This is the time of the year when you feel like spending more time outside to cheer for the dispersal of bright colors spread by mother earth and to feel the gentle air encrusted with warm sun rays after days of harsh and frigid air.
Every day, we both made sure to keep our afternoons free, to spend some time amidst these spirited blooms. But every time I raise my phone to click a photo, he got angry and starts fighting with me. I think he feel embarrassed by my this activity or might feel neglected.
As I share these pictures, a memory of my past surfaced before my eyes –
Mine was a short distance school which I covered by walking. Every day on my way home, I passed through many sprawling bungalows, but, there was one at the end of the street, whose gate was always flung open wide unlike others, who kept their big doors closed,not letting anybody peep into their garden or in their houses.Every day, while coming home, I used to part away from my gang to stop at their gate to watch the most amazing flowers they have planted in their garden. At times, the desire to own at least one piece was so strong that by avoiding the watchful eyes of the guard, I even plucked one or two from their garden and run away hiding that tender thing in my bag.
Over the years, when so much have changed, my this habit too have changed, now I found more pleasure in watching instead of harming these sweet little creatures of God.
After filling my eyes to the fullest, it was the time to bring on the colors on the table. Recently I added many salads to our menu which required nothing fancy and can make your heart sing and your skin glow.
Zucchini and beetroot salad with Thai dressing
• Grapes – a few
• Orange, peeled – 1
• Carrot, julienne – 1
• Zucchini, julienne – 1/2 small
• Beetroot, grated – 1 tbsp
• Roasted walnuts, chopped – 2 tbsp
• Cabbage, finely shredded – 1/8 cup
• Red onion, sliced – 1
• Red bell pepper, sliced – 1/4
For Thai dressing
• Vinegar – 1 tsp
• Lime juice – ½ tsp
• Garlic, crushed – 2 cloves
• Honey – 1 tbsp
• Ginger, minced – ¼ tsp
• Roots of cilantro leaves, chopped – ¼ tsp
• Pepper to taste
• Coriander powder – 1/3 tsp
• Chilly sauce – 1/3 tsp
• Salt to taste
• Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Mix all the ingredients of dressing in one bowl and the salad ingredients in another bowl. Add the dressing in your salad according to your taste.
My son’s favorite.
Spring Salad with chickpeas
• English cucumber, cubed – 1
• Red onion, chopped -1
• Tomato, chopped – 1
• Boiled chickpeas – 1 cup
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Red radish, cut into cubes – 2, 3
Mix all the ingredients and serve.
Beans and Mushroom Salad
Recipe minimally adapted from 101 cookbooks
• Red kidney beans, boiled – 1 cup
• Button mushroom, sliced – 10
• Small red onion, chopped finely
• Extra virgin olive oil – 1 tbsp
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Chopped roasted almonds- 2 tbsp
• Chopped coriander leaves – 1 tbsp
• Sprouted methi or any micro greens – a few, optional
In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, and salt, and cook, stirring a few times along the way, until the mushrooms take on color and release their water. About 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and gently fold the beans and all other ingredients (except micro greens). Add the green before serving
English cucumber Panzanella – A traditional Italian bread salad, can be eaten as an accompaniment or by itself.
Recipe adapted from Goodfood Magazine, October 2014
• Ripe tomatoes, chopped – 400gms
• Salt – ½ tsp
• Pepper a pinch
• Garlic – 1 clove, crushed
• Olives, chopped – 1 tbsp
• English cucumber, diced – 1
• Red onion – 1 small, very thinly sliced
• Extra virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp
• Vinegar – 1 tbsp
• Dry oregano – 1 tsp
Place tomatoes in a bowl. Season well and add the garlic, olives, cucumber and onion and mix well. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile tear small pieces of any old bread preferably cibatta and place in a large serving bowl.Drizzle with half the olive oil, half the vinegar and add some seasoning.
When ready to serve, pour over the tomatoes and drizzle over the remaining oil and vinegar. Serve immediately.
My mom-in-law’s favorite
Warm methi (fenugreek) and moong dal salad
Recipe adapted from Goodfood magazine, August 2014
• Water – 2 cups
• Soaked moong dal – ¼ cup
• Olive oil – 1 tsp
• Garlic cloves – 4 chopped
• Green chilies, according to taste
• Red pepper, diced – ¼
• Methi leaves or fenugreek leaves – 2 cups
• Roasted peanuts, crushed – ¼ cup
• Spring onion, sliced – 1
• Flaked almonds – 2 tbsp
• Pomegranate kernels – 2 tbsp
• Raw mango, chopped – 2 tbsp
• Chaat masala – 1 tsp
• Lemon juice – 1 tsp
• Salt – 1 tsp
Fill a medium sized saucepan with water. Add soaked dal and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes until the dal is just cooked and whole, not mashed. Drain and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan, add garlic, chillies and pepper and sauté for 1 -2 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add peanuts, onion, almonds, raw mango, pomegranate, chaat masala, lemon juice, and salt. Mix everything together and serve immediately.