Burnt Aubergine Dip #cookfromacookbook series

Much before I became a food blogger, I have been a cookbook lover. I remember spending hours pouring over the many cookbooks that Maa possessed, even Sananda, a Bengali monthly which was a treasure trove of recipes, going through the ingredients, trying to imagine the dish in my head and then sometimes experimenting them in the kitchen. My favourite was a Bengali recipe book,more a bible, that had every possible recipe gifted by our Bangladeshi neighbour. The books is in tatters now, still very special. I am hoping Maa will pass it down to me one day! Thankfully this love for cookbook has remained and now I am myself a very proud owner of a worthy collection. Thanks to the many online portals, you can now own your favourite book with just a click! And I am a compulsive buyer when it comes to books – especially food memoirs. With a steady growing stash , I thought it only made sense that I share what I read and cook from it with my readers. So, hereby I start a #cookfromcookbook series that will have me sharing my favourite authors and their creations that I recreate in my kitchen.

Yotam Ottolenghi – a name resonant in the British culinary scene , a chef and cookbook writer with strong Mediterranean roots that reflects deeply in his recipes. I have been following him on the social media for a while now and only very recently got hold of his book ‘Plenty’ a collection of vegetarian recipes or “new vegetarianism” as he calls it. With every new test recipe that he Instagrams,I would go gushing over the use of everyday ingredients and how it is so doable in your very own kitchens. His book Plenty has plenty recipes that can be made a part of your everyday meals. He picks up one favourite ingredient and builds a recipe around it. Much like what we do too. I have been eyeing the Burnt Aubergine Dip with Tahini and finally ended up making it too. A very flavorful condiment that can be served with cut vegetables or even as a refreshing salad in summers.

aubergine salad 1I keep going back to the book looking for inspirations in my everyday cooking and I am sure I will cooking a lot more from this one. The recipe I am sharing today is broadly inspired from the original as I have replaced a few ingredients based on availabitiy. Instead of parsley I used fresh coriander and added some red chillies for the zing.

auergine salad

Ottolenghi and his Burnt Aubergine Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: Dips and Salads
Cuisine: Mediterranean
 
A summery dip made with roasted brinjals.
Ingredients
  • Aubergine/Brinjal - 1 large
  • Tahini paste - 2 tbsp.
  • Water - 1 tbsp.
  • Lemon juice - 1 tbsp.
  • Garlic cloves - 1 - crushed
  • Fresh coriander - a handful - chopped
  • Green chilies/ red chilies - 1 -2 finely chopped
  • Tomato - 1 large - chopped
  • Pomegranate seeds - 1 tbsp.
  • Oilve oil - for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. First, roast the brinjal, with the skin on the gas stove, like we do for Indian bhartas. This can be done in the oven too. But make sure to make deep gashes on the brinjal and smear with some oil, or else it will burst.
  2. Remove the charred skin from the brinjal, scoop out the flesh.
  3. Chop the flesh roughly and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Add the tahini paste, water,lemon juice,garlic, coriander , salt and pepper.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  6. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and chilies.
  7. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
  8. Serve with pita or crackers.
 

Paneer Pasanda

How much can you do with Paneer?! Well , you never know. Personally I find it very difficult to infuse flavours into paneer. Somehow my bhurjis always remain bland and tasteless. For gravies, most of the times I resort to a tomato based gravy so as to salvage the dish. This dish too, is a tomato – cashew infused gravy, with stuffed pan fried paneer triangles. It turned out nice , so I had to share it with you all.

paneer pasanda mainEveryday cooking can sometime get on to your nerves. Even for someone like me, who enjoys her time in the kitchen, it gets a tad overwhelming. With the onset of the dreaded summer, even more. What I like to do is make easy recipes , that doesn’t compromise on taste. This gravy can easily be frozen for few days, and used as and when required.

paneer pasanda 1

5.0 from 1 reviews
Paneer Pasanda
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
 
A rich gravy dish that goes well with rice/naan/roti
Ingredients
  • Paneer - 200 gms - cut into triangles and then halved
  • Tomato paste - 1 large - blanch tomatoes and make into a paste
  • Tomato puree - 2 tbsp.
  • Cashew paste - 2 tbsp. + 1 tbsp.
  • Raisin paste - 1 tsp - blend raisins into a paste
  • Garam masala - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
  • Ginger paste - 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Warm water - 1 cup
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp.
  • Refined oil - 1 tbsp.
  • Fresh cream- for garnish
  • Fresh green/red chilies - for garnish
  • Fresh coriander - chopped for garnish
Instructions
  1. Cut the paneer into triangles and slit them into half lengthwise.
  2. Make a paste of 1 tbsp. cashew paste, raisin paste and a little salt.
  3. Stuff the mixture inside two slices of paneer.
  4. In a non stick pan , heat 1 tbsp. refined all.
  5. Shallow fry the paneer triangles, till gilden in colour.
  6. Drain and keep aside.
  7. In another pan, heat the ghee.
  8. Add the garam masala powder.
  9. Next add the tomato paste and fry till fragrant,
  10. Once the tomato paste has cooked through, add the tomato puree, cashew paste, red chili powder, salt and sugar.
  11. Give a good mix, cook the masalas for 3-5 mins. Add a cup of warm water and let the gravy simmer.
  12. Once it thickens up, turn off the heat.
  13. In a serving dish, lay the fried paneer traingles.
  14. Pour the hot gravy on top.
  15. Garnish with fresh cream, chilies and coriander.
  16. Your dish is ready to be served.
 

Scone Biscuits

I set out to make some scones but mid way decided to turn them into biscuits instead! Scones are just another quick bread I would say. Easy to make, versatile and to quote Jamie Oliver ” They are so delicious, so British, even a 5 year old can make them” To me Scones, take me back to my Enid Blyton days, when the kids of Malory towers would just go off to a picnic with their hamper tucked with scones and ham sandwiches!

scone biscuits

This recipe has been adapted from Mary Berry’s 100 Cakes and Bakes, one of the first books on baking I had acquired and is full of easy doable recipes. To turn them into biscuits , I cut down on the baking powder and added some mashed potatoes for texture. These are neither too sweet nor salty , so serve it either with jam and cream or have them as it is with tea or milk.

Scone Biscuits
Author: 
Recipe type: Baked Goodies
Cuisine: British
 
Crispy scone biscuits
Ingredients
  • Plain flour - 1 cup ( approx.)
  • Baking powder - 1 tsp
  • Butter - ½ cup
  • Castor sugar - 2 tbsp.
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Mashed potato - ½ cup
  • Milk - 2 tbsp. ( approx.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
  2. Measure the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
  3. Add the butter and rub with your finger tips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir in the sugar and mashed potato, mixing with a fork to prevent the potato from forming lumps.
  5. Add enough milk to form a soft but not sticky dough.
  6. Turn the mixture into a lightly floured surface and knead very lightly and roll out into a thickness of about 1 cm.
  7. Cut into small rounds using a cutter.
  8. Transfer to a baking tray.
  9. Bake for about 12 mins or till golden brown.
  10. Keeps well for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
 

Pizza/Pasta Sauce – The Easiest Version

There are a few kitchen staples that always come handy while you are at it! In my last post I mentioned how I ensure to have a few sauces and ingredients available in my kitchen always, some I use store bought and some I make at home from scratch. If you have kids at home then this particular recipe of a very versatile and tasty pizza/ pasta sauce will be super useful. Their hunger pangs /demand for fancy stuffs can be fulfilled easily. I have an 8 year old in the house and his sudden cravings for a cheesy pasta or a gooey pizza is met with in a  jiffy. As a mother we worry about too many preservatives in readymade sauces, so it is just perfect that we make a fresh batch of this sauce and store it.

pasta sauce 1

This recipe is by far the easiest version you can find. It has some vegetables to go with the tomato and is oven roasted, so double easy!. I added yellow and red bell pepper as it adds to the taste and texture of the sauce by adding a fresh sweetness in contrast to the acidity of the tomatoes. Season it with herbs of your choice, no hard and fast rule on that and use this sauce as and when you need it.

pasta sauce

pasta sauce 3

 

 

Pizza/Pasta Sauce - The easiest recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
 
A very versatile sauce sans the preservative
Ingredients
  • Tomatoes - 4 large - diced
  • Red bell pepper - 1 large - diced
  • Yellow bell pepper - 1 large - diced
  • Onion - 2 medium - diced
  • Garlic - 10-12 fat cloves
  • Chiili flakes - 1 tsp - optional
  • Oregano - a generous sprinkling
  • Thyme - a generous sprinkling
  • Salt - to taste
  • Olive oil - 3 tbsp
Instructions
  1. In an oven proof dish , mix in all the ingrdients.
  2. Grill in a preheated oven at 200 deg C for 30 mins.
  3. Keep it aside to cool.
  4. Blend into a puree. Strain through a sieve if you desire a silky consistency. I prefer no to do that as it loses out on the healthy fibres.
  5. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.
  6. Keeps well for a week.
  7. Use while making pizzas, pastas or use as spread on your grilled sandwich.
 

Cherry Cheese Chocolate Cake

I will begin with wishing all my readers a very happy new year. A new year , a new hope, a new chance , same dreams but a fresh start. A new year with loads of love and happiness and good food of course. Last year wasn’t really how I wanted to focus on this blog of mine. Something that started as a hobby , as a passion but helped me achieve so much recognition and knowledge. I want 2016 to be the year of My Food My Life , where I can take a few plunges that I have been thinking of for a while now. Cooking and sharing continues for sure in and keeping with the tradition sharing this super recipe of Cherry Cheese Chocolate Cake . It was an experiment gone right and I am so happy to share it here.

cherry cake 1

 

Cherry Cheese Chocolate Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: Continental
 
A beautiful chocolate cake that is rich and festive.
Ingredients
  • Butter - ½ cup
  • Flour - ½ cup
  • Cocoa powder - ⅓ rd cup
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
  • Baking powder - ¼ tsp
  • Egg - 2 nos
  • Cream Cheese - ½ cup - whipped well along with 1 tbsp. icing sugar
  • Cherries - a few
Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl , melt the sugar.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, eggs and vanilla essence.
  3. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
  4. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  5. Put dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the batter and swirl it around with a toothpick.
  6. Garnish with the cherries .
  7. Bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 mins at 175 deg C.