KFC Style popcorn chicken.

image

 

With the mushrooming of fast food chains everywhere, who wants to eat healthy? Definitely, not the kids. Every fast food meal is high in calories and low in nutritional value. We don’t realize it because admit it, we don’t want to. And if looks mean anything, in fat foods’ defence, they look every bit enticing and scrumptious. So, before we know it we give in to the craving. We all know that craving cannot always be controlled. But what if they can be made healthier if one’s willing? For the people who want the best of both worlds, presenting to you – Healthy Popcorn Chicken.
If you have some frozen chicken in your freezer, you can make this anytime. I usually do have some chicken breasts for moments like these.

All you need is:

1 cup corn flakes

1 chicken breast cut into small square pieces.

4 tablespoon thick curd (Yogurt).

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or a seasoning of your choice. Plus some extra to mix with corn flakes.

2 teaspoons garlic powder.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

1. Except the corn flakes mix all the ingredients well and let it sit for an hour to marinade.

2. Crush the corn flakes in a polybag with a rolling pin. Place in a shallow bowl. Add some seasoning and a bit of salt and mix well.

3. Roll the chicken in crushed corn flakes making sure you’ve covered all the sides well.

4. Place in a shallow pan lined with foil or sprayed with oil. Drizzle with some olive oil (optional).

5. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.

6. Serve along side the condiment of your choice. I like to serve with some thousand island*.

image

Notes:

Always cover the chicken (or vegetarian nuggets) completely with the corn flakes to prevent them from drying.

You could also air fry them if you own an air fryer. Or deep fry them in oil if you so desire. It would still be healthier than the one you get in a restaurant.

If I have some béchamel sauce on hand I substitute 2 tablespoon of that with the curd and have tangier popcorn. Does not make much of a difference so I wouldn’t bother making it specially for this recipe as curd works just fine.

If you’d like a vegetarian version of this, use 1/4 cup each of shredded carrot, boiled mashed peas and boiled mashed potatoes instead of chicken. Mix with seasoning and 2 tablespoon of curd and make into small nuggets. Proceed as above.

*For thousand island, mix 2 tablespoon of mayonnaise with 2 teaspoon of ketchup and a few drops of vinegar.

 

Enjoy!

Love,

AS.

Advertisements

WOW Popcorn

DSC_0004

With the advent of bigger and better home entertainment systems, more and more people (including yours truly) have started staying within the comfortable confines of their homes rather than hitting movie theatres. Sadly, one basic movie viewing experience was still missing and as a comic book would tell you, Batman is only half good without his favourite sidekick – Robin. What good is a movie without some Popcorn! And the sad fact about this entire affair though is that for no matter how good your culinary skills are, it is very difficult to replicate the texture and taste of popcorn served at the movies.

DSC_0009
Recently, I stumbled upon something which has the potential of filling this void – a popcorn store. WOW Popcorn as an idea originally started in April 2013, with its flagship store at Napeansea Road. Since then WOW Popcorn has opened three more outlets in Bandra(W), Kandivali(E), Ghatkopar(W) and Malad(W). Each store is equipped with state of the art popcorn machines (yes, there are such things) with a variety of the ingredients being imported. I also learnt that their kernel (imported) is carefully selected as they do not compromise on the quality of their main ingredient. Each store is manned by at least 2-3 crew members and a managing staff. We went to their Carter Road outlet this Saturday. The store manager Ajay informed us that the majority of their patrons prefer ordering in. All flavours can be ordered in three different quantities – Small, Medium and Large (by volume).
DSC_0012
WOW Popcorn serves six savoury and two sweet flavours (Click here for the flavour catalogue http://www.wowpopcorn.com/Flavours.html) They let you sample all flavours before deciding which one to order. I found the flavours very generous, well except ‘sizzling pudina’ which I found a little too mild for my taste. But I was told that each flavour is based on customer reviews and people actually liked the milder flavour better. A big cheese fan that I am, I instantaneously fell in love with their cheese popcorn, dubbed ‘say cheese’, so cheesy! but then again, that’s the whole point.

DSC_0002
Now to the sweet flavours and this is where Wow Popcorn actually steals the show and separates itself from the regular popcorn served at theatres. Take caramel popcorn for example. You may have had caramel popcorn an infinite number of times, but I bet most of them came out sticky, but not Wow Popcorn’s ‘famously caramel’. It is so caramelly and yet so crunchy, it’s unbelievable, plus the corns aren’t stuck to each other like those regular ones.

DSC_0007

I have saved the best for the last- a flavour they call ‘cocoamello’. It is caramel popcorn topped with chocolate! I mean caramel itself is divine, but topping that with chocolate was a masterstroke. Order this and your are in for a treat!

DSC_0008

Contrary to popular belief, popcorn has nothing to do with pop culture or pop music! Popcorn is in fact short for popping corn, a name derived from the popping sound a corn kernel makes when it is heated in a certain way. This new piece of unnecessary and undesirable information kept me thinking of ways to re-establish a common ground between them and then it hit me. Popcorn is barely real food, just like pop music is barely real music. By any stretch of the imagination, they are not the best forms of what their respective categories represent. At best, they are accessories to something grander or significant. One simply does not have popcorn for its nutritional value (by the way, popcorn has surprisingly high nutritional value), or because it is really that easy to prepare a fresh batch of popcorn. One has popcorn because of the situational demands and because it has NO substitute, which is also true for pop music. This is indicated by the fact that while people generally are very intolerant towards unwanted noises in movie theatres (specially crying babies), they usually let one exceptions sneak by– the sound of someone munching on a mouthful of popcorn.

DSC_0001

WOW Popcorn not only helps in bringing the theatre experience home, it does something better – it saves your pocket from bleeding to death every time you order popcorn in a multiplex. You can order in and they will deliver. And guess what, they also take party orders and personalize boxes if you are ordering for an event, function or a party. These were my personalised boxes filled with cheese and cocoamello popcorns 🙂

IMG_2944

For me, I know what I will snack on while on a stroll at Carter. This is one of those rare occasions when a sidekick saves the day. WOW Popcorn is that Robin.

DSC_0013

Do try this, and if you do, do share your experience with me 🙂

Enjoy.

Love,

AS.

http://Click to add a blog post for WOW Popcorn on Zomato

B for B-A-N-A-N-A-S, Banana Bread for the Banana Lovers

DSCN0389

Life throws you a lot of surprises. Sometimes you are ready and sometimes you are caught off guard. I count my sister-in-law’s confession to me about her hate for bananas in the latter category. She detests the smell, taste and even the sight of bananas.Initially I thought she was kidding but when I gave her a home-made banana muffin I realised there are people on this planet who don’t like bananas – for real! So, I know there’s at least one person that would never try this recipe, but for rest of you all I don’t see a better excuse to put those ‘overripe’ bananas to some good use. You won’t believe it but I deliberately keep aside some away from my monkey (read husband) who would eat a banana during the breaks he takes while eating bananas.

Let’s make some bananas bread. My husband tells me that Banana Bread sounds like a Marvel comics character. By the way, have you noticed that almost all marvel characters’ first and second names start with the same alphabet? Banana Bread would be the Bruce Banner of the baking universe.

In this recipe the use of dry fruits is totally optional. It does not hurt to know that walnuts are more commonly used. However, I prefer sliced almonds and raisins. They add to the overall flavor so I’d suggest you add them.

I don’t exactly know why banana bread is called bread when it tastes and has the texture similar to that of a cake; even the process involved in making banana bread is almost identical to that of a cake. I reckon it has more to do with the customary loaf shape of banana breads. There is no yeast involved and no proofing of the batter is required. It hardly takes any time to put it together, yet,it is a bit time consuming as the cooking time is longer and also it needs to cool down completely before you can take a bite. The cook time is longer because of the extra moisture going into the mixture from the bananas but it also means that the final output is incredibly moist and melts in the mouth. I don’t use any glaze and honestly I feel it is unnecessary, but if you want you could always have it with some butter and jam. It would just add to the awesomeness.

Time to get started!

First the ingredients:

DSCN0359

2 cups all purpose flour

½ cup castor sugar

½ cup lightly packed brown sugar (Use all castor if you don’t have brown)

100 gms butter

2 large eggs

3 ripe bananas

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup buttermilk (missed clicking it)

½ teaspoon vanilla

Optional:

½ cup sliced almonds

½ cup golden raisins

Method:

Preheat oven to 170 degree Celsius (Gas mark 4, for my friend in Scotland ;))

Beat the sugars and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. (Please don’t use cold eggs like I did or your mixture will look like this. Please use all the ingredients at room temperature)

DSCN0367

Mash the bananas well and add to the egg-butter-sugar mixture. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and combine.

DSCN0364

Add the almonds and raisins and mix.

DSCN0368

Sift together all the dry ingredients and add into the wet mixture. Slowly mix until they are just combined. Do not over mix.

DSCN0369

Pour the batter in a prepared banana bread mould.

DSCN0373

Bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Start checking 50 minutes onwards. Once done, take out of the oven and let it cool completely.

DSCN0374

Once cool, slice with a serrated knife and serve as you like. (Please don’t garnish with sliced almonds, it does not look good :P)

DSCN0381

Enjoy.

Love,

AS

Granola Bars.

IMG_20150413_214948

Procrastination is addictive. I have no other reason for going almost a month without posting anything even though I’m practically online 24 hours a day. And in my kitchen every weekend. However, the delay in writing this post is not all unjustified. I wanted to post a something which while being less flattering makes up in other department, say – health and ease with which it can be made.

Five out of seven days [;)] I’m running late for work. Sure I can cut down on time I take to get ready or wake up five minutes earlier than usual and make pancakes or sandwiches for breakfast, eat them properly using cutlery, but who am I kidding, that’s not gonna happen. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you should never skip it. But I am not the one to buy all sayings, let alone an age old adage like such. It was not until I realised I had erred that I started taking it seriously and made amends. My breakfast suffered a lot till I found the power of a granola bar. Now I grab a few granola bars and eat them on my way to work. They keep me full for hours and are packed full of nutrients.

Now, one could totally rely on granola bars available in stores but a paranoid like me is too worried about the ‘healthy’ quotient in such products. Also, I don’t trust the advertisements [Remember ‘The Dictator?’ :D]. The granola bars I make are quite healthy because there is no sugar and very little oil in this recipe. Even then it is quite sweet because of the dates, raisins and figs (basically all those dried fruits that you would hate to eat on their own, at least I do).

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

IMG_20150412_194811

3 cups old fashioned Oats.

½ cup shredded dry coconut

½ cup sliced/crushed almonds

Wet ingredients:

IMG_20150412_195542

100 ml coconut or canola oil

100 ml honey

200 gms dates

2 tablespoon peanut butter (Optional, microwaved for 20 seconds)

Additions:

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup mixed dried fruits of your liking (I used golden raisins, dried cranberries and dried figs)

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degree Celsius.

Spread the oats, shredded coconut and almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove when the coconut starts browning.

IMG_20150412_200607

In a food processor or a blender put the dates, peanut butter and honey and blitz until you have a smooth paste.

IMG_20150412_200011

Prepare a 9/13 baking dish by oiling and lining with parchment. Make sure the parchment is a bit bigger than the tray so that the sides come up and it is easy to take out the granola later.

Take out the oats from the oven and transfer to a large mixing bowl and let them cool down for about five minutes.

IMG_20150412_201229

Then add the peanut butter-date-honey paste along with the oil, vanilla extract and mix everything together. I advise the use of hands.

                   IMG_20150412_201338    IMG_20150412_201719

IMG_20150412_202440

Throw this mixture in the prepared pan and press down very well.

 IMG_20150412_202907

If you don’t want bars then you don’t need to press down and you’ll have plain granola. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until the sides turn golden brown.

IMG_20150412_213658

Let it cool completely before slicing. They will be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Basically super duper yummy!

IMG_20150413_215000

Do try and lemme know how it turns out. And please do a neater job of cutting them all in equal pieces.

Enjoy.

Love,

AS

IMG_20150413_215019

Let’s try baking eggless!

IMG_1595

I have been receiving frequent requests from patrons (Ahem!) to share my views and tricks on eggless baking, to which I said, why not! Let’s try eggless baking! 
 
Just to up the amp, I will bake an eggless cake. I am aware that some of your households are eggs free. Which is fine. My father is allergic to eggs, so, in the past I have baked eggless cakes for his birthdays and whenever we have had the vegetarian members of my extended family visiting us.

It’s not an unknown fact that most of the times, eggless cakes do not work. They don’t rise and are really dense which deters you from taking another bite. But as they say, baking is an exact science. If you follow the recipe exactly as it is directed, you will end up with a good result. Most of the recipes that are posted or are shared have been arrived at after a lot many experiments. So if you try to substitute an ingredient or a step, most likely it would result in a failure as most permutations and combinations by this time have already been tried. 

Though I am constrained by the nature and number of ingredients, I have tried the best possible combination for this post. We’ll make a basic vanilla sponge cake which will have the texture of a pound cake. The aim is to make the cake moist. The milk powder adds another dimension and I recommend that you use it. But that doesn’t mean you have to run to the store to get some if you’re out of it, because rest assured, the cake can be made without milk powder.

I will not be posting step by step pictures for this post though (I made it in the evening after work and my kitchen was messy and how!). Having said that it is incredibly easy to make this cake, unless of course the reader is as capable as my beloved husband who cannot differentiate between cumin and fennel, or in this case milk powder and flour. 

I am going to top my cake with crushed strawberry glaze. Yup, I am suffering from a strawberry fixation and you have no idea how sad I am because the season will soon be over. I have literally been collecting strawberries and freezing them so I can use them the rest of the year. Did you know strawberries freeze very well? You just have to hull them and put in airtight containers and they’ll last you for upto six months. I do it every year so I can vouch for it. I freeze a lot of other fruits as well. You can always use them for making cold fruit smoothies without a need to add ice and thereby risking dilution of smoothie with water.

Anyway, coming back to the subject of this post, the topping can be made with any fruit and if you’re not in the mood for making fresh syrup, you could always use some jam of the flavor of your liking.

Also, if you do not own an oven which a lot of people don’t in this era of microwaves, this can totally be made in the pressure cooker. In fact that’s how I used to bake cakes back in college days. Keep refurbishing your skills of using the pressure cooker for baking.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

For the cake

1 cup all purpose flour.

½ cup butter (room temperature)

½ cup thick sour curd (left out on the counter overnight)

½ cup castor sugar

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp vanilla extract

4-5  tablespoon milk (if the batter gets very thick)

Optional: 2 tablespoons milk powder (Remove 2 tablespoon flour if adding milk powder)

For the glaze:

½ cup strawberries

 ½ cup water

2 tablespoon sugar

½ table spoon corn starch.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Butter a 7 inch baking pan and dust with flour.

Sift together all the dry ingredients (including the milk powder if adding) two or three times. Don’t skip this as sifting everything together makes a lot of difference and makes a spongier cake.

Beat the butter and sugar with a balloon whisk or wooden spoon until you can’t see the sugar granules and it becomes very creamy and fluffy. Then beat some more. You could use an electric mixer, I do it by hand, accuse burning calories 😛 

Add the curd and vanilla extract to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until incorporated.

Then add all the dry ingredients and slowly fold everything together. If it’s very thick loosen it by adding milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Do remember that this batter is supposed to be quite thick. 

Pour the batter in the prepared pan. It will reach halfway but the cake will rise considerably if you have beaten the butter and sugar properly. Shake and tap the pan on the counter for even distribution of the batter. Let it sit on the counter for about ten minutes then put it in the oven. Bake for about 35 minutes until the top turns light brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Take it out and let it cool completely before unmoulding.

While our cake is cooling let’s make the glaze. Crush the strawberries with a fork or puree them in a mixer. Put them in a saucepan with sugar. Mix the corn starch and water and add in the pan. Put the pan on a low heat and keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Let it cool a bit.

Spread the glaze over your cake and enjoy!  

IMG_1588

Notes: 

1.     In this recipe you cannot substitute any other oil with butter unless you want an oily cake that doesn’t tastes, well, oily. 

2.    You can bake this in the pressure cooker with whistle removed on the smallest burner at the lowest heat setting possible for about 45-50 minutes. Never, and I mean never open the pressure cooker to check. Your cake will sink. It’ll still taste good but will be more like ‘Halwa’. Just turn off the heat and let it cool for about 2-3 hours

3.    For the glaze you could use any fruit of your liking or even a fruit jam. Except when using jam skip the sugar. Other direction will be the same.

4.    Serve with a quenelle of unsweetened greek yogurt if the cake is too sweet.

IMG_1596

Do try and share how this turned out.

Enjoy!

Love,

AS.

Red Velvet Cupcakes.

DSCN0300

I love eating. But more than that, I love cooking, or more precisely, baking. I grew up in a typical north Indian family where the only occasions that warranted a cake were birthdays, for rest of the other festivities and celebrations, we had sweets. I am not saying that I don’t like sweets but I would’ve appreciated if we could have cake more often. Here’s another stereotype – even though my family is predominately non vegetarian, it is also religious which meant that cooking, taking and consuming non-vegeterian food items inside the kitchen was a strict no. Much to my dismay, the definition of ‘non-vegetarian food items’ was wide enough to include eggs! This translated into a blanket ban on baking desserts at home. And when we did once in a blue moon, it used to be my four ingredient sponge cake (which is divine btw and I will share it soon). But how many times can you have the same thing before the boredom gets chronic?

Thankfully I have not put such restrictions on myself and anything can be cooked in my kitchen. Well, except Karela (bitter gourd). Karela intake is restricted to the occasions when we visit home or when my parents are visiting and I have to demonstrate to them that our diet habits are ‘healthy’.

Now that it is settled that my palette desires for other baked goods, let me tell you that red velvet cake/cupcake sits rights at the top of my list of all-time favourite cakes. I bake these more than I should, but what can I do? A girl wants what a girl wants.

If you break it into basic ingredients, a red velvet cake is nothing but a simple vanilla cake with a hint of cocoa and food colouring to give it the rather bold hint of red. The traditional red velvet cake has a cooked roux frosting but the cream cheese frosting is the more preferred version. This may be because it is less time consuming. I am yet to come across a place in Mumbai that sells red velvet with cooked roux frosting. As I prefer it more, I am going to make the roux icing for frosting my cupcakes. I like cream cheese frosting with cakes that contain fruit and are more dense like a carrot, banana or an apple cake. This icing is so airy it definitely upstages the cake!

I know a lot of you must be thinking why go through all this trouble when it is easily available in the market. Well, once you actually do it, you’d know it’s not much trouble and it does give some sort of satisfaction if you accomplish something that looks quite difficult to achieve and tastes so heavenly.

Time to start.

Ingredients.

Cupcakes

½ Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
11/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1  teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (sieved at least twice)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Frosting

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, softened,
1/2 cup castor sugar,
11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

DSCN0273

Preheat oven to 170°C. Line the mould with cupcake liners.

DSCN0274

Stir the flour, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl.

In a separate mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar really fast and vigorously until it turns pale and fluffy.

DSCN0266

Add one egg at a time and the last egg should be fully incorporated before adding the next one.

DSCN0278

Add the food coloring to the buttermilk.

DSCN0281

ALTERNATE adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk into the batter. Repeat this thrice.


DSCN0282DSCN0283

Add the vanilla extract. Pour baking soda over vinegar.

DSCN0285

Quickly, pour it to your batter, and fold it in.

DSCN0286

Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill them 2/3 of the way.

DSCN0288   DSCN0290

Bake in your preheated 170°C oven for about 20 minutes. As soon as the toothpick comes out clean, remove the cupcakes. Let them cool completely.

DSCN0294

For the frosting:

Whisk the cold milk into a saucepan and sprinkle in the flour (ensure that the milk is cold while you stir in the flour, if you put flour directly in hot milk it’ll result in lumps).

DSCN0257

Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Keep cooking until the mixture thickens. Turn off the heat. Put a piece of plastic wrap directly on its surface to prevent a skin from forming. You’d want it to come to room temperature. (Better scrape it into another dish for faster cooling. Also be careful, the utensil is very hot so the plastic wrap may melt.)

DSCN0260

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until it is fluffy and creamy.

DSCN0264

It will be pale, light, creamy and airy.

DSCN0266

Add the cooled flour/milk mixture. It’ll firm up considerably as it cools. (If yours is watery, it means that you didn’t cook it  long enough and you can return it to the saucepan and keep cooking it.).

DSCN0268

Whip everything for 5 minutes. I would recommend using an electric mixer for this.

DSCN0269

This needs to be refrigerated for a while before using, about 15-20 minutes.

Fill in a piping bag and frost the cupcakes!

IMG_1405

Don’t finish alone, share with people.

DSCN0301

Do let me know how it turns out. If you need any help, please do ask.

Enjoy!

Love,

AS.

Strawberry Banana Pie

image

My parents came over last week. They were supposed to visit us in January but the trip got cancelled which made me sad beyond words. I was so morose that my husband whose one and probably only nightmare is having to accompany me to shopping, dragged me out to the mall to shop to cheer me up (his sacrificial best I must admit). I usually am an obedient daughter but I know the power of tantrums. All I had to do was throw a couple of justified fits and lo and behold! My parents were on our doorsteps the very next week.
You must be wondering how the above narration fits within the primary scheme of my blog. As much as I would like to deny it, my parents are getting old. Quite naturally, they are now supposed to go easy on deserts, especially the rich Indian deserts which till few years in the past were a mainstay of their diet. So I decided to show my appreciation by making something special for my sweets loving parents. I came up with this low sugar (or no added sugar if you use sugar substitute like Stevia). I don’t use artificial sweetener that has aspartame because it causes more harm than good but using natural artificial sweeteners like Stevia which is a plant extract is fine. However, in this post I am going to list the normal amount of sugar that needs to be used.

Oh I almost to mention! This post is about ‘banana cream pie’. Except, here the whipped cream or meringue is gonna be substituted with fresh strawberries. I mean I do love my desserts. But I don’t enjoy eating plain cream, with sugar. Somehow that just doesn’t taste good to me. If I have to, I’d rather eat another dessert in the form of pannacotta over topping the existing one with unnecessary calories. Also I love the combination of strawberries and bananas.

As you know I’m into things that are easy to put together, appear gorgeous and taste as good as they look. As they say you eat with your eyes.

For the crust

2 1/2 cups digestive biscuits.

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

For the custard:

1/2 cup sugar

3 cups whole milk

½ cup all purpose flour

3 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons butter

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ripe bananas cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

For the topping

3 cups strawberries thinly sliced.

1 tablespoon sugar.

Directions.

In a medium bowl mix the sugar and strawberries to macerate and put the mixture in the fridge until needed.

Process biscuits in a food processor until finely ground. Add sugar and butter and process again until well combined.

image image

Press onto bottom and sides of 9-inch-diameter pie dish. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

In a large saucepan, mix the flour and the sugar in cold milk.

Put over medium heat, stirring constantly, cook until thickened.

Slightly beat 3 egg yolks in a small bowl and stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the beaten yolks. When thoroughly combined, stir this mixture into the hot custard mixture.

Cook for two minutes stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and blend in the butter and vanilla.

Transfer into a bowl for faster cooling, cover with a plastic wrap which is touching the surface of the custard and let it sit until it gets lukewarm. This is to prevent the formation of a skin.

image

When ready to pour, slice bananas and scatter in pie shell. Pour warm mixture over bananas. Top with the strawberries along with all the liquid. Chill for at least 4 hours. Cut pie into wedges and serve.

image

Enjoy!

Love,

AS.

Pancakes.

DSC_0729

Hello there!

Welcome to my kitchen. Today we’re making pancakes. The sweet fluffy delights that are so easy to make and yet so tempting that one might just dehydrate salivating over them. Ok, yeah that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but boy oh boy, do I love pan cakes! One of the very few things India is thankful to the English for. I am yet to come across a person who does not like pancakes. Well, I would say it should be illegal for anyone to not like them.

Pancakes are almost every weekend’s affair in my household. And of the very few things that you can teach your partners and make them serve you in bed! 😉

While we have coffee, sausages, eggs, as sides to the pancakes like the English, you can pamper your special ones with some fruits, greek yogurt and honey or maple syrup. Chocolate, blueberry or strawberry preserve once in a while does not hurt either.

Making pancakes is so easy that the fact that ready pancake mixes are available in the market is beyond me.

Okay, time to start!

We will need the following to make our pancakes.

DSC_0688

*All purpose Flour- 1 cup.

1 Egg

Milk- 1cup

Canola oil- 2 tablespoons

A pinch of salt

*Sugar- 2 tablespoons. I use sugar substitute

Baking powder 1 teaspoon

Baking soda 1 teaspoon

A teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions:

Beat the egg and the sugar until pale and sugar is completely dissolved.

Add milk and oil and beat till everything is mixed.

Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. With a big spoon, stir just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. Do not overmix or you’ll run the risk of getting tough pancakes! Add some more milk if the batter is too thick.

Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.

DSC_0694

Heat a heavy cast iron skillet or non stick griddle over medium-low heat.

If necessary, lightly oil the cooking surface with butter or cooking spray (I don’t oil the surface of my non-stick griddle and my pancakes turned out great). Give the batter one gentle stir, then scoop a quarter cup batter onto the pan. You could add more or less depending on the size of the pancake you want.

Flip the pancake once you see bubbles appear on the sides of the pancake, about 3 to 4 minutes.

photo 1

Cook for another couple of minutes or so, until golden brown on both sides.

photo 2

Serve the pancakes immediately with seasonal fruits, drizzle some honey or maple syrup and devour!

photo (3)

Notes:

1. You can use half whole wheat and half all purpose flour or whole wheat only. The pancakes would be denser compared to when you only use all purpose flour.

2. When I am using sugar substitute I use Stevia. I don’t use artificial sweetener which has aspartame because I’ve read it causes more harm than good but using natural artificial sweeteners once in a while like Stevia which is a plant extract is ok. Maybe I’ll do a detailed post on this sometime in future.

Enjoy!

Love

AS 

My experience with gel nails.

Hey everyone!

I was confused about what to do with my second post. I can post some or the other recipe everyday, but I don’t want this space to be restricted to gastronomy. Needless to say, I’ve got to live upto the name of the blog.

I love love love (starts hymning Jason Mratz) painting my nails, getting different kind of nail arts, etc. For someone who loves nail art so much, I have really bad nails. Their growth is messed up and are really thin with a tendency to peel. In short, a total nightmare. So I have to keep them painted all the time. I have been told that nutrition along with a balanced diet plays a vital role in determining the health of nails, so I have tried to stick to a healthy diet.
I have also tried stick on nails once. Worst was I did so during my wedding. The nails kept falling off and I’d to bend and pick them up and try sticking them back on again. I gave up after a while and was trying to hide my fingers while I was on stage. It was horrible!  I ended up not smiling in most of my pics because I was busy looking down trying to locate my fake nails. And people thought I was shy. It made me so sad. Still does 😦

I had almost given up on my dream to possess good nails when along came gel nails. They’ve been my savior or rather the savior of my ugly nails for a while. When I first got them I was a bit skeptical about the effects of covering my nails in gel for a long time. But the way your nails look post a gel session, sold me totally. And the best (or worst for some ) part is that they last for a really long time, 4-5 weeks easily and with the same kinda shine throughout. They can last for upto four months if one gets the refills done. I personally haven’t gone for a refill so far as I fear I may get a fungal infection. It’s very rare but I don’t want mine to be one of the rare cases. Also, it is very important that one gets a gel manicure at a good and a hygenic place with proper sterlized equipments. I’m very paranoid about that.

After my first experience far exceeded my expectations, I even bought myself my own gel mail kit. Sadly, I have not been able to put it so use because it’s a time consuming process and I need to educate myself more on the necessary skills. However, I don’t see it happening anytime soon so I may give it away soon:(

For the curious ones, here are some of the pictures of the gel french manicure I got done day before.. I just want to keep looking at my nails.

image                image

 

image                 image

P.S. If I could go back in time and change something about my wedding, it would be getting gel manicure before the wedding. Actually make it two, I would also change my makeup artist.

Brides to be should totally get this done utpo a week in advance. It would last throughout your honeymoon and even after that.  If you do get it done, please do share your experience and pictures.

Love!

 

AS.

Spaghetti Aglio-e-Olio

Hey everyone!

aglioolio1

I’m back with another post. For now, I’m trying to post at least once every week. This one’s again a recipe post. A savoury one though, and it is none other than my house hold favorite. Or let’s just say my husband’s favorite. This is something that is cooked in my house at least once a week if not more. It’s usually what is demanded when our cook is on an off and yet my husband ends up ordering every single time we head out for an Italian dinner. Talk about addiction! Well, I don’t complain when I have to make it at home, but I definitely do when it is ordered outside. I mean, come on, there are so many new things you gotta try when you head out, but no, it always has to be Aglio-e-olio for him. Phew.

Anyway, if you have a Spaghetti Aglio-e-Olio lover with you, you gotta try this. Also, try this with any person and I personally guarantee that the person will end up swearing by Spaghetti Aglio-e-Olio, foreever. It might come at a surprise to some but making this dish is super easy. Takes minutes to put together and only seconds to vanish. I mean it!

I don’t use a lot of oil for obvious reasons. I use half oil and half water ( preferably the same water in which the spaghetti was boiled). Trust me you won’t be able to tell the difference (except your body would, if you insist on easing on the oil).

This recipe uses sun dried tomatoes, and if you don’t have them readily available, you can always make your own. Just quarter some tomatoes and lay them on a grill. Drizzle some olive oil over and sprinkle some salt. Put them in the oven at 250 degree Celsius for about 40-45 minutes. Keep an eyes because they dehydrate and can burn really fast. Mine got burnt on edges but the taste remained intact.

Now on to the recipe.

Ingredients:

Spaghetti- Half pack (I use whole wheat)

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil.

10 big garlic cloves.

1/2 cup Sundried/Ovendried tomatoes.

Handful of fresh basil and parsley.

Salt and pepper as per taste.

Yield- 1-4 depending on how much you could eat 😉

Directions:

Thinly slice the garlic (you can use a mandolin, I just use a knife). Fill a large container with water to boil on a high heat. Salt the water generously. Once it comes to a boil throw in the spaghetti. In a cold pan, pour the room temperature oil and add in the garlic. Put it on medium low heat. It is crucial that garlic and oil are heated together or the oil wouldn’t get infused into the dish thus robbing the dish off the signature garlic flavour that we are looking for. Also the heat needs to be pretty low for the flavour to develop. Once the garlic starts to sizzle and the sides start to turn golden, turn off the heat and pour in an eighth of a cup of boiling pasta water. By now your spaghetti must be ready. We prefer it Al-dente, but I reckon you can cook it through if you like it like that. Drain the spaghetti and throw it in the pan, followed by chopped parsley, basil and sundried tomatoes. Toss them together. Adjust seasoning if you nee d it. Please remember pasta water has a lot of salt so always taste before adding in some extra.

As you must have noticed, this is super easy to make and does not require any special culinary skills, so please try it. Do let me know how it turns out in the comments section.

P.S: Traditionally some kind of nut like pine nut is also added. I like it like this. If you want to, you can add handful of pine nuts at the same time as garlic.

Enjoy!

Love.

AS.