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Monday, 29 March 2010

Potato Power>> Chatpate Alu /Tangy Potatoes

I used to love potatoes. Until the world told me not to have them. And like all good things, my favourite starchy veggie became a strict no-no. But I couldn’t give it up completely. I left it for days I knew I’d die of sadness and grief, just because it was raining and the husband had a cocktail party to attend after a meeting because of which he’d come late. Well, on such days, the little carb friend comes to my rescue. Yesterday was one such day. And before I proceed to tell you more about my encounter with them potatoes, tell me, why does it have to look grey and so melancholic when it rains here? Have you seen the rains in India? Ah. Such personality. :)

 

So coming back. I wanted to have potatoes, and the Indian way. And then you see, when i’m in this oh-why-is-my-life-so-f***** mood, I just cook with whatever comes to my hand and in front of my eyes.

 

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(I love the second picture!)

Here’s what went into my Chatpate Alu.

 

1. 1/2 kilo baby potatoes- boiled and halved. (you can used normal potatoes too.)

2. 1/2 bell pepper

3. 1 tsp Jeera powder/ Powdered Cumin

4. 1/4 spoon whole cumin seeds

5. 1/2 tsp Dhania Powder/ Powdered coriander seeds

6. 1/4 tsp Mango Powder/Amchoor

7. 1/4 spoon Chaat masala

8. 1/2 tsp Red Chilly powder (optional)

9. Garam Masala to sprinkle on top

10. Salt to taste

11. 1 tbsp Olive oil (you can use Ghee…NOTHING like ghee!!)

12. bunch of fresh coriander chopped.

 

Method: In a pan, heat oil/ghee, add whole cumin and other powdered masalas (cumin, coriander, red chilly powder). Saut√© for a few seconds in low flame, immediately add the boiled potatoes. Coat it with the masala mixture. Add salt, chat masala and mango powder and on very low flame and leave the potatoes to brown. Let the masalas stick to them.  Will take about 6-10 minutes. Just before taking it off flame add the chopped bell pepper and coriander. Sprinkle Garam masala and serve with roti.

Why are all good things fattening?

 

Top tip: Add tomatoes without the seeds, when you add the bell peppers too. Will add to the colour and to the chatpataness of the dish.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Dad’s Birthday special>> Apple Cinnamon Cake

A few days back, a friend in her status update wrote - ‘ate the best Apple Cinnamon Cake ever’. Oh boy, just reading that made me want to eat it, right there, right then. I set to search for online recipes and found a lovely recipe from Best recipes. It was quite a find, that site!

And since it is dad’s birthday today, I had enough reason to take the plunge. It came out great and the subtle cinnamon flavour was tantalizing :).

I followed the recipe to the t, but made just one addition. I added about 1/4 cup milk to the batter.

 

(I’ve changed it a tad bit. You might want to refer to the original recipe the link for which I have provided above)

you’ll need

Filling:

2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup castor sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp lemon rind- finely grated

1 cup water

 

Cake batter:

2 cups self raising flour

1 cup castor sugar

4 eggs

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

180 gms softened unsalted butter

1/2 cup milk (my addition)

 

Method:

  • Grease and line tray. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
  • In a pan mix all the filling ingredients and cook until the apples are soft. Cool and drain. Keep aside.
  • Sift the flour with cinnamon powder and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, using an electric beater beat butter and sugar until soft and light.
  • Add eggs and beat some more.
  • To the mixture slowly fold in the flour and mix well.
  • Add in the lemon rind too.
  • Add half of this mixture to the cake tin.
  • Top it with the apple mixture.
  • Add the rest of the batter on top of the batter evenly.
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until a fork comes out clean when inserted.

 

Dust over with icing sugar. This is a must :)

Cool it for sometime before attacking it!!

 

Top tip: Use more lemon rind!

 

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Go, bake! Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Dinner tonight>> Veggie Footlong

What did I do? Just oven roasted / grill bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, onions (use just about anything that you fancy). I used the grilled veggies as a topping over a foot long that was waiting with its face painted with butter. Loaded the buttered side with the grilled veggies, placed 2 thinly slices tomato wheels, rocket and baby spinach leaves and finished with a measly sprinkle of cheddar cheese and oregano for the flavour.  Baked the two gorgeously loaded foot longs at 180 degrees for just about 5-6 minutes until the cheese melted all over.

The ultimate insult though was when husband said, yummmm, a new kinda pizza eh?

 

avalon beach1

Until next time. Love.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Zucchini Flower and Ma’s compost magic story

I found the most unlikely of things at Marteli’s vegetable market over the weekend. Zucchini flowers. Packed beautifully, waiting to be picked. I hadn’t heard of Zucchini flower being edible. What what caught my eye was the way they looked. Exactly like pumpkin flowers. And back home in the east of India, this is a delicacy. Usually served as a side to the main course, kumro phool bhaja  or pumpkin flower fry,  is a typical Bengali/Oriya preparation.

I remember during our yesteryears in Shahabad, Ma had this huge pit of vegetable compost and from that grew the most exquisite pumpkin vines! Ma just knew when to pluck a flower and when to leave it for it to develop into a pumpkin. And boy, were they big huge flawless pumpkins! I think one of the pumpkins from our backyard also competed at the local Horticultural show. I don’t think we won a prize, but ma’s compost idea was a big hit. Another one of those examples of how beautiful things grow in perfect harmony amidst dirt, rot and decay. Much like the Lotus, eh? Ma made this mostly on Sundays when the spread was huge at the  lunch table. Needless to say, I never appreciated it. But as I grew and my taste in food too matured, all these ‘adult’ vegetables became part of my married life.

 

Anyway, so I thought , since those  Zucchini flowers looked like first cousins of Kumro Phool, they wouldn’t  be very different in taste. I got to work the moment I got back.

 

zucchini

Wash, clean and take off the baby Zucchini from the flower. Also take off the tube from inside it. (Absolutely clueless about what that is called. I fared miserably in Biology/botany, anyway)

Other ingredients:

5 tablespoons of gram flour/Besan

1/2 tsp of garlic paste

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

a pinch of Nigella seeds (optional)

Salt to taste

 

Add water to the above ingredients. Enough to just about make a paste. Not too runny, not too thick. Just right to coat the delicate Zucchini flowers.

Coat the flower with this paste on both sides and pan fry/roast it . Use a non-stick pan and little oil. Serve with main course.

And I love the way Zucchini sounds. :)

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Of lovely neighbours and lovelier food

 

The next best thing to having a Mallu neighbour is, having a  Mallu neighbour who is also a kickass cook. I can’t thank God enough for giving us the Jacobs as neighbours. If not anything else, wine, food and laughter are  what we typically dwell upon in weekends. And in all this wining and dining, I get to learn the most awesome recipes from her (Maju). Remember this?

The other day she sent me the most awesome pumpkin and spinach curry. Needless to say I went to bliss land and on my return hounded her for the recipe. What a simple thing it is and yet tasted completely out of the world. So today, I set to make this most terrific pumpkin-spinach today. I know of at least 2 readers who don’t like pumpkin and are reading this, and sulking. To them, all I can offer is pity. No, really, what a beautiful tasting vegetable you are missing out on. Duh!

So around lunch, I was starving and decided my lunch had to be that thing that my lovely neighbour gave. So out came the stuff from the fridge and on the table were:

1 big bunch of spinach, cleaned, chopped

1/4 of a pumpkin diced to small cubes

1 extremely large onion :), sliced thin

1 sprig of curry leaf

3/4 tsp ginger-garlic paste

1/2 tsp of cumin powder

1/2 tsp of coriander powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

chilly powder (optional) to taste

salt to taste

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

2 tablespoons of fresh cream (AHA! ;) )

2 tsp of  vegetable oil

 

Method: In a small wok, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and the onion. Saut√© until translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste, cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilly powder. Mix well. Add the pumpkin cubes, salt and stir well. Now add the fresh cream and mix well again. Cover with a lid and on low flame cook until  pumpkin is completely mashed, like a paste. Once you reach that consistency, add the spinach and mix well.  Turn off flame. Don’t cook the spinach too much. The colour goes for a toss and it goes all soggy.

 

spinach

This is the original recipe from her. I added cauliflower and peas to this too, just to increase the bulk. I had 3 mouths to feed ;) and one bunch of spinach wouldn't have been sufficient. It still tasted as good. But I just wish I had turned off the flame soon after adding the spinach. The colour wasn’t as bright and green like her’s. But tasted as good! Serve with Roti and baby mango pickle! Burrrrrrrp!

 

Oh waaaaaaaaaaiiit! There’s more!

My neighbour’s been really kind. OK this one’s the other neighbour.  They gave away their teenage daughter’s trampoline and beautiful swing for my lil rascal. It looks lovely in our backyard, and each time we have a party, the kids have such a ball. I had to send her something. So made some puff pastries filling out of the spinach and pumpkin I made above. I just added ricotta cheese, chilly sauce and cheddar cheese shavings. Made little puffs out of it and sent them over. I just had a bite and think they should like it! They looked like this:

 

puff1 

 

puff2

 

So, what do ya have to say? oh btw, these are inspired by Maju too. :)

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

From KG’s Oven >> Choco-chip Muffins

Did ya know the difference between cupcakes and muffins? Did ya even know a difference existed? I didn’t and always used both interchangeably. For those who know this, you are indeed cool :) :)! Those who don’t, worry not..KG is here!

Cup cakes are smaller, lighter and usually have frosting and decorations on top.  Muffins are larger and do not have frosting/icing. The former is served with tea and the latter with coffee!! Enlightened now?

 

muffin

 

You’ll need:

11/2 cups self raising flour

1 cup- castor brown sugar

150 gms unsalted butter (softened)

1 big bar of Lindt dark chocolate

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup choco-chip bits

3 large eggs

2 tsp Vanilla extract

 

Method

Beat the softened butter with castor sugar until fluffy and light. Beat in the eggs to this and slowly add the flour. Mix well until creamy . Add milk and vanilla extract and mix well. Add choco-chip bits and set aside. Microwave the Lindt bar (ooohh sinful!) for about a minute and a half on high. Pour the melted chocolate to the cake mixture and swirl it with a spatula. Do not mix it completely.

Transfer to a tray lined with Muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes on 180 degrees in a preheated oven, until firm on top.

Serve with coffee!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The perfect –seduce your guests with the dessert- recipe!!

I made this absolutely sinful, heaven transporting, temporary amnesia inducing, yummilicious moist chocolate cake, a while back.  It was for a baby shower and I can’t tell you enough, how much people loved it. That’s the best thing about BBC’s good food recipes. They are tried, tested and perfect. You can never go wrong.

When I saw the recipe, I just knew that it would turn out great. And it did! Go try it yourself, and watch your guests go mmmmmm, oooh yummmmm, wowww..:))

Here is the recipe.

My only advise – please use the best quality chocolate. Do not compromise on the main ingredient. I used Lindt dark.

chocolate cake

 

Looks good? Try and lemme know, ok?