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“What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents”
M Chiarello

Crackers & DipsWholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & 3 Dips…. for times like these when the game is up. Nothing unites the world better than sport and food. I think the two were meant to go hand in hand. Think world cup cricket, soccer, or then super bowl, and the first thing that comes to mind if food! OK, after the game of course! With the ICC  Cricket World Cup warming up nicely, it’s imperative to keep the food going!

Crackers & Dips Yesterday spent 20 minutes rolling out crackers … thin, crisp, delicious Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers. Paired them off with 3 quick dips. Dips are an out and out game favourite, and I have gone with simple ones! A Roasted Bell Pepper, Garlic & Walnut Dip {earthy, smoky, finger licking good}, a Classic Garlicky Cream Dip {tangy, creamy, GARLICKY ... an all time favourite} and a seasonal Rocket & Cashew Dip {where sharp peppery leaves meet the sweetness of cashew nuts}. Ingredients for dipsDips are really really versatile to throw together. Make them using what you have on hand. Herbs, seasonal produce, cold pressed oils, garlic, garlic greens, onion scapes, legumes, citrus fruit, nuts, cheese, spices. Get creative and follow your taste buds. You will be surprised at how much you can create with so little! To thin them down you can add coconut milk, citrus juice, single cream, sour cream, buttermilk etc.

Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & DipsOnce ready, which is a matter of minutes usually, you can dip into them of course, or add them to your cheese platter. There’s so much more you can do. Slather sandwiches with them, toss them through a pasta, top grilled chicken or fish with dip. If you are more adventurous, them use them in a bread like the French Fougasse. I love that you can tweak the flavours as you like, and also that dips embrace local and seasonal produce whole heartedly!

Wholegrain Crackers & Dips Why so many nibbles of late you might wonder? Well these are game days. Cricket, cricket and more cricket. From games you expect nothing and get the word, and from games you expect the world and hit rock bottom, the sports world is a funny place to be in. The cricket world cup down under has begun,and how! Talk sports and there is another huge thing in common …FOOD!

Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & Dips And that’s where we DIP! These are simple ones to rustle up. You could even do a  make ahead simple hummus that I just shared with oat & cheese crackers. On the side, you could go the healthy crudite way or whole grain crackers maybe. Else grab the bag of chips, nachos, pita chips…whatever. Dig right in. foodEvery major gaming event, be it the super bowl, soccer or the cricket world cup, churns up an appetite for food, yummy, good, delicious food. These dips will hit the ball out of the park … like South Africa did today! If you are deft in the kitchen, and love getting quick stuff together, then here are a few other options.Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian KalácsThe India Pakistan thriller saw us polishing off  rustic Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács Do a quick version with cooked chicken tossed in the rocket cashew pesto dip and cheese! Or skip the chicken and go vegetarian. Next was the India South Africa match. That saw a rerun of Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers with a quick Hummus! Delicious times indeed!  Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus 8If you aren’t the cooking types, but certainly the eating types, then your best option would be a quick call to Food Panda to order your favourite food. It’s an online food-ordering service that makes it easy for customers to find their favorite food conveniently from home, work or on the road and get it delivered. It is now active in 30 cities in India and has over 4000+ restaurants available and the delivery of your food is free.

ticketThe nice thing is that during the Cricket World Cup,  Food Panda is running a “One child’s mid day meals collaboration” called Ticket to Cheer. ​In rece​nt months, the company has begun to get involved in helping for civic change of India, supporting NGO’s projects etc. This particular campaign is a novel concept. They are offering a platform where people can donate, in order to give mid-meals to 1.4 million kids for a whole school year. It’s certainly worth a shout out! As we cheer on our favourite teams, give Food Panda a cheer for the good work they are doing as well!

Oh and don’t forget to participate in the Philips giveaway here. Just a day to go!

[print_this]Recipe: Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers

Summary: Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & 3 Dips. Crisp, light addictive crackers. Top them with spices or enjoy them as is. Crackers don’t get simpler than these!
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 200g wholewheat flour
  • 100g oats
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 40ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 150ml water {approximately}
  • Olive oil for brushing over
  • Zaatar and Sumac for sprinkling {optional}

Method:

  1. Place first five ingredients in bowl of food processor and blend to mix. Gradually add water to make a firm, pliable dough. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. On a lightly dusted surface, take a quarter of the dough and roll it out as thinly as you can to a rectangular shape to fit the tray. Transfer dough to the parchment paper, brush with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle over with Zaatar if desired.
  4. Take a pastry / pizza cutter and cut into desired shapes.
  5. Bake for about 15-18 minutes until light golden brown. Keep an eye on them towards the end as they can over brown pretty quick.
  6. Cool completely on racks. Store in an airtight container. Serve with dips.


Recipe: Roasted Bell Pepper, Garlic & Walnut
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Summary: Earthy, smoky, finger licking good

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  •  2 red bell peppers
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 50g walnuts
  • 30ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Method:

  1. Place the bell peppers and garlic and roast in an oven at 180C  for 30 minutes, until the bell peppers are charred. I roasted them in my AirFryer. Place in a covered bowl and allow to cool. Peel and deseed the bell peppers, squeeze the garlic out.
  2. Place walnuts in food processor with all the remaining ingredients. Pulse to desired consistency. Stand for 20 minutes for flavours to mature. {Can be made ahead. Store in refrigerator for 2-3 days}


Recipe: Classic Garlicky Cream  Dip
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Summary: Creamy, garlicky and tangy, this is an all time favourite!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 400g yogurt, hung
  • 3 finely chopped cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic greens {or chives, maybe fresh coriander}
  •  finely chopped green chili
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Place yogurt in a large bowl and whisk well until smooth and lump free. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Taste and check seasoning. Add more lime or salt if required.
  2. {Can be made ahead. Store in refrigerator for 2-3 days}


Recipe: Rocket & Cashew Dip
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Summary: A dip where peppery rocket meets sweet cashew nuts. Thin this one down with cream cheese or single cream if you like. You can also add some parmesan.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 100g cashew nuts
  • 50g rocket leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  Salt to taste
  • Dash of lime juice

Method:

  1. Place cashew nuts and rocket leaves in bowl of processor and pulse until everything is chopped quite fine. Make sure not to process it to a paste. We want to feel the texture of the nuts.
  2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and blend. Season with salt and add a dash of lime juice.
  3. {Can be made ahead. Store in refrigerator for 2-3 days}

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“Comfort food….food that reassures. Is different things to different people.”
David Tanis

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & HummusOat & Wheat Cheese Crackers, and a quick Hummus…for one of those days when you are tired, feeling under the weather and craving comforting food. For days like this only quick, simple and flavourful seriously works. For days like these, a food processor is your best friend. Nothing to beat a workhorse that does everything, takes the work out of the cooking or baking, pampers you unknowingly, and delivers like nothing else!

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus I had a bunch of chickpeas left over as I boiled extra the other day while stirring up a quick chickpea curry. I always boil extra chickpeas as having some on hand offers plenty of quick rustle up food ideas. Salads for one. I made this layered savoury chickpea parfait often. Doubles up as a healthy, filling and quite delicious tiffin too!

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus But I was in a mood for crackers. Just one of those strange days where I craved baking something savoury, and had an idea in my head. Working as a fit foodie makes me constantly strive for fun wholegrain alternatives to things. They got to be yum too. I used butter in these crackers, but I think you could easily use olive oil. I might throw in some ground nut meal too the next time to substitute some of the flour. Just a thought…and more ideas to work on!Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus The hummus happened as I was inspired by a quick hummus recipe that popped into my inbox not so long ago. I recall it having sesame paste as optional and it stayed in my head. There is nothing much to a hummus or chickpea dip. Just throw a bunch of ingredients into the faithful food processor, give them a whir. Balance flavours as you so desire.

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus More garlic if you are like us, more lime juice too. Plenty of extra virgin olive oil, maybe fresh herbs. Skip the smoked  paprika if you don’t have some on hand, degi mirch {kashmiri mirch} or red chili flakes. I have to say though that smoked paprika adds some fine earthy, moorish flavours to the dip…

Wholemeal Crackers with Baba Ghanoush & Muhammara There are other dips you could try. A Quark, Garlic and Chives Dip, Baba Ghanoush or Muhamarra would be wonderful here too. Else if nothing else, some nice cheese, fruit and wine will complete your cheese board.

[print_this]Recipe: Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers
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Summary: Whole grain healthy crackers, bursting with flavours. Crisp, healthy and delicious, they’re a great cheese board option.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 150g wholewheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 30g unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
  • 30g cheddar, grated
  • 15g finely chopped garlic greens {about 1/4 cup}
  • 1tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup cultured buttermilk
  • Wholewheat flour for dusting

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment, or lightly grease them.
  2. Place the oats, wholewheat flour, salt and baking soda in bowl of food processor and mix on low for 30 seconds.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except buttermilk and pulse to mix until you get a breadcrumb like mix.
  4. With the processor running on low speed, gradually add the buttermilk 1 tbsp at a time until the dough seems to come together. You will need about a 1/4 cup maybe less.
  5. Turn dough in a bowl and knead together very briefly till it comes together, 20-30 seconds. Divide into 2, then roll out and cut as desired.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes in a low oven until light golden brown and crisp.
  7. Cool completely and check if crisp. If not leave in a low oven or another 10-15 minutes.
  8. Cool and store in an airtight box.

Recipe: Chickpea Hummus

Summary: A simple chickpea dip, Hummus is ideal to serve with crackers. Hummus is great as a sandwich filling too.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 30g white sesame seeds , toasted
  • 200g {1cup} chickpeas, boiled
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 4-5 stalks chives, chopped
  • 30ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp roasted ground cumin
  • Water as required {2-3tbsp}
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over, paprika and chives for garnish

Method:

  1. Place the sesame seeds in bowl of food processor and grind.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except water and process until ground into a smooth paste. Gradually add a little water at a time, and continue to process until you get desired consistency
  3. Taste and adjust salt, lime juice etc.
  4. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle over with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle over smoked paprika and chopped chives.
  5. Serve with the crackers, crudites etc.

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“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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