Sunday, December 14, 2014

SRC Cookie Carnival: Ginger Molasses Cookies


Welcome to a special edition of the Secret Recipe Club. As some of you know, I've been a part of this super fun club for a couple of years now and needless to say I love every minute of it. This month you would have noticed, this is my second post for the club. This post is a little different. Our brave leader, Sarah of Fastantical Sharing of Recipes came up with the brilliant suggestion that in time for Christmas, we should get together across our 4 groups and do a Cookie post. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.

For this special reveal of the SRC, I was assigned Lauren's blog 'Sew You Think You Can Cook' - what a clever name; I do love a good pun. Get this Lauren is an aerospace engineer and hopes to become a caterer one day. Not only does she cook, but she also crafts - quilting, cross stitch and scrapbooking, to name a few. I like that because I love to dabble in a few crafts myself. Like me she loves Holiday decorations. I think we'd get along very well. I enjoy cross stitch but have never tried my hand at quilting. But after checking out a few tutorials on Lauren's blog, I am so tempted. I think I will soon try my hand at it. :)

For now however, I will have to be satisfied just baking one of her cookie recipes. And when I saw her recipe for Ginger Molasses Cookies, I knew I was going to make it. I love a good Gingersnap cookie, have loved them since I was a child, and the mild spices seem perfect for Christmas.

Just a couple of changes to the recipe. The original one uses unsalted butter and 1/2 tsp salt. I just used salted butter, since thats all I had, and I left out the salt. Also, I used treacle instead of molasses. I couldn't find molasses in any of the local store here; shocking (I think) at this time of the year.

The cookies were lovely. Crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside, with just the right amount of sweetness. The only change I will make the next time I make these cookies, will be to cut down on the ground cloves. It was a little strong for me. But overall, this recipe is a keeper. Thank you Lauren, for sharing this recipe.





Ginger Molasses Cookies

115g butter
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies in
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 egg whites
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Beat the butter and sugars till combined.

Add the molasses and mix.

And the egg whites and mix till combined.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients, namely the flour, baking soda and spices.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mix in two parts, mixing well between each addition.

Roll the dough into 1" balls.

Roll the balls in some granulated white sugar.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

Leave the cookies to cool off on the tray.

Enjoy!


NOTE:
If you find the dough too sticky to handle, refrigerate the dough for about 5 minutes and then try.




Sunday, November 30, 2014

SRC: Homemade Pecan Muesli

Welcome to this months edition of the Secret Recipe Club. This month I was assigned Claire's blog - Claire K Creations. Claire is from Australia and it is so much fun teaming up with another Aussie blog. She has loads of recipes, posts on local farmers markets and some posts on crafts and gardening that I really enjoyed reading. I must start off by saying I love-love-LOVE Claire's blog. I wanted to make every single recipe I saw. I had such a hard time picking a recipe for this month's reveal. Check out her recipe index and you'll see what I'm talking about. I love Claire's posts on snacks and food that people usually pick up in the freezer aisle that can be made at home and honestly, looks (and I'm very sure, tastes) so much better than store bought. I've bookmarked her recipes for Party Pies, Healthy Savory Mince Pies, Ham Cheese & Chive Quiche and this Ham & Vegetable Fritata to try out soon. Oh, and did I mention that I have a list of other bakes and treats that I've bookmarked too. Thanks for the inspiration Claire! You've found a new follower in me :)


For this months reveal, I decided to try out her recipe for Macadamia toasted muesli. Very recently, I had tried out some muesli with pecans in it and I quite liked it. So I decided to swap in pecans for the macadamia. My next batch will be a macadamia one for sure. I have made muesli at home before. But what I really like about this recipe is that there is no added sugar. It just uses a bit of apple juice for sweetness and moisture. I used a juice without added sugar. It was really easy to whip up a batch. I don't know why I haven't been making my own muesli more often. Just four easy steps and pop it in the oven.






Homemade Pecan Muesli

3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup mixed seeds and nuts (I used equal quantities of pepitas, sunflower seeds and chopped almonds)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup apple juice


1. Measure out your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.



2. Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl.



3. Add the apple juice to the dry ingredients and stir through.



4. Place the mix on a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper and bake @120°C for an hour. Stir through with a fork every 15 minutes while it is baking to make sure the ingredients at the bottom get their time on the top to toast off nicely.



 Let the muesli cool down completely before you store it.


A little jar of this homemade muesli prettied up with some ribbon and a little gift tag would make such a nice little gift / hostess gift this holiday season.

For a good breakfast to go option, serve up this muesli with yogurt and some berries. Look at what I found at the store recently; a little Sistema container that lets you keep your muesli and yogurt with berries separate so that it doesn't get soggy. And the little yogurt container has a slot for a spoon too. I'm so glad I found it. I need to pick up one of these for hubby too.




DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a sponsored post. I'm sharing a product that I find amazing with you.


If you'd like to be a part of the Club and join in the reveals, you can read all about it and sign up here.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Almond-Apple Crisp

You're probably wondering why I'm posting an apple crisp recipe in the middle of Spring. Well, you know the last few months have been super busy and I haven't been regular with the posts here. Today, I have a little time on my hands and was looking through some of the pictures I've taken of posts I'm hoping to get done soon and this one jumped out. I realized I hadn't shared this recipe with you yet and I thought it would be a good opportunity to do that. You see, like I've said in the past, I have been cooking and baking, I just haven't gotten around to posting yet.

I know while we're enjoying the slight warming of the weather, most of you are in the middle of autumn / fall and you should have plentiful access to some apples. Now, I've had my share of apple cobblers and pies before, but this little dessert is in a league of its own. The crisp almond topping adds a whole new dimension to the apple-cinnamon mix. Its adds some crunch and pairs with the apples so well, you have to eat it to believe it. In the picture, I've only captured the crisp, but you could serve it up with some vanilla custard or some lovely vanilla bean ice cream.

The only thing I did differently, is I left the skin on the apples. But if you don't like it, you could peel them. Oh yeah, I also left out the nutmeg. This recipe is a sure keeper. I see myself making this over and over again.




Almond-Apple Crisp
(Recipe from: Brown Eyed Baker)

For the apple filling - 
1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds Red Delicious / Gala apples
1/2 tsp cornstarch
4 tsp lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
A pinch of salt
A pinch of cinnamon powder

For the Almond Crisp topping - 
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds, crumbled with your fingers
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

To make the filling -
Stir the cornstarch and the lemon juice in a large bowl till it dissolves.

Add the apples, sugar, salt and cinnamon and toss well to combine.

Pour the mix into and 8" square baking dish. I did that and had some left over so I used a couple of ramekins.


To make the topping - 
In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.

Rub the butter into this mix, by using your fingers till it resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apple mix.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Enjoy!!!


For some more apple inspiration, try these recipes -
Apple Pie
Baked Apple Chips
Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake
Apple Hand Pies

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Super Fast Salsa

This has got to be one of the quickest recipes I've come across. Its taken me longer to write up this post than to make this fresh salsa. If you haven't realized by now, I really like my tortilla chips and nachos. You might remember my homemade version from here. Even though tortilla chips are easily available all over the place here in Australia, I somehow still prefer the homemade version. For this post, you'll see a store bought option pictured. I just need a little time to whip up a homemade batch, it is so much better; tastier and you know exactly whats in it.

But today we're here to talk not about the chips, but this really yummy salsa dip. A while ago, I'd picked up a jar from the local supermarket, that claimed to be 'Hot'. I love spicy stuff, so I thought this would really hit the spot. What I love about Mexican food is the spice from the chillies and peppers and the tang from the lemon and tomatoes.  Much to my disappointment, this store bought salsa was neither 'Hot' nor tangy. I knew I had to figure out a way to get my hands on something better. So when I came across this recipe for a blender version of Salsa, I decided to try it out. It was too quick and easy a recipe to pass up. And am I glad I tried this out. The salsa was fresh, packed full of flavor, you can easily adjust the spice levels to your liking. It was everything a good salsa should be. I sure hope you try it out.

The picture doesn't do it much justice. It was fairly late in the evening when it was taken. I hope to get a better picture up sometime soon.




Super Fast Salsa
(Adapted from: Barbara Bakes)

1 clove of garlic
1/4 onion, roughly chopped
2 -3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
Fresh coriander leaves with stalks
Lime juice, to taste
Salt, to taste

Place all the ingredients in the food processor.

Pulse till it reaches the consistency you like and is combined.

Adjust the salt and lime if needed.

Enjoy!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

SRC: Iced Caps

Welcome to this month's edition of the Secret Recipe Club, what we lovingly call the SRC. For those of you visiting my site for the first time, SRC is a fun group of bloggers that come together once a month, and prepare one recipe from a pre-assigned blog and write up a post about it on the reveal day. Its sort of a Secret Santa for food bloggers. 

This month, I was assigned the blog, BC Mom's Kitchen. What a fun blog. Anna, aka BC mom is a girl after my own heart. She looks for recipes that are quick and easy to make, without compromising on flavor. That is my food mantra, the kind of food I love to cook. After looking around for a bit, two recipes caught my eye, one was her recipe for Stuffed Chicken Breasts (which I will try soon, I've picked up all the ingredients for it) and a curious recipe called Iced Caps.

With summer kicking in here, I decided to go for a nice chilled treat - the Iced Caps. I've never heard of it called by that name before, but it looked like an interesting twist on the good old Cold Coffee, one of my all time favorites and its been that way for a long time. I've just not had one in ages. I couldn't let an opportunity like this pass me by. I had all the ingredients I needed at hand and chances are you will too. So if you're looking for a nice cool treat, you could be sitting down with a nice cool glass in sheer minutes. While it is simple to make, not to mention quick, don't let it fool you. I've made this a couple of times already and I get the feeling that I will make this a few more times, atleast, this summer. I've made it with and without the vanilla and I like it both ways. It turns out surprisingly creamy, yet not too heavy, with a nice kick of coffee. Thanks Anna, for the inspiration. This one is a keeper in my books.

I stuck to the recipe but I did make a double portion, because I knew my husband would want to try it out too. And try it he did. Let's just say we're really happy to have tried this recipe out.


Iced Caps
(2 serves)

2 cups of milk (I used full cream)
2 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla
8 tsp sugar
12-15 ice cubes

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz till the ice has crushed.

Serve up chilled.

Enjoy!!!



Monday, October 27, 2014

Bombay Street Food Special #10 - Dahi wada

2 posts in 2 days .... your probably wondering if thats even possible. I know I am. But I am going to find the time to catch up with my posts from now on. So, thank you for sticking around and being so patient. You will find more regular posts here from now on, compared to the last couple of months. I have been cooking and baking a whole lot, I just haven't had the time to share it with you. But fingers crossed, thats going to change.

Okay, so yesterday, I shared with you a treat that I've only recently learned to make, the humble cruchy vadas or deep friend lentil fritters. We enjoyed these so much, I decided to try and use these in another popular Indian treat, the Dahi wada. (Dahi-meaning yogurt and wada - fritters). Essentially, Dahi wadas are little fritters dunked in some seasoned yogurt with a little flavoring to take it to that next level of yum. 

I know that the dahi wada purists will frown on my method, but it works for me and it is really delicious. Delicious enough to have converted an aunt of mine who was visiting. She never has dahi wadas when it is up for grabs at parties, buffets or at Indian restaurants because of a couple of unpleasant experiences she's had previously. She claimed that these looked fantastic and she couldn't go past it without trying some and turns out she loved it. I even gave her some to take home and enjoy later. 

What I did was, made up one batch of the the lentil fritters. We had half of it with some chutney and I used the other half to make these dahi wadas. 

This is not an exact recipe, but some guidelines. You need to tweak it to suit your liking. Its a little sweet, a little savory and a little tangy all at the same time.

In this instance, I used some store bought freeze dried coriander since I could not get my hands on any fresh coriander. But use fresh if you can. I'm happy to have found this little treasure pot. I keep one at hand for times when I can't find the fresh stuff.  



Another time saver is this bottled Date and Tamarind Chutney, found at any Indian store in Sydney. Again, I'd prefer to use a home made variant, which is tastier and has better consistency, but if you're in a pinch, this will work fine. If you'd like to make your own little jar at home, you can find the recipe here - Tamarind and Date Chutney.




Now on to the Dahi wada. Here's what the end result will look like - delish!



Dahi Wada

Deep-fried lentil fritters
A bowl of hot water
1 tub of Greek yogurt
Salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Red Chilly powder, to taste
Cumin powder, to taste
Tamarind Date Chutney, to drizzle over, to taste
Fresh coriander chopped/ freeze dried coriander, to garnish
Mint Chutney (Not used here, but can be used, if desired, to taste)

Take hot water in a large bowl.

Dunk the warm wadas in the water and keep it submerged in the water for a little while (1/2 a minute or so) till it has absorbed a fair bit of water. 

Place the soaked wada between the palms of both hands and press firmly to drain all the water out. (We do this to get rid of any excess oil as well as to make the wada more absorbent - that way it takes in more flavor of the yogurt.) Continue with the rest of the fritters. Place in the serving dish or platter in a single layer.

In a large bow, beat the yogurt. Add salt to taste and some sugar. It should lightly sweeten the yogurt but not make it too sweet. Add a splash of water and whisk the yogurt. You need to add the water gradually till you get a thick pouring consistency. (Somewhat like a pouring custard consistency.) In all, you need enough yogurt to cover the fritters completely and generously.

Pour this yogurt over the fritters till you have covered them well. 

Sprinkle some red chilly powder, cumin powder and drizzle some Tamarind Date Chutney and Mint Chutney (not used here but can be added if desired) over. 

Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped coriander.

Refrigerate for a little while, atleast half an hour to let the flavors build and then serve chilled.

This makes a nice refreshing snack for a warm summers day, or if you are like me, its perfect any day of the year.    

Enjoy!


NOTE: This is NOT a sponsored post. I haven't been approached or compensated by Gourmet Garden or Pattu or any stores that stock them. These are just products that I happen to be using at the moment and work well for me.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bombay Street Food Special #9 - Deep-fried Lentil Fritters

After what seems like forever, I'm back in the blogosphere. And I just have to share this little treat with you. It is a South-Indian delight. We've been missing the readily available street food in Mumbai an awful lot lately, so I've decided that instead of whining about it, I was just going to have to put my big girl pants on and learn how to make it myself.

So off I went, to scour the internet for recipes easy enough for a beginner in South Indian food to get right. You might wonder what I'm on about. You see I love South Indian treats, but a lot of them call for the perfect ratio of ingredients, overnight fermentation and consistency of the batter, to name a few pressure points you might come across in a recipe. I wanted something that wouldn't take as long. After a little looking, I found a recipe for Deep-fried lentil fritters. It requires a little planning in advance, since the lentils have to soak for a while (you could make the Chutney and the prep the other ingredients in the meanwhile), but other than that its fairly simple to prepare. The fritters turned out fantastic. Crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and they packed some lovely flavor. I should tell you at this point, that the first time I made these fritters, the batter was a little thinner than it should have been. The resulting fritters were tasty but absorbed a little oil while they were being fried. I knew at once that I needed to make some changes. When I made these a second time and watched the water content closely. The batter was a lot thicker than the previous time. 

And since then I've made these a couple of times and they hit the spot every single time. So until I learn to make a few more Indian street food delights, I will make these bite sized treats everytime the we're hit with the craving for some South Indian food.

I've used a bit of chillies with the seeds since we like our food with a little bite. But you can either cut down on the chillies or leave them out completely. Serve this hot with some Coconut Chutney on a wet / cold day or any other day really coupled with a piping hot cuppa tea and you're in for a real treat. 

Come back tomorrow and I'll show you how to use these fritters to make another yummy snack. 



Deep-fried Lentil Fritters
Recipe from: Cooking is Easy

1 cup Urad Dal, black lentils (skinned and split)
1/4 onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. freshly crushed black pepper
1 sprig curry leaves, roughly torn or chopped
2 tbsp rice flour
Salt, to taste
Oil, for deep frying

Wash the dal a couple of times in water and drain.

Soak the dal in water for 20 minutes.

Drain the water. Rinse the dal through with fresh water again and drain.

Grind the dal with a tiny bit of water to a smooth paste. Remember, to not add too much water. You don't want a thin runny batter.

In a bowl, mix the paste, salt and rice flour. Add the onions, chillies, pepper and curry leaves and stir through, to mix the ingredients evenly.




Heat the oil in a wok to deep fry.

When the oil is hot, ladle the batter carefully into the oil one tablespoonful at a time and keep the oil on a medium heat. Fry the fritters till golden brown.



Drain the fritters onto some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil. 

Enjoy hot with some Coconut Chutney and a hot cuppa tea.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

SRC: Strawberry Oat Smoothie

This month for my SRC reveal, I was assigned Leslie's blog, La Cocina de Leslie. If you haven't visited her blog yet, let me ask to go over right now and check it out. Don't worry, this post will still be here when you get back. I was amazed at the collection of delicious recipes on her blog. I found myself drooling at all the Mexican fare on her blog. I can't wait to try a few of them out. The way things worked for me was there were a few things at play - work is super busy at the moment, that coupled with the usual chores at home, I haven't have the time to stop and breathe. At the same time, the weather has warmed up quite a bit at the moment. We seem to have jumped from winter to summer in about a week. I would've liked a longer Spring. But this means we have lots of delicious berries to work with. I needed something yummy and quick to make. So when I saw Leslie's post on Strawberry Oat Smoothies, I knew I had to try it.

Usually my husband is the one who whips up the smoothies in our house. I have also consciously started taking some juice or a homemade smoothie to work over the last couple of weeks. Its been a nice change and has helped me lay off the coffee and give me a burst of energy that I need. I just made a couple of changes to the recipe for this smoothie like leaving out the cinnamon and I also cut down the honey to half. You could adjust the sweetness to your liking. I would like to try it soon with the cinnamon and see how that turns out. Let me tell you a little about this smoothie. Even though it didnt have any cream, yogurt, ice cream or avocado, it turned out nice and creamy and that was a pleasant surprise. I reckon I have the oats to thank for that. They also give the smoothie good substance and a glass of this great stuff will keep you going for a while. I have a punnet of blueberries that I will use to make another batch of these smoothies. Thanks Leslie for introducing me to a great new twist on the smoothie. :)




Strawberry Oat Smoothie
(Makes 2)

1 1/2 cup cold milk
12-15 strawberries
4 tbsp. dry oats
2 tbsp. honey

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and puree till smooth.

Pour out into a glass and enjoy!!!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

SRC: Coconut Pie

What a crazy month it has been! My last post was for last months SRC reveal. Heaven only knows where the whole month went. I can't complain though, its been busy with work as well I have a new project in the pipeline that I am so very excited about. I can't wait to share more about that soon. Stay tuned!!!

Today, I'm very excited to share with you the recipe I picked and recreated for the reveal. I was assigned Ilona's Kitchen. I was excited when I learned I was paired with this wonderful blog and on spending some time going through the wonderful recipes here, I wasn't disappointed. Ilona's blog is choc full of yummy recipes. She has a ton of citrus desserts. I love citrus desserts and I have a few of her recipes earmarked to make soon. But when I saw her post on a coconut pie, I was sold. I love coconut in all its many forms in chutneys, coconut based curries, in my veggies and of course in the sweet form. If you love a Bounty bar or a Cherry Ripe (minus the cherry, of course), you will love this. This recipe reminded me of a Goan recipe for coconut cake, which I happen to love and will share on this blog soon. I stuck to the recipe but just made one little change, it wasn't a choice, but a little bit of a necessity. You see I thought I had some frozen shortcrust pastry in the freezer, but it turned out I didn't. I did however have some puff pastry and decided to give it a go and see what happened. Oh and I used unsweetened desiccated coconut, because no matter how hard I looked, I couldn't find the sweetened version.

With the ingredients on hand, this pie is a dream to put together. It is simple and quick with no fussy process involved. Of course, I could barely wait for this to cool. I didn't get a picture of a cut piece of this pie. But it was so very good. The pastry was flaky and crispy and the filling was just right. Using the unsweetened desiccated coconut worked well and the filling wasn't cloyingly sweet. My husband really liked the pie, but he didn't care for my puff pastry base and I agree. The next time I make this, it will have a homemade shortcrust pastry base.

If you'd like to make your pastry from scratch, you can refer to my shortcrust pastry recipe here.



Coconut Pie

For the filling - 

1 stick of butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp vanilla essense
1 tsp white vinegar

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl till frothy.

Add the sugar and stir well.

Add the melted butter and stir to incorporate.

Add the vanilla and vinegar and stir well.

Add the coconut and stir till well incorporated.

Here's what it looks like just before going into the oven


For the pie - 

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the pastry in a pie dish and pour the filling in the unbaked pie base.

Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!!!

Notes:
1) I left the edges of the pastry on since it was just for us at home, you could trim the edges if you'd like
2) Also, I think I've let this bake for a couple of minutes more than I should have, so it looks darker than golden brown. We tend to like our pastry a tiny bit over. Feel free to take the pie out of the oven when you are satisfied with the color.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

SRC: Blueberry Muffins

I've just about recovered from a bout of fever, and while the fever seems to have left me, what I seem to be stuck with are the blues. So while I was researching my assigned blog this month, Love and Flour, I came across LeAndra's post on Blueberry Muffins. Oh they looked good! Imaging my surprise when I read her post and realized that she whipped these up on a day when like me, she was a little blue. I loved the idea of the warmth that the ginger and cinnamon added to the recipe. So I decided, then and there, that this was going to be my post for the SRC reveal this month.

Mind you, with a blog like Love and Flour, LeAndra has a ton of recipes that will take you by the hand, lead you to the kitchen and urge you to make them. Before I decided on these muffins, I was considering the Banana Rum Cake, Marbled Chocolate & Vanilla Quick Bread, Tiramisu Bread Pudding (I still intend making this soon), or on the savory side this Corn Pudding and these Crab Cakes. I was torn between these choices so I was really glad when the Blueberry Muffins spoke up :)

The muffins were easy to make. The batter came together really quick and then all it took was 20 minutes in the oven. I pretty much stuck to the recipe except for the cinnamon powder. I used it but just reduced the amount compared to what the original recipe called for. I couldn't seem to figure where it went, so I just added it to the sugary topping mix. Another thing I noticed was that the ingredient list had white sugar mentioned twice, I considered that a typo. Also, something I was really excited about was, for a change, I managed to get the actual yield that the recipe suggested. Happy days!!!

On another note, check out these cupcake liners I picked up at the supermarket a couple of days ago. They look like so much fun. I baked the muffins in these liners and I think it would be a fantastic way to add muffins to a kids birthday party dessert spread.



Back to the muffins. These blueberry muffins were amazing. They weren't too sweet, just the way I like it. I loved the flavor that the cinnamon added. And those bursts of delicious berries with the light crunch of the sugary topping were something else altogether. In all, I'd consider this the perfect muffin. Its everything I look for in a muffin and so much more. Do yourself a favor and make them soon.

And don't forget to hop on over to LeAndra's blog and say Hi.


Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12

1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided in half
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of 1 lemon, divided in half
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients - 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the cinnamon powder and half the lemon zest.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients - the flour, brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and 1/2 the zest.

In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients - the milk, oil and egg.

Stir in the dry ingredients till combined.

Fold in the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tin, filling almost to the top.

Sprinkle with the topping mix.

Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes or till a toothpick pierced through the middle comes out clean.

Enjoy!!!



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Crusty Italian Bread

I've always been a bread lover. In my book, nothing beats warm bread fresh out of the oven with some butter on top. If like me you like good bread and you ever are in Hong Kong, please stop by this Italian restaurant called Fat Angelo's. The food is phenomenal, but their bread basket is out of this world. I consider their bread, the best I've had till date, ever.

On to my experience baking bread from scratch. In the past, using yeast overwhelmed me. I tried my hand at bread a few times a couple of years ago and each time ended up with blobs of unrisen dough resulting in brick hard bread, no, you could definitely not call that bread. Later on I learned that I wasn't doing anything wrong. Infact, I was using a brand of yeast that was known to fail; only I didn't know that. So if any of you reading this are based in India and have tried baking bread using Bluebird yeast, without much success, you know why. Please change your brand of yeast.

This Crusty Italian Bread is something I am so proud of. Once you get the hang of making bread, its actually a lot of fun and very satisfying to see a beautiful loaf emerge from the oven. The flavor and texture was fantastic. My husband isn't overly fond of bread, but he went back for seconds. He liked this bread so much that he had a slice after dinner with some butter. I was elated. I knew that I had done something right. I can't wait to make this again.




Crusty Italian Bread
Recipe from: Let's Feast

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 heaped tsp instant dry yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp salt

Place the flour in a large mixing bowl.

Mix in the yeast, salt and sugar.

Add the oil and the water and mix it well till the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough well. Add more flour gradually if the dough is too sticky. Knead the dough for about 7 minutes. The dough should be well knead, soft and not tacky or sticky.

Smooth it out into a ball and place in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Keep the bowl in a warm place for about 60 minutes or until double in size.

Remove the cling film and punch the dough back to knock out the air.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten the dough with your hands. Roll it to form an oval shape. It should be rolled tightly and press the seam well. Repeat the process again. You should end up with an oval loaf with slightly tapered ends. Place it onto a lightly floured board and cover loosely with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven and your baking tray to 220°C.

When the dough is ready to be baked, remove the tray from the oven, sprinkle some semolina and place the loaf of bread over it, to add some crunch to the base.

Using a sharp knife, make a couple of slits on the top of the loaf about 1-2cm deep.

Spray the loaf with water and place it in the oven for 3 minutes. Repeat this step 2 more times, leaving the dough to bake for about 40 minutes after the last spray.

If you think the bread is browning a little to much or too quickly, place some aluminium foil loosely on top.

When the bread is done, take it out of the oven, turn over and tap the base of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, the bread is done.

Leave the bread on a cooling rack. Once it has cooled, slice and enjoy!!!





Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cajun Chicken Wrap

Chicken is a protein that we eat most frequently at home. Whether it is a curry or fried, roasted or in a salad, we love it. What I also love about it is that is easy to prepare and cooks fast. One of many new edible ingredients that I've had access to in the last year is a Cajun spice mix. A lot of the spices I use are Hoyt's including this one.

This is the first brand of Cajun Spice that I tried and enjoyed it a lot, so I've just stuck with it. And moreover, it is a 100% Aussie family owned company; I try to buy local whenever possible. I know there are loads of folks who make this blend at home and sometime in the future, I fully intend trying my hand at making it myself. For now, I'll stick with what I have easy access to.

Making Cajun chicken my way, couldn't be easier. I use smaller pieces of boneless chicken. Sometimes I use thigh fillets, other times I use breast fillets. I almost always buy the whole bird and then portion it out and cut it up at home (that is husband's department though). You could use whatever cut you like. Its nice to leave the chicken to marinade for about half an hour, but at times, when I've been pressed for time, I've made it after just 10 minutes and it still turns out pretty good. This is not a recipe as such, more of a guide to some yummy chicken.




Boneless chicken pieces
Salt, to taste
Lime juice, to taste
Cajun spice blend, to taste
1 tbsp Vegetable oil

Take off the skin and trim the fat, if any, from the pieces of chicken.

Sprinkle the salt and cajun spice mix over the pieces of chicken. 

Squeeze the sour lime juice over the chicken. I think the lime juice is what brings out the wonderful flavors of the spice blend. Its definitely not the same without the tang from the citrus juice. If you don't have lime juice at hand, you could use lemon juice too, you'll just need to use a little more. 

Toss the pieces well to ensure they are well coated. Rubbing the spices into the pieces of the chicken works really well. Leave the chicken pieces in the spice rub for about half an hour.

Heat the oil in a pan. Carefully place the pieces of chicken in the pan and fry on both sides over medium heat till done. Depending on the number of chicken pieces you are frying, you may need to cook it in batches. Do not overcrowd the pan. You may need to use a touch more oil for each batch. (Tip: I start on a slightly higher heat to seal in the juices and then lower the heat to cook it through.) If you have a grill, I'm pretty sure this would taste fantastic grilled too.

You could serve these chicken pieces as they are with a salad for a fantastic quick weeknight meal. Or you could do what I do - cut up the pieces and use them in wraps and take them to work for a great packed lunch option. Here's how a put the wraps together. 



For the Wrap -  

Flour tortillas (I used store bought)
Iceberg lettuce, chopped
Cheese slices, optional
Cajun chicken pieces

Lay the cheese in the middle of the tortilla and place some lettuce on top. 

Top that with the the chunky guacamole and lay the chicken pieces over it.

Carefully, roll the tortilla to make the wrap.

Tip: If I'm eating the wrap straightaway, I warm the tortilla before making the wrap.

Enjoy!!!


** This is not a sponsored post. I'm just sharing with you a product I really enjoy.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Chunky Guacamole

Have I told you about how much I love avocados? Ofcourse not, because before we came to Australia, I'd never tasted one. But when I tried my first one, I was in love. I've had a few avocados since then and have loved every bite. My favorite way to enjoy an avocado is in the form of this simple, yet fresh and vibrant Guacamole. It is a chunky version so its nothing more than chopping up a few veggies, mixing and seasoning them. I can actually eat this by the bowlful. I serve this as a side like a salad, as a dip for some corn chips and so much more. Stay tuned for more.



Chunky Guacamole

1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 green chilly, finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Salt, to taste
Sour lime juice, to taste

Mix all the veggies in a bowl, add salt and lime to taste and toss well.

Serve.



Sunday, July 6, 2014

SRC: Fruit & Nut Balls

This month for my SRC reveal, I was assigned one of my long time favorite blogs, Baking and Boys by Katrina. Ever since I started blogging back in September 2010, when I joined some awesome bloggers for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies Challenge, I have been a big fan and follower of Katrina's blog. She always, ALWAYS, posts some absolutely delicious treats. Everytime, I visit her blog, I find myself wishing I lived next door to her, that way I might've been able to sample some of them (much easier than making them myself ;) ). She has so many options for Chocolate Chip Cookies, I almost made a batch. But realized that I had just picked up a bag of chocolate chip cookies on impulse just before the assignments got out.

These days, Katrina has made a few dietary changes and I found so many treats on her blog that are healthier than the regular ones but equally delicious. I decided I had to try out one of those. I've been looking out for recipes for little snack like options to take to work. Something no-fuss, tasty and that will keep me going for a while. I found just the thing - her Cranberry Almond Date Balls. These were so simple to put together and super delicious. My husband could not believe that they didn't have a grain of sugar in it. I was really happy that I decided to try these out and I look forward to taking them in to work over the coming week. Thanks Katrina :)

I pretty much stuck to Katrina's recipe and added all the optional add-ins. The only difference being, I used almond meal instead of whole almonds since I had it at hand. Also, instead of mixing the coconut with the rest of the ingredients, I just rolled the little fruit and nut balls in it. I love the fact that these have no sugar in it and everything in it is wholesome. In my books, that makes it a healthy snack. With the cranberry peeking out from under that snowy looking coconut, these remind me of Christmas :)  I think it would look pretty on a platter of Christmas treats. These are slightly on the larger side and are snack sized, but when I make them next, I intend making them a little smaller.




Fruit N Nut Balls

1 cup almond meal
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pitted dates
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
1-2 tbsp desiccated coconut (unsweetened)

Chop up the dates roughly.

Put the dates, cranberries and almond meal into a food processor and blitz till it chops everything up nice and fine and mixes it through.

Add the honey, vanilla and salt and pulse it to bring everything together. At this stage it will start to clump a little.

Add the chocolate chips and pulse it a couple of times to mix it through.

Divide the dough into walnut sized portions and roll to form balls.

Place the coconut in a small bowl or plate and roll the balls in the desiccated coconut.

Leave it to set for a little while. Store in an airtight container.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Breakfast Quesadillas

So one morning, I found myself craving something different for breakfast. And as luck would have it, this happened to be the day we needed to go grocery shopping for the week. So its safe to say it was slim pickings. I was out of eggs, cold cuts and bread. All that I had access to was one flour tortilla from a pack we used for dinner the previous night and 1 banana. I really didn't feel like breakfast cereal that morning, so I turned to Google to see if there was something that I could make really quick with what I had at hand. There were lots of amazing options but all required something or the other I didn't have. I took inspiration from some and just went with flavors that I know work well. Banana and chocolate - yum, peanut butter and chocolate - double yum. In minutes, I was sitting down with a warm, gooey, chocolatey, deliciously crunchy breakfast quesadilla and a big mug of coffee. Now that's what I call a good start to the day.




Breakfast Quesadilla

1 flour tortilla
Crunchy peanut butter
1 banana, sliced
Dark chocolate chips
A knob of butter

Spread some peanut butter on the tortilla.

On one half of the tortilla arrange the banana slices and sprinkle the dark chocolate chips over.



Fold the empty half over and press down lightly to make sure the peanut butter can do its thing and get everything together.



Add a knob of butter in a pan and over a low-medium flame toast the quesadilla till it gets nice and crunchy.

Then add another knob of butter to the pan and carefully turn the tortilla over to the other side and let it crisp up nicely.



I cut it into three wedges just to make it easier to handle.



Serve up.... and oh, please proceed carefully, the melted filling is hotter than you think it would be.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Oven Baked Zucchini Fries

So, on one of my previous trips to the Sydney markets (Paddy's Markets) at Flemington, I got a really good deal on zucchini. After the success with the zucchini fritters, I decided to try and use them in other recipes too. Ofcourse, I made another batch of the fritters, but I also decided to try out these oven baked zucchini fries. I've seen them so often on other blogs and was curious to see how they'd turn out.

Lets get something straight, a zucchini is no potato. Obviously if you're expecting this to taste like the more familiar French Fries, it won't. That being said, these are pretty good in their own right. They made an interesting side and you know they're healthy. These were served with some ketchup and they were gobbled up. :)




Oven Baked Zucchini Fries
Adapted from: Six Sisters' Stuff

3 zucchinis (weighing about 1lb.)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (approx.)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (the recipe recommends the crumbly not the shredded type)
2 eggs
A little salt, to taste
Freshly crushed black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with some aluminium foil.

In a wide and shallow bowl or plate, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper.

In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs lightly.

Wash the zucchini and trim the ends. Cut into fries. Remember the larger fries will be softer, the thinner fries will have more flavor and be crunchier. I tried to keep them thin. The thinner ones were the best.

Once you've cut them all up, dab with some kitchen paper to absorb all the moisture.

Next, set up a little assembly line starting with the zucchini, the whisked eggs, an empty plate (for the crumbs) and the prepped baking tray.

Work with 2-3 spoons of the bread crumbs at a time to avoid the whole lot getting soggy while you dip the zucchini in it. Put 2-3 spoons of the crumbs into the empty plate.

Working with a few pieces of zucchini at a time, dip them into the egg, shake off the excess, dip into the crumbs and make sure they are well coated and then place them on the baking tray.

Once you are done with all the zucchini, bake for 10-12 minutes. Flip the pieces over and bake for another 10-12 minutes or till the fries are golden brown and crispy.

Serve hot with some ketchup (optional).





Friday, June 6, 2014

Cross between Chicken Tikka & Tangdi Kebab

I've been craving some good old Indian food, and not just anything, but something along the lines of Chicken Tikka or Tandoori Chicken. So I picked up a 'heat & eat' version of Chicken Tikka at the local supermarket and let me tell you, it was awful, just awful. It looked like the real thing, but tasted nothing like it. It was so disappointing. I knew the only way I was going to get a decent version was to try making it myself. Now I don't have a coal fired barbecue pit yet, so I would have to make do with the oven. Next, I looked around for a while on the internet till I found a recipe that looked and sounded interesting enough to try.

I marinated the meat in the morning and baked it in the oven that evening. Now I know you're thinking, isn't Chicken Tikka usually in the kebab form, cubes of boneless chicken meat on a skewer? I had a couple of pieces of chicken leg (drumstick and thigh attached) in the freezer and I decided to use that. The marinade is a Chicken Tikka one, but the cut of meat used is more a Tangdi kebab (Tangdi = leg). I loved the way this turned out. The meat actually had a little char on the outside but was moist and tender on the inside. That marinade was fantastic, the flavors were perfect. I was thrilled with the result. Now I don't have to rely on the store bought stuff.

My husband loves a good tandoori chicken, or kebabs of any sort really. He was so excited to see this on his dinner plate. He considers himself a connoisseur of kebabs, of sorts and he loved it. So I know I'm onto something good here. This recipe is a keeper. Serve this with some naan and a raita and treat yourself to a good homemade Indian meal.  


Chicken Tikka
Recipe from: No More Microwaves

2 chicken legs (you could also use boneless chicken cubes)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder (or used a mild red chilly powder)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Mix all the spices with the yogurt. 

Make a couple of deep slits with a sharp knife in the thigh and the drumstick on both sides. Marinade the chicken with the yogurt and spice mix. Cover with some cling film and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.

When you are ready to cook it, preheat the oven to 180°. 

Discard the excess marinade and place the chicken on a foil-lined baking tray, for easier clean up. Bake for about 20 minutes. Baste the chicken with a little olive oil. 

Turn over and cook for another 15-20 minutes or till the juices run clear (the time will depend on the size of the chicken pieces), when the flesh near the joint is pierced with a knife. (The internal temperature of the chicken should have reached 165°, if you are using a meat thermometer). Baste midway if needed. 

Enjoy!!!

Notes: 
1) If you are using boneless chicken cubes, and you intend using bamboo skewers, soak the skewers in cold water for about half an hour to prevent it from burning in the oven.
2) Also, the cooking time for the cubes will be lesser.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

SRC: Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake

With another month simply flying by, we find ourselves at yet another SRC reveal. I still can't believe it is June already, the first half of this year has sure gone by really fast. Is anyone else thinking about Christmas? I am, see its winter here in Sydney and my brain still hasn't gotten used to a Summer Christmas. So with this beautiful cooler weather, I find myself thinking of Christmas more often than I should.

Anyway, back to SRC. This month I was assigned an amazing blog called "The Pajama Chef", written by Sarah. Please go over and say Hi to Sarah. She loves cooking, baking and running. Along with her husband Ben, she has 2 precious kitties, Sheba Genevieve and Misty Morning Fog. How cute are those names! And just wait till you see their pictures. :)

Sarah has some wonderful recipes. I was truly inspired. She has a bunch of quick, healthy packed lunch ideas, and since I've just started a new job, I know I'll have a chance to try them soon. I had a wide variety of recipes to choose from, but I was drawn to her coffee cake recipes, like this Royal Berry Coffee Cake, and this Lemon Blueberry Bread and this Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake. I had some apples at hand from my last trip to the Flemington Markets, so I decided to try out the Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake and you can imagine how wonderful my house smelt while this cake was in the oven. That was a good start but what came after was better than I could ever imagine. The cake was beautifully moist and light and the topping flavorful and crunchy. This one is a definite keeper. I'm happy I can use apples for something other than my usual Apple Pie. Thank you Sarah, for sharing this wonderful recipe.

Like Sarah, I didn't have any buttermilk. I thought I did, but I was wrong. Anyway, I did the next best thing, in a one cup measuring cup, put in one tbsp fresh lemon juice and top with milk to fill the one cup. Let it stand for 2 minutes and use it in the recipe.

Also I didn't have a 9x13 pan so I used a smaller pan. It resulted in a taller cake and slightly longer baking time. But I think the 9x13 pan would result in a nice sheet cake.




Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake

For the cake - 
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup Canola oil
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (I was out, so I used the substitution mentioned above)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chopped apples (I used 1 large Granny Smith with the skin on)
A pinch of salt (The original recipe doesn't use it, but I think it makes the flavors pop)

For the topping - 
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°. Lightly grease the cake pan you are using.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, egg and buttermilk and salt.

Add the vanilla and baking soda.

Fold in flour and chopped apples.

Pour the batter into the prepped cake pan.

To make the topping, in a small bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon. Add the melted better and mix through with a fork. Evenly sprinkle over the batter.



Bake for about 40-45 minutes or till done.



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

SRC Orphan Rescue - Beef N Bean Minestrone

Today, I have an opportunity to put up a second recipe from a different blog for SRC, though I wish it was under better circumstances. I'm picking a recipe from Wendy's blog - The Weekend Gourmet. Sadly she was left out of this months reveal, since the person who was assigned her blog, didn't get a post up. That is "So not cool!" I know how disappointing it is to be left out of the fun, since this has happened to me twice in the past. So when I heard that Group A had an orphan this month, I was more than happy to jump in and help out. It would be really great if you could stop over at Wendy's and say Hi, I know it would make her feel a lot better.

Wendy is a girl after my own heart. She enjoys a lot of the things that I do like travelling, listening to music, watching movies, reading and of course, good food. And get this - she's actually a celebrity, she's been on TV and cooked in front of a live studio audience! Wendy, I admire you, I would've been a bunch of nerves. One look at her Recipe Index, and you know why she's had such success in the food world. She has an impressive repertoire and picking just one recipe for today's post proved to be quite a task. There's so much that I wanted to try. 

Nevertheless, I chose to make her Sausage-White Bean Minestrone. The temperature in Sydney has been steadily dropping and we are well into autumn. Just yesterday, I told my husband that I wanted to add a few made from scratch soups to my regular rotation. I've had quite a few packet soups in the past and I don't think I can take anymore of those. I figured, I try so hard to make most of my food and condiments from scratch, so why not soups? When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it out. I just made a couple of changes to the recipe based on what I had on hand. Also I halved the recipe. You can visit Wendy's site for the original recipe. The one below, includes a few changes I made. This soup was fantastic. The flavors were beautiful and even my non-soup-loving husband enjoyed this. Thanks for the inspiration Wendy. I know I'll be making this soup again.




Beef N Bean Minestrone

1/2 lb Ground Beef
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried Italian herb mix
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 can diced tomatoes
4 oz spiral pasta or macaroni (the original called for rigatoni, but you could use whatever you have) {Adjust quantity of pasta to your liking}

Heat the olive oil in a large pot.

Add the ground beef to the pot and over high heat left it brown.

Turn the heat to medium and add the chopped onion, carrot and garlic to the pot and mix well. Let this cook off for 5 minutes till the veggies have softened a bit.

Add the herb mix and stir to distribute well.

Add the diced tomato and stir. Give it a minute to mix with the other ingredients in the pot. Add the stock. Let the soup come to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the pasta / macaroni and beans and cover and let it cook for a further 10-15 minutes based on the cooking time of the pasta.

Serve it hot!


Note: 
1) The original recipe used celery and fresh Italian parsley, which I left out since I didn't have any.
2) Wendy also used 1/2 cup of red wine, which I left out.




Sunday, May 4, 2014

SRC: Spinach Stuffed Omelette

Hello everybody! Last month sure flew past. All of a sudden it was time for yet another SRC reveal. Don't know what SRC is - well, its only the coolest foodie club around. We are a group of bloggers who come together each month for what we call an SRC reveal. Each month we are assigned a blog from the group and we pick out one recipe from the assigned blog, make it ourselves and post about it on reveal day. The only catch it, you cannot disclose which blog you've been assigned till the reveal day. Its so much fun. I've been a part of this fun group for a while now, and it is so much fun. If you'd like to join, you can find more details here.

This month, I was assigned Beth's blog - It's Good to be the Cook What a fun name for a blog! Not surprising, since Beth sounds like a fun girl too. She cooks up some serious yum and strongly believes in eating healthy and exercising. She loves her sports and a 100% dog person (that's what she calls herself). I totally get that - I'm a 100% dog person all the way. I totally fell in love with Stella May, her really adorable little dog. Go on over and say hi to Beth and Stella, will you!

For this months reveal, I had quite a few options. What I really love about Beth's food is that apart from being healthy, it is also no fuss and big on the flavors - something I look for in food. I narrowed my options down to this Italian Hoagie Dip, Beth's Springtime Tuna Salad, Sriracha White Bean Dip and this Onion, Tomato, Spinach Scramble. There's plenty more great recipes on Beth's blog, so make sure you stop by. I decided to go with the Onion, tomato, spinach scramble. The weather in Sydney has cooled down considerably and there's nothing better than starting the day with a nice hot brekkie. This is the perfect option for a nice weekend breakfast. I've made a lot of omelettes in my lifetime, but this one was different. You saute the onion and tomato before adding the egg, and this intensifies the flavors and makes it extra yum. That coupled with the baby spinach stuffed in it results in something stunning. Pretty and colorful to look at and so tasty, not forgetting your getting some greens in as well. This one is simple but hits the spot.




If you have trouble getting the little folk in your house to eat up their greens, this is an ideal way to get some in their diet. The spinach doesn't alter the taste of the omelette, but it adds all of its goodness to their diet. Here's the spinach, before you can flip half the omelette over the other side.



Spinach Stuffed Omelette
Makes 1

2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp chopped onions
2 tbsp chopped tomatoes
A little chopped green, red chillies, to taste (optional)
A small knob of butter / a tsp oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
A handful of baby spinach, roughly chopped (I might've used approx. 15 leaves, you can use as much as you'd like)

Heat some butter or oil in a pan.

Add the onion and chilly (if using) and saute till the onions soften up a bit.

Add the tomato and stir fry for a minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the beaten egg and let it set on one side. 

Place the spinach on one half of the omelette.

Carefully, flip the vacant half of the omelette over the other side. 

Let it cook through. Flip over and let it cook on the other side too. 

Cook to you liking.

Serve hot with some toast and a nice hot cup of coffee.


Here's a peek of what it looks like cut into. See the spinach peeking through - 






Sunday, April 13, 2014

Oven Roasted Asparagus

I've only recently had the opportunity to work with asparagus in the kitchen and I must say, I love this vegetable. I've only had it a couple of times and I can't wait for it to come back in season.

This recipe I'm going to share with you is so very simple, but it results is such delicious bites, I had to share it with you. I think if you have access to asparagus, it would make a lovely addition to your Easter table. There's hardly any prep involved and it cooks in the over real quick. You'll be happy to have a dish like this in your arsenal. I know I was.

I've tried sauteing and baking asparagus and I like both methods. But the oven roasted version results in such a lovely nutty flavor. That is something I didn't find with the sauteed version. But if you don't want to fire up the oven, don't hesitate to use a pan. The stove top version comes in a close second.

What I love about this recipe, is you can whip up a slightly larger batch easily. You can refrigerate the left overs and re-heat before serving.



Oven Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus (quantity doesn't matter, simply adjust your seasonings accordingly)
Olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
Garlic salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Line a baking tray with some aluminium foil for easy clean up.

Wash and trim the asparagus (cut of the hard, woody ends).

Place the asparagus in a bowl. Drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt, salt and pepper. Toss well and ensure that the asparagus is well coated.

Place the asparagus on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer and space them out. Bake for about 10 minutes or till lightly browned and tender. You can check by piercing with a fork.

Enjoy!!!


This recipe has been linked @
Hearth and Soul, by Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mixed Berry Smoothies

Picking up where we left off with the Bursting Berry Muffins, I thought it would be a good idea to use up some more of those frozen berries. I've been dying to have a good smoothie for a while now. The days have been consistently getting cooler here and we've had some wet spells too. So when we had a slightly warmer day than usual, I decided to make a Mixed Berry Smoothie, a farewell to Summer, of sorts. But I love the cooler weather. It usually means Christmas is around the corner, atleast it did when we were in Mumbai. The fact that its not is going to take a little getting used to here in the Southern Hemisphere. I still find it a little unusual to have a cooler Easter and a warmer Christmas. Anyway, I digress. 

Back to this smoothie. Nothing could be simpler to put together. I used a packet of Nana's frozen mixed berries, a mix of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. I loved the flavors in this smoothie. It seriously made me wonder why I don't make them more often. Well, I guess it gives me something to look forward to when Summer is back. Another thing you mind want to consider is the seeds from the raspberries. I didn't care for the crunch of the seeds. If you're like me, you might want to consider leaving out the raspberries, but I think they add a nice flavor to the drink. 

How do you deal with the seeds?

If you want to make a dairy free version, simply leave out the milk and yogurt and replace it with some fruit juice. I think that would be really delicious too.

We sat down to a nice big glass each after a particularly high intensity evening walk. My body was craving for something sweet and this was perfect. So much healthier than a soda and more delicious too. 



Mixed Berry Smoothies

1 1/2 cup mixed frozen berries
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
A splash of milk, optional (I needed a little to get the mix going in the blender.)
Sugar / Honey, to taste

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blitz till it reaches the desired consistency, nice and creamy.

I needed to add a little milk to get the blender going. Some people choose to use a fruit juice instead. You can use either. 

Enjoy!

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