29 August 2006

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins
(makes 12 regular/48 mini muffins)

300 gms flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt
180 gms unrefined (or regular) sugar
150 grams butter (melted and cooled to room temperature)
2 eggs
350 ml milk (full cream, preferably)
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
1 cup blueberries (fresh, frozen and thawed, or canned)

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease muffin moulds, or line with paper cups.
Blend butter, milk, eggs and vanilla till smooth.
Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.
Pour in the liquid mixture and stir till just about mixed. Do not beat like in a cake.
Gently fold in blueberries.
Pour into prepared cups and bake for 15 minutes (or till done).

Substitute blueberries with raisins. If using raisins, leave out cinnamon.


Pav Bhaji
makes 8 servings

4 large potatoes
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup chopped french beans
1 large carrot
1 cup peas
3 large onions (finely chopped)
4-6 cloves garlic (grated fine)
1 capsicum (deseeded and chopped fine)
3 tomatoes (chopped fine)
3-4 tbsp pav bhaji masala
Butter or oil for frying

1 large onion (finely sliced)
8 wedges lemon

8 hot dog buns (cut in half and slit vertically)
Salted butter

Peel potatoes. Parboil potatoes, cauliflower, carrot, beans and peas till tender. Mash very coarsely and keep aside.
Heat oil/butter.
Fry onions till browned. Add garlic and fry till the raw smell is gone.
Add half the masala and some salt.
Add capsicum and fry till done.
Add tomatoes and cook till oil begins to separate.
Add the mashed vegetables. Mix well.
Adjust salt and let it cook for for about 5 minutes.
Add remaining masala and take it off the flame.

Heat a skillet. Add a little butter, and immediately press the slit buns, cut side down and roast till lightly browned. Turn over and lightly brown other side. Repeat for all buns.

Serve with bhaji and garnish.

Birthday party

Aditi turned 3 earlier this month, and we had a small party for her. Small party being every single person we knew here who had kids. There were a total of 22 guests, predominantly Japanese. Working out a vegetarian menu that would work for kids too was a real challenge. The end result was this lovely spread you see below...

Idlis with sambar and onion chutney, thayir-vadai, pav bhaji and blueberry muffins. I didn't have a large enough oven, so I ordered a 'Miffy' cake at a local bakery. Not a bad effort, eh?? And I did it all single handed too! And in a kitchen that's the same size as my closets! Of course, there were lots of short-cuts in the menu, but it all turned out brilliant. Contrary to my expectations, the thayir-vadais were a super-hit... I had very little left over. Come to think of it, there were hardly any leftovers!

Final count?? About 70 idlis, 50 vadais, 2 ltrs sambar, 1/2 kg chutney, 2 kgs pav-bhaji and about 45 muffins. Not bad at all in an excuse of a kitchen and in a place that's at the back of beyond, eh?

Next year, we've decided to have it in MacDonalds, and watch everyone else eat, and come home and eat some curd-rice.....

01 August 2006

A recipe and a contest

First of all, I need to find a name for this wonderful concoction. So do try making it, name it and the winner gets my special fruit-cake recipe. Fruitcake? Did that sound a little pedestrian? My special fruitcake takes ages to make.... you see, the fruits are soaked in rum for 3 weeks...

I'm sure that just caught your interest!

I used to eat something similar at this little continental restaurant in Bangalore. I'm sure Golly remembers the place and what this thing used to be called! I suddenly developed an absolutely craving for it, and decided to recreate it from scratch, and from memory too. The result was fantastic! Arun had seconds, thirds and fourths!! That surely means it tastes great!

So all I need now is to think up a nice name for this one..

serves 4

1 big onion
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 big potato
1 cup cauliflower florets
12-15 french beans
1/2 cup peas
1 carrot
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 capsicum
4+2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1+1 cups milk
1 cup cream
1 cup vegetable stock (or 1 soup cube dissolved in 1 cup water)
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
4-6 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Make roux:
Warm one cup milk.
Melt 2 tbsp butter over a very low flame.
Add flour, and stir well ensuring there are no lumps.
When mixture starts to bubble stir in warm milk, stirring continuously to avoid any lumps.
Simmer for 2 minutes.
Keep aside

Peel, wash and cut all vegetables into small pieces (I suggest 5mm as optimum size)
Melt 4 tbsp butter in a heavy bottomed pan.
Add bay leaf.
Add onions, garlic and saute till transparent.
Add all other vegetables, stir well, cover and cook for 5 minutes on a low flame.
Add vegetable stock and 1 cup milk and continue to simmer for 5 minutes more, or till vegetables are cooked, and retain a little crunchiness.
Add roux, and stir well so there are no lumps.
Season with salt and pepper.
Let is simmer till well combined. (about 10 minutes)
Serve hot with rice.