Broccoli & cauliflower puttu

I love my vegetables and what I love even more is coming up with new dishes where I can happily add two or more vegetables into one dish. And one of my recent experiments to make a dish quickly with broccoli and leftover cauliflower turned out to be a lovely combination indeed.

Broccoli cauliflower puttu

One medium sized broccoli-grated

Half cauliflower -grated

Onions-1 finely chopped

Garlic-3 pods roughly chopped

Turmeric powder

Daria dal/odacha kadalai-2 big tablespoons

Dry Red chilli-2 or more depending on spice level

Salt and oil to taste

Mustard seeds & jeera to season

Pinch of hing

Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, jeera and hing. Add garlic and onions, sauté till translucent.

Then add grated broccoli and cauliflower.

Add turmeric powder and sprinkle little water and cover cook in medium flame for two mins.

Meanwhile dry grind the dal and red chilli with little salt.

Now back to the pan, check the grated veggies have cooked half way through, add the ground powder and more salt if required.

Cover and do not mix for till the dal powder cooks a little bit.

After five mins, lightly mix or toss everything.

Open and cook till it dries out well and gets a little roasted or serve as it is if you like your veggies on the softer side.

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Super delicious millet based recipes!

There are enough websites and enough people around to tell you about the health benefits of millets. Besides the fact that they are healthy, I like to use them in different recipes because I can get bored easily with the same kind and colour of food. So I try and kill two birds with one stone as using different grains/seeds every week helps keep me motivated to cook from scratch and also make a healthier meal simultaneously. So here are 3 simple recipes for the entire family to enjoy ūüôā

Recipe 1

Ragi idli

For the ragi idlis, here is what you will need

Ragi flour or whole finger millet seeds- 2.5 cups

Idly rice-1.5 cups

Urad dal- 1 cup

Wash and Soak the ragi seeds and rice for a minimum of 4 hours. If using flour, soak only rice.

Soak urad dal for less than an hour.

Grind to idli batter consistency with salt and allow to ferment. Do not grind batter to a super smooth consistency. Grind till you can feel a slightly gritty feeling between your fingers so you get a nicer texture.

If adding ragi flour, mix the flour towards the end with the ground rice and grind for few minutes till it all comes together.

Once fermented make idlis as normal and serve with chutney of choice. I would normally prefer a green chutney using coriander or mint for these idlis while for a ragi dosa with the same batter I would make a red chutney with onions, garlic and red chutney.

Recipe 2

Kambu/pearl millet set dosa

Pearl millet flour- 3 cups

Idly rice-1 cup

Urad dal- 3/4th cup

Fenugreek seeds/methi seeds-1 tablespoon or a little more if you love the flavour

Red rice flakes-1/4th cup

Soak idly rice and fenugreek seeds separately for a minimum of 4 hours.

Soak urad dal and rice flakes for atleast half an hour.

Grind altogether to a nice smooth batter. Allow to ferment and make small dosas without too much pressure while you swirl them for nice set dosas. If you like a crispier version simply make as normal.

Any chutney or sambar goes well with this dosai.

Recipe 3

Methi/fenugreek leaves millet dosa

Varagu/Kodo millet- 2.5 cups

Idly rice-1.5 cups

Urad dal -1 cup

Soak rice and millets for a minimum of 4 hours. Soak urad dal for a minimum of one hour. Grind all together to a nice smooth batter. Add salt and mix well.

Allow to ferment.

Once fermented, clean and wash fresh fenugreek leaves and grind to a smooth paste. Add to freshly fermented dosa batter. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of turmeric too.

Make dosas as normal.

If you want a variation, thinly slice shallot sor small onions, handful of peas and make a little thicker dosa than normal, add thinly sliced onions, peas and podi/powder on top and cook on a medium low flame until the onions have slightly browned. You could add ghee or sesame oil for the podi dosa.

Serve with chutney of choice. I would omit the podi for toddlers and only add onions and peas.

Eggless fruit cake

Happy new year to you from this side of the world. Today, I have for you the recipe of an Eggless fruit cake I recently tried. For someone who doesn’t bake eggless cakes,¬† I was rather skeptical about this whole recipe at first. But, I surprised myself and it turned out to be super moist and delicious.

There is only one thing you may have to pre-prep in advance. You will need to soak some dried fruits overnight in orange juice. Handful of desired fruits like raisins, dried papaya, dried cherries in enough orange juice to just slightly immerse the fruits.

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Ingredients & measurements

Self-raising flour: 1 & 3/4 cup

Sugar: 1cup (Use brown sugar if you want a darker colour)

Baking butter or neutral oil: 1/2 cup

Baking soda : 1 teaspoon

Milk: a few teaspoons

Soaked fruits

Grated Orange zest: just a pinch

A pinch of Powdered spice mix: Cloves, cardamom & cinnamon sticks

A few drops of vanilla extract

Method:

Mix all the dry ingredients(flour, sugar and baking soda) in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix melted butter/oil and sugar.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter sugar mixture and add the soaked fruits, vanilla extract, grated orange zest and the spice powder. Fold it all in well until you get a nice thick batter of dropping consistency. DO NOT OVER MIX THE BATTER. If you felt the batter was a bit dry then add milk to loosen it a little.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170deg for 40-45 minutes. Check once in between around the 15min mark to see if the top gets too brown because mine did and I covered the top with foil and put it back in.

Once done, wait for it to cool a little bit and serve while still warm with custard or just on its own.

 

 

This recipe has been adapted from different sources.

Palak/Spinach Phulkas

I do not plan my meals unless I have people coming over. When it comes to everyday cooking, I look at my small blackboard where I write my “vegetables at home list” and plan my meals around that. And yesterday, I realised that a bag of spinach needed to be finished off and I was wanting to make a simple roti and dal kind of lunch. And that is when I decided to make these Spinach phulkas. They turned out so well and brought a nice change to a simple friday lunch. My boys loved how green they looked and gobbled them up in minutes.
And here is the recipe for the same :

One bunch of spinach leaves- washed and pat dried

Wholewheat flour/Atta- as required

Salt and Ghee- As per taste

Warm water- If needed

Method:

-Take spinach leaves and grind it in a blender to a fine paste with enough water.

-In a wide bowl, add your wheat flour, a pinch of salt and a spoon of ghee.

-Add the spinach paste too.

Mix everything well. You should be able to make a nice soft dough with the water from the paste itself, If, even after mixing you feel that you might need more water, then add warm water. Knead well and make a soft dough.

The dough should look like this.

Cover and Rest for 20-30 minutes.

Now divide the dough into equal sized balls and make chapatis or phulkas as normal.

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Once cooked, brush a little bit of ghee on top of each phulka and keep them warm in a casserole until serving.

 

 

Other variations I have tried:

Beetroot phulkas(same method)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy one pot Vegetarian rice

Its about 8:40 am on a Wednesday morning. I have managed to serve a good breakfast for all of us and also packed some lunch for the husband. The lunch that was a tad bit salty if I can remember correctly. Anyway, we are all ready. Husband leaves for work and I leave with this little person to drop him off at nursery. I buckle him up in his seat and turn the car engine on. And thats exactly the moment when my car-mad son had to ask me a question as funnily inappropriate as this- Mummy, why doesn’t our car ever get stuck?????? ¬†I was a little angry but wanted to laugh. And we come back home later in the day and he tells me he had a plate of vegetables for lunch at school. I say, thats amazing and that it will help to keep him strong and well. And he immediately runs to try and lift his daddy’s dumbbells. But he cannot and he comes back at me and asks why hasn’t he become strong yet? ¬†Ermmm.. I scratch my head and give him a hug. I tell him they are way too heavy and only when he grows as big as his daddy, he might be able to do it. And now he wants to grow big immediately. God save me! He is going through a rather curious phase and asks a million questions in a day. Good for him! But not for me you see… because I am not very intelligent enough in the first place to answer every question of his. But my husband who is generally more knowledgeable than me gets away with it somehow. So, my answer to some of his questions is ” Let daddy come home and we can ask him together” and this has been working for a while now.

So, While I am learning to appear smart and impress my son, you should probably scroll down further for an easy one pot rice recipe… My version of a quick vegetable biryani!

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Here’s what you will need:

Recipe serves 2-3 people

Basmati Rice– 200 gms (Washed & Soaked for atleast 10 minutes)

Water– For every cup of rice, add 1.5 cups of water.

One large onion– thinly sliced

Ginger garlic paste– made from 2-3 garlic cloves and a small piece of ginger

Vegetables like Carrots, beans, beetroots, peas (Grate carrots and beetroots if you can for a nice texture)

About 3 big spoons of thick creamy yoghurt

Red chilli powder– one spoon or more if you like it hot

Coriander powder– one spoon

Turmeric powder– a small pinch

Hing/Asafoetida-a small pinch

Salt– To taste

Ghee/Oil– As preffered

One spoon of cumin seeds, One clove, one cardamom, a small stick of cinammon and one bay leaf to add to Oil/Ghee

Coriander leaves to garnish

-Heat up Oil/Ghee in a pot, add cumin seeds,clove, cardamom, a small stick of cinammon and one bay leaf.

-Add sliced onions, saute till golden brown.

-Add ginger garlic paste. Saute for a minute. Add vegetables and reduce flame to medium and cover and cook for 5 minutes. If you are adding grated beets & carrots, you can also add them while you add rice because they cook really fast.

-Now, reduce flame. Add the spice powders & hing. Mix well. Add yoghurt. Add water and salt. Mix well and check for salt. It should feel a little salty because the rice tends to absorb salt quite well. So, don’t worry if you find it quite salty at this stage. Somewhat like your tears if you have ever cried and tasted it too ūüėÄ

Increase the heat a little, and let the water start to boil. Now, add the soaked and strained rice.Let it cook partly covered.

After 5-7 minutes, you will see that the rice has absorbed all the water. At this stage, reduce the flame to the lowest setting. Cook completely covered for 10 minutes. Then switch off the flame and let it rest for another 10-15 minutes.

Just before you serve, add fresh coriander. Serve with your favourite curry or a simple raita/spiced yoghurt with onions, green chillies and cucumber.

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Homemade Pita breads!

So, one among million other things that I have wanted to cook is fresh Pita breads at home. And guess what…I made it¬†yesterday. The entire process felt so magical especially for a beginner-level baker like me. Starting off with a simple yeast dough that puffs up like a balloon towards the end of the process was¬†such a joy to watch with¬†my side-kick(my son)¬†who was equally excited and stood beside me as I cooked these on the stove. Its a very easy recipe which I found on youtube but I like to be adventurous at times¬†so changed it a bit.

I have managed to post this recipe sooner than I thought(Thanks to Instagram). A few lovely women on Instagram appreciated me and wanted to know how I made it. Luckily, I also have pictures and short videos from yesterday… To tell you the truth, I always like to click pictures and videos for such recipes only because I can go back to refer when I am making it again. And as an added bonus, I get to use it for the blog when I want to!

SO here goes…

This recipe will make about 14-16 medium sized breads!

3 cups of all purpose flour or you can use whole wheat flour! ( I used 2 cups of AF and 1 cup wheat flour)

1/2 half cup fine semolina

1 tablespoon milk powder

1 tblspn instant yeast

1 Tspn sugar/ honey

1/2 tblspn salt

Some warm water

1/4th cup extra virgin olive oil and more for rubbing on the dough later

  1. ¬†In a wide bowl, mix flour, semolina, salt and olive oil. In another small bowl, add little warm water(shouldn’t hurt your finger when you dip in) add yeast and sugar and dissolve well. Wait for a few minutes and you will see some foaming. Now add this to the dough. Now, I know you can add instant yeast directly to dry ingredients but I prefer doing it this way so I can be sure the yeast has activated. Feel free to add it directly to flour if you have worked with yeast previously.
  2. ¬†Mix very well and make a nice dough by adding warm water. And at first its okay to add little extra water so you get¬†nice sticky dough. Then take it off the bowl and knead knead knead for a good 15 minutes or so while adding drops of warm water every now and then. You will be pleasantly surprised to see a beautifully smooth dough as you keep kneading. When you get a nice bouncy feeling to the dough and a sore feeling to your arms, oil the bowl well and transfer the dough back to the bowl.‚Äč‚Äč Also coat the surface of dough with oil.

    ‚Äč3. Cover and allow to rise for an hour or more.

    Once it’s risen well, punch the dough and take out all the air. So therapeutic I tell you!‚Äč

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  3. Now divide dough into preferred sizes and dust some flour on the work surface or your regular roti board. Start rolling the balls into preferred shape round or oval. Roll it thicker than chapatis. Like a paratha maybe!
  4. Arrange each rolled out bread onto kitchen¬†towels side by side. Cover and leave this to rise for another 30 mins. Might not rise too much but I read that this step helps with puffing up later while cooking.¬†‚Äč

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  5. After 30 minutes or so, heat up a skillet, medium to low flame and cook each bread for about 40 secs in total.As you keep turning and cooking, you will see how beautifully it puffs up. Then take it out and place on clean kitchen towels. 
  6. Don’t stack immediately, wait for it to cool and then stack.
    Cover the stacked breads well and store in kitchen towels in room temperature or freeze them in freeze safe bags.

We love yoghurt and anything yoghurt based. And we are also partial to greek yoghurt. SO you can be sure we love Labneh..the strained yoghurt cheese that is just so so so good… When I finished making the breads, I started to crave for a good¬†dip. I quickly took a cup of greek yoghurt onto a muslin cloth and allowed it strain for a couple of hours or so. But the longer you strain, the thicker and creamier it is.

Just before serving, I transferred it to a bowl and drizzled¬†some extra virgin olive oil on top. You can add olives, fresh parsley, fresh oregano, za’tar spice on top of this. I didn’t have any of these in stock. But trust me this stuff is rich and delicious on its own. It is good on toast, good on top of¬†herbed vegetables, or simply get sweeping with some warm homemade pitas like we did.

As we are always greedy and want lots of food, I also made pan fried falafels with whatever ingredients I had. Because, it is not the original recipe without parsley,  I will not be posting the recipe for falafels in this post. But there are a lot of websites and youtube videos to learn from.

And this is the final platter I put together for dinner

Hoummus- store bought, homemade labneh, homemade falafels and homemade pitas. For the salad, I Had a bag of mixed leaves. To a cup of that I added grated carrots, fresh cut cucumbers and cherry tomatoes drizzled with some olive oil and add a bit of French mustard. 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Ranting & Raving!

I have a love-hate relationship with shopping malls. I love the idea of one stop shopping but I hate how horribly big most of them are. As if this was not enough to leave me open-mouthed,those large independent chain of stores which have three or four floors of inside the mall tire me out completely. I almost never buy much while shopping in malls unless I am quite sure of what I want to buy before I go. Because knowing what you want makes it so much easier. But, if like me, you are most certainly clueless all the time, then what do you do? Just walk with the family aimlessly, stop at one or two stores when you find something pretty outside the window, then go inside and look at a few things¬†and come out saying you didn’t like anything(The truth being that they are all way too expensive).

But I love shopping for my son, so those quirky shops where you can buy some nice books, puzzles or a¬†little toy is where I am happy at. Ok, I also like shops where they have fancy kitchen gadgets, or anything related to kitchenware. And I also love shops where they sell nice pastries. And recently I have also started to like shops that sell some nice skin care products too. So, you see, my problem is not with the shops itself, its the idea of putting it all inside one huge building with directions only in one corner. Oh well, but London isn’t full of malls. Thank goodness for that. I think my rant is over at this point and I am getting into serious stuff now.

So, talking about skin care, I thought I will share my experience with a product I have been using recently hoping it will be useful for some of you looking for something new. As someone who only takes a minute or two to freshen up, reading up on how really to take care of your skin has left me in a state of shock. For the lazy person that I am, I have never thought beyond a face wash and a moisturiser. But somehow, turning 30 years old has bought with it a newfound devotion to skin care. Although I don’t really see any obvious wrinkling or dark spots, I have become the woman who wants to have better looking skin. Also, I am one of those women who has never been a fan of make-up and all that glam. I have no regrets for my skin isn’t too bad but I think we all could do with some extra help now and then.

After all the reading up and endless videos I have watched on skin care, I have realised that the best way to get started is to simply wash your face every day before going to bed with a really good face wash. One that can cleanse all the gunk out of your skin… ¬† And then use store bought or homemade face masks/sleeping masks often and exfoliate twice a week. These simple steps that I have been following for a while has brought some remarkable changes to my skin. My skin is a lot more even and feels amazingly clean. To me, this is big and I feel so good that I am actually doing something for myself that works.

And you may have heard about the various steps in skin care, like cleaning, toning, moisturising etc etc.. And I for sure know I cannot be one of those who can do all these day in and day out. So, I started to look for a product that can take me a step further and feel like I am doing something really good for the skin. Like, one multitasking product rather than buying a lot of serums/essences/oils. That is when I came across this Korean brand product called Son & Park beauty water. I have been using a dab of this liquid every single day for the past four months or so. I use it twice a day and sometimes thrice too. Because it only takes a few seconds to apply.

Can you see I only have a little bit left??? I really love this stuff! 

This beauty water is just like water but beautifully scented. Not too strong and very gentle on the skin. It is a very smart multitasking liquid. It works as a toner when you want to. Some mornings, when I feel lazy to wash my face as soon as I wake up, I use this to refresh my skin. So, I would say it acts as a cleanser too. There have also been various afternoons when I feel like my face is dull and I want it to feel a bit more lively before stepping out for a quick walk or to the corner shop, then I quickly dab this stuff on my face and instantly feel better.

So, if you don’t have the patience like me for a long skin care routine, but you still want a product to help you for a “lift-me-up moment” then go grab one of this and thank me later only if you like it that is ¬†ūüė¨

DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert in skin care neither am I a model. Just a 31 year old mum who is trying to experiment with her life! And this post has been sponsored by my husband!

Teary Tuesday! 

It was a rather painful Tuesday morning this week. My child(now 3 years old) has started nursery very recently and still gets upset on and off while I drop him. And on this day, he cried like never before. I was standing there not knowing what to do really. I just bravely put up a smile and decided to be cool and composed. But it wasn’t helping. I had to leave anyway. He saw me through the window while I was trying hard to smile and wave bye bye but all I could see was a face that was begging for me to not go. But he still waved back!

At that point, I loved him like never before simply because he was able to wave bye bye while he was full of tears at the same time because he is trying to keep his mummy happy. Oh what a lovely little boy I thought! 

 I quickly got back to the car and guess what I did??? I cried for a good two minutes after which this silly mummy felt good! Here’s what was going through my mind. I now know I cannot have him next to me forever. I have to learn to let him discover things on his own some day. And these days are just the beginning of it all. And I headed off to a spinning session at the gym which is the only reason why I like getting exhausted at the gym to be honest. I love spinning. It helps me focus and helps me think through things from a nicer perspective. A good 30 minute workout helped me get through the morning after which I got home to cook some lunch and went back to pick him up only to find him sitting in the reading corner engrossed in books. And so involved that he didn’t even notice I was standing there for about five minutes. And, I then had to get his attention by whispering a hello and that smile he had on his face when he looked up to see me made everthing so worth it…. 

If anybody ever asks me,  I think It is this part of motherhood that has been the biggest challenge so far. The part where they grow up to do such things like going to school and being on their own…. 

Tiramisu

We are back in London after a rather long holiday in India. This week has been busy as we have had a lot of things to clear out and also do all the unpacking. We are almost done and slowly this change is starting to feel more normal. I even managed to whip up some dosa batter in between all the de-cluttering. Last night I was the tired mother who was sipping on a glass of Merlot and also trying to make dosas for the half pint who was happily sat on the kitchen counter to see his mum in action. Somehow, those few moments I shared with him while I served him and watched him eat made me feel oh so nostalgic. I was the little child in my mother’s kitchen who always sat on the counter and enjoyed having food off the stove while mom and I spoke random things. Yesterday, I saw myself sharing a slice of my childhood with Neil while he enjoyed his dinner just like the way I used to. This whole scene from last night made me feel something that pretty much sums up life for me. All I want to do is cook for the family with a bottle of wine perhaps….

It may only be appropriate to share one of my favourite recipes while I am talking about how much I love to cook. The recipe is only a matter of getting things in order and layering them up to form a Tiramisu. This is a non-alcoholic version only because I find the existing amount of coffee and cocoa is enough for me to go bonkers. So feel free to add a bit of rum to your coffee decoction if you are more grown-up than I am.

 

Ingredients

Cocoa powder to sprinkle the tiramisu

Coffee to wet the sponge fingers

Mascarpone -500 g

Eggs- 6 medium

Sugar -120 g

Finger sponge -it depends on the size of the box/tin u will use

 

This is the dish I like to use so it is easy to build a neat layer. The wider the better!

First prepare the coffee like you would normally do.( enough to soak the finger sponges , I usually fill a pasta plate) pour into a bowl and let it cool.

Whip the egg yolks with half the sugar to obtain a very light and creamy mixture.

Add the mascarpone to the mixture and work the whole thing with a whisk (or wooden spoon until creamy with no lumps, At this stage it should be very creamy

Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt, add the sugar (the remaining half), with a wooden spoon, add them gradually and gently into the mixture of mascarpone and egg yolks, so you now have the cream for the tiramisu.

Soak the sponge fingers one by one in the coffee and start to build your layers.

Cover the fingersponge soaked with a layer of mascarpone cream adjusting with a spoon.

Sprinkle the surface with cocoa powder. Go ahead with  the second layer of fingersponge, cream and cocoa. Also, if before you have them arranged vertically, then place them horizontally (and vice-versa).

Complete with plenty of cocoa powder to cover the surface of your Tiramisu and Store in refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Post-wedding musings!

The confetti has settled, music has been stopped and the feasting is done. Everyone’s heading back home. The most awaited wedding is over. And life has started to feel a little pointless already and I am wondering what to do. ¬†Today, there is an overwhelming sadness that it’s all over..Why can’t there be weddings to plan every month? I want to wake up every day and still feel that there is a wedding ¬†just a few weeks away because there is a certain happiness in planning ¬†and getting lost in all the madness. But despite all the stress,personally I think the last few months have been rather amazing.

While we are all relieved in many ways that its over, I think it is the closeness of family and friends that I miss the most. Because, even after years, one may not remember the details of your dress but one will surely remember how nicely you treated them. And the little things that you remember of them. We were so happy to have almost all of the family around. Some of those I haven’t seen in years were around too. So you can imagine what an emotional ride we have had over the last few weeks. At the end of it all, I am thankful to everyone who joined us and helped us in their own way. And I only wish for a wonderful life ahead to my dearest brother and sister-in-law.