Cooking | Thai Chicken Mince, Broccoli & Pepper Salad {Larb Gai} #glutenfree #healthy #comfortfood

“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.”
Mark Kurlansky

Thai Chicken Mince Salad | Larb Gai Thai Chicken Mince, Broccoli & Pepper Salad … bursting with fresh, summery flavour, it’s good warm and chilled too. People often ask me if I cook? Obvious question I guess when you see the blogs name with posts to match! However, I do cook. Everyday, and most meals are home made. Loads of chicken with loads of fresh herbs  … that’s our summer! Curries, salads, crispy filets, fajitas, quesadillas, fingers, sliders, wraps, burgers …Cooking chickenThe other day I saw a Thai Chicken Mince Salad drop into my inbox from Bee @ Rasa Malaysia. I didn’t get as far as seeing the recipe then, but the Lap Kai or Thai Chicken Mince Salad stayed in my head. One of those niggling things that you make you reach for pots and pans rather urgently.

herbs and peppersI had everything on hand and a basic recipe in my head. It’s a really simple recipe, inspired by a recipe from the Simple Thai Food Cookbook by talented Leela at She Simmers. The salad came together in a matter of minutes. It’s a great gluten free, low carb option for summer. I returned later to check the recipe on Rasa Malaysia aa knew mine would be radically different! It was.Thai Chicken Mince Salad Larb Gai This was my version of Larb Gai. It was different since Thai cooking uses a lot of galangal but my heart belongs to garlic. I also don’t like fish sauce so it doesn’t figure in my cooking. Larb Gai is often served with sticky rice, or roasted rice powder as in Leela’s recipe. I added some almond meal to soak up extra juices since that was what I had on hand!

Thai Chicken Mince Salad Larb GaiThe marriage of flavours and textures is nice. Sweet, spicy, fresh, exciting. Above all, easy to stir up. Don’t forget to add the roasted rice or almond meal… the nuttiness is addictive. Serve as soon as you stir it up  … in crisp lettuce leaves or with a crisp salad on the side. The ‘now almost off to college teen‘ loved it cold too!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


Baking | Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes … getting stoned this summer #stonefruitlove #comfortfood

“What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?”
Logan Pearsall Smith

Petite Whole Wheat Plum CakesPetite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes … some desserts are so homey and comforting that they hit the right spot. These little cakes fell straight into that category. Simple, earthy, flavourful and above all whole grain. Nothing spectacular to look at, so I didn’t take many photographs. I didn’t have the time too. A few clicks and we all dived in!

Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes Dorie Greenspans Baking With Julia that sweet Suma gifted me is a book I often leaf through. For inspiration, for entertainment, for sheer reading pleasure, the book works every time. There were some oven roasted plum cakes that have inspired mine.

plumsIt isn’t easy to hide my love for stone fruits every summer. Peaches, plums, mangoes, cherries … they charm, then entice, they leap off the shelves at the bazaar, they beg me to take them home. We chomp a few, then toss plenty into smoothies. Summer also means fro yo to tease our palettes, and fruit salads that play with our senses. All light & refreshing!!

Stone fruit in summerAbundance of fresh seasonal produce makes summer more than worthwhile. So much so that just turning the oven on in this blistering heat to see stone fruit juices bubble over is a delight. A virtual treat. I often wait with bated breath for ‘the moment’. The juices ooze over and run down the sides. Baking nirvana. Small things, immense pleasure!

Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes These petite whole wheat plum cakes turned out to be hidden gems. Quite unassuming in appearance, yet packed with flavour and texture, the lad immediately asked if he could have another!

Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes A drizzle of low-fat unsweetened cream added to the deliciousness. Alternatively, you could always try some vanilla ice cream or custard on the side. Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


Baking | Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies … Baking and other activities for the family this summer

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”
Charles Bowden

Chocolate Oat Walnut BrowniesChocolate Oat Almond Walnut Brownies … you can’t have enough brownie recipes under your belt. The younger teen is suddenly showing sporadic bursts of interests in the kitchen. Maybe he’s trying to beat the heat, or maybe discovering a new hobby. Maybe forever H U  N G R Y, he thinks it’s best

Wholewheat Double Chocolate Brownies I was pleasantly surprised some time back when he sauntered into the kitchen in his PJs while I was stirring brownies. Nonchalantly he took the whisk and bowl from me, and made the batter like he had been doing it for years! So I asked him to get up early a few days ago to bake another batch. He made these as we were off for a weekend to Calcutta.

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies It’s a nice way to engage kids in the kitchen, brilliant actually. Brownies are forgiving creatures. Delicious too! The batter gets stirred together in minutes, and these are less messy. It’s a simple one bowl recipe. Nothing much can go wrong.

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies 2You can see how the lad had a go at them. He stirred them together gently, and then in a moment of happiness, gave the batter a vigorous  stir up! Soon we had a batch of Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies. These are gluten-free.

{Research suggests that pure, uncontaminated oats and oat products are not toxic to the majority of adults and children with coeliac disease. However the vast majority of oats and oats products on the market are contaminated with wheat, rye and/or barley. Processing, such as milling, makes them unsuitable for people with coeliac disease. The protein found in oats is called avenin, which is similar to gluten. There is some evidence to suggest that some people with coeliac disease may even react to pure, uncontaminated oats.}

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies This recipe is ever forgiving and came out good. Good enough for the kids to enjoy, good enough for the younger teen to flaunt them. I made them”,  he announces to all and sundry, then goes on to devour another rightful square! Milk and brownies forever welcome!

Lemon Ginger Creme Brulee

Lemon Ginger Creme Brulee He also enjoyed brûléeing the crème brûlée we made a few days ago. It’s nice to involve kids in the kitchen during the summer break. Beware though, the mess is yours to clean if you have teens like mine! He seems to be loving it. So does the elder sis. She baked the cocker a special doggie birthday cake a few days ago. I was skeptical. Needn’t have been. She had a blast and made it look so pretty! Baking is now a big option in the vacations!

Doggie birthday cake These Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies were for Calcutta, the city of joy! Not a planned vacation, but a weekend getaway to join Mr PAB who had work there. Another inspiring Indian city covered, another opportunity to experience a rich culture. O Calcutta … you are just so beautiful!

CalcuttaThere’s been a lot of Bengali influence in my life of late. I was recently interviewed by Sananda magazine, the east Indian version of Femina, in an anniversary special. These days, Mr PAB regularly visits Calcutta on work, coming home laden with intriguing tales! I’ve also recently reviewed a Bengali cookbook cum food journey ‘Bong Moms Cookbook’ for a magazine. That brought the Bong culture and cuisine onto my table.

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies What are your plans these holidays? We’re halfway through the vacations here. Between internships and a theatre workshop, we’ve crossed the halfway mark. With Master Chef Oz around the corner, hopefully some culinary skills might get polished. Did I forget to mention some candid photography that the kids did too? They both get pretty trigger happy now and then!

Get cooking this summer Here are some simple recipes to get the kids into the kitchen with … Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Brownies, Creme au Chocolat Shots, Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits, Simplest & Best 2 ingredient Dark Chocolate Mousse, Whole Wheat & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies, Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip WookiesAlmond Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream, One Bowl Milk Chocolate Brownies, Strawberry Fro Yo

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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