Paneer tikka pizza

2paneer pizza

Today is an anniversary of sorts for me. Its exactly two years since me and my son came to the US. I wouldn’t have remembered the exact date if not for a friend’s birthday coinciding with it. So along with the black forest cake ( hurray for me! Successfully made it, finally!!) for the birthday girl, it gave me a reason to realize that years have flown off and I have survived well.

It wasn’t easy at the beginning. There is so much I still miss about home, especially my friends and family. But slowly you adapt and start appreciating the positives here. Now, I don’t feel the pain as much.

I miss a lot of things about home, but food is never a thing for me. But for the man, paneer tikka pizza is one of the things he misses. This is my trial at remembering the good old times. Nostalgia is a big flavor here, but the pizza recipe is a far cry from the original. Will come back here if I nail the recipe the way I remember it. Meanwhile check it out the way I made it this time.

3paneer pizza










To about 1/4 cup thick yogurt, add the following masalas – salt, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon chilli powder (or per taste), 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder), 1 teaspoon garam masala. Mix well. Chop 200 gms paneer into small cubes.

Add the paneer, along with one diced capsicum (red here) to the yogurt mix. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile prepare the pizza base. Spread 2-3 tablespoon pizza sauce (readymade here) and top it with the prepared paneer.

Add 1 to 1.5 cups of grated cheese and bake at 200C/400F for 20-25 minutes. Take off the oven. When cool enough to handle, cut into slices and serve.

1paneer pizza

Simple veggie pizza


They say it pours when it rains and that’s turned out to be true for pizzas at my place. Its ages since I made pizzas, but once I started there was no stopping me! Three pizzas out of the oven was thrilling indeed.

Since my pizza making skills are a little rusted, I was more happy that these came out decent than to worry to much about the imperfections. The yeast Gods weren’t that upset, so the bread part of it came out decent. I did over bake and produce a hard crust for the pizzas, but it was only the edge so no complaints there (well, there is, but let’s ignore it for the time being…and for the future as well! :D).

A simple saute of onions and capsicum was made for the third pizza and this is (was!) one of my oft repeated topping. Anyway, I still have some flour. I still have some yeast. And who knows! maybe more pizzas might come out of the oven.

Mind you, I told pizzas, not buns!!

To make the topping for a 9″ pizza, dice one medium onion and one medium capsicum into big pieces and saute them for a few minutes with salt and pepper. Prepare the pizza base and spread 2-3 tablespoon of pizza sauce(readymade) on top of it. Add the prepared veggie toppings and about 3/4 cup of cheese. Bake at 400F/200C for about 20 minutes until the cheese melts and the base is cooked.

Good topping additions would have been sauteed mushrooms, baby corn and olives.


Watermelon salad


The kid has always been a fan of watermelon. During summer season, vacation, mangoes and watermelons are the things he looks forward to the most! So for this theme of checkerboard, I decided to present him with a rubix cube fashion watermelon salad. The idea, of course, is from the net. There are far too many sources to name any one in particular.

Though it looked an easy task, it was extremely difficult to cut all pieces into same size. Finally I decided to keep a ‘good side’ and let the other sides take a hit. I couldn’t get even a smooth top, but I was impressed with 3 sides. The backside and the top was what took the major hit. It didn’t matter as the cubes came tumbling down as we started attacking the salad with a fork. And to be honest that was the most fun part :-)

This post goes to Blogging Marathon #66 under checkerboard theme. Check out this page to see post from the other participating bloggers. It is also a part of Valli’s Kid’s Delight event, hosted this month  by Archana.



  • watermelon cubes
  • honeydew melon cubes


  1. Dice the water melon into small cubes. Peel and seed the honeydew melon. Dice the pieces similar to the size of watermelon cubes.
  2. Arrange carefully in a rubix cube pattern.
  3. Refrigerate until time of serving.


Beet salad with basil mayo

1beet salad

When I picked up checkerboard pattern for this week’s BM theme, I knew I wanted to try really simple recipes and not complicated ones. This salad was my first trial with the theme. Since it was the first time I was making it, I didn’t realize the importance of cutting the vegetables with precision. The salad was good and I still have some beet to finish off, so I might give this recipe another try to close off the gaps and give it a better look. Lets see!

My favorite salad dressing is mayo + yogurt with salt and pepper for seasoning. Its my close friend’s favorite recipe, so ended up being my favorite too :-). This time I decided to flavor it with some basil (been ‘gardening’ a bit, so lots of basil at home) and up the spice level a bit with paprika. That paired well as the mild sweetness from the veggies complimented the sour and slice spice of the dressing. Like I said, I might be trying this recipe again soon.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page to see what other bloggers have cooked up for BM #66.

2beet salad


For the salad (serves 2 as a side)

  • 1 small beetroot
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • few florets of roasted broccoli, optional
  • salt

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • a handful of basil, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika/chili powder
  • pepper and salt as needed


  • Prepare the dressing by mixing everything together well. Refrigerate till time to serve.
  • Peel and cook the root vegetables with salt separately until firm. Don’t overcook them as they wont hold their shape when cutting. I pressure cooked for one whistle using separators inside the cooker. The color from beets will bleed into the other two if its all together in the same pan.
  • Once the veggies are cooked and cooled completely, cut them into squares of equal size and refrigerate.
  • At the time of serving, arrange half the prepared dressing on a plate. Arrange the veggies alternatively to form a checkerboard pattern. Enjoy!

4beet salad

This post goes to Kid’s Delight event, Valli’s brain child and hosted this month by Archana.

Checkerboard cake


My blogging has been stagnant for a while now and its taken some pushing to get this place back up and running. I always have a big bucket list of excuses ready, but let me just be honest. I don’t know why I needed a break. I am not going through my lazy phase cycle, I am energetic and happy. My laptop’s been acting weird, but yet not enough to keep me away from blogging if I am really keen.

Sometimes, I have learnt, you just have to let things go. Not everything happens your way and if that means no blogging for a long time, let that be it. Good thing about that is you are spared an analysis and a big lecture that would have gone on forever! Know that I am fine, know that I am doing well and know that I don’t blog regularly :-).

Now that I am here, lets talk a bit about the cake. This week’s BM theme is checkerboard and let’s start with the classic checkerboard cake. I have done made this pattern cookies multiple times, but never the cake. So when opportunity arrived in the form of my brother in law’s birthday, the cake had to be checkerboard. The inside patterns are not as sharp as I would like them to be, but I was just happy with the success of the cake than to concentrate on the negatives. I will be updating the mousse frosting and glaze recipe separately. Read on for the procedure to get the pattern.



Bake one 6″ vanilla cake and one 6″ chocolate cake. Here I made the same vanilla cake batter, divided into two equal portions and added some cocoa powder for the chocolate cake. Time saver!! When the cakes have cooled down completely, slice off the dome (if any) and cut each cake into two layers. Using a 4″ round cookie cutter(or a sharp lid) cut off circles from middle of all four layers.

Using a smaller two inch round cutter, cut smaller circles from middle of all the 4″ cake pieces. Now, put the circles back into the 6″ cake, but alternating the colors.

When its time to assemble the cake, anchor a vanilla cake on the cake board with some frosting. Spread the filling of your choice on top (chocolate mousse here) and top with the chocolate cake. Repeat the process for the other layers, keeping in mind to alternate the colors. (Vanilla ->Chocolate->Vanilla->Chocolate). Frost the cake completely and decorate as you wish.

When you cut the cake, you will see the checkerboard pattern. To get sharper and smoother slices, refrigerate the cake before cutting.Since the cake was tall, I added a thick straw in the middle. This gives some support to the cake to prevent it from sliding and falling down.


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#66

Brown rice detox salad

1brown rice salad

If you have a particularly bitter or sour or any horrible tasting medicine, it leaves you with an impression that its good for you. Anything that bad must definitely do know what I mean? Its a psychological thing. A friend of mine used to prefer Dettol (stings when applied on wounds) over Savlon (non stinging one). Her policy was “The mild one doesn’t do anything, I don’t think it works!” Where as when Dettol goes in, you really FEEL that it works.

When it comes to diet food or to a good extend, vegetarian food in American restaurants, the same theory applies. The honest truth is that doesn’t taste good most of the time. You end up telling yourself that you are eating healthy and that’s the bonus for going through the torture of eating it. Eventually our taste buds do adapt to eating bland food or diet food, but it is a continuous process where you have to remind yourself of the benefits involved. (Or you should be like me and have no taste buds at all. All I have is sweet buds and I am not trading them for anything! :D).

So this particular recipe really caught me by surprise. Its a detox recipe and yet it tastes fabulous. Keep in mind that I really love eating veggies raw, so if you are not a salad person, then its an effort for you to appreciate this. What I liked most about this recipe is the sauce. I am already thinking of using it with pasta or even as a sandwich spread.

And why does a diet recipe have rice in it? Are we not supposed to torture ourselves when dieting? Well, one of the ideas behind a detox diet is to eliminate the common allergy foods from your plate. That includes stepping away from gluten and diary. Whole foods are in and refined foods are out. So that means, brown rice is in and white bread is out. And to an Indian, everything is fine if rice is there in the menu – at least to this particular Indian :D. So read on for this recipe that was pure joy to have :-)

3brown rice salad

Recipe source: Swef the Chef


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 tomato, diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 of a small bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, chopped finely
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • fruits like pomegranate or more veggies of your choice
  • salt, if needed

Blend together for the sauce:

  • 1 small red chili
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter**(or handful of peanuts)
  • 1 tablepoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • handful of cilantro

**Peanut butter was a bit of surprise for me in this recipe, but since it works for me, I left it as such. It can be substituted with almond butter.


  1. Blend everything together to make the sauce. Set aside.
  2. Cook brown rice according to package instructions. When its done, let it cool to room temperature.
  3. Gently mix the sauce with the rice, you may not end up using all the sauce. Add half at first, taste test and then add more as you need.
  4. Mix in the chopped veggies and combine carefully for even distribution. Top with avocado slices. Enjoy.
  5. Since there is soy sauce in the recipe, you might want to taste taste the salad before adding salt.

2brown rice salad.jpg

Celery juice

3celery juice

I live in a decent sized apartment. Its not as big as our home in India, but its not a teeny tiny one either.There is enough space to move around without bumping into each other. But one single trip to the wholesale store Costco and it changes that feeling completely. I feel as if there is hardly any space in the house! I come back with giant packs of everything right from cereals to kitchen napkins and that’s when the house starts looking small and poses me this huge question : Where do I store all these things?!

I have found nooks and corners of the house to store my Costco supplies, but the refrigerator takes a major hit. The big boxes of yogurt, milk cans and eggs easily take up almost all the room in there. The good thing about Costco is that its not a weekly shopping trip, its almost monthly or at times even a bimonthly trip. Well, the quantities are wholesale and it lasts for a really long time. Though I usually don’t buy vegetables from there, last time I ended up buying a pack of celery from there. And true to Costco size, it was a big pack.

I have heard about juicing celery, so when it showed up in the detox recipe searches, I decided to give it a try. There are many health benefits, but the best part was that the juice tasted good. Added advantage is that this is good recipe to take care of the celery overload in the fridge :D. Read for the recipe.

2celery juice

Recipe for two glasses of juice:

  1. Wash, clean and dice the ribs and leaves from one whole head of celery.
  2. In a mixer or blender, add enough water to cover the vegetables and blend it.You can substitute a portion of water with juices if you like.
  3. Pass the mix through a sieve kept over a bowl to collect the juice. Press the pulp onto the sieve with a spoon to squeeze out most of the juice. Discard the pulp. Transfer the juice to glasses and its ready to drink!

1celery juice

Chia pudding

2chia pudding

Three days of detox recipes, that’s the theme for this week’s Blogging Marathon.

The idea behind the detox diets is that it flushes out toxins from our body. This is a little controversial as many medical professionals believe that the body can handle the toxin eradication by itself. I am with them for most of the part. But at the same time, good sensible eating never hurt anyone. The way I look at these diets is that they help in taking a break from your regular cooking, reset your palette a little bit towards eating healthier and if you loose some weight in the bargain, then why not?!

I didn’t follow any particular detox diet plan. These are three different recipes that I tried from the internet. I was browsing this page which had a lot of sensible eating detox recipes. That is how I landed in this chia pudding recipe. The best part is that this is overnight recipe, so a little mashing and mixing in the night and breakfast is ready for you in the morning! Read on for the pictorial.

3chia pudding

Recipe source : Oh She Glows

For one serving, mash a banana well. Add two tablespoons of chia seeds to the bowl.

Add about 3/4 cup milk of your choice. Mix well. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 2-3 hours for the seeds to bloom. Soak handful of raisins and some almonds. At the time of serving, drain, dice the nuts and sprinkle it on top of the pudding with a dash of ground cinnamon if desired.

1chia pudding

Hara samosa with roti


“Honey, your breakfast is ready for clicking. Will serve it to you soon.” is a dialogue you will hear only at a food blogger’s place. Mothers usually go,”Please don’t touch the food before washing your hands.” And I go,”Please don’t touch the food before clicking is over.”

Well, the family gets used to these quirks over a period of time. Though I gotta say I dish it out to my man than to my kid. For sometime now, I have been planning so that the photo shoots are done before 3 pm. So for most part, it doesn’t interfere our lives much. But every now and then you will hear the “All it needs is a little camera love” statement.

Like this morning!

Yesterday’s leftover chapatis were given a wonderful makeover with some coriander chutney to spice it up. I made a batch without chilies for my son’s lunch box. Then I added the power packed green chilis and gave another round in the blender for the two of us. The chutney tends to be watery, so a little standing time is good for the water to separate. But I just scooped the chutney from the thicker side and it was fine.

The recipe is from Vaishali’s space. She has stepwise pictures to make this even more simpler than it sounds. This post goes to Blogging Marathon #64 under the theme wheat based recipes.


Recipe source:  Ribbon’s to Pasta’s


For grinding

  • 1 bunch coriander leaves, cleaned
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1″ piece ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 green chilies or per taste
  • salt

To serve:

  • 4 leftover chapatis/ tortillas
  • ghee/butter/oil for the pan


  1. Pulse everything from coriander to chilies together without adding any water.
  2. Take a chapati. Apply a thin and even layer of the ground chutney into it. Fold it into half. It will be a semi circle now. Apply some more chutney onto it. Fold again in half to get quarter of a circle shape.
  3. Heat this in a tawa with a little oil or ghee until its golden brown. Flip and cook both sides. Serve with ketchup or curd. Yum!!
  4. Apply chutney just before putting the samosa in the pan as the wet chutney might tear the folds if it sits for a long time.




It came as a shock to me that off the 30 plus recipes in my drafts folder, there are only a handful of wheat based recipes. Almost everything centers around rice. That was quite an eye opener for me! I needed to do some quick thinking as this week’s chosen theme for Blogging Marathon is wheat based dishes.

Whenever I am in doubt, I just go to Vaishali’s blog. She makes everything look simple and I always find myself willing to try her tasty, but easy to make recipes. Today’s trip ended with me trying the recipe for Koki from her space. I would have loved to try the recipe that uses up leftover rice, but looks like I should reduce my rice fixation a bit. Oh..Who am I kidding? I will try it some other time :D.

Koki is a healthier version of paratha and has a shelf life of couple of a days making it ideal for travel food. It can be made with onions and other masalas also, but that will impact the shelf life. The one here is a simple recipe with only black pepper in it for flavor.


Add one cup wheat flour, 1 tablespoon ghee/oil, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and salt as needed. Mix with hands until it comes to a sandy texture. Make a well in the middle and add water (it took a little less than half cup for me) in small batches. Keep kneading until you get a stiff dough. Divide it into four equal balls.

Roll out the koki into thick chapati using a rolling pin. Use a little flour, if needed to prevent sticking. I didn’t need any. Score lightly with a knife in diamond pattern. Cook in a heated tawa.

Smear some ghee and flip over to cook both sides until golden spots appear. Serve with yogurt.


  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt as needed
  • ghee for smearing on koki while cooking


  1. Add one cup wheat flour, 1 tablespoon ghee/oil, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and salt as needed. Mix with hands until it comes to a sandy texture. Make a well in the middle and add water (it took a little less than half cup for me) in small batches. Keep kneading until you get a stiff dough.
  2. Divide it into four equal balls. Roll out the koki into thick chapati using a rolling pin. Use a little flour, if needed to prevent sticking. I didn’t need any. Score lightly with a knife in diamond pattern.
  3. Cook in a heated tawa. Smear some ghee and flip over to cook both sides until golden spots appear. Serve with yogurt.