No Bake | Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits … these had me smitten! #springlove #vegetarian #meatlessmonday #glutenfree

“Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.”
Dorothy Draper
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits … could there be a better way to welcome spring and summer in our part of the world? I think not! The day I saw these on Betacyanin via Foodgawker I was smitten. Sofias blog is a new discovery and matches very closely to what I like doing with food. I HAD to do the parfaits ASAP!

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits Did I tell you I was absolutely smitten? I certainly was. I love the idea of a parfait going savoury. Make ahead, healthy, balanced, infinite options and a load of fun!

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
I soaked the chickpeas that very night and had them cooked the next morning. Warm freshly cooked chickpeas tossed in EVOO, some minced garlic, a squeeze of lime, some fresh herbs is like diving into a bowl of heaven! I have a love love relationship with chickpeas! What about you?Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
 I also have a love love relationship with savoury food, bring on the garlic and life gets even better. It might surprise you as PAB is rather full of sweet stuff. That is what I like to make, but savoury is what I like to eat. I don’t have a sweet tooth at all! My family does!!
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits The parfaits were fun. Layering and individual servings are something I adore doing. You can pretty much paint your own palette here. I made a few changes. Olives in brine for one because I like the saltiness they add. homegrown tomatoesCherry tomatoes because my few plants are now hanging with fruit which is slowly ripening. Those above were the very first three! Spring ♥!!Spring herbs veggies fruits
It’s a constant battle though as little Coco has taken a shine to tomatoes. Animal instinct kicks in here. She sniffs out the nice, ripe, juicy ones and devours them with great aplomb. Much to my horror, the first time she ‘discovered‘ them, the garden was strewn with half eaten green tomatoes; the ones she had obviously rejected!
Coco
This was not why I grew tomatoes. I waited impatiently for them to ripen. So had the lad. For the two of us, it’s an early morning ritual to ‘check them out‘!How would she know any better, the little thief. She isn’t as innocent as she looks; but she is so darned charming!

Playing with light 2The battle of tomatoes has begun! I quickly harvest the ripe fruit and she looks on, hoping old butterfingers will drop one!! I have a few yellow cherry tomatoes that I salvaged 3 days ago, and some deep red beefy ones. Tomato ♥!

Home grown tomatoes
I have plenty of photographs of these beauties but I like this one quite  abit. I love the play of light and all thanks goes to NeelLearn Food Photography for organising a 30 day challenge on his fabulous blog. Have you been to LFP yet? Playing with light You must stop by if you are struggling to improve your food photographs, or want to explore the technicalities at a comfortable level. We’re into week 3 of our challenge and it’s a great community of folk from across the globe. So far we’ve covered angles, DOF, light, playing with light, white balance, diffusers, bouncers, backgrounds and are currently on props.

Learning food photography... lightThese Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits were made the day I was experimenting with light.  It’s amazing how much you can learn if you join a challenge. Such fun! All the herbs, flowers and leaves I had gathered became an inspiration for my parfaits.

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits The little jars are actually like an announcement of spring. Full of fresh herbs, fresh produce, light flavours and beautiful pairing. My herbs are flourishing too so I couldn’t have made this discovery at a better time.

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits 6
Infinite possibilities are dancing merrily in my head. I am thinking fruit parfaits, watermelon feta and mint parfaits, mango pistachio parfaits! I think you can layer any salad you like in little mason jars, recycled jam/sauce jars, or serving glasses.
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
I now do these as a make ahead salad for Mr PABs lunchbox to take to work. The dieting diva enjoyed it as well. It’s nice coz the raisins at the bottom take all the released juices and plump up nicely. You could always use dried cranberries instead! And of course you could always toss everything together in one big bowl,  but it might not be that much fun!

Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits

My post is a little delayed because all this parfait talk inspired me to make some fruit parfaits for the kids after school snack!  I made Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits! Parfaits are always fun. They are a nice make ahead snack, salad or even a simple dessert. Refreshing, colourful, delicious & FUN!
 Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits
Tell me dear reader what you would include in a parfait? What would your ultimate savoury parfait have? And a sweet version?  Try and cover as many food groups as you can … nuts, fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, beans, chickpeas, quark, ricotta, mascarpone, granola. Play with colours and seasonal produce. Just make sure you enjoy what you do because that is what matters most!

Recipe: Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits 
your picture

Summary: I love the idea of a parfait going savoury. Make ahead, healthy, balanced, infinite options and a load of fun!  This one covers all the food groups, and deliciously so – fruits, nuts, dairy, pulses, herbs … you get ‘em all in a jar!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1- 1.5 cup cooked chickpeas tossed in evoo, garlic, fresh coriander
  • 2-3 small cucumbers, grated, squeezed
  • 2 cup homemade yogurt, hung for about 3-4 hours
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ranch buttermilk dressing {or a dash of lime juice, garlic and finely chopped green chili}
  • handful chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • olives, cherry tomatoes, pistachios
  • lightly toasted walnuts and more mint, for garnish

Method:

  1. Whisk the hung curd with buttermilk seasoning until smooth. Alternatively, add minced garlic, a dash of lime juice, green chilies and salt and mix until smooth.
  2. Begin layering…
  3. Starting with the raisins, followed by chickpeas, grated cucumbers, and yogurt, layer each of the ingredients, divided between jars. Top with olives and cherry tomatoes, chopped walnuts, slivered pistachios and a few mint leaves. Chill well until ready to serve.
  4. Alternatively, if you’re not into the layering thing, you can just mix it all together and store accordingly.
  5. Sofias note: It’s really important to draw most of the juice out of the cucumbers, otherwise the end result will be swimming in cucumber juice. Once the cukes are grated, use your hands to squeeze out as much juice as you can. Drink it, it’s really refreshing! Set aside in a strainer to let any remaining liquid drain.

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

Cooking | Butter Chicken & Punjabi Chole … The Chakle India Cookbook {a book review}

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
John Ruskin

Butter Chicken {Pan fried version}It’s a delicious book on Indian cooking. An almost impish face smiles back at you from the cover, the earnest cook, with a twinkle in his eyes. It’s Aditya Bal the Indian model turned chef stirring up some magic. ‘The Chakhle India‘ Cookbook is based on the most popular food show Indian TV. From the book I offer a quintessential Indian curry – Butter Chicken {Pan fried version}, and a chickpea dish – Punjabi Chole.The Chakle India CookbookI looked at the book with initial skepticism as I don’t follow too many TV cookery shows. Took it along when I went to pick up the older teen from detention! {Yes that happens too as she didn’t submit a project in time. She had completed it but forgot to submit it!}! I love the lessons school can teach that we can’t! Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookGot there 30 minutes early armed with the book; it was the most fruitful 30 minutes I’ve spent of late. It was an instant connect! He seemed warm, real, ‘talked’ to with you, a peoples person, had a wonderful rapport and was entertaining. Explains why he runs the most popular food show!Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookFood is good when it is real, when stories are woven around it, when you know where they are coming from and what influences the style … a face behind the name makes it even better! Not so long ago we met Shamita, Ms India Universe, at the Four Seasons Wine Tasting event and marveled at how grounded she was. More recently we got ‘up close and personal‘ with one of India’s top chefs Saby at the Olive Bar & Kitchenanother fabulous person!Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India Cookbook Haven’t met Aditya but already feel like I know him a li’l bit. He talks fondly of growing up in Kashmir {I love Kashmir and it is on my list of places to revisit but with the hub}. I have beautiful memories of Srinagar which we visited as kids; Aditya stirred those up beautifully.Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookThe author lived an idyllic life in Srinagar, the culinary side reflected by Wazwan, potlucks, Sunday roasts reminiscent of his maternal grandmothers cooking; then had an unfortunate displacement from the state he loved due to civil unrest. He modeled for a few years and eventually found his calling in food. The book is packed with recipes from different corners of India, reflected in the title Chakle India {literally translates into Taste India}…Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookI love the simple explanations, the ‘deglazing’ of the pan now and then, asking you to check the balance of flavours, taking in the magic of Indian spices. Other “foodies” like Chantal Royer do a great job at analyzing some of the traditional Indian spices from her travels.  For all you meat lovers there, there is plenty of ‘meaty goodness’ that he tempts you to try. I made butter chicken from his book when I got home.
Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookWhy Butter Chicken? Because it is one of India’s most popular dishes, the kids love it, I haven’t made a ‘butter’ laden butter chicken in ages, it was the weekend, there was no electricity and the recipe was a pan fried version, it uses fresh tomatoes which are in abundance … more simply, because I wanted to!Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookIt’s a good, homey, comforting recipe … a nice balance of flavours, not like the original butter chicken as that uses oven baked tandoori chicken, but finger licking good nevertheless. The son asked for it 2 days in a row! I make a low fat version often, yet to be blogged, but for now this version is for you!Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookThere are plenty of vegetarian recipes too. I reached for the book a second time as I had chickpeas soaking for a salad for the dieting diva. Made the Punjabi Cholas and they were fabulous! Loved the astoefitida {hing} in them, and also loved that it didn’t use commercial chana masala. I served them with boiled rice but they would taste great with flatbread too, or just as a snack.Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookNice to see a book with seemingly more emphasis on the meaty dishes, yet one that offers a liberal dose of vegetarian main course and snacks. The dessert section is SWEET! I have my eye on a mango kheer which I find rather intriguing and haven’t heard of before! Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookPick up the book and you’ll find it easy to cook from it. The ingredients are simple pantry staples and the methods aren’t cumbersome. Some recipes do appear long with many ingredients and instructions … a little complicated but really aren’t. The only downside, if ever so slightly there is one, is the pictures. I like my food photographs to show the dish from a short distance to get a better idea of the dish. Most frames are shot really close up, though there are plenty of them. Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookThe book is a delicious take on homey, comforting and make-able Indian cuisine, food from the heart, flavours that speak for themselves and the energy to make you want to cook! It’s a good addition to my ever growing collection of cookbooks.

Thank you for Anushree for sending me a copy to review. I really enjoyed the book!

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

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