Friday, 1 June 2012

Smart cooking for hostesses on a run...


In the yester-years, parties were organised very meticulously, religiously and lovingly. To host a party meant a lot of research, sometimes involving the guests and sometimes involving the food. Everything was made to the perfection, even if it meant labouring over it for a week. But in the present scene, out of the three attributes, it’s only the last one which, till date holds the forte. Today parties are planned in a matter of minutes. And if you have the question ‘how’ on your mind, then please read on...

In big cities, even a fulltime home maker requires a cook. And by that logic, it’s a necessity for a working couple. And so the mighty ‘bai’, who cleaned houses with a little flair for cooking got a completely new and upgraded job to her. Seldom do we question their culinary skills and whatever good or bad they make, we eat. It’s the ‘sasta-tikaoo’ way to survive in this city. But if your friends are coming over for a drink and dinner, she will be the last person to help you.

It had happened to me quite a lot. Getting off work and suddenly a friend who is visiting the town, says he is coming over to say hi. A common friend too wants to spend some time with him, which means you have a cocktail & dinner to arrange for four. Here is what I do in this situation and you can do the same to get a lovely spread organised in minutes.

For snacks to be served with cocktails, get a lot of Monaco biscuits and salami. And don’t forget to get some namkeen or simple potato chips as well. Once u have all this in place, start cooking and trust me when I say, it’s just going to take half an hour. Put some curd in a clean cloth and hang it on your basin. Take out the salami and microwave it for a min on medium heat. Now cut some cheese cubes and put them on a tooth pick with an olive in the middle. Salami-olives-cheese sticks are a great snack to offer with drinks. Serve it in any innovative way as u want.

Now take the curd out of the cloth after 15 mins. Chop some olives and capsicum if u have. Put some sugar, salt and pepper. For a creamy texture add a little bit of cheese spread and the solution in which olives was preserved. And a great hung curd dip is made to be had with any kind of chips or namkeen like soya sticks, banana sticks, etc. And before your guest arrives, make canap├ęs out of Monaco biscuits. Put some mayo and a cheese cube on it and season some with tomato sauce and some with mustard sauce. With this your snacks part is completely taken care of.

As for a quick dinner, ask your cook to make a lot of rice and green chutney. Put everything in the chutney, like coriander, mint, ginger, garlic, a small onion and half a tomato, some peanuts, green chillies and coconut if you have. Grind it to a nice paste. In a pressure cooker, boil chicken with ginger garlic and salt and pepper and let it get almost cooked. Now in a kadai add some oil and sprinkle in some cumin seeds and black pepper. Once it stops crackling put the chutney in. Let it simmer for a while before u add in the chicken. If you don’t mind some extra calories a bit of added work then, shallow fry the chicken pieces before adding it into the sauce. Caramelizing the chicken will release out a lot of flavour. Once the chutney has seeped into the chicken, add some fresh cream onto it. Sprinkle some garam masala on top and let it simmer for a while before removing from heat. Serve portions of rice with the chicken in green sauce on top, and see your guests exclaiming in awe at your culinary skills.

And for the desert, ask your cook to chop in some fruits, whatever so, apart from bananas that you can lay your hands on. Now put them all in a big serving bowl. Take out some vanilla ice-cream and let it melt a little. Now with a fork mix in the lumps and make a smooth paste. Now mix it in with the fruits. Decorate it with dry fruits and let your guests lick it away to glory.

So there you go.. a party prepared in minutes. None of these recipes r gonna take more than 15 mins to make and all of them are finger licking good. Enjoy and let me know how it went!!!

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