Category Archives: Whatever’s in the Fridge

Bread (Gone-Wrong) Pudding

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To begin with, sorry for the incomplete post you may have received last week… I was trying out the WordPress app on my smart phone, & of course being technologically challenged, I ended up posting my draft instead of saving it!!

Well it has been a couple of those days…

All I’ve wanted to do is lay curled up in bed with a book, a movie or sweet dreams! I can’t seem to get myself out of bed to do anything…I guess I’m in the “Summer Holiday” zone! It’s May! My birthday month! The Mango¬†month! The month you just loll around & do nothing. The month you nap all afternoon & hang out with friends all evening. The month that you sleep in late & stay out all night. The month with near zero responsibility, right?

Ahem… Shivani, you were 18 a long, long time ago! Snap out of it!

It didn’t seem to be a great week for baking either… While at breakfast over at my parents’ on Monday a light bulb went ping in my head while I watched Ma make herself a PBJ sandwich. How about making a Peanut Butter Jam Bread?

So I did…

It looked pretty & all, but the texture wasn’t quite what I imagined or liked too much ūüė¶

Then I decided to bake a batch of these gorgeous Lemon Cookies 

Oh & I left them in the oven too long… Too embarrassed to put up the “after” picture ūüė¶

So there I was stuck with a ”not-so-great” PBJ Loaf & some pretty singed Lemon Cookies & a strong resolve that I couldn’t just throw them all away!¬†

And once again a light bulb went ping inside my head & I thought…

“Gone wrong? Make right!”

I got together:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 150 ml Cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sugar
  • Icing Sugar to dust
  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • My (not-s0-great) Peanut Butter & Jam Loaf

Then I:

  1. Whisked the eggs till light & frothy.
  2. Added the cream & sugar & combined them well.
  3. Generously buttered a baking tray.
  4. Dipped slices of the PBJ Bread in the Egg-Cream mixture & arranged them on the baking tray.
  5. Poured the remaining mixture over the bread.
  6. Dotted the top of the pudding with butter & sprinkled some sugar over it.
  7. Baked it in the oven at 180 C for 30 minutes.
  8. Dusted it with some icing sugar.
  9. And smiled!

Not too bad at all! A warm, comforting, very “home” dessert… I was happy I made it right!

Now any suggestions what I could do with the Lemon Cookie Crumbs? Do tell!

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Lemon Rice

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It’s too hot to cook! It’s too hot to think! It’s too hot to want to do anything…¬†period!

At times like these, you need a quick fix, light meal that isn’t any trouble at all!

Tangy, flavourful & super comforting, Lemon Rice, is it! This is a South Indian dish that is lightly spiced, with the lentils & peanuts adding a lovely crunch to it. You could have it by itself, with a bowl of yogurt on the side or serve it like a salad for brunch.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups steamed Basmati Rice
  • 2 Lemons (juice)
  • 5-6 Curry Leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white¬†Urad Daal /¬†White Lentil
  • 1 teaspoon¬†Jeera /¬†Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†Rai /¬†Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†Haldi /¬†Turmeric Powder
  • 1 teaspoon¬†Dhania-Jeera Powder¬†/¬†Ground Coriander & Cumin Seeds
  • Chilli Powder
  • Salt
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves
  • Roasted Peanuts (coarsely ground)
  • 2 tablespoons¬†Ghee /¬†Clarified Butter

Note:

Fresh Green Chillies & Grated Ginger would work wonders too! Didn’t have them at hand, so used Red Chilli Powder. If you use these, add them at Step 2.

Fresh Coconut (grated) would also make a great garnish to this dish, highlighting its “South Indian-ness”

Method

  1. Heat the ghee in a wok & add the curry leaves urad daal, jeera, & rai.
  2. When the spices start to sizzle & the lentils turn a light gold, add the haldi, dhania-jeera & chilli powders & stir fry for 2-3 minutes till you get a beautiful aroma & the flavours all merge together.
  3. Add the cooked rice, lemon juice & salt & mix well so that each grain is coated with the spices.
  4. Garnish with coriander leaves, coconut & peanuts.
  5. Serve hot.

This recipe serves 4

Roasted Tomato & Garlic Soup

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It’s too hot for soup… I know that!

But when you are right in the the middle of setting up your Kitchen & yet dinner has to be made… then there’s nothing¬†easier! Especially this one, since most of the cooking takes place in the oven to begin with. So you can just stick the tomatoes & garlic in the oven for an hour & concentrate on the really important things like “Where do I stack up these stainless steel boxes that I’m never going to use!

The inspiration for this soup is the Tomato Basil Sea Food Broth¬†I always order at¬†Pronto, a tiny little 3 table restaurant / take-away right next to the husband’s office. Often if we get done with work pretty late, or are too hungry to last the 2 hour drive home, or if it is raining, or sometimes for no reason other than quiet “us” time… we stop by for a crisp, thin crust, Pepperoni Pizza & Bruschetta with Olives & Tomatoes or our favourite Cheese Garlic Bread with Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar & Chilli Flakes to dip into & Caesar’s Salad to make the meal seem healthy or the beautiful, meaty Shepherd’s Pie with Creamy Mashed Potatoes. Pronto is about as authentic as a small Indian, Italian / Mexican take-away in Bombay can get, but the ingredients are fresh, the flavours mingle beautifully & there is this comforting home-style quality to the food. And they play some great music too sometimes. We love going there!

So coming back to my soup. Another reason for picking this one was I had to go with Whatever’s In The Fridge.¬†And I was lucky… I had everything I needed for a heart Roasted Tomato & Garlic Soup… & more!

Ingredients

Roasted Tomatoes

  • 6¬†Tomatoes (quartered)
  • Fresh Basil (chopped)
  • Black Olives (chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chilli Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • Olive Oil

Roasted Garlic

  • 2 heads Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 squares Aluminium Foil

Method

  1. Arrange the quartered tomatoes in a well oiled baking tray.
  2. Sprinkle the basil, salt, pepper, chilli flakes & sugar over it.
  3. Drizzle olive oil generously over the tomatoes.
  4. Cut the tops off the garlic heads

Thai Style White Radish, Cucumber & Carrot Salad

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Okay, so weekends are¬†absolutely¬†the WORST, for my¬†diet! And this one even more so since we were in¬†Pune, (a city 2 hours away from Bombay)¬†for a birthday reunion with my husband’s family. The healthiest thing I ate this weekend was ¬†my spring Saturday salad! After that… well, the less said the better. But totally worth it!

Mutton cooked in the traditional¬†Maharashtrian way, with loads of spices, Chicken Kheema or Mince, Pandhara Rassa or¬†White Gravy, which is Chicken or Mutton stock seasoned with spices, poppy seeds, cashew & coconut milk… I’m going to stop here as I’m practically drooling over my laptop!

And did I mention I snuck in a couple of Gulab Jamuns, dumplings made with Khoya (solids from freshly curdled milk), deep fried & dunked in a light, sweet, saffron tinged syrup?

Oh I sinned this weekend ūüė¶

Well as usual I had to atone for the excesses on Monday, with another Salad just like last week!

I love Thai food, with its fresh, light ingredients, the sweet, sour, spicy & salty flavours all bursting in your mouth at once… it’s like an Oriental carnival.

One of my fave Thai dishes is Som Tam or the Green Papaya salad.

And that’s what I felt like having today. I didn’t have the key ingredient… the Papaya! So once again I improvised. Here’s my take on¬†Som Tam using Whatever’s in the Fridge!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 1/2 Carrot
  • 1/2 White Radish
  • Crushed Roasted Peanuts
  • Basil Leaves (finely chopped)

Use a peeler to scrape out the veggies into pretty little ribbons.

Dressing

  • Soy/ Fish Sauce
  • Honey
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Tamarind Water

I tasted my way through the dressing. The thing is to find the perfect balance of the 4 flavours for you.

Putting It Together

  1. Arrange the veggie ribbons in a bowl.
  2. Drizzle the dressing over it.
  3. Garnish with the crushed peanuts & basil.
  4. Serve cold

I have made a version of this adding left over prawn. You could also add tofu.

This recipe feeds 1 errant girl on a diet who indulged this weekend (but doesn’t regret it one bit)

ūüôā

Zucchini & Cottage Cheese Bake

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I don’t have a kitchen ūüė¶

Well it’s not as dramatic as it sounds, it’s just that I don’t have access to my cook top & counter area… basically I can’t use my Kitchen…today! And weird as it may sound, it almost makes me feel homeless. Do you know the feeling?

The Kitchen is MY space, a place where I feel one with myself. Be it any stress, any trouble, any mess… there¬†isn’t¬†anything that can’t be worked out for me here. Simple acts of kneading the dough &¬†knocking¬†it back, whisking eggs, getting my hands messy with cookie dough, stirring a sauce… so very cathartic! And now, even more so since I’m on a break from work,¬†specifically to explore my passion for food,¬†the kitchen is my refuge, & if I can’t use it… it makes me very ūüė¶ especially if I’m at home!

Like I’ve said before, some write, paint or run to get it out of their system… I cook!

Snap out of it Shivani!¬†(I tell myself) It’s not always about you! What’s everyone going to eat tonight?

Hmmm…. There’s the neighbourhood Chinese Stall that Daks (my sister-in-law) suggested we could order ¬†in from.¬†(The other half of my Gemini self ¬†chirps in)¬†There’s something about roadside Indian Chinese food! It’s a cuisine in itself… totally unauthentic, absolutely Indian, incredibly tasty…

Ahem… and not to mention definitely unhealthy!¬†

Well alright then, that will be dinner for everyone else… I’ll just watch!¬†

I have to keep reminding myself of my weight loss regime!¬†I’m on a¬†quest to eat right…¬†healthy food¬†that is not only¬†good for you¬†but tastes great! And now with the added ¬†lack of Kitchen space (added lack??? never mind!), something that can be made in my trusted microwave convection oven.

I looked up a simple recipe using Zucchini, because that’s¬†What I had in the Fridge!¬†I found one I liked on¬†Health.com¬†which required zucchini (of course), corn kernels (which I had in the fridge but can’t have), tomatoes (always in the fridge), Parmesan (yum! but no) & panko (had to look that one up).

So I tweaked the recipe around, with the mise en place in my bedroom… the only dust-free space in the house, & set out to make a¬†Zucchini & Cottage Cheese Bake.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 each Green & Yellow Zucchini (sliced)
  • 4 Tomatoes¬†(sliced)
  • 8-10 cloves Garlic (halved)
  • about 200 gm Low Fat Cottage Cheese (I made it from 1 ltr Skimmed Milk)
  • 2-3 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • Celery Salt
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Dried Mixed Herbs
  • 2 slices Low Fat Cheese (cut into little pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon Oats
  • 1 tablespoon Celery (finely¬†chopped)
  • 2-3 tablespoons¬†Amise Marinade¬†(I had made a skinny version of Roger Mooking’s¬†Trinidadian Style Chicken¬†last week & frozen the leftover marinade which is basically a chutney or pesto of garlic, shallots, green onion, parsley/coriander)

Method

  1. Grease a baking tray with a teaspoon of olive oil & arrange the tomatoes in a single layer.
  2. Top it with the halved garlic cloves & 1/2 of crumbled cottage cheese & season it with celery salt, pepper, chilli flakes & herbs.
  3. Arrange the zucchini slices & sprinkle the rest of the cottage cheese over it. Season this layer as above, adding garlic salt.

  1. Toss in dollops of the marinade over the dish.
  2. Mix the oats, celery & low fat cheese bits in a bowl & sprinkle the mixture over the vegetables.
  3. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the veggies & cheese & bake uncovered in a pre-heated oven at 200 C for 25 minutes.
  4. Cover the baking tray with foil & bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot.

This recipe makes 2-3 servings for a certain person on a diet who was¬†feeling deprived & sorry for herself ‘coz she couldn’t eat the roadside Indian Chinese that everyone was eating, but who couldn’t care less now as this¬†Zucchini & Cottage Cheese¬†Bake¬†is so much more wholesome, healthy ahem & not to mention… Delicious ūüôā

“Holi” Fruit ‘n’ Oat Muffins

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A Belated Happy Holi everyone!

It was¬†Holi¬†on Wednesday… the Hindu festival of colors, the day we welcome Spring & with it blooming flowers, new crops, a newness in the air. Of course in Bombay we skip directly to the searing Summer heat, but still it is one of the City’s favourite festivals.

Image Courtesy bloggermoms.com

The festival of Holi started Tuesday night, with Holika Dahan,with large bonfires lit in every neighborhood & lane in the City. People circle the fire pouring water around it & place coconuts into it. The roasted coconut fresh out of the embers with a little bit of sugar is one of my favourites!

The fire is symbolic of the triumph of good over evil. Each year while growing up, Mom would tell us the story of¬†Prahlad, ¬†who was a staunch devotee of Lord¬†Vishnu.¬†His father, the Demon King Hiranyakashyapu, had been granted a boon that he could not be destroyed by day or night, neither indoors nor out, not on earth or in the sky, by neither man nor beast or any weapon. This made him arrogant & he demanded that all should worship him, & him alone. None were to worship the Gods in Heaven.¬†Prahlad refused to bow down to his father’s will. In a final attempt to stop him from praying to¬†Vishnu, Hiranyakashyapu,¬†ordered¬† Prahlad¬†to be lit alive on a pyre, seated on the King’s sister¬†Holika’s¬†lap.¬†Holika¬†had been given a boon that fire would not harm her. But as he¬†sat on the pyre chanting Vishnu’s name,¬†Holika¬† was consumed by the flames, while¬†Prahlad¬†was untouched. This burning of evil & salvation of good is celebrated as¬†Holi.

Image Courtesy magicalmumbai.com

The next morning Spring is welcomed with the vibrant festival of colours. People throw colored powder, gulal, & colored water on each other. Traditionally the colors were made by crushing dried flowers like marigold & gulmohar. In fact in parts of North India Holi is still played with fresh  flowers. Playing Holi, breaks down or at least lowers all barriers of religion, gender, age as families, friends, neighbours all get together & celebrate.

As kids we would spend the better part of the morning becoming a right royal colorful mess with our friends & neighbours in the apartment complex we lived in. Of course Dad & Dadaji¬†(Grandfather) would be totally paranoid that we would ruin the walls or furniture. We didn’t care ūüôā I loved the colours, even though it was a pain getting it off your skin & hair. We could tell which kid in school had the best time during Holi¬†by the bright red ears or blue finger nails & green peeping through the hair!

Food is, as with all festivals, a very integral part of¬†Holi.¬†At home Mom would make these little dumplings with steamed purple yam (kand) & raisins, with thick sweetened yogurt (shrikhandh or matha). Gujjiyas¬†too are a staple in the North. These are crescent shaped dumplings made with wheat flour & stuffed with grated, roasted coconut & dried fruit.¬†My husband’s family, which is from Maharashtra, make¬†Puran Polis,¬†thin, flat roti-bread stuffed with jaggery & lentils.

Over time, I have stopped getting all colored up at¬†Holi,¬†though I¬†make¬†sure, no matter where I am, to be there for the fire ceremony. For some reason I feel most at peace when I walk around the flames… like I am letting go of all the negativity, the chaos of the year gone by &¬†breathing in the newness of spring, with all its hope & tranquility.

This¬†Holi, I woke up wanting to make something special. But I’m¬†on a diet!¬†All the traditional goodies are banned ūüė¶ So maybe I could make something colorful, symbolic of the festival, yet which fits in with what I’m “supposed’ to eat!

Among other things, I’m “allowed” 2 tablespoons of oats a day with more egg whites than I care to eat, low fat yogurt, olive oil, nuts & fruit…hmmm… well what am I waiting for? Muffins it is!

Since flowers are the basis for all ¬†the color, & hence significant to the festival. I got my little flower shaped muffin tins out with the pretty colored paper cases. The red plums & figs on top make the muffins more vibrant… I hope! In any case you could do this with¬†Whatever’s in the Fridge!

I’m making these for breakfast. The proportions here are keeping in mind my daily allowance of ingredients. So it is¬† a true experiment.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons / 1 cup Oats
  • 1 Egg + 1 Egg White
  • 4 tablets¬†Sugar Free / Sweet ‘n’ Low
  • 2 tablespoons Low Fat Yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 12 Almonds
  • Zest & Juice of 1/2 an Orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 pinches Cinnamon Sugar (my cheat ingredient!)
  • a pinch Salt
  • slices of Figs, Plums, or any other fruit

Method

  1. Grind the oats with the cinnamon, almonds & Sugar Free tablets till it’s a coarse powder.
  2. Add salt, baking powder & baking soda to the oats.
  3. Whisk the eggs & vanilla till frothy.
  4. Stir in the yogurt, oil, orange juice & zest & whisk well.
  5. Gently fold in the oats. Do not over mix.
  6. Pour the batter into the greased & lined moulds.
  7. Arrange the fruit on top & sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on each muffin.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes or till the cake tester comes out clean & the top is golden.

Note

My allowance of the ingredients in the recipe, per day is: 2 tablespoons of Oats, 5 egg whites, 1 cup low fat yogurt, 4 teaspoons olive oil, 6 almonds & 1 fruit.

The muffins aren’t too sweet, so if you like, you could add some honey to the batter.

So this well within what’s ¬†okay for me if I have 1 Muffin a day… Yay!

This recipe makes 4 muffins.

Tuna Pasta

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We are in only in March & the temperature yesterday was already 39 C!!! It is HOT & that‚Äôs an understatement. As much as I hate being cold, this… it‚Äôs just… well 3 more months of this weather is enough to turn anyone‚Äôs brains into overcooked noodles!

The heat coupled with the sound of the drills & cars from the neighbourhood… not to mention the dust… was enough to send me into a funk!

Anyway dinner had to be made so I pulled myself out of my calm & quiet place ( & Gary Marshall’s New Year’s Eve on TV!) & set out to cook dinner to work myself out of the funk!

Tuna Pasta seemed ideal… It‚Äôs light, summery & it was the one decent thing I could put together with ‚ÄúWhatever‚Äôs in the Fridge‚ÄĚ!

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Ingredients

  • 2 cans of Tuna (160-180gm each)
  • 1 Capsicum (cut in strips)
  • 3 Tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 pack (200ml) Tomato Puree
  • 6 cloves Garlic (chopped finely)
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Celery Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried Oregano
  • Sugar
  • ¬Ĺ glass Red Wine (more or less)
  • Olive oil

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Note

I haven’t written out the quantity for the herbs & spices because I tasted my way through it. The husband & his folks like things spicy, so I upped the amount of chilli flakes but balanced it out with the sugar.

I realized when we sat down to eat that I could’ve tossed in some chopped black olives too.

I had 2 different cans of Tuna, a red chilli one & a regular one. They balanced each other out.

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a wok & sauté the garlic till it’s brown.
  2. Add the capsicum & tomatoes & cook till soft.
  3. Pour in the tomato puree & add the seasoning.
  4. Swirl in the wine. Adjust the amount depending on the consistency of the sauce & taste.
  5. Add a little bit of sugar & then the Tuna. Mix well.
  6. Spoon onto the pasta.

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Served with a bit of minced Goan sausage & store bought garlic bread on the side… a good fresh & quiet meal to round off a hot & noisy day! Got a ‚Äúthumbs up‚ÄĚ on this one!

This recipe serves 6 people