May 23, 2012

Granola Bars~ My 200th post

200. Seems a huge figure to me. It s not even a year since i began blogging. The blog baby turns 1 this june. But i m on the 200th milestone already and this only means that i ve had fantastic support from all of you. Invincible support s more like it. I ve made some amazing friends ever since i began blogging.Friends who have given me a lift up to some points of recognition. Friends who deserve some special mention here. And along those lines, i must say the whole clique of Gourmet Seven have given me a gargantuan dose of inspiration to cook more and to post more. Thank you my dear pretty friends for being there for me and teaching me whatever you did. And then, there s Amma. Patient, supportive and loving amma who puts up with my obsessions about food and a hundred other things totally unrelated to food. Thank you Amma. Now, coming to the men. First there s Mr. P. The backbone of Tomato Blues. For, without Mr.P s feverish enthusiasm to devour what ever i conjure up, Tomato Blues would not have reached 200 this quick. And then, there s Daddy who meticulously reviews each post and then tells me in honest terms what s great and what s not so great about the post. In that sense, Daddy deserves the longest Thank You note. And for Mr.P, i have something else in store. For now, he has to be content with a meek Thank You from me.


   I ventured out into the blogging world like a duckling learning to swim. Tripping, falling and yet enjoying the whole process with a sense of satisfaction of doing something that i love immensely. I m still learning but i ve grown up from a duckling to a duck who now knows how to go about a few things in a better way. With some knowledge, lots of friends and tons of support from friends and family, i ve reached this point. I cant be happier than this.
    I wanted my 200th post to be a first timer, healthy and sweet. After racking my brains for almost 2 weeks, i zeroed in on Granola from Smitten Kitchen. Now, we are true south indians who dunk our idlies into a bowl of piping hot sambhar dutifully every morning. So the concept of cereal bars for breakfast does not appeal to us. But granola s a different story. We dont like eating cereals soaked in milk. Heck, we dont even like parfait. But granola bars are something that i snack on every now and then. I ve not made granola before. But i relish eating store bought bars too. Anyway, Mr.P s a different story. He s a person who screws up his nose the moment i tell him its oats for breakfast. He hates cereal in any form. He hadnt eaten granola till i made these the other day. And i could only smile when he popped 2 more of them last evening after coming back from work.


Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 to 35 mins
Makes about 12 to 14 medium size squares




( This s a versatile granola bar. While the base s oats and oat flour, the combination of nuts and other things that can be added are way too many. You can stick to my options or you can add anything that you desire. Pepita,corn flakes,apricots, sun dried apples, sun dried strawberries, anything that you like. Dont attempt making granola in a pan without lining it with baking sheets. You will land up with something similar to fudge and not granola.Keep a sharp eye on the oven after 30 mins baking time. Once the tops become a golden brown, then bake for another 2 mins and then remove. Let the bars cool completely before you cut them up. Or the bars dont hold their shape.)


What You Need?

Oats 1 and 2/3 cups
Oats flour 1/3 cup or 1/3 cup oats powdered finely in a processor
Granulated sugar 1/2 cup
Honey 1/4 cup
Vegetable oil 6 tbsp
Vanilla extract 1 tbsp
Peanut butter 1/3 cup
Salt 1/2 tsp
Liquid glucose syrup or corn syrup 2 tbsp
Sesame seeds 3 tbsp roasted
Sunflower seeds 3 tbsp roasted
Craisins 1/4 cup
Raisins and sultanas 1/4 cup
Almonds, walnuts and dried figs 3/4 cup
Chocolate chips dark and white 1/4 cup

How To Make It?

Preheat oven to 180 C.
Line a 8"X8"X2" baking pan with baking sheet or parchment paper or butter paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, oat flour and the nuts along with the other dry ingredients.
Now, in another mixing bowl, place all the wet ingredients and combine till well emulsified.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and combine well using a rubber spatula.
Transfer this mixture to the lined baking pan and spread it evenly on the pan.
Bake for 30 mins until you get a golden crust on the top of the granola.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Takes about 4 hours.
Cut into pieces as desired, wrap in butter paper or plastic and store in an airtight container or in the fridge.

Devour some then and there and if you really have the resistence, then wait till the morning to have these for breakfast.Sending my granola to
I Love Baking 4 and Vardhini s Bakefest hosted by
Priya

May 21, 2012

No Bake Brownies

I ve been gone for a long time now. I know that i ve not been a star blogger these few weeks. Too many things on my plate and then there s the scorching heat which makes any chore to be done in the kitchen a daunting task. Added to all the mayhem was the AC which failed us dutifully. Which only made us crankier than ever. Sleepless, sweaty as pigs and scorning was how we were this weekend. I couldnt stand that status much. I mean, crankiness and sweating are not my best friends and i dont appreciate the situation if it goes on for a long time. So this time around, i decided that i ll try and better the situation a little. And that s why these brownies got made in my kitchen. Despite the fact that the AC did not work. And the fridge was acting up.


  I know that a lot of things on this blog has been on a standstill. FBTE and Cook Book Tuesdays havent been happening much. I ve been ignoring the kitchen for a long time now. And that includes my book shelf too. I decided to make a comeback today with these brownies. I hope these brownies work as my good luck charm in the coming week. I hope i will be able to do a few posts in the coming days. And the next post s extra extra special. Its a guest post. A very special guest and a simple post. But then the guest s who that matters. So stay tuned for the next post too. And if you are bored like me or if you feel that you simply cant stand the heat, then make these brownies, cut them up and down them in as many goes as possible alongside a glass of chilled milk. Believe me, then, your day will look way better.


Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: Nil
Makes a 9" brownie




( These brownies require atleast 3 hours of setting time in the fridge. You can add any nuts of your choice. You can even try a combination of nuts. Make sure you crush your biscuits coarsely for a beautiful texture in the brownies.You can use granulated sugar too.)


What You Need?

Digestive biscuits 20 to 25
Condensed milk 1/2 tin or 200 ml
Castor sugar 2 tbsp
White chocolate chips 1/4 cup
Unsweetened Cocoa powder 3 tbsp
Walnuts roasted and chopped coarsely 1/4 cup

How To Make It?

Crush the biscuits into a coarse powder using a rolling pin. Make the whole job less messy by placing the biscuits in a zip pouch and then rolling the pin over it. Do not use a processor to do this as you will land up with a fine biscuit powder and that s simply not the brownie way.
Now, add the cocoa, sugar, nuts, chocolate chips and combine the mixture well.
Add the condensed milk to this mixture and start mixing. The mixture will be very thick and will not make it a delightful experience. But cheer yourself up by licking the batter now and then continue to mix anyways.
Now, line a pie dish 9" in size with butter paper or parchment paper if you are one of those fancy bees.
Transfer the biscuit mixture to the pie dish and cover the pie dish with cling wrap.
Now, start evening out the mixture using your hands making sure the mixture is evenly spread on the dish.
Leave it in the fridge to set for atleast 3 to 4 hours.
Once done, remove the brownie from the pie dish and chop into squares.


What are you waiting for? Start gobbling them brownies and dont forget to get a glass of milk to go with them.

May 13, 2012

Chocolate Cup Cakes& I have the bestest mom!!

I somehow do not believe in Mother s day or Father s day or husband s day. I mean if that exists. I m not sure. But i mean do we really need a day to celebrate our loved ones. Especially your mom. Every individual thinks the world of her mom.Correct me if i am wrong. Oh! but i m doubly sure here. In fact more than doubly sure!! For me every single day of my life is Mother s day, Father s day and Husband s day. I think of them every moment. And i thank God everyday for blessing me with an abundance of love. I ve never felt love lost in my life. Oh.. its not like i dint have my teenage tantrums or something. I was stubborn as a mule and as rebellious as an army of soldiers when my mom did tell me something. Those telling me off occassions were rare. And i ve had my share of duels with my mom over a pink frock or a sleeveless top. But at the end of all that, my mom still manages to be a beautiful soul who touches my life in every way possible. In spite of the zillion rows we have, we still talk on the phone for hours on end. With my father in the background reminding us that the phone service provider may get annoyed and disconnect our connections. Fat chance of that happening! She was a working mom but that did not stop her from teaching me to do the right things or bringing me up as a good human being who respects others' feelings. Sure, i dont have a fat pay check. But like amma says, every one s special in some way and you neednt bring home a hefty pay check to be special. I am widely admired by a lot of people in the circle of my friends and family. While my mom stands back and watches me with a smile, i know that its my mom who deserves all that oohing and aahing. I may not tell her that she s the bestest mom everyday. But i love her and i am grateful beyond words to her for her timely bits of wisdom, for holding on to the rocky boat,for her thoughtfulness to pick up a bundt pan for me and then some more scrunchies and earrings. Even though she knows i have a treasure chest full of them.And for letting me wail and cry!! I am proud of my mom and i admire her for bringing me up as a decent human being. Above all that, i m thankful to God for giving me a mom who manages to be there for me all the time. No matter i want to cry or laugh.


   My mom doesnt go gaga over cakes and cookies. Not that i do. But then, i made them because my mom s like this cake. A lil sweet, a lil sour, a lil bitter and a lil salty. All in the right amounts. That you simply cant ignore any of the bits and yet you will get a taste of every bit of flavor there s in the cake. All moms are like that in their own way. And we dont need a day to celebrate motherhood. We just need to make the time.

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Yields 12 to 14




( The original recipe calls for buttermilk. But i replaced it with yoghurt and it worked like a charm. The cakes were moist, soft and lovely. They rose beautifully too.In case you want to use buttermilk, use 6 tbsp of it instead of the yoghurt. You can frost these with whipped cream or cream cheese or even some dulce de leche.)


What You Need?

Flour 3/4 cup spooned and levelled
Sugar 3/4 cup powdered
Butter 3 tbsp melted
Egg white from a large egg
Egg 1
Thick fresh yoghurt whisked 6 tbsp
Baking powder 1 tsp
Baking soda 1/2 tsp
Cocoa powder 6 tbsp
Hot water 3 tbsp
Salt 1/4 tsp

Muffin cups for lining the tray

How To Make It?

Preheat the oven to 180 c.
In a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder along with the sugar and combine well. I sieved this twice. Set aside.
Now, combine the cocoa and hot water to make a thick paste.
In another bowl, add the melted butter, cocoa paste, yoghurt, egg white and egg and whisk until just combined.
Now add the flour mixture to this cocoa mixture and slowly combine until well incorporated. You can do this in an electric mixer on low speed for about 2 mins.
Spoon about 2 tbsp of batter in to each muffin cup.
Bake for 20 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Let it cool on a wire rack completely before removing them.

Once cooled, enjoy them with a scoop of ice cream or eat them up as they are.
Sending a bite of these to I Love Baking 4

May 5, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls ~ Gourmet Seven

CAVEAT: A GARRULOUS POST BUT SOME HEAVENLY BUNS


Well, it s the beginning of yet another month. May with all its hot and dry attitude began on an eventful note and should i say, a disastrous bread baking experience twice failed? I dont consider that an event to remember.My breads never go awry. After all they became pathetic the first seven times i tried. So i actually thought i have become BFF with the yeast fella now. I mean, not that i m not. We are close. In fact, we almost share an ethereal bonding. But then, i discovered that my friend can fail me if i dont have the right recipe. I had some very imprecise instructions on how to go about a bread. And it all landed up in the dustbin which the squirrels later on devoured with glee. The squirrels were treated to two loaves this way. I mean, now its only sheer pluck that prompted to me to attempt a second recipe from the same source. Needless to say, that also went straight to the dustbins. The squirrels and even some mynas joined up on my cardboard bread feast. So May dint begin well. Atleast not in the way i expected. But then, i m not a person who bemoans a failed bread for long. The last night, yes.. you heard me right, the last night, i scoured the internet for a nice cinnamon rolls recipe. I landed up with cinnamon rolls on Pioneer woman.
        I m beginning this month s Gourmet Seven with these sweet and mildly spiced Cinnamon rolls. The theme this month is english breakfast. Now, if you are going to ask me who picks such crazy themes, isnt the answer obvious? Its yours truly of course!! I chose french toasts as my pick as a matter of fact. But because i think french toasts by itselves are not gourmet, i hopped on over to these rolls.
       Now, if you are a baker, then you must must totally totally bake your own bread. I prefer baking bread to baking anything else. Why? One, the amount of butter and eggs that go into a loaf of bread is infinitesimal when compared to a cake or some cookies and then there s that supernal experience of kneading the bread. I mean, just how could some one not love kneading dough that has been fermented with the yeast guy!!
       When i began baking this bread it was 9 in the evening. Or should i say in the night? I began late and everything dint really go off as i planned. For instance, the yeast guy took up more than 10 mins to froth up. And the end of the 5 th min is enough to make me wail. But then, i waited a little. Cos the weather Gods chose to become all windy and cool yesterday as against their normal hot and dry airs. Uhhh.. And then, the dough took almost more than an hour to double up which is something that never happens with me again. But i held my horses and i did really get some beautiful fluffy sweet cinnamon rolls. Now, is there any other spice that infuses so well with sugar? I dont think. From Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond to my kitchen came these lovelies. I hope they all make an appearance on yours too!!

Prep Time: Under an hour to make the wet mixture for the dough
             Under 20 mins to mix the dough 
             An hour or so for the first rise.
             40 to 50 mins for the second rise
Cook Time: 15 t0 20 mins
Makes about 10 to 14 rolls


(There can be nothing as annoying as running out of butter when you just have to grease a pan. So make sure your pantry is well stocked with butter before you begin this. You need plenty of time and patience for these. Timing matters a lot. Before you begin to roll out the dough to spread the filling, keep the filling ready. You will also need a dough scraper, tin foil to line the tray, a pastry brush and a clean work surface. Keep all these handy. Chilling the dough is essential because the dough is sticky and you cant work it while it s in room temperature. Because you have to spread the filling and roll up the dough while its cold, you need to have everything ready before you take the dough out of the fridge. You will also need big mixing bowls for this.In case the weather Gods fail you like they did me, then, boil a cup of water in the microwave for about 2 mins. This will have made the oven all humid and warm. Now switch off the oven, remove the water and then let the dough rise in the oven. Should work like a charm. Its only at these times i wonder how people living on high altitudes bake their bread!!)


What You Need?

Flour 2 cups plus 1/4 cup divided use
Milk 1 cup
Vegetable oil 1/4 cup
Baking powder 1/4 tsp
Baking soda 1/8 tsp
Sugar 1/4 cup powdered
Active dry yeast 1and 1/4 tsp
Salt 3/4 tsp

For The Filling:

Butter 4 tbsp
Cinnamon 1 tsp
Brown sugar or white sugar( do you really care?) 4 to 6 tbsp powdered

How To Make It?

Combine the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan and heat the mixture just until it reaches the stage of boiling. This technique of heating s called scalding.
Bring the mixture to luke warm. Takes about 1 hour in Baroda normally but yesterday got windy and i got lucky.
Once the mixture is luke warm, add the yeast and mix well.
Set aside for about 10 mins so that the yeast proofs and a frothy layer appears on the top.
In the meanwhile, take the 1/4 cup of flour and add the baking soda, salt and baking powder to this. Combine well and set aside.
Now measure 2 cups of flour and set aside.To measure flour correctly, first fluff the flour with a spoon. Then gently spoon the flour into the measuring cup in a heap.Now, use a knife and level the cup.
Once the yeast is done, transfer this to another large mixing bowl.( when i say large, really large enough for the dough to double up and then more space remains)
Now add the flour to the yeast and mix well with a spatula until well combined. Dont do it the other way around!! You will have a sticky wet dough now. Dont panic.
Cover with a clean damp kitchen towel and set aside until the dough doubles. Takes about an hour or more depending on your weather.
Once the dough has risen, add the 1/4 cup of flour to the dough and mix well using your hand until well combined. Dont KNEAD!!
Divide the dough into 2 parts.Refrigerate this dough for about 1/2 hour. This is only to make the dough easy to handle. You can skip this but i strongly recommend that you do it.
In the meanwhile, melt the butter. Add the cinnamon and sugar to the butter and mix well.
Line a loaf pan or a baking tray with tin foil and grease it generously with butter. I ran out of butter at this precise moment. Call it timing!
Prepare a clean working surface to roll the dough with some flour.
Once you ve got all this ready, take the dough out and start working the dough for about a min. I suggest taking out one portion at a time.
Then start rolling the dough into a rectangle making sure the dough is not too thin or too thick.
Apply the filling beginning from the end on the breadth side and go on till the end making sure that you ve spread the filling evenly.
Roll the dough beginning from one end on the length side.
Cut the roll into 5 equal portions.
Place them on the baking tray with lots of space between the rolls.
Allow them to rise to double. Again takes about 40 to 50 mins.
Towards the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 200 C.
Now, brush them with milk using a pastry brush.
Now, bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 mins until you can see a  golden brown crust on the top.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.


Enjoy them for breakfast with some cold milk or a smoothie.
We begin our gourmet session today and go on till the weekend. Check out the other gourmets Vardhini, veena,Radhika,Sangee,Kaveri and Anamika for what we all are cooking up this month!!

May 4, 2012

Shahi Paneer Recipe| Side Dish For Flatbreads

When I started cooking, i began tagging recipes with a fervor. I ve never stopped tagging recipes and the process is very natural for me. It s something as natural as the water that flows from the faucet every morning. But amidst that huge pile of recipes that has been tagged, thumbed and tucked away in God knows how many corners around the house, there are some that I know I want to make or some that I have a fetish for but somehow it never gets made. Shahi Paneer is one such recipe. The day i made this, all i could tell myself in an incessant fashion was that i was a huge duffer with a capital D for not having made shahi paneer. I mean how could i have not made Shahi Paneer? I think it s illegal for a veggie belly not to make shahi paneer.


May 3, 2012

Missi Roti Recipe | Easy Flatbread Recipes

There are some things which are an eye sore in my pantry only to the limited audience of me of course! And one among them, in fact, the only one is the chickpea flour or besan. I loathe that light yellow flour. I hate the texture, smell, flavor and everything else there s about besan. Sorry if you all are pally with besan. I really do not know when i developed a yawning hatred for chickpea flour. Maybe it was when a friend told me about some fritters that she ate which made her sick. I have no clue. But all i know is if i look at chickpea flour, then i m pushed to screwing my face up. If i am asked to cook with chickpea flour, then i m almost going to be in tears. And if you ask me to eat something that has chickpea flour, then you have pushed me to lugubrious.


 Well. That s one reason why my blog does not have too many fritter recipes. Can i say, my kosher dislike towards chickpea flour is the cause. I dont make fritters that have besan in them unless i really have to. And those are when Mr.P gets a monstrous craving to eat onion fritters or when someone holds me at gunpoint. While the odds of the first one happening are quite frequent, the odds of the second doesnt seem in store for me. Anyway, that s that. But i still have chickpea flour in my pantry and i do look at that always 3/4th full container and wonder why amma sends me so much besan.
      So, when i was on a pantry cleaning spree last week and when i knew i ve to overcome this baseless dislike, and that its time for that, i decided to make some missi rotis~ a wonderful rajasthani delicacy. I loved the rotis. But chickpea flour is still not my BFF.

Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: Under 5 mins for one flatbread
Makes 12 small rotis


(These rotis are such a breather after those boring phulkas and naan. They are filling and make a nice lunch box meal too. You can add chili powder instead of green chili. You can add spice powders like coriander cumin powder too if it suits your palate.)

What You Need?

Chick pea flour or besan 3/4 cup
Whole wheat flour 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves chopped finely 3 tbsp
Green chili minced 1
Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp
Carom seeds 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Chaat masala 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil 2 tbsp plus some more to cook the rotis
Water for kneading 1/2 cup plus or minus a few tbsp



How To Make It?

In a large mixing bowl, sieve together both the flours along with the chaat masala, turmeric and salt.
Now, add the cumin, carom seeds, green chili, coriander leaves and combine well.
Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour 2 tbsp oil.
Now, add 1/4 cup of water and start kneading.
Add more water as necessary to knead the dough into a soft pliable and supple dough.
But make sure you dont add more than 3/4 cup of water. We dont need a sticky mass here.
Having kneaded the dough, cover with a clean damp kitchen towel and set aside for about 10 mins.
After 10 mins, knead the dough for a min and then divide it into 12 equal parts.
Now shape the dough parts into round balls, press them a little, dip them in flour and roll them into small rotis.
Cook on a tawa applying oil on both sides until brown spots appear.


Serve hot with some spicy Paneer Tawa Masala or some shahi paneer. Recipe coming soon!!
Sending this to MLLA hosted by Priya for Susan


May 2, 2012

Mango Milkshake

My sincere apologies first. For not visiting a few spaces that i love. I have too many things on my plate at the moment and that s why devoting time to blogging has become a fantasy all of a sudden. I promise, i ll get back to you all soon and will read up on all your piquant and divine posts.
      In the meanwhile, it s not like i m not stepping into my kitchen. Of course, i subject my skillets and pans to my tyrannical attitude tirelessly. Almost like a matron who never forgets to admonish her wards.I mean, how can i not? I really do not if i ve been in love with any other non living entity on the earth s surface other than  my kitchen. I mean, i m smitten. There s no calling quits to cooking or whipping up something quick in the kitchen. Come rain, come hail, come snow. Or like the weather here, come shine. :)


  I ve been making really quick on the stove things. Today s recipe does not even require a stove. I mean heck its not even a recipe. It s one of those things that you make in a pell mell. You dont even know what or how much of what s going into it. But you land up with something gorgeously delicious anyway. Assuming that you all have your basket of mangoes and milk ready( you do have them, dont you? If you dont then you are not being fair and square to this scorching summer) Having prepped up all that, lets whizz and make some shake, shall we?


Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: Nil
Makes about 2 glasses




( It s one of those kinds where how much of whatever doesnt matter. Feel free to alter the proportion of the mangoes to milk. I ve used 1.5 cups cos we like our shakes thick. So that we can dunk our rotis in and take a yipee lick. If you want a little thinner shake, then maybe use about 3 cups milk. Adjust sugar accordingly. The choice of mangoes play a vital role in getting this right. Choose mangoes that are sweet and juicy. The ones that are a deep yellow make awesome shakes. And use any sugar for this. You can even try cane sugar or agave nectar. By  the way, dont skip the curd. It gives a lovely subtle tang to the shake.)


What You Need?

Juicy ripe mangoes medium sized ones 2 peeled and chopped into chunks
Milk 1.5 to 2 cups
Curd 1/2 cup
Sugar or honey to taste

Ice cubes to serve.

How To Make It?

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth puree.


Serve chill topped with ice cubes.
Sending this to Kids delight hosted by nupurBon Vivant 4 fruitsMango Mania and Cool Summer Sips