baking, healthy baking, oats, savoury, vegan, wholewheat

Of seeing joy in simple things…and Wholewheat Oats Jeera(Cumin) Kasoori Methi Crackers

IMG_5750One of the ‘big’ super-special outings my son and I shared while staying in Richmond Town, was to suddenly plan a visit to Cubbon Park ( The above picture is not of Cubbon Park, but another park in Wellington 🙂 ) . The serenity of the park especially on a week-day would re-energize me while the old-world no-frills rides, the toy train, a pack of juice and hot popcorn from the vendor there would fill my son with glee.
We shifted homes some months ago and the Park became very far to go to, in a spontaneous manner. I was a little worried  about how I might explain the sudden drop in our visits to my son when he asks about it again. In addition to that when we moved homes, I was 6 months pregnant with my second baby so I wasn’t looking forward to traversing the breadth of the city.
But, explaining things like distance and traffic to a 4 year old and then seeing his disappointed face- I wasn’t looking forward to it.
Then, he woke up one morning and said “After a while can I have some juice and popcorn?” My response – “Yes you can”. His reply – “Wow, that will be just like a ‘picnic’ , like when we would go to the Cubbon Park”.
A child’s mind is like a natural receptor for picking up the positives, absorbing the fun part of each situation and moving on. The child sees joy in the simplest of things.
An adult’s mind, on the other hand, worries and worries about the negatives and mundane issues. I learnt that from my son that day.
In line with seeing joy in simple things, here is a recipe that is not only simple, but brings together warm and hearty flavours that can create a sense of winter for you, even if you live in a city that does not have winters. Like me.
Wholewheat Oats Jeera-Kasoori Methi Biscuits
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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup Oats ( Rolled)

Jeera and Kasoori Methi, as much as you prefer

Salt as per your preference

Homemade garam masala, as per your preference

Red chilly powder , as per your preference

4 tablespoons of oil + 2 / 3 tbsp of ghee ( to make a vegan version, exclude ghee and add only oil)

Warm water to bring the dough together

Method

Mix together whole wheat flour, oats( I ground them roughly), salt, jeera, kasoori methi in a big bowl.

Add the oil and ghee, into the above mix and rub into it till it turns crumby. Add only as much warm water is needed to bring the dough together. 

Preheat oven to 165 degrees Centigrade and prepare your biscuit tray. 

Roll out the dough as thin as possible. Cut out the crackers with a cookie cutter. Arrange them on the baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes till it turns crispy. Cool it off and store. 

 

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apple, barley flour, coconut sugar, eggless, healthy baking, oats, pie

4/11 City- Cologne/Koln, 4/11 Healthy Bake: German Apple Pie in a Barley-Oats Crust

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Cologne / Koln, November 2008: the only thing I knew about it was that this was the first European city I was going to visit, it sounded exotic and I was going to be attending a conference by Chemicals organizations there. That was it.

Strange as it may sound, my excitement was centered around meeting my colleagues from the US, South America and Europe.  Not around the city. It is not that I was under-estimating the loveliness of the city. It was just that at that time in my life, I thought work should be an all-consuming part of one’s life.

I am one of those people whose senses are more heightened after a sleepless night!

And so driving into Cologne immediately after landing at Frankfurt, was probably what made me absorb the gorgeous beauty of the city – there were streets that were actually cobbled and people strolling in a leisurely manner with little dogs on the side-walks in the middle of a busy week-day !  At the heart of the city towering above all else was the Cologne Cathedral – not only is it a resplendent architectural wonder, since it stands next to the river the entire picture is a sight to watch, almost like a painting.

I walked through the city since that is what the hotel staff suggested and I would recommend that to everyone – it is the only way to absorb the sights and sounds. But seeing the quaint ( and quite modern too!) trams go past, was enough to tempt me to climb into one of them for a short ride. It seems to be a common form of transport through the city and it took me back to the time I used to take tram rides in Calcutta.

In a short 2 day work visit, this was all I could manage, but the city’s charm is irresistible-it lies somewhere between being a small city to a large town, steeped in German tradition and yet somewhat welcoming towards those like me who wandered through it before moving onto other places.

So for a city as multi-layered as Cologne, the German Apple Pie, a comforting bake with complex flavours is what comes to mind 🙂

I tried it on one of my walks and this is my healthier version of it in a buttery Barley-Oats crust with a delicious apple-cinnamon filling, topped with caramel sauce and baked. It is entirely free of refined white flour/all purpose flour and the sauce uses coconut sugar.

Ingredients –

  • 3 large apples, peeled, sliced and stewed with 2 tsp of freshly grated cinnamon, in 1 1/2 cups of water.
  • For the crust – 1 cup barley flour, 1/2 cup powdered oats, 1/2 cup wholewheat flour, 100 grams butter. Rub the cold butter into the flour mix, cling wrap it and keep it in the fridge for at least 5 hours. Blind bake the crust at 180 degrees C just before making the pie, for 20-25 minutes.
  •  For the caramel sauce – 1 tbsp barley flour, 3 tbsp coconut sugar and 20 gms butter. Plus the liquid from the stewed apples.  Melt the butter, add the sugar and stir it well till it caramelizes. Add the flour while stirring well so that it doesnt become lumpy. Finally add the liquid that is drained out from the stewed apples.

Method –

If the above three elements are ready, the method is just about assembling them and baking. So layer the baked crust with sliced stewed apples.

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To use

Pour the sauce uniformly and then place the pie into the oven to bake for 30 minutes, at 180 degrees C.

Serve warm as is or with ice cream !

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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.

 

almond, baking, healthy baking, jaggery, oats

Why Ovenderful is, where it is today.

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Many of you have seen the kind of note 2017 has started on , for Ovenderful. Receiving such a lot of recognition and appreciation is incredible, but also overwhelming. It also leads to a whole lot of soul – searching , at least for me it did. People will probably say that one should savour the moment – which I did. But when you realize the power of what you created it can be humbling.

The Ovenderful you see today seems to be lit up in all the success – But with all the adulation that has come, each time I have looked inwards to remind myself that this is not a story of Glory , it is a story of Grit.

I don’t say this for any reason except to simply share this experience with more people – many of who are struggling with a small / home based venture. So that they remember to stand tall each time the venture receives a setback and they understand that the sun rises and sets. Today it shines on one and tomorrow on the other – so don’t lose heart.

I baked only to raise funds or for social impact for the initial years – not because I wanted to have a story to tell. But because ,simply put, I believed in them and they in me.

I sold baked goods at prices that were laughable, so much so that those who ordered them told me to rework my prices – upwards. Not because I couldn’t price better but because the idea of completely monetizing what I had realized was a passion, seemed to reduce its value, to me.

So Ovenderful is where it is, only and only because of two things – the unchanging philosophy that it will always stand for social impact alongside being a venture and that it will dare to go where few will ( healthy baking ) even if the orders are few and far between.

And since Ovenderful has been like a baby to me, which I have spent love and time on, to nurture, it is only fitting that I share a recipe that is close to my heart – that of Lactation biscuits, which many new moms have found useful when they are feeding their babies.

Published first on : http://fitmoms.in/lactation-biscuits-recipe/

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Rolled Oats
  • ½ cup chopped Almonds
  • 1 tbsp Flax seeds
  • ½ cup organic Jaggery
  • ½ tbsp Fennel/Saunf Seeds
  • ÂĽ cup Ghee/Butter

Preparation method

  1. Grease a baking tray and keep it ready. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
  2. Dry roast the oats and then grind them coarsely. Add the chopped almonds, flax seeds, fennel seeds to it and mix well.
  3. Add the organic jaggery – either as a powder or in grated form to the above dry mix. Mix it thoroughly to ensure that the jaggery has been spread uniformly. Then slowly add the ghee or butter ( at room temperature and soft). As the dough comes together, do not knead it. Just bring it together and then cling wrap the dough.
  4. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Take them out and shape them into whatever shape you prefer and place them on the baking tray. Then bake them at 180 degrees , for 15- 20 minutes.
  5. Allow them to cool off well and then remove them from the tray. Store them in air tight containers.

 

 

chia seeds, oats, vegan baking

The Plattershare BellyNirvana Program

Sugar-Free Oats Jam – Chia Seeds Sandwich Bar(Vegan)

‪#‎BellyNirvana‬ ‪#‎Plattershare‬ ‪#‎goindiaorganic‬ goIndiaOrganic Plattershare – When I received the vegan organic chia seeds and gluten-free Apple Cider Vinegar, as part of this program, I was keen to explore how to use them in healthy baking. The usual way to do that is to incorporate them into a cake and that works very well !
Continue reading “The Plattershare BellyNirvana Program”

apple butter, cane sugar, dairy-free, eggless, healthy baking, oats, vegan, vegan baking

Vegan baking and Apple Butter experiments!

As some folks might know I try to experiment with various flours,sweeteners and fat as well to work on expanding my choice of healthier variants using these. So I prepared some ‪#‎vegan‬ Apple Butter yesterday and have been really thinking of using that in a bake by completing eliminating all other forms of fat. You may seen a range of experiments using Apple Butter on my page so here’s the first one ( and I am super thrilled to say that its been superbly successful!)
Continue reading “Vegan baking and Apple Butter experiments!”