Monday, November 30, 2009

Strawberry Cake ~ Melanye Kimbrough

WYF:Tea time snack event announcement

Are you always in search of quick and tasty snacks for teatime..Here is an opportunity to share what is your favourite tea time snack and also learn more varieties of such snacks from other bloggers..Pamper yourself by preparing your favourite snack anytime during the month and send it over for the WYF:Tea time snack event this December..

The rules are the same as always -

1) After posting your recipe on your blog, please link it back to this announcement and add the logo if possible. In case you wish to send some dish that you have posted earlier, please repost it with the link to the event and the logo. Please restrict the number of entries to three.


*** Adding the event announcement link is a must in your post and also reposting in case of archives.

2) Please post only vegetarian recipes for the event since this is a 100% Vegetarian blog. No eggs please. If you are a non-blogger, you can mail me the recipe and the picture.

3) Mail me the following details -

** Please follow the same order in your mails as it helps a lot during the roundup

Subject: WYF: Tea time snack

Your name:
Blog name: (not url)
Dish name:
Link to the post:
For archived entries, the reposted link:

to easycrafts@gmail.com by 31st December '09. I will pick up the picture from your blog...you neednt send it. The roundup would be published during the first week of January.


Looking forward to your participation in the event.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Charlotte Cakes ~ Sarah Maloney

Super Blogger Sunday: Srivalli of Cooking 4 all seasons

This week's featured super blogger is Srivalli from Cooking 4 all seasons. Hardly anyone in the blogging circuit might be unaware of her blog and her melas. The MEC events for Microwave cooking, a contributor to Beyond curries, various Melas, the Indian cooking challenge, two other blogs - she has her hands full and yet manages to efficiently provide time for each of them..

EC: Tell us something about yourself

Srivalli: I got hooked on the idea of a blog after seeing my friend's personal blog. I created first my personal blog, Journey Called Life, wanting to update my daily journals. I have always been interested in cooking and have many cookbooks, paper clippings. So creating a cooking blog was only natural. I started blogging "Cooking for all Seasons" from May 2007, that makes it about 2 years 6 months. For about a year and half, I was posting daily in C4AS. But with my kids growing up and the work on two more blogs, I try doing atleast two - three posts per week.

One day when my elder twin saw his brother's picture on my profile. he asked me where his picture was. So that actually led to creating a new blog "Spice your Life" so that I can upload his picture. With the new blog I thought I could expand the topics, so Spice your Life, has every element that is meant to spice one's life! I even got my dad to write and educate on Diabetes and I try thinking further on parenting, Indian culture and traditions etc.

Journey Called Life is purely a personal blog about my paintings, poems and writings, which are my other hobbies.

Yes there was a time when I used to cook specially for blog and blog events. These days I try but mostly can't.

EC: Who and what inspired you to start food blogging ?? Which blogs inspire you ??


Srivalli: I wanted to write a cookbook, but with everything I had already on my plate, venturing into it then, was not possible. So I thought I would record my recipes online.

EC: How do you think blogging has changed your perspective and exposure ?

Srivalli: In a way, starting with blogging on food, has helped me know how much more work is involved in creating a cookbook. Blogging experience has given me the confidence and audience for my cookbook.



EC: How do you manage balancing your job, family and blogging ?

Srivalli: I think it all depends on how much we want to do something. I mostly blog during nights when my family sleeps. The days I don't post, I get my content ready with pictures. So sometimes I schedule posts when I know I won't be able to do right then.


EC: Your melas are very popular..tell us something about it.
Srivalli: Thank you! I started with Dosa Mela, because I love dosas and am always on the look out of new ones. I was surprised to see so many dosa lovers. And they wanted more such melas! so the series continued..

I was enjoying the fact that I was able to annotate each entry, which my readers liked too. I tried doing that for the next 4 - 5 melas, but with 350 entries, though I read each one of them, writing something about it was too exhausting.

Then I wanted to do something different. So I created a program to link the pictures directly in a collage. In the melas collages, you can directly click on the picture to the blog.


EC: You have been affected by plagiarism..How do you think we can fight and deal with it ??


Srivalli: Plagiarism is horrible. When it happens online and is hosted on the free services, you can file complaints with the service provider, who will take down the site. But with print media lifting your content, you are so helpless to do anything. We need to have stronger cyber laws in India.

Naturally fellow blogger's help and spreading the word helps.


EC: Can you give some tips for new bloggers to make their blogs popular ?? How do you stay in contact with your readers ?

Srivalli: As the cliché goes, "Content is the King". I strongly believe in that. Decide what you want to share and how private you want to keep things. Remember you are publishing to the whole world to see. So take responsibility on what you say on your blog. It might be your own space, still credibility and accountability is more important.

Writing may not be everybody's forte. But checking for grammar and typos are least anybody can do. Try to write what you want in simple language.

Give content that is well received. Like documenting your family treasures will surely get everybody sit back to read and in due course of time, you will get lot of interactions. Be part of the community. Have an interactive post. When readers see that they are asked something, they will surely respond.

Though I do have lot of email contacts, I now have most of them on Facebook, Twitter. But one should again know what is important.


EC: Your favorite vegetarian recipe
Srivalli: I love all the ones that I posted..but the simplest one would be this complete meal!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Making Chocolate Truffles ~ After Dark Miniatures


Methi layered paratha


Ingredients

2 cups wheat flour
Salt to taste
1 cup cleaned and chopped methi (fenugreek leaves)
Oil as required

Make a soft dough of wheat flour, salt, methi leaves and water. Remember not to cut the methi leaves in advance as it turns out bitter. Keep aside for 1/2 hour. Make medium sized balls of it.

Dust with flour and roll into chapati. Apply a little oil/ghee and sprinkle some flour over it. Fold it into half and then once again apply oil and sprinkle flour. Fold once more into half to get a triangle. Dust with flour and roll it into a triangle paratha.

Cook on hot tava with oil/ghee as required till you get brown spots on both sides. Repeat for rest of the dough.

Serve hot with side dish of your choice.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Leftovers Recipes

Thanksgiving turkey
If you ask me, the second best thing about Thanksgiving is not the dinner itself, but the leftovers. I like turkey a lot, especially its amazing versatility. Leftover turkey, even dry, overcooked turkey, is good in soups, salads, sandwiches, stews, smothered in sauce or topped with a poached or fried egg.

Here are my suggestions for how to use leftover turkey. I've linked to recipes that I think look solid, but feel free to use your own or your imagination!

Turkey Pot Pie

Turkey Mole

Turkey Enchiladas

Turkey Mushroom Crepes

Turkey Quesadillas

Turkey Barley Soup

Turkey Hash

Turkey Salad

Turkey Noodle Soup

Turkey Cobb Salad

Turkey Gumbo

Turkey Posole

If you have any favorite turkey leftover recipes, please share them by leaving a comment.

Alu mattar (gravy)


Ingredients

2 boiled and cubed potatoes
1 cup cooked peas
2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small finely chopped onion
2 small onions pureed
1 big tomato pureed
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp ginger paste
Salt to taste
Finely chopped coriander leaves

Heat oil, add cumin seeds. When it splutters, add the chopped onions and fry for 2-3 mins. Add the onion and tomato puree and cook for 3-4 mins. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, ginger paste and salt. Add little water as required for gravy. Allow it to boil.

Add the potatoes and peas and cook for 5 mins. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rotis/pulav.


Following are the entries for various events

Paneer Manpasand is off to JFI:Paneer hosted by Cardamom.




Sending it over to Vaishali for her Its a Vegan world: Chinese event




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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving table

It's easy to love Thanksgiving. Sure it's a day off to enjoy a feast, but the real reason why I love it is because it means getting together with friends and family and feeling thankful for all that we have, especially each other's company.

Cherish those you love, they are more precious than anything else that you possess!

cheers,

Amy

Happy Thanksgiving ~ Sarah Maloney


For more minis by Sarah Maloney, visit:

Alu palak paratha

Just 4 more days to go for the WYF: Specialty food event..Pls rush in your entries


Ingredients

For dough-

2 cups wheat flour
Salt to taste

For filling-

2 boiled and mashed potatoes
2 cups cleaned and chopped palak (spinach)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Bit of thymol seeds(ajwain)
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Finely chopped coriander leaves

Oil/ghee as required

Make a soft dough of wheat flour, salt and water. Keep aside for 1/2 hr.

Heat the palak by sprinkling some water to make it soft. (dont add more water- it should be dry) Cool and add rest of the ingredients and mix well. Make medium sized balls of it.

Make balls of the dough. Roll into thick poori, place the stuffing inside and cover with dough from all sides. Dust with flour and roll again into thick paratha ensuring the filling doesnt come out.

Cook on hot tava with little oil/ghee till brown spots appear on both sides..Serve hot with curds and pickle
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Milk Chocolate Bars

Not too long ago I was a bittersweet chocolate snob. I would only eat chocolate bars with a very high percentage of cacao, the higher the better. But I've discovered some milk chocolate recently that I really love. If you only eat high percentage cacao, I urge you to try some of the more exquisite milk chocolates on the market. They may surprise you. They certainly surprised me.

Milk chocolate has milk powder or condensed milk as an ingredient and generally has much lower percentages of cacao. Having tasted lots of chocolate, I am still very fussy about what I like and what I don't like. Regardless of the cacao content, good chocolate has to have clean flavors, it can't be too sweet, too salty or overwhelmed by flavorings such as vanilla. It should melt smoothly without a hint of graininess. It should be so good that even a little bit satisfies.

When it comes to milk chocolate, I highly recommend each of these bars:

Scharffen Berger Milk Almond
Scharffen Berger Milk Almond
Sea Salted Almonds & Milk Chocolate
41% cacao, 3. ounces $4.95
If you like nuts with your chocolate, this is the bar for you. It's perfectly balanced with just a little crunch of nuts, not big chunks. The salt is barely perceptible, which is to my liking. If offers luscious caramel notes and is rich and creamy.

This bar feels most like an everyday bar. It's like a Hershey bar with almonds, but all grown up and way, way more satisfying.

Scharffen Berger is now owned by Hershey and unfortunately I have no idea where the cacao beans come from. Scharffen Berger has always promoted the idea of blends rather than single origin bars, though they do sometimes put out limited edition bars from time to time that are single origin.

Tanariva

Valrhona Tanariva
33% cacao, 2.5 ounces, $5.99
The Tanariva proves even a bar with very low cacao content can be rich and complex. It is very smooth, like all Valrhona chocolate, but also has some acid to it and so it doesn't seem terribly sweet, just milky, creamy and with a bit of citrus as well. Valrhona uses exceptionally high quality beans, in this case they are from Madagascar.

Don't compare this with a dark chocolate bar, just enjoy it for what it is. I think it may be the best bar with only 33% cacao. It has a lot going on.

The bar comes in an innovative form, with asymmetrical breaking lines intended to make it easier to break and share. I am finding the Valrhona "tasting" bars available in more and more shops these days.



Esmeraldas Milk
Original Beans Esmeraldas Milk Bar with Fleur de Sel

42% cacao,3.57 ounces, $11.95
This bar is an indulgence. It is perfectly suited for gift giving but you might just want to be the recipient. I don't detect any salt at all, just heightened chocolate intensity. It has lots of dark toffee notes, a lovely buttery texture and flavor. It has an extremely long finish and amazing depth. It's conched for 50 hours, from Arriba beans that come from Ecuador (interestingly I tried another Arriba bar from another manufacturer and I didn't like it at all).

The founders of Original Beans are committed to sustainability and each bar carries a tracking number so you can learn more about the conservation efforts at the rainforest where the beans for your bar originated. The price is higher than most bars, but for every bar your buy the company plants a tree in the region of the bean's origin to replenish and protect the areas where the cacao beans grow. It's also a much bigger bar than the others.

Budding blogger : Muskaan & Sadhana

Budding blogger series introduces new bloggers (those blogging from Jan '09) every wednesday and promotes their blogs through Simple Indian Food. If you are interested in being a part of this series, please mail me a short description about your blog, the cuisine you specialize and your objective/inspiration in blogging to easycrafts@gmail.com.

This week we visit A2Z Vegetarian recipes blog of two neighbours Muskaan and Sadhana which is a treat for Vegetarians. A first visit to the blog and you will not feel it is a budding blog..Very neat and attractive layout, healthy vegetarian recipes, information related to ingredients, this blog has it all to be at the top.

Here is what the blogger friends have to say -

A blog all about A 2 Z in vegetarian cooking, you will also find Indian vegetarian recipes, simple and healthy cooking, desserts, drinks, cooking tips, kid friendly food, interesting food facts, nutritional information.

The blog tries to incorporate Indian, International, and fusion cooking like Indo-Thai/chinese/Mediterranean/jain/vegan/low-cal/high-protein...recipes for weightwatchers etc..

The key objective behind blogging is to exchange ideas on healthy vegetarian recipes. We live in faced pace and high stress life facilitating so many chronic diseases like diabetes gaining epidemic proportions. Asian Indians being genetically more Insulin resistant it is really important to watch out on what you as well as your children eat. Our " Know What You Eat" section is very interesting. It not only educates ourselves but our readers as well & provide adequate knowledege of "food facts", & healthy eating habits.Through blogging we share what we cook and come across lot of healthy recipes from our other blogger friends to try.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Pudding

chocolate-raspberry-pudding
Though its the season for Cranberries, I would urge you to make this beautiful change and go for some raspberries instead! Combine them with the gooey goodness of dark and white chocolate, topped with whipped cream and some slivered almonds, and you have the perfect dessert ready for Thanksgiving, or for a romantic dinner for two! Creamy Chocolate Raspberry Pudding - the name says it all - rich and creamy, warm and luscious, with a taste of decadence in every spoon, this is my favorite Pudding recipe. its quick and easy, can be served by itself, or with some ice cream, and looks beautiful if served in stemmed dessert glasses!

Sending these off to Sourashtra's Kitchen for her latest collection of desserts and pastries, co-hosted by Sudeshna.

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt )
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp warm whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 oz semisweet chocolate, grated
1 oz white chocolate, grated
Splash of Chambord (raspberry liqueur)- optional
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

Method
Mix together the sugar, salt, cocoa, cornstarch and milk in a small bowl until it makes a paste.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until just before scalding, then add the dark and white chocolate, stir, and add the cocoa paste. Mix well and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the Chambord and the vanilla. When the pudding begins to thicken, remove it from the heat and let it rest for 2 minutes.

I love it warm, so I serve it immediately, topped with fresh homemade raspberry puree, and some whipped cream.

But to make an elegant dessert, pour the pudding into temperature-resistant bowls or ramekins and refrigerate until set (at least 30 minutes). Let cool before serving.

Top with raspberry puree, whipped cream, and sprinkle some slivered almonds on the top and serve immediately.

Thanksgiving Treats ~ Betsy Niederer

Sweet potatoes, Marshmallow and Pumpkin Pie


Paruppu rasam


Ingredients

Salt to taste
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tsp tamarind paste
1 small tomato chopped
Finely chopped coriander leaves
2-3 tbsp redgram dal (cooked tur dal)
Few curry leaves
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds

Mix rasam powder, salt, asafoetida, turmeric powder, curry leaves, tamarind paste, tomatoes with 2 cups water and heat on low flame till the tomatoes get soft. Add the cooked dal and another 1/2 cup of water and allow it to come to a boil.

Heat oil, add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add to the rasam. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve with plain rice or as a soup.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Pumpkin Pie ~ Sarah Maloney

A delightful pumpkin pie decorated with black currants and autumnal leaves and presented with a dollop of cream and a fondant pumpkin.


Cauliflower biriyani


Ingredients

1 cup basmati rice
2 onions sliced lengthwise
1 small cauliflower-cut into florets
2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 green chilli slit into half
Bit of asfoetida
Few cashew nuts
Few curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
1/2 cup beaten curds
Finely cut coriander leaves

Soak the rice for 1/2 hour in sufficient water. Heat oil and add cumin seeds. When it splutters, add green chillies, cashews and roast till it starts turning golden brown. Add asafoetida, curry leaves, onions and fry for 2 mins. Add the cleaned cauliflower florets, rice (after draining the water) and cook for 2 mins. Finally add 2 cups of hot water, salt, turmeric, curds, garam masala powder and mix well.

Transfer to a vessel and pressure cook. Garnish with fried onions, cashews and coriander leaves.

Serve hot with raita and papad.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pumpkin Pie ~ After Dark Miniatures

Super Blogger Sunday: Deeba of Passionate about baking

This week's featured Super blogger is Deeba from "Passionate about baking". Beautiful pictures, attractive food site, wonderful garnishing skills, a super baker, a prominent face of several blogging communities- thats Deeba for you..Read more about her and visit her blog for a fascinating experience ( but remember you will get to only see her tempting cakes on your screen and not have them)



EC: Tell us something about yourself

Deeba: I’ve been food blogging since August 2007. My blog is about my passions in life...baking, cooking, photography, nature, and art. I believe in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. I enjoy blogging immensely, & am part of a wonderful online community.

I blog from India, where my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients. I have to admit that I now cook to feed my blog, and try to post at least twice a week.

Join me in my adventures as I wriggle my way through the kitchen!


EC: Who and what inspired you to start food blogging??

Deeba: I began blogging just over 2 years ago; a meek attempt to document my adventures & misadventures in the kitchen, and record basic recipes as I had time on hand. Little did I know that blogging would take over my life? I am ambitious as far as blogging goes, am addicted to it, and enjoying it thoroughly. It has enriched my life beyond belief, put me in touch with beautiful and fun foodies, made me a Daring Baker, and made me look at the camera with new eyes. I have learnt that there is more to 'macro' than what I learnt in university while doing my honours in economics, and this macro is certainly more fun! The camera is my best friend, and has escaped many a threatened fall into curries and cakes. I love it! I have a long way to go, and want to write cookbooks, improve my photography skills, learn to make macarons like French pastry chefs...ah I love this life!


EC: Like the name of your blog and your recipes suggest, you do a lot of baking..Can you share some tips about baking.

Deeba: As people who now know me, baking is my passion, the joy of my life. The name is a reflection of my passion. The most important tip for baking is to know your oven. It's usually oven temperature & over beating that messes up the end product. If you are a beginner, then try an easy muffin or pound cake to gain confidence. An apple/pear crumble is also a good way to begin. If you need help, please feel free to ask me. I am always willing to share whatever little I have learnt along the way.


EC: The photographs and garnishing on your dishes are superb..Some tips on it please

Deeba: Thank you. I have a long way to go, but basically enjoy shooting in natural light. I don't have fancy SLR. Just a Canon G9, which is a slightly higher end point & shoot camera. I shoot in macro, mainly using a sheet of white cartridge paper as background. My skills in photography are non-existent, so I still shoot in auto, but do try & experiment. I edit my pictures in Picasa, and sometimes in Photoshop.


For some tips on garnishing, please see my post on Food talk, at Daring Kitchen here,

EC: Your views on plagiarism and how can we fight it??

Deeba: Don’t be shy to step onto the blogging platform; don’t be intimidated. It’s a whole world out here, with a lot of bloggers, but there’s always room for more. Bloggers share a wonderful camaraderie, and are more than willing to share their world with others. Do remember though, to always ask before you use any ones work, and always give credit when you do. There is no place for plagiarism here. We need to take a united stand against it.


EC: What are your sources of recipes and which is the dish that is a hot favourite among ur family and friends.

Deeba: My recipes are often inspired by the season, and from blogs I visit. I am a free spirit and find it difficult to follow a recipe exactly. I often make changes as I work my way, and tend to take pictures at every stage to record what I do. My iced cakes are a hot favourite with my family & friends, as are my iced cookies.


EC: Any interesting incident/experience that you relate to blogging.

Deeba: My first attempt at making successful French macarons nearly drove me to tears. I made 6 batches on one morning, and I had the whole bunch of twitter friends holding their breath. That was the most interesting & trying day of my baking life. I finally found my ‘feet’. You can read the chronicles here if you like...


EC: Your favourite vegetarian recipe

My favourite vegetarian recipe is a dessert, 'Apricot Cherry Mini Crumbles', a recipe easily adaptable with seasonal fruits like apples and pears also. I have made a mango & ginger version in the past as well. I like this recipe as you can make individual servings in ramekins, or then one large portion in a pie dish.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pumpkin Bundt Cake ~ Melanye Kimbrough


Gobi mattar samosa


Ingredients

For the dough-

1 cup Maida
Salt to taste
3 tsp oil
1/2 tsp thymol seeds

For the filling-

1 cup cauliflower florets (cleaned and cooked)
1/4 cup boiled peas
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Finely chopped coriander leaves

Oil to fry

Add salt, thymol seeds and oil to the maida and mix well. Add very little water to get a stiff dough and keep it covered for 15 to 20 minutes.

Mix all ingredients for stuffing well.

Roll out the dough into medium sized chapatis and cut it into half. Apply little water on the sides and fold it into cone shape. Fill in the cauliflower peas mixture and close the other ends as well. Ensure that it is closed well on all sides, else the filling will come out. Repeat for the rest of the dough.

Heat oil on a low flame and fry these samosas. When cooked on a low flame, the samosa get cooked well and also crispy.

Serve with green chutney or sweet chutney or tomato sauce.
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