Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tomato Two Ways

What do you do when your fridge is full of tomatoes and you are about to go on a holiday?

Well,lets start from the beginning. I love tomatoes and buy them every week from my nearby supermarket.Few weeks ago,I found that the tomatoes there were not so fresh or ripe and you know what,that was the week I had planned to do tomato dishes.Naturally I gave up the idea.Then the next week there was a fresh crop and I purchased double the quantity and this happened twice.Finally,my fridge was full of tomatoes -almost 3kilos! and I was too busy  to make the planned dishes and had also planned a short vacation! But I took time to go through my bookmarked recipes and found a simple and easy solutions- a savoury homemade tomato juice and also sweet Vietnamese Tomato shake.

Homemade Tomato Juice:
This is not just the ordinary juice where you blend tomatoes and serve. This involves cooking tomatoes with onions and spices and celery and as usual blending.I had bookmarked the recipe from Elise's Simply Recipes,but I changed it a bit with the addition of cinnamon and red chillies.


Dried Red Chillies:1-2 medium size as per taste
Cinnamon:1 big piece or as per taste

Tomatoes: almost 1.5 kilos (5-6 cups coarsely chopped)

Onion: 1 small chopped (around 4-5 tbsp)
Celery: chopped around 1-1.25 cup

Sugar: a pinch
Salt & Pepper :as per taste


Coarsely chop the tomatoes,onions and celery.Heat a heavy bottomed pan.Add dry chillies and cinnamon.As soon as they start roasting,add all other ingredients.Mix well and cook in a medium-low heat for about 25-30 minutes until the mix turns soupy.Cool and then blend removing the cinnamon piece and red chilly. Strain and serve chilled. I did not strain and served at room temp or a bit warm.This gives you about 4 cups .

 I am a sucker for savoury drinks and loved it.Cinnamon and red chilly combine beautifully with tomatoes. Adjust the red chilly with pepper.Apart from this you can also add other spices like and adapt it to your taste.

Vietnamese Tomato Shake (Sinh To Ca Chua):

This is a very simple and sweet tomato juice where tomato is blended with icecubes and sugar.I adapted it from Wandering Chopsticks.I actually got the link to this recipe from SimplyRecipes. I was surprised about the fact that the tomato shake is supposed to be a street food in Vietnam.A simple search also confirmed the fact. The recipe (if I can call it) is toooooo simple.

Tomatoes: 3-4 medium
Ice Cubes:1/2-1 cup
Sugar: 1-2 tsp or as per taste

Blend all the ingredients together till the ice cubes are crushed.Serve it tangy or sweet adjusting the sugar.

Ripe tomatoes are to be used in this and the juice will be tangy as well as sweet.Add more sugar for sweetness.My family preferred it sweeter with more sugar while I liked mine tangy.

If you are not a tomato lover then you can avoid this.Anyway now,I know what to do when I have extra tomatoes. :). This tomato shake also goes to AWED:Vietnam hosted by Priya, an event by DK. This is first time, I am sending 4 entries to an event and 3 of them are tomato based! 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Hot Cross Buns- Perfect for the Season

"Hot cross buns!

Hot cross buns!

One ha' penny,

Two ha' penny,

Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters,

Give them to your sons

One ha' penny,

Two ha' penny,

Hot Cross Buns! "

I have a daughter and she enjoyed the buns I tried at home few days backs ... infact right out of the oven even before I piped the cross. :)

Hot Cross Buns are yeast leavened sweet buns made from dried fruits like currants, raisins or candied citrus peels and is marked with a cross on top. The cross can be made in several ways like icing,flour,pastry etc and is two intersecting cuts.I tried out  Easy Hot Cross Buns from King Arthur Flour site and they were excellent.

Apple Juice: 1/4 cup -1/2 cup
Mixed Dry fruits: 1/2 cup
Raisins: 1/2 cup

All Purpose Flour: 4&1/2 cups +more for dusting

Instant Yeast:1 tsp
Baking Powder:1 tbsp
Brown Sugar: 4 tbsp packed
Ground Cinnamon:1 tsp + as needed
Ground Cloves: 1/4 tsp or as needed
Ground Nutmeg: 1/4 tsp or as  needed
Salt: 1 &3/4 tsp (reduce if salted butter is used)

Milk: 1 &1/4 cup room temp
Unsalted Butter: 6 tbsp room temp
Eggs : 2 or Ener G egg: 2 (1 tbsp Ener G mixed with 4 tbsp water)
Egg Yolk or Ener G egg yolk: 1 (1.5 packed tsp beaten with 1 tbsp water)

Egg White of the third egg : 1 (I avoided this)

Icing Sugar/ Confections Sugar: 1 cup + 2 tbsp
Milk:2 -4 tsp  as needed to make a thick pipeable icing
Vanilla :1/2 tsp
Salt: a pinch

Soak the dried fruits (I used apricots,figs and currants) and raisins in apple juice and microwave in 10 seconds for warming it up.I used 1/2 cup juice rather than the mentioned 1/4 cup. Take out and let it cool.
Mix together flour,yeast,baking powder,sugar,spices and salt. Mix together the wet ingredients -milk,yolk,eggs and soft butter well.Make a hole in the flour mix  and add in the wet mix and knead together. to get a dry dough.This could be because I used the Egg replacer and may not be so with actual eggs.

 Add in the juice -dried fruit mix and then knead again so that the fruits are absorbed in the dough. Now you will end up with a very sticky dough.

Now I went for 1/2 cup juice as I was using egg replacer which thickens the batter or dries the dough with which it is working.As expected the dough which was very dry for me unlike the normal bread dough, turned to be normal as soon as I added the juice-fruit mix.Do follow the original or as per assumptions when you try this.

Knead the dough  adding little bit flour as needed on the counter till we get a manageable dough which is smooth and elastic. Keep the dough covered in a greased bowl,turning once to get coated with oil and let it rise for about an hour.

 The dough may not double in volume,but surely become puffy.But I kept it in a very warm or hot place and it almost doubled ;) .

Pinch small pieces of the dough and shape them into small balls. Place the buns in a lined and greased dish or baking sheet.Cover with a loose plastic wrap and let it rise for another hour when they will double.

Preheat the oven to 375F.Whisk together the eggwhite and milk and wash over the buns. I went for milk wash only. I must say here that my buns do not look professional.The only milk and eggwash-milk looks are different.The taste was SUPERB though.
The pic collage looks like...

Bake the buns for 20 minutes until they are golden brown.Take out and place the buns on the rack to cool.

Mix together the ingredients of piping and make crosses on the buns.

Fresh from the oven they tasted superb.I had gone for half of the recipe and also smaller buns.I never thought they would turn out so wonderful.The icing adds to the taste.

A hearty batch of Hot Cross Buns goes to BBD#35: Bread with Dry Fruits at Taste of PearlCity,an event by Zorra of Kochtopf.

 Enjoy the season with Hot cross Buns!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Che Dau Trang - Vietnamese Beans and Rice Pudding

It seems there are a few puddings (che) in Vietnamese cuisine which can be sered either warm or cold depending on the seasons. These are similar or same as kheer or payasam in India and are equally hearty. I have tried a hearty warm Black eyed peas and  Rice Pudding from Wandering Chopsticks and it turned out to be hearty and perfectly warm for chilly nights. In summer serve this chilled.


Black Eyed Peas: cooked :1/2 cup
Glutinous Rice: 1 cup (I used Ambeh More Rice)
Water: 2 cups +
Sugar: 1/2 or as per taste
Coconut Milk: 2 cups or more


Presoak and cook the black eyed peas. I normally pressure cook it without soaking and this worked this time as well. Pre soaking redues the cooking time. Wash and keep the rice ready.I used Ambe more or Ambe Mohar Rice which is a variety of glutinous rice available in India. Glutinous rice is also known as sticky rice,waxy rice or sweet rice.

Boil water (2 cups) in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. If your beans is not cooked,add the presoaked beans and cook for about 20 minutes or more till soft.Then Add coconut milk ,rice,sugar,mix well and bring to boil. Reduce and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes or more till the rice gets cooked and a consistency of porridge is reached. .Serve warm in bowls.

The che thickens on sitting and you can see my che has turned thick and very creamy.I prefered it a bit thick but on sitting it turned very thick.It could also be because of the type of rice.You can add more water and coconut milk or even sugar to suit your taste and consistency and heat it through. Whatever it is it was very hearty and perfect.

This also visits AWED: Vietnam at Priyas, an event by DK.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vietnamese Red Rice - Com Do

This is a simple dish where leftover rice is mixed with tomato paste and soy sauce.I adapted it from Viet World Kitchen. As per the author, the rice is actually a take on the Vietnamese Fried Rice made with red coloured rice mixed with fruit pulp. The modern version, put together by the migrants to US, uses tomato paste and the rice is ready in a jiffy. So we can call it Vietnamese Tomato Rice as well.

Leftover long grain rice:1 cup+ cooked
Butter: 1 tbsp +
Garlic: 1-2 cloves minced/crushed
Tomato Paste: 1-2 tbsp
Soy Sauce/Nuoc Cham / Maggi Seasoning Sauce: 1 tsp +

 Spread the cooked rice in a baking sheet or flat plate and refrigerate it for 8-24 hours.

 This will remove the moisture from the rice and make it dry and chewy and it may crumble in hands. Make sure to turn the rice or mix in with a spoon to ensure even drying.

Once ready, take the rice out and keep aside till it attains room temp.

Heat butter /oil in a wok/pan. As soon as it melts,add in crushed/minced garlic and stir fry it till raw smell disappears and it starts to brown.Add in rice and stir to combine. Add in tomato paste and stir fry for a 2-3 minutes till the rice gets coated with it and turns red.Stir fry on high heat for 2 more minutes and then add salt and soy sauce/seasoning sauce/nuoc cham and stir fry gently for 2 more minutes.You can also add extra butter for richness.

Remove from heat,adjust salt and serve immediately.

I loved the rice. Too hearty and easy it is. I refrigerated for around 12 hours,but still mine does not look that sry.But it was very chewy and dry.Almost like when we fry rice before cooking. But wonderful -garlicky and tangy. You can add as much tom paste as you like as well.

Another recipe I referenced is Wandering Chopsticks Vietnamese  Tomato Paste Red Rice

This hearty dish also visits AWED:Vietnam at Priyas,an event by DK.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Walnut Brownies

There are different types of brownies -chewy,fudgy,cakey etc based on the density,texture etc. Certain types may have less flour and no leavening agents whereas some may use egg whites for more chewiness etc. I too have attempted several types of brownies and this one which I adapted from uses no leavening agents and very less flour to create dry and chewy brownies which are excellent.

The original uses unsweetened chocolate and chocolate chips,but I have halved the recipe and used semisweet chocolate,reduced the sugar and used a mix of white and milk choco chunks and as usual replaced the egg with  Ener G. Flax seeds also work as an egg replacer.


Semi Sweet Chocolate: 2 oz  I used bakers Semi Sweet Chocolate 1 and 1/2 oz
Butter: 4 tbsp

Sugar: 3/4 cup (I used 1/2 cup only)
Walnuts: chopped: 1/2 cup
Salt:1/4 tsp (reduce if using salted butter)

Egg or Egg Replacer: 2 eggs or  1 tbsp Energ whipped with 4 tbsp water
Extra Water or Orange Juice: 2 tbsp optional

Chocolate Chopped or Choco chips: 6 tbsp

All Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup

Vanilla : 1 tsp

Melt together butter and chocolate  over a double boiler or even microwave. Let it cool slightly. Stir  in sugar,salt and walnuts. I tossed the walnuts together with little flour before adding as to avoid sinking to the bottom while baking.

Stir in eggs one at a time (or half of the Ener G liquid as I did).

If using Ener G eggs, ou always have to add extra liquid in the form of water or milk as Ener G is a mix of thickening powders and I usually requires around 1-2 tbsp per Ener G . There was enough liquid this time as only half a cup of flour was to be added,but just to make sure that enough liquid will be there,I added 2tbsp of orange juice.You can even add water or milk. Another reason why I added oj was that I had used semi sweet chocolate and milk chocolate and to prevent the brownies from being overly sweet ,I thought it was better I add tart oj.Leave it out in case you are using eggs.

Once the eggs are added,stir in half of the choc chips or choc chunks/pieces,flour and lastly vanilla.Make sure you mix the choco chips with flour and then add to the wet mix.Stir in to get a slightly thick but porable batter.

I love Cadbury's dairy milk but have an aversion to it when it is mixed with nuts (Fruit & Nut) or white choc (Wowie).But at the same time my daughter loves it and I have a stock of it. So when it gets too much, I chop them up and add it while baking. And this is what I did here,in the brownies.

Once ready,pour the batter in a lined pan -I used 8" square pan- optionally greased with spray. Tap the dish or pan so that the batter is spread evenly.There would not be much batter for a large dish.Top with remaining choc chips or choc chunks.

Bake in a pre heated oven at 350F for 35 minutes until the top looks dry. Mine took exactly 35 minutes.

Take out the pan,cool the brownies in the pan/dish for 10 minutes, then use the foil to lift from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.Cut into squares .

 Serve dusted with icing sugar.

You will be in the chocolate heaven .And all the more so when you share it with your friends. And this brownie is also being shared with Ria for MM:Chocolate, an event by Meeta. Forgive me for the bad pics, these days, I am clueless and have run out of nice ideas on clicking a pic.Feast on the brownies.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tomato Stirfried with Onions & Pine nuts

This is a simple yet tasty recipe that I adapted from Vietnamese Recipes. I am not sure whether it is a traditional dish or just a stir frywhich ended being in the site. A google search on the Vietnamese cuisine led me to this recipe. I had previously made poached eggpplant salad from the same site and loved it.If you prefer tasty dishes that come together quickly and with excellent flavours, this one will be my top choice.

Tomatoes: 2 big
Onion: prefereably white: 1 small
Spring Onion/Scallion: about 1/4 cup chopped
Pine nuts: 2-3 tbsp toasted

Soy Sauce

Garnish: Cilantro

Cut the tomatoes into wedges,dice onions and chop the scallions. Toast the pine nuts till they start to brown and keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok/pan/kadai till smoking hot. Add in the onions and scallions and stir fry for about 30 seconds,just as the raw smell disappears. I added mostly the white part of the scallions and little green parts.

Add in the tomatoes,little salt,pinch of sugar and soy sauce and stir fry continuously for 1-2 minutes.

The tomato skin may start to get wrinkly if you  cook more. The idea is to just make the raw smell of tomato disappear but retain the crunch or bite of the tomato and mix in the flavours together. The tomato should retain its shape and not get mushy or fully cooked.

Serve warm immediately as a side dish or dip or whatever way you like garnishing with cilantro.

You would not get a gravy with dish,just a thin sauce. Also normal soy sauce has both salt and is sweeter. So adjust the sugar and salt. If using light soy,you can add a generous pinch of sugar as light soy sauce is more spicier than the normal.I used normal soy and added a miserly pinch of sugar.

Excellent and quick side dish this is. It took me more time to chop than actual cooking. The dish came togeter under 5 minutes excluding the chopping time.But it was consumed under 10 minutes as well. The above estimate serve just 1 or 2 as a side. I have never stir fried tomatoes before and so kept the quantities minimum.

Another google search led me to an article which said that stir frying tomatoes is typical Vietnamese and well,this is my first entry to AWED:Vietnam,hosted by Priya,an event by DK .


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chocolat Chaud - Hot Chocolate French Style

This post was supposed to be done last saturday to be exact. But I developed cold feet. The recipe is French Hot Chocolate or Chocolate Chaud by Pierre Herme and I got the recipe from Jeffrey Steingarten's "It must've been something I ate".

If you are in US, then you may be knowing Food Network and its Sunday Show Iron Chef America. I loved it and I miss it - ok,even the reruns. Jeffrey Steingarten was a judge (and the most harsh critic of the iron chef) in most of the episodes and I hated him most of the time.Remember, 'hated' is in the past tense.

This time with my mind open and impartial, I started reading the book 'It must have something I ate' chosen by the book club and you know what,he is likeable. The book is a collection of food based articles or research by the author and imparts knowledge about breads,chocolate,baguettes,boudin noir (blood sausage) etc. The author has done excellent research in each article and have taken expert views and the book can be a guide in food research.I am not a person who loves non fiction that much,but this book has left me hooked and intrigued to know more about the food I consume.Ok, I love research and history of food interests me.I try to get information on how certain foods came about, meaning of the name etc and after reading the book have started appreciating Steingarten.

Anyway, the book contained several recipes like gratin,hot chocolate etc. I made this hot chocolate and then was hesistant to post it as I had made it with local or Indian ingredients. The recipe is expected  to be made using French Chocolate and cocoa and I felt guilty that I am using local or available items.Partially, this guilty feeling is because of the author as well. He was ready to take water from Rome, for making a Roman Bread!. Now I can't dash off to Paris for getting things like whole milk,mineral water, caster sugar and Valrhona Chocolate.Given a chance I would have done it,but I am tied down.

Then dear blogger Simran - the spinal cord of BookClub,made the same and urged me to post mine. Thus here's my version.

Whole Milk: 550 ml
Still Water: 50 ml (Mineral!!!)
Caster Sugar: 60 g
Cocoa Powder: 28 gms
Dark Chocolate : (about 70% cocoa) :  1 100 g bar ( 3-4 oz) sliced or scraped with a serrated knife (I simply grated it)

 Mix togethr milk,water and sugar and bring to boil on medium heat. Add in cocoa powder and chocolate slices and  bring to boil. Reduce and let it cook  till chocolate is melted and mixed well. Simmer for few minutes till required thickness is reached.

Blend with an immersion blender or 30 seconds in a normal blender.Enjoy the perfect elixir for wintery nights.

Ummmmmmmmmm,....... . EXCELLENT drink. I Salute Pierre Herme.No wonder chocolate is known as the Food of Gods and Herme the Best Chocolatier.

 We can say good bye to instant chocolate mixes.The sharpness of the cocoa is perfectly balanced by the sugar. Well, I used my semi sweet baking bar and not dark chocolate as mentioned. Still I am wondering, if it is this good with the local items,how much more it will be with the author mentioned brands . So there, when is the next flight to Paris? Do catch up the other posts for Steingarten in This book makes me Cook.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Coriander Cashew Pulao & Aloo Tamatar Kurma- Delicious Delights

These are perfect delights I tried from Priya.I made no changes to the recipes other than adapting the spices as per my taste and quantities needed. I was planning to post these  in the afternoon, right after I cooked them,but they were irresistible.TG for whatever pics I have taken. Within an hour everything was over and after posting this I am off to wash the dishes.

Coriander Cashew Pulao:
(original recipe here)

Basmathi Rice: 1 cups

Oil/Ghee1-2 tbsp
Whole Spices :As Per Taste: BayLeaves,Cinnamon,Cloves, Cardamom
Cashew Nuts: 4-5 handfuls or 1/2 cup

Onion: 1 :chopped long
Coconut Milk: 1 cup + as needed to cook rice

To Grind:
Coriander Leaves: a medium bunch
Coconut: 2 tbsp
Ginger: 1 " piece
Garlic:1-2 cloves
Cumin Seeds:1/2 tsp +
Fennel Seeds: 1/4 tsp +
Green Chilly: 1 medium (adjust the amount with red chilly)
Red Chilly: 1
Garam Masala Powder: 1/2 tsp +


Grind together all the ingredients from Coriander Leaves to Red Chilly.Keep Aside

Heat Oil/Ghee in a pressure cooker or deep pan. Add in the whole spices and let them sizzle. Add in cashew nuts and saute till brown. Add in the long thin onions and saute till transparent. Add in the ground paste and cook till raw smell goes. Add in Coconut milk and bring to boil.Add in rice,salt  and little more coconut milk or water as needed to cook the rice.Stir well and cook rice till done preferably in low heat if using pan or 1-2 whistles if using pressure cooker depending on your rice.

Garnish with Coriander leaves and serve hot with raitha and aloo & tamatar kurma.

Aloo Tamatar Kurma:
(original recipe here)


Oil: 1tbsp +

Whole Spices: as per Taste: bayleaves,cinnamon,cloves,cardamom

Onion: 1 chopped finely
Ginger Garlic Paste: 1/2 tsp +

Fennel Powder: 1/2 tsp+
Chilli Powder: 1/2 tsp +
Cumin Powder: 1/4 tsp +

Coriander Powder: 2 tsp+
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp

Potatoes: 1 cup cubed
Tomatoes: cut & crushed/ground : 1/4-1/2 cup
Coconut Milk: 1/2 cup

Salt: as per taste
Mint : for garnish

Chop the potatoes and keep aside. Cut the tomatoes into pieces and grind them in a mixer. I went for chunky puree and you can also used crushed tomatoes. If you do not have fennel powder,dry roast the fennel seeds and powder them.

Heat oil.Add in the whole spices and sizzle. Add in chopped onions and ginger garlic paste and let them cook till raw smell goes. Add in the fennel powder,chilli powder,cumin powder and little salt and saute for a few secnds till the raw smell disappear. Add in coriander powder,turmeric powder and potato cubes,mix well ,add little water needed to cook the potatoes and let them cook. Halfway through,add the pureed/crushed tomatoes and continue cooking till the potatoes are done. Check for salt and add in the coconut milk and heat through to get the thickness you want. Serve hot with pulao, rotis or other breads.

Each dish was great. The two dishes use almost the same spice combo and are coconut milk based and I never tink twice when I see a spud dish. I also served onion raitha with the rice ,but let me tell you the pulao-kurma combo is unbeatable. Hearty Thanks for the keeper recipes Priya. The pulao and kurma are off to  PJ's T&T:Priyas Easy n Tasty Recipes, an event by Lakshmi. Dig in :P

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Alsacien Cinnamon Bredeles - Easy n Tasty n Buttery

These are hearty nutty butter cookies from Alsace, France. The term bredeles or bredelas covers a wide range from cookies to cakes and these nutty buttery delights have been adapated from Priya. They are so delicious and perfect for the coming Christmas season. And what's more they are made with my favourite spice cinnamon.

All Purpose Flour: 3/4 cup
Walnuts + Almonds: 1/4 cup or 2 tbsp each
Cinnamon: 1 tsp

Egg Yolk: 1 or Ener G Egg Yolk: 1.5 packed tsp of powder + only 1 tbsp of water/liquid mixed well
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Salt: a pinch (avoid if using salted butter)
Butter: softened: 8 tbsp or 100g or 1/2 cup

Beat together,eggyolk,salt,and sugar.Add in butter beat until soft and creamy.

Powder the nuts together.Just pulse them in short bursts else they may give out oil.Mix together the flour,cinnamon and the powdered nuts.

Add the dry mix to the butter-yolk-sugar mix and knead to form a soft dough.

In a dusted counter roll out the dough into a thin rectangle and with appropriate cookie cutters cut into shapes.I found my dough to be too buttery sticky to roll out so, I pinched small pieces of the dough and shaped them into circles.Arange them 1-2 inches apart in a lined (optional) baking sheet

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 10 minutesor until the edges start browning. You can see the butter bubbling and the cookies slightly expanding. As soon as the edges start browning take out.

Let the cookies remain in the baking sheet where they will harden within minutes.Take out and store in your tummy or if any remining in an airtight container.

Thanks Priya, for the very buttery cookies perfect for Christmas. I polished them off warm from the oven. These cookies are off to AWED:France at Priya's, an event by DK and also to T&T: Priyas Easy n Tasty Recipes, at PJ's an event by Lakshmi

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hearty Potage with Pistou

Earlier I had made a Provencal vegetable soup served with pistou from Ina Garten. This one is a much simpler version which I had bookmarked from Vegetarian Times.I enjoyed it as such and also with pistou which is similar to Italian pesto. Usually potage is category of thick soups and stews with meat and veggies cooked to a mush and the word means "potted dish". If the earlier soup was chunky with pasta and veggies and saffron this one is simple and quick and equally hearty.

Butter : 2-3 tbsp
Leeks: 2 chopped (white and little green only)
Potatoes: cubed : 1 cup
Carrots: chopped: almost  1 cup

Garlic: 2 small cloves crushed/minced
Thyme: 1 sprig fresh or use dried
Bay Leaf: fresh preferably,I used dried

Veg Broth: 2 cups +
Water: 1 cup + as needed

Salt, Pepper: as per taste

 Fresh Basil
Toasted Walnuts
Garlic: 1 clove

In a heavy pan,melt butter and add chopped leeks and salt.Cover and cook till soft stirring in between. Add garlic and continue for a minute till it releases aroma.Add in 2 tbsp of wine/broth (I used broth) and continue till the liquid has evaporated. Add in chopped potatoes and carrots,thyme,bayleaf salt and pepper to the leeks and mix well. Add in broth and water and bring to boil. Reduce,cover with a lid and let it simmer for about 20-30  minutes or more until the veggies are cooked.

Remove from heal and cool for a while.Puree in  batches if needed. Remove the bayleaf and thyme sprig if fresh herbs were used before pureeing. If thick,add in more broth or water and heat through or serve warm with pistou.

Pistou: Blend together all the ingredients to obtain a thick paste.I went for a coarser paste. Mine was not as greenish as I wanted. But the basil was overpowering in taste which I is the way I prefer and was very hearty. Drizzle on top of the soup and serve rightaway.

The soup was very hearty and comforting. It turned out to be silky smooth and thick and I had to add more water to get it to preferred consistency.It is very hearty by itself and the addition of pistou makes it more flavourful.

This is also my first entry to AWED:France by Priya, an event by DK.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Best Oatmeal Bread

This is the best oatmeal bread I have ever made till now. I found the recipe from Quaker Oats site and reduced it for a single loaf and it turned out to be the best. Even with normal flour my breads sometimes turn out to be a disaster thanks to the yeast and other unlucky circumstances,so I was vary when I saw the recipe. But it turned out to be a keeper recipe and you get a healthy bread for breakfast or lunch or even perfect for croutons.

All Purpose Flour: 2 & 1/2  -3 cups + more for dusting
Old Fashioned/ Instant Oats: 1 and 1/4 cup
Sugar:2 tbsp
Salt:1 & 1/4 tsp salt
Instant Yeast: 1 pkt

Wet Mix:
Water: 3/4 cup
Milk: 10 tbsp
Unsalted Butter/ Margarine: 2 tbsp

In a big bowl,mix together 1.5 cups of flour,whole of oats,sugar,salt,and yeast.

In another saucepan,mix together water,milk and butter and heat  through till butter starts to melt or the mix is warm. Mix well so that the butter is well blended.

Make a well in the flour-oats-yeast mix and put the warm liquid into it. Mix/beat well with hands or ladle or machine until moist for abut 3 minutes. You can see that the dry flour and oats absorb the entire liquid and it will look like a mass of porridge.

Add in 1 cup of flour more and beat/mix to get a moist sticky dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic adding tablespoonful of flour as needed.It took me about 5-6 tbsp more to get an elastic dough.

Shape into a ball and keep covered in an oiled/greased bowl,rotating once so that it gets coated with oil. Let it rice until doubled or about 30 minutes.

Punch down.Cover and rest for 10 minutes,then form loaves and keep in loaf pan and then let it rise again for 15 minutes or until doubled.

The journey from the normal dough to the final loaf dough is...

Bake in a preheated oven at 375F for 45-50 minutes until the top turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and place in the wire rack.Cool completely before slicing and serving.

The bread looks excellent,professionally done- okay I am proud of myself,my baking confidenceis high thanks to it. But it is a bit crumbly.This could be because I might have cut it prior to completely cooling.But it tasted excellent.It was a bit heavy than I expected as oats is there and chewy. You can see that compared to the normal sandwich bread the air holes are lesser here.

Well, the bread is perfect warm from the oven. It is also perfect with jam, cheese or any choice of spread. I cut the slices thick and found that they are best for a thick sandwich. You can also use them for puddings and also bake croutons from them.I loved the bread, I had made it twice. The second time, I removed about 1/4 cup of dough as I thought the dough is getting a bit constricted in the loaf pan and shaped it as a pretzel.

The bread goes to BBD#34 : Grain Breads at Swati's kitchen,an event by Zorra.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

/*TYNT script starts here */ /*TYNT ends */