Oven Dried – Sun-dried Tomatoes

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Hello my wonderful readers!

How have you all been? So this time I am back with a simple recipe and it is a super money saver. We absolutely love sun-dried tomatoes and they just go with everything! But buying the packages / bottled kind is super expensive and it honestly does not make sense when you have access to fresh ripe tomatoes right? So this post will help you make simple sun-dried tomatoes and trust me it is super easy.

Ingredients :-

  1. Tomatoes – 1 kg ( try using ripe ones)
  2. Salt – 1/2 tsp
  3. Olive oil – 1 cup
  4. Garlic – 4 cloves
  5. Basil Leaves – 6

Instructions :-

  1. Pre heat your oven to 100 c .  Line a baking sheet with foil and brush with oil . Set aside
  2. Wash and pat dry the tomatoes
  3. Cut the tomatoes into thin halves lengthwise . If you are using cherry tomatoes, then cutting them into two halves is sufficient . But if you are using regular tomatoes, cut them into thing slices, as they are the quicker to cook.
  4. Spread the cut tomatoes out evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Make sure they are not touching each other and there is enough space between the pieces. This will ensure the hot air passes through each piece and it cooks / dries evenly. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes. Sprinkle a little salt too. Tuck the basil leaves underneath the tomatoes so they do not burn but they give off their flavour.
  5. Make sure to spread olive oil on the basil leaves
  6. Now turn the oven mode to the  continuously baking mode. I have a setting on my oven that allows me to leave the oven on till need be
  7. Pop the baking sheet into the oven. Now balance a wooden spoon on the door in such a way that there is a little space for the moisture to escape from the oven. (Trust me this helps)
  8. Now depending on how ripe and how thin the tomatoes are, this can take 6 – 7 hours
  9. Every once in a while just give the tomatoes a mix and turn them over.
  10. The smaller pieces will get done faster so you can take them out of the oven sooner.
  11. You want to wait till the skin has a leathery feel and they look all de hydrated and small.
  12. Once they all are done, let them sit and cool completely. Now you can have them just like that too.
  13. If not you can add the rest of the olive oil into a clean glass jar, add the garlic and salt
  14. Then add the dried tomatoes and store in a fridge. I have left them for 2 -3 months and they have been fine.
  15. Your oven dried / sun dried tomatoes are ready! You can use them in pastas, sandwiches, pizza etc .

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Parsley, roasted garlic and Lime Garlic Knots

 

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!

How are you all doing today? As the weather changes and the cold sets in, I find myself pulling out my blankets, fuzzy socks and jackets out. So in anticipation of soup season, I also have a feeling we will have a lot of bread making in the house too. Did i mention I ruined my oven? Yes, so while I was getting the house ready for Diwali, last month, I cleaned the oven and when I turned it back on, the whole house lost power!!! Yeah I managed to destroy my favorite kitchen apparatus and I havent gotten around to getting the company guys to come take a look at it either (talk about being lazy) :-).

So this time I made my bread in the “convection” mode of my microwave oven and to my pleaseant surprise in really does work! how awesome is that. Now did I mention that this recipe also incorporates, whole wheat? Yes, sir it does!! So I added equal amounts of bread flour and whole wheat flour to make these babies so that they are not all that unhealthy and make a perfectly wholesome meal when paired with a big bowl of healthy soup.

Do you guys love the small bread baskets that they serve in Italian restaurants? With the flavoured butter? I am a sucker for them. While my husband refuses to have it cause he says its a distraction from the main food. I say I love it all.. hahaha..

Ingredients :-

 

  1. Bread Flour / Maida – 1 + 1/4 cup
  2. Whole Wheat Flour / Atta – 1 + 1/4 cup
  3. Sugar – 1 tbsp
  4. Salt – 1 tsp
  5. Oil – 2 tbsp
  6. Yeast – 1 tbsp
  7. Water – 1 cup (warm)
  8. Garlic – 9 cloves
  9. Lime – 1
  10. Parsley – 1/4 cup (chopped fine)
  11. Butter – 50 gms (at room temperature)

 

 

 

Instructions :-

    1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add sugar, water and yeast. Set aside to rest for 10 mins. In 10 minutes it should have become nice and frothy
    2. Into the same bowl, add the flour, salt and oil
    3. With the hook attachment on, turn on the mixer to a medium speed for 7 – 10 mins
    4. It will form a nice sticky dough
    5. Grease a big glass bowl and tip the dough mixture into the bowl
    6. Let it rest for 2 hours or till the dough has doubled in size
    7. Meanwhile, drizzle a little oil over the garlic cloves and put them into an oven at 200 C for 15 min or till they are golden and almost black on the outside. Once they have cooled down, with the back of your spoon, press them to form a nice paste
    8. Now take a bowl and add the melted butter, zest the lime, chopped parsley and garlic paste. Season with salt and mix well and set aside
    9. Peheat your oven to 200 C and line a baking tray with baking paper
    10. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip the dough onto a floured surface.
    11. Slowly knead the dough for 2 mins
    12. Then make a large ball and cut it into 2. Then cut them into 5 each. You should have around 10
    13. Slowly roll out the dough into long rolls
    14. Then just like you tie a shoe lace, tie the knot with the rolled out dough
    15. Once you have made the knot, place on the prepared baking tray. Do the same with the remaining dough
    16. Dip a pastry brush in some olive oil and brush the tops of the knots lightly
    17. Place the tray in the pre heat oven and bake for 15 – 20 mins or till lightly golden on the top
    18. During this time, melt the butter mixture in a microwave
    19. As soon as the knots are ready take them out of the oven and dip them into the melted butter
    20. Use a mitten while you dip the knots as they will really hot!!
    21. After dipping them, place them back on the tray
    22. Just before you serve them, brush again with the flavored butter!!

 

 

 

 

Tzatziki – Fresh dill leaves in a flavoured yogurt dip

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!

How are you all doing? How has the weekend been so far? It’s Sunday and we decided to stay home so I made a quick dip and some hot pita bread to enjoy as we watch reruns of ‘The Game of Thrones’ (can’t wait for April for the next season). The recipe for my home made pita bread can be found here Home made Whole Wheat Pita Bread. Dill has been in season for some time now so I made a few gyros too! I will post the recipe soon. For now this is my home made simple Tzatziki Sauce / Taziki Dip.

Ingredients :-

  1. Plain Yogurt – 2 cups
  2. Fresh Dill leaves – 1 cup (cleaned, dried and chopped)
  3. English Cucumber – 2 ( grated fine)
  4. Garlic – 4 cloves (paste)
  5. Lime – 1 (juice of one lime)
  6. Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
  7. Salt – to taste
  8. Pepper – a pinch

Instructions :-

  1. In a large muslin cloth dump all the yogurt
  2. Then bring the sides of the cloth together to form a nice ball and tie it up and hang over a small bowl. This is essential cause you really do not want a watery dip
  3. Leave this apparatus to rest for 15 – 30 mins (depends on how watery the yogurt is)
  4. Now in large strainer, add the grated cucumber and slowly press the cucumber flesh down with the back of the spoon
  5. This will help release all the water from the cucumber
  6. Let the cucumber drain for as long as 15 mins
  7. Meanwhile, combine the garlic, dill leaves, salt, pepper and lime
  8. After the yogurt and cucumber have drained out completely mix with the garlic and dill leaves
  9. Give a nice mix and add salt accordingly
  10. Your Tzatziki is ready! Drizzle a little olive oil over the top before you serve!

Homemade Marinara Sauce – Pasta Love

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!!

Making everything from scratch may seem like a pain, but the benefits are numerous. I have come to realise that its ok to go that extra mile just to make things from scratch. So whenever and whatever I am making, I try to plan ahead. No it does not alway work but trying doesn’t hurt right? Like this pasta sauce was actually a mistake. We buy vegetables online and they get delivered either the same day or the next. So this time by mistake I ordered 4 kgs of tomatoes instead of just one. So now I have to finish the ripe ones some how. Thats when the thought of making pasta sauce came to mind. Its really simple and personally my family likes it better than any bottled pasta sauce we have bought off the self. Also most times, I end up using an entire bottle of pasta sauce and that really isn’t pocket friendly. So this way I know whats going into the sauce (no preservatives) and  I can add or adjust the flavour according to my taste. While typing this I just fed my one year old, washed dishes, shared dinner with my husband and cleaned up the kitchen! hahah. Thats how long it takes me to write on the blog ! Oh well. On the bright side, I will get this post up soon right? hehe

Ingredients :-

  1. Ripe Red Tomatoes – 1.5 kgs
  2. Water to boil the tomatoes
  3. Olive oil – 7 tbsp
  4. Onions – 3 cups
  5. Garlic Paste  – 3 tbsp  (around 12 cloves)
  6. Dry Basil – 2 tsp
  7. Dry Oregano – 2 tbsp
  8. Chilli Powder – 1 tbsp (according to taste)
  9. Pepper – 1 tbsp
  10. Salt – according to taste

Instructions :-

  1. Heat water in a heavy bottom pot
  2. Once the water comes to a boil, add tomatoes and cook till nice and tender
  3. Drain the water and set aside to cool
  4. When the tomatoes cool down, peel the skins off. It should come off easily if you have cooked the tomatoes well
  5. Now chop the tomatoes into two and using your hands, remove the seeds from the tomatoes
  6. Put all the tomatoes together and using your hand squeeze them together to form a nice pulp ( you could use a blender too but why bother :p)
  7. Now in a heavy bottom pot, heat oil.
  8. Once the oil is nice and hot add the onions and garlic
  9. As soon as the onions turn translucent, add the crushed tomatoes, chilli powder, dry oregano and dry basil
  10. Now cover and cook the mixture for 25 – 30 mins
  11. Taste after 20 mins and season accordingly
  12. We like it in thick consistency but if you want, you could run the mixture in the blender and make it thinner
  13. Store in an air tight container in the fridge

Basil Vinaigrette – Simple salad dressing

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Hello my fellow bloggers and wonderful readers!

How are you all doing today? I am sure you must have figured why I haven’t been able to bake or create any sweet stuff. I am just scared I will have to spend another night at the ER. So my next few posts are going to be “Healthy” posts. This basil vinaigrette is super easy to make and it is just the best thing on any type of salad or pasta.  In this case, I made a pasta salad with roasted beetroots, heirloom tomato, zucchini, garlic and onions. Each of us had two large helps and it was over even before we finished an episode of ‘Suits’. Hey do you guys watch ‘Suits’? I love the series! Yeah I know there’s a lot of drama in it but I enjoy a little drama once in a while. Also we watch only if my son co-operates – which is like close to never! Ok, so on to the salad. The salad is pretty basic, but the vinaigrette my friend! that is the beauty. So here is the recipe.

Ingredients :-

  1. Fresh Basil Leaves – 2 cups
  2. Garlic – 8 cloves
  3. Olive Oil – 1 cup
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar – 6 table spoons
  5. Salt – to taste
  6. Pepper – 1/2tbsp

 

Instructions :-

  1. Before you make the vinaigrette make sure you wash and dry the basil leaves and dry them out completely.
  2. Make sure there is no moisture in the leaves and in the final glass jar you will be storing it in
  3. Combine all the ingredients in the jar of your blender and give it a good 3- 4 mins with the blender on medium
  4. You want all the ingredients to combine well and the oil to infuse with the basil
  5. Once its ready pour and store in a clean dry container
  6. Before you use it, make sure to give the container a good shake cause some times the oil tends to form a layer above the green dark part
  7. Use within a week and store in the fridge

 

Roasted Garlic, Basil and Lemon Butter

 

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!

I am sure you have all been those nice, quiet Italian cafes /restaurants that give you an array of breads with dips before you get your glass of wine or starter? I love those places that are not stingy when it comes to doling out that gorgeous creamy dip! It wasn’t until recently that I found out that you could totally make it at home. I know it looks fancy but it is The most simplest thing ever.

That dip is just basically butter and a variation of herbs and spices. So, this post is about how to make a simple roasted garlic, fresh basil and lemon butter. These compound butters are really easy to make and if you have the ingredients you can make any type of butter – savoury or sweet. I will share more recipes with you, but for now let me tell you how to make this incredibly easy and delicate yet lovely butter. I served mine with a zucchini, red bell pepper basil frittata the other day but you can use it as you like. For the sake of the photo, I did not wait for mine to get to room temp. These were straight out of the fridge.  You can wait for them to get to room temperate and enjoy them with breads, bread sticks, pita bread, pita chips, french fries and even carrot sticks.

Ingredients  :-

  1. Table Butter – 200 gm
  2. Garlic – 8 cloves
  3. Fresh Basil – one hand full
  4. Lime – 1

 

Instructions :-

  1. Bring the butter to room temperature
  2. Mean while roast the garlic cloves in a pre heated oven at 200 C for 45 mins or till you see the garlic turn to dark brown
  3. Zest the lime and chop the basil leaves roughly
  4. In a large bowl combine the butter, lime zest and basil leaves
  5. Now simply pinch the end of the garlic pod for the flesh to pop out from the other side ( see am not peeling garlic skin!!!)
  6. Now using a whisk, mix all the ingredients well to evenly distribute the ingredients through the butter
  7. Lay a parchment paper over your counter top ( 30 cm X 30 cm)
  8. Spoon the butter mixture towards the side of the parchment close to you. Make sure you leave  at least 10 cm from the edge of the paper to the mixture
  9. Now slowly curl the paper inwards, around the butter mixture to make a long log
  10. Continue till the other end of the paper. Then tie up the sides with a piece of string ( should look like a large toffee)
  11. Finally pop it into the fridge to set for an hour
  12. When you are ready to use the butter cut them into small discs and let them come back to room temperature
  13. Or you could use them just like that on a hot pieces of toast! You can see how the butter melts and leaves these small specks of green on the trail!