“When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It’s also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be.”
Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade Life
And life goes on, whether we have a kitchen or not, we still have mouths to feed. I am the queen of the makeshift kitchen in the morning before the workers plod in, and still attempt to whip up a decent balanced meal as often as I can. I know the kids, especially the younger one, gets disturbed with the ongoing work, which by the way, is stretching beyond our control. The way to little juniors heart is through his stomach, and I knew that these wraps would please him!
Of course mothers are never far off the mark. You should have seen to 100 watt smile I got for these…“NICE Mama, NICE!’ He’s a little foodie, often watches Master Chef Australia, dragging me to the telly in hungry fascination. Hear him discussing ingredients, contestants face expressions, asking if maybe I can make that yummy {calorie ridden in my eyes} lasagna. He notices the Kitchen Aid {the machine I dream of}, the ovens, the knives and can almost sniff ingredients out!
I mentioned ‘inspiration of the kebab type from my search results mentioned in my previous post, and here I am. When I thought of making these kebabs, I had junior PAB in mind. We share the love of subtle taste, colour and presentation in cuisine, as does Mr PAB. Give them both a well laid out, ‘good’ looking platter and you can see the sun shine in the middle of the night! They are not demanding men in any way, but are most charming and appreciative … and life seems worthwhile once again!
The bazaars are exploding with juicy, fresh bell peppers. On days that I get a well priced stash, I roast a few to make them last longer, and keep some for salad. I used a combination of roasted and fresh ones here in the wraps. The roasted ones, with their beautiful smokey flavour, were added to the mince while grinding, and the crisp fresh julienned ones tossed into a salad. Satisfied that nutrition and yumminess were both in there, the wraps were wonderful. {If you are unsure of the spices and salt in the kebab, fry a small bit of prepared mince to taste the flavours, and adjust ingredients if required}. And if you have pickled peppers on hand, do consider adding them to the mince while processing  it, as they add delightful tanginess to the kebabs.

While the hub and me chomped on ours wraps, all bundled up in white parchment for pictures to be taken first, we were transported back to the days when we used to visit London in the late ’80’s and early 90’s, digging into the most delicious doner kebab rolls, stuffed with salad, served with lashings of sauce. It was often bone-chilling cold there, but the enthusiasm of the lads serving the wraps coupled with the first bite always warmed us up. Those were the days, and these wraps brought back the nostalgia!

Before I get to the recipe, time to announce the winners for the Mainland China Book Giveaway, picked via Random.OrgNalini Hebbar and Avanika. Congratulations to the two of you; I hope you enjoy the book as much as I do. Could you please e-mail me your full postal address so Random House can mail the books to you. Thank you for having me host this Sohini!

Chicken, Basil & Roasted Bell Pepper Kebabs
Makes approx 10-12 rolls
500gms chicken mince {I use thigh tenders}
1 onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1-2 tbsp pickled peppers/jalapeños {home-made recipe here}
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 roasted red bell peppers
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil {I used Borges from here}
Salt to taste

Pulse the onion, basil and jalapeños in the processor for about a minute till finely chopped.
Add the rest of the ingredients and process on medium low speed till it all gets well mixed and comes together.Transfer to a glass or steel bowl and chill for at least 1 hour.
Heat about 2-3 tbsps of oil in a heavy bottom frying pan. Lightly oil your palms. Take a small portion of mince & roll it into a sausage like roll, back and forth to form a kebab. Gently slide into the pan & shallow fry till brown on all sides, about 8-10minutes.
Note: The kebabs should be fried just before serving as they taste best fresh,  thought the kids love taking them to school for lunch too!

Bell Pepper Salad
2-3 bell peppers in different colours, finely sliced
1 large onion, finely sliced
8-10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil {I used Borges from here}
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Whisk the olive oil, lime juice and salt. Reserve in a bowl.
Toss the other ingredients together in a separate bowl.
Add the dressing just before serving, and toss well.

Fry the wholewheat chapati or tortilla on a hot griddle/tava with a few drops of oil on both sides.
Place a kebab, followed by freshly tossed salad, roll and serve!

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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“It is a true saying that a man must eat a peck of salt with his friend before he knows him.”
Miguel de Cervantes

New month. September is upon us already, and the days are galloping by. Sometimes the ultimate comfort food lies in the simplest of bakes. I love cakes for what they are, layers, frosted, filled with fruit, dripping with chocolate, more for putting them together rather than sitting back & enjoying a slice. All that changes when I make this pound cake.

This is one I love for it’s taste, it’s texture & it’s crumb, not least for the ease of making it. I make this once a month, more often in winter, and the only thing that holds me back is the amount of buttah! But then, that’s what pound cakes are all about…putting on the pounds, huh? Have made many cakes, but this one is an all time winner. An oft used recipe from my well thumbed copy of Better Homes & Gardens – ‘All Time Favourite Cakes & Cookies Recipes’.The recipe is recorded in my mind, but I love to keep the book open for it’s charm. Old print, no glossy drop-dead gorgeous pictures…just good ole heart warming near sepia stuff. Adds to the homely feeling and comfort.

adapted from All Time Favourite Cakes & Cookie Recipes
from Better Homes & Gardens
200gms butter; room temperature
4 large eggs
1 cup granular sugar (or vanilla sugar)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tbs instant coffee
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan. Drop in a few coffee beans if you like. They look nice when you turn out the cake.
Preheat oven to 175C.
Sift together the two flours flours, baking powder and salt.
Beat the butter & sugar well till light & fluffy.
Beat in eggs 1 by 1, beating well after each addition. (I sometimes beat them altogether)
Beat in essence and coffee, and continue beating till the coffee dissolves (1-2 minutes).
On low speed, beat in the flour, bit by bit, till well incorporated (4-5 goes). Fold in the chocolate chips.
Turn into prepared pan and bake for approx 1 hour / till done. (If top seems to be getting too brown, loosely cover top with foil until done.)
Leave in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn it out on rack to cool completely.

This cake is gorgeous served warm!

August was a happening month for me on the ‘BASIL’ front. I had loads of basil growing & it had been flowering like crazy. Still is and the leaves are beautiful & sweet smelling. I’ve been fortunate enough to share the seeds with a bunch of food bloggers across the length & breath of India. Have been keeping the mailman busy mailing seeds across to my ‘Basil Gang’ as I call them. Nothing like sharing seeds…

Among the lot have been Nags @ For the Cook in Me, Shaheen @ Purple Foodie, Ria @ Ria’s Collection, Aparna @ My Diverse Kitchen and Arundati @ Escapades. As Arundati wrote to me, “Your basil has gone places my dear girl. I have shared it with all my family & friends that if this was the revenue model of Amway, you’d have made a lot of money“… I love it. Makes me feel virtually very rich! A basil millionaire? I had to mail some seeds & some magazines that Ria wanted, and by chance asked her to scout around for vanilla beans down in South India, as I know they have orchards there. Little did I know what a booty was headed my way! She sourced this huge bag of vanilla beans, and mailed it to me. Am I over the moon? Oh yes, several times over! Take a look….I’ve also been spoilt silly with many gifts too which have kept the mailman even busier. In the parcel of vanilla beans from Ria were also gifts for me. Beautiful kercheifs that she and her mother made with crocheted lace. Also, in there were pretty blue & white kitchel towels. Loved them. Blue & white is my all time fave combination!

Dull thud! The postman chucked something over the gate! Yes, chucked! He does it often in a semi-inebriated state. He’s a funny man. Ooooh, a packet of Natural molasses sugar that Nags sent for me. Love it because this is something we don’t get here. Have always itched to get my hands on some. Then along comes another parcel. Stubby chilies from Arundati. She had been saving the seeds for me for as long as I could remember, & I was pleasantly surprised to receive them last week. (They have been duly planted,Arundati). In there too were some precious & beautiful handmade cloth-dolls, called Tsumnamikas.

“Tsunamika is a Tsunami related project of Auroville . Auroville is a universal city in the make in south-India, dedicated to human unity, and based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Auroville is actively involved in many Tsunami Relief projects in Tamil Nadu. Tsunamika is one of them.”

“Since Eve ate the apple, much depends on dinner.”
George Byron
It’s Sunday today, it’s been a race, & thankfully, it’s finally drawing to an end. Am sitting here quite exhausted because the day has been long & never ending. The son’s soccer league season began today, so virtually every Sunday for the next few months has been written off. With so much cheering & nonsensical yapping at the match, there’s hardly any voice left in me. But have to squeeze something important as Monthly Mingle for the month at What’s For Lunch Honey has reached the deadline, well almost. As usual, I’m back to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party like situation…‘I’m late, I’m late for a very important date…’. This is being raced off to the guest hostess this month, Michelle of What’s Cooking Blog, a blog dedicated to “cooking with kids for a better body, planet and community”. The theme for this month’s mingle – Healthy Family Dinners. We’ve just polished off this dinner a couple of hours ago. It was very delicious & healthy too. The recipe for the balsamic & herb marinated chicken is one from Marie @ Proud Italian Cook, which I’ve used before. This time I made the bell pepper & basil salsa too, & it does go beautifully with the grilled chicken, just as she says in her post. The pictures have been taken at night, so are ‘hued‘, & in a tearing hurry, & so not too clear.
The recipe as taken from Proud Italian Cook
4 chicken breasts
2 crushed garlic cloves
Herbs of your choice; dried or fresh (I used oregano; Marie used oregano, thyme & rosemary)
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Whisk the marinade ingredients together. Place with chicken in a ziploc bag.
  • As Marie says, ‘marinating the chicken is the key here, so you’ll want to do it for at least 2 hours.’
  • Place on your grill to cook.
recipe taken from Marie @ Proud Italian Cook
1 each red & yellow bell pepper
2 cloves of crushed garlic
A handful of fresh basil leaves; chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar ( I used the juice of 1/2 a lime instead)
Salt & pepper to taste
  • While your chicken is marinating grill your red peppers. Peel, seed, then cut them into a dice.
  • Place in a bowl along with some crushed garlic, lots of fresh basil, red wine vinegar/lime juice, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Let everything sit together at room temperature.
  • Spoon this salsa over the chicken once grilled, & enjoy the fantastic flavours. Amazingly enough, the kids enjoyed the flavours too. This salsa pairs really well with grilled chicken, just as Marie said.

I served the meal with…

  • Stir fried garlic mushrooms, baby corn & broccoli
  • Oven roasted garlic baby potatoes
  • Fusilli in Uliana’s pasta sauce

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