Tuesday, 16 December 2014

463. spicy christmas muffins

Leave the innocent children alone

       Time and again we are facing with news and reports of cruelty towards innocent children. Forced labour, ill treatment, child trafficking, children soldiers and now the shootout at Peshawar. A few days ago a video went viral online showing a Ugandan maid force feeding a toddler, and when the poor child vomited, the maid kicked the child like a football, stepped on the fragile being and basically just went mad. The child is fine and the maid has got a jail sentence. All this was caught on camera which the maid probably had no idea that the parents had installed in their house. Today the world faces the news of innocent children shot at an army run school in Peshawar. How are those who carry out these heinous tasks able to sleep? I guess, not only do they lack feelings, hearts but also a conscious. Surely God does not forgive people who harm these little angels. How many times have we heard that God's angels are the little children. Today watching the news was painful for me. When the world just got over the hostage situation in Sydney, the Peshawar follows hot on its heels. Innocent children lost their lives through no fault of theirs. They probably went happily to school leaving their parents and family at home and met with a senseless death. Little children made to suffer not only the physical pain but also the mental anguish. I remember when the coup happened in 1982 in Nairobi, we could hear gun shots in the distance. I can still hear them till today. Any loud noise frightens me. How are those children who have survived, ever going to lead normal lives? 
         Today's recipe is for the shhh baking secretly challenge. I was paired with Veena Shankar of great secret of life.com. Keeping the festive season in mind she challenged me with flour and sugar. That was like a huge playing ground for me. Wanting to bake tiny cakes for my uncle's birthday, I decided to make spicy christmas muffins. I used self raising flour and brown sugar. The muffins are full of spices and fruits. Ideal for Christmas parties or even as an after Christmas breakfast treat. 
        I decorated the muffins with melted white chocolate. I couldn't take the photo as the chocolate just did not set in this heat. When it finally did, the muffins disappeared quickly.

Share your thoughts?
Should all the countries of the world join hands in fighting terrorism?









SPICY CHRISTMAS MUFFINS
Makes 24 small muffins

2½ cups self raising flour
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
¼ cup sultanas or raisins or a mixture of both
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped nuts - any of your choice
1 tbsp grated orange zest (rind)
⅓ cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ginger powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Line the muffin tray or cups with paper cups.
  3. Sieve flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg powders and salt together.
  4. Add the chopped apples, raisins, cranberries and nuts to the flour and mix well.
  5. In another bowl, mix lightly the sugar, eggs, oil, zest and milk together.
  6. Add the flour to the liquid and mix till just wet. Do not over mix.
  7. Fill the prepared muffin tray or cups with batter , three quarter of the way.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or till the tops are golden in colour. 
  9. Insert a knife or toothpick in the middle of a muffin. If it comes out clean the muffins are ready.
  10. Take the muffins out of the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.
Decoration ideas :
  • Drizzle melted chocolate over it.
  • Prepare ganache or butter icing and decorate the tops.
  • Before baking sprinkle with sprinklers or chopped nuts.
  • Top it glace icing.
Tips :
  • To make self raising flour at home, sieve together 1 cup of plain (all purpose flour), 1½ tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp salt.
  • Instead of dried cranberries use any other dried fruit of your choice.
  • Next time I will make the muffins with home made self raising flour the ready made one probably has too making baking agent. As a result the tops of the muffins are domed and cracked. 
  • If you don't decorate or ice the muffins, you can serve it as a dessert with fresh whipped cream or hot custard.
You may want to check out the following :
spinach paneer balls with tagiatelline

vegetable handvo
mini taco salad cups

Sending this recipe to the following events :




Whats with my Cup-012 TVI


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Monday, 15 December 2014

462. Pineapple tarts/ tart nenas

dainty and delightful

 When Niloufer Riyas, a fellow member of the Home Bakers Challenge Group, gave us exciting Malaysian bake recipes, I got excited seeing the first recipe itself. I browsed through the others and my mind kept on going back to the first one which is pineapple tarts. The picture posted on rasa malaysia looked so cute, dainty and tempting. As I read through the recipe, I thought 'oh no do I really have the time to make the jam?' I was looking for easier options... that is at the other recipes. I liked the suji cookies, but didn't want to add artificial colours, thought of the bread but was not too keen on the caramel kaya. So went back to the original idea. As they say trust your instinct. I am so glad I did. As the tarts came out of the oven, and cooled down a bit, a couple went into my mouth. A few are just not enough and I was getting tempted to go to the tin for one more and one more. They are not overly sweet, and the tangy and sweet jam plays musical notes in your mouth. No, I didn't gobble down all 50! I shared them. Treated my brother in law and his family to some as it was his birthday.I get really excited when all these groups that I am a member of, challenge us to new recipes. Keeps us constantly busy. Just finished with this one and the next challenge is already up!
  Making the pineapple jam from fresh pineapple was a bit tedious but well worth the effort. I just couldn't get myself to use tinned pineapple when right now its pineapple season here. They are so fresh, sweet and delicious. I will be definitely making these beauties again. Though I didn't have the special tart cutter that are readily available in South East Asia, I decided to use a normal cookie cutter. They do have beautiful pineapple tart cutters/molds out there. I would love to lay my hands on a few.

Share your thoughts:
Do you love trying out new recipes?








PINEAPPLE TARTS/ TART NENAS  (open faced)
Makes about  40 -50
Recipe source : Rasa Malaysia

For the pineapple jam :
1 fresh pineapple ( mine was about a 1kg after I removed the rind)
¼ cup sugar
3 - 4 cloves
1 pieces of cinnamon sticks (each about 1")
½ tsp fresh grated ginger
½ cup water

For the pastry/tarts :
1¼ cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
1 tbsp cornflour
1 egg yolk
100 g  soft butter
2 tbsp icing sugar

a little extra butter for greasing the tray
a little extra flour for rolling the pastry

Preparation of the jam :

  1. Cut the peeled pineapple into chunks.
  2. Puree the chunks using the ½ cup water.
  3. Put the puree, sugar, cloves, cinnamon and ginger into a thick bottomed saucepan.
  4. Cook the mixture over medium heat till all the liquid evaporates and the mixture is golden in colour. 
  5. Keep on stirring occasionally and cook till it becomes a thick paste. Mine took about 1 hour.
  6. When the jam cools down, store it in the fridge till required.
  7. Just before making the balls, I left the jam open in the freezer.
Preparation of the tarts :
  1. Remove the cloves and cinnamon sticks from the jam.
  2. First make tiny balls ( from about ½ tsp of jam) from the pineapple jam.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  4. To make the pastry, put sugar and butter in a bowl.
  5. Sieve plain flour and cornflour together.
  6. Cream it till its soft and creamy.
  7. Add the egg yolk and mix.
  8. Add the flour mixture and form a soft dough using your hands.
  9. Roll out the dough about 5 mm thick.
  10. Cut out the tarts with the cutter.I used a 1½" cookie cutter. Reuse the remaining dough.
  11. Place them on a greased baking tray.
  12. Leave little space between each tart.
  13. Using the end of  of the rolling pin or your thumb, make a small depression or dent in the middle.
  14. Place a ball of jam in the dent.
  15. Bake the tarts for 15 - 20 minutes or till slightly golden.
  16. Place the tarts carefully on a wire mesh to cool.
  17. Store in an airtight container.
Tips:
  • I had to reduce the temperature to 160°C. The original recipe indicated an oven temperature of 180°C.
  • You can add any spice of your choice to the jam e.g star anise, pepper, cardamom etc.
  • If you do not add egg yolk, add some milk to the dough.
  • Make sure the jam is really thick and pasty. If it remains a bit liquidy you will not be able to make balls with it. I used wet hands to roll the balls.
  • If you want to used canned pineapple for the jam, squeeze out the excess water before processing it. You will need half of the 20 oz can. 
  • I got 50 tarts, but the number will entirely depend on the size of the cutter. 
  • I went through quite a few recipes before I made mine. Some swear by thick tarts some by medium. I preferred the medium.
You may want to check out the following :
baguette
wholewheat almond cookies

veggie pizza rolls

Sending this recipe to the following events :




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the veggie indian

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Spice your life


Babi's recipes

Saturday, 13 December 2014

461. mango coconut paletas

Blogging block???

       All writers, bloggers experience a block occasionally. Whenever I have a bloggers block, I just find it difficult to even write one meaningful sentence. Yet I know I need to get the recipe on the blog to keep my followers interested. You may say but there are so many things or topics one can write about. True, but sometimes the idea is in the head but the hand will not assist in typing out the words. Many have suggestions like keeping a paper and pencil nearby to jot down any ideas or thoughts you may have. But that may not be convenient especially when you are busy.The other advise is to follow a theme so writing becomes easier. Making posts more interesting becomes like a full time job, hunting for quotes or opinions, taking photos, doing research, etc. When blogging, especially when you have great ideas flowing, its best to pick a quiet spot to work. Distractions may hinder your flow of thoughts. However, with family, hubby and chores to take care of, we all try to multi - task. Its also important to blog regularly to keep the thoughts flowing. Long breaks can make you a bit lazy. Finally, followers and readers opinions matter a lot. Encouraging words, tips to improve, or an opinion expressed all help us to improve. 
      Coming to today's recipe, we still are experiencing really hot weather so paletas or popiscles are the most obvious choice of dessert. This time round I made mango and coconut paletas. I love the layered effect. Coconut and mango is a delectable combination.

Share your thoughts:
Do you experience bloggers block? What do you do?


MANGO COCONUT PALETAS
makes about 12

For the mango puree :
2½ cups ripe mango chunks
¼ cup fresh thick cream
¼ cup milk
1-2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp lemon juice

For the coconut puree:
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh thick cream
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation of the mango puree :
  1. Put the mango chunks in a liquidizer jug with the milk.
  2. Process till you get a smooth puree.
  3. Strain the puree to remove any fibres.
  4. Add sugar, cream, cardamom powder and lemon juice to the puree. Mix it well.
Preparation of the coconut puree :
  1. Mix coconut milk, cream, sugar and vanilla essence.
Preparation of the paletas:
  1. Pour about 2 tbsp of mango puree into each popsicle mould.
  2. Freeze it in the freezer for 10 -15 minutes.
  3. Add 1 tbsp coconut mixture. Freeze for 10 minutes.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of mango puree. Insert sticks now if required. 
  5. Freeze for 10 -15 minutes.
  6. Add remaining coconut mixture and freeze the paletas for 4-5 hours.
  7. To serve, dip the moulds in warm water. Remove the paleta and serve.
Tips :
  • Add orange juice instead of milk to puree the mango chunks.
  • If you do not have any popsicle moulds, you can use either old yogurt pots or a kulfi mould. Insert the  sticks when you add the 3rd layer. Make slits on aluminium foil pieces to allow the sticks to come through. Cover the pots or kulfi moulds with the aluminium foil pieces.
  • I used canned coconut milk as its much thicker than the homemade one. 
  • Adjust the amount of sugar used according to your taste and on how sweet the mangoes are.
  • Use greek yogurt instead of fresh cream.
You may want to check out the following :

mango sorbet
mango and passion fruit paletas
mango mousse
Sending this recipe for the following events:

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

460. dahi papdi chaat

new serials

     The new serials which have just begun or are coming up on some of the Indian channels are based on a variety of different themes as opposed to the usual saas bahu drama. I am glad that Indian television is growing by leaps and bounds. It is trying to cater for all ages. Though some of my favourites are family based like Diya aur Baati Hum, Balika Vadhu, Yeh Hai  Mohabbatein. Yeh Rishta kya kehlata hai, I am enjoying the new ones like Everest, Nisha aur uski cousins and Udaan. Kailesh Satyarthi a child's right activist and Malala Yousafzai an education activist have won the Peace Noble Prize. While their cause has become more apparent and in the limelight of the whole world after winning the prize, serials like Balika Vadu and Udaan are trying to address these issues. Change can only come if we learn something from the serials we watch. Each one has a strong message - family unity, child labour, girls education, meeting your goals, career issues etc. I have no qualms in admitting that I love watching some of the Indian serials. Its a constant reminder of family values, a link to our culture and entertainment.
      A couple of weeks ago I was entertaining family and their request was to make some cooling dishes and nothing too hot and spicy. So obviously chaats was on the top of my list. I served dahi papdi chaat in individual portions as opposed to serving them on a plate in the traditional way. I left extra papdis on the side so that the guests could take some more as they went through their individual portions. I love dahi papdi chaat, in fact any type of chaat. While taking the photo, I forgot to add the sev !

Share your thoughts:
Do you like watching Indian serials?



DAHI PAPDI CHAAT
Serves 8-10 (makes about 40 pieces)

For the papdi :
½ cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ cup wheat flour (atta)
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ajmo, ajwain, caraway seeds
⅓ cup water or may need a bit more
oil for deep frying

For the chaat:
1 cup boiled brown chick peas (chana)
1 cup boiled green gram (moong)
1 cup boiled, peeled and diced potatoaes
2-2½ cups plain yogurt
¼ tsp salt
1-2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cumin seed powder (jeera powder)
3-4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 cup pomegranate seeds (dadam)
1 cup thin sev
1 cup green chutney
1-1½ cups date tamarind chutney
 ½ cup garlic chutney (optional)
1 cup finely chopped onion

Preparation of the papdis :
  1. Mix both the flours. 
  2. Add salt and ajmo to it.
  3. Add oil and rub into the flour.
  4. Add water and form a dough which is not too soft and not too stiff. 
  5. Cover the dough with cling film or tea towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into 3-4 parts.
  7. Roll into a thin circle. 
  8. Using a cookie cutter cut the rolled chappati into smaller circles. I used a 2½" cutter. 
  9. Keep the small circles on the side. 
  10. Repeat steps 7 to 9 using rest of the dough. Also keep on adding the remaining dough which is left after cutting out the smaller circles.
  11. Heat oil in a wok, karai or deep pan over medium heat.
  12. In the meantime cut small slits in each of the small circles.
  13. When the oil is ready, reduce the heat to low setting and fry the discs 6-8 at a time. Fry till they are crispy. 
  14. Keep the papdi on the side till they cool down.
  15. Store in an airtight container till required.
Preparation of the chaat :
  1. Lightly beat the yogurt with a spoon.
  2. Add salt, sugar, red chilli powder and cumin powder to the yogurt and mix well.
  3. Drop a papdi in each individual container.
  4. Add to it about a tbsp of boiled chana, moong, chopped onion and potatoes.
  5. Top it with about 3 tbsp yogurt.
  6. Add the chutneys.
  7. Add dadam, sev and chopped coriander.
  8. Place a papdi or two on top and serve.
Traditional way of serving:
  1. Place 5-6 papdis on a plate.
  2. Top it with chana, moong, potatoes.
  3. Drizzle yogurt over it.
  4. Add the chutneys, sev and dadam.
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander and onions.
Tips :
  • Usually ½ cup of chana (chickpeas) soaked overnight and boiled in salted water gives 1 cup of chana.
  • Can use moong sprouts.
  • You can add chaat masala to the yogurt or sprinkle it on top.
  • You can use ready made papdis.
  • You can make papdis using only plain flour.
  • Thin sev is readily available in all Indian stores and sweet shops.
  • The above measurements for the chaat are what I required. It depends on individuals on how much of the chutneys, yogurt and other ingredients are needed.
You may want to check out the following:
pani puri
pav bhaji
dabeli


dahi vadas
Sending this recipe to the following event :





Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Mushroom event round up

In my veg box event roundup Nov 2014 -- Mushrooms

   The event for sharing mushroom recipes is over. I would like to thank Nayna of Citrus spice and all things nice for letting me host this event. 
    Though I was expecting many more recipes as most kids and adults love mushrooms, I am grateful to the following for sending in their recipes :

Sangeetha Senthil
1)Mushroom masala
2)Garlic mushroom fry

Motions and Emotions
1) Mushroom Schezwan

Queen of my kitchen
1) pan roasted stuffed mushrooms

Delectable flavours
1) Mushroom gravy recipe

Simply Food
1) roasted vegetable wraps
2)mushroom and fennel curry

Thank you all for your valuable support.

Check out my mushroom recipes :
1) Mushrooms on toast
2)Enoki mushroom and mache salad
3)Sweet corn and mushroom soup
4) Mushroom egg fried rice

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

459. nachos with mango salsa

Grandparents

     Grandparents love to spoil and pamper their grandchildren. In their eyes grandchildren are perfect angels. Right now my daughter is getting pampered by my dad and my 3 fois (aunts). They have gone there for a week. They reached Bangalore yesterday and are already feeding all sorts of goodies to my daughter. She is enjoying all the attention. When I was growing up I really didn't know my maternal grandparents that much as they were in India and I in Kenya. I met them occasionally when I was studying in Mt. Abu. I grew up in a joint family with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the works. My grandmother didn't believe in pampering but I learnt a lot of things from her. My grandfather on the other hand loved pampering us. Making leftover roti ladoos, sharing his special recipe of jalebi and milk, doubling our savings on diwali day, giving us pocket money. I always remind my children that they are very lucky as they got to spend time with both sets of grandparents. What parents will not do for their children, grandparents will do for their grandchildren. When my kids use to come home from boarding school for holidays, my mother in law would spend hours in the kitchen making all sorts of goodies for them. My daughter will be going to Mumbai in a few days and I know my mother in law is already planning how to spoil her! Grandparents give unconditional love, patience, comfort, life lessons and kindness in abundance to their grandchildren. 



    My recipe for today is home made nachos with mango salsa. Great as a starter or a snack and a cooling treat to beat the heat. You can prepare the nachos a few days ahead. 

Share your thoughts :
Were you spoilt by your grandparents when you were growing up?




NACHOS WITH MANGO SALSA
Approx : 50 -55 pieces

For the nachos:
¾ cup fine maize flour (white or yellow)
1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin powder
⅓ -½ cup water

For the mango salsa :
2 cups chopped ripe mango ( 2 large mangoes)
1 cup chopped tomato
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
½ -1 tsp red chilli powder
½- ¾ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar (optional)
¼ cup chopped fresh spring onion
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

plain flour for dusting
oil for deep frying

Preparation of nachos :

  1. Mix both the flours, cumin powder and salt in a bowl. 
  2. Add oil and rub it into the flour.
  3. Add water and form a dough which is not too soft or too hard.
  4. Cover the dough with a cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Heat a tawa or frying pan over medium heat.
  6. Using plain flour for dusting, roll a part of the dough into a thin circle.
  7. Prick the rolled circle all over with a fork.
  8. Roast on the frying pan on both sides till light brown specks appear.
  9. Keep the cooked tortilla wrapped in a cloth or an airtight container.
  10. Repeat steps 6 to 9 with the remaining dough.
  11. Heat oil for deep frying in a wok, karai or deep pan over medium heat.
  12. Take one tortilla and cut small discs using a round cookie cutter. I used a 2½ " cutter.
  13. Fry the small circles till they are crispy.
  14. Repeat steps 12 and 13 with the remaining tortillas.
  15. Store the nachos in an airtight container when they have cooled down.
Preparation of mango salsa :
  1. Mix all the ingredients for salsa in a bowl.
Final preparation :
  1. Spoon about a tsp of the salsa onto the nachos and serve or keep both on the table and let the guests help themselves.
Tips:
  • If you are using white maize flour, add about ¼ tsp turmeric to get that lovely yellow colour if you want to.
  • I fried the left over tortilla bits (after cutting the circles) also and used it up for my mexican bhel.
  • You can roll the dough into a big square or rectangle and then cut it into squares.
  • Adjust the spices for the salsa according to your taste.
  • Make sure you roll the tortillas pretty thin like a chappati or roti. If it remains thick then its difficult to get crispy nachos.
  • Can serve the salsa with store bought nachos.
You may want to check out the following :

spicy tofu

mushrooms on toast
spinach corn quiche


Sending this recipe to the following events:



Tuesday, 16 December 2014

463. spicy christmas muffins

Leave the innocent children alone

       Time and again we are facing with news and reports of cruelty towards innocent children. Forced labour, ill treatment, child trafficking, children soldiers and now the shootout at Peshawar. A few days ago a video went viral online showing a Ugandan maid force feeding a toddler, and when the poor child vomited, the maid kicked the child like a football, stepped on the fragile being and basically just went mad. The child is fine and the maid has got a jail sentence. All this was caught on camera which the maid probably had no idea that the parents had installed in their house. Today the world faces the news of innocent children shot at an army run school in Peshawar. How are those who carry out these heinous tasks able to sleep? I guess, not only do they lack feelings, hearts but also a conscious. Surely God does not forgive people who harm these little angels. How many times have we heard that God's angels are the little children. Today watching the news was painful for me. When the world just got over the hostage situation in Sydney, the Peshawar follows hot on its heels. Innocent children lost their lives through no fault of theirs. They probably went happily to school leaving their parents and family at home and met with a senseless death. Little children made to suffer not only the physical pain but also the mental anguish. I remember when the coup happened in 1982 in Nairobi, we could hear gun shots in the distance. I can still hear them till today. Any loud noise frightens me. How are those children who have survived, ever going to lead normal lives? 
         Today's recipe is for the shhh baking secretly challenge. I was paired with Veena Shankar of great secret of life.com. Keeping the festive season in mind she challenged me with flour and sugar. That was like a huge playing ground for me. Wanting to bake tiny cakes for my uncle's birthday, I decided to make spicy christmas muffins. I used self raising flour and brown sugar. The muffins are full of spices and fruits. Ideal for Christmas parties or even as an after Christmas breakfast treat. 
        I decorated the muffins with melted white chocolate. I couldn't take the photo as the chocolate just did not set in this heat. When it finally did, the muffins disappeared quickly.

Share your thoughts?
Should all the countries of the world join hands in fighting terrorism?









SPICY CHRISTMAS MUFFINS
Makes 24 small muffins

2½ cups self raising flour
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
¼ cup sultanas or raisins or a mixture of both
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped nuts - any of your choice
1 tbsp grated orange zest (rind)
⅓ cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ginger powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Line the muffin tray or cups with paper cups.
  3. Sieve flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg powders and salt together.
  4. Add the chopped apples, raisins, cranberries and nuts to the flour and mix well.
  5. In another bowl, mix lightly the sugar, eggs, oil, zest and milk together.
  6. Add the flour to the liquid and mix till just wet. Do not over mix.
  7. Fill the prepared muffin tray or cups with batter , three quarter of the way.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or till the tops are golden in colour. 
  9. Insert a knife or toothpick in the middle of a muffin. If it comes out clean the muffins are ready.
  10. Take the muffins out of the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.
Decoration ideas :
  • Drizzle melted chocolate over it.
  • Prepare ganache or butter icing and decorate the tops.
  • Before baking sprinkle with sprinklers or chopped nuts.
  • Top it glace icing.
Tips :
  • To make self raising flour at home, sieve together 1 cup of plain (all purpose flour), 1½ tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp salt.
  • Instead of dried cranberries use any other dried fruit of your choice.
  • Next time I will make the muffins with home made self raising flour the ready made one probably has too making baking agent. As a result the tops of the muffins are domed and cracked. 
  • If you don't decorate or ice the muffins, you can serve it as a dessert with fresh whipped cream or hot custard.
You may want to check out the following :
spinach paneer balls with tagiatelline

vegetable handvo
mini taco salad cups

Sending this recipe to the following events :




Whats with my Cup-012 TVI


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Monday, 15 December 2014

462. Pineapple tarts/ tart nenas

dainty and delightful

 When Niloufer Riyas, a fellow member of the Home Bakers Challenge Group, gave us exciting Malaysian bake recipes, I got excited seeing the first recipe itself. I browsed through the others and my mind kept on going back to the first one which is pineapple tarts. The picture posted on rasa malaysia looked so cute, dainty and tempting. As I read through the recipe, I thought 'oh no do I really have the time to make the jam?' I was looking for easier options... that is at the other recipes. I liked the suji cookies, but didn't want to add artificial colours, thought of the bread but was not too keen on the caramel kaya. So went back to the original idea. As they say trust your instinct. I am so glad I did. As the tarts came out of the oven, and cooled down a bit, a couple went into my mouth. A few are just not enough and I was getting tempted to go to the tin for one more and one more. They are not overly sweet, and the tangy and sweet jam plays musical notes in your mouth. No, I didn't gobble down all 50! I shared them. Treated my brother in law and his family to some as it was his birthday.I get really excited when all these groups that I am a member of, challenge us to new recipes. Keeps us constantly busy. Just finished with this one and the next challenge is already up!
  Making the pineapple jam from fresh pineapple was a bit tedious but well worth the effort. I just couldn't get myself to use tinned pineapple when right now its pineapple season here. They are so fresh, sweet and delicious. I will be definitely making these beauties again. Though I didn't have the special tart cutter that are readily available in South East Asia, I decided to use a normal cookie cutter. They do have beautiful pineapple tart cutters/molds out there. I would love to lay my hands on a few.

Share your thoughts:
Do you love trying out new recipes?








PINEAPPLE TARTS/ TART NENAS  (open faced)
Makes about  40 -50
Recipe source : Rasa Malaysia

For the pineapple jam :
1 fresh pineapple ( mine was about a 1kg after I removed the rind)
¼ cup sugar
3 - 4 cloves
1 pieces of cinnamon sticks (each about 1")
½ tsp fresh grated ginger
½ cup water

For the pastry/tarts :
1¼ cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
1 tbsp cornflour
1 egg yolk
100 g  soft butter
2 tbsp icing sugar

a little extra butter for greasing the tray
a little extra flour for rolling the pastry

Preparation of the jam :

  1. Cut the peeled pineapple into chunks.
  2. Puree the chunks using the ½ cup water.
  3. Put the puree, sugar, cloves, cinnamon and ginger into a thick bottomed saucepan.
  4. Cook the mixture over medium heat till all the liquid evaporates and the mixture is golden in colour. 
  5. Keep on stirring occasionally and cook till it becomes a thick paste. Mine took about 1 hour.
  6. When the jam cools down, store it in the fridge till required.
  7. Just before making the balls, I left the jam open in the freezer.
Preparation of the tarts :
  1. Remove the cloves and cinnamon sticks from the jam.
  2. First make tiny balls ( from about ½ tsp of jam) from the pineapple jam.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  4. To make the pastry, put sugar and butter in a bowl.
  5. Sieve plain flour and cornflour together.
  6. Cream it till its soft and creamy.
  7. Add the egg yolk and mix.
  8. Add the flour mixture and form a soft dough using your hands.
  9. Roll out the dough about 5 mm thick.
  10. Cut out the tarts with the cutter.I used a 1½" cookie cutter. Reuse the remaining dough.
  11. Place them on a greased baking tray.
  12. Leave little space between each tart.
  13. Using the end of  of the rolling pin or your thumb, make a small depression or dent in the middle.
  14. Place a ball of jam in the dent.
  15. Bake the tarts for 15 - 20 minutes or till slightly golden.
  16. Place the tarts carefully on a wire mesh to cool.
  17. Store in an airtight container.
Tips:
  • I had to reduce the temperature to 160°C. The original recipe indicated an oven temperature of 180°C.
  • You can add any spice of your choice to the jam e.g star anise, pepper, cardamom etc.
  • If you do not add egg yolk, add some milk to the dough.
  • Make sure the jam is really thick and pasty. If it remains a bit liquidy you will not be able to make balls with it. I used wet hands to roll the balls.
  • If you want to used canned pineapple for the jam, squeeze out the excess water before processing it. You will need half of the 20 oz can. 
  • I got 50 tarts, but the number will entirely depend on the size of the cutter. 
  • I went through quite a few recipes before I made mine. Some swear by thick tarts some by medium. I preferred the medium.
You may want to check out the following :
baguette
wholewheat almond cookies

veggie pizza rolls

Sending this recipe to the following events :




Whats with my Cup-012 TVI


the veggie indian

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Saturday, 13 December 2014

461. mango coconut paletas

Blogging block???

       All writers, bloggers experience a block occasionally. Whenever I have a bloggers block, I just find it difficult to even write one meaningful sentence. Yet I know I need to get the recipe on the blog to keep my followers interested. You may say but there are so many things or topics one can write about. True, but sometimes the idea is in the head but the hand will not assist in typing out the words. Many have suggestions like keeping a paper and pencil nearby to jot down any ideas or thoughts you may have. But that may not be convenient especially when you are busy.The other advise is to follow a theme so writing becomes easier. Making posts more interesting becomes like a full time job, hunting for quotes or opinions, taking photos, doing research, etc. When blogging, especially when you have great ideas flowing, its best to pick a quiet spot to work. Distractions may hinder your flow of thoughts. However, with family, hubby and chores to take care of, we all try to multi - task. Its also important to blog regularly to keep the thoughts flowing. Long breaks can make you a bit lazy. Finally, followers and readers opinions matter a lot. Encouraging words, tips to improve, or an opinion expressed all help us to improve. 
      Coming to today's recipe, we still are experiencing really hot weather so paletas or popiscles are the most obvious choice of dessert. This time round I made mango and coconut paletas. I love the layered effect. Coconut and mango is a delectable combination.

Share your thoughts:
Do you experience bloggers block? What do you do?


MANGO COCONUT PALETAS
makes about 12

For the mango puree :
2½ cups ripe mango chunks
¼ cup fresh thick cream
¼ cup milk
1-2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp lemon juice

For the coconut puree:
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh thick cream
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation of the mango puree :
  1. Put the mango chunks in a liquidizer jug with the milk.
  2. Process till you get a smooth puree.
  3. Strain the puree to remove any fibres.
  4. Add sugar, cream, cardamom powder and lemon juice to the puree. Mix it well.
Preparation of the coconut puree :
  1. Mix coconut milk, cream, sugar and vanilla essence.
Preparation of the paletas:
  1. Pour about 2 tbsp of mango puree into each popsicle mould.
  2. Freeze it in the freezer for 10 -15 minutes.
  3. Add 1 tbsp coconut mixture. Freeze for 10 minutes.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of mango puree. Insert sticks now if required. 
  5. Freeze for 10 -15 minutes.
  6. Add remaining coconut mixture and freeze the paletas for 4-5 hours.
  7. To serve, dip the moulds in warm water. Remove the paleta and serve.
Tips :
  • Add orange juice instead of milk to puree the mango chunks.
  • If you do not have any popsicle moulds, you can use either old yogurt pots or a kulfi mould. Insert the  sticks when you add the 3rd layer. Make slits on aluminium foil pieces to allow the sticks to come through. Cover the pots or kulfi moulds with the aluminium foil pieces.
  • I used canned coconut milk as its much thicker than the homemade one. 
  • Adjust the amount of sugar used according to your taste and on how sweet the mangoes are.
  • Use greek yogurt instead of fresh cream.
You may want to check out the following :

mango sorbet
mango and passion fruit paletas
mango mousse
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

460. dahi papdi chaat

new serials

     The new serials which have just begun or are coming up on some of the Indian channels are based on a variety of different themes as opposed to the usual saas bahu drama. I am glad that Indian television is growing by leaps and bounds. It is trying to cater for all ages. Though some of my favourites are family based like Diya aur Baati Hum, Balika Vadhu, Yeh Hai  Mohabbatein. Yeh Rishta kya kehlata hai, I am enjoying the new ones like Everest, Nisha aur uski cousins and Udaan. Kailesh Satyarthi a child's right activist and Malala Yousafzai an education activist have won the Peace Noble Prize. While their cause has become more apparent and in the limelight of the whole world after winning the prize, serials like Balika Vadu and Udaan are trying to address these issues. Change can only come if we learn something from the serials we watch. Each one has a strong message - family unity, child labour, girls education, meeting your goals, career issues etc. I have no qualms in admitting that I love watching some of the Indian serials. Its a constant reminder of family values, a link to our culture and entertainment.
      A couple of weeks ago I was entertaining family and their request was to make some cooling dishes and nothing too hot and spicy. So obviously chaats was on the top of my list. I served dahi papdi chaat in individual portions as opposed to serving them on a plate in the traditional way. I left extra papdis on the side so that the guests could take some more as they went through their individual portions. I love dahi papdi chaat, in fact any type of chaat. While taking the photo, I forgot to add the sev !

Share your thoughts:
Do you like watching Indian serials?



DAHI PAPDI CHAAT
Serves 8-10 (makes about 40 pieces)

For the papdi :
½ cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ cup wheat flour (atta)
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ajmo, ajwain, caraway seeds
⅓ cup water or may need a bit more
oil for deep frying

For the chaat:
1 cup boiled brown chick peas (chana)
1 cup boiled green gram (moong)
1 cup boiled, peeled and diced potatoaes
2-2½ cups plain yogurt
¼ tsp salt
1-2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cumin seed powder (jeera powder)
3-4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 cup pomegranate seeds (dadam)
1 cup thin sev
1 cup green chutney
1-1½ cups date tamarind chutney
 ½ cup garlic chutney (optional)
1 cup finely chopped onion

Preparation of the papdis :
  1. Mix both the flours. 
  2. Add salt and ajmo to it.
  3. Add oil and rub into the flour.
  4. Add water and form a dough which is not too soft and not too stiff. 
  5. Cover the dough with cling film or tea towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into 3-4 parts.
  7. Roll into a thin circle. 
  8. Using a cookie cutter cut the rolled chappati into smaller circles. I used a 2½" cutter. 
  9. Keep the small circles on the side. 
  10. Repeat steps 7 to 9 using rest of the dough. Also keep on adding the remaining dough which is left after cutting out the smaller circles.
  11. Heat oil in a wok, karai or deep pan over medium heat.
  12. In the meantime cut small slits in each of the small circles.
  13. When the oil is ready, reduce the heat to low setting and fry the discs 6-8 at a time. Fry till they are crispy. 
  14. Keep the papdi on the side till they cool down.
  15. Store in an airtight container till required.
Preparation of the chaat :
  1. Lightly beat the yogurt with a spoon.
  2. Add salt, sugar, red chilli powder and cumin powder to the yogurt and mix well.
  3. Drop a papdi in each individual container.
  4. Add to it about a tbsp of boiled chana, moong, chopped onion and potatoes.
  5. Top it with about 3 tbsp yogurt.
  6. Add the chutneys.
  7. Add dadam, sev and chopped coriander.
  8. Place a papdi or two on top and serve.
Traditional way of serving:
  1. Place 5-6 papdis on a plate.
  2. Top it with chana, moong, potatoes.
  3. Drizzle yogurt over it.
  4. Add the chutneys, sev and dadam.
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander and onions.
Tips :
  • Usually ½ cup of chana (chickpeas) soaked overnight and boiled in salted water gives 1 cup of chana.
  • Can use moong sprouts.
  • You can add chaat masala to the yogurt or sprinkle it on top.
  • You can use ready made papdis.
  • You can make papdis using only plain flour.
  • Thin sev is readily available in all Indian stores and sweet shops.
  • The above measurements for the chaat are what I required. It depends on individuals on how much of the chutneys, yogurt and other ingredients are needed.
You may want to check out the following:
pani puri
pav bhaji
dabeli


dahi vadas
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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Mushroom event round up

In my veg box event roundup Nov 2014 -- Mushrooms

   The event for sharing mushroom recipes is over. I would like to thank Nayna of Citrus spice and all things nice for letting me host this event. 
    Though I was expecting many more recipes as most kids and adults love mushrooms, I am grateful to the following for sending in their recipes :

Sangeetha Senthil
1)Mushroom masala
2)Garlic mushroom fry

Motions and Emotions
1) Mushroom Schezwan

Queen of my kitchen
1) pan roasted stuffed mushrooms

Delectable flavours
1) Mushroom gravy recipe

Simply Food
1) roasted vegetable wraps
2)mushroom and fennel curry

Thank you all for your valuable support.

Check out my mushroom recipes :
1) Mushrooms on toast
2)Enoki mushroom and mache salad
3)Sweet corn and mushroom soup
4) Mushroom egg fried rice

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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

459. nachos with mango salsa

Grandparents

     Grandparents love to spoil and pamper their grandchildren. In their eyes grandchildren are perfect angels. Right now my daughter is getting pampered by my dad and my 3 fois (aunts). They have gone there for a week. They reached Bangalore yesterday and are already feeding all sorts of goodies to my daughter. She is enjoying all the attention. When I was growing up I really didn't know my maternal grandparents that much as they were in India and I in Kenya. I met them occasionally when I was studying in Mt. Abu. I grew up in a joint family with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the works. My grandmother didn't believe in pampering but I learnt a lot of things from her. My grandfather on the other hand loved pampering us. Making leftover roti ladoos, sharing his special recipe of jalebi and milk, doubling our savings on diwali day, giving us pocket money. I always remind my children that they are very lucky as they got to spend time with both sets of grandparents. What parents will not do for their children, grandparents will do for their grandchildren. When my kids use to come home from boarding school for holidays, my mother in law would spend hours in the kitchen making all sorts of goodies for them. My daughter will be going to Mumbai in a few days and I know my mother in law is already planning how to spoil her! Grandparents give unconditional love, patience, comfort, life lessons and kindness in abundance to their grandchildren. 



    My recipe for today is home made nachos with mango salsa. Great as a starter or a snack and a cooling treat to beat the heat. You can prepare the nachos a few days ahead. 

Share your thoughts :
Were you spoilt by your grandparents when you were growing up?




NACHOS WITH MANGO SALSA
Approx : 50 -55 pieces

For the nachos:
¾ cup fine maize flour (white or yellow)
1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin powder
⅓ -½ cup water

For the mango salsa :
2 cups chopped ripe mango ( 2 large mangoes)
1 cup chopped tomato
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
½ -1 tsp red chilli powder
½- ¾ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar (optional)
¼ cup chopped fresh spring onion
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

plain flour for dusting
oil for deep frying

Preparation of nachos :

  1. Mix both the flours, cumin powder and salt in a bowl. 
  2. Add oil and rub it into the flour.
  3. Add water and form a dough which is not too soft or too hard.
  4. Cover the dough with a cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Heat a tawa or frying pan over medium heat.
  6. Using plain flour for dusting, roll a part of the dough into a thin circle.
  7. Prick the rolled circle all over with a fork.
  8. Roast on the frying pan on both sides till light brown specks appear.
  9. Keep the cooked tortilla wrapped in a cloth or an airtight container.
  10. Repeat steps 6 to 9 with the remaining dough.
  11. Heat oil for deep frying in a wok, karai or deep pan over medium heat.
  12. Take one tortilla and cut small discs using a round cookie cutter. I used a 2½ " cutter.
  13. Fry the small circles till they are crispy.
  14. Repeat steps 12 and 13 with the remaining tortillas.
  15. Store the nachos in an airtight container when they have cooled down.
Preparation of mango salsa :
  1. Mix all the ingredients for salsa in a bowl.
Final preparation :
  1. Spoon about a tsp of the salsa onto the nachos and serve or keep both on the table and let the guests help themselves.
Tips:
  • If you are using white maize flour, add about ¼ tsp turmeric to get that lovely yellow colour if you want to.
  • I fried the left over tortilla bits (after cutting the circles) also and used it up for my mexican bhel.
  • You can roll the dough into a big square or rectangle and then cut it into squares.
  • Adjust the spices for the salsa according to your taste.
  • Make sure you roll the tortillas pretty thin like a chappati or roti. If it remains thick then its difficult to get crispy nachos.
  • Can serve the salsa with store bought nachos.
You may want to check out the following :

spicy tofu

mushrooms on toast
spinach corn quiche


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