Dry Fruit Bliss Balls

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Diwali is right here and I can’t contain my excitement. Meeting friends and family, wearing new closed, decorating each corner of the house and then the most important part – eating the most amazing array of food. The festive happiness spread to every nook and corner of the house. The flowers, the diyas, those little lights, all ready to adorn my house and then the laddus and cookies all making my kitchen smell sweet and fragrant.

I try to lose my self control during my favorite festival of the year and this year is going to be no different. Yes, I will gorge on the traditional desserts and some fried snacks during get togethers but then I will try to watch and eat. I know its slightly difficult but these pretty Dry Fruit Bliss Balls solves this problem. No compromise on the fun, food and flavor for sure!

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These dry fruit loaded bliss balls is an amazing way to serve your desserts + dry fruits this year. Pop them into your mouth and your sweet craving is taken of. Dry fruits and Diwali brings back lots of childhood memories. I have grown up watching my parents gifting dry fruits to friends and family or offering dry fruits to guests when they came to greet. This treasure trove of dry fruits is a nice twist to the usual bowl of mixed dry fruits. Fun and an easy affair, this yummy bliss ball will solve all your end minute stressful Diwali preparation.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 12 – 14 balls)

  • 1 cup Mejdool Dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 3 tbsp almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut + extra for rolling
  • 2 tbsp black chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 5 – 6 saffron strands, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp cold pressed coconut oil (optional)

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METHOD:

  • In a food processor put dates, figs, raisins, almonds, pistachios, desiccated coconut, walnuts, poppy seeds, chia seeds, cardamom powder and saffron strands and  blitz it until the mixture doesn’t have big chunks of dry fruits.
  • Add coconut oil and grind it again. Make sure not to over grind it else you will get dry fruit butter.
  • Scrape down the sides of the food processor and transfer the mixture into a bowl.
  • Take 3/4 – 1 tbsp of the mixture and make balls out of it. Roll it into desiccated coconut and keep aside.
  • You can keep the bliss balls at room temperature and serve within 1 day or keep it in the fridge and serve cold.

Happy Diwali!

 

 

 

 

Fig and Almond Cake

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Love to eat a cake at breakfast or do you love your tea time with a stumptuous piece of cake? Do not worry because this recipe has got you cravings covered. A simple and delicious cake often needs no introduction. A cake which has been adorning my breakfast and brunch tables these days is a Fig and Almond Cake. It is as pretty as it tastes and darn easy to make!

I must confess as much as I love eating cakes, I am not a bog fan of the frosting and fondants that come along with it. I hated it as a child because it was overly sweet and overpowered the true flavors of the cake and the feeling still prevails. When it comes to my kitchen, I enjoy baking cakes free of frosting. Something which is simple, naked and true to its flavors.

This cake is moist and fluffy. The combination of fresh and dried figs together in the cake is so magical. The subtle cardamom flavors lends an aromatic and spicy nature to the cake. The gorgeous and perfectly toasted almonds on the top adds the perfect crunch to the entire cake. Such simple ingredients yet a pretty little cake that you can never get bored off!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes a 6 inch cake)

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 egg
  •  3/4 cup plain buttermilk (you can use 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup water)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp melted butter, room temperature + extra for greasing the cake tin
  • 1/4 cup granulated brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, for garnishing
  • 10 – 12 fresh figs, cut in circles for garnishing
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar, for garnishing

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes. Butter and flour the cake tin and keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, brown sugar, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, and salt and keep aside.
  • In another bowl mix melted butter, eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extract and keep aside.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients mixture and fold gently.
  • Add the dried figs to the mixture and fold in until its evenly spread.
  • Transfer the mixture to the cake mould. Now top it with fresh fig slices, sliced almonds.
  • Allow the cake to bake in the oven for 22 – 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Once done, allow the cake to cool down, garnish with icing sugar, slice it and eat!

Enjoy!

 

Eat Your Smoothie

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When mornings start with something so delicious, so picturesque, you don’t mind hitting the reset button for a healthy life! Smoothie bowls have started to adorn my breakfast table every morning. Smoothie bowls is the new trend everywhere and I have joined in too since its seriously yum and a true celebration of the fresh produce.

These bowls provide a perfect start to my day, makes me feel fresh, and full of energy. The panorama of colors, the freshness of the winter fruits and the creaminess of the smoothie makes you want to go for a second helping again and again. While the yoghurt and fruits provide the creaminess to the meal, the nuts provide the necessary nutrition and crunch to the dish . The superfood – chia seeds (which has been my absolute favorite for quite sometime now) adds enormous health benefits too.

So now that you have made some resolutions to keep healthy, eat healthy, lets make this smoothie bowl which is as beautiful to your palate as to your eyes. Quick to make, creamy and cold, fresh and seriously tasty. For once reward yourself with something nice because you deserve every bit of it!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)

  • 10 fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
  • 2 large bananas, frozen for atleast 15 minutes and chopped
  • 3/4 cup greek yoghurt (you can use plain yoghurt too)
  • 8 tbsp almond/coconut milk
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 tsp black chia seeds
  • 2 fresh figs, cut lengthwise for garnish
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate
  • 1 kiwi, scooped into balls, for garnish
  • 2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped for garnish (you can also use toasted almonds)

METHOD:

  • Whisk the greek yoghurt using a wire whisk until its smooth.
  • In a blender, blend strawberries, almond milk, yoghurt, frozen and chopped bananas, vanilla extract and maple syrup until its smooth and lump free.
  • Now stir in chia seeds until evenly incorporated.
  • Take a glass/bowl and place quarter of the pomegranate seeds at the bottom and then pour in the smoothie mixture.
  • Garnish with kiwi balls, fresh figs, pistachios, remaining pomegranate and dive in!

Share your favorite smoothie bowl flavors with us on Facebook or Instagram (#plateandpalate)

Keep healthy, eat healthy!

 

Roasted Figs, Caramelized Onions and Ricotta Cheese Crostini

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Seeing a box of fresh fig at a local grocery shop – my brain is running at million miles a minute to understand how will I use so many figs. But I really want them to make atleast a few dishes. I decide to buy it because I have finally figured out a 3 – 4 dishes where I can use these beautiful fresh figs. I am in love with them.

Today’s recipe is my absolute favorite since it has all the ingredients I love. With the festive season coming, you will fall in love with this recipe since its quick to assemble, its not commonplace, its fresh and not heavy on your palate. The roasted figs are beautiful and tender, adding tartness and sweetness to crostini. The chili caramelised onion is simply gorgeous on your taste buds. The hit of the chili and the flavors of balsamic vinegar and honey  is alluring. Then comes in the ricotta cheese that forms the base of the whole dish and adds the perfect saltiness to the dish. The freshness from these ingredients spruces up the flavors of the dish.

This crostini is a great interplay of sweetness and saltiness in each bite which makes you want to dig in for more. Use a nice baguette, ornate these crostini with mint leaves or basil leaves and you have a stellar dish to celebrate this festive season with your friends and family.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 12 pieces)

  • 6 fresh figs, cut into 4 pieces lengthwise
  • 3 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 3 tbsp plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vineger
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 20 fresh mint leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • basil leaves, for garnishing
  • 1 french baguette loaf

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METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C for atleast 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Trim the stems of the fresh figs and cut it into quarters lengthwise.
  • Arrange the figs, facing upwards on the baking tray and put it into the oven for 10 minutes or until slightly tender.
  • Once done, remove it from the oven and let it rest.
  • Meanwhile take a bowl mix in the ricotta cheese and greek yoghurt until it forms a smooth paste like mixture.
  • Add in salt (don’t add much salt since cheese has its saltiness) and roughly chopped mint leaves and freshly grounded black pepper. Mix the mixture well and set aside.
  • Take a saucepan, add the olive oil and once heated add in half the chili flakes and sauté for 20 – 30 seconds. Add the sliced onions and sauté until its translucent.
  • Add the honey, pinch of salt and balsamic vinegar and sauté for a couple of minutes on medium heat until onion is brownish (not burnt) in color.
  • Add the remaining chili flakes and sauté for 20 – 30 seconds and take it of the heat.
  • Take the baguette and  cut it diagonally into 1/4 inch thick slices. Put it to toast in the oven at 180C for 4 minutes or until lightly brown.
  • Once toasted, generously spread the cheese – yoghurt mixture on the baguette. Place 2 pieces of figs on one side. Take a spoon of caramelized onion and place it on the other side.
  • Garnish with fresh mint or basil leaves and serve with the cheese yoghurt dip.

Bon Appétit!