Monthly Archives: July 2009

A Summer Lunch- Couscous Salad with Grilled Trout

One might even call this salad tabbouleh, as many cooks and supermarkets do.

However, I made the mistake a long time ago, of ordering tabbouleh for Indira – when she was very little, about 3, and first started to enjoy store-bought “tabbouleh” – at a Greek/Armenian restaurant called Le Varouj in Grasse.  And found that what we got contained more mint/parsley and lime juice and only a very very little amount of grain. I figured then what the restaurant served us was real tabbouleh, as explained in these two links

while what many of us make, which has a greater proportion of grain such as couscous (some people use bulgur), can be correctly termed only a couscous salad.

Noor, especially, loves it, as do I.

In the summer, it is such a pleasure to make.  Even simpler than pasta to prepare, I love  that there’s no stove-top cooking involved here.

It was made in just 15-20 minutes after I woke up one morning a few days ago and wondered what to pack for Shri’s lunch.

The girls and I had this for our lunch that day with some grilled trout on the side.

tabboulehbalchaocactus 007

Couscous Salad

1 cup of  medium grain, whole wheat couscous

3/4 teaspoon of butter

1 orange bell pepper, diced fine

1 small can of  sweet corn, drained thoroughly ( I have been using the no-added-salt, no-added sugar variety for some time now and the corn tastes so much better without the added salt)

1 medium-sized can of chickpeas, drained thoroughly

2 tomatoes, diced

1-2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh basil

1 cup of finely diced cucumber (unpeeled)

3-4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 and 1/4 cups of just-boiled water

Add the butter to the couscous, then cover it with freshly boiled, salted water and leave it (till all the water is soaked) for 5-7 minutes. Fluff it up gently with a fork.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the other ingredients, season lightly with salt and black pepper (optional, I skip this), then toss with the olive oil.

Now add the couscous to this bowl, and stir everything together and leave it to rest for about an hour before eating, to allow the couscous time to absorb the juices and flavors of all the vegetables .

This is very fresh, very cool, very light.


Leave a comment

Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Salads, Versatile Accompaniments

Grilled Salmon or Trout with Pesto

This is just the nicest way to cook with either of these two varieties of fish.

Grilled Salmon/Trout with Pesto

250 gms of boneless fillet or pave of salmon or trout

some lime juice

salt to taste

approx 1 tablespoon of pesto

Sprinkle salt and squeeze the juice from at least 1/2 a  lime over the fillets. Keep aside for a few minutes while you heat the grill to 200degreesC.

Spread the pesto evenly over the fillets, then grill them at the top of the oven till the fish tests done – the pesto will start to char a little by this point and the fish will flake quite easily.

Serve this hot. Yum !

Leave a comment

Filed under Baked Main Meal Dishes, Quick Meal Ideas, RECIPES, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments

And finally – Pesto

Ever since the girls ate the delicious pasta with home made pesto at Radhesh’s home some weeks  ago, they have wanted to know why I don’t make pesto at home too.

Well, I used to, when they were babies, but back then only Shri and I liked it, the girls always seemed to prefer the bottled variety.

But now that they seem to have enjoyed the real thing, I thought it was time to start making it ourselves again.

So this evening, they helped me make the pesto that will go in to our pasta tomorrow.

They thought plucking the basil leaves from the pot in the kitchen took a little too long, but enjoyed grating the parmesan, and were happy that this meant they got a chance to eat some of it along the way.

This is so easy to make, and the taste so much,much better, it made me wonder again why I have been using the store-bought pesto for so long .

pics-on-camera 481

behind the pesto bowl - the napkin holder Noor made in school for Mother's Day this year


Quite a big bunch of fresh basil

1 large clove of garlic, peeled and chopped in to 3-4 chunks

grated parmesan (1/2 cup to 1 cup, as per taste)

olive oil (4-6 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons of pine nuts

salt to taste

To make : Blend everything together in one of those coffee grinding machines or hand blenders that one uses to grind spices.

C’est tout !!

As the girls will confirm, this is finger-licking good 🙂

pics-on-camera 475

Indira on the job,

pics-on-camera 478

then Noor

Leave a comment

Filed under Dips,Chutneys,Sauces,Spreads, RECIPES

For the folks at Balenciaga…We’d like that in white, please

this is another precious memory to record.

we were walking back late last night along the Croisette in Cannes, after watching the first of the annual fireworks-competition shows on the beach.

The Balenciaga store was still brightly lit, and there was this gorgeous grey and pink gown on display, one of those things that is made to fit and flow beautifully and Indira looked at that and said

“that is what I am going to wear for my wedding”….

For most of the rest of the walk back to the car, we talked about whether a white model of the dress would be nicer, since it would be a wedding dress, and whether silver or white shoes would be better.

Interesting conversation, that 🙂

I did feel compelled to end – just felt I ought to, had to !! – by pointing out that it was anyway too early to be making up one’s mind or worrying about wedding dresses, that there was a long time to go yet.

But very good taste, I must say, it was a really beautiful dress. Wish I had had the camera to take a picture; am sure the designers at Balenciaga would not have minded ! And we’d have a record of what she’d like, in white, in  time to come.

Leave a comment

Filed under LE FUTTED BALLON-life with the girls

a cool word that i learnt today-“Jive”

the daily mail from , a site I love,  brought this word today

I am going to enjoy using it 🙂





verb tr., intr.:

1. To deceive, to flatter, to taunt, to talk nonsense.
2. To go together, to fit in.


Insincere or deceptive.


1. Jazz or swing music and related dance.
2. Insincere, pretentious, or exaggerated talk.

Origin unknown.


“The edict by state and city officials that we Durham residents should let water run out of faucets for three or four minutes before drinking it or using it to cook with may indeed be the solution to the lead threat that has been discovered in the city’s water supply. But what if they are jiving us? Surely I’m not the only cynic.”
Barry Saunders; Money Flows With Water Woes; The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina); Sep 2, 2006.

“Designwise, the focus remains on the house-garden connection — the need for garden rooms and plants to jive with architecture and interiors.”
Turning over a new leaf; Los Angeles Times; May 21, 2000.

Leave a comment

Filed under NOT ABOUT FOOD