29 December, 2012

Penne in Tomato Basil Sauce



I love pasta but I don't like pasta in red sauce (tomato sauce). Invariably, I always, always, had pasta in white sauce with extra cheese. Then one day boom, I turned Vegan, cheese loving me turned vegan and thus I stopped eating Pizzas and Pastas all together. I couldn't imagine having pasta without cheese until recently. 

21 December, 2012

Kochi Bloggers on a Wine Trail

Wine is the most natural alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of freshly picked wine grapes. Yes, you heard me right, made only from grapes, the rest of the fermented fruit beverages (Gooseberry, Orange etc) that are made at home are not technically wine. This and much more information was provided to us about wines, during the Wine Trail lead by Amit Chavan, Sommelier at United Breweries exclusively for the bloggers in Kochi.

It was the first ever blogger meet that happened in Kochi and all of us were equally excited to meet each other. We all sat around tables, as Amit went ahead and explained about wines. There are different types and styles of wines, Still/Sparkling/Fortified, Red/ Rose/ White, Dry/Medium and Sweet. Classifications of wines based on the kind of grapes used are called varietal wines. Chenin Blanc and Shiraz are varietal wines made of the single grape variety Chenin Blanc and Shiraz. The reason the wines are region specific is due to the Terroir (geography, geology and climate) of the place. The wines growing in a particular climate will have specific taste and thus will produce the wine that tastes different from the same variety of grape grown in a different region. Most old world (France, Italy, Germany and Spain) wines are labelled with terroir and hence the region is fixed. The New world (Australia, India, New Zealand) wines are mostly based on the grape variety. 


20 November, 2012

Mathanga Payar Erisseri/ Pumpkin and Beans in Coconut Based Gravy


This break in blogging was not at all expected, it just went on due to technical difficulties which I faced been away from home without a laptop. Finally when I got back, I lost all my pictures which I had taken along with me in a flash drive but nothing to worry, there is a back up on my friends laptop. I can't expect her to send it online to me, as there is a lot of sorting out to do. Those posts will have to wait till I meet her again.

09 August, 2012

Coconut Cookies

Coconut Cookies with Whole Wheat Flour

26 July, 2012

Grissini- Italian Bread Sticks

 

Grissini, is an Italian Bread sticks. They are usually served as appetizers but for me it's a great snack. I made these along with Tomato Sambal and I am totally hooked on to this. I kept snacking on it all day long... the Sambal and bread sticks did taste good together. It also a great snack on its own.

14 July, 2012

Tomato Sambal- a Spicy Tangy Sauce

I updated my header with a new logo and none of you have noticed it or maybe you guys forgot to mention it in your comments. I was kind of looking forward for a response from you all. After all the hard work I made my husband do to create the header. ;) Well before you give all the credit to him, let me tell you that, I came up with that logo one afternoon while working on creating a logo for my yoga blog which has been under construction forever. I really brainstormed and doodled for a few months to come up with something like that. Alright, I don't wanna push you to praise me but seriously what do you think of the changes in the blog header. If you don't like anything please let me know, I will see what I can do.


01 July, 2012

Mango Cake flavoured with Cardamom



I have rarely used fruits for cooking or baking. I enjoy whole fruit; I don't need it disguised in any form to have it. Unlike me, my husband runs in the opposite direction of fresh fruits, it's something about the texture of certain fruits that he avoids them completely. He can have tons of raw mango and screw up his stomach but can never eat ripe ones. I was not sure if he would even agree to taste the cake but surprisingly enough he liked it a lot. Though he added, he still prefers Vanilla Cake over everything else.

24 June, 2012

Mint Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes


Do you like roasted vegetables? I love them... Roasting just enhances the flavours of the vegetables. I can never get enough of roasted potatoes and cauliflowers. I usually just roast the potatoes and cauliflowers with some garlic infused olive oil and sprinkle some dried rosemary or thyme. It is so simple, delicious and the best way to get my husband to eat vegetables. If you are person who hates cauliflower, try having a roasted cauliflower, I bet you will get converted from a cauliflower hater to a cauliflower lover.

15 June, 2012

Aloo Mutter / Peas and Potato Curry without Onion and Garlic

I have a big mental block to cook without onion and garlic; I have ALWAYS used them in curries. Some of you might think, why avoid onion and garlic? Especially when garlic has so many health benefits. If you are a person inclined towards leading a Yogic life, you might have heard of Sattvic food. A yogic diet or Sattvic diet consists of fresh food which doesn't excite your senses.

Onions, garlic and the other alliaceous plants are classified as rajasic, which means that they increase passion and ignorance. It is mentioned in Ayurveda ''....As well as producing offensive breath and body odour, these (alliaceous) plants induce aggravation, agitation, anxiety and aggression. Thus they are harmful physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually''. ( Source: Kurma)


06 June, 2012

Homemade Peanut Butter

If you have been following this blog for a while, you might have noticed that I'm pretty slow on updating the blog. Now a days I cook more often than I blog and blogging all the recipes will take ages at this pace. So I thought of an easier way to share the recipes that I love making over and over again. I'm updating the links of these recipes on Flavours facebook page in the album Tried and Tested Recipes from other blogs. Check it out right now, it's just a few but I'll keep updating as I try new ones. 

You can like the Flavours Facebook page to get updates. I wonder why Facebook has a Like button for Pages and Subscribe button for People. Shouldn't it be the other way around, so if we like someone, we can like their profile and if we want updates from a blog, we can subscribe to its FB Page. Wouldn't it be simple that way? Anyways the point is "like" works as "subscribe".


30 May, 2012

Basic Whole Wheat Bread (Vegan)


This was the first bread recipe I ever followed and since then I have baked this bread a lot of times. It was a white bread recipe I just used wheat flour instead. I did not use any extra gluten as I don't have it and don't think it's easily available here. I was surprised to find that it worked without the gluten. I have an endless list of bookmarked bread recipes but I just keeping baking this one over and over again coz it uses just basic stuff which I always have in my pantry.

22 May, 2012

Spiced Herbal Tea

This post might seem out of place in this hot weather but if you happen to be allergic like me, this time of the year makes it worse with the increase in pollen grains in the atmosphere. From its calming effects, to its positive digestive benefits and its natural cold plus cough relieving properties, this is a herbal tea that all can benefit from. 


16 May, 2012

Raw Mango Pickle (Kerala Style)



This is the most common mango pickle made all over in Kerala. My Mum had taught me how to make it once and it turned out really good. I prefer mango pickle in mustard oil, mustard seeds and large triangular mango pieces with part of the pulp stuck to the seeds (just writing about is making my mouth water, it's been ages since I have had that). In Kerala people find it weird to cook anything in mustard oil and the mere smell of the pickle I find so mouth-watering, will drive people away.

My husband and in laws are crazy about the kerala style mango pickle. So I knew I have to make it often coz they don't like the store bought one. I had the memory of getting the pickle right the first time, so I had this over confidence that I know how to make it, I was forgetting that I got it right with my Mum by my side.  After a failed attempt, I called her up and she explained the procedure and I just followed it. It tasted great but after a week all we could taste was sourness from the mango. I realised no matter what recipe you follow, you need to have an idea about the sourness of the mangoes you are using if you want to make big batches of this pickle.

Now after making it many times, I'm comfortable enough to say that I can make good mango pickle that is loved by all. Since making small batches of it won't serve the purpose in my house, the key is to make it a week before I plan to serve it. I also rub some salt onto the cut mango pieces to get the sour juices out and it also softens the mango and don't really need to cook it.


11 May, 2012

Ginger Spiced Almond Milk Sweetened With Dates


Alright I know it's getting very monotonous with a lot of almond posts. Truth is I discovered so much about almonds in the past few weeks that I couldn't resist to share all the info with you guys. I'm posting this specially for Amazing Almonds event at one of my favourite blogs The Yogi  Vegetarian. 

02 May, 2012

Detoxing Green Beer: Juiced Aloe Vera and Cilantro/ Coriender Leaves

Don't be mislead by the word Beer in the title; this is not an alcoholic drink. Sorry, if you expected to read some health benefits of drinking beer. The froth in the Aloe-Cilantro Juice reminded me of Beer, so I decided to serve it to Ranjit first thing in the morning in Beer mugs, hence the name.

Aloe Vera is a species of succulent plant which has been extensively used in herbal and alternative medicines since the beginning of first century AD. In recent times, Aloe Vera has been increasingly finding its way back into the cosmetic and alternative medicine industry. It is marketed claiming it's has rejuvenating, healing and soothing properties. Though there is little scientific evidence to prove all the above, I'm sure most of us have experienced the healing properties of Aloe Vera Gel by topical application. (Source: Wikipedia)

It is only recently I found that Aloe Vera is edible. It works as antiseptic, antibacterial and anti- inflammatory herbal medicine. It cures eczema, diabetes, arthritis and prevents infection. It also improves human immune system and digestive system. 


25 April, 2012

How to Blanch and Peel Almonds

Blanching Almonds helps remove their skin in a jiffy. I have spent a lot of time peeling almonds before but not anymore.


22 April, 2012

How to Sprout Almonds

Why do we need to sprout the almonds? Almonds are difficult to digest because of an enzyme-inhibiting substance in their brown coating. These enzyme inhibitors protect the nut or seed until it has, what it needs for growth. Soaking Almonds overnight removes these toxic enzyme inhibitors so that the enzymes secreted during digestion can do their job, also the gluten breaks down and digestion becomes much easier. Phytic acid which inhibits absorption of vital minerals is also reduced after soaking Almonds. This helps our body get the benefits of vitality contained within them. (Source:Buzzle)

Once the Almonds starts sprouting it has more life force or prana in it. Therefore, it's more sattvic when it's sprouting. Apart from increase in the nutrients, sprouted almonds taste great too.

Soaked and Sprouted Almond

17 April, 2012

Sprouted Almond's Milk

Almonds are my favourite. Mom used to soak the almonds every night and made sure that all of us had a few almonds every morning. As a kid I believed those almonds would help me get better scores in tests, which of course seemed a better and yummy way, than to actually sit and study. Almonds are known to boost memory if you do bother to study. :)


02 April, 2012

Papaya Smoothie

Papaya is a wonder fruit which is widely used for its nutritional, digestive and medicinal benefits. Papayas are the only natural source of papain, an effective natural digestive aid, which breaks down protein and cleanses the digestive track. It is also believed to increase metabolism and thus helping in weight loss.

Papaya benefits the skin and it is an effective fruit facial. Papaya not only cleanses the skin but it is also known for giving a glowing skin. Papain in it, promotes skin renewal and cell turnover. It also benefits skin by exfoliating it, to reveal new cells and softens skin at the same time. It also helps in skin lightening, if used regularly.



28 March, 2012

Hungry for Change

I would like you to watch this movie from Food matters- Hungry for change. You can watch it for free till 31st March. If you have joined Flavours Facebook page, I'm guessing you have watched it already. It is the truth about the so called "food" that is available in the supermarkets and grocery stores.

I'm glad that since the beginning my Mom always stressed on the wholesome goodness of home made food. As a teenager, I thought she was just being skeptical about ready made food coz it's just so new to her. When I moved out, I did initially stock up on the ready to eat food packages and when the taste didn't meet my expectations I gave up on it. I finally ended up eating loads of fruits and salads coz I was too lazy to cook. I cooked curd rice and vegetable fried rice once in a while when I craved for home cooked food. I was eating so much fresh produce, mostly raw that my face was cleared of the pimples; I was prone to having pimples for a very long time. My weight was also kept in control, it was only later I realized that I was accidentally having a pure Sattvic diet.

A yogic diet, also called Sattvic diet consists of fresh food which doesn't excite your senses. The life force energy which is referred to as Prana in Sanskrit should be abundant in the food we eat. That is why non vegetarian food isn't considered to be yogic coz as soon as the animal is killed, the Prana escapes, unlike in plants, where even after plucking the fruit or even uprooting the plant it contains Prana and it decreases with the processing and storing for long time. That is why fresh fruits and raw vegetables have the maximum amount of Prana and all the processed food with long shelf life have almost no Prana in them to benefit you.

While I clearly have experienced the benefits of eating fresh and less processed food, I had been unaware of the harmful effects of all the processed food available in the stores now a days. The movie- Hungry for change is a must watch.. We all need to know the truth about the chemical ingredients present in the so called "food" available in the markets.

I try to buy fruits and vegetables locally. It is much easier for me coz I live in a village and I sometimes get free fresh organic vegetables if I'm visiting someone coz they just had abundant produce in their Kitchen garden. I have started growing herbs and roots in my garden. It tastes so much better when you just pluck it right out of the soil and have it- that is when it has maximum Prana.

In January there was an article in Times of India about the commercially packaged milk in India. It stated that a survey conducted throughout India found out that the milk contained high amount of urea in it. Only in Pondicherry and Goa the milk passed the test. I did not bother to follow what happened next as I was off dairy products and was thankful that we buy our milk locally. The maximum adulteration our milk man does is, add some harmless water.

So try to eat fresh locally produced and less processed food and stay healthy and fit. :)


22 March, 2012

Award and Update

I'll start with the updates first and then move onto the award ceremony :)

I've not been well for a while now. Nothing serious, esnophil count in my blood was way too high and it was messing up with my breathing. It is much better now but I haven't yet got back to my normal life. The last two posts were scheduled earlier, as a part of preparing to volunteer for Yoga Teaching at Sivananda Ashram for a month. Life doesn't always go as you plan, I couldn't go to the ashram and instead I've been at home recuperating my health.

I started cooking a bit here and there, mostly experimental baking and I'm dying to share some really healthy cakes. The only thing stopping me is that I haven't photographed anything yet. I hope to share the recipe soon.

I'm on a quest to live life more compassionately, as a part of which I'm turning Vegan. You can read more about what lead me to consider this as an option in this post. Now you can look forward to more of vegan recipes here. I do bake with eggs for my husband who has no plans to ever turn vegan or vegetarian. So you can expect to see some baked goodies containing eggs n milk until, I find a good substitute for eggs to fool my husband. ;)

Now the exciting part- The Versatile Blogger award was passed to me from Princy Vinoth @ Spicy Food and Maha @ Maha's Lovely Home. Thanks a ton to you guys for considering me worthy of this award.


19 February, 2012

Nutella Chocolate Pudding with Soy milk


This is quite similar to the Nutellla Chocolate pudding I made a while ago. In the previous one I used custard powder, this one I tried cornflour. And this of course uses soy milk instead of the regular milk. I've always liked soy milk, except for the fact that it is too expensive in comparison to regular milk. The use of soy milk even if you are not vegan is good if you are on a diet plan and want to indulge a little bit. It is a low calorie substitute for milk. Unless you are making your own soy milk, you will get the necessary amount of calcium which can be absorbed by our body as the soy milk we buy is fortified with calcium.

16 February, 2012

Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potato

I found this recipe from Barefeet in the Kitchen. I loved the colour and the flavours seemed to be just perfect. I read the awesome reviews by the people who have already tried it and I just had to make it. I have no like or dislike towards sweet potato but had never cooked it before. This seemed to be the perfect recipe to start with.

Spiced Oil

The recipe comes from the cookbook - Artisanal Cooking by Terrance Brennan. I found it from 101 Cook books. It's called Autumn spiced oil but I didn't have half of the ingredients it called for, so I just made an Indian spiced oil which worked great with Vanilla Mashed Potatoes.


06 February, 2012

Baked Yoghurt with Cinnamon and Orange Compote


This recipe is from the Good Food Magazine. I'm all for recipes labelled easy in it. I love simple and easy recipes which have just a few ingredients. I made this twice. Once without baking as I didn't have an oven, I just added a little bit of dissolved Agar Agar to make it set (which didn't really set much) and the next time I followed the procedure in the magazine.

Of course I loved it, that is why I made it twice. I could never have imagined mixing curd and condensed milk gave such an awesomely delicious dessert.

30 January, 2012

Ellu unda/ Til ke laddu/ Sesame seed balls


Mummy made these laddus during Makar Sankranti. All I did was take pictures while trying hard not to eat them all up. I love this set up, where my mum is doing all the cooking and I just tail her around with the camera and bug her to take exact measurements for my blog posts. We had plans to make different versions of Til ke laddu but couldn't due to the lack of time, so it's on my to-do list when I go back home next time.

22 January, 2012

Aloo Baingan Ki Subzi/ Potato Brinjal (Eggplant) Curry

A friend asked me to give her the recipe of Aloo Gobhi and Aloo Baingan (Brinjal/Eggplant) that my mom makes. She remembers the taste of it since she had it at my place when we were teenagers. I sent her the ingredients list and procedure after enquiring with my mom. Now that I'm home, I can take pictures and measurements while Mom makes it. If not for her I wouldn't have uploaded this recipe so soon, as Ranjit, my husband doesn't like Brinjals/Eggplant. But after dinner I was considering cooking this for Ranjit, how can someone not like this tasty a curry.

Mom always uses iron Kadhai to make any dish with Baingan (Brinjal/ Eggplant); she says it enhances the taste. She also uses de-seeded tomatoes for all her cooking.


15 January, 2012

Carrot Cup Cakes


This cupcake recipe was recommended by a friend. I've baked numerous cakes but these were my first cupcakes and I'm glad I followed the recipe without experimenting too much, as these were absolutely loved by all who had them.

02 January, 2012

Potato Wedges with Tomato Capsicum Sauce

Who doesn't love potatoes? Well, I know quite a few people who don't but I'm glad my husband is not one of them. This is one of our favourite dishes. It is a simple and easy dish to put together which tastes great. I had this recipe written down ages ago in one of my recipe diaries. I had the habit of writing down recipes that I found interesting but I rarely trying them out. With the internet recipes, it is so much easier to bookmark and forget. ;)

I can mess up a really easy recipe. The number of great stuff I've dished out can be equally weighed out by the number of disasters I've created in the kitchen. This one is kind of no fail, if you get your potatoes crispy on the outside and mushy inside. It is bound to be a big hit amongst all potato fans out there.


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