Thursday, May 21, 2015

Summertime Focaccia – A touch of Italy

I love baking breads. It's something I learnt long ago, and cherish. It's been a while since I actually baked a thing or two and this was a perfect time to experiment with something not only delicious to eat but gorgeous to look at! Yup, I made Focaccia and trust me, once you make it - you will want to make it again and again! It's easy, super-versatile and absolutely lip-smacking! Let's get crackin'...



Ingredients:
  • 250 grams fine wheat flour (maida)
  • Dry yeast
  • Olive Oil (5-6 table spoons for throughout the recipe)
  • Toppings: Cherry Tomato, Garlic, Basil, Sliced Olives and Oregano.
  • Salt to taste and Water to make dough.


Recipe:
  • Make your dough by simply sifting flour and adding salt. Then add proofed yeast (put 2 tea-spoons of yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and add 1 tea-spoon of sugar and set aside for 10 mins till foamy); and water till you get a wet / bread-like dough.
  • Knead well for 10 minutes and cover with some olive oil and let the dough proof in a damp place for 45-odd minutes or until double in size.
  • Take a baking tray and rub with Olive oil. Sprinkle some semolina (rava) and then transfer the dough; gently spreading it across the tray.
  • Drizzle some olive oil and gently massage dough with fingers, making small wells. This is what gives Focaccia it's unique texture and feel. Let the dough proof for 15-20 minutes until there's a gentle rise back again.
  • Now is the time to go insane with toppings. In my case, I use Sliced Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic slices, Basil, Olives, Oregano and a touch of flaky sea-salt. Perfect.
  • Bake in the over at 200 degrees Celsius for 18-20 minutes until your Focaccia is golden-brown on top. Remove from oven once done and immediately give it a generous brush or drizze of good old Olive oil!
  • Slice it gently, and enjoy warm or even better, cold! Buon Appetit!
Tip: Try some unique combos for your Focaccia and feel free to experiment as you like and love. I hear Potato + Rosemary; Onion + Garlic + Red Chilly are some of the terrific combos.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Baked Yogurt Royale – Soul Food!

Last week when I went to The Bombay Canteen with my better half, we ended our meal with Apricot flavoured Baked Yogurt. Boy, what a fitting end to an incredible meal. I have had baked yogurt many-a-times, but this one was special. It was not overly sweet, neither was it pretentious. I made up my mind to make it and here is what we've got! What's amazing is that this is actually a pretty awesome dessert, which barely requires any prep-work! Hear me out:


Ingredients (serves 2):
  • Hung yogurt - 1 cups.
  • Condensed milk (Milk maid / Mithai mate): 4 tablespoons.
  • Cardamom powder - 1 gram / 1 pinch.
  • Pistachios - Whole or slivered, to garnish.
 Recipe:
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together yogurt, condensed milk, cardamom powder and add it to bake-proof bowls or ramekins.
  • Put in a baking tray 1/2 filled with water and bake it in a pre-heated over for 20 minutes, over 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Once done, let these cool down. Refrigerate them for 2 hours.
  • Garnish with Pistachios (or any fresh fruit or nuts) and enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Gorgeous Summertime Popsicles!



When summer comes calling, we all look to cool down with so many things - Ice Creams, Golas, Lollies and what not! Especially kids, who love everyone so flavourful and colourful. That being said, it's often repeatedly told how bad the food colouring and flavouring is, which goes into these products. Well, fear not - we have a solution now! Make these completely natural popsicles which are sure to win everyone's heart and tastebuds!


Ingredients:
  • 4-5 Tablespoons of Home-made Rose Syrup (or Rooh Afza!)
  • 1 Juice of lemon
  • 2 Spoons of Chia / Sabja seeds pre-soaked in water

Recipe:
  • Make a good 500ml of Sherbert with Rose Syrup, Lemon juice, Jellied Chia Seeds and Water.
  • Use a good quality popsicle maker, and fill it with the sherbert, making sure the chia-seeds get equally portioned. Add a slice of lemon (optional) or some fresh chopped fruit (strawberries or kiwi work exceptionally well!)
  • Seal with lids or wooden sticks (depending upon you popsicle maker) and freeze these for a good 6-7 hours till set.
  • Once set, gently slide them out of the moulds and enjoy!
Tip: You can make popsicles with fruit juices, yogurt shakes and milkshakes - get creative with your recipe and you'll never want the outside stuff again!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Beetroot Cupcakes!

 

Who doesn't love cupcakes? They're perfect little treats for anytime! The other day, I saw a recipe for a Red Velvet Cupcake which required using a shocking amount of food-colouring and things I would normally not consume myself. I immediately decided to come up with a recipe using natural beet-root juice as a colouring agent and no eggs. It worked! It worked marvelously well!



Ingredients:
  • 1 cups fine wheat flour (maida)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (room temperature)
  • 200 grams condensed milk (milk maid or mithai mate)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup beetroot juice (for colouring and binding) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of good-quality vanilla extract
  • 1 tea-spoon of baking powder

Recipe:
  • Sift all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, except for baking powder, and set aside.
  • Using a hand-beater, whisk together butter, condensed milk, beetroot juice, buttermilk together till the mixture is nice and red. Adjust quantity of buttermilk to make sure the batter doesn't turn too thick or thin.
  • Gradually introduce dry ingredient mixture to wet and continue whisking until you have smooth cake batter.
  • The last step is to add the raising agent, in our case the baking powder and whisk for good 2-3 minutes.
  • Once done, immediately line the cup-cake tray with paper cups and pour the batter till the 3/4th.
  • Bake in a pre-heated 180 degree celsius over for about 20 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  • And, viola! There you have them - delicious Beetroot Cupcakes! 
  • Decorate them with whatever you like - Freshly whipped cream, Cream cheese, Jam, Sprinkles or even Frozen Yogurt!
Enjoy!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Uramaki Sushi Roll

Uramakizushi rolls are Sushi rolls where the rice is out, and nori with filling is on the inside. It's often called as outside-in Sushi roll and is very popular, mostly in the US. Making it is very simple and exactly same as making the Sushi Rolls, except this time, we put the rice on the 1/2 sized nori (and sesame on top of it, ofcourse) and flip it. Then the fillings go on nori and everything gets rolled up pretty much same way!

Uramaki Sushi - It looks beautiful and you can actually play more with appetizing colours!
I made mine with lot of peppers, cucumbers, carrots, avocado and a drizzle of cream cheese. In my opinion, a roll like this is better suited if you're using mostly veggies and no tempura / tofu as they need the rice around them to stick up better.

Definitely looks prettier, doesn't it?
Again, Sushi can be only as imaginative as you are - so feel free to mix and match with some wildest combinations and always prepared to be delighted!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Making Sushi, My Way!

Simple, Elegant and Very Comforting - Sushi is a canvas for creativity!
Sushi is definitely one of my top 10 favourite things to eat. Till now, I was widely fascinated by it's presentation, flavours and simplicity. I mean, it's all Rice, Nori and Veggies and one could really play so much by ingredients / colours and flavours. There's so much fuss about Sushi rice (cook it this way, do this, do that!) and Rolling it that I honestly kept myself away from making it for a long long time. Something inside me told me to break out of my comfort zone and try it - and turns out, this is probably one of the easiest, non-fussy foods you can make!!


Seriously, if you can make Tea - you can make Sushi! I got it right the first time - no practice, no fuss! I highly recommend everyone (who loves Sushi) to go ahead and make it - it's fun, super-cheap to do it at your home and you can always customise it just the way YOU want! Do check my 1st rolling attempt in video below!



Ingredients:
  • Nori (or Yaki Nori - which is roasted seaweed sheet)
  • Sushi Rice (or any short-grain rice)
  • Assorted Vegetables cut into strips - Cucumbers, Carrots, Peppers, Avocado, Chilly (I used fiery hot red ones!)
  • Cream Cheese - optional, but highly recommended
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Accompaniments: Wasabi Paste, Pickled Ginger (Fresh Ginger + Lime juice marinated for 30 mins), Dark Soy Sauce.

Recipe:
  • Cooking Sushi rice is very easy. All you need to do is cook rice normally, and then once cooked add seasoned rice vinegar (3-4 table spoons of vinegar + 1tsp sugar + 1/2tsp salt) and mix gently into the rice, while folding it. Allow the rice to cool down by spreading it on a flat surface and then keep in a bowl with wet towel on it to ensure rice is not dry.
  • Assembling Sushi is very simple - simply lay down the Nori (shiny side down and rough side facing you) on a Sushi rolling mat, and spread rice on Nori (about 1/2 cup of rice is enough). Ensure an even spread of rice which is not too much. Sprinkle Sesame Seeds and then layer your favourite vegetables on it. Try to be very colourful and innovative here. I even added some cream cheese to it to make it decadent. The Indian in me couldn't help but add beautiful strips of Benares-red-chilly! In the end, all the flavours really came together very well and tasted incredible!
  • Roll the Sushi and then gently cut it using a sharp knife, while cleaning knife after every cut to ensure smooth and even cuts.
  • Serve with Soy, Pickled Ginger and Wasabi - itadakimasu!
Ps: This is a jain recipe! You're welcome!