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Nutella and Fresh Fruit Dessert Pizza

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Nutella and Fruit Pizza

Nutella and Fruit Pizza

For some reason, I am terribly preoccupied these days. I lose track of what I was doing and the only way to stay sane is my multiple to-do lists. I am spending a lot less time at the laptop, but my phone bills are testimony to the amount of time I am connected online, monitoring the FB page and emails and other stuff.

Such is my preoccupation, that on the last trip to the bank, I wasted not one, but three cheque leaves because I either entered wrong numbers or signed where I wasn’t supposed to! I spend over 45 minutes gazing at the stuff on the shelves in the supermarket and will forget to bring home something basic like sugar. Not that I am overworked, I am just forgetting stuff.

I’ve been posting recipes here with a lot more frequency than this blog is used to, and yet forgot to tell you something important that I am part of. Sometime in March, when I went to Goa on vacation and met up with two of my favourite bloggers Aparna and Revati, we decided to finally make a blogger’s meet happen. We had been talking about it for a couple of years, but this time we decided to stop talking and start doing. If you are connected with me via FB you will know, that the first ever Indian Food Blogger Meet is happening in Bangalore. It will be held in August on 1-2 and promises to be a two day celebration of blogging and bloggers. We have a lot of interesting and useful session lined up and I cannot even tell you how excited I am that an idea that I had in my head is actually taking shape in front of my eyes. If you want to know more about this, connect with us on FB or follow us on twitter. We even have a blog which will have all the updates.

For each one of us involved, with a different sensibility, skill set, located in a different city, with multiple things happening in our offline lives, yet we have managed to do all the main things and invite people who will add value by sharing their blogging journey. There is a lot more to do in terms of typing up loose ends, but the agenda has been put together after much thought and aimed to be of value to the participants. I am delighted that speakers, some of them very respected bloggers are travelling from across the country to be at this meet. If you are a blogger and would like to be a part of this, here is the information on how you can participate.

Thank you for the overwhelming response to the post about Amma’s operation. I am happy to update that she is recovering well and is active. Each comment both here and on FB was read to her and she has expressed her thanks. I had friends and family calling me all through the day of the operation. My classmate from college when to a temple and dedicated 1008 chants to her, Amma’s best friend was at the Kanakadurga temple at Vijayawada when I texted to tell her that everything went well and offered special prayers in thanksgiving. Some friends and family woke up at 4 AM and prayed through the time of her procedure. Aunty E was praying and waiting by the telephone for an update. My MIL stayed by my side, carrying water and sandwiches that FIL had made so that I would have moral support.  I am overwhelmed with the goodwill that Amma enjoys. Whatever be your faith, the circle of love, prayers, healing energies and spirit enveloped us as a family and Amma especially is something I am extremely grateful for it.

After all that heavy duty information sharing, here is a fun recipe that will be a hit for a child’s birthday party or as an adult dessert option/ after school snack or a treat for good behaviour :D

Nutella and Fruit Pizza

Nutella and Fruit Pizza

Fruit and Nutella Whole-wheat Pizza (Makes 2 personal pizzas)

Whole-wheat flour     11/2 cups

Instant yeast     1 teaspoon

Sugar     1 teaspoon

Milk     ½ cup

Water     ½ cup

Butter     1 tablespoon

Nutella     4 tablespoons

Fresh fruit     11/2 cup (use mango, banana, strawberries, apples or any other firm seasonal fruit)

Dried nuts     a sprinkling

Warm the water and the milk to the same temperature used to set yogurt. Add the sugar and yeast, stir and set aside till the mixture is frothy and doubles up. This should take about 10-15 minutes

The yeast must activate for this recipe. If the yeast does not froth, the pizza won’t be puffy and soft.

Mix the flour with the salt. Add the milk and yeast mixture to the flour and knead into a dough. It should be softer than chapati dough, but not soggy.

Put the dough onto a surface with some dry flour and knead it gently for 3-4 minutes till it becomes soft and spongy. Add the butter and knead it completely.

Put it in a clean bowl, cover with foil or a damp clean towel and let it rise to double, for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Prepare a baking sheet by brushing it with vegetable oil.

Divide the doubled up dough into two or three parts. Make it into a round ball and flatten gently. Sprinkle with some dry flour and roll into a round, like a roti. The thickness of this should be about ⅓ inch. Prick it with a fork and place it on the baking sheet.

Repeat with the remaining dough and place on the baking sheet so that the pizzas don’t touch each other.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 6-7 minutes.

Spread nutella on the top of the cooked pizza, arrange fresh cut fruit on top, sprinkle the nuts. Cut into triangles and serve immediately.

 

Tandoori Aloo Grilled Sandwich Recipe

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Tandoori Aloo Sandwich

Tandoori Aloo Sandwich

I was going through the motions of getting through a random day. It is getting hot in Hyderabad and my energy levels are surely going to hit severely low notes soon. I had a deadline to meet and that involved shopping for ingredients, making 3 recipes, taking pictures, writing out the recipes and sending them to my editor. It was 4:30 PM and I had to complete this task by 6PM. Yes, yes.  This is exactly where you should do the ‘eye-roll’. I wanted to make one subway style sandwich which I have already featured here with home made bread rolls, one with sauteed vegetables in olive oil and Italian spices like they serve at coffee shops and one desi style grilled on a tava sandwich with a potato filling. K really loves potatoes stuffed into sandwiches, and I had boiled a few earlier in the day, that was the loose plan.

On my way to the nearby supermarket, my namesake called and we chatted. I told her my task at hand and asked for ideas. She told me she had made this sandwich with left over tandoori aloos, made for a BBQ and it was the best sandwich ever! That fixed the deal for me! I decided to make the potatoes with the spicy/ tangy tandoori masala. Arundhati cooked the potatoes with yogurt and tandoori masala as they were originally meant for the BBQ. I used the spice mix to pan saute the potatoes.

Even if I say so myself, this sandwich turned out so good, we had it two nights in a row as dinner. The mixtures keeps well and it will be convenient to have a small stash of spiced up potatoes in the fridge for ‘food emergencies’. I don’t have a sandwich maker and grilled this sandwich old school, on a hot griddle, pressing it down with a steel plate to get it to crisp up.

Tandoori Aloo Sandwich

Tandoori Potato Sandwich (Makes 2 Sandwiches)

4 slices                        Bread of choice

2 medium                   Potatoes, boiled, peeled and roughly crumbled

1 teaspoon                 Tandoori Masala

½ teaspoon               Vegetable oil

salt to taste

1 tablespoon            Fresh Coriander leaves

2 slices                     Cheese

1 tablespoon           Table butter

1 medium                Tomato, sliced

In a pan, heat the oil and add the crumbled potatoes. Add the tandoori masala and mix well. Saute till it is well coated. Add the salt to taste, coriander leaves and remove from the heat. Cool slightly.

Toast the bread on a tava, butter the slices and place a slice of cheese on top.

Arrange the sliced tomato over the cheese evenly and put half of the potato stuffing on top. Cover with another slice of toasted bread and press down.

Toast lightly on the tava till the cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately.

Baking ~ Whole Wheat Masala Spinach Bread

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Whole Wheat Masala Spinach Bread

Whole Wheat Masala Spinach Bread

Summer is upon us. No two thoughts on that. I am functioning like half my brain has melted already. Copious amounts of ale has been drunk in the name of managing the heat! and power cuts for 3-4 hours a day are a reality (also very annoying in the mornings when breakfast has to be made).

A few months ago, I began Oding on this blog. I like the writing style… the recipes and the pictures…. no styling, no set up, no fluff… really good pictures of easy to do recipes… just up my alley… so a light form of obsession took place.

In between all the whining I have been doing, I baked this Whole Wheat Masala Bread. I swapped out a few ingredients for what I had on hand. It turned out fabulous… toasted or not, plain or with butter… it was yummy!

I’ve been using wholewheat (chapati) flour for a lot of bread baking and also cakes and the like. I think because I use the food processor to make the dough, I do not get a crumb as fine as is shown in the original recipe… not a deterrent tho because the bread itself was delicious. I also had to bake it in a tin because my dough was too, how shall I put it – loose? it wouldn’t hold shape.

The only thing I wish I had not done, was to leave the loaf in the tin to cool off for a couple of hours. the steam trapped between the bread and the tin, made it wet. Once the loaf was removed from the tin and left to air dry, all was well again.

Whole Wheat Masala Spinach Bread

Whole Wheat Masala Spinach Bread

Whole Wheat Masala Spinach Bread (Makes one standard loaf)

Whole Wheat Flour           2 cups

Salt                                          1 teaspoon

Cooking Oil                           3 tablespoons

Active Yeast                        2 teaspoons (I used 1 teaspoon, as I have overactive yeast!)

Warm Water                         ¼ cup

Sugar                                       1 teaspoon

Warm Milk                            1/4 cup

Water for kneading as required

Spinach Leaves                   1 cup, washed, cleaned and chopped

Red Chilli Powder              1 teaspoon (or more if you want it more spicy)

Turmeric                               1/4 teaspoon

Cumin Powder                    ½ teaspoon

A dash of asafetida Ginger Garlic Paste            ½ teaspoon (optional but recommended)

Add the sugar and warm water to the warm milk, add the yeast and stir to dissolve a bit. Leave it in a warm corner for 15 minutes to froth up. This step is very important to make yeasted bread. If the yeast does not froth, the bread will not rise.

Mix together the whole wheat flour with the salt, red chilli powder, turmeric, asafetida and cumin powder.

Add the chopped spinach to the flour and toss it about. Add the ginger garlic paste to the milk – yeast and mix well. Pour it into the flour with the oil and mix. Add enough water to make a pliable dough. I used the dough blade of my food processor to do this. This dough is easy to make without any equipment as well. Knead the dough for a few minutes till it resembles a sticky mass. Leave covered in a well oiled bowl to rise for about an hour.

After an hour, when the dough has doubled, tip it onto a clean surface, dust with a little dry flour and knead for 5 minutes, using the heel of your palm. If it feels sticky, add more dry flour, but sparingly so.

Shape it into an oval loaf and place on a baking sheet lined with foil or baking paper. Or place it into a loaf pan. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to rise for the second time. For about 30-40 minutes.

In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F or 200 C.

When the second rise is done, place the risen dough in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes. When the top has lightly changed colour, remove from the oven. Let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing it from the pan and leaving it on a wire rack to cool completely. I left it in the pan and wandered off for a couple of hours. The result was that the bottom of the loaf became soggy from the steam of the hot bread. I had to leave it out to dry out completely after that.

Slice the bread after it is completely cool. Enjoy with a robust gravy curry like this, or this whole masoor dal like Haathi served it with, toasted with chai or just slathered with butter. It tastes divine anyway you eat it.

This bread has a shelf life of about 24 hours in Hyderabad’s heat. You can store it in the fridge for a few days more, but I wouldn’t know, cos it did not last that long!

Curries to serve this bread with:

Mushroom Masala

Whole Masoor (red Lentils) dal

Fake Meat and Potatoes

Bottle Gourd Kurma

Baking ~ Wholegrain Pita Bread

Pita Bread

If you haven’t seen Saee’s blog or her videos, trust me when I say you are missing out on recipes which are simple, yet turn out very well. She has a knack of making recipes look very simple, yet they compel you to get into the kitchen and try them out. I watched her Pita Bread video and in 5 minutes, was warming water to dissolve yeast and measuring out atta (flour) to make Pita Bread.

Pita Bread has been on my list of must make/ bake for ages. I have baked very successfully with yeast including bread. I usually use my regular whole wheat roti / chappati atta to make most of my bakes including cake and muffins. To the store bought (i use Ashirwad multi grain) flour, i add equal quantities of jowar, bajra, ragi and barley flour to make up about 30%. This combination works for me. Feel free to use refined flour (maida) in combination with your wheat flour if you like. The texture of the Pita bread is grainier and I prefer that. If it  is your first time making Pita bread, I suggest you do take the time to watch the video.

I’ve made this several times again, but took pictures only the first time. We (Sage and I) polished off a large number of them with a quick dip I made by simply combining yogurt with bottled sauces such as Tabasco, chilly and tomato garlic.

Wholegrain Pita

Wholegrain Pita Bread (Makes 9-10 medium Pita Breads)

Ingredients

3 cups Flour (I used my home mixed multi grain, feel free to use whole wheat or a combination of Maida and Wheat – the original recipe uses all Maida)

2 teaspoon Yeast (I used dry yeast)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil

Method

In a cup of warm water, add the sugar and yeast and mix a bit. Leave it to prove in a warm spot for 15-20 minutes. This is the most crucial part of using yeast. You must check if the yeast is active, if it doesn’t froth up and bubble, the dough is not going to rise.

Add the salt to the flour in a large basin or bowl and mix with your fingers to incorporate fully. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the yeast and water to it. Knead with your hands into a soft dough.

Pour the Olive oil over the dough and knead some more till it is soft, non sticky and elastic. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for atleast 30 minutes, or till the dough has doubled.

Punch the dough gently and knead it for a minute. Divide into 9-10 equal portions and roll the dough like a ball of roti atta/ dough. Rest the dough for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 F and roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a disc about 4 inches in diameter.

Place the rolled out Pita on a lightly greased and dusted baking tray, or line the tray with parchment paper. Bake for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven, keep the Pita in a cloth lined basket. Repeat with all the dough. Serve warm with a dip of choice such as this low fat cheese dip.

Baking ~ Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

How sweet is it that a friend you meet online becomes so important that even if I were to stop blogging, the friendship wont end. Arundhati was out shopping she saw these cute christmassy stuff and immediately sent me a package… besides the christmas supplies, it had these little packets of yeast. if you are in India you will know that the dry active yeast we get here is so bad, you have to pray to the forces that be, that the dough will rise! The blogosphere was afire the last few weeks with pumpkin recipes for thanksgiving, I made these rolls to celebrate the packets of yeast ( This post has been in my drafts for almost a year. Ironic that pumpkin season is back). If there is just one recipe you want to try that uses pumpkin, do try these brilliant Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.

Perfect for breakfast, or for an evening snack… if like me, you are also perpetually craving a sugar high, have one warmed up with a dollop of fresh cream.

I found a picture on foodgawker, led me to this site called Ambrosia, head over for some fantastic baking. I adapted it a bit with the flour and spices, and left out the maple frosting. otherwise the recipe is pretty much the same. the following is my version.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

For the Dough

1 package dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

3/4 cup Pumpkin puree ( I used fresh puree)

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

For the Filling

3 tablespoons castor sugar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small cubes

4 tablespoons butter, melted

To Make the Dough

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water along with a pinch of sugar, and let stand for ten minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, pumpkin puree, milk, melted butter, granulated sugar, salt, and spices, the yeast and water and with the dough blade, mix until all the ingredients come together.  Knead the dough in the mixer for 7-8 minutes, or alternatively, turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead by hand, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with a towel.  Place the bowl in a warm spot and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

To prepare the filling, combine the castor sugar, brown sugar, all-purpose flour, and cinnamon in a bowl.  Add the butter, and cut in with a pastry blender or two knives, just until the mixture begins to form crumbs the size of peas.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface, and with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12 x 10 inch rectangle.  Brush on the remaining melted butter, and sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough.

Roll the dough like a swiss roll, tightly to form a cylinder. Slice the cylinder into about 12 equal pieces, and place in a greased 10 x 8 rectangular baking dish. Cover with a towel, and let rise another 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake the rolls until they are golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Place the pan on a wire rack, and allow the cinnamon rolls to cool in the pan.

At this point, you can make a simple sugar glaze for the rolls if you wish, dust with sugar or serve as is. These rolls are mildly sweet and have an excellent texture. They need to be stored in the refrigerator if you intend to keep them for more than 24 hrs in tropical climates. reheat in a hot oven for 3-4 minutes before serving or simply bring to room temperature. Tastes great with a dollop of fresh cream.

Baking ~ Whole Wheat Banana Coconut Almond Bread

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Banana Coconut Almond Bread

Banana Coconut Almond Bread

This was one of my favourite cakes / quick breads to bake and photograph. It was wholesome, not overly sweet and full of nutritious bananas, coconut and almonds. Its taken almost 8 months to be posted on the blog, but then I never claimed to be regular here. The fondest memory of taking these pictures was a 4 month old Sage sitting patiently in the background, waiting for me to finish taking pictures of the banana loaf and give him some to taste.

cake and dog

cake and dog

He was battling a severe gluten intolerance at that time, so I sadly couldn’t give him more than a sliver. That habit has not changed. Every time I bring out something to click pictures of, Sage will come sit around knowing that his patience and good behaviour will pay off. This made it to an article I wrote for a magazine on how healthy eating and baking need not be boring.

On a side note, I turned a year wiser (and older) yesterday. I need to write one of those “letter to my 20 year old self” one of these days. The blog too completed 5 years in june, but i rarely remember. It is not often that I have grateful satisfied thoughts on life. This year before I get all crabby, I want to record that I am just thankful for ~ the people, the love and the experiences that have made my life what it is. This blog has played no small role in this. Thank you dear readers.

banana coconut almond whole wheat bread

Whole Wheat Banana and Coconut Bread

(Makes 12 slices, Time Taken : 20 minutes to put together, 60 minutes to bake)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs or 4-5 tablespoons yogurt

1 cup mashed banana (2 medium-large)

1/2 cup skim milk

1/4 cup oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup shredded coconut ( I used fresh grated, desiccated or frozen should be equally good too)

1/4 cup sliced almonds (substitute with any nuts of your choice, or leave out if you have allergies)

Method:
Preheat oven 350F and lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until well combined, then whisk in the mashed banana, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until just combined, making sure no streaks of flour remain. Stir in shredded coconut and almonds and pour batter out into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing

Baking ~ Savoury ~ Corn Bread

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Corn Bread with Potato Basil Soup and Egg Salad

Corn Bread with Potato Basil Soup and Egg Salad

So after a few years and many bags of unopened (and subsequently trashed) cornmeal, I am finally posting the corn bread I made for our dinner last evening. I tried my hand at it a few times, experimenting with a few recipes. I even made cornmeal muffins which was very similar to the corn bread. I found a real simple recipe that worked well for me. I used mint and green chillies to add some flavour. This is a versatile recipe and any herbs of choice can be used. I will be making this again with a splash of vegetables like chopped onion, green onions, red & yellow peppers, corn kernels etc. I also think adding some red chilli flakes, chopped black or green olives or even different herbs like oregano, rosemary etc will give it a nice flavour.

Easy Corn Bread

Easy Corn Bread

(Makes 4 moderate servings)

Used this recipe from Mark Bitman, omitting the sugar and using buttermilk instead of plain milk. The crumb was very light and made for a fluffy loaf of cornbread. (I halved the recipe)

3/4 cup cornmeal (I used a medium grind, pulsed in the food processor for a minute to make it smoother)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used regular chapati atta)

11/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

3/4 cup buttermilk (add a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to milk and let stand for 10 minutes)

2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves

1 green chilli, chopped fine

2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare a metal baking tin (I used a loaf pan) by greasing it with a bit of the oil. Place the tin in the oven to heat along with the oven.

In a mixing bowl, add the cornmeal, wheat flour, baking soda and powder, salt and mint and green chillies and mix well.

In a mixing jar, add the egg and the oil to the buttermilk and whisk it till everything is mixed through. Add this to the dry ingredients and gently mix until everything is wet with a few even strokes.

Pour the batter into the heated baking tin, bake for about 20-25 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before taking the loaf out of the tin and slicing.

Serve with a hearty soup or bean chilli. I served it with a hearty Potato Basil Soup and Egg Salad for dinner.

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