Rakshabandhan Special – Eggless Whole Wheat Oat Cookies

Rakshabandhan – the bond of protection, is a beautiful Hindu festival celebrated with much fan fare and gusto in all parts of India. This auspicious day falls on the full moon(Shravan Poornima) of the Shravan month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar.

The central ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on her brother’s wrist. This symbolizes the sister’s love and prayers for her brother’s well-being, and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect her. Wow, Right?!!

Whole Wheat Oat Cookies

Whole Wheat Oat Cookies

My brother does not reside in the same city as I do. But distance never deters any sister to send this sacred thread across to her loving brother. A box full of cookies, some very dark chocolate brownies and fancy beautiful threads to adorn my little brothers wrist, I send these little beauties across and make sure the recipient gets it well in advance.

Sacred thread

Sacred thread

A simple sacred red-yellow thread was the norm many many years ago. But now things have changed. Indian market is flooded with designer rakhis which usually cost a bomb. They are visually very appealing, studded with stones and pearls.
Mom always made sure we girls tied a simple thread first and then the fancy shancy ones which we splurged on. The thread adorned the brother’s wrist for days to come, where as the decorative ones usually came out within an hour or two of tying.

So, what do you do if you don’t have a brother? Well, with changing times, this brother sister celebration extended even to sister-sister and brother-brother fanfare. Now, usually boys being boys never indulged in extra ‘frivolous’ things like these. You will never catch a guy tying any thread on another guy’s wrist, but what you will find is this – chirpy cheery girls tying the most decorative piece on their sister’s wrist.
I know this, because that’s what we sisters did for a very long time, until my brother was born. To this date, I send girl rakhis(called Lumbas) for my sisters and they love to showcase them on their bangles.

One to adorn your wrist

One to adorn your wrist

My brother is all of 17 years old. I was 16 when he was born – oh please don’t do the math to my age 🙂
Having such a small brother is like having a grown up son. He is smart, naughty, caring, witty and hates girl talk. Imagine him living his life surrounded by very talkative sisters, the kind who nagged, the kind who bullied, the kind who also gave in to all his wishes and demands.

I remember him being my handy until I got married and moved away. He would run to do my work, but not before he bullied me into baking some chocolate cake or maybe a bowl full of hakka noodles. Sigh! Those were the days, now the stuff he wants scares the hell out of me – mobile phones, PSP’s .. and what not.

I made them crisp and crunchy.

I made them crisp and crunchy.

This year, along with the threads, I decided to send some good bakes as well. Its sheer joy when someone, anyone, sends you something hand made – home made. And the insatiable sweet tooth in my brother also gets satisfied with these sweet delights – yay!

I’ve never baked cookies before, so when I came across this easy breezy recipe, I bookmarked it. With the goodness of whole wheat and oats, laced with a hint of cinnamon powder and pure vanilla extract, these cookies were a big crowd pleaser back home.

Cinnamon Flavored

Cinnamon Flavored

What we have here is an eggless whole wheat oat cookie recipe. They are dense, crisp and crunchy. If you prefer soft chewy bites, then simply bake them for a lesser time.
For lighter-fluffier cookies, use plain flour/maida instead of whole wheat.

Sweet Delight

Sweet Delight

The recipe:

To make 16 medium sized cookies –

Ingredients

  • 50 gms butter
  • 80 gms powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 2-3 drops of essence
  • 1 tbsp of milk
  • 50 gms oats
  • 75 gms whole wheat flour or plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder

Optional: gems or MnM’s to decorate

Method

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth and creamy. Mix all the dry ingredients, oats, flour, cinnamon powder and baking powder.

Preheat the oven at 175 C.

Mix in the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and knead briefly until the cookie dough comes together. Grab small handfuls of the dough, and shape into small balls. Place on a greased or non stick cookie tray at a distance from each other. They will rise and spread.

Bake @150 C for 15 to 20 minutes for a chewy cookie and 25 to 30 minutes for crisp cookies.

To place the MnM/Gems: Midway while baking, wear a glove, place a gem each in the center of every cookie and return to bake.

Once done, allow to cool. Sample if you crave a bite, and store in an airtight container.

Thats it.

Tea time treats

Tea time treats

My daughter does not enjoy plain sweet treats unless they have a little bit of chocolate in them. Now with the success of these, I am itching to try them with choco chips or even Nutella swirls or maybe some nuts and saffron! The mind does race ahead of its time 🙂

The brother pleased as a punch, hijacks the entire box, merely handing down a piece or two for the others to sample, relishes these sweet delights, calls me up and complains, “Why you didn’t send something savory to eat with all these sweets?”.
No how-are-yous. No Thank-yous. No saccharine talk. Sigh! Brothers.

Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan

Easy Biscuit Chocolate Fudge – Century Post

6 months back all I could think of was to put up a few tried recipes and some serious journaling of my boring life.
Then Time happened. And along with time, 99 posts happened.
These two changed my priorities, wants and needs. Now I disarmigly try n concoct recipes and formulas, view my once mundane life with a story in every moment, capture those timeless-fleeting occasions in my heart as well as in words, be fascinated with pixels and ISO settings, play around with picasa and instagram, make new friends and the best bit – wake up to ‘likes’ and kind ‘comments’!!
Life has been fun since.

Biscuit Chocolate Fudge

Biscuit Chocolate Fudge

Exactly 6 months and 99 posts later, I bring this sweet delicacy for you dear foodies to celebrate my 100th post. Biscuit Chocolate Fudge, a gooey-chewy soft sweet mouthful – a perfect way to enhance my festive spirit.

Soft, gooey, chewy

Soft, gooey, chewy

Milee was already celebrating. Not my 100th post dear friends. But ‘Friendship Day’. Frankly, I never got around understanding all the special days that come in a year – friendships day, women’s day, father’s day, mother’s day, wife day, this day, that day. Phew! tiring.

But the child’s zest and spirit to make friends and share threads of amity made me tickle her demands of little friendships bands and some chocolate candies.

It might sound strange, but I never made a band for my friends to declare and pledge my loyalty towards them. And others around me did it and were subject to ‘Hmph, so silly’ looks. But like said before, Time taught me to never say ‘never’ again. My kid, who has a very fine mind of her own and she makes that very clear, announces loud that she needs those threads for all the people on her list. The girl was on a mission, I could make that out.

Milee's friends eye the fudge...

Milee’s friends eye the fudge…

And now a little word on Milee’s social skills. My kid is sensitive, touchy and easily offended. Comradeship doesn’t come easily to her. She usually gets left out or kicked out from games and teams. We can see she is eager to make friends and join in all the fun, but the kid struggles with social skills and team spirit.
Hmm… so now her agenda was to bribe her way into games and groups. Well..I could not say no, and moreover I needed a sweet treat to ceremonialize my 100 posts.

Sticky stack

Sticky stack

The band making project turned quite a dampner when we realized crocheting threads is no joke. We struggled, wasted and finally flung the thin satin yarns. Leaving a room full of fine threads, scissors and lots of mess for another time in the day, we enter the kitchen in lieu of creating some magic there at the least.

The recipe simple, the ingredients ready, the zest back, we set to work. And it works like a charm.

Ingredients

  • 1 tin condensed milk, I used nestle
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100 gms butter
  • 200 gms coarsely crushed biscuits/cookies, I used Hide n Seek
  • Gems/ MnM’s to decorate

-THAT’S IT!

Method

Mix the condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter to a smooth paste in a pan or kadai/wok. Place the mixture on low flame and while stirring all the while, cook for at least 10-12 minutes. You will find it thickening and becoming one cohesive mass. Once done. Throw in the coarsely crushed biscuits. Mix well.

Pour the contents into a well greased plate. Let it cool. I refrigerated it once the fudge had cooled down. After a couple of hours, remove, cut into square pieces, decorate with MnM’s or gems.

Serve!

Keep the rest refrigerated else it starts to get all sticky and melty.

A milestone reached

A milestone reached

We later did get back to the band making project. And we did complete it, though with not any outstanding results. But it pleased Milee like no other. She was very proud of her handi work, joyous about the little goodies cooling in the fridge and hopeful of all those beautiful relationships she was going to make.

No, I am no witch. I didn’t burst the bubble that was floating so high up in the air. I let her dream. I let her hope. I let her be.

Colorful setting

Of Journeys and Ends

And with this new-found hope that both mother daughter found, we embark on our respective journeys with similar roads to travel and familiar destinations.
So, here’s one, for many more to come.

Paneer Corn Mushroom Cilantro Whole Wheat Pizza

Simple tastes yet a curious palette. Fond of familiar comfort food yet experimental with myriad cuisines. Happily digg in to something alien and innovative but satiated only with those last bites of conventional native usual viand. Sounds primitive?

Pizza with Indian Flavors - paneer, corn and cilantro

Pizza with Indian Flavors – paneer, corn and cilantro

I married a simple man. He likes dal rice and will be happy if a papad is added. The same guy never shies away trying something new and bold. He is experimental but his taste buds are immensely hard to please. If he doesn’t like something he will not mince his words to say so. He eats without creating a fuss partly because it is already made and he hates to waste food and partly because he loves me 😉 but later declares full throttle, that he will not eat that particular thing again.

He prefers familiar food. Something he has grown up with. Well, his case is not as severe as a friend of ours who even after having a full blown chinese meal wouldn’t be satisfied unless he had a small bowl of curd rice. 🙂

Yummy Slice

Yummy Slice

Just 2 posts back, I tried my hand at this wonderful 100% whole wheat pizza dough, which was a fabulous sunday lunch for all of us at home. A simple margherita with astounding results.

Happily gobbled in no time, husband craved for something closer to home…No basil-shasil, lots of garden fresh veggies and a whole lot of coriander/cilantro leaves to garnish. The guy is in love with coriander leaves from time immemorial. He likes it in everything (except desserts). Daal, sabzis, soup/stew, pav bhaji, bread, rice or in parathas!

He told me to hide the basil, and get the coriander leaves out. Along came the corn paneer and mushrooms with a wee bit of tandoori masala to tantalize his austere palette.

One for all

One for all

The Recipe:

To make 1 medium sized pizza:

Ingredients

  • 100 % whole wheat pizza dough
  • 2-3 tbsp pizza sauce or simple ketchup
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 4-5 tbsp grated paneer
  • 1 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp tandoori masala
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves to garnish
  • seasoning and red chili flakes – to serve with

Method

In a pan, heat oil. Saute onions. Once pinkish, add corn and chopped mushrooms along with a little bit of tandoori masala and salt. Takes hardly 3-4 minutes. Keep aside.

Roll out your dough into desired thickness on a pre oiled parchment paper. Spread the pizza sauce or ketch up on it. Spread the corn mushroom mix on it evenly. Top with grated paneer and little bit of cheese.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Bake at 200 degree celsius till the base slightly browns. Don’t wait for the paneer to brown, it won’t.
Once out of the oven. Sprinkle seasoning and chopped coriander leaves. Let is sit for 2-3 minutes – hardest to do. Then… Attack!

Right out of the oven

Right out of the oven

So, I chopped. He topped. We baked and then we devoured with such frenzy right on the kitchen top, that Milee definitely puts a check on the crazy parents box. The delightful bites with very Indian flavors won me over so much that I had to put this recipe up for you guys to try.

Healthy Indian flavored Pizza

Healthy Indian flavored Pizza

Milee did not care much for this mix mash of punjabi-italian slice. She was well fed with her simple margherita. But her amused, curious and ‘u guys are mad o wot’ look did seal the deal for a perfect end to a Sunday Brunch.

Thin Crust Classic Margherita – 100% whole wheat!!

An impromptu picnic at the very beautiful Kanheri Caves(Mumbai), relentless rain, a homely sweet birthday party, hot steaming cups of chai, some sweet succulent corn on the cobs and a very runny nose – the weekend just zooms away. Before it fully whooshed past, I grabbed the chance to make some very healthy crisp thin-crust Margherita!

Divine Bite

Divine Bite

A confession – I have never been a fan of pizza – don’t worry, I’m real.
When we were growin up, pizza hut made its presence felt loud and clear. I still remember my first bite, the when and the where… a brand new sleek looking pizza shop on Cunningham Road. An afternoon out with friends. We- a bunch of teens, eager to try the enticing cheesy gooey triangle, with barely 100 bucks in our tiny pockets. All smiles and chatty till I have my first bite! And oh! how I disliked the doughy mass gulped with gallons of coke. I was so upset – (more with the fact that I just wasted my precious money on something so highly distasteful!).

Tempting triangles

Tempting triangles

Seven years back, a tiny quaint little pizzeria in Times Square of NYC transformed my charred taste buds. Super thin crust – fresh simple ingredients, incredible flavors and the fact that I could eat with my fingers… (pick,fold and bite!) was a revelation to me. That one huge slice satiated and more than made up for all the years that I had given it all up for. Since then I have been eating this ultimate deliciousness but of course on my terms and conditions 🙂

Fresh Basil to garnish

Fresh Basil to garnish

This(Blogging) wonderful medium has introduced me to new people, new cuisines, awesome photography and of course stupendous new recipes! I stumbled upon this very enticing formula to make whole wheat pizza sans the refinery, using very little ingredients and emphasizing the simplicity of the procedure. I had to bookmark it. With ingredients readily available in your pantry, a classic thin crust margherita can be created, all you need is – Time.

So simple

So simple

The Recipe:

Ingredients

For the pizza dough:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • salt according to taste
  • luke warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the Assembly:

  • 6-8 tbsp of pizza sauce
  • 8-9 tbsp of grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • chopped sweet basil to garnish

Method

For the Dough:
Proof the yeast according to instructions on the pack. I have given a small tip at the end of the post. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, salt and 1 tsp sugar. Make a well in the center, add olive oil, proofed yeast and luke warm water to bind. Get all of it together. Knead for at least 5-6 minutes. Then in a well oiled bowl, place the kneaded dough and cover with a plastic film. Let the dough rise to double the volume. This takes approximately 2 hours.

For the Assembly:
Once done, preheat your oven to 250 degree C for 5-6 mins.
Remove the cling film, punch the dough and grab a handful of it, and using extra flour roll it out or spread with your fingers to form a pizza base. Carefully pick the base and lay on a pre oiled parchment paper. Brush little olive oil on the base. Spread your desired quantity of pizza sauce and loads of grated mozzarella.

Carefully pick the parchment paper, place in the pre heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes at 200 degree C till the edges brown and cheese melted.

Once done, remove. Stay for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chopped basil.

Serve with seasoning n tabasco.

Scrumptious Slice

Scrumptious Slice

Proofing the yeast: I dissolved 1/2 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup luke warm water. Then added 2 and 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast. Mixed it vigorously, till a pasty structure was formed. Covered and kept it aside for 10 minutes. After the said time, the yeast was all frothy and bubbled up. Ready to be used. Sorry I forgot to click it, I was way too excited to get going with the dough.

Classic Easy Peasy Pizza Sauce: Heat olive oil, saute garlic(5-6 pods), 1 chopped onion, 3-4 dry red chilies, and 5-6 round fat ripe red tomatoes(skin peeled), along with 1/4 tsp sugar and salt to taste. Simmer for at least 30 minutes till the oil leaves the sides. Cool. Coarsely grind. Add oregano and 1 tbsp chopped basil. Ready to use!

No cook super simple Pizza sauce: 1 cup tomato ketch up, 1 tbsp butter, 3 minced garlic, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp red chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Combine all together, microwave for a minute or two. Mix well. Use!! Its good.. seriously. When you don’t have time to make the original, this works like a dream.

Link to the original: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2013/05/100-whole-wheat-pizza-dough.html

Simple comfort food

Simple comfort food

Baked Corn Chips

Baked Corn Scoops.

Baked Corn Scoops.

Choosing a healthy between-meal snack can be quite a daunting task. The popular options are usually deep-fried or sweet. I usually grab a few cream biscuits(me and my forever famished sweet tooth… sigh!) or end up making a “chaat” involving deep-fried savory crackers along with a hosts of sweet spicy chutneys.

So, when I initially tried the baked version of these crunchy appetizing chips, I was taken aback. The little scoops tasted sooo great and the flavors sooo full, and what’s more???… with varied options to dip them in… I didn’t get bored!

Crunchy Appetizer

Crunchy Appetizer

Creamy herb Cheese, Flavorful hummus, Tangy tomato salsa or the piquant simply ambrosial Mango salsa (My favorite!) are few of the innumerable options to dip your chip in.

With these little beauties in hand, an entire tex mex platter can be served in no time. It’s always a great crowd pleaser.

Options Galore!

Options Galore!

I used to make the fried version which is yumm… and would get over in like a day. So, when I embarked on the baked path, it was with much caution. The outcome was so awesome, I have made several batches since. And?? Yeah.. they get over soon too. 🙂

Baked Bites.

Baked Bites.

Fresh maize flour and all-purpose flour, seasoned with crushed oregano and chili flakes is all that you need to make these crunchy snacky bites.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup maize flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour/maida
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 2 blobs of butter
  • luke warm water to knead

Method

Sieve the maize flour and all-purpose flour. Throw in the oregano, chili flakes, salt and butter. rub the butter till it is well incorporated into the flours. Now make a soft pliable dough with the help of some luke warm water. Keep aside for 30 minutes.

Once the dough is ready. Get a flat griddle ready. With the help of some flour, roll out thin rounds, I mean.. really nice and thin rounds… taking care not to tear it. Gently lift the rounds with the help of a spatula, and slightly roast both sides on a hot griddle. Make several tortillas like this. Once you have replenished the dough. Cut the tortillas into triangles/scoops.

Thin rounds ensure a crisp scoop.

Thin rounds ensure a crisp scoop.

Now, you could deep fry the cut wedges or get your oven nice and hot, and bake these little beauties at 150 degree celsius for just about 5-6 minutes. Try to spread the triangles in a neat manner so that they get baked uniformly. Remember they are nice and thin, so they hardly take time to turn dark and burn. So, keep an open eye people.

Once done, let them cool off a bit and then store them in an air tight container. It would stay good up to 3-4 days, I never get a chance to judge because I make very small batches and they get over in a day or two.

Just a few things to take note of:

  • Maize flour is not easy to roll out, the tortillas keep breaking, hence you might have to adjust the quantity of all-purpose flour to suit your skill.
  • You could skip the added flavors of oregano and chili flakes to make plain simple chips.
  • Butter is essential, as it makes the chips soft yet crunchy… you know what I mean.
  • If you get tired of rolling out the dough, make a few and refrigerate the rest of the dough to make another batch later.
Mexican Platter

Mexican Platter

Kids love it.

Kids love it.

Quick Easy Cutlets

Ready in a jiffy.

Ready in a jiffy.

These little savoury cakes are no big deal, really. But its comfort food and are such great on your taste buds, that you will not stop at one. Guaranteed.

An instant hit with kids, they lap it up without a fuss or whine. A very effective way to make your child eat vegetables. Sandwich them between two slices of bread smeared with green mint chutney and tomato ketchup or place it on a chappathi or tortilla, topped with sour cream and veggies to make a wrap. In any way or form they taste DIVINE!

crisp exterior with a soft melt in the mouth  inside.

crisp exterior with a soft melt in the mouth inside.

I have deep fried these little beauties to golden perfection, but you could roast them on a flat griddle or bake them in an oven. Your call.

Potatoes, cottage cheese and grated carrot.

Potatoes, cottage cheese and grated carrot.

To make 8-10 small cutlets:

Ingredients

  • 3-4 potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup crumbled paneer/cottage cheese
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or crumbled bread
  • 2-3 green chilies, minced – optional
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped coriander
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp jeera powder
  • 1/2 tsp amchur powder/dry mango powder – optional
  • oil for deep frying or a few spoons to saute on the griddle
  • Serving Suggestions: green mint chutney and tomato ketchup

Method

Mix together all the ingredients except the oil. Take a handful and form a flat round. Repeat with the rest. Totally makes around 8-10 small cutlets. Thats it. Now, you could gently roast them on a flat griddle with minimal oil, or brush with little olive oil and bake in an oven at 200 degree celsius or simply deep fry in hot oil.

For best result, refrigerate for 30 minutes, before deep frying in hot oil. This is to avoid them splitting in oil and it helps to make them crisp and crunchy.

Serve with green chutney and tomato ketchup.

Healthy and Nutritious

Healthy and Nutritious

Note: Add any vegetable you want your kid to eat. These protein and vitamin A enriched cutlets are a sure shot way to hide the goodness of vegetables.

Great in sandwiches and tortillas.

Great in sandwiches and tortillas.

Eggless Mango Cake

Mango cake topped with cream, choco chips and diced mangoes!

Mango cake topped with cream, choco chips and diced mangoes!

First and foremost dear foodies, do try this beautiful looking cake before the mangoes go out of season.
And now for my mango story:

I made a mango cake with all my heart a couple of days back( the occasion? Better half’s birthday). I completely ruined it. It was such a fiasco, I had to throw it. Really. Apparently, heart is not enough. You need a little bit of baking sense. And a novice baker like me, completely lacks that elusive sixth sense needed to bake. Not one to lose the spirit. I tried again, the next day. The result? Much much better, but still not perfect enough.

Now, with a little awareness of my baking mistakes, I am going to try it again but not soon enough. Mangoes and flour and so much cream twice in a row… has sucked out the sweetness for a while now. 🙂

The cream, the choco chips and the mangoes! So yumm.

The cream, the choco chips and the mangoes! So yumm.

After the initial fiasco, I roped in husband and kid to assist me in the making. A sullen, grumpy me is not really fun to have around, and the two would do anything to lift my dwindling spirit. So, in they came. The big guy photographed while the little one got her hands messy with cream and mangoes.
The aroma of baking cake, fresh whipped cream and that fruity sweet smell of mango was magnetic enough to keep the appointees attracted for awhile.

Juicy. Sweet. Delicious.

Juicy. Sweet. Delicious.

Now the recipe:

I have made the cake batter from scratch, but a ready to bake store version of Plain vanilla sponge can also be used.

Ingredients

For the Mango Cake –

  • 200 gms all-purpose flour
  • 100 gms butter
  • 160 gms sugar
  • 100 gms milk powder
  • 1 bowl of curds
  • milk as required
  • 1 tsp mango essence
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp soda bicarb

For the Frosting –

  • 1/2 cup sugar water(mix 2 tbsp of sugar in 1/2 cup water)
  • Whipped cream – 2-3 big bowls or as you desire.
  • 2 bowls of diced mangoes
  • 1/2 bowl of chocochips for garnishing.

Method

Sieve the flour, baking powder and baking soda together. Preheat oven. While your oven is getting ready, you get going with your batter.
In a mixing bowl, take sugar and butter, mix it well to form a smooth consistent paste. Preferably, make 3 parts of sugar and butter, and gradually add both to make it smooth.

Now take curd and milk powder, add to the buttered sugar paste and keep mixing to make a smooth frothy batter. Now slowly add the flour and mango essence to this paste, mix it well. Beat the batter. Add milk to improve consistency and decrease resistance. All in all, it takes about 15 minutes to get the batter ready.

Grease a baking dish with butter, sprinkle flour, pour the batter into the baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 40-45 mins at a temperature of 160 degree centigrade.

Keep an eye on your cake. After about 40 mins, insert a toothpick or a knife in the center of the cake … if it comes out clean, it means the cake is ready!. Else let it be awhile to bake more.

After the cake is finally done, remove from oven, and let it cool for 15 mins, then turn over the dish over a flat plate.

Now for the fun part

I divided the cake into 2 layers, sprinkled sugared water and generously iced each layer with yummy whipped cream, diced mangoes. Top and repeat the same on the other layer. Cover with cream, decorate with the mangoes and choco chips.

The Making.

The Making.

A small word about the chocolate chips – Honestly, I used it to break the monotony of orange and white, but it tasted so divine with the cream, cake and mangoes. We all took extra generous sprinklings of the tiny dark chips!

Mango mania

One generous Slice!

Mango Mania

Mango Mania

So friends, if the pictures had you drooling, then its time to get going with the flour, butter and mangoes. Coz, the season’s not gonna last long now.

Mango Milkshake

Mango Mania

Mango Mania

Finishing a glass of milk — a big task for Milee. My mum reminisces, I was the same. I still am. Forever trying new tactics to entice the kid is usually on my To-Do list.

So now, with mangoes in abundance everywhere, I decide to blend this delicious juicy fruit in milk, along with flavors like cardamom or vanilla. The end is drool worthy. Yumm. But Your Highness has to approve the deliciousness of the ambrosia, not me.

Well, lets find out..

For those hot summery afternoons.

For those hot summery afternoons.

I have two variations for you, one with cardamom and the other with vanilla extract. Both burst with distinctive flavors and are as exquisite as the other.
The recipe here is the the one with cardamom and cream, and the vanilla option is explained at the end.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized chopped ripe mango, I used Alphonso
  • 1 tall thin glass of milk
  • 1 spoon full of sugar
  • 1 whole cardamom, skin removed, and the pods powdered fresh
  • 4 almonds(soaked and peeled), roughly chopped – optional(I added coz the kid refuses to eat them in real, so I try to hide the good in the yumm)
  • Garnish: a small spoon of fresh cream and 1/2 tsp chopped nuts

Method

Blend the chopped mangoes, with milk, sugar, cardamom and almonds. The result is smooth, thick and almost creamy consistency.
Pour in tall glasses, decorate with fresh cream and chopped nuts.
I have these super cute colorful champagne glasses in non breakable ware. Yay! Milee and her friends love to drink out of them…they look so cool.

I had poured the drink in blue, she made me pour it out into pink…(Good Heavens!! Will the pink mania ever end!??) The kid doesn’t appreciate any bite with her gulp.. so I had to dutifully scrape the decorations I made on the shake.

Plain Mango Milkshake devoid of any garnishing, served in PINK:

Blinding Colors.

Blinding Colors.

The gesture was rewarded with an array of colors:

The crayons get a special place.

The crayons get a special place.

The glass was licked clean, I hit two birds with one stone — Milk and Fruit — gone in no time. Thank you God, for mangoes.

Milee's draws her review.

Milee’s draws her review.

Mango Shake

Mango Shake

For the Vanilla Combo:

Instead of cardamom, use a pinch of vanilla extract and blend with milk sugar and mangoes. Serve in tall glasses with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. I would suggest a big big dollop of ice cream to entice/lure/treat your child.
Now, which kid would refuse or resist this killer combo??!! 😉

Ragi Beetroot Dosa

Health Personified.

Health Personified.

Want to super kick start your mornings? Want your energy and body resources to last till you call it a day? Want to be healthy, energetic, smart and beautiful…. ok.. I am selling the ragi bit too much ..:).. No dear foodies, ragi/millet flour or beetroot doesn’t add to your face value, but it sure does wonders to thy holy body, nutrition wise.

This wonderful breakfast option is one of my favorite concoctions from the south of India. Milee’s favorite color is pink. She has dresses, shoes, skirts, barbie’s skirts, clips, earrings (.. the list goes on) all in her favorite dye.
We earthlings are very lucky that nature has endowed us with a super nutritious vegetable, Beetroot – in PINK! The addition of this root veggie camouflages the rest. It’s all pink now. Little girls will trip n skip! I being the ever discreet mother try to incorporate the color in her food, an effort to lure her into eating healthy. So a pink dosa was enough to get my 6 year old girl, who is currently tripping on barbies and princesses and fairyland and everything pink!

A ragi dosa is more or less in between a crepe and a pancake. Grated wonder pink root blended in calcium rich nutty grainy millet/ragi flour with the help of yummy fresh buttermilk! Can it get any healthier than this??

Pink power

Pink Power

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ragi/millet flour
  • 2 small beets, grated
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 green chili, minced — optional
  • 2-3 tbsp of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tall glass of buttermilk or 1/2 a bowl of curds
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp gram flour/besan
  • 2 tbsp rice flour, for crispness
  • oil/ghee to make the crepes
  • To serve: chutneys/malgapodi or with cheese spread.. like how my kid eats.

Method

In a big mixing bowl, add millet flor, with gram flour and rice flour. Pour the buttermilk or curds to make a smooth knot free batter. Now to this add, the grated minced veggies(beet, onion, green chili and coriander) and salt. Mix well. Check consistency. Should be pourable and spreadable. Don’t be shocked by the pinkness of the batter 🙂

Now, on a hot flat griddle or dosa tawa, pour a ladle full of batter, spread evenly. The thickness will be more than a thin crepe but lesser than a pancake. Because of the veggies the batter refuses to thin out. Now, drizzle some oil/ghee on the dosa. Cover with a lid and roast on low flame. After 3-4 minutes, flip, and cook without the lid.

The result is a deep maroonish spread instead of the bright pink one you promised your little princess. Heat transforms the pink into a deep maroon, slight brown shade. My tact comes into play when I lie that the color would change again under the juices of her digestive tract. Hey! All is fair in food, kids and health. So kindly, non mothers don’t judge.

Serve hot with Chutney/cheese spread.

A Satvic Diet

A Satvic Diet

Note: You could substitute beetroot with grated carrot, bottle gourd or pumpkin or any healthy yucky vegetable your kid refuses to eat. Hide it in his food and he will not know. I know your superman cannot be fooled easily, but you are the superman’s mother/father… so come on, you can come up with some twisted idea to steal the goodness into his diet.


For those, who don’t know what a Dosa is:

Dosas are Indian savoury fermented crepes. Traditionally made from rice batter and black lentils. It is indigenous to and is a staple dish in the southern Indian states of Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh and Kerala — according to Wikipedia.
But according to me, dosas are versatile, varied types made from varied grains with varied effects on your taste buds 🙂 Have’nt met anyone who dislikes these yummy crepes.

Benefits of Ragi/Millet Flour:
Nutritionally, when ragi is used as a whole grain, it is higher in protein and minerals in comparison to rice. It is also rich in fibre and therefore suitable for people trying to lose weight. Ragi, unlike wheat does not contain gluten (a protein found in wheat), and can be easily consumed by people with wheat intolerance. Ragi is a wonder cereal grain as it has numerous health benefits:

  • A great source of calcium
  • Energy for weight watchers
  • Beats high sugar and cholestrol

Strawberry Biscuit Pudding

Strawberry Pudding

Strawberry Pudding

I had to put this up. It made such a pretty picture, I had to share it with you guys. Super easy to make and superior in taste …. this is like a super strawberry surprise!! 🙂

Strawberry Surprise

Strawberry Surprise

Very similar to the mango pudding recipe which I put up a few days back, you can substitute with any berry or seasonal fruit. But with strawberry, the outcome is tangy sweet creamy and simply delish!

To make 2 servings –

Ingredients

  • 12-15 digestive biscuits, I used Brittania Marie
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 150 gms, fresh cream
  • 20 strawberries, chopped fine, save a few straight pieces for garnishing.
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar or according to taste
  • 2 drops vanilla essence or extract
  • To garnish: chocolate shavings and mint leaves.

Method

Coarsely crush the digestive biscuits using your palms and fingers. Now add melted butter and rub it well. Knead and make a sticky coarse powder. Now take in a bowl or individual dessert cups, lay the powdered buttered biscuit. Press it tight to make a base.
Freeze it for 10 minutes.
Till then, take your chopped fruit, add sugar in it and keep aside. Add essence to the cream. Whip your cream into a nice fluffy consistency. Take care not to overbeat it or butter it. The sugarred chopped fruit would have become mushy and glossy with the sugar and fruit juice. Mix the cream and the entire fruit sugar mix. Again mix with gentle hands.
Now remove the biscuit base, spread this fruity cream on it. Garnish with fruits, cream, mint leaves. Chill for atleast 30 minutes. Relish the tartness and sweetness of strawberries with rich super smooth cream along with a layer of crunchy biscuits.
Yumm.

Crunchy biscuit, cream and strawberries

Crunchy biscuit, cream and strawberries

Drool. Drool. Drool.

Drool. Drool. Drool.

Divinity in a cup!

Divinity in a cup!

One of my very dear friend has helped with this recipe. Its her own experiment and invention. So, this one is for you, Preeti. Thank You.

One last longing look:

You cant go wrong with cream, chocolate and strawberries.

You cant go wrong with cream, chocolate and strawberries.