Friday, 1 September 2017

Beetroot Halwa

The summer this year was glorious,we are back into action after almost 2 months of summer holidays.Living in a hilly area, we get to experience both the extremes,real hot summers and very cold winters.The plants in my balcony love the hot summers and they are a sight to see with their beautiful colours.Here are some of them ...



But the sunflowers really stole the show.I could sit back and watch them preening in their beauty the whole day.There was this poem that I learnt as a kid in school,I remember the opening lines of it..
'Love came to Flora asking for a flower 
That would of flowers be undisputed queen'
The poem is about how the Lily and the Rose think that they are the Queen of flowers,but Flora decides that the Lotus is the Queen of flowers.Though I would rather called Sunflower the queen of Flowers :)



I'm not much of a flower person,but to have a little garden patch with my own vegetables and flowers is definitely on my bucket list !!
So here's a recipe for an equally colourful and beautiful dish.It's very much similar to it's counterpart Carrot Halwa !


You'll Need:
Beetroots (cleaned,scraped and grated) - 4 cups
Boiled Whole Milk - 3 cups
Raisins - 3 tbsp
Cashew nuts - 1 tbsp
Almond slivered - 2 tbsp
Chenna/Paneer/ricotta/Fresh Cheese(crumbled or pulsed in mixer) - 1 cup
Ghee - 4-5 tbsp
Sugar - 1 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp



 Method:
-In a a wide mouthed non-stick or thick bottomed pan add the ghee,when it heats up add the raisins, cashew nuts and Almonds.Saute until the nuts are slightly browned and the raisins puff up.
-Add the grated Beetroot and saute for 5 - 6 minutes until it's all coated with ghee.
-Add the Milk and mix well.Reduce the flame to medium and let it cook until all the milk evaporates.Keep stirring in between else it tends to stick to the bottom of the vessel.
-Now add the sugar & mix it well.Let it cook until the mixture gets dry.Keep stirring it often.
-Once the mixture appears dry keep stirring it until it turns bright and shiny. This can take around 10 -12 minutes.The mixture will start leaving the sides of the vessel and will clump into a ball.
-Now add the Chenna/Paneer/Cheese and sprinkle the cardamom powder.Stir until the Cheese is well mixed around 5 minutes.Done !


Thanks for stopping by ! Have a colourful day !

Monday, 17 July 2017

Baked French Fries - Baked Pommes

I grew up in the heart of Chennai,where every corner had a crowded place where the vendors sold their hot samosas,different type of vadas and bhajjis in their push carts.The smell of those hot samosas were as much as a part of my childhood ,as the salty smell of Marina's sea Breeze .In my later years in Bangalore ,my favourite street food was almost always boiled or grilled corn on the cob.
Here in Germany,street food or fast food(Imbiss) is mostly Pommes Frites(French Fries) and various types of Wurst(Sausage) dishes.There are quite a few Turkish Döner & Pizza Shops and Chinese places,but typical German food can be found only during Carnivals,Markets and fests,when the streets are lined with Stalls offering other dishes like Reibekuchen(potato pancakes),Fish shops,Schnitzels,Grilled stuff and other local specialities. Bakeries however are quite popular and found at every corner.They are mostly crowded and offer a wide range of stuff from their Brötchens & Breads to cakes & cookies.But if you find a long queue at some place you can be pretty sure that it's for Pommes. It sure makes a pretty fuss free and filling snack or meal.My kids love it with Ketchup and can have it every day without ever getting bored.I make this baked version of Pommes as it's definitely a lot healthier and tastes as yum as the fried ones.I pretty much bake everything,we very rarely fry things.I'll have to blame my Dad for that,though we were surrounded by street food vendors,he hardly let us eat any of those fried goods.And on those rare occasions when he did get us anything from the vendors,he would never let us eat them before he had pressed them between paper towels to get the extra oil out of them :)So if you are not a big fan of fried stuff,this is a real yummy snack.You just need to find potatoes big enough to cut them into thin fingers and then chop them neatly like Chefs in cook shows.Though the only thing I successfully cut when I try to quickly chop like the Chefs are my poor fingers :)
You can add any flavouring of your choice to spice up the dish.So here's another quickie !



You'll Need:
Potatoes - 2 Bit ones(Washed & Peeled)
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Salt ,Pepper and spices as needed.


Method:
-Chop the potatoes into Thin fingers.
-Boil a large vessel with water,add salt and a few drops of oil to the boiling water.
-Add the chopped Potatoes to the water and let it cook for 2 mins ,remove them immediately and drain the water.
-Add salt,olive oil and pepper to the potatoes and mix well.
-Heat the oven to 220° C/ and line a baking tray with  a baking paper.Spread the potatoes on them,make sure that they are spread evenly and don't lie on top of each other.
-Bake for 20 - 30 mins,until they are crisp.
-Serve with Ketchup or Mayonnaise.
-You can add different spices like, Chilli powder,Garlic,Curry masala powder to the potatoes before  or after baking them for a more flavourful dish!


Thanks a lot for Stopping by ! Have a nice day !

Tricolour Ice pops

Right from the day I spotted a multi colour Ice pop in the shops,I wanted to try out something similar at home.So one day when I made a Galia Melon-Strawberry-Orange smoothie,I made these pops too.I still don't understand why kids get all excited about a colourful Ice pop,but shun the smoothies made with the same ingredients :)This is such a simple dish that I was sceptical about posting it.I wasn't sure if it qualified for a blog post,but the picture looked so colourful and cute that I decided to go ahead and post it.So the next time you decide to make a colourful smoothie,make sure to save some for these pops:)


Makes 4 Ice pops
You'll Need:
Galia Melon - 1/2 cup (Pureed)
Strawberry Puree - 1/2 cup
Orange Juice- Squeezed from 1 orange
Sugar as needed

Method:
-Add sugar to each of the fruit purees/juices as per taste and mix well.
-Fill each of the mould with the Galia melon puree until they fill 1/3rd of the mould.Let if freeze for 40 minutes,take it out and insert the ice cream stick or wooden skewer in each of the mould.Let if further freeze for an hour.
-Take it out and fill each mould with the strawberry puree so that it fills 2/3rd of each mould.Return to the freezer and let it freeze for an hour or two.
-Take it out again and fill the remaining 1/3rd of all the moulds with the orange juice .Return to the freezer and freeze for 2 to 3 hours.
-To serve run or place the mould in hot water and loosen the sides with a sharp knife and remove it from the mould.


Thanks for Stopping by !Have a wonderful day !

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Honey Melon Popsicle(Quickie)

We had one week of heat wave here with the temperatures soaring to almost 38°C,one of the hottest summers I have endured here .The schools even decided to let the children go early, and as always ,Ironically, it started raining and the weather became cool.I still remember how we would wait for the schools to decide to declare a holiday on rainy days.We would paddle in our rubber shoes in the rain water ,with our polished white school shoes safely wrapped in our back pack on all the rainy days.And exactly on the day when the weather forecast people would predict bad rains and the schools decide to declare a holiday ,would the sun shine brightly.It's kind of like nature laughing at our Weather Prediction skills :)


I find the summer here hotter than in Chennai,where the sea breeze makes it a little pleasant.
Well we decided to cool off with these Pops.They make great smoothies actually,I love to drink them while my little ones love the pops.


You'll Need:
Honey Dew Melon -  1/2 a big one
Orange Juice or Lemon Juice - 50 - 75 ml
Quark/Greek Yogurt/Full Fat Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 tbsp or more (if needed)

Method:
-Add all the ingredients to a Blender and pulse for a few seconds.Add sugar and blend again if needed.
-Pour in the Popsicle mould and freeze for at least 4 hours.After the first one hour of freezing,stick the ice-cream stick in the middle of each mould.


Thanks for stopping by ! Have a cool day !

Mango Condensed Milk Ice pops - Quickie

This is yet another simple and super yummy Ice Pops,it tastes very similar to mango Kulfi.
Condensed milk is really a wonderful ingredient,you have it at hand and you can make so many delicious desserts in no time.I love this recipe mainly because it doesn't turn very hard like the other Pops and melts in your mouth in no time.I couldn't get a proper click, with one kid trying to eat it before I could click and the scorching heat melting it.My kids somehow believe that anything I click is more delicious than the similar thing that they hold in their hands.Taking a picture when they are around is like participating in Takeshi's castle(Hindi dubbed version),where I have to  simultaneously make sure that one of my kids doesn't run away with the food and the next one doesn't knock everything down in her attempt to make it look better or wanting to pose ,the camera refusing to respond to different modes and the sun(you too Brutus!) hiding behind the clouds :)So off to the pops which calls for very few ingredients and can be whipped up quickly !

Makes about 8 - 10
You'll Need:
Mango pulp - 200 g (from 2 mangoes)
Condensed milk (Sweetened) - 1/2 a tin - 200 g
Heavy cream - 200 ml - about 3/4th a cup
Sugar - if needed

Method:
-Add all the ingredients to a Blender and pulse for a few seconds.Add sugar and blend again if needed.
-Pour in the Popsicle mould and freeze for at least 4 hours.After the first one hour of freezing,stick the ice-cream stick in the middle of each mould.
-If you want to make an ice-cream out of the mixture.Pour it into a large bowl and let it freeze.Take it out after one hour of freezing and beat it well with a fork to break the ice crystals,and return to the freeze.Do this repeatedly 3 -4 times in intervals of 1 hour.



Thanks for Stopping by ! Have fun !

Friday, 23 June 2017

Pav Bhaji

Some relationships and things remain the same no matter where you are,irrespective of culture,language and traditional practices.On a lighter note,like how you scare kids by telling them that the Police are on their way or how every kid from every generation will always open a cream biscuit and lick the cream from inside,before eating it :).Coming to relationships ,some of them are mostly tricky,like the ones with your in-laws(did u know a funny anagram of the word Mother-in-law - you'll find it at the end of this post:)), or like the one that I'm going to ramble about,the relationship between a Tenant and the Landlord. Due to its proximity to my School we stayed in a Rented house for a real long time,so I have my fair share of experience with dealing with Landlords.I see extremes when it comes to Landlords.mostly there are the nosy types who can get on your nerves,with their overbearing nature,their surprise visits to make sure that you're taking good care of their house or their unsolicited advice on everything pertaining to the house.On the other hand there are people who treat you almost like family just because you stay in their house.I kind of understand the behaviour of the nosy Landlords,especially when they have to rent out their houses to families with kids.It's very similar to the in-law problem,they just can't easily part with their house/kid and strongly believe that only they know what's good for their house or kid .We stayed for almost 10 years in Germany in an apartment where the landlords stayed on the floor just beneath us.They were an elderly couple who lived alone and my landlady was one of the most wonderful person I've ever met. I've never seen her frown at anything, despite both my kids being owls who kept running around even after midnight.She remembered all our birthdays and always made it a point to leave a thoughtful present at our doorstep.There was always something at our doorstep on every occasion,be it Christmas,Easter,Saint Nicholas day or  my daughter's first day at school.She was our Santa.She was the one who used to give me a pat on my back and asked me to Hang-on,during the days when I used to walk around like a zombie, tired and sleepless after taking care of my little ones .I still remember one particular incident.My Landlady was a very industrious person,she was 64 years old,close to retirement from a good job,her garden was well maintained and the whole building was always spic-and-span.She had a nice collection of paintings which she had hung all around her house and the stair case walls.One day when the kids & I were as usual late for school and we were hurrying, I somehow managed to knock a painting down and shatter it's glass frame and damage the painting.I was really scared to tell her that I had damaged the painting,I still remembered how my mother used to hesitate before knocking on our landlord's house when we children had broken something or how she used to dread her visits to our house.But I had to set an example to my children about doing the right thing,so I hesitantly knocked on the door to apologise.She opened it with her usual smile and I hardly let her speak and started with my Sorry and Excuses for damaging her painting.She listened to me as always ,her expression didn't change a bit, she just said:
'Reni ,nicht schlimm ,Das Schlimmste ist den Krieg'
(Not bad at all,the worst thing that can happen is war)
That was all that happened of that incident.The next week she had replaced the painting and never mentioned it ever again.I still remember her wise words.Guess she's one of those people ,thanks to whom we still believe in humanity and the goodness in people.We moved away from her house before sometime.She almost cried when we told her that we were leaving.We have so many fond and beautiful memories of the house which will stay with us forever.Have you ever noticed how our surroundings,like our home,the people we meet everyday and the memories almost become like a part of us and stays with us.Sometimes I just pray that I remain lucky and meet more beautiful souls !
Coming to the recipe,as you would've guessed,I was supposed to post this along with my previous two posts :) This is one of my favourite dishes,it can be whipped up very quickly and has some many veggies in it.We eat it with just some white Bread toasted in Ghee on days when I don't have Pav Buns around. In fact it even pairs up well with Dosa or Chapati.So off to the recipe !!


Recipe adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor
Serves 4 - 6
You'll Need:
Potato -  2 Large (Boiled,peeled,grated or mashed)
Tomato - 2 Big (finely chopped)
Onion - 2 (finely chopped)
Capsicum - 1 (finely chopped)
Green Peas - 3 - 4 tbsp ( boiled)
Cauliflower - 3 big florets (grated)
Green Chillies - 1 - 2 (finely chopped)
Ginger Garlic paste - 2 - 3 tsp
salt to taste
Oil/Butter/Ghee - 1 -2 tbsp
Butter - 1 Tbsp
Coriander leaves - 1 Tbsp (finely chopped)



Method:
-Heat the oil in the pan ,when it heats up add the Onion (save a little for garnishing in the end)and a pinch of salt and saute until it turns translucent. Then add the green chilli and ginger garlic paste and saute for 2-3 minutes.
-Add 3/4 th of the chopped tomatoes and saute until it turns soft.Add a little water if needed and cover and cook on the low flame until the mixture starts oozing out oil.
-Then add the vegetables and about a cup of water,check for salt and add the required amount.Simmer for around 10 minutes.Then mash all the vegetables with the back of the spoon until all of them are well mashed.
-Add the Pav bhaji masala powder and mix well.Add the tomatoes and let the mixture cook on medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes.Take it off the stove.
To serve:
-Toast the Pav buns(split into two) with butter.
-To the bhaji add the Coriander leaves,the saved onion slices,the butter and squeeze a bit of the lemon.

 .

And if you are still looking for that funny Anagram of the word Mother-in-law it is Woman Hitler :p
Thanks for Stopping by ! Have a lovely day !

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Eggless Pav Buns - Eggless Dinner rolls

I would probably call baking the magical part of Cooking.I still remember how I wished to bake a cake even before I got into serious cooking.It fills you with a kind of child like pleasure to mix all the carefully measured ingredients and watch it turn into a beautiful cake,which you could further decorate and beautify. I've never tried to understand the chemistry behind it,though professional bakers would know how the moisture,temperature and alkalinity of the ingredients play a beautiful role in making a delectable baked good.Off late I'm into what I'll call the 'yeast craze' in other words I've started baking buns and breads.It's seriously wonderful to watch the dough puff up and then knock the air out of it and knead and shape to bake into lovely breads and buns,a child would call it magic.I feel that as we grow older we stop noticing the magic around us,it's everywhere in the flowers that suddenly pop up after months of cold winter, in the clouds that form lovely shapes as they move ,everywhere around us in nature.But as we get older ,responsibilities and tough times,kind of takes the magic out of life.Sometimes when I look into the mirror,I wonder what happened to the younger careless person who used to look back.Life hasn't taken the optimism out of me,but it's definitely made me more realistic.The other day I was walking around with my daughter on a nice warm day ,when we passed along this house with a huge garden and a tree house,swing and everything that a  kid would wish for.My daughter looked at it and told me
                   'Mummy,how I wished we had it'.
I,being the boring mother who wouldn't miss the chance to teach my child about life and values,promptly started lecturing her with 
             'There will always be people with things better than us,we should learn to be happy with what we have as every little thing that we have is a blessing'
And then the righteous mature realist in me woke up and I added
              'Moreover we don't have that kind of money'
She looked at me for a moment and said enthusiastically 
'Mummy but we don't money,we only need a magic wand'
It was then that it hit me,that no amount of reading Harry potter books was going to save me,I was getting old :).I guess to stay happy ,it's very important to keep the child in you alive and your soul young.I know that that's more easier said than done,when your running around the whole day with kids to take care of,keeping a house,work and combating weight gain,hair loss and every other problem that seems to pop up with each passing year,the last thing you think about is magic(and clouds):)But guess all of us have to make time for something which we find magical.Baking is my way of keeping the magic alive,I bake a lot although I hardly post any of it,cause we end up eating most of the stuff when it's hot out of the oven :)So off to the recipe....         


Makes about 10 - 12
You'll need:
All purpose Flour - 250 g
Milk - 200 ml
Yeast - 2 tsp - 4 gm
Sugar - 1 Tbsp
Butter - 4 Tbsp
salt - 1 tsp
Some butter,oil and milk to brush


Method:
-Warm the milk,make sure it's lukewarm and not hot,add the yeast and sugar and mix well.Let it sit for 10 - 15 minutes.After 15 minutes the mixture should be frothy.If not please make a new mixture,as fresh or good yeast would froth.
-Add the Flour,salt and mix well.Add the frothy yeast mixture and knead with your hand,or with a dough hook on your beater .knead until the mixture starts coming together.It will be sticky.
-Now add the butter and further knead for a few minutes.
-Now dust your hands with flour and knead the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes,it will a bit sticky,but knead without adding any extra flour.
-Then keep it in a big bowl and cover with a damp cloth or Plastic foil and let it rise in a warm place until it is double it's size.
-Now take it out punch and knead again for a few minutes,adding very little flour if needed.Divide the dough into 12- 14 pieces and shape it into small balls and arrange them on a greased/lined with baking paper.Place them about 2- 3 cm apart,pretty close.Cover them with a damp cloth and let them again rise in a warm place for an hour.For Hamburger buns you can round them and place them a little more apart,like the ones in my picture.
-Preheat the oven for 10 minutes at 200° C.Carefully remove the damp cloth since it tends to stick.Brush with a little milk and bake for 15 minutes at 200°C.
-Then take them out,brush them with a little butter and let them cool.

Note:If you stay in a cool place,to let the dough rise:
-you can keep them near the heater (or)
-Preheat the oven at the lowest temperature for a few minutes,then switch it off and only switch on the oven light and let the dough rise inside the oven.


Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice time Baking!
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