Saturday, January 31, 2009

An eggless-french toast

Here is another eggless breakfast recipe that I tried out from Easy Vegan cooking blog. It is a lovely french toast recipe. I did not modify it much

But here is mine,
Ingredients

Whole wheat bread slices (there's probably enough batter for 8 to 10 slices)
1 cup vanilla soymilk plus 1 cup whole milk (since I did not have enough soy milk)
3/4 cup raw cashews
1tbsp molasses
1 tsp cinnamon and 1tsp clove powder

Method

Blend all the ingredients except the bread slices.
Soak the bread in the liquid mixture.
Spray a pan with some oil and cook the bread slices on medium heat until golden brown.
Serve it with a lovely sauce or some jam.

I am sending this one off to the MBP event this month, Easy Breezy Breakfast
Judgement

It tasted so good I did not even miss the eggs in this recipe. I served with over some lingonberry sauce I made from lingonberry preserves that I bought from Ikea.

Sweet chickpeas with nutella

I mean who does not love Nutella- spread with a nutty, chocolatey flavor. It was originally created by Mr. Pietro Ferrero who founded the Ferrero company. An interesting bit about Nutella is that it was initially made in loaves and packaged in tin foil (you could slice them and use it in sandwiches, like cheese!). The spreadable variation came later when Mr.Ferrero realized that children who ate those yummy sammies threw the bread away and ate just the slices of nutella! If you have not tried it before you should now, I tell ya it tastes heavenly.
Anyway so when I saw this dish here, I knew I had to try it out.

Ingredients

1/2 c. chickpea (garbanzo) flour
1/2 c. white unbleached flour
1 3/4 c. water
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. canola oil
salt, a pinch

Method

Seive the flour mixture then whisk all ingredients together (try not to have any lumps in the batter)

Pour 1/3 of a cupful of batter into a hot, seasoned (or nonstick) crepe pan. Spread the batter evenly and fairly thinly.

Let the crepe cook until it is loose when you shake the pan. Flip it. Continue cooking.

Spread a thin layer of Nutella onto half of the crepe, then roll or fold, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve warm.

You can serve this with any kind of syrup or jam.

I am going to submit this delicious recipe to JFI:chickpeas

The judgement:
It tastes really good, but most of them came out tattered and there were still some lumps. Makes me wonder if besan is actually chickpea flour or the flour from split yellow dal.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wow, can you do that?

What happens when your pantry is low on everything, INNOVATION!!!!
That is exactly what happened- with my dad's encouragement, I tried my own pasta recipe for the first time ever. It all started when I thought I had some of the usual pasta like farfelle or rigate and therefore picked up a recipe with lentils and stuff. Well, I did not have any of those, but at least had spaghetti. The other ingredients on hand were red pepper, onions, crushed tomatoes, left over pasta sauce (I could not use all of it because my mom did not like the super-garlic taste in that sauce, it is store-bought you see!) and flat-leaf parsley. The only thing consoling about this whole thing was the fact that it was going to be a healthy mixture and probably an ideal candidate for Monthly mingle # 29. But I decided to make it more healthy by adding some split green lentils. Well this experiment reminds me of the Lynne's "Splendid Table" (she actually tries to come up edible recipes from the ingredients that the callers have on hand and guess who judges it -Chris Kimble!). So here is how it goes,
Pasta with lentils
Ingredients
1/2 cup lentils, boiled

1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced (I used 1 whole pepper)

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

1-1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
3 tbsp of store-bought tomato sauce

salt & pepper to taste

red chilli powder, a pinch

1 tbsp of Italian seasoning
Olive oil or EVOO as RR puts it!


Saute the onions and red pepper in olive oil.
Add the crushed tomatoes and the left-over sauce and let it hang-out for a minute or two.
(I added little salt and pepper in every step)

Then add the cooked lentils, the chopped parsley, the seasoning and the chilli powder.

Let it cook until everything had blended well and it is of a more saucy consistency (to me it is some sort of a Indian kootu type sauce!)
Cook the whole-wheat spaghetti according to the directions.
Serve the sauce over pasta and garnish with some grated parmesan cheese.I also made some lemony roasted potatoes and the recipe for it came from here
4 small red potatoes, cubed (leave the skin on)
3-4 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of lemon juice

1/2 tsp of lemon zest
2-3 tsp rosemary
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F
Combine oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a saucepan and just slightly heat it.
Add the rosemary and potatoes to the lemon mixture and mix well.
Arrange the potates in a baking sheet, spread the lemon mixture (if there is any left over) evenly.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until lightly browned (30-40min)
.

Oh so how did it taste, you might want to ask me- I would say I really enjoyed it. It turned out to be something different. The only thing is you will need more sauce on spaghetti than the usual.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Parfait fun

I love the combination of yogurt, fruit and nuts. And there is no other better time for this delight than in the morning- this combination has a wonderful cooling and calming effect. What more it is healthy. I am sure all of us make parfaits in different combinations and here is one of my versions with the ingredients I had at hand. The original idea came from dine and dish blog, but as I was reading the various parfait recipes from bloggers I realized I did not have many of the ingredients they have listed, so I had to sort of come up with my own
Here it goes

Ingredients
1 cup low-fat yogurt
1-2 ripe bananas
1 tbsp ginger
a good swish of honey
For the fruits, I had apples, pears and grapes which are in season now
I used dried cranberries, prunes, sliced almonds and pistachios

Blend the first four ingredients together
Then layer the fruits (dried and fresh), nuts and yogurt mixture alternatively.
Garnish with some cranberries and almonds.

I think I will send this really easy recipe to Monthly Blog Patrol event-Easy Breezy Breakfast hosted by Simple Indian Food.

PS: Hopefully I will get to making some more interesting recipes for breakfast time permitting of course.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

An attempt at butter biscuits


If you are like me, the one thing that you cannot resist is a late-night-hot cuppa tea with beautiful butter biscuits from one of the street vendors, especially when you are travelling. When I was little, we used to go on long distance buses pretty often and the thing that I would always get when the bus makes a stop is hot milky chai and at least four of those salty butter biscuits. I have grown up with the flavour of these biscuits. And today I have attempted to recreate the flavour, thanks to the recipe for benne biscuits from the Foodie's Hope blog. I have modified some of the amounts in an attempt to make the biscuits a bit more salty.

How to make them
1. Sift 1 cup plain/all purpose/Maida flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp of salt.
2. Cream 1/2 cup softened Butter and about 1/3 cup white Sugar until creamy and fluffy (I used a less than 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons of sugar, well it was probably closer to half a cup!).
3. Add in the flour mix little by little to make a soft dough, not sticky. Preheat the oven to 350C
4. Make about 12-14 balls lightly rolling on your palm,flatten a bit on top. Do not press too hard. (My mom sort of did this her way)
5. Place them on baking sheet 2" apart (I used a greased baking sheet)
6. Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 10-15mins or until very slightly golden but they must remain almost white when done.
7. Cool on a rack, and enjoy!!

So, except for the burnt underside of these cookies, they tasted yum! It was slightly harder than the cookies sold at those tea-stalls, so may be next time I think I will increase the fat content. These cookies are not particularly healthy but who says indulgence is wrong anyway?! Can't believe my dad liked it.
Today when it is snowing here (yeah yet again!), nothing seems more satisfying than a cup of hot madras filter coffee with one or two of those warm salty delights.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lord of Cosmic dance

It is that time of the month in the solar calendar when Lord Shiva is said to have performed the "Dance of Bliss" a.k.a Ananda Thandavam for his devotee, Nandanar. Nandanar, born in a caste whose people where not allowed into temples, was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He was so devout that Lord Shiva ordered Nandi, the cow, to move and give way so that his devotee could get a glimpse of him. Pleased to see his devotee happy Lord Shiva or Nataraja performs his cosmic dance.
Today people celebrate Lord Shiva's cosmic dance every year in the month of Margazhi (Dec-Jan in the Gregorian calendar), a full moon day (pournami) when the star is Tiruvathirai. The festival is called Thiruvathirai or Arudra Darshanam. The festival is celebrated with simple kali (rice with jaggery) and kootu (simply put mixed vegetable curry). There is a story of how this came about to be true. I have not heard this story before but you can read it here.
So today my mum also made the dish- let me tell you- it was AWESOME!!

Recipe (amma sollu padi..., for those of you who don't understand- in my mum's words)
of course dad cut those beautiful veggies!

Kali
1 cup rice, dry roast and just break it into small pieces (like sooji, may be slightly bigger or dalia)
2 cups water
3/4 cup jaggery, make a syrup out of it (my mom says it should not be too thin)
Powdered Elaichi
Cashews, roasted in ghee (clarified butter)

Cook the rice in 2 cups of water (takes about 20-25 min). Add the cooked rice to the jaggery syrup with elaichi and cashews. Freshly grated coconut is optional.

Kootu
All sorts of tuberous veggies can be used (usually such items for festivities are made with odd number of veggies, don't ask me why!
Today, my mom used
half a sweet potato
half a potato
1/4th of a butternut sqaush
2 taro roots (sepankizhangu), boiled separately
1 carrot
Tamarind, size of a small lime
Spices
Dhania- 3 tbs
Chana dal-2 tbs
Red Chillies- 8 (as per taste)
Asaefoetida-a pinch
Grated coconut- 3 tbs

(Traditionally the veggies used are raw plaintain, avarakkai or broad beans, pumpkin, sweet potato, taro root and yam, we have used carrots and potatoes instead)
Boil all veggies including boiled taro root in tamarind water with some salt and a pinch of turmeric powder.
Roast the spices in oil until the chana dal turns brown, cool and grind the mixture.
Once the veggies are cooked add the ground spice mixture.
Cook until you don't smell the raw spices (say about 5 min)
Mix either rice or all purpose flour in water and add to the kootu (binding agent)
(You can also soak dry black chickpeas overnight. Roast it next day in a little ghee and to the kootu)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sweet treat- post holidays!

I am sending this recipe for the Monthly mingle- World of spice cookies hosted by Meeta K. I got this beautiful recipe from Chris's blog. These cookies are a native of the land of Danes. Despite lacking in confidence, this recipe has such interesting mix of flavors, I just had to try it and I did. The name translates to peppernut cookies. I am not sure if it means pepper and nuts or just pepper. Anyway this recipe I have used does not involve nuts, just a combination of spices. But I have seen a lot of variations of these cookies.

Pfeffernüsse

For Step I
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp pure Anise extract

Combine the three ingredients over low heat in a non-reactive pot until the butter has melted. The mixture will become thin. DO NOT BOIL.
Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Cool to lukewarm temperature.
After the mixture has cooled beat in the beaten egg and anise extract

For Step II

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg (the recipe says freshly grated nutmeg but I only had already ground nutmeg on hand, may be this was too strong!)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Pinch of salt

Sift together all the dry ingredients. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients into the liquid mixture. At the end of it you will get a slightly sticky dough (in retrospect mine was a little dry, I did not have enough sense to add some milk to rectify the dryness!).
Refrigerate until cold, then wrap and chill again (I chilled the dough for about 7 hours).
Preheat the oven at 350C
Roll the dough into small, round balls (~ 1 inch diameter), and line them up on a cookie sheet.
Place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 15min, turn it around once. (I am not sure if the cookie sheet needs to be greased or not, I did not and there was not any problem- the underside of these cookie did seem a little burnt)
Cool the cookies completely and coat them thorougly with confectioners sugar.

I really liked all the spices in this cookie and unlike some of the other cookies, it was not sweet except for the powdered sugar coating.
These tiny bundles of joy and warmth are going out to a few friends (hopefully they will relish them as much as I did)