Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Yeast Free Wholemeal bread

This was not my first attempt to make bread at home. The previous experiments were not very pleasant.. I am not sure what went wrong. Lately R and me have started experiencing trouble eating foodstuff with yeast especially bread i.e store-bought... Having said that I always crave for a toast still. So I was planning to try baking bread but without any yeast.

This one surprised me with the taste and aroma... R really liked it and most of all he could eat it without having to worry about the untoward side effects of eating usual bread. It was such a hearty yummy bread that we enjoyed it just as it was, with soups and for breakfast. R kept on saying that this was the BEST BREAD that he EVER ATE...  which was THE VERDICT for me because he is a very honest customer...

It took me 40 minutes totally to bake this bread. I added some seeds and extra virgin olive oil. I am going to try olive bread, sundried tomato bread and honey nut bread in the coming weeks...


Wholemeal bread flour - 3 cups
Baking powder - 4 tsps
Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
Water - 1 1/2 cups
Milk - 2 tbsps
Mixed seeds (Optional)
Salt - 1 tsp


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degC.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.
  3. Add the seeds.
  4. Add water, oil and milk. Use your judgement to achieve the correct consistency. Dont add everything at once. See if you need more or less liquid and add accordingly.
  5. Mix everything together with hands and knead into a firm, moist but not sticky dough. (pretty much like chapathi dough but a bit more moister than that)
  6. I made it into 2 round loafs but you can use your imagination. You could even use a loaf tin.
  7. Bake it in the oven at 180 - 200 degC for about 30 minutes.
  8. To check, turn the loaf upside down (be careful not to burn your fingers) and tap it firmly. If you get a hollow sound.

Dont go by the looks... You have to taste it to believe it... :)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Saffron Semolina Cake

This was my best experience. Baking this cake has been on my mind since many days... I have a big bag of very very fine semolina... making upma with that turns out like a lumpy porridge... the only options with that semolina are idlis or dosas... I thought I would try using it in a cake instead. Initially I was not very sure about the semolina getting cooked properly but eventually it all turned out into a yummy scrummy delicious cake.

As usual there is no butter in this recipe. I used sunflower oil (thought olive oil would not go with the flavour of saffron here) and a tablespoon of semi skimmed milk. I would love to experiment adding some  dry fruits (like dates, raisins etc) though but this time I just made it plain... believe me.. it tasted heavenly...

This cake had such a nice texture from the cooked semolina and a sweet aroma from the saffron. Since this was the first time I was making this cake I made a small quantity in a loaf pan but this would make a perfect breakfast if made in a square or even round cake tin.

I could not just stop taking photos of this lovely looking cake..

okay.. this is how I made the cake...


Very fine semolina - 1 cup
Wholewheat flour - 1/2 cup
Egg - 1
Sunflower Oil - 1/2 cup
Milk - 2 tbsps - warm
Saffron - 2 pinches
Baking Powder - 2 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 cup - Preferably white so that the color of saffron stands out


  1. Grease the loaf tin with little bit of oil.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degC.
  3. In the warm milk soak the saffron until the batter is ready.
  4. In a large bowl whisk the egg, oil and sugar and beat them nicely.
  5. Mix the semolina and flour in a separate bowl with the baking powder.
  6. Once this is done, mash the saffron strands well in the milk and add the whole thing into the wet mixture.
  7. Add the flours and mix well. If the consistency is too thick you could add some milk.
  8. Pour the batter into the cake tin/loaf tin and bake it in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes (but do check it often). Mine got perfectly baked in 30 minutes. 
  9. Test the cake with a knife or a skewer and remove it from the oven when done.
  10. Release the ends with a knife, place the cake on a plate, let it cool down before you cut it. 

Enjoy every bite... :)

Friday, 17 September 2010

Pasta with balsamic roasted vegetables

I got a gift on my birthday from my friend. It was a goodie basket filled with Italian foodstuff. It had Jamie Oliver's pesto, Filipo Berio Olive oil, Some marinated olives, Jamie Oliver bronze fusili, Biscottis and a bottle of balsamic vinegar.

I was very keen on using this vinegar for roasting rather than using in salad dressings. I had some butternut squash in the fridge and one zucchini... So the menu was balsamic roasted vegetables that I tossed with some pasta and it was so yummy that we thought we will make it again and again..

I also added some onions, garlic and tomato in the roasting pan and it was such a nice blend with the pasta...

Here is how I made it.


Butternut squash - 3 cups - cubed
Zucchini - 1 - cubed
Onions - 2 - quartered
Tomatoes - 2 - quartered
Garlic - 6 pods - minced
Balsamic Vinegar - good 4 tbsps
Olive oil - 2 tbsps
Salt and pepper
Wholewheat pasta - 100g


In a big broad bowl place all the veggies.
Mix the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and give it a good mix.
Toss all these into a baking tray and roast in the oven at 200degC for about 30 - 35 minutes.
Cook the pasta al dente.
Once done mix the roasted veggies and pasta, top it with a tbsp of olive oil and toss well.
Sprinkle some cheese on top if you like.. I prefer parmesan but I didnt have it to hand, so we used some mozzarella... :)
Serve it up in large bowls for a satisfying, healthy dinner....

Sunday, 12 September 2010

A New Venture - Wholewheat Nut and Seed Biscotti

I am a great fan of Heidi Swanson - her website 101 cookbooks (link in My Favourite Bloggers) is filled with healthy, easy and quick recipes. Most of them are vegetarian, which is good for me. She uses less butter/oil, wholegrains, lower fat ingredients but still turns out yummy, mouthwatering dishes.

I have never baked biscotti before. I have been having this in my mind since many days and was researching on healthy recipes for baking biscotti. I had a couple bookmarked but this one at Heidi's website was very tempting as it uses NO BUTTER at all. We had a relaxing day and in the evening I just thought I will bake something while my baby was enjoying his dad-time.

I followed her recipe but did some minor tweaks. Her recipe calls for a pinch of salt which I didnt put as I wasn't sure how that would taste. Also I mixed 1/4 cup olive oil in the batter.


Wholewheat flour - 1 1/2 cup
Mixed nuts and seeds - I used Pistachios, Pecans, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds and Sesame seeds
Muscavado Sugar - 1/2 cup
Extra virgin Olive oil - 1/4 cup
Eggs - 2


Preheat the oven to 150 degC.
In a dry pan roast the nuts and seeds until you get a nice aroma - make sure you add sesame seed at the very end. Once they are a bit cool, chop them roughly.
In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar and olive oil. Reserve a couple tsp of olive oil for later.
Mix the chopped nuts with the wheatflour first.
Add the whole dry mixture into the wet mixture and mix.
The dough will be very tight. Pack it into a greased bread loaf pan tightly.
Bake until the loaf is cooked. Mine took about 30 minutes.
Take the loaf out of the oven and turn the heat on to 200 degC.
Run a knife along the edges of the loaf to release it and turn it out onto a clean chopping board.
Using a serrated knife slice the loaf into 1/4 inch pieces. The thinner the better.
Arrange them onto the baking sheet, spray/brush with some olive oil and bake it again for 5 minutes.
Flip the biscottis, apply some olive oil on the other side and bake for 5 minutes.

These crispy and crunchy biscottis tasted so good especially dunk in some good hot coffee. A nice and healthy snack...

I will try out the other biscotti recipes also soon. But for now... I am very pleased about my very first biscotti baking experience.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Warm and hearty lentils and lettuce soup

How many times have you felt so tired but still wanted to relish some comforting, easy-to-make, warm dinner? Well... these days it happens to us a lot... That too on weekends after a day's outing, putting the baby to sleep and then... the last thing I want to do is to stand in the kitchen for an hour to roll out rotis... This soup is perfect for such times. 

I would rather not serve it as a starter because I think this is so filling and satisfying that there would be no chance for the main meals. This is a complete meal in itself. With the warmth of the red lentils, I added half a head of iceberg lettuce, I was quite surprised by the taste it brought out. 

The croutons (they were so big that they covered the whole soup bowl.. the soup rather looks like a crouton soup) were store-bought but still they were baked not fried. A sprinkle of half fat mozzarella (if you like) or parmesan would be an added burst of flavour. These red lentils are so easy to cook and they take only 10 minutes or so to get well cooked.

This is how I made the soup:


Red Lentils - 1 cup (serves 2)
Iceberg Lettuce - half a head
Onions - 1 medium
Garlic - 3 cloves
Vegetable Stock - Optional (you could use water)
Tomato - 1 (if you are using a puree then add just 2 tsp)
Salt and pepper 
Mozzarella or Parmesan

Easy-Peasy method

Heat up some olive oil in a deep pan and saute the onions and garlic until they are cooked.
Add the tomatoes and give it a stir for 2 minutes.
Wash and add the lentils.
Add vegetable stock or water and bring it up to a boil.
After 10 minutes check the lentils and add the lettuce leaves and turn off the heat. 
After 2 minutes, with a hand blender or in a mixie, blend everything together. 
Serve in big bowls with croutons and cheese if you like. 
Dont forget the freshly ground black pepper... 

Slurp... Enjoy a healthy dinner/lunch.. :)

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Hazelnut Mocha Cake

You must be wondering what is healthy in it!!! Well... read on to find out how! Healthy eating does not mean all soups and salads. Sometimes you also can satisfy your sweet tooth while taking care that it does not make you deviate from the healthy eating path :) This recipe does not need any butter.

This is a very easy-peasy cake and utterly delicious. Initially when I heard the name I thought this must be something very complex but I made things simple. This thought just flashed suddenly in my mind on one afternoon when putting my baby to sleep. When I checked my food cupboard I had everything that I needed. There was no reason to wait.

As usual I made this with wholewheat flour.. I used nutella (it has hazelnuts and chocolate) and instant coffee granules.. so there you go.. hazelnut mocha (coffee and chocolate) cake... It was so yummy and such a great accompaniment at tea-time or as a dessert after dinner.

Here is how I made the cake.


Wholewheat flour - 2 cups
Nutella - generous 2 tbsps
Muscavado Sugar - 1/2 cup - Nutella has all the subtle sweetness you need so you wont need that much sugar
Vegetable Oil - 1/2 cup
Eggs - 2
Instant Coffee granules - 4 tsp (dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water and cooled)
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Roasted chopped hazelnuts - Optional - 1/4 cup - I didn't have any in my cupboard but you could use it.


Preheat the oven to 180 deg C
Butter the cake tin and keep it ready.
In a large bowl beat the eggs well.
Add the sugar and oil and beat until they are well mixed.
Add the dissolved coffee and the nutella and beat again.
If you are using chopped hazelnuts add them to the wheatflour and mix them.
Now add the flour, baking powder to the egg mixture and mix them.

Tip the whole mixture into the cake tin and bake it for about 45 minutes. Check the cake with a tester or a clean dry knife for doneness.

Dig in...

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Steamed parcels of goodness.. Rava Idlis...

I have always had problems with making traditional (urad dal/rice) idlis, fermentation being the most difficult part. Lately, I had mastered that also by using the oven. The idlis used to turn out perfect, fluffy and well cooked. Who would want to resist these yummy goodies dunked in sambar and chutney... not to mention the hot fresh coffee to accompany it... :)

Given all the yummy points about traditional idli, when you run short of time and/or energy, this one is a perfect breakfast/lunch/dinner option. You can make them in a jiffy, they are absolutely healthy since they are steamed and I also added a vegetable to it.

Here is how I made them... The quantity given below made 12 idlis.


Rava (Sooji) - 1 1/2 cups
Carrot - 1 - Grated - You can use chopped green beans, grated zucchini, finely shredded cabbage anything...
Green Chilli - 2 - finely minced.
Coriander - Finely chopped - a handful
Yogurt - 1 1/2 cups
Salt - to taste
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Channa dal - 1/2 tsp
Hing - 1 pinch


Heat up some oil and when hot, add mustard seeds to pop.

Add the channa dal and hing and let the dal turn golden brown.

Add the rava and roast until the rava is well cooked. (If you store roasted rava this is even faster)

Once well mixed, remove from heat and add the grated carrots, chopped coriander, minced green chillies, salt and the yogurt, mix it all together.

If the mixture is very dry-ish, add some room temperature water to loosen it up. Basically we are trying to get the idli batter consistency here. Adding more yogurt is also fine. Use your judgement.

Leave the mix alone for 15 minutes.

Apply some oil on the idli moulds, Spoon the mix in them and steam for 8 - 10 minutes. But do check at 6 minutes because mine was done in 6 minutes (I used a microwave idli maker and my microwave is a bit too powerful).

Enjoy with some sambar, chutney or just as it is with some coffee. We found hummus goes well with these too...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Penne pasta bake with butternut squash

It was just a couple of months ago that I realised how tasty this squash can be when used in pasta. I used to make usual Indian curry with this vegetable which used to turn even the spiciest curry into a sweet one... I even tried it with some coconut milk gravy but the taste was not very good.

I watched Giada using this in a pasta dish which really was looking very interesting. This vegetable is so healthy as it is rich in beta carotene... also many other vitamins and minerals... above all this cooks in a jiffy... just as the pasta cooks the sauce will be ready.. which works out for me just right.. These days I have started making one-pot dishes more frequently as I want to spend the precious evenings with my baby and husband for a family walk or at the park rather than in the kitchen making traditional meals..

Will tell you about a secret in a while.. before that.. here is how I made this


Wholewheat Penne - 250 g (Serves 4)
Butternut Squash - Peeled and diced - 3 cups
Onion - 1
Tomato - 4 ( I used canned tomatoes and they had some basil added to it which was very nice but this is optional)
Garlic - 3 to 5 pods
Reduced fat Cheddar or Reduced fat Mozzarella - 250 g - Grated
Salt and pepper - to taste
Italian Seasoning - Optional


Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until they are just cooked but have a bite.

In the meantime saute the onions and garlic in olive oil. Add crushed black pepper.

When the onions are translucent add the tomatoes and cook for a minute until they give out the juices and turn mushy. If you are using canned tomatoes, just give it a minute to cook and bubble away..

Add the squash cubes along with a big ladleful of pasta cooking water.

Mix, cover and cook for 5 minutes until the squash is tender. Add salt to taste and some crushed black pepper.

Using a potato masher, mash the squash to form a nice and chunky sauce. Add the Italian seasoning if you are using.

Strain the cooked pasta and add it to the sauce.


You can actually mix the cheese into the sauce and pasta and then transfer them to baking dish but I did it this way.. (just this time) You can even make a more cheesy sauce - Simple- Add 2 tbsp of wholewheat flour to the pan after mashing the squash. Once well mixed add a cup of semi skimmed milk and whisk thoroughly. Add the cheese and remove the pan from fire to let the cheese melt slowly before adding the pasta.

In a baking dish place half of the pasta mixture. Top it with a half of cheese (if you are not making cheesy sauce) and repeat the layers and sprinkle with the remaining cheese over the top. Make sure you have enough cheese on the top to cover the whole baking dish to make it decadent and mouth-watering..

Bake this in a preheated oven (200 deg C) until the cheese is melted on the top and is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling nicely. Enjoy the sizzling sound while the dish comes out from the oven...

We enjoyed this yummy pasta with a glass of juice... :)

Now for the secret: I actually mixed the left over mixed veg curry into the sauce which gave it a great twist in flavour... But make sure you plan these things before starting to make this dish so that you can adjust the salt and spice level in the pasta. :)

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

A Warm Welcome with a blueberry cake...

Hi Everyone! Thanks for visiting my blog.

I look forward to a fabulous time here sharing a few of my culinary experiments inspired by other bloggers, TV programmes and personal eating out experiences.

I must confess that my knowledge in cooking is very very basic and it is only recently that I have started to get my hands wet in baking... Some of my close friends know what were the outcomes of a few of my cakes, cookies when I started baking.... but with time and with the mistakes I am learning

A very warm welcome with a cake I baked today! Blueberry cake... As the title of blog goes... a healthier version of the cake. I am very health conscious and I try to substitute healthier alternatives in any recipe to make it a bit guilt-free...

I dont have many gadgets in my kitchen except the basic things... but I dont think that stops me from doing what I want...

The cake came out really good... Though I was a bit worried that the batter was not that loose as I wanted it to be, the cake was so moist and perfectly cooked... may be because of the blueberries.. they burst and released the juices which kept the cake perfectly moist and yummy...

Here is how I made the cake:


Wholewheat flour - 2 cups
Blueberries - 100 grams
Eggs - 2
Baking Powder - 2 tsp
Caster Sugar - 1 cup (I like my cake not-too-sweet, You can put a half cup more if you like it sweeter)
Mixed seeds - Optional - a handful (I had a pack of mixed seeds and I used them up)
Butter - 1 tsp
Sunflower Oil - 1/2 cup
Orange Juice - a little


Preheat the oven to 180 deg centigrade.

Break the eggs into a bix mixing bowl.
Beat them until the yolks break and everything is mixed and light yellow in colour.
Add the sugar and beat well.
Add the butter and give another round of whisking. You will find small bits of butter but dont worry they all sort themselves out in the oven.
Now add the oil, orange juice and mix.

Mix the baking powder to the flour nicely.
Add the blueberries and seeds to the flour.
Add everything to the wet mixture.
Give a final mix thoroughly and tranfer the contents into a buttered cake tin.

Bake the cake for 40 - 45 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.

Best made at tea time to see the cake disappear in minutes.