Lentil bulgur kofte

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Its shameful admitting that your pantry supplies are low to the world multiple times. But unfortunately, that has happened too many times with me. So now I accept it as a fact in my kitchen and move on. But moving on meant some real big changes to the recipe here.

I started with the Turkish recipe for red lentil kofte made with Bulgur, my second ingredient from Pavani. To begin with I didn’t have masoor dal, but I had whole masoor dal. So that seemed a reasonable comprise, though it meant the beautiful orange color had to be sacrificed. Second and more importantly, I didn’t have parsley or coriander which are really important to the recipe. Thirdly, spring onions had to go cause I had none. And then, there wasn’t any lettuce leaves to serve them on.

My solution was a simple one. Make substitutions and omissions, enjoy the result but don’t claim that its the original in anyway. So here I am, a recipe inspired from Mercimek  Koftesi, but with many many changes to call by its original name. It was really tasty, so despite the adjustments, I really loved it. Read on for the recipe.

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Recipe adapted from: My Cooking Journey

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup masoor dal (red lentils, I used whole masoor)
  • 1/2 cup fine bulgur
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, pureed or 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika/chili powder
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped ( I didn’t have any)
  • 4 spring onions, chopped (I didn’t have any)
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Soak the dal the night before, this step is optional.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the chopped onions until they turn pink. Add the spices, seasoning and tomato paste/pureed tomato. Let it cook until the raw smell goes off.
  3. Add dal with two cups of water and let the dal cook until its done. There should be a little water left in the dal mix for the bulgur to cook. Wash bulgur, let it drain and add it to the onion-dal mix. Cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes. Cover and set aside for 20-30 minute to let the bulgur cook. You have to use fine bulgur here, so its a good idea to pulse in a blender if you have coarse bulgur.
  4. After 20-30 minutes, the mixture would have absorbed all the water. Its time to add the chopped parsley or coriander leaves and spring onions along with lemon juice. Taste test and adjust seasonings. When the mix is cool enough to handle, take about 2 tablespoon and shape it into a kofta. Serve on lettuce leaves. I added sriracha for me and my husband and served the plain ones to my son.

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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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Ricotta Lemon mini cupcakes

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BM # 73: Week 1, Day 3
Theme : Mini baked treats 
Recipe: ricotta lemon mini cupcakes

When I am at the supermarket, my impulse wins over my common sense. I almost always buy things that I don’t need and then I would spend time and effort to finish up things I didn’t need in the first place. One of the regular culprits is Ricotta cheese. I just can’t resist it. The soft cheese always seem to be calling me when I pass that aisle.

After making a batch of instant rabdi using it, I still had some left over cheese that needed to be used up. A Google search led me to this recipe for soft, Madeline like cookies at Food.com. I didn’t realize that these cookies would have cake like texture when I started baking them. I should have guessed it when I made the batter itself since it was just like cake batter. After a couple of batch of making cookies, I used the same batter for making a batch of mini cupcakes.

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I liked the cupcakes better because some of the cookies stuck to each other when stored inside a container. It wasn’t bad, but cupcakes with their wrappers has its own charm.

I liked these cookies for their lightness and lemony taste. Each cookie felt like a mini cake. This may not be my go to ricotta bake recipe, but still it deserves a mention in the blog for tempting me day after day until it all got over!

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Recipe source: Food.com

Makes about 50 small cookies/ mini cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1  teaspoons baking powder
  • one pinch salt
  • 1 stick butter (113 gms) at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1  container ricotta cheese (15oz)
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat butter and sugar until its light and fluffy using a hand or a stand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat it in. Add the ricotta cheese next and beat using the mixer. Follow the cheese with lemon juice, extract and zest.
  4. Bring the mixer to low speed and fold in the flour mix carefully. You can use a spatula as well to do this. The batter will be similar to that of cakes than cookies.
  5. Take 1 tablespoon of batter and bake for about 15 -20 minutes as mini cupcakes or cookies in a lined baking pan. Remove from the oven and let the cookies or cupcakes sit undisturbed in the pan for ten minutes at least before moving them to a cooling rack.

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Mini Pizza and Coca cola cake

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BM # 73: Week 1, Day 2
Theme : Mini baked treats 
Recipe: Mini Pizza cake

Three days before my husband turned 40, my son turned 10. Their birthdays fall right after Christmas and three days apart from each other. So that means, the oven is quite busy during that time. I am either baking or decorating the cakes for their big days.

I am yet to upload my son’s 9th birthday cake. It was a Lego cake, but I wasn’t happy with the outcome. He doesn’t like fondant and I couldn’t get a finish I liked with buttercream. This year he wanted his favorite food – coke and pizza. It was my idea actually :D, but he agreed wholeheartedly.

The coke cake seems intimidating, but its actually not. I followed this particular video by How to Cook That for it. I used a different recipe for the cake, for everything else, I followed the video as such.

I didn’t want to put the candle on the coke cake, so I made a mini pizza cake to keep the candle. On hindsight, I should have made a much thinner cake for the pizza, but at that point, I wasn’t thinking much. The pizza cake is pretty straight forward to make. Fill and frost your cake layers and cover it with fondant. You need to color the fondant with a teeny bit of copper or brown color. Use bits of black, green and red fondants to use as toppings, teeny bit of red buttercream for tomato sauce and grated white chocolate (chips here) for the cheese.

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You have to use a 2L coke bottle as a mold for the coke cake. Cut the bottle into two carefully at the middle. Save the label, you will need it for masking the joint and to give an authentic look. Melt chocolate and coat the bottom and top half. I followed the video and used white chocolate near the bottle cap to give the illusion of bubbles. Now refrigerate this to harden a bit and its ready to be filled and layered with cake.

The layers inside are as follows:

  • Whipped cream infused with coke that is boiled down to the consistency of honey
  • Chocolate cake
  • A jelly layer made with coke and plain gelatine
  • Vanilla cake made with coca cola

If I make this again, I would skip the jelly and use whipped cream as such without any coke flavoring. The cake won’t suffer at all because of these deductions.

You will need a cutter of some sorts to cut the baked 4″ cakes and the jelly into smaller circles that can get inside the bottle. So layer the bottom half of the bottle with fresh cream, followed by chocolate cake cut to fit inside correctly, a jelly layer, some fresh cream again and then the vanilla cake. Once the layers are done till the top, refrigerate the cake. So now  you will have top and bottom of a Coca Cola shaped chocolate mold with cake layers inside it. The last step is to carefully cut the plastic off the cake. After that join the two parts using melting chocolate as a glue. Keep the label back to cover the joint. Make a small cap using fondant.

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The best part of this was the vanilla cake. I had already baked the chocolate cake and wanted a vanilla cake for the color contrast. I also wanted some coke to be infused somehow in the cake.An internet search led me to this space and please check it out for some excellent food photography. I really loved those. The cake was very soft and tasted absolutely delicious. I couldn’t taste the soda in the final cake. I used the recipe below, which makes two 9″ cakes, to bake 2 tall 4″ cakes and 24 mini cupcakes. This recipe is a keeper.

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Recipe source: Local Milk Blog

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 sticks (226 gms) butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coca cola

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180 C/ 350F. Grease and line two 9″ pans or in my case, two 4″ pans and line a mini cupcake pan with baking cups.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg) in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Beat butter for 3-4 minutes using a hand or stand mixer. Add the sugar carefully and beat it in until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time and beat it in. Add vanilla extract and let it combine well.
  5. In three batches, add the coca cola and the flour mix in, alternating between the two. So first add 1/2 cup coke and once its incorporated, add 1/3rd of the flour mix. Add the 2nd batch of coke only after the flour is mixed in well. Another half cup of coke, beat it in well. Next 1/3rd of the flour mix. One more round of alternate mixing like this and take the bowl out of the mixer and fold everything well with a silicone spatula to ensure that there aren’t any dry lumps.
  6. Pour the batter until its a little over half way  into the prepared pans. Bake until a skewer comes free when inserted in the middle of the cake, about 35- 40 minutes. For mini cupcakes, the time was around 20 minutes.
  7. Take the cake off the oven and let it rest for about ten minutes undisturbed. Carefully remove from the pan and frost and use once its completely cool.

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Emoji Mini cupcakes

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BM # 73: Week 1, Day 1
Theme : Mini baked treats 
Dish: Emoji mini cupcakes

This post is about expressing emotions. 13 kind of emotions, to be exact. Some expressions were ‘swallowed’ in the process of making these.

I made two batches of mini cup cakes for my husband’s 40th birthday. One batch was an eggless mango cake and the other was a coke based vanilla cake. I will be sharing the recipe tomorrow.

The theme I had in my mind was ‘range of emotions’ for turning 40. Happiness, love, tears, kiss, wink, astonishment…My friend put it in a nutshell for me, she said that’s quite an emotional baggage there ;-D.

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Of the 48 mini cupcakes, 8 cakes were sacrificed for the delicate art of taste testing. The rest 40 formed the number 40 to greet my husband and his friend who shares his birthday. So 40 mini cakes for 40th birthday, in shape of the number 40.

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I looked at the internet for making these. A google search for emoji cupcakes gave a lot of ideas. Yellow fondant with a bit of red, white, blue and black fondant is what you need here. I used an edible black marker for the emoji eyes. That made the work a lot lighter than it would have been otherwise. The emoji has to be made separately and then kept on top of a frosted cupcake.

To make the work easier, I made three cupcakes for each emoji. Forty different emojis would have been extremely tough otherwise. I used a piping tip for cutting out the mouth for most part. The smaller end of writing tip for making the eyes. I also used a flower mold and used the petal as eyes for the winking emojis.

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This goes to Blogging Marathon #73 under the theme mini bakes. Check out the link to know more about the event and to see the other participants posts. 

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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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Mango smoothie bowl

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

If smoothies were the rage a while back, smoothie bowls are the rage now. The minute I saw smoothie bowls, I stopped pouring smoothies into glasses. Why? Because smoothies are thick and I don’t like having to suck them in through a straw. Its almost like my mouth and cheeks are getting a work out to get that smoothie from the glass to my throat!

I hate it even more drinking directly from the glass. The same reason again, smoothies are thick. You drink it one small sip at a time and an entire morning passes by the time the you work your way through a big glass. So when I saw this brilliant pictures of serving smoothies in a bowl with some beautiful toppings, I was smitten. Smitten bad.

It also makes it easy with my kid. He has a heavy traditional Indian meal when he comes home from school. In other words, I feed him a heavy dinner at 4:30 PM. So a couple of hours later, when he is hungry, but not too hungry, I give him a salad or a smoothie bowl. Like this one here. Since its made of ready made mango puree served with a good dose of chocolate chips, I can’t tell you that its exactly healthy. But I can tell you this…it sure was tasty. Oh, yeah!

Read on for this simple recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup ready made mango puree
  • 1 cup ready made flavored yogurt
  • milk/ water to bring it to the right consistency
  • Toppings of your choice.

Method:

  1. Blend the puree with yogurt. If you prefer a runnier consistency, add some milk or water as needed and blend again.
  2. Pour into a bowl and decorate with toppings of your choice. Here it is clementines, chocolate chips, chia seeds, canned cherries, cashews.

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Ulli-Mulagu Chammanthi

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BM # 72; Week 1, Day 3

Theme : Dips, spreads and chutneys

Dish: onions crushed coarsely with chillieso

It’s funny when you look at your blog at times. I mean, there are so many recipes here that I am proud of, but a lot of them are not everyday dishes. The more I dig into it, the less I find everyday stuff. 

Take this onion chammanthi for example,this was one of the regular dishes back at home. My mom would take some onions and some chilies, pulse it a couple of times in the mixer with salt, add a bit of coconut oil to it and serve with Dosa for my younger brother. It was, and is still, his favorite. I add a tomato too while pulsing and eat as a salad with rice. It’s heavenly for me. 

Food is always an acquired taste and the dish might be a turn off for many people out there (raw onions with chilies, really!?), but I like it…a lot. It was simple food at its best. Traditionally, this chutney is served with boiled tapioca (kappa puzhingiyathu). The onions are a little more crushed in my mom’s version, but i stopped mine here way before that. 

Anyway, I have to make an extra effort to get the everyday dishes in here. Until then, read on for the recipe for ulli chathachathu(crushed onions). 

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Ingredients:

  • 10-12 pearl onions or 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3-4 green chillies, or per taste
  • salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons coconut oil

Method:

  1. Pulse the chillies and onion with salt as needed in the mixer jar a couple of times. You shouldn’t grind it. The aim is to crush the onions and chillies together a bit, not to puree it. I used a mortar and pestle for this step instead of the mixie. 
  2. Remove the chammanthi to a small bowl, add in 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and mixing it in. Taste test and if you feel like it, add one more teaspoon of oil.
  3. Serve with kappa puzhingiathu(boiled tapioca), dosa or even with rice.

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Guacamole

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BM # 72; Week 1, Day 2
Theme : Dips, spreads and chutneys
Recipe : Guacamole

Given the fact that I had waited until the last minute for this week’s blogging and also that the theme was an easy one, I decided to prepare all the three recipes on the same day so that I can get the photo shoot done in a single session. That way I didn’t have to brave the cold outside three times.

The good part about the winter here is that its sunny even when its cold. In UK, the sun is overcast most of the time because of the frequent rains. The winter starts getting really gray and gloomy after sometime. But here its sunny, so its hard to be depressed even if its cold. Some silver lining, right?

Coming to the recipe here, its Guacamole. I love avocado and this is one fine way to enjoy it. The recipe is very simple with a few ingredients. Mash avocados, add a few things and tada…dish (dip) ready! We had it as a part of burrito bowl yesterday.

Read on for the recipe.
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Recipe source: All recipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tomato, chopped very finely

Method:

  1. Mash the flesh of the avocados with salt and lemon juice using a fork. Add the cayenne pepper, finely chopped onion and tomatoes. Mix with a spoon. Serve immediately or refrigerate until the time of serving.

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Sriracha fry sauce

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BM # 72
Week 1, Day 1
Theme : Dips, spreads and chutneys

If passion can make people conquer mountains and swim through oceans, I should at least be able to brave the cold weather outside to get some good pictures for this week’s blogging, rt? So that’s what happened today.

To begin with, my house doesn’t receive a good amount of sunlight. And on top of that, I can’t seem to manipulate the little light that I get. With the winter season, clicking pictures is becoming more and more of a difficult task.

So today, I did what I have been doing all this while before winter disrupted it. I stepped into the balcony, set everything up for the photo shoot, clicked pictures and then came back inside. It doesn’t seem like much, but imagine doing that when its -14 Celsius outside. Yes, there is a minus there. My hands and legs were numb within the couple of minutes I was out there.

It snowed two days back, so it was a lot brighter. Snow reflects light and everything is a lot brighter. The pictures would have been a lot better in more capable hands, but right now, I will take what I got. So adventure of the day : 3 posts done, braved the weather to click pictures, edited and finally, posting on time…..Can someone give a medal, please :D?

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Recipe source: Life, a little brighter 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • a pinch of paprika
  • salt, pepper, per taste

Method:

  1. Mix everything together in a bowl using a whisk until everything is well combined. Taste test, adjust seasonings if you need to. Serve with chips or fries.

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Fry sauce is a very simple dip, made with mayonnaise and ketchup. Some people add salt, pepper and vinegar to it. And this version has sriracha as well.It pairs well with French fries, chips and has a tangy, sweet and spicy twist to it.

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