Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Healthy, Delicious Granola by Mallika

 Here ends your wait for Mallika's post, here comes healthy, delicious home-made wholesome Granola, which looks super delicious and tempting enough to grab off the monitor!!! Over to Mallika..

'Thank you Suma for providing me this opportunity to write on your blog and contribute a recipe for the same. Firstly, let me introduce you to myself. I am Mallika (I use MD to address myself on blogs). Other than being a full time working IT professional, you'll find me meddling around in the kitchen, cooking, reading, photographing, blogging, etc. I scuffle through my professional work life and personal passions by squeezing in time for cooking, juggling in a bit of baking, a little photography, blogging and loads of eating! ;)

I love the art of cooking and have been involved with it for many years now. It has helped me in many ways. Being a creative and adventurous person myself, cooking has rightly been an art involving both ventures of creativity and adventure. It's a great stress buster and I enjoy it thoroughly as it allows me to explore my boundaries beyond any limits. The happiness you get just by the satisified looks of people relishing what you've cooked is immensely encouraging. And it was out of sheer passion for cooking, that I unfolded my blog Veg Bowl! 

Allow me to share this healthy breakfast recipe for Granola. This Granola is loaded with nuts and we love it that way. The honey roasted oats and nuts bring out some good flavors while the nuts add a great deal of crunchiness to this recipe. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cappuccino Muffins

I am a sucker for caffeine!! I can't imagine starting my morning without my HUGE mug of coffee and am quite fussy about my cuppa. I find the smell of coffee extremely irresistible and it finds its way into my cakes and desserts quite often. I had never baked muffins with butter or coffee earlier. When I saw this recipe on Deeba's blog, the combo sounded so damn, damn irresistible. You bet I visit PAB ever so frequently to drool over Deeba's utterly gorgeous cakes and bakes. I want to bake every cake on her blog and these Cappuccino Muffins called out to me real loud:-).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mallika's Guest Post

The best part about blogging has been getting foodie friends and if they live in the same city as well, nothing like it!! Mallika of Veg Bowl is another blogger friend of mine. I came across her blog just before I started this blog and I was delighted!! Her Chocolate Truffle Cake, Tiramisu and Christmas Fruit Cake had me drooling all over the place. I was thrilled to discover that she lives in Bangalore:-)). Ah, someone at last, I can contact about baking and cake stuff!! Its been great knowing her and having a 'Helpline' to call when I bake those cookies and other bakes she has tried and I have not yet.

She has fantastic recipes, I particularly love her cookies and desserts, and super, super pics on her blog. Hop on to Veg Bowl, if you haven't yet and  you will surely be asking for more..

When someone I know would be baking or trying out a recipe for the first time, I keep calling them now and then to know how its going. (I am more excited than them), how it tastes etc. Was pleasantly surprised when Mallika called me the other day to know if my first butter cake had come out well. LOL!! I was so happy to know someone who is like me:-)) Its been great knowing you MD!!

I am so happy she would be writing a guest post for my blog. Thank you so much Mallika!!

Watch this space for Mallika'spost...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Baked Fig Halwa

This was one seriously gorgeous looking dessert I had seen in the magazine Bangalore Food Lovers some time back. Bangalore foodies- Do definitely check out this magazine if you haven't yet. Its got restaurant reviews, recipes and gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous food pictures. Awesome eye candy for any foodie.

I love figs, both fresh and dried, and this was one to be definitely tried. My mother-in-law had sent lots of fresh figs from Bellary and here came my opportunity to try out Baked Fig Halwa. The halwa tasted great topped with the reduced milk and hubby loved the dessert. Now on to the recipe..

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Microwave Low Fat Masala Peanuts

One of my fondest childhood memories is of my father taking us all to a nearby canteen to buy us Masala Peanuts. Those were the crispy, spicy, gram flour coated deep fried ones. We used to enjoy eating them out of small paper cones. 
I was delighted to find this recipe for the masala peanuts in Tarla Dalal's Microwave Cooking book. These taste so good and you can make a cupful of these with just one tablespoon of oil. Isn't that great! It takes time and effort to make these, but hey you get this lovely snack with relatively so few calories and fat(from oil) to go with your evening coffee. Makes approximately one cup.

1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, unskinned
1/2 cup gram flour
2 teaspoons chilli powder
A pinch of Ajwain seeds( you could use fennel seeds or hing here)
1 tablespoon oil
2-3 tablespoons water
Salt to taste

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the water and oil. Be careful not to add more water. Avoid eyeballing measures for this recipe. I have tried eye-balling and the results were not so good. Ensure the batter coats the peanuts evenly.

Drop the peanuts one by one or in clusters of 2-3 peanuts max on wax paper. These would need to be arranged in a circle near the outer edge of the paper, no circles within the outer circle, no peanuts in the middle. (I know I may be sounding ambiguous,hope you get what I mean to say)  You could also drop on the peanuts on the microwave plate, but using wax paper is quicker and less mess later to clean up. Microwave on HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the wax paper, cool and store in an air tight container. Enjoy with your coffee!!

Please Note: As goes with a lot of microwave recipes, even a few seconds extra can cause the peanuts to harden too much or burn.

Do not reuse the same wax paper more than twice as it may burn.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kitchen Time Savers - Share Your Tips and Tricks

Whew! Whew!! This is the first time since I started blogging, I haven't put up a post since a whole WEEK!!! Reason- I have been quite busy with my office work and its summer break for school .  Having two hyper active kids at home, demanding my attention(EQUAL puhleez!!), demanding snacks and treats every now and then,  is not exactly the perfect setting for me to blog away!! Here I was thinking, I will blog and bake to my heart's content during summer, without a worry about homework, practice and stuff:-((

Being the foodie I am, I loathe to compromise on food for any reason in the world!! And the food had better be good and healthy! But hey,  now I do not have the luxury of time, but would love my kids to have some decent grub when they wish. I would love to spend some time with them, rather than in the kitchen... yet dish out some good food everyday, spend my time on productive office work when they are away at the 3-hour summer camp( What a respite:-)). Now, isn't that a tall order and also every mother's wish??

 You could tell me how I cut down the cooking time, what I can make ahead to a certain stage and then finish when I need, what I can freeze well, things that can be whipped up real fast - like 10 minutes without much prior preparation, everyday grind and store versatile masalas and pastes, ingredients I will need to stock up on to come up with a quick snack -  In short just about anything to make cooking easier and faster. I am fine with one time effort, but not repetitive. Do tell me your recipes in short too( without worrying about the measurement of ingredients that go in).

I will give a couple of my own(and quite common ones) here so that I make more sense in this crazy, hurried post.

1.Grind green chillies with salt and turmeric and store in the fridge to avoid cutting them everyday.
2. Dry roast all ingredients of Upma, just add water and cook when needed.
3. Grind roasted onion-tomato-ginger- garlic and freeze in small quanities for our own low-fat ready curry paste.
4. Grind roasted poppy seeds, roasted dry coconut, almonds, dates, mix with jaggery. Store. Bring milk to a boil and add the paste to make a quick Poppy Seed payasam.

You get the drift...

Every home maker has a few of these signature tricks up her sleeve. So guys, please share your time saving tricks and tips and lend a helping hand to a foodie in need:-)) Hope I sound desperate enough!!! Hope my next post comes in here soon and with a recipe..

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mocha Chocolate Gateaux

I am seriously lost when I have to bake a cake for a big group- for more than 10 people that is. That's usually for my kids' birthdays. I don't have an oven big enough to bake a large cake( hope hubby doesn't miss this part of the post:-)), so I end up baking 2 cakes. I first fantasize about 2 cakes, then search for 2 recipes, (some times only one), search for decorating ideas, then bake 2 cakes. Then decorate, make sure the fridge is filled with cake stuff only, sugar syrup, whipping cream, whipped cream. Generally, get all excited and stressed out simultaneously. You bet, my family gives me strange looks when I do not let anyone near the fridge. LOL!  So much for my cake obsession:-))

So as usual, for my son's birthday, I made the Kiddie Helicopter Chocolate Cake and this Mocha Chocolate Gateaux. This one was light chocolate sponge filled and topped with sinful coffee cream. If  I may pat my own back, this was one of my best cakes ever.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ooopps!! My bread!!!!! - And a few queries on baking bread

Baking bread at home has always been on my must-do-list. Its of course much easier to go to a Daily Breads outlet next door and buy a packet of bread from their range of breads. But nothing can beat the high you get when you bake at home, with the luxury of adding ingredients, changing the flavors and creating your own bakes. This is what I love most about baking. The list of things you can do is endless...Well.. for example, you don't get a Orange and Chocolate Marble Cake  or a Nutty Pineapple Cake (without the overdose of pineapple essence) at a store. And a whole lot of things for that matter. The power of baking powder is such!! Yaaaayyy!!
With a lot of expectations and some amount of hesitation, I baked bread for the first time ever. I drooled over this  recipe I saw on Aparna's blog. The lady sure has an awesome awesome collection of recipes, specially bakes. It looked easy enough with easily available common ingredients. Well, not all that easy(unless you have enough experience in baking breads) as I found out later as my bread went - Oooooppps!!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Egg less Chocolate Chip Cookies

It had been ages since I had baked cookies. My son had to take something for his class party on the last day of school. He had to leave home at 8 a.m and us at 9.30 a.m. for the PTM. No Cakes- Anirudh was 'bored' of giving cakes to his friends. Yeah, my heart wept :-((. After some indecision I decided that cookies would be the best option. I could make them the previous day - no rush in the mornings and most kids would like to eat them. And if the cookies went wrong, I still would have time to make something else. I had baked cookies once or twice with no extra-ordinary results. So I bravely decided to bake some Egg less Cookies which were calling out to me since ages from Mallika's blog. We had earlier exchanged phone numbers and I set about baking the cookies, confident that I could call the Cookie Expert in case of an emergency.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More Awards!!!

Thanks to Deepti and Madhuri for showering me with awards! Thanks so very much guys, so nice of you to pass these on to me! Its been great knowing you and bonding as foodies and as friends too! I have actually received these two a few days ago, but was unable to actually pen down a post as I had guests over the weekend and a whole lot of work once the week began.
Deepti has passed on the Honest Scrap Award to me. Thanks again Deepti! Do check Deepti's blog for a whole lot of delicious snacks and yummy cakes too. Do not miss her Roasted Oats and Almond Smoothie, Masala Puri, Paneer Tikka and Spicy Tawa Tofu while you are at it. Great job Deepti! Can you believe her when she says she doesn't like to cook?? Aaaw, come on gal:-)))

Now I need to pen down 10 honest things about myself. That's a tough one!!

1. I am an extremely indecisive person when it comes to buying clothes and accessories. I call up my sis from the store at least once before I buy anything, and then sometimes exchange the stuff  I buy:-))

2. I  am severely challenged when it comes to taking photos and photos of glasses at that. If I could outsource the picture taking and editing part, I would gladly do that.

3. I am very particular about my walks when I get to a fitness programme, but I absolutely detest games and sports.

4. I dislike reading the newspaper(except the magazine section) and watching news on TV. Think its too dreary, serious and depressing.

5. I can rarely take a compliment gracefully. Its like ' Oh , really, you like the cake? OK. Thanks'

6. Am terrible at Math. Hated physics and Math when I was at school and college. Languages were my fav subjects.

7. I  must, must have a full bottle of water beside my bed when I sleep. Doesn't matter if I don't even open it. But the bottle remains there and anybody who drinks from it must refill it.

8. I can stay up decorating a cake or baking or reading a novel till late in the night. But just can't keep my eyes open if I am watching a movie. Hubby can actually count the number of movies I have watched till 'The End"

9. I hate taking a nap in the afternoon as it makes me feel terribly depressed once I wake up. At best its a 2 minute shut-eye.

10. I don't like being photographed as I think the camera has something against me. Yeah, really!! 

I would like to pass this on to
1. Gulmohor Collaborative Curry
2. Nithya - 4th Sense Cooking
3. Aparna Apy Cooking
4. Shahana Me n My Apron
5. Aruna Manikandan Veggie Paradise
6. Aliena What's Cooking Today
7. Dhanya Ganesh Dhanya's Delights
8. Suparna- Food Fascination
9. Tina Kaipunyam
10. Daisy Blue Spicy Lounge
11. Sathya Sridhar Samayal Corner
12. Sumi Sumi's Ktichen

Thanks truck loads to Madhuri for the "Thank You ' award. Thanks for being so supportive and ever-helping Madhuri! Its a great comfort to know that you are just a click or phone call away! Your enthusiasm for creating good food and photography always inspires me!!
I would like to pass this on to

1. Renuka Love Of Cooking
2. Vrinda Sankeerthanam
3. Divya Easy Cooking
4. Sheeba Art, Travel and Food Chronicles
5. Mallika  Veg Bowl
Please do accept!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Instant Oats Uttappa(Savoury Oats Pancakes)

 Oats :-((( ! I used to use them halfheartedly for the very rare porridge and some other stuff I don't even recall now. Only after I started blogging, I saw so many oats recipes and a mind boggling variety of them at that!! Cookies, pancakes, chutney pudi...Boy! After reading Madhuri's Instant Oats Idli recipe, the humble oats made an entry into my grocery list gain! Earlier, my box of oats would last for months and then the half-used stuff would unceremoniously be tossed out into the trash can. This time however, I have used my box of oats and got the next one too after making this really easy and healthy Oats Uttappa. Madhuri of course has this one in her repertoire of breakfast dishes. Thanks for getting oats back on our plates!

This Oats Uttappa is  really very easy and quick, and really very delicious. You could eat it with chutney or even with just pickle and curd. My family loved this and I am thinking of mixing the dry ingredients and stocking the mix in my fridge to make this even more easy and quick. Now, why did MTR not think of this?:-))

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Inspiration Award From Shubhada!!

Its indeed a great way to start your morning with an award from a fellow blogger right? And on the first day of the month at that!! Thanks Shubhada for the INSPIRATION AWARD. Glad to know I have inspired you in some way. Am really very happy and feel truly honored to receive it form you. You made my day!!

Do check Shubhada's blog for some really yummy recipes including her Pumpkin Puris. Here come Shubhada's award. Thanks a bunch again!!