Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cook With Red Event 1 And Giveaways


Christmas and New Year is around the corner. Everywhere in London I see sparkling trees, snowy decorations and glowing lights- so jovial isn't it? Don’t you just enjoy witnessing the beautiful red- Santa caps, socks, jingle bells? I personally love red- the colour of passion, love and energy. So let’s follow the red trend in the blogging world as well and celebrate Christmas and New Year with red as themed colour this time.

Yes! all you have to do is cook with red ingredients’.  Some of the examples of red food are apples, red lentils, pomegranate,strawberries, red onions, carrots, red chilies, cherries, beetroot, tomatoes etc etc. Yup! Put on your thinking caps and cook anything red. Here is the collection of my recipes which were cooked with red things- roasted tomato soup, red lentils tadka, chocolate strawberry cake, nutty carrot salad, red onion paratha, Spaghetti in Arrabiata Sauce .

Rules for the event-
  • Cook with anything red. Red ingredient must be the main one and not just used in garnishing.
  • Looking for fresh entries thus try out new recipes. So, no archived posts will be entertained. Your post has to between November 2013- Janruray 2014.
  • Multiple entries are welcome and appreciated.
  • The event has to be linked back as Cook With Red Event announced at Merry Tummy. (Compulsory)
  • Usage of logo is optional but I would be happy if you could use it, as it helps spread word.
  • You have to like Merry Tummy's Facebook Page and Follow Merry Tummy. (Compulsory)
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Only after your first entry, share the event details at facebook page.(I want more people to know about the event). Keep your this post public in Facebook so that I can see it.(Compulsory- have to do only once)
  • Please use the linky tool to link your recipes below. (Mention the name of the dish you make and not your name.)
  • Else Send a mail to agrawal.shweta.n@gmail.com with the subject line as Cook With Red  and with the following details:
    • Your Name
    • Recipe Name
    • Blog Name
    • Recipe URL (Please send the Recipe URL and not the blog URL)
    • Pic of the recipe (If it is not on the blog)
  • Non bloggers are most welcome to participate. Just send me the recipe details with a click of the recipe to the above mentioned email.
Lucky Giveaway - Yes there is one giveaway. I will choose one lucky person through random.org. I will then ask the winner to choose from cookware, bakeware, cook books or kitchen accessories as prize. Once again, the giveaway is open for people who can give Indian address :) There will also be certificates for top contributor, best innovative recipe, best recipe, best click and participation award. 

Surprise Giveaway- I am also keeping one surprise prize. Anyone who comes with beautiful decorated cake will get one special prize. So keep baking. (This is valid for my friends in the UK and India both)

Here is a glimpse of what I have send so far to the winners of the events.

Cookware-Non Stick Frying Pan; Bakeware-Butterfly shaped 3 silicon cake moulds; Cookware- Branded pigeon cute small frying pan.

You all lovely people have made my events- Cook With white and Cook with Yellow a mega success. I have seen some amazing recipes and spotted passionate bloggers-kudos to you. Again, thanks very much- means a lot.

Hope you all will like the theme. Red is in the air :-). Send in the tasty dishes ladies :)


(Image Source: logo, Cutchi kicthen, babitha Costa and Spicy Foood)


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Roasted Tomatoes Garlic Soup With Baobab Fruit Powder




When most of the people are still cooking and enjoying pumpkin, I must say I am totally bored with them. I am so drained seeing and reading about pumpkin soups and dishes. No, soup is not the trouble; in fact I must mention that I am a soup devotee.  I read somewhere-“Worries go down better with soup” and I agree with this statement entirely.

Rainy day or a cold night- my husband and I wish to have a warm cup of soup. Now, we can’t have soups that look pale or colourless, we need spicy, rich and creamy ones. Tomatoes soup which is so common is also not our cup of tea; we find it very artificial in flavours and not up to the mark. So here is a makeover of the old boring tomato soup. Why not roast red plum tomatoes with garlic pods, black pepper, mixed herbs and bay leaf –sounds nice, isn’t it? Trust me when all these ingredients roasts with good dash of olive oil the whole kitchen oozes with aroma.  A perfect comforting soup!


No doubt that this is a very healthy soup, but another jewel in the crown is Baobab fruit powder from Eden Projects. I read a lot about Baobab fruit powder before accepting this product to review. Based on my research I can sum up that baobab fruit has six times more vitamin C than an orange and more calcium than a glass of milk. Baobab also benefits from having three times more iron than red meat, six times as much as potassium than in bananas and more than three times as much antioxidant than blueberries. Impressive- I thought in my mind and agreed to review it.


Eden Projects Baobab Fruit Powder is tangy in taste and thus makes it suitable for sweet and savory dishes. I used it in the soup as a tang booster and thickening agent. I always have used corn flour to thicken the soup, but this alternative proved out to be blessing, as it not only uplifts the taste but also increases its nutritional value. am so very much going to use this healthy supplement and enjoy the virtues of this wonderful African super fruit.You can use it in to so many dishes, some of the suggestions from my recipes are:
  • Add a teaspoon in paratha dough for enhanced nutrients.
  • Zap up your salad and chutney by adding a sprinkle.
  • Add to curries and soup to enhance the flavour and consistency.
  • Simply muddle up in the patties for more zingy taste.

Ingredients:
4 tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
5 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
10 Coriander sprigs
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
2 tablespoon baobab fruit powder
1 cup water

Method:
Preheat the oven at 200C. Take baking tray and lay silver foil on it.
Chop tomatoes in 4 parts and keep aside.
On the baking tray mix garlic, bay leaf, black peppercorns, coriander sprigs, tomatoes, oregano, basil olive oil, salt.
Roast everything together for 15 minutes. Once cooled, blend in the blender with 1 cup of water and keep aside.
Heat a pan and sieve the above blended mixture to it.
Take Baobab fruit powder and mix in 2 teaspoons of water and add with above mixture. Let it boil.


Notes:
I like the creamy soups, so I sieved it but this step is optional.
Add corn flour instead of Baobab fruit powder to adjust the consistency.


Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiasedThanking Eden Projects for sending Baobab Fruit Powder for review.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mixed Sprouts Paratha- Healthy Indian Flat Bread


So how do you ladies decide what to cook?  Is your cooking based on ingredients ready in the kitchen or do you take pain to buy things to prepare a particular dish? I am the one who falls in first category. I look in the kitchen, in the fridge and then think what to cook.  When the fridge is empty, I go and buy grocery. Lazy? Yeah...I am :-)

So, lately I saw a box of mixed sprouts that I picked up from Indian store lying in the fridge. I am always keen on making healthy dinner and hence sprouts are an inviting buy. The quality of the protein in the beans, nuts, seeds, or grains improves when it is sprouted.  Proteins change during the soaking and sprouting process, improving its nutritional value. Sprouts are also very rich in fibre which is needed for weight loss.


Making a salad out of it is easy but so boring to consume and that’s why, when I made Sprouts Dosa a month back and it remained in popular post for a long time, it in fact became well-liked among my south Indian fellow bloggers. I have also made spicy curry using sprouts called as Missal Pav in the past- another must try recipe.

I wanted to make another attempt of preparing something innovative with sprouts. Without thinking much I planned to make parathas using sprouts. I remembered  mom used to make dal paratha for me and I was sure creating same parathas with sprouts will be nice and interesting. I added curry leaves, green chillies, garlic and ginger to enhance the taste and to let it ooze out with flavors.



The parathas turned out to be very soft and massledar. You don’t even need any pickle or chutney to enjoy with it. It itself is enough to for your taste buds to dance. All you ladies must try this recipe and fulfill the nutritional needs of your family. There are so many ways to serve it. It can be eaten plain or serve with chutney, raita, any side dish or  pickle. This is perfect for breakfast; in fact for any time meal. Do try :-)

Ingredients:
Mixed sprouts- ½ cup
Curry leaves -5-8
Garlic- 8 cloves
Green chilles-4-5
Onion -1 medium size
Ginger- ½ inch piece
Salt to taste
Asafoetida- a pinch
Turmeric powder- ½ teaspoon
Garam masala- ¼ teaspoon
Whole wheat flour- 1 cup
Oil to make parathas
Water as needed to knead

Method:

  1. Wash sprouts 2-3 times and strain water.
  2. In a food processor pulse ginger, garlic, onion, sprouts, curry leaves, green chilles to  make a coarse paste.
  3. Finally add the above mixture with flour, salt, asafoetida, ½ tablespoon oil and turmeric. Mix well.
  4. Take little water and knead to form a soft dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, divide dough into equal parts and give them a round shape of ball. Take 1/2 cup dry wheat flour in a plate for dusting. Take one dough ball, flatten it like Pattie and dust dry wheat flour over it. Roll out the paratha.
  6. Place it on a hot tava/griddle and cook over medium flame. When tiny bubbles starts to rise on the surface, flip it and reduce the flame to low.
  7. Spread 1/4 tsp oil around edges and spread over the paratha. Flip it again and spread 1/4 tsp oil around over it. Press it with spatula and let it cook over medium flame. Cook until golden brown spots appear on both sides. Follow the same process for remaining dough balls. 



Notes:
For more healthy option, you can omit the use oil, simply use a napkin to roast the paratha.
I like it spicy please adjust the amount of green chilly as per your taste.
If you don't have food processor  just use the mixer to grind. Remember not to over blend it- you need coarse paste.

You might be interested in:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gulab Jamuns With Kelly's Of Cornwall


I am sure most of you have already started mourning over weather. No more bright sunny days, no more barbeques, no skirts....its fall time *sad*sad*. I hate these gloomy depressing days. A cup of hot tea or a bowl of dessert is must to uplift my mood. Well someone has said it right- ‘You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy ice-cream and that’s kind of the same thing.’

Recently I was sent vouchers of Kelly’s of Cornwall and I picked the clotted ice-cream. Let me tell you, it deliciously rich and creamy ice cream. This ice-cream is not very sweet and thus I loved it even more. It is made with lashings of clotted cream to give it a smooth, velvety texture and which is why it melts in your mouth.


My husband is very fond of ice-creams, be it summers or winters, he can have ice-cream anytime. He really feels sad for those who do not have ice-cream in winters. Actually, even I don’t understand why will anyone ignore having ice-cream in any season. Why not pair cold chilled ice-cream with lemon cake, brownie, banana pancakes, or simple chocolate sauce and nuts and find that missing comfort in eating *dance*dance.


With festive mood and chilly days in my mind I accompanied the ice-cream with Gulab Jamuns. Gulab Jamuns are so famous and I must declare it as national sweet of India. These little balls are fried and coated in sugar syrup- ah! drops of heaven. And when these hot beauties are matched up with chilled ice-cream, they perform perfect twosome in your mouth *grin**grin*.

Phew! Just stop sulking about the weather and pick up this ice-cream and relish with this hot dessert. I am sure it will boost your mood. Recipe below :)

Ingredients:
For Jamuns:
Milk Powder : 1 cup
All purpose flour : 1/4 cup
Sugar : 2 cups
Baking Powder : 1/4 tsp
Unsalted butter : 1 tbsp
Cardamom Powder : 1/2 tsp
Oil for deep frying
For Syrup:
a few saffron strands (optional)
3 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

Method:
For the Sugar Syrup:
In a large pan, combine the sugar with 1 liter of water and bring to a boil.
Simmer over a slow flame till the syrup is 1 string consistency.
Add the saffron and cardamom powder and keep the syrup warm.

For the  Jamuns:
Mix the milk powder with baking powder, flour, unsalted butter and little water, make a smooth dough. Cover it with a lid and set aside for 15 minutes. 
Divide the dough into small smooth balls.
Deep fry in ghee over a medium flame till the jamuns are dark brown in colour (for approx 10 to 12 minutes).
Drain and immerse in the warm sugar syrup. Soak for 30 minutes.


Notes:
Remember softer the dough, softer will be the Jamuns.
If the dough doesn’t come together keep adding few drops of milk.

(Thanking Kelly's of Cornwall for sending vouchers) 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy Diwali 2013 :-)


Wishing you and your family a very *Happy Diwali*

Happy Cooking and Happy Eating


(image source 1,2)

Friday, November 1, 2013

And the winners are...


How is the festive season keeping you all?? I m sure you all are very busy cooking this and that. Keeping in mind the festive mood I organised Cook With White Event and I received 96 entries. Each entry was special in its own :-). You all send it recipes of all the genres- vrat dishes, sweet delights, traditional meals. Thanks everyone for making this event a grand success. *happy dance*

I loved the response from you all and I am very mush encouraged to host other interesting events in the future. I was very busy these months, so I am so sorry for not leaving comments on your entries. I promise I will do that next time- please forgive me for now :-)

The success of the event would not have been possible by the contributors. I am very grateful to each participant who linked the recipes. Thank you for your support at my FB page, Twitter account. As a token of appreciation and support- here is your Participation Certificate. Please grab and show off to your readers.


Best Recipe Award goes to Partha’s Rhapsody for Dahi Kebab. You all know how much I love kebabs and I am always looking for vegetarian kebabs recipes. Step by step pictures made me eager to try it myself and I loved it. Thanks, please grab your award. Hope you will like it :-)


Top Contributor Award goes to Cooking With Sapna. I express gratitude for all the lip-smacking dishes that you shared at my event. You did wonderful job with your contribution. Below is your award- show it off :-)


Best Innovative Recipe’s winner is Just Not The Cakes for Sri Lankan Chocolate Cake. Cake as it was unique and I never even heard about this cake. You must also check the way she decorated it. Just pop at her site and see what innovation she has done with a cake. Also, to mention she was second in contribution after Sapna.Thanks please collect your award.

Finally for the Giveaway Winners I used randorm.org and the lucky numbers were 22 and 79. Huge congratulations to Babi’ Recipes for Barley Pongal and Spicy Foood for PaalKozhukattai. Please mail me your complete Indian postal address. Also mention what will you like to have as prize -cookware, bakeware, cook books or kitchen accessories. Please mail me within 24 hours else I will choose another winner.





Once again, thank you all. New event coming soon. 

Cook with white round up HERE
Cook with yellow roundup HERE
Cook with yellow winner announcement HERE

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy And Spooky Halloween


Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31.  The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows' Evening also known as Hallowe'en or All Hallows' Eve. Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, and costume parties, visiting "haunted houses" and carving jack-o-lanterns.

Everywhere in the market you see the celebrations of Halloween. The whole lot is so orange and black, spooky costumes, masks etc are seen all around the shops. One thing that is most common is carving pumpkin; why not after all it is so apt to make it look like a ghost. I so very much wanted to try carving pumpkin myself, so here is how I did it. It was easy only if you have good grip and sharp knife. I have this amazing knife from Argos, you can see here

So here is me wishing you and your family a very Spooky Halloween. Enjoy

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Karva Chauth Sweets Recipes


Karva Chauth is round the corner ladies. What are your plans?  What are you wearing? Have you decided about the henna design? So much work isn’t it? I like karva chauth a lot. The beautiful saris, colourful bangles, glowing faces- wow is the word. Just like all the festivals this too is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country.
Karwa is another word for pot (a small earthen pot of water) and chauth means 'fourth' in Hindi. All married women fasts from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands without eating or drinking anything at all. They apply henna on their hands, wear good traditional clothes. In the afternoon prayers are read. Then the women await the rising of the moon. Once the moon is visible, she sees the moon with a seieve and then sees her husband. Water is offered to the moon to secure its blessings. We believe that "Like the gold necklace and the pearl bracelet, just like the moon may my husband’s life also always shine brightly."The husband then offers water and gives his wife her first sip and feeds her with the first morsel of the day (usually something sweet). The fast is now broken, and the woman has a complete meal.
Cool isn’t it? All these rituals adds love to your life and you get a good change from daily routine. My husband from past 3 years fasts with me to show his support and love for me. I just find this very sweet and comforting *clap clap*. He comes from office; we look for moon, pray and then eat together. I always make Jalebi on this day, it is his favourite sweet dish *happy dance*.
Just like me, if you also want to make this day more special, and then do make some quick and new sweet dishes.











Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Baked Chickpeas Patties


How is the festive season coming for you all? Are you people linking your amazing recipes at my Cook With White Event And 2 Giveaways? Talking about festivals, they do bring lots of work and guests at home. Most of us cook the traditional mathri, namkeen and sweets during this time and we gain lot of attention as well as KGs.I know back in India I used to prepare what not to please guests and finally gaining lot of weight. Things have been different after coming to London. I now look for different and healthy snacks.

I always prefer to make patties for my guests. Reason? You can prepare them and keep in the fridge and when guests arrive all you need is to roast or grill on pan and serve hot. Who doesn't like hot snacks? I have made loads of patties in past. Please see here.

Chickpeas patties are very popular but it is generally fried. No no, not at my place. I baked these ones and I got healthier and crispier patties. Chickpeas are great sources of fibre and protein. These tikkis are very much like falafel but only baked and thinner. Trust me these patties are great alternative in your burger buns. Hot and spicy.


Ingredients:
1 can of chickpeas (250 grams)
3 cloves garlic
1 small onion, diced
3 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (optinal)
2 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1 Tablespoon.)
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoon olive oil


Method:
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 400F/200C
  2. Drain the chickpeas and rinse well. 
  3. Place the garlic in a food processor, and pulse a few times to chop it roughly. Now add the onions, the chickpeas, the parsley, cilantro, cumin, and coriander and lemon juice to the food processor. Add the salt, the red pepper flakes, flour and the baking powder. 
  4. Cover and pulse until the mixture is well combined. Do not over mash, it should be chunky.
  5. Now drizzle about a tablespoon of the olive oil onto a baking sheet. 
  6. Form the patties into 1-1/2-inch rounds and flatten slightly with your fingers. Place on the oiled baking sheet. Brush the upper side of patties with oil.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven 15-18 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.
  8. Turn and  bake another 5-7 minutes until browned on the other side.


Notes:
If not using canned chickpeas, then soak chickpeas overnight. Next day boil it.
The patties can be kept in fridge for hours before baking.
I chose to bake, where else this can be toasted on pan or even fried.

Taste:

Crispy, spicy and healthy.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Kesar Kalakand With Navratri Wishes


Navaratri starts tomorrow. Nine days of fun and festive mood. Navratri is such an important festival in Indian culture. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or Dussehra.

Gujratris perform garba and dandiya these days where as bengalis have thier traditional durga puja. Both have their own importance and charm. I have studied in Gujarat for over 5 years and I am also married to a guy who is from Gujarat, and thus this festival becomes special for me. Back at home my family will do pooja of mataji (goddess) for all 9 days with complete dedication. But the other side of Navratri is doing garba.


Garba nights in Ahmadabad are crazy. All, with no barriers of caste, age or gender perform dandiya. What a colourful sight it is! The beautiful dresses, with traditional touch- wow is the word.  Ah! It makes me so nostalgic.

Like all the other festivals, Navratri is also about cooking fresh and yummy dishes. I just find people so happy these days- they wish that may these 9 days never get over. May be I am getting bit carried away. Anyways for the beginning of this festival I made Kesar Kalakand. This recipe is very quick and easy. I am not very good in making Indian sweets; to tell you I can’t even make sheera/halwa properly. But making kalakand is easy for me. Kalakand can be made in many flavors and ways. I used trouble-free cottage cheese/paneer to make this. Here comes my simple Kalakand recipe.


Ingredients:

1 tin (400g) Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 heaped tablespoons Milk powder
1 tablespoon Kesar/saffron
2 tablespoon warm water
Pinch yellow colour
Almonds halved-6-8
500 g Paneer/Cottage Cheese
3-4 powdered Cardamom/Elaichi

Method:

Mix saffron in warm water and leave aside for 10 minutes. Wait till water changes it colour to yellow-orange.
Mash Paneer coarsely and mix in milk powder, yellow colour, saffron water and condensed milk.
Heat the mixture in a thick bottom pan. Cook on medium heat with constant stirring till the mixture becomes thick and starts leaving the sides of the pan.
Remove from heat and mix cardamom powder.
Spread onto a greased plate. Let it cool and set for 1-2 hours.
Cut in squares and top each piece with halved almond.


Notes:
Add in 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder to make chocolate kalakand.
I used food colour to bring bright yellow effect, however this is totally optional.
Keep mixing the mixture else it will stick at bottom and give that burnt taste.
If in hurry, leave the mixture in fridge. It will set quickly.

Taste:
Sweet, aromatic and soft