I love making desserts using fruits. They are simple, low in sugar, healthy and delicious. The best examples are fruit parfaits, healthy and fun. They make for quick easy desserts.
Parfait’s are of two kinds: French and American. The French version includes boiling cream, egg, sugar and syrup. This creates a custard like puree served in a glass. The American version includes granola, nuts, yogurt, liqueurs, and gelatin. These may be used in combination with a fresh fruits or whipped cream set in a glass.
My recipe for a fresh fruit parfait is a 5 ingredient dessert using a single fruit with yogurt. You will need:
(For 2-3 small jars of parfait)
1 cup hung/greek yogurt (Thick)
Muesli (a handful)
Pureed fruit (kiwi, mango, plums, banana)
Powdered sugar (1 tbsp)
Fresh fruit slices
Hang the yogurt in a sieve if it contains water (for 2 -3 hours). Mix sugar in it and set aside.
Pour some of the pureed fruit in a jar, top with yogurt and then add the fruit puree again.
Top it up with muesli and fresh fruit. Place in the refrigerator until service.
Hosting a party at your house or a simple get together? Fretting over your starters and appetizers?
For such occasions, Italian bruschettas are my go-to entrees. They are quick and easy so that you spend more time having fun and less time cooking.
Best classic bruschettas are Tomato, Olive and Basil; and Mushroom and Onion. They are easy and quick to make. You won’t go wrong with them and they are a great hit among party-goers.
For the base, you will need garlic or regular bread (sliced) and melted butter. If you use a plain bread, add minced garlic to the butter for flavor.
TOMATO, OLIVE AND BASIL
You need (for 5-6 bruschetta’s)
4 tomatoes (firm, de-seeded and chopped)
8-10 black/green olives
1 tsp dry/fresh basil
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Mix all the ingredients together and cool in the refrigerator until service. Toast the sliced bread loaf and apply warm butter on it. Top with the cold tomato topping and serve.
2. MUSHROOM AND ONION
You need (for 5-6 bruschetta’s)
2 packets of button mushroom (washed and sliced)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper
Mix herbs (Basil, parsley, oregano)
1 tbsp minced garlic
Chili flakes (optional)
Heat olive oil in a non stick pan and add garlic to it (on low flame). Add onion once the garlic is fragrant, cook till translucent and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook on medium flame till all the water from the mushrooms evaporates. Add all the seasonings and stir for 1 or 2 minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes and then place it in the refrigerator until service.
Toast the bread and apply warm butter on it. Top with the mushrooms and serve.
Do you find yourself looking for a snack ever so often? Or have those constant hunger pangs which cause you to reach for junk food?
Unhealthy snacking can make us struggle with our food habits. Missing the first meal of the day is a major reason for this. Breakfast remains the most neglected meal of the day because most of us don’t have the time to fix one in the morning. Making small changes to your morning routine can go a long way in helping you make better choices. By starting your day with a good breakfast, you will find that you feel fuller throughout the day. You will make healthier snacking choices and find it easier to maintain your weight.
Breakfast as an important meal of the day has generated a lot of interest. Historically, the word ‘breakfast’ was first used by the English in the 15th century. It implied breaking the fasting period of the night before. There is no fixed definition of breakfast. It has evolved over cuisines, geographies and palettes.
A good breakfast gives you more energy to get through your day. It helps curb cravings and thus manage weight better. It also helps you make better food choices and consume less junk food. A small change to your morning routine can go a long way in helping you stay healthy.
The best time to eat breakfast is within two hours of waking up. This puts the body into motion and gets the fat to breakdown, which provides energy for the rest of the day. Breakfast should account for about 25-30% of your daily calorie intake (450-700 calories).
For reference, these are the recommended calories per day: 1800-2200 for women, 1500-2000 for children, 2200-2700 for men.
But how do you make breakfast work for you when you don’t have time?
If you don’t have time to fix yourself a big spread every morning, you may try these easy and nutritious options.
Egg-white omelette, a glass of fresh fruit smoothie (choose seasonal fruits when possible)
All around the world, food brings people together. The love for food transcends ages, generations, genders and geographies. Culinary boundaries are being blurred and chefs are becoming more experimental. They are not afraid to mix and match ingredients and flavors from across the globe. Experiments like these have given rise to a new culinary style called Fusion Food. A new dish is born from the combination of cuisines, ingredients and techniques.
Why has fusion cuisine piqued the interest of the food commuity world over?
Food has become an art, and it’s canvas is ever-evolving. Classical techniques have given way to more mixed styles. Chefs all over the world are continuously trying to reinvent their dishes. Each chef tries to come up with something distinct and unique in the true sense.
Fusion cooking introduces new food concepts to the masses. Yet, many people have expressed their reservations against fusion food. They are a more traditional section, and prefer conventional cooking styles. That said, the younger generation is much more open to experiments with food.
Fusion food has been an integral part of the culinary world. Food influences go as far back as the time of trade and travel.
Where would you say the first spaghetti was born? Italy, without a doubt. Not quite, spaghetti was the distant off spring of the Chinese noodles. Today, spaghetti is a staple of Italian cuisine. Flat breads which are integral to Middle-Eastern cuisine, were born in India.
Fusion culture is very much a part of our regular cuisine today. It may be as simple as ‘Figs Poha’, ‘Idli Munchurian’, or as fancy as ‘Pesto Fish Tikka’, ‘Goat Cheese Samosa’. Local flavors marry international desserts to give ‘Thandai Cheesecake’ and ‘Kala Khatta Panacotta’.
Even though fusion food has gained wide popularity, experimentation is not always easy. The biggest fall back with fusion cooking is that the chef’s imagination runs wild. Certain ingredients need cooking in particular ways. they may need certain specific temperatures and techniques to avoid over-cooking or under-cooking. Logic must go with imagination.
Here are some pointers to help:
1. Know your ingredients and conduct proper research when it comes to cooking techniques.
2. Restrain yourself from applying too many cooking techniques to one dish.
3. Visualize and think over your dishes.
Finally, remember that food is all about self-expression. The culinary world is full of possibilities, so let your imagination fly!
How do you whip up a dish in least time, with delicious taste and without mess?
No, it isn’t too good to be true. Achieve this through a very simple cooking technique called One Pot Cooking.
The definitions of these One Pot Meals may vary across the globe. Most of them follow the simple philosophy of cooking all ingredients together in one pot. Some examples are the famous Paella of Spain, Creamy Risotto of Italy and Casserole of France. All these make for delicious one pot meals.
Why are one pot meals gaining popularity?
Most people have busy work schedules and have with no time to cook elaborate meals. Eating out every day is not the best option for health. One pot meals provide easy diverse options for every day cooking.
Cooking in a single pot means that you don’t have to do deal with kitchen mess.
Ingredients in a single pot are easy to measure and are flexible to suit the number of people eating.
Many simple and delicious dishes can be cooked in a single pot, fried rice, noodles or pasta. They provide the comfort of home food, without constant supervision. You may have sides of flatbread or leftover bread loafs. Slide into your pajamas and watch a movie while your delicious meal gets ready!
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Many of us feel lazy when it comes to making healthier changes to our diets. And salads are the last thing we associate with ‘tasty’. But salads don’t have to bland to be considered healthy. A salad tossed with fresh fruits and greens will not only give you many essential nutrients, but also makes for a delicious meal. A diet that includes salads will help you remain healthy and maintain your weight over time.
Salads have been the go-to food for dieters but they are slowly being incorporated in our meals as daily staples. With a number of different dressings, vegetables, meats and seafood combinations, the definition of salads has grown beyond health food to form a new class of food offering.
As people demand healthier food which is also fancy and creative, restaurants all over the world are reorienting their menus to include a wide variety of high fiber and low calorie foods that cater to the nutrient requirements of health conscious diners. Healthy living is the way to go.
Salads can be eaten as an appetizer (to get the palate juices ready for main course), as a side dish accompanying a meal, as main course (consisting of meat) or even as dessert (fruit bowls).
You can use not only fresh ingredients but also utilize veggies left over from other meals. I am going to help you kick start your salad regimen by providing some easy and healthy recipes that can be whipped up quickly, in no time.
But before I do that, here are some essential tips to keep in mind before putting together a salad:
Place all the greens in ice water (to maintain the crunch and colour)
Do not use too much dressing as it makes the salad soggy and tasteless
Serve on a cold plate/bowl to maintain the freshness
CLASSIC CAESAR SALAD:
6-7 cloves minced garlic
½ cup mayonnaise
Grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1 day old bread (preferable baguette, cut into cubes)
1 head romaine lettuce, roughly torn
Use half of the minced garlic, and combine in a small bowl with mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, worcestershire sauce, mustard, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat a non-stick pan and add the remaining garlic to it, cook and stir until brown, and then remove from the heat. Add bread cubes to the hot oil. Cook, turning frequently, until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Place lettuce in a large bowl. Toss with dressing, remaining Parmesan cheese, and seasoned bread cubes.
Tip: Add sliced grilled/smoked chicken to make the non-vegetarian version of this salad.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 rounds of pita bread broken into pieces
1 cucumber, diced
1 cup tomato, diced
½ red onion, diced
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped mint
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for dressing
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sumac powder
Salt and pepper
Handful of crumbled feta cheese
Heat vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Place pita pieces into the skillet carefully. Fry in batches until golden brown and place on a tissue to drain excess oil.
Combine cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, black pepper, and sumac in a bowl. Gently toss salad with fried pita pieces. Adjust seasonings according to taste.
Tip: Add grilled/smoked chicken to make the non-vegetarian version of this salad.
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
3 apples, chopped and de-seeded
3-4 tbsp halved black grapes
1 cup thinly sliced celery
½ cup chopped walnuts
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Stir in the apples, celery, grapes and walnuts. Chill until ready to serve.
With the summer upon us, we look forward to icy coolers, sunny beaches and deliciously cooling food. But summer is also an exciting time to get cooking. It’s the time to relish the season’s best offering: mangoes!
Mangoes stir up memories from childhood, from getting our hands dirty trying to eat the pulp, to chilled aam pannas waiting in the fridge. But our palettes have come a long way since then and so has the humble king of fruits. As we experiment more and more, we discover just how versatile the mango can be. Working its sweet, tangy flavor and pulpy texture can be incredibly exciting both for sweet tooth’s and savory lovers. From chutneys and dips, to cheesecakes and ice creams; the mango does it all. So we thought that while you enjoy your mangoes this season, we brought you are some ideas that we absolutely love.
Before we get down to the cooking, we would hate to know that the fear of calories is keeping you from getting all that mangoes have to offer. Not only do they have great taste, they also have numerous health benefits and deserve to be a part of your regular diet.
Here’s why mangoes are good for you:
They boost skin health and making it clearer
Loaded with Vitamin A, they contribute towards maintaining better eye health
Over time, they help improve digestion
They protect from heat and fight against heatstroke
They are full of essentials vitamins and minerals which boost the immune system
They are also known to help lower bad cholesterol
Here are some of my all-time favorite recipes.
1 mango, peeled and cut into small cubes
½ cup peeled, de-seeded cucumber, cut into small cubes
1 tbsp finely chopped jalapeno
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
Finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper
Once everything is ready and chopped, mix it together and serve. You can eat it with chips, as a bruschetta topping or with savory tarts. HOME STYLE MANGO ICE CREAM
1 cup fresh mango (blended to pulpy consistency)
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh cream
1 cup milk powder
½ cup powdered sugar
Put everything together in a blender (make in two batches if the blender size is small), and blend till a creamy mixture is formed. Freeze for 4-5 hours and give it a swirl after every hour to maintain the creaminess and avoid ice-y lumps.
NO BAKE MANGO CHEESECAKE
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup milk
½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup fresh mango pulp
1 packet of digestive biscuits
3-4 tbsp melted butter
Whisk together the cream cheese, milk, half of the mango puree and sugar. Set it in the refrigerator until it becomes a little firm. Place the biscuits inside a zip lock and crush them into a fine powder by beating the packet with a rolling pin. Mix melted butter (add more if required) and spread the biscuit base in whichever container you want to serve the cheesecake in.
Once the cream cheese mix is cool and firm, scoop it over the biscuit base and spread using a spoon. Top with the remaining fresh mango pulp and serve chilled.
2 cups fresh chopped mangoes
2 cups fresh thick yogurt
2 tbsp cream
4 tbsp sugar or honey
Mint leaves for garnish
Puree the mangoes with cream and sugar/honey. Now add the yogurt and blend till a nice consistency is formed. Add some ice cubes and blend till everything has mixed well together. Pour into glasses, top with mint leaves and serve chilled.
2 medium ripe mangoes
200g thick yogurt
3 tbsp muesli/granola
5-6 tbsp of chopped mangoes
In a glass, add a spoonful of the mango puree and top it with yogurt. Now add another layer of mango puree followed by chopped mangoes. Refrigerate your parfait till its set and top with granola/muesli just before serving.
We hope that we were able to give you more creative and tasty ways to enjoy your mangoes!
When I think about food for the soul, biryani comes to mind.
One theory is that it originates from “birinj”, the Persian word for rice. Another theory is that it derives from “biryan” or “beriyan” (to fry or roast).
Now, it’s important to understand the difference between biryani and pulao.
I can point to these three major ones:
Biryani is the primary dish in a meal, while the pulao is usually a secondary accompaniment in a larger meal.
In biryani, meat and rice are cooked separately before being layered and cooked together. Pulao is a single-pot dish: meat and rice are simmered in a liquid until the liquid is absorbed.
Biryanis have more complex and stronger spices, compared to pulao and have a stronger taste of curried rice due to a greater amount of spices.
Let’s get to it then, here is my recipe for a home style egg biryani:
1 1/2 cups par boiled basmati rice (half cooked)
3 tbsp ghee
Khada masala (5 green cardamoms, 1″ cinnamon stick, 15 peppercorns, 5 cloves, 1 bay leaf)
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 medium tomato finely chopped (de-seeded)
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
3 slit green chilies
1/2 cup thick yogurt
1 cup deep fried onions
50-60 fresh mint leaves, hand torn
Fresh corinader leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Garnish (A pinch of garam masala, fried onions, fried mint leaves)
Heat 2 tbsps ghee in a non stick handi. Add khada masala and sauté till fragrant.
Add onions and sauté till golden. Add tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste and sauté till the tomatoes are pulpy.
Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger, green chillies and salt and sauté.
Add yogurt, half the fried onion, 25-30 mint leaves, 1 tbsp coriander leaves, lemon juice and eggs. Add ½ cup water and mix well.
Spread a layer of rice over the egg curry in the wok and gently mix.
Spread the garnish and drizzle the oil from the fried onions all over the rice.
Cover and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Lower the heat and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Cakes aren’t easy to make and every time I’ve tried making them in the past, they have either come out undercooked and gooey or overcooked almost to the consistency of a biscuit (I’m sure you would agree). Haha!
Even before making this banana cake, I attempted baking a vanilla sponge cake and a moist chocolate cake. The vanilla cake tasted a little too sweet and didn’t fluff up as I would’ve liked it to and the only thing that bothered me with the chocolate cake was that it didn’t taste like an oven cake and tasted more like a microwave cake.
Here are the photos:
I guess third time’s the lucky charm! Here is what you need for the banana and cinnamon cake:
4 ripe bananas
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.
Add oil, egg, vanilla and sugar. Stir using a rubber spatula to combine.
Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Stir till combined, do not over mix.
Pour the banana cake mixture into an ovenproof dish glazed with oil, flatten out to make an even top.
Bake at 180C or 350F for 30-40 mins till the top is cooked. Instert a knife inside and if it comes out clean, your cake is ready.
Serve warm cake with vanilla bean ice cream or cream cheese mousse with a light drizzle of salted caramel. Enjoy!
Hope you have a great time baking. Keep spreading the love!