Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bruschetta al Pomodoro

Have you ever thought of the perfect food that you could eat all summer? Let me help you and give you a hint. 

A bread base, toasted to perfection, laden with fresh juicy red tomatoes that are infused with the signature Italiano flavours.... mmmm....any guesses yet?! 


Well lets introduce you to my verrrrrrrry best food friend- The Bruschetta. 

And please, since I'm such a food snob, don't pronounce this as 'Brushetta'. Its pronounced BrusKetta. Thank you. Now I can live(eat it) in peace. 

On that note, Bruschetta gets its name from the Italian word bruscare which means to burn/toast. 

And also since I care about you all soooooooo very much from the bottom of my heart, I do need to include a fair warning. You WILL tend to heap the bruschetta with the luscious tomatoes and they WILL fall off when you bite. My warning here is, try and have faster reflexes to catch all those fallen little angels of flavour in your plate. Thank you. 

Now we can get on to the recipe

Serves: 4

Complexity: **

Time taken: 10 mins prep + 20 mins refrigeration time

You'll need

4 Tomatoes, diced. 
1 loaf of baguette or a crusty bread
10-12 basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1 tsp Oregano
Basil leaves, hand torn
1 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of your love


Take the tomatoes and dice them. I like to keep mine chunkier. De-seed them if you want to. I don't care if I have some seeds in my bruschetta

To this, add olive oil. By the time I took the picture, the oil has sunk down to the bottom of the bowl. But you be generous with the drizzle of the olive oil.

Freshly ground Black pepper

and in goes the oregano

and then the Salt

Basil leaves, hand torn. Just tear the leaves apart before adding them. 

Garlic powder, just because I think raw garlic gets too overwhleming 
sometimes. We don't want garlic breath, do we?!

Pinch of your love and mix everything together. Cover n store in the refrigerator for 20 minutes just so the flavours get to know each other better.

Meanwhile, take your baguette and cut about 3/4" pieces on the diagonal. Toast the bread so that its golden. Toasting helps the bread from getting soggy from the juices of the tomato and olive oil.

Take the tomatoes out of the fridge and heap them up on the toasted bread.

Just because I am me and I love cheese, I added mozzarella to a few pieces and placed them in the oven for a few minutes just till the cheese had melted. 

Et voila! Meet your new bff for a beautiful sunny summer day. Indulge! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Crispy Hash Browns

I think we all are very special, each one of us.

And we all deserve special treatment.

If you get it from someone, thats fine, thats great!

If not, you have to bestow that special treatment on your own-self. 

Now that thats out of the way, and I've preached a bit, lets talk food. 

So, since its the weekend, I wanted to treat myself today to something special. What could be more special than a perfect breakfast! 

Now technically, this wasn't breakfast, not even close, but who says breakfast can only be eaten in the morning?! I'm all about breaking the rules, making new ones....I like the little rebel in me. 

I made hash browns and pancakes and ate them at 4 in the evening. FYI, there was no lunch and no dinner. Btw, like the meal between breakfast and lunch is called brunch, what's the meal between lunch n dinner called- linner? dunch? Lets all remember to brainstorm on that. Meanwhile, today, lets make this...

Serves: 2

Complexity: **

Time taken: 10 mins + 30 mins prep

You'll need

2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and grated
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp flour
sour cream (optional) 
Pinch of love


Take 2 medium potatoes, give them a good scrub and peel them. 

Grate them in a bowl, make sure its not a fine grate, use the thicker side of the grater.

Pour cold water into the bowl and let it rest aside for 20 minutes. Meanwhile you go and change your nail polish.

When you get back to the kitchen, your bowl water will be cloudy from the starch released from the potatoes. We want all that starch gone. It makes the hash really crispy. 

Strain out the grated potatoes and look at how cloudy the water is. 

The starch settles at the bottom of the bowl. You coul very well use this to thicken up a gravy or a soup. 

Squeeze out the water of the potatoes and spread them out on a kitchen towel. Let the potatoes dry off completely. 

Transfer the dried potatoes in a bowl

Sprinkle the onion powder. You could very well grate half an onion instead of onion powder. But I just wanted to avoid the moisture that it would have added.

Next add the garlic powder

Freshly ground black pepper 

Smoked paprika comes in next. This just takes your plain ole hash brown to a whole other level.

The Salt next. Be generous with your salt. Potatoes need salt. But please don't go overboard

Your pinch of love because what would food be if you didn't add in your pinch of love. 

The plain flour.

Give it all a good toss and combine well. Don't let this sit around for too long because as soon as the salt hits the potatoes, they will start getting wet again. 

Heat a skillet on medium heat. Melt some butter, about 1 tsp of it on the pan. When the butter starts to turn golden, scoop up half the potatoes in the pan and spread them around thin. Press with the back of the spatula and make a thin layer. 

Let this cook for 5-6 minutes on a medium low heat. Don't even think of flipping it or touching it. Control your instincts to take a peek at the crisping hash. 

When you see the sides of the hash turning golden brown, thats when you flip it. Carefully please. We don't want to break the hash, atleast try not to break it. 

Flip it over and let it cook for another 4-5 minutes. 

Slide it gently off the pan into your serving plate. 

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and fresh herbs. Serve hot. 

I had mine with pancakes which were topped with mangoes. Ofcourse! Its a no-brainer. Pancakes and hash browns, match made in heaven. Indulge! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Okay, I'm laying it all out today. There are 3 main criteria you need to fulfill if you want to be my bff;

1. You have to be crrraazzziee
2. You have to love books 

These two, don't take them too seriously, but, and this one's a biggie.... the third one HAS to be fulfilled..

3. You HAVE to love Peeezzzaaaaahhhh!!! 

I mean lets face it, who doesn't like Pizzas! They're cheesy, laden with our favourite toppings, have a crispy crust....did I mention the cheese?! mm...mmmm...mmmmm....

Btw, tell me, what are your favourite toppings for a pizza?! Do you prefer veg or non veg? Have you tried sea food on your pizzas? Do you just Lurrrvee Pepperoni like I do?! Do you like basil or parsley on your pizza? Ohhh n the big one- thin crust or thicker? Deep dish or pan pizza? Wood fire oven pizzas are the best in my opinion...they render this beautiful smokey flavour that add a little je ne sais quoi to my bite of heaven. Please do share what you prefer, I'd love to know what my new bffs like on their discs of perfection! 

So the other day, I was craving for some peezzaaahh and I made this at home! 

The first one is a bbq chicken pizza CPK style and the second is pizza alfredo with Pesto chicken and oven roasted tomatoes

If you feel like giving it a go, here's the way! 

Serves: 2-3

Complexity: ***

Time taken: 30 mins

You'll need
For CPK style bbq chicken pizza

Ready pizza base/ pizza dough
4 tbsp BBQ sauce, divided
2 chicken breasts (1 for each pizza)
Half red onion, sliced into half moons
one pickled jalapeno sliced
Mozzarella cheese (If you find smoked mozz, that would be great!)
Coriander leaves to garnish

For Alfredo pizza with pesto chicken

Ready pizza base/ dough

Bechamel sauce
3-4 garlic cloves finely minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk (add couple more tbsp if required)

Chicken marinade
1 cup basil leaves
1 cup parsley
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
zest of one lemon
Salt and black pepper

Oven roasted tomatoes, here's the recipe
Basil leaves for garnish
Olives, pitted and sliced

Loads of your love! 


Have your oven pre heating at 180C or 350F

For my pizzas I always favour a thinner crust, I like my base to be crunchier. 

For the CPK style bbq chicken pizza, you will need to bake the chicken breast first. For that, scour the chicken breast and place it in an oven proof plate. Drizzle 2 tbsp bbq sauce on it and coat it evenly. 

Bake in the oven for about 15 mins. The chicken will be baked beautifully, juicy and tender, the sauce adding to the smoky flavour (feel free to use this in salads or as sandwich fillings too!) 

Lay out your pizza base. Add 1-2 tbsp of bbq sauce on the base and smear it evenly. 

Grate your cheese (I grate it because it helps the cheese melt faster and in time while the crust gets golden) 

Meanwhile, shred your baked chicken and place the pieces on the pizza base. 

Add the sliced onions and jalapeno to it

Add a few leaves of coriander before you put it in the oven. 

Sprinkle your pinch of love

Cook for 5-7 minutes till the base turns golden brown and the cheese is all melted. Remove carefully from the oven and cut into desired pieces. Garnish with a few fresh coriander leaves. Indulge! 

How perfect does this look...

For the Alfredo Pizza

If you are making slow roasted tomatoes at home, you will need to that first. So slice your cherry tomatoes in halves (use regular tomatoes and cut them small if you don't have cherry tomatoes at home). Sprinkle garlic powder (use minced garlic instead if not available), Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Layer on a baking tray and roast in oven for 30 mins till they tomatoes turn sweeter. 

In a blender, add your cup of basil leaves, parsley, 2 cloves of garlic and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Blend till you get a coarse paste. 

Scour the chicken breast and add 3 tbsp of the basil-parsley-garlic paste to it. Zest one lemon over the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. 

Give it a good rub and spread the paste over it evenly. 

Let this marinate for 10-15 mins. 

After letting it sit in the marinade, heat a pan on medium high, and place the chicken breast on it. you should hear it sizzle as soon as it hits the pan. If it doesn't sizzle, the pan is not heated properly. Let it cook for about 2 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the chicken breast. 

Cook until the juices run clear. But please don't over cook! Remove and let it rest for a few minutes before use.

Take a small saucepan on medium heat. Add minced garlic and butter to it. 

Let the butter melt and the garlic sizzle for just a minute before you add in the flour. Don't get the garlic get burnt...please. 

Usually bechamel sauce doesn't use garlic but I think it adds a beautiful flavour to my pizza. I even add it while making it for pasta and I always get complimented for my sauce! 

Stir the butter and flour for 2-3 minutes till your roux gets a little nutty. Roux is the mixture of butter and flour. 

Start pouring in the milk gradually while constantly whisking the roux. This task occupied both my hands and hence please imagine that I put up a picture of it all. 

And tadaaa.... here's the Bechamel sauce.... all nice and even. Season it with salt and pepper. Do you see those golden bits? Thats the yummy toasted garlic! 

Now spread 2-3 tbsp of this white sauce on the pizza base. FYI, those bits you see in my sauce, thats the deeeelish garlic! Imagine biting into that! 

Shred the pesto chicken over the pizza.

Add the oven roasted tomatoes, and olives. Grate the cheese

Place it in the oven for 5-7 minutes till the crust gets golden and the cheese all bubbly.  

Remove carefully and blow a kiss....cut into desired pieces to serve. Garnish with torn basil leaves. 


Just divine, isn't it?! 

Note** You will have left over bechamel sauce and basil-parsley paste and the slow roasted tomatoes. Store it in the fridge and use it over the next few days for sandwiches, more pizzas or pastas or salads. It tastes really delicious! Trust me, I've tried it all