The Farmer’s Market at Jean Talon Montreal and a Recipe

IMG_2164

 

Greetings from Mumbai!

We have moved yet once again and while it was a tearful and emotional experience in bidding adieu to Dubai for a second time,it was truly an exhilarating feeling to be reunited with family and friends in Mumbai.With numerous blog posts at different stages of completion being tucked away as drafts,I just had to complete this one.Albeit a little late as it relates to our wonderful trip to Montreal last summer.

The  summer holidays last year were driven by the fact that my teen choose to pursue university at Mcgill in Montreal.Having lived in Canada for 7 years we had of course visited Montreal on a couple of occasions.Most often with friends and hence landed up doing the usual rituals of visits to Old Montreal (which is spectacular and a must see),bar hoping in the English side,walks around the city which is a great way to discover Montreal,partake in Gastronomy which incidentally is “tres mangnificent ( a seperate post to follow on “What I indulged in Montreal”) and of course road trips to Qubec city, Mont Tremblant which are breathtaking.

It is any wonder that we may have left out the  simple pleasures of enjoying this beautiful city.For instance like a day at  the Farmers markets.Well the first week just flew by in settling him into his residence,with several trips to Target,Ikea and The Bay we got him all sorted out with linen, winter wear and all the essentials.”I’m moving out he declared,” as he had plans,what with Frosh week activities and orientation etc.Well then it was the hubs and me left to our own devices.It was a welcome change the second week around as we had done most of the touristy stuff in our previous visits.Having done my homework well  I had read up quite a bit about two very popular farmers markets in Montreal.Jean talon and Atwater being much talked about.

As luck would have it ,the market at Jean Talon was just a ten minute ride on the tube from our hotel.Well then one morning we headed just that way and oh what a day it turned out to be! The Jean-Talon Markets are  located in the Little Italy neighborhood of Montreal. In addition to the glorious array of fruit, vegetables and flower stalls are  a tasty array of specialty shops that feature spices, oils, cheeses, meats, pastries and exquisite products that are specific to Québec. It is one of the largest public markets in North America and its atmosphere is lively in both summer and winter. It’s like a little village, a place where families have gathered and generations have grown, merchants and customers alike.

page

As we started our self planned “culinary tour” around this market place,it was certainly difficult to stay focused on just one vendor at a time.The foodie in me wanted to sample,indulge and buy a bit of everything,almost like a kid let loose in a candy store!Well that’s what we pretty much did.All though this post is more about the produce available and what I took back to the hotel with me.I would love to sit back another day and write  about the delightful food our taste buds sampled!

vegs 2

The Jean-Talon market is the Mecca of all things delicious in Montreal. Chefs, foodies and amateur gourmets flock to this culinary Disneyland to satisfy all their food needs.From fishmongers, butchers, local cheese artisans, Quebec farmers and foragers, duck, turkey and quail eggs, flowers and fresh herbs as well as more exotic fare.Eating your way through the market as you shop is like taking a delicious trip around the world without ever leaving the city. Sure, you can go for the ordinary ham and cheese sandwich but you can also try one (or all!) of these delicious must-have morsels that will definitely make your visit even more memorable.

Meats 3

And while I could probably spend the rest of my holiday touring Jean talon alone,I decided that it would be great to take some stuff back to the hotel apartment.It would be great to cook up some breakfast the next morning for my teen who would probably join in too.Well I did manage to pick up some fresh raspberries,lovely courgettes,some white truffle oil,balsamic vinegar,an assortment of unusual macrons from Croquez and what really caught my eye were these gorgeous Zucchini blossoms! I’ve read several recipes that call for Stuffed fritters.

IMG_2178

IMG_2203

Of course as soon as we got back to the hotel and I was itching to try out something from my loot for the day.I excitedly called up my teen and asked him to join us for dinner that evening.And that’s what we all had for dinner: A quick stir fry with grilled chicken strips,sauteed along with some chopped up Zucchini blossoms drizzled with some gorgeous white truffle oil.For the side we had baby red potatoes with garlic and oregano and some pan grilled parma ham.

Just about the perfect dinner that I rustled up with my shopping at Jean Talon.Oh what a glorious day indeed.

IMG_2221

Ingredients:

  • Grilled chicken breast meat (2-3 breasts chopped up)
  • Zucchini Blossoms (2-3)
  • Olive oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic: 1 pod roughly chopped
  • White truffle Oil: To drizzle (optional)
  • Sea salt and pepper to season

Directions:

  1. Heat a small pan and add the olive oil.
  2. Add the chopped garlic and saute for a minute
  3. Now add in the chopped Zucchini and the blossoms and give it a quick stir.
  4. Add in the chopped grilled chicken breasts.Saute further for a minute.
  5. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  6. Drizzle with white truffle oil

Served with warm pan roasted baby red potatoes and parma ham.

Tres Bien!

Moving from Dubai and Mumbai Ladi Pav

 

 

Main watermark

 

A big hello and a warm welcome from my kitchen in Mumbai!

Well it just seemed like yesterday that the dear husband accepted the offer to re locate to Mumbai. We’ve had a pretty nomadic or perhaps a gypsy like existence  so to speak for many years now.I’ve been happily globe trotting along with him and making my home in Dubai, New Jersey and Toronto these past 23 years. So when a move was on the cards once again, it took me by no surprise and that to shifting to Mumbai got me feeling ecstatic and overjoyed!

Well lets put it this way, I’m quite the Mumbaikar at heart,grew up in the city and know every nook and cranny and could probably walk down many of its alleys with a blind fold. Of course  the thrill of being reunited with both sides of the family and friends would just be amazing!So it seemed that the winds of change were blowing our way once again.It was time,yet once again to bid adieu to these golden sands of Arabia, a place that I’ve called home for over 15 years,leaving back wonderful memories and friendships that I will treasure for years to come..

The move happened early November last year and yes it’s already been four wonderful months in the city. With the first few months being chaos ridden, primarily awaiting our household effects to arrive, looking for an apartment to actually moving into one, my life now has returned to some semblance of order.

And my kitchen in Mumbai has been officially open for sometime. Oh yes and I’ve been baking away especially since I’ve managed to bring along my wonderful Samsung oven from Dubai. This blog post is  a special recipe as an ode to city that I now live in and have come to love too. I’m sharing my recipe for a Mumbai Ladi Pav, which literally translates into a slab of bread. These soft pav’s are just delicious when they come out of the oven and can  be eaten with butter or most often with a snack ie Pav Bhaji (Vegetable with Pav) Vada Pav (Potato balls with Pav) Kheema Pav (Mince with Pav)

IMG_0985

Well I just baked a batch and I doubt they will last to go along with anything else. The dear husband can just eat plain ladi pav. My personal favorite is a warm, soft pav just out of the oven and slathered with butter!

IMG_0987

Mumbai watermark


Oh well here you go with this recipe. And now that the kitchen is up and about I hope to be baking and posting more often.I’m looking forward to this new journey in Mumbai and while I cannot change the direction of the winds,I can always adjust my sails in that direction for now.

Shukran Dubai,

Hello Amchi Mumbai!

Mumbai Style Ladi Pav

Ingredients:
• 3 ½ cups All-purpose Flour
• 1 ½ cups Lukewarm water
• 1 teaspoon active dried yeast
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 ½ teaspoon melted butter
Directions:
1. Measure out the lukewarm water and add the active dried yeast and add the salt and honey stir and keep aside.
2. The yeast should become frothy in about 15 minutes.
3. Now add the yeast to the flour and knead well for at least 10 minutes.
4. Don’t panic if the dough seems very sticky. It should come together if you continue kneading it for about 10 minutes.
5. Once well combined add in the melted butter and knead further for 5 minutes.
6. Knock down the dough for about 5 minutes.
7. Cover this dough with a damp cloth and let this rise for at least 1 hour.
8. Lightly deflate the dough and form 8 equal parts.
9. Form each into round balls.
10. Grease and dust a baking tray with some flour and lay the balls on this tray.
11. Lay 4 dough balls in a row.
12. Keep these covered with a damp cloth again for an hour.
13. Pre heat the oven to 205 C.
14. Place the tray in the middle rack and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
15. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
16. You may wish to rub some butter on each of the rolls once they are out of the oven

 

 

A Morning with George Calombaris and a Recipe or two

Collage

 

I received a PR invite a couple of weeks ago to  Bloomie’s kitchen.The event was a cooking demo and a book signing by none other than the Australian chef ,restaurateur and television personality best known as the judge on the cooking competition, Masterchef Australia,George Calombaris.”Kindly RSVP at the earliest”,said the email.Now having watched him a million times over on TV ,judging young kids on Junior Masterchef,it was an opportunity that I certainly didn’t want to miss.Well,”Most certainly yes”, was my response back to the PR invite.I would be delighted to watch this maestro in action.While I was excited that he would be cooking up a storm ,it was also my opportunity to pick up his cook book Georgie Porgie and of course get photographed with him.Call it my fan-girl moment if you wish!

 

IMG_2741

kitchen collage 1

The stage was set amidst the wonderful kitchen arena of Bloomingdale’s at the Dubai mall, hosted by  Bloomie’s kitchen.I arrived early and got browsing around  the store. I personally love shopping for my kitchen stuff here. I’ve  been eyeing the Le Creuset cookware  range for quite some time  now and perhaps my Kitchen aid too which has been on the wish list for over a year.Well I did receive a surprise voucher from the wonderful hosts at Bloomingdales, which I used to buy my copy of the book.

The bonus of arriving early is that I managed to grab a seat right up at the front,I for one wanted to watch him up close and personal.It’s 11am and he arrives on the dot.I’m excited to see him in person.He begins by talking about the show,his Greek  origins and about his various restaurants like The Press club.He was greeted with a huge round of applause  from the all those who had taken time off to see him in person.My first reaction was that he seemed to have lost a staggering amount of weight, and looking quite suave in his new look.Good on you Georgie!

He’s fabulous already.Quite charming,funny and a dynamic personality in person as much as his screen presence commands.

George then commences the cooking demonstration for the guests that are waiting quite patiently for his magic touch.He started the cook off  with a wonderful and simple Watermelon and Feta salad,which seemed easy tp put together,with an amazing twist.This salad had an addition of the watermelon rind which was cooked in balsamic vinegar and added to the salad.We sampled this and it was just very refreshing in flavor.This was served with lamb lady fingers that he effortlessly made.Both these recipes are as follows.

I was impressed with George’s presence and they way he interacted with the audience.It was a very interactive session where the audience was encouraged to throw in questions while the Chef and his team cooked up a storm.

He then went on to show us Ravioli making from scratch with a delightful filling made up of Ricotta date and mint .The Ravioli was plated on a bed of Pumpkin Puree and drizzled with Olive oil.This was a winning recipe.The demo finished off with a wonderful Spiced Milk fizz with smoked strawberries.

A wonderful couple of hours watching George cook and sampling some wonderful dishes, was a indeed a morning well spent.And now the moment I’ve been waiting for.The book signing and a photo opportunity with him.I excitedly had over my phone to the wonderful staff at Bloomingdale’s asking them to take a couple at least.The moment arrives and I thank his for an exciting morning and go on to tell him about my own experience of teaching and inspiring young kids to cook. He affectionately puts his arms around me and that is one Kodak moment for me!Quite thrilled with the series of events that morning,my book  autographed by him,I leave in awe of this very impressionable personality.

 

 

IMG_2760

Watermelon Salad with Lamb Lady Fingers:(Serves 8)

Ingredients;

  • 600g seedless watermelon cut into cubes
  • 100g watermelon rind(green and skin removed)
  • 100g Balsamic Vinegar
  • 100g Crumbled feta
  • 1/4 bunch mint
  • 40g Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Place the watermelon rind and the vinegar in a pot and simmer.
  2. Simmer until the vinegar becomes a glaze and then place it in the fridge.
  3. Mix the reduced vinegar with oilve oil and reserve.
  4. Slice the rind in thin slices and set aside.
  5. To finish place 3 pieces of fresh watermelon into a serving bowl.
  6. Place the rind over the top of the watermelon then crumble some feta.
  7. Place a hot lamb lady finger next to it and drizzle with olive oil.

Lamb lady fingers:

Ingredients:

  • 5 Filo sheets
  • 200g melted butter
  • cooked lamb shoulder
  • 40g icing sugar

Directions:

  1. Cut the filo into 15cmX25cm strips and cover with a damp towel.
  2. Lay one sheet of filo out and brush with some melted butter.
  3. Place 15g of cooked lamb mix at one end of the filo.
  4. Roll the filo folding the ends in as you start to roll.
  5. you should end up in a cigar sized roll.
  6. Once rolled brush with some butter and place on a lined baking tray.
  7. Bake ina hot oven at 180C for about 10 minutes or till brown.
  8. Dust with Icing sugar and serve with the salad.The next was a Ricotta date and mint Ravioli.He demonstated the fine technique of making the Ravioli dough using a special Tipo 00 flour.The kitchen aid has a fabulous atatchemnet for pasta making which is just fantastic.Note to myself: Must buy that Pasta maker soon.The Ravioli was served to us on a bed of pureed pumpkin and drizzled with olive oil.This was just sublime and quite a creation! I have this recipe on my must do list.

IMG_2758

Ricotta Date and Mint Ravioli,Salt Bush Brown Butter:

For the Pasta:(Makes 16 Ravioli)

  • 100g’00’ Flour
  • 100g Semolina
  • 1 Egg whole
  • 55g egg yolks
  • 5g Olive oil
  • 1 egg whole 9for brushing pasta)

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and bled on high until the mixture resembles bread crumba.
  2. Put into a bowl and knead for atleast 2 minutes to form a smooth ball.
  3. Wrap in cling film and set aside for an hour.
  4. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.
  5. With the pasta machine roll the dough to the 2nd thinnest setting.
  6. Dust with semolina between each sheet and place on a damp towel over the pasta sheets.
  7. To make the ravioli lay 2 of the sheets of pasta on a bench dusted with a little semolina.
  8. Place 8x3o gof ricotta filling on each pasta sheet.
  9. With the other 2 sheets lay them out and cut 16 round pieces with an 8 inch cookie cutter.
  10. Brush the pastaaround filling with egg wash and place the cut out disk over the top of the filling.Cut out with 6cm cutter.
  11. Seal the edges of the pasta well by crimping with your fingers,repeat until all the filling has been covered.
  12. Place the cut out pasta on a tray dusted with semolina flour.

Ricotta Filling:(16 Ravioli)

Ingredients:

  • 1 white onion peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/4 bunch mint
  • 50g butter
  • 50g Olive oil
  • 100g dates
  • 300g Ricotta cheese
  • 60g Bread crumbs
  • 2 egg Yolk
  • 3g Mechlebe
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat a medium sized saucepan on medium heat and melt the butter.
  • Add the olive oil and saute the onions,garlic dates and breadcrumbs.
  • Let the mixture cool to room temperature,then mix in the Ricotta ,mint,egg yolks and season with mechlebe,salt and pepper.
  • Once at room temperature divide into 30-35g balls.

 

The above recipes have been provided by Bloomie’s Kitchen as a part of the demonstration by George Calombaris.

What a Bagel: Easy Breakfast Bagels

Breakfast bagels watermark

 

My family is quite the breakfast kind of people.Well most weekdays are a quick brekkie on the go with the usual porridge, fruits, parfait or perhaps just some toast.Weekends are however special. “I’d like a big breakfast please”,is what most often my dear son would request and this is when we pull out all the stops and cook up a storm.This would usually consist of eggs made into omelets or scrambled,sautéed vegetables or hash browns,bacon or sausages and of course homemade  bread that I may have made earlier on.My hubster loves to freeze the bread I make,”It lasts longer and there’s always some when you want it” is his take,all though I prefer to have bread when it’s fresh and hot out of the oven.

I miss my son pottering around the kitchen egging me to bake up something for him.A few weeks before he left for university he said,”Mom how about baking some bagels”?Now I’d been putting off the bagel making process thinking they were way too complicated to attempt and why even bother when you get perfect store-bought ones?Right?

Oh how wrong have I been!

The health conscious and fitness maniac that he is,would often hand me a package containing the bagels and read out all the ingredients that were in it.Emulsifiers,Bromides,Improvers,Food additives and what not.Names that not only difficult to pronounce ,leave alone digest. So on my sons’ persistence and the ramblings ,on what actually went into commercial bagels and breads, did I cave in and decide to bake  a batch.Now I have been baking bread for quite sometime ,but hadn’t gone around  the bagel making process.Oh well how difficult can it really be? And  decided to give the bagels a try.

As with most bread the key ingredients in this recipe are flour,yeast,sugar and salt.And bagel topping of course like pumpkin seeds,onions seeds ,sesame or even a sprinkling of cinnamon works just as great. Most recipes call for strong bread flour,all though I’ve used good old All Purpose and quite happy with the consistency.While kneading the dough don’t worry about it being too hard as this recipe does use a limited amount of water and hence it would seem a tough dough.

Bagel Collage

The key to a good bagel is the boiling of the bagel prior to baking,this sets a good crust.A word of caution, do not over boil.This recipe calls for approximately 30 seconds on either side.Once boiled make sure you drain the bagels well and then sprinkle them with your favorite toppings and go right ahead and bake them.

 

 

DSC_0343

 

DSC_0347

These bagels are so very worth the effort and trust me you will never reach for a store-bought one again.Homemade bagels have now become a delightful treat at our breakfast table.After all who wouldn’t want a fresh and warm bagel right out of the oven? Toasted of course ,with some butter or slathered with cream cheese! Ah just bliss! Nice and crusty on the outside and warm and delicious on the inside.

DSC_0348

Do bake some today!

Go ahead and follow this step by step recipe and you will be delighted with the results.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dried yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

Glaze:

  • 1 Egg white
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon water
  • sesame seeds,Pumpkin seeds, Onion seeds or Cinnamon powder

Directions:

  1. Add the yeast to a bowl and pour 1/4 cup of the lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar.Stir the mixture and keep aside.It should get very frothy in about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Combine the remaining water and flour, the activated yeast ,remaining sugar and salt and form a smooth dough.
  3. If the dough seems hard,you may add about 30-50 ml warm water and knead for about 10 minutes.
  4. The dough should be pliable ie smooth and elastic and not hard at all.You may dab your fingertips in warm water and smoothen out the dough.
  5. Oil a bowl and add the dough and turn it around to coat it with oil.Wrap the bowl with cling film and leave it to rise in a warm place for at least an hour.
  6. After it has risen for an hour,punch down the dough and knead further for one minute.
  7. Divide into 8 rolls.
  8. Lay the dough balls onto a well floured surface for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Then flatten each dough ball gently and make a hole in each and widen them a little bit.
  10. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest further for 10 minutes.
  11. Heat water in a wide pan.Add 1 teaspoon sugar and bring it to a boil.
  12. In the meantime grease a baking tray and Pre heat the oven to 200 C for about 20 minutes.
  13. Drop each bagel into the boiling water.Boil on each side for about 30 seconds and flip it over and repeat the same.
  14. Remove the Bagels and lay them on a kitchen towel to drain well.
  15. Whisk the egg white and water well.Brush onto each bagel.
  16. Sprinkle with your favorite toppings.
  17. Bake in the center of the oven for about 22-25 minutes.
  18. Transfer and cool on a wire rack.

Note: Bagels are best eaten within a couple of days of baking.However you may freeze them and toast as and when required.

 

Choux à la Crème: Easy Profiteroles

Profiteroles main watermark

Most often Chocolate Eclairs,Cream puffs and Profiteroles are a mystery.I’ve often ogled at numerous  miniatures, indulged in  them over and over again and marveled at their creation,with the sole intention attempting to bake them of course.

Well then what really forms the base of these dainty and delectable puffs,one may ask?

Just recently I mustered the courage to go ahead and de-mystify the making of the Pate Choux and debunked the universal myth that dwelled  on how complicated a chore it may be.This pastry is just about the airiest,lightest and softest one you could sink your teeth into.Making this has been on my mind for a while now and it has been on the “Must bake” list before my teen headed out to University.

One afternoon I was driven to reproduce these wonderful Profiteroles which have been adapted from The Joy of Baking.A simple dough consisting of Butter,water, flour and eggs make up this pastry.The sweet versions can be made into Eclairs,Profiteroles and Croquembouche,alternatively a savory version, Gougeres,filled with cheese turn out as delicious.

Don’t be afraid! I made a whole batch recently and marveled at the simplicity of this recipe.

IMG_1908

 

IMG_1905

Ingredients:

Choux Pastry:

  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) (57 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Glaze:

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream(double cream) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated white sugar, or to taste

Garnish:

  • Powdered (Confectioners or icing) sugar
  • Ready Chocolate frosting
  • Ready Vanilla frosting
  • Directions:

Choux Pastry:

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees C and place rack in center of oven. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray the pan with a non stick vegetable spray.
  • In a bowl sift or whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
  • Put the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. (Make sure that the butter melts before the water boils to reduce the amount of evaporation.)
  • Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture, all at once, and stir until combined. Return saucepan to the heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about 1-2 minutes). 
  • Transfer the dough into a mixing bowl and use a hand mixer, and beat on low-speed for about a minute till it’s cooled slightly.
  • Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the lightly beaten eggs (dough will separate and then come together) and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste (dough will fall from a spoon in a thick ribbon).
  • Spoon or pipe 12 small mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. With a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the dough with a lightly beaten egg. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 180 degrees C.
  • Continue to bake for a further 30 to 35 minutes or until the shells are a nice amber color and when split, are almost dry inside.
  •  Turn the oven off, poke a couple of holes in each puff and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells completely cool (and dry out). 

Whipped Cream: In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl and whisk in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. When chilled, whip the cream just until stiff peaks form. 

To Assemble:

  • Split the pastry shells in half and fill  with whipped cream.
  • With a butter knife smooth out some ready chocolate frosting onto each pastry top
  • Let this dry completely
  • Use an icing bag and a fine nozzle and fill it with the vanilla or white ready frosting and pipe fine zig zag lines over each pastry top.
  • Dust with confectioners sugar