Banana nutmeg pancakes

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Its a whole lot easier to photograph food than my son. With him, I expect a natural looking smile for an unnaturally long time. He has to hold the pose when I fumble through the various modes and settings. By the time I get it right, his eyes would have a murderous look and the smile would be frozen. So let’s thank God that the pan cakes don’t mind the long wait while I fiddle with my camera.

When it comes to food photography, there are good days and bad days. On a good day, picking the right kind of bowl, the perfect background and the placing of the props are a breeze. The picture is in perfect focus and its just happiness all around. But on some other days, there is no doing things right. For a long time, I blamed it on not having good wooden backgrounds. But then I had the backgrounds and I could still see no improvement in the photos. Then, I knew the answer – cloth napkins, of course! So all my energy was concentrated on buying napkins for a long time….now I have more napkins for the blog than I have clothes for myself. Yet not much improvement when it comes to photography :D.

The thing is, the camera is just a tool. Its the photographer who composes the picture. Unless I practice again and again until I am consistent with the output, its never going to work out….not for all the napkins in the world!!

I was looking at my old posts to re-do the pictures and surprisingly, I find that I am happy with most of them. The pictures aren’t great, but they make me happy. And that’s all that matters.

Well, I haven’t decided yet whether I am quite happy with the pancake pictures or not, but I can tell you for sure that I was happy with the pancakes! 3banana_nutmeg_pancakes

Recipe adapted slightly from: The Perfect recipe for losing weight and eating right

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup corn meal
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups butter milk (or milk + buttermilk in any ratio to get 2 cups of liquid)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla
  • sliced bananas for the top
  • butter for greasing the pan

Method:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients from flour to ground nutmeg in a big bowl.
  2. Whisk the eggs with oil and vanilla. Add it to the buttermilk (and milk if using).
  3. Pour wet ingredients into the dry flour mix. Use a whisk to mix everything until you don’t see any dry lumps.
  4. Heat a skillet and brush it lightly with butter. Add 3 tablespoons or 1/4 cup batter and carefullty add the sliced bananas carefully on top of each pancake. I prefer to wait for a minute or two for the pancake to set a bit before adding the banana slices. That helps the pancakes not to spread out more because of the slices.
  5. Once the bottom is cooked, flip the pancake and cook until the top turns golden brown. Cook in batches or one at a time. Serve with syrup and fruits.

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This goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group.
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Chia cardamom pudding

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BM # 74: Week 2, Day 2
Theme : Are you pudding me?
Recipe: Chia cardamom pudding
My neighbor mentioned making chia payasam for her son with all Indian flavors. She cooks chia in milk over stove top with a pinch of cardamom and sugar. Then she decorates it with cashews and raisins roasted in ghee. When you top off with saffron strands, you have a great pudding style payasam. 

I liked the idea and so made something similar except that I went for the overnight refrigeration method. I skipped roasting the nuts as well since I had this for breakfast. Chia gives you the perfect pudding texture without much effort from our end ;-). 

Enjoy this simple recipe that makes breakfast an extremely easy affair!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cups chia seeds
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar(or more per taste)
  • A good pinch of cardamom powder
  • Few strands of saffron

Method:

  1. Mix the chia with milk, sugar and cardamom powder until no pumps remain. Add the saffron as well. 
  2. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled or you can microwave it for 30 seconds before serving. Decorate with saffron strands and some nuts and dry fruits. 

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Banana Wheat germ pancakes

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BM # 73: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Ingredient swap
Recipe: wheat germ pancakes with banana

Last month we had a mini blogger meet at Pavani’s place. It was a perfect timing since Valli had an interesting theme for February – Ingredients swap. So instead of mailing each other, we were able to exchange it when we met. All of us had about 3-4 ingredients to share and picked whatever we fancied from the lot. I ended up picking all three ingredients from Pavani.

My own (ingredient) shopping for the event was a hurried one. Its in my blood to postpone things to the last possible minute and you can’t question habits ingrained that deep. I realized much later that I had a lot more interesting ingredients right in my pantry itself. Well, may be for the next meet, I will be a little more smarter and shop my own pantry before rushing to the store.

I picked wheat germ from the lot for the first post and made a banana based wheat germ pancake. Its the first time I am using my tripod, so I was able to get some hands free maple syrup shot. Its an entirely different thing whether the pictures are good or not. Whats more important is the fact that I used the tripod ( last year’s birthday gift ) before my next birthday. So hurrah for that!

In my enthusiasm to get a good picture, I ended up pouring too much syrup and making my son very happy as a result. Eating pancakes drenched with syrup is a happy sacrifice from his end for my little space on the web :-). Read on for the recipe.

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Recipe adapted from: Prevention RD

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 cup milk

Method:

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Blend the banana, eggs, oil, vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients. Mix in enough milk to get the batter to the consistency of cake batter.
  3. Heat a pan. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter. Let the pancakes cook on a medium heat until the bubbles subside, flip carefully and let the top side cook as well. Take off the pan when golden brown. Serve with syrup.

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Multi grain orange pancakes

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We are cereal for breakfast kind of people and we like it that way. Earlier, I used to make pancakes for my son’s lunch box at least once a week. On those days, me and my husband would have it for breakfast with syrup. Its been quite a while since I made pancakes. But I don’t think I will wait that long to make it again. 

These pancakes are easy to make. There is a hint of orange and cardamom now and then. Next time I might try to add some juice also to increase the flavor. The recipe is adapted from Pam Anderson’s  The Perfect recipe for losing weight and eating right. I have already tried the basic pancake recipe before, now I am planning to give the different flavor options a try.

This recipe goes to this week’s Cooking from Cook Book Challenge. Please follow the link to know more about the event.

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Recipe adapted from: The Perfect recipe for losing weight and eating right

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 cups butter milk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla

Method:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients from flour to ground cardamom in a big bowl.
  2. Microwave milk and buttermilk for about 30 seconds to stop it from being really cold. If you are using them at room temperature, you can skip this.
  3. Whisk the eggs with oil and vanilla. Add it to the milk and buttermilk.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry flour mix. Use a whisk to mix everything until you don’t see any dry lumps.
  5. Heat a skillet and brush it lightly with oil. Add 3 tablespoons or even 1/4 cup batter and let it cook, about 2-3 minutes. Flip it and cook until it turns golden brown. Cook in batches or one at a time. Serve with syrup.

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Sorry about too many pictures in the post, I know that most of them look alike. Yet I seem to be incapable to restricting it to just three. I am trying to curb my enthusiasm, so please bear with me. I promise, I will improve.

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Peanut butter smoothie

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BM # 72; Week 4, Day 1
Theme : So many smoothies, so little time
Dish: Mango smoothie bowl

While me and my son like smoothies in a bowl, my husband likes it direct from a glass.The man likes it fuss free, but I love to fuss over it and ‘dress it up’. Anytime I am serving him smoothies, I pour it straight out of a blender to a cup or glass. Its easier for him to keep sipping while working or taking a call.

One of our most repeated smoothies is the basic peanut butter banana smoothie. I almost always add some source of chocolate as well, some cocoa powder, hot cocoa packet or nutella. But today I didn’t…today I took it back to the basics.

Smoothies are filling by themselves but after about an hour or so, my stomach starts crying for food again. That hunger pang stopped when I started adding some peanut butter  also to it. A tablespoon or two can go a long way to keeping the hunger in check till lunch. The calories maybe higher, but hey..it stops you from reaching out for that packet of cookies.

So here is a simple smoothie which can be modified in so many ways to fit your mood and your pantry contents.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • honey as needed
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • 2/3 cup milk

Method:

  1. Blend everything together. Pour into a glass or bowl. Use toppings of your choice. I added some granola, banana slices and strawberry.

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Strawberry jam

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BM # 70
Week 2, Day 1
Theme :Fruit based Recipes

This post is a little rusted, its been sitting in the drafts for almost an year. I wasn’t (and still am not) sure how to click inside my not so well lit kitchen without over exposing the shots. The light situation isn’t great – you either have the sun coming in directly or its dimly lit. Diffuser doesn’t help much and stepping into the balcony is not much of an option because of the weather. But worry not, I will find my way through. By that I mean I am planning to keep a jacket in the kitchen than figure out a way to work with the light!

Anyways, let’s get ready for the holidays with some bright red strawberry jam. Its adapted slightly from Aparna’s space. The jam hardly lasted a few weeks. When it was almost over, I remember adding  milk to the bottle and shaking it vigorously with the lid on to make some instant milkshake. The recipe seemed simple enough for me to try and I was glad I did!

Read on for the pictorial. This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70 .  Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.

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Add 5 cups strawberries cut in halves with 2 cups sugar. Mix and refrigerate overnight. The sugar needs to be adjusted depending on the tartness of strawberries. You can add more, if needed, when cooking the jam.

The next morning, you will find a lot of liquid from the strawberries and sugar. Add this to a thick bottomed wide pan tall enough to allow the sugar to froth. Finely chop one apple and tip it in as well.

Bring it to a boil and cook (medium to low heat) until the liquid evaporates and it reaches a jam consistency. About 15 minutes or so, keep stirring in between. Mash a little to break a lumpy jam. We like it with fruit chunks, so didn’t mash a lot.

To check whether the jam is done, do the “plate test”. Bottle the hot jam in sterilized bottles. I got about 2 bottles of 500 gm jars.

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Microwave Apple Oatmeal

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If banana went inside the oatmeal yesterday, today it was apple’s turn. The method of preparation is also different, but the concept is the same. Usually people take about 1/3 (or sometimes 1/2) cup per person and cook it in about 1 cup of liquid. The amount of liquid is something we have to adjust depending on the consistency we want, the kind of oats used and also on the cooking duration.

When cooking with fruits like apple, which is harder than a banana, you need to cook the fruit a little bit first. I like them softer in my oatmeal. Microwave cooking can sometimes end up being rubbery, but luckily that wasn’t the case. I had this oatmeal almost 2 hours after cooking and yet it wasn’t rubbery or dry. You will, of course, have to adjust the liquid in case it turns out too dry.

So, without further ado, lets get the microwave on!

This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70. Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 apple, chopped fine (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • honey or sweetener of your choice
  • Topping : 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter, a dash of cinnamon and a little granola

Method:

  1. Soak oats in 1/2 cup milk. Set aside.Start chopping apples finely. Set some aside for the topping.
  2. In a microwave proof bowl, add the finely chopped apples and the water. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the apples are a little soft.
  3. Now add the soaked oats. Mix well. If its too dry, add a dash of milk.
  4. Cook for 3-4 minutes, but be sure to keep an eye on it as the milk might boil over. I had to pause the microwave multiple times and stir the oatmeal to prevent overflow.
  5. Once cooked, let it rest for a few minutes before stirring in the honey. Top with the apple pieces set aside and whatever else you prefer.

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Stovetop Banana Oatmeal

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So finally, here I am – in case you have missed me. My mini break turned into a major vacation last time. Truth be told, it feels like I am taking baby steps again in blogging. A little like you are in a party in the virtual world after being on your own for a really long time. Thankfully, the party I am in is Blogging Marathon party. It has all my close friends, so the level of comfort is pretty high.

As you know, Valli comes up with interesting themes for BM. My theme this week is to prepare a single breakfast dish using three different cooking methods. When I decided on theme, my plan was to prepare the whole grain muffins. Unfortunately, I don’t have silicon muffin pans that I can use in cooker or MW, so I had to scrap that plan. So the oats for muffins got used up as Oatmeal. So Day 1 is Oatmeal – banana flavor, stove top cooking method. Read on for the recipe.

This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70. Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.

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Blogging Marathon theme : Same breakfast prepared using different methods.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 thinly sliced banana
  • sweetener – honey/sugar/maple syrup, per taste
  • Few banana slices for decoration

Method:

  1. Add everything except honey to a thick vessel.
  2. Once the water starts heating up, stir or whisk continuously for a creamy textured oatmeal for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Take off the heat, pour it into a bowl. Serve with some sliced bananas and honey drizzled on top.

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Tortilla egg wrap

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The best way to start a day is to start it simple. Especially if you are like me and not a morning person at all, you need to keep things at an elementary level till you get out of the zombie mode. So on some weekends, instead of doing something elaborate, I take out the tawa, some eggs, a pack of tortillas or ready-made chapatis and get to work. It sometimes makes its way into my son’s lunch box as well.

The good thing about my family is that they are with me when I keep breakfast minimal. A roll with a dash of sriracha is preferred over an idli-sambar-chutney combo. Since my husband has never read a single post in this place, he cannot contradict me :D.

This recipe is an improvisation of bread omelette. It’s from a friend and made it directly to my cookbook. I call it  my ‘try these recipes to keep your life lazy’ book.

Enjoy the recipe as it goes to the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge. Please check out this page for more details about the event.

tortilla wrap4

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Break an egg and let it cook until set. Season with salt and pepper.

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Add a tortilla on top. I press a little bit so that the egg yolks break. Let it cook for a few moments.

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Flip over and cook the other side of the tortilla as well.

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Add some sriracha sauce or hot sauce of your choice. Fold the sides to the middle. Serve with ketchup.

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Chilli idli

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Leftover idlis are a rarity at my place. How will I have leftovers when I hardly make idlis at home?!! With just three of us at home, making dosa turns out to be an easier choice than hauling out the idli plates and waiting 15 minutes for the process to get over. So without doubt, dosa is a winner at my place.

But when I was in Chennai, idlis were regular. Just to make these chili idlis. People usually make these with leftover idls, but I used to make fresh idlis just so that I can pack for the kid’s lunchbox. These do have a bit of veggies on them, but not enough to be called a wholesome dish.

This was another recipe from my close friend there. I used to prepare this a lot when I moved to US also, more for memories than for the actual food. Like I always say, nostalgia is the best flavor for food. The one featured here is coming out of its drafts after a long time. The pictures take me to another era, one of the best in terms of memories for me.

Enjoy!

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Pictorial:

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Heat oil in a pan and saute one small diced onion.  Once its cooked a bit, add one teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste and cook for a minute or two.

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Dice half of a medium capsicum, add and mix well.

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Add in one small diced tomato and cook for a minute or two.

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Add 1 teaspoon tomato ketch up, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and salt. Mix and cook until tomatoes are mashed a bit.

Whisk 1 teaspoon corn flour to 1/4 cup water until no lumps remain. Add that mix to the onion tomato mix and cook for a further minute or two.  I forgot to take a picture of this step.

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Add 3-4 diced idlis and mix well. You can use podi idli also. Cook until it all comes together and taste test to adjust seasonings. Take off the heat and serve as such or with ketch up on the side.

Serves : 1-2

Ingredients:

  • 4 idlis, diced or podi idlis 
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1/2 of a medium capsicum/bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketch up
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon corn flour
  • 1/4 cup
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and saute one small diced onion.  Once its cooked a bit, add one teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste and cook for a minute or two.
  2. Dice half of a medium capsicum, add and mix well.
  3. Add in one small diced tomato and cook for a minute or two.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon tomato ketch up, 1 tablespoon soya sauce, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and salt. Mix and cook until tomatoes are mashed a bit.
  5. Whisk 1 teaspoon corn flour to 1/4 cup water until no lumps remain. Add that mix to the onion tomato mix and cook for a further minute or two.
  6. Add two diced idlis and mix well. Cook until it all comes together and taste test to adjust seasonings. Take off the heat and serve as such or with ketch up on the side.

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