Friday, May 29, 2009

Ideas For The Weekend!

Warm, sunny evenings…are we kidding? May weather is not always that reliable, but atleast we can pretend its summer with this fresh take on Bakes – Felt it was perfect for sharing with friends.
Saturday Night is here…….Get into the spirit of the season and spoil your senses with sun – fresh scents of summer – fun filled activities and ofcourse not to forget rich treats filled with ice creams and tray bakes :)!

I was fascinated with UK TV Food and so decided to try out Very berry chocolate tray bake – It was a dish with ‘Wow’ factor. You’ll need a little of this gorgeous rich treat for dessert, but you will be in heaven!

Well….lastly it is calorific and if you’re not a huge fan of chocolate then it might not be the right choice – Go on forget the cals, it’s the weekend!!!

All you need to make Very Berry chocolate tray bake is :

175g self - raising flour
1/2tsp baking powder
175g caster sugar
175g butter, at room temp
3 organic free-range eggs, beaten
2-3 tbsp milk
100g white chocolate, cut into chunks
150g raspberries, defrosted if frozen
2 tbsp cocoa powder
100g dark chocolate, cut into chunks

Makes around 9-10 generous pieces

  • Heat oven to 180 degree centigrade. Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin ( the baking parchment should come up above the tin).
  • Sieve flour and baking powder into a bowl, and stir in caster sugar.
    Add butter and eggs, and beat together using an electric whisk until the mix is light and falls from the beaters. Here you may add 2-3tbspn of milk to get the right consistency.
  • Spoon half the mix into another bowl and add the white chocolate and 100g of berries; mix until the berries begin to break, then set aside.
  • Sift the cocoa powder into the remaining plain mixture, then fold in the dark chocolate chunks.
  • Spoon the mixtures into the prepared tin, alternating colours.
  • Drag a fork or skewer through the mix to marble the colours, scatter over the remaining berries and lightly press into the mix.
  • Bake for 30mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean (depends on individual oven so best to be checked with a skewer or a knife)
  • Leave to cool slightly, remove from the tin and slice into portions.

Very Berry Chocolate Tray Bake is ready to be served

Serving Suggestions: Serve warm with whipped cream.

Enjoy with the Life's little essentials :)! Ciao next week....

Friday, May 22, 2009

Eat Well…Feel Well…Be an inspiration!!

I don’t know how many of us like Broccoli… It is not a common vegetable in our family, in S.India and I think not many Indian dishes also comprise this nourishing veggie. Well…now it’s become 1 of our regular vegetables here. It isn’t all that bad at all when made colorful and delicious.
Looks may not be as impressive but gathered that it is highly nutritious – yes its jam packed with vitamins and minerals. On Vit side it contains Vitamins B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6, B9 (Folate), Vitamin C and A and on minerals side it contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Added to this I read somewhere that Broccoli actually contains more Vitamin C than many citrus fruits, it has more calcium than an entire glass of milk and that it's an even richer source of fiber than whole wheat bread. (With a Toddler son in hand I tend to behave like a ‘Typical Mom’ now digging all the nutritional value in every bit I can :d)

After getting to know all of the above information I was bent upon getting broccoli to my kitchen as well. As I have mentioned in my earlier posts that I don’t mind indianising few of the Brit veggie too ;). Likewise I tried making Broccoli chutney and turned out to be a hit :)! We use it as a spread as well.

Recipe for Broccoli chutney with mild spice:

Broccoli florets - 1 Cup
Garlic Cloves - 1
Green Chilies - 2 or 3 (u can adjust according to your spice req)
Cumin seeds – 1tspn
Mustard seeds-1tsp
A pinch of turmeric
A pinch of asafetida
Chana dal/Bengal gram - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal/Black gram - ½ tsp
Curry Leaves – 5to 6leaves
Salt to taste
4 tbsp Oil

Blanch the broccoli. (Add broccoli to boiling water and boil them for 5 minutes).
Fry Broccoli, green chilies, cumin seeds and garlic for 10 minutes with oil.
Add salt to this and grind it to smooth paste.

For the tempering:
Heat oil in a kadai or pan and add mustard seeds, the grams, turmeric, asafetida and lastly curry leaves and take off the heat.
Now add this to the Chutney and enjoy.

Pls note: If you are using it as a spread then do not add the tempering.

Serving suggestions: We like broccoli chutney as an accompaniment with Dosa, akki rotti, idli, and chapattis and use it as a spread for sandwiches :)!!!

Happy Cooking - Be an inspiration!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement !

It was peak summer in Hyderabad (1 of the warmest cities in Andhra Pradesh, India) with all the air conditioners, coolers, fans fixed and running in the houses according to our convenience. We just had 1 window ac at that time which was set in the master bedroom and believe me all our activities were moved to that room during summer. Though Kitchen had good ventilation with ample amount of windows and a door with balcony, it used to get heated up the most as it was facing the east. I used to take breaks and run into the bedroom to get a feeling of Antarctica ;)- the temperature used to get that hot during summers.

On such situation we were to receive some guests. They were quite close to our family though were not in constant touch. But I was not okay with this idea as cooking for only both of us itself was a major task for me then and now with extra people no way…we didn’t have much of a choice though…

Now the guests were elderly people so I had to draw a line of limitations in my cooking keeping in mind about their health conditions and also the religious stuff i.e. No garlic- no onions etc etc. Thankfully we had many options back home…sometimes I really wonder what I would have done if something like that happens here with just a few veggies available… hmmm anyways…

I was nervous because the lady who was coming over was a fabulous cook by herself. And me being a novice had to cook her a scrumptious south Indian meal {which was the toughest for me- cos cooking means something to do with onions was my kinda}. Ran to my live support :d yes mommy and googled her all available options and got the results within a blink of an eye. (After all the experience counts). With her encouraging words I opted for an easy- appealing-low fat menu for my guests that can be had with rice. To give a typical touch I also fried some seeme akki happala (saaboodana papad), aralu sandige (fried item with puffed rice), uppachida menasinakayi (fried item with dried and stuffed green chilies) and ofcourse the curd rice.

All together we enjoyed our lunch watching those kannada soaps sitting in our Antartica ;).
Luckily it turned out great for the 1st try and mainly the guests were contented and also appreciated my effort :). Felt the sense of appreciation as a blend of thankfulness, admiration and approval.

The burning summer with exasperation I had all vanished in a minute when I heard those positive words from my guests. So I feel that the saying “The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement” is very true by itself.

This dish, Majjige huLi or majjige paldhya is one of the traditional dishes of Karnataka and is specific to the palate on any feast. There are selective vegetables each of which add a distinct flavor to this wonderful dish. Only a single vegetable is used in this dish.

Well…Majjige huLi might be compared with Punjabi kadi or gujrathi kadi etc given a choice I know where I would always head towards :d. No doubt the later 2 are distinct in their own way. Whenever we get a chance to relish majjige huLi we skip rest of the menu and just stick to this….thus is our undying loyalty towards ‘Majjige HuLi’ or ‘Majjige Paldhya’.

Here goes my version of Bendekayi Majji HuLi

Serves around 5 to 6

Okra or Bendekayi chopped – 500gms
Mustard seeds – 1teaspoon
Green Chilies – 5
Chopped cilantro – 4-6 tbspoons
Asafetida – ¼ teaspoon
Ginger – 1inch
Cumin seeds – 1teaspoon
½ of fresh grated coconut
Kadale Bele or chana dal soaked in water for about an hour – ½ cup
Buttermilk (traditionally sour buttermilk is used) – 250ml
Salt as per taste
Oil for tempering


  • Heat oil in a kadai/pan, add mustard seeds & wait for it to splutter. Then add chopped okras and fry on medium heat till the color changes.
  • Grind green chilies, cilantro, ginger, cumin seeds, coconut, chana dal, and asafetida to a fine paste.
  • Add this paste to the kadai and add salt as per taste and mix well.
  • Later add the buttermilk, mix well and bring it to boil.

Majjige HuLi is ready to be served with hot rice!!!

Variations: You can replace okra with one of these boodagumbalakayi (ash gourd), seemebadanekayi, sovthekayi (cucumber), dappa menasinakayi (capsicum) and follow rest of the method as it is.

Happy Weekend :)!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Snack attack

I am back from my vacation of colourful world of Tulips to something for bfast-lunch or dinner :)!
Akki Rotti is a speciality of Karnataka. Akki in kannada means rice and rotti is something similar to a thin pancake. It’s generally made as a breakfast item.
Akki rotti is made with rice flour as a main ingredient. Usually akki rotti is made with rice flour mixed with fresh coconut, cumin seeds and some salt. There are varieties of akki rottis made - Avarekalu rotti (hyacinth beans or surti lilva) being the famous and seasonal one holds a good position even to this day.
Akki rotti tastes best when done on a BaaNale (it’s a circular, deep iron vessel similar in shape to a wok). Here as we have a hob where I cannot place a rounded bottom vessel I end up making rottis on a tava or a griddle which tastes equaly good. We enjoy this with chutney pudi + yogurt or just some pickle.
Here goes the procedure for making it…

Makes 6 Akki Rottis


Rice Flour – 2 Cups
Cumin seeds or Jeera – 1tbspn
Chopped onions - 1
Finely chopped Green chillies - 3
Finely chopped coriander leaves – 2 tbspn
Finely chopped curry leaves – 1 tbspn
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking
Warm water to mix the dough ( I used slightly more than 1 cup )


  • Take the rice flour in a thali or a big plate, mix together all the other ingredients (excluding oil) with water to make a smooth dough sligthly softer than the chapathi dough.
  • Now spread a spoon of oil on the griddle, take a lemon sized dough and pat it evenly on the griddle to a thin pan cake. Make few holes on the dough so that you can pour the oil in that & rotti gets cooked consistently.

  • Keep this griddle on the low to medium heat, drop some oil in the holes and cook till it becomes slightly brown in colour. Turn over the rotti and continue cooking for about a minute or so.
  • Rotti is ready to be served.

Serving Suggestions: Traditionally rotti is served with coconut chutney, you can serve with any other chutney or just some pickle. We prefer having it with chutney pudi and yogurt.

Variations: You could also make rottis with grated carrot or cucumber, finely chopped methi, dill/eneldo or capsicum, avarekaaLu (hyacinth beans).
Rotti can also be made with ragi which is called as ragi rotti – here instead of rice flour ragi flour is used and all other ingredients remains the same. Generally freshly grated coconut or onions are accompanied to prepare this.

Ciao again next week until then Have a great time!!
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