Fondue and a Picnic. That’s what the heading should be! We were in Mahabaleshwar, my friend Nishi and me. Every day, pre-lunch we opened a bottle of Prosecco and made short work of it. We would keep chatting and pouring a small finger worth (for two reasons- one – it felt like we were drinking less, and two – it kept chilled while we drank.)…
Cucumber Boat Salad
The Daughter made another demand — I’m so pleased she has got into cooking! The chef in me feels fulfilled and the mom and me feel happy! 😛
I make this salad very often at home. It needs to be served really really chilled, so it is a good idea to make it a wee bit in advance.
It’s a messy salad though! Be prepared for a white moustache and a few drips down your chin! But it’s worth the dishevelled look you will sport while eating it.
Look for crisp cucumbers with a clean green interior. I always cut off the side of the cucumber and taste it before using it. Sometimes cucumbers can be very very bitter, and even one bitter cucumber in a salad of 20 cucumbers can spoil the entire dish. Taste it and throw it away if its bitter. (You can always chuck it in the compost pile of course!)
The yoghurt should be thick, so hang it for an hour or so if you want. There is zero neatness in this salad, so there really isn’t any right or wrong way to fill it. Slice the spring onions really thin and small. Garlic can be upped as per your taste. To my mind, too much garlic takes away the sweetness of the yoghurt and the original taste of the cucumber.
I add a little of chilli flakes, but you can always add some herbs too – parsley, thyme, oregano. Don’t use very strong herbs. Again – it takes away the original flavours.
The boats can get very wobbly, as the base is rounded. You can slice off a small part of the cucumber from the bottom to make a little steadier base. But – mostly, it will wobble and fall a little to the side, but if the yoghurt is not too drippy things should not slide out and drip into the plate.
I’m attaching a quick video for you.
I hope you enjoy this salad. Do write in.
As always – Cheers! and Happy Times!
- 2 large cucumbers peeled and slit lengthwise
- 1/2 cup hung curd or greek yoghurt
- 1 green oinion finely chopped with greens
- 1 tspn salt
- 1 tbspn garlic coarsely pounded
- 1 tspn Black Pepper
- 1 tspn chilli flakes
- 1 tspn herbs optional.
- 50 grams alfa alfa sprouts soaked in cold water
- Peel and slit the cucumbers lengthwise.
- De seed the inner core using a spoon (see video) Chill in refrigerator till you need to fill it.
- Chop the green onions finely. Use all the whites and some of the greens
- Soak the alfa alfa in iced water, so that it untangles and the sprouts open up. Drain before using.
- In a clean bowl, mix the hung curd or greek yoghurt with all the other ingredients.
- Taking a small spoon, fill the cores of the cucumbers with the filling. A little will drip out. You can either leave it, or wipe it with a clean paper towel.
- Heap the sprouts on the yoghurt mix.
- This salad can be filled in advance, or just before eating. Either way, the filled boat, or the filling and cored cucumber should be in the refrigerator till served.
Scrambled Eggs with Truffle Oil
We ate at the most amazing restaurant in Hong Kong a few months back. Chef Patrick of La Table De Patrick. It was a small restaurant, with immediate and intimate service. We had called earlier to let them know we are vegetarians. He rotated our entire 5-course meal around it, using wonderful freshly available ingredients.
One dish which Chef served had a sprinkling of truffles on it. With gleeful hands, we tore at the food, but it came up short on the truffle flavour. It was crunchier and had very mild to non-existent truffle taste.
Chef explained that it was summer truffles, and has very little flavour. We uneducated, but truffle fans, learnt a lot that evening.
The most flavourful truffles are the winter ones. The white winter truffles are available from October to Christmas. These have a strong flavour and can deter new truffle tasters.
The black winter truffles are what most people serve and is more easily available. Its the most preferred variety of the lot. Available from Mid Jan to Easter. (What will happen to us truffle lovers from Christmas to Mid Jan? Hoarde! Hoarde! )
The summer Truffle is available from April to July and has a very light flavour. Almost non-existent. None of us much appreciated it.
Autumn burgundy truffles are more medium bodied and great for someone who likes truffles but cannot have too much of it because of the strong flavour and aroma.
In my family of four – three of us adore it, while the fourth needs to taste the autumn burgundy one to start developing a taste. (I have no clue where to get it from!!)
It was an educative and tasty evening and inspired me to make this scrambled egg.
If you have seen the movie or read the book – A hundred foot journey- the, to be a great chef, Hassan meets Mallory the owner of the restaurant. This is a synopsis from the book -Hassan, having heard from Marguerite that Mallory hires potential chefs by taste-testing an omelette and deciding whether the person is indeed a great chef, asks if he may cook an omelette for her to his recipe. Due to his injured hands, Mallory helps under Hassan’s supervision. After tasting the omelette, Mallory recognizes Hassan’s potential and invites him to work for her.
The omelette they made looked so amazing!! I used a part of the recipe for this blog.
Take a look!
- 3 Eggs Whole
- 1/4 Cup Milk
- 1 Tspn Mint Finely chopped
- 1/2 Tspn chilli flakes
- 2 Tbspn Black or White Truffle Oil
- 1 Tbspn Butter For cooking.
- Toast Optional
- 1 Med Bowl For mixing eggs
- 1 Whisk
- 1 Skillet
- 1 Wooden Spatula
- Break the eggs in the bowl. Yolks and all.
- Add the milk, salt and pepper and whisk gently. We dont need air here, just the mixture semi blended.
- Add the mint and chilli flakes, and mix gently till incorporated well.
- Heat the skillet (medium high) and drizzle some butter. Coat the skillet with the butter and let it sizzle.
- Pour the mixture into the skillet and let it be for approximately 45 seconds. It should not set and start turning into and omelette.
- Now start agitating the eggs, with the wooden spatula. Keep moving in small but consistent circles all over the skillet.
- After about 45 seconds, the eggs will clump but still be runny and soft. At this point if you like your eggs a bit runny, take it off on a plate.
- If you like it a little more well done, continue cooking, moving the eggs in the same round pattern. Do not stop agitating the eggs.
- Take it off on a plate and immediately drizzle the truffle oil. Enjoy hot off the skillet!!
- Umm! Goes really well with Champagne or white wine 😛
Here is the link to more happy education on truffles.
June 2015, my entire family went for a holiday to Grindelwald – Switzerland. Age group – 3 years to 65 years. You can well imagine the pandemonium!!
Luckily the apartment we had hired had huge cooking utensils, a kick-ass oven and some other fantastic gadgets.My sister woke up early, every morning, to cook breakfast for all of us. We would all get out of bed, and sleepy-eyed make our way to the kitchen, heap our plates with whatever dish she had prepared, fill up our tea mugs, and sit outside eating our breakfast and inhale the scenic beauty of sublime Switzerland.
One day the elder of the kids decided to cook us parents and their grandparents a luncheon. They had new potatoes in their repertoire of ingredients, and though we were told to stay out of it, I mildly suggested that they make Hasselback Potatoes.
Soon pots and pans were banging in the kitchen amongst loud voices, instructions and trembling music.
I need to go off track here. (The history behind my fascination for Hasselback Potatoes!)
We had been kindly invited to a party by a friend, who has a lethal ethnic background, and leanings from Germany in his extremely artful cooking skills. He had made these potatoes. Even the worst carnivore in our group, attacked these Hasselback Potatoes, as they came out, hot and crisp from the oven, the aroma of rosemary and cooking potatoes with garlic, filling the room.
They were tender in the centre, crisp and mildly charred on the first bite. The flavour of rosemary just tickled the senses, instead of overpowering the entire dish. Every piece that touched our tongue, evoked some sort of long forgotten memory. Later, when all of us spoke about the potatoes, we all realised we had some sort of childhood memory revived, yet none of us had ever tasted it before. To date, we still talk about his potatoes, when we meet up.
Going back to the elder babies – they made a mean dish. The melee of dishes also had a kick ass pasta, fresh salad with honey vinaigrette dressing and salsa with garlic bread.
- 500 gm new potatoes
- 175 ml olive oil
- 100 gm garlic finely chopped
- 7 - 10 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/4 C parsley finely chopped
- 1 Tbspn salt
- 2 Tbspn pepper
- chilli flakes
- oven preheated at 175 Deg C
- bake dish Large enough to accommodate the potatoes side by side.
- aluminium foil sized to cover the bake dish completely.
- If the potatoes are medium sized, slice them into half horizontally. If they are small start the prepping right away.
- Wash potatoes in running water. Start slicing from one end. Slice all the way in, but not enough to slice so deep that it separates from the potatoe.
- Take each potato in the hand and fan out the slices a bit. Be careful to not break them. Having said that, if a few pieces do come out of the potato they can be also added to the main dish.
- Mix the salt, pepper, garlic, chilli flakes, and parsley into the olive oil. Taste for salt. Optionally you can also add 1/3 rd of the parmesan into this mixture. I do it sometimes. Other times I add it directly in the later step.
- Now take each potato and scoop them into the dish with the oil. Try and scoop up as much of the garlic and parsley as you can. Manually fan the slices and fill them with a some of the olive oil mixture. Push in a few pieces of garlic here and there into some slices.
- When all the potatoes are scooped and filled with the olive oil mixture, set them side by side on the baked dish. Pour all the left over oil on the potatoes in the dish. Pick up the rosemary sprigs and place them on the potatoes. More than one potato can share a sprig of rosemary. If need be cut the sprigs into half or three pieces, but do not chop fine.
- This step should take approximately 1 hour. Each oven has its own tantrums. Please keep a watch on the potatoes. After approximately 45 min to an hour, lift the foil and check the potatoes with a fork. The prongs should sink in easily.
- Lift the foil. Crank up the oven to 250Deg C.
- Take the dish out and sprinkle all (or the left over) parmesan cheese over the potatoes. Set it back in the oven.
- When the potatoes start curling and wrinkling, and look a bit charred at the edges, you can take them out of the oven. At this point if you desire crisper potatoes, bake them for a little longer, but do keep an eye on them. They can go from mildly charred to burnt in a matter of minutes.
- Scoop out all the potatoes in a serving dish. Drip all the oil from the bake dish over the potatoes. Replace the fallen (and now toasted) rosemary leaves on the potato.
- Serve hot.
On behalf of the group that went to Switzerland, we hope you enjoy these Hasselback Potatoes.
Here is the link to the travel blog I have written for Switzerland.