Wednesday, 22 October 2014

446. Fruit and nut rice kheer

Happy Diwali and a wonderful New Year

         Diwali festivities are not the same as back in India. However, the Indian community in Mombasa, holds various functions to involve the Hindus during these auspicious days. Rangolis, creativity, fetes, competitions, firework displays, yummy food, poojas and havans. As soon as Navratri gets over everyone begins cleaning the house, getting sweets and savouries ready, shopping for gifts and new clothes. Every year our community Patel Samaj holds a fete. There are various food stalls and games. Most of the people, Hindus and non Hindus come for the yummy food. Papdi no lot, Kachri bateta, Bhel, pani puri, sev puri, dosa, khichdi, pav bhaji,etc. Every year new varieties are added to the list. 
        Other communities hold a dinner during the festive days for its members. Its the best place to meet and greet people as these days its not possible to go to everyone's home to greet them. Oh dear, as I am typing this, the power has gone... yes the reality of living in Kenya. I cannot remember ever having a Diwali when the power has not gone. This morning I got all the ingredients ready to make Churma na ladwa for tomorrow and guess what, the power went away. How do I grind the nuts and sesame seeds? The only light at the moment is from the diyas and the computer :(
         Anyway, lets get back to the recipe. Normally for Kali chaudas which was today, we make doodh pak. This year I decided to make kheer. My daughter's friend loves kheer and can finish bowlfuls of them in no time. When you look at him, he is a thin man, so you can be left wondering where all the kheer went! Any kheer and its his favourite. I made rice kheer with loads of nuts and fruits. 









FRUIT AND NUT RICE KHEER
Serves 6

½ cup uncooked rice
5 cups full fat milk
¼ -⅓ cup sugar
½ cup chopped mixed nuts, lightly roasted
½ cup chopped fresh grapes
¼ cup pomegranate seeds (dadam)
1 tsp cardamom powder (elachi)
½ tsp nutmeg powder (jaiphal)
¼ tsp saffron (kesar) 
1 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp raisins


  1. Wash the rice till the water appears clear.
  2. Let it soak in water for 15 - 20 minutes.
  3. Drain out the water.
  4. Heat ghee in a saucepan over medium heat.
  5. Add the rice and stir fry it for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add the milk and let the rice cook in it.
  7. Keep stirring frequently so that the rice and milk do not stick to the bottom of the pan..
  8. Let the mixture simmer till the milk quantity becomes half and the rice is cooked completely.
  9. Stir frequently and keep on scrapping the milk solids that form on the sides of the pan and put it into the simmering mixture.
  10. This will take about 20 - 25 minutes.
  11. Add sugar and raisins. Let it simmer for 3- 5 minutes. Remember to stir frequently. By now the mixture should be thick.
  12. Take the pan off the heat. Add cardamom, nutmeg powders and saffron.
  13. If you want hot kheer, add the fruits and nuts and serve.
  14. If you want to serve the kheer cold, it let cool down and then keep in the fridge till needed.
  15. Add the fruit and nuts and serve.
Tips:
  • Add sugar according to your taste.
  • I used a mixture of almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cashew nuts.
  • Use any other fruit of your choice like chikoo, fresh figs, berries, mango, fresh peaches, nectarines etc.
  • If the mixture becomes too thick on cooling, add a bit more milk and mix.
You may want to check out the following :
apple kheer
Sending this recipe for the following events:


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DishItOut
Cooks Joy


Saturday, 18 October 2014

445. Pasta stuffed sweet pepper

 Me time!
          Do you ever get some time in a month or a week just by yourself and no one else? No kids, no family, no hubby, etc etc? I do. Not saying that I don't get my space with hubby dear around. He is my biggest supporter in whatever I want to do in life. But there are times we women need to be alone, with no one around. I get those days at least twice a month when hubby attends his medical meetings in the evening. For that evening I am free to cook what I like, which usually means something that he does not like and to watch any program or movie that I want. No one to tell me that candy crush is a kiddie's game, no one to tell me that I am taking too long to solve the sudoku or no one to tell me that I only buy the newspaper for the crossword! For those 3-4 hours, I am doing what I want. It's a great relaxing feeling. But when he gets home, I am happy not to be alone. When I tell him that, he thinks I am crazy, wanting time by myself and at the same time glad that he is at home. But that's us women. He gets his space when I am away attending my Lions meetings! However, I still have to prepare dinner for him. But he gets to watch his action packed movies or absolutely silly supposedly scary movies. 
           So a few days ago when he had to go off for the meeting I made stuffed pepper for myself. Hubby doesn't like eating peppers as he things it upsets his tummy. I, on the other hand love peppers. I tried to make this just enough for one, but landed up with a filling enough for two. 


PASTA STUFFED SWEET PEPPER
For 2

For the filling:
3 tbsp uncooked pasta (take the small variety)
¼ cup cooked sweet corn
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 clove of garlic, chopped
5-6 olives
3 tbsp thick tomato puree
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp olive oil

2 sweet peppers, any colour of your choice
4 tbsp grated cheese

  1. Slice the top of the peppers. Remove the stem and chop the remaining top part of the pepper.
  2. Remove the seeds and the white part of the pepper with a sharp knife.
  3. Slice the olives.
  4. Cook the pasta in salted water till done. Drain out the water.
Preparation of the filling:
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan.
  2. Add onion and garlic and stir fry it till its a bit soft.
  3. Add the chopped pepper, mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat.
  4. Add corn, olives, salt, pepper, pasta and the tomato puree.
  5. Mix well.
Final preparation :
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Stuff the peppers with the filling.
  3. Place them in a deep oven tray or oven proof casserole. 
  4. Add about 2-3 tbsp of water to the casserole from the side. 
  5. Cover the dish with foil.
  6. Place it in the oven and let the peppers cook for 25 -30 minutes.
  7. Remove the dish from the oven, open up the foil.
  8. Sprinkle the grated cheese over and place the dish back into the oven.
  9. Let it cook for 5 minutes more or till the cheese has melted.
  10. Serve immediately as a side dish or a light meal.
Tips:
  • Use a filling of your choice.
  • Adding a little water helps to create steam. The steam cooks the pepper nicely without it pepper drying up. 
  • Use any cheese of your choice.
  • Adjust the spices according to your taste.
You may want to check out the following :
roasted sweet pepper soup
roasted tomato and red pepper pasta

Sending this recipe for the following event :




citrus spice and all things nice



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Friday, 17 October 2014

444.coconut and passion fruit muffins (eggless)

tropical taste

      Coconut is such a versatile fruit. Bake with it, add it in rice, curries, decorate with it. So many ways to use it. I love the taste of coconut combined with a tropical fruit. I hadn't baked muffins in a while, and yesterday managed to bake some. This time round, I decided to combine coconut and passion fruit. I use the sour passion fruit to make juice, add to desserts or add to a fruit salad. I had a few passion fruits left over and decided to use them up in the muffins.The muffins taste really good... tropical flavour. 
       These are early Diwali gifts for my neighbours as the coming week will be pretty hectic. Still got a lot more baking to do and make a few traditional sweet dishes for Diwali. 





COCONUT AND PASSION FRUIT MUFFINS
Makes 24 small ones

2 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda (soda bicarbonate)
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup oil
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup passion fruit pulp (about 2-3 passion fruits)
½ cup passion fruit concentrated juice *

Topping :
5-6 tbsp desiccated coconut

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the muffin trays or cups with paper cups.
  2. Sift the flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add coconut and mix well.
  4. In another bowl, add sugar, oil, yogurt and the passion fruit concentrated juice.
  5. Whisk the mixture.
  6. Add it to the dry ingredients. 
  7. Add the passion fruit pulp.
  8. Mix till the flour is all wet. Do not over mix.
  9. Spoon the batter into the prepared trays or cups. Fill it ¾ of the way.
  10. Sprinkle desiccated coconut on top.
  11. Bake for 20 -25 minutes or till done and the tops are light golden brown.
  12. Insert a toothpick or fork into the muffin. If it comes out clean, then the muffins are done.
  13. Remove the muffins from the tray or cups and put them on a wire rack to cool.
Tips:
* To make fresh passion fruit concentrate take the pulp. Put it in a blender and mix it using short bursts. Don't blend too much otherwise the seeds will crush.  Sieve the mixture. Measure the amount of juice. Whatever the amount is you need to add half the quantity of sugar. Mix well. Store the concentrate in the freezer. Use it to flavour cakes and desserts or take about ¼ -⅓ cup of the concentrate, add water to make up to a cup. Serve the juice with ice cubes.
  • I have never used packaged passion fruit juice so wouldn't know how it would taste in the muffins.
  • To remove the pulp from the fruit, cut it into half and scoop it out using a spoon.
  • At first the batter will appear liquidy but let it rest for a few minutes and you will get a spoon able consistency.
  • Instead of sprinkling it with desiccated coconut on top you can use passion fruit flavoured butter icing. Add a tbsp of the passion fruit concentrate to the butter icing.
  • Fresh passion fruit concentrate is available in most Indian stores in UK.
You may want to check out the following :
coconut banana cashew muffins



Sending this recipe for the following events :


east west realm

Bake Fest #36

Anitha's Kitchen Diary
Cooks Joy

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Cooks Joy



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443. Spinach paneer balls with tagliatelline

I have come a long way

      I remember whenever I would try out a new recipe on my own or with my friends or kaki, we would follow the recipe word to word. But that was when we were learning. Now its getting the main ingredients and the method correct and then the recipe turns into my way, my method etc. Now, I have the confidence to explore and find easier ways. Don't get me wrong, certain recipes do have to be followed precisely. Can you imagine not adding baking powder or soda to the cake, over fermenting the bread dough, adding more liquid to the roti or paratha dough, adding more salt to the curry, etc etc. There are so many possibilities for a recipe to turn disastrous. I have had my share of failures and some have been beyond repair.
     During my Polytechnic days, my friends and I would dine at each others place quite often. The fun part was that we would also prepare the dinner for us and the rest of the family. At that time, Tarla Dalal's books were our Bible. We would decide on the recipe, shop and cook.
   One of the recipes we would make was her baked spaghetti with paneer balls in spinach sauce. So when Lakshmi Vimala suggested spinach and cream as my 2 secret ingredients for the shhh cooking secretly challenge, I wanted to make baked spaghetti with paneer balls in spinach sauce. However, as I planned out the recipe it took a whole new conversion as I didn't want to fry the balls. Also didn't want to make the spinach sauce as I didn't have enough spinach, but spinach I had to use. So from the basic recipe, I turned mine into different dish. Of course hubby dear would have loved it if  I had fried the balls.









SPINACH PANEER BALLS WITH TAGLIATELLINE
Serves 4-6

For the paneer balls:
3 cups (approx 200g ) chopped spinach
1 cup (125g ) grated paneer
1 tsp coarse pepper powder
1 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp plain flour
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

For the sauce:
2½ cups tomato puree
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1¼ - 1½ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp pepper powder
10 -12 fresh basil leaves
¼ cup fresh cream

Pasta:
300g tagliatelline
enough water for boiling
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oil

extra olive oil
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preparation of the paneer balls:
  1. Boil water in a steamer.
  2. Place the washed spinach in the tray of the steamer and let it steam for 2-3 minutes or until it becomes a little soft.
  3. Remove the spinach from the steamer and let it cool a bit.
  4. In the meantime add the rest of the paneer ball ingredients to the paneer.
  5. Squeeze out the water from the steamed spinach and add it to the paneer.
  6. Mix and make it into a dough.
  7. Grease your hands with little oil and make balls. I took about a tablespoonful of the mixture and got about 16 -18 balls.
  8. Boil water in the steamer. Grease the steamer tray and place all the balls in the tray. Steam the paneer balls for 10 minutes. 
  9. Remove the balls from the steamer and keep it on the side till required.
Preparation of the sauce:
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and stir fry till it is soft and cooked.
  3. Add garlic and stir fry for a few seconds.
  4. Add the tomato puree and salt.
  5. Cover the pan and cook till the sauce becomes thick.
  6. Add pepper and let the sauce cool down a bit.
  7. Add the fresh cream and mix well. 
  8. If you need to heat up the sauce again, then use low heat and stir the sauce frequently.
  9. Add basil leaves.
Preparation of the pasta:
  1. Boil water in a deep saucepan.
  2. Add salt and oil.
  3. Add the pasta and boil for 8-10 minutes or as instructed on the package.
  4. Stir occasionally while its cooking.
  5. Drain out the pasta into a colander.
  6. Sprinkle a bit of olive oil over the pasta and mix.
Final preparation:
  1. Spoon the pasta into the serving plates.
  2. Top it with the sauce.
  3. Add the paneer balls.
  4. Sprinkle cheese over it and serve.
Tips:
  • Fry the paneer balls if you like.
  • Can add the paneer balls to the sauce if you like, once the sauce is ready.
  • Use white or spinach sauce if you like.
  • Use spaghetti instead of tagliatelline.
  • Always boil pasta with plenty of water to avoid it from sticking to each other.
You may want to check out the following recipes:

Green pasta
pasta with roasted vegetable sauce
roasted tomato and red pepper pasta


Sending this recipe for the following event:





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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

442. Poppy seeds and sesame seeds crackers

First attempt at crackers

        Priya challenged the Home Bakers Challenge members to bake crackers. As usual the first few days are spent on deciding which recipe to follow, this one, no that one, try them all! Usually don't have time to try them all but the recipes keep on piling up in the bookmarked section. I finally decided on the poppy seeds and sesame seeds crackers. After baking them, I was wondering why I have never tried baking crackers before. They are healthier than the normal cookies and loved them. I use to love the dinner crackers made by House of Manji when I was a kid. These days the dinner crackers have no taste and I have stopped buying them. I baked them two days ago and already they are nearly over. Will have to bake some more.
         Here's the recipe and they are very easy to make. You can use them as canapes for your party. Place small cubes of cheese, olives, a dollop of flavoured cream cheese, salsa. Anything actually. Or just eats on its own.







POPPY SEEDS AND SESAME SEEDS CRACKERS
Makes about 300g (60 -65 small size)
Recipe source: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/poppy-and-sesame-seed-crackers
Each cracker : 22 calories

250g (2 cups) all purpose flour/plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ - ¾ tsp sea salt or normal salt
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp coarse black pepper powder
60g (3½ tbsp) cold butter
100ml ice cold water
  1.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl.
  2. Add poppy seeds, sesame seeds and pepper powder and mix.
  3.  Either cut the butter into smaller pieces or just grate it and add to the flour mixture.
  4. Using your finger tips, rub in the butter into the flour till it resembles breadcrumbs.
  5. Add the water and form a dough. Do not knead the dough too much.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 parts. Wrap a cling film around one part and put it in the fridge till required.
  7. Grease a baking tray lightly with butter.
  8. Roll one part of the dough about 1-2 mm thick. 
  9. Using a cookie cutter cut out the shapes.
  10. Place them on the baking tray and prick the shapes all over with a fork.
  11. Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough. 
  12. Use up also the leftover dough by rolling it again and cutting into the required shape.
  13. Place the trays in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill the cut out shapes.
  14. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  15. Place the trays in the hot oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  16. After 20 minutes, keep an eye on the crackers. You don't want them to get too brown. They are done when the edges are brown or the top becomes light brown.
  17. Remove the crackers from the tray and let them cool on the wire rack.
  18. Store in an airtight container. 
Tips:
  • I used black poppy seeds and black sesame seeds. You can use any available.
  • Cut into shapes you desire, small or medium.
  • Don't over bake as they will taste a bit bitter.
  • As the original recipe suggested to use baking paper to roll the dough. I rolled it without the papers without any problem. Lightly grease the rolling board or work top.
  • Grating the cold measured butter works great. Got the idea from Chef Micheal Smith.
  • Roll the dough out thin (1-2 mm) as they will puff up on baking.
You may want to check out the following :

pistachio cranberry cookies

double chocolate brownie cookies
baked mathris
Sending this recipe for the following events:

Home Bakers Challenge
Home Bakers Challenge

Bake Fest #36

Anitha's Kitchen Diary

Cooks Joy



Tuesday, 14 October 2014

441. Ghee kera

Nami's banana nu shaak!

  In the Gujarati language there is a saying 'ena ghar ma ghee keda chhe', meaning that that person is pretty much well off, wealth wise. When I was growing up, Saturday would be the day of the week that along with the usual full lunch of dal, shaak, rotli and bhaat, we would have some sweet dish like shrikhand, lapsi, meethi sev or ghee kera. When my kids were growing up, I would give them ghee kera often with roti but on the condition that they would also eat the vegetable we had made. My daughter Nami called it banana nu shaak. After the kids left home, I don't make it that often but today I made some. Brought back fond memories of my childhood and my kids. After the ghee kera would be all over, my mum or dad would put hot kadhi in the bowl, swirl it around and then add it to the rice. It tasted so sweet and yummy. 
  Its a quick fix when you crave for something sweet and go on try and bribe your kids with it, the way I use to. I could eat ghee kera without any other vegetables with roti or on its own. Are you still wondering what I am talking about? Okay lets get to the recipe. Its the most easiest recipe. The reason I am posting this recipe is to share it with you all and hope you and family love it just the way ours did and still do.


GHEE KERA 
Serves 4

4 large bananas
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) the liquid part


  1. Peel the bananas. Cut into slices which are not too thin or too thick.
  2. Add the sugar and ghee and mix it.
  3. Serve with hot rotis.
Tips:
  • My mum use to add more ghee. You can add more or less, whichever you prefer.
  • Don't use over ripe bananas otherwise the mixture will become mushy.
You may want to check out the following:

shrikhandSending this recipe for the following event:


Spice your Life

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

446. Fruit and nut rice kheer

Happy Diwali and a wonderful New Year

         Diwali festivities are not the same as back in India. However, the Indian community in Mombasa, holds various functions to involve the Hindus during these auspicious days. Rangolis, creativity, fetes, competitions, firework displays, yummy food, poojas and havans. As soon as Navratri gets over everyone begins cleaning the house, getting sweets and savouries ready, shopping for gifts and new clothes. Every year our community Patel Samaj holds a fete. There are various food stalls and games. Most of the people, Hindus and non Hindus come for the yummy food. Papdi no lot, Kachri bateta, Bhel, pani puri, sev puri, dosa, khichdi, pav bhaji,etc. Every year new varieties are added to the list. 
        Other communities hold a dinner during the festive days for its members. Its the best place to meet and greet people as these days its not possible to go to everyone's home to greet them. Oh dear, as I am typing this, the power has gone... yes the reality of living in Kenya. I cannot remember ever having a Diwali when the power has not gone. This morning I got all the ingredients ready to make Churma na ladwa for tomorrow and guess what, the power went away. How do I grind the nuts and sesame seeds? The only light at the moment is from the diyas and the computer :(
         Anyway, lets get back to the recipe. Normally for Kali chaudas which was today, we make doodh pak. This year I decided to make kheer. My daughter's friend loves kheer and can finish bowlfuls of them in no time. When you look at him, he is a thin man, so you can be left wondering where all the kheer went! Any kheer and its his favourite. I made rice kheer with loads of nuts and fruits. 









FRUIT AND NUT RICE KHEER
Serves 6

½ cup uncooked rice
5 cups full fat milk
¼ -⅓ cup sugar
½ cup chopped mixed nuts, lightly roasted
½ cup chopped fresh grapes
¼ cup pomegranate seeds (dadam)
1 tsp cardamom powder (elachi)
½ tsp nutmeg powder (jaiphal)
¼ tsp saffron (kesar) 
1 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp raisins


  1. Wash the rice till the water appears clear.
  2. Let it soak in water for 15 - 20 minutes.
  3. Drain out the water.
  4. Heat ghee in a saucepan over medium heat.
  5. Add the rice and stir fry it for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add the milk and let the rice cook in it.
  7. Keep stirring frequently so that the rice and milk do not stick to the bottom of the pan..
  8. Let the mixture simmer till the milk quantity becomes half and the rice is cooked completely.
  9. Stir frequently and keep on scrapping the milk solids that form on the sides of the pan and put it into the simmering mixture.
  10. This will take about 20 - 25 minutes.
  11. Add sugar and raisins. Let it simmer for 3- 5 minutes. Remember to stir frequently. By now the mixture should be thick.
  12. Take the pan off the heat. Add cardamom, nutmeg powders and saffron.
  13. If you want hot kheer, add the fruits and nuts and serve.
  14. If you want to serve the kheer cold, it let cool down and then keep in the fridge till needed.
  15. Add the fruit and nuts and serve.
Tips:
  • Add sugar according to your taste.
  • I used a mixture of almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cashew nuts.
  • Use any other fruit of your choice like chikoo, fresh figs, berries, mango, fresh peaches, nectarines etc.
  • If the mixture becomes too thick on cooling, add a bit more milk and mix.
You may want to check out the following :
apple kheer
Sending this recipe for the following events:


Full Scoops

DishItOut
Cooks Joy


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Saturday, 18 October 2014

445. Pasta stuffed sweet pepper

 Me time!
          Do you ever get some time in a month or a week just by yourself and no one else? No kids, no family, no hubby, etc etc? I do. Not saying that I don't get my space with hubby dear around. He is my biggest supporter in whatever I want to do in life. But there are times we women need to be alone, with no one around. I get those days at least twice a month when hubby attends his medical meetings in the evening. For that evening I am free to cook what I like, which usually means something that he does not like and to watch any program or movie that I want. No one to tell me that candy crush is a kiddie's game, no one to tell me that I am taking too long to solve the sudoku or no one to tell me that I only buy the newspaper for the crossword! For those 3-4 hours, I am doing what I want. It's a great relaxing feeling. But when he gets home, I am happy not to be alone. When I tell him that, he thinks I am crazy, wanting time by myself and at the same time glad that he is at home. But that's us women. He gets his space when I am away attending my Lions meetings! However, I still have to prepare dinner for him. But he gets to watch his action packed movies or absolutely silly supposedly scary movies. 
           So a few days ago when he had to go off for the meeting I made stuffed pepper for myself. Hubby doesn't like eating peppers as he things it upsets his tummy. I, on the other hand love peppers. I tried to make this just enough for one, but landed up with a filling enough for two. 


PASTA STUFFED SWEET PEPPER
For 2

For the filling:
3 tbsp uncooked pasta (take the small variety)
¼ cup cooked sweet corn
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 clove of garlic, chopped
5-6 olives
3 tbsp thick tomato puree
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp olive oil

2 sweet peppers, any colour of your choice
4 tbsp grated cheese

  1. Slice the top of the peppers. Remove the stem and chop the remaining top part of the pepper.
  2. Remove the seeds and the white part of the pepper with a sharp knife.
  3. Slice the olives.
  4. Cook the pasta in salted water till done. Drain out the water.
Preparation of the filling:
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan.
  2. Add onion and garlic and stir fry it till its a bit soft.
  3. Add the chopped pepper, mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat.
  4. Add corn, olives, salt, pepper, pasta and the tomato puree.
  5. Mix well.
Final preparation :
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Stuff the peppers with the filling.
  3. Place them in a deep oven tray or oven proof casserole. 
  4. Add about 2-3 tbsp of water to the casserole from the side. 
  5. Cover the dish with foil.
  6. Place it in the oven and let the peppers cook for 25 -30 minutes.
  7. Remove the dish from the oven, open up the foil.
  8. Sprinkle the grated cheese over and place the dish back into the oven.
  9. Let it cook for 5 minutes more or till the cheese has melted.
  10. Serve immediately as a side dish or a light meal.
Tips:
  • Use a filling of your choice.
  • Adding a little water helps to create steam. The steam cooks the pepper nicely without it pepper drying up. 
  • Use any cheese of your choice.
  • Adjust the spices according to your taste.
You may want to check out the following :
roasted sweet pepper soup
roasted tomato and red pepper pasta

Sending this recipe for the following event :




citrus spice and all things nice



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Friday, 17 October 2014

444.coconut and passion fruit muffins (eggless)

tropical taste

      Coconut is such a versatile fruit. Bake with it, add it in rice, curries, decorate with it. So many ways to use it. I love the taste of coconut combined with a tropical fruit. I hadn't baked muffins in a while, and yesterday managed to bake some. This time round, I decided to combine coconut and passion fruit. I use the sour passion fruit to make juice, add to desserts or add to a fruit salad. I had a few passion fruits left over and decided to use them up in the muffins.The muffins taste really good... tropical flavour. 
       These are early Diwali gifts for my neighbours as the coming week will be pretty hectic. Still got a lot more baking to do and make a few traditional sweet dishes for Diwali. 





COCONUT AND PASSION FRUIT MUFFINS
Makes 24 small ones

2 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda (soda bicarbonate)
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup oil
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup passion fruit pulp (about 2-3 passion fruits)
½ cup passion fruit concentrated juice *

Topping :
5-6 tbsp desiccated coconut

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the muffin trays or cups with paper cups.
  2. Sift the flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add coconut and mix well.
  4. In another bowl, add sugar, oil, yogurt and the passion fruit concentrated juice.
  5. Whisk the mixture.
  6. Add it to the dry ingredients. 
  7. Add the passion fruit pulp.
  8. Mix till the flour is all wet. Do not over mix.
  9. Spoon the batter into the prepared trays or cups. Fill it ¾ of the way.
  10. Sprinkle desiccated coconut on top.
  11. Bake for 20 -25 minutes or till done and the tops are light golden brown.
  12. Insert a toothpick or fork into the muffin. If it comes out clean, then the muffins are done.
  13. Remove the muffins from the tray or cups and put them on a wire rack to cool.
Tips:
* To make fresh passion fruit concentrate take the pulp. Put it in a blender and mix it using short bursts. Don't blend too much otherwise the seeds will crush.  Sieve the mixture. Measure the amount of juice. Whatever the amount is you need to add half the quantity of sugar. Mix well. Store the concentrate in the freezer. Use it to flavour cakes and desserts or take about ¼ -⅓ cup of the concentrate, add water to make up to a cup. Serve the juice with ice cubes.
  • I have never used packaged passion fruit juice so wouldn't know how it would taste in the muffins.
  • To remove the pulp from the fruit, cut it into half and scoop it out using a spoon.
  • At first the batter will appear liquidy but let it rest for a few minutes and you will get a spoon able consistency.
  • Instead of sprinkling it with desiccated coconut on top you can use passion fruit flavoured butter icing. Add a tbsp of the passion fruit concentrate to the butter icing.
  • Fresh passion fruit concentrate is available in most Indian stores in UK.
You may want to check out the following :
coconut banana cashew muffins



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443. Spinach paneer balls with tagliatelline

I have come a long way

      I remember whenever I would try out a new recipe on my own or with my friends or kaki, we would follow the recipe word to word. But that was when we were learning. Now its getting the main ingredients and the method correct and then the recipe turns into my way, my method etc. Now, I have the confidence to explore and find easier ways. Don't get me wrong, certain recipes do have to be followed precisely. Can you imagine not adding baking powder or soda to the cake, over fermenting the bread dough, adding more liquid to the roti or paratha dough, adding more salt to the curry, etc etc. There are so many possibilities for a recipe to turn disastrous. I have had my share of failures and some have been beyond repair.
     During my Polytechnic days, my friends and I would dine at each others place quite often. The fun part was that we would also prepare the dinner for us and the rest of the family. At that time, Tarla Dalal's books were our Bible. We would decide on the recipe, shop and cook.
   One of the recipes we would make was her baked spaghetti with paneer balls in spinach sauce. So when Lakshmi Vimala suggested spinach and cream as my 2 secret ingredients for the shhh cooking secretly challenge, I wanted to make baked spaghetti with paneer balls in spinach sauce. However, as I planned out the recipe it took a whole new conversion as I didn't want to fry the balls. Also didn't want to make the spinach sauce as I didn't have enough spinach, but spinach I had to use. So from the basic recipe, I turned mine into different dish. Of course hubby dear would have loved it if  I had fried the balls.









SPINACH PANEER BALLS WITH TAGLIATELLINE
Serves 4-6

For the paneer balls:
3 cups (approx 200g ) chopped spinach
1 cup (125g ) grated paneer
1 tsp coarse pepper powder
1 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp plain flour
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

For the sauce:
2½ cups tomato puree
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1¼ - 1½ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp pepper powder
10 -12 fresh basil leaves
¼ cup fresh cream

Pasta:
300g tagliatelline
enough water for boiling
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oil

extra olive oil
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preparation of the paneer balls:
  1. Boil water in a steamer.
  2. Place the washed spinach in the tray of the steamer and let it steam for 2-3 minutes or until it becomes a little soft.
  3. Remove the spinach from the steamer and let it cool a bit.
  4. In the meantime add the rest of the paneer ball ingredients to the paneer.
  5. Squeeze out the water from the steamed spinach and add it to the paneer.
  6. Mix and make it into a dough.
  7. Grease your hands with little oil and make balls. I took about a tablespoonful of the mixture and got about 16 -18 balls.
  8. Boil water in the steamer. Grease the steamer tray and place all the balls in the tray. Steam the paneer balls for 10 minutes. 
  9. Remove the balls from the steamer and keep it on the side till required.
Preparation of the sauce:
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and stir fry till it is soft and cooked.
  3. Add garlic and stir fry for a few seconds.
  4. Add the tomato puree and salt.
  5. Cover the pan and cook till the sauce becomes thick.
  6. Add pepper and let the sauce cool down a bit.
  7. Add the fresh cream and mix well. 
  8. If you need to heat up the sauce again, then use low heat and stir the sauce frequently.
  9. Add basil leaves.
Preparation of the pasta:
  1. Boil water in a deep saucepan.
  2. Add salt and oil.
  3. Add the pasta and boil for 8-10 minutes or as instructed on the package.
  4. Stir occasionally while its cooking.
  5. Drain out the pasta into a colander.
  6. Sprinkle a bit of olive oil over the pasta and mix.
Final preparation:
  1. Spoon the pasta into the serving plates.
  2. Top it with the sauce.
  3. Add the paneer balls.
  4. Sprinkle cheese over it and serve.
Tips:
  • Fry the paneer balls if you like.
  • Can add the paneer balls to the sauce if you like, once the sauce is ready.
  • Use white or spinach sauce if you like.
  • Use spaghetti instead of tagliatelline.
  • Always boil pasta with plenty of water to avoid it from sticking to each other.
You may want to check out the following recipes:

Green pasta
pasta with roasted vegetable sauce
roasted tomato and red pepper pasta


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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

442. Poppy seeds and sesame seeds crackers

First attempt at crackers

        Priya challenged the Home Bakers Challenge members to bake crackers. As usual the first few days are spent on deciding which recipe to follow, this one, no that one, try them all! Usually don't have time to try them all but the recipes keep on piling up in the bookmarked section. I finally decided on the poppy seeds and sesame seeds crackers. After baking them, I was wondering why I have never tried baking crackers before. They are healthier than the normal cookies and loved them. I use to love the dinner crackers made by House of Manji when I was a kid. These days the dinner crackers have no taste and I have stopped buying them. I baked them two days ago and already they are nearly over. Will have to bake some more.
         Here's the recipe and they are very easy to make. You can use them as canapes for your party. Place small cubes of cheese, olives, a dollop of flavoured cream cheese, salsa. Anything actually. Or just eats on its own.







POPPY SEEDS AND SESAME SEEDS CRACKERS
Makes about 300g (60 -65 small size)
Recipe source: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/poppy-and-sesame-seed-crackers
Each cracker : 22 calories

250g (2 cups) all purpose flour/plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ - ¾ tsp sea salt or normal salt
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp coarse black pepper powder
60g (3½ tbsp) cold butter
100ml ice cold water
  1.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl.
  2. Add poppy seeds, sesame seeds and pepper powder and mix.
  3.  Either cut the butter into smaller pieces or just grate it and add to the flour mixture.
  4. Using your finger tips, rub in the butter into the flour till it resembles breadcrumbs.
  5. Add the water and form a dough. Do not knead the dough too much.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 parts. Wrap a cling film around one part and put it in the fridge till required.
  7. Grease a baking tray lightly with butter.
  8. Roll one part of the dough about 1-2 mm thick. 
  9. Using a cookie cutter cut out the shapes.
  10. Place them on the baking tray and prick the shapes all over with a fork.
  11. Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough. 
  12. Use up also the leftover dough by rolling it again and cutting into the required shape.
  13. Place the trays in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill the cut out shapes.
  14. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  15. Place the trays in the hot oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  16. After 20 minutes, keep an eye on the crackers. You don't want them to get too brown. They are done when the edges are brown or the top becomes light brown.
  17. Remove the crackers from the tray and let them cool on the wire rack.
  18. Store in an airtight container. 
Tips:
  • I used black poppy seeds and black sesame seeds. You can use any available.
  • Cut into shapes you desire, small or medium.
  • Don't over bake as they will taste a bit bitter.
  • As the original recipe suggested to use baking paper to roll the dough. I rolled it without the papers without any problem. Lightly grease the rolling board or work top.
  • Grating the cold measured butter works great. Got the idea from Chef Micheal Smith.
  • Roll the dough out thin (1-2 mm) as they will puff up on baking.
You may want to check out the following :

pistachio cranberry cookies

double chocolate brownie cookies
baked mathris
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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

441. Ghee kera

Nami's banana nu shaak!

  In the Gujarati language there is a saying 'ena ghar ma ghee keda chhe', meaning that that person is pretty much well off, wealth wise. When I was growing up, Saturday would be the day of the week that along with the usual full lunch of dal, shaak, rotli and bhaat, we would have some sweet dish like shrikhand, lapsi, meethi sev or ghee kera. When my kids were growing up, I would give them ghee kera often with roti but on the condition that they would also eat the vegetable we had made. My daughter Nami called it banana nu shaak. After the kids left home, I don't make it that often but today I made some. Brought back fond memories of my childhood and my kids. After the ghee kera would be all over, my mum or dad would put hot kadhi in the bowl, swirl it around and then add it to the rice. It tasted so sweet and yummy. 
  Its a quick fix when you crave for something sweet and go on try and bribe your kids with it, the way I use to. I could eat ghee kera without any other vegetables with roti or on its own. Are you still wondering what I am talking about? Okay lets get to the recipe. Its the most easiest recipe. The reason I am posting this recipe is to share it with you all and hope you and family love it just the way ours did and still do.


GHEE KERA 
Serves 4

4 large bananas
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) the liquid part


  1. Peel the bananas. Cut into slices which are not too thin or too thick.
  2. Add the sugar and ghee and mix it.
  3. Serve with hot rotis.
Tips:
  • My mum use to add more ghee. You can add more or less, whichever you prefer.
  • Don't use over ripe bananas otherwise the mixture will become mushy.
You may want to check out the following:

shrikhandSending this recipe for the following event:


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