Whole grain breakfast muffin

Who doesn’t like a healthy touch – a fiber rich breakfast – in the morning? A rich breakfast to keep you strong and healthy, keeping fatigue at bay..

Instead of filling the tummy with so much grease and calories as soon as you wake up, start with something light and healthy to break the fast, for a fresh and active morning.

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The idea of whole grain breakfast perfectly fits the bill. In every manner it’s a go to snack as well if you prefer snacking in between.

The concept of adding little bit of everything, mainly oat flour, wheat flour, hint of few types of seeds and honey for sweetness did work fantastic without any hint of stickiness or dryness.  

Just rearrange the recipe and follow the instincts 🙂 Little adjustment with the flours based on the volume and density would work. And there lies the secret of having a moist breakfast muffin. This muffin has everything in it, well balanced amount of grains and ingredients to satisfy the palate. More than that since I replaced sugar with honey this is absolutely a perfect deal.  Enjoy the sweet aroma and then eat! Make everyday a better day!

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You don’t have to exactly follow the crowd since the crowd often follow things with their eyes closed, eventually ends up in the ditch. Instead consider your body and health, the easiest yet wisest approach to stay healthy

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Sweetened coconut stuffed rolls

Happy Mother's Day!

These rolls are a great deal when you’re tight for time! The subtle sweetness from the coconut and the buttery flavor from the bread makes it quite a treat.  Even though it’s sweet just like any other sandwiches it fills the tummy and makes you feel happy and satisfied. It was one of my favorites and had eaten these rolls quite often during my stay in Bangalore, a lot of ‘it.

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Although it has been ages since I left that part of the world, the taste and the memory still stays afresh!  The simple coconut mixture gives you various other ideas with it. Inspired by the sandwich, my version has dry fruits and preserved cherries to enhance the texture and taste alike. It puffs up neatly leaving the mixture inside intact yet well blended.

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Sweetened coconut stuffed rolls

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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These rolls are a great deal when you’re tight for time! The subtle sweetness from the coconut and the buttery flavor from the bread makes it quite a treat!



Ingredients


For the filling
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
½ cup dry fruits of your choice
¼ cup raisins
Pinch of salt and cardamom
Blend everything well.

For the rolls
2 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp honey
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup milk
¼ cup warm water
1 ½ tsp yeast

Directions

Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Mix together egg with milk. In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and the egg mixture to the flour. Knead well – really well for few minutes. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place. After 1 hour or so, punch down the dough and knead again. Divide the dough into small equal portions. Roll out the portions lengthwise. Spread the filling and close all the ends while maintaining the log shape roughly as of a hot dog bun size. Leave the filled rolls in a warm place for another 30 minutes. Bake at 350 oven for 20-25 minutes,


Sweet plantain fritters

First and foremost, pazhampori or ethakkappam is a quintessential snack from India, mainly southern part. The name, the aroma, the picture – everything about this is delicious!  Sweet plantain is the star ingredient for this particular snack. Plantain itself is a healthy hint. With less sugar and sodium and rich in vitamin A, potassium and fiber, plantains are incredibly rich food for everyone. Ripe plantains can be eaten raw or sometimes folks would steam cook it, especially for young children.

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It is one of my staple foods since childhood. Still I drool over the sight of these bananas. The sweet aroma – as it blackens – when ripe is irresistible. When you pair it with one hard-boiled egg and a glass of milk makes it a rich and healthy breakfast.

Banana fritters

During my childhood, I used to go to my dad’s work place to eat this delicious snack at a nearby restaurant. Their version of banana fritters were different in taste and size alike. It was so delicious and worth the journey! 

Sweet plantain fritters

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pazhampori or ethakkappam is a quintessential snack from India.

Ingredients

Ingredients

-Ripe plantains – 2, sliced vertically

-Oil for deep frying

For the batter

-All purpose flour – 1 cup

-Sugar – 3tbsp

-Salt to taste

-Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp [optional]

Directions

Mix together all the ingredients for the batter by adding little amount of water at a time. The consistency of the batter should not be too thick or thin. Dip the bananas into the batter,fold them well. Deep fry them in the hot oil until light brown in color. Drain it on the paper towel. 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,

A healthy leisure time snack!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re from England or Emirates or Canada or Caribbean, this Indian treat has an amazing power to keep your sacred tummy intact whilst it delivers some medicinal protection to your system since there is no hint of the term ‘junk’ in this leisure time snack.

Jhalmuri

In Mumbai it’s known as Bhelpuri, Jhal muri in Kolkatta and Churmuri in Bangalore. Well, whatever it is, Jhalmuri has all the ingredients to make you happy. It is one of those perfect savory snacks to enjoy any time.

Well, while watching Eat St. on Food Channel I came across a British guy preparing the same treat on street corners in London surrounded by bunch of folks to boast about it. His way of incorporating everything from dicing the veggies to sprinkling the spices were all fun to watch. Each ingredient in that recipe made me literally drool. I know how tasty it is when you bring together rice puffs, roasted peanuts, cucumber, fresh tomato, ginger and a hint of red onions. Well, finally I ended up making two times the same evening….

Jhalmuri..

Here’s the recipe to pamper you with a simple yet awesome treat.

Ingredients
2 cups puffed rice
1 ½ cup cucumber, finely chopped
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 ½ cup roasted peanuts
¾ cup Coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp honey
1 ½ tbsp chaat masala
Salt to taste

In a medium bowl, mix together all the chopped vegetables: cucumber, tomato, onion, ginger and coriander. Add lime juice, honey, chaat masala and salt. Mix well. Add puffed rice and roasted peanuts to the vegetable mixture. Enjoy!

 

 

Good old rice pudding

Rich and silky rice pudding is an ever comforting food. Grown-ups or kids, no matter what age, rice pudding is a pleasant comfort food which is easy to prepare and it digests smoothly.

It all began with overcooked mushy rice resting at the corner waiting for its fate whether to end up neatly at the table or tummy?! As luck would’ve it; the entire quantity got rescued little by little. Who would want to waste food? I never ever entertain the idea of wasting food. I would find a way to save the deal gone bad. A few spoons got the chance to satisfy someone’s sweet cravings as an after meal dessert and so and so… Happy ending! Thanks to my grandmothers!! They used to make me eat sweet porridge when I was little. Nothing fancy yet I loved it so much since I love my grandmothers a lot. I had two pairs of fantastic grandmas. They were the masters of sarcasm and sacred food savers!

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So, the idea of adding milk to the mushy rice and then giving it an apt title to categorize as an ever delicious pudding popped in the picture. Normally mushy rice and milk are intended to fill up an infant’s tummy 🙂 But this goes an extra mile for us adults to indulge in some velvety smooth and creamy pudding. Add a hint of butter and sweeten it with little bit of sugar or honey. Add a hint of vanilla. You’ll never go wrong, a darn delicious dessert in a jiffy. The taste and the look were just perfect. I couldn’t find anything wrong. The whiff of delicious fragrance etched something elegant.

That being said, if I sight it at the store, the love of it prompts me to grab one. It’s hard to just ignore the neatly packed delicious ready-made rice pudding displayed at the store shelf!  The small portions are perfect for any time. At the same time, when you prepare it in the comfort of own kitchen, it feels so good! You get to add little bit of this and that while maintaining the warm consistency of the pudding. So here it goes.

Ingredients
Well cooked rice – 1 cup
Milk – 1 cup plus (depends on how you like the consistency)
Water – 1 cup (often less than one cup – adding water avoids the tendency to thickens the overall consistency of the pudding)
Sugar – 4 tbsp (or as per your taste)
Honey – 2 tbsp
Butter – 3 tbsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Vanilla – 1 ½ tsp

Instructions

Combine all the ingredients except vanilla essence in a 3 quart sauce pan.
Turn the heat from high to medium and frequently stir the mixture to avoid scorching.
Turn off the heat when the mixture is creamy.
Add 1 ½ tsp vanilla. Serve hot or cold with your desired dry or fresh fruits and nuts.
Follow your instincts as well, very important:)

Apple pie crossover cake

Visiting orchards during summer is inevitable for me. Not just visiting but buying bags of fresh apples right from the garden makes me quell with joy. But all the joy disappears when I get home – the moment I see bags of apples waiting for my routine processing and packing. But I don’t entertain the nagging thought since I hate seeing spoiled apples! Hence I promptly designate a day just for apples! Then on, the job seems quite exciting, not a burdensome at all 🙂 It’s a one time job, after allJ. Anyhow, my freezer has a good amount of apple pie mix ready to use. And I have been baking pies all along!

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So I have been thinking of some new ideas to bring the best out of the apple pie mix I had in the freezer. Although many times the combination of pie and cake crossed my mind, the real motivation kicked in as I lay my eyes on graham cracker crumbs. In fact it needed a job, too. It was a half package all alone at the corner of the pantry. So for a change I paused and shifted to cake. Hence the idea of crossover cake which is a clever way of bringing three different layers of goodness!

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Since I didn’t have any guides to follow, timing was sort of tricky at first. In the end, it took about 40-45 minutes all along just as for a normal cake. Even though I was concerned about the bottom layer whether it stays well without burning or what if the pie mixture extends the moisture and ends up with a soggy lump! As luck would’ve it, everything stayed well and all the layers looked extremely elegant. As it bakes, the pie mix keeps the moisture throughout. So when it comes out of the oven you get a well layered perfect crossover cake in one shot!

Things needed are;

Graham cracker mix:
1 cup of graham cracker mix and 2 tbsp softened butter. Gently blend it into a coarse mixture.

Apple pie mix:
3 – 4 cups of peeled and sliced apples (mix of Granny Smith & Honey Crisp)
1 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp softened butter
In a wide pan, add the apple slices along with rest of the ingredients. Cook over medium heat until   bubbly and soft, sort of thick consistency.

For the cake
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup warm milk
1 tbsp vanilla

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs along with vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to it. Gently mix everything together.

Grease a tart pan with butter and remove excess grease from the pan and line a layer of parchment paper. Spread the first layer – graham cracker mix and level it evenly. Then, over the cracker mix, layer the apple pie filling 1/2 inch thickness. Final layer would be the cake batter over the pie filling for about 1/2 to 1 inch thickness. You need to gently spread the mixtures without disturbing the layer beneath.

Bake at 350° oven for about 40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.