Blackberry Parfait

BM# 100: Week 2, Day 2
Theme : 3 
ingredient Dishes

Breakfast is not an elaborate meal at my place. It’s almost always a bowl of cereal or oatmeal. I like something with a bit of liquid in it than having to chew before you are completely awake (even if it’s 10 in the morning). The idea is I will close my eyes, drink it down and then wake up later when I have to deal with the day.

You can see why a yogurt based parfait would work well here. It ticks off all the boxes for me. There is smoothness from the yogurt, a bit of crunch from muesli or granola, bit of sweetness from the berries, there is color, there is contrast and most importantly, it is ridiculously easy to make. Any jam would work instead of real fruit too. A spoon of sugar or salt is allowed for this theme, so I decided to add it to the berries. It’s optional and if you are using a jam, you won’t need it anyway.

Scroll down for the recipe.

Ingredients:

    1/2 cup yogurt*
    3 tablespoons granola/muesli
    8-10 blackberries
    1 teaspoon sugar, optional

Method:

  1. Mix sugar with the berries and microwave for 20-30 seconds. Cool slightly and mash it down with the back of a spoon.
  2. Spoon some of this on the bottom of a glass. Top with a tablespoon of muesli or granola. Add some of the yogurt. Repeat the layers until it reaches the top. Mine was a small glass so it took only two layers of each.
  3. Top with muesli and serve cold.

Note:

*You can sweeten the yogurt as well with a spoon or two of sugar. I didn’t do it.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#100

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Besan Doodh – Chickpea flour milk

BM# 98: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Cooking for Two

Spring is here and there is a definite improvement in the weather. We are not ready to shed our jackets anytime soon, but its so much better already. And there is so much to look forward to – greenery, cherry blossoms, lighter jackets, sandals, walks outside….that feeling itself is heart warming. My son is not a fan of summer.  He associates summer with bugs and the tiny flies that roam over your head and go right into your eyes if you are not wearing bug repellent. Its too hot for him but the biggest disappointment for him is that there is no snow in summer! Let’s wait and see how his view changes some years from now :-).

Anyway, coming to this recipe here. Its a traditional winter recipe from Punjab. Its supposed to be a good cure for cold and cough. I had bookmarked it when I saw it in Suma’s blog Veggie Platter two weeks back. Even though the winter is on its way out, its still cold here and a hot cup of delicious flavored milk is still very much enjoyable. A pinch of cardamom adds so much of flavor, so does the almonds. If you prefer, you can reduce the besan flour a bit and add more crushed almonds to increase the flavor of almonds. I liked the original recipe as such and I didn’t make any changes.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ghee, optional
  • 2 tablespoons besan (chickpea flour)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon chopped or crushed almonds
  • a pinch of ground cardamom
  • a pinch of saffron

Method:

  1. Heat ghee in a nonstick pan. Add the besan flour and saute for a minute or two until it starts releasing a nutty aroma and starts turning slightly darker in color.
  2. Add about half cup of milk and mix with a spatula. You are looking for a lump free smooth mixture. Add 1/4 cup more milk, if needed to get the smooth consistency.
  3.  Once you get a lump free and smooth roux like mix, add the rest of the milk, chopped nuts, cardamom, saffron and sugar. Let it come to a boil and reduce it to a simmer.
  4. Cook for a further 6-8 minutes or until the milk has thickened a little bit and the besan flour is cooked through. Take off the heat and serve in a cup.

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Peas, potatoes, carrots in Olive oil and lemon sauce

BM# 97: Week 4, Day 3
Theme : Flavors of Greece

I had initially selected a date and chickpea rice recipe for today’s post. But I changed it in favor of this simple stew. This recipe in the book The Foods of the Greek Islands. The author mentions that on the islands, this is a classic vegetable stew made with wild fennel. The recipe had dill instead, but I skipped it since I didn’t have any at home. The stew can be a main dish with some feta cheese and bread on the side.

I served to my son when we was back from school and he didn’t like it at all. I was just done with cooking the stew and unfortunately, the vegetables weren’t done when I served it to him. I had to cook for some more time to get it right and it was perfect for our dinner. It had a mild fennel flavor infused with lemon and was very delicious.

The recipe uses a lot of olive oil, about 2/3 cups. I couldn’t bring myself to use that much so I reduced it a lot. The end result was still yummy. The stew needn’t be watery, though we prefer it that way.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
  • 3 large potatoes, diced into 1.5″ cubes
  • 4 cups green peas*
  • 3 carrots, diced into 1″ slices
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dill, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

* Green beans is a substitute for the peas and so I used 2 cups peas and 2 cups beans.

Method:

  1. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add in the sliced fennel and sauté until its soft.
  2. Add the potatoes, cook for 4-5 minutes. Add 1.5 cups of water/stock along with the peas and beans, carrots, crushed fennel seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat. Cover and let the stew simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of water or stock, remaining olive oil (the recipe used 1/3 cup, I used only 2 tablespoons), 1/4 cup chopped dill and all of the lemon juice. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and done. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup dill on top and serve warm with some bread and feta cheese on top.

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Fakies – Greek Lentil soup

BM# 97: Week 4, Day 2
Theme : Flavors of Greece

I was browsing the book Greek Revival, Cooking for life for recipes and stumbled upon this one. This is a very easy, basic traditional soup. The lentil is the main ingredient here, you can use brown or green. The choice of vegetables can be changed according to your preference. The author mentions that something sour- like lemon juice, yogurt or vinegar- is added to Greek lentil soups at the time of serving. It’s a good idea to leave these condiments on the table and let the guests choose for themselves.

The recipe is fairly basic. All it needs is onion, tomatoes and carrots. As I mentioned earlier, you can add vegetables of your choice too. I decided to stick with the recipe on the book. The flavor is simple and it’s easy to put together. I made it easier by cooking the lentils ahead. Serve with some bread to soak up the soup and it’s a healthy and delicious meal indeed!

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 carrots, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced or 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry whole lentils
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups water
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Plain yogurt for serving

Method:

  1. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic, onions and carrots. Once the onions are soft, add the tomatoes, ground coriander and cumin. Stir and cook for a cook of minutes.
  2. Add 4 cups of water. Cover and bring it to a boil. Add the lentils. Bring it to a boil again, reduce heat. Cover and let it simmer for 1.5 hours until the beans are cooked. I cooked the beans separately in pressure cooker, so I reduced the cooking time to ten minutes for the flavors to blend. Add parsley and let it cook for another couple of minutes.
  3. Serve hot with bread. Add a dollop of yogurt or lemon juice to the soup at the time of serving.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#97