Friday, 6 July 2012

{Guest post} Bean and Potato Salad by Nisha of Look who's cooking too

I am travelling home tomorrow (27th june)and I am going to be there for quite a while. Packing, cleaning, arranging stuffs, last bits of shopping everything is over and here I am sitting totally exhausted, with least of energy to do anything. But hey, I am not going to be sitting here all night typing out another recipe in my lethargic mood but we have someone very special to share her recipe with you. A very special person, Nisha of Kitchenantics (Look who's cooking too) is our special guest today.

We’ve known each other for a while and we have a lot on common. Since we both blog from UK, we tend to notify each other anything blog related. I would have to par with whatever she has said here because that’s exactly what I would want to say as well. We communicate quite often, either by phone or messages. Our conversation has mainly been of props, where to look out for them for a cheaper rate, deals or offers or when we stumble up on interesting sites or blogs. She is a very good friend of mine and is just the type of girl I would love to hang around with. How I wish she lived nearby.

Nisha is a wonderful person, very friendly, charming and full of energy. Her witty way of writing and her open mindedness is what got me attracted to her. She claims she is not a great cook and hasn’t got any patience. But you see, her blog will prove otherwise. She’s got some great recipes, amazing photographs and fantastic writing. Each of these takes real long time and it requires lot of patience and interest. So And apart from all that, if I need to relax and have something to read, I would go to Kitchenantics for a laugh. That being said, I don’t read all blogs, but very very few, and Nisha’s blog tops them all. Don’t forget to check her blog out. Nisha, Thank you so much for doing this post for me, and I am so ever glad that you could it. Salad looks awesome, and I am sure to try it. 

If there is one blogger I can say I have a lot in common with, that is definitely Shabeena (Shabs as we fondly call her) of Shab's Cuisine. I can’t remember how or when I stumbled upon her blog, but she was the first UK blogger I started following. It is a big deal because majority of the bloggers I follow are based out of the US or India and discovering that Shab was from this side of the pond was indeed something worth being excited about.

She has been blogging for many years now and somewhere along the way I discovered I had a lot in common with her. Thanks to Facebook, we send each other looong messages regarding our blogs and have the longest chat sessions, that too at 11 and 12 at night. From endless discussions about prop shopping to charity store finds to ebay auctions to photography tips and new blog discoveries, the topic is forever flowing. Sales and deals at stores are immediately passed on and we make sure we check it out and get back with our inputs. It’s like shopping with your girlfriends, but virtually :)

I recently did a birthday cake for a friend and I must say that I couldn’t have done it without Shab's help. I used to keep calling her up each and every time I had a doubt about fondant, frosting etc and she would be such a sweetheart and help me out whatsoever. It is indeed great knowing that I have a blogger friend just a phone call away to solve all my doubts and more importantly to sit and talk mindlessly about props and painting boards and photography, instead of forcing the husband to listen to my blog issues. So I didn’t think twice when Shab asked me about a guest post, because there was no way I was gonna pass. We decided on a salad and so, here's an easy peacy summer recipe- A bean and potato salad, which is a favourite over at our place.

We have picnics in the park during summer and deciding on what to take is always an issue, especially because only some parks allow barbecues and they are almost always the ones that are far away which makes us think twice about heading there in the first place. So food items that are super duper easy to pack and tastes good when eaten cold are given priority. Sandwiches and salad mostly win after all the discussion and this salad is my first choice. It is so easy to put together and tastes so good, you would have to try hard to stop yourself from eating spoonfuls while preparing it. It is also a very forgiving recipe and you can add more ingredients or adapt them to your liking without compromising on taste. It is great eaten warm or cold, so there is no issue there. When I make it at home, I usually pair it with some grilled chicken and its a perfect meal and quite filling, I must add. 

So without further ado, here is the recipe for a super delicious, easy-to-prepare bean and potato salad.

Bean and Potato Salad

500 gms (2 large) Potatoes
300 gms Fine beans
1 small Shallot- finely chopped
3 tbsp Mayonnaise
3 tbsp Creme fraiche
1 tsp Mustard sauce
1 to 2 tsp Milk(optional)
1 tsp Vinegar
Salt and pepper- to season

1.Peel and slice the potatoes into bit size cubes and pre cook it boiling water till they are soft and tender, but not mushy and falling apart. Drain and keep aside.

2. Similarly, wash and trim the beans and chop them to about 1 inch in length. Blanch them - bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and tip in the beans. Keep boiling for about 3 to 4 minutes after which you drain into a colander and run ice cold water over it to stop the cooking process. This retains the bright green colour of the beans- and keep aside.

3. In a bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, creme fraiche and mustard sauce. If it's too thick, loosen it up with some milk, adding only in instalments. 

4. Season with enough salt and pepper, give a stir and mix it all in.

5. Transfer the drained potatoes and beans into a large salad bowl. Make sure they are not hot or the cream is going to curdle.

6. Add the shallot and the salad dressing and carefully fold it all in, making sure you don't mash the potatoes.

7. Do a taste test, add more salt and pepper if needed and either dig in immediately or cover with a cling film and refrigerate till ready to use.

1. Additions to this salad would be baby tomatoes, bell pepper, boiled egg and even cooked chicken.
2. If you have spring onion in hand, use the white parts alone instead of shallot and it makes a world of a difference.

3. Also, for a low fat version, use Greek yoghurt instead of creme fraiche. You can also use double cream instead of CF, although not necessarily a low fat version :)

4. Add a pinch of mustard if you don't have the sauce, which is a less stronger version.

5. Once again, thank you Shab for having me over and here's to blogging and shopping and above all the friendship we have developed :)

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