Puff pastry dough/Puff pastry from scratch

Puff pastry myth busted!

There are many things I dread cooking and never venture to try. It is the fear of failure! Puff pastry is one such culinary process I feared. I was fascinated by flaky and airy, puff pastry from a very young age. Those puffs they sell in cinema theaters and bakeries used to taunt me. I have always admired puffs made online and on screen. But, I seriously thought it was not in my ability range.

One day, I woke up with the enlightenment that all fears need to be conquered. I decided to put this pastry making to test. Blogging has helped me to shed many kitchen fears and take a step to forge ahead. Of course, a challenge makes cooking exciting! I was certain, now is the time to take the bull by the horns.

I referred to many recipes and took notes. I shaped this puff pastry by adding some techniques I have understood and using some good reasoning to give it my personal touches. If I fail, I will learn a thing or two. Contrarily, it could even be a lucky break.

This is a long recipe because the process is a bit lengthy and time consuming. So please have some patients with me! Making Puff Pastry from scratch is not difficult at all but you need a Zen like calmness to execute it. Select a day when you have at least 4-5 hours time to devote when preparing this pastry.

Puff pastry is formed by placing butter inside flour dough. The dough is then repeatedly folded and rolled out to make the pastry layers. The French term for flour dough is détrempe and for the butter slab is beurrage. It is a very versatile dough used in many recipes like strudels, palmiers, sausage rolls, tarts, turnovers, puffs and cheese straws.

IngredientsI want to make it as simple as possible avoiding a lot of measuring. Only four ingredients here!

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cup all purpose flour + some for dusting the surface
  • 2 cups cold butter (a block of butter, 1 lb or 454 grams)
  • 1¼ cup ice cold water
  • 1 tsp salt

Dough Making

Take flour in a bowl and add 1/4 cup butter and with hand or pastry blender cut it and mix well with the flour. (I used a potato masher to break butter into smaller pieces and then mixed with hand.)

MixingPour water little at a time and gather the dough into a ball.

Knead it lightly and quickly without transferring any warmth so that the butter does not melt.

doughWrap it in a plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour to chill.

In the meantime, take the remaining large chunk of butter and cut it in half and to smaller squares.

Place this on a butter paper drizzled with flour.

Arrange the squares of butter with small gaps in between. (It helps butter to expand when rolling into a block)

Dust with flour and place the butter between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound into a flat disc using a rolling pin and roll into a rectangle.

Wrap it in butter paper and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

butter

Now, remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator.

Using a knife make a cross on top of the dough. (This helps to roll it into a rectangle.)

Chilled doughRoll each division so it stretches and form a rough rectangle.

RolledRemove chilled butter from refrigerator.

chilled butterPlace the chilled butter in the center of the rolled dough.

Envelop butter in dough by bringing the sides to the center. Fold all the ends over it so that butter is completely encased in dough.

foldingRoll it gently into a flat slab with the enclosed butter, taking care not to let the butter break through the dough.

Fold the top third down to the center, then the bottom third up and over that.

This is the first folding.

1foldingWrap the long rectangle dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, hit the dough with the rolling pin to ease the butter and roll again into an elongated rectangle.

Next, fold into thirds. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold the shorter side to the middle and overlap with the other edge. This is the second folding.

2nd foldingWrap the dough again and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Repeat rolling and folding three more times, rotate the dough 90 degrees every time. After each folding and rolling, rest it for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

LayersFolding and rolling 5 times gives this dough multiple layers with thin layer of butter trapped in between. On baking, water content in butter turns to steam. This pastry expands when butter melts and pushes the layers apart.

Puff pastry dough is convenient as it can be stored in the freezer for a long time and it can be thawed before use. This pastry can be flattened and cut into smaller parts according to need.

Commercially made puff pastry available in stores use butter or other substitutes. This homemade pastry tastes far better with real butter melting and crisping the layers.

The proof of the puff pastry is in its baking. Next on the docket is a puff tart, so stay tuned!

Posted in Baked, Dessert, Not just for kids, Pastry, Side dish, Snack, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Sweet potato fritters/Vegetarian fritters

Flax Powered Sweet Potato Fritters

Sweet potato is natures way of making vegetables lovable. It is a bit too starchy when boiled, which was how I used to prepare and eat it earlier. Shredding it and adding some spices is an interesting way to enjoy it.

fritters sweetToday, I went on an outing to three different places. People there were very nice to me. It could be because I behaved well or I talked politely or change in the weather. It could simply be because they are just lovely people. This is Canada you see! I am proud to say that being nice is a Canadian thing! Overall, I had a very good day! Being the International day of happiness, I had every reason to call it a heart warming day.

A few days back, when we had fluffy snow I got out to clean it. Our snowblower could not be cranked up and stood still in the garage like a stubborn boulder. So I used a shovel to push the snow aside. It was fun for a while. Soon my hands were freezing as the temperature was dipping down. I took a short break half way through and went inside for a hot drink and then forgot time. On returning to finish the work, I found my drive-way was cleared up. I guessed one of my friendly neighbours had used his snowblower to complete the task. I did not even know who to thank. So I thanked my stars and everyone in general.

I can go on listing many such acts of generosity and consideration showered upon me. I try to do my best to reciprocate and spread the goodwill. Sometime it is very difficult to match!

When I started writing about sweet potato these are the sweet thoughts that rushed into my mind. Getting back to sweet potato fritters, these are easy to make savoury breakfast. A few fritters with coffee and some fruits will make a hearty breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • few coriander leaves
  • salt
  • vegetable oil as needed

1 ingredients

  1. Powder flax seeds in a blender. (You may powder more seeds and take 1 tbsp powder.)
  2. Dissolve flax powder in 2 tbsp water and leave it to soak overnight or for 2 hours until it forms a gooey gel.
  3. Peel skin and grate sweet potato.
  4. Chop onion, jalapeno pepper and garlic into small pieces.
  5. Add chopped coriander leaves, flour and salt.
  6. Mix the right amount of flax gel to make a thick mixture.
  7. Heat a flat skillet or pan and add a little oil.
  8. Take a heaped spoon of mixture and add to the pan and flatten it.
  9. Cook on medium heat until one side is browned.
  10. Flip to the other side, drizzle oil and cook.
  11. Repeat with all patties.

I got 6 fritters with this mixture. Double the ingredients for a dozen fritters. Thin fritters crisp up easily and hold together. Remove seeds of jalapeno pepper if you like to reduce heat. These are very delicious fritters and can be eaten with ketchup if mild and with yogurt if hot.

sweetPowdered flax seeds in water act as a binder to hold all the ingredients in place. These fritters have a lovely sweet potato taste and all other flavours in a balance. Contrary to eggs in fritters, flax seeds do not impart an overwhelming taste or smell.

Sweet potato fritters I normally try any new recipe two or three time before I post it. First, I tried the same recipe using an egg instead of powdered flax seeds a few days back. It had an eggy smell with a spongy texture. All other flavours were drowned in it and sweet potato was not distinct as a main ingredient. Those fritters were thicker and heavier so I had to be careful in lifting them from the skillet. Both vegetarian and egg versions can be satisfying in their own ways.

sweet potato frittersCrispy caramelized sweet potato fritters can be a great addition to any meal. These are delightful when served warm.

I wish to share this recipe with the happy people at Fiesta Friday #60

Fiesta Friday Badge Button Click to join

Posted in Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Celebration, comfort food, Easy recipe, Finger food, Fried, Pack-and-go snack, Side dish, Snack, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Moru kootan/Yogurt curry

Yam curd curry

This is an authentic Kerala curry most favoured in homes and restaurants. No meal is complete without a last course of plain curd or a curd curry added to rice. This is my mother’s recipe and tastes amazing with fresh coconut and curry leaves from her garden.

moruIn the hot sizzling weather in Southern India, yogurt and buttermilk can give a lot of relief. It has all the probiotics to promote healthy digestive system and cool the body in Summer. There are different seasonal vegetables used in this curry. The main vegetables used are ash gourd (white pumpkin), raw plantain, large yellow cucumber, raw papaya and yams. It can also be a sweet curry when ripe mango or pineapple is added.

I have used this interesting vegetable called elephant foot yam which has regional names like Chena kizhangu or Suran. This root vegetable is large and has a large brownish flower that has a nasty odour when it blooms. It is a root vegetable that could be itchy most of the time and I have seen my mother use coconut oil on her hand when cutting it. Now, we have better varieties that do not have any itching effect on the skin. I have seen this strange behaviour in many plants, even in pineapples. It is a nature’s means of keep off anyone from eating and affecting chances of its propagation. Very smart!

Google image

Elephant foot yam/Chena kizhangu/Suran – Google image

Ingredients

  • 1/8 piece cut from elephant foot yam (Chena Kizhangu)
  • 2 green chilies slit lengthwise
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ red chilli powder
  • 1 cup curd/yogurt

To grind

  • ¾ cup grated coconut
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

To temper

  • 2 tsp coconut oil/vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • few fenugreek seeds
  • 1-2 red chillies
  • few curry leaves
  • salt
  1. Take curd/yogurt in a bowl and whisk.
  2. Add a little water to get thick buttermilk and set it aside.
  3. Remove skin, wash yam and cut it into finger size pieces.
  4. In a heavy bottom pan, cook pieces of yam with slit green chillies, red chilli powder and turmeric powder.
  5. In a blender, grind coconut and cumin seeds into a fine paste.
  6. Add this paste to the cooked yam, and boil well with salt to taste.
  7. Lower the heat and add beaten curd.
  8. Slightly warm the mixture and turn off the stove. (If boiled, the curd and whey will separate and make it unappealing.)
  9. In a small frying pan heat coconut oil and splutter mustard seeds.
  10. Add fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and red chillies and fry it gently and the add to the curry.

moSometimes I add fried garlic and shallots to make it tastier. In my mother’s house, this is a curry made almost everyday. She uses left over curd that is sour and cooking stops it from further souring.

In a traditional feast, food is served on a banana leaf and this is the last curry to end the meal. It cleanses the palate to taste the following sweet dessert called Payasam.

moru kootanThis is a simple curd curry to enhance the taste of plain rice. I love this curry for its delicate, fresh flavours.

Posted in Coconut, Curry, Easy recipe, Side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Fruity, coconutty smoothie

Fruity ginger coconut smoothie

ccoconut smoothieSpring is coming around and I intended to start it off with a fresh, detox smoothie, but ended out doing something entirely different and happily so! This is the most delicious, decadent smoothie ever! It is spiked with coconut cream, ginger and fruits you may have on hand. I used apple and banana to keep it in the same earthy brown tone.

It is made with coconut milk and with a dash of coconut cream making it very coconutty. Adding honey and ginger gives it a soothing effect to comfort any sore throat.

coconut apple smoothieIngredients

  • 1 red delicious apple
  • a small piece of ginger
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream.

Blend everything except coconut cream until smooth. Add a dollop of whipped coconut cream and enjoy! Add less honey if the apple is very sweet. If you add more ginger it would taste a bit medicinal. A hint of ginger will go a long way.

Coconut cream

To get whipped cream, put a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator. When it has chilled,  scoop up the top layer of cream. Add 2 tbsp granulated sugar and beat with an electric beater until it gets the consistency of whipped cream. This cream can be used in other desserts too when you need a non dairy cream.

coconut creme

I was about to hit “post” on this when the fire alarm in my house went off. It was a false alarm thankfully, but it didn’t stop me from frantically checking the stove and sniffing around for flames. I did not even turn on the stove for this breakfast smoothie. The sound of the smoke-detector was deafening, and fanning the ceiling around it did not help at all. It works when there is a real smoke or food burning. It continued protesting in long wails. I couldn’t even reach the damned detector up on the ceiling, even with the step stool. Standing on a high stool, I tried in vain to poke the red blinking lights on it with the handle of a ladle.

Then I rushed outside to get some help from my neighbour who is always helpful but unfortunately they were not at home. By this time, I was drowned in high decibel sound and it was ringing in my ears. My eardrum was about to explode. I used ear plugs to continue without a breakdown. I called my husband and he gave some directions to silence it but it didn’t work either.

Eventually, I turned off the main electric connection for it and sat without power for a little while. But that silence was honey to my ears! A moment of realization occurred, how something we ignore can turn out to be so annoying and ruin a day! My husband warned there could be some deadly carbon monoxide leak so I just left home and went shopping. The fire alarm was set right when he returned in the evening. The cause of the whole episode was a disconnected wire.

cc sHave yourself a quiet, day!

Posted in Breakfast, Drink, Gluten free, Not just for kids, Raw food, Side dish, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Mini tarts/ Fruit and nut tartlets

Sweet jewel tarts!

Berry tartWhat can you make for a quick dessert? This is a question I ask myself many times. I decided to have some easy ideas so next time I need not scramble, search and struggle to get it done. This is more of an assembly dessert than really making from scratches.

I have this habit of stocking my freezer with phylo pastry, tart shells, some cookie dough and puff pastry dough for a rainy day. My husband detests this and says that I should buy them when I plan to make something. But we never  know when the urge to bake strikes! It may not be on the most beautiful day but on a depressing day when you don’t want to go out. He complains that it is difficult to take anything out of the freezer and calls the entire refrigerator, a museum. I secretly do fungi-culture there, not out of want but due to mere negligence. He will eventually, discover it before it matures to spore production and put it out for my viewing pleasure. It occasionally/inevitably takes me on a guilt trip and I try to scrub and clean the refrigerator. Before long, there will be a forgotten lump of some old stuff in a god forsaken, dingy corner silently molding. Happens…you see!

Freezers are different. Whatever goes there stays in extreme bliss! They attains a state of perfect peace until I disturb.

Okay, my stored frozen pastry got a new lease of life when I had some friends coming home, the other day. I wanted to make something that will not steal much of my time. Thus, this dessert in tiny tart shells were born.

First check your freezer for tart shells. If you have some, then breath a sigh of relief and get the other ingredients out. If you have whipped cream you are good to go or pick that from a shop nearby.

I made half of them with a honey filling similar to baklava filling and the rest with a berry compote. Man, it was sweet! The fruits and nuts glisten in the glaze like shiny little jewels!

Tart shells

  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Place mini tart shells on a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
  • Cool with the aluminum foil.

While the shells are baking we can prepare the filling. First make the whipping cream.

Whipping cream

Take one cup heaving whipping cream and add 2 tablespoon sugar. In a stainless steel bowl whisk using an egg beater until  stiff peaks form. Keep it in the refrigerator. Store unused portion in a closed container and use it on waffles, pancakes…ah, anything! But think twice before you spoon it straight into the mouth like my son does.

Now get the fillings ready.

Ingredients – Honey, fruit and nut filling

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • handful pistachio shelled and crushed
  • 4-5 almonds crushed
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 3 minced dates
  • pinch of saffron
  • pinch of cardamom
  1. Dilute honey with a tbsp water and simmer it on low heat.
  2. Add saffron and cardamom.
  3. Add shelled nuts, dates and orange zest.
  4. Remove from stove and cool it.

Fruit and nut tartI patiently shelled some pistachio and had stored it in a in a jar to snack without any hassle. It was handy and saved time considerably.

Assemble a few tartlets with a dollop of whipped cream followed by a spoonful of the fruit and nut mixture.

Ingredients -Berry compote

  • 1 cup frozen berries (strawberry, raspberry and blueberry)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  1. Cook berries with sugar until they macerate. (Maceration is a culinary term for softening and separating water from fruits. Sugar maceration draws water out of the berries and they gel into a jam consistency.)
  2. Cool until ready to use.

TartSpoon some whipped cream in the remain tartlets and top them with berry compote. Any left over compote can be used like jam.

Mini tartsEat them immediately or let them chill out in the refrigerator so the juice lightly soaks the tart shells. These are definitely high calorie treats, so handle them with caution and stop with just one.

These tarts were made by noon and eaten at night. The shells retained their crunch and the nutty, creamy center was a sweet contrast. Everyone who tasted it had a flattering remark in praise of it.

 

 

Posted in Baked, Dessert, Easy recipe, Finger food, Not just for kids, Pastry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Homemade Salsa

Tangy sweet salsa!

Salsa is a wonderful side to most Mexican dishes. It is so stimulating and lively that it makes your tongue dance! If you want to make fresh salsa there are recipes for restaurant style salsa found all over the internet. They mainly use canned tomatoes. It is simple and those who make chutneys all the time find it easy breezy. My recipe here is totally different as I use fresh tomatoes and red pepper.

1salI made this recipe using the ingredients listed on a store bought jar of Salsa and mixing the quantity I needed. I avoided vinegar, onion and garlic powder but substituted it with fresh onion, garlic and lime juice. The taste is distinctly different and fresh. I am going to make this every time I buy a bag of corn chips and say good bye to salsa on a shelf.

Ingredients for Salsa

  • 2 Roma tomatoes chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (red or white)
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper chopped
  • few sprigs of cilantro/coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Take a food processor or blender and add all the ingredients. Pulse until everything is crushed to a coarse consistency.

ss Red pepper gives the needed colour and an added flavour. It is tangy, peppery and hot. Rest salsa in the refrigerator for an hour if you want to scoop it with tortilla chips. Chilling time helps the ingredients to mingle and the flavours to develop. You can make it as hot as you want ranging from mild to fiery hot! Remove the seeds of jalapeno peppers if you cannot take any heat.

salsI used this to make my Mexican rice a second time, following my previous recipe here replacing the salsa from a jar. This salsa is a fine dip for corn chips and a sauce on burrito, tacos, enchilada, etc. Try this and you will ignore the salsa jars.

Posted in Easy recipe, Gluten free, Raw food, Salad, Side dish, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Easy Mexican rice/Spanish rice with beans

Tasty rice and beans in Salsa

Mexican riceWhen we move to a new country there are many unwritten rules and language usage that confuse us. Tim Hortons is a famous coffee and bake shop chain in Canada. I took quite a bit of time to learn ordering a double, double in Tim Hortons. Yes, using it with ease literally identifies you as a Canadian. Do you wonder what the heck a double, double is? It is just coffee with 2 packets of sugar and 2 pods of cream. It is kind of our code language…how cool is that?!

Crossing the border into USA has its own challenges. After getting our US visa, we decided to make frequent visits to Seattle from Vancouver, basically, for the shopping experience. On one of those visits, I was at a highway rest area, went to a food place and ordered 2 sandwiches. I paid cash to the guy at the counter. He took the cash and asked, handing me the sandwiches. ‘Do you have a nickel?’

“How much is a nickle?” I asked him totally confused looking at the coins in my hand.

I looked like an imbecile with my completely puzzled expression. He seriously thought I was joking! Hmm…what is the use of all my education if I did not know to pick a nickel out of the coins? I never knew America used such strange names for their coins. I have not come across it in my entire eventful life! Why can’t they use simple terms like cents or pennies without any fuss? I turned to look for my husband who had dropped me and gone to park the car but he had not returned. Luckily there was no one behind me waiting for food.

“How much is a nickel? How much should I give you?” I asked again in a murmur.

“100 dollars…” he looked at me with a trace of a smile.

I knew he was mocking but I stood there stupidly not knowing the value of a nickel. I held out all the coins in my hand and asked him to pick. I could sense exactly what he thought while he suppressed his laugh.

After this experience, I was dead scared to do any money transaction using coins for a while. Soon I found out a nickel is 5 cents and announced it to all newcomer friends intending to cross the border. Now, after many years, when I look back I realize that this incident has blown a big hole in my self esteem.

It is same with Canada, the first time I heard loonie (1 dollar coin) and toonie ($2) my jaw dropped not knowing they were nicknames. When we go to a country like Mexico with an unfamiliar language, it goes from awkward to miserable. During my last trip, I managed walking around Cozumel saying “gracias” to everything with a sheepish grin and not using any Peso. The food I had was amazing though, especially the Mexican rice and their serving portion was humungous.

On long trips, when I crave rice my go to place is surely a Mexican eatery. I thank them for all their wonderful veggies and tacos. It gives me the satisfaction of eating rice, tomato and beans which I call, ‘sheer bliss’. The food is closest to home taste and the starchy rice can calm me down and get me through the rest of the day. I can go without rice for a maximum of 4 days, after that I become snappish, disturbed and disoriented like a bat with nausea!

This is my quick Mexican rice. I can relate it to the taste of Indian tomato rice but this has no strong spices, only the mild heat of jalapeno peppers in Salsa. A combination of salsa and vegetable broth makes this easy recipe remarkable! This tomato flavoured rice can be a simple side dish for tacos, fajitas, burritos or other Tex-Mex combinations.

Ingredients for Mexican rice

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 cup medium grain rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup store bought salsa
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 cup canned red beans rinsed and drained
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pot and stir in onion until tender.
  2. Wash and drain rice and add to the pan stirring often.
  3. When rice is coated with oil and slightly toasted season with cumin powder.
  4. Add vegetable broth, salsa, salt and mix well.
  5. Cook on low heat covering with a lid.
  6. When water is reduced, add beans and mix well.
  7. Cook until liquid is completely absorbed. (Takes 20-25 minutes on stove top.)
  8. Turn off heat and gently mix the rice and remove it from the heat.

Mex RiceServe this warm with chopped cilantro and onion slices. You can also add a choice of garnishes like sour cream, avocado slices or corn chips. This is a delicately flavoured rice and a grating of cheese on top makes it delicious.

Cheese it!I used a medium grain rice as it absorbs water and yields a tender, starchy Mexican rice. The slightly creamy cooked rice is ideal for this dish as the sauce readily clings to the surface. Adding 1 or 2 two jalapeno peppers will improve its flavour with a mild heat.

Store bought salsa is not always on hand and it is way too expensive. So, there is a quick remedy. Whip up some homemade Salsa as the ingredients are easily available. I find that it improved the taste of my Mexican rice that I am enjoying tonight. My next post is surely on that fresh homemade Salsa.

 

Posted in Brunch, Cheese, Easy recipe, Main dish, Rice, Side dish, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Coconut macaroons/4 ingredients macaroon

A coconut treat to relish!

I have not posted a namesake recipe for a long time. This is a true coconut snack! Coconut is the main ingredient, flavour and inspiration for this recipe.

coconut macroonsThis is the only baked sweet dessert that my husband likes, so I decided to surprise him. It is also the first time I tried coconut macaroons. A friend gifted me a big tray of assorted coconut macroons and when they were quickly gobbled, I promised to make them at home. Here is my coconut sweeties! My beautiful daughter who is also a budding chef wants to try this soon too! (…beautiful daughter typed this sentence when I paused to check on the simmering stew) She is not a big fan of sweets but took just one bite and exclaimed…YUM!

coconut macaroonThis recipe is from the book, ‘Martha Stewart’s Cookies’…Of course I meddled a little with the measurements but it turned out pretty good. What do you think?

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dessicated coconut
  • 2/3 cup condensed milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 egg

Some coconut oil to grease the baking trays.

  1. Whisk condensed milk, salt and egg until well blended.
  2. Add dessicated coconut and mix to get a moist mixture without any extra liquid. (Add more coconut if needed.)
  3. Grease 2 rimless baking trays and spoon mixture at intervals on baking trays.
  4. Bake in the center of the oven at 325° F until the bottoms brown (about 15-20 minutes).
  5. Remove tray from oven and transfer macaroons to a wire rack.
  6. Cool on wire rack.

This makes about 32 coconut macaroons. It has a crispy outside, a chewy interior and can be eaten warm, cold or straight from the refrigerator, especially when chocolate coated.coconut treatsThere is no flour in this recipe so good for all those who prefer gluten free snacks. This can be stored in air tight containers for a few weeks.c macroonsThese are delicious, fancy and almost everyone would like them. A charmer for your next kids party!chocolate macaroons Mix some cocoa powder in condensed milk before baking to get chocolate coconut macaroons or dip the bottoms in melted chocolate for an added flavour. Serve it as a sandwich with some ice cream spooned to the bottom of one macaroon and top it with another macaroon. That will be an ample dessert!

I am taking these macaroons to party with Angie and friends at Fiesta Friday #58

Posted in Baked, Coconut, comfort food, Cookies, Dessert, Easy recipe, Finger food, Gluten free, Not just for kids, Pack-and-go snack, Snack | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Creamy Red Pepper Soup/Winter soup

It is a big Blogger’s award when someone tests a recipe you tried and is pleased with the result and posts it! Loretta did exactly that on safariofthemind by baking and posting my recipe Easy-apple-crumble-cookies. Now, it is doubly kitchen tested and holds another stamp of approval! I was elated, delighted and obviously, dancing like a lunatic! Thank you, Loretta!

Roasted red pepper soup

SoupGetting back to sanity, I am posting a time tested soup recipe. I bet every country, community and anyone pushed to make their own food make soups as it is easy to cook and filling. It is a pick-me-up kind of food when I am feeling low. It helps boost serotonin, the happy hormone and so it is a surefire comfort food. Can you picture how the red, warm soup can reflect a healthy glow on your face?

I tried many versions and after a mix and match approach zeroed in on this red pepper soup which is at its best. I will stop trying new recipes and use this one from now on.

Roasting pepper is the beginning of the story. It heightens their sweetness and gives your soup a made-from-scratch taste that nothing can beat.

You can roast a double batch of red peppers and store it in olive oil for future use. I added many garlic pods to roast with them. But, if you do not have a bit of time on your hands, feel free to cook it with the carrots.

roastedIt could seem like a long process but hang on and follow the procedure slowly to get a satisfying result.

Save extra red peppers in olive oil after peeling the charred skin. Do not chop it to smaller pieces because that makes it difficult to pick them from your jar. (I learned from experience.) Use extra oil from the jar for any soup or other preparations that love a hint of peppers.

Ingredients

  • 2 red bell pepper roasted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 small carrot grated
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Spray olive oil on a baking tray and place red pepper on it, spray some oil on it and roast at 450° F for 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer roasted pepper to a container and cover it allowing the peppers to sweat.
  3. Remove the charred skin and crush the flesh.
  4. Pour oil in a heavy bottom pan, add onion and saute until it is translucent.
  5. Stir in grated carrot, cumin, roasted garlic and thyme to build the flavour base.
  6. Mix corn flour in a little broth and add it to the pan.
  7. Cover the pan and simmer on low heat until carrot is tender.
  8. Cool this, add crushed red bell pepper and transfer to a blender.
  9. Puree it in a blender, filling half to its capacity.
  10. Deglaze the pan by adding red wine and stir until it reduces.
  11. Pour pureed pepper mix, sugar, remaining broth, salt and boil.
  12. Simmer it on medium to low heat for few minutes.
  13. Serve it warm with a garnish of herbs and croutons.

Deglazing is adding a liquid to dissolve tasty food residue sticking to the bottom of a pan to add extra flavour to soups and gravies.

I used an Indian Mixie to puree the pepper mix. You need a blender with some extra muscles to pull the act together. If the soup seems a little too thick while pureeing, add a few tablespoons of broth to thin it out.

Adding sugar in this recipe elevates the flavour to a whole new level. Add smoked paprika or chilli powder if you need some heat.Thyme can be replaced by dried oregano or basil as these herbs can make a subtle variation in taste. Ladle the soup into a bowl. Saute bread cubes in olive oil and serve it on red pepper soup. Top with croutons, sprinkle some lemon thyme leaves and a dollop of Greek yogurt in the center of each bowl. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.Red pepper soupThere is no match for this fresh, high-impact hearty soup! You can serve this light, creamy soup hot or warm. If it is Summer, with fresh peppers in abundance, make it ahead and serve it chilled.Capsicum soupAs the carrot is getting cooked with onion, garlic and thyme, it fills the house with a delectable aroma. My daughter commented that it smelled like simmering dissolved bouillon cubes…yes, it is that close to authentic soup!

This soup is sure to warm your hearts at the Fiesta Friday Party!

Fiesta Friday #57

 

Posted in Brunch, comfort food, Soup, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Easy apple crumble cookies/Apple oat cookies

Apple dessert cookies

apple crumble cookiesIf a genie appears before me, I would ask for an instant apple tree in my backyard.  Yes, I cannot wait many years biting my nails for it to grow and yield fruits. Hopefully, this is the best wish when the ground is covered in 2 foot snow and I am longing for a warm breezy day!

I always loved apple midst all teasing that I am carried away by its glam and polished looks. Who cares…that is true too! I cannot resist biting into a juicy apple anytime. No wonder eva-girl could not resist it either! It sure tastes like a bit of paradise!

I display a tray of apples on my kitchen island to enjoy the prettiest one at the slightest provocation. Being a no mess fruit you can eat even the peel and spit out only the core, I consider this as s straightforward food. It is so versatile with endless possibility that a multitude of dishes are spun out in Fall, when they are at their magical best!

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This intimidating snow is encouraging me to bake my own apple cookies!

On Friday, I was browsing through the shelves of a store when I saw a new product, apple crumble cookies. Instead of parting with some money, I took a personal challenge and tried making some. I did a bit of serious research and adapted a little and then these dessert cookies were born.

If you love apple pie like every other person and find it labourious to make it, here is a recipe for instant gratification. Made with rolled oats, apple pieces, butter, brown sugar and sweet spices this is my cookie pick for any season! When served warm, granola crumbles delightfully in this apple cookies.

Ingredients

• 1 big apple chopped to small pieces (I used a golden delicious apple.)
• ¼ cup butter
• 1 tsp cinnamon powder
• a generous grating of nutmeg
• ¼ cup brown sugar
• ½ cup rolled oats
• ½ cup all purpose flour
• A pinch of salt

  1. In a pan lightly dry roast oats. (I find that this improves its taste.)
  2. Grease a large baking tray and set aside.
  3. Cook chopped apple, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg powder in a heavy bottom pan until apple turns soft.
  4. Remove the pan and add brown sugar and stir to dissolve it.
  5. Mix oats, all purpose flour and salt in a bowl and add warm apple mixture.
  6. Stir until everything holds together.
  7. Take one of the measuring cups (1/4 0r 1/3 ) and grease it.
  8. Put a small ball of the mixture and pat it inside the cup to form a disk . Then turn it upside down, tap and drop cookie dough on prepared baking tray.
  9. Bake at 350° F for 20-25 minutes until sides and bottom starts to brown.
  10. Remove cookies with a spatula and cool them on a wire rack.
  11. Store it in an air tight container or eat them warm.

This recipe yields 8 large cookies (1/3 cup size). It is crunchy, soft and crumbly all in one. Call it a satisfying breakfast cookie or a great snack or a dessert! To serve as a dessert, pair it with vanilla ice cream.

adessertIf you are adventures like me, take a cookie, pipe some whipped cream and add slivers of fresh apple and indulge in an out of the world experience.

Arrange it on a platter and serve for a party. Eating dessert first, will not be an issue anymore!

acJust to get rid of my Winter blues I am sending this recipe to the lovely Fiesta-friday-56/

 

 

Posted in Appetizer, Baked, Breakfast, comfort food, Cookies, Dessert, Easy recipe, Not just for kids, Pack-and-go snack, Snack | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments