Categories
Food and recipe

Cheese n Tomato Swirly Buns

I wake up each day, wondering what to pack in my child’s lunch-box! I prefer non-messy finger-foods, but they aren’t always filling. My Little Prince hates sandwiches, and you already know about my exceptional roti-making-skills! Therefore I often resort to jam-triangles (er, a fancy name for two slices of bread with jam spread inbetween them and cut diagonally into two halves), or rolls (again, paratha rolled like a cigar (oops) along with fresh fruits/vegetables/salad and a tiny pot of Yogurt.

So when I saw some cute little tomato buns on display at the Bakery section of a superstore, my heart skipped a beat! They looked (and tasted delicious!) and were rather filling too. Inspired by the lovely chefs I know I decided to come up with a recipe to make these on my own.

Those of you who know me, also know what a ‘fantastic’ cook I am (Hick! Please take that with a bucket of salt!). And this recipe (Ahem… my own, by the way :-)..pulls collars up!) is so utterly easy, that even a Baking-Duffer like me cannot go wrong. Seriously!

When my little prince tasted the Swirly Buns, he said ‘Mummy, these don’t look like the store ones, but they taste quite similar’ J Good enough for a first attempt, huh?

I hope you do try it!!

What I think you need to have:

1) For the bread/roll:

2.5 cups of flour, 1 cup of warm water, 1/2 spoon sugar, 1 spoon salt (I prefer my food a little less salty, but feel free to add more if you wish!), 1 tablespoon Del Monte EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). 1 tablespoon of butter (I can’t measure out xy.z gms for nuts 😉 but again, feel free to add more if you like), 3/4 spoon dry-active-yeast (I bought the yeast that you add directly to the flour, and not the one that needs preparation. So if you are using yeast that needs to be proofed, then do follow the instructions on the pack 😉

2) For the cheese n’ tomato spread/filling:

I believe life is too short to waste time making tomato sauce from scratch!!! Blanching tomatoes, peeling and grinding them.. argh..takes the pleasure out of cooking doesn’t it?! So do take the smarter way out and use good quality ready-made store-bought pasta sauce. Like Del Monte pasta sauce (You can use any of the Del Monte range, but I prefer tomato-garlic – which translates to ‘Siliciana‘), Grated cheese, a handful of Dried herbs, and if you want, a few drops of milk for  basting (you could use egg, but I chose to go completely veggie on this one). I actually found the Swirly Buns go a little soggy if you baste them. They turn out light and fluffy if you don’t baste them. Up to you of course!

What I think you should do:

As always, mix all the ‘bread’ ingredients in a bowl, knead into a soft dough and leave it covered with clingfilm for about 20 mins until it has doubled in size. Then knock down the ball of dough, and roll it out into any shape. Rectangles would be nice though. (I got 2 big size rectangles for this quantity of flour.) Now slice these into thin LONG strips. Or make one medium length strip, and slit it into two halves (length-wise) to make it one looooong roll.

Onto each strip, spread some Del Monte pasta sauce, throw in some grated cheese and dried herbs. Now roll it inwards like a circle. Once you get a cute little Swirly Bun, top it with a generous spread of pasta sauce, more grated cheese and a pinch of dried herbs again.

OPTIONAL: Brush with a drop of milk or egg-wash if you like, but certainly don’t let them get soggy! I didn’t brush/baste it, and it turned out great anyway!


Now the dear husband decided to try his hand at the Swirly Buns and made an interesting variation, of Italian Pasta + Swirly buns 🙂 He included a few bites of lovely little Tomato+Basil Tortellini  and a dash of Pesto and made this huge dinner-roll 🙂 that tasted awesome.

Cheese n Tomato Swirly Buns and in the Right-hand top corner, the pasta Swirly Buns 🙂 ready to go into the oven.

Pop these pretty little Swirly Buns into the oven (180 degrees, 20-25 mins). And voila! You have an amazing-looking-and-tasting batch of Swirly Buns!!!

Take a look at these babies!!!

And on the inside…

 

The Swirly Buns are good to eat hot or cold! Pack these rolls into your kid’s lunch box for a lip-smacking snack 🙂


They make a nice accompaniment to soups as well. Or WTH, just munch on them while wasting time on Facebook 😉 😉

I think the shelf-life should be quite good. Unfortunately, I never get to find out, as they get polished off the day I make them!!

(PS: I am sending this as an entry to the Indiblogger Del Monte contest) (https://www.facebook.com/worldfoody).

Categories
Food and recipe Health n Fitness

Calling all lovers.. er.. ‘curry’ lovers!

There are lots of things different here in the UK as compared to India.

Like for example, many of us (Indian parents/grandparents) pride ourselves in saying our children are ‘Oh soooo naughtyyyy….’ whereas here ‘naughty’ indicates the kid is ‘bad’!

And when I say ‘tea’ I really mean the sweet, hot liquid with milk.. tea! Not the ‘London’ version of tea that means a nice evening snack (that tea is a part of!)

Or for example, ‘curry’, which to me, means vegetables, diced/chopped/etc, tempered with mustard seeds and seasoned with regular, mundane spices and not a thick gravy flavoured with cream or coconut milk! Which by the way, reminds me of what a local tour operator once said… ‘Britain’s favourite food isn’t Fish n Chips, but ‘Chicken Curry’!

So here is a dish, that we absolutely LOVE! With a Japanese/Chinese flavour, this is a one-course dish, scrumptious, filling, healthy (well, in part!) and absolutely droolicious.

Its actually a signature dish of Wagamama, called ‘Yasai Katsu Curry’ (Fried vegetables curry with rice). Obviously this is the ‘vegetarian’ version (actually, ‘eggetarian’ as you do need a little bit of egg to coat the veggies in). However, you could easily replace the veggies with slices of chicken and it would taste just as good (my non-vegetarian friends would claim it tastes even better!) The curry here refers to a Japanese style of curry. Wiki says it all!

First, let me post a picture.. to see if it tempts you!!

Did you like this, did you? Did you?

Ok, so I hope I have your very kind (stomach-growling) attention now!

Before I very generously share this magic recipe with you, let me give you an estimate of how much time this dish takes, to make. Er.. around an hour (more, if you make all the ingredients from scratch, and less, if you decide to play smart like I did, and buy some of it from the store).

The trick, really, is to get all the ingredients ready before-hand, and then the actually cooking/serving is actually quite quick.

I can guarantee you, the effort is really worth it, considering this is a one-pot meal, that your folks are going to LOVE!

So, for the ingredients.

We actually have FOUR sets of components here.

1) For the main Yasai Katsu:

(a) Vegetables like Brinjal (aubergine), Butternut squash and Sweet potato work best. Just slice them. This really depends on how you want your veggies. Wagamama serves thick slices, whereas I like em thin 😉 so I sliced a brinjal into 0.5 thickness.

(b) Half a cup of ordinary white flour with a pinch of salt

Crisp bread crumbs mixture

(c) Two full cups of a mixture of crumbs (Bread crumbs and plain salt crackers (I used Melba Toasts) ground into fine crumbs, to add a crisp texture to the veggies)

(d) One egg, beaten lightly.

You could add your choice of spices to any of these, really. I just added some salt to the flour, and some more salt, coriander powder and tumeric powder (Tee hee… an Indian cook after all!) to the bread crumbs mixture. But make it the way you like it. If you like your food spicy, then go for it!

2) The side: Now you could serve either crunchy vegetables or a side salad. I chose the veggies, simple because I had no salad at home 😉 Take your pick of colourful capsicum(peppers), baby-corn, mange-tout… vegetables that will suit a quick stir-fry.

Mmmm... stir-fried crunchy vegetables!

3) White rice. You could either use plain ponni rice/sona masoori rice or basmati rice. It tastes good either way. Wagamama serves this dish with some yummy sticky white rice, that I have NO clue how to make. So I faithfully stuck to our aromatic basmati 🙂

4) And lastly, the curry sauce. Now, Google says it is to be prepared this way.

Onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder – Fry it all, simmer with a little water for about 15 mins, cool it, and grind it with a little more water. Simmer again for about 15 mins.

Now, how do you cook this delicious meal? Really , truly simple!

Step 1: Cook your rice. I washed 1 cup of basmati rice, added 2 cups of water to it, and chucked the bowl into the microwave, first for 10 mins, then a quick stir, and another 7 minutes.

Step 2: Now, while your rice is getting cooked, take a couple of minutes to grind the bread and the crackers together to get a fine bread-crumbs mixture. Beat an egg, and keep it aside. Keep the flour ready. Start heating up the oil. Don’t slice your brinjal until it is time to fry them.

The Yasai and Katsu stuff

Step 3: Get your curry sauce organized. I’ll be honest. I didn’t make the curry sauce myself. Just bought a pack of ‘curry sauce powder’ from the supermarket and added it to boiling water. Voila!! A nice, thick, sticky curry sauce.

Side aside

Step 4: Roughly chop your side vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Heat one teaspoon of mild/medium olive oil (for health reasons… well, don’t ask me why I insist on olive oil, when the bleddy veggies are going to be deep-fried!!), and throw the veggies in. Stir-fry on high heat for about 3 mins and take them off the pan. Puhlees, for heaven’s sake, don’t cook them soggy!

Also, if you have a couple of minutes to spare, do peel a carrot, and slice slivers of it, for garnishing. It adds that ‘special’ touch, you see 😉
Step 5: OK, now for the frying bit. By this time, you should have your rice, your curry and your side salad/veggies READY. So take those slices of brinjal (if you are using sweet potato/squash, please cook them in boiling water before frying them), coat them lightly in flour, dip them in the egg, and load them with the crumbs. Once you have about 3-4 ready, slide them gently into the hot oil. You know how to fry, don’t you? Just ensure it does not get burnt! And, drain excess oil onto tissue paper.
Step 6: Pile your plate and serve Hot Hot Hot!!!! Invert a cup of rice, arrange the fried veggies, add some side veggies, ladle the curry sauce, and garnish with carrot!! And.. Bon Apetit!!!
Mmmm.... Yasai Katsu Curry!

So, tell me, did you like it? Did you?

Categories
Humour Incidents Thought and Reason

Bits, Bobs and Sexy legs

Ok, if you are one of those few people who re-read the title just now, for your kind information, it is ‘bIts, bObs and sexy legs’. Perverts… 🙄

I miss blogging! I miss reading posts by my blog-buddies, I miss commenting, I miss replying to the very kind comments on my own blog! 24-hours a day is simply not enough! There is so much to do, so much to not do… and hardly any time to write. So here are a few bits and bobs….

1) Just read this yesterday: It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. How very true. You simply have to run faster than ever before, just to remain in the same place. I thought this was by Kotler, however, Wiki told me otherwise. To read the source of this brilliant line, do click this link.

2) We were browsing the ‘Father’s Day‘ Cards at Tesco today, and the young security boy commented about how ‘people are marketing every single thing!‘ and how ‘there is a day for every thing and every one’. I agreed , nodding wisely, until he blurted, ‘There’s a fathers day, a mother’s day… at this rate, they will introduce a Child’s day!‘ I guess this boy hadn’t heard of ‘Children’s Day’ 😆 😆 😆

3) On sexy legs… (Ah…. finally!)

I actually went to the gym last month. Twice so far! And I actually enjoyed it. Now having sweated out for two hours (one hour each session), I instantly felt ‘fitter’ than ever before.

So, there is this pedestrian crossing that I have to cross every day, to drop the Brat off at school. There is a glass wall on the opposite side of the road.

Now, the Brat and I were standing on this side of the road, waiting for the traffic signal to change, so we could cross over to the other side. And voila!! In the glass wall, I saw the most amazing reflection of my legs. Looking lean and long in those dark blue denim jeans. I was amazed at the results of my two hours of gym-ing. I gazed at the reflection for a couple of seconds, sighing, wondering why I didn’t begin exercising earlier. And then – guess what happened next….

.

..

….

…..

……

…….

……..

………

……….

And then.. the pair of legs turned around and started to walk away!!! 🙄

Despite my average levels of sanity, I could not – for the life of me – figure out (pun unintended) how my sexy legs could do that … Until I realised those belonged to someone else. .. to a real girl who was actually standing behind the glass wall and whose upper half was hidden by a board that contained the tube map 😦

🙄 🙄 😆 😆

It was all I could do, to stop myself from clicking a picture. Saks would have done a great job, but hey, I am not her.

On that note, where the hell is she????? And that reminds me, where the hell is every one else? Where are Vimmu, Solilo, Indyeah? Where are Pixie, Swar, Mon and Uma? And why are Hitchy and Brat not commenting in their usual style? I miss all of you people.

(I also miss all those whose names I have forgotten remembered but just not written down ;-))

Itna sannata kyun hai bhai???

(4) P.S: I watched ‘Ready‘ yesterday. Total time-pass!! The first half of the movie was funny and had quite a few laughs, and great catchy numbers. The second half was entirely boring. So any of you planning to watch it, have fun 🙂 My Brat cannot stop singing Dhinka Chika and trying to copy Sallu’s moves 😉

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y1V5up6ljw

(5) Edited to add: Just read this line on a fan-page on facebook. Lines of appreciation for a very popular male person, from his female fan…

‘….Its been a pleasure sharing with you as to my recent interest which had grown oversize…’ 🙄 🙄 :mrgreen: 🙄

I seriously wonder what she was referring to… any guesses?!!!!!

P.S: For the non-perverted mind: The male was Vah Chef  😉

Btw, I am a huge fan of Vah Chef myself… I enjoy his recipies on Youtube… and most importantly, I looooooooooooove his expression when he tastes his own food 🙂 Priceless and totally enviable 🙂

Happy rest of the week, folks. I am not sure when I will be able to reply to your lovely comments. But please keep writing ….

Categories
365

Brrrreakfast – 365 project – day 2

The picture says it all 🙂

PS 1: My dearest and most adorable non-Chennai friends – Please oh puhleez don’t call this DO-SA. It is a DosaI 🙂 🙂 🙂

One of my best friends back in college used to say ‘DosA and Sambhurr’. Had she not been so dear to me, I could have killed her Every time she massacred the word DosaI by calling it a DosA. Its like me saying ‘Barota’ instead of ‘Parantha’ 😛

PS 2: Day 1 of Project 365 is right here, in case you wish to know what this project is about.

Categories
Food and recipe

Awfully Awesome Parathas

If you are wondering about how silly the title is, wait until you see the pictures. They are self-explanatory 🙂

I received an email from dear Swaram, about recipe exchange. The crux was that it should be a simple and easy-to-make recipe. And this is what I ingeniously came up with:

1- Take any left-over steamed or cooked veggies from the previous day, or the day-before 😉 as long as there is no mould/fungus on it, that should be fine 😈 To this, add, a pinch of Salt, Turmeric, Jeera Powder, Aamchur, Pepper powder (I use this instead of Chilli powder, so that even Kids can eat it. Psst: By kids I mean moi 😉 I hate spice ;-)), Ginger-garlic paste.

2- Now mash it up really well, or even better, just quick grind it in the mixie without any water. You should end up with an AWFUL looking gooey paste.

Btw, I used a little bowl of freshly steamed Beans, Carrot and Peas and another little cup of left-over aloo-gobi sabzi. No, I didn’t mix the two, now even I cannot stand such a disgusting concoction 😉 I made two different types of parathas 🙂

3- Take a small lemon-sized ball of dough, and divide it into two. Roll it out into little circles. Drop a lump of the awful mixture into one circle, place the other circle on top, and press the edges together to seal them. Now roll them out into a big paratha, but don’t let the goo get out through the edges.

4- Cook this on a hot Tava, and remember, wherever the goo has indeed squeezed itself out, just add a few drops of ghee and let it roast.

Trust me on this folks, the left-over-mixed-veggies-parathas taste AWESOME. Needless to say, they are extremely nutritious too.

Try it out for yourself…

(P.S: Warned you in the beginning : These look awful, but taste awesome. Do try!!)

Categories
Food and recipe Health n Fitness

Friday Feast 2 – Utterly simple

I was wondering if my Friday Feast posts were turning boring, when Deeps said she was actually looking forward to it!!! So I plunged into writing this post, on a Tuesday, and scheduling it to be published on Friday (Whoa @ my commitment to blogging, no?).

This Friday, I have not one, but Two Feasts for you!

1- ONE-POT STIR-FRY MEAL

As always, a quick n easy one-pot meal idea :  Stir-fry noodles/rice

Utterly simple – Roughly chop up loads of veggies – Spring onions, onions, baby corn, carrot, capsicum (all colours), cabbage, mange tout, beans – toss them into a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Stir-fry them on high heat, for about 2-3 minutes, until they get slightly brown, but not fully cooked. Do remember to keep the veggies crunchy.

Now add in some salt to taste. I don’t usually add Ajinomoto as I cannot serve that to my little brat. If you like, you could add in a tablespoon of soy sauce and vinegar. Or a ready-made packet of Knorr hakka noodles masala (which tastes quite good!).

Finally, throw in the cooked rice or noodles (as you like), toss briskly, without mashing either the rice or the veggies. Basically, you are doing a stir-fry and not cooking food.

Knorr goodies for foodies

For the more enthusiastic folks around, a side-dish (cauliflower manchurian or paneer manchurian and the likes!) could be made as well. I usually just stock up on the Knorr Manchurian or Knorr Schezwan packets, and use them sparingly on my feeling-lazy-days!

They are extremely simply and taste divine. Just follow the instructions on the pack and its really easy to make the side-dish. Otherwise, ofcourse, you can do it from scratch, and there are loads of recipies on the internet, that I don’t want to bore you with now!!

Personally, I am very happy with this one-pot meal. Its simple, easy to make, tasty and well, let’s face it -what could be healthier than vegetables?

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2- THOMAS DOSAI!!!!

The second Feast for today, is specially meant for your Kiddies and Kiddos: A yummy dosai in the shape of a Thomas train (with wheels!), decorated with cooked potato and spinach 🙂

My mum used to make dosais in the shape of Ducks and Houses when we were young!

The important thing to remember while making dosai in different shapes, is the temperature of your tava. Heat your dosai tava slightly, not too hot (otherwise the batter will become clumpy), and not too cool either (as then, the batter will not cook!!).

When the tava is warm, ladle the batter onto it. First draw a circle, and then a little rectangle adjoining it. Lastly, spoon a tiny bit on the top to make a funnel! Don’t forget the wheels!!! Cook little circles of batter, and just arrange them under the train before you serve.

You can top this with any veggies to make a face. The possibilities are quite endless, really! I am quite sure your child will wolf this down in no time 🙂

Do try and let me know!

And – Happy Weekend, folks!!!

Categories
Food and recipe

Friday Feast – Fussy eaters!

This one is for mommies and daddies of children who happen to be fussy eaters 🙂 A lunch-box idea that is really and truly easy peasy for the parent, and even easier for your child!

(Apologies for the poor picture quality).

 

No kid can refuse this colourful and balanced meal

 

1- Roughly chop veggies like baby corn, carrot, beans, capsicum (green, red, orange and yellow – really just any colour available), cabbage and a little onion if you please. Stir-fry these for about 5 mins in a teaspoon of oil, add a pinch of salt. Add some cooked white rice (basmati makes a great combination).

2- Complement the rice with a few cherry tomatoes and fruits like apple, grapes or peeled orange.

Voila! Your child has a lovely balanced meal!! And the chances are pretty good, that he/she will gobble this up without making a fuss. Mine did 🙂

Happy weekend, girls and boys 🙂 and uncles and aunties 🙂

Categories
Food and recipe

If you liked cheese parathas, you will love…

…..Egg parathas!

For eggetarians, this is a delicious one-dish meal. And for harassed Mommies and Daddies of fussy eaters, this is an outright boon!!!

Ok folks, I can proudly say I have come a long way from the days of trying to master the art of making chapatis.

All you need:

(a) Chapati dough (b) Beat together: 1 egg, a pinch of salt (add pepper, if you like), some chopped coriander

Step 1– Roll dough into circle, spread few drops of oil, fold into half, spread another drop of oil, fold again to make it a triangle. Roll out into a bigger triangle, taking care to not smash the layers into each other 😉

Step 2– Pop this onto the Tava (griddle/pan), cook for a few seconds on one side, turn over the chapati and cook for a few more seconds on the other side. Don’t let it turn brown, just cook it very very little, so that the layers are ready to peel away from each other.

Step 3– Take the semi-cooked chapati off the Tava, and gently peel the layers, without tearing them apart! Use a spoon (not a knife, please)

Step 4– Now place the chapati back onto the tava, and spoon half the egg mixture into the triangle. The cheeky mixture will try to leak (outside the chapati), but ‘you’ can be smarter and do a little acrobatics with the Tava. Tilt it a little, to help the mixture run back inside the chapati. Yeah yeah, you can also cheat a little, and scrape any mixture off the tava and spoon it right back into the chapati!

Step 5– Give this a couple of minutes to cook well on both sides, and ensure the egg is also fully cooked inside! The chapati turns into a yummy filling paratha.

Step 6- Actually, there’s no step 6. All you have to do, is E.A.T 🙂 You could dip this in ketchup or a salsa dip to make it tastier. The only real drawback is, you have got to eat this hot, not cold.

EDITED TO ADD:-

I guess the shape and technique seem a little daunting. It really is quite easy, once you practise making the parathas a couple of times. For those who don’t wish to try, there is a really easy way.

Roll the dough into a regular chapati, make it really thin though.

Cook the chapati slightly on one side, then turn to the other. Turn back the slightly cooked side now, and spoon in the egg mixture. Now fold the chapati from both sides, and also slightly seal the top and bottom so that the egg remains inside.

Easy peasy egg roll

Leave this to cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes until the egg is fully cooked. You could turn this over and let it cook for a minute longer.

Enjoy!!!

Categories
Food and recipe

Friday Feast – Cheese Paratha

Simple cheese parathas are a sure hit with Kids (er… and non-calorie-conscious-adults too ;-)). And the best part – You don’t even need a side-dish 😉 This is tasty just on its own!

All you need: Dough, Grated Cheese. Roll dough, pile on the cheese, fold from all sides, roll again, and cook on both sides! Finito!!!

More enthusiastic cook-ers can even try out variations by adding in some chopped onions, coriander, blah blah blah!

For lazy bones like me, this is a simply perfect one-meal dish!

Recipe courtesy Sanyash!

Now I leave you with two pictures that will leave you hungry…

Roll dough, pile on ball of grated cheese, roll again
Cook on both sides, crunch asap

(Due apologies for such bad quality pictures)

I hope you try this out soon-est and let me know how it turned out.

Categories
Food and recipe

Friday Feast – Palak in a Jiffy

I hate cooking. Period.

Therefore, if at all I try a recipe, it just HAS to be something really quick and easy. So is this recipe for Friday Feast… Palak (paneer or aloo, whatever!)

Step 1 – Very very very roughly -Chop palak (spinach), onion and tomato (separately)

Step 2 – Cook these individually (i.e. palak in one pan, and onion/tomato – together with a little ginger-garlic paste in another) on a medium-high flame for about 5-7 mins.

Leave it to cool.

Do whatever you like for 15-20 mins. Check your Facebook status, Leave some spam comments on other peoples’ blogs, Tweet if you like… just enjoy.

When you are back:

Step 3 – Grind onion/tomato mixture first. Heat a teaspoon of oil in pan, throw in some jeera, a bay leaf and the ground mixture. Grind the palak, add that too.

Step 4 – Add all the powders you have in your kitchen – salt, chilli, haldi, dhani, jeera, garam masala – just whatever you like, really 😉 Don’t bother too much about quantities and proportions. You like it salty, add more salt. Like it spicy, add extra chilli or pepper powder. Its YOUR recipe, so cook it the way you want to!!

Let it simmer for 3-4 mins.

Step 5– Optional – Add either soft paneer, fried paneer (yummyyyyy ;-)) or boiled potato. I chose boiled potato simply because it wasn’t as fattening as paneer!

And the best part, eat this with roti or some really yummy aloo paratha.

That utterly drooolicious paratha, btw, is the easiest thing ever! Gets done in less than a minute!!! All you have to do, is dial lunchbrunch.co.uk and order it home 😉 (Thanks, Kanagu, for that awesome tip ;-))