Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tips on Efficiently Managing the Post Sankranti Celebrations

Makar Sankranti, the harvest festival is the day that marks the onset of spring season in India. It is celebrated with great gusto in several parts of India. 

The rituals are different in every state of India. Just as in every other festival, new clothes are purchased and flaunted by especially the girls of the household, who visit family and friends with sweet treats and delicacies made at home such as Til Ladoos, coconut bits, jaggery, sugar cane and a traditional blend of savouries. 

The days leading to the festival are filled with preparation plans and cooking. The festive day itself is spent celebrating with family and friends. The days post the festival needs equal planning and preparation too, to get the home back in order.

Here are a few tips on just how to do that. 
  1. Store away the sweet treats -  With items like Til Ladoo, jaggery and several other sweets making their appearances during Sankranti, there is sure to be a lot of sweets at home which need to be carefully stored away for the next few days of consumption. Make sure you store them in air tight containers in order to retain their freshness and taste. Sweets lying around is sure to attract ants and also turn stale sooner than you would like them to!
  2. Make best use of the leftover food - With more than enough Til Ladoo and coconut lying around, you are sure to have more of these items than you would have otherwise had in your household. So planning your cooking around these ingredients for the next few days will help clear them up. Also you could use up the excess Til Ladoos, after you have enjoyed them as is, by blending them into a powdery crumb and using them along with a honey, oats and coconut to make cookies or granola bars.
  3. Substitute sugar with jaggery -  It is on all our to-do list to eat well and stay fit and we have all made and secretly not met many a diet goals time and again. Why not try and make the best of the situation during Sankranti? How you ask?! Well,  with so much jaggery available in the pantry post the festival, why not make use of this source of sweetness instead of white sugar in the dishes that you prepare in the next few days? We all know the benefits of jaggery over white sugar, so in the dishes like kheer, cakes and cookies where you can do with this healthy substitutes, go for it!
  4. Sit back and relax - With all the running around for grocery to dish out the festive meals to preparing the lavish spread to entertaining guests and visiting, you would have strained yourself over the last few days. Make sure you do take frequent breaks amidst the cleaning to sit back and relax. 
  5. Avoid food poisoning -  Just as important it is to entertain guests and make them feel at home, there are those uninvited guests that make their way into home who need to be shown no mercy and eradicated at the earliest. These uninvited guests make their appearances on time for the delicious sweet treats that you lovingly prepare for your family and friends. Cockroaches they are! These tiny creatures are capable of causing and spreading health hazards that you would not want your family to be exposed to. They linger around the kitchen sinks, counters, food, dustbins etc and then spread the germs everywhere they go. The best way to keep a check ofn these little uninvited guests is to #SayNoToFoodPoisoning and use efficient methods of eradicating them. Keep your kitchen counter clean and tidy after the festive cooking. Keep those dustbins covered and also ensure that you do not leave any no food item open. Finally, use a good family-friendly pest control solution like the easy-to-use Godrej HIT at all the access points from where the cockroaches make their entry. These places include the sinks, drainage, behind and under the kitchen shelves. These are the best  ways to keep these pests under check. After a happy festive celebration, you do not want your near and dear to fall prey to food poisoning do you!?

Hope these little tips help you recover from your festive celebrations! Wishing you all a very Happy Sankrati!

*This is a sponsored post for Godrej HIT*

Monday, October 12, 2015

Mushroom and Capsicum in Yogurt Gravy

There are days when I crave for just plain rice and a simple spicy side dish to go with it. That is when I resort to my all-time-favourite Mushroom Pepper Fry. It is a wonderful recipe that creates a perfect balance between spice and flavour that I cannot get enough of it. I simply love that dish.

Having said that, too much spices is not always good for your tummy. So, I fight my urges to prepare that dish every time I buy mushrooms. Yeah, I somehow tend to blindly get into the mode of making the Pepper Fry each time I have stock of Mushrooms :) 

So, here is this other recipe which is higher on the health quotient and milder in flavour yet delicious, which I prepare on days when I crave mushrooms but not too much spice. With the intermittent crunch of capsicums and the tang of the yogurt gravy, this dish proves to be a good companion for simple plain rice. You can also serve it up with Chapati or pulkas.

I love LOVE learning new simple mushroom dishes, if you do have some up your sleeves, do let me know in the comments section below. I would love to try it out in my kitchen and post them here :)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Instant Oats Dosa | Ready in 20 Mins

If you are like me, you do not like spending too much time in the kitchen!

I want my cooking to come together quickly without much hassle. At the same time, I do get bored of the list of simple recipes I have in hand, especially breakfast items and hence am constantly looking for interesting and innovative recipes.

The other day, my colleague mentioned of an instant dosa she had made for breakfast which took all of 20 minutes to put together from start to finish! My ears shot up and I was immediately all questions on how she made it. 


The simplicity of this dosa floored me and I made it the very next day. Was surprised at how easy it was to prepare and its taste is oh-so-yummy! 

I paired it with a simple Coconut Coriander chutney. You can pair it with any condiment of your choice.

Here you go, hope you all enjoy it! :)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pasta

I love the taste of smoked, roasted vegetables. It infuses an earthy feel to the dish and a taste unique that cannot be substituted by any other method of cooking. Baigan ka Bharta or Fire-Roasted Eggplant, is one of my all time favourite dishes cooked by directly roasting the brinjal over the stove until tender and pulpy and then mushing the flesh and infusing it with Indian spices. Oh YUM!

So, this particular pasta has been on my to-do for a while now. I have heard of Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup and Pasta and have been curious on how it would taste. Was sure I would love it, considering my liking for this method of cooking, but I had never tasted it before. 

Just like in most cases of my planned cooking experiments, I just began creating this dish one evening after a work day! Yes, planned for me just means I have to have the core ingredient and sufficient time, then the rest of the recipe just gets built on. I can never set aside a day or date to venture into my cooking experiments. That only rarely works. I am more of a spontaneous cooking kind of a person! 

So, I bought these lovely red bell peppers and stocked them in my fridge and hoped I could make some time out in that particular week. And so, this one day was the day when I decided to make this for dinner!

Just like in Baigan Bharta, the roasting makes the skin char and blacken and the inside flesh soft and tender. I imagined a particular flavour in my head and went on building on it. I wanted roasted garlic, peppery spice and only slightly cheesy flavour. That is just want I did! 

This dish can be made a little richer, by adding in some fresh cream into the sauce, if you like. You can also add in more veggies. I kept it very simple and less fattening and let the roasted red bell pepper be the hero of the dish :)

Also, next time I plan to add in some dry red chillies, maybe the Kashmiri variety to the sauce to give a tad more redder colour. The taste however, was a winner and I am glad to have created this simple recipe! Enjoy :)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Radish-Carrot-Methi Parathas

If you have been following this blog for a while, you would be aware of my love for parathas. I just love putting together different varieties of ingredients together to make simple and wholesome parathas. It is so much easier making parathas than making chapathis and serve-along, as these deliciously flavoursome parathas can simply be paired with curd, raita or just some pickle.

So, in my journey to create more fun varieties of parathas, I stumbled upon this creation. This one has a combination of goodness from carrots, radish and fenugreek leaves. Each one bringing with it some unique flavour and health benefits.

I just shaped them into pretty ovals instead of the usual rounds. Variety is the spice of life, isn't it? so, why not make some fancy shaped parathas? :) These were easy to put together as the core ingredients need very less cooking time and since these are kneaded in along with the flour, the prep time is very short!

Have fun making these and enjoy eating them for breakfast, lunch or dinner! :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Huggy Bear Cookies and Puppy-face Cookies | Shortbread Cookies [Egg-less]

Baking breads and cakes has become a part of life for me these days. I am happy to have found basic fool-proof recipes for both over which I experiment time and again to create different varieties of bakes. I remember the days (oh, not too long ago!) when I would ogle at blogs that have such gorgeous bakes, and I would wonder when I would join the bandwagon and begin my own baking odyssey. 

I am glad that the baking bug didn't take too long to bite me and bite me it did, real hard! I have been on a baking spree since and beware... now am contagious, spreading the baking bug to many more through my Baking Workshops!! J

I have been putting away experimenting baking cookies primarily for the butter that goes in it. But then, a bit of butter makes life better doesn't it? 

So, here is a basic egg-less cookie recipe that I loved. The adorable shapes are inspired from Pinterest. Hope you enjoy this post as much as I  enjoyed putting it together! J

Ever since I saw the Huggy-Bear cookies on Pinterest a few months back I have been scouting around for a teddy-bear cookie cutter. They were too cute not to be tried out! So, the instant I found a little teddy-bear cookie cuter, I made it mine. 

Last week, I finally got some time to try my hands at making these cookies. I looked up a basic cookie recipe that was egg-less. I used the recipe for Shortbread cookies from Sharmi's blog page and created these little guys.

I am my biggest critic when it comes to baking and I rarely rarely give a double thumps up to my bakes at first attempt. But this one is an exception! A sure winner! I could not stop feeling proud of this creation, right from the great taste to the perfect shape of these cookies. They were simply yum and cute! 

I just couldn't wipe the happy grin off my face that day and I was like a little kid beaming with glee after learning how to paint a perfect picture! Tee hee hee J

I baked these for my friend's 2-yr-old who simply loved the 'Bow-Bow' cookies and demanded for more, after he demolished the first one I gave him. And seeing the delight this brought to the tiny tot, I baked these again for my 4-yr-old niece and it was a hit once again! 

They are easy to put together but look oh-so-pretty! Bake these for your little ones, for gifting friends and relatives, for parties that you host at home,  or simply to pamper the kid in yourself! J

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pizza Rolls

Its 11:37 pm. Its a work-day night. I had to take a personal day off from work today and am taking a day off tomorrow as well. Things have been hectic on the home front today. It has been a very long tiring day and yet, here I am sitting and typing away on my blog post like I have a blog exam tomorrow! 

Blogging is like therapy for me. It calms me down and gives me the much needed recharge I want from a exhausting day. No, not always, not every single tiring day ends up like this. But today is one such day when in the evening all I wanted was for night to fall and to cuddle tight in my bed. But as night approached, I do not want to sleep and relax myself, but find the relaxation in doing what I absolutely love... write, blog and share a snippet of my life through words.

And there are the other extreme kind of days, When I have all day to my disposal. No agenda planned for the day. No chores. No outings. Just a home-idling day and yet, not a thought props up in my head to create a blog post. 

Sigh! Let us just leave along the ways this weird mind works :)

I have been meaning to publish this post for over 3 months now. I have no idea why it hasn't seen the light of day until now! I just had the pictures in her and couldn't get myself to type the post! 

Anyway, finally here it comes today amidst my chaotic mad day! A fun shaped pizza! 

Have you felt like you want to wrap all the goodness of a pizza into a tight hug and make it a roll? :) Here is how you do it!! :)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Rontas and Thoy | Rice-flour Pooris and Lenthils | Konkani Dish

One of my favourite dishes while growing up is Rontas and Thoy. This delicious pairing made in food heaven belongs to the Konkani cuisine. Its probably the Konkani counter part of Poori Sagu.

Rontas is a crisp flat bread made of rice flour that is deep fried. And Thoy is a deliciously thick and flavoursome side made of toor dal. The crisp Rontas when dunked into the thick dal, is simply divine!

On my recent visit to my parent's place, I asked my mother to make these for me. It was yum, as usual and I savored every bite :)

Rontas, made of rice flour and is not rolled out like we do pooris and rotis. There is a technique to do this. I haven't tried making this by myself! I wanted to document it and blog the recipe so as to help me as well as you all recreate this magic at home.

So, I asked mum if she would help me with the details and she willingly obliged. She patiently let me click pics as she made the Rontas. So here are some detailed step-wise pics of mum in action making and shaping rontas!

Enjoy the yumminess! :)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Strawberry Choco-chip Vanilla Muffins [Egg-less]

Strawberries are such happy fruits! Don't they just make you smile every time you look at them? Vibrant, fresh and oh-so-pretty! 

I love their colour and how they make everything they are added into look beautiful! 

The markets are so full of strawberries right now and I have been enjoying this delicious fruit generously. After making smoothies and some gelato, I ventured onto making some muffins. 

I used my tried and trusted egg-less Vanilla Cake recipe and made these muffins. Strawberries inside as well as on top made my simple muffins look elegant and those little chunks of choco-chips only made them prettier :)

I loved this little mid-week baking experiment and was mighty pleased to have treated my colleagues to some of these beauties :)

Grab those strawberries before they go out of season and make these adorable muffins soon, you guys! 

Happy Baking! :)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Strawberry Banana Gelato

Ever since I whipped up the super simple and absolutely delicious Mango Banana gelato, I have been meaning to try making gelato with a variety of different combinations of fruits. 

I was indecisive as to the fruits I wanted to use in my next gelato experiment. But finally got down to it last month and created this super yummy dessert - Strawberry Banana Gelato!

Making gelato is very simple. It is just frozen fruits, yogurt and sugar if you like. I skipped any additional sweetener as my fruits were already sweet.

I love strawberries. They are succulent, tasty and pretty! The markets are full of strawberries these days. So, when I picked up a box of these beauties, I got right down into chopping and freezing a few to make my gelato!

Oh, the colour they impart to the gelato is gorgeous! I had to almost tie my hands up to stop myself from licking the gelato mixture that I just blended, and which I was yet to shove into the freezer. 

Well, well, well... I bet you will have to do the same. Try it and tell me you didn't! :P