Baking | Multigrain Granola … breakfast o’clock! #glutenfree #healthy #DIY

“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.”
John Gunther

Multigrain GranolaMultigrain Granola … this is what flavours the mornings our end these days, and it doesn’t seem to change. I have made granola every single week for the past 4 weeks, and its gratifying to see the better half reach out for it. I had forgotten how easy granola, the ‘hippie’ food of the Sixties, was to make at home.Multigrain Granola  I was born in the late Sixties of this “cultural decade” which also saw a paradigm change in the world – the Beatles, the first step on the moon, the Vietnam war, the assassination of JFK, womens liberation movements.  My Sixties saw the good old Pye tuned to BBC World Service every morning, the Hare Rama  Krishna movement gaining fame thanks to  George Harrison, blackouts during war, no television, hopscotch and hide ‘n seek…

Wild Indian figs {goolar}My Sixties and Seveties also saw loads of naturally growing foodstuff  - mulberries, wild dates, jamun {Java plum}, ber {jujube/ Indian plum}, mangoes, tamarind, wild berries, wild figs. We would cram everything into our little mouths!The Sixties also saw the ‘hippie’ movement and a revival of natural, healthy foods in everyday diet, and a shunning of processed and sugary foods.Multigrain Granola My first tryst with breakfast creal began with the Gluten Free Chocolate Granola in 2011. Someway along the way, breakfast options for the dieting diva changed into smoothies, and granola got left behind. Of late, the husband has tired of ‘eggs in breakfast‘. He’s also off wheat as being gluten free makes him feel better.

Whole foodThat’s where granola stepped in! With the weather becoming increasingly warm, a make ahead, on the go ‘cold’ breakfast has won over egg! Topped with seasonal fruit like mulberries, fresh figs, strawberries, banana even better. Of late, my involvement with oats {and other whole grains} has been huge thanks to developing recipes and doing a TV cookshow for Saffola Oats. Suddenly anything and everything oats seems like a recipe opportunity. 

Multigrain Granola

Both granola and muesli contain a mixture of grains (such as oats), nuts, dried fruit and sometimes bran and wheat germ. Muesli may contain sugar and dried-milk solids, but it can be unsweetened. Granola is typically toasted with honey and oil, resulting in a crisp texture and sweet glaze not found in muesli. Because granola contains the addition of honey and oil, it tends to have a higher sugar and fat content. As a result, granola is, on average, higher in calories than muesli. 

Jordans Perfect Morning v10

Click here for a range of Jordan’s cerealsBoth granola and muesli offer nutritional benefits. Both have fiber from the grains, fruits and nuts. In addition, the dried fruits provide antioxidants, while the nuts offer healthy fats. Topping either muesli or granola with low-fat milk, soy milk or yogurt makes for a nutritionally balanced, filling breakfast. 

Multigrain Granola  Along came a huge bowl and in went the oats, followed by popped amaranth. I use amaranth quite often these days I have plenty on hand, both flour and popped. In also went some puffed rice which is available at just about every corner store here. Nuts and raisins are always welcome. I also threw in some melon seeds, the remainder of some last used in Savoury  Hungarian Kalács & Twisted Buns.

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse vintageGranola and toasted cereal is always nice to have on hand for a quick snack, to top yogurt and fruit, to make granola bars, and even to make a layered fruit dessert. In the Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse above, I tossed some granola into melted chocolate, let it harden and then used it in the layered dessert!

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

Book Review | Vicky Goes Veg … green, fresh and exciting – and a copy to giveaway

‘Going green has never been so deliciously exciting. Bon Apetit…’
Farhan Akhtar

Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes VegRoasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad from Vicky Goes Veg. Everything about the book is colourful, fresh, exciting, full of flavour and vegetarian of course! It’s an exciting new book by Chef Vicky Ratnani and holds a LOT of promise. Vegetarianism is no longer considered ‘second food. Slowly but surely vegetarian centric cookbooks are appearing on bookshelves, grabbing eyeballs as they do so!Vicky Goes Veg @ The Palms, GurgaonWe were hosted by Harper Collins & Nachiketa at the lush and beautiful ‘The Palms‘, Gurgaon for the book launch. Vicky Ratnani has infectious energy, is animated and absolutely passionate about food. I was fortunate to meet him in Jan last year at a tea & food pairing session, and it certainly was a pleasure to meet him again.Vicky Goes Veg, The Palms,.Gurgaon

Vicky Goes Veg He held fort by the poolside under the blazing setting sun, which shouldn’t have been quite so blazing in Mid March … but was! Sporting that he is, he didn’t blink an eyelid, no complaints nothing. He was there well before the guests began to arrive and after a short delay {thanks to the TV crew}, he fired up!

Eggplant & Bok Choy in Sambal, Vicky Goes VegSauteing, chatting, sharing tips and trivia and a load of his passion, he held the attention of the select audience. As he stirred up magic, we were served the same from the kitchen alongside. The flavours blew us away! Who wants to eat non vegetarian food if vegetarian food can be so exciting. Not me!! The Braised Plantain with Thai spices was out of the world good, as was the Eggplant & Bok choy in sambal.

Local produceI love the energy throughout the book. It entices you to ‘try’ something different. I also love that Vicky has stuck to the concept of  sourcing local produce, something that makes the locavore in me do a merry dance. The photographs that liberally colour the pages are a journey of the food chain in India including the merchants and the local bazaars.

Carrots,beets, home grown 2Vicky is often seen arm in arm with the guys who matter … yes, those who grow, deliver and sell local produce. It’s refreshing to see so much space dedicated to the local sabziwala i.e. vegetable vendors. The recipes in the book are unique, hail from across the world but come with an Indian twist, all green and fresh!

Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes Veg The good thing is that Vicky encourages you to think out of the box, constantly innovate and evolve. He offers his book as a stepping stone for new ideas in vegetarian cooking, and tells you to be fearless. If you don’t have this, use that. There’s plenty of trivia tucked within that makes the book even more interesting. One downside is that the number of portions or ‘servings’ aren’t specified.
Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes Veg So I set off to make the Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad.  Of course, my heart followed his advice and my recipe meandered off as I was short on time. I didn’t blend the dressing, only whisked it. Substituted apricots for walnuts, simplified the dressing a bit. I also made Stromboli from the book which disappeared too quick!

If you’d like to win a copy of the book, VICKY GOES VEG, please leave a comment below telling me which your favourite vegetarian dish from across the globe is. Please be sure to leave a valid email address so I can contact you. This giveaway is open to residents of India, or anyone with an Indian mailing address. {Giveaway sponsored by Harper Collins}

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

No Bake | Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse … delicious eggless dessert in season #vegetarian

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse … yes, it’s that time of the year yet again. SPRING! I love it. It’s euphoria all around with new leaves unfurling everyday, flowering tomato plants that hold promise of a ‘good crop’, herbs that finally begin to expand like there’s no tomorrow. Also days when quark gets made beautifully and with ease!Spring And if there is homemade quark on hand, can dessert be far behind? I make huge amounts of quark, a curd cheese I love to love. Ever since I first discovered it 5 years ago, thanks to Hoglet K from Down Under, it has brought about a change in the way I think ‘desserts‘.Quark dessertsQuark isn’t just the sweet way home. I use it often to add wonderful tangy flavour to chicken like in theis Chicken Quark Cross Over Puff Pastry, as part of creamy dressings, in cold potato salads, in stir fries etc. A little goes a long way and once you start exploring, you will find a billion novel ways to include it in your everyday food. 

Chicken Quark Crossover Puff PastryI made Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse just before we left for a short vacation {which might explain why it’s been so quiet around PAB}. The mousse was addictive and a huge hit with everyone. It got added texture from some chocolate coated homemade granola which I was experimenting with.

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse I love the way the colours, textures and flavours came together in this dessert which is a celebration of spring. These days we have a virtual flood of seasonal fruit in the market with cape gooseberries {locally called ‘rhasbhari’ meaning filled with juice} and strawberries ruling the roost. It’s a riot of colour with the fruit piled up high at local bazaars and on handcarts lining the roadside.

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse With daytime highs already hitting the early 30′s, it’s just a matter of days before summer arrives. Then of course we’ll welcome days of luscious stone fruit; sizzling hot 45C+ temperatures will be part of the deal though! Until then, this is a great way to enjoy spring fruit.

Summer Salad with orange vinaigrette You can go the salad route too with them! Rocket or mixed salad greens, strawberries, cape gooseberries, feta or cottage cheese, grapes, walnuts, orange, red onion all tossed in a nice tangy orange vinaigrette!

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

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