Since the game nights have been starting so late, sometimes almost around midnight thanks to the time zones, my best bet is something I do not have to cook. Canapes is one of those things you can manage with an assembly line approach. All you need to take care is putting some complimentary flavours together. For this particular one I have been using ‘water biscuits’ I picked from the famous old Bakery in New Market called Nahoum’s. I have no idea why they call it water biscuits, although I have a feeling it may have something to do with holy water, in which case it may be something they use to serve as holy wafer in Churches (although I could be wrong). By constitution, they are very basic baked salted roundels comprising flour and hydrogenated vegetable oil as the ingredient list says, something like baked papri.
- Water biscuits (from Nahoum’s) – one could use crackers or slightly bigger croutons instead
- Sour cream
- Jam (I alternate between bitter orange marmalade or apricot preserve)
- Fresh basil leaves
- Fresh rosemary (optional)
Top the biscuits with the cream, dot with jam, garnish with the leaves, carry to your TV room and enjoy the match.
Celebrate game night bites with KFB!
On a recent weekend trip to a nursery called the Green Mall, we picked up some nice little plants and some gems of wisdom left behind from our forefathers. Among other things, we picked up an Allspice plant and a Pandanus shrub. It all started when Dad mentioned a ‘payesh pata’ his grandma used to cook ‘paayesh’ (a Bengali version of rice pudding) with. Man at the counter jumped at the opportunity and sold us the ‘Pandanus’. That’s right, the pandan leaf, that flavours desserts and rice-based dishes across SE Asia, has always been growing right in our backyard. Our ancestors would have been guffawing at us importing pandan flavoring agents from abroad. As it appears, the pandan leaf contains concentrated amounts of 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, the same aroma compound found in basmati rice, and being such the pandan leaf was often leveraged as a taste enhancer for rice based dishes such as the payesh, especially to make up for the absence of aromatic (and expensive) rice varieties. (Traditionally the payesh is best made with the short grain aromatic variety called gobindobhog rice)
And what’s more, the plant does a very neat job of doubling up as a decorative green patch for a corner of your living room. Pretty and unpretentiously useful.I’ve often been adding the twig of pandan while cooking my rice based dishes eversince. Today I made an aromatic soup and a twig of this thing elevated the taste to a whole new level.
Ingredients: (For two)
- Shiitake mushrooms – 2-3 nos
- Garlic cloves: 3 nos
- Green chilly: 1 no
- Pandan leaf: an inch of it
- Lemon grass: a twig (optional)
- Noodles: a handful(I used Japanese ramen)
- Spring onions for garnish
- Oil: 1 tsp
- Heat a tsp of oil (I used olive oil)
- Add crushed garlic cloves
- Snip and add dried shiitake mushrooms
- Add enough water for two bowls of soup
- When the water starts boiling, drop in the pandan leaf and lemon grass (can be replaced with lemon zest)
- Drop in the noodles and let it simmer for 4-5 mins
- Season as per taste
- Garnish with chopped spring onions