Memorial Day BBQ: Salmon with Ginger and Cumin

This salmon, sitting there on a burntish plank which I didn’t soak for as long as I myself have specified below, looks unassuming and not particularly enticing. But it has converted the salmon-averse to salmon avariciousness! (more…)

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May 30, 2010. Tags: , . Asian, Barbecue, Dinners, Fish, Grill, Mains, Summer. 4 comments.

Memorial Day BBQ: NY Strip Steak and Spring Leaf Salad with Goat Cheese

Ever since we got rid of our old grill (which traveled all the way here from Canada before sputtering to its expiration) and bought a new one, I’ve had trouble dragging my husband away from it.

Here’s what went on it recently, faithfully and perfectly cooked, thanks to the attention-holding properties of a perfect spring afternoon, a cold beer, and a Weber iPhone app ūüėČ

(more…)

May 30, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Barbecue, Grill, Summer. 4 comments.

Melon Soup (Recession-Friendly)

So I copped out on the chicken soup and matzo balls this year. What can I say, it’s a recession and I couldn’t countenance wasting an entire carcass for what would have been, no doubt, a tasty soup. Besides, the butcher was long on non-kosher sausages and short on chicken bones. Instead, I reproduced a soup I came up with a few weeks earlier when I found myself with two voluptuous melons fast ripening and fast stinking up my kitchen – this is what melons do if you haven’t room in your fridge for them – and had to find a non-wasteful way of using them up. (more…)

September 21, 2009. Tags: , , , . Autumn, Festive, Jewish, Passover, Rosh Hashana, Soups, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian. Leave a comment.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

This salad is inspired by one that a friend brought over to a potluck dinner party recently. I was wowed by the bite, colour and tanginess of it, and its fiberful promises. As I guessed at the basic ingredients and remembered only three (corn, beans, lime juice), I have ended up throwing in additional ingredients which seem to work well together. The salad would go beautifully with grilled fish. Enjoy!

  • black beans, 1 can, drained and rinsed
  • corn on cob, 2, microwaved 1m10s each and decobbed
  • large tomatoes, 2, chopped in tiny cubes
  • red pepper, 1, cubed similarly
  • english cucumber, 1/2, cubed tinily
  • shallot or red onion, 1, chopped finely

Dressing:

  • chilli, 1 or 2, green, chopped finely
  • garlic cloves, 3, chopped finely
  • lime juice, squeezed out of 2 limes
  • brown sugar, 3/4 tbsp
  • olive oil, 1 tbsp
  • cilantro/coriander leaves, 1 handful, chopped
  • mint, handful, chopped
  • salt and pepper, as needed

  1. Combine all the veg and beans together in a bowl
  2. Whisk salad dressing with a balloon whisk and pour over the salad
  3. Give it a good grind of salt and pepper, throw in the herbs and toss
  4. Perfect for a barbecue or as a summer meal accompaniment

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August 10, 2009. Tags: . Salads, Sauces and Dressings, Summer, Vegetables, Vegetarian. Leave a comment.

Summer Cool-Down Drink: Lassi Two Ways


Summer’s finally here – a bit unusual to be saying this in mid-July but the weather’s been a bit dicey with the relentless monsoon rains we’ve had recently (note the vibrant green of the lawn). Yogurt, a staple in our fridge, is the star here in lassi, a beverage made of yogurt, presented sweet or savoury. The latter may not suit the uninitiated but I find it very refreshing.

Mango Lassi

  • mangos, 2, skinned and cubed
  • plain yogurt, 1 cup
  • sugar, 1 tsp (if needed only)
  1. Blend together till creamy and serve

Ginger-Lime Lassi

  • yoghurt, 1 cup
  • ginger, grated, 1/2 tsp
  • zest of lime, 1/2 tsp
  • juice of lime, 1 tbsp
  • green chili, 1/2, chopped
  • coriander/cilantro leaves, a few – to garnish
  • salt, pinch of
  • cummin, ground, 1/8 tsp
  1. Whip the yogurt till creamy
  2. Add all the other ingredients and serve

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July 15, 2009. Tags: , , , . Beverages, Kids Cuisine, Nutrition, Summer. 2 comments.

The Mango: Moist, Majestic and Morish


Mangoes featured very strongly in the early days of Richard’s and my romance, the buds of which were planted in India, from where the fruit originates. Indeed, we all have a soft spot for the fruit and are thrilled that it’s back in season again.

When I grew up in my grandmother’s home in Malaysia, she had a massive, enormously fertile mango tree right in front of her house. Its branches hung low and gracefully, providing welcome shade and coolness, and inviting my brothers and I to clamber upon them and give them the adoration they deserved. As if we didn’t spend enough time there, my grandfather tied a plank swing seat to one of its branches (the kind that would give anyone at Health & Safety a heart attack), and thus were spent the remaining hours of our carefree, childish days.

In the heat of the tropical summer, the tree would be heavily pregnant with fruit, leaving us awash in mangoes for months. My grandmother would give away as many as she could to the delighted neighbours, who were also the recipients of all the other fruit, veg and herbs that grew in Gran’s garden – soursop, jackfruit, coconut, plantain, bananas, papayas, Lady’s fingers (okra), basil, curry leaves, tomatoes.

While she had dozens of recipes for the bananas, plantain and coconut, the mangoes we ate fresh, and immediately. It didn’t make sense to adorn or dilute a fruit so voluptuous, so complete in colour, taste and perfume.

Having said that, my younger son loves homemade mango smoothies or mango lassis nearly as much as he loves the fresh fruit.

My favourite mango is the Alphonso, which is grown mainly in Western India. There’s no match for the perfect sweet yet tangy and firm flesh of this cultivar, along with its citrusy mango aroma and intense yellow-orange colour.

As I have yet to find these mangoes in north America, I am eternally grateful to Costco for regularly bringing in Champagne mangoes from Mexico. The taste isn’t as explosive, but the colour and texture are there, along with the lack of fibrosity that separates a good mango from its lesser brethren. It might behoove you to know the average Champagne mango packs a modest 80 calories, with lots of Vitamin A, C and folate too!

How to cut the mango? This could require a video (another blog entry, another day). Take the fruit and, keeping in mind it has a large seed in the middle, cut a semi-circle off each side. With your knife, make hatches and cross-hatch them so you have little square or diamond shaped segments of flesh (see photos). Hold each half and invert them by pushing the skin upwards. To eat, use a spoon and scoop the squares off. Or just dive in, face first!

For more mango recipes, click here and here.



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June 5, 2009. Tags: , . Asian, Kids Cuisine, Musings, Nutrition, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian. 6 comments.

Carrot and Cummin Soup


The texture and colour of this soup is so appealing that I return to it often, whatever the season. Beef it up with some lentils and leave half the vegetables unpureed for a hearty meal with chunky bread. It’s easy to make and to vary, and I am finally attempting to pin it down in writing before I forget what’s gone into it!

  • carrots, 500g worth, tipped, skinned, sliced
  • tomato paste, 1 small can
  • lemon juice, of 1/2 lemon, plus zest
  • ground cummin, 3/4 tbsp
  • ground coriander, 1 tsp
  • leeks, 3, sliced
  • celery, 3, chopped
  • veg stock, about 600ml
  • tomatoes, 2, skinned and chopped
  • coriander leaves, handful
  • seasoning

  1. In about 2-3 tbsp of butter or olive or canola oil, saute the leeks and celery till tender
  2. Add the ground spices, stir till fragrant
  3. Add the carrots and tomatoes and a little stock, allow to soften
  4. Add stock and tomato paste
  5. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the veg are cooked
  6. Bung most of the soup’s solids, including half the coriander leaves, into a blender and puree
  7. Return to the pan, keep warm till it’s served
  8. Drizzle with oil or add a dollop of sour cream on top of each bowl of soup, and, if you wish, some chopped coriander.

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April 14, 2009. Tags: , . Autumn, Passover, Soups, Spring, Summer, Vegetables, Vegetarian, winter. 3 comments.

Cucumber Salad


My mother-in-law makes a very morish version of this salad. I asked her once what she put in it and she reeled off some ingredients hastily, probably embarassed that the seemingly humble dish had attracted such interest, when on the dinner table lay at least five other items warranting adulation. I hope I mentioned these others to her too, because she is such a superb cook!

Here is my approximation of this salad, with an added twist (of lemon).

  • English cucumbers, 4, sliced thinly
  • white vinegar, distilled, 1/2 cup
  • water, 1/2 cup
  • sugar (or sweetener), 3 tbsp
  • celery seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • dill, handful, chopped finely
  • mint, handful, chopped
  • spring onion, 3, sliced finely
  • lemon juice, of one lemon
  • lemon zest, of a whole lemon
  1. Slice the cucumbers thinly
  2. Separately, add all the other ingredients, except herbs, in a saucepan
  3. Bring the marinade to a simmer, just enough to ensure the sugar is well incorporated
  4. Allow to cool slightly, add chopped herbs, taste and adjust sweetness, piquancy and seasoning, then pour over the sliced cucumber
  5. Refrigerate at least 12 hours
  6. Before serving, check seasoning and adjust if necessary, adding some fresh herbs on top

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April 9, 2009. Tags: , . British, Jewish, Passover, Salads, Sides, Spring, Summer, Vegetables, Vegetarian. Leave a comment.

Mango and Pepper Salad


Here’s a salad that takes the challenge out of having one’s daily government-mandated ten veggie servings. It’s also the perfect antidote for those days when the leafy-green boredom sets in.

  • Alphonso mango, 1, julienned
  • red and green or variety of peppers, 2, julienned or sliced thinly
  • English cucumber, 1, sliced thin and long
  • carrots, 2 medium ones, as above
  • corn, 1, boiled and sliced off the cob
  • lime juice, about 4-6 tbsp
  • fish sauce, 2 tbsp
  • zest of 1 lime
  • brown sugar or stevia, 1 rounded tsp
  • garlic cloves, 2-3 large ones, minced
  • sesame oil, 1/2 to 1 tsp
  • mint leaves, handful, chopped
  • coriander/cilantro leaves, handful, chopped
  • thai basil, several sprigs, chopped
  • handful peanuts, roughly chopped

  1. Place all the sliced and chopped veggies in an attractive bowl
  2. Using a whisk, combine the dressing ingredients, including herbs
  3. Pour the latter over the former and toss
  4. Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkle of peanuts over
  5. Turn into a meal with a hunk of seasoned, pan-browned salmon or tuna

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April 4, 2009. Tags: , . Asian, Nutrition, Salads, Sauces and Dressings, Spring, Summer, Vegetables. 1 comment.

My Favourite Mint Dressing


My favourite dressing with mint and yoghurt – I whipped it up last night for a lamb salad, for which it was perfect. I then fancied a cucumber snack today, et voila, another winning combo!

  • thick yoghurt, preferably Greek, 1 cup
  • mint leaves, two handfuls
  • ginger, fresh, 1 tsp grated
  • garlic, 3 cloves
  • lime juice, 2 tbsp (or more if you like things tangy)
  • salt, 1/2 tsp
  • pepper, grind of
  • shallot, 1, small
  • green chilli, 1 (optional)
  1. Bung everything in a food processor and whizz
  2. Consume immediately or refrigerate for salads

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March 31, 2009. Tags: , . Condiments, Salads, Sauces and Dressings, Spring, Summer. Leave a comment.

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