“Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.”
Marcel Boulestin
This is my first entry for a Hay Hay it’s Donna Day event, & for some reason the event makes me somewhat nervous. I’ve wanted to be part of it for long, but can’t figure out if I meet the bill, or am on the right track. Just one of those things I guess… The Hay Hay it’s Donna Day food blogging event started back in October 2005 when fellow food blogger Barbara from Winos and Foodies blogged about a Donna Hay recipe entitled “Self-Frosting cupcakes”. Barbara invited bloggers to share their take on this idea, by alternating the spread if they so desired, but not the cupcake batter – this was to remain Donna Hay’s original recipe. Barbara coined the event “Hay Hay it’s Donna Day”, a play on Donna Hay’s surname, obviously, but also after a popular Australian variety show on T.V during the 80’s called “Hey Hey it’s Saturday”. In April 2008, Barbara handed the ropes to Bron, who is now the facilitator and caretaker of Hay Hay it’s Donna Day. HHDD #26 is being hosted this time by a very talented blogger Soma @ ecurry. Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but I can’t for the love of me figure out whether I’m on the right track or not. Anyway, this delicious ‘Roasted Red bell Pepper & Lamb Pasta’ that I made just the other day, & served with my first ever batch of No Knead Artisan Bread is my entry for HHDD #26.

It’s not often that I use lamb in pasta, my choice for a non-veg pasta is normally chicken. In fact, the only time I use red meat is when I make lasagna, my daughter’s fave pasta, though have now switched over to chicken mince on that front too. Chicken because it cooks faster, because personally I prefer white meat to red, & so does the heart … it’s also easier on Mother Earth. Oh, before I carry on, can I remind you to give your vote by turning the lights off for an hour 8.30pm-9.30pm local time. 8:30PM local time, wherever you live on planet earth. Saturday 28 March 2009 … for Earth Hour. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday. Right then, back to the pasta. I love red bell peppers & roast a few whenever I get a good deal. I had some roasted ones in olive oil in the fridge, leftover from my Pitanini sandwich filling. Thought I’d use them for the event Soma’s hosting. This recipe is a twist off the Ragu d’Agnello e Peperoni from The Pasta Bible, & is a light flavourful way to serve pasta. The bay leaves lend beautiful flavour, particularly to the lamb, & to the dish as well. Make sure to tear them & put them in. I tend to put mine into the hot oil to release the flavours. Using the bay leaves made me think ‘WOOD’, which is the theme for this month’s photography event CLICK @ Jugalbandi.This is my entry, ‘BAY LEAVES’, clicked from a bunch that my sis-in-law sent from Siliguri in West India many many years ago. I have always loved this bunch, & it’s been with me for almost 8 years. I use the leaves off the twigs whenever I need them, which is often, & then store it back carefully. ROASTED RED BELL PEPPER & LAMB PASTA
adapted from The Pasta Bible, pg 138
4tbsp olive oil
250gms boneless lamb; cut into bite sized pieces
6-8 garlic cloves; chopped fine
2-3 bay leaves; torn
1/2 a cup of red wine
4 ripe tomatoes; peeled & chopped fine
2 large red bell peppers; chargrilled & chopped fine
1 cup cooked sweetcorn
Handful of fresh oregano leaves
Salt & black pepper

  • Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a pan. Add the chopped garlic & bay leaves & saute on simmer till the oil gets fragrant. Add the lamb, season with salt & pepper, & cook over medium to high heat till the pieces are well browned.
  • Pour in the wine & let it bubble until reduced.
  • Add the remaining oil, the finely chopped bell roasted red bell pepper, the finely chopped tomatoes, the fresh herbs & the sweetcorn. Mix well.
  • Cover & simmer for 30-45 minutes until the lamb is fork tender. Stir occasionally & moisten with water if required. Remove the bay leaves once done.
  • When it’s about 20 minutes to go, put water on the boil for the pasta. Cook pasta, toss it with the lamb & roasted bell pepper mixture & serve immediately. A crusty bread on the side makes the meal sing. Add a salad, a glass of red wine, a bunch of flowers & it’s time to party!
The belly rules the mind”
Spanish Proverb
A new recent discovery has been Closet Cooking, Kevin’s fabulous blog that had me wanting for more with each label that I clicked. As I said to him, each post of his made me more anxious as I went through a bookmarking frenzy the first time I visited it in depth!! Was just a matter of time before I attempted one of the bookmarks…the HOT CORN DIP!

I love the use of colour in making food…just sets the place on fire. Spend half my time playing with colours.
I had to make my deviations because I tend to avoid mayonnaise (because of raw egg in it). I substituted that with some low fat grated cottage cheese, a dollop of low fat cream & some hung yogurt . O boy, was the dip good, or was it good!! I was eating spoonfuls of it right from the frying pan stage when it had been sauteed! Just out of the pan, it was good enough to be served up as a hot sweetcorn salad too!
Scrumptious flavours…& I had to ward the kids off eating just the dip once it was deliciously baked!! A beautiful, yet explosive marriage of flavours, where it all came together to entice the taste buds. Once done, it was everything Kevin described it to be…nice and creamy and the sweetness of the corn perfectly balanced the heat of the jalapenos and the cayenne pepper… just add ADDICTIVE to it!!
Hot Sweetcorn Dip
Butter – 1 tbsp
Sweetcorn kernels – 2 cups (from 2 ears corn)
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter – 1 tablespoon
Yellow Bell Pepper – 1/2 (chopped)
Red Bell pepper – 1/2 (chopped)
Green onions – 1/4 cup chopped (green and white parts)
Jalapeno – 1 (chopped)
Garlic – 2 tsps (chopped)
Thick yogurt – 1/2 cup (I hung mine overnight)
Cream – 2 tbsps (low fat)
Cayenne 1/4 teaspoon
Sharp cheddar – 1 handful (grated)


Melt 1 tbsp butter in a pan.

  • Add the corn, season with salt and pepper and saute until the corn starts to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Melt the next tbsp butter in a pan.
  • Add the onion & chopped bell peppers and saute until the onions are soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the green onions, jalapeno and garlic and saute until softened, about 2 minutes.
  • Put in the corn, onions, peppers, hung yogurt, cream and cayenne & mix well.
  • Pour the mixture into an 8 X 8 baking pan and top with the cheddar cheese. (I used 2 4″ round ovenproof dishes).
  • Bake in a preheated 350F oven until bubbling and golden brown on top, about 10-20 minutes.

  • This dip is en route to Ben @ What’s Cookin US for his ‘I Love Baking’ event, a baking event for baking loving people.

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