Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Vegetable Au Gratin

Continental cuisine has always been my got-to choice when eating out. The creamy sauces, herbs, cheese and spices make these dishes flavourful and enticingly appetizing. There are so many dishes that I have eaten and loved. But for some reason have been putting away recreating them at home. I always had this inhibition that these fancy dishes may be too hard to replicate at home. Au Gratin has been on my to-do list for ever! 

Au Gratin is basically a French method of cooking something with a topping of crusty cheese or breadcrumbs. The base could be vegetables or meat. 

The ingredients are mildly cooked and mixed in a creamy white sauce and then baked with a topping of cheese. The cheese melts and turns a beautiful golden brown and voila, your Au Gratin is ready to be devoured! :) 

The beautiful medley of vegetables, creamy sauce and cheese is my kind of Yum! Mild flavoured vegetables such as carrots, peas and potatoes are the most preferred while making an Au Gratin. 

So a few days back, after a super exhausting previous day, I needed something to cheer me up! And nothing cheers me up better than cooking good food and of course enjoying it! I just chose Au Gratin as my dish of the day. I had a basic recipe for gratin which I tweaked a bit and began gathering the ingredients. While the baby napped, I was able to put together this dish and also enjoy my fancy meal-for-one at peace! 

Now, that totally cheered this Mumma up! :)

I was blown away by the ease of the recipe and decided to definitely blog it. This dish is a keeper and I am so glad I tried this. Now, to try more variations of gratin recipes! Stay tuned :)

Treat yourself to this delicious creamy dish. If its your first time, you will love it! And if you are a gratin lover like me, you know what am talking about!! :) 

If you would like more flavour in your sauce, you can also add in some tomato ketchup to spike it up. And if you like some crunch, you can add in some bread crumbs as well along with the cheese toppings.

To complete the fancy meal, pair the Au Gratin with some Garlic Bread. They are a match made in food heaven! Enjoy! :)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Basil Pesto Pasta

Oh, I LOVE Pasta! 

If you have seen my posts on pasta you will know that I get experimental with the sauces. I love trying out new combinations and flavours. 

Pesto Pasta has been on my to-do list for ages and I have no clue why it kept getting postponed to later. One reason was I didn't want to use ready made pesto, I wanted to make my own. But considering how easy making pesto sauce is, I still remain clueless why it took me so long to try it out! :P

Well, anyway... so finally I got to making my own pesto and the next step of course was cooking up the much awaited Pesto Pasta! :)

It turned out to be so delicious that I think I might have just found my new favourite pasta flavour! Yayyy! So herby, so flavourful and so very yummy! If you have the pesto in hand, it only take like 20 minutes to out this dish together.

I had plenty of time on had that day, so baked a loaf of bread and made Garlic Bread out of its slices to serve with my pesto pasta! It was a winning combination. DO try it! :)

Basil Pesto with Almonds

Basil is such a fragrant herb that it gives every dish it is added to, a beautiful aroma and freshness. This pesto sauce is nothing but herby deliciousness. I have been meaning to try making my own pesto sauce for ages and have been putting it away for no solid reason, that I can think of! But am so glad that I finally made myself go for it and make this yummy sauce at home a couple of days back.

It is super simple and quick to put together with the simplest of ingredients. If you get your hands on fresh basil leaves, the rest of the ingredients would probably be right in your pantry.

You can use up this sauce right away, after you prepare it or can freeze and store it for up to 3 months! Well, I love such stuff which make cooking on hurried days a breeze.

I made a batch and intended to make pasta a few days later. I in fact transferred the freshly made pesto into an airtight container and shoved it away into the freezer only to take it out a few hours later to make Pesto Pasta!! Teehee... couldn't wait too long to make my much awaited pasta with this delicious sauce, could I!? :P

Go ahead and do yourselves a favour. Make this scrumptious pesto and treat yourselves to some pasta or slather it on toast and enjoy its herby, creamy goodness! :)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cinnamon Coffee Marble Cake

Oh, Hello there! :)

Life has been very busy on the personal front. Blogging took a backseat for almost a year now. Well, a tiny little human has taken priority over everything else in my life currently :) Yes, I have been blessed with a beautiful baby boy in February this year and my routine as you can imagine is nothing like it was before he came by :)

Here is a snippet of how my life has changed since my boy arrived: Baby-steps into Mommyhood.  

Thankfully, my little is cooperative and I am able to pursue my hobbies in between my busy schedule with him. I have taken a liking to sewing lately and have been creating little somethings for my munchkin. From crib bedding sets to pyjamas to patchwork quilts. I love trying my hands at my new found love of sewing whenever I find time. 

Hence, blogging has been pushed away for a while now. I do get to bake on occasions and cook up some fancy dishes. But I couldn't really bring myself to sit and update this little space lately. 

However, finally here is a recipe I truly wanted to share with you all. I baked this last week for a mini family together. Its a marble cake with the flavours of cinnamon and coffee dancing in harmony. 

The flavour of coffee and cinnamon goes so well together, if they were a couple, they would fare high in a compatibility test!! :D

It's simple, easy and quick to put together. Trust me, your guests will be pleased to be welcomed with such a pretty cake! :) Go ahead, bake this up and make your loved ones happy! Happy Baking :)

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