No Bake | Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing #mealinabowl #comfortfood

“The cuisine of a country is the only exact attestation of its civilization.”
Author Unknown

Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing 1 800Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing. Stirring memories.

My one and only trip to mainland Europe was to Milan and that too decades ago. The UK has it’s own charm, but Europe is a different story altogether. The husband often carried back tales of Germany, Netherlands and France yet I get a first hand feel as I couldn’t connect very well. It took the recent trip to Switzerland to change my whole perspective on Europe, how culturally and historically rich it is. You also get a taste of local cuisine. It makes the heart sing out loud when you see the pride they take in stirring up and serving local cuisine, each platter served in style, laced with culinary history. As you cross regions, the stories of food change, the influences are varied, French, German, East European, maybe more.

Swiss cuisineI got back and possibly the first thing I dabbled was was this char-grilled tomato gazpacho, one which is found right across the country. In temperatures ready to sizzle Europe, this Spanish chilled soup is popular across menus in Switzerland. A tomato gazpacho, spinach, cucumber, peach too where they get a little experimental. It’s chilled, it’s bursting with flavour and possibly the most welcome bowl to douse the heat wave!Vine tomatoes with LFP

Gazpacho The Swiss love food and they love life. Local produce rules the roost, and it is heartening to visit a country that celebrates seasonal and local produce practically on every platter. Fruit in bakes, sweet and savoury, greens that are to die for, micro greens just in case you need an additional excuse. Cheese in every avatar, eat as much as you like! If there’s one thing I picked out, it’s there love for salads. Fresh, crisp, from farm to table. SwitzerlandSalad bars are standard at sit down restaurants. Pick and choose what you like, and then drizzle {or drench} with either French or Italian salad dressing. I love the generous servings of dressing that stand alongside, lashings that take the salad up a lot many notches.It’s travels like this that inspire you to stir up something special, maybe something different.Sydney 2015 The trip to Sydney this summer had the teen in love with a good Caesar salad. I soon played around with ingredients for the dressing as that’s what a good salad needs IMHO. The rest I can manage, a little painstakingly in summer of course. So I came up with this dressing, which is like a cross between a Ranch and Caesar, no anchovies in here, yet nice and creamy and zesty. I’ll call it a Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing. It’s nice because it’s easy to whiz up, the trusted Hamilton Beach blender being the workhouse through my experiments.Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing I really should also be making my own mayonnaise, though always have an eggless one in the fridge! Del Monte does a really nice one. Just makes life easier on days when you are short on time. Using just locally available ingredients, this is a nice salad dressing to have in the fridge to perk up the most mundane of salads. Adjust the zinginess as you like, increase or decrease the garlic according to your palette, skip the cheese spread to go light. This is your dressing. Do it your way!

Once this is done and in the fridge, then the rest of the Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing is usually a breeze. Summer is a pain for fresh produce here, everything wilts so fast. So I threw together a quick summer chicken pasta salad, inspired by a Caesar.Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad DressingIt’s a meal in a bowl, and quite balanced too. I’ve kept the carbs to a minimum, a generous dose of greens {iceberg is all I find locally these days} and a handful of roasted walnuts. On other days, you could find some sliced avocado, tomatoes, feta, pine nuts and rocket in there. Do remember to add the croutons just before serving so they stay nice and crisp.Char-grille Tomato GazpachoOh, and you could always serve a chilled tomato gazpacho on the side, making it a more filling meal!

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Baking | Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies – deep dark chocolatey + chewy + fudgy = comfort food

“Remember, there are cookies waiting here for you.”
Dean Koontz

Wholegrain brownie cookiesWholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies. A new baking recipe. An easy baking recipe. A chocolate chip cookie recipe gone healthier, yet still deeply satisfying. This is not your everyday quintessential chocolate chip cookie. This one is better. Deep dark chocolatey + chewy + fudgy = pure comfort food! I’m quite glad I got pushed into making it!

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie CookiesI’ve had a busy few weeks. Getting back to routine after a vacation is never easy. So much and more needs to be done, everyone and everything needs ‘urgent’ attention for some silly reason. So the boy complained the other day that I don’t bake nice stuff often enough any more! It took me a while to figure out what the issue was because the baking never stops here. Ahem. Too much fruit in baking of late; he was cringing something chocolate! On prodding further, the words tumbled out. “Chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake Mama please”!

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies Looked like it was cookie baking time again! I’ve done loads of chocolate cake recipes of late, and as always I was thinking of a new baking recipe for cookies. Not the trusted old wholegrain chocolate chip cookie recipe. That lives in my head; I’ve baked it SO OFTEN! That is what the kid asked for. I knew exactly the thing, Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies. The idea has been sitting in my head for long. Just took a few words from the bitterly complainingcookie monster‘ to get it off the back burner and into the oven.

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie CookiesSo I brought the brownie into the cookie, made it a healthier version, trimmed the butter, cut an egg, skipped the APF. In went wholewheat and oats, loads of dark couverture chocolate … the result was a deep, chocolatey, and very delicious chocolate chip cookie. Soft and melt in the mouth! Next time I might go for a gluten free version, maybe try going eggless.

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie CookiesEasy to bake recipes are fun. This was just that. Not quite a single bowl recipe like I would have wanted it to be, but pretty close. You can hardly go wrong with staple ingredients, but playing around has sometimes led to disasters. This one worked well thankfully, and the monster was happy that day! A healthy baking recipe which turned out to be delicious too was spot on!

Chocolate on vintage weighing scaleWhen things go well, it leaves me motivated to shoot. Even though I find chocolate a little tough to shoot, I enjoyed doing it this time. A lot. Actually the main motivation was this old weighing scale that I recently added to my ever growing prop collection. I find it so charming, that I want to shoot it all the time!

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Baking |GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles … Mother Dairy #SummerOfHappiness #dessert #healthy

“Bread, milk and butter are of venerable antiquity. They taste of the morning of the world.”
Leigh Hunt

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Triflessummer of happiness in ever sense of the word. It’s a celebration of flavours, of the season, of delicious, healthy things in life. The good thing is that the Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles recipe is very doable, quick and quite hassle free. Almond meal in the sponge makes it gluten free too! Play around with ingredients in your pantry and fridge, skip the almonds if you are catering to nut allergy or don’t have any on hand. Substitute the nut meal with plain flour or 1/2 whole wheat + 1/2 all purpose flour.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Mother Dairy #SummerOfHappinessThe idea is to enjoy every season in the most delicious way. An even easier way might be to omit the sponge completely. Layer fresh fruit and Mother Dairys creamy and yum fruit yogurt, chill for a bit, and voila – light, healthy, refreshing summer dessert. Or make a granola fruit yogurt parfait with granola, fruit and fruit yogurt. It’s the Mother Dairy #SummerOfHappiness. Explore how much easier can it get with their line of products. For me fruit pairings are fab, specifically yogurt with fruit in any possible way, and summer is the best time for it!Mother DairyI am a through and through dairy lover. I can live forever on dairy products – milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, flavoured yogurts. It’s no coincidence that you will find loads of recipes using dairy on my blogs. Yogurt, buttermilk, cream, cottage cheese are some things I use really often. Panna Cotta, layered cream cakes, cookies, cakes, smoothies, desserts in glasses, cheese from scratch. Did I forget smoked butter paneer, the quintessential Indian Kadhi, savoury buttermilk lassi, buttermilk chicken pizzaKadhi  Indian yogurt curry

White butter and gheeClarified butter? Yes please! I collect top of the milk cream and churn out sweet butter every week. Gives me all that I need for baking. You will also find me making ghee or clarified butter every alternative weekend. Pure liquid gold. Nothing like a drizzle of ghee on a dal, a tadka of ghee to a kadhi, or naans smeared with this good fat. Say what you may, but I am old school here. Butter and ghee are good fats, and make food taste great when used in moderation. For other times, there is always cold pressed sesame oil, virgin olive oil, or good old mustard oil!

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles So, when I saw the ongoing challenge ‘Summer of Happiness‘ at Mother Dairy it was back to the good old days and a wave of nostalgia hit me. Back in the late 1970’s when we returned from a posting in Bangalore, we lived in the Central Vista Officers Mess for a couple of months waiting for regular accommodation. School was CJM at Gol Dak Khana, New Delhi. Every morning my mother drove us to school in a rickety old olive green Fiat, MEV6909 {the number still imprinted in my head}. Because we refused to drink the watery warm milk served in the Officers Mess, it was routine to stop by Mother Dairy, glug a tall glass of milk down right there every morning, and then be dropped to school. I cannot imagine doing that now, be seen glugging milk with wild abandon at the familiar blue and white Mother Dairy kiosk in school uniform, yet the taste of pasteurized milk ‘from the tap’ is a happy memory, a nostalgic connect. GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Decades later, I used to take my little one to buy milk, pop the token or ‘coin’ into the slot at the kiosk, telling him that there was a cow on the other side that delivers milk. For several years he naively believed me, and still laughs each time we pass the kiosk or stop by to buy something from there. I suspect a lot of folk might have carried similar tales to little ones back then, the fascination writ across faces completely worth every token of milk drawn! Kids are less gullible now, and Mother Dairy has moved on from milk and butter to a lot more!

The journey seeing them expand has been a fulfilling one. I still remember the first tub of blueberry yogurt I raced home with, and the whoop of delight my daughter let out. It was her favourite one, a product that till today remains on top of her list. Then came more stuff and we were spoilt for choice. Mishti Doi, Aam Doi, Mango Yogurt, Blueberry Yogurt, Mango Lassi, Strawberry Lassi all regulars at home. GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt TriflesEven though I set yogurt at home everyday, my Creamy Dip is always from a tub of Mother Dairy yogurt {nothing else works as well}. Quark, a soft, unripened curd cheese, is also something I regularly make, always with full fat milk and cultured buttermilk from the blue and white kiosk! Quark on hand opens the door to so many more recipe ideas.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles As I wrap up, I’m going to leave you with another collage of things I have made over the years using dairy products. Hope that inspires you to get motivated, begin thinking and create a recipe for this ‘Summer of Happiness‘. From smoothies, to cheesecakes, to desserts in glasses, to savoury curries, korma, buttermilk chicken, pancakes with fruit yogurt, dream on!

Summer of Happiness. PAB It’s a simple challenge, sweet or savoury is up to you, maybe both sweet & savoury in one! There are seven products you can choose from; details here. Take a look at the seven delicious recipes Chef Vikas Khanna has created for the Summer of Happiness, one that is more inspiring than the other. He talks about enhancing flavours, playing with textures, pairing dairy with interesting ingredients, spicing things up, and last but not the least, presentation.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Submit innovative recipes at Summer of Happiness using any of the 7 products, and the best recipes will win goodies from Mother Dairy. 

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