This savoury wholewheat Herbed Patty Pan Squash Tomato Tart was made almost by chance. The secret ingredients from my partner Shobha Keshwani for the Facebook group Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge for the August ‘baked dish’ theme were flour and pumpkin or squash and I had planned to bake pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips. (more…)
Ingredient: olive oil
I fell in foodie love with these pretty pale green Patty Pan Squash when I visited the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City last week. I paired them with green capsicum in a Patty Pan Squash Mint Soup, and added mint and fresh orange juice for flavour and cumin and pepper powder for a touch of spice. Lovely purple edible hyacinth flowers again from the Greenmarket made a colourful garnish. (more…)
You just have to try this one! Homemade Pita bread (recipe coming up sooon!) with a finger lickin’ simple fresh Lemon Mint Basil Hummus Dip. Its easy to make once you have the chickpeas soaked and boiled, and if you can get hold of pre-cooked chickpeas in a can, then its easy peasy. Soaking and boiling the chickpeas takes time but is not difficult to do, so I would classify the recipe under ‘easy’. The timings given below for this recipe are for making hummus with pre-cooked or canned chickpeas. (more…)
Eye-catching and flavourful cherry and grape tomatoes of different colours and some whole wheat pasta went into this easy and quick Rotini Pasta in Garlicky Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce. The sauce cooks quickly while the rotini is boiling, and the pasta is ready to serve in 15 minutes. Not much chopping and slicing required as the tomatoes are added whole. The cooking times below are assuming that the pasta is set to boil while the sauce is being prepared, and then the cooked pasta is added to the sauce at the end. (more…)
Cooking with cherries is fun. They look gorgeous, taste delicious (you can’t help popping a few into the mouth as you make the preparations, can you?) and manage to appear exotic all while being easy to work with. Except of course for pitting the cherries, which is not a happy task, though I can think of worse things to do (like prepping banana flowers for a traditional South Indian curry). The Fresh Cherry Mint Chutney was worth the little effort needed to pit the cherries, with its sweet and tangy taste and the light flavour of the orange coming through. (more…)
Rice based salads make a great summer’s day lunch: easy to put together, refreshing and and nutritious. And not just summer, its warming on a chill winter evening and just right when its pouring with rain. The Brown Rice Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Asparagus that I made last week was delicious and everyone at home loved it. It is a versatile salad and you could make it with vegetables of your choice. (more…)
At first glance, Shaheen Peerbhai’s (who blogs as Purple Foodie) Roasted Pumpkin Labneh Buckwheat Salad with Pomegranate and Rocket leaves sounds like a cosy winter salad. It is however a light and refreshing summer type of salad with some unlikely ingredients coming together with a medley of colours and flavours. (more…)
Simple to make and an amazingly tasty, classic homemade thin crust Tomato Mozzarella Pizza. The basil leaves and freshly ground pepper take the pizza to another dimension. Try a variant with different toppings, taking you to Pizza Heaven! With tomato basil sauce (link to recipe is given below) the pizza is so easy to put together.
Move over, Dominos, Pizza Hut, et al! Home made Pizza has arrived! Having finally got the hang of making pizza dough at home, weekends have become Pizza dinner days. With my easy tomato basil sauce stocked up in the fridge, along with pizza dough made every 2 weeks or so and frozen till the weekend, it takes 5 minutes to prepare the toppings and spread them on the pizza base. Into the oven and out again in 12 minutes or less.
The recipe below for Pizza dough is adapted from the River Cottage Veg Everyday Cook book’s Magic Bread Dough Recipe. I had earlier followed recipes from Jamie Oliver as well as from the Greens cookbook, but have finally settled down with this recipe for Pizza dough, which I have tweaked for my own use. Jamie’s pizza dough is similar in method to the one below, however as it makes a large quantity of dough, I don’t often use it. The Greens cookbook has a recipe for making pizza dough out of rye flour and wheat flour, and that is something I will be going back to, soon, as I want to shift from all purpose / maida flour to whole wheat flour.
The ingredients listed below may be doubled to make more dough. I wouldn’t advise reducing it to make smaller quantities though, as the proportions for yeast, water and oil may not hold. Some amount of kneading is required, but as this is a soft dough, it is not difficult to knead. And it is good exercise!
The recipe for pizza dough below follows the process of proofing the yeast before adding it to the flour, as this is a practice I invariably follow. The original recipe does not require this to be done as quick blend yeast is suggested, whereas I use active dry yeast.
Dough rising times can vary between 1 hour to 2 or more, depending on the climate as well as the potency of the yeast. Usually when I make the pizza dough at home at Bangalore, the dough doubles in size in under 2 hours.
Similarly, the baking time varies from oven to oven. I usually set my oven temperature at 250 deg C and a thin crust pizza bakes in 10 minutes. Recently when I used another OTG oven where I set the temperature at 240, it took 15- 20 minutes for each Pizza to bake.
For recipes for different pizza toppings, check the links below on this blog:
For the recipe for a Tomato Basil Pizza Sauce on this blog: Easy Tomato Basil Sauce
Till recently, good quality yeast was not easily available in India. Now there are some premium qualities available in Stores that supply ingredients and equipment for Baking, such as Arife, in various cities, and online on Amazon.
My affiliate link for one such Baker’s yeast on Amazon is given below. If you buy through that link, I would earn a small commission on the sale. I only recommend products which I trust.
This easy, 6 ingredient (counting salt, pepper and oil, each as ingredients) Tomato Basil Sauce for Pasta or Pizza is a very basic and simple sauce. I make it about once a month and then freeze it in separate small portions so that there is always a little packet of sauce ready whenever I want to make pasta or pizza.
You need ripe red tomatoes for a good flavourful tomato basil sauce. I use the zero pesticide San Marzano tomatoes supplied by First Agro Farms, and they give me sauce of just the consistency that I need.
The ingredients below give the quantities of fresh basil to be added for the tomato basil sauce, however if dry basil is to be used, please reduce the quantity by half.
There is very little seasoning in the sauce, so depending on what pasta and other ingredients or which pizza you are going to make, the seasoning can be adjusted at that time. Similarly, sliced olives or sliced sautéed mushrooms or zucchini can be added to the basic tomato basil sauce before mixing it with pasta.
The taste and flavours of the tomato basil sauce depend on the quality of the tomatoes and olive oil used, as well as the slow cooking of the sauce. When you use fresh juicy tomatoes and cook the sauce down as in the instructions, making sure you stir it frequently and watch it so it does not catch or brown, you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make a tasty sauce. In fact, less is more in this case.
Once the tomato sauce is all ready, either freshly prepared or in the fridge, dinner takes just 15 minutes – cook the pasta, and meanwhile sauté simple sliced zucchini or mushroom, add the tomato basil sauce and warm it up gently. Toss the pasta into the sauce and grate a little cheese on it – and there you are! Dinner fit for a king, with very little effort and with all the goodness of a homemade sauce.