Truth Personified

My experiments with my love for food
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My Mother is a strong supporter of fresh food - fresh ingredients, freshly made and consumed asap. At home although we cook for unexpected guests it is rare that we have left overs because she makes lip smackingly tasty food. Breakfasts are made and served hot, lunches packed and dinner made an hour before everyone is ready to eat. While all of this sounds like a dream, it isn’t always practical to expect. Which is why it helps to make a few ingredients ahead of time.

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Travel makes me happy. Returning to the nest makes me happy as well. I need to find a fine balance between the two or else I get home sick. Home is a continually changing destination these days. It’s more about where my favourite peepal are. 

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I think I’ve mentioned earlier how Oats flour plays a significant role in our home. After having been introduced to it more than a year ago by my Mom, we’ve been using up boxes of Quaker Oats like nobody’s business. Warming up a glass of Lactaid and adding two tablespoons of the Oats flour and some honey and fruits makes for a pretty quick and delectable breakfast. If time permits, Oats dosa is an all time favourite and can be whipped up in no time.

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Indian weddings are known for its flamboyance - the colors, jewellery, dance, music and the richness of it all. Additionally another important aspect to Indian weddings is the food. A wedding down south is judged by the number of desserts it serves it’s guests. The food is spoken about months and in some rare cases years later even after the bride and bridegroom are long forgotten.

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I was inspired to make this dessert thanks to a going away gift i got from a coworker ~ a huge jar of mandeline almond paste. I looked up recipes of cookies, cakes and then wondered if I could use it in traditional Indian gravies and finally decided on making a different version of the famed Kaju Katli » behold the infamous Badam/Almond Katli!

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As a south Indian I grew up eating these for snacks - Achappams - crispy, light, slightly sweet and fun! It wasn’t until recently that I found out that they were called Rosettes out here. 

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I stopped juicing two weeks back. I am not too happy about it but change happens and one must roll with it. So heres a quick list of all the blends we have had recently. 

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Yes, this one isnt juice. One day I was feeling super hungry after a glass of juice so I treated myself to some oats, milk and honey.

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The persimmon season has taken everything by storm especially the juicing group. I enjoy the times the persimmons are tender and juicy. We have been adding chia seeds on a regular basis as well.

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This color is a dead giveaway that we have beets! Yay! the texture, taste and everything I’ve said before about beets. DO i need to repeat myself? Coz I will, you know.

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This texture I am not too fond of. If you actually bit into the juice(you can do that) you could taste the leaves. As a matter of fact , i dislike biting into the juice simply because I am afraid I might bite into one of those treacherous(but good for you) greens.

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You can be sure that this texture is thanks to avocados and bananas. Smooth, slick, green and yet really sweet!

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This blend was a little spicy and tangy.

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Not to repeat myself but this color is only because of the beautiful beets. We also turned to adding flax seeds quite regularly.

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This blend was super smooth and quite filling. I think it was the heavy greens we used in this blend.

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Not my favorite blend. The juice was more watery and also not as smooth as I usually like it.

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The beets again! Great taste and filling. We had dragon fruit in this!

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This one had a big arse beet in it, persimmon, sweet potato leaves, cranberries, apples, spinach, kale, avocado, bananas, oranges, lemon, lime, kiwi, carrots, broccoli amongst a lot of other veggies…

Personally I enjoyed every bit of this juicing journey the past 4 months. I got to eat a multitude of healthy veggies and fruits and would love to try this again in a heartbeat.

Here’s wishing you all very happy holidays!

I never realized how much I would grow to love these weird tomato-ish looking fruit in such a short time. Mostly it was used for juicing with the juicing buddies and the fruit came straight from their family gardens. Recently a neighbor dropped by and game me some because, she said, her brother in law gave her so many, she didn’t know what to do with them all. I decided I’d make Persimmon Jam and then use that in a puff pastry! How ingenious is that! 

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Also I have been waiting a week for these beauties to ripen a bit more. Would it be weird if I offered some of the jam to the kind lady that gave me the fruit in the first place?

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I have been trying out puff pastry bite size dessert ideas for sometime now. Apricot preserve, Pumpkin butter, pineapple jam, strawberry preserve, orange marmalade, chocolate sauce, cheese, spinach - you name it. In India I used to love the egg puff although not as much the mess it made while eating though. And i think that is one of my main reasons to make them bite size - no mess. These can be devoured by the dozen, can be made healthy(using whole wheat puff pastry) and are fast and easy to make as well.

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I obviously had to pinterest all the little bite size treats i could. And I almost got lost deciding what I wanted to make. Finally i decided on giving these a try with what I had on hand before I went and splurged on fillings.

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Pretty simple, right? These are as simple and straightforward as they look. The prep time is about 15 minutes and the cook time - about 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold, they are definitely a treat to the eye and the tastebuds.

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Preheat oven to 375 F. Get puff pastry at the grocery store and thaw for about 10 minutes. Cut into desired shape and bake for 25-30 minutes. If you like to add egg wash to the top of the puff pastry, thats a good touch as well.

Once done, use a fork or your hand to make a small depression in the middle and add any pre-made topping you like!

Each of us deal with grief and loss in a different way. It might come as no surprise that I turn to food which is not necessarily a good thing. I decided though not to focus on the loss and instead write something about the person.

The one thing we had in common was that we loved food. I loved cooking(& eating) and he enjoyed eating. I come from a family that used to love non vegetarian food - a lot! It came as a big surprise to them when I stopped. For quite a few years after I stopped eating meat, I continued to cook it during family get togethers because people enjoyed it. 

I remember making chicken fry and having it wiped clean by the lot. I remember making baked fish and my uncle insisting on checking if it was cooked every few minutes - by tasting it. 

I have not cooked meat in a long while and have not eaten it either and so I decided to make a dish that we all loved eating and making regardless of the occasion. Chole, chickpeas in a tomato based gravy, eaten with rotis, puri or any form of flat bread or not, but always enjoyed by everyone.

I made a small modification and added a lot more fresh coriander than i usually would. The fresh greens added a flavor and color that was definitely a feast to the eyes and refreshing to the taste buds. This is not your typical chole and you will not find it at your local restaurant so if you’d like, give it a try. This recipe requires no finesse or knife skills but does require patience(waiting for the onion to almost caramelize for example) and ALL of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

Garbanzo beans - 2 cups soaked overnight, cooked and drained (You could alternatively use canned garbanzo beans)

Oil - Canola or Vegetable or Coconut oil - 1 Tbsp 

Onion - 1 Large roughly chopped

Tomatoes - 2 Cups roughly chopped

Garlic - 10 cloves

Ginger - same amount as the garlic roughly chopped up

Green chillis - 2

dry red chillis - 2 (Optional if you don’t prefer too much spice)

Curry leaves - 20-30 leaves

Coriander leaves - 2 bunches cleaned and separated

Salt to taste

How to go about it:

In a skillet, heat the oil and add the onion and garlic and ginger to it. Here is where the patience bit comes in. You need to cook it till the onion starts caramelizing about 15 minutes on medium high flame. (I put in a picture of how the onion should look, above)

This is when you add the tomatoes, chillis and the rest of the ingredients except one bunch of coriander leaves and coo till the tomatoes are real soft. Use the ladle to mash up the tomatoes and let the juice from the tomatoes cook everything else.

Turn off the heat and let this mixture cool just enough to put it into the grinder. Add the fresh coriander bunch that you kept aside earlier and grind to a smooth paste. You don’t want any unsightly lumps. Once the grinding is done add this to a sauce pan and add the garbanzo beans and cook covered for about 20 minutes and then uncovered for another 10 minutes. Make sure to taste and add salt if required. If you want this gravy to be a little less thick, feel free to add water. 

I must advise that you be careful when this gravy starts to come to a boil because it will start spluttering quite a bit. Let it boil for a few minutes and you can turn it off and serve warm. Garnish with roasted cashews and coriander leaves.

This keeps in the fridge for upto 3 days and in the freezer for upto a week (it could keep longer but I haven’t tried longer than that)

I started writing this blog post even before I had a recipe. It’s my birthmonth and I’ll be turning the big 30 - still very young at heart though. I went through a ton of recipes, looking to make something special for the festival of lights. In the end I decided to make a simple Saffron Kheer or Payasam and light up every corner of the house.

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I also want to make some homemade granola and make some parfait with granola and fresh fruit as a topping. This year has been very happening - some good some not so good. But the one constant has been my love for food, celebrating festivals and birthdays alike. 

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I don’t know which recipe I’ll be putting or if I’ll be putting one up at all at the end of the day but I hope to click as many fun captures as I can and savour every mouthful moment today, be thankful for what I have and try to give and share more than I do today. I know some of us are not in a good place and I want you to know that someone somewhere is thinking of you…

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I ended up using saffron to make a chocolate and almond bark with raw sugar to add texture… Super easy to make and the chocolate just melts in your mouth. I made a little and stored in the fridge for later use…

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Chocolates are always handy to have if you have unexpected little guests. Or maybe thats just a reason to have chocolate handy for midnight cravings… Either way, its a win.

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Hmmm… the other thing that has been bothering me is granola… Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy store bought granola, walking around wholefoods and tasting a bit of each flavor they have and deciding on which one to get.

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But when you have fabulous food bloggers sharing their secrets on how to make a customized version at home where you can decided which flavor you want or how much you want and having all the ingredients handy, it is very hard to resist the temptation.

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So I gave in and made some… Crispy, less nuts, more dry fruits and not too sweet. Thats how I like my granola.

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Happy Deepawali to you… May the righteous win always. 

Love…