Recipe – FRENCH TOAST WITH LEMON

What better way to celebrate Mother’s day with this delicious french toast for breakfast or brunch? Mother’s love is priceless and forever; nobody on this planet can replace her. Reminiscing one of the many sweet memories I had with my ma; I would give her a yellow rose on Mother’s day which she cherished and say ‘I love you mummy;’ she responded succinctly with a gentle smile saying ‘I love you all the time’; the dried rose was always there in the vase and never thrown away.

French Toast with Lemon or Wentelteefjes is the Dutch style of making french toast. It’s simple and easy; also makes a tasty breakfast in a jiffy. Originally, french toast was made with a day-old bread however, can make it with fresh bread too. Kids love to make french toast; a recipe which they learn from their mothers or grandmothers.

For this recipe, I have used a day-old bread and kept the crusts of the bread since my son loves it; however, can remove crusts if desired. Have used spelt-flour bread for a healthy version; it is very tasty with white bread. Instead of brown or vanilla sugar, icing sugar can be used for dusting. The key area to be focussed is that the bread slices should be completely soaked in the egg-milk mixture.

Delicious and easy dutch style french toast with the touch of lemon makes a perfect break-fast or brunch on Mother’s day.

prep time : 7 mins, cooking time : 30 mins, cuisine : dutch, serves 6-7, author : gloria

Ingredients

6-7 bread slices of your choice (preferably, a day-old)

2 eggs (lightly beaten)

1 lemon rind (grated/minced)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

200 ml milk

30 gms butter (as required)

1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar or vanilla sugar (as desired)

Method

Whisk eggs lightly in a bowl and stir in the lemon rind, spice and milk.

Dip slices of bread in the egg-milk mixture. Place the slices on top of each other in a wide plate or bowl to absorb all the remaining liquid.

In a skillet, heat butter over moderate heat and fry the bread on both sides until golden brown. Serve warm with brown sugar or vanilla sugar on top.

Eet smakelijk!!!

Recipe – BREAD UPMA

Bread Upma is delicious and quick to make breakfast or snack prepared with simple ingredients available in the kitchen. A day or two old bread or fresh bread can be used. It is also a quick option for kid’s lunch box sans chillies.

This upma is something I prepare very often at home and you can use any type of bread. It tastes good with toasted bread too. For a healthier version, take multigrain bread and add in your favourite choice of vegetables, eggs too can be added.

Using kitchen shears, snip the bread into cubes or can cut them with a knife. If feeling lazy, just hand-pull them into bite sized pieces. For crunchiness, I have used urad dal wash and peanuts; even pine nuts, almonds or cashew-nuts can be used instead of peanuts. The bread is then tossed with the spice powders. The key to make a good bread upma is to keep them crisp in texture. Enjoy it with chutney or even plain with hot tea or coffee.

Spiced bread with crunchiness of peanuts, urad dal wash, enhanced with the aromatic and unique flavour of goda masala makes an excellent snack or breakfast in a jiffy.

prep time : 5 mins, cooking time : 10 mins, serves : 2-4, cuisine : indian, author : gloria

Ingredients

6-7 bread slices

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp urad dal wash

1 tsp peanuts

3-4 green chillies chopped (as per preference)

1 onion chopped

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp goda masala

1 1/2 tsp tomato ketchup

little water to sprinkle

salt to taste

few coriander leavers to garnish

Method

Snip the bread with a help of kitchen shears or can cut them into cubes. Reserve.

Into a pre-heated oil, add mustard; once it splutters, add cumin seeds; when it crackles and turns fragrant, add urad dal wash, wait for two seconds to change to light brown in colour, then add the peanuts. Stir.

Add onion, green chillies and little salt. Saute occasionally for few minutes on moderate heat till onion turn soft and translucent.

Now, add turmeric powder, chilly powder, goda masala and stir for a minute or so.

Tip in the bread pieces; mix everything together to combine well and allow it to cook for few minutes. Sprinkle little water to prevent drying up.

Finally, add the tomato ketchup. Give a quick mix.

Now, keeping the heat on low, toss and stir the bread pieces constantly till it becomes crisp for 4-5 mins.  Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot immediately.

My observations/notes:

– can add lemon juice if required

– can also add boiled peas or boiled potatoes if desired

– can use garam masala instead of goda masala

– i used store bought goda masala (bedekar brand)

– be careful while adding salt as the bread already have salt

– do not add too much of water as the bread will become soggy

Recipe – SPAGHETTI WITH RICOTTA AND BASIL

Pastas are loved by people across the globe. Found in various shapes and sizes, these beauties are so versatile that it can be cooked in many different ways. Makes a great weekend dinner or can be carried in lunch boxes too.

Spaghetti with fresh ricotta and basil is simple, quick, healthy and delicious; even a finicky eater would enjoy. If ricotta cheese is unavailable, can use paneer/cottage cheese instead; I have made this dish with paneer and it tastes great.

Here are some key areas to look out when following this recipe. Use good quality pasta. Fill lots of water in a large thick bottom stainless steel pot so that the pasta can move freely; don’t be stingy on that! When the water reaches boiling point, add salt generously; wait for a minute and then add the pasta. Once the pasta is fully submerged, gently stir with a wooden spoon, occasionally. Cook pasta till al dente; never over-cook. Drain it in a colander. Sometimes, I directly put the pasta into the sauce. Save little pasta water to make the sauce more flavourful. The sauce should only coat the pasta.

An incredibly easy, simple, flavourful and delicious spaghetti tossed with ricotta cheese, in tomato sauce, with the goodness of fresh basil and topped with parmesan to satisfy hunger pangs anytime.

prep time : 8 mins, cooking time :20 minutes, serves: 2, cuisine : italian, author : gloria

Ingredients

200 gms spaghetti

rock marine salt to cook pasta

water

1/4 cup ricotta (drained)

Olive oil

1 chilli pepper (minced) (optional)

1 onion (finely chopped)

1 big garlic clove (minced)

1 tomato (finely chopped)

1/4 cup tomato puree (home-made or store bought)

a pinch of sugar

few fresh basil leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

EVOO (extra virgin olive oil for drizzling)

parmesan cheese to taste

Method

Place a large pot of water on the stove-top. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add salt generously. Stir. Now, add spaghetti and cook till al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan over medium heat; add onion, garlic, chilli pepper, tomato and 2 pinches of salt. Saute and cook till everything is soft and well combined.

Now, add tomato puree, sugar and the reserved pasta water. Mix well and simmer on low heat for 6-7 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add freshly ground pepper.

Remove from the heat and spoon the ricotta into the tomato sauce, mix quickly. Do a taste-test and adjust seasoning, if needed.

Combine spaghetti and the sauce in a bowl; top it with fresh basil leaves; sprinkle some grated parmesan and drizzled EVOO. Serve piping hot immediately!

Buon Appetito!!

my observations/notes:

– use fresh ripened tomatoes

– can substitute tomatoes with sun dried tomatoes

– can use paneer instead of ricotta cheese

– can use chilli flakes instead of chilli pepper

– i whisked the ricotta however, just crumbling the ricotta would be a good idea

– leave little ricotta for the garnish which i missed out.

Recipe – PESAHA APPAM/INDARI APPAM & PESAHA PAAL

Pesaha in malayalam language means ‘Passover’. Pesaha Appam sometimes also called as Indari Appam is an unleavened bread served with Pesaha Paal on the night of Maundy Thursday. It is prepared only on Passover (once in a year) with utmost care, reverence, and considered very sacred; an intensive labour of love. On this day, we celebrate the last supper of our Lord Jesus Christ with his disciples and this tradition of Passover meal is followed by many Christians across Kerala.

The tradition of pesaha appam and pesaha paal re-kindle beautiful childhood memories. My mum would begin to make the appam, starting with a prayer; taking great care of each and every ingredients and also the utensils which go into preparing it. Since it is an unleavened bread, the batter was not allowed to be fermented. Mum also notes that cardamom is not added to the pesaha paal coz it should not taste like payasam. As always, I would help her in peeling shallots, garlic and grating coconut (I was not allowed to eat the coconut while grating). After attending the church service, my dad, being the head of the family would lead the prayer, cut the appam, dip it in the paalu (milk) and serve it to other family members starting with the oldest to the youngest. Nothing was wasted; the left-overs were eaten on Good Friday morning.

Pesaha Appam and Pesaha Paal, a tradition of unleavened bread and drink celebrating the last supper of our Lord Jesus Christ with his disciples.

recipe courtesy : my mum

total time : 2 hrs, serves : 2 appams, cuisine : kerala, author : gloria

For Pesaha Appam :

Ingredients

1 cup rice flour (roasted)

salt to taste

1/4 cup split white urad dal

1 cup fresh coconut (grated)

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

2 nos garlic flakes

5 nos shallots

1/2 cup lukewarm water

Method

1. Place rice flour, salt into a large bowl. Keep aside

2. Dry roast split white urad dal lightly on low heat till golden brown for few minutes. Transfer it into a vessel, adding enough water. Soak for 2 hours; drain and grind it into a smooth paste.

3. Grind coconut, cumin seeds, garlic and shallots into a coarse paste, adding little water, if required.

Now, Combine urad dal paste, coconut mixture and rice flour-salt by adding 1/2 cup lukewarm water to make a viscous batter.

Grease a stainless steel plate with oil; pour the batter and spread it evenly. Now, make a small cross with coconut palm leaves blessed by the priest on Palm Sunday and place it on the centre.

Steam it in an Idli or Idiyappam steamer for 20-25 mins or till a skewer/toothpick inserted comes out clean on medium heat. The remaining appam can be prepared without the cross. Serve it with Pesaha Paalu.

For Pesaha Paal

Ingredients

1 cup thick coconut milk (first extract)

2 cup thin coconut milk (second extract)

3/4 cup jaggery (or as desired)

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/4 tsp dry ginger powder

2 tbsp rice flour (dissolved in little hot water)*

Method

Take a saucepan. Place the broken jaggery pieces along with water and melt it completely, strain and discard off any impurities. Cool slightly and bring it back to the stove-top.

Add the thin coconut milk (2nd extract) and allow it to come to a gentle boil, stirring continuously on low heat.

Now, add the rice flour paste* and thick coconut milk (1st extract). Continue to stir for 2 minutes or until it gets thickened.

Finally, add the spice powders and mix well. Can also place a small cross with coconut palm leaves in the centre. Switch off heat.

My observations/notes :

appam :

– while dry roasting urad dal, take care not to burn the dal

– the batter is slightly lumpy and not smooth

– the consistency of the batter should be slightly lesser than the idli batter

– can also bake it at 200º C/400º F in the oven

paal:

– the spice powders and the sweetness can be increased as per preference

– we do not get coconut palm leaves here hence replaced with bay laurel.

Recipe – KOZHUKKATTA (kerala style sweet dumplings)

Kozhukkatta is a very traditional cuisine of Kerala and is made on the eve of Palm Sunday or on Palm Sunday in many christian homes. They are steamed round dumplings made from rice flour with sweet fillings of grated coconut, jaggery and spices.

My mum prepares this classic dish only on Palm Sunday; she makes it using raw rice washed and soaked, drained and pounded, sieved into a fine powder using an iron mortar and pestle (we do have a good mixie grinder though!); I was always co-opted to help her. All the intensive labour was soon left behind when we would come together joyfully to devour it for breakfast. The taste of these humble soft melt-in-the-mouth dumplings was simply unique and divine! Today, am sharing my mum’s recipe which I grew up eating and the tradition I too follow with the exception of store-bought rice flour.

Here, roasted rice flour is formed into a dough by adding hot water, gently kneaded and shaped into small round balls. The sweet filling mixture is prepared by melting jaggery, strained to remove any impurities. Further, grated coconut and crushed cardamom is added. The mixture is stirred till all moisture is dried up. A tablespoon of this mixture is added to the rice balls and steamed till done. The key areas to look out are : knead flour when still warm and the water added to the rice flour should be boiling hot.

Delicious soft, melt-in-the-mouth kozhukkatta with sweet fillings of grated coconut, jaggery and cardamom enjoyed with family on a beautiful Palm Sunday morning or for any special occasion.

prep time : 30 mins, cooking time : 20 mins, serves : 6, cuisine : kerala, author : gloria

Ingredients

for rice flour dough :

250 gms/1 cup rice flour (dry roasted – refer notes)

1 1/4 cup water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ghee or oil

for sweet filling :

3 tbsp water

1/2 cup jaggery or more if desired

200 gms fresh coconut (grated)

3 nos cardamom (crushed)

Method

For the sweet filling

Take a saucepan. Add little water and jaggery; allow it to melt. Once completely melted, strain the jaggery syrup and bring it back to the stove-top. Now, add coconut and stir to combine untill the mixture is thickened and moisture all dried up. Finally, add cardamom and mix well. Switch off heat and allow it to cool. Reserve.

For the rice flour dough

Heat water on a stove-top. Into this, add ghee or oil, salt and bring it to boil. Switch off heat. Slowly and gradually, add water to the rice flour; stirring continuously with a spoon until it comes together. While still warm, knead to make a soft pliable smooth consistency dough.

Shaping Kozhukkatta

Divide into 6 large lemon sized balls. Grease your palm with oil. Place one ball on your left hand and press it gently to flatten. Using the thumb of your right hand and fingers, fold inwards to form a cup-shaped depression in the centre, rotating very slowly. Put a tablespoon (more or less) of the sweet filling mixture in the centre; gather all edges to seal tightly and smoothed into a round ball. Repeat process with the remaining dough balls.

Steaming Kozhukkatta

Take an Idli or Idiyappam steamer. Grease the steamer with a teaspoon of oil nicely. Place the kozhukkattas in the steamer and steam it for 10-12 mins on medium heat until it gets a translucent appearance; remove immediately and serve warm.

Enjoy these delicious dumplings with a cup of tea!!!

My observations/notes:

– dry roast fine rice flour on low heat for 4-5 mins and allow it to cool.

– do not add water at one go, otherwise lumps will be formed. the amount of water used also varies depending upon the quality of the flour.

– knead the dough immediately while it is still warm, if the dough becomes cold it will get tough.

– once the dough comes together, stop adding water. it is a non-sticky consistency dough. in case it  becomes very sticky, add little more flour.

– I used good quality plain white rice flour and do not use glutinous rice flour for this preparation. It will mess up the whole thing!