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Christmas

“BE OPEN TO new thoughts, to new people, to new principles, to new ideas, to new experiences. “NEW” MAKES US GROW”
Rossana Condoleo

LumiaApptasting and World FeastWith the Chenin Blanc chilled just right and a good wine from Fratelli at that, recommended by Ruchira, it was a nice beginning to the LumiaApptasting event held recently. With the promise of sumptuous food, refreshing drinks and a garnishing of apps , it was an evening of fun brought to us by Microsoft in collaboration with Women on Wanderlust {WOW}.

LumiaApptasting and World Feast The evening was introduced by the sweet and vivacious Poonam Kaul, Director, Communications, Nokia India, and then handed over to the hilarious duo who are quite trademark of LumiaApptasting – Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna and Tech Guru Rajiv Makhni, the boys or rather men from Amritsar. Both in perfect sync with each other, with a ‘dress code pink’ ladies only event in place, they soon had all the women literally eating out of their hands!

LumiaApptasting and World Feast Promising a hell of a journey, it took off pretty soon. Blind tasting, blind guessing, songs, dance, drama … the LumiaApptasting had it all. Woven through the evening were the perfect apps to tackle all your pre-holiday tasks, track your belongings and getting acquainted with fellow travelers. Plenty of ice breakers thrown in! Interestingly, the event wove it’s way across the entire group, and at different times you could here applause, sighs, gasps as the spoken word touched various nerves at different times. LumiaApptasting and World Feast LumiaApptasting is a unique concept that take mobile apps out of the tech space and brings them right to consumers in a relevant sort of a way. It’s a fun, innovative way that brings  technology and lifestyle together in more ways that one would ever imagine, possibly in any and every sphere of life. We were a motley group of women … wanderers and bloggers. Bloggers I believe from different fields – food, lifestyle, maybe technology too. LumiaApptasting and World Feast From an app to help discover the unknown treasures of your holiday destination, to immortalising your favourite holiday moments with awesome imagine apps, the line up of apps were creative. They included Face Swap, Wise Quotes, Wacky facts, & the Self Defense App. The latter two my favourites! Did I mention that the trailer of Fifty Shades of Grey was played? Yes that happened too!LumiaApptasting and World Feast The evening ended with the launch of Vikas Khanna‘s new book World Feast. In a departure from Indian cuisine prominent in his last few books, his latest book offers a treasury of multicultured flavours, taking our taste-buds for a journey across the world.  A beautifully photographed book that captures the very essence of New York, and knocks your breath away at times. Being generous to a fault, the chef made sure each lady left with a copy of his book in the goodie bag that evening! That was a real WOW moment for all of us, a book with a 120 recipes so imaginatively created.

World Feast by Vikas Khanna,Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies Through simple, wholesome and staple recipes to complex combinations of textures and flavors, the book offers it all. Chef Vikas Khanna has brought in inspiration from some of the worlds iconic cooks, cafes and home kitchens, and allows you to add your own imagination and experience as you turn pages.

World Feast by Vikas Khanna,Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies And that is what I did. The boy has been on my case for stained glass cookies. They were a norm during his growing up years every Christmas, the fascination of candy melting to transparent magic while baking. Turning the pages, I stopped at the thumbprint cookies. Those were ‘growing up’ cookies too, so before I knew it I was in the kitchen.

World Feast by Vikas Khanna,Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies

I took the liberty of playing with the recipe Ojasvi’s Raspberry Thumbprint Cookie to give it my own wholegrain twist. It worked. Beautifully. The boy was thrilled, and said they were the best ever. Mr PAB took one look and said they were like the ones he used to beg his mother to buy each time he visited his ‘nani‘ or maternal grandmother when he was a kid. Now I was thrilled too! True old fashioned cookies!!

World Feast by Vikas Khanna,Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies Things I changed. All purpose flour for a combination of wholewheat and almond meal, some baking soda to help them stay light, brown sugar and instead of white, and a wild lingonberry preserve from Ikea to fill. The Slyt Blaber is the son’s favourite preserve. He got hooked on to it several years ago when we first visited Sydney. Thankfully Hong Kong has a great Ikea, so the Swedish preserve supply continues!

World Feast by Vikas Khanna,Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies The cookies turned out really nice. They flattened out slightly more than those in the book. Perhaps I should have chilled the dough, perhaps added a spoon or two more of flour. Next  batch. Nevertheless they were crisp beautiful and delicious! I made this a Fit Foodie recipe.

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Recipe:  Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies
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Summary: Rich, old fashioned buttery cookies that would delight the cookie monster at home. Make sure you use good quality butter and vanilla extract. These Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies are adapted from World Feast by Vikas Khanna, pg 341. Makes 20-24 cookies.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Filling
  • 1/2tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup lingonberry preserves {or your favourite jam}
  • Cookies
  • 1 1/8 cup wholewheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Place preserves and honey in a small bowl and mix well. Reserve.
  3. Sift together flour and almond meal
  4. Place butter and sugar in a large bowl and blend with a electric hand blender until light and cream.
  5. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  6. Fold in the dry mix well. Knead to a smooth dough.
  7. Divide into half, then divide into ten to twelve 2.5cm/1″ balls each.
  8. Place an inch apart each on the baking tray, using a floured thumb to create indentations in the centre of each ball. ill each indentation with 1 tsp of jam-honey mixture.
  9. Bake until golden brown for approx 25 minutes.
  10. Remove to tray, cool completely. Dust with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container.

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“Eat clean. Think straight. Work consistently. Speak positively. Motivate others. Believe in yourself.” Toni Sorenson

Wholegrain holiday biscottiWholegrain Holiday Biscotti. It’s strange that I post biscotti every so often. Each time Mr PAB travels I brace myself for the request. “Do you think you’ll have time to make me some biscotti?” Yes he is that predictable. And me? Equally unpredictable. Even if I am torn for time, I know I will definitely bake a batch. The unpredictable bit is that I cannot make the same recipe over and over again.IMG_4322That the biscotti was going to be healthy and wholegrain was a given. The beginning of the holiday season means a lot of additional flavours begin to dance in the head. Crystallised ginger, dried cranberries, orange, and walnuts of course… fun fun fun! Baking the batch gave me a chance to play around with this beautiful Acacia Wooden Cutting Board from Engrave that I recently received. Chopped the walnuts, ginger and cranberries on it, flipped it over and shot some more…Engrave

Meat or mushrooms, this rugged chopping board can handle it all. Hand crafted from a single block of Acacia wood, this rustic looking board is as comfortable in the lap as it on the kitchen counter. If you find one side is worn out from months if frantic chopping, flip it around for a second stint.

engraveEngrave have got a whole lot of fun, innovative and interesting products online. I especially love the Acacia range, but there’s plenty more in the lifestyle range. Their engraving and personalized products really stand out. There is loads of creativity on offer that includes plaques, canvas, name plates, ipad engraving … Wholegrain holiday biscotti 2…. back to baking and the queen of substitutions kicked in. It was going to be a chocolate base. Most whole grains work really well with chocolate, so no question of messing around there. I like that this recipe worked out well. Plenty of wholegrain – buckwheat flour, wholewheat flour and oats, it’s packed with nuts, ginger, cranberries too … all good for the winters. The recipe is a healthier take on the chocolate almond biscotti I made several years ago…. and that brings me to the Fit Foodie meter.

As you might know, I was part of the Saffola Oats campaign led by Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna last year to develop healthy and tasty recipes.Using wholegrain and healthy ingredients like oats, buckwheat flour, amaranth flour, whole sugars etc., I discovered a whole new world! There’s been no looking back…Cookshow with Chef Vikas Khanna , Deeba Rajpal Food Food TV, fitfoodieI developed  bunch of fun and interesting recipes. You can now find these on the FIT FOODIE website. There were a couple of videos shot for Food Food Channel as well. They are on the Saffola Fit Foodie site and on you tube too.This year around, I have been invited to hop on board and join their ‘Fit Foodie Panel‘.

Our panel of experts is the one that creates, carefully scrutinizes and approves every recipe that is available on the site. Headed by Michelin starred chef, Vikas Khanna, it includes die hard foodies, eminent chefs, popular food bloggers and renowned nutritionists who ensure that the scale is perfectly balanced on both health and taste. They cook, they taste and yes, they share exactly what works to spin that delightfully healthy meal on the table!

Saffola Fit Foodie Panel

The site offers another interesting concept that’s been developed by the efficient and creative team behind brand Saffola… the Fit Foodie Meter. It works hard to improve normally used recipes and give them a healthier makeover of sorts, yet keeps the tasty factor in place.

Fit foodie meter

The Fit Foodie Meter score is in a comparative format. The meter always shows the score for two recipes: 1) The ‘Regular Recipe’ or the most commonly prepared form of the dish and 2) The ‘Fit Foodie Recipe’ or the recipe presented in this website, which is an improved/modified version of the original dish. For example, if one were to take pizza as the dish, the Fit Foodie Meter would show the score for a regular veg pizza (Regular Recipe) and that for the Green Pizza (Fit Foodie Recipe) whose recipe is presented on this website. The greater the difference between the two scores, the higher the nutritive value of the Fit Foodie recipe in comparison to the Regular Recipe.

So join us at Saffola Fit Foodie as we try and get you healthier takes on recipes. Feel free to request for ‘recipe makeovers’ . Together we can reach our goal of tasty & healthy recipes. You can submit your healthier versions of recipes too. It’s a lifestyle change. Come be part of it!

[print_this]Recipe: Wholegrain Holiday Biscotti {chocolate+cranberries+ginger+walnuts} your picture

Summary: Crisp, chocolaty, and healthy, this Wholegrain Holiday Biscotti is a nice addition to the holiday cookie platter. With cranberries, walnuts, crystallised ginger and orange, it’s time to ring in the holiday season with this twice baked Italian cookie! Makes 25-30

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes Ingredients:

  • 75g wholewheat flour
  • 40g buckwheat flour
  • 50g oats
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 75g unsalted butter, chilled, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 1tp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 50g walnuts, roasted, chopped
  • 15g crystallised ginger,chopped
  • 25g dried cranberries, chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170C
  2. Place wholewheat flour, buckwheat flour, oats, coco powder, baking powder, pinch salt and dark chocolate in bowl of food processor and pulse to fine mix.
  3. Add the butter and pulse at high speed again. Reserve.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, brown sugar, almond extract and orange rind till fluffy, one minute.
  5. Fold in the dry mix with the walnuts, ginger and cranberries. Form into 2 logs and bake for 30 minute
  6. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes. Slice with a sharp knife.
  7. Lay flat on sides on the baking tray, and bake again at 150C for 30 minutes.

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“Christmas, here again. Let us raise a loving cup:
Peace on earth, goodwill to men,
And make them do the washing up”
Wendy Cope

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly … these were plenty fun to make and absolutely delicious {if I may so so myself}. Couldn’t think of a better way to ring in the bells, to colour our world with the red, white & green. They seemed so right!!

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas JellyThat they turned out goblet scraping good was an added bonus. Everyone, young & old, loved them. The kids begged for seconds. And thirds. Goblets, glasses, shooters. All fun!Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding Remember my very recent the Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding with Thai fruit? These jellies were what I had in mind initially, yet the rice pudding came first. This a little later. Both eggless and both held their own spot in the dessert world. While I fell in love with the colours of the former, the latter played some more magic. Kid sorta magic!

Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly Of course the Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly dessert is inspired. Inspired by the Strawberry and Vanilla Macaron Trifles I made in Dec 2010 adapted minimally from a Donna Hay recipe. They were absolute crowd pleasers then. The story the same this year as well.

Strawberry Vanilla Macaron TrifleThe magic lies in the beauty and simplicity of the fruit juice jelly with suspended fresh fruit within. One look at the dragon fruit, the black and white contrast, and the luscious strawberries in the fridge … and a small voice in my head said “Why not? Why ever not?”

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly So to keep with the flavours, I did a mixed jelly … litchi juice for the dragon fruit and cranberry juice for the strawberries. How good can good get? The result was fab. I know because I could hear the goblets being scraped clean. Thankfully there was plenty.

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly There is nothing like glassware to set jelly in. I used a variety of glassware just because I wasn’t in the mood for monotony. I used brandy goblets, stemmed glasses and a few shot glasses too. I think stemless brandy glasses would work well too. Or maybe these beauties from Urban Dazzle which are one of my favourites.

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly The dessert needs a little pre-planning. Since there are two flavours of jelly, one needs to set first, then the other follows. I was a bit impatient so the colours merged a little. No issues though. They still tasted brilliant. I think I managed one a little closer to how I would have liked them all to be.

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly Dressing up the jellies is the fun part. Pipe over some barely sweetened low fat pillowy soft cream {I used an Ikea funnel}, garnish with colourful fruit, add a sprig of fresh mint … and go HO HO HO!!

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly

Have a safe, delicious and fun holiday season. Joyeux Noël dear readers, Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas 2013

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Recipe:Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly your picture

Summary: Light, healthy, delicious Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly holiday desserts for the young and old alike. Serve them in an array of glasses to keep the mood fun and joyful! Use other seasonal fruit paired with juice of your choice for a variation.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes, plus setting time
Ingredients:

  • Litchi Dragon fruit Jelly
  • 500ml litchi juice
  • 2tsp gelatin powder
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 dragon fruit, skinned, diced {reserve some for topping}
  • Cranberry Strawberry Jelly 
  • 500ml cranberry juice
  • 2tsp gelatin
  • 50g sugar
  • 200g strawberries {reserve 2-3 for topping}
  • Cream topping
  • 200g low fat cream, chilled
  • 1/4t strawberry essence
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • Fresh mint for garnish

Method:

  1. Litchi Jelly
  2. Place the gelatin and ½ cup {125ml} litchi juice in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the gelatine is absorbed. Place the remaining litchi juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the gelatine and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.
  3. Cranberry Jelly 
  4. Place the gelatin and ½ cup {125ml} cranberry juice in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the gelatin is absorbed. Place the remaining cranberry juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the gelatine and stir to combine. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
  5. Assemble
  6. Divide the dragon fruit in the base of the serving glasses/bowls and pour over the litchi jelly mixture. Refrigerate for 2–3 hours until set. {I put mine in the freezer for a little bit}.
  7. Once the jelly is firm and pretty set, divide the strawberries over the set litchi jelly. Gently pour the cranberry jelly over the strawberries. Refrigerate for 2–3 hours until set. {Mine took almost overnight to set}.
  8. Top with whipped cream {pipe or funnel into the glassware so that the edges don’t get messy}.
  9. Garnish with fresh cut fruit, sprigs of mint and chill until ready to serve.
  10. Note: You can set the jellies 2-3 days in advance. Add the fresh fruit and mint closer to serving or it may lose its appeal.

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