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.

Warm, Caramelized Baby Potato & Onion Salad

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While I was baking all those delicious breads last month, I was also feeling very guilty about eating so many breads all at once. That is when I decided to eat salads to kind of compensate for all that wheat. This is one of the lovely salads that I had.

The recipe is from a book ‘Diva Green: a vegetarian cookbook’ by Ritu Dalmia. It is a fun book with recipes divided amongst potatoes, pumpkins, mushrooms, greens, fruits and such others. There are lovely salads, soups and few baked dishes I have marked to try. I will post a few of them as part of my Cooking from Cookbook Challenge this month. 

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Serves 2

WHAT WE NEED

Baby potatoes, halved        500 gms

Baby onions, peeled            250 gms

Walnuts, roughly chopped  1/2 cup

Butter                                        25 gms

Brown sugar                            1 tsp

Spring onions, chopped        2

Raisins                                      2 tbsp

Lemon, medium size             1

Salt & pepper
Coriander leaves to garnish 

Paneer, crumbled, to garnish
WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the raisins in some water for 10 minutes. Drain it and set aside
  • Boil the baby potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes and remove with slotted spoon
  • In the same water, boil the baby onions for 10 minutes and drain
  • In a pan, toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes on medium heat and set aside
  • In the same pan, heat the butter and once it melts, add the brown sugar
  • When the mixture turns dark, add the potatoes and onions and cook for 2-3 minutes till they are nicely brown
  • In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, onions, spring onions, walnuts and raisins. 
  • Juice the lemon and mix well
  • Season with salt & pepper
  • Garnish with crumbled paneer and coriander leaves
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Picnic Dishes’.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#76
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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

Vegetable Manchurian

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One of the advantages of being a vegetarian in seafood paradise is that I have tried making a lot more dishes than before simply because there was no other option. During my time in India I always ordered in when the manchurian cravings came calling. Since that isn’t an option here, I set out to make it and discovered that it’s not such a big deal at all. It is slightly time consuming because of all the ‘very finely chopped’ veggies but otherwise it’s quite easy and totally worth the time spent.

This recipe is also from the TV show Samayal Samayal by Venkatesh Bhat.

Makes 10-12

WHAT WE NEED

Mixed vegetables                                 3 cups

(cabbage, French beans, carrot, capsicum)

Potato, large                                         1

All purpose flour                                 1 – 1/2 tbsp

Cornstarch / cornflour                      2-3 tbsp

Soya sauce                                             1/2 tsp

Oil to deep fry

Salt & pepper  

Manchurian sauce                               1  1/2 cups

Spring onion green, chopped          To garnish

WHAT TO DO

  •  Chop the vegetables very finely. Since these have to be rolled into a ball, the smaller the pieces the better it is
  • Boil the potato and mash it well
  • Take all the chopped vegetables in a large bowl
  • Add the mashed potato, all purpose flour and cornstarch and mix well
  • Add salt, pepper and soya sauce 
  • Add water just enough to bring the mixture together
  • Heat the oil
  • Divide the mixture into lemon sized balls and deep fry them till golden brown
  • Remove them from the oil and add to the manchurian sauce
  • Mix well so that all the balls at well coated with the sauce
  • Garnish with a liberal sprinkle of spring onion greens
  • Enjoy it with some fried rice or hakka noodles

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – One sauce Two Dishes

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM. 
 
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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

Shirred Eggs with Potato Purée

   

For the second day of this week’s Blogging Marathon, I picked this simple and delicious recipe of potatoes with eggs. This is from the book ‘My Kitchen Year: 136 recipes that saved my life’ by Ruth Reichl. The recipes are wonderful and the writing simply mind blowing. Sample these lines about this very dish – 

Potatoes and eggs have had a very long love affair, but their romance has never been more exciting than here, where they embrace with astonishing fervour. When you want to be really really good to yourself, take the time to make this soft egg, gently cooked on a pillow of butter-rich potatoes. Then eat it very slowly with a spoon. Each bite reminds you why you’re glad to be alive”.

If this can’t make you try a dish, I don’t know what can. The husband had to travel for a couple of days and I chose that very time to try this one out. He is scandalized if I make anything with the potatoes other than a good South Indian roast complete with curry leaves and red chilly powder. So the daughter and I had this yummy and filling breakfast though she chose to have only the buttered potato purée without the egg included, not that I blame her. Do try it out.
  

Makes 4 Ramekins

WHAT WE NEED

Potatoes, medium sized                3-4 (around 400 gms)

Cream / sour cream                        3/4 cup

Butter                                                  3 tbsp / 40 gms

Eggs                                                      4

Salt & Pepper

WHAT TO DO

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into small pieces
  • Put them in a vessel and fill it with water enough to cover the potatoes
  • Add 1-2 tsp of salt and bring it to a boil
  • Simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes till the potatoes offer no resistance when pierced and can be easily mashed
  • Drain the water and mash the potatoes thoroughly
  • Season with pepper and set aside
  • Melt the butter and add 1/2 cup of the cream and mix well
  • Add this butter mixture to the mashed potato and watch it turn into a smooth purée
  • Preheat the oven to 190C 
  • Boil 2-3 cups of water
  • Butter 4 ramekins and fill them with potatoe purée up to half full.
  • Arrange the ramekins in a deep baking tray
  • Break open one egg in each of the ramekins carefully without breaking the yolk
  • Pour the boiling water into the baking tray 
  • Bake for 8 minutes until the egg whites have just begun to set
  • Add the remaining cream equally in the 4 ramekins and bake again for 5 minutes until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
  • Garnish with salt, chopped chives or bacon (optional)
  • Enjoy!

 

NOTES

  1. The original recipe calls for cream but I had some sour cream to use up and so replaced it. Both options work very well
  2. I baked it for about 7 minutes the second time since I am not a huge fan of runny yolks. 

This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – One vegetable three ways.

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

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

Apple Crisp

   

When I started the CCChallenge, I thought I would blog about all the recipes from the multitudes of paper cuttings and books I picked up over the years but never looked at. But I seem to be buying new books now and the pile is simply increasing and the backlog becoming worse! 

This recipe is from the latest book that I bought – My Kitchen Years by Ruth Reichl. It a beautifully written book and talks a lot about the comfort and bliss cooking a meal brings to the cook. 

  

So here goes –

WHAT WE NEED

Apples, medium size           6

Lemon                                     1/2

All purpose flour                  1 cup

Brown sugar                          1 cup

Cinnamon powder               1 tsp

Salt                                           a pinch

Unsalted butter                    4 1/2 tbsp

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven at 190C
  • Peel the apples, core them and slice them thinly
  • Add the lemon juice to the apples and toss well
  • Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon powder and salt in a bowl
  • Cut in the butter into the flour mixture and mix well
  • Arrange the apples in a baking dish and pat the flour mix on top of it
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes till the top is crisp and the Apple juice bubbling
  • Enjoy!

 

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

Sugared Sables 

 

There are cookies and there are cookies. This one, though, should have been named buttery sables. It simply melts in your mouth, which is not surprising considering the amount of butter added. But it’s so worth it because you get such goodness rarely and it must be enjoyed. Christmas time after all!

   

It’s a sweet, simple recipe to cookie heaven from the book, ‘500 Cookies: The only cookie compendium you will ever need’. It is recommended to have these with some dessert wine.

So here goes –

Makes 35-40 cookies

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                            3 1/4 cups

Confectioner’s sugar                    1 1/2 cups

Butter, at room temperature      1 1/4 cups

Vanilla extract                                2 tsp

Raisins (optional)                          1/2 cup

Egg white                                         1

Coarse sugar                                   2 tbsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Sift flour and the confectioner’s sugar in a bowl
  • Add the butter and mix well.
  • Add the vanilla and raisins
  • Knead the dough lightly until smooth.
  • Divide the dough into 4 
  • Roll each part of the dough to a log of 1 1/2 inch wide.
  • Refrigerate till the dough gets firm (around 1 hour)
  • Preheat the oven to 190C
  • Grease 2 baking trays or line them with parchment paper
  • Take out the dough and cut each log into 1/4 inch sized slice.
  • Bake them for 10-12 minutes 
  • Cool on a wire rack
  • Enjoy!

   

    

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


This is part of the
Bake-a-thon 2015 


 

Moroccon Spaghetti kinda sorta….

  

First my disclaimer – I have never had moroccon spaghetti before. So I have no clue as to how it’s supposed to be. I found this awesome recipe in this book called – Accidental Vegetarian. There are some pretty interesting and new combinations in this book.

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And the second disclaimer is that I haven’t stayed true to the recipe from the book either. It was to have chickpeas and flaked almonds which I substituted with broccoli and ground almond all because I had to finish that spaghetti staring at me in the pantry.

So here goes –

Serves 3

Spaghetti                 300 gms

Olive oil                    1 1/2 tbsp

Onion                        1

Garlic                        3 cloves

Broccoli                    150-200 gms

Cherry tomatoes    10-15

Almonds                    5-6

Cinnamon, ground 1 tsp

Cumin, ground        1 tsp

Ginger, ground         1 tsp

Cloves, ground         1/2 tsp

Salt & Pepper
WHAT TO DO

  • Cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions .
  • Finely chop onion, garlic, broccoli and cut the tomatoes into halves.
  • Heat oil and add the onion and garlic. Cool till soft
  • Add the brocolli, cinnamon, cumin and tomatoes and cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes till they are completely cooked
  • Add salt and pepper and almonds and mix well.
  • Add the cooked pasta and mix to combine.
  • Enjoy!

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NOTES

  1. Optimal tip – garnish with parsley or mint leaves or some ground almond.

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

Tamarind Rice

 
The husband loves rice and I can easily live without rice for the rest of my life. I love cheese and the husband runs away at the mere mention of it. So most of our fights are about food – what to make, what to eat, where to go out for a meal. 
  Back in India, our formula was simple – rice and sometimes roti at home and all other cuisines and dishes when we go out. But here, that formula fails because of the almost zero availability of good vegetarian food outside.

So I strive for the balance while cooking at home. Once in a way, he gets all nostalgic and comes up with sudden requests – like this morning he had a craving for tamarind rice. I agreed because – it’s damn easy and more importantly I did not have any post ready for this week’s CCC challenge. But let’s not tell him that. Let him continue to think I fulfilled his wishes! 

This recipe is partly from mom and partly from Venkatesh Bhat (who is finally back on Samayal Samayal on Vijay TV).

So here goes –

Serves 2

WHAT WE NEED

Rice                               3/4 cup

Tamarind                     Size of a lemon

Mustard seeds            2 tsp + 1/2 tsp

Black peppercorns    2 tsp

Black sesame seeds  2 tsp

Fenugreek seeds        1/2 tsp

Gingelly oil                  1 1/2 tbsp

Dry red chillies          2

Bengal gram                1 tsp

Curry leaves                2 sprigs

Peanuts                         4 tsp

Turmeric powder        1/2 tsp

Red chilly powder      1/2 – 1 tsp

Salt

Water

Ghee

WHAT TO DO

  • Cook the rice as per your usual method.
  • Once cooked, spread it out in a plate and mix little ghee or oil into it and let it cool completely.
  • Heat 1 cup of water and once it boils, take it off the heat and add the tamarind to it. Set aside.
  • Once the water reaches room temperature, squeeze the tamarind in the water to extract maximum flavor. Remove the tamarind and keep the water aside.
  • Dry roast 2 tsp mustard seeds, peppercorns, sesame seeds and fenugreek seeds individually and set aside to cool.
  • Once cooled, grind all the four together to a fine powder.
  • Heat the oil and add mustard seeds.
  • Once they splutter, add the Bengal gram and curry leaves.
  • Add peanuts and the tamarind water.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chilly powder and salt.
  • Add 2 tsp of the ground powder and let it cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • It will become a thick paste and the oil will start floating on top.
  •  If you find it too thick before 5 minutes, add some water and cook it.
  • Switch off the gas and add the coked rice.
  • Enjoy!

 NOTES

  1. The dry powder can be made in advance and stored.
  2. The entire tamarind mixture can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a week. Then all you need to do is cook the rice and mix with the tamarind paste and eat.
  3. It is an oily dish and that is what gives it the taste and flavor. Reducing the oil may not be a good idea.

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

Ciabatta 

   

I finally bought – The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes and I am pretty excited about it. The plan is to bake a lot of bread and it comes at a perfect time since December is Bake-a-thon month too!

Of course, it has one drawback. The method prescribed does not require kneading. If you are the type who likes that, then you will love this book. But one of the primary reasons I like to bake bread is because of the kneading. I love to knead the dough and the transformation from dry flour to a pliable dough always amazes me. Plus, I use it as a stress buster releasing all my irritations and tensions into the kneading process and coming out detoxed at the end of the process.
  

But, that apart, I like the book and this is the first recipe that I have tried from it. Though I wasn’t a hundred percent satisfied with the result, it was better than quite a few of my previous efforts. And I also like the fact that I have a proper source for various kinds of bread recipes. It should be a good place to build the fundamentals.

So here goes –

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                          310 gms

Warm water                                   210 gms

Active dry / instant Yeast          3 1/2 gms
Salt                                                   6-8 gms
WHAT TO DO

  • Combine the yeast, salt and warm water. 
  • Add the flour and mix together to form a dough with your hands, wooden spoon or mixer with dough hooks.
  • You do not need to knead the dough.
  • Let the dough rest for 2 hours. It should double by then.
  • Refrigerate the dough after 2 hours, irrespective of its doubling, for at least 3 hours.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
  • Dust the dough with some all purpose flour to coat it so that it will be easy to handle and not too sticky.
  • Shape the dough into a long loaf on a parchment paper at 3/4 inch thickness and let it rest for 30-40 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven at 220C for 20 minutes.
  • Bake the loaf (along with the parchment paper) for 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove and cool it completely.
  • Enjoy!  

  

NOTES

  1. The dough can be shaped and baked after the initial 2 hours, if necessary. But it will be quite wet and slightly tougher to handle.
  2. The dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks.
  3. While refrigerating, ensure that there is some kind of opening in the lid of the box/vessel to let the air escape.
  4. Warm water means water should not be at room temperature nor should it be hot. It should be warm enough to touch i.e. Similar to ‘baby bath water’.

 


This is part of the
Bake-a-thon 2015 


 

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

Baked Spinach & Corn

 
I have seen and heard so much about baked spinach and corn but somehow I have never tried making it. I always end up making pasta with white sauce and forget about this wonderful combination.

So when my favorite chef on TV, Venkatesh Bhat showed his recipe I knew I had to make it.

So I made this recipe in two parts – one is the Bechamel Sauce and the other is this one.

  

So here goes –

Serves 2 and a cheese loving toddler

WHAT WE NEED

Boiled corn              1 cup

Water

Pinch of sugar

Olive oil                      1 tbsp

Spinach                      1 bunch

Garlic                          2 pods

Bechamel sauce       2 cups

Mixed dried herbs   2-3 tsp

Cherry tomatoes      6-8

Cheese                         Lots

WHAT TO DO

  • Boil water sufficient to immerse the spinach.
  • Once it is boiled, add the pinch of sugar
  • Once the sugar has melted, add the spinach such that it is completely immersed in the water.
  • Let it remain for 2-3 minutes. Then drain the water and pass the spinach under cold running water.
  • Squeeze the spinach and finely chop it and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a panama add finely chopped garlic to it
  • After the garlic attains a mild brown color, add the spinach and sauté for around 5 minutes
  • Remove the spinach and garlic from the pan.

   

  • Preheat the oven to 250C
  • In the same pan, pour the Bechamel sauce.
  • Once it’s warm, add the corn, spinach and garlic and mix well to combine
  • Add the requisite amount of salt and stir well.
  • After 4-5 minutes, transfer the  mixture to an oven safe dish
  • Sprinkle the mixed herbs and pepper ppwder.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes either whole or halved
  • Grate cheddar and mozzarella cheese and sprinkle generously on top
  • Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the cheese melts and attains a golden brown color. I baked for 5 minutes and then set the oven to broil for around 4 minutes.
  • Take it from the oven, drool, click some photos and enjoy with some bread!

   

NOTES

  1. You can also add fresh herbs, parsley, basil and pitted olives along with the cherry tomatoes.
  2. You can use as much or as less cheese as you want. You can use either cheddar or mozzarella or a mix of both. I used only cheddar.
  3. I used an 8*8 square dish. 

 

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