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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A Post, A Past and A Present New year 2014



Hi Everybody, this will be my last post in this blog, A hope, A dream, A new venture, well, I was not going to post a blogpost today, I never keep up any schedules, I just post when I get time, sometimes I try to force myself to organize myself to post at regular intervals by joining some events.

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." - Mother Teresa

I plan but never execute them like posting during festivals and some very important days and events but never post them on time, why do I do that ? My mind will be elsewhere and usually would be something needs my attention more than my blog and always ends up with my kids, family and friends surrounding me.
OH! sometimes it is my health or of course the weather, my blog post are just like the weather here in UK, never know what happens!.

"A new year is unfolding – like a blossom with petals curled tightly concealing the beauty within."-- Anonymous

Till today I have not written how many posts I have reached, page views, or fb and google+ fans, you must be wondering what a blogger I am, not thanking you all for all these love you bestowed upon me, As one of my dear blogger friend has already written here, I am more like her, not penning down lot of things. 

"Every new day begins with possibilities. It's up to us to fill it with things that move us toward progress and peace."-- Ronald Reagan

Lot of people write about their resolutions for the year ahead, compile their favourite posts or popular posts and lots of other things, I just think wow I have to say kudos to all their creativity and ideas, they are really awesome.  It's not my thing I never go into my back posts about anything.  Not that I have some big famous posts and a great blogger with wonderful recipes.  I just write what I cook and bake some people write to me these days some people send me their tried and tested recipes from my blog, I am happy if it had worked out for them that's all.

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenly and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson


So, what am I going to do this year, a new book opened up today, 365 days ahead with lots of ideas to venture, first thing would be I want to keep myself more fit, probably post something regularly, read more, have a lot of 'ME' time, and by the end of the day when I am off to bed think as 'day well spent' and not think I should not have wasted my time this way or I could have done something better.  Hope I will keep up with something's which I written here.  I never make new resolutions as I never keep them up, somehow they will all be in my head but will never take a shape and make the daylight.
I would love to pen down these words and take this opportunity to thank all my online friends on FB, Google, Twitter, Pin interest, Instagram etc.., etc.., and to my dear Subscribers I feel so happy when still people come to space leave comments, write about my posts, e-mail me, my photographs which were from my camera but still tell me that they were good, and still encourage me by becoming my Fans.  
Thank you very much to each and everyone of you, I will try my best to give good recipes, good photos (as I have new camera now!), Hope you will not be disappointed.
I will you today and meet you all soon enough with a different outlook and a better space for you to go around 

         " WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR"
I would love to pen down these words as I take this opportunity to thank all my friends of FB, Google, Twitter, Pin interest etc.., etc..,  to all my online Friends.  I feel so happy when still people come to my space, leave comments,  write about

  

Friday, 13 December 2013

Linzer Cookies - Eggless

Linzer cookies -Eggless

It's nearly Christmas, kids are thrilled, adults are happy ah! sure :), yeah! are you ? most say yaaaaahh.., the long yaaaah and give a big smile, whatever it is I love Christmas, I love the festive season, makes me very happy when I see the little kids chatting away delightedly  in the gifts they are going to get and lots of pampering  from their thick and thin family, rich or poor everybody try their best to please the kith and kin around them.

I don't celebrate Christmas as I am Hindu, But, I do celebrate it in my own way, Have I ever told you my little story about why I celebrate Christmas, I have told many of them here, when they keep asking me are you ready for Christmas ? and I would go with a stupid smile on my face and start saying with "well,  I don't have Christmas but I do celebrate in my own way as my kids love it" , of I go with  my story and after hearing they would be bemused!, The story yes.., when I was in India, my children were very little and every Christmas my MIL used to bring them a small Christmas tree, it was not exactly "The Christmas tree" it was a branch but she wanted the kids to believe it was and she used to pot it and  keep it in our Lounge.
Next with totally excited kids towing behind her take them in a rickshaw to shop,  she used to buy little trinkets, fairies, colourful balls and all the little things to decorate the tree, and definitely a Santa and she used get them chocolates and spoil them with all the sweets and savouries.  when I asked her about this she used to say how she used to think of Santa and presents when she was a kid and she would say let them enjoy.
Even today I keep wondering about the things she used to do on a whim to please them and her Grand children adored her and miss her very much,  every Christmas I remember her. when my kids put up the tree and decorate they think of their Grand mother just like me.  Those days I hadn't seen any of the families around us would celebrate Christmas this way. It was a bit out of the way.
Linzer cookies -Eggless
May be coming over here and celebrating Christmas has become religious and part of our life now, like the same way we did back then, I used to buy them presents and buy presents for my friends and my kids do the same, particularly my youngest girl she has all packed and kept it ready a week back, I don't buy them presents any more as they are grown up now and choose to buy things whenever they like anything.  But, they do enjoy visiting family and enjoy eating all the treats I bake.  I enjoy baking cookies, Biscuits and cakes during this festivity season.

These cookies are the tastiest cookies I have ever baked, (so I say to most of them I think :)), I myself couldn't resist eating them they are utterly butterly delicious.  These are one of the quintessential  cookies for Christmas I suppose.
Linz is a biggest city in Austria, Linz is the reputed home of the famous Linzer torte, This tart is made up of a pastry rich with butter, almonds and cinnamon, and the tart is originally filled with Black currant preserves and topped with Lattice crust. It is one of the oldest know tarts, this was given a makeover by making the pastry to little cookie shapes and jammed with Jams/preserves/conserve/jellies you can make use of any of these to make these cookies and dusting with Icing sugar.
I did not know which recipe to follow exactly so I took it from here and here and made it into Eggless and it turned out superb.

EGGLESS LINZER COOKIES
Makes around 20 cookies


INGREDIENTS:
2 and 1/2 cup ( measured 275 grms) All Purpose Flour
1 Cup  ( measured 225 grms) Butter
1 Cup (measured 150 grms) Almond meal
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Cinnamon powder
1 tsp Pure Vanilla extract
1 tsp Baking powder
1 and 1/2 tbsp water
1 tbsp Arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
Raspberry/Black currant/Apricot any choice of your filling

METHOD:
In a large bowl take Flour, Almond meal, cinnamon powder and salt, mix them all well together.
In an other bowl beat together softened butter, vanilla essence with sugar until well incorporated to this add the above said dry ingredients until they resemble bread crumbs.


In a little bowl take Baking powder, 1 and 1/2 tbsp of water, lemon juice and Arrowroot powder mix them all together you will see them bubbling up now add this to the buttery flour, combine them to a dough ball, it might be a bit sticky just flour your hands lightly and make into a ball.

Now half the dough ball into two and cover them separately with cling film and put it into the fridge and let it harden up for at least an one to two hours. ( you can even leave it in the refrigerator overnight and bake it next day).
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/ Gas Mark 5
Line baking sheets with parchment paper and keep it ready.
Take the dough out one part of it, roll into a circle or Rectangle in between two cling films do it quickly before it becomes too soft because of your hand heat or you can lightly flour the surface and roll out to an 1/4 inch thickness.


Now using your cookie one big and one small round, square, hearts or whatever shape you like cut out the circles, equally divide them into two parts and cut out 1/2 of them in the center with smaller cutters and place with 1" apart put them back in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes, this helps in the dough hardening up and when baking them in a preheated oven cooks them quickly and does not leak or spread and bake them in the preheated over for around 8 to 9 minutes. Half way through turn the cookies and bake them.
Once they are baked remove them on to a cooling rack, adapt the same procedure to the rest of the dough, re roll the left over dough and make similar cookies
I used some of the left over dough and made little cookies.


ASSEMBLING COOKIES
Dust Icing Sugar on the eyed cookies (that is the cookies which are cut in the center) and lay them out.
Once the first batch comes out fill in the cookies with Jam/jelly conserve or anything of your choice and spread it on to the base of the cookie then using the cut out cookie top it out on to the base and sandwich them together lightly.
If you store it in an airtight container the cookies will become soft and if you store it in an airtight container and leave it in the fridge, they are good to stay for several days.

NOTE:
Remember to preheat the oven  10 minutes before you would plan to take the dough out and get them ready to bake. Preheating ensures that the cookies are cooked evenly, quickly and will not melt away.
You can make your own Almond meal spread the Almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes remove, cool it and dehusk the almonds next blend them to a powder form using /14 cup of sugar, adding sugar in the process helps in the almonds becoming a paste.
Do not forget to refrigerate every time you take them out to roll or cut them into cookies put them back, and don't bake until it is firmed up.
I have used Arrowroot powder if you can't find you can use Corn flour/corn starch instead or Potato flour or Chickpea flour / Soya flour / Quinoa flour hope this helps.
My cookie cutter was a bit out of shape I was so concentrating on cutting them out I wasn't looking how they turned out, my daughter noticed it they were not exactly circle but a bit oval in shape ah!, noted point
You can also use Hazelnuts instead of Almonds to make these cookies. That is my next in the agenda baking these cookies with Hazelnuts

Linzer cookies -Eggless

These cookies are so delicious, when my photos weren't too good I was so disappointed, I love natural light I struggle get good photos were it gets dark, I get upset as it goes dark so quickly in winter and as I was moaning about it, my eldest was telling it's ok you can always bake them again we don't mind eating them.., there goes the verdict on my cookies.  If you try these out do tell me... Enjoy c you soon again


Monday, 9 December 2013

Purslane & Kale Fatayer

I came to find out that Fatayer (Lebanese savoury triangular pastries) is a Mediterranean street food, usually made with Purslane (Baqleh) and the one made with spinach called Fatayer bil-sabanegh and she says can be adapted to using any kind of greens we like.
I had started thinking what shall I bake, I had a busy day from past two days, came home late last night had a terrible headache and I was in no mood to bake anything, My baking or cooking always ends up with my kids coming back from school they come home look for something to eat, they love something like a snack, but I always prefer that they eat well, something healthy, always look for something good for them to gorge.



H got me this plant and I have been trying to protect it now as it is so cold in my conservatory, It grew very well in summer with beautiful leaves but I never used it. I was scared that it might die, this plant is grown everywhere in India it is commonly known as Purslane or Verdolaga, in Tamil it is called Paruppu keerai, in Kannada Dudagorai.  Basically it is a weed grown everywhere in India, It is still used in various cooking ways in India.  I still keeping looking for it everywhere here if I could find a bunch of it, As I was googling through I found out that they are very rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, and they are also rich in vitamin C, they are even used in medicine for treating cancer etc.., etc.., Just Google around to see more information on this plant.
I wasn't sure if I could grow it here, for the weather conditions, it seems Googling I have found out that it will be dormant and grows back, I don't want to take any risk so I keep it in my conservatory, not that it is looking any healthy now, fingers crossed it won't die on me.
I was searching for something new I could cook up from this plant, I was surprised to see a few ways now I can use it not only in the India way of cooking, when searching I found this recipe on Anissa's blog, I was in awe with her photography and loved I could try out something new.
I so found out that middle eastern cookery enjoy this nutritious weed, here is how I made it, I have adapted the recipe very much but tweaked it a little bit, as I did not how much my kids would love it, when ever I prepare something new I use what my kids like and see how it goes and then revert back to the original recipe.., kind of making them comfort with their usual food. This is how I made it...

PURSLANE, KALE, SPINACH, WATER CRESS AND ROCKET  FATAYER
Serves : 4
makes : 12 (depending on the size)


INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE DOUGH
175 grms ( nearly 1 and 1/4 cup) of All purpose Flour
2 tbsp of Garlic Flavoured Extra virgin Olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Nearly 3/4th cup of water

FOR THE FILLING
1/2 Cup of Purslane
2 Cups of Kale
2 medium sized onions
1 Cup of Water Cress, Spinach and Rocket
1 tbsp of Sumac
1 tbsp of Sichuan Pepper
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp salt
Cheese (optional)

METHOD:
In a bowl take all the Ingredients under For the dough mix them well first, resembles like a crumbled cheese make a well in the center and  start from 1/4 cup of water making it into a dough, keep adding water until a firm dough is formed. Knead this dough until it is smooth and elastic and leave it in a bowl covered with a wet cloth until you make your filling ready.



In a bowl wash drain and and chop the Greens roughly, to this add chopped Onions and all the other Ingredients listed under the filling mix them well thoroughly and leave aside.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees ( I preheated and baked my pastries on Gas mark 6 as my oven gets too hot)


Take the dough make 12 round balls and one by one, flatten into a disc place some filling on each disc lift two sides 1/3rd of the circle and pinch them together and lift the third side and pinch them like a triangle seal all the three sides with a thin raised inverted Y in the middle.


Be sure to seal the pastry well so they don't open up during baking, transfer them on to a baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes according to your oven's heat.







Bake them until they are golden in colour and serve them warm or cold.

VERDICT:
The pastry was really delicious, my children loved them, they even told me I shouldn't have added the cheese!, Next time I can just stick to the basic recipe without my little tweak of adding cheese in it thinking kids would like it.


Do not use any cheese in this recipe and you will have a wonderful Vegan Savoury pastry to enjoy.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Puy Lentils and Vegetables Hot Pie

Get a day off and you would think the whole day is yours and yours only, may be somewhere I had this little teeny weeny bit in my heart saying No no.., everything won't turn out as you want, I always go straight to my conservatory with my cup of tea Mmm..., and the plants I adore trying to save them from this cold winter, a pity I don't have a heater in my conservatory which would have made my plants have a warm surrounding, but poor little darlings have no such luxury, everyday I pray please don't die on me, I talk to each one of them, that's started my day off, checking all the plants, cleaning around picking around the withered leaves do you want to see my conservatory garden you can have a look at it.. here it is ....
I have got a few more this is just a sample.., they are not doing very well now especially my Doddapatre..:(



I had planned to bake a cake and got all the ingredients ready but everything got haywire, Once I started I couldn't stop picking around the kids clothes sorting out their rooms, trying to wake up my daughter asking her to get ready for her driving lessons, the time just flew, I remembered I had to do some shopping it is so cold, days are getting colder and colder walked down to a little town nearby to go to my favourite shop its a health wise shop I get lot of organic goods from there, I couldn't walk back as did a bit more shopping than I intended to and waited for the bus to turn up but incidentally it didn't turn up it was getting late and there was this kind gentleman who dropped us off near our house. Bless him, came home and had to cook something quickly as it was arrival time and they come home hungry.
I had some puy lentils which I had soaked earlier, and some thawed short cut pastry, this was quick one I could muster up right at the time they knock the door !!.
Here is how I stirred this up...

PUY LENTILS AND VEGETABLES HOT PIE
Recipe : own


INGREDIENTS:
100 grms Puy Lentils
2 Onions
3 to 4 Garlic
1" Ginger
2 Cups of assorted vegetables
    ( Carrot, Green, yellow and Red peppers, Potatoes, peas, broccoli)
1 tsp Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Pepper powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1/4 single cream
Salt as required
1/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp Butter



Cook the Puy Lentils with enough water with little salt
In a large wok heat 2 tbsp of butter, add chopped ginger, garlic and onions saute them until they sweat and become soft and translucent to this add the  masalas chilli powder, pepper powder, coriander powder, cumin powder then add the cooked puy lentils and chopped vegetables add required amount of salt and close the lid and cook for few minutes around 10 to 15 minutes until all the veggies get properly cooked to this add single cream and grated cheese mix well and switch off the stove.
Allow it to cool completely,


pour them on to a buttered dish,

take thawed short cut pastry or puff pastry cut them for the three buttered dish press them on to the dish make three slits and brush them with milk, bake them in a pre heated oven for 30 minutes to 40 minutes until you see the pastry nice and golden in colour.


doesn't it look good, for a winter evening a one pot meal.

Sending this off to Bake-a-thon event started by champa, here is entree...

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Eggless Vegan Orange Chocolate Nut Brownies

 Eggless Vegan Orange Chocolate Nut Brownies

I was not planning on baking these, when I said I had to bake something immediately kids called out from upstairs Brownies please...., Kids..? Uhh.,  don't get confused they are teenage children but are always my little kids , anytime every time they love brownies especially my twins, eldest doesn't care for chocolates much (Just like me!), can you believe, I have completely stopped eating chocolates from past 2 months, I never used to eat chocolates before, coming here I had kind of got addicted to it, Now I have come back to my normal phase, my only favourite chocolate was snickers, yeah you know why I love nuts, I love to eat anything with nuts from chocolates, cakes  to Ice creams but everything in limits though.
The days are getting shorter, and its becoming colder, weather keeps changing all the time, sometimes I think cold is much better than rain,  the worst part is the daylight, it doesn't seem to wait for me at all.
Here comes my recipe, a quick brownie which is eggless and delicious.

EGGLESS ORANGE CHOCOLATE NUT BROWNIES
Recipe : own
Prep time : 20 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes


INGREDIENTS:
1  and 1/4 cup plain flour
1/3 cup Barley flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1 tbsp Orange zest
1/4 Cup Oil
1 cup  + 2 tbsp Cup Natural Cane sugar
1/3 cup Cocoa powder
2 tbsp Milk* (optional)
1/2 cup assorted nuts ( almonds, pistachios, walnuts)


METHOD:
Preheat the oven Gas mark 4 / 180 degrees.
Grease and place a parchment paper on a 9'' x 14'' rectangular pan.
Take all the dry Ingredients Plain flour, Barley flour, Baking powder, Baking Soda, Cocoa powder together sieve them well twice to this add Sugar and mix well and keep aside.
In an other bowl take all the wet Ingredients and mix them well enough to this add the dry ingredients blend them all well together do not over mix.


Scrape this on to the prepared pan smooth it  and spread some nuts on top of it and bake it in the middle rack of the oven, until the skewer comes out clean for around 20 to 25 minutes.
When done take it out of the oven and cool it on a wire rack.
slice them and serve it for the hungry lot... Enjoy...

**I used 2 tbsp milk to thin it down,  if you desire you can omit it if the batter is perfect, no need to add milk.
Natural cane sugar will not be sweet so you can substitute with ordinary sugar

Eggless Vegan Orange Chocolate Nut Brownies




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