Know Your Food

Gourmet food on a budget

The pandemic has locked us up in our own cocoon. With lockdowns and restrictions in restaurants, people have resorted to cooking at home. It is also seen that gourmet food and international cuisine have also found their place in the plates of Indian homes. So the new hobby of watching cooking channels and cooking has emerged in a big way.
Gourmet cuisine does not call for a huge hole in the pocket. It can be enjoyed at home with family members within a budget.

1. Bruschetta

Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 people
Type: Snack

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Dice tomatoes, capsicum, and onion.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and sauté the veggies along with crushed garlic for a couple of minutes. Add basil leaves, salt, and pepper. Take it off the heat.
  • Lightly toast the bread slices with some olive oil.
  • Place them on a plate and top it up with the veggies.
  • Serve warm.

2. Spinach and corn lasagne

Cook time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4 people
Type: Main course

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Trim off the sides of the bread slices and roll out the bread with a rolling pin.
  • Sauté Maida in butter, till pale golden, on a slow heat.
  • Add in milk and mix immediately.
  • Bring this sauce to a boil. Add salt and pepper.
  • Mix in cheese and let it melt. Take it off the heat. This is the béchamel sauce.
  • In another pan sauté finely chopped onion, spinach, and corn in a tablespoon of butter. Once the spinach has withered add the sauce to the vegetable and check the seasoning.
  • Take an ovenproof dish and spread the saucy vegetables at the bottom of the dish. Cover the layer with rolled-out bread slices. Repeat the process.
  • Finish off with more grated mozzarella cheese. Bake in a hot oven preheated at 180℃ for 15-20 minutes or till the cheese melts.
  • Serve hot.

3. Figs and Yogurt

Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 per
Type: Dessert

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Cut the figs into 2 halves. Grill it on a hot girdle with ghee.
  • Spread dollops of shrikhand on a plate and place a couple of figs on it.
  • Crush chikki roughly and sprinkle over it and serve.

4. Grilled Basa

Cook time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4 per
Type: Main Course

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Make a marinade of lemon juice, red chilli paste, oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Marinade the fish pieces in this for 30 minutes.
  • Grill them on a hot grill.

5. Caramel Custard

Cook time: 70 minutes
Serves: 4 per
Type: Dessert

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Take a saucepan and melt a couple of tablespoons of sugar with a tablespoon of water.
  • Let it caramelise on a slow flame till golden brown. Pour in the caramel onto a deep and shallow dish.
  • Mix custard powder and some milk to make a smooth paste.
  • Boil the rest of the milk. Add in the paste and continuously stir till it forms a thick custard. Add in the rest of the sugar too. Mix well and leave it aside to cool a bit.
  • Add in the vanilla essence.
  • Pour the warm custard onto the caramel and leave it in the fridge to set for about an hour.
  • Invert it on a plate and serve cold or at room temperature with a dust of cocoa powder.

Gourmet meals might just sound really technical. But the key to preparing and enjoying a gourmet meal is checking out what is there in the pantry and planning accordingly. Every meal can be built on readily available ingredients and something which can be economical too.

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