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Tag Archives: recipes

My Favourite Recipes of 2016

What a spectacular year it has been!

So many highs personally and professionally, 2016 has been a memorable year for me. And as we draw to a close, I wanted to share some of my favourite recipes with all of you. While I have enjoyed cooking and writing about every recipe here, there are definitely some favourites. Some of these are personal success stories in terms of a technique or ingredient while others tell personal stories. So sit back and enjoy a pictorial tribute to my top recipes from 2016.

And wishing each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year….Cheers!

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail! - thespiceadventuress.com

Breaking all rules with this cocktail……my tribute to Rooh Afza, an extremely popular fruit concentrate in many parts of Asia. The beautiful vibrant colour and the refreshing headiness this drink offers make it perfect for our long summer days.

Mushroom & Sundried Tomato Hummus Toasties

Mushroom & Sundried Tomato Hummus Toasties - a delightful vegetarian canape for the festive season - thespiceadventuress.com

This was the surprise recipe of the year. An experiment with flavours which worked magic on the tastebuds, these toasties are super quick and make the perfect canapé for any party.

Spiced Kangaroo Triangles

Spiced Kangaroo Triangles - a delicious party snack with roo mince - thespiceadventuress.com

Kangaroo meat remains a judgemental topic but I am of the opinion that if sustainably sourced, it has an apt place on the dinner table, especially in Australia. But yes, sustainably sourced is a phrase I would stress on. And if you share my beliefs, then these spiced kangaroo triangles are simply delicious and one I enjoyed creating.

Vietnamese Prawn Spring Rolls (with Sweet n’ Spicy Dipping Sauce)

Vietnamese Prawns Spring Rolls - The ultimate party snack for kids and adults alike - thespiceadventuress.com

Baked Oysters with Garlic, Curry Leaf and Kashmiri Chilli

Baked Oysters with Garlic, Curry Leaf and Kashmiri Chilli - Soft, plump and juicy oysters are oven baked with a garlic and curry leaf butter emulsion, coriander leaves and Kashmiri chilli powder - thespiceadventuress.com

An attempt at showcasing the subtlety of Indian flavours. There is a myth that Indian food means robust flavours but these oysters will tell you otherwise. A must have this festive season.

Hashbrown Muffins with Ham, Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes

Hashbrown Muffins with Ham, Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes - a savoury kid friendly snack perfect for lunch boxes and parties alike - thespiceadventuress.com

A recipe that got me featured for the second time in Bank of Melbourne’s #socialfeeds cookbook 2016! These savoury muffins are so easy to make and works magic on a brunch table or for a children’s party or perhaps simply as an afternoon treat. Don’t miss to give it a try…

Potato, Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon and Shallots

Potato, Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon and Shallots - Comfort in a bowl - thespiceadventuress.com

This one’s ideal for the harsh winters that will be here in the blink of an eye. Creamy, lush and delicious especially with those crispy bits of bacon and shallots. Heaven in a bowl!

Kashmiri Rista…..Sandwiched!

Kashmiri Rista - a traditional meatball preparation from Kashmir in a new format - thespiceadventuress.com

This recipe was all about showcasing traditional Indian flavours in a global style. Rista is an extremely popular meatball recipe from Kashmir, a delicacy that is held in much reverence. But instead of the curry format, I have used it to create a submarine sandwich proving how sturdy yet flexible Indian flavours are.

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa - easy and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

We are huge on tacos; little morsels of deliciousness that are so utterly satisfying. And these Mexican prawn tacos are one of the best you will ever have, if I may say so myself.

Grilled Chicken Skewers with Fresh Herbs and Chillies

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

A hailstorm followed by loads of fresh herbs is what led to this recipe. But it turned out so damn delicious that I am secretly grateful to the storm for wrecking my urban herb garden.

Filipino style Grilled Barramundi

Filipino style Grilled Barramundi - an Indian interpretation of a traditional Filipino dish - thespiceadventuress.com

Fish with eggs was not a flavour combination I thought would work till I tried out my version of a Filipino classic. Amazing is the verdict!

Massaman Curry

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

This one takes a bit of time to get to the table but the effort is so worth it. The famous ‘Chin Chin’ recipe that will give you much delicious comfort during the colder months.

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samlâ Curry

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samla Curry - deliciously creamy, highly aromatic and fragrant chicken curry - thespiceadventuress.com

This is the first time I tried out a Khmer dish and what a delicious experience it was. This creamy, lush and flavourful chicken curry didn’t take too long to become one of our favourite curries ever.

Vegetable Stir fry with Gochujang

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) - thespiceadventuress.com

And my biggest discovery of 2016….gochujang! Love at first taste folks; if you haven’t tried out this magic condiment, then please make it your resolution for 2017.

Tim Tam Vanilla Icecream Cake

Tim Tam Vanilla Icecream Cake - a super simple and delicious summer dessert - thespiceadventuress.com

Developing this recipe was an eye opener too regarding palm oil and its salient presence in our foods. Do spare a moment to read the article if you haven’t already and a delicious summery icecream cake is the bonus.

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Milk Chocolate Buttercream and Fresh Strawberries

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Milk Chocolate and Fresh Strawberries - the most delicious way to say 'I love you' this Valentine's Day - thespiceadventuress.com

This one’s from Valentine’s Day, a dedication to my love story and to all the beautiful readers of my blog. Lush and decadent, this chocolate fudge cake also got featured on Bon Appétit.

 

 

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Onam Sadya……and memories of a delicious childhood

A delicious childhood……I know that’s not an appropriate adjective at all but that’s exactly what my childhood was like. Great food always for the family and for the zillions of friends who came home to eat my mom’s food.

Just like most people, there are so many memories associated with food from my childhood. But nothing else perhaps is as profound as the Onam sadya; maybe because it came only once a year or maybe because I was always fond of large feasts.

Growing up in a foreign country, the food is how I connected with my birth land. So when I think of Kerala, it is the food that rushes to my mind especially the rather elaborate Onam sadya. I can still remember my mom rising at the crack of dawn to prepare all the delicacies for the feast and me, her little assistant hovering around in the kitchen. As I grew, so did the responsibilities….chopping veggies and washing dishes. While the former was a prize to be conferred upon, the latter I thoroughly disliked even to this day.

After I got married and had my own small family, the Onam sadya was a tradition I continued. While I am deeply spiritual but not religious, there are very few cultural traditions or festivals that are celebrated in our home unlike many Indian families. But the Onam sadya has stayed with us because for me, it was all about sharing a slice of my childhood with my little boy.

This year, I have invited my girl gang to join me in the celebrations and excitedly looking forward to the day. Do you celebrate Onam at home or have friends with whom you celebrate? I would love to hear your stories and memories too….

And here is a compilation of some of the dishes that is traditionally served for the sadya. As I mentioned in my previous post, I do not have the entire list but there are quite a few if you need some help preparing for the feast. And if you have nothing to do with this festival, it still doesn’t matter because you get the opportunity to learn a few traditional vegetarian dishes from God’s own country.

Cut Mango Pickle

This is a great example of an instant pickle and with raw mangoes in season, a must have in your refrigerator.

Cut mango pickle (Onam sadya) - an instant pickle made from raw mangoes - thespiceadventuress.com

Puli Inji (Tamarind Ginger Chutney)

A preparation unique to the state, this chutney is all about the balance of flavours. A lipsmacking condiment for the feast.

Puli Inji/Tamarind Ginger Chutney - a classic chutney that forms an integral part of Onam sadya - thespiceadventuress.com

Olan (Wintermelon with Coconut Milk)

Succulent melon/gourd pieces simmered in coconut milk and spiced with green chillies. While winter melon is available in some markets, it still might be a tad difficult for everyone to source. Use native Australian cucumbers instead!

Olan (Wintermelon with Coconut Milk) - a part of the vegetarian Onam sadya - thespiceadventuress.com

Kaalan (Kerala style Yam and Plantain Curry with Coconut, Yoghurt and Peppercorns)

A lesser known component of the feast, this yam and plantain curry is more famous in the central parts of Kerala. A creamy texture and spiced with black peppercorns, there is a slight twinge of sourness from the curd which completes the flavour profile of this unique vegetarian dish.

Kaalan (Kerala style Yam and Plantain Curry with Turmeric, Coconut, Yoghurt and Peppercorns) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Potato ishtew (stew)

Another classic, traditional dish that enjoys its quiet spot on the Onam sadya spread. This is one dish where the potato actually gets sidelined and the coconut takes over. The taste that hits your senses is the warm aroma of coconut oil with the rich sweet creaminess of coconut milk against the subtle hotness from the ginger.

Potato ishtew (stew) - a delicious creamy potato dish made specially during Onam - thespiceadventuress.com

Beetroot Thoran (a stir fry with beets, greens and coconut)

A staple vegetarian dish which can be recreated in a zillion ways using just about all kinds of vegetables, legumes, meat etc…. For the sadya, a thoran is important but you can make any kind you wish to. I chose beetroot because it’s our favourite.

Beetroot Thoran (a stir fry with beets, greens and coconut) - a vibrant vegetarian dish that is made during Onam - thespiceadventuress.com

Avial (Mixed vegetables in a creamy coconut yoghurt base)

The most famous vegetarian dish from Kerala, this medley of vegetables in a creamy coconut yoghurt sauce is simply to die for!

Avial - Mixed vegetables in a creamy yoghurt coconut sauce - thespiceadventuress.com

Thai Baby Brinjal Pachadi (spiced baby brinjal yoghurt dip)

Now you must be wondering what is Thai brinjals doing in Kerala cuisine. Well, it is just my way of using local vegetables. Traditionally a pachadi or yoghurt dip is made using native Malabar cucumbers which is not available here so I substituted it with baby brinjals.

Thai baby brinjal pachadi/yoghurt dip - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns)

Essentially a mixed vegetarian curry which is always prepared using black chickpeas, raw plantain and Indian yams. This dish is a true representation of the state as the main flavour components are coconut and peppercorns. It is the Malabar region that gave ‘peppercorns’ aka ‘black gold’ to the world. So the Kootu curry is a befitting tribute to that discovery which changed the course of the world.

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns) - thespiceadventuress.com

So that brings us to the end of the list…..I know it’s far from complete but as I said, it’s a work in progress.

Happy Onam folks!

 

August Favourites

Next Sunday is Father’s Day……. and this is for the man who is the most awesome ‘dada’ to my little champ.

Father and Son - thespiceadventuress.com

And this…..for my dad, my hero always!

Father and Daughter - thespiceadventuress.com

Source – Pinterest

For those who missed out, a delicious breakfast smoothie to start off the day on a healthy note.

The Breakfast Smoothie - healthy, nourishing and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

And my favourite photograph for the month of August!

Jura coffee machine - thespiceadventuress.com

 

My favourites folder overflowed this month and I had such a hard time picking just a few. But it’s still going to be long, so grab a coffee and enjoy the inspiration.

Does your dad love to wine and dine? Then here are some amazing gift ideas.

One of the less glamorous aspects of recipe development is a lot of hand washing which is why I totally love this nourishing hand wash.

This lady has mastered the art of pampering and I love every single product in her range; this month’s pick is this cleansing oil.

One of the top contenders in my travel bucket list.

What colour is your energy?

Barack Obama…he sure loves kids. Check this out!

This mezze platter is totally my thing.

A quick and delicious weekday dinner; just waiting for my basil to grow again to try this one out.

I ate a lot of these (a lot!) during my uni days.

No one can eat just one.

There can never be too many chicken wings recipes.

This is an interesting collection of traditional Indian dishes; how many do you know?

The fried chicken goes to Asia.

Had to include this in my dinner planning for next week. You will too….

 

 

July Favourites

Hello, all you lovely people……how have things been at your end?

For me, it’s been a good month…in fact a great month. I have reached that stage in life when great means that everything is stable and life goes on without much hiccups. Nothing exciting has to happen to make it great.

But life’s going to get a bit busy over the beginning of next month. Remember I told you guys about the house hunting, well we are moving in next month so it’s going to be hectic with all the cleaning, packing and rearranging. I am quite excited about the new home because after three years of living in an apartment, we are moving into a house with a backyard (small but a real backyard).

So I might be taking it easy over here. Have planned a few blog posts in advance but not sure how that’s gonna go.

Getting back to this month, here is the quote that I am trying to put into practice. I am a paranoid, clingy mother (who isn’t) but I am also a practical one and keeping the balance is so difficult. As my little fellow is growing up too fast, I need to constantly remind myself to loosen my maternal strings so that he is prepared to face this world on his own when the time comes.

Quote - thespiceadventuress.com

(This photograph was taken when Adi was around 2 at the Birla Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, South India)

I get a lot of messages asking about food photography, the most common being ‘how to improve my skills’. There’s just one answer……pick up your camera, learn the basics and then practice, practice, practice. There is no other shortcut to it.

I take copious amount of photographs, many make it to the social media and the blog but there are many I don’t share too. And here’s one that I really love…..

Lemongrass - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Most of you loved this Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms. And those who haven’t, please check it out….it’s delicious. There is also a $25 voucher up for grabs if you would like to purchase a WW Fresh Box.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

And now it’s time to share my favourites for the month of July, hope you enjoy it. Ciao…

Passion……have you found it?

This is the way we must say welcome to those who come knocking at our country’s doors.

For the budding photographers, this is a must read.

Summer drinks list sorted.

This will be on my summer barbie list. Ok guys, I am getting impatient for summer to arrive.

The ultimate boozy frozen treats for summer. This is the last summer collection, I promise.

What does your astrological sign say about your drinking habits? I am apparently an ambitious social butterfly. Hmmmm…..

How awesome is this!!

I am not a big fan of energy bites but this one’s amazing.

This bowl has me written all over it!

These are what the famous food photographers love to eat. Very interesting.

Prop love for the month; just stunning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WWFreshBox by Aussie Farmers Direct + a Recipe for Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms

‘So what do I cook tonight?’

How many times in a week do you ask yourself that question? I do…almost every single day. Friends often assume that meal planning is something I enjoy and ace at, being a food blogger. Definitely not, at least not most of the time because in addition to the everyday food, I have to plan ahead for the recipes that are to be created for the blog, clients etc…..

It takes me two days to get my meal plans and grocery shopping list in order and there are weeks when the whole exercise freaks me out. So you can imagine my excitement when I get a mail from Aussie Farmers Direct asking if I would like to review the new WWFresh Box that has been designed and created by Weight Watchers. Yes please….bring it on!

Aussie Farmers Direct and Weight Watchers – two brands that we are pretty familiar with and so I am not going into the details here. There’s plenty of information on their websites for the newcomers. Instead, I am going to talk about the WWFreshbox; this perfectly packed box full of absolutely gorgeous and fresh ingredients that has been sourced from local farms and food producers. And also, the printed recipes that got me really excited.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

So my choice was the Family Freshbox which includes ingredients and fresh produce to serve 5 meals for 4 people. I have been testing out and cooking from the WWFreshbox for the past couple of days using the Weightwatchers recipes that was included. And here is what I think;

(Aussie Farmers Direct has also offered a generous discount for all the subscribers of The Spice Adventuress. More details at the end of the post)

Pros:

  • No more meal planning – You don’t have to break your head wondering what you are going to cook each day and then shop around for ingredients. You get the ingredients delivered straight to your door with the recipes included. Definitely a time saver!
  • Choose from different types of WWFreshbox – there are plenty of choices when it comes to the size of the WWFreshBox designed to serve 2 or 4 people for 3 or 5 meals. Ensures zero wastage.
  • High Quality Fresh Ingredients – that are packed to perfection in a special temperature controlled box. Aussie Farmers Direct does a brilliant job at sourcing all the produce from local farmers which means that you not only eat healthy and fresh but also support the local community.
  • Free Delivery – Yup, you heard it right….free delivery to your door.
  • Excellent Packaging – Since all the ingredients are packed in a temperature controlled box, everything stays fresh till you reach home and put it away. The vegetables are packed neatly, in sealed containers where necessary and all the protein is in a special cover with gel packs. The gel packs inside can be reused and if you do not wish to keep it, you may leave it inside the box and place it outside on the day your next delivery happens.
  • Delicious and Healthy Recipes – I mean it guys, really delicious recipes. All the recipes are designed by the nutrition experts at Weight Watchers and includes the Smart Points so that you can keep track. And even if you are not watching your weight, you still can eat healthy. The recipes change every week so it doesn’t get boring at all. Every week’s recipes are updated on the website so you can check out that before placing your order.What I really loved about the recipes is that there is no compromise on flavour and taste as you can see from the dish I will be sharing with you guys shortly.

Cons:

  • Delivery can be an issue for those who live in apartments with unit numbers; the box will need to be delivered to a friend’s place or your business address. Also, delivery is currently not available in certain suburbs. Do check if your suburb is covered on the website.
  • No dry ingredients provided.
  • No exclusively vegetarian WWFreshbox.

Getting to my favourite part; the recipe that I tried out from the WW Freshbox and absolutely loved – Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

We are not big on kale in our house. I don’t mind it but the boys are not very enthusiastic about it and the only way I have been able to make them eat it is in a lentil curry. So with this recipe, I was both excited and apprehensive. But went ahead anyway, hoping the bacon will work its magic even if the kale fails.

And let me tell you peeps, we loved it!

This pasta dish was a winner on all counts – it was light, refreshing, healthy, low on calories and super packed with flavour. From prep to finish, on the table in 30 minutes. All thanks to Weight Watchers, we have found our favourite kale dish.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms

Serves: 4

7 SmartPoints® value per serve

Ingredients:

  1. 200gms dried pasta
  2. 5 tsp olive oil
  3. 125gms lean bacon (fat trimmed); chopped
  4. 1 red capsicum; chopped
  5. 200gms button mushrooms; sliced
  6. 2 medium garlic cloves; crushed
  7. 2 small fresh red chilli; finely chopped
  8. 200gms kale; chopped
  9. 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  10. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  11. Salt; to season

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per packet instructions till al dente. Drain (reserve ½ cup liquid) and keep aside.
  2. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large pan and add the chopped bacon. Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes till the bacon pieces have turned golden and crisp. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. In the same pan, add 2 tsp olive oil and add the garlic, chillies and capsicum. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the mushrooms. Cook over high heat for another 2-3 minutes till the mushrooms have softened. Transfer to the same bowl as the bacon.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil and add the kale. Season with salt and cook covered for 2-3 minutes on low heat. Then add ¼ cup water to the kale, mix and continue to cook covered for another 2-3 minutes or till the kale has become tender.
  5. Increase heat and return the bacon and vegetables to the pan. Also add the lemon rind and juice; season with salt if necessary.
  6. Add the cooked pasta, half of the reserved liquid and toss on high flame for a few seconds.
  7. Serve warm

I served this pasta dish with a fresh salad made from cherry tomatoes, red onion, coriander leaves, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you would like to make this delicious recipe or make several like these, all that you need to do is place an order with Aussie Farmers Direct for the all new WW Freshbox.

Thanks to Aussie Farmers Direct, a special discount code has been offered to all the subscribers of ‘The Spice Adventuress’ (make sure you subscribe to my blog). Enjoy $25 off* with your first WW Freshbox. Use promo code ‘FRESHSPICE’ on checkout – T&Cs below.  

(Offer open to new customers. Minimum spend $65. For full T&Cs visit AussieFarmers.com.au. Valid until 31/08/2016. Order must be placed by 12 noon 30/08/2016.)

So go ahead, place your order today and enjoy fresh ingredients with healthy recipes, delivered straight to your doorstep. And if you prepare the above recipe, make sure to tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I may see it too.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

Disclaimer – This post has been bought to you in collaboration with Aussie Farmers Direct. All the opinions stated in this review are mine; hope it helps you make an informed choice. 

 

Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies)

I have a small balcony garden at home, not too many plants but I do grow most of the herbs and a few leafy greens. And the hailstorm that we experienced last week was not very complimentary to my gardening efforts. Since I do not have too much space inside my apartment to move all the plants, I decided to be selective and move in only the curry leaves and basil along with a few other ornamental ones. But with the wind raging all day, all my herbs took a real beating. And then the hail started!

Hailstorm in Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Since I wasn’t sure if the plants were going to survive, I cut off all the herbs and thus ended up with a huge amount of parsley and a bit of coriander, mint and some rosemary too.

I didn’t want the herbs to just wilt off in the fridge especially the parsley so decided I must do something delicious with it. Chimichurri came to my mind immediately especially since I have made it before. I had some chicken thigh fillets stocked too so the decision was made; I will grill the chicken and have it with the chimichurri. But tweaking is something I love to do and what I finally ended up with was these absolutely gorgeous Grilled Chicken Skewers with fresh herbs and chillies.

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Veered away from the traditional chimichurri as I was thinking of a marinade and not a sauce. So I wanted more flavour which is why the fresh red chillies and ginger ended up in it. Along with the freshness from the parsley, coriander and basil, this marinade has the depth of flavour from the aromatics and that mild kick from the chillies. Long red chillies which are not very fiery are best for this style of marinade.

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

The chicken skewers turned out so good that I decided to share it with all of you. An extremely easy dish to make, hardly any prep work except for chopping up some herbs and a very affordable one too especially if you grow herbs. Perfect for an easy and healthy weekday dinner.

We had these grilled chicken skewers Middle Eastern style served up on my trusted wooden board. So pita bread, chicken skewers, garlic dip, tzatziki, olives and a green salad. Even better the next day to take to work….just put it all into the pita and roll it up for a delicious wrap for lunch. Winner, isn’t it!

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Hope all of you enjoy these grilled chicken skewers (with fresh herbs and chillies). And if you make it, I would so love to see it so please tag me in all your pictures using #thespiceadventuress. Have a great weekend folks!

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms chicken; cubed into even sized pieces
  2. 2 heaped tbsps herb marinade
  3. Salt; to season
  4. Juice of half a lemon
  5. Bamboo skewers

Herb Marinade:

  • 1 cup parsley; finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil; finely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves; grated
  • ½ inch ginger; grated
  • 1 ½ fresh red chillies (long variety); seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil
  • Salt; to season

Method:

  • Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 15 minutes to prevent burning.
  • To prepare the herb marinade, place all the ingredients in a bowl and add the olive oil. Season with salt.
  • Place the cubed chicken pieces in a bowl and add the marinade, salt and lemon juice. Mix well to combine.
  • Skewer the chicken pieces and allow to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Heat a grill pan (or frying pan) to high and place the skewers on top. Since olive oil is already added to the marinade, no extra oil is required.
  • When grilled on one side, turn over, baste with more marinade and cook. Repeat till you get good caramelization all over and then finish off in the oven (another 2-3 minutes). You can continue to baste with the marinade as required.
  • Serve warm with dips, salad and pita bread.

Note – The marinade can be prepared in bulk; stays well in the refrigerator for upto 3 days and upto a month if  frozen.

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Potato, Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon and Shallots

Soup weather is officially here!

The days have been cold, wet and grey and since we were relying too much on this cheesy bowl of comfort, I decided to experiment with more soups this season. Like this super creamy and delicious Potato, Cauliflower and Leek Soup generously garnished with crispy bacon and shallots.

Potato, Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon and Shallots - Comfort in a bowl - thespiceadventuress.com

The weather also dictates for a good read and the book I just finished reading is a poignant drama ‘Like I Can Love’ by Australian author, Kim Lock.

My knowledge of Australian authors is slowly but steadily increasing especially when I signed up to do book reviews with Pan Macmillan Australia. I found it a great way to discover new authors and also expand my reading horizon considerably.

Set in South Australia, ‘Like I Can Love’ is a poignant, heartbreaking tale of two friends. The book is also an exploration of different kinds of love, the varying spectrums of this emotion which can be fragile, sacrificing and sometime destructive. It is a tale of how love can make us do the most unthinkable of things leaving a mark on our souls and lives forever.

Beautifully etched by Kim Lock, the book captures the essence of love and friendship amidst the background of South Australia. By the end of it, I felt that the characters are real almost becoming a part of my life, as if I have known them all my life. It is a simple book to read but one that is profound and beautifully written.

Kim Lock resides with her family in the Barossa Valley and hence there is ample evidence of the culture and lifestyle of regional Australia in her book. The book is gripping without being too heavy which makes it ideal if you are a fiction lover.

Like I Can Love by Kim Lock - a book review - thespiceadventuress.com

Let’s also simmer away a pot of this delicious soup before you get too engrossed in the book.

Just as the name suggests, this is a Potato, Cauliflower and Leek soup. I wanted more oomph and comfort which is why the shallots and bacon make an appearance, but if you are a crouton person, here is a delicious one you can try out.

Spices ofcourse are my thing but I am sure you agree that potatoes and cumin is a match made in heaven. So mildly spiced with bay leaf and cumin which adds so much more flavour to the soup. No extra cream in this one as I found that it is quite creamy from the potatoes and cauliflower but if you wish to, you can add a bit as garnish or at the end of the cooking process.

Bay leaf and Cumin - love thy spices - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Crispy Bacon and Shallots - Garnish for the Potato, Cauliflower and Leek Soup - thespiceadventuress.com

And of course, the crispy bacon and shallots……..yumm yumm yummmm!!

Ingredients:

  1. 100gms bacon; chopped
  2. 50gms fried shallots
  3. 2 large potatoes; diced
  4. 1 small cauliflower head; cut into florets
  5. 1 leek; finely sliced
  6. 3 dried bay leaf
  7. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  8. 2 medium garlic cloves
  9. 2 tbsp butter
  10. Salt, to season
  11. Freshly milled black pepper, to season
  12. 1 litre homemade chicken stock

Method:

  1. In a deep pan, add the bacon pieces and fry on low heat. No extra oil required as the bacon has enough fat which will render down and crisp it up.
  2. Once the bacon pieces have browned and crisped up well, remove and drain on a kitchen towel. Keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, heat butter and add the bay leaf and cumin. Cook on low heat till the spices are fragrant and then add the garlic and leeks. Sauté for about 2 minutes on medium heat but take care not to burn.
  4. Next add the potatoes and cauliflower florets; season with salt (remember the stock has salt) and pepper. Mix well to combine and cook on low heat for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add ¾ ths of the stock, check seasoning and bring to boil. Turn the heat down and cook covered till the vegetables are softened and cooked through.
  6. Cool slightly and blitz till creamy. Add more stock if too thick.
  7. Serve warm with crispy bacon and shallots.
  8. Slurp it up!

Note – I always have a stash of homemade fried shallots in my pantry which I used. You could use the store bought ones too.

Potato, Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon and Shallots - Deliciousness in a bowl - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Potato, Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon and Shallots - comfort in a bowl - thespiceadventuress.com

Pssst….I am having this soup second day in a row with a  few drops of Tabasco hot sauce in it. Try it guys if you can take some heat!

 

Disclaimer – Not a sponsored post but the book was sent to me by Pan Macmillan Australia.

 

 

 

Top 15 Recipes for Easter Holidays

Easter is just around the corner and that means a whole lot of celebrations, family lunches and special meals.

So I thought of sharing with you a couple of my favourites (some of which I will be making again this year) which might make menu planning easier for you or might give you the inspiration to try out something new for your friends and family.

So here we go…..

Cocktails always add a bit of drama to any party. It is fun and interactive encouraging your friends to be a part of it too. And of course the thrill of trying out something new instead of just wine or spirits.

This Chambord Margarita is light and refreshing; sweet, fruity and citrusy but above all, the prettiest cocktail I have made in a long time. A beautiful blush of pink that tastes as delicious as it looks! A definite wow factor on your party table!

Chambord Margarita - A beautiful blush of pink that tastes as delicious as it looks - thespiceadventuress.com

But if you wish for more robust flavours, something more spicy and citrusy, then look no further than this Swedish Mule made using the new Kopparberg Elderflower and Lime cider. With the freshness and slightly spicy undertones from the ginger, zingy bursts of passionfruit and the sweet refreshing vibrancy of the elderflower and lime, the Swedish Mule will definitely be a hit at your party.

Swedish Mule, a Kopparberg Elderflower & Lime Cocktail - Freshness and slightly spicy undertones from the ginger, zingy bursts of passionfruit and the sweet refreshing vibrancy of the elderflower and lime - thespiceadventuress.com

Of course you need canapés at every party. And I have two to recommend, both of which are delicious, full of flavour and really easy to prepare.

The first is this Baked Oysters with Garlic, Curry leaf and Kashmiri Chilli which will make your guests swoon over with delight. And the second will be these pretty Grilled Scallops with Garlic Butter and Chillies.

Baked Oysters with Garlic, Curry Leaf and Kashmiri Chilli - Soft, plump and juicy oysters are oven baked with a garlic and curry leaf butter emulsion, coriander leaves and Kashmiri chilli powder - thespiceadventuress.com

Grilled Scallops with Garlic Butter and Chillies - a simple and gorgeous looking party canape - thespiceadventuress.com

And for some vegetarian canapés/salads….

A Stuffed cucumber salad that’s easy to make, refreshing, delicious, looks pretty and stylish too. And get your hands on some fresh, juicy cherry tomatoes for this refreshing Cherry tomato salad that makes a great accompaniment to grilled seafood and meats.

Stuffed Cucumber Salad - a refreshing, simply and delicious vegetarian canape/starter - thespiceadventuress.com

Cherry Tomato Salad - a vibrant and delicious tomato salad which pairs beautifully with grilled meats and seafood - thespiceadventuress.com

Is lamb your thing? Then I have two dishes for you today.

Vindaloo lamb chops – succulent, delicately frenched lamb chops smothered with the lipsmacking vindaloo marinade, pan fried and finished off with a dash of tomato sauce. Believe me folks, this one never fails to impress especially if you have spice lovers in your guest list.

Vindaloo Lamb Chops - succulent, delicately frenched lamb chops smothered with the lipsmacking vindaloo marinade - thespiceadventuress.com

Maybe a wickedly rich, intensely flavourful, deep dark lamb curry is what you seek like this Gosht Durbari (Lamb Curry slow cooked with Yoghurt, Fried Onions and Spices) – by far, the most successful recipe on my blog!

Gosht Durbari (Lamb Curry slow cooked with Yoghurt, Fried Onions and Spices) - a delicious slow cooked lamb curry with fried onions, yoghurt and spices - thespiceadventuress.com

Looking for something new and whacky to impress. Here’s one that always gets the conversation going…..Roast Chicken with Vegemite Masala (with Chilli Garlic Asparagus and Cumin spiced Mashed Potatoes)

Roast Chicken with Vegemite Masala (with Chilli Garlic Asparagus and Cumin spiced Mashed Potatoes) - an Indo Australian fusion recipe - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are of Indian origin, then there is no looking beyond the quintessential pot of biryani for Easter. Ditch the meat and celebrate seafood this season with this super delicious Goan Fish Biryani.

Goan Fish Biryani - a lipsmacking biryani made Spanish mackerel and flavoured mildly with spices - thespiceadventuress.com

Or perhaps this Roasted golden trout that can be served on a bed of Arabian rice. Feeds a crowd!

Roasted Spicy Golden Trout with Arabian Rice - perfectly roasted golden trout with a delicious signature spice marinade - thespiceadventuress.com

Got children in the party? Then you might need to take a serious look at these Extra tender meatballs.

Extra tender meatballs - melt in your mouth meatballs to wow the young and old alike - thespiceadventuress.com

And of course no Easter party can be complete without dessert.

You can either go all fudgy and chocolicious with this Chocolate Fudge Cake with Milk Chocolate Buttercream and Fresh Strawberries

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Milk Chocolate and Fresh Strawberries - the most delicious way to say 'I love you' this Valentine's Day - thespiceadventuress.com

Or opt for a lighter but equally delicious Lemon Cake.

Lemon Cake - a light, fluffy and moist cake with citrusy flavours - thespiceadventuress.com

Let’s start the party all over again with this delicious brunch. Eggs in Tomatoes – a lipsmacking interpretation of the classic British egg, tomato and bacon breakfast.

Eggs in Tomatoes – a lipsmacking interpretation of the classic British egg, tomato and bacon breakfast - thespiceadventuress.com

January Favourites

I had been thinking of starting a monthly favourites and top picks post since last year. But since the idea struck towards the end of 2015, I decided to wait till the new year to introduce this new series.

I have always enjoyed similar posts on other blogs. It is a wonderful way to know what’s happening in the blogosphere, get inspired and learn about new blogs, recipes, products etc… and share it with all of you.

Naturally, its more food related for me but I would also post anything that catches my fancy or piques my interest. Hope all of you have a great time reading these as much as I did;

I need to practice this more often:

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Image Courtesy: Pinterest (quotes-love-life-wise.blogspot.gr)

 

  1. Spices, as captured by this amazing food photographer
  2. I should definitely put to practice these iPhone travel photography tips
  3. This pasta dish is going to be a part of my winter menu
  4. Need to make this popsicle before summer slips away
  5. I am not really a breakfast girl, but this list makes me want to be one
  6. How I wish I could attend this photography workshop
  7. These meatballs are fingerlickin good!
  8. This pretty lady is my newest blogging buddy
  9. This papaya relish looks heavenly!
  10. Citrus love; soda love…can’t wait for my new Sodastream to arrive.
  11. This chickpea salad hits all the right spots

 

 

Watermelon Curry

What is a curry?

The age old question that has been debated much and beyond with no hope of an answer in sight!

Well, I do not wish to get into the origin of this word; Google and Wikipedia does a good job of that. Neither do I wish to get into what the world defines a curry.

For the average Indian, a curry refers to any dish that is in the form of flavourful gravy. When we cannot find a traditional name to the dish, we end up calling it a curry anyway.

So is the case with this watermelon curry.

Watermelon Curry - a mildly spiced aromatic curry with watermelon rind and flesh - thespiceadventuress.com

 

It does not fit in with the global definition of a curry but for an Indian, this would classify just perfect.
Watermelon curry?? I am sure that’s the thought running through your head right now if you haven’t heard of this dish before. It was the same apprehensive feeling I had when I first came across this dish in saveur.com

I knew this curry was going to be an awesome one while scrolling down the list of ingredients but still somewhere in my head was the nagging thought, ‘will it be too sweet’?

Apparently, the watermelon curry is a famous dish in Rajasthan and is enjoyed with both phulkas (Indian wheat flat bread) and rice. I had it both ways and enjoyed it just the same.

Yes, there is sweetness from the watermelon but then there is a whole lot of flavour from the spices that penetrate deep into the melon pieces to give us a delicious, refreshing and light dish.

This is a curry that can be a perfect example to the fact that spices do not mean heat but flavour. The cumin, carom seeds, nigella seeds and dried chillies release all its flavour into the oil and cuts into the sweetness of the melon pieces. The soft rind of the watermelon adds just the right amount of bite and texture to an otherwise soft dish.

Watermelon Curry - a mildly spiced aromatic curry with watermelon rind and flesh - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Believe me, this is a dish you will enjoy so make sure to give it a try.

Watermelon curry – sweet juicy chunks of watermelon in a flavourful gravy of spices and aromatics.

Ingredients:

1. 1 kg seedless watermelon with rind
2. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
3. ½ tsp ajwain/carom seeds
4. ½ tsp cumin seeds
5. ½ tsp nigella seeds (black onion seeds)
6. 3 dried red chillies, broken into small pieces
7. 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8. salt, to season
9. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
10. 2 tsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method:

1. Cut the outer dark green layer of the watermelon rind keeping the inner whitish-green rind intact. Remove the red flesh of the watermelon from the whitish rind; dice both separately and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add the whole spices; ajwain, cumin, nigella and dry red chillies. When fragrant, add the garlic and sauté on medium heat for about 30 seconds.
3. Add the watermelon rind pieces and turmeric powder, mix well and season with salt. Cover and look for about 6-7 minutes till the rind has browned and softened. Do not add any water.
4. In the meantime, blitz half the watermelon flesh pieces and keep aside.
5. After 7 minutes, add the blitzed watermelon pulp and ½ cup water; mix to combine and cook covered till the rind has become tender.
6. Then add the remaining flesh pieces and cook on high for 3-4 minutes.
7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve warm.

Watermelon Curry - a mildly spiced aromatic curry with watermelon rind and flesh - thespiceadventuress.com

Watermelon Curry - a mildly spiced aromatic curry with watermelon rind and flesh - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

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