Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mini English Breakfast and 7 years of blogging !

I am a bit late in doing the first post of the year and I have to admit I was not intending to do one today too until it struck me that it’s a special day for my blog today. It’s a great mile stone indeed..7 years of blogging! I owe it to you all for encouraging me  carry on this hobby which I started to kill boredom for 7 years. It has  helped me to become a better cook, good baker, to find a passion in food photography and most of all make new friends. Thanks a ton to you all for that.

It was some 9 years ago that I got to eat English breakfast first and I have to say, it was not a good experience for me back then. Coming from South India with a palate for spicy food, I found it too bland and fatty. I don’t want to go into the details of what they actually serve for a full course English breakfast here, as some of you may find it gross! I was brave enough back then and tried everything for the sake of trying it but not anymore, now I pick and eat only the things I like.  Few weeks back I made English breakfast at home and I have to say  there is nothing much to do to make  a mini breakfast like the one I did. Open a tin of baked beans and heat it, grill some sausages, make fried eggs or scrambled eggs and shallow fry some tomatoes and hash brown( made from potatoes) and mini English breakfast is ready to eat !

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Lemon and dry fruit biscotti

It was last year I got to eat  some home -made biscotti from Suchi,  ever since I have been  keen on   making it  at home but  like many other recipes I wanted to try  and lost track off , this one got forgotten too ! This year after making my some Christmas fruit cake, I had some left over mixed dry fruits and was looking for something to make with it and that’s when I saw a biscotti recipe in foodoclious pictured. It was a simple recipe and I had almost all ingredients handy. It seemed liked a perfect recipe to bake with my son.  I always bake with my boy during holidays and he is such a good helper apart from the mess he makes and extra cleaning up I have to do afterwards! Anyway I decided to choose this recipe to bake together and as usual he was super excited and he did most of the job except grating the lemon zest and cutting the biscotti diagonally..yes that’s how simple it is. He waited eagerly to get the biscotti out from the oven and was so happy to feed us his biscotti J. They are so addictive and we have been munching on them non -stop till it got finished!

Before I go to the recipe, let me all wish you a very Happy New year. I  will see you all  again in 2015 !!

Ingredients (makes 10 biscottis)
Plain flour / Maida – 1 ¼ cup
Baking Powder – ½ tsp
Salt – a pinch
Egg – 1
Sugar – 1/3 cup
Mixed dry fruits – ½ cup (Mine had  raisins , sultanas, cranberries etc)
Lemon zest – 1 ts( use unwaxed lemon)
Lemon extract – ½ tsp
Vanilla extract – ½ tsp
Olive oil – ¼ cup

  • Sift flour, baking powder, salt and keep it aside.
  • In a bowl break one egg, add lemon zest, sugar, lemon and vanilla extract and beat until mixed.
  • Tip in the flour and dry fruits and knead to get a smooth dough.
  • Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll them into rectangle 10” * 3 “
  • Bake it in a preheated oven at 180 degree C for 30 minutes
  • Take it out and cool if for 15-20 minutes and then cut it diagonally into ½ inch slices and pop them back in the oven and bake for 12 -15 minutes flipping the sides in between.
  • Cool completely before storing them in a airtight container.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kerala style Green Peas curry

This is the time of the year when I cook and indulge. I really don’t care about going a size up at this time of the year. There is always a tomorrow to work out and loose those extra pounds right? After repeatedly eating cereals on weekdays many weeks I am pampering myself with cooked kerala breakfast now. I am a bit worried that I might get used to it and going back to cereals won’t be a smooth transition. But I would like not to think about it now and enjoy the food now.

I was never a breakfast person until I got married, there was a time when I used to eat half dosa or half idly but on the other hand my other half believes in eating a heavy breakfast and got me into that habit too. Now I don’t think I will be able to function if I skip or eat light breakfast. Even if its cereals, I top it up with an extra cup of smoothie and it helps to keep me going until lunch time without snacking.

Back home we only used to get dry green peas and I never saw or ate fresh peas until I went to Pune. I was only used to dry green peas  and my mum used to make a curry with  dry green pea often for breakfast . I still prefer dry green pea over fresh ones. I  guess it’s all about what you grow up eating with !

 I usually serve this curry  with  Idiyappam or Appam and they make a good breakfast combination !

Dry green peas – 1 cup
Onion – 3 small
Tomato – 2 small
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
Chilli powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Chicken masala powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala- ½ tsp( optional)
Green chillies – 2 ( split lengthwise)
Curry leaves – few
Coriander leaves – few
Coconut milk – ½ cup ( I dissolved ¼ cup Maggie  coconut milk powder in hot water)
Water ( as required)

  • Soak dry green peas overnight in hot water and cook with enough water for 4-5 whistles.
  • In a saucepan add oil and sauté the chopped onions until soft and light brown
  • Add curry leaves, green chillies, ginger garlic paste and cook till raw smell of ginger garlic paste goes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and cook for another few minutes until tomatoes are a bit mushy.
  • Add all the spice powder expect garam masala and cook for few minutes until the raw smell of masalas goes off.
  • Add the cooked green pea, salt, enough water and boil for 5-10 minutes.
  • Finally add  coconut milk, garam masala and when its starts to boil remove from fire and add chopped coriander leaves.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Fish Kolambu/ Meen Kolambu

I cannot stress myself how much I am missing blogging and cooking these days. Since its Christmas holidays here I am at my own liberty now and I have been telling myself that I should make an extra effort to seize this opportunity and update the blog as much as possible and I am with the a spicy fish curry I have been cooking over and over again for a long time.

I was introduced to this fish kolambu   many years ago from Chennai. I went there for a short trip and food was definitely the best thing I enjoyed the most.  I went crazy exploring the cuisine and one thing which I loved the most was this fish kolambu. I remember trying to recreate it after the trip and in spite of being novice the kolambu tasted great, but back then I was not a blogger and like many other recipes I didn’t save the recipe anywhere and completely forgot about it and never made it again. Couple of month’s back I was in the mood to make a different fish curry and I came across this fish kolambu in vahrehvah. The recipe was quite simple and I had all the ingredients handy and after many moons I made it again and I have to say it brought back all those reminiscence of Chennai! I have been making this curry for quite some time now and every time I postpone clicking the picture for next time. Even today was not a great day to click it, it’s so dark outside and lighting was so poor but now I don’t fuss much about photography, lighting or styling. In fact I have lost touch in styling it and the making it presentable too, but I promise whenever possible I will take an effort to update the recipes with better pictures!

Fish – 500 gm
Onion – 2 medium ( make a paste )
Tomato - 2 Small (blanched and pureed)
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Garlic pods (crushed) – 4- 5
Green chillies (slit ) – 2
Mustard seeds – 2 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – ¾ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – few
Cumin powder – ½ tsp
Red chilli powder – ¾ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 ½ tsp
Tamarind (gooseberry size) – soaked in  ¼ cup hot water
Sesame oil – 2 tbsp
  • In a chatti/ claypot or saucepan add sesame oil and sputter mustard seeds
  • Add cumin, fenugreek, fennel seeds and crushed garlic.
  • Once garlic becomes golden brown add slit green chillies and curry leaves.
  • Add onion paste and saute for 10 minutes.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and when the raw smell goes add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and saute for a minute or so.
  • Add tomato puree and finally add tamarind water, water, salt and bring the sauce to boil.
  • Simmer the sauce for 25 minutes until oil separates.
  • Add fish to the sauce and cook for 5- 10 minutes. 
Enjoy ! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Rocky Road Bars

Hope you all are gearing up for Christmas and New Year.  Do you have the tradition of exchanging Christmas gifts to you near and dear ones? Well, I didn’t actually until I moved to U.K. The only time I exchanged gifts was when we played the game of Christmas friend/ secret Santa in school and college and that was the most exciting bit for me during those days. Now exchanging gifts is like a tradition for me especially for my close friends. This year we kicked of our Christmas ritual a bit early. BY “WE” I meant my fun gal gang, Nisha( My kitchenantics),Gayatri ( mummyandme ) and Suchi (Kitchen karma). We met for a Sunday brunch to exchange gifts in a cosy place!

We were all so excited about the whole gift thing and couldn’t wait for it. I have to say I was really gobsmacked to see all gifts ! They were all home- made and they were all packed and wrapped with so much love! Perfect gifts in all sense .. Gayatri took a lot of effort by giving us a  basket full of homemade goodies. Homemade panettone, chocolates, mulling syrup, garam masala salt and stolen! That was the first time I ate  stolen and panettone ever and I couldn’t stop eating it!

Picture courtsey - Gayatri
Suchi’s homemade body scrub and lip balm came in cute bottles with personalised label and I just couldn’t stop admiring them. I took my lip balm to work and showed it off to my work mates and they all went cooing and awing seeing it! Suchi also gave a bag of cookies which were bursting with flavours…I took it to work and shared it with my friends and they couldn’t stop with just one.

Nisha gifted us  home made candles in a pretty vintage cup along with some bath bombs in three diffrent flavours! I am saving those cuties for Christmas holidays to have a spa day!

My spa gifts from Nisha and Suchi !
And now coming to my gift … was a small  bag of rocky roads and  I packed them in a vintage kind of tins J . Due to time  constraint that’s all I could do this year but next year I am going to be super organised and plan ahead. If you would like to surprise someone with some homemade edible gifts try these rocky roads, they are so easy to make and tatses yumm too :) 

Here goes the recipe ..

 (Recipe adapted from Nigella )
Ingredients( makes 24 bars)
Rich tea biscuits – 200 gm
Marshmallows – 100 gm
Dark chocolate (70 % cocoa) – 300 gm
Butter ( unsalted) – 125 gm
Golden syrup – 3 tbs
Cashewnut chopped -2 tbs
Raisins – 2 tbs
Icing sugar (for dusting)

  • Place the biscuits in a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin taking care to leave enough biscuit pieces to bite too.
  • Melt butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a saucepan.
  • Measure and save ½ cup or 125 ml of the melted mixture for later.
  • Add marshmallows to the saucepan and mix.
  • Add in the biscuit crumbs and pieces together with cashewnuts and raisins and fold in.
  • Transfer it into a 9 inch square foil tray and spread it evenly as possible.
  • Pour the reserved melted chocolate on top and smoothen it.
  • Refrigerate for few hours or overnight.
  • Dust it with icing sugar and cut them into pieces.                                                                       

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Malabar Mutton Biriyani

Every night   just after winding up everything  and just  before hitting bed I get some free time, a nice 1 hour for me and that’s the only time I really get to sit down and do things I like. Even though I always think I should make  the time useful and do a  post here I don’t get into that mood and I rather spend the time watching TV or  trying to finish  a book which I borrowed almost a month back from the library. Some days I just don’t do anything and just spend time in social media and that’s it pretty much it, so until I find motivation, my  blogging is going to take a back seat I guess.

These days more than cooking I find shooting it rather challenging. If it’s a weekend our day usually start very late and by the time lunch / dinner is ready we are usually so hungry so if I take the camera out for taking pictures with a hungry child and hubby, it would be like putting myself into trouble, so to be safe I don’t take that risk !Anyway few weeks back when   I made this  mutton biriyani  I  took some extra effort to take pictures to blog about it. We don’t eat mutton much and hardly buys mutton at home as we tend to avoid red meat as much as we can, so I didn’t have a trusted mutton biriyani recipe with me .That's when I came across this recipe in  Kothiyavunnu and decided to give it a go. It’s an awesome recipe and have made this few times now and every time  it went down as a treat for us  !

Recipe adapted from - Kothiyavunnu
For rice
Biriyani rice/ Jeerakasala rice/ Basmathi rice – 2 cups ( I usually use Jeerakasala rice for all my biriyani's which I bring from Kerala )
Onion – 1 ( thinly sliced)
Water drained from cooked mutton – 2 1/2 cups
Boling water – 1 1/4 cup
Lime juice – 1 tbs
Cinnamon stick – 1
Cardamom – 4 pods
Cloves – 4
Ghee – 1 tbs
Oil – 1 tbs
For Mutton masala
Mutton – 500 gm
Onion – 4 ( sliced lengthwise)
Tomato – 1
Cinnamon stick – 1 inch thick stick
Cloves – 3
Cardamom pods – 3
Bay leaf – 1
Star anise – 1
Peppercorns- 1 tsp
Green chillies – 15
Ginger – Thumb size piece
Garlic – 4-5 cloves
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Yogurt – ½ cup
Water – 1 cup
Lime juice – 1 tbs
Ghee – 2 tbs
Oil – 2 tbs
Mint leaves - few
For garnishing
Fried onions- Handful
Cashewnut halves – 2 tbs
Golden raisins – 2 tbs
Ghee – 2 tbs
Coriander leaves
Make a paste of green chillies, ginger and garlic in a mixie and keep it aside.
Marinate the mutton with above paste along with chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt, yogurt and whole garam masala and keep it as long as you can(preferably overnight ) or at least for ½ an hour.
In a thick bottomed saucepan/ wok add ghee + oil and sauté the sliced onions until it’s nicely browned.
Add in chopped tomatoes and cook until it’s mushy.
Add the marinated mutton, salt, mint leaves, 1 cup of water and transfer it into a pressure cooker and cook  for 4-5 whistles.
Once the pressure is released drain the 2 1/2 cups of water from mutton and keep it aside.
Cooking Rice
Soak the rice for ½ an hour, drain and keep it aside
In a big pan add oil+ ghee and add the whole garam masala and sauté for a minute.
Add in the sliced onions and sauté until soft.
Add the rice, salt, lime juice and fry the rice for a minute or so.
Add the mutton stock, remaining water and bring it boil.
Cover and cook the rice until done.
In an oven proof dish spread a layer of rice evenly.
Add mutton masala on top; continue layering until all rice and mutton masala is used up.
Cover the dish tightly with a lid or seal it with maida and dum cook it in a preheated oven of 180 degree C for 15 minutes.
In a small pan add ghee and fry cashewnuts until golden brown and raisins until plump.
Open the biriyani pot and garnish the biriyani with fried onions, cashewnuts, raisins and some chopped coriander leaves.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kaju Katli/ Kaju Burfi/ Cashew burfi for a Happy Diwali and a Chai party announcement !

Its Diwali again and I am super thrilled about it for many reasons. School is splitting up for a half term break and I am going to get a one week break from work and secondly I am looking forward to my social life with Diwali potluck and parties.  The School I work is a multi -cultural school and we do give importance to all festivals and this term the focus is on Diwali. Children are having mehendi design competition which I thought was really cool. My son also goes to same School and he has designed a cool Mehendi which he is hoping that he will win. No matter how many times I tell him it’s not winning that matters but taking part is he really won’t listen and always wants to win !! Anyway coming to topic , I wanted to give my collegues something special for Diwali and after asking my blogger gals they suggested that Kaju Burfi. I am so happy that I made this as they are so easy to put together and tastes so yummy !
Before I go to the recipe let me  draw your attention ( particularly London peeps) to an Indian Chai party the Bloggers Buzz is hosting at the end of November, a traditional tea party with an Indian twist. The tickets are going on sale soon and are limited so I suggest don’t waste the opportunity and buy them as soon as you can. Talking about venue, its Jenius Social conveniently located for all. I promise you that  it’s going to be a fun afternoon with lots of good food , festive games, mehendi corne, dance and music !! If you would like read more about the event head onto Mykitchenantics, Nisha has more details about the event.

Cashew nuts – 1 cup
Sugar – ½ cup+ 1 tbs
Water – 1/4 cup
Ghee – 1 tbs
Rose water – 1 tsp 
  • Powder cashew nuts in a mixie with 1 tbs of sugar
  • Place sugar and water in a saucepan and keep it on a low flame until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add in the powdered cashew, keep stirring it until the mixture thickens and comes together, might take up to 7-10 minutes.
  • Remove from fire and add rose water, ghee  and  transfer it onto a big mixing bowl and knead it.
  • Transfer the dough to a greased plate and flatten it. Place a grease proof paper on top and roll it thin (3-5 mm thickness).
  • Peel of the grease proof paper and let it cool.
  • Once completely cool, cut them into diamond shape. 
01 09 10