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!

 

Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas

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Monsoon therapy with rustic Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas – pure joy! The rains lashing against the window panes, steaming cup of coffee and empanadas – perfect rainy afternoon. Dreamy yummy creations which is bursting with flavors. You have to be crazy to not enjoy these savory pockets!

If that wasn’t enough to lure you to try these out, probably your childhood memories surely will. Remember those vegetable patties and pies you enjoyed at the neighborhood bakery store… oh so delicious! The crisp and flaky pastry and the absolutely gorgeous stuffing…I am already dreaming about it while writing this post. While I was in the US, I often missed those patties until I stumbled upon these hot pockets filled with sumptuous stuffing called empanadas from a famous food truck in San Francisco. It ticked all the boxes for the things I was missing. Homely and satisfying.

I was trying my hands to make empanadas at home and guess what, I  was bursting with ideas. It almost took 1 week for me to calm down and decide about the filling. You can fill the dough with all your favorite things and enjoy these wonders.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 14 – 15 pieces)

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour + extra for dusting and rolling out the dough
  • 2 eggs
  • 115 grams butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 120 ml ice water
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 200 grams button mushrooms, chopped
  • 200 grams cottage cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup spinach, blanched and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp chili flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

For the dough:

  • Take all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt in a bowl and whisk it.
  • Using a pastry blender/ 2 forks or using the tips of your fingers, blend the cold butter into the flour mixture until it forms a coarse crumb like mixture.
  • Beat 1 egg, ice cold water and white vinegar in a bowl and keep aside.
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour-butter mixture and using a fork combine the entire mixture. Do not over knead it.
  • Generously dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on to it.
  • Bring together the entire dough together by gently kneading it.
  • Divide the dough into 2 halves, cling wrap it tightly and refrigerate it for atleast 1.5 hours.

For the mixture:

  • While the dough is resting, take a saucepan on medium heat. Put oil in it.
  • Once its hot add 1 tsp chili flakes and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add chopped onions and saute it for a minute until it turns translucent.
  • Add mushrooms to the mixture and let it cook for a minute.
  • Now add the remaining chili flakes, salt, black pepper and basil leaves and saute the mixture for couple of minutes,
  • Once done take it from the stove and allow it to cool completely.
  • Once cooled add grated cottage, spinach and mozzarella cheese and form a mixture using a spoon.

To Assemble:

  • Preheat your oven to 230 C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge. Take some dough and roll it out on a flat surface into round discs of similar sizes ( approximately 6 inch diameter)
  • Take the stuffing and place it on one side of the circle.
  • Take the other end of the dough and form a semi circle. Seal the edges as shown in the picture or by making knife impressions.
  • Once all the pies are formed, beat one egg and using a pastry brush, egg wash the top of the empanadas before they go into the oven to bake.
  • Place the pies atleast 1 inch apart and put it into the oven to bake at 200 C for 18 – 20 minutes, until the empanadas a golden brown and crisp.
  • Serve it hot with a yogurt dip and 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!

 

Quick Powerhouse Patty with Yogurt Dip

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It’s #foodcoma time! These powerhouse patties are an explosion bomb, packed with fresh flavor and great nutrients. I always loved patties since childhood. My mum used to revamp it every single time with different veggies and different herbs to make our meals more exciting! Yes, I get these genes from her. A lot has changed  in my life since I have attained motherhood. When it comes to food, I try to eat healthier stuff, more superfood and introduce the same to my child by alternating the favors. To my surprise my 2 year old mini bomb loves it too!

These patty is quite literally everything. The delicious concoction of nutritious veggies, the lushness from the fresh herbs and the abundance of super-food all comes together to create a firework of amazing flavors. All this complemented with a zippy yogurt sauce, it is phenomenal.

So just when you were pondering what to eat with your cup of tea during monsoons, we’ve got a quick and easy solution for you!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (makes 8 – 10 pieces)

For the patty:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, for cooking the patty
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly crushed black pepper, to taste

For the dip:

  • 120 grams plain Greek Yoghurt (I used Epigamia Yogurt)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

For the patty:

  • Cook the quinoa as instructed in the package. Once cooked, fluff it with a fork and keep it aside.
  • Meanwhile, blanch the spinach leaves and once blanched, run it under cold water. Roughly chop it and keep it aside.
  • In a bowl, mix chopped onion, grated carrot, chopped spinach leaves, chopped basil leaves, parsley, chili flakes, garlic and lemon zest and mix it with a spoon.
  • Add cooked quinoa, lightly beaten egg, salt and pepper and mix the mixture using your hand.
  • Lastly add the Panko bread crumbs and completely mix the patty mixture. Keep it in the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Take out the patty mixture from the fridge and using an ice-cream scoop, take a scoop of the mixture, roll it and slightly flatten it.
  • Repeat the process for the remaining mixture.  Keep the balls in the fridge for another 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile take a flat pan and put it on medium heat. Spray 1/2 tbsp of oil.
  • Now put the patty on the pan, drizzle some oil on the patty and allow it to cook until its crisp and golden brown on each side.
  • Repeat the process for all the patty and keep it aside.

For the dip:

  • Take Greek yogurt in a bowl. Whisk it slightly using a wire whisk.
  • Add lemon and salt and mix it with a spoon.
  • Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Now place the patty in a platter along with the dip and serve immediately!

 

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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Strawberry Avocado Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

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STRAWBERRIES – yes I am completely smitten by this gorgeous fruit. When the stores are full of  fresh and juicy strawberries, you can’t stop thinking of the multitude of recipes that you can end up making. From desserts to smoothies, jams to salads, strawberries is the star of the dish where ever you add them. So don’t be surprised if my recent posts have lots and I really mean lots of strawberries in it.

Strawberry Avocado Salad is a classic salad which is highly nutritious and yummy. This is a must try recipe when the fruit is in its best form. While the avocados add the creamy texture to the salad, the strawberries shine brightly adding the tanginess and sweetness to the salad. And by now you might have figured out how I love balsamic in my dishes so here we have honey balsamic vinaigrette to get the salad all together.

So when strawberry is in season and you are trying to eat right, eat healthy – this salad is not to be missed. Yes, healthy can be definitely delicious!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

For the salad:

  • 15 strawberries, cut lengthwise
  • 1 avocado, diced into cubes
  • 10 almonds, cut into slices
  • 6 big spinach leaves, washed and pat dried
  • 1/4 cup dill leaves, for garnishing

For the dressing:

  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinger
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
  • freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 150 C for atleast 10 minutes. Meanwhile line a baking sheet with parchment paper and toast the almond slices for 8 minutes or until light golden.
  • Once toasted keep it aside for final assembly.
  • Meanwhile take balsamic vinegar, honey, dijon mustard and olive oil in a bowl and using he wire whisk, keep whisking until well incorporated.
  • Now add the  crushed garlic clove, red chili flakes, salt and pepper and whisk it again and transfer it to a container.Place the lid and keep it in the refrigerator until you will serve the salad.
  • Now to assemble the salad, place the spinach leaves on the bottom of the serving plate. You can choose to chop the leaves lengthwise for ease of eating also.
  • Now randomly place the strawberries and avocado cubes on top of the spinach leaves.
  • Now garnish with the toasted almonds and dill leaves.
  • Right before serving drizzle a generous amount of the vinaigrette, toss the salad ingredients and enjoy!

Roasted Figs, Caramelized Onions and Ricotta Cheese Crostini

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Seeing a box of fresh fig at a local grocery shop – my brain is running at million miles a minute to understand how will I use so many figs. But I really want them to make atleast a few dishes. I decide to buy it because I have finally figured out a 3 – 4 dishes where I can use these beautiful fresh figs. I am in love with them.

Today’s recipe is my absolute favorite since it has all the ingredients I love. With the festive season coming, you will fall in love with this recipe since its quick to assemble, its not commonplace, its fresh and not heavy on your palate. The roasted figs are beautiful and tender, adding tartness and sweetness to crostini. The chili caramelised onion is simply gorgeous on your taste buds. The hit of the chili and the flavors of balsamic vinegar and honey  is alluring. Then comes in the ricotta cheese that forms the base of the whole dish and adds the perfect saltiness to the dish. The freshness from these ingredients spruces up the flavors of the dish.

This crostini is a great interplay of sweetness and saltiness in each bite which makes you want to dig in for more. Use a nice baguette, ornate these crostini with mint leaves or basil leaves and you have a stellar dish to celebrate this festive season with your friends and family.

Do share your experience with me! Follow us on Instagram or like us on Facebook – we will get you the best recipes to enjoy your meals!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 12 pieces)

  • 6 fresh figs, cut into 4 pieces lengthwise
  • 3 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 3 tbsp plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vineger
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 20 fresh mint leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • basil leaves, for garnishing
  • 1 french baguette loaf

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METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C for atleast 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Trim the stems of the fresh figs and cut it into quarters lengthwise.
  • Arrange the figs, facing upwards on the baking tray and put it into the oven for 10 minutes or until slightly tender.
  • Once done, remove it from the oven and let it rest.
  • Meanwhile take a bowl mix in the ricotta cheese and greek yoghurt until it forms a smooth paste like mixture.
  • Add in salt (don’t add much salt since cheese has its saltiness) and roughly chopped mint leaves and freshly grounded black pepper. Mix the mixture well and set aside.
  • Take a saucepan, add the olive oil and once heated add in half the chili flakes and sauté for 20 – 30 seconds. Add the sliced onions and sauté until its translucent.
  • Add the honey, pinch of salt and balsamic vinegar and sauté for a couple of minutes on medium heat until onion is brownish (not burnt) in color.
  • Add the remaining chili flakes and sauté for 20 – 30 seconds and take it of the heat.
  • Take the baguette and  cut it diagonally into 1/4 inch thick slices. Put it to toast in the oven at 180C for 4 minutes or until lightly brown.
  • Once toasted, generously spread the cheese – yoghurt mixture on the baguette. Place 2 pieces of figs on one side. Take a spoon of caramelized onion and place it on the other side.
  • Garnish with fresh mint or basil leaves and serve with the cheese yoghurt dip.

Bon Appétit!