Friday, 22 June 2018

No Cream Celery Soup


This no cream celery soup is way better than its creamier (read hip widening) cousin and we don't need such deterants in our lives now do we. Hence I bring to you a scrumptious, soulful and soothing alternative perfect if you are watching your weight, or even if you are craving an edible equivalent of a warm blanket on a rainy day (God knows I do!) minus the four ladles of oil required to make a naughty waist expander a.k.a deep fried snack.

So, to cut calories, I’ve found a way to make beautiful creamy soups that don’t have a bit of cream.  The trick – adding a small sized potato which adds to bulk as well giving the soup a creamy constancy.

This one is my go-to recipes when I’m craving soup I love how quick it comes together.  The only tedious part is chopping up the celery, garlic, onions and peeling one potato.

It really is simple to make.

For serving two

You will need:

1/2 cup celery stalks
1 onion, medium sized
1 potato, small sized
5-6 garlic cloves
1 bullion cube (taste maker either vegetable or chicken)
Salt - a tiny pinch
Black pepper, crushed - as per requirement

Here’s how to make it:

Start with cutting the celery into roughly the same-sized pieces, about an inch – 1.5 inches, don’t worry about precision as the soup is going to be puréed anyway.  You just want it to cook evenly.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the onion and cook until soft and then add the garlic and cook another minute.

Next add in the celery and potato.



Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

Cover and lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the celery and potatoes are soft enough that they can easily pureed (But don’t let them get mushy).

Remove the soup from heat and remove enough stock so that the celery just covered by the remaining stock. Set the reserved stock aside.

Purée the soup with a stick (hand)blender in the pot adding the reserved stock little by little until the soup reaches the desired consistency.

If you don’t have a stick blender a food processor or blender would work too.

Sprinkle with crushed black pepper and serve hot

Enjoy!







Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Tea Smoked Chicken

Tea smoked chicken
Summers are here and its time to bring out the grill, but if you don't have one fret no more as smoking any meat in the confines of your own kitchen is as easy as 1-2-3.

Tea leaves give off an aromatic smoke when burned. If trapped inside a cooking vessel, this smoke can flavor foods like fish, chicken, and duck with delicate, tea-like flavors. That's the idea behind tea-smoking, and as far as we understand it, it's not so much a cooking technique as it is a flavoring technique.

If you've only smoked food outside with wood chips, you'll be pleased with the efficacy of smoking indoors. The principle of smoldering something fragrant over very low heat is the same; indoors, it's easier to monitor and adjust the heat. While you can certainly smoke indoors with a handful of wood chips, you can also add more delicate items to use as your smoking agent, such as tea, rice, sugar, and even peppercorns. (And, if you have an exhaust fan over your stove, the smell of the smoke will be minimal.)


Tea-smoked chicken, sounds complicated but couldn't be more simple. All you need is a wok!

It’s a play off the traditional Chinese Tea Smoked duck, but lighter and less time consuming. Delicately  flavored, the whisper of smoke from tea leaves, rather than wood, infuses the chicken with a subtle hint of earthiness. And using a wok and tea leaves, it’s surprisingly fast, easy and quite manageable indoors and you have a very healthy, protein dense dinner in no time. Once the meat has marinated the whole recipe can be completed in 20 minutes flat.

Lets see how to make Tea Smoked Chicken,

Preparation Time: 2 hr | Cooking Time: 30 mins  | Total Time: 2hr 30 mins

No. of Servings: 3-4

You will need:

• 8 chicken drumsticks
• Chopped green onions, for garnish

[A] Chicken marinade
• 2 tablespoons balsamic or malt vinegar
• ¼ cup grape juice (I used store bought)
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped OR 1 teaspoon garlic paste
• 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

[B] Smoking Mix
• ½ cup white rice
• ⅓ cup brown or muscovado sugar (jaggery)
• ⅓ cup black tea
• 6 cloves, whole
• 3 star anise pods

1 tablespoon oil - for grilling the chicken

Method:

Step 1: Marinate the chicken

• In a bowl, mix chicken with marinade.




Cover with cling wrap and allow it to marinate for at least 2 hrs in the chiller.


Step 2: Prepare the wok to smoke the wings

• Remove the drumsticks from marinade and pat dry.

• Line the wok with a heavy-duty aluminium foil. Add in [B], stir to combine.


• Place a steaming rack or metal trivet on it. Cover with lid and switch on the fire to medium-high.






• 5 mins later, the mixture will emit smoke. Lay the chicken on the trivet or steaming rack. Do not stack the chicken.

• Let it cook for 5 mins. Switch off the fire and smoke it for another 10 mins.


Step 3: Grill the chicken in a pan and ready to serve

• Slightly warm some oil in a pan.


• Sear the drumsticks on both sides, till golden brown.


• Add in the remaining marinade and reduce a little to form a thick sauce.

• Garnish with your choice of herbs or chopped green onions and serve it immediately.


Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Mango Basbousa (Middle Eastern Semolina / Farina Cake) - Mothers day dessert ideas

Basbousa (Middle Eastern Semolina Cake/ Farina cake)
Basbousa, is a traditional Middle Eastern sweet cake, made from cooked semolina or farina soaked in simple syrup, coconut is also a popular option to add into this pastry. Orange flower water or rose water is also an optional addition to the simple syrup used in the basbousa.

Since mango season is here in full swing I thought of making this traditional Middle Eastern delight with some fresh mango pulp and the result was beyond delicious.

Mango Basbousa
Semolina based treats are popular throughout the Middle East and parts of Europe. There are, quite frankly, too many semolina cake variations out there. Some recipes call for eggs, others call for yogurt. Some use a honey-based syrup, others use a sugar-based syrup, some syrups are flavored with citrus fruits like orange or tangerine peels and others use spices like cinnamon or cloves.

The word 'basbousa' is Arabic for 'Just a Kiss', and this lovely cake certainly lives up to its' name!


What I loved most about this simple recipe is how dense and dry the cake comes out of the oven, but when you soak it in simple syrup and allow to rest for sometime it magically comes to life. Semolina flour is traditionally always soaked in milk or water for at least 30 minutes prior to using in making any recipe, this one however omits the pre-soaking step, but instead does a post soaking and that idea is beyond genius in my humble opinion.

Intrigued yet?, then read on for my little summery twist to an ancient classic.


Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
1 cup = 250 ml capacity
Serves 6

Ingredients:

For Basbousa
1 cup semolina (suji/ rava/ farina)
3 tablespoons fresh mango pulp
3 tablespoons yogurt (with its whey i.e. water removed)
4 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee) OR melted butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup powdered jaggery (muscovado sugar) OR regular sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt

For the soaking syrup
1/2 cup powdered jaggery (muscovado sugar) OR regular sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons rose water
2 whole green cardamom (slightly crushed)
Pinch of saffron

1 tablespoon butter or oil (for greasing the baking dish)
Baking dish (7 by 7 inches)
5 or 6 almonds or pistachios or a mix of both for garnishing.

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (gas mark 4).

2. Grease the baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil or butter or as needed such that it covers all the sides and base.

3. Pour the yogurt into a fine mesh seive or tea strainer and allow the water to drain off into a bowl kept underneath for 30 minutes.



4. In a large mixing bowl, mix together semolina, mango pulp, yogurt, clarified butter (ghee), lemon juice, jaggery OR sugar, salt and baking powder to a smooth batter.

The batter will be thick and not runny.


5. Preline a rectangular or square baking dish with baking paper.


6. Pour the semolina mixture into the baking dish and spread it evenly.

7. With help of a wet knife, draw lines and make cuts of desired size for serving each person. Place an almond or pistachio nut on each piece.

8. Bake in oven for 40 to 45 minutes or till the crust turns golden.


9.Turn off the oven and let the basbousa be in it to keep it warm and till you prepare the sugar syrup.

For the pouring syrup:

10. Heat jaggery OR sugar and water till it starts to boil. You don't need to stir. As soon as it starts to boil add cardamom, lemon juice, rose water and saffron strands. Reduce the heat and cook on low flame for 5 minutes.


11. As the syrup turns thicker, turn off the gas and pour the hot syrup over the hot basbousa.


Enjoy with your favourite cup of tea or coffee.

Note:

While adding syrup to the cake, both basbousa as well as the syrup should be hot.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Weight loss Pasta Recipe (Pasta in Tomato sauce) - 200 calorie meal


Tomato, onion and garlic pasta sauce with a sprinkle of your favorite herbs and you have an entire meal ready from stove to table in under 30 minutes, but the fun doesn't end there, this delicious and wholesome meal is made of whole wheat pasta and comes in at under 200 calories a serve, what more would you ask of a comfort meal?.


This one pot meal is brilliant for students, busy mum's and professionals, it has all the good feels with  the creamy pasta sauce and wholesome whole wheat pasta makes a flavorful family supper, kids love it too as the spices can be adjusted according to your taste and pasta comes in fun kid friendly shapes. Use up bits and bobs of your leftover vegetables to create this stunner of a summer ready weight loss pasta recipe.


Serves: 1 person

You will need:

1/4 cup (50 grams) whole wheat pasta (I used Fusilli)
1/2 teaspoon oil
1/2 medium sized green bell pepper
1/2 medium sized red onion
1 tablespoon greens of a green onion
2 tablespoons tomato puree
4 garlic cloves
Oregano leaves, to season
Chili flakes, to season
Salt to taste
Black pepper powder, to season

Method:

Chop the bell pepper and onion into cubes and the green onion into little pieces and keep aside.


In a pan heat a teaspoon of oil, when hot add in all the vegetables along with the garlic and saute on medium high for 2 minutes.


Once the vegetables slightly brown at the edges, add in the tomato puree and seasonings and saute again for a minute.


Lastly add in the pre-boiled pasta and toss well, so that all the pieces are evenly coated with the sauce.

Sprinkle, salt, pepper powder and seasonings and serve hot!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Weight Loss Desserts - Egg-free, fat free, gluten free Brownies


If you have been on the hunt for an egg free, fat free, low calorie dessert for weight loss, your search has just ended. These brownies contain no oil or butter and are no more than 65 calories a piece, also great for both you and your kids, since they are made using all unrefined ingredients.

Chocolate brownies retain a powerful hold on the American palate and imagination. Today, brownies can be found with a number of flavor variations and add-ons, such as peanut butter, mint, coffee, raspberry, white chocolate, almonds, raisins, candies, or caramel. In the United States, one is never far from an artisan or mass-produced brownie.

Food industry product design has kept up with changing technology and lifestyles. Following health fads and dietary restrictions, whether high protein, low sugar, low fat, low carb, high fiber, raw, vegan, or gluten-free, brownies have more recently taken on a role as a diet food.

So whats keeping you from trying some?


Serves: 9

You will need:

1/2 cup bananas, mashed
1/4 cup cocoa powder (use the best quality you can find, it makes all the difference)
1/4 cup yogurt, low fat
1/4 cup coconut flour OR instant oats
Salt, a fat pinch
1/4 cup jaggery OR any unrefined sugar of choice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon walnuts or any other nuts of choice, roughly chopped (optional)

Method:

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.


Mix well using a dry whisk.


Now add this mix to a blender or food processor jar and add in all the wet ingredients.


Blitz well to form a pour able liquid.


Pour out into a pre-lined 6 inch square baking tin and sprinkle some chopped or powdered nuts on top.

Bake in a preheated oven @180° C, for not more than 15 minutes.

Once done, allow to cool at room temperature, then cut into 9 equal squares and serve.

Notes:

Stick to the baking time for gooey brownies, any more time will dry out the brownies, since no fat is used in this recipe.


Monday, 9 April 2018

Easy Chocolate Icecream, No machine needed


Easy Chocolate Ice cream, No machine needed
 Easy Chocolate Ice Cream-no machine needed, easy chocolate ice cream, no churn chocolate ice cream, old fashioned chocolate ice cream, homemade chocolate ice cream, very rich custard style ice cream, best home made chocolate ice cream. If an assortment of all these words gets your attention, interest or drool meter on high, then welcome for you have reached the right page.

This simple, delicious, custard based and good old fashioned home made style ice cream will make you lick the bowl clean and sneak into the refrigerator for seconds, it is that good. What makes it so so good are the eggs that give this chocolate ice cream it's silky consistency and don't worry, I promise that the eggs will not curdle any where in the preparation process.

The secret lies in mixing all the ingredients along with the eggs before you put the mixture to heat.


Summer has set its hot foot across the globe and summer time means, its time for ice cream and not just any ice cream but this easy chocolate ice cream where no machine is needed, so read on for the recipe friends, for disappointed is something you wont be.

Serves: 6 - 8 persons

You will need:

2 large eggs (at room temperature)
200 ml fresh single cream (not whipping cream; 25% fat)
200 ml condensed milk (i.e. 1/2 a standard tin)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
50 grams (1/4 cup) dark chocolate (melted)
1/2 cup milk (use any type you have on hand)
Nuts/ seasonal fruits or chocolate curls to garnish)

Method:

In a medium sized non stick pan break in two whole eggs.


 Roughly whisk the eggs with the aid of a wooden spoon.


Now to the whisked eggs add in the cream, condensed milk and the milk and mix well.


Next add in the cocoa powder and stir in well, you will notice some cocoa powder lumps, but these will dissolve slowly as the mixture heats up.


Now transfer the pan onto a very low gas burner, allow to cook on low heat, occasionally stirring in between to dissolve the cocoa lumps and from preventing the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.


After about 20 to 25 minutes you will notice that the mixture has taken up a thick custard form and evenly coats the back of the wooden spoon without sliding off. At this point turn off the heat and transfer your custard into a freezer proof dish (a cake tin works perfectly well)


As soon as you pour your custard into the dish, cover with plastic wrap such that it touches the surface of the custard. This will prevent the custard from forming skin.

Freeze this custard for at least 6 hours (till it starts to set but is soft in the center when you push in with a finger)


Break the semi set custard with a large spoon and transfer to a blender or food processor.


Blitz it once and pour back into the freezer proof container.

Cover with a lid and freeze for at least 8 hours.


After 8 hours, scoop out the ice cream into individual bowls and served sprinkled with nuts, chocolate chips or fresh seasonal fruit.

Enjoy!!

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No Cream Celery Soup

This no cream celery soup is way better than its creamier (read hip widening) cousin and we don't need such deterants in our lives n...