Food and some stories....

Tag: one pot dish

My Creme Fraiche obsession and a new pasta recipe

I hit a plateau, and I was depressed. This plateau and the depressing Mumbai heat were making it difficult to be passionate about cooking. The heat has become unbearable and the kitchen a sauna, so eating and cooking things which are easy and fast to cook. If I can just pop it into the oven, no standing near the gas burner, I am the happiest. Over that the sudden plateau of no new ingredients to excite me. And then I read about crème fraiche………….and the excitement was back; something new to try out and experiment with.

It’s basically a soured cream made using buttermilk and is a favourite in France; and no kitchen can do without this essential ingredient. It’s naturally soured, thick and the best part of it is that it doesn’t split when heated. So it’s easier to cook with then fresh cream. Once you discover crème fraiche believe me you will not go back to regular cream. In India it’s quite expensive to buy so I suggest you make it at home, and it’s very easy to make. I have used crème fraiche to make pasta, but I am going to try and use it in an Indian recipe also soon. Before we go to how I made the pasta here’s how to start with the crème fraiche.

All you need is fresh cream and buttermilk, yes that’s all you need, didn’t I tell you it’s easy. The proportion that I followed was 1 tablespoon buttermilk to one cup of cream. Mix and pour it in a mason jar, in place of the lid cover with a thin piece of cloth and let it rest on the kitchen counter for 24 hours, your home made crème fraiche is ready for consumption. Refrigerate and it will last up to two weeks in the fridge.

And now onto to the delicious pasta I made with the delicious crème fraiche.

Sausage & Mushroom pasta with crème fraiche


250 Gms of pork sausages

4 bacon rashers diced

250 Gms mushrooms chopped

250 Gms penne pasta

50 Gms parmesan cheese grated and some shavings for serving

2 egg yolks

2-3 tbsp crème fraiche

Parsley chopped finely


Remove the skin of the sausages and get the meat out. Dry fry the sausage in a pan until brown, take it off and break it into chunks.

In the same pan fry the bacon and add the mushrooms, you don’t need to add oil as the bacon releases enough fat, let them cook for about 7-8 minutes, then return the sausage meat to the pan.

Sauteing the sausage, bacon and mushrooms

Meanwhile cook the pasta as per package instructions. Start working on the sauce by adding the two egg yolks, the cheese, parsley and the crème fraiche. When the pasta is cooked retain a bit of the cooking water. In low heat add the pasta, and the sauce to the meat mixture. Stir well, season with salt and pepper. You can add water if the sauce is too thick. Garnish with more parsley and parmesan. Serve immediately.

P.S Since discovering crème fraiche I can vouch for the fact that pasta tastes mush better than any other béchamel or milk based sauces that  I may have used in the past.


Comforting Mac & Cheese

My food stories cannot be complete without talking about comfort food. One of my all time favourite is Mac & cheese. This is one dish I have been making since I was a child. I remember whenever my parents had to go out for parties and on asking what I would like to eat I would volunteer to make my own dinner, and this is what I would make. As I would sit on the dining table grating cheese, my two helpers, Danny & Ceaser(our pet dogs) would dance around me begging for cheese; I could make them do anything just for a piece of cheese. It was just not cooking dinner; it was a great adventure for all three of us. As today as I share this recipe it’s just not to relive those childhood memories but also to remember my partner in crimes Danny & Ceaser; whom I miss so much till date.

The beauty of this dish is that at the risk of repeating myself; a child can make. I don’t know from where I learned to make it, must have read it somewhere, but I make it without starting a roux. And over the years I have added and tried so many variants of it that I can’t remember. It’s truly a versatile dish, and can be the building block for your favourite dinner.

This is a version that I do when I want to add some veggies and some spice.

Ingredients (serves 3 people)

Macaroni (200 gms)

One onion


One red bell pepper

Green chillies

Mustard powder(1 teaspoon)

Frozen sweet corn

Garlic (2-3 big cloves)

Cheese (any hard cheese will do)-100 gms

Salt & pepper

Cream-2-3 tbsps

250 ml milk

One egg

Olive oil



Start by boiling the pasta in water as per package instructions. Ideally cook to al dente as it will be baked further, so you don’t want it overcooked at all. Meanwhile chop the vegetables, the onion, garlic, jalapeno, green chillies and the red pepper all need to chopped finely. I have used pickled jalapenos in the recipe.

Next grate the cheese and leave a little aside for later. (You can add or modify cheese as per your taste) Mix together the milk, butter, egg, mustard powder and the cheese. You would wonder mustard and pasta, why? But this mustard makes all the difference, a heaped teaspoon is highly recommended. Grab a frying pan and heat some olive oil, add the garlic and the chopped vegetables, cook them slightly but you don’t want them mushy, the crunch should remain. Add the frozen corn, and last mix in the cream and take off the burner.

Now mix in everything; the pasta, the milk and egg mixture and the cooked vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Pour everything in an oven proof dish, sprinkle the set aside cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the oven at 175 degree Celsius.

This dish on its own is enough for many a memorable dinners.

Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese




Goan Sausage pulao|one pot meals

When it comes to cooking I am a firm believer of the Nigela Lawson School of cooking, if there is an easy way of doing it, I shall find a way. And good tasty food doesn’t mean one has to slave over the stove whole day! And it’s that time of the year, when typically house helps in Mumbai, go for their summer vacations. Which means my cook will be missing in action for a month, and I will be doing all the cooking. And that’s when one pot meals come in handy. They are easy to make and less dishes to do at the end of the day.

Recently I met an old classmate of mine from my B school days in London, and she mentioned that she finds cooking a mighty pain and I suggested starting with one pot dishes. They are easier and slowly you start getting the hang of it. And cooking doesn’t seem like such a chore anymore. My standard way of starting to cook is to first check what’s in the pantry and then start cooking, and not the other way of planning to cook and then buying the ingredients. There have been days I am so lazy to go to the market that I Google recipes for the only two ingredients I have left in the pantry. I know nigela would be proud of me!!

So what’s in the pantry today, a packet of goan sausage! I could probably try making a goan chilly fry with pao or maybe the goan sausage pulao. But since the man of the house is not too fond of the pungent smell and taste, a recipe which tones down the strong taste will appeal to him more; so Goan sausage pulao it is. So if you are familiar with this delicacy from Goa, you would know that this sausage spiced with vinegar, garlic, ginger, red chilies and other spices is one of a kind and I am yet to taste a similar sausage in any other part of the world. It’s usually made of pork and sun dried or smoked.

Goan Sausage

Whenever I cook at home traditional recipes I always try to find ways of making a healthier version, so in my pulao I have used brown rice and used a chicken version of the goan sausage. You are welcome to use any fragrant rice and the authentic pork version of the sausage. Either ways I am sure you will not be disappointed!

Recipe-Goan Sausage Pulao



Brown Rice-one and a half cups

One packet goan sausage (usually 250 gms) (I have used the Zorabian chicken goan sausage)

Two medium onions sliced

Two tomatoes chopped

4-5 garlic cloves finely chopped

3 green chilies split lengthwise

1tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsps oil

Pinch of sugar

Salt to taste

Whole spices

3 cloves

3-4 peppercorns

2 inch cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

Cardamom (two)

1 tsp Cumin seeds


Some caramelized onions & fresh coriander leaves



Clean & soak the rice for ten minutes, meanwhile split open the casings of the sausage and take out the meat inside to be used later.

In a pressure cooker, heat the oil and let the whole spices crackle. Add the garlic and the green chilies; once they are aromatic you can add the onions. Meanwhile in a frying pan you can take the remaining oil and put some additional sliced onions about 4 to 5 for garnishing, it takes a while and it’s good to start. I usually use a non stick frying pan to reduce the amount of oil, and add a bit of salt to speed up the caramelizing process.

One the onions in the pressure cooker are brown, add the tomatoes with the turmeric. Let them cook till they become absolutely soft, add the sausage meat at this point and cook till you see the fat melting and delicious aroma of the meat is wafting in your kitchen.

Add the rice, with a bit of water and salt and sugar and mix gently. Do not add too much water as you do not want the rice to turn soggy. Once cooked open the cooker, let the steam come out, garnish with the caramelized onions & the coriander leaves.





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