Monday, May 24, 2010

Magic Bars, Seven Layers Bars (thought I got only 5 from my pantry at the last minute), Easy Peasy Yummy Treats - call them what you make like!

These were the yummiest and easiest bars I have ever made and healthiest if I may state. I have been staring at the pics and salivating at pictures of bar on various websites but never got down to doing anything about it. My sweet tooth got the better of me last night but I had promised myself to eat healthy till I work off all the sinful food I had eaten and added to my waist during my seven day holiday!

Now all the bar recipes seemed to be pretty great about substitutions and coming up with your own variations - so here goes what I did at 3am.

Firstly, these are the easiest bars to make. The condensed milk binds them together - so they hardly need any butter - no added sugar and no mixing, whisking - nothing. This in my dictionary was = PERFECT!

I used oats as the base of my bars. 1.5 cup quick cooking oats mixed with 1/2 cup melted butter - pressed into a square dish over some butter paper. When I had that down, I spread some ready made almond and raisin muesli over it - about 1/2 cup. Then on top of that went 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped walnuts. On top of that I poured a 400gram can of condensed milk and baked for 35 minutes at 180C. Mine were overly brown on the top - I am guessing because of miniature oven I have. Next time I will bake for 25 or 30 minutes only.

But these bars were finger licking delicious - my husband like them - they were packed with fibre and nuts - and I didn't feel that bad about being derailed off my "eat healthy routine"!!!

I looked at a lot of websites and I thank all of them for the pictures and inspiration but this recipe isn't a direct copy of any 1 of them....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Turkey - Istanbul & Hillside Beach Club - Fethiye (Especially for all my readers with children)

Yes, I have been away and it has been one of the most relaxing vacations I have taken in a while. Hillside Beach Club is set far far away in the fairytale town of Fethiye. It is Wi-Fi connected and very modern and yet you will not ending up touching your TV remote or laptops or sit on the computers they have set-up that offer free internet because there is soo much to do. And since it's full board - all the yummy food is on the house form 730am onwards. It is a relaxing food fest interrupted with activities of  your choice (read: diving, sailing, aquarobics, pilates, shows, swimming) or anything else you please from the host of activities going on around the club! They have a children's club that keeps kids of all ages on their toes with interesting stuff to do - archery, darts, swimming, play areas and the kids want to keep going back for more. Yet, you will find time to sit on the pebbled beach and throw pebbles into the sea, observe the fish from the pier and sun bathe to your hearts content if you are not to busy swimming in their beautiful private bay. I guess I can ramble on and on about this but if you need any more details from me please feel free to e-mail me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Decadent Chocolate Brownies...

Chocolate cravings always come unannounced! But this one has been lingering at the back of my head for the last few days but I just haven't had the time to put something together. Usually in these situations I just use a brownie or cake mix and add my own twists to it... but I have decided to only use the ready-made mixes in a real real emergency and I had no excuse to not bake from scratch today.

So I started sifting through the numerous recipes I had and looked online for something easy not requiring sour-cream or buttermilk and I wanted to make something from Barefoot Contessa's recipes. I used to watch her show when I was studying in the US and found he way she put together her things very interesting...

Now the easiest recipe with all the ingredients available in my kitchen turned out to be a Brownie Pudding recipe (which I noticed much later) and I was in the mood of brownies... so since I had brought out all the ingredients and measured them, I said what the heck, I will bake them like brownies and see what happens! What is cooking without a bit of experimentation and imagination all rolled into one?

So this is the recipe:

1/4 pound unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup sugar
11 oz Hershey's Chocolate Syrup (1.5 cups - didn't have syrup - so used a little under 1.5 cups mixture of melted chocolate chips, Fruit n Nut Bournville & Cadbury Dairy Milk)
1tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs at room temperature

Now this recipe, called for baking the ingredients together in a water bath - but I just did the usual thing with the batter. I creamed the butter and sugar. Added the eggs and vanilla and whisked some more. Add the flour and poured it into a square pan. I added about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips on top and put it into the oven at 175 degree celsius and baked for 20 minutes - it wasn't done. I baked for about 9 minutes more and the top seemed a little over done - so I would suggest bake for 25 minutes and immediately put to cool on a wire rack. The result was a nice and gooey brownie. Pretty heavy with all that chocolate in it and I topped it with a really nice fudge sauce. Hope it looks as gooey and chocolaty as it turned out to be!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Juicy Couture - Aam Panna / Green Mango Cooler & Pink Lemonade

Nothing beats the soaring temperatures of Delhi better than these yummy, fresh, pink and green hued drinks! Lemons, Cranberries, raw green mangoes all rich in Vitamin C and lots of minerals and have numerous health benefits that I could go on about but I am sure most of us are aware of it. But just seeing the kayree / green mango and lemons at the fruit shops remind me of the mouth watering drinks that we have grown up drinking every summer! I still remember our fridge always having some kind of homemade sharbat - be it rooh afza, nimbu paani, aam panna or orange tang.

So, I am going to give you a twist to the humble lemonade and the very Indian aam panna which will give you, your kids and friends lots of respite from the heat and beat dehydration. Also, a dash of vodka in the drinks can make yummy cocktails to serve at a ladies night or enjoy with your hubby over a homemade Sunday brunch!

Here go the recipes:

Pink Lemonade
5 tbsp powdered sugar

6 cups water
1 cup cranberry juice
Juice of 3 lemons

Mix the water and sugar well. Add the lemon juice to this and mix well. Now add the cranberry juice and mix again. Chill and serve cold with ice cubes. You can garnish this with some lemons. Makes about 6 cups of lemonade. And yes it is unbeliveably simply but taste simply divine and noone with be able to guess how simple it is to put together.

Aam Panna
4 green mangoes washed and boiled in a cup of water
1 cup powdered sugar
100 grams mint leaves finely chopped
2 teaspoon bhuna hua jeera powder (roasted cumin powder)
4 teaspoon kala namak (rock salt)

Remove the mangoes from the water and remove their pulp. Put aside the water. Add sugar to the mango pulp and whisk it together in the mixie. Add about half the mint leaves and whisk it again. Strain this through a big sieve. Now add the remaining mint leaves, roasted cumin powder, rock salt and the water used to boil the mangoes. Mix this well and store in an air-tight glass bottle in the fridge.

This is a concentrate. Now use 1 part concentrate and 2 parts water to make your cooler - adjust sugar and rock salt to suit your taste. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and lemon.