Baking | Multigrain Granola … breakfast o’clock! #glutenfree #healthy #DIY

“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.”
John Gunther

Multigrain GranolaMultigrain Granola … this is what flavours the mornings our end these days, and it doesn’t seem to change. I have made granola every single week for the past 4 weeks, and its gratifying to see the better half reach out for it. I had forgotten how easy granola, the ‘hippie’ food of the Sixties, was to make at home.Multigrain Granola  I was born in the late Sixties of this “cultural decade” which also saw a paradigm change in the world – the Beatles, the first step on the moon, the Vietnam war, the assassination of JFK, womens liberation movements.  My Sixties saw the good old Pye tuned to BBC World Service every morning, the Hare Rama  Krishna movement gaining fame thanks to  George Harrison, blackouts during war, no television, hopscotch and hide ‘n seek…

Wild Indian figs {goolar}My Sixties and Seveties also saw loads of naturally growing foodstuff  - mulberries, wild dates, jamun {Java plum}, ber {jujube/ Indian plum}, mangoes, tamarind, wild berries, wild figs. We would cram everything into our little mouths!The Sixties also saw the ‘hippie’ movement and a revival of natural, healthy foods in everyday diet, and a shunning of processed and sugary foods.Multigrain Granola My first tryst with breakfast creal began with the Gluten Free Chocolate Granola in 2011. Someway along the way, breakfast options for the dieting diva changed into smoothies, and granola got left behind. Of late, the husband has tired of ‘eggs in breakfast‘. He’s also off wheat as being gluten free makes him feel better.

Whole foodThat’s where granola stepped in! With the weather becoming increasingly warm, a make ahead, on the go ‘cold’ breakfast has won over egg! Topped with seasonal fruit like mulberries, fresh figs, strawberries, banana even better. Of late, my involvement with oats {and other whole grains} has been huge thanks to developing recipes and doing a TV cookshow for Saffola Oats. Suddenly anything and everything oats seems like a recipe opportunity. 

Multigrain Granola

Both granola and muesli contain a mixture of grains (such as oats), nuts, dried fruit and sometimes bran and wheat germ. Muesli may contain sugar and dried-milk solids, but it can be unsweetened. Granola is typically toasted with honey and oil, resulting in a crisp texture and sweet glaze not found in muesli. Because granola contains the addition of honey and oil, it tends to have a higher sugar and fat content. As a result, granola is, on average, higher in calories than muesli. 

Jordans Perfect Morning v10

Click here for a range of Jordan’s cerealsBoth granola and muesli offer nutritional benefits. Both have fiber from the grains, fruits and nuts. In addition, the dried fruits provide antioxidants, while the nuts offer healthy fats. Topping either muesli or granola with low-fat milk, soy milk or yogurt makes for a nutritionally balanced, filling breakfast. 

Multigrain Granola  Along came a huge bowl and in went the oats, followed by popped amaranth. I use amaranth quite often these days I have plenty on hand, both flour and popped. In also went some puffed rice which is available at just about every corner store here. Nuts and raisins are always welcome. I also threw in some melon seeds, the remainder of some last used in Savoury  Hungarian Kalács & Twisted Buns.

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse vintageGranola and toasted cereal is always nice to have on hand for a quick snack, to top yogurt and fruit, to make granola bars, and even to make a layered fruit dessert. In the Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse above, I tossed some granola into melted chocolate, let it harden and then used it in the layered dessert!

[print_this]Recipe: Multigrain Granola 
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Summary: Full of fibre, crisp, sweet, buttery too, this Multigrain Granola is sure to please! You can always substitute the butter for oil, and play around with different grains and nuts. Go ahead, make it into the granola you love!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 160g oats
  • 30g puffed rice
  • 35g popped amaranth
  • 50g melon seeds
  • 50-75g walnuts, chopped
  • 100g raisins
  • 25ml water
  • 25ml honey
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. Place the water, honey, butter, brown sugar and vanilla bean powder in saucepan. Simmer over low heat until the butter melts. Stir well to mix. {Alternatively, place in a heat proof bowl and microwave for 1 minute}.
  3. Place all remaining ingredients except raisins in a large bowl and stir to mix.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry mix, stir well to mix uniformly.
  5. Turn onto prepared sheet and bake for about an hour until dry. Stir every 15 minutes to redistribute.
  6. Toss in the raisins, cool completely and store in an airtight box.

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Baking | Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies … #comfortfood #cookies #eggless #wholegrain

“You’ll never convince me that there’s more to life than chocolate chip cookies”
Charles M. Shultz

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain CookiesEggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies … cookies that are meant to be shared! I haven’t posted a cookie recipe for a while on PAB. Possibly since I don’t make new variations very often, or when I do, I forget to jot the recipe down. Ones that I regularly make are all time favourites like Wholewheat & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies & these Not Quite Anzac cookies.

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies That morning I was due to meet a sweet girl who was coming in to meet me from halfway across India. I knew she was a vegetarian and I wanted to bake something eggless for her. Cookies seemed a good idea for the coffee morning. I had some Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse chilling in the fridge for her too.

Spring Spring has all but given way to summer. Mornings and evenings are beautifully pleasant; the season inspires like no other. Flowers bloom, fruits spill off bazaar shelves, birds chirp, butterflies zip around. Baking is fun in this weather though baking cookies is fun any time!!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies The cookies came out delicious, even better since they were packed with nutrition and whole grains. I love the idea of adding nut meal to cookies. In my case I have to since the daughter dislikes nuts with a vengeance. She loves cookies with nut meal though!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies I baked another batch soon after as we flew into breathtakingly beautiful Srinagar for a short vacation. It’s always nice to carry a ‘taste of home’ with us. Though Srinagar is known for its little bakeries that dot the length and breadth of the city, my humble cookies were much in demand with the kids too! Srinagar, India ... paradise on earthOne look at the ingredients in the recipe and you’ll see the cookie goodness I am talking about. Almonds, whole wheat, amaranth {my latest obsession}, oats, and honey instead of  corn syrup!  Told you … these are deliciously healthy cookies. Indulgent too!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies Try them. Cookies don’t get simpler than these. One bowl goodness, fun to make, get the kids involved. Do watch them towards the end of baking. Honey in baked goods tends to lead to faster browning. So do keep an eye!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies Healthy, fun recipes with amaranth, whole grains, oats {read lots of oats}, unrefined sugars, honey etc have kept me busy of late. I’ve been involved in doing a project for Saffola Oats here in India.

Whole foodShot two recipe videos with the very sweet Michelin Starred Chef Vikas Khanna for Food Food Channel, India as part of the engagement. You can catch the first episode for a Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Gateau {Gluten free} which has been uploaded onto You-tube.

[print_this]Recipe: Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Summary: Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies offer deep delicious butterscotch flavour thanks to the brown sugar and butter. Almond meal adds interesting taste, and chocolate chips are thrown in to make another quintessential chocolate chip cookie, this time eggless. These whole grain cookies are nice, chewy if you underbake them a little, and crisp if you bake them longer!  Makes approx 2 dozen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 100g honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 55g brown sugar
  • 100g whole almonds {or almond meal}
  • 50g amaranth flour
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 100gm oats
  • 50g chocolate chips {I used dark}

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 150C
  2. Run the almonds in the processor with the wholewheat flour until you get a fine-meal.
  3. Heat butter, honey and vanilla bean powder in a pan over low heat till the butter melts. Mix well. {Can do it in the microwave too}.
  4. Add the baking soda, salt and brown sugar and whisk to mix.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to form a cookie dough. The dough will be a little stiff.
  6. Drop tbsp of dough on parchment lined cookie sheets, flatten with the tines of a fork. {I rolled the dough into balls, flattened them slightly with the palm of my hand, and then further flattened them by pressing down with a fork.}.
  7. Bake for approx 20 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Leave to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes {they are quite tender when they come out of the oven} , and then transfer on racks to cool completely.
  9. Thermomix Recipe:
  10. Run the almonds in the TM bowl with the wholewheat flour on speed 7 for 30 seconds to get a fine-meal. Scrape and repeat if necessary. Turn into a bowl and reserve.
  11. Place butter, honey and vanilla bean powder into TM bowl. Heat for 2 minutes at 60C on speed 2 until fully dissolved. Place bicarb into bowl and mix for 5 seconds on speed 3.
  12. Add remaining ingredients and set dial to closed position and mix for 30-35 seconds on interval speed…. then continue as above from step 5.
  13. Note: Since the dough has honey, the cookies tend to brown faster than normal cookies. I use double cookie trays. Keep an eye on them.

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Book Review | Vicky Goes Veg … green, fresh and exciting – and a copy to giveaway

‘Going green has never been so deliciously exciting. Bon Apetit…’
Farhan Akhtar

Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes VegRoasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad from Vicky Goes Veg. Everything about the book is colourful, fresh, exciting, full of flavour and vegetarian of course! It’s an exciting new book by Chef Vicky Ratnani and holds a LOT of promise. Vegetarianism is no longer considered ‘second food. Slowly but surely vegetarian centric cookbooks are appearing on bookshelves, grabbing eyeballs as they do so!Vicky Goes Veg @ The Palms, GurgaonWe were hosted by Harper Collins & Nachiketa at the lush and beautiful ‘The Palms‘, Gurgaon for the book launch. Vicky Ratnani has infectious energy, is animated and absolutely passionate about food. I was fortunate to meet him in Jan last year at a tea & food pairing session, and it certainly was a pleasure to meet him again.Vicky Goes Veg, The Palms,.Gurgaon

Vicky Goes Veg He held fort by the poolside under the blazing setting sun, which shouldn’t have been quite so blazing in Mid March … but was! Sporting that he is, he didn’t blink an eyelid, no complaints nothing. He was there well before the guests began to arrive and after a short delay {thanks to the TV crew}, he fired up!

Eggplant & Bok Choy in Sambal, Vicky Goes VegSauteing, chatting, sharing tips and trivia and a load of his passion, he held the attention of the select audience. As he stirred up magic, we were served the same from the kitchen alongside. The flavours blew us away! Who wants to eat non vegetarian food if vegetarian food can be so exciting. Not me!! The Braised Plantain with Thai spices was out of the world good, as was the Eggplant & Bok choy in sambal.

Local produceI love the energy throughout the book. It entices you to ‘try’ something different. I also love that Vicky has stuck to the concept of  sourcing local produce, something that makes the locavore in me do a merry dance. The photographs that liberally colour the pages are a journey of the food chain in India including the merchants and the local bazaars.

Carrots,beets, home grown 2Vicky is often seen arm in arm with the guys who matter … yes, those who grow, deliver and sell local produce. It’s refreshing to see so much space dedicated to the local sabziwala i.e. vegetable vendors. The recipes in the book are unique, hail from across the world but come with an Indian twist, all green and fresh!

Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes Veg The good thing is that Vicky encourages you to think out of the box, constantly innovate and evolve. He offers his book as a stepping stone for new ideas in vegetarian cooking, and tells you to be fearless. If you don’t have this, use that. There’s plenty of trivia tucked within that makes the book even more interesting. One downside is that the number of portions or ‘servings’ aren’t specified.
Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes Veg So I set off to make the Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad.  Of course, my heart followed his advice and my recipe meandered off as I was short on time. I didn’t blend the dressing, only whisked it. Substituted apricots for walnuts, simplified the dressing a bit. I also made Stromboli from the book which disappeared too quick!

If you’d like to win a copy of the book, VICKY GOES VEG, please leave a comment below telling me which your favourite vegetarian dish from across the globe is. Please be sure to leave a valid email address so I can contact you. This giveaway is open to residents of India, or anyone with an Indian mailing address. {Giveaway sponsored by Harper Collins}

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Recipe: Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad 

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Summary: Summary Info Goes Here

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Salad
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, roasted
  • 1 big head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 broccoli stem, peeled, thinly sliced
  • Salt to season
  • A pinch of cracked black pepper
  • A few spigs of thyme
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • Dressing
  • 2 cloves of garlic, cut into chips
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a white onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 spring onion, cut into 3cm long batons
  • 4-5 dried apricots

Method:

  1. Season the bell peppers, broccoli florets and stems with salt, pepper, thyme and olive oil {I blanched the broccoli for 2 minutes first and then plunged it into ice cold water}
  2. Cut the bell peppers into strips
  3. Fry the garlic in olive oil, and allow to cool and crisp. Resreve the garlic flavoured oil for the dressing.
  4. Dressing
  5. Saute the white onion in the garlic oil. Deglaze with red wine vinegar. Transfer into a bowl to bln it to a dressing.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Add the oriander leaves including their juicy stems. Whizz to blend to a smooth, sour, creamy, garlicky dressing.
  7. Mix the spring onion batons and apricots along witht he broccoli and peppers. Spoon the dressing over the veggies. Garnish with the fried garlic chips.
  8. Yum! Toss all the veggies along with the dressing. Chill before serving.

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