Category Archives: Main Course

Recipes that have been personally tried

They called it Whiskey Chicken

Fresh from a victorious BBQ at a close friend’s house-warming party, I am feeling rather chuffed at how wonderful the BBQ marination has turned out to be. In hind-sight, that statement is rather far from modesty. But allow me that excitement since my experiment went off really well.

There were 2 of us responsible for all the marination and menu for the BBQ Grill Party. Need to add in that the other friend is a brilliant cook who can cook up a dream. The 2 of us were responsible for the palettes of 6.

Sharing the recipe of the nicely drunk chicken chunks in this mildly tempered marinade:

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 cloves of garlic; finely chopped

2 large pegs of whiskey

Mix all of them together. I had 2 whole chicken that I de-boned and dunked in the 1 inch cubes in it overnight.

Skewer the pieces on well soaked wooden skewers or replace them with metal ones.

Put them on the grill for about 5-6 minutes; depending on how well you are stoking the heat.

Eat! Close your eyes! Eat some more! Repeat!

Tip: strain out the garlic pieces and reduce the marinade with a handsome dollop of honey and use as a glaze to serve with the meat.

I do not have a single photo since we were too busy stoking the fire, balancing the skewers and handling drinks! Cheers!

Advertisements

It’s The SAUCE That Matters

Be it a story or food – it is the sauce that matters!

And finally, I found the courage and confidence to make mushroom pasta. I haven’t the courage to make pasta from dough-scratch but the sauce, I got! And the brilliant thing is that one needs just 4 ingredients to have this creamy, shining and delicious sauce.

So, here we go:

Button / white mushrooms        300 grams (usually boxed in supermarkets – can also use other varieties)

Onions (red)                             2 medium-sized

Rosemary                                   2 sprigs

Garlic                                            2 cloves

Cooking Cream                      150 ml

Salt and Pepper                      as you like ’em!

Prepping up for Mushroom Sauce!
Prepping up for Mushroom Sauce!

Sharpen up your knife and chop those red onions up finely. In case you are likely to cry a bucket, burn a candle before you start chopping. You will see the magic when you realise you are not welling up.

Slice up the mushrooms. Keep aside. For the rosemary, hold ’em from the top and pull down the leaves with your thumb and fore-finger like a smooth swipe. You get only the leaves. Chuck the stem. Finely chop them up.

Now, get your saucepan (the keyword is SAUCE) nice and hot with a drizzle of olive oil. Add in the onions and cook them till they are soft and pink. Add in the garlic then. This way, the garlic will not burn and the onions will not be undercooked.

When you see them sweating it out in the sauce pan, add in the rosemary, give it a good stir and stop a while to enjoy the aroma! Once you are suitably intoxicated, slide in the chopped mushrooms. Cook them through. The mushrooms will half-out in the heat and by then you would have coated them well. Time for the seasoning. That done, dunk in your cooking cream and mix well. In case you notice that the concoction is too thick, use some cooking stock or simply use the pasta-boiling-water to loosen it a bit.

It is now time for the pasta to take a dive into the delicious sauce. Drain them and put them straight in with the sauce. Mix well and ladle them on pasta plates. Top off with parmesan shavings!

Enjoy! And remember – the magic is in the sauce!

On my #Burp&Belch meter, I give it a shameless 5 burps (out of 5)! Modesty clearly doesn’t mix well with a good sauce!

Grilled Za’atar Chicken on Sweet Spud Mash

So, before I forget the password to my food blog, I decide to post the last 2 memorable meals that I rustled up. This one is “Zaatar Grilled Chicken on a bed of Sweet Potato Mash”.

Ever since I have started grilling, I realise that the meats remain the constant. The variable (read accompaniments) need to be varied timely to keep any recipe alive. This is just my rusted a-mathematical brain trying to postulate a theorem. If you want to skip this bit (and not know me) then scroll down to the recipe directly.

Grilled Zaatar Chicken on Sweet Spuds
Grilled Zaatar Chicken on Sweet Spuds

For the grilled chicken:

1 breast of chicken

2 teaspoons of za’atar

Salt to taste

Pepper to your liking

Olive oil to cover both sides of the chicken

 

For the mashed potatoes:

2 medium-sized sweet potato

1 small regular potato

100 ml of single cream

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 knob of butter

Salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and set them to boil. I usually cut them up into quarters to ensure even and quicker cooking. While the spuds are bubbling away, prepare the chicken.

Zaatar robed chicken breast
Za’atar robed chicken breast

Beat it lightly with a mallet to get it to even thickness. Then apply salt and pepper to both sides. Then add about 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh za’atar to one side. Add a small drizzle of olive oil and let the chicken rest.

Check on the potatoes. They should almost be done. Run a knife to see if they are softening up. Once they do, drain the water, transfer the spuds to a bowl and start mashing them up. Throw in a knob of butter and a hint of oregano. Mash them further. Use all the force you think you have when you watch The Dark Knight wrestling Bane. Add in the cream and mix it all together. Add salt and pepper. And now for the dreaded part of checking on your cooking prowess – taste a bit of the mash. Good? Great! Leave it for the time being.

Get your skillet out and have it nice and hot and carefully place in your chicken. Grill both sides. You’d notice that the za’atar side darkens up. Do not fume. It is only crusting up and becoming more flavourful.

Crunchy Grilled Zaatar Chicken
Crunchy Grilled Za’atar Chicken

Once done, rest the chicken. Slice them up and serve on a generous bed of creamy mashed sweet spuds.

What I loved most is how the za’atar revealed all its flavours while on the grill. You will love the prominent sesame crunch to the grilled chicken.

Enjoy!

On my #Burp&Belch meter, I’d give it 3 and 1/2 burps (out of 5)!

Pasta Disasta!

Pastas are a favourite at home, so much so that my almost 2 year-old loves to squish them! This recipe that I am about to share is a disaster averted, or maybe so I think. At the outset, I invite severe criticism and genteel suggestions from chefs, epicures and foodies alike.

Favourite Pasta-time
Favourite Pasta-time

I picked up a bottle of tomato-basil pesto. And so dinner was buck wheat pasta with sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers in tomato – basil pesto.

I set to my task at hand. Wear apron. Put on some music. Didn’t have wine at home, so had to make-do with some juice. And then, put some salted water to boil. In another pan, heated some olive oil, added some crushed garlic and started  sautéing some white mushrooms. Just as they started softening up, tossed in the diced bell peppers and gave it a good stir.

Put in the buck wheat pasta into the boiling water. Buck wheat pasta cooks faster than durum wheat pasta. So keep a check on how long you boil. It usually gets done in about 7 minutes. Drain. Cool off in ice water.

Meanwhile, the mushrooms were getting along well with the bell peppers and were ready to be downed in the pesto sauce. I opened the bottle and realised (my folly) that the bottle I picked up was not tomato-basil pesto but tomato garlic relish. It was too late to react to my shopping-shelf folly! And so I whooped the contents into the pan and gave it a nice stir. Topped on some seasoning of salt and pepper and a dash of oregano and tried to bring it all together. Then I added the pasta to the pot and tossed it all together so most of the pasta got coated.

I plated my dreaded pasta dinner, placed some green olives and heaped up a generous shaving of parmesan cheese.

My wife is perhaps the most non-fussy eater on earth. She tucked into her plate of dinner like a boarding student takes to home food. When I asked her how it tasted, she said it was just about ok.

I wiped the sweat of my brow. Took a big forkful in. Had it not been for the mushrooms and bell peppers, it would have been the biggest pasta disaster.

On my #Burp&Belch meter, I’d give 2 burps to it (out of 5)!

Grilled Chicken w Greens Cherry Tomatoes & Haloumi

Grilled Chicken on Greens, Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes and Grilled Haloumi
Grilled Chicken on Greens, Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes and Grilled Haloumi

This started out as an ambitious plan to rustle up dinner like I see Jamie Oliver do. Inspiration aside, it was the trepidation to get it absolutely right that got me completely involved in this dish that I (unimaginatively) call Grilled Chicken on a bed of Greens, Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes with Grilled Haloumi. I am sure the name would run off the page if featured on a menu. This is how it all went.

 

For the grilled chicken:

    • 1 chicken breast, halved
    • Rosemary and Thyme for the rub
    • Salt and Pepper for seasoning

 

For the Greens

    • 1 box of greens (or choose rocket leaves, lettuce of different hues)
    • 1 box or 250 grams of cherry tomatoes (quarter them up)
    • 200 grams of mushrooms (I used the ordinary white button mushrooms)
    • 2 pods of garlic, chopped
    • 4 slices of fresh Haloumi Cheese (grilled)
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper for seasoning

 

In a large salad bowl, flip over the box of greens and roughly tear the leaves up a bit. Throw in the quartered cherry tomatoes. Lightly saute the finely sliced mushrooms in butter and garlic. Cool them a bit before tossing them in the bowl. Squeeze a juice of a lemon all over. Add in some extra virgin olive oil. Throw in a dash of salt and pepper to season. Use your hands to mix it all up and keep ready.

Heat a skillet nice and hot. Drizzle in a spot of olive oil. Add in the chicken. While the chicken gets grilled, put the slice of haloumi cheese. While the criss-cross mark of the grill looks pleasing on the haloumi skin, keep in mind that over cooking or heating the cheese will make it rubbery and chewy. Flip them over. Check on the chicken too. That was just to show how good a multi-tasking cook I can be. The chicken will take about 6-7 minutes to get done. Take them off the heat and rest them for a few minutes. Meanwhile, start the plating.

Make a generous bed of greens. Make sure that you can see the cherry tomatoes and mushrooms; adds to the treat visually. Place a slice of grilled chicken on top. Add in a couple of slices of the grilled haloumi. Et violà!

Bon appétit! 

Wifey rating: 5 burps!

Grilled Chicken with Pesto

#HomeChef #GrilledChicken
#HomeChef #GrilledChicken

This recipe was the result of what I could rustle up for wife and I without having to order anything from the local grocery. Here’s how it goes:

  • 1 chicken breast: marinate with salt and pepper and oregano flakes on one side
  • 2 table-spoon olive oil for grilling
  • 400 grams of veggies (anything you want to eat with your meat). I chose peas, carrots and broccoli.
  • 4 table spoons of pesto. I chose classic basil pesto. Cannot think beyond that, honestly.
  • Seasoning

Procedure:
Heat the skillet / griddle pan on high flame. Add olive oil and let it smoke. Meanwhile, lightly beat the chicken breast to a consistent thickness. With the griddle all ready, add in the chicken breast. Prepare to go high on the decibel as the pan screams and smokes out.

Bring water to a boil and blanch the vegetables. Add some salt. Carrots take more time. Peas don’t. Broccoli needs some careful handling to keep the colour in tact. Once blanched, put them in cold water, specially the broccoli to stop the cooking and keep up colour.

Check on the chicken. Grill each side for about 5-6 minutes. Watching food as it cooks is a very satisfying activity. Once the chicken is done, take it off the pan and let it rest for about 5 – 7 minutes.

Lightly saute the vegetables in olive oil (with a small smatter of butter). Season it. Keep aside.

Grilled Chicken with Pesto
Grilled Chicken with Pesto

Now for the plating. Bed up the plate with the sautéed vegetables. Place the grilled chicken on top. Spoon some pesto sauce on the chicken. You may want to dust some parmesan cheese on top. Add a grilled lemon by the side. Tuck in! And don’t forget to squeeze that lemon – you will not believe how wonderful the juice will taste with the veggies!

Bon appetit!

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

I admit that I was very nervous as I promised my wife that I will cook fish. This was the first time I was attempting to be friends with fish. The last statement might come as a surprise to many who are acquainted with me and my vernacular belonging. I was ready with everything, including a new griddle that I bought. And so, with all the courage and confidence I could amass and special blessing from Jamie Oliver, I set off to cook salmon steaks. I was super-delighted with the results. A good dinner and happy wife are strong signs of posting the recipe on my blog.

I started with 2 fresh salmon steaks. I had the skin on. Was not too sure if I should cook with skin, so decided to knife it off. The steak might have some bones. Use your knife to find it and pluck them out. Salt both sides and rub in some olive oil. Let it rest.

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa
Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa – Need to better food photography

For the salsa, I used 2 medium-sized cucumbers and cut them into small pieces after peeling off the skin. Continued the same with a big tomato. Threw in 3-4 young leeks. Open up an avocado and scoop out the flesh. Roughly chop it up and put some lemon juice over it to stop discolouration. Throw them all together in a bowl, add red chilli flakes, pinch of salt and lots of lemon juice. A quick swig of olive oil and some chopped mint on top. You could add in a couple of spoons of orange or pineapple juice. Mix them all well and keep aside.

Meanwhile, put the griddle on the stove till it is as hot as Ramsey’s temper. Put in the salmon steaks and hear them scream on the griddle. Keep them on for 7-8 minutes on the side and then turn them over. It will look nice and well done. A little extra grilling will keep the steak crunchy on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside. Repeat the same for the other side. I was experimenting on getting the criss-cross griddle marks correct. Will perfect them the next time. Take them off heat and allow them to rest a while. You may notice the juices in the griddle pan; pour them back on the steaks.

Now plate them. Steak first and spoon generous amounts of the salsa on top. Take a picture. Sit down and eat well. And do not look at the kitchen sink. That is for another time.