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Welcome to my blog. I created this blog with the intention of sharing my views on travel, food, books & movies which are among my top interests. From time to time it may include some ramblings as well!

Please contact me if you are interested in submitting guest posts. Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Baker's Corner: Mixed Vegetable Pizza with Roasted Garlic White Sauce

Today was a really nice day. Apart from being a weekend, it was one of those days that me and hubby decided to make pizza from scratch at home. We don't cook together very often (either I take over completely or he does) so its kinda fun when we become kitchen collaborators. To be fair to him, he did 80% of the work with me only chipping in between....hehehe. Whenever we make pizza at home, we take our own sweet time and the whole process from start to finish can take up a considerable chunk of the morning. It doesn't really feel like a chore but a fun kind of art project! (the cleaning up is however a different story altogether!). We decided to make two different pizzas today - one Margherita Pizza with Marinara Sauce and the other, a Mixed Vegetable Pizza with a Roasted Garlic White Sauce. We came up with the latter pizza as a contrast to the regular pizza that we make all the time which has the same ol' tomato-based sauce.

We previously tried making a pizza sauce using mayonnaise (inspired from a 'cool lime mayonnaise' sauce on a pizza at Pizza Hut) but I didn't like it because I don't really like mayonnaise in general. I don't mind it in really small quantities in sandwiches, burgers, wraps and stuff but a heavy hit of mayo is not my thing. My husband began searching for an alternate white sauce and found Emeril Lagasse's Roasted Garlic White Sauce which looked really appealing. The Marinara Sauce that we make for the Margherita Pizza is also adapted from Emeril's recipe so we have a tendency to trust any recipe of his. It is a really simple recipe but takes some time to make only because you need to roast a whole bulb of garlic in the oven. But the resultant sauce is smooth, thick, spreadable and has great flavour so I think it is totally worth the extra time. 

We chose a bunch of random toppings like bell peppers, mushrooms, red onions and pineapple chunks but you can customize your toppings depending on what you like. You could throw in some sweet corn kernels,  baby corn, olives, zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, fresh mango, a choice of greens....basically whatever you like. The pizza tasted really great and I'm pretty sure it will feature as a regular in our household from now on. The crust turned out a little thicker than what we expected so rolling the dough out to a larger size is what we should have done to get it absolutely perfect. Oh well! There is always a next time to improvise :)

I'm going to skedaddle out of here now. Check out this recipe, try it and let me know if you like it!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Recipe of the month: Quesadillas with homemade Salsa and Guacamole

I haven't been cooking much lately (yeah that statement sounds strange to me even as I type!). I've kind of somewhat lost my cooking mojo! But it is just a passing phase so I'm not too flustered by it. I still do find the interest to bake occasionally but the cooking bug has crawled aside for the time being. I had plenty of draft posts ready that I had the good sense of creating during my cooking highs so that has really been my saving grace...hehehe. I think the last blogworthy dish that I cooked was the Dabeli which was way back in April (I posted it on the blog only much later). After that....zero....zilch....nada!

Anyway, ever since my husband (I call him 'A' remember?) contributed his Margherita Pizza as a guest post to my blog last year, I have been bugging him to feature another one of his recipes. There are lots of dishes that he exclusively churns out in our kitchen that I really REALLY like such as Quesadillas with Salsa and Guacamole, Jalapeño Poppers, Thai Green Curry, Mushroom and Pea Risotto, Penne in a Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce, Papdi Chaat, Paneer Butter Masala, Egg Biryani and so on. He makes these signature dishes for me usually over the weekend - on a leisurely Friday or Saturday weekend. While he is hard at work chopping, dicing, sauteing and serving, I'll be propped on the sofa watching some lame show on tv (and not helping one bit!). Yeah....I so look forward to those weekends!

I've already chronicled our love for Mexican food in the past so I'm not going to go there today. I like salsa but it is the guacamole that really does it for me. I can polish off a large bowl of guacamole all by myself....a bagful of tortilla chips and I am good to go! We have chips and dip at home quite frequently but occasionally hubby also makes Quesadillas to go along with it. I acquired the taste for Quesadillas from Blooie's Roadhouse, an American pub/restaurant on Upper Bukit Timah Road that was walking distance away from our previous rented condo. We used to go there ALL the time and we would always order the Quesadillas and Jalapeno Poppers without fail. When it comes to Quesadillas, I like them simple. I know of people stuffing them with refried beans, mushrooms, avocado, bell peppers, olives, tomatoes, ground spices, herbs and other stuff but I just like them to have grated cheese and nothing else. That's how it is done in Blooie's and that is how it is made in my home as well.

So, here is my husband's recipe for Quesadillas with homemade Salsa and Guacamole. I am responsible for the photos in this post this time round and I feel they didn't do any justice to his dish (boo!). But I can vouch for the flavour so you will have to believe me that it is good!

'A' will be taking over now.....bye y'all!

Hello again readers! I am back on this space after a gap of around 1 year. As I've mentioned before, cooking is something I enjoy....writing not so much. That may be the reason why even though this photographs and recipe for this dish were ready months ago but it is being published much later. I had a few dishes in mind that I was considering to feature as part of my next guest post and among them, Quesadillas with Salsa and Guacamole was one of them. This is a dish that I make frequently at home and it something that both me and my wife enjoy immensely.

My introduction to Mexican food began way back in India but it was only truly during my stint in the US when I truly began to get further acquainted with this marvellous cuisine. On a brief visit to Mexico in 2008, I was able to appreciate the freshness of the ingredients, bold flavours and colorful presentation of several popular Mexican dishes. In particular, authentically made Salsa and Guacamole were two dishes that left me with a yearning to recreate them at home.

Making Salsa and Guacamole at home is pretty easy. It is just a matter of gathering the ingredients and chucking them into a bowl. Quesadillas don't even take that much time or effort especially if you are using store-bought tortillas (a 10-year old could do it). Sounds good doesn't it? Rest assured that this entire dish can come together in under an hour. Serve it to your family or while entertaining friends at dinner parties and it is sure to be a big hit.

So please go ahead and check out the recipe....


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Restaurant review: Mai Thai @ Chip Bee Gardens, Singapore

Me and my girlie gang spasmodically go out for dinner on birthday celebrations but since the past few months we've all been so preoccupied that our outings kept getting postponed until we realized that there were not one but THREE birthdays that were pending celebration. Not wanting to push it any further, we finally settled on a date where all of us were available (no mean feat that was!). The date being finalized, the next tricky bit was to pick the cuisine and restaurant. One of the birthday girls, expressed her inclination for Thai food and since all of us happen to be Thai cuisine enthusiasts, the choice was unanimous. Even though Singapore has many Thai restaurants, none of us had an absolute favourite so it required a little bit of brainstorming before we arrived at Mai Thai at Chip Bee Gardens, Holland Village. 

Established in July 2009, Mai Thai Restaurant is a casual fine dining restaurant with both indoor and alfresco seating, offering authentic Thai cuisine and warm hospitality in the rustic Chip Bee Gardens just opposite Holland Village. The location was super convenient for us because of its proximity to our workplace. We made a reservation in advance for 8 people, something I would recommend especially on a busy Friday evening. 

On arrival, we found that our reservation was in someone else's name so there was a little bit of a muddle before we were shown to our table. The restaurant isn't very big but the interiors are pleasing to the eye with subtle Thai influences. The largely white decor is interspersed with Thai-inspired art work, statues, rustic table setting and warm lighting. 

The restaurant seemed short of staff so it took a while before we got the menu. Talking about the variety of food, the menu of the restaurant is very impressive. It has an array of dishes in categories ranging from appetizers to salads, soups, rice, noodles, side dishes, drinks and desserts. What's more is that there are certain dishes that come in a large serving that is suitable for sharing and there are vegetarian versions of several popular dishes. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Baker's Corner: Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

So, I'll try not to get into an elaborate introduction to this post. All I'm going to say is that these are possibly the best cupcakes I have ever made (like seriously). I've baked vanilla, chocolate and red velvet cupcakes in the past but these babies beat all the others by a mile! For a while now, I've been exceedingly conscious of the fact that my blog has not yet featured a cupcake recipe and even though I've baked cupcakes on a few occasions in the past, I did not deem any of them worthy enough to deserve a place here.

Anyhoo, I came across this particular recipe while I was browsing through the Foodgawker gallery for a tried and tested, fail-proof cupcake recipe. We were invited to a barbeque at a friends place over the weekend and I had offered to bring in dessert. The funny thing is for the past several months, I've completely stopped making desserts (ever since I embarked on a no-sugar diet - another temporary thing that I have going on!) so in order to skip the temptation, I have been avoiding going anywhere near or even thinking about the sweet stuff. I decided to make an exception just this one time so I went full-steam ahead with my baking plans

This recipe yields cupcakes that are moist and have great flavour. The moistness of this cake comes from three ingredients - the brown sugar, oil and yoghurt. I absolutely love to use brown sugar while baking and Greek yoghurt is something that I always have in my fridge (I dig the stuff) so this recipe appealed to me all the more. The addition of carrots by no means makes this dessert 'healthy' so don't kid yourself but it has that heady 'spiced' flavour that is unique to a carrot cake. I made a critical mistake in the frosting in that I used melted butter instead of just softened butter and that led to the frosting being too runny. I managed to salvage it by adding more confectioner's sugar but that could have been easily avoided if I had paid more close attention to the recipe. So please don't be like me okay? Moving on, in order to makes the cupcakes look pretty, I made the effort to pipe the frosting as opposed to just lazily slathering it on like I usually do. The frosting held its shape reasonably well so I was satisfied in the end.

Okay so that is me done babbling. Go on now....make these yummy cupcakes and make a bunch of people real happy!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

TV Series Review: Breaking Bad

Image Source: http://www.9to5hdwallpapers.com/
For a long time, me and hubby have been singling out an American TV series and watching all seasons of it. This binge watching not only makes for entertaining tv viewing but is also a great conversation medium and something to look forward to after a long day at work. We have amassed a huge DVD collection at home of movies and tv shows which keeps growing! We've watched several shows over the years - F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Everybody Loves Raymond, Two and a Half Men (the one with Charlie Sheen), According to Jim, How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld, Desperate Housewives, Lost and so on. Right now we are switching between The Cosby Show, Different Strokes and Moonlighting. One of the series that we finished watching a few weeks ago is the critically-acclaimed Breaking Bad, the final season of which concluded on television last year. I thought why limit myself to writing only movie reviews....from now onwards, I'll include tv series reviews too

Breaking bad is an American crime drama television series starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, RJ Mitte, Betsy Brandt and Dean Norris in main roles. It is a ground-breaking series that explores the human psyche by showcasing the dark metamorphosis of a man's personality when confronted with adversity. Featured as one of the top-rated tv shows, Breaking Bad is widely regarded as the greatest television show in American cable tv history. It also has the distinction of entering the Guinness Book of World Records for being the highest rated show of all time. The show received numerous awards, including ten Primetime Emmy Awards, eight Satellite Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and a People's Choice Award.

Set in the arid backdrop of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Breaking Bad chronicles the life of unassuming high school chemistry teacher Walter White and his junkie dropout former student Jesse Pinkman who are sucked into the dark world of the cartel, crime and crystal meth. How this all comes about is a roller coaster ride that will leave the viewer dumbstruck.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Recipe of the month: Masala Vada

Wishing all my readers a very happy Krishna Janmashtami 2014!

So, my parents were in town last month for a fleeting visit and I was preoccupied with them the whole time. As might be expected, I haven't had much time to devote to my blog. I didn't take time off work during their visit so every minute after I got back home in the evenings were extremely precious. I did take a day off and there was a public holiday for Eid and of course the weekends but you know how it is with time...it just flies when you are having a good time

As with most mothers, my mom too fusses over what to cook for her kids when they are around. I have a list of favourite dishes that I always ask her to cook for me whether I'm back home in India or she is here in Singapore. This time was no different and I was rattling off different items that I wanted her to prepare each day of the week. Among those dishes, this Masala Vada was one of them. This recipe is actually from one of my best friends mom. Once, a long long time ago, when I had been to her house (which is only two streets away from my home in Mysore), her mom had made these vadas which I really took a liking to. I immediately asked my friend for the recipe and my mom has been making them for me ever since. 

There is something about deep-fried snacks that leaves you yearning for more. These vadas have great flavour which come from the onions, ginger, garlic, chillies and medley of fresh herbs. I just love the herb dill (sabsige soppu in kannada) so these vadas hold extra appeal for me. These vadas are pretty easy to make too. While the chana dal is soaking, you can get all the other prep work done. Grinding the dal without water can be a little cumbersome but if you have a good blender/grinder, it can be a cinch. 

Try this recipe and it may just become your new favourite snack!