Saturday, March 17, 2018

Agurk Salat - Danish pickled cucumbers

I normally do Week 3 and Week 4 of our regular marathon, this time the themes i chose were available only in week 2 and week 3. So it is kind of back to back cooking for me at home. Next month we are running a mega marathon, 30 days of cooking, i m doing mega BM after a 1.5 years, though i had the list ready a month before, i have started cooking only this week. 
My mom and dad are here with me, my mom feels i m always in the kitchen, 😃 she doesn't know that i m cooking ahead, if she finds me cooking and posting the same day  for the Mega BM, she would think my husband is torturing me everyday😅
Coming to today's recipe, i chose Scandinavian cuisine for Week 3 of BM. The plus of this cuisine is you have a wide spectrum of cuisines to chose from. Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish and Estonian cuisine. Now having so many choices makes you dizzy most of the times, to put myself away from that misery, i chose simple recipes to showcase. I have a bread planned for tomorrow, hope i get time to make it. I have few bakes from the nordic cuisine in my kitchen here, the flavorsome pulla bread, Kanelboller/Cinnamon Buns, colorful st.lucia buns, Swedish Tea ring.
Today's recipe is a simple cut and pour one. These pickles will be ready in an hour. They taste yumm as such, usually served along meat dishes, to give that neccessary acidic taste, i bet they will be yumm with sandwiches too. We have many such vinegar pickles in our cuisine, let us add this cucucmber pickles to that list. Do try and let me know how you liked it.

2 no’s Lebanese cucumbers
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, pounded
2 pinches of salt
  • Wash the cucumbers well. If you prefer, you can peel the cucumbers, but I have left it as such. I have used a 250grams jam bottle. Make sure the bottle is clean. Slice the cucumbers thin. Fill the jar with sliced cucumbers.
  • In a saucepan, take vinegar and add sugar, heat the solution until the sugar dissolves. I added 2 tbsp of water to dilute the strong flavor of vinegar. Take it off the heat. Add  salt and pounded pepper to the solution.
  • Let the solution sit for 5 minutes, and let it cool. Pour the solution into the cucumber bottle. Let it sit for an hour minimum. Keep it refrigerated and serve it along with meat dishes. These pickled cucumbers can be used in sandwiches too. They will stay good in the refrigerator for a week.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Neapolitan Sauce/Napoli Sauce

When life gives you tomatoes turn them into variety of sauces😆. I bring you yet another italian sauce with tomatoes. I  must say, that i m trying this neapolitan sauce, for the very first time. They are slightly different from the pizza sauce i made 2 days back. The tomatoes are blanched first, skin removed, and then cooked in their own juices along with little garlic and basil.
A simple sauce, i bet they would taste amazing with pasta. I tossed this sauce with rice noodles today, which was our dinner. Both the mint pesto and this sauce tossed with simple rice noodles vanished in minutes, the flavors were awesome. Do try this and let me know how you liked it.

Inspired from here
2 large tomatoes
1 fat clove of garlic, chopped fine
1/2 tsp dried basil or few fresh basil leaves, torn
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste
1-2 tsp olive oil
  • In large pot bring water to rolling boil, make small slits on top of the tomatoes and let them sit in the hot water for 10 minutes for their skin to blister.  After 10 minutes, carefully remove the tomtoes using tongs, and place them on a flat plate, take care they will be super hot.
  • Let it sit for 2 minutes, then carefully peel the skin , mash the tomatoes roughly. Heat a sauce pan with olive oil, add chopped garlic to the oil, let it cook for a minute.
  • Now add the roughly chopped tomatoes to the garlic and let it cook in simmer flame in its own juices.
  • The sauce would reduce to a thicker consistency, add salt, sugar and herbs to it. Let it sit for 5 minutes more. Take it off the stove.
  • The sauce can be blended smooth or can be left chunky.i used my potato masher and mashed the tomates roughly, i got a sauce that is neither too smooth nor chunky. 
  • Let the sauce cool completely, store it in an air-tight container in refrigerator. Use it with your favorite pizza/pasta/sphagetti. I used it today to flavor our rice noodles and we loved the flavor.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Mint pesto - Fresh mint and almonds Sauce/Chutney

I feel it is partiality if i don't do a pesto while celebrating the italian sauces as this Week's BM theme here in my kitchen. Classic italian pesto, is pounded in a marble mortar and wooden pestle made with basil/herbs, pine nuts, garlic, cheese and salt. I m not sure whether adding almonds or walnuts are modern way of making your pesto flavorsome or simply a cost cutting measure, i for sure do the latter. 
I recently made a coriander and mint pesto with walnuts, i love adding walnuts to pesto as i feel they give more creamy texture to it and in that process i add little less olive oil to my pesto. Today i bring you a fresh, flavorsome mint pesto, using almonds. The freshness of mint will just engulf you the moment you  taste a spoon of this green goodness. 
Pesto's are my favorite for another good reason, they are pretty easy to make, just dump and blend. I love such simple recipes, i sometimes cheat my friends and family by doing tons of such simple recipes when they come for lunch/dinner and they keep wondering whether i m a lady ravan(Hindu Mythology Ramayan Character) with 20 hands!!!😆
Ok, coming to the recipe, i made a small batch of this pesto and used it immediately to flavor  Rice noodles for dinner, it was finger-licking good, do try and let me know how you liked it.

Inspired from here
3 fistful of mint leaves
10-12 no’s almonds, blanched
2 fat cloves of garlic
2-3 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp peppercorns
Salt to taste
  • Clean and wash the mint leaves. I have used 1 medium bunch of mint leaves, which when the stalks are removed will yield around 3 fists full of leaves. Sorry didn’t measure the exact amount, when I do  will update the post.
  • Take the mint leaves in a spice grinder or small jar of your food processor, add garlic, blanched and skinned almonds, pepper and salt.
  • Process until it turns to a coarse paste, do not add water while doing, add 1 tbsp of olive oil at a time and process the pesto.
  • Remove the coarsely ground pesto into a separate bowl. Toss it with your favorite pasta or add it your spaghetti and enjoy this flavorsome mint pesto.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pizza Sauce - Oven roasted Tomato Sauce

Pizza sauce, I don’t know why I took so long to post this recipe. We have pizza night every fortnight and I make my own pizza sauce every time. But I still haven’t posted the recipe here. When I chose Italian sauces as this month’s theme for Blogging Marathon, I knew the first recipe would be my pizza sauce. I love the sauce with roasted tomatoes, this can be done on the stove top too, but I love the oven, as I don’t have to stand near and stir. Dump everything in a pan and roast it until done and blend and season! Tada and you have the best sauce ever. This sauce is enough our pizza dinners, usually 4 or 5 homemade medium sized pizza. If at all there is some leftover sauce, it gets mopped by my kids for next day's breakfast.
5 no’s plump tomatoes
1 onion
2-3 fat cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp peppercorns 
1/2 tsp rock salt 
1-2 tsp of dried herbs (I used oregano and basil)

  • Roughly chop onions and tomatoes, take them in a baking tray. Add garlic and drizzle 2-3 tsp of olive oil on top and mix it roughly with your hands. Roast in the preheated oven at 200C for 35-40 minutes.
  • Once done, remove it from the oven, let it cool, add dried herbs, salt and pepper to it and process it in a food processor until smooth or if you like it a bit chunky make it little chunky.
  • Remove it to a glass container and refrigerate, it will stay good for a week. But mostly this is the amount I make for our pizza dinner and it’s gets over the same day any leftovers my kids mop it for the next day breakfast.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

Monday, February 26, 2018

Eggless Blueberry-Raspberry jam cake/muffins with whipped cream frosting

I planned to make sweet samosas for today’s post, but got too engrossed in other work,and couldn’t find time to make them. Anyways we still have time and I have  all the ingredients in hand.
Today cake is from my drafts. Well not the post, but the pictures. Last month, while cleaning the pantry I saw a bottle of IKEA blueberry-raspberry jam in the corner of a shelf. This was my younger ones favorite jam for sometime. Kids favorites never last long! Okies now I was staring at the jam bottle, thinking what to do! It was weekend, I was planning to bake a cake, so I decided to use the jam in the cake.   Since it was the week my parents were visiting us, I thought it would be nice to show off my cake to them.
I couldn’t take a picture of the cut cake while i was clicking as I wanted to cut it with my parents, so I made some muffins the next day to show the texture of these pretty cake. The cake batter has a beautiful amber hue because of the jam, but as it bakes the color turned a bit dark. 
I have added some jam to the whipping cream to give it a pretty color. So this cake a fitting addition to your celebration table, with pretty pastel colors. Do try it this festive season and let me know how you liked it.
1.5 cups/225 grams of whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp baking soda
250 grams of blueberry raspberry jam
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flax seed meal  mixed with1/4 cup of water (2 eggs)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup of water
  • Preheat the oven to 180c and line your muffin pan with liners. This batter makes spring 6-8 muffins depending upon the size and 2, 5 inch cakes or  1, 8 inch cake. If using cake pan, grease them With oil and line with a parchment
  • First let us make the flax eggs,mix 2 tbsp of flaxseed meal mixed with  1/4 cup of water. Let this sit until we prepare the other ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, take together flour, baking powder and baking soda and whisk it well. Now add brown sugar to this and whisk again to form a uniform mixture 
  • In another bowl, add jam and milk and mix it together to form a liquid. Now I strained my jam liquid as it has some seeds, from the raspberries, if you are ok with the seeds then do not strain, my kids are too fussy so I strained the liquid. To the strained jam-liquid, add flax eggs, oil and vanilla extract and whisk well.

  • Now slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and using a spatula l, slowly mix them together in one direction. See to that there is no trace of flour. While mixing take care not to mix vigorously, be gentle with the batter, so your cakes will be fluffy!!
  • Now pour the prepared into the muffin moulds or cake pans.
  • Bake them in the preheated  oven until done. The muffins need around 25 -30 minutes, whereas the cake takes around 40-50 minutes.
  • Once done remove them on to a Wire rack for cooling.
  • Cakes need to sit in their pans for 5 minutes, then use a blunt knife, run around the corners to loosen the cakes and slowly remove on the wire rack for it to cool. If serving as such I recommend serving while it is still warm.
  • Since I was frosting it, i cling-wrapped And let it sit in the refrigerator for a day and frosted in next day.
Frosting the cakes/muffins
200 ml of whipping cream
1 cup of icing sugar
3 tbsp of blueberry-raspberry jam.

  • Chill the cream well before whipping. It is recommended to chill the vessels and the bowl used to whip the cream. But since the climate was cold here, I skipped that step.
  • Take the chilled cream in a deep bowl, add icing sugar to it, and whip it using a electric beater until stiff peaks form.
  • Now add the jam to it and mix roughly to get a marbled whipping cream. Refrigerate the cream until use.  I normally make the cream, when i m about to frost the cake.

Chocolate Hearts
  • Melt 100 grams of dark chocolate in the microwave. I usually keep my chocolate outside before melting, so it just needs 2 times 30 seconds heating in the microwave, and voila i get a smooth silky melted chocolate.
  • Spoon the melted chocolate on to a parchment paper in the shape of hearts and refrigerate it until you serve the cake.

Frosting the cakes

  • Remove the cakes from the refrigerator. Scrap the top of the cakes.
  • Put a blob of frosting on a cake board or a plate. This helps to hold the cake in its place while you frost. 
  • Place a cake layer on top. Brush the top with simple sugar syrup. Fill the top of the cake with whipped cream frosting. Place the second layer bottom side up. Brush the top again with simple sugar syrup.
  • Crumb coat the cake with frosting. This seals the crumbs well and gives a neat finish to the final decoration. Refrigerate the cake for atleast 10 minutes before decorating it further.
  • I added another layer of frosting and  and garnished with some big chocolate hearts. Let the cake rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  • For frosting the muffins,i used a round nozzle and piped some cream on top.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sesame Mawa Ladoo/Til Mawa ladoo

Sesame and mawa ke ladoo, a combination of earthy sesame and sweet mawa, beautifully flavored with a pinch of saffron and punchy cardamom. A sweet, perfect to celebrate any special occassion. I chose Festival theme for this BM, with Holi in mind, i m making some quick treats to share with your friends and enjoy this joyous colorful festival. 
If you read my Sesame and nuts ladoo, you must have known my love for ladoos, i  have around 25 ladoo recipes in my kitchen. This one too, joins that band of quickie recipes. Today's recipe took just 15 minutes to make and i took more time to click them and was resisting myself from nibbling everytime i re-arranged it for a better click.
Unsweetened mawa renders that rich and royal taste and texture this cute ball needs to be called as a festive treat. A wonderful gift for your friends and family. For those who are particular about hand-made edible gifts and are not ready to sweat in the kitchen, this recipe is a perfect choice. Go on, try it and let me know how you liked it.
125 grams white sesame seeds
125 grams mawa/unsweetened khoa/Milk solids
a generous pinch of saffron
4 pods of cardamom
1/3 cup of sugar
20 grams of cashewnuts, roasted and chopped roughly
3 tbsp of silvered pisatchios, roated
2-3 tsp ghee

  • In a wide pan, take the sesame seeds and dry roast in a medium flame. The seeds must get nice and toasty. Keep the flame simmer while roasting. Take care not to burn them. Remove the roasted seasame seeds into a flat plate.
  • Take the roasted sesame seeds in a mixer, add cardamom pods and sugar to ti and pulse it to powder.
  • Heat  a wide pan,heat a tsp of ghee and roast the cashewnuts until golden brown, once done, remove it from the pan and set aside until use. In the same pan, roast the silvered pistachios for 30 seconds and remove it along with cashewnuts.
  • Now in the same pan,add another tsp of ghee, add crumbled mawa and saffron to it and saute until it turns golden. Keep the flame simmer and keep stirring or else the mawa would stick to the pan and burn. This will take around 5-8 minutes. 
  • Once the mawa turns golden brown, take it off the stove, add the sesame-sugar mix to this. Add the chopped cashewnuts and pistachios too and mix it well with your hands. Mawa would be still hot, so take care while mixing with hands.
  • While the mixture is still warm, coat your hands with little ghee and start making small balls out of the mixture. Enjoy your til mawa ladoo garama garam. 
  • The ladoos are done, store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Since it contains milk, i prefer to store it in the fridge. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sesame and nuts ladoos/sesame seeds and nuts energy balls - No sugar added

Ladoos, i am fan of these cute round balls and have quite a few ladoo recipes in my kitchen. They are pretty easy to make and they are totally versatile. Make them with sugar and ghee, jaggery and ghee. If you don’t want sugar, make it with dates and nuts, want a vegan ladoo,  try using the natural fats in the seeds. Roll them into cocoa, coconut, ganache and the list is endless.
When i chose the theme of festival cooking for this BM, the first dish I made was these ladoos or energy balls, the fancy name for them. 
I wanted to make the traditional maharastrian tilgul/sesame ladoos and also Mawa-ladoo. So one nice evening, I got my sesame seeds ready , but somehow, got lazy. I stored the roasted seeds in a box on the counter, but 1 cup reduced to 3/4 cup just in 2 days, as I just kept popping more in my mouth, some in my dishes, i love roasted sesame they got that earthy taste and not to forget the calcium. 
Finally I made these ladoos the next week of roasting the seeds. And no, they don’t need that much resting time😆. Jokes apart, this is, one quickie snack or a wonderful edible gift for your loved ones or just for yourself.  They are power packed with energy and also that taste, your tongue needs for your intelligent mind,  to accept that you are enjoying a sweet treat .
The below ingredients makes around 2 dozen balls, depending on the size you roll them, mine is a wee little smaller than a Ferero Rocher. Go ahead and try them, and let me know how you liked it!
3/4 cup White Sesame seeds
1/2 cup almonds and cashews, together
15-18 no’s dates, I have used mejdool variety, pitted 
1/3 cup desiccated coconut 
5 pods of cardamom 
3 no’s cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
4-5nos candied Ginger
1-2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
1/4 cup of chopped pistachios, roasted

  • In a wide pan, take the sesame seeds and dry roast in a medium flame. The seeds must get nice and toasty. Keep the flame simmer while roasting. Take care not to burn them. Remove the roasted seasame seeds into a flat plate.
  • In the same pan, dry roast the nuts and then the coconut, keep them aside once done.
  • Let the roasted items cool well. While the nuts and seeds and cooling, let us get the dates ready. Remove the seeds of dates and chop them roughly. This will enable the dates to blend easily , when we grind them together with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Now take the sesame and nuts into a Mixer and pulse them together. Once they are roughly powdered add the chopped dates, Coconut, cardamom, cloves and ginger to it  and pulse them all together until they all come together as a single mass.
  • The fats in the seeds and nuts help to bring them together. Once done, transfer it to a flat plate, add chia seeds and roughly chopped pistachios to this and mix roughly and make small balls out of the mixture. 
  • Store them in an air-tight container,In the refrigerator. I prefer the refrigerator as they contain coconut. Enjoy them whenever you feel like having a sweet treat.

If you are interested in a different ladoo/energy ball recipe, here are some
Apple & Oats Ladoo/Energy balls
Pistachios Truffles

Poha-Oats & Peanuts Ladoo

Monday, February 19, 2018

Cauliflower rice, Fried Rice - Chinese style fried rice with cauliflower rice

Cauliflower rice, my new found love. No, i m not on a paleo/Keto diet. I have been eating Low carbs for a long time now. I try to eat a variety of complex carbs like millets, quinoa, matta rice, parboiled rice etc. I felt like my body got used to the food i m eating, so wanted to give it a jolt by eating something totally new and at the same time healthy, that fits my eating style and lastly my budget. I have planned to eat atleast one meal of the day as zero-carbs. And now being a south-indian, who is used to idly/dosa/poha for breakie and rice, sambar and rasam for lunch, this decision is too tough. But i m trying, i cannot live without carbs, so trying to replace one meal, that will reduce my overall carb intake of the day.  
I have tried cauliflower rice, sometimes back, when it was a craze, it is still a craze. But somehow, i didn't like it and had to use up that batch into other gravies, so that awfully raw smell vanishes. This time, i read thru some blogs, websites that are so popular making this, finally checked our BM baking guru, +Gayathri Kumar blog for her cauliflower pongal and tried it again. 
Loved the fluffy cauliflower that steamed so beautifully in the microwave. First day i made pongal with it and next day i made this yumm chinese style fried rice with the cauliflower rice. It was absoultely delicious and no i m not exaggerating the taste of it. It was really good, and i m not person who would eat nonsense just for the sake of diet! As one of my yoga buddy says, "Eating is Believing" you should eat this to believe it!
Those chopsticks are gifted by +Vaishali , got to use them finally!!! :)
I m quite regular at instagram and keep posting my daily banter in insta stories. This cauliflower chinese fried rice too made into my insta stories, the day i made it. One of my yoga buddy tried it the same day and sent me some pictures, i was so happy to see that somebody tried and they too liked it. It was a welcome change to a healthy diet.
300 grams cauliflower florets
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 a capsicum, sliced thin
1/2 a carrot, sliced thin
1/4 cup of spring onions, chopped
2 green chilies, slited lengthwise
2 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
small piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tomato sauce , i used Tomato chili sauce
1 tsp freshly pounded pepper powder
salt to taste
fresh greens of spring onions for
1 tbsp oil, i used gingely oil
  • Clean and cut the cauliflower florets. Using a grater, grate them fine. you can also use your food processor.
  • Take the grated cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl, sprinkle water 2 or 3 times and microwave cook at power 80 for 8 minutes. This steam cooks the cauliflower soft. This step can be done on a stove-top/ in a steamer also.
  • Heat a wide pan, add oil. When it is hot, add chopped onions,garlic, ginger, green chili and saute until the onions turn pink. Add chopped spring onions to this and saute for a minute.
  • Now add the chopped capsicum and carrots to this and saute until they turn little crisp.  To this add soy sauce and tomato chili sauce and saute in high for a minute.
  • Now add the steamed cauliflower to this and mix well. Season with salt and pepper powder. Garnish with spring onions greens and take it off the stove. Serve it warm with side of your choice.I enjoyed it as such.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gobi Manchurian dry - Cauliflower Manchurian Dry - Indo-chinese starter

Gobi manchurian, only handful of, saint-like people would not love these cute lil deep fried florets in chinese flavors. My kiddos love them. This is a regular order whenever we eat outside. My lil one enjoys the dry version, whereas elder one prefers gravy. Two peas from the same pod, but totally different!
So, if you read my Chili paneer post, i have told that we are avoiding eating out in the restaurants. That eventually is giving me opportunities to try our restaurant favorites at home. Chinese being one of them, i was happy to try these recipes for our BM theme, adapted cuisines. 
Gobi manchurian was made along with Paneer chili for our saturday meal. Which we relished along with some soft soft roti's. This can be served as a starter or snack or along a meal as a side. Either way you would love them. The tough job is frying the gobi, that too if you are making it for a crowd. If you cross that successfully, then sauteing them with flavors is a minute job.
For the frying the cauliflower
600 grams of cauliflower florets
1/2 cup  Whole wheat flour
1/2 cup besan/gram flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup corn flour
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chili sauce
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper powder
salt to taste
oil for deep frying
I dont use All purpose flour in my kitchen, so i have used a combination of flours for frying the cauliflower. You can use 3/4 cup of all purpose flour and 1/4 cup corn flour in place of the above flours!

For the saute
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped spring onions
2 green chilies, slited lengthwise
2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
a small piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tomato sauce ( i have use chili sauce)
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp freshly pounded black pepper
Fresh spring onions for garnish
Let us fry the cauliflower first.
  • Take all the flours in a wide bowl, whisk well to combine. To thsi flour add red chili powder, pepper powder, soy sauce, chili sauce and around 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of water and make a thick batter.
  • The batter should be neither too thick or too thin, the florets should get well coated with the batter.
  • Clean and separate the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Take water in a wide sauce pan and boil it. Once it comes to a rolling boil, remove it off the stove, add the florets to this water and let it sit for 2 minutes. Then drain the water completely, let the florets sit in the drainer until fried. 
  • Dip each floret into the batter and deep fry until golden brown. Again take care while deep frying, do not crowd the pan, then you might not get crispy florets. Keep the flame medium, while frying. Too high you might burn them, too low it will turn soggy, so medium is the best. Drain the golden brown florets on to a kitchen towel. Repeat the same with the rest of the florets.
Let us saute the florets now

  • In a wide pan, heat oil, when it is hot, add chopped onions, chilies, garlic and ginger and saute until onions turn pink. Next add chopped spring onions to this and saute
  • Add soy sauce, tomato sauce and vinegar to this and mix well and saute on high heat. Now add the deep fried florets to this and toss to combine.
  • Finally finish off with pepper and fresh spring onions greens for garnish and take it off the stove.
  • Serve it warm along with rice or enjoy it as such as a starter.

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