Hot chocolate mix

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I wouldn’t  have tried it ever if I didn’t run out of ready to mix chocolate powder. Not a big deal, I know, but the thought was so intense. This is the time! Instead of nostalgia, this time though, curiosity kicked in 🙂

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When the scarcity and curiosity were on the scene, my instinct had to work hand in hand with them. As luck would’ve it, the trio had done a fantastic job.

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The whole scenario made me to dig deeper, to get a good sense of it. All I had to do was maintaining the consistency, and balance the taste. Vanilla and salt are two unlikely ingredients. But I took the chance anyway. Yep, although I’ve added vanilla and salt – it didn’t distract or disturb the course at all. Still it’s purely optional! It’s not that difficult as I thought it would be. Anyway, curiosity didn’t kill this cat 🙂 Oh, some people love to add marshmallows to their hot chocolate – well, maybe I should try one! You know, for us, in Atlantic Canada, it’s still Winter in the middle of Spring. Snow for some reason hesitates to leave the stage. It’s so heavenly and peaceful, indeed! 

1 cup fine sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups of powdered milk
1 drop of vanilla
Hint of salt – just a hint!!!

Blend everything well. Store it in an airtight container. Refrigerate it. Enjoy!

Quinoa peach pudding

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Well, this is my first attempt to try something sweet with quinoa. As things started to flow along, the lack of contrast made me to add some fruits, especially peaches instead of any other fruits. Luckily, I had some extra slices available in the refrigerator and seems to be apt and sort of soft for a pudding, definitely a nice contrast to the texture and tasted delicious.


Quinoa is such a versatile and diverse ingredient. I’ve been using it for quite a while ever since I came to know its copious amount of goodness as powerful as spinach, Swiss chard and beets. I wouldn’t mind spending extra dough on anything rich in nutrients. It doesn’t matter if I use it or not on a day to day basis, the flow and the steady supply of few healthy ingredients attracts a healthy and positive vibe in the kitchen. When you have that positive energy around, it automatically pulls you in that direction.

The year 2013 as “The International Year of the Quinoa” also triggered the demand and spread the awareness across the world. Before that, ages ago, people in South America had been the only folks ever knew about the rich factors of quinoa and utilizing its health benefits. The key factor is that it’s gluten free and high in protein which is great for a vegetarian diet.IMG_4756-02

Apart from its benefits, the texture of cooked quinoa is quite alluring. As it cooks, a delicate spiral ring can be seen around it. It is said to be the core of quinoa that holds most of its nutrients. A cup of cooked quinoa goes a long way. Once cooked the texture of it appears sort of fluffy and nutty which makes it a promising super food. Sweet or savory, it adapts well to almost anything such as salads, rice, yogurt etc.

There is an inedible part, the sinner saponin. It is a bitter soapy resin – an inedible powdery substance -which could easily spoil the whole thing. So remember to rinse thoroughly and get rid of any hint of resin before cooking.

IMG_4743-31 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups milk
4 tbsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 tbsp butter
¾ tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups of sliced fresh peaches
Few raisins

Soak the quinoa in a bowl of water for few minutes. Rinse and drain it using a strainer.

Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa to it. I would add butter at this point to avoid any cohesion.  When it starts cooking half way through, add milk to it. Stir well. At this point keep stirring since the milk has been added. This prevents from sticking at the bottom of the pan and scorching. That could spoil the entire dish. Turn the heat from medium to low and frequently stir the mixture to avoid scorching.

As it progresses, add sugar, salt and vanilla. The texture of the mixture should be neither thick nor thin, rather a smooth creamy delicious consistency. You can tweak the liquid content according to your desired level of consistency. Turn off the heat when the mixture has cooked through and creamy. Add the fruits of your choice and close the lid to allow blending everything well. You can say it is cooked when the outer ring of the quinoa pops out and encircles the seed. In the end just throwing a bit of better butter wouldn’t hurt anyone 🙂 Serve hot or cold with extra addition of fruits or nut. Enjoy,

Garlic toast – green gram sunny brunch

A plate full of pleasant ingredients and a hint of happiness – I couldn’t ask for more.  Although it was on a whim I decided to fix something quickly for my brunch. As I started adding things together, the requirements kept rising. To get an appealing texture for my brunch – two slices of garlic toast and a sunny side up egg needed something to connect each other and also a nice contrast.

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My mind was fixated on something green – mostly avocado mixture. I didn’t want to do any extra chopping or slicing or such. Simple, healthy yet elegant – that was the picture in mind. But, green gram was never in the picture. As I opened the refrigerator a quick glance at the box changed the course. The texture of it seemed right to use as the base spread. Hence the addition of green gram and then top with bacon bits and sprinkle some parsley over would go great! This is for sure a no recipe item.  

Apple pie

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Apples are nature’s own delicious treat straight from the garden and baking an apple pie is simply a pleasure if you love cooking own food and capturing it in digital format. I’ve another reason as well. My family loves my version of apple pie. When they say, my mama bakes the best pie. Honestly it scares me 🙂 That means there is no room for error and negligence! On a positive note, that’s indeed encouraging! Am so grateful for that. So I take it as a nudging force to ace it anyways 🙂  

So, my freezer has a good amount of apple pie mix ready to use. As I said, I have been baking pies all along! Although I’ve tried different recipes with the mix, apple pie stands out for some reason. I love the combined flavor of apple and cinnamon. The aroma is so delicious and divinely soothing to the senses. It gives a good vibe in the kitchen as well.

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So after the blueberry pie saga, the next in mind was apple pie. And I had a half portion of dough saved in the refrigerator and baked a fantastic looking -divinely delicious apple pie. Luckily the next morning was so darn pleasant and sunny and bright to click few pictures to save and savor the apple pie saga.

Rice noodles – String hoppers

The delicious string, also known as idiyappam, is one of the culinary wonders and a widely popular breakfast or dinner item of Southern India. The interesting part I like about it is that these rice noodles can pair with anything from sweet to savory. And my favorite is always sugar and butter. My hubby’s favorite is as same as mine but with an extra addition of hard boiled egg. Other combos are mild egg curry, mutton or chicken stew etc..

Still I enjoy eating Kerala’s own delicious idiyappam here in my home away from home as well. These days it’s sort of easy to prepare since all the ingredients are readily available in the market. That wasn’t the story years ago. I remember my grandma’s tough task of soaking the rice to roasting the flour. Roasted rice flour smells so wonderful… And the result was so darn amazing!

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The crucial part is mixing the rice flour with hot water and maintaining the soft and smooth consistency. Any hint of raw flavor and the grainy consistency would spoil the whole deal. It happened with me a lot of times. We tend to use more cold water due to the unbearable heat and there won’t be any visible difference in the beginning as well. But when you start the process of squeezing out from the idiyappam press, the strings will break apart and end up a pile of broken thread.  

Beef meatballs with gravy

Everyone has their own version of meatballs recipe. All of them are equally tasty and so darn appealing to the eyes. This variety dish can be served with anything you like or if you wish to eat as is, no problem. It makes the soul happy and content. I know people add different – often a lot – ingredients to boosts the taste. But I find it unnecessary. As for me, I tend to follow the simple method of shallow frying in a skillet. So, first, season the mince with pepper and salt. Shallow fry it in slow fire. Meanwhile prepare the onions in a separate skillet. The texture should be translucent to slightly brown not burned.  Add the fried onions and tomato sauce to the half cooked meatballs. Sprinkle the flavorings. When you get the aroma spreading, turn the heat off, cover it and allow it to rest.

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This is how often I prepare meatballs with gravy version. But, when it comes to adding greens, it’s  a different story. Recipe is different, too. May be I will follow the rest of the folks who add lots of ingredients to boosts the taste and boast about it 🙂 Definitely it works for a dry version.  I’ll be trying that soon.  For time being, here’s the simple beef meatballs with gravy.

Blueberry pie

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I have a special connection with blueberries, the cute little purple berries. Its health benefits are the core reason I adore ‘em. In fact I think I’ve comparatively more posts – Blueberry chocolate chip diamondsOatmeal blueberry mini loavescaramel bread puddingMerry berry smoothie etc., – tagged with blueberries than any others. The more the merrier, pie came along as a surprise! Few weeks ago we had a sale event at the block. Someone sponsored blueberry pie – $6 per box. I thought it’s a great price and a great way to get to know the blue pie.  I never had one before which is a shame of course. I don’t know why on earth I admit it here?!

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When it comes to pie, the first priority goes to apple pie since it’s the prominent one. And I couldn’t imagine any others as well. May be that’s the reason 🙂

Few days later I received my order in a cute little box, comparatively medium size blueberry pie. It was a pleasant surprise! I never ever thought blueberry pie tastes divinely delicious. It was ridiculously delicate yet firm enough, without any hint of the mixture running out of the shell, and the texture was well balanced so amazingly tasty pie! Instantly I got a good grip of how to prepare one.

Next I knew exactly what items to blend in to bring the goodness out of it. Why not Welch’s wild frozen blueberries. I’m a big fan of Welch’s products! Their frozen fruits rocks!  Here’s my blueberry pie – well, let the photo talk the rest 🙂