Category Archives: Food

Cup cakes & fruit bread

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Made some cup cakes and fruit bread o’er christmas!!!

Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas & a sparkling new year!!

Dessert @ Creamstone, Hyderabad

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I don’t have a so called sweet-tooth, craving for sweets always, but when it comes to ice-cream at Cream-Stone, Jublee Hills, Hyderabad…I can’t say NO. Especially the nice, creamy, chocolaty, nutty ice-creams…They are irresistibly and delightfully Yummmm!!

They have a very unique way of dishing out their ice-creams… instead of serving the regular scoops, they beat it with a mixture of nuts, waffles etc…and bring it to a creamy texture to serve with desired toppings, fruits etc. Interestingly, your ice-creams can be customized too, depending upon your flavour. My all time fave is the chocolaty, brownie ice-cream topped with warm chocolate sauce. It’s simply sinful…! 🙂

Here it is… sorry about the picture quality, was not carrying my camera, so managed to click using my Phone Cammy….

So, what’s your most desirable flavor of ice-cream?

Baking lessons with Rushina

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A weekend at Nature’s Basket with a vibrant food writer and consultant Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal. She also blogs at “A perfect Bite” and Rushina’s. It was a delight to watch her make those quick and easy cheesy Italian Veg Lasagna, Dried Fruit’n Nut Loaf,   Strawberry  Muffins, … amidst all the hustle-bustle of the crowd, cameraman and photographers. Last week, I did try making one of her recipes, will post the pics and the recipe soon. It turned out to be ultra fabulous 🙂

I also had the rare opportunity to meet her personally for a fleeting moment! And, I am glad I did.

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A healthy variation of the regular ‘sponge cake’

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Since we have become kind of fitness freaks (!), and the paradox is our extreme love and fondness for the regular sponge cakes, we decided to try something healthier!

 

First we identify the health-culprits in a cake…

 

Butter

Sugar

Maida

 

And we replaced them with

Dry fruits

Honey

Wheat

And the result was not so bad!!

 

Ok, so here is the quick recipe for an evening tea party of four!

 

Eggs- 2

Wheat – around 80gms

Honey – as per taste

Rose essence – 1tsp

Baking powder – 1/2 tsp

Dry fruits – 1/2 a cup

 

Whisk them all together (except dry fruits – which are chopped in small and coarse pieces. Fold them into the mixture at the end.

Pour the mixture in a lined container (preferably ring shaped)

Bake them at 150 C (preheated) oven for around 40 minutes.

Take the ‘cake’ out and cut it in small pieces.

You can store it for 4-5 days in an air tight container.

Before you serve it, microwave it for 30sec for a warm and soft experience 🙂

 

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Healthy breakfast option for kids

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Well, feeding kids is the most difficult task, especially healthy food. Kids are somehow allergic to them but happily gorge on chips, doughnuts, fried stuff, colas and what not. It’s every mom’s nightmare and they make every effort to feed them with some healthy options, to balance their nutrient values and enhance their immunity system.A few healthy options for kids that I could think of:

(Pic courtesy: Google)

Fruits, green veggies, whole grains, protein, dairy products are the primary sources of all the nutrients. Let’s see how we can make interesting options so that kids not only eat them but enjoy eating them thoroughly:

  • Fruits / Milk / Yoghurt – Fresh fruit salad, smoothies, milk shakes with fruit puree and nuts
  • Green Veggies – Make vegetable pulao using soya chunks or make khichdi
  • Whole grains – Healthy stuffed paranthas with potatoes, daal, peas..puree of palak or some shredded veggies. Make pancakes and cupcakes that has milk, nuts, eggs…and kids love them
  • Meat / Eggs for the protein content / Bread – Use lean meat, boil some shredded chicken and use them for sandwiches mixed with shredded veggies like carrot, cucumber, cheese and a dash of mint chutney / mayo. Boil eggs or fry them to make sandwiches using whole-grain bread
  • Beans – Try making tikkis of soaked and boiled kidney beans. Rich source of nutrients
  • Nuts – Try giving cereal with milk and mixed dry fruits and fresh fruits too.
  • Yoghurt – Try making some yummilicious dessert with low-fat yoghurt…like whip them with sugar, add some strawberry puree and serve chilled garnished with chopped fresh fruits and nuts.

Sometimes indulge them with fritters using veggies, alu chaat, burgers made of whole wheat buns and veg patties, tea cakes, etc to cater to their ever-changing taste-buds.

This is our special post towards Children’s Day :-)… A very very happy children’s day to all the little ones out there!!!

Not for weight watchers ofcourse :-)

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Bengali sweets at a sweet-meat shop in West Bengal.

Sweet-meats from the state of West Bengal needs no elaborate introduction. They are world-renowned. But, these fitters are a must-try. Some have potato filling and some are fried using brinjals/onions. On a delightful rainy day…it’s a perfect stop for your cravings to have something fried and spicy and then gulp it down with some ginger tea 🙂

Healthy Breakfast!

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Every morning we wake up worrying – Now what to cook for breakfast? There’s undoubtedly a whole variety that we can try every day, but the question is – are they packed with wholesome nutrients required to kick-start your day? Breakfast is the most important meal, so it should be a balance of all the essential nutrients wrapped with absolute goodness of health.  An ideal platter should have a mix of carbohydrate, proteins, essential oils, necessary vitamins and fibre.  Some healthy breakfast options could be;

  • Cornflakes added with milk, seasonal fresh fruits , almonds, raisins, walnuts and a dash of honey
  • Poha (beaten rice) with lots of vegetables and groundnuts
  • Upma, with veggies like cauliflower, French beans, green peas, capsicum
  • Toasted multi-grain bread with boiled eggs and some low fat cheese
  • Toasted brown bread sandwich with eggs / fresh cottage cheese, peanut butter spread, lettuce leaves, cucumber, tomatoes
  • Stuffed paranthas made of wheat flour , served with curd (Leftover daal can be used to knead the dough to make it more nutritious).
  • Grilled veggies and fresh fruit salad with low-fat yoghurt

You can round off your breakfast with Green tea / Fresh vegetable juice/ fruit juice and plenty of water, preferably after a gap of half an hour.

Happy breaking your fast!

Preparing for Diwali!!

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It’s festival time and that means a lot of hard work preceding the usual celebrations! Yeah right! It is not all fun, though for those who derive joy from working for home and keen on keeping the vibrancy in the air, even this hard work translates into smiles!!

So here is the list of tasks that I am planning to finish before putting on my best dress and partying with family and friends:

  • Buying sweets to be distributed
  • Some home-made kheer, sweets and namkeen
  • Cleaning up the house
  • Sun drying the silks, woolen and quilts
  • Making greetings, wrapping gifts
  • Buying earthen lamps, puja samagri, and fireworks

Dinner @Harvey’s

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Simplistic and yet graceful ambiance, comfortable seating,  smiling faces, beautiful artifacts and just the right amount of light makes Harvey‘s a preferred destination for a family dine out.

We went there in a group of 4adults and 2kids. Though I prefer not to take the kids along to a fine dining place, yet this one couldn’t have been avoided. Having decided to keep the guilt aside, I asked for a high chair, since that is the only thing which keeps my kids occupied and not run around! Unfortunately they had none! I would have quickly labeled it as non child-friendly had it not been for the friendly staff who spoke to the kids and tried to keep them entertained!!

Another downside was one of the orders arriving too late. But that could have been overlooked considering what great time we had there!

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Lakshmi Puja – Divinity in Bhog-er Prasad!

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With Maa Durga leaving for her home, the sadness in the air is visible. But then comes Lakshmi – the Goddess promising wealth and prosperity! For me the best part of Lakshmi Pujo is the Bhog-er prasad! The complete gastronomical  paradise – right there in front of you!

Burrito & Nachos for Lunch? Yumm Mexicana o’er weekend

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I love nachos, especially with the salsa dip :-). The meal-combo at Taco Bell (Koramangla, Bangalore) was fairly nice. Crisp Nachos with topped chicken and sour cream, one burrito, a taco and a drink of our choice was just for Rs. 160.  I thought it was really inexpensive and quite filling, considering the price-hike we are witnessing everywhere.

Dinner menu?

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Why is it always very intriguing to plan a meal? I normally try to rummage the kitchen to see what’s there to cook and the results are not bad 🙂 Last evening I had a few pieces of rohu fish in the freezer, a few leaves of spinach and a brinjal. I wanted to have a good hearty meal,

So went ahead and roasted the brinjal for a bengali style begun pora, and masoor dal with spinach. Made Rui Macher Do Pyaza with a slight variation to go with steamed rice. Thanks to Spice & Curry for her post. It turned out to be yummm 🙂

How I made the Begun Pora / Roasted and mashed brinjal?

  • Roasted one medium sized brinjal and mashed them. (Tip: Slit the brinjal and insert 1-2 garlic pods for an amazing flavour)
  • Chopped some onions, green chillies, 1-2 garlic pod, green cilantro, and mashed a hard boiled egg
  • I mixed the chopped ingredients with salt and a hint of raw mustard oil. And, then added the mashed brinjal
How I made the Palak-dal?
  • Pressure cooked masoor dal with washed and finely chopped spinach leaves, turmeric and salt
  • For the tempering, I heated mustard oil and added cumin seeds, a couple of dry chillies and a few crushed pods of garlic. (Combination of spinach and garlic goes well)
  • After tempering I normally close the lid of pressure cooker and bring it to another whistle for a beautiful fragrance and taste
Rui Macher Do Pyaza
  • I made it almost the similar way as mentioned in the post, but did not add the meat masala and cream (actually had none of that at home :p). Instead, added some finely chopped tomatoes. Also, I did not use chopped ginger and garlic, I added some freshly made ginger paste to the fried onions.

Breakfast at New Shanthi Sagar, CMH road, Indiranagar, Bangalore

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What do two best friends need when they are hungry and have loads to talk about?

You guessed it!

Good food

and Good place to have a leisurely and uninterrupted chat!

 

And that is exactly what we enjoyed on Tuesday! After checking out various ‘known’ places on 100ft road, Indiranagar, we finally found New Shanthi Sagar, a vegetarian eating joint on CMH road (, Indiranagar, Bangalore). And boy were we delighted and proud of our choice (which by the way was one of the two options available at 10:00 am on a weekday!). So engrossed were we in the hot and delicious idly-wada with coconut chutney and sambhar , that we forgot to take pictures!! Oh and I haven’t even gotten to the yummilicious (I know it’s not a dictionary word, but it most certainly is my state of mind!) Kesari bhat!

As for ambiance, I would recommend their AC Hall. The prices differ only slightly from their non-AC hall, but it is much more comfortable, less noisy, less intrusive and you are treated like a king! The waiters are polite and know their job well.

And food! Oh the wonderful food!! I am not a big foodie.. But I can still go on and on about the soft and freshly prepared idly and crispy wadas! Add to that the non stop chatter of two friends pouring their heart (and wild ideas) out – and the combination is deadly!!

Overall, I give the restaurant 3 of 5 points for a weekday breakfast (or brunch if that is what you have time/inclination for).

 

Eat breakfast like a king!

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Some days I prefer having a wholesome breakfast. A lavish one, with breads, cheese, jam, marmalade, eggs, juice, muffins, and of course round it up with a cup of English tea. It kick-starts my day and keeps me energized all day long. Though, it’s important to eat a heavy breakfast but it’s ideal to watch out on the nutrients, preferably a healthy-combo, otherwise the day can turn out to be really slow & sluggish. Once in a while it’s okay to indulge however!

In India, breakfast constitutes an important meal of the day and interestingly it offers a wide variety of dishes… right from the northern region to down south. Up north, it’s Stuffed Parathas (Flat breads), Chapatis, Puris, served with veg-curries, pickle, curd etc. Down south, it’s Dosas, Steamed Idlis, Upma, etc served with a wide variety of chutney and sambar.

What do you prefer having…for breakfast?

 

Bid adieu…

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…to this season’s last few sweet & juicy mangoes!!

 

 

 

Rightly called the king of fruits was enjoyed through-out this summer season. Recently, I managed to get a few as it’s hardly seen in the market. I have made mango pudding, mango custard and milk-shakes very often while it was available in plenty and truly never got tired of it.

 

 

Instant dessert made out of the last stock – Chilled Mango shake with ice-cream and chopped  mangoes.

 

Ingredients 

1. Ripe mangoes chopped, 1 bowl

2. Preferably mango ice-cream or plain vanilla ice-cream

3. 1 Cup chilled milk

4. 2 Tbspn sugar

5. Mango syrup

6. Strawberry and chopped mangoes for garnishing

 

Process (Can serve upto 4 if glass sizes are medium)

In a mixie jar, take the ice-cream, milk, sugar, mangoes and run it through until smooth. Now while serving in glasses, pour some Rooh-Afza and a little mango syrup around the glass-edges with the help of a spoon to make it look colorful and tempting. Pour the milk-shake into the glasses. Now scoop out a little ice-cream and put into the glass as a third step. Garnish the top layer with lots of chopped mangoes and a strawberry with a dash of cream and serve it fresh & chilled to your guests.

Soft and fluffy pancakes

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This is such an easy-weasy breakfast that is sure to fill your tummy and help you kick start your day packed with nutrition and energy. The mildly powdered cinnamon fills your senses while pancakes are cooked in the pan and you would want to have more and more… munching every bite with sheer delight.

Ingredients for the flour mix

  • Refined Flour – 1 Cup
  • Baking Powder – 1 tspn and a little more
  • Soda bi-carb – 1/2 tspn
  • A pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Powdered cinnamon – A pinch

Sieve all the above ingredients together and keep aside.

For the batter

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 tbsp melted butter

Take the flour mix and add the egg, milk and the melted butter and keep it inside the fridge for half ‘n hour. Now take a non-stick pan and heat it properly. Pour the batter into the pan with the help of a ladle. When you see bubbles appearing on the pancakes, flip them until nice and golden brown.

Serving Tip – You can easily get maple syrup in the super markets. You may either serve them plain or pour the syrup onto the pancakes and serve with chopped fresh fruits(Banana, apples, blueberry, strawberries etc), and a dollop of cream. Nice, fragrant fruity syrups can be made at home too. Shall share the recipe soon.

Enjoy….!

Spice…spice…baby!!

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(Pic courtesy – Google)

Indian cooking can never be complete without the variety of spices it offers. The amalgamation of all the spices in the preparation is something really fascinating… it always blends to perfection. The aroma, consistency, appearance, depends a lot on the composition of right kind & quantity of spices. Do check for good quality and brand of spices as the shop may be trading adulterated stuff that may be injurious to health. These are the must-have spices for my kitchen and rather any basic preparation. Of course, there are plenty worldwide.

Powdered spices

  •  Turmeric powder
  • Red chilly powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Pepper powder
  • Garam masala powder(The combination of spices used in garam masala may vary region wise)

Curry paste

  • Ginger paste
  • Garlic paste

Note – I store it in different containers and do not mix it together because, the recipe requirement may differ.

Whole Spices

  • Nigella seeds or onion seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Carom seeds
  • Caraway seeds
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Celery seeds
  • Bay leaves
  • Asafoetida
  • Mustard
  • Green cardamom
  • Black cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Dry red chilly
  • Cinnamon
  • Black pepper corn
  • Nutmeg and mace
  • Star anise
  • Panch Phoron ( A must have for most of the bengali recipes that includes equal mix of Fenugreek, cumin, nigella, mustard, carom seeds / celery seeds)

Note – Buy nice glass jars to store them for longevity and odor-free. Your kitchen cabinets look neat too.

Herbs

  • Curry leaves
  • Coriander leaves
  • Basil leaves

Refer this Spice Catalogue for more info on spices. It offers translation in different languages too. Hope you find this useful.

Happy Cooking!

Sweet beginnings with rice pudding

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   Anyday…anytime this dessert will find a little place in your tummy. Isn’t?

Ingredients you shall need to prepare

Milk – 1 Lt.

Basmati rice / Gobindobhog rice (Bengali special rice for kheer/rice pudding) – 2 tbspn washed and soaked

Dry fruits (Cashwenuts & Raisins) – A handful

Bayleaf – 2

Powdered Cardamom – 2 pods

Sugar – 4 tbspn

Process

1. Boil the milk and reduce it to 1/3rd

2. Add the bayleaf and continue to boil

3. After 5 mins add the saoked rice and continue to stir

4. When the rice is cooked well and you find a slightly thick consistency, add the sugar, cardamom powder and dry fruits and stir it well for another 10 minutes on slow fire. It would turn ivory in color.

5. Chill it in referigerator before you serve and garnish it with shredded almonds and saffron strands

Lifestyle – Food – Fashion

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Here’s our attempt to introduce you all to a new era of Lifestyle, Food and Fashion. Changing trends, home decors, travelogues, reviews, kitchen tips, yummylicious recipes, fashion statements and lots more. Do visit us soon, as we know you don’t want to miss out on the columns.

Love & Peace!!