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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Action Replay 2012

The countdown to the arrival of 2012 is a matter of hours now and in retrospect to the year 2012, I must say that it has been the year where I posted maximum number of food recipes.Also, 2012, I had the opportunity to participate in review of a couple of gourmet restaurants namely California Pizza Kitchen, Noodle Bar and Trader's Vik with some of the Bloggers from Bangalore. Had won two Books as a prize during an online contest and of course a number of online awards that were conferred  to me by my co Bloggers. But all these above pales in comparison to the continuous affection and encouragement that I received from my readers and co bloggers.Keeping this tradition alive and due to the fact that toady's life has become very fast, I determine to present varied and easy to prepare dishes from all across the world.

When I started Food Blogging, I never thought that I would last so long but now I could not think of a day without it and has become an integral part of my life. Hence from all the dishes that I had prepared, here are a few of those month wise that I have pasted as a highlight. Now let's pray that 2013, be a very happy and prosperous new year for all of us.

Joyful January : Gokul Pithe-Makar Sankranti special Bengali Sweet

Jubilant July : Prawn 65

Outstanding October : Brownie Sandwich

Nostalgic November : Fish Biryani

To view last year's favorite recipes you can click- Recap of 2011 

My best Recipe of the year is Fried Ice-cream, as this is closest to my heart. Just had it once in my life and tried to re-create the same magic. The outcome was overwhelming as my family loved it to the core. Crispy, hot from outside and cold from inside. It created so much curiosity that many of my blogger friends showered their love and tried it. It got maximum comments :-). 

At the end would like to thank those who have appreciated my food pictures and presentation style. It means a lot to me. 

read more.. "Action Replay 2012"

Friday, December 28, 2012

Strawberry Pancakes

We are at the doorstep of the year end and going by the news the entire North India is under a cold spell and cities like Delhi and Kolkata are under a thick blanket of fog. Forget humans even the animals living in Kolkata Alipore Zoo are not coming out of cages and have been provided with blankets to wade off the chill. Even the flooring of our own Royal Bengal Tiger’s cage has been changed from concrete to wooden planks. Also the Zoo director said that the appetites of the animals have increased three times! So I noticed that even mine and my son’s appetite has increased slightly (though not 3 times )! So to bring about a twist in the day to day mundane breakfast after a long time I have tried out Strawberry pancakes.

 Strawberries are available only for a short period during winter and I thought to take this opportunity to use it in as many preparation as a main flavor as possible. Must admit , turned out to be good. By looking at it don’t you think so?

Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 2-3 minutes per Pancake
1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1 packet of fresh Strawberry, chopped
2 tbsp Honey
A big pinch of Cardamom powder
A big pinch of Cinnamon powder
1 Egg
Picnh of Baking powder
2 tbsp melted butter
1 cup Milk
Pinch of salt

For Strawberry sauce:
8-9 Strawberries, sliced
2 tbsp Sugar

In a large bowl sift all the dry ingredients together and keep aside. In a separate bowl whisk together melted butter + milk+ honey and egg till everything is combined well. Add dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just blended (the batter will be slightly thicker). Fold in the chopped strawberries. Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes.

Heat a skillet to medium heat and spoon 2-3 tbsp of batter into skillet, using the back of the ladle spread batter into a round shape. pour just 1-2 tsp of oil and allow the batter to cook or until you see some bubbles appear on the edges. 

Flip with a thin spatula to cook the other side. Transfer it to a serving plate and follow the same process to finish all the batter into pancakes. Try to maintain the size of pancakes same. Serve warm with desired toppings. Frankly speaking nothing else is required with these delicious pancakes but I generally serve my pancakes with strawberry sauce. 

To make Strawberry sauce you just need to combine sliced strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tbsp water in a small saucepan over low heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. And let this cool.

Sending this quick recipe to Sara's event "Dish in 30 minutes"

read more.. "Strawberry Pancakes"

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Masala Kichdi

In the whole world if any food which creates a fine balance between nutrition and taste then it is undoubtedly Indian Food. From Tandoori Rotis in North to Idlis in South, there is a method in preparing food in such a way that it nourishes people to work hard without feeling famished. It is Masala Kichdi which is such a lovely one pot meal because it takes few minutes to rustle up when you are pressed for time. 

Though, the method of preparation is common, you can make this in Rice Cooker or Pressure Cooker or even in a heavy pot. The best part is that if had regularly, it can make the body super fit and fine. It is a myth that only ill people are advised to have it ,on the  contrary it benefits old and young alike. However, it cures a host of diseases ranging from Cold to Stomach ache. All it takes as a main ingredients are rice and lentils. So here Masala Kichdi with a hing of spices, vegetables and ghee which makes a very healthy and light meal. Hope you like it.

1 cup Rice (Gobondo Bhog / zeera rice / basmati)
1/2 Masoor Dal
2 Onion, cut into half moon slice
1/2 cup Green peas
2 medium size Potatoes
2 Tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp chopped Ginger
1 tbsp chopped Garlic 
1 tsp Garam masala
2-3 Green chillies, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Red chilly powder
1 bay leaf
3-4 Peppercorns
Salt to taste
 2-3 tbsp Ghee

For Tempering:
1 tsp Cumin seeds
A big pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp Kashmiri Red chilly
Small pinch of Methi seeds
1 tbsp Garlic, chopped
2 tbsp chopped Coriander leaves

Mix together rice and lentil in a big bowl, wash properly and then soak in water for 20 minutes. Later drain and keep aside. 

Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a stainless pressure cooker and add bay leaf and peppercorns. Add onions and fry till they turn light brown. Add ginger- garlic and green chillies and fry till you get nice aroma. Add all the vegetables and the dry spices, fry on high flame for 2 minutes. When you see oil has separated from the sides of cooker, add drained rice-lentil and fry for a minute. Pour in double amount of water +1 cup (1 1/2 cups of rice-dal I have added 3 cups +1 cup of water) and season with salt. Let the first boil come and then close the lid and pressure cook for 3 whistles on medium flame. Let the steam go off on its own. Open the lid and check the consistency. If you want to dry it, put it back on flame for few more minutes. Or if you don't want your kichdi dry then add 1/2 cup hot water, add some salt and heat to mix well.

To temper the kichdi: 
Heat a tadka pan with 2 tbsp ghee and add cumin seeds. As the seeds splutter add all the abovetempered ingredients and pour over cooker kichdi. Drizzle some drops of lemon juice and chopped coriander. Serve hot with pickle and papad.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sugar Cookies Decorated With Coloured Sugar & Corn Syrup

And my son bites his fav character.. 
As one cannot imagine Diwali without sweets, same way one cannot imagine Christmas without cookies. They are seamlessly linked with each other. A mere mention of cookies not only fills up the house with mouthwatering aromas during winter but also attracts friends and relatives alike towards the kitchen where they try to taste the cookies freshly baked from the oven. 

This lights up the Christmas spirit with merriment spread across from children to elderly. Please excuse me for the not so good pictures of these cookies as I took these photos last year !!

2 cups All purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 Eggs, room temp
1 cup Sugar, powdered
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp Milk (if needed)

In a bowl sift flour baking powder and salt. Using an electrical mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed till you get creamy texture. Add vanilla extract and beat again for a second. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix well until a smooth dough forms (if it is tight then add milk). Divide the dough into two portions and wrap with a cling film. Refrigerate for an hour. Remove one portion of the chilled dough and before you start place a clean parchament sheet (this will not allow the dough to stick). Now roll the dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch. You can easily make them thinner but remember if the dough is too thin they could crack while baking. Press different cookie cutters and remove excess and put it back in pile.

Preheat oven to 300 Degrees Celsius and line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make atleast 12-14 cookies depending on the size you have choosen and then re-roll the excess dough and repeat the process. Now go wild with your imagination and you can sprinkle some sparkling sugar on unbaked cookies. And bake these for 12-14 (depends on the thickness of cookies) minutes or until you notice the edges of cookies very light brown. 

Cool them completely. Now you can decorate few cookies with Colored Sugar and Corn Syrup which I followed from here. The point you should remember is that before you store these cookies in an air tight container allow the frosting to harden. Last year also I made some 40-50 of these beautiful looking cookies and distributed among our close family friends. One of the little boy called me up to say "I don't have a heart to eat such beauties, so can I have some plain ones please ;-)".....

Linking this recipe to Priya's 60 Days to Christmas Event, co-hosting with Divya 

Also to Siri's event where she is celebrating first anniversary of her blog

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bengali Special Mishti Pulao (Sweet Pulao)

As an avid foodie, I love to eat whatever is served to me with lots of love but there is one such dish that I have never seen being served in any restaurant is Mishti ( Sweet) Pulao. Although it is regularly served in every Bengali household during meals and occasions, I kept on wondering why it is not served commercially. Then, it occurred to me that I had this pulao from my grandmother, mum, aunts and the love and affections they showered to us while serving us misti pulao. 

This touch of love cannot be substituted by restaurants nor they would taste as great as the home made ones. Back in my hometown, during Durga Puja days this was a must on Aastami Lunch Bhog Proshad with aloo'er dum. Well…What do you think? Am I able to convince you to try this sweet pula atleast once? 

2 cups Gobindo Bhog Rice (in case you don't have this , you can substitute with Basmati rice)
3/4 cup Peas
3 tbsp Sugar
1/4 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Cashews
1 tbsp chopped Ginger
1 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
2 Cinnamon sticks
2-3 Green cardamom
2-3 Black cardamom
1 Javitri phool
4 Cloves
7-8 Black pepper balls
2-3 Bay leaves
Salt to taste
4 tbsp Ghee

Measure rice in cupfuls and using the same measure, pour double the measure of water in a separate container for later use.

 Wash rice thoroughly and drain out the excess water. Add turmeric and mix well with a spatula. Now spread the rice in a single layer on large sheets of old newspaper. And place it in a sunny location to dry it. 

Keep everything ready near your stove and heat ghee in a big kadhai. Add bay leaves, all the spices and fry till they start to splutter. Immediately add raisins and cashews and cook for a few minutes more. Add green peas and rice in kadhai. Stir in salt and sugar and stir fry until you see a nice browning on rice grains. 

Add the measured amount of water and give first boil on high flame. After first boil cover and cook till tender (12-15 minutes). Misti Pulao is ready . A good accompaniment with : Mutton Curry or Niramish Aloo er Dom. 

read more.. "Bengali Special Mishti Pulao (Sweet Pulao)"

Monday, December 17, 2012

Restaurant Review : Noodle Bar, Bangalore

One fine afternoon, a couple of friends and me decided to try out a new restaurant The Noodle BarOnce I heard this name from my sister who tried it in Mumbai branch. The name was a strange combination. Earlier had heard about Juice bar, Ice cream bar, Hookah bar etc.

They have various exotic noodles from China, Japan , South east Asia prepared under one roof, so you don’t need to go from restaurant to restaurant, just head to Noodle Bar. This restaurant started in Mumbai and then spread itself all over India in major places. Also this group plans to diversify in other cuisines like Gelato, Coffee etc.. Sanjay Malkhani,Master Chef,  commented ,"At Noodle Bar, we aim to delight the gourmands with the finest and most delectable Oriental cuisine. The menu comprises an exotic variety of flavors from the world and will appeal to everyone with their delicious succulence.

The ambiance is upto the mark. The interiors of the restaurant reflect the spirit of Asia.  Food was not only a criteria but having a cheerful and candid conversation among friends. So, starting from appetizers and main course we had array of noodles and side dishes. 

A mouth watering variety of starters, soups and dumplings greet you on this unique culinary journey of Asian flavours. You can treat your taste-buds to Onion pancake, Barbecue roast lamb, Crystal prawn dumplings and Peppery corn fritters, Burnt garlic mushrooms restaurant for varied noodles.

Chicken Momos
Crispy Prawns

Then there is a Toss It Up menu available wherein one can select between combinations of Rice, Noodles & Sauces. Dessert was Gelatos, I could eat that every day If get a chance :-) Though Coconut Jaggery Dragon Rolls and Lime n Lemon Creme Brulee is there speciality but I was so stuffed I had to give it a skip. 

Veg Wonton

Had a chat with Corporate Chef Amit Puri
Summary: Sea food & Smoked Chicken in Yin Yang was simply heavenly, so was Prawn With  Crab Meat. Ambience was very conducive for a long chat and the staff was prompt. In the end, I would like to recommend to all foodies to try it at least once.

Lamb Rendang Curry

Vanilla Ice-cream with Honey Noodle
  • Cuisine: Chinese 
  • Cocktails, Mocktails: Available
  • Service: Good
  • Meal for 2 would cost: Rs 1000 without tax & 1300 with tax. Value for money pricing.
  • Address1st Floor, Phoenix Market City Mall, Whitefield Field road Mahadevpura, Banaglore 48
  • Phone no.67266466

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Cookies In Disguise : Spinach Cookies

My love for cookies is well known to you now and few days ago I attempted something which is an unusual flavor ie. Spinach cookies. Actually one of my friend whom I met last year during our swimming session has a daughter who likes anything and everything with chocolate. 

So keeping her daughter's interest in mind she requested me if I can come up with spinach cookies ? Intriguing as it may sound, I said ok I will try...And believe me the final result was over whelming...Yes they have been disguised as chocolate cookies to please the little girl. 

1/2 cup unsalted Butter
1 + 1/3 cups All purpose flour
1 cup Sugar
1/2 Buttermilk
1/2 cup Spinach puree
2tsp Vanilla essence
1 tsp Baking powder
1/3 cup Almond powder
1/2 tsp Salt

For Decoration: I have used melted chocolate and some sprinkles and few tbsp buttercream

Thoroughly wash the spinach and drain, with 1 tbsp water grind to make a fine puree. Keep aside.
Grease the baking tray and preheat oven to 170 degree C. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy.  Now in a large bowl sift flour, almond powder, baking powder and salt together. When shifted properly, these ingredients become lighter. Now add vanilla essence, spinach puree into the butter batter and mix well. Slowly add dry ingredients and gently incorporate until just mixed. Make a soft pliable dough. 

Take small ball size dough and shape them whatever you can think of !! gently into a disc. Place the cookies on the middle shelf. Bake for 10-12 minutes. It's always better to under bake these as the color looks beautiful. Remove them from the baking tray. And let them cool on a wire rack. I enjoyed baking these and going to make them again soon. I decorated these cookies with melted chocolate and silver balls. Few big ones had butter cream sandwiched between them. 

Linking this recipe to Priya's 60 Days to Christmas Event, co-hosting with Divya 

Also to Siri's event where she is celebrating first anniversary of her blog

And to LemonKurry's ongoing event

read more.. "Cookies In Disguise : Spinach Cookies"