“A man who loves good food has a way of making it gravitate toward his kitchen.”
Angelo Pellegrini
Finally glad to be back doing what I like best. Sometimes it takes an innocuous looking bug to mess up your life. Something that sounds as assuring as ‘Security Tool’, a rogue anti-spyware program downloaded via some stupid site, which messes up your computer. The past 2 days have been horrid and frustrating, battling this virtual virus, but am glad to say that the the back breaking time  has been worthwhile. I busted the virus step by step, following a list of 24 odd instructions, most gobblygook, but managed to get my ill computer back on it’s feet.

And SOMETIMES a tweet is all it takes to make the world a better place, deliciously so. This was just one of those better days. Got onto twitter after a loooong time, tweeting hysterically to make up for lost time, I intercepted Olga’s tweet. It went something like this…
MangoTomato Lunch time: adobo buttermilk chicken, barley and red beans. Wish I had sour cream, cheese, salsa and guacamole to go with it.
I was on the trail within a second of reading the tweet, and knew this is what I was going to make the next ‘chicken time‘! More so because the jar of smoked chipotles that spicy yet sweet Jeanne from Cook Sister had sent me was waiting to jump into that something special. This was possibly the simplest chicken I’ve made in a while. Nothing to it. It was deliciously marinated in a blend of buttermilk, chipotle and onions overnight. Tossed it onto a grill pan the next morning and let it cook till most of the buttermilk had evaporated and the chicken was cooked. Finished it off in the oven for the nice red colour {stuck the same grill pan into the oven for minimum wash up}.
On the side were green beans. One of my fave ways of serving them and one even the kids enjoy without a fuss now.

String the beans, and cut them into 2 each, about 3″ pieces. Bring a pan with salted water onto a boil, and drop the beans in, blanch till tender crisp. In the meantime, pour 1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a small pan. Add 1-2 cloves of minced or finely chopped garlic and some red chili flakes to the oil, and gently simmer till the oil gets flavoured. Careful not to burn the garlic or it will taste bitter. Once the beans are done, drain them and toss them in this flavoured olive oil. Give the beans a squeeze of lime if you like, adjust seasoning if required. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I like the way they take the flavours of the flavoured extra virgin olive oil. These beans are  inspired by this recipe from the Ottolenghi cookbook … Chargrilled Brocolli with Chili & Garlic which is a winter favourite with us.

Adobo Buttermilk Chicken with Onions
Adapted minimally from Mango & Tomato
500ml buttermilk
2-3 tablespoons adobo sauce {Feel free to add chopped chipotle peppers if you like your food very hot}
800gms chicken on the bone, cut into pieces
1-2 large onions, thinly sliced
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. {The flavor will be better if you let it marinate overnight.}
Spray a grill pan with some oil, and turn the chicken, marinade and all into it.
Cook on high heat, open, on top of the stove, until the chicken is tender and most of the marinade has evaporated, 15-20 minutes is what it took me. Turn the chicken once during this time.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200C. Put the pan grill pan under a hot grill for about 10 minutes to get the gorgeous color.
Serve the chicken with sauteed green beans, and a bread.
Note from Olga: The buttermilk tenderizes the meat, and the adobo sauce adds a punch of heat. And don’t forget the onions: they are full of flavor after sitting in the adobo buttermilk marinade and then getting charred underneath the broiler.

To complete the meal was an Olive Oil Schiacciata from ‘What Katie Ate‘. Made it in three different avatars, and all three were fantastic. I got 3 schiacciatas from the dough, but I think I should have made 4, as one was rather plump! My choice of toppings were – oven roasted tomatoes and mature cheddar, roasted bell pepper, oregano and garlic, and the third one with thinly sliced roma tomatoes, garlic and sea salt. We loved them all!! Take your call, use a topping you like, and do remember to give the bread a nice drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Olive Oil Schiacciata Dough
Adapted minimally from What Katie Ate
500g plain four
100g whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp ready-to-use yeast
400ml (14 fl oz) water
20ml/4tsp extra virgin olive oil {EVOO}
20ml/4tsp milk
1.5 tbsp sea salt

Place all ingredients into a large bowl in the following order: liquids, oils, dry ingredients, yeast. Therefore place water, milk, oil followed by flour, salt and finally yeast. Mix with a hand beater with a dough hook attachment, and then knead well for 7-10 minutes. Place dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with cling-wrap and leave in a warm place for about 1.5 hours till it doubles in bulk.
Once risen, it is ready to use. Or like Katie, you can to knead it a little then let sit in a warm area for a further 20-30 mins before using. {I put it in the fridge overnight after the first rise as I needed to bake it the next morning}.
Take it out of the fridge about an hour before, so it comes to room temperature.
Roll out the olive oil dough into a rectangular shape, gently transfer the dough onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking parchment.
Brush the dough with some EVOO, then an overlapping layer of finely sliced roma tomatoes,leaving a 1/2″ border. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Scatter some sliced garlic and oregano if you so desire. Drizzle over some more EVOO.
Reduce the temperature of the oven to 200˚C and bake the schiacciata for 25 minutes, turning the tray around after 10 mins. The schiacciata is cooked when the edges and base are browned.

Note: I got 3 schiacciatas from the dough, but I think I should have made 4, as one was rather plump! I used 3 different toppings … oven roasted tomatoes and mature cheddar, roasted bell pepper, oregano and garlic, and a third one with roma tomatoes, garlic and sea salt. We loved them all!!
Note 2: A little left over schiacciata and some shredded adobo buttermilk chicken made for delicious grilled sandwiches.

This bread is off to Susan @ Wild Yeast for Yeastspotting!

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

“Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.”
Marcel Boulestin

We’re going off to a beautiful little hamlet in the Himalayas, called Ramgarh, for a couple of days but this is a post that I’m rushing to put on this post on tortillas. More so, for my friend Ben from What’s Cooking US our monthly Homemade challenge. This month we are making tortillas.

I made a vegetarian filling this time & using cannellini beans. Didn’t reveal the ingredients to the kids as the lad will not touch his lentils. They had a fine time trying to figure out what was inside, & finally decided it was a mince. Let sleeping dogs lie…which is what i did. They loved the quesidillas! You can use whichever vegetable you like in the stuffing. I used a mix of sliced bell pepper (red,yellow & green), onion & sweetcorn, all tossed in a little olive oil, & roasted for 15 minutes in a hot oven.TORTILLAS
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1/2cup wholewheat
1 1/2t baking powder
1t salt
2T oil
  • Sift the flours with the baking powder and salt.
  • Add the oil & mix through with fingertips. Add enough water & knead to a pliable smooth dough,knead well. Cover & leave to rest for about an hour.
  • Make small walnut sized balls of dough & roll out as thin as possible. That is usually the trick for a good tortilla.
  • Put on a hot griddle, cook for 2-3 minutes, till small bubbles appear. Turn 7 cook the other side for a further 2 minutes.
  • Take off & keep warm.


250gms cannelini beans soaked overnight
4 cloves garlic
2-3 bay leaves
Salt to taste
1 small bunch fresh coriander; chopped
2-3 green chillies; chopped
1 small onion; chopped
Juice of 1 lime


Pressure cook the beans with the salt, bay leaves & garlic for 20-25 minutes till soft.

  • Strain, pick out bay leaves & discard. mash the beans roughly with a masher.I did it in my processor because the son cannot stand beans & I wasn’t going to risk a refusal!
  • Mix in the lime juice, finely chopped green chillies, fresh coriander & onion. Adjust seasoning if required.
  • Heat the grill pan. Take a tortilla, & cover half with the bean mix. Top with roasted bell peppers, onions & corn. Top with grated mozzarella.
  • Fold over & brush lightly with oil. place on grill pan for 1-2 minutes each side till the cheese melts.
  • Serve with fresh tomato salsa & sour cream.
  • I came to love my rows, my beans, though so many more than I wanted. They attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Antaeus.”
    Henry David Thoreau

    From beans high on vodka, to beans of another kind…green beans or string beans. Meals are always a challenge. The need to introduce greens of any kind is usually on top of my agenda, but one runs the risk of the same thing mundanely showing up. I like to work string beans into the menu this way or that, because they are available the year through, especially in our HOT summer months that seem to drag on forever. The other perennial choice being spinach, but sadly the Popeye magic didn’t work on my kids for long.
    Green common beans are also called string beans, stringless beans (depending on whether the pod has a tough, fibrous “string” running along its length), or snap beans. Compared to the dry beans, they provide less starch and protein, and more vitamin A and vitamin C. The green beans are often steamed, stir-fried, or baked in casseroles.
    This is one simple way & flavourful way of serving beans on the side…
    French Beans with Bell Peppers & Onions (as adapted from the Indira Roderick’s recipe from the TOI, dated 18 Jul ’08) .
    French beans – 400 gms topped & tailed & cut into 2″ pieces
    Onion – 2 large, sliced thickish
    Yellow bell pepper – 1; julienned
    Red bell pepper – 1 ; julienned
    Garlic – 2-3 cloves
    Freshly ground pepper
    Sea salt
    Olive Oil – 3 tbsps
    • Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
    • Blanch the beans in a pan of boiling water for 4-5 minutes, drain & immediately plunge into ice-cold water. Reserve.
    • Toss the julienned bell peppers & onion slices in 2 tbsps of olive oil; season with sea salt & freshly ground pepper. lay in a single layer on a baking sheet & roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing in between, to ensure even roasting.
    • Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a pan, saute the chopped garlic for a minute, then add the blanched beans & stir fry for a minute till heated right through. Toss in the roasted peppers & onions & mix well.
    • Serve hot or at room temperature.

    Another no fail way is a simpler & quicker one, which works like magic every time Steamed Beans in Cream Cheese…a recipe from my Sis-in-Law

    • All you need to is blanch the beans till tender crisp.
    • Drain & put into a large bowl. Toss in 1-2 tbsps of cream-cheese / cheese spread, season with salt & pepper…& you’re ready to go.

    My third spin on green beans is an Indian stir-fry. Simple again…

    • Heat a little oil. Toss in 1 tsp each of cumin seeds & mustard seeds.
    • Put in chopped french beans, simmer for 4-5 minutes/ till crisp tender. Then stir fry till nice & dry with some roasted cumin powder. Season with salt. Garnish with fresh grated coconut if you like.

    How do you eat your beans???

    Beans that are green; greens that are beans…eat more beans!

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