Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A Favor to Mankind.

Helloooo lovelies! (why does it feel like I am talking to myself? Please tell me at least one of you out there is reading my blog, yes? Ok!)

I am writing this post today with just one selfish motive in mind – to get some good karma points for the service I am about to do to mankind. And hey, no, I am not going to stop blogging; that would be asking for too much. So what am I about to do?

Well, let me start by telling you a story. Until I got married, my entry to the kitchen was quite restricted. Once every morning to get cereals & milk and probably twice more to put the plates, spoons, etc. to wash and occasionally to bake a cake or make cupcakes which more often than not looked like disfigured blobs of clay.

I distinctly remember this one time, a few weeks before my wedding, when I decided to make pizza from scratch but ended up making some of my *true* friends (Hamsi, Dwarak & Ram) eat half baked, soggy, “pizza” (it was actually a soggy mess of flour, veggies and some cheese) which they ate without complaining (or at least I’d like to pretend that I don’t remember them complaining).

However, all this changed once I started cooking (was forced to start cooking, I mean) after moving to UAE. I have now reached a stage where I love cooking so much that I can be caught going through food blogs, checking recipes all through the day.

Anyhooo, coming back to why I am writing this post today, well, I am writing it to help the million other souls like me who are struggling to cook, still learning to cook, can barely cook, experimental cooks, occasional cooks, etc.

Although I am no Masterchef, I am still very  happy with what I am capable of making now although epic fail, disastrous experiments are still very much a part of my life every now and then (read at least once a week).

Thank god for internet, for without it I would barely be able to make a decent meal. Oh, and Amma, I know you are reading this, I would like to assure you that you did bring me up well, you taught me so much, it was just me, who did not pay attention. Not your fault. ;)
So, here is some unsolicited cooking gyan, from me, to you.

Vegrecipesofindia – This site has been my Holy Book of cooking. From South Indian to North Indian, Gujrathi to Bengali, Dassana has recipes for EVERYTHING!
Her recipes are easy, and her pictures are more than enough to make you want to cook.

Padhuskitchen – This is another one of my favorite sites. From bakshanam to easy breakfast recipes, she has ‘em all listed.


Reluctant Chefs – These two (Ajit & Nandini) are my heroes. Ajit is a world-famous Twitter & Instagram personality (also the object of hatred of almost every husband in the world, I'm sure. :P). Together, they cook up a storm in their kitchen every. single. day! If you are not dieting (don't plan to, ever), not guilty of thinking about food all the time and have a decent amount of will power, feel free to follow Ajit on Instagram @macroajit

Saffrontrail – Nandita’s blog is my go-to when I want healthy, filling and delicious recipes. Oh, and the pictures of her home garden turn me green with envy every time.
What’s more awesome is that she conducts Baking Bread, Salad Workshops every once in a while. I can’t wait to attend one when I am back in India next.


 EdibleGarden – Another fabulous website with so many interesting recipes and drool-worthy pictures. Nags is another favorite of mine.

TarlaDalal – Who can ever forget this lovely lady? Her website is a treasure that is sure to be helpful for many, many years to come and the best thing about it is how you can get the ingredient measurements based on your serving size.



Other go-to sourcesA Beautiful Mess, (they have it ALL – Recipes, DIYs, Crafts, Home D├ęcor to name a few), Nigella Lawson (duh!), Kiran Tarun, Subbu’sKitchen (for authentic Tambrahm cooking) to name a few.If you are Vegan, 101 cookbooks, Fat Free Vegan & Vegan Yum Yum are great choices. Of course, there is always Amma, just a Whatsapp message away. :)

I am currently going through the make-something-fabulous-everyday phase and it has been good so far. I hope this unsolicited advice helps you, some day if not right away and that day, feel free to send me nice gifts. I’d appreciate it and am shameless enough to admit it.

Also, remember, the internet is your best friend, one Google Search and you have more than enough options to choose from. 

Till the nextpost,
M

Note: All the items in pictures above are my experiments. *smug look*

Monday, 4 August 2014

The Pie-thagorean Theorem.

At the beginning of 2014, I promised myself that I would blog regularly (amongst other things, of course. Like eating healthy, working out, losing weight, crafting more, getting back to music classes, etc.). Sadly, I have barely done any of these and I am unable to accept that it's already August now. 

I am yet to come in terms with how fast the year has gone by.  Life has changed a whole lot since my last blog post and for good. So, I am not really complaining.

Anyway, the reason I am here today is because of a pie. A pie that has changed my life. Ok, I'm actually just being dramatic. But this pie, it is something you have just got to try. 

It is so easy to make and tastes like heaven.I mean, it really is THAT good, ok? Ok. And it has been my best baking experiment to date, hands down! 



You will need:

For the filling:
5 firm apples, peeled & cubed (soak in water to prevent discoloration)
1.5 tsp cinnamon powder
1 cup sugar
Juice of one big lemon

For the crust:
2.5 cups all purpose flour
200 grams butter (cut into cubes)
1/2-3/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1.5 tbs sugar

Method:

Take a large bowl and mix the flour,salt, sugar. Add the cubed butter to this and rub the flour mixture against the butter till small lumps form.

Continue doing it until the mixture reaches a bread crumb-y texture. Now, slowly add water, a little at a time and make a dough.
Bread crumb-y texture. Add water only after you achieve this.

 Divide the dough into two parts, cover one part with cling firm and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in another big bowl combine the cubed apples, cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice and mix thoroughly so that each piece is coated with the dressing. Set aside.

On a clean, floured surface, roll the other half of the dough into a large circle or rectangle and cut strips of equal width. Roll the refrigerated dough to a nice, big circle (at least 2 inches more in diameter than the baking dish you plan to use) 

Layer the baking dish neatly with this dough and cut off the excess dough from the sides. 

Now pour the apple filling on top and use the dough strips to cover the top in a criss-cross pattern. Seal the edges with the dough used for base of the pie and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.


Not bad at all, for a first timer. *smug look*


Glaze the top with some milk using a brush and bake it in a pre-heated oven at 200*c for 40-45 minutes.

In to the oven it goes.

This time may vary depending on the microwave/oven you may use. Hence please ensure you do not let it get burnt. 

Although the number of steps mentioned above may seem too much, trust me, it was really very simple to make and tastes absolutely divine. Oh, and the house smells like a dream. Apples and cinnamon are truly a match made in heaven. Sigh.

I made this last night and it's already almost over and everyone who has tasted it (husband and some 10 colleagues) have given me two thumbs-up! The crust was flaky, the filling - delicious. 



I hope you make this and enjoy the pie as much as we did and do let me know how it turns out if you try it! 

Here's to a great rest of the year and to more blogging (hopefully!).

Cheers! 
M


Notes:
1. I used this video as the guide to make flaky dough. It worked like magic. 
2. I did not cook the apple filling as done in some recipes, it still turned out really gooey and soft.
3. Forgive me for the awful caption. Thank you.