Savoury Pancake Tower with Roasted Pepper, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Hmmmmm….seems like you two have abandoned the food cause…yet again…I know you guys are busy…so don’t worry, I will continue to bombard you and the world with my experiments and food ramblings :D. Lately, I have been a bit lazy about cooking elaborate meals and keep devising strategies to concoct quick and easy recipes.  You would wonder why this laziness has crept in….I think its because I am feeling a bit anxious about my own life these days. Yesterday I completed 1 year of stay in Melbourne.  A lot has happened in this last year…met many new people, made some wonderful new friends, explored new places and savoured new tastes…yes, it has been an eventful year…so I spent the last few days thinking about the highs and lows of the year…hence it made me a bit anxious…but don’t worry, the eternal optimist in your lil sister would never die and will echo what Meg Ryan says in ‘You’ve Got Mail’ – “I live a small, but meaningful life”. Anyways, as I said earlier, I simply didn’t feel like spending long hours on cooking…the result – some super easy meals!

In this post and the few to come I will share these easy meal ideas which not only look sinful but taste wonderful too..they are the reasons why Niloy didn’t complain about my laziness!! The first one is a Pancake tower 😀

Savory Pancake Tower with Roasted Pepper, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

Savory Pancake Tower with Roasted Pepper, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

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Basa Fish Rolls stuffed with Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce

Dear Cousins!

How are you guys doing? I want to share a news with you! Hehehhee…no no..don’t guess, coz I am sure you guys don’t know (and trust me it not anything usual!).  Well actually I bought a Guitar!! yipppppeeeee!! Since I was in school where we had those music classes, I wanted to learn Guitar. But I was too shy to go up to the teacher and ask her to help learn this instrument…Sandra Banerjee, our western music teacher at Mater Dei Convent was truly one of the best music teacher I have ever had.  She was good with everything..the piano, the guitar, the drums!! Oh and her voice..I loved her powerful voice which would would remind many of Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act…..be it a hymn or a popular song, she was the best!! Every event, small or big ended with her singing the popular rock number of 90s What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes.

I still remember her running heartily from one end of the hall to the stage, coolly picking up the Guitar, and striking those familiar chords which would make the whole crowd roar and clap in appreciation….with her guitar and her voice she would wake up the likes of me who would be sleeping during an inter-school debating competition!! 😀 All I did at that time was clap loudly and imagine myself singing like her one day….that never happened though coz you know how life is….I got caught up in the race to achieve goals….studies, exams, career…but now I have some time and thought, why not use it to fulfill my childhood dreams. Hence the GUITAR came into my life. Possibly I would never play like our teacher, but nevertheless her love for music would always inspire me!! My friends who have learned guitar themselves tell me that I need a lot of patience….so I just hope I don’t loose patience!! Wish me luck and then one fine day while you guys eat a lovely meal (like the one below), I will play the guitar for you!

Till then, I will continue with my recipes and today’s is one of them which would go very well with the music of the guitar in the background (I think). Its a recipe I saw in an old English style  book from 1980. With a few additional ingredients, I present to you a plateful of soft fish fillets stuffed with mushroom in a white wine sauce!

Fish Rolls stuffed with Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce

Basa Fish Rolls stuffed with Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce

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Wholewheat Couscous Salad with Asparagus and Eggs Chermoula (My version of a Maghrebian Dinner)

Dear Cousins!

Happy New Year!! What a start to the year..Daibi…2 back-to-back posts from you??!!! Wow, that is indeed commendable!! :D.  Your post on the healthy aspects of street foods should have been written some 15-20 years back when mothers like ours totally prohibited us from eating these things…uufff the reasons she gave for not letting us gorge on Papri Chaat or Gol Gappa were so convincing!! “You will get a sore throat..or You will get a stomach upset”!! Ma’s commandments on street foods however led to my secret missions to the market, eating few platefuls of Chaat, coming home and then again eating a full dinner!! You guys can very well imagine my condition, right? 😀 Burping and praying that next morning everything stays fine (especially stomach and throat), I would quietly go to sleep 😀 Till date Ma doesn’t know about those secret missions :P.  Reading your post now am thinking, if only I had known these amazing facts about spices then, I would have combated Ma’s decisions with them instead of the secret missions!! But I must confess, the kick one gets in such secret missions was and continues to be awesome…heehhehehehe!!

The pics in your second post on Pushkar Mela look awesome Man!! I wish I was there too….considering what is going on in India today, it “seems” to be the worst place to be…but trust me in all the travels and stays around the world, I still feel ‘Go East or West, India is the Best!’….the stories, the rich culture, the melas, the food, the people….OH!! there are so many reasons always for me to go back to India!! I will…I will one day….

Wholewheat Couscous Salad with Asparagus and Eggs Chermoula (My version of a Maghrebian Dinner)

Wholewheat Couscous Salad with Asparagus and Eggs Chermoula (My version of a Maghrebian Dinner)

Anyways, today I am writing to share this amazing sauce I recently discovered which I think goes well with our chaat plates as well.  Its called the Chermoula, a Maghrebian (Egyptian/Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian) marinade for fish, seafood and meats.  It looks like our simple mint chutney, but the blast of flavours you get with every spoonful, makes it awesome I think.  The day I saw this recipe, I only had eggs in the fridge and some veggies.  So I decided to make a Couscous Salad and Eggs Chermoula. Couscous is primarily a North African staple food made of semolina which serves as an accompaniment to the curries, tagines and meat/fish dishes.  One can make lovely salads as well with it. In keeping with the pact of being and eating healthy this year, I used Wholewheat Couscous instead of the plain one that’s made of white flour.

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Homemade Eggless Mushroom and Cheese Jumbo Ravioli with a herbed Butternut-Walnut Sauce

Hello Cousins!!

Finally we begin to stir!!  Daibi would be back in action in a few days..they just returned from an awesome Delhi By Foot Photography and Bird-Watching trip from Bharatpur!! Its such a delight to see the pictures that they have brought back…makes me long for a teleporting vehicle to transport me there!! I too wanna witness this annual migration of thousands of spectacular looking birds who travel primarily from Sakha Republic (Yakutia) and western Siberia in Russia…aaah! some day I will!! But Daibi, don’t you wanna visit the Okhla Bird Sanctuary as well?? I mean that’s one of the things you must do being in Delhi during the winters!!

No no…I will not get carried away with my melodramtic yearning for Delhi winters…STOP Dakhina Mitra!! And I am back 😀  Didi, kudos to you and my dearest Rizimon for making those amazing uttapams….I learned to make them when I was 21 and he is only 9!! I agree with our Blogger friend Rashmi about the fact that most Indian boys/men don’t know how to cook! But being in a household where grandmommy, mommy, mommy’s sister, daddy and mommy’s brother are avid cooks/food lovers, I think we haven’t left Rizimon with any other choice, but to cook ;). That doesn’t mean he is not a foodie himself….I still remember a 4-5 year old Rizimon ordering a All-American Banana Split icecream at Nirulas, Delhi for himself. There was only a quarter plate left-over for you and me who were eagerly waiting for him to leave most of it!!

Homemade Mushroom and Cheese Ravioli in a herbed Butternut-Walnut sauce

Homemade Mushroom and Cheese Ravioli in a herbed Butternut-Walnut sauce

Today I will write about an Italian pasta dish which I think Rizimon can try with a little help from you.  A few weeks back you had sent me a pic where he was frying potatoes by himself, so I think he can manage doing this too..I am also pasting a link on quick pasta meals for him coz I know how easy it is to make a pasta dish!

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Warm Puntarelle Salad with Toasted Nuts

Dear Didi,
In another of my efforts to try out a new vegetable available in the fresh-food market here, of which I had previously read about, the warm puntarelle salad happened! Yesterday night I tested the Puntarelle, an Italian variety of Endives on Niloy and we both loved it.    The leaves taste a little bitter if eaten raw like the other endives.  This is why one should take of the leaves (discard them), and soak the shoots in cold water till they curl.  But I didn’t want to waste such beautiful looking leaves.  So we tasted the leaves first and both decided that we were not ready for a plate of bitter salad. I turned the whole leaves into a warm salad instead of taking out and throwing the leaves.

Warm Puntarelle Salad (a variety of Endives)

Treating each leaf as a prized possession I carefully washed a bunch of Puntarelles to get off all the grime in it (the amount of soil these veggies contain here might clog-up my kitchen drain one day! But its fine, anything for the love of food! Right?).

While the leaves were being soaked, I quickly dry-roasted a handful of pistachios, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in a pan for that almost perfect brown tint and then crushed them coarsely.  The two cloves of garlic that were waiting for my attention were then gruesomely chopped and thrown in 1tbsp of heated olive oil.  When the pan made the garlic pieces and the oil sizzle, the Puntarelle leaves quietly followed to be blanched to perfection.  Once the leaves were tender, I threw them in cold water so that they retain their lovely fresh green color and transformed the ripe avocado and the juicy apple into small dices.  Did you know it is always best to cut apples right before you serve or else the iron in them oxidizes and one is left with brown apple pieces? If not, now you know 🙂

All the ingredients looked perfect for arrangement by then.  In a medium-sized salad bowl I laid the Puntarelle leaves, put some nuts, the apple, the avocado and seasoned it with salt, fresly ground pepper, dried mint powder and a dash of lime juice.

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It is difficult to get these endives in India, but do try this recipe with lettuce.  You don’t have to have it warm though..it would be lovely with crunchy leaves too 🙂 If you are making it raw, I suggest you add some finely grated garlic in the lime juice, whisk it well with a fork and then pour it over the leaves.  Do try it out!

So till the next time,

Take care and happy cooking!

Dakhina