Monday, 29 July 2013

Cherry Ice Cream (eggless, low fat and no cooking)

Cherry IceCream
Every time I came to a round number like 100 or 200 etc. with the recipe post count, it did not seem like anything to be honest. 400th post however, is different as it has been quite a challenge getting here. I cannot believe it has taken me so much time to come from 350 to 400 but in the end, I made it. Someday, probably few years from now, it will be 1000 :D!

Coming to the actual post, this is a special summer treat. It is incredibly hot here in UK (don't roll your eyes thinking I am from Chennai so why am I complaining). The trouble is that it seems easier to acclimatise to cold weather than hot and also that most British buildings are built to keep the heat in and hence not quite built for hot weather. Anyway, to keep us cool, especially my son, I have been making ice creams. The amount of artificial anything is next to zero in my homemade ice creams but still at the end of the day it is empty calories loaded with fat. I wanted to reduce the fat without compromising too much on taste and texture to a lesser degree. That is why, this recipe uses single cream instead of double cream. In a given recipe, use of double cream instead of single cream results in roughly over three times more saturated fat content and about three and half times the cholesterol when compared against the same dish using single cream. This I think is quite a lot. I had frozen cherries on hand and I find frozen fruits quite handy to make dishes and fresh ones to eat just like that. 

The result was a very different ice cream which to some extent looked like a sorbet. Usually, the fat content in the cream helps avoid crystallising but as we use much lesser fat than usual, the texture will look different from regular ice cream. In order to help it, we add pinch of salt and dots of vanilla extract which has some alcohol in it (oh don't worry, nothing that will affect the kids). Once you put it in your mouth, it will be much like regular ice cream. Make sure you rest it on the counter for five minutes or so once out of the freezer. It is important to give it a good whisk after about 2 hours into the freezer as this also helps prevent crystallising.

This has proven to me and hopefully will prove to you that low fat ice cream is not a myth.

Thanks to all my readers for visiting my blog. My thanks to my family as well, without them, this blog wouldn't have happened. I do hope my blog reach extends so my attempts to bring to the table healthy and yummy dishes benefits more people and also so I can learn from what they have to share.

Now for the recipe...

300ml single cream
1 cup greek yogurt
1 cup cherry, pureed
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Whisk all ingredients together for ten minutes and pour into freezer safe box, cover and freeze for couple of hours. Take out, whisk with fork and freeze again until set. The whisking is done for so long to incorporate air into the mixture to improve the texture.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Green Sundakkai Kara Kuzhambu (Turkey Berry in spicy tangy sauce)

Green Sundakkai Kara Kuzhambu
Using rather unusual ingredients is something I love doing in my cuisine. It is a shame that many traditionally cooked ingredients have gradually lost their presence in dinner tables these days. For me, every time I come across such ingredients, I make it a point to buy them and may end up figuring out later what to do with it. This green turkey berry was no exception. Earlier I had posted a recipe using this little treasure and this time ‘googling’ did not quite help as most recipes suggested use of dried berries. I have written more about these goodies and also how to prepare it in this post. I decided to make something that I will enjoy eating and one of those is ‘kaara kozhambu’ i.e. a spicy tangy sauce with some vegetable in it. It was really good and the berry was no too bitter either. Here is the recipe...

1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tomato, roughly chopped
2-3 teaspoons coconut
1 cup turkey berry aka sundakkai, deseeded
1 teaspoon tamarind extract
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Few curry leaves
Asafoetida and turmeric powder
1 teaspoon sambar powder
1 teaspoon chilly pwoder
Salt to taste
Cooking oil, preferably gingelly oil

Heat some oil, add mustard seeds, once it splutters, add turmeric powder, asafoetida and curry leaves

Add the turkey berries and sauté for a minute

Add tamarind extract, required water, salt and cook until berries are done

Add the sambar powder and chilly powder

Grind together the onion, tomato and coconut to a paste and add this paste. Boil until all raw smell goes off and thickness is as desired

Serve hot

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Fruit crumble (very low in fat and refined ingredients)

Fruit Crumble
First time I ever had crumble was in a canteen in the company I used to work in. I was a savoury crumble and I actually liked the dish. However, I never got to try the sweet crumble for some reason. When I used to watch the food channels, sometimes I would run into crumble recipes and the amount of butter and flour would put me off. In the recent past, I did get to try crumble in some nice restaurants but did not quite enjoy it as the crumble itself seemed to have been made with crushed biscuits and nothing exciting. I then decided to make a version of healthy crumble that can arrest any sugar craving one may have while being healthy at the same time. I used oats to get the crumbly texture and the coarsely crushed nuts also add to the lovely texture. I have used very little refined flour and just one spoon of sugar in the crumble mixture as I was hoping this would be enough to trigger the fruits letting out their juices. If you are on a calorie controlled diet or you just like to be mindful of what you are eating, this is a great dish to fill you up so you can reduce the main meal. The oats provides some carbohydrates, so you are not drained and needless to say how good fruits can be for you. Although cooked fruits may not preserve all goodness from uncooked state nevertheless, it is still nutritious. You could start your day with this too if you are not a porridge person. Nuts are an essential part of a balanced diet and they are also said to help protect against cardio-vascular problems. Whenever I have over ripe fruits, I just roughly cut them up and bingo, a lovely dessert is ready. I am trying to watch the quantity of food I eat and this dish is a lovely way to cut out the junk. This could be a snack or a dessert or even a breakfast. I urge you to try it and let me know what you think.

¾ cup oats
2 tablespoon flour
1-2 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
2 pears, 2 apples, 2 bananas chopped (I add cherries, raspberries, strawberries as well when available)
Handful of raisins or currants
Handul of nuts, chopped

Put all fruits together in a oven safe dish

Mix the flour, butter, oats, nuts and sugar and spread over the fruits to cover evenly. Use cold butter an duse your fingers to work the butter into the mixture

Bake in preheated oven at 180degC for 15 minutes or until top turns golden brown

Serve warm. It is even better when served with ice cream but that is not if you are watching what you eat.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Sambar Spice Fried Rice

Sambar Spice Fried Rice
If you are a fan of schezwan rice, then you are likely to enjoy this too. It really is the south Indian equivalent of the Chinese dish. My husband used to make variety rices (it has been a while since he has made them now) and they were always quite unique and delish. He would never let me find what he is adding to them. I knew he was using a spice mixing that I was not quite using. I am still guessing what it is but my bet is on sambar powder bought from the shop (I seldom use store bought sambar powder and keep it as a fall back). Recently, I watched a recipe by vah chef and turns out he also makes a rice with sambar powder. I made it the very next day and took it for lunch, it was very nice. The use of chopped garlic gave it a Chinese hint and I am sure the flavour will be slightly different if we use garlic paste. Here is the recipe...

1 cup rice, cooked so grains are fluffy
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Handful of green beans, chopped
½ cup green peas
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons sambar powder
1 tablespoon butter
Required salt
Few curry leaves
Some coriander leaves, chopped

Except rice and coriander leaves, mix all ingredients in a bowl

Add this mixture to a hot pan and cook until veggies are just done and mix this with cooked rice and garnish with coriander leaves

Serve hot or just pack for lunch with raita

Friday, 5 July 2013

Custard and Fruit Tart (eggless and low fat)

Custard and Fruit tart
I was looking for custard recipes just to use up the box of custard powder and reclaim shelf space. However, now I wonder if custard powder will become a staple in my pantry as it is so great to make quick and tasty desserts. Unlike traditional tart shells, I adapted Tarla Dalal’s recipe to make a low fat shell. If you wish, you could even use store bought short crust pastry or refer to my earlier post on shortcrust pastry.

Here are few things you need to keep in mind while dealing with shortcrust pastry:
  • Do not knead the dough too much. The idea is not to make the gluten form else the pastry will not be crumbly
  • Try to refrigerate the dough for few minutes, wrapped in film or just in an airtight box
  • Do not stretch the dough while rolling to make it fit the tin. The pastry will shrink in the oven so the more you stretch now, the more it is going to shrink. Instead, roll out the right dimension and fit properly
  • Before blind baking, prick with forks so it does not rise. Also put greaseproof paper and some baking beans or any other beans or rice. The weight of this will prevent the pastry from rising.
  • After putting the pastry in the mould, you could refrigerate it before baking. This is particularly helpful when you use pastry with more fat than the recipe here. This helps the butter stay cold and takes a bit longer to cook in the oven. This is said to help result in a more crumbly shell.
 I think this is a yummy, fresh and rather light dessert, just perfect for this summer. Recipe here...

For tart
¾ cup flour
2 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon custard powder
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of baking powder
Required cold water

For custard
1 ¼ cups milk
2 tablespoon custard powder
2 tablespoon sugar
Loads of fruits

To make the tarts:
Combine the sugar and butter

Sift together the baking powder and flour and add the custard powder and sugar. Add required water to make a soft dough

Roll into about 3 mm thick disc and line on tart tins. If you do not have tart tins, use muffin moulds to make wee cups.

Prick in a number of locations and bake in preheated oven at 200degC for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool

For custard:
Dissolve the custard powder in about quarter cup of milk and heat the rest of the milk, do not let it boil

Add the custard powder and milk mixture to the heated milk and keep stirring until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Add the sugar

Once custard cools down, pour into the tart shells and refrigerate until set. Serve with loads of fresh fruits like berries.