Since I am off bread and cheese these days, I had to put more thought and effort into planning my hors-d'oeuvres for a recent get together at home.
Both Bread and Cheese form an integral part of several of my creations or even those I like to copy from recipe books.
So, one had to look elsewhere for inspiration, which was not too far away. If you keep your creativity levels high, then you can do wonders even with the most banal, the most commonplace. The humble cucumber and the omnipresent tomato came to my rescue.
So here's presenting Ibaadat syle crudites, Sushi, and snacks on picks.
In case of the first, since I don't like being a copycat or following a practice replicated the nth number of times, I broke away from the style of presenting Crudites as strips of vegetables. Instead, I cut moderate-sized roundels of cucumber and tomatoes and topped them with a delish Hung Curd Dip.
For the snacks on picks, I strung golden toasted, home-made Paneer tikkas along with Green Olives. I use tikkas because, being partially dairy intolerant, I cannot consume raw cottage cheese. So we began using grilled Paneer instead!
What do I say! It was almost like a divine intervention. The taste of sultry olives with the lush Paneer tikkas marinated in Mint-coriander chutney and roasted in Olive oil is a marriage made in heaven. The combination tastes like manna on one's palate and leaves a rather nice, lingering after-taste.
But the crowning glory this time was the Ibaadat style Sushi wraps. Ours is a vegetarian household so one had to substitute fish with what we can happily eat.
And I love inventing things - even if they are something that bring everyday pleasure and may not be of national or international significance.
Our take on Sushi is Cucumber strips, evenly laid over with Mint-Coriander chutney and then rolled over a cube of home-made Paneer tikka. Secure the wraps with a toothpick and they are good to go.
My platters just have to look pretty and aesthetically rich. I hate lumping things onto a plate. I have to dress them up and present them in all their regalia. The proof is in the pictures.
The bonus - all these hors-d'oeuvres are vegetarian, all healthy, mostly gluten-free as a foodie friend pointed out and all are delectably delightful!