Month: May 2015

Banana Mashed Up! The Jain Mash

Amazingly smooth and flavoursome: Banana Mash
Amazingly smooth and flavoursome: Banana Mash

Last week was a test of my culinary skills. I had two friends over for dinner–one a carnivore and the other a pure Jain (read no roots, no mushrooms, of course no onion, garlic and meat) and to add to my trauma, they wanted similar looking plates! Bring it on, girls….

A quick check of what can and cannot be eaten by Jains thanks to Tarla Dalal, may her soul rest in peace, proved i could use raw plantain to create a mash! One element done the rest was easy to fill in, created a beautiful plate using mango salsa and paneer steaks grilled with a freshly made sweet-chillie sauce.

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Vol au Vent

The delicately flavoured stuffed puffed pastry
The delicately flavoured stuffed puffed pastry

For many years, and I mean many, I couldn’t pronounce this fancy word! I mean why in the world would someone call a puffed stuffed pastry a vol-au-vent? But then it’s French and the language calls for flair. Did you know the name was actually coined by Antonin Careme–an exponent of the style of cooking commonly known as grande cuisine–the most sophisticated and grandiose style of cookery in France. I never liked history, thus the name was :( but I loved gobbling up these delicious crispy puffed stuffed pastries with all kinds of filling. It thus became an integral part of my cooking repertoire.

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Golabki: Polish stuffed cabbage rolls

Succulent cabbage rolls stuffed with mince served with a 3 pepper and corn salad
Succulent cabbage rolls stuffed with mince served with a 3 pepper and corn salad

“I’m making Golabki for dinner tonight.”

“Wow, that sounds cool. What’s that, something exotic you learnt from one of the chefs you follow.”

“Umm…not really, but if you promise to eat it, I’ll tell you what goes into it.”

“Put that way…I think skip the introductions. But don’t cook too much, I may not take a second helping. Also I have a late evening meeting, so I might just eat something there, make a real small portion of that Gol-whetver you’re making.”

And so ended the conversation between my husband and me on that eventful Monday evening. I say eventful because not just did we enjoy the delicious bake, but a couple of friends dropped by too and went home with a stomach full and a recipe! To add to that we had a 30 minute conversation on additions, substructions, permutations and combinations that cam be used to enhance the flavours. No meal at home is uneventful.:)

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