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

Baking | Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble … warm, fun and gluten free comfort food

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”
Henry David Thoreau

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet CrumbleApple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble … true comfort food and ever so simple. It’s one I make often, a crumble I mean. This year began in a special way. I had a surprise visitor and she brought me something I have longed for forever! A cast iron skillet, straight from the kiln, well almost, unseasoned and raw!

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble Thankfully Sangeeta has a world of knowledge about this stuff. This looked raw, rustic and a little scary to tell you the truth. Man Friday was happy as ever to see it and went on to tell me how much cast iron was cooked in when he was young, and that the benefits are tremendous. How times have changed, and healthy practices have been buried under the sands of time!

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble  Well he scrubbed it well with a piece of brick, removed the dusty coating etc. I dried it well, seasoned it with some cold pressed mustard oil. Then baked it in a hot oven for 30 minutes. It came out looking moorish. Can you fall in love with a skillet? I did! The great thing about cast iron utensils are that they can go from the stove top into the oven, and back again! The other huge benefit of course is that they gently seep iron into your food adding additional iron into your diet.

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble I was quite over the moon this morning and since I had just apples on hand, I set out to make an Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble. { …for those who noticed, I meant to use thyme, but sans glasses, I think I used oregano from the fridge instead! Oops! }. Simple, basic, easy apple pie, something that comforts and warms, especially in these cold winter days. Baking it in the skillet took this up a few notches for me. I loved using the skillet, built an emotional connect with it, and want to use it all the time. 

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble  Past the crumble, I grilled a cheese and tomato sandwich for the daughter in it . Crisp, beautiful, comforting! Fried eggs and roasted tomatoes too. I can’t get enough of it. You’ll see a lot more of it popping up all over the place. Thank you Sangeeta, and thank you too for the coloured glasses! It’s been an inspiring beginning to the new year!

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

Baking | Red Berry Crumbles … Around the World with the Tadka Girls {a book review}

“Each individual has a unique food personality. The key is finding the balance point at which you feel great and are healthy.”
Rachel Frank

Red Berry CrumblesRed Berry Crumbles from a chick lit cookbook. A youthful, racy, around the world in 80 recipes cookbook with a catch to every name. The Tadka girls who blog at Tadka Pasta present fresh and imaginative recipes from their repertoire of travelling the globe. From the bylanes of Shanghai to the farmers market of Santa Monica, they leave no stone unturned. Their experiments in different cuisines have a personal touch … the inimitable Indian Tadka style of their own kitchen.

Red Berry CrumblesRanjini Rao and Ruchira Ramanujan offer you flavours galore, sometimes quirky enough to make you sit up. Real life stories accompany each recipe, setting the scene and connect that make the book more interesting. At times however, the written word tends to get cumbersome. You want to get to the recipe quick.

Red Berry CrumblesWith the book nicely divided into interesting sections – like bites n brews, sweet treats, signature tadka, funnibles etc, there’s plenty in it for everyone. The Red Berry Crumbles was a recipe I enjoyed. Good for an everyday dessert. Go a step further, perk it up a little and make it special for the holiday season!

Red Berry Crumbles The layout and design of the book is something I like; the simple scrapbook layout which adds to the appeal. Not overpowering, yet aesthetic. Notes with almost every recipe are quite welcome. It is thoughts like this that make a difference!

Red Berry CrumblesWhat should I try first from the book? I thought I’d hand it out to junior. NOT something sweet I ‘gently suggested’ {read instructed}! He came back within minutes mumbling Red Berry Crumble. When I said there aren’t the sort of local berries here that we you see in the book, he was quick to retort … they say you can use strawberries! Kids grow up faster than you can imagine. Smarter too. “I checked the ingredients,” he said.

Red Berry Crumbles At times the recipe title font {and dual headings} confuse. Different fonts and different header designs salt and pepper the book. I think fun stuff like this is possibly targeted at the younger reader, new adventurous cooks in the kitchen. The recipes infuse new life into old classics, a pinch of chaat masala here, a tadka there!

Red Berry CrumblesMultigrain tortillas, DIY Oatnut bread, green chutney pesto, cawliflower soup, Tadka’s own chicken curry, chocolate bark, sundried tomato and herb crackers, Tadka style baklava dessert … yumminess aplenty. An African touch here, a Persian footprint there. Interesting indeed!

Red Berry Crumbles The Red Berry Crumbles offer a burst of colour, texture and fun! They bring alive the holiday season. A crumble is right up our street. This looked and smelt fab as it stepped out of the oven! I added some extra fruit to accommodate an extra serving. I also substituted the plain flour in the crumble topping with whole wheat flour.

Red Berry Crumbles That’s just how crumbles are … very accomodating and simmering in rustic goodness. In a few recipes, I find some basic standardisation missing. It’s best to either go with cup measurements or weight. A combination of the two in the same recipe makes me want to retype and correct!

Red Berry Crumbles A serving of light cream on the side, or some ice cream as suggested by the girls, will dress up this simple weekday dessert for guests. I think you can assemble it in advance and pop it into the oven about an hour before dinner! The red juices that spill out of the ramekins will win you over!!

Red Berry CrumblesThe crumble was delicious. The flavours paired beautifully. We loved it!! You could use frozen berries if you like! I threw in some frozen mulberries too. I leave you to dive into the recipe, while I go to explore the book some more!

Before I sign off I’d like to thank Praveen for including Passionate About Baking in the list of the Top Indian Food Blogs of 2013. I am honoured to be part of the list. Humbled too!

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

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