baking, butter-free, healthy baking, savoury

Second pregnancy & Zero-Fat No-Flour Baked Chicken Cutlet

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How does your second pregnancy feel different emotionally from your first one? I have never asked that question to anyone, but I did ask myself.

And the responses from within were mixed, confusing, unclear –

Because as you get ready to welcome your second baby, you also look at your first one, with a lot of pride and that twinge of regret about them having grown up so fast.

Because as you wonder about managing two children, you yet again look at your first one, and feel yourself slipping in and out of the role of a mother, and a confidante ( I don’t know if this will be the case in some years, but at 4 1/2 years of age, they still feel comfortable confiding in you 🙂 

Because you know ( for sure this time !) that life has changed irrevocably and will never ever be the same, and then you look at your first one, to realize with even more incredulity about how you held onto your belief that life will have some semblance to what it was in your pre-baby days !

Because you longingly pat your tummy as you wait for the second one’s arrival, with the same longing in your soul to turn your first one back into a baby in your lap…

Because you speak those words of love to your second baby, to welcome them into your family, and the same love spills out of your eyes when you watch your first one pretending to be fearless and yet look out for your hand before crossing the road…

On that special note, I wanted to share one of the bakes that my first baby loves and I make many versions of.

Zero-Fat No-Flour Baked Chicken Cutlet – With White Pepper, Coriander, Garlic

Ingredients –
250 gms chicken mince
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 small sprigs of fresh coriander
Salt as per your taste
2-3 tsp of freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp paprika powder
A handful of boiled peas
A slice of wholewheat bread if needed to absorb excess moisture in the mixture
Some sooji / semolina for coating

Method –
Some people prefer to use the mince as is. But I like to partially cook it in cinnamon for added flavour and then use. So just half-cook the mince with 1 small stick of cinnamon.

Then remove the stick, add the mince plus garlic cloves and onion in a food processor to grind it ( I don’t prefer a very smooth paste, so I leave it a little chunky).

Add the green peas, coriander, white pepper, paprika powder and salt one at a time to the mix and mix well.

If the mixture feels like it has too much moisture you can add some crumbs of wholewheat bread, else leave it as it into the fridge for an hour or so.

Take it out of the fridge, shape it into cutlets, coat it lightly with very fine sooji / semolina and place it on a greased baking tray. Bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes each side, at 180 degrees C and they are ready!

 

My tip – use freshly ground white pepper. The flavour is amazing.

I have done the same version with soya before for a friend whose vegetarian. Also used sooji for the coating.

 

For a vegetarian version, use soya ( granules or nuggets) cooked the same way. It gives a similar texture to the cutlet. If you don’t want to use sooji since it might make the cutlet seem dry, you can use wholewheat bread crumbs.

 

 

almond, baking, butter-free, cake, cane sugar, chocolate, eggless, healthy baking, wholewheat

Uncharted adventures, not milestones..and a Wholewheat Eggless, Butter-free Chocolate Almond Cake

This is not a regular Mother’s Day post – I am using this post to simply share my thoughts again – thoughts that I shared when my son ( and I !) turned 6 months old.
More than anything else – what is exactly the same as I re-read this piece from May 2013, is that my little boy is still an adventurer and his mother is still discovering the little joys of uncharted adventures, not milestones !
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From May 2013
“We both turned 6 months old recently, my son…and it surely has been an adventure – from that night of 18th November when you decided to give us indications of your arrival up until now at 11.30 PM when I am sitting and writing this, as you suddenly discover that you want to play with the rattle into the midnight!  Right from that moment I should have known that my baby was an adventurer at heart !

As a mother, let me share with you that it has been a very crazy yet happy half-year: filled with many worried nights, many days of undiluted joy, lots of second guessing myself as a mother and frustrations, of trying to weigh mother’s instinct against experience and expertise, of trying to wonder how does one need to behave when one becomes a mother..but most definitely a half-year with not a single dull moment in it.

But you know what – Thank you for being patient and waiting for me to grow into my role as your Mom…sometimes

I look at you and it seems to me that you understand what I say, you understand when I say I have two other babies –Gunna Masi and Elsu, and smile back. You understand when I say I won’t pamper you silly, but that doesn’t make me love you any less.

Most importantly you understand that seeing how you do on well-defined milestones is not for your mother, for they seem like a checklist to tick on….it is the uncharted adventures that are for me…

Like our first flight together alone means more than when you first rolled over, or our first road trip, our first visit to the children’s home, how you and Elsa started growing comfortable with each other’s presence or even our daily debates about why sleeping in the night takes precedence over playing away!

So here’s not to more milestones…but to more ADVENTURES, my son ! The adventurous journey that started when I became a mother..”

 

Sharing a recipe that marks the first break that I am taking from baking on order, as the Chief Baker of Ovenderful, ever since it started in November 2013.

Wholewheat Butter-free Egg-Free Chocolate Almond Cake 

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Ingredients

1 cup wholewheat flour

3/4 cup cane sugar

½ cup curd

½ cup milk

½ cup boiling water

¼ cup any flavourless oil that is safe for baking

ÂĽ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( use great quality cocoa powder, it makes a world of difference)

Âľ teaspoon baking powder

4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate chunks

1/2 cup chopped almonds and some additional for topping the cake with

Method

Grease and dust an 7/8 inch round cake tin. I used a springform one, but it is not necessary to use only that one. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Sift together the wholewheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder .

Beat the curd, cane sugar, oil and milk. Add vanilla extract and mix well.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ones and mix well.

Slowly add boiling water and mix well ( just use a whisk, no need to beat it) to get a smooth batter. Add the chopped almonds and dark chocolate chunks, fold them into the batter gently. Pour in the baking tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Let it cool off entirely before you remove it from the tin.

butter-free, dairy-free, eggless, healthy baking, rice flour, savoury, vegan, wholewheat

Shifting Lives and Zero-Fat Vegan Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives

Zero-Fat Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives2.JPG

How would you sum up 11 months of stay in a place – moved in, settled in, moved out ? That’s pretty much the way I would have thought probably a decade ago. But today it seems like even in those short 11 months, one can fit in so much into one’s life in a place.

It starts with being unfamiliar and you yearn for your earlier comfort zone.

It goes into a resigned kind of acceptance of what you have currently and even if its different, you can live with it.

It changes to looking at the goodness that is present in parts of it, and which you probably overlooked before.

It moves to liking the place, forming a few relationships and getting involved with the community.

It escalates into enjoying your stay there, waiting to see the neighbourhood dog who wags her tail, the same children cycling around each day, the same help who cleans the apartment, the same person in the flat above who you havent had a chance to know by name yet but who smiles at you each time.

And then you pack and move on.

Such is life. That fragile. That ever-changing. That is how it shifts, it moves and changes shape each day for us. We wait for it to “settle” into a routine. But of course, it has its own plans.

So here is a quick, simple and versatile recipe which is simple to life in all those qualities-

Zero-Fat Vegan Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives

1 cup wholewheat

1 tbsp of rice flour

1 cup boiled and pureed spinach ( I added ½ a green chilly, 2-3 cloves of garlic and a little chopped coriander to it while pureeing)

3-4 tbsp chopped chives

2-3 tbsp black sesame

1 tbsp white pepper

Salt as per requirement ( I used rock salt)

Add some warm water to make the dough pliable.

 

Mix all the above dry ingredients well. Then add the spinach puree and the warm water ( if needed). Cling wrap it and store it in the fridge for about an hour.

Take it out, roll it into a rectangle, use a sharp knife to cut long strips/sticks. Place them onto a baking tray which is lightly greased. Sprinkle some chives and black sesame. Bake in a pre-heated oven ( preheat for 10 minutes) at 175 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes. You need to turn the sticks around mid way. Allow it to cool entirely for it to become crisp.

Zero-Fat Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives

 

baking, butter-free, cake, flourless, gluten-free

Memories of a Walk and Gluten-free Butter-free 100% Almond Flour Cake with Raisins

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When my son started going to a school that was close to home, I was very happy. That would mean a short travel time for him as well as me and the back and forth from school could be done quickly.

At that stage, little did I realize that the same back-and-forth that I was keen for us to do quickly, was exactly what I started enjoying. As days went by I would linger on while walking to his school slowly, taking in whatever caught my attention.

There is a comfort that comes from being in a routine – for me routine is not about a fixed time schedule. It is the same set of trees to pass each day, the same set of sleeping dogs by the road side, the same set of cleaning ladies cheerfully gathering the fallen leaves, the same security guards across small buildings, the same old scooter parked in the corner, dusty as can be and the exact same smile full of anticipation on my son’s face as I stand outside the school gate, when he sees me there.

There is a comfort that comes from following that pattern of holding hands, chatting about the school or friends or fights, and reaching home.  It is as though within those 10 minutes of walking to his school alone I find the time I look for, for myself and my thoughts. And as soon as his small hand is in mine, the 10 minutes of walking back home can get transformed into finding the time I look for, again. But this time with him – something that belongs to him and me; for him to have childhood memories to smile over and for me to have his childhood memories to find peace and warmth in, on cold winter nights.

So on that note of warmth in cold winters, here is a lovely recipe of a cake – the flavours and colours are warm and inviting. You will love the way the different elements come together into one single bake – and to add to that, its Gluten-Free and Butter-Free !

Gluten-free Butter-free 100% Almond Flour Cake with Raisins, lightly glazed with Honey-Butter Syrup

  • 2 cups finely ground almond flour
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Raisins as per your requirement

Method –

Beat the egg yolks well until they become frothy and slowly add half the sugar. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the almond flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Then add the flour mixture to the beaten egg yolks and beat well. Add the vanilla extract.

Beat the egg whites into peaks and add the remaining sugar to it while beating. Dust the raisins with a bit of the almond flour and keep them aside.

Slowly add the beaten egg whites to the almond mixture and fold well . Remember to be gentle and not over-mix. Add the raisins and fold them through the mix.

Gently add the batter into a the prepared baking tin and place in the oven. Bake at 170°C for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let it cool off before de-moulding it. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the top with a mix of honey and melted better and serve.

 

bread, butter-free, eggless, healthy baking, oats, savoury, wholewheat

The Wholewheat-Oats Buttermilk Bread with Gooseberry Jam

I am not really a night person ( or not any longer!) in most cases – The only thing that I love doing before sleeping off is reading. And that was the case for a long time. Even now, given the fact that I have to get up very early I try to plan a lot of my work in terms of baking or writing in the those wee hours.

However, there are rare occasions particularly on the weekend, when even after a long day in the kitchen, I love to unwind with some baking. And usually it happens to be experimental in nature – not because I want to brood over a disaster, incase that it is the result. But more so because, I want to know and therefore plan for what I want to do the next day to rectify or re-try an experiment if the one done the night before fails !

Thankfully for me though, this recipe of Wholewheat-Oats Buttermilk Bread (adapted from a blog, which had in turned been inspired by a book on Jewish baking) has turned out superbly in its second trial. The first one was not too bad, but the second one has turned out beautifully and I can’t wait to bake it again.

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Wholewheat Oats Buttermilk Bread topped with Chilly flakes , with homemade Gooseberry Jam

The texture and flavour is delicious and while you can smear it with butter, my personal preference to have it with Gooseberry/Amla Jam – the combined flavours of the bread, chilly flakes and Amla are brilliant.

Whole Wheat –Oats Buttermilk Bread

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 Cup Rolled Oats

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons honey

2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast

Oil for greasing the tin

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup warm water

Sprinkling of red chilly flakes

Method

Mix the whole wheat flour and oats with salt.

Mix the honey with warm water. Dissolve yeast and keep it aside for 10 minutes.

Add the honey-water and the yeast to buttermilk. If you do not have it at home, you can use regular milk in which 1/2 tbsp of white vinegar is added.

Add the liquid mix to the flour mix and mix well. Let it rest for 15 minutes.

Start kneading after 15 minutes, and knead well for 5-6 minutes. Grease a bowl and let the dough rest in it, until it doubles(it took about 1 hour mine to double).

Grease your loaf tin and place the dough in the form of of an oval shaped loaf into the tin. Leave it to rest and rise for another hour.

Pre-heat the oven at 175 degrees C. Brush the top of the loaf lightly and sprinkle chilly flakes and then bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Cool and slice.

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Wholewheat Oats Buttermilk Bread with chilly flakes, and with homemade gooseberry jam

 

*** Recipe for Gooseberry Jam/Amla

1/2 kg of Amla / Gooseberry washed and dried and boiled well so that the exterior is soft. Drain out the water ( you can use that for anything else ) . De seed the boiled amla, run it through the grinder.

Put it into a non stick kadai / pan. Keep it on low heat and stir. Add 3/4 cups cane sugar, 2-3 tbsp honey, 2 tsp ginger and 1 tsp or more if you prefer of cinnamon powder.

Keep stirring till it acquires the sticky jam like consistency. Cool off and store in air tight glass container.

 

butter-free, healthy baking, jowar, rice flour, Uncategorized

3/11 City- Florence/Firenze, 3/11 Healthy Bake: Schiacciata Alla Fiorentina

healthy-bake-schiacciata-alla-fiorentina

I am not a painter, not one by a far stretch of imagination. My mother’s committed efforts to have a drawing and painting teacher come home and teach us regularly, given her own creative inclination did not yield much result. I can claim to have made one painting at the end of our learning phase. Yes, I could draw to some extent – drawings of science experiments for my school files.

So given my painting skills one would think it strange that one of the things I thoroughly enjoy is exploring museums with paintings by painters, historical monuments and churches, and sculptures made by artists of a bygone era. So a city like Florence is a dream for me – because it has everything that one envisions as a person who loves history and art ( as an observer). The cobbled streets, the eclectic mix of street-side sculptures, the imposing Duomo wherein resides Michael Angelo’s masterpiece, the people from different walks of life, the winding roads that you can climb up and down as you gaze at the city below you.

Florence or Firenze as it is called in Italian, made it to my Top 3 favourite cities right from the moment I stepped in. And despite the fact that it was 7 years ago and I havent had a chance to revisit, it has held its place in my heart – because while some cities flaunt their art and past artists unabashedly, thus enticing tourists from across the world to come over, there are a few rare cities that stand in quiet dignity because the calibre and depth of what they hold does not need a mass of tourists. It needs a discerning and involved traveller:) And Florence is one of those.

So from the heart of Florence, as a tribute to its beauty is my bake – the Schiacciata Alla Fiorentina, which is essentially a Florentine Sponge Cake, but a healthier version of it. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 Jowar Flour
  • 1/2 Rice Flour
  • 1/2 All purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 4 tablespoons oil

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Butter your  baking pan or you can choose to bake them as small cupcakes like me.

Add flours, sugar, baking powder, the juice, zest,milk, eggs and oil. Beat with a mixer until thoroughly mixed together.  

Add the batter to the pan or the cupcake liners and bake for about 30 minutes or until it is completely baked ( I added some almonds as an after-thought, so you can do that if you want as well)

Cool it and serve.

butter-free, coconut sugar, creme caramel, flourless, liquid jaggery

2 / 11 CITY – COLOMBO , 2 / 11 HEALTHY BAKE – “Watalappam(n)” inspired Creme-Caramel

2006 – Exactly 10 years ago I visited Sri Lanka, Colombo and then Beruwala. Long before Peter Kuruvita made it a ‘fashionable’ destination to visit, through his culinary series on TLC. Continue reading “2 / 11 CITY – COLOMBO , 2 / 11 HEALTHY BAKE – “Watalappam(n)” inspired Creme-Caramel”

almond, butter-free, cake, gluten-free, oranges

Guest Post for Morphyandme:Gluten-Free Spanish Orange And Almond Cake ( Butter-Free)

This is the first time someone has asked me to write a Guest Blog and so I started this piece in many different ways, before settling down on this being the best way to start! Continue reading “Guest Post for Morphyandme:Gluten-Free Spanish Orange And Almond Cake ( Butter-Free)”

banana, butter-free, cake, walnut, wholewheat

Coming to terms with baking as per recipe !

Up until 2007/2008, I wasn’t one to pore through a recipe book, choose something and cook or bake it. My limited cooking skills were focused on eating whatever I needed to, in order to survive in a city like Mumbai in an extremely hectic job. You know how it can be-eating out every day is not an option, a cook is too expensive and you aren’t exactly enthused about whipping up exciting food after a long day at work. Continue reading “Coming to terms with baking as per recipe !”