Chorizo, spinach & tomato frittata

Anything that is meant to be set just right “with a slight wobble to it” intimidates me. Cheesecake, crème caramel, quiche, custard pies..I fear you. The first recipe that I came across for a frittata looked pretty simple to follow, ingredients accessible, but the oven timings “varying widely” bit really got to me. I chickened out.

We usually end up eating out on the weekends. Checking out new restaurants flaunting different cuisines/fusion menus (re-fried beans replaced with green beans in a taco..don’t even ask), that’s our scene. Did I tell you about the time that I found chorizo in Chennai and yelped with joy? I had some sitting around in the fridge waiting to be used up along with some leftover spinach, and a frittata was the first thing that came to mind. Armed with my 2 packs of eggs (my husband eats only the whites and is a vegetarian, so that made me go through 1 whole pack for him so I made two separate pies), I very meekly set about this challenge. Amateur tip – watch them eggs like a hawk.

The eggs were perfectly set – slightly gooey because of the cheese, the flavours were delicious, and Sunday brunch turned out to be a real treat! The combination of chorizo and oven-dried tomatoes really elevated this frittata and made it so much more than just a glorified omelette.

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Chicken quesadillas

While you see some simple, regular chicken quesadillas here, what I see is a Mexican – Portuguese twist on what was supposed to be just simple, regular quesadillas. I mean, I’ve been planning to make them for so long now, I even had it all planned out for dinner next week..and then this happens (I meant that in the best way possible).

Let me explain : we were at Nando’s over the weekend for lunch, and the glutton in me couldn’t order (what seemed like) a measly portion of a quarter chicken. I mean, I’ve always been able to make my way through a half portion quite easily, but I hadn’t calculated the impromptu attack on some amazing mixed olives in garlic and chilli right before that. What do you do with the remaining quarter of a chicken? Well, here’s what.

The chicken was coated rather generously in their signature Peri-Peri sauce, and that made for a delicious component in this quesadilla. So I stuck to the basics with some spring onions, tomato, pickles, gherkins, and cheese. I should point out here that if I were using just plain grilled chicken, I would maybe use a dash of Tabasco or throw in a finely sliced green chilli for an extra kick. Serving them with a fiery chilli sauce like Sriracha would work here too!

This spontaneous recipe has in fact opened up a big can of worms..dessert quesadillas with bananas and nutella, spinach and tomato with pesto, caramelized onion and steak..OK, I need to sit down now.

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Cinnamon French toast with stewed apples

I think this is my first breakfast dish on here. Which when I think about, doesn’t make any sense since I’m that person that loves to eat breakfast foods at any time of the day. No strict time restrictions in my head. A full English breakfast for lunch? Oh yes, please. Dosa for dinner? Hell yeah!

My mum has a recipe for stewed plums with cinnamon that I absolutely adore. Her version doesn’t have maple syrup, just caramelized sugar and the plums tossed in it. I decided to do mine with apples since, um, I didn’t have any plums on hand.

We usually end up eating (read binge-ing) out on the weekends, so all the week’s supply of groceries are exhausted by then, and all that’s left are some scraggly bits of odds and ends that get tossed into the juicer come Monday morning. So when I announced to my husband on Friday night that I’d be making something ‘different’ for breakfast the next day, I honestly didn’t have a plan in mind. Remember I told you that I’m the lady with a never-ending supply of eggs? (I realize how that sounds). Yeah, so I wasn’t too worried.

Apples and cinnamon are a match made in heaven. The French toast, golden on the outside with a slight squidge in the centre makes it so worth waking up to. And it’s easy on the maker too, with no more than 15 minutes for all the elements combined. The ultimate breakfast of champions. We did follow through on the rest of our weekend theme though, and lounged in our pyjamas all day watching mindless TV. No frills, and just perfect!

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FULLY LOADED BEEF TACOS (with re-fried beans, purple cabbage yogurt-slaw, guacamole, and salsa)

Sitting amidst the chaos that is moving houses is not the perfect setting I’d envisioned to share this recipe with you. But if you think about it, it is fitting in a way : all the separate components coming together in the end in perfect harmony (which will hopefully be the case with the home situation!)

Who doesn’t like tacos, like seriously? This recipe has a few different elements, which are all super simple to rustle up and put together (fun too!) and can all be made in advance, which is always a bonus.

As you can tell from the recipe, this is a relatively low fat option – no cheese, low fat yogurt for the purple cabbage slaw, and no butter. The truth is, you really don’t need it. The yogurt offers a slight tanginess which counters the richness of the beans and beef, and I actually prefer it to dousing it in heavy mayonnaise, to be honest.

I shall leave you with that, and will keep you updated with the move and such. I mean frankly, I can’t be talking about these tacos all day.

Oh wait, actually I think I can. Continue reading

BRUSCHETTA PLATTER (with tomato & basil, mushroom & thyme, olive-caper tapenade, and oven-dried tomatoes)

I never realized this until now, but food blogging brings together a few of my favourite (of course), food styling & food photography (which have been a more recent discovery) and my penchant for mindless writing. Don’t get me wrong, I make sure that the recipes that I post on here are my absolute favourites, be it old family classics passed down from my grandmother, or new eclectic combinations that have been stumbled upon through trial and error (or a complete fluke). I treat this blog like a database for my favourite recipes so if it’s on here, you know that it’s something I want to hang on to for dear life.

Bru-shet-ah? Or bru-sket-ah? That is the million-dollar question now. It’s actually the latter, since the Italians pronounce the sound “ch” as a “c”. Pronouncing it “bru-shet-ah” is their equivalent to scraping your fingernails on a chalkboard. I know, quite dramatic that.

These little canapés can be treated as rustic or chic as is your style, and can be topped with an assortment of ingredients ranging from basic to completely extravagant. Anything goes! You may want to experiment with different ingredients, and by all means, please do, but I do try to remember that when it really comes down to it, the simpler the better. A simple bruschetta proves that there indeed is elegance in restraint.

I came across a great idea recently – you can set up a cute little bruschetta bar for a party! Plan and make the toppings for your bruschetta and get your guests to build them up with whatever they’d like – it’s more fun, half the work, and you can even ask your guests to bring over a few ingredients for it without feeling the guilt of over-burdening them. Totally do-able!

I’ve made four very simple toppings here..tomato and basil, mushroom and thyme, olive-caper tapenade, and oven-dried tomatoes. I make my own oven-dried tomatoes that I preserve in Olive oil (recipe coming up soon), but a jar of shop bought sun-dried tomatoes will suffice nicely too. I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet though.. all of this took me less than 20 minutes to put together, start to finish! And an hour to photograph and edit the pictures before I could stuff my face. I did NOT sign up for this. Continue reading

Baked eggs with purple Amaranth

Confession – I bought this without knowing what the hell it was, because it was purple. Didn’t have a name, and didn’t know what I was going to do with it. But I had to have it. A quick Google search along the lines of “purple spinach like plant” threw up a ton of options (there are so many different foods that are purple  what in the world are purple strawberries? Dipping in food colouring doesn’t count, you know. But seriously, do they really exist?) I know I’m digressing here, but blue/purple tomatoes too? Whaaat.

It’s Amaranth. You get them both in green and purple, and this one I had stumbled upon was the latter variety. What was a staple food of the Aztecs and Incas, and still a native crop in Peru, it apparently has been cultivated for over 8000 years now. Chock full of calcium, iron and protein, it’s been rightly named the “future crop of the year”! The grains of the plant have their equal share of nutrients too, and contain an unusually high quality of protein as compared to their more commonly found counterparts.

I wanted the keep the preparation as simple as possible and retain the vibrancy of its colour. Hence these simple baked eggs. The amaranth is lightly wilted and assembled like a wreath around the eggs. I’ve used chicken eggs, but just wanted to show from the picture that different types can be used (the smaller freckled ones are quail eggs).

Very quick to rustle up and makes for a great simple meal with a side of toasted bread. Moral of the story  venture out more and try new ingredients; you don’t know how much you might love it!

(I’ve fully cooked my eggs, but runny yolks would work wonderfully too).

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You know those important life-altering decisions that you take your time to ponder over? Like choosing your career path, moving to a new city, or getting married? I don’t think it’s normal that I say this, but I can handle those (We’re moving to Spain? Bring it on!) The ones that I spend agonizingly long hours mulling over are questions such as these – should I make a savoury scone or a sweet one? Brown sugar or white?

When it comes to bigger decisions, I feel it in my gut. And I just go with it. Unfortunately, adding lemon zest to scones is not something that the gods thought worthy of sending a sign out for, and the only feeling in my gut I got was the rumble in my belly.

I tried this recipe a couple of weeks ago without the addition of lemon zest and they came out pretty well. It had every favourable characteristic that is used to describe a good scone – light, fluffy and crumbly.

This idea, I came across by accident. I was flipping through the ‘Prevention’ magazine and saw a recipe for citrus-scented bread, and thought, why not try them with scones? Scones just as they are, work well with different flavourings since they have a neutral base, but I’ve only ever had them plain (sometimes with raisins in them) eaten with/without jam or preserve. Let me just say, the zest was a really pleasant surprise. Maybe I’ll try these citrusy scones with marmalade next time. Or just plain, dunked in tea..I’m going to need more time to think this through.

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