Tag Archives: Food

Sylvia’s Poached Chicken

With Syl’s recipes, the making is as easy as the reading.

Thanks much.

  • 2 or 3 chicken breasts
  • Garlic paste or ginger-garlic paste
  • whatever herbs you have lying around
  • tiny amount of salt and pepper (just for the flavour)
  • few peppercorns
  • a bay leaf
  • few cloves
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • boiling water, to cover and a bit
  1. Marinate the chicken with garlic, herbs and salt and pepper for as long as you can but one hour is just fine.
  2. Place the chicken, peppercorns, bay leaf and cloves in a frying pan, pour boiling water over and place on a stove. Add the stock powder, let the water come to a boil for a minute.
  3. Turn off the heat, leave the chicken in the pan till the water cools.
  4. Now you have poached chicken that’s not dry. And you can use the cooking liquid as stock or a base for chicken soup.

Pix borrowed off the net, as usual, with thanks.

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.

Elizabeth’s Sardine Curry

David and Elizabeth have been endlessly kind, preparing different kinds of food to entice Mum into eating.

Sardines, suggested David, a curry of sardines, the easiest thing to make. I had not heard of sardine curry, and the next thing I knew was Elizabeth had made and sent across two versions, one spicier than the other. It was delicious. David said this was the standby dish in their home, the last resort almost when one was out of ideas or when guests landed up unexpectedly.

Thank you Elizabeth, for painstakingly writing out the recipe.

It is reproduced below exactly as she wrote it.

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  • I can sardines in Tomato sauce ( bones removed,  retain the sauce)
  • 1 radish (sliced and fry with 1tsp oil on high heat)
  • 1 brinjal cubed
  • 3 to 4 strands long beans cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 potato cubed
  • 1 big onion sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic split into half
  • 1piece ginger and 5 cloves garlic (coarsely pounded)
  • 2 tomatoes quartered
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asaphoetida)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1tsp fish curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
  • lime sized tamarind lump mixed with 3 tbsp water and the liquid extracted
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 green chili de-seeded and split
  • 2 cups water or more if needed
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 sprigs of coriander leaves chopped for garnish

Heat oil in a pan .
Fry the mustard seeds till they sputter, then the fenugreek seeds.
Add the onions, curry leaves, green chili and garlic and fry till the onions are slightly brown.
Add the pounded ginger – garlic and sauté for 1 minute till fragrant.
Add all the curry powders and the sauce from the sardine and saute for 2 min.
Add potato, water and salt to taste.
Once potato is 3/4 cooked, add the vegetables and tomatoes.
When the vegetables are cooked add in the tamarind juice and let it boil for 2 more minutes.
Remove from heat.
Garnish with coriander leaves

NOTE: drumstick /Raw banana also can be added.

Photograph by Elizabeth and David.

Authentic Indian ‘Curry’ Powder

So Mum has moved to Singapore and is being cared for. She has been very unwell and weak, and the mandate is to feed her but she is picky, picky, picky. Mealtimes, and she becomes mutinous, begins arguing, turns her face away, refuses to eat.

Vasu, her helper, has got into the cooking act and she gave me this recipe – a wonder taste enhancer – that goes well with anything, she says, it boosts flavour adding bite and piquancy to any Indian dish, vegetarian or otherwise.

So we tried Mum’s Kerala Fish Curry with cokum and she added a teaspoonful of this powder while it was cooking, and hallelujah, Mum is eating again !

Here is the recipe, with a bottle in reserve !

  • 1/4 kg dry red chilies
  • 1/4 kg coriander seeds (dhaniya)
  • 100g black pepper corns
  • 100 g cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 100g chana dhal (split Bengal gram)
  • 4 tsp hing (asaphoetida)
  • 50g methi seeds (fenugreek)
  • 100g haldi powder (turmeric)

Lightly dry roast (though Vasu says that’s not required) and blend to a fine powder. What she does insist, though, is that it be ground in an industrial grinder, like the ones available in the lanes of Chennai, but that is nigh impossible in Singapore, so the mixie it is !

Pix sourced from the web, and with thanks.

Vasu’s Coconut Chutney

Simple, and whipped up in a flash.

In India, and breakfast is all things South Indian, which means dosas, idlis … and today, adais for breakfast. I watched her deftly prepare the accompaniment, and here is the how.

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  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 pod garlic
  • bit of fresh ginger, one and a half times the size of the garlic pod
  • 4 sprigs coriander leaves, with stem
  • salt
  • 1/4 tsp tamarind

Blend all of the above together into a thick paste.

Tarka : In a teaspoon (or a bit more) of hot oil, sputter jeera seeds, mustard and a few curry leaves and pour over the ground mixture.

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Grilled Fruit with a Palm-sugar-Rum syrup

Came across this recipe, haven’t tried it out but sounds delicious.

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  • 2 bananas, unpeeled, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 slices pineapple, peeled, cored
  • 2 mangoes, unpeeled, sliced to obtain 4 cheeks

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup gula melaka or palm sugar, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp dark rum

Garnish

  • Roasted peanuts
  • Mint leaves
  1. Heat a ridged grill pan, spray lightly with canola oil, heat to smoking.
  2. Place banana halves, cut side down in pan, leave undisturbed till sear marks form. Remove.
  3. Repeat with mango cheeks, followed by the pineapple slices.
  4. Carefully remove skin from grilled bananas and mango cheeks.
  5. Make the syrup by boiling the palm sugar and water, stirring to dissolve all lumps, then adding the rum. Keep aside.
  6. To serve, arrange fruit, drizzle with syrup, garnish with roasted peanuts and a sprig of mint.

Pix off the web, will upload the ‘done’ dish when its made, should be good.

Indonesian Vegetable ‘Urap’

This is an easily repeatable dish – brings a different flavour to the table and the vegetable. Very interesting.

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  • 500g winged beans, washed, sliced crosswise in 0.5 cm pieces
  • 300g cabbage, sliced in 1 cm pieces
  • 3 large red chilies, sliced
  • 4 or 5 bird’s eye chilies, sliced                                                             )
  • 5 to 6 shallots or 1 small purple onion                                            )
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, chopped                                                               ) ground to
  • 50g kencur or galangal, washed, skin removed, chopped      ) a paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar                                                                                                )
  • 1tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 pairs kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 250g freshly grated coconut
  • Salt to taste
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add sliced beans and cook for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon to a colander, rinse under running water to stop the cooking, let the beans drain.
  2. Bring the water back to a boil, drop in sliced cabbage, cook for 4 minutes, drain into a colander, set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add ground spice mixture and kaffir leaves. On medium heat, stir fry for about 5 minutes, don’t let it burn. Add the grated coconut and stir to coat it with the spice mixture, cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt, give the mixture another stir. Remove and discard the kaffir lime leaves.
  4. In a large bowl, lightly toss the winged beans, cabbage  and coconut mixture before serving. Good with rice and other dishes.

Recipe from The Straits Times, pix off the web. Tried it, came out well.

When in Vancouver …

Crackers a la Tenaz – pre-wine, from what’s available in the fridge and garden, and on the table

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Crisp herb crackers, topped with a garlic cheese spread, sprinkled with mixed nuts and chia seeds, then layered with a slather of spicy red pepper jelly (so good, so fresh from the farms and greenhouses of Fraser Valley) and topped with a bright sprig of mint (so green and minty, it has to be the air of British Columbia).

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IMG_5820A lovely end to a gorgeously cold and sunny day.

A light lunch before Golf !

A reprise of an earlier meal, but better each time, and the pictures speak for themselves !!

Grilled Salmon

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Mango & Kiwi Salad

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Herbed Mozarella with Beef tomatoes and Basil

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Mango Sorbet

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Photographs by A Thomas except pix of mango sorbet, borrowed from http://www.babble.com

Rainy Days & Mondays

‘Adda’ – steamed (banana leaf) rice pancakes with coconut and jaggery : in memory of school days, rainy days and Mondays …

Coming home from school on a Mumbai rainy day, having sloshed through all the puddles in our Duckback raincoats and gumboots, you entered the house hoping to get the aroma of something delicious Mum might have prepared to ‘warm us up’.

Mum wasn’t an extravagant cook (I have no idea how she managed the budget to clothe, feed and school all six of us) but she was a heart and soul cook. I say ‘was’ – she doesn’t cook anymore at 93.

As you entered the house to the usual tirade … take off your wet clothes, I’ve told you time and time again not to walk through puddles, you’ll get sick, and besides it’s dangerous, didn’t you read about the child you fell into a manhole and drowned, I don’t know when you will learn … you would sniff the air enquiringly : was it bhajjias ? Fluffy onion and carrot were my favourite.

Was it sheera ? Mum’s version was not as sticky and ghee laden, but more like a sweet upma – not my favourite, but a staple nonetheless. Was it bread wada (excitement mounting) ? The deep fried old bread foldovers with potato stuffing that our neighbour Aunty Nair introduced us to, and were to die for.

Hopes are pinned on the delectable Mallu concoction Avval Vallaicha : beaten rice flakes, roasted to a light crisp, along with grated coconut, jaggery and a hint of cardamom … but more likely it will be sukhiyan – boiled moong with a grated coconut and jaggery mixture deep fried with a batter coating (probably more nutritious but more boring).

Whatever it was it was gobbled up with delight along with a cup of milky tea and the hope of seconds, usually thwarted by the standard instruction leave some for the others.

Damn!

‘Adda’ – steamed (banana leaves) brown rice pancakes with a coconut and jaggery filling

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  • 1 cup brown rice flour {puttu podi)
  • Boiling water to mix
  • Banana leaves washed and prepared by running them over a hot flame, and cut into 8″ lengths without the rib.
  • 1/2 a grated coconut
  • 1 cup grated or powdered jaggery
  • a pinch of cardamom powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of cinnamon powder (optional)
  1. Mix the grated coconut and the jaggery and keep aside.
  2. Place the rice flour in a mixing bowl. Add boiling water to the powder a bit at a time to make a pliable dough. Its important that the water is very hot – you can use a wooden spoon to mix, but traditionally it is done by hand.
  3. Once the dough is ready, place a large lemon-sized ball directly onto the banana leaf and tap the dough, with your fingers, to spread it into a slightly elongated circle. A small bowl of water to dip your fingers into is handy to help spread  the dough  evenly on the leaf.
  4. Place a generous spoonful of the jaggery and grated coconut mixture into the centre of the flattened dough, staying away from the edges as they will have to be sealed.

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5. Fold the leaf over and use your fingers to pat the edges of the dough, gently sealing each parcel.

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6. You will now have a your banana leaf parcel ready for steaming. Prepare the remainder of the dough and mixture similarly.

7. In a large steamer, line the parcels upright with open edge facing the top (to avoid water seeping into the parcel). Close steamer and steam for about 10 minutes.

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8. Allow to cool slightly before removing the parcels onto a plate to serve. The leaf peels away easily to leave the brown rice pancake or adda ready to eat.

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A Cleansing Crunch of a Salad

Beetroot, Carrot, Sprouted Mung Bean and Mint Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

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Some days you just feel your palate need a cleansing crunch and this salad is perfect for it. I just happened to have the ingredients on hand and hoped it would work – and it did.

  • I medium sized beetroot cut in thin strips – as close to julienne as you can be bothered with
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1/2 cup sprouted mung beans
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves torn up a bit

Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 1 tsp Dijon style mustard
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 generous tsp olive oil
  • a squeeze of lime
  1. Lightly cook the beetroot in a small saucepan with a little water. You want to retain the crunch. Cool. (The beetroot can be left uncooked as well, depending on your preference. You may choose to grate the beetroot so it’s quite fine and doesn’t require cooking).
  2. Mix all the salad vegetables together in a bowl.
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients together.
  4. Combine the two.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste … and it’s ready.

Bon Appetit

This is to kick off the memories : Paris 2009 with friends : a holiday of the senses, an effervescence of food, an exploration of haute cuisine, gastro-tourism, Michelin stars, Michelin guides and just plain ordinary eating.

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The compact, businesslike (soon to be rated Michelin discovery) Le Gaigne in the Marais quarter (third arrondissement) makes a persuasive case to the purse; it is a reason to dress up for some fine dining, and best of all, is just around the corner. Preceded by the ritual of trying on outfits, shared make-up and compliments, the five course Le Menu Dégustation, each paired with a wine and exquisitely served on slabs of black slate, is both delightful and a trifle disappointing. The seafood starter in a shot glass – Verrine de Coquillages en gelée, mousse et coulis de Céléris – is not unpleasant and deserves mention if only for the layered, pureed, spinach; and the braised endives with ham or Millefeuilles d’Endives étuvées et véritable jambon de Paris de M. Leguel, is an out and out winner, a mélange of the sweet, the sour and the piquant.

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The closely packed tables are enveloped in a buzz of conversation, rising and falling in a miscellany of accents. The food is local, organic and fresh, and if organic is unavailable, ‘alternatively produced’ replacements are substituted, where possible. Chef Mikael Gaignon is young and known, having worked in two Pierre Gagnaire restaurants and this, Le Gaigne, is his first restaurant as patron. Given the prices are not Michelin star prices, it certainly offers value for money – and the wines are superbly matched.

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Ladurée (75 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Tel : 01.40.75.08.75), opened as a tea room in the 1930’s  at a time when women were not allowed to enter cafés (an exclusive domain of men) and soon became hugely successful with the ladies of Paris. Today, a brand unto itself, it is famous worldwide for its pastries and double-decker macaroons (of which 15,000 are sold everyday according to their website). These legendary macaroons featured in a scene between Marie-Antoinette and Ambassador Mercy in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.

Originally founded in 1862 as a bakery, it was burnt down in the Paris Commune uprising of 1871 and rebuilt as a pastry shop. It came into its own in 1930 when Desfontaines, the grandson, came up with the idea of sticking two macaroon shells together with creamy ganache (a whipped filling of chocolate and cream), reinventing the macaroon originally introduced by Catherine de’ Medici to France in the 16th century.

The celadon interiors and the waiting in line is an experience in itself, almost like being caught in a boudoir web within a time warp. Brunch has a very ‘ladies who lunch’ feel to it, made inelegant by recalcitrant swiveling seats which make it hard to look graceful, much less balance a china cup of tea delicately. Depending on your taste, the macaroon is either a fantastic melt-in-your-mouth experience, or not quite all that it is cracked up to be.

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Ladurée macaroon boxes are available from their counter at the Charles de Gaulle airport (should you want to take some home) and it is recommended that the macaroons be eaten within three to four days.

Le Trumilou (84 Quai de L’Hotel de Ville, Tel : 01.42.77.63.98,) will be remembered for a perfect meal on a sunny autumn day, a Sunday lunch of escargots lusciously awash in butter and garlic, chilled Sancerre, foaming Leffe, canard pruneaux (duck with prunes), ris veau (veal sweetbread), oeuf a la neige (floating islands) and tarte aux pommes, apple tarts, warm and melting.

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dsc07351It will be remembered as a quintessential French bistrot experience; traditional farm fare and dishes lovingly cooked for hours … and warm sidewalk café crèmes served in the sun, fueling hours of insouciant banter; and your table’s giddy, infectious good humor snags the attention of the man at the adjacent table (ostensibly reading a French translation of Dan Brown’s latest offering) … all this, followed by a siesta on the banks of the Seine on a sunny afternoon.

Le Baiser Salé aka The Salty Kiss (58 Rue des Lombards, Tel : 01.42. 33. 37. 71) is for the nights, for the atmosphere and the perfect evening of jazz, (no fancy wannabe jazz bar in an upstart slick street); this is cellar and decrepit loft, knee to knee in appreciation with other music lovers. A jazz festival is on, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino, salsa, merengue, R & B, fusion … and tonight is mellifluous and the mojitos, margaritas and 1664’s enhance the sweetly evocative articulations of sax and bass guitar.

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For a quick dinner before the show, or between shows, nip across to La P’tit Cantine (22 Rue des Lombardes, Tel : 01.42. 71. 44. 48) for a decent meal of meat and wine.

Le Connétable (55 Rue des Archives, Tel : 01.42. 77. 41. 40) is a chance encounter turned good. The bread is fresh and crusty, the Côtes du Rhône deeply red and invigorating, and the conversation is about men. Pork filet mignons in a Roquefort sauce, veal medallions, rump steaks in (green pepper) saus poivre vert, celery puréed with butter and cream … unpretentious food and robust wine.

Known for its local artists and chanson music (a la Edith Piaf); tonight, in the cellar-cave below, three painfully young men sing French a cappella, gentle croons, warbles and a harmony that has the young audience rapt. Berets are doffed; a battered saucepan is passed around for coins.

Angelina (226 Rue de Rivoli, Tel : 01. 42. 60. 82. 00) is the renowned Parisian gourmet teahouse in the elegant style of the Belle Époque era, designed by the French architect Edouard-Jean Niermans. An institution since its inception, it is known both for its clientele (aristocracy, fashion designers, authors, philosophers et al) as for its Mont Blanc gateau and hot chocolate (closely guarded century old proprietary recipes). The famous Mont Blanc – as well as most of their gateaux – have all been consumed by the end of the day, so if the intent is to eat, get there before teatime. The queues are long and so is the waiting time. The house special, the African Hot Chocolate, is worth every second of the patient wait and the sorbets are richly satisfying, beyond any imagination.

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Restaurant Le 404 (69 Rue des Gravilliers, Tel : 01.44.71.57.81) Le 404 restaurant … exhibits all the vibrant flavours and colours of North Africa. Retrofitted into a 16th century building, 404’s interior is all Berber with pouf seating, exposed beams and stones, tooled leather, authentic artifacts. … The menu features all the dishes … from that part of the world: couscous, tagines, grilled meats, skewered things. The wine list features some unusual Mahgrebi bottles … Grab a drink at Andy Wahloo’s, the sibling bar next door – everybody does, and ‘everybody’ includes show-biz and celebrities.

The evening is an sensory extravaganza; the warm glow of Moroccan lanterns, suspended, lamps and candles holders of iron fretwork dispersing flickering light on dishes heaped with Middle Eastern fare, meat, pigeon, chicken, semolina, pickled lemons, nuts, dates, figs, raisins; the fragrance of spices – cumin, coriander, saffron, chiles, ginger, cinnamon, paprika; a décor of earthen hues, the murmur of conversation, the hiss and sizzle from the stove, the pop of a champagne cork … epicurean hedonism.

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Our last dinner in Paris, Le 404 remains burnished in the memory as a golden experience, beginning with the first mojito, redolent with fresh mint. Chilled Chablis follows with fava beans & olives, Mechoui Maison (roasted shoulder of lamb), pastilla pigeon plat (wild pigeon in pastry), tagine poulet citron (chicken with preserved lemon and olives) and the couscous 7 legumes. And to end a meal of meals, salade d’oranges et fleur d’ orange and pastilla dattes (pastry with dates) accompanied by fresh, aromatic coffee.

Le Pain Quotidien, 18-20, Rue de Archives, Tel :  1 44 54 03 07, is a quiet delight, part of a global chain that first opened in Brussels in 1990. Bakery and communal table; breakfast, lunch, brunch (organic where possible, with vegan and vegetarian options) and simple boulangerie fare – soups, salads, tartines, homemade pastries, handmade organic bread – artisanal dishes, community eating at a long wooden trestle table.

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No gastronomic journey is complete without a nod to junk food and the Googrill beef and chicken burgers at Quality Hamburger Restaurant (63 Boulevard Saint Michel, Tel : 01.42. 71. 44. 48) … ils sont délicieux, elles sont parfaits.

Bon appétit, says the garçon, placing the bottle of Sancerre on the table, gently.

And so we do, meal after meal after glorious meal.

Jen’s Raw Papaya ‘Subzi’ with Mustard

don’t ask for proportions … the regular, like we do our indian sabjis, but it has to be mustard-y … so the ground mustard paste … be generous !
its quite delicious

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  • raw papaya, cut in thin, small slices
  • urud dal (urud dal explained)
  • hing (asephoetida)
  • mustard seeds
  • green chilis, slit (de-seeded if you want less fire in the dish)
  • 1 dried red chili
  • a bit of water
  • salt
  • ground mustard seeds or the kasundi mustard sauce
  • chopped coriander
  • juliennes of fresh ginger, for garnish
  1. add the urud dal and hing to hot oil
  2. then add mustard seeds, slit green chili and 1 dried red chili
  3. when it stops sputtering, add the papaya and a little water and salt and cook till the water dries up/papaya is cooked(it should retain its bite, not become pulpy)
  4. now add the ground mustard seeds OR prepared mustard (kasundi) and chopped coriander

Best hot, with steaming, freshly cooked white rice.Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 5.19.33 pm

Notes :

Mustard powder : do you just grind the seeds or do you soak them first and grind with green chili and salt to a paste ?

soak it, not too long and grind it with or with the chili and salt for a one time use. i guess if you want to store it, then some vinegar and salt makes sense. ask a bengali … they do a fresh grind very often … i am not the expert.

Grinding a fresh green chili with soaked mustard takes some of the bitterness away – from my Bengali sister in law.

Pantry Checklists : Veg and Vegan

This one I stumbled upon, from link to link to link,  a useful checklist, if you need one. Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 6.16.50 pm

V e g e t a r i a n  &  V e g a n  P a n t r y  C h e c k l i s t

Grains & Seeds

Brown Rice High in fibre and low GI, and rich in selenium which reduces risk of cancer and heart disease.

Regular Rolled Oats Lowers bad cholesterol, helps lower blood pressure, is filling and stabilises blood sugar.

Buckwheat groats A great budget friendly pantry staple. Soak overnight with your favourite dairy free milk and turn it into a healthy bircher muesli for breakfast the next morning. Toasted buckwheat is fantastic sprinkled over salads too. Buckwheat is gluten free and higher in protein than rice, millet and corn.

Polenta A slow releasing carb with low GI, it contains a good range of vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, vitamin A and zinc. Firm polenta is a great gluten free base for a range of toppings (such as caramelised onions and mushroom) and also makes fantastic chips.

Black Rice High in antioxidants. So high in fact that a spoonful of black rice contains more antioxidants than the same serve of blueberries. Use in place of white rice, for sushi and even burgers.

Sunflower seeds Toasted sunflower sprinkled over salads add a lovely crunch and are also high in vitamin E and contain compounds that can assist in lowering cholesterol.

Quinoa – White, Red or Black A complete protein – important for vegetarians and vegans. High in fibre and iron. Great in a variety of uses from salads, burgers … can even be used as a rice replacement in risottos.

Millet  Millet is a great gluten free, easily digestible grain, high in iron, protein and fibre. It is also quite cheap too (much cheaper than quinoa). Great in salads and  makes a mean veggie burger too.

Pumpkin Seeds Sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds in salads. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids and are high in zinc.

Barley Can be used in a variety of ways from salads, as a rice replacement in risottos and in soups. Nutritious and high in fibre, can assist in lowering cholesterol and is apparently helpful for postmenopausal women.

Sesame Seeds Toasted sesame seeds are a great addition to salads and stir fries. They are also a great source of calcium, protein, and iron. Sesame seeds are also a wonderful source of copper which is beneficial for anyone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Chia Seeds Chia Seeds are a great high quality protein, they are also high in fibre and antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. They are also a wonderful egg replacement for vegan bakers!

Beans & Lentils

Chickpeas High in fibre : 2 cups of chickpeas are all that is required each day to meet your daily fibre requirements. Chickpeas are also iron rich and filling. Use in salads, stir fries, and of course chickpeas are the basis of everyone’s favourite dip – hummus.

Black Beans High in fibre, antioxidants and protein, black beans are an extremely rich source of the trace mineral molybdenum. Molybdenum assists with breaking down and detoxifying sulfites found in foods like salads and wines.

Kidney Beans Fantastic in stews, high in vitamin K which is good for the brain and nervous system. And like all beans are high in fibre.

Lentils High in protein and fibre. Use in salads and soups.

Cannelloni beans A wonderfully creamy bean, cannelloni beans are low GI, high in fibre and antioxidants and at home in everything from salads, stews to soups.

Nuts

Almonds Use to make your own dairy free milk. Toasted flaked almonds are also a great addition to salads.

Cashews Great roasted and added to granola.

Pistachios Pistachios are high in B6, which is wonderful for the nervous system. Pistachios also contain two carotenoids, called lutein and zeaxanthin, which are not found in most nuts and function as protective antioxidants, defending tissues from damage from free radicals.

Hazelnuts Hazelnuts are incredibly high in folate and are packed with B vitamins. They are wonderful, toasted, sprinkled over salads.

Flours

Chickpea (Besan) flour Makes a fantastic gluten free flour, great for a whole variety of uses from crepes, crackers and even pasta.

Almond meal (or almond flour) makes the most fantastic gluten free cakes.

Wholemeal Flour Wholemeal (also called whole wheat) flour is a great, healthier replacement for regular white flour. It has a slightly nuttier flavour and is denser than regular white flour.

Sweeteners

Honey Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Used by the ancient Egyptians for medicinal purposes. Also good for sore throats.

Brown Rice Syrup Has a low GI of 25 compared to the 64 of regular white sugar. Brown rice syrup is made from fermented brown rice which breaks down the starch in the grains, then the liquid is removed and heated until it reaches a syrup-like consistency.

Pure Maple Syrup A fantastic alternative to sugar. Containing over 54 antioxidants, maple syrup also features high levels of zinc and manganese – wonderful for the heart and boosting the immune system.

Oils

Olive oil  Reserve extra virgin olive oil for dressings and finishing off a dish. Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which mimics the effect of ibuprofen in reducing inflammation.

Coconut Oil  Has a high heat point, so can be used in stir fries or for frying. Also anti fungal, antibacterial and antiviral. Said to be great for bloating!

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar An old remedy to help improve digestion, it is also said to help lower glucose levels.

Condiments

Balsamic Vinegar Originating in Italy, Balsamic vinegar is a wonderfully thick syrupy vinegar that is a wonderful antioxidant. It was also an ancient remedy for headaches!

Soy sauce Wonderful in stir fries, soy also adds a fantastic depth of flavour in a range of vegetarian dishes. Try adding a little soy next time in place of salt and taste the difference!

White Miso Great for soups and in salad dressings or marinades. Miso contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein and also restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.

Tahini Wonderfully high in calcium- perfect if you are on a dairy free diet. Also rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron.

Canned Goods

Tomatoes Tinned tomatoes are wonderful in stews and soups,  also handy for quick pasta sauces.

Coconut Milk Place a tin in the refrigerator overnight and scoop out the thick cream on top and use as a dairy free cream. Coconut milk is also wonderful in curries and soups.

From Delicious Everyday – a vegetarian food blog with a collection of vegetarian recipes for everyday life. The recipes focus on fresh seasonal ingredients and celebrate fresh, healthy whole foods.

Nasi Tumpeng : A Birthday Celebration

A birthday and a surprise : Nasi Tumpeng.

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A birthday gift (and surprise from Veronica), a celebratory dinner. Nasi Tumpeng, the elaborate rice dish from Indonesia, painstakingly made with love.

The rice – uduk rice tinged yellow with turmeric – is moulded by a cone-shaped woven bamboo container and occupies center stage on a tampah or round woven bamboo plate layered with a banana leaf. An assortment of Indonesian dishes form the base.

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Tonight, it is quail eggs, urap or vegetables (sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes), meat kebabs wrapped in seaweed strips, telur pindang or  boiled marble eggs, ayam goreng or fried chicken, a spicy sambal, chicken fritters or perkedel, sliced boiled eggs.

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And on the side, a gravy of diced potatoes, snow peas and tofu.

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According to Wiki, there is a philosophical meaning to every part of a traditional tumpeng. Folklore in Java and Bali draw parallels between the cone-shaped tumpeng (a mystic symbol of life) and ecosystems. The various side dishes and vegetables represent life and harmony in nature. The height of the cone symbolizes the greatness of Allah, and the food at the base of the cone symbolizes nature’s abundance. The yellow tinge in the rice symbolizes wealth and high morals.

The authentic tumpeng should contain at least one animal meat to represent a land animal, fish to represent sea creatures and egg to represent winged beasts. Vegetables represent food provided by the plant kingdom.

Whenever there is a reason to give thanks – a wedding, birthday, anniversary or new year – the tumpeng is the dish, with the rice representing gold and the many dishes surrounding it indicating a bounty of food and luck.

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And so the birthday was celebrated, with love and gratitude.

Thank you Veron. It was delicious and it was deeply appreciated.

 

Trying out gluten free cereals …

Gluten free small batch toasted organic rice flakes, walnuts, flax seeds and palm sugar shavings. Would you buy ?

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I don’t eat cereal … but if I did, I would.

I certainly would. How does it taste ? Been eating the muesli every day. Enjoying it, especially with virgin coconut oil, no milk.

It tastes great. Coconut oil ? Interesting. Doesn’t it taste oily ?

Yes, doesn’t sound too exciting !

Not oily in the least. Virgin coconut oil – very light. Getting to like it more and more.

Breakfast Muesli : Recipe for Syl

Is the one you are referring to ?

‘… which I had it at your place a 100 years ago …’

dried-apricots How-to-Make-Flax-Powder th blueberries Granola-Pumpkin-NEW coconut oil

Muesli

  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, chopped
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup wheat flakes
  • 1 cup barley flakes
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • 2 cups dried apple slices, halved
  • 1/3 cup dessicated coconut (optional)

Mix all together, store in an airtight container.

IMG_4934 (2)Some additions : when serving, add a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil, powdered flaxseeds, a few almonds, some fresh blueberries, a tablespoon of pomegranate arils, chopped banana (if you like) and a handful of those millet flakes that are so crisp and crunchy.

Pix from the net.

Recipes Exchanged, Chez Rosalyn Mary, Coonoor

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Jen’s To-die-for Meat Loaf

  • Beef or veal, mince
  • Spicy sausages – one, contents removed from skin
  • Bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
  • Onion, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • Herbs – rosemary, thyme, parsley
  • Mustard sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp marmalade
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • Cream
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Fry the bacon, and in the remaining oil, saute the onion, celery, herbs and red pepper. Cool.
  2. Mix in sausage contents, meat, bacon. Add mustard, vinegar, marmalade, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, cream, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
  3. Shape into a loaf pan, bake for 30 to 40 minutes till a skewer inserted into the meatloaf comes out clean.

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Kannan’s Bitter Gourd

  • Bitter gourd, sliced thin
  • A mix of salt, turmeric or haldi, coriander or dhaniya and cumin or jeera powders
  • 1 big onion, sliced very thin
  • Freshly grated coconut
  • A splash of lemon juice
  • Fresh coriander, chopped

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  1. Mix the sliced bitter gourd with the mixed powders, keep aside for a half hour.
  2. Pan fry till almost crisp (or to the done-ness you prefer).
  3. Toss with the sliced onion and grated coconut.
  4. Stir in a dash of the lemon juice and garnish with coriander.

Veronica’s Roast Chicken with Egyptian Preserved Lemon

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  • 1 whole chicken, cleaned
  • Salt, pepper
  • A bit of chicken stock, made with a 1/4 cube (optional)
  • Some of the syrup from the preserved limes
  • 1 preserved lemon, 3/4 of which sliced very thin
  • Remaining quarter of lemon diced fine
  1. Mix salt, pepper, chicken stock and syrup from the preserved lemon, drizzle over chicken and use it for basting.
  2. Insert sliced lemon inside the chicken.
  3. Stuff the diced lemon mixed with some salt and pepper, under the skin of the chicken.
  4. Cover and rest for a half hour.
  5. Uncover and roast till the skin is crisp.

* The preserved lemons can be pretty sour, so adjust according to taste and preference.

Picture of the lemons borrowed from http://thenewdaily.com.au/life/2014/08/04/pickled-lemons-with-safflower-recipe/

 

A page from Marc Perry’s BuiltLean website

Came across this while googling images … very informative (and reassuring … we are doing it right !!!)

Marc is the creator of the BuiltLean Program and Editor-in-Chief and Producer of the BuiltLean blog and videos. A fast rising fitness star, Marc has appeared on NY1, NBC and various print and online media including Men’s Fitness, Self, BusinessWeek, and BusinessInsider. A former Wall Street Finance Analyst who gained over 30 pounds from a sedentary lifestyle, Marc’s mission is to develop efficient, sustainable approaches to getting lean and fit and help educate and inspire others to improve their health. Marc earned his B.A. from Yale University and holds numerous exercise certifications.

Many readers have been asking about foods that they can incorporate into their daily diet that can help promote fat loss and create a feeling of fullness. Well you asked for it, now I am delivering!

In my opinion, the best fat loss foods are not just “healthy”, but must pass the following checklist:

(1) Not calorie dense (I have one exception)
(2) Help fill you up
(3) Create only a small release of insulin
(4) Easy to procure/prepare

So let’s get started…

Fat Loss Food #1: Egg Whites

egg white fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

This is a favorite of many natural body builders and fitness models because it’s 100% pure protein, containing 4 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs and fat, and only 16 total calories. Want 10 egg whites for breakfast? Sure why not, it’s only 160 calories and will fill you up. An egg white omelet with some veggies and low fat cheese makes for a great breakfast, while a few egg whites from a hardboiled egg can make for a great snack any time (add some high fiber fruit, like an apple, or blueberries for extra bonus points).

Fat Loss Food #2: Low Fat Yogurt

yogurt fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Low fat yogurt is a great way to get a compete protein source, a lot of calcium, and a nice tart flavor to help satisfy your cravings. There are a variety of yogurts, but I would go for those that are not too high in added sugars. For example, it’s better to get plain yogurt and add in the fruit yourself. You should also consider non-fat Greek yogurt, which contains a solid 22 grams of protein in only a 1 cup serving and a mere 120 calories.

Some studies have found that eating yogurt can help in fat loss. It may be due to the fact that calcium reduces a fat cells’ ability to store fat. Or, it may be due to the branched chain amino acids present in dairy products. Either way, low fat, or non fat yogurt deserves to be part of the Top 10 Fat Loss Foods.

Fat Loss Food #3: Low-Sodium Turkey

turkey fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Turkey without the skin is among the lowest fat meats available on the market. You also don’t have to worry about cholesterol, because it has none. To cap it off, it’s also pretty easy to eat on the go. Want to eat 8 ounces of turkey breast? Why not, it’s only about 240 calories and packs a protein punch. I recommend removing the skin, which is all fat, but if you have the skin, just eat in moderation.

Fat Loss Food #4: Apple

apple fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

This is a favorite of mine, because it’s easy to carry around and eat on the go, but it’s also very nutritious and high in fiber, so it helps fill you up. An apple contains 24 grams of carbs, 3 of them being from fiber, and around 80 calories in a medium sized apple. I personally like the taste of green apples the most, but the various types of apples don’t make much of a difference in terms of calorie content.

I do, however, suggest you try to get organic apples when you can. I can’t handle tasting chemicals in the skins of apples that are not organic anymore. Blueberries came very close to making it on to the list because they are so high in fiber and antioxidants, but I think an apple is just easier to eat on the go.

Fat Loss Food #5: Lettuce

lettuce fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

While lettuce is not that high in fiber, it requires more calories for your digestive system to digest than the lettuce contains. Pretty cool, huh? This is known as a negative calorie balance.

The main reason lettuce made this list is that you can put as much lettuce as you want in a big bowl, fill it up with veggies, lean meats, maybe some beans for some starch, and you’re good to go. The other great quality of lettuce is that it takes a long time to eat, which is a good thing. It takes up to 20 minutes for our brains to sense that we are full. Ideally, the darker green the lettuce, the more antioxidants and the more nutritious.

Fat Loss Food #6: Low-Sodium Chicken/Vegetable Soup

soup fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Similar to lettuce, drinking soup at a meal can slow you down, which helps your brain register that you are full. It also helps fill you up and is very low in calories because most broth based soups are low in fat, assuming they haven’t been doused in oil.

Like lettuce, you can throw in a lot of veggies and lean meats to make it more nutritious and filling. Healthy Valley has some pretty good low sodium soups, just be careful because some soups have outrageous amounts of sodium, like over 900mg of sodium per 1 cup serving, which is 40% of the suggested daily intake of 2300mg.

Just be careful if you order soups at a restaurant they don’t have any cream added.

Fat Loss Food #7: Almonds

While very calorically dense, almonds snuck onto the list because healthy fats are great in moderation, and almonds are among the best healthy fats. An almond is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree and is a great source of vitamin E and manganese. While almonds are not a “complete” protein source, a quarter cup of almonds offers solid 6 grams of protein.

almonds fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Some weight loss studies have shown that the calories from nuts like almonds don’t seem to add weight as compared to other foods with the same amount of calories. The theory is that our bodies do not absorb calories from nuts very efficiently.

Either way, be careful not to munch on almonds all day long, because calories can add up fast. Only a quarter cup of almonds contains 140 calories and 15 grams of fat, which means one cup is a solid 560 calories and 60 grams of fat! A handful (about a quarter cup), on the other hand, makes for a great snack.

Fat Loss Food #8: Oatmeal

oatmeal fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

I love oatmeal because it’s filling, but doesn’t provide many calories. My favorite oatmeal is Kashi Go Lean vanilla, which only has 160 calories per serving, but you’ll be amazed at how much it fills you up because it has 6 grams of fiber. For you hardcore types, McCann’s Steel Oats and Traditional Quaker Oats have almost no sugar, but provide natural carbohydrates that will help fuel your workouts, without spiking your insulin levels. One more thing, if eating enough protein at breakfast is a problem area for you, then consider mixing in some whey protein, use skim milk instead of water, or a cup of egg whites.

Fat Loss Food #9: Low-Sodium Tuna

tuna fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

There’s a joke that many natural bodybuilders smell like tuna fish, because they are always eating cans of tuna all day long. The tuna you get at the Deli that’s filled with mayo does NOT count. In fact, mayo is a fat loss disaster, because it’s so calorically dense. I chose tuna because it’s easy to carry around for a high protein snack on the go. Of course, a tuna steak, and most fish for the matter are great sources of protein and healthy fats as well.

Fat Loss Food #10 Broccoli

I never used to eat broccoli as a kid, but fortunately I started eating broccoli after college and I developed a taste for it (as long as it’s steamed, I can’t stand raw broccoli!). Feel free to add it to your salads, or as a side with your lean meat, but you can’t go wrong with broccoli. Well, actually, let me clarify that.

broccoli fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

If you smother it with sodium/sugar filled teriyaki sauce and stir fry it, broccoli can lose its appeal. Sautéed broccoli is still a heck of a lot healthier than French fries, but steamed is ideal. In general, vegetables are phenomenal fat loss foods and more veggies could have easily made it on this fat loss list.

As you probably started to notice, you can mix and match these 10 fat loss foods to create a number of different healthy, low calorie, nutritious snacks and meals to help you reach your fitness goals.

A Light Grilled Fish

The programme calls for 200g of any fish, and one of the gang shared her recipe, with her trademark throw-it-together-depending-on-what’s-in-the-refrigerator.
  • Douse 200gms of Basa (fish) fillet in a coriander, lemongrass and shallot paste moistened with Meyer lemon (off my tree) juice, and a skimpy dribble of olive oil.
  • Grill.

I could have another 200gms!

From a newspaper : This Chinese fruit has age-shrouded origins but experts judge it to be a Mandarin-lemon hybrid. With dark yellow skin and flesh when ripe, it is tart but sweeter than a regular lemon, with an orange blossom note to its aroma. These are lemons with added complexity.