Time spent back home was somehow different this time. Simply put, it was plain awesomeness. Days were relaxed, meals were cooked at leisure in the kitchen, walks with granny in the evenings, some window shopping during the day, few outings to explore the heart of the city and nights spent chit chatting and playing cards. There was no agenda or a checklist which needed to be adhered to, which normally is the case when I visit home. Days always fly by when I go to India, but this time it was different. This time, the only agenda was to spend time with family and I am so so happy I did..after ages! I don’t remember the last time I was so relaxed after I joined the corporate world. I came back content.

Everyday nani (we call granny as ‘nani’ in India) made my favorite vegetables. Though I could hardly do justice because of my mild fever and nausea, I loved every single meal. There was gram flour dumplings flavoured with dry spices, steamed and then dunked into a yoghurt based curry called gatte ki subzi, a traditional Rajasthani speciality, stuffed bitter melon which left me licking my plate, spiced flour dumplings called dhoklis simmered in dal, chickpea vegetable made with dry spices and tamarind pulp eaten with hot phulkas, fluffy indian bread. Also, got few cooking classes and tips from her as an added bonus..grandmothers are angels, aren’t they?

After being super spoilt for so long, it was hard to get back into the routine. Seeing this fat portobello mushroom in the fridge which Sunil bought for his breakfast, I knew what I was making. Portobello mushroom was introduced to me by a very dear friend few years ago. She is an awesome cook herself and lot of my cooking inspiration came from her. She could handle turkey bigger than her own size, make some super tasty meal in minutes with whatever was there in her fridge and also manage to make a side vegetarian dish for me in that limited time. We have had some awesome meals at her place while she was in Dubai. I was and will always be fascinated by her cooking skills.

This recipe is inspired by the latest cookbook which I bought from London’s Books for Cooks shop in Notting hill. It is a quirky little book store next to the famous Portobello Market. They have a cafe where they serve their daily treats and the chef prepares a meal from one of their many cook books that they sell. I heard that they also serve a 3 course meal for £10 which is normally sold out. You could relax, take your time to read and select books. As they also test various cookbooks, you could ask for their recommendations, if you need help. You are in for a great afternoon!

Coming back to the cookbook, it is a beautiful collection of vegetarian recipes called the “The Green Kitchen” . It is written by two very talented people David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl. The book emphasizes on wholesome eating and has simple recipes for everyday eating. There are recipes for people who follow certain diets like gluten-free, vegan or have certain allergies. I have tried few salads from this book already and I loved them.. Broccoli Salad with Pomegranate and Raisins in particular. And yes, you will also be awed by the stunning photography! I will definitely be trying more things from this lovely book.

I have been off on a massive tangent today…guess there is so much to tell:) So, talking about the recipe, the grilled portobello mushroom makes the sandwich meaty, chewy and juicy. The creamy texture of the avocado guacamole spread, the freshness of tomatoes and pea sprouts is complimented with the sweetness of the grilled peach. The rosemary, thyme and lemon marinade for grilling the mushroom and peach is simple yet bursting with flavors. The original recipe called for burger buns, but I made them as simple sandwiches which were light to eat and also easy to pack for Sunil’s lunch. He devoured them!

For a gluten-free option, you could use a gluten-free bread made with buckwheat, linseed, pea, rice etc. It is a beautiful recipe which could be put together in minutes and the colors would tempt you to eat immediately. I specifically loved the addition of avocado guacamole as a spread instead of the creamy mayonnaise or butter. Wholesome eating is always so satisfying! Hope you would enjoy the sandwich as much as I did..making it, shooting it and eating it:)

Shopping List
Serves 6
6 Portobello Mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
6 Peaches cut in half and stones removed
12 slices of bread or 6 burger buns
100 gm fresh pea sprouts
5 small tomatoes, sliced
5 small spring onions, sliced
handful of thyme leaves
For the Marinade
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary (chop 1 finely and use other as brush)
1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ripe avocados, halved, stoned and peeled
3 small tomatoes
1 handful flat-leaved parsley
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon squeezed
2 tbsp extra vigin olive oil
1. To make the guacamole, chop the avocados, tomatoes and parsley roughly. Add the crushed garlic, lemon juice and mash everything with a fork. Leave it a bit chunky.
2. To make the marinade, add the olive oil in a bowl. Add all the marinade ingredients and stir to combine. Use the rosemary sprig to brush the mushrooms and peaches with the marinade.
3. Preheat a griddle pan and grill the mushrooms and peaches for about 3-4 minutes on each side over high heat. You could also barbeque them. Brush them with the marinade as they cook.
3. Toast the bread slices or burger buns lightly on the grill. When done, spread a big dollop of guacamole, top it with pea sprouts, tomatoes, spring onions, thyme, one mushroom and two peach halves. Add the top slice and insert a cocktail stick to hold it all together.

Happy Days!!

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