Mushroom & Goat Cheese Quesadillas

The week before last I got so many compliments on my Goat Cheese Ravioli that I decided to strike again – this time with something much easier and less labour intensive. When you think of a quesadilla, I know that you think of a gooey, meaty mass topped with cheese and oozing out from between a white flour tortilla. You have your guacamole or pico de gallo or sour cream or all three on the side and by the end of the meal, your carefully composed plate has merged into a mess of colour and you’re pretty much too passed out from overeating to even care. I’m not judging you. Writing that actually made me crave one.

While I do love everything about a quesadilla, it’s the ultimate dysfunctional relationship – great at first, delicious and varied and perfect, but after a while, all you feel is over saturated, heavy, and filled with regret. You swear it off forever and ever until you crave it again. Sigh. Unless I’m eating quesadillas wrong? That overeating and bloated feeling inspired me to try to lighten and fancy it up a little. 

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Mushroom & Goat Cheese Quesadillas

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients
2 Whole Wheat Tortilla wraps (10 inch)
2 cups fresh White Mushrooms, stems removed OR 1 8 oz tin canned mushrooms
2 tbsp. White Wine
1 large Onion, sliced
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 – 3/4 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1/4 – 1/2 tsp Red Pepper flakes
Goat Cheese
 
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Warm olive oil in skillet. Add sliced onions & saute until translucent. Add mushrooms (fresh or canned) along with salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes & thyme. If using fresh mushrooms, cook down until mushrooms have released their water. If using canned mushrooms, saute for 2-3 minutes. When almost all the liquid has absorbed, add the wine and cook until wine has evaporated. Add additional seasoning if desired.
Made with Repix (http://repix.it)
Spoon about half of the mushroom filling onto half of a tortilla. Sprinkle with Goat Cheese and fold in half. Warm in preheated oven for 5 -7 minutes. Remove and enjoy.
Made with Repix (http://repix.it)
 
Because time is a cruel, stingy thing, I used canned mushrooms instead of fresh. It wasn’t as fun to cook, but was nevertheless delicious.
 
I do like cooking with ingredients like white wine, mushrooms, onions and butter – the smell of these or a combination of these ingredients is ridiculously amazing. If I had to buy those scented Crayola markers at this age, I’d totally lobby for a wine, butter & onion scent! My favourite scent when I was younger was buttered popcorn…I spent a dangerous amount of time inhaling that. I think I liked it because it was the most realistic smelling scent.
 
Now I’m thinking about my ideal Crayola marker adult scents. I think I’d also lobby for rain, coffee, new book smell, dark chocolate, roasted nuts, peach, mango, freshly cut grass, & Davidoff Cool Water Cologne – that was the cologne of choice for certain boys during my High School days :). What would your ideal Crayola scents be? 
 
I’ll leave you today with that thought provoking question. Have a great weekend!
Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

In My Kitchen

I’m joining up with a new party this month – In My Kitchen, hosted by Celia over at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial. What’s this party about? Once a month, I get to post about what’s been going on in our kitchen for the month. I’m excited about it because it’s such a great idea for a link party. I’m often so intent on making / creating / posting recipes and I tend to overlook some of the other non-recipe related things happening.

For me, this was the month of Gadgets. I mentioned a while back that I bought a pasta roller and a ravioli press. I kinda feel like the Sydney Bristow (from Alias. Binge watch it if you haven’t seen it. It was SUCH a great show!!) or James Bond of cooking when I use all of these gadgets… *cut to montage of me testing each gadget complete with hilarious near accidents due to over enthusiasm*. For those of you that follow my blog, you’ll know that I recently made Goat Cheese and Walnut Ravioli with a Walnut Wine Sauce, and I’m looking forward to making ravioli a monthly staple in my kitchen. I’m totally open to any flavour combinations suggestions!

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Another gadget that has brought me immense joy is my French fry cutter. Fries are my favourite meal in the world and it is physically impossible to have just a few. I can’t stand to deep fry stuff at my house, so I always try to make wedges instead. But you’ve never met my wedges. I always find a way to cut them too thin and no matter how long I bake them, they don’t crisp up at all and end up being a sad, soggy mess. How has life been since I started using the fry cutter, you ask? It’s been damn near perfect. My sister went way past her “I’ll just have 5” statement, and I haven’t even tried the smaller fry attachment as yet! One downside – it isn’t strong enough to cut sweet potatoes. But then again, cutting sweet potatoes is stress for a person! Unless I’m cutting it wrong…

You beautiful thing, you.

You beautiful thing, you.

My brother has already decided that when he gets his own place, I’m in charge of the kitchen tools. He is in awe of my immersion blender (seriously, the best thing ever!!) which I choose to take as a compliment.

Those of you familiar with my blog and my Food Resolutions will know that I did the 24 Meals in 24 Hours Challenge with my Husband and Siblings. If you’d like more detail, I discuss it a bit at the end of a recent Blog Post. We also live tweeted it at @illcookyouwash and had a great time – we controlled our portions so we didn’t feel stuffed, and at times we could have eaten a lot more but decided to pace ourselves. Also, we cooked / bought very small quantities so there was pretty much zero food wastage. My brother is a fan of eating a huge plate of food (quantity, always quantity!), so a small plate was torture for him. The hardest part was staying awake – we did manage pretty well but eventually couldn’t stay up any longer so we set alarms for every hour. You did not want to see us shuffling all squinty-eyed to the kitchen, nodding in acknowledgement to each other, taking a handful of cereal or a slice of bread and stumbling back upstairs. But we did it! I can’t say I’d ever do it again, but we accepted the challenge, stuck with it and managed to be successful so yay for us! Also the MVP was definitely Watermelon! A piece of that made us feel totally new again.

Some of the food we ate - getting queasy just thinking about it again!

Some of the food we ate – getting queasy just thinking about it again!

I also experimented with making a no-churn Avocado Ice Cream from a recipe I saw on Women’s Health Magazine. Well. That was pretty spectacular and we decided on the first taste that it will become a staple in my house.

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Also, in the spirit of lovely sunny weather and homemaking, the Husband and I also fired up the grill this month so we’ve been grilling everything from Chicken Kebabs to Romaine Lettuce!

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It's the type of meal you want...in SUMMER! (If you've watched Frozen recently and have a sister  that loves Olaf, you'll get this)

I’m also pretty excited about this upcoming month. For the first time I’ll have the opportunity to do two guest posts soon for two lovely ladies and they’ll be returning the favour. I also bought a dozen mason jars (man, I love mason jars) and a friend has started making his own flavoured vinegar, so what does that equal? Me trying to pickle the obscene amount of cucumbers (do they still call it ‘cukes’ for short or am I just betraying the level of uncoolness I currently reside at?) in my fridge.

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And there you have it! A peek into what I’ve been doing. See you back here on Friday for another recipe and more on the life of Indi!

Grilled Romaine Hearts w/ Walnut Oil

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Coming straight off the heels of my #24mealsin24hours Food Resolution with my husband & siblings, I decided to do a detox week. The meal challenge was actually pretty cool! Except for the fast food. My digestive system has become kind of snobbish. Sorry. I’ve tried talking to her but she’s over her young, carefree “I’m up for anything!” days. One of our meals in the challenge was Garlic BBQ Chicken (yes! we fired up the grill and it was oh so good) so I decided to combine grilling and veggies this week. Since I made that decision, I found myself obsessing over the grilling potential of everything I see in my fridge. Can you grill hummus? Probably not.

What did I settle on? Grilled Romaine Lettuce! I’ve always thought that I should eat more salad, since I tend to lean towards the cauliflower-broccoli-mushroom type of veggie dishes rather than the lettuce-cucumber-tomato combo. I usually buy lettuce though and for some reason all the fridges I’ve ever used seem to hate my guts and I always open my veggie drawer the next day and see a saddened, frozen / soggy / slimy / discoloured mass of leaves staring at me, daring me to eat them! it’s like the Vegetable version of the game of Chicken. And I always lose.

So today I decided to preempt the game and grill that sucker. I decided to use walnut oil instead of regular oil because lettuce is still lettuce no matter what you do and I really do like nutty flavours (which in no way is meant to draw a comparison to my behaviour at times). Walnut Oil tolerates medium-high heat so I knew that I couldn’t really char the lettuce too much. That was fine with me, especially since the walnut flavour really comes through nicely.

Grilled Romaine Hearts w/ Walnut Oil

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 9 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 Romaine Lettuce Heart

1 tbsp Walnut Oil

1/2 tsp Black Pepper (or more if desired)

1/4 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (more or less if desired)

Parmesan Cheese, for topping

Instructions

Fire up your BBQ grill or a grill pan on your stove. Mix oil, peppers & salt in a small bowl or plate. Cut Romaine heart in half, keeping the leaves intact at the base on each side. Paint the cut sides with most of the oil mixture and place on grill, cut side down. Let cook for 5 minutes. While cooking, paint the outside with the remaining oil mixture. Flip over and grill the other side for 3 minutes, taking care not to let the leaves detach.

So much work, right?

So much work, right?

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Remove from grill and cut the base off, separating the lettuce leaves. Top with Parmesan cheese. Add more pepper if desired.

In my opinion, the red pepper flakes really give the lettuce a nice kick. I had this for dinner with some hard boiled eggs & grilled asparagus, and I feel really satisfied. All I need now is for someone to make me some tea. Any takers? My sister left her laptop charger at my house the other day, so I’m considering holding it for ransom until she makes me some. :D

It's the type of meal you want...in SUMMER! (If you've watched Frozen recently and have a sister  that loves Olaf, you'll get this)

It’s the type of meal you want…in SUMMER! (If you’ve watched Frozen recently and have a sister that loves Olaf, you’ll get this)

Indi: 1. Romaine: 0. Bring on the Boston, Bibb & Iceberg!

Goat Cheese Ravioli w/ Walnut Wine Sauce

I did it! I made ravioli from scratch! Scratch! As in I made the pasta from flour and eggs and ran it through my pasta maker and filled it and sealed it and cooked it and it was edible!
Hello, Beautiful.

Hello, Beautiful.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that making Ravioli is one of my Food Resolutions for 2014. It’s safe to say that its been my most daunting task as well because I mean it’s pasta! From scratch! Ok I have to stop saying that. But seriously, it was awesome.
 
Ravioli has got to be the coolest pasta there is. These cute little squares filled with endless combinations of herbs, cheese, veggies or meats. You don’t need to eat as a side dish, its a meal in itself. And how do you cook it? You boil it for 8 minutes. That’s it. Regular pastas just give you the pasta. Ravioli has that extra surprise filling.
 
I don’t really see much Ravioli available in Guyana, so I was overcome with the desire to make my own. Because it freezes pretty well, I thought that it would be nice to spend a lazy Sunday once every 2 months making about 2 or 4 dozen (the recipe below gives you 24) and freezing for a rainy day, or for that day when you can barely drag yourself out of bed because you stayed up late watching TV the night before and just didn’t have a chance to cook. While I used specific tools and it’s a little labour intensive, making the recipe doesn’t dirty a lot of bowls, so you have a very easy cleanup afterwards. Alternatively, if you have your own method of making ravioli and are just here for the recipe, that’s cool too.
photo 3 (11)
 
This is an extremely picture heavy post, so be forewarned.
 

Goat Cheese Ravioli w/ Walnut Wine Sauce

Makes 24 Ravioli
 
Tools you need:
Kitchenaid Mixer w/ Dough hook
Pasta Roller Attachment
 
Pasta:
1 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
2 large Eggs
1/4 tsp Salt
 
Filling:
1 1/2 cups Goat Cheese,
12 whole walnuts
Minced DriedThyme
Black pepper
 
Sauce:
6 tbsp. Walnut Oil
6 tbsp. White Wine
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
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Make Ravioli:
Combine the Flour & Salt in your mixer. Add the eggs and mix on medium speed until the dough starts to stick together and form a ball. Switch to your dough hook and let it knead the dough for about 2 minutes. You can add more (about 1/2 tsp at a time) flour or water (or even a little olive oil) if needed. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for a minute. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about half an hour before you roll it out. 
 
In the meantime, Cut each walnut into half. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnuts in a pan and toast for 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
 
After the 30 minutes. separate the pasta into 4 parts and roll out slightly. Run the Pasta through the maker. Remember, what you put in is what you get out, so if you put in a misshapen blob, you’re not going to get the most evenly shaped or beautiful pasta. If the pasta starts to come apart, just add more flour.
Processed with Moldiv

You’ll see attempts 1-4… Do I get kudos for most improved?

 
Place one pasta sheet in the ravioli tray and press other tray on top of it to create indents in the pasta. Fill each indent with 1 tsp of the goat cheese, a walnut half & a pinch of thyme & black pepper. Place 2nd pasta sheet on top and press edges down. Remove from tray (this is delicate work) and use either a ravioli cutter or a regular knife to cut the sheets into ravioli squares, taking care not to cut into any filling. Use a fork to crimp each the edges of each piece together.
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Make Sauce:
Heat Walnut (or olive oil) in a skillet. Add wine salt, pepper & flakes and cook until most of the wine has cooked off (when the bubbling has nearly stopped and the liquid has reduced).
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To cook Ravioli immediately: Bring an extremely salted pot of water (like the ocean) to boil. Drop Ravioli in boiling water and boil for approximately 8 minutes. Remove, drizzle sauce on ravioli and enjoy.

 
To Freeze: Let pasta air-dry almost completely. Store in a freezer safe container, placing a sheet of wax / parchment paper between each layer of pasta.
 
photo 2 (18)
 
And that’s it! I also started coming up with different combinations and I cant wait to try each and every one of them. For now I’m bringing this one to Fiesta Friday
 
I’ll be working on another Food Resolution this weekend – eating 24 meals in 24 hours with Rabin & my siblings. It started out as a joke resolution by my brother in January and ended up being a challenge that nobody dared us to do. We’re also doing it partially to celebrate his birthday (although we’re very late!). Don’t worry, we have rules, and no food will be wasted nor will we eat to the point of gluttony. If you’re interested or want to silently laugh / judge / support us, follow me at @illcookyouwash on Twitter. My siblings and Rabin will also tweet from my account so you can witness our culinary ‘jackass’ style endeavour. Wish us luck!
 

Breakfast Biscuits

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I’ve become obsessed with cashew butter. It’s by far the best of all the butters – better than peanut, better than almond, better than jam! (Ok I may be embellishing cause I’m not a fan of jam and bread to begin with), but I’m not embellishing how much I love cashew butter. Its crazy.

My recent food dilemma has been what I should put the cashew butter on. The thought of it on bread is a little gross to me. I wanted something slightly sweet but tame enough to be breakfast-like and filling. Which made me think of Stefani’s Coffee Buttermilk Biscuits with Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Butter over at the Cupcake Project. I made these biscuits a while back and Rabin and I ate them nonstop until we felt vaguely nauseous but still wanted more. Instead of chocolate cinnamon butter, I used a mascarpone icing to top it because of a very scientific and technical reason – I had a lot of it in the fridge left over from a previous baking experiment.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Attempt #1 using Stefani’s Recipe

The first time I made it, I followed the biscuit recipe exactly (steep the beans in butter! How genius!) but this time I wanted to finish it quickly because it was early evening and of course I left everything until the last minute and didn’t even start dinner and I was already hungry. 

Cropping can really save a gal from the embarrassment of having to explain why two biscuits are missing…

It’s hard to find snacks that aren’t granola bars, aren’t overly sweet, are healthy, and can be used for breakfast, and this is totally a keeper. In making this recipe, I decided to further healthify it a bit and switched out the all purpose flour for whole grain flour (with flaxseed).

I admit it. The fork is there solely for the picture. I usually devour this in 3 bites.

I admit it. The fork is there solely for the picture. I usually devour this in 3 bites.

Stefani’s recipe is pretty great as is, but you can check out my variation below. 

Breakfast Biscuits

  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

3/4 cup butter
2 1/4 cups Whole wheat / Multigrain flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Stir sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk & vanilla and stir until clumps form. Knead mixture briefly – about 30 seconds. 

Transfer dough to floured counter and pat out until 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter (I used a 2″) or shape of your choice and cut out dough. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool and top with jam, jelly or butter of your choice.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yes. I know cashew butter isn’t pictured at all. It wasn’t because I was eating another biscuit loaded with it while I was taking these pictures… *averts eyes* *cough cough*

I’m bringing this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday Party as well.

So that’s it. I’m planning to whip up a batch of this on Sunday for the upcoming week and toss in some dark chocolate chips (That’s healthy, right?). I’m hoping that I can get my sh*t together this weekend and not stumble through another week like a drunk hobo. These biscuits are the first step! I hope. 

Have a great weekend, and also where the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks did this year go? For those of you that made resolutions, how has your progress been? I made some exciting progress on my Food Resolutions. I’m totally gonna update my page next week. I promise. 

TTT: Layouts & Eating well

I’m back today with Three Things Thursday, hosted by Salma at The Write Balance, Raj from Pink Chai Living and Nisha from Love Laugh Mirch
 
My new Page Layout
I continue to try to improve my blogging technique, which means trying to learn as much as I can as often as I can. I thought that my Blog front page needed a bit of an upgrade, so I’m pleased to present my new front page! I’m especially proud of the header. Thank you as well for all the lovely comments on my new blog layout. Email followers, I know you read my posts in your inbox so you wouldn’t see the new layout, but you’re all more than welcome to check it out now! I LOVE the painted look so much. I feel super artsy every time I look at it and it makes me hope that you think I’m writing this post from some Parisian café, sipping on some café au lait, blushing as the cute waiter winks at me. Hmm… maybe travel romance writing is my true calling!

 
Unmasking Superfoods
I picked up this book on my last jaunt to one of my favourite places on earth – the bookstore. I find food related books so interesting and I believe that being an informed consumer is so important to your overall health. I don’t think that it makes you invincible and we can all fall prey to a myriad of the nasty diseases and illnesses out there, but I’ve also read enough books about brands and advertising to know that labels are very misleading and products masquerading as ‘healthy’ or ‘all natural’ can barely meet the minimum definition of those words. We’re hit with food trends every single day, and its important to know what’s real and what isn’t. I started reading this book and its shocking to realize the limited number of studies and data that actually support these so called ‘super foods’. Some things have confirmed what I’ve previously read, and other chapters have obliterated what I thought I knew.
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Shopwell App
I came across this App on the ITunes App store. Its the most clever little app ever. Basically you input your basic information and the reasons why you’re trying to eat healthier. You indicate your nutrient / food preferences, what you’d like to avoid (added sugar, artificial sweeteners), and any allergies you have. Whenever you go shopping, just scan the barcode of the item that you’d like to purchase and the app will tell you whether that product is a good match for you. How cool is that!? I love being an informed consumer. I scanned my doritos and a bottle of coke I had laying around the house for emergencies and both were terrible matches for me :( I ended up running around my kitchen scanning items like I was on some crazy grocery game show. I always wanted to go on Supermarket Sweep and this was like realizing my dream in its own twisted way.
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Now for a bit of housekeeping: I’ve come to a decision about my blog posts. I love Three Things Thursday and how welcoming and lovely Salma & Raj have been. I would like to occasionally add an extra recipe during the week though, so I think I’m going to limit myself to only posting my 3 Things twice a month, so essentially, every other week. I’d like to be first and foremost a food blog.
 
Have a good day guys and I’ll see you right back here tomorrow. Same bat time, same bat channel (this may be slightly out of date).

Channa Saag-ish

Forget Superfoods for a second. Let’s think Supermeals. Spinach, Channa, Turmeric, Ginger, Yogurt & a touch of Olive oil are the main elements in this meal. All of these ingredients are well documented sources of nutrition and I’m so happy to share my recipe with you today.

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At the end of June, an eclectic group of us went to an Indian Restaurant for my Mom’s birthday, and I ordered the Channa (Chickpea) Saag with my go-to curry vehicle, Garlic Naan. I’ve had Paneer Saag before, which essentially is paneer cooked in a spinach puree. I generally actually prefer it to paneer in a tomato based curry. So I took a chance and ordered the Channa saag. It totally paid off. I enjoyed the chickpea saag immensely – it was wholesome and filling and not overly spiced.

So I decided to try it on my own.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Most indian recipes call for heavy cream. I approach heavy cream the way I approach fried food – I’ll never cook it because seeing it turns me off, but I’ll eat if someone else makes it and I don’t see how it’s prepared. Yes. Reality is fine until it’s inconvenient, ok?

I still wanted the creaminess in the dish, so I opted to add a little low-fat yogurt . I also used spinach that I had in my freezer, so there was enough stored liquid there to cook adequately.

Channa Saag-ish

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Channa Saag-ish

5 cups spinach, tightly packed

3/4 cup cooked chickpeas

1 clove garlic

1/2 large onion

1/2 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric

Red pepper flakes

3/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp. fat free yogurt

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Warm the oil in a pan. Add minced onion, & garlic and let cook until slightly browned. Add cumin seeds & ginger and toast briefly until fragrant. Add garam masala, turmeric, salt & red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and let cook for 30 seconds.

Add Spinach and stir to combine with mixture. Cover and let simmer for 1 minute. Uncover, add yogurt, and using an immersion blender (or regular blender), puree mixture. If you find it too dry or the yogurt makes things a gross colour, just add a bit of water. Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Add channa, stir and cover.

Let simmer for 2 minutes or until desired liquid consistency is achieved. Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Serve with rice (brown, basmati or jasmine) or naan. Alternatively, stuff in pita bread and pack for lunch. Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

I actually put this together pretty quick. If you have frozen cooked channa (or in a tin, just make sure you wash it thoroughly), the hardest thing you have to do is mince the onions, garlic & ginger. I’m also bringing this to my Fiesta Friday crew. It feels like ages since I’ve properly chatted with the gals (and guys) so I can’t wait to visit all of you!

So Rabin’s verdict on the meal? “So delicious. It tastes very Greek.” :s …Andddd there you have it. I really can’t cook like an Indian even though I’m of Indian descent. So I present to you the first Greek/Indian curry. *Bows* Maybe I should run with it and open a restaurant? Opa Namaste has a cool ring to it, doesn’t it?