Brandy Snap Baskets for Mothers Day & a Contest

Mother’s hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their heart’s forever…

Happy Mothers day

Mother’s Day is being celebrated on May 10th  and that’s coming up soon.This year I plan to bake up a little surprise for my mum. It’s great that I’ve now moved to Mumbai,where she lives as well and what’s more really quite close to her. Well then nothing is more special than baking up a little something  to say “I love you Mom and thank you for being a wonderful Mother”. I’m planning to make  up these delightful and cute Brandy Snap Baskets for her. These are quite dainty and delicate and may need a bit of practice before you get them quite right. But oh so worth trying them out. I will be filling these up with some fresh strawberries and whipped cream and dusting them with some Cocoa. You could just about try anything else as an alternative. Perhaps some fruits and custard or even whipped Mascarpone cheese and fruits.

Happy Mother’s day Mom and wishing all my readers a wonderful one too.But before I sign off I’d also like  to announce a fun Mother’s day contest on this post.

 

 

contest mothers day

 

SecretIndianRecipe.Com has come up with a “Mother’s Day Recipe Contest” to commemorate this special day. Contest is easy to enter, simply visit the site, SecretIndianRecipe.com, create an account and share your recipe with one or two photos. The recipes will be reviewed and rated by our esteemed judges. You may stand chance to win a grand cash prize of Rs 5000/- plus bragging rights of being featured on the site.

About SecretIndianRecipe Founded in 2013 Secret Indian Recipe is a leading recipe sharing site and a social network for Indian home-cooks to showcase their skills and act as culinary ambassadors of their region. New Indian food bloggers use SecretIndianRecipe to promote their blogs and reach out to a larger global audience. The site prides in its large and growing home-cook community and reaches over 500,000 food lovers each month.

Participate In The Contest Here: http://secretindianrecipe.com/contest 

Brandy Snap Baskets

Ingredients:

  • 55 grams Butter
  • 55 grams Brown sugar
  • 55 grams Golden syrup
  • 50 grams Plain Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

For filling the Baskets:

  • Whipped cream and fresh-cut strawberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Line two baking trays with baking parchment then oil a thickish handle of a wooden spoon and lay it on a cooling rack.
  3. Gently heat  until the butter and ensure the sugar too has dissolved. This will take about 15 minutes over a low heat. Don’t let the mixture boil as it may crystallise. To check when the sugar has dissolved, stir occasionally, pulling the spoon across the bottom of the pan until you can no longer hear the gritty granules being scraped along and most of them have disappeared.
  4. Let this mixture cool a bit, about 2-3 minutes, then sieve in the flour and ginger. Pour in the lemon juice and stir well to mix thoroughly. Drop four teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto each of the prepared baking trays to make neat circles, about 4 inches apart.
  5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture is well spread out, looks lacey and is a dark golden colour.
  6. Once baked, you need to work quickly, so its easier if you bake one tray at a time. Remove each tray from the oven and leave for a minute or so to firm up slightly, then lift from the baking parchment using a thin spatula.
  7. The mixture needs to be just firm enough to remove, but pliable enough so as to shape it.
  8. Now lift the discs and drape over an up turned glass.
  9. Remove these when cooled.
  10. Fill with whipped cream and fresh-cut up strawberries.

Warm Beetroot & Feta Salad on Parmesan Crisps

 

Aaah, summer – that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It’s a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends…

Darell Hammond

 

Beetroot watermark

 

It’s been over five months having  moved to Mumbai. Time sure flies! Also we are facing the onslaught of a very hot Indian summer,something one had all forgotten about. Well yes we’ve lived in the Middle east for over 15 years,but some how never bore the brunt of it. I guess the luxury  of being in  air-conditioned comforts all the time made a huge difference. I find myself being outdoors a lot more here in Mumbai with either making quick runs to the fabulous fruit and vegetable markets in the neighbourhood, or a stroll on the beach or just walking from point to point.

Now while that’s fun in a way, it does get me all hot and sweaty and most often want to cook easy and light for dinner time. Then again it’s just the dear husband and me with the teen away at University. As such our meals have become much simpler affairs. I do of course have a wonderful Goan lady Rosy, who makes up some great fish curries and the most amazing Goan Chorizo curry. But some nights are just kept to a simple meals like a grilled fish or chicken and a salad.

I’d made this wonderful Beetroot and feta salad a couple of weeks ago and served it on a some Parmesan crackers which were baked up ahead. These turn out so good and are  great as an appetizer too. The crackers can be served with dips as well. They usually store well for a week at least. The salad has fuss free ingredients and has become a favorite with us. I’m thinking of adding some segments of oranges and perhaps some orange juice the next time I make this up.

Hope you are experimenting with some fun summer ideas in your kitchens!

Bon Appetite!

 

IMG_2737

 IMG_4349

IMG_4361

IMG_2732

Ingredients For Parmesan Crisps:

◾120 grams Parmesan cheese (grated)

 

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 175 C.

2.Place about 2 teaspoons of Parmesan cheese onto a silicone sheet or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and gently spread the cheese out into a circle about 2 inches in diameter. Spread more circles of cheese onto the baking sheet, keeping them at least 1 inch apart.

3.Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Remove from the oven, and let them cool.

Ingredients For Beetroot & Feta Salad:

◾2-3 medium Beetroot ( Boiled and chopped)

◾65 grams crumbled feta

◾Walnuts ( a handful roughly chopped)

◾2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Macadamia nut Oil

◾1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

◾dash of lemon juice

◾Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1.Mix the chopped beetroot & crumbled feta well.

2.Mix all the ingredients for the salad dressing and drizzle over the salad.

3.Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

4.Chill for 15-20 minutes and serve over the parmesan crackers

Gatte Ki Kadhi

 

Gatte watermark

It’s meatless Mondays and Thursdays too, during the week. While the dear husband prefers meat, he’s quite happy to settle for a vegetarian meal a couple of times. Here is a recipe for Gatte Ki Kadhi which is a Rajasthani delicacy. Quite easily a delicious gram flour dumpling in a yogurt based curry.

I’ve sampled this often at restaurants and at friends as well. The reason I quite mastered the art of making the gatte (dumplings) is, very recently I decided to make up some gnocchi from scratch, so in a sense they are quite similar. The gnocchi recipe will follow soon. In the mean while enjoy this wonderful curry which is great served with some white rice.

Ingredients:

For the Gattes
• 1/4 cup Besan (gram flour)
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
• 3 tablespoons yogurt
• 3 tablespoons oil
• A dash of baking soda

For the Kadhi:
1. 1 cup yogurt
2. 1 tablespoon besan ( gram flour)
3. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
4. 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
5. 1 tablespoon coriander powder
6. 1 teaspoon salt
7. 2 tablespoons oil
8. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
9. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
10. 1/8 teaspoon asafoetida
11. 4 whole red chilies
12. 1 bay leaf

Directions:

For Gattes:
1. Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and form a soft dough, adding a little water if needed. At this point the dough will be a bit sticky; wetting your fingers with oil will prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers.
2. Divide the dough into four portions. Roll each potion into a smooth log approx. five” in length and ¾” in diameter.
3. Boil three cups of water. Gently drop the gatte logs into the boiling water and cook four to five minutes, or until they begin to float up to the surface.
4. Remove the cooked Gatte logs from the water and let them cool.
5. Slice the logs into approx. ¾ inch pieces. Set the Gatte aside.

For The Kadhi:
1. Mix yogurt and gram flour into a smooth paste. Add turmeric, chili powder, and coriander powder to the yogurt paste.
2. Heat some oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and asafoetida.
3. When the seeds  begin to crackle add the whole red chilies and bay leaf .Stir for a few seconds.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the yogurt mixture and stir for a few minutes. Add three cups of water and stir until the gravy comes to a boil. Add salt to taste.
5. Add the gatte to the gravy. Cover and cook over low-to-medium heat for 20 minutes or longer. Turn off the heat.
6. Garnish with chopped coriander.

Quinoa Poha-A twist on Traditions

 

Quinoa poha watermark

Lets face it we all get stuck for healthy breakfast ideas at some point or the other. Now, while I enjoy a light one most often, consisting of fruits, Oats and perhaps an occasional smoothie, I must admit I do like to indulge in a traditional breakfast a couple of times a week.

I’ve recreated a twist in the traditional poha breakfast by using some wonderful Quinoa instead. Poha is a wholesome breakfast made in most homes in India.It’s quite easy to make up and most often has a mix of spices like cumin, turmeric and mustard seeds used for flavoring. Along with chopped onions,peas and of course chopped coriander for the garnish.

So what is Poha?

Poha is  Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is a unhusked rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. These flakes of rice swell when added to liquid, whether hot or cold, as they absorb water, milk or any other liquids. The thicknesses of these flakes vary between almost translucent thin to nearly four times thicker than a normal rice grain.

Here is a twist on the regular use of flattened rice.I’ve used some cooked Quinoa instead along with the usual ingredients that Poha is usually made of. I have used this healthy ,power packed protein in a number of salads and appetizers, but never really along with Indian spices. I was hoping the end result would turn out good. And it did! It  turned out really delicious and I do hope you will experiment with Quinoa just as I did.

To learn more about Quinoa and the perfect way of cooking it you may like to visit my post at :wp.me/p2eASG-8G

 

For cooking the Quinoa use 1 measure of Quinoa to 2 measures of water and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and cover with a lid and let it cook till all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and spread in a plate to cool.

To make the Poha:

Ingredients:

1 onion
Handful of curry leaves
1 -2 green chilies cut
Chopped coriander leaves
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 Medium Potato (Boiled and cubed)
Salt to taste
Crushed peanuts and grated coconut to garnish.
Method:

  1. Heat some oil in a pan.
  2. Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  3. Add  the onions and fry till transparent. Add green chilies.
  4.  Next add turmeric and fry for a minute. Now add the boiled green peas.
  5.  Add the cooked Quinoa and stir lightly.
  6.  Garnish with chopped coriander and grated coconut
  7.  Sprinkle crushed peanuts.
  8. Serve hot.
  9. Squeeze some lemon juice if desired.

The Farmer’s Market at Jean Talon Montreal and a Recipe

IMG_2164

 

Greetings from Mumbai!

We have moved yet once again and while it was a tearful and emotional experience in bidding adieu to Dubai for a second time,it was truly an exhilarating feeling to be reunited with family and friends in Mumbai.With numerous blog posts at different stages of completion being tucked away as drafts,I just had to complete this one.Albeit a little late as it relates to our wonderful trip to Montreal last summer.

The  summer holidays last year were driven by the fact that my teen choose to pursue university at Mcgill in Montreal.Having lived in Canada for 7 years we had of course visited Montreal on a couple of occasions.Most often with friends and hence landed up doing the usual rituals of visits to Old Montreal (which is spectacular and a must see),bar hoping in the English side,walks around the city which is a great way to discover Montreal,partake in Gastronomy which incidentally is “tres mangnificent ( a seperate post to follow on “What I indulged in Montreal”) and of course road trips to Qubec city, Mont Tremblant which are breathtaking.

It is any wonder that we may have left out the  simple pleasures of enjoying this beautiful city.For instance like a day at  the Farmers markets.Well the first week just flew by in settling him into his residence,with several trips to Target,Ikea and The Bay we got him all sorted out with linen, winter wear and all the essentials.”I’m moving out he declared,” as he had plans,what with Frosh week activities and orientation etc.Well then it was the hubs and me left to our own devices.It was a welcome change the second week around as we had done most of the touristy stuff in our previous visits.Having done my homework well  I had read up quite a bit about two very popular farmers markets in Montreal.Jean talon and Atwater being much talked about.

As luck would have it ,the market at Jean Talon was just a ten minute ride on the tube from our hotel.Well then one morning we headed just that way and oh what a day it turned out to be! The Jean-Talon Markets are  located in the Little Italy neighborhood of Montreal. In addition to the glorious array of fruit, vegetables and flower stalls are  a tasty array of specialty shops that feature spices, oils, cheeses, meats, pastries and exquisite products that are specific to Québec. It is one of the largest public markets in North America and its atmosphere is lively in both summer and winter. It’s like a little village, a place where families have gathered and generations have grown, merchants and customers alike.

page

As we started our self planned “culinary tour” around this market place,it was certainly difficult to stay focused on just one vendor at a time.The foodie in me wanted to sample,indulge and buy a bit of everything,almost like a kid let loose in a candy store!Well that’s what we pretty much did.All though this post is more about the produce available and what I took back to the hotel with me.I would love to sit back another day and write  about the delightful food our taste buds sampled!

vegs 2

The Jean-Talon market is the Mecca of all things delicious in Montreal. Chefs, foodies and amateur gourmets flock to this culinary Disneyland to satisfy all their food needs.From fishmongers, butchers, local cheese artisans, Quebec farmers and foragers, duck, turkey and quail eggs, flowers and fresh herbs as well as more exotic fare.Eating your way through the market as you shop is like taking a delicious trip around the world without ever leaving the city. Sure, you can go for the ordinary ham and cheese sandwich but you can also try one (or all!) of these delicious must-have morsels that will definitely make your visit even more memorable.

Meats 3

And while I could probably spend the rest of my holiday touring Jean talon alone,I decided that it would be great to take some stuff back to the hotel apartment.It would be great to cook up some breakfast the next morning for my teen who would probably join in too.Well I did manage to pick up some fresh raspberries,lovely courgettes,some white truffle oil,balsamic vinegar,an assortment of unusual macrons from Croquez and what really caught my eye were these gorgeous Zucchini blossoms! I’ve read several recipes that call for Stuffed fritters.

IMG_2178

IMG_2203

Of course as soon as we got back to the hotel and I was itching to try out something from my loot for the day.I excitedly called up my teen and asked him to join us for dinner that evening.And that’s what we all had for dinner: A quick stir fry with grilled chicken strips,sauteed along with some chopped up Zucchini blossoms drizzled with some gorgeous white truffle oil.For the side we had baby red potatoes with garlic and oregano and some pan grilled parma ham.

Just about the perfect dinner that I rustled up with my shopping at Jean Talon.Oh what a glorious day indeed.

IMG_2221

Ingredients:

  • Grilled chicken breast meat (2-3 breasts chopped up)
  • Zucchini Blossoms (2-3)
  • Olive oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic: 1 pod roughly chopped
  • White truffle Oil: To drizzle (optional)
  • Sea salt and pepper to season

Directions:

  1. Heat a small pan and add the olive oil.
  2. Add the chopped garlic and saute for a minute
  3. Now add in the chopped Zucchini and the blossoms and give it a quick stir.
  4. Add in the chopped grilled chicken breasts.Saute further for a minute.
  5. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  6. Drizzle with white truffle oil

Served with warm pan roasted baby red potatoes and parma ham.

Tres Bien!