Thursday, 28 May 2015

Comforting Mushroom Soup!

Hard/Bad day at work?

Mushroom Soup is synonymous to comfort, warmth, relaxation and things like that. All this time I thought making this soup from scratch can only be done in restaurants and requires high end skills! So wrong though! It's super easy. So easy and so quick. The only special requirement is a blender. And you will definitely end up with leftovers and have it for a couple of more meals.

Ingredients: Mushrooms (I used button mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms) chopped, white big onion chopped, garlic chopped, salt, pepper and stock cube (either vegetable or chicken), dash of olive oil, sour or fresh cream (optional)

1. Slightly heat up the pan with olive oil, add chopped onions and garlic.
2. Sweat the onions till a bit translucent and then add chopped mushrooms to it.
3. Let the mushrooms sweat as well and leave them until the mushrooms turn brownish.
4. Dissolve a stock cube in hot water.
5. Pour in the stock. Add enough hot water to cover the mushrooms well.
6. Turn the heat to medium and let it boil for a good 20-30 mins. Don't try to add any seasoning since a lot of the water will be evaporated.
7. Once the broth has had a good boil take it off the heat and try to cool it down a bit.
8. Use a simple blender and blend all the contents of the broth until nice and smooth.
9. Put the pot back on heat, at this point add your seasoning according to taste.
10. Add some fresh cream or sour cream according to preference and serve hot.
So, that is all you need to do and who doesn't like a nice bowl of mushroom soup after a hard day of work :)

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Meat balls are Amaze balls !!!

Another weekend comfort food, a result of lazy surfing through the internet. They called it Moroccan meat balls, I call them yummmmmm! It is way easier than you think and tastes amazing. And you can totally customize it your way. So, with a round of applause, I present: Amaze-balls ;)

For meat balls: Beef/Lamb mince (I used beef), finely chopped shallots/red onions, cumin powder, coriander powder, fennel seeds (optional, but gives that extra edge), parsley or coriander leaves, salt, pepper

For sauce: One onion chopped, a can of chopped tomatoes, chopped clove of garlic, cumin powder, parsley, eggs, salt, pepper

1. In a mixing bowl take the mince and add all the above mentioned spices.

2. Mix really well (preferably use your hands to mix them thoroughly) and form small balls of your preferred size. 

3. Get a pan nice and hot, splash a bit of olive oil and fry the meat balls until nice brown all over.
4. In another pan, alongside, heat a bit of oil and saute chopped onions and garlic with parsley.

5. Once a bit translucent add chopped tomatoes, cumin powder, salt and pepper. Mix well.

6. Add a bit of water and let it boil to form a thick sauce.
7. After it has come to boil, add the meat balls carefully in the sauce and let it boil away for 30 mins approx. Keep checking that the sauce does not become too thick and gets stuck at bottom.
8. After 30 mins and the meatballs are nicely coated with the tomato sauce, crack eggs into the gravy. Do not disturb and let it cook for 3-4 mins.

9. Sprinkle some parsley or coriander on top.  
10. Serve with either pitta bread, naan or maybe cous-cous.

Interestingly, these meat balls are also known as Kofta or Kefte. In India, we also have vegetarian-balls in creamy gravies. And the chinese food we get in India has something similar, Manchurian, we call it. I am not sure about its authenticity though. However, it's amazing how these meatballs could roll over the face of earth and cover such a distance (west end of Europe to east end of Asia)!
Well, hope you enjoy cooking this.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Roast Chicken Stuffed with Mushrooms

A really simple dish to begin with and a perfect weekend roast. There are a lot of recipes around the world and this shows how versatile a roast chicken can be. I took inspiration from Jamie Oliver's Roast Chicken and mixed Mushroom Stuffing dish, although I have not followed the recipe exactly. Here is how my Roast Chicken was prepared.

Ingredients: One whole chicken (preferably with skin), rock salt, table salt, bunch of thyme, mushrooms, onions, garlic, an egg, bread crumbs, oil/butter, red wine, coarsely grounded black pepper.

Procedure: Firstly clean the chicken properly and pat dry. Leave it aside until the stuffing is ready.

For stuffing, heat oil in pan. Add diced onions and chopped garlic and sweat it out a bit but not till brown. Add the diced mushrooms, salt, pepper and thyme (and/or any herb). Cook it until the mushrooms are done, take it off the heat. Mix in your bread crumbs and an egg.

Next, take the chicken, place it in the roasting tray and give it a good massage with oil and rock salt. Try to push the oil and salt mix in between the skin and flesh on the breast and back part of the chicken.

Use a small spoon to stuff the hollow of the chicken with mushroom mix. No need to seal the ends of the chicken.

Add a cup of red wine on top of the chicken. In a pre-heated oven, place the chicken for about 45 mins or until done, turning the chicken once in every 20 mins. Everytime the chicken is turned, baste it with the oil and wine mix from the tray.

Potatoes on the side: Wash big potatoes and cut them as you prefer with your chicken. Put them in a pan with cold water and put to boil. As soon as the water starts boiling remove from heat and drain the water. Put salt and oil as well as some herbs (optional) on the potatoes and put them in the oven to get the perfect chips. I had put my potatoes in the same tray with the chicken at around 20 mins to go so some potatoes take up the wine and chicken juices and some are simply roasted.

The interesting thing with a weekend roast is you have leftovers, almost always. This helps in getting over the Monday blues, as you know there is some nice roasted chicken in the fridge waiting to cheer you up. Try doing a stir fry or a sandwich with the leftovers or add a gravy along with the chicken !!


Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A toast disowned by French!

Well apparently the french dont know how to make 'FRENCH TOAST'! It seems this toast shares a similar story like that of fries. And if you chance to ask a french how to prepare them, be ready for the stares n all. So, instead I stumbled upon a random post on these 36 different ways to make your french toasts. Although all the recipes are easy peasy, you will not have all the ingredients, for sure, for most of the recipes. Same was the case with me on a sleepy, lazy sunday morning. I was running out of things as simple as bread slices and orange juice. However, luckily I had a nice big orange, on the verge of ending up in a dustbin in a couple of days!

So, I took certain inspiration from this post (link below) and came up with this 'Orange flavoured French Toast', which trust me you need to try. I used the following ingredients:

Juice from one orange, sugar (adjust according to taste), 2 eggs, 1/3 cup of milk, vanilla essence or vanilla sugar (found them only in France), baguette sliced into 2 inches thick or so, butter

Apart from the bread, mix up everything nicely in a bowl. This mixture needs to be runny/ liquidy and not like a thick batter. Soak the peices of bread nicely in this mixture for almost 2 to 3 minutes each side. Once they soak up nicely the egg mix, place them in a well greased baking tray and swooosh, into a preheated oven. Bake them till they become nicely brown on each side. Once done, if you have some icing sugar, sprinkle on them or else have them just like that. They are the best things you can have on a lazy Sunday morning with a nice coffee. Here is the pic of my golden beauties, which could not see the light of the day for much long though ;)

And this is the link on Buzzfeed where I got my inspiration: 36 French Toast Recipes You Will Not Be Able To Resist
Hope Frenchies will enjoy this too :)

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Gulshan-E-Iran, a shining star in Mumbai!

The last time I was in Mumbai, I had enough time to taste some of the excellent but less popular places near the Fort area. The last night in Mumbai, all by myself, I decided to venture into this place called Gulshan-E-Iran, which I had passed by a couple of times before and realized it was never empty. It was a Monday evening and I thought it would not be that busy during a weekday but I was so wrong. Even for a Monday evening, I had to wait for almost 30 mins to get a spot to eat. The restaurant has a ground floor for people on the run and a top floor for families.
The first interesting part of the restaurant is that there is communal sitting on the ground floor, I mean the tables are for 4 but if you are less than 4 (as in my case) others will share a table with you. I found this very cool, something that I have seen in other European places too. The menu was offering a variety of traditional Kebabs, Mughlai and North Indian curries along with pizza and Chinese (!!). And the price section was even more appealing, so much so that you doubt what you are going to be served in Mumbai with that price. I opted for the traditional Mutton seekh kabab, Murgh Shahjahani and Tandoori roti. I think customers here take more time to decide than the delivery, the difference between ordering your food and the food on your table is merely a couple of minutes.
Food was excellent to start with. The seekh kababs are nice and juicy with unlimited supply of onions and coriander chutney. Chicken Shahjahani was nice and spicy with shredded chicken, a rich and creamy tomato gravy with boiled eggs shredded on the gravy. And the tandoori roti; fresh, warm, super huge, round and crispy, something I haven't had for a while. They are clever enough to not give your tandoori rotis together as they become cold but you also don't have to wait for the next one after you finished your first. The service is PROMPT! Also, the other people sharing the table with me were mostly ordering Biriyani and/or Tava bheja, the latter one being the favorite among locals.
Although surrounded by smelly Crawford Market, Gulshan-E-Iran's aroma cannot be masked. Its one of those places where there is nothing fancy about but you leave with a satisfied belly! Be it on a weekend with friends, a family night-out or you just don't want to cook at home; Gulshan-E-Iran serves to all. I would definitely be going back as and when I get a chance.
(PS: Sorry for the bad picture, I was starving and the sight and smell of the food was not helping either!)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

A quickie which will comfort your belly !

Do you have guests coming over and no time to cook? Are you famishing but want to have something nice to eat? Stressed and looking for some comfort food? The answer to all of this is a simple yet delicious chicken and mushroom recipe.

Nicely wash medium sized chicken (with or without bones), pat them dry and arrange them in a roasting tray. Add some diced potatoes in the tray. Sprinkle salt, pepper and a bit of oil. Roast in oven for 20-30 mins or until the chicken is done nicely. Meanwhile slice onions and finely chop garlic. In a pan add some oil and chopped onion n garlic. Do not fry them too much. Once onions are a bit translucent add mushrooms and fry them nicely. Once mushrooms look done add fresh cream to it and mix well, bring to boil. Now, take out the roasting tray from oven with roasted chicken and potatoes, add the cream and mushroom mix over it and mix well. Put back the tray in over for like 5 to 10 mins and serve hot with bread or rice.

If you are feeling too lazy, along with chicken and potatoes, also add onions, garlic and mushroom and let it roast until chicken is done nicely. After 25-30 mins, add fresh cream mix weel, put the tray in oven for another 5-10 mins and serve hot.

This recipe is from my girlfriend and it never fails! Let me know if you try this recipe and also if you have a slightly different version of this. Unfortunately I couldn't get a picture of this dish but most probably I will make it soon and update this post with a picture. Meanwhile, happy cooking!!

PS: I stumbled upon the following article and thought might be helpful for others as well, 'This Infographic Shows the Phytonutrients You Need to Stay Healthy'.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Eggetarian's paradise: Yolkshire

I have recently been in Pune to visit my younger brother and get some official work done. My brother wanted to treat me for my birthday and gave a couple of restaurant options. Of the restaurants, this name caught my attention: 'Yolk-shire'. And I will never regret this choice. I love eggs, I can have it all through the day. And this place serves egg based dishes. The menu, or as they call it 'Hatching Now', includes from a simple omelette and scrambled eggs to eggs in burgers and sandwiches and the more fancy omelette florentine. And the price rather wont burn any holes in your pocket.

This restaurant is styled like a cafe with outside sitting arrangements. Situated near Karishma Society in Pune and surrounded by other nice eating joints. But once you try food at Yolkshire you won't regret. We ordered a Mexican Salsa Verde and Omelette Reve and we got served not only the main dish but accompaniments like baked beans in tomato sauce, a green leafy salad, some sauteed potatoes and buttered toast. Mexican Salsa Verde was an omelette wrap filled with shredded chicken and green salsa (as the name suggests). The filling was a bit tangy and that definitely added an extra edge to this whole dish. While, the Omelette Reve was again an omelette wrap filled with chunks of chicken in a tomato and red pepper sauce. This was yummy as well!

This place also offers eggs cooked in Lebanese, Thai and Indian style to name a few, a lot of options indeed. They also serve Irish Breakfast, always brings a smile to my face. So many options that I have a strong urge to go back again and try some new dishes. I would definitely recommend all egg lovers to this place. A very unique place and definitely worth the price. To top it all up there is a shop selling 'Cad B', a super thick cadbury chocolate milk shake. Definitely try this Cad B once.

So, Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khao ande; and what better than at Yolkshire :-)