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Vegetarian

“I’m a man of simple tastes. I’m always satisfied with the best.”
Oscar Wilde

When the Tropical Collection from Chumbak comes knocking at your door, how  can you not fall in love with it? It’s fresh, it’s tropical, it’s everything you can celebrate spring with, a line you can usher summer in with as well! It’s an inspiring line, and immediately nudged me to do something fun. Take a look….

I played with the collection endlessly. It brings alive the child in you. You can’t take us Indians out of the our beloved tropics {for long at least}and you can’t take tropical out of India, so the collection is a sure win. I love the crisp, colourful feel, the energy it shares, the vibrancy it spills. The collection is inspired by tropical elements like palm leaves, pineapples, flamingos and the like.Here’s what I was inspired to do – Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies & Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit BowlWhen we were young, my dad scooped or rather balled out watermelons and musk melons on our birthdays, then served the fruit chilled in fruit bowls. For some reason, just looking at the collection took me right back there, and before I knew it I was carving a fruit bowl. It’s the funnest thing to do for a pool party, kids birthdays, an evening pick me up in summer, or an anytime fresh healthy snack.I used kiwi stars, halved gooseberries and watermelon balls. I thought I’d throw in strawberry hearts too but forgot the in the fridge. Gah! Summer will see stone fruit galore, so the fun will double. You could do a stone fruit and berry inspired bowl. Or maybe set a watermelon granita in the melon bowl, freeze, slice and serve! No dearth of ideas when your life is flooded with inspiration.

Chumbak had a #spotthepineapple fun campaign to launch the collection. How can you be tropical and not have pineapple? So I figured I’d do a pineapple strawberry smoothie too. I freeze both strawberries and pineapple chunks, so this smoothie is the easiest thing ever. Throw in a cup of each, a cup or two of water, some sweetener, a dash of lime juice into the blender. Whirrrrrrrr it up and you’re good to go.That’s what the coming summer is going to ask for. Quick fresh foods that will keep the spirit light and happy. See how beautifully they paired with the Chumbak Tropical in the light of the afternoon setting sun? Such pretty hues that go so beautifully with the bougainvillea too. Same colours, tropical feel, and I am all set! There’s plenty of choice…

With a range of cushion covers that explode in bright colours, I think this is the best time for a summer makeover! Vibrant, vibrant, vibrant is all I think! Pineapples, flamingoes, elephants, flowers, geometric patterns {♥♥♥}, I want to redo my place! Oh and the sweet little owl too stepped out from a smitten golden ex Diwali into a rustic rainbow coloured creature. Can you imagine that the ullu {owl in hindi} went tropical too? I fell in love with this little fellow, toes and all!The other thing I really liked are the cookie jars. Spacious, clean lines, good quality airtight jars, and beautifully patterned, the counter tops will never be the same again. Even though I am not a gold person, I really like the golden cookie jar too. It fits in so well with the rest. And of course there is PLENTY MORE to the collection. I just picked a few.My all time favourite is of course the palm leaf pattern line. That has my name written all over it. It is fresh, understated, almost like each piece has been hand painted. The teacups are a generous size and stand tall. The pitcher is a winner and I would LOVE for it to sit on my counter. It pours well, it’s easy to clean and is an ideal size for milk or juice. Heck, it even doubles up as a stunning flower vase! It’s lovely to begin the day with for breakfast. Quick granola and fruit parfaits, omelette, toast, a glug of milk from the jug, coffeeeeeee … the leaf pattern is my kind of pattern. For salads too. The interesting bit is that the leaf pattern fits in to every time of the day, every meal too. From a crisp beginning in the morning for breakfast, to a soothing, lilting sun-downer feel, with calming, soothing hues. 

Even the coordinated leaf platters are darling. I just find the leaf pattern very very refreshing, something anyone would love to own, serve on, put out for guests, hang on their wall as part of a   plate collection. I shot with it a lot as you might notice. You can see I shot it the most. With flowers {poppies} for breakfast, with milk for breakfast too, with onion flowers just like that, then with the Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies & Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl . That’s how versatile and handy it is. The great thing is that it pairs with almost every colour and meal. I’m thinking chilled lemonade through summer!

Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies & Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl
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Print Recipe
Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies, and a Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl are quick, inspired, no cook, tropical fruit based recipes for summer! Inspired by the Tropical Collection from Chumbak.
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 15 minutes
Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies & Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl
Yum
Print Recipe
Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies, and a Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl are quick, inspired, no cook, tropical fruit based recipes for summer! Inspired by the Tropical Collection from Chumbak.
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 15 minutes
Ingredients
Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies
Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl
Servings: people
Instructions
Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies
  1. Place all ingredients in jar of blender and process until smooth. taste and adjust seasoning adding more sugar if required.
  2. Garnish with slices of fresh strawberries.
Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl
  1. With a melon baller, scoop out balls of watermelon. gently remove any remaining flesh to take a bowl out of the skin. Carve the edges with a sharp fruit knife if you like.
  2. Peel and slice the kiwi. Stamp out stars with a small cookie cutter.
  3. Halve the cape gooseberries.
  4. Toss them all and put into the watermelon bowl. Chill. Scatter fresh mint over it. Serve chilled.
Note
  1. Run the left over watermelon and kiwi in a blender to make watermelon juice. Add a dash of honey, fresh lime and rock salt. Serve chilled.
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Thandai Indian Rice Kheermy version of serving up Thandai in an Indian rice pudding, or kheer as locally called. Flavoured delicately, this indulgent rice pudding hits all the right notes. Sweetened gently with jaggery, the flavours of almond, cardamom and saffron just shine. The texture of broken simmered rice is what adds body to this delectable kheer or pudding.The underlying inspiration comes from Dolphia who inspired, coerced and pushed me to shoot saffron. That’s one of the reasons this kheer came to be. The other reason of course was that the better half has bitterly complained over the last few days that I haven’t made a kheer in years!  As much as I love stirring a good kheer, for some reason it hadn’t happened yet…

Then yet another trip into Old Delhi, some Kashmir saffron bought to please Dolphia and the hub {in no particular order of course} meant that the kheer was simmering away gently quite soon. The recipe of course inspired by the season, all the Thandai kind of stuff I make at this time of the year. Thandai is a spice and nut blend, with ingredients that include almonds, melon seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, green cardamom, saffron, rose petals, sometimes whole pepper too. It is popularly served up as a milk cooler, often with a local bhaang or intoxicant, on Holi. There are a million versions, every household laying claim to their recipe. Mine changes all the time!

Sometimes, a theme helps me find direction, and this time around the prettiness of the colours got to me. Spring is like that, and so is every visit into the heart of Old Delhi!

First I did a Saffron Almond Chia Thandai for  Olive Tree Trading and that really set the mood. So much colourful prettiness and so much inspiration. That’s just how this time of the year is. I’ve dried loads of organic rose petals, so you’ll see me using those a lot.And so to cut a loooong story short, I finally made the Thandai Indian Rice Kheer. And it came out finger licking good. It’s a quick one, one I figured out as I went along. It’s the first time I’ve ground almonds with rice {an earlier version had the Thandai nut mix}. 
For some reason, I loved this simpler version. Here it is, the Thandai Indian Rice Kheer.

Thandai Indian Rice Kheer
Yum
Print Recipe
Flavoured gently, this indulgent Thandai Indian Rice Kheer hits all the right notes. Sweetened gently with jaggery, the flavours of almond, cardamom and saffron just shine. The texture of broken simmered rice is what adds body to this delectable kheer or pudding.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5-8 hours
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5-8 hours
Thandai Indian Rice Kheer
Yum
Print Recipe
Flavoured gently, this indulgent Thandai Indian Rice Kheer hits all the right notes. Sweetened gently with jaggery, the flavours of almond, cardamom and saffron just shine. The texture of broken simmered rice is what adds body to this delectable kheer or pudding.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5-8 hours
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5-8 hours
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Dry grind rice and almonds to a coarse breadcrumb like texture in a coffee grinder.​ You can add the cardamom seeds here if you like.​Stir the above into cold milk with the jaggery, cardamom seeds and cream if using.
  2. Put over low heat and cook for about 25-30 minutes, STIRRING OFTEN, until the rice is cooked and the kheer thick.
  3. Taste and adjust sweetness if required. Take off heat and add a generous pinch of saffron. Stir well.
  4. The kheer will continue to thicken as it cools. You might need to add a little milk as the absorption quality of rice differs. Once it gets to room temperature, ladle into earthenware bowls, individual serving bowls etc to set. Garnish with saffron strands, almond slivers, pistachio bits, rose petals etc.
  5. Serve chilled.
  6. Note: Rinse, drain and d​ry the rice overnight, else dry in microwave for 1 minute.
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“The oat is the Horatio Alger of cereals, which progressed, if not from rags to riches, at least from weed to health food.”
Waverley Root

Date Walnut Orange Flapjacks … squares of goodness that come together in minutes. Not sure why, but ever since I began making granola again {read every Sunday}, I’ve had flapjacks on my mind. It’s a very strange thought as it crept in without prior notice, and yesterday for some reason that’s all I wanted to bake. Every time I got up to bake cookies, I pulled out the bag of oats. Guess these were meant to be. And so was this naughtiness that crept into my frames…Little Bambi, our newest little family member who we adopted recently, had an absolute field day. She loves photobombing whenever I try and shoot. You might see here here on PAB now and then!What are flapjacks you might ask. Well  ‘flapjack, muesli bar, cereal bar, or granola bar is a sweet tray-baked oat bar made from rolled oats, butter, brown sugar and golden syrup‘ and looks like this fits in quite well with my whole grain breakfast granola sort of a theme. I guess I could have just added some granola I made this morning into a bowl, tossed it in with some other stuff, pushed it together, let it set and made granola bars.But my granola is very precious these days. It’s much in demand in parfaits so I figured it would be a shame to use it so easily  cheaply. Then again the net is overflowing with recipes of flapjack and this recipe from Food52  won me over. The ease of the recipe, the beauty of ingredients, the pantry staples all made it seem so simple.Too simple I might add. You might have caught how easy these were to make on my instastories on my Instagram handle. In any case, this is the easiest ‘stir the wet mix into dry’ procedure. And it tasted drop dead delicious with ‘toffee’ good flavours, a sweetness which soothes the soul, and a load of oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds! Oh and a burst of orange flavour!Too much of a good thing and a new way to use quick cooking oats.Ever since I began using jumbo oats in my granola, the regular bag of quick cooking oats just sits and stares at me. No longer I guess. This is another fantastic way to use quick cooking oats . I adapted the recipe to use things that I had on hand so my flapjacks had walnuts and dates. Also the zest of an orange as it was just sitting on the counter and added freshness to the otherwise monochrome palette.

Date Walnut Orange Flapjacks
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Buttery & nutty with a burst of orange, sweetly comforting and quite indulgent, these Date Walnut Orange Flapjacks are going to be showing up quite often. A recipe minimally adapted from one @food52 , it comes together in a matter of minutes.
Servings Prep Time
16 squares 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 squares 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Date Walnut Orange Flapjacks
Yum
Print Recipe
Buttery & nutty with a burst of orange, sweetly comforting and quite indulgent, these Date Walnut Orange Flapjacks are going to be showing up quite often. A recipe minimally adapted from one @food52 , it comes together in a matter of minutes.
Servings Prep Time
16 squares 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 squares 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
Wet mix
Dry Mix
Servings: squares
Instructions
  1. Line a 8 X 8" square tin with parchment. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the butter, brown sugar and honey in a heatproof bowl and microwave for a minute until the butter has melted. Whisk well until you get a toffee like mixture.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add all the remaining ingredients and stir to mix.
  4. Pour over the toffee mixture and stir well to mix.Transfer to prepared tin, pat down into place with an offset spatula or butter knife.
  5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until light golden brown on the edges but still soft in the centre.
  6. Cool completely before cutting into squares
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