Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Healthiest Snack Ever: The Best Go-To Snack: Video Tutorial

This is my favourite one, the healthiest and indeed the quickest snack. Yeah I am pretty confident calming this-it is really the healthiest one. No carbs and no bad fats, just loaded with fibre, vitamins and minerals. Feeling hungry in office after lunch? Worrying what snack to pack in your child’s tiffin box? Want to watch your husband’s weight and high cholesterol? Thinking what to eat after gym or workout? Well, well, well- this snack is the BEST answer to all the above questions.

In it goes lots of fruits like banana, orange, kiwi and apple- all these are full with fibers, vitamins and juices. Next I added pumpkin seeds to give that missing crunch and also to include healthy omega acids. To jazz it up a little, I mixed in apple cider vinegar- oh what can I say about this magical ingredient? Why don’t you see my post on why apple cider vinegar is important for your health? Finally spoon of flax seeds was added, powdered or milled flaxseeds is such a healthy thing that everyone is talking about it. You can see my post on how to include flaxseeds in the Indian diet to know more about its benefits and usage :-)

This is not any particular recipe, you can add in any other fruit too like grapes, berries or...anything. But I can promise you that this is the best go-to snack ever. It keeps you hydrated, filled and healthy. It cleans your digestive system, gives great glow on your skin, nails and hair and hey it takes only 2 minutes to make this. Next time when you think about healthy snack- do give this a try.

Half chopped banana
1 chopped apple
1/2 orange
1 kiwi chopped
1-2 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon flax seeds powder

In your snack box/bowl mix banana, orange, apple and kiwi.
To it add pumpkin seeds and flax seeds powder.
Finally add apple cider vinegar and mix.

I used good quality this raw apple cider vinegar. You can use lemon juice instead.
As mentioned above, you can add in any fruit.
I used organic Linwoods Organic Flax. You can use powdered almonds powder too.
Substitute pumpkin seeds with sunflower seeds or any nuts of your choice.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Saturday Snapshots Series #8 Holding The Food: Kotimbir Vadi

Saturday Snapshots week #8, theme was  ‘Holding The Food’. Holding food also known as ‘the human touch’ is trending and is my personal favorite. For more details click here.

Holding the food is a great way to bring food alive and breathing. It also gives your blog's readers a chance to peep into your lives- be it your kitchen, your family or actions. You can find some of my (not the best) pictures on this theme herehere and here.

I shot Khotimbir Vadi (coriander steamed dumplings) for this task.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mathri, Maa's Recipe

Mathri, swali, papadi whatever you might call it, the fact remains the same- every Indian loves it. Want to give happiness to an Indian-serve mathri with tea or achaar (pickle), their faces will lighten up and turn all excited. That’s what mathri does. A child leaving the house for a school/college trip, going to hostel or a business tour- a mother will surely pack mathris. Why not?? It’s like a box that contains a mother’s love, care and smell.

A week back when we came back from India, my mother did the same. She packed for us her love in form of mathris. Mathris are thick, crunchy, salty and little bits of carom seeds balances everything-just perfectly. Swalis are fried and made with refined flour-so calories wise yes they are not healthy but taste wise no biscuits, cookies or cake will have that magic what mathris has. But hey, I am not disappointing you, see healthier version of Baked Mathris if you are watching your weight.

Others who are okay with little calories now and then or those who are looking to have that authentic taste of mathri then this recipe is for you. My mom noted down the recipe and tips for me and I am just typing it on my blog.

1 cup all purpose flour/maida
3/4 cup whole wheat flour/aatta
1 teaspoon carom seeds/ajwain
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons oil
Water as needed to knead the dough
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Mix all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, carom seeds and baking soda properly.
Add in2 tablespoons oil and mix till little crumbs are formed.
Add little water at a time. Knead into hard dough. Cover the dough and set aside for 10 minutes.
Heat the oil. Start making the mathris. Pinch small balls out of the dough and flatten it with rolling pin/belan. With the help of fork make some holes.
Fry the mathris in low to medium hot oil till browned and crisp.

Don’t fry lot of mathris together. The oil should be medium hot; extra hot oil will cook mathris from outside and inside it will be raw.
I like the uneven edges of mathri, if you want you can use cookie cutter to cut the mathris out.
Adjust the quantity of flours as per your linking. More whole wheat flour means crispy mathris and all purpose flour will make soft mathris.
For flakier version add ghee in the dough instead of oil.

Serving suggestions.
Goes really well with tea-undoubtedly.
To make papadi chaat, break these mathris and top it off with beaten yogurt (dahi), green chutney and tamarind (imli) chutney.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Butter Cookies/Indian Bakery Biscuits/Naankhatai And Valentine's Day Wishes

Happy Valentine’s Day! :) Love is not finding someone to live with; it's finding someone you can't live without. 

Before moving ahead I will like to share some facts about Valentine’s Day.
  • More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine's Day each year.
  • About 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged in USA alone each year. That's the largest seasonal card-sending occasion of the year, next to Christmas.
  • 73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.
  • Every Valentine's Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.
  •  About 3 percent of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets.
  • The most fantastic gift of love is the Taj Mahal in India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife.
So some exchange gifts, some plan for holidays...I have the simple formula- A way to man’s heart is through his stomach.  We both are not huge Valentine’s Day celebrator; who needs ONLY one day to celebrate love. We both never go out on Valentine’s Day, not even for dinner. Reason??? Well, all the restaurants are overcrowded and way too pricey. By the way who all are watching India vs Pakistan tonight???

Butter Cookies or Indian naankhatai are my all time favourite ones. I know they are loaded with butter and sugar, but little calories on a special day is okay ;). If you have ever tasted Indian cookies, or bakery biscuits you would know how amazing they are. Crunchy, buttery and perfectly sweet with hint of cardamom (ilaychi).  These are eggless ones-have with cold glass of milk, warm cup of coffee/tea.

1/2 cup butter
½ Cup white sugar
1 cup All purpose flour/maida
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder/elyachi
2 tablespoons milk

Mix butter and sugar till it becomes creamy and light.
Add the flour, salt, cardamom powder and milk at once and mix until combined.
Cover the dough with cling film and keep in fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
Line a baking sheet with baking/grease proof paper.
Take 2 tablespoon dough and form it into ball. Flatten the ball and form into disc or Pattie. Do the same with remaining dough.
Bake for 22-25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. When they start to brown, they are done. Have an eye as they can go from brown to burn very fast!
Transfer to a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes.

Make sure every ingredient is at room temperature.
You can also roll out the dough and cut the cookies into desired shape.
If you dont like cardamom powder, feel free to use vanilla essence.
You can also add chopped nuts in these cookies.
Every oven is different, make sure to keep an eye. Very light brown is what you are looking for.
Makes 30-35 cookies and can be stored in a airtight container for 2 weeks.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Saturday Snapshots Series #8 - Holding The Food

This is our Week 8 at Saturday Snapshots, a food photography series. We began clicking simple things like tomatoes, lentils, chillies etc; now time to get serious. When I say serious, I mean you must click with passion, follow the instructions, mention your camera settings in your pictures and most importantly try harder. Click with complete dedication and try to figure out what’s wrong and how can you get better.

This week’s theme is ‘Holding The Food’. Holding food also known as ‘the human touch’ is trending and is my personal favorite. All you need to do is Hold The Food- be it a cupcake, a picnic basket, a cup of coffee or just fresh vegetables.

What to do:
  • Click food that are tiny in size like ice creams, cupcakes, fruits, a bowl of candies etc. These food are great to shoot when held my kids. So all you lovely mothers dress up your kids and shoot. Some great examples are here, here and here.
  • Set up the mood- Yes your image must show a mood. Shoot a glass of fresh drink in the park to depict a sunny day or click a pie  your gloves and apron on -like here or here. Wear your jackets and jumpers for a wintry/warm feel like here or here. Having a party? Click and show the mood of celebration- like here.
  • Think beyond plain whites and blacks. How about wrapping food in paper like here, here and here?? Or use vintage plates and bowls like here and here.  
  • Aperture is your best friend- Shoot within the range of larger aperture between f 1.4 to f 2.0. Larger aperture will only let food be in the focus and the background will be blurred-this gives a nice dramatic touch.
  • Don’t go overboard- Play it simple, nice and clean. Don’t include too many colours, props or texture. Or use no props at all- just your hands like here, here and here. Keep it simple and elegant. 
  • No action shots- Just hold the food; don’t move things- no action shots like pouring, spreading the frosting, kneading the dough etc are needed. (we will get to this later ;)
Holding the food is a great way to bring food alive and breathing. It also gives your blog's readers a chance to peep into your lives- be it your kitchen, your family or actions. You can find some of my (not the best) pictures on this theme here, here and here. Need more ideas and inspiration, just see this Pinterest Board.

  • Please link back to the hosts (we want more people to join in). Simply copy and paste- Saturday Snapshots-food photography series hosted at Merry Tummy and Siris Food.
  • Once your post is ready, use the below linky tool at the host’s page and link.
  •  It is important to watermark (write your name/blog name/blog logo) on your pictures. 
  • Use the logo, it helps to spread the word.
  • We are active on twitter and Facebook. You can share your pictures and post link at our Facebook group. For twitter use #ss (hash tag ss)
  • You don't have to do a separate blogpost for SS, just include the picture in any of your post.
  • Submit your entries till 16th Feb 2015.

Thats all folks! I hope you have fun and also learn something new.