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There are many uncertainties in life.


And uncertainties are unpleasant. In fact, sometimes I want stab uncertainties in the face.


I really, really wish I knew what the future holds. For sure. Without a doubt.


But uncertainty is just never knowing.


We all find the strength to deal with difficult situations when they happen. It’s the not knowing that troubles the best of us.


I’ll tell you what I do know for certain though.


I know that when you put chicken and tomatoes and cheese inside a hollowed-out bread bun, bake it, and eat it, you will be happier.


bread bowl 1


This is true. I swear it.


Choose a soft bun with a slightly firm exterior so it’s easy for you to take the centre out.


bread bowl 2


You can fill it with anything really, but I love this combination of minced chicken, juicy tomatoes, and melty cheese. You’d like it too ๐Ÿ™‚


bread bowl 3


After it’s baked, the bread is toasted on the outside, but the insides are moist and bursting with the delicious filling.


Cut it open and watch yumminess come tumbling out.


bread bowl 5


And about that uncertainty – let’s try to remember that it essentially means you don’t know how something will turn out. It could possibly be bad, but it could also be wonderfully good.


certainty


So that’s what we’re doing then.


In the face of uncertainty, let’s focus on the possibility of awesomeness.


Life is too short to worry ๐Ÿ™‚ And the best things are yet to come!


Hugs!


4-ingredient chicken bread bowls


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Makes: 2


Ingredients:


2 plain buns
200g chicken mince, cooked (I stir-fried mine with garlic, onions, and salt)
2 tomatoes, chopped
50g cheese, grated (use any cheese you like)


bread bowl 4


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 180ยบ C. Cut a hole in the top of each bun and gently remove the centre, keeping the outer bowl-shape intact.
2. Fill the hollows with the mince, followed by the tomatoes, and then the cheese. Place on a wire rack and bake for 25 minutes. I put the grill setting on for the last 2 minutes. Remove and eat warm.


Oh and before you go, if you’re a little blue today and need a pep talk, this video may help ๐Ÿ™‚


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Pot pies are located smack in the middle of the comfort food zone.


Think about it. Bite-sized pieces of veggies and chicken covered in a creamy sauce and topped with a flaky, buttery, crisp puff-pastry cover.


pot pie 1


Soo good.


But all that cream and butter, you say?


I hear you, my darlings.


Which is why I’ve given these pot pies a healthy spin. Don’t worry – they still taste as comforting and creamy. But a touch healthier.


I substituted the cream with yogurt which allowed me to retain the creaminess minus the fat. Also, I chose to load up on the 1 vegetable I used because I love it.


The zucchini-chicken filling is simply flavoured and the puff pastry is store-bought so it’s super easy to put together.


pot pie 2


If you’re a puff-pastry purist, and you only make it yourself and wouldn’t dream of using store-bought, I can only say this:


pot pie 3


If you’re a baker, I agree you should know how to make it, but once you do, you realise HOW much easier it is to buy it! And it’s tastes just as good, if not better ๐Ÿ™‚


Healthy chicken and zucchini pot pies


Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Makes: 3-4 mini pot pies


Ingredients:


1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
100 g cooked chicken, shredded (or boiled with salt and pepper, then shredded)
1 zucchini, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
100 g yogurt
butter, for greasing
flour, for dusting
1 sheet puff pastry


pot pie 4


Method:


1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and add the onion and garlic. Stir for a few minutes on medium heat and then throw in the herbs and chicken, mixing well. Add the zucchini, season, and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Take off the flame and stir in the yogurt, mixing to coat everything well. Leave to cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 180ยบ C. Grease 3-4 small ramekins lightly with butter. Divide the cooked mixture between the ramkeins.
3. Dust a clean surface with some flour and roll out the puff pastry. Use a cutter or a bowl to cut out 3-4 circles the size of the ramekin tops, and then use to cover the mixture in the ramekins. Seal the edges by pressing in a downward motion with a fork. If you have leftover bits of pastry, cut out shapes and stick over the top. Like this heart ๐Ÿ™‚


pot pie 5


Make a slit on the top of each pie and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling and golden. I switched to the grill setting for the last 5 minutes and got a lovely crusty top. Remove from the oven and eat warm.


pot pie 6



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What does the word “brunch” conjure in your mind?


Lazy afternoons? Sun-kissed tables? Family time?
Mimosas? Bellinis? Bloody Marys?
Cheese platters? Fresh bread? Garden-fresh salads?


Brunch is interpreted in many unique ways across the world, but it usually is a languorous meal between 11 am and 3 pm, involving all kinds of food and drinks.


This is why I was intrigued by the idea of the Sunday Brunch & Sundowner at the 24/7 Restaurant in The Lalit, New Delhi – which starts in the afternoon and melts, most blissfully, into late evening.


Let me paint you a picture.


You begin at 1 pm.


Start with a colourful salad. How do you like kiwi, mandarin and beetroot?


1. fruit salad


Now a nibble of sushi.


2. sushi


How about a crumbling of stinky blue cheese?


3. blue cheese


Perfect with a warm spinach bun.


4. warm bun


Let’s wash this down with some champagne, shall we?


5. champagne


Now, maybe we step out for a while. I love Alfresco seating on a pleasant day ๐Ÿ™‚


6. al fresco seating


Sausages, lamb, fish, paneer, kebabs – all barbecued up in front of us.


7. barbecue


Oh you know what I’m missing? A plump prawn.


8. prawn


Step back inside for a slice of pizza now?


9. pizza


Or a swift slice from the revolving shawarma stand?


10. shawarma


The chef can rustle up a Chinese stir fry just for you.


11. chinese stirfry


Or would you prefer Indian tawa veggies?


12. indian tawa veggies


Maybe you feel like the creamiest pototoes ever?


13. creamy potatoes


With a piece of chicken, a side of pork, some button mushrooms, and some crispy skinned fish?


14. meat feast


This place does the BEST salsa. These are the four types on offer: Pineapple (my fav), cucumber, sun-dried tomato, and regular.


15. salsa


Time for a another glass of bubbly.


16. bubbly


Now we shall sit outside for a while. Don’t we look happy? ๐Ÿ™‚


17. happy faces


Gossip and conversations with old friends who are family are an essential brunch component.


Dessert time! Fruit tarts, carrot cake, pistachio cake, or the creamiest panna cotta you’ve ever eaten. Once of each, I say!


18. dessert


We’ll wind down with some green tea please. And suddenly- it’s 6 pm.


19. green tea


What a wonderful, wonderful way to spend a Sunday. The brunch price at The Lalit also includes the use of the pool (perfect for hot summer days) and a complimentary pedicure/manicure at the hotel spa- Rejuve (really takes a relaxed brunch to the next level!).


20. al fresco


Head over to The Lalit, New Delhi, Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught Place for a blissfully lazy and decadently delicious Sunday ๐Ÿ™‚


Prices: 3000 +taxes for the Alcohol buffet, 2200 +taxes for the Non-Alcohol buffet, and 1500 +taxes for Kids.
Timing: 1 pm – 6:30 pm
Venue: 24/7 restaurant and Al fresco
For reservations, call + 91 11 4444 7777, Ext. 331


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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 ๐Ÿ™‚


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? ๐Ÿ™‚


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 ๐Ÿ™‚


Do you have a favourite old song? Tell me about it ๐Ÿ™‚


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Step 1– Believe you can do it.

Step 2– Choose a pie that looks really impressive, but is actually pretty easy to make. Like this one.

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Step 3– Eat some chocolate. This is an important step. No skipping.

Now letโ€™s get cracking, shall we?

Step 4– Gather your ingredients. Start with the pastry. This is what holds your pie together, literally. We want it to be crumbly and buttery and perfect.

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Step 5– Mix the meats. Here Iโ€™ve used chicken, pork, and ham. Say with me: there is no such thing as too much meat. Or chocolate. Eat another piece. Itโ€™ll give you the energy burst you need to keep going.

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Step 6– Stuff the filling into the pastry. Also add your secret ingredient. Iโ€™ll tell you about that in a bit ๐Ÿ™‚

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Step 7– Cover the pie with a top layer of pastry. Cover any untidy bits with pretty pastry leaves. Add a foil chimney so the insides cook. Also tidy up a bit. Look how messy the table is!

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Step 8– Put the pie in the oven to bake. Now eat some more chocolate. Play catch with your dog. Sing a song.

Step 9– Remove from the oven. Look- you did it!

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Isnโ€™t she a beauty?
Now after it cools a bit, transfer to a plate.

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Step 10– Gather your friends. Slice the pie. Remember the secret ingredient? Surprise!
Boiled eggs! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hidden inside the meat pie. Slice, share, and taste.

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Step 11– Stand back and watch as everyone worships at your feet.

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Kickass pie. You can do it. (With chocolate, of course).

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Meat and egg pie
Largely adapted from: Step by step Baking

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Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1 and a 1/2 hours
Serves: 8
Eat this with: A fresh salad

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Ingredients:

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For the pastry

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500 g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
75 g butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing
75 g dalda (or lard), chilled and cut into small pieces

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For the filling

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5 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled, plus 3 more eggs
450 g chicken mince
450 g pork mince
250 g ham, chopped into small pieces
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste

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Method:

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For the pastry

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1. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and dalda, and mix gently with a fork until you have fine crumbs.
2. Add 150ml water and mix together briefly. Then place the dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. Grease a 9inch tin with butter. Take about ยพ of the dough and roll it out on a floured surface. It should be the size of the tin, with about ยฝ inch overhang. Gently lift into the greased tin and press onto the base and sides.

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For the filling and assembling

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1. Put all the meat in a bowl. Add the lemon zest, nutmeg, all the herbs, and salt and pepper. Whisk 2 eggs and add to the meat. Mix everything together until the filling begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
2. Preheat the oven to 200ยบ C. Put half the meat filling into the tin. Place the 5 hard-boiled eggs on top, at regular intervals. Cover with the remaining meat filling, and fold over the dough overhang.
3. Beat the remaining egg with a little salt and brush the edges of the pie with it.
4. Roll out the remaining dough and cover the top of the pie with it. With the extra bits of dough, carve out diamond shapes and mark veins in them with a knife. Arrange these all over the pie and brush with the egg glaze.
5. Make a chimney with some foil and insert it in the middle of the pie. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1 hour. Then reduce the heat to 180ยบ C, remove the foil chimney and bake for another 30 minutes. Let it cool slightly before removing from the tin. Slice and serve.

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Eros Hotel managed by Hilton has brought us another exciting food festival and this time from one of my favourite food nations- Singapore.

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My memories of eating in Singapore go far back, when weโ€™d visit my uncle and aunt there. Weโ€™d shop at Mustafa, go to little India, spend long days at the zoo and of course eat! Porotha with curry, chicken-rice, satay, chilli crab, fish bites on sticks. I could go on.

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Singapore has long been known for its street food. And itโ€™s wonderful to have a festival in Delhi that allows you to taste a wide array of it.

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The restaurant Blooms at Eros is beautifully decorated in red and gold, and the very real feel of a local Singapore street is beautifully captured with several tantalizing food stalls.

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Once you get there take a walk and see whatโ€™s on offer. You will want to try almost everything. Itโ€™s only a question of what to start with ๐Ÿ˜‰

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My recommendations are the following:

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Deliciously sticky honey glazed pork belly, duck and chicken.

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Hainanese chicken rice (You may find this a bit bland but remember to dunk the chicken in the sauces accompanying the dish. The super salty dark soy was my favourite)

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Coconut-ty and spicy Laksa with fish balls, prawn and hard boiled eggs.

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The tender Lamb Rendang with steamed rice.

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Juicy jumbo prawns.

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Mee goreng- noodles with all the fixings!

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Chicken satay

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And the clear winner for the evening: the oyster omelet. I must have had five of these.

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There are a host of different options to try, including a crushed ice dessert called Ais Kacang.

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Head over there for an authentic taste of Singapore.

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Also, sink your teeth into this bad boy before you leave!

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The Singapore food festival is on at Blooms at Eros Hotel โ€“ managed by Hilton, Nehru Place, for lunch and dinner, everyday until the 25th of March, 2012. Price: 1950 INR plus taxes person.

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Chicken-corn Quiche

I love Quiche.

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Honestly, whatโ€™s not to like?
Eggs, cheese, pastry, and practically anything else you want!

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Infinitely adaptable, wonderfully wholesome, and so easy to make.

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I made a minced chicken and corn quiche. It was delicious.
Please make one. And put whatever you want in it.

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Mushrooms, bacon, broccoli, onions, sausage bits, tuna, peas.
(Just not all together!) ๐Ÿ™‚
I promise you canโ€™t go wrong.

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Chicken and corn quiche

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Serves: 4
Eat this with: A tomato salad

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Ingredients:

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butter, to grease
1 sheet puff pastry
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
200 g chicken, minced
100 g baby corn, chopped
6 large eggs
100 g cheese, grated
200 ml cream
salt and pepper, to taste

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Method:

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1. Preheat the oven to 200ยบ C. Grease a 9-inch pie dish with a removable base, with butter. Place the sheet of puff pastry on it and press down onto the base and sides, spreading it evenly. Pop into the freezer to chill.
2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Add the onions and sweat gently. Once they turn pink, add the minced chicken and gently fry over medium heat for a few minutes. Next, add the corn, season with salt, and stir well. Cook for a few more minutes. Remove and keep aside to cool.
3. In another bowl, crack the eggs in followed by the cheese and cream. Mix well and season. Add the cooled chicken-corn mixture and mix everything together.
4. Remove the pie dish from the freezer and pour the mixture in. Bake in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes, until the sides are a lovely golden brown, and the top is set. Remove from the dish, slice, and eat warm.

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In other news, Iโ€™m going home in a few days. This means several things.

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1. I will be pampered silly.
2. I will eat like a crazy person.
3. I will spend lazy afternoons with my family.
4. I will meet childhood friends and we will laugh like monkeys.

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But there is one other thing.

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5. I will have access to a real kitchen. With equipment and space and a full pantry.
I will have people to help me and I wont have to clean up or do the dishes.
(These are all problems I have to deal with- staying alone, and cooking in a tiny kitchen!)

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In other words, I can cook something insane and not sweat the small stuff!

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So, in typical culinarystorm style, I thought Iโ€™d put this up to a vote.
I’ve picked five classic recipes Iโ€™ve always wanted to try, and you guys need to help me decide!

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The one with the top vote is the one I will cook and post about ๐Ÿ™‚

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Have a fun week ahead! ๐Ÿ™‚

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