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vegetarian

Indulgent Hot Chocolate Mix “Blustery cold days should be spend propped up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a pile of comic books.”
Bill Watterson

Hot Chocolate Mix. This mix took a long time coming. I’ve been thinking of making it forever yet for some reason winter never really ‘arrived’, if you know what I mean. Until mid January this year, we’ve had an alarmingly mild winter. It saw the mustard fields flower before time, and other such signs that could spell disaster for winter crops and the months ahead. Then thankfully a cold spell arrived just in the nick of time. Shudder to think what might have been had we not seen these last few weeks of the below 7C temperatures.Hot Chocolate Mix And that prompted me into action. The kid that loves a good hot chocolate, yet labels on hot chocolate mixes alarm me. The fine print reads a lot of stuff which shouldn’t really be in a comfort drink, leave alone in the body. It also seems oxymoron to buy something which is possibly the easiest and quickest to create at home. Hot Chocolate Mix Good quality ingredients will give you the best hot chocolate mix ever. All you need is a sturdy food processor which is probably part of every kitchen today. My thermomix whirs into action for things like this. Till today, it’s been my best kitchen buy ever. Sturdy, dependable and fun to use. Of course this mix can be made in any dry grinder too. Hot Chocolate Mix If you want to do it by hand, do try and grate the chocolate as small as possible to allow quick dissolving. Else by the time you stir in the hot water, the drink might well become cold chocolate. Not a bad idea for cooler days when they come!!

Recipe: Indulgent Hot Chocolate Mix
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Summary: Indulgent delicious Hot Chocolate Mix. Ready in minutes, this is great comfort food to have on hand in winter. It  seems oxymoron to buy something which is possibly the easiest and quickest to create at home. Good quality ingredients will give you the best hot chocolate mix ever. All you need is a sturdy food processor.

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

  • 150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 200g milk powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped

Method:

  1. Place chocolate and brown sugar in bowl of food processor and process until powdered.
  2. Add cocoa powder, milk powder and insides of scraped vanilla bean. Process again for a minute or so until well blended.
  3. Transfer to a clear airtight jar.
  4. Use approximately 4 heaped teaspoonfuls for a mug of hot chocolate. Place mix in mug and top with boiling hot water. Stir until smooth. Top with cream or marshmallows as desired.

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The Masala Dabba #1, Jan 2016 {Nigella, Fenugreek, Caraway}“Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.”
Erma Bombeck

The Masala Dabba. A name that paints a spicy picture. A fun food styling experiment born out of a conversation one day in December last year. Spices are something that intrigue us, and are sometimes challenging to shoot. So Dolphia floated the idea, and it was instantly lapped up by Simi and lazy me. It’s always great to have something that gives us inspiration, or maybe focus to shoot. The idea was to shoot the spices, in sets of three, month after month.
The Masala Dabba #1, Jan 2016 {Nigella, Fenugreek, Caraway}Doing something creative as a group is always fun. Makes you want to reach out for the elements time and again. Makes you also impatient to see how different minds style and shoot. It’s another new creative start, one that should see a few months of spicy good fun! This month we each picked a spice…

Nigella {not Lawson 😉 sativa or kalonji
Fenugreek or methi daana
Caraway or ajwain

The Masala Dabba #1, Jan 2016 {Nigella, Fenugreek, Caraway}A step back into the history of the world, and in many ways spices were central to exploration of uncharted territories, to discovering exotic lands. Spices led to wars and empires being built, and then eventually being lost! Nowhere in history would you find the same ingredient common to being celebrated as an aphrodisiac, holding proven medicinal qualities,yet being an inherent part of the ‘recipe’ for embalming! Such great properties can only be SPICEY!!

The Masala Dabba #1, Jan 2016 {Nigella, Fenugreek, Caraway} Spices are an integral part of the Indian kitchen and each one adds punch and flavour to the pantry. Even though I’ve never used the three of these together, individually they pop up every now and then when I cook. Ajwain shows up a great deal in radish or mooli ke paratha, in root vegetable stir fires and in curries. I use it often as a substitute for oregano in my pasta sauces, giving the seeds a good rub between the palms before throwing them in. They have huge digestive properties.

Kadhi, Indian vegetarian yogurt curry with dumpligsFenugreek finds itself more often than never in pickles and curry powders. My mother’s aam ka achaar or mango pickle always had fenugreek, and I still remember the slightly bitter aftertaste after biting into the soft firm seed once pickled. I use fenugreek the most in the tempering or baghaar for kadhi, a yogurt curry with dumplings, which is a huge favourite at home. Fenugreek too offers great digestive properties, is used to treat diabetes, reduces bloood pressure, congestion and a host of other illnesses.

Nigella of course lands up most often on the naan, sometimes in a ‘paani ke station wale aloo‘ ki recipe {a water based no oil potato curry served with puri at railway stations in India}, and an inherent part of paanch phoron. Paanch phoron is a five spice blend quintessential to Bengali cuisine. Nigella satvia is one of the five, the others being fenugreek, mustard, fennel and cumin, all seeds.

The Masala Dabba #1, Jan 2016 {Nigella, Fenugreek, Caraway} Shooting spices is always challenging but quite addictive. Already looking forward to what we can do next month with the spice girls!!

Do stop by and explore the dabbas/spice boxes of my other two partners in crime spice
Simi @ Turmeric n Spice
Dolphia @ Story of Cooks

…and if you’d like to learn a bit of food styling, do check out my next workshop with Darter below

Food Styling Workshop Delhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Savoury Braided Bread ... with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoes“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.”
Robert Browning

Savoury Braided Bread with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoes. In my little corner of the world, home baked bread doesn’t get tastier than this. It’s been a while since I baked bread. Getting onto the KitchenAid Culinary Council got me back to doing something I enjoy loads, baking bread. Just the ease of a dough hook of the KitchenAid stand mixer that works magic inside one big bowl, leaving you hands free to add things at will is a liberating feeling.

Step by step - Savoury Braided Bread ... with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoesI had a field day adding my favourite flavours to the bread. The base dough was deep deep garlic and olive oil of course, two of my most favourite flavours in the world. Then I added more flavours to the bread after the first rise, which happened in the bowl of the KA itself. It’s this very convenience that won me over. Threw in some cheese and sun dried bread, another quick knead with the dough hook to mix in the new additions, and voila! Silky smooth dough ready to braid.

Savoury Braided Bread ... with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoes Of course you can just shape the loaf if you like, but for me the eternal charm lies in adding some drama to the bread. A twist to the visual effect. A loaf is pretty enough, but a braid is more fun and prettier. It’s also easier to tear apart and devour.

Recipe: Savoury Braided Bread
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Summary: Delicious part whole wheat Savoury Braided Bread where the mixer does all the hard work, literally all in the same bowl. It leaves you all the time in the world to gently braid the silky smooth dough to offer a show stopper loaf. With Christmas holiday colours of red, green and white, this vegetarian bread is bursting with flavour and goodness. Fresh bread will never be the same again! Makes 1 X 12″ loaf. Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus rising time
Ingredients:

  • Dough
  • 250g plain flour
  • 100g whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 tbsp dried instant yeast
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch sugar
  • 200-250ml buttermilk
  • 40g extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g cheddar
  • Filling/Topping
  • Few sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 25g sundried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped {reserve a few bits of tomato for the topping if you like}
  • Himalayan sea salt for topping
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over

Method:

  1. Place flours, yeast, salt, sugar, minced garlic and dried herbs in bowl of Kitchen Aid. With the dough hook attachment on, run KA on speed 4 for 30 seconds to mix.
  2. Add 200ml buttermilk and olive oil and work dough hook until the mixture comes together and a sticky dough forms. Place the shield, and pour in more buttermilk if required.
  3. Continue to knead to dough for a further 5-6 minutes on speed 5 until you get smooth silky dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Drizzle the ball with olive oil, turn over, cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for the dough to double. It should take a couple of hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 250C.
  6. Once the dough has risen, grate the cheddar into the bowl and add the sundried tomatoes. With the dough hook, mix in the cheese and sundried tomatoes on speed 4 for 30 seconds to incorporate.
  7. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface. Knead for 30 seconds to being together. Divide into 3 parts, and roll into 10-12″ long ropes.
  8. Braid the ropes into a neat little loaf, tucking the ends in to hold the braid. Spray a KA jelly roll pan with olive oil {or lightly brush} and gently transfer the braided dough onto the baking pan. Sprinkle over with Himalayan sea salt, sliced garlic, reserved sundried tomato and sprigs of rosemary.
  9. Bake at 250C for 10 minutes, then reduce to 200C and continue to bake for approximately 30-40 minutes until golden brown, and hollow when tapped underneath. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil as soon as it comes out.
  10. Serve warm with extra virgin olive oil to dip into.

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