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.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It’s Pizza time –Domino’s

I am a huge pizza lover. A big one! Not only because it tastes great but it saves me from cooking dinner on weekdays (sometimes on weekends too!). It is an ideal meal for lazy cook like me and on top of that when it is from Domino’s then I don’t need to say how good the pizza will taste. So when Domino’s offered me to review their Stuffed Crust Pizza I was very excited and was looking forward to it.DSCP_657

On our way back from office we went straight to the Domino’s  shop and ordered a large, half and half pizza with one half filled with Hot and Spicy and the other half was Tandoori Hot. Couldn’t wait for long! The waiting time was around 10-12 minutes and I saw how they make it from the scratch! In the kitchen she took a fresh piece of dough and started making the pizza base with corn meal. I was amazed to see that she didn’t use any rolling pin to make the base instead she made a perfectly even base just by pressing and circling the raw dough on the surface.


Next she placed a ring of fresh mozzarella cheese circling around the base and turned the edges to cover the cheese to make it stuffed crust. Rest was simple, she topped the base with Domino’s own tomato sauce and rest of the topping with generous helping of fresh mozzarella cheese on top and placed it in the oven.DSCP_663 

You need lot of patience to bring that piping hot freshly made pizza home and photograph it before having a bite. For that I probably deserve another such pizza! But anyway I did all that and then finally when I had the first bite into it, It felt great!


The pizza was very soft with a melt-in-the-mouth texture. The tandoori chicken pieces were well cooked and added the perfect spiciness to the melted cheese and the soft pizza base. All of us agreed that it was a perfect pizza we had in long time. If you want to treat yourself with pizza at any time or just having a party with friends then this is a very good thing to order. They do some awesome meal deals, just go here to find out more about it and enjoy them to the fullest. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cherry Chutney – National Cherry Day

DSC_0413 It’s summer now! Cherries are in season, in fact today is National Cherry Day.

CC_51 I always have some stories to tell when it comes to cherries, It all started in Morella, Spain where we nicked bags full of cherries from a tree near a gas station. I will always remember that incident as it reminds me of my childhood so much. Me and my cousins used to steal tamarind and raw mangos from our own ancestral home kitchen back in India.


Last year it was the day when England was playing against Germany in the World Cup Football knockout match. We decided to go to a pub in the city centre to enjoy the match in true British Spirit. On the way to the pub I spotted a cherry tree which had very few cherries left. As usual I was temped to pluck some, which I did but I also got my white t-shirt stained with cherries. It looked awful so I had to rush to a shop to buy another top to wear it to the pub.


This year I got a big container full of cooking cherries from our neighbour as a gift and was thinking what can I do with it. I was thinking of doing something other than Cherry pie and then my mum-in-law suggested that she could make chutney with them. I didn’t think twice, British cherries cooked in Indian way, would be a very interesting experiment for me. It was fabulous. Not very sweet yet tangy and the colour was so dark and rich, I simply loved it. Here is how she made it.



200 gms (approximately) Cooking cherries (de-seeded)

4 tbsp sugar

1 tsp oil

1 tsp black mustard seed

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

1/2 cup of water

Pinch of salt



Heat the oil in a deep bottom pan and add the red chilli and the mustard seeds into it. When the seeds starts to splatter add the cherries with a pinch of salt. Fry for a minute and then add the water and sugar and keep boiling it till the sauce thickens and the cherries are cooked. Do check the sauce to adjust the sugar balance in it. It will take bout 4-5 minutes then remove from heat and let it cool down. Serve cold.


I had it just like that but you can try it with vanilla ice-cream or Greek yoghurt. It will taste good. Enjoy! Sending this recipe to an event Simple and in Season hosted by Fabulicious Food.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chire Bhaja and A Wiki Project


There is something very special about simplicity. I find it extremely difficult to express it in words and I might actually spoil its beauty by doing it. So I am going to let the pictures talk and your taste buds imagine. I learnt this recipe from my mum-in-law. I always used to think that one would require lots of oil to make chire bhaja but I was pleasantly surprised when she made this today for evening tea. This is a very popular tea time snacks for people in Bengal and it tastes great.


I recently came across a wiki project called – A Traveller's Guide to Local Cuisine  which I think is a great effort and will be really useful for travellers who would like to try out the local cuisine. Please check out the webpage and if possible please contribute. You can add dishes by Countries/States/Course. Once this site gets populated, it will be a common place to find cuisines from any country/region.



200gm Chire (flattened rice, the thin ones)

2 tbsp oil

2-3 green chillies (thinly sliced)

1 tbsp finely chopped red onion

Handful of peanuts

Handful of Chanachur (Bombay mix)

Pinch of Salt



Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan, then fry the peanuts in it. Remove them once they are golden brown. Now add the chire to the oil, keep the heat to medium-low (as you don’t want your chire to burn) and keep stirring. Add little salt to it, and keep frying it till it becomes crispy and slightly puffed up. It will take about 5 minutes or so. Take it off the heat and add rest of the ingredients i.e. green chillies, onions, fried peanuts and chanachur (which is also known as Bombay mix in the UK). Enjoy with a steaming cup of chai (Tea).


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sorshe Ilish (Hilsha Fish in Mustard Sauce)

Hilsha or as we call it “Ilish Maach” is a hot favourite of most Bengalis. We love fish and among all types of fishes Hilsha is the king in taste. No matter what you make with Ilish maach, its going to taste great! Back home you can get this fish fresh from the market but here in UK we get it in Indian shops, frozen and at least 8-10 months old. I am happy with that. Something is better than nothing. At least I get to eat it once in a while.


Sorshe Ilish is also called Ilish maach er jhal and one of my favourites. Ideally yellow mustard seeds are used to make the paste but I think they are bit difficult to find here. So I used black mustard seeds. The biggest problem with the black mustard paste was a bitter after taste I used to end up with each time I cook it. I have tried different techniques to get rid of the bitter taste but never been that successful. Finally I switched to English mustard which is a great shortcut for me and easily available in the supermarkets.


This is a very easy to make recipe if you have all the ingredients handy. Also, if you don’t have Hilsha you can use Herring which tastes similar to Hilsha. 



800 gm Hilsha (cut in to pieces)

2 tbsp of English mustard paste

2 tbsp of white poppy seed paste (We call it posto in Bengali)

1 tsp of nigella seeds

1tsp of turmeric powder

1 tsp red chilly powder

3-4 fresh green chillies

3-4 tbsp Mustard oil




Clean the fish and lightly rub them with little turmeric and salt and keep it separately. In a bowl make a mix of the english mustard, poppy seed paste, turmeric, chilly powder and salt. In a frying pan heat the mustard oil and shallow fry the fish pieces. Remove the pieces from the pan and add the nigella seeds and the green chillies in the remaining oil, fry for a minute then add the mustard-poppy paste to the hot oil. mix it well then add the fish pieces and cover them in the sauce. Cover the pan and cook it for 1-2 minutes and then remove from the heat. Serve with plain boiled rice.