Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge


I am addicted to food programmes. Whenever I switch on telly, invariably I end up watching some food programme. On Christmas day, one of the food channels was showing Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Kitchen for the whole day. Can you believe it one whole day of Nigella’s cooking videos, uninterrupted? Well, it wasn’t uninterrupted for me, as with my little-one in my arms, I hardly get time to do anything else. But I am a big fan of Nigella hence couldn’t let go of the urge to watch the show. Obviously I didn’t manage to watch the whole day but I did catch-up some bits and pieces of it. That inspired me to make these Chocolate Pistachio Fudges. Although I must admit I had two other reasons to make these, one I was going to a pre-Christmas party and wanted to take some homemade edible gift for the host and two, I will be publishing regularly at www.thisisbristol.co.uk from now on on their Lifestyle section. I wanted something that’s festive and Christmassy for my first contribution to the website. I made my own little tweaks in the recipe. So here is my version and the original can be found in the BBC website .



400 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

1 can of evaporated milk (about 410 gms)

30 gm butter

100 gm unsalted pistachios

Coco powder for dusting (My touch and completely optional)



Take a heavy bottomed pan and place it over low heat. Place all the ingredients but the pistachio nuts in the pan and stir until melted and well combined. In a freezer bag place the nuts and bash them with a rolling pin to get smaller pieces of them. Now mix the nuts with the melted chocolate and stir well. Take a rectangular / square tray and line it with aluminium foil. Pour the mixture in the tray and make sure the mixture spreads evenly. Cover and let it cool and set in the fridge. Take it out of the freeze after 4-5 hours but I left it over night. Cut the chocolate fudge into small pieces. You can store them in the freezer and can eat then straight away. My version some how turned out to be little softer than I saw in the video hence I coated them in cocoa powder. it had two advantages, one it looked like truffles and two it helped holding them while eating.


I packed them in a home made gift box and took it to the party that evening. It was a hit. People simply loved it. Thanks a ton Nigella for this beautiful, delicious, easy to make recipe. Oh! I almost forgot..these are very rich delights, so a small piece is enough for most people, unless you are a chocoholic like .. ME! I guess. Enjoy! Sending this to Mission Cupcake’s forever Nigella contest.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas coming soon – Happy Days


Its that time of the year again - cold weather, festive lights, snow, family, friends, gifts and lots of gorgeous looking delicious food. We are only couple of weeks away from Christmas but the festive celebrations have already begun. Most streets and houses have lit up with festive lights and Christmas trees. No need to mention that Christmas shopping is also going on at a frenzied pace.



I love festivals not only because they are a lot of fun but also because they create moments that I can fondly remember and relive many times during the year. They provide the warmth which is much needed when I am in real need of some family comfort. So I try to make these family get together moments as memorable as possible and one way to do that is by following an old saying that the way to reach someone's heart is through their stomach. 


This year I have started to stock up for the holidays already and I have twice more reasons to celebrate. One, this will be my son’s first Christmas and two, my mum will be with me for this Christmas and the New year.


I always go to Sainsburys to do my shopping and for my this year’s Christmas food shopping I have already bought a lot of things. Many of which are already over but that just gives me another reason to go back to the store and buy more. I bought a lot of things and I love them all but the things I loved the most are from the Taste the Difference range, namely the festive cheese selection, mince pies, the Christmas pudding and the delectable range of wines that goes well with all of them.



Let me start with the Brandy-rich Mince Pies and Mini Tart Selection. The minced pies are just what it says on the box ‘Melt in the mouth’. As you bite into one of these delights, the first thing that reaches your taste buds are the sweet, smooth, rich, all butter pastry and then comes the punch of the brandy. The mince meat is so dense, rich and sweet that you definitely need a shot of espresso to go with. On the other hand the tarts are have a more subtle sweetness, yet have similar buttery base and topped with almonds or macadamias and are infused with either port or brandy.


The last but the all important pudding was the cognac laced matured Christmas pudding which is filled with almonds, pecans, walnuts, cherries, raisins with a blend of sherry, port and cider and then matured with cognac. Tastes divine with a dash with double cream. The wine I thought went well with the tarts and the Christmas pudding is the Sainsbury’s French Muscat wine. Absolutely brilliant dessert wine that’s an absolute bargain. Sweet with a note of apricot. Only thing the bottle is quite small, got over in one round of serving between four of us. I will have to buy at least couple more bottle of this one for my next dinner party.



For the Cheese platter we got the festive cheese selection by Sainsburys which is not from the Taste the difference range but are no less in depth of favour or sophistication. The selection has got four types of cheese Applewood smoke flavoured Cheddar, Double Gloucester Onion and Chives, Wensleydale and Cranberry and my favourite of the selection White Stilton with Apricot. Totally worth it.



Coming to the wine, I found Sainsburys Taste the Differemce Rosso Toscano 2009 or Tuscan Red to you and me as a good choice. It is a smooth Sangiovese red with distinct flavours of mulberry, black cherries and undertones of spices which goes ever so well with Indian and South East Asian dishes designed for Christmas. Another good one is the Taste the Primitivo del Salento 2010 coming from the Puglia region in Italy, made with Primitivo grapes. It has velvety soft tannins with fragrant berry flavours and an undertone of spicy oak. The wine goes down well with red meats and will be a delightful companion for that roast ham during Christmas day.



Happy holidays everyone!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hot Chilli Pasta–Easy Meals


Hello everyone!

Coming back to blogging after a long time. I was so busy during last couple of months that blogging had taken a back seat in my to-do list. I am not free yet and not sure I will ever going to be but I hope to get a little bit of time for blogging in future and be more regular here. For those of who don't know, we have been blessed with a baby boy last month. Since then he is been and will remain the centre of our world for the years to come. It’s an amazing experience. I hardly get time now a days because of obvious reasons. 


This is something I made when I used to be alone and didn't want to spend a lot of time in kitchen for a decent looking plate of food. Now I am making it because I have very limited time. either way this works for me all the time.



Handful of pasta I choose Spaghetti but you can have any thing you like

Enough boiling water to cook the pasta


4 tbsp Oilive oil (or more if you like)

2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1 whole fresh chilli finely chopped (preferably red)

1-2 tsp of dried flaked red chilli

Handful of freshly chopped parsley

2 tbsp lightly toasted pine nuts

1 tbsp of lime juice

Handful of grated cheese (optional)



Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per the instruction on the packet. Once the pasta is cooked drain the cooking water and set the cooked pasta aside. While the pasta was getting cooked, in a separate pan dry roast the pine nuts and keep it separately. Heat the olive oil in the same pan and add the dried flaked red chilli in to it. Fry for a minute or less and then add the fresh chilli and garlic in to the chilli flavoured oil and cook for a minute. Add salt, lime juice and the chopped parsley to the pan and mix well. Now add the cooked pasta in to the pan and mix the whole thing together. Serve hot with some cheese on top and your choice of wine or any other drink you prefer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Payesh and Bengali Misty Pulao


Bengalis are known for their sweet obsession, especially people from West Bengal. Apparently we are accused of adding sugar to every dish that we cook. I am sure that’s not true but I think for most dishes salt and sugar balances the taste of the dish rather than using only salt. Rice is an integral part of many cuisines but in India, it has meaning more than just food. We use rice grain in pujas, festivals, wedding or any auspicious occasion rituals . The list is countless. Hence its only obvious we will have countless cooked rice dishes as well.


We recently had a small celebration at home and my mother prepared the two rice dishes that I love the  most. For special occasion like this and special rice dishes which are so close to my heart I use the best rice I trust and that is Tilda Pure Basmati Rice.  The first one is the Bengali Misty Pulao and the other one is Payesh (Rice pudding). The first one we have at the beginning of our meal and the second one we have at the end of the meal.

Bengali Misty Pulao:



2 cups of Tilda Basmati rice washed, drained and dried

1 Bay leave

3-4 cloves

3-4 green cardamom

1 2” cinnamon stick

2-3 tbsp Ghee

few raisins and cashew nuts


2 tbsp suger

1/2 cup of peas, finely chopped carrots and capsicum (you can use frozen mixed veg, that reduces a lot of effort)

4 cups of boiling water



Heat the ghee in a  deep bottomed pan (you need a pan with a lid) and fry the cashew nuts and raisins in it first. Once they are lightly golden brown, remove them from the pan and add the whole spices for frying. About a minute later you start to get the aroma of the spices and ghee, add the rice into the pan and continue to fry. Keep the heat in medium and stir so that nothing gets burnt. In a separate pan fry the vegs with little salt. When the rice begins to change the colour add the fried vegs, raisins and cashew nuts and mix well. Now add the water. Add exactly double the amount of rice you use, no less no more. give it a good stir and the salt and sugar into it. Now cover the pan with a lid, keep the heat in medium and let it cook for next 10 minutes without any disturbance. If you are using a glass lid you will be able to see the rice absorbing all the moisture and becoming fluffy. Turn off the heat and let it rest for 2-3 minutes, then use a fork to lightly stir the rice to make it even fluffier. Bengali misty pulao is ready to serve. You can serve it with any meat or veg dish or even just like that.




1/2 cup of Tilda Pure Basmati Rice (Washed and drained)

Boiling water

1 litter full fat milk

200 ml of double cream

200 gms of sugar or if you can get some date jaggery than that will be great

Handful of cashew nuts and raisins


1 bay leave

2-3 green cardamom



Boil the milk in a pan with the bay leave and the green cardamoms over medium heat. Be careful that the milk should not spill out or get burnt at the bottom. To prevent this keep stirring the milk time to time. Melt and mix the ghee into the washed rice and when the milk begins to boil add the rice into it slowly. Keep stirring. Add the sugar/jaggery into the milk an rice mixture and keep cooking over medium to low heat. After about 6-7 minutes you will notice the milk has reduced and the rice is almost cooked, now add the double cream and check for the sweetness of the payesh. If required add more sugar. Now add the raisins and the cashew nuts and continue to cook with stirring occasionally. Cook for another 5 minutes or till the rice is done and then take it off the heat and let it rest. Serve it hot or cold, I personally prefer cold.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Visit from the Fairy Hobmother

This is a quick post on nutty cook. A couple of months ago I had left a comment on A forkful of spaghetti’ s post where it was mentioned that if I am lucky enough I might get a visit from Fairy Hobmother and receive a gift! Well I got to be honest here, after I left the comment I never thought I would ever be that lucky. So I forgot about it completely. It’s only yesterday I receive the email that Fairy Hobmother has visited my blog . Yippee!!
Now, Fairy Hobmother (aka Appliances Online who are currently promoting the Bosch Logixx range of energy saving appliances) is also going to give my blog readers the same opportunity which I am really excited about! All you need to do is leave a comment on this post and if you are the lucky person then  Fairy Hobmother will pay you a visit too.
So what are you waiting for??? Just leave a comment below and you never know… you might be the next lucky person! Good Luck Everyone!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Gourmet Pizza – Domino’s Pizza Review


Another delicious treat from Domino’s. If you are a pizza lover you have got to try Domino’s Gourmet Pizza. If you are not a pizza lover, then also I would suggest to give it a try as this might change your opinion. There are three options to choose from. Firenzi (Pepperoni), Florentine (Veg) and Rustica (chicken). Check out there full range of delicious pizzas here.


We recently tried the large Firenzi Pizza, thin and crispy base with Pepperoni and double Jalepeno peppers topping (ummm..spicy and hot). You can choose reduced fat cheese but we went for the default, deliciously fresh Mozzarella cheese. The sauce base they used is also very special, made with sundried tomatoes and garlic. Absolutely delicious.


One large pizza was more than enough for two of us. In fact we couldn’t finish it in one go and had to take some rest before we attacked it again. The pepperoni was little spicy too and along with the Jalepeno peppers, it was haven. Thank you Domino’s for another delicious hot and spicy pizza.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wine - Review


Last week I received an email asking if I would like to review some summer wine for the very well known online supermarket Ocado. No points for guessing that I was super exited to read the mail. I didn’t waste any time thinking about it and agreed immediately. I was expecting sample bottles like the small ones you find in the supermarket. Within few days I got the package delivered and when I opened the box, there were not one, not two, instead three 750ml bottles of wine.  


The three bottles I received are

1. Banrock Station Colombard Chardonnay 2010

2. Banrock Station Moscato 2009

3. Kumala Zenith Rose 2010


Let me start with the Chardonnay first. I served the chilled wine with some chicken escalope and chilli garlic squid to go with it. Since it’s a white wine I thought chicken would be a good partner. The first thing that you will feel about this light coloured wine is its very smooth and has got citrus flavours in it. S usually prefers red over white but when he tested this one he actually liked it. He found the wine has a hint of tropical fruits combined with the citrus flavours. He also thought it was smooth wine which has complex oak finish, low in tannin and easy to drink.


I had no problem in believing that it was an easy to drink wine as I saw him how soon he finished his glass. The Australian wine had 12% alcohol by volume which I think is a good percentage for white wines. I would say its a good summer wine to enjoy in your back garden on warm summer afternoon with some food, and friends and family.


This is the wine I was so looking forward to try as I was impressed with its dark pink colour of the wine. This is from South Africa with 12 % alcohol by volume. I loved the colour and the sweet aroma it had but I guess it was bit to sweet for S. It was very fruity for him but from a pure women point of view I liked it. I would say it went very well with the chicken dish and the green leaves salad as it was giving the contrast in taste in all three.


Last but not the least we tried the Moscato which is a dessert wine and has 5.5% alcohol by volume. This one is also from Australia and its suggested that it can go with either desserts or mild cheese platter. We obviously went with the sweet option and tried chilled with warm apple cake. This was bit sweeter compared to the rest of the two wines. It had hints of lemon and pineapple. Light in colour, bit dry but with sweet notes and refreshing finish.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Litty Chokha- Delicacy from Bihar


This is a traditional dish from Bihar. I have never tasted this dish before, its only recently I came accross this dish and really wanted to try it out. I didn't have any reference to compare with so if you have tried this dish before and you make my version too do let me know how close it is to the one made in households of Bihar. I found several recipes online but they all differ some way or the other. Some say to deep fry whereas others suggest do it in the oven. The traditional method was to make in the cow-dung fire which does not sound very appetizing. But the process in which the littis get cooked, sounds similar to baking in the oven. Hence I went with it. I have a strong feeling that deep frying litties will make it taste like “Khasta kachori ” but you can try that as well. Either way I knew its was going to taste great!   For chokha some use roasted eggplant with potatoes which complements this dish very well.



For the filling:

6 tbsp Sattu (roasted chick peas flour)

1“ ginger (finely chopped)

3-4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

3-4 green chillies (finely chopped)

1 tsp of kalonji (Nigella seeds)

1 tsp Ajwain

2 tsp of lemon juice

hand full of chopped coriander


1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)

2-3 tbsp of water


For the dough:

1 cup of Atta (whole meal flour)

2-3 tsp of oil

pinch of salt

2-3 tbsp of yoghurt

enough water to make a hard dough

For Alu chokha:

2-3 medium size potato boiled and roughly mashed

1 Red Onion thinly chopped

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

1 whole dried red chilli (broken into 2-3 pieces)

3-4 green chillies (finely chopped)

oil for frying

1 tsp Aamchur powder

hand full of chopped coriander



Start with the filling. Mix all the ingredients except water and then slowly add the water spoon by spoon. The filing should not be like paste or very dry that it falls apart. if it reaches a state where you try to press the mix in you palm and it holds its shape then its done. Check the seasoning and keep it aside.

Now for the dough add the salt and the oil to the flour first then add the curd and mix well. Add enough water to make a stiff dough. The dough should not be soft so add water slowly as you kneed the dough. Now make small balls out of the dough and start making the pocket for the filling. Remember to make the outer layer of the dough ball thin so that you can stuff the filling as much as possible. Then close the pocket and give it a shape of round ball. Repeat the procedure for all the dough you have or until you run out of the filling.


At this point either you can deep fry the littis or bake in the oven. For baking do the following. Pre heat the oven at 180 degree C then place the littis in the oven for 20 minutes or till they are turned light brown in colour. Take the baking tray out and turn them and place the tray back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or till you see an even light brown colour on the littis. Take them out again and dip the littis in oil or melted ghee and place them back in the oven for may be 5 minutes or so. Take them out and let it rest for some time.  

While the litties are in oven make the chokha. Heat oil in a pan and fry the onion, chopped green chillies, dried red chilli and cumin seeds in that. Add salt, when the onions are soft and little brown add the boiled and roughly mashed potato in to it and start mixing. Add the aamchur powder and mix the whole thing till its almost a homogeneous mixture. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve with the littis. Enjoy.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Corn –Indian Style


Bhutta –pora (Roasted Corn) I felt very nostalgic making roasted corn on the cob. It reminds me so much of my days in Bangalore.Someone told me once that “feelings get destroyed if you try to express them” I am following her advice and not saying any more. Its raining outside and I am going to simply enjoy my bhutta by the window and rewind all those sweet memories I have.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sweet Pasta for Kids – Garofalo’s Pasta


I know pasta usually are made as savoury dish but when it comes to kids you need to think differently. Kids loves sweets especially colourful sweet in different funny shapes. They also love chocolates. So when I found out about Garofalo’s Pasta Competition, I thought of doing a different pasta preparation than usual savoury or meat pasta. Hence I decided to do a sweet pasta. I asked for samples and when I received them from Garofalo, it made me smile. The shapes of the pasta were so cute that any child would have lots of fun eating this pasta. They are in shape of little stars, moons, dolls and cars. So very adorable.


The pack said boiling the pasta for 12 minutes in water would be sufficient but I had different plans. I wasn’t going to boil in water instead I boiled in milk. I know from personal experience that for some kids it’s difficult to make them drink milk. So this will be a good way to feed them milk. But I had to make the pasta look attractive as well as taste good so here is what I did.



100 gm Garofalo’s Kids Pasta

250ml full fat milk

4 tbsp honey (you can adjust the sweetness according to your kid’s taste)

Handful of chopped mixed nuts

Handful of Pistachio lightly crushed

Handful of dried golden raisins soaked in water 

Handful of chocolate chips

2-3 tsp of multicoloured sugar sprinkles (optional)



In a deep bottom pan heat the milk and bring it to boiling point then add the honey to it and give it a mix. Now add the pasta and let it cook for 12-14 minutes on low heat to prevent milk from overflowing. Keep stirring as you don’t want your milk to be burnt or the pasta to be stuck at the bottom of the pan. Towards the end add the soaked raisins and the chopped nuts and give it a stir cook it for 1-2 minutes more when you see the milk has thicken and the dish has got a creamy texture along with the pasta cooked, take it off the heat and let it cool down. Place it in the fridge for some time then pour the pasta in your kid’s  favourite bowl and add the rest on the ingredients on top of it.


Serve cold. You can serve this as an evening snacks or like a small meal or dessert. I bet kids will love this.