Daily Archives: September 1, 2009

Potato Salad with Lemon and Chive Vinaigrette

At one point during these summer holidays, I found myself utterly exasperated with cooking the same things again and again. I happened to mentioned this to Jenny and told her that I was in desperate need of recipes that would be quick to cook and suited to the weather in terms of the cooking effort (low) and style (light, non-greasy, not spicy).

At this she was good enough to loan me, among other recipe books, her copy of Delia Smith’s ” Summer Collection”.

That’s where I found the recipe for this salad. When I made it last week  Indira liked enough to say “You should definitely make this again !”

I have made some changes to the original; here is my version.

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Potato Salad

6oo grams of potatoes, cooked in the microwave till they are soft, then peeled and diced (not too small) soon after you take them out

3-4 spring onions, trimmed and chopped small

2 tablespoons of fresh chives, snipped fine with scissors

For the vinaigrette

1 or 2 tablespoons of fresh, chopped mint

3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice

grated zest of one small lemon

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon (or a little more if you like more of this flavor) of grain mustard

1 clove of garlic, grated

rock salt, to taste

freshly milled black pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette then pour it on to the potatoes while they are still quite warm (the original recipe therefore requires that baby potatoes be used. Cook these with the skin on and add the dressing as soon as the potatoes are done, after draining the cooking water) and mix well.  Add the spring onions and the chives next, and mix the salad again a couple of times.

This is simple and delicious, with lots of subtle flavor.



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

Two Days in the Mountains

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It was a very brief two days, but a lovely experience all the same. To sleep for even a night with the river flowing outside the window…is bliss.

What the girls enjoyed most was the long (1.7 km!) exhilarating luge ride down the monorail on the mountain in La Colmiane. The cable car ride that took us up to the top was a hair-raising experience, for me, though. Every time it stopped along the way – which it did several times and these were the open sort of seats , not the covered/glass cabin style of cable cars I have been in before – I wondered why we were doing something so foolhardy with the children…

They also gamely came along for a two hour walk on the alpine trail ahead of La Madone de Fenestre on Sunday morning.

We didn’t actually make it to the lake that the trail goes to, this time, but I ‘d love to go back one day next summer to do that hike again.It’s just the most beautiful place.

The square dancing we saw in St. Martin Vesubie, while a live band of musicians played traditional music, was wonderful too; a very gay time was being had by all. The way all those locals and tourists came together spontaneously to dance seemed a a live example of French joie de vivre.

The “parcours acrobatique” ( a freaky activity that involves crossing among trees in the forest on all sorts of rope bridges) which Indira and I did in Colmiane was very good fun as well, though a little scary to begin with !

The other thing I loved in St. Martin Vesubie (one of only two villages in France to have this) was the gargouille – a very narrow canal (less than a foot across)  with a mountain stream running through it – that runs down the main street of the village. Indeed, our chambre d’hote was right next to it so each time we stepped out to walk up to the restaurants/cafes/shops, Noor had lots of fun skipping around it and playing with the water which was icy cold.

But the thing that will stay with me is the immense silence on the mountain, on the trail as well as where we sat outside the cafe on our return to the place where the trail starts despite the other hikers around us. To experience that, even for just a few hours, is the most amazing feeling.

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Carrot Raita

This is another great way to use carrots.

I have grown very bored of eating this vegetable  in pulav and salad.  So I was very pleased to find this recipe in Kumud Marathe’s “Maharastrian Recipes – A Family Treasury”  – my bible for this kind of cuisine.

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Carrot Raita

2 large carrots, peeled and grated fine (a hand grater serves better for this than a food processor  I think, as the latter would not grate the carrots fine enough to allow them to blend well with the other ingredients)

350-450 gms of yoghurt (vary this amount to taste)

1 teaspoon of cumin powder (or to taste)

salt to taste

1/2 to 1  teaspoon of sugar

1 or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Whisk the yoghurt gently with all the ingredients (add a little water and semi-skimmed milk if the yoghurt seems too thick) except the carrots, then fold these in last.

Leave the raita in the refrigerator for a while to chill, if you want, but do make it at least an hour ahead so that all the flavors blend.

The original recipe calls for 1-2 green chillies (chopped fine) to be added as well, but I skipped this.

This raita makes for such a  pretty bowl to serve on the side with any meal; I think it lifted one notch the level of the lunch I gave everyone last week (when Shri was home and on holiday as well) which consisted of just khichdi with peas and this raita 🙂


Filed under Raitas