Sunday, August 29, 2010

Of 3 Eggs and a Little Wine

I always look forward to leftovers. Maybe it’s just a fetish and somehow I look forward to them every single time I open the refrigerator to decide what I am going to cook up. This Sunday was no different. Dreary eyed and slightly hungover from the night before, I dragged myself out of bed to hydrate and fill up.

A couple of glasses of chilled water and a hot shower later, feeling pine fresh, I decided to warm myself up to an indulgent breakfast. I checked out the ingredients I had and found:

3 eggs
Leftover Spinach and Corn casserole
A Tomato
A glass of Bio-White Wine (I’ll get to this in a while)
Few Slices of Bread
An intact Tin of Cheddar

As I sat there wondering that I could easily scramble that egg, top it over toast and zap the casserole and make it a quick meal followed by a swig of alcohol to cure the hangover (they say the best cure for a hangover is … another one?). I thought to myself, I am not in some frat house after a drunken night of revelry. I am in my home, a fine Sunday morning, after a late night dinner and incoherent babble with too many whiskey sours followed by Bio-Wine and finally losing consciousness on my cozy bed. So I had decided to make my lunch a little more exotic.

I got down to making what I call ... Leftover's Omelet (random, but well, cant call it just Omelet)

I love omelets on any given day, preferably as a breakfast food and a definite addition to Sunday morning meals. This time with 3 eggs in hand and the leftover casserole. A combination of these two was inevitable.

The typical version we are used to is with onions and chillies  This one turned out exotic enough, with it being stuffed with spinach casserole and the tomato. The casserole I had whipped up the night before contained a simple mix of white sauce, sweet yellow corn and spinach baked to perfection with a layer of crusty browned cheese.

I usually make omelets the quick way by torpedoing the eggs in a large vessel with a hand blender, but if you want to have a fluffy omelet with all its random layers intact and the filling which stays “a filling” and not mixed up with the layers, then you have go to whip it the traditional way – with a wire whisk or a fork. So 3 eggs into the mixing bowl and whisking away to glory, I ensure the yellows and the whites are well incorporated with whisk created air. Add salt to taste and whisk a couple of times more.

Mash up a small bowl of the leftover casserole with a fork, chop the tomato and separate the seeds, add to the casserole.

Heat a non-stick omelet pan on low and drop a spoon of butter. Swirl the butter till it coats the surface of the pan, carefully pour the whisked egg mix and do not shake the pan. The egg will find its way to the edges and settle down. Do not worry if the mix looks watery, looks can be deceptive and this is exactly what it’s supposed to look like. (Thumb rule of the making omelets – no fluff in the beginning if you want it fluffy in the end).

Turn up the heat to medium and with a knife, run the edges of the pan with a scoop of butter till it melts generously into the sides of the omelet. Spread the filling of casserole and tomato on one side of the omelet, sprinkle cheese and pepper if you like followed by finely chopped chillies and lots of parsley.

Once you are done with the filling step you will notice the edges of the omelet browning, this is the cue to start your folding process.

Now folding and omelet is no mean feat, there are different kind of folds a person tosses up judging by the personality of the person

Impatient: Just tosses / flips the omelet and cooks it both sides and digs in

Irritable: Tries his level best to fold it as a perfect package, but ends up breaking it halfway through due to high heat and slow folding process, loses it and slaps it onto his plate the nicer side up and digs in.

Lazy: Folds it any which way possible, most of the time manages it, does not care and gives up, landing up with half side cooked and half undercooked. Eats it anyway thinking its good for his body as the gym instructor suggests you should include raw eggs in your daily intake.

All of the above: A perfect combination, because if you are attempting to do this the first time – this is exactly what you will feel while folding an omelet.  

Coming back to the folding process, easier said than done, you have got to notice the edges of the omelet, if you see them slightly browned immediately lift one side of the omelet (doesn’t matter which side, remember – it is round). The middle of the omelet should be partially liquid the bottom light yellow but slightly undercooked and the edges slightly browned. Fold an edge till it reaches the middle part of the omelet while keeping it pressed lightly with your spatula. Toss some butter on the exposed pan area, and tilt the pan towards the side you are folding. By this time the folded part should have stuck to the middle of the omelet. Remove the spatula and shove it underneath the side of omelet with the exposed part of the pan, with a swift flick fold it over till the opposite edge, keep it pressed and you are set with a perfectly folded omelet.

You can now relax, and toss it around as much as you would like it browned adding more butter if required. I like mine well done so I overdo the butter and browning process but you can ideally remove it after one toss in the pan. Served hot with hot buttered toast and chunks of cheddar.

Certain rules you should follow
*do not overstuff
*do not let it cook too much before folding
*don’t add water, milk and the other additions you hear about to make your omelet fluffier.
*the key is in the continuous whisking, low temperatures and correct timing.

You are wondering where the Bio-Wine features here, well since a perfectly good wine should not go waste and the fact that there was no orange juice in the house, a tangy, refreshing, chilled drink is a perfect accompaniment to an omelet dish.

I had opened up a bottle of this so called Bio-Wine gifted to me by close associates the night before. It is brewed in India under the brand name “Shara” and contains aloe Vera. Odd, but the chenin blanc version tastes super and is mildly sweet and smooth (ridiculously smooth due to the aloe) and the best part – its healthy.

Though I did not want to have any more concentrated alcohol and could really do with something lemony, decided to throw together a few ingredients for a Spritzer.

Spritzer’s are diluted cocktail versions of wine and we usually associate themselves with brunches. The next time you have a hoard of people over and not enough wine to go around, whip up this delicious cocktail to lure the senses and save the trouble of frantic wine ordering on the phone.

1/4th glass of wine for every glass
Lemon Slices
Sugar Syrup (avoided if using extra sweet wine)
Mint Leaves
Lemon Fizz Drink or Soda

Pour the wine into a wine glass till 1/4th full. Add the lemon slices and chopped mint. Top with a handful of crushed ice followed by a little sugar syrup and soda/fizzy drink. Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tryst With a Sizzle

I was at a Mumbai Food Bloggers meet last week (first of a kind for me) and an interesting one at that. I have not got around to writing a post of my own for it considering I have been busy reading the other blogs being posted practically everyday by the 15 odd fantastic Bloggers I met at the do. But it wont be long before my readers get a glimpse of what I experienced that night! till next time...

Meanwhile, a lazy Sunday afternoon, woke up late, bored to make lunch - so I get down to rummaging my refrigerator for something to nibble. Considered a TV meal? Popcorn was the only thing available. Considered salad? the iceberg had frozen over in the vegetable compartment (check, to call the Samsung tech assist tomorrow). Even considered stepping out for a fun brunch? but too lazy. Well the only thing which caught my eye was a leftover piece of Brownie from last night's post party takeaway. I had decided - it was going to be a dessert lunch.Why not indulge and skip lunch altogether, a tryst with sizzling brownie was exactly what the doctor had ordered.

I usually am not too fond of Ice-creams, Gelatos to an extent are good but only if made well. But my favourite combination has always been warmed or heated brownie or any baked base, topped with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice-cream and doused with home-made chocolate sauce. Simple, Sinful, Decadent and Sizzling.

Of course, I wont bore you with a whole baking session of making this dessert from scratch this time, but you could skip over to your phone to order in a brownie(s) and whip this delightful indulgence to enlighten your weekend.

1 Brownie
1/4 cup Chocolate Sauce
1 scoop Vanilla Ice-Cream
Roasted Nuts (Optional)
Sizzler Plate

For the Chocolate Sauce:
1/4 cup Drinking Chocolate
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 Bar Dark Cooking Chocolate (broken into little pieces)
3 tablsp Sugar
1/4 cup Milk
1 tsp Cornflour (mixed with 2 tsp of water)
Chilled Water
A drop of Vanilla Essence
1 tsp Butter

In a large bowl, mix the powders and sugar together. Slowly add the milk and mix well to ensure all the lumps are removed. Add the chocolate bits and about one fourth cup of chilled water and mix well till you get a thin consistency. Do not worry about the chocolate bits they will melt in the next step.

On a low flame, heat the chocolate mix and gently stir till it is simmering and the chocolate bits have melted. After about a minute, it will start to bubble, immediately add the cornflour-water mix and turn off the heat. Stir well till thickened, add the vanilla and butter. Stir again and leave to cool.

Note: You can avoid the cooking chocolate, it just adds a bitter-sweet taste to the sauce, but turns out perfectly good without it as well.

To Proceed:

Heat a sizzler plate (or in case you don't have access to one, use an edged dosa tawa). Remove from the heat and place the brownie on it, top with a scoop of ice-cream, nuts and drizzle the prepared chocolate sauce allowing some of it to fall on the sizzler plate/tawa. Enjoy hot but be careful of the brownie - these thing's get quite hot.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Getting back on the bandwagon

It does pay to get back on track when down and out. I had a bit of a run in with our friend the "Flu" & his hot sidekick "Fever" last week and was completely zapped out of all energy stored for the week.

The first few days were reminiscent of old grandma recipes with hot starchy rice dishes, various cocktails of milk, honey, turmeric, spices, ghee, tea, and other ingredients which only my house help could identify as medicine with chants of "baba, it will do wonder's for you, just one cup, ok - half, ok - no - dont drink it but pinch your nose and gulp it down" the hot liquid should scare those germs away in a jiffy. Well I buckled down to all the pampering and confusion, emerging victorious, but definitely felt as though the illness had been coughed away, or rather frightened out of its wits.

By the end of the week, I had my taste buds reactivated, I had to dig into something a little more luxurious, indulgent with a hint of tasty. Of course, the idle mention of ordering in or digging in at some fancy restaurant  was shunted by the other members of my family who threatened me with doctors and more grandma recipes, I quietly crawled away into my corner deciding what to do next.

Well, I have been blessed with making food myself, tasty food to an extent. I decided, my new-found energy and rigour could be put to good use in the kitchen and I could jump right back on the bandwagon of what I do best - cook !

This was the time to get spontaneous, I selected the first few ingredients which caught my eye and landed up making a delicious spaghetti dish which is simple, defined, garlicky, the way I like it and best of all - a perfect antidote to boring, tasteless dishes which I have been through in the last week


1 cup Spaghetti (Cooked in boiling water till al-dente, drained & tossed in a tsp of olive oil)
8-10 Button Mushrooms (Sliced thinly)
4 Babycorn's (Blanched & Sliced)
A bunch of Baby Spinach Leaves
1 small Onion (quartered & separated)
8-10 Garlic cloves
1 tablsp Chilli Flakes
2 tablsp Olive Oil
Salt & Freshly Crushed Pepper
Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Peel and crush the garlic cloves with the flat side of a large knife or a spatula

Wash, trim and roughly chop the spinach leaves and keep aside

Warm the olive oil in a pan till well heated but not smoking, toss the garlic and stir well till fragrant but ensuring the garlic does not brown. Toss in the mushroom and turn up the heat to high, toss around well, adding a tsp of olive oil if it gets too dry. In about a minute, turn down the heat and add the onions and spinach leaves. Once the spinach leaves lose water and limp, toss in the other ingredients including the spaghetti, babycorn and seasoning's. Toss well, crush more pepper atop the dish if required and sprinkle the grated parmesan. Serve immediately.

Bless taste !