Cooking | Kadhi {Indian vegetarian yogurt curry} … #CreateFearlessly with Hamilton Beach Multiblender

“It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life.”
Emmet Fox

Kadhi  indian yogurt curryKadhi {Indian vegetarian yogurt curry}. Ask me to pick my favourite Indian curry, and chances are that kadhi will be the first thing that comes to my mind. It is the best comfort food ever, leaves me deeply satiated, fills me with nostalgia right from the aromas that rise from the first tempering. As the flavours of aesofoetida and curry leaves dance wildly in the summer air, I am transported to the air cooled house of Sheela Aunty, my mothers friend from Delhi University.

tadka spicesShe passed away several years ago, but a large part of our growing up unfolded under her wings. It is rare for even a few days to go by when we don’t exclaim like her, and then dissolve into giggles. Large-hearted, earnest, easily shocked, far too loving, the best collection of crisp summer sarees, jewellery to make the heart sing {after all she was born into one of Delhi’s leading jewelers families}, too humble, a great Indian vegetarian cook, she left a deep impact on us.

Kadhi  Indian yogurt curryI wasn’t foodily aware or obsessed at the time she was around and still rue the fact that I didn’t get a chance to chase her with paper and pencil to record recipes …I did that a lot {A LOT} after I got married in the mid 1990’s. Pages and pages were filled and I am glad I managed some. Aesofoetida was introduced into our rather differently spiced house thanks to her.

Spice Market, Khari Baoli, Old Delhi Spices became a fascination, hing or aesofoetida ‘the spice’ I fell in love with. I have grown to love the spice, not very well known in the West, very popular with Indian vegetarian food, and extremely popular down in South India too. Surprisingly enough, you see influences of the spice in non-vegetarian cuisine in Kashmir too! {One of my favourite haunts is Khari Baoli, Old Delhi to visit the spice market seen above. That was at the Lumia shoot 2 days ago}

Kadhi  indian yogurt curry tadkaNo tadka or tempering is complete without this magical ingredient, the nostalgia lingers on. So that morning when I looked at the Hamilton Beach MultiBlend Blender and Chopper on my kitchen counter, I didn’t have to think of what to make for lunch. With buttermilk and homemade yogurt in the fridge, I knew it was time for my favourite summer curry.

Kadhi  Indian yogurt curry Sometimes it seems like a bit of work, the pakoras or dumplings actually but in time I have cut the work out for me. Blenders the way to go for curry always, and the Hamilton Beach Multiblender did the job to perfection. In seconds. It also cut the work out when it came to making pakoras, or the dumplings. A friend whatsapped me the other day to say she was waiting for my review as she wanted to know how the onions got cut in the bender. A 100% good I have to say! Finer than I could ever manage, and within seconds. I love that there are two separate jars, complete with blades etc which allow you to multitask!

Hamilton Beach Multiblender chopped onionsI’ve been doing a lot more with the multiblender. Grinding oats as I develop recipes for Fit Foodie.

oatmealWhisking up delicious smoothies inspired by Aditya on Instagram. #CreateFearlessly is a great hashtag to carry. Goes in line with the ‘Good Thinking’ that spells out the Hamilton Beach line of products! ‘Really Good Thinking’. I’m loving it.

Papaya Yogurt SmoothieDid I tell you we’re not the only ones who are in love with papaya and smoothies this summer? There’s a little someone who shares every papaya that is cut in the kitchen. She makes a meal of quarter at least before it gets to the blender!

Coco & PapayaThen there is someone else smitten with the blender. The lad wakes up every morning in a somnambulent state and glides into the kitchen to make himself a frozen strawberry almond smoothie. Goes on to slurp his way through, enjoying it to the last drop, then even washes up the blender! On Mother’s Day, he  burst into my room with a tall {and really really good} glass of Guava+Strawberry+Lychee Smoothie that he conjured up for me.Guava, Strawberry, Lychee SmoothieHonestly, this is one kitchen companion I am enjoying fearlessly! There have been glasses of cold coffee, mango shakes, papaya flax seed smoothies, 3 batches of kadhi, buttermilk lassi, pineapple apricot coolers, watermelon strawberry delights, aam panna … and plenty more this last month.

Cold coffee

Smoothies etc

aam pannaThe upside is having one kid enjoying it even more. The downside? Yes there is one! The daughter has now threatened to take the Hamilton Beach MultiBlender back with her when she goes back to uni after the vacations. #CreateFearlessly might well reach the battleground between the two kids!

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Product Review | Smoothies & Coolers … summer is here. #CreateFearlessly with the Hamilton Beach Multiblender

“You become about as exciting as your food blender. The kids come in, look you in the eye, and ask if anybody’s home.”
Erma Bombeck

#‎CreateFearlessly‬ ... with Hamilton Beach India & BlogAdda @ PABThe first words that grabbed my attention as I received the box were ‘Good Thinking‘…and that spiked my curiosity. Raised my expectations too! I’d heard great reviews about the Hamilton Beach line of products, and I have to say I am not disappointed. After a couple of mix ups and delays that are best left forgotten, the Hamilton Beach MultiBlend Blender and Chopper finally landed up on my doorstep, part of the #CreateFearlessly initiative, an association between Hamilton Beach India and BlogAdda.

#CreateFearlessly Starwberry Kiwi SmoothieI was quite pleased to be at the receiving end. A good quality kitchen appliance makes me want to sing out loud. With summer here in full force, or rather full steam ahead, an efficient hard working blender is more than welcome. So is a very happy kid who stepped out of my shadow and now wants to blend everything in sight, especially strawberries! That I am having a blast with it is an understatement.

Strawberries‘This is so easy and fun”, he declares, tossing in his once favourite fruit salad into the blender, pours in a glug of lychee juice and WHIRS it off! Withing minutes he sips from a tall glass … “It’s delicious! Made it myself! Can I do this everyday?”

#CreateFearlessly Starwberry Kiwi Smoothie 2Between frozen strawberries, fresh kiwi and orange tang, and fresh strawberries, fresh kiwi and lychee juice, he’s become quite a pro. The old Osterizer had kept me company for many years, but didn’t have such a ‘crowd appeal’! It was time for change, and this change is the best one!  A friend inboxed me the other day on FB asking for a recommendation for a blender for smoothies, juices etc. I have the Thermomix which is my first love, but cost is an issue there.

#CreateFearlessly with Hamilton Beach & BlogAdda @PABThe Hamilton Beach Multiblender gets my vote. I love the feel, and I love the design. The colours are all me. Standing tall in black with stainless steel accents, it’s got a much lighter body that I imagined. The spout for drip free pouring is fantastic. Very sturdy too, what with a 1.4ltr BPA Free shatterproof Tritan jar. Easy clean up as well. With 12 blending functions, it’s perfect for smoothies, purees, chopping and grinding … and a lot more.

One of the first things I made for ‘me‘ was a summer favourite, buttermilk lassi {video above}. It is savoury, it is garlicky and it is most delicious. Into it go things I like love. Bunches of fresh curry patta plucked straight off the tree in the backyard. Fresh spring sprigs are giving way to more mature young leaves, and they taste delightful. Also thrown in green chilies {as many as you can handle}, loads of garlic {or ginger if that is your call}, Himalayan pink salt, a dash of aesofoetida {hing}… and the blend begins.

savoury buttermilk lassiMy lassi is best slightly chunky, but you can process it more at a higher speed to get it smooth as silk! Customise it to your palette. Add a cucumber, maybe a dash of lime juice. You can even give it a sizzling tadka! Then more blending happened. Between sweet, malty cheeku/sapota milk shakes nostalgic of trips into Old Delhi, and mango yogurt strawberry shakes, we’ve been having quite a smooth time of late.

#CreateFearlessly Chikoo shake Did I forget the apple, cucumber, celery smoothie this morning? Yes that too happened. Did you hear #CreateFearlessly? Throw everything into the blender, throw caution to the wind, blend and drink up. I am currently catching up on fibre, with some yumminess thrown in. I can see some deep, delicious cold coffee creeping in some time soon.

Apple, cucumber, celery smoothie 2Next on my list to experiment with is a go at the chopper that comes with the blender. That’s a neat separate attachment, and I cannot wait to use it. Until then, have a smoothie good time. If you are looking for a blender that stands tall, is efficient, light and means business, then look no further. The Hamilton Beach Multiblender seems kid friendly too. The only thing missing was an inspiring colorful recipe book, but then again smoothies and shakes are no brainers. Time to #CreateFearlessly, think out of the box and enjoy blending magic in your kitchen.

What is your favourite ‘creation’ in a blender? I’d love to try it!

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Baking | GF Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake … #glutenfree by default #quark #dessert

“Reminiscent of childhood memories, luxury, sweetness and sensuality, chocolate is more than just a food. It is therapy.”
Christelle Le Ru

Dark Chocolate Quark CheesecakeGF Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake … some recipes are just meant to be, and this is one of them. Come summer and quark is constantly being prepped at home. There is never a definite plan for where it goes, yet the fact that I am ‘creating’ a low fat unripened cheese is enough to keep me happy. This tangy cheese finds its way into just about anything. And this something was truly delicious!

Quark dessertsIt’s QUARK all the way! A layered parfait, savoury or sweet, in a curry instead of yogurt, while cooking chicken as a filling for wraps, turnovers like in these Chicken Quark Cross-over Puff Pastry, in frozen yogurt instead of yogurt … or then in cheesecakes of course! That this cheesecake turned out to be gluten free as well is purely incidental …but more about that in a bit!

Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  There is something infinitely comforting in turning all the ingredients into the bowl of the food processor and celebrating that the filling is ‘ready’ to go into the oven. Simple! Yes that simple, but then cheesecakes usually are. The tough part is waiting for them to cool down, and leaving them sitting in the fridge overnight. The toughest bit however is when you experiment, it takes forever to figure out whether it worked, or didn’t. This one certainly was a YES! Best chocolate cheesecake ever!

Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  A few cheesecake basics you might like to keep in mind… Try and bake the cheesecake in a water bath so it cooks evenly and the top doesn’t crack. Prebake the biscuit base especially if you are doing a quark version as the filling is moister than when using a cream cheese. If doing a biscuit base, it’s a nice idea to paint the prebaked base with a brush of melted dark chocolate; keeps the base from going soggy. Make sure the quark is well drained for a full day or two. Above all, use the best quality ingredients. A good dark couverture makes this cheesecake really sing!

Quite a while ago I did these Mini Quark Chocolate Cheesecakes which popped up thanks to Google while I was looking for quark inspiration. Inspired by myself {if I may say so myself}, it was time to bake a dark chocolate quark cheesecake. I had the base ready! Well actually, I had a baking disaster whereby my almond sponge flowed inexplicably out of my baking tin. I think the tin was too small and I was left with a 3/4 sponge to salvage. The idea in my head was trifles with quark and strawberries, and Googling led me ‘you know where‘!

Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  Within minutes, the hapless sponge was blitzed into breadcrumbs in the Thermomix, then rapidly pressed into the baking tin to cushion a base for the cheesecake. You can gauge how much I enjoyed doing this GF Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake! It was the fastest cheesecake I have ever bunged into an oven! I have included a biscuit base recipe below as the coincidence of you having a failed sponge on your hands might be too much to ask for.

Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  But if you are up to it, adventurous enough, a sucker for punishment like me AND/OR looking for a gluten free version, then I’ve included the recipe for an almond sponge too. It’s one I use often, here for eg in the Strawberry Almond Roulade. I swopped the Swiss roll pan for a tin, subsequently suffering defeat.

Upcycled Blondie PuddingUpcycling failed desserts {as above} is fun, and one small shove from Ruchira fixed me for life. Upcycle everything that fails is my only thought when I end up with a baking disaster. Eton Mess is a fine example and one that appeared several times as dessert when making macarons was an obsession. Just recently, when an over baked batch of blondies stared me in the face, they headed for the most delicious ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding!

Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  And another piece of happiness … this beautiful ceramic platter that Ruchira got for me recently. It has me absolutely smitten, a new addition to my endless props. That it is round and scalloped, that it is a beautiful shade of blue, that it has tiny dots like a running stitch on the edges, and that it is flat works for me like magic! That she bought it from here in India also makes me thrilled. Wholegrain Anzac Cookies I have a few other bits and bobs of ceramic that tie up with it, so while I enjoy my ever growing {read exploding} prop collection,  I’ll leave you with a recipe that I am sure you will enjoy.Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  I topped the Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake with tiny grated chocolate curls. You could also consider  topping it with unsweetened cream and balsamic roasted strawberries, maybe a salted caramel sauce. My homemade recipe for quark can be found here! Also, find more recipes that use quark on my blog.

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