In Mumbai, one of the busiest Indian cities, life is fast and hectic, whether you are working or you are a homemaker. It is common here to work late and come home and compromise on the dinner. Not that you don’t want to eat good food, but sometimes you are just too exhausted to even make the plain dal-chawal-bhaaji (lentil stew – steamed rice – curried veggies)! Sometimes you just don’t have the time and patience to hunt for the ingredients as well as surf through the recipes. But you are smart enough to find shortcuts to eating great food! Of course, eating in restaurants would be the easiest thing to do if you are craving for something different, say, Mexican or Italian; but if you are among those who believes that cooking yourself for your family and friends infuses love into the food, you need to check out these ready-to-cook gourmet foods to make cooking more enjoyable. These make life so much easier in the kitchen and yet, you have quality gourmet food ready on your table in no time and at a cost which is truly justifiable. Won’t you love such “comfort” dinners, which can even be made easily by novice cooks? It’s just so convenient!
Last week was quite tiring for me. In addition to that, I was a bit unwell, so I was not quite in a mood to cook elaborate meals. My kids love eating “interesting” foods when they come back from school, so they won’t settle for the regular meal when they are craving for something fancy. They always need variety and so I love making dishes from the world cuisine as well, in addition to traditional Indian foods.
My kids are pasta fanatics and the tomato version works just right for them. But there was a problem there. I was falling short of ingredients and was too lazy to go out to a gourmet food store in such monsoon rains here in Mumbai. Right then, the doorbell rang and there was a gift for me which, thankfully, came to my rescue right when I needed!
It was an impressive gift hamper from Chef’s Basket. It was so nice of them to send me two recipe kits of their newly introduced ready-to-cook products: the Penne Pasta (Creamy Tomato) and Burritos (Black Bean and Salsa).
I opened the Chef’s Basket Penne Pasta recipe kit and was quite impressed to see the ingredients nicely packed individually. Some of these ingredients are sourced from Spain, Morocco and Italy. The Italian penne pasta in this kit is made up of fine-quality durum-wheat semolina. The creamy tomato sauce is made with natural ingredients and has dairy cream in it. The recipe kit not only gives you these two basic ingredients, but also Moroccan black olives, Spanish extra virgin olive oil, mixed dried herbs and high-quality sea salt!
Making this pasta, following the recipe at the back of the kit, was easy and fun. I loved the creaminess and the richness of the tomato pasta sauce. Eating the pasta cooked in this sauce made me feel as if I am eating an expensive pasta dish in an authentic Italian restaurant! The tomato pasta sauce is not too spicy as well, so it was great for my kids. The colour was gorgeous and the taste was just perfect. I garnished with a boiled egg as my kids love their pasta that way. The recipe and the ingredients provided in the kit are self-sufficient to make delectable pasta. But if you are more enthusiastic and want to give this your own twist, you can add sausages, bacon or boiled and shredded chicken to the pasta, while adding the tomato sauce. Next time I am going to make this with meatballs!
The next day, I opened up the Burritos recipe kit, which comes in a bigger pack than the penne pasta kit. Although I am not a great fan of burritos, I proceeded with the recipe to find out how this pack compares to the previous one in terms of taste and quality. In the interest of full disclosure, I’d tell you that if you taste Chef’s Basket’s burritos, you’ll fall in love with Mexican food! As I was cooking the brown rice provided in the pack, I had already licked two teaspoons of the awesome chipotle salsa which comes with this kit. I’d say these burritos are perfect to satisfy Indian tastebuds which often seek for something spicy! The burrito wraps were perfectly packed and looked fresh and inviting. Generous amounts of black beans and jalepenos were provided in the kit. However, I felt that the quantity of spice mix for six burrito wraps should be a little more. Apart from that, the quantity, quality, taste and the freshness of the ingredients are one of the best among Indian ready-to-cook packs available.
Monsoon-time meals just can’t get any better and fuss-free! Now available at Haiko (Powai), Foodhall (Palladium Mall), Alfa1 (Irla) and Nature’s Basket, you can pick these recipe kits easily from any of these stores in Mumbai. Online shoppers can buy the same from LocalBanya.com. I would strongly recommend these kits to the aficionados of good food. The instructions are simple and clear-cut. These recipe kits make your meal a unique gastronomical experience without burning a hole in your pocket!