“We have so much, too much, that we can buy, yet the basic labor of doing, the making with our own hands, is what enlivens us and makes us feel human." Dan Lepard

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Cheese Buns

The tall grass tickles our legs as we make way through the thicket to reach the hibiscus tree at the back. The warm and soothing autumn Sun falls and our back we enjoy the balminess. 

A plethora of butterflies is out on business. They sample one flower after the other keep fluttering all over the place. Morning glory adds colour and beauty to the greenness.

 Autumn is beautiful as ever.
We planted some pumpkin seeds during monsoons and left the rest to nature. 

We saw lovely yellow funnel-shaped flowers too. The tall grass and wild bushes grew big and blocked the view. Three months later, as we inspect the branches of the hibiscus tree, our happiness knew no bounds to discover not one, not two but three robust pumpkins. We admire the rotundity and size of our pumpkins and feel happy that we have a green thumb. 

The pumpkins are left to ripen
Autumn evenings are pleasant and the air is nippy. Soup is boiling in the stove. We have made some cheese stuffed buns to go with the hot soup. The buns are warm and soft and the cheese oozes out as we bite into them.

Cheese Buns
½ cup warm milk
¼ cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
4 tablespoons butter + 2 teaspoons for brushing
4 buds garlic minced
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Italian spice mix (or, 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary)
4 cheddar cheese cubes
Combine first four ingredients in a deep bowl. Stir. Cover. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
Whisk flour, salt and herbs in a large bowl. Heat butter in a pan, add garlic and cook for one minute. Add to flour mix.
Add liquid ingredients and knead. After kneading for 6 to 8 minutes, the dough should become soft and supple. Cover with a towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
While the dough is resting, grease one baking tray.
Cut each cheese cube into 6 small pieces.
Punch dough and knead for 2-3 minutes. Roll into a long rope. Cut into 12 equal size pieces.
Flatten a piece of dough and place 4-5 chunks of cheese. Seal the dough by bringing edges together. Place on the greased tray seam side down. Continue with the remaining dough.
Cover and keep in a warm place for 45 minutes or until double.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Brush with melted butter
Enjoy the buns warm.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Sugar Apple Kulfi | Sitaphal Kulfi | Sharifa Kulfi

Three Sugar apple trees make the last row of the trees in our backyard. The trees fruit around the end of monsoons. Being almost at the end of the patch, we often forget about them. Incessant rains have turned our backyard almost into a dense jungle. Yesterday we braved the thick vegetation, lopped the wayward branches, pulled the tall grass and managed to reach our beloved trees. The branches were full of sugar apples. 

Birds and civet cats seem to have been feasting on them and we don’t mind sharing with them. We plucked the semi ripe ones.

A bald curry leaf plant had a caterpillar perched on the top. It would soon turn into a pupa, grow wings and fly away.
Sugar apples, known as Seetaphal and Sharifa in Hindi is full of Minerals, Calcium, and iron. It is an excellent source of energy. Sugar apples are also an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Ripe sugar apples have a very short shelf life. We had some and made kulfi from the overripe ones.   
Sugar apple pulp gives kulfi a gritty texture and chopped almonds give a nice crunch to it. It is a delectable dessert.

Sugar Apple Kulfi Sitaphal Kulfi |Sharifa Kulfi

500 ml + ¼ cup milk
2   teaspoons corn flour
5-6 medium size sugar apples
¼ cup sugar
5 green cardamoms
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons slivered almonds  
Remove seeds from cardamom pods and powder them.
Blanch the almonds, remove skin and chop finely.
Take 500 ml milk in a thick bottomed vessel. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 20 -25 minutes or till it is reduced to half the quantity.
Add sugar and cardamom powder.
Add corn flour to ¼ cup cold milk. Add to boiling milk, keep stirring to get a creamy mixture.
Remove from heat and cool. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent skin formation on top.
Remove pulp of the sugar apples. Remove seeds and strain the pulp.
You will get a creamy pulp. Measure ½ cup.
When the milk mixture is cold, add sugar apple pulp and chopped almonds. Stir.
Taste sweetness at this stage. If you prefer a sweeter kulfi, add more sugar.
Pour mixture into kulfi moulds and secure the lids.
Place in the freezer for about 6 hours or overnight.
To serve, pour little hot water on the moulds, remove the lid,   and with the back of a spoon, remove kulfi.
Garnish with chopped pistachios. Serve.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Banana Chocolate Bread (Egg less)

An unusual and overly long spell of rains has been a blessing this year. The grass is tall and juicy, walls mossy and blotchy, trees clean and green, mornings and evenings nippy. Our backyard has turned into a thick jungle with all the bushes thriving, flourishing and pulsating with life. 

The green monotony is broken by the pinkness of the Mirabilis Jalapa flowers that offer a lovely contrast.

Yesterday, a constant “cheep… cheep… cheep “, got our attention. The source of this sonorous call was a baby Magpie Robin perched on the wall. The parents were diving into the thick grass and feeding the little one with fat caterpillars and nymphs that are in plenty.

 We were caught peeping stealthily at the fledgling and the parents raised alarm. The little one made a low flight and disappeared in the leafy branches of the Neem tree.

We baked a Banana Chocolate Bread yesterday.  A bunch of bananas was overly ripe. The bananas were very sweet. Three went into the bread that turned out moist, soft, dark, delish and very chocolaty. I have used chocolate chips that I had in my pantry. 

You may add dark chocolate slab chopped into small chunks if you do not have chocolate chips. Serve it plain with tea or serve with whipped cream or with a dollop of ice cream, you’ll love it every way.

Banana Chocolate Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)
1 teaspoon (scant) salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 very ripe big size bananas
¾ cup castor sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line the bottom and grease the sides of one 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Puree the bananas in the blender. Empty in a large bowl.
Add sugar, oil, vanilla essence and stir till well combined.
Whisk together first five ingredients in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center. Add liquid ingredients.
Mix gently till you get a smooth batter. Do not over mix.
The batter should be a little runny. If it is thick, add 1 -2 tablespoon of milk.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or till the top is firm and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and remove from the pan after 5 minutes.
Cool in the rack. Slice when cold or next day for a deeper flavour.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Capsicum Onion Pizza with Wholegrain Base #BreadBakers

It is the fag end of monsoons. It rains but, erratically. The grass in our backyard has grown tall and strong. It is a breeding ground for insects, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. Most of them have fed on the juicy blades and left   abstract patterns on them. Thick vegetation also makes it unsafe to move around as post monsoon is the season of snakes. Yesterday we got down cutting the grass. In the evening we spotted a Hoopoe in the clean backyard. The bird was feeding ravenously on caterpillars that are in abundance.

Rising temperature has made our bird bath a favourite haunt for birds. 

They drink play and bathe. Big ones chase away the small ones who keep returning to steal a chance. The game goes on ……..

Weekend is the time for some special baking. On kids’ behest, we made Pizzas for dinner. The base was made with whole wheat flour and our local finger millet (madua) flour. 

Finger millet flour imparted a nice texture and taste to the base besides making it healthy.

Capsicum Onion Pizza with Wholegrain Base

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finger millet flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
4 medium onions diced thinly
3-4 medium capsicums cut into rings or chopped finely
5 cubes cheddar cheese
1 block of mozzarella cheese
Italian spice mix
Pizza sauce

Whisk together first five ingredients in a large bowl. Keep aside.
Add sugar to water and stir to dissolve. Add yeast. Cover and let remain for 10 minutes. The mixture will become frothy.
Add this to flour mix and knead well till dough comes together. Knead further for 4 to 5 minutes till you get a smooth and elastic dough.
Transfer to an oiled bowl. Turn around so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and keep in a warm place until double ( 45 minutes to 1 hour)
Punch the dough down. Divide the dough into four parts for thin crust pizzas. Cover the balls with a kitchen cloth and let sit for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, grease a baking tray, sprinkle some cornmeal.
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
Work on one dough ball at a time. Flatten it with hands on a floured surface. Use a rolling pin to get a pizza of 10-12 inches. Let the dough relax for 5 minutes. It will shrink a bit. Stretch with hand starting from center and working outwards to get the right size.
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil. It will prevent the top from getting soggy from the toppings. Prick the surface of the dough with a fork to prevent bubbling. Let rest for another 5 minutes.
Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
Transfer the prepared flattened dough to the prepared baking tray (bake one pizza at a time).
Add about 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce.
Add onions and capsicum.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup grated cheese (mozzarella and cheddar mixed). Sprinkle Italian Spice mix.
Slide the baking tray in the middle slot. Bake for 15-20 minutes till the base becomes golden from the edges and the cheese on top turns golden.
Slice and serve hot.

Linking to BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Many thanks to our host this month, Sue of Palatable Pastime

Here is a list of breads with peppers that we have baked this month-

    Bellpeppers and Cheese Scones by Basic N Delicious

     Bellpepper and Paneer Stuffed Lattice Bread by Seduce Your Tastebuds

    Bell Pepper Stuffed Whole Wheat Buns by Sara’s Tasty Buds

    Capsicum Onion Pizza with Wholegrain Base by Ambrosia

    Cheddar and Jalapeño Scones by Herbivore Cucina

      Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Stuffed Buns by Food Lust People Love

      Crushed Red Pepper Grissini by Karen's Kitchen Stories

    Fatayer Jebneh by Mayuri's Jikoni

    Green Chile and Cheddar Biscuits by Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks

      Hatch Chile Zucchini Bread by Magnolia Days (recipe above)

    Jalapeño Bread by Cook's Hideout

    Jalapeño Flour Tortillas by Hostess At Heart

      Jalapeño Parmesan Swirl Bread Rolls by Spill the Spices

      Jalapeño Sourdough Bread by Baking Sense

      Mixed Pepper Bread by Sneha's Recipe

    Msemen Maamer - Moroccan Flatbread Stuffed with Peppers by The Bread She Bakes

    Parmesan Cracked Pepper Beer Bread by Cindy's Recipes and Writings

      Pepper Pav Buns by Sizzling Tastebuds

      Roasted Red Pepper Bread by A Shaggy Dough Story

    Roasted Red Pepper Fougasse by Spiceroots

    Spiced Herb Monkey Bread by Passion Kneaded

     Spicy Whole Wheat Rolls by Gayathri's Cook Spot

     Vegetable Stuffed Braided Bread by My Cooking Journey

    Zucchini and Pepper Cornbread by Palatable Pastime

    If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.


    Tuesday, 12 July 2016

    Cheddar Honey Rolls | Cheddar Honey Flowers #BreadBakers

    The air is heavy and vaporous. The sky is packed with clouds. It hasn’t rained for the last two days. The last spell was torrential. Hot and wet climate has facilitated the vigorous growth of vegetation. Grass has grown tall and thick. A whole new generation of grasshoppers is born and is flourishing on the juicy blades. Our dog loves to jump and roll  into the thicket causing the nymphs to rise up like green dust that spreads around in all directions and settles down on new blades and then  visible no more. Clusters of rain lilies break the monotony, adding colours and beauty to the grassy green. 

    Nights are musical these days. Crickets chirp in high decibels, so do the happy toads. The full-throated croaking reaches a crescendo and then no other sound is audible. There is abundant to eat, flourish and reproduce. The web of life is beautiful. The ground is teeming with grubs, caterpillars, slugs, snails and insects. Fledglings are out of the nest and learning to face life while anxious parents still feeding and following them. A commotion raised by the birds caught our attention and we spotted a Sparrowhawk in the Jamun tree.

    Last weekend, we had soup with Cheddar  Honey Rolls. We baked them in a pudding mould and they looked like little flowers sprinkled with Cheese.

    Soft, cottony, wisp o’ the cloud, cheesy and honey flavoured rolls are a bite of heaven. Enjoy them warm for breakfast or brunch. Cheese and honey meld to give lovely taste and flavour and garlic does the magic too!

    Cheddar Honey Rolls | Cheddar Honey Flowers
    2 ½ cups all- purpose flour
    2 ¼ teaspoon instant dry yeast
    ¾ teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoon melted butter
    ¾ cup grated cheddar cheese 
    3 cloves garlic minced
    2 tablespoons honey
    ¾ cup warm water
    2 tablespoon butter
    ½ Grated cheese
    In a deep bowl add all the ingredients and stir till you get a shaggy dough. Do not add all the water in a go. Add in parts.
    Turn the dough onto a counter and knead for 6 to 8 minutes. It should become smooth, supple and pliable.
    Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Knead again for 3 -4 minutes.
    Grease 8 to 10 muffin moulds or pudding moulds. Use nonstick moulds.
    Divide dough into two parts. Roll out one part into one 7inch x 10 inch rectangle. Brush liberally with butter. Sprinkle grated cheese. Cut into strips. Stack strips on top of each other, cheese side down. Cut each stack into three bundles.
    Take a stack. Pinch the lower end. Place the stack in the mould. Open the strips from top and spread them like petals. Keep in a warm place to rise for 30 – 45 minutes until double.  Sprinkle cheese on top.
    Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes or till the top turns brown.
    Remove from the oven and enjoy warm cheesy rolls.

    The inspiration to bake these rolls comes from Bread Bakers

    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our  lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here.  Links are also updated after each event on the BreadBakers this home page.
    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
    This month, our host was Mayuri Patel who blogs at Mayuri’s Jikoni. Thank you Mayuri for the lovely theme “Baking with natural sweeteners”

    This is what our group has baked this month- 
    Breads with Natural Sweeteners

    • Autumn Harvest Bread with Grapes by The Bread She Bakes
    • Banana Honey Crumble Cake by The Schizo Chef
    • Banana Yeast Bread by Passion Kneaded
    • Blackberry Honey Bread by Kidsandchic
    • Cheddar Honey Flowers by Ambrosia
    • Date and Chai Muffins by Mayuri's Jikoni
    • Date Sweetened Banana Bread by Herbivore Cucina
    • Egg Free Carrot Coconut Bread by Gayathri's Cook Spot
    • Einkorn Drop Biscuits with Peaches by The Wimpy Vegetarian
    • English Granary Style No Knead Bread by Karen's Kitchen Stories
    • Healthy Banana Bread by From Gate to Plate
    • Honey Almond Banana Muffins by Bakingyummies
    • Honey Cider Quick Loaf by Food Lust People Love
    • Honey Cornbread by Magnolia Days
    • Honey Oat Pain de Mie by Hostess At Heart
    • Honey Pineapple Pull-Apart Rolls by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
    • Honey Rolls by La cocina de Aisha
    • Jackfruit Semolina Muffins by My Cooking Journey
    • Mangalore Buns by Sneha's Recipe
    • Maple Pecan Scones by Cook's Hideout
    • Maple Oatmeal Bread by A Baker's House
    • Natural Banana & Blueberry Bread by Baking in Pyjamas
    • Pain au Levian avec Banane by What Smells So Good?
    • Tangerine Honey White Bread by A Day in the Life on the Farm

    • If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

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