The Weekend Kitchen

Some hits, some misses…..in my kitchen, over the weekends


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The experiments continue – Wholewheat, Ragi & Carrot

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“Ragi?” they ask in all disdain.

“Carrots are for rabbits, ” they continue.

Poor kids, they still haven’t realized how enterprising their amma can be. To stuff some veggies down their throat, I will do anything. The meat loves are stuffed with all the vegetables that are lucky to be in the referigerator that day. Beef cutlets camouflage broccoli and beets. The all time favorite kanji is boiled in vegetable stock. Yes, this is one evil amma.

Now, grains. That is a different ball game altogether. Chapatis and dosas are the only grainy stuff that they will even look at. The slightest change in colour and it is a strict no-no. But, amma cannot and will not be beaten.

“But amma, this is not chocolate,” the dark brown colour certainly fooled him. But who is bothered, when he picks one, then another and yet another. It is sold, and will come back quite often.

Here are the secret ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup Ragi flour

1 cup grated jaggery

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp dry ginger powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter milk

1/2 cup oil ( I used olive oil)

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 Tbsp vinegar

1 cup grated carrot

1 very ripe banana (squashed)

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup choco chips or any nuts of your choice

  1. Sift together all the dry ingredients

  2. Mix all the liquids, add jaggery and blend with a whisk

  3. Add the dry ingredients, blend gently.

  4. Add grated carrots, squashed banana, raisins and nuts.

  5. Pre heat oven at 175 C

  6. Pour 1 Tbsp each of batter into cup cake liners

  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes

Tastes best next day.

 


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Loafing Apples

“Is there anything to eat?” asks the almost 14 year old as I open the door at noon. He is back from exams.

“Lunch is on the table.”

“What is there to eat?” the question is repeated after less than an hour.

“You should have eaten all your lunch.”

“But amma, rice is so unexciting.”

“There are some apples in the fridge. Go have one.”

“Amma!” an exasperated cry and he is off.

“What is it that you want?” I ask, when the same question comes my way in the next half an hour.

“Brownies,” there is a naughty grin on his face, the kind when he asks for something that he is sure not to get easily.

“Brownies to curb your hunger? You must be kidding!” the indignant mother in me answers.

I know this can’t go on for long. So the puny brain gets racked and the idea of a healthy concoction forms. If it works, well and good. If not, can dunk some milkmaid and make a pudding. Smart, isn’t it?

So these went in:

1  cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup quick cooking oats (ground in a moxie for 1-2 minutes)

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp powdered cinnamon

1/2 tsp each powdered nutmeg and dry ginger powder (optional)

1/2 cup grated jaggery

1/2 cup olive oil (you could use sunflower oil instead)

1/2 cup curd

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups diced apples (skin on , small pieces)

1/4 cup sunflower & flaxseeds (optional. You could use any seeds of your choice)

a handful of crushed almonds for topping

Directions

Sift together the flours, baking soda, spices and salt. Beat the jaggery, oil and curd till well blended. Add eggs one after the other. Beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla essence.

Add the flour mix in three parts. Beat on low for 1 minute after each addition. Add the apple pieces and seeds. Blend in with a spatula till just mixed. Transfer to a well buttered  loaf pan. Sprinkle the almonds on top. The nutty flavour once it is well toasted is something else.

Bake at 180 C for 50- 55 minutes.

Test whether done by inserting a tooth pick at 50 minutes. If it comes out clean, remove the pan from the oven. Cool for 10 minutes and invert the loaf onto a cooling rack.

Note: The apples are normally peeled while making loafs or cakes. Thought I’ll try with skin on this time. Turned out perfect.

And son gobbled it up. Proof of the pudding 🙂

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Going the Grainy Way

There was a time when cakes, cookies and bread was plain old white flour. The notion of health food wasn’t heard of, and the evils of white flour would have been laughed off. Maybe it didn’t do our generation much harm while we were growing up, these were luxuries, not everyday or even a weekly item. Cakes came with Christmas, and cookies were a once in a blue moon phenomenon. As for bread, we had 2-3 slices for breakfast once in two weeks. All that changed with the mushrooming, blossoming and then spreading like wild fire culture of eating out. We had no clue what went into the dishes that we relished with a passion. With the Internet came information and the era of ubiquitous home baking.

Like most others, I started with white flour cakes. When baking became an almost daily affair, the quantity of processed flour, butter and white sugar loomed as a monster in front of my eyes. I had to slay the dragon. If I can point to one person who prodded me in this direction, it has to be Sangeeta of www.healthfooddesivideshi.com. The kind of storm that she cooks up with local, healthy produce has to be seen to be believed. The courage to experiment with multiple grains came from her.

Baking bread is therapeutic. The yeast ferments, just as all the stress and frustrations that had been bottled up for long slowly percolates to the top. The slow kneading eases out the tension in your shoulders and soul. And inhaling the aroma of freshly baked bread can be as peaceful as an hour of meditation. This bread that I tried last week, however doesn’t need any kneading. Just mix, mash and bake. At the risk of sounding like blowing my own trumpet, let me say the texture and the taste was amazing. As certified by the husband, who is not too much into cakes and breads. That in itself is something, I suppose 🙂 image   Ingredients

Whole wheat flour – 1 cup

Barley Flour – 1/2 cup

Maize Flour – 1/2 cup

Almond Flour – 1/4 cup

Cocoa Powder – 1/4 cup

Brown sugar – 1/2 cup (optional, I didn’t use it)

Baking powder – 1 tsp

Baking soda – 1 tsp

Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp

Nutmeg powder – 1 tsp

Eggs – 2

Oil – 1/2 cup (used sun flower oil)

Honey – 1//3 cup

Ripe bananas – 3 (ripened to the extent that next step would be rotten)

Vanilla essence – 1/2 tsp

Crushed walnuts – 1/2 cup

Directions

Sift all the dry ingredients together, thrice.  Mash the bananas with a fork. Add eggs, oil , honey and vanilla. Beat at low speed for 1-2 minutes. Add the flour mixture in three batches. Mix gently. Beat at low speed for just a minute so that all the ingredients are blended well. Add walnuts and mix with a spatula. Preheat the oven for 10 minutes at 160 C. Transfer the batter into a well oiled loaf pan. Sprinkle some quick cooking oats and walnuts on top. Bake for 45-55 minutes.

Test whether done at about 45 minutes by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, take the pan out, cool for 10 minutes, and transfer to a cooling rack.  Tastes best the next day.