Mango & Ginger Compote

IMG_9079The first time we travelled as a family to Maui, we wanted to show the girls all the little experiences that can make a Hawaiian vacation an adventure.   Ready to explore those things that were different from home, we stopped at a VW bus parked at the side of the road with fruit for sale. The ancient hippy in his bleached-out tank top, led us into the back of his van to show us boxes of fruit. He took hold of my wrist, and placed two of his fingers on the top of my fore arm and gently pressed down, “this is how a ripe mango should feel, firm, but giving”. I’ve never forgotten that simple little lesson, and use it unconsciously when shopping.

During the same early March trip, we were buying fresh fish burritos for supper, and I asked the time of year that mangoes ripen. We were told that they usually started ripening in May. After just having bought some “local” ripe mangoes from our friendly neighbourhood hippy, I realized that he was just another huckster using a line for a sale. Although, the mangoes were delicious, and we ate them happily believing that they were handpicked from a tree somewhere in the jungle.

The burrito maker told us about a tree loaded with mangoes, which was going to be removed in a vacant lot. We headed out following the directions for the lot, with one daughter full of excitement, and the older one in disbelief that her parents were actually going to go pick mangoes in a vacant lot. She was old enough to continue on, while the three of us made good use of our climbing and reaching skills and picked many hard green mangoes.

Packing to return home, the mangoes were tucked in amongst our clothing to prevent bruising. Once home, they all eventually ripened, and were perfect. Just firm enough, yet giving, as I’d been taught.

Here’s a simple little compote to dollop on rice pudding, tapioca, custard, or Panna Cotta. Continue reading

Bombay Chicken Cups

IMG_7241This is a delightful little appetizer that is refreshing, and nutritious. It works well in any season, is easy to prepare, and different enough to interest your guests.

At a recent dinner, we set out a platter of four-dozen of these, and the platter was emptied within 10 minutes. They are truly a little nibble. Light and fresh, just perfect before a meal, or as a refreshing addition to an appetizer buffet.

They can be served in tiny pastry cups, croustades, or as shown here, in tortilla chips. Continue reading

Bombay Chicken Wraps

IMG_7255Having wanted to design a recipe for an appetizer that didn’t include seafood, cheese, or deep-frying, I came up with a miniature chicken salad, that is usually served in tiny pastry cups, croustades. I have, on occasion, served it on tortilla chips. I’m not sure when I started making these, but do know that it was many years ago! Perhaps back when Mumbai was still Bombay, maybe the early nineties?

Recently I morphed the idea into wraps for a luncheon I was catering, they were gone in a flash. The flavours work just as well in a bigger format.

If you don’t have leftover cooked chicken to use, do what I do, buy a BBQ chicken from your grocer. Chill it, remove all the skin, fat & bones, and use all of the meat. This way you get a prefect mix of light and dark meat. It tends to be more economical than cooking even inexpensive fryer cuts. One standard BBQ chicken should give you about 650 grams of prepared meat, enough for 6 wraps.

The recipe shows amounts for 6 wraps, just use the appropriate portion if you are doing less. All of the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time, ready for assembly at your convenience. Continue reading