Thursday, February 27, 2014

Restaurant Photo Shoot - GIA

I recently did a photo shoot for a local deli/cafe called GIA and unlike others it is all about wholesome, rustic and home style food. I'm in love with their quinoa salads and have whole new love for quinoa now then ever.

Clearly then, the guidelines for the shoot were real, unpretentious and realistic food with no restaurant like styling which was very refreshing to see. Here are some of the photos from the shoot.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Spicy Minced Meat Samosas

If I told you this is my grandma’s recipe, it would be both true and false. 
It's true because in the most vivid memory I have of her, she is sitting on a green painted metal chair in the verandah instructing my aunts who are sitting on the floor with three large plates. One plate was stacked with whole wheat paper thin wraps covered in lightly damp cloth, another with pile of cooked lentils or cooked minced meat. The third plate was where they placed folded samosas. We kids would run around the verandah and were handed the folded samosas to eat while we passed by. The tradition has been handed down from my grandma to my aunts to my mom and now to us. So what makes it false?


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kadhi - Spiced Hot Yogurt Soup

Comfort food, is not just for the soul, it is soothing and nourishing to the body too. It is warm and hearty, sometimes complex in flavour to something as simple as a peanut butter sandwich. It comes laced with sweet childhood memories but also dipped in the sourness of lonely moments when only food rescues you. It is what the heart yearns when it's grey and cloudy outside, but also what you want to serve your family on bright sunday morning gathered around a table, a room filled with laughter and chatter. Real and unpretentious, comfort food never gets old.

For most North Indians, one form of dal (lentils) or other is not just comforting, it is a daily grind. Followed closely by Kadhi, a chickpeas flour and yogurt soup often served with a lentil and rice pilaf called khichri. It is best eaten sitting on the floor, touching the earth, feasting on what came from it and into our souls made of earth. Spoons are acceptable but real comfort comes with mixing the soup and rice with your bare hands and poaching in some spicy lemon pickle or just fresh green chillies with each bite, alternated with crispy papad.  It is an alchemy of flavours in their simplest,  most unglamorous form. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Lifestyle Shoot For Ecru and My Love List!

Happy Valentine's day everyone! We are not celebrating this year like most years but this Molten Chocolate Lava Cake is on the cards. Well and hot cocoa with this luscious cocoa powder I have been loving lately

This earl grey chocolate pots de creme is playing on my mind. 

Since I tried the easy clementine chocolate mousse few years back, I have been hooked to the combination and love this orange chocolate tart

Very excited about my darling lemon thyme book. Love that girl by the way.

I'm on a quinoa high and if you live in Kuwait, you have to try GIA.

Lastly, I did a photoshoot with Ecru, and the outline was fresh, warm and cozy appeal. You can check out more photos on their website's landing page


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Quinoa, Puy lentils, Blood Orange and Goat Cheese Salad With Blood Orange Rosemary Dressing

Yes, yes! I have been on a blogging spree. When I make something exciting I can't wait another week to share it with you! Today's salad is very reminiscent of  kind of dinners I'm eating lately. But before that I have to tell you that the baby spinach and rosemary is from my tiniest balcony garden. And what a joy it is, snipping fresh leaves for your salads. Spinach has been by far the easiest thing to grow with little or no attention. But I'm also devastated that my bok choy went into the pigeon's belly instead of ours.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Lagan Ni Seekh - Spicy Layered Meat Casserole Topped With Eggs

Until last week, we were enjoying the end of January, the supposedly pleasant and cool month of February was to follow. It started on a good note - the sun was shining bright, the air was crispier, fear of my balcony plants dying was over as I grinned at the curly forest green leaves of blue kale. While still cuddling my hot cocoa mug, wrapping Tasnim in a warm sweater, my heart was dancing to call an end to winters. Time to be outdoors again.

But this week has been  the coldest of all winter.  I wore socks at home which I have a severe aversion to doing otherwise. While stranded at home, we sat lazily in our warmed apartment, cancelling out the events we planned to attend this week. While last I posted a comfort food that required you to be around for a while, today's recipe is one that you hardly need to worry about. It cooks in the oven with minimum fuss, warm and meaty - all it requires is a whole grain flat bread or buttery soft buns to scoop up.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Haleem/Khichda - Wheat berries, Meat and Lentils Porridge

(recipe and photo originally appeared in BBC Good Food, India's Jan 2014 edition)

When I need time to just ponder over life, when time seems to pass by in a flash (specially when you have a 1 year old), when I really just want to stop, breath and slow down, I cook my mom's haleem. The constant swirl movement of the ladle eases away my anxiety, lost in the hypnotic rhythm of stirring, the earthy wheat and lentils warm you up even before being consumed. That is the beauty of comfort foood.

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