Monthly Archives: January 2015

Baked Macaroni In Cheesy White Sauce

I’d noticed something very prominent in the Goa Marathon my husband had participated in. It was the pre-evening pasta party. Why specifically Pasta Party…was the question.
After bit of quizzing with the cognoscenti, I realized its significance. It was a planned diet of stuffing the marathoners with carbs before the run. Its basically stocking the energy before so that it can be consumed later while running.
So this time before the celebrated Mumbai Marathon, I decided to treat him myself… but with my own little spin to it.

Macaroni in Cheese
Cooking time: 
50 mins
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

500g Macaroni pasta
2 tbsps Plain flour
2 tbsps Butter
500ml Milk
Quarter cup Fresh Cream
3 tbsps Cheese spread (any flavour, optional)
Pasta Cheese or Parmesan Cheese for grating on the top
2 tbsps Finely chopped Garlic (I love garlic so add 4 tbsps)
A pinch Black pepper powder for seasoning
1/2 tsp Oregano for seasoning (optional)
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Salt as per taste

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a medium baking dish.
2. Cook pasta as per the packet’s instructions. Drain and leave aside. Remember, not to overcook it.
3.  Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add a tsp of oil. It prevents butter from burning.
4. Add the chopped garlic and saute till it releases the aroma.
5. Add flour and stir. Add bit by bit to avoid lumps.
6. Now add milk slowly and stir. Again, to avoid lumps.
7. Add the remaining milk and cream and keep stirring till it thickens a bit. Simmer while you keep stirring for a longer time if you want the sauce really thick.
8. Add the Cheese spread and stir till it melts and is mixed properly.
9. Season with oregano, salt and pepper.
10. Now tumble in the pasta and mix lightly without hurting and mashing it up.
11. Spoon in this mixture into the baking dish.
12. Grate the Pasta cheese / Parmesan cheese.
13. Gratinate with bread crumbs. Its the crunch that packs that extra punch 🙂
14. Bake for 20-25 minutes or till the surface looks browned and crisped.
15. Remove from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes.
16. Serve with omlettes, fried chicken or anything you like. I had it simply with the hot and sweet sauce.

P.S.: There are whole lot of permutations-combinations that can be done here.
Chopped Spring Onions, boiled and shredded Chicken, smoked Bacon, boiled Prawns….and the list goes on…
Don’t wanna add those extra inches to your waistline, skip the Cheese (cheese spread and grated cheese) altogether.

So…plonk down and dig in 🙂

 

 

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Prawns Curry – Goan Style

While in Goa, do as the Goans do! And that’s exactly what I did last month on my visit to Goa. Gorged on heaps of classic, authentic Goan food.
Prawn Curry with Rice is a comfort food, local culinary specialty and a must-have dish on practically every restaurant menu in Goa.
Nothing tedious, nothing fancy and on-your-shelf ingredients, this curry is incredibly easy to make.

Goan Prawn Curry
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
For Curry:

  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 250 gms Peeled Prawns
  • 3 tbsp Tamarind pulp/ 1 raw mango chopped length wise into 4 pieces
  • ½ Onion chopped
  • 5-6 Curry leaves
  • 2 Cups Coconut Milk (I use the ready tetrapack one. Its thick, creamy and saves time 🙂 )
  • Coriander leaves chopped
  • Salt as per taste
For paste:

  • ½ inch Ginger
  • 4 – 5 Garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 7 dry Kashmiri Red Chilies (these are’t pungent. Add more if you want it spicy)
  • 16 Black Peppercorns
  • 1 cup Fresh Grated Coconut
  • ½ Onion chopped
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 cup Water

Method:

  1. Marinate the prawns with little salt and leave aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Blitz the Paste ingredients with a cup of water. Grind to a fine and smooth paste.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Add curry leaves and stir for a bit till they release the aroma. Don’t let them burn.
  4. Add half chopped onion and saute until translucent.
  5. Add the ground paste and saute for a minute.
  6. Add raw mango or tamarind paste, salt, green chilies and prawns.
  7. Cook for 2-3 mins or until the prawns are cooked and tender.
  8. Now add coconut milk and simmer for 2-3 mins on low flame and switch the gas off.
  9. Don’t over cook else the coconut milk might curdle.
  10. Garnish with coriander leaves.

P.S.: Serve with steamed rice, fried fish and traditional Goan stuffed mango pickle called Miskut.
Or just dunk in any of the traditional Indian breads – Chapati or Paav.
Use Kokam as a substitute for Tamarind pulp.

 

 

 

Big Nite 2014 at Essel World

India’s largest New Year Bash!!! and we were most happy to be a part of it 🙂

Essel World, the ginormous amusement park that’s been regaling us Mumbai-ites for more than 2 decades. It is in fact our very own little Disneyland of sorts and we take great pride in talking about it.

Built on an island called Gorai and away from the pandemonium of the city, Essel World promises an entire night (an entire day on rest of the days) of nonstop fun, food and adventure. After driving through the torturous city traffic, its a twenty-five minutes of undisturbed breezy drive that later squeezes through the quaint little village where life still seems to waddle with an wafting aroma of burnt firewood.
Welcome

We wanted to reach before the countdown began.That’s one thing we love about celebrating the New Years. Every count backwards means one closer to stepping into the new year.
Oniel drove at a supersonic speed and made the impossible possible.
We were on the dance floor…when it was just 2 minutes to 12. A million thanks to him 🙂

Essel World has the biggest open air dance floor and four other smaller ones. Singer and DJ Ramji Gulati started the countdown.The clock struck 12 and we welcomed 2015 in just the way we wanted. Amidst an extravaganza of spectacular fireworks, electrifying lights, foot-tapping music and wonderful happy people, it was a great welcome to a brand new year.
2015

The DJ was at his entertaining best, belting out melodies that got us audience into our groove. He sang, danced and made us dance to the hits from the 80s of Amitabh Bachhan to the 2014s of Alia Bhatt. It was a good two hours of letting my hair lose, burning away the extra flab I had gathered during Christmas 🙂

Ramji Gulati
Essel World celebrated its Silver Anniversary this year. No wonder the entire territory was decorated in a way that made it look like a sequence straight out of a Bollywood movie…divine!

The Magical Parade: The thing I love the most here is the Magical Parade of Essel World’s very own Fab 5 characters.

Parade1
There’s an assortment of rides and attractions for all age groups.

Thunder: is one such adrenaline pumping ride. Once you are in, be ready for the heart-throbbing out-of-the-world experience. And, this aint the one for the faint-hearted. We’d been in this before. But this time, we decided to be on the other side…be spectators…and it was no less fun 🙂
Thuder
Top Spin:
Its such a mean ride, true to its name! It literally spins you out and about… like a top. I’m sure the guys dint have a slightest clue what they were in for.

Topspin
Octopus: I don’t remember the name of this one. So Octopus is the name give by me 🙂
Octopus
Zyclone and Rainbow are few other Adult Rides that set your heart pulsating faster than the rides themselves.

Crazy Cups: It was super fun. We loved it so much, we did it twice 🙂
CupsRide
Monsters In The Mist: Cling on to your loved one tightly. You can be attacked…any time… Again, not for the faint-hearted.
Monsters
Prabal, The Killer: the most feared and now revered war-ship was in operation for 22 years in the Indian Navy. This mark of history is now converted into a life science museum for the visitors.
Prabal

Mirror Maze, Dodgem, Go-Kart, Carousel are few other kids and family rides.

Santa’s Town: Breathtakingly beautiful! It was like we were in Santa’s very own snowy paradise. There were these four gorgeous Santas who danced to our claps. Amazing!
Santa2
Santa’s larger-than-life train carrying humongous boxes of gifts…
SantaTrain
Ice Skating: Wanna try your skills on ice?
Iceskating
There were Clowns, Jugglers, Fire Eaters, Face Painters, Mehendi Artists and more taking the entertainment up a notch.
Clown
And if you ain’t doing anything at all, just loiter around on one of those benches under the festooned trees sipping a cuppa, whispering sweet-nothings 🙂
Trees
Food: And when your muscles protest from the dance workout and the rides have had your guts screeching, head straight to the shops serving scrumptious food and beverages. Food options had South Indian, Mughlai, Punjabi, Chinese, Gujarati, Pizzas and Burgers. Lip-smacking snacks included Chaat, Sweet Corn, Popcorn, Ice Creams, Candy floss, Ice-Golas and lots more.

We devoured the soft buttery Chicken Tikka Kebabs straight out-of-the-grill and served with mint chutney. The Chole Bature and Paav Bhaji were delectable too.

After four hours of pure non-stop fun and indulgence, it was 4 am when we finally decided to head home.

“Essel World Mein Rahoonga Mai. Ghar Nahi Jaoonga Mai”…
This transliterates to “I will stay in Essel World. I will not go home”… the jingle that used to play on the television since the time I was a little kid.
Its true…. once you are in here, there’s no way you wanna leave 🙂
(www.esselworld.in)