Thursday, December 22, 2011

Whole wheat oats spinach bread

Baking this bread is just one of my endeavors to bake a healthy loaf with less sugar & more healthy ingredients . I am just trying to eliminate any refined flours from my bakes. Since this was my first attempt I tried mixing wheat flour with all purpose flour  & adding the Spinach & cumin really gives it an Indian flavor.......though the spinach just seems to have vanished / which probably means that we could add a lot more of it. Soooo until next time let's relish what we have here.


Ingredients:
2 1/4th tsp active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar ( I used agave)
1 cup water
2 cups whole wheat flour ( Atta)
1 cup all purpose flour ( Maida)
1 cup oats ( I used Quaker old fashioned)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup packed chopped spinach
2 tablespoons Flax meal( ground flax seeds) . As per the info on the Flax meal box 1 Tablespoon of Flax meal mixed with 3 tablespoons of water =1 egg
1 tablespoon milk ( for brushing the top of the bread loaf)

Preparation:

Activate the yeast by mixing with 1/2 cup lukewarm water & sugar. Let it sit for about 10 minutes till the yeast froths up.
MIx the ground Flax seed with 6 tablespoons of water & let it sit for 10 minutes as well.
Meanwhile mix the flour, oats , salt & cumin seeds together .
 Once the yeast mixture is ready add the oil, flax meal mix , chopped spinach &  start adding the flour & mix well. ( I used the stand mixer).
 Incorporate all of the flour, oil & spinach & knead  it into a soft dough using water as required.
If using the stand mixer let the dough knead well for about 8-10 minutes , if doing by hand then transfer the dough to a work surface, sprinkle flour  & knead for about 10 minutes. The dough should be soft but manageable.
Grease a big bowl with oil & as the dough is ready transfer to the oiled bowl & cover with clean kitchen towel. Let the dough sit for about 1 to 1.5 hours or until it has doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled , punch it down & knead for another 2-3 minutes. I generally oil my hands to avoid the dough sticking to my hands.
Roll out the dough into a thick rectangular sheet about 8 inches by  10-12 inches long ( with your hands or by using a rolling pin) Now roll the dough into a cylinder & pinch the edges to seal it tightly. Transfer the dough to a 9/ 5 inch loaf pan, brush the top of the loaf with some milk & sprinkle with some oats or any seeds of your choice. Let the dough rest for another 1/2 hour for the second rise.
Bake  in a 350 F  preheated oven for about 1 hour. The bottom of the loaf  pan should sound hollow when you tap it . Let the bread cool in the pan for about 1/2 an hour , now transfer to a cooling rack & let it cool completely for 2-3 hours. Enjoy the delicious bread  with condiments of your choice.


Enjoy...................

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pickled Pearl Onions

Pickling food in vinegar is a great way to  make sure there is  a little something  that can add a strong & divine flavor to everyday simple meals. Good pickled onions are crispy, crunchy & full of flavor & make for an ideal accompaniment with any kind of Indian meal or sandwiches. A breeze to make, they can last for a long time in the refrigerator & are a personal favorite.
You will need:
Pearl Onions : 250 grams or 1 bag
White vinegar: 1 cup
Salt: 1 tsp
Coriander seeds: A pinch
1-2  whole red chilli


Preparation:
Peel the onions & wipe them clean with a clean & dry kitchen towel.
Transfer to a clean sterilized bottle & add vinegar, salt , coriander seeds & red Chili. Shake well & let the bottle sit on the counter for 1-2 days. Shake the bottle once or twice a day so the onions absorb all the flavors. 2 Days later the onions are ready to eat. Refrigerate  the pickle once it's ready & it will stay good for 3-4 weeks.
If you like them sweet you can add 1-2 tsp of sugar to this pickle. I did not as I like it hot & tangy.



Note:

I had peeled each onion &  did not rinse them in water as I did not want  any water to seep into the onions. Dry onions soaked in vinegar only- last a longer time ( personal opinion)

If you are using the onions for any other purpose there are some simple & easier ways to peel these onions:
1. Throw the onions in a pot of boiling water, switch off the heat, cover the pot with a lid & let the onions sit in the boiled water for 1-2 minutes. Now rinse the onions out of the hot water & immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice cold water to stop the onions from cooking. Rinse out of cold water, cut each onion head ( the root end)  & pinch the peel off  between your fingers from the other end.
2. If you are not in a rush to use the onions , soak them in water with some salt for 5-6 hours. Now cut the heads off & pinch  the peel off the other side.



Enjoy..............

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fruit & Nut Cake -Eggless ( Inspired by Fall Colours & a Trip to Central Park , NY)


Hi Friends, Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving . I know I sound crazy when I ask you this almost a week late but it was just a very busy & fun filled Thanksgiving for me with almost 4 days of get-togethers. Belated but  I would really really like to thank you all today for being with me & supporting me the last 5 months ( That's when i started blogging) . Blogosphere has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life & let me thank you all by taking you on a virtual trip to Central Park, NY & on the way I have a Thanksgiving treat  for you that I  hope you all will  enjoy.

I have been living in NJ for the last 8 years & NY city which  is not too far is said to be one of the most happening cities in the world. But it just so happened that "G" & myself both worked in the city for a long time & commuting to & fro 1.5 hrs each way was enough to wear us out by the weekend & there was no way we would go back during the weekends to explore the city. The only excursion  trips we made to the city was with guests & what an irony- we never visited the Central Park which is said to be the most beautiful place during Fall & visitors from far & wide visit NY during this time to enjoy  the fall colours. So this year the Veteran's Day long weekend ( 11the Nov) provided us with the perfect opportunity to visit & capture some of the most beautiful fall colours . 

Central Park, NY  is spread in 843 acres & features 3 lakes . Here is one capture of the lake with a duck in it. 



This fruit & nut cake was inspired by the picture above but  let's get to the Ingredients: 

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour( maida)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp cloves powder
1 stick butter ( 112 grams)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
3/4 cup orange juice 
3/4 cup buttermilk ( I made buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 3/4 cup of milk -let it sit for 5 minutes till the milk curdles) Can be substituted with 2 eggs 
3 cups of chopped mixed nuts & dried fruit ( I used dates, dry cranberries, raisins, apricots, figs, pistachios & walnuts)




Preparation:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree F , line a 9x5 " inch baking pan with parchment paper. 
2.  Sift together 1st 7 ingredients ( flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg , cloves)  Keep aside
3. Soak the dates in a cup of lukewarm water so they become a little soft, chop all the dry fruit & nuts & sprinkle around a tablespoon of all purpose flour over the nuts to lightly coat them. This helps in the nuts & fruit to mix well  in the batter & not settle to the bottom. 
4.  In The bowl of an electric mixer , beat the butter & brown sugar until it becomes light & fluffy ( approx: 2 mins) scrape down the bowl, add the buttermilk, vanilla & orange zest & beat again until well combined
5. With the mixer on low add the flour & the orange juice alternately to the creamed  mixture & beat only until well combined .  By hand, fold in the dates( strain out the dates from the water before folding them into the mix) & all of the nuts & dry fruits. 
6. Transfer into the greased loaf pan & bake for approx: 50-60 mins or  until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20-30 mins , then turn it out on a wire rack & let it cool completely.
Note: To make the orange zest grate just the yellow part of the  peel of a whole orange & the rest of the orange can be used for the juice , so one big orange is enough for this recipe.



The lake with the most beautiful colours.




Just look at the colours. 


How can our trip be complete without a walk in the city/ the most hip & happening Times Square.


Holland Tunnel- on our way back home.


Hope you enjoyed this trip with me .......Belated Thankgiving wishes to each one of my wonderful  friends.