Pumpkin stir-fry

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Orange choco chip muffins

The recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour. I have used grape seed oil  instead of vegetable oil as said in the original recipe. I have been wanting to try the grapeseed oil for a while. It tasted great and there was no jutting flavor of oil. 

You need –

  • All-Purpose Flour – 2 cups
  • Caster sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Baking powder – 3 teaspoons
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Chocolate chips – 3/4 cup
  • Milk – ¾ cup
  • Orange juice – 1 tablespoon
  • Grapeseed oil – 1/2 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Grated orange peel – 3 teaspoon
How to –
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Line 10-12 paper muffin liners. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg, sugar, milk, orange zest, orange juice and oil till well combined. Add the flour mixture and gently fold the mixture till well combined. Make sure not to over beat/mix the batter else they will not be light and fluffy.
Fold in the choco chips and divide the batter equally into the lined paper muffin liners and bake for 20-25 minutes or when toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. 
Cool them for 10 minutes and then place on a cooling rack to cool completely.


Chickpeas and spinach curry

It’s always a joy when I come across a simple recipe that’s healthy and quick to cook up. Yes here’s one such recipe that is loaded with proteins and vitamins. Infact chickpeas are my favorite. Mom made it point to include into our diet at least once in a week. It would be either for breakfast; where she would boil the peas and then season with grated coconut and few spices or she made a delicious curry with coconut paste for lunch/dinner.
This recipe is from a magazine; of course I significantly modified the recipe to go with our taste. You can use the canned peas if you don’t want to soak and pressure cook (that saves some more time).

You need – 

  • Chickpeas – 1/2 cup. soaked in water over night
  • Spinach – 1 bunch, roughly chopped
  • Onion – 1 large, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes – 2 medium, chopped
  • ginger & garlic paste – 2 teaspoons
  • green chili – 1 or to taste, thinly sliced
  • cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • garam masala – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Chole masala – 1 teaspoon
  • Asafetida – 1 pinch
  • hot water – 1/2 cup
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • salt to taste

How to –

Wash the chickpeas in running water and pressure cook the soaked chickpeas with enough water till done. Drain and Set aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Allow to crackle, once done add the chopped onions and sauté till translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste , chilies and cook till the raw smell is gone.

Stir in all the powders and cook till the oil starts to separate. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook till mushy. Stir in the cook chickpeas, salt and 1/2 hot water and cook till the water has reduced and gravy is thick.

Now tip the spinach, cook till it wilts and done. Mix well, check and adjust the seasoning  and turn off the heat.
Serve hot with rice, roti or even use it as a filling for Tacos as I did.

Pistachio macarons

These delicate shells are much loved at home and as much as I love to bake it.  Every time I make them its like the ‘first time’ always. I sit by the oven to see if they are going perfect and tensed till I get them off the baking sheet without cracking. So trying  new a flavor is something I am skeptical about. But this time I decided I was going to try a new flavor and yes it did turn out good. The mix of almond and pistachio was wonderful. 
I used the same recipe of my original macarons but I used half ground almond and half ground pistachios.  

You need –

For the macarons

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Ground almonds- 48 grams
  • Ground pistachio – 48 grams
  • 2 large egg whites, aged for a 2 days (Please see here on how to age the egg whites)
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  • Food color of your choice (optional) – 2 drops (I used green color gel)

How to –

Pre-heat the oven to 160 C

In food processor, process the Ground almonds, Ground pistachio and icing sugar to fine mixture. Sift the almond-pistachio and sugar mixture in sieve twice discarding any lumps that are too big to pass through the sieve. 

Whisk the egg whites in clean dry bowl (no trace of water please) till soft peaks are formed. Add the caster sugar, and beat on a low speed. Once combined increase the speed to high and whisk till glossy and stiff peaks are formed (For me, it took 7 minutes on electric hand beater on a high speed). Add the food color of your choice and beat for 25-30 seconds. Please make sure not to over beat the egg whites.

Sift the flour mixture over the whites and fold gently using a flexible spatula. You need a smooth and shinny mix.  Do not make the batter too runny or the macaroons won’t rise as they should. When you lift the batter up and let it drop down, it should slowly disappear into itself without leaving a peak.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip. On a parchment-lined baking sheet pipe the ¾ inch rounds leaving 1-2 inch gap between each piping. Drag the pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air.

Allow the piped macarons to stand on a room temperature for 30-45 minutes.  The stand time varies with temperature at different places. What you need is the piped macarons to form a very thin, smooth crust, when you tap it lightly with your finger, the batter will not stick to your finger.

Reduce oven temperature to 140 C. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 160 C , heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 140 C.

Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack. If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons.

When fully cooled, Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with the filling of your choice.

Butter cream –

  • Unsalted butter – 125 grams, at room temperature
  • Icing sugar – 1 1/2 cups
  • Milk – 2 tablespoon

In a clean blow beat the the butter till as white as possible. Gradually add in the icing sugar and milk till stiff peaks.

Cauliflower and potato stir fry

You need –
  • Potatoes – 3 medium sized. Cut into cubes and boiled
  • Cauliflower – 1, cut into florets
  • Onion – 1
  • Garlic – 1 clove, minced
  • Dried fenugreek leaves – 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Garam masala – ½ teaspoon
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Parsley to garnish
How to –
Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and allow to crackle. Add the onion and garlic; fry till onions are lightly browned. Add the powders and dried Fenugreek leaves and fry till oil start to separate.  
Add the potatoes and cauliflower; mix well to coat. Cover and cook till the cauliflower is tender.
Uncover, add the parsley and turn of the heat.  Serve with rice n curry.