Winter holidays are just about to start and for me that means a lot of extra effort to keep my 11 yr old busy. This year since we are not travelling anywhere, i intend to experience this city like i did as a child. So that would essentially include visit to the planetarium, Victoria Memorial, the Birla Musuem and of course a lot of eating out! We are chalking out an itenerary so that we can make the most of these holidays and create some wonderful memories. What is life afterall, just a beautiful collage of memories. Todays recipe also has a dose of memory in it. Its my take on my grandmothers soul satisfying Chicken Soup. A very simple recipe that used to be our staple evening snack while growing up. She simply used to boil a whole country chicken with some salt and pepper. Then drain the stock, Saute some chopped onion and garlic and ginger in butter, add the stock, season and serve with a slice of toast. While I do make that soup a lot too, this experiment also turned out great. Mushrooms are abundant now all year round so that adds a lovely texture to the dish. Since it was made for lunch, served it with some spring onion herbed rice.
In my quest to make easy but delicious everyday meals I have been making a lot of Indo Chinese dishes. Today on the menu was some Chili Fish, that i served with some steamed long grain rice and pickled vegetables. The markets are filled with fresh green vegetables and this is the best time to indulge in the goodness of these greens.
My choice of fish was basa but any boneless fish fillet would work fine I reckon. Feel free to add some peppers to the gravy if u wish to, it enhances the taste.
For pickled vegetables, cut carrots and cucumber in thin strips. Make a mixture of vinegar, salt, sugar and tabasco. You can add some chopped red chilies for heat. Soak the cucumber and carrot strips in this mixture for an hour and serve with the fish. Can easily be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
If there is one thing I really miss here in Kolkata, that would be availability of a variety of Cheese. You know the kind of Cheese shops you find when u travel abroad, where you go bonkers looking at the range, you dont even know what half of them are, those kinds! However things are getting a little better and you do find a decent variety nowadays at the supermarkets. I was pleasantly surprised with the range of cheese available at Big Basket, was a bit unsure of the taste and quality but nevertheless ordered a box of Boconcini. And I was not disappointed.
My first thought was to make a fresh Caprese Salad and I went with that.
The weather here in Kolkata calls for hearty meals. Am getting my zeal back to spend a considerable amount of time in my kitchen and trying out a lot a recipes that had been earmarked for a while now. Chicken being the preffered choice of protien, I am always looking out to do something different with it. One pan or one pot meals works best when you are pressed for time but still want something delicious. However there are times when you crave something indulgent, something that makes you go yum,yum,yum like a lasagna! My first memory of tasting a lasagna goes back to my LSR days when Big Chill( my mostest favourite eatery of all times) had opened up in the neighbourhood. Digging into that gooey goodness of cheesy meaty lasagna. Never missed a chance to grab atleast one meal there whenever I am in Delhi which is rare now. So to revive all those delicious memories I took it upon me to recreate the dish in my kitchen. It takes some amount of effort but at the end it was totally worth it. A little amount of prep the day before goes a long way. Like i prepeared the meat sauce a day in advance, it kind of enhanced the flavours too. So the next day it was quite a breeze to put it all together.
Ok now one important point here. I was always confused whether to pre cook the pasta sheets before layering or just let it the way it is for it to cook in the oven. I scoured around for some info on this but failed to get a clear picture so i decided to pre cook it anyways. Just dunked them in boiling water for 10 seconds and then layer them up. Worked beautifully I must say! You guys go note the recipe and give it a shot, promise you wont be disappointed.
Its that time of the year again when you are just reminiscing about the months that went by and start looking forward to a brand new year and wish for everything to get better. You pull yourself together one more time and hope to make the best of the time you have. I am doing that too! Really looking forward to the coming year and making the most of it. Workwise i have been extremely lazy and i wish to change that for good. Like I keep going back to my favourite quote by the very wise his Holiness The Dalai Lama ” Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions” So on this note, I decided to make a Roast Chicken as its almost Christmas and I wanted to test the recipe one more time before I put it up on the blog. And I also put up the tree and decorated it pretty with all the little things that I have collected over the years. It felt good I must say.
Now coming back to the roasted chicken it is again a very simple recipe. The marination is the key and the longer the marination the better. Simple flavours work best and a honey mustard glaze just adds to the taste. Add vegetables of your choice, i kept it simple with just onions and potatoes. Serve it with choice of your breads and your Christmas lunch is sorted.