Much before I became a food blogger, I have been a cookbook lover. I remember spending hours pouring over the many cookbooks that Maa possessed, even Sananda, a Bengali monthly which was a treasure trove of recipes, going through the ingredients, trying to imagine the dish in my head and then sometimes experimenting them in the kitchen. My favourite was a Bengali recipe book,more a bible, that had every possible recipe gifted by our Bangladeshi neighbour. The books is in tatters now, still very special. I am hoping Maa will pass it down to me one day! Thankfully this love for cookbook has remained and now I am myself a very proud owner of a worthy collection. Thanks to the many online portals, you can now own your favourite book with just a click! And I am a compulsive buyer when it comes to books – especially food memoirs. With a steady growing stash , I thought it only made sense that I share what I read and cook from it with my readers. So, hereby I start a #cookfromcookbook series that will have me sharing my favourite authors and their creations that I recreate in my kitchen.
Yotam Ottolenghi – a name resonant in the British culinary scene , a chef and cookbook writer with strong Mediterranean roots that reflects deeply in his recipes. I have been following him on the social media for a while now and only very recently got hold of his book ‘Plenty’ a collection of vegetarian recipes or “new vegetarianism” as he calls it. With every new test recipe that he Instagrams,I would go gushing over the use of everyday ingredients and how it is so doable in your very own kitchens. His book Plenty has plenty recipes that can be made a part of your everyday meals. He picks up one favourite ingredient and builds a recipe around it. Much like what we do too. I have been eyeing the Burnt Aubergine Dip with Tahini and finally ended up making it too. A very flavorful condiment that can be served with cut vegetables or even as a refreshing salad in summers.
I keep going back to the book looking for inspirations in my everyday cooking and I am sure I will cooking a lot more from this one. The recipe I am sharing today is broadly inspired from the original as I have replaced a few ingredients based on availabitiy. Instead of parsley I used fresh coriander and added some red chillies for the zing.
First, roast the brinjal, with the skin on the gas stove, like we do for Indian bhartas. This can be done in the oven too. But make sure to make deep gashes on the brinjal and smear with some oil, or else it will burst.
Remove the charred skin from the brinjal, scoop out the flesh.
Chop the flesh roughly and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
Add the tahini paste, water,lemon juice,garlic, coriander , salt and pepper.
How much can you do with Paneer?! Well , you never know. Personally I find it very difficult to infuse flavours into paneer. Somehow my bhurjis always remain bland and tasteless. For gravies, most of the times I resort to a tomato based gravy so as to salvage the dish. This dish too, is a tomato – cashew infused gravy, with stuffed pan fried paneer triangles. It turned out nice , so I had to share it with you all.
Everyday cooking can sometime get on to your nerves. Even for someone like me, who enjoys her time in the kitchen, it gets a tad overwhelming. With the onset of the dreaded summer, even more. What I like to do is make easy recipes , that doesn’t compromise on taste. This gravy can easily be frozen for few days, and used as and when required.
I set out to make some scones but mid way decided to turn them into biscuits instead! Scones are just another quick bread I would say. Easy to make, versatile and to quote Jamie Oliver ” They are so delicious, so British, even a 5 year old can make them” To me Scones, take me back to my Enid Blyton days, when the kids of Malory towers would just go off to a picnic with their hamper tucked with scones and ham sandwiches!
This recipe has been adapted from Mary Berry’s 100 Cakes and Bakes, one of the first books on baking I had acquired and is full of easy doable recipes. To turn them into biscuits , I cut down on the baking powder and added some mashed potatoes for texture. These are neither too sweet nor salty , so serve it either with jam and cream or have them as it is with tea or milk.
There are a few kitchen staples that always come handy while you are at it! In my last post I mentioned how I ensure to have a few sauces and ingredients available in my kitchen always, some I use store bought and some I make at home from scratch. If you have kids at home then this particular recipe of a very versatile and tasty pizza/ pasta sauce will be super useful. Their hunger pangs /demand for fancy stuffs can be fulfilled easily. I have an 8 year old in the house and his sudden cravings for a cheesy pasta or a gooey pizza is met with in a jiffy. As a mother we worry about too many preservatives in readymade sauces, so it is just perfect that we make a fresh batch of this sauce and store it.
This recipe is by far the easiest version you can find. It has some vegetables to go with the tomato and is oven roasted, so double easy!. I added yellow and red bell pepper as it adds to the taste and texture of the sauce by adding a fresh sweetness in contrast to the acidity of the tomatoes. Season it with herbs of your choice, no hard and fast rule on that and use this sauce as and when you need it.
I will begin with wishing all my readers a very happy new year. A new year , a new hope, a new chance , same dreams but a fresh start. A new year with loads of love and happiness and good food of course. Last year wasn’t really how I wanted to focus on this blog of mine. Something that started as a hobby , as a passion but helped me achieve so much recognition and knowledge. I want 2016 to be the year of My Food My Life , where I can take a few plunges that I have been thinking of for a while now. Cooking and sharing continues for sure in and keeping with the tradition sharing this super recipe of Cherry Cheese Chocolate Cake . It was an experiment gone right and I am so happy to share it here.