Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Perfect Breakfast

Hubby cooked this breakfast a few days ago...

Scrambled Eggs with ham, Smoked Ham and Cheddar Cheese

Take 3 eggs, a knob of butter and a couple of slices of ham along with a tablespoon or so of milk.
In a pan melt butter and add the milk, stir and add the eggs, whisk around. Add a little salt. Add the ham, cut into small bits. Stir up till scramble is the consistency you like.

Serve in a plate with some smoked ham and a wedge of Cheddar and a couple of slices of bread.

Voila!!! The Perfect breakfast is ready!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Minced Chicken with Vegetables

The last time we stocked the freezer we bought a ton of chicken and plenty of chicken mince. Here is a simple preparation that both, hubby and I love. the good part is that it is chockful of vegetables and is very light on the spices. Its a perfect light summer lunch, and if you make it soupy, its a wonderful comforting soup in winter.

Here's how-

500g Chicken mince
1 large onion finely chopped
1 large carrot, cubed small
8 -10 french beans, strung and cut small
1/2 cup green peas
1 large tomato, chopped fine or tomato puree
1 large potato, cubed small
Celery, chopped fine
3-4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
3 cardamoms
fresh cracked pepper
olive oil
mixed herbs

Heat the olive oil in a pan/wok. Saute the garlic and the onions. Add the bay leaves and cardamoms. Shake around. Don't let the onions brown or burn. Add the vegetables and stir well to mix. Cook covered for a minute. Add the minced chicken breaking up any lumps and mixing well. Cook on a high flame for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato and stir well. Add salt and pepper and cook covered till the mince is cooked. Add water, about a cup full. Let it come to a boil and then simmer till the veggies are cooked through.

Remove from flame and pour into your serving bowl. Garnish with mixed dried herbs.

You can turn this into a hearty winter One-Dish meal by making it soupy and adding some macaroni or other small pasta to it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Good Old Chocolate Brownies

"Early to bed
and early to rise
I'll bake just as soon
as I open my eyes!!"

Sometime when I was in college my Mum bought me this little book...The ABC of Cookies from the Peter Pauper Press. It is chockful of easy recipes and little rhymes that all have to do with baking.

I've made Brownies following the instructions here hundreds of times....recipe is simple and absolutely guaranteed :)

2/3 cup Flour, sifted with a pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp baking powder.
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup soft buttter
2 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
200 gms Chocolate
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a bowl mix the sugar with the butter whisking till light.Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or zap in the microwave. Add to the sugar-egg mix and blend it well. Add the flour gradually mixing as you go and finally stir in the nuts. Mix the batter well.
In a greased baking tin spread the batter and bake at 350 F or 180 C for about 25 minutes.

Cut into squares and serve hot!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Easy Pasta with Tuna and Vegetables

This is a dish that I made often in the hostel in Pune while we were doing MA and PhD... it is fairly simple and very flexible depending on what you have available in your pantry.

Any medium sized pasta- macaroni, fusili, etc
1 can Tuna in oil
2 or 3 eggs, boiled, peeled and chopped roughly
1 bunch spring onions, chopped
200 gms, mushrooms, washed and sliced
garlic, as required, chopped
capsicums,green or coloured, cut into small pieces
1 zucchini, chopped into small cubes
olive oil
1 or 2 flavour cubes, as required
dried oregano
cheese slices
fresh cracked pepper

Cook the pasta till al dente and keep aside. Toss in a tsp of olive oil.
Flake the tuna in a saucer. Reserve the liquid.
In a pan or wok heat a tbsp of olive oil and fry the garlic and spring onions for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and the zucchini. Cook till the water from the mushrooms has dried up but not completely. Add the flavour cube(s) and salt and pepper as required. Add the chopped capsicums and toss on heat for a minute.

In a large bowl mix the warm cooked pasta with the mushroom mix. Toss in the chopped boiled eggs, flaked tuna and mix gently. Tear the cheese slices into largeish shreds and add to the pasta. Pour in some of the reserved tuna oil and toss with the dried oregano. Ensure that the pastas is still warm when you toss in the melts a bit and is just great!!

You can chuck in some sliced black or green olives for an added zing.

Just leave out the tuna and the eggs to make it vegetarian....the pasta still tastes quite yummy.

This makes a nice light lunch especially in the summer.

This is more of a 'salad' type of a pasta preparation.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Garlic Mushrooms

My love affair with mushrooms started just as I began college. My cousin Bipasha and I shared a great love for mushrooms and we discovered many recipes using the button mushrooms that were available in the market.

This is a very easy way of doing mushrooms and it is somethig I often serve when I'm having guests over...

250 gms Button mushrooms, washed thoroughly
garlic, finely minced or sliced
1 cube Maggi seasoning
fresh black pepper
1 tbsp soya sauce
olive oil

Slice the mushrooms, not too thin. Make sure they have been washed really well and all the mud is off. In a pan heat some olive oil and toss in the sliced garlic. Fry for a minute and then add the mushrooms. Once they release water crumble in the flavour cube. Add a good grinding of fresh black pepper. Let it cook covered till the mushrooms are done. Remove lid and dry out the excess liquid. Splash in the soya sauce and coat the mushrooms well.

Remove onto a serving plate and serve.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Short-cut Butter Chicken

This is how my hubby taught me to make Butter Chicken. Not the flaming red grasy concoction that we eat at most restaurants but a delicious flavoursome (and calorie-packed!!) version that I love making. It's also a very easy recipe indeed.

2 portions Chicken Tikkas
1 large onion, chopped fine
5 tbsp cashew nuts soaked and ground to a paste
approximately 3/4 cup tomato puree
garam masala powder

Its easiest if you get the chicken tikkas from your local tandoori joint because if you have to make the tikkas at home then the 'easiness' of this recipe ends right there.

For a generous portion of this dish, enough for about 4 people, take 2 portions of the tikkas.

In a wok/kadai fry the onions till pink. Add tomato puree and let it cook. Adjust the amount of puree depending on how sour it is. Add a generous spoonful of garam masala powder and pour in the cashew paste. Mix well and add the tikkas. Let it come to a boil. Add water if the gravy is too thick. Add salt as required. If you like a bit of a bite you can add a couple of minced green chillies along with onions at the start, or a good spoonful of chilli powder with the puree.
Once you have removed it to the serving bowl put a dollop of butter or cream and serve with parathas/naan.

Butter Chicken

You can also take a full Tandoori Chicken and shred the meat to use in this gravy instead of tikkas.
The same basic gravy can be made to make Paneer Tikka masala.

Chicken Cafreal..easier done than said!!!

Chicken Cafreal is one of my classic preparations. It is absolutely fool proof, it has never failed...and it is probably the easiest and yet impressive dish that I rustle up in no time at all. Of course there's no way I can really take all the credit for it. The secret is a ready-made marinade that I buy and always have in my pantry cupboard. Cafreal Masala by Goana foods. You can order this online, they will deliver it by post to you.

The masala itself is a coriander/mint paste with some other spices, a green masala.

Cafreal Masala

Chicken Cafreal.

1 chicken
cafreal masala
salt (only if you need it)
Butter/Olive oil

Marinate the chicken pieces in a generous amount of the marinade masala. Let it sit for half an hour or so. heat butter or Olive il in a flat pan and put in the marinated chicken and marinade. Fry on a high flame till chicken is well coated in oil/butter and the masala for about 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce flame and cook covered till the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with garlic bread or rotis or regular sliced bread. It tastes lovely with the little soft 'gutli' pavs that are available in Mumbai, too.

You can use this same masala with squid. Get the squid cleaned and sliced into thin rings. marinate and cook as above. It's just yummy!! Prawns work well too.

You can make a really yummy and out of the ordinary starter by doing chicken wings with this marinade. Make sure you have plenty of paper napkins around!