Crispy Skinned Salmon with Cauliflower Rice

Salmon, with its delightfully soft, oily and flaky flesh was quick to become one of our favourite fish after moving to Australia.

Initially, I would use it only for Indian dishes which honestly do not always do justice to its incredible texture. And as we started dining out more here, I started enjoying the crispy skin salmon that somehow always finds a spot on most café/restaurant menus.

Earlier I always found it hard to achieve that elusive crispy skin. The fish would curl up slightly when I place it in the pan and it would always be crispy in certain areas and not uniform. Till I saw a Masterchef episode where they showed the technique of holding the fish down lightly for a few seconds after placing in the pan to ensure that it doesn’t get curled up and also get the skin really crisped up. And always cook skin side first!

Some of the other tips for cooking a perfect piece of salmon (other fish too), is to never overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches and serve warm; there’s nothing worse than eating cold fish especially with its skin on.

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Cauliflower Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

And to go along with the salmon, I also whipped up mock cauliflower rice which made this an extremely healthy dinner. A dollop of Roza’s mango, chilli and coconut chutney was added to oomph up the flavour quotient.

This is the kind of dinner that’s not just healthy but a substantial one for the family to unwind and relax at the end of a busy day. And I always cook enough portions to become our lunch for the next day. For us, this is the best way to ensure that we are eating right on work days too.

I always enjoy a touch of spice when I make salmon so here I have used a marinade made from fresh chillies, cumin, garlic etc… I kept the cauliflower rice real simple but you can also use this tempered cauliflower rice recipe that is one of the highest visited recipes on the blog.

Roza’s chutney was used because I had some in the refrigerator; feel free to use your favourite tomato, mango or any other chutney if you wish to.

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Cauliflower Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Cauliflower Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

  1. 4 salmon fillets; with skin
  2. 3 long red chillies (less heat variety)
  3. 5 medium garlic cloves
  4. ½ tsp ground coriander
  5. 1 tsp cumin powder
  6. 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  7. Salt; to season
  8. Juice of ½ lemon
  9. Olive oil; to pan fry the salmon

For the cauliflower:

  1. 1 small cauliflower head; including the green bit
  2. Zest of 1 lemon; grated
  3. Juice of ½ lemon
  4. 3 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts
  5. 3 tsp parsley; finely chopped
  6. Salt, to season
  7. ½ tsp paprika
  8. 2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

For the Salmon:

  1. Clean the salmon; remove any bones if present and pat dry.
  2. To make the marinade, blend together the chillies, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, coriander and cumin.
  3. Pour this over the salmon, season with salt and rub well; keep aside for 15 – 30 minutes.
  4. Heat olive oil in a pan (remember the marinade already contains oil) and when heated well, place the salmon fillets skin side down. Hold and press down the fillet lightly to ensure that the entire skin side is in contact with the pan for a few seconds. Then place the next fillet and repeat the same. Fry in batches if the pan is small.
  5. Remove and keep aside.

For the rice:

  1. Separate the cauliflower into large florets, the green bits can also be used for this but ensure that it is fresh and clean. Wash thoroughly and allow to dry before use.
  2. Blitz the cauliflower in a food processor to mimic rice; alternately use a grater if you do not have a processor.
  3. Warm the olive oil in a large wok and add the peanuts, paprika and lemon zest. Tip in the cauliflower along with the parsley, lemon juice and season with salt. Toss on high heat for a few seconds just to combine the flavours and remove. Taste and add more lemon juice if necessary.

Serve the cauliflower rice with the fried salmon pieces and the chutney on the side. Tuck in!

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Cauliflower Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

 

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Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

A crazy title, isn’t it? I can explain…..

Months ago, when I attended the ‘Kids Business Blogger’s Brunch’, I was introduced to Flexo – a unique rigid construction brick and flexible tendon combination toy for children. The mum mode was switched on and I spent a considerable time learning more about Flexo; all for my Lego crazy son’s sake.

Lego is serious affair in our home. It is not just a toy, because it makes its presence felt everywhere. And it always takes up my favourite spot on the couch, not to mention the floor!

We do encourage his Lego craze in a responsible manner as he has always exhibited much creativity with it. He is never happy to stop with the catalogue, instead goes on to constantly make thoughtful designs, projects etc… using it as a base to express his creativity and imagination.

And Flexo seemed to be the perfect addition to it.

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

Suitable for children above the age of six, Flexo is compatible with Lego as well as similar construction bricks. Apart from keeping your child engaged and away from unnecessary screen time, Flexo can be a good tool to develop fine motor skills along with fostering imagination and creativity in your child.

Also plays an important role in developing patience! I find many kids these days lack focus and concentration and toys like these have helped my son immensely with both of these. And when he gets onto a project, he is quite determined to get it done right returning back to it again and again rectifying mistakes till he is satisfied. Indirectly, I feel that this is a great skill to equip my son with.

The range of movement that Flexo tendons provide makes it a very unique addition to the brick enthusiasts. It’s available in different pack sizes and colours too. There are so many creative ways to use Flexo and can really lift your Lego creations up a notch.

The folks at Flexo were very kind to send me samples so that I could put it to the test before sharing my opinion here. When I gave it to Adi, there was only one condition I had – he needs to create something using Flexo and Lego that I can use for blogging. And this is what he came up with….

A little cute bowl for his food blogger mom!

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

So of course I did what I do best….make something that he would love to eat and also can be presented in his new Flexo bowl.

Considering the shape of the bowl, I decided to make Chocolate Tim Tam balls. We made these during the Christmas period (though I am so late in posting it here) which explains the Christmas decorations Adi insisted be a part of his bowl.

These chocolate balls need just three ingredients; Tim Tams, cream cheese and melted chocolate. It is one of the easiest treats to make and are fabulous edible gifts any time of the year.

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

Ingredients:

  1. 1 packet Tim Tam (Double Coat); use any variety you wish to
  2. 250gms cream cheese (softened)
  3. 300gms dark chocolate buttons
  4. For decoration
  • Grated chocolate
  • Sugar hearts
  • Edible silver balls

Method:

  1. In a food processor or using a rolling pin, crumb the Tim Tams and place in a bowl.
  2. Add the softened cream cheese and mix well to combine.
  3. Take a heaped tbsp each and roll into balls and place on a paper lined tray.
  4. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or longer till firm.
  5. Melt the chocolate buttons using the double boiler method or a microwave. Stir well to ensure that the chocolate mixture is smooth and without any lumps.
  6. Using two forks, coat each ball in the chocolate mixture, allowing the excess to drain and place on the paper lined tray.
  7. Garnish using the grated chocolate, sugar hearts and edible silver balls.
  8. Allow to set at room temperature and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

Giveaway Time!

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Flexo, I have two packs (Flexo standard pack orange and standard pack grey) valued at $180 to giveaway to one lucky subscriber. So if you have a Lego crazy kid at home, this would make an awesome gift.

To enter:

  1. Subscribe to my blog using your email id
  2. Comment below ‘what’s been the best Lego gift your child has ever received?’

Rules:

  • Giveaway open only to Australian residents
  • End date: Feb 11th, 2018
  • The winner will be randomly chosen and notified through email (so make sure you subscribe using your email).

All the best!

This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been notified by email. 

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

January Favourites + a Giveaway (Silvers Circus, Melbourne)

Fabulous 2018 folks!

Hope all of you are having a great start to the year. I have, for sure, begun the year with much positivity, happiness and enthusiasm for work, family, friends…..everything about my life.

While I do not set resolutions, I do set a lot of goals at regular intervals throughout the year. And one of my major goals for this year is ‘balance’.

As work progresses and so does my family and social commitments, I realize that I can stay on top of my game only if there is a balance between all these parts of my life. When you have a business of your own, it’s very easy to spill over work into family time and vice versa. So that’s where I am going to strive and strike balance. Better management and clear cut division of time so that my family does not feel I am working all the time.

Have you set any goals for yourself this year?

Speaking of family time, I am so excited to take Adi to his first ever circus show – Silvers Circus, touring Melbourne currently.

Circus was a big thing in my childhood. We hardly had choices like today when it came to kids entertainment so going to the annual circus show in town was a huge thing. And most often, we would be taken from school like a picnic and I would get pocket money from my parents to buy cotton candy or some popcorn – and oh my, that was a big treat.

Surprisingly, Adi has never been to a circus and when Silvers Circus got in touch, I was so excited. I know we are going to have a fabulous time for sure.

Owned by Swiss born Anna & Anton Gasser, Silvers Circus began its journey 40 years ago and has evolved into one of the Top 10 circuses of the world. Stunning artists, Las Vegas style illusions, innovative stunts, humor, modern production techniques and much more, the Silvers Circus is a captivating experience for the young and old alike.

January Favourites + a Giveaway (Silvers Circus, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

January Favourites + a Giveaway (Silvers Circus, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

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Silvers is currently touring Melbourne with shows at two locations, Mornington Peninsula (ended) and Dingley (January 31st to February 25th) with multiple show timings.

And they have been extremely kind to sponsor a giveaway i.e. one family ticket (2 adults + 2 children) for three different families to any show of their choice. Isn’t that awesome?

(This giveaway has now ended, and the winners have been notified by email)

So some rules;

  1. Subscribe to my blog using your email address (you can find the subscribe button at the top right hand side of the blog)
  2. Leave a comment below about what’s your most memorable experience visiting a circus.

Unfortunately, this one’s only for the Melbourne subscribers. Giveaway ends February 4th midnight and winners will be picked through a random draw and notified through email and on my social media channels.

Let’s hop on to top picks for the month of January;

This traditional South Indian dry chutney is super delicious and healthy.

5 easy steak marinades – and I love each one of it.

Indian style Nachos; yeah bring it on!

Baked but super crispy chicken wings; you definitely need this recipe in your life.

More fried chicken!

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is back on. Lots of interesting stuff and tickets are selling like hot cakes.

Do you have only one child? Why aren’t you having more? Won’t your child feel lonely? I am so tired of these questions. This article makes perfect sense and our reason is the second one ‘trust your gut’.

 

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps

Not sure about all of you, but I am terribly late with my ‘back to school’ shopping.

As I have been away on holidays, I did not really have a chance to take stock of what are the new purchases I will need to make for Adi to get ready for school. And now, I just have a week left.

And while I will be scrambling to get the uniforms, shoes, bag etc…. I am so glad that the lunch box situation has been sorted, all thanks to Smash Enterprises.

My association with Smash began 2 years ago when I was introduced to the brand at a bloggers’ conference and I haven’t looked back since. And for the past two years, I have been reviewing their products and new launches during the ‘back to school’ period.

Check out my earlier posts here and here (there are some easy lunch box recipes too).

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

Smash Enterprises is an Australian owned brand; and all their products are not just reliable and durable but designs that focus on reducing wastage. Moreover the products are BPA free, which is an extremely important factor for me.

There are so many choices when it comes to picking out the right type of lunch box for your child, based on individual needs and eating habits. Highly customizable products in varied sizes and shapes, that’s what I like best about Smash.

Smash products are sold at most of the big retailers like Coles, Woolworths, Officeworks, BigW, David Jones, Masters and Target. You can view the latest product catalogue, to see the entire range and also find out where the products retail as some of the designs are unique to certain stores.

One of my favourite products (and Adi’s too) is the Smash Box, also called the dual lunch box.

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

It has a very simple yet practical design that is not just durable but also easy to dismantle and clean everyday. The twin compartments make it easy to segregate the different food items and there is also a sandwich belt to hold those unruly ones in place (how much I need that!). It also comes with a yoghurt container which we use a lot and also plenty of room to hold other nibbles like cheese, biscuits, fruits etc…

Smash also stocks small add on, multipurpose containers in several shapes and colours that can be used to pack food items like dips, pasta etc….

The lunch boxes also come with suitable bags which have the unique BLUE iQ mould resistant and antibacterial lining. It is free from BPA, Phthalate. lead and PVC. Also has an easy swipe clean design which is so practical for easy daily maintenance. Also available in so many colours and designs for that fun factor for children. Adi has chosen the ‘Camo’ design this time; apparently he is done with cartoons and Camo is the new cool!

Apart from the dual lunch box, some of the other popular designs are the bento box and this year’s launch, the Bento switch up which has removable dividers  that make it all the more easier to customize your child’s lunch box.

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

Smash also has a great collection for adult lunch boxes and I love the grown up designs and colours. Again really practical and reliable solutions for everyday use.

And now for the recipe….

Wraps are one of our go to school lunches. Adi loves the convenience of eating these while out and about on the playground; it’s non fussy and convenient. And I love the fact that there are a zillion fillings that I could think of for the wraps so that it does not become boring and repetitive.

I also find that wraps are an easy way to get him to eat all sorts of veggies; as long as it’s flavourful, he is not picking out ingredients. So today, we have this super delicious but easy veggie wraps using paneer or the Indian cottage cheese with assorted veggies.

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

A really rich calcium source, paneer is often used in traditional Indian dishes but it is equally great to be eaten raw. Just make sure that you get good quality paneer and soak it in lukewarm water for 5 minutes to get super soft texture that is great as a salad topping or in wraps like this.

The only seasoning I have used is a touch of cumin and dukkah; both of which adds loads of flavour.

Do share your back to school experiences, any great brands you have discovered and your child’s favourite lunch box recipes.

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

Paneer Veggie Wraps

Ingredients:

  1. Whole meal Wraps (substitute with tortillas/Indian flat breads/pita pockets)
  2. 100 gms paneer (soaked in lukewarm water for 5 minutes); sliced lengthwise
  3. 1 yellow bell pepper; sliced lengthwise
  4. 1 tomato; remove the pulp and slice lengthwise
  5. 1 Lebanese cucumber; sliced lengthwise
  6. ½ tsp crushed cumin
  7. 1 tsp dukkah
  8. Salt; to season
  9. 1 avocado
  10. 1 lime

Method:

  1. In a bowl, add the paneer, cucumber, tomatoes and bell pepper.
  2. Season with salt, cumin and dukkah; toss gently to mix.
  3. Scoop the avocado into a non reactive bowl; add the juice of half a lime and mash well using a fork. Season with salt, taste and add more lime juice if necessary.
  4. Heat a whole meal wrap and spread the avocado smash on top.
  5. Place a handful or two of the paneer veggie mix and roll tightly into a wrap.
  6. Cover the bottom half with some foil which makes it easy for your child to eat.

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

Top 10 Recipes of 2017 – a Reflection on the Year Gone by

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” – Rick WarrenThe Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

This line totally reflects the state of mind I am currently in.

As most of you would be aware, I was away on holiday from mid December to January, which saw me take an almost complete break from work.

Initially, it was a bit overwhelming and unsettling seeing the kind of content that most bloggers and influencers do over the holiday period, but soon I realised that the long break was a blessing in disguise for the very tired soul inside me.

Now that I am back, I realise that break was necessary as it helped me reflect on the past one year, both personally and professionally.

While the first half of 2017 was immensely gratifying, the latter half saw me going into a state of stagnancy. I had become too comfortable in my space here that I forgot to push myself creatively and by the end of the year, I was bored.

And boredom is not a great feeling especially for someone who is creatively inclined. But the break happened at the right time and looking back, I see it as a wakeup call. The first thing I did after the holidays is reflect on how to take forward my blog and everything else associated with it. Because for me, this blog is everything…it’s an extension of my soul, my very being and not just a job.

The best way to reflect for me was to go back and see for myself the kind of content I had created for 2017. Because that gives me the inspiration and the clarity on how I want 2018 to be….

And that’s exactly why I decided to do this roundup. It was hard to pick just ten recipes but these best reflect me and my food philosophies. Now if all of you could take a moment and let me know which of these is your favourite and also what do you expect to see from ‘The Spice Adventuress’ in 2018. Your feedback would mean a lot to me….

Before signing off, wishing all of you and your loved ones a blessed and prosperous 2018!

  1. Omelette Brochettes

This recipe was a major hit of 2017. After all, who doesn’t love eggs!

A quick and simple one, these brochettes are great as school snacks, potlucks or even as party canapés. Pair it with a great chutney and you have a clear winner on your hands.

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

  1. Salmon Kebabs

These salmon kebabs were the result of a happy accident. I had set out to make salmon croquettes, instead ended up making kebabs when I ran out of time. And it has become a hot party favourite in our home ever since.

It’s so simple and salmon is an excellent choice for making these kebabs and always a hit amongst our friends.

Salmon Kebabs - thespiceadventuress.com

  1. Tatrelo Kolmi Patio (Parsi style Prawns)

Another first for me this year. In spite of knowing that Parsi cuisine has some of the best dishes that India has to offer, I took so long to try some out. Started with this delicious prawn preparation that was quick to become a hot favourite at home.

Tatrelo Kolmi Patio (Parsi style Prawns) - thespiceadventuress.com

  1. Methi Dana ki Sabzi (Indian style Fenugreek Seeds Stir-Fry)

This recipe was a major discovery for me this year. Indian cuisine is so vast and the traditional dishes from each region continue to surprise me.

I was thrilled to learn this regional recipe that is popular in a few states in North India where the fenugreek is used as the main ingredient in a dish instead of as a spice. We all know how healthy fenugreek is and though this is a tad bit difficult in the preparation stage, I do make it occasionally for its health benefits.

Methi Dana ki Sabzi (Indian style Fenugreek Seeds Stir-Fry) - thespiceadventuress.com

  1. Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo)

Tacos are a hot favourite in our home. It’s so easy to put together a whole meal in such short time and we like how it can be customized to each one’s liking. And I think tacos are great for bringing the family around the dinner table. One of my personal tacos favourites for the year was these delicious Fish tacos with pickled slaw and jalapeno mayo.

Crispy slivers of barramundi with sweet n’ salty pickled onions and carrots, finished off with jalapeno mayo to spice things up a bit. You ought to check these out for sure!

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo) - thespiceadventuress.com

  1. Moroccan Lamb Chops

This year’s Easter party was a big highlight as I prepared a feast for some of our closest friends. I chose to make a selection of dishes from different cuisines, but all flavours we enjoy.

And hands down, the winner of the feast was these delicious Moroccan Lamb Chops that so many of you have tried and got back to me with amazing reviews.

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

  1. Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous)

I absolutely love my homemade tandoori marinade, using which I have created so many memorable dishes in my kitchen. This one’s special because I made it for my parents while they were visiting us for holidays.

Bring out your barbecue if you have one which is the best way to make a tandoori. And these chicken thighs smothered with the flavourful marinade make it one of the most delicious dishes I prepared last year. Paired with an unlikely side of grilled veggies and couscous.

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

  1. Fettuccine Carbonara (with Spicy Sausage Meatballs)

I am a big fan of Sucuk, a Middle Eastern style sausage which we often have just grilled as a snack or for breakfast. This time, I decided to make meatballs by removing the external casing which was great as Sucuk has loads of flavour and you need not add any extra spices or aromatics. Paired with a simple carbonara, this is a pasta dish that comes together in under 30 minutes. Needless to say, it’s a favourite!

Fettuccine Carbonara (with Spicy Sausage Meatballs) - thespiceadventuress.com

  1. Duck Kurma

Another favourite this year was this Chettinad style Duck Kurma. This is the first time I prepared a duck dish on my own and I was so ecstatic that it turned out really delicious. Also a part of the ‘Great Australian Curry Campaign’ which makes this dish all the more special.

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

  1. Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble)

Deliciously wicked silky and smooth Chocolate Mousse laced with spiced rum and then topped generously with buttercrunch toffee crumble. And maybe some strawberries too…..

Do I need to say more as to why this was a hot favourite on the blog?

Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers

Christmas is just around the corner and most of us are still scrambling around to find the perfect gifts for our friends and loved ones.

My foray into the food blogging world got me hooked onto the idea of edible gifts and hampers for special occasions and Melbourne has so many amazing brands where you can get be-spoke and customized hampers for all occasions and budgets.

And one such amazing brand is ‘The Sweet Poppy

The brainchild of Chetana Suvarna Ganatra, a qualified Chef and Pâtissier, The Sweet Poppy is a home based business that focuses on high quality, consistent and great tasting food, baked goods and hampers.

‘Our philosophy is to provide our clients a bowl of local produce dusted with professionalism, along with a pinch of creativity blended with our passion and drizzled with love’.

Chetana’s foray into the food world was no accident. Growing up and married into a family of foodies, her passion for food soon led her to pursue it as a full time career. After arming herself with certificate courses in commercial cooking and patisserie from Holmesglen, she along with her family launched ‘The Sweet Poppy’.

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience one of her be-spoke gourmet hampers, The Great Gatsby. A special release for the festive season, this is truly an indulgent and luxurious edible gift hamper.

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

The hamper came beautifully packaged in a gold toned box, elegant yet festive. After all, first impressions are really important when it comes to gift hampers.

This exclusive, deluxe hamper has the finest, handmade sweet treats along with other special goodies that are perfect for the festive season. It contains;

  1. The flamboyant Chandon Brut 750 ml
  2. Scented Soy Candle in a glass jar
  3. Rich Fruit Cake/Mud Cake 750 gm
  4. Melt in the mouth Rosewater infused Coconut Bites 150 gm
  5. Sugar-free Mejdool Date & Nut Roll 150 gm
  6. A very buttery Lemon infused Almond Cookie 6 pieces
  7. Chai Masala 50 gm
  8. BBQ (Tandoori) Spice-rub 75 gm

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

Let me begin with the Rich Fruit Cake…..because it was easily one of the most delicious fruit cakes I have had in a long time. Most of you would know by now that I am not a big fan of sweet treats, often preferring the savoury flavors. But this fruit cake would be an exception, because the flavours were perfectly balanced. It was not too sweet, moist, rich yet delicate and a big splash of St.Helena Brandy/Old Monk Rum soaked nuts and dry fruits make it an absolutely spectacular Christmas treat.

A glass of the Chandon Brut and a slice of the fruit cake – all that you need to make the festive season extra special!

If not the hamper, the rich fruit cake on its own would make an excellent gift or a delicious treat for your home or office party.

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

The rosewater infused coconut bites were melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness. Again the subtle flavours made these an excellent sweet treat to share or simply enjoy yourself. My son’s favourite was the sugar-free Mejdool date and nut roll; a treat he insisted should be a part of his school snack.

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

The lemon infused almond cookies were also a great hit at home. Buttery and delicious, the hint of lemon added an extra zing of freshness that is particularly enjoyable on hot days.

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

I am a huge fan of homemade spice mixes, which all of you know by now. And I was delighted that the hamper had two favourites of mine – Chai Masala and the Bbq spice rub. While I haven’t tried out the chai masala yet, I did use the bbq spice rub to marinate and grill some chicken thighs. Freshly pounded spice blends are always more flavourful than store bought ones and this one didn’t disappoint either.

The Sweet Poppy: Be-spoke Bakery, Catering and Gourmet Hampers - thespiceadventuress.com

The Great Gatsby is definitely one of the most indulgent edible gift hampers I have experienced and it felt extra special because most of the products were small batch, homemade ones which speaks volumes about its quality.

The Sweet Poppy also offers two other preset hampers, The Classic and Bombay Velvet. But you can create your own customized hampers according to the occasion and budget in consultation with the brand.

Apart from gift hampers, The Sweet Poppy is also a one-stop destination for all your party food including baked treats like customized cakes, cupcakes etc… and also catering for all events, big or small.

To find out more about the products and services, visit The Sweet Poppy.

 

Disclaimer – This post has been brought to you in collaboration with The Sweet Poppy, but all the opinions and musings are entirely mine.

 

 

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster

I have a very vivid memory of the first time I tasted lobster.

Must have been about eight or nine years old, I was living in Dubai at that time. One of my dad’s friends who worked in the Merchant Navy had gifted him some as a Christmas present.

Lobsters were literally unheard of, at least in my home. But I could sense the excitement as if something expensive was bought home. Little did I know that it was indeed super expensive and quite an out-of-reach ingredient for most people.

Lobster - thespiceadventuress.com

I don’t remember clearly what was the exact dish my mom cooked but it was a South Indian one, pretty much like how she would cook prawns. The lobster meat tasted sweet and plump, and I couldn’t really see the comparison with prawns. And that taste remained a memory for so many years till I moved to Australia.

While it is still expensive, lobster is no longer an out of reach ingredient. It is available easily at leading seafood stores, and very common during the summer months.

Lobster always evokes a sense of indulgence and that makes it the ideal choice during the festive season. The lobster meat is so succulent, juicy and sweet that it needs very little accompanying flavours.

But today I am going a bit heavy handed with the flavours.

Indo Chinese is one of our favourite cuisines and thus came the idea of putting a spin on a much loved classic. Chilli Lobster – a true indulgence for the taste buds!

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster - thespiceadventuress.com

An excellent starter to serve at your parties and its fingerlickin good with sweet, spicy flavours coating the lobster pieces. You could serve it on a beautiful platter as shown or serve it inside the shell of the lobster if kept intact.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 Lobster tails
  2. 1 medium red onion; diced

Find the full recipe here.

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster- thespiceadventuress.com

 

Disclaimer – Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood

 

 

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji

‘Introducing EatClub, a world-first platform that wants to help you eat out, more often (at Melbourne’s top restaurants no less!)’.

Now that tagline is definitely something that would make us foodies sit up and take notice.

Launched in September, EatClub is a first-of-its-kind mobile platform founded by Pan Koutlakis (CEO, and ex Melbourne CEO of Foodora), Matt Cantelo (co-founder of a huge travel business called CTM), Ben Tyler and last but not the least, the culinary powerhouse Marco Pierre White.

We have dozens of restaurant and food delivery apps in the market today but EatClub offers something really unique to customers and restaurants alike.

And this interesting concept was the reason I decided to collaborate with EatClub and check it out for myself. Of course I get to dine out is an added bonus.

Speaking to Ben, he said that the idea for EatClub came about when the founders were looking at building a platform to help restaurants fill empty tables, but it gained momentum after collating feedback from countless restaurateurs. It was discovered that the best method of assisting them was to offer them a platform where they could instantly attract customers at different times of day and under their own terms.

To quote, ‘EatClub incentivises restaurants to offer deals to customers for dining at off-peak or slower times during the day. With EatClub, restaurants with spare tables can push out live deals from their smartphone in only two seconds. Customers can then redeem those deals, in real-time, and eat out at a substantial discount. All deals are off the whole bill (including drinks)’.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

Marco was approached during the concept stage and he jumped on board instantly, seeing how valuable the app can be for restaurateurs. And his wealth of knowledge in the field was extremely important in the design of the app as he knew exactly the features that a restaurant would desire to have.

And for the customers, it’s even better news as they can find deals at some of the best restaurants in town. Definitely a great one for the pocket, especially if you love to dine out and don’t need to wait and save up to eat at your favorite place. I did check out the list of restaurants in Melbourne (230+) and have to agree that the list was pretty impressive and had some of my favourite spots.

The app can be downloaded free, compatible with both Apple and Android phones and pretty simple to use. You can either scroll through the entire list of restaurants offering the discounts or you can choose the location filter to narrow down the results. The discount % or offer is mentioned right next to the restaurant which can then be redeemed and used within the specified time.

And for a limited time (until January 30, 2018), EatClub is offering all my readers an extra 5% in addition to the discount offered by the restaurant. So if a restaurant is offering 30% discount, then using the promo code ‘SPICE’ will fetch you another 5% discount and that’s a grand total of 35%. Isn’t that great, especially during the party season?

So all that you need to do (outlined in the infograph below) is book your restaurant deal and then add the promo code ‘SPICE’. Show this when you arrive at the restaurant to claim the full discount off your total bill.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

As I mentioned, there are so many amazing restaurants to choose from. And to test out the app, I decided to pay a visit to Babu Ji (St Kilda) – one of my top favourites when it comes to Indian restaurants in Melbourne.

I have visited Babu Ji plenty of times but the exciting thing is that their menu is changed seasonally so there’s always something new to try out.

We also like to choose the banquet as it is the best way to enjoy most of the starters on the menu. And it is the starters at Babu Ji that makes the restaurant so interesting for me. The contemporary twist on many Indian classics is quite admirable and very inspiring for me as a food blogger.

Now I will not get into a complete review of each dish but I will pick out a couple of the highlight experiences.

The Pani Puri vodka shots are highly recommended to start off the meal with. I am absolutely crazy about pani puri; it’s my all time favourite from Indian street snacks. These were so delicious and those vodka shots add a bit more zing and flavour. Highly recommended.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

Another highlight from the appetizer menu was the Peshawari Prawns – Tandoor cooked prawns marinated with coconut and curry leaf, served on Peshawari Naans. OMG….the flavours were simply amazing, tiny morsels of deliciousness. Another must try from the menu.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

The other speciality at Babu Ji that I have always enjoyed is the Tulsi Fish Tikka – Atlantic salmon, marinated with basil, kefir lime and tangy spices and cooked in a clay oven. The fish is juicy, perfectly cooked with just the right amount of spices to lift the flavour to another level.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

There are plenty of vegetarian options too and one of our favourites from the evening was the Paneer Tokri – Potato nest filled with spiced cottage cheese, crisp celery and poached apple. A fine example of a classic Indian dish with a contemporary edge.

EatClub App – a Review + a Delicious Dining Experience at Babu Ji - thespiceadventuress.com

From the mains, my absolute favourite was the Macher Jhol – Bengali style Blue Grenadier fish cooked in mustard oil with turmeric. The Babu Ji version is much creamier and richer than the traditional one but I enjoyed the flavours with both the rice and naans alike.

And from the vegetarian curries, my favourite was the Adraki Palak Paneer- Homemade cheese dipped in spinach curry infused with dried ginger. I am usually not a big fan of Palak Paneer but I totally loved their version. The spinach base was lush and creamy without being overpowering and that dried ginger really helped lift the flavours.

10

If you haven’t dined at Babu Ji before, then do check out their daily deals for a delicious yet affordable dinner experience. And make sure you use the promo code ‘SPICE’ for that extra 5% discount.

Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post bought to you in collaboration with EatClub; all the opinions and thoughts are entirely mine.

Pan Fried Snapper (with Salsa Verde, Caponata and Asparagus)

How have all of you been?

(Do let me know in the comments guys, because this is the only place where I interact with so many of you. So keep the conversations going….)

I am currently in a ‘season deadline’ zone, a zillion things to do before I fly off to India for our vacation. Yes folks, we are visiting home after a long long gap of almost five years. And no, we didn’t plan on being away for so long, just that a lot of stuff happened on the personal and work front after migrating to Australia that we were not able to take a proper vacation until now.

There is a lot of pending work, and I have no clue how I am going to manage it all. This season’s always a little crazy and it is also a fact that I didn’t plan and organize my work effectively. And honestly, I do find it a bit stressful and overwhelming at times when I see such amazing content from other bloggers. The feeling lasts me a couple of hours. But I don’t let it affect me more than that; a few deep breaths and telling myself repeatedly that I am not a part of any ‘rat race’ is my therapy.

That feeling of ‘not doing enough’ used to plague me much more earlier on. But over years, I have perfected the art of dealing with it effectively. I have learnt to say ‘NO’ and I have learnt to stop comparing myself with anyone else. Believe me; it’s so important in the chaotic times we live in.

So no festive recipes from me this year, just food that I have enjoyed with my family and some that I have created for clients. Hope you guys don’t mind.

The title for today’s recipe might read a mile long, but it’s a super easy one. It’s one of those seafood dishes that can easily come together on a weeknight or sit just as perfectly on your weekend entertaining menu.

Pan Fried Snapper (with Salsa Verde, Caponata and Asparagus)

I have used Red Snapper today; it is a beautiful and versatile fish that can be cooked in so many different ways. The steaks can be used for traditional style curries or fried preparations, the whole fish for grilling or the fillets can be used in so many interesting contemporary dishes like we have today.

It is the accompanying combination of salsa verde and caponata that makes this dish really fresh and perfect for summer. I have added a bit of Kashmiri chilli powder (you could use paprika too) to the fish; I think that hint of spice adds loads more flavour than just salt and pepper.

Really fresh herbs are the key to a good salsa verde; the pickled capers and mustard add a whole dimension of flavour and really jazzes up the herb flavour. The caponata is again so fresh and adds real vibrancy to the dish; make sure that the veggies are tossed on high heat or it will go soggy, which we definitely don’t want. And grilled asparagus ofcourse, for that crunchy textural element.

So let’s dig in – Pan fried Snapper with Salsa Verde, Caponata and Asparagus

Ingredients:

Snapper:

  1. 3 large snapper fillets; deboned and cut into large steaks
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Freshly milled black pepper; to season

Find the full recipe here.

Pan Fried Snapper (with Salsa Verde, Caponata and Asparagus)

 

Disclaimer – Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood

 

November Favourites (and a Spice Tailor Street Food Kit Giveaway)

What a fabulous month it has been!

It’s been crazy hectic as my parents were leaving back to India which meant a lot of travelling amidst other things. And that’s why you have not seen me here for quite a while now.

Since I have not been working much the whole of last month, everything has piled up on the work front, so pardon me if I am going to bombard your inbox with posts on most days. There are lots of recipes, brand collaborations, product reviews etc…. in the pipeline and I assure that you guys are going to enjoy it all.

Let’s start this month’s favourites with a giveaway (which I know is exciting for all of you!)

Spice Tailor recently launched their Street Food Kits, which are a take on the famous kathi rolls that are a street food delight across the length and breadth of India.

The kathi rolls (originally invented in Kolkata/Calcutta) became an instant hit across the country as it was delicious and so easy to customize it for each one’s liking. Basically, it’s like a wrap that is filled with all sorts of deliciousness and can be either vegetarian or non vegetarian.

The Spice Tailor kits come in three different flavours – Tangy Punjabi, Classic Tandoori and Spicy Chettinad. I tried out the Tangy Punjabi and Spicy Chettinad…..and it was difficult to pick out a favourite. Each kit comes with six whole meal wraps, a stir fry sauce or marinade to cook the protein, chutney and a spice blend.

For the vegetarian version, I used paneer (Indian cottage cheese) with the Tangy Punjabi kit and for the nonvegetarian version, I used chicken with the Spicy Chettinad kit. Super easy to make and on the table in 15 minutes, these kits were a lifesaver while we were travelling. The flavours were distinctly Indian which was great when travelling with parents who are not too experimentative with all cuisines. And kits like these are way cheaper when travelling as it greatly reduces the need to eat out at restaurants.

Spice Tailor Street Food Kit - thespiceadventuress.com

(A little disclaimer though….. I do not endorse any sort of meal kits as an alternative to everyday home cooking using fresh, in season produce. These are meant to be a help during those crazy busy days, when your health is not the best or while you are travelling).

Now, let’s get onto the giveaway part! I know we are all super busy this season so this giveaway is the perfect one for you during the holiday/travelling season. The Spice Tailor has kindly agreed to give away 14 meal kits to 2 lucky subscribers (i.e. 7 kits each per winner). Isn’t that really generous?

To enter the giveaway;

  1. Subscribe to my blog using your email id.
  2. Comment below what protein/vegetable will you use for this meal kit

Competition open only to Australia residents (It’s Christmas guys, so if you live overseas, you can enter it on behalf of any of your friends/family living in Australia).

The last day for entry is 8th December, 2017 and the winners will be notified through my social media channels and private message on 9th December, 2017. So make sure you are following my social media handles if you aren’t already.

Getting on to the other favourites from last month:

Gratitude! That’s my word for this month of joy, sharing and thanksgiving.

People who are always late are more successful! Now I have the perfect excuse too….

Lusting after this bar cart from Pottery Barn.

I am obsessed over DIY table settings for any kind of party. Do check out my Pinterest page for loads of inspiration.

My favourite store to shop for Christmas decorations.

The Negroni has become so popular during the summer months, so it’s time we had an Aussie version.

I thought I had tried out all sorts of hummus recipes by now. Apparently I was wrong.

These potato skin egg boats would be perfect for entertaining.

Isn’t this the most gorgeous nachos in town?

Shireen’s Mangalorean plated series are back, and it’s as delicious as ever.

Edible gifts for Christmas are a great idea. How about these delicious simple syrups?

Totally digging this Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake for easy entertaining.

A ‘white’ hot chocolate! Isn’t this gorgeous?

 

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