Roasted Tomato Soup

Gorged on those cookies? Took more than a bite of that super moist Christmas cake? Could not say no to those scrumptious cheesy deep fried appetizers? Pigged out at parties? Drank more than what your self could handle? hmm…

Well, its time to cleanse guys. Detox they call it. To stop the binging. To start the healing. To start another year, fresh and healthy. To make resolutions – which usually don’t last more than a week 😉 Oh! We’ll save that for another post.

For now, it’s time to soupify your palette.

Luscious Roasted Tomato Soup

Luscious Roasted Tomato Soup

What I have here is a simple delicious luscious tomato soup recipe. Light, flavorful and so simple, you will find yourself making it more often than required. Best enjoyed with some home-made croutons or bread sticks, this one is sure a keeper.

I have a little soup lover at home. Along with the love comes the pricky palette which is SO not easy to please. Many of my tomato soup attempts tasted like ‘ketch-up’ to her and she hates ketch up. So, when I tried this particular method, you can imagine me heave such a sigh of relief when the bowl was polished off in no time. And she comes back for more.. yay! That’s my girl!

Flavored croutons goes great with some hot soup

Flavored croutons goes great with some hot soup

The recipe:

To make 2 bowls of soup:

Ingredients

  • 4 red ripe tomatoes
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1 tiny potato
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, I used the fresh green variety with stalks.
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven at 200 C. Cut all the veggies in circles and arrange on a greased baking tray. Throw in the garlic pods too. Brush all with olive oil. Sprinkle sugar evenly all over the vegetables.

Ready to go into the oven

Ready to go into the oven

Roast all the veggies for 15-20 minutes until roasted and browned. Turn the tray in between for even baking.
Once done, remove. cool. Blend into a smooth fine paste using little bit of water. Be careful not to add too much water, else the soup will be runny.
Run through a sieve. Boil again, check consistency. If too thick, add water or milk accordingly. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve hot topped with little cream or cheese.

Best with: Croutons, bread sticks, crostinis or toasted bread.

low cal and super healthy

low cal and super healthy

Note: For those who do not have an oven. Take a wok, heat olive oil in it, saute garlic, onions, potato and lastly tomato, sprinkled with a little bit of salt. Sprinkle some water. Cover and let it cook. Once done, proceed as mentioned in the recipe above.

Note: The potato is added to give volume or thickness to the soup. The addition of potato eliminates the use of thickening agents like cornstarch or flour in milk.

Note: The bits of sugar on the vegetables help in caramelizing the veggies.

Note: To give extra kick to your soup, try adding one tiny green chili to the veggies on the baking tray. Spicy, salty, tangy and a little bit of sweet – all at the same time. Yummy!

For those chilly cold evenings..

For those chilly cold evenings..

Chilly winters call for some of this luscious soup.
So bake it. Make it. Lick it. Love it.

-Namrata

Advertisements

Chili Garlic Roasted Potatoes, Veggie Coleslaw and a Super Yummy Wrap!

Yummy Wrap

Yummy Wrap

I’m having a writer’s block. Yet here I am posting this.
Its been quite sometime since my fingers moved on the keyboard. And now as I sit staring at my computer screen, the mind goes blank. Words fail to combine. Interesting anecdotes refuse to flash in my morbid mind. Ah! so frustrating and de motivating.

“Blank is good, its like a fresh canvas”, is my guy’s way of galvanizing my vacuous wit.
“Yeah…?”, I yawn apathetically.

Spicy garlic roasted potatoes

Spicy garlic roasted potatoes

I suppose it’s the mind numbing lunch that I made. Maybe all those flavors suddenly dimmed my senses.. Maybe the divine garlicky potatoes and creamy veggie coleslaw had something to do with my comatose state.

“Go sleep..”, again he piqued. “You ate too much…”
What?! Did I just hear that? Did he just say that?!
Well, that was enough to wake me up and put my languid senses back on track.

No Mayo, Veggie Coleslaw

No Mayo, Veggie Coleslaw

Men say the darnest things at the darnest times. Just when I was half sleepily glorifying my culinary skills, attributing my lackadaisical writing attempts to the “supposedly” gorgeous lunch I made, he had to say that!

In an arduous pursuit to prove him wrong, I fret, fume, wash my face and make myself a super strong coffee. It works. It all does. His mindless opinion, the cold water on my face and of course the coffee!

All ready to wrap

All ready to wrap

Now to lay some facts straight: The lunch was gorgeous. Every bite was flavorful and whole.
And maybe I ate half a wrap more than I should have. 😉 But then we all did. He too. Just that he didn’t drowse after that and I did.

Well, coming to the recipe. This is an improvised last-minute attempt. You cannot really go wrong with potatoes, garlic, butter and coleslaw. Can you?

spicy potatoes, coleslaw and some vinegary onions

spicy potatoes, coleslaw and some vinegary onions

I made some roasted baby potatoes the other day. From there my imagination spewed to the various ways of incorporating the yumminess in our daily diet.
Thus, a no mayo simple easy crunchy creamy coleslaw, along with some vinegary onions, green mint coriander chutney and chili garlic roasted potatoes, all put together on a tortilla/chappathi was the lunch that I am raving and ranting about.

Potato Delight

Potato Delight

The Recipe –

To make 4 wraps:

Ingredients

4 whole wheat chappathis/tortillas
4 tbsp green chutney
sliced onions, dipped in vinegar and salt – according to taste

For the chili garlic potatoes:

  • 4-5 medium-sized potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into fingers.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced and smashed
  • 2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 tsp dried parsley leaves or fresh
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Veggie Coleslaw:

  • 1 cup thinly sliced veggies, I used carrots, cabbage, bell peppers, onions and scallions
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp plain flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1 glass milk
  • 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 green chili, minced – optional
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup greek yoghurt/hung yoghurt or sour cream – optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

For the potatoes:
Get the oven pre heated and ready. Throw the potato fingers in scalding hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and remove on a clean kitchen towel.
Pound the garlic and red chili flakes in a mortar and pestle. Mix with olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper. Coat the potatoes with this heavenly oil. Spread them on a baking tray and bake at 180 C for 15 minutes or till they turn golden and crisp.
Alternatively, you could roast them on a huge flat frying pan, sauteing all the while till they turn golden and crisp.

For the Coleslaw:
Heat butter, saute garlic, green chili(if using) and bell peppers, Once done, add the flour. Then in goes the milk. Stir all the while to make a creamy white sauce. Season with salt, red chili flakes and pepper. Switch the flame off. Now mix in the sliced veggies like cabbage, onions, carrots and scallions. Mix well. Check for seasoning. Keep aside.

For the Onions in vinegar:
In a small bowl of vinegar, add a tsp of salt and some sliced onions. Keep aside. They turn pink after sometime because of vinegar and salt reaction.

For the wrap:
Take a tortilla/chappathi. Spread a tbsp of green chutney or as much as you desire. I added this Indian twist to it, cause we are a family of coriander chutney lovers. We like it on everything. You can omit it you like.
Next spread a tbsp or two of coleslaw. Top with garlic potatoes. Sprinkle some vinegar and finish off by placing the tart vinegary onions.

Wrap and serve by some more coleslaw on the side.
Best enjoyed with some chilled drink.

Yumm

Yumm

For those who want to avoid potatoes, maybe you could try this wrap with some roasted broccoli or cauliflower or paneer(cottage cheese/paneer wrap). My penchant for these quick fixes is quite well known. I love making wraps with whatever the pantry and refrigerator have to offer.

Spicy Wrap

Spicy Wrap

Other Options with Coleslaw:

1. Sandwiches! They make awesome sandwiches. Add a layer of cheese and some spicy chutney for that extra kick and you have yourself a fancy looking bite!
2. Salads. Add some tangy citrusy fruit like pomegranates, oranges and strawberries and a very interesting salad is born.
3. As a side to burgers and hot dogs
4. On potato/corn/mushroom or any type of pattice.

Sunday Lunch

Sunday Lunch

Gourmet(or gluttony?) remarks and a very strong coffee revived my dwindling spirit and mind. And he ate his own words 🙂

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

Bread Croutons – Garlic Flavored and Baked!

Garlic Herbed Bread Croutons

Garlic Herbed Bread Croutons

It’s inanely easy. Really, making baked croutons is no rocket science. Pleasantly surprised by the simplicity and the crunch of the little bites, has coerced me to make several batches ever since my first.

Crunchy crisp bites

Crunchy crisp bites

A french bread gives the best results, but leftover sandwich bread also would do. I had some whole wheat bread on my counter top waiting to be used. Just 5-6 slices is enough for a bottle full of croutons! They are great as add ons on soups/stews/salads or as it is.

Bottle Full of little bites

Bottle Full of little bites

First time I tried these, no special flavors were added. Plain crunchy beautifully toasted they were. But I’ve been experimental. Pounded garlic and mixed herbs add such drama to the flavors…. you will be in for a surprise!

Toasted to perfection

Toasted to perfection

Use whole wheat bread, top with a little olive oil, add any flavoring you like and BAKE! See. So simple. And not to forget, HEALTHY too. Try munching on them with your evening cup of tea. Delightful.

Cold Lettuce  + Fresh Veggies + Mayo + Mustard + Bread Croutons = Yummy Salad

Cold Lettuce + Fresh Veggies + Mayo + Mustard + Bread Croutons = Yummy Salad

When you want some body to your salad, cottage cheese or boiled peanuts or croutons are the keys to a filling satisfying meal. Top these crunchies on your soup or stew, and relish the carb with the slurrp.

Perfect Accompaniments

Perfect Accompaniments

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 6 slices of whole wheat bread or 1/2 a loaf of french bread, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed/pounded
  • 7-8 pepper corns, pounded
  • salt to taste

Method

Preheat your oven at 150C.
Mix the olive oil, crushed garlic, pepper powder and salt. Gently envelop the bread pieces with this oil. Spread the croutons on a baking sheet/parchment paper on a tray. Bake at 150-170C for 8-10 minutes, until they turn slightly brown and hard.

They can go from brown to black like in no time, so keep an open eye. Once done, cool and store in an air tight container. Use within 3-4 days.

Flavored with garlic and pepper

Flavored with garlic and pepper

Try different flavorings:

  • pepper and salt – plain simple
  • garlic and basil
  • garlic and pepper
  • garlic and parsley
  • mixed herbs
Bits of Baked Bread

Bits of Baked Bread

Milee’s Very Handy Tip:

Use these croutons as sides to a dip! She mixed cheese spread and green chutney, made a light green dip. Dunked these bites generously into the beautiful hued spread and relished every bit. Kids! They come up with the best ideas.