Sunday, June 8, 2014

Angel's Baked Eggs

Savoury, healthy and classic baked eggs
My recipe


The blissful part of a weekend is waking up late, ;) past the breakfast hour, too starving to wait for lunch and so brunch it usually is.. :) Free of all week's hurries; chit chatting and laughing away with family and slurping delicious food together!! :)

This dish is something that's often on the menu for a lazy weekend brunch at my place. But, you could also serve this savoury, baked egg dish packed with a healthy amount of veggies for breakfast, lunch or dinner.. An any time meal! :)


No! this is not Shakshouka nor Mexican eggs. Neither is this dish inspired from them.. It's The Angel's baked eggs.. :) The name has a surreptitious tale of a little girl who bravely fought and surpassed a nightmare solitary! ;) 

Ingredients :









Bell peppers (yellow, orange, green and red)
-

1/2 of each

Button Mushrooms  
-

1 cup chopped

White or brown onion
-

1/2 or whole

Tomato
-

1 large

Cilantro / Coriander leaves
-

A handful (coarsely chopped)

Sesame seeds
-

1 teaspoon

Salt
-

To taste

Black pepper (freshly ground)
-

As required

Dried Oregano
-

1/2 teaspoon

Black olives
-

1/2 cup

Fresh eggs
-

5 or 6 nos.

Oil or butter
-

As required


Preparation Method :

Wash and chop all the Veggies. You could either bake the eggs in the oven or slow cook them on the stove itself. If you prefer baking it in the oven, set to preheat at 180 degrees now. Make sure you use an oven-proof skillet in that case.


 I simply loveeee colours in my food! Natural, healthy colours I mean! :)



Roughly crush the sesame seeds to release the flavour and oils. In a hot skillet, pour in some olive oil or melt some butter and add the sesame seeds.


When it begins to sputter, add the onions and sauté on high for half a minute. Then add the Mushrooms and sauté until all the water evaporates and the onion and mushroom being to brown.


Then add the chopped peppers. Season with salt and pepper. If you like the dish a bit spicy, add more pepper.


Add the dried oregano and sauté until the bell peppers too are well roasted and the oil begins to clear at the bottom of the skillet.


Move the veggies to a plate. and retain the oil in the skillet and reduce the heat to medium.


Lay the sliced tomatoes on the pan and cook for a minute. Then turn them over.


Sprinkle some cilantro over the tomatoes. Season with a pinch of salt and some pepper.


Top that with the roasted veggies and top with some olives.


Make five or six gentle depressions on the surface of the veggie mix with your spatula and crack open an egg each into them, so that the yolk sits well into the veggies.


Sprinkle on the rest of the chopped cilantro and if baking, bake in the oven for 5-6 minutes if you'd like your yolks half done, or 8-10 minutes, if you like your yolks almost well done. If you prefer cooking on the stove itself, reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight lid and slow cook for 5 minutes.


Then turn off the heat and do not open the lid until another 5 minutes. Allow it to cook in the remaining heat inside.


This is a meal in itself. If you like to have some carbohydrates, you could have it with breads of your choice. 


Enjoy with a refreshing glass of smoothie / fresh fruit juice / coffee or tea. If you'd like to have an elaborate meal, you could serve it with garlic bread! It's awesome! :) 


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Berrynana Smoothie

Raspberry, Banana and Dates smoothie 
My version


Summer's hiking to its peak.. In the middle of summer, who wouldn't crave for a glass of anything chill to quench their thirst and boost their energy.. and what if it is super delish? :) Sounds appetizing, doesn't it?? It definitely is! Don't be puzzled.. there's no word called 'Berrynana'! ;) 

Charge yourself with this power packed, flavorful and healthy smoothie. Just the right thing for this summer.. This is an extremely simple smoothie, made with frozen raspberries, bananas and dates. If raspberries aren't available in your location, you could also use strawberries. Make sure its ripe and sweet though.

Let me borrow some of my mom's health benefits tips she enlightens us with, for this recipe :) Bananas are a great base for any smoothie, giving it a thick and creamy texture. At the same time, they are a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins B6, C and antioxidants. Raspberries!! Need I say more about it's amazing flavor and tang! In this part of the world I live in, getting fresh yield raspberries is impossible. Imported fresh packs are available, very expensive though. But, for smoothies, I prefer having the frozen pack stocked in my freezer. Have read that raspberries are a good source of antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, vitamin C, folic acid, iron etc. and have anti-inflammatory properties.

I try avoiding sugar.. not 'coz of the health risks though ;) Let me be honest, I live more on ice-creams than I do on regular meals! :D Ice-creams are a weakness for me, especially during summers. Ah! I do that and make up for that by skipping sugar in juices and smoothies. I know there's no point! :D All my smoothies are naturally sweetened. Most often its either dates or honey. Trust me, the combination of Raspberries, bananas and dates is simply mind-blowing! It gives you the punch you need for the summers. Other than sugar, dates are a great source of energy and fiber, essential minerals, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, zinc etc. It also contains vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.

If you don't want milk, you could very well avoid it. Maybe you could substitute that with soy milk or almond milk or just add water. Choice is yours.



To serve two :

Ingredients :









Banana
-

2 nos.

Frozen Raspberries
-

A handful

(If you are using Strawberry)
-

A handful

Dates
-

3-4 nos. Seeded.

Milk
-

As you prefer

Water
-

1 cup







Preparation Method :


Blend everything together well. 


Make sure you add water checking the consistency. Smoothies are thick and creamy. So be sure not to add too much water and ruin the drink. 


You could spoon out a little and taste before you pour out into a glass. Add more dates for extra sweetness.



Hope you enjoy this refreshing smoothie! :)


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pineapple Pudding

Simple pineapple and cream pudding
Shared version


As I just sat down to write this recipe, I have a stream of nostalgia gushing down. There are some people who come by in your life as total strangers, but turn out to be an inevitable part of your life. So did I meet this little one year old charm and her young and cheerful mom more than 2 decades ago.. :) Today they are one of the closest to my heart! Shajeena and her daughter Shadin. Shadin has always had a place of a sibling in my house and seen her grow from the little one year old toddler to a doctor now.. :) Her name deserves a mention on this blog, 'coz she was the first to whom I revealed my idea of starting a blog to. No doubt, she was the right person! The step-by-step pictorials, was her suggestion. She had great faith in me and was and is always there to give me the right boost and push I need! :) Love you Sha! :)

Shajeena, her mom, is a dentist by profession, a homemaker, a mom of two! Oops! four! ;) her darling cats included! :) and a woman whom I have never seen sit idle! Utterly enthusiastic and always on her toes.. She's either at work, or cooking, or shopping, or cleaning and trust me, the list would never end! Yes, a superwoman in the literal sense! A humble human being I truly adore. We could go on and on talking to one another for hours without the scarcity of topics and we ought to catch up atleast over the phone once in a while to share all of each other's life's happenings :) That's something very contrary to the me most people know of, who is impatient and restless when it comes to talking over the phone! Well, that might explain the comfort I find in her company.

Not even she would have realized the influence she has been and a part she has played in molding me into the person I am today. Someone who has encouraged the creative side in me with lots of motivation and I have indeed picked a few things down the lane from her. This Pineapple pudding being one!! :) Yes, I learnt this from her. With a couple of innovations here and there, the basic recipe sticks to its origin. This dessert was known for being a show-stopper at her place for get-togethers! Fancy, but extremely simple dessert with no cooking required!! Yes! NO COOKING required! :)   

Ingredients :









Plain Vanilla cake
-

2 medium loafs sliced

Canned Pineapple with the syrup
-

Large can

Water
-

1 cup






For the whipped cream :




(Method of preparation and ingredients required could vary with brand, so please follow  instructions on sachet or pack)

Whipping cream mix
-

2 sachets

Milk (full cream)
-

As mentioned on pack

Vanilla essence
-

As mentioned on pack






Almond flakes (if available)
-

A large handful

Pistachio
-

1/3 cup







Preparation Method :

Give the pineapples a quick chop into chewable chunks.


Add the syrup from the can and pour in the water.


Whip up the cream.




You could make this pudding in a single layer like how the original recipe is, or make it in 2 layers like how I do sometimes. This two layer one is more rich! Try it! In a shallow bottom dish lay the cake slices. We need plain vanilla sponge cake. You could also use a homemade one. In that case, that would be the only cooking required.


Then  crumb some cake slices to fill in the gaps.     


Spoon out half of the pineapple mixture onto the cake.  Make sure the cake drinks the juice well and it moistens the cake throughout. Then garnish with some almond flakes. That's one of my innovations and it's good to add a crunch to the pudding.


Then scoop out half the whipped cream and spread evenly.


Layer the rest of the cakes again above the cream and repeat the steps again.
ü Crumb the cake and fill.
ü Spoon out the rest of the pineapple mixture.
ü garnish with almond flakes.
ü Scoop out the remaining cream and spread evenly.



Crush the pistachios.



Sprinkle over the cream.



Wrap with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum. The more you cool, the better! 


A fancy pudding in minutes. 


Happy weekend folks! :)


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mulaku Bajji

Hot and spicy deep fried Chilli fritter
My at-home version


I grew up in Oman, rather I have lived in this country all my life.. :) I first came here when I was three months old, with my parents. My father was working here much before he was married.. Well that would probably explain why I am so attached to this place and call it HOME! :) From my childhood memories, I recollect this place being very hot all throughout the year. Winters weren't all that cold! But, with time, the climate here has changed drastically! For the good I must say! Winters are much colder, summers aren't as hot as it used to be once upon a time and there's more rain than ever before! :) Yes, Rain! :) that's where I am getting to.. Rain or even just a cloudy sky, elevates my spirit to a state of bliss. Amidst a scorching summer, a little rain to sooth the heat down, is indeed a blessing.

The other day, I woke up to a beautiful view of a cloudy sky outside my window. That's something that boosts me with a lot of positive energy. 


While sipping my morning brew and relishing the drizzle outside the window, it reminded me of my recent trip to Kodaikanal that I shared with you last week. It reminded me of the fog gulped mountains, the cloudy sky, the cool breeze and the pleasant drizzles.. 


and ah! a face that flashed before my eyes was that of the kind lady who called me over to click her portrait at her little tea shop where she was making and selling hot and tempting Mulaku bajji..


YES! Here's a recipe inspired from the Kodai trip.. Deep fried, hot and spicy Mulaku bajji (Chili fritters). An Indian snacks packed with spices.. Just the right thing for a rainy day! :) Luckily, I managed to get the Anaheim pepper, the  chili used to make bajji. It's a mild variety of chili that could be described as neither a chili nor a capsicum or both fused together.. :)

Ingredients :









Anaheim pepper
-

8 nos. (as used here)

Gram flour (Chickpea flour)
-

1 cup

Corn flour
-

1 tablespoon

Whole-wheat flour (Aatta)
-

1 tablespoon

Bicarbonate of Soda
-

A pinch

Asafoetida powder
-

1/4 teaspoon

Red chili powder
-

1/3 teaspoon or as required

Turmeric powder
-

1/3 teaspoon

Fennel seed powder
-

1/3 teaspoon

Cumin seed powder
-

1/3 teaspoon

Kasoori Methi (crushed)
-

1 teaspoon

Salt
-

To taste

Water
-

As required

Oil
-

For deep frying


Preparation Method :

Pick the freshest Anaheim pepper. Wash them clean and towel dry. If you do not find this chili, you could also make mulaku bajji with any other large chili. But, I wouldn't recommend an alternative choice, 'coz a snack that's flaming hot is definitely not going to be enjoyable. Yet, with whatever that's available, do check the heat of it before you proceed to preparing it.


For that, slit a cut vertically from the head to the tail and touch the seeds with a finger and rub on your tongue. You would get a rough idea as to how hot it is. If it is really fiery, I'd recommend you, remove the seeds out from inside with a knife. Anaheim peppers do not require the seeds to be removed. Slitting a cut is essential, or else, the heat that would steam inside while frying will either burst the chili causing the hot oil to dangerously sputter or may cause serious burns if you bite into it and it still has steam pressured inside even though the surface would have cooled! Does that sound confusing! ;) Well, just slit it anyway then! :D
Some bajji's are made with stuffing different fillings into it. This is the basic and modest version. :)


Now, let's make the batter. We will need gram flour or chick pea flour (however it is known). Make sure you check the date on the packet. My tip : the fresher the flour, the lesser the oil it will absorb. :)


Add the corn flour. (it's optional) I like my bajji crispy and not soggy. Corn flour helps the fritter to be crispy and retains the crispiness even after it cools. Add the whole-wheat flour.  It will help hold the batter together.


Then add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. A PINCH! I mean it! More, would absorb oil while frying. Then add the asafoetida powder. I have seen my mom add asafoetida powder and then pour half a teaspoon of hot oil over it to cook it slightly. It infuses the flavour as well as removes the raw taste. Then add the red chili powder, to your desired taste. Some like the crust spicier than the chilli and some like it mild. Add the turmeric powder.


Then add fennel and cumin seed powder. Crush and add the kasoori methi (fenugreek leaves).


Add salt to taste and water and whisk into a fine batter. The preference of the consistency of the batter could differ person to person. 


I and my family personally like a crispy and light crust. Some like it soft and the chili thickly coated.  The trick is, if you want the bajji lighter and crispy, make sure the batter is not too thick. Precisely, it should drip gently down your whisk, but isn't too watery at the same time. If you want it the other way, add lesser water and make sure the batter is thick enough to leave a trail when stroked with a spoon. Make sure to taste the batter add more salt or chilli powder if required. Don't judge the taste of the batter at this point. ;) Remember! it's still raw! :)


Next, heat some oil in a wok.  
Another tip : Never leave the batter for too long. Once you add water, make sure you cook soon, or else it could absorb oil while frying! When the oil is really hot, gradually dip the chili in the batter. You dont have to really open the slit or deliberately let in the batter.


Slowly insert the chili into the oil. As soon as you have inserted a batch, bring down the heat to medium. Then, with a spoon or your hands, pour on some batter over each chili. This helps give a crunchy and crispy crust and a different look too. :)


When the sides have seemed to start browning, turn it over.


When both sides have evenly browned and it has cooked through, remove them onto a paper towel. Continue the same with all batches.



And here you are with a plate of hot and crispy Mulaku bajji! :) Just the right thing with a cup of tea on a rainy day with your loved ones! :) Bliss :) Enjoy!  


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