Baking | Savoury Chicken Galette … Cherry Tomato with Green Garlic Pesto & Roasted Veggies with Smoked Sea Salt {Baking with Julia}

“Ingredients are not sacred. The art of cuisine is sacred.”
Tanith Tyrr

Savoury Chicken GaletteIt was a savoury chicken galette waiting to happen, or maybe wanting to be baked. It’s a result of blogger interactions, loads of food talk, some food cravings, events missed and repented, flavours virtually thrown into the air and talked about….Savoury Chicken GaletteI missed a picnic a few weeks ago with the Delhi food bloggers bunch. There was so much talk about food, what who was making, baking, getting,  that I had pangs …not hunger pangs but pangs of missing out on something good!  The Great Cookaroo threw in yolks after yolks to make her to go pastry cream from Dorie Greenspans Baking with Julia. I had the book on the shelf. A favourite from a favourite food blogger who gifted it to me from Bangalore. {Thank you again Suma!}

Savoury Chicken Galette Then there was talk of pickled green garlic pesto which immediately threw my tastebuds in overdrive … that sounded drop dead delicious. I wanted some! My chance soon came as a bunch of us met again at the Ty.phoo Tea & Food pairing eventSangeeta  carried a bottle of pickled green garlic pesto for me.

Savoury Chicken Galette with green garlic pestoSmothered on a toast the next morning, it had a comforting homey feel! It had all the hints of the green chutney sandwiches my dad often made … beautiful flavours that teased the palette. As I sat in the kitchen, the laundry machine whirring punishingly in the background, I reached out for Baking with Julia! The book is a winner. Read it, bake from it, drool over it, learn from it. I wanted to bake something savoury that morning, and settled for Cheese & Tomato Galette!

Savoury Chicken Galette The galette dough was done in seconds, a Flo Baker recipe from the book. Don’t you love a dough that comes together in a heartbeat, is fuss free, smooth, pliable and uses pantry staples? I didn’t even need to rest it since it held beautifully, winter ensuring a fridge like cold kitchen. {Feedback from batch #2: An overnight rest in the fridge yields a pliable nice dough too.}

Savoury Chicken Galette I used everything I had on hand! Pickled green garlic pesto, mozzarella, chicken salami, then some roasted onion balsamic jam, cherry tomatoes, smoked sea salt, pepper. Finished it off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic greens.

Savoury Chicken GaletteThe green garlic pesto was a bit spicy / chili for the younger fellow, but hit all the right spots with the daughter and husband who love everything chili! You can find the recipe for the Pickled Green Garlic Pesto {or lehsun ka achaar} on Sangeeta’s blog. Use extra virgin olive oil to get a more pesto like feel to it {as she did for my batch}, and reduce the chilies if you don’t like it too hot! BTW, Sangeeta does great personalised  diet plans too, so do stop by if you need one!

Savoury Chicken Galette You can do pretty much anything with a ‘pastry canvas’ like this. To keep the younger one happy, I made a second lot with roasted bell peppers and onions {roasting done in the Philips AirFryer, 10 minutes was all it took}, topped with sliced chicken sausages marinated briefly in a honey-mustard-garlic mix. Keep it vegetarian with roasted veggies, caramelised onion & garlic jam and feta, maybe tomatoes.  It’s smooth, fun to roll out, and even more fun to ruffle over the filling to give it the characteristic galette feel.

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

Baking | Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake … & a Broccoli salad #comfortfood

“From morning till night, sounds drift from the kitchen, most of them familiar and comforting. On days when warmth is the most important need of the human heart, the kitchen is the place you can find it; it dries the wet sock, it cools the hot little brain.”

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake … this was one of those meals made on the trot, rummaging through the fridge, cleaning out whatever I could use. Then came the daughters’ call to her brother,  “Whatever she is making smells REALLY good“. One fork dug deep in later, “Man, this is GOOD! Wow!”

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake It turned out to be an indulgent, comforting meal in a bowl for days like we are experiencing. Cold Cold Cold. Temperatures nearly dipping into the freezer, 1-2° C range, no central heating, hands as cold as ice. Cooking feels good, stirring a pot over a warm fire quite comforting. Chopping is ugh; then again, there needs to be a means to the end I guess. The upside? Loads of fresh winter vegetables. L O A D S!

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake I’ve made the most of mushrooms, bell peppers and broccoli this season. Mushrooms are dicey though as the older teen cannot stand them, so I need to sneak them in. This time they hid under some lovely garlic butter and olive oil, then disappeared deep into Worcestershire sauce! Life does get so delicious sometimes….

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake This was one of those times in the kitchen when I felt like The Pioneer Woman or then the Domestic Goddess. Every pat of  butter, every dribble of cream seemed justified in this incessantly cold weather. I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful the kitchen smelt … warm, garlicky, buttery and oh-so-comforting! Sometimes that little bit of extra fat makes life so much more worthwhile.

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake 7The mushrooms were kept veggie company with bell peppers and garlic greens. I love the added flavour garlic greens lend to a dish. Mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce also make for great pairing. I didn’t know that but tasting en-route endorsed it. For that matter rosemary, buttah and chicken make for great bedfellows too.

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake The creamy chicken was meant to be served over pasta, but the kids woke up really late. That meant a late lunch so I figured I could bake it altogether briefly. It’s wonderful how the creamy sauce got into every little crevice of the pasta. A quick grating of mozzarella and a handsome dash of smoked paprika {from Juberfam & Mittal; excellent stuff} made us all sing out loud.

Juberfam & Mittal gourmet products  This is a good one bowl meal, warming, filling, indulgent with some oven roasted potato wedges on the side. Oh, and a warm broccoli salad too. Crisp, full of flavour and really nice. Thankfully, broccoli has ended the battle of the greens with the kids! They know 6-7 florets are ‘mandatory‘; now quite enjoy it. I am yet to win the battle of the cauliflower!

Broccoli SaladThe salad plate is a classic white one from Urban Dazzle. It’s reasonably priced and one that I really really like. Aesthetically designed, slightly tilted and handy to have on hand, it beautifully doubled up as a cake platter on my recent Tea Rose Fondant Cake.

Tea Rose Fondant Cake It’s got a nice rounded base which tends to hold any extra dressing juices. Keeps the salad from getting soggy.

Broccoli Salad The tilt towards the front gives it a good feel. I served a cold potato buttermilk salad in it a few days ago. That is one of our favourites and a great way to enjoy spuds! YUM!

Cold potato salad

Before I go on to the recipe, I’d like to thank Turmeric n Spice for having me over in her series “Inspiration form the Blogging Community“. I truly enjoyed being there.

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

Baking| Anzac Biscuits … the perfect bite! ‘#comfortfood {eggless}

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”
German Proverb

Anzac BiscuitsNom Nom Nom … these Anzac Biscuits  have to be the best cookies I’ve made in a while, a hurried first nibble when they were yet warm, and it was love at first bite. I didn’t care if the kids rejected them; I knew I could devour the whole jar full! They were SO GOOD!Anzac Biscuits He woke up with a smile, trying to charm my angry face. It was past 10am and I wasn’t a happy mother. “Cookieeeeeeee …. Yum! Nice. Can I have another? She came home early after her exam. ‘Mother, I’m hungers’ she screamed in teen talk. “Me want cookie! Oooooh nice. More? Are these fatty? Another please? Just one more? That’s the way this cookie crumbled! Day one and the jar half full {or half empty as I saw it!}. I did bake another batch the next day!Eggless Chocolate Orange Tart It was back to the basics for me, baking from memory {the eggless chocolate orange tart above} and  turning pages of cookbooks on the shelf. I suddenly wanted to make ‘ciabatta’ on priority since the net was down {cables been cut in error they say} only to frustratingly remember that the recipe was online; only an offline link remained on my silly desktop!Eggless Chocolate Orange Tart It’s a bit unnerving to see how much one gets attached to the net! I worked in frustration that morning – did laundry, cleaned the kitchen chimney, brushed the pooch, made rough puff pastry {froze it}, made mushroom potato soup, made sweet butter, a base for a tart, then filled it with delicious chocolate filling. … and then these Anzac Biscuits!Anzac Biscuits

An Anzac biscuit is a sweet biscuit popular in Australia and New Zealand, made using rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda and boiling water. Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I. It has been claimed the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation.

You can read more about their origin and history here.  A point of interest is the lack of eggs to bind the ANZAC biscuit mixture together. Because of the war, many of the poultry farmers had joined the services, thus, eggs were scarce. The binding agent for the biscuits was golden syrup or treacle.

Anzac BiscuitsIts been an exasperating beginning to the year to say the least. While power cuts were something we’ve learnt to live with for long, internet connectivity was taken for granted, a right for a privatized service. No such luck however! Shoddy ISP with rotten customer service makes my blood boil, the past few days on simmer!Anzac BiscuitsThese bites made me feel better instantly; the cookies are the best I’d tasted in a while. I remember biting into crisp, thin, delicious honey oat cookies at the coffee workshop a few months ago, mesmerised by the taste. Came home and googled forever but never found a recipe that promised to please. Anzac BiscuitsThen that morning, no net, no links and I made a rough puff pastry & mushroom potato soup in the Thermomix. Leafing through the pages of the TM cookbook I found Anzac Biscuits. Now I’ve been meaning to make Anzacs for ages, and the minute I saw golden syrup I decided to give the recipe a go. I’ve had a bottle of syrup in my larder for over a year. Yes, looked like a cookie I would enjoy; was happy to note ‘no eggs’ . Minor changes … knocked off the coconut as the teen can’t stand coconut it and substituted it for chopped walnuts to make the cookie a little more wholesome.

Anzac BiscuitsThere’s something so charming about the taste, something quite addictive. The cookies are crisp on the outside yet offer this slightly chewy comforting centre within. Also, they have a butterscotchy flavor that I really like, a honeyish hue possibly due to the syrup and butter being melted together. I love the depth the walnuts add to them, though I think coconut would be wonderful too.Anzac BiscuitsI reduced the sugar slightly from the original recipe, and baked them slightly thicker and thus longer. Maybe next time a little whole wheat flour substitution might happen, but all in all these were the perfect bite. Made me forget that silly internet, the lack of connectivity. Just proves that food comforts … and how!


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