Savoury

15-minute Healthy Veggie Soup


Now who does not love those recipes that can be thrown together in under 15 minutes flat? This soup is one such recipe and is ideal for cold winter evenings when cooking a 6 course dinner is the last thing you want to do after slogging in office for the whole day.

It is actually a very good appetizer and can keep the flu, cough and cold at bay. It also works wonders for the days when you have already caught a cold, have a runny nose and want something warm and comforting to fill your tummy.

The fresh and crunchy winter veggies make the soup taste divine yet is super healthy so you can enjoy it without any guilt whatsoever. It is practically fat free except for one teaspoon of olive oil.


I have used very few spices in this recipe so that the intrinsic flavour of the raw ingredients is retained and the spices not only enhance the taste but are super healthy by themselves as well.


Bay leaf is used in many Indian recipes and I just love its mild flavour. Our weekend special Masala Chai at home is made extra special with the awesome flavour of Bay leaf. It also somehow makes the viscosity of the milk based tea just right and we just swoon over our delicious cup of masala chai. https://www.healthline.com/health/5-possible-uses-for-bay-leaf


Black Pepper is a super-spice and hundreds of years ago, traders considered black pepper the king of spices calling it “black gold,” It is a powerhouse of health benefits and helps to add a distinct earthy and balanced hotness to any dish.
https://www.healthline.com/health/black-pepper-king-of-spices


Chopping up the vegetables is the only time taking part of this recipe. That will take around 5 to 6 minutes and the cooking time is around 10 minutes. So overall this is a super quick recipe resulting in an extremely healthy and tasty soup!

Preparation time: 6minutes.
Cooking Time: 8 to 10 minutes
Ingredients:
1. 1 Orange carrot
2. 8 to 10 French Beans
3. 1 Red Onion
4. 4 to 5 Garlic cloves
5. 7 to 8 Green Onion leaf
6. 2 Green Chilli
7. 1 sprig of Fresh Coriander Leaves.
8. 1 Bay Leaf
9. 5 to 6 Walnuts
10. Freshly Crushed Black Pepper (To taste)
11. Salt (To taste)
12. ½ tsp dry mango powder
13. 1 tsp Olive oil
14. 5 to 6cups water
15. 1 cup chicken Stock(Optional)

Method:
• Start by dicing the carrots and chopping all the vegetables mentioned in the ingredients except the garlic.


• Heat up the water and keep it ready to use.
• In a sauce pan put in the olive oil and add the bay leaf.
• Add the garlic cloves and fry till light golden.


• Next add the sliced onions and fry till translucent.
• Add the carrots and the beans and stir.
• Sautee the vegetables for a minute or so and then add the hot water or the stock.
• Add coarsely chopped walnuts, dry mango powder ,salt and freshly crushed black pepper according to your taste.
• Bring the soup to a boil for 3 to 4 minutes and then add the chopped green onion leaves as if they are added near the end they will maintain their crunch.
• Check the salt and add some more black pepper if necessary.
• Garnish with slit green chillis and fresh coriander leaves.
• Serve hot with bread sticks or croutons or just as it is.

P.S
1.This quantity will make around two standard soup bowls full of soup.
2.You can add any vegetables of your choice as this is a very customisable recipe.
3. If you want an added protein kick throw in some shredded boiled chicken and you will have a wonderful chicken soup.
4. The walnuts give a great texture to this soup and I just loved their taste together with the vegetables.

Baked Goodies · Desserts

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

3

One of my best friend from school was in town and I was super excited about meeting her after nearly 2 years. She and her hubby were invited for lunch at our place on a weekend and my brain was working overtime about the goodies that I was going to make for them. I really wanted to try out a new flavour combination for the cake I was going to bake. After a lot of thinking I zeroed down on lemon and poppy seed which seems to be quite a popular combination amongst the bakers. Also, I came across a new term on Instagram called “The Naked Cake”. I was extremely intrigued by this term and decided to do some research. It turns out that I have been consistently making stark naked cakes as by definition it is a cake without or barely there frosting.

(https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-a-naked-cake-and-why-is-it-naked-244010)

(https://www.stylesweetca.com/blog/2016/1/6/how-to-make-a-naked-cake)

I persistently make extremely simple and rustic cakes and avoid fillings and frosting just so that I can eat my cake with minimum guilt. So I was super happy to know that the cakes that I make are part of a trend!

Recently a new niggle some worry has cropped up. My allergy to egg yolks has reared up its ugly little head. For past few months, I had been ignoring it but a recent flair up made me realize that I really need to take it seriously. So I decided my cakes will be made only with egg whites henceforth. (as far as possible).

For some time now I was thinking about making healthy baked goodies as after last year’s job-related relocation to my hometown I gained some unwanted weight. So now there is a constant clash inside my mind between my urge to bake and the urge to lose weight. So I decided I have to find a middle path so that my passion is not curtailed and I can lead a healthy life as well. Also according to psychologists for people whole love to bake for others, the process is a stress reliever and it can help ease the presence of sad thoughts.  This article explained a lot of things which I guess I already knew but had never thought about extensively.

(https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/baking-for-others-psychology_us_58dd0b85e4b0e6ac7092aaf8)

Now back to the lemon poppy seed cake. I have used some alternative ingredients in this recipe and tried to cut down on the butter and used olive oil instead. Instead of using only all-purpose flour I have added some oats flour which gave the cake a different texture. The crunch and taste of the poppy seed is very unique and I was a bit apprehensive about the overall resulting taste. Luckily the combination of fragrant lemons and the nutty flavour of the crunchy poppy seeds gave this a cake a very different but yummy flavour.

The lemons that I have used in this recipe are special as they are organic and homegrown and gifted to us by a senior colleague at a recent office picnic. So the heavenly fragrance of these lemons has added an extra dimension to this cake. You can use any type of lemon and lime as you want in your recipe only adjust the quantity of lemon juice you add in as all lemons are not equally tangy.

 I have added a simple lemon glaze on top of the loaf cake which gives an added tangy kick and a super shine to this scrumptious flavourful cake. Now I am really looking forward to trying out new flavour combinations and adding a healthy twist to my cakes. So now my friends please read on to know my version of Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.

Preparation time: 20 minutes.Baking Time: 30 minutesIngredients:
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour (100 gms)
  • ½ cup Oats Flour (50 gms)
  • 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
  • 2 tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • ½ tsp Baking soda
  • ¾ cup Brown Sugar + 2 tbsp powdered sugar (for the glaze)
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • Lemon Juice (3 tbsp.)+ 4 tsp(for the glaze)
  • Lemon Zest of 2 lemons for the batter +1 lemon’s zest for the glaze
  • Melted Butter 3 tbsp
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • ½ cup fresh yoghurt
  • Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, loaf tin, hand whisk/electric whisk.
  • Oil/melted butter for greasing the loaf tin.
  • deliciousfoodwithginia1.jpgMethod:
  • Baking seems to be a less formidable task if you start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
  • Grease the loaf tin with melted butter or oil. (I used a loaf tin but you can use any type of cake mould you want)
  • Sieve the flour, baking powder and baking soda together and mix in the oats flour in a large dry mixing bowl.
  • Mix the lemon zest and the poppy seeds with the flour mixture
  • Beat the egg whites with a hand-held electric whisk till light and fluffy and add in the brown sugar bit by bit. It takes around 4 to 5 minutes with an electric one and around 10 minutes with a manual whisk.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the yoghurt with a fork and mix it in the beaten egg whites and keep on whisking at a low speed.
  • Next mix in the melted butter, lemon juice and whisk to have a foamy and light mixture.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180o (I use a microwave oven in the convection mode)
  • Now add the flour mix prepared earlier into the egg white mixture bit by bit and keep on whisking at a low speed.
  • Add in the olive oil when your cake mixture will get a pourable and smooth texture. Be careful not to overmix the batter. If the batter is too viscous you can add some milk.
  • Now pour the batter into the grease and bake at 180oC for 25 minutes. At this point test the middle of the cake with a toothpick or a cake tester and if it does not come out dry bake for 5 more minutes.
  • When the cake is baked perfectly, take it out of the oven/ let it cool down and demould.
  • Keep the fragrant lemon loaf cake on a cooling rack and prepare the glaze in the meanwhile.
  • Now as with any other cake the waiting part will be very difficult as the smell of freshly baked cake is very tempting and there is a great urge to cut he cake and eat it immediately. But it is better to wait for a while as if you attempt to slice a cake which is too hot you might end up breaking the cake and you will not get neat slices.
  • To prepare the glaze mix 2 tbsp of powdered sugar with 4 tsp of lemon juice and mix until the sugar is dissolved and you have a shiny and tangy lemony glaze ready to be drizzled on the top surface of the loaf cake. You might have to add some extra lemon juice if the sugar does not dissolve and mix vigorously.
  • Drizzle the glaze onto the cake and grate the lemon zest on the top of the cake and enjoy your yummy, tangy, nutty super soft and moist Lemon Poppy Loaf cake.
  • 2(1).jpgP.S
  • You can leave out the poppy seeds if you are allergic or if it is not easily available but if you can do try this flavour combination as the nutty flavour and the crunch really enhances this loaf cakes overall flavour range.
  • If you want to make this cake totally eggless then you have to add more yoghurt but I have not tested that substitution as of yet so cannot say how exactly it will turn out.
  • 1(1)2.jpg
  • Random Thoughts

    Foods for Haircare (for the Lazy Girl)

                 
    My earliest memory related to hair care is my mother trying very hard to massage warm coconut oil into my tresses and scalp, with me wiggling around like an eel! Now there was a tradition in our house that before shampooing your hair you have to apply coconut oil. And I vehemently hated the process! It was a constant fight with my mother and finally, very reluctantly I would ultimately give in and be drenched into a headful of coconut oil.

     Now that I recall those days I realize how lucky I was and feel deeply repentant for my behavior. Throughout my growing years, I hated my hair type and wistfully looked at my friends with straight and silky hair. How I wished that God would bless me with curtain-like hair that swishes around like a horse’s tail! (My hair type is actually thick and wavy with a very strong mind of its own)

                    Then in my late teen years, I discovered the magical instrument called the Straightening Iron or as we call it the Hair Straightener. It was during my sister’s wedding that I first got my hair ironed from a professional beauty parlour and loved the effect. But this magical wand came with its fair share of fear and paranoia of going bald in the long run. So I used it sparingly and my search for beautiful hair elixir and DIYS continued.

                    When I started to live alone in a strange city for my job, I would remember my mother’s efforts behind my now strong and healthy hair and felt really amazed at what a spoilt brat I was! So paying tribute to coconut oil I oiled my hair once a week for the first two years of my living alone. Even then my quest for the hair of my dreams continued.

                    Then one day it was at the salon that I heard about this new miraculous protein treatment for managing unruly hair and getting relaxed, tameable tresses. I was very skeptical and the going bald paranoia returned. So I did some extensive research and went through with the treatment. The protein infused into the hair strand making them smoother and more manageable. I will not lie that I was extremely happy with the results and I can safely say that it worked like magic on my hair and for the first time in my life I loved my hair. Now, it was after this that I got to know the magic trick behind having happy healthy hair always. As a post-treatment care, I was advised to use Sulphate Free Shampoos (SLS-free). This, my friends, is the golden piece of advice that few hairstylists give us, because if all girls become happy with their hair the beauty parlours and salons will be out of business.

                    So ever since I have switched over to using sulphate free shampoos, of which there are few brands which have done wonders for my hair. You can reach out to me through email or through social media to get my suggestions about the brands. Now I go to the parlour only for very occasional blow dries and love my hair the way it is. There is one more magical tool in my arsenal and that is the air-styler. It is actually a combination of a paddle brush and a hair drier. Immediately after washing my hair and towel drying I use this brush to dry my hair and automatically my hair is tamed and manageable. For the bangs sometimes the straightening iron does come out but it is no longer my crutch.

                    There is one more lifestyle change that has greatly helped me with my hair-woes. And that change is including nutritious food in my diet which does wonders for the hair and skin. I consciously eat seasonal fruits on a regular basis together with a healthy dose of nuts, eggs, and fish. Also water plays a huge role in not only your overall health but also helps the skin and hair. I really believe that water is a miraculous drink and try to drink at least 4 litres of water in a day.

             Now I rarely oil my hair or go in for expensive hair treatments but I can safely say that at this stage of my life I am the happiest with my hair and my purse is happy too.

    (**Some images are from https://burst.shopify.com)

    Baked Goodies · Savoury

    Stuffed Chicken Roast


    As far back as I can remember in my cooking and baking days I was always fascinated with the idea of cooking a whole chicken! In my teenage years, it was during the Durga Puja Festivals one year when I had planned on making the famous Mughlai dish the “Murgh Mussallam” which literally means “whole chicken”. As everyone will remember in those days’ information was not as easily available as now. So it took a lot of effort in my part to search for a do-able recipe but due to some unfortunate turn of events, I never got around to making it.

    Fast forward 10 years and it was my first job posting in Jaipur, Rajasthan where a sweet neighbor of mine had gone to a great deal of trouble to prepare Murgh Mussallam for a New Year house party and I observed her labouring over the whole chicken for quite some time! And how we ate at that New Year’s party is a different gastronomical story altogether! Now I’m back to my hometown Kolkata and it was the festive month of December when my past urge to cook a whole chicken returned with a gusto. This time I was very determined to not only bake the whole chicken but stuff it too! So my search for the perfect recipe began.

     I found that the internet is flooded with lots of information and recipes of stuffed roast chicken but I could not find the one which suited me perfectly. I took a different approach and began to make my own recipe. In this journey, I have been inspired by several recipes on different websites including ChristinasCucina(https://www.christinascucina.com/rosemary-citrus-roast-chicken-overnight/) and Allrecipes(https://www.allrecipes.com/). This recipe can be divided into three main parts the marinade, the stuffing and the main process of baking/roasting the chicken. This is a fairly simple and easy recipe but it requires some pre-planning and lots of patience!

    I made this much awaited stuffed chicken roast as a pre-Christmas treat on the weekend before Christmas. Now it might seem to be a fairly intimidating dish to pull off. But believe me when I say this you will simply blow people away with the awesomeness of this golden and crispy skinned chicken with soft juicy meat and stuffing which is great to eat even by itself! The most important thing that is required on this recipe is Courage. If you have that you will just sail through this recipe and your family will be kissing your hands and licking their fingers!

    Preparation time: 30 minutes (excluding overnight marination time)

    Baking/Roasting Time: 1 hr to 1 hr 15 min.

    Ingredients:

    For the Marinade you will need:

    1. Juice of 1 orange,
    2. Juice and zest of 1 Gondhoraj* Lebu/Lime,
    3. Juice of 1 lemon,
    4. Slices of Gondhoraj Lebu/Lime,
    5.  8 to 10 cloves of peeled garlic,
    6. Salt (To taste)
    7. Freshly crushed black pepper (To taste)
    8. Dried rosemary (1 tbsp)
    9. 1 whole Chicken (1 kg) with the skin and its innards cleaned.

    For the stuffing you will need:

    1. Butter=75gm
    2. Bread Cubes=4 cups.
    3. 1 medium-sized red onion chopped.
    4. 2 sticks of leek /spring onions 5 to 6 chopped.
    5. Fresh Button Mushroom’s 8 to 10 diced.
    6. 6 to 7 Walnut’s chopped
    7. Dried Cranberries
    8. Chopped celery and coriander leaves = 1 sprig of each
    9. 1 egg
    10. ½ cup milk
    11. 1 Dried Bay Leaf/ Tez patta
    12. ½ tbsp Brown sugar
    13. Salt (To taste)
    14. Freshly crushed Black Pepper (To taste)

    Other Ingredients

    1. Butter Cubes 1 cup(100gm)
    2. Melted Butter or olive oil 1/ 4 cup for basting
    3. Honey 2 tbsp
    4. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, roasting tin/tray
    5. 1 piece of thick bread end.

    Method:

    • Start by first washing and cleaning the chicken thoroughly. Be careful that you wash the inner parts and the skin very well.
    • Then pat dry the chicken with a paper towel.
    • Take a large bowl (glass/ plastic) and mix all the ingredients of the marinade i.e the orange juice, gondhoraj lebu/lime juice and zest, lemon juice, crushed garlic pods, salt, pepper and rosemary.
    • Coat the chicken with the marinade. Pull the skin slightly and push in few pods of crushed garlic below the skin randomly. In the inner cavity of the chicken put the lime/ gandhoraj lebu wedges and crushed garlic pods and make sure the marinade is well coated in the inside as well.
    • Seal the bowl with cling film and put into the refrigerator at least overnight. I marinated the chicken for 24 hours. Do not forget to turn the chicken over at least once during the marination period.
    • When you are ready to roast the chicken remove it from the refrigerator at least 2 hrs prior to cooking it. Remove lemon/ lime wedges from the inner cavity.
    • Rub butter cubes on the entire outer surface of and push in few of the cubes underneath the skin.
    • For the stuffing, melt butter in a pan and add the bay leaf. Add the chopped onions and fry till translucent. Then add the mushrooms, leek, celery and cook at high flame until soft. Mix in the bread cubes and fry. Beat the egg and add it into the mixture at a low flame and mix well. Add the milk and increase the flame and keep stirring. When the mixture is dry add the chopped walnuts, cranberries, salt, pepper, and chopped coriander and remove from heat.
    • It is important to remember that you should not cool the stuffing and spoon it directly into the cavity of the prepared chicken.
    • You can sew the cavity of the chicken shut with twine or a thick thread. But I used an easier hack. Just wedge the end tough piece of bread at the opening of the chicken cavity pushing in the stuffing. Don’t worry if it is a bit loose.
    • Sprinkle some salt and freshly crushed black pepper on the chicken.
    • Preheat the oven to 400°F or 230°C.
    • Place the chicken on a low rack over a roasting tray and bake at 230°C for 15 minutes.
    • Then reduce the temperature to 375°F or 180°C and bake for 1 hour.
    • It is important to remember that in every 15 minutes have to baste the chicken i.e brush the entire surface with the remnant marinade and melted butter. This will help to keep the chicken soft and moist.
    • At the 45 minute mark turn the chicken around to get even browning of all the surfaces

    • For the last basting of the chicken, you can mix some honey with the melted butter and brush the chicken with the mixture. This will give the loveliest caramelized golden brown roast chicken ever.
    • After 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes the chicken will be cooked thoroughly.
    • Carve the chicken with a sharp knife and serve with toast(optional) and roast potatoes
    • At the end, my roasted chicken had caramelized golden brown crispy skin with very juicy, tender flesh and yummy scrumptious stuffing inside.
    Baked Goodies · Desserts

    Blueberry White Chocolate Muffins

    It was the countdown week before Christmas and I was playing with flavor combinations in my head to try out for muffins. I wanted to make these muffins in my brand new fun shaped silicon muffin moulds bought from one of my after office New Market sprees.

    My husband loves blueberries and bought a packet of dried blueberries online to surprise him. Then there are these white chocolate and dark chocolate buttons available online which I love to use in my baked goodies. Voila! My blueberry white chocolate muffin recipe was born.

    In my earlier days of baking when I had just discovered this wonderful hobby, I was in school and was intoxicated on the tales and stories of Enid Blyton. Thanks to her delicious description of food and an over-active imagination I was fascinated with exotic ingredients like berries, high-quality chocolate, fancy baking tools etc.

    I was very wistful as these ingredients were not at all available in Kolkata in those days and I dreamt of the day when I would be able to bake with them. My days of yearning are finally over now! With the opening of the world of online shopping, I feel all the ingredients that I dreamt of being only one click away. This gives me a sense of immense peace and happiness.

    One fine winter evening after returning from work, I decided I will bake the much awaited blubbery muffins today. So I began to gather all the ingredients and started baking with a strong determination to make the loveliest blueberry muffins.

    These muffins are scrumptiously golden and dotted with juicy, dark blueberries and golden white chocolate buttons. I confess they are a bit sinful as I have used some cream in the batter instead of milk. But once in a while, you can get away with these things!

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 cup White Flour (100gm)
    2. ¼ cup flax seed powder (25 gm)
    3. 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
    4. ½ tsp Baking soda
    5. 3 eggs
    6. Vanilla Essence (few drops)
    7. Sugar (1/2 cup)
    8. Melted Butter 80 gm
    9. Yoghurt 2 tbsp.
    10. Cream ¼ cup
    11. Dried blueberries (15 to 20)
    12. White Chocolate buttons
    13. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, hand whisk/electric whisk.
    14. Silicon Muffin moulds and paper muffin cups.
    15. Oil/melted butter for greasing the muffin cups.

    Method:

    • Keep all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
    • Line the silicon muffin moulds with paper liners and grease them.
    • Mix the flour with the flaxseed powder, baking powder and baking soda.
    • Melt the butter.
    • Crack open the eggs in a deep bowl and mix with sugar.
    • Whip together the eggs and sugar mixture with a handheld mixer till light and frothy.
    • Add in the melted butter and vanilla essence and keep on mixing.
    • In a separate bowl take the yoghurt and with the help of a fork whip it till it becomes smooth and there are no lumps.
    • Pre-heat the oven at 180C.
    • Then when the egg mixture is frothy add in the flour mix and fold in with a spatula.
    • Add the beaten yoghurt and cream to the cake batter and mix in with the spatula.
    • Be careful not to over mix the batter but all the ingredients should be well combined.
    • Add the white chocolate buttons and the blueberries reserving a few for the topping.
    • The mixture will not be pourable.
    • With the help of a spoon put the batter into the muffin moulds. Dot the top of each muffin with the reserved blueberries and chocolate buttons.
    • Put the muffins into the preheated oven to bake for 20 minutes.
    • After 20 minutes check the centre of one of the muffins with a tooth pick. If it comes out clean, then the muffins are done. If not, then bake for 5 more minutes
    • Your scrumptiously yummy, blueberry white chocolate muffins are ready to be enjoyed with your friends and family. You can trust me that these muffins taste as good as they look!

    P.S

    1. **All ovens are unique the timing might vary accordingly. So feel free to adjust the timing according to your ovens nature.
    2. The quantities that I have mentioned will make around 5 to 6 muffins.
    3. The sugar quantity can be reduced if you like your desserts on the less sweet size but the quantity of sugar I have mentioned in the recipe is optimum for this dessert.
    4. To make these muffins a bit less sinful, you can swap the white flour with whole wheat flour, the cream with skimmed milk and the white sugar with powdered jaggery/honey. But I just can’t compromise with the butter.
    5. The flaxseed powder not only gives these muffins a delicious nutty flavour but add to the health quotient of any of my baked goodies.
    6. I guess I will be coming up with a healthier version of this recipe some times soon.
    7. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything about this cake in the comments section.
    Baked Goodies · Savoury

    Easy Yummy Savoury Muffins

    Easy Yummy Savoury Muffins

    I have a full time 9 to 5 job and I reserve minimum effort for breakfast as I am a zombie in the morning.

    Yes…as all my friends and family know I am anything but a morning person. Whenever there has been any such situation in which I am required to get up very early mysteriously I have been spared. I guess there is a lot of power in prayers!
               Now, this healthy, savory, veggie-filled whole-wheat muffin can be made at any time of the day but somehow in my head, I was hell-bent on making it for breakfast! I pinned an egg-white and veggie healthy muffin on my recipe board for the past one year but never got around to making it.

    So in my December baking spree, I decided I have to make something savory and remembered the egg white muffin recipe. To make the muffins more filling I have recreated the recipe in my way. It is a very easy recipe and other than the chopping part it takes only 10 minutes to put together. Yes! You heard me right I did say 10 minutes!
    As luck would have it, my helper, Pinky was late that day and we got up late. I was running around like a headless chicken but the night before I had washed the vegetables and kept them ready to be chopped in the morning which helped a lot.

    So after having our daily dose of seasonal fruits, I got together all the ingredients and my hubby was sweet enough to chop the veggies into perfectly immaculate little pieces!

    To be honest I have made very few savory baked items and I was very nervous about the outcome.
    So after putting the muffins into the oven for the baking fairies to perform their magic, I rushed to take my bath and get ready for office. After 25 minutes when I came into the kitchen, I found these golden muffins dotted with a rainbow of colored veggies waiting patiently in the oven to be gobbled up.

    Frankly, these muffins are superbly filling, yummy, tasty, healthy and as a bonus look absolutely perfect. I am already thinking of ways in which I can change the ingredients and make a wide variety of savory breakfast muffins. They taste good by themselves or you can try some ketchup on the side as well.

    Preparation time: 15 minutes**
    Baking Time: 25 minutes**

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 cup Whole-wheat Flour (100gm)
    2. ¼ cup flax seed powder (25 gm)
    3. 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
    4. ½ tsp Baking soda
    5. 2 Egg white + 1 whole Egg
    6. Melted Butter 100 gm (equivalent to a ¾ cup of butter cubes)
    7. Skimmed Milk 1/4 cup
    8. Spinach (8 to 9 leaves), Red Bell Pepper (1/4), Yellow Bell Pepper (1/4), Green Onion, Onion (1), Coriander Leaves (to taste).
    9. Salt and Pepper to taste
    10. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, cake mould/tin, hand whisk/electric whisk.
    11. Muffin mould and paper muffin cups.
    12. Oil/melted butter for greasing the muffin cups.

    Method:
    • I started by washing the veggies the night before and keeping them ready to be chopped in the morning.
    • Then keep all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
    • Chop all the veggies i.e spinach, bell peppers, onion, green onion and coriander leaves into small pieces.
    • Line the muffin mould with paper liners and grease them.
    • Mix the whole-wheat flour with the flaxseed powder, salt, pepper, baking powder and baking soda.
    • Melt the butter.
    • Beat the egg whites and egg with a handheld mixer till light and frothy.
    • Add in the skimmed milk, butter and keep on mixing.
    • Pre-heat the oven at 180C.
    • Then when the egg mixture is frothy add in the flour mix and fold in with a spatula.
    • Mix in the chopped vegetables.
    • The mixture will not be pourable.
    • With the help of a spoon put the batter into the muffin moulds
    • Put the muffins into the preheated oven to bake for 25 minutes.
    • After 25 minutes check the center of one of the muffins with a tooth pick. If it comes out clean then the muffins are done.
    • Your yummy, healthy, veggie muffins are ready to be gorged as a special treat for breakfast!

    P.S

    1. **All ovens are unique the timing might vary accordingly. In this recipe, the vegetables tend to impart some moisture to the batter while the baking is going on. So feel free to adjust the timing according to your ovens nature.
    2. If you want you can add in some grated cheese to the batter but even without cheese, these muffins turn out pretty scrumptious.
    3. The quantities that I have mentioned will make around 6 muffins.
    4. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything about this recipe in the comments section.
    Baked Goodies · Desserts

    Easiest Three Ingredient Cookie

    Easiest Three Ingredient Cookies

    I was thinking about baking some cookies for a very long time. But with the onslaught of pictures of Christmas cookies and cookie challenges on Instagram, I was very intimidated. Also, in the process of making cookies, there is an extra step which involves chilling the dough. This step really puts me off and makes me feel lazy. But drooling over all the yummy cookie pictures online, I did some extensive research on the “Science behind Making Cookies” and so this recipe was building in my head for the last few days. Anyhow, it was a weekday night and there was some raw chicken waiting in my sink to be washed and cooked into a wonderful, yummy gravy with some pureed spinach, and I suddenly decide that tonight is the night to make these cookies. You have to believe me that it took me exactly 15 minutes to get this cookie dough ready and in the fridge to chill!

    My husband and my mother were like excited children when the first batch came out of the oven in all their golden loveliness. My sister has already coordinated the process of how I am going to bake the next batch of cookies and get them couriered to her! So, my friends, I will now tell you the recipe of the easiest three ingredient cookies in the world and believe me even if you are a novice in baking, these cookies will definitely turn out to be perfect. They absolutely melt in the mouth, crispy and golden pieces of heaven…….

    Preparation time: 15 minutes.

    Chilling Time: 30 minutes

    Baking Time: 16 to 18 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 ¾ cups Flour(175gm)
    2. ¾ cup powdered brown sugar(75gm)
    3. Softened Salted Butter 1 cup.(100gm)

    *Chocolate Button/ Chocolate Chips

    Method:

    • Start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, and baking tray ready.
    • Cream together the softened butter and the powder brown sugar with a handheld mixer until it is fluffy and the colour of the butter changes. It will take you around 7 to 8 minutes at low to medium speed.
    • Now mix in the flour into the creamed butter-sugar mixture until combined and forms a dough. You might have to use your hands at some point to bring it all together, but in that case, do not forget to wash your hands well.
    • Roll the dough into 2 logs of about 1-inch diameter. Wrap each log in cling film or aluminum foil and put it into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
    • After waiting for 30 minutes and getting other work in the kitchen done, take out one of the dough rolls and unwrap it.
    • With a sharp knife cut the dough roll into cookies of the thickness of your choice. ¼ inch thickness was the magic number for me.
    • Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Arrange the cookies on a baking tray with at least ½ a cm gap between them as the butter in them tends to make them spread while cooking. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes till crispy and golden.
    • If you decide to use chocolate chips, you can use the second roll of dough and cut them similarly and top them with the chocolate chip. But remember to press gently, as otherwise, the cookies will crack.
    • At 16 minutes your cookies will be baked, but they will be light in colour. If you want the golden colour you have to give the cookies 2 more minutes but under supervision.
    • When both the batches are baked, your easy, yummy, buttery, golden medallions of heaven are ready to be enjoyed with tea, coffee or just by themselves.
    Baked Goodies · Desserts

    Orange Cranberry Loaf Cake

     

     The smell of fresh juicy oranges and the aroma of freshly baked fruit cakes is synonymous to me. Now my problem is I plan to make at least two to three new types of baked goodies every day but alas there are only 24 hours per day! I have a full-time job which is highly tasking and add to that the normal pressures of planning and running a household. Luckily for me having a very supportive family helps me a lot in all my creative endeavors.

                  Anyway leaving aside all the rambling, there are nearly 101 things that I plan to bake this festive season of Christmas! I had been dreaming of this orange cake for a fortnight now and finally a bit of Sunday evening baling resulted in this glorious, shiny, yummy, aromatic orange cranberry loaf cake.

                 Actually, I had planned on making an orange loaf cake but recently I had heard my sister’s podcast on the health benefits of cranberries(Google podcast) and had ordered a packet immediately. So, as I was assimilating all the ingredients to start putting together the cake I noticed the shiny new packet of Cranberries. And lo and behold my recipe was changed to an orange-cranberry loaf cake.

                 The ruby red cranberries dotting the shiny golden surface of my loaf cake truly enhanced its beauty as well as the taste!

    Preparation time: 20 minutes.

    Baking Time: 25 to 30 minutes

    Eating Time: 5 minutes (LOL!)

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 ½ cup Flour (150gm)
    2. 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
    3. ½ tsp Baking soda
    4. ¾ cup Brown Sugar + 2 tbsp white sugar
    5. 3 Eggs
    6. Fresh Juice of 1 big orange
    7. Zest of 1 orange
    8. Vanilla Extract
    9. Melted Butter 150 gm
    10. Yoghurt 2 tbsp
    11. Dried Cranberries 3/4 cup
    12. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, cake mould/tin, hand whisk/electric whisk.
    13. Oil/melted butter for greasing the cake mould.
    14. Parchment/Baking Paper.

    Method:

    • Start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
    • Line the loaf tin with parchment paper and grease it with melted butter or oil and keep it ready.
    • Sieve the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together and mix it in a large dry mixing bowl.
    • Melt the butter. I microwaved it for 30 to 40seconds in a glass bowl.
    • Take the yogurt in a small bowl, add the white sugar and whisk with a fork till the yogurt has no lumps.
    • In a large mixing bowl crack open the 3 eggs and add the brown sugar. Whip it with a handheld mixer or a whisk till light and foamy. It will take around 4 to 5 minutes at medium speed for the hand-held mixer.
    • At this point, you will need to pre-heat the convection oven to 180o C.
    • Add the melted butter to the egg mixture and continue to whip.
    • Add in the yogurt and combine.
    • Then add the orange juice which after mixing will give the egg mixture a wonderful orangey aroma and a golden sheen.
    •  Add the sieved flour mixture and mix with a spoon till the mixture is smooth.
    • Add the cranberries and the orange zest in the end and combine.
    • This batter is a pourable and liquid batter.
    • Now quickly pour the batter into the paper lined and greased cake tin and scatter some of the cranberries on the top.
    • Put the cake into the pre-heated oven and bake for30 minutes.
    • After 20 minutes check the cake with a toothpick in the center and if it comes out sticky bake it for 10 more minutes.
    • Then when the cake is baked completely remove it from the oven and let it cool a bit before removing from the loaf tin.
    • Now your orange cranberry loaf cake is ready to be sliced and enjoyed by you and your family!
    The Batter

    P.S

    1. The best thing about this cake was the shiny golden top surface and the heady aroma of oranges within. Its glaze was so perfect that I did not even think of putting any kind of frosting or drizzle on top for decoration. These type of cakes are best enjoyed with tea or coffee though even by itself it is absolutely moreish!!
    2. If you don’t have a loaf tin, you can easily change the cake tin type according to your liking.
    3. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything about this cake in the comments section.
    Baked Goodies · Desserts

    Lemon White Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

    IMG-20181206-WA0006 (2)

    The winter months are three fun-filled months in our family as the month of December kick-starts all the birthday celebrations. It begins with my mother’s birthday in the very first week of December. I was planning to bake her birthday cake myself as I have been on a baking spree these days and tapping into my inner baker!

              I asked my mom what flavor cake she would like for her birthday and on giving her three options to choose from i.e. chocolate, vanilla or lemon, she chose the lemon. Now, this was happy news for my hubby as he is not a big chocolate fan. (Sigh!) Anyway now I started planning the recipe and began foraging for the ingredients. Mom’s birthday was on Sunday and we went for a day trip to an eco-tourism park on Saturday(Pics posted at the end of this post). So I had to make the cake on Sunday itself which was a challenging task as all the other weekend chores had piled up like a mountain.

              Anyway, after a lot of fighting with my inner lazy demons my proactive self took over and I managed to put together this birthday lemon cake which tasted very scrumptious and yummy. Mom was happy, hubby was happy and so automatically I was happy with the overall outcome. So now I could have my cake and eat it too!!

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 ½ cup Flour (150gm)
    2. 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
    3. ½ tsp Baking soda
    4. ¾ cup Granulated Sugar + ¼ cup powdered sugar
    5. 4 Eggs
    6. Lemon Juice (2 ½ tbsp.)
    7. Lemon Zest of 2 lemons for the batter +1 lemon’s zest for the icing
    8. Vanilla Extract
    9. Softened Butter 150 gm (equivalent to 1 cup of butter cubes)
    10. Cream Cheese 100 gm
    11. Fresh Cream/Whipping cream 2 to 3 tbsp.
    12. White chocolate buttons/chips 15 to 20 nos.
    13. Milk ½ cup
    14. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, cake mould/tin, hand whisk/electric whisk.
    15. Oil/melted butter for greasing the cake mould.
    16. Parchment/Baking Paper.

    Method:

      • Start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
      • Line the cake tin with parchment paper and grease it with melted butter or oil. (I used a round springform tin but you can use any type of cake tin) and keep it ready.
      • Sieve the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together and mix it in a large dry mixing bowl.
      • Take the butter and granulated sugar in a deep bowl and beat with an electric mixer for approximately 4 to 5 minutes till soft and fluffy. (you can use a handheld whisk also but then you have to beat the butter and sugar for a longer time). The texture and colour of butter will change i.e it will become lighter in colour and soft and fluffy in texture.
      • Then add in the eggs and vanilla extract and keep on mixing at medium speed till the mixture becomes homogenous. When the eggs are added to the whipped butter there is a chance of the butter curdling a bit but then you have an option of beating the eggs separately and then mixing it with the whipped butter. In both cases, you might be scared by a bit of curdling but just be brave and carry on with the mixing.
      • At this point, you will need to pre-heat the convection oven to 180o
      • Add the sieved flour mixture and mix till the mixture is smooth.
      • Mix in the milk and combine to make a pourable batter. Add the white chocolate chips and mix.
      • Add the lemon zest and lemon rind in the end and combine.
      • Now quickly pour the batter into the paper lined and greased cake tin and put it into the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
      • After 20 minutes check the cake with a toothpick or a cake-tester in the center and if it comes out sticky bake it for 10 more minutes.
      • While the cake is baking prepare the cream cheese frosting. Mix the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, fresh cream/ whipping cream, powder sugar and whip with the electric beater till soft peaks form.
      • Now when the cake is baked perfectly, take it out of the oven/ let it cool down and remove carefully from the tin.
      • Keep the fragrant lemon cake on a cooling rack and wait patiently to decorate with the glorious cream cheese frosting.
      • Now, the waiting part will be very difficult because the smell of this cake is very tempting and you will feel a great urge to attack the cake with a knife and gorge on it! But my advice to you is that be patient because the frosted cake will taste even better.
    • When the cake has cooled down spread the frosting on the top of the cake and smoothen with a knife to make it pour over the edges just a little bit. Grate the lemon zest on the top of the cake and enjoy your yummy, tangy, super soft and moist lemon cake.IMG-20181206-WA0009 (2)IMG-20181206-WA0006 (2)

    P.S

      1. Instead of lemon, I have used a special type of lime called Gondhoraj Lebu in this recipe which has an out of the world citrusy fragrance. But lemons will do equally well and you can customize with any local type of lime or lemon available in your part of the world. Just be careful while grating the zest that you don’t reach the white portion of the lemon rind as that will impart bitterness to the cake
      2. If store bought cream cheese is not available, then you can easily make it at home. All you have to do is make some cottage cheese by curdling milk with lemon, separate the cheese and blitz it in a blender with some milk till smooth and creamy. This substitute is an old favourite of mine since the days when Cream cheese was not as easily available as now.
      3. We personally like our desserts to be a bit less sweet side and the sugar quantity is according to my taste. You have the freedom to increase the sugar content a bit if you prefer things on the sweeter side.
      4. You can leave out the white chocolate if you want but I really loved the combination of lemon and white chocolate.
      5. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything about this cake in the comments section.
    Salads

    Super Healthy, Easy and Tasty Mixed Beans Salad

    Soaked Mixed Beans

    Ingredients:

    1. ¼ cup of Chickpeas (Kabuli Chana)
    2. ¼ cup of Black-eyed peas (Lobia)
    3. ¼ cup of Kidney Beans (Rajma)
    4. ¼ cup of Green Gram (Green whole Moong)
    5. 1 large Cucumber
    6. 1 large Tomato
    7. 1 Onion
    8. 2 Green chilies
    9. ½ inch piece of Ginger
    10. Fresh Coriander Leaves
    11. Black and white sesame seeds (Til)
    12. Extra Virgin Olive oil 2 tbsp
    13. Organic Honey (Raw if possible) (½ tbsp)
    14. ½ tbsp cumin powder
    15. ½ tbsp coriander powder
    16. ½ tbsp. black pepper powder
    17. ½ tsp amchur powder (dried mango)
    18. Salt to taste.

    PicPlayPostPhoto

    Method:

    • The first step is to take the dry beans in a large bowl and wash them thoroughly. Then soak them in drinking water overnight. I personally prefer to soak them for a longer time as that reduces the boiling time. If you decide to soak for say 1 day, then you might have to change the soaking water when there is some foam like substance on the surface. 
    • Now throw away the soaking water and put the soaked beans (which will be nearly double in size now) in a pressure cooker with a pinch of salt and enough water to cover the beans. Then pressure cook for 7 to 8 whistles.
    • Then remove the beans from the cooker when the pressure is released, drain the water and leave to cool for a while. The beans should be perfectly cooked i.e neither too soft and neither too hard. You can vary the number of whistles according to your liking though.
    • Then chop/dice the cucumber, tomato, onion, ginger, green chili, and coriander leaves.
    • Dry roast the sesame seeds in a pan for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat till a nice nutty smell is released.
    • Now you have to take half the quantity of boiled beans in a large mixing bowl. Add all the chopped ingredients, the condiments/spices, the olive oil, the honey and salt and mix very well. Sprinkle salad with chopped coriander leaves and serve immediately.img-20181203-wa0004

    P.S

    1. The best part about this salad is that it is extremely customizable. You can vary the beans that you want to include, you can vary the quantities of the spices and veggies, you can vary the overall texture of the salad. The options are numerous! This is just one of the variants of this salad.
    2. You can reserve the rest of the boiled beans for making another batch of salad.
    3. This salad is extremely filling and satisfying and the yumm factor is also very high.
    4. Do let me know how your salad turns out!