Thursday, 17 August 2017

679. Chilli Mojito

Refreshingly Chilli

   Its time to post the Fantastical Food Fight recipe. For the month of August Sarah wanted us to use Rum in our food preparation. When the word Rum is mentioned I think of my favourite Rum and Raisin Cadbury Chocolate. But nowadays its difficult to find it in the supermarkets in Kenya.

   So what is Rum? Rum is a alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane juice or its byproducts like molasses. The juice or byproducts are fermented and then distilled. The liquid is then aged in oak barrels.

   I wanted to make some rum and raisin muffins but my hubby and son still don't want me to make anything sweet. So the next option was a cocktail. Nothing innovative about that but then its my first cocktail recipe on the blog. I love my cocktails but don't make them at home for myself. When I'm in UK, large family gatherings means alcohol flows. Its wine, beer and cocktails at home. When I go out with friends we enjoy some cocktails or wine. However, I always find that most restaurants and lounges make cocktails with minimum amount of alcohol. Its usually as though you're having a Mocktail.

   I decided to make a mojito the classic cocktail that most women love. The basic mojito has white rum, mint leaves, lime juice, sugar, ice and soda water. Some years ago during a dinner out with my cousin, I tasted a chilli margarita and love it. Since then have not had a chance to taste one as the restaurant we had it at has closed down.

   Instead of making the classic mojito I made a chilli mojito and we just literally went mad enjoying the cool cocktail as it was hot that day in Montreal. The ever so slight taste of the green chilli combined with mint and lime was unique and we had been making it again and again till the mint ran out. Oh no...don't get me wrong, not on the same day!

  Try this different kind of mojito. Make it for your friends during a BBQ party or if you're treating them to an Indian meal.





CHILLI MOJITO
Serves 1
1½ - 2 oz white rum
8-10 mint leaves
1 green chilli
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp sugar
enough ice cubes
cold soda water (club soda)
lime slices


  1. Muddle the mint leaves, sugar, lime juice and chilli. Make sure not you don't muddle the chilli too much.
  2. Add rum and mix.
  3. Pour it into a glass (usually a highball, which I don't have!)
  4. Fill the glass with some ice cubes.
  5. Pour cold soda water or club soda.
  6. Add some lime slices and serve.
Tips:
  • To make a classic mojito omit the green chilli.
  • Can be made in large quantities in a jug or pitcher.
  • Try out a fruity mojito by adding some fruits. I added 6-8 blueberries instead of chilli and it was an equally refreshing cocktail.

You may want to check out what fellow members of Fantastical Food Fight have made using rum. 


Monday, 14 August 2017

678. Breakfast Tarts

An Arty City - Montreal

   Street Art or Graffiti though mostly not legal in many countries, is art that is much appreciated by all. Its visual art created in public locations or places. Usually found on walls of buildings, sides of the highways, streets etc, usually in places where passers by can see it. It started as a form or way of expressing views on different matters to the public in general. Initially most artists used spray cans but today other medias are used like mosaic, stencil art, LED art, stickers, Lock ons (sculptures are attached to public furniture), wheat pasting used to make collages and papier mache. 

   When you walk around Montreal City you will notice some sort of creativity be it paintings on building walls, meaningful graffiti, different shaped benches, small gardens with blooming flowers, shop windows dressed to attract anyone, or even small balconies of apartments. People in Montreal are not afraid to express their artistic talents. I would have loved to share some of the photos I had taken but unfortunately my iPad stopped working and the only way to revive it was to lose some of my photos. I can kick myself for not storing them on iCloud or a pen drive. However, as they say we learn lessons the hard way. 

Laurier Avenue Montreal
Artistically hidden switch board
Street Art-Mont Royal - I was wearing a black and white top and hubby wanted me to blend in!Coming to today's post for the #FoodieMonday #Bloghop group, the 105th theme SavouryBaked Dish was chosen by a new member of our group Sasmita who blogs at First Timer Cook. A young housewife, who had no idea about cooking before marriage, 

dishes out some lip sacking recipes.

      It would have been easy for me to bake a bread which I had in mind initially. However, I have only 2 weeks here in Montreal :( :( :( and  I have to start clearing the pantry and fridge. Some of the spices, lentils, rice etc my son will use but certainly not a frozen puff pastry. So shelved the bread idea and used up the ready made frozen pastry to make a delicious, filling breakfast. The idea was stuck in my head since I saw an advertisement for Jus Rolls (puff pastry). The pastry squares had an egg on it, all baked, but I added my own filling to make it more wholesome.
     
     So here's the recipe. Whereas ready made puff pastry is available in most countries including Kenya, I have find it difficult to source it in India. Anyone knows where I can buy it in Mumbai or Bangalore?











BREAKFAST TARTS
Makes 4

200g ready rolled puff pastry
8-10 mushrooms, sliced
1 cup roughly chopped spinach
8-10 cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato
¼ cup chopped spring onion
4 eggs
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to season

  1. Let the frozen pastry thaw at room temperature till its workable. Don't leave it out too long otherwise it will go all soft and will be sticky to work with.
  2. If the pastry is rolled as one sheet, you will need to cut it into 4 equal parts.
  3. Take one square and cut thin strips from it from all 4 sides... so you should have four strips.
  4. Brush the edges of the square with water.
  5. Gently press the strip on each side of the square.
  6. Place the ready square on a parchment lined baking tray.
  7. Repeat steps 4-7 with the remaining squares.
  8. Place the tray with the squares in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  10. If you are using cherry tomatoes, cut them into half or cut a large tomato into dices.
  11. Bake the pastry squares in the oven for 15 minutes.
  12. Take the tray out of the oven.
  13. Gently press the puffed up middle with the back of a spoon. This will create a nice depression or nest.
  14. Arrange spinach equally on all 4 squares.
  15. Top it with mushroom slices. Leave some space in the middle for the egg.
  16. Gently break an egg and put it over the vegetables. Do this for all the squares.
  17. Top it with the tomatoes.
  18. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.
  19. Bake the tarts for 20 minutes or till the egg is done and the pastry is light golden colour.
  20. Sprinkle the spring onion and parmesan cheese over the tarts and serve with your favourite sauce or sprinkle some chilli flakes over it.
Tips:
  • If you buy the ready rolled pastry don't be tempted to make it thinner otherwise you will not get nice layers on baking.
  • Once thawed, the pastry should not be frozen again.
  • If you find that its difficult to handle the soft pastry put it back in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Also if it sticks a little, dust the worktop with flour.
  • Use a filling of your choice. 
You may want to check out my other baked savoury dishes:

baked veg empanadas


Paneer and Mushroom Enchiladas
spinach mushroom pies


Sending this recipe to the following event:
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Monday, 31 July 2017

677. Cabbage and Spinach Muthia (muthiya)

Steamed and Healthy

    Last weekend was my second visit to Niagara Falls and I thought I will not be as impressed with this natural wonder as I was the first time. However, I was so wrong. It was as though I was watching the mighty falls for the first time. I guess that the feeling of awe will never cease no matter how many times I may get an opportunity to visit the Niagara Falls. Its one of my favourite places on this Earth. 

   We took my dad who is visiting Canada for the first time, to Niagara Falls. We booked him into a falls view room and boy was it spectacular. My niece from Atlanta paid us a surprise visit(my son knew) and she too joined us for the weekend trip. It was her first time too to see the falls. Come evening and we all would gather in my dad's room to watch the different colours lighting the falls. Its such a pretty sight. Three falls make up the Niagara Falls, the largest being the Horseshoe Falls that borders between USA and Canada, the American Falls which is on the USA side and the small Bridal Veil Falls on the USA side separated from the American Falls by the small island Luna.

   This time round hubby and I didn't do the Maiden of the Mist trip but we enjoyed walking through the immaculately maintained gardens, walked along the pathway near the falls, enjoying the shower from the falls as it was very hot. This time we were able to do a mini trail walk further off the horseshoe falls and coming down to the falls. Canada takes preserving its nature very seriously. I wish countries like India and Kenya would learn some valuable lessons from Canada in preserving our heritage and Mother Nature. Both countries have so many beautiful scenic places but are getting lost to development. 

   About 6 million cubic feet of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow which is 169901079.6 litres !!!!!! So every time hubby and I walked past the falls, we would say 'if only, if only Mombasa could get that 1 minute of supply we would be fine, no more water shortages. Or can you imagine if Kaveri had about 5 minute supply, it probably would solve water issues between the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. But that's all wishful thinking. 

Horseshoe Falls - Niagara Falls

Falls lit up at night
   That's enough about Niagara Falls. This week for Foodie Monday/ Bloghop group, Priya Iyer blogger at The Girl Next Door suggested #Steamed as our 103rd theme. This theme is pretty challenging if you don't want to just serve steamed veggies. Many dishes require you to cook the food for a bit on the stove and then steam the end product like papdi no lot (khichu) or like kozhukattai where the flour is first cooked in water and then shaped and steamed. Non vegetarians can prepare steamed fish, chicken etc. Having said that many of the Gujarati snacks are steamed like dokhras, arvi na paan, muthais, Maharastrian vadi, South Indian idlis and kinnathappam. 

   I wanted to make steamed muffins but had to steer away from something sweet. So I decided to make some spinach and cabbage loaded muthias. Most Gujaratis know how to prepare this snack dish. Some make the batter a bit hard, roll the mixture into log shapes and steam. I learnt to make a more softer version from my mother in law Nunu. She would leave the batter a bit more watery so it cannot be shaped. The end result is nice soft muthias. Muthias can be made with besan (chickpea)flour, millet flour, oat flour, barley flour etc. This time round I've used handvo flour, wheat flour and semolina. With muthias you can add any vegetables like bottle gourd(doodhi), carrot, spinach, amaranth leaves, methi leaves, cabbage, zucchini etc. Check out my recipe where I've used besan, millet, semolina and wheat flour. The veggies I used in that version are doodhi, methi and cooked rice.

   This time I've used cabbage and spinach along with handvo flour. If you want to have it without tempering then have it steaming hot, drizzled with a bit of any vegetable or olive oil. My family enjoys the tempered muthia. Except for the tempering this snack is always steamed.





CABBAGE AND SPINACH MUTHIA
SERVES 4-6

2 cups ready made handvo or dokhra flour
½ cup wheat flour (atta)
¼ cup semolina (rava, sooji)
2 cups finely chopped spinach (palak) lightly packed
2 cups grated cabbage
1 cup sour plain yogurt
1 cup water
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
½ tsp carom seeds (ajwain, ajmo)
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1-2 tsp green chilli paste
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp Eno (fruit salt)

extra oil fro greasing

For tempering(vaghar):
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp sesame seeds (tal)
½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

To serve:
Lemon wedges

  1. Add flours and semolina to a big bowl. Mix it well.
  2. Add oil and rub the oil into the flour mixture.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients except the ones for tempering.
  4. Mix the batter very well. The spoon should be able to stand in the batter without falling.
  5. Get your steaming device ready. To the steaming pan add water quarter full. The bottom plate should not touch the water.
  6. Grease the plates with oil.
  7. I used a 3 plate steamer. Divide the batter into the 3 plates. If you are using a bigger steamer then divide the batter accordingly.
  8. Put the plates with the stand in the steamer.
  9. Close the lid tightly and steam the muthias for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Check to see if its done. Insert a toothpick in the steamed muthia and it should come out relatively clean. If batter sticks to the toothpick then add a bit more water to the steamer and steam for further 10 minutes.If the muthias are cooked remove them from the steamer. Carefully remove the plates from the stand.
  11. If you want to temper the muthias then it has to be cooled completely before you cut them into squares. 
Tempering:
  1. Cut the completely cooled muthias into squares.
  2. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  3. When it is hot add first the fenugreek seeds.
  4. Then add the mustard and cumin seeds.
  5. Add garlic and saute for a few secs. You don't want the garlic to burn.
  6. Add sesame seeds and immediately add the muthia squares.
  7. Stir gently frequently till they are hot.
  8. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy muthia with a hot cup of masala tea.
Tips:
  • If the batter becomes too watery, add more semolina or handvo flour.
  • Adjust spices according to your taste.
  • Handvo flour is gluten free as its a mixture of dal and rice. To make gluten free muthia add more handvo flour instead of semolina and millet flour instead of wheat flour. 
You may want to check other steamed recipes:
arvi paan bhajia
idlis
papdi no lot(khichu)
moong dal dokhra




Sending this recipe to the following event:
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Friday, 28 July 2017

676. Green Apple and Spring Onion Chutney

It's different

   For the month of July, The Shhh Cooking Secretly group decided on #Chutneys as the theme. The chutneys I've seen so far by the participants are so varied. But then why not as many regions of India have their own chutneys to boast about. We make them from herbs, dals, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, basically anything. I remember my grandmother would not allow us to throw away the peel of cucumber. She would instruct me how to make that into a chutney. Back then we didn't have any fancy electrical gadgets. She would make me pound the cucumber peels, coriander, ginger and chilli using a mortar and pestle. And a delicious chutney would be ready in no time to dip our bhajias into or to smear on rotis.

   Before I ramble on more about Chutney, let me remind you what the group is all about. Started by Priya of Priya's Versatile Recipes, every month participating members are paired up. Then according to the theme we give each other 2 ingredients that we have to use in our preparation of the dish. This month I was partnered with Sujata Shukla of Pepper On Pizza . She is a new comer to the group but I've already become pretty friendly with her. She gave me apples and onions and I gave her cherries and onion. Since she is in US visiting her daughter and family, and cherries are so in season I thought of challenging her with cherries. She has come up with a lovely  chatpatta chutney

   The word chutney was used by the British during the British Raj. It originates from the Hindi word chatni. The Anglo Indians quickly adapted the British way of making chutneys or relish by using vinegar, fruits, sugars to make the chutneys last longer. Chutneys are used to serve alongside starters as a dipping sauce, or as a topping for chaat dishes. Chutneys are smeared on breads, parathas, rotis and stuffed with vegetables to make a wholesome meal. I love the smearing bread with chutney topped with tomatoes, cucumber and cheese to make a delicious sandwich.Some use chutneys to smear on meats and fish before cooking. Coat roasted vegetables with chutney before serving. Chutneys elevate the dish with a burst of flavours.. sweet, tangy, sour, salty, chilli and sometimes even with a bit of bitterness.

    I decided to make my chutney with green apple as its a bit sour and used a generous amount of spring onion and fresh coriander. The chutney turned out so refreshing and tasted great with the gathias and the remaining was used to serve with some dokhra. The amazing thing about this chutney is that even after a week in the fridge it did not change colour at all. It still had the light fresh green colour. 






GREEN APPLE AND SPRING ONION CHUTNEY
Makes 1 cup

1 large green apple
½ cup chopped spring onion (both green and white part)
½ cup chopped fresh coriander
2-3 green chillis
1 clove garlic
½ tsp salt
1" ginger - cut into small pieces
¼ tsp sugar
1 tbsp lime/lemon juice

  1. Peel and core the apple. Cut it into small pieces.
  2. Add the chopped apple, spring onion, coriander, ginger, garlic and chillis into a food processor.
  3. Process the chutney. You can make it into a fine paste or leave it slightly coarse as I did.
  4. Take the chutney out into a bowl or jar.
  5. Add salt, sugar and lime juice and mix well.
  6. Serve with whatever you want. 
Tips:
  • I removed the peel from the apple because it was coated with wax. If you get organic ones then leave the peel.
  • Adjust the taste of the chutney according to your preference.
  • Use mint instead of coriander for a different taste.
You may want to check out the following:
Onion and Mango Chutney




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shhh


Monday, 24 July 2017

675. Instant Pot Corn Potato Cheddar Soup

Amazing Gadgets

    Whenever I'm at my son's place in Montreal, the first few days go into cleaning his place. Out of all my three kids he's probably the one with the most gadgets. Home cleaning becomes an easier task and love that our clothes do not have that awful damp smell. The wonders of a clothes dryer. His kitchen too is equipped with some of the best and powerful appliances. Every visit and we add a new gadget. 

    This time round I was appalled at the state of our very useful pressure cooker. The bottom no longer sits well on the hob and I just don't want to get you into the colour of the poor pressure cooker. So I insisted that we buy an Instant Pot as anyway I'd read so much about it and a few bloggers even use it regularly. In a small kitchen we need gadgets that are multi functional. So the Instant Pot fits that description. 

   I would recommend an Instant Pot anytime. However, don't think I'll get one for my home in Mombasa because of the frequent power cuts and power fluctuations. However, here it works like a charm. I had put some tuvar dal on the slow cooker mode and gone to the market. When we got back home after 3 hours the dal was cooked. I cook rice in it frequently because its also a rice cooker. Saute some dry sabji or a sabji with gravy. No noisy whistles and the best think is that it does not generate heat like a hob, grill or oven does. You can steam stuff in it so next recipe to try is dokhra in the Instant Pot. Can put eggs to boil and don't have to worry about water getting over. It all works on a timer. As soon as the time is over, the Instant Pot goes into the warm mode. The options are endless.

   When Preethi who blogs at Preethi's Cuisine suggested #Fireless Cooking as our 102th theme for FoodieMonday/ Bloghop group, I knew what I wanted to show off... my new Instant Pot :) As my son is reading my post as I'm typing, he comments ' you could have blogged anything your cook here as its all fireless!' My reply ' yes I know but I so want to show off my Instant Pot'. He walked away with a quizzical look on his face and must be thinking that I'm crazy :0

   I made some soup in the Instant Pot. It was ready within 15 minutes. Check out the recipe for a quick and filling soup.








INSTANT POT CORN POTATO CHEDDAR SOUP
4-6 Servings

3 cups small cubes of potatoes (peeled and cubed)
2 cups sweet corn (fresh or frozen)
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 medium onion finely chopped 
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil or butter
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
¼ cup chopped spring onion
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander


  1. Add oil in the inner pot of the Instant Pot (IP).
  2. Switch it on to the saute mode.
  3. As soon as the oil becomes a little hot, add the chopped onions. 
  4. Stir frequently and cook the onions till it becomes soft.
  5. Add the garlic. Stir and add potato cubes. Add salt and the water. Mix well.
  6. Close the lid of the IP. Turn the vent to the sealing position.
  7. Set the timer to 5 minutes manually.
  8. After the 5 minutes are over, cover the vent with a dish cloth.
  9. Move the vent to the venting position.
  10. Lift the vent gently using a long spoon or a knife.The steam will come out. Its best to use a dish cloth so that you don't get burnt with the hot steam and it doesn't create a mess.
  11. Open the lid. 
  12. Set to the saute mode again. 
  13. Add corn and milk and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  14. Add cheese, pepper, spring onion and coriander. Mix well.
  15. Serve piping hot soup with some bread of your choice.
  16. If you are not going to serve the soup immediately, close the lid. It will stay hot for 10-15 minutes. 
Tips:
  • Add any other veg of your choice.
  • I mashed some of the cooked potatoes to make the soup base a bit thicker.
  • You can add ¼ cup cream if you want to.
You may want to check out some of my Fireless Cooking Recipes:
Mangonada (freezing and blending)
Peaches and Cream Oatmeal  Cups (baked)
Tzatziki (mixing and chopping)
Sending this recipe to the following event:

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Thursday, 17 August 2017

679. Chilli Mojito

Refreshingly Chilli

   Its time to post the Fantastical Food Fight recipe. For the month of August Sarah wanted us to use Rum in our food preparation. When the word Rum is mentioned I think of my favourite Rum and Raisin Cadbury Chocolate. But nowadays its difficult to find it in the supermarkets in Kenya.

   So what is Rum? Rum is a alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane juice or its byproducts like molasses. The juice or byproducts are fermented and then distilled. The liquid is then aged in oak barrels.

   I wanted to make some rum and raisin muffins but my hubby and son still don't want me to make anything sweet. So the next option was a cocktail. Nothing innovative about that but then its my first cocktail recipe on the blog. I love my cocktails but don't make them at home for myself. When I'm in UK, large family gatherings means alcohol flows. Its wine, beer and cocktails at home. When I go out with friends we enjoy some cocktails or wine. However, I always find that most restaurants and lounges make cocktails with minimum amount of alcohol. Its usually as though you're having a Mocktail.

   I decided to make a mojito the classic cocktail that most women love. The basic mojito has white rum, mint leaves, lime juice, sugar, ice and soda water. Some years ago during a dinner out with my cousin, I tasted a chilli margarita and love it. Since then have not had a chance to taste one as the restaurant we had it at has closed down.

   Instead of making the classic mojito I made a chilli mojito and we just literally went mad enjoying the cool cocktail as it was hot that day in Montreal. The ever so slight taste of the green chilli combined with mint and lime was unique and we had been making it again and again till the mint ran out. Oh no...don't get me wrong, not on the same day!

  Try this different kind of mojito. Make it for your friends during a BBQ party or if you're treating them to an Indian meal.





CHILLI MOJITO
Serves 1
1½ - 2 oz white rum
8-10 mint leaves
1 green chilli
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp sugar
enough ice cubes
cold soda water (club soda)
lime slices


  1. Muddle the mint leaves, sugar, lime juice and chilli. Make sure not you don't muddle the chilli too much.
  2. Add rum and mix.
  3. Pour it into a glass (usually a highball, which I don't have!)
  4. Fill the glass with some ice cubes.
  5. Pour cold soda water or club soda.
  6. Add some lime slices and serve.
Tips:
  • To make a classic mojito omit the green chilli.
  • Can be made in large quantities in a jug or pitcher.
  • Try out a fruity mojito by adding some fruits. I added 6-8 blueberries instead of chilli and it was an equally refreshing cocktail.

You may want to check out what fellow members of Fantastical Food Fight have made using rum. 


Pin It

Monday, 14 August 2017

678. Breakfast Tarts

An Arty City - Montreal

   Street Art or Graffiti though mostly not legal in many countries, is art that is much appreciated by all. Its visual art created in public locations or places. Usually found on walls of buildings, sides of the highways, streets etc, usually in places where passers by can see it. It started as a form or way of expressing views on different matters to the public in general. Initially most artists used spray cans but today other medias are used like mosaic, stencil art, LED art, stickers, Lock ons (sculptures are attached to public furniture), wheat pasting used to make collages and papier mache. 

   When you walk around Montreal City you will notice some sort of creativity be it paintings on building walls, meaningful graffiti, different shaped benches, small gardens with blooming flowers, shop windows dressed to attract anyone, or even small balconies of apartments. People in Montreal are not afraid to express their artistic talents. I would have loved to share some of the photos I had taken but unfortunately my iPad stopped working and the only way to revive it was to lose some of my photos. I can kick myself for not storing them on iCloud or a pen drive. However, as they say we learn lessons the hard way. 

Laurier Avenue Montreal
Artistically hidden switch board
Street Art-Mont Royal - I was wearing a black and white top and hubby wanted me to blend in!Coming to today's post for the #FoodieMonday #Bloghop group, the 105th theme SavouryBaked Dish was chosen by a new member of our group Sasmita who blogs at First Timer Cook. A young housewife, who had no idea about cooking before marriage, 

dishes out some lip sacking recipes.

      It would have been easy for me to bake a bread which I had in mind initially. However, I have only 2 weeks here in Montreal :( :( :( and  I have to start clearing the pantry and fridge. Some of the spices, lentils, rice etc my son will use but certainly not a frozen puff pastry. So shelved the bread idea and used up the ready made frozen pastry to make a delicious, filling breakfast. The idea was stuck in my head since I saw an advertisement for Jus Rolls (puff pastry). The pastry squares had an egg on it, all baked, but I added my own filling to make it more wholesome.
     
     So here's the recipe. Whereas ready made puff pastry is available in most countries including Kenya, I have find it difficult to source it in India. Anyone knows where I can buy it in Mumbai or Bangalore?











BREAKFAST TARTS
Makes 4

200g ready rolled puff pastry
8-10 mushrooms, sliced
1 cup roughly chopped spinach
8-10 cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato
¼ cup chopped spring onion
4 eggs
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to season

  1. Let the frozen pastry thaw at room temperature till its workable. Don't leave it out too long otherwise it will go all soft and will be sticky to work with.
  2. If the pastry is rolled as one sheet, you will need to cut it into 4 equal parts.
  3. Take one square and cut thin strips from it from all 4 sides... so you should have four strips.
  4. Brush the edges of the square with water.
  5. Gently press the strip on each side of the square.
  6. Place the ready square on a parchment lined baking tray.
  7. Repeat steps 4-7 with the remaining squares.
  8. Place the tray with the squares in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  10. If you are using cherry tomatoes, cut them into half or cut a large tomato into dices.
  11. Bake the pastry squares in the oven for 15 minutes.
  12. Take the tray out of the oven.
  13. Gently press the puffed up middle with the back of a spoon. This will create a nice depression or nest.
  14. Arrange spinach equally on all 4 squares.
  15. Top it with mushroom slices. Leave some space in the middle for the egg.
  16. Gently break an egg and put it over the vegetables. Do this for all the squares.
  17. Top it with the tomatoes.
  18. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.
  19. Bake the tarts for 20 minutes or till the egg is done and the pastry is light golden colour.
  20. Sprinkle the spring onion and parmesan cheese over the tarts and serve with your favourite sauce or sprinkle some chilli flakes over it.
Tips:
  • If you buy the ready rolled pastry don't be tempted to make it thinner otherwise you will not get nice layers on baking.
  • Once thawed, the pastry should not be frozen again.
  • If you find that its difficult to handle the soft pastry put it back in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Also if it sticks a little, dust the worktop with flour.
  • Use a filling of your choice. 
You may want to check out my other baked savoury dishes:

baked veg empanadas


Paneer and Mushroom Enchiladas
spinach mushroom pies


Sending this recipe to the following event:
No automatic alt text available.


Pin It

Monday, 31 July 2017

677. Cabbage and Spinach Muthia (muthiya)

Steamed and Healthy

    Last weekend was my second visit to Niagara Falls and I thought I will not be as impressed with this natural wonder as I was the first time. However, I was so wrong. It was as though I was watching the mighty falls for the first time. I guess that the feeling of awe will never cease no matter how many times I may get an opportunity to visit the Niagara Falls. Its one of my favourite places on this Earth. 

   We took my dad who is visiting Canada for the first time, to Niagara Falls. We booked him into a falls view room and boy was it spectacular. My niece from Atlanta paid us a surprise visit(my son knew) and she too joined us for the weekend trip. It was her first time too to see the falls. Come evening and we all would gather in my dad's room to watch the different colours lighting the falls. Its such a pretty sight. Three falls make up the Niagara Falls, the largest being the Horseshoe Falls that borders between USA and Canada, the American Falls which is on the USA side and the small Bridal Veil Falls on the USA side separated from the American Falls by the small island Luna.

   This time round hubby and I didn't do the Maiden of the Mist trip but we enjoyed walking through the immaculately maintained gardens, walked along the pathway near the falls, enjoying the shower from the falls as it was very hot. This time we were able to do a mini trail walk further off the horseshoe falls and coming down to the falls. Canada takes preserving its nature very seriously. I wish countries like India and Kenya would learn some valuable lessons from Canada in preserving our heritage and Mother Nature. Both countries have so many beautiful scenic places but are getting lost to development. 

   About 6 million cubic feet of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow which is 169901079.6 litres !!!!!! So every time hubby and I walked past the falls, we would say 'if only, if only Mombasa could get that 1 minute of supply we would be fine, no more water shortages. Or can you imagine if Kaveri had about 5 minute supply, it probably would solve water issues between the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. But that's all wishful thinking. 

Horseshoe Falls - Niagara Falls

Falls lit up at night
   That's enough about Niagara Falls. This week for Foodie Monday/ Bloghop group, Priya Iyer blogger at The Girl Next Door suggested #Steamed as our 103rd theme. This theme is pretty challenging if you don't want to just serve steamed veggies. Many dishes require you to cook the food for a bit on the stove and then steam the end product like papdi no lot (khichu) or like kozhukattai where the flour is first cooked in water and then shaped and steamed. Non vegetarians can prepare steamed fish, chicken etc. Having said that many of the Gujarati snacks are steamed like dokhras, arvi na paan, muthais, Maharastrian vadi, South Indian idlis and kinnathappam. 

   I wanted to make steamed muffins but had to steer away from something sweet. So I decided to make some spinach and cabbage loaded muthias. Most Gujaratis know how to prepare this snack dish. Some make the batter a bit hard, roll the mixture into log shapes and steam. I learnt to make a more softer version from my mother in law Nunu. She would leave the batter a bit more watery so it cannot be shaped. The end result is nice soft muthias. Muthias can be made with besan (chickpea)flour, millet flour, oat flour, barley flour etc. This time round I've used handvo flour, wheat flour and semolina. With muthias you can add any vegetables like bottle gourd(doodhi), carrot, spinach, amaranth leaves, methi leaves, cabbage, zucchini etc. Check out my recipe where I've used besan, millet, semolina and wheat flour. The veggies I used in that version are doodhi, methi and cooked rice.

   This time I've used cabbage and spinach along with handvo flour. If you want to have it without tempering then have it steaming hot, drizzled with a bit of any vegetable or olive oil. My family enjoys the tempered muthia. Except for the tempering this snack is always steamed.





CABBAGE AND SPINACH MUTHIA
SERVES 4-6

2 cups ready made handvo or dokhra flour
½ cup wheat flour (atta)
¼ cup semolina (rava, sooji)
2 cups finely chopped spinach (palak) lightly packed
2 cups grated cabbage
1 cup sour plain yogurt
1 cup water
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
½ tsp carom seeds (ajwain, ajmo)
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1-2 tsp green chilli paste
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp Eno (fruit salt)

extra oil fro greasing

For tempering(vaghar):
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp sesame seeds (tal)
½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

To serve:
Lemon wedges

  1. Add flours and semolina to a big bowl. Mix it well.
  2. Add oil and rub the oil into the flour mixture.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients except the ones for tempering.
  4. Mix the batter very well. The spoon should be able to stand in the batter without falling.
  5. Get your steaming device ready. To the steaming pan add water quarter full. The bottom plate should not touch the water.
  6. Grease the plates with oil.
  7. I used a 3 plate steamer. Divide the batter into the 3 plates. If you are using a bigger steamer then divide the batter accordingly.
  8. Put the plates with the stand in the steamer.
  9. Close the lid tightly and steam the muthias for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Check to see if its done. Insert a toothpick in the steamed muthia and it should come out relatively clean. If batter sticks to the toothpick then add a bit more water to the steamer and steam for further 10 minutes.If the muthias are cooked remove them from the steamer. Carefully remove the plates from the stand.
  11. If you want to temper the muthias then it has to be cooled completely before you cut them into squares. 
Tempering:
  1. Cut the completely cooled muthias into squares.
  2. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  3. When it is hot add first the fenugreek seeds.
  4. Then add the mustard and cumin seeds.
  5. Add garlic and saute for a few secs. You don't want the garlic to burn.
  6. Add sesame seeds and immediately add the muthia squares.
  7. Stir gently frequently till they are hot.
  8. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy muthia with a hot cup of masala tea.
Tips:
  • If the batter becomes too watery, add more semolina or handvo flour.
  • Adjust spices according to your taste.
  • Handvo flour is gluten free as its a mixture of dal and rice. To make gluten free muthia add more handvo flour instead of semolina and millet flour instead of wheat flour. 
You may want to check other steamed recipes:
arvi paan bhajia
idlis
papdi no lot(khichu)
moong dal dokhra




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Friday, 28 July 2017

676. Green Apple and Spring Onion Chutney

It's different

   For the month of July, The Shhh Cooking Secretly group decided on #Chutneys as the theme. The chutneys I've seen so far by the participants are so varied. But then why not as many regions of India have their own chutneys to boast about. We make them from herbs, dals, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, basically anything. I remember my grandmother would not allow us to throw away the peel of cucumber. She would instruct me how to make that into a chutney. Back then we didn't have any fancy electrical gadgets. She would make me pound the cucumber peels, coriander, ginger and chilli using a mortar and pestle. And a delicious chutney would be ready in no time to dip our bhajias into or to smear on rotis.

   Before I ramble on more about Chutney, let me remind you what the group is all about. Started by Priya of Priya's Versatile Recipes, every month participating members are paired up. Then according to the theme we give each other 2 ingredients that we have to use in our preparation of the dish. This month I was partnered with Sujata Shukla of Pepper On Pizza . She is a new comer to the group but I've already become pretty friendly with her. She gave me apples and onions and I gave her cherries and onion. Since she is in US visiting her daughter and family, and cherries are so in season I thought of challenging her with cherries. She has come up with a lovely  chatpatta chutney

   The word chutney was used by the British during the British Raj. It originates from the Hindi word chatni. The Anglo Indians quickly adapted the British way of making chutneys or relish by using vinegar, fruits, sugars to make the chutneys last longer. Chutneys are used to serve alongside starters as a dipping sauce, or as a topping for chaat dishes. Chutneys are smeared on breads, parathas, rotis and stuffed with vegetables to make a wholesome meal. I love the smearing bread with chutney topped with tomatoes, cucumber and cheese to make a delicious sandwich.Some use chutneys to smear on meats and fish before cooking. Coat roasted vegetables with chutney before serving. Chutneys elevate the dish with a burst of flavours.. sweet, tangy, sour, salty, chilli and sometimes even with a bit of bitterness.

    I decided to make my chutney with green apple as its a bit sour and used a generous amount of spring onion and fresh coriander. The chutney turned out so refreshing and tasted great with the gathias and the remaining was used to serve with some dokhra. The amazing thing about this chutney is that even after a week in the fridge it did not change colour at all. It still had the light fresh green colour. 






GREEN APPLE AND SPRING ONION CHUTNEY
Makes 1 cup

1 large green apple
½ cup chopped spring onion (both green and white part)
½ cup chopped fresh coriander
2-3 green chillis
1 clove garlic
½ tsp salt
1" ginger - cut into small pieces
¼ tsp sugar
1 tbsp lime/lemon juice

  1. Peel and core the apple. Cut it into small pieces.
  2. Add the chopped apple, spring onion, coriander, ginger, garlic and chillis into a food processor.
  3. Process the chutney. You can make it into a fine paste or leave it slightly coarse as I did.
  4. Take the chutney out into a bowl or jar.
  5. Add salt, sugar and lime juice and mix well.
  6. Serve with whatever you want. 
Tips:
  • I removed the peel from the apple because it was coated with wax. If you get organic ones then leave the peel.
  • Adjust the taste of the chutney according to your preference.
  • Use mint instead of coriander for a different taste.
You may want to check out the following:
Onion and Mango Chutney




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Monday, 24 July 2017

675. Instant Pot Corn Potato Cheddar Soup

Amazing Gadgets

    Whenever I'm at my son's place in Montreal, the first few days go into cleaning his place. Out of all my three kids he's probably the one with the most gadgets. Home cleaning becomes an easier task and love that our clothes do not have that awful damp smell. The wonders of a clothes dryer. His kitchen too is equipped with some of the best and powerful appliances. Every visit and we add a new gadget. 

    This time round I was appalled at the state of our very useful pressure cooker. The bottom no longer sits well on the hob and I just don't want to get you into the colour of the poor pressure cooker. So I insisted that we buy an Instant Pot as anyway I'd read so much about it and a few bloggers even use it regularly. In a small kitchen we need gadgets that are multi functional. So the Instant Pot fits that description. 

   I would recommend an Instant Pot anytime. However, don't think I'll get one for my home in Mombasa because of the frequent power cuts and power fluctuations. However, here it works like a charm. I had put some tuvar dal on the slow cooker mode and gone to the market. When we got back home after 3 hours the dal was cooked. I cook rice in it frequently because its also a rice cooker. Saute some dry sabji or a sabji with gravy. No noisy whistles and the best think is that it does not generate heat like a hob, grill or oven does. You can steam stuff in it so next recipe to try is dokhra in the Instant Pot. Can put eggs to boil and don't have to worry about water getting over. It all works on a timer. As soon as the time is over, the Instant Pot goes into the warm mode. The options are endless.

   When Preethi who blogs at Preethi's Cuisine suggested #Fireless Cooking as our 102th theme for FoodieMonday/ Bloghop group, I knew what I wanted to show off... my new Instant Pot :) As my son is reading my post as I'm typing, he comments ' you could have blogged anything your cook here as its all fireless!' My reply ' yes I know but I so want to show off my Instant Pot'. He walked away with a quizzical look on his face and must be thinking that I'm crazy :0

   I made some soup in the Instant Pot. It was ready within 15 minutes. Check out the recipe for a quick and filling soup.








INSTANT POT CORN POTATO CHEDDAR SOUP
4-6 Servings

3 cups small cubes of potatoes (peeled and cubed)
2 cups sweet corn (fresh or frozen)
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 medium onion finely chopped 
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil or butter
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
¼ cup chopped spring onion
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander


  1. Add oil in the inner pot of the Instant Pot (IP).
  2. Switch it on to the saute mode.
  3. As soon as the oil becomes a little hot, add the chopped onions. 
  4. Stir frequently and cook the onions till it becomes soft.
  5. Add the garlic. Stir and add potato cubes. Add salt and the water. Mix well.
  6. Close the lid of the IP. Turn the vent to the sealing position.
  7. Set the timer to 5 minutes manually.
  8. After the 5 minutes are over, cover the vent with a dish cloth.
  9. Move the vent to the venting position.
  10. Lift the vent gently using a long spoon or a knife.The steam will come out. Its best to use a dish cloth so that you don't get burnt with the hot steam and it doesn't create a mess.
  11. Open the lid. 
  12. Set to the saute mode again. 
  13. Add corn and milk and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  14. Add cheese, pepper, spring onion and coriander. Mix well.
  15. Serve piping hot soup with some bread of your choice.
  16. If you are not going to serve the soup immediately, close the lid. It will stay hot for 10-15 minutes. 
Tips:
  • Add any other veg of your choice.
  • I mashed some of the cooked potatoes to make the soup base a bit thicker.
  • You can add ¼ cup cream if you want to.
You may want to check out some of my Fireless Cooking Recipes:
Mangonada (freezing and blending)
Peaches and Cream Oatmeal  Cups (baked)
Tzatziki (mixing and chopping)
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