Carrot Salad

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This is another easy and simple salad. Carrots are a salad regular and I usually make it South Indian style. This recipe from the book, Diva Green, had a different flavour combination for the ubiquitous carrot. The mint, sesame seeds, honey and lemon juice make a beautiful team to enhance this simple salad to the next level.

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Serves 2-3

Recipe from Diva Green: a vegetarian cookbook by Ritu Dalmia

WHAT WE NEED

Carrots, medium                4

Sesame seeds                       1 tsp

Mint leaves                           8-10

Raisins                                   2 tbsp

Sesame oil                             4-5 tsp

Lemon juice                          2 tbsp

Honey                                     1 tsp

Salt & pepper
WHAT TO DO

  • Peel and cut the carrots into thin matchsticks
  • Cook it in boiling water for 4-5 minutes
  • Drain the water and set the carrots aside to cool
  • Dry roast the sesame seeds in a pan till golden
  • In a bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper
  • Pour this dressing over the carrots
  • Add the mint leaves, raisins and half of the sesame seeds and mix well
  • Garnish with the remaining sesame seeds 
  • Enjoy!

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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

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Carrot Cake

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Despite baking regularly for around 4 years now, I have yet to make a good carrot cake. I tried quite a few recipes but with mediocre results. Then two things happened – one, I got this amazing recipe and secondly I got those lovely long and thin red carrots for the first time in Bangalore. Usually we get the small and thick orange ones which are great for adding in salads and mixed veggies but fall short when it comes to the dessert  department. This is also the reason I have never made the amazing gajar ka halwa as yet.

Anyways, back to the carrot cake. This one turns out so soft, so moist and so flavorful. It has the perfect sweet taste without being too overpowering and it lets the carrot shine through and through. The daughter loves it, the husband loves it and I am simply drooling. I made it yesterday and it is already finished. Yes, I am gaining weight this week so that I can make the traditional weight loss resolution for the new year. So here goes –

Recipe from here

Makes one 10″ cake

WHAT WE NEED

Sunflower / rice bran oil               3/4 cup

Granulated sugar                             1 cup

Eggs                                                      2

All purpose flour                              1 cup + 2 tbsp

Baking powder                                   1/2 tsp

Baking soda                                         1/2 tsp

Cinnamon powder                             1/2 tsp

Salt                                                          a pinch

Grated carrot                                        1 cup
WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Grease a 10″ round pan and line with parchment paper
  • In a large bowl, beat the oil and sugar together for 2 minutes with a hand mixer
  • Add the eggs one by one. Ensure the first egg is fully combined with the oil mixture before adding the second one
  • Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl to mix
  • Add the flour mixture into the oil mixture and beat them together
  • Fold in the grated carrots to ensure they are fully combined into the cake batter
  • Pour the batter into the pan
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or till the toothpick inserted comes out clean
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes
  • U mould the cake and cool completely on a wire rack
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Apple and Almond Soup

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I am not a huge fan of cooking fruits preferring to have them raw as they are supposed to be. But sometimes exceptions need to be made, especially when you have a beautiful symphony of apples with tomatoes, gooseberry and carrots topped generously with almonds. Exception accepted.

I had a couple of apples sitting on the counter top for 4 days without the daughter or me going anywhere near it. Usually it is the husband who cores and slices the apples for us. With him travelling, I kept postponing it till such time the apple threatened to decay. With me in a soup daily, I figured I could soup the apples without too much effort. Voila! I must admit I was surprised at how tasty and flavorful the soup turned out. Do try it –

Serves 3

Recipe adapted from here.

WHAT WE NEED

Apples                          2

Gooseberry                 2

Tomato, medium      1

Carrot, medium        1

Cinnamon                  1/2 tsp

Sugar                            1 tsp

Fresh cream               1/4 cup

Almonds                      8

Salt

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Blanch the almonds and peel the skin
  • Cut 4 of the almonds into slivers and set aside
  • Core and cut the apples into quarters
  • Cut the tomatoes and gooseberries.
  • Peel and cut the carrots
  • Take all the above in a vessel and pressure cook with 1 1/2 cups of water for 4 whistles
  • Once the steam escapes, take them out and cool
  • Once cooled, blend them along with 4 almonds to a smooth puree
  • Take the puree in a saucepan and add 1 cup water
  • Simmer for 10 minutes
  • Add sugar, salt, cinnamon and fresh cream and simmer for 1-2 minutes
  • Garnish with almond slivers
  • Enjoy!

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68

Cheesy Potato Soup

 

I figured another soup recipe would be a good finish to this week’s marathon.  I was struggling to choose between a nutritious beetroot soup (a recipe that has been in the  ‘to do’ list for ages) and this creamy, cheesy, rich potato soup. Not much of a contest especially since it’s so much easier peeling and cutting potatoes as compared to beets. 
I adapted this from here deleting the bacon (obviously!) and also the cream and flour. I replaced the celery with coriander and voila! Rich, tasty soup is served. The daughter finished it up in a jiffy which is the ultimate stamp of approval.

So here goes –

Serves 3

WHAT WE NEED

Olive oil                                     1 tbsp

Onion, medium                       2

Carrot, small                             1

Coriander stalks                       8-10

Russet potatoes, medium     3

Milk                                              200 ml

Vegetable stock / water          300 ml

Cajun seasoning                       1 tsp

Salt

Pepper

Cheddar cheese, grated     to garnish 

WHAT TO DO

  • Chop the onions, carrot and coriander stalks finely.
  • Heat the oil and add the onions.
  • Once the onions are translucent, add the carrot and coriander stalks and mix well.
  • Was, peel and cut the potatoes into 1″ cubes.
  • Add the potatoes to the other vegetables and let ten cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the ilk, stock, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper.
  • Mix well and cover to cook.
  • Let it cook for around 20 minutes till the potatoes are completely cooked.
  • Cool and blend to a smooth purée consistency with an immersion blender.
  • Warm the soup before serving.
  • Garnish with cheese 
  • Enjoy!

 

This is my post for the Blogging Maraton under Root Vegetables.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM. 

 

Whole wheat carrot walnut date cake disaster

Ever since I started this blog, luckily I have been having a string of successes – not only when I was trying new recipes, even when I tried altering some of them to suit my ingredient availability and weight reduction needs. I have documented quite a few of them and have been patting myself on the back far too many times.

But this morning I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized that I did not even think about documenting my not so successful / failed recipes ever. Somehow I had internalized that only the good ones were to be put up to the world. So it struck me this morning that I was defeating the very purpose of this blog which was to document my journey into bakersville and that obviously entailed documenting the failures as much as the successes. So here goes –

I had quite a few carrots left in my fridge and also the pitted dates and chopped walnuts which I forgot to add in my previous recipe. So I googled and found this wonderful recipe for whole wheat carrot walnut dates cake. It looked and sounded simple and I did not have too many doubts about it turning out well.

Since I was confident about it, I decided to try out some modifications which would not mess with the taste but reduce the calorie intake sizably. So I reduced the amount of sugar by half and replaced it with honey. In order to not make it too liquid-y, I reduced the water in the recipe to maintain the form and structure. I also included 1/4 tsp of additional baking powder because sugar would also help leavening. Then when the batter was mixed, it seemed too thick and the possibility of it being dry seemed very high. So I added the rest of the water which I had discarded in favor of the honey. Yet I was kind of proud with this and reasonably confident of getting a good tasting cake.

But that was not to be. The pros of the cake were that it did come out of the pan in one piece without creating a mess. It did not sink and had risen evenly all over instead of a mountain shaped cake. That’s about it. I can’t create any more pros to this dish. The cons, on the other hand, were few but significant. The cake was very dense. There was no flavor of the carrots or walnuts. There were portions in which you could taste just salt and wheat, which was like a soggy roti and totally disastrous. The husband did not like it at all and neither did my daughter. But we did manage to finish it up.

Carrot walnut dates cake

Lessons learnt

1. Mix the batter well. By fearing overmixing, do not undermix it

2. Don’t make too many or large changes in a recipe. Try replacing 20-25% of ingredients before making a huge cut.

3. Be more careful with whole wheat cakes as compared to plain flour cakes because of its additional density.

But as I am writing this, my next cake is fast sinking. Guess, another post is in order soon!