Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Good Bye Switzerland & India Calling !!!!

Dear All,

Waiting at the dubai airport munching on a cadbury at 2 am in the night here I am trying to clear my thoughts. Today was my last day in switzerland. How much I am looking ahead to meet my family and friends in india there is sadness in heart for leaving behind my new family!! After spending close to 1.5 yrs in basel it had become a home to me. Its so strange that we get so much attached to a place and in such a short span of time. As I left for the airport something very harsh struck to me that this is probably(i hope to change this) the last time i am seeing these streets, migros and coop supermarkets where i used to regularly visit for my grocery shopping, movenpick and ben & jerrys ice creams, those wonderful cakes and fruit tortes which i used to gobble and how can one forget the various varieties of fruit yogurts, cheese and swiss chocolates because of which i now need to hit the gym!!! As the time was nearing i felt my heart heavy filled with emotions. The last one year was very special to me, i enjoyed each and every moment and nothing can ever replace this feeling. I am thankful to all my friends and colleague who made my stay very memorable one, especially my dear friend D without whom i don't think i would have survived so long. You know you are very special to me and i'll miss you very much, thank you for all your love & support and kindness and more importantly to bear with me all this time!!

It would take some time for me to settle down and get back to normal routine, so I am sure you all will understand if I am not able to visit you regularly, i promise to catch up soon. I have few posts lined up in my drafts and i'll try to post them but it may take some time. Till then do keep visiting and leaving comments as this is what keeps me going at the end of the day! Thank you once again for all your love & support!

I will be shuffling between Mumbai and Pune so all the blogger friends out there let me know if we can meet up, i would love to meet you all and get to know you better, do send me an email if interested :)))

Lots of Love,

Monday, September 28, 2009

Homemade Puff Pastry and Vols-Au-Vent for Daring Bakers September 2009

Dear All,
Puff Pastry,French,Julia Child,Dorie Greenspan

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' Challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

This is the first time I am making Puff Pastry at home and i totally enjoyed making them. It wasnt a difficult task if you have the right ingredients and especially if the weather is with you, but yes it's a little time consuming process so make sure you have enough time atleast 4 to 5 hours in hand.

Puff pastry is in the “laminated dough” family, along with Danish dough and croissant dough.  A laminated dough consists of a large block of butter (called the beurrage) that is enclosed in dough (called the détrempe).  This dough/butter packet is called a paton, and is rolled and folded repeatedly (a process known as “turning”) to create the crisp, flaky, parallel layers you see when baked.  Unlike Danish or croissant however, puff pastry dough contains no yeast in the détrempe, and relies solely aeration to achieve its high rise.  The turning process creates hundreds of layers of butter and dough, with air trapped between each one. In the hot oven, water in the dough and the melting butter creates steam, which expands in the trapped air pockets, forcing the pastry to rise.


Vols-au-Vent with Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Dough

-food processor (will make mixing dough easy, but I imagine this can be done by hand as well)
-rolling pin
-pastry brush
-metal bench scraper (optional, but recommended)
-plastic wrap
-baking sheet
-parchment paper
-silicone baking mat (optional, but recommended)
-set of round cutters (optional, but recommended)
-sharp chef’s knife
-cooling rack

Prep Times:
-about 4-5 hours to prepare the puff pastry dough (much of this time is inactive, while you wait for the dough to chill between turns…it can be stretched out over an even longer period of time if that better suits your schedule)
-about 1.5 hours to shape, chill and bake the vols-au-vent after your puff pastry dough is complete

Forming and Baking the Vols-au-Vent

Yield: 1/3 of the puff pastry recipe below will yield about 8-10 1.5” vols-au-vent or 4 4” vols-au-vent

In addition to the equipment listed above, you will need:
-well-chilled puff pastry dough (recipe below)
-egg wash (1 egg or yolk beaten with a small amount of water)
-your filling of choice

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Using a knife or metal bench scraper, divided your chilled puff pastry dough into three equal pieces. Work with one piece of the dough, and leave the rest wrapped and chilled. (If you are looking to make more vols-au-vent than the yield stated above, you can roll and cut the remaining two pieces of dough as well…if not, then leave refrigerated for the time being or prepare it for longer-term freezer storage. See the “Tips” section below for more storage info.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll the piece of dough into a rectangle about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick. Transfer it to the baking sheet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the cutting.

(This assumes you will be using round cutters, but if you do not have them, it is possible to cut square vols-au-vents using a sharp chef’s knife.) For smaller, hors d'oeuvre sized vols-au-vent, use a 1.5” round cutter to cut out 8-10 circles. For larger sized vols-au-vent, fit for a main course or dessert, use a 4” cutter to cut out about 4 circles. Make clean, sharp cuts and try not to twist your cutters back and forth or drag your knife through the dough. Half of these rounds will be for the bases, and the other half will be for the sides. (Save any scrap by stacking—not wadding up—the pieces…they can be re-rolled and used if you need extra dough. If you do need to re-roll scrap to get enough disks, be sure to use any rounds cut from it for the bases, not the ring-shaped sides.)

Using a ¾-inch cutter for small vols-au-vent, or a 2- to 2.5-inch round cutter for large, cut centers from half of the rounds to make rings. These rings will become the sides of the vols-au-vent, while the solid disks will be the bottoms. You can either save the center cut-outs to bake off as little “caps” for you vols-au-vent, or put them in the scrap pile.

Dock the solid bottom rounds with a fork (prick them lightly, making sure not to go all the way through the pastry) and lightly brush them with egg wash. Place the rings directly on top of the bottom rounds and very lightly press them to adhere. Brush the top rings lightly with egg wash, trying not to drip any down the sides (which may inhibit rise). If you are using the little “caps,” dock and egg wash them as well.

Refrigerate the assembled vols-au-vent on the lined baking sheet while you pre-heat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). (You could also cover and refrigerate them for a few hours at this point.)

Once the oven is heated, remove the sheet from the refrigerator and place a silicon baking mat (preferred because of its weight) or another sheet of parchment over top of the shells. This will help them rise evenly. Bake the shells until they have risen and begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (180ºC), and remove the silicon mat or parchment sheet from the top of the vols-au-vent. If the centers have risen up inside the vols-au-vent, you can gently press them down. Continue baking (with no sheet on top) until the layers are golden, about 15-20 minutes more. (If you are baking the center “caps” they will likely be finished well ahead of the shells, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when browned.)

Remove to a rack to cool. Cool to room temperature for cold fillings or to warm for hot fillings.

Fill and serve.

Filling I used is Grilled Pineapples with Fresh Cream:
1 cup of pineapples, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup of whipped fresh cream


  • Mix first 3 ingredients together and grill them for 25 to 30 mins at 200 degrees C, until light brown.
  • Fill the vols-au-vent with a tbsp of fresh cream, add the cooled grilled pineapples and serve immediately.

*For additional rise on the larger-sized vols-au-vents, you can stack one or two additional ring layers on top of each other (using egg wash to "glue"). This will give higher sides to larger vols-au-vents, but is not advisable for the smaller ones, whose bases may not be large enough to support the extra weight.
*Although they are at their best filled and eaten soon after baking, baked vols-au-vent shells can be stored airtight for a day.
*Shaped, unbaked vols-au-vent can be wrapped and frozen for up to a month (bake from frozen, egg-washing them first).


Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Dough

From: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 2-1/2 pounds dough

Steph’s note: This recipe makes more than you will need for the quantity of vols-au-vent stated above. While I encourage you to make the full recipe of puff pastry, as extra dough freezes well, you can halve it successfully if you’d rather not have much leftover.

There is a wonderful on-line video from the PBS show “Baking with Julia” that accompanies the book. In it, Michel Richard and Julia Child demonstrate making puff pastry dough (although they go on to use it in other applications). They do seem to give slightly different ingredient measurements verbally than the ones in the book…I listed the recipe as it appears printed in the book.

There is another very helpful video by VahRehVah Chef for Pastry Puffs, here is the link

2-1/2 cups (12.2 oz/ 354 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups (5.0 oz/ 142 g) cake flour
1 tbsp. salt (you can cut this by half for a less salty dough or for sweet preparations)
1-1/4 cups (10 fl oz/ 300 ml) ice water
1 pound (16 oz/ 454 g) very cold unsalted butter
plus extra flour for dusting work surface

Mixing the Dough:
Check the capacity of your food processor before you start. If it cannot hold the full quantity of ingredients, make the dough into two batches and combine them.
Put the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse a couple of times just to mix. Add the water all at once, pulsing until the dough forms a ball on the blade. The dough will be very moist and pliable and will hold together when squeezed between your fingers. (Actually, it will feel like Play-Doh.)

Remove the dough from the machine, form it into a ball, with a small sharp knife, slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Wrap the dough in a damp towel and refrigerate for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the butter between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that's about 1" thick. Take care that the butter remains cool and firm: if it has softened or become oily, chill it before continuing.

Incorporating the Butter:
Unwrap the dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour (A cool piece of marble is the ideal surface for puff pastry) with your rolling pin (preferably a French rolling pin without handles), press on the dough to flatten it and then roll it into a 10" square. Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floured to prevent sticking and lift the dough and move it around frequently. Starting from the center of the square, roll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with "ears," or flaps.

Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold the ears over the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely. (If you have to stretch the dough, stretch it from all over; don't just pull the ends) you should now have a package that is 8" square.

To make great puff pastry, it is important to keep the dough cold at all times. There are specified times for chilling the dough, but if your room is warm, or you work slowly, or you find that for no particular reason the butter starts to ooze out of the pastry, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it . You can stop at any point in the process and continue at your convenience or when the dough is properly chilled.

Making the Turns:
Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom edges of the square (this will help keep it square). Then, keeping the work surface and the top of the dough well floured to prevent sticking, roll the dough into a rectangle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 24" (don't worry about the width of the rectangle: if you get the 24", everything else will work itself out.) With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the length and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along well, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary, to get a smooth, even dough-butter sandwich (use your arm-strength!).

With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the dough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.

Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 24" and then folding it in thirds. This is the second turn.

Chilling the Dough:
If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now. If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of turns you've completed by indenting the dough with your fingertips. It is best to refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.

The total number of turns needed is six. If you prefer, you can give the dough just four turns now, chill it overnight, and do the last two turns the next day. Puff pastry is extremely flexible in this regard. However, no matter how you arrange your schedule, you should plan to chill the dough for at least an hour before cutting or shaping it


Steph’s extra tips:

-While this is not included in the original recipe we are using (and I did not do this in my own trials), many puff pastry recipes use a teaspoon or two of white vinegar or lemon juice, added to the ice water, in the détrempe dough. This adds acidity, which relaxes the gluten in the dough by breaking down the proteins, making rolling easier. You are welcome to try this if you wish.

-Keep things cool by using the refrigerator as your friend! If you see any butter starting to leak through the dough during the turning process, rub a little flour on the exposed dough and chill straight away. Although you should certainly chill the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns, if you feel the dough getting to soft or hard to work with at any point, pop in the fridge for a rest.

-Not to sound contradictory, but if you chill your paton longer than the recommended time between turns, the butter can firm up too much. If this seems to be the case, I advise letting it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to give it a chance to soften before proceeding to roll. You don't want the hard butter to separate into chuncks or break through the want it to roll evenly, in a continuous layer.

-Roll the puff pastry gently but firmly, and don’t roll your pin over the edges, which will prevent them from rising properly. Don't roll your puff thinner than about about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick, or you will not get the rise you are looking for.

-Try to keep “neat” edges and corners during the rolling and turning process, so the layers are properly aligned. Give the edges of the paton a scooch with your rolling pin or a bench scraper to keep straight edges and 90-degree corners.

-Brush off excess flour before turning dough and after rolling.

-Make clean cuts. Don’t drag your knife through the puff or twist your cutters too much, which can inhibit rise.

-When egg washing puff pastry, try not to let extra egg wash drip down the cut edges, which can also inhibit rise.

-Extra puff pastry dough freezes beautifully. It’s best to roll it into a sheet about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick (similar to store-bought puff) and freeze firm on a lined baking sheet. Then you can easily wrap the sheet in plastic, then foil (and if you have a sealable plastic bag big enough, place the wrapped dough inside) and return to the freezer for up to a few months. Defrost in the refrigerator when ready to use.

-You can also freeze well-wrapped, unbaked cut and shaped puff pastry (i.e., unbaked vols-au-vent shells). Bake from frozen, without thawing first.

-Homemade puff pastry is precious stuff, so save any clean scraps. Stack or overlap them, rather than balling them up, to help keep the integrity of the layers. Then give them a singe “turn” and gently re-roll. Scrap puff can be used for applications where a super-high rise is not necessary (such as palmiers, cheese straws, napoleons, or even the bottom bases for your vols-au-vent).


Verdict: I am so glad I opted this challenge, it was a new experience and i learnt so much from this challenge. Homemade puff pastry are far better than the readymade ones and it really isnt difficult. I would urge everyone to try making this at home atleast once.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Zebra Cake for Taste & Create

Dear All,
Baking,Cakes,Chocolate,Tea Time Treats,Zebra Cake
Before I start with my post , today is my baby sister R's birthday, I wish her all the happiness in the world....Happy Birthday honey !!!!

This month for Taste and Create i was paired up against the very talented Poornima from Tasty Treats, I am sure everyone is aware of her wonderful collection of recipes. I have been following her blog since i started blogging and i truly admire her talent for cooking and baking. There are many dishes which I wanted to try out from her blog especially her Spiced Hot Chocolate which is my favorite!!

From all the delicacies, I chose the delicious Zebra Cake, my strips arnt very clear most probably because i baked these in a rectangular pan as i couldnt find my circular pan (I have been packing for india). The taste was delicious and the cake turned out so moist, its perfect as a tea time treat and quite simple and easy to prepare. I personally love the striking contrast of chocolate and vanilla flavors, it looks gorgeous dont you think?

Thanks Poornima for this wonderful cake, this is off to Taste  and Create for the month of September. I am dedicating this cake to my sister R as well :)

This cake also goes to Kids Delight event by Srivalli and to CFK - Chocolates guest hosted by Hema, mastermind of Sharmi


I made half of the below recipe
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
4 medium eggs
1 heaping cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp coco powder
Baking,Cakes,Chocolate,Tea Time Treats,Zebra Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Grease and line a 9inch cake pan.
  • Sift flour and baking powder together and set is aside.
  • Beat together eggs and sugar until light and frothy.
  • Add in vanilla, oil and milk, beat well until well blended.
  • Now add in flour in 3 to 4 intervals and beat well.
  • Divide the batter into 2 bowls.
  • Add in the coco powder in one of the bowls and beat well.
  • Spoon about 3 tbsp of vanilla batter in the center of the pan.
  • On top of vanilla batter add 3 tbsp of chocolate batter and go on.
  • Donot stir, shake or swirl, the batter will spread by itself as you go on.
Serve the cake with some chocolate sauce drizzled or like my favorite way with some fresh whipped cream.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tacos with Kidney Beans Salsa

Dear All,
Mexican,Kidney Bean Salsa,Salsa,Tacos
Few years back Tacos wasnt very common in indian house holds, i remember my mom making them once in a blue moon as it required a lot of effort along with preparing the tortilla shells at home which was quite tiresome. These days it has become very easy with canned food and ready made tortilla shells available in the market.

A taco is a traditiona mexican composed of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. A taco can be made with many different fillings allowing a great versatality and variety. Tacos is often loved by kids and I personally know kids who can live on tacos :)

This dish is off to Mexican Fiesta 2009 and Kidney Beans Salsa is off to HomeMades - 6 Salsa event hosted by Ben of WhatsCooking.
Tacos are also off to Kids Delight an event dedicated to food for kids by Srivalli.

Mexican,Tacos,Salsa,Kidney Bean Salsa
Many of my dear friends have passed awards to me in past few weeks, I am so sorry I couldnt acknowledge them before, here they are:
EnSamaiyal, Sarah, Jyoti, Lissie and Prasu have passed the Yum Yum Blog Award and a Giant Bear Hug Award, thank you so much dears and a big hug from me to you all.

Nivedita has passed the Honest Scrap award to me, thanks a bunch dear.

Uma has passed Kreative Blogger Award and Scrumptous Blog Award, thank you so much dear.


Chaitra has passed the Yummy Recipes Blog Award, thank you!

Sanghi dear has passed a Dimond Friends Award, I am truly honored, thank you!

Mexican,Tacos,Kidney Bean Salsa,Salsa
Makes 6 tacos

Ingredients for Salsa:
1 can red kidney beans
1 medium capsicum finely chopped
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
2 green chillies finely chopped
1 jalapeno finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 - 2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves finely chopped
1/2 cheese finely grated
6 Tacos shells or tortillas

Mexican,Tacos,Kidney Bean Salsa

  • Heat olive oil in a pan, add in onions, bell pepper, chillies and jalapenos. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Saute them for 3 to 4 mins, now add in the kidney beans and mix well. Saute for a min.
  • Add in finely chopped tomatoes and lime juice and let it cook for 4 to 5 mins on slow - medium heat.
  • Remove from heat and add freshly chopped coriander leaves and mix well.
  • Fill the taco shells with 2 tbsp of salsa, drizzle some cheese on top.
  • Put in oven at 200 degress C for 5 to 7 mins until the cheese starts to melt.
  • Serve hot with hot and sweet sauce.

Friday, September 18, 2009

French Macarons with Chocolate Ganache...finally i got my FEETS !!!

Dear All,

You cannot imagine the amount of happiness and satisfaction i got when I saw these little drops in the oven and developing their small feets!! The moment I tucked them in the oven, I sat beside to see them rise and turn into these gorgeous treats! I was literally jumping up and down with joy. I was terribly disappointed from my last attempt and truly determined to get them right so this time i took all the advice i could get, read numerous posts, videos, etc.


I am thankful to Deeba who suggested to check the folding technique, the video for which is here, she also suggested to use a recipe with one egg white as its easier and helps to reduce wastage in case of disasters. The video is by ChefNini and I must say its really good. I would suggest everyone to go through the video before trying your hands on macarons. Chefnini suggests to warm up the egg whites over a double boiler which i was skeptical so when Rachael of  La Fuji Mama made her macs using chefnini's recipes, i contacted her regarding the warming of the egg over the double boiler and she mentioned that she had used an aged egg and skipped the warming method. I too used an aged egg for 48 hours and it did wonders for me. Thank you Deeba, Rachael and everyone who supported and encouraged me, thanks a zillion !!!

I have followed the recipe from Chefnini, which can be found here

I am sending this dish to Mansi's Sweet Celebrations's Event


Makes 8 macarons
Ingredients for Macarons:
1 egg white aged for 48 hours in fridge
(Remove from fridge before 3 to 4 hours to bring the white to room temperature)
65 gms icing sugar
40 gms powdered almonds (sieved)
15 gms castor sugar (I used very fine)

Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache:
50 ml heavy cream
60 gms bittersweet/semisweet chocolate

Other baking essentials required:
1 pastry bag fitted with 2 cm nozzle
1 baking try lined with parchment paper
electronic beater


  • I had sieved the almond powder and than measured 40gms.
  • Mix together powdered sugar and almonds (make sure you dont have any lumps).
  • Beat the egg white with a electric beater until frothy. 
  • While beating add in the castor sugar (and 1 to 2 drops of color if desired) and beat at high for 2 mins until glossy stiff white meringue forms.
  • Fold the almond and sugar mixture with meringue in 4 to 5 turns. Donot over mix. Fold very gently in one direction only. (Pls refer to the video above for folding technique).
  • Scrape the batter in a pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you're alone).
  • Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.
  • Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons, and let it sit for 40 mins. 
  • After 30 mins preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.
  • Bake the macarons for 10 mins and then reduce the temperature to 140 degrees C and bake for another 4 to 5 mins.
  • Cool completely and store them in air tight containers.

Procedure for Ganache:
  • Heat the cream in a pan, as soon as it stars boiling on the sides remove from heat and add the chocolate pieces in them.
  • Let it stand for a min.
  • Whisk gently until smooth paste.
  • Cool completely before using, after it has cooled ganache will become thicker in consistency and is easy to pipe.
Sandwich the macarons together with a tsp of ganache and store them in air tight container. They will stay upto 5 days.

Verdict: You just cant stop eating them, I am already planning for my next stay tuned  :-)


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mediterranean Tomato Soup and Failed Macarons !!!

Dear All,
Tomato,Soups and Salads

How are you all doing? Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Cant believe its already mid september now, in another week i'll again have to start packing but this time for going back home..oh I am so gonna miss this place :(((
Macarons have haunted me from the moment i saw them at Helene's blog , these colorful little treats look very attractive and beautiful. When I saw these at Deeba's blog, I was truly inspired to make them but at the same time very scared too. If you look at the ingredients, they are few almond powder, egg whites and can one go wrong with such simple ingredients...believe me you have to try these in your kitchen to believe it!!


Passionate bakers like Deeba, Meeta, Aparna, Jamie, Barbara, Ria and many more have come together and formed the Mac Gang, this fabulous event is driven  by the very talented Jamie, so there was no looking back! Me being so passionate about baking...i cudnt stop but join them and try my first macarons! Unfortunately my attempts to these gorgeous french treats were a complete disaster with cracked tops and most importantly no FEETS!!!!.....though these were quite tasty but they turned into more like chocolate meringue cookies and we did enjoyed them a lot.
I was quite a bit depressed with my failed macaron attempts and even more obsessed to get them right !  Nithya, my dearest blogger buddy encouraged me and cheered me up...thanks dearie for your faith in me and now I am determined to get my FEETS!! 


After such a debacle I was quite exhausted and not in any mood to cook up a meal, and wanted something quick and fulfilling..apparently i had skipped my meal and didnt realise until my empty stomach started to growl....grr.....
I had bookmarked this recipe few weeks back and thought it would be perfect and fulfilling dinner. The original recipe can be found here.

This recipe is off to No Croutons Required, this month hosted by Lisa , the current theme for this month is Mediterranean Soups and Salads.

This is also off to Soups & Juices event hosted by Sireesha.

To,tomato,Sou,Soups and Salads
My version of Mediterranean Tomato Soup:-
Serves 4
2 can of tomato puree about 800gms
1 zucchini, finely cubed
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp dry basil
fresh cream to garnish


  • In a deep vessel, heat olive oil, add in sliced onions and saute them for about 3 to 4 mins until soft.
  • Add in zucchini and bell peppers and cook for another 5 mins.
  • Now add in tomato puree, salt, sugar, paprika, black pepper, oregano and basil.
  • Add in little water if required.
  • Simmer the soup for 7 to 8 mins on slow-medium heat.
  • Add a dollop of fresh cream on top before serving.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Maggi Or Pasta?.....its a Fusion

Dear All,
Italian,Noodles,Maggi,Vegetarian,Vegetables,Parsley,Bell Peppers,Green Peas

As you all know by now, how much I love to experiment, this bug of experimenting with different cuisines  didnt suddenly bite me, it all started right from my school days when i used to actively help my mom in the kitchen. Many a times my mom would ask me to make simple dal or dry vegetable curry for my dad's tiffin and what a surprise my dad would get when he took his first bite as the taste would be completely different than what my mom prepares... thanks to my little experiments :)

My todays recipe is one of our family favorites, the result of another experiment which started in school days and continues till date. Maggi is probably one of the most loved dish across all age groups. I havent come across anyone who isnt fond of Maggi noodles and i know lots of people who donot like chocolates..duh..can you believe it? It is the dish with which many of us have started our journey in the kitchen, am i wrong?

Back in my good old school days, I used to often visit my aunts place (my mom's elder sis) during summer vacations. They has this tradition where every sunday morning the whole family sits together and enjoys the breakfast, and yes you guessed it right, the breakfast would be Maggi noodles! During those days there was only one kind of flavor available, the masala one and we kids would generously sprinkle tomato ketchup on top and devour these until we licked up the entire bowl...yes we were that crazy!

I think before you all fall asleep I'll get to the recipe, I have always been a very big fan of italian cuisine, especially pastas with fresh herbs..basil being my favorite and recently i have discovered my new love for parsley. During school days and even now at home we have tulsi  (basil) plants, i usually grab some handful of leaves from my plant and use the aroma of some freshly plucked basil, its unbeatable! I have used lots of fresh herbs here mainly basil and parsley with a tinge of paprika and dry oregano. The dish is extremely easy to prepare and tastes fabulous, i would say a perfect meal for a weeknight..did i mention its healthy and fulfilling too?

This is off to "Family Recipes"  an monthly event hosted by HoneyB and Laura
Italian,Noodles,Maggi,Vegetarian,Vegetables,Parsley,Bell Peppers,Green Peas
(Meal for 2 people)
3 packets of Maggi noodles, broken into half (I used the Masala flavored)
1 big onion, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup of frozen green peas
1 small red jalapeno, chopped finely
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp dry oregano
2-3 tbsp of freshly chopped basil
2-3 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley
Salt to taste
1 olive tbsp oil
4 cups of water

  • Heat olive oil in a big deep vessel or a pan, add in sliced onions and chopped jalapenos. Saute onions for 2-3 mins until soft.
  • Add in the bell peppers and green peas, with turmeric powder, paprika, oregano and salt. Cook the bell peppers and green peas for 3 to 4 mins.
  • Now add in the maggi noodles, along with 4 cups of water.
  • Cook the noodles with the vegetables for 7 to 8 mins until cooked.
  • Finally add freshly chopped basil and parsley and give a quick stir.
  • Serve hot!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Farfalle with Eggplant Marinara Sauce

Dear All,

I have been experimenting a lot with different sauces and dips which can be used with pastas and pizzas. So stay tuned as lots of different pasta recipes will be coming up in next few weeks. One such successfull experiment was Rachel Ray's Eggplant Marinara Sauce. Initially I was little skeptical about this sauce as eggplant in a pasta sauce? I have  prepared curries using eggplant but never a sauce! Some googling and i landed on Pavani's version of eggplant pasta sauce, with such grt reviews I had to give it a try! Pasta are really easy, quick and extremely versatile in nature. You can have them baked, boiled and even rooasted! I love to prepare my pasta sauce at home, even if it takes 15 to 20 mins more, i think its totally worth it!

Most of the pasta sauces you can prepare in advance and freeze them, later on use them whenever required. I like to freeze my basic tomato sauce as it works well with both pizza and pasta and its a real life savior when I come back from long day of work! I also love to add pasta to my soups which makes them more healthier and fulfilling! The best part of pastas is that they are one pot meals extremely easy and no compromise on health and taste!
This is off to Presto Pasta Nights guest hosted this week by Rachel of The Crispy Cook an event started by Ruth Daniels of Once Upon A Feast
Eggplant Marinara Sauce
My Version of Eggplant Marinara Sauce:
For Roasting: 
2 big eggplants
2 medium tomatoes chopped
Salt and Pepper to drizzle

For Sauce:
1 can crushed tomatoes or 3 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 red jalapeno, finely chopped
2 medium red onions finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika flakes(optional)
Salt and Pepper as per taste
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)

2 cups farfalle pasta
4 cups water
1 tsp oil
1 tsp salt


  • Cook the pasta with water, oil and salt. Drain and keep aside.
  • Slice the eggplants into halves, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper. Roast the eggplants at 200 degrees C for about 45 mins, until tender and golden brown.
  • Half way through, spread the chopped tomatoes besides the eggplants on the same baking dish, sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper too.
  • At the end of 45 mins both eggplants and tomatoes will be roasted. Remove and keep aside to cool. Mash them nicely using your hands or a fork.
  • In a pan or skillet, heat a tbsp of olive oil, add in onions and jalapenos. Saute them for 3 to 4 mins until soft. Now add in the crushed tomatoes, mashed and roasted eggplants and tomato mixture. Mix well.
  • Add in vinegar and season with salt and pepper if required.I also added 1 tsp of paprika flakes to give a spicy kick.
  • Cook the sauce for 15 to 20 mins on slow-medium heat, until everything is well blended.
  • Finally add in freshly chopped parsley and serve hot with pasta.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Veggie Mayonnaise Burger..burgers under 30 mins

Dear All,

I know its been few days since i posted last, i have been under the weather from few days and hence not able to post regularly. Hopefully i should be out of this cold and fever in couple of days and will resume blogging. These days cooking has become such a breeze due to the readymade food available in the stores. You name it and you'll get it, right from indian food to italian pizzas. You even get frozen chopped vegetables which sometimes are real life savior. We also get fresh shredded cabbage, carrots and beetroots which is of course little expensive but totally worth it especially during weekdays when you are running out of time. On one such night I made these simple veggie burgers which were ready in under 30 mins and tasted awesome. I am sure these would be a big hit with children and they are healthy too. 

Shab and Hari Chandana have tagged me alphabetically which i have already done here Thank you both for sharing your tag with me :)
Hari Chandana and Priya have passed the "Scrumptious Award" to me, thank you dears.

Sanghi has passed the "Fabulous Blog" award to me, thank you so much and hope to see you blogging soon :)

Lavi has passed the "360 Degrees Foodie" award, thank you so much dear. 
I am passing 360 degree foodie award to:

Padma and Nithya have passed the "Honest Scrap" award to me, thank you so much dears , i am truly honored.

This award comes with the following rules:
  1. I must thank the person who gave me the award and list their blog and link it
  2. I must list 10 honest things about myself
  3. I must put a copy of The Honest Scrap Logo on my blog.
  4. I must select at least 7 other worthy bloggers & list their links
  5. I must notify the bloggers of the award and hopefully they will follow the above three requirements also.
So here for the honest things about myself:
1. I love to bake cakes but cant have more than one piece myself.
2. I have developed interest in photography and planning to buy a SLR soon.
3. I dont like pubs and disco, never been in one before.
4. I love to play badminton.
5. I am reserved and dont open up easily.
6. I am lazy to cook food for myself but love to cook for others.
7. I hate when people start taking me for granted.
8. I love to listen to songs especially kishore kumar's.
9. I love to watch Friends series and can watch any no of time.
10. I speak too fast, I am trying to work on this.

I am passing the Honest Scrap award to:

Nithya has also passed "The Beautiful Site Award", thank you so much dear, you truly are awesome.


8 burger buns
1 cup shredded cabbage and carrots
1 cup chopped ice lettuce
2 medium onions, sliced thinly
1 green bell pepper thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, chopped finely
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper as per taste
1 tbsp fine semolina (optional but recommended)
Slices of cheese (optional)


  • Mix mayo, cabbage, carrots, onions, jalapenos, semolina along with salt and pepper in a bowl and keep aside for 5 mins.
  • Butter the burger buns.
  • Arrange the ice lettuce pieces on the burger bun, add a cheese slice, on top of cheese slice add about 2 tbsp of mayo filling finally add some ice lettuce on top of the mayo filling.
  • Grill the burgers for 15 to 20 mins until lightly browned and crisp on top.
  • Serve hot with ketchup.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

German Roasted Potato Salad

Dear All,

When I first started to explore various cuisines I always went for simple and easy dishes which require minimum buying of ingredients. I usually go for bakes as I truly love to bake and the materials required are more or less the same ie eggs, flour, butter etc. I love to try different salads and soups too usually for my dinner, as i like my dinner to be light and fulfilling. Some weeks back i had this delicious salad with mustard sauce dressing in my office cafeteria and fell head over heals in love with the dressing. I have made this dressing many a times at home as its quite easy and personally I love the tangy taste of mustard and vinegar together.

When i came accross Boby Flay's German Potato Salad, i couldnt resist my self and gave it a try right away as the dressing used here is very much similar to my fav mustard dressing. This salad is also known as the Hot German Potato Salad, basically because its served warm. This is a traditional salad from Germany and usually made with bacon. Originally the recipe calls for boiled potatoes but i have used roasted potatoes. 

German potato salad, actually from southern Poland, is a popular variation which is generally served warm. It is typically more sour in taste and contains pork or bacon. Potato salad from northern Germany, however, is generally based on mayonnaise and quite similar to its US counterpart - Source Wikepedia.
Sending this to A.W.E.D German - Hosted by Laskhmi of Kitchen Chronicles an event started by DK of the ChefInYou


Original Recipe can be found here

4 big potatoes peeled and diced
2 medium onions sliced
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp of mustard sauce
Salt and Pepper as per taste
1 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley


  •  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  • Arrange the potatoes in an oven proof vessel, drizzle the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Mix properly so that potatoes are well covered with oil and seasoning.
  • Bake the potatoes for 40 to 45 mins until they are cooked. Make sure you turn the potatoes every 10 to 12 mins.
  • In a seperate pan, add little olive oil, about a tsp and saute the onions for 3 to 4 mins, until soft.
  • Carefully add in the vinegar and mustard paste, along with salt and pepper.
  • Take the pan off the heat and mix properly.
  • Now add in the oven baked potatoes and mix to cover the potatoes with the dressing.
  • Add freshly chopped parsley, adjust the seasoning and serve warm.
  • You can serve this salad with some sour cream as well. 
Verdict? An easy and delightful salad when served with sour cream serves as an excellent accompanient for soups and breads !!