Shake your bisque, baby

Fried eggplant cappuccino 

I like soups. All kinds of them – thick and creamy, clear and runny, hot or cold.  But what I like even better, are soups that come in small sizes.

A fat, inviting bowl that ruins my appetite for main course, doesn’t go down well with me. Especially since most broths play with one or two core flavours, a bowlful of repeated exposure is not my idea of savouring soup.

What I personally favour are soup shots. Small cups of goodness that warm up the belly from inside and make way for good food to it fill it up.

The fried eggplant cappuccino is one such soup.

It works perfectly when served in small doses. You sip, indulge in its flavour, gulp and stop at that.

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But naturally

Organic spinach and carrot flavoured fusilli with prune and lemongrass dressing

I’ve often imaged myself in knee high gumboots, wading through my personal vegetable patch, looking for the perfect piece of fresh tomato. I would someday like to dress up my salad with herbs that have been plucked from my own garden and roast crunchy carrots that have been unearthed minutes before they go into the oven.

Since I am far from ploughing my own patch, I often hit the weekly organic market where I can get my hands on locally grown vegetables and other goodies.

The whole idea of organic food fascinates me. Natural, unprocessed food that has not been through any drama has such a wholesome taste and texture. It manages to have a real taste that can never be found otherwise.

Recently, I visited an all-organic store in the neighbourhood city and got myself a packet of spinach and carrot flavoured pasta, among other things. Since the pasta had an obvious wheat flavour, I dressed it with a sweet and sour prune and lemongrass salad dressing.  Continue reading

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

Over the top cooking

Steamed and stacked vegetables with leek and saffron sauce

Although I’m not a salad person, crunchy vegetables are my weakness. Whether I’m having pasta or a chunky soup, I’m always fishing for crunchy bits of carrots, artichokes, water chestnuts, French beans, broccoli or whatever it is, that has a noisy bite.

I respect recipes that manage to bring out the perfect balance of smoothness and crunchiness in one simple dish. Considering I spend hours looking for that flawlessly, crisp piece of bell pepper or aubergine, carefully puncturing all sides to ensure firmness, I better get to eat just that.

Today, I combined a few crunchy vegetables with a creamy sauce to make that balanced-out dish. Continue reading

Hotness quotient

Cajun spiced cottage cheese with mint mayo

I like food that is well-spiced but not spicy. Whether I’m having Thai green curry or salad leaves drenched in chilli and lime dressing – I like the heat to be evenly distributed. It should hit me all together or not at all.

Recently, after having some warm bread sparingly sprinkled with Cajun spice, I was so impressed by this sharp spice, I decided to find the recipe.

Working with Cajun spice is a tricky job. If you use too much of it, the dish turns out salty and if you use too little, it turns out all bland. I tried various pairings (Cajun and potatoes, Cajun and tofu) before I hit it with Cajun and cottage cheese.

Since I completely trust Greek yogurt with fiery marinades, I indulged in the colour and flavour of this spice. The creamy-textured yogurt immediately cut down the overuse of my masala and worked overtime to calm down my panting taste buds.

To intensify the coolness, I served the Cajun spiced cottage cheese with a minty mayonnaise dip. Have a look Continue reading

Making a first impression

Spaghetti in tomato and basil sauce with caramelised walnuts and mushrooms

I’m a fool for spaghetti. I love it in any form – dunked in drippy, chunky tomato sauce or simply sprinkled with exceptional parmesan cheese or gently tossed in olive oil or gracefully lying in pesto, topped with black olives. Any kind of warm spaghetti is spaghetti enough.

When I make it at home, I try to do it as differently as possible from last time. I play around with sauces, pair it with random ingredients, toss it in flavoured oils and do with it, what I wouldn’t do with penne, farfelle or any other kind of pasta. Because unlike its shapely cousins, spaghetti holds little sauce and always remains the hero of the dish.

Today, I made the spaghetti with the classic tomato and basil sauce.  To give the dish some spunk, I tossed some fresh mushrooms and walnuts in homemade caramel and served it alongside. Continue reading