Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding ~ Paris Miniatures

Cor blimey guvnah, we couldn't let something like a Royal Wedding go by without making something in miniature to mark the occasion...especially as we're 50% British :)

A cup of Rosie Lee?

So I'm off to hang up some Union Jack bunting and Emma's been as busy as a bee in the kitchen all afternoon preparing 'secret things' to eat tomorrow (I have no idea what but it smells divine!).

We're looking forward to spending the whole day on the sofa tomorrow, watching the festivities while troughing down scones, crumpets and teacakes, drinking copious amounts of PG Tips (and running up and down the apples and pears to the bathroom afterwards!) and doing whatever else we can think of to bring us closer to the throngs of people lining the streets of good ole Landan Taaahn :) I'm not ruling out the possibility of Miss Emma wearing her posh wedding hat!

For more minis by Emmaflam & Miniman of Paris Miniatures, visit:

Broken corn dosa


1 cup blackgram dal (urad dal)
2 cups broken corn kernels (cornmeal)
Salt to taste
Oil as reqd

Soak the dal for 1/2 hour. Soak the broken corn kernels in warm water for an hour. Grind the dal till smooth paste and then add corn kernels. Grind again for a few minutes. Add salt as required. Ferment the batter for 4-5 hours.

Heat the tava and spread a ladle full of batter to make dosa. Put a few drops of oil and cook till crisp. Serve hot with side dish of your choice.

* The batter is same like broken corn idli.

* The dosas are very crisp as compared to normal dosas when made thin and soft if make thick

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

A First Taste of San Antonio

Sometimes you visit a place and experience just enough to know you want to come back. That's how I feel about San Antonio, famous for the Alamo, Tex Mex food and the riverwalk. Moments after arriving as I saw the flat barges on the river, I immediately thought of Mexico, and indeed, Mexico is just a few hours away by car.

Shiner Bock
But Mexico isn't the only influence, San Antonio has German heritage too since Germans settled in Texas Hill Country starting in the 1830's. That's why you find German style beer, which it turns out is awfully refreshing with spicy food or humid weather or both.

So it actually makes a lot of sense that John Besh would open up an outpost of his NOLA restaurant Lüke in San Antonio. The food is inspired by the Swiss, German and French food he learned to cook while living in Europe and the New Orleans style food he grew up eating, and of course a focus on what's local. At Lüke you can dig into Texas raised chicken or gulf shrimp "en cocotte" or jaegerschnitzel and somehow, it all makes sense.

The Majestic
The restaurant is located in the the Embassy Suites San Antonio Riverwalk hotel, which just recently opened. I hadn't stayed in an Embassy Suites hotel in a long time but I was pleasantly surprised. The rooms and lobby were spacious, and design elements mirrored the rambling natural feel of the riverwalk, which is right below the large picture windows on the ground floor. The location was great for poking around downtown and exploring by foot, taking in a bit of the fabulous Art Deco and Neo-Gothic revival architecture.

covered market
Just a few blocks from the hotel, I enjoyed the Museo Alameda, with its combination of art and cultural displays especially the Siqueiros, Tamayo and Rivera paintings and the historical recreation of a small local shop. Just outside the museum is the covered market, which feels very much like a tourist market in Mexico. I'm sorry I missed the actual farmers market!

Mi Tierra
It was too crowded with Fiesta revellers for me to get a table at Mi Tierra, a cafe, panaderia and a cultural landmark in San Antionio. But I did get a sneak peek...

...and also of the colors of Fiesta. I love this smiling face!

Another highlight for me was actually my breakfast at Taco Taco, another more recent dining institution and so typical of San Antonio where more often than not a blend of cultures and influences is what makes the city all the more interesting. Here a Greek woman makes her versions of Tex Mex food and the locals can't get enough. In fact they stand in line for her superb homemade flour and corn tortillas wrapped around chorizo, scrambled eggs and super creamy refried beans. Is the secret to her tender tortillas olive oil? Is it Greek honey drizzled on the I-can't-stop-eating-them sopapillas? Who knows. And really it doesn't matter. Taco Taco like the rest of San Antonio seems to embody fusion in all the right ways. It feels good and tastes even better.

My thanks to the Embassy Suites and the San Antonio CVB for hosting me on my first trip to San Antonio

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Budding blogger : Sonia

Meet Sonia of Dinner recipes from Sonia’s Kitchen in the Budding Blogger series.

She says : 

I am freelance writer with zest for creating some good food. I was born in Chandigarh and since the time I have had basic sense to understand I have only heard praise for my mother’s culinary skills.

She cooks some amazing recipes with simple ingredients available at home. No fancy colors or no fancy masalas. I think it is in the genes and I have definitely inherited some good food sense from her. Her advice has been that to cook good food you need to have patience and passion as she says in “Dil laga ke Khana banao” and it will come out good.

My venture into food blogging was by accident. I was working in Gurgaon while being married to a software professional. When my husband got a job in Boston, I started doing some freelance writing work to help with the finances and also to keep myself busy in the US. It is while doing the freelance work I got several assignments to write recipes for food blogs. It is then I got the idea of starting my own food blog and of course mom helped. She has this list of 200 odd recipes which she has sent to me and told me cook and write on those. I am sure it is like Mom’s challenge and encouragement to me.

Another plus with being a food blogger is that you can then make friends with some amazing food bloggers from India and other parts of the world that it is worth investing time and money into this.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Feast ~ Bridget Aul

Happy Easter, everyone! I always look forward to Easter every single year — it's always a happy and joyful day, even if the sky is gray!

I would like to share some happiness with you during this Easter season by posting some photos of my simple Easter feast.

An eye level shot of the meal.

Just some toasty baguettes to go along with our Easter this year. :)

Ham! Yes, we have it every Easter, but I do not particularly love it.

A close-up of a loose bun.

A basket of hot cross buns without currants. Looks like some cheerful eggs made their way into the basket as well!

Three hot cross buns with currants.

Delicious and colorful Easter bread.

An aerial shot.

The penny shows how exactly mini these minis really are.

It's always an Easter tradition on the Polish side of my family to have paska bread for Easter. Of course I couldn't help but try to make it in miniature! You can see a cross on top of the paska bread as well. Not too shockingly awful for a first try.

One little hot cross bun.

For more minis by Bridget Aul, visit:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter ~ Hummingbird Miniatures

Oriental style paratha

Inspired from a Sanjeev Kapoor recipe


1 cup of chopped cabbage or shredded
2 medium carrots chopped lengthwise or grated
2 onions chopped lengthwise
2 tsp oil
Salt to taste
1 tsp red chilli sauce
1 tsp soya sauce

For the dough -

2 cups of wheat flour
Salt to taste
Milk or water

If you wish to make oil free parathas, use milk to make a soft dough of wheat flour and salt. Else you can use water to make the dough. Keep covered for atleast 1/2 hour.

Heat the oil and add onions. Fry till it starts turning pink and then add cabbage and carrot.

Fry for a few mins till soft and then add the soya sauce and red chilli sauce. Add a little bit of salt only as soya sauce already has salt. Mix well on high flame for 2 mins. The stuffing is ready.

Make balls of the dough and roll into thick rotis. Place a little stuffing in the center.

Gather the dough from the corners and cover the stuffing completely. Dust with little flour and roll again slowly to make a thick paratha. Heat the tava and place the paratha on it. Apply a little oil or ghee in the sides and cook till brown spots appear. Turn and cook on other side also.

Serve hot with curds.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Budding blogger: Chitra Manoj

Meet Chitra of Share my recipe blog in the Budding blogger series

She says -

My name is Chitra Manoj, mom of 2 lovely boys. My native is Nagercoil (which is in South tamil nadu, but very near to kerala ). Thus our family recipes are greatly influenced from kerala and tamil nadu. My inspiration was my grandma and I loved to assist her in her cooking at a very early stage. So she taught me many family recipes and tricks...and thus the journey began...After marriage since me and my husband love to taste different food, I started to search for new recipes and thus started following few blogs. This inspired me to create my own blog and I enjoy blogging .

The recipes in the blog are mainly from family and friend's recipes and some are inspired from other blogs I follow. I love to cook the traditional food and feel no other food satisfies our tastebuds like the food prepared by grandma and ma. Hence I try to keep the tradition alive.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sprouted Brown black eyed pea in palak gravy


1 cup sprouted and cooked brown/white black eyed pea
2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tomato
2 cups chopped spinach
Salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder

Cook with spinach without water for 2 mins, cool and grind to a fine paste along with the tomato. Heat oil and add cumin seeds. When it splutters, add the spinach and tomato paste. Allow it to cook for 2 mins and add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and garam masala powder. Mix well and add the cooked legumes. Add water if required to get more gravy. Cook covered for 2-5 minutes for the flavours to get absorbed.

Serve hot with rotis/pooris/pulav.

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Monday, April 18, 2011


With more tea companies popping up everyday, it can be a bit of a blur trying to distinguish one from another, but earlier this year I got a chance to try tea from Teatulia and noted the brightness and freshness of the product. Not long after I met Linda Appel Lipsius, a co-founder and CEO of the company and was even more impressed by the lofty goals of the company. The reason the tea tastes so fresh? With tea there are generally lots of middlemen, but with Teatulia because it's all estate grown, there are none so you can be assured of the quality. The company is equally committed to environmental sustainability and the economic well being of their workers, in particular to the women who are growing the tea and managing the estate.

Teatulia tea comes from a single estate in Northern Bangladesh, which was founded in 2000. They sell black, green, white and herbal teas, all produced and certified organic. Teatulia is a tea garden, but with the goal of being an enterprise that gives the people working it, primarily women, a living wage. It's also a place to experiment with new cooperatives, like the one that allows members to receive a milking cow and pay for it with milk and cow dung, instead of cash. All the tea ingredients are grown on the estate, as well as fresh produce including rice, mangoes and hibiscus for the workers to use and to sell.

A lovely video about the company and their tea estate:

When it comes to environmental issues, Teatulia really goes the extra mile. Their tea is available loose leaf and also in bags and they use compostable corn for the tea bags and compostable eucalyptus for the tea bag wrappers. The inks used are water based, and the labels made from recycled paper.

The Teatulia tea I am most excited about is a blend with tulsi, an antioxidant rich ayurvedic herb that has a rich cinnamon like flavor. It's good hot or cold and is sometimes compared to Indian chai. It's a nice variety to literally spice things up now and again. Their white tea is a top seller, and has a very fresh, clean finish. It's never musty or bland. Other varieties include their version of Earl Grey (which uses bergamot from the estate), a breakfast tea, their signature black tea, a version with neem, green tea, white tea, lemongrass and ginger herbal infusions. I recommend the medley, so you can try them all.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chilli parota


2 tsp oil
2 onions chopped lengthwise
1 capsicum chopped lengthwise (I didnt have them to add)
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt-a bit
Ajinomoto - a bit
Coriander leaves chopped finely

Cut the parota into pieces by hand or using a knife.

Heat oil, add the onions and capsicum and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the coriander leaves, tomato sauce, garam masala powder, red chilli powder, salt (the parotas already have salt-so very little) and ajinomoto. Mix well and finally add the parota pieces. Mix well and serve hot with onion raita.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Budding blogger : Shireen

Meet Shireen of Ruchik Randap in the Budding blogger series..

She says --

I am a SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom) with a passion for food. I love trying out new recipes and giving them a twist of my own wherever possible, but I often prefer to stick to the original recipe when I try it out for the first time..this gives me an idea of what the dish would have been like as conceived by its creator. Having learnt cooking pretty much on my own through experiments at every stage of my life, it was my husband's encouragement that helped me start my own food blog (Ruchik Randhap which means Delicious Cooking in Konkani) with the sole purpose of helping retain the culinary culture of Mangalore.

The little known town called 'Mangalore' is a beautiful pot pourri of cultures & languages, food & religions and people from Mangalore will swear by its authentic cuisine. No matter where a Mangalorean has migrated to, he will dream of all things Mangalorean. With globalisation closing in on many small cultures, this is my small effort to popularise Mangalorean cuisine and make the recipes along with the pictures accessible to all. Being away from my hometown, I have tried many a dish purely out of recollection of vision & taste as it was being prepared in my Mother's kitchen many years ago.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter Means Chocolate Eggs & Gift Baskets

chocolate easter eggs
Spring is in the air, and that means...CHOCOLATE! Yes, it’s nearly Easter, which means there is a great selection of chocolate Easter Eggs and other chocolate Easter gifts available to purchase. If you are planning an Egg Hunt, or just looking to get gift baskets for friends and family, you have only one more week to get geared up!

The history of Easter Eggs dates back thousands of years, to a pagan holiday celebrating the Spring equinox. Culture after culture adopted the symbol of the egg as a "rebirth" to celebrate the Spring, and new beginnings, and it became widely associated with the Easter holiday.

Many cultures decorate their eggs using a variety of techniques. Today, you can decorate your own eggs, or purchase beautifully-decorated chocolate eggs to give as a gift to celebrate the holiday. People decorate their eggs using paint, stickers, or a kit of egg dye. For those that would prefer a more simple method, edible chocolate eggs are available for purchase.

One of the most popular Easter traditions involves the egg hunt. The night before Easter, the Easter Bunny visits homes and hides eggs, chocolates and treats. On Easter morning, children look for the eggs and other treats when they wake up, filling up their basket as they collect their prizes. Because of this, the Easter Basket has also become a tradition at this time of year. Some families set the egg hunt up so that there is an Easter Basket as the "prize" at the end of their hunt for each child, while others simply hunt for eggs and keep the Easter Basket visible for all to enjoy. Children and adults alike love receiving an Easter Basket full of goodies; it's a great gift and an easy way to make someone smile.

Many families use chocolate eggs in their egg hunt, so that the treats can be eaten along the way. Chocolate eggs come in a huge variety of sizes and varieties. Some are small and foil wrapped, while some are as big as a child’s head. It's bound to make a most memorable Easter for any one receiving such a delight.

Easter Gifts are not limited to chocolate Easter Eggs -- you can buy chocolate versions of the Easter Bunny in almost any shape or size. These can be wonderful additions to the Easter egg hunt or the Easter Basket. You can personalize a basket for anyone -- your children or your parents, your neighbor, a teacher or even a friend from the gym! By sharing a basket with friends or family, you're helping share a springtime smile.

So this Easter, take some time to do something personally for someone you love - they will obviously feel happy, and you'll feel good about spreading that smile!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easy Pasta with Arugula & Walnut Pesto

There's something about Pasta that makes it a favorite weeknight dinner - Yes, the ease to prepare it, and the vast variety of sauces that one can conjure to make any Pasta recipe a different-than-last-time one. Not to mention that its a hit with kids and parents alike! But what I like about it is the fact that I can easily sneak in some healthy ingredients into the sauce or the recipe, without getting strange looks from those at the table! Like this one, which uses Arugula & Walnut Pesto to bring together the flavors of cooked Fettuccine. Walnuts have healthy omega-3 oils, while Arugula is a powerhouse of vitamins and antioxidants; plus, its distinct spicy tangy zesty flavor complements well with the nuts and with garlic, making it a delicious Pesto recipe. Some people shy away from these dark leafy greens, but give this recipe a try, and you may find yourself to start liking Arugula, after all! [Recipe & photo courtesy of Fine cooking magazine]

Research suggests that the nutrients found in dark green vegetables may prevent certain types of cancers and promote heart health. It is recommended that teenage girls eat 3 cups of dark green vegetables per week, or about 1/2 a cup every day. Arugula is one such member of this leaf family which is often ignored in day-to-day cooking. Arugula has a peppery taste and is rich in vitamins A, C, and calcium. Arugula can be eaten raw in salads or added to stir-fry, soups, and pasta sauces.

4 oz (3 cups) arugula, washed and dried
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
Kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup walnut oil
1 lb dried fettuccine or sphagetti

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the fettuccine or sphagetti in the boiling water until it’s al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and sprinkle 1 tbsp olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.

Meanwhile, put the arugula, parmesan cheese, walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 tsp. salt into a food processor, and process until the mixture is finely ground, 30 to 60 seconds. In a measuring cup, combine the olive oil and walnut oil. With the food processor running, drizzle the oil through the feed tube, and process the mixture until mostly smooth, just like regular Pesto.

When ready to serve, toss the Fettuccine with enough of the Arugula-Walnut Pesto to generously coat the pasta. Serve sprinkled with extra Parmesan cheese, if desired. We enjoyed this with some store-bought Garlic bread for a wonderful weeknight dinner. I'm sure you'll love it too!

Related Recipes
Fettuccine in Roasted Garlic Tomato & Champagne Sauce
Pasta Salad with Avocado & Feta Cheese
Spaghetti with Cilantro Pesto Sauce

Palak Poori


1 cup wheat flour
1 cup chopped spinach
Salt to taste
Bit of thymol seeds / ajwain powder
Oil to fry

Put the chopped spinach in a vessel and heat it by covering it with a lid. In a few minutes, the spinach will get cooked and greener. Cool and grind it to a fine paste. Add salt and ajwain powder to the wheat flour, add the spinach paste and make a dough. Add water as required. Make small balls and roll them into pooris. Heat oil and fry them immediately.

Serve hot with potato sidedish.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Super blogger sunday: Lakshmi of Taste of Mysore

Meet Lakshmi of Taste of Mysore blog in the Super blogger series this week. She has been blogging for almost four years now and has a collection of about 275 recipes till now. She focusses mainly on Karnataka regional cuisine. She efficiently manages her daily routine and her blog together..Read more about her

EC: Tell us something about yourself

Lakshmi : I am a pharmacist by education, working in research, in health care and hospital industry. I am mother of two boys, who keep me busy all the time after my work hours. Cooking is not new to me as I am cooking from the age of 15. At that age perhaps I did not understand the logic of using many ingredients but just followed amma's instructions and helped her in her chores. My mother and grandmother were good cooks. My mother was very innovative in her cooking methods and recipes. As her health worsened her memory also went for a toss so I could not learn much from her, but she was(/is/will remain) my inspiration. I faintly remember her tips for cooking, but the taste of her cooking cannot be forgotten! She was multi talented. She had a big craze for handmade bags. She made bags from wires using crochet, she made idols using beads, flowers with satin cloth, made dolls for Dasara and very creatively recycled dad's old pants. I learned light music and still love to sing them, art and craft and blogging are my hobbies.

First dish I mastered to cook was Holige (Puran Poli).
Disasterous cooking memory : Idli.

I was studying in hostel for 2 years and had completely detached myself from cooking. Soon after studies I got married. All these happened in such a short time that I never got time to revise my cooking skills :( . Idlis prepared obeyed Newton's third law of motion.ahahha..Unforgettable experiance

Happy cooking memories : are many.

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

Lakshmi : The reason to start a blog was very simple; to keep the recipes electronically availabe. We moved a lot due to work and books were difficult to carry wherever I went. Internet was a good choice. I started searching for options and from one to another and the idea of electronically keeping the recipe book became interesting. I started following the blogs and read how to start a blog. Rest is history. I have been blogging from past four years. Initially I cooked for blog, to record my recipes but now it is the other way round. There is no fixed frequency for blogging. I cook more than I blog. Some of them have not made to blog till now. Say it lack of time; from 7AM in the morning to 11PM in the night my schedule is fixed and timetabled.

EC: How do you think blogging has changed your life ?

Lakshmi : Blogging has taught me many things from 'HTML' to photography. I have to improve a lot in every front, if I get time :D. Blogging has given me few good friends around the globe, whom I have not met face to face, but still they make me feel well by their emails. Blogging has given me warmth 'by user feedback' . I get long emails from my readers (these never comment !!) how my blog has inspired them to cook or how they have started cooking better, thank you- comments and many more. They all make me feel happy. Few of my readers send their recipe to share on my blog which I publish.

EC: How much technical knowledge does one need for successful blogging ?

Lakshmi: Talk about success, I can say blogging is like directing a movie. You never know what readers like in your blog. But, I think with some basic know-how one can certainly start blogging.

EC: Have your recipes been copied anywhere without your permission..How would you deal with plagiarism ?

Lakshmi: I hate plagiarism and strongly oppose it. It is not wise to steal someone's hard work. As far as my knowledge goes my recipes have not been plagiarised. I would probably confront first and if/she does not budge, then I will escalate the problem to service provider like google/technorati and take other bloggers help to solve the issue.

EC : What are your recipe sources and do you follow them exactly ?

Lakshmi : My recipe source is me, my mothers tips, my sisters, their families, aunts and many more extended family members. I try to modify them to suit my family's palate.

EC: Your favourite vegetarian recipe 

Lakshmi : I am a great fan of all types of vegetarian food. I have two food blogs one which features Karnataka style food and the other one is a mixture of all which I blog at Cooking Station. My favorite is Akki Rotti from Taste of Mysore and Kesar Mango Kulfi From Cooking Station.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Budding blogger : Prathima

Meet Prathima of Indian recipes in this weeks Budding blogger series..

Hi, I am Prathima Shivraj, married to a loving husband Anand and live in Bangalore.

I am a food enthusiast who enjoys cooking for my husband. My interest for cooking grew before my marriage , My mom is my first Guru in cooking. Luckily I got chance to learn Karnataka items also by observing my mother-in-law's cooking and also from my husband, and now I am cooking all Telangana, Karnataka recipes for my husband.

This Blog is a humble attempt at sharing my passion for all things food and wanted to share easy, complex, traditional, tasty dishes that I cook.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Easter Egg Chocolate Cakes ~ Carolyn Brown

For more minis by Carolyn Brown of Maple Leaf Miniatures, visit:

Rava akkaravadisal


1 cup roasted rava/sooji
2 1/2 cups grated jaggery
1/2 cup cooked greengram dal
4 tbsp ghee
1 cup milk
Few cashews and raisins
1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Roast the cashews till golden brown and keep aside. Heat 2 1/2 cups of water and when it starts boiling, add the rava and cook on low flame till rava is cooked and absorbs all the water. Keep seperate. Heat the jaggery with little water till it gets thick. Now add the cooked rava and cooked dal. Mix well. Add cardamom powder and mix well. Allow it to cool a bit and then add boiled milk. Mix well.

Garnish with roasted nuts and raisins.

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