A Plum post!

The thing that I like most about summers is the bounty of colorful fruits that it offers. Not just mangoes but Jamuns, Litchis,peaches apricots, cherries, plums we have been savoring them all! The lad is a fresh fruit lover and loves snacking on them. The little lady of our house on the other hand is a mango addict but refuses to eat any other fruit. The only way to feed her fruits other than mangoes and bananas is to sneak them in shakes or smoothies.

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The gorgeous weather (yes finally it’s raining here!) has increased the frequency of the kids’ hunger pangs. That also means my mind is constantly thinking of recipes to satiate the ever hungry kids with ‘different’ yet wholesome food. (I wonder how my mother managed when we were growing up?)

Litchis went into salads and Granitas when it was warmer. Peaches/apricots in crisps and parfaits.

Plums  were a bit tricky to sneak in -since the boy loves tart fruits but no sweets for him. The daughter wont eat tart fruits but loved her sweets.

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I had some leftover coconut milk from a Thai curry made earlier. On a whim I decided to make Sol Kadhi sans the Sol-The kokum. So you can call this ‘Plum Kadhi’ instead. The end result was as appetizing as the quintessential Maharashtrian favourite Sol Kadhi (have blogged about it here earlier).

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Plum Kadhi recipe

Makes ~ 4 cups

Ingredients

1  1/2  cups Coconut milk

~ 2  1/2 cups water

2 Plums pitted and chopped

¼ tsp green chilli paste

¼ tsp garlic paste

Black Salt to taste

Cumin powder and coriander or mint leaves for garnishing

Method

Blend all the ingredients except cumin and coriander/mint leaves together.

Chill and Garnish with cumin powder/coriander/mint leaves.

 

To satisfy the little on I made Plum Karanji-handpies. I chose to bake instead of deep fry the local favourite sweet Karanji with a Plum twist. A  layered cover (also called as Satha/Sathyachya karanjya in Marathi) wherein I substituted half the quantity of  all purpose flour with whole wheat flour and filled it with a sweet and sour plum filling. The end result was a stunning (specially when cut), crisp karanji with an unsual  sweet -sour  taste- almost a cross between a karanji and a hand pie and hence they are Plum Karanji-handpies !

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Plum Karanji recipe

Makes ~ 6 Karanjis

Ingredients

For the cover

¾ cup All purpose flour

¾ cup Whole wheat flour

3 tsp fine semolina

4 tbsp ghee melted

2 tsp icing sugar

Pinch of salt

~ ½ cup milk or enough to knead a tight dough

 For the filling

7-8 Crisp plums, pitted and chopped

3 tbsp scrapped fresh coconut

2 tbsp crushed/powdered cashewnuts

¼ tsp clove powder

¼ tsp cinnamon powder

~ 6 tbsp powdered jaggery (or to taste)

 For layering

4 tsp ghee

2 tsp Cornflour

Cinnamon sugar for dusting (optional)

Method:

For the filling:

In a pan add the plum, coconut and jaggery. Cook on a low flame  till the liquid evaporates (~ 4-5 minutes)

Add the cashewnut powder and the spices.

Mix well and cool completely.

 For the layering mixture:

Whisk the ghee  a few times till it becomes fluffy.

Add cornflour and whisk again.

 For the Cover

In the bowl of the food processor add all the cover ingredients except the milk. Pulse 1-2 times

Add the milk slowly till a firm dough is formed. Knead into a ball.

Cover and keep aside for half an hour.

Halfway through the waiting time heat the oven to 180 deg C.

After half hour, cut the dough into 4 equal parts.

Form a ball of 1 dough piece and roll out into a thin circular disc ~ 6 inch diameter

Keep aside, covered.

Roll out the 2nd dough ball to a thin circular disc like a chapati.

Spread about a tsp of the ghee cornflour mixture evenly on the rolled out dough.

Cover this with the rolled out chapatti no 1.

Repeat the with the 3rd and 4th dough ball. Total you have 4 rolled out chapatti like discs layered with the ghee-cornflour mixture.

Put a tsp of the cornflour-ghee mixture on top of the 4th layer.

Make a tight roll of the layered chapattis, like a Swiss roll.

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Trim both the edges and cut the rest of the roll into 6 pieces approximately 1 inch each.

Cover the other cut pieces till you roll out and fill the first one

With the cut side down roll out each piece into a circle like a poori

Place 1 tsp of the plum filling in the centre of the poori

Cover one side of the poori with the other into a semicircle-karanji shape.

Seal the ends using a fork or a fluted cutter

Place on a greased baking tray and bake till golden in color (~ 15 mins)

Dust with Cinnamon sugar mixture (optional)

Serve hot

 

With just 10 days to go for the first Indian Food Bloggers Meet ,the IFBM FB page is abuzz with all the upcoming excitement.There are several contests for participating bloggers being held as a run-up to the actual meet.

I am sending the ‘Plum Kadhi‘ and the ‘Plum Karanji Handpies‘ to the KitchenAid Plum contest

July 22, 2014 at 9:54 pm Leave a comment

The Indian Food Bloggers Meet! Have you registered yet?

This August the Blog and I celebrate 8 delicious years of Food blogging! I started the blog as a journal to document my grandmother’s / Mother’s / Mother-in-law’s recipes. What started 8 years ago as just another hobby, is now a very passionate and important part of my life. From a few thousand Food bloggers around the world then to thousands now I have seen the blogosphere grow day by day.

The one common thread that bonds all food bloggers together is sharing recipes and appreciating good food . Through this sharing and interactions I have made ‘Friends’ all across India and the globe. Most of my ‘friends’ I have never actually met in real life, but I ‘meet’ them often virtually, so much so that I know what’s cooking in their Kitchen.

Any trip to any place in India or abroad, I first try and find out if I ‘know’ any blogger there.I had the opportunity to meet Indira of Mahanandi (my inspiration in a sense to start blogging), when I visited Sugarland in 2011. The same year I met Suvarna another blogger, on another work trip to Singapore. On a family vacation to Goa I briefly met Aparna…and there are so many more bloggers whom I have actually wanted to meet!IFBmeet

4 other passionate bloggers, Arundati (Escapades) and Aparna (My Diverse Kitchen), Revati (Hungry & Excited) and Nandita (Saffron Trail) were thinking on similar lines. The only difference is that they did not just think but they put their thoughts into action! They decided  to organize an event to bring together food bloggers from across India at one venue so that they can interact with others in the community who enjoy food and blogging about it- The Indian Food Bloggers meet (IFBmeet), the first of its kind in India! Thank you Arundati,Aparna,Revati & Nandita for the initiative and making this happen.

As you can guess I have been excited since even the announcement about the IFBmeet was made. I registered myself the day they started taking registrations, which by the way CLOSE ON 15th JULY- so hurry if you haven’t done that already. Details on the IFBmeet blog here

Why go to the IFBmeet?

Apart from meeting food bloggers, the event promises some very interesting and inspiring sessions by some of the very well known faces in the blogosphere. A quick pre-cap of the events:

Food Styling:Deeba from Passionate about baking- the person behind those gorgeous food photos, will be sharing her tips and tricks about food styling.

Food Photography:Aparna of My D iverse Kitchen ,food photographer par excellence, will share some basic and simple principles of food photography and how to shoot better looking pictures.

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Food Writing: After the successful release of her first cookbook, A Pinch of This, A Handful of That, the well known Rushina, food consultant, food writer, food stylist,will be talk  about how to make every blog post compelling and the kind that will be memorable in your reader’s minds

Cookbook Publishing: Aparna Jain, author of the recently-published book, The Sood Family Cookbook, will share her journey from self-published author to cookbook writer, telling you how you can make it happen too.

Social media for food bloggers: In this day and age where social media plays such an important part in helping bloggers reach a wider audience, you need to be aware about the best social media tools out there, how you can use them and harness their potential to take your food blog to the next level.Experts Ashsish Verma and my blogger ‘friend’ of many years Nandita of Saffron Trail will demystify and simplify the concepts for us.

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Beyond blogging: I am currently at a cross road where one of the roads points me to take my passion to the next level and hence this session is something that I am specially looking forward to. There will be a panel discussion that brings  bloggers Sanjeeta, Ranjini & Ruchira, Harini -from various backgrounds to one common table. Each of these bloggers have successfully taken their passion for food and blogging to the next level by branching out into a unique and niche field

That’s not all-A Kitchen Aid masterclass,an exclusive book launch and a wine tasting and other such events await you at the IFBmeet.

..and the return gift? Apart from the shared knowlegde and strengthened bonds you will also take home a generous‘Goodie bag’ with goodies from Freedom tree, paperboat, Harper Collins,Picgravy, The baking company,Cremica,Soulful.

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So yet again, if you haven’t registered for the IFBmeet, do it now! To register check the details here or on the IFBmeet FB page here

Indian Food Bloggers Meet,

Date: August 1st and 2nd 2014

Venue: Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park

SEE YOU THERE!

(All above photos are taken from the IFBmeet blog.)

 

July 11, 2014 at 9:50 pm 7 comments

Back to blogging with Petit Pains Au lait

‘Get back to blogging’- That’s what I have been telling myself for a long long time. Easier said than done though! It has taken me the longest time to get back to my little space here.

A lot has changed since I last shared my thoughts on My Foodcourt – giving up my full time job being the most significant of those changes. A few early health scares made me take this very important decision of my life. From a full time working mother, I have now gone on to become a budding enterprenuer! Early in 2014 I started my dream venture -Lavender & Basil. Apart from making customized celebration cakes (mostly the non-fondant types), on popular demand we have also been conducting a few baking/dessert workshops at Lavender & Basil. This dream venture is still in its nascent stage, since I am still dabbling into different culinary avenues, before I actually decide what I am most comfortable with.

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The blog had moved to another virtual space, but unfortunately there are some technical issues there, which will take quite a while to get sorted out . I will be posting here till that happens.

One thing that has been constant, while all these major changes were happening is –my love for Food! I have had plenty of time to try out new recipes.I have posting all my trials here on My Foodcourt’s FB page take a look if you haven’t already.

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Also I would like to thank all of you, who have messaged and mailed me during my hiatus to ask me if everything was ok. Thank you! It is your support and love that made me get back here!Also all the pending recipe requests will be soon posted here.

I am currently on a home baked bread bandwagon. From pav’s to pizza rolls to Pitas, I have been baking them all! We knead to bake is now into its 17th month      (I have missed many though)

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This month Aparna wanted us to bake a very Elegant looking French bread-Petit Pains Au lait . In her words ‘The dough for Pains au Lait is slightly rich but not as rich as brioche dough.’ The kids loved the pretty looking mildly sweet, flaky bread. They just allowed me to take a few photos and it just vanished :)

Thank you Aparna for such a fabulous bread and bringing such lovely breads to us month after month.

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Here’s the recipe for Petit Pains Au lait (French Milk Bread/ Rolls)

(Adapted from Gourmet by Kat -http://gourmetbykat.blogspot.in/2013/10/pain-au-lait-milk-bread.html )

Makes: 10 Petit Pains au Lait.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup warm milk (you might need a little more;)

1 tsp instant yeast

1/4 cup sugar

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup bread flour (or use 2/3 tsp vital gluten+Maida to make it to ¾ cup)

1/4 tsp salt (I used salted butter, so skipped this)

60gm butter, soft at room temperature

Extra milk for brushing

Pearl sugar for topping (optional) –I used crushed sugar balls used for distributing for Sankrant)

Method:

In the bowl of your food processor (or knead with hands), put the warm milk, yeast and sugar. Pulse a couple of times to mix.

Then add all the flour and the salt and run the processor until it looks crumbly.

Add the butter and knead until you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough that’s not sticky.

Add a little more milk (in teaspoonful at a time), if your dough is dry, until you have the required consistency of dough.

Take out the dough on a flat working surface and knead for 2-3 mins.

Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place it in an oiled bowl, turning it over to coat with oil.

Cover loosely and set aside to rise until double in volume. This should take about 1 1/2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto your working surface. You shouldn’t need any flour, but if you feel the need, just lightly dust your palms with it.

Deflate the dough gently, and divide it into 10 equal pieces. Let them rest for 15 minutes.

Roll out each piece of dough, one at a time, into a circle about 4” in diameter.

Slowly roll up the circle from one end, Swiss roll/ jelly roll style into a cylinder.

Pinch the seam closed neatly, and place them on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet with the seam side facing down.

Cover loosely and let them rise for an hour or so till almost double in size.

Brush them lightly with milk and using a pair of sharp scissors, make diagonal cuts (not too deep) on the top of the rolls. Sprinkle pearl sugar/ granulated sugar.

Bake them at 200degC (400F) for about 15 minutes or so until they’re golden brown.

Cool on a rack.

Serve them warm or at room temperature with coffee or chilled flavoured milk, or at breakfast.

They’re best eaten the same day, though you could warm them up and serve the next day.

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May 31, 2014 at 6:38 pm 6 comments

We Knead to Bake #1 Pull Apart Bread

It’s been so long since a post appeared here on My Foodcourt. I have my hands full with many many different things and somehow the posts took a backseat. As far as the cooking is concerned, it has been exactly the opposite. The family has been relishing food from all over the globe! A pasta machine has been bought and we imagined ourselves sitting in a quaint little town in Italy while enjoying and savouring every bite of it :)

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One of the things I had decided (no resolution ) was to bake as many breads as possible.I even spent one evening showing one of my friends how to make basic bread rolls. Then I saw Aparna’s post on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to bake a bread-a-month with her. Baking is good..but baking together is best . I needed the motivation to post here as well as bake  and Baking bread together with so many bread bakers seemed the perfect opportunity.

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It has been almost freezing cold here for the past many days. So the yeast needed lots of coaxing to get to work . I preheated my oven to 40 deg and left the yeasted dough to rise in it which seemed to help.

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The first bread that Aparna chose was an egg free Pull apart bread.I followed the basic recipe that she had mailed everyone ; I went with some middle eastern flavours- Olives,Feta and Zaatar

Here’s the recipe for the Pull apart bread:

Ingredients:

 For the Dough:

1/2 cup warm milk

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp active dry yeast

2 3/4 to 3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

25gm butter, soft at room temperature

3/4 to 1 tsp garlic paste, I used powder

3/4 cup milk (+ a couple of tbsp to brush over the bread)

For the Filling:

15 to 20gm melted butter

3 tsp Zaatar

1 tsp crushed cumin seeds

Red chilli flakes to taste

1/2 cup crumbled Feta

Handful of Chopped black olives

Method:

In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up.

Put 2 3/4 cup of flour, salt, softened butter, and garlic powder in the food processor bowl (or a large bowl) and pulse a couple of times to mix. Then add the yeast mixture and the 3/4 cup of milk and knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable dough which is not sticky. Add a little extra flour if your dough is sticking, but only just as much as is necessary.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or unti lalmost double in volume.

Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a larger square that is about 12’ by 12”. Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter.

Evenly sprinkle the zaatar mix, chilliflakes and the cumin seeds and then the crumbled Feta cheese.Sprinkle the chopped olives. Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips .

Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips . Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips.

You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater. Using a pastry scraper or a sharp knife, cut straight down through the stack dividing it into 6 equal pieces (6 square stacks).

Grease and lightly flour a 9” by 4” (or 5”) loaf tin. Layer the square slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin .

Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf .

Bake the dough at 180C (350F) for about 30 to 40 (mine took around 45 mins) minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown.

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You can see all the many different flavours for this Pull apart bread on Aparna’s post here.

We Knead To Bake Logo January 2013

Once again thank you Aparna for the initiative and motivation as you always do.

(There seems to be some issue with the server on the new blog my-foodcourt.com. Since the posting deadline is today I am posting here and update on the new blog later.)

January 24, 2013 at 10:59 pm 23 comments

Six years of blogging and moving to a new Kitchen!

 

 

This August My Foodcourt turns Six!

On the 6th anniversary I am pleased to announce that My Foodcourt is moving to a new Kitchen: my-foodcourt.com

I would like to invite all my readers to please join me in the new kitchen. Let’s create new recipes and memories at my-foodcourt.com. Please update the new address in your feed readers.

I am celebrating the move and the 6th anniversary with a giveaway as a ‘thank you’ to all my readers, so head on over to my-foodcourt.com for a new recipe and an amazing giveaway. See you @ my-foodcourt.com

August 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

A wholesome weekend Brunch- Veg Fajitas with Guacamole

The lad is a foodie- much to my happiness! He tastes the food and gives an instant ‘thumbs up’ to well made dishes. Some of my trials are met with an honest ‘I didn’t like this much’ feedback along with a suggestion to ‘repair’ the dish. On some Friday nights ‘Would you like to have Pizza for dinner?’ is answered by ‘Do we have fresh Basil and Mozzarella?’ On one occasion when I asked him what he would like to have for dinner (please note: this question gets asked only on weekends) , he picked up one of my cookbooks (the one mentioned below) and wrote down, on a piece of paper -A starter ,soup, a main course and a dessert he wanted me to make for his dinner!

Most of the days it’s a pleasure to feed this child who happily eats his veggies and fruits without any fuss. On the flip side, he needs a lot of variety. He is the ‘forever hungry monster’ specially when I am home. The veggies get grilled, marinated, wrapped, sandwiched or they get topped on whole wheat ‘pizza’ to make them more interesting than the regular Roti-Sabji.

The Veg Fajita (recipe below) is adapted from a book called ‘330 vegetarian recipes for health’. This book which I picked up from the local Crossword store has been one of my ‘super finds’. All the recipes are vegetarian (no-meat, no-fish). The first section in the book includes a whole food guide for fruits and vegetables to grains and from dairy foods to herbs and spices. This vegetarian ‘mini encyclopedia’ includes essential facts about key health benefits as well as information on buying, storing and preparing whole food. The photographs are absolutely drool-worthy. The book showcases hundreds of step by step recipes from around the world. Most of the recipes are not only healthy but are also easy to follow.The book occupies is always kept handy on my book shelf since more than often I find myself referring to it for ideas to keep the foodie lad satiated. The Light meals and side dishes section in the book are our favourites. I would recommend this fascinating book to anyone interested in  finding out more about whole food.

For these colorful  Veg Fajitas, Mushrooms and coloured Peppers (capsicums) are marinated in a little chilli powder/olive oil ,lightly sautéed and wrapped in flour Tortillas. Fresh Mushrooms and coloured capsicums are usually found in our crisper since they are a hit whichever way they get served. I used our regular whole wheat  Rotis (Phulkas) to substitute the Tortillas.

Guacamole is a family favourite. We love Guacamole. Whenever I have access to good quality Avocados, the creamy dip gets slathered on breads or Rotis or is paired up with corn chips, khakras, Tacos anything that can be dipped or wrapped!. One of the very few veggie vendors who stocks ‘exotic’ fruits here in Nashik sometimes sells Avocados. Finding good quality Avocados is a challenge since they travel here all the way from Goa (that’s what the vendor tells me). I was happy to find some lush green Avocados on my trip to Nature’s basket, Bangalore.

A freshly made Guacamole served with the medley of colorful vegetables wrapped in a whole wheat Tortilla made for a wholesome weekend brunch. The foodie lad was ecstatic and lost count of the number of ‘Tortillas’ that vanished into his little tummy :)

Here’s the Recipe for the Veg Fajitas

Ingredients:

1 onion sliced

1 Red Pepper

1 Yellow Pepper

1 Green Pepper ( I skipped this )

1 garlic clove crushed

1 packet Button mushrooms (about  15-16 mushrooms)

6 tbsp vegetable oil ( I used the herb infused Olive oil  )

2-3 tsp Red chilli powder (the original recipe asks for 2 tbsp but I reduced the quantity since our Red chilli powder is quite hot, adjut this to taste)

Salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper for garnishing

To serve:

~ 6 small Flour Tortillas/ Rotis warmed.

Sprigs of fresh coriander

Wedges of 1 lime.

Method:

Slice the onion.

Cut the Peppers into strips.

Mix the onion slices and peppers in a bowl.

Add the crushed garlic.

Wash and dry the Mushrooms on a kitchen towel.

Remove the stems from the Mushrooms (Use them to make stock)

Slice the Mushrooms and add to the pepper mixture.

Mix the oil and Red chilli powder in a small cup and mix.

Add this to the veggie mixture and Keep aside for  20 minutes (or  till you  make the Guacamole recipe below)

Heat a pan or wok till hot.

Add the marinated vegetables and stir fry over high heat for 5-6 minutes, till the veggies are just tender.

Season with salt and crushed black pepper.

Spoon the filling on to each Tortilla and roll up.

Garnish with fresh chopped coriander.

Serve with Fresh Guacamole and  lime wedges.

I did not follow the recipe for Guacamole from the book.This is how I make it:

Recipe for Guacamole

Ingredients:

1 Ripe Avocado

1 small Onion finely chopped

1 small Tomato seeds removed and chopped

1 Green chilli chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Crushed black pepper to taste

Fresh coriander leaves chopped

Salt to taste

Method:

Cut the Avocado in half.

Remove the pit, scoop out the pulp from the peel and put in mixing bowl.

Mash the Avocado with a fork. I like to keep a few small pieces.

Add the onion, tomato, green chilli, lime juice, coriander leaves, salt and crushed black pepper.

Mix nicely and serve immediately with corn chips, Tacos, Khakras or Veg Fajitas.

Note: This is not one of the make ahead kind of dip since the Avocado oxidises very fast. If you haveto keep it for some time before serving cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate.

July 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm 5 comments

A Road trip, A Focaccia and A Soup

WARNING: This is one of the longest posts I have ever posted! Grab a cup of Tea and enjoy :)

The weather Gods are still unsure -whether to rain or not to rain? Meanwhile we ventured out on a Road trip to Bangalore ; more than almost a 2000km car drive to and from Nashik. We were a bit apprehensive about the road trip considering the ‘can’t sit in one place for a minute’ little one but decided to go anyway. Finger foods, drawing/coloring sets, car games, CDs later we were finally on the way to Bangalore. The back-seat of the car was turned into a mini bed for both the kids to play/eat/ sleep and enjoy.

We preferred the Nashik –Mumbai highway and then the Mumbai-Pune expressway  to the single lane and ‘boring’ Nasik-Pune highway upto Pune. It was a scenic drive especially through the clouds in Lonavala just before Pune, and then the lovely windmills near Belgaum on the Bangalore highway. The road is fabulous except for the last 50-60 km as you near Bangalore. We halted at Belgaum for the night at ‘ Hotel Adarsh Palace’ . The hotel was good, clean and serves one of the best breakfast I have had on a road trip. The little one was impressed with their mini-button idlis.

Except the 1-2 Kamat Upchar outlets and 1-2 coffe day outlets we didn’t see many Food stops post Belgaum. We had south Indian thali at the The Kamat Upchar on the Tumkur-Bangalore  highway(~60 Km from Bangalore). Not the best of meals but enough to feed weary travelers.

We were in Bangalore exactly for 1 and ½ days. I have been to Bangalore a couple of times earlier but haven’t seen the city and its surroundings in bits and pieces on each trip. We could successfully squeeze in half a day trip to Bannerghatta Zoo and the Lalbaugh gardens. The lad was thrilled to see the animals at the zoo and also commented that the road trip was worth the effort  The foodie that he is, he enjoyed the spicy-sour sweet succulent slices of ‘ Gini mooti (Totapuri) aam’ sold just outside the zoo.

The lalbuagh nursery as beautiful as it is was disappointing since I went there in search of Herbs and they don’t grow them. (Should have checked beforehand)

I got a chance to visit a Nature’s basket outlet in Indiranagar, Bangalore and I happily carried a few fresh herbs like Thyme and Rosemary, Avocados , instant Polenta and such items all the way to Nasik. Fresh Thyme and Rosemary are yet to make an appearance in the market here in Nashik, though my kitchen garden will grow them in a month or two- Fingers crossed.

We stopped over at Kolhapur for the night on our way back and don’t have much to write about the hotel ‘Sony Palace’ just 2 minutes off the highway.The drive through Lonavala was even more scenic on the way back. Glad to report that the little one not only survived the car trip but is eager to go on another trip!

The herbs survived the ride back home and were  immediately used in as many dishes as I could. The Rosemary urged me to bake a lovely warm Rosemary and Olive Focaccia.Some of the thyme went into a Roasted tomato and Thyme soup.; a perfect dinner combination for these ‘Rainy weather days’.

I have adapted the recipe for the Rosemary and Olive Focaccia from  a book ‘Baking- simple cookery series’ from my collection of cookbooks.

I have used some part whole wheat flour instead of total AP flour as  recommened in the recipe with great results. The soup was made using whatever ingredients were available, Thyme being the star ingredient.

Here’s the recipe for the Rosemary Olive Focaccia

Makes 2 Loaves

Ingredients:

700 gms strong white flour (I used 450 gms Maida/AP flour, 250 gms whole wheat flour and 3 tbsp Vital gluten)

pinch of salt

pinch of caster sugar

7g/ 2tsp instant yeast (I used AB Mauri)

450 ml warm water (or as required to make a soft elastic dough, I needed about 470 ml)

2 tsp chopped fresh Rosemary

75 gms pitted black olives roughly chopped

3 tbsp Olive oil (I used herb infused Olive oil- see note below)

For the garnish:

3 tbsp Olive oil (I used herb infused Olive oil- see note below)

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Fresh Rosemary for garnishing

Method:

Sift the Flours, salt and the sugar.

Stir in the yeast and Rosemary.

Make a well in the centre

Carefully pour in the warm water and Olive oil/herb oil. I need about 10-20 ml more water so add the water gradually.

Mix to a soft dough.

Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead for 10 mins.(Yeast Therapy :) ) until smooth and elastic.

Pat the olives dry on a kitchen paper, and then gently knead into the dough.

Put in a well oiled bowl, cover with a clingfilm and leave to rise for about 1½  hrs. or it has doubled in size(mine was overflowing from the bowl)

Turn out the dough and knead again for a minute or two.

Divide into half and roll out each piece into a 10 inch (25.5 cm) circle.

Transfer to oiled baking sheets and cover with oiled clingfilm/ foil and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Using the finger tips make deep dimples all over the dough.

Drizzle with the oil (I used herbed oil)and sprinkle with the sea salt.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden. My old oven took almost 10-12 minutes more.

Cool on a wire rack and garnish with sprigs of Rosemary.

Grind over or sprinkle black pepper just before serving.

Recipe for the Roasted Tomato and Thyme soup

Ingredients:

7-8 tomatoes halved lengthwise

1 onion sliced

2-3 garlic pods

4-5 small sprigs of fresh Thyme

2 tbsp herb infused olive oil oil (or just olive oil) and a few drops more for garnishing.

1 carrot peeled and cubed

Coarse sea salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

½ tsp of brown sugar

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet, cut side up along with the onions, garlic pods and Thyme twigs.

Drizzle the herb infused olive oil (or just olive oil)

Sprinkle some coarse sea salt and pepper  over the tomatoes.

Roast  the tomatoes for about 30 mins.

Meanwhile Place water in a pan and boil the carrot cubes along with a sprig of Thyme till just soft ( 10 mins.)

Drain and cool the carrot cubes but do not discard the water.

Cool the Roasted tomatoes, onions and Garlic.

Carefully remove the Thyme sprigs.

Remove the skin from the tomatoes (or alternatively sieve the pulp later)

Blend the roasted Tomatoes, sliced onion, garlic along with the cooked carrot.

Transfer the pulp to a large pot.

Adjust to a soupy consistency using the carrot stock (or vegetable stock)

Add the brown sugar and adjust the seasoning.

Bring to a boil and turn off the heat.

Serve hot garnished with the herb and chilli infused olive oil along with  a warm bread.

(You may alternatively garnish with Cheese of your choice)

I served the Soup with the Rosemary & Olive Focaccia.

Note : Herb Infused Olive Oil

Warm about 1 cup Olive Oil (not necessarily Extra virgin). Add chopped fresh herbs like Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, Parsley.

Add 2-3  peeled garlic cloves.

Add ½ – 1 tsp of Chilli flakes.

Keep aside for 1 a day.

Strain out the  herbs and garlic ( I like to keep the chilli flakes)

Store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. ( Mine usually gets over in a week)

I use it on breads, pizzas, soups, dips or for salad dressings.

July 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm 8 comments

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