Chicken and Cheese Shots for a Pluviophile

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It’s raining once again.After a hot dry summer, it’s such a welcome change.Especially when you are at home watching nature’s beautiful gift through your open window,letting in the cool breeze and the fresh comforting smell of rain kissed earth.It seems to awaken all your senses and transport you into a state of calm and peace. The earthy scent of petrichor, the sound of tiny drops of rain on the windows, the feel of  the gentle breeze on the face, the sight of squeaky clean and green trees all around…I simply love it all. And what better way to enjoy the rains than munching on some delicious snacks while sipping on a mug of steaming hot tea or coffee.

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pic courtesy:Google

It has been raining the whole of last week. Not the heavy paralysing kind but  light and pleasant one. I made Chicken and cheese shots on one such day to celebrate the rain. The cool breeze carried with it the delicious aroma of these chicken shots from the kitchen to the entire home making everyone hungry. The shots are small in size and it is recommended that you eat each shot whole. The flavors of the crunchy crust and the melting cheese kind of deliciously burst in your mouth and play on your tastebuds. If I have tempted you enough do make a note of the recipe and prepare these yummy chicken and cheese shots. You don’t have to wait for it to rain.You can eat them right now. Or better still, make a big batch,use some now and freeze the rest. Whenever you smell Petrichor, take them out of the freezer, thaw them and get your deep fryer ready because….. it will be raining soon😉

 

Recipe for Chicken and Cheese shots

Ingredients for chicken mince:

  • 500g chicken breast
  • 2 spring onion
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tsp. ginger chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable shortening/ghee
  • 1/2 tsp. red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp. water

For the breading station:

  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornflour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggwhites
  • 4 tbsp. milk
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs/nachos crushed

 For the filling:

  • 2 cups mozarella cheese shredded or a combination of your favorite cheeses
  • 2 tsp. oregano/Italian seasoning (recipe)

Step One:

  1. Pulse all the ingredients required for the mince together except eggyolk and water.
  2. Put the pulsed mince in a bowl and add egg yolks and water.
  3. Mix well. Cover with a cling film and keep it in the fridge for atleast half an hour.

Step Two:

  1. Keep the breading station ready.
  2. Mix flour,cornflour and salt in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggwhites.
  4. Crush some nacho chips or take 2 cups of fresh breadcrumbs and place them in a third bowl.

Step Three:

  1. Shred the cheese and add Italian seasoning to it.

Step Four:

  1. Remove the mince from the fridge.
  2. Apply some oil on your palms.
  3. Take a teaspoon of mince on your palm and flatten it with your finger.
  4. Put some filling in the center and bring the edges of the mince patty together to make a small ball.
  5. Make balls with the rest of the mince similarly.
  6. Roll each ball in the flour mixture.
  7. Then dip them in the eggwhite batter.
  8. Finally roll them in the breadcrumbs.
  9. Deepfry them in medium hot oil till golden brown.
  10. Enjoy them hot with a cup of tea or coffee.

(Recipe Courtesy: bharatzkitchen.com)

 

 

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I didn’t know there was a word for a ‘rain lover’  for ‘someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days’  – Pluviophile.

I am a Pluviophile….are you?:)

 

 

 

 

30 Ramadan Recipes for Iftar

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Ramzan ul MubarakRamzan ul Mubarak

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Ramadan the 9th and holiest month of the Islamic calender brings with it a lot of cheer and blessings. It is a month of fasting, charity giving , self analysis and introspection. During this month, muslims across the world fast from dawn to dusk. The pre-dawn meal is called Suhoor or Sehri. After partaking this meal they abstain from eating or drinking till dusk.Apart from food and drink, muslims refrain from sinful behaviour like gossiping,back-biting,fighting,lying or cursing which negates the reward of fasting. People are encouraged to increase religious devotion by means of prayers and recitation of the holy Quran.The day long fast is broken after sunset with a date and a sip of water as was the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). This is called Iftar.After the sunset prayers a more elaborate meal is shared with family and friends.

Muslim women besides fasting,praying and their daily routine make delicious treats for Iftar and Suhoor for their families. Most of them would agree that preparing these special dishes is easier than actually deciding what to make. I have rounded up some interesting recipes which they can make easily for Iftar and enjoy with their families.

I am including 10 Non-veg snack recipes, 10 Vegetarian snack recipes and 10 Dessert and sweet snack recipes.

10 Non- Veg Snacks for Iftar

Mini Chicken Pizza Pies

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Chicken Mini Tarts

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Chicken Frankies/kathi rolls

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Cheesy Chicken Filo Parcels

Crispy outside.. soft and cheesy inside..

Chicken and Corn Samosa

Chicken and Corn Samosa

Chicken Pita Sandwich

Healthy and tasty pita sandwich stuffed with chicken and veggies

Bird’s Nest

Succulent mouth watering mutton kebab stuffed with a boiled egg.....

Gold Coins

Gold Coins...

Hyderabadi Haleem

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Chicken Fatayer

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10 Vegatarian Snacks for Iftar

 

Baby Corn Crepe Wrap

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Crunchy Quinoa Salad

Crunchy Quinoa salad

Crispy Baby Corn

Home made Crunchy Baby corn... Recipe to follow.

Veggie Ice cream bars

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Sweet and Savoury Canapes

Sweet and savory canapes

Sandwich Fritters

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Dahi Vada

Dahi Vada

Eggplant Rollups

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Eggplant Fingers

Left: fried Right: baked

Dominos Garlic Bread Sticks

Cheese Garlic bread- Domino's style

 

10 Sweet snacks and Desserts for Iftar

 

Turon-Banana Spring Rolls

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Mexican Churros

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Kunafa

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Cocktail Pudding

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Mango Bread Pudding

Warm slice of Mango bread pudding

Strawberries and Cream

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Blueberry Trifle

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Mango Pudding

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Chocolate Mousse

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Fruit and Nut Granola bar

Chewy healthy granola bar

 

Mango Bread – Easy and Delicious

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Come Summer and the royal land of Nizams, Hyderabad appears golden yellow.Hyderabad fondly known as the ‘Pearl City’ is an enchanting land of heritage monuments,forts,palaces, lakes, museums, gardens, software parks and more importantly a delectable cuisine fit for the kings. And when it is summer, especially in the month of May, the entire city is dotted with the king of fruits-mangoes,beautiful luscious mangoes,aromatic,sweet and full of flavor.You can see them everywhere,on every street,in every nook and corner. On pushcarts,in kiosks,in fruitstalls,in stores,in juice corners,in homes..just everywhere. Mango is the most loved fruit across the world and India alone produces half of the world’s mangoes.

Mango lovers can’t have enough of mangoes. And to their delight this year the food safety department of hyderabad has ensured that the vendors or producers keep the mangoes chemical free,i.e free of artificial ripeners like Calcium Carbide.

delicious mango bread
delicious mango bread

I really look forward to summers and fresh ripe mangoes to bake this time tested  easy mango bread recipe. The aromas and flavors of this bread are truly amazing. Moreover, this recipe is light and does not use butter or too many eggs. You can add raisins and walnuts in this bread for extra flavor and a crunch. The color of the loaf is beautiful. You can enjoy it warm on it’s own or with a scoop of mango ice cream….mmm…I can still remember the taste and smell the aroma wafting around….long after the bread was devoured.

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Mango Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 125g all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 90ml vegetable oil
  • 125g caster sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. raisins
  • 1 tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 200g chopped mangoes

 

Method:

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First mix all dry ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

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Whisk the egg.

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Fold in the dry flour mixture.

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Add the chopped mangoes and lemon juice and fold in gently.

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Line a loaf tin with butter paper and pour the batter in it. Cover the tin lightly with aluminium foil so that the top does not brown fast. You can remove the foil after half an hour. Complete baking until a toothpick comes out clean. It should take about 1 hour.

Let it cool before you unmould it and slice it. Enjoy just like that or with a scoop of icecream.

 

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Crispy Eggplant Fingers(Fried or Baked) And 5 Reasons Why I wouldn’t want to buy KFC’s Edible Nailpolish?

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I wonder what KFC was thinking when it decided to introduce edible chicken flavored nail polishes. I know they were taking their motto ‘finger lickin’ good’ literally but why on earth would anyone want to lick their nails when they could eat their delicious chicken instead.Thankfully, it has not yet hit the shelves. It is just being promoted on social media to test the market reaction.

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Pic courtesy: bbc.co.uk

5 reasons why I think edible nailpolish is a bad idea:

  1. Moms are not going to buy that nail polish for their young kids because they alone know how hard it was to get them off that nasty nail-biting habit. Buying edible nail polish would be potential suicide.
  2. Teenaged girls! think twice. you don’t want those braces back with all the finger licking an’ chewing.
  3. Hygiene. Has anyone thought of that. Either you wear gloves or protective finger caps or you just sit whole day with your fingers in a fridge. After all who can resist KFC….you can’t stop your pet cats,dogs or flies from a teeny lick or weeny bite of your nails. And who wants to be chased or followed by street dogs when  walking on the road with irresistibly tempting chicken on your finger tips.
  4. Young ladies! It is not at all elegant or lady-like to lick or bite your nails in public. And imagine it getting runny or sticky on your important papers in your office.
  5. KFC is hugely impartial…meaning..their nail polish is unisex. OMG! That would mean…our dear planet will be invaded by men of all sizes and shapes with their nails painted RED…and at one time you will find atleast a dozen of them with fingers in their mouths….everywhere…in trains,in offices,in shopping malls,on roads…everywhere.Oh God! Please no.
Pic courtesy:adweek.com
Pic courtesy:  adweek.com

KFC! Are you listening?We all love KFC. But the idea of an edible nail polish is a bit weird.

A little suggestion:  How about an edible LIPSTICK or chicken flavored chewing gum or lollies? Think about it.

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Well! There is still time till KFC’s nailpolish is available for us to buy. Till then if you want to taste,lick or eat some delicious fingers while still looking elegant…go for this dish. Crispy Eggplant fingers are easy to make, crunchy and delicious. You can serve them as an evening snack or a party appetizer. I tried frying as well as baking them. Honestly speaking, I found the baked version even better. Well! to each his own. Why don’t you try both and decide for yourself. Eat it just like that or with an Italian dip like marinara or a hot and sweet chilli sauce.

 

Recipe: Crispy Eggplant Fingers

 

Ingredients

  • 8 finger eggplants (vertically sliced into two) or 1 medium eggplant (cut into finger size strips)
  • salt
  • 1 tsp.pepper
  • 1tsp.garlic powder
  • 1 tsp.dried oregano
  • 1 tsp.chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp.onion powder
  • 1 tsp.thyme
  • 1 tsp.dried basil
  • 1/2 cup Rice flour
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • oil for deep frying
finger eggplants
finger eggplants

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Method

  1. – Place the eggplant fingers in a colander. Sprinkle salt on them and leave for 30 minutes. This helps reduce the moisture content in the eggplants. Wash and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Meanwhile, put salt,pepper,garlic powder,dried oregano,chilli flakes,onion powder,thyme,basil in a blender and blend together.
  3. Mix this spice mixture and cheese with bread crumbs.
  4. Spread rice flour on a plate. Put the eggplant fingers on it and toss till they are coated with the flour.
  5. Beat an egg with a tbsp. of milk in a bowl.
  6. Spread the bread crumb mixture on a plate.
  7. Dip the eggplants in egg first after shaking off the excess rice flour.
  8. Then roll gently in the bread crumbs.
  9. Keep the rolled eggplants in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  10. Pour 1 inch of oil into a pan. When the oil is hot, put the eggplant pieces in the oil, and fry till golden brown.
  11. Baking: Spray some oil on a baking sheet.Place the breaded eggplants on the sheet and spray some oil.Bake at 360ºF for 10-15 minutes.
  12. Serve hot with your favorite sauce.
  13. Enjoy this lip smacking,delicious snack with your family and friends.

 

Left: fried Right: baked
Left: fried Right: baked

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Icecream Dome Cake

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There’s nothing that beats chilled icecream desserts on hot summer days especially when you don’t have to spend time in the kitchen. If you are bored of serving scoops of icecream or sundaes,try something different. Try making an Icecream dome cake with your favorite flavors. You can be innovative with this dessert. I have used pineapple slices, strawberry and vanilla icecreams and chocolate layer cake fingers. The combination worked beautifully. You can try the same or work with other flavors. You can use Kiwi slices instead of Pineapple too.

Step 1: Take  a dome shaped glass bowl and line it with plastic cling wrap. This step makes it easier to demould the cake later. Chill this bowl in the freezer while you prep the other ingredients.

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Step 2: Cut 1/2 inch wide and about 4 inch long fingers from your favorite layer cake. I used chocolate layer cake.

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Step 3: Keep the strawberry and vanilla ice cream bricks on the counter. Let the icecream become slightly soft for easy layering.

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Step 4: Place a pineapple slice(from a tin) at the bottom of the bowl.

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Step 5: Start placing the layer cake fingers around the pineapple slice and working all the way upto the rim of the bowl.

Step 6: Now scoop out a layer of strawberry icecream on the pineapple slice. Smooth with a palette knife.

Step 7: Place a layer of cake fingers on it.

Step 8: Scoop out a layer of vanilla icecream and smooth with a palette knife. Repeat layers according to the size of your glass bowl.

Step 9: Cover with a layer of cake slices.

Step 10: Keep the bowl in the freezer.

Step 11: Keep a serving platter in the freezer so that the cake doesn’t keep sliding when you serve.

Step 12: Keep the bowl out of the freezer for 5-10 minutes depending on your room temperature before serving.

Step 13: Invert the bowl on the serving platter and peel off the cling wrap.

Slice and enjoy with family and friends.

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You know what I did this summer? And a Vegetarian Thupka Recipe from Tibet

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Kangchenjunga(third highest mountain in the world) from Darjeeling
Kangchenjunga(third highest mountain in the world) from Darjeeling

India is dotted with beautiful and exotic hill stations which serve as a perfect getaway from the sweltering heat. Darjeeling which is known as the ‘Queen of hillstations’ sits atop a ridge with a spectacular view of the snow peaks of the mighty Kangchenjunga,the third highest mountain in the world.

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It is one of the most popular hill stations of India,famous for it’s six T’s- Tea, Teak,Toy train,Trekking,Tiger hill and Tourism. Having covered most other hill stations of North and South India, Darjeeling had somehow eluded our list. So this time by unanimous choice it was Darjeeling. The nearest airport is Baghdogra which is approximately 2 to 3 hours away from the hill town. The distance between Baghdogra and Darjeeling has to be covered by cab. The journey in itself is an exhilarating experience.

As we drove up the rolling mountains, we could see slopes of beautiful tea gardens, orchids, pines & rhododendrons. There were flowers in every shade and every where.

Tea gardens and tea pluckers
Tea gardens and tea pluckers

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We stopped by a quaint old Tibetan shop which was selling steaming hot momos. Needless to say they were very delicious.It was by now 5 in the evening and it was getting colder.We had to pull out our jackets and roll up the windows of our car. As our car negotiated along the winding hills, a cloud or fog rose up from the valley and covered the path with a white blanket. For the next 3 to 4 kms there was zero visibility. Our cab driver who was well aware of the hill contours was quite confident but I was shivering with thrill and chill and kept sending silent prayers. The kids were excited though.

I heaved a sigh of relief when we reached our destination. Darjeeling true to what we had heard had a picturesque landscape and a mix of colonial and modern world charm. There are centuries old buildings and houses in Darjeeling that  reflect the traditional British architecture from 1800’s. The hotel where we stayed was originally built for the British Lords and got later rebuilt keeping the old world charm intact. It had a spectacular view of the Himalayas.

The toy train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railways which runs on a steam engine on a 2 feet narrow gauge track is an engineering marvel. It has been accorded the UNESCO World Heritage status. The train ride was an enjoyable experience as the train honked along its way through several loops and zigzags while negotiating steep gradients.Much to the chagrin of my kids who thought I would fall out of the train, I loved  standing at the doorway of the chugging train breathing in the fresh air and viewing the breath takingly beautiful mystical snow capped mountains.

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Train in Batasia Loop

There is a wonderful Japanese temple built in traditional Japanese architecture,monastery and Peace pagoda in a 10 minute driving distance from the town centre. It is surrounded by 100 year old pine trees, flowers in different hues and a clear view of the Kangchenjunga. You can hear the reverberating and rhythmic sound of a huge drum and the soft hum of the chants coming from the prayer room. Visitors are given a small drum pad and a stick and invited to join the prayers.Photography was not allowed inside the prayer room.

Japanese temple

Japanese temple

 

100 year old trees near the Japanese temple
100 year old trees near the Japanese temple

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Our visit to the Darjeeeling zoo was an excitingexperience,especially for our animal lover girl. It is home to many endangered species and high altitude Himalayan animals like the Tibetan Wolf, Red Panda, Snow Leopard ,Siberian Tigers, Yaks and many other animals in semi natural habitats. We had to walk up the steep slopes to see the animals in their enclosures but it was well worth the effort.

Red Panda in the zoo
Red Panda in the zoo
Himalayan black bear
Himalayan black bear

In close vicinity to the zoo is the Himalayan mountaineering Institute which conducts Adventure, Basic and Advanced Mountaineering courses.

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Different kinds of knots displayed at the mountaineering institute
Different kinds of knots displayed at the mountaineering institute

Right outside the zoo were small vendors selling berries and himalayan spices.

berries and spices
berries and spices

All the sightseeing tours,trekking and activities made us all very hungry. Darjeeling cuisine is a mixture of Tibetan,Chinese,Nepalese,Naga and Bengali cuisines. I always love to explore the local food of the places we visit.Momos are the most popular local snack food in Darjeeling. Another very popular Tibetan food is Thukpa. It is  a hot noodle soup mixed with meat, eggs, vegetables etc which is served in a large bowl.Alu Dum is a typical Nepali and Bengali snack which  is prepared by boiling cut potatoes in a thick gravy and mixing dried red chili powder in it along with onion slices, few cloves of garlic, some mustard oil and some red color.Shaphalay is a Tibetan bread which is stuffed with meat.

Tibetan Thupka
Tibetan Thupka
Momos,Fish Orra,Giant Momos,Spring rolls. Aloo dum in the centre.
Momos,Fish Orra,Giant Momos,Spring rolls. Aloo dum in the centre.

Our journey downhill to the airport was another exciting experience. We were generously allowed to spend a day at a tea estate by one of my husband’s friends who owned it. It was extremely beautiful. We learnt how tea was plucked,processed and packed. And of course we got to taste the finest and freshest of darjeeling teas.

 

Tea estate in Darjeeling
Tea estate in Darjeeling
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Darjeeling tea

A surprise visit to Nepal

While driving down the hill, the road acts as the divider between India and Nepal. The road belongs to India and the valleys belong to the neighbouring country Nepal. Our cab driver offered to take us to  Pashupati market in Nepal. There was a small immigration counter where tourists  can register their names and enter Nepal. Yes, it is that easy.

Pashupati Market Nepal
Pashupati Market Nepal

Vegetarian Tibetan Thupka Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup of noodles (Tibetan)
  • ¾ cup of mixed frozen vegetables
  • ½ cup spinach, diced into big pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ cup vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ green chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil

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Method

  1. Place noodles in a pot with 4 cups of water and put on stove on medium to high heat and boil for 10-15 minutes or until slightly undercooked. Drain and rinse.
  2. In a separate pan on the stove, pour in the canola oil and heat on medium to high heat. Add in the onions and stir until they are a light golden brown color.
  3. Add in the cumin powder, green chilies, turmeric, garam masala, ginger paste and garlic paste. Stir and simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Finally, add in the thawed frozen vegetables and stir-fry for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add in the tomatoes, soy sauce, bay leaf, salt, vegetable broth and spinach. Cook this on medium heat, stirring every couple of minutes until the vegetables are tender and soft.
  6. Add in the noodles and stir, coating the noodles with the contents of the pot. Add in as much water as you would like to make it more or less watery. Cook this for another 2-4 minutes.
  7. Finally, serve as a main dish.

Recipe Courtesy: Everywhere fare

To sum it all Darjeeling is a pristine and picturesque hill station with delicious food and a pleasant climate. Next time you plan to hit the hills to beat the scorching heat,you know where to go.

Strawberry Tiramisu

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There’s something about childhood friends that you just can’t replace – Lisa Whelchel

Every friendship is special but the friendships made in our childhood are closest to our heart. Aren’t they? There is an amazing level of comfort and understanding having literally grown up together.Sharing lunches and secrets,dreading some strict teachers and loving some adorable ones,celebrating victories and crying over losses,learning and unlearning- we did all these together.We saw each other being praised- being punished, in happy times and in sad, in braces and in ruffled hair. There was innocence and healthy competition- no adult rivalry or fear of being judged. A sense of familiarity,of belonging and bonding -something which transcends time and distance.

My school organised a reunion recently- the first of it’s kind on it’s 50th anniversary. I have attended college reunions but a school reunion is something different. A beautiful experience which I cannot describe in words. I met a lot of friends and teachers who came from all over the world just to attend this meet. I found atleast 25 class friends who I had lost contact with after we graduated. We were meeting after more than twenty years.There was a lot of fun,excitement and catching up. We promised to keep in touch. Thanks to social media it is so much easier now. We made a whatsapp group and there has never been a dull day on it ever since. It is literally active 24/7 because we are all scattered across the globe in different time zones and have stories spanning 20+ years which need sharing.

This post is dedicated to all my glamour girls❤

We got this beautiful mug as a souvenir
We all got this beautiful coffee mug as a souvenir.

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Strawberries, cream and chocolate are made for each other. They  complement each other and combine beautifully into a sweet relationship like the best of friends. Strawberry Tiramisu is one such delicious dessert which can be relished with family and friends. It is simple and easy to prepare and assemble.

STEP 1:

Strawberry layer: Clean,hull and chop strawberries. Mix some strawberry syrup or jam and keep in the fridge.

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STEP 2:

Chocolate layer: This requires a chocolate cake about one inch thick. You can either bake it at home with this recipe or use a store bought one. Cut discs from the cake with the help of a cookie cutter. The discs should be the size of the glass you are setting the tiramisu in. I used shot glasses because they are so dainty and make for small and pretty serves. 

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discs cut from chocolate cake
discs cut from chocolate cake

STEP 3:

Cream and Cream cheese layer: Whisk 180g cream cheese and 75g heavy cream separately till light . Add 40g sugar to cream and whisk well till fluffy. Add vanilla pod or essence. Fold in the cream cheese. Pour this mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle or any other nozzle and keep in the fridge.

STEP 4:

Assembling the Strawberry Tiramisu:

  1. Put a teaspoon of strawberries into a shot glass.
  2. Place a disc of chocolate cake.
  3. Dissolve a teaspoon of instant coffee powder in a cup of hot water. Let it cool.
  4. Drizzle a teaspoon or less of this coffee on the chocolate layer.
  5. Pipe a layer of cream cheese over it.
  6. Repeat the layers.
  7. Top it with some strawberries and a mint leaf.
  8. Keep it in the fridge for at least an hour.
  9. Serve chilled.
  10. Enjoy….
This picture was shot in early afternoon
This picture was shot outdoor in early afternoon
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This picture was shot outdoor in late afternoon
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This picture was shot at night with indoor lighting

 

Dear Friends and readers

Could you help me choose the correct lighting for the pictures. Which picture according to you is better.None of the pictures have been edited.

Eggplant Rollups

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My dear friends and readers, your friendly food blog is finally on Facebook. All of you have been a huge support to me and have encouraged me with your likes and kind comments.I want to thank each and everyone for that. Please continue with your motivation by joining me on Facebook.

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Eggplant rollups is an amazing dish which can be served as hors d’oeuvre at a party or a lip smacking finger food at home. It is light, healthy,vegetarian,appealing,easy to assemble, can be prepared in advance and can be served  warm or cold. Eggplant slices are grilled in the oven,seasoned and spread with muhammara, ( walnut and red bell pepper spread ) and rolled up tight. You can get innovative with spreads, but personally I found this combination very delicious ….tangy,nutty,sweet and hot flavors all rolled in one.

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Eggplant Rollups

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 medium
  • salt and pepper
  • dry oregano and basil
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil for brushing
  • Muhammara for spreading

Method:

  1. Slice the eggplant lengthwise. One large eggplant should give about 8 slices. Rinse them and pat dry.
  2. Brush them on both sides with olive oil.
  3. Spread them on a baking sheet/grill plate.
  4. Season both sides with salt,pepper,dried basil and  oregano.
  5. Grill or bake in a preheated oven at 200º for 8-10 minutes or until eggplant slices are cooked.
  6. Remove in a flat plate.
  7. Spread a heaped teaspoon of the delicious walnut spread (Muhammara).
  8. Roll up the slices from one end to the other.
  9. Arrange in a serving platter.
  10. You can serve with toothpicks in a party or as a finger food at home.
  11. Enjoy….

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Muhammara – A Classic Levantine Walnut, Red Bell Pepper and Pomegranate Molasses Dip

 

wp-1455126974315.jpegHummus and Baba Ganoush are the most commonly prepared and relished Middle Eastern dips. Muhammara though lesser known is a classic dip found in Levantine and Turkish cuisines. It is infact an ancient traditional dish which is being revived and is gaining popularity across the world.Muhammara in Arabic means ‘reddened’. This rust-red dip with its tangy,nutty, a little  sweet and a little hot flavors can be enjoyed by vegetarians as well as the meat eaters. Dip your veggies, pita chips, crackers, breads, grilled meats  in this delicious, healthy and no guilt dish or simply  add it to your meze platter and wow your family and friends. You can use it as a spread on your bread as well.

Middle Eastern cuisine is mostly healthy and Muhammara is no exception. It is a blend of beautiful ingredients and flavours which makes it deliciously enticing. Walnuts, red bell peppers, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, bread crumbs and lemon juice make their way into this amazing combination.If we want to match the Syrian traditional way of preparing Muhammara, the ingredients should be crushed and blended in a mortar with a pestle,which gives a lovely texture to the dish.But if you are short of time or patience, you can blend it in a food processor as well. The taste is pretty much the same but you end up losing that alluring texture.It can be eaten immediately or stored in the fridge. The flavour enhances after a day in the fridge.

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Muhammara

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 3 slices whole wheat bread
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. red chilli flakes (Alepo peppers if possible)
  • 1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 ½ tsp. cumin seed powder
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil for blending

For drizzling on top

  • ¼ cup olive oil 
  • 1 pinch sumac (optional)
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp. chopped walnuts

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Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 200º C. Put the peppers on a tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, turning once midway, till the skin is blackened. Immediately transfer them to a bowl and tightly seal with plastic wrap. In about 15 minutes,the skin of the peppers wuld have loosened up.Peel and discard the skin and seeds. Mash the flesh with a fork and set aside.
  2. Remove the crusts of the bread and toast them in a bread toaster. Once cooled, make bread crumbs from them either using a rolling pin or in a food processor.
  3. Put the mashed peppers,bread crumbs and all the ingredients except the olive oil in a mortar and crush with a pestle. You can also pulse them in a food processor till coarsely blended.
  4. Stream in ¼ cup of olive oil all through the blending process.
  5. Transfer the blend into a serving bowl. Make a shallow well in the middle with the back of a spoon. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over it.
  6. Sprinkle sesame seeds,sumac and walnuts.
  7. Serve immediately or leave in fridge for a day for improved flavour.
  8. But remember not to serve it chilled. It should be at room temperature.

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