Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pizza night!!!

I remember when I was a kid, pizza nights used to be a biggie.
My mom would make the crust at home or get a fresh one from the baker. She would then chop all the veggies - the greens, reds and yellows and prepare the sauce. Me and my sister would be called on to help putting things together - we used to spoon on the sauce on the base, then top our own pizzas with loads of veggies we liked and some of the ones we didn't ;) with shredded cheese on the top! Then that pizza would go into the round electric ovens common in those days. Ah! the aroma of a fresh baked pizza with melting cheese on top just out of the oven is mesmerizing and stays in the memory for ages!!

One weeknight is dedicated to pizzas or pastas at home now. N loves to help when I make pizza and that makes it even more fun (or more work, lol). So one day last week, we made veggie pizzas with a homemade tomato basil sauce.

The veggies we used were green bell peppers, broccoli, onions and tomatoes. And we topped it with some shredded mozzarella.

N helped me assemble the pizzas by putting the veggies and cheese after I had applied the sauce on the store-brought base.

I would love to make my own base too once I am settled in the new apartment and have my yeast/bread baking stuff all set and ready to use. And I would like to try this No-Rise Pizza Crust from thefauxmartha.com. Seems like an easy breezy recipe :)

Here is the pizza after it came out of the oven!

This one says it all with the way N is looking at the pizza!! :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fettuccini with Tomato and Basil from Archana's Kitchen

I had been planning to try this pasta recipe from Archana's Kitchen for a very long time. It seemed pretty easy and yummy too. So tried it out last Sunday, took the pictures too but finally got time now to put them up.

For the recipe, please visit Archana's blog here.

It uses some fresh and very colorful ingredients - some tomatoes, I used some fresh tomatoes and some tomato paste too which I wanted to finish off. Basil (I love the aroma and the taste). Garlic and some fettuccine or any ribbon pasta. 

The fettuccine was boiled and cooked as per the instructions on the box. I think, you can use even a whole wheat based pasta if you prefer! I added a teeny weeny bit of olive oil to the pasta after draining to keep the strands separate. 

The sauce was yummy, flavorful and looked great - one of the best I have ever made or had! Bowls were licked off!! :) 

Simple and basic ingredients like a good quality olive oil and fresh ground black pepper are just the touch needed to make it a healthy and appetizing meal. 

I enjoyed making this pasta and eating it even more. Hope you enjoy it too. 
Take care, Have a great week ahead!!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Weeknight dinners last week

Its been almost 2 years since I cooked 3 meals a day, 7 days a week types. And so I thought it will take some time getting used to and I will find it tough etc. But surprisingly its been just OK. I guess once you are thrown into the water you do learn swimming!

So I decided to list down what I have been doing for dinner, to provide some inspiration to myself and ideas, a few weeks down the line. This might or might not be a regular feature based on what I cook, lol.

For the last week, this is what we had -

Monday - Quesadillas - wheat flour tortillas with a filling of onions, tomatoes, red kidney beans, some tomato sauce/ketchup (my regular chili sauce was missing hence the substitute) and shredded cheese. I usually add bell peppers too but had none at home so did without them. Used some of the filling leftovers in a sandwich, for breakfast, a day later.

Tuesday - Daal (lentils) and plain boiled rice along with baked veggies. Colorful veggies help! :) I used broccoli, carrots and potatoes. Baked them in the oven with some oil, salt and rosemary! N and S gobbled them up. N kept saying yummy!! :)

The fresh green colourful veggies! 

Out from the oven - baked and glistening. I added very little olive oil and that was more than enough!

On the plate - still colourful and very appetizing. 

Wednesday - Caramelized onions with sunny side up eggs along with a side of boiled peas and corn sauteed with a lil butter and salt. Clean licked plates were a pleasure to see! I learnt the caramelized onions  with eggs recipe from a friend. Thanks Chakki :)

Thursday - We had Lemon rice - with all the yummy stuff it usually  has - fresh squeezed lemon, peanuts (I love them) and fresh green coriander. S loves rice and anything made out of it so this was a win-win!

What could be better than the humble lemon rice with a glass of wine!

Friday - I had planned to make this pasta from Archana's Kitchen. But forgot to pick the pasta and basil on time so had to move this to the weekend. Instead I made plain ol' namak (salt) parathas (Indian bread) and had it with some yogurt and an apple and pear salad with a little fresh lemon squeezed on top. It tasted great and the crisp apple added great texture to the meal.

I think I did well this week - well it was week 1 of cooking, lets see how soon I get bored or run out of ideas ;)

What do you do for weeknight dinners? Any quick, easy, healthy, favourite recipes? Or cooking websites that you refer to? 

Friday, June 01, 2012

Staglands Wildlife Reserve

This last Sunday we drove down to the Staglands Wildlife Reserve and Cafe (they are very particular about adding the cafe at the end). Went with a few people from S's work including a family with a 5 year old boy so N had company and was all excited.

Staglands is a fun place for kids and adults too (but mostly kids) to see, touch and feed birds and animals in their natural environment. It is about an hours drive from Wellington city. The drive is very picturesque too!

The animals are mostly farm animals like donkeys, pigs, roosters, turkeys, deer, fish, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, ponies, swans, ducks, pigeons etc.

Some more birds that I do not know names of...

And some new animals that I had never seen before...


Ooh and how can I forget the peacocks - beautiful, majestic birds roaming around freely. The kids loved being so close to them and I sure went on a clicking frenzy :) 

The peacock playing peek-a-boo

There he comes out to face the camera

He checks me out first

And then struts about and poses

And then walks away after a bit!

One could feed the animals by buying stuff from the staff there or carrying some bread - most of the animals ate that. You can also touch the animals, pet them and in some cases even ride them like the pony rides or the donkey cart rides. 

They also have a cafe that serves some good, hearty meal options. Vegetarians might have to restrict themselves to chips aka french fries and nachos and a few other options. But the overall choice of food was good. The food came freshly cooked and the warm cafe room with the fire burning in the fireplace was just perfect!

It was raining off and on and that made things a little wet and inconvenient. We couldn't stay outdoors for too long and enjoy the lush green slopes of the reserve or take too many pictures. Maybe another time!

The kids couldn't be bothered though - they had fun - rain or sunshine!! 

Have a great weekend! 


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