“We have so much, too much, that we can buy, yet the basic labor of doing, the making with our own hands, is what enlivens us and makes us feel human." Dan Lepard

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Capsicum Onion Pizza with Wholegrain Base #BreadBakers

It is the fag end of monsoons. It rains but, erratically. The grass in our backyard has grown tall and strong. It is a breeding ground for insects, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. Most of them have fed on the juicy blades and left   abstract patterns on them. Thick vegetation also makes it unsafe to move around as post monsoon is the season of snakes. Yesterday we got down cutting the grass. In the evening we spotted a Hoopoe in the clean backyard. The bird was feeding ravenously on caterpillars that are in abundance.

Rising temperature has made our bird bath a favourite haunt for birds. 

They drink play and bathe. Big ones chase away the small ones who keep returning to steal a chance. The game goes on ……..

Weekend is the time for some special baking. On kids’ behest, we made Pizzas for dinner. The base was made with whole wheat flour and our local finger millet (madua) flour. 

Finger millet flour imparted a nice texture and taste to the base besides making it healthy.

Capsicum Onion Pizza with Wholegrain Base

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finger millet flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
4 medium onions diced thinly
3-4 medium capsicums cut into rings or chopped finely
5 cubes cheddar cheese
1 block of mozzarella cheese
Italian spice mix
Pizza sauce

Whisk together first five ingredients in a large bowl. Keep aside.
Add sugar to water and stir to dissolve. Add yeast. Cover and let remain for 10 minutes. The mixture will become frothy.
Add this to flour mix and knead well till dough comes together. Knead further for 4 to 5 minutes till you get a smooth and elastic dough.
Transfer to an oiled bowl. Turn around so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and keep in a warm place until double ( 45 minutes to 1 hour)
Punch the dough down. Divide the dough into four parts for thin crust pizzas. Cover the balls with a kitchen cloth and let sit for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, grease a baking tray, sprinkle some cornmeal.
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
Work on one dough ball at a time. Flatten it with hands on a floured surface. Use a rolling pin to get a pizza of 10-12 inches. Let the dough relax for 5 minutes. It will shrink a bit. Stretch with hand starting from center and working outwards to get the right size.
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil. It will prevent the top from getting soggy from the toppings. Prick the surface of the dough with a fork to prevent bubbling. Let rest for another 5 minutes.
Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
Transfer the prepared flattened dough to the prepared baking tray (bake one pizza at a time).
Add about 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce.
Add onions and capsicum.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup grated cheese (mozzarella and cheddar mixed). Sprinkle Italian Spice mix.
Slide the baking tray in the middle slot. Bake for 15-20 minutes till the base becomes golden from the edges and the cheese on top turns golden.
Slice and serve hot.

Linking to BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Many thanks to our host this month, Sue of Palatable Pastime

Here is a list of breads with peppers that we have baked this month-

    Bellpeppers and Cheese Scones by Basic N Delicious

     Bellpepper and Paneer Stuffed Lattice Bread by Seduce Your Tastebuds

    Bell Pepper Stuffed Whole Wheat Buns by Sara’s Tasty Buds

    Capsicum Onion Pizza with Wholegrain Base by Ambrosia

    Cheddar and Jalapeño Scones by Herbivore Cucina

      Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Stuffed Buns by Food Lust People Love

      Crushed Red Pepper Grissini by Karen's Kitchen Stories

    Fatayer Jebneh by Mayuri's Jikoni

    Green Chile and Cheddar Biscuits by Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks

      Hatch Chile Zucchini Bread by Magnolia Days (recipe above)

    Jalapeño Bread by Cook's Hideout

    Jalapeño Flour Tortillas by Hostess At Heart

      Jalapeño Parmesan Swirl Bread Rolls by Spill the Spices

      Jalapeño Sourdough Bread by Baking Sense

      Mixed Pepper Bread by Sneha's Recipe

    Msemen Maamer - Moroccan Flatbread Stuffed with Peppers by The Bread She Bakes

    Parmesan Cracked Pepper Beer Bread by Cindy's Recipes and Writings

      Pepper Pav Buns by Sizzling Tastebuds

      Roasted Red Pepper Bread by A Shaggy Dough Story

    Roasted Red Pepper Fougasse by Spiceroots

    Spiced Herb Monkey Bread by Passion Kneaded

     Spicy Whole Wheat Rolls by Gayathri's Cook Spot

     Vegetable Stuffed Braided Bread by My Cooking Journey

    Zucchini and Pepper Cornbread by Palatable Pastime

    If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.


    Tuesday, 12 July 2016

    Cheddar Honey Rolls | Cheddar Honey Flowers #BreadBakers

    The air is heavy and vaporous. The sky is packed with clouds. It hasn’t rained for the last two days. The last spell was torrential. Hot and wet climate has facilitated the vigorous growth of vegetation. Grass has grown tall and thick. A whole new generation of grasshoppers is born and is flourishing on the juicy blades. Our dog loves to jump and roll  into the thicket causing the nymphs to rise up like green dust that spreads around in all directions and settles down on new blades and then  visible no more. Clusters of rain lilies break the monotony, adding colours and beauty to the grassy green. 

    Nights are musical these days. Crickets chirp in high decibels, so do the happy toads. The full-throated croaking reaches a crescendo and then no other sound is audible. There is abundant to eat, flourish and reproduce. The web of life is beautiful. The ground is teeming with grubs, caterpillars, slugs, snails and insects. Fledglings are out of the nest and learning to face life while anxious parents still feeding and following them. A commotion raised by the birds caught our attention and we spotted a Sparrowhawk in the Jamun tree.

    Last weekend, we had soup with Cheddar  Honey Rolls. We baked them in a pudding mould and they looked like little flowers sprinkled with Cheese.

    Soft, cottony, wisp o’ the cloud, cheesy and honey flavoured rolls are a bite of heaven. Enjoy them warm for breakfast or brunch. Cheese and honey meld to give lovely taste and flavour and garlic does the magic too!

    Cheddar Honey Rolls | Cheddar Honey Flowers
    2 ½ cups all- purpose flour
    2 ¼ teaspoon instant dry yeast
    ¾ teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoon melted butter
    ¾ cup grated cheddar cheese 
    3 cloves garlic minced
    2 tablespoons honey
    ¾ cup warm water
    2 tablespoon butter
    ½ Grated cheese
    In a deep bowl add all the ingredients and stir till you get a shaggy dough. Do not add all the water in a go. Add in parts.
    Turn the dough onto a counter and knead for 6 to 8 minutes. It should become smooth, supple and pliable.
    Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Knead again for 3 -4 minutes.
    Grease 8 to 10 muffin moulds or pudding moulds. Use nonstick moulds.
    Divide dough into two parts. Roll out one part into one 7inch x 10 inch rectangle. Brush liberally with butter. Sprinkle grated cheese. Cut into strips. Stack strips on top of each other, cheese side down. Cut each stack into three bundles.
    Take a stack. Pinch the lower end. Place the stack in the mould. Open the strips from top and spread them like petals. Keep in a warm place to rise for 30 – 45 minutes until double.  Sprinkle cheese on top.
    Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes or till the top turns brown.
    Remove from the oven and enjoy warm cheesy rolls.

    The inspiration to bake these rolls comes from Bread Bakers

    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our  lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here.  Links are also updated after each event on the BreadBakers this home page.
    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
    This month, our host was Mayuri Patel who blogs at Mayuri’s Jikoni. Thank you Mayuri for the lovely theme “Baking with natural sweeteners”

    This is what our group has baked this month- 
    Breads with Natural Sweeteners

    • Autumn Harvest Bread with Grapes by The Bread She Bakes
    • Banana Honey Crumble Cake by The Schizo Chef
    • Banana Yeast Bread by Passion Kneaded
    • Blackberry Honey Bread by Kidsandchic
    • Cheddar Honey Flowers by Ambrosia
    • Date and Chai Muffins by Mayuri's Jikoni
    • Date Sweetened Banana Bread by Herbivore Cucina
    • Egg Free Carrot Coconut Bread by Gayathri's Cook Spot
    • Einkorn Drop Biscuits with Peaches by The Wimpy Vegetarian
    • English Granary Style No Knead Bread by Karen's Kitchen Stories
    • Healthy Banana Bread by From Gate to Plate
    • Honey Almond Banana Muffins by Bakingyummies
    • Honey Cider Quick Loaf by Food Lust People Love
    • Honey Cornbread by Magnolia Days
    • Honey Oat Pain de Mie by Hostess At Heart
    • Honey Pineapple Pull-Apart Rolls by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
    • Honey Rolls by La cocina de Aisha
    • Jackfruit Semolina Muffins by My Cooking Journey
    • Mangalore Buns by Sneha's Recipe
    • Maple Pecan Scones by Cook's Hideout
    • Maple Oatmeal Bread by A Baker's House
    • Natural Banana & Blueberry Bread by Baking in Pyjamas
    • Pain au Levian avec Banane by What Smells So Good?
    • Tangerine Honey White Bread by A Day in the Life on the Farm

    • If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

      Monday, 27 June 2016

      Banana Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze


      Mangoes and Jamuns, wood apples and lychees, fragrance of mogra, blossoms of Gulmohur, songs of koel and the sonorous rendition of cuckoo- this is the stuff our summer is made of. Come morning and there is a rush to collect ripe mangoes of the hundred year old mango tree. Mangoes fall and hide in the fallen leaves. Kids and squirrels seem to vie with each other to grab the fruit first. Baels remain hidden in the tall grass.  They are ripe and pulpy and make the best summer cooler.   Jamuns fall on the dry leaves sound like thick drops of rain and that gets louder as a strong breeze knocks them off their branches. Birds, squirrels monkeys and men are feasting on the nature’s bounty.

      A bunch of bananas begin to overripe as no one is interested in the humble fruit these days. We decide to bake a cake with bananas and thus salvage some.

      Besides adding moistness to the crumb, bananas add a great flavour to the cakes. Bananas have a great nutritive value too.

      Here is banana cake that comes together with simple ingredients that you’ll always have in your pantry. Serve plain and you’ll enjoy the rich flavour or drizzle with homemade caramel sauce and transform it into a delish dessert. Either way, you will love it.

      Banana Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze
      1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      ¼ teaspoon salt
      1 stick (½ cup) butter at room temperature
      1 cup castor sugar
      1 large free range egg
      ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
      2 medium bananas pureed in a blender
      ½ cup thick slightly sour yogurt (beaten till smooth)
      Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Generously grease one medium size Bundt pan with butter. Dust well with flour so that all the corners and edges are well coated.
      Whisk together first three ingredients in a large bowl.
      In another bowl, beat butter and sugar till pale and puffy. Add egg and mix well. Add pureed bananas, vanilla extract and yogurt.
      Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir till well combined. Do not over mix.
      Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or till the top is golden brown and the cake shrinks form edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
      Remove from the oven and let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
      Invert onto a cooling rack and it let cool completely.
      Drizzle caramel sauce before serving. (Find the recipe of Caramel Sauce Here)

      Note- The cake can also be baked in a regular 8 inch round cake pan. Slice the cake next day the flavours will develop fully and the crumb will be moist and soft.

      Thursday, 16 June 2016

      Salted Caramel Sauce

      It is always great to have salted caramel sauce in your refrigerator. Sweet, sticky, buttery caramel sauce has a unique taste and flavour. Drizzle on ice creams, cupcakes, quick breads, cakes, cookies, sweet buns, scones or just dip your fruits in it. It can transform ordinary sweets into delish desserts. You will even love a spoonful right out of the jar. 
      It is easy to make at home and can sit in the refrigerator for about three weeks.

      Salted Caramel Sauce
      1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
      6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick), cubed
      ½ cup heavy cream (120ml)
      ¾ teaspoon salt
      ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
      Take sugar in a thick bottom pan. Cook over medium heat. Keep stirring with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon.
      Sugar will first become lumpy, but eventually melt and become amber coloured liquid. Keep stirring. 
      Once the sugar melts completely,   becomes uniform in texture and turns golden, add butter and stir till butter melts completely (take care as the caramel is very hot and will bubble while adding butter). Add vanilla extract and salt and mix well.
      Add cream slowly, stirring continuously.
      Let the sauce boil for a minute. Turn off the heat. Let it cool. Store in a clean dry jar.
      You may refrigerate it for three weeks.

      Wednesday, 15 June 2016

      Tomato Herb Focaccia

      Some tomato plants are still surviving the cruel summer in a corner of our backyard. Though they look uncouth and pallid, the plants are being watered religiously and our reward is a batch of very red, tiny and succulent tomatoes that keep appearing in the lanky branches with unfailing regularity.

      Yesterday, while watering the plants, we saw a Crow Pheasant behind the curry leaf shrub. It had water from the bowl and perched itself on the higher branches of Custard apple tree. We heard its call “Oomph, oomp, oomp…..” Crow Pheasant has made a comeback after years. In spite of the rampant concretization, birds visiting our small kitchen garden is a source of great joy and a reason to express gratitude to the Almighty.

      We decided not to disturb it, collected some tomatoes and left immediately.

      Later in the day, a Focaccia was baked with garden fresh Tomatoes and herbs.

      Bread baking is an ecstatic experience. Nothing beats a homemade bread.
      Focaccia is crisp, golden, light, salty & oily Italian flat bread. It is generally topped with herbs and also with cheese, onions and vegetables. Focaccia can be used as a side to meals, as a base for pizza and also as sandwich bread.
      Focaccia pairs really well with soups and stews. It can also be had with simple homemade dips.

      Tomato Herb Focaccia

      2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
      2 ¼ instant dry yeast
      1 ½ teaspoons salt
      3 teaspoons Italian spice mix or 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, thyme and rosemary
      1 teaspoon minced garlic
      4 tablespoons olive oil (2 tablespoons for dough, rest, to oil the bowl and to drizzle)
      1 cup warm water
      ½ tablespoon sugar
      4 cherry tomatoes sliced into half or medium size tomatoes thinly sliced
      Whisk together first six ingredients in a bowl. Use only 2 cups flour.
      In a large bowl, add water and sugar.  Now add dry ingredients and beat till you get a shaggy dough.
      Transfer dough to floured counter, add remaining ½ cup flour slowly  and knead till it becomes soft and plaint- approx. 6 -8 minutes.
      Place dough in a greased bowl and turn around so that it is coated with oil all around. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until double.
      Punch dough and divide into two parts. Place one part on a greased baking tray. Using your fingers, push and press the dough from center to out into a 10-inch circle. Repeat the same with the other half.
      Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise for another 30 to 40 minutes.
      With the finger tips, dimple the top of each focaccia. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Sprinkle salt, herbs and press down tomato slices / halves evenly across the top. Let it sit for 15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
      Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until brown.
      Cool on the rack.

      "Sharing with the Bread Box, hosted by Karen's Kitchen Stories."

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