Baking | Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch Blondies … KitchenAid – bakeware review & the quest for Probaker

“There was a mood of magic and frenzy to the room. Crystalline swirls of sugar and flour still lingered in the air like kite tails. And then there was the smell-the smell of hope, the kind of smell that brought people home.”
Sarah Addison Allen

Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch Blondies Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch Blondies … chewy, fudgy, mildly gooey and full of buttery goodness. Once you try these you just might get cured of your dark chocolate brownie passion, for a bit of course. I’ve made blondies in the past, yet somewhere along the way the charm waned off. This one bowl recipe turned out to be a different story altogether. A wholegrain and healthier version too!

Baking, eggs, oatsThen quite some time back I read of someone making blondies with coconut in them. I’ve harboured a grudge against coconut for long. Since we were studying down south, everything had some form of coconut in it. I’d had enough of it. As time passed, each time I reached for a chocolate in a box, you guessed it, always coconut. Bleh!Coconut Milk Based DessertsThanks to food blogging and more exposure than I could ever dream of, I gradually overcame my dislike for it. I discovered coconut big time in cooking. Curries, smoothies, even dessert. A Coconut Buttermilk Kaffir Lime Panna Cotta recipe developed for Saffola Fit Foodie … I knew that coconut and I could be good friends.

Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch Blondies I now liberally use dessicated coconut and always have some on hand. The husband visited the US a short while ago and thanks to Ruchira, his list for shopping included cinnamon and butterscotch chocolate chips. The cinnamon of course went to her … take a look at her Chocolate Chilli Cinnamon Chip Cookies. The butterscotch chips stayed home with me and are mean little bits, addictive to boot. And they make some really mean blondies too! Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch Blondies With healthier twists and wholegrain baking the war cry at home, I took a chance with these blondies … wholewheat flour, healthy good oats, brown sugar instead of white and some coconut in these. Of course a generous dose of the deeply flavoured butterscotch chocolate chips and magic was created. The son couldn’t get enough of them. YUM! Mama, these are the best ever. Trying to stretch my now dwindling supply of butterscotch chocolate chips, I am careful how often I bake with them. The batches are rationed now.Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch Blondies Then one day some really good quality bakeware arrived from a new line that KitchenAid India recently launched. It was time to bake another batch of the Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch Blondies to try out the bakeware. The quality speaks out loud. Heavy weight, durable, great finish! So while I was baking the blondies, ideas began forming in my head as to what I could send in for the contest they are running. Currently thinking something chocolate, let’s see what I can come up with.

KitchenAid India is hosting a nation-wide campaign for Pro- Baker, the first ever national campaign which targets passionate home bakers from across the country. They are inviting entries through  their micro-site and we will host regional competitions at each level with a finale in New Delhi.KitchenAid ProBaker KitchenAid has been delivering premium standards of quality, versatility, and precision to the home kitchen for almost a century now and has everything you’ll want to stock in your baking armour. Providing oodles of culinary inspiration and convenience to the passionate baker, this year KitchenAid decided to find India’s first ProBaker. This search is far and wide to 4 cities, where KitchenAid with the help of its celebrated chef jury will mentor and judge the first KitchenAid Probaker. Lots on stake; nationwide spotlight, amazing prizes at every quest, a chance to meet your favourite chef and the opportunity to be the next baking legend.

Can’t wait to be part of this epic quest? Click here to Participate and visit website to know more!

Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch Blondies If you are a passionate home baker and are up for the challenge, you must join in too. I think it’s going to be fun, and a great learning experience as well. Culinary inspiration is always welcome. Hurry up and participate, last day for the entry is 28th Feb! There’s not a lot of time left!

Oh… and I hope you’ve participated in the Philips Rice Cooker Giveaway. Do remember to leave a comment here!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Product Review & Soup | Baby Mustard Greens, Turnip & Almond Soup with a Mustard Vinaigrette in the Philips SoupMaker … and a giveaway

“Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.”
Auguste Escoffie

Baby Mustard Greens, Turnip & Almond Soup with a Mustard Vinaigrette 600Baby Mustard Greens, Turnip & Almond Soup with a Mustard Vinaigrette made in the Philips SoupMaker. Days in the lives of food bloggers are sometimes very interesting. It was an exciting day when ‘it’ arrived. An appliance that was highly anticipated, and lived up to it’s expectations… after a few hiccups while I figured the soup maker out of course! From there on, it was smooth sailing! What followed was conversations that flowed smoothly {and sometimes chunkily} over soup of many kinds.

Soups on PAB I admire good kitchen designs. How fun and creative can minds get. I have been using the Thermomix now for several years and was always fascinated by it’s ability to cook and blend like magic. Along comes another option, at a fraction of the price, almost a tenth actually, and promises fuss free simple soups the winter through, and smoothies galore through summer. Bonus…frozen yogurts and fruit compotes too!Kitchen appliancesNew toys are always fascinating for food bloggers and this one shone. It’s a simple machine, though a better manual with CLEAR instructions might have helped. It took me a little figuring out, cleaning my steamed spectacles a few times. I wish there was a better manual to go with it, maybe better online videos. After sifting through very vocal and gibberish Spanish videos galore, an advertorial video on the website, I finally figured out what I was doing wrong.Mushroom Walnut Oats SoupFor my second experiment, a mushroom walnut oat soup, one of my all time favourites that I cooked with Chef Vikas Khanna for Food Food Tv. I wanted chunky soup and presumed that it would give me ‘chunky chop’. So I cooked it, and cooked it…and cooked it again. Thought the machine was spoilt. Later, the better half suggested that maybe chunky is cooked but with the choice of pre-cut sizes. Obviously he was right!! I turned to something quite genius the machine offers – a manual blend!Soups on PAB In the beginning I forgot to add oil, butter etc. Later I realised that it didn’t really matter. You can always top soup with some EVOO, a vinaigrette, butter or Parmesan. Once I got the hang of things, we were swinging soups by a dime a dozen! I loved some things about the soup maker, not least how sleek and shiny it was.

  • It fits small on the counter, so is great for compact kitchens. Of course, it’s great for big kitchens too. Mine is spacious, and the soup maker is sitting happily next to the Thermomix and Philips AirFryer
  • It’s simple to use once you get the hang of it. Just put everything in, give it a good stir, shut it and forget about it. Turns off after the soup is made.
  • Makes a comfortable serving of 4.
  • Keeps the soup nice and warm since the body is like a thermos.
  • Is handy to take to the table as the cord slips off easily, transforming the soup maker into an elegant jug.
  • Has a clean, non drip, pourable spout.
  • Last but certainly not the least, it’s a quick wash and dry design. No uncomfortable bits an bobs to deal with, a straight clean jug.
  • Did I tell you that the finger touch menu buttons on the top are neat, fascinating and so simple? {Don’t push them too often the first time, or the poor thing gets confused. I know because I confused the poor machine, then called Ruchira for advice! My problem was eventually the ‘chunky chop’}

Baby Mustard Greens, Turnip & Almond Soup with a Mustard Vinaigrette The good thing is that once you get a HANG of things which should ‘happen’ almost instantly {I confused mine with my Thermomix which behaves a little differently}, there’s no looking back. Suddenly soups are all you want and your creativity takes over. I’ve been in this healthy ‘fitfoodie‘ frame of mind even more of late while working with Saffola as part of their Fit Foodie Panel. The soup maker makes me think out of the box even more! It takes the ‘work out of the soup’.

Saffola Oats Fit FoodieIf you are looking for inspiration, the Philips SoupMaker comes with a packed book of recipes. Interesting smooth to chunky soups across seasons, hot & cold soup recipes, smoothies, compotes, frozen yogurts too. Use local produce like fresh beetroot, baby mustard greens, or go gourmet with ingredients like courgettes and Gorgonzola cheese, the book has something for everyone. Even quick recipes for fruit compotes with apples and plums, and smoothies! A quick strawberry fro yo tempts you so. I know where the mangoes will head this summer!

Fresh produceQuick, easy and pleasing to the eye is how Philips as a brand has developed kitchen appliances. The AirFryer was one such example, and the rice cooker is another. Philips has been nice to offer a Daily Rice Cooker as a giveaway to a reader of my blog.

Philips Rice Cooker

To qualify,
All you need to do is leave a comment telling me what your favourite soup is.
Please leave a valid email address. Will pick a random winner at the end of the month.
The giveaway is open to anyone who has a permanent address in India.
Thank you for being part of the giveaway!

 

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Cooler | Phalsa Berry Sharbat – ‘Blendit’ like Vikas Khanna #summer #cooler #inseason #kitchenaidindia

“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child

Phalsa ka Sharbat Phalsa Berry Sharbat … the much dreaded ‘loo‘ or hot summer winds, dry and dust laden, sweep across the plains of North India. Summer here becomes intolerable at times, with ‘fry eggs on the sidewalk‘ like temperatures threatening your very existence! Then along come some of the best fruit that nature has to offer … and life becomes worthwhile again! This Phalsa Berry Sharbat helps you survive…

Phalsa ka Sharbat With a slew of summer fruit now being offloaded by the truckloads, we could not have asked for more. Red, luscious, juicy cherries, mangoes falling off hand carts, watermelons piled sky high on roadsides, peaches just about beginning to surface, Indian java plums too. And then the phalsa berry, a beautiful, tangy, astringent much awaited native Indian berry!

Phalsa, Grewia asiatica Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, this humble little berry, Grewia asiatica, brings alive childhood nostalgia. Back then, almost 40 years ago, the silent afternoon would be pierced by the shrill cry of the ‘phalsa wala‘. You’d find him with a wicker basket, topped with a very wet gunny bag which he gently peeled back to reveal the precious little berries. The very fragile and perishable phalsa would change hands for a few pennies. Washed gently and tossed in rock salt, we would hungrily suck them, trying to extract the most from the almost impoverished looking fruit.

Phalsa ka SharbatSometimes if we were lucky enough, we would be rewarded with phalsa ka sharbat! It was pain staking to make and a special treat. Life is a little easier now, with gadgets that make life in the kitchen a breeze. Just one sip of this amazing cooler, in colours that uplift the soul,  memories of a quintessential part of Indian summer comes alive! Sharbats or ‘fruit and flower based coolers‘ are the answer to the beat the heat!

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This takes me to the launch of the KitchenAid Pro Line Cordless Hand Blender in association with Masterchef Vikas Khanna in Delhi. The launch is a part of multi city #Blendappetit Tour spanning across India starting from May 20, 2014. While, the cordless blender is a unique, first of its kind, versatile product, it comes with an ultimate experience of ‘anytime anywhere’ blending.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This new blender from Kitchenaid India is a magic machine, ergonomically designed, a thing of beauty. It comes equipped with a rechargeable 12V lithium ion battery which gives it the power to perform efficiently. The super blender can blend, mix, whisk, chop, froth, puree, shred and whip up anything in a flash.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The very sweet and charming Vikas {I was fortunate enough to shoot with him recently} blended a lip smacking good kiwi smoothie from his new book.  The chef was affable as ever; entertaining, engaging, humourous! He connected instantly with the expectant crowd and soon had the gathering mesmerised. Ripples of laughter flooded the studio in Gurgaon with Vikas holding court, spinning out one anecdote after another. Stories of his home, his mother & grandmother, his inspirations, his journey from cooking a Rs 20 meal in Punjab to a Rs 20 lakh meal for Obama … yet humble and grounded as ever, a philosopher at heart!Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The afternoon witnessed the launch of his book- .Hymns from the Soil, his first book on Indian vegetarian food and a tribute to Mother Earth. It is full of nostalgic tales of his childhood, and in many ways ‘our childhood’. The ‘mitti ki khushboo‘ or the smell of the wet soil, planting his own vegetable patch, the vegetable vendors with fresh vegetables, seasons that spelt fresh produce {unlike now when you almost get everything round the year} … a touching evocative connect with the soil of the land. The book is beautifully written, with stunning pictures and recipes that call your name.

Phalsa ka Sharbat With so much talk of the connect of the earth, including the shrill call of the vendor that pierced the afternoon silence then, it’s a good time to share this recipe. I make the Phalsa Berry Sharbat every year, changing the recipe as I evolve, always in panic like the berries might disappear or go out of fashion. The phalsa season is a short one here just through May and June. Juicing these in my Thermomix is a breeze … which is why I make this quite often.

Phalsa ka Sharbat 6Phalsa ka Sharbat Not sure if taste buds change as the years go by, or the flood of flavours available and sugar laden options in packaged juices snatch simple pleasure away. Maybe it’s the slightly astringent aftertaste, but unfortunately, this isn’t the kids favourite sharbat. The boy loves his aam panna or raw mango sharbat, the daughter her cranberry juice. Thankfully both also love the daily fresh watermelon juice & smoothies.

Phalsa ka SharbatThe Phalsa Berry Sharbat takes the summer heat away, refreshes the soul, gives you a generous dose of vitamin C and antioxidants … what more can you ask for in these ‘oven like’ months? Oh yes, and if it takes you on a trip down memory lane, that’s even better! I’m loving it!!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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