Cherry Tomato & Oregano Foccacia

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  “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” – James Beard

 

This wonderful Cherry Tomato is my first bake from the wonderful book that I received when I bought my Kitchenaid Artisan Standup Mixer in Dubai last year.Well I have experimented with lots more from the book,just haven’t got around to posting these beautiful recipes. Well I’m quite a recipe book junkie. Aren’t we all?Most often bed time reading lands up being recipe reading.I just love browsing through the multitude of recipes and images and of course make notes of what’s next on the baking agenda.Sometimes the lists are endless and don’t even get to even half of the recipes.

The Kitchen aid recipe book has an assortment of various recipes,ranging from  Sauces, Pasta dough recipes, Breads of all kinds,Pastries and Pies and lots more. These images have been in my folder for ever so long.Well that’s just a normal day in the life of a blogger I guess. I sometimes worry that I may suffer from ADD.I probably bake one thing,I’m editing images of another recipe and well land up blogging about something totally different.Well what matters most is that I do post all the recipes that I try out.So here goes.

This Focaccia is an easy recipe to follow and does not require much skill at all.I’ve used cherry tomatoes and some Oregano and flavoured it with Olive oil and sea salt.Nothing beats the taste and smell of warm and fresh bread out of the oven.So worth the effort!

Warning: Won”t last long as tastes delicious, hot out of the oven.Highly recommend baking two loaves at a time:) Happy Baking!

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Makes 2 Loaves: Ingredients:

  • 30 grams Yeast (Instant or Active Dried)
  • 400 ml Lukewarm water
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 800 grams Bread Flour or All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 125 ml Olive oil
  • 12 small cherry tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried Oregano
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil and sea salt for garnish

Directions:

  1. Mix the yeast in the lukewarm water.Stir in the sugar and let it rest for 10 minutes or until foamy.
  2. Stir in the Olive oil.
  3. Mix the flour and salt in the mixer.
  4. Use the dough hook to knead and gradually add in the yeast.
  5. The dough should be soft.
  6. Knead for 2 minutes.
  7. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave it to rise for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  8. Knock down the dough and add in the dried Oregano.
  9. Divide the dough into two equal portions.
  10. Roll each portion into circles.
  11. Place them on a greased baking tray.
  12. Make indents with your fingers in each circle.
  13. Push a cherry tomato into each indent.
  14. Cover again with a damp towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  15. Pre heat the oven to 200C.
  16. Drizzle the dough with Olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt.
  17. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Mirchi and Mime: Good Food served Quietly

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Now once in  awhile comes along a great and heart warming concept that stirs the soul and you think “Hey it’s a wonderful World”.Most readers of my blog are fairly used to my regular recipe posts and the odd product review along with a some  travel and culinary write ups. I must admit I’m not much of a restaurant reviewer,until my dining experience at Mirchi & Mime located in Powai Mumbai,last evening.This place certainly deserves a mention.

Mirchi & Mime also know as M&M is a new fine dining and modern concept restaurant ,recently opened its doors in the neighborhood of Powai. This place has every ounce of success written on it. Kudos to the owners Prashant Issar and Anuj Shah  for taking a giant step in employing an entire team of hearing and speech impaired individuals as their wait staff. A great initiative indeed in creating employment to the differently abled. The restaurant has a lively, warm and comfortable bistro like ambience, with a slight French appeal to the interiors. The open kitchen plan boasts of a variety of Tawa,Tandoori and Sigri styles of cooking.The staff is profusely cheerful, attentive and enthusiastic. They have been hand-picked from the Rochiram T Thadani Institute for the handicapped and trained for the hospitality industry.

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We were seated by our host and handed over the menu card, which very clearly and simply indicates the use of various sign language and gestures to enable the guest to communicate with the staff. Further more there are various sketches on the menu against each dish to ease the process of ordering. This place is abuzz at 9pm on a Thursday night with a constant turn around of tables. These guys certainly have a pulse on what ticks on the Menu. I would say the magic mantra for this place is the Co owner Prashant’s impressive 20 year hospitality background as General Manager at Chutney Mary’s and Amaya and various other top positions with hotels in India coupled with the expertise of Senior Sous Chef Sameer Bhalekar who has trained and worked under the likes of Ferran Adria’s Tickets and Chef Vineet Bhatia’s Rasoi in the UK.

The menu is simple and not very exhaustive, yet captures the essence of Fine Indian Cuisine. Perhaps not entirely progressive Indian, but veering  towards Modern Indian, with a twist.

Our Meal was recommended by the owner Prashant (who happened to be a batch mate of my friend Neil George from catering days) was as follows:

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For a drink I settled for a refreshing Cucumber and Green Apple Vodka Martini which was brilliant.
 Appetizers:
• White pepper Chicken: Succulent and juicy boneless chicken marinated in the best and finest of Tellicherry pepper. Mild and delicious flavors.
• Chicken Lollipop: A riot of flavors in here. Not for the faint hearted as a tad bit spicy. Smoky and bbq and hot and tangy flavors. Marinated with Bhot Jholokia.
• Duck Seekh Kebab: Combinations of minced duck meat with finely diced peppers, mildly spiced and a lovely refreshing burst of flavors lent by the orange rind garnish.
Tandoori Quail: Delicious and tender as ever. Delicate smoky flavors.

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2. Main Course:
Madras Mutton Curry and Naan: Really tender and melt in the mouth mutton cooked with madras curry.
• Thalappakatti Mutton Biryani: Brilliant south Indian medley of flavors. Interesting use of curry leaves and mustard seeds. More like a lightly hand tossed biryani. Delicate and mild flavors.

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3. Dessert
Crème Brulee: This hit the right sweet spot with creamy and light texture custard. Had a fabulous topping of coconut (filling used for traditional Modaks)
Sitaphal Pannacotta: A Sublime flavor of sitaphal infused with cream makes this a light dessert. Best part was that it was sugar free.
• Desi Cheesecake: With a Nankhatai biscuit base. Interesting however a bit dense for my liking.

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I had an excellent dining experience at Mirchi & Mime. Zomato rates this restaurant at 4.9 and I couldn’t agree more. A must visit.A double thumbs up for Mirchi and Mime…Their philosophy of Good Food served quietly certainly lives up to their  standards. Interestingly the T-shirts worn by the wait staff read “I know sign language, what’s your super power” Well done and Bravo for this great venture.

  • Located at:Address: G-6 , Ground Floor , Transocean House, Lake Boulevard Road, Hiranandani business Park , Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076
  • Phone:022 4141 5151  (Reservations recommended)

Disclaimer: I visited Mirchi and Mime on a friends recommendation and went their with my family and friends.The dinner was paid by me and all views about this review are my own personal experience. Thank-you.

When Life Gives You Oranges….Make an Orange Cake

 

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Well as the popular saying goes “When Life gives you lemons make Lemonade”.And  if it gives you Oranges then go ahead and bake up this delicious Orange cake and add in some marmalade for that extra citrusy Zing. Now I’ve been contemplating baking an Orange for a while now.There have been days when all the ingredients were all out,yet the cake just didn’t get baked.Just one of those phases you go through when you’ve been baking a lot.

This afternoon I had three lone Oranges giving me a nod of approval.Almost to say C’mon and bake that cake will you! The dear son vouched that he will not even have a bit…too much sugar he said and went about doing his thing.I was quite excited to bake this afternoon and so out came all the ingredients again. Now I had been browsing some recipes that called for the oranges being stewed and then placed top of the cake when done. Where as I came across a Jamie Oliver Orange Cake recipe that I quite liked. It called for finely slicing the oranges and layering them at the bottom of the baking pan.I have minimally adapted this recipe from Jamie’s. With Eid around the corner,I’ve added a slight middle eastern twist of adding in some saffron strands and cardamon powder.

I must say this Orange cake turned out really quite delicious. The Orange zest and the fresh orange juice lend it a wonderful burst of flavour. I choose to glaze the finished cake with some warm marmalade in the end.

Excitedly I called my Mom over to come and have a slice of this cake and a  cuppa tea. She quite loved it.Best of all,the dear son who was out all afternoon,comes home and devourer a couple of slices! So much for his not wanting to eat it.

Well who could resist a slice of Deliciousness?

Ingredients:

• 200g butter softened
• 3 tbsp brown sugar
• 2 small oranges, thinly sliced
• 200g granulated white sugar (powdered)
• 6 heaped tbsp fine-cut marmalade
• 4 large eggs, beaten
• 200g self-raising flour
• 50g almond powder

• Finely grated zest and juice of 2 oranges (medium Oranges)

Some saffron strands which can be soaked in the orange juice and about half a teaspoon cardamom powder. Another interesting twist is to reduce the juice of 1 orange and instead add equivalent amount of rose water.

Note: I’ve used All Purpose flour and have added 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to make it into a self-raising flour

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2.Grease the base and sides of a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Sprinkle the base with brown sugar. Arrange the orange slices on the base of the tin in a slightly overlapping layer.
2. Cream the butter and caster sugar until creamy.

3.Beat the egg whites separately and then beat in the yolks

4.Add  3 heaped tablespoons of marmalade, followed by the beaten eggs. Fold in the flour, ground almonds, a pinch of salt, and the orange zest and juice.Add in the cardamon powder
3. Carefully pour the cake batter into the tin. Place in the oven and bake for about 45-50  minutes, till golden and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes. Very carefully, while it’s still slightly warm, turn out the cake onto a serving plate.
4. Prick holes in the cake with a skewer. Make a glaze by warming the rest of the marmalade in a pan with a little water. Spoon this over the cake.

 

 

 

Pan Seared Wasabi Fish with Pea Puree

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Here is another quick dinner idea for you. We all look for easy to put together meals where you would rather spend more time with your family than in the kitchen.

I have been cooking fish a lot more these days. This easy recipe for a pan seared fish is great dinner option when time is short and yet one would like to put a nutritious and healthy meal together. I’ve used a fillet of John Dory that I found locally here in Mumbai. However you may substitute it with any other firm white fish if you like. This pairs really well with the pureed peas and the mint Labaneh. I’ve tried to recreate a fusion of Asian flavors with a mild middle eastern twist and it was well appreciated by everyone. The refreshing Mint Labaneh balances off the creamy texture of the Pea Puree really well.

I’d like to call this my weeknight wonder as it gets done under Thirty  minutes and tastes great too.

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For The Fish:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Fish Fillets ( John Dory,Cod or Basa)
  • 2 teaspoons of Mirin (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of Wasabi paste
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

Directions:

  1. Mix the Mirin,Wasabi paste salt and pepper and the grated ginger well.
  2. Marinate the fish fillets in the above mixture for about 20 minutes.
  3. Heat a skillet and brush with some Olive oil.
  4. Place the fish fillets on the pan.
  5. Sear on either side for about 7 minutes or until the fish seems cooked.

 

 

Pea purée

20g of Onions (Preferably White and  chopped)

1 tbsp of Olive Oil

400g  peas

200ml of milk

Salt to taste

Dash of pepper

Directions: 

  1. Saute the onions till soft and just translucent
  2.  Add the peas salt and milk and simmer for about 10 minutes
  3.  Drain off the milk  and pour the peas into a blender.
  4. Blend into a puree for 2 minutes until  smooth.
  5.  Add some milk back to make a  thickish purée.
  6. After blending, cool as quickly as possible as the colour will begin to fade fairly quickly

Mint Labaneh:

  • Take about 2 cups of Full fat yogurt and place in a thin Muslin cloth.Keep this over a large bowl over night.
  • You should have a thick creamy Labaneh the next morning.
  • Add some salt and pepper and some minced mint leaves for flavouring

Beetroot Hummus

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Hummus in Arabic literally translates to mean chickpeas. That’s exactly what this mezze is all about.A combination of crushed chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste) some lemon juice,garlic and olive oil…And Voila a delicious dip to serve with grilled meats,crisp pita or even some chopped vegetables.

How about Jazzing up your favorite Hummus recipe with the goodness of beetroot? I’ve used some beetroot puree into a batch that I made up earlier this week.

The beetroot totally livened up the hummus and gave it a wonderful texture, sweetness  and a gorgeous color of course.The base recipe for the Hummus is pretty much a standard one. It was almost all gone and I had to reserve some to take a quick picture for this blog post.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup boiled chickpeas ( or tinned)
  • 2 tablespoons Tahini
  • 1 pod garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup pureed beetroot ( 1 small beetroot boiled and pureed)
  • sprinkling of sumac

Directions

  1. Put the chickpeas into a food processor and blend for a minute.
  2. Now all  ingredients (except yogurt ) and blend further for 3-5 minutes till the mixture is smooth.
  3. Place in a small bowl and whisk in the yogurt.
  4. Drizzle some more Olive oil and sprinkle some sumac or zaatar powder.
  5. Garnish with some chopped parsley.