No Bake |Smoothies galore … and the difference between a food processor and blender #smoothies #healthy #seasonal #freshproduce

“I have more healthy cravings than my normal eating habits, like I crave fruit and cold things like smoothies.”
Kourtney Kardashian

SmooothiesSmoothies … you gotta love them. As the years pass by, the head wins over the heart. You know that it’s easier to gulp down a smoothie than chew through a buncha green leaves! And you also know that however good or bad it tastes, a well balanced, seasonal smoothie is going to do you a load of good. Headed for SmoothiesIt’s pointless waiting for the new year to come and make resolutions, so I just got the ball rolling and made them before! Post the Jaipur trip, what with all the over the top indulgence and pampering, I had but one thing on my mind, get FIT!OatsI have begun taking tiny steps. I’m eating healthier, I’m not eating out a lot, fewer food reviews, some form of exercise … and of course smoothies. I’ve also been invited to join the Fit Foodie panel on Saffola, which just gives me more reason to work towards my goal! I’ve put together a small graphic to make things easier. Play around with these three groups {not an exhaustive list} , add some yogurt, milk, buttermilk, almond milk, fruit juice or maybe water as required. I also throw in  spoon or two of oats at times.Food groups for smoothiesDo you smoothie? Here’s a bunch of recipes to set you off if you want to join in. You can find some here too. I basically go through the fridge to find what I can use and pair. Smoothies I made three versions yesterday, and surprisingly enough the persimmon one was the best. The spinach, cuke and tender coconut water was nice too. The banana smoothie we have everyday, so that was quite normal, but normal good. Such fun. The processor is such a magic machine!

Persimmon smoothieThe processor is a blessing in disguise for soups too, though the immersion blender works really well in most cases. A while ago however someone asked me what the difference was between a food processor and blender. I have both in the kitchen, and it set me thinking. Thought I’d try and answer the query here just in case you had similar questions. Hope it helps…

Food processors and blenders, what are the differences between them?

If you only have a small kitchen then you may be wondering if you really need both a blender and a food processor. The fact is that although both gadgets have blades, and a reputation for dicing and slicing, they actually have quite different uses.
If you are going to be able to do all of the jobs you need to in a kitchen the chances are you are going to want to use a blender and a food processor at some point; especially if you regularly make smoothies or soups.
When does a blender come into its own?
The shape and blades of a blender are designed to cater for soft fruit and liquids. The name really says it all; these gadgets are excellent for blending ingredients into such delights as tasty smoothies. Depending on what fittings your blender has it may be able to cope with slicing ice for use in the smoothies; this can make them into an extra special treat on a hot summer day.
These tasty additions to any menu are a great way of getting fruit into a child’s diet. You can use the pulp produced when you are juicing to create imaginative and colorful smoothies that most children will love. The shape of a blender is slender and designed to accommodate soft and liquid products, and not usually more solid produce.
What about a food processor?
If you are using liquids then it’s a good idea to stick to using your blender, but for anything more solid you should switch to a food processor. Food processors have blades that are designed for chopping and slicing.
They also have a bowl that is larger and can accommodate more solid produce. If you have vegetables that you want to reduce in to small pieces to use in a soup then a food processor is the perfect gadget to use. It can cope with all sorts of vegetables and nuts, and in no time you will have all of the ingredients you need to make as much delicious soup as you want.
Which is the best to have, a blender or a food processor?
The answer to this question is really going to depend on what you need to do most. Is it more important to you to be able to blend together liquids, making drinks and smoothies; or is it more important to you to be able to slice vegetables for soups or stews?
It may be that you need to do both. There are blenders that have blades which provide a certain amount of chopping capacity, and food processors can deal with a very small amount of liquid, but generally if you want to be able to blend and chop you are going to have to make room in your kitchen for both a blender and a food processor.

Headed for smoothiesSo I guess it’s time to SMOOTHIE! Come join me. Grab a bunch of fresh seasonal produce, pair it with a medium you like, throw in some nuts, seeds, herbs and get going. Once you’re done, what’s next? Soup maybe?

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

Baking | Wholegrain Holiday Biscotti {chocolate+cranberries+ginger+walnuts} … #‎saffolafitfoodie‬ #wholegrain #healthy #cookies

“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!


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Baking | Whole Grain Apple Crumble … always room for dessert and #Fujihoro #dessert #wholegrain

“Sometimes you’ve just got to grab an apple – or grapes, or strawberries. Something that’s healthy but maybe a little bit more adventurous, if you can see fruit as adventurous.”
LL Cool J

wholegain apple crumble Whole Grain Apple Crumble. Always room for dessert as I limp back into normal everyday life after too much indulgence of late. That weekend trip to the Jaipur Marriott spoilt me silly. Then came a family wedding/reunion. With the holiday season now in full swing, I am taking a small ‘eating out‘ sabbatical. I have to knock off the pounds I’ve gained. Gotto get fit!
wholegain apple crumble And that certainly does not mean no good home eating. Or baking. Fruits and whole grains are always welcome as dessert. I love to bake with them, and the family loves to dig into them. There is something comforting about a fruit bake with apples, cinnamon, walnuts and brown sugar. A nice crisp topping and it promises to be a winner.

wholegain apple crumble I’ve been working with a publisher to style a cookbook and I took this along for the team one morning. Fresh from the oven, it smelt divine. We dug in later halfway through the shoot and everyone loved it. There was lots of other food I cooked and styled for the book that day, that we eventually devoured. Even though we were ready to burst, there was room for dessert! Always is!wholegain apple crumble 4I bake crumbles a lot through winter, with different permutations and combinations. Sometimes when I’m short of time, I do the fruit filling in advance, make the crumble and store it alongside. Pop it into the oven an hour or so before dinner. It holds sweet promise of a delicious end to the day. Serve it with a good quality vanilla ice cream for extra indulgence, or maybe just unsweetened single cream. For me, just a small serving as is works. Drat, those extra pounds!!
Fujihoro Porcelain Enamelled Kitchenware And in other news, something special again came my way a few days ago. After the beautiful Mauviel 1830 set I received from France, a sweet lady stopped by my place one morning. She brought for me this retro porcelain enamelware set from Fujihoro Japan. I fell in love with the colours, the quality and the workmanship. Incidentally, Fujihoro has recently been featured in India Today as one of the hottest new products!Fujihoro Porcelain Enamelled KitchenwareBright yellow really works with me, as also the fact that you can cook and serve in this beautiful cookware too. One of the recipes shot for the cookbook was a Kachi Mirch ka Gosht. An absolutely lip smacking recipe which I cannot divulge as the book is yet to go into print. I cooked a murgh {chicken} version of it at home a few days ago.

Kachchi mirch ka murgh and Fujihoro

Kachchi mirch ka murgh and Fujihoro With a heavy tight fitting lid and great insulating properties to allow a low simmer, the pan delivered an absolutely delicious curry. The enamelware surface has a non-porous hardened vitreous coating which does not absorb any residue from previously cooked food and is stain resistant, odourless and bacteria free once cleaned. The pan can go into the oven too {sans the lid which has a really really nice fitted wooden knob on top}. I think I just might bake the fruit crumble in the next time!

Recipe: Whole Grain Apple Crumble your picture

Summary: The Whole Grain Apple Crumble is an autumn / winter dessert which is pure comfort food. Here’s a version of the apple crumble gone healthy. Serve with some good quality vanilla ice cream, or some unsweetened cream, or just as is.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Apple mix
  • 5-6 apples, cored, peeled, diced
  • 30g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Topping
  • 75g oats
  • 25g whole wheat flour
  • 30g whole almonds
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 75g unsalted butter, chilled, cubed or grated {I grate frozen butter}

Method:

  1. Apple mix
  2. Preheat oven to 180C
  3. Toss all ingredients for apple mix in a bowl to oat fruit well. Can add raisins and walnuts if desired. Turn into 1 litre pie dish, and make topping
  4. Topping
  5. Run oats, whole almonds and wheat flour {aata} in blender. Add in brown sugar and mix. Reserve. Gratein  frozen butter and toss lightly together to get a bread crumb like mix {I normally pulse in processor, short and quick to evenly distribute}
  6. Cover the fruit with the topping, pressing down gently to make sure the fruit is sealed in.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes until light golden brown on top.
  8. {Tent with aluminum foil if the top is over-browning.}

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

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