LUXE SALMON DIP

“I get way too much happiness from good food” – Elizabeth Olsen
 At dinner one day a friend was talking about job choices, to which another friend responded, that though the opportunity sounded comfortable it would never make him great. The comment really resonated with me, how many us even aspire to greatness anymore?

We’re all worried about salaries and commute timings and don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against more money or less traffic, but how often do we think about what we need to do to thrive? Not just vaguely hope we’ll do well and go back to watching TV shows but really constructively think about how our lives could be better. I realize I barely think about the future – specially not in a concrete, structured way. Days and weeks go by, crossing off silly errands and dealing with inconsequential issues, till I turn around and realize I have spent huge chunks of time on things I don’t even remember.

I’m in fact so bad at this that it’s taken me 27 years to realize time is passing me by. In keeping with my reignited desire to get my life back together I’ve decided to face my fear of working with seafood. The result is this creamy, delicate, ultra luxe salmon dip. Get on, make some dip, get your life together.

Serves 6
Adapted from Martha Stewart

What you’ll need:

1 can tinned salmon

¼ cup mayonnaise

3 tbsp cream cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkling of capers

How to:

Throw all the ingredients together (except the capers) and blend till you have a paste. Sprinkle capers on top. Chill and serve.

Foodnote: Don’t bother using fancy salmon for this, the tinned kind is perfectly okay. Keep your salmon fillets etc for baking whole.

MANGO YOGHURT HONEY POPSICLES

“Forget art. Put your trust in ice cream.”
― Charles Baxter, The Feast of Love

Pursuant to the Ice Cream Making Disaster of 2012 I’d given up on the idea of frozen desserts. Then the Delhi summer kicked in and forget baking a cake, I didn’t even want to look at a slice. The thought of hot fudge had started to seem vile. Thanks to some inspiration from Radhika though I decided to try my hand at popsicle making.

The result is this sweet, super healthy, bursting with fruit and honey freshness popsicle. Once again, add as much of any ingredient as you like. Play around with the mix till it tastes right to you. Couldn’t be easier =)

 
 
Recipe from Radhika Agrawal

What you’ll need:

Mango
Yoghurt
Honey
Popsicle Mold

How to:

1. Puree the mangoes and mix all the ingredients together. Pour into molds and refrigerate overnight.

2. If you want the layers you see in the picture, pour in either the mango or the yoghurt honey mix first and wait for a couple of hours for it to firm up. Once firm, add the other ingredients.

Note: You can make more and thinner layers for more of an effect. You’ll just have to keep pouring and waiting for it to freeze.

Here is Radhika’s super-nutritious take on popsicles:

Yummilicious Summer Fun
What you need:
2 bananas
½ pear, cored and peeled
½ pineapple, cored and peeled
1 ½ cup fresh spinach
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice

The easiest recipe in the world:

Cut or break the banana, pear and pineapple into medium sized chunks. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze for at least four hours. Slurp. No seriously, that’s it.

Tips:

– You don’t necessarily need to have popsicle molds handy. I couldn’t find ours at home, so I used these cute ice trays. Regular steel or plastic bowls should work as well. Stick a spoon or ice cream stick in when its almost frozen if you really want to.
– We didn’t have pineapple at home, so I used two small tetrapacks of Tropicana’s pineapple juice, and substituted the orange juice in the recipe with one orange (with the seeds removed, of course) and used one pear to add some texture.
– Taste before you pour into the molds – I thought it could do with some tanginess, so I doubled the quantity of lemon juice.
– If the popsicles get “too frozen”(for instance if you’re having them the next day), they’ll taste a bit too ice-y, so you could take them out of the freezer and stick them in the fridge for 20-25 minutes before you eat them. Personally, I thought they were best when semi-frozen.

HOT DOGS & WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE A MOVIE NIGHT

“I believe in good food.” – Bertrand Russel
Why you should be planning a movie night this weekend:

1. After a while all restaurants, clubs, pubs, bars, gastropubs and what have you, end up feeling like a tired (and expensive) routine.

2. Endless fresh popcorn.

3. You’re not going to get the chance to pause, replay or fast forward a movie in a theatre.

4. If you’re not planning a movie night for this weekend, pack a DVD, pack of popcorn, chocolate and a pair of pajamas as a gift for friend who needs some TLC. Movie night in a box!

5. By definition a movie night is about unwinding (if you had so much energy to spare why wouldn’t you be out jigging it up somewhere?) so you don’t need to bother with elaborate recipes, fancy cutlery or too much time spent prepping. Keep it simple stupid.

6. You’re never going to have the same number of options in a theatre – rewatch an old favorite, set yourself up for a Tarantino marathon or giggle it up with a romantic comedy. The price of your DVD will probably be less than the cost of one ticket on a weekend.

7. This is one party where everyone can join in, tailor the menu and movie appropriately and you can make it about friends, family, kids or all of the above.

8. Movie theatre junk food is well know to be really, really bad for you. A large popcorn with butter is around 1,500 calories and a large soda contains the equivalent of 33 teaspoons of sugar. A typical movie snack combination (popcorn, soda and other junk) contains more calories than an average adult should consume in 1 day. Add to this the fact that it is really overpriced and often stale. At home you can make small choices and pick the best ingredients to make sure you keep the calorie count down and the nutrition values up.

I’ve used lean meat hot dogs with whole wheat buns to salvage these hot dogs from junk food hell.

What you’ll need:

Hot dogs
Hot dog buns
Ketchup
Mustard

How to:

Cook dogs as per package instructions, assemble. Douse with ketchup and mustard. Serve hot.

FOOFED UP RUM AND COKE

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut – Ernest Hemingway

These are so simple, they’re perfect to put together for a movie night or any other low-fuss occassion. Either make a big batch and stick it in the fridge or lay out all the ingredients and let your guests fend for themselves. The addition of oranges and vanilla essence adds an interesting kick to the old favourite, the Rum and Coke.

 

Recipe from Martha Stewart
Serves 1
What you’ll need:

Ice
Coke
Vanilla Essence
Lime/Orange

How to:
Pile ice into a glass, pour Coke, add a tiny, tiny bit of vanilla essence and a squeeze of citrus. Garnish with a slice of lemon or orange and serve.

CUCUMBER FETA OPEN SANDWICHES & HOW TO PLAN YOUR MOVIE NIGHT

“I am a better person when I have less on my plate.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
 
Some things to keep in mind when putting together your movie night plans:

1. Prep all the food and set it out at the beginning, people can walk around and serve themselves when they feel like it.

2. You can never have enough popcorn! Or cola!

3. Make sure the DVD runs in advance. Just in case, keep a back up ready if you experience technical difficulties.

4. Keep a lot of tissues around, if you’re serving finger food, you don’t want blotchy finger prints on your stuff.

5. With TV screens… Size does matter.

The most important thing though is to keep the food uncomplicated. This cucumber, feta open sandwich is a perfect, light, delicate sandwich packed with the tang of feta and the crunch and crisp of cucumber.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

What you’ll need:

Cucumber slices
Feta
Slices of Baguette
Salt and Pepper to taste

How to:

Crumble feta on to a slice of baguette, layer cucumber on top and season with salt and pepper.