Sunday, June 25, 2006

basil haloumi and roasted vegetable skewers

this month's issue of delicious magazine has the best summer recipes. i am a huge basil fan so this veggie skewer recipe that called for a basil marinated got me really excited. problem was that i didn't have any wooden skewers and my nearest waitrose had sold out. so i ended up pulling out my fondue set and using those metallic skewers instead - not an ideal solution but a somewhat workable one. if you end up using metal skewers, take care that your fingers don't get burnt when you take the skewers off the grill pan. of course, if your'e planning to use a real grill then you better find those wooden skewers before you try this recipe.

50g basil
8 tbsp olive oil
250g haloumi, drained and cubed
1 large red pepper, deseeded and roughly cubed (i used cherry tomatos instead)
6 mushrooms, halved
1 courgette (zucchini), roughly cubed

preheat grill pan. soak 8 wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. or skip this step if you're also using your fondue skewers :)

put the basil, oil and seasoning in a small food processor. put 2 tablespoons of the mixture into a large bowl. save the rest to toss through a pasta salad.

thread the haloumi and vegetables alternately on the skewers. cook on the grill pan for about 10 minutes, turning halfway, until the vegetables are just tender.

h really loved this dish. he said that he loved the chargrilled, pesto-flavoured vegetables that were succulent and absolutely delicious.

delicious food magazine

i picked up a free copy of a food magazine called delicious at the taste of london event which i attended last week. when it comes to food magazines in the uk, i'm only familiar with bbc's good food magazine which i find very informative and comprehensive. i was quite delighted to discover another publication in the uk catering to my insatiable appetite for anything and everything food related!

delicious is very inspiring and visually stunning. it has bright colours, gorgeours full-bleed food photography, lots of ideas and loads of recipes from uk's top chefs including jamie oliver, nigella lawson and rick stein.

they have an amazing offer now to tempt you to subscribe - sign-up and you'll receive 3 issues for £3 plus you'll get a stylish, compact british hotel and restaurant guide by les routiers. don't know about you but i certainly fell for it!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

taste of london 2006 in regent's park

my dear friend amy was in town last week and london's greatest food show happened to be on at regent's park! given how obsessed amy and i are about food, taste of london was the perfect way to spend an afternoon together enjoying food, wine and some absolutely splendid english weather.

taste of london is an annual food event sponsored by british airways. it attracts the city's most high-profile michelin-starred chefs and an amazing variety of food and wine exhibitors from around the world. this year there were over 40 restaurants that had booths at which you could sample three of their signature dishes. what a great way to sample the best of london! my favourite restaurants like fifteen, roka, cocoon and the cinnamon club were there and i discovered some new ones that i'm now dying to try like imli (indian), nahm (thai) and fino (spanish). the sheer diversity of cuisines reminded me of just how wonderfully eclectic london is and how much i'm in love with this city, especially the food scene!

amy and i had a blast discovering new foods, collecting all the zillion souvenirs that were being given away and generally indulging in one of our favourite passions in life.

we dragged our spouses from one booth to the other, not wanting to miss a single square meter of the floor plan or any of the refreshing cockatils on offer :)

the highlight was seeing gordon ramsay in person. we were hoping to catch his live cooking demonstration but the time we made our way to his booth, we had missed his show and a long queue of autugraph-hopeful fands had already formed. we stood on a chair not far from his table and managed to get a few close-ups of him but nothing much more exciting than that. i haven't yet seen his f-word show on bbc 4 which is airing this season and is extremely popular.

stay tuned for more highlights from taste of london 2006!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

competition: prize for the winner

a HUGE thank you to all of you who participated in my mint, mint, mint competition! it was thoroughly exciting to review the entries over the past few days. i was fascinated by the sheer variety of ideas from pudina chawal to watermelon, feta and mint salad.

congratulations to trupti for the winning suggestion of mint syrup. it got me thinking about mojitos, mint sorbet, mint lemonade, mint ice tea, sparkling mint water to name just a few. trupti's idea really stood out not only because it called for using a lot of the mint i have on hand but also because it ignited my own creativity of everything i could do with the ingredient.

as promised, i will be mailing trupti a fun cookbook. i've picked gordon ramsay's sunday lunch. gordon is britain's top chef and this book is full of fabulous ideas for sunday lunches with family and friends. here's a picture i took of gordon ramsay at the taste of london food show that i will be blogging about next:

thanks, trupti! please send your mailing address to and i'll send across your prize. i'm keeping my fingers crossed that you don't live in england and that you're not already a die-hard ramsay fan!

trupti's recipe for mint syrup:

8 c Mint leaves, fresh; chopped
2 1/2 c -Boiling water
8 c Sugar
3 c -Water
green food colouring
3 tb Mint essential oil
-or mint extract


1. place chopped mint leaves in a crock or deep bowl; add boiling water. place a flat dish over the leaves and weight it down. allow to stand overnight. bring sugar and 3 cups water to a boil and cook 10 to 15 minutes. meanwhile, squeeze the juice from the mint leaves; add mint juice to the syrup, bring to a boil, cook 5 minutes and remove from heat. discard leaves. add green food color to make the syrup a bright green. add the mint oil and stir. pour into sterile bottles. refrigerate. syrup is ready to use.

2. dilute with cold water or sparkling water.

thanks again everyone for participating. hope you enjoyed the competition as much as i did!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

competition: mint, mint, mint!

inspired by all the weekend herb bloggers, i bought myself a mint plant a few months ago. and now it's grown so well and is giving me so much but i haven't plucked a single leaf as yet!

please help me use up some of my mint soon. i'm calling for all your suggestions for what i should make with the mint i have on hand.

i'll be giving away a fun cookbook to the winning entry. i will pick the most interesting recipe that uses more than a few mint leaves.

deadline for entries: wednesday, june 21

can't wait to see your ideas!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

tarte aux légumes rôtis

check-out cafe rouge if you're looking for a nice french cafe to hang out at when it's gorgeous outside they are located all over the united kingdom and are known for good quality and value for money french food.

i had a very rough week at work so decided to laze around this morning. i usually wake up early on the weekends and get cracking on all the chores that i neglected during the week but i just didn't feel like this morning. the sun was shining brighter than i have ever seen it shine in london. the weather looked splendid and very inviting. it was the absolutely perfect day for a leisurely lunch at a nice outdoors cafe. cafe rouge immediately popped into my mind as i see it on my way to holmes place, the gym where i work-out.

the cafe rouge in kensington is located right off kensington church street in lancer square. there's plenty of indoor and outdoor seating so no need to wait in a long line to sit outside. the service is very friendly and the menu has lots to choose from hors d'oeuvres, sandwiches, tartes, salads, hot plates (coq au vin etc!), cheese plates and desserts.

i ordered a tarte aux légumes rôtis. it was a puff pastry tart with caramelised onions, gruyere cheese and roasted vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, cheery tomatoes) served on a bed of greens. i loved the gruyere and mushroom combo on the puff pastry and would have been very happy even without the other vegetables. a very easy recipe to make at home if you have puff pastry on hand.

cafe rouge
2 lancer square
kensington church st
w8 4eh

Saturday, June 10, 2006

bombay diary: masala cheese omelette

believe it or not, i made yet another trip to bombay last week for a two day offsite with my client. we stayed at the lovely the resort at marve beach, about an hour north west of the international airport.

i did not get any time to enjoy the facilities at the resort (especially the authentic keralan ayurvedic spa!) but i did relish the hearty buffet breakfast that i had on both days. breakfast is usually my favourite meal at these big resorts. i just love the massive spread of sweet and savory foods - the cereals and muesli, wide variety of fruit, different breads and jams, pancakes, waffles, idli, dosa, vada - just about anything you can want for breakfast and it's served!

my favourite part of the buffet breakfast at the resort at marve beach was the eggs-on-demand chef who made an absolutely wicked masala omelette with lots of cheese for me. he took two eggs and beat them up lightly. he then added a handful of finely chopped onion, tomatoes, capsicum, coriander, green chillies as well as salt and freshly ground pepper. he then poured this mixture on a sautee pan which had a teaspoon of oil and had been heated for a few minutes.

after a few minutes when the omelette was beginning to cook, he added the cheese. when the cheese started to melt, the omelette was expertly folder over on a hot plate. i chomped down the omelette with lots of tabasco.