Monday, August 21, 2017

Avocado Toast two ways for breakfast

I have to admit, I joined the Avocado Toast movement much later than I should have. No, no, I didn't wait till yesterday. I've had a few orders of these at cafes around the city. And finally, I got around to trying them out at home. 

I don't know if I've mentioned it here before, but I'm totally smitten with avocado. I can eat them plain, maybe topped with a tiny sprinkling of salt and a squeeze of lime. I love the way an avocado lends itself to so many recipes and uses. It is creamy, picks up flavors so well and can cool down an otherwise spiced up meal. I have tried a chunky guacamole before and I can just eat that stuff by the spoonful. Throw in a few tortilla chips and I can have a party for one (**wink, wink). I have also attempted a quick and easy Chocolate Avocado Mousse - so very delicious and it makes a perfect eggless mousse option. I can't wait to try out many more recipes using avocado. What is your favorite way to enjoy an avocado? Leave me a comment and let me know. I'd love to try it out too.

Now, onto the Avocado toast I made for breakfast over the weekend. Since this was a first attempt for me, I decided to keep it simple. I've seen some pretty extravagant avocado toast options around and maybe someday I will try them out too. But there's nothing wrong with simple. And simple and yummy makes it even better. So if you love ordering avocado toast at a cafe, I urge you to get into the kitchen and try whipping some up yourself. You will save yourself a heap of cash (which means more avocado for you.) The Lord knows these little green gems cost an arm. Speaking of which, if you find yourself around a Harris Farm Markets outlet, check out their Imperfect Picks range. They have mini avocados for $7.99 a kilo, when I saw them last. A lot of fruit and veg is discarded because of ridiculous aesthetic standards maintained by large supermarket chains and anything that doesn't meet those specifications usually ends up in a landfill. These minis are so tasty but would typically be discarded because of their size. And how wrong is that. I love the Imperfect Picks range and urge you to support them too if you have the option. 

Back to the avocado toast. I made two options for hubby and me. One savory and one sweet. It made for a very satisfying breakfast and couldn't have been simpler to put together. Our savory one had a fried egg on top and our sweet one had some banana and maple syrup. There are no strict quantities for this recipe, so feel free to have some fun with it.




Avocado Toast with Egg

1 slice of bread, toasted to your liking
1/2 small avocado or 1/4 large
1 egg, fried to your liking (you could also use a poached or a boiled egg, if you prefer)
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Cut the avocado in half and discard the seed. 

Scoop out the flesh and roughly mash it up with a fork.

Spread the avocado over the toast.

Top that with an egg. I used a fried egg, sunny side up.

Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top.

Enjoy!!!



Avocado Toast with Banana, Maple Syrup and Pine Nuts

1 slice of bread, toasted to your liking
1/2 small avocado or 1/4 large
1/2 banana, sliced
1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Maple syrup, to drizzle over, to taste
Cinnamon powder

Cut the avocado in half and discard the seed. 

Scoop out the flesh and roughly mash it up with a fork.

Spread the avocado over the toast.

Top that with the banana slices, a sprinkle of cinnamon powder, the toasted pine nuts and lastly, a drizzle of maple syrup.

Enjoy!!!


Note: I haven't been compensated by Harris Farm Markets for this post. The opinions stated here are my own and I've shared it with you because I strongly believe we can cut down waste as a society by just being more aware. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Gujarati Dahi Kadhi

Most people usually relate Indian food to a Chikken Tikka or a curry of some sort or basically food loaded with spice and really strong flavors. For the most part it is true, but today I'm going to share with you a recipe that I love. It is a recipe for a Kadhi - a yogurt curry. Because of how large and diverse India is, you find a few variations to this kadhi. Today's recipe is from the state of Gujarat and tends to be a little sweet. For years I have tried to find a recipe I enjoy. It has taken a while because this recipe is a delicate one and has to be well balanced. And I have.

I don't make this kadhi as often as I should. Is is easy, light and delicious. Since yogurt is a main ingredient in this dish, it is cooling and that is perfect for summer. Served over some piping hot plain rice with a little pickle and some papad (poppadoms), and if you're feeling indulgent a few pakoras on the side, it is one of the most satisfying meals you will ever have. If you're trying to cut down your meat consumption, this is a fantastic meal. As an added bonus, kids love this kadhi too. And that's a win-win in my book.




 Gujarati Dahi Kadhi
Recipe from: Spice Up the Curry

For the curry
1 1/2 cups plain, unflavored yogurt 
2 tbsp besan (chickpea flour)
1/2 tsp ginger, finely grated or ginger paste
3 fresh green / red chillies, finely sliced
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3 tsp sugar
Salt, to taste
3 cups water

For the tadka / tempering
2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 Kashmiri chillies (dry red chillies - kashmiri chillies aren't spicy, they just add flavour)
1 inch Cinnamon stick
4 cloves
A pinch of asafoetida
6-8 curry leaves

Pick a pot you want to cook the kadhi in and add the yogurt, besan, ginger, green / red chillies, turmeric powder, sugar and salt. (I've used a bowl here, for the sake of pictures. Mixing everything in the same pot you will cook the curry in, makes for lesser washing up after.)


Whisk it well and ensure there are no lumps. I find this is easier with a whisk than a spoon / fork, but if you don't have a whisk, you could use a spoon or fork but mix well.

At this point, I moved the ingredients to the pot I used for cooking. However, if you are mixing ingredients in the cooking pot itself, you can skip this step.

Add the water to the pot and whisk well. (Depending on the turmeric powder you use, you can choose to add a touch more to give it a more golden color, if needed. I added about an extra 1/8 tsp of turmeric powder at this stage and whisked it through.)


Place the pot on medium heat and bring it to a boil, stirring / whisking continuously. 
If you stop whisking, it will cause the yogurt to split, resulting in a not so good looking curry with a weird texture. So make sure you keep whisking.

Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and let the curry simmer, stirring every now and then.



Now work on the tempering or tadka. This is what infuses this curry with all the lovely flavors it is known for.


For the tadka / tempering - 

Keep all your spices ready at this stage, because things move really quick now and they can burn really quick if left unattended. 

Heat the ghee in a small pan on medium heat. 

Add the mustard seeds and let them sputter. 

Add the cumin seeds. 

Next add the dry Kashmiri chillies, cinnamon stick and cloves. In a few seconds, you will be able to smell the aroma of the tempered spices. 

Add the asafoetida. 

Roughly tear the curry leaves and add to the spices. 

Gently stir.


Immediately add these tempered spices and all the ghee used for tempering to the pot of simmering kadhi.

Stir well.


Let the kadhi continue to simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Serve hot.



If you need some Pakora / Bhajiya inspiration to serve alongside this kadhi and rice, here you go -
Potato and Onion Bhajias

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Banana Fritters - another great way to use up over-ripe bananas

If you're like me, you always have bananas on the kitchen counter. I personally love bananas and we always have bananas in the house. This means that every once in a while, I find myself left with a couple of bananas that are a little too ripe to eat as is. Do you? If you do, don't fret and definitely don't throw those bananas away. There are the perfect ingredient for these banana fritters.

I remember my mum and Nana (maternal grandmother) making us some of these fritters just in time for an after school snack. To tell you the truth, I had kind of forgotten about these fritters till my husband whipped up a batch more recently. And I absolutely loved them. They come together in minutes with literally 3 ingredients and no sugar. Now we make these fritters quite often. Sometimes, I leave a couple of bananas to get over ripe just so I can make these fritters.

In the past, we've made these fritters using either whole wheat flour (atta) or all purpose flour (maida). They turn out really well using either of the two. So feel free to use what you have on hand. I don't like my sweets too sweet, so I just use the bananas to sweeten these fritters. Since they are over-ripe, they tend to be sweeter. However, if you don't find them sweet enough, you can drizzle them with some honey or some maple syrup. You could also add some sugar/honey/maple syrup to the batter. The recipe below is the one I use without any sweetener. I think these fritters would work very well in place of pancakes for breakfast too.



Banana Fritters

2 over ripe bananas
1 egg
2-3 heaped tablespoons whole wheat flour / all purpose flour
1-2 tsp oil, for pan frying (I use olive oil. You could use any oil that you use for cooking.)

Mash the bananas till no big lumps remain.

Whisk in an egg. Whisk till the egg has incorporated with the mashed bananas well.

Lastly add 2 tablespoons of either whole wheat flour or all purpose flour.

Whisk till the flour has just about mixed in. Do not over mix. You will end up with a batter that looks like this.


Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan over medium heat.

Pour a heaped tablespoon of batter onto the pan. Depending on the size of the pan, you can fry more than one fritter at a time.


After a minute or so, or when the bottom is golden brown (use a spatula and slightly lift one edge of the fritter to check for doneness), flip them over and cook on the other side.

At this stage if you find the batter is too delicate and hard to turn, add a spoon more of flour to the batter and whisk through. This should make it easier to flip over.


When it is golden brown on the other side too, remove from the pan.

Repeat till the rest of the batter is over, adding a little more oil to the pan between batches, as required.



Serve hot with a hot cup of tea.

Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rice Pudding (Kheer) with a hint of Saffron - #MyWarOnWaste

Hello! It's me. I'm so glad you are still here. I've been missing on the blog recently as we've just moved house. But I'm happy to report that after a couple of insane weeks of packing, cleaning and unpacking, we are mostly settled in and I'm back to my regular routine. While this was happening, winter seems to have well and truly set it. You won't find me complaining, because I LOVE winter. Its the season for soups, stews, warm puddings and lots of baking - all my favorite kind of things.

Speaking of warm puddings, I have a list of them I want to make this winter and hope the next few weeks will give me an opportunity to share them with you here. I have always wanted to try making some rice pudding (known as kheer in India) at home. Each time I walk by the frozen dessert section at Coles, I'm tempted to pick up a pot of rice pudding. But I don't, because surely it couldn't be too hard to make some at home. The problem is, I just never got around to doing it. Until now.

Usually rice pudding is made using uncooked rice. I recently found myself with some leftover plain Basmati rice from lunch and I didn't want it to go to waste. Waste not, want not, right? So I decided that I was going to try and use it to make some rice pudding instead. After a little searching, I found just the recipe I was looking for. A no-nonsense approach to a rice pudding that used leftover rice. You've probably ended up with some extra rice from an Indian takeout lunch / dinner on occasion. Don't throw that stuff out. Transform it into this glorious, rich and creamy rice pudding in no time with a few pantry staples.

 BTW has anyone seen the latest mini series on ABC called War on Waste. Such an eye opener. It is shocking how much food is wasted regularly in households, among other wastage. This is a great way of reducing household food wastage. I love finding ways to reduce wastage. Do you have any recipes that use leftovers and cut down on food wastage? Tag them on Instagram using #MyWarOnWaste and lets help inspire people to reduce waste.

So go ahead and try it out. You can serve it as a beautiful tea time treat or as dessert. Any leftovers can be refrigerated. You can enjoy your rice pudding both warm or cold. Personally, I prefer mine warm, which works really well on colder days. I'm really glad I tried making this pudding at home. Who knew that something this tasty and satisfying could be this simple to make.

My rice pudding has a yellowish tint because I added a few strands of saffron to the pot while cooking it. You can leave it out and it will look like regular rice pudding.



Rice Pudding
Adapted from: Fatima Cooks

1 cup cooked rice (I used leftover Basmati rice)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
A few strands (4-6) saffron (optional)
A few raisins
A few almonds, roughly sliced / chopped

Place the rice, milk, sugar, cardamom powder and saffron strands in a pot.

Cook on medium heat, stirring continuously but gently. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the pan regularly. Cook till the milk has reduced and has become a thick, cream like consistency. It is okay if some of the rice grains break down. It helps thickening the pudding. But don't mash the rice completely. You want a little texture in there.

How thick you want the pudding to be, is upto you. Just before it is done, add the raisins. Turn it off the heat when it has thickened to your liking. I find that heating the raisins through the pudding plumps them up a bit and makes them extra yummy, rather than just placing the raisins on top.

Serve in bowls and top with some sliced / chopped almonds.

Enjoy!!!


If you want more ideas like this to help reduce food wastage and save money, follow me on Pinterest here.




Monday, July 3, 2017

First Monday Favorites - My June 2017 Favorite

We're halfway through 2017 folks. It seems to have gotten here at an alarming pace. Before you know it we'll be well on our way to prepping for Christmas. But we still have a little time before that happens. This, I believe, is a fantastic opportunity for you to re-visit your goals for 2017 and see how you're doing. If you haven't started work on any of them, now is the time. You still have half a year to achieve it.

One of my goals this year has been to post on this site with some amount of regularity. I have made some effort with this, but I have a long way to go. So hopefully, these next six months will have me do better. With that in mind, I'm going to share with you a new blog party that I've been part of for the last couple of months. I've participated before, but haven't posted about it. But today, that changes. It's called First Monday Favorites, hosted by the lovey Sid of Sid's Sea Palm Cooking. The first Monday of every month, a group of us bloggers come together to share our favorite recipe from the previous month. It is a lot of fun and I hope you'll join us.

My favorite recipe from June has got to be the Mawa Cake I posted about here.



You can check out what the others have shared here.


If you have a blog and would like to participate, just get in touch with Sid and she'll send you the details.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mawa Cake ... with a recipe for Instant Mawa

** This post contains affiliate links.

So last week I shared with you a lesser known, but extremely yummy recipe for a biscuit found in the Pune-Mumbai region - Shrewsbury Biscuits. If you haven't seen that yet, go check it out, I'll still be here when you get back.

Okay, so you're back. Today, is the turn for another lesser known recipe, this time for a cake called Mawa Cake. Again, as far as I know this cake is found in the Pune-Mumbai region. Kayani Bakery in Pune and Merwan's Cake shop in Mumbai are popular for their Mawa cake, though you will find quite a few other shops selling this cake. They are usually sold in packs of 6 - 6 muffin sized pieces. This simple cake is so very special. It is not much to look at, but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste. If you've never heard about this cake before, you should put it on your list of recipes to try out. Mawa is nothing but milk solids and this is widely used in a lot of Indian sweets.

A lot of people cringe at the thought of making their own mawa and just buy it from the local Dairy shop in India. This is because, while it is a simple process of reducing milk, working with about a litre of milk could take you about an hour to process. In the past, I have made Mawa the traditional way a couple of times. But for this cake, I decided to try out a cheat's version of Mawa. This method takes literally 2 minutes at the most, and you would never be able to tell that it is an instant version.  I'm so happy that I found this method. I have a whole bunch of recipes for Indian sweets that I've been ignoring, simply because it calls for Mawa. But that has changed, so you can expect to see some more Indian sweets / Mithai recipes, just before the Indian festival season starts.

Back to the cake. If you have your Mawa sorted out, the rest of the recipe is like a simple pound cake one but with a serious flavor profile. The Mawa adds a richness to the cake and it is mildly flavored with cardamom powder, resulting in a very exotic tasting cake. This time around my husband made the cake, which I guess made it even tastier (lol). He chose to bake this in an 8" round cake tin, but you could bake it in a cupcake tray too. I do hope you try it out.




Mawa Cake
Yields: an 8 inch cake

1 portion of homemade mawa (recipe below) or 200g unsweetened mawa
200g all purpose flour
300g sugar
200g butter
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder (Seeds of about 10-12 green cardamom pods, powdered)

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

Grease and line an 8-Inch Round Cake Pan with parchment paper / baking paper. Alternatively, if you are baking them in cupcake sizes, line a Cupcake tray with paper liners.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the whites to a stiff froth and keep aside.

In another bowl, cream the butter, sugar and egg yolks till light and creamy.

Add the mawa, cardamom powder, baking powder and flour and mix till well incorporated. (If the mawa in store bought or is a firm block, grate it before adding into the batter)

Fold in the beaten egg whites gently till just evenly incorporated in the batter.

Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake for about 40-50 minutes or till a bamboo skewer inserted near the middle of the cake come out clean.



Cool completely, cut and serve. Don't get fooled by the look of the cake. It tastes a whole lot better than it looks. And don't forget, if my husband (who has probably not baked more than a handful of times so far), can whip this up, so can you.






Enjoy!!!


How to make Instant Mawa?
Recipe from: Yummy Tummy

1 tbsp ghee / clarified butter
4 tbsp milk
1 cup full fat milk powder

Warm the ghee and the milk together. You just want this mixture warm, not hot.

In a bowl, stir this milk and ghee mix into the milk powder till mixed well and comes together to form a ball.

If it is too sticky, add another spoon of milk powder and stir again.

Use to make mawa cake.



Notes: If you are baking the cake in a  regular cake tin and not a cupcake tray, in some cases, the milk solids may cause the cake to brown quickly. This is normal, but if you think it is browning too fast and may burn, cover the tin loosely with aluminium foil and continue baking till the cake is done. 


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Shrewsbury Biscuits

Shrewbury biscuits are the best biscuits ever. EVER. They are buttery, sweet and melt in your mouth. Once you've had a taste of these, you won't be able to stop at one. 

It has been ages since I enjoyed one of these biscuits. If you haven't heard of these, I don't really blame you. I haven't seen these at all in Australia. In India, if you are from Pune or the surrounding areas, Kayani's Bakery was where you'd get your fix of these. And if you were really lucky, a random store in Mumbai would stock them.

But today, I come bearing good news, no, Great News. You can now make Shrewsbury biscuits at home with 4 basic pantry staples - butter, sugar, flour and vanilla extract. Yup, that's how simple it is. Now the trick to getting these biscuits right, is to bake them on a low temperature for a slightly longer period. But keep an eye on them. You want to take them out just when they start getting a little color on them maybe even a tiny bit earlier than I did this batch. 

The store bought Shrewsbury biscuits have a distinct look. They are stamped. These may not look like the store bought one, but they taste just like them, if not better. And I'm not just saying that, the store bought ones contain margarine and who knows what kind of stuff is in it. These are made using butter. And it is a well known fact that everything is better with butter. :) These biscuits are smaller than the store bought ones but they look daintier this way. Serve them up with a hot cup of tea when you're expecting company over and get ready to be the most popular biscuit maker around.



Shrewsbury Biscuits
Yields: 24 small biscuits

200g all purpose flour
100g superfine sugar (or powdered granulated sugar)
150g butter, at room temperature (If you're using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the dough)
1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 150ºC. 

Line a baking tray with some baking paper and lightly grease it and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the butter and sugar till light and creamy. 

Add the vanilla extract and mix well.

Add the flour and stir through. Gently knead till it just about forms a soft dough.

Divide the dough into 24 portions. 

Roll them out into balls and flatten to a disc and place on the prepared baking tray.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or till they are just starting to develop some color. 

Cool completely and store in an air tight container. 


This recipe has been shared with -
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
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