Category Archives: Terrace Gardening

Basil-scented Green Salad

basil scented green salad 3

Welcoming Monsoons in Bangalore, this is a recipe that celebrates the beginnings of rains, a brand-new diet plan and a new magazine that I am about to launch in ten more days!

basil scented green salad 2 basil scented green salad

  1. half a head of green Cabbage
  2. 1 medium green Bell Pepper
  3. 15-20 leaves of green Basil
  4. 1 tbsp of cooked brown rice
  5. 1 medium green Apple
  6. ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  7. 10 almonds
  8. 8 walnuts
  9. 4 cloves of garlic
  10. 1 medium green chilli
  11. Salt
  12. Black/white pepper (optional)

 

  • Roast the nuts dry, till they are lightly browned, and keep them aside
  • Julienne the bell pepper and cabbage, mince the garlic, and finely chop the chilli.
  • In the same pan, pour about 2 tspns of oil and stir fry them for 30 seconds each, separately (starting with the garlic and chilli), and set them aside.

For the basil-scented oil, this is what I did:

  • Heat ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil in a deep pan, and switch off just a minute before you know it would start getting smoky. That would be approximately a minute and a half on medium heat.
  • After switching off, tap the basil leaves into the oil and wait for things to settle down. Leave them to steep for about a day.

 

  • Slice the apple into half-moons and set aside.
  • Arrange the salad on your plate (vegetables garlic and chilli, nuts, rice and the apple), adjust the seasoning, and dress the salad with the basil-scented oil. A warm and welcoming salad it is!

basil scented green salad 7 basil scented green salad 6 basil scented green salad 5 basil scented green salad 4

Tomato + Hazelnut Pesto Pasta

tomato hazelnut pesto pasta 1

Home-grown vegetables have a completely different taste, and I have proof for that, and I am sure you agree.

tomato hazelnut pesto pasta 5 tomato hazelnut pesto pasta 7

This time, I grew tomatoes and basil, organically of course, and so, I have good reason to make pasta.

tomato hazelnut pesto pasta 6 tomato hazelnut pesto pasta 2tomato hazelnut pesto pasta 4 tomato hazelnut pesto pasta 3

  1. 10 vine tomatoes
  2. 120-150g hazelnuts
  3. 300g wholewheat spaghetti (or any pasta of your choice)
  4. 1 dense stalk of basil
  5. 4 cloves of garlic
  6. Salt
  7. Extra virgin olive oil

 

  • Cook the pasta till they are aldente
  • Meanwhile, soak the hazelnuts in warm water for about 10 minutes, and chop half the tomatoes roughly
  • Drain the nuts and add them to a food processor with the chopped tomatoes, half the basil leaves and some starch from the cooking pasta
  • Process this mixture till it forms a smooth pesto, adding a tbspn of oil in between
  • Season with salt and pulse again
  • When the pasta is cooked, add the pesto, and combine well
  • While serving, chop up the remaining tomatoes, pluck some more fresh basil from the stalk and dress the pasta. Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy!

Spinach + Apple w/ Nutty Pesto

 

spinach green apple 6

A small experiment turns really delicious with this salad. I used the spinach we grew in our balcony. And here is the result of that. The leaves were not yet mature; but they were not baby-ish too. So, these are ‘young’ spinach leaves.

 

spinach 2 spinach 3

Spinach crop 3

spinach green apple 2

 

spinach green apple 3

 

 

  1. 300 g fresh spinach leaves
  2. 1 green apple (preferably)
  3. 4-5 black olives
  4. 5 cashew nuts
  5. 5 hazel nuts
  6. 5 almonds
  7. Half a handful of parsley
  8. 3 garlic cloves
  9. Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  10. Extra virgin olive oil

 

–        Wash and dry the fresh spinach that you have, and if possible, place the leaves wrapped in plastic or just a brown paper bag, in the fridge, for about 30 minutes. (try not to drain the water completely after you have washed the leaves)

–        Wash, peel (optionally), and chop the apple into mediocrely thin wedges

–        To make the dressing, wash the parsley and place the leaves in a processor, with all the nuts, garlic cloves, and salt.

–        As you process add tspns of water and more tspns of olive oil. When your dressing is completely emulsified in the oil, and looks thick, it is done.

–        Arrange you salad by placing the apple wedges, spinach leaves and olives (pitted) in a large bowl, and then pouring the dressing over. Mix well with your hands and serve immediately, with an extra helping of olive oil.

Zucchini w/ Mustard Greens & Flowers

Zuc Mustard Salad 6 mustard greens 1 mustard greens 2 mustard greens 3

 

I have quite a standard garden, living in urban Bangalore. Some seasonal and perennial flowers, some herbs, some vegetables, and some non-flowering, easy-maintenance green plants and ferns. Flowers are also pretty standard; Roses, Geraniums, Hydrangeas, Jasmine, Bougainvillea, Allamandas, Peace Lilies, and Dahlias. Some 25 days back we planted seeds of spinach, mint, mustard greens, red chillies and garlic. Even before that, probably 2 months back, we planted carom seeds. We transplanted spinach about 18 days back. It has been a good crop. And without any kind of chemical fertilizers. All I used was mulch, organic manure and lots of organically fertile soil. While this is how it went this time, I would love to use soil a bit rich in nitrogen (probably will start growing beans some time this July). I hope to plant tomatoes and carrots soon too.

So, this is the advantage of growing stuff in your house. You research on so many aspects of both food and gardening. I learnt that mustard flowers are the some of the most edible flowers around.

Zuc Mustard Salad 1 Zuc Mustard Salad 2 Zuc Mustard Salad 4

I just have a small balcony/terrace, as I mentioned. But I have managed to grow what I like; which is more than sufficient.

This is a simple salad with mustard greens and flowers, and loads of Zucchini. Quite a basic salad, I know. But I could not complicate it further, somehow. The salad is more of a little techniques than anything else. I used a julienne peeler on the vegetable to keep some kind of texture. Some more techniques further down.

  1. 3 Zucchinis, washed and peeled
  2. A bunch of mustard leaves, washed and dried
  3. A bunch of mustard flowers, washed and dried
  4. Selection of salad leaves (1 or more)
  5. 3 cloves of garlic
  6. Salt and fresh ground pepper

 

–        Start the salad with chopping up the vegetable into small cubes, and keep aside

–        Heat up oil in a small wok and switch off. Be sure that the oil has just started smoking. If you are using a reasonably small wok, it won’t take more than a minute or 2.

–        After you switch off, add in the garlic cloves, and sauté till the cloves are lightly brown. Take them out on a grease-proof paper to cool

–        Next, in the same oil add the mustard leaves and saute them for 30 seconds. And take them out too, and add them to the chopped vegetable.

–        Chop the salad leaves into thin strips and add them to the chopped Zucchini.

–         Make the warm dressing by adding a tspn or so more oil to the hot oil, and juice of 1 lemon. Whisk well and pour over the vegetable and leaves mixture. Combine well with your fingers, top the salad with lots of mustard flowers, with more on the side. Season just before you serve.