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

Couscous with roasted vegetables

Is it just me, or did you also think that Couscous was a grain? I remember reading somewhere a while ago that it was actually a pasta in a minuscule granular form, but it must’ve completely skipped my mind when I made it alongside some Spaghetti arrabiata for dinner last night. How very un-savvy of me for having forgotten that, what with all the cooking shows that I watch in the name of research.

I just looked it up again to clarify though, and it looks like we weren’t completely off. While some argue that since the method of making couscous is rather unconventional, it doesn’t really fall under the ‘pasta’ category, whereas, the flip side is that it technically cannot be called a grain since it’s actually just crushed durum wheat. So the sum and substance of it is that it’s neither here nor there. So we were neither right nor wrong. I wish more things in life were this ambiguous.

Arguably one of the most versatile grain/pasta there is, it holds well with almost any flavour combination you give it. I had roasted vegetables mixed through along with some fresh figs and pomegranate seeds for a slight variation, and for no other reason than that I had them lying around. See what I mean by versatile?

I have a lemon and thyme version in mind for next time. Or maybe one with a spicy Indian twist.. I’m neither here nor there just yet.

Continue reading

Friends with benefits : GREEK QUINOA SALAD

I’m a salad girl. No, not the kind that would go to a restaurant and pick on some greenage for a meal (hell no) but definitely one that would get it as a side. That kind of salad girl.

I had my first taste of Quinoa about a month ago. Until then, this obscure little South American grain was just one of those highly priced exotic items that was never on my shopping list. I had no clue what to do with it either. And then, Bobby Flay happened. I stumbled upon his recipe for ‘Greek Quinoa salad’ on a website and loved the flavours he was playing with. Mine, however, is a bit more adventurous with the addition of honey in the vinaigrette, char-grilled peppers, and capers. I love the smoky-sweetness that complements the Quinoa wonderfully. If you have some fresh figs on hand, throw them in there too!

Although not very closely associated with its North African counterpart Couscous in terms of origin, I think it could act as a good substitute if you can’t get your hands on Quinoa. Also, Bulgur wheat is another option you could try.

Incorporating this wonder grain in your salad is a good way to get your daily dose of protein and it makes for a good foundation, especially if this dish is going to double up as a meal in itself. Which by the way, it totally could. This salad is one of those foods that is exponentially greater than the sum of its parts. Healthy and delicious! Hence the title reference. Continue reading

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