Posts filed under ‘Indian food’

Separated at birth, aloo gobi and doughnuts

Ciao Bloggisti!

What I’m watching: Just finished watching Vieni Via Con Me. Those of you in Italy know what I’m talking about. Tonight’s episode featured specials guests Gianfranco Fini and Pierluigi Bersani. Speaking of which, the leader of the Partito Democratico bears a scary resemblance to Dharma’s dad, dontcha think? Separated at birth, people!!

 

Pier Luigi Bersani

 

Dharma’s Dad

Music of the day: I loved Avion Travel‘s cover of the song Vieni Via Con Me on tonight’s show. Actor Toni Servillo (singer Beppe’s brother) guested on vocals.  And just listen to that guitar!

Best read of the day: I’m trying to teach my son the English alphabet and he’s making great progress with Thomas the Tank Engine ABC. It’s very basic but there’s something about trains that keeps Diggy hooked. Any other suggestions for teaching bilingual kids would be most appreciated.

What I’m eating: Yesterday I cooked up a storm: a bit of Indian and Italian. My husband bought some cauliflower so I could make aloo gobi.

aloo gobi

It was good but not quite perfect. I didn’t have any cumin and I was a bit stingy with the green chilis as I’m a milk dispenser now.  My husband did manage to find some coriander/cilantro in the garden, thank goodness. It’s so fragrant and really makes a difference. I also made chick pea and potato samosas (which the kids actually ate!) as well as a dish with borlotti beans, pancetta and red wine.

Best moment of the day: Playing in front of the mirror with the baby. She’s such a giggler now! Oh, cleaning out the lint filter in the dryer was also a highlight, albeit on a different level. Very zen.


Where I’d like to go: To Tim Hortons, baby! In one month I’m going to be in Canada and you know my first stop will not be my Mom’s place but Timmy’s, to get a chocolate dip doughnut and a double double of course.

 

16 November 2010 at 2:14 am 1 comment

Around the world in one city

Ciao Bloggisti!*
When I was back home in Toronto last August, the fam and I went to Centre Island for the afternoon. It’s a favourite summer destination as it has lovely picnic areas, an amusement park and one of the best views of the downtown skyline. Anyway, as I was waiting in line for the ferry, I started to get bored and had a look around me.  And what I saw was incredible. It was like a live-action ad for the United Colours of Benetton. There were Jamaicans, Chinese, South Asians, Koreans, Italians, North Africans, Hasidic Jews and, ahem, “mangiacakes”, all standing in line together for the Island Ferry, their coolers and backpacks bursting with goodies, just like so many Torontonians have done for generations. It was all so wonderfully Canadian!
Being the foodie freak that I am, I was just dying to take a peek at what all those people had in their culinary stash. And I also thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a communal picnic right then and there, passing around the bindaetteok , samosas and potato salad.  In my opinion, nothing brings a country together better than food. This summer I can safely say I was well-trained in the art of nation-building with all the great things I chowed down on during my trip to Toronto and Ottawa. I took pictures of most of the food I ate on my trip (much to the chagrin of friends and family) but here are just a few shots of the memorable dishes I had. And since October 14 is Election Day in Canada, I thought it would be a great reminder of how diversity has become as Canadian as the Nanaimo Bar.
Arugula salad – Torito Tapas Bar, Toronto
Arugula , manchego cheese , roasted almond salad with quince vinaigrette

Mini pappadums, Brampton

My aunt’s spicy barbequed fish

Kerala-style barbequed fish

Butter tarts! A Canadian classic.

Butter tarts

My favourite: chunky, greasy french fries

Fresh-cut fries and ketchup

Appetizers – Omonia Restaurant, Greektown, Toronto

Three-dip pita platter with tzatziki, humus and melitzanosalata

Canada, vote well!!! Mi raccomando!!!!!!

* Update: I just found out that today is Blog Action Day, an annual, non-profit event aimed at raising awareness on global issues. This years Blog Action Day is dedicated to Poverty. I didn’t have enough time to write a post about the poverty but I urge you to watch the video below and do whatever you can to spread the word.

15 October 2008 at 12:00 am 2 comments

The Omnivore’s Hundred

Ciao Bloggisti!

I’m feeling a bit peckish. I think I ate too much when I was in Canada and my stomach has expanded. Damn you Food Court!! So now I’m hungry a lot. And when that happens I love going on luscious foodie blogs, like Jasmine’s Confessions of a Cardamom Addict. This week she posted about a cool list that I just had to share with you. It’s called the Omnivore’s Hundred and she got it from Andrew from the British blog Very Good Taste. Basically, it’s a list of the 100 foods “every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life”. It’s an eclectic and international round-up of delicacies, some of which are heavenly and others stomach-turning. I didn’t do too bad for a little girl from Scarborough. What about you? How much of the world have you eaten? I’d love to see your lists!

If you’re interested in taking part, here are the instructions:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.

2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

Here are my results for the VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare (I have had carpaccio a lot. Does that count?)
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari (my daughter loves it)
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi (my hubby’s fave)
15. Hot dog from a street cart (street meat is da best!)
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes (but the hubster planted tomatoes that were rotting in our fridge and those plants are now producing the most delicious pomodori ever!)
22. Fresh wild berries
23.
Foie gras (see my post on Paris)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29.
Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (Had it on the pier in San Francisco. Yum!)
33. Salted lassi (the best way to cool down after eating a fiery curry)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39.
Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects
43. Phaal (am so tempted to try this one!)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu (I’ll try everything once but I don’t want to risk my life!)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (nowhere near as good as Tim Horton’s!)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (When I was 10 I could eat an entire meal. Now I can only manage Happy Meals!)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (eating earth???)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian (Well, I’ve eaten jackfruit. Does that count?)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
(Mmmm. Fried dough!)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (merçi Stéphanie!)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini (just had one in Scarborough, of all places)
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (Sold as Mikado here in Italy. So addictive)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef (would be a dream!)
86. Hare
87.
Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95.
Mole poblano (chocolate goes well with anything!)
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake (I’ve had snake-infused grappa though)

Ok, now it’s your turn!

5 September 2008 at 12:28 am 2 comments

Bratty bambino goes spicy (sort of)

Take a picky Italian-born 4 year-old, add a mother who wants to get back to her Indian culinary roots, throw in a little curry powder and what do you get? “Ooooh spicy! Mommy, I don’t like SPICY!” Cut to one disappointed mommy turning on the stove to prepare her daughter’s favourite: pasta in bianco (plain pasta with butter).

I’ve been living in Italy for 12 years and while I absolutely love the food here, sometimes I crave a dish of my mom’s fiery beef curry or dosas or biriyani. And since Indians in Italy are few and far between, we don’t have a lot of friends from the old country we can mooch a meal off of nor are there many decent South Asians restaurants. So, I had to learn on my own, getting advice from my mom over the phone or studying her craft in person whenever we met up. I say craft because she can whip up an amazingly fresh, delicious and bum-burning dish with anything she happens to have in the fridge.

I’m embarrassed to say I couldn’t stand Indian food when I was a kid. Chef Boyardee was a culinary god in my eyes. Ronald McDonald? Better than Bocuse. It was only when I left home for university that I felt those first pangs of spicy longing. I would visit my parents’ friends in Montreal just to get that taste of home. Then a few years later when I was living in Paris, I mustered up enough courage to tentatively cook my first Indian meal. I cheated and used Patak’s curry pastes but my dishes were hits. I made some misses too but I gradually improved over the years and can now safely say that I can cook a proper Indian dinner… for adults. Kids are a whole ‘nother ball game.

As I’ve mentioned before, my daughter Bellie is as finicky as Morris the Cat. She is a sworn enemy of vegetables and actually threw up her dinner the other day because there was a microscopic piece of mushroom in her risotto. So you can imagine how difficult it’s been introducing curries and spices to her diet. I thought she would have been used to them from the womb but I was wrong. I really want her to get used to the tastes that I grew up with, to become familiar with the cuisine of her ancestors, because I believe food is a visceral way of getting in touch with your heritage.

So I tried a different tactic. I decided to take the tastes she already likes and morph them into Indian dishes. Bellie loves puff pastry and potatoes so my first experiment was a kid-friendly samosa. I improvised a lot because my son decided to wake up during my precious cooking time. But the samosas turned out surprisingly well and were easy to make.

Here’s the samosa recipe:

Ingredients:

4 medium potatoes, chopped into big cubes (I leave the skin on while cooking but it can be peeled beforehand, too)

250 gr mixed vegetables (peas, zucchini, carrots, beans or whatever is in season)

400 gr. can of chick peas

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 tsp of Mom’s special curry masala (made with 1 tbsp cumin seed, 4-5 cardamom pods and a 5 cm stick of cinnamon, ground to a fine powder in a spice mill)

1 tbsp lemon juice

pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

salt (to taste)

2 sheets of puff pastry (230 gr. each)

Place chopped potatoes in pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes. Add salt. Heat to boiling. About 7 minutes after the water starts boiling, add the mixed vegetables. Cook for a further 5 minutes, then add drained can of chick peas. Boil potato, veg and chick pea mixture for 2 minutes, then drain. Let cool for about 10 minutes then blend mixture (with a traditional or immersion blender) until ingredients become the consistency of mashed potatoes.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 180°C.

Heat oil on medium-low in a skillet. Add the curry masala and cayenne pepper (if you’re feeling daring!) and cook for 1 minute. Add the blended potato mixture to the skillet. Add lemon juice. Mix well. Add salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

Cut puff pastry into 10cmx10cm squares. After the potato mixture has cooled down 10-15 minutes, place a tbsp in the middle of each pastry square. Dampen the edges of each square with water. Bring edges together to form a triangle shape, if possible. Place samosas in a parchment lined cookie sheet or baking pan and put in oven. Cook until golden, around 15-20 minutes.

As you can see from the picture below, my samosas didn’t look that perfect. But I can honestly say that both kids ate them up, vegetables, curry and all!

If you like this one I have my mom’s extra-spicy beef curry recipe waiting in the wings. But only if you ask nice! It’s an ancient Keralan secret.

Buon appetito!!

21 April 2008 at 11:04 pm 10 comments


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