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Oxtail Stout Pot Pies

Oxtail Stout Pot Pies

Many of the books I read as a child were by the British author Enid Blyton - Famous Five and Secret Seven series. I loved them! These kids were having so much fun and solving mysteries to boot! I lived vicariously through their fictitious adventures. But, sprinkled liberally in these books were mentions of British foods! Pies, jams, puddings, teas .. so much more. I fell in love with these delights, without an inkling of what they were or ever having sighted most of them!

Since then, I have developed a lifelong reverence of pies - sweet at first. But, as I grew older and got into more classics and Victorian/Edwardian fiction, the savory kinds. Bakewell tarts, Spotted dicks, cherry pies, steak and kidney pies, stout pies …

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Gluten Free Olive and Roast Garlic Scones

Gluten Free Olive and Roast Garlic Scones

Basically, this came about from a need to counter all the forms of sandwiches I was being assaulted with buttered and toasted bread! Doesn't the internet not know I can't have bread??!! 

Anyway, So I obviously had to launch a counter attack and prove myself...well, to myself, I suppose. Here you have the happy endings of my retaliation! :)

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The Marriage of Curry and Irish

The Marriage of Curry and Irish

Hello there! That was surely the last blog headline you expected to pop into your feed on St. Patrick's day. Spice and Irish are the two words least expected to be juxtaposed. But, yet they make a rather curiously amiable couple. 

Now, I am going to tell you a winding story.... So bear with me.

We all know that Indian cuisine is fairly ubiquitous around the world. There is always a small restaurant somewhere that proffers up piping hot, spicy creations whether from the stove or the brick oven. Yet, not all curries are equal, nor Indian. The first time I realized this was in Japan. Japanese cuisine is inherently not consumed by spices. And, unlike our British and Irish neighbors their cuisine has not been tormented with being boring or bland. Somehow, they make up for the spice with freshness and awesome precision. Sorry, I digress. I was talking about curry. So, the Japanese cuisine has a curry which simply goes by the name 'curry'.

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Light and Sexy for Valentine's Day - Red Curry Beef Lettuce Wraps

Boston Lettuce

So, what is everyone doing today? Something special? A candle night dinner? A weekend getaway? Sweet and simple home cooked? An elaborate evening of aphrodisiac....?

Or perhaps, you are completing ignoring all the hype around you and treating it as just another day?

There has always been much debate on such celebrated days and the world has been largely split into two distinct camps - the romanticists and the realists... The former believing that one should go all out and express the "love" so much more on this day and the later arguing that the former's beguiled beliefs have led to inflation, especially of flowers!

REd Curry Beef lettuce wraps

As to me, a usually a white and black person, I tend to choose the grey path for V-Day. I can't bring myself to fault anything that furthers the spread of warm, fuzzy feelings. Even when I know that such susceptibility only lines corporate coffers even more. Ah well! Everything is so commercialised these days... what's another?!

I know there needn't be one special occasion to show love and one shouldn't restrict oneself to this day alone. I believe in celebrating love everyday, but just a little more today! :D Besides, it needn't always be expensive to do just that. A relatively simple home cooked meal can do just that. I really think that it is the effort and thought that count and not the price tag on the execution.

So... go be with your special person(s). Take the time.. tell them how they much they mean to you and how happy they make you by just being part of your life... how thankful you are for the innumerable times they have extended an helping hand, given a you a much needed hug or just made you smile when the world looked blue..

Lettuce Wrap Ingredients

As for me.. I am so glad to have a loving family who have encouraged me to reach higher, supported me through my downs and just been there even when I didn't know I needed them. I am blessed to have in my own family people to look up to for guidance, strength of character, sound advice and just unconditional TLC. THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU, even if I don't say it often enough.

To my friends... Thank you for enriching my life with your love, warmth and conversation. No weekend is complete without spending time with atleast some of you. As much as I was in oblivion to some of you, only a couple of years back, I can't, and don't dare to, imagine, how I could have survived then. To those who have stayed friends through so many years, thank you so much for sticking with me.

And, finally, especially on this medium.. Thanks so much for pushing me on with your support, comments, thoughts and patronage. There are many here that regularly read my blog and comment on every post. I cannot express in words how much you have helped me over the last three years. This blog was born out of desolation but has blossomed into my Happy Place because of all of you.. Thank You!

HUGS, LOVE and LAUGHTER to everyone.. :)))

REd Curry Beef lettuce wraps1

I leave you with a simple appetizer recipe that is quick, easy and fun at the table. Plus the garlic, ginger and spice will set just the right tone for the evening ;-)

Red Curry Beef Lettuce Wraps
(for 2)

1 head young Boston Lettuce, carefully peeled
1/2 lb ground beef/lamb
2 T red curry paste
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tomato, diced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 scallion, julienned on bias
salt to taste

Saute the onions, ginger and garlic until soft. Add the red curry and saute for 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook uncovered until the meat is done.

To assemble, serve some of the spiced meat in a lettuce leaf. Let the other person, add the garnishes of choice.

Spelt Couscous with Scallions and Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Spelt Couscous with Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Not much to say this time but just wanted to leave you with a simple dish that you can make any day. Even on those hectic weeknights when you wish you could just stay put on the couch and the dinner would just magically appear in front of you....

P.S.: This is my first food photo shot in artificial light (since it was dinner). Tell me what you think of it. Suggestions welcome!

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

For the meatballs:
1/3 lb ground meat
1/2 red onions, diced fine
1 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yolk
2 tsp harissa
1 T chopped basil
salt and pepper as needed

For the tomato sauce:
1.5 cup crushed tomatoes
1 T tomato paste
1/2 red onion, diced fine
1 clove of garlic minced
1 cup of water
1 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
2 T fresh basil, chopped
salt, pepper and olive oil as needed

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll the meat mixture into one ince balls and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the meat is lighly browned on the outside.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Add the crushed tomatoes, paste and water and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce to simmer, add the herbs and gently ladle in the meatballs into the sauce. Cook covered for 15 minutes and it's done!

Spelt Couscous, meatball and sauce

Spelt Couscous with Scallions

250 g of couscous, cooked according to package instruction
1 scallion, sliced on the bias + more for garnish
drizzle of truffle oil (optional)
1 T butter

Gently fluff the couscous with a fork and incorporate the pat of butter. Sprinkle the scallions and gently fold them into the couscous.

To serve, place couscous on the plate, top with the meatball sauce and then garnish with reserved scallions. You don't even need cheese on this dish!

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK