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Showing posts with label Valentine's day special. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Valentine's day special. Show all posts

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Beetroot and Tofu Burger ( Vegan Recipe )

Happy Valentine's day everyone !!

Cheesecake. Brownies. Strawberries. Pomegranate. The visuals on social media have been unrelenting in the run up to the V-day celebrations. And that got my man pissed off. Big time. It's not that he hates desserts but he really wanted to see some real food. Given that I am on a healthy eating streak these days, I had to think hard to come up with something that is not too fussy and yet delicious.

I am yet to find a bloke how can say no to a burger. And that kinda set the stage rolling for a vegan burger which is also low on calories. Giving in to the fascination with hues like pink or red, I added some beetroot for color (and health too) !.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 100 gm tofu
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 small beetroot
  • 2 tsp finely chopped onion
  • 1/5 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 pinch cumin
  • 2 pinch coriander
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted and crushed peanuts
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil 
  • oil spray for pan frying the burger patties

For the crust -

  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp besan
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 slice of whole wheat bread

For final assembly -

  • onion rings
  • lettuce
  • tomato ketchup
  • Burger buns
  • 2 tbsp vegan mayo
  • a dash of pepper

Preparation - Boil the beetroot and potato in a cooker for 2-3 whistles. Keep aside till steam escapes.
Remove from cooker, peel and grate them into a mixing bowl.

Grate the tofu into the bowl. Mix everything together.

Mix the besan, cornflour and salt with a few teaspoons of water to get a thin batter.

Tear up and throw the bread slices (removing the sides) into a mixer jar. Buzz for a few seconds to get fresh bread crumbs.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add the onion and let it sweat a bit. Add ginger paste, garlic paste, cumin powder, coriander powder and chili powder . Cook for a minute before adding the mashed mixture of tofu, beetroot and potato. Season with salt. Cook for 2-3 mins.

Keep aside to cool. (best to keep it aside for an hour or two so that the flavors get to gel together)

Just before shaping the mix into patties, add the crushed peanuts. Mix and divide into 3-4 equal portions. Shape each one into a round patty ( go for a heart shaped patty if you are feeling extra mushy).

Dip the patties in the batter and roll them over the bread crumbs.

Spray some oil onto a pan. Heat it and place the patties on the pan. Fry on both sides till brown.

Assembling the burger - Toast the burger buns. Layer one with mayo and place the burger patty on it.

Throw on some onion rings and lettuce . Finally season it with some pepper powder and tomato ketchup. Top it with another bun.

Grab it and dig in !!!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

No-Bake Strawberry Delight ( V Day Collab with Adollopofthat and Potpourri )

Continuing the tradition of 'idiot proof' recipes for V-day, I have a very easy to do strawberry dessert that tastes much better than the measly effort that goes into it. And also, it sits rather well in a jar just in case you want to show the world what you are eating with that special one. Single ? No problem. That's even better as you can have the whole of it just for yourself.

Discovered this one while browsing through 'Taste of Home', yet another great website for home cooks. Made a few minor changes to the recipe suit myself and voila, I had a dessert in under 30 mins. Best part is that this taste great even when we substitute the sugar with any low calorie sweetener.

That's just not all. Partnering with my blogger friends Parinaaz and Saswati, I have got you more recipes to check out for V-day ! Hop on to Saswati's Blog for sampling some yummy Gajar Halwa Cheesecake Pie  and on to Parinaaz's blog for the ravishing Red Velvet Trifles .

Read on for a great 'do it yourself' dessert recipe for V-day -

Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients -

  • 200 gm vanilla sponge cake
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  • 4 tbsp gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp rose syrup
  • 1 liter milk
  • 40 gm custard powder
  • 3-4 tsp sugar

Preparation - Sprinkle the powdered gelatin into the cold water. Whisk it with a fork. Let it stand for 10 mins till the grains swell up and it starts thickening.

Place the bowl on a double boiler or in a bigger bowl half filled with hot water. Let the gelatin dissolve completely.

Remove the bowl and allow it to cool down slightly. Stir in the rose syrup and strawberries.

Cut the sponge cake into tiny cubes. Layer the cubes in a mason jar or a small glass. Pour the gelatin mixture over it and press lightly with a spoon.

Let it stand for 10 mins.

Cooking - Take 1 cup milk and dissolve the custard powder in it.

Bring the rest of the milk to a boil. Stir in sugar.  Add the custard powder dissolved in milk. Stir continuously to prevent lumps. Remove from flame after 2-3 mins.

Allow it to cool slightly before pouring over the contents of the jar or glass. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins before serving.

Serve chilled with freshly sliced strawberries.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pasta Arrabiata ( For a Lazy Valentine Brunch )

Love is in the air. And so are glorious hues like pinks, tangerine and reds. I have been so bombarded by visuals of desserts and starters in the aforementioned hues that I have almost started hating the stuff I cook these days. As we have turned more health conscious, I hardly ever cook any desserts or fried stuff. So, the only color I get to see is that from fresh fruits and veggies in the salads.

As I went through my severely limited options ( given that I woke up feel somewhat sick ) for lunch today, red was the theme that dominated my thoughts. With my fridge rather overflowing with tomatoes (got them cheap from a 'thela'), I quickly decided to make a Arrabiata which is an all time favorite. Dunking a few tomatoes in hot water, I quickly got the rest of the ingredients on my kitchen table. Apart from the great taste, the greatest thing about this dish is that even an idiot can cook it to perfection.

[Psssst...gals this is a hint for you if you want to pass on the apron to your better half on V-day which falls on a Sunday this year! What a bounty ! Who knows, providence willing, you might even end up with a rather intimate Tomatina festival in your very own kitchen. But just make sure that the maid not taken a day off on Monday ;).]

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cup pasta ( I used Chifferi Rigate though Penne is more popular )
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 3 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar ( I substitute it with honey )
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes ( I used homemade one with lightly roasted Kashmiri chilis for more flavour)
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp dried oregana
  • 1 tsp dried basil (fresh is preferable)
  • 2 pinch red chili powder or paprika ( just for that red hue else optional )
  • salt 

Preparation - Dunk the tomatoes in hot water for a few minutes. Peel them and chop them up.

Cooking - Put the skillet on a flame. Drizzle olive oil. Add the chili flakes and garlic to the cold oil . Let them warm together for a intense flavour.

Next add the chopped tomatoes to the skillet and sprinkle salt on it. Cover with lid and let it turn a little mushy.

Add the puree, ketchup, oregano, sugar and lime juice along with 1/2 cup water. Cook for 15 mins till you get it to the right consistency.

Simultaneously, bring 6-7 cups water to boil in a large saucepan. Once it gets to bubbling, add salt and then when it gets to a rolling boil, throw in the pasta. It will take about 15 mins to cook to an al-dente stage.

Once the paste is done, save a cup of the pasta water and drain the rest using a colander. Give a good shake to the colander to prevent the paste from sticking to each other.

Add the paste to the Arrabiata sauce and sprinkle a few teaspoons of the pasta water over it. Add the basil and toss everything together. Cook for 1 minute.

Remove from flame and serve with a drizzling of cheese (optional).

Note - If using honey, add it along with the basil leaves at the final stages of cooking.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Angoori Rabdi (And a Happy Valentine's Day!!)

'Angoori Rabdi' or 'chenna'/ricotta cheese' balls soaked in flavored thickened milk can be called as a distant cousin of the Bengali dish 'Rasmalai'.  However it is made richer by the addition of almonds, kesar and pista. Though it takes time to prepare the chenna and reduce the milk,  this is one dish which can truly qualify as a labor of love !!

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 1 hour

Ingredients -

  • 2 litres whole milk
  • 3-4 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp maida /all purpose flour
  • 4-5 tbsp chopped almonds
  • 3-4 tbsp pista
  • 1/2 tsp gulkand
  • 1-2 pandan leaves / kewda
  • 2 cups sugar + 3 tbsp
  • 3 tbsp condensed milk
  • 2 pinch saffon strands
  • 2 pinch cardamom powder

Preparation - Bring half of the milk to boil in a saucepan. Do not let it boil for more than 4-5 mins.

Dilute the vinegar with equal amount of water and add to the milk. This should be sufficient to separate the cheena from the green colored water. However if the water still looks milky, add some some water-vinegar mix. Once all the chenna is separated, add a few ice cubes and 2-3 cup water to the saucepan. This prevents the chenna from cooking further.

Strain all the chenna and wash it under running water to remove any traces of vinegar. Gather it in a piece of cheesecloth/muslin and hang for 20-30 mins to remove excess water.

Transfer to a plate. Knead it with the heel of your palms for 10 mins to get a uniform mixture. Add the maida at this stage and knead for another 5-6 mins.

Divide into 25-30 lumps and shape each into a smooth ball with no visible cracks on the surface.

Add the 2 cups sugar along with 5 cups water to a pressure cooker. Let it boil for 5 mins before adding the chenna balls. Close the lid and cook for 25-30 mins. Remove from the flame and allow to cool down to room temperature.

Boil the remaining milk along with the pandan leaves in a wok till it reduces to half. Add the sugar, saffron, cardamom powder, condensed milk and half of the dry fruits. Simmer for 2-3 mins before adding the chenna balls (squeeze them with light fingers to remove excess sugar solution before adding to the rabdi) and the Gulkand. Switch off the flame.

Allow to cool down before putting into the refrigerator. Garnish with a few strands of saffron, rose petals and more chopped cashews/almonds.

Serve chilled.

Click here for rasmalai recipe !!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The day he remembered forever

It seemed to be just another day as I got up at 7:00 am and looked out of the window. There was a thin fog hanging around and the chirping of the birds was matched the cacophony of the vehicles as the early commuters were already on their way to office in order to avoid the rush hour traffic of Bangalore. I nudged my husband to wake up and gave him a fleeting kiss before getting out of bed. 14th February seemed no different. And one cannot expect it to be any different when you have been married for six long years.

As I picked up the newspaper, I just wished for a genie to pop out of somewhere and make the morning tea for both of us while I savor the news. And suddenly I could see two hots cups of tea right in front of me. I rubbed my eyes to make sure that I was awake and it was still there. Putting down the newspaper, I tentatively reached for one cup and took a sip. It was real and just the way we liked it. My husband ambled in and expressed his surprise when he saw that the tea was already made. I smiled back without any further exclamation. As we sat and sipped the tea, I thought of making something special for his lunchbox and wished for an encore of the magic that I had just seen. Miraculously, it happened yet again. As I walked into the kitchen with the soiled tea cups, I saw that half of my work was already done just the way I had wanted.  After all, no magic can replicate the love that one can add to a dish. I thanked the higher powers as I finally finished packing his favorite lunch of choley-bhatura and kheer.

Once he was off to office, I did a quick rethink of the small celebration that I had scheduled for the evening. Though I had already bought the gifts, I decided to make best use of this special power till it lasted. I quickly surfed through Jabong, Myntra and Watchkart to check out the great stuff on offer. Once I was done with the selection, I wished for all of it to magically appear in front of me. Though these retailers do offer home delivery on the same day for selected products, I had an early date on my mind and did not want anything going wrong.

Then I called up my husband to ask him to come home earlier than usual saying that I had a special date in mind. By 3 p.m., I was ready for the date. I had decked up in a beautiful Vero Moda sleeveless dress and a pair of golden sandals . The door bell rang as I was putting the final touches to my makeup. As I opened the door, my husband looked surprised with my makeover. Without letting him into my little secret, I gave him the gifts and asked him to change. The Tommy Hilfiger shirt looked great with the Calvin Klein jeans and the cream and brown Fossil chronograph watch was something that he had been eyeing for sometime. It was a pleasure to see him look so happy.

Without waiting any longer, I took his hand in mine and wished for us to be transported to the beaches of Goa. And the next moment we found ourselves standing on the pristine white sands with the waves dancing at our feet. I explained to my bewildered husband that I had been bestowed with special powers and I could make things come true with something as simple as making a wish. We walked on the sand for a long time discussing about the things we could do with the magical powers and then settled down as the sun disappeared on the horizon. It felt like the early years of our relationship where we could just be ourselves without any responsibilities weighing us down. Then as we started feeling hungry, I wished for a table to be set up on the beach itself and all our favorite dishes to appear on it. We chatted and ate under the stars for a very long time. But I had secretly started eyeing my watch for I had a feeling that this power would disappear at the stroke of midnight. Maybe it stemmed from my fascination for fairy tales (Cinderella to be precise) as I kind of loved them as kid but I could not shake off that feeling.

My husband had sensed the change in me. He attributed it to my being tired and asked if we should return. So, I made a final wish for us to be transported back. Only when we had reached the safety of our sweet little home, I shared my concern with him. He laughed it off saying that one does not need any special powers to attain happiness and that is something that we could always have as long as we are together. He thanked me for the special evening and said that he would remember it forever.

The next day when I woke up and wished for the tea to appear by magic, I realized that my powers were gone. But my loving husband had very sweetly woken up and made the tea for both of us.

This post has been written for Baggout's Blogging Contest on Valentine's day. Baggout provides awesome deals on Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong, Snapdeal, Amazon and 100+ online stores.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Top 5 Dessert picks for Valentine's Day !!

Valentine's day might be a fortnight away but the cacophony leading up to this day has started to affect our equilibrium. 'Plan a V-day getaway', 'Treat your loved one to a lavish spread', 'Gift a diamond to your special one' and so on. Makes me wonder if all that marketing hoopla has actually taken the romance out of the day. There is so much pressure to impress, outperform the others and make a statement that people tend to forget that love can happen even over a shared cup of coffee ( or even Chai for tea addicts like me ).

I always prefer to enjoy a special dinner at home on the day. And I ask my husband to help with cooking the non-veg dish as that is what he knows best. A special dessert follows and yes we do exchange gifts if we have had the time to buy some.

Here are some desserts that I would love to make on V-day ( No red strawberries for me ) -

1. Chocolate-Gajar Halwa-Gulkand Truffles

Though time consuming, these pop-in-the-mouth lovelies are worth the effort. A fusion recipe, it combines the best of Western and Indian desserts.

2. Chocolate Kheer

No Valentine's day celebration is complete without chocolates. So, why no incorporate some into another luscious Indian desserts and voila you end up with a double whammy !!

3. Paan and Gulkand Kheer

Another delicious Indian dessert with a quirky twist !! The delicate flavours of the Paan and Gulkand make it utterly irresistible .

4. Shahi Tukda

This royal dessert is perfect for the special day.  Give it a lovely twist by using a cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes from the bread !!

5. Tiramisu

A classic Italian dessert that spells comfort . Add some whipped cream and strawberries to make it even more special !!

Stay tuned as there is more to come .....

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stupid are the ways of Cupid

Candlelight dinners are passe. Hanging precariously from balconies (a la Romeo) is increasingly out of question what with all the high rises that we live in. These days people are resorting to flash mobs and elaborate set-ups to pop that million dollar question to a loved one.

But mushy romance is not dead. For people like me keep thinking of doing crazy stuff now and then. My story is told in flashback mode, so hold on to your seat belts as I take you back in time.

Countdown begins. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Swoosh.

Year 2009. The pristine white beaches of Goa are witness to many a love stories. And the friendly natives go out of their way to help couple find love in this paradise. It was one such couple whose name was recommended to me by a friend who spent her honeymoon in Goa. But since it was a plan that was a little difficult to execute by myself, I had to rope in a couple of friends too.

A Valentine's day trip to Goa was planned. Once the tickets and hotel reservations had been taken care of, we went about working on the details. And as our plans were very much dependent on the high tide, prayers were sent up to heaven every now and then. Though our to-be hosts had assured us about the punctuality of tide, still I had my fingers crossed.

We reached Goa on Saturday morning and checked into the cottage of our friendly couple. Situated next to the beach, it was the perfect setting for a Valentine's day dinner date. After I had given specific instructions to the couple about the menu that I wanted for V-day dinner, all of us set out to explore the place on our bikes (hired ones to be specific). It was late afternoon by the time we returned. As my then-boyfriend took a siesta ( As a rule, we stop looking into the watch during vacations ), we ventured out to the beach.

The private beach made the task easier for me. A small section of the beach was marked, the trees on which the lights (concealed ones) were to be put were identified and our host volunteered to take care of the music. We planned to split up into two groups on the evening of the big day as everyone wanted the two of us the savor the special moment. I returned to the cottage as our friends and hosts set about with the execution of the surprise. I did not want to be absent for too long in case he got suspicious. From that moment onward, time seemed to pass in a fast-forward mode for me. Everything leading up to that evening remains a hazy memory. Even the flowers and gift that he had got for me did not quite register until later.

The moment finally came. It was a little after sunset and the last golden rays of the sun were kissing the still warm sand. Our hosts had laid out a small table beneath the swaying palm trees. As we walked on the wet sand, the waves gently licked our feet. I noticed that the waves were inching closer to the marked spot and felt my heart beating faster. In another fifteen minutes, it had turned dark and our host switched on the lights and the music started to play. He looked surprised as I suggested that we go and sit down on the table.

As we sipped the delicious cocktail served by our hosts, the waters of the high tide miraculously exposed the heart that had been concealed by the sand. Made with a whole lot of sea shells, it had a red box (also in the shape of a heart) in the center. He smiled as he walked up to it and picked it up. "Open it", I said. It revealed a piece of paper with the words "Will you marry me ?". He looked taken as I asked him if it had stumped him. He took time to reply but finally hugged me and whispered a 'Yes' into my ear. He later told me that among all the surprises that I had sprang on him with my take on gender equality , this one had impressed him the most.

Fast forward. February 14, 2010. Exactly an year later, we got married.

This post is written for Closeup Cupid Games .

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