Spice up the season

Spice up the season

My parents have always been good cooks and that’s where my interest comes from.

My family and I have lived in the US for eight years. It was during this period that I started taking cooking seriously.

This eventually led me to start a food blog. Since 2008, I’ve also been doing all kinds of food experiments.

When we were living abroad, it was difficult to find ingredients required for Indian preparations. This, in fact, led me to try my hand at international dishes. I used to often go to the public library and search cook books for new recipes.

Although we are back in India now, I continue to prepare cuisines from different countries. That apart, I like to follow my parents’ traditional recipes for some of the dishes. My true calling lies in spicy dishes.

Since I help my dad in his business, it’s on weekends that I get time to prepare something. Both my children look forward to it eagerly.

My 13-year-old and nine-year-old like spending time in the kitchen with me and help out in whatever
capacity they can. They prefer having pizzas and pastas, so I’m always making healthier versions of it. I guess that’s where my interest in baking comes from. If there’s a dish I can bake instead of frying, I am very happy.

My husband is also a great inspiration. He is a foodie and a wonderful cook, so he gives me his honest feedback. This encourages me to try out unique dishes.

Although I am always in search of recipes, I never follow them verbatim.

Most of the time, the ingredients required may not be available in my kitchen or even at the store. So I find an alternative and create my own version.

The recipe that I share today ­– ‘Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup’ – is one such dish.

As the evenings are rainy and cold these days, this soup is just what you need for a warm dinner.
If this is accompanied by garlic bread, your meal is complete.

Smitha Varma
(As told to Anila Kurian)


Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup:

Ingredients

Whole red pepper, 1
Tomatoes, 4 to 5 medium-sized
Garlic, 3 to 4 cloves
Red onion, 1
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Olive oil, 1 to 2 tsp
Cream to garnish
Green onions for garnish

Method:
Cut the red pepper in the middle. Remove the stem and seeds. Slice into thin strips.
Cut the tomatoes into small pieces. Peel the garlic and crush with the back of a knife. Peel the onion and slice into thin strips.
Spread all the veggies in one layer on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. n Bake in a 200 ° C pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and purée in a food processor till it is smooth.

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