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Grilled Cinnamon Plums with Mascarpone Cheese

I love desserts. And I like them even better if they are easy to make and come with fresh ingredients–something I’ve learnt to indulge in post my die-hard fascination for MasterChef. Yeah I am a sucker for food shows and to meet Gordon Ramsay stands very high on my Bucket List. But till then I am happy to devour every cookbook of his and lay my hands on every recipe he¬†has published. He seems to have the right knack of simplifying the most horrendously tricky procedures and making it super simple! But enough about my gushing love for him…

This is not one of his recipes, but is a version of Martha Stewart’s creation. And what I like about it, is its simplicity. My first restaurant, Skie Grille, in Utorda Goa was all about food off the grill, may be that’s why this recipe is close to my heart. Or may be it’s just the ease in creating it–all it takes is 5 minutes and can be made with ingredients found in every pantry.

Grilled Cinnamon Plums with Mascarpone Cheese

Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2


  • 2 plums
  • 100 grams mascarpone cheese
  • 2 teaspoons honey (avoid for diabetics)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (can be made using sugar substitute too)
  • 1 teaspoon cinamon powder
  • 400 ml orange juice
  • 4¬†tablespoons orange liqueur of your choice ( I prefer¬†Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  • Sprig of mint


  1. Halve the plums and pit them
  2. Grill the plum on the grilling pan placing the pitted side on the grill.
  3. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes till the grill marks are visible.
  4. Turn over and grill the skin side for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from grill and cool.
  5. MIx together the mascarpone cheese, half the cinnamon powder and sugar and cool it.
  6. Reduce the orange juice and liqueur together till it is of a thick syrup consistency.
  7. To plate up: Top a scoop of the mascarpone cheese mix on the grilled plum. Place it on a white plate. Drizzle the honey on it and top with the remaining cinnamon powder. Place a mint leaf in the centre of each plum. Pour the orange juice reduction over and around the plums.
  8. Plums grilled without butter
    Plums grilled without butter
Charred marks on the plums. At this stage you could brush it with unsalted butter.

Charred marks on the plums. At this stage you could brush it with unsalted butter.

Fat-free five-minute dessert

Fat-free five-minute dessert

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Slow Cooked Oil-free One-Pot Dish

I’ve often had to entertain large groups of friends and family who don’t want me spending time in the kitchen when they are around. And yet they expect, yes I do spoil the ones I love, a three or four course meal.

Stage 1: Slow cooked oil-free chicken in pot

The first time I was asked to stay out of the kitchen, I freaked! My meats and accompaniments were not done, the dessert was in the oven, the drinks were flowing but the starters were still being assembled. Disaster. There I was scooping out pies and spooning out fillings into little tartlets even as I guzzled my own ice filled glass of the poison of the day! Though the evening, or rather early morning, ended up with everyone being fabulously drunk on food and spirits, I ticked myself off mentally. No more last minute cooking for this group of friends.

So now I plan my meals for this group of 10.

And it does need plenty of planning.

For starters make sure your refrigerator is empty, I mean it. Secondly, make lists and plan the menu down to the last chocolate or coffee you are going to serve.

Next decide on a simple wholesome one-pot main dish, that needs little interference as it cooks. Even better if you can keep the entire dish ready and marinating a day prior. So here’s the one dish wonder that has been the talk of many a parties!

Preparation time: 20 minutes.

Pre-prep: 2 hours

Marinating time: from 2 hours to 24 hours, the longer the better

Cooking assembly: Cast iron pan, a must, and an oven that will cook at 100 degree C for at least 3 hours.

Slow-Cooked One-Pot Oil-free Chicken in Rum 


Stage 2: Slow cooked oil-free chicken in pot

Cooking for 4 people


  • 1 kg chicken, cleaned and cut into 12 pieces, soaked in salt water for 2 hours
  • 250 grams potato
  • 250 grams onion
  • 250 grams carrots
  • 100 grams green onion
  • 8-10 prunes, dried
  • 8-10 apricots, dried
  • 1/2 apple,. I prefer the acidity in Granny’s apple.
  • 350 grams fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 200 ml rum
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate pearls
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce


  1. Marinate the washed and cut chicken with ginger and garlic paste, barbecue sauce, salt, pepper and the thyme.
  2. In your cast iron pan, place the marinated chicken at the base. Then build on from there adding potatoes, apple, carrots, onions, prunes and apricots.

    Stage 3: Slow cooked oil free chicken in pot

  3. In another pan reduce the fresh orange juice along with the rum, till the alcohol burns off and juice has thickened. If you do not have the time, add the juice and rum without reducing it, but reduce the quantities by half. This will result in a change in taste, but it’s yummy anyway.
  4. Pour the left over marinate over the layers and finally top with the reduced orange juice-rum concoction. Add the pomegranate pearls (optional).
  5. Cover the pan and marinate for at least 2 hours. If you can marinate it for 24 hours, place the pan in a refrigerator.
  6. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
  7. Place the pan in a pre-heated oven 100 degree C. And cook for 3 hours at the same temperature.
  8. When you are done, the chicken will fall of the bones. But the carrots and potato will still have a bite on them.
  9. The gravy can be reduced down or thickened as per your preference.
  10. To serve: Place the chicken towards one end, top with the vegetables and pour the sauce over it.
  11. Accompaniments: Baked potato, mashed potato, sauted french beans in mustard, bacon jam and hard crust bread to soak up those lovely flavours.

Stage 4: Slow cooked oil free chicken in pot

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10-ingredient Burger Spice Mix

A fussy eater that I am, I’ve never found the right spice mix for my burgers. Having worked with spices and herbs over time, I’ve finally zeroed down on one that appeals to my senses. What’s better is that this recipe can be tweaked to suit different taste buds. As long as love the taste, who cares about fractions and permutations and combinations!

This recipe can be adapted to create a diabetic friendly and diet friendly version. The pure herb mix can also be used as a rub for pork and beef steaks.

10-ingredient Burger Spice Mix

makes 75 grams


  • 1/4 cupbrown sugar (those cooking for diabetics and healthy eaters can avoid the sugar and make a pure herb mix)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Blend all the ingredients together and store in an air-tight bottle in a dry space.