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healthy

Mango Smoothie Bowl #Foodventures #AxisBank #DiningDelights
“Fussing over food was important. It gave a shape to the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner; beginning, middle, end.”

Robert Hellenga

Summer Mango Smoothie Bowl, another thing off my bucket list, the most beautiful way to begin the morning. Colourful beginnings!! They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I say bring it on! This one was fun to make, thinking ingredients, plating {or rather bowling} it, adding bits and bobs to the top. So much went into it, near raw other than the yogurt, very in season, a  mélange of flavours and textures.For me, an edible pot potpourri, inspired and exciting. With the first one down, my call was, “This was fun, now can someone set me a bowl everyone morning please!!Summer Mango Smoothie Bowl The inspiration came from Ruchiras smoothie bowls each more delightful and colourful that the other. Inspiration really gets me going, food shared the best thing ever. Talk about breakfast and it’s amazing to see how different cultures wake up to the most important meal of the day. Granola, crepes, vadas, puris, kachoris, omelette, fruit bowls, smoothies, waffles, pancakes, overnight oats, avocado and egg on toast are some of the simpler everyday options.Overnight Thandai Oats with peaches and plumsMy recent overnight oats were a great experiment and now find a spot in the fridge every night. It’s a really convenient way to wake up to healthy ready made breakfast. Grab a spoon, dig in. I change the flavours with fruit in season and experiment as I go on. The main characters in the story remain the same – oats, milk/yogurt/coconut milk, honey, basil seeds, watermelon seeds. Peaches, cherries, stone fruitFruit in season breaks the monotony. Mango, peaches, apple, banana, strawberries rotate. Pie spice, cinnamon, thandai mix, pepper, nutmeg, saffron. You get the drift! It’s always fun to explore something new and different apart from the regular old breakfast choices we usually have.Thandai 1000Step out of home, travel a bit, within the city, country or overseas and new frontiers open up. Food and flavours begin to get magical, new and interesting. For someone who constantly cooks at home, hands that cook in other kitchens are fascinating. They offer exciting experiences, food adventures! Here are some breakfast stories, delicious bites mainly in pictures and in no particular order. Actually just as they tumbled out of my head when I read about #Foodventures by Axis Bank Dining Delights!

Vishwanath ki gali, Banaras 2016We sleepily got off the train in Benaras early one winter morning, a hungry foursome, and hit breakfast street quite soon. The city has a reputation and we knew where to head. Can there be anything better than fresh garam kachoris, sabzi and jalebis straight out of the pan? Perhaps not. Kachori with Sabzi, Banaras 2016

Jalebis being made, Banaras 2016Perhaps yes if you add some famous Pehelwaan ki lassi to wash down breakfast. Nirvana. Life accomplished. Pahalwaan Lassi Wala, Banaras 2016

Pahalwaan Lassi, Banaras 2016Ticked off list, but ‘will be back soon‘ recorded.

Switzerland, SwissMade GrandTours

Mandarin Oriental Geneva, Switzerland, SwissMade GrandTourFly across the globe. Switzerland, where I was last year at this time, a European breakfast will spoil you for choice. Every city we traveled to had a different layout, a regional offering, local produce shining through, breakfast an elaborate ceremony, fit for a king, something to sit and enjoy.SwissMade GrandTour PAB MeiringenTuck in. Cheese, yogurt, fresh baked breads, fruit, coffee, tea, eggs galore, cold cuts, fresh milk, best way to breakfast. Did you hear me say “Serve me breakfast and I shall be happy!” ?Tea, Pillaiyarpatti, Karaikudi, Chettinad, South India Swing back to India, a trip into the heart of the South, Karakudi held us mesmerised earlier this year. It was a trip of a lifetime. Same feeling – breakfast is a celebration. Breakfast, Chidambaram Vilas, Karaikudi, Chettinad, South IndiaSimple, flavourful, delicious and so much variety. Almost always ‘from the frying pan onto the plate‘, whether it was the elaborate ‘eat till you drop luxury at Chidambaram Vilas‘ or the street food at the temple at Pillaiyarpatti with the most refreshing filter coffee and finger licking good vadas. Memorable, satisfying and an absolute joy.

Street Breakfast, Chettinad, South IndiaAnd then there was the absolutely amazing breakfast with peacocks and neelgai as company at Lakshman Sagar in Rajasthan? Sunrise, Lakshman Sagar, RaipurBreakfast was an eye opener there. Breakfast at Lakshman SagarElaborate, each morsel served with love, truely regional and so much variety. Breakfast day 1 was something like this – fresh orange juice, maize dalia, googri {overnight soaked and cooked wheat kernels and horsegram}, sapota/cheeku jam, gum berry jam, fresh fruit, gur/jaggery, boora, honey, achaar, masala omelet, fire roasted tomato. Nothing refined or processed. Experiencing it was pure joy.Field breakfast, Lakshman SagarIf that wasn’t enough, one morning we trudged across the countryside for a breakfast in the fields! Field Breakfast, Lakshman Sagar 2Get closer home, one trip into Old Delhi and you’ll be cured of any breakfast woes. Nagori halwa puri, nimbu ka paraatha, sweet lassi, hot jalebis, garam chai, then begin again! Breakfast in Old Delhi, Delhi 6If you are stuck with the same old routine of toast and cheese, wake up and smell the coffee! Rustle up something fun and interesting {or bribe some willing soul to do it}. Better still, get out and explore. Make the mornings matter!

Oh, and did you know you can go beyond just egg and toast for breakfast? Here take a look at these #Foodventures by Axis Bank Dining Delights !


Mango Smoothie Bowl
Print Recipe
Colourful beginnings!! They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I say bring it on! This Mango Smoothie Bowl was fun to make, very in season, a mélange of flavours and textures. For me, an edible pot potpourri, inspired and exciting.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Mango Smoothie Bowl
Print Recipe
Colourful beginnings!! They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I say bring it on! This Mango Smoothie Bowl was fun to make, very in season, a mélange of flavours and textures. For me, an edible pot potpourri, inspired and exciting.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Stir the mango puree through the yogurt until uniformly mixed. Adjust sweetness if required.
  2. Ladle the mango yogurt into 2 breakfast bowls.
  3. Top with the remaining ingredients.
  4. You could always just mix everything through too, yet it makes the first meal of the day attractive this way, garnished with love!
  5. Use any seasonal fruit, berries, nuts etc.
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Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone Fruit

“I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not.”
Erica Bauermeister

Oat Walnut Trifles with Roasted Stone Fruit … one of those really interesting recipes that came together like it was just meant to be. Each element paired beautifully with the other. The oat walnut sponge offered great texture to ‘drink up‘ the juices of the vanilla roasted fruit, healthy as it was! The low fat cream whipped up beautifully with almond undertones, luxuriously settling down atop the soaked fruity sponge in pretty silky swirls. It was a dessert like poetry!

Oat Walnut Genoise SpongeSo much yumminess you might ask, such a divine dessert, yet why am I sharing it so late. Well this time the culprit was this huge scatter brain that jotted the Oat Walnut Genoise Sponge recipe down on that most ‘important scrap of paper, then promptly misplaced the darned thing. Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone FruitIt took me several days to try and locate it, then I just gave up. Bits of the recipe for the sponge stayed in my head. It was quite a delicious nibble on it’s own, and many ‘cubes’ fell to nimble fingers!Oat Walnut Genoise SpongeThen one day this dessert popped up on my insta feed with someone asking for the recipe. Spurred into action by the guilt of a failed promise, I set off once again to make the Oat Walnut Genoise Sponge. Of course I am a sucker for punishment yet I enjoy baking so much, so I recreated the base recipe from what I remembered, and happily it worked out just fine. Oat Walnut Genoise SpongeThis time I baked the dough/batter/dough differently, and for longer, in the form of tiny cookie pies with pretty dark chocolate ganached piped on top. They seemed an obvious choice as I was at the receiving end of some excellent KitchenAid bakeware.Oat & Walnut Cookie Pies with Dark Chocolate Ganache 1000

Oat & Walnut Cookie Pies with Dark Chocolate Ganache Being part of the Kitchen Aid Culinary Council, these are things I really enjoy and am eternally grateful for! The mini pie pan is the sweetest ever, great great quality, and so are the measuring spoons. Fortunately enough, the doughy batter was a great choice for these cookies too!

Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone Fruit

Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone FruitSo here we go, better late than never, Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone Fruit that were good to the last crumb! Feel free to use berries, fruit in season like mangoes etc. If you don’t have time for roasted fruit, make a simple sugar syrup to moisten the oat walnut sponge, and trifle on! Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone FruitTriflesare desserts with immense possibilities, great for failed bakes too as in these ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Puddings.

Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone Fruit I am beginning to enjoy the challenge of creating with oats more and more. There is so much and more you can do. If you are like me, a dessert needs to be celebrated. Find a nice bunch of stemmed glasses, or beautiful glassware like this, and assemble your trifle. For a lighter version top with vanilla Greek yogurt, maybe piped almond quark! Will make a fit bressert {dessert for breakfast=bressert}!

Oat Walnut Trifles with Roasted Stone Fruit
Print Recipe
Oat Walnut Trifles with Roasted Stone Fruit came together like they were just meant to be. Every element paired beautifully with the other. The oat walnut sponge offered great texture to 'drink up' the juices of the vanilla roasted fruit. The low fat cream whipped up beautifully with almond undertones luxuriously settling down atop the soaked fruity sponge in silky swirls.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Oat Walnut Trifles with Roasted Stone Fruit
Print Recipe
Oat Walnut Trifles with Roasted Stone Fruit came together like they were just meant to be. Every element paired beautifully with the other. The oat walnut sponge offered great texture to 'drink up' the juices of the vanilla roasted fruit. The low fat cream whipped up beautifully with almond undertones luxuriously settling down atop the soaked fruity sponge in silky swirls.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Oat Walnut Sponge
Vanilla Roasted Peaches & Plums
Servings: people
Instructions
Oat Walnut Sponge
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 8" X 8" square baking tin with parchment.
  2. Place oats, walnut halves, pinch of salt and 20g brown sugar in bowl of blender. Process briefly in short spurts until you get a fine grind. Don't over process else the nuts will leave oil.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the eggs, 100g brown sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on high speed until mousse like and doubled in volume, 5-7 minutes.
  4. Gently fold in half the oat nut mix, then the other half.
  5. Drizzle half the clarified butter over and fold in, then pour over the remaining.
  6. Turn into prepared tin, sprinkle over 1 tsp brown sugar. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Cool in tin completely. Then cut into cubes for the trifle.
Vanilla Roasted Peaches & Plums
  1. Place all ingredients in oven proof dish, stir well to mix and roast for 30 minutes. Discard vanilla bean. Reserve. Note: You can bake this alongside the sponge, or a day or two in advance.
Whipped Almond Cream
  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Whip with an electric hand blender on the highest speed until thick enough to pipe. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
Assemble
  1. Take 6 dessert bowls. Layer the bottom with cubes of oat walnut sponge, top with roasted fruit and juices. Repeat once again. Pipe whipped almond cream swirls on top.
  2. Keep chilled for a couple of hours, if not overnight, top with fresh cut fruit, walnut halves, some fresh herbs and serve.
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Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip“As while other passions in your life may, at some point, begin to bank their fires, the shared happiness of good homemade food can last as long as we do.”
Jenni Ferrari-Adler

Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip is perhaps the yummiest dip I have made in a while. From an out and out eggplant hater, to one who got sold over a smokey roasted eggplant {or brinjal or ‘baingan’ as referred to here locally} one fine day, the journey was uneventful. There are some things I just will not touch with a barge-pole. Eggplant was one of those. For a long time. Until 3 years ago.

Persian Roasted Eggplant  Walnut DipThen one day I tasted a Baingan ka Bharta made by a lady who used to cook at my mothers. The flavours had me captivated, and her style of cooking this quintessential Indian vegetarian dish had me smitten. Garlicky, smokey, earthy, firey was what she presented on the table that memorable day. One bite down, and I chased her for the recipe. Simple as ever, it was a game changer for me. Then came a dip I tasted at Ruchira’s place more recently. Sold again!Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut DipThis Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip is inspired by both the recipes. The twice used garlic from the bharta, and the creaminess from the dip. Can there ever be too much garlic? For me, no. I love it with a vengeance, and here the roasted garlic pods with eggplant bit gives the dip subtle undertones. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. I love adding walnuts to dip so in they went, while the Greek yogurt adds the right creaminess that the dip demands. All in all it has a lot to offer. Go ahead and add some roasted paprika to it if you like, maybe some pomegranate pearls to give it a juicy pop of flavour and colour. Persian Roasted Eggplant & Walnut DipIn the blender and smooth, this barely takes time and is a great make ahead party option. It also doubles up as a useful ‘sauce‘ for wraps, or a sandwich spread if you like. I served the Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip with these equally earthy Rosemary Garlic Sesame Millet Crackers I made recently. The more garlicky, the better! And of course, since the dip was ready and sitting there, I decided to experiment with it for a few pictures.Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut DipJust different backgrounds, angles, light, what have you! Some work, some don’t, but the important thing is to keep experimenting. Darter & yours truly have announced our next Food Styling & Photography Workshop  in Delhi this September, our 5th one here, so it’s always fun to experiment and share ideas. Food Styling and Photography Workshop Sep 2016I tell the participants to try and shoot everyday, to constantly experiment with different backgrounds, angles, light and moods. I do just the same.

Food props, Food styling, Food Photography

Food props, Food styling, Food Photography, Flatlay, World Photography DayEveryday. With whatever I have on hand. If I haven’t baked or cooked something ‘image worthy’, then I just grab raw produce, knick-knacks or props from an earlier shoot, things lying on my desk, stuff I like, then shoot them in frame. It’s a huge learning process, and therapeutic too. The important thing is to experiment, to keep your mind open. I can never say that enough!

And that’s how I got to this delicious Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip too, with an open mind!

Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip ... earthy, smokey, moorish, delicious!
Print Recipe
This Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip has a lot to offer. The twice used garlic, the walnuts, then the creaminess from Greek yogurt make it endearing. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. Play around with ingredients to suit your palette. That's the beauty of dips.
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip ... earthy, smokey, moorish, delicious!
Print Recipe
This Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip has a lot to offer. The twice used garlic, the walnuts, then the creaminess from Greek yogurt make it endearing. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. Play around with ingredients to suit your palette. That's the beauty of dips.
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Roasted eggplant walnut dip
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cut 1/2" slits into sides of eggplant and push in 4 cloves of unpeeled garlic. Roast over low flame {or under broiler} until charred {like for baingan ka bharta.} Leave covered in a bowl to cool.
  2. Remove garlic and press out roasted pods. Discard skin. peel off charred skin of eggplant. Chop roughly. {Can be done a day or so in advance}
  3. While the eggplant is cooling, heat ghee in heavy bottom pan and caramelise onions and garlic.
  4. Place in cooled eggplant with with caramelised onions & garlic and remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in chopped chives. Taste and adjust seasoning. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and keep for a couple of hours/overnight for flavours to mature. Top with chopped walnuts and chives.
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