Friday, March 21, 2014

Hasselback Potato - Fit for a King!

Potatoes; I love them. They're versatile, full of flavour and just satisfying in any which way you make them. I've been waiting long enough to try my hand at Hasselback Potato since I first saw them on a food blog. Hasselback Potatoes are all about turning a humble potato into a gourmet delight and a visual treat, and how!
Finally a dish which gives full justice to the humble Potato! Crispy outside, Creamy inside - Y.U.M!!
Ingredients (for 1):
  • 1 Large Potato - Preferably firm
  • 1 Clove of Garlic - Sliced into slivers
  • Few Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary - partly chopped and partly whole
  • Olive Oil
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese (any cheese will do, though)
  • Salt & Black Pepper to Season
  • Optional: A little dollop of sour cream!
Herby, Cheesy, Creamy and Crispy. This is how we rock and roll!
  • Wash the Potato thoroughly and dry it. Place between 2 chopsticks horizontally and begin making cuts at about 3-4mm distance. Make sure NOT to cut all the way down (thats why the chopsticks).
  • Once done, dip the potato in ice cold water for 3-4 minutes. This should help to release a lot of starch and open up the potato. Run your hand across the potato 2-3 times to speed up this process. Once done, get the potato out and leave it on dry surface for a moment - this will get rid of most of the water.
  • Insert a Garlic sliver between each slice as deep as possible, but be careful not to break the potato. Be gentle. Enjoy the process!
  • Transfer the potato to a baking dish which has been lined with foil. Gently coat the potato from all sides with quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Ensure that there is a decent amount of oil brushed on top so that the slices get a good share of oil.
  • Sprinkle Salt, Pepper and Minced Rosemary across. Add a few sprigs of Rosemary around the Potato so that it absorbs maximum flavour while it bakes. Top it up with cheese (not too much).
  • We're ready to bake. Add the baking dish in a pre-heated 200 Degree oven for 25-30 minutes (or maybe a little more) until you have absolutely crisp edges on potato and gorgeous browning all over.
  • Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and chives on top! Enjoy each bite of the perfect medley of potato, garlic & rosemary!
Tip: Most people recommend using copious amounts of Butter with this recipe but I avoided it totally. It's much healthier and mellow with Olive Oil. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby Ubtan Powder - For your special little ones!

Being a mom is a delight! And a challenge too. Like every mom, I wanted nothing but the best in everything for my precious little one.
One of the most important aspects of a healthy toddler's daily routine is their oil massage and the shower following that. I highly recommend that you use the best quality seeds' cold-pressed, non perfumed natural oils for best results. Try Olive Oil, Almond Oil, Coconut Oil or Sesame Oil. Ayurveda suggests that one should change the oil used for massage with seasons for best results (Eg: Coconut oil is GREAT for Summers since it's cooling in nature & Sesame oil is wonderful for Winters since it's hot in nature).
What follows after a session of massage is a shower. As a practice, I always massage my little one with this beautiful, aromatic and skin-rejuvenating massage powder or Ubtan (which is a routine in India and highly recommended. Not only does it help to remove all the oil easily from a child's body after massage, it is extremely beneficial for their skin in so many ways. It's anti-inflammatory and promotes blood circulation while imparting wonderful luster and texture to their skin! Let's get mixing!

Wonderfully Balanced Ubtan for your precious little one's delicate Skin.

  • 500 Grams Masoor Dal (Split Red Lentil) Flour. This flour is the base of my powder and it's excellent for skin. Not only it absorbs all the oil when rubbed on skin, it's got naturally occurring compounds which are purifying for skin.
  • 3 Table Spoons of Amba Haldi (Wild Turmeric) Powder. Amba haldi is an aromatic stimulant, tonic and carminative. Widely used in skincare in India for its anti-bacterial properties. If not easily available, use regular Turmeric Powder.
  • 3 Table Spoons of Kapoor Kachri (Camphor Compound) Powder. Camphor is aromatic stimulant which is beneficial for cleansing skin and is anti-bacterial.
  • 3 Table Spoons of Chandan (Sandalwood) Powder. For the aroma and skin-glowing properties.
  • 2 Table Spoons of Orange Peel Powder. Naturally scrubbing and anti-bacterial properties. Also known to be excellent for skin disorders.
  • Optional Additions: Almond Powder, Blood Sandalwood (Rakht Chandan) Powder, Gram Flour (Besan).
Easy to make and can be stored for up to 6 months!
  • Sift all ingredients through a seive and ensure there're no foreign objects or dirt.
  • Mix everything carefully for 4-5 minutes ensuring a perfectly balanced mix.
  • Pack and store in a small containers cool & dry place. Use in batches.
Usage: Mix 2-3 Table Spoons of Ubtan with Rose Wateror Cologne-sc ented Water and massage on your baby's body after oil massage and before shower. Gently massage the Ubtan all over baby's body, especially face but make sure it doesn't enter eyes, or mouth. Then wash it off with water and give your baby a nice soapy bath to ensure clean, dry and glowing skin.

Note: Be prepared for flattery, for, They'll shower you with a million of those cute little giggles and smiles for your effort and their beautiful skin. Not to mention the compliments you'll get for being a super-mom!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Home made Rose Syrup - Gorgeous, Easy & Just-so-flavourful!

Very few things say "I'm Gorgeous, grab me, gulp me down!" as good as a simple, home-made Rose Syrup. The inspiration to make this came from reading a packaging label of a factory-made Rose Syrup I got as a gift. It's horrific to read how much of preservatives, colours and flavouring goes into these things which we use everyday!

Come to think of it, this Syrup is extremely easy, uses only 3 ingredients and best of all - stays good for months! And the very fact that you made it gives you the confidence to serve it to even the most dearest ones with pride! It may not be as Red as store-bought but trust me, the taste and aroma is simply intoxicating. I've not added any colour or colouring agent into this recipe for a simple reason that I wanted it to be all-roses and natural.
Isn't it adorable? Try it at home and you will never EVER use store-bought syrup!

Ingredients (makes about 400ml syrup):
  • 1/2 Cup or Approximately 50 Grams Organic, Dried Rose Petals.
  • 4 Cups of Sugar.
  • 4 Cups of Boiling Water. 
  • Yes, that's it!
3 Ingredients and Patience. 1 gorgeous potion of Red Rose Syrup!
  • Please ensure you clean and if necessary, wash your Dried Red Rose Petals before making this syrup.
  • Pour 3 cups of boiling water over dried roses and let sit overnight (wait until cool before putting in the fridge).
  • The next day, Stain the rose water and squeeze out as much as the gorgeous Red liquid as you can. Discard the rose petals.
  • In a pot, add this rose water and the 4 cups of sugar (you can adjust to taste). Bring it to a roaring boil and then let it simmer on medium heat for 10-12 minutes until it reaches a nice syrupy consistency. Do not over-boil.
  • Let it the syrup cool down to room temperature. Transfer to a clean, air-tight container and store in refrigerator for use. Enjoy!
Tip: This syrup is not only refreshingly delicious - it's also cooling in nature. Add to a nice glass of chilled water for a summer's day cooler or with milk for a nice Sherbert. It serves as a delicious topping on ice-cream too!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Corn Polenta & Mushroom Ragout - A Gorgeous Feast of Flavours.

I am really glad that I did this dish, because it's like one of those moments of eureka when you try something totally untried and it turns out simply outstanding even by your own modest expectations!

So, Corn Polenta is this rustic, Italian staple which is very basic on its own and gives you a great canvas to pair it flavours of your choice. In this case, it's the Mushroom Ragout. Ragout is a fresh-style braised stew which primarily is done in France during Summers.  The flavours of this dish are predominantly Mediterranean and Rustic and that's what mama loves!
Corn Polenta & Creamy Mushroom Ragout with Herbs
 Ingredients (for 2 servings):
  • 1 Cup Corn Polenta or Corn Meal
  • 1 Packet (about 200 grams) of Button Mushrooms or mixed mushrooms - Diced coarsely
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 9-10 Cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1 Chopped Green Chilly
  • 1/2th cup of chopped fresh herbs - I used Parsley and Basil. Feel free to add thyme if available
  • 2 Spoons of Cream Cheese (use heavy cream if you don't find Cream Cheese)
  • 1/2 Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese or Cheddar (for Polenta)
  • 2 Spoons of Butter (for Polenta)
  • 2 Spoons of BEST Quality EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.
Beautiful Aromas, Earthy Flavours and a Pair made in Heaven

  • Let's begin by cooking Polenta -- In a sauce pan, boil 4 cups of water and season with salt. Whisk in Polenta slowly, while ensuring there're no lumps. Be patient since Polenta thickens a lot and takes a while to cook. Keep whisking and cook on medium heat for about 30-35 minutes or until you can see a smooth, porrige-like consistency. Taste to ensure it's done. You will know when it's done. Take it off the heat once done, and stir in 1/2 of the herbs, cracked pepper, 2 spoons of Butter and 1/2 a cup of Parmesan Cheese.  Fold everything well until your polenta looks creamy, smells divine and tastes just perfect. As an after-thought, I even stirred in 3-4 cloves of minced garlic lightly sauteed in olive oil which added awesome kick to polenta.
  • For the Mushroom Ragout: Sweat Garlic, Chillies and Onions in a pan with EVOO and add mushrooms when onions are nice and brown. 
  • Salt the mushrooms and see them sizzle. Keep the heat high since we want them to retain maximum flavour. Once nice and tender (about 3-4 minutes of cooking) add your Cream Cheese and 1/2 a cup of water to make a nice stew. Fold in your herbs and season with Black pepper to finish the Ragout.
  • Serve Polenta hot with a small slice of butter on top (it's traditional!) and piping hot Mushroom Ragout on the side. Trust me on this one, you are going to sleep in bliss!!
Tip: Add finely minced vegetables like Carrots or Broccoli to Polenta to make it a delicious dish on its own. Ragouts can be made with mixed veggies or stand-alones - keep trying!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fresh Figs with Mascarpone & Honey! A delicious 60-second Dessert.

There're times when we all need a quick, easy to make and delicious Dessert which looks gorgeous and tastes divine. Well, here's one with Fresh Figs and it wont take you more than a minute to assemble it! (preparation takes no more than 5 minutes too!). I made this dessert since I had some Mascarpone mix left over from my Strawberry Triple Trifle - but trust me, these turned out the delight of the evening!

An Exotic-looking (and tasting) Dessert which takes only 60 seconds to assemble!
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
  1. 4 Figs. (1 fig per person is a good serving portion).
  2. 4 Table Spoons of Mascarpone Cheese at Room Temperature.
  3. 2 Spoons of Honey for Cheese & Some more to drizzle on top of finished figs.
  4. 1/2 Lemon Juiced & 1/2 Tea Spoon of Lemon Zest.
  5. A pinch of Sea Salt.
  6. Garnish: Toasted Crushed Pistachios, Few sprigs of Saffron, Honey, Cinnamon Powder, Mint leaves.
Easy, Delicious, Fun.
  1. Wash and clean figs dry. Cut of the top and slice them cross-ways till 3/4th height. Keep these in fridge for 10-15 minutes or till ready to serve. This way they hold shape, size and texture well.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together Mascarpone (bought to room temperature), Lemon Juice, Honey, Lemon Zest and Sea Salt (1/2 a pinch) till you get a smooth, luscious, creamy consistency - This is the heart of your recipe, so taste it till you end up feeling like licking the bowl clean!
  3. When ready to serve, take figs and fill them up with the Mascarpone mixture (preferably with a star-noozle piping bag).
  4. To serve, assemble a fig on serving plate. Top them off with toasted Pistachios, Saffron and Cinnamon powder. Drizzle the best honey you have and top off with a leaf of mint!
  5. Pair these with my upcoming Mint & Saffron Tea and be prepared to handle the compliments!
Tip: You can roast figs in a oven for 10-15 minutes and then top them off with the cheese - it's fantastic!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Strawberry Triple Trifle - Quick, Delicious Dessert!

It's great to be back, to kitchen, to blogging and to great food. I've got to admit, my pregnancy was one joy of a journey, involving lot of great food and grateful moments. The inspiration for this recipe stems from 2 things, first being a memorable dinner at Suzette and second being a spontaneous urge to buy locally made Mascarpone Cheese (without having a clue of what to do with it!).

A similar version of this dessert was served at Suzette and unfortunately, it wasn't Eggless. Of course I gave it a miss (so should you!) but with a hankering urge to just do it on my own some day. A little bit of research, and some inputs of my own -- and here's what we've got.

3 Delicious Layers of Contrasting Colours & Flavours. They all come together seamlessly into 1 divine treat!

Ingredients (for 2 servings):
  • 12-14 Sliced Fresh Strawberries
  • 4 heaped spoonfuls of Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1 Tea Spoon of Lemon Zest
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 2 Spoonfuls of Honey
  • A little Sea Salt
  • 8-9 Biscuits (I used old, trusted, Marie Biscuits)
  • A few toasted, crushed Pistachios & Mint Leaves to Garnish
Slicing, Wisking, Zesting, Juicing - Ahhh, how I love these moments of joy.
  • Slice strawberries, Crush your biscuits coarsely, Zest your Lemon fresh (if there's one piece of equipment you should invest in, it's a Zester) and Keep your Glasses ready.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together Mascarpone (bought to room temperature), Lemon Juice, Honey, Lemon Zest and Sea Salt (1/2 a pinch) till you get a smooth, luscious, creamy consistency - This is the heart of your recipe, so taste it till you end up feeling like licking the bowl clean!
  • Assemble Biscuits, Mascarpone mix, Sliced Strawberries one by one into stacked layers of two. The visual appeal of this dessert lies in its colours and symmetry of ingredients so pay attention and tweak your spoon as your eyes like.
  • Top off this Trifle with freshly roasted crushed pistachios and some mint. And yes, a drizzle of honey never hurt anyone!
  • Chill in the Fridge (not the freezer) and serve!
Tip: Experiment with digestive / chocolate biscuits for an added visual treat. For an added kick, add a few drops of edible lemon oil into cheese.

PS: Special thanks to Mahika for recommending the title for this recipe! Thanks!