Monday, September 25, 2006

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes


I will be spending the next few days on a lovely Greek beach, enjoying the sun, sand and sea. I'll be sipping on cocktails and eating some scrumptious Greek food. I'll be enjoying my time with Soeren and Tom and just breaking free from the daily routine and hectic life. No appointments, no meetings, no phones, no mails and no stress! Just the three of us having a fun time and a much needed break.

Yes, we're packing our bags and are off on vacation to the lovely Peloponnese. Oh, I know you all are a bit green. But don't be - to make up for it I am leaving you with a gorgeous recipe - Greek Stuffed Tomatoes. Furthermore, I'll be taking lots of pictures and when I get back I will share them with you. So, hopefully we can all gather around and re-live the vacation once again. Give me a smile! Just promise to miss me a bit - LOL! I know I'll be missing you!

A few days ago I decided to kick in the vacation mood and make something Greek. I really love Greek food as I find it healthy made of fresh ingredients and just full of sun! There certainly are many variations to stuffing your tomatoes and I am sure everyone has their own recipe. I particularly like this one as it combines the lovely tastes of feta, garlic and zucchini along with herbs like oregano, giving it a wonderful aroma.

So as I head off on my vacation I hope you enjoy cooking this up.

Before I sign out, just wanted to let a few of you who asked and emailed about the shoes and the streaks in this post know - yes I got both. And both look gorgeous ;-)



Events on WFLH:

MM Logo

Monthly Mingle: Take Two - Deadline October 12. I've designed this logo and hope anyone taking part in the Monthly Mingle will use it as part of their entry/post.


Mixology Monday: Exotic Drinks - Deadline October 16. I'd really love to see a few of my regular readers taking part in this issue. So, folks join in the Exotic cocktail party!





Music while cooking:

Jack Johnson - Upside Down. Great vacation feeling sound!
Album: Sing-a-longs and Lullabies for the film Curious George

*Artwork and music courtesy of iTunes



Ingredients:

8 large tomatoes
1 onion - finely chopped
1 garlic clove - finely chopped
1 zucchini - finely chopped
200 g Feta cheese - finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil
500 g Beef mince
125 ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
Nutmeg powder
Paprika powder
Salt and pepper
Oregano - chopped
Parsely - chopped
Chives - chopped



Method:

Pre-heat oven at 200° C
Slice the top of the tomato with a sharp knife. Using a spoon (or this nifty little gadget) scrape the insides out of the tomato. Place these in an ovenproof dish

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the mince until nice and brown. Add the onions, garlic and zucchini and continue to saute for a few minutes. Pour in some of the stock and mix in the crème fraiche. Add the nutmeg, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano and parsley to the mixture. Take off the heat and now add the feta cheese.

Fill the mince into the tomatoes and place the lids back on top. Pour the rest of the stock into the ovenproof dish and bake for 15 minutes.

Serve with either light and fluffy mashed potaoes or wild rice and sprinkle with chives.


Verdict:
Greece here we come!! Such a perfect combination of ingredients that shout out Greece. The oregano passed on it's artomatic flavor to the entire dish really well. There is something about this herb that always takes me to the Mediterranean area. I just love that feeling. When you bite into something and BANG! you are beamed to dream location.

If I really had to, I would probably choose this as my very favorite herb and that is why I am sending this off to a Weekend Herb Blogging special at Kalyn's. However, my taste in herbs change from season to season, mood to mood and taste to taste so I can never really pin point THE ONE favorite herb. At the moment it's Oregano!!

I baked the tomatoes for 15 minutes but I would recommend checking after 10 minutes if they are done. As I wanted to lift the first tomato onto the plate for a picture it kind of collapsed on me. I just managed, with great care, to get this one on the plate and take a half way decent picture. The others were also OK to serve, but the next time I certainly will be checking a little earlier.

We had the tomatoes with mashed potatoes and I found this a great side with the stuffed tomatoes.

For my vegeterian readers, you can always substitute the meat with finely chopped mushrooms or even a combination of normal and wild rice. You can also use the mashed potatoes as a filler too.

Now, we are really beaming off to Greece. See you when we get back. A'dio!


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Saturday, September 23, 2006

FMR: The Round-up

That was my From My Rasoi event. I had a great time hosting it and I thank Meena for allowing me to do so. I know it was a bit shorter then the usual one month FMR events, but as I am not around next week I thought it would be more appropriate to pull the date a week forward. It did not stop you all from creating a few awesome dishes though. Pumpkin lovers bookmark this page NOW!

So, without further delay I present you a few of the most scrumptious pumpkin recipes around.




Mandira used a pumpkin with orange colored flesh and such a hard skin that she needed to call reinforcement to help cutting it. It was worth it as she serves wonderful Pumpkin with peanuts and coconut





Johanna managed to get her post on her pumpkin recipe out in the last minute. I am so glad she did!! She whips up a gorgeous looking Pumpkin Gorgonzola Pizza. I have to give this one a try.





Pavani did not want to make a boring ole pumpkin pie with her canned pumpkin. So, when her favorite magazine featured a few pumpkin recipes she was glad to find this lovely Pumpkin coffee cake. Glad you shared that with us.





A new foodie blogger is Sarah and she serves us a Japanese dish using squat Japanese pumpkin, or kabocha. Her Pumpkin with Ground Pork looks so good. Hope you will all join me and welcome Sarah to the food blog world.





Megan moves back to the States from Paris (Europe) and is camping out with her parents. She shares a wonderful Pumpkin soup with cumin and cilantro. I love the sound of this and I know as soon as it starts getting cooler here, this is going to be the first soup I make.




Madhu mixes carrots and pumpkin together and serves a healthy and warm Carrot and Pumpkin soup. Um! Soul warming stuff.







Wondering what is in this little package? Something made out of pumpkin - LOL! If you want to know simply visit Shilpa and check out what a great Konkani dish she prepared.






Prema uses her pumpkin to make such delicious looking Pumpkin Raisin Muffins. I know I'll be making these sometime soon with Soeren.






This recipe blew me away. Madhuli makes Pumpkin Parathas and shows me that one can really experiment with Indian food too. I am looking forward to making these at some point.






It's goodbye to Vaishali from Germany (sniff) and me (sniff sniff). She heads back to India with her family but spoils us all with her Pumpkin Walnut Cake. Wish we had a chance to share that in person V!






Anupama was planning on making puris. But when found a cookbook with a few other recipes, she decided to make these stupendous looking Pumpkin Orange Drop Scones. Good choice!






Tschoerda uses the hokkaido pumpkin and adds a bit of zucchini to make a lovely looking Pumpkin soup with zucchini. Looks thick and creamy.







Nandita cooks up a a wonderful Parsi dish. In her write up she explains where and how the Parsis and there cuisine originated from. She cooks up a gorgeous looking Dhansak and serves it with fluffy rice. My mouth is watering already.







The wild Asha prepared not one but two great looking pumpkin dishes. To really show you the versatility of this amazing ingredient she made great looking Waffles and an Indian Stir Fry. Wow!




Isis is making a big change in her life. I really wish her all the best. She still finds time and makes an incredible sounding Pumpkin Souffle. Pictures are yet to be posted. Who cares! It still sounds good enough to eat.





Fall Cuisine
And your host for this FMR decides to do a bit of experimenting and serves you a creamy Turkey with roasted pumpkin.


I now hand you over to the creator of this event Meena for the next issue of From My Rasoi.



Upcoming Event on WFLH:

The Monthly Mingle's theme Take Two is a bit challenging this time round. Can you take the challenge? I am looking forward to the entries. Deadline is October 12. You are welcome to use this logo for your entries. So, Take Two and start cooking!






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Thursday, September 21, 2006

FMR: Turkey Breast and Roasted Pumpkin



Just wanted to remind you all keen on sending me your pumpkin recipes, today is the final day for all your entries.

Here's mine!




There are so many things one can make with pumpkins. However one always tends to stick with the muffins, pies and soup. I know I often do too.

Let's play a game! I'll say a word and you say the first thing that comes to mind, OK?

Pumpkin!

See! How many of you thought "Pumpkin Pie" as the first thing. Or soup? C'mon folks at the back there lemme see your hands too!

No, now don't go hiding your soups and pie dishes from me! I can never get enough of the stuff and am always on the look out for new adaptations to a good pie. Especially now when the season is just right. Besides that, any recipe with this extremely healthy ingredient is good enough to eat - LOL!


Pumpkin (Winter Squash)
Pumpkins or Winter Squash belong to the Cucurbitaceae family and are related to the melon and cucumber. Did you know that? So, when I read that, I was wondering what is a pumpkin then, a fruit or a vegetable? Can you tell me?

Pumpkins are available from October through to March, but the actual season for them is October to November.
They come in a large variety and range in color, size, shape and even taste. Due to the protective hard skin, they have a storage life of 6 months (I have never stored a pumpkin for that long!).

They are usually red in color, however you will certainly also find some that are yellow or green. Pumpkins taste creamy, sweet and nutty and can be used in a variety of dishes - sweet and savory.

They also contain high levels of antioxidants and carotenes, especially vitamin A, C and E, and can lower cancer risk, heart disease, cataracts and strokes. The bright orange color reveals that it is loaded with beta carotene which helps us fight free radicals. What's more, Pumpkins are really low calorie food.

They are also a very good source of folate and omega-3 fatty acids.

Selecting and Storing
It is important to select winter squash before buying very carefully, as it is easily prone to decay. You should go for those that are heavy for their size and firm. The rinds should be dull and not glossy. Soft rinds indicate that the pumpkin is watery and might therefore lack flavor.

Winter squash have a longer storage life and depending on the type you buy, they can be stored for between a week to 6 months. They should not be exposed to direct light or extreme heat or cold.

Once cut, store in the fridge wrapped in cling film or plastic wrap. They should keep for one or two days. If you want to freeze these, the best way is to cut and portion them in individual recipe sizes and freeze in airtight containers.

For my recipe I used my favorite type - the Hokkaido pumpkin. There are two varieties of Hokkaido pumpkin. One has a deep orange color and the other has a light green skin. Hokkaido pumpkins have a tough outer skin and are very sweet inside. I used the one with the bright orange skin.

For the Pumpkin theme of From My Rasoi, I present a wonderful dish. Lovely succulent turkey breast in a wonderfully creamy sauce spiced with the flavors of ginger, turmeric and star-anise. Topped off with soft roasted pumpkin chunks.


Events on WFLH:
Mixology Monday: Exotic Drinks - Deadline October 16
Monthly Mingle: Take Two - Deadline October 12



Music while Cooking

Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man - New on my iPod
Album: Back To Basics

* Artwork and music courtesy of iTunes



Ingredients:

2 onions - finely chopped
1 garlic clove - finely chopped
30 g ginger - finely chopped
1-2 fresh bay leaves - cut into strips
600 g Turkey breast
Salt, pepper and sugar
4 tablespoons oil
1-2 teaspoons turmeric powder
200 g cream
5 Star-anise
800 g pumpkin - peeled, cleaned and cut into cubes
lime juice from 1/2 lime




Method:

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan. Place the turkey breast in the pan and fry from all sides till slightly brown. Add salt and pepper. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric and saute for a few minutes.

Pour in the cream 1/4 l water and mix well. Now add the bay leaves and the star-anise. Bring to a boil, then with the lid covered, simmer for approx. 20 minutes.

In the meantime steam or boil the pumpkin cubes in salt/salt water for 10 minutes. Drain.

In another pan heat up the remaining oil and roast the pumpkin in small portions for about 4-6 minutes, until they take on a light gold color. Salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Pour the lime juice over this.

Cut the turkey breast in thick slices and serve on a large platter with the sauce and the roasted pumpkin cubes spread over the top. Decorate with a star-anise. This can be served with Basmati rice.



Verdict:
Creamy, velvety and purely good. This is a great Sunday lunch with a difference. If your crew is anything like mine, you'll get funny looks at first when you repeat the menu. However, as they tuck in you'll get nothing but approving looks.
This was such a delicious meal. The pumpkin perfectly harmonized with all the ingredients and spices. It never seizes to surprise me at just how versatile this wonderful ingredient really is.

For my vegetarian readers I can recommend to try this out with larger mushrooms like Portabella.



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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

SWL Photo Session and a ME Meme!


Photo on Explore: August 14, 2006. View my entire Explore Photostream.

In August the Still Life With was all about People and Food. Normally we are called upon to submit 3 photos for each theme, however August was a hectic month for me and I actually only got around to submitting this one! It did make it to Explore on August 14 and that made up for the missing shots.



Thought I would also use this space and finally get on with the Meme Anupama tagged me with.

I am thinking about: NOT going to the Gym today. The weather is lovely I'd prefer to take Soeri on a picnic.

I said: the best way to have a good idea is to have many of them.

I want to: get a few red streaks in my hair before I go on vacation. But I am chicken to do it!!

I wish: I was not such a chicken to get those red streaks in my hair.

I regret: saying nasty things to Tom.

I hear: my neighbor mowing the lawn.

I am: wild about chocolate.

I dance: while I cook to all my fave music

I sing: very loudly in the car with Soeren to Robbie Williams

I cry: at soppy romantic films.

I am not: going to buy those shamefully expensive shoes I saw in town.

I am: going to buy those shamefully expensive shoes I saw in town.


I write: a diary for Soeren.

I confuse: der, die das, dass in German.

I need: to buy those shamefully expensive shoes I saw in town.

I tag: Ivonne, Lisa and Pam. And anyone else who would like to do this one!



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Monday, September 18, 2006

Mixology Monday VII: Ladies Night



...oh what a night!!

Ladies, if you are like me ... a girlie who loves all colors bright and shrill, a lady who just can never have enough shoes and handbags in her closet, a woman you knows what she desires and a wild lass that can party into the wee hours of the night then THIS is for you.

I am a Gemini and do justice to my birthsign. I have so many different facets to my character that it never is boring around me, hard to keep up with maybe, hectic certainly but boring - no way.

The girlie in me loves brightening up the day with shrill colors. Even my iPod is accessorized in a neon pink cover (much like the colors here). I love shoes, handbags and make-up. An exciting day for me would be spending 9 to 5 in the shops in Berlin. I have the energy to party hard with the toughest of the party animals.
I am a mother and have a gentle and soft side to me. I can be very sentimental and cry and the soppiest of love flicks. I tend to have a soft heart and my family and friends mean everything to me.
Nonetheless, I know what I want in life and work hard to achieve it. I know I can make my own way through life. I am independent and strong minded.
But I have not hung up my bra in this process. I enjoy being a woman, spoilt and pampered. I still let my man carry the crates and I allow gentlemen to open doors for me.

Ladies, if you feel like you belong to any of these categories and you feel like celebrating, I am calling out to you all. Put on your Manolo's and grab your Prada and join me in celebrating the end of summer with the perfect drink. A ladies drink!

Paul wanted us to say Goodbye Summer in this issue of Mixology Monday. We are supposed to shake up something that reminds us of summer and enjoy it one last time before we head into Fall and Winter.

This summer was all about fruit for me. So, it was natural that I will be serving my gals something fruity and zesty. Ladies - I present a Apricot Daquiri.


Music to dance:

Hot, hot and even hotter - Justin Timberlake - SexyBack
Album - FuturSex/LoveSounds - *New on my (pink) iPod

*Artwork and music courtesy of iTunes



Ingredients:

For 4 glasses

8 ripe apricots
8 + 8 tablespoons crushed ice
80 ml lemon juice
80 ml apricot liquor
240 ml rum




Photo on Explore: September 18, 2006. View my entire Explore Photostream.


Method:

Place the apricots in boiling water for aprox. 1 minute. Run under cold water. Peel and pit the fruit.
Place the fruit in a blender with 8 tablespoons of ice, lemon juice, apricot liquor and rum. Blend thoroughly.

In four glasses add more crushed ice and then pour the daquiri over this. Gently stir. Decorate with a few apricot slices if desired.



Verdict

Cool refreshing and very ladylike. A racy and lively drink that just tastes fantastic. The fruity apricots combined with the tangy lemon juice and rum makes this drink just as multi-faceted as we women are. In your honor - chin chin!



I am very proud to announce the next Mixology Monday will be hosted right here on WFLH. I have chosen the theme Exotic Cocktails. So, mix up those colorful, vibrant, zesty and exotic drinks that you always wanted to try and mail them to blogmeeta@hotmail.com. Deadline for this is October 16.




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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Spicy Beef & Potato Curry



I know there are many of you who probably wonder, me being Indian, not cooking Indian food too often. The truth of the fact is that I have spent my entire life outside India, brought up all around the world that this seems to have influenced a larger part of my adult life too. My parents cooked Indian food everyday for us at home. So, I DID grow up on this cuisine. However, when I moved away from home and took on my life on my own, I found cooking other types of cuisine was simpler, easier, quicker and just different.

Should I tell you a secret? When I left home, my mum was petrified that I might starve to death. I could not cook, you see. That is the honest truth. I was rather spoilt at home and did not have to do much. I never took a keen interest in cooking. I was more interested in sports and doing stuff with my friends. So, when I left home, my mother gave me a cookbook with the words "It is a very simple book - but it will help you!"

Hey Mum! Look at me now!! No seriously, my mother is very proud and totally amazed that after all these years that same girl cooks, blogs about food and photographs food. How wild is that?

Coming back to the Indian food though. When I started experimenting with cooking I found making Indian food too complicated. Making all that onion, ginger, garlic paste or grinding spices for a masala was far too much work. The book my mum gave me was actually for European food. I found the recipes here easy, healthy and delicious. Especially the Italian recipes. See it was actually my mother who planted that first seed for my Italian food craze.

My mother would say "Beta (that actually means Son in Hindi Beti being daughter - my parents used to refer to me as beta as I was the eldest. Don't ask where the sense is in that!) you must try to cook Indian food, how will you survive on that European stuff?"

"Mum, you are the one who bought me that book, so what are you complaining about?"

"Yes, I know but it was because you were going to Europe and I thought it would be fitting."

"So, I am still in Europe and I enjoy the food!"

"Make daal! It is easy and you do not have to put much effort!"

"Yes, mum. I'll make daal tomorrow!"

Now, this is a telephone conversation between a daughter in Germany and her mother in Dubai!

I did NOT make daal. It seems to be solution for everything among Indian parents.
"Eat more Daal!" If you are feeling down "Eat Daal!" Feeling depressed - "Eat Daal!" Feeling energetic and full of life - "Eat Daal!"

Even when I was in San Francisco in May, after days of eating daal, when my cousin Varoon gathered up his courage and dared to say "Mum, I don't want anymore daal!" All he got was a "Shut up! You don't know good food when it is in front of you - just give them pizza and pasta then they are happy. You eat your daal!", from my aunt (whom I love and adore!) Well all of us (my cousin Megha, brother and me) grabbed our spoons and started eating our Daal.

But I am sure you will understand when I say that even though I joke about it, I love Indian food. It is healthy (Daal) and satisfying. Ever since I joined the Blogesphere and got into my little Indian Blog circle I tend to experiment even more with my Indian recipes.

This style of curry I made is something that you would not see very often. Firstly, beef is not very common in India. However, it can be easily substituted with chicken or lamb and for the vegetarians you can use mushrooms or hard boiled eggs. I created a taste that combines all the flavors of India in one dish. The tamarind adds a tangy aroma, combined with the ginger and tomatoes the entire dish became delectable.

I suggest serving it with a simple rice like my Pilaw with mustard and coriander seeds.


Music while cooking

Rishi Rich Featuring Veronica and Juggy D - Aj Kal
Album: The Project - *New on my iPod




Events on WFLH

Monthly Mingle - Take Two
From My Rasoi - Pumpkin




Ingredients:

I have no special amounts to give you for this one as this was made more or less to the feel and the taste. I am sure many Indian housewives will tell you the same as my mum tells me "The most delicious recipes are made with the feel of your own talent for cooking!" For those who are less experimental, a word of encouragement - just go on and give it a try. I do try where ever I could. Simply try adding the other ingredients according to your own taste. Although I followed a basic recipe from a German cookbook for Indian curry it was too European for my taste - how ironic? That is why I spiced it up.

For Bhuna Paste:

Tamarind paste
Tomato Paste
50 g Ginger - mashed
4 Garlic cloves - mashed
2 red onions - finely chopped
1 red chili - finely chopped
Paprika powder
Black Peppercorns
cardamom pod
Cumin seeds
Rape oil

400g Beef rump - cut into cubes
2 large potatoes - cut into cubes
400 ml beef stock
450 g tomatoes - de-seeded and cut into bite size pieces
Salt and pepper to taste



Method:

For the Bhuna paste:
In a large pan heat up the oil and add the cumin seeds, cardamom pod and black peppercorns. For a minute or two cook till the spices have released their aroma. Now one after the other add the rest of the ingredients for the paste. Saute for a few minutes until all the flavors have combined into a thick paste.

Add the potato cubes and cover with the paste. Now add the tomatoes and simmer for a further few minutes.
Add the stock to this mixture and cover with lid. Simmer for a few minutes - approx. 10 minutes.

In a separate pan fry the beef on a high heat quickly until brown. Add this to the potatoes and simmer for a further 10 minutes. If you prefer this curry to be less liquidy then simmer without the lid.

Serve with Pilaw with mustard and coriander seeds.



Verdict

OK this is not Daal, but it is so gooood! The combination of all these spices really was completely satisfying to the soul. We made this one evening when Soeren was away at his granparents for the weekend. It was just perfect - spicy and tangy all at once.

This is the perfect entry for this issue of Weekend Cookbook. The theme being an ingredient from my own country's culture. I have used several and combined them into a paste called Bhuna.

Off to Cate for the ARF 5 A Day Tuesday.

Also for Tony's Curry Mela.



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Friday, September 15, 2006

Pilaw with Mustard and Coriander Seeds



A simple dish can have very many pleasures. Easy and quick to prepare and when a few very specific spices are added to enhance the taste the simplicity of the dish turns into something exquisite.

Soeren was away at his grandparents and I was in the mood for something hot. OK - Tom was right there sitting on the couch and he is HOT! But I was thinking of something edible. OK - Tom is so hot that I could eat him. Errrr! I guess I better move on quickly before this turns into and "X" rated post.

I was actually thinking of curry. Indian tasting hot curry. So I decided on something so delectable that when you read the post you'll start drooling. But you'll have to wait on that as I'll be covering the curry in another post - LOL!

This post is about the rice I served with the curry. I did not want plain rice and was in no mood to make a lavish pilaf (pilaw) type of dish. I was in the mood to experiment again though and went in search of ingredients.

I found a small bag of mustard seeds in my spice cabinet, still sealed. I was scratching my head as to how this ended up here. I had never used mustard seeds in any of my dishes.

Mustard powder - yes. Mustard - yes. Mustard seeds - never.

I must have bought it in some kind of fantasy of making some dish that never came to be. That is when it struck me that Barbara had asked us to go Back to School and research a spice never used before. When I initially read the theme I was so excited. I need any excuse to start experimenting again and this was the perfect opportunity. I love researching ingredients, spices, herbs and such events are always a true joy to me. That, and the fact I love parties LOL!

Off I went "Back to School" and Googled my way through everything I could find on mustard seeds. The more I read the more I was amazed at what power lies behind these little seeds.

Mustard Seeds:
Mustard seeds originate from the Brassica foods found in the cruciferous plant family. They are a very good source of selenium, a nutrient that can help to reduce asthma. It also can help reduce certain symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer. Furthermore, mustard seeds are also a good source of magnesium which also helps against asthma. The magnesium found in mustard seeds also helps lower high blood pressure, restore normal sleep patterns in women suffering with the symptoms of menopause, reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, and to prevent heart attack in patients suffering from atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

Mustard seeds also qualify as a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as a good source of iron, calcium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, protein, niacin and dietary fiber.

History
Mustard seeds are mentioned in Sanskrit writings that date back to 5,000 years. They can be traced to different areas of Europe and Asia. There are three different mustard seed varieties. The white variety originates from the Mediterranean regions, the brown from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, and the black from the Middle East.

Although the actual seeds were used in ancient Greece cuisine, it was the Romans who experimented with making a paste out of them. This is thought to be the ancestor of our modern day mustard condiment.

Mustard seeds belong to the most popular spices traded in the world today. As it grows well in temperate climates, the areas that produce the greatest amount of mustard seeds currently include Hungary, Great Britain, India, Canada and the United States.

Selecting and Storing
I would recommend exploring you local spice stores around your areas. Even though such spices are widely available in supermarkets, the spices and herbs available in spice stores are often of a better quality and freshness compared to those available in the supermarkets. Try selecting organically grown mustard seeds since this will give you more assurance that the spice has not been irradiated.

Mustard seeds should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry place.

I went to work with this knowledge of creating a very aromatic and tasty rice dish.



The Monthly Mingle goes into it's fifth round. Are you all up to a challenge? Well check out Take Two and show me what you can do!



Music while cooking:

Bombay Rockers - Who Do You Love
Album - Introducing ... *Highly recommended




Ingredients:

150 g Basmati rice - washed
1 onion - finely chopped
4 teaspoons - butter or "ghee"
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
salt

Serves 2.



Method:

Place the rice in 300 ml of salted water. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer on a very low heat for 20 minutes. Drain and let cool.

In a large pan heat up the butter and sauté the onions. Add the mustard and coriander seeds and sauté for a further few minutes.

Add the rice to the pan and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes on a medium heat until the rice takes on a nice gold color.

Serving idea: Spicy Beef and Potato Curry.
Verdict:

Now this really spiced up our evening! The rice was fluffy and by frying it in the butter with the seeds it took on a completely different taste. The seeds released their aromas and fragrance, harmonizing with the rice perfectly.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes it spicy but not the "hot" kind of spicy from chilies. The mustard seeds really adds a pizzaz incomparable with other tastes I have had in the past.




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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Five Things To Eat Before You Die




Foodbloggers' Guide to the World

Melissa over at The Traveler's Lunchbox came up with this event after she was inspired by BBC's 50 things to eat before you die article she stumbled across on their website. The idea for this is to collect a huge list of everyone's foods they would like to eat before they die. Melissa updates the list and it has really become an impressive one. Each tagged blogger (or simply anyone who is interested) lists their 5 foods and writes a bit about it, tags another 5 bloggers and then sends the post off to Melissa.

So, Tony tagged me for this amazing event.

Boy there are so many things I would love to eat. Some I have eaten and others have not gotten around to . Keeping it down to five is going to be tough - but here goes.

  1. Real NY Cheesecake
    The real fattening type with blueberries and creamy cheese. Oh a huge slice of that would take me to heaven.
  2. Fresh Lobster - Thermidor Style
    When we were living in Qatar, my dad worked for the Sheraton Luxury hotel. I had the pleasure of eating in the restaurants very often. One of my favorite dishes was "Lobster Thermidor" with rice. I definitely would want to eat that before I leave here!!
  3. Bouillabaisse from Marseille
    I've had this lovely fish soup before but I never quite made it to Marseille to try a traditional version of this. I can just imagine the scene in front of me. The fish has just been freshly caught and brought in and a lovely "Maman" in a small kitchen makes the soup with all the fresh ingredients available.
  4. Oysters
    This is something I have not dared to try yet. Strange coming from me as I love to experiment. Oysters are just something that I always need to think twice before I go for something else instead.
  5. Sushi Nigri
    I love Sushi but not yet quite ventured to the Nigri yet - especially with eel. But I think I have to try it at least once before I never get the chance to.
I tag:
Anyone who fancies taking part, are welcome to list their top five here in the comments. Would be great and interesting to read all your fave things.



The Monthly Mingle goes into its fifth round, Folks! This time it's a little more challenging. Check out Take Two. Are you up to it?



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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Monthly Mingle #5 - Take Two



MM Logo

The Monthly Mingle goes into it's fifth month and I am really so thankful to everyone who has taken part in this event.

This time round I wanted to make it a little more challenging. Up till now I have given you a theme and you have picked your own ingredients, combined it in a recipe that fit the theme. Now, I thought I would pick 2 ingredients for you and you would use these in any type dish you would like to create.

It is not easy picking two random ingredients to fit the lifestyle of all cuisines. Some of my dear readers are vegetarian, others eat fish but not lamb, some eat beef but not fish, so you see coming up with the theme for this Monthly Mingle was a little challenging for me too - LOL!
I did come up with the ingredients though.

I remember a dear reader (Anupama) once mentioned in this post that she normally uses Indian herbs and spices and was glad I had showed her a way to use a different type of herb and a recipe that goes along with it. The herb was Sage.

That is the first ingredient on your list. Have you got that down?

The next was actually a vegetable that was lying right in front of me all along. My mother-in-law plants these every year. We reap the fruits (or vegetables) of her harvest to such excess that by the end of the season I am lost for ideas and recipes and am happy that I can pass them on to my friends.
It is the zucchini (or squash).

Put that on your list too. So, now with your first two ingredients already sorted all you have to do is list the rest and come up with something delicious for this months theme "Take Two".

Once again the ingredients are:

Sage
Zucchini

The deadline is October 12, 2006 and the round-up will follow on the weekend.
Send your mails with the link to the recipe to blogmeeta@hotmail.com.
I also designed the logo above especially for the MM. You are welcome to use this in your entries/posts.

The previous Monthly Mingles Round-ups:
Football's coming home
Big on Barbecue
Beat the Heat
Holiday Cuisine



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Monthly Mingle #4 - Holiday Cuisine Roundup


This was such a warm and cosy get together. We all sat outside on the terrace, the lovely scent of lilacs in the air and the evening sun just starting to set giving the whole sky around us a gorgeous orange glow. As we huddled together, the great stories and memories started pouring out from each of my guests. Childhood memories and favorite vacations taken in the past. Some even shared stunning photos of their recent vacation.

The table was of course filled with the most delectable dishes each one brought along to the mingle. The Holiday Cuisine theme to this months Monthly Mingle brought back some cherished moments for many of us. It was a great virtual party with a few of the most grandest buddies around.

Check out what we all had!



Don't forget: I'm hosting this month's From My Rasoi and look forward to your entries by September 21.


Updated: Sweetest Anni has just sent me her entry for this theme. Anni lives in my most favorite region in the US - that is San Francisco and the wine country. Her backyard is something what I have dreamt of all my life and she serves lovely cake and scones for tea. Check out her wonderful post.



My dearest Lisa reminisced about their vacation long, long ago on Lake Nipissing, in Callandar, Ontario. Hubbs and Lisa love fishing and when their friend stopped by to go fishing, it gave Lisa the perfect opportunity to cook up a Lake Erie Perch Fry.




Trust Vaishali to go on a short vacation to Sicily and come back with a traditional Sicilian dish. Vaishali brought back some great cooking stories of how traditional home cooked Italian meals were very different to those served in restaurants. She brings something wholesome and delicious. Her Spaghettini with Zucchini Bottle Gourd is ready to be spooned off the plate.



After my favorite Cream Puff's oven decided to pack and go on vacation, I thought this is the end. Trust Ivonne though to come up with the most appetizing alternative. She's is a creative soul and her Nutella Supreme had me in a frenzy. Ivonne is a girl of my own heart and grew up with Nutella. This panini brought back cherished memories of summers in Italy with family (and Nutella!) Thanks for sharing the wonderful stories.



Johanna spent a wet summer in Vienna this year. She did have a lovely time, but a fortnight of rain caused the moods to swing to a low. However, she made this colorful Panzanella which warmed her heart and took her to summer vacation in sunny Italy.




There's a lot happening in Pam's life and that is why I was extremely glad that she took some time out and was able to bring this Lasagne to the mingle. She says it is something she just loves as it reminds her of Italy - a favorite holiday destination.



I welcome Rajeshwari to her first mingle with us. She was inspired by the a salad in a cafe in Denver. She spiced it up a bit and the Tropical Salad was a winner.





Isis Isis! She can make magic happen. Isis spent three weeks in Greece, where she is originally from. I listened to her stories with awe as we too will be headed to the Peloponnese in just 2 weeks. Her pictures were great and the little surprise they brought back with them cracked me up. She brings a popular Greek dish Stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers filled with all the greek warmth and sunshine.




My brilliant German friend Ulrike spent her summer with her family in Wales. Henning, her younger son loves scones, so he was in paradise at the Welsh bakeries there. On returning home Ulli decided to bake batch of scones herself and she spoils us with her version of Welsh Scones. Certainly something I will be trying out with Soeren!



I decided to reminisce about the very first vacation Tom and I took. We were in Mallorca, Spain and to commemorate our 8 years together I thought I would cook up a Paella.




After all these great stories and fantastic dishes we were so satisfied, that we all promised to do this again. Yes, I would love to have you all over again for the next mingle. The theme this time is "Take Two".


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