Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Traditional Gulgule - Baked Gulgule with Cinnamon - Wholemeal Jaggery Doughnuts with Cinnamon !

We as parents always try to give our kids their birthdays to remember without breaking a bank ! celebrated and still celebrating our kids birthday with so much enthusiasm and great zeal , inspired by their favourite books, TV programme , movie character we choose the birthday themes and their presents too.  We Always had a different and quirky theme and tailor everything accordingly to their age, from the venue and decorations to the food and entertainment.

During the children's birthday celebration,  memories conjured up in my mind of how my own birthday used to be celebrated as a child and I haven't left any opportunities in telling the children about it. Me or my siblings never had a big birthday bashes or any themed parties with pretty frosted, decorated and delicious cakes to cut, yet we siblings and parents always eagerly waited for our special day and I have always treasured those memories with me which were woven around in that time !

Our birthday celebrations were just a family affair, not a big celebration and definitely no surprises whatsoever. Our day would start by waking up early and get blessings from the parents, with blessings sometimes dad would give us 5 or 10 rupees as a gift. We pretty much had Indian sweets and that too very simple instead of western cakes or pastries, it wasn't only us who were in this situation, around my time most of the families followed the same thoughts and patterns.
Simply for lunch mum would prepare some delicious home cooked meal which includes some fried and sweet delicacies, then around evening time we would go and watch a movie or circus and on return we get ice cream or some snack from outside.

My mum always cooked simple meals, she wouldn't hang around in the kitchen for so long, yet whatever she cooked always was so delicious and definitely worthy, and a superior meal which would bring all the reasons for celebrating the happy occasions, it could be any of these :- Gulab Jamun , Shrikhand and Puri , Lapsi ( broken wheat sweet )or potato Bhajiya or Onion pakora with Peas Pulao but somehow most of the time on my birthday mum  prepared sweet and fluffy Gulgule, and those are my most fond birthday memories.

GulGule is a delicious lightly sweetened, golden fried eggless mini Indian doughnuts , made with few ingredients and so easy to prepare. Gulgule is widely prepared and eaten in North India and Rajasthan during most of the festive season. Gulgule weren't that popular in the Gujerat households  around my time in India, however in our house Gulgule were making their appearances often as these were mum's favourite since her childhood as she spent her childhood in Rajasthan at her elder sister's.

The day I prepared Gulgule, family became a huge fan of it, requests started coming more often, then I thought about making good use of my cake pop maker which was a surprise gift from hubby on my birthday couple of years back !

You will need :-  for Traditional Gulgule
  • 250 g wholemeal or whole-wheat flour ( chapatti flour )
  • 100 g Jaggery or dark brown soft sugar
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed fennel seeds ( saunf )
  • Water

You will need :- for Baked Gulgule

  • 250 g wholemeal or whole-wheat flour ( chapatti flour )
  • 100 g Jaggery or dark brown soft sugar
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed fennel seeds ( saunf )
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • Water
  • 3-4 tbsp. caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon powder

Method :- Traditional Gulgule

In a one big bowl add jiggery or sugar and water, make sure water just barely covers the jaggery.
Once it has dissolve completely, strain the jaggery water.
Add all the other ingredients and combine well.
Batter should be thick but  to a dropping constancy and leave it aside for 15-20 minutes.
If you are deep frying the Gulgule ,beat the batter about 5-7 minutes, this process will make gulgule  soft and fluffy without using baking powder.
For deep frying heat oil in a karahi on a medium heat.
With a wet hand, take a golf ball sized batter from the bowl.
Shape it into a cylinder and drop it into the oil from the side of the karhai..just like pakoras.
They will float to the surface.
Cook and turning couple of times until the gugule turn golden brown and remove with a slotted spoon.
Repeat this process with the rest of the batter.
Serve warm with puri and sabji or serve as a snack with tea or coffee.

Method :- Baked Gulgule

In a one big bowl add jaggery and water, make sure water just barely covers the jaggery.
Once it has dissolve completely, strain the jaggery water.
Add all the other ingredients with baking powder and combine well.
Batter should be thick but  to a dropping constancy.
I baked Gulgule using cake pop maker.
Mix caster sugar and cinnamon powder.
As soon as gulgule ready, coat them in a cinnamon sugar, if sugar doesn't stick, then apply little melted butter or honey on gulgule then coat in a sugar.
Enjoy warm with tea or coffee.

Thank you for stopping by :)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Beetroot, Carrot, white Radish (daikon ) and Mixed seed warm salad - Beet, Gajar Mooli Sambharo

Recently we recorded and watched beautiful and informative programme on BBC 2, Sacred Rivers with adventurer Simon Reeve. He explores parts of the globe which otherwise cannot be explained without gaining knowledge of the influences that their rivers brings. In the family everyone did get excited to watch second episode as Simon went to India, and he followed sacred water of Ganges from Source to sea and exploring how India's economy has effected it's religious culture, The programme showed how significant river Ganges is to the lives of the people, same time also reveals that the pollution has taken it's toll on the river and struggling under the pressure of modern India.

Watching this particular episode took me back to the memory lane of my childhood,after watching places such as Rishikesh, Haridwar and Varanasi, thoughts and incidents came flooding in the mind of my visits there, suddenly there was a lot to talk to my kids of this past incidents. My daughter wished I had pictures and videos of those days, unfortunately such technology was not available during my childhood but I have a treasure of these wonderful times in my memory, which pops out anytime and anywhere ! How times have changed, that we have capable gadgets to record and cherish delightful memories.

  After watching the programme on the Ganges, husband played a dvd of our kids when they were babies, everything temporarily forgotten, this dvd took us back some years suddenly. It was such a joy to be refreshed by watching the tiny tots and this suddenly made me realise the value of preserving memories ! It was although shocking to see myself way back then, basically I was a big girl.

Maybe following a good diet and discovering healthy recipes, I've manage to knock off those extra pounds by a delicious way !! It's my belief that if you want to maintain a healthy weight, do not need crash diets, with eating right and natural food and comfortable workouts, can achieve lasting weight loss successfully, and develop a healthier relationship with food. It is important to focus on the right nutrients and balanced diet !

Since then I've tried and enjoyed so many nutritious yet flavourful recipes which are full of wonder food, one of them is Beetroot, Carrot and Mooli sambharo or warm salad. I've followed one of my other dish Gajar no sambharo ( carrot salad ) which was also a healthy option, but I've made further improvements by adding two specific vegetables and seeds. It is highly appreciated by the family members.

You will need :-
  • 1 medium beetroot - washed, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium carrot - washed, peeled and grated
  • 1 small white radish - washed, peeled and grated
  • 2-3 green chillies roughly chopped or according to your taste
  • 2 tbsp. lightly roasted mixed seeds ( sunflower and pumpkin )
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. methi seeds ( fenugreek seeds )
  • Pinch of hing ( asafoetida )
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp. freshly chopped coriander

Method :-
First squeeze the water out from grated radish. ( you can use this water to knead a chapatti dough )
Heat oil in wok or kadai.
Add mustard seeds, when they splutter add hing and methi seeds.
Keep heat on HIGH, add green chillies, grated beetroot, carrot and radish.
Keep mixing and add salt.
Stir fry mixture about 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat, add lemon juice and mix.
Garnish with a roasted seeds and fresh coriander.
Serve with any meal or have on it's own.

Thank you for stopping by :)

Monday, 17 November 2014

Oats, Quinoa and Methi ( Fenugreek leaves ) Muthiya - steamed fist cakes

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

Samosa and chips gives you cardiac problems, Gulab Jamun and cakes gives you sugar problems and TV and internet gives you many other health problems. Almost all of life's pleasure turn out to be bad for you !!

We are living in a city, which is crowded, noisy and air is polluted, In the midst of our busy, hectic, stressful lives, we fail to think about anything other than duties and few priorities. and pretty much every other ingredient of modern life in a big city, people are becoming a victim of so many unwanted health problems, such as stress, depression and you are advised to change your life style !

Past many years me and husband were a gym bunny, almost every day we did a vigorous workout. We enjoyed gym, swimming, sauna and aerobics ! After few years we thought we need a change and decided to quit gym, as gym was getting over crowded and almost became hard to breath ! 

We are lucky enough that there are few nature parks and woodlands near my area, and seaside just an one hour away. A walk along a wide beach, with no sound but the waves crashing and the gulls calling, may not be the answer to all our worries but almost everything seems better after you've skimmed stones or sat on the dunes scanning the horizon for ships or taking walks in natural environments, such as parks, trails, and other green spaces, the song of birds, their evening gatherings, the breeze that sways trees and the winds that blow your mind away…it’s all nature and beauty divine, certainly you will appreciate unique gift from nature !


While you are closure with nature, seems our workout  gets easier and easier, we do not find very difficult to brisk walk or jog and it seems a walk with nature is more enjoyable, beneficial and wonder therapy. Together as a family, we immensely enjoy walks through woodlands, parks or along the seaside. There are plenty advances proved by scientist, nature gives you abundance of physical and mental benefits ranging from clean air and lack of noise pollution to the apparent immune-boosting effects of a fine mist of “wood essential oils.” while Savour the silence of nature, or thrill to the tap-tap of the woodpecker or breathing lungful of fresh sea air is totally good for our well being and feel the waves of the sea, magical experience of life !

Nature is serene, beautiful, lovely, unique and a gift to every one of us, experiencing it should be a part of our lives !!!

Wood courtesy from woodland and the pebbles from pebble beach :)

We as family have decided no matter what the weather is,  a good walk close to nature is a priority, and so gear up for short trips to either woodlands or seaside, while husband takes responsibility to go behind the wheels, it down to me for the delicious food to take away with us. I arrange our food box according to weather, if the days are warmer then fresh salad, fruits and sandwiches will do and in cold temperatures soups, toasted sandwiches or some spicy snacks and flask of masala tea or coffee along with us. Every time I try to prepare something different but healthy and on our last trip to sea side I took jeera rice, moong beans curry and Oats, Quinoa and Methi ( fenugreek ) Muthiya. While son and husband were having fun and enjoying sea, for a while I disappeared to a nearby market for a prop hunting for my blog ;) after I came back we gobbled these healthy and lip smacking delicacies, instead of HOT POTATO CHIPS and SUGAR COATED DONOUGHTS which tempts you !

Dudhi na Muthiya , Methi Muthiya or rice and methi muthiya is a healthy Gujerati dish which can be served as a snack, breakfast, in a lunchbox or brunch with tea, coffee or chutney, kids might enjoy with milkshake or chaas ( buttermilk ). A perfect spicy snack always satisfies any soul ! This time I used couple more nutritious ingredients, which are Oats and Quinoa.

You will need :-
  •  3-4 cup methi ( fenugreek leaves ) cleaned, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup bajri flour ( finger millet flour )
  • 2-3 tbsp. semolina
  • 2-3 tbsp. gram flour
  • 1 tbsp. rice flour
  • 2 tbsp. oil ( moin )
  • Pinch soda bi carb
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp. ginger and green chilli paste
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup sour yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice or amchoor powder
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1-2 red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. ajwain ( carom seeds )
  • 2 tsp. cumin and coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
You will need for vaghar and garnishing :-
  • 3-4 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. hing
  • 2 sprigs curry patta
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 3-4 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp. desiccated coconut
  • Hand full of fresh chopped coriander 

Method :-
First lightly roast oats and quinoa for 3-4 minute.
Let it cool and grind to a coarse flour.
Place rest of the muthiya ingredients in a big bowl.
Mix very well to make a dough, using little water.
Dough should not be too soft.
Apply a little oil on your hands and divide the mixture into 2-3 parts.
Then pressing in your fists into cylindrical shapes and place in a steamer.
Whichever method you prefer. Insert a knife after 20-30 mins and see that it comes out clean, meaning its cooked.
Let it cool a little and slice each roll into thin oval-shaped pieces.
For vaghar heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds, after they splutter add rest of the ingredients except coconut and coriander.
After few seconds add cut muthiya pieces and mix gently and sauté them for few minutes or until they get slightly golden brown.
Switch off the heat, garnish it with coconut and coriander.
Enjoy with masala tea ( my favourite combination ) or your choice of dip.

Thank you for stopping by :)

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Protein Packed Granola - Full of Lucky Charms !

Breakfast is the only time of day you can justify eating a mixing bowl full of Lucky Charms--unless you're stoned, then all bets are off !!!!!

Over the past decade or so millions health conscious around the world are changing their views on breakfast, dumping processed and sugary cereals and fried cooked breakfasts for healthier and more natural alternatives, after all breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it has to be special !!

Until now, breakfast cereals have been an unchallenged joy of modern capitalism, mothers were delighted for various type of readymade cereals when the mornings were hectic these were boon for them, just leave them on a table with pint of milk and family is sorted. Kids excited because cereal boxes were loaded with sugar and chocolate, but since then we 'the people' have gained so much knowledge on our health and food , opened our eyes and  now people want to eat healthy and filling breakfast and don't mind to go back to old style breakfasts and explore those much more healthier options.

Including me too, in those millions of people who wants to ditch unhealthy breakfasts and get into habit of eating good, protein packed and energy boosting breakfasts which gives you the pleasure  in having a breakfast. There are thousand and thousands of health experts, doctors, chefs and good TV programs and so much information available on the internet,which encourages you to creating a habit of eating healthy, millions of cook books and health cookery shows flooded with healthy recipes for you to try out.

Me and my family have been eating reasonably healthy, I follow my parents motto "eat everything but moderately" want to continue those habits, but want to make more efforts. So driving on this path, listening to health experts and gathering information from media, my appetite has grown for superfood which has extra nutritional and health benefits and I try to incorporate into more in our everyday diet.
In current era superfood have became a marketing success story, we are buying more and more superfood as now we have greater awareness around healthy eating and concurring with the natural food movement, everyone wants to try out their hands on few recipes which includes trendy foods, which comes with a high price tag, I have been making this protein packed and bursting with flavours, colours and energy boosting Granola.

Protein packed Granola, approved by my family is never enough for them, constantly preparing that in my kitchen. This wholesome, comforting and deliciously flavoured granola is a smart choice, whipping up your own by yourself is super easy, you are the boss and you know what went in , on top of that you can change flavours and ingredients how you like. Husband loves to have it in the morning as he always wants a quick fix breakfast, sometimes he adds as a toping on a plain cooked porridge or Weetabix too, daughter munches while studying and me and son like to stir it into yogurt and enjoy as healthy and yummy dessert :)
Once you start making it, you have plenty of room for creativity. This is a great granola recipe, put it in a fancy bag or jar and tie with festive ribbon and give it as gift to a foodie and be assured they will rave about your yummy granola !!!!!

You will need :-
  • 100 g jumbo rolled oats
  • 75 g popped Quinoa
  • 75 g popped amaranth
  • 50 g wheat germ
  • 75-80 ml maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tbsp. soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower oil
  • 3-4 tbsp. desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp. coconut flakes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. grated orange rind
  • 50 g mixed seeds ( I used sesame, sunflower, flaxseeds or linseed, pumpkin and chia )
  • 150 g mixed nuts ( Almonds, pecan cashews pistachio, brazil, hazel and walnuts )
  • 25 g dried cranberries and goji berries
  • 30 g raisins and sultanas
  • 50 g mixed dry fruit roughly chopped ( apricot, dates, fig, )

Method :-
Preheat the oven to gas mark 3.
Line one large roasting tray with parchment paper and leave it aside.
In a large bowl toss all the ingredients except oil, maple syrup and sugar , vanilla and dry fruit.
In another bowl whisk oil, sugar, vanilla and maple syrup.
Combine dry and wet ingredients till everything moisten very well.
Pour the mixture onto the roasting tray and spread it evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, giving it a good stir and swapping them about on their shelves half way through.
The granola should be light golden brown when cooked.
Remove and leave to cool completely and stir in berries and dry fruit.
Store in a airtight container.
Enjoy with milk, yogurt or have it on its own.

Puffed rice and natural bran can be added too.

Thank you for stopping by :)

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Methi Baingan - Methi Ringna - Fenugreek leaves with aubergine

"It's a sigh of relief, monsoon marks are disappeared, sky is getting clear, definitely day time temperatures are comfortable and nights are getting cooler here ", said dad when I called him last time. Where my loved ones are in India, they don't face very harsh winter, but certainly their winter temperatures are enough to give them a experience of chilled weather !

While Indian markets or bazaars floods with abundance fresh fruits, vegetables and various type of dried fruits , nuts and spices, especially lush green various type of greens and so many colourful and fresh produces attracts you to the market. In India it's a perfect time to indulge in cooking and eating during this time.

I clearly remember, holding mums hand going through vegetable markets, where cows, dogs, cats and goats are roaming around freely, it's a delight visual now but that time it was little discomforting for me, I love animals, but not comfortable being around them, vendors standing near their stalls or cart filled with piles of fresh produce, their amicability, price and good quality produce convince you to buy from them, and you see ladies haggling over the prices, seems "Bargaining" is their birth right;) and try to get fresh and good quality stuff as possible. I would patiently and happily tag along with Mum as I always like food and markets hustle and bustle.
In those days even if you don't enjoy still your mum or older ladies of the family would insist that girls should get few tips on how to buy your groceries.

Mum was fussy about buying fresh and good quality green leafy vegetables, was always searching in markets for this, when she found what she was looking for she was always pleased ! each fruit and veg had it's turn, I follow the same principals and enjoy rotating to variety. During the cold spell she used to make sure that METHI RINGNA was on the menu as these cooked with right spices can give you a bucket full of health benefits.

Availability is bit scarce in the UK during the hard winter, where as in India it's the opposite ie more available in winter. But I make most of it during the summer months as that's when methi and ringna are largely available.  So for me to post this recipe around this time is perfect right now :) I have cooked and devoured this sabji many times this summer.

Methi translate fenugreek leaves and Ringna or Baigan translates aubergine, perfect match made in heaven, complements each other so beautifully. While classic winter sabji aloo methi  so popular in north region of India, Methi Baigan gets a hearty welcome in most of the Gujaertai households.  Cook with just few spices, this garlicky and spicy sabji is a perfect accompaniment to Bajri na Rotla ( Finger millet flour roti ) and Garlic Chutney, however normal roti or paratha will do.

Methi Baigan generously flavoured with garlic and dried red chillies, the aroma of sautéed methi during cooking makes you forget that you are cooking tangy bitter methi and almost tasteless aubergine ! It takes a little while to develop this sabji taste, but let me assure you once you start liking it you will be hooked on this dish that's my promise :)

You will need :-
  • 3 medium bunch of methi leaves cleaned , washed roughly torn  
  • 1 large aubergine cut, cubed and washed
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil or any other
  • 2 tbsp. ginger, garlic crushed
  • 1 slit green chilli ( optional - mum didn't use it but I do )
  • 2 small tomatoes chopped
  • salt to taste
  • Pinch kasoori methi
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder ( haldi )
  • 1 tsp. red chilli powder
  • Pinch of hing ( asafoetida ) 
  • 2 tsp. cumin and coriander powder ( dhanajeeru )
  • Pinch garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Method :-
Heat oil in a kadai or thick bottomed pan.
Add dried red chillies and ginger garlic and green chilli.
After 13-14 seconds add hing, methi leaves and aubergine.
Keep heat on high and thoroughly mix everything.
Turn the heat low, cover the kadai with lid and cook the sabji for 5-7 minutes.
Remove the lid, once mix and cover again.
Cook another 5-7 minutes.
Now add all the masala, salt and tomatoes.
Once again cover with lid and cook the sabji 3-4 minutes more.
Add kasoori methi and cook another 1 minute. add lemon juice.
Turn the heat off and serve hot.

Thank you for stopping by :)

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Apple Cinnamon Flapjacks - Vegan

In my part of the world we were in treat, not trick with Halloween  , Lol, weather did not trick us ! We had warmest Halloween this year as temperature went up to 24C, temperature record was broken beating the previous high of 20C set at Dartford, Kent in 1968. People headed to beaches, many of had held parties in their gardens and barbecue cook -outs around bonfires. So far, 2014 is the warmest year on record, following consistently mild temperatures which have continued into autumn.

As we got the most out of the glorious sun this year and seems we are driving towards the cold spells, the temperatures are plunging as autumn is on full swing !  While you admire crispy copper and golden leaves fallen of the trees, same time experiencing first frost of the year, clouds overlap each other and makes sky grey, dull and gloomy, cold air is biting and we started to adjust to this weather.

While getting ready for chilling weather, finished important 'autumn chores - clean' around the house, prepared kitchen for festive cooking. Cleared and organized the shed and both gardens, tucked away garden furniture and barbecue nicely. Became ruthless and chucked away few unwanted garbage, and now just waiting for the warm, cosy time in clean and comfortable home as nowadays its getting darker and chilled, one cannot help but think of sitting around fireplace instead of outdoor.

During cold weather  warm, spicy and nourishing food is always appreciated by the family. Recently we had half term holidays and my son was off from school for a whole week, perfect time for me to check few recipes. Got inspired by sweet scent of cinnamon and apple candles, thought of preparing something with these two ingredients !

Apple Cinnamon Flapjacks , Its a fall inspired treat !! The delicious fall produce Apple , with warming sweet and warm spice Cinnamon, can't go wrong with this combination, always a winner. These flapjacks have the most fantastic moist texture and one of a kind flavour and not to forget it's a tick healthy box too !

You will need :-
  • 30-35 ml virgin coconut oil NOT butter plus little for greasing
  • 180 g rolled oats
  • 2 medium apples
  • 30 ml honey
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. dried cranberries or any other dried berries
  • 20 g pumpkin seeds or mixed seeds
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds

Method :-
Pre heat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease baking tin with coconut oil.
Cut the apples and remove seeds, place them unpeeled in a food processor.
Process to a coarse puree, add splash of water if necessary.
Melt the coconut oil and honey in a pan, once they both combined add apple puree.
Stir well and add oats, cinnamon, nutmeg cranberries and seeds and stir thoroughly to form a sticky mixture.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin, sprinkle sesame seeds and press down well , bake about 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Allow to cool completely and cut into desire shape.
Goes well with warm glass of milk or non dairy milk, tea or coffee.

Normal butter can be used instead of coconut oil.

Thank you for stopping by :)