Risotto with Dried Mushrooms (and Bacon Crumbs)

It’s ironic that close on the heels of a khichdi, I write about a risotto.

Not that there’s much of a similarity in origin or technique of preparation, but the fact that both are grain based with that unique consistency somehow puts it in the same category for me.

For those who thought Italian cuisine is all about pizzas and pastas, risotto can come as a bit of a surprise. Even at a fancy restaurant, the risotto still remains a rustic, comforting dish; quite true to its origins.

Risotto with Dried Mushrooms (and Bacon Crumbs) - thespiceadventuress.com

A risotto is best kept simple. In fact it would be a sin to crowd it with many ingredients. A single hero ingredient, a flavourful broth and the right kind of rice is what a risotto is all about. Of course cheese, if you must!

While Arborio is the variety of rice that most of us are familiar with, it is actually other varieties like Carnaroli, Vialone Nano etc… that are more popular in Italy. I have had risotto made with Carnaroli rice before and the texture is much better when compared to Arborio.

Even though Carnaroli is available in selected stores in Australia, I still went with Arborio as that’s the variety that’s easily and more economically available for most.

Dried mushrooms, simply because of its intense umami hit. It has that really earthy flavour that makes you want to keep eating. I soaked the dried mushrooms in the chicken stock to soften it again and the resulting broth was just mind blowing….

Risotto with Dried Mushrooms (and Bacon Crumbs) - thespiceadventuress.com

The bacon crumbs was really an afterthought, perhaps because I love bacon so much and somehow finds a way into many of the dishes I make at home. Not really a main ingredient in this risotto, but rather a garnish just to add another dimension of flavour…..more of that salty, delicious umami hit that makes this risotto the most ideal dish to huddle with on a cold night.

While a great risotto might require practice and experience, I believe a good risotto is achievable by most. As I mentioned, the stock is really important and a homemade stock is the most ideal. Use a store bought one only if you are truly busy yet crave a generous helping of this risotto.

Ingredients:

(Serves 6-7)

  1. 2 cups Arborio Rice
  2. 150gms dried mushrooms
  3. 2 litre homemade chicken stock
  4. 2 ½ tbsp unsalted butter
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil
  6. 1 small white onion; finely chopped
  7. 1 cup dry white wine
  8. 200 gms bacon ( I used streaky bacon); finely chopped
  9. Salt, to season
  10. Freshly milled black pepper; to season
  11. 2 tbsp parsley leaves; finely chopped
  12. Grated parmesan; for garnish

Method:

  1. Reconstitute the dried mushrooms by soaking in the chicken stock for 15 minutes. Remove from the liquid and chop into small pieces.
  2. Finely chop the bacon by hand or using a food processor. In a small pan, add the bacon pieces and cook on low heat (no oil required as the bacon has plenty of fat) till the bacon has browned well but not burnt. Drain the fat using a strainer to get crispy bacon crumbs.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat half of the butter and olive oil; add the onions and sauté till soft.
  4. Then add the mushrooms and cook for another minute or two.
  5. Next add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. When the rice gets a little toasty and begins to make a crackling sound, reduce the heat and add the white wine.
  6. Cook, while stirring continuously till almost all the wine has been absorbed.
  7. Next add one cup of broth and cook (stirring continuously) till the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add another 2 cups of broth and continue to cook. Repeat, adding 1-2 cups of broth and cooking till the rice has reached the al-dente stage.
  8. Then add the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  9. Serve warm with grated parmesan, bacon crumbs and parsley

Risotto with Dried Mushrooms (and Bacon Crumbs) - thespiceadventuress.com

Risotto with Dried Mushrooms (and Bacon Crumbs) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

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April Favourites

What a wonderful month it has been.

A happy month as I would like to call it because there were lots of great moments with family and friends. It was also the month of birthday parties which is always a nice occasion to catch up with friends.

It was school holidays at the beginning of the month so it was all about spending time with Adi, planning playdates and taking him for workshops and activities. One of our favourite places for creative workshops is at the Heide Museum of Modern Art. This time, Adi enrolled in the stop motion/animation class which was quite an exciting one for him. And after the workshop, we always make it a point to visit the ongoing exhibitions at the museum.

The museum has an extensive open space which is absolutely stunning and the perfect place to plan a picnic. But I equally love the café too, the food is just brilliant.

The best thing at the gallery is that they have interactive activities for the parent and child in relation to the ongoing exhibition which is a great way to engage a young child to appreciate the finer arts.

Heide museum of modern art - thespiceadventuress.com

When Adi was away, I relaxed inside this beautiful hut with a coffee and my favourite book. The best kind of relaxation!

The other highlight of the month was the Michael Jackson tribute show, The Legacy Tour by William Hall and his live band. We had gifted Adi the tickets to this show as his birthday gift. Though he had to wait for more than a month to enjoy his gift, he was absolutely ecstatic being a crazy MJ fan.

He even got the opportunity to go on stage and dance to one of MJ’s songs which I think he did full justice too. Many of you even wrote to me about his ‘moves’ after watching the video on my Instagram page.

Michael Jackson 'The Legacy Tour' - thespiceadventuress.com

Getting back to food, I finally have the recipe for this chickpea dish (Sundal) on my Facebook page. Lots of friends have been asking for it and since it’s a pretty common one, I decided to post the recipe on my page than dedicate a full blog post to it.

Sundal (Chickpeas with Spices and Coconut) - thespiceadventuress.com

The Sunday chicken curry used to be a very memorable tradition in most Indian households. And even though the novelty has worn off these days, I still try and continue with my version. Find the recipe on my Facebook page.

Sunday chicken curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Also in love with these plates I picked up while I was on holiday in India; totally digging the wildlife theme. The salad spoons are from Nigeria that I bought on Ebay eons ago.

Animal print props - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Other favourites:

I love savoury breakfasts, especially if it involves egg and bacon!

Homemade extracts! Now this is very informative….

This ravioli looks too pretty to eat.

This chicken tagine and this chicken piccata.

Pork stir fry and green beans. Not a combination I would generally try but this looks so yumm.

Mexican frozen hot chocolate……this is chocolate heaven, guys.

Mother’s day is almost here, so how about some interesting gift ideas?

Can’t beat this rather unique ‘sausage bouquet’! Definitely for a foodie mom….

If a quiet tea time is her thing, then this exquisite tea set collection is a must buy.

But I have been throwing hints about this one. Beautiful, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens

Khichdi – the comfort food of one half of the Indian population!

I say this specifically because khichdi is not a dish that is popular in my hometown, Kerala. And hence I was not aware of its existence for a very long time.

My first tryst with khichdi happened somewhere along the Pune-Mahabaleshwar route. We were living in Pune at that time and were visiting the hill station when we stopped at a roadside dhaba for a quick meal. Sam suggested that I try the khichdi (he had already developed a taste for it, thanks to his office mates) and hesitatingly I did. But oh boy, it was a revelation.

The rich, spicy, almost creamy consistency of rice and lentils with that generous drizzle of ghee made my tastebuds sing with joy.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

And while I consumed many plates of khichdi during my stay in Pune, I never ventured to cook it in my kitchen till about 2 years ago.

I think it’s the memory of that taste that encouraged me to make a khichdi at home. It’s no rocket science, but often we need a motivation or purpose to try out something new.

At its heart, a khichdi is nothing but rice and lentils cooked together, mashed and then tempered with spices. But that tempering is what makes all the difference. It can be as simple or as complex as you want and in my opinion, the whole flavour profile of the khichdi depends on it.

My version of the khichdi is not the most traditional but neither a fusion. It is perhaps an amalgamation of various styles based on flavours and spices that I like best.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

Khichdi is an extremely healthy dish because of its powerful combination of carbs and proteins. Usually prepared with just one type of lentils, but my version has a mixture of lentils and pulses along with some sort of greens like spinach, fenugreek or even carrot greens, as I have done today.

You can either make a mix of the lentils from what you have at home or pick up a packet of the soup mix like I do. Or use just one type of lentil; it’s totally your wish. When using a soup mix, it’s best to soak it overnight so that the cooking process is much faster.

How many of you use carrot greens as an ingredient? It has gained a lot of attention with the raw food movement and is often found as an ingredient in salads, pesto etc…. But I also love to use it in my dal (lentil) preparations just the way I would use spinach. Beetroot leaves can also be used this way but needs to be cooked more than the carrot greens.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

Even though I pressure cook the lentils and rice for time constraints, I always slow cook for a good 15-20 minutes after adding the tempering. A bit of extra time only helps intensify the flavours which I really want from my plate of khichdi. And a final drizzle of hot ghee is an absolute must!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup mixed lentils; washed and soaked overnight
  2. ½ cup medium grain white rice
  3. Carrot greens (I used the greens from 4 small carrots); chopped
  4. Salt, to season
  5. Ghee/clarified butter; for serving
  6. 2 tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  7. For tempering:
  • 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp caraway/shahi jeera seeds
  • 2 dry red chilli
  • 3 large shallots/small onion; finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 large ripe red tomatoes; finely chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • ½ inch piece of jaggery or ½ tsp raw sugar

Method:

  1. Wash the soaked lentils and rice together. Add to a pressure cooker or deep bottom pan and cook well with enough water (remember to season with a pinch of salt). The lentils and rice must be cooked enough to be able to mash well.
  2. In another pan, heat ghee and oil; add the mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
  3. Then add the cumin and caraway seeds; as it begins to crackle, add the dry chillies and shallots and sauté till softened.
  4. Then add the garlic and ginger; sauté till the onions have turned light brown.
  5. Next add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat till the tomatoes have softened and turned mushy.
  6. Then add all the spice powders and jaggery; sauté till the whole masala comes together and oil starts appearing at the sides.
  7. Meanwhile mash the lentils and rice using the back end of a ladle or potato masher.
  8. Add the chopped greens along with the masala to the lentils and mix well; season with salt if necessary.
  9. Add more water if necessary and cook on the low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Finish off with the chopped coriander leaves.
  11. Serve warm with a drizzle of ghee on top.
  12. Tuck in!

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Pasta with Spinach and Goat’s Cheese

Is there something called ‘too many’ pasta recipes?

Well, not in our household. Pasta recipes are often like that almost one-pot meal that is so quick to put together which is what most of us are looking for on a daily basis. And the non-saucy ones make the perfect leftovers for the next day lunch boxes.

In fact, I make the heavy, sauce based pasta dishes only occasionally. I tend to make pesto a lot, several variations of it, depending on what the herb garden is producing in abundance. I also enjoy roasting tomatoes and bell peppers for a thick sauce which is used along with pasta and other veggies. I use cold cuts, sausages and prawns a lot too as these need much less time to cook when compared to other meats.

While I prefer most of my everyday pasta dishes to go easy on cheese, today’s dish intrigued me as I had never paired goat’s cheese with pasta before. I have had it plenty on a cheese board but never with pasta. And when I came across some delicious Yarra Valley goat’s cheese, I knew I just had to try this dish out.

Pasta with Spinach and Goat’s Cheese - thespiceadventuress.com

This is a fairly simple pasta dish with very few ingredients and hence the flavour depends on the quality of spinach and goat’s cheese used. I added some red chilli too, to add another dimension to the overall flavours.

The best type of pasta for a dish like this is the thin noodle like ones, usually referred to as spaghettini. Its light and the perfect shape and texture to absorb flavours especially when there is no sauce or too many ingredients vying for attention.

Let’s get on to the recipe then…and do share your feedback with me if you happen to try it out.

Pasta with Spinach and Goat’s Cheese - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 500 gm dried spaghettini
  2. 3 tbsp olive oil
  3. 3 garlic cloves; crushed and finely chopped
  4. 1-2 long red chilli (less heat variety; use less or omit depending on heat preferences)
  5. 150gm baby spinach leaves
  6. ¼ cup basil; torn
  7. 150gm goat’s cheese
  8. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per packet instructions; drain (reserving ½ cup water) and keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the garlic and chillies; sauté on low heat for a minute.
  3. Then add the spinach leaves and cook on medium heat till just wilted.
  4. Add the cooked pasta with half of the reserved pasta water. Toss on high heat for about a minute.
  5. Remove from heat and fold in the basil and goat’s cheese
  6. Serve immediately.

Pasta with Spinach and Goat’s Cheese - thespiceadventuress.com

Indonesian style Spicy Braised Fish Stew

There is so much ‘noise’ in our lives these days.

An avalanche of incessant chatter that creeps into our everyday lives in the form of social media, Whatsapp groups, gimmicky news channels and tabloids. And it requires a conscious effort to stay amidst all this noise, yet be able to hear your ‘voice’ loud and clear!

My life revolves around the digital world and social media is one of the most effective tools I use on a daily basis for work. So it requires all the more effort to stay quiet, yet make sure my work gets seen and heard without adding to the noise.

I have no tips and strategies because I struggle with it too. And the only way I steer clear is by using the digital medium responsibly. Consume only what is relevant and speak only when I really have something to say. Not when others think I must speak…..

And of course, mute and log out are my favourite buttons.

On that note, let’s get to today’s recipe – a warm, comforting bowl of Indonesian style spicy braised fish stew.

Indonesian style Spicy Braised Fish Stew - thespiceadventuress.com

Adapted from ‘smor ikang’, an Indonesian style fish stew, this dish is a hearty and comforting one. A one pot meal with succulent barramundi cubes in a flavourful broth and rice noodles to accompany. The key spice in this stew is mace, which lends a pungent yet sweet flavour that pairs well with the fish. You may also add a mix of seafood like squid, prawns etc….

The cooking time is considerably less as it is a seafood stew unlike the meat ones which take a fair bit of time. This fish stew almost feels like an Asian noodle soup and makes a great one pot meal for the whole family. Its light yet so flavourful…a huge pot of this on a cold, wintry night would be just amazing.

Indonesian style Spicy Braised Fish Stew - thespiceadventuress.com

Indonesian style Spicy Braised Fish Stew - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 3 barramundi fillets; cut into cubes
  2. 2 medium potatoes; cut into small cubes
  3. 5-6 Asian shallots/small onion; finely chopped

Find the full recipe here.

Indonesian style Spicy Braised Fish Stew - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood. 

Potato and Parsnip Soup (with Bacon and Chilli Oil)

It’s a beautiful, bright and sunny day today!

I smile as I write this because it’s technically autumn but today feels like a perfect spring day. And I know the cold days are just round the corner so I am glad to soak in the sun while it lasts. (A quick look at the forecast tells me not to get excited as it’s all rain and chills the rest of the week).

Weather plays such an important role in my mood, especially after moving here. While in India, there was only the intense heat to battle but here, it’s all the different seasons and with Melbourne being a little crazy on the weather front; it has been a long journey learning how to deal with it from wearing the right clothes, eating the right food and planning our everyday life around it.

But I think I can say that I seem to have adjusted well. While the changing seasons still has an effect on my overall mood, I don’t get too worked up about it instead learning to embrace and enjoy the beauty of each season.

And that brings us to today’s recipe.

Potato and Parsnip Soup (with Bacon and Chilli Oil) - thespiceadventuress.com

Soups are one of my favourite categories of dishes to make during autumn and winter. It’s warm, hearty and comforting with minimal effort. It’s a really easy dinner, makes excellent leftovers and a great way to try out new veggies. Like parsnip, in my case.

I think the only reason why I have never cooked with parsnip before is unfamiliarity. It’s not a common one in South India, so I have never really tasted it before. Hence, it’s not a veggie I reached out for while shopping. In fact, as I pick up the carrots often placed nearby, I make a mental note to check out a recipe and then buy it; but that has never happened too.

This time I was determined to get parsnip and though there were many recipes that I had bookmarked, I wanted something familiar hence opted for this soup. This potato soup is one I make often so adding parsnip too seemed like a good idea, at least the first attempt wouldn’t be disastrous.

But this potato and parsnip soup turned out to be no disaster. Instead it quickly became one of our favourite soups for the season, especially with that really moreish, savoury addition of bacon and chilli oil.

Potato and Parsnip Soup (with Bacon and Chilli Oil) - thespiceadventuress.com

Yes, you heard it right…chilli oil! Not just for dumplings, it’s one of my favourite toppings for soups, stews, just about anything. I love that spice hit, a depth of flavour that cannot be explained in words. Well I don’t make the chilli oil myself; it’s so easy to get at any Asian grocer or supermarket. And the crispy prawn ones are the best!

If you prefer to make a vegetarian version, skip the bacon and chilli oil; instead add bread croutons and a dash of Tabasco or sriracha if you like the spice kick.

I prefer not to use cream, instead always use a dash of milk to lend that sweet creaminess to the soup.

So let’s get cooking Potato and Parsnip Soup with bacon and chilli oil. I am sure you are going to make it plenty during the coming months….

Potato and Parsnip Soup (with Bacon and Chilli Oil) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 2 large potatoes; skin peeled and diced
  2. 2 parsnips; skin peeled and diced
  3. 1 medium onion; chopped
  4. 1 garlic clove; crushed
  5. 2 tbsp butter
  6. 2 tbsp olive oil
  7. 5 thyme sprigs (including garnish)
  8. 1 litre vegetable stock (chicken stock works great too)
  9. 150ml milk
  10. Salt, to season
  11. Black pepper; to season
  12. 150gms bacon; finely chopped
  13. Chilli oil (I used crispy prawn head chilli oil)

Method:

  1. In a large stock pot, heat the oil and butter. Add the garlic and onions; sauté till the onions are softened.
  2. Then add the potatoes, parsnip and 3 thyme sprigs; mix well to combine and add the stock. Bring to boil, then lower heat and cook covered till the veggies are cooked well and mushy.
  3. Once the veggies are cooked, turn off heat and allow to cool lightly before blending the whole mixture.
  4. Return to heat and add the milk; taste and season with salt and pepper.
  5. In another pan, add the chopped bacon and sauté on low heat till crispy. No extra oil is required as the bacon releases enough oil.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with bacon, chilli oil and thyme.
  7. Enjoy to your heart’s content.

Potato and Parsnip Soup (with Bacon and Chilli Oil) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

Dahi Bhindi (Indian style Okra/Ladysfinger in a Yoghurt based Gravy)

Okra/bhindi/ladysfinger – my absolute favourite vegetable. In fact if you ask me what would I like my last meal on Earth to be, I would say chappathi, lentils and okra (just the way my mom makes).

I have loved every single okra preparation I have had till now in my life. Guess I love this veggie so much that even a bad dish wins approval from me. My love for okra is quite legendary at home that my siblings often tell my mom not to ask what I would like to eat (when on vacation) as I would say an okra dish.

While I enjoy every style of okra preparation, one of my all time favourites is the stir fried one with lots of onions, garlic and chillies. This okra/bhindi raita is another favourite of mine; pairs so well with a simple pilaf.

But today, I am sharing an okra dish that I have had only at restaurants till now. Dahi Bhindi or okra in creamy yoghurt based gravy is a popular dish in the Northern parts of India. Best paired with chappathis (Indian flatbread), this dish is an absolute winner if you love okra.

Dahi Bhindi (Indian style Okra/Ladysfinger in a Yoghurt based Gravy) - thespiceadventuress.com

Most people are put off by the slimy texture of okra and there are a few tips by which you can prevent this. The first tip is to wash and dry the okra well. After draining the excess water, I use a kitchen towel to completely dry the okra before cutting it which greatly helps to reduce the slimy texture.

Also, lightly frying the okra before adding it to the gravy helps to prevent it getting slimy. In a non stick or cast iron pan, add the okra pieces and lightly fry with no oil (or with just a tsp of oil) on low heat. I always follow this method if I am using the okra especially for curries or gravies.

Another tip is not to stir the okra around too much while cooking. Always cook on medium heat and stir only occasionally.

Dahi Bhindi (Indian style Okra/Ladysfinger in a Yoghurt based Gravy) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 400gms okra/bhindi/ladysfinger, remove head and cut into half
  2. 1 Spanish onion; finely chopped
  3. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  4. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  5. Salt, to season
  6. 1 cup thick yoghurt
  7. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  8. 2 tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  9. Ground masala
  • ¾ cup freshly grated coconut
  • 3-4 green chillies (adjust according to heat preferences)
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 5 shallots/small onion or 1 small red onion; chopped 

Method:

  1. In a non stick pan/kadai, heat 1 tbsp oil and lightly fry the okra till half done. Remove and keep aside.
  2. Grind all the ingredients given under the ground masala to a fine paste like consistency and keep aside.
  3. In the same pan that the okra was fried, heat the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds. Once it begins to crackle, add the chopped onions. Sauté till softened and translucent.
  4. Then add the ground masala, turmeric powder and season with salt. Cook on low heat till the rawness of the ingredients has gone away and oil begins to appear at the sides.
  5. Beat the curd well and add this to the masala; mix well and add enough water to get thick gravy.
  6. Then add the okra and cook on low heat till done.
  7. Remove from heat and add the coriander leaves; mix well.
  8. Keep for atleast 15 minutes for the flavours to develop.

Note – The gravy can thicken on standing or when refrigerated. Add a little water while reheating to get the desired consistency.

Dahi Bhindi (Indian style Okra/Ladysfinger in a Yoghurt based Gravy) - thespiceadventuress.com

March Favourites + Win Five Double Passes to the Tesselaar KaBloom Flower Festival

It’s been such a fantastic month. With two birthdays in the house and the countdown to Easter, it’s been a month of blessings and celebrations in our home.

Our little boy turned nine, and we celebrated with a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Yarra Valley. I am sure most of you have seen the photographs or read my blog post by now. It was such a magical experience and another item ticked off our bucket list.

Up in the Air! (A Hot Air Ballooning Experience with Global Ballooning Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

Courtesy – Global Ballooning Australia

My birthday celebrations are almost always revolved around food, and this time we celebrated with a fabulous dining experience at Grossi Florentino (Grill). A delicious Tuscan experience at an iconic Melbourne restaurant!

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

Easter celebrations were rather low key, just catching up with some friends over the long weekend. But we also had a fun time at the Tesselaar KaBloom flower festival in the Dandenong Ranges.

Everyone’s familiar with the annual Tesselaar Tulip Festival, but for the first time this year, the farm fields have been opened out to the public for more than just tulips. Imagine rows and rows of so many different types of colourful flowers in bloom. The festival is on only for a short period; March 30 – April 15, 2018.

A stunning display of colour and spectacular views abound with fields filled with blossoming Begonias, Petunias, Sunflowers, Hollyhocks, Dahlias, Snap Dragons, Delphiniums and many many more….

Tesselaar KaBloom flower festival - thespiceadventuress.com

Tesselaar KaBloom flower festival - thespiceadventuress.com

There’s plenty of activities lined up for the children, with each week taking on a different theme. We attended the Chocomania weekend, but there’s also the upcoming family fun days, music concert days, flower expo etc…..

Lots of great food options too which makes it a great space for a day trip with friends and family. And especially with the school holidays on, it’s perfect for a relaxing fun day with the kids.

The folks at Tesselaar have been very generous to giveaway 5 x double passes to 5 lucky readers. Isn’t that simply great!

Tesselaar KaBloom flower festival - thespiceadventuress.com

Tesselaar KaBloom flower festival - thespiceadventuress.com

To take part;

  1. Subscribe to the blog using your email address
  2. Comment below which is your favourite flower along with your email id (to get in touch with you if you win)

Terms and Conditions:

  • Competition open to all living in Victoria, Australia and 18+ years of age.
  • The competition will run from Apr 3rd to Apr 4th The winners will be notified by email and direct messaging and if I do not hear back within 24 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

Do share the competition details with your friends too. All the best!

Getting onto the other favourites now;

It’s also been a month of easy cooking and more packed lunch boxes. And two recipes that I cooked often and also shared on my social media was this delicious, tangy lemon rice and a spicy scrambled cottage cheese dish, fondly called paneer bhurji in India.

Lemon Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Paneer bhurji - thespiceadventuress.com

Some of the other recipes I intend to try out soon are these;

I am just a huge fan of devilled eggs!

We go to IKEA just to feast on these meatballs, and now I have a recipe to make it at home itself.

This garlic capsicum chicken is just perfect with my veggie fried rice

This risotto has my name written all over it.

And this pasta can be my alter ego.

I think I am more in love with the photograph than the actual cake.

These chocolate sprinkle cookies are just stunning.

 

Hot Cross Bun Sliders (with Sausage, Fried Egg and Garlic Aioli)

Hot Cross Buns are everywhere!

I mean, it’s practically impossible to walk into any supermarket, bakery or fresh food store without catching a glimpse of beautifully arranged packets of these, right at the counter. And to think, ‘hot cross buns’ was only a childhood nursery rhyme for me till five years ago.

Hot Cross Bun Sliders (with Sausage, Fried Egg and Garlic Aioli) - thespiceadventuress.com

That’s true. I have never seen or eaten a hot cross bun in my life till I moved to Australia. And I clearly didn’t like it the first time I ever tasted it. It was too sweet for me and I didn’t really enjoy the idea of intensely sweet bread with hints of spice.

Fortunately, the dislike didn’t last too long as I discovered better tasting hot cross buns. But still, it was not my favourite and not something I bought to celebrate Easter.

But this year, I was challenged with the task of creating a hot cross bun recipe for another website. I wanted to do something interesting and if possible savoury since there were so many baked/dessert recipes using hot cross buns that were all over the internet.

Quite a bit of research later, I decided to take inspiration from NoshOn.It and came up with these utterly delicious Hot Cross Bun Sliders!

Hot Cross Bun Sliders (with Sausage, Fried Egg and Garlic Aioli) - thespiceadventuress.com

In the process of creating this recipe, I must say that I fell in love with the brioche style hot cross buns from Woolworths. So much lighter in texture than the regular buns, these were not excessively sweet, more buttery which made it absolutely delicious when toasted.

So getting on to the recipe today, I was looking for a recipe that is an answer to the hot cross bun leftover situation that will happen in many households around the world. And these sliders are just perfect for that. Savoury, so that you have a respite from all the sweet treats and also works great as a brunch or Easter morning breakfast.

Using sausage meat to create the burger like patty is a brilliant idea because it is often so flavourful especially if you buy the varieties which have herbs and spices in them. I picked up some Angus beef sausages which were absolutely perfect. All that you need to do is remove the skin, roll and shape the stuffing into patties.

You can use just toasted hot cross buns for making these sliders or make it extra indulgent by going the French toast route. Dip the buns in French toast batter (minus the sugar and spice) and toast to perfection. Believe me, this step changes the game altogether….you will know how delicious only if you make it guys.

Add a fried or poached egg and a drizzle of garlic aioli to finish this absolutely divine rendition of Hot Cross Bun Sliders. Happy Easter folks!

Hot Cross Bun Sliders (with Sausage, Fried Egg and Garlic Aioli) - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Stuff Mums Like, so head over to the website for the full recipe.

 

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios

This dessert recipe is dedicated to all my readers who are constantly asking me to post more sweet and baked treats on my blog.

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

Honestly guys, you know how much I shy away from desserts here. It’s not my biggest strength nor do I have a sweet tooth. So when I finally decide to make one, it must be simple, easy to comprehend and one of those no-fail recipes. And that’s exactly what we are making today – Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Cream Chantilly, Pistachios. Cannot get easier than this!

Easter is almost here, so I thought there would be so many people out there like me who can’t whip up complicated sweet treats. This recipe is a breeze to follow, one that anyone can put together. Good quality strawberries and a great tasting Sparkling is all that you really need to take care of.

As the name suggests, the dessert is just a happy marriage between all the four ingredients.

I used the Yellowglen Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Prosecco blend Sparkling; it has really refreshing, sweet, fruity flavours that is perfect for a dessert like this. Don’t worry about the alcohol bit if you are serving it to children as the quantity is really less. But if you prefer to keep it alcohol free, then use a great tasting non alcoholic sparkling that is easily available at all supermarkets instead.

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

Pistachios are for the crunch, adds a savoury, nutty texture that is required to complete the dessert. But you can also use wafers, sweet crisps, biscotti etc……anything that adds a crunch.

And before we get to the recipe, here’s another sweet treat that I made last Easter; a fun project if you have kids at home.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms strawberries; hulled and thinly sliced
  2. 100ml Sparkling wine
  3. Juice of ½ orange
  4. 3-4 tbsp icing sugar (sieved)
  5. ½ cup pistachios; coarsely crushed
  6. Crème Chantilly
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 35 gms icing sugar (sieved)
  • 1 vanilla bean (or vanilla bean paste)

Method:

  1. In a non reactive bowl, combine the strawberries, sparkling wine and orange juice. Add 2 tbsp icing sugar (sieved), mix well to combine and taste. Add more icing sugar if needed. Refrigerate for atleast 15 minutes to macerate or until required.
  2. To prepare the crème Chantilly, whisk the thickened cream, scraped seeds from the vanilla bean and icing sugar in a bowl till soft peaks form (take care not to over whip). Refrigerate until required.
  3. To assemble the dessert, add the macerated strawberries to 1/4th of the dessert glass/bowl; top with the cream and garnish with crushed pistachios.
  4. Serve immediately.

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

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