Category Archives: Salads

Sangeeta’s Beet Hummus

I have the very very good fortune of knowing gifted, intuitive cooks who – apart from being close friends – are willing to share recipes, thoughts, innovations, suggestions.

Sangeeta is one such, and one of my dearest treasures is the handwritten cookbook she gifted me over 30 years ago.

Now a passionate advocate of Intermittent Fasting (IF) and healthy eating, Sangeeta continues to experiment and tweak, and this hummus recipe is the first of many to come (I hope) from her current kitchen.

  • Half a cup of chickpeas, soaked overnight (none of the canned stuff)
  • Salt
  • half a sliced onion
  • 2 pearls sliced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sesame seeds, roasted and soaked for at least an hour
  • Beetroot,
  • Whole garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • pickled lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook the chickpeas on low heat in plenty of water, adding a little salt halfway through. Keep skimming the top of water to remove any grey foam.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf to the water.
  3. Roast beets in oven with the whole garlic, salt and some Italian seasoning, covered, for the first 20 minutes and then open, so it caramelizes a bit.
  4. Once everything has cooled down, blend the lot with some pickled lemon ( I chuck  them in some salt and leave  them to pickle for about 2 weeks … tastes good in so many things).
  5. Adjust seasoning and serve drizzled with olive oil.

Served it with crudites, wholewheat pita grilled with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper and chicken kebabs.

Thanks much Sango, as always !

Burratinas before dinner …

This gets done in a flash when all the ingredients are assembled … fresh burratina from Puglia, tomatoes on the vine, sweeter than sweet, olive oil, fresh basil, avocadao oil, a terrific balsamic reduction and a dash of salt and pepper.

  1. Place a burratino in the serving dish, drizzle the avocado oil over it.
  2. Add sliced tomatoes, scatter the basil leaves.
  3. Grind a bit of sea salt and pepper onto the cheese.
  4. Splash a bit of the balsamic reduction over it in a nice ruby red rich squiggle.

Tastes better than it looks, these pix don’t do it justice. But oh, the burst of flavours, the freshness of the ingredients, the crunch of the seasoning. Don’t need a single thing more.

Some pix of ingredients off the web, with thanks.

 

Pam’s Beetroot Salad

Had this @ Pam’s on a hot summer afternoon, at lunch, and it was lovely.

I normally dislike beetroots, but these half boiled ones retained a hefty crunch.

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  • Beetroot, parboiled, chopped fine
  • 1/2 to 1 big onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tomato, chopped fine
  • green chili (as per taste), de-seeded, chopped fine
  • dressing – salt, pepper & lemon juice
  • chopped coriander to garnish

Toss all together.

Pix off the net, with thanks.

Kuko’s Grilled Peppers

I know this sounds like a no-brainer … but when served piping hot, with meat and salad on a cold Gurgaon evening, music playing, wine in hand and catching up with old friends after yonks, it was delicious beyond belief.

  • Green, red and yellow peppers, sliced, de-seeded, pith removed
  • olive oil
  • crushed garlic
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper
  1. Marinate all of the above for a couple of hours.
  2. Grill in a pre-heated oven, over a surface sprayed lightly with olive oil.
  3. Turn over once after a few minutes, grill till just done, not limp.

This can be made with yellow and green zucchini as well.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s Broccoli-Date-Pomegranate Salad

Another winner from the Kuko table !

Source and mix. Serve.

  • Broccoli florets, steamed
  • Pitted dates, sliced
  • pomegranate arils
  • toasted almond slivers
  • honey mustard dressing

Honey mustard dressing

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  1. Mix vinegar, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, dijon and honey in a bowl.
  2. Whisk  to combine, stream in the olive oil.
  3. Once combined and emulsified, taste, adjust salt, honey or vinegar as necessary.

Recipe for the dressing from http://violetmeyer.com/honey-mustard-dressing/

Veronica’s Sambal Tomat (tomato hot sauce or relish)

A sambal (or sambel as in Javanese) comes in many varieties and tastes; they are piquant, spicy, chili hot … and are made from a mixture of variety of chili peppers and secondary ingredients like shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, lime juice, and rice or other vinegars … in myriad combinations.

This one is to die for, literally, a simple hot relish made with chilies, tomatoes, shallots and garlic.

  • 4 big red chilies, cut into 4
  • 3 to 4 big tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 to 12 large-ish shallots, halved
  • 6 pods garlic
  • salt

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Fry the garlic and onion in a little oil till softened. Add the chilies and stir till cooked and soft. Cool, and mash well with a mortar and pestle. (You can also blend it coarsely, but Veron assures me the taste is not the same).

To the remaining oil in the pan, add the tomato and stir till cooked and soft. Give it the mortar-pestle treatment separately.

Mix the two pastes, add salt as required.

Bottle, refrigerate.

Pix of ingredients – as always – from the web and some info on the sambel from wiki.

Apricots. Apricots. Apricots.

The fruit is everywhere, warm, orange, gold, offering all kinds of suggestions.

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Sauces. Appetizers. On the side.

Three recipes I haven’t yet tried. Sound delicious though.

As an accompaniment, from Alon Shaya, Executive Chef and Owner of Shaya in New Orleans.

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  1. Stir together :
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp orange juice

2. Whisk in

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water

3. Set aside.

4. Chop into 2 cm pieces :

  • 3 apricots
  • 2 tomatoes

5. Toss with the prepared dressing (above). Sprinkle with 2 tbsp sesame seeds and serve with grilled fish.

As a sauce, from Eric Banh, Executive Chef @ Ba Bar in Seattle.screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-1-00-45-pm

  • 2 cups diced, fresh apricots
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  1. Cook the above over medium heat for about 10 minutes, till the alcohol evaporates and the sauce thickens.
  2. Transfer to a blender and puree till smooth.
  3. Drizzle over roasted vegetables, grilled bread or baked chicken.

As an appetizer, from Jason Hotchkiss, Director of Culinary Operations @ the Patio Group on Goldfinch in San Diego.

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  • 6 fresh apricots, halved
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • shredded basil
  • chopped cucumber
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  1. Drizzle the cut sides of the apricots with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill over high heat, flesh side down for about 2 minutes or until charred.
  3. Cool. Cut into wedges. Arrange, top with the feta, basil, cucumber and lemon juice.

None of this is mine, neither the recipes not the photographs. All borrowed – with thanks – from print and the internet !

A Green and Delish Breakfast

So, no grains. Nothing acidic. Light yet filling. Tasty.

This is entirely Veron’s creation and it was so good, so good.

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Boiled eggs, halved. Yolk discarded.

Avocado into guacamole sans tomatoes (and it tasted better).

Organic kale chopped, freshened with a simple olive oil/lemon juice/salt/pepper dressing.

Roasted pine nuts.

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And for those who wanted grains and yolk, a different version. Wholemeal walnut bread. The yolks atop the guacamole.

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Try it for that sense of total well-being after the meal !

Patates Bravas by Navzer

A tapas dish from Spain, this is Navzer’s version, served on a cold Vancouver evening, quite the shining star among an abundance of delish platters.

  • potatoes with skin, in small pieces, or small potatoes halved
  • olive oil
  • mayonnaise
  • any hot sauce
  • paprika or crushed red chili flakes
  • chopped garlic, about 4 to 5 cloves
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tomato, pureed
  • dash of ketchup
  • chorizo or spicy Italian sausages, chopped, pan fried and kept aside
  1. Boil potatoes in a pan of salted water, till almost done.
  2. Drain and cool.
  3. Toss the potatoes in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, bake for 35 minutes till browned, edges crisp.
  4. Separately, mix 3 tbsp mayo, hot sauce to taste, paprika, chopped garlic, lemon juice and pureed tomato along with a dash of ketchup (for tang).
  5. When the potatoes are slightly cooled, toss with the sauce/dressing and stir in the fried sausages.

Good both hot and cold, absolutely delicious in fact.

Images off the web, with thanks.

Sweet Summer Kale Salad

Discovered in Kitsilano, Vancouver, this salad and dressing was outstanding ; the kale elevated by the sharp contrasts between the piquant, nutty and sweet accents.

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  • Kale
  • Chopped apples
  • Cranberries
  • Almonds

Dressing

  • olive oil
  • orange juice
  • balsamic vinegar
  • shallots, diced
  • garlic, diced
  • honey
  • red chilies
  • oregano
  • sea salt
  • pepper

Most pictures borrowed from the web.

A Sunday lunch with prosecco and friends

Unplanned, on-the-spur-of-the-moment and impromptu, this lunch was sunny, sparkly, air-conditioned and frothy both in liquid sustenance and atmosphere : good cheer, good friends, good food (even if I say so myself).

With Raising Sand (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss), thank you Neena.

Menu

Prosecco, prosecco, prosecco. And good old G & T. And fresh, tender coconut water.

Ok, so these are not my pictures, they’re off the web, but they encapsulate the moments and are the visual ooh’s and aah’s elicited by chilled bliss on a humid summer day.

On to the food :

Kurmur, crunchy, fresh, crisp, in bowlfuls, with the drinks.

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Melon with proscuitto and a honey mustard vinaigrette. (The vinaigrette was part of the plan, but it didn’t get made).

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Here’s the recipe anyway – 4 tablespoons of your best olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 20ml runny honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard and a pinch of salt – mixed and stirred and shaken. Got the recipe off the net and the pix were stunning.

A Curly Kale Salad with tomatoes, olives, cubed feta, a minced red onion, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red radishes and Japanese cucumber, sliced mushrooms – and for the kick – fresh betel leaves, minced. The whole lot gently tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. And just a dash of apple cider vinegar. Pomegranate arils. Roasted sunflower seeds, scattered.

A word about the kale. A serendipitous discovery – this was organic, fresh, crunchy and wonderfully green. Home delivered by Ben of Sustenir Agriculture which practices urban farming in Singapore.

Urban farming, thus described : controlled environment agriculture : growing plants without ever exposing them to the outside world, using artificial lighting, exacting specific nutrients and controlling every aspect of the air and water environments … perfecting a plants habitat: giving them exactly what they need, when they need it. Their lack of exposure to the hazards of traditional field farming (insects, temperature changes, cleanliness and purity of water, parasites and inconsistent levels of sunlight) … ergo clean, healthy produce …

Yes, it tasted clean. And healthy. And fresh. And good, considering : kale is the king of healthy leafy greens, a widely regarded super-food that brings more nutrients to the table than any other green on the market. Rich in beta-carotenes, Vitamins K,C, A and calcium, consuming it raw, cooked or juiced will give you boundless energy. With the highest anti-carcinogenic properties of any salad, this is the mighty green that might just save us all!

Arabian Beef Kebabs

These were especially delicious, a new recipe.

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  • 1 kg minced beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 fresh cup coriander leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • big onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves and 4 cardamom, and some cinnamon, blended
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • salt
  • 100g olive oil or butter
  • ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  1. Mix all together well.
  2. Set aside for 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Shape, pan fry.
  4. Garnish with mint and coriander leaves.

Pita wedges tossed with sea salt, olive oil and freshly minced rosemary.

Hummus and Baba Ghanoush.

Roast chicken with chunks of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Smoked salmon with cucumber and soft cheese.

And dessert was Mango Fool with Lime and Toasted Coconut

A puree of Alfonso mangoes (in season), swirled with the zest and juice of half a lemon and Greek yoghurt, chilled, then spooned into ramekins and topped with toasted coconut flakes and sprinkled with black chia seeds. (Couldn’t find passion fruit which was part of the recipe – a drizzle of passion fruit seeds. Substituted with chia).

One did float on the bubbly a bit, which is why my photographs are less than par. Some pix borrowed off the web.

Ambrosia

This quintessential southern American salad (or dessert) was a light and refreshing to end a light and refreshing plated dinner at the peak of Singapore’s hot, humid, steamy summer (having jettisoned the traditional cherries, marshmallows and cream).

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I don’t know where I discovered the recipe years ago, but the slip of paper in my book had excellent scrawled beside it, so obviously it had been tried, tested and had come out tops …

It was fun rediscovering it : sourcing the freshest coconut in the wet market, watching the grim and focused vendor balance the coconut on a tin can, use a small knife in swift, precise, clean strokes to strip the brown pith off, slice through the meat, release the coconut water ; quartering it in two quick movements. (Fresh coconut is an absolute imperative, I gathered, from reading an interesting piece on ambrosia).

Examining a pile of pineapple from Malaysia. Seedless grapes from Chile. Black. Mandarins, tangerines, murcotts from Florida, Pakistan, Australia. Picking and choosing.

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  • 4 oranges, segmented, seeds and pith removed
  • grated zest of 1 orange, and juiced
  • 1 tbsp clear honey or light muscovado sugar
  • small bunch of small seedless grapes, halved
  • 1 small pineapple, cubed
  • chunk of fresh coconut, shaved into thin slices or a handful of fresh grated coconut
  • handful pecan halves
  1. Add honey or sugar to the zest and juice, mix well.
  2. Add grapes and pineapple to the orange segments and juice.
  3. Stir coconut into salad.
  4. Sprinkle with pecans before serving.

Ambrosia is traditionally served as part of the Thanksgiving meal in America. It is a perfect dessert after a rich main course.

Saturday Lunch

When family visits, its food, drink and long conversations well into the afternoon.

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Menu :

  • Bubbly
  • Roast chicken with pumpkin and sweet potatoes
  • Blanched asparagus spears with brussel sprouts and diced prosciutto
  • Greek Salad (a variation)

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The leaves were fresh and crisp, the avocado just right. Added pomegranate arils, cubed feta, sliced button mushrooms and quartered cherry tomatoes. And kalamata olives, black and green. With a dressing of olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of raspberry vinaigrette.

 

Prawn Barley Risotto with Chili Gremolata

Here’s another one, part of the weekly mission to source and try out ‘something new’, something different. This was interesting and the addition of a fresh fig salad both brightened and lightened the density of the risotto.

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  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl barley
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • peeled, medium king prawns
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • arugula
  • 160g labne

Chili Gremolata

  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 fresh long red chili, seeded, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
  1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan on a high heat, cook onion and garlic till soft. Add barley, cook, stirring till coated.
  2. Add stock, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for a half hour, or till the barley is almost tender.
  3. Add prawns, simmer uncovered till the barley is tender, liquid absorbed. Add parmesan and arugula, stir to combine.
  4. Mix the gremolata ingredients in a bowl, serve risotto topped with labne and the gremolata.

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Notes

Didn’t have labne, so gave that a miss.

The gremolata would do well with a dash of salt and the spicier the chili, the better the piquancy and contrast.

Didn’t mix the arugula into the hot barley mixture – didn’t want it wilted or soggy – so a salad, with arugula, served on the side worked better.

And as for the salad, used whatever was on hand – fresh figs, mixed salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, olives, avocado …

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Watermelon Steak Salad

On a visit to Vancouver a few weeks ago, I had a phenomenal Tuna Watermelon Salad at the Fable Kitchen in Kitsilano, with chunks of seared tuna tossed with feta, cucumber, egg, anchovy and guanciale (cured meat from Italy, prepared from pork jowl).

I came across another watermelon salad recipe and it was pretty good. (I can add the seared tuna when I learn how to sear tuna !)

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  • arugula
  • pitted black olives, roughly chopped
  • pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds
  • red onion, finely chopped
  • unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • fresh mint, chopped
  • goat’s cheese
  • pita wedges, to serve
  • a whole watermelon

Dressing

  • a dash of Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • a dash of caster sugar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Mix the ingredients for the dressing, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix arugula, olives, seeds, onion, pistachios and mint, set aside.
  3. With the skin on, cut 2.5 cm slices from the mid section of the watermelon, slice the skin off to make watermelon ‘steaks’, pick out and discard seeds.
  4. Crumble the goat’s cheese, add to the arugula mixture, add dressing, toss.
  5. Place a watermelon steak on each plate, top with arugula mixture, serve with the pita wedges.

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Roasted Pear and Apple Roquefort Salad

This one’s a winner – saw the recipe somewhere and remembered to try it out. Light, and satisfying. Prepare earlier, assemble before serving.

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  • 2 pears and 2 apples, cored, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
  • Olive oil, as required
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • arugula
  • 60g proscuitto, sliced
  • 60 g crushed pistachios
  • 60g Roquefort or other blue cheese, crumbled

Prepare the Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 120g Roquefort or other blue cheese
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • Cracked pepper to taste
  1. Roast the fruit first. Toss the slices with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven till tender. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender/food processor, blend till smooth. Refrigerate. (Extra dressing can be used later as a dip.)
  3. Divide the arugula between 4 plates, stack the rings of roasted fruit in the middle, alternating between apple and pear, arrange proscuitto around the fruit. Drizzle dressing over the salad, sprinkle the pistachios and crumble the blue cheese over it all. Ready to go !

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Spice Options

I can’t see myself making these, but found the idea appealing – freshly ground spice mixes for the occasion !

Found this in a magazine, as I do on the odd occasion I read magazines, usually in waiting rooms …

Caribbean Jerk (makes 2 tablespoons)

Use as a marinade mixed with a little honey and olive oil; brush on poultry before BBQ-ing.

jamaican-jerk-seasoning

 

  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes

Mexican Seasoning (makes 1/4 cup)

Use to flavour burritos, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, chili con carne, empanadas and soups … or sprinkle on corn chips.

picxelMMA

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Brazilian Tempero Baiano (makes 1/4 cup)

Use as a dry rub for meats, in marinades or to flavour soups, braises and seafood.

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  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 tsp crushed chili flakes

Cajun Mix (makes 1/2 cup)

Use as a dry rub or marinade for meats and seafood, or sprinkle on popcorn.

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  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp flaked sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp  ground black pepper

Moroccan ras el hanout (makes 2 tablespoons)

Use in marinades for meat, as a base for tagines and in rice pilafs, couscous or curries.

Ras-El-Hanout

  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp corander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Grind to a fine powder.

Pix off the net, recipes from a magazine, thanks to all.