Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

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OLD POST – NEW PHOTOS 🙂

 

Hello Wonderful readers!

So you know how i have been going on and on about how cold its been and how we haven’t been able to step outside cause of the continuous rains. Its actually been more than a week since the rains started and it just doesn’t seem to stop. I was hoping it would rain continuously on the days after Diwali but that did not happen. Those two hours of no rain was filled with the horrendous sound of fire crackers bursting right up the road. It really doesn’t make sense to me. Yes when I was a little girl I loved to burst crackers with friends on Diwali but once I was in high school we never burst them. And it wasn’t like my parents hated it but I understood how bad the side effects are. A close friend of our family lost her husband during Diwali cause of the harmful gases that are emitted during that time. Asthma patients have it really bad during that entire week and so does poor little “pepper” (my lhasa apso) who also has a tough time with all the noise and smoke during Diwali time. That being said I do love lighting lamps around the house and filling our dinning tables with all sorts of sweets. My father LOVES bengali sweets and we make it a point to make as many as we can and buy more 🙂

Well its the week after Diwali, the days are short, cloudy, cold and chilly! The nights are ice cold. My son looks like an apple in the winter cold and he sleeps a lot. Thats why I have the time to make and post photos off late 😛

So we have been making and ordering lots and lots of soup and I decided why not share my simple roasted tomato soup. Its really simple and you do not really need to be there when it all happens. We have it with toasted bread but if I could I would love to have it with a grilled cheese sandwich. But each to their own. This one is my simple recipe.

Ingredients :-

  1. Tomatos – 6 – 7 ( ripe and red) all and any kind – red, black, cherry etc
  2. Garlic – 10 – 12 ( use 2 entire pods cut in the middles for bolder flavor)
  3. Rose Mary – 1/2 tsp
  4. Thyme – 1/2 tsp
  5. Chilli Flakes – 1/2 tsp
  6. Pepper – 1 tsp
  7. Salt – according to taste
  8. Vegetable Stock – 2 cups ( more if required)
  9. Olive oil – to drizzle over the tomatoes before roasting
  10. Basil and cream for garnish

Instructions :-

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a baking tray with foil
  2. Now cut into 6 equal halves and cut the garlic into 2 halves
  3. Then add all dry spices – rose mary, thyme, oregano, chilli flakes and a little salt ( you add more later so just add a little at this stage)
  4. Now mix well to distribute the spice evenly with the tomato and garlic
  5. Spread the tomato and garlic over the foil evenly and make sure there is space between them to roast evenly
  6. Pop the tray into the oven and roast for 25 – 30 min ( the skin will begin to shrink and sizzle)
  7. Once the tomatoes and garlic are ready in a pan add 1 tsp of oil and add the roasted tomato mix
  8. Pour the vegetable stock. Close and cook for another 15 – 20 mins
  9. Add pepper and salt and season to your desired taste
  10. Finally transfer the mixture into a mixture and blend to required consistency
  11. If you do not like thick soups then bend for little longer that 10 mins and then push the soup through a soup strainer
  12. Serve hot with bread or grilled cheese sandwiches
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Chemmeen Roast / Kerala Style Prawn Roast

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Hello my dear wonderful readers,

How are you all doing today? Yay, its the weekend, and I have so much planned for today and tomorrow. But before i get to all that, let me introduce you to one of my favorite prawn recipes from Gods Own Country. This dish is ideal for a nice quiet evening in with the husband and a glass of wine. Ideally this would be a dish that is served with hot bowls of rice, sambar and a vegetable stir fry. Back in my grandmas place, this dish is made in large quantities and it gets over even before it reaches the table. My cousins and the extended family absolutely love this prawn dish. I have served this dish in a way that you can pick the prawns off the skewer and dip flat bread or just use a spoon to scoop up the masala that makes the dish such a blast of flavour in your mouth.

Make sure you squeeze a little lime or bite into an onion every now and then for this makes for a great appetizer as well.

Usually Friday nights are when the husband and I get to sit down and unwind and just talk. That is when I make these little treats and we enjoy it over a glass of wine. Yes we are” that” couple that wants to spend a Friday night at home in loose clothes and warm socks, with legs up on the ottoman, listening to nothing but each other and how funny the week has been. Every tiny detail of how we wore the wrong sock pair, or how some one moved into the house next door or how Adi has learnt the “wrong” set of words. All that is talked about on a Friday night. So to sum it all up, this dish is the best kind of dish for a heartfelt conversation or even as a dish for a lunch or dinner.

Ingredients :-

  1. Prawns – 500 gms (de-shelled – de veined)
  2. Coriander Powder – 1 tsp + (1 tsp)
  3. Chili Powder – 1/2 tsp  + (1 tsp )
  4. Pepper Powder – 1 tsp (or to taste)
  5. Vinegar / Lime juice  – 2 tbsp
  6. Coconut Oil – 1 + 3 tbsp (more if necessary for frying)
  7. Shallots – 2 cups ( chopped fine)
  8. Garlic – 1 + 1/2 tsp
  9. Ginger – 1 tsp ( chopped fine)
  10. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  11. Curry Leaves – 9 – 10
  12. Green Chillies – 1 tbsp ( choppped)
  13. Kokum – 3 pods ( soaked in 1/2 cup hot water)
  14. Coconut Slices – 1/2 cup
  15. Salt to taste

Instructions :-

  1. Soak skewers in water for 10 mins. Then skewer prawns on in and set aside
  2. In a large bowl, add the 1 tsp coriander powder , Chili Powder 1/2 tsp, Pepper Powder 1 tsp and lime juice in a bowl
  3. Mix to form a nice thick paste. Using a brush, brush the thick paste on the prawns and set aside
  4. In another flat bottom pan, add oil . Add the shallots to hot oil and fry till pink
  5. Then add the ginger garlic and stir fry. Fry till the onions turn brown . Then add the rest of the spices and turmeric powder
  6. Next add the kokum and the water it was soaked in
  7. Now fry till the mixture becomes thick and oil begins to separate from the sides. Add salt to taste
  8. Add a little oil in a pan and on high heat grill the prawns for 3 mins
  9. Next add the prawns in the pan with the shallots mixture and cover and cook till prawns  are cooked.
  10. Add curry leaves and coconut slices and mix well
  11. Serve right away

Dal Tadka – The Famous Indian Lentil Curry

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Hello my dear wonderful readers,

How are you all doing today? My little boy is down with a fever again and now I am here taking care of him and spending all my time by his side. Over the weekend we took him to a fun play pen and the next day he came down with the cold. This is the second time this is happening after taking him to the same place and the only logical reason would be that he got it from some other kid at the play pen. How do I feel about the fact that parents bring their sick kids to a public area? Well personally I make sure my son is not around other kids when is unwell and if I know he is about to fall sick or is just recovering from one, I inform the family or friends I am about to meet. Well but that’s just me right? So now he is down with terrible cold, running nose, lots of sneezes and needs constant attention. All the while I find comfort in reassuring myself that this is the way his immune system does its job and grows stronger. So lets see.

The weekend was also a surprise cause after many many years, I made a new friend. A wonderful woman, who I can relate to in so many ways and its not often that you come across someone who you can just pour your heart out, the first time you meet them right? So all in all, the weekend was AWESOME!! It was also nice to leave the boys and have a little girl time after a looooooonnnggg time! Just to have a coffee and talk girl to girl and also hear out loud many things I have said to myself but never put to practice, was such a relief!! LOL..

Since the little one is unwell, I wasn’t able to get much cooking done. So, this recipe is my life saver. If you are Indian, then you know that there is noting simpler, comforting and wholesome like a big bowl of Dal and Rice / Chappati. This recipe can be used for a wide array of lentils. The simplest and most common combination is the one I have used in my recipe (below). The use of a pressure cooker just makes it faster and easier. But if you do not have a pressure cooker, you just need a pot with a lid and cover and cook till the lentils are mushy and soft to touch. Traditionally, Ghee / Clarified Butter is used instead of oil, but you could use any oil that you are comfortable using.

Ingredients :-

  1. Toor Dal / Pigeon Pea – 2 cup
  2. Masoor Dal / Red Lentils – 1 cup
  3. Oil / Ghee – 1 tbsp + 3 tsp
  4. Cinnamon Stick – 1  one inch stick
  5. Cloves – 4
  6. Green Cardamom – 4  ( bruise with the back of a spoon)
  7. Cumin Seeds – 2 tsp
  8. Asafoetida – 2 pinches
  9. Garlic Cloves – 5 Large
  10. Dry Red Chillies – 4
  11. Onions –     (finely chopped)
  12. Tomatoes –   (finely chopped)
  13. Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
  14. Turmeric Powder – 1 + 1/2 tsp
  15. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  16. Salt – as required
  17. Water – 4 cups
  18. Coriander Leaves – 3 tbsp

Instructions :-

  1.  In a large bowl, combine both the lentils and wash thoroughly in running water. Then soak in water for 15 mins
  2. Now in a pressure cooker or large bowl, add 1 tbsp of oil. One the oil is hot, add the jeera / cumin seeds (1 tsp)
  3. As soon as the cumin seeds begin to crackle, add the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, red chillies (3) and asafoetida
  4. Once the chillies plump up, add the onions. Fry till the onions are pink and almost translucent
  5. Then add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears
  6. Next add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder and chili  powder
  7. Now cook till the tomatoes are cooked through (do not wait for it to fry )
  8. Once the onion tomato paste is ready, add the soaked lentils. ( Discard the water it was soaked in)
  9. Add the water and 1 tbsp of salt
  10. Cover and cook for 3 whistles or till the lentils have cooked through
  11. Once the lentils have cooked through, in a small pan, add rest of the oil. Once the oil is hot add the rest of the cumin seeds, red chili and garlic cloves. Fry till the garlic is golden brown
  12. Pour over the cooked lentils and garnish with the chopped coriander leaves
  13. Serve right away along with hot rice or chappatis

 

 

 

Strawberry doughnuts with Honey and Lemon sugar

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Hello My dear wonderful readers,

How are you all doing today? So it was cheat day the other day and I had one of these and OMG I had to give them away cause these doughnuts are so so addictive. Strawberry season is here and I think I would use it in everything and anything. This is my second strawberry recipe for the season and let’s be honest, I can never have enough of these ruby red beauties. These doughnuts are baked and not deep fried so they are more cakey than fried but trust me when I say this, one bite and you wont be able to go back evaaaa!! These pink rings of heaven are the perfect mix of sweet, tart, fresh and  “munchy”. Those little red spots on the donuts are the finely chopped strawberries. The key is to dunk them in honey when nice and warm and therefore the lemon sugar melts into the doughnuts and OH MY GOD., the magic is insane!

In fact I baked 12 of these but only 11 got to the photos 🙂 cause these donuts, my friend, are just so awesome!! lol

So while I was baking these my little munchkin decided it was time for him to play in the kitchen as well. So when I was whisking and piping, my little boy was sitting on the kitchen mat, making “rice, mutta (eggs) and cheese ” which is when I was reminded about how I went to the toy store to see if I could get him a kitchen set or a toy oven but to my surprise all the kitchen toys were only in this hideous bright pink with photos of little girls making food. So what I couldn’t understand is – why is that only girls like these kind of games? I mean some of the best chefs in the world are men and they are respected all over the world, then why is it that boys cant be allowed to play with the same kind of toys. Also why is it pink?? I have never come across a pink kitchen my entire life! And no working real kitchen can ever function to its fullest if it where white or pink! Why not have a kitchen that is the same colour as the real thing! Anyway the bottom line is, I decided if he wants to play he can play with the stuff in my kitchen and when he is old enough I will help him learn and understand that there is no job that was either reserved for men or for women. Girl or boy we all deserve equal opportunity and equal respect for the choices we make.

Now back to the doughnuts, just like all my bakes, (unless otherwise specified) make sure the ingredients are at room temperature and the baking tray is well prepared. Try not rushing this step cause these doughnuts will just pop out easily if you do so. Now for the recipe

Ingredients :-

  1. Butter – 1 tsp
  2. Flour – 2 cups + more for dusting the pan
  3. Baking Powder – 1 tsp
  4. Oil – 1/2 cup
  5. Sugar – 1/ 2 cup + more of dusting
  6. Eggs – 2 large eggs
  7. Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tsp
  9. Salt – 1/2 of 1/4 tsp
  10. Nutmeg – 1/4 tsp
  11. Butter Milk – 3/4 cup
  12. Strawberry – 1 cup ( chopped fine)
  13. Red food colour – 1 small drop ( optional)
  14. Lemon Zest – from 2 limes
  15. Honey 2 tbsp

Instructions :-

  1. Pre-Heat your oven to 180 C
  2. Prepare your doughnut pan by brushing butter on the inside of your baking pan. Make sure to butter the hole in the centre too . This recipe makes 12 doughnuts
  3. Now lightly dust the buttered pan with flour. Invert the pan and shake of the excess flour. Set aside
  4. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and sieve twice
  5. In another bowl, add the oil, eggs, apple cider vinegar , vanilla, sugar and butter milk. Whisk together till the sugar has mixed well with mixture
  6. Then add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in 3 batches. Make sure to mix well at every addition of dry mixture to the wet
  7. Once you have all the dry ingredients mixed, add the chopped strawberry and colour
  8. Mix well to combine
  9. Now pour the mixture into a piping bag. Snip the bottom and pipe the batter into the prepared doughnut pan
  10. Fill till 80 % of the hole
  11. Pop into the oven to bake for 20 mins or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  12. While that is baking lets make the lemon sugar
  13. In a plate, zest the lemons. Then add 1/2 cup of caster sugar. Now with dry hands, mix the sugar and lemon zest. You will see the sugar turn a light green colour
  14. Once the doughnuts are done, let them cool for 5 mins
  15. Then when the doughnuts are still warm, using a pastry brush, brush honey on the face of the doughnut
  16. Then dunk the doughnuts into the lemon sugar
  17. Place on a cooling rack to dust of the excess sugar
  18. Your strawberry doughnuts with honey and lemon sugar are ready

 

Green Cucumber Mint Lemonade

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Hello my dear wonderful readers,

So I know you are thinking it’s still cold and why on earth would I wanna put up a post with a cold drink. The fact is that it is nice and cold during the nights but the days are getting equally warm. In fact by 2 in the afternoon we have our fans on and my son is usually sweating by then. Also I  realized that it is equally important to stay hydrated during cold times as in summer.

This cucumber mint juice is the perfect way to stay hydrated and cucumber by itself has many healthy benefits. There is always a simple cucumber salad with all our meals and some days we have this drink instead of an aerated drink. We discourage our little one from having soft drinks and beverages so we replace them with juices such as watermelon or lime or even a strawberry milkshake. So this juice was not well received by the little one but we enjoy it every now and then. Its simple to make and it all goes into a single bowl so not much of a recipe per say.

You could also add cumin powder or chilli powder at the end just to give it a different kick. I just use honey cause I love sweet drinks and this is my go to drink when I am in need of a clean refreshing juice.

Ingredients :-

  1. Lime – 2
  2. Water – 4 cups
  3. Cucumber – 3  (sliced and extra for garnish)
  4. Ginger – 1 inch knob
  5. Honey – according to taste
  6. Mint – 1 cup (packed)

Instructions :-

  1. In the bowl of your blender / juicer, add the juice of 2 limes
  2. Then add all of the above ingredients
  3. Blend till the ginger has also blended with the juice. Add more honey if required at this stage
  4. Pour into glasses and serve right away

Green Falafel Meal Bowl – with lemon couscous and pita chips (Baked)

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Hello my dear wonderful readers!

How are you all doing today? I hope your weekend was fun. We had a quiet time this weekend. A little work but mostly lounging around the house and catching up on lost sleep. After my baking marathon in December, I decided to set new goals for myself with regard to my health. So I woke up early for a run and some work on the elliptical (cross) trainer and oh my god! My body hurts so bad!! hahahaha. Infact as soon as I got out of the gym I felt like I was walking on clouds 🙂 So funny. But on the bright side I could feel the blood rush to my face and now there is pinkish tinge that make me look, lets say “livelier” haha.

Anyway so today is Monday and we go meatless and eggless on Mondays. So this seemed to be the right post for today. This meal is so good and so healthy, you wont feel soo full and yet you would have the nutrition of a balanced meal.

The falafel is baked and not deep fried ( cause we did quite a lot of frying last few weeks) and I used a handsome amount of parsley, spinach, corinder and mint in the dish, to give the patty its nice green colour + they just taste really good. Served on a bed of lemony cucumber couscous along with some green salad and pickled beets which makes this dish just the best kind of meal that wont make you feel like you are missing out on anything.

Ingredients :-

 

  1. Boiled Chickpeas – 3 cups
  2. Spinach – 250 gms ( blanched )
  3. Flat Leaf Parsley – 1 cup
  4. Mint – 1/2 cup
  5. Fresh Coriander – 1 cup
  6. Garlic – 6 large cloves
  7. Pepper – 1 tsp
  8. Coriander Seeds – 1 tbsp
  9. Onions – 1/4 cup (finely chopped)
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Sesame Seeds – 3 tbsp
  12. Olive Oil – 1 tbsp

 

 

 

Instructions :-

 

  1. In the bowl of your blender, add all the ingredients
  2. Now with the speed on medium – blend to form a coarse mixture
  3. Scoop out a little and see if it holds shape – If not add 1 tsp of water and grind further
  4. Now pre heat your oven to 180
  5. Place a baking paper or silpat mat on the baking tray and set aside
  6. Using a small ice cream scoop or a table soon, slowly scoop out small balls and place on the prepared baking tray
  7. Using the back of a spoon push gently to flatten the tops
  8. Drizzle with olive oil just for the perfect crispness
  9. Bake for 20 – 25 mins or till they turn golden brown
  10. Once done, take them out of the oven and place to cool completely
  11. Serve with couscous or pita bread and with a salad of choice

 

 

 

 

 

Green Masala Prawn Biriyani – ( Spicy Green Masala Base )

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Hello My dear wonderful readers!

How are you all doing today? I am back with a simple prawn biriyani that is very different in flavour compared to my other biriyani recipes. I do have two other biriyani recipes such as the

Prawn Biriyani and Thalassery Biriyani

Compared to those two this recipe is super easy. Unlike many other kinds of biriyani, this recipe does not use the layering technique. Its mostly a one pot dish and since prawn cooks faster compared to other kinds of meat, this one is a keeper.

The green colour this dish has is from the rich green paste that is made from grinding coriander and mint leaves. The dish can be as spicy as you like. All you have to do is adjust the heat by adding as many green chilies as you may want.

For health reasons, I have used coconut oil in my recipe but you could use ghee / clarified butter for a richer more fragrant dish. Along with a cooling raita and some cut cucumbers, this biriyani is your perfect weekend lunch. If there are left overs, maybe dinner too 🙂 . I usually make a big batch cause then two or some times three meals are sorted!! and no my boys love biriyani and they do not get tired of it. LOL .

Speaking of the boys, the little one is doing much better and every day he picks up a new word and yesterdays word was “Actually”. So he goes “Amma Actually car stuckada ” – Its only after he says these words do I go back and recollect why and when I used those words. It is so funny. Some times the words are in the wrong places and those instances are so so funny. In fact there was this advertisement in the newspaper that had a family, father, mother, sister and brother, sitting together and smiling. So I asked him what he was doing and he replied, “That’s a famileeee ” . I was quiet impressed. So I asked him where is his family and he turned and pointed at the door 😦 That’s when I realized his family i.e., his grandpa and grandma and cousins who were here for the holidays. Well he continued reading the newspaper and he did not say a word about it again.

So now lets get back to the food!!

Ingredients :-

  1. Rice – 3 cup ( i used basmati rice )
  2. Bay Leaf – 2
  3. Cloves – 4
  4. Cinnamon – 2 inch stick
  5. Cardamom – 5 ( bruised with the back of a spoon)
  6. Pepper Corns – 1 tbsp
  7. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  8. Mint Leaves – 1 cups (packed tightly)
  9. Green Chillies – 6 large (adjust to taste)
  10. Coriander Leaves – 2 cups (packed tighlty)
  11. Ginger – 1 large knob (size of a lime)
  12. Garlic – 10 medium size cloves
  13. Coconut oil / Ghee – 2 tbsp
  14. Prawns – 500 gms ( deveined and cleaned)
  15.  Salt to taste
  16. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  17. Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
  18. Garam Masala Powder – 2 heap tsp
  19. Water – 5 cups
  20. Onions – 2 cups (sliced)
  21. Tomato – 1 cup

Instructions :-

  1. Wash and soak rice in water for 15 mins
  2. During that time in the bowl of your blender add mint leaves + coriander leaves + green chillies + ginger + garlic + cumin seeds and a little water. Blend to form a nice green paste. Make sure that the ginger grinds well and forms a nice thick paste
  3. Now in a large heavy bottom pot, heat the oil. Keep the flame on a medium
  4. When the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and cardamom.
  5. Once they begin to release a nice aroma, add the onions and saute till light golden brown
  6. Then add the tomatoes. Next add the spice powders, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and give it a good mix
  7. Let the mixture cook for 3 mins
  8. Then add the green mixture to the pot and cook till you see oil separating from the sides of the masala
  9. Now its time to add the prawns. Turn the heat up and cook for 1 min
  10. Then add the rice and water. Mix the rice well with the green masala and add salt ( 2 tsp)
  11. Cover and cook till the rice is cooked well
  12. You can serve this just as is

For garnish – OPTIONAL

  1. Heat one 1 tbsp ghee/ coconut oil and deep fry some cashew nut and thinly slices onions
  2. You could sprinkle them on the top just before serving