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Monday, July 28, 2008

This book makes me cook: Three men in a boat

I did it! right at the nick of the moment I managed to complete this month's pick - 'Three men in a boat' by Jerome K Jerome.


It was an absolute pleasure to read this classic English comic book where the author J with two of his friends - Harris and George and a dog 'Montmorency' set out for a week long vacation on a boat along river Thames from London to Oxford.

Its the absolute brilliance of the author to put life to every scene that amazed me the most.

"He came and sat down on things, just when they were wanted to be packed; and he laboured under the fixed belief that, whenever Harris or George reached out their hand for anything, it was his cold, damp nose that they wanted. He put his leg into the jam, and he worried the teaspoons, and he pretended that the lemons were rats, and got into the hamper and killed three of them before Harris could land him with the frying-pan."

...wondering who is the 'HE' here.. its none other than our cute dog - 'Montmorency'!!!!

thats the eloquent diction and dry wit of Jerome which puts him apart and makes his book a classic one. I felt as if all the characters are for real and could relate with their commonality of frustration. For instance, the dubious 'weather forecasts', for atleast in my case are always predicted wrong. Here I am, all set to enjoy a sunny day ahead and by the end of the day am all soaked in rain. :( and it happened to me many times..! ..

..and the way the three men try to whip up their breakfasts, the anecdotes happening in the process are so hilarious; ..:) I actually sympathized with them and made a traditional English breakfast entrees for them - Fried Eggs with Baked beans.

this is how a traditional English breakfast looks like.

For Fried Eggs:

Melt some butter on a pan and crack two eggs on it. let it cook on medium-low heat for couple of mins, until the yolk is cooked. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. Serve.

For Baked Beans:

Wash and rinse 1 can of light red kidney beans. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add some finely chopped onions with crushed cloves.

Add the beans and 2 cups of vegetable stock. Let it simmer on medium heat for about 15-20 mins. Now, mix in 1 tbsp of dry mustard powder and some brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven for 300F and bake the beans for about 1 hr. Serve hot with a crusty bread.

P.S: I haven't got my camera (to my new place), so no pictures for this post folks.

For the month of August, we picked out Meera Syal's award winning book - 'Anita and Me'. If interested, read along with us and lets whip up something together..:)

Also check out what others have to say about this book:

Bhags - Rhubarb Tart
Simran - Scrambled Eggs
Rachel - Spiced Apple Tart
Dee - Spicy Orange and Fig Jam

Bhagyashri of 'Taste Buds' has passed on a 'Friendship Award' to me..:) Thanks dearie, it indeed means a lot to me!

Enjoi and Have a great week ahead.

Chao,
Siri

Friday, July 25, 2008

Okra cooked in Australian Manner

When Rachna chose 'Edible Flowers' as her theme for this month's Jihva, (originally initiated by Indira of Mahanandi ) I was both skeptical and unsure about what and how to cook with them. I must say, was quite surprised to see quite a number of my favorite veggies, who bear flowers too are in her 'Edible flowers' list.

PEAS? RADISH? OKRA?

[EDIT]: No No, Okra is NOT an edible flower, its a veggie. The fact is the Okra plant also bears flowers, which are Edible. So, this is not a valid entry for JFI, as I was supposed to cook with 'Okra Flower'...:) Thanks Rachna for correcting me.

I chose to whip up with my favorite vegetable - OKRA! not the usual deep fry or stew.. I was searching for something different - flavors which I have never experimented with!

One lazy evening, I was just browsing through the Bible of Vegetarian cooking (atleast for me, it is a BIBLE!...and absolutely love the list.) - Madhur Jaffrey's 'World Vegetarian' and quickly looked through the vegetable section....for some ideas!

'Okra cooked in an Australian manner' - that sounds interesting and it immediately caught my eye and was quite impressed and happy with its motley of flavors !





Psst..Psst.. I tweaked the recipe a bit - to suit my taste buds and going with the little time I had on hand..:)

Ingredients:

1 packet of Frozen Okra. (I am lazy! so went for the frozen one. You could use fresh ones too.)
Salt to taste
1/8 cup Soya Sauce (You could reduce or increase the amount as per ur taste)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 whole Red Chillies
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Preparation:

To reduce the gooey substance from the frozen Okra, I baked them at 300 deg for about 10 mins.

Heat oil in a wok, add in cumin seeds and red chillies. Then add cut Okra and cook for about 7-8 minutes.

Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Mix in the soya sauce at the end and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Make sure the okra is cooked before you add the soya sauce.

Serve warm with hot rice.

I am a basically a 'rice-person' (rather than a 'roti-person').

You could serve this curry with roti too!

Enjoi.

signing off for now,
Siri

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Celebration with Mango Lassi

"I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do"

~ Hellen Keller

All of a sudden, something happened last week and I had no time to share the good news with you all. It was something I was waiting for months to happens. After couple of self-inspiring posts like these, finally it happened. I GOT A JOB!. I was totally dumbfounded when I got the confirmation call from them. Its something, I have been longing for and Yes, it was right in front of me. I must consider myself lucky that managed to get one in this aggravating job market.

So, friends yours truly has moved to the Capital of United States last week. The people over the work place are very sweet and the best part, acc to me is - I can see the very famous 'Washington Monument' right from my cabin window! How cool is that!..hehehe.
I am still in the process of finding myself a permanent accommodation in the nearby VA area, am sure will get one soon.


I don't have my 'own place' (aka kitchen) to cook, but I had Indira's 'Mango Lassi' made in my drafts, so lets celebrate the occasion with that, Shall we!

Recipe: here



Off this simple, yet yummy drink goes to lovely Nupur's MBP:Less is More (initiated by Coffee) and gorgeous Meeta's MM:Mango Mania!

Enjoi folks and cya soon with ummmmm.. some cookies or brownies!

[EDIT]: Do you wanna install the new 'comment form' feature in your blogger?. then Click here. Thanks Nags for the tip.

Hugs,
Siri

Friday, July 4, 2008

'Frozen Yogurt': Roundup!

Phew! finally I am done with the roundup of my 'Frozen Yogurt' event! Thank you guys for whipping up such cool, delectable 'Yogurt' dishes! Its surely a treat to all of us...:)
Sorry guys, I have been very busy from past few days, so my creative juices have stopped flowing..*wink*.. No poems this time..!!

Enjoi..:D


1. Angela's 'Strawberry-balsamic frozen Yogurt'
2. Arundathi's 'Yogurt Cake with Berries'
3. Aparna's 'Spicy Whole Masoor Dal'
4, 5. Lathamma's 'Mor Kali' & 'Bhoondi Pachadi'
6. Vidya's 'Mor Kali'


7. Ashaji's 'Dahi Moong'
8. Bhagyashri's 'Boondi Raita'
9. Cham's 'Wheat Idlis'
10, 12. Priyanka's 'Strawberry Smoothie & Mango Maharajah'
11. Deepthi's 'Spinach in yogurt-coconut-chilli gravy'



13. Dhivya's 'Strawberry Yogurt Popsicle'
14. Divya's 'Watermelon Yogurt Icecream'
15. Easy Craft's 'Kadhi Kashmiri'
16. Raaga's 'Mor Kozhambu'
17. Raaga's 'Tomato Pachadi'
18. Raaga's 'Palak Kadhi'


19. Fitri's 'Summber Berry Frozen Yogurt'
20. Hetal's 'Fat-free Frozen Mango Yogurt'
21. Hima's 'Coconut - Yogurt Chutney'
22. Ramya Bala's 'Cherry Frozen Yogurt'
23. Ramya Bala's 'Mor Kolambu'
24. Ramya Bala's 'Murukku'



25. Ivy's 'Mastic Gum Yogurt Dessert'
26. Rekha's 'Banana Orange Yogurt Smoothie'
27. Rekha's 'Apricot Smoothie'
28. Rekha's 'Mango Pudding'
29. Sita's 'Curd Rice'
30. Sita's 'Fruit Lassi'



31, 32. Jayashree's 'Kadhi with Pakode' and 'Mango Lassi'
33. Kalva's 'Healthy Sour and Spicy Buttermilk and Rice Flour Soup / Majjiga Pindi'
34. Kamala's 'Rava Idli'
35. Kevin's 'Strawberry Frozen Yogurt'
36. Kalva's 'Kasuri Metho Aloo Parathas'



37. Lisa's 'Frozen Mango Lime Lassi'
38. Maheshwari's 'Yogurt Biryani'
39. Medhaa;s 'Dahi ji Curry'
40. Meera's 'Yellow Kadhi'
41. Nupur's 'Cool Spinach Raita'
42. Priya's 'Yogurt Cheese of Lebanon'



43. Radhika's 'Thayir Pachadi'
44. Rina's 'Dahi Vada'
45. Shri's 'Yogurt Spinach'
46. Shruthi's 'Bellpepper Raita'
47. Shubha's 'Khiar be Laban (Lebaneese Cucumber and mint yoghurt)'
48. Sia's 'Dahi Batata Puri'



49. Sig's 'Kaalan'
50. Sireesha's 'Mango Lassi'
51. Sowmya's 'Strawberry Yogurt Icecream'
52. Sra's 'Yogurt Gravy with Amarnath leaves'
53. Suma's 'Fruity Yogurt'
54. Suma's 'Maida Pakodas'


55. Renuka's 'Curd Mini Idlis'
56. Swati's 'Cucumber Cooler'
57. Sweatha's 'Carrot Raita'
58. Trupthi's 'Dahi Vada'
59. Uma's 'Baboosa'
60. Valli's 'Mango Lassi'


61. Ramki's '1001 Raitas'
62. Vandana's 'Eggless MW Chocolate Cake'
63. Archy's 'Eggless Banana Yogurt Cake'





Ranjani's 'Ultimate Thaiyar Sadam'












Bharti's 'Cheerio Chaat'












Bhags's 'Blueberry Yogurt'










67. Jan's 'Avial'
68. Jyothsna's 'Dahi Bhalle'
69. Jz's 'Fragrant Yogurt Soup'
70,71,72. SriLekha's 'Curd Rice', 'Moru/Buttermilk', 'Mor Kolambu'

..and lets wrap up this cool, yogurty roundup with Madhu's 'Blueberry Yogurt Smoothie'


I have tried my level best to include all the entries, I have received. For any queries or questions, please leave a comment or send me an email!.

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A hearty thanks to Uma for her 'Giant Bear Hug', Priyanka , Hetal, for her 'InspirationAward', Ramya for 'Blogging with Purpose' award and Rekha for 'Award of Friendship'!! thats so sweet of you gurls..:)

Lastly, I am planning to take a short break from now on due to some shift at my professional front. will be back again!! until then, take care and cya folks!

Miss you all for sure..:)

Cheers,
Siri

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Baking Ballyhoo # 2: Sandwich Bread

I must say...'Baking is highly addictive!' - thats what I realized after baking my first bread...:)

For the second episode of 'My Baking Ballyhoo', I wanted to make our classic sandwich bread and Oh boy! I am so glad I did decide upon that! I followed the Lesson 2 at 'The Fresh Loaf', but with some simple variations, as listed below!

Here is the first look...



Adapted from 'Lesson 2: Putting Something More in Your Loaf'

Ingredients:

2 cups of All purpose flour (One can use a cup of bread flour, if desired.)
1 tsp Rapid rise Yeast
3/4 tsp Salt
1/8 cup Sugar
1-2 tbsp Butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup warm milk (Make sure its NOT hot enough to kill the yeast! 100 to 105 F is fine.)
Lukewarm Water if needed

Preparation:

For a detailed version of making a bread: Click here.
Mix the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients. Mix and adjust water until all ingredients are incorporated and the dough is capable of forming a ball.
Pour the dough onto a flat, floured surface and knead for approximately ten minutes.
Return the dough to an oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes. Shape the loaf and then let rise again until the desired size is reached, approximately 45 minutes
Bake at 350 F for 40 to 45 minutes, until when tapping the bottom of loaf the bread springs back and makes a hollow sound.
Another look...


Verdict:

Addition of sugar and milk gave nice sweetness and softness to the bread and is much better in taste than my first attempt. To store the bread, place in a plastic bag!

...and I can surely say - If I can do it, so can you!!! Lets get baking then..:)

Have a great day ahead.

Cheers,
Siri

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Capsicum Barada (Bell Pepper Curry)

The name 'Barada' is native to a place called 'Karimnagar' in Andhra Pradesh, India and its a curry cooked with any vegetable with chickpea flour. One of my favorite veggies is 'Green Bell Peppers' and 'Capsicum Barada' is my mom's specialty...:) It tastes yum when served hot with rice and a dollop of ghee. Enjoi..!



Ingredients:

2 Green Bell Peppers/, chopped
2 tbsp Besan (Chickpea Lentil Flour)
1 tsp Urad dal, Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds
2-3 whole Red Chillies
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
pinch of Asafoetida

Preparation:

Heat oil in a pan, add urad, mustard, cumin seeds, whole red chillies and a pinch of asafoetida. Let the seeds splutter.

Add chopped bell peppers and mix until they get lightly coated with the tempering.

Sprinkle the besan flour over the veggies, Mix well and cook for 8-9 minutes, covered on medium-low flame, until cooked.

Season with salt, turmeric and red chilli powder. Stir well and cook for couple of minutes. Serve!

*---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*



A hearty thanks to 'Mrs. SriLekha', 'Vegetable Platter' and 'Andhra Flavors' for passing me 'Blogging with a purpose' award..:). thats so sweet of you folks!

..and I pass this to my best friend and all of my dear readers who patiently check out every post of mine and take time to leave their valued comments!!!


Signing off for now,
Siri

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cabbage Cutlets and Voting for OS 2!

Its time for me to reveal the recipe for 'Guess Who am I' post...:) here it is...

Sometimes, 'things that ought to be!' are not actually 'things that turn out to be!'. and this recipe is one such perfect example. On a lazy sunday evening, I was all set to make some yummy 'Cabage Kofta Curry'. Unfortunately, that didn't happen as I chopped the cabbage a bit coarsely and I couldn't form a perfect ball out of it for deep frying.:(..So, I made these cutlets instead and Oh boy! I was not at all disappointed. I loved the crunchiness of cabbage with a perfectly cooked layer of egg.. Yumm!!!


Ingredients:
1/2 Cabbage, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
3-4 tbsp Chickpea flour
Salt to taste
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
2-3 eggs, well beaten

Preparation:

1. In a bowl, mix all the above mentioned ingredients, except eggs. Keep aside for 5-10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat a pan, drizzle some oil. Make a patty-shaped cabbage mixture and dip it in the beaten egg. Shallow fry it, both sides on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes each.

3. Serve hot with ketchup. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now for some exciting news about Open Sesame 2:

Anjali Damerla, a fellow entrepreneur of spice extracts (www.Suprespice.com) has agreed to sponsor two prizes* for the winners of OS 2.

In Anjali's words, about these goodies:

"All my products are pure, concentrated Spice Extracts. They contain no preservatives or chemicals and have long shelf life. My Spice extracts contain the volatile oil of the parent spice and a permitted emulsifier to keep it free flowing. That's it. No other ingredient. You might ask - why use extracts instead of whole spice. Whole spices lose flavor and fragrance and do not have long shelf life. Extracts are free of any contamination, do not lose flavor, fragrance and lets you customize the spice according to individual taste."

.... and her spice extracts are definitely an answer for our everyday needs.

She further says: "For example, say you feel like having masala tea but your husband wants ginger and your mother-in-law wants plain tea. You then just make one pot of tea and just add 1 drop of tea masala extract in your cup & ginger extract to your husband. Another advantage of my products is that all extracts are concentrated and 1 bottle contain abt 150 - 160 drops and that makes them very economical. For example- 1 drop of cardamom extract = 1 pod of cardamom. So my extract bottle is equivalent to 150 -160 pods of cardamom ( no peeling, no grinding and full of flavor)".

Wowy! thats sounds so cool!.. Isn't it!!


So, what are you waiting for? Check out the entries of OS 2 and vote for your favorite!

All the best to participants of OS 2 and May the best one win!!

*shipping of spice extracts is restricted to US continent. winners from other parts of the world will receive a surprise gift from us!

Last but not the least, I have taken up this month's NaBloPoMo challenge!
Oh ya, that means you can see my post in your Google Reader, every single day of July . I am all set with some yummy recipes in my drafts.
Are you all set for the ride with me!!!

Cheers,
Siri
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