Sep 17, 2013

Vegetable Au Gratin

We had a French inspired dinner last Sunday with Croissants (store bought) and Vegetable Au Gratin on the side. A table laid outdoors, bare with no distractions of threads and cutlery, completed the experience. Soaking in the setting sun with a wonderfully tasty spread is something we all can never have enough of.
The french expression "au gratin" refers to anything grated on top of the dish. Very commonly cheese.
Although this dish looks very sophisticated and prim, its one of the easiest things to prepare. And guaranteed to turn heads at a luncheon or pot luck.

Again, its a great way to get those vegetables into kids' tummies. The recipe I have used is inspired from here. I used beans, carrots, kohlrabi, spinach(a lot) and potatoes for veggies but the options are limitless. Am sure shallow-fried onion would add a dash of intense flavour to the dish.

Vegetable Au Gratin

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 20-25 mins


1 cup Boiled Vegetables
1 cup Spinach cut washed and cooked
1 cup White Sauce
1 tbsp Cream Cheese (optional)
1/2 cup (or lesser) cheese (I used Mozzarella)
1 tsp Garlic powder (optional)
1 tsp Cumin powder (optional)
1 tsp Coriander powder (optional)
1 tsp Black pepper powder
Salt to taste

For 1 cup White Sauce

1 tbsp Butter
1 tsp All purpose Flour
3/4 cup Milk
1 tsp Black pepper powder
Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Keep a shallow baking dish (3 inches * 5 inches * 1 inch) ready
  3. Mix cream cheese and 1 tbsp of mozzarella cheese to the white sauce.
  4. Add in the spices, garlic powder and salt and mix well
  5. Fold in the boiled vegetables and spinach
  6. Pour this mixture into the baking dish, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top
  7. Bake at 400 F for 20-25 mins till the top has become golden brown.
  8. Leave it in the oven with the door open for another few minutes (optional)
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool

How to make White Sauce

  1. Heat butter in a heavy bottomed vessel, add all purpose flour and mix till it becomes frothy on low-medium heat
  2. Add 3/4 cup Milk and stir continuously till the sauce thickens. Around 5 mins
  3. Add in black pepper powder and salt to taste

Eggless Blueberry Coffee Cake

At the outset let me share with you that I dint expect this to be a hit. But thats exactly what it turned out to be  and more with my daughter lapping up every bit of it with gusto. This cake is a very simple preparation and I made it on a Saturday night while chatting with a friend which made it all the more enjoyable.
Coffee cakes are usually moist and tender and come out of the oven ready to eat. No frosting required. Although having a streusel on top or glaze or chocolate syrup drizzle are standard dress-ups for it, it can nevertheless be enjoyed without any of those.

I chose to not top it with anything and also chose to make it low calorie by substituting apple sauce for a lot of the butter. The taste of apple is hardly noticeable especially if its a fine paste. What I forgot to add in was nuts and I am going to do it the next time. Almonds would complement the blueberries very well, especially the shavings.

Its an easy way to get kids to eat fruits and nuts, trust me!

Eggless Blueberry Coffee Cake

Servings: 1 9-inch cake
Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 40 - 50 mins


2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup Blueberries (if frozen do not thaw)
1/3 cup Butter
1/2 cup Applesauce
3/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder (I used 1/2 tsp Double acting)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Yogurt
1 tsp Vanilla extract (I accidentally put in nearly 2.5 tsp of extract and it was still very yummy)


  1. Line a 9-inch cake tin with parchment paper or grease it and keep aside
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl and set aside
  4. Cream butter and sugar by hand or with a beater.
  5. Add the applesauce and vanilla essence and continue to beat
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients alternating with yogurt.
  7. Combine well using a whisk but refrain from mixing too much. 
  8. Add in the blueberries and fold in. Be gentle since they pop easily. 
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake it at 350 for 40-50 mins till a skewer inserted in comes out clean. 
  10. Remove from oven and cool it in the tin for 5 mins and then continue to cool it on a wire rack. 

How to make Applesauce at home

  1. Peel and core 2 medium sized apples, cut them into cubes and boil the pieces in 1/2 cup water till soft and mushy. About 10 mins.
  2. Once cooled, grind the softened pieces into a paste or mash with a fork to get 1 cup Applesauce

Sep 15, 2013

Green Tomato Pachadi Andhra Style

One of my friends suggested that I should try a chutney using green tomatoes. Until then I had never really used green tomatoes to cook and I wasnt sure of the taste either. But having once tried the chutney I promptly bought more of it and made it again the next week. Its going to be one of my go to chutneys since its easy to put together and less on fat.
Green tomatoes impart a very tangy flavour which needs to be balanced. I used fenugreek seeds for that reason.

Green Tomato Pachadi Andhra Style

Servings: 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 mins Cook Time: 30 mins (including cooling time)


1 Big sized Green tomato
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
2 tsp Urad dal
3 Green chillies
2 Red chillies
4 tsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
Few Curry leaves
Salt to taste


  1. Heat 3 tsp oil in a heavy bottomed vessel or wok. 
  2. Add the fenugreek seeds and urad dal and fry till the urad dal gets lightly browned
  3. To this add the cut tomatoes, salt, green chillies and red chillies and saute till the tomatoes turn mushy.
  4. Once cooled, grind the cooked tomatoes but not to a fine paste. 
  5. Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Ragi Rotti (Finger Millet flatbread)

If there is one thing which is quintessential Karnataka food it would have to be Ragi. Karnataka is one of the biggest producers of Ragi in India. And no wonder that almost every kannada household would stock it in their pantry to readily whip up Mudde (cooked Ragi ball) or Rotti (Ragi flat bread) best eaten with Bussaru or Chutney respectively.

I prefer the Rotti over Mudde and make it often at home. It is one of the best after school snacks for kids to restore their energy and to provide them with nutrition without fuss. I tend to flavour it with onion, green chillies, coriander leaves and optionally spices. It is easy to make and easy to eat and is one of the healthiest dishes to be had.

Ragi Rotti (Finger Millet flatbread)
Servings: 8 Rottis
Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 5 mins (for each Rotti)
2 Cups Ragi flour
1 Medium Onion
2-3 Green Chillies
A bunch of coriander leaves
1 cup Spinach leaves
1 cup Water
1 tsp Cumin powder (optional)
1 tsp Coriander powder (optional)
Salt to taste
Cook the spinach leaves (Microwave or stove-top) and grind to a fine paste.
In a bowl mix together flour, salt and spices.
Add to this minced onion, green chillies, coriander leaves and mix well.
Add in spinach paste till crumbly.
Add water, a little at a time, to make a soft dough.
Keep aside covered for 30 mins if desired.
Wet a small piece of cloth (handkerchief) completely and squeeze to remove excess water
Spread it out on a flat surface.
Place a dough ball on the wet cloth and flatten it using fingers dipped into water
Slide the cloth along with the flattened dough and flip it onto a hot skillet
Drizzle  oil around the flattened bread and cook on both sides.
Tip :- If the flour on any part of the bread shows up white, it isnt cooked. Spread a drop of oil or water and cook the spot. 

Sep 7, 2013

Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Scones (Eggless)

It was a lazy weekend afternoon at our house and I was getting ready for a late afternoon snooze when the baker in me dragged me up and admonished me about wasting away a full day. I gave in and decided to bake something quick. Scones have been at the back of my mind for some time now. Today was the perfect occasion. I had a sliver of pumpkin left over from making Pumpkin Erissery. I had wanted to use it for baking and it provided me with an opportunity to make a savoury bake. I adapted the recipe from here adjusting it to suit our palate.

Its a great recipe and my scones turned out perfect. I cannot even begin to explain the sheer pleasure one derives upon a successful first-time bake!
The scones were a big hit with everyone going for seconds and the hubby even grabbing one right off my photograph!

Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Scones (Eggless)

Serrvings: 8 Scones
Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: 20 mins


2 cups All purpose Flour + 1/4 cup as required while kneading the dough
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cinammon powder
1/2 tsp Ginger (dry powder or fresh grated)
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter (cold cubes)
1/3 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree (fresh or canned)
1 tsp Vanilla essence


  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg F and line a baking tray with parchment paper
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinammon and ginger and set aside
  3. Cut the cold butter into the flour using a knife and fork or two knives till a crumbly mixture is formed. It is alright to have a few big chunks of butter in the mixture.
  4. If its
  5. In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, buttermilk and vanilla essence.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until the dough just comes together. Do not overmix as this can cause the scones to lose their airy composition
  7. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead lightly to form a lump. At this point sprinkle some flour on the dough to get it all together if required
  8. Pat the dough into a circle of roughly 6-7 inches and about 1 1/2 inches thick
  9. Cut this circle into 8 even sized pie shaped wedges using a knife (floured)
  10. Carefully lift each wedge and place it on the baking sheet.
  11. Lightly dab the butter wrapper on top of each scone to get a golden color once baked
  12. I used a rectangular cake tin inverted as the "baking sheet" and hence did not fear the scones getting burnt at the bottom. But Stephanie does suggest placing the thin baking sheet inside another one to prevent burning.
  13. Bake for about 20 mins till the scones are golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  14. Allow it to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy it warm with your favourite cup of coffee, tea or milk!

How to Puree Pumpkin

Wash and peel the tough skin off the pumpkin
Cut into even sized pieces
Boil in water for around 15-20 mins till soft
Let cool, drain the water and puree in a blender

How to make Buttermilk

Add 1 tbsp vinegar to 1 cup of Milk and let sit for 10 minutes.
The milk curdles to form buttermilk.

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