Chicken Roulade with Pomegranate and Wine Jus

Chicken roulade stuffed with pepperoni, cheese, smoked dried tomatoes and spinach...bliss
Chicken roulade stuffed with pepperoni, cheese, smoked dried tomatoes and spinach…bliss

This is a completely inspired dish and all credit goes to MasterChef shows on TV. It’s taken a couple of times to perfect, but even when the roulade wasn’t perfectly rolled, it tasted excellent. The play of colours and textures and the excitement of beating chicken into a thin even perfect layer far exceeds the trauma of cracking the flesh whilst you’re rolling it. I’d say forget the inhibitions and just go for it!

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Spicy Goan Pork Sausage Chilli Fry

Yummilicious...all ready to be stirred up
Yummilicious…all ready to be stirred up

God bless the person who created the first sausage and god bless the person who created these hot and spicy Goan sausages with innumerable porkys. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would fall in love with this delicious meat that swims in fat, but here I am a humble prisoner to the command it has on my salivary glands.

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Watermelon, Feta and Lychee Salad

Watermelon, feta, lychee salad--perfect for a hot afternoon
Watermelon, feta, lychee salad–perfect for a hot afternoon

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been on a make-a-new-salad-a-day kind of regime. Some of these recipes have found their way here and the others were gobbled up before I could take any pictures. This Watermelon, Feta, Lychee and green salad was hidden in the cooler were a good part of a hot summer afternoon…and this helped the flavours develop. Try it.

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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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Arugula, Fig, Almond, Feta Salad

A perfect accompaniment to any meal! The feta adds the saltiness, the figs the sweet, the greens add the zest and earthy flavour and the almonds the crunch!
A perfect accompaniment to any meal! The feta adds the saltiness, the figs the sweet, the greens add the zest and earthy flavour and the almonds the crunch!

For the last one month we’re thriving on a low-carb diet. It’s quite a task to think of innovative tasty dishes that can be mopped up without a bread or rice, but 20 days into the diet I’ve managed to add a delicious salad to every meal. :)  This is a super easy salad that can be tossed together in less than five minutes.

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Mango Salsa

I served my mango salsa with chicken kebabs...made for a splendid combination
I served my mango salsa with chicken kebabs…made for a splendid combination

I am not a mango fan, at all. I don’t like mango milkshake, or mango and ice cream, or even a mango cheese cake. The only way I eat this divine fruit is in a salsa! Yeah not quite the best ode to this king of fruits. Sorry. And it’s not that I am worried about the calories, given that one ripe mango has only 110 calories.

Anyway to cut a long story short, try this mango salsa with a protein of your choice and you will enjoy the sweetness of the fruit with the punch of chillies, onion, tomato and a lot more. The fact that the flavour of the fruit stands out despite the combination, makes me respect it a lot more!

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Almond Macaroons

Almond macroons: crisp on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside
Almond macaroons: crisp on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside

This is one cookie that’s always made of special request. As a 7-year-old, I remember my mom chomping on these and making all those orgasmic sounds that a child had never heard before. Each time we went to this particular store in the suburbs of Bombay (now Mumbai), she would stop and buy a few packets of those gorgeous Almond Macaroons. But over a few years, the quality dropped and our visits ended in the cookies being given away.

Last week was her 75th birthday and apart from cooking her favourites, I knew i just had to make these macaroons.

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Indian Chaat — Pani Puri

Pani Puri had the traditional way, from an earthen pot.
Pani Puri had the traditional way, from an earthen pot.

Does anyone anywhere in the world need any introduction to this dish! If you haven’t tasted, you sure have heard of it. And if you’ve travelled anywhere across India, you’ve for sure seen it being sold on the roadside. This is one dish that has many names, its called gol gappas in Delhi, Puchka in Kolkatta and Pani Puri in Mumbai and Gujarat.

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