Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gouda Cheese Market- Goudse kaasmarkt


My Cousin Pragya visited us in July this year, while she was travelling to Germany for some official work. She arrived here on Tuesday and we wanted to cover as much Netherlands we could in next 2 days.

We were searching on net and lonely planet for the 'to do activities'. And we found about this cheese market at Gouda which is held on every Thursday 10 am to 12:30 Pm during summers.

We planned, we would get up early then breakfast and would reach there by 10 so that we leave on time and head to Amsterdam.Great Planners!

Next day, lazy us, got up at 9 am, by the time we got ready, it was already 10:30 am. We were contemplating on the idea of going Gouda or straight to Amsterdam. Given that it takes 15 Mins. by train from here..we should take a chance..thinking that we just got out of the house. We reached Gouda station at around 11:15 am.


It was a great sunny day! there market is held in front of the Gouda - Town Hall, which is 10-12 minutes walk from station. From the approaching street we could see lots of hustle bustle on the other side. We reached there and found food stalls. we were wondering, if we had reached at the right place. We crossed the weekly market, which is also held on thursday for the obvious reasons.

We reached a open place and found cheese, cheese n cheese on the floor. The horse carts, weighing scales, cheese stretchers, the Dutch Cheese Girls in their traditional outfits posing for photographs with visitors and the retail cheese stalls around selling cheese.





Cheese has been traded at the market in Gouda for over 300 years. Farmers would come from far and wide to bring their cheese stretchers to the market every Thursday morning.They still do the same things they were doing all those years ago.The cheese market is held every Thursday morning from mid- June to the end of August.



We tasted various cheeses at this stall, cumin, herb, pepperika,black pepper, plain gouda n many more. we loved the one with herbs and pepperika so bought some!


I asked Pragya to enquire about cheese classes from her in dutch (as she speaks German and manages to speak in dutch). The lady said yes!, but guess the class would be in dutch, so i would have to wait until i learn the language. Well, this should be great motivation to do so! isn't?

This happens to be a craft market also, traditional crafts and products made in and around Gouda, such as earthenware, pipes, clogs, farm produce, treacle waffles. But by the time we were done with our cheese tasting and shopping, they were winding up.

Now, i would have to wait until next year as it held only till August end. The day after is Thursday but its first of September. I shall enquire, if they are on.. then will definitely pay a visit.



Anyways, after the hard work of cheese tasting, we headed to Dezalm stadcafe just in front of the market.(i don't remember where; but i had read about this cafe somewhere). Very crowded, but we managed to get a table for 2 outside with a perfect view of market. We had 'Goude stoopwafeltart'(a kind of cheese cake)topped with thin layer of honey caramel, which was awesome! a must try!

There local market around was great. Unlike Rotterdam, there were a lot of local shops for bags and shoes... n they were offering great discounts too..we did the typical girly shopping from buying bag to clothes and make up stuff!!! which of course led us to delay to reach to our next destination- Amsterdam.

Pictures Courtsey: Pragya Taneja

Monday, August 29, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Asian Sauces Marinate

This Post is dedicated to Finely chopped. The food blog i accidentally came across and became its big fan !

I am now a vegetarian, but when i used eat non-veg.(around 8 years bk just a month before my company transfered me to Singapore. I still ask sometimes to myself that had i quit having non veg if i had known that i was shifting to Singapore. Given that, its heaven of sea food and being veg. could be problematic. Infact i have travelled intensively, in far east and now in Europe i still can manage to be vegetarian without any problem or crav

ing! ). I had never cooked it at home. My Mum is vegetarian. But thankfully she had never restricted us( me, my bro my father). Having Non-veg (chicken primarily) was just occasional thing and mostly we used to have it with our maternal Uncles in our younger days then with friends when we grew older. To celebrate any occasion w

e ordered Butter chicken!

Whenever we brought any non-veg dish home. We had t

o do the dishes immediately after we had eaten and until then we were not suppose to touch any other utensils than required! We never complained of this small price that we had to pay for the pleasure and celebrations we used to have. It is still the same now also but me and my brother have given up on eating non-veg. My father sometimes has it, when he dines out.

Anyways, now for the love of my husband, i have starte

d cooking it now. He is a bigger foodie than i am. I cook chicken only for him. My dish was chicken biriyani for him( shall write about that soon). The other day, his best friend was visiting us, for a day in transit to US. Who is an another foodie. I thought to make chicken in starters than as main dish. Otherwise, they hog only on chicken and other dishes are left untouched.

Since we had come from a long holiday the day before only and hadn’t stocked up the house again. First day went in doing other house hold chores, second day first half in cooking other dishes and had kept this for the last, as i had to go to s

upermarket to buy sauces to match with Finely chopped’s recipe. Since it had just required 30 mins. of marinating, i had planned it accordingly. Thought, 2 hours before their arriaval. i’ll go to market come back within an hour then d-skinning would take few minutes. As i am new in doing that.. and it takes like forever for me to do that, in the whole preparation time.

Then what, at 3:30pm. i got reminder on my cell phone of m

y physio session at 4:30. I was like OMG! I had completely forgotten about it. I was thinking what to do and to leave now in the given time... if

i would be able to manage everything. Ofcourse! I couldn’t ! I prayed to god that they get late to reach home, so that, i could complete my cooking. Coz, that could only, had let me accommodate all the activities left from going to market then to physio then to marinate chicken and let it get marinated for 30 mins. before i put it to grill. I took tramp went to market from there straight to physio with all my stuff. And while going back home i called m

y husband to enquire, when would they be home. He gave me the time of an hour later. I was relieved. As i had time to execute my plan as planned.

While i had just de-skinned the chicken, the door bell rang. O

k nothing much i could do then, i would had to do the rest of cooking infront of them only. I was happy atleast i was done with deskining the chicken. I accepted that, which gave me a big relief.

Well, i was meeting his friend for first time. I introduced myself to him and so did he to me. I had already known about him from my dear hubby, who loves

to tell me his college days stories again n again. This definitely gave me a base to talk to him.

Well i admitted in front of him that i was not completely done with my cooking. So, he would have to talk to me while i was cooking. He then, suggested we could eat out. Which we could (that would had been so easy for me). But i think back in India we used to always cook when somebody visits my place, at least first meal. So, i had not thought about going out at the first place.

Here goes the recipe :

Marinate:

Pounded 4 cloves of garlic with one long dried red chilli (against the original recipe which required 3 red bird eye chillies, which i didn’t get in market here)

Mixed the above clove chilli paste with all the sauces( i got in hurry from the supermarket) to match with original recipe, without any proportion of measurements just with a sense u grow with while cooking for long period of time and also, as suggested on the original recipe in a zip bag.( I used Thai Red chilli sauce, only Soy sauce instead of fish sauce (for salt), Teriyaki sauce with honey(Japanese sweet soy) since, i got this one with honey so I skipped adding additional honey (as recipe required) and Green chilli sauce.



Method:

Slashed the chicken, so that the marinate could go deep into the meat.


Put them into the zip bag and massage the chicken to marinate well. And let it marinate for at least an hour, longer the better. That day i had only 30 mins.

Oil the surface of your baking tray. Put an aluminium foil on it. Place the marinated chicken on this. Place some chopped onion bulbs between the drumsticks.





Grill:

Preheat the oven for ten minutes at 200 d Celsius. Put the tray of marinated chicken into the oven and grill it at same temperature for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes the oven will turn off.

Keep the tray in the oven for another 5 minutes. Garnish with some chopped pepper/ capsicum, spring onion.


My husband gave 6/10 and his friend gave 7/10 to this dish. As they said the marinate was great; but it hadn’t soaked deep into the chicken. At the end, I was left with 2 drumsticks, which Rajat, suggested to keep it and to grill it again next day for 10 minutes, the juices would be soaked in much deeper. I did the same,. The next day a friend of mine turned up for dinner. And served them the same chicken, as suggested. I earned 1.5 marks more from hubby and his smile and full marks from my friend!

Lesson learnt: marinate the chicken for longer time now.

Wow! Thanks Finely chopped this dish was totally inspired from yours one!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My first Pizza, Tiramisu and Cappuccino in Italy @ Vintimiglia


Last week, We (me n my hubby) were Traveling to South of France, the last day we thought, we thought we should touch Italy.. We were just very few Kms away. I wanted to have the Pizza in Italy and my Most Fav. dessert Tiramisu! at around noon, we made a plan to go to Ventimiglia, the first city in Italy if you go from France, it comes after Menton.

Initially i thought, as its just adjacent to France, so would be like same. and its just 15 minutes from Eze, the last stop in France if you go by train. The moment i alighted from the train the feel of it was so diff., the people,the Language (ofcourse) and the architecture and also the culture. it was indeed more crowded.

since we were only left with few hours and we were hungry as well, so decided to go to tourism office, where we hoped to find somebody to speak to in English! Somebody from the station told us to go towards right but couldn't explain the correct direction.. but we headed towards right but couldn't find anything. then we asked from a shop keeper, he asked us to go left , so we aheaded back. There again we couldn't find anything, we asked again from a restaurant owner thankfully he could speak good English. and told us that the office used to be there in the past but now have shift towards right and gave us the direction, where to turn. so we again went towards right but this time we managed to find the office.

There we asked about the restaurant, i read about on virtual tourist website and the places of interest and also we asked if it was ok to roam around in dark as my hubby was little skeptical about it. She assured us that its fine!. The restaurant we were searching for was just across the bridge in the first lane of the old town as per the lady in the tourist office. we went there and couldn't find it. And we were so hungry that we wanted to just get into the first restaurant we see. Then we asked from a passerby, about the restaurant again. he tried to find but couldn't locate. he looked Indian, and i think he was also curious to know if we were also. he could barely speak English so asked us, where from where we were. We told him India. he said he was from Bangladesh. Then he was feeling good and ask if we knew Hindi. so then he told about the area and took us toward sea side where the restaurants were. And recommended us a restaura
nt where they serve fabulous fish and asked us to say memu. i thought thats the name of that dish ...like nimo!:P but apparently it was his name. When he left, we thought he must be a chef or work at the restaurant. Never the less he tried to help us. the restaurant around there were clossed for lunch for their staff. So we decided to go towards new town as we walk towards the new town direction we had to take a bridge, suddenly we saw a restaurant where people were entering. We decided to check that out! what we find that it was the restaurant, which we were trying to find for past an hour and a half.

we took deep breadth and hoping to get good Pizza, as recommended. It wasn't any fancy restaurant. but i love these kinds. everything was in Pink. walls, table clothes, Napkins... I ordered Margarita and my hubby ordered one with Salami.

Ristorante Pizzeria La Vecchia Napoli, is a family run pizzeria. Not an English spoken staff but still manage very well. great service! The menu is dominated with Pizza but other offerings of Italian dishes too. The choice is quite extensive and and usual toppings especially Italian prosciutto ham, mozzarella, seafood,olives and vegetables.

Tiramisu was just perfect,just melted in the mouth. The exact sweetness that i look for in it.

Hubby suggested to have Cappuccino also, which Italian coffee preparation, didn't disappointed us either. In fact, this was one of the best cappuccino i had ever had.

The Pizza would cost you anywhere between 5 to 8 euros. i chose 1/4 pitcher of rose wine costed 3 euros. our meal including 2 pizzas,1/4 pitcher wine, a portion of Tiramisu n 2 Cappuccinos costed us under 20 euros. Not Bad!

Oh yes, while we were there.. they also played a song from Kal Ho na Ho! cool na!









After the meal.. we were so full to move... then we moved towards new town the view of old town from the bridge was awesome... we went by the see and sat on the pebbles... and enjoyed the sunset! how romantic !!! :)


We decided to walk ahead towards New town on the road by the sea .... there were restaurants... on both sides of the road ...but mainly on left... live music .. great weather.. people dining out at the street... mainly families. I was talking pic of a guitarist who was quite interestingly entertaining the people in a restaurant and suddenly offered m to dance ... first i was little shock by his action then .. did few Salsa moves that i know .. smiled and walked off!!! :)



Walking on the streets where people having fun while dining out we had completely lost track of the time! and we realized that we were too far from station .. we rushed back but we missed the tain by 3-4 minutes... ah :(.. The station buffet and souvenir shop open. we decided to spent out time there ... the next train was after 2 hours. There was a great variety and gift options in the shop ... diff. pasta packed nicely for a gift... pestos .. oils... biscotti .. aah many stuff ... i was so tempted to but one of all the variety.. but due to weight constraint just could buy only few stuff..


Spinach spaghetti, chili Oil(tall bottle), Peppercorns n Garlic n Herb oil, biscotti Packets, chili paste, oil n vinegar bottle( just for their bottle's design n how they are coupled together and more pasta packets...


Pizza with Basil Pesto, Black Olives n Pine Nut

Elisa, the name of the Pizza in Spizza's pizzeria chain in Singapore, from where i had tasted a pizza with these ingredients. This was sometime in 2004 when i used to live in Singapore, Gagan, a friend of mine, who also introduced me to many restaurants in Singapore, had brought this pizza at our house from the Club street outlet. At the first look green and dark. totally not appetizing to even taste it. (The picture on left is when i had made this pizza for the first time when my friends were coming over for lunch) I was only introduced to Indian style of pizza at that time. Then my flat mate Shilpi and her mom( who was visisting us then) really appreciated the taste, so i thought to taste it. so very reluctantly i i took the first bite, then second and then third then so forth.. i wa
s confused coz i had tasted the basil pesto also for the first time then only. the virgin oil had added to the taste. The other ingredient which was adding to the taste were pine nuts (chilgoza). I never had pine nut until then other than in winters or when they us
ed to come as part of Diwali's dry fruit trays. And then what! this became my most fav. pizza ever.

I then started visiting Spizza at Club street quite often, just for this and also their tiramisu. The head chef there was pretty cool. She hardly spoke English but allowed me to the procedure, how she used to make pizza. generally it was open counter there but standing there and staring was litle odd, without taking permission.
And when i shifted to Harbour front office. voila, they had a branch of Spizza in Harbour front tower. Whenever we had team lunches, or lunches with friends or when with people visiting me from India. I introduced
me this pizza to everyone and everyone just loved it! such a simple ingredients and awesome taste.. leaving a slice behind was like a sin! Also, with additional $1, we get extra olives.. yum!!!

When i went to Singapore this time, to have Elisa Pizza was on my top of the to do list. I went to Club street, with few friends who hadn't this pizza, i was
making them feel as if they had committed sin! and straight awa
y ordered the pizza. But, it had come with added Tomato sauce also. I was shocked and told them, i didn't order this and ordered something which is without Tomato sauce and told them i came there for 5 years and had same ingredients. But then the waiter told me that ever since he had been working there, they pizza had looked like this only. I asked him, Since when he was working there, he replied 3 years. I said ... aaah! what they change the ingredients, since i left. But as he was i was so surprised and really wanted the Old Elisa, he called the chef. The chef got little irritated i think. he said that was from other chef she has gone back to Italy now and i have done some changes in the menu. if u want i can bake that for u, but please check
menu first then order. I was like... aw man... i apologised to him and thanked a million times to get
me the pizza i wanted.

Well when the pizza arrived. it wasn't the same but still the same. i mean the amount of basil pesto was far less, but i thought i wouldn't complain and just eat.
And was telling my friends how it used to be before, And my friends were like .... Ashima!eat this without any further complaints, but they really liked it and could guess how the original would taste like!

















(these pics are from my last visit to SPizza, Club Street, with friends, in my last trip to singapore in April 2011)

When i moved back to delhi in 2008, i didn't find something like that in any pizzeria, so thought to try on my own. But on my last visit to Sartoria Restaurant at Basant Lok Market, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, in December last year i could find a pizza with same ingredients.

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough (please find the recipe in earlier blogs)
1/2 cup Basil Pesto (recipe in previous Blog)
1 tbsp roasted roasted Pine nuts
1/2 cup Black Olives (chopped as rings)
1 tbsp extra vergin olive oil
100 gms mozzarella cheese ( u may choose other pizza cheese also if this is not available)
Parmigiana cheese (optional)

Method:

Preheat the oven at 230 degrees. if you have a terracotta stone slab or pizza stone slab or otherwise the oven try would also do, put it in the oven for preheat.

Mean while, Spread a little flour on kitchen slab or top, place the a dough bowl and press it with your finger first into disc type shape or roll it on slab with help of a rolling pin to create 9-10 inches circle.

In restaurants they have a tool with hold the pizza and put it in the oven, but at home we don't so, Before adding the other ingredients, Place the dough on preheated oven tray or any base.

First,Spread the Basil Pesto on the dough disc, then pine nut, black olives followed the cheese and few more olives (if you want) and lastly drizzle the extra virgin Olive Oil.

Place it in the oven for around 10-20 minutes. The heat and browning ability of the oven varies.So monitor it while baking, so that it is cooked evenly on the top and the bottom.

Remove from the oven, Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese if you want.

Variation: you may use sun dried tomatoes as an additional topping. Or use little tomato sauce as additional base sauce.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Basil Pesto

If you buy bottled Pesto in Delhi, it is expensive. Its yum tough! but then I had to drive atleast 15 KM to buy it. Since i use it in so many recipes. so thought to try to make it home. Following is the recipe i followed and still follow. It costs me 1/5 the price that of the bottled branded imported Pesto!

Ingredients
2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
2 tpsp Cup
2 Garlic Cloves
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (grated)
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:

In a pan dry toast the pine nut, lightly and let it cool.

Mix all the ingredients in a mixer except the oil. While pulsing, add the oil slowly until you have smother paste.

So here is the Basil Pesto! Simple n Yummy!

If you want to store it then add additional layer of olive oil, else it would turn dark and discolour.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Baked Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

This is one of my never fail dish (touch wood). So i can swear on this. If i am risking with making new dishes, i generally make this also. As i know this will definitely work. (if in india, just electricity shouldn’t ditch me) :P. Well this gives me an idea i should try making this on gas sometimes ... i don’t know if it would work ... will try n write here, if i succeed or not.

Well, i had similar dish @ Chokola @ Khan Market in India. They serve 5-6 pieces of mini mushroom with ricotta on tarlets(baked together). Which , when i had it for the first time tasted very good. Second time i took my Husband there (my Fiancé then), we ordered same but found the tarlets were over baked so were spoiling the overall taste. Thought, i would try to make these at home.

When i went to Singapore, this April, my friend Noopur had invited me over dinner. There were green thai curry n rice, then freshly baked mushroom came out of oven. Wow, what a aroma, the texture... cooked to perfection they were!! I totally loved it. Thai green curry is my favourite, but this stole the show. Then i made my mind, i am now definitely and definitely gonna try these. And these were without tartlets and tasted far far better than what i had at Chokola. Noopur, after marriage, has definitely become better cook. I guess, its all love for her foodie husband. J

Anyways, i came back to India, and before moving to Rotterdam i had 2 weeks, i was at my maiden house as all my stuff here and loads of packing, so i decided to make this on a kinda very crucial day. The day my father in law n youngest Sis in law were invited at my mom house over dinner. As i mentioned above, this dish hasn’t failed until now, became the most appreciated dish among all i had made.

So, here it is how i made.

Ingredients:

9-10 Button mushrooms (or the many fit in your baking dish, depending on their size)

2-3 Spring onions, (finely minced)

3 tsp fresh Rosemary (if fresh, not available, you may use dried )

3 Garlic cloves (Minced)

2-3 tbsp Oilve oil

Salt to taste

½ tsp Chili Flacks(optional)

1 Cup grated Cheese (Ricota/Paneer/if both are not available you may use Pizza cheese)





Method:

Preheat Oven at 180 Degree C.

Take out the stems of the mushrooms gently, and finely chop them.



In a pan, heat the oil, add mushroom and onions, cook until, little soft. Add 2 finely minced cloves of Garlic, chilli flakes and salt and let it cool. Add 2 tsp rosemary and half the cheese.

Oil the baking dish, brush the mushroom caps also with lightly with oil and spoon the filling in. Top it with grated cheese.

Sprinkle little rosemary and a finely minced clove of garlic on the dish.(optional)

Bake them for 15-20 minutes or until they are tender when pierced and top are lightly brown.

Serve Hot!






Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Easy and Quick Salad


As mentioned in the blog below i had few friends over dinner on Sunday night and i made couple of Italian, so this Salad was one of them, i think i should blog all the recipe from that day every day one.

So when i went to Albert Hijn (SuperMarket Chain in Holland) I found this tri coloured lettuce .. Wow.. i wanted to make salad out of it.

This is mix of three types: Oak Leaf, Lollo Bionda and Lollo Rossa.. They both are Soft and less crispy. That’s the reason, the salad should be made at the time of serving else it would become ultra soggy. There are other varieties also, but i love the colour(s). So back to recipe.


Ingredients

1 bunch of tri-color lettuce

Few cherry tomatoes (cut into halves)

Pine Nuts.

1 tbsp Ranch Salad dressing

1tsp of olive oil

1tsp of vinaigrette

Pinch of salt n pepper

Lemon zest

Method:

In a plan dry roast the Pine nuts until the are slightly brown and u get the aroma. Remove from heat and let it cool in a separate dish ( u can do this in advance and store them in air tight container).

In a salad bowl, Put ranch salad dressing, olive oil, vinaigrette, lemon zest, salt n pepper and mix them well .

Add all other ingredients, and Toss them with help of Spatula or even hand!!

(I don't have salad pic :(, just lettuce pic for now )

Picture source: http://www.boerdenhoedt.com/products/tricolour-lettuce.html

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tomato Bruschetta

Wow, this is the most simplest yet tastiest appetizer!! and kinda never fails how so ever you make...

Well, the first time, i had it at a Restaurant called 'Pasta Fresca' at Boat Quay in Singapore.. Heavenly it was .. wanted to have just that in my dinner ... since i was with my friends .. i had to order other food. But, the first thing I did after I got back home, was to Google its recipe.

So, once I was in Delhi(home) on my vacations and my mom's cousin dropped by to invite to her daughter's wedding. Didn't have much at home, which was substantial enough for evening snacks, but, had all the ingredients that i could make Bruschetta except the Basil leaves (i used its sister Tulsi, instead, seriously). I dunno if that was good idea. I love Basil's smell, texture n taste.

Now, how I had made it that day, hmm infused the Garlic in Extra Virgin Olive oil. De-seaded the tomatos, put them into a bowl, added salt, a finely chopped garlic, tulsi leaves, dried oregano, olive oil.

Cut the bread (french loaf, 6 slices), toasted them Tava (Indian pan to roast breads) until golden brown and crisp on each side and brushed the garlic infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Then topped the bread slices with tomato mixture and served immediately.

Well, It turned out pretty nice, but still i felt something was missing. Actually the ones which were not eaten immediately were getting a little soggy.

After that I have made them n number of times, searched on net for different ways to make it.

The last time, i had made the Bruschetta, was yesterday evening, for few friends, who were coming from The Hague, over from dinner. From the previous conversations with them, I figured out, that they like Italian food, so thought to make few of them. Well, they really liked the bruschetta.

So here it is, how i made them. (10 serving)


I used Baguette French bread loaf (or you may use any similar bread). Cut them into number of slices as required.

Ingredients :

6 Red Tomatoes

3 Cloves of Garlic.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2-3 table spoon

5-6 Basil Leaves

Salt to Taste

Chilli Flakes (Optional)

1 1/2 tbsp of Butter (i used Butter and garlic mixture to spread on bread slices, you make choose Extra Virgin Olive Oil, instead).


Method:

  1. 1.Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic. ( i used garlic press to do that) and the same in butter(or olive oil as stated above) and mix well and set aside.
  2. De-seed the tomatoes, Chop them and then slightly dab the kitchen paper to take away the moisture from the tomatoes,
  3. Put them into a bowl, add 2-3 table spoon of EV Olive oil, chopped basil leaves, a finely chopped garlic and chili flakes. ( Don't add salt at this point, it it helps tomatoes to release water).
  4. Leave the mixture aside for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven @ 220 degrees C for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, apply the the butter mixture on the bread slices. Roast them for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven (you may also roast them on Flat pan or bread toaster or grill and apply the butter n garlic mixture after roasting).
  7. Add salt to the tomatoes mix and top them on bread slices. Serve, Eat n Njoy!

Variations or Additions:

Chopped Olives (black or Green) or chopped Onions or add mozzarella cheese :)