Spaghetti with roasted red pepper & cream sauce

Roasting peppers is something that we don’t do often enough. The tender smoky flesh inside all that charred blackness is the heart of this dish, literally and metaphorically speaking.

This simple pasta dish has it all – it’s wholesome, not entirely different from what makes it comforting, and makes for a very fulfilling meal. I understand that we’re only talking pasta here, but how often do we manage to add a completely different dimension to our everyday pasta, right?

I’d come across this recipe a few months ago, but as most things go..um, it went. You know the thing with blogging? You end up focusing on dishes that are ‘different’ – unusual food pairings, unique ingredients and the like. The truth is, even though all that is fun and impressive, most often all I crave is something familiar. Comforting. Even though this recipe came into my life just a few months ago, it’s definitely one that’s here to stay! Continue reading

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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Aubergine Parmigiana (Melanzane alla Parmigiana)

Remember that time I made this aubergine and broccoli pasta bake? So this is a slight variation from that, with regard to inspiration (and photo clarity. Thank goodness!) I’m slowly trying to get my head around exploring the plethora of options and features on my DSLR, so please bear with me as I share the developments on this forum. Note to self : Automatic with flash is not the ideal setting. Got it.

The Italians really have it down when it comes to food combinations, and their basic approach to food. They know exactly what ingredients work well together, and more importantly, they believe that simple preparations with fresh ingredients always trumps finickity over-the-top excesses. I love the rustic appeal of their traditional dishes with its irregularities and lack of perfection. Like the Japanese concept of something being Wabi-sabi..I’m all over this.

Coming back to what I was saying..this dish is basically a layered bake with griddled aubergines, Parmesan, a quick home-made tomato sauce, finally topped with breadcrumbs and some Mozzarella. It’s quick to make, easy to assemble, and rates very high on the yumminess quotient. Check and check. 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 things..cooking (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