Sunday Funday # 13

Humming bird is the most interesting little creature to watch. I have the pleasure of watching a pair from my window facing the backyard. They have a regular rendezvous with the hibiscus flowers every morning, drinking its nectar. There is a tinted film on the window and they cannot see us watching them. These birds can see the reflection of flowers on it and at times come straight towards the window. It is like watching a Humming bird show on TV.

It is so small, the size of a thumb and very cute. It is highly energetic and sugar powered! I was surprised to know that they can live 3-5 years. humming bird Humming birds make a humming sound when their wings beat in a flapping motion at high frequencies.

Caught in flight!humming bird in flightIt was difficult to focus on the bird as it was always in motion flapping its wings.humming bird flyingA hummingbird drinks with its tongue. Its long tongue darts out into a flower and feeds on nectar. humming bird tonguehumming bird I wish those Hibiscus flowers continue to bloom for these beautiful birds. It is very selective and are spotted usually around this time of the year!

Posted in Photos | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Aquafaba mayonnaise/ Eggless mayonnaise

Have you heard of Aquafaba? I am sure you have some idea about this egg substitute that awed the vegan community. A couple of months ago, I read about this in a post by Poppy of http://bunnykitchen.com and I was fascinated by it. I recently, had a sudden urge to try it.

mayoAquafaba is the briny liquid found in a can of beans. It is the viscous liquid surrounding the beans and the thing you discard before using beans. We ignorantly poured that precious liquid down the drain not realizing its extensive use. Now, there is good news for that slimy water. It works as a binder, leavening agent and emulsifier, exactly like egg whites. It can be whipped up into a fluff to make all kinds of amazing things, from meringues, marshmallows to cakes. Oh my, who would have thought! I would call it an incredible discovery!

Vegan mayonnaise on bread The idea that the juice of legumes in a can has all the protein and performance of an egg is tantalizing and hard to believe. It started working and emerged as a meringue craze. Thanks to French chef Joël Roessel who experimented with it.  Goose Wohlt, an engineer and food lover coined the word aquafaba, a Latin term for bean liquid. There is an entire Facebook group, “Vegan Meringue – Hits and Misses!” dedicated to experiments with aquafaba.

Naturally, I was intrigued by the use of this vegetarian egg replacer and tried making mayonnaise with it. I don’t like the real mayonnaise from a jar as I assume, the taste of egg yolks and oil is not my thing. There is a jar in my refrigerator that has oil separating from the mix as it was taken on a trip and got shaken. It is left untouched for a long time as it looks unappetizing. I have to throw it away.

So, I wanted to try this to check its taste and find out if it will occupy a place in my diet. I followed a recipe from  peanutbutterandvegan.com but made some small changes like adding a bit of coconut oil thinking it would help solidify it faster. I learned a few things from my experiment that I will share with you.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground yellow mustard
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup liquid from a can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil like corn or canola
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  1. Take a glass jar and add vinegar, ground mustard and salt mix well.
  2. Pour chickpea liquid and blend well using an immersion blender.
  3. With the hand-held blender running, pour oil in a thin stream to emulsify.
  4. Finally, add melted coconut oil if you like the taste or use the same vegetable oil in a stream until the mixture is thick.
  5. Use it lavishly on toast or make a sandwich.

Quick tips:

* If you use any neutral oil, it tastes like regular mayonnaise. So use a light tasting, less colored oil. (My coconut oil imparted a strong flavor not familiar with mayo but making it very special.)

* Work with ingredients at room temperature to make the process quicker.

* Pour the oil slowly to make a thick mayo. I used a cup with a spout to pour the oil onto the stem of the blender.

* Low-sodium beans juice is better if salt is not required in the recipe. I used a salty liquid and had to reduce salt in my mayo.

Whipping aquafabaI used a glass jar to make it and store it. Use any narrow long container as there will be a lot of  splashing as it blends. Transfer the mayo to a jar and store in the refrigerator. It will thicken up after a while.

The juice in which you boil beans can also be used in whipping up the miracle egg mix instead of taking it from a can. The idea that the juice of legumes in a can has all the protein and performance of an egg is tantalizing and hard to believe.

Generally, it is the water from white beans and chickpeas that yield the best result because they have a light color and flavor. Other legumes can also be used in some preparations where the color is not a priority.

You can use this mayonnaise, the creamy, versatile condiment on fresh bread or to assemble a burger. Use this instead of mayonnaise in any recipe. This whipped up canned beans liquid can be made into all kinds of amazing dressings and sauces like Ranch dressing, Tartar sauce and Caesar dressing. Adding herbs and spices improve its taste. Use these dressings on salads and pasta dishes.

Tomato on vegan mayoI tried my vegan mayonnaise on toasted brown bread with fresh tomato slices and cucumber. It was stunning!

Vegan mayonnaiseHope you are all geared up to try this! It is really fabulous that the liquid in a bean can has opened up a whole new world of food possibilities for vegans. I wanted to try it in other recipes too, especially in a cake where a lot of eggs are used. Expect that recipe soon!

Posted in comfort food, Dressing, Easy recipe, Gluten free, International recipe, Not just for kids, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Very banana loaf/Banana-y bread

Banana bread is a pleasing way to extend the life of those overripe bananas. This bread is moist and delicious with loads and loads of banana flavor! It is a quick bread so there is no kneading or rising time involved. The color is gorgeous and the taste is delightful. When I want a fruity loaf, I immediately, whip up this banana bread.

If you are new to baking, this is the easiest bread to try. The aspiring cook in you will be very pleased in attempting this bread because it cannot go wrong. This banana bread stands high over many complicated or elegant cakes in taste and texture. It can be a real reward for your effort!

Banana breadI have made a chocolate banana bread earlier, here: Cocoa banana bread. This is a recipe based on it. It takes about 15 minutes to gather the ingredients and an hour to bake. There is no need for a food processor or blender to mix and prepare the batter. Just a whisk or a fork will do the work for you.

I have added whole wheat flour, flax powder and buttermilk to push it to the healthier side. This banana bread is sweeter than the normal banana bread as there is extra banana on top and the flavor shines through. I have added almonds on top to add a nut factor to it. More chopped almonds added to the batter makes it nutty but my son doesn’t like to bite it in his cake. He likes uninterrupted softness. If you are in that club, join me and bake it like this.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp flax powder
  • 2 bananas mashed + 1/2 banana for the top
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • few almond slivers
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Grease and flour a 8″x5″ loaf pan or place a parchment paper inside the pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flax powder) and set aside.
  3. In another mixing bowl, whisk egg, then add buttermilk, vanilla and oil mixing them well.
  4. Mix in sugar and the mashed bananas.
  5. Combine all the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients little at a time to form a batter.
  6. Pour it into the loaf pan and even it.
  7. Top it with banana slices and almond slivers.
  8. Place the pan in the center of the oven to bake.
  9. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack.
  11. Slice it and enjoy the soft, banana bread!

banana cakeHow easy it that!  It takes minutes to collect the ingredients available in your kitchen and mix them together. If you want, you can mix the wet ingredients and add all the dry ingredients into it and mix everything in one bowl…so easy!

Mixing the dry ingredients separately helps the leavening agent, baking soda to spread evenly and produce a better result. The reaction starts as soon as baking soda hits the wet ingredients. Bake the bread immediately by having a preheated oven ready.

With sweet breads, you should always stir to combine. Use a gentle touch and be quick. It is better to mix the dry ingredients little at a time until it is moist. Don’t over-do it or else you will get a dry and dense bread. Over mixing will cause large holes as air bubbles escape out while baking and make the bread tough. Air has to be trapped in, to give it a soft and spongy texture.

Banana loafCan you smell it! It is absolutely delicious!

The crack on top happens when crust of this bread starts setting, in the heated oven before the bread finishes its rising. That is quite normal for quick breads. Test for doneness with a tester to see if it comes out without any crumbs. Use a tooth pick in different spots of the bread including the center to check if it is completely baked.

banana bread sliceThe best bananas to use in this recipe are those overripe ones that are half brown. Store your overripe bananas in the freezer instead of throwing them away. They are handy when you think of baking this bread.

You can toss in chopped nuts, raisins or chocolate chips for a crunch and additional taste. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger flavors work well in this bread. Bake this batter in a muffin pan to make banana muffins.

Banana bread keeps well for a week in the refrigerator and for months in the freezer.  I will always come back to this basic banana bread recipe. It gives me greater freedom to add ingredients like nuts and dried fruit and make substitutions. It is a wonderful standard recipe that you can build upon and customize according to taste. This recipe is a keeper and I will return to it when the slightest craving strikes!

Banana bread dessert It tastes like a cake but can be eaten as a breakfast, snack or dessert, as you wish. For breakfast, add a dash of butter and toast it for an added taste. I had it with some chocolate banana ice cream as a dessert. This is the best banana bread I have ever tasted, it is so spongy and banana-y. Enjoy!

Let me share this with you when I party at Fiesta Friday #82 hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Kaila @ GF Life 24/7 and Sarah @ Sarah’s Little Kitchen. Have fun!

Posted in Appetizer, Baked, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Cake, Cake decoration, comfort food, Dessert, Easy recipe, Finger food, Fruit recipe, International dishes, Not just for kids, Pack-and-go snack, Side dish, Snack | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Oreo and blueberry cheesecake

Cheesecake has a special place in my heart and home. It is a hot favorite in any party as it is fancy and tasty. I would never miss a chance to enjoy a slice. If people say, ‘no’, to this cake it could be due to health reasons. Definitely, it is a wonderful, dessert cake!

Oreo crust blueberry cheesecakeUsing blueberries that are in season make it a real summer treat with a beautiful color. I used Oreo cookie crumbs because that is a nice contrast to the creamy cheese layer. You can use graham cracker crust or any cookie crust. I once added some crackers to my cookie crust and that added balance and saltiness. This is surely a summer cake as we can chill it and eat it cold.

CheesecakeYou would have noticed that I like to make my cakes with fewer eggs. Here I have used 1 egg whereas other recipes I referred had included 3-4 eggs. If you like a cheese cake with less eggy this is the one for you. I have done a mini cheesy cupcakes with raspberries earlier here : cheese-cupcakes. I used the same recipe to make this in a 7″ round cake pan with a blueberry glaze.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1½ cup Oreo cookie crumb
  • 21/2 tbsp butter melted
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Filling

  • 1 ½ cup cream cheese/500 grams
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Blueberry glaze

  • 1 cups blueberries fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Garnish

Blueberries and a sprig of mint

To make the cake

  1. Mix Oreo crumb, sugar and butter.
  2. In a separate bowl combine cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add egg, lemon juice, vanilla extract, sour cream and beat well.
  4. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  5. Cut parchment paper slightly bigger than the bottom of the pan (see note*) and fit it inside the springform pan.
  6. Spread Oreo cookie crumb mixture inside the pan, pressing it to the bottom and slightly up on the sides.
  7. Pour cheese cake mix on the Oreo layer.
  8. Place the pan on the middle rack and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  9. Bake until a pick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs. (Turn off the oven when the center is still jiggly.)
  10. Let it cool on a rack. It firms up on cooling.
  11. Run a butter knife gently around the inside of the pan to release the cake from the sides.
  12. Remove the cake from the pan and put it in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.

To make blueberry glaze

  1. Take blueberries in a pan and add sugar on top and let it cook.
  2. When it boils, mash the berries add water and boil for a few more minutes.
  3. Sieve and collect 1 cup syrup from the mashed berries.
  4. Pour it into another pan and add lime juice, corn flour little by little and mix well.
  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and starts to boil.
  6. Continue to boil for 2 minutes or until mixture is jelly like.
  7. Cool it a little and pour it on the cake and spread it with a spatula.

Note

* Cut the parchment paper by tracing the circle outside the bottom of the pan. Trim the extra paper to avoid it burning. Place this paper on the bottom of the pan so as to remove the cake with ease after baking.

Oreo crustCream cheese mixUse cream cheese that is at room temperature and smooth it with a spoon to get a nice paste. I had some grainy bits in my mix and it was difficult to break it with a beater. It did not affect the taste though!

baked cheesecakeI have read that cheesecakes stick to the sides of the pan. Using a piece of parchment paper around the periphery of the pan would make it easier to remove. But this cake moved away from the side of the pan after it was baked. I am not sure why! The sides turned a golden color…maybe I baked it longer than needed.

blueberry glazeTop the cheesecakes with blueberry glaze when still warm and spread evenly. It hardens on cooling and is difficult to spread.

Blueberry topped cheesecakeDecorate with blueberries and mint leaves. Cool it in a fridge, cut into slices and serve.

CheesecakeThis is a wonderful cake with its silky rich, creamy center and a crumbly bottom crust. It is dense and light at the same time making it a unique cake. You can use frozen berries and make it throughout the year.

Blueberry cheesecakeI was reluctant and afraid of baking cheesecakes earlier…not anymore. Don’t be intimidated…it looks difficult but in reality, it is quite easy.  The only danger with this cake is, you will not be able to stop with one slice. Have a lovely day!

Posted in Baked, Cake, Cake decoration, Cheese, comfort food, Dessert, Fruit recipe, International dishes, Not just for kids | Tagged , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Hibiscus tea/Health drink

Hibiscus, the tropical flower that blooms in the heat of summer is nature’s amazing gift. I have heard of hibiscus tea and its benefits. Normally, it is made using red hibiscus flowers. There is a pink variety growing in my yard with a crown of vibrant flowers. I am sure the nutrients and quality of all flowers are the same except the pigments. So I decided to make a tea using those flowers.

Hibiscus teaHibiscus tea is made using red flowers called red sorrel or roselle, that are dried. I did not have the patience to wait for my pink flowers to dry completely, so used them after drying for 2 days. I have left some more flowers to dry in my basement for future use.

Ingredients

  • 8-10 dried hibiscus flowers
  • 4 cups boiled water
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 lime to juice
  1. Rinse the dried hibiscus flowers in water.
  2. Take the boiled water in a pot, add the flowers and let it steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the water from the pot into cups.
  4. Stir in maple syrup to sweeten it.
  5. Squeeze lime juice until it changes color.
  6. Add any other flavorings (if desired).

The other ingredients to brighten it would be ginger, mint, lemon juice or orange flower water. I have to try it in different combinations soon.

hibiscus steepedI did not start this experiment with a proper recipe, thinking it would taste good on its own. NO…not exactly! Let me talk about the issues I faced. When I dropped the flowers in hot water and as it was steeping, the tea turned black, to my utter dismay. Maybe, pink flowers are not as good as red…I was confused! I added maple syrup to make it sweet. Still, something was missing. It didn’t have a punch and the color was…blah! Then, I added a few drops of lime juice. Tada…it was like adding phenolphthalein indicator in a chemistry lab while doing titration. The color changed and on adding more juice it turned to a delicate pink. I wanted to run around the town screaming, ‘Eureka’! Instead, I sat down and enjoyed my drink.

Hibiscus flower teaHibiscus tea known as Karkadé, in Arabic, is popular in the Arab world, Northern parts of Africa and Caribbean countries. It lowers blood pressure, stomach irritations, circulatory, excretory and respiratory disorders. Hibiscus tea is rich in vitamin C and treats loss of appetite, boosts energy, combats fatigue and stress. No wonder it was a favorite drink of the pharaohs of Egypt.

healthy teaDrink it hot or after it cools down completely. Add ice to chill it as a summer drink. It tastes good with the maple and lime flavors. A pinch of salt would kick it up a notch. I would definitely call it a refreshing, health tonic.

Posted in Drink, Easy recipe, Raw food, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Sunday funday #12

Actually, Saturday was the funday! I went roaming, taking in the sights and sounds of the big city, Toronto!

I took the subway and went for a Vegan food festival at Fort York and then walked to CNE and on to a long walk on lake shore boulevard.

Vegan food festival was a good opportunity to taste a lot of food. It was interesting to note that a young people were interested in vegan food!

Vegan food festivalVegChoco coconut banana pop. I ate half of it before taking a shot…sorry!chocolate bananaBikes with flowery baskets.bike CN tower between buildingscnCNE, Canadian National Exhibition Place

CneA duck and ducklings are having a peaceful time on a floating tire with all the noise and activities in the background.duckI love graffiti, its artistic magnitude and precision!graffitiIMG_4492Then we went to Mississauga for a weekend music and dance treat.

CelebrationThe day started with a drizzle but developed into the perfect day with enough warmth and cheer to be on the streets.

Posted in Celebration, Photos | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sage olive oil braided bread

I am fascinated by a braided bread because of its beauty. Braiding is something I associate with hair and not so much with food. So this is not just food but an artistic food expression!

Challah is a Jewish braided bread made using eggs. It is normally prepared as a round bread and eaten on Jewish holidays. This is an extended version of it, literally! This sage and olive oil loaf is braided like Challah, but is much smaller.

Braided sage and olive oil breadSage is an easy herb to grow in a small dry area of any garden. It is a great healing herb with a strong fragrance. Ancient cultures burned dried sage as a smudge stick to produce smoke. The smoke was then directed to a person with a feather to bless, cleanse and heal the person being smudged as it has purifying powers. I am totally enticed by the raspy surface, texture and color of sage leaves.

braided sage bread1Braided breadIn addition to whole sage leaves on the braid, this bread is sprinkled with chopped sage, rosemary, garlic and red chilli flakes. It is a fragrant, flavorful, savory bread.

Sage braided breadI was inspired by Martha steward’s braided sage bread : here. I modified the recipe by changing the buttery yeast dough.  I altered the measurement of almost all the ingredient, reduced flour, eggs, added more herbs and spices. The best part is there is no butter in this bread, only extra virgin olive oil. Chilli flakes are added for my heat craving family members. This bread is very interesting to make and bake! So it is my own special recipe which tastes like a European bread that you can buy in a bakery.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup warm water 80-100 ° F + more
  • 2¼tsp active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tbsp for brushing
  • 1 egg + some for egg wash
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dried or fresh rosemary
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • a pinch chilli powder (optional)
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  1. Take a large glass bowl and mix together yeast, warm water and sugar.
  2. Whisk egg in a smaller bowl, add it along with salt and olive oil into the yeast mixture.
  3. Stir in 2 cups flour, crushed rosemary and garlic powder into the bowl.
  4. Knead adding up to 2 tbsp warm water to get a soft non-sticky dough.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise (about an hour).
  6. When it is doubled in size, punch the dough and add chopped sage and chilli powder and knead.
  7. Divide dough into 3 parts.
  8. Make 3 ropes each 16 inch long with the dough.
  9. Place it on a greased baking tray tucking the ends underneath.
  10. Braid it tucking a sage leaf in between as you braid.
  11. Brush the braided dough with beaten egg wash.
  12. Cover it with a greased plastic wrap and let it rise for 15 minutes or until double in size.
  13. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
  15. Remove from oven and brush with olive oil and bake for 10 more minutes or until outer crust sounds hollow when tapped.
  16. Cool on a wire rack and slice after it cools completely.

braided sage breadMaking bread is tricky because the liquid amount varies depending on where you live, the temperature and humidity in the air. When kneading, add flour or warm water as needed to make a soft, sticky dough. If adding water, add a little at a time, until the bread forms a ball. The ball should not be too sticky.

I have braided my hair, folded it in two and tied a ribbon all through my school days. So I thought it is freaking easy, ah… not so soon! It is a bit tricky when the braiding is done on soft, sticky dough. I had to construct and reconstruct to get the braid right. I tucked in fresh sage leaves and pushed their stalks into the dough as I braided.

braided bread coolingWhen this is baking, the aroma makes the kitchen smell like a bakery. Yummmm, I love the smell of fresh bread!!!

sage bread slicesThis bread would be an excellent appetizer with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. It makes a great breakfast when toasted with a little bit of butter on top.

It tastes good on its own or with grilled vegetables and egg. I have a Kalamata olive pesto that I can put on this bread. Overall an excellent bread, I will definitely make it again. This bread dough would make a delicious pizza crust too.

Posted in Appetizer, Baked, Bread, Breakfast, comfort food, Finger food, International dishes, Main dish, Pack-and-go lunch, Pack-and-go snack, Side dish, Snack | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Butter mushroom

Butter Mushroom

Butter chicken is undoubtedly one of the most famous Indian dishes enjoyed around the world. It is rich and creamy with a buttery flavor. Recently, I made butter chicken with barbequed chicken. I used tikka masala to marinate chicken pieces and grilled it and added it in my gravy. It was lip smacking and my family unanimously declared it was restaurant quality. I did not taste it but could guess its fineness from its appearance and smell. I made a vegetarian version of it to find out the taste.

Butter mushroom, vegetarian version of butter chicken This is a simple vegetarian curry with mushroom instead of chicken. I made a buttery onion, tomato base and added mushrooms. Then added whipped cream to get a silky texture. This butter mushroom is deliciously spiced and very aromatic. Cremini mushroom provides the right meaty texture to match.

Cremini mushroomsSome mushroom facts: Most of the mushrooms we eat, white button mushroom, cremini and portobello belong to the same variety. They change from one to another as they age.

White button mushroom is the youngest and has a soft texture. It is farmed for its color. Cremini mushroom is moderately matured white mushroom. Cremini has a brown color and a firmer texture. Portobello is the fully matured mushroom. The overgrown white mushroom spreads out its meaty cap and develops a very strong flavor to become portobello.

I use a lot of Cremini mushroom in my cooking because I like its texture and taste. Any mushrooms can perform well in this recipe.

This butter mushroom is a mild curry with an irresistible smell. It has a sweet, smooth flavor that is unbelievable. The sweetness in this dish comes from sugar, caramelized onions, as well as butter and cream.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter + 1 tbsp for frying mushrooms
  • 2 medium white onions
  • 1½ tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 green chilli (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tomato pureed
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 12-14 cremini mushroom cut into halves or quarters
  • 1 tbsp dried methi leaves (kasuri methi)
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • chopped cilantro to garnish
  1. Chop onion to small pieces and set aside
  2. Puree tomato or use canned tomato
  3. Take a heavy bottom pan and add 1/4 cup butter.
  4. Add chopped onions and fry slowly on medium to low heat till it turns golden brown (about 20 to 25 minutes).
  5. Add ginger garlic paste and saute until raw smell goes.
  6. Next, add garam masala, chilli powder, chopped green chilli and stir.
  7. Crush dried methi leaves and add to the pan.
  8. Add pureed tomato and stir well.
  9. Add some water, tomato paste and cook well.
  10. Take the pot off the stove and cool it.
  11. Using an immersion blender puree the gravy.
  12. Heat another pan and fry chopped mushrooms in butter until moisture evaporates and it turns soft.
  13. Add salt and transfer it into the gravy pan.
  14. Simmer everything adding enough water and after 5 minutes turn off heat.
  15. Let it stand for some time for the masala to blend with mushrooms.
  16. Garnish with cream and coriander leaves

butter mushroom preparation Dried fenugreek leaves add a signature flavor to this dish. Do not leave it out! You can get it in Indian grocery stores. You cannot substitute it with fenugreek seeds as they are very bitter, whereas, its leaves are aromatic.

Butter mushroomThis curry ends up with a bright orange colour after adding whipped cream. When you simmer the gravy, be careful not to reduce it until oil starts separating. That will make the gravy a bit too red. If that happens, use cashew paste to enhance the color.

I have made it many times now and found out that I can use 1/2 cup evaporated skimmed milk instead of heavy cream. It turns out to be lighter but just as delicious.

Mushroom in a buttery sauce This butter mushroom will not disappoint you. It really is luxurious with copious amounts of butter and cream, a fit dish for special occasions. Vegetarians need not look any further to taste butter chicken. This is it! Enjoy!

Posted in Brunch, Celebration, comfort food, Curry, Indian curry, Indian recipe, Side dish, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Sunday Funday# 11

Summer flowers!

Now I know why short is sweet! I have to take in as much floral bliss as possible so I can recollect it in cold wintery days and feel happy!

Flowers are a message from earth saying, ‘Everything is fine’! It is written in bold colors on delicate petals. I cannot stop wondering at the expression of nature boasting in such beautiful displays!

This Day lily lasts only a day but it is so dramatic! I love the artistic patters and satiny texture of those petals. adI haves these Shasta daisies that cheer me year after year.

d daisyThis hibiscus is not just a pretty face but very useful too. I have an abundance of pink blossoms that I use in many other ways like making teas, a herbal shampoo and oil. This is the flower that invites humming birds into my yard.

IMG_3451These are some wild flowers. A local conservation project was urging everyone to grow wild flowers to attract insects and butterflies. They gave me a seed heart, a clay cake in the shape of a heart with seeds embedded in it. I planted it in the soil to get these amazing blooms.

IMG_0790 IMG_3546This perfect sunflower adorns my front yard.

IMG_3109Every year, I add new flowering plants to my already bursting at the seams garden.

Posted in Photos | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Zucchini carrot coconut loaf/Zucchini sweet bread

Zucchini, carrots and coconut baked in a loaf pan…makes a hearty bread. Zucchini and carrots have a wonderful taste when combined. This bread is made with coconut oil and coconut milk to give it an extra flavor boost. It is delicious to the core! I bet this is the best way to eat your veggies!

Zucchini, carrot and coconut breadI have never tried zucchini bread before although it is quite popular. I bought some fresh zucchini from our framers market and wanted to use them before they lose their freshness. So this is my perfect chance to try it!

Of course, I had to visit many websites and learn about the process of making zucchini bread. I adapted those recipes by adding or reducing certain ingredients and came up with this recipe. It turned out to be a successful attempt!

Ingredients

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking power
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

Wet ingredients

  • 1/3 cup thick yogurt
  • 1/4 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed tightly
  • 3/4 cup grated zucchini (completely squeeze out the water from it)
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Take a 9×5 inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger powder.
  4. Take another bowl, whisk yogurt, coconut milk, coconut oil, egg, brown sugar and vanilla essence until they combine.
  5. Add grated zucchini and carrot to it and mix well.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently to combine.
  7. Transfer this batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes in the middle rack.
  9. Insert a tooth pick in the center to test if it comes out clean when done.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully holding the parchment paper take out the bread.
  11. After it cools a little, remove paper and cool completely before slicing.
  12. Slice and serve with cream cheese.

Zucchini breadOn baking, the batter rises and forms a golden crust. Cracks may appear on the top but that is okay! It is a sign of the batter expanding and excess moisture escaping.

I could see the shreds of zucchini and carrots in the baked loaf, making it veggielicious! To a certain extend, it is a guilt free bread because it is wholesome. This bread is quite sweet, on second thought, I would cut down the sugar in this recipe. You could reduce it to 3/4 cup brown sugar to make this bread less sweet.

Zucchini carrot breadThis zucchini carrot loaf is basically a spice cake with a lot of moisture from the vegetables that also provide it a tender texture. I like the fact that it is easy to make. There is no need for any gadgets except a whisk. No complex techniques or extensive time is involved in the preparation. It is just mixing the wet ingredients into dry and baking. That easy! I would like to make a savory version of this bread as I like this simple process.

After taking my first bite, I was more than impressed. It is perfect! It is handy as a snack at work, at school, while camping or anytime! Adding a piece of this bread to breakfast, brunch or dinner can make it exciting! It is delicious when warm and there is no harm in eating a cold slice too.

Slices of Zucchini bread with cream cheese Zucchini bread is good the next morning after slightly toasting it on a griddle. Spread a layer of cream cheese and enjoy!

I am going to hang out with all the lovely people at Fiesta Friday #79! I missed it for a while as I was lost in some summer distractions!

Posted in Baked, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Coconut, comfort food, Dessert, International dishes, Pack-and-go snack, Snack | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments