Barley Risotto

Oh what thunderous response this one got me, day before. :) Thank you for the love, people. Barley is great substitute for rice in your life. It is a little tricky looking seed but it does wonders. I adapted this recipe.

You shall need: [Serves 2]

1/2 cup.. Pearl Barley- soaked for 20 min in warm water- discard the water and place it on a tea towel to remove the moisture

1.. small onion chipped fine

3 cloves of garlic – minced

2 tsp… olive oil

1.4 cup white wine- optional*

1.. medium carrot diced small

1… tomato- de-seeded and chopped small

1/4 cup… blanched peas

1/3 cup… paneer [soft] or ricotta- make a paste with the cheese spread [Homemade ricotta cheese recipe coming soon]

1 tbsp… cheese spread

salt and pepper

3 cups… stock [I used the home made beets stock]

cheese [Optional]

1/2 cup… milk

Method:

  • In a pan, add the oil. Once it is heated, add the onions.
  • Once they are nice and translucent. Add the garlic and let them get the oil and onion flavour on them.
  • Add a little salt at the point.
  • Add the barley and let it toast for a few minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Add the carrot, wine and one cup of stock.
  • Reduce the flame to medium and let it absorb the stock.
  • Add another cup of stock when you see the grains are dry-ish.
  • Repeat the process until all the stock is over.
  • Add half of the paneer-cheese mix and the milk.
  • Check the grain, it should not be mushy but should be fully cooked.
  • Add the peas and tomatoes and cover with a lid.
  • Cook like this for 5 min.
  • Mix some cheese through, right before serving.
  • Serve hot topped with cheese and paneer.

barley risotto1 barley risotto

Cheers,

Pallavi

Vegetable Stock with Beetroot

Vegetable stocks are super easy to put together. All you need is a little patience, veggies and flavor choice. I always make fresh stocks and not use the shop bought ones or cubes.

The quickest way is to use a pressure cooker and a more elaborate way shall be to make it in an open pot. Whichever way you choose, the most crucial element is to caramelize the vegetables in oil and spice profile of your choice.

Since I was using beets, I used some thyme, garlic,fennel seeds and bay leaf.

Here is all that you will need:

1 tbsp… flavour-less oil

2… small onions – Quartered

250 gms… bottle gourd – chopped

2… Medium size carrots

2… medium size beets- peeled and quartered

100 gms… snake gourd

5-6.. florets of cauliflower

5-6… florets of broccoli

1/2 … green apple

Salt

1 tsp… fennel seeds

1 tsp.. thyme

3 … cloves of garlic or 1 tsp roasted garlic

4.5 cups of water or enough to cover the vegetables and going an inch above them

Equipment:

A heavy base pan

Big Spoon

Muslin cloth and colander

Method:

  • Heat oil in the pan. Add thyme, fennel, bay leaf, onion and garlic.
  • Once they change colour, add carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, gourds, apple and beets.
  • They will try to stick to the pan once they being caramelizing.
  • using the spoon move them often.
  • Add some salt to ensure the moisture escapes.
  • Once you see a nice char add water.
  • Bring it to the boil and reduce the heat to medium low.
  • Let it bubble for 1.5 hours.
  • Strain the stock using the colander and cloth.

The stock can stay up to 10 days in a refrigerator. Fill it in a clean dry jar and use later.

stock1 stock2

Cheers,

Pallavi

Weekly Menu Plan 27 July, 2015

I am back on the blog with an aim to cook better, learn and change our lifestyle. The husband battled kidney stone and is braving the diabetes as well. We didn’t know about that earlier.  Anyway all that calls for a lifestly change and we have to give it all we got. :)

The first start is to work on a food menu that will make sure we eat right.

Inspiration from this comes from Monika and Nandita. Both of them have been pretty cautious about what to eat and when.

Shall post recipes within the same week itself.

27 july 2015

Cheers,

Pallavi

Restaurant Review: Alfredo’s- Thane West

Viviana Mall has easily become the heart of foodies in Thane West. We were no exception to the phenomenon. Each time we decide to go out, we thought of trying a new establishment. Alfredo’s Bar and Diner was the selection for the day. This is their third restaurant  after successful setups at Andheri West and Juhu Tara Road. This review is for askme.

unnamed

The quirky ambiance is set with a lambretta on the wall, red brick wall finish, cozy seating, posters and caricatures. I decided to dedicate a post to the place after two trips. :) Each of them had their high and lows. Like for each dining experience, we need two perspectives; vegetarian and non vegetarian. I always tag a friend along for the same. He is a foodie like me as well and appreciates his food in certain fashion.

On the first trip we ordered :Nachos, Salad with Smoked chicken breast with pomegranate chilly salsa and Fettuccine con Pesto Genovese.

On the Second trip we ordered: Paneer Shashlik sizzler with BBQ Sauce, Roast Chicken Pepper sauce sizzler and Penne pasta in mixed sauce (on request)

Let me start with them one by one:

Nachos: Piping hot nachos are always my fav. The chips were thankfully not shop bought. They were of the perfect thickness and cheese was not shy. My only complain is the salsa seemed shop bought. It was sharp with vinegar.

Smoked chicken Salad: The chicken was moist and fresh. The seasoning was perfect. The pomegranate chilly was a surprise was a little sweet for my taste. On request they changed and made it our palette.

Fettuccine: Oh what a beauty this one was, I will go back to this one for this dish. The beautifully cooked strands of pasta were covered with delicately spiced pesto. Only a fresh pesto can make the pasta shine and here this was the case.

Our second trip was rather flaccid. Here is our review of the dishes that we had:

Paneer Shashlik Sizzler- The bountiful chunks of Paneer were carefully strewn on a stick. The sides we chose for this one was fries and mash. The rice accompaniment could have been of a better quality else the flavor was exceedingly wonderful. The sauce was balanced and had enough gravy to pass through.

Roast Chicken sizzler- The first one that we got was overcooked and had a heavy handed seasoning. After replacing it, we could really taste the roast flavours and smells. The sauce had garlic, sweet and sour notes.  The sides with this one were mash and tangy onion rings. We were expecting crunchy onion rings but what came to us were pickled rings. The pepper basil rice was well done but again we wondered if the quality could have been bettered.

Mixed sauce Pasta- Generous quantity greeted us on the plate which was the reason was happy smiles. Freshly toasted bread with garlic butter was a nice touch. The sauce was to die for. We nearly licked the plate clean. The downer was slightly over done pasta. The shape of penne was flat which usually happens when you cook it in a pressure cooker or over crowd the bowl of boiling water. It is a simple error but a major element to the way the dish looks.

Over all I feel the place can get better if they critically examine each dish that was returned, that was left half eaten or even the ones that sailed through. An informed staff can make this difference, a little chit chat and pro active suggestions can make a diners experience much better.

I would rate this place a 3.5/5.

Phone Number:

022 61701404

Location:

Home Delivery- Thane West

I have been thinking about doing this feature for sometime now. Ever since I moved to Thane, Mumbai, the wilfulness to blog has kinda gone down. And I don’t blame anyone but myself. I need to warm up to the town, really fast.

I rely on Zomato and Food Panda to give me options.

So here is my list of home delivery options when you are at Thane-West:

1. Rangla Punjab– Always fabulous, never lets me down. Food is great, service quick (weekends are crazy there) and price is not so bad either. Accessible venue and amazing tandoori stuff. This place gets a 4/5 from me. [Priced at 1000 for 2 people]

2. Benzy’s veg treat– I like their pav bhaji. Not the best I have had but pretty good for a take away/home delivery. Oh and the grilled vegetable sandwich is FANTASTIC. Do not miss it. This place gets a 3/5 from me. [Priced at 450 for 2 people]

3. Faaso’s – Oh you humble giant.You have successfully sneaked in awesome rice dishes in your rolls menu. Their online ordering app is super cool. The option to choose a wheat based roll is great. On another note, they need to improve the lemon drink.

4. Tibbs Frankie– Frankly speaking we go a long way :) I was first introduced to this one in Hyderabad at the Eat Street in 2007-08 and they have not changed at all, in a good way. The home delivery menu is neat and clear. Their combos work out for the best. I cut them some slack on the delivery time, they tend to lose the way sometimes. Anyway I will go back to them in a heartbeat. :)

5. City Sandwich– Oh how did this one not feature here yet? What a lovely find this one was. A friend got this one for me while I am nursing my sprained ankle. She got the cheese veg sandwich from here and each bit was devoured in no time. The red chutney that comes with it is to die for.

There are a lot of Chinese places here as well, but I haven’t tried them yet :)

More later.

Love,

Pallavi

Bharwan Baingan/Stuffed Eggplant

I feel Brinjals are one of the most versatile vegetables around. You can stir fry them, roast them, bake them, fry them or even stuff them for that matter. :)

Here is a simple yet magical stuffed eggplant recipe that is surely a crowd pleaser.

You shall need: (Feed 2)

10… Small egg plants – I got really tiny ones.

1.5 tsp … oil

1/2 tbsp… Dry coconut powder / shredded dried coconut

1/2 tbsp… Dry coriander powder

1/2 tbsp… roasted jeera powder

1/2 tsp… Amchoor powder

1 tsp… Garam masala powder

Salt and red chilly powder to taste

1 tsp… Jeera and a pinch of hing

few tbsp of water

Method:

  • Wash and make two incisions in the egg plants. Don’t cut them all the way through. We want to be able to see four sectors/segments. Let the stems be on.
  • Mix all the masalas except jeera.
  • Fill this masala in the eggplants and keep ready to be cooked. There will be some masala left over. Keep it aside for use later.
  • Put a nonstick pan with a lid on a medium flame.
  • Let the oil get hot in it and then add Hing and jeera.
  • Carefully lower the stuffed eggplants in the oil.
  • Put about a tbsp or two of water. cover the pan with a lid and let it cook on a slow-medium heat.
  • stir gently and  occasionally
  • keep checking for the water content, we don’t want to stew the eggplant but only want enough water to create steam to cook them.
  • Using a knife, check the done-ness of the eggplant. They should be done in 10 min or so. We want the skin to go wrinkly but not too squishy.
  • Sprinkle the remaining masala on top and stir so that it coats the eggplant well.
  • Turn off the gas and cover with the lid for 5 min or so or until you are ready to serve.
  • Serve with soft fulkas.

stuffed baindan

Cheers,

Pallavi

Linking this to:

 Cooking4allseasons

Extra-Veg-Badge-003  http://fussfreeflavours.com/extra-veg/ &  http://utterlyscrummy.blogspot.co.uk/p/extra-veg.html

Simple and in Season Food Blogging challenge  linking to Ren and fuss free flavors

spice trail badge square The Spice Trail badge 

Whole Wheat Focaccia

I have a die hard fan of focaccia’s. I have been trying different versions of it but I guess I landed on a recipe that works out the best for me.
For those of you who do not know what this is, focaccia is a flat bread that resembles a pizza dough. It can be topped with tomatoes, olives, onions and herbs.

You shall need:
1.5 cup… Whole wheat flour + more for dusting
1/2 cup… All purpose flour
2.5 tsp… Active dry yeast
1/2 cup… warm water
1 tsp… Sugar
1.5 tsp.. Salt
2-3 tbsp+ more to drizzle on top… Olive oil
2 tsp.. Rosemary
1.5 tsp… Red chilly flakes
1/2… onion sliced in crescents
1 small… tomato sliced in crescents
Few tsp cold water

Method:

  • In the warm water, add yeast and sugar. Cover it and keep aside for 10-15 min to froth.
  • In a bowl, add the flours, salt, red chilly flakes and mix with a fork.
  • Make a well in the center, add the yeast mix and mix well.
  • Add a tbsp of cold water at a time to bring it all together.
  • Once a dough is made, take it out on a clean platform/chopping board.
  • Dust it with some flour and knead, knead and knead. Push the dough away with the base of your palm and bring it back together.
  • Do this until it is nice and smooth and gluten is formed. We are looking for elasticity.
  • Add the oil and knead it one final time.

focc1

  • Put it in a clean bowl and cover it with cling film.
  • Let it rise/proof for 1.5-2 hrs.
  • Once it is done, oil the baking tray.
  • Punch the dough and put it in the tray. Make sure it is well spread. We dont want few flat and few very risen bits.
  • Poke the dough with your finger and drizzle oilve oil.
  • pre heat oven to 170C
  • Put onions and tomatoes on it (press them in) and let it proof for 30 min.

focc2

  •  Bake for 15-20 min. The done-ness of bread will be when you touch it, it should spring back on you.
  • Take it out of the oven. Let it cool down for 10 min.
  • Get it out of the tray and cut it in shape you like.

focc3Let me know how it comes out, if you try :)

Cheers,

Pallavi

Sending this to:

Cooking with Herbs Lavender & Lovage

 Simply Sensational Food

funwithegglessbaking  Gayatri’s blog

Of New Breakfast Menu and experiments

Sometimes I feel we must get out of the rut and create new things with the same food like Maggi chop suey, spaghetti pizza or even cornflakes laddoo. Yes you heard me right there is something called Cornflakes laddoo. If you dont believe me, check this out ;) Kellogg India has a lovely series of videos/recipes for your family.

Kellogg wants to know why I would like to go to Gupta ji’s home for breakfast?

Well first of all, look at these happy faces. <3 Who would not want to start the day with them? :)

Source: Kellogg India

Secondly, they have a scooter. It reminds me of the time when my father used to have one and the four of us used to fit on it and go places. Come-on remember the time you were asked to scoot on the handle. ;)

Third reason, Kellogg has made a lot of alterations to the original product, to fit the Indian breakfast scene, it is high time we look at it with a praise. The very idea of dunking cornflakes in cold milk was bizarre for Indian masses. The brilliant research team worked on it, made sturdier flakes and voila today we can eat it with milk at an temperature of your choice. Perhaps they made “boxed” food a household staple with the right marketing and target audience.

Fourth reason, I love the family affairs where the mother goes all out to make sure the guest is looked after. The father makes polite conversations and the young ones are all enthu to tell us a thing or two.

Fifth reason, I will get a chance to escape my own question “What should I make today?” As a working woman, I feel handicapped when it comes to the menu for the day. I always want something fast, fresh and yumm.

Sixth reason, Life is too short to only know a few people. Let us make new friends and learn about/from them. “Mingle often with good people to keep your soul nourished ~ Anthony Douglas Williams.”

Reason No. Seven, maybe they will call their neighbours too and I can get to meet colonel uncle. Ex-Army people always fascinate me. They have so many stories to tell. Why miss a chance ;)

Reason no. eight, if they are in Mumbai, I will get to travel to another part of the town. being new in town makes you cringe and cry about the place. Unless you go out, how will you come in terms with the place and love it eventually. :)

So Gupta ji, will you call me to your home?

Cheers,

Pallavi

 

 

Warm Broccoli and Almond Salad

Since we moved to the new house, I didnt do anything special for us. So I planned a date night. Got dressed up, cooked a lovely meal and ofcourse we clicked pictures.

Oh and do you know about the #100sareepact ? So whoever joins in promises to wear a saree 100 times in a year. Not tooo much to ask, for sure. Plus I love wearing sari :)

Coming to the Broccoli salad. Here are few things about broccoli that will inform you about why it is important to eat it:

  • Lowers cholestrol (steamed ones)
  • De-toxification of the body
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Cancer prevention
  • 1/2 a cup of brocolli has about 22 calories
  • Lots of fiber
  • Helps damaged skin
  • Keeps eyes healthy

So what are you waiting for, get that tree of life and get cooking. :)

Here is what you shall need for my recipe: [serves 2]

1 head/about 1.5 cup… medium size florets of a broccoli

1/2 tsp… Chilly oil/garlic oil/olive oil/any oil that you like

1 tbsp… Sesame seeds (white)

1/4th cup… Almond flakes

1 tsp… roasted garlic / minced fresh garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

1/8th cup … water

A non stick pan

Method:

  • Wash the broccoli thoroughly and keep aside.
  • In the pan, heat the oil, add the sesame, garlic and  almond flakes.
  • Roast them on a medium heat until the seeds pop.
  • Remove from heat and empty the contents in a bowl to be used later.
  • In the same pan, add the broccoli and salt and half of the water.
  • Cover and cook on a medium heat for about 2 min.
  • Water would have evaporated, if not check the done-ness of the brocolli. We don’t want a mush. Insert a knife in one of the florets and make sure it is able to pierce the floret easily.
  • Stop cooking instantly/add more water if needed.
  • Once done, take it out in a bowl and place over another bowl of cold water. We want the green color to be intact hence, shocking it will do the trick.
  • Once it is nice and warm/not hot, add the sesame and almonds.
  • Serve with love.

IMG_2858Cheers,

Pallavi

Sending this to: Jacqueline’s blog and Food and Spice

Fuss Free Flavours, Utterly Scrummy and Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary

Eat Your Greens‘ and A2K – A Seasonal Veg Table.