Monday, January 27, 2014

Pizza Tart And Luscombe Cider Review

Have you ever observed carefully bar scenes in the movies? Sometimes there is a group of friends taking about their boring married life; occasionally two people are solving murder mystery; at times they are just smuggling things. Overall in movies bars plays very important character ;) Thus when I was in India, these bar clips in the movies fascinated me and I always desired to visit one. That doesn't mean that I am a bar person- not at all. I only wanted to enter in these royal, old, rustic bars and observe the happenings carefully. Well the real world is very different from movies :)

After multiple stopovers at many bars in London, I could gulp beers easily. One day I tasted cider at the local bar and I liked it instantly. Now, beers or cider? I have only one answer- cider. This amazing drink has to be made or let’s say fermented carefully. After a quick search on the net, I found that organic ciders are the best. To be organic the apples must come from orchards in which no pesticides have been used and is free from preservatives.

Fortunately there is one company which produces cider that is rich and free from any kinds of adulteration. I am talking about Luscombe Drinks, who have been making delicious drinks since 1975. Based on a farm in deepest Devon, all of their drinks are crafted with exceptional care and integrity. They manufacture soft drinks, beers and ciders. I am going to enlighten just a perfect genuine drink-cider

Luscombe Organic Devon Cider is made without the usual added chemicals that stabilize ciders. No added Sulphites - unusually. As soon as I opened the bottle-the nose could only be described as heavenly. I would even go as far as saying divine (in my very best posh accent). Amazing earthy apples varietals leaped out of the glass with impeccable clarity. Just after the first quaff, it felt that it has been fermented to perfection. The right dry structured taste, the exact zingy formation; the polite yellow colour –was all to die for. I sniffed and guzzled the first bottle in one go.

Anything spicy, cheesy would be a perfect match for this dry cider. The first dish that popped in my mind was pizza. But who had so much time? My creative mind punched me to make a tart keeping in mind the idea of pizza-Crispy base, roasted vegetables, melted cheese and a touch of herbs. I wasn't wrong, this tart is outstanding from others and is the quickest pizza you can ever make. Winter cuddles, spicy tart and a cider to drink, in the comfort of your home- ah what more could I have asked for!

2 tablespoons pizza sauce (I used this)
1 tablespoon dried herbs (oregano, basil and thyme)
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
1 tomato chopped in rings
1 small onion chopped in rings
½  cup colored bell peppers sliced
¼ teaspoon black pepper crushed
¼ teaspoon chilly flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Puff Pastry Sheet (substitute with homemade or store bought pie crust)
2 cups rice

Preheat oven to 180 C
Line a baking tray with wax/parchment paper or foil. Brush it with butter/oil. Place 1 frozen puff pastry sheet on it and allow it to thaw.
Place a grease-proof paper on top of the pastry case and fill with rice. Just roll the edges to shape it like a plate.
Bake for 10 minutes till it is light golden in color.
Remove the rice and the grease-proof
paper. Apply pizza sauce in the base and they arrange half of the tomatoes, onions and bell peppers.
Cover it with cheese, mixed herbs, black pepper, chilli flakes and salt.
Arrange the remaining vegetables on it.
Bake it again for 5-8 minutes or till vegetables is roasted and cheese is melted.
Cut in squares and serve hot.

Substitute pizza sauce with tomato ketchup or even pesto.
Any shape can be given to the tart.
This can be made in tart moulds as well. Carefully roll the pastry sheet and lie it on greased tart tins/ moulds and then follow the method.
This can be prepared beforehand. Just keep in the hot oven for 2 minutes and serve.

Cheesy, spicy and crsip.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiasedThanking Luscombe Drinks for sending Cider to review.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Kadhai Gobi, Spicy Cauliflower Side Dish

I personally love cauliflower, be it in any form -paratha, side dish, Manchurian etc etc. In short, it is my favorite vegetable. There are so many compromises that one needs to make in a marriage. One such sacrifice for me is not being able to eat or even cook Gobi/cauliflower when my husband is around. It happened once when he was eating gobi sabzi and he saw moving worm or keeda in it and rest as we say is the history. An apt equation that could explain his hatred towards gobi is- dislike for gobi = love for chocolate. Now you understand how serious I am? Sigh!

My friends know my love for gobi and they have been asking, no rather teasing me as there is no gobi recipe in my blog. Eh! I was getting fed up narrating to them the above stated story. So, recently Mr. Husband went for an official trip, I gathered all my strength to bring this beautiful flower at home. Oh! So happy I was! *evil smile*. After quick search on the net I opted to go for Kadhai Gobi. It is not a new dish but just that it is not very common like other gobi recipes.

I really wanted to start this post by explaining what kadhai is (Indian wok), but I am not in the mood. Come on, you guys can understand my excitement...right? This cauliflower dish is mix of spices, yogurt, garlic, onions with florets cooked in the kadhai. So those of you who are lucky enough to be able to cook gobi daily, trust me it is such a delight that you will delve into this traditional Indian affair every day.

1 medium cauliflower separated into florets
1 medium onion sliced
4 tablespoons yogurt/dahi
2 green chillies slit
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
½ teaspoon cumin seeds/ jeera
½ teaspoon mustard seeds/ rai
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ teaspoon garam masala powder
A pinch of turmeric powder
A pinch of asefoetida/hing
Salt to taste
2 teaspoon coriander leaves for garnish

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients except salt with little water and keep aside.
  2. Boil a big pot of water with 1 tablespoon of salt and let the cauliflower sit in it for about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and keep aside. 
  3. Pour oil in kadhai and let it heat. When hot, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  4. Add in it slitted green chilled and ginger garlic paste with 2 tablespoons water. Mix.
  5. Now add chopped onions and let it cook till it becomes pink and soft.
  6. Put the drained cauliflower in the kadhai with the spices mixture. Add ½ cup of water and let it cook covered on medium heat till gobi becomes soft.
  7. Lastly add beaten yogurt and coriander leaves and mix well. Cook covered for 2-3 minutes more. Evaporate all the water from gobi.
  8. Serve hot as a side dish.

Tomatoes can also be used instead of yogurt.
Ginger and garlic paste is optional but if added it surely enhances the flavor.
This also acts as sandwich stuffing, or like me roll up in your parathas and enjoy.

Spicy, tangy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Roasted Garlic And Red Bellpepper Pasta Sauce

Oh! I love Italian food.  I adore their cuisine and culture so much that I wish I was an Italian (well sometime). The way they move their hands when they talk, or their food- basil, oregano, tomatoes, garlic...hmm everything. I would love to have pizza, pasta, cheese and wine everyday. So this states my love for Italian food -right??

Back in India I ate just two types of pasta, in red and  white sauce. Only after coming to the UK I tasted other pasta sauces as well, like pesto, garlic, wine, pepper and many more. Slowly my affection for pasta hiked and I began experimenting many pasta recipes at home. Although I have to say that I have restricted my dishes to mainly using Penne / Spaghetti/ Fussili ;and today I learned that there are 600 different shapes of Pasta ... Wow !! Long Long way to go .

Pasta can be of various shapes and sizes but it is the sauce that matters. Here you get pasta sauces readymade available in the market but I hardly buy them. And the reasons are as follows:-
  • I hate addition of preservatives. Fresh is better :-)
  • I find the taste very pale and dull. All I see is oil....grhhhh!!
  • I cook pasta a lot thus I cant afford those tini-tiny jars every time.
Anyhow, even though basic tomato pasta sauce gets ready quickly; but there are times when I am in hurry and I need sauce immediately for a quick meal. After searching a lot on the net, I came to the conclusion that I can very well make my own pasta sauce and freeze it for the future use. 

Roasted red bellpepper mingled with garlic are absolutely and positively something that you will love- I bet! The colour, aroma, taste- perfect balance. I bestowed it with the Indian touch -infusion of bayleaf, cloves, turmeric and black pepper  surly upgrades it to the next level. I make a huge batch of this sauce, easily doubling and tripling the recipe. It freezes well and also becomes the base of a lot of my pasta dishes and sometimes on my pizza crust as well.

Red Bellpepper chopped- 4
Tomato- 2
Onion chopped- 1
Garlic pods- 8-10
Bayleaf- 1
Black peppercorns- 5
Cloves- 2
Lemon Juice- 2 tablespoons
Sugar- 2 tablespoons
Turmeric- 1/4 teaspoon
Dried oregano- 1/2 teaspoon
Dried Basil- 1/4 teaspoon
Olive oil- 2 tablespoon
Salt to taste

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil. Mix garlic, bellpeppers, bayleaf, peppercorn and 1tbsp olive oil. Grill in the oven at 180C for 30 minutes.
  3. Slit tomatoes in between and boil in 1 cup of water and cloves till soft and tender.
  4. Heat remaining oil in a pan. Add chopped onions and cook till translucent.
  5. Put boiled tomato in a bowl and mash lightly with a fork. 
  6. Mix roasted bellpepper, garlic and tomatoes with onions.
  7. On meduim heat keep mixing and add all the remaining ingredients. Mix till water evaporates and you have lumpy mixture ready.
  8. Let it cool and then store in sterilized jars.

This can be kept in the freezer for 2-3 weeks.
If in hurry, just chop the tomatoes finely and mix when onions gets soft. Keep cooking till tomatoes leaves water and turns mushy.
It can be served as chutney with sandwiches, crackers or biscuits.

Tangy and sweet.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Gond Ladoos, Must Have Sweet In The Winters

Before I move ahead, I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year. May this year adds loads of happiness and smiles in your lives. So, where was I? Well, I went to India in November for a month. India is always so much fun- meeting everyone, shopping and above all eating delicious food. *happy dance*

After coming back, I was down with fever and jetlag added spice to my suffering. I was literally waking up at 4am, feeling hungry at odd times and missing home and family a lot. Now, after 2 weeks I feel normal and adjusted to normal routine. The very first thing that I wanted to regulate soon was blogging. So here I am back with a sweet feast for the new beginning.

Gond Ke Ladoo, is a traditional Rajasthani sweet.'Gond' is the edible gum which is in crystal form in pearly yellowish translucent pieces of different sizes. This edible gum generates heat and that is why it is usually consumed in the winters. It comforts one as it helps to keep the body warm. Gond is fried in ghee, puffed up and added to roasted wheat flour to make Ladoos.

While coming back from India, my mom packed these ladoos for me. Trust me these are so purposive in the harsh cold winters of the UK. To boost its goodness my mom added dry fruits.The roasted aroma of nuts enhances the taste and exposes out that missing crunch. So, here I share with you all my mom’s special recipe.

Wheat flour/ Atta, 1 1/4 cup
Edible Gum/Gond/Khatira- 3 Tablespoons
Powdered Sugar- 1/2 cup
Black pepper powder- 1/4 teaspoon
Cardamom Powder,-1/2 teaspoon
Ghee, 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Mixed Nuts (cashew, almonds and raisins)- 1/2 cup

  1. Heat 1/4 cup of ghee in a pan, add edible gum and fry till it is puffed up. Remove it from the pan and then drain excess ghee and roughly break them to pieces with a rolling pin and set them aside.
  2. In the same pan add 2 tablespoon of ghee and roast all the nuts for 1 minute or till they become nice brown. Set aside.
  3. Now, on a low-medium flame, heat the remaining ghee and add the wheat flour and roast it, stirring continuously till the flour starts to change its color. 
  4. Turn off the heat. Let it cool lightly so that it is comfortable to handle. 
  5. To the above roasted flour, add the crushed edible gum,black pepper powder, nuts, powdered sugar, cardamom powder, mix well. 
  6. Take this mixture and shape them into ladoos of the size you want.

If you find it difficult to shape ladoos then you can add some melted ghee and then shape them.
Store them in air tight container. It does not spoil for 2-3 months.
It also acts as a very good travel food.

Sweet, crunchy and warm.