Mayo – Hung Curd Sandwich

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Hello folks! Everything around me looks so festive and merry. The beautifully adorned Christmas tree in every nook and corner of the street, the colorful lights hanging everywhere, the cafes beaming with lots of freshly baked goodies and not to forget the conversations going on everywhere as to how one is celebrating Christmas. Amidst the endless baking going on in my kitchen, I feel I need a small break to make something comforting and simple. Hence we have a Quick Homestyle Sandwich Alert!

Sometimes all I need is a simple sandwich to feel good. Chop some basic ingredients, slather it on yoru favourite bread, toast it and you’re done. I made these Mayo and Hung Curd Veggie Sandwich for breakfast a few days back and it was yummy! Chopped few veggies, mixed it with hung curd and mayo, seasoned it, toasted my bread and my breakfast was done. I felt like a superstar. Save this recipe now because you can use all your teeny weeny leftovers to get this delish homestyle sandwich. No frills, no fancies – only goodness!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 4 sandwiches)

  • 8 slices of multigrain bread (you can also use white sandwich bread)
  • 4 tbsp of store bought mayoniesse
  • 1 cup hung curd (you can also plain Greek Yogurt)
  • 1 large onion, finely choppeed
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup corn kernels, boiled and cooled to room temparture
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp freshly parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  • Take mayo and hung curd in a bowl and whisk it until combined. Now add onion, bell peppers, grated carrot, corn kernels, chili flakes, parsley, coriander leaves, salt and black pepper and mix it well.
  • Put a gridle pan on medium flame. Meanwhile take one slice of bread and generously fill it with the mixture you have made in the first step. Make sure to leave some space towards to the edges will putting the mixture.
  • Take another slice of bread and place it on top of it.
  • Take a little butter and put it on the pan. Place the sandwich on the griddle pan and let it cook for 1 minute – 90 seconds. Meanwhile lightly butter the bread on the top.
  • Carefully turn the bread over and let the sandwich cook on the other side for 60 – 90 seconds.
  • Once cooked and golden brown on both sides, take it off from the griddle pan and place it on the kitchen top. Diagonally cut it making sure the mixture doesnt ooze out of the slices of bread.
  • Serve immediately with ketchup or as is.

Roasted Pepper and Tomato Pasta Soup

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The soup season is officially here and I am completely smitten by it. Warm jackets, hoodies, cozy blankets and everything to keep me warm is finally out and shining bright in my wardrobe. All I need is delicious comforting food to kick start my winter in the best way possible. And what better than this Roasted Pepper and Tomato Pasta Soup. Snuggled up in my blanket, this soul warming delicious soup is the perfect way to spend my winter evenings.

I remember as a child that right from the onset of winters, mum made tomato – carrot soup to lush green spinach soup or probably lemon coriander soup. This was followed by a creamy and cheesy casserole and then the usual Indian dinner. I admit I am lazy and can’t cook a myraid of things at once. Not a superwoman like my mum however hard I try. This soup is an inspiration from what she makes during winters – Soup + Pasta = Deliciousness!

The reddish hue comes from the beautifully roasted plump tomatoes, red peppers and fresh red chilis. The Indian and Italian herbs lends bags of flavor to this dish. Fresh herbs to finish it off and everything comes together beautifully with pasta. So grab your pots and pans now because this recipe is a must try.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 -4  people)

  • 10 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large red pepper, cut into big cubes
  • 1 red chilis (they look like jalepenos, optional)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece clove
  • 2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (you can made more for spice)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • fresh basil leaves, to garnish

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METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 200 C for atleast 15 minutes and slightly grease your baking tray with melted butter or oil and keep aside.
  • Meanwhile take a big bowl with the mentioned quantity of olive oil, dried oregano, dried parsley, salt and black pepper and mix it using a spoon.
  • Now add quartered tomatoes, 4 pieces of garlic cloves, bell pepper chunks and red chili to the olive oil mix and massage the veggies generously until coated with oil.
  • Transfer it to the baking tray and bake it for 30 minutes at 200 C.
  • Once done remove it from the oven and let it cool down.
  • Meanwhile take a pot of water, add salt and bring it to boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook it according to instructions given in the packet.
  • Once pasta is cooked, wash it under cold water and keep it aside.
  • Now take a saucepan and add butter. Once hot add bay leaf, chili flakes and clove and saute for 30 – 40 seconds. Now remove the clove and add chopped garlic and cook it for 30 – 40 seconds on medium heat.
  • Add onion and cook it until is translucent. Add the fresh basil leaves and cook it for 30 – 40 seconds.
  • Now add the pan of roasted veggies and herbs to the saucepan and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Add vegetable stock and let the mixture come to a boil.
  • Take it off the heat, remove bay leaf and using a stick blender, blend it to a fine pureé.
  • Add it back to the saucepan on medium flame and adjust for seasoning and let it be hot.
  • To serve, divide the pasta equally into serving bowls, put the soup on top of it, garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve hot!

 

Laksa – from the scratch!

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Monsoons for me means sitting by the window and enjoying the crisp cool air, the fragrance of “gilli mitti”, reading a book and relishing a bowl of piping hot and comfort food! I am already hoping that it rains again today and I can relive these moments again. And when you get a bowl full of goodness – piping hot curry noodle soup, your day can’t get any better! Laksa is a Malaysian curry noodle soup which is hearty and perfect for monsoon lunches and dinner.

This recipe here might not be the most authentic Laksa recipe, but it’s modified to what my family enjoys and the flavors we can relate too. Spicy, sweet, zing and lots of goodness. I must admit that cooking Asian food is not my forte, but I wanted to try my hands on this dish particularly. I tried, retried and re-retried and almost perfected myself in making Laksa. While the coconut milk lends the creaminess and sweetness to the dish, the “made from scratch” Laksa paste adds the much needed fieriness to the whole dish. The colorful medley of veggies provide the necessary nutrients. All this with a dash of lemon is sublime!

This soup reminded me of my mum’s tomato soup which she would load with noodles and veggies to make our meals more exciting. So just when you were pondering about what to cook next, my version of Laksa is here to spark up your weeknight dinners and a comfort laden weekend meal!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)

For Laksa Paste:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 dried red chili, soaked in hot water for atleast 30 minutes (you can add more if you like the paste to be spicier)
  • 1 fresh red chili
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh turmeric root, roughly chopped (you can use ground turmeric instead)
  • 1 medium red onion, roughly diced
  • thumb of ginger or galangal, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste

For Soup:

  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 150 – 200 ml water
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, par boiled
  • 1 medium sized red bell pepper, julinned
  • 1 cup carrot, peeled and cut into circles and par boiled
  • 6 – 7 pak choy leaves, cut into threads.
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 200 grams tofu, cut into cubes
  • 100 grams button mushroom, cut into thick slices
  • 1.5 cup cooked rice vermicelli, cooked according to packet instructions
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1/3 cup french beans, cut into long pieces and slightly boiled (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fresh thai basil leaves (optional)

METHOD:

  • In a mixer grinder take all the ingredients for the Laksa paste along with 2 tbsp of water and make a smooth puree out of it. Do not use the water in which the dried red chilis were soaked.
  • Once the paste is made, keep it aside.
  • Take a saucepan and put 1 tbsp of oil in it and put it on medium heat. Add the entire Laksa paste and let the paste cook completely. You will know the paste is properly cooked once it starts to leave slight oil. This would take 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile take another pan on medium heat. Put the remaining oil. Add chili flakes and the white part of green onion and saute for a few seconds. Now add broccoli, carrots, french beans, bell pepper and mushrooms and saute until it starts to get slightly charred. Add salt and give it a good stir. Once cooked keep aside.
  • Once the Laksa paste is cooked, add coconut milk and water and let the gravy simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add the diced tofu so that it soaks up some flavor of the curry. Let the curry simmer for atleast 5 minutes.
  • To serve, first take a bowl and add some cooked rice vermicelli. Add some veggies and then pour the tofu and the coconut curry. Add some more veggies on the top.
  • Garnish with lemon wedge, roasted peanuts, coriander leaves, spring onions and thai basil.

Enjoy!

One Bowl Fresh Mango Salsa

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Mangoes and Mexican flavors – sounds lovely and oh so yum! Sometimes all you need is a wonderful assortment of fresh and seasonal produce to make something utterly delicious! Mango salsa has been our family’s summer fare when the market is full of ripe and raw mangoes. Whether it is weekend brunches or something fresh and simple for weeknights, this bowl of confetti like colors is a hit!

Yes, my entire family loves Mexican food especially salsa. Sometimes the usual salsa becomes commonplace and this is when fruit salsas come handy. Tangy, sweet and spicy, all loaded in a single bowl pairs well with nachos, tacos or as a relish! So before the mangoes are out of this season, make this amazing salsa for friends and family in just no time!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 1/2 cup raw mangoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup ripe mangoes, diced (I used Alphonso mangoes)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 2 green chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  • In a bowl add ripe mangoes, raw mangoes , red bell peppers, onion, cilantro and green chillis and mix it well.
  • Now add lemon juice, salt and black pepper (and honey if the mangoes are too sour for your palate) and mix it well.
  • Keep it in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.
  • Take it out and serve immediately and enjoy!

 

Summer Pasta Salad

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Lets talk salad! A summer pasta salad is indeed a bowl of comforting stuff to beat the heat wave. The fresh and flavorful kick of the salad makes it a quintessential summer dream meal! Beautifully cooked pasta, some fresh summer veggies and a bold dressing and you are good to go!

As soon as I enter the grocery store next to my house, I am awe struck with the freshness of the produce and ideas keep striking at lightening speed. This summer salad is a celebration of the clean and simple ingredients. The cherry tomatoes provides burst of freshness to the salad, the roasted peppers adds the extra oomph to it. The creamy dressing is jam packed with flavor and brings together the entire dish.

Yes, the salad is yummy and you can get on your own adventure ride by tossing in different veggies because its all abut what delights you!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 1 – 2 people)

For the salad:

  • 160 grams boiled pasta ( I used Farfelle)
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper
  • 12 pieces cherry tomatoes, cut lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds, for garnishing

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise ( I used store bought mayonnaise)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp white vingear
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • crushed black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

For the salad:

  • Brush the yellow pepper with vegetable oil generously. Place it on a gas stove on medium flame.
  • Keep rotating the sides every 30 – 40 seconds so that it chars evenly.
  • Once charred, place the pepper in cold water, remove the skin, de-seed it and cut it lengthwise into strips.
  • Meanwhile place the broccoli florets in a pot of boiling water with salt for 2 minutes.
  • Once done run it under ice cold water and keep aside.

For the dressing:

  • Take mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, honey and vinegar in a bowl and combine it using a wire whisk.
  • Transfer it into an air tight container. Add extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic in the container. Close the lid and shake it hard until all the ingredients are well combined.

To assemble:

  • Take all the veggies and herbs in a bowl. Drizzle it with the salad dressing.
  • Toss the entire salad using the salad spoon so that each pasta is well coated.
  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve.

Enjoy!

Pesto Vegetable Curry

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With the onset of summer, everyone needs an express meal which is healthy, fresh and delicious. This recipe was pure serendipity! The love of home made pesto and fresh veggies led to creation of this wonderful dish and now it’s my family’s favorite! So just when deciding on each day’s menu for dinner was becoming difficult, Pesto Vegetable Curry on a bed of brown/red rice has become a regular stress free weeknight meal.

The sweet scent of fresh basil simply exudes summer. The vibrant and mildy spiced green curry with a medley of colorful veggies screams of summer. So just when you are thinking of cooking something different, something appetizing, we’ve got this recipe up for you!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

  • 1.5 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tbsp for curry
  • 6 garlic cloves + 4 garlic cloves for curry
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched in salt water and strained
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell peppers, julienne
  • 1/2 cup red bell peppers, julienne
  • 1/3 cup corn kernels, boiled
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup of milk (You can use 1/4 cu of fresh cream instead)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • few fresh basil leaves, to garnish (optional)
  • cooked rice, to serve with

METHOD:

  • Combine garlic, basil leaves, walnuts and pine nuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
  • Now add parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil and blend until a smooth paste is formed and all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Take a saucepan on medium heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  • Take 4 cloves of garlic and smash it with a pestle and put it in the saucepan. Take half of the chili flakes in the saucepan and saute it.
  • Now add the bell peppers and a bit of salt and saute it for a couple of minutes until slightly cooked.
  • Put in the broccoli florets and allow it to cook for 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms, corn and remaining chili flakes and saute all the veggies until cooked by 70%
  • Now add the homemade pesto sauce prepared earlier. Add salt, oregano and let the veggies cook in the pesto paste for a couple of minutes.
  • Add milk and let the curry simmer on low flame for 3 – 4 minutes, until the curry comes to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat, add lemon juice and lemon zest, mix it with a spatula so that its well incorporated.
  • Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve it hot with rice.

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Thai Glass Noodle Salad

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I am feeling so pumped up while writing this blog post, probably because it’s been a tad bit long that I wrote something all you food enthusiasts. I hope this recipe is worth the wait. After a month of festivities, eating sweets (read as putting on those extra kilos and fat everywhere) and enjoying time with family, its time to eat healthy and ofcourse yummilicious food to be able to gear up again for Christmas and New Year.

Thai Glass noodle salad is an explosion of flavors in your mouth. While the vibrant colors are so appealing to your eyes, the textures are manifold, making you go for another bite. It’s kind of unfair to have Thai food without fish sauce, but who cares! Being a vegetarian you can definitely savor such bold flavors with tweaks here and there. This salad is about the array of fresh produce and the bold dressing that lingers on your taste buds.

The dish is brimming with a bouquet of flavors – sweet, sour, spicy, earthy! While the fresh veggies add crispiness to the dish, the aromatic herbs add in the earthiness. The peanuts add the crunch to the dish, it is the dressing that ties together the whole dish. It adds the punch factor to the entire salad.

So just when you are hungry, chop the veggies up, whisk a sweet-tangy dressing and in no time your Thai Glass Noodle salad will be ready. Bon Appétit!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 -4 people)

For the salad:

  •  1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 medium onion, cut lengthwise
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and cut lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 100 grams glass noodle
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, roasted and crushed
  • 1 red chili, for garnishing
  • 8 mint leaves, for garnishing

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp jaggery powder (you can use sugar)
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 bird’s eye chili, finely chopped (you can use 1 tbsp red chili flakes instead)
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Boil a larger pot of water. Once its boiled, take it off the heat and add the glass noodle in it.
  • Make sure its submerged completely. Stir it once or twice so that everything strand is well submerged.
  • Cover the pot for 5 minutes and let the noodles cook in residual heat or until tender. Please follow the package instructions for any  different cooking instruction.
  • Drain the cooked noodles and run it under cold water and set aside.
  • Meanwhile for the dressing, combine lemon juice, sesame oil and jaggery powder and whisk well.
  • Add the remaining ingredients for the dressing and give the dressing a good whisk and set aside.
  • In a salad bowl mix the noodles, all the veggies, all the herbs and half of the roasted peanuts and mix well.
  • Drizzle the salad dressing and mix well.
  • Garnish with the remaining roasted peanuts, mint leaves and red chili and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Rainbow Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

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The start of October means the start of festivals all across India. There is an aura of happiness and wafting aroma of excellent food everywhere. I indulge to my hearts content, however I try to reset my day by eating something healthy, atleast one meal a day. The idea of eating healthy and delicious food got me to make this Rainbow Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette. It was inspired by a salad I ate at Yoga Cafe in Mumbai – simply soul satisfying!

This Rainbow Salad is indeed a treasure trove of the freshest fruits and vegetables that I picked up from a local grocery store. The vibrant colors and textures of the ingredients, makes it a picturesque plate of food where you want to dig in. The crispiness from the home grown lettuce leaves to the fresh explosion of pomegranate pearls and orange segments is blissful. The alfalfa sprouts ornate the dish beautifully and add a nice earthy feeling to it. While the tomatoes add the juiceness to the dish, the smokiness comes from the char grilled peppers. Assimilating these ingredients might be time consuming at times however the outcome is great too. The feta cheese (one of my favorite cheese) adds the creaminess to the powerhouse salad and all this is well brought together with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Remember to drizzle the dressing right before you eat it.

Yes, I am a salad person but I get bored eating the same salads again and again. However this is one salad where you can experiment with different ingredients – add some, delete some and never get bored. Eat this colorful salad, eat healthy, stay healthy!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

For the salad:

  • 25 grams of Alfalfa sprouts
  • 10 – 11 pieces lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 6 orange segments, deseeded
  • 1 medium sized red pepper
  • 1 big tomato, deseeded and cut lengthwise
  • 40 grams feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 10 pieces toasted walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Chili Flakes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 6 mint leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

  • For the dressing, mix all the ingredients in a glass jar/container. Shake well and keep it in the refrigerator for atleast 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile brush the red pepper generously with olive oil and keep it on a naked flame so that it chars. Turn the side every 2 minutes to get a even char on the red pepper.
  • Once its grilled, put it in a bowl with cold water. Peel the skin and cut it into thin strips and keep aside.
  • Take a bowl or a platter, place the lettuce leaves. Randomly place half the grilled peppers and tomatoes on the leaves.
  • Now scatter the alfalfa sprouts and the remaining tomatoes and bell peppers.
  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds, orange segments and feta cheese cubes.
  • Right before eating drizzle the vinaigrette, toss it and enjoy the salad.

Stay healthy, stay happy!

 

 

 

Pearl Barley Salad with Lemon- Honey Vinaigrette

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This oh-so-delicious salad is wholesome and packed with so much flavor. It’s become my absolute favorite since it requires nothing exotic. Its full of ingredients that is always available in our pantry.  The crunch from the veggies, the freshness from the fruits and the zing from the vinaigrette makes you want to go back for more.

Certain ingredients have such strong memories (not good ones!) attached to them that it becomes so difficult to get over it. One such ingredient is pearl barley. As a kid my mum used to give me barley water since it boosted your immunity and kept fever at bay. I hated the sight of it. And suddenly times have changed. Being a mum myself, I wanted to introduce barley to my son but definitely not the way I had it. I wanted it to be more interesting, colorful and appealing. I was contemplating between a barley soup versus barley salad. Seeing a whole array of fresh produce in my fridge I had to toss up a salad. My husband, my lil one and me – we all loved it. I keep making iterations to this recipe and its simply amazing. Its vibrant, its fresh and its delicious.

So when you face time crunch and yet want to eat something interesting, this is the recipe to fall upon. Be healthy, be happy – keep enjoying this salad!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

For the salad:

  • 1 cup cooked barley
  • 1 raw mango, diced into small cubes
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 large tomato, cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberry, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 3 orange segments for garnishing (optional)

For the dressing:

  • juice of 1 1/2 medium sized lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

  • In a glass jar/bottle combine lemon juice, olive oil, honey, dried mint, lemon zest, salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Put the lid and give it a good shake until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Place it in the fridge for atleast 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, take a cooking brush and brush olive oil on the red bell pepper. Put it to roast on the gas flame.
  • Make sure all the sides are well charred. Once that is done, remove it from the flame and put it in a bowl filled with ice water.
  • Deseed it, remove the skin partially and chop it into small cubes, similar to how the other ingredients have been chopped.
  • In a bowl combine diced raw mango, red bell pepper, tomatoes, basil leaves, cranberry and 1/2 toasted pine nuts and keep aside.
  • Take the serving plate, put a generous amount of pearl barley in the center. Place the vegetable and fruit mixture on top. Garnish it with toasted pine nuts.
  • Just before serving, take out the dressing from the fridge, give it a good shake and drizzle it over the salad and dig in!

Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion, Roasted Pepper, Corn and Olives Crostini


Good ideas strike to me when I am about to go to sleep, ideas hovering through my mind so that when I wake up the next day I have my to do list ready. When its about food good ideas strike when  bits of different ingredients are kept in the fridge and I have a sudden urge to finish it all. The first idea that clicks in my mind when different vegetables are stocked is crostinis. I love them, period!

I love the whole idea of having a crostini station – sweet and savory crostinis, different experimental toppings, a glass of wine and loads of chitter chatter with family and friends. Its easy to eat and then its definitely delicious. So as my in laws came over to celebrate my little one’s first birthday I was planning a long, lingering brunch menu which definitely had crostini in it. The bright and fresh veggies, the toast slathered with cheese and herbs was a complete winner during the brunch. They thoroughly enjoyed it. The sweetness from the caramelized onions with a hint of balsamic vinegar, the bold smokiness form the roasted peppers and the crunch from the baby corn all complimented well to create a wonderful brunch dish. All you need is an extra step to experiment with different ingredients and then something spectacular will be made in your kitchen.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 4 people)

  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 15 pieces baby corn , boiled and halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced, lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • 1 french baguette loaf

METHOD:

  • In  saucepan, heat half  butter. Once heated add in the thinly sliced onions and sauté until they turn light golden.
  • Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar and sauté for a couple of minutes on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and onion is brownish (not burnt) in color.
  • Take it off the heat and keep it aside.
  • Take the peppers, brush it with olive oil and put it on a naked flame, medium heat until each side is black.
  • Take it off the heat and dip it in a bowl with cold water.
  • After 5-10 minutes, take off the skin, cut it length wise into thin slices. Remove the seeds.
  • In another saucepan, heat olive oil. Add chili flakes and sauté for 30 seconds. Add garlic and sauté for a minute.
  • Add baby corn, roasted pepper, olives, tomato and caramelised onion and mix well.
  • Add salt, basil, oregano and freshly crushed black pepper and mix well.
  • Take a griddle pan, put some butter on it on medium heat and toast the thin slices of baguette or half bread slices until its golden brown and crisp.
  • Meanwhile take cream cheese in a bowl and mix it with dried mint and keep aside.
  • Once the baguette is done, take it off the heat, slather it with generous amount of cream cheese mixture.
  • Top it with a generous amount of veggie mixture. Garnish with fresh basil leaves or parmesan shaving or fresh boccocini in the side.

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NOTES:

  • You can use multigrain bread in case you dont find a french baguette.
  • You can use ricotta cheese with mint for the base of the crostini.
  • Toast the bread/ baguette slices in a toaster in case you don’t have a griddle pan.
  • Add roasted capsicum for more color.

Enjoy your day!