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Perfect food for the winter
Arati Menon Carroll
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January 09, 2007

Coping with a spate of houseguests this season? Need to pull together a quick meal that'll win you a compliment or two? Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef Manvendra (ex-Olive Bar and Kitchen, Delhi) has just the menu for you.

Emphasising seasonal foods and using off-the-shelf ingredients, these recipes have been designed to ward off the last days of winter blues.

Designing menus according to what's in season has great benefits, not least being vis-a-vis quality and price. And although Mumbai may not have the most discernible winter, some amount of seasonal tweaking can be done.

For example, Manvendra says the cooking process for vegetables should be minimalistic in summer so that everything is light and crunchy. In winter, you can use long, slow cooking processes that include long braises and slow casseroles.

Winter is also the time for comfort foods... rich, creamy sauces and gravies. And greens like broccoli, lettuce and asparagus are always crunchier and sweeter in winter.

Use as many berries as you can lay your hands on... put them in smoothies, crepes and tarts, or just top them off with a plop of whipping cream. It's also a great time of the year for wine, particularly if you're a fan of rich, spicy, warming reds.

Here's a recipe you can try.

Green olive-stuffed chicken
(Serves 2) 


4 chicken breasts
50 gm green olives
100 gm asparagus
50 gm pine nuts
50 gm butter
150 ml double cream
100 gm mustard, mixed with chopped figs
10 gm garlic
5 gm onion
Salt and pepper to taste


Split open the chicken breast, rub in some butter.

Stuff with sliced olives and roasted pinenuts. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Close and tap with the back of a knife to seal the chicken and the stuffing inside.

In a pan, melt some butter, saut� the onion and garlic. Add double cream and bring to a slow boil.

Then add the mustard and fig mixture and season to taste. Keep aside.

In a non-stick pan, melt some butter. Saut� some garlic and pan-fry the stuffed chicken breast. Cook to a light golden brown.

Serve hot over a bed of blanched asparagus.

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