Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is quite easily another favourite with the family. The trick to make this into a quick fix meal is to prep up the meat sauce ahead of time. I usually make a large batch and freeze this for a week or so. This way the assembly of  the sauce and the boiled spag is another “Meal in less than 30 minutes”. The meat sauce has really simple ingredients and while you may choose using ground pork or beef, I’ve used some minced goat meat.

This hearty  sauce is made with fresh tomatoes, onions, lots of garlic, carrots and oregano.I like to keep the Bolognese fairly thick so that it coats the spaghetti well. You may use the same sauce with any other variety Pastas or even a Lasagne.While some recipes call for use of some red wine.I’ve skipped this and instead added some balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to make the sauce a tad bit tart and it enhance the colour too.

Well, go ahead and combine your love for pasta and a quick dinner idea and do give  this recipe a go.

This one is sure to give your dinner table a weeknight makeover.

Bon Appetite!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 carrot (small and chopped finely)
  • 5-7 button mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250 g Goat meat mince (mutton)
  • 4 large tomatoes ( blanched and pureed)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (grated for the garnish)
  • Fresh basil or parsley (garnish)
  • 250 g Boiled Spaghetti

Method:

  1. Boil the spaghetti for 10 minutes and drain and keep aside.
  2. Brown the mince in some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add water and cook till no more raw.
  3. Add some olive oil to another pan and saute the onions and garlic.
  4. Add in the finely chopped carrots and cook till done. Add in the mushroom and cook.
  5. Now add in the pureed tomatoes and some water and simmer till the sauce is fairly thick.
  6. Add in the balsamic vinegar and the brown sugar.
  7. Season with chilli flakes,salt and pepper.
  8. Once the sauce is ready add in the cooked meat and some more water and simmer further for 10 minutes
  9. Pour over the cooked spaghetti and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and some fresh parsley.

 

Brinjal Pickle: Marking Achaar Din for Indian Food Observance Day


 

Pickling has several  connotations in many parts of the world. Very simply put it means preserving food in brine or a vinegar immersion. We find pickled foods almost everywhere, right from cucumbers, gherkins, kimchi, carrots to even meats and seafood. Now pickles can be quite diverse and can say a lot of one’s culture. For instance in most european countries picking could mean preserving the vegetables in a simple brine solution and hence tend these to be more acidic in flavours. Where as here in the Indian sub continent the process of pickling lends a complexity of flavours quite tart and mingled with sweet and spicy notes.

Pickling is an age old tradition in India, albeit a dying one due to easy availability of ready made pickles off the market shelves.I have very fond memories of my grandmother and my aunts looking forward to the summer months when Mangoes are plenty. The green mangoes especially along with a host of spices, sugar and oil makes up a delicious pickle which serves up as an accompaniment with our meals. There are various varieties of pickle here including Lime, green chillies,mixed vegetables and even meats and sea food.

Well recently we celebrated Achaar Day in India. This translates into Pickle day as a part of Indian Food observance Day here in Mumbai.This is a wonderful initiative by the lovely blogger pal Rushina. She messaged me to come and join her for her AchaarDin potluck last weekend. Unfortunately due to a prior commitment I was  unable to attend this event, However I promised her a Achaar recipe that evokes childhood memories for me and my family.

My Grand mom,Mom and aunts would often make this Brinjal pickle which we would relish as kids.With Anglo- Indian blood from my maternal genes this could well be coined under lost Anglo Indian recipes…This pickle takes me back to my maternal grandmothers kitchen where often the aroma’s of this pickle wafted through the house. I have tweaked it a bit by giving it my own touch. It’s just as good (so I think) Will have to send some across to my mom and my sister  to sample some.I’m nursing some allergies at the moment and all I can do is stare at this wonderful and easy pickle for the moment.
But I would love for you to try this recipe out. This can be eaten hot or cold and stays well for 3-4 when refrigerated.

Brinjal Pickle:

Ingredients:
1/2 kg small brinjals
3-4 pods chopped garlic
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
5-6 curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
5 tablespoons groundnut Oil
3 tablespoons White vinegar
2 tablespoons powdered jaggery (gur) or sugar

Method:

Wash the brinjals and cut into quarters
Add a little oil and fry the brinjals till semi cooked.
Remove them and keep aside
In the same pan add the balance oil and temper with mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
Add the chopped garlic and ginger garlic paste and fry for a bit.
Next add in all the powdered spices. and fry.
Add the fried brinjals and cook till almost done
Add in the vinegar and jaggery powder.
Cool and store in an air tight container.
Must consume within 2-3 days

Classic Lasagne : An All Time Favorite

I have been meaning to put up this recipe for my Classic Lasagne for ever so long.It’s summer at it’s warmest and sunniest best here in Mumbai at the moment.While this is way too heavy a meal for dinner at the moment, it is still a family favourite and my recipe for a Classic lasagna. I agree the task is quite a laborious one but very worth the effort of slaving over it. The result is a creamy, moist and delicious baked dish. While a lot of recipes do not use  Ricotta cheese and egg mixture, I personally feel this gives the Lasagne a great creamy and moist texture and makes for a delicious baked dish.

You could make up the filling a day ahead and that would save a lot of time indeed. Served with a side of a garden fresh salad and a some nice warm herbed bread, this works great for weeknight dinners and while entertaining as well.

Hope you enjoy making this.

Bon Apetite!

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg lean mince (goat or lamb)
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 500 ml fresh tomato puree
  • 2 packets  tomato paste
  • 1 pack tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 250 grams ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 300 grams mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Drizzle some oil in a skillet and add the onions and garlic a and salute for a bit. Next add in the ground meat and cook till well browned.. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Preheat oven 190 degrees C
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Udaipur: Of Lakes, Palaces & Royalty

Hello Friends,

Here’s hoping the New Year has begun well for everyone!

Our dear son was visiting us over the recent holidays and we decided to take a quick trip within India.Now my travel almost always revolves around Culinary travel wherein essentially,I roundup a list of of best eats, or perhaps rub shoulders with a Chef at the hotel and get him to share a secret or two, or even do a workshop like I did one in Galle,Sri lanka. However this post is perhaps not as food centric and more of a travel post, sharing  the sheer splendour and magnificence of Fatehgarh, a  luxurious and boutique hotel we stayed at on our recent trip to Udaipur in Rajasthan,India.

 

Udaipur is quite aptly named as the City of Lakes or the Venice of the East and a city in Rajasthan, India, makes a perfect getaway  due its proximity of an a hour’s flight from Mumbai.The city has numerous lakes such as Fateh Sagar, Lake Pichola that make it a perfect spot for boating or perhaps even just walking.Besides lakes, Udaipur is also popular for its  historic forts and palaces, museums, galleries,gardens, temples, as well as traditional fairs and cultural festivals.The city founded by Maharana Udai Singh is  quite well know for its lavish and royal residences.

With the dear son visiting us over the Christmas holiday’s, we so wanted a break from our usual routine’s and decided on a quick break to Udaipur. The hubs was travelling and of course I was entrusted with making the vacay plans which meant scouting for a good hotel. Well infact the first hotel I chanced upon was the Fatehgarh property and I must admit was very impressed by the images on their website and of course the various amazing traveller reviews.

Lets say the decision was made to spend our time at this property and so glad that we did.

Hotel Fateh Garh, a Heritage Renaissance Resort – is located   on the perphery of   Udaipur city and surrounded by the magnificent Aravali range with spectacular & panoramic views.The hotel welcomes guests with style and traditional fanfare to a property that is resplendent in modern luxury coupled with old world charm.The hotel has a grand fort like entrance and  is a 48 room property , that offers a tranquil and quiet getaway.

The resort was just the kind of break we were looking for. Nestled away from the main city, it turned out to be luxurious and a dream like experience for us. The interiors are resplendent in style and elegance and the hotel prides itself in the use of  indigenous material, which is most suited for the region such as locally available stone ,marble and wood.The  Royal and Palatial charm is encapsulated in each detail be it their decor,facilities or the hospitality of the staff ,that give  us a glimpse into the glorious Rajasthani tradition and culture. One certainly felt transported to an era of the royal life of the kings of yester years.

 

Now while there’s plenty to do in Udaipur one really wanted to indulge and bathe in the royalty that Fatehgarh promised to offer. So Day 1  we did a quick tour of the city via transport organised by the hotel. This included a visit to the City Palace, Lake Fateh Sagar, Taj Lake Palace and of course a walk down the quaint lanes of old Udaipur for their famous street food.

Street Food Udaipur:

  • Bhole Mistan: Jalebis
  • Poornima Vada: Vada Pav
  • Apni Dhani: Rajasthani Thali
  • Hotel Natraj: Dal Batti Choorma

And of course the numerous street vendors that make the most delicious Kachori’s, Chaat and Gulab jammuns.

 

 Must eats in Udaipur are: (Fine Dining)

  • Upre: (Best for:Dinner) Upre literally means “up” or “upstairs” Located on the terrace of Hotel Lake Pichola, gives you some spectacular views of the City Palace. The restaurants is multi levellled with Gazebos that give a feeling of dinning in a royal tent.of sorts that give a. The individual tables are done up royally like tents and gives you a nice and romantic feel. The fare consists of a North Indian and a Chinese menu.
  • Palki Khana: (Best for: Snacks & Drinks) Situated inside the City Palace, Palki Khana is the best place to unwind after your long walks inside the Palace and the museum. With the lake on one side and the beautiful facade of the City Palace on the other, it offers an amazing view. In case you would just like to relax with a book and a bottle of wine.
  • Ambrai:  at the Amet Haveli is a great place for tourists  for some authentic Rajasthani cuisine.Not only does Ambrai take their guests on a delicious gastronomical ride, but the restaurant is located on the banks of Picholi Lake, giving a delightful view of Sajjangarh Fort, Jagdish Temple and the City Palace.

Places to Visit:

  • Lake Pichola
  • Lake Fateh Sagar
  • City Palace
  • Sajjangarh Palace

The city sights and sounds were a pleasure  to all the senses indeed. But I must admit the best part of our sojourn was sitting back on the idyllic gardens of our stunning hotel Fatehgarh and soaking in it’s breath taking landscapes and sourroundings.

 

 

Become a Maharaja  during  your vacation at Fatehgarh. Dine in magnificent splendour and sample exquisite cuisine, watch local  folk dancers perform the traditional dances of India and stay in rooms furnished in opulent luxury and royal lifestyle indeed.

Our short stay at Fatehgarh turned out to be an unforgettable holiday in royal style. The hotel had excellent facilities and the staff were extremely hospitable. Our stay was a fleeting glimpse into the luxirious  and glamorous lifestyle of Rajasthani culture. I do hope this blog post has captured the essence and beauty of Udaipur in a snap shot, all though nothing can do justice to this city than a short trip and a memorable one too.

 

 

Vegan Almond & Raisin Cookies

My baking routine at the college has taken on a heightened frenzy, especially with kitchen exams just around the corner. This leaves me hardly any time to get on my experimental chef cap and try out any thing innovative.

However, recently our College played host to a fabulous Vegan Competition. While most of the menu’s were being provided by the organisers, the students were left to plan out the recipes for their bakery products.I must say I’ve hardly baked vegan, eggless yes and was drawing quite a blank on how to go about a recipe trial with no dairy.

I’ve been following numerous blogs that bake up great vegan delights, all though baking without butter was something that needed be de-mystified.Browsing on the internet amongst a dozen recipes I  came across an easy Vegan Chocolate Chip recipe on Allrecipes and have adapted the following Vegan Almond & Raisin one.

The recipe trial worked out out great and I was happy to share the same with my students. It was an instant hit with the Vegan contest organisers and the students were happy to learn a new recipe too.

This recipe is a keeper for me too!

Ingredients:

Flour 92 grams
Coconut Oil 40 ml
Brown sugar 56 grams
Almond Milk 19 ml
Vanilla essence ¼ teaspoon
Baking soda ¼ teaspoon
Baking powder ¼ teaspoon
Salt ¼ teaspoon
Toasted Almonds & Raisins 40 grams

 

Method:

 

Ø Pre-heat oven to 175 C.

Ø Mix together the coconut oil & brown sugar, then add the almond milk & vanilla. The mixture will look a bit runny.

Ø In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Ø Combine the wet & dry ingredients (it WILL BE crumbly – this is OK), then fold in the toasted almonds and raisins.

Ø Roll into tablespoon sized balls & place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper., Then flatten them out a bit with your palm. The dough may be a little crumbly, but just assemble it it together and it will work fine!

Ø Bake for 15 -18 minutes till medium brown in colour.