The Weekend Kitchen

Some hits, some misses…..in my kitchen, over the weekends


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Extremely Easy and Incredibly Tasty

It’s amazing how simple certain tasty dishes can be. Somehow, we associate great taste with hours of work. It was the mushroom dish that we had at Chianti last week that inspired this. Olive oil, red chillies and garlic. That’s it. All the flavour you need. Find it hard to believe? Go on, try this out. Anyone can do it. Honestly. image Olive oil – 2-3 tsp

5-6 red chillies and 7-8 cloves of garlic – crushed together

200 g mushrooms, cleaned and drained

200-250 g prawns – deveined, cleaned and cooked for 10-15 minutes with just salt added to it

a small head of broccoli , broken into florets – boil some water, dump the florets into it, continue to boil for 5 minutes and drain a handful of walnuts

1. Heat a kadai.

2. Add the crushed chillies and garlic, sauté till the garlic turns slightly brown.

3. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Close the lid and cook for about 7-8 minutes. Open the lid, let the water dry up completely and continue to stir in between till the mushrooms appear shrunk, oily and browned.

4. Add the cooked prawns.. Stir till well coated with the masala and the prawns have turned brown. 5. Add broccoli and walnuts. Toss for 1-2 minutes.

That’s it. And it tastes perfect. Ideal for a mid work snack.

(Note : You can cook the prawns and boil and drain the broccoli florets in advance. Refrigerate till you use it. )

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There is something about walnuts

image There is something about walnuts, especially when it decides to give company to carrots. Fresh and crispy roots coupled with slightly bitter crunchiness. So much power, packed with goodness. Carrot walnut cakes has been a favorite with family and friends. People who would run for their lives when faced with a fresh carrot has been known to run back at double the speed when it turned to these dense cakes. The recipe that I follow has some sugar in it and I don’t have sugar. But I love cakes. And walnuts.

By the way, did you know walnut trees were first brought to California in the 1700s? From Central Asia. And how they have taken root! Today, that small area produces almost 3/4th of world’s walnuts. The shell and the kernel inside looks like a miniature human head and the wrinkly brain inside. No surprise then, that it is considered brain food. Considered the king of nuts, it is supposed to boost the health of your heart, fight cancer, decrease the risk of diabetes and even aid weight reduction. Eating a quarter cup of walnuts every day is supposed to even reduce fasting sugar levels. Talking about walnuts and California, wonder is that why you find all the brainy types there.

Anyway, getting back to cakes and me, browsing through food sites and pictures is an addiction. Some recipes are bookmarked. More favourite ones (read easy ones 😉 ) are written down. Yes, I do that. There is something prosaic about butter stained cook books. Virtual love is just that. Virtual. You need to feel a person, the bare skin, that special smell, the sheen of sweat on the hands, caress their face, hug, kiss and hold to know what real love is. Just like hand written cook books. image The most difficult part in baking this? 1/3 rd tsp baking soda. Can you believe it? 1/3rd of a tea spoon. How in the world are you supposed to measure that out? There was a half tea spoon. And the brain started working. What they say about walnuts is true, you see. A little less than 0.5 and little more than 0.33 and crossed my fingers. No oranges in stock. So no zest. No big deal. The recipe asked to check the loaf at 45 minutes. The tooth pick that went in came out dry by look and sticky by touch. Another 15 minutes. Toothpick didn’t change its diagnosis. But the top looked brown enough. And the roasted walnuts tasted just perfect.

Patience has never been one of my virtues. After an hour of cooling time, tasted a small slice. It was okay. Just about. And I told myself, “you win some, and then you lose some more.”

Early morning hunger made me attempt another slice. What they say about carrot cakes is true. They taste better the next day. Much better. Far better. Always.