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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Yogurt syllabub

I know it sounds like I just made this word up! Syllabub is an English dessert that’s made with milk that’s been curdled either with wine or any other form of acid before being flavoured and sweetened. I’ve used yogurt here which we know has already undergone that process, so it’s essentially just a flavoured yogurt, but a far cry from the ones that you might be used to eating. I mean, how many times have you mixed red wine into it?

In England, Syllabub also apparently goes by the names ‘solybubbe’,’sullabub’,’sullibib’,’sullybub’, or ‘sullibub’. I just read that sentence out loud and it seriously sounded like my fish when he asks for food!

Stewing the fruit is a popular idea with syllabub, and that’s exactly what I had intended to do when I started out making this. It’s only when I began slicing into the figs, I realized that they didn’t have to undergo any transformation to make this dessert delicious. If you’d like to stew them instead, just sprinkle some brown sugar on the figs and cook until tender. I’d add a pinch of cinnamon too for good measure if I were you.

This low-fat dessert uses just a handful of ingredients, is healthy, and chock full of nutrients from every component. The fact that it takes no more than 10 minutes to whip up is just another reason why I’m all over it. You could use whatever fruit you have on hand – I always seem to have a few fresh figs lying around, but I have no doubt that it will work exceptionally well with strawberries, oranges, or apples too.

The addition of pomegranate seeds and pistachio slivers give this dessert a bit of a Turkish / Mediterranean feel, and the wine and orange zest take you down the mulled wine route. You could say that it’s a bit of a (con)fusion, but it definitely has its charms.

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The ‘grater’ of two evils : MAC & CHEESE WITH BACON, MUSHROOMS AND PEPPERS

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I think I had you at bacon, right?

This is not the typical mac & cheese that you may have grown up eating, but I can assure you that it’s got every bit of that gooeyness and flavour that is synonymous with it. I can safely say that this version is way simpler too – no fussy béchamel sauce, cheese custard making etc.,

The first step involves frying the bacon bits and setting it aside until it’s called for later. THIS is my favourite part of the recipe – the bacon juices that collect at the bottom of the pan – liquid gold. It makes for the most incredible base flavour that permeates through the sauce and gets absorbed by all the mushrooms, peppers and onions. Almost poetic?!

The smokiness from the bacon counteracts the cheese beautifully and elevates all of its flavours. I can’t think of making this dish without the chillies, and I would strongly recommend that you leave it in, unless of course you are completely spice intolerant.

I’d like to give my mom credit for the inspiration behind this little wonder. Even though I’ve made it a few times now giving it my own twists from time to time, I know I can follow her recipes to a tee and it’ll come out just perfect!

This Mac and cheese has comfort food written all over it. Try it once and you’ll keep getting bac-on it! Continue reading

Rice and shine : MUSHROOM AND SUN-DRIED TOMATO RISOTTO

I think this recipe has officially been my crowning glory, if I may say so myself! I’m not sure if this is the perfect risotto in Gordon’s Ramsay’s books, but it tasted pretty damn good and that’s all I care about really. So don’t be intimidated; the main things that really matter are texture and timing, and this recipe is pretty forgiving in both departments.

The traditional Italian risotto doesn’t leave ‘mush’ room for flavour, so I had to throw in the sun-dried tomatoes (and the pun) to spice things up a little bit. They undoubtedly brightened up the flavour, cut through the blandness(?) of the mushrooms, and proved to be a perfect match made in food heaven. This is a recipe that you would definitely want to experiment with, and by all means do! (I tried a wacky combination of leftover bulgogi and mushroom risotto and it was amazing!)

Although the addition of the Cheddar might offend those purist risotto aficionados, Nigella would have to bear the brunt of it for starting us off on that trend. Never tried this recipe with the traditional Parmesan but be my guest, and I’d love to know how it turns out! Continue reading