Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Relax, Honey - It's the Holidays

One of the most popular gifts in our family this year was Meeru Dhalwala & Vikram Vij's latest cookbook, "VIJ'S AT HOME - RELAX, HONEY The warmth & ease of Indian cooking".

A truly fantastic cookbook!
It was so popular that I both gave and received a copy of the cookbook this Christmas (which is fantastic, because I was really tempted to test out some of the recipes before wrapping but abstained). I even had the opportunity to meet and chat with Vij himself when I had a copy of the book signed for my parents.

I tried out three of the recipes tonight for dinner, which was a bit of a mistake - we ended up stuffing ourselves worse tonight than at either of the two family Christmas dinners this year! All three dishes were absolutely amazing! And I made them, me. That's a great cookbook.

Rice Pilaf with Cashews, Cranberries and Saffron was so, so tasty (and easy - the directions were complete and unambiguous).

I also made Sauteed Spinach and Tomatoes (a quick version of Saag Paneer), which would have been perfect had I not attempted to substitute bocconcini cheese for paneer . . . it melted. But apart from the stringy cheese, it was delicious. And the best part of all is that you can make it with canned diced tomatoes and frozen spinach, which gives me a great option on nights when I would usually resort to the frozen pizza.

Prawns in Pomegranate Curry was the main course and although I made enough for dinner tomorrow, it was consumed by my dear fiancee who described it as "Awesome - really, REALLY good!". I liked how the recipe included this:

If you have any leftover juice, add shots of vodka and ice to it and drink as an aperitif to set a festive mood for dinner.

Thank you Meeru & Vij! It's honestly the first time in my life that I've been able to cook restaurant-tasty Indian food at home (I butcher Aloo Gobi. I try, but I always end up with soggy, ill-cooked cauliflowers and inconsistently cooked potatoes in a bizarre melange of various spices). I highly recommend this cookbook to anyone who loves Indian food even half as much as I do - good way to spend a gift certificate.

Update: February 14th (Valentine's Day)

Having a lovely dinner cooked for you at home with wine and candlelight is one of the best things going (and certainly a romantic Valentine's gesture).

Recipes taste better when made for you with love. These don't need 'love'!

Mix Vij in, and *WOW* - I had to blog about it!

"Green Beans, Potatoes & Spinach" (pg. 86). There were seconds, but he ate them!
Sablefish (which is on the Green list of most sustainable seafood lists here on the West Coast of North America) is delicious, right up there with Arctic Char in my favourite fish list!

Steamed-to-perfection spiced Sablefish (pg. 139). Awesome!!!
I learned my lesson from last time and took photos before devouring dinner! It was just awesome. I put on some Ravi Shankar (playing ragas) and lit some candles . . . absolute perfection.

I also received a Canadian Living "tested 'til perfect" Vegetarian cookbook - stay tuned for an upcoming review!


  1. I would love to learn to cook Indian food and now I've got a starting point! Thanks for the book recommendation. Funny..I was wondering how I was going to spend the last of my Chapters gift card :)

  2. Oh man, this is *SUCH* a good cookbook, and honestly the best Indian recipes I've tried by miles! I think this is a great place to begin! :D