Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Berrylicious: Raspberry Hazelnut Tea Cake

Raspberry Haselnut Cake Diptych (01) by MeetaK

July has mysteriously vanished and as I head into August I am left to think that never have I had a month zoom past me at the warp speed I experienced this month.

Besides the vacation, the buzz at our household in July was most certainly Soeren starting 1st grade in August. In Germany the beginning of school (not pre-school) is rejoiced with a fete called “Zuckertütenfest”.

To mark this milestone in a child’s life, family and friends are invited to join the festivities. The child gets a “Zuckertüte”, a sugar bag, filled with sweet treats and little toys. To sweeten the hard work they will be doing for a major part of their lives?

Apparently the legend has it that the Zuckertüte grows into a sugar tree! How sweet! Although Soeren just completed pre-school at the International School here in Weimar, the school has taken over this German custom for all their 1st graders too. I love this custom and can hardly wait for my son to start 1st grade, just so that I can plan the party!

Tom and I have been secretly planning, organizing and shopping for school supplies and goodies to fill his Zuckertüte. What fun – almost like Christmas in the middle of summer.

One day, a few weeks ago, as we were picking raspberries at a self-picking farm I asked Soeren what tree does he want his Zuckertüte to grow into. At the spur of the moment he said, with his mouth full of plump red raspberries, “A tree with all my favorite berries on it!”

Raspberry Haselnut Cake (03) by MeetaK

We spent a good deal of our time at the self-picking farm gathering several berries and discussing the exciting path he would be taking. He is rather proud that he will be going to 1st grade as a 5 year old. A week later he turns 6!

Filled with the anticipation, I wanted to treat him with something sweet and berrylicious. Not a berry tree, but a berry cake, packed with juicy, sweet raspberries and nutty hazelnuts. The raspberries tartly kiss the cake, keeping it moist and soft. The whole hazelnuts add a lovely crunchy texture to the cake and plays off beautifully against the tangy tartness of the raspberries.

August will bring much more! Of that I am sure. But we are welcoming August with open arms. Zuckertütenfest and a birthday party are just two things that will be sweetening the new month for us – and whoever turned down sweet treats?

Raspberry Haselnut Cake (05) by MeetaK

Ingredients
Printable version of recipe here.

200g fresh raspberries
160g all-purpose flour
170g sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
150g butter, melted
100g whole hazelnuts, dry roasted

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare a 26 cm long loaf tin by brushing it with a bit of the melted butter and flouring the insides. Tap out any excess flour.

In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs and sugar until creamy and pale.

In a separate bowl sieve the flour and baking powder together, then gently stir it into the egg mixture. Whisk only until the flour has been incorporate. Finally whisk in the melted butter.

Using a rubber spatula fold in 150g raspberries and 50g hazelnuts into the batter.

Pour a layer of the batter into the loaf tin, then layer with the remaining raspberries and hazelnuts. Pour in the rest of the batter into the tin.

Back the cake for 40-50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Take cake out of oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in the tin. Then tip onto a rack and cool.

Tip: If you are baking this cake only for adults drizzle some raspberry brandy onto the cake while it is still warm. ;-)

 


Verdict

  Raspberry Haselnut Cake (01) by MeetaK 

Summertime berry-time! For us berries become a staple food in the summer. I am always trying to incorporate them in recipes be it salads, desserts cookies or cakes. One of our favorite ways to enjoy them is baking them in simple loaves and cakes. I have not re-invented the wheel here, but I do think this cake is a simple way to delight anyone and if you love berries this cake will provide you with pure satisfaction. 

Berries are also on Susan's mind this month, who is hosting Sugar High Friday #45. She picked a theme that any berry lover could not resist: Berries. So Susan are you loving Soeren and my berrylicious cake or what?

You might like these berrylicious creations from WFLH:

 RaspberryRhubarbTrifle 04 framed
Rhubarb Raspberry Trifle
 BerryTropicana01
Tropicana Cream with Summer Berries
DSC_0014.2
Strawberry Almond Muffins

From around the blogs: 
Indian Food Rocks' very berry Blackberry Shrikhand 
Confessions of a Cardamom Addict's scrumptious spiced blueberry-maple syrup
Ammalu's Kitchen's fruity strawberry salad 

Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:

Ayurveda and Food for Skin by Dee of Ammalu's Kitchen

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Spicy Black Sesame Sea Bream with Corn-Coriander Salad

Black Sesame Spicy Sea Bream (01) by MeetaK

Finally the sun came out on Wednesday. After our return from Austria, where the weather was so la-la - a bit of rain, a bit of sunshine, sometimes warm, sometimes cold - I was hoping for a bit more of summer when we came home.

I still had another week off and was planning on spending it with Soeren. But there was no sign of summer anywhere in Weimar either.

However, both of us are creative when it comes to having fun. So, we spent the earlier part of the week going to the library for a book reading, taking in a 3-D movie about dolphins and whales. One of the things I admire about Soeren is his enthusiasm. Before school was out his class went for a visit to the Weimar House. I shamefully had to admit to him that in the 5 years we've been living here, I have not had the opportunity to visit this brilliant museum.

I believe he was in the state of incredulity because I normally am quite pedantic about such important things. The fact that I had not taken an interest in how Weimar came to be, as I am very impressed by this city and it's culture, and had not visited the Weimar House struck him as rather odd. His solution back then was "We'll go when I have my break! I'll show you around."

It was quite exciting to be led through a museum by a five year old and although we were guided through the city's history by Goethe himself, I found Soeren's explanations far more interesting.

BlackSesame SpicySea Bream 03 framed

On Wednesday the sun came out and with it, summer it's full glory. Since then we've been to the ega park, where in between the Japanese gardens and the rose garden, we spent hours at the playground, the farm and the observatory tower. The following day both of us packed a lovely picnic, got our bikes out and went for a lovely long bike ride. We spread out our picnic next to the river below a huge oak tree and while Soeren splashed around in the water I was able to read. Lying on our backs we discovered several cloud animals in the clear blue skies and finally after a little nap we headed into town for our favorite ice-creams.

A lovely week with an exceptional kid. Currently he seems to find fun in reading everything backwards and we have a grand time making up our own language.

This coming week he's spending with his grandparents and I am sure they too will have a ball with him. Me? Oh I am going back to work tomorrow but I am also looking forward to enjoying the time out being single-me again. I love everything about being mummy and cherish every moment spent with my son - but I do love the times when dinner does not have to be done by 6:30 PM or bedtime by 8:00 PM. When I can kick back and eat at 9 PM if I want and go out with Tom and friends on the spur of the moment without having to arrange for a babysitter a few days ahead of time.

But I know I will miss him! Especially in the kitchen where he is my diligent assistant and we've been cooking up a few feasts together. One of them was this fantastic tasting fish.

Sea bream, also known as dorade, is on my top 5 hit list of fish. The delicate white flesh of the sea-bream is succulent and juicy. It is versatile and not only suitable for a wide variety of dishes but also used in several different types of cuisines. It is equally delicious in sashimi, ceviche or simply smoked.

In this recipe I have made a spicy rub with garlic, paprika powder, ground cumin and dried chili flakes, then lightly coated it with black sesame seeds. Served together with a tangy corn-coriander salad, this is a healthy, light and flavorful meal. Perfect for lunch or a light dinner.

BlackSesame SpicySea Bream 04 framed

 

Ingredients
Printable version of recipe here.

Spicy Black Sesame Sea Bream

4 Sea bream/Dorade filets, about 180g each
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 teaspoons paprika powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon red peppercorn, coarsely cracked
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
 

In a small bowl prepare the spice rub by mixing together the garlic, paprika powder, ground cumin, chili flakes and red peppercorns.

Wash, dry and season your fish filets and then generously coat them with the spice rub. Lightly coat in the black sesame seeds. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and pan-fry the fish on each side for 3-4 minutes.

 

Corn-Coriander Salad

450g corn, cooked (alternatively you can use canned corn)
Large bunch of coriander, chopped
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
250g  tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, cubed
1 green chili, finely chopped
3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2.3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

 

In a large salad bowl mix all of the ingredients for the salad, season to taste and toss well. Allow for the flavors to infuse for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Serve the sea bream hot with lime wedges and the corn-coriander salad.

 


Verdict

BlackSesame SpicySea Bream 02 framed

Can it be true? Such a scrumptious meal ready in such a short time. Yes, it is. Meals like this are on the regular menu plan at our home. Simple to prepare and big on taste. All the flavors harmonize se well with each other. The slight sharpness of the chilies fits in so well with the nutty sesame seeds. If you like fish on your tables - you'll love this.

I have joined the Royal Food Joust, a great event, which gets you to cook out of the box. Each month 3 ingredients are picked and assigned. Our jobs is to go off with our thinking caps and create a dish with those ingredients. This month the 3 ingredients were sesame, coriander and fish. What do you think, did i do an acceptable job here?

You might like these fish ideas from WFLH:

AsianStyleTilapia 01 framed
Asian Style Tilapia
TeriyakiSalmon01
Honey Teriyaki Salmon with Mange-Tout
BlackOliveSauceAndTrout02
Trout with Olive Sauce and Lemon Mashed Potatoes
TroutMousse02
Mousse de Truite

Seafood from around the blogs:
80 Breakfast's luscious seafood paella
Live to Eat's spicy sambal shrimps
Tastes like Home's no ordinary hassar curry 
Cook (almost) Anything's crispy green curry fish cakes

Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:
Branching out... or just getting started in the kitchen by Mike of Mike's Table

 

*Note about the pictures: While these pictures are not the first set of pictures I took with my new lights, these are the first to be premiered on WFLH (besides the ones I presented here) using the Lowel EGO lights and my studio.


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bollywood Cooking: Murg Makhani - Creamy Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken (01) by MeetaK

Anyone who is a fan of Indian cuisine will certainly have tried the famous Butter Chicken or murgh makhani (if you are not a Vegetarian). It's on every menu in any Indian restaurant in countries all over the world. Depending on where you are, the taste varies from restaurant to restaurant, even in India itself you'll never find two cooks making the same butter chicken.

The dish originated in the Punjab region of India. Served in the famous street side stalls, Dhabas, the butter chicken found it's way into mainstream restaurant cuisine because of it's creamy, buttery sauce and tender, succulent chicken. It's not surprising that it became so popular.

Butter chicken is prepared by marinating the chicken overnight in a yogurt-spice rub. The Makhani sauce is made with butter, tomatoes, spices and ground almonds among other ingredients. Traditionally the chicken is cooked in a tandoor, and in many restaurants you will find that the meat is still prepared in the clay oven.

As it is often the case, a dish like this simply tastes exquisite when it is prepared at home. Using high quality, free-range and/or local chicken will definitely ensure that you are creating a mouth-watering dish right from the beginning.

You do not need a tandoor to make butter chicken at home. You can make this in an oven-proof dish or a roasting tin. The next best thing to the tandoor is the Römertopf, which is what I used here. 

Hope you enjoy making the famous Punjabi dish at home and find pleasure in the the wonderful aromas and flavors this butter chicken offers.

Butter Chicken (03) by MeetaK

Ingredients

Printable version of recipe here.

1 kg chicken - without skin, boned and cut into bite-size cubes or strips
50ml vegetable oil

For the marinade

300g yogurt
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons red chili powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
Juice from 1 fresh lime
Salt and pepper

For the spice mix

6-8 cloves
10-15 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 small cinnamon stick

For the butter sauce

500 ml chicken stock
Handful of almonds, 20-25, skinned and pureed to a fine paste
3 onions - finely chopped
2 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
50g butter
3-4 tablespoons cream
Handful coriander leaves, chopped

Method


In a large bowl mix all the ingredients for the marinade and mix to incorporate. Add the chicken pieces and coat well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

For the spice mix, dry roast all the spices in a small pan. Finely grind in grinder, food processor or using a pestle and morsel. Set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and sauté the onions with the ginger-garlic paste until the color takes on a golden color. Add the chicken pieces, reserving the marinade, and pan-fry until the meat turns opaque.

Stir in the dry spice mix to the chicken and mix well, then transfer everything into your Römertopf, roasting tin or ovenproof dish. Pour in the chicken stock, cover tightly and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is tender.

Stir in the reserved marinade and bake for a further 15 minutes. Reduce the heat of the oven to 150 degrees C and finally add the almond paste, butter and cream. Put back into the oven and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with fresh rotis, naan or steamed rice.


Verdict

Don't let the ingredient list put you off. The method of preparing the butter chicken is so easy that you'll be licking your fingers for more. If you do not want to prepare the chicken in the oven simply use a pot and prepare the butter chicken on your stove/oven top.

This butter chicken tastes absolutely delightful. By baking in the oven, the meat remains succulent and tender. The sauce has the perfect opportunity to unfold it's incredible aromas and bring out all the flavors. You might have noticed I leave tomatoes and tomato puree out of my recipe. This because I personally think that adding tomato to this delicate dish takes away the attention from the main focus - the chicken and the buttery sauce. The flavor of tomatoes makes the dish tarter, which somehow in my opinion, does not fit here. If you prefer it with tomatoes by all means add a few chopped tomatoes to the chicken when pan-frying it.

For us at home we love it just the way it is.

Good luck and let me know what you thought!

More poultry recipes to try out from WFLH:

TurkeyCaprese01
Turkey Caprese
DSC_0167
Turkey Breast and Roasted Pumpkin
Chicken Curry02
Chicken Curry
Paella01.1
Chicken & Seafood Paella

Chicken from around the blogs:

Steamy Kitchen's best roast chicken recipe
FXCuisine's mouthwatering tandoori chicken
Morsel & Musings' delectable Hungarian paprika chicken
Andrea's Recipes' spicy chicken tikka masala

The Daily Tiffin Reader Tip:
Don't let the bed bugs bite! by Manisha



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monthly Mingle Mango Mania Roundup

MM Mango Mania July 2008-Roundup

It's here - the roundup for Mango Mania! I simply knew that everyone would be joining in on this session of the mingle. Mangoes are so popular and rarely do I come across a person who does not like this sensational fruit. So I know you are here because you love mangoes are you ready for the Mango Mania?

We had 70 entries from around the world. Sweet, savory, heavenly, and delicious mangoes in every possible way. If you love your mango then bookmark this for future reference.

I've sorted the entries out in various categories and hope that this will be easier when looking for something specific. You'll be able to find this roundup and a list of all our previous mingles on the Monthly Mingle page. Pictures of all the entries can be found in the Mango Mania picture gallery.

Salads, Soups & Sides

  1. Curry Bazaar: Manga Perukku
  2. My Culina Sanctuarium: Vietnamese Mango Salad
  3. Culinary Adventures of a New Wife: Mango Crab Salad Wonton Cups
  4. MyGourmetConnection - Recipes: Mango-Kaffir Gazpacho
  5. Live to Cook: Mango Salsa
  6. Beyond The Usual: Mangai vathal Kuzhambu
  7. Just Get Floury: Ginny's Mango-Avocado Salsa
  8. Recipe Center: Instant Mango Pickle
  9. Heart and Hearth: Steamed Kang Kong (Water Spinach) with Mango

Mains

  1. FotoCuisine: Sriracha Glazed Scallops with Bacon Mango Risotto
  2. Dhanggit's Kitchen: Rolled Turkey Escalopes in Walnut Pesto and Mango Orange Sauce
  3. Spice Club: Grilled Mango Shrimp
  4. Mike's Table: Crab Quesadillas with Mango Avocado Salsa
  5. Tasty treats: Stir fried Chicken with Mango
  6. Samaithu Paarkalaam: Mango Chicken

Gravies & Curries

  1. For the Cook in Me: Raw Mangoes & Coconut Gravy
  2. Jugalbandi: Moru Kachiyathu (Spiced Buttermilk) with Green Plantain and Mango
  3. Wandering Chopsticks: Malaysian Mango Chicken Curry
  4. Mane Adige: Raw Mango Curry

Snacks

  1. Archy's Recipe Book: Charmuri/ Masal Mandakki
  2. Feeding Maybelle: Croque Shrimati (Fancy Grilled Cheese and Mango Sandwich)

Breads & Loafs

  1. Ammalu's Kitchen: Mango Bread
  2. Indian vegetarian kitchen: Eggless Mango Bread
  3. What's For Lunch, Honey?: Ginger Mango Bread

Sweet Tooth

  1. Food-n-More: Mango Strawberry Trifle
  2. Closet Cooking: Mango and Rhubarb Crumble
  3. Joelen's Culinary Adventures: Mango Lychee Ice Cream
  4. Aroma!: Mango Cream Jello
  5. Naina's Recipes: Mango Panna Cotta
  6. Vadani Kaval Gheta: Vegan Mango Mousse
  7. Singing Chef: Mango Kulfi
  8. Payt Pooja: Mango Trifle
  9. Ramya Bala: Mango Muffins
  10. Fusion: Misty Mango Delight
  11. [eatingclub] vancouver: Mango Crêpes with Creamy Avocado Filling and Lime-Caramelized Mangoes
  12. Asan Khana: Mango Shrikhand
  13. vanille & chocolat: Coconut tapioca soup with mango sorbet, passion fruit, cilantro syrup and coconut tuiles
  14. Fresh from The Oven: Summer Mango Tart
  15. Me and My Kitchen: Mango Fruit Custard
  16. My Kitchen Stories: Mango Almond Muffins
  17. La Gourmet Chef: Mango Delight Ice-Cream
  18. Make Life Sweeter!: Mango Mousse Mirror Cake
  19. Rina's Recipes: Mango Pudding with Lime Jello Topping
  20. Addicted Sweet Tooth: Coconut Mango Tartelettes
  21. Few Minute Wonders: Mango Fruit Salad
  22. Apple Pie, Patis, and Pâté: Mangoes and Cream
  23. Cooking from A to Z: Mango Yogurt Ice with Agave Nectar
  24. Live to Eat: Mango Coconut Panna Cotta
  25. Spice and Curry: Almond Mango Kulfi
  26. Enjoy Indian Food: Aamras
  27. Cookingetcetera: Mango Peach Sorbet
  28. My Food Blog: Mango Jam with Cumin
  29. KonkanWorld: Mango Ricotta Burfi
  30. Lilandra: Mango Sorbet
  31. Isha's Kitchen: Fat Free Frozen Mango Yogurt
  32. Morsels & Musings: Mango Frozen Yoghurt
  33. Ahaar: No Bake Mango Pie
  34. Plantain Leaf (Andhra Recipes): Mango Payasam
  35. Tongueticklers: Mango banana frangipane tart

Drinks & Coolers

  1. Charche Chauke Ke: Yellow Ice Cream Shake
  2. For Spicy Lovers: Mango Lassi
  3. Paajaka Recipes: Mango Lassi
  4. Spicy Khazana: Mango Fruit Punch
  5. Curry In Kadai: Mango, Peach & Strawberry Milkshake
  6. Illatharasi: Mango Milkshake
  7. Siri's Corner: Mango Lassi
  8. Madam Chow's Kitchen: Mango Passionfruit Lassi
  9. Passionate About baking...& beyond: Green Mango Cooler
  10. Easy Cooking: Mango Smoothie
  11. Vegetable Platter: Mango Lassi

If I've missed your entry please leave me a comment here on the post and I'll update it as soon as possible.

Keep track of the Monthly Minlge as it wanders across the World using the MM Calendar. If you'd like to guest host the MM drop me an email. We've still got room in September 2009 and November 2009! The calendar for 2009 will be going up shortly


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Monday, July 21, 2008

How Do You Like Your Chicken?

 

The first question here should be - what kind of chicken am I looking for? Many of you know already know that I put a lot of care and effort in my cooking. My recipes are always prepared with care, thought and love. The best ingredients for a tasty dish. However, my food is not simply put together in the kitchen - I already start the "cooking" in my head when I write up my shopping list. I give a lot of thought to the types of products that make their way into my shopping cart.

I support organic products, CSA, free-range and my local Farmer's Market with a passion. That's my quality seal! I do it not because I am a food snob. I do it because I know it tastes better, it is healthier and I do it because, as a meat eater, I want to be sure that the dish I have prepared is not from an animal that has been tormented.

Note: Now before a few of you die-hard Vegetarians and Vegans start to crucify me with your usual comments (I've had them often enough on this blog), just remember it is my choice to eat meat. Please do not judge my character and my entire background (as it has happened previously) by this fact.

I am responsible for the meat I eat and because I have made the choice to eat meat, just like all of the other ingredients, I want to make sure it comes from a "good" source.

Chicken is the main meat source in our kitchen. A battery chicken or eggs from a battery hen will never make it's way into my kitchen, because it goes against all my beliefs. And I am willing to pay the extra cent. That is why I am supporting Kate's awareness event Let Them Eat Chicken. A little late but she kindly invited to join me in the after-dinner party.

Later this week check back for the wonderful recipe of this popular, creamy Indian chicken dish.

But I ask you how do you like your chicken?


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Announcements: Monthly Mingle, Tried & Tasted, Times of India and Home

Austria 02 framed

This is a sneak peak of my travelogue to Austria - coming soon!

I'm back home after a fantastic week in the Austrian Alps. We had a fantastic time trekking, climbing and taking in the breathtaking sights of the Alps. It was a powerful active vacation and I'll tell you all about it soon.

But before all that I need to inform you all about a few important things.

Monthly Mingle

The roundup to MM Mango Mania is the next thing on my "to do" list. I hope to have it up by the beginning of the week. I know I have been miserable at commenting and replying on all the entries and emails this time but July has been a hectic month. Nothing bad just plain busy - planning and executing two major events for work at the beginning of the month and then planning and executing the most active vacation I have ever been on really took most of my time. In between I was testing my new studio and lights and of course dealing with the Times of India copyright violation. More on that below. So, I hope you all bear with me and as I work my way towards the roundup I will answer and comment on each entry.

Monthly Mingle - Grill It!

mm-grill-it-august-2008

The next Monthly Mingle is being hosted over at my dearest and wildest blogger buddy's place, Sig of Live to Eat. Sig is getting us to celebrate the last few weeks of summer with a huge Barbecue party and asks us to Grill It! 

I love grilling and BBQs and find myself experimenting more and more with different ingredients. Especially fruit and vegetables have been high on my grilling faves this year. I am always on the look out for great new ideas and recipes, so I am hoping you all will join in and party with Sig and me this MM!

How it works:

  1. Post a dish cooked on the grill (or can be adapted for the grill) in your blog by the deadline 15th August 2008
  2. Link your post to Sig's announcement and the main Monthly Mingle page to encourage more readers to join in the fun.
  3. You can send in as many entries as you like!
  4. Older entries on blogs can be accepted only if they are republished with a link-back to this announcement.
  5. Feel free to use the logo above.
  6. Use the entry form here to send your entries in.
  7. If you have any questions, send me an e-mail to MailLiveToEat(at)gmail.com

See you there!

Tried & Tasted

T&T-WhatsForLunchHoney

The lovely Zu of Zlamushka's Spicy Kitchen hosts a fantastic and challenging event called Tried & Tasted. The idea behind the event is simply great, Zu chooses a blog and we all are challenged to make a dish from the featured blogger.

This month, I am the featured blogger and throughout July you are challenged to make anyone of the recipes you find here. So, are you up to the challenge? I have had several emails already asking me about various recipes. I have done my best to answer all of them and hope I managed to clear up unclarities, find ingredients substitutes and basically offer moral support ;-). So, if you are browsing through my archives this month and require any further information, just drop me a line.

I am so looking forward to this roundup! To take part all you have to do is follow the simple rules found here.

Times of India

I was really overwhelmed by your support and feedback on the open letter I wrote to the Times of India. I learned many interesting facts about the paper.

While I did not get a response from TOI, I did get a very interesting mail from a journalist, who has sent the link to my post to several journalists on his mailing list, some of them work at the TOI. There are certainly things happening behind the scenes and this gave me an idea too. After all I too am in charge of PR for the university here and our Media faculty has a very large and powerful PR distribution list. I am sure some of you will see where I am going with this.

Although I do not expect much happening from the people at TOI themselves, I am going to use some of your advice. Publicize it! However, I am not going to scream "thief!" even if that is exactly what the trashy Times Of India are. I am going to do this in my own way.

The honest truth is that I was planning on leaving it at the open letter. But there have been a few mails that have made me re-think the issue and I want to deal with this and take it to the next level.

I do want to let you all know that this incident has not ruined my joy and passion for photography and blogging. While corresponding with Nupur on the matter, her email hit me in the right spot. In short: she told me that no one can take away my creativity. And that's how I see it - I am still going to share my passion with you and hope you will carry on motivating and supporting me in the wonderful way you already do.

Thanks to each and everyone of you!


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Open Letter To The Times of India

Dear Editor in Chief, Ms. Meenal Baghal and Ms. Sudipta Basu,

I am writing this letter to you as an open letter on my website, as I have no way of getting the desired response from your team.

As you can imagine I am extremely irritated and frustrated at the lack of response or help I have received from your team for a matter that any leading newspaper should take seriously.

I was informed by a reader that your supplement the Pune Mirror illegally stole one of my photographs from my blog and published it in their section YOU on May 8th. Not only did they have the audacity to crop the picture so that my watermark and copyright statement, which is printed on each one of my pictures, is obscured, they also simply copied and pasted my text from the article. A true case of copyright violation.

Beetroot (03x) by MeetaK

Original Photo "Crimson Beetroot" from this post dated March 13, 2008

So, I ask you, is this how you do daily business over at the Times of India? One would expect a lot more from one of India's leading daily newspapers. How is it possible for you to be taken seriously internationally? I cannot ever imagine The New York Times or The Washington Post ever stooping to such petty theft. They would have had the dignity to actually ask – I might have just said yes if you had taken the time.

But you choose to steal, not only my pictures but also several other bloggers' pictures. However, what you probably did not realize is that we as Food Bloggers are a close knit community and we talk. We are aware that the Mumbai Mirror, also one of your supplements, simply lifted her pictures too.

The worse part of the story is that you do not even respond to our mails. We have written to Ms. Meenal Baghal and Sudipta Basu on several occasions, with no serious actions taken. One just tried to push the blame on the other. How shameful to see how you place customer care!

I have been trying for over 2 months to deal with this situation privately without making this issue public. However, I kept hitting against hard walls. I hope this letter will make you take notice, maybe even make your Board of Directors also take notice and if nothing else at least others will be informed of how you choose to do business.

For me after this experience your newspaper belongs in the trash for lack of creativity, lack of dignity, lack of honesty, and lack of true journalism.

Meeta Khurana


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Friday, July 11, 2008

Flavors: Ginger Mango Bread

Mango Ginger Bread (02) by MeetaK

A short post today. I was planning on something more elaborate for this post but, I am busy. See I am in the midst of packing!

Tomorrow morning we'll be heading towards Austria for a long awaited family vacation. It's been long since we all had some time together, without work, school and family issues everyday. A much needed R&R!

Before I go I did want to leave you something to nibble on though. It would be bad if you came here in my absence and found nothing to indulge in. What can I say? I'm crazy about you all. ;-)

How does this wonderful moist loaf look to you? It's filled with juicy and sweet mango chunks, plump yellow Iranian raisins I brought back from Dubai, spiced with ginger and cinnamon.

When my son says "Mum, we have not baked together for ages!" I know this is his way of saying he needs some one on one time with me. So we put on our aprons and look for the perfect recipe. This time we found the ideal cake in the ever resourceful cookbook from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours. The book is our bible and this time Soeren actually walked into the room with the book tucked under his arms. "Mum we need to bake a cake together!" he said. Yes we do!

A luscious mango ginger bread for the Monthly Mingle this month. We're celebrating Mango Mania. Hope you will be joining us too. To everyone who have sent in their entries - I have been slacking behind with my replies. Please do forgive me. But when I return I will catch up on that and then post the roundup.

You can easily keep track of the Monthly Mingle by visiting the MM Calendar. Next stop is Sig from Live to Eat. Watch out for the announcement on the weekend of 19/20 July.

In the meantime have a great week. Check back next week as I've scheduled a serious post regarding the Times of India!


Ingredients
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours)
Printable version of recipe here.

Mango Ginger Bread (01) by MeetaK

250g all purpose flour
190g fine sugar
3 eggs
180ml canola oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
100g brown sugar
1 large ripe mango, cubed
115g plump golden raisins

Optional
Icing/confectioner's sugar


Method

Preparation
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 180 degrees C. Butter  and flour a loaf pan (21.6 cm x 11.4 cm), tapping out the excess flour. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet. You can alternatively us two normal baking sheets or simply wrap the loaf pan with thick aluminum foil. This keeps the bottom of the bread from overbaking.

In a clean mixing bowl whisk the eggs and oil together.

In separate, larger bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add the brown sugar, breaking up any lumps with your fingers.

Pour in the wet ingredients over the dry, then using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon mix until incorporated. The batter is very thick so do not be alarmed. The texture is more like a dough rather than a batter, which might take some time to mix. Keep at it and it will all come together.

Stir in the mangoes and raisins. Finally scrape out the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake the bread for 1 1/2 hours or until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. If you find the bread is getting too dark, simply cover the top with a sheet of baking paper or loosely with a foil tent.

Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the bread to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.

Sieve some of the icing sugar on top and serve!

  • This bread tastes even better the next day. A night to allow the flavors of the fruit and spices to infuse gives the bread more aroma and body.

Storing: Wrapped in plastic wrap or stored in a air-tight container the bread will keep for 4-5 days at room temperature (and taste better each day!).


Verdict

Mango Ginger Bread (03) by MeetaK

Nothing could be better than fruity and sweet mangoes paired with aromatic spices and then mixed in a heavenly batter and baked. Wow! This was too good - so good that it simply was all gone far too fast. This has become a regular loaf in my baking repertoire. I've experimented with substituting cardamom for the cinnamon or even apricots for the mangoes. All work great - however I am partial to mangoes ;-)

A little bring along for Sia who is hosting this month's Weekend Breakfast Blogging, brainchild of the lovely Nandita of Saffron Trail. Sia's theme is summer perfect as she calls us to celebrate a Summer Feast. Feast on this!

You might enjoy these summer feasts too:

CocoMangoSoup04
Coco Mango Soup
DSC_0058
Peas and Lettuce Salad
FigsInCherryCaramel 02
Figs in Cherry Caramel
GrilledPeach 02
Grilled Peach with Eucalyptus Honey Yogurt and Roasted Almonds

 

Summer food from around the blogs:

Alpineberry's fruity Summer Fruit Torte
Coffee & Vanilla's hot Summer Fruit Muffins
Passionate about Baking's sensational Peach Mango ice Cream
Kalyn's Kitchen's spectacular Mango Salsa



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What A Girl Wants!

DSC_0001 

It's not only shoes and handbags that make my heart beat faster you know! I am a bit of a technic freak. I like gadgets and can figure out how to program the DVD faster than any man I know. My man knows exactly where to hit my soft spot and make me weak at the knees.

I have been dying to share this with you all. For my birthday he presented me with the most sensational present a girl could want. A girl like me who's passion for photography is growing at a rapid rate, turning into an obsession.

We have a huge attic - just a lot of space being used basically as a place to store our files, winter clothes, seasonal decorations hang out the washing that kind of stuff. But because it's so huge there is a lot of wasted space. I have always wanted to set up a little corner for myself up there but there is very little natural light coming through. How often have I wished we had larger windows up there, it would make the perfect little studio for me. A place where I could just spend time playing around and not having to clear up after myself.

When I started working full time again I was struggling to really experiment. Most of my photography was done on the weekend between lunch, homework and the washing. It was getting kind of tiring. Tom then put a worm in my ear - he asked "Why don't you just invest in studio lights! This way you won't be so dependent on the sun!" That was it! This little worm kept eating away in my head. I read about several lighting series and sets. Until I finally found the perfect one. The Lowel Ego was just perfect for my needs and I began my search to get it here. However, I was unable to find any retailers here in Germany that sold it. I could not order it from Amazon.com, where the exact set I was looking for can be obtained because it could not be delivered to Germany.

My motivation was a bit deflated and I left the topic to rest for a while.

It was finally gorgeous Jaden you gave me the final push. I read her article about the Lowel Ego Lights for Food Photography and found the perfect partner to deliver my lighting sets. I had a short discussion with Jaden and she confirmed that B&H Photo in New York were quite dependable. Not only that but the set was cheaper there than at Amazon! Well so began my journey - I contacted them and asked them for advice on their Lowel EGO set. They were extremely helpful in every possible way. They even pointed out that as I lived in Europe I should make sure I get the Lowel EGO 220-240V AC and answered all my questions promptly.

The only complaint I had was not being able to pay with Paypal. As I live outside the US they wanted my credit card. It was a bit of a bummer but in the end I still went with it. Once I had that decided and Tom got wind of it, what I did not know, he secretly together with Soeren went to work up in the attic.

Tom actually locked the attic and told me he had misplaced the keys!! I was thinking how crazy is that and planning on getting someone over to break open the door. But then Soeren told me "mum take it easy - you'll ruin everything!"

DSC_0003

I think he actually heard it go click in my head, because he just winked and giggled. After that he was like a hawk. If I even went anywhere near the staircase leading up to the attic he would come up and ask where I was going.

Well finally my birthday came and the wait was over. I was lead into the attic and this fantastic little place was unveiled for me. My own studio folks - I have my own studio now.

All my props, backgrounds and other bits and pieces are all in one place. No running around the whole house getting my stuff together. Two weeks ago my Lowel EGO lights arrived, delivered within four day. I was so excited to test them out. I quickly put them together and discovered that one of the bulbs was not working. A quick call to the service team at B&H and I had my new bulb in 3 days flat!! Perfect.

I could not test the lights out straight away as we had a few functions and workshops at work that week. The following week I spent a large part of my evenings in my studio. Here are a few of the first shots I took.

Figs in Cardboard Box (02) by MeetaK

Vanilla Caramel Figs (01) by MeetaK

Ever since then I have taken quite a few pictures. Playing and testing around. Jaden has been wonderful and is giving me several valuable tips on how to create different moods with just a few tricks.

I really want to thank you Jaden for the motivation and spirit with advising me on this.

To anyone who is thinking about getting a studio light system I can very highly recommend the Lowel EGO. They are light, flexible and look good. I love the fact that they can be adjusted in a few different positions to give a different light. They also can be screwed on top of any tripod to give your shot raised lighting, when shooting from the top. The set comes with 2 Lowel EGOS, four light bulbs, a sweep, two reflectors and 10 colored papers sheets to use as backgrounds. Furthermore, I would not recommend any other retailer than B&H Photo. They offer efficient service, are quick to respond to any queries and have a no hassle exchange process.

No, you won't only be seeing photographs using these lights on WFLH from now on! I still have over 100 photos in my archives that have been taken in natural lighting and I still plan to carry on taking pictures using natural light whenever it is possible. However, it's just great to know I can come up here in the evenings and shoot away.

I think I will caption the photos or posts in which I have used the Lowel EGO lights. This way you might be able to compare and see the differences.

I am still learning how to use the Lowel EGO so, if there is anyone out there who has more tips and tricks, or other resources I would love to hear your feedback and opinions.


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Monday, July 07, 2008

Perfect Parfait: Strawberry Pistachio Frozen Parfait

Strawberry Pistachio Parfait (01) by MeetaK

 

What a treat on a hot, sweltering day. I am an ice-cream girl throughout the year. But I especially enjoy them in the summer. In the summer, that's when the Farmer's Markets display their colorful bounties on display. Each stall is simply bursting with fresh ripe fruit and berries. All screaming at me to take them home and with a wave of my wooden spoon and a buzz of my ice-cream maker to turn them into gorgeous, cool desserts. 

I tell you it is a tough decision. Apricots, peaches, mangoes, figs or berries - I really have to pull my inner brakes on my imagination. My brain is already in 6th gear, making up all kinds of desserts and I am panicking because I cannot buy my ingredients as fast!

Finally, my eyes caught a glimpse of perfect strawberries. Baskets and baskets - all lined neatly in several rows, creating a vivid sea of red. Oh and the aroma was heavenly - the pure sweetness that lingered in the air was addicting. No wonder I came back with about 2 large baskets.

It was the week I had my birthday. I was busy planning a few little get-togethers and making several desserts. On the weekend I ended the party week marathon with a big barbeque dinner and this simply perfect parfait. As it had been an extremely hot and sunny week I think I hit all the right notes with this dessert. The strawberries were put to perfect use. Initially I had planned on putting my ice cream maker to use to make a creamy ice cream. I was probably still on the sugar shock I was suffering from that week and my adrenaline was on it's all time high. I felt like making a more elegant version of strawberry ice-cream.

Pistachios add a delicious crunch and pureed strawberries lend their heavenly aroma to this dessert. It's creamy, it's nutty, it's fruity and it's frozen. What more could you ask for?


Ingredients
Printable version of recipe here.

Strawberry Pistachio Parfait (02) by MeetaK

80-90g skinned pistachios
500g fresh strawberries, roughly chopped + 100g, sliced
80g sugar
400g cream
100g icing sugar
5 egg yolks
15g vanilla sugar


Method

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a piece of baking paper.

Dry roast the pistachios in a pan. Remove from heat. In the same pan add 4 tablespoons water and sugar and allow to caramelize. Once the caramel turns a gorgeous amber color add the roasted pistachios and stir to coat with the caramel. 

Quickly turn out the pistachios on the baking sheet and allow to cool. Finally, coarsely chop the pistachio brittle.

Puree 500g strawberries using a pureeing machine. The consistency of the puree is entirely up to you. I prefer to have large strawberry bits in the parfait, not only because it looks nice but tastes great. Stir in 30g of icing sugar.

Place a mixing bowl on a pot of boiling water to create a water bath. With and electric hand mixer, whisk the eggs and the remaining 70g icing sugar into a thick, creamy mixture. Remove from the water bath and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

In a clean bowl, beat the cream with the vanilla sugar until stiff.

First pour in the strawberry puree into the egg mixture, followed by the pistachio brittle and finally fold in the cream.

Line a rectangle cake form with a large freezer bag cut to fit the form. Pour in the parfait mixture and allow to freeze overnight.

On the day you plan to serve the parfait, take out of the refrigerator and allow to sit for a few minutes. The tip it onto a chopping board, removing the plastic bag. Cut into slices and serve arranged with sliced fresh strawberries and optionally a few mint leaves.


Verdict

Strawberry Pistachio Parfait (03) by MeetaK

Fancy ice-cream I admit but worth the effort. My guests all had double portions, I think I myself had three!! It's just different than strawberry ice-cream because a frozen parfait is - well the elegant sister of the strawberry ice cream. The pistachio brittle are a nice crunchy surprise giving the cool, smooth parfait another texture. C'est parfait!

The very magnificent Mike of Mike's Table is very appropriately holding a fantastic event: You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts! So, let's all shout out load! Check out the roundup - I promise it'll be a very cooling one ;-)

You might enjoy these frozen delights from WFLH too:

CherrySemifredo01
Cherry Semifredo Cake
ApricotPistachioIceCream01
Fruity Apricot and Nutty Pistachio Ice Cream
GingerLemonIceCream01
Fresh Ginger and Tangy Lemon Ice Cream
RaspberryDarkChocolateIceCream03
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

 

From around the blogs:

Tartelette's mouthwatering Banana Raspberry Frozen Parfait
A Cat in the Kitchen's sinfully good frozen stracciatella cake with fudge sauce
Tasty Palette's very red watermelon granita
Live to Eat's lovely orange blueberry granita with a hint of ginger

Reminder!

MM Mango Mania July 2008-250px The Monthly Mingle is in full swing this month with Mango Mania. I am enjoying your fantastic ideas and creations. Hope the rest of you will join us experimenting with this lovely fruit.

Joining the party is easy. Create a mango dish and post it on your blog by July 14 and send it on over to me. You will find more details here.

Deadline: 14 July 2008



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Friday, July 04, 2008

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Nutella & Mangoes

Mango Nutella Pancakes (01) MeetaK

Having the house full of kids for play afternoons is a lot of fun, hectic but fun! I remember my own play afternoons when my friends would come over and mum had arranged several exciting games, quizzes and films for us to watch. But what I remember the most is how all my friends thought my mum was the coolest mum in the neighborhood!

My friends always looked forward to the play afternoons at our place. Then they knew that over pitchers of KoolAid, they would indulge in delicious chocolate chip cookies and a few cakes like this and this! They also knew that my mum would think of the most wild things for us to do.

Remember Grease? Well we were totally into the film. John Travolta and Olivia Newton John were our heroes and we wanted to be just like them. One afternoon when we came home from school my mum had set up a few tables in the backyard and rows of chairs. It all looked like a catwalk or stage of some sort with chairs facing the stage.

On the backyard door she had pinned a poster with “The Grease Show. Entry 25 cents!” written in the famous Grease font.

You can imagine how flabbergasted we were when she told us she had invited several of our neighbors and we were to perform to the music of Grease. She had set up a portable stereo and knew we did not need to practice, because in our free time we did nothing but dance and sing to the soundtrack of Grease.

On the other side of the yard she had arranged a table laid with cookies, fruit, cakes and those pitchers of KoolAid.

Wasn’t she the best? Well John Travolta and Olivia would have turned green with envy that afternoon because we put on the best show anyone had ever seen. For me she already was the coolest mum but after that day she won the hearts of each kid on that stage.

When Soeren came along my mum would joke with me and say “See if you can take the title of the coolest mum!”

I could never be as cool as her. However, I do hear things like "Boy, your mum is nice!" or "Your mum always has great food around!" or even "I like your mum she's so neat!"

Then one day I got it! I actually got the honor of being crowned the "coolest mum!" And it was for something as normal as whole wheat pancakes, Nutella and mangoes! Go figure!


Ingredients
Printable version of recipe here.

Mango Nutella Pancakes (03) by MeetaK

Basic pancake Recipe
Makes 4 pancakes

150g whole wheat flour
350ml milk
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
Butter

Baking the pancakes

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, milk and salt to a smooth mixture. Set aside for 15 - 20 minutes, allowing the batter to soak through.

Then add the eggs and incorporate into the batter.

To bake the pancakes allow a teaspoon of butter to melt in a hot non-stick pan. Add enough of the batter to cover the base of your pan. Bake for a few minutes until the top sets, then using a spatula flip. Bake this side until golden, then flip again to bake the other side.

Make sure you give your batter a good whisk before you bake it.

Cover each pancake after you have baked them in some foil to keep them warm.

Additional

A jar of Nutella
1 large ripe, juicy mango, cut into chunks
Pistachios, chopped

Assembling the pancakes

Place one of the pancakes on a chopping board and generously smother one side with Nutella. If the pancake is still warm the Nutella will start to melt slighty, which is what we want.

Place a few mango chunks on one half of the pancake and cover with the other half making a sandwich. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

Perfect Pancake Pointers:

Everyone can bake pancakes, but a few tips will give your pancakes the right elasticity, a gorgeous golden color, make it crispy and low in extra fat and calories.

  1. Beat the hell out of them! For great spongy texture whisking your pancakes is absolutely vital. While your whisk is beating the batter, the gluten in the wheat has a chance to unfold, allowing the gaps between it to be soaked up with liquid. So the more you beat it the more elastic and spongy your pancakes will be.
  2. Take a beak! For 15 to 20 minutes you have time to enjoy a cup of tea, because it takes this amount of time for your batter to soak through. During this time the the flour soaks itself up with liquid so that you have a smooth, homogeneous mixture.
  3. If you want your pancakes to be light and spongy add a bit of aerated water to the batter. The gas in the water acts like a propellant and guarantees lovely fluffy pancakes.
  4. Use a non-stick pan to bake the pancakes. It is easier to flip the pancakes without them sticking and you use less fat to bake them. A tiny spoon of butter is more than enough. Furthermore, as a non-stick pan hinders the pancake from burning fast - you do not need to wipe it clean after each pancake. 


Verdict

Mango Nutella Pancakes (02) by MeetaK

Watching Soeren and a few of his friends discuss issues important to 6 year olds with the earnest of 40 year olds always blows me away and cracks me up. During these pancakes the issue was the depth of the moat they had built around their sand castle. We discussed it in the finest detail and we came up with the perfect solution. When they finally cleared away the dishes, I heard one of the boys gingerly say "Your mum is the coolest - not only does she make great pancakes she is an architect too!" The rest chimed in consent. I could not help it - I had to call my mum and tell her the crown was mine!

This is heading on over to to Susan for her Pancake Parade. Be sure to check out the roundup because I am sure there will be a huge variety of great pancakes.

The lovely Zu of Zlamushka's Spicy Kitchen has given me the honor of featuring WFLH in her awesome event Tried & Tasted. She makes me blush when she describes my blog as being dedicated to "festive love food". Zu is a person full of life and esprit and her blog shows her excitement for life. If you have not visited it yet please take a minute and check it out. In the meantime for all those who will be browsing the pages of this blog for the next few weeks, let me welcome you in advance and say I am really excited  to have you over. I am so looking forward to the roundup - nervous, curious and jittery all in one.

I missed the deadline for last month's Click for Bri but I think it is never to late to do something good for a cause. This was a vital cause. I did Click Yellow last month and so did many of you. It was lovely to see the blog world turn yellow for Bri and so I thank you along with everyone else for this. It would not have happened if you all did not have a wonderful kind heart!

Mango (02) by MeetK

 

Talking about mangoes don't forget:

MM Mango Mania July 2008-250px The Monthly Mingle is in full swing this month with Mango Mania. I am enjoying your fantastic ideas and creations. Hope the rest of you will join us experimenting with this lovely fruit.

Joining the party is easy. Create a mango dish and post it on your blog by July 14 and send it on over to me. You will find more details here.

Deadline: 14 July 2008



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First