Recipe Books

Posted by admin | Just Food Articles - writers invited | Friday 25 March 2011 6:56 am

This, believe it or not, is my collection of recipe books!
Recipe book collection
Sure, for most cooks and food bloggers this is nothing! But considering the kind of cook I am, and the fact that I cannot recall having ever followed a single, complete, word-for-word, ingredient-by-ingredient, and step-by-step recipe, and the fact that I really am no great shakes as a cook, I’m actually rather embarrassed. And shocked.
I look through them often enough. I love beautiful photographs; in fact I admit that the few I actually bought myself has been based on photographs rather than actual content. I try bits of this and bits of that and create something new in my head. And then I go back to check what’s likely to happen if I add ‘that’ instead of ‘that’, which these days, is admittedly easier to do on the internet.

In case you’re interested, starting top left and moving roughly clockwise… There is a Sanjeev Kapoor collection of Eating Healthy gifted recently by my mother. A gentle hint that I don’t eat right. Parsi Food and Customs by Bapsi Sidhwa – useful, informative, but each recipe is so involved and I never have all those ingredients in place. An assortment of recipe books that turn up with just about every kitchen appliance you buy from the pressure cooker to the non-stickware, to the microwave. For years I subscribed to Elle Decor and each issue had four little cutout-able recipes. Good to look at, but with big holes in the actual method and sometimes even the ingredients – those are the ones popping out of the envelope. Then a whole lot of “good looking” books on South-East Asian, Indian, Greek, Meze and Mexican food, including some ancient second hand Women’s Weekly collections, mostly with ingredients that for years were really tough to get. Now there are at least 2 specialty food stores in the near vicinity, but frankly, if I actually plan and get there before hand, I’m often shocked by the prices. There’s a book called “Simple Recipes for New Brides and Bachelors” which doesn’t look very good at all, but actually often suits the level of my culinary skills. Though of course, I’m neither.

At the other end of the spectrum, that grey corner sticking out, is the Larousse Gastronomique. Which in case you didn’t know is the absolute encyclopedia of Gastronomy. This I must admit is not mine, just been left with me by a friend who is between moves and had no place to put it. But it is fascinating!

Anyway, here I think I need to make a promise to myself. To see through at least one recipe, beginning to end, with (almost) all ingredients exactly as written, at least once a month.
Ahem! I’ll keep you updated.


Short-cut Orange Souffle

Posted by admin | Desserts,Recipes,Vegetarian | Thursday 24 March 2011 5:58 am

This is a favorite dessert recipe of mine. It’s very simple, but you really, really need to work fast. I’ve had it scribbled over an envelope, literally for years and hadn’t typed it in here because I wanted to add photographs, but have discovered that working fast doesn’t allow for time for playing about with the camera. Will try for one soon, but until then, here goes.
orange souffle
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200 ml of orange juice (2 small tetrapaks)
85 gms crystal jelly / jello ( 1 packet )
1 ltr pack Vanilla ice-cream
10 Crushed low-sweet or multi-grain biscuits
1 tablespoon butter
Orange slices or walnuts for garnish

Prepare a flat-ish serving dish by pressing the crushed biscuits mixed with butter along the bottom. You can of course eliminate this step altogether.

Take the ice cream out of the freezer before you start work and cut up into small chunks. Leave to soften naturally in a large mixing bowl.

Follow the instructions on the jelly packet. Just use the juice instead of water.

When the jelly crystals are completely dissolved, pour into the ice-cream, folding in rapidly. Don’t do any very vigorous mixing or you’ll liquefy the ice-cream too much and beat all the air out of it.

Pour the mixture into the prepared serving dish.

Put it into the freezer for 20 minutes, and then move to a lower shelf in the refrigerator.

Garnish with walnuts or orange pieces after it’s totally set. Serve cold.

    Note : This is the simplest combo but you can get creative. Use raspberry juice and raspberry flavored jelly, or apple juice and stewed apple / peach pieces.

Zucchini Fritters

Posted by admin | Recipes,Vegetarian | Wednesday 16 March 2011 3:18 am

Every now and then I would come across recipes for dishes with Zucchini, and I’m embarrassed to admit, I’d never had the vegetable before. I’d looked it up of course, seen what they look like, knew they were also called Courgettes, looked up the Hindi name which incidentally, is Tori or Torai. That’s generally the first stumbling block; if you want something out of the ordinary, you must know the local word for it.

Then last weekend, I saw them just sitting in a huge pile in the market, all dark green, streaked and gleaming, with their strange ‘head’, and I asked the guy what it was. This turbaned, dhoti clad guy moves his betel leaf from his left jaw to his right and says ‘Zucchini’, in a tone obviously meant to be insulting. I mean, didn’t you know that? And then also points to parsley, asparagus, leeks, bok choy and avocados, all of which I know till very recently wasn’t possible to get easily except at a few specialty stores or markets.

Well to cut things short, I bought a just 350 grams to try out.
I then spent the next day scouring the internet for nice simple recipes. At the last minute though I chickened out a bit, and went with what I could at least guess the final taste of. Here’s a recipe with a lot of my own inputs.
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3 medium sized Zucchini peeled and grated
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
2 green chillies
3-4 mint leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
salt to taste
oil to shallow fry
Water as necessary (more…)


Food and Art

Posted by admin | Just Food Articles - writers invited | Monday 7 March 2011 5:31 am

I came across a really cool site today. Brings together both mu ‘loves’ – art and food. Check this out. They Draw and Cook is a supposedly a food site where all the recipes have been hand or digitally drawn. Originally by Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell, a brother and sister design and illustration team. But now, the site has been thrown open to others and there are a whole lot of artists who have dipped right in to bring together their love for art and food.
In general it’s a visual feast, the illustrations telling as much a story or a place as telling you a recipe.
My only issue with all of it is that unfortunately, it’s kind of tough to tell the recipe sometimes. Either it’s too vague, just ingredients mentioned or the recipe is simply unreadable. So someone who is going there strictly for the food and recipes will be a bit disappointed. But I love it!

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