Warm Beetroot & Feta Salad on Parmesan Crisps


Aaah, summer – that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It’s a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends…

Darell Hammond


Beetroot watermark


It’s been over five months having  moved to Mumbai. Time sure flies! Also we are facing the onslaught of a very hot Indian summer,something one had all forgotten about. Well yes we’ve lived in the Middle east for over 15 years,but some how never bore the brunt of it. I guess the luxury  of being in  air-conditioned comforts all the time made a huge difference. I find myself being outdoors a lot more here in Mumbai with either making quick runs to the fabulous fruit and vegetable markets in the neighbourhood, or a stroll on the beach or just walking from point to point. Continue reading

Green Papaya and Mango Salad

Som Tam or more popularly know as the Thai green papaya salad is the perfect accompaniment with any Thai meal.Now while one is spoiled for choice with amazing Thai joints here in Dubai,I absolutely love putting together a simple thai meal at home.

Last weekend we were having a pot luck dinner.I decided to make a Thai green curry with sticky Jasmine rice and this wonderful Green papaya salad.I for one am a big fan of this salad.

Tips on selecting the papaya:

  • Do select a green and un ripe papaya for this salad.You do want the flesh to be firm and white as possible.
  • Grating the papaya is the easy way out.however I like to use a slightly different technique as I like a nice bite to this salad.
  • Use a peeler and remove the outer green skin.Slice  a thin layer off the inner white flesh.Have a couple of such layers ready.Now place all these layers on top of each other.Cut them in fine slivers-more at an angle.

I just love the sweet and spicy flavours in this salad.The sweet mainly from palm sugar.I’ve just used regular sugar.The spice is by grinding the thai red chillies and garlic.Traditionally a mortar and pestle would be used to do this.I’ve just whizzed it in a small food processor.

Peanuts add a lovely crunch…mmmmmm

I’ve gone ahead and added a grated green mango to this papaya salad…Just makes it more tangier.Some other variations could be grated cucumber or even bean sprouts.

We had some left over salad the next day and my husband decided to throw in some peeled segments of orange.Gave a whole new dimension to this salad I must say.

I do hope you like this salad.Do give it a try.My pot luck dinner went off well with fish cakes and spring rolls as appertizers.For the main course I had friends bring in the Pad thai noodles and some brocoli with tofu. And of course  Thai green curry with jasmine rice along with this delicious Green Papaya and mango salad.

We had this wonderful Raspberry almond gateaux for dessert which another dear friend brought along…Have to add it here..

Cheers to Food,Family,Friends and laughter always.


  • 1 small green papaya(grated or chopped finely)
  • 1 small green mango(grated)
  • 1 small tomato(quartered)
  • 2 thai red chillies
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 21/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • salt to taste
  • handful of crushed peanuts
  • chopped basil for garnishing

Chopped segments of mandarin oranges go really well as I discovered the following day.


  1. Peel the outer skin of the raw papaya and either grate it or use the technique mentioned above.
  2. Grate the green mango and mix it with the papaya.
  3. Use either a mortar and pestle or a small food processor to grind the garlic and the red chillies together.
  4. Now add the fish sauce and the lime juice to the above mix.
  5. Add this dressing to the raw salad just before serving.
  6. Garnish with crushed peanuts,chopped tomatoes and basil.

Q is for Quinoa

I’ve heard about it.My friends talk about it.I’ve read umpteen reviews,blogs and recipes on the benefits of it…bought it,stored it,gave it away and forgot all about it until last week,I saw it  while shopping for my groceries.So this time I decided I must cook it.The results were a fresh,satisfying and a delicious salad.

Now you are probably wondering what all this fuss is about.Well its time for my kitchen to say hello to this wonderful grain called Quinoa(to be pronounced “Keen-wa”).I have to correct myself here it’s rightly classified as a seed and not really a grain.Quinon is gluten-free and power packed with goodies.High in fibre,loaded with vitamins and popular with vegetarians.You could use Quinoa in salads,casseroles and soups.

I’ve put together this simple and delicious salad here.It light and healthy.I’ve used fresh chopped tomatoes,chopped avocados,black olives and cucumbers.Feel free and add your favourite vegetables as well.

As I’ve said before turning to healthy choices is always an option.I’ve contemplating way too long on cooking Quinoa.We had this on the side with some steamed fish the other night.And I was quite pleased that I had discovered such a wonderful new salad.A nice nutty bite to it and very satisfying.I even enjoyed having the left over salad for lunch the next day.So yes would could make up a batch and keep it handy to have.

Tips on cooking Quinoa:

  • Rinse the quinoa under running water.(About 1 cup is good for 4-5 servings)
  • Use 1 1/2 cups of water for every cup of quinoa.
  • Bring to a boil. Then cover and let it simmer till all the water is absorbed.
  • The Quinoa is cooked when the water is fully absorbed and the grain becomes translucent.
  • Remove and let this cool by spreading it on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil.
  • I’ve added chopped tomatoes,cucumbers,red onions,black olives and some avocado.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon(squeezed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • You may even mix a bit of balsamic vinegar if you wish.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander or parsley.

Cheers to healthy cooking dear friends and I hope you enjoy making this Quinoa Salad.