Sunday, July 26, 2015

Strawberry Chutney: Indian Style Sweet and Spicy Chutney

Last weekend was super fun and those of you who are following me on Instagram or Facebook would know what i am talking about. Yeah, finally the wish to visit a farm and pick some fruits and veggies turned into reality. And i have gone crazy sharing pictures about the farm visit. Today's post is about that too. People, if you are near London, have car or not you must visit this farm called as Park Side farm. It is easily accessible by tubes as well and it one must to do thing in London on weekends. Whatever you want in a farm visit is there, a picnic area, push chairs, baskets, parking and above all the farm is so huge that you will never feel that there are too many people.

Clear sky and little breezy, looked like god was setting the mood for an amazing day. We picked strawberries, raspberries, plums, green onions, broad beans and French beans. You have many other options as well. Strawberries were just sooooo beautiful. Dark red in colour, sweet and perfectly ripe; waiting to be picked. Strawberries just replicate spring and summer for me.

Basically we got over excited and picked up too many strawberries. And we did consume it in too many forms. Mixed it up with no oil healthy granola and had it in breakfast. Blended with yogurt and made this amazing Strawberry Lassi. Dipped in chocolate ganache and had it like a dessert as well. Too much of strawberry in two days and it already started getting mushy. I had many ideas to use it, like make a syrup, jam or ice cream. But then when I was looking for the recipes I saw most of the recipes need lot of sugar, which was a no no for me. 

Looking for more strawberry recipes? Check these out:

Why make a healthy nutrient fruit so unhealthy by adding so much of sugar? Too much pressure on brain was applied and finally I turned these strawberries into spicy and aromatic Indian style chutney.

This in simple words in more like a jam but it is not over sweet; it is a mix of sweet and tang. Then I added in Indian spices such as fennel seeds and cumin seeds (saunf and jeera), both of them have great fragrant. The sharpness was added through slit green chillies, which just balances it all together. Also a little bit of ginger and lemon juice will do wonders to this chutney. But again, like most of the Indian chutneys this too can be made as per your taste and preference. Just play around and give strawberry chutney or pickle a try, skip jam that is loaded with sugar, that’s all I can say.

What to have this chutney? Well almost anything and everything. Pair it up with parathas, sandwiches, dosa, idli, kebabs, toast, khari, khakra, nachos, chips, crackers, biscuits, warps, frankies....yeah basically anything.

1 kg strawberries
3 tablespoons jaggery/gud
1 teaspoon fennel seeds/saunf
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
Juice from 1 lemon
3 green chillies slit
Salt to taste

Remove the stems from strawberries. Wash and pat dry.
Take a fork and mash strawberries roughly in a bowl.
Heat a pan and add oil.
When oil is hot add green chillies.
Add fennel seeds and cumin seeds.
Turn the flame to low. Add in strawberries and jaggery. Cook covered for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes add in ginger, lemon juice and salt.
Cook again uncovered for 10 minutes.
Let the chutney cool down. It must become mushy and no water must be visible.

You might need to add more jaggery if strawberries are sour. Mine was over ripened so I used less jaggery.
You can use sugar instead of jaggery.
Store it in air tight container for 2 weeks in the fridge.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Beetroot Raita Withe Smoked Chilli : Beetroot Yogurt Dip

Summer: ah, synonymous with colors, brightness and freshness; the season that calls for cold salads, chilled beverages and quick cooking. This Beetroot Raita with Smoked Chili is one summery dip that sets up the complete sunshine mood – the tang of the yogurt, the sharp spike from charred chili and the beautiful pink color of beetroot.

Beetroot Raita can be paired with anything! Serve it as a side with Indian curries or parathas, or pair it up with rice dishes like pulav or briyani. Stuff it in pitta pockets with salads and kebabs, or just enjoy it like a dip for carrot sticks, crackers, nachos or chips.

It has everything that you need in a good dip- color, texture and just the right flavors. Bring it on, its summer time!
1 cup yogurt
1 medium size beetroot
1 green chilli
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves
1 cup water

Put 1 cup of water to boil. Add chopped beetroot in the water. Boil for 1 minute.
Drain the water and let beetroot cool.
Hold the green chilli with a pair of thongs and roast on open fire.
In a blender blend yogurt, beetroot, chili, sugar and salt until smooth.
Sieve the blended mix through sieve. This helps to give it that velvety texture.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

You may need to add more sugar depending on how sour the yogurt is.
This can be made one day in advance.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Chocolate Bark: Nuts and Seeds Chocolate Bark: Healthy Snack


More and more chocolate...

Oh yes!

Chocolate doesn’t ask silly questions, it understands. I am a huge sucker of chocolates. Not the sweet milk chocolates that melt in your mouth but the dark ones whose bitter taste linger on your tongue. Can you have coffee that is overpowering sweet? You need to have that strong bitter taste of coffee, isn’t it? Same is what I feel about chocolate. Chocolate isn’t a chocolate if it is not bitter. But hey that’s my opinion.

You will always get huge blocks of good quality dark chocolate in my fridge. After meals or just when my heart wants, I grab a little piece of chocolate to uplift my mood :-). Todays post is like a quick makeover to plain chocolate. A healthy makeover. A nutty makeover. Chocolate Barks With Seeds and Nuts.

Who can resist dark velvety chocolate with crunch of nuts? Use your favorite nuts and chocolate to make these delicious barks. Spread the melted chocolate depending on how thick you want your bars to be. I like them thin, so I spread a thin layer. I used handful of pumpkin seeds, walnuts and sunflower seeds. But there is no rule of thumb here, use any nuts such as almonds, cashews, raisins and even dried fruits like apricot, berries and dates. I used more dark chocolate but again feel free to use whatever you like more-white, milk or dark chocolate.

Have it like office snack, workout snack, give to your kids or gift it to your friends and family. The thing is it looks very rich and royal but the efforts that go in are minimal. Birthday, anniversary, house warming, valentine’s day, mother’s day, father’s day, christmas, diwali or just visiting someone’s home, these chocolate barks are always the great idea. Trust me, just use a fancy tray or plate, pack it up, ribbon it up and you have the best DIY chocolate gift ready.

Looking for DIY gift ideas? Check these out:
Movie Hamper
Lemon Sugar Scrub
Fridge Deodorant

100 grams dark chocolate packs-2
100 grams milk chocolate pack-1
1/2 cup mix of nuts and seeds (see notes)

Melt dark and milk chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds. You can use double boiler method as well.
Line a tray with parchment paper.
Pour melted chocolate on parchment paper. Spread the chocolate to thin layer.
Sprinkle seeds and nuts on it. Take a toothpick and mix nuts in the melted chocolates.
Refrigerate it in the freezer for 1 hour or in fridge overnight.
Break into pieces and enjoy.

I used 4 tablespoons each of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
Use a good quality chocolate. I used Godiva Dark Chocolate Bar 72%.
You can also use square or rectangle tin to make these bars.
Store in air tight container in the fridge. Stays well for 1 month.

Serving suggestions:
You can use them for chocolate cake decorations. Like shards here.
Take a piece and melt in your coffees, hot chocolate or plain milk.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Corn On The Cob Kebabs: Corn On Sticks: Summer Appetizer: Vegetarian Kebabs

Who doesn’t like the colour yellow?




Just the colour yellow makes me smile. Every summer I bring in lots of yellow lemons to make lemonade or sweet corn to have some charred corn on the cob at home. The yellow pearl like kernels sitting close to each other is a beauty in itself and then when you roast it, it looks even more beautiful.

These vegetarian kebabs. Or corn on the cob. Corn on skewers is one great summer appetizer or starter that will surely please the crowd. I was just wondering what to pair these kebabs with and then I thought of using the colourful box I was sent from The Berry Company special tea range.  Black, white, green, red and yellow all made form natural berries with no "yucky"bits.  

If this wasn’t enough, I must tell you all their drinks are:
Gluten Free
No Artificial Colourings
No Artificial Additives
No Artificial Sweeteners
No Artificial Preservatives
No GMO's
Dairy Free

Their Tea Range is a water based drink mixed with tea extracts and great fruity flavours.

Black Tea has been blended with elderflower and lemon.  A prefect thirst quencher.

Green Tea juice is mixed with aroina berry and blueberry. A drink full of goodness.

White Tea has been merged with peaches. An exotic and unique drink mix.

Red Tea muddled up with cranberries and grapes. A real tasty kick.

Now comes my favorite Yellow Tea. Yellow Tea is rare type of tea which is native to China. Both the leaves and infusion are yellow in colour. Dint I tell I am in summery yellow bright mood? This tea is mingled with coconut water and lemon which gives a super unique taste, you will surely be hooked. All you tea addicts and coconut fans must give this tea range a try.

Chilled yellow tea and spicy corns sticks is just like pair made in heaven and not to forget the yellow theme ;-). Oh these corn-on-the-cob kebabs are sweet, crunchy, lemony and so summery. To add in some extra bling I used juicy cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and onions, don’t they look beautiful? Feel free to add other veggies like aubergine, zucchini, and boiled potatoes.  For a slighter sweeter taste use fruits like kiwi, orange or berries. The twists and modifications are endless, it can have grated cheese, spicy spices, Italian herbs, yogurt dressing or can be made simple with lemon juice as well.

Like me, make it simple if you have less time in hand. I just made use of lemon juice, butter, salt and black pepper and it was uh-mazing! Tangy, spicy and buttery-what else you need?

2 corns
1 bell pepper (any colour)
1 onion
4 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper powder (or to taste)
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups water

Soak the wooden skewers in water overnight or for atleast 2 hours.
Preheat the oven at 180C. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
Remove husk and skin from the corns. Wash and cut each corn into 3 parts.
Put water to boil in a large pot. When water starts boiling throw corn pieces in the water. Let it boil for 1-2 minutes. Drain on kitchen towel.
Cut bell pepper and onion into cubes.
Prepare the dressing. Mix butter, salt, lemon juice and black pepper in a bowl.
Arrange corn pieces, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and onion on the skewers.
With the help of a brush apply the dressing all over the kebabs sticks. Arrange skewers on the lined sheet and grill for 40-50 minutes.
Keep turning the kebabs, so that you get burnt corn from all the sides.
Serve hot.

You can use olive oil instead of butter.
Throw in some italian herbs for Italian taste.
Use chaat massala (Indian tangy spice mix) for Indian taste.

Serving suggestions: Serve it with any dip.
Pair it up with any summer cooler and drinks.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking The Berry Company for sending drinks  for review.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Peas Rice: Matar Ke Chawal: Peas Pulav

So it was the hottest day of the year in London yesterday. People were freaking out, no one was happy with the sunshine. What do people want, I asked myself? When it is raining they sulk about it; when it is cold and windy they complain about it and yesterday they had problems with sunny weather too. No one seemed happy and everyone was just frowning-boy oh boy it is sooo hot!. Another funny thing, my Indian friends were going crazy too. Don’t you come from a place where it is more 40 degrees? How can they not tolerate 30C? Anyways moving on, I totally loved crisp clear sky, lots of sunshine and cold water shower for a change :)

Those of you follow me on instagram would know, I treated myself with some beautiful lilies and these lilies are now blooming, giving amazing fragrance in my hall. That fresh aroma, pink beauties and lots of sunshine helped me to complete this book. By the end of the day I was totally relaxed but was in no mood to slave myself in the kitchen cooking some elaborate meal. It had to be something quick and not spicy or hot.

Yeah yeah, pasta was my choice too, but Mr. Husband had pasta in lunch so I knew he wouldn’t eat it. So I did some quick search on my blog and decided to do something with rice. Rice and lentils. Daal Chawal. Simple yellow daal (no onion or garlic) just pressure cooked. For rice I made Matar Pulav. Green Peas Rice. Ah the comfort food!

What to pair with Peas Rice? Check these out:

Green Peas Rice or Matar Ke Chawal is one step ahead from the very basic jeera rice. I would say it is one beautiful rice dish but with least efforts. Just throw in some frozen peas, cooked rice, some spices and you are done. It is like a quick makeover or leftover rice magic too, infact leftover rice works perfectly fine :). I tried to keep it simple with fragrant whole spices.

There are many variations you can do in this recipe. You can add other veggies such as potatoes, capsicum, carrots, beans, onion and what not. In that case it will be very much like veg pulav which is a meal in itself, just pair it up with any riata. Then, you can also use Indian spices like turmeric (for colour) or red chilli powder. Some people also like to add nuts such as cashews (kaju) or raisins (kismis). As mentioned already, I crafted it real simple.

2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup green peas/matar
4 cloves/laung
2 black peppercorns/kali mirch
2 bay leaf/tej patta
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1 tablespoons ghee or oil

Heat oil in wok or a pan. When oil gets hot, add bay leaf, cloves and peppercorns. Roast for 5 seconds.
Add cumin seeds. Let it crackle. Reduce heat to low.
Add ginger garlic paste. Sauté it for 1 minute.
To it add frozen peas. Cook till peas get soft.
Mix in rice. Stir properly. Do not apply pressure, else rice will get mushy.
Cover and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot.

You can omit ginger garlic paste.
If using fresh peas, boil it before using.
See all instructions on how to cook rice here.
Use a good quality indian basmati rice for best results. I used Tilda Basmati Rice.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side with any indian curries.
Serve with lentils and dry curries.
Mix with salad, chutneys and stuff in tacos or burritos.