Pumpkin and Carrot Soup

If winter had a fragrance, this would be it…

There’s a real chill in the air these days. A perfect reason to stock up on vegetables and make soups to last for days. After all there is nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup on a cold night, watching Netflix wrapped up in a blanket. 

I am a big fan of combining different vegetables and spices whilst making soup. Take this soup for instance, pumpkin and carrot are combined with cinnamon and ginger. Now if winter had a   fragrance this would be it. Cinnamon brings out the sweetness in pumpkin and ginger, while ginger gives the soup a really earthiness. I don’t even have to begin to tell you the health benefits of these ingredients. Let’s just say it’s like winning a jackpot of good health.

So without further ado here’s the recipe.

Ingredients: 18  Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Half a pumpkin, peeled and cubed (I used Kent pumpkin)
  • Four medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped 
  • One medium sized onion, sliced
  • Three to four pods of garlic, chopped
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated 
  • One large cinnamon stick 
  • Two bayleaves
  • Half a teaspoon of rosemary leaves
  • Half a teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • Half a teaspoon of cumin powder
  • Salt to season 
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1.25 ltr of stock or water

For the garnish 

  • Sage leaves
  • Small piece of ginger
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil 
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt (optional)

Heat oil in a crockpot. Add garlic, once aromatic add onion, ginger, bay leaves and cinnamon. Cook on medium heat for three to four minutes. 


Now add pumpkin and carrots, followed by all the dried herbs and spices. Mix well, cover the pot and cook on a medium heat for five to seven minutes.

Add water or stock, cover the pot and let the soup simmer for 20 to 30 minutes on a medium heat. 


Now take out the bayleaves and cinnamon stick. Season with salt as required and blend the soup. Add the bayleaves and cinnamon stick back in the soup. Cover the pot again and let the soup simmer again for five to ten minutes.

To prepare the garnish, mix olive oil, sage and smashed ginger in a skillet. Heat until aromatic. Keep aside.

Your lip smackingly delicious soup is ready to be served. Ladle a generous serve into a bowl, glaze it with the sensational sage and ginger oil, add a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and finally top with toasted sesame seeds. Serve with some toasted sourdough bread. Aaahhh!!!! Heaven.

Sweet potato and lentil soup 

The soup season is here…

  

Today I don’t really have a story and nor did I attempt any artistic photos last night while making this pot of healthy goodness. What I do have is a cracker of a soup recipe!

Imagine your kitchen coming to life with the alluring aromas of cinnamon, garam masala and bayleaves. This soup packs a punch in the flavour department and will most certainly kick the butt of any cold or related ailments the onset of winter may bring with it.

  

Even my husband who dislikes curry based soups (yeah go figure, loves curry but not curry flavoured soups) went back for seconds. SammyK totally demolished his soup bowl and let out a ferocious victory growl as all that pepper tickled his throat. Yes sir! We are a family that loves our herbs and spices.

So without further ado here’s the recipe for this beauty.

Ingredients: 15   Cooking time: 45 mins

Serves: 4

  • One sweet potato, peeled and cubed 
  • 250 gms of split green lentils
  • 400ml of light coconut milk
  • One small lemon
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • A thumbsized piece of ginger, grated
  • One cinnamon stick
  • Two bayleaves
  • One teaspoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon pepper
  • Half teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Salt to season 
  • Four tablespoons of olive oil
  • Four tablespoons of yogurt (optional)
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Heat oil in a crockpot. Add cinnamon stick. Once aromatic add onions and grated ginger. Cook until onion is translucent. Now add sweet potatoes and mix well.

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Now add the lentils, garam masala, pepper, chilli flakes (leave some for garnish), bay leaves. Mix well till all the ingredients are coated with the spices. Then about a litre of water or vegetable stock. Cover the saucepan and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes. 

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Now add juice of half a lemon, mix well. Finally add coconut milk. Give the pot a real good stir and let the soup simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes on low heat. To finish off the soup mash the lentils and sweet potatoes. This way it has some texture but is mostly rich and creamy. Scoop some soup out for the little ones prior to seasoning with salt.

For the garnish add four tablespoons of yogurt in a bowl. Mix about a teaspoon of lemon juice. For the next garnish hear two tablespoons of olive oil. Add quarter teaspoon of chilli flakes. Once aromatic turn off the heat. 

Serve this lip smackingly delicious soup with a dollop of lemon yogurt, a drizzle of chilli oil and sprinklings of fresh parsley.

  

Kashmiri Paneer

And just like that sometimes magic happens…

 

Being back in Bombay is great, catching up with friends, eating Maa’s home cooked food and basically just being a lady of leisure.

One evening when my foodie best friend decided to come over, it was going to be an evening of endless cups of tea. Of course as we are both devout foodies it was not going to stop there. Moreover with paneer in the fridge beckoning to be cooked, we were in for some kind of treat.

On raiding my mum’s pantry, I found an assortment of beautiful fresh spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and the most fragrant, aromatic dried kashmiri chillies. Hence the name Kashmiri Paneer.

Ingredients: 15    Cooking time: 30 mins

Serves: 6

  • 500 gms of Paneer, cubed
  • 100 ml of milk
  • Two medium tomatoes, sliced
  • Two medium onions, sliced
  • 125 gms of cashew nuts, roasted
  • Four cardamom pods, crushed
  • Four to five cloves
  • One cinnamon stick
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon coriander seeds
  • One teaspoon chilli powder
  • Two to three dry Kashmiri chillies
  • Quarter teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • Three tablespoons of ghee or olive oil
  • Salt to season 

In a heavy based saucepan heat two tablespoons of ghee or olive oil. Add asafoetida, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Once aromatic add onions and cook on a medium heat until translucent.

Add tomatoes and chilli powder. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Now add roasted cashews (keep a handful aside for garnish), cardamom pods, milk and one cup of water. 

Simmer the gravy on a low heat for four to five minutes. Turn the heat off and blend the gravy until smooth. Add water if needed to bring the gravy to desired consistency. Season with salt to taste. Mix well.

In another pan add some olive oil and pan sear the paneer until golden brown. Drop the paneer chunks into the velvety smooth gravy. Note, frying the paneer is optional. The dish will taste just as good if you choose not to fry the paneer.

For the garnish, heat one tablespoon of ghee in a pan. Roughly chop remaining cashews and add to the pan. Break Kashmiri chillies into halves and add to the pan. Once aromatic pour the cashew chilli mix on to the gravy.

Your lip smackingly delicious Kashmiri paneer is ready to be devoured. It tastes best when served with flaky namkeen parathas, you can find the recipe here.

  

Cinnamon Pancakes

Everybody doesn’t love Raymond, they love Pancakes…

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The whole point of a weekend is to take time to smell the roses, enjoy your coffee and indulge in a leisurely breakfast. Nothing says leisure and comfort like pancakes! This dish is so popular it even has a day commemorated in its honour as ‘Pancake Day’.

Enjoyed by everyone big and small, pancakes are a family friendly breakfast. Not to forget they are so easy to make. If you have young kids get them to sieve the flour, mix the batter or just simply watch you flip the pancakes. 

You can jazz up the humble pancake with exotic spices from your pantry. One such spice is cinnamon, which is found in almost every pantry.

Ingredients: 11         Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4
  • One cup self raising flour
  • One cup plain flour
  • Three cups of milk (I used skim milk)
  • One egg
  • One tablespoon melted butter
  • One teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • One teaspoon vanilla essence
  • One teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • For topping chopped fresh fruits
  • Honey or Maple syrup for drizzle 

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In a bowl sieve both types of flour. Then add the milk, egg, melted butter, cinnamon powder, vanilla essence, sugar and a pinch of salt and whisk the batter.

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Spray the frying pan with some olive oil spray. Once the pan is hot, pour the pancake batter in the pan with a ladle. Once a few air bubbles pop and the pancake puffs up, flip it to the other side for a minute. The pancake should be golden brown in colour.

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Make enough pancakes so you can stack them. Drizzle the pancakes with maple syrup or honey, top them up with fresh fruit and serve with a smile!

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Maple and Cinnamon Bread Pudding

A balanced meal is a pudding in one hand and a spoon in the other…

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I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but one can’t help cravings that arise from time to time! Knowing there was more bread to rescue from going to waste in my pantry, this time round I thought, why not make something sweet.

I looked through my pantry and happened to find a bottle of maple syrup untouched and an abundance of cinnamon sticks. I didn’t have to think twice of which way my pudding was going.

This pudding is best served cold, but can also be enjoyed warm. If you are anything like me I am sure you will give it a good drizzle of maple syrup before you devour it.

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Ingredients:  8   Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4
  • 8 slices of bread (whatever you have)
  • Five cups of skim milk
  • Two eggs
  • Two cinnamon sticks
  • Four tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Two handfuls of dry fruits (almond, raisins, cashewnuts)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of palm sugar
  • One teaspoon of cinnamon powder

Pre -heat the oven to a 180 degrees celsius, layer your bread slices on the baking tray and toast until lightly brown.

In a saucepan add the milk and cinnamon sticks, bring it to a boil. Now add the maple syrup, dry fuits and palm sugar. Let the milk simmer for about five to seven minutes. Once its slightly reduced turn the flame off, crack in the two eggs and whisk the milk and eggs mix rapidly to ensure the eggs don’t scramble.

To assemble cut the bread slices into half and layer them in the baking dish. Pour the milk concoction on top. Make sure all the slices are covered with the milk and there is enough liquid so the bread does not dry out. Sprinkle the cinnamon powder on top before baking the pudding.

Place the baking dish in the oven and bake the pudding for 20 to 25 minutes. Your pudding is now ready!

If you are serving it warm let it rest for 10 minutes before you serve it. If you are serving it cold, let it cool before refrigerating it for four to five hours. Serve it cold with a drizzle of warm maple syrup.

 Pudding Serve