How I wash vegetables!!

 

Ok, so this post in not a recipe one but it does involve food and mostly vegetables and fruits. We live in a world where everything is genetically altered, sprayed and doused in fertilisers and chemicals that are not just harmful to you and me but to our planet as a whole!

Have you ever wondered why certain mixtures or compounds where never found on this planet? Why it took “MAN”s intelligence to make them and how all these diverse new “inventions” have only lead to the depletion of that one element that we got for free? Our wonderful planet. I believe that there was a reason why god put fossil fuels so deep into the ground. I believe there is a reason why we breath in oxygen and plants do the opposite. There is a reason why we live and we die. There is a reason why fruits are seasonal and why rice grows in such big quantities! The reason is “Balance”. Balance in every aspect is so critical!

Like the chair you are sitting in today. If that chair wasn’t manufactured or made with the balance your weight out correctly then the purpose of that chair is defeated. Like that little honey bee gathering honey and in turn help with more fruits and flower. If we didn’t have bees we wouldn’t have fruits and in turn no flowers and therefor no bees! If you did not know how to balance then you would never walk. If you did not have a job or a hobby then life would seem like a constant train of mundane activities that happen much like a robot taught to do specific deeds at set instructions. Life is a very delicate balance. And the faster we realise it, the better we can teach our children and the more they will learn to respect what they have.

While we could try and save what is left of the planet and as a foodie I try my best to do so. Some times I buy fruits and vegetable from local famers and I know they use a lot of pesticides and insecticides and fertilisers. So this is how I wash my vegetable and fruits.

What you will need:-

  1. Water – 4 lts
  2. Veggys / Fruits – 2 kgs ( in this case I used ladies fingers and 4 tomatoes)
  3. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  4. Rock Salt – 1 tsp

Method :-

  1. First wash the vegetable in running water for close to 5 min ( first flush with tap open high for 60 secs and then low)
  2. Now collect 4 lts water in a large vessel like the one in the photo
  3. Add turmeric powder and mix into the water
  4. Now add your vegetable and immerse them in the water and let them remain in there for 1 – 2 hours
  5. Later drain the water out, rub rock salt over the vegetable and wash vigirously in running water
  6. Finally drain all the water and set aside to dry or pat dry

 

Orange Crinkle Cookies / The week that was

 

 

 

 

Hello my dear wonderful readers!

We had a wonderful long holiday back in my native land and we enjoyed it completely! This time we did a road trip that lasted 12 hours one way. And to tell you the truth I was very scared in the beginning, cause my baby is still really small and I wasn’t sure if he would sit in his car seat for that long. Also this was the first time Mr R was going to do the drive on his own and on uncertain roads. But with gods grace and my family constantly checking on us, we has a wonderful time. Both ways we had fun, had local food, read books, sang songs and laughed a lot.

When we got to my little village, the sky was clear, the sun was shining bright and my little baby was ready to walk on a surface that was not tile or marble. That is when I remembered how I loved to walk around barefoot when I was a small girl. I never wore chappals or sandals, till we had to leave home. The houses I grew up in always had a big garden in front and I remember how the grass would still be wet in the morning from the rains that fell the night before. I remember how the bark of the guava tree that stood in front my house felt on my barefoot ( climbing trees was my favourite activity when I was 8). When I took off my sons squeaky sandals and let him walk on those tiny black pebbles that surround my family home, I was worried that he might fall and hurt himself. But within the time a feather would sway from left to right on a windy day before falling on the ground, my son took baby steps without any hesitation or pain. He walked around the garden and plucked grass, held stones, threw mud on the gate & picked up little coconut seeds from around the compound. That day holds a very special place in my heart. That was the day, I realised that no matter how we city brats love to eat, love and play, nothing beats the innocence of a little boy playing with little black pebbles on your garden floor.

The trip also opened my eyes to another side of Mr R. For the first time I saw how and why fathers like to play outdoors with their sons! Mr R carried our son all around the compound showing him trees and flowers our son has never seen before. They played with Ginger ( our tiny little guard dog), played with mud and by the time it was evening, they both needed a scrub and a long shower again! Once we got back home after the holiday, we decided that we have to do this more often. And we have promised to try.

So the day before we left for our holiday, I made a chocolate jaggery cake for our little nephew back home and these amazing orange cookies. They are crisp and crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside! You must give them a try.

 

Orange Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients :-

  1. Orange juice – 2 cups
  2. Castor Sugar –  150 gms
  3. Butter – 150 gms
  4. Orange Zest –  from 2 big oranges
  5. Baking Powder – 2tsp
  6. Eggs – 1
  7. Egg Yolk – 1
  8. Flour – 150 gms + 2 tbsp
  9. Colour – I used a mix of red + yellow ( around 4 drops – add more if required)
  10. Powdered Sugar – for dusting cookies use as much as required
  11. Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp

Instructions :-

  1. In heavy bottom sauce pan, add orange juice and bring to boil. The reduce the flame and let the juice reduce to a 3 tbsp.
  2. Once done, set aside to cool down to room temperature
  3. Preheat your oven to 180 and line a baking tray with baking paper
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add butter and sugar. Cream till nice and pale
  5. Then add egg and egg yolk and mix
  6. Add orange zest to the mixture and mix on medium
  7. Now add vanilla extract and the reduce orange juice ( you can add orange essence if you like)
  8. Add the desired amount of colour to the batter
  9. Slowly add the flour and baking powder to the mixture in the bowl and mix at low
  10. Once the cookie dough is ready, scoop out small balls of cookie batter and drop them into the powdered sugar one at a time  to coat evenly
  11. Arrange all cookies balls with 5 to 6 inch between them cause they will expand while baking
  12. Bake for 10 to 15 mins
  13. Once done, take them out of the oven and let them cook completely before taking them off the baking sheet
  14. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pancakes with citrus orange curd, almonds and cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am back with another breakfast recipe and this time it’s almost like we had cake for breakfast! I was at the market and we found these beautiful oranges and I did not want to make a simple orange cake or a tart so I make the orange curd and decided we could have it for breakfast. I also make a Pavlova with it and it turned out really nice. Some day I will put the recipe up for the Pavlova. For not let me tell you that I have watched the seasons go by I love how the colours on the racks at the local markets change. Some times it full of green and yellow. Other times orange and red. Some times just green. And it’s just so wonderful how it translates to how the weather changes. These changes remind me of how fortunate I am to be able to do what I love doing with food. But next week for a change I shall not be cooking but I will be exploring food back in my village. There is going to loads of fish, home-grown organic veggies and many new places to visit! I can’t wait! Yes it is a road trip I haven’t done  road trip this long with my little one. While I am super excited I am also a little worried about how he will manage the whole thing. But I am sure it’s going to be fine. Hopefully I will be able to stay connected too.

Ok this recipe is divided into two. The orange curd and the pancakes

Ingredients for the orange curd :-

  1. Oranges / Orange Juice — 1 cup
  2. Butter – 4 tbsp
  3. Egg yolks – 6
  4. Sugar – 1 + 1/2 cup
  5. Salt – a pinch

Instructions :-

  1. Combine orange juice and egg yolks and heat on medium flame in a heavy bottom pot
  2. Make sure you stir continuously
  3. Once the mixture come to a boil add butter and sugar
  4. Agin mix well and reduce the flame to low
  5. Let the mixture simmer for another 5 mins and then take it off the heat
  6. Cover the mixture with cling wrap and pop it into the fridge for 15 mins

 

Chocolate Pancakes

Ingredients :-

  1. Flour 1 + 1/3 cup
  2. Coco powder – 5 tbp
  3. Sugar – 1/2 cup
  4. Oil –  1/4 cup
  5. Vanilla Extract – 1 tbsp
  6. Salt  – 1/4tsp
  7. Milk – 1 cup
  8. Butter milk – 2 tbsp
  9. Vinegar – 1 tbp
  10. Extra Oil – for coating the pan before pouring the pancake mix
  11. Almonds  – 1/2 cup

Instructions :-

  1. Mix all flour + coco powder + sugar + salt and set aside
  2. Heat your pan on medium to low flame
  3. In another bowl mix milk + vinegar + butter milk + oil +vanilla extract
  4. Mix just until combined ( do not over work the batter)
  5. Grease the pan with cooking oil and pour 1/3rd cup at a time
  6. Wait till bubble form on top and then flip the pancake around for the other side to cook
  7. Finally let them cool for 5 min
  8. Stack one pancake over the other with cream in between and add a big dollop of orange curd on the top
  9. Sprinkle almonds over the top and enjoy the sweet, sour, crunchy & nutty breakfast!!

 

Whole wheat waffles with caramel poached apples and nuts

SONY DS

 

When I go to bed every night I think about what I can make the next day for my husbands lunch, my babies three meals and may be some thing sweet. So last night I decided I would make whole wheat waffles  and use a fruit of the season. So apples were the way to go. This recipe is so easy and it will keep you full all the way till lunch time.

Ingredients :-

  1. Wheat Flour – 1 + 1/2 cups
  2. Salt – 1/ tsp
  3. Baking Powder – 2 tsp
  4. Oil – 1/2 cup
  5. Egg – 1
  6. Milk – 1 cup + 1 tbsp
  7. Palm Jaggery – 1tbsp + 2 tbsp ( use sugar, brown sugar alternatively )
  8. Butter – 1 tbsp
  9. Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp + 1 tsp ( for the caramel)
  10. Apples – 2 ( cleaned, cored and sliced)
  11. Cream – 1 tsp ( Or 2 tbsp of curd)
  12. Cinnamon Powder – 1/4 tsp
  13. Nutmeg Powder – 1/4 tsp
  14. Star Anise – 1
  15. Walnuts – 5 – 6

Instructions :-

  1. Pre Heat your waffle iron
  2. In a bowl mix flour + 1 tbsp palm jaggery + salt + baking powder + cinnamon powder + nutmeg powder and set aside
  3. In another bowl, mix oil + milk + 1 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk egg into the milk mixture and whisk well
  4. Now slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Do not over mix! If there are lumps its ok. Add 1tbsp of milk if too thick
  5. Pour batter into the hot waffle iron and let them cook till nice a golden
  6. Mean while, in a pan add the rest of the jaggery and butter. Let it come to the simmer and add the cream. Then switch off the flame and add the start anise and vanilla extract
  7. Now add the cut apples into the caramel and let it cook in the hot caramel ( when the gas is off) This makes the apples soft on the out and nice and crunchy on the inside
  8. Once the waffles are ready pour the caramel apples on the waffles and top it off with walnuts! Enjoy!!

Tips:-

  1. All ingredients should be at room temperature
  2. Use good quality flour ( fresh )
  3. Use apples that are hard and not too sweet
  4. You can substitute jaggery with sugar, honey, agave etc

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you just love mint and chocolate chip! I do!! Yesterday seemed to be a brownie day so a decided why not make a mint chocolate chip brownie. I had a batch of cream cheese in the fridge too so I decided why not! Ha! The sad part of begin the only person in my house who knows to cook is that I can’t hope for some one to make a batch of nice home baked soft gooey brownies. But this recipe is not that hard to make so once its done, you do not have time to worry about being the only cook at home.

Ingredients :-

  1. Butter – 115 gms
  2. Chocolate Chips – 250 gms  + 50 gms ( for cream cheese)
  3. Flour – 100 gms
  4. Sugar – 250 gms + 50 gms ( for the cream cheese)
  5. Eggs – 3 ( room temp)
  6. Salt – 1/4tsp
  7. Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  8. Cream Cheese – 200 gms ( room temp)
  9. Mint Extract  – 1 tsp
  10. Green Colour – 4 – 5 drops ( depending on how green you want it)
  11. Egg yolk – 1

Instructions :-

  1. Pre Heat your oven to 180 C and line your brownie tray with baking paper
  2. In a heat proof bowl, melt butter in a double boiler and add chocolate chips. Continue to stir till all the chocolate has melted
  3. Set aside the chocolate butter mixture to complete cool down. Meanwhile mix four and salt in another bowl
  4. Once it is at room temperature, add eggs and vanilla extract. Now add the flour to the wet ingredients one spoon at a time
  5. Do not over work the batter but mix till all ingredients have combined
  6. Now transfer 70 % of the batter into you prepare brownie pan
  7. In another bowl add cream cheese and sugar. Whisk till nice and creamy. Then add mint extract, egg yolk and colour as required
  8. Slowly spoon this mixture over the brownie mixture
  9. Then top off the cream cheese mixture with the left over chocolate batter
  10. Now run a butter knife through the batter to make swirls
  11. Pop the brownie tray into the pre heated oven and bake for 30 mins or till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean
  12. Let it cool completely before slicing

 

Melted Marshmallow Frosting on Chocolate Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Morning!

So yesterday I posted my favourite go to chocolate cupcake recipe. Now this is what I did to dress those lovely little cakes up. Remember how I made those yummy marshmallows. So I used the same thing and added a swirl of whipped cream and they are ready!

So to assemble your cupcakes, you need:

Ingredients :-

  1. Cupcakes – 12
  2. Marshmallows – 12
  3. Whipping Cream – 1 cup
  4. Icing sugar – 3 tbsp
  5. Vanilla Extract – 1 tbsp

Instructions :-

  1. Before you start to whip the cream, place your bowl and whisk attachment into the freezer for 15 mins;
  2. Take them out of the freezer just when you want to whisk;
  3. Pour cream into the cold bowl and whisk on medium till the cream thickens;
  4. Once you see soft peaks form, add the sugar one spoon at a time;
  5. After all the sugar has been added, crank up the speed and give it another 2 – 3 mins;
  6. When you see that the cream is thick enough to hold stiff peaks quickly add in the vanilla extract;
  7. Give a nice whisk again and set aside;
  8. Now in a microwavable plate set 6 cupcakes. Slowly place 1 marshmallow on top of each cupcake. If your marshmallow is too big then cut them into  6 cm cubes;
  9. Now place then in to microwave and set the timer for exactly 30 sec;
  10. At the 30 sec you will see the marshmallow is gooey but not runny. That’s ok. That is the texture we want ( Some times the power may differ in different microwaves so just wait till you see that the marshmallow is gooey but not runny!, also if you are using store-bought marshmallows then it might take a few seconds longer but again just look out for when the marshmallow turns gooey and not runny);
  11. Once the marshmallow has reached that stage, take the plate of cupcakes out of the microwave and with a butter knife or a spoon slowly spread the marshmallow around the crown of the cupcake (Similar to how you would spread butter on a piece of toast);
  12. After you have finished all of them, place them on a cooling rack ( for 10 mins);
  13. During that time, prepare your icing bag with the required nozzle and fill it up with the whipping cream that we made earlier; and
  14. Once the cupcakes have cooled down to room temperature, slowly pipe the fresh cream onto the cupcakes however you like.

Easy No Fail Chocolate Cupcake

 

 

 

We all have our quick and no fail cupcake recipe right? This is mine. It’s really simple and all you really have to worry about it making sure your ingredients are at room temperature and the quality of coco powder is the best. I used the all too famous Hershey’s coco powder. But you could use which ever brand you like.  For me the perfect cupcake has … to

  • Taste good. Not too sweet
  • Should not be sticky, when I peel the cupcake liner off I don not want the cake sticking to it
  • It shouldn’t be hard nor too soft (it’s not a chiffon cake)
  • When I take a bite the rest of the cupcake should stay together and not just crumble
  • The cake should just melt in my mouth when I take a bite
  • Chocolate cupcakes should have that nice shine but shouldn’t be oily

Ok too much to ask huh…

No not really. This recipe is my go to recipe for cupcake and trust me if you do not get it right then it can only be that your flour is old, your temperature is off or you over worked the batter. Ok no more cupcake science. Lets get to the recipe huh

Ingredients :-

  1. Flour – 2 cups
  2. Powdered Sugar – 1/2 cup
  3. Demerara Sugar – 1/2 cup ( I use the powdered kind)
  4. Baking powder – 1 + 1/2 tsp
  5. Baking soda – 1 + 1/2 tsp
  6. Salt – 1/2 tsp
  7. Coco Powder – 100 gms
  8. Oil – 1/2 cup
  9. Milk – 1 cup
  10. Vanilla Extract – 1 tbsp
  11. Eggs – 2 eggs at room temp
  12. Coffee Powder – 1tsp
  13. Boiling hot water – 1 cup

Instructions :-

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 and line your cupcake tray with liners. Set aside
  2. In a bowl mix flour + baking soda + baking powder + salt + sugar + demerara sugar + coco powder. Use a whisk to mix well. If there are any lumps run your fingers through the dry ingredients to powder it all
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer add milk + oil
  4. Use your paddle attachment and mix on low
  5. Now add coffee powder and hot boiling water. Mix for 2 mins
  6. Finally add your eggs and mix at medium speed. Next add vanilla extract to the mixture
  7. Slowly add the dry ingredients mixture in batches ( I usually do 5). When I get to the fourth batch I stop to scrap down the bowl. Then add the last batch and mix for another 30 sec. The batter will look runny and unlike cake batter but trust me it works!
  8. Finally scoop out the batter into you lined cupcake moulds and bake for 20 to 25 mins. Make sure you fill them only 2/3rd of the cup or else you will have flat cupcakes that spill out of the cupcake liner
  9. Once the timer goes off take the cupcakes out of the oven and let them rest of 10 mins. Then slowly take them out of the cupcake tray and set them to cool down on a cooling rack
  10. My next post will tell you what I did to dress them up 😛

Open faced Apple Tart

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello every body..

Last evening I decided to take my baby and head out into the city for some inspiration. After the cookies, I have been hunting for a subject that would interest me enough to not just cook it but also photograph it. And at a store I found red pears, avocados, rambutan and yes all of them where really nice and fancy and pretty. But some how the only thing that stuck to me was Apple! I know apple season is just starting and I decided to start early. This time I wanted to make an apple pie but not the closed kinds. So here is my open faced apple pie. The french apple is similar to this one, the only difference being that apricot preserve is brushed over the apple tart after it is taken out of the oven. Some day I will make that one too.

Even if they aren’t in season, I make  apple sauce every day for my little son. I am told that they are excellent for baby health and as the saying goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. So if you are looking for different ways to have apples this season, then you should give one a try.

My father has many child hood stories of how he lived in Kashmir and every house had many apple trees growing within its compound. He said that no one bothered plucking them and there was so much that a few would just rot away on the ground below the trees. They would be so many kinds of apples too. Pink ones that where sweeter than the red. Red ones that where so juicy they would wipe the juice off onto their uniforms (on the way back from school). You know how old storied play in your mind in “sepia” mode. I can how my father looked when he was 10, in his navy blue shorts and a white shirt with socks pulled up to his knees, running down a small tarred road, eager to get to the apple tree. Have you see old photos? noticed how uncluttered and clean everything looks? I have seen photos of my father as a little baby in the dress his mother stitched for him. And let me tell you that nothing is as pretty as an indian women in a cotton saree standing in a well manicured garden holding her dear son in her hand.

Apples to old photos to beauty! Yes! I find apples beautiful and I find old photos beautiful 🙂

 

Ingredients for the tart shell :-

  1. Flour – 2 cups
  2. Butter – 130 gms
  3. Sugar – 2 tbsp
  4. Salt – a pinch
  5. Egg – 1 whole egg at room temperature

Instructions :-

  1. In a bowl of a mixer, whisk butter for 2 -3 mins.
  2. The add sugar, flour, eggs, salt and mix till it resembles bread crumbs. Turn off the mixer and hold the flour mixture in the palm of your hand to see if it sticks together. It should for a nice ball
  3. Empty the flour onto a cling film and bring the sides up to for a nice ball. Cover well and place in the fridge for 20 – 30 mins

 

Apple sauce:-

Ingredients :-

  1. Apples – 3 large apples, cleaned, cored and skinned, chopped into small pieces
  2. Butter – 3 tbsp
  3. Brown Sugar – 2tbsp
  4. Cinnamon Powder – 1/2tsp
  5. Nutmeg Powder – 1/4tsp

Instructions :-

  1. In a sauce pan, add butter and sugar. Turn the flame on low and heat till the sugar dissloves into the butter
  2. Then add chopped apples, cinnamon and nutmeg powder
  3. Simmer the apple sauce mixture till bubble start to appear
  4. Finally take it off the heat and keep it aside to cool completely. You could also add vanilla extract at this stage (Just a dash)

 

Back to the pastry:-

Instruments :-

  1. Rolling pin
  2. Pan Pan (Butters)
  3. Thick cotton cloth
  4. Beans or dry peas

Instructions :-

  1. Once the pastry has cooled down in the fridge, roll out the dough onto a lightly floured counter top. Make sure to keep moving the dough an dusting the counter top so that the party does not stick to the counter. Use flour to dust the rolling pin if the pastry sticks to the pin
  2. Use your hand to check if the pastry is rolled out evenly
  3. Butter your pie pan liberally. I use the one that has a removable base
  4. Use your rolling pin transfer the rolled out pastry dough onto the butter pie pan
  5. Slowly life and tuck the pastry into the sides of the pan. Do not pull the pastry for it could tear
  6. Once the pie pan is ready with the pastry cut off the excess pastry with the knife ( around the sides of the pan)
  7. Put the pan pan back into the fridge for another 20 mins
  8. During that time, pre heat you oven to 180 C
  9. Once the oven is nice and hot, take out the pie pan from the fridge and line the inside with a thick cotton cloth
  10. Then add beans or dry peas into the pie tin lined with the cloth. Bring the side of the cloth together to make a small bag of beans within the pie pan  ( Make sure to distrubute the beans equally through out the pan)
  11. Set the readied pan into the oven for 15 – 2o mins or till the pastry starts to turn a pale orange
  12. Once the pastry is done, let it sit outside till it reaches room temperature

Preparing the filling :-

  1. Apples – 4 -5
  2. Brown Sugar – 2 tbsp
  3. Lime – 1

Instructions :-

  1. Dry the apples out well and peel the skin off using a knife or a potato skin peeler
  2. Cure the apples out and cut them into long halves. Like shown in the photos
  3. Once you are done cutting all the apples put them into a big bowl and squeeze a juice of one lime into the apples. This is to ensure that they will not turn brown and dark. Be careful not to drop the seeds into the apple

Assembling the Tart – 

  1. First take the pie shell that has cooled down to room temperature
  2. Fill the shell evenly with the prepared apple sauce
  3. then arrange the cut apple slices according to the photos
  4. Add a little more brown sugar over the top. You could use a little butter to lightly coat the sides of the pie to give it that nice brown colour
  5. Set to bake for 20 mins or till the edges of the pie turn nice and golden brown in a pre heated oven at 180 C
  6. Once baked, set aside to cool off and as soon as it comes to room temperature, pop it out of the pie pan and set to serve
  7. Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream