Baking |Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & 3 Dips | Roasted Bell Pepper, Garlic & Walnut + Classic Garlicky Cream + Rocket Cashew Dip … hit the ball out of the park #tickettocheer

“What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents”
M Chiarello

Crackers & DipsWholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & 3 Dips…. for times like these when the game is up. Nothing unites the world better than sport and food. I think the two were meant to go hand in hand. Think world cup cricket, soccer, or then super bowl, and the first thing that comes to mind if food! OK, after the game of course! With the ICC  Cricket World Cup warming up nicely, it’s imperative to keep the food going!

Crackers & Dips Yesterday spent 20 minutes rolling out crackers … thin, crisp, delicious Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers. Paired them off with 3 quick dips. Dips are an out and out game favourite, and I have gone with simple ones! A Roasted Bell Pepper, Garlic & Walnut Dip {earthy, smoky, finger licking good}, a Classic Garlicky Cream Dip {tangy, creamy, GARLICKY ... an all time favourite} and a seasonal Rocket & Cashew Dip {where sharp peppery leaves meet the sweetness of cashew nuts}. Ingredients for dipsDips are really really versatile to throw together. Make them using what you have on hand. Herbs, seasonal produce, cold pressed oils, garlic, garlic greens, onion scapes, legumes, citrus fruit, nuts, cheese, spices. Get creative and follow your taste buds. You will be surprised at how much you can create with so little! To thin them down you can add coconut milk, citrus juice, single cream, sour cream, buttermilk etc.

Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & DipsOnce ready, which is a matter of minutes usually, you can dip into them of course, or add them to your cheese platter. There’s so much more you can do. Slather sandwiches with them, toss them through a pasta, top grilled chicken or fish with dip. If you are more adventurous, them use them in a bread like the French Fougasse. I love that you can tweak the flavours as you like, and also that dips embrace local and seasonal produce whole heartedly!

Wholegrain Crackers & Dips  Why so many nibbles of late you might wonder? Well these are game days. Cricket, cricket and more cricket. From games you expect nothing and get the word, and from games you expect the world and hit rock bottom, the sports world is a funny place to be in. The cricket world cup down under has begun,and how! Talk sports and there is another huge thing in common …FOOD!

Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & Dips And that’s where we DIP! These are simple ones to rustle up. You could even do a  make ahead simple hummus that I just shared with oat & cheese crackers. On the side, you could go the healthy crudite way or whole grain crackers maybe. Else grab the bag of chips, nachos, pita chips…whatever. Dig right in. foodEvery major gaming event, be it the super bowl, soccer or the cricket world cup, churns up an appetite for food, yummy, good, delicious food. These dips will hit the ball out of the park … like South Africa did today! If you are deft in the kitchen, and love getting quick stuff together, then here are a few other options.Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian KalácsThe India Pakistan thriller saw us polishing off  rustic Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács Do a quick version with cooked chicken tossed in the rocket cashew pesto dip and cheese! Or skip the chicken and go vegetarian. Next was the India South Africa match. That saw a rerun of Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers with a quick Hummus! Delicious times indeed!  Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus 8If you aren’t the cooking types, but certainly the eating types, then your best option would be a quick call to Food Panda to order your favourite food. It’s an online food-ordering service that makes it easy for customers to find their favorite food conveniently from home, work or on the road and get it delivered. It is now active in 30 cities in India and has over 4000+ restaurants available and the delivery of your food is free.

ticketThe nice thing is that during the Cricket World Cup,  Food Panda is running a “One child’s mid day meals collaboration” called Ticket to Cheer. ​In rece​nt months, the company has begun to get involved in helping for civic change of India, supporting NGO’s projects etc. This particular campaign is a novel concept. They are offering a platform where people can donate, in order to give mid-meals to 1.4 million kids for a whole school year. It’s certainly worth a shout out! As we cheer on our favourite teams, give Food Panda a cheer for the good work they are doing as well!

Oh and don’t forget to participate in the Philips giveaway here. Just a day to go!

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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 | Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {Gluten Free}… New Zealand Avocado Season Launch #cake #glutenfree #healthy #wholegrain

“I ♥ Avocados”

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} & the New Zealand Avocado Season Launch, New Delhi with Masterchef Kunal KapoorAvocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {Gluten Free}…a cake inspired by so much avocado goodness that we saw at the New Zealand Avocado Season Launch. Last week saw loads of avocado recipes churned out by the very talented and sweet Chef Kunal Kapoor at the New Zealand High Commission, New Delhi.

Celebrity Masterchef Kunal Kapur said “New Zealand Hass avocados are an amazing healthy and versatile wholefood that contain the good fats needed to maintain a healthy heart. They interestingly blend with everyday Indian meals and the soft buttery texture and nutty flavour goes really well with many traditional dishes such as Bhel Puri and Tawa Pulao. They also blend seamlessly with curries”.

 New Zealand Avocado Season Launch with Chef Kunal KapoorIt’s always interesting to see what the chef does with food, creating innovative recipes, often off the beaten path. He put  avocados right into the heart of Indian cuisine, the pairings quite unexpected and intriguing. I loved the idea of a New Zealand Avocado and Cheese Parantha, New Zealand Avocado Bhel Puri, New Zealand Avocado & Cucumber Soup, AVAVZA Avocado & Vanilla Srikhand and a New Zealand Avocado and Kiwi Lassi. Other recipes included New Zealand Avocado and Chicken Kebabs, New Zealand Avocado and Coconut Stew, New Zealand Avocado and Tuna Cheese Toast,New Zealand Avocado Tawa Pulao , New Zealand Avocado & Coconut chutney.Avocado

Health benefits of New Zealand Avocado

Beautiful skin The vitamins & antioxidants in Avocado can improve your skin from the inside
Energy & vitality The iron, niacin and vitamin B6 in Avocado support energy levels and help to unlock energy from your food
Healthy heart The good fats and omega acids in Avocado help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels
Nutrient booster Avocados help your body absorb more nutrients from other foods they are eaten with
Protection Vitamin C in Avocado contributes to  protection of cells from free radical damage
Healthy digestion Fibre in Avocado keeps your digestive system in shape

With Chef Kunal Kapoor & Chef Sabyasachi Gorai at the New Zealand High Commission for the Launch of the avocado season, Oct 2014It was an interesting and fun evening, with loads of good company too. Two of my favourite chefs I recently spoke about were there – Kunal and Saby, or formally Master Chef Kunal Kapoor and Chef Sabyasachi Gorai. Also present were a great bunch of foodies. The evening disappeared amidst non stop banter, laughter, fine avocado based bites, and choicest NZ wine.AvocadoWe came away with an avocado each. I swapped my normal green one for this ripe one because I fell in love with the pinkish red hue. It seemed a good fit for Pinktober too! I had an idea in my head after all the avocado talk! Back home, my ripe and ready to eat av headed for a gluten free chocolate cake; a cake where the New Zealand Avocado and Indian buckwheat flour aka kuttu ka aata met. Fab pairing!

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free}The cake was yet another experiment. A delicious one. I was fairly confident it would work, but you really never know until you slice it, nibble at a few crumbs etc. It was divine. Fudgy fudgy fudgy. Sinfully chocolaty too; a fallen chocolate cake.

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} I substituted 50% of the fat {butter} with the mashed avocado to reduce the fat content and add some fibre, iron, niacin etc. The  Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {Gluten Free} tasted even better the next day. Maybe the flavours matured. It was fudgier, the chocolate taste was deeper, and it stayed as moist as moist could be. The crumb is delicate because the only flour in here is a gluten free buckwheat flour, or ‘kuttu ka aata‘ as locally called. Handle it with care!

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} Try this if you like. You can always use almond meal to keep it gluten free, or use whole wheat flour to keep it healthy and whole grain. It’s been a while since I’ve used plain all purpose flour, and I’m not in a hurry to do so! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I might skip the butter altogether next time.

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} Well now I’m going to keep my eyes open for more avocados as I have a few sweet and savoury ideas brewing in my head. Avocados are not commercially grown in India. They do grow down south in a few private gardens as I remember seeing the beautiful fruit hanging off trees when we went on a midnight walk while attending the IFBM in August! Until then, it’ll have to be New Zealand avocados for me!

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

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