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

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Mixed tomato salad with pesto

This recipe (and a blog update) has been long overdue. But I think I may have found the perfect way to end this lengthy hiatus – a quick and easy tomato salad with a vibrant pesto dressing. Just wanted to subtly also point out that ALL THE TOMATOES WERE GROWN IN MY GARDEN! All organic and pesticide-free. There’s no going back now.

The striking medley of hybrid tomatoes that I’ve used are more sweet than tart, and the light pungency of the balsamic vinaigrette really accentuates their sweetness. You know, like sprinkling salt on a slice of watermelon? It’s magical.

The pesto is from a jar, but I bet it would taste even better if you made some fresh. Here’s a recipe, if you’re interested (they even show you how to make it in a mortar and pestle if you’re into that kind of thing). It feels so good to be back here again, and I can’t wait to show you what else I did with my big bounty from last week!  Continue reading

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 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

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