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Archive for February, 2013

Recently I took out my Ipod which I’ve not used in a long, long time.


I apologized for ignoring it and then charged it. I think there were no hard feelings, because I was immediately rewarded with a bunch of crazily nostalgic, deliciously dreamy tunes.


They took me back.


I remembered my mother singing and dancing to MJ’s – The way you make me feel, and my brother and I jumping around with her.


I remembered slow dancing with an old boyfriend to Red red wine and thinking this is what love is. (Hilarious it seems now :P)


I remembered rewinding Quit playing games a hundred times on my walkman, feeling like the song was written for me. (I know. SO embarrassing.)


I remembered discussing what the sign in Ace of Base’s I saw the sign was with my best friend. (I still don’t know. What was the sign?)


I remembered singing I want to hold your hand with my band in school and feeling like we were the coolest singers in town.


Music brings back so many memories. And when you remember old things, they’re all coloured with the mist of nostalgic happiness. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy πŸ™‚


To go with all the happy memories, I needed a bowl full of comfort food.


I checked my fridge and saw I had broccoli and sausages. That is how this yummy stir fry was born.


Broccoli sausage stir fry 1


It has all kinds of textures and flavours going on.
Crispy broccoli, crunchy almonds, plump sausage bits, the sour hit of fish sauce, and yummy garlic that I could eat in everything.


Broccoli sausage stir fry 2


And it’s healthy too.


Want a bite? πŸ™‚


Broccoli sausage stir fry 4


Broccoli, sausage, and almond stir fry bowl


Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Serves: 2


Ingredients:


1 head of broccoli
2 tsp olive oil
8 medium chicken sausages
1 onion, roughly chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, chopped
a handful of almonds
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp dark soy
salt and pepper to taste


Method:


Broccoli sausage stir fry 3


1. Chop the broccoli into florets and blanch. Set aside.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a wok or deep pan and fry the sausages for a few minutes, until cooked. Remove, cool, chop into pieces (on the diagonal) and set aside.
3. In the same wok, add the remaining oil, and fry the onion and garlic till light brown and fragrant. Add the broccoli, sausage, and almonds. Stir well.
4. Mix up the fish sauce, vinegar, honey, and soy in a small bowl. Add this sauce to the wok and mix everything together. Add salt and pepper to taste, and transfer to 2 big bowls. Eat hot.


Listen to an old song you loved while you eat this. Savour the last whiff of winter and some wonderful memories πŸ™‚


Do you have a favourite old song? Tell me about it πŸ™‚


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Last week a group of us from the CAL Bloggers Table met up to taste yet another new cuisine we hadn’t encountered before.


It was a Cypriot food festival at the Eros Hotel, managed by Hilton.


There was a nip in the air, but no one was complaining because it was winter saying goodbye.


We started with drinks, salty, marinated olives, and crackers with a creamy yogurt dip.


Olives


There were some really cute appetizers going around. Take a look at these.


Canapes


Balanced well, with an interesting mix of textures and flavours, they disappeared into my belly pretty quickly.


I loved this lentil and cuttle-fish shot.


Lentils and cuttle fish


Soon we moved inside for a full Cypriot feast.


Cypriot food involves the use of many spices, fresh herbs, and fruit.


Some of the traditional Cypriot dishes we tried included Pork Afelia (Pork braised in red wine with crushed coriander seeds), Beef Tavvas (Oven cooked beef and potato with cumin, onion, and tomatoes), and Kotopoulo Me Fasolati (Chicken cooked with green beans and tomatoes).


I loved the live counters where marinated prawns, chicken, and pork were being grilled.


This salad was the definition of fresh.


Fresh salad


Here’s a look at my plate.


My plate


I also tried some of the famous Halloumi cheese from the region, and this pickled octopus.


Octopus anyone?


The desserts were largely made with phyllo pastry, and some like Rizogalo (Rice cooked in milk and cinnamon) and Daktyla (Pastry fingers filled with almond and cinnamon in sugar syrup) tasted very familiar – almost like our Indian desserts.


Assorted desserts


It was a fun evening, experiencing a brand new cuisine, with these lovely people.


bloggers


If you want to try it, the β€˜Gastronomic Journey to Cyprus’ is on at Blooms, Eros Hotel managed by Hilton, Nehru Place from February 13 – 24, 2013, for lunch (12pm – 3pm) and dinner (7pm – 11pm) daily.


Read what the others had to say:


Sid from Chef at Large
Sangeeta from Banaras ka khana
Mukta from Bake-a-Mania


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This is my 100th post.


That means I have sat down in front of a computer exactly 100 times, writing and sharing my recipes and life with you all.


This post is a big, big thank you to all of you for reading, and commenting, and chatting, and being so encouraging. I love you guys!


Now when I asked everyone what they want my 100th post to be about, most said a decadent recipe, others said an embarrassing story, and still others said a top ten list of something fun.


A 100th post is a pretty big deal right? So what do you say we do ALL 3! And I’ll throw in a giveaway for good measure! πŸ˜€ yay!


First up, since we’ve just had Valentine’s Day and all that, I present my romance-themed top ten list.


Here’s my top ten list on How to be irresistible to women. (Since I’m a woman, clearly, I am an authority on this subject. Men I hope you’re reading πŸ˜› )


1. Cook us a meal. Even if it’s just once in a while. Men who cook are sexy.
2. Be clean. Like not just fancy clothes, but the parts you think no one notices, like your toes and behind your ears.
3. There is no such thing as too much cologne. There is however, a thing as too little.
4. We may pretend we don’t care about things like flowers and chivalry and little surprises, but we secretly do. So be a gentleman.
5. Be good at something. Writing, dancing, being funny, mountain biking. Anything. But definitely something.
6. Love animals. Especially puppies. Don’t cringe when they lick your face and give you kisses. Smile instead.
7. Be an excellent hug giver. Hugs are important. Hugs are crucial. Just hug. And lots. Okay?
8. Read. Non fiction, Game of thrones, Asterix, 50 shades of Grey. Just read. (Don’t pretend you’ve not been tempted to read that last one there.)
9. When we ask you to sing us song, just sing it. We know you’re not Michael Buble. Just sing anyway, won’t you?
10. Be honest. Bare, naked honest. There is nothing we want more.


Ladies, do you agree?


Men, are we asking for too much? No, right? πŸ™‚


Okay, now for the decadent recipe you wanted. When my friend Stuti brought me back this divine Balsamic vinegar from Modena, I knew I had to do something special with it.


Balsamic vinegar


What did I do? I soaked some strawberries in it and used them to top this Chocolate cheesecake.


Chocolate cheesecake 1


The cheesecake has an oreo base, a chocolate cream cheese centre, is topped with cream, and then balsamic-soaked strawberries with their juices over that.


You ask for decadent, and I deliver decadent baby.


Chocolate cheesecake 2


Eat only one sliver at a time, unless you enjoy passing out from over-eating in the middle of the day.


Mostly I just stared at this gorgeous thing.


Chocolate cheesecake 3


It was sinfully smooth and creamy.


Chocolate cheesecake 4


And the slightly tart and sticky strawberries were such a wonderful foil to the rich, dense, cream cheese.


Chocolate cheesecake 5


Make it on a special occasion and watch it vanish before your very eyes.


Chocolate cheesecake 6


Chocolate cheesecake with balsamic-soaked strawberries


Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 65 mins
Serves: 10


Ingredients:


For the cheesecake


2 packets of Oreo cookies, cream removed
2 tbsp butter, melted
250 g dark chocolate
900g cream cheese
225g caster sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 eggs


For the topping


200ml thick cream
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
about 15-20 strawberries


Method:


For the cheesecake


1. Preheat the oven to 160ΒΊ C. Put the oreos in a ziplock bag and bash with a rolling pin until you have crumbs. Pour into a bowl, add the melted butter and mix well. Layer the base of a 9-inch springform tin with the crumbs, pressing down well so they are packed tightly. Bake for 5 minutes.
2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler and set aside. Using an electric whisk, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate and continue mixing. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until everything is well blended. Do not overmix.
3. Pour the cheesecake batter into the tin and bake for 1 hour. Switch off the oven and leave the tin inside until the cheesecake is completely cool. Run a knife around the inside edge of the tin to loosen the sides of the cheesecake and then refrigerate for 2-3 hours once cool.


For the topping


1. Thicken the cream by whipping it well.
2. Mix the balsamic vinegar and caster sugar together. Pour over the strawberries, give it a gentle mix, and set aside for a few minutes.


To assemble


1. Remove the cold cheesecake from the tin carefully and place on the serving plate.
2. Top with the whipped cream and balsamic-soaked strawberries. Pour the juices over and serve in slices.


Chocolate cheesecake 7


For those who wanted to see something embarrassing, I’m sharing this video of my colleagues and I doing the Gangnam style. We performed in front of the whole office and it was crazy amounts of fun. I’m the one in a dark pink tee πŸ˜›


And now for the **GIVEAWAY**!!! I thought long and hard about what to give away this time, and I finally decided on this book by my most favourite chefs in the whole world.


Your Place or Mine Book


I still can’t believe I cooked for them a few months ago.


The book is full of easy recipes and really cute cartoons, and it’s written in George and Gary’s inimitable style.


To win this wonderful book, just comment below and tell me which is your favourite post on my blog. Yup, that’s it.


I’ll announce the winner by a random draw in 2 weeks time, so comment away πŸ™‚


Now here’s one last look at the cheesecake. You know you want to.


Chocolate cheesecake 8


Thank you for being so wonderful. Have a happy, happy week ahead!


Love and hugs,
Storm


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Delhi saw a strange torrential downpour two days ago. The sky was dark in the middle of the afternoon and the rain was incessant.


Although flooded streets are not my thing, I was able to pull out my new rain boots.


rain boots


Aren’t they cute? And they have little white dogs on them πŸ™‚


In other news, I’ve been eating out a whole lot of late. And I’m eating meat. Lots of it.


This has led to my body actually asking for some veggies. Like even a shred. Poor thing is begging. So I thought I should oblige.


Look at this plate.


veggie plate 1


Now look at the other side.


veggie plate 2


Doesn’t that make you feel healthy just by looking at it?


A little chopping and boiling, and twenty minutes later, I had this delicious, fresh bowl of couscous ready.


couscous 1


It was just what I needed.


Veggie couscous


Prep time: 20 mins
Serves: 2


Ingredients:


150 g couscous
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp honey
juice of 1 lemon
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
large handful of sliced or whole black olives
large handful of almonds, blanched
coriander to taste, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste


couscous 2


Method:


1. Boil about 2 large cups of water in a pan. Place the couscous in a large bowl and pour over the boiling water. The water should cover it by about an inch. Set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, honey, and lemon juice together. Set aside.
3. Gently fluff up the swollen couscous with a fork. Add all the other ingredients and the dressing. Mix well and serve warm.


When my belly asks for veggies, I provide.


couscous 3


Happy belly πŸ™‚


PS- An article I wrote on food was published in Hindustan Times, Brunch last Sunday. Read it here and lemme know what you think.


PPS- My next post will be a BIG BIG one, my darlings. I’m not telling you much, but let’s just say you don’t want to miss it πŸ˜‰


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