Tomato and Feta Galette

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Looking for an easy and delicious baking project (aka fun) for this weekend – get ready to be smitten over by this Tomato and Feta Galette. Fruit Galettes are too mainstream, a warm savory pie is what you need for these beautiful chilly evenings. Rustic and comfort is what this galette is all about.

I personally love pies, whether it is sweet or savory. However I am kinda lazy in making pies at home. It stresses me out. There are way too many do’s and don’t. I guess I should take up a challenge soon to make pies at home. Nevertheless galettes are the closest and  the easiest free form pies where all the goodness is tucked in together and put into the oven. And now I guess you know why I love galettes. The look absolutely gorgeous. Throw in ingredients you love you are done!

Tomato and Feta Galette is a classic one. The buttery flaky crust, the creaminess of the feta and the tangy-ness from the cherry tomatoes makes you fall in love with it. Try this recipe over this weekend and I bet you’ll love it as much as I do!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 1 – 9 inch pie)

For the galette crust:

  • 175 multigrain flour + extra for dusting (you can use all purpose flour also)
  • 113 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 – 4 grams salt
  • 4 – 5 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

For the filling:

  • 1 larger onion, diced
  • 16 – 18 cherry tomatoes, halved or used as is
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 8 – 10 fresh basil leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • In a bowl take multi grain flour, salt, sugar and mixed herbs and mix it well,
  • Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs. It is okay to see small chunks of the butter.
  • Now add the ice cold water a couple of tablespoons at a time and bring together the dough.
  • Dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on it. Add more water if needed and bring it together to make a ball. Cling wrap it and refrigerate it for an hour atleast.
  • Once its kept in the fridge for sometime, preheat your oven to 200C for atleast 15 – 20 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Once the dough it chilled, take it out and roll it out to 15 inch circle. Transfer the pastry to the baking sheet.
  • Now place the chopped onion on the rolled out pastry dough keeping around 2 – 2.5 inch gap from the edges.
  • Take half of the feta crumble and sprinkle it over the onion layer. Sprinkle some salt and pepper too.
  • Now layer it with whole cherry tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes or a mix of both. Sprinkle the remaining crumbled feta on top.
  • Fold the edges over the tomatoes gently or make pleats if necessary. Garnish it with a few leaves of basil.
  • Take the lightly beaten egg and using a pastry brush, brush on the folded edges which will give it a nice golden color.
  • Allow it to bake for 25 – 28 minutes at 200C or until golden crisp brown.
  • Once done, transfer it to a wire rack and allow it to cool. Make slices and serve!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Rajma Masala (Kidney Beans Curry)

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When I think about Indian comfort food, Rajma Chawal tops my list every time. I am not the kind of person who loves to eat Indian food everyday, but eating different cuisines and combinations each day, Rajma Chawal provides that brief hiatus where I go back to my roots, simple home style food where the magic of spices is unparalleled.

As a child mum used to make different versions of Rajma – sometimes without onion garlic, sometimes with a bit of cream and sometimes with potatoes in it. I enjoyed all these different varieties, but my favorite was the one which my friend used to get in her lunch. I remember gobbling down her entire lunch in school on days she got Rajma. I often tried to replicate her recipe, but failed each time. I think that it is the world’s best Rajma chawal and my friend refuses to share the recipe.

Each bite of this curry unveils the perfect blend of Indian spices. The melt in your mouth rajma (kidney beans) along with a flavorful onion-tomato gravy instantly can win anyone’s heart. Pair it with basic steamed rice, pickled onions and papad – quick and easy meals are sorted!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 3/4 cup uncooked rajma (kidney beans), soaked overnight
  • 1 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 – 5 -cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chili, cut lengthwise
  • 1 – 2 bay leaf
  • 4 – 5 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp rajma masala powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp  garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • pinch of baking soda (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped for garnishing
  • lemon wedges, to serve

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METHOD:

  • Drain the water from the overnight soaked kidney beans and transfer the beans to a pressure cooker. Add 3 1/2 cups of water, bit of salt and baking soda in the pressure cooker and close the lid. Allow the kidney beans to cook on medium flame for atleast 4 – 5 whistles. (You can let it cook for more whistles until the beans is tender and cooked).
  • Once the whistles are done, allow the steam to escape on its own. Take the rajma out and drain the liquid. Do not throw it away since we will use it later.
  • Meanwhile take the chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, garlic cloves and ginger and make a fine paste using a mixer grinder.
  • Put a sauce pan on medium flame. Add ghee. Once hot add the cumin seeds and allow it to crackle. Add the green chili, curry leaves and bay leaf and saute for 10 – 15 seconds.
  • Now add the tomato- onion paste and cook it on low flame. After a minute or so add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, half of rajma masala and let the mixture cook until all the moisture is evaporated. This will take about 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Once cooked add the cooked kidney beans along with the remaining rajma masala and give it a quick stir.
  • Add the rajma stock (and more water if you like it watery), cover it with a lid and bring the curry to boil.
  • Add kasuri methi and adjust for salt and spice levels and let it cook for another minute or so.
  • Now garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.

Enjoy!

Baby Spinach and Burst Cherry Pasta

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Pasta – Weeknights – Are you serious!? Welcome to the weeknight meal extravaganza. After a hectic day at work, enjoying a rustic bowl of pasta is pure bliss. For me pasta is my comfort food at any hour of the day. I must confess that I am not an everday roti-sabzi kind of girl. Perhaps that my go – to food when I am ill or have been eating out a lot. I must also confess that I get bored very easily eating the same food. The whole experience of enjoying my meal fades away.

Weekdays being hectic, dinner is always a challenge. I often resort to cooking a quick simple pasta loaded with goodness of herbs and veggies. There is something about pastas that makes you fall in love with it every single time. Rustic or fancy – you just fall in love with it. Cooking it (and then eating it, of course) is therapeutic! This Burst Cherry Pasta has become my recent favourite. It is simple with no frills and fancies. It delivers on deliciousness, simplicity and a beautiful play of colors. Garlicky, subtly spiced and loaded with freshess – weeknight meals sorted!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2  – 3 people)

  • 250 grams of uncooked whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 6 – 7 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 150 grams baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest (optional)
  • salt, to taste

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METHOD:

  • Put a pot of water on high heat. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, put the spaghetti in it with salt and let it cook on medium het until al dente.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200 C. In a bowl take the cherry tomatoes, 1.5 tbsp olive oil, salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper. Coat the cherry tomatoes generously and transfer it to the baking sheet.
  • Allow the cherry tomatoes to roast in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes until it starts to burst open.
  • Meanwhile if the pasta is cooked, drain the water and run it under cold water and keep aside.
  • Take a saucepan and put it on low heat. Take the remaining olive oil. Once its heated add the garlic and let it cook on low flame for a minute ot two. Now add the chilli flakes and saute for 30 – 40 seconds.
  • Once the cherry tomatoes are out of the oven, transfer it to the saucepan and saute for 40 seconds to a minute.
  • Now add the baby spinach and let it cook for a minute or 2 until its soft on medium flame.
  • Add the chopped basil leaves and stir in the mixture. Add the boiled pasta and saucte it for minute or 2.
  • Now add the salt, cream cheese and give the pasta a quick mix.
  • Add in lemon zest, toss it , garnish with basil leaves and serve.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rainbow Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

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The start of October means the start of festivals all across India. There is an aura of happiness and wafting aroma of excellent food everywhere. I indulge to my hearts content, however I try to reset my day by eating something healthy, atleast one meal a day. The idea of eating healthy and delicious food got me to make this Rainbow Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette. It was inspired by a salad I ate at Yoga Cafe in Mumbai – simply soul satisfying!

This Rainbow Salad is indeed a treasure trove of the freshest fruits and vegetables that I picked up from a local grocery store. The vibrant colors and textures of the ingredients, makes it a picturesque plate of food where you want to dig in. The crispiness from the home grown lettuce leaves to the fresh explosion of pomegranate pearls and orange segments is blissful. The alfalfa sprouts ornate the dish beautifully and add a nice earthy feeling to it. While the tomatoes add the juiceness to the dish, the smokiness comes from the char grilled peppers. Assimilating these ingredients might be time consuming at times however the outcome is great too. The feta cheese (one of my favorite cheese) adds the creaminess to the powerhouse salad and all this is well brought together with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Remember to drizzle the dressing right before you eat it.

Yes, I am a salad person but I get bored eating the same salads again and again. However this is one salad where you can experiment with different ingredients – add some, delete some and never get bored. Eat this colorful salad, eat healthy, stay healthy!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

For the salad:

  • 25 grams of Alfalfa sprouts
  • 10 – 11 pieces lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 6 orange segments, deseeded
  • 1 medium sized red pepper
  • 1 big tomato, deseeded and cut lengthwise
  • 40 grams feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 10 pieces toasted walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Chili Flakes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 6 mint leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

  • For the dressing, mix all the ingredients in a glass jar/container. Shake well and keep it in the refrigerator for atleast 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile brush the red pepper generously with olive oil and keep it on a naked flame so that it chars. Turn the side every 2 minutes to get a even char on the red pepper.
  • Once its grilled, put it in a bowl with cold water. Peel the skin and cut it into thin strips and keep aside.
  • Take a bowl or a platter, place the lettuce leaves. Randomly place half the grilled peppers and tomatoes on the leaves.
  • Now scatter the alfalfa sprouts and the remaining tomatoes and bell peppers.
  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds, orange segments and feta cheese cubes.
  • Right before eating drizzle the vinaigrette, toss it and enjoy the salad.

Stay healthy, stay happy!

 

 

 

Matar Paneer Ki Sabzi

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An Indian meal without a paneer curry seems almost incomplete. Be it paneer makhni, kadhai paneer, paneer bhurji or paneer tikka, each variation of paneer is mouthwatering. There is a plethora of recipes of paneer and each one loves the recipe most commonly cooked at their homes. Among the gazillion versions that I have tried, this easy paneer makhni recipe is my favorite.

Any special occasion at home, my mum used to cook paneer since we all loved it. With birthdays and anniversaries being special occasions in one’s life, mum never forgot to make each one’s favorite paneer recipe. It was a quintessential birthday dish! The mildly spiced curry, the creaminess from the cashew nuts, the earthiness from the peas and the softness from the cottage cheese makes this dish so comforting and sumptuous. It is aromatic, luscious and so vibrant in its color that you just can’t stop with one serving. Have it with parathas or rice, you will go back for more.

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RECIPES

INGREDIENTS: (For 2-3 people)

  • 3 tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 1/4 cup broken cashew nuts, soaked in water for 15 minutes
  • 200 grams cottage cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup peas, boiled
  • 1 green chili, split length wise
  • 1 small mace
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 5 tbsp whole milk
  • 2 tsp kasuri methi
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander leaves, for garnishing

METHOD:

  • Drain the water from the cashew nuts. In a mixer grinder add the cashew nuts, green chili, tomatoes, mace and ginger and grind it until they form a smooth paste.
  • Heat the saucepan and add ghee. Once its heated add the the cumin seeds. Let it crackle. Add the bay leaf and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomato – cashew paste made earlier and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Now add the turmeric powder and half the red chili powder and allow the mixture to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add salt, remaining red chili powder and garam masala and cook the mixture for another 2 – 3 minutes on medium heat.
  • Once the masalas and mixture is cooked properly add the paneer cubes and boiled peas and let it cook for 3 -4 minutes.
  • Add whole milk and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Now add half the kasuri methi and allow the curry to cook for 5 minutes so that all the flavors are well infused into the paneer.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and the remaining kasuri methi and serve the curry hot with parathas or rice.

Enjoy!

Pearl Barley Salad with Lemon- Honey Vinaigrette

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This oh-so-delicious salad is wholesome and packed with so much flavor. It’s become my absolute favorite since it requires nothing exotic. Its full of ingredients that is always available in our pantry.  The crunch from the veggies, the freshness from the fruits and the zing from the vinaigrette makes you want to go back for more.

Certain ingredients have such strong memories (not good ones!) attached to them that it becomes so difficult to get over it. One such ingredient is pearl barley. As a kid my mum used to give me barley water since it boosted your immunity and kept fever at bay. I hated the sight of it. And suddenly times have changed. Being a mum myself, I wanted to introduce barley to my son but definitely not the way I had it. I wanted it to be more interesting, colorful and appealing. I was contemplating between a barley soup versus barley salad. Seeing a whole array of fresh produce in my fridge I had to toss up a salad. My husband, my lil one and me – we all loved it. I keep making iterations to this recipe and its simply amazing. Its vibrant, its fresh and its delicious.

So when you face time crunch and yet want to eat something interesting, this is the recipe to fall upon. Be healthy, be happy – keep enjoying this salad!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

For the salad:

  • 1 cup cooked barley
  • 1 raw mango, diced into small cubes
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 large tomato, cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberry, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 3 orange segments for garnishing (optional)

For the dressing:

  • juice of 1 1/2 medium sized lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

  • In a glass jar/bottle combine lemon juice, olive oil, honey, dried mint, lemon zest, salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Put the lid and give it a good shake until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Place it in the fridge for atleast 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, take a cooking brush and brush olive oil on the red bell pepper. Put it to roast on the gas flame.
  • Make sure all the sides are well charred. Once that is done, remove it from the flame and put it in a bowl filled with ice water.
  • Deseed it, remove the skin partially and chop it into small cubes, similar to how the other ingredients have been chopped.
  • In a bowl combine diced raw mango, red bell pepper, tomatoes, basil leaves, cranberry and 1/2 toasted pine nuts and keep aside.
  • Take the serving plate, put a generous amount of pearl barley in the center. Place the vegetable and fruit mixture on top. Garnish it with toasted pine nuts.
  • Just before serving, take out the dressing from the fridge, give it a good shake and drizzle it over the salad and dig in!

Enjoy!

My mum’s favorite – Homemade Pizza

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This post and recipe is dedicated to my mum who has been a big inspiration for my cooking. She always encouraged me to try new things in the kitchen whenever I wanted to, taught me the basics and helped me at every step. She tasted some of the worst dishes I cooked just to teach me how to become better with each coming day. She has been my pillar of strength and support. Till date when I am confused what to cook with the ingredients in my kitchen or when things go wrong while cooking, she is just a call away to guide me. Thank you my super wo(MA)n. Thank you for blessing me always, teaching me the nuances of cooking and making me more confident each day as a cook, as a woman, as a wife and as a mother. You are my guiding star!

And now its time to show her how much have I grown in this journey. I know  you love pizzas, not the ones in the Italian restaurants or the ones that is home delivered, but the ones that is made and baked in the home kitchen. I am not with you on this mother’s day but through this post I am virtually going to be with you. Hope you enjoy and like it.

Keep this recipe up your sleeve since it requires absolutely no effort to make it. It does not require any exotic ingredient. The freshness from the basic ingredients is the key to this recipe. So as I celebrate this mother’s day baking some yummylicious pizza, surprise your mom with this homemade delicious pizza.

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RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS: (For one  8″ pizza base)

  • 1 eight inch ready pizza base (you can use whole wheat option too)
  • 1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large capsicum, julienned
  • 1/2 large yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 tomato, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup boiled sweet corn kernels
  • 1 large Jalepeno, cut into thick slices
  • 10 – 12 olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree (you can also make fresh tomato puree)
  • 3 -4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3/4 cup processed cheese, grated (I used Amul processed cheese)
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes (you can adjust this depending on how spicy you want)
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • few fresh basil leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

METHOD:

  • In a saucepan, take some olive oil and once heated nicely add chilli flakes and sauté for a minute or two.
  • Now add in the sliced onion and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Just before the onions begins to turn translucent, add capsicum and bell peppers and mix it well.
  • When the vegetables are semi cooked (around 50%) cooked, add sweet corn kernels and tomato strips. Mix all the veggies well.
  • Now add oregano powder, 3 tbsp tomato ketchup and salt. Mix it well with the veggies. Be gentle and do not mush the vegetables.
  • Add in the salt and 1/2 rd cup of processed cheese and mix well.
  • Quickly add the olives and jalepenos , and within 2 – 3 minutes take the entire of the stove.
  • Make sure to preheat the oven at 250 C (that is the max my oven allows) for atleast 10 to 12 minutes. (In case you can crank up further, try to heat it up to 275C – 280C )
  • In a bowl add the tomato puree, crushed garlic, remaining tomato ketchup, a pinch of salt and a pinch of freshly grounded black pepper. Mix it well and spread it on the pizza base.
  • Evenly spread the topping mixture prepared earlier. (Make sure that the veggies are not completely cooked while preparing the mixture. They should be 75% cooked)
  • Combine the processed cheese and mozzarella cheese in a bowl and spread it over the pizza generously.
  • Put it to bake for around 12 – 15 minutes. Once baked, take it out cut it with a pizza cutter, garnish it with some torn basil leaves and your pizza is ready to eat.

Enjoy!