Category: Baked

Mashed Potatoes

Grilled to perfection: mashed potatoes
Grilled to perfection: mashed potatoes

How often have you made mashed potatoes and compared them to the ones you dig into at your friendly neighbouring fine dine and realised that they’re not quite the same? Every time? This simple dish is actually quite time-consuming if you do it right way. It’s not as simple as boil-mash-season and serve. It’s more like bake-scoop-mash-butter-mash-cream-mash-season-mash-cream cheese-mash – and some take it a step further and add mustard powder too! Not me…I bake and grill it again :)

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Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Cake

The most delicious, soft and flavourful cake that can be made in a jiffy!
The most delicious, soft and flavourful cake that can be made in a jiffy!

This cake was inspired in Koh Samui, from a pancake a tiny lady made at the crossroads of an Irish pub and a kennel. Every evening we would find our way here from our resort some 10 kms away, on a bike that blew the wind out of my lungs. Within 2 days she knew exactly how I loved my pancake done. It would be slapped with layers on peanut butter, sliced bananas and nutella and rolled up to be drizzled with coconut milk and chocolate sauce! Drool!!! The flavours lingered on for many years and when I was looking for inspiration to make a cake for a friend’s daughter who loved banana, chocolate and peanut butter, this awesome pancake filled my mind space at 1am.

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Bacon, Feta and Date Rolls

date rollsIf there is one dish that has managed to light up every single guests eye and plaster a smile on it, it is this one…a simple roll, baked to perfection. A crisp exterior, a sweetened centre and a gooey soft pillowy bite! Wait till your guests take a bite, hear the ‘ooohhhhssss’ and ‘ahhhhssss’ and ‘yyyyyuuuuummmms’ and take a bow.:)  You have not just hit the sweet spot, but have become every man’s favourite chef (read person) and every woman’s envy. Enjoy the feeling.

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Peach and Cherry Cheese Cake

Peach and Cherry Cheese Cake
Peach and Cherry Cheese Cake

When it comes to a cheesecake, fresh fruit toppings have always been a favourite with the family. What’s more its really really simple to make a sugar-free cheese cake and that takes precedence over any other kind of dessert that comes out of my kitchen. Last week, I threw a party for a couple of friends and strangely when the menu was put together, i figured it had only baked items, from the slow cooked chicken to beer bread! It was time to add some bright colour to the menu. As peaches and cherries were in season, it seemed like the perfect topping to my cheese cake!

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Oats and Beer Bread with Coloured Bell Peppers, Olive and Dill

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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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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Grilled Chicken stuffed with Pepperoni and Cheese

Chicken stuffed with pepperoni, cheese and jalapenos
Chicken stuffed with pepperoni, cheese and jalapenos

Now this is a dish I can devour, no matter when it’s made. It’s simple, rustic and packed with flavours and has all my favourite ingredients. What’s more it gets put together in a jiffy and looks exotic even if it is served with a simple salad like the Sweet Potato, mint and Pomegranate Salad listed here. I’ve added a recipe for Gucamole, just to get the entree, rich in vitamin C.

My fridge is usually stocked with chicken breasts, its one of the easiest and most easily accessible protein element. This pepperoni came all the way from Germany, the last bit of our shopping :( and to add to my pleasure I had some mozzarella cheese again from Amsterdam. I love travelling only because I get to eat foods of the world and bring back home flavours I love to experiment with.

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