As someone who loves a good meal, cooking one, came to me as a natural passion. I belong to a family where meal times consisted of not just food, but also noisy conversation centered around the events of the day and discussing the menu for the next. (ah yes, we are a greedy lot! )

For the most part of my life so far, my contribution in the kitchen was assisting mom and my duties were limited, to chopping veggies and laying the table. Then along came the great Indian wedding, and I was suddenly the queen of my very own kingdom. My curiosity about this magical world, coupled with an enthusiastic sous-chef (my husband, Vineet), led me to take on the challenge of preparing meals on a daily basis, and not succumbing to the convenience of hiring a cook.

This blog is a product of my experiments with food (not all are life threatening :D) for my fellow culinary enthusiasts - especially the newly weds and hungry bachelors and is dedicated to the women who've inspired me in the kitchen;
Aji (s),Ma and Nigella Lawson.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Banana Bread

All of us at some point in time, have had a bunch of bananas lying around the kitchen, going brown. You keep telling yourself, I better finish those, before they go smushy... then, another day goes by...and now they just plain gross... not only are they an unappetizing brown to look at, but they are also simply PERFECT to bake with! Adapted from the original Martha Stewart Banana bread recipe, this cake-like bread, is great as a weekend (or mid week!) breakfast treat, and works great when paired with a steaming cup of tea or coffee.
So, stop feeling bad about letting the bananas go brown, and bake with them instead! :)

Ingredients: (Makes 1, 9"x4" loaf)
Dry mix:
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Soda Bicarb
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon

Wet mix:
- 1/2 cup Butter, softened @ room temperature
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs @ room temp
- 1/4 cup plain Yoghurt+ 1/4 cup Water (buttermilk)
- 1 cup mashed Bananas + 1 tsp Vanilla

Optional additions: Chopped or slivered Almonds & Golden raisins

1.)  Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease and dust a 9x5" loaf pan. Sift the ingredients of the dry mix together and set aside.

2.)  Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl till light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat lightly after each addition.

3.)  Add the mashed Bananas+ Vanilla extract. Add the Buttermilk and dry mix to the bowl, alternating each addition.... i.e. little of the dry mix, followed by some of the buttermilk... repeat.

4.)  Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 55-60 mins or till a cake tester comes out clean.

5.)  Allow the Banana bread to cool in the pan. Run a butter knife along the edges and loosen. Turn out onto a wire rack and let it cool completely. Best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, in case the weather is warm.

Slice up and enjoy with a generous slather of Cream cheese & a cup of coffee! 

Roast Garlic, Broccoli & Pea Soup

Been meaning to upload this recipe for the past couple of days, but something or the other got in the way - but tonight, on the eve of my return to work after 5 months of maternity leave, here I am, finally writing!
Whipped this up with some left over Broccoli for a healthy lunch. Broccoli by itself is rich in Vitamin C and an excellent source of fiber. I love plain steamed Broccoli with just a dash of butter, but felt that the soup needed a little more. So in went the frozen peas, pushing the health quotient of this soup a notch higher. I love the flavour of roasted garlic, as it tastes fabulous and not as garlicky as you would expect, but also the caramalisation while roasting, makes it deliciously sweet, so in went a bulb (yes, a whole bulb!). If you are too lazy to use the oven to roast the garlic, you could try wrapping it in a foil and using a thick bottomed pan to do the trick. But if you do decide to skip the roasting and simply saute the garlic, then I suggest using half the quantity indicated below.
Make this and enjoy with some toasted bread, steamed corn, and you have a light, simple & healthy meal in no time at all!

Ingredients: (Makes about 4 servings)
- 1 medium head of Broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 cup of fresh/ frozen Green Peas
- 1 bulb of Garlic, with peel
- 1 large Onion, sliced thickly
- 1.5 Chicken OR Vegetable stock cube
- 1/2 cup low fat Milk
- 3-4 tbsp Olive Oil,
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 1 cup Feta cheese, roughly crumbled

1.)  Preheat oven to 200 deg C. Place whole bulb of garlic (with peel) and the onion slices on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle with some Olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 12-15 mins on a low rack (not too close to the heating coil), or till the garlic and onion are golden brown.

2.)  Bring a pot of water (lightly salted) to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook the Broccoli florets and Peas till soft. Drain the veggies, but retain 2 cups of the water used to boil (you don't want to lose any nutrients!). Dissolve the chicken / vegetable stock cubes in this water. Transfer the stock to a saucepan/ pot in which you want to ultimately cook the entire soup. Save a few of the boiled broccoli florets, to use as a garnish for later.

3.)  Puree the - boiled Broccoli, Peas, Roasted (cooled & peeled) Garlic and Onion - till smooth. Add some of the stock water to thin out the veggies to help the process.

4.) Add the pureed veggie mix in to the saucepan with the stock water. Add the milk and bring to a full boil before turning off. Check seasonings and add salt/ pepper to suit your palette.

5.) Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with the crumbled Feta cheese and reserved boiled Broccoli florets & Enjoy right away!