Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Barley Lentil Soup

The moment I saw this recipe, something told me I had to try it out. It looked delicious, healthy and simple to make. Today, I made it and I was extremely satisfied. My son ate it without a fuss. Me and my husband also liked it a lot. I am sure I will be making this more often.

I followed the recipe quiet a bit, but changed it a little. The ingredients are almost the same, but the quantities differ. The way I cooked it is also different. With due credit to Siri, I am rewriting the recipe for reference.

1 Cup Green Lentils - washed and soaked for atleast 6 hours
1 Cup Pearl Barley - washed and soaked for atleast 6 hours
1 Onion - finely chopped
1 big Carrot - cubed
5 cubes of frozen Spinach
1 tsp Garlic Paste
2 cubes Vegetable Stock (I used very low salt one)
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
200gm (1/2 tin) Chopped Tomatoes
2 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste (I used 1.5 tsp)

  1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and fry for 5 mins till the onions are translucent.
  2. Now add the carrots and saute for another 5 mins.
  3. Then add the garlic paste and saute for 2 mins.
  4. Now add the lentils & barley and mix well.
  5. Add the cubes of vegetable stock and mix well.
  6. Now add the tomatoes, cumin powder, coriander powder and spinach cubes and mix well.
  7. Add 5 cups of water (I added 3.5) and pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles. I left it for 5 whistles as my son likes his food soft.
  8. Once the pressure comes down, add salt, mix and serve.
  9. As Siri pointed out, it tastes really good with curd.

PS: My soup turned out to be a curry as I added less water. I will be adding 5 cups next time.

This is going to Winter Warmers started and hosted by The Veggie Hut

This also goes to Soup Recipes hosted by My Culinary Creations.

This is also going to Priya's bookmarked recipes

Monday, 20 December 2010

Oats Upma

Oats... They are commonly used to make porridge for breakfast. But one can use it for so many other kinds of food.

You can eat it instead of rice. It goes extremely well with most of the curries. Especially the spicy non vegetarian ones. Apparently, you are supposed to lactate more if you eat oats. So when I was nursing V, I used to eat oats instead of rice every day. That's when I fell in love with it.

You can make Oats Dosa which is an instant dosa that doesn't require fermentation. You can also make Oats Idli, Oats Dhokla, Oats Chapati etc. I am sure a cookbook can be written on how to use Oats in different foods.

But today, I want to share a recipe that P, V and me like. Its Oats Upma. Its pretty simple, cooks fast (if you dont use too many vegetables).

You do get instant Oats. But the Old fashioned rolled oats are the healthier ones to use.

1 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Chana Dal
1 Onion finely chopped
1 Chilli slit length wise (adjust)
1 tsp Ginger
1 cup Chopped Mixed Vegetables (I used Carrots, Potatoes and Green Peas)
2 tbsp Oil
2 to 3 cups water
Chopped Coriander to Garnish

  1. Heat Oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the Mustard Seeds.
  2. Once the Mustard Seeds splutter, add the Cumin Seeds and let them crackle.
  3. Now add the Chana Dal and fry till they turn golden taking care not to burn them.
  4. Now add the Chilli and fry for a minute or two.
  5. Add the chopped Onion and fry till it browns.
  6. Add the Ginger and fry for a minute.
  7. Now add the Vegetables and cook till they are almost done. You might want to add a bit of water here.
  8. Next add the Oats, mix every thing, pour 2 cups of water and let it cook.
  9. Check the consistency of the Upma and keep adding water as required. I like my upma to be a little watery, so I use the full 3 cups.
  10. Garnish with Coriander leaves and serve with chutney or on its own.

You can also grate the vegetables to enable them to cook faster.

This goes to Priya's Cooking With Whole Foods - Oats that was started by Kiran.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup… the first soup I ever liked in a hotel. Now when I think back, I guess I loved the soup more for the bread "cubes" they served with the soup.

I want to give V as much Indian food as possible when he's at home. He has his "English" food at the day care. So he needs to get his spice at home.

I started making this Soup when he wasn't well. He was down with a bad cold and temperature a few months back and wouldn't chew on anything. So I made this soup, put it in a beaker and took him around the garden and made him drink it.

I made it a bit mild then but now I add a little more spice to it. Me and P also loved this soup. So I make it now and then. With the winter here, I am sure I'll be making it more.

12 salad tomatoes – Chopped roughly
1 Onion – chopped finely
1 large Bayleaf
7 to 10 Cloves
2 tsp Cumin Seeds
2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 small carrot – sliced roughly (optional)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp butter / oil
1 tsp Mixed Italian Herbs (optional)
1 tbsp Cream (optional)
A few (or a lot) Bread “Cubes”
Coriander Leaves to garnish(optional)

  1. Heat oil / butter in a pressure cooker. Once hot, add the Bayleaf and cloves and try for 3 mins.
  2. Now add the Cumin Seeds and let them crackle.
  3. Add the Onion and fry it till it turns brown.
  4. Remove the Bayleaf and Cloves at this stage.
  5. Add the Ginger Garlic Paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
  6. Add the carrots now if using. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Now add the tomatoes and mix well. Add salt and cook for about 3 whistles. You don't need to add water as the tomatoes have enough water. If in doubt, add half a cup of water and pressure cook.
  8. Once the pressure has come down, blend it using a hand blender. If you do not have a hand blender, cool it before blending it.
  9. You can strain the soup if you want. I do not strain it.
  10. Add the Mixed Italian Herbs if using.
  11. Dish into serving bowls , add the bread cubes.
  12. You can garnish with cream or coriander leaves or both.
  13. Serve with bread rolls or potato wedges or any other snack.

Since this is reddish in colour, this is going to Torview's Food Palette red event giveaway.

This is also going to Winter Warmers started and hosted by The Veggie Hut.

This also goes to Soup Recipes hosted by My Culinary Creations.


Hi guys. I am back after a short and hectic holiday to India. It felt nice to spend time with family after a long time. But how and where the 2 weeks flew, I do not know.

After I got back, I was busy catching up with work, home, friends and other stuff. Its been almost 4 weeks since I got back. But I was too occupied with a lot of things to write for my blog.

I have been clicking a lot of photos though. Need to write recipes and post them.

I read a few books in India. I have finished the shopaholic series of books. So will write a review in general about the whole series.

My plants have caught a fungus so I threw them last night. But I will start again in February so that they can see sunlight and grow better. No more blogs about my Gardening till February / March.

This is just a short update to let you know I am back. I will start posting soon…

Monday, 4 October 2010

Coriander Prawns

When I found this recipe on Cilantro’s blog about 4 months ago, I knew I had to try it. I did. And I am glad I did. P is very glad. In fact he liked (read loved) the recipe so much that for 3 to 4 weeks after that, every week was the same thing on Sundays (alternating between chicken and prawns).

I finally got fed up (sorry Cilantro) and told I am making something different. But you can find it on our dining table atleast once a month.

I followed the recipe exactly as she’s written. So I am not going to copy it. I used about 30 Prawns instead of Chicken.

The marination, method, everything is the same.

Thanks Cilantro for the wonderful recipe. I haven’t tried out anything else from your blog. Will surely do.


Friday, 1 October 2010

Jeera Rice / Cumin Flavoured Rice

Simple food is the best. Its easy to make, tastes great and one can never get tired of it. Today’s dish fits into that category perfectly. Its so easy to make and all of us like to have it. We never get tired of it.

When we stayed in Hyderabad, we used to frequent the Dhabas on the outskirts. My favourites there were Roti, Jeera Rice, Butter Chicken and Tarka Dal. When I came to UK, I really missed these. Since Jeera Rice is the one with least preparation, I started trying it out.

When I started preparing this dish about 4 years ago, I used to make it really simple. I finally came up with a recipe and stuck to it until about a year ago. Then my mom came, she changed it a little (its still simple to make) and the taste difference was humungous. Obviously, my mom’s version tastes better so I stuck to it.

We like to have this with any left over curry (veg or non-veg) or with plain curd when we are feeling stuffed.

It might not taste like the Dhaba Jeera Rice, but we like it nevertheless. It’s the closest we can get I suppose.

1.5 cups Rrice – cooked in 3 cups of water (you can use left over rice as well).
1 Onion – chopped
3 Green Chillies – slit in the middle
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
2 tbsp Cumin Seeds
2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
½ tsp Garam Masala Powder (Optional)
Salt to taste
Coriander Leaves to garnish
2 tbsp Oil

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add the Mustard Seeds.
  2. When they pop, add the Cumin seeds and let them crackle.
  3. Now add the Green Chillies and fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Then add the Onion and let it brown.
  5. Add the Ginger Garlic Paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
  6. Now add the salt and mix well.
  7. Add the rice little-by-little and keep mixing so the rice is coated well with the onion masala.
  8. Add the Garam Masala at this stage if you are using and mix well.
  9. Garnish with Coriander Leaves and serve.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Tomato Egg Curry

Sundays are usually the only days when we have lunch at home. So we generally have a non-veg dish. That's how it was when I was growing up. We had to have non-veg on Sundays. So I am kinda used to it.

There was a time when I could eat non-veg everyday. But from the time I fell pregnant, I craved for veg food. So everyday we had veg food at home. To make up for it, I used to treat my husband on Sundays to non-veg. Not that he was fussy about it; it made me feel good as I know he likes his non-veg.

This is something I made about a month back when our friends were over for an simple, informal lunch. Ofcourse there were other items as well.

10 to 12 Eggs boiled, shelled and incisions made (you can halve the eggs as well.)
2 Onions - finely chopped
12 tbsp Chopped Tomatoes
1.5 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
2 tsp Chilli Powder
2 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp Oil
2 tsp Mustard Seeds
2 tsp Cumin Seeds
15 - 20 Curry Leaves
Salt to Taste

  1. Add oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the Mustard and Cumin Seeds and let them splutter.
  2. Then add the Curry Leaves and fry for a min.
  3. Now add the Onions and fry till they turn brown.
  4. Add the Ginger Garlic Paste and fry till the raw smell goes.
  5. Add the Chopped Tomatoes and fry until the masala comes together.
  6. Add the Chilli, Coriander, Cumin and Turmeric Powders and mix well.
  7. You can add half cup water at this stage if the curry is too dry.
  8. Add eggs and boil to desired consistency.
  9. Serve with Roti or Rice or Pulao.

    Sunday, 26 September 2010

    Palak Roti / Spinach Flat Bread

    Me being a Telugu (South Indian), never had Rotis much at home. So for me to learn how to make them was a task. Now, I can say I can make decent (edible) rotis. All thanks to Aayi’s Recipes. She has a pictorial of how to make Rotis / Chapatis. If you want the basics, please refer to her page.

    Once I could make rotis / phulkas, I decided to make a variation. I wanted to make palak rotis. They are healthy and quiet tasty as well. Its also a great way to make kids (small and big alike) eat their spinach. So here’s what I did. The rolling out and cooking is similar to the Phulkas on Aayi’s Recipes.

    100 gm frozen Spinach - cooked in microwave as per instructions and cooled
    1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
    1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
    1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
    1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
    5 to 6 sprigs coriander (leaves and stems)
    Salt to taste

    For the Rotis:
    2 cups Chapati Atta
    Warm Milk to knead the dough
    A few drops of Oil
    Ghee / Oil for cooking (Optional)

    1. Blend the Spinach, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Red Chilli Powder, Ginger Garlic Paste, Coriander and salt to a smooth paste. Add water only if needed.
    2. Add this to the dry Chapati Atta and mix well.
    3. Add enough warm milk to knead a soft dough.
    4. Cover it in a few drops of oil, wrap it in cling film and let it rest for atleast 20 mins.
    5. After it has rested, remove the cling film and knead it for 2 mins again.
    6. Now make golf sized balls (I usually get about 8 to 9 balls with 2 cups of atta).
    7. Take 1 ball and roll it
    8. Fry like a Phulka.
    9. Once the Phulka is ready, smear it with oil / ghee. Remember, a little goes a long way.
    10. Serve with curry / curd / pickle

      Friday, 24 September 2010

      Another Garden Update...

      I couldn’t resist myself last week. I had to pluck and taste the coriander and mint. They tasted gorgeous.

      The Coriander was mild to start with but got strong in 2 seconds. And the leaves are so tender, they literally melted in my mouth. The mint wasn’t as strong as its only in the initial stages. But nevertheless, you could make out the distinct flavour.

      No wonder people love growing their own vegetables. One can’t even think of comparing the taste with the store bought ones. Its amazing.

      The small pot is really small for Coriander. The roots have started to come out from the hole that’s meant for drainage. I think I’ll chop it this weekend. I am not expecting any more crop from the small pot. The Coriander in the big pot has started to grow the main coriander leaves. But the stems are really weak. We haven’t been getting sunshine for a few days now and its quiet cold as well. So the growth also has been really slow. I might give the stems support this weekend.

      As I told last week, the Basil survived the re-potting and seems to be doing pretty well. The third set of leaves are quiet obvious now. I just realised that the first set of leaves are not the actual basil leaves. So the set of leaves coming up now are actually the second set of leaves. Again, the growth is not so much as the its getting cold and the light is literally non-existent from a few days.

      Some of the mint saplings have about 6 sets of leaves now. So they are growing quiet steadily.

      Since the growth of all the plants is so slow, I might not give a garden update for some more time. Now, I am not even sure if the plants will survive the winter.

      On the whole, the experience is great. I hope the plants survive the winter. But even if they don’t, I will definitely start growing them again in spring as I now know that I can grow my own (even if its only herbs).

      I think I’ll read about artificial light and try it if its not too much to bother with.

      Sunday, 19 September 2010

      An Event and Rajma Salad

      When I saw Nupur of One Hot Stove hosting BB7 – Iron Chef Edition event, I wasn’t sure what ingredient to choose. There are so many good ones

      We had a couple over for dinner and movie (at home). P’s birthday was on a weekday. So we decided we’d call them on Friday. We thought once V sleeps (at around 9), we can have dinner and watch a movie. P and me wanted to do this for some time now, but never got around to do it.

      We decided to make Rajma curry (as one of the dishes).

      Rajma… I’ve always loved the simple Rajma Chawal from my college days. My Punjabi friend used to get it in her tiffin. It didn’t look or taste as if it had a hundred and one masalas or anything like that. I wasn’t much into cooking in those days, so never bothered to ask her for the recipe. Now when I think back, I really miss it sometimes. I’ve looked every where online but haven’t found the recipe. If any one knows it, please let me know. I’d really appreciate it.

      Since I was making Rajma, I decided to cook some extra Rajma as I’ve been wanting to try out the Spiced Kidney Bean Sandwich recipe from Sailus’s Food.

      Though I can make Rajma in my own way, I thought I should get a new recipe from another blogger so its different from what I usually make. After “Googling”, when I saw this Pujabi Rajma Masala recipe on Nandini’s Food Page, I knew I had my recipe. And I was right. It was tasty to say the least.

      If using tinned Rajma, drain and rinse well. If using the dry one, soak in lots of water for atleast 8 to 10 hours and pressure cook with a little salt on high for 1 whistle and then on medium-low for about 20 mins (5 whistles). I did it this way and the rajma was really soft. I could mash it between my fingers. I like it like that.

      Punjabi Rajma Curry
      I followed the Punjabi Rajma Masala word-to-word (ingredient-to-ingredient). So I am not re-writing the recipe.

      I tweaked the sandwich recipe. I made a salad and we had it with cheese toast. So here’s my version of the Rajma Salad.

      Rajma Salad:
      1.5 cups Cooked Rajma
      1 cup – Finely Chopped Red Onion
      1 cup – Deseeded and Finely Chopped Salad Tomatoes
      1.5 cups – Finely Chopped Cucumber
      10 sprigs – Finely Chopped Coriander
      2 tsp – Chat Masala Powder
      A few Coriander leaves for garnish

      Combine Rajma, onion, tomatoes, finely chopped coriander and chat masala and toss well.

      Dish the required amount into a bowl, garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

      P, who isn’t a big rajma fan, loved both the dishes.

      Rajma Salad
      This is my entry to Nupur’s BB7 – The Iron Chef Edition event.
      Cooking, Event, Salad, Weekday Dinner.

      Friday, 17 September 2010

      Confessions of a Shopaholic - Book Review

      You'll laugh at her. You'll feel sorry for her. You'll even get angry at her. But by the end of the book, you'll fall in love with Rebecca (Becky) Bloomwood.

      She narrates her story. She's a shopaholic (as if we don’t know from the title), "up to her eye balls in debt" - in her words, but she can’t stop shopping. And her shopping has to be designer stuff every time.

      She shares a London apartment with her friend Suze. She doesn't pay her rent on time. Suze is always understanding. Never demanding money, paying council tax for both of them, etc etc. In short, a real friend in need. Its not like Becky is taking advantage of her. She writes IOUs to Suze all the time. Becky does feel bad. But she can’t stop shopping.

      She ignores all the letters and calls from her bank manager (she's over her over draft limit). She bins, throws and stows the letters from other credit card companies. She actually forgets her debt when she does that and wishes that her debt clears itself.

      You might think she's jobless. That's where you are wrong. She's a financial journalist telling people how to manage their money.

      To pay off her debt, she tries to follow a self-help book, tries to cut back and even tries to make more money by taking up another job. Everything ends in disaster.

      In between all this, she meets a guy called Luke. He's anything but like her. He is a high flying entrepreneur, who takes Becky luggage shopping to Harrods. Before you draw any conclusions, it was for his girl friend and he wanted Becky’s opinion. He breaks up with his girl friend. Or rather, she dumps him. As they say, opposites attract. That's what happens at the end of the book. They both fall in love.

      A movie (with the same title) was based on the book. I had seen the movie way before I read the book. But the book is far better and totally different. Apart from the fact that Becky is a shopaholic, in debt, lives with Suze and falls in love with Luke, the incidents are totally different.

      By the end of the book, I loved Becky so much that I bought the whole series.

      I've even started reading the second book in the series - Shopaholic Abroad. I am already loving it (only read 60 odd pages till now).

      Thursday, 16 September 2010

      Garden Update

      Hi Guys...

      Here's a quick update on my herbs garden. FYI, this is my first attempt at gardening and you can read all about it here.

      Coriander in the small pot is flourishing. I've read online that I can’t pluck from it till its about 4 to 6 inches in height. So hopefully, in about 2 weeks, I should be able to use it.

      Coriander in the big pot has started to sprout and it has the 2 base leaves. Hopefully, in 6 to 8 weeks time, I'll be able to start using it.

      Mint is coming up slowly. It must be getting it roots strong. No wonder it can take over your whole garden if you plant it outside a pot.

      My Basil has survived re-potting. Yes... The second pair of leaves are getting big. I can see the third pair of leaves starting on a few plants. Waiting for four sets of leaves. I can start using it then.

      No photos this time. I'll post photos when there's a substantial difference from the previous photos.

      Till next week... ta ta...

      Wednesday, 15 September 2010


      When I was a kid, I lived in Hyderabad and my Grand Parents lived in Madras (It was Madras then). I used to visit them during my holidays (All the three times). And the first place my grand father would take me to was Higginbothams. I could buy all the books I wanted. This happened on all my trips to Madras.

      I could just sit at home and read them through out the day and night. He always encouraged me to read more. He is solely responsible for my love for reading.

      In school, I loved reading Nancy Drew. In college, my favourite was Sidney Sheldon. I was more into mysteries and thrillers. Slowly, I started to read almost anything that got good reviews.

      Working full time and being a mother of a hyper-active 2 year old has made it difficult to pursue my hobby. But my love for reading has made it possible to find time now and then. Thought I can’t read as much as I would've loved to, I am happy that I am getting a chance to pursue my favourite hobby.

      You'll get some book reviews now and then.

      Keep coming back for more.

      Tuesday, 14 September 2010

      Bhindi Fry

      Bhindi, Bendakaya, Okra - Not a favourite with many. But it is one of my favourite vegetables. I can eat it literally in any form. Bhindi fry is my all time favourite.

      So when I saw that Kiran of Sumadhura was hosting Veggie / Fruit a month that was started by Priya of Mharo Rajasthan's Recipes, I knew I had to take part in it. Its a vegetable I really enjoy cooking and eating.

      Cutting fresh Bhindi can get very very slimy. I use Frozen Cut Bhindi. This saves my time and my hands. Yes... I am lazy.

      Today, I am sharing with you a recipe that my pinni(mom's sister) told me. According to me, she makes the best Bhindi Fry.

      1 Packet Frozen Cut Bhindi (400 gm)
      1 Onion - Chopped
      3 Dry Red Chillies - Broken / Torn into 3 to 4 pcs each
      1 tsp Mustard Seeds
      2 tsp Cumin Seeds
      10 - 15 Curry Leaves
      1 tsp Garlic Paste (I don’t like the bite of Garlic. You can replace this with 2 cloves of garlic chopped or crushed)
      1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
      1 tbsp Chilli Powder (It'll be quiet spicy)
      Salt to Taste
      2 to 3 tbsp oil

      1. Heat Oil in a Pan. When hot, add the Red Chillies and fry for a minute.
      2. Now add the Mustard Seeds and let them splutter. Then add the Cumin Seeds and let them crackle.
      3. Now add the Curry Leaves and fry for another minute.
      4. Add Garlic and fry for a minute.
      5. Then add the Onion and fry till it browns.
      6. Now add the Turmeric Powder and Salt. Mix well.
      7. Add the Bhindi and fry till done. Some people like to cook it open so it really shrinks. I like to cook mine covered. It cooks faster (I told you I am lazy) and you end up using less oil.
      8. Once done, add the chilli powder and mix well.

      Serve hot with Rice & Dal or Chapati. I love eating it with plain curd. Try it. You might like it.

      Sometimes, I avoid the onions. It tastes great both ways. But P likes it with onions. So that's what I end up making most of the time.

      I am already looking forward for the round-up as I would love to see what else I can make with this vegetable.

      Sunday, 12 September 2010

      Beetroot Curry and my First Food Event

      I had another blog that I started more than 3 years back but couldn’t maintain it. When I decided I will maintain my blog, I wanted to start fresh. The other blog had our names in the url – which I decided I didn’t like. I had already submitted this dish for the Event Healing Foods – Beetroot. When I requested Priya to cancel my entry and told her that I will be sending the entry from a different blog, she was fine with it. So her event will be first one I take part on this blog.

      I have always liked taking part in food blog events. But I never had the time to be a regular. Now I’ve decided to take part in more events. But that doesn’t mean I will take part in all the events. I will take part in something only if I feel I will genuinely enjoy making a dish for the event.

      Healing Foods was started by Siri of Siri's Corner. This month, its hosted by Priya of Mharo Rajasthan's Recipes, the topic being "Beetroot".

      When I was a kid, I never liked the "look" of beets. But once I had Beetroot Pulusu and I was hooked onto it after that. When came to the UK, I couldn't find the beets in the supermarkets. I got the pre-cooked and preserved varieties. But not the raw type.

      Some one told us about this new Asian shop. I was so excited when I saw the raw beets there. I had to get them and cook. From then, I kept getting beets every now and then.

      1 Kg beetroot - peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces.
      2 big onions - chopped finely
      5 tbsp chopped tomato
      1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
      1 tsp chilli powder
      1 tsp coriander powder
      1/2 tsp cumin powder
      1 tsp mustard seeds
      1 tsp cumin seeds
      10 to 15 curry leaves
      salt to taste

      1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds.
      2. When they pop, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
      3. Then add the curry leaves and fry for 1 min.
      4. Now add the onions and fry till they turn brown.
      5. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears
      6. Add the chopped tomato and fry till the curry comes together.
      7. Now add the raw spices (Chilli Powder, Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder) and salt and mix well.
      8. Add the beets and 1/2 cup water. Pressure cook for 3 whistles or till the beetroot is done.
      9. If needed, boil uncovered to get the consistency required.

      Thursday, 9 September 2010

      Macaroni & Cheese – Family's Favourite

      My first recipe…

      I was thinking – What do I post as my first recipe? Last night, when I saw how much P & V enjoyed their Macaroni & Cheese, the answer was very obvious. Macaroni & Cheese had to be my first recipe to post.

      I like a simple no fuss recipe. Many people add garlic, herbs and other ingredients. I did try a lot of different versions. But in the end, this is the recipe I stuck to as P & V loved it.

      I like make extra sauce and keep it in the fridge so its there for emergency dinners. I usually use it up in 7 – 10 days. If you want it only for the day, you might want to halve the ingredients.

      Remember, its totally optional to use the oven. If you have a pan that can go into the oven from the hob, you might want to use that as it saves cleaning up an extra dish.

      The final product - close-up

      4 to 5 fistfuls – Macaroni – boiled in salted water till al-dante, drained
      3 tbsp – Butter
      3 tbsp – Plain White Flour
      500 ml – Whole Milk (you can use semi skimmed – but it wont taste the same)
      250 gms – Cheddar Cheese (I use the non-coloured one) – grated
      2 to 3 tbsp – Bread Crumbs

      1. Heat the butter in a pan. Once the butter melts, add the flour 1 tsp at a time stirring it all the time so no lumps are formed and the flour doesn’t burn.
      2. Start pre-heating your oven to 220 C.
      3. Once the flour is cooked / fried (you can tell once the nutty smell starts coming out), add the milk100 ml at a time, stirring briskly so the flour dissolves and no lumps are formed.
      4. Let the milk thicken stirring occasionally.
      5. Add the cheese 1 fistful at a time – again stirring all the time. Add about 200 gms cheese like this.
      6. Once the cheese has melted, let the sauce thicken to the desired consistency.
      7. Spread the pasta in an oven proof dish, pour in the required amount of sauce and mix well, sprinkle cheese, then sprinkle bread crumbs and put it in the oven for 30 mins. The crust should be a deep brown and bubbling. 
      Before putting it in the oven
      This is how I serve my son - his favourite food in his favourite bowl.
       In the last step, if you have made sauce only for the day and are using an oven proof pan, add the drained pasta, mix well, sprinkle cheese on top, then sprinkle bread crumbs and stick it in the oven for a 30 mins.

      Alternatively, you can skip the oven bit. It tastes equally good. My son like the plain bit. So we eat the crust and take out the plain bit for him.

      Hope you and your family enjoy this as much as we do.

      C u soon…

      My First Take on Gardening

      From the time we moved into our own house about 3 years ago, I’ve wanted to grow my own herbs (mainly Mint and Coriander). But things never worked out. I was too busy juggling between my baby and work to do or think anything else.

      The thought came back to me in August. It was late summer. With autumn closing in, I wasn’t sure if the plants will grow. After much deliberation, I decided to give it a shot. I roped in another couple to try it out. We met on a Saturday at our house and had lunch. When V went to sleep, I stayed at home and my husband and our friends went to the garden centre and got pots, compost and seeds needed.

      We planted Mint, Coriander and Basil in tiny (7 cm) pots. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. And the results were beautiful.

      I could see the Basil sprout within a week. In the second week, I saw the Coriander sprouting. Mint took another week to show up.

      Here’s what I did – Take the pots, fill it with compost, leaving about an inch or so from top. Wet the compost thoroughly with water so it sinks in. Place the seeds and pat them so they stay firm. Now sprinkle about 1/4th inch compost again and water it using a watering can (the one that sprinkles water – not the one that pours) or sprinkle water with hand. Do not pour water as this will displace the seeds and might bring the seeds to the top which will stop the germination process. Cover the pots with cling film / plastic cover to maintain the temperature for the germination. Do not let the soil dry. Keep sprinkling water. You can remove the cling film once you start seeing leaves. Try to put them in a sunny spot as much as possible once they start producing leaves.

      I used Miracle Grow Moisture Control Compost.

      I hadn’t done my home work well, so I made a mistake of starting in small pots. You need bigger pots to grow the herbs.

      Coriander needs a long pot to grow. Apparently its roots are quiet long. And it doesn’t re-pot very well. So I left the small pot as it is and sowed some new seeds in a bigger pot about 5 days ago. They’ll take time to sprout.

      Because Basil seeds are so small, I planted half the packet in a small pot. I think each seed sprouted, so I had a pot full of Basil saplings. I had to re pot a few and throw the rest. I felt really sad to throw. But I had no option. I re-potted the saplings in a bigger pot. I hope I did it correctly and my Basil will come up. Its only been a week, so its too early to tell. If the plant doesn’t grow, I’ll put about 15 to 20 seeds in the big pot and try to grow it again from scratch.

      If Basil seeds are small, Mint seeds are even smaller. So I put the whole packet into the small pot. As of now, not many Mint sprouts have come out. So it seems ok. But because Mint grows well, I’ll need to re-pot it into a bigger pot in a few weeks time. Hopefully, it’ll survive the re-potting session.

      I’ll let you know how my herbs get on. Till then, I’ll leave you with some photos…

      My Basil saplings in their new pot on Sept 9th, 2010
      My Coriander plant on Sept 9th, 2010
      My Mint sprouts on Sept 9th, 2010

      Wednesday, 8 September 2010

      My First Post...

      Another blog???
      Yes… People are getting more and more computer savvy day-by-day. They want to express their opinions, share their experiences and just blabber blah blah blah to the world. And Blogger is FREE. Combine the two and you have millions (if not billions and zillions) of blogs.

      Who am I???
      First a Daughter, then a Wife and now a Mother. Also a full-time Software Developer. Originally from Nellore, AP, India, my family shifted base to Hyderabad about 25 years back.

      I got married in 2000 (my husband’s aunt calls me “Millennium Bride”). My Husband and me moved to Glasgow in 2005. I am here since then. Had a baby boy in 2008. Life seems wonderful now as I am surrounded by people and things I love.

      Why the name???
      Well, different people cherish different things in life. And these things keep changing over time. I thought I’ll start blogging about the things I love (I might include my family’s slowly) and enjoy.

      What do I love???
      There are quiet a few things. For starters, I love reading books, travelling, music, movies and (people who’ve known me for a long time will faint) cooking. I have recently started to develop a liking for gardening. It goes without saying that I love my husband P and our 2 year old son V.

      What do I plan to blog???
      Since cooking is my latest interest (read necessity), I will be blogging different recipes. Some from other blogs (with due credit, ofcourse), some from my family and some – my own. Its also an easy way to share the recipes with friends and family. "Go see my blog…" is all I have to tell anyone who wants a recipe.

      You might also find some book reviews. They might be old for a lot of you, but nevertheless. You might get to read some movie reviews as well (provided our 2 year old allows us to see). These are just a few things I plan to blog.

      I hope I can blog often without boring every one.

      Till my next post, C Ya…