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 :) 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Fruit Cake [Egg-less]



I love this part of the year. There is something magical about this season that you cannot escape the merriment and joy that is in the air. 

We do not really celebrate festivals but of the whole lot of traditional festivities of the year, Christmas is my favourite. I love the happiness, the joy, the family togetherness, the feast, the gifting, the lights, the stars, the carols... oh, it all warms my heart and makes me smile.

As a blogger, I am lousy at posting dishes that are apt for the festival that is round the corner. I usually end up trying out something on the day of the festival, after seeing loads of posts of friends online, and if at all I post, it would be just past the festival it was meant for!! Tee hee!! 

But this time around, I have surprised myself! I really have a beautiful recipe, just perfect for Christmas.... and Christmas is tomorrow! :)


Fruit cakes have never been my favourite. Frankly, I still do not like them too much. I made these for the husband, whose favourite cake in the world is Fruit Cake! He can eat a huge cake all by himself while I am happy with a tiny slice. And while I can gobble up a vanilla tea cake or chocolate brownie, he would be contented with just a single slice or two. I love nuts and he loves raisins.

That is how different our preferences are! :) I guess that is how it is in every house. No two people have identical likes and actually that is what makes life fun and exciting, don't you think? :)

In all my cake experiments so far, I realised I have never baked a fruit cake for him! My earlier attempt at making an egg-less fruit cake didn't turn out too well and since then I have been putting it away. 

This Christmas, to go with the merry mood I decided to finally get around baking it. I made little cupcake style fruit cakes. They turned out real good and I am mighty pleased at finally zeroing on an egg-less fruit cake recipe! The husband loved the surprise treat that was waiting for him :) 



And oh, I love this square muffin mould! My friend and I picked it up a few months back and finally I put it to use :) Loved how pretty the cakes have turned out in this pan :)

So if you still have not baked your Christmas cake and are looking to make an egg-less Fruit Cake for your family......or if you simply like Fruit Cakes and want to bake one for yourself.....or if you have someone who may like fruitcakes and you would like to gift it to them......or you simply love baking... this is for you! :) :)

Bake it, enjoy it, gift it... love it! :)


Monday, December 15, 2014

Soya Spring Onion Pulav




There is this wonderful thing about food... it always brings back the lovely memories that are attached to it. I have some fond memories attached to a lot of food and everytime I happen to enjoy that particular food, those memories come flooding in. 

So, today I am taking you back in time to my college days with this simple and flavourful rice preparation.


College days are one of those best days for most of us. Those care-free days of fun laughter and friendship and a little studies in between ;) I had my own little group of friends and we made sure our years together was simply awesome! Oh, and the lunch hour was our favourite! :)

We would sit together in our benches and inspect each other's boxes. Yes, our own lunches were savoured, but what interested each of us was what was in the other's boxes! :) We each had a favourite from each other's mom's cooking and we would get all excited when we saw that in their lunch box! One of my friend's mum used to make this absolutely yummy rice preparation that had soya and spring onions in it. We simply could not guess that wonderful spice-flavour that went in to. After much guessing, she revealed that the magic masala was sambar powder!! 


It intrigued me and I have tried recreating it at home for my mum. Yes, I was fond of cooking even back then and did occasional visits to the kitchen :D So, my version was very close to my friend's mum's and my mum happened to like it too! She has hence made me make this for her and has been our favourite for a long time now. 

All along I have used the regular soya chunks that you find in the market. I would soak them into water and then after draining out the water, would finely chop them. Recently I bumped into adorable little soya granules that were shaped into teeny tiny little balls. They could be used as a whole and need not be chopped. The rice looks pretty with these little soya balls peeking from the gaps.

Try this simple recipe and enjoy the unique blend of flavours dance in your taste buds :) 



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Orange And Pistachio Cake [Egg-less]


Hello there! :) I am back from yet another hiatus! :) Hoping the momentum continues for a while! 

I have been away from my little bloggie world for a while now and it feels like forever! It was just another phase where I just couldn't get myself to sit and create a post. I have been cooking, baking and clicking pics. And have quite a few drafts too, but the part of drafting out the post and publishing it... well, that didn't happen for some reason. Just another blog-slump phase. But, now that am back, I hope to be around :)



So, a few weeks back I had to... HAD to make an orange cake and I had to.. HAD to use damerara (brown) sugar in it. 

Hmmm...why you ask? Oh well, because my craving said so! Ah, for those of you who haven't met my ever so weird and impromptu craving... here are some of the dishes that my craving and me came up with: Spinach and Mushroom Pasta, Soya Potato Patties, Eggless Chocolate Walnut Cake!

Yup, we make a great pair, my craving and me!! :P



This was the first time I used brown sugar and I was pretty satisfied with the outcome. The taste and smell of this sugar is different from the regular white refined sugar. But the interesting texture it gave to the cake, I simply loved! I am definitely experimenting more with brown sugar cakes... for now, enjoy this simple, flavourful orange pistachio cake :)




Friday, October 3, 2014

Nan's Yum-yums! Bread Bakers - a bread baking workshop (July 2014)

 

Ever since Junior Bakers happened, where I experienced the joy of spreading the love for baking, I couldn't wait to do it again! This time, I wanted to let those apprehensive bread lovers, that baking your own bread at home is far less daunting than most think it is and in fact it is actually therapeutic! 

So, the agenda for my second workshop was purely on breads. A lovely bunch of 5 ladies came in along with their kids, some who baked along with their mommies, while some participated as individual bakers! It always amuses me how the baking bug can bite even tiny little tots... :)

It was a wonderful 4 hours during which we learnt the basics about yeast, with loads of tips and tricks which I felt would help these bakers while they begin their baking experiments back home. Then, we baked 3 variations of breads - Herb and Cheese Pull-apart bread, which was a crowd pleaser and a favourite amongst the kiddies, Cinnamon Hearts, Pizza Stuffed Buns. 

Each of the participants baked all these goodies and took them back home with a lot of pride and loads of smiles. :) Their boxes of goodies looks absolutely great and my heart swelled with pride and joy for them :)



An interesting aspect of this workshop was that a few participants came in with special requirements which we could blend into our workshop and meet each of their needs. 

The garlic bread was a special request by one of the little bakers, who happens to be a huge fan of the Domino's Garlic Bread Sticks. So his mommy wanted to learn how to bake that foe him. And so, we baked a Garlic Bread Stick as well.

Another participant had specially requested to bake only with wholewheat and so all her baked were made of only wheat flour. And then another mommy, wanted to learn how to bake a simple wholewheat bread loaf and we did that too, as a group.

And then the best part of the workshop... was the lovely lovely feedback that they left for me! These beautiful words from my baking students, made me happy and feel that it was all worth it!! :) Thank you all! :)


Some of the participants, have hence begun baking at home and have shared some beautiful pictures of their bread creations. I am happy to have been able to help them discover the bakers in them! :)

More pictures!! Hop over and check out the Bread Bakers photo album to relive those memories and be a part of our fun through the pictures :)

Do such workshops interest you?

Stay tuned to my updates on my Facebook page for future workshops.

OR 

Drop me an e-mail to discuss your requirements. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Butterflaps | Guyanese Butter Flaps


Baking is therapeutic. I have heard this so many times before I started baking and used to wonder what really did that mean? And now, I say it myself... baking is indeed therapeutic! 

There is something magically peaceful about working with the flours, yeast and marrying them into a bread dough. Kneading it with love and patiently waiting till it proofs and rises. And then, shaping the dough into fancy shapes, and stuffing it with lovely fillings or topping the dough with delicious ingredients... oh the options are endless! 




And every single time, the resultant bread comes out of the oven bringing along with itself a sense of joy and fulfillment. Yes, even now... it makes me grin from ear-to-ear every time I pull out a perfectly baked bread from the oven! :) 

I look for new bread recipes and ideas. By now you would have guessed, I like my recipes to be simple and easy to create... and this gorgeous beauty, the Guyanese Butterflaps, fit the criteria perfectly! I saw them at my dear friend, Namita's space and I knew what love at first sight felt like :)

I simply had to make them! And I did make them... that same night :)


Its a traditional bread of the Guyana. Its simply, bread dough smeared with buttered, folded and baked. The pretty shape that the folds give it look like flaps and hence the name... Butterflaps! This version has some garlic and some dry-herbs seasonings.

I loved everything about this bread - the preparation, the taste and that cute name! :) Try it and join the fan club :)