March 29, 2009

Savory French Breakfast Muffins

For march edition of 'this book makes me cook', the book selected was - 'Blackberry wine', a classic food-related book by Joanne Harris. Its the story of Jay Mackintosh, who has only one successful book in his credit and now, in his soul-searching journey, reaches a small town in France, where he buys a chateau and starts living there. Each and every character in this novel is so captivating that they actually haunt you even after you finished the book and the sheer brilliance of the author is - "She wrote the book from the point of view of a bottle of wine!". The 'Specials', as they are called talk, rustle and react to the circumstances around Jay. They take him back to Jay's childhood memories which revolves around an old mad named Joe, who grows all kinds of vegetables & fruits and makes wine of his own.

Would I read it again, you ask? I would say definitely because the style of Joanne's writing is so pleasing and enchanting.

..I made some 'Savory French Breakfast Muffins' - a savory twist to these classic French muffins. This is my first time to try out savory muffins and though they were very moist from inside, the top was a little flaky and hard. Any ideas about how to get around this problem?

Savory French Breakfast Muffins (Makes 12 muffins)


1.5 cups of All purpose flour
1.5 tsp Baking powder
1/8 tsp Salt
1 egg
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1/3 cup of Butter, melted
1/8 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp extra-virgin Olive oil
1/4 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Bell peppers (I used red and yellow)


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

2. Combine the dry ingredients - all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper and salt in a large bowl.

3. Whisk egg, buttermilk, oil and butter in a medium bowl. Fold in cheese and bell pepper. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly blend in the wet ingredients with a spatula.

4. Scoop the batter and fill until 2/3rds into the muffin pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Storing the muffins:

Wrap leftover muffins individually in plastic wrap, place in a plastic storage container or ziplock bag and freeze up. To thaw, remove plastic wrap, place it in a paper towel and microwave for 30 to 60 seconds.

Check out what other members of my book club made for this event:

Strawberry Preserve by Simran

Off these also go to BBD 18: Quick Breads, hosted by Mansi of 'Fun & Food Blog'.
[Update] - For the month of April, the book club has unanimously voted for a Jane Austen special. Choose any book of hers and cook something inspired by it.
Do you wanna join our book club? If so, just leave a comment on this post and I will get back to you. Chao :)

Have a fun week ahead.

signing off for now,

March 26, 2009

Happy Ugadi :)

Wishing you all a very a Happy and Prosperous Ugadi 2009!!


No Knead Pizza

Those were the days when I used to peer through the Sbarro counter to get a glimpse of how they make a pizza. I always loved their pizzas and Strombolis (minus the huge a amount of butter they use) and was always under the impression that making a 'pizza dough' is an art to learn, and moreover for a novice baker like me, it was something like - 'No way!, I can never make it'.

... But surely thats not true according to Jim Lahey, the founder of Sullivan Street Bakery ('No Knead Bread' fame). When I saw his article in Tasting Table (my favorite food newsletters of all), I was so excited to see how simple his recipe was. I tried it out and voila! I surprised me myself. The pizza crust was so delicious that I wanted to have more and more. :) Thanks Jim!

No Knead Pizza (Adapted from Jim Lahey's recipe)


1.5 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting (I used all-purpose flour)
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast (I used Fleischmann's RapidRise)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of (lukewarm) water


Pizza Sauce (store-bought)
Fat-free shredded Mozzarella cheese
Veggies - Onions, Tomatoes, Peppers


1. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the yeast and salt. Add the water and stir until blended (the dough will be very sticky). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 12 to 24 hours in a warm spot, about 70°. (I mixed the dough at night and let it rest till morning - for about 14 hours.)

2. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and lightly sprinkle the top with flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

3. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Generously sprinkle a clean cotton towel with flour and cover the dough balls with it.

4. Let the dough rise for 2 hours. (I skipped this step as I was too eager to see how it turns out. Nevertheless, the outcome was yummy , so no regrets! :) )

5. Stretch or toss the dough into the desired shape, spread the pizza sauce cover with toppings & cheese and bake on top of a very hot baking sheet (or pizza stone) until the base is slightly browned and the cheese is starting to sizzle. Serve warm! (I baked at 350 F for about 15 mins)

Have a lovely day ahead :)

signing off for now,

March 22, 2009

Recipes for Rest of Us: Dinner Roundup

These are the 'recipes for rest of us'. Yes, I am talking about the RFRU: Dinner edition, a brainchild of Ramki which was announced here at Siri's Corner some time in February. I received many fabulous entries and in my opinion, each one of them is a keepsake recipe.

Go on.. and satiate your appetite with all these yummy entries...:)

Name: Priyanka of 'Asankhana'
Recipe: Gobhi Pickle

Name: Indrani of 'Appyayan'

Recipe 1: Masala Gobi/Aloo phulkopir Dum ( Spicy Cauliflower)

Recipe 2: Dimer Jhol ( Bengali egg curry)

Recipe 3: Masala dal & Broccoli n Potato in black pepper sauce

Name: Seema of 'My Endeavours'
Recipe: Crispy Capsicum Cabbage

Name: Priya of 'Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes'
Recipe: Soy Flour Paratha

Name: Rekha of 'Plantain Leaf'
Recipe: Simple Khichdi (Krishna Prasadam)

Name: Pooja of 'Sai Kitchen'
Recipe: Chinese Fried Rice

Name: Cham of 'Spice Club'
Recipe: 'Puri and Masala'

Name: Trupti of 'Recipe Center'
Recipe: Rajma Curry

Name: Rama of 'Foodzest's Weblog'
Recipe: Rice Noodles

Name: Gayathri of 'Just Urs!'
Recipe: Veggie Noodles

Name: Dhivya of 'Culinary Bazaar'
Recipe: Cabbage Upkari

Name: Divya of 'Dil Se'
Recipe: Lemon Rasam

Name: Shoba of 'Anubhavati -Tastes from my kitchen'
Recipe: Quick Khichadi

Name: Madhumathi of 'Madhus Food Journal'
Recipe: Puli Sundal

Name: Saritha of 'My Kitchen's Aroma'
Recipe: Hyderabadi Bagara Rice

Name: Pavani of 'Cook's Hideout'
Recipe: Potato Quesadillas

Name: Rachana of 'The Gourmet Lauchpad'
Recipe: Vegetable Soup

Name: Sita Kiran of 'For Spicy Lovers'
Recipe: Bottle gourd curry and coconut chutney

Name: EC of 'Simple Indial Food'
Recipe: Coconut Sevai

Name: Kalva of 'Curry in Kadai'.
Recipe: Dosakaya Talimpu (Sauteed Lemon Cucumber with Onions)

Name: Ashaji of 'Foodie's Hope' and 'Aroma'
Recipe: Aloo Biryani with Cucumber Raita

Name: Siri of 'Siri's Corner'
Recipe: Simple Pulagam

Name: Naina ( a non-blogger)
Recipe: Babycorn Jalfrezi


5 Tbsp Oil
1/2 Tsp Jeera
1 1/4 Tsp Mixed seeds ( 1/2 tsp Sarson, 1/2 tsp Kalonji, 1/4 tsp Methi Daana)
15-20 Curry Leaves
2 Onions - cut into half rings
1/4 Tsp Haldi

Mix together:

3/4 cup tomato puree
2 tsp tomato ketchup
2tsp ginger--garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp amchoor powder
1 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp salt


200 gms Babycorn
1 Carrot - cut diagonally into slices
1/2 cup shelled Peas - boiled
1 Capsicum - deseed and cut intu thin fingers
1 long firm Tomato - cut into 4 and then cut into thin long pieces


1. Boil 4 cups water with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp sugar.Add carrots after the water boils.Boil for 2 min till crisp tender.Refresh in cold water.
2. Cut baby corns into half lengthwise.Stir fry them in 3 tbsp oil in a flat pan for 4-5 min till golden brown.Keep them spaced out while fryring.Remove from kadhai and keep aside.
3. Mix together - tomato puree, tomato ketchup, ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, dhania powder, amchoor, amd salt in a bowl. Keep aside.
4. Heat 2 tbsp Oil in a Kadhai.Add jeera and the mixed seeds.When jeeraa turns golden, reduce heat and add curry leaves and stir for a few seconds.
5. Add onions and cook till golden.Add haldi.Mix
6. Add Tomato Puree mixed with dry masalas and stir on medium heat for 2 minutes.
7. Add babycorns, carrot, peas, capsicums and tomatoes. Stir till well blended.

Jalfrezi Ready :-)

Have a great week ahead folks!


March 2, 2009

A Snowy Monday...

..these are couple of pics taken today.. it snowed whole night and its sooooooooo beautiful..:)


March 1, 2009

Cornmeal Cou Cou: a Caribbean delight

Her blog is full of life, delight and all of her recipes 'tastes like home'. I am a great of hers and bookmarked almost every dish. :) Now, she even published her own cookbook - 'My Caribbean Cookbook: Tastes Like Home'. How cool is that!

..and the theme of this month's 'Monthly Mingle', a brainchild of lovely Meeta is 'Caribbean Cooking'. I went through all of my bookmarks from Cynthia's blog and finally made 'Cornmeal Cou Cou'. Its the first time I had my hands on 'cornmeal' and with the help of step-by-step instructions from Cynthia, the dish turned out to be delicately delightful with very subtle taste of gooey okra. though it has no seasoning in it except salt, it tasted so good with the left over gravy from last night's malai kofta, prepared by my roommate. Everybody loved it and saved some for tomorrow lunch, to have it tasted by their colleagues. Its that good! :))

Cornmean Cou Cou (from Cynthia's blog)

"Barbados’ national dish is cornmeal cou cou and flying fish. Long ago, cou cou used to be a regular every-Saturday dish in many households just as pudding and souse is, but these days, because of the time it takes to prepare, a lot of people have stopped making it regularly. If we’re not careful, the technique of making good cou cou will fade away as we all get busier, eating out becomes the norm, and those with the knowledge of making cou cou leave this world without being able to pass on this traditional dish."

Thanks Cynthia for all your contribution is passing over such authentic, traditional recipes to all of us. :)

Click here for the detailed recipe instructions.

Note: Did you know, '
Coucou', in French means 'Hello' or 'Hi' :)

signing off for now,

A Week without Shopping: Done!

Phew! I did it. my week-long resolution to NOT to shop for groceries (until I am done with the ones in my freezer & pantry) worked. :) To be very honest, I was not sure, me myself if I was gonna make it as I am so addicted to getting new stuff every Saturday or Sunday. I am off for my weekend grocery shopping today and my list this week has some interesting items which I have never tried before.

I always played safe with herbs (use cilantro or mint) and never tried out other stuff abundantly available here in local markets. On my list, I have Sage, which I am dying to try out.

..and Risotto - I had this on my mind for quite some time and every time I see a new dish with Risotto on Food Network, I want to try it out.

Rest all are the same old stuff - onions, tomatoes etc etc.

Today is the last day for Recipes for Rest of Us:Dinner. Please send in your entries before midnight today.

Have a great week ahead.


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