Thursday, July 31, 2014

Plum Chutney: Ber Ki Chuntey: Indian Inspired Plum Jam/Pickle


Indians love chutneys; they serve it as a dip for spicy daal pakodas, or as a side with tawa pulav or aloo parathas. It is also used as a spread for sandwiches and crackers. Why not? After all making chutney is an easy affair. I visited borough market a week back and those of you who are in the London will know how amazing Borough Market is! It is a heaven for food lovers-right from tasty food stalls to fresh fruits and vegetables-you have everything there. After buying a big bag of fruits and veggies, my eyes were hooked on to the red plums they were fresh and alive- so juicy and perfectly matured. I had to pick them up. Period.


Scene after 4 days:
   Mr. Husband- I am bored, I cannot eat plums every day.
   Me- well I agree, but I cannot throw them away.
   Mr. Husband-Do something but I am not going to have another plum for the whole  month.
   Me-Ok! Let me see what I can do.

I did quick search on the Google, all I find was some cake or jam recipes, and I certainly did not want to add refined flour or butter to the healthy plums. I mean did you know? plums are low in calories (46 calories per 100 g) and contain no saturated fats; however, contain numerous health promoting compounds, minerals and vitamins. Amazing isn’t it? What can I do, what can I make? Oh yes, if you can prepare jam with it, why not transformed it to chutney?

Scene on 5th day. I served this chutney with Dosa. 
   Mr. Husband- Oh you made tomato chutney (because they both look same).
   Me- Yes, you like tomatoe chutney with dosa-thats why.
   Mr. Husband- oh chutney is very nice- spicy, tangy and beautifully red.

Scene after dinner-
   Mr. Husband- Did you throw away the plums, I cant see them.
   Me- (with a smile) Oh that, you just ate, remember the chutney you relished.
   Mr. Husband- (with a smile) Oh my god! Such an innovative idea- Chutney was indeed awesome.


Beautiful plums are cooked with fennel seeds and ginger do create some magic. Cooking plums is a great way to bring out their natural sweetness, its flavour profile intensifies and you are left with something so simple yet so elegant, you won’t believe your taste buds. A life saver recipe!

Ingredients:
2 cups Red Plums
¼ cup jiggery/gud
3-4 Green Chillies, finely chopped
½ inch Ginger/adrak, peeled and grated
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder/ Haldi
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds/ Jeera
1 teaspoon fennel seeds/saunf
1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds/rai/sarso
2 tablespoon oil

Method:
Deseed the plums and chop them rougly.
In a pan heat oil, add in mustard and cumin seeds. Let is pop and splutter. Bring heat to low.
Add in chopped green chillies and fennel seeds. Cook till chillies and fennel seeds turn brown. Cover and cook for 4 minutes. 
Press and mash the plums with the back of the spoon.
Finally add in plums,grated ginger, turmeric and salt.
Mix in the jiggery and cook till chutney becomes thick.


Notes:
You might need to increase the amount of jiggery based on the sweetness or sourness of plums.
If you want you can add sugar instead of jiggery.
You can keep this for 2-3 weeks when stored in refrigerator in an air tight jar.

Serving suggestion:
Use in wraps or in pitta pockets with salad
Serve as dip with crackers, chips or nachos
Great side for idli, dosa, chilla or Indian flat bread.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Marwadi Papad Ki Subji, Curry Without Veggies



Last whole week was very interesting for me. It was a free week-too much time for me, too many movies and very little cooking. Don’t you just love when you get some ‘me time’? I am sure you do! Mr. Husband was in Hong Kong for the whole week and I had too much spare time-which I use neither in cooking nor in clicking. It was a movie marathon time for me-I watched 12 movies. I even shared on my Facebook page about the movie Julie and Julia-trust me every food blogger/lover must see this movie. It is awesome-period!

Coming back to today’s post, it is once again from my Marwadi kitchen- Papad Ki Subji/Poppadoms Curry. Yes that’s possible- people all over Rajasthan use papad to make curry and it is really really popular and my personal favourite. Whose idea was that? Who was such a genius? Well that we don’t know yet, but I am sure it was the necessity that turned out to be this amazing invention. The shortage of rains and water always made Rajasthanis think out of the box and thus they commenced using gram flour to make gatte; lentils to make mangodi and flour to make papad- and these final products were used in curries-Mastermind ideas. Totally brilliant-isn't it???


Marwadi cuisine is my favorite; after all I am a marwadi that too from Rajasthan. Months back I blogged about Marwadi Aloo Pyaz Ki Subji and the response was unbelievable-it was the most popular recipe on my blog for months; fellow blogger tried and loved it. Next, I posted about Marwadi BharwaBhindi and it too was liked by many. Soon I got requests about posting more marwadi recipes on my blog. So here it is.

Papad ki subji can be made in many ways; I am ofcourse sharing the authentic marwadi style. It is one no nonsense curry-no chopping of vegetables, no onion, no garlic; just simple yogurt and basic spices are used. The roasted papads are broken roughly and is added to the yogurt gravy with spoon full of chopped coriander leaves-the outcome is lip smacking, spicy curry.


Ingredients:
Papads – 10
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
Pinch asafoetida/hing
1/2 cup yogurt/dahi
1 and 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Coriander Powder/dhaniya
1 tablespoon gram flour/besan
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder/haldi
To taste- red chilli powder/lal mirchi
To taste-salt
2 tabelspoons coriander leaves chopped/dhaniya
1 tablespoons lemon juice

Method:
Roast/ fry/ microwave the Papads. Break them into pieces.
In a pan, heat the oil and add in the Cumin Seeds and allow them to splutter. Add in the asafoetida.
Meanwhile, work on the ingredients for the gravy, in a cup mix the yogurt and 1/2 cup of water. To the Yogurt mix add spices: Coriander Powder, Turmeric Powder, Gram Flour, Red Chili Powder and Salt. Mix well.
Turn down the heat to the lowest and add the yogurt/water mix while stirring constantly.
Keep stirring and once the mixture is all in the pan, increase the heat to a medium. Allow the mixture to reduce and the oil to separate.
Add the broken pieces of papad and mix.
Add the remaining water and allow it to cook for 8-10 minutes.
Taste and adjust the spices, add lemon juice if needed.
Garnish with Cilantro and serve hot.


Notes:
If the yogurt is not sour, leave the yogurt on the counter-top overnight to get it to sour.
Don’t add too much salt first time, remember papad has salt.
You can chopped onion and garlic too, before adding yogurt gravy in the oil.
You can use any papad you want to, I used Natco Cumin/Jeera ones.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Saturday Snapshots, Join Us In Food Photography Series

Click, share and learn-The fun way!

We love anything food!!
...we love cooking
...we love clicking 
...we love writing
........oh yeah blogging! 

The journey of food blogging hooked Me at Merry Tummy and Sireesha Puppala at Siris Food to the beautiful journey of photography. We see an apple and a dream visualise in a million ways as how it could be presented in our blogs. Sometimes the apple come out damn sexy and sometimes it could almost look like a ripen guava. Early mornings, late afternoons, clicking clicking and clicking...exhausted- we finally give in and give up, But we learn, gain experience and get to know the mistakes.

I reached a point from here to here and I am still learning.


Before and after shots of same mango drink! 

Siri came from Here to Here. 

Before and after shots of drinks- You can see the differences! Awesome-isn't it?

....And both of us could go back to where we started anytime , So we PRACTICE.. Yes we are bad photographers, But want to be good photographers, So we learn, we give up, we restart, we experiment, we click, we share. Yes WE SHARE.

Is it for you??
Do you love clicking photos?
Do you enjoy sharing your clicks? 
Do you want to experiment and try new techniques? 
Do you need a platform to showcase the pictures? 
..........If the answers to all these questions are YES then our new series SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS is for you.

What is it? 
SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS is a gateway to practice and learn photography through sharing our clicks. 

How we learn? 

A theme will be given during the start of the week for a photograph-Like click any fruit, empty glass, or a dessert- anything connected to the food. Each of us will click in our own style and post the pic on our blog on every Saturday .Yes JUST the picture, no write ups, content-you heard it- no lengthy post-wow, isn't it??

Why join us?
We are no professional photographers and we are not here to judge your snaps. 
We have no strict rules, we don’t want you to cook anything special to click-we just want to have fun together.  
We just want to motivate each other and make our food photography journey more interesting. 
We will encourage each other with supportive comments, new ideas and suggestions.

How can you join?
Leave your email address in the comments and we will get back to you with the next steps! Join us at our Facebook Group. Lets be curious, lets be enthusiastic, lets be upbeat and lets be creative...and lets be mad!! But let continue to learn.

Passion is all what we need!! That’s all. Ready???

_______________________________________________________________



Monday, July 21, 2014

Strawberry Fools, With Jordans Cereals And Edd Kimber Recipe




Anyone here a fan/follower of the BBC series The Great British Bake Off? If yes then you must surely remember Edd Kimber - the boy who bakes- the winner of 2010 series.  He became quite popular after winning the series and ofcourse because of his astounding baking adventures. So it happened 2 weeks back when I was approached to try any of the 3 recipes that Edd has created using Jordan Cereals and I said yes without giving any second thoughts.

Jordan Cereals as a part of their countryside celebration has teamed up with Edd to create food recipes inspired by the The Jordans Wildlife Garden. The range of three exiting new recipes included a tasty and easy to make Mixed Berry Traybake with Rosehip Syrup for a tangy finish and a Cherry Plum crumble With Cobnuts-warming, comforting and packed with wild cherry plums and the wonderfully nutty flavour of British cobnuts.


Even though the above choices were interesting and dashingly tasty, I chose to try -THE ALPINE STRAWBERRY FOOL- a simple, delicious and traditional English dessert. It is prepared using Jordans Country Crisp Strawberries which are crunchy baked cereal clusters of oats with a smattering of chopped hazelnuts and a generous handful of silky-smooth strawberries chucked in on top. Just mix it up with yogurt, milk or whipped cream, you are ought to enjoy it every time.

Coming back to the dessert-I totally prize the idea of serving it up into the individual glasses-so apt and perfect for barbeque parties and sleepovers. Edd explained the recipe and instructions so well that I understood it all just after one read. The pictures might intimidate you but trust me it is very simple and even a novice can make it to the perfection.   After cooking strawberries, its flavour profile intensifies and you are left with something so simple yet so elegant, you won’t believe your taste buds. The layer of creamy custard, velvety whipped cream and crunchy bits of cereals when sums up together as a dessert it is magical, luxurious and irresistible.

Recipe Halved from Here

Ingredients:
For Custard
250ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
100g caster sugar
15g corn flour
For Strawberry Compote
400g alpine strawberries, hulled and diced
85g caster sugar
To finish
300ml double cream
Crystallised rose petals (optional)
70g Jordans Country Crisp Strawberries

Method:
For the custard
Place the milk and vanilla bean paste into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Whilst coming to temperature, place the egg and yolks into a large bowl along with the caster sugar and the cornflour, whisking together until smooth. Pour the hot milk onto the eggs, whisking constantly. Pour this custard back into the pan and over medium heat, stir constantly until the custard has thickened (it should have the texture of custard made with powder, thicker than a crème analgise but still pourable). Pour back into the bowl and press a sheet of cling film onto the surface of the custard and refrigerate until cold.

For the strawberry compote
Place the strawberries and sugar into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the fruit has released lots of juice. Continue to cook until the juice has reduced to syrup and the strawberries have just started to break down. Pour into a small bowl and refrigerate until chilled.

To assemble the fools
Divide half of the compote between six glasses and top with the custard. Sprinkle the Jordans Country Crisp Strawberries onto the custard and then set the glasses aside for the moment. In a large bowl whisk the cream until it holds soft peaks, add most of the remaining compote (reserving a little to decorate the desserts) and gently fold together, leaving it partially swirled in. Spoon the cream mixture into the glasses.

To finish the fool
Spoon the remaining compote on top of the cream and sprinkle a little extra Jordans Country Crisp Strawberries. If you want to make the decoration of the dessert extra special, add one or two crystallised rose petals to each glass. To make these, paint rose petals with a thin layer of egg white and dip into sugar, making sure everything is covered. Set the petals onto a parchment lined baking tray and allow drying out for at least two hours, but preferably overnight.



Notes:
When folding in the compote, use a very light hand to ensure a pretty rippling effect.
Be sure to stop whipping the cream as soon it holds soft peaks as, if you are refrigerating, it will keep the mixture silky smooth.
You cannot make this dessert ahead of time, as the cereals will get soggy. 

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Jordans Cereals for sending Strawberry Country Crisp  for review.

Linking this at  Maison Cupcake’s challenge page and Elizebeth's Kitchen Diary

Friday, July 18, 2014

Quinoa And Oats Dhokla, Indian Steamed Cake


There are some dishes, things and products that I tried or even heard off after coming to the UK. One such ingredient is quinoa- the new superstar of health. When I cooked it for the first time, I fell in love with those fluffy tiny bits and since then I use quinoa a lot in my kitchen, even though this is the first time I talking about it on my blog.

What is quinoa?
Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wa’ is a great wheat-free alternative to starchy grains. There are two types: red and creamy white. Both types are slightly bitter when cooked and open up to release little white curls (like a tail) as they soften. It is originally from South America (Peru, Chile and Bolivia) and is now becoming popular everywhere and specially in the UK.

Benefits of quinoa?
With twice the protein content of rice or barley, quinoa is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese. It also possesses good levels of several B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fibre. Like buckwheat, quinoa has an excellent amino acid profile, as it contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete-protein source. Quinoa is therefore an excellent choice for vegans who may struggle to get enough protein in their diets. 

Cautions with quinoa?
Quinoa is coated with toxic chemical called saponin. It is therefore important to rinse quinoa thoroughly. And moderation is key -so it shouldn't be eaten every day. A few times a week is enough.

What I did with quinoa?
Well you can always prepare Quinoa like rice with veggies, but I went ahead and experimented and combined it with other super healthy thing-Oats to make dhokla. Dhokla is authentically made with rice, lentils, gram flour and is a specialty of Gujarat. Basically the batter needs to be fermented and then it is steamed like a cake, cut into squares and finally tadka of mustard seeds and green chillies is poured on it. Mr.Husband is a hard core gujrati food lover and I do prepare gujarati snacks a lot, you can see Spinach Muthiya, Khamman Dhokla, Ragda Patties, Sev Tamato Nu Shaak recipes on my blog.


Quinoa and oats dhokla is sooooo healthy and Oh! Did I tell you it is instant? Yes you just mix up everything and steam, no need to soak up things or ferment it. Chopped green chillies and ginger is added to the batter which makes it even more special and tasty. I never thought that the ingredient like Quinoa can be used in this Indian style. Anyone of you who love Guajarati food will surely, surely enjoy this nutrient packed snack. Great for evening, tea time snack, kids’ tiffin box or just as a meal over all.

Ingredients:
1 cup Quinoa
1 cup oats (instant)
1 tablespoon yogurt/dahi
1 teaspoon eno (see notes)
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons oil
Water as needed
1 green chilli chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 green chillies slitted
1 tablespoon mustard seeds



Method:
Fill the water in the steamer and preheat it. Grease the plate with oil.
In a grinder, grind Quinoa to fine powder, just like flour. Do the same with oats as well.
In a bowl, mix oats and Quinoa flour. Add in salt, chopped green chillies, 1 teaspoon oil, grated ginger and yogurt.
Keep adding little water at a time to make the batter. Remember the consistency should be like your regular dhokla batter-not too runny and not too thick.
Add in the eno. Mix lightly.
Pour the batter in the greased plate and steam for 20 minutes.
Cut the dhokla in the squares. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a pan; add in mustard seeds and silted green chillies and let it crackle. Pour this over the dhokla pieces.
Serve hot with chutney or ketchup.


Notes:
Eno is like a fruit salt which is acidic and it can be available in any Indian grocery store. If not you can buy ENO Fruit Salt from here.
You can also add grated coconut, curry leaves and chopped coriander in the oil for tadka.
You can enjoy the dhokla just after steaming; it is not compulsory to do tadka.

I tried my best to see what Quinoa is called in hindi, but I could not find. If you know please comment below :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Mousse, A Chocoholic Affair!


Every year when I search on the internet about the ideas to celebrate husband’s birthday-bake a cake is the most common reply. 12 July was Mr. Husband’s birthday and he was very excited as it was falling over a weekend.  Celebrations started on Friday night and I made dinner comprising his favorite dishes- veggie momos with sweet chill dip, pizza tarts , schezwan noodles and Indian Vodka Mojito. Of course I baked for him a Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Mousse but to that we will get later.

For Saturday I planned the whole day out and the weather was pretty pleasant too. For breakfast we grabbed authentic Bombay breakfast at Dishoom which was a great experince and mumbaikars who are in London must must visit this place. Then we went to Waterloo Oden IMAX to see 40 minutes documentary on Space Mission and those of you, who haven’t seen this, do check this out-it is amazing 3D. After that we head to Covent Garden and had a lazy laid back lunch at Cafe Mode, I am so impressed with the vegetarians’ options there and ambiance will surely set the mood. After lunch I took him to Play House theater to see the play based on the book 1984 (which is one of his favorite books) and he totally enjoyed the play. The evening ended after the quick break at Trafalgar square and we reached home tired but happy. Even though I booked the table for dinner, we wanted to be at home-just us, and eat something simple. Finally we both prepared Daal Tadka in microwave, Rice and Marwadi Aloo Pyaz and enjoyed it to the core.


Coming back to the cake. So this cake is for someone who is a hardcore chocolate lover. It is deeply loaded with chocolate and chocolate. The chocolate cake is layered with chocolate Ganache and is finally topped with chocolate mousse swirls and fenced around with chocolate shards. Extremely moist, gooey and chocolaty and only a chocoholic will understand and enjoy this cake to the fullest.

Ingredients:
For Sponge Cake:
1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour/maida
3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
2 tablespoon yogurt/dahi
1/4 cup butter/makhan
1 cup sugar/chinni
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Vanilla essence
2 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar

For Mousse
250 Ml whipping cream
Powdered Sugar - ¼ Cup
Chopped Chocolate: 125 gm

For Ganache:
150 grams chocolate
150 ml cream

For Chocolate shards:
100 grams chocolate
2 tablespoons butter


Method:
For Sponge:
Preheat the oven at 180C. Line and dust the cake tin.
In a mixing bowl mix sugar, butter and yogurt. Mix till it gets light and sugar is dissolved.
In another mixing bowl, sieve baking soda, baking powder, salt, all purpose flour and cocoa powder. Mix well.
Add 2 tablespoons of flour mix in the butter mix and stir lightly. In between keep adding milk.
Add in vanilla essence and lemon juice. Just mix and pour the batter in the tin.
Bake for 35 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center comes clean.
Cool on wire rack.

For Ganache:
Heat cream on a medium heat. When bubbles starts appearing on the sides, add in the chopped chocolate. Mix well. Cool.

For Mousse:
Take the whipping cream and whip it to soft peaks, now add the sugar and beat it to stiff peaks.
In a saucepan, boil some water and place a bowl over it which has the chocolate. Now slowly melt it. Make sure the boiling water is not in contact with the bowl.
Let the chocolate come down to room temp. Now add little bit of whipped cream to it and mix it well, add this to the whipped cream and whip it till everything's well mixed.
Fill this in piping bag and keep aside.

For chocolate shards:
Melt the chocolate with butter. On the butter paper or aluminium foil spread the melted chocolate. Let it cool.
Then put this in the freezer for atleast 1 hour. Just before use break the chocolate into shards.

Assemble the cake:
Cut the cake in 2 layers.
On the first layer sprinkle some hot water. Finally pour in chocolate Ganache.
Put other layer on it. Sprinkle some hot water. Cover the cake with Ganache and cool in fridge for 1/2 an hour.
Finally make the swirls with mousse. I used wilton 2D nozzle.
Fence around with chocolate shards. 

Notes:
Keep the sponge ingredients to room temperature.
You will notice some forth and bubbles when you add lime juice, don't panic. These bubbles will let cake rise.
Make sure that the cream is chilled. Never use cream on warm cake or chocolate.
You can also apply the mousse on cake directly if you don’t want to do the swirls.

Disclaimer: Some links are shared in this post and it is only for your reference, I am not compensated if you click on these links.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Palak Bhaji,Spinach Stir Fry- Grandma's Treasured Recipe


Whether you want to stay fit or wish to have a glowing skin the solution is to include greens in your diet.  Last year Kale leaves became very popular just like some trend and everyone tried it, talked about it and blogged about it. I too wanted to include atleast one Kale recipe in my vegetarian blog but I just couldn't stand the taste of kale- the colour, the flavour, the texture nothing impressed me. So I decided to part my way with kale and became friendlier with spinach.


Spinach or as we say palak or saag in hindi is my favorite green. The crisp and bright green spinach is not just appealing to eyes, but is a home of lot of nutrients. It is low in fat and even lower in cholesterol, spinach is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. And another jewel in the crown is its price and availability- available throughout the year in every part of the world and is very much affordable. So to simplify-include spinach in your daily diets as it is loaded with goodness for every part of your body and pocket.


If you fancy something rich and creamy try Malai Palak Paneer (chunks of cottage cheese in creamy spinach sauce) or try the healthy Corn Palak Subzi (corn and spinach as a stir fry). You can also attempt to prepare Palak Mutter Paneer which is the makeover of old classics Mutter Panner and Palak Paneer.  If all these doesn't please you I am sure the idea of using spinach in lentils will surely do, so indulge in Palak Yellow daal. Overall using spinach in curries, breads and lentils is a good idea and the green colour to the final product is cherry on the cake.

Today I am sharing with you Palak Bhaji, a mashed stir fry of spinach with onions and tomatoes. Ok this recipe is my daadi’s (grandmother) treasured recipe and she learnt to cook it from her mother. Oh my god, it is so easy and sooo healthy that words can’t define. If you are in hurry, if you are not in the mood to chop vegetables finely, if you want to indulge into healthy eating-the answer is Palak Bhaji. Beautifully green with hint of garlic and chunks of tomatoes, jazzed up with the heat of green chillies and finally a spoon of ghee is what makes this Bhaji insanely amazing. Anyone of you who will try this in your kitchen will surely thank me later ;-)


Ingredients:
4 cups spinach leaves/palak chopped
1 onion/pyaz
1 tomato/Tamatar
2 cloves garlic/lehsun
1 teaspoon lemon juice/nimbu ka ras
2 green chilles/hari mirch
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon corineder powder/dhaniya
1 teaspoon gram flour/besan
Pinch of asafoetida/hing
1/4 teaspoon Garam Massala (recipe here)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1 tablespoon coriander leaves chopped
1/2 teaspoon oil
2 cup water
1 teaspoon ghee (see notes)

Method:
Chop spinach leaves. Chop onions lengthwise. Chop tomatoes in 4 parts. Grate garlic. Chop green chillies finely.
Heat oil in a pan, when hot add in cumin seeds and asafoetida.
Throw in garlic, sauté for 30 seconds. Add in chopped onions, green chillies, spinach and 1 cup water. Mix and cook till spinach reduce in volume and onions are soft.
Finally add in tomatoes, coriander powder, gram flour, lemon juice, garam massala and 1 cup water. Mix and keep stirring till tomatoes are mushy and water has evaporated.
Lastly just before serving mix in ghee and chopped coriander leaves.


Notes:
If you are using baby spinach then do not chop.
Never ever cover the pot when cooking spinach. Leaving the pot uncovered helps to release more of the acids with the rising steam. 
I used Amul ghee, you can use any ghee. Ghee is called as clarified butter in English.
You can also add in chopped methi leaves/fenugreek leaves with spinach. See my post on how to grow methi/fenugreek leaves at home.
Remember spinach is bit salty due to sodium content, so add little salt first. Taste and then adjust.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cheese Onion Sandwiches, Quintessentially English


Summer afternoon, these two words have been my favorite after coming to London. A glass of wine, a kiss of English tea and pleasant sunshine is what describes summer for me. Now imagine yourself under a beautiful tree with your favorite book, a glass of wine and some sandwiches- happiness isn't it?  Summer sandwiches are very popular in England and they are sold everywhere-from classy summer cruises to afternoon tea sessions; from supermarkets to cafes. 


View of Canary Wharf from the hill to the Observatory In Greenwich

When we are talking about sandwiches today, I decided to share some facts about them. Hope you will enjoy:
  • The sandwich is named after John Montagu (1718-92), the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who started a craze for eating beef between two slices of toast.
  •  Around 12 billion sandwiches are eaten every year in the UK.
  • In 2008, an attempt in Iran to beat the record for the world's biggest sandwich failed when the impatient crowd ate it before it was measured.
  • The world’s largest sandwich weighed 5,440 pounds.
  • The most expensive sandwich ever sold was a grilled toast sandwich that seemed to have an image of the Virgin Mary on it. It sold for $28,000 in 2004.

I have tried the classic and old cucumber cheese sandwiches but I was not much drawn towards them, as I don’t like the bread without crust.  The deep brown boundary of bread- the crust, is what makes a sandwich, a sandwich (for me).  Just, last weekend I happened to taste Cheese and Onion sandwiches and it was the best sandwich I ever had, period!


Imagine the dollops of cheese with crunchy sliced red onions layered neatly between the soft, cotton like white bread- insanely delicious. It is one real good sandwich, creamy, cheesy and honest. It doesn't need much preparation but you need to make these sandwiches right before serving, else it will go soggy and will be one huge disaster. If you want to REALLY enjoy them, then pack up a picnic and head to your local park. Apply the filling on the bread, cut in 4 triangles (like finger sandwiches) and serve in paper plates with ketchup. I always like to pair lemon soda water with these sandwiches.

Ingredients:
4 slices of bread
1 teaspoon mayonnaise (see notes)
1 small red onion sliced
1 tablespoon cheddar cheese
A pinch black pepper
Salt to taste

Method:
In a bowl mix mayonnaise, sliced red onion, cheddar cheese and black pepper.
Taste and adjust salt. Remember cheese and mayonnaise already have salt.
Next, right before serving apply this mixture on bread. Cut and serve.



Notes:
If you don't want to use mayonnaise then use thick yogurt instead.
You can opt for whole wheat bread, or seeded bread as well.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Burnt Garlic Pasta, Because I Love Garlic

There are days when you are lazy, mood less and without energy. What do you cook on such days? I always tend to make pasta. Pasta that is available in different shapes, size and ingredients always tends to attract me.  By the way did you know that there are 600 shapes of pasta, out of which penne, spaghetti and fusilli are most known? Pasta is easy, quick and healthy - after all it is one huge source of carbohydrates and if prepared properly it can be one satisfying and filling meal.

When choosing pasta I like to pick that is not made with refined flour-who wants to indulge in bad carbs-do you?? Recently I picked up fusilli-the twisty ones which were made with wheat germs. Wheat germ is the heart of the wheat grain, rich in flavor and is a nourishing active ingredient. When this wheat germ pasta was boiling up in the pot of hot water, it released intense wheat aroma which was amazing and beyond words.


Pasta is once a week affair for us, I always keep roasted bell pepper pasta sauce ready to mix with pasta. Sometimes I make spaghetti in arbiata sauce from scratch and recently I prepared penne in red wine sauce. But this pasta recipe is innovation, the one that I created. So the case was that I was out of veggies, I had 2 ingredients available-garlic and onions. What to do? Well necessity is the mother of invention, so Burnt Garlic Pasta was born.

Like me, if you love garlic and olive oil you are going to get under the influence of the flavors pretty soon. Forever.  Oh yes you need to actually burn or let me say over fry garlic in olive oil which will provide richness and amazing depth of flavour to finished dish. So let’s see the recipe.

Ingredients:
2 cup of pasta
6 garlic cloves/lehsun
2 onion/pyaz
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder/kali mirch
1/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes (optional)
1/4 teaspoon dried herbs (oregano+basil+thyme)

Method:
Place big pot of water to boil. When you see the steam, add in pasta with little salt. Cook pasta till it is soft yet crunchy. Strain and keep aside.
Grate garlic and chop onions length wise.
Heat oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add in garlic and keep mixing till garlic is golden brown in colour.
Mix in onions and stir. When onions are half done add in boiled pasta and all the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Serve with bread and a glass of red wine.


Notes:
You can use any pasta. Please do not add oil when pasta is boiling, it will make your pasta slippery and the spices and sauce will not coat on it. When pasta starts touching the wall of pot- it means it is done.
I was out of veggies, but please free to add any vegetables like carrots, bell pepper etc.