Its summer and I know it has arrived in more ways than one! For one, its a little less difficult to drag myself out of bed at 5.30. Later during the day I feel less guilty pulling the kids out of bed, a little less envious about hubby sleeping luxuriously - till I threaten to turn on the sprinkler system over the bed (fantasy of course, which I would love to bring alive sometime!). The exams around the corner has me 'mentally preparing' my son (from morning) to study in the evening. I try in vain to tell my attention-demanding daughter how important it is for Amma to sit with Anna for the practice sessions. I am preparing myself mentally to put in more hours of work (while I live in a virtual madhouse, no less, with my kids), which means I will have to let blogging and baking take a temporary backseat (I am used to the luxury of working part time). While I worry about my son's exams and finding a good life-saving summer-camp, I also worry about making sure I have a few posts in my drafts (lest you forget me by the time we see the end of summer). Need to get the battery of the UPS replaced to help me run my system non-stop from morning till evening during the power-cuts. And hey! how about a power generator for my oven? Aah! Another fantasy!
As the mercury levels soar and my bread dough rises faster than usual, I think about giving making dosa-idli batter another try. Oddly and embarrassingly, I have constantly had this problem with fermenting my batter. I earlier would not believe in some 'hands' being able to do this better than others, but now I am forced to believe it. I finally (and conveniently) gave up on making batter at home, I don't have a wet grinder, no space (I see your shocked face!). As my baking buddy's hubby remarks, we belong to the very strange category of people who go to great lengths trying things at home which normally people buy (like breads, cakes, puffs, ice creams) and buy things like idli-dosa batter which people normally make at home. I do cook fresh food everyday, but if given a choice, I would love to let someone take over the routine cooking and I would only bake. Goodness! I really must stop fantasizing! Kudos to many of you who manage to bake a lot and also cook everyday food with equal enthusiasm and passion. I remembered that I am probably kind of 'abnormal' in this respect (am not proud of this, trust me) when I wrote the pizza post and mentioned that I used home-made pizza sauce.
This sauce is one you could use for making pasta too of course. Very easy and quick, this makes fresh and simple sauce in very little time. Few ingredients here, but again, please do make sure that they are fresh and the herbs aromatic.
Adapted again from Champa, who has made it from Heidi's 101 Cookbooks . The recipe uses canned crushed tomatoes, I have used fresh ones. I have blanched them to remove the skin and then pureed it in the mixer till quite smooth (my kids do not like chunks) you could leave it chunky if you wish. Please do alter the ingredient proportions to suit your taste.
The below recipe makes about a cup of sauce, enough to make 3-4 9'' round pizzas depending on how much sauce you would want on your pizza. Double the recipe if you wish, as this keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Fresh, ripe, but firm tomatoes - 400 grams (I have used plum tomatoes)
Extra virgin olive oil - 2 tablespoons
Grated fresh garlic - 1 teaspoon
Dried thyme - 1/2 teaspoon
Oregano - 1/2 teaspoon ( I use the seasoning which comes with pizza)
Red Chilli powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Crushed black pepper - to taste
Sugar- 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
Salt to taste
Procedure: Wash the tomatoes. Blanch them in very hot water for a couple of minutes. Cool, drain and peel the skim. Roughly chop into largish chunks and puree as you wish. (chunky, less chunky or almost smooth) I made mine quite smooth. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add the grated garlic.(Heidi says, combine the olive oil, salt and garlic in a cold saucepan, then heat, I missed on this) On medium heat, saute for a minute or so, do not let the garlic turn brown. Add the pureed tomatoes, herbs, red chilli powder, salt, crushed black pepper and the sugar. Simmer on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cool. Use as needed.
Isn't this really simple? Thanks to Champa and Heidi, this will be a recipe I shall be using very often!