parchment and arranged the almonds in a single layer. Mimicking the baking time for my cookies, I baked these on the top shelf at 170C for 30 minutes, rotating once in between. The savory version was even lovlier, so much that you should make them right away. Really. I insist.

On a side note, if you aren't familiar with herbs de Provence, that's a lovely combination of dried herb…

Bombay Foodie is changing...

I have always been a proponent of healthy eating. But somewhere along the line, with my new found love of baking, I've veered towards the devilish treats a bit too much. It's been fun baking those buttery cookies and chocolate-y cakes, but now I'm taking a pause and setting my diet straight.

No, this does not mean you will only see salads over here from now on. And I am surely gonna bake whatever sinful decadence daring bakers come up with. But do expect more whole wheat treats rather than white bread; and some olive oil instead of butter.

I make a start with this month's taste and create.

Laura is my partner the second time round. Even the first time, I was impressed by the range of her cooking; from lovely breads to tons of chocolate cookies to vegetarian dishes from around the world. This time, I picked her chickpea salad.

First, you boil the chickpeas. Then, you mix roughly a cup of boiled chickpeas with a tbsp of chopped cilantro and a small sliced onion. Then you m…

Christmas in August

Cinnamon, sugar, raisins and a house full of sweet baking fragrance. That's the bread I picked from the seasonal breads the three bakers from A Year in Bread baked in December. This was Kevin's recipe, and although I made one major change (replaced the eggs with an equal quantity of milk), the rolls came out real nice.

Can't write more as my mom's here and we are off to the beach as soon as we finish eating the rolls. She goes back tomorrow, and once I'm over the paranthas and kadhi-chawal she's been feeding me this past week, I'd be back with some new stuff.

A curry, an award and seven top secrets

Once, at a dinner in Hyderabad, I ate an egg curry. It was actually called an Egg Korma and had a brown curry very different from the red tomato based curries of North India. Nor was this curry tangy with tamarind. And it had a peculiar fragrant spicy flavor. I've looked to replicate this recipe for a few years now. And finally, it worked. I spotted this recipe over at Prasukitchen a few days back. Followed it just as she made it, and it was simply perfect. That spice I mentioned, that was kasuri methi - the missing link in all my previous attempts.

And I have more things to be thankful for today. Aquadaze and Jaya, two friends I've come to know through the book club, have passed the Kreativ Blogger award to me. Thanks a lot, both of you!



I have to pass on this award to seven other people. So off it goes to Harini, Sweatha, Shaheen, Lubna, Debbie, Laura and Bluespriite.

This award also requires me to tell seven secrets about me. Just in case you are interested, read on:

1. I was…

AWED Roundup : An English Summer

I asked for English food, and did you guys awe me with your ideas. 17 lovely entries, and one of mine - great British food for you to pick from.

An English Breakfast



If you read your Wodehouse right, you would remember those breakfast sideboards heaving with dishes. What I have instead is something even better: traditional yet healthy ideas.

Bhagyashri had to search a bit for an English dish fitting her current diet. And did she come up with a winner, with this lovely beans on toast.

Sweatha makes the traditional Scottish breakfast of Tattie Scones. That's panfried mashed potatoes, enough motivation to me to try these immediately.

And DK, the brain behind AWED, delivers a breakfast winner with her English Muffins.

Teatime Soiree



The afternoon tea, with its formality, and its lovely sandwiches and cakes and scones, is my favorite part of British cuisine.

And scones we have, of three different kinds. Four, actually. Yamini makes scones with strawberries and another version with choco…

Simple Pleasures

Last night, I got a call from my maid/cook. Her daughter wanted a fruit salad for a school project and did I have any ideas. I did, of course, but this turned out to be a bit tricky. Thanks to next door supermarket, I haven't shopped at the local fruit seller's for a few months. So I first had to find out the range of fruits to expect. Pretty slim pickings, as it turns out. She had bananas, chickoos and pears. And probably some sour plums or pomegranate. But no kiwi or pineapple. Not even mangoes, now that monsoons have set in. And who's heard of sprigs of mint once the rain has started. I was also reliably informed that you can't buy heavy whipping cream at the local grocer's.

As this simple idea took root in my mind, I was tempted to try the salad for myself. First in a glass goes a layer of chopped bananas. Then a layer of peeled and diced chickoos. I put the fruit in the freezer to chill for a few minutes. In the meantime, I mixed a tbsp each of yogurt and mala…