Category: Starter

Nachos with 7 Toppings

Sour Cream adds to the pleasure of digging into this 7 layered nachos
Sour cream adds to the pleasure of digging into this 7 layered nachos

I’ve always loved the Nachos that are served at Hard Rock Cafe. It’s a meal in itself with close to 7 to 8 different toppings. This recipe comes very close to it and is perfect entree for a party of 10 to 12 hungry friends, where snacks and spirits take precedence over the main course.

I’ve experimented a whole lot with the textures of the corn chips and the cheese to be used. Nothing comes close to pepper jack cheese but when you can’t get your hand on it try Gruyère cheese or even cheddar and if even those are impossible then go with just mozzarella. Nothing better than the stringy texture.

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Steamed Bottle Gourd Dumplings

Serve it with fresh chopped coriander and grated coconut
Serve it with fresh chopped coriander and grated coconut

This is a breakfast dish you will find in every Gujarati home. It’s simple, easy to make, can be churned out in 30 minutes and what’s more can be created out of as many different kinds of veggies as you wish. What’s more since it is traditionally steamed before it is sautéed, it can be made in advance and sautéed just before you are ready to serve it with a dollop of green chutney.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Walnut Soup

Pumpkin Soup: perfect for a cold monsoon evening or chilly winter night
Pumpkin Soup: perfect for a cold monsoon evening or chilly winter night

This recipe takes me back to a rainy day in Goa. We were sitting by the river, watching the pouring rain create zig zag patterns all over the surface. We sipped on our chilled beer as we waited for the service to start. The kitchen was all pumped up, getting ready for the rush that would soon hit us. The menu of the day included my very favourite Roasted Pumpkin Walnut Soup.

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Cobb Salad with a Coriander and Parsley Dressing

Cobb Salad with a parsley and coriander dressing
Cobb Salad with a parsley and coriander dressing

This is one the simplest salads to put together, if you have good knife skills. The first time I ate a Cobb salad was at Hard Rock Cafe. When the plate came to our table it was the amazing array of colours that threw me off guard, each ingredient forming a perfect line as it lay against each other, beckoning me to throw in the dressings and mix it all up. Food can’t be linear, at least not for me!

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Baked Mushrooms

Crispy Baked Mushrooms
Crispy baked mushrooms

I am not a mushroom fan, and yet due to its nutritional qualities, especially the Vitamin D content, I try and incorporate the fungus into my meals at least once a week. Most often it’s just thrown into a gravy or stir fried with some onions and bell peppers, this is the first time I’ve made it a hero and am I glad!

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Dyed Devilled Eggs Stuffed with Sausage

Drama queen: Dyed devilled eggs stuffed with sausage, cheese and capers
Dyed devilled eggs stuffed with sausage, cheese and capers

I love drama on a plate which is probably why I love Masterchef with Gordon Ramsay. And when I manage to create a plate that doles of oodles of love and gets the camera snapping, I am beside myself with pride. Cooking at home is so easy, if you just let your imagination run wild. Boiled eggs can never be boring, but they are just ingredients, convert them into a stunner by using this simple process. Boil. Crack. Dip. Boil. Peel! Viola! You have a stunner.

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Crispy Potato Bake with Cheese

Hummus

Homemade hummus with pita bread
Homemade hummus with pita bread

This is proof that you don’t need much to turn out a brilliant finger licking entree. 3 basic ingredients and a simple mixer (food processor) is all this needs.

My introduction to hummus was courtesy a friend who loved mediterranean food. It was one rainy Sunday when we were sitting on wicker chairs with blue upholstery, within a really delicately designed sparkling white restaurant when this appetiser arrives. Tucked into the dip were crispy lavash. Chickpeas delicately rested on the fine edge of the hummus. Slit green chillies, paprika and lemon juice glistened against a well of olive oil. It seemed to pretty to destroy, and yet I had no control over my fingers. They dug into the hummus spoon after spoon…

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Baked Kale Crisps and Apple and Cinnamon Crisps

Home made baked kale crisps
Home made baked kale crisps

I succumbed…succumbed to the need of making my food healthier. Boiled potatoes are fine, but those gorgeous soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, thrice-cooked-potato chips no way…So when I cooked up this delicious cheese stuffed chicken burger (made with chicken that has been steeped in hot water to knock of the fat, yeah yeah the things I do to keep the fat away) I just had to make homemade baked crisps to go with it. 

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