No Bake |Smoothies galore … and the difference between a food processor and blender #smoothies #healthy #seasonal #freshproduce

“I have more healthy cravings than my normal eating habits, like I crave fruit and cold things like smoothies.”
Kourtney Kardashian

SmooothiesSmoothies … you gotta love them. As the years pass by, the head wins over the heart. You know that it’s easier to gulp down a smoothie than chew through a buncha green leaves! And you also know that however good or bad it tastes, a well balanced, seasonal smoothie is going to do you a load of good. Headed for SmoothiesIt’s pointless waiting for the new year to come and make resolutions, so I just got the ball rolling and made them before! Post the Jaipur trip, what with all the over the top indulgence and pampering, I had but one thing on my mind, get FIT!OatsI have begun taking tiny steps. I’m eating healthier, I’m not eating out a lot, fewer food reviews, some form of exercise … and of course smoothies. I’ve also been invited to join the Fit Foodie panel on Saffola, which just gives me more reason to work towards my goal! I’ve put together a small graphic to make things easier. Play around with these three groups {not an exhaustive list} , add some yogurt, milk, buttermilk, almond milk, fruit juice or maybe water as required. I also throw in  spoon or two of oats at times.Food groups for smoothiesDo you smoothie? Here’s a bunch of recipes to set you off if you want to join in. You can find some here too. I basically go through the fridge to find what I can use and pair. Smoothies I made three versions yesterday, and surprisingly enough the persimmon one was the best. The spinach, cuke and tender coconut water was nice too. The banana smoothie we have everyday, so that was quite normal, but normal good. Such fun. The processor is such a magic machine!

Persimmon smoothieThe processor is a blessing in disguise for soups too, though the immersion blender works really well in most cases. A while ago however someone asked me what the difference was between a food processor and blender. I have both in the kitchen, and it set me thinking. Thought I’d try and answer the query here just in case you had similar questions. Hope it helps…

Food processors and blenders, what are the differences between them?

If you only have a small kitchen then you may be wondering if you really need both a blender and a food processor. The fact is that although both gadgets have blades, and a reputation for dicing and slicing, they actually have quite different uses.
If you are going to be able to do all of the jobs you need to in a kitchen the chances are you are going to want to use a blender and a food processor at some point; especially if you regularly make smoothies or soups.
When does a blender come into its own?
The shape and blades of a blender are designed to cater for soft fruit and liquids. The name really says it all; these gadgets are excellent for blending ingredients into such delights as tasty smoothies. Depending on what fittings your blender has it may be able to cope with slicing ice for use in the smoothies; this can make them into an extra special treat on a hot summer day.
These tasty additions to any menu are a great way of getting fruit into a child’s diet. You can use the pulp produced when you are juicing to create imaginative and colorful smoothies that most children will love. The shape of a blender is slender and designed to accommodate soft and liquid products, and not usually more solid produce.
What about a food processor?
If you are using liquids then it’s a good idea to stick to using your blender, but for anything more solid you should switch to a food processor. Food processors have blades that are designed for chopping and slicing.
They also have a bowl that is larger and can accommodate more solid produce. If you have vegetables that you want to reduce in to small pieces to use in a soup then a food processor is the perfect gadget to use. It can cope with all sorts of vegetables and nuts, and in no time you will have all of the ingredients you need to make as much delicious soup as you want.
Which is the best to have, a blender or a food processor?
The answer to this question is really going to depend on what you need to do most. Is it more important to you to be able to blend together liquids, making drinks and smoothies; or is it more important to you to be able to slice vegetables for soups or stews?
It may be that you need to do both. There are blenders that have blades which provide a certain amount of chopping capacity, and food processors can deal with a very small amount of liquid, but generally if you want to be able to blend and chop you are going to have to make room in your kitchen for both a blender and a food processor.

Headed for smoothiesSo I guess it’s time to SMOOTHIE! Come join me. Grab a bunch of fresh seasonal produce, pair it with a medium you like, throw in some nuts, seeds, herbs and get going. Once you’re done, what’s next? Soup maybe?

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

Baking | Whole Grain Apple Crumble … always room for dessert and #Fujihoro #dessert #wholegrain

“Sometimes you’ve just got to grab an apple – or grapes, or strawberries. Something that’s healthy but maybe a little bit more adventurous, if you can see fruit as adventurous.”
LL Cool J

wholegain apple crumble Whole Grain Apple Crumble. Always room for dessert as I limp back into normal everyday life after too much indulgence of late. That weekend trip to the Jaipur Marriott spoilt me silly. Then came a family wedding/reunion. With the holiday season now in full swing, I am taking a small ‘eating out‘ sabbatical. I have to knock off the pounds I’ve gained. Gotto get fit!
wholegain apple crumble And that certainly does not mean no good home eating. Or baking. Fruits and whole grains are always welcome as dessert. I love to bake with them, and the family loves to dig into them. There is something comforting about a fruit bake with apples, cinnamon, walnuts and brown sugar. A nice crisp topping and it promises to be a winner.

wholegain apple crumble I’ve been working with a publisher to style a cookbook and I took this along for the team one morning. Fresh from the oven, it smelt divine. We dug in later halfway through the shoot and everyone loved it. There was lots of other food I cooked and styled for the book that day, that we eventually devoured. Even though we were ready to burst, there was room for dessert! Always is!wholegain apple crumble 4I bake crumbles a lot through winter, with different permutations and combinations. Sometimes when I’m short of time, I do the fruit filling in advance, make the crumble and store it alongside. Pop it into the oven an hour or so before dinner. It holds sweet promise of a delicious end to the day. Serve it with a good quality vanilla ice cream for extra indulgence, or maybe just unsweetened single cream. For me, just a small serving as is works. Drat, those extra pounds!!
Fujihoro Porcelain Enamelled Kitchenware And in other news, something special again came my way a few days ago. After the beautiful Mauviel 1830 set I received from France, a sweet lady stopped by my place one morning. She brought for me this retro porcelain enamelware set from Fujihoro Japan. I fell in love with the colours, the quality and the workmanship. Incidentally, Fujihoro has recently been featured in India Today as one of the hottest new products!Fujihoro Porcelain Enamelled KitchenwareBright yellow really works with me, as also the fact that you can cook and serve in this beautiful cookware too. One of the recipes shot for the cookbook was a Kachi Mirch ka Gosht. An absolutely lip smacking recipe which I cannot divulge as the book is yet to go into print. I cooked a murgh {chicken} version of it at home a few days ago.

Kachchi mirch ka murgh and Fujihoro

Kachchi mirch ka murgh and Fujihoro With a heavy tight fitting lid and great insulating properties to allow a low simmer, the pan delivered an absolutely delicious curry. The enamelware surface has a non-porous hardened vitreous coating which does not absorb any residue from previously cooked food and is stain resistant, odourless and bacteria free once cleaned. The pan can go into the oven too {sans the lid which has a really really nice fitted wooden knob on top}. I think I just might bake the fruit crumble in the next time!

Recipe: Whole Grain Apple Crumble your picture

Summary: The Whole Grain Apple Crumble is an autumn / winter dessert which is pure comfort food. Here’s a version of the apple crumble gone healthy. Serve with some good quality vanilla ice cream, or some unsweetened cream, or just as is.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Apple mix
  • 5-6 apples, cored, peeled, diced
  • 30g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Topping
  • 75g oats
  • 25g whole wheat flour
  • 30g whole almonds
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 75g unsalted butter, chilled, cubed or grated {I grate frozen butter}

Method:

  1. Apple mix
  2. Preheat oven to 180C
  3. Toss all ingredients for apple mix in a bowl to oat fruit well. Can add raisins and walnuts if desired. Turn into 1 litre pie dish, and make topping
  4. Topping
  5. Run oats, whole almonds and wheat flour {aata} in blender. Add in brown sugar and mix. Reserve. Gratein  frozen butter and toss lightly together to get a bread crumb like mix {I normally pulse in processor, short and quick to evenly distribute}
  6. Cover the fruit with the topping, pressing down gently to make sure the fruit is sealed in.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes until light golden brown on top.
  8. {Tent with aluminum foil if the top is over-browning.}

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

Dessert|Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding {eggless} … with Mauviel1830 @thekeybunch #copperware #dessert #Indian #Diwali

“I put the kitch into kitchen.”
Nigella Lawson,

Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding {eggless} …. this is a post about bread pudding, the festival season, travel, cookware, memories, possessions, obsessions, food props & styling, connects and so much more. To begin with, a bit about the dessert. Fascinatingly, almost every culture across the world has it’s own version of bread pudding.Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 In many cases, eggs are an intrinsic part as they help to firm up the custard to offer a rich pudding. That version is often baked. We grew up with a no bake eggless version, quintessential in this part of the world. Locally referred to as Shahi Tukda, its translation quite literally ‘the royal bit{e}’!Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 Inherent ingredients … bread of course {day old if possible} clarified butter, sugar, full cream milk, often  khoya {milk solids also known as mawa}, dry fruit. Saffron if you want to add to the flavours and give it that special touch. I love using saffron. A nice generous teaspoon and you have seductive, lilting flavours in your dessert.

edible rose petals & pistachios Mauviel1830Pistachio slivers, rose petals, beaten silver foil, more saffron … anything to make it even more festive. I thought it fitted right in with my newly acquired {read received as a gift} Mauviel1830 rectangular roasting pan. And there begins another connect … a food prop connect!

Food photography metal I am fascinated by food props. Metal, stone, wood, ceramic, stoneware. However, metal is my first love. Copper to get even more precise. Most folk who know me know well of my love for food props, vintage mostly. A trip to the Kashmir valley in March this year left me virtually breathless. The people, the places, the architecture, scenic beauty, an old world charm …Srinagar March 2014 Also old markets, spices and of course copper-ware. Loads of it. Old Srinagar market is filled with the most beautiful intricately engraved copper. The natives use it in everyday cooking; it’s a part of their life. There was only so much I could carry back. I had been warned about excess baggage!!

Food photography metal

Srinagar March 2014And then last week came something that I had never imagined. More copper. A gift all the way from Normandy, France. Not vintage, but something that left my heart going THUD THUD THUD!! A set of the most beautifully crafted, stellar quality copper and steel cookware form the iconic French brand Mauviel 1830! Take a look.

Mauviel 1930Around the same time, Sharon @ The Keybunch asked if I could do a guest post for her in October, maybe a travel destination with a recipe woven in for Diwali. Her blog is about beautiful spaces, stories, people,travel destinations, art, food, culture….love! I had Srinagar in mind it is one of the most stunning places on earth.

Srinagar, India ... paradise on earthSrinagar means a lot to me. A childhood connect, copper-ware, shikaras, houseboats, snow, saffron, rogan josh, goshtaba, bakeries, fruit, beautiful people … For the recipe, I wanted to use saffron. I’ve done a really nice Caramel Saffron Panna Cotta earlier, so this time opted for a simple eggless Indian Shahi Tukda or bread pudding.

Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 This Mauviel1830 rectangular pan offered me a perfect choice even though it’s a roasting pan. You can bake an egg custard bread pudding in the pan for a variation. Here is what I did. I tried to use as many of the beautiful creations from Mauviel1830 in this simple recipe. The adorable little pan was used to melt the clarified butter in. The copper bowl for whisking the milk, cream, and condensed milk, the heavy bottom saucepan for reducing the milk concoction…and of course the rectangular pan for final plating.

Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 It’s a really nice set, and using Mauviel made my experience totally memorable. I felt royal. You got to experience it to believe it. Each piece screams quality, feels great to hold, is crafted with care, and beautiful to look at of course…About Mauviel1830… as a friend rightfully commented on FB, Mauviel1830 is an investment.

Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 Do head off to Sharon @ The Keybunch to find my simple, rich and indulgent yet rich Indian Shahi Tukda or Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding {eggless} recipe. It’s a quintessential Indian dessert, kept light by toasting the bread. Feel free to play around with spices and or/ingredients. The recipe is pretty basic. Use cardamom or star anise, maybe nutmeg for a change in flavour. Skip the condensed milk and use ricotta, mawa/khoya and sugar instead.

Saffron Pistachio Indian Bread Pudding with Mauviel 1830 Have a warm and happy Diwali!

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




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