Monday, March 29, 2010

Marble Cake

A marble cake is a  combination of light and dark batter which fine tunes into a marble like appearance. This cake is rich and moist with lovely swirls of vanilla and chocolate batters. This may look complicated but it's real easy and delicious. Beware its addictive too :)
 

Ingredients:
Vanilla batter:
All purpose flour -1 cup
Baking powder-1 tsp
Eggs-2 nos
Powdered sugar-1/2 cup
Oil-1/2 cup
Vanilla Essence-1 tsp

Chocolate Batter:
All purpose flour-1/4 cup
Egg-1 no
Baking powder-1/2 tsp
Cocoa powder-1/4 cup
Powdered sugar-1/4 cup
Oil-1/4 cup

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the cake pan. Separating the method of preparation into two, one for the vanilla batter and the other for chocolate batter. Now for the vanilla layer, beat the sugar and the eggs together. Add the flour and the baking powder to it. Finally add the vanilla essence along with the oil, mix it well. Now for the chocolate layer, whisk the eggs and the sugar. Add the flour  to it, incorporate the cocoa and the baking powder into it. Stir in the oil and beat it gently. Now pour half of the vanilla batter into the cake pan followed by the chocolate batter and immediately pour in the remaining vanilla batter. Take a fork or a knife, make tiny waves with the end of it on the cake batter. Bake it in the oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mushroom And Broccoli Pie


Believe it or not that was a scrumptious pie that made me to feel so good, so try this pie when you have ample time and you will fall in love with  it in no time. At the end of the day i felt happy that my efforts did not end up in vain. Now to the recipe.

Ingredients:

For The Pie:
Chopped onions-1 cup
Baby bella mushrooms(thoroughly washed n diced)-1 cup
Broccoli-1 cup
Nutmeg(optional)-a pinch
Milk-1/2 cup
Egg-1 no
Ginger garlic paste-1 tsp
Chilli powder-1 tsp
Garam masala powder-1 tsp
Sour cream-1 tbs
Salt-As required
Pepper-1 tsp
Oregano-1 tsp
Mozzarella cheese(sliced)-few nos
Grated parmesan cheese-2 tbs

For The Pie Crust:
All purpose flour:2 cups
Cold butter-1stick
Salt-a pinch
Baking soda-a pinch
Cold Milk-3/4 cup
Cold water-As required

Method:
For The Pie Crust:

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Now cut the butter into small chunks and mix into it. Make sure it’s nice and cold . These bits of butter will flatten out when you roll it, leaving little pockets when cooked. Pour the milk into it followed by required amount of water so that the consistency of the dough is not ruined and is taken care of completely. It will more or less resemble roti dough but this dough will be soft when compared to that. Cover it with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, roll the dough  flat using a rolling pin, check out with the size of baking dish. Now cover the baking dish with an aluminium foil  and fold it underneath so that it holds the baking dish. Place the pie crust layer on it and fold it outside so that it holds the foil wrap and crimp the ends of the crust. I just made a single crust pie shell since i  was running out of time for dinner, usually people use double crust. I shall post the double crust pie recipe later.




For The Pie:

Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Beat the egg and the milk separately and set it aside. It will be used as a glaze. Heat oil in a skillet and throw in the onions. Fry it until it becomes translucent. Stir in the ginger garlic paste, mushrooms, salt, pepper and the broccoli. Saute it well, now add the garam masala powder, nutmeg, chilli powder  and the sour cream. Remove from the heat. Now take the prepared baking dish and put the mushroom broccoli mixture and spread the cheese on top of it. Do the egg wash on it. Bake until the crust is gold and the toothpick inserted into the pie comes out clean. Let it cool and serve it hot with tomato ketchup.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Asparagus Soup

Asparagus is a green vegetable that resembles a spear with a budding head. Native to the Mediterranean region, the entire spear is edible. Do not wash asparagus before storing and never soak it. Trim the ends of fresh asparagus and stand them upright in a jar with about an inch of water in the bottom. Cover with a plastic bag and store spears in the refrigerator for up to two days.Some health benefits of asparagus :
  • It is high in vitamin K 
  • Great for your heart
  • Great for your gastrointestinal tract 
  • Helps menstrual cramps
  • Great food to help treat depression
  • Is considered a diuretic which means it is a good anti-inflammatory – best for arthritis, asthma rheumatism, and even water retention…PMS
  • Helps detoxify your body
  • Add more asparagus to your diet to lower cholesterol
  • Has antifungal and antiviral qualities
  • Great for your kidneys – cleansing your body by stimulating urination and preventing kidney stones
  • Helps prevent bladder and urinary tract infections

 
Ingredients:
  
Asparagus(bottom trimmed)-As required
Vegetable oil-2 tbs
All purpose flour-2 tbs
Chopped onions-1 cup
Chicken broth/Vegetable broth-2 cups
Unsalted butter-1 tbs
Garlic cloves -3 nos
Pepper-As required
Salt-As required
Lemon juice-2 tsp



Method:

Cut the asparagus spears into small pieces. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and the chopped onions to it. Saute until the onions turn translucent. Add the asparagus to the pan, season with some salt. Stir fry until the spears turn little more greenish. Pour the chicken broth into it. Let it boil for five to ten minutes until the asparagus turns to be little tender under medium heat. Collect the asparagus and puree them. Melt the butter and dilute the flour in it, add it to the chicken broth, stir it for few minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the puree to it. Mix it well, finally add some lemon juice and pepper to taste. Serve it hot.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Paneer Capsicum Fried Rice

           
It's been a while since i updated my facts for a healthy life column. I was recently coming across an article which shared the pros and cons of our daily diet. The below facts will help ourselves stay cautious about our diet. Did you know that what you eat might affect how happy or depressed you are? They will influence how alert or sluggish you feel. Chocolate lifts you up while a bowl of rice or pasta calms you down and decreases your alertness. While sprouts, paneer or curds perk you up! So i think this will be useful to all of us. Catch you all in the next post.

Carbohydrates will calm you down

When carbohydrates are eaten alone, an amino acid trytophan is introduced to the brain because of increased levels of insulin in the blood. This tryptophan gets converted to serotonin, the calming blood chemical, resulting in a general feeling of relaxation. This improvement in mood happens when only a high carbohydrate food is eaten alone. Serotonin is linked to feeling of calmness, which is great at the end of the day since it helps you unwind before bedtime. But it maybe is not such a winner in the afternoon, when a high level could make you fuzzy brained.
People who are stressed reach for sweets, cookies, potatoes, pasta, candy etc. Probably they are trying to medicate themselves to increase serotonin levels in order to feel better. Trying unfortunately is not achieving. To obtain the serotonin increase, you have to eat an all-carbohydrate snack on an empty stomach. Because fat slows down digestion, buttering your toast, making oily pasta or adding ghee to your rice will dampen and delay the effect. Also putting any protein in your system within four hours of your dose will disarm the mood shift completely. Moreover, not all carbohydrate foods work. Fruits don't because its sugar fructose causes insulin to be released slowly to trigger a serotonin boost. Then what do you eat to calm your nerves? Starch. If you are nervous about a presentation, examination or anything else, dry breakfast cereal or puffed rice; toast with jam; a cup of pasta/ rice or a boiled potato eaten half an hour before will calm your nerves!

Proteins will perk you up
 
Eating a meal that's mostly protein will improve your brainpower. Just as trytophan is the precursor to serotonin, another amino acid called tyrosine, is the precursor for norepinephrine and dopamine- brain chemicals that aid alertness, reaction time and mental acuity. If you are doing something mentally taxing, then you are using up these chemicals in your brain. The only way you can replace them is by supplying the amino acid tyrosine. In other words by gnawing on a chicken drumstick or munching a bowl of sprouts.
Therefore lean protein in meals will keep the carbohydrate from zonking you out. That's right as carbohydrates relax you they can also make you feel downright drowsy. This soporific effect helps explain the traditional post-rice meal energy dip. People, who complement their carbohydrates with protein, avoid this drop in alertness. So if your lunchtime bowl of rice/ pasta leaves you lethargic, balance out the meal with some lean protein like curds, cottage cheese, dal, beans or chicken/fish.

Sweets will lift you up
 
Some researchers believe that the link between food and mood has more to do with sugar and fat than with carbohydrates. A dose of carbohydrates leaves people calmer an hour later, but it is the hefty proportion of sugar and fat that makes people go weak in the knees at the first taste of ice cream, chocolate, cake or sweets. Eating sugar can bring anxious people quick relief. Animal studies suggest that high-fat foods have a similar soothing effect. Sweet and creamy is the dynamic duo  fat makes food desirable and sugar makes the fat invisible. Humans hunger for fat and sugar because the substances trigger the brain to release endorphins (morphine like chemicals) that send pleasure signals throughout the body, including the mouth.
It is however important to remember that sugary foods can give you a temporary high but a quick crash in spirits follows soon. Deal with cravings by getting back to nature and relishing the sweet taste of fruits and dry fruits.

Caffeine will stimulate you
 
Caffeine found in coffee, tea, dark chocolate, sodas such as colas, root beers and other flavors temporarily stimulates your brain and puts you back in action. Up to two cups a day of tea /coffee is fine but over dependence can lead to anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, irritability, racing heart and irregular heartbeats. If you are a caffeine addict, cut back slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Vitamins and minerals will pep you up:
 
Most people can get all their vitamins and minerals by eating right. If they don't their moods can be affected. Without enough B vitamins you can feel depressed, grouchy and nervous. Without enough iron, you can feel nervous, forgetful, irritable and weak. Lack of magnesium causes chronic fatigue. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps feel calm, sleep well and fight depression. Vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency leads to psychological symptoms. Vitamin B6  takes care of symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome.
All in all, it becomes important to eat a well balanced diet that does not cause mood swings. A diet with complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, vegetables), low-fat protein (lean meat, fish, skim dairy products and beans) and small amounts of fat should suffice. Avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol, which add to your stress burden. Understanding how foods affect your moods will improve your physical and emotional health.

Lets go to the recipe of Paneer Capsicum Fried Rice. Paneer is good for kids as well pregnant ladies. It is protein rich and highly nutritious. But weight watchers, you got to have an eye on it :D Once in a while, it does not matter but not every day.




Ingredients:

Basmati rice-1 1/2 cup
Diced paneer(Cottage cheese)-1 cup
Chopped carrots & peas-optional
Chopped capsicum(green bell pepper)-1 cup
Pepper powder-1 tsp
Soy sauce-2 tsp
Green chillies(chopped)-3 nos
Ginger garlic paste-1 tbs
Vinegar-2 tsp
Oil-As required
Salt-As required 
Chopped spring onions-1/4 cup

Method: 

Cook the basmati rice and let it cool on a platter. Heat the oil in a skillet and add  the onions followed by ginger garlic paste, green chillies, saute them for a minute. Let the onions turn translucent. Add the chopped capsicum, paneer and fry for few minutes until the capsicum and the paneer turn little tender. Now add the pepper powder, salt and mix them for a minute. Finally stir in the vinegar, soy sauce, cooked basmati rice and combine them gently. Garnish with some chopped spring onions and serve it hot. Found this fried rice to be yummylicious.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

King Of Street Foods-Pav Bhaji

I had been missing any one of the ingredients listed below to prepare this utterly delicious pav bhaji esp potatoes, finally i got a chance to make it up after finding two potatoes being left over in the pantry :D  Pav or Pao originates from the Portuguese pao for bread. It is a generic term used to denote ‘bread rolls‘ in Goa and some other parts of India. Pav Bhaji is the king of Mumbai 's street food. This is a dish that feeds millions of people around India on a daily basis. In Bombay, it refers to a specific form of bread that you break off from a slab. It has a super soft interior and buttery exterior. Lets now go to the recipe of this so called mass appeal street food.



                         

Ingredients:

Pavs/Buns-4 nos
Chopped onions - 1 cup
Chopped tomatoes -3/4 cup
Chopped capsicum(green bell pepper) -1/2 cup
Ginger Garlic paste-1 tbs
Pav bhaji masala -2 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder-1 tsp
Potatoes(boiled,peeled n mashed)-1 1/2 cup
Cauliflower florets(boiled)-1 cup
Green Peas n Carrots(boiled)-1 cup
Butter -1 1/2 tbs
Water-2 cups
Lemon juice-2 tsp
Coriander leaves-1/4 cup
Salt-As required
Oil-2 tbs

Method:

Heat oil in a skillet, add the chopped onions to it followed by ginger garlic paste. Boil the vegetables either in a pressure cooker or in a microwave. Now throw in the capsicum, followed by tomatoes (you can use tomato puree as well). Saute it well. Once this has cooked well, add the chilli powder and the pav bhaji masala. Throw in the mashed potatoes along with peas ,cauliflower florets and carrots. Turn it to simmer mode of cooking. Mix it well, pour two cups of water into it and add the salt to it. Add a couple of dollops of butter. Sprinkle the lemon juice before serving. Turn off the heat. Now get the  pavs or buns toasted on a pan using little butter. Serve your Bhaji with chopped raw onions, lemon wedges, some coriander for garnishing purposes along with the pavs or buns.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Paneer Fritters

Back after a short break. Been on a vacation, it was fun. Iam so glad to get back to the world of blogging with good bloggers as friends. Hello all, hope you all are doing awesome. Got lots of posts to catch up with. Happy blogging !



Ingredients:

Cottage cheese/Paneer-250 gms
Pav bhaji masala-1/2 tsp
Amchur powder-3/4 tsp
Oil-As required
 
For the Batter:
Gram flour-1 1/2 cup
Chilli powder-1 1/2 tsp
Water-As required
Cooking soda-1/2 tsp
Salt -As required

Method:

Cut the paneer into thick cubes. Sprinkle amchur powder and pav bhaji masala on each piece. Prepare the batter by mixing the ingredients under batter. Heat oil in a pan. Dip each piece of paneer into the batter and deep fry them in oil till it turns golden brown. Drain the excess oil by placing them on paper napkins. Serve the paneer pakodas/fritters hot with  green chutney or tomato ketchup.