On a sour note

Lemon and cream spaghetti with basil and chilli chutney

When I first heard about spaghetti al limone, I couldn’t bring the two flavours together in my head.  Since I usually like my pasta mild and easy, this combination got me cooking.

The role of bringing an edge to a pasta dish is mostly played by an herb or a sharp cheese, but using lemons provided a refreshing change.

To keep the dish from going hideously citrusy, I cut the flavours with a sweet and hot, basil-chilli chutney.

Lazy cooks, the sauce is almost no-cook, so it is perfect to stock in jars. Continue reading

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Looks like a tart

Basil, bell pepper and two cheese tartlet

I’m a cheese friend. Sometimes it takes just a tiny piece of emmental or grainy parmesan to calm my craving and sometimes I go all the way with a four cheese pizza.

Out of all cheeses, smooth cream cheese ranks very high on my comfort meter. On a normal day you will find me slathering  spoonfuls on hot baguette  slices. And when mid-night hunger pangs need to be battled, I eat it straight out of the tube.

Today, I used it to make an eggless tartlet. The cream cheese, heavy cream and milk mixture, forms an emulsion that is good enough to bind all the ingredients together without the usage of eggs.

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Meet my roll model

Basil oil sprayed zucchini rolls stuffed with mint and pepper Greek yogurt


I have two rules when it comes to working with herbs. One is that I like to tear them roughly instead of chopping them up finely. I feel that this helps the flavours shine more brightly.

 And second, I avoid mixing more than two herbs unless my recipe absolutely demands it. What would a Thai green curry be if I had to choose between lemon grass and kafir lime leaves?

 Since most herbs have a strong flavour of their own, it would be unfair to cut it down with something equally strong. Today, while making a cold appetizer, I let go my rule number two and mixed together mint and basil. Since the recipe uses just one herb at a time and does not muddle them together, the sweetness of the basil and the coolness from mint came out just right. Continue reading