Whole Sea Bass steamed with a Rainbow side salad

A delicious and healthy steamed fish recipe perfect for stay in #FishFriday night dinner or a lovely brunch on a lazy afternoon. The accompanying salad is colourful and full of fresh veggies that’s why I choose to call it a Rainbow Salad.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sea bass scaled and gutted
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 sprigs of Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Garlic sea salt
  • Red Chilli powder

Whole Sea Bass

For the steamed veggies on the side

  • 2 small carrots per person
  • Handful of green peas person

For the Rainbow Side Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh pepper (capsicum)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/2 a courgette
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tbsp Red wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Olive Oil

Beautiful whole Sea Bass seasoned

Method:

To steam the fish

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C 
  • Wash the fish and place on the foil.
  • Stuff the lemon wedges inside the fish along with the Chives, rosemary and thyme.
  • Sprinkle generously with sea salt, red chilli powder and a drizzle of olive oil
  • Wrap the fish in the foil parcel and cook in the oven until it has cooked through, should take about 20-25 minutes.
  • Steam the veggies in a steamer.

To make the Rainbow Salad:

  • Chop all the vegetables into tiny bite sized cubes.
  • Place chopped veggies in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil and add the red wine vinegar.
  • Season well with sea salt and add a generous sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Mix well

To Serve

  • Plate a portion of the fish and serve the steamed carrots and peas on the side.
  • Serve a generous helping of the crunchy veggies salad.

Whole steamed sea bass with a Rainbow salad

Here are some other fabulous recipes to try if you are cooking sea bass:

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Uni brings Nikkei Cuisine to Victoria

The largest Japanese settlement outside of Japan is in Peru and the unique fusion cuisine that is Japanese Peruvian is called Nikkei.Fiona invited me to accompany this time to discover Nikkei , she is an award-winning freelance writer and marketing consultant who currently writes about travel and London lifestyle for a number of publications and runs her own London lifestyle blog called London Unattached.

So it was a bright summer Monday afternoon that I trooped in Uni (the Japanese word for the sea urchin, a Japanese delicacy) restaurant and sushi bar designed by Andrew Martin, in Belgravia minutes away from the travel hub that is Victoria station.

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I was shown to a cosy table downstairs.

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For starters I got some steamed edamame with a spicy chilli and garlic sauce (£4.50) and some refreshing green tea served in a typical cast iron heavy pot which I would love to have as part of my growing food prop collection which now occupies every corner or of our tiny rental flat much to the chagrin of my hubby – I guess the last straw was trying to pass off a very heavy cast iron pot as a ‘place to keep his usb drives and wire hehehee

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I had happily managed to forget my phone at home and therefore Fiona tried in vain to inform me of her delayed train. Blissfully unaware of this I sipped my tea and munched my edamame all the time trying to ignore some stuffy banker type folks on the table next to me talking shop – how boring…

So when Fiona arrived she managed to move us to a bigger table away from the ‘big boy talk’ as she aptly called it and onto a table where I could dump my bags and lay my camera lens and other paraphernalia – I do not travel light …

To make life easier we chose to have bento boxes for our mains and mine came with the udon noodle and fish cake soup while Fiona had a light Miso soup. I was feeling ravenous by the time the soup arrived and devoured it in a flash! (£24.5 per bento box – comes with soups, salad, sushi, & maki, main dish, side, rice and dessert)

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Nabe Udon  – Noodle and Fishcake Soup with Prawn Tempura.

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Beautifully light Miso Soup

My Bento box had Kaiso Wakame  – seaweed salad ,prawn and carrot tempura, main of duck tataki – seared duck breast finely sliced and dressed with mirin and soy, fried rice and sashimi selection. The duck tataki was deliciously morish, I also loved the seaweed salad and the sticky fried rice with the sashimi was very filling.

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Fionas bento box came with steamed rice and anticucho sauce  black cod and was very appetising , to read in her own words read her review of our lunch at Uni here.

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We washed down our Bento lunch boxes with some chilled sake.

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The very polite manager came and urged us to experiment with some of the Nikkei range from the menu and we were served two stunning dishes.

Tiraditos of Yellowtail with kizami wasabi,Yuzu and fresh mint presented in a creative and stunning display, it was delightfully fresh, sharp in taste with a delicate balance of colour and flavour. (£15.5)

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Wildly beautiful looking salmon tartare tacos with cucumber,tomato,masago and creamy miso were crunchy and melt in your mouth creamy all at one once exploding with a light flavour in every bite – delicious! (£6)

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Stuffed to the gills now I had to walk around click a few pictures and allow for some space to be created in my tummy to fit in some dessert 😉

To my amusement the very attentive young lady on the staff showed us how the colourful lamp shade were made from bottle of campari that could be detached and well glugged , given it was a hot summer afternoon I think it was a great idea that Fiona ordered us some Pisco Sour shots instead ;).Never having tasted these before I downed them in one go much to my own peril, the sake already in my system the shot gave me quite the buzz!

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Thankfully my cooling Matcha Gelato worked wonders and cooled me down several degrees -phew!

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Fiona managed to stay light with desserts too with a selection of fresh fruit.

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The creation of former Nobu chef Rolando Ongcoy, the menu at UNI offers a good selection of grilled meats ,fish, sushi,sashimi, selection of tempura and maki. The Peruvian influence is prevalent throughout UNI’s menu, ceviche and tiraditos peruano included.

The bar area upstairs also has plenty of seating on high stools and around the bar, perfect for knocking down Peruvian fav’s like the pisco sours or coconut-based Chilli Mojito.

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Victoria being a very office space kind of area is lucky to have Uni in its midst now, with bite sized healthier meal options ,seven- dish bento boxes for short lunch hours are on offer at a price of course. So the big banker boys and girls can have their financial pow-wow meets in the fancy cubicles or basement vaults if you please which can seat about 10 – 12 people, and if the huge ice buckets with bottles of chilled Moet and the power talk we overheard from the table next to us are anything to go by then Uni is already a haunt for these suited and well heeled office folks!

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  • Website:Uni
  • Opening Times: is open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday inclusive

*With  thanks to Uni for the invitation. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review . All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Uni on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Zomato Reviewers Dinner at The Notting Hill Kitchen

What: Dinner with fellow Reviewers courtesy Zomato

Where:Notting Hill Kitchen

Weather:Brilliant and Sunny

As I walked past posh residential building painted a pristine white I was sure I had lost my way inspite of Google Maps egging me to continue walking along Kensington Park. This is just minutes away from the hustle bustle and lively Notting Hill Market famous for its antiques.

It was an exceptionally warm summer evening and I was welcomed with a chilled glass of white -Quintaluna 2012, though couldn’t manage more than a glass as it was a bit tart for my taste.

First up was the Mac Silva a mini cod burger which was really delicious and I could have popped all of them into my plate had it not been for my equally hungry companions. Sea Bass Ceviche made with Peruvian aji Amarillo mild chilli, fennel corn,tomato ,coriander and lime was moorish,loved the fresh cherry tomatoes in there just wish it had a more generous squeeze of lime!

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Undoubtedly the star of the evening the Spider Crab Mousse was fabulously delicious , served in a mini doughnut the secret flavoursome ingredient was dehydrated mussels,the sea food lover in me was completely satiated , I have found a new obsession Spider Crabs!These reminded me the deep fried soft shell crab starters I tasted at Tenshi, a Japanese place at Angel, deep fried in a delicious light batter these are to be eaten whole! They look a bit spidery though so don’t think of that just gobble them up whole)

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Did you know that Spider Crabs found in Japanese waters also called tall footed crabs have the largest leg span of any arthropod?!Upto 3.8 meters long – thats a massive 12 feet!

Moving on from our science class back into  to Notting Hill Kitchen enter Tiborna Alentejana – a combo of Pata Negra,Bone Marrow,Cured Papada,toasted sourdough,truffled yolk – described by Martin as the bridge of meat – so apt huh? The cured papada was crunchy and the bone marrow delicious but the Pata Negra literally meaning black hoof popularly known as  Jamón ibérico or carna negra – is Iberian ham, it  was not something I fancied much, maybe blame by taste buds so used to Parma Ham. Pata Negra is a type of cured ham  produced mostly in Spain, but also in some Portuguese regions where it is called presunto ibérico and is made from iberico or black pigs or cross bred pigs.Washed down with a glass or two of Spanish Blend – Malacapa Rioja 2012 which was definitely many notches up compared to our white.

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Topping my list for comfort food on the menu was Jamon Croquetas made with caramelised onion…. mummmm, lemon beetroot and parsley viennoise, such a fab way to mask beetroot and so very delicious!

The starters were fabulous and I could have kept on going if it wasn’t for a delicious portion of Chef Yossi’s Acorn fed pork neck with red cabbage,lentils and lupin cous cous. Funnily though the lentils were very simple to the Indian dal vada though the centre of this big circular fried lentil I could taste the wet lentils .The cabbage was salty but very delicious and must say held its own even with pork as the main actor in this presentation.This went down really well with our Portuguese Red –  Quinta de sao jose touriga nacional 2011  , a complex fruity and fruity with spicy undertones with a rich purple red colour ,this red was also my favourite wine of the evening.

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Served with sides of an Asparagus and Saffron Risotto and a rather out of place portion of fries with mayo and paprika, the patatas bravas left me wanting .

Much foodie banter and impromptu exchanging of places to chat up with all the foodies at the table and the time seemed to have evaporated much more swiftly than I expected. It was great catching up with Leyla,Le Binh,Reema and Shak. Interesting conversation about our mutual much hated sport cricket -yes – boooo , with Frankie and some serious conversation about food blogging with Mehreen, several plans to catch up with these like minded folks were hatched. A rather enthusiastic bar tender got us all a round of exotic cocktails and entertained us with his banter while naughtily gulping down some delicious coffee cocktail with banana ummm.My espresso cocktail gets 4 on 5 ,its what I’d like to call a proper alcoholic end to a meal – bitter coffee notes ,chilled to perfection for the hot summer evening.

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Our sweet plate with vanilla ice cream, frozen sour bits of ice was served a Ginginha shot – a strong liqueur made with sour and Morello cherries.

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Le Binh rang in her birthday with this cute little birthday cake – its cute isn’t it!

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I have never been to a Portuguese Tapas bar so the fab dishes that were served up to on that fabulous summer evening will always be special and the menu has loads more to offer. Am especially tempted to return and try the Octopus Rice – a traditional Portuguese red rice in a red wine gravy with chorizo and the Berlengas Pink Swordfish – Hot Smoked in Azores black tea & pan fried creamed carolina rice ,fresh coriander piso,miso crumble  – sounds terrific doesn’t it ?!

What can you expect: Delicious Tapas Portuguese style but the bill runs steep so an average of £70 for 2 on a night out.

*With thanks to Zomato Uk and the staff at Notting Hill Kitchen  for  fun foodie evening.No monetary compensation was provided for this post.All views expressed are my own.

Zomato London – Food Bloggers Meet at Gaylords

Last wednesday I was invited by Zomato,London to join a bunch of other food blogger who are also on the board of Zomato reviewers to Gaylords in Central London. Going by the weather that day I was not very sure I would reach my destination without being blown away first. At times like this I have a decided advantage over my featherweight foodie friends, after all it would a rather strong gust of wind to blow me off my feet 😉

Luckily I made it to the venue alive and without getting drenched! A warm greeting later –  from the ever so thoughtful staff at Gaylord’s who continued to really pamper us all through the evening – it was time for some welcome drink  – a fizzy pink- Passion Bellini and an optional Virgin Tamarind Mohito for those abstaining from alcohol.

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For starters we were served – Tandoori Tiger Prawns – succulent and smoked on the tandoor very juicy, Lamb Shammi kebabs – minced lamb patties with a minty yogurt dip -lipsmackin delicious,Murg Malai Tikka – Tandoor roasted mild chicken tikkas – honestly not my fav but heck nothing to complain about either , Amritsari Macchi – very delicious tilapia fillets fried in a gram flour batter seasoned with paprika and carom seeds – one word EXCELLENT!,Tandoori paneer tikka- huge chunks of cottage cheese – chargrilled with onions and peppers in a saffron flavoured marinade,Murg Gilafi Sheekh- minced chicken,smoked ,topped with bell peppers & chargrilled on skewers – all these served with 3 different types of Indian Bread – plain naan, garlic naan and mini onion kulcha.

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To my absolute delight  we were then served some very authentic in taste Indian street food snacks in a posh and innovative way.

These pani puri or gol gappa shots were utterly glorious and made me wish I was standing outside Elco at Bandra in Mumbai eating their ice cold pani puri .If you ever visit Mumbai then this is the place to go to for the BEST pani puri in town!I loved how they were served in these shot glasses.Boiled chick peas and tiny cubes of boiled potato are stuffed into the tiny puffed savoury puri and a sweet date and jaggery thick sauce is poured into it followed up with a green liquid which is a coriander ,mint and spice mix chutney and this has to be gobbled in one go ! They explode in your mouth enveloping your senses with an unforgettable sensation of taste,spices and aroma leaving your taste buds playing the guessing game.Sigh…double sigh…

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Next up – Bhel – or puffed rice spiced with chaat masala,chopped red onion tomato and a sprinkling of yellow sev or fried gram flour savoury and topped off with tamarind chutney and a green mint coriander chutney – bursting with flavour these were !Aloo Papri Chaat – spicy bite sized boiled potatoes in spices mixed with sev and served on a crunchy flat puri base.

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5 main courses with 5 accompaniments were to follow – by this point I was not very sure I would make it past the front door after this meal. But lucky for us the glasses magically seemed to top up each time and the conversation ,easy banter and laughter flowed almost as smoothly as the wine – leaving no room to ponder over such minor ,seemingly frivolous details or worry about the last tube back home – perfect.

Main Course favourites for me were the creamy coconut flavoured Prawn Curry which I polished off my plate with some Zaafraan Basmati – fluffy long grain basmati rice with saffron and the Chana Peshawari – chick peas cooked in their secret spice mix eaten with a steaming hot bhatura which a massive puri puffed and let me warn you has to be handled with care as it is very very hot. Now all I need to do is figure out a way to get the Gaylords chef to let me in on this secret spice mix – which I am quite sure they will never let go of , and why not , after hasn’t Coca Cola for years led us to believe that their secret ingredient is the one that has generations hooked onto their cola?Sadly, even so Coca Cola is no comparison for this Chana dish – honestly!But guarding the secret spice mix with their lives folks is serious business – after all heads have rolled and hands of artisans chopped off in medieval times to guard secrets of cuisine and architectural wonders alike! ( In her delightful and brilliant book ”Shark’s fin and Sichuan Pepper” author  Fuchsia Dunlop has described how many generations of chefs took brilliant recipes to their grave for various reasons and am sure everyone has heard the myth about one of the 7 wonders of the world – the magnificent and many splendored Taj Mahal in Agra , India – that Emperor Shah Jahan got the hands of his sculptors and architect cut off after they built the Taj Mahal which was dedicated to Mumtaz Mahal – wife of Shah Jahan. It is said he did this so that they would never again be able to build anything quite as splendid as the Taj Mahal!)

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The mains also included Butter Chicken – an indulgent and creamy sauce with Tandoori Chicken strips- ummm,Lamb Chops Anardana or Chargrilled Lamp chops in a ginger infused spicy mix with pomegranate seeds,Lamb Rogan Ghosh – tender lamb cubes cooked in a fiery garlic ,tomato and onion masala and of course Palak Paneer – a spinach and cottage cheese combo that would get even Popeye’s nod of approval! All this accompanied by Dal Bukhara – a traditional lentil dish from the northern most state in India – Kashmir served with an assortment of Indian breads puffy and hot off the charcoal oven – mind blowing – advance warning – best eaten by rolling up your sleeves and breaking large chunks of the naan with your hands scooping a shameless quantity of dal from your plate and shovelling into your mouth as if no one is watching – believe NO one is – when surrounded by food so good , what else can one focus on I ask ?!An innocent looking raita or yogurt flavoured with cooling cucumber and pomegranate helps do the balancing act of heat,spice and grease.

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Now I was supremely satiated and stuffed to the point I could explode but no self respecting foodie can resist a good gulab jamun and if that is flambeed with spiced dark rum , even the best defences shall crumble !To wash away any signs of guilt or gluttony we were served by this charming gentleman a 5 grape south african Red – a fine smooth wine ,delicious and fabulously lush – evidence of a good red I was informed is in the residue left behind in the wine glass – humm I learn new things every day 🙂

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This beautiful cocktail is called Saffrontini – a signature mix of saffron gin,cointreau,lime cordial and tonic.

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As if this indulgence was not enough we were served with Malai Kulfi – an sweet frozen dessert that cements the most difficult deal and makes the grumpiest of humans grin – smothered in pistachios and cardamom it is definitely what can be described as an Indian Ice cream!

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It was great to meet some familiar faces @Le__binh  and @LeyLaLaa , infact I had a blast of an evening chatting up a wonderful bunch of Londoners. Loved meeting new faces – @AnomalousLondon ,@wildscribe ,@inher30s ,@LadylovesCake ,@sshaikh .

Now that I think about it , @Gaylord_London  was packed to the gills with hungry guests and the same team that fussed over our table,ensured our wine glasses never ran dry and explained how their chefs had expertly combined  the various complex and glorious Indian spices and used them to create the spectacular special menu for the evening , the other guests seemed equally pampered ,happy and errr happily tipsy to say the least ! How do you do it folks ?!Keep it up! I think this is great ”Hospitality AND Food Karma” and this is very important to me when I dine out – and I suspect is the case with any discerning diner, foodie or not ! Especially since am so far away from Indian and given my regular cravings for authentic tasting Indian cuisine I am always on the hunt for the next best Indian dining experience. I would hate to have that spoilt by a grumpy staff , high handed attitude, over priced sub-standard food or a menu which is considered fusion food but is basically authentic Indian food murdered by some nutjob who thinks they have created a masterpiece – beware of such places I’d say!All I ask for is a fabulous service and one great course after another  dished out in perfect rhythm and harmony  – just splendid food  with a smile really.

Lucky for me Gaylords is short journey from home – Lajawab !

Zomato London and Gaylords – you spoilt us – royally! Many thanks to both parties and Of Course would rather shamelessly like to admit that am very eagerly looking forward to more foodie meets, great food and good company! Cheers!

Red Lentil Soup

I tried to write this blog post some time after ma came home from hospital but things were a bit topsy turvy but here it is now!

Sometime in November in India…..

”My ma’s bff’s have been pampering her a lot and have been a bunch of real sweethearts. Last week AM got her some heartwarming veg soup among some other goodies. All the medications have killed ma’s taste buds and her appetite to an extent so this soup was a wonderful new bouquet of mild but delicious flavours for her. AM has agreed to share some of her other recipes as well including one which helped her the first prize in a cooking contest ! Whoopies! How I love all of ma’s buddies – all such passionate foodies 😉

Ok so here’s how you can create this Masoor dal or Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentil dal
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 a potato boil
  • Salt as per taste
  • Pepper to garnish
  • 1/2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  • Few whole cloves/lavang
  • 1 cinnamon stick/dalchini
  • Water as required
  • some unsalted butter to slather an accompanying slice of toasted brown bread

Method:

  • In a vessel add the lentils and roughly chopped onion ,tomato and potato(peeled and roughly chopped) and add enough water to soak them.
  • Boil the red lentil ,onion ,tomato and potato in a cooker. Give it 3 whistles
  • After the steam releases from the cooker  and the lid comes off easily, allow the mixture to cool down completely.
  • Puree in mixer/food processor , add some more water to adjust to a soup lile consistency and garnish with salt n pepper.
  • In a saucepan add 1/2 a tsp of ghee /clarified butter ,on a medium heat ,add dalchini/ cinnamon stick and a few whole cloves/lavang.
  • Reduce the heat to a minimum and now the tadka is ready, carefully pour the puree from the food processor/mixer into the clarified butter and spice tadka as it may sputter.
  • Serve the soup hot with a lightly buttered slice of brown bread ideally with unsalted butter.”

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I am entering this delicious and healthy Red Lentil Soup recipe into one of my favourite foodie link up’s hosted by Jacqueline Meldrum of Tinned Toms and Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen aka Food and Spice alternatively. It’s easy peasy just go to Lisa’s blog as she is the host for May 2015 and add in your recipe post to the linky , then link to both Lisa and Jaq’s blogs as I have done and add the No Croutons logo to your post, all done! Any Salad or soup will do but only one post per blogger , also watch our for the round -up done after the 28th of each month.

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Sweetcorn and Paneer Bhaji/Sabzi

In March I had rushed to be by my mothers side when her recovery post a double knee replacement surgery which was supposed to give her a new lease on life went badly wrong.

She was put on a very strict diet and asked to avoid more food stuff than she could eat, besides the heat in Pune was killing and the numerous medicines made her terribly hungry and moody. Not to mention the times when she was in so much pain I regularly went in the room next door and sobbed my guts out into a pillow…

On one of the better days when she really wanted to eat something tasty and refused all the options I gave her my maushi (that’s we call mum’s sister in Marathi language – my mother tongue) saved the day by making her this simple yet delicious vegetable which was packed with flavour in-spite of having on onion,no garlic and no tomatoes which mum was not allowed at all…If you have someone at home who is being given blood thinner medicines to avoid blood clots you may be asked to avoid foods that contain Vitamin K which is a natural blood coagulant.

Since this was only for one person we took a handful of each ingredient and used spices as we thought appropriate to suit her taste buds dead with all those medicines. Please feel free to amp up the spice if you wish.

Serves 2 as a side or 1 as a main

Preparation of veggies and Cooking Time:45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Cauliflower florets 150 gm
  • sweet corn 50 gm
  • carrots chopped into tiny cubes 50 gm
  • green peas 50 gm
  • Paneer cubes/Cottage Cheese 50 gm
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt as per taste
  • a pinch of red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin and coriander powder mix
  • a small pinch of ground clove powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Finely chopped fresh green coriander leaves -just enough to garnish.

Method:

  • In a pan take 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and sautee the bay leaves, clove powder and cumin and coriander powder for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the sweet corn and cook for about 3 minutes with spritz of water on a very low flame with lid to allow the corn to cook well.
  • Add the chopped carrot cubes and add water and cover an allow to steam for 2 -3 minutes on a low flame.
  • Reason for cooking the sweetcorn first and then the carrots is that they will take longer to cook than the cauliflower and peas which will become mush in the vegetable if all these are added at once. To save time you could used boiled sweetcorn and carrot. Avoid canned and ready to eat variety.
  • When carrots are almost cooked add the cauliflower florets ,green peas and season with the turmeric and red chilli powder and salt.Mix Well.
  • Add very little water just enough to allow the veggies to cook well.

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  • When they are almost cooked after not more than 5- 8 minutes , add the soft paneer cubes and mix well and serve hot with a chapati fresh off the pan.
  • Garnish with a tiny bit of fresh coriander leaves finely chopped.Ensure they are washed thoroughly to ensure no muddy bits are hiding between the delicate leaves.

Needless to say aai loved the bhaji and after almost 15 days of bland food she was really upbeat. Soon after she really began to recover at a desirable pace and was coming up with many of her own ideas to make delicious food with less oil, minimal spices and without any tomato. Cheers to you aai , you are a very brave person to have come out of such a bad health situation only a few months ago, to a point where you are 100% independent and cheerful as ever.God bless all those that stood by us and the few special people who came to help me in the hour of need, no questions asked, you know I love you people tons right ?:)

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Disclaimer: Please note this is a true account of what my mum had to eat with her many food restrictions and is not meant to be treated as a medical advice for anyone following a diet where they have been asked to stay off Vit K .Please always consult your doctor before eating anything that is out of the ordinary for your condition.

Egg Curry/Anda Curry/अण्डा कारी from my college days

Egg curry and soft paav or square buns are the most common hostel food that one can make with a saucepan,some eggs and a few basic ingredients.It is hugely popular as a filling,tasty curry and there are as many variations as the imagination, ones budget and availability of ingredients on a particular day will allow 🙂

This version is what I always make and is sort of derivative of what would be made in the North of India.I sometimes like to make it into a coastal flavoured one by adding fresh grated coconut but that’s only if I want to make it posh but that’s very, very rare. After all this is a quick ,save the evening sort of curry!

It’s National Curry Week and it’s wonderful to see how Britain has embraced an Indian food habit and made it, its own over the years, spinning off British Indian versions of popular Indian home cooked curries.

I wanted to start of my posts for National Curry week with this one because of how easy it is to make and a great recipe for students everywhere 🙂

Serves:2

Total Preparation Time :20 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs and use the same proportion of 2 eggs per person to scale up (for very hungry fells the more the merrier 😉
  • 2 medium-sized red onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp garam masala
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin powder
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander powder
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil – it’s easier on my conscience , use any oil or butter or ghee in dire straits!

Method:

  1. Boil the eggs in an open saucepan and leave aside to cool
  2. Roast the chopped red onion on a saucepan and spritz it in the mixer with the chopped tomatoes and green chillies.(If you want a coastal touch add 2 tbsp of fresh grated coconut in this mixture and puree it together,ensure to use atleast 3 finely chopped garlic in the pan as they set of the taste of fresh coconut beautifully)
  3. In a saucepan heat the oil and add a pinch of asafoetida,then add the chopped garlic and roast till it’s a light brown ,then add the ginger paste,turmeric,red chilli powder,garam masala,coriander and cumin powders.
  4.  Stir in the onion and tomato puree.
  5. Cook on a low flame for 2 minutes.
  6. Then add some water to make a gravy like consistency and ad the boiled, peeled eggs after cutting them in half, add salt and cook for a further 5 – 6 minutes.
  7. Serve with hot chapartis/naan bread,paav,soft fresh wholemeal bread or with steaming hot boiled white rice – to make the rice taste heavenly drop a blob of butter, the steam trapped in the grains of rice will melt the butter into a golden pool of gooey goodness – pour the egg curry into this and enjoy the best and simple pleasures of curry!

Anda Curry

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Hot and Spicy Lamb chops in Apple sauce

We all crave comfort food and at times the need is so great nothing else will do. Since I have been making variations of  rice dishes in the past few days I didn’t want to do anymore rice but wanted a light yet rich in taste and spicy one pot meal for dinner.

I also wanted to cook a savoury dish with red meat and use apples as an ingredient to enter the recipe competition for the best apple recipe hosted by Gourmandize Uk and Ireland and making a sweet preparation was not what I wanted at all.

Still taking a leaf from the sweet preparations from apple , I think cinnamon and apple go very well with each other. It’s these well paired fellas that can spice up even the most drab foods.

So I decided to get some lean lamb shanks and marinate them overnight in a hot Indian marinade.

I have tried to tone down the amount of spice here so as to cater to taste buds that don’t take kindly to overpowering spices and yes ”heat” in food shouldn’t mask the other subtle flavours should it? But if your palate is used to heat feel free to AMP you the volume 🙂 I have mentioned by how much the heat can go in the ingredient list to stay with acceptable levels of taste.

Serves:2

For the marinade:

  • 1 green chilli hot (2 green chillies if you handle spice well)
  • 1/2 a bunch of coriander
  • salt to taste
  • red chilli  powder 1 heaped tsp (2 -3 heaped tsp if you can handle the heat!)
  • freshly ground black pepper to dust onto the lamp chops

Wash and clean the lamb chops and marinate for atleast 2 hours, preferably overnight with salt,red chilli powder,black pepper freshly ground and a puree of half a bunch of coriander and one green chilli. Smear the chops well and cover the dish with plastic and leave in the fridge overnight for the flavours to really sink into the meat.

For the sauce

  • 2 cinnamon rolls, the light brown tightly curled ones, not the thick bark variety – more on the difference between the two in a different blog post!
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 apple sweet
  • half a juicy tomato
  • half a bunch of coriander
  • 1/2 red onion sliced lengthwise
  • 2 bunches of spring onions finely chopped

Method:

  • In a saucepan add 2 large tbsp of sunflower oil or vegetable oil, saute’ the finely chopped spring onions,red onion chopped lengthwise with the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and cloves till the red onion turns pink and reduces.
  • Now add the half an apple chopped into bite sized chunks.
  • Saute’ on a low flame for about 1 min and then add a puree of half a bunch or coriander,half a tomato and half an apple.
  • Ensure you do not waste any of the purée and scoop out every last precious drop from the mixer by adding water and pour all of this into the saucepan,stir continuously and as it begins to bubble add the marinated lamb chops.
  • The tomato in the puree and the apple in the puree and the bits in the saucepan should all work to now offset the otherwise hot spices – red chilli powder,black pepper and cloves.

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  • Cook on a low flame for 25-30 minutes or until the lamb chops are cooked well,add just enough water to ensure the sauce is not going dry as we want a thick rich gravy and open the lid in between and give the whole thing a stir to ensure it does not go dry or stick to the saucepan.
  • You now have the most tender and well cooked lamb chops with a thick, well flavoured tasty green sauce.I loved biting into the bits of apple now then which had gone soft and yum during the process of cooking , what an absolute delight!

Serve with warm bread, better still smear some butter and top it off with some finely diced bits of garlic ,pop it in a pre-heated for about 5 minutes and it’s just so good to polish off that thick sauce after you have savoured the lamb ummm !

What I love about this dish is that the recipe is 100% original, it was deeply satisfying experimenting with flavours and reaching a successful outcome and because I cooked it for my birthday lunch for hubs n me it was rather special too. The powerful spice was beautifully balanced by the sweet apple and as they cooked with the meat they lent a unique richness of flavour. It is wonderful to see how we can marry polar opposites in flavours and create something unexpectedly delightful – an absolute pleasure for the taste buds.

Now all I need is a whole lot of luck to win the very coveted prize of a Kenwood Stand Mixer!

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Well the contest is now done, though I didn’t win * sad face* am happy I made something yummy and original 🙂

Upma/Uppet (उप्पीट)- a classic Indian breakfast recipe

In Marathi,my mother tongue we call this dish ”Uppit” and in the south of India its called Upma.

It’s a fluffy cooked breakfast made of roasted semolina and spices and can be customized by adding green peas and small carrot bits.I love eating this steaming hot garnished with a generous sprinkling of freshly chopped coriander and some finely grated fresh coconut – umm perfection, can almost feel a strong whaft of the aroma swirl around my nose as I sit here and type the recipe 😉

After Kande Pohe this has to be my number one favourite Indian breakfast option.Agreed there’s a lot of ingredients but there’s a lot of flavour too!

In Matunga area there are many good Udipi restaurants who do upma on their breakfast menu and it’s so good gobbling fresh hot upma and dowing a cuppa or tow of hot filter coffee before getting to work on a busy weekday morning in Mumbai city.It’s very filling and  budget friendly too:) All you need is some time before rushing for the daily commute to ensure you can squeeze yourself into the restaurant and sit on one of the long wooden benches with complete strangers and hope to god you don’t have coriander  stuck in between your front teeth if they smile at you  😉

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup rava approx 100 grams
  2. 1/2 tsp urid dal
  3. 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  4. A pinch of asafoetida
  5. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  6. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  7. 1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
  8. 1tsp red chilli powder, actually 1/2 a tsp for the ones who do not like their Indian food too spicy
  9. 1 tsp coriander powder
  10. 1 tsp cumin powder
  11. 2 green chillies chopped fine
  12. 5-6 fresh curry leaves
  13. 2 pods of garlic chopped fine or simply smash them and drop in the saucepan with skin on!
  14. 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  15. 1/4th of a juicy red tomato
  16. Salt as per taste
  17. Fresh coriander to garnish
  18. Fine grated fresh coconut

Method:

  • I usually roast the whole packet of 1 kilo of semolina I buy on a flat pan on a very low flame stirring constantly and then allow it to cool down completely and then store it in tins ready to use when I need to make this dish or the sweet version called Gooda Sheera/ Sooji Halwa which is a popular Maharastrian sweet dish and especially important during festivals as we serve it as Prasad to Lord Ganesh or during Satyanarayan Pooja.
  • In a saucepan add the oil and as it starts to heat, add the asafoetida,mustard cumin seeds and urid dal.The urid dal brown very quickly so stir this around a bit.
  • When the mustard seeds begin to pop add the curry leaves,green chillies and garlic and chopped red onion.
  • When the garlic begins to turn a toasty brown and the onion reduces add the tomato and give this mixture a proper stir.
  • Now add the turmeric,red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder  and salt and mix well
  • Then add double the amount of water as compared to the quantity of rava/semolina,cover the saucepan with a lid and let the water come to a boil.
  • If you wish to add green peas and carrots finely chopped for an extra burst of taste do it just when the water begins to boil and let it cook in the hot water.
  • Now slowly stir in the semolina ensuring that it does not form lumps.
  • Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook on a low flame for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent lumps forming or the mixture becoming too dry, if it is very lumpy sprinkle water and mix well.

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  • Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander and fresh grated coconut.

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I am just beginning to experiment with photos taken using my new 50mm f1.8 Cannon lens – A’s gift to me for my birthday this, I quite like the steady pattern of gifts starting with my first DSLR on last years birthday.Just need to figure ways to wiggle out other gifts *evil laugh follows* 😉

Sunday Special Lunch – A Family Tradition

What a Sunday Roast is to a traditional English Family Sunday Lunch is what the combination of Spicy Chicken Gravy and Jeera rice or layered Chicken Biryani is to my family . My sister and me have grown up eating these divine yet simple dishes prepared with great passion and with great efforts by my parents.Almost all the  ingredients were freshly procured on Sunday morning and accompanying my dad to get the chicken was part of the whole excitement for me . It was my mum’s way of getting me out of her hair is what I learned years later 🙂

Last year when my husband and me decided to move to London , I was super delighted when my parents visited a few months later. My parents had promised they would cook us their Sunday special and  my hubby would  watch and learn they created these dishes.

I shall start with my personal favourite Chicken in thick gravy and Jeera Rice ,followed by Layered Chicken Biryani in the next blog post. Hope you will enjoy cooking up these yummies and creating happy family memories of your own.

Chicken in thick gravy-Ingredient List:

  1.  Medium sized Chicken cut and deskined, usually available at any good butcher shop , ask for pieces suitable for a curry.
  2. 3 medium sized tomatoes and 4 red onions pureed together
  3. 1 Large bunch of coriander and 2 long green chillies pureed.
  4. Oil
  5. Turmeric Powder
  6. Red Chilli Powder
  7. Garam Masala
  8. handful of finely pureed grated fresh coconut
  9. Ginger Garlic Paste
  10. Finely Chopped coriander to garnish

Method:

  1. Wash the chicken pieces and marinate with a large spoonful of red chilli powder and turmeric, a generous blob of ginger garlic paste ,sat and some puree of the coriander and chilli paste.
  2. Take a large vessel and on a medium  add oil, when it is hot add the onion- tomato puree and sautee it till the colour turns a dark pink , add some ginger garlic paste ,salt , turmeric and 2 large spoons of garam masala.
  3. Then add the grated coconut puree and remaining coriander and chilly paste.
  4. Saute well and then add the marinated chicken .
  5. Add enough water to cover the pieces and enough to ensure good amount of gravy.
  6. Pressure cook for 3 whistles in a pressure cooker.
  7. Serve hot with steaming hot jeera rice and cucumber curd mix to balance off the heat.

As you will notice most ingredients are not accurately measured as would in a cake recipe , that’s because baking is really an exact science whereas curries especially this one function on judgement , it gets better with time , trust me , I have grown up eating this one 🙂