Mar 29, 2008

Cold Cranberry punch for MBP

I have been really busy these last few days with the coffee morning(the Indian navy ladies meetings) happening at one of my friends place as the CNS( Chief of Naval Staff) was in Moscow with his other half,the first lady of Indian Navy.When Sig extended the deadline for MBP, I heaved a sigh of relief but still submitting my entry at the last moment.
This Cranberry punch is from one of my favourites Asha's blog,Foodie's hope ...she is a great inspiration to all of us, a Super woman who wears the red 'S' all the time.....yes I do consider her that.She has a wonderful blog with mouthwatering,sumptuous recipes and has a kind word for every blogger and we all love her a lot:)

You need:
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2-3 strawberries hulled and sliced
1 lime thinly sliced
1 cup ginger ale or club soda
ice cubes
Combine all the juices,strawberries and lime and chill thoroughly.Just before serving add chilled ginger ale or club soda and ice cubes.Serve in a tall glass.

This goes to Sig of Live to eat who is guest hosting Monthly Blog Patrol.The event is a brainchild of Coffee of Spice cafe.

My naval friend Jaya who had hosted the coffee morning had an appetizing spread for the ladies meet and I could not stop myself from clicking pictures of the delectable fare to blog about.The NWWA(naval wives welfare association) had organized a traditional welcome for the first lady...after a long time we all ladies had draped ourselves in heavy silk sarees for the formal occasion.We all had a gala time interacting with each other and enjoyed the delicious
assortment.Jaya's pudding was somewhat like cheese cake and she had an anchor (symbol of Indian navy) made on it with pomegranates and pineapple and named it the Anchor pudding.Here are some food pictures of the event.

the table all laid out

Mar 26, 2008

Pear and Rum Souffle Omelette for WBB and AFAM

Nowadays my lunch and dinner menus are mostly based on the blog events.I had been warned by people that blogging is addictive and time consuming but no complaints ...I am enjoying every bit of it.Suddenly I discovered that there are so many facts about cooking that I am unaware of and wont forget to mention the excitement of finding a plethora of delectable delights so immaculately presented in the blogs and of course all the new faceless friends with a common passion of cooking with whom I have already started feeling connected:) Nowadays its a bliss to have my morning cup of tea logged onto Taste of India and checking out all the posts after Mishti and hubby leave for their respective destinations.
Today's post is about the entries for the fast approaching WBB -Healthy Breakfast and AFAM Pears .The common dish is Pear and rum souffle omlette where the rum is optional if you are making for children but with the rum its got a typical taste which I love.The dish is basically a well beaten sweet omelette with pears sauteed in rum as topping yummm.....the taste is divine the melt in the mouth kinds.
For Mansi of Fun and Food who is hosting WBB Balanced Breakfast this month I am sending this omelette with toast and a bowl of four cereal(wheat,oats ,barley,wholegrain rye) flakes cooked in milk and sugar and sprinkled with slivered almonds and a glass of fruit juice.I have included whole grains with milk, eggs, fruits in my breakfast , the whole grains being a source of dietary fiber,vitamins and minerals,eggs supplying the protein needed by your body and the pears which are full of strong health benefits.

This omelette also goes to Raaga of The Singing Chef who is hosting AFAM Pears this month.
Pears make good energy boosting snacks, a low calorie alternative and have vitamin C and copper which helps them to act as antioxidants.They are loaded with fiber and cancer preventing phytochemicals making them one of the best fruit choices.

For making Omelette:1 fresh pear of soft variety,peeled ,cored and sliced
2 tbsp rum
3 tsp sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp water
10 g butter
caster sugar, to finish
1. Put the sliced pears in a saucepan with 1tbsp of rum and cook over low heat for 2 mins and then stir in 2 tsp of sugar and remove from fire.
2.Seperate the eggs and whisk the yolks with rest of the sugar until creamy.Add the water and remaining rum and beat again.
3.Whisk the egg whites and fold them into the yolk mixture.
4.Pour in the mixture in a heated pan coated with butter and cook over moderate heat until the underside is golden brown.
5.Place the pan under a preheated grill to brown the top of the omelette.Spoon the pear and rum mixture over one half of the omelette and flip the other half with a palette knife.Carefully turn out onto a plate and sprinkle with caster sugar.
You can alternatively use peaches instead of pears or spread the cooked omelette with a jam of your choice and fold and sprinkle with sugar.I normally make the second variation for my daughter omitting the rum part.....saute the fruit for a minute with butter and sprinkle with sugar.
The four cereal flakes are the quick cook variety, 1/2 a cup of flakes has been cooked with 1 cup of water , 1/2 a cup milk and 1 tsp sugar for 3 minutes on medium flame and served with a sprinkling of slivered almonds.

I turned 32 last saturday (22nd) ....well I am a little insecure about growing old,don't want to let go off the present..what I consider the golden years, I dread the isolation, the loneliness, the lack of respect, the psychological torture of uselessness and burdensomeness and most of all health aspects related to ageing .I am already talking like a 50 yr old but I feel once I accept the fact that life not only has a beginning, a middle but also an end would eliminate all my insecurities.
This beautiful birthday cake was Mishti's choice and the whole day my hubby made me shop:) That made my day:)

Mar 21, 2008

A meme and Happy Holi

I had been tagged nearly a month back by Sra to write a meme and before I could write it Meera tagged me again.So finally I am gingerly taking a step forward to jot down some revelations or character assassination of my own self( I am being ridiculous,i know that) so that you get a picture of me in your mind's eye.I personally feel meme is a wonderful oppurtunity to tell friends whom you have never met who you are and let them conjure up an image of me.Meera I will surely write down a second meme but let me first do justice to my first one.

Well, I am a 31 yr old ,5 ft 6",average looking girl( thats what I consider myself,am dead scared of calling myself a lady!) with shoulder length hair,slim built and love to keep myself fit and well groomed.Nature wise I am an absolutely home and family loving person who loves to take care, organize and run the house like a perfectly well oiled machine.
My world revolves around my most prized 6 yr old daughter Mishti ,my honey bear who gave me the most magical moments of my life....the joys of motherhood ,with an unspoken promise to love her absolutely and the vow to protect her forever,don't care about the terrible twos that has gone or the teenage tantrums that comes my way.
I am married to a defence officer,a naval fighter pilot by profession ,an incredibly understanding, encouraging individual with a truckload of patience and an amazing father.His fearless,daring, never say die attitude and his gentlemanly spirit had swept me off my feet and captivates my heart.
Places I have stayed.....
1.Rourkela,the steel city of Orissa,the place where I was born and brought up,always dear to my heart.
2.Chabua air Force stn,Assam,my first place after marriage where my hubby was posted ,will always treasure those beautiful memories with the scenic,naive,untouched beauty of the land of the one horned rhinoceros.I have never seen such clear blue skies and the pure sparkling water of the winding streams.
3.Goa,planning to settle there as the laid back place is more like home now with 6 yrs of being posted there.
4.Mumbai...though a short posting but was enough for me to scour the city for my shopping expeditions:)
5.Bangalore,2 yrs and I wanted to run back to Goa,was saddened the way population and pollution is overpowering the garden city.
6.Vizag,though a small city has something very welcoming about it...has a plethora of eating joints with a crowd pleasing and appetizing menu.
7.Moscow...the awe inspiring capital...still discovering .....
Jobs I have done.....
1.Have worked as an english news reader for the rourkela TV channel f0r 4 years during my college days.My mom had persuasively urged me into it as she wanted me to be more extrovert and outgoing and that did help me to shed my inhibitions and become more camera friendly.
2.My second job was as a travel consultant...took up this job to put to use my air ticketing career skills.With my hubby sailing out constantly ,the tension of my significant half flying somewhere over the deep seas, the work pressure and my little one getting neglected kept nagging until the guilty working mother's heart couldn't take it anymore.
Foods I love...
I love all kinds of cuisines but no comparison to an authentic oriya thali that i have been brought up eating.Apart from that, chocolates makes me go weak in the knees,and then comes the ubiquitous Pani puri or the puchka or Gupchup..yes in orissa it's called gupchup.the actual joy of eating panipuri is with friends all standing with a dried palm leaf bowl surrounding the panipuri wallah and coaxing him to put more salt or chilli in the mixture and not forgetting the streak of sour tamarind water escaping from your mouth when you try to put the whole thing inside.oh what pleasure!sigh!
I have hydrophobia...noooo please don't think otherwise...I do take a bath everyday:)Just a look at the sea soothes and calms me but somewhere deep inside the fear of drowning does lurk so much that putting the head under the shower also chokes me out of breath.Well ,so now you know..I cannot swim:(
Love doing embroidery basically more of cross creations adorn most walls of my house,specially Mishti's room.I had started making panels for her room and had embroidered her name on it two years before she was born...strange isn't it...well I was so sure I would have a daughter:)
Both my parents being science professors had always aspired for their children to become future engineers or doctors.My inclination for Shakespeare and Jane Austen never made me excel in science and I landed up as a literature student and till date the thought of not fulfilling my parents' dreams haunts me to the core.
I think I have talked a lot about myself,thanks a bunch for bearing with me and reading about me.Hope you enjoyed the meme.I would like to tag Shibani of Any one can cook,Rachel of Tangerine's kitchen,TBC of The budding cook,Dhivya of Dhivya's Kitchen.Its all up to them to accept it or not.
A very happy Holi to all of you!!


Mar 17, 2008

Kidney Bean Pasta Soup

Soups have the power to comfort. When the weather turns brisk there is nothing cozier than a big bowl of soup made with the season's harvest.A piping hot bowl of soup filled with goodness satisfies my soul.In fact mostly dinner at our place is a filling low calorie soup with a salad.It satisfies both the taste buds and the desire for optimal health.

There is no doubt that the taste of homemade soups beats out the commercial ones.But sometimes when I don't want to make a soup from scratch I do opt for convenience,I combine my own ingredients with soup from packets or tins.I add some zing to it with finely chopped or grated veggies with a sprinkling of fresh herbs and serve it with a slice of whole grain bread and lo and behold..... you have a nourishing meal that can make you feel better anytime.
My post today is an immensely satisfying vegetarian or vegan soup which I had come across while surfing the net .This spicy, tangy soup has kidney beans,pasta and veggies which makes it a full meal in itself.You can play around with the veggies and omit and substitute according to your tastes.
This spicy soup goes off as an entry for the event No Croutons Required-spicy soups started by Lisa of Lisa's kitchen and Holler Of Tinned Tomatoes.

You Need:
1cup cooked kidney beans
1cup penne or rigatoni pasta cooked al dente
1 big carrot sliced thin diagonally
1 potato peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1cup sliced green beans
1/2 cup green or red pepper chopped
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 pinch hing or asofoetida
1 tiny pinch cayenne
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp dried basil or fresh minced
1 tsp dried thyme or fresh minced
1/2 tsp dried marjoram or fresh minced
1 cup any spicy or zesty basil tomato sauce or can substitute bland one with cayenne,black pepper and grated ginger
salt to taste
4-6 cups water
1 tbsp grated cheese (optional)
1. Cook the pasta in salted water,drain ,rinse with cold water and keep aside.
2.Heat the oil in a pan,add hing or asofoetida then the veggies and saute for 5 mins on med/high heat.
3.Add the herbs and spices and saute briefly.
4.Add the cooked kidney beans to the veggies.If using tinned beans then drain and rinse them,then add to the veggies.
5.Bring to boil and cover and simmer the veggie and beans.
6.Then add the tomato sauce and the cooked pasta and as much more water as you like.Cook for 5-10 mins more.
7. Serve hot with grated cheese on top.
If you are using a slow cooker or crockpot put everything in the pot including the tomato sauce,add 4 cups boiling water,cover and simmer until veggies are tender i.e 1-2 hours.When the veggies are tender add pasta ,tomato sauce and salt and simmer for 15-20 mins more.


I joined the Foodie Blogroll

I finally joined the Foodie Blogroll.You can browse my right side bar template to check it out and join the community.The foodie blogroll is a huge list of links and a great oppurtunity for networking.
Don't forget to join the foodie blogroll forum! It is your place to interact with all the other members!

Mar 13, 2008

Eggplant Parmigiana

My last post talked about spring butI can hardly see any traces of spring in the city.This morning when I woke up I was surprised to see a thick shroud of snow everywhere.Where is the sun....its ages since I have seen and felt its warm golden rays and miss the warmth of the room as the rays filter through the french windows and create those dancing shadows on the wall.There are so many amazing and wonderful things that go unnoticed in our lives,it's the small things that we sometime take for granted without giving a second thought to appreciate their presence.
The weather out here has been very unpredictable these past few days and as I was reading Sia's post and came across the term global warming the first thing that came to my mind was a documentary film in National geographic that I was watching a few days back.The documentary was on global warming and its frightening repercussions.With global warming taking its toll the worst hit country would be India they claim,according to them within a span of 200 years all the glaciers in Himalayas would melt and the Ganges would transform into a desert.With so many people relying on the Ganga for their daily requirement of water,the consequence is horrifying.
I have been having this terrible stinging sensation in my throat since last night and my sixth sense says I am going to be down with a bad bout of cough and cold.My only concern is Mishti, my little one who is bound to pick up an infection from me....and with the mom and the child both sick and hubby dear tending to us, it's utter chaos in the house.I am just not looking forward to this:(

My post today is Eggplant Parmigiana,sliced eggplants fried,layered with creamy red and white sauce and baked with a sprinkling of cheese.The recipe is again a Nita Mehta's Italian collection, I specially
prepared it to send an entry for Creative Pooja's Vow Brinjal.

Eggplants is not a great favourite in my house but this delectable version with garlic bread and a greek salad was an immensely enjoyable meal.One more brinjal dish that we relish is "Baigana Bhaja" an oriya dish ,sliced brinjals marinated in turmeric,salt and chilli pwdr and deep fried or shallow fried in mustard oil.....this tastes ultimate with puris.You can check out the recipe Here.

you need:
1 big eggplant of round,oblong variety
2 cubes cheddar cheese(i used a russian cheese )
2 tbsp grated parmesan
oil for frying
tomato sauce:
2 large tomatoes,pureed
3 flakes garlic,crushed
8-10 basil leaves,chopped
1 tsp oregano,dried
1/2 tsp chilli pwdr
1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp thick cream
1 tsp olive oil
white sauce:
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion,chopped
2 cups milk
1 tbsp thick cream
salt and pepper to taste
1. Slice the eggplants and sprinkle some salt and keep aside for 15 mins.Pat dry on akitchen towel and deep fry them in oil to a light brown colour.( I shallow fried them in olive oil)
2. For the tomato sauce,heat oil and fry the onions and garlic till it slightly changes colour.Add the rest of the ingredients except the cream and boil for 10 mins till the juice from the tomatoes evaporates and turns slightly thick.Remove from fire and add cream.
3. To prepare the white sauce melt the butter,add onion and stir till light pink.Sprinkle flour and cook on low heat for 2 mins,stirring throughout.Remove from heat and gradually add milk,mix until well blended.Return to heat and keep stirring until the sauce thickens.Remove from fire,add cream ,salt and pepper and mix well.
4. To assemble,spread 1/3 of the white sauce in a baking dish.
5. Place 1/2 of the eggplant slices on it,spread tomato sauce over the eggplants,sprinkle some parmesan cheese.
6. Repeat another layer of eggplants,top with the remaining white sauce and sprinkle both the cheddar and parmesan cheese.
7.Bake for 10 mins at 200 deg C till the cheese melts.

Mar 11, 2008

Maslenitsa and Russian Blini

Last to last weekend we were invited to take part in the celebrations of one of the most celebrated Russian holidays,Maslenitsa.It is a week long festival and is based on the pagan tradition of bidding farewell to the cold and gloomy winter and welcoming the fresh and sunny spring.Russians believe that spring is a season of celebrations and festivities where the old is washed away.The first day is related to greetings,the second to singing and dancing, the third is sweet tooth's day, the fourth is the lavish day,the fifth day is when the son in-laws invite their mother in-laws for a treat,the sixth day sees the daughter in-laws inviting her in laws for a party and finally the last day is the day of forgiveness.....a day where people ask for forgiveness and forgive each other.The last day a straw doll dressed up in colourful scarves and skirts is burnt symbolizing the winter .This is an ancient tradition,dating back to before the beginning of russian orthodox church.
During these seven days the russians eat blini,a russian pancake or thin crepes which is enjoyed with honey,cream,jam or caviar.Those delightful round, warm, golden blinis represent the sun,the symbol of spring."Maslo" in russian means butter....that's why the name Maslenitsa.This festival comes just before the Lent starts which involves 40 days of intense fasting by the russian orthodox church believers.I think the weeklong spree of gorging blinis cooked with lots of butter must be giving them the strength to go on a such religious fast:)
Our visit to the Russian cultural and crafts centre started with our welcoming by beautiful russian girls and goodlooking tall men attired in colourful russian traditional clothes singing and dancing followed by our stuffing ourselves till our eyeballs with thin,baked blinies layered with cheese, mushrooms and chicken.Though outside I could not find a trace of the much awaited spring and neither taking part in the Lent preparation but still enjoyed the afternoon gorging on blinies smothered with cream.The afternoon of fun and merrymaking culminated with us buying some exquisite russian crystal and handicrafts.Just getting to know a little about an alien tradition and culture gave immense satisfaction which resonated deep inside me.

blini served with caviar and smoked salmon

chicken and mushroom layered blini

tea served in traditional lacquered cups and saucers

To make Blini you need:
1 cup flour
3 cups milk
2 eggs
salt and sugar to taste
2tbsp butter or veg oil
1/2 tsp soda
1.Mix eggs with the milk.
2.Add the flour ,sugar and salt and mix thoroughly so that no lumps remain.
3.Grease a hot pan (non stick) with oil or butter.Use a half onion stuck with a fork for greasing.
4.Pour and spread a thin layer of batter evenly.
5.Cook until light brown,about 2 mins on each side.

Blini can be served with butter, sour cream,honey,jam,black or red caviar,fillet of sturgeon or salmon.Most popular blinies are made from buckwheat flour.Good blini is very thin, the thinner the blini the perfect the skill is.


Mar 8, 2008

Corn footlong and Happy IWD

A Happy International Women's Day(IWD) to you all!!
A saying goes...."A women's place in society marks the level of civilization of that society".
March 8th is celebrated across the globe as International Women's Day.This day is a portrayal of the power of women in the modern world and their crucial role in the society.It is a day to recognize that we as women have made and continue to make a difference, it is a day to acknowledge what we women have done, are doing and can do.Do I sound like a staunch feminist?Well, I am a feminist and I am sure most of you share my feelings.
In Russia and some neighbouring countries this day is celebrated as a national holiday.All the ladies receive gifts,flowers,chocolates,kind wishes basically positive emotions are felt everywhere. The focus is on traditional chivalrous acts by men,including taking ladies out to dinner and doing the house chores.
Being in Russia right now I think I am also going to celebrate the same way and expect my hubby to do the same :P
On this day let us all join hands to celebrate all the roles we play as being women and nurture ourselves and celebrate our achievements.
My food post today is dedicated to this day and to my sis Sonali who 's b'day is today .
The Corn Footlong goes as an entry to Zorra of Kochtopf for her event International Women's day.
She beckons everybody to bake or cook something in yellow for this special day for her event.
My recipe today is Corn Footlong , corn cheese mixture spread on a halved french loaf and baked till crisp.

before baking

after baking

You need:
1 french loaf or a baguette-cut into half horizontally
2 tsp mustard paste
For Flavoured butter:
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp black pepper(crushed)
2-3 flakes garlic chopped and crushed
2 tbsp finely chopped Parsley or dried parsley
for Topping:
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cheese spread
1 cup tinned or cooked corn(kernel)
1/2 green pepper finely chopped
1/2 red pepper finely chopped
1large onion finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4-6 tbsp mozzarella cheese grated
1 tsp oregano and red chilly flakes

1.Mix all the stuff given under flavoured butter and beat well to soften it.
2.Cut the baguette horizontally to get 2 long pcs.
3. Butter one piece with half of the flavoured butter,spread some mustard paste on it.
4.Heat 1 tbsp oil ,add onion.fry till soft.Add corn , bell peppers ,salt and pepper.Stir well to mix . Remove from fire.
5.Add cheese spread to the hot mixture and mix well.
6.Spread corn filling on the buttered footlong ,grate the cheese over it and sprinkle oregano and chilli flakes.
7.At serving time grill in a preheated oven at 180 deg C for 10-12 mins or till the cheese melts and the bread turns crisp.
8.To serve cut into 1 and 1/2 " thick slices,repeat with the other pc of loaf.

Mar 4, 2008

Banana and Walnut Loaf and award

Before my marriageI knew how to rustle up a basic meal,thanks to my mom who being a career woman had made sure of the fact that we know how to take care of ourselves when she wasn't available.My experience of baking cakes during those times was just limited to a plain vanilla cake made in the round oven which evoked admiration from the uncles and aunties who visited our house and gave me a sense of confidence and achievement.
When I embarked on the amazing journey of marriage ,I had the oppurtunity to learn lessons and gain areas of expertise and one of these was cooking.These ten years in the defence forces where socialising and parties, with an array of mouthwatering and appetizing spreads play an important role,where I met those incredible ladies apt at burning the candle at both the ends and I knew I had to perform to thrive here.With the passing years these cooking expeditions have become pleasurable and satisfying and the kitchen has become an integral part of me, my domain, my personal space.Baking and icing is still an area that I haven't ventured to a great deal except for the occasional cakes ,pies and tarts thatI have tried my hand at.Now that I have a nice big oven and blog friends who are experts in baking I am going to experiment with the complicated and intricate stuff.
Today I am going to post an easy ,moist and aromatic banana walnut loaf which I normally bake for my tea parties and my daughter's lunch box. This recipe is adapted from the well known chef Sanjeev Kapoor's TV show "Khana khazana".
Bananas are a rich source of vitamin c, potassium and iron and low in sodium,cholesterol and fats.Each banana is packed with minerals which are necessary for bones and great for the development of growing children.
Walnuts are a delicious way to add nutrition ,crunch and flavor to a dish.They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and help in lowering the LDL( bad cholesterol).

You need:
3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 eggs
1 cup butter
2 bananas mashed
1/2 cup walnuts chopped
1 cup sugar powdered
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch nutmeg(optional)
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp baking pwdr

1.Cream butter and sugar till the mixture is fluffy.
2.Sift all the dry ingredients together.
3.Add the eggs one at a time,beating well with each addition.
4. Add the mashed bananas and stir gently.
5.Now add the sifted ingredients portion by portionwith the gentle cut and fold method.
6.Lastly add the vanilla essence and walnuts and stir gently.
7.Pour the mixture into a greased and lined loaf pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 30-40 mins,or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
I have been passed on the Excellent award by DK of Culinary bazaar.Thanks a lot Dk for considering me,I am overwhelmed...a second award within 4-5 days:).Isn't this an achievement?I pass on this award to these blog friends for their talent,their friendly demeanor and their excellent recipes and beautiful presentation.
Sunita of Sunita's world
Shn of Mishmash
TBC of The Budding Cook
I know you all have these awards already but it would mean a lot to me if you accept this from my side.
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