Countdown to New Year

So this one is from me, foodie companion and head-chef at home, constantly referred as 'Wifey' in previous posts

Our cooking extravaganza re-started in last week of December with a gala celebration as we moved into our new house, stocked our new 'tailor made bigger than the bedroom kitchen' with every possible kind of dressing, various sauces and multitude of ingredients required for cooking every damn cuisine.

As, we marched towards 2012, every day was an elaborately discussed food fest. Following our the dishes which took our cooking spree to the next level

3 Cheese and Jalapeño Pockets: The idea germinated when I was attempting to make a crispy cheesy yet healthy snack to accompany Dark Rum on a chilly winter night. So here goes an original (well almost!) recipe from the house of Karkaras.

The idea is to bake pastries filled with a 3 Cheese mixture and some Jalapeños for the added zing. To make the Wrapper, you basically need to make a dough using the following ingredients.1 cup Maida, 1 Egg, a pinch of Salt and 1 spoon Olive Oil. Knead the dough after mixing all the ingredients using warm water until soft. Leave it for 30 minutes to settle. The filling is an even more simpler preparation. Start by heating olive oil in pan, add some raw oregano, finely cut spring onion, mashed cottage cheese, pasteurized cheese and mozzarella. Add jalapeño, salt , black pepper and chilli flakes to complete the flavours.

Now comes the tricky part of making the pockets. So roll the dough into rectangular wraps and place the filling in the middle, keeping some space to roll them up. To ensure the wraps stick, brush the sides with a thick paste of cornflour and maida. After that place them in a pre-heated oven and bake for 15-20 mins. To ensure better baking, spray/brush some olive oil from all sides. Cut them in halves and serve with Sweet Chilli Sauce and dash of Ranch. They come out looking extremely light and crispy.

Spinach Mushroom White Sauce Penne Pasta: This is one of my signature dishes and surprisingly with lil alterations here and there it turned out to be best pasta I ever cooked. Will just give an overview of the recipe. To make this take some olive oil, throw in some garlic, onion and mushroom and sauté till the time it doesn't leave water. In a separate pan sauté 7-8 leaves (chopped) of spinach in butter. In another pan add milk and cornflour. When it begins to thicken, switch off the gas and add pasteurized cheese. Mix all ingredients from different pans, add salt, freshly ground black pepper, fine oregano and chilli flakes. Add some parmesan cheese to garnish and serve with toasted garlic bread. The combined flavours of spinach, mushroom and cheese mix superbly! Pick your drink to go with this but we enjoyed it with White Wine.

Talumein Soup: This one is for light weekday dinners to balance out the weekend binges. Very easy to cook and is a basic recipe found everywhere. Try to combine a lot of vegetables and add egg to make it healthy yet hearty. The secret ingredient here is vegetable/ chicken stock which is available in form of solid cubes at various grocery stores.The other thing you can use is the Worcestershire sauce. It really gives it a nice tangy tinge required in some chinese preparations. 

Bruschetta: Another quick starter to kick off an evening party. Pick a loaf of French/Garlic bread from a good bakery. In a small dish add olive oil and garlic and heat this in a pre heated oven for 2 mins, add chopped tomatoes, basil , salt and pepper and heat it in oven for couple of mins. Now spray oil on a baking tray and spread bread slices with prepared tomatoes topping on it. Bake it and serve.

Some of these were recipes which we surely love, and hope that someone reading would be tempted to try as well.

 - Neha



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About the Authors

This blog is from the kitchen of Neha Gupta and Mridul Karkara. We go about our days pretending to be HR Managers and Business Consultants respectively, though in reality, just thinking about our next big meal! This food blog is a representation of our experiments in the kitchen and for the simple joy of cooking and sharing!

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