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

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Colour-splash Parathas!

I love being organised. I always have to have a plan in my head to get going. Chaos makes me dysfunctional. I like to be prepared and hate being caught by surprise. This applies to everyday chores too.  I like to schedule a mental checklist and timeline for every chore and go by my plan. That helps me get things done.

And for busy work days, I plan up things over the holidays. Making chapathi dough, chopping some vegetables, grating coconut over the weekend, and stocking up the fridge with these essential for at least the first few work days makes it easier for me to get through the hectic weekdays.

So, the last weekend I had made two types of doughs. One to make Methi Parathas and another to make Beetroot Alu Parathas. As planned I made the two parathas one on Monday and the other on Tuesday. 

Recently the husband has also started taking lunch to work. I find it quite interesting to pack lunch for someone. The early morning scrambling to pack up our lunch boxes, making sure everything is neatly packed and then seasoning it with love :) Then later in the day await the feedback and check if he enjoyed his meal. It is satisfying.

I was particularly curious on what his reaction would be after the second day's pretty pink parathas! :D He actually liked it! Since there was some more dough left of both, I asked him what coloured paratha he preferred for the third day of the week? He jokingly replied, both combined! 

Well well well... you should never joke about food with a food blogger! :P This morning, much to his surprise, this is what he woke up to!! Haha! It was so much fun creating these :D 

Are they not a pretty sight?!! :) They were quite an attraction at my work place too :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Oats-crusted Veggie Tikkis | Oats-wala Hara Bhara Kabab

It was a productive Sunday at home. I got a lot of things ready for the upcoming week. Made two types of wheat dough... for making Methi Paratha and Beetroot and Potato Paratha, cut some veggies and made a dosa batter. All stacked in the fridge and ready for the busy work days ahead.

While I was at it, I put on some potatoes to pressure cook as the sudden craving to munch on tikkis struck! I had not really planned on what type of tikki I was making, but yeah tikki it was for dinner :) 

I had a lovely bunch of spinach and one too many carrots. So, I decided they should go into the tikkis too. I pressure cooked the carrots too and blanched and pureed the spinach. That was when I recollected an interesting post that my sister-in-law had posted here of a super yummy looking Hara Bhara Kabab recipe.

Following a bit of the recipe and a bit of my instincts, I created the dough which because of the tad bit of extra water I had added to make the spinach puree turned out to be a little too sticky! Now, the genius of genius ideas (at least in my kitchen!) comes in crisis situations... like this one! So, to make the batter a bit more pliable and less sticky, I tossed in some oats! Yes, oats!! Now, that really served the purpose and my dough was as good as ever.

But the experiment didn't stop there :) I further played around with the oats and used it to crust my tikkis and oh-good-gracious-me it added such a magical touch to the tikkis, if I may say so myself, the tikkis were real good and I was thrilled to bits! 

The crunch they rendered to the tikkis took it to an all new level and the inside was just perfect and soft. We teamed the tikkis with some burger buns and made simple burgers with mayo and ketchup seasoning along with some tomato soup. That was our Sunday dinner :)

Try this simple recipe and you would love how such a humble ingredient such as oats can elevate a dish so beautifully. And you will absolutely feel good about munching on a tasty snack, while enjoying the health goodness of oats. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The 'Piripirilicious' Fries at McDonald's

The weekend is here! A time to unwind and relax after a tiring week and to recharge before the start of a brand new week ahead. And one way to do just that is to step out, hang out with family and friends, chitter-chatter over lunch and catch-up on each other's lives.

Yup, that is exactly what the husband, brother and I were up to today, at McDonald's! 

McDonald's or McD as its more popularly known among us all, is a leading international fast food chain and is undoubtedly one of the top listed favorite food joints. The three of us are pretty fond of burgers at McD, and had not been there in a while. So today, we decided to meet up at one of its many outlets and get some lunch. 

Their burgers are an all-time favourite. With the perfect pairing of patties and soft burger buns with just the right amount of seasoning within, the burgers are yum. Team them up with some fries and a serving of soft drink and you have a very satisfying meal. They have some economical offers when you convert your burger orders into meals. 

After much consideration, we decided and placed our orders and within minutes, the goodies were all lined up at the pick-up counter. And oh, they upgraded our Colas to Cold Coffee at just an additional Rs.3 per drink. 

Quite conscious of what I put into my body, frankly I am not a frequent visitor to fast food joints, but once in a while, it is absolutely fine to indulge and just chomp of those delicious fries, sip on that cola, while you enjoy the succulent burger. Come on, we are unwinding remember? :)

We all opted for meals, and this time around, we opted for the newly introduced Piri Piri Fries. Having heard a lot about it, we were curious and wanted to give it a try. 'Piri Piri' translates to 'Pepper Pepper' in Swahili and is an African chili. McD has created their own spice mix using these chillies.

So along with the fries, we were given a little sachet of Piri Piri Spice Mix costing just Rs.15 and a Shake Shake bag!! Sounds fancy, doesn't it? :D Oh, I just couldn't  wait to dig in! :D

The making of the Piri Piri Fries turned out to be a fun DIY activity. 
  • Toss in the regular french fries into the Shake Shake bag. 
  • Empty the contents of the Piri Piri Spice Mix sachet into the bag.
  • Shake. Shake. Shake!

.....and ta-da!! The Piripirilicious fries were ready! :) Evenly dust-coated in the aromatic Piri Piri seasoning, the fries looked fiery.  

The Piri Piri spice was very flavourful and gave the regular fries an all new personality. The contents of the sachet seemed very generous and so we used only a single sachet to season two servings of fries. That seemed just about right to our liking. 

Now, I wouldn't completely trade the regular fries with Piri Piri Fries, it is just a very good alternative and I would opt for it on and off. I still love the crispy regular fries that McD serves. So, we carried back home the rest of the spice mix sachets, which I plan to use to season some sandwiches or pastas!

The delicious fun meal at McD was exactly what we needed on a lazy Saturday afternoon. 

Now, is not that a picture of a happy meal :)