From elBulli to my kitchen

“We truly believe that if you don’t eat well, it’s because you haven’t tried”

(An excerpt from the book The Family Meal, from elBulli to your kitchen)

I was gifted this brilliant cook book last year by my close family members. A simple, yet well explained book on the inside of elBulli’s staff meals.  Ferran Adria (head chef) explains that staff members are like a family, and the family meal is an important moment when everyone sits down together to eat. Hence he named the book, “the family meal”. Its amazing  how the entire month’s meal was planned, documented and cooked for 75 people!

The family meal is a book which is not like a regular cookbook.  An everyday meal with three course meal from mains to simple desserts recipes can be adapted very easily for home cooking. A  step by step instructions with pictures and ingredient measurements for serving  2 to 75 people. The meals are designed keeping in mind the availability and not making the meals too expensive. A detailed explanation about planning your meal for restaurant staff or your family at home is sure a great book to refer to.

Miso & clamp soup

The day, when I saw the clams at my local fish market, I knew exactly what I’m going to make. A very easy recipe with just 3 ingredients. The original recipe asks for dashi powder. I had to negate it since I couldn’t source any. However, I still like the taste of this soup and it is very different from the regular soups that I’ve ever had! I have used locally made miso paste by Samskara Wellness. I’ve been told that they are  going to start retailing the paste very soon.

Ingredients for Miso soup with clams

(Serves 4)

Adapted from The family Meal 

1/2 kg clams

1 packet silken tofu

4 tsp red miso paste (preferably organic)

2 cups water

salt & pepper to taste

Tip:

Before cooking the clams, discard any damaged ones. Put the clams in a large bowl, cover with salted water, and let stand for 1 hour. This will help the clams to purge themselves of any sand.

Procedure:

  1. Pour the water in a soup pot and add miso paste.
  2. Process with a hand held blender until well mixed.
  3. Bring the above mixture to a boil.
  4. Add clams. Cook for 3 minutes or until the clams are open.
  5. Remove from heat and discard any non opened clams.
  6. Cut some few pieces of tofu to serve and puree or make a fine paste with the rest of the tofu.
  7. Mix the pureed tofu into the hot soup. Check for salt & pepper.
  8. Serve immediately  in a soup bowl with some cut tofu.

Miso & clam soup

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Mushroom & Kale Minestrone

Minestrone

Minestrone, a thick Italian soup is one of my favorite. Minestrone is so easy to make and the best part is that you can add any seasonal veggies. A perfect weekday one pot meal which can be had with a nice crusty bread. It can be prepared  well in advance and refrigerated up to a week. I had mine for two consecutive days after long working hours.

There is no real recipe for this thick soup. The basic thumb rule is to use lots of veggies, beans and pasta or rice. I’ve used kale & mushroom to give a different twist to my soup. I’ve also  used black rice pasta which not only adds color to my pasta but also makes my soup gluten free. This recipe can also be vegan if garnished with some  nutritional yeast flakes as a substitute for vegan cheese. I’ve used some local artisan Parmesan coming all the way from Auroville.

Jamie Oliver gives  some handy tips on prepping up for minestrone.

Ingredients:

1 packet mushroom (250gms), chopped finely

50 gms kale, stems removed & chopped finely

1 small red onion, chopped finely

2 tomatoes, skin removed, de seeded and finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup  cooked black eyed beans

1 cup uncooked black rice  pasta

1/2 tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

500 ltr water

salt & pepper to taste

pesto & cheese for serving

Procedure :

  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add garlic and chopped onions. Sauté  until translucent.
  • Add chopped mushroom, kale, water & salt. Allow it to cook on medium flame for about 15 minutes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and uncooked pasta. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Add cooked black eyed peas, oregano, freshly ground pepper and some salt if needed. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot in individual bowls with a dollop of homemade pesto swirled through and some grated Parmesan.

Minestrone 1

More about black rice pasta & nutritional yeast flakes.


Guest post: Comfort food & corn chowder recipe

“A man is what he eats” – Ludwig Feuerbach

We all have different choices when it comes to comfort food. Comfort foods are usually simple and have a nostalgic feel to it, depending on culture and taste. It is something which we all have grown up on or find it most easy to digest on a tiring day. Some would treat comfort food as therapeutic depending on factors like stress or health. We always associate food to circumstances and comfort food is one amongst them. We also indulge in festive foods albeit occasionally. What is so special about comfort food? Why am I stressing on it so much….

Go on to Natural Mantra’s blog to read more…..

Corn chowder –  comfort food


English Winter Soup

It’s winter time, well technically in Mumbai too…. It’s  pleasant and the best part is that a you don’t have to cover yourslef up from top to bottom. December and January are the only two graceful months of pleasant weather in contrast to the humidity.
Winter is also the time for some delicious soups and it is the best way to hydrate yourself too. I found this recipe here and liked it instantly. The soup is a meal by itself and one bowl can really fill you up!

1/2 cup arborio rice
1tbs olive oil
2 medium sized potatoes, sliced
1cup fresh or frozen peas
2tsp crushed garlic
1tsp nutmeg
2tbs finely chopped parsley
4cups water or broth
salt & pepper to taste
2  hard-boiled eggs (optional)

Heat some oil in a skillet, and roast the rice until gloden brown; this will help the rice to cook faster and give it a nice nutty flavour too. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pot and add crushed gralic, cook for about a minute and let it not turn brown. Add potatoes and allow it cook for a minute. Add parsely and mix well. Now add rice, peas, nutmeg, water or broth and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer the stove to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Serve hot with toast or egg or both. Serves 2.

This is my submission to this month’s  No Croutons Required – Rice, hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen, to Souper Sundays, hosted by Kahakai Kitchen, to Soup Recipes, hosted by My Culinary Creations and to Winter Warmers, hosted by The Veggie Hut.


What do you do with leftover cooked rajma (kidney beans) water?

It’s winter and all you want is a  nice hot bowl of soup or rasam.Why not make some hot and spicy rasam with the left over rajma water. It has a nice thick consistency; good enough to use it for soups and rasam.
Why not make some hot rasam for this winter!The Indian spices and the tangy tamarind taste can really help your senses open out….

2cups rajma water
1tbs refined/ground oil
2 nos garlic cloves, crushed
2-3nos curry leaves
2tbs finely chopped onions
2tbs finely chopped tomatoes
1tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp pepper powder
1tsp jaggery powder
1tbs tamarind soaked in about 1/4 cup of warm water for 20minutes
salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the seeds and the leaves have popped and crackled, add onions and crushed garlic. After the onions have cooked and are soft, add tomatoes and cook until soft. Add rajma water, salt, jaggery,tamarind and let it boil for about 10 minutes. Garnish it with fresh cilantro and serve with rice or just drink it up! Serves 2.

My tastebuds: The rajma water adds a surprisingly different and a distinct flavour.

This is my submission to this month’s  MLLA #30, hosted by Mharo Rajasthan and The Well Seasoned Cook, to Complete my thali, hosted by Enveetu Kitchen and Joy of Cooking and to Souper Sundays hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.


Pumpkin & Carrot soup – spiced with cinnamon & wasabi

(Image Source: Anonymous)

Halloween is tomorrow and even I wanted to contribute to the blog stream by dishing up some hot soup.It is also the time to eat and share good food. Halloween can be fun and scary at the same time with costumes, hand-crafted pumpkins and trick-or-treating (it is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy). It is also the time to get to know your neighbours. So dress up in your scariest mood and offer your basket of candies.
Happy Halloween!!!

1/4 kg pumpkin,diced
2 carrots, diced
1 cup onion finely chopped
1ltr vegetable stock or water
1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
1tsp cinnamon powder
1tbs oilve oil
1tsp wasabi paste
salt to taste
cinnamon powder for garnish

Steam pumpkin and carrots in a steamer or microwave with ginger and a little stock or water until tender. Purée in a blender and set aside.
Heat oil in a pot and add chopped onions. Stir-fry until the onions are translucent. Add the purée, cinnamon and salt. Add remaining stock and bring back to boil, stirring well.
Combine olive oil with wasabi. Transfer the soup to serving bowls and dot with a drops of wasabi oil. Garnish with some cinnamon and serve hot.Serves 4.

This is my submission to this month’s Food Palette Series – Orange, hosted by Torview and to this week’s Souper Sundays, hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.