Briam – Greek OveRoasted Veggies

1Briam

BM # 76: Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Flavors of Greece
Recipe:  Briam, Greek Oven roasted vegetables

I love oven roasted veggies, but the only thing I don’t like about it is the cooking time. It takes an hour at least for the veggies to be done, but then the oven does all the work and not me. So I guess its okay. Even then I don’t roast veggies as much as I would like to do. Same with bread. I would love to make more bread, if some one else can take care of the kneading :D.

Coming to the recipe here, its Greek style oven roasted vegetables, Briam. The recipe is is also from the book Cooking with Loula where the author, Alexandra Stratou, mentions that its a must to serve feta cheese with Briam. I haven’t changed anything at all from the recipe mentioned in the book except for lowering the amount of oil a little less.

2Briam

This recipe is more of a vegetable medley and I am guessing you can add other veggies too as long as the taste doesn’t clash too much with what’s already in there.

Spice is coming only from pepper and chili flakes, so that needs to be adjusted according to your taste.

3Briam

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 large eggplant (I had Japanese eggplants)
  • one medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley leaves
  • Salt, pepper and red chili flakes to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F.
  2. Wash and clean the veggies. Peel the potatoes and onions.
  3. Dice potatoes, peppers,tomatoes and eggplant. Slice the onions, peel the garlic and chop the parsley leaves.
  4. Add everything to a baking tray (9 X 13 inch pan here) and season with salt, peper and red chili flakes. Add olive oil. Mix well. Spread them out so that there isn’t too much of layering.
  5. Add half cup water to the vegetables and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The water should have evaporated and the liquid should be only oil.
  6. Serve with a block of feta cheese.

4Briam

Briam is a main dish that needs to be served with feta cheese and maybe bread, but I served it as a side to my toast with my Greek style scrambled eggs, Strapatsada. It was a very simple, but a delicious meal for me.

5Briam

This goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group.
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6Briam

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Cabbage payasam

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Sometimes we explore the resources we already have only in times of need. That’s how I stumbled on this recipe. A friend of mine asked me an idea for an innovative or fusion payasam for a small cooking contest she was participating in. I immediately turned to my Blogging Marathon friends and the suggestions poured in. They suggested boondi kheer, chocolate payasam, cake payasam, gnocchi payasam (potato dumplings), gulab jamun payasam, cauliflower payasam, paneer payasam and many more. These ideas are really worth exploring if you are innovative enough.

I browsed through my reliable Vasantha Moorthy’s Vegetarian Menu Book. and found this recipe for Cabbage rabdi there. So along with my friends suggestions, I mentioned the Cabbage payasam as well to my friend. A bit of online search told me that this recipe was already tried by Aparna from My Diverse Kitchen. So with two sources to fall on, my friend zeroed in on the cabbage payasam. We did a trial run and our families loved it…..until we told them that there was cabbage in it (rolling my eyes here!). There was exclamations and facial expression changes when we mentioned the cabbage part :D.

But the thing is, her payasam won the contest !! My friend had mentioned the presence of cabbage to only one of the judges to rule out any allergies, but otherwise kept it low key. So everyone tried it with an open mind I guess. The judges were very impressed and surprised when they learnt about the cabbage factor :-).

The only beast about this recipe is cleaning the vessel in which milk was cooking for such a long time. It needs a lot of soaking and scrubbing, but hey, I am not complaining. We got a winner here, you see :-).

1cabbage_payasam

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups milk (1 litre)
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • handful of skinned and chopped almonds
  • handful of chopped cashew nuts
  • 1/2 cup cream, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • a few chopped pistachios for garnishing

Method:

  1. This serves 4 people. Use fresh cabbage for this payasam. Boil the milk in a thick pan and add the cabbage. Cook over a slow flame stirring in between until the mixture reduces to 2/3rd the original quantity and thickens well.
  2. Add the chopped almonds and cashews along with sugar. Continue to cook until the mixture is very thick and creamy. The process took more than an hour for me.
  3. Take off the heat and add ground cardamom. Once its cool, you can add the cream, if desired. Garnish with pistachios for some bright color. This tastes best when chilled and served.

2cabbage_payasam

This goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group.
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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.

4banana_nutmeg_pancakes

This goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group.
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Boston Cream Pudding

3Boston Cream Pudding

Puddings have become the standard desserts at my place when we have guests coming over . After making multiple puddings, I can feel the need to switch to the other kinds of desserts. But you cannot beat the ease of making this, especially when cooking for a crowd. So until I actually make the move to other desserts, you guys are going to be bombarded with pudding recipes.

The Boston cream pudding is adapted from Clio Goodman’s book, Puddin’. I felt it was a little short on sweetness. So if I am making it again, I would increase the sugar a little bit. Its a very simple mix of milk and cream cooked with corn starch, sugar and egg yolks until it begins to thicken a bit. The cooking time is somewhere around 10 minutes. Refrigeration time is needed, so its a perfect make ahead recipe. If you are using this as a cake filling, it can be stabilized with gelatin.

Read on for the recipe.

2Boston Cream Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar*
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 egg yolks
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence

*I would increase it to 1 cup the next time. I felt this was a little less sweet than it should have been.

Method:

  1. Add all everything except the vanilla extract to a thick saucepan and using a whisk, combine well until no dry lumps remain.
  2. Cook this over medium heat, whisking all the time until the mixture begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. When you raise the whisk from the pudding, it should leave a faint shadow, that’s when the pudding is done. It will thicken further on refrigeration, so its okay even if it looks runny at this stage.
  3. Take off the heat, whisk in the vanilla. Pass through a sieve and transfer it to the serving container and let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Press a film of cling wrap on the surface to prevent the ‘skin’. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving.

1Boston Cream Pudding

This goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group.
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