Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chilli and Chocolate - My 50th Post

Well I have been thinking and thinking and thinking about my next post. This is a very special post for me because this is my 50th one. Half a century! I wanted to do something different for this special post and trust me, I just couldn't think of anything. My mind had gone completely blank. If some idea flashed in my mind, moments later I would think, no that isn't good enough. I also didn't have a date in mind about my post, so I just kept on procrastinating in my typical way. And then suddenly on Friday I thought, enough of wasting time. I need to publish my post before Sunday, so I need to decide now what will be my 50th post. Surprisingly it took me only ten minutes to decide on my post. All these days of breaking my head over what to write was simply a waste of time. 

Have you ever seen the old tube-lights that keeps blinking? When I was a kid, in my room I had one such ancient one for some time. When you switch on this light, it used to do the following, first the corners of the tube will become orangish-red, then a sudden blink, then for next five minutes it will simply flicker and dance, and then it will pause a minute or two, and then a sudden flash and then finally it will be the "let there be light" moment.

For this post my brain sort of worked in a very similar fashion like the old tube-light. I was looking staring at my blog and then suddenly the light inside my brain flashed. It's in the name of the blog, there you go..I have my ingredients staring at me..phew! What hard-work!! I certainly used up all my brain cells to figure that out. Anyway after that the rest is quite simple.

I went to the supermarket, bought what I wanted. Got honked once (really hard) in a traffic roundabout. And a few minutes later scared an old man to death by my driving. No, the old man wasn't the one who honked me in the roundabout. These were two completely separate incidents that happened to me within five minutes of one another!!. Anyway, I reached home in one piece. I sat there in my car and was trying to think, did I just avoid a deadly accident or it wasn't my fault at all in the roundabout. I hope my parents aren't reading my blog, otherwise there will be a permanent ban on my driving.

After such an eventful afternoon, I decided not to make the dish on Friday evening as I wasn't able to concentrate very well and I didn't wanted my dish also to spoil like my afternoon. I needed a fresh start for my special dish and my 50th post.

So here you special dish is Chilli & Chocolate fondue which I prepared on Saturday afternoon and enjoyed it with marshmallows and sponge-fingers. I hope you like it too. Enjoy!


200 gm dark chocolate (at least 70%)
1 fresh red chilli (finely chopped)
1 tsp red chilli powder
100 ml double cream
2 tbsp dark rum


Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and add the chopped red chilli. Heat the double cream in a different container, do not boil. Now add the cream, red chilli powder and the rum to the melted chocolate mixture and remove from heat. Mix well and pour it onto a fondue dish. Serve it with either strawberries, marshmallows or sponge-fingers.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hot Canapés

I have been posting a lot of sweet dishes lately, primarily because I love desserts, especially if it involves chocolate. The only problem is you cannot have dessert all the time. Hence to change the taste, here is the recipe of savoury hot canapes that I made this weekend (on Friday night actually).

These canapes are really easy to make and requires very few ingredients. The important thing is that you can prepare and serve them under 15 minutes. Something that is quick and easy to make is very handy when you are hungry and tired, or if you are lazy like me and have an attitude of "will do it later" for any work in hand. This is an ideal nosh to make you feel good and it will be an absolute delight to your tastebuds.


1 Baguette 
Some red pesto
1 block of fresh Mozzarella cheese
Few slices of salami 


Heat a non-stick pan. Slice the baguette in to half inch thick pieces and place them on the pan for 1 minute on each side. Turn on the oven on grill mode and adjust the temperature to 100 degree Celsius. Spread the red pesto on one side of the bread slices. Place couple of salami slices on top of it. Now place one slice of fresh mozzarella. Place the bread slices on a baking tray wrapped in kitchen foil and bake it in the oven for 7-9 minutes or until the cheese on top is bubbling. Let them rest for a minute and then serve hot. Enjoy.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chocolate Biscotti

I know, I know, I am obsessed with chocolate, but you see I have no choice, they are so tempting and delicious. Also its very difficult to avoid them simply because wherever I go I find chocolate in some form or other. You can do so many things with chocolate other than eating them just like that. The other day I went to Starbucks for a coffee. I usually go there quite often but this time I had tried some biscottis. Since then I have been looking for opportunities for making biscottis at home. I was also going to see some friends over the weekend, so I thought this is something they would like to have while we chat over our coffees. This recipe makes 20+ biscottis and in this case, all of them were finish before the weekend was over. 


125 gm Sugar
125 gm flour
50 gm chopped nuts
1 egg
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder


Beat the sugar and egg together until the colour changes to light yellow. To this all the dry ingredients and mix well. This will become like a soft dough. Now lightly dust some flour on a flat surface and put the dough on and gently knead it for some time (about a minute or so!) 

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and line a baking tray with baking sheet. Now take the dough and place it on the baking tray forming a log of 2 inch thickness. Place the tray in the oven and bake it for 25 minutes. Check the top surface of the log, if its firm to touch then bring it out and let it cool. Bring the oven temperature down to 140 degrees.   

Once cooled slice the dough in to 1 cm width pieces using a serrated knife. Place these biscotties back in the oven for another 30 minutes or until they are very dry. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. Store them in an airtight container.  

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cheesy Mushrooms

Cooking is not always following the recipe to its last word. For everyday cooking you can't follow recipes all the time. If you cook on a regular basis you got to be trying and testing with different ingredients. 

Usually I start thinking about dinner when I am on the way back home from office. If I can't decide by the nearest supermarket to my home, I usually sneak in to the shop to see if I can find something I fancy at that very moment.  

During my one such visit to the supermarket I had picked up some big flat mushrooms and was wondering what to do with them. I thought of using them in pasta but then I changed my mind and did something different. I had read about the this starter recipe of mushrooms before. Traditionally it is made with Portobello mushrooms but I had these big flat mushrooms already, so used them instead. I also had some cheese left in my fridge, so I combined these two key ingredients. Here is what I did.



4 Big flat mushrooms
Cheddar cheese, grated (you can use your choice of hard cheese)
2 cloves of garlic
Freshly crushed black pepper
Olive oil
5-7 roasted cashew nuts, crushed (I didn't have any pine nuts left so I used cashew nuts instead)


Wash the mushrooms first then wipe them with a tissue. Finely chop the garlic and mix it with the grated cheese and the freshly crushed black pepper. Place each mushroom individually on aluminium foil (enough to wrap the mushroom) and season it. Fill in the flat face with cheese and garlic mixture. Drizzle some olive oil on it and then cover them with the foil. Preheat the oven for 200 degree Celsius and place these mushroom parcel on a baking tray and place it in the oven for 5 minutes. 

Take the parcels out, open them and place them back again in the oven for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Now bring it out and plate them. Sprinkle some crushed nuts on top of it before serving. 

Note: These mushrooms can be served  on a bed of fresh green salad leaves. 

I had it with a wine which I picked it up on the same day from the shop. It was awesome. A very smooth Californian Merlot for a great price.