Sunday, September 8, 2013

Basil Pesto

Recipe                                                                                              Print Recipe

Adapted from Taste

50 grams cashew nuts or pine nuts - toasted
50-60 grams Parmesan cheese - grated
11/2 cups basil leaves
5 tbsp olive oil
a pinch of salt
1-2 cloves garlic

Add all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor and process it till everything is finely chopped. With the processor running, slowly drizzle the oil so that everything is well combined and you get a pesto with the desired consistency.

To serve: Pesto can be used as a dip or a spread on sandwiches. It makes a great pasta sauce, simply add a few teaspoons of pesto to freshly boiled pasta for a simple fuss free meal.

Spaghetti with basil pesto

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Poached Pear and frangipane tart

Dear Readers,

Apologies for the long break but I am happy to say I am back to blogging and very excited to be sharing my culinary discoveries with all of you once again. It has been a glorious winter in Sydney, not too cold and lots of sunshine. Lots of lovely winter fruit and an abundance of pears particularly this season.

I have teamed up beautifully poached pears with a frangipane tart encased in a sour cream pastry - sounds divine right! The frangipane tart recipe has been adapted from our very own Australian cooking queen Maggie Beer. Needless to say it's a great recipe with lip smacking results. You can personalize it with a fruit of your choice, berries will work well and so will apricots, just be creative with the fruits in season and you will have a winner in your hands. A word of advise - make extra while entertaining as everyone will want seconds :)


Recipe                                                                                               Print Recipe

Adapted from Maggie Beer's Apricot frangipane tart recipe
Serves 6-8


Sour cream pastry
200 g Chilled unsalted butter- cut into cubes
250 g Plain flour
1/2 cup Sour cream

Frangipane Filling
120 g Unsalted butter 
120 g Caster Sugar
2 eggs
120 g Almond Meal
30 g Plain flour

Poached Pears
3-4 Pears
500 ml or 2 cups port wine or any red wine of your choice
1/2 cup water
1 Cinnamon quill
2-3 Star Anise
1 vanilla bean (split lengthways)
1/3 cup sugar


For the Poached Pears
In a deep pot combine the wine, water, sugar and spices and let it simmer. Peel and core the pears and place them in the simmering liquid. Let the pears cook for approximately 45-60 minutes or till tender. I usually cover the pot with a round sheet of baking paper with a small hole in the middle, it speeds up the process. 

Once the pears have cooked, take them out and let them cool. The wine mixture should have reduced to a sticky syrup like consistency. This syrup is great to pour over the poached fruit tart afterwards.

For the Sour Cream Pastry
Pulse the butter and flour in a food processor till you get a coarse breadcrumb resembling mixture. Pour the sourcream and pulse till it is combined. 

Pulsing butter and flour for the pastry

Now take the dough and shape it into a disc and place it between two sheets of baking paper. Roll the pastry to approx 5mm thickness and then transfer it to a flat tray and place it in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.

Pastry dough

Line a 24 cm loose bottomed tart tin with the pastry and then place the tin for another 10 minutes in the freezer to set.

Tart tin with pastry

Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Line the pastry tin with baking paper and pie weights and let it blind bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove the baking paper and weights and let the pastry cook for another 5-10 minutes till it is golden in colour. Set the tart case aside to cool.

For the Frangipane Filling
Beat the butter and sugar till it is pale, thick and fluffy. Add one egg at a time and continue to beat the mixture. Add a tsp of vanilla and then fold in the flour and almond meal till it is just combined. Pour the mixture into the cooled tart tin and smooth the top with a spatula. 

Frangipane filling in blind baked and cooled pastry

Now it's time to be a little fancy with the carving of the pears. I have scored the pear diagonally and flattened it so that it fans beautifully. You can choose to cut halves and place them in the filling. Place the pears on top of the frangipane filling and press them down gently. Brush the pears with the sticky wine syrup to give a final flourish. 

Ready to be baked

Bake the tart for 25 minutes or until it is cooked through and a skewer inserted in it's centre comes out clean.

Pear frangipane tart

Serve the tart with a drizzle of the wine syrup and cream on the side. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

'Served with Love' Contest Winning entries

Dear Readers,

I know I am rather late in publishing the winning entries to my contest 'Served with love' but it has been a rather busy period for me and blogging unfortunately took a backseat. I am happy to be back and hope to be more regular in my posts. Ladies and gentlemen I present the three winning entries to the contest, they are three beautiful memories shared by three wonderful people. I hope you enjoy reading this special post. Your prizes will reach you soon and thank you once again for sharing your beautiful memories.


This beautiful memory is shared by a dear friend and published writer Vibha Batra.

Served with Love

Lifetimes ago when I was a teenager I thought love was all about grand gestures, passionate 
declarations, musical cards, teddy bears, chocolate hampers  and what have you. I guess that’s what happens when you are hooked on to a steady diet of M&B novels and cheesy romcoms. And if my Mum hadn’t dragged me to Meera Aunty’s place one sultry afternoon, it’s entirely possible that the heart shaped blinkers would have stayed firmly perched. 

As it happened, it was a Saturday, my day off from school and I was looking forward to a weekend that would involve, well, doing nothing. The last thing I needed was to attend a boring oldies reunion. But Mom had other ideas and that was that. Turned out, my worries were unfounded, for Meera Aunty and her husband, Jagdish Uncle were excellent hosts. They were pleasant as opposed to patronising (unlike many other elders) and I was happiest when they decided to give the customary cheek pulling a miss. 

It was hard being grumpy in such company, even more so when the food was served. There were just three places set on the table but at that time I didn’t think anything of it, enamoured as I was by the sight of steaming bowls laden with rajma chawal, aloo gobhi, karari bhindi, and dahi bhallas. The promise of dessert lingered in the air, making it very indeed tough to pay attention to practical matters.  

Meera Aunty helped me pile the food on to my plate (not that I needed any help in that department) and then it was Mom’s turn. Finally, Aunty proceeded to serve Uncle. I thought, perhaps, ever the good host, perhaps Aunty would eat after we were down. So imagine my 
surprise when she went to sit by Uncle’s side and proceeded to spoon some bhindi into her mouth. I was rather taken aback, she was actually going to eat from the same plate. Public display of affection between elders was an alien concept in those days (and dare I say, in the present). 

Mom, who must have been familiar with their practice, continued to feast on the dahi bhallas with much gusto. From time to time, Aunty got to her feet, and not minding our protests, heaped food on to our plates. 

I was instantly charmed by the quaint ritual. Right then and there, I resolved to share a plate with the person I would eventually share my life with. Alas, it didn’t quite come to pass what with me being a staunch vegetarian, and he an absolute carnivore.

Aunty Meera is no more, we lost her to cancer a few years ago. But it’s how I remember her, sitting side by side, partaking morsels of love with the person she loved most in life. And instantly I’m reassured that love’s not what greeting card companies, soppy novels, and Hollywood flicks would have us believe. 

Love is sharing those little moments which add up to the big event called life.

This memory has been shared by my dear friend Avanthi, who I met many years ago at a student orientation meeting. We were both preparing to come to Australia to study and who knew at the time that a chance meeting would lead to an everlasting friendship.

Served with Love

To write this,I am now going back 7 years down memory lane. The year was 2005, the place - Melbourne Australia, the time - chaotic, stressful university life, the reason - a precious, precious friendship. 

It had been just a few months since I landed in Melbourne, a place I hold very dear to my heart, yet in that year it represented a competitive university life filled with stress and challenge. My partner in crime and darling friend, who I had then only recently met was the one who traveled with me to this strange land for the very first time. She was this little child (in my opinion :) - barely out of her teens), although she thought otherwise, as she played mother to many of her friends. 

In those days, I would grab a slice of bread in the morning and disappear to university where I ended up eating junk food through the day until I came back to my apartment where I had to make my own humble dinner. I recall that I had been having one of worst weeks then, where there was practically no time for myself. I had been leaving university past 10 p.m. everyday and that gave me little time to cook a decent meal. 

It was on one such day when I returned home, hungry as ever, that my flatmate told me I had a visitor during the day. Someone had popped by and left me something special in the refrigerator. Intrigued and even slightly shocked that I had a visitor who left me food, (when I barely had time to keep friends), I found the most wonderful strawberry pudding in my fridge. After much interrogation, my flatmate relented and told me that it was in fact my sweet little friend who came all the way to make my day just a little better. I was touched then as I'd never been before as I was truly 'served with love':). She knew how bad my week was and her thoughtfulness meant the world to me. It was a simple gesture of love, but one that I will never forget. 
And what makes this story 'especially special' is that my sweet little friend is none other than our darling 'Cookie'. :)

This last entry is written by my dear friend Aliya, who shares my love for food and was my housemate for 4 years. She has shared a very special memory about family ties with us.

Served with love

As a fussy kid I always wondered what made the meals I didn't like always go down better, when fed to me by my mom or grandmom. At the time a child's guess wasn't what it is today. I came to truly understand that added ingredient, the one that completely altered the chemistry of food was love. Love cannot be measured, cannot be doctored, cannot be physically seen, smelt, touched, or heard, but it can surely be tasted!

How I can vouch for this needs me to tell you the story of 'the surprise trip'. Back in 2005 I had left India for Australia to study. After my first visit home that same year, I had decided that another visit the following year didn't make sense as I should stay back to gain work experience over the summer holidays. It was the practical thing to do. However being heart over head, I found myself feeling the pangs all alone with most of my friends having headed home. I was homesick beyond belief and to make matters worse there was a congregation of my entire family under one roof. It was my aunt's birthday on X'mas day and other family members from different cities were all in town for that. Two things to point out is that my aunt is a mother to me, and that our family doesn't get together very often, so this truly was a momentous occasion.
This was too much pull for this mere mortal to handle. I threw reason to the wind, emptied my bank account and booked a last minute ticket to India on Christmas eve for 3,000 $ ! Concocted a cover up story as to why my phone would be out of reach, fed it to my family and set off towards them.

I still remember standing at the main door of the apartment in Mumbai, feeling my heart beat faster than ever before. I rang the doorbell and waited patiently. What would they all be doing, how would they react? 
The door opened and I saw a sight that still gives me goosebumps even today. My entire family, under one roof, was seated around the dining table. In front of them lay a small feast. A mountain of crisp hollow puris, and an array of stuffings and condiments to complete the ensemble of a dish that we call 'Pani Puri'.

Everyone had a look of utter shock on their face and tears rolling down their cheeks. They couldn't believe I had traversed half the globe, without a whisper and was standing right before them in the flesh. Looks like they had missed me a lot more than I had missed them. Without much concern of how I got there, how my journey was, or even enquiring how I was, my aunt decided that the primary point of action was to feed me. She promptly instructed my poor lil cousin sis to leave the table to make place for me. Sat me down beside her and began the ritual of assembling the perfect pani puri. Allow me to point out to you how much this dish means to my aunt who is a perfectionist. She takes great pains to select her own set of special stuffings that aren't very typical to this dish. She has just the right measure of how much of the various stuffings to use, how much chutney to add, and just how much flavoured water to fill into the hollow that completes just one mouthful of this wonderful dish. I was ordered to open wide, as it takes a mouth of significant diameter to accommodate the entire puri in one shot. Having been a foodie, and grown up sampling street food on countless occasions, I can never replicate the taste of that one home made pani filled puri. It was different to anything I had ever tasted. Sure it looked regular, sure it felt regular, heck it even smelt regular, but I can assure you it didn't taste regular. It was an amalgamation of that entire moment and all the associated emotions in the room into one mouthful. It was a taste I will never forget, the taste of love, served with love.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Madras Special- Ven Pongal with coconut chutney

Ven pongal  is a rice and lentil dish similar to a khichdi and is a very popular breakfast in south India especially in my city Madras. Pongal is also the name of the Harvest festival of the South. Pong means "spill or boil over" and this is a ritual that is still carried out during this festival. The milk and rice is cooked in a pot and allowed to boil over and this is considered very auspicious as it symbolizes abundance. 

Pongal which is also known as Sankranti/Lohri/Bihu in other parts of India commemorates the Sun travelling northward towards the equinox and marks the end of the harvest season in the south. This festival is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and involves a lot of feasting. The other variety of pongal- sweet pongal using jaggery is commonly offered during the Pongal celebrations. I am sharing with you my recipe for ven pongal, a simple savoury breakfast paired perfectly with coconut chutney.

Ven Pongal with coconut chutney

Recipe                                                                                              Print Recipe

Serves 2-3


1 cup Medium grain raw rice (not boiled or parboilled)
1/2 cup Split yellow moong dal
Salt to taste

For the tempering
2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Whole Black Pepper
10 Curry leaves
3-4 Cloves
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1/2 tsp Asfoetida Powder
3 tbsp Ghee

10-15 cashewnuts
1 tsp Ghee

For the Coconut Chutney
1 cup Coconut- chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup Roasted chana dal
1/2 inch ginger
2 green chillis
2 tbsp coriander leaves

For the Chutney Tempering
a pinch of Asfoetida powder
2 Dry red chilli
1/4 tsp Urad dal (split)
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
7-8 Curry Leaves
2 tsp oil


Coconut Chutney

Grind all the ingredients with enough water to get a smooth paste with the desired consistency of the chutney. I like it thick so I add less water but you can choose to have it as thick or thin as you like. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds, urad dal, asfoetida, curry leaves and dry chilli. Let the mustard seeds pop and then add the seasoning to the chutney and give it a good mix.  Coconut chutney is ready.

Coconut chutney


1. I add coriander leaves to the chutney as I like the flavour and the colour it imparts to the chutney, you can choose to leave it out if you don't like coriander.

2. The coconut pieces should be cut into small pieces to ensure smooth grinding. 

3. Water should be added little by little till you get the desired consistency. 


Wash the rice and dal thoroughly till the water you wash it in remains clear. In the pressure cooker heat a tsp of ghee and add the rice and dal to it. Fry it for 5 minutes in the hot ghee uncovered. Now add 3 cups of water followed by salt (to taste) to the pressure cooker and place the lid on it. Let it pressure cook for 3 whistles or about 10 minutes till rice and dal are completely cooked through and mushy.

Prepare the tempering by heating 2 tsp of ghee and adding cumin seeds, asfoetida, pepper, curry leaves and cloves to it followed by the ginger. Let the cumin seeds turn brown and then mix the seasoning with the cooked rice and dal mixture. Give it a good mix so that everything is well combined.

Fry the cashew nuts in a tsp of ghee and mix it with the pongal and leave a few for garnish. Serve the pongal topped with crunchy cashews with a side of coconut chutney.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Super foods special-Banana, Dates and Chia Seeds Muffin

Dear Readers,

I am back with a really yummy and healthy breakfast muffin recipe. You must be thinking yummy and healthy don't really go hand in hand but you will be surprised by this little beauty. The sweetness of the bananas and dates along with the goodness of oats, almonds and chia seeds makes for a very delicious and nutrient packed start to the day. 

Health benefits:

Chia seeds are one of the richest sources of  Omega 3 and are considered a super food. They are gluten free, high in protein (it's a complete protein with 8 amino acids) and Vitamin C. They improve our health and general well being and are incredibly versatile and easy to incorporate into our diets. Sprinkle over cereal, or add it to the bread dough, or add it to smoothies, muffins, cookies, the possibilities are endless.

Oats or Muesli add fibre to our diet and we all know how good oats are to reduce cholestrol levels and improve our cardiovascular health. Muesli is a combination of uncooked rolled oats, fruits and nuts and makes for a nourishing breakfast.

Dates are delicious and a great source of iron, dietary fibre, vitamin A, B and K and flavonoids like beta carotene and lutein, that  protect cells and other structures in the body from harmful effects of oxygen-free radicals.

Bananas are not only yummy but are a great source of potassium, magnesium and anti oxidants. They are easy to digest and gentle on the stomach, and that's the reason why mashed bananas are the first solid food gen to babies.

The combination of all these deliciously healthy ingredients makes these muffins a very healthy and yummy start to the day.This recipe is very forgiving, feel free to experiment with the proportions of ingredients to suit your needs. Enjoy!


Recipe                                                                                               Print Recipe

yields 12-14

150 g Wholemeal Self Raising Flour (if not available use plain wholemeal flour and add 2 tsp baking powder for every cup of plain flour)
50 g Muesli or Oats - powdered (I grinded mine in a spice grinder)
50 g Almond meal (ground almonds)
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp nutmeg
a pinch of salt
60 g brown sugar
40 g Caster sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 over ripe bananas
60g Chopped dates
1 tbsp Chia seeds
5 tbsp vegetable oil
60 ml plain yoghurt


1. You can reduce the sugar and replace with honey.

2. You can make the recipe gluten free by completely omit the flour and replace it with powdered muesli, it will make a slightly denser but delicious cake.


Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C and 160 C if fan forced.

Grind the oats/muesli to a fine powder and set aside. Put all the dry ingredients - flour, almond meal, powdered oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl.


In a large bowl crack the two eggs and whisk it with the sugar till combined. Now add the vanilla, mashed bananas, yoghurt and oil and mix everything well with a wooden spoon. 

Liquid ingredients

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix till well combined and lump free. Fold the chopped dates and chia seeds into the batter.

Chia seeds

Line a 12 cup muffin tray with cases and spoon the mixture into the cups equally. Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes till they are golden and well risen and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the center of the muffins. Let them cool on a cooling rack and then store in an airtight container.

Muffins and tea


Friday, June 21, 2013

Served with love contest (10,000 hits giveaway) and a recipe - Vegetarian Pho

Dear Readers,

Food is one of our primal necessities, but it is so much more than just a necessity isn't it. It brings us together, it has the power to engulf all our senses and leave us with ever lasting memories. Memories that can simply be triggered with just a whiff of this and a taste of that and transport you to a different world - that is the power of food. 

Let me share with you a little incident from my time in Vietnam. I was there for a hospital re-development project headed by my university and it was a cross-cultural team meaning we had students from Australia and Vietnam working together on the project. It was my first time in Vietnam and I was really unfamiliar with the language, I had learnt some basic phrases from the travel book I had, but otherwise was reliant on gestures and the local friends I had made there. 

After arriving in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) from Melbourne, our team travelled from HCMC to Danang where the Hospital was located for our site visit and research. After spending the whole day at the hospital we (a few friends and me) decided to go for a wander and have some dinner. We were four girls, three Aussie and one Vietnamese (our lovely local guide) So we went on a rather long walk and we couldn't spot any restaurants, the road was pretty deserted, there was hardly any traffic and most houses had their lights off. There is an interesting tradition there,many people run house restaurants, meaning guests essentially dine in their homes in their dining rooms, and pay for their meal and leave. This made it really hard for us to spot whether a house was just a house or a house cum restaurant. 

Finally after walking around for an hour we thought we spotted a home cum restaurant. There were a few chairs outside the house, the lights were on and you could see a few ladies pottering around the kitchen. So we made our way to the cosy home restaurant and my Vietnamese friend asked the ladies what they served and to my sheer delight it turned out that they only made vegetarian food. Our friend did all the ordering and the ladies got to work. 

The place was modest, a pale green coloured room with a few tube lights, a few plastic tables and chairs. The kitchen and dining room was one open space and there was a little passage that led to the rest of the house. You could tell the ladies worked very hard to make a living, I sincerely felt a lot of respect for them. Our food arrived at the table, steaming hot bowls of vegetable noodle soup, vegetables and tofu stir fried with bean paste, fried rice and noodle dishes. We dug in and all of us loved the food. The soup was magnificent, I had never tasted such an exquisite broth in my life. One of the girls who's background was Russian kept asking "Are you sure there's no animal content, it has to have some beef stock in the soup surely." Basically she could not believe that vegetarian food could be so flavoursome and delicious. 

The old ladies were so happy looking at us eat, they just sat at the next table and stared at us with a smile on their faces. It was just like how my grand mom would beam when we kids would eat her cooking, the same love, the same care and devotion and the same twinkling eyes. You could see the joy on their faces as we relished their cooking-a priceless moment. One of the old ladies, this cute old gran came upto me while I was still eating and touched my hair lovingly and then said something in Vietnamese, smiled at me and then sat down again. My friend translated saying that the lady knew I was from India because I have big eyes and thick dark hair. I smiled and gave her a hug and just nodded while trying very hard to hold back my tears. 

My grandmother had passed away the day before I had to leave for Vietnam. It was a very difficult time for me being away from home and having to travel for an important project. The only thought that gave me strength was the thought of her getting angry at me for having left my project mid-way. She was a very stern and hard working lady with a generous heart and she would have wanted me to complete what I started. In an unknown country to have this lovely gran feed me with so much love and attention just reminded me so much of my grandmother. It was one of the most incredible meals of my life, not because the food was good but because there was something more added to it - love and care.We had the rest of our meal surrounded by their happy faces and paid a very modest $6 for a meal for four, we tried to tip them but they did not accept it. They only wanted what they thought was fair, such self respecting, honest ladies. I still think of that night, the meal we had and the incredible women we met who in their own unassuming manner touched our lives.

This is my story about being Served with love, I want to hear yours. It can be about anyone who touched your life with a simple act of love through food. Remember the best story will get a great prize from Cookie's Kitchen, it could be anything from a cookbook to assorted cupcakes, it all depends on your geographical location. I am having this contest to celebrate the 10,000 views milestone of Cookie's Kitchen. Feel free to write your story in the comment box below or email me at Contest ends by 5 pm AEST on 1 July, 2013.

Now for the recipe, it's only fitting I share my Vietnamese Pho recipe with you after that story. Pho (pronounced fuh) is a Vietnamese noodle soup usually made of Beef broth. I have adapted the recipe to make a vegetarian version, it is a very soothing, healthy and delicious soup with lots of room for personalization and tweaking. I hope you enjoy it :)


Vegetarian Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)


(Adapted from Kitchn)
Serves 2-3


For the broth
3 Star Anise
1 Cinnamon stick
4-5 cloves
1 tsp coriander seeds
3 garlic cloves
1 Onion (cut into 2 halves)
2-3 inches long Ginger ( divide into 2 pieces)
2 Carrots - roughly chopped
1L Vegetable Stock (salt reduced or unsalted)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Vegetable oil
2 tsp Soya Sauce

Vegetables and protein
1 cup Broccoli - cut into florets
1/2 bunch Choy Sum - trimmed leaves
1 cup Oyster mushrooms
a handfull of Enoki mushrooms
200 g Tofu

200-250 g Rice stick Noodles
1L Boiling water

1 cup Mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup Mint leaves
1/2 cup Coriander leaves
2-3 Red chilli (birds eye)
2-3 Lime wedges

Dry roast the spices (cinnamon, star anise, cloves and coriander seeds) and keep it aside. In a mortar and pestle pound the garlic, one piece of ginger and coriander seeds to a rough paste. 

Making the garlic-ginger-coriander seeds paste

Garlic-ginger-coriander seeds paste

Char a piece of ginger and half the onion on an open flame using tongs, for about 5 minutes. Wash it and keep it aside. Chop the other half of the onion and ginger finely. 

Charred ginger and onion

Heat the oil in a deep pot and add the cinnamon, star anise and cloves to it followed by the garlic-ginger-coriander seeds paste. Let it begin to colour and then add the carrots and charred ginger and onion to it followed by the stock. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. 

Broth base

Meanwhile you can prepare the vegetables and garnishes. Finely slice the spring onions and chillis. Cut the lime into wedges and assemble the garnishes along with the herbs and sprouts onto a little plate. Garnishes are ready.

Garnishes plate


I chose broccoli, choy sum, oyster and enoki mushrooms to have in my soup. I did not think there was any need to steam them before as the hot broth will cook them in the bowl itself and leave them a little crunchy the way I like it. You can add other vegetables of your choice too, lots of room for personalization.

Slice the tofu into rectangles and lightly fry them in a tsp of oil till golden. In a large bowl place the noodles and cover it with boiling water and cover the bowl with a lid and let the noodles cook for 10 minutes till soft, drain and keep it aside, ready to be added to the soup.

After 45 minutes, check seasoning and add soya sauce if required. The broth is ready. Strain the larger items like charred ginger, onion, cinnamon, star anise out of the broth. They have infused into the broth and so we can leave them out now.

The soup is ready for assembly.Take a nice deep bowl. Place the choy sum (any greens of your choice) in it, top with the mushrooms and broccoli. Now place some of the noodles into the bowl. Ladle the hot broth into it till all the vegetables and noodles are covered. 

Arranging the vegetables in the soup bowl

Pho awaiting to be topped with garnishes

Choose the garnishes you enjoy and start assembling, you can top with fried tofu, sprouts, chillis, spring onions, coriander and mint and squeeze some lime into it. Adding your own garnishes means everyone can customize it to their taste buds.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Crispy Cheesy Arancini balls

This is my recipe for turning last night's risotto dinner into a crispy snack. Arancini balls are risotto balls crumb fried or baked with a cheesy center. They make a great party snack as they can be prepared ahead of time and kept. Enjoy!

Recipe                                                                                               Print Recipe

Leftover mushroom risotto (or any other risotto)
Bocconcini (bite sized fresh mozzarella)
Bread crumbs
approx 1 cup Plain flour
2 Eggs- whisked
Oil for frying

Note: It's not possible to give exact measurements as it depends on the quantity of left over risotto.

Slice the bocconcini into thin slices and keep aside. Take a slice of bocconcini, place a basil leaf on it and then keep it as the center and form a risotto ball around it, try to keep it the size of a golf ball.

Repeat the process with the remaining risotto and place the balls in a platter. Now lets start the crumbing process, Take each risotto ball and roll it in flour, then the egg and then the bread crumbs. Repeat the process for all the risotto balls. 

Now heat oil in a pan and once it's hot enough ( check by dropping a piece of bread if it sinks it's too cold, if it browns immediately it's too hot, if it sizzles and colours slowly it is at the right temperature) Place 3-4 risotto balls in the oil at a time and avoid over crowding. Let them fry till they get nicely crisp and brown. Repeat for the rest of the risotto balls. Your crispy arancini is ready.

Note: If you are preparing ahead of time, keep them in a warm oven to remain warm and crisp. Best served hot with tomato chutny.