amaranth, baking, biscuits, butter-free, eggless, quinoa, savoury, Uncategorized

Playing with Soil…and Earthy flavours of the Baked Butter-free Kasoori Methi-Ajwain Matthi

I took my son to a place close to home, where the children were going to spend a couple of hours working on a patch of garden. I went with the idea of getting him to expend his energy since the summer vacations are on. As some of you might be aware, a restless 4 1/2 year old with unused energy is a different kind of person altogether !

For the first 15 minutes I simply looked on and prayed for him to remain engaged for the entire duration of 2 hours. I wondered if I had done the right thing – gardening and connecting with the soil, as well as nature are immensely therapeutic but will he want to do it again?

But as I kept watching him, my mind was whirling with thoughts….The world we live in – we have to teach our kids to play in mud, to wonder about the magical creatures living in the soil, to touch leaves without hesitation, to feel the wonder of planting a seed, to squeal with delight when a caterpillar crawls on their little hand.

And when you do that, the world we live in changes…A little each time, because we start removing the layers of indoor dust that’s settled into our own souls as well, to uncover the glistening beauty of outdoors.

That’s what nature does for us – puts us back right where we belong.

And by the end of those 2 hours, I think both of us had been put back where we belong – more me, than him. Because for a child, it is so much easier to sense that belonging. But for a jaded adult, it takes a while to revisit the deep recesses of the soul, scrape off the dirt and uncover the roots.

On that note, let me share something that is earthy in flavour and contains ancient grains.

Grow Fit has some excellent flour mixes and the first one “Ancient Grain Low Carb Atta” that I tried has yielded excellent results. I was very excited to try it in both, savoury and sweet bakes.

It is diabetic-friendly, PCOS-friendly, Low Carb and High Protein, containing Quinoa and Amaranth.

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What I baked with it ( also eggless, bp/bs free) –
1. Kasoori Methi- Ajwain Matthi / Mathri ( butter-free)
2. Chocolate Almond Cookies

They turned out so crisp and crunchy in texture, that I am looking forward to baking many more things with this flour super soon.

Flour Link –
https://getgrowfit.com/…/produc…/ancient-grain-low-carb-atta

Baked Kasoori Methi- Ajwain Matthi / Mathri ( butter-free)

1 cup of the Low-Carb Flour, Ancient Grain

Kasoori Methi and Ajwain as per your taste preference

2-3 tsp salt, 1-2 tsp red chilly powder, 1-2 tsp homemade garam masala

3-4 tbsp oil

Hot water for kneading

Mix all the dry ingredients well. Add the oil and mix with hand. Use hot water a bit at a time and then mix well. Knead it well and leave it side for 10 minutes. Shape it into rounds and bake at 180 degrees C, for 20 minutes or until crisp.

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And talking about the earth brings me to my recipe.

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almond, butter-free, cake, gluten-free

Be Proud…Mace and Saffron flavoured Italian Rice cake – with Almonds (butterless, no all purpose flour , made with Arborio rice)

Mace & Saffron Infused Italian Rice Cake with AlmondsFestive season is approaching and so are the advertisements about what to gift, why this time of the year is special and very importantly – how you need to look your absolute best. Seriously?

Recently I saw an ad, in which a mother is talking about how her child loves to pull her cheeks and after using a certain product the child has been telling her how soft her cheeks have become. My son saw it and promptly asked me – “Do you want me to get that for you Mamma?” He is 4 1/2 years old. I looked at him and asked if he didn’t like my cheeks as is ! He looked amused and responded that they were already soft, but if I wanted them to become even softer, like the Aunty on TV.

Well, where am I going with this ? Here’s my take – we really need to stop such emphasis on physical appearance. And let us stop when we can. Let us draw lines. Let us define boundaries on this one. To not encourage our children when they feel the need to appreciate what we look like. Yes, I want to be well-dressed and looking my absolute best. But I would not want my child to focus on how I can “improve” my physical appearance.

At some base level, it is imperative that a child knows and understands that softer cheeks are good. Infact they are great. But only if one already has them 🙂 Shift the direction of their thoughts to being proud of what you look like already. That will promote a positive body image in them as well.

Bring the festivities on , on that note ! And bake away – a recipe that closely resembles elements of our traditional kheer / rice pudding !

Mace and Saffron flavoured Italian Rice cake – with Almonds ( butterless, no all purpose flour , made with Arborio rice)

600 ml milk

1 tsp zest of lemon

150 grams of risotto rice ( preferably Arborio)

100 gms chopped almonds ( you can use any other nuts that you prefer but those which will go well with this flavour are alnuts, pinenuts, pistachios as well)

3 eggs, separated

85 grams caster sugar

1 tsp finely powder Mace

1 tsp saffron threads ( soaked in 1 tsp milk)

Cook the rice in the milk and the lemon zest till it is cooked well and soft. This should take about 40 minutes and the mixture will be creamy and thick. While it cooks ensure that you stir it well so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Shift this mix into a bowl to cool off well. Prepare a 9 inch springform cake tin by greasing and lining it. Preheat the oven at 160 degrees Celsius. Toast the chopped almonds in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Beat the egg yolks one by one into the rice mixture using the whisk or wooden spoon.  Beat the caster sugar into this mix and add the chopped almonds, saffron threads soaked in milk and the powdered mace.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites into stiff peaks and gently fold them into the rice mixture. Put this final mixture into the prepared springform cake tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin and then cover it and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

Unmould the cake and remove the lining when you want to serve it the next day and dust with icing sugar. Slice and serve.

KD2

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 !
KD2
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 

IMG_5994

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

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( use great quality cocoa powder, it makes a world of difference)

¾ 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.

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.