Browsing Tag



Pistachio and Pecorino Pesto

September 8, 2014

Pistachio and Pecorino Pesto

I’d forgotten just how much I love this roughly chopped up “pesto” made with fresh parsley, pungent garlic, toasted pistachios and a good, salty pecorino. All of this is brought together by a grassy extra virgin oil. It’s perfect to keep bottled up in a jar for tossing with some pasta for a weeknight dinner or as a flavourful sandwich spread.

Recipe for home-made pistachio and pecorino pesto.


Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Lemon, Garlic and Sage

September 5, 2010

Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Lemon, Garlic and Sage

There are roasted potatoes. And then there are crispy roasted potatoes. So when I discovered a new way to perk up some tubers, I was only to thrilled to try it out.  In addition to this method of treating the potatoes, the lemon-sage is something I’m pretty happy to discover (and use more often).

I had a big bagful of baby potatoes that I wanted to use up so I flipped through my favourite books for inspiration. What particularly caught my fancy was the one with lemon, garlic (surprise surprise!) and sage from the Ottolenghi cookbook.

While making these potatoes, I tried something new that would give me an even crispier outside. Are you ready for it? So here is what I did: I boiled the potatoes in salted water. Then cut them into half while still warm (you just might learn to juggle while doing this.) And then finally threw all the cut potatoes into a huge box (a bowl covered with a plate works just as well) and shook the whole thing up pretty vigorously. Of course, you need to make sure that you don’t boil the potatoes too much – just until a knife goes through without any resistance. A little more, and the potatoes will fall apart when you’re bashing them up. The point here is to bash up the potatoes a little so they get rough on the edges.  This way, they will get super, and I mean super crispy once they are done. And the inside? Soft and velvety – just like mashed potatoes. Hat tip: Molly and Matthew for introducing me to this method on their Crispy Potato podcast. Incidentally, Nigella Lawson is so proud of this method of hers that she’s included it in four of her cookbooks! Although she uses over 2 cups of goose fat (gasp).

Another thing that I like to do is to keep the potatoes in the oven for a slightly longer time than prescribed in the recipes. This too, helps in making it crispier.  These are excellent to make ahead of time as well. You can cook them fully and then just before serving, put them in the oven for ten minutes and they are good to gobble.

Go make them, you’re going to love it. And to suit your taste, you can add whatever spice or seasoning you like.

Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Lemon, Garlic and Sage

Inspired from: Ottolenghi Cookbook (USA | UK | India) and Nigella Lawson (USA | UK | India)

Yield: 4-6 servings


1kg / 2.2lbs new potatoes (if you’re using larger potatoes, you can cut them to the size you like)
4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
50ml olive oil
2 tbsp roughly chopped sage
1 lemon
Salt and pepper


  1. Boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water. Pass a knife through it to check for doneness after 7-9 minutes. Longer, if you’re using larger potatoes.
  2. Once boiled, cut the potatoes into half lengthwise and transfer to a big box that will hold all the potatoes and still have additional room. Shake the box vigorously until the potatoes look smashed on the edges.
  3. Toss with garlic, olive oil, sage, juice of lemon, salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer to a roasting pan and layer the potatoes in a single layer.
  5. Roast the potatoes in the oven at 200C/390F for 30-40 minutes until crispy, golden and brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, perhaps with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Of Updates and Olive Oil

July 16, 2010

Garlic Infused Oil

Things have been a little quiet on the blog, but it’s quite the opposite in the Purple Foodie kitchen.

Last week, friends who run a Bombay-based lifestyle website coaxed me into selling my bakes. Just two days after that conversation, The Purple Foodie Catering was born. “It won’t be much,” they told me. Clearly, they underestimated their reach. Messages and emails from readers and well wishers poured in, as did orders for a whole bunch of things. My recipe list doubled up as a menu for requests, and that’s how it’s pretty much going to work until I get a few hours to finalise and design the menu. If you’re in Bombay, you’ve got to subscribe to Brown Paper Bag’s weekend guides. They find these cute hole-in-the-wall places and report about new and fun things to do in the city.

A catering mini-launch was just one thing. I also began writing for another popular city blog. I submitted a story that I’m really proud of – a Crawford Market Guide; a guide to the city’s best food market. I worked with Matt to put the the interiors of the market on paper – something that’s not been done before for this Victorian era market. I looked through almost every shop to put together all the information you’re going to need on your next visit to Crawford Market. Be sure to download the map.

All of this week, I’ve pretty much been elbow deep in flour, and absolutely loving every bit of it. So here I am running around getting some basic packaging in place, buying supplies and delivering the bakes! Regular food blogging should resume soonish.

Another thing I wanted to talk to you about is garlic oil. Loads of sliced up garlic, fresh thyme, red chilli flakes infused into fruity extra virgin olive oil over the slightest simmer (yes, simmer because the moisture from the garlic will make the oil bubble and appear as though the oil were simmering). In all of 15 minutes, you will have sweet garlic slices that you could eat without feeling the bite. I can imagine this being so perfect with plain boiled pasta.  And to top that you will be hit by a fragrance of sweet, spicy and herby all at the same time.

Garlic oil is excellent in salad dressings, as a finishing oil for pastas and risottos, or best of all, to make these garlicky baked fries (which incidentally, have got 171K views so far). I pretty much eyeballed the garlic oil, so measurements are approximates: 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, 7-9 cloves of garlic (sliced), a few sprigs of fresh thyme and 1 tsp red chilli flakes. This makes enough to last me about a week, so it should for you, too.


The Best Zucchini Brushchetta

June 28, 2010

Zucchini Bruschetta

I’m going to keep it short for two reasons: words fail me because this is more delicious than I ever expected something with zucchini to be and secondly because you must run to the kitchen and make the zucchini bruschetta this very minute (or head to the store if you haven’t any zucchini).

I had this bruschetta at a brunch I went for recently and I absolutely loved it! I learned a few things I’d like to share:

  • Thyme and zucchini is a match made in heaven.
  • The bruschetta tastes especially good at room temperature. This makes it an excellent do-ahead recipe.
  • The bread was toasted in a ridged pan until some spots were slightly charred, imparting a pleasantly earthy taste. This was a refreshing change from my usual practice of toasting bread in the oven.

It’s so easy to put together, can be made ahead of time, and is so full of flavour. What’s not to like? I can imagine a smear of goat’s cheese on the bruschetta being a superb addition to the flavours. Reminds me of the zucchini and goat cheese pizza I made a while ago. Mmmm.

Zucchini Bruschetta

Zucchini Bruschetta Recipe

Serves: 4-5

1 large zucchini or two medium ones if you want a mix of colours, diced into small cubes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
Few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
1 baguette, sliced
3-4 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter to brush on the bread
Parmesan cheese, to serve

  1. On a medium flame, heat a pan and add olive oil and garlic followed by thyme. Add the zucchini when the oil gets fragrant. Cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly browned in spots. Do not cook for too long, else it might get too soft and mushy. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. In the meantime, brush the sliced baguette with a little olive oil or butter and toast it in a hot cast iron skillet or a ridged pan until crisp on both sides. Lay it on a platter.
  3. Spoon the zucchini over the toasted bread and grate some parmesan cheese over it. Dig in!
BAKING breads

Rosemary and Garlic Oil Focaccia

April 1, 2010
Rosemary and Garlic Oil Focaccia

I made bread! Well it’s not really news, and definitely not something that I haven’t attempted before (yep, so what if it’s just banana bread!). But this time, I’m really excited to report that I made bread: fluffy (oh yes, I conquered volume!), white, soft and wonderfully chewy bread. A golden top brushed with garlic infused olive oil and spotted with rosemary and sweet, mushy cloves of garlic – this focaccia is something I’m very proud of.

I have been through quite a few books for baking bread. I love the detailed step by step instructions in Peter Reinhart’sBread Baker’s Apprentice; but sometimes, these very elaborate explanations make me a little nervous and I run to something less complicated. Nothing beats the simplicity of 100 Great Breads by Paul Hollywood. It was the first book I ever bought on the subject and the focaccia recipe from this book is something I’m happy I’ve stuck by. I made this bread 3 years ago when I was a bread-baking noob and I made this bread again yesterday (still a bread-baking noob), and it did not fail me.

Rosemary and Garlic Oil Focaccia

When I saw that the recipe used oil that has been steeped with garlic overnight, I knew I was on the right track. However, to speedup the process, I peeled and pierced eight or nine cloves of garlic and poured hot olive oil over them instead of waiting all night. They sizzled for a good five minutes after that while the flavours of the oil and garlic infused together and the house smelled as if an Italian grandma was rustling up a meal using her favourite bottle of olive oil. I let it sit for about twenty minutes before I used the oil for the dough.

I must tell you that bread with garlic + olive oil + rosemary = world peace bread. And this bread dipped in homemade pesto is something I wouldn’t mind eating everyday for the rest of my life.

Rosemary and Garlic Oil Focaccia

Rosemary and Garlic Oil Focaccia

Adapted from : 100 Great Breads by Paul Hollywood with tips from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Peter Reinhart.

8 cloves of garlic, pierced through the centre (feel free to cut down on the garlic, if you came in late, you should know that I’m garlic obsessed)
100 ml olive oil
500g strong white flour (I used all-purpose)
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast or 20g fresh yeast
250-300ml water
a few sprigs of rosemary

  1. Place the garlic cloves in a bowl and pour hot oil over them. Let it rest for 20 minutes before you use it.
  2. Put the flour, yeast, salt and most of the oil and the water into the bowl of a KitchenAid and knead for 4-5 minutes until the dough comes together. It should clear from the sides of the KitchenAid, but still stick to the bottom of the bowl (tip from Peter Reinhart: see complicated recipes do teach you stuff as well!)
  3. Let it rest for an hour, minimum. I left mine in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Punch down the dough and roll it out into a rectangle of about 2.5cm/1 inch thickness.
  5. You can either make this free-form on a baking sheet brushed with oil, or fit it into a 11 inch square pan.
  6. Poke dents into the dough, brush with garlic oil, sprinkle with salt and rosemary.
  7. Bake in a preheated oen aat 220C/425F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 200F.
  8. Eat warm!
savory things

Mushrooms with Bacon and Sage

November 29, 2009
 Mushrooms with Bacon and Sage
I made these crazy delicious mushrooms last week.
Has a familiar ring to it? Even for my previous post (the marinated eggplants), it took me a whole week to get to posting the recipe.
Why, you ask? Of late I’m enjoying a little more of cooking over baking. Of late, I’m not taking too many photos of what I’m making, especially those of ingredients and in-between stages. Of late, it’s been more about cooking or baking on a whim rather than for blogging and I’m kinda enjoying it. But, one thing isn’t so much fun is posting something a week later. I don’t know why but it just isn’t as exciting as posting it on the same day or the next. Just so that I kick back into the blogging mood, I’m going to make sure December is a good month on The Purple Foodie. I’ve been thinking of some seriously decadent recipes to make you fat and happy this holiday season.
But you shouldn’t let my blogging lull come between you and these crazy delicious (very worth the repetition) mushrooms. So, when I had a pound of mushrooms waiting to be consumed, I leafed through the pages of some of my favourite books and voilà! I found inspiration in Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics.
When I saw sage, garlic and butter in the photo of the roasted butternut squash, I was convinced about trying this out with mushrooms. This recipe is very simple to make and I think the addition of bacon to this is just genius. And any recipe that uses a whole head of garlic is good in my books.
Mushrooms with Bacon and Sage
Serves: 2 hungry eaters or 4 otherwise.
Inspired from: Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
1 lb / 450g button mushrooms
1 head of garlic, separated and the ends chopped off, but not peeled
2 oz. / 60g bacon, chopped
12-16 sage leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
  2. Clean the mushrooms with a tissue paper or a damp cloth and chop them into quarters.
  3. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet and scatter garlic, sage leaves and bacon bits all over the sheet. Then drizzle with olive oil and dot with the 1 tbsp butter. Sprinkle the salt/pepper.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms have browned. Also, the bacon fragrance has enveloped the house. (*big grin*)
  5. Serve in a plate. Dig in!

Marinated Aubergine with Garlic and Herbs

November 23, 2009
Marinated Eggplant

Did you miss me? I hope you did.

Let me tell you what I was upto – I was writing a chapter for 55 Knives. Erm, what’s that? That is an upcoming e-book that will feature some really, really awesome food bloggers, including Nicole of Pinch My Salt and Sprouted Kitchen. I was (and still am) beyond flattered to know I’m in such good company. So, through last week, I was writing, rewriting, editing and proof editing my chapter of 1200 words.

Now this should be easy because writing a chapter is like writing a long blog post, right? Wrong. Unlike blogging, where I can assume you already know me, I had to write this book for a reader who doesn’t know me at all. Plus, it was deadline work. And while I can write up a blog post in well under an hour, writing this chapter was a whole ‘nother ball game. I finally turned in my first draft on Friday. One week late (see, I told you I don’t like deadlines) – with much of a push from orangefoodie.

UPDATE – MAY 2010:The 55 Knives book is now available and selling wonderfully! And if you haven’t had enough of your eggplant cravings, you can read my recipe for Stuffed Eggplant on page 71 of the book along with a short story on my love for food and cooking. So get your copy of 55 Knives today!
In other news, my mango chutney has been featured on Saveur. So happy to be on their list! There will be some bigger, better news soon enough but I need to hold on to it for just a little bit.
Now let’s get to that gorgeous eggplant recipe, shall we?
Eggplant, yellow chilli, sweet marjoram and marinade
I have been leafing through the recipes in the Ottolenghi book ever since I got it, and every recipe looks absolutely stunning. With loads of garlic and lemon in most of the recipes, I think this book was written just for me. Given my recent fascination with eggplant, I tried the marinated eggplant recipe. And my, was it delicious – served with a garlicky tahini sauce, I loved it! My mom enjoyed it so much, she reserved some to take for lunch to work the next day.
I recently found a yellow chili plant at a local nursery which I used instead of the red chilies. And I substituted oregano with its milder cousin, sweet marjoram. Plus I used the awesome infusion technique I learned when I made the now-famous garlicky baked fries instead of simply plopping the garlic into the oil. Fantastic results!
Marinated Eggplant
Marniated Eggplant with Tahini Sauce
Serves: 4

1.5 lb. / 750g eggplants
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 mild red chili or 3-4 mild yellow chilies
2 tbsp coriander/cilantro, finely chopped
2 tbsp sweet marjoram, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Tahini Sauce:
1/3rd cup / 75g tahini paste
1/3rd cup / 75 ml water
3 tbsp / 40 ml lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
  1. Preheat oven to 220C/425F.
  2. Trim the eggplants; cut them into wedges such that each wedge has skin on it.
  3. Place the wedges in a roasting tray and brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake this for 15-18 minutes until they are golden brown and soft inside.
  4. For the marinade, heat 4 tbsp oil with the garlic until the garlic is fragrant and just begins to sizzle. Turn off the heat. Let this cool a little and then add the other ingredients and mix well.
  5. As soon as the eggplants come out of the oven, toss them with the marinade and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving. You can refrigerate this for up to 2 days. Make sure to serve them at room temperature, though.
  6. For the tahini sauce, whisk together the tahini paste, water, lemon, garlic and salt thoroughly. The mixture should be smooth and creamy. If the mixture looks too thick then add a little more water by the teaspoon.
  7. Serve the tahini sauce with the eggplants.

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

November 11, 2009
 Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Does this look like the same old broccoli that we are all used to?

I love broccoli. I mean, what’s not to like? It’s healthy, it’s fresh, it’s colourful, it’s crunchy, it’s tasty, it’s great!

It stumps me when I read stories about parents have a tough time shoving broccoli down their little ones’ throats while they make a fuss about eating their greens. In fact, the only vegetable I thought I didn’t like was green beans. That was until I tried a green bean stir fry at a restaurant in NYC. I couldn’t believe I asked for more! That’s when it struck me that it’s not about that vegetable, it’s about how it is cooked. Each vegetable is different and it needs to be cooked right to extract the maximum flavor from it.

So the other day while I was flipping through the pages of Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, I stopped at the photo of Parmesan roasted broccoli. Whenever I read Parmesan, my heart tends to skip a beat. And now that I had a few heads of broccoli in the refrigerator (along with all the other ingredients – yeah, I was surprised too!) this was the perfect opportunity to make myself some Parmesan roasted broccoli!

Just something that I’d like to share with you – I love this book a lot because it is filled with simple ideas that are so easy to put together in minutes. It is the ideal cookbook to refer to when you want a fix yourself a quick, healthy dinner. This and Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food are kept together in my bookshelf for meals that take under 30 minutes.

Back to the broccoli. It took about 10 minutes to prepare, and the parmesan along with the broccoli was so cruncy and flavourful! What complemented the broccoli the most was the lime zest (I love you, my Microplane zester, you made zesting so much easier!) – it added such a zing to the dish. Loved when my mouth was hit with some grated zest that had held together. And no points for guessing that I doubled the quantity of garlic involved.

Lemon Zest

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Serves 6
Adapted from: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics – Ina Garten

4-5 pounds / 2kgs broccoli
8 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
4-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon or lime zest (I used lime)
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice (lime, again)
4 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tbsp basil, julienned
Salt and pepper to season

  1. Cut and wash the broccoli into chunky florets (they will reduce in size after roasting). Then lay the broccoli out on a kitchen napkin to dry (like, very, very dry) while you prep things up.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.
  3. Now in a sheet pan, arrange the broccoli in a single layer and toss the garlic on it. Drizzle with 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes or until the broccoli has browned a bit and the broccoli has a crisp-tender texture.
  5. As soon as you remove it from the oven, toss it with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil and the rest of the ingredients – lemon juice, lemon zest, pine nuts, Parmesan and basil. Serve hot.
Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Some points that will help you along the way:

  • Make sure to dry the broccoli very well before you roast them – if they have water on them they will tend to steam more than dry roast. You could lay them on a kitchen napkin for 30 minutes after you’ve washed them.
  • Let your pan preheat in the oven so it gets scorching hot, and then toss the broccoli on it to get maximum crispiness.
  • I think the lemon is the key part – don’t skimp on the lime zest – add a squeeze of the lime juice if you like (I didn’t though).
  • I loved the pine nuts in them. I think walnuts would taste fab too.

I hope this works and you get your family to eat their greens. Though, I still haven’t replicated that green bean recipe, I’m so scared I might fail and go back to hating green beans!


Garlicky Baked Fries

April 12, 2009

Garlicky Baked Fries


I’m never going to make garlic potato fries any other way.

These garlic fries, win hands down as the best garlic french fries I’ve ever made. Plus they are baked – so I won’t feel too guilty if I make it every time I’m craving for some potato comfort.

When I read that there is garlic infused oil involved, my heart skipped a beat (in a good way, not the way oil would otherwise treat your heart). I got down to making them immediately. I used extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil because I just love the aroma that garlic and olive oil combine to impart. And added to potatoes while baking – how could it be anything short of perfect? I also used more garlic to make my fries extra garlicky!

Garlicky Baked Fries
crispy golden baked fries

These garlic fries are incredibly simple to make and are so full of flavour. They were gobbled down as soon as they were out of the oven. I had to hear a lot of “Take the photos next time!” and “Can I pick just one?” while I was trying to capture some shots of these crispy, golden babies.

Garlicky Baked Fries
crunchy potato skin

Garlic Fries
Adapted from: Lottie + Doof


8 garlic cloves, minced or grated
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 potatoes, each about 200g, cut into 12 wedges
3 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Microplane for grating the garlic

Garlicky Baked Fries
warm and soft interior
  1. Preheat oven to 225°C/440° F.
  2. Combine the garlic and oil in a large bowl, warming it until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Transfer 5 tablespoons of the oil (leaving the garlic in the bowl) to the baking sheet, coating it well.
  4. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the garlic mixture and toss to coat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and microwave on high power until the potatoes are translucent around the edges, 3 to 6 minutes, shaking the bowl to redistribute the potatoes halfway through cooking.
  5. Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the hot potatoes and toss well to coat.
  6. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning once, until deep golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.
  7. Serve with ketchup, mayo or sour cream.

Update: Given that I do not like to use the microwave for cooking (I don’t even own one), and plastic cling wrap is a little scary to use, I have tried making these garlic fries by par-boiling the potatoes and then letting them steam dry by laying them in a single layer on kitchen napkin. I proceeded with step 5 and it turned out to be SO GOOD!