Friday, 12 December 2014

Pumpkin Bisque

Creamy pumpkin bisque served with zatar rolls

Originating from France, Bisque is a traditionally creamy smooth soup with a base cooked with shellfish stock. However, this vegetarian version of Bisque is equally tasteful, satisfying and nutrition packed. The base of pumpkin, giving it the velvety, rich and creamy signature texture of Bisque, slightly sweet and tangy hint of apples gives it a unique blend of delicate flavor that is refreshing. Sea vegetable adds on a whopping amount of vital vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, zinc, manganese, folate, vitamins A & K, and iodine.

Low on calories and high on nutrition, this Bisque is a great choice for a starter or a perfect lunch paired with freshly baked rolls.

Great choice for Appetizers, Lunch, Dinner!!


-700gms Pumpkins cubed
-1 medium Onion chopped
-2  cooking apples
-1 tbsp dried sea vegetable Arame(optional)
-2 tbsp cold pressed vegetable oil or olive oil
-2 tsp Lemon juice
-1 tsp Curry powder
-½ tsp Peppers
-6 cups/ 1.5 litres Vegetable Stock
Salt to taste
Cooking Instructions:

1-    Peel and cube the pumpkin, and one apple
2-    Chop onions
3-    In a 3 quart stock pot saute onion in olive oil for 5 minutes, add curry powder cook for another 2-3 minutes
4-    Now add the cubed pumpkin and apple and vegetable stock
5-    Let cook for 20 minutes or until the vegetable are all mushy
6-    While the vegetable are cooking, wash Arame and soak in little water for 5 minutes, and all in the vegetable during the last 5 minutes of cooking 
7-    Using a hand held smoothie blender or vitamix puree the vegetable
8-    You will get a thick creamy textured puree, can add little water to adjust consistency. This will be a thick textured soup without use of any thickener
9-    Add salt pepper, and 1/2 tsp lemon juice
10- Grate or julienne the second apple and toss in 1-1/2tsp lemon juice
11- Ladle soup in bowls hot or cold and garnish with a generous amount of grated apple
12- Serve as part of multicourse course dinner, for lunch serve with salad or roll. Here I have served  it with wholewheat zatar rolls

Silky smooth pumpkin soup serve hot garnished with shredded apples




Saturday, 29 November 2014

Lean Green Herb and Kale Omelet


It is extremely hot here in tropics, and I was walking amidst my container garden checking on my plants and thinking of some delicious ideas for Sunday brunch.

Despite the 35Celcius many my Kale plants are still standing proud and green in summer time, so were some of the herbs, though a little unhappy under the scorching sun. So picking some of these nutritionally dense greens, I planned on cooking a Kale and Herb Omelet. 
Kale is the super vegetable, and I love create recipes to incorporate it in my daily meals.  Besides being rich in Calcium and Iron, it is a super antioxidant that protects our bodies against certain types of cancer. One cup of Kale has 180 percent of the recommended daily does of Vitamin A, 200 percent of Vitamin C, and 1,020 percent of Vitamin K. Kale's unusual amount of vitamin K in particular helps the body with such vital functions as blood coagulation and bone health.


Herbs pair up so well with Kale for enhancing its taste and upping the nutritional benefits of the dish. I used fresh Basil, Cuban oregano, Dill and Chives giving the omelet a strong flavor and aroma that wakes up the senses giving a feel of health and well being as we bite through it.  

  This omelet taste best if fresh herbs are used, though can be cooked using dried herbs but taste wont is same. Depending on your taste and preference you can omit and adjust amount of some herbs. The main idea is to use some strong flavored nutritionally rich herbs.



3 medium sized Eggs
75 gms chopped Kale (Red Russian or Lacitano)
1 tsp finely chopped garlic chives
½ tsp finely chopped Cuban oregano
1 tsp finely chopped basil
1 tsp chopped dill
1 cayenne or chili pepper or ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

Cooking Instructions

1-    Whisk the eggs in a bowl adding salt and pepper 
2- In a medium sized non stick frying pan drizzle or spray olive oil
3-    Sauté kale until wilted 4-5 min
4-    Add the chopped herb and sauté for another 2 minutes
5-    Now pour the whisked eggs evenly over the sautéed vegetable
6-    Let it cook medium or low fire until it is completely set and is all white and look cooked, lower the flame
7-    Using a flat slotted turner carefully turn over the omelet in a half moon and cook for another 1-2 min. Keep checking so does not burn or overcooks


Serve with hot rolls, buns and a blob of greek yogurt/lebanah

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Pleated Bread Loaf

Slice of Kale and cottage cheese filled pleated bread

Bread making is both science and art;

Science in the sense that it involves a lot of chemistry 
including fermentation, temperature control and 
enzymetic activity. Art because crafting and baking 
artisanal handmade breads ensure quality, 
taste and satisfaction.

Here goes an artistic and extraordinary verstile recipe and instructions of a very popular bread loaf.  I regularly bake for home consumption as well as bake for friends and family. 

I bake these using either prefermented dough that requires a portion of the bread to be fermented for 16-20 hours. The method I am sharing here is straight dough that requires hardly 3-4 hours for you to fill your house with that aroma of freshly baked breads, and present  a professional looking and tasting braided loaf filled with all kind of amazing filling. 

Dried Fruits and Nuts Filled Pleated Bread

Ingredients for the Dough

250gms, plain white flour
250gms with wholewheat 
2 tsp bread improver (optional)

1 tbsp, instant dry yeast

2 oz/65ml, lukewarm water

2 of/65ml lukewarm milk

2 oz/55gm, castor sugar
½ tsp salt

1 egg for dough and 1 for glazing

2oz/55g, unsalted butter at room temperature


2 tsp kelonji/Nigella seeds for topping  savoury filled breads

2 tsp sesame seeds or poppy seeds for topping sweet filled breads 

Instructions for making dough

1-    Add all dry ingredients and sift together

2-    Mix beaten egg and butter

3-    Add water and milk

4-    Mix all ingredient with hand to a loose shaggy mass

5-    Leave it for 20-30 minutes for yeast action

6-    Now knead the for 6-8 minutes to a supple and elastic dough

7-    Leave it to prove in a warm place for  1 and ½ hours until double in size

8-    Punch down the dough for degassing and knead lightly

9-    Roll out on a floured surface into a 15x10 rectangle
10- Now transfer on a baking sheet

11- Spread one of the following filling

12- With a pizza wheel or a knife  cut 10-12 strips at angle or either side of the filling cutting just upto the filling

13- Now make bread folding the ends neatly on each other in criss cross manner until all stripes are folded

14- Cover with a plastic and leave to prove for 40-60 minutes or until double in size

15- Brush the top with a beaten egg and Nigella/kalongi if the bread is savoury or sesame/poppy seeds if it is sweet

16- Bake in a pre heated oven at 375F/200C gas mark
Bake for 20-25minutes at 200C

Brush the loaf with egg wash and top with nigella/kelonji


Savoury Filling-1 Vegetable

450 gms baby spinach roughly chopped

1 large bell pepper/shimla mirch chopped

100gms spring onion chopped

¼ cup garlic chives

¼ cup fresh green coriander chopped

2-3 green chillies chopped finely

6-8 cloves garlic chopped

1tbsp olive oil

100gms cubed cottage cheese

red chillie flakes 1tsp

1stp salt

Saute vegetablelightly dont overcook

Cooking Instructions

-slightly heat the oil and sauté garlic

-when fragrant add all other vegetable and spice excluding coriander and chives

-saute the vegetable just for few minutes until wilted turn off the stove and leave it there uncovered

- add the chives coriander and cottage cheese while filling the dough

Savoury Filling -2 Chicken Mince

250gms minced chicken

100gms spring onion chopped

¼ cup Garlic chives

¼ cup fresh green coriander chopped

2-3 green chillies chopped finely

6-8 cloves garlic chopped

1 tsp ginger paste

½ tsp garam masala

½ tsp roast cumin powder

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Cooking Instructions

  • Sauté ginger and garlic in the heated oil
  • when fragrant add mince, salt and the spices chillies and cumin. 
  •  Fry for 5 minutes on medium fire
  •  Now add a cup of water and leave covered for cooking
  •  When the water dries add garam masala and the fresh spring onions, herbs chives and coriander
  • Saute lightly for 2-3 minutes and turn off the fire and leave covered

Chicken and herbs  filled pleated bread


Filling-3 Sweet nuts and fruits

250gms dried apricot

50gms currant

50gms currants

100gms chopped almonds

50gms chopped walnuts

50gms candied orange peel

¼ tsp grated nutmeg (jaifal)

2 tsp lemon zest (about 1 big lemon)

1cup any herbal or light brewed tea (use 1 tea bag and make tea without milk sugar)

2 tsp castor sugar

1 1/2oz/45gms melted unsalted butter

Cooking Instructions

-soak the dried apricots in warm tea

-leave for 20 minutes

-drain and chop

-add in it all the nuts and fruits

-now add sugar lemon zest and butter

-Mix with a wooden spoon in a thick mass

-Your filling is ready to fill in the dough now 
Pleated Bread Loaf filled with spinach and kale
Pleated bread loaf filled with chicken and herbs

Pleated Bread loaf with sweet filling

Note: Please feel free to ask me questions related to this bread here.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Bran Muffins

Jam filled bran muffins

Bran Muffins Bake them at home to provide a fibre rich breakfast and on the go snacks choice for family

Baked products are notorious for being laden with sugar and fats, despite that we crave them and indulge eating them often. Plus children love them, however these treats when baked at home gives us an option to control the ingredients and portion sizes.

Wheat bran is an excellent source of dietary fiber aids in preventing:

 colon diseases (including cancer), stomach cancer, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, hemorrhoids and hiatal hernia. It is also used for treating constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

These bran muffins are delicious! Very moist with a hint of sweetness, and the molasses give the muffins a great rich flavor.

Some of these are filled with jams, and fruit preserves, some with fresh chopped cherries, peaches and I left some plain. Filled Bran Muffins, contains a whopping amount of bran with some white flour.
Here goes a two very well tested and a healthier recipe options for baking and enjoying breakfast muffins. 

Bake it at home to provide a fibre rich breakfast and on the go snacks choice for family

1- Filled Bran Muffins:

 makes 12-14 regular size muffins of 24-30 small muffins

1 1/4 cups/55gms wheat bran (can go as much as 100gms)

1 cup/150gms white flour (maida/regular flour)

1/225ml cup buttermilk (add equal amount of yogurt and milk stir to mix them and leave for 10 min)

1/2 cup/157gms/117ml vegetable oil

3/4 cup/100gms brown sugar 

1 egg 

1 tablespoon molasses 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 

fillings of your choice ½ tsp per muffin


1- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin tin, or line with paper muffin liners. 
2-In a small bowl, mix together the wheat bran and buttermilk. Set aside to soak until thickened, about 10 minutes.
3- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend together the brown sugar, vegetable oil, egg and molasses. 
4- Stir in the bran mixture. 
 5- Soft together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; 
6- Add in the batter until just moistened dont try to make a smooth paste. 
7-  Spoon batter into muffin cups, by fill it half and then placing the filling genrally no more then1/2 tsp and then top with rest of the batter the tins should be 3/4 filled. 
8-  Leave one of the tins empty and half fill it with water for even baking.
9- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or a tooth pick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

-        A mashed banana added to the bran/buttermilk mixture
-        add  any fruit jam or preserve to each muffin tin in between scoops of batter in each muffin tin or a fresh chopped apple for the raisins
-        add chopped fresh cherries or peaches between scoops
-        Increasing the amount of fibre wont effect the muffins, I went as high as 150gms.


Raisin Bran Muffins 


45gms plain flour (maida or chappati flour)
55 gms wholewheat flour
50gms  wheatbran
100gms brown sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt
250ml Buttermilk
Juice of 1/2 medium sized lemon 
55gms Oil (canola, sunflower or any vegetable oil, or unsalted softened butter)
 1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions: Makes 
Makes 12 large muffins

- Preheat oven to 400F/200C and greese or line a muffin tray
-Sift all dry ingredients together
-Now add the bran and  raisins 
- cream the buttermilk, lemon juice, egg  and oil in a mixing bowl
-slowly stir in the dry mixture in the batter only untill everything is just mixed.
-Pour in prepared muffins tins/tray, leaving one cup half filled with water
-Bake 20-25 minutes on 400F/200C test  inserting a toothpick which comes out clean if completely cooked


Good baking is all about accurate measures and the freshest of ingredients. 
Check out weight coversions .
I prefer using a digital weighing scale for accuracy and