Monthly Archives: October 2011

Povitica – The Daring Bakers’ Challenge Oct 2011

Do you know the meaning of last minute? I know it really well! So it was no wonder that the Daring Bakers’ Challenge for this month was left until the last minute (literally!). To complicate matters, we went for an unplanned vacation and returned home only on 27th morning.

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

I started making the dough (quarter batch) at around 3 PM on 27th and was done baking by 9 PM. I made it with a traditional coconut filling used for South Indian sweets (all I had at home was coconut and jaggery). I had to use more than half a cup of whole wheat flour too, since I was short of all purpose flour. It didn’t make any significant change in the texture or taste of the bread.

I wanted to see whether my bread had the beautiful pattern or not, so I sliced the bread before it had cooled down completely. The filling was a bit sticky at that stage, though it was fine this morning. We took some snaps and shared half the Povitica with friends. This morning took some more pictures and had a slice for break fast too.

Povitica not only looked great, it tasted wonderful too. I would have preferred a savory filling, but will try it another time.

You can check out the original recipe for Povitica here, in the Daring Baker Archive section. I have used the quarter batch measurement. I used about 1/2 – 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and used milk for brushing the top. Other than that, I have followed the recipe as such.

I am going to note down the recipe for the filling here.

Ingredients:

  • Coconut                                           :   2 cups, grated
  • Jaggery/Brown Sugar                :   1 1/2 cups, powdered
  • Ghee/Butter                                   :   1 tbsp (optional)
  • Roasted gram                                 :   2 tbsp (powdered, optional)
  • Water

Method:

  1. Blend the coconut for a couple of seconds in the blender/mixie for uniform size.Don’t make a paste out of it.
  2. Add the coconut and the powdered jaggery together in a pan, with quarter cup of water and bring this to a boil stirring continuously. When it reaches a semi solid state, add the ghee and the roasted gram and cook for a further 2 minutes. Switch off the heat. It should be spreadable on the dough, but not runny.
  3. Use this as the filling for povitica.

Thank you Daring Bakers and Jenni for this beautiful challenge. I really enjoyed it.

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Tomato Salsa

This is from my draft folder, its been sitting there for a long long time. Posting this as the last entry for BM#9.

Ingredients:

  • Tomato                   : 400gm
  • Onion                      :  1 small
  • Green Chilies       :  2, seeded
  • Coriander             :  2 tbsp
  • Garlic                     : 1 clove

Method:

  1. Add everything except the tomatoes into a food processor and pulse till its chopped.
  2. Halve the tomatoes and pulse once again, till its all coarsely chopped and blended. It shouldn’t become a paste. Serve cold.
  3. Alternatively, you can chop everything into very fine pieces and mix together.

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Creamy Tomato Soup

We are going home today and I have started the cleaning, packing and of course, worrying. I won’t have any peace of mind until we reach my place. Once I am there, I will start worrying about our home in Chennai. Did I lock the door, did I close the bathroom tap, did I take the garbage out…there are endless things I worry about!

I wasn’t always this bad. I used to love the train journey to Trivandrum (my native place). The 15 hour journey used to be an exciting thing in itself. The people, the travel and of course the food, adds color to it.

The non-stop chanting of the vendors carrying food itself is a treat to watch. Shouts of ‘Chaii Chaii’, ‘Kappi Kappi Kappi’, ‘Vadae Vada Vadae Vada’ and ‘Samosa Samosa’ fill the compartments and for the past some years, you get to hear ‘Soooup Sooooup Tomato Sooooup’ also. My son’s love affair with the ‘red color soup’ started there.

Here is my take on the rich, creamy tomato soup.

Ingredients:

  • Tomato                                  :   4 big, chopped
  • Onion                                     :   1, chopped
  • Garlic                                     :   1 clove, minced
  • Flour                                      :   1 tbsp
  • Veg Stock                             :   1 cup
  • Milk                                        :    1 cup
  • Oil/Butter                            :    1-2 tsp
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

  1. Heat oil or butter in a pan, add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook till the onion turns brown.
  2. Add the tomatoes, cook for 3-4 minutes and add the vegetable stock (I used stock cubes and water).
  3. Combine the milk and the flour in a separate pan. Make sure there aren’t any dry lumps.
  4. Add the milk-flour mix and salt to the soup and cook for another 5 minutes, till the soup thickens.
  5. Take off the heat and let it cool. Blend once cold and pass through a sieve. Throw out the seeds and skin.
  6. Heat the soup and bring back to a boil. Serve with a piece of toasted bread.

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Zucchini Salad

We do grocery shopping on weekends. The week before, I note down carefully of the things that I am running low, make a list and keep it handy around the kitchen. Armed with this list, I go to the supermarket, confident that I won’t overindulge. 

Scene at the store: I would be digging my handbag, looking for the shopping list which would have

a)either disappeared among the sea of papers inside the handbag or

b)been left back at home, in the kitchen counter itself.

Try hard as I might, my memory would fail me in that hour of need. In the end, I would end up shopping happily, picking up everything as I go around. At the counter, I would find that kiddo has done his own shopping and that hubby has picked up all the deep fried snacks he could find!

So finally, we come home lugging kilos and kilos of necessary and unnecessary items, which would lie around the house until I feel guilty and use them up before they go bad.

Zucchini was one of such purchases from the last trip. After about a week in the fridge, I used it up as a salad. I don’t remember the source of this recipe, it was from the internet.

Ingredients:

  • Zucchini                :     1 small
  • Cheese cube        :      1, grated
  • Lemon Juice       :      2 tsp (per taste)
  • Olive oil                :      1 – 2 tbsp
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

  1. Cut the zucchini into thin strips using a vegetable peeler.
  2. Mix it with all the other ingredients and serve.

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BWW – Cookery Books

Light reading anyone?

Linked to Susan’s Black and White Wednesdays.

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Carrot Pickle

6:30 AM is mid night for me, but still when the alarm goes off, I drag myself from the bed and get to the kitchen somehow. With my eyes half closed, I try to remember what I am doing in the kitchen in the middle of the night. Then I recollect, my son’s lunch!

Trying to remember where the wheat flour is, I manage to locate it and make the chapati dough and roll it. A quick look at the clock clears off the sleepiness. 6:45 AM.

And kiddo is still sleeping. Time for Scream No.1 :’Wake up Guys, its getting late!’.

I am fully awake by now. After rolling and making the chapatis, I search for my son’s lunch box. These things have a way of disappearing at the precise moment you need them the most. After looking for it among a pile of steel vessels, there by waking up the entire neighborhood (except my son and my husband, of course), I find them and pack my son’s lunch.

All this time, I keep calling out to the guys to wake up. Time : 6:55 AM.

Time for the last scream, this time the audience is my husband : ‘Its getting REALLY late now. You will be taking him to office if he misses the school bus’. That works like a bucket of ice cold water and wakes him up in an instant. Fifteen minutes later, my son is ready after his morning ablutions, breakfast and is in his uniform refusing to finish the breakfast.

7:12 AM, we have to be there in the bus stop in another 5 minutes, so trying all the tracks from begging to pleading to bribing  to yelling to make him finish his breakfast. Yes, finally all set. Just have to get in the bike, drop him at the bus stop and once the van leaves, peace reigns back.

At 7:15, when we were really rushing out of the house, we received a call from another parent saying that there is no school today because of the local elections. Good that we didn’t have to stand in the bus stop for half an hour before getting to know this!

After going through so much in the morning : getting up ourselves (toughest job), waking the kiddo (comparatively easier), cooking, packing, rushing through everything, no school!

If it was a last minute thing, I would understand. But the election dates was announced long back and the school could have planned this much better. How about parents who are both working? I always wonder about that!

Is someone listening? Any one?

I had to cook something from Shalini’s Sanctified Spaces for this week’s Blog Hop Wednesday. Its a must check out blog, with a lot of things in there : Decor, Antiques, festivals, temples and of course cooking! Great job, Shalini, keep it up!

I chose the Carrot and Chilli Pickle from her place. Easy to make and really delicious!

Ingredients:

  • Carrots                                    :         4 medium
  • Green Chilli                           :         2 – 4, per taste
  • Lemon juice                          :         2-3 tsp
  • Yellow Mustard Seeds      :         2 tbsp
  • Sugar                                        :          1 tsp
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Cut the carrots and the green chillies into 2″ long thin strips.
  2. Combine the carrots, chillies, lemon juice, salt and sugar in a bowl. Check the seasonings and adjust according to your taste. Leave it over night for the flavors to blend. Drain off excess water in the morning. 
  3. Crush the yellow mustard in a mortar and pestle (it should be crushed, shouldn’t be a powder) . Add this to the carrot julienne mix and let it rest for another hour or so before using.
  4. Refrigerate and use with in 2-3 days.

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Rice Soup – Kanjiyum Payarum

Kanji means different things to different people. Coming from Kerala, this is a delicious meal for me. For my Tamil Nadu husband, this is the meal to have only when you get sick. Since we can’t seem to agree, I hardly cook this.

Thankfully, now a days lunch times are pretty much just ‘me time’. Lunch for husband and kiddo is a tiny, compressed lunch box affair. Where as for me, its the time to unleash my creative side – by coming up with ideas to avoid cooking! 

This simple Kanji fits in the bill. Simple to make, but delicious beyond description. It screams ‘HOME’ to me. Served with a dose of love, its simply the best meal possible.

But serve it with Payaru and Chammanthi, it will taste even better!

Ingredients:

  • Rice                      :          1/2 cup (preferably Kerala red rice)
  • Water                   :          3 cups
For Payaru:
  • Green gram       :          1/2 cup
  • Coconut              :          2 tbsp
  • Green Chilli       :          1
  • Cumin seeds     :          1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds :          1/2 tsp
  • Red Chilli           :          1
  • Oil, salt

Method:

  1. Wash and clean the rice. Cook in a pressure cooker with 3 cups of water (5-6 times the amount of rice) till the rice is well cooked. Its fine if the rice is slightly over cooked. Do not drain the excess water.
  2. Add salt and serve with payaru and chammanthi.
  3. For payaru, pressure cook the whole green gram in one cup of water for 2-3 whistles. Grind the coconut, jeera, chilli together.
  4. Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and red chilli. Add the cooked whole green gram and salt. Add the ground coconut and mix till everything is well combined. Serve with Kanji.
  5. For chammanthi, grind 1/4 cup coconut with 1/2 tsp jeera, salt, one red chilli and a very small piece of tamarind. Do a taste test and add/adjust accordingly. Serve with Kanji.

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Rice Salad

This salad is my savior on many a days when I feel tired (read: lazy) to cook up a whole meal. No, I cannot serve this to my ‘raw food hater’ husband or to my cute little bundle of terror, but its just perfect for me.

I came across this salad in a Rosemary Conley diet book, which was my guru for shedding kilos from my overweight body. I did loose a lot of weight, but didn’t bother to maintain and so here I am, back to where I started from!

Being a South Indian, I cannot imagine a meal without rice. At home, we have rice in some or the other form for all the three meals.

So a rice salad is a perfect way to satisfy the ‘rice craving’. Not to mention the intake of good amount of vegetables and most importantly, not having to cook for the day!

Ingredients:

  • Cooked Basmati Rice             :         1/4 -1/2 cup 
  • Onion                                           :         1 small, chopped fine
  • Carrot                                          :         1 small, chopped fine
  • Bell Pepper                                :         1 small, chopped fine
  • Cucumber                                  :         1/2 of a small one, chopped fine
  • Tomato                                       :         1 small, chopped fine
  • Sweet Corn, Peas                    :         a handful
  • Soya sauce       
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Chop the vegetables into small pieces of roughly the same size.
  2. Put them in a big bowl, along with the cooked rice. Add soya sauce and seasonings according to your taste.
  3. Combine everything together, gently, with the help of two forks. Keep aside for 15 minutes for the flavors to blend and serve after heating in the MW for a minute. It tastes good on its own.

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Mixed Vegetable Soup

I am almost always ready and prepared! Train at 5’O clock? I will be ready by 2.30 itself. Guests coming tomorrow? I will be in the kitchen tonight itself!

So its a worry factor for me that I am posting the Blogging Marathon posts just 15 minutes before the day is getting over. But as always, I have someone else to blame. My son and my husband, of course!

My son had four days of unexpected holidays from last Friday to Monday. Four days of leave together and hey, who wouldn’t like to go on a vacation!

Mother’s place or Brother’s place? Brother’s place or Mother’s place? Before my head exploded with possibilities, the Indian Railways helped me reach a conclusion fast. No tickets – to anywhere. So back to square one, four whole days at home – with the kid to entertain! I was cringing at the very thought.

Friday morning came and my husband had a brain storm. Lets go by bus, to my brother’s place. Yes, good idea. Booked the tickets fast, packed with in half an hour and out of the house in 45 minutes! But on the way, my husband had a splitting headache (Brain storms are so so stressful!) and we had to cancel our trip.

We went to our in laws place, which was near the bus stand. So two days of unplanned stay there, and I couldn’t update my drafts and here I am now, posting these 10 minutes before the day gets over!

Anyway, back to the recipe. I have adopted this from Radhika’s blog. Head out there for a beautiful picture of the soup and the original recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Onion                                 :        1, chopped fine
  • Carrot                                :        1, chopped fine
  • Beans                                 :        4-5, chopped fine
  • Cabbage                            :        a handful, chopped fine
  • Corn Flour/ APF           :       1 – 2 tsp
  • Milk                                    :       1 cup
  • Water                                 :       2-3 cups
  • Oil/Butter                        :       1-2 tsp
  • Salt & Pepper

Method:  

  1. Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions till it changes color. Add the carrots, cabbage and beans and saute for a couple of minutes. Add water and cook till the vegetables are cooked.  
  2. In a separate pan, combine the corn flour (or all purpose flour) with the milk. Make sure there aren’t any lumps. 
  3. Add the flour and milk mix to the soup and let it cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Season according to your taste.
  4. Serve hot with grated cheese, if preferred. Serves 3.

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Fruit Salad

Me: ‘Would you like to have an apple?’

Kiddo : ‘No, I don’t like apple.’

Me: ‘ A banana or sweet lime juice?’

Kiddo : ‘No, I don’t like the smell.’ ( That’s his standard ‘rejection line’. I always wonder what he means by that! How can an apple or a banana smell bad?!)

Me: ‘How about some ice cream? With colorful sprinkles on top?’

Kiddo : ‘Ice cream? Oh yes, I LOVE ice cream!’

So a bowl of fruit salad with ice cream (and LOADS of sprinkles) = A happy mommy and a happy child!

Starting the 9th (and my second) edition of Blogging Marathon on a sweet note. I have chosen the theme of Soups and Salads.

Ingredients:

  • Mixed Fruits         :        1 1/2 cups
  • Ice Cream              
  • Sprinkles, for decoration

Method: 

  1. Cut the fruits into small cubes, mix everything together in a big bowl. I used one apple, one pomegranate, one banana and one sweet lime. This is what I had in the refrigerator. 
  2. Portion it out and add a scoop of ice cream on top and serve. You can use sprinkles for decoration if you like. 

Note:

This is not really a recipe, just fruits put together and enjoyed with a scoop of ice cream.

The three lines you see in the background is my son’s fingers. He decided it was time to take matters into his hands :)!

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