Sunday, November 26, 2006

fajita burrito

there's nothing quite like a quick and easy mexican meal to satisfy a weeknight carb craving.

slice a medium-sized onion into inch-long strips. do the same for a green pepper and a red pepper. put all the slice veggies into a bowl. add half a tablespoon of olive oil and mix well. use your hands to make sure the oil gets well rubbed on the veggies. heat a heavy bottomed saute pan or stove-top grill until very hot. add the veggies and wait until they are nicely browned. remove and keep aside.

in a separate sautee pan, add a small chopped onion and sautee in half a tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. add a crushed garlic clove and mix well for a minute. then add four medium tomatoes, chopped. allow to cook on medium heat for another 10 minutes or so. add a can of red kidney beans or black beans. then add a tablespoon of fajita spice mix, if on hand. otherwise, just add some cayenne and dried oregano to give a quasi mexican feel!

warm a tortilla. spread a big ladle of beans. top with sizzling onions and peppers. fold the tortilla burrito-style and dig in!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


i've been real lazy of late. i just haven't been in the mood to cook at all. and i've been watching way too much of b4u music channel.

but i got a burst of energy which i quickly channeled into making a big batch of ratatouille which lasted me all week long to eat with crepes, pasta and even as an acompaniment to toast.

here's georgeanne brennan's recipe (stolen from one of my earlier blog posts!) which you can adjust depending on the fresh herbs and vegetables you have on hand. i'm not a huge zucchini fan so i tend to use a lot more of the other vegetables like peppers, tomatoes and eggplant.

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 medium-sized yellow onions, chopped
2 medium-sized eggplants, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 medium-sized zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 large green, red, or yellow sweet peppers, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1-inch squares
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 to 4 pounds ripe tomatoes (10 to 12 medium sized), peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil

in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. just as it begins to smoke, reduce the hear to medium-low and add the garlic and onions. saute until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. add the eggplants, stir well, and saute, stirring and turning until well coated with oil and slightly softened, another 4 or 5 minutes.

add the thyme, bay leaf, tomatoes, salt, and black pepper. stir and turn another 2 or 3 minutes, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and have blended together, about 40 minutes.

stir in the basil and remove from the heat. transfer to a serving dish and serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

nobu london


the observer calls nobu "the sexiest restaurant in the world" and vogue magazine considers it "the hippest restaurant chain". i love nobu because they serve lychee martinis to die for and the sushi is as fresh as it possibly can be.

h and i frequented nobu in new york. though it is incredibly hard to get reservations, we always lucked out on walk-in seating though we had to wait for over an hour sometimes. the main attraction was chef nobu matsuhisa's take on japanese cuisine. i was particularly thrilled with the choice i had as a vegetarain - from tender tofu simmered in various soy sauces to the most succulent kappa rolls.

nobu london, however, is all about the "scene". especially at the lounge baron the ground floor where all the action is at. the minimalist decor keeps the focus on the beautiful people and the absolutely delicious cocktails like the lychee martinis ensure that the buzz continues all night long. while nobu london is quite the magnet for a-list celebrity types, there is a healthy mix of young professionals as well. most people dress to kill at nobu but you won't feel left out in designer jeans and a smart shirt. just don't show up in sneakers. oh, and even though this is such an upscale restaurant, the ambience is not uptight at all and the service is very good. just be prepared to spend quite a bit. a dinner for two with drinks can easily set you back a hundred quid.

with the festive season just around the corner, gather a group of friends and head to nobu for a fun night out. for the more romantically inclined, nobu london is also the perfect spot to rekindle an old flame or flirt outrageously with a stranger across the bar!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

cherry tomato and basil pasta salad

the temperature has suddenly dipped in london and it's hovering in the single digits these days. i long for the sultr summer days, which just a few months ago seemed liked they were here to stay. instead of making hot soups and other comfort foods, i'm stubbornly resisting the notion that winter is upon us. at least for now.

as a symbol of my defiance, i made a cold pasta salad bursting with the summer flavours of tomato and basil. i had some left over paparadelle which i cooked in lots of salted water and allowed to cool for about ten minutes. then i added some chopped sweet cherry tomatoes to the pasta. this was followed by a couple of cloves of crushed garlic followed by handful of loosely torn basil leaves. finally, i drizzled some extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

as i bit into the summer freshness of my salad, i closed my eyes and dreamt about the beaches of sardinia, the weekend getaways to paris and barcelona, the long summer evenings spent at outdoor cafes in west london, the walks in kensington park at eight pm when it was still light, rollerblading in notting hill and everything else that made the summer of '06 so memorable and the winter feel terribly depressing now.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

vanilla banana soy shake

looking for a burst of energy? peel a ripe banana, cut into slices and drop into a wide glass tumbler. fill the glass with soy milk. then take a vanilla pod, split it lengthways with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds out and drop into the milk. whizz with a hand blender to the consistency you like. drink to you heart's content.

ps - i whizz for longer when using soy milk but like my shake thicker when i use skim