Lemon Polenta Cupcake

Belated Christmas wishes to all of youJ
Guess all of you had a fantastic Christmas with lots of good food with your family and friends
We celebrated Xmas at our friends place with some amazing food and had a great time!
After gorging on all creamy, chocolaty cakes and cookies..I made this simple Cornmeal Cupcake today..
A simple, guilty free treat to munch on..

Lemon Polenta Cupcake
60 gms Polenta
20 gms All purpose Flour
½ tspn Baking Powder
2 tbspn Oil
2 ½ tbspn Yogurt
2 tbspn Lemon Juice
½- 1 tspn Lemon Zest
1 egg
60 gms Caster Sugar

Preheat the oven to 170 Degrees.
Beat together the egg and Caster Sugar until light in color
Mix together the Oil, Lemon Juice, Yogurt and Zest .
Pour this to the egg mix and beat well.
Stir together the dry ingredients. 
Add to the wet ingredients and mix well.The batter will be very runny.
Pour to the cup cake mould and bake for 20 minutes

Eggless Pear Pancake

 Vegetables and Fruits are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, pumpkin pie, Blueberry pancakes…
..And the newest additional to the list..Pear Pancakes

Eggless Pear Pancake
½ Cup Whole wheat pastry flour
½ Cup All purpose flour
1 Large Pear- Grated
1 1/2 tspn Baking powder
1 tbspn Sugar
Pinch of salt.
¾-1 Cup Soy Milk or regular Low Fat Milk
Mix together the dry ingredients.
Add in about 3/4 Cup milk and gently stir.
Add the grated pear and mix well.
If the batter is too thick, add in more milk to make the right consistency.
Heat a griddle, pour a ladle full of batter and cook until bubbles  appear.
Flip and cook the other side.
Njoy with your fav maple syrup

Dates and Sesame go-go balls

Looking for a guilt free dessert? Then you have landed in right spaceJ
I badly needed to empty the bottle in which I had put the sesame seeds as I needed that cute little bottle to fill in the Plum Chutney
And out of the necessity of the sesame bottle, I invented this simple recipe!!
I wanted to make the traditional ellu undai/laddus…But after a quick chat with Mom, it seemed like a tedious process.
Also a huge luck factor is involved as we have to get the Sugar syrup to exact right consistency else you will really really mess up !
Thatz when I saw the box of Juicy dates laying in table…Now that would make an excellent binder!! And rest is history recipe 

Dates and Sesame go-go balls
100 gms White Sesame seeds
10 Mejdool Dates
1-2 tbspn Brown Sugar/Maple Syrup or Honey

Dry roast the sesame seeds on low flame for 3-5 minutes until its lightly browned and fragrant
In a food processor, process the Sesame seeds ,dates and a spoonful of sugar/syrup
Mix well until all come together. If the mix is too crumbly ,add in a little more honey/syrup
Shape to balls and refrigerate for a while so that the balls will hold the shape and does not crumble.

Off this go to Cooking with Whole foods event hosted by Reva and Kiran

And Jingle all the Way hosted by Kavi

Bitter Gourd Pickle / Pavakka Achar

Scratching your head thinking what to do with that king of bitterness starring at you from your refrigerator?
Try this amazing pickle and  trust me you will love it!!
Let me warn you it is really really spicy !! You better stick to just a small spoon of the pickleJ
When I made it the other day and served for dinner, my husband thought this was the usual bittergourd fry and he had an ample portion and happily gobbled it..
…..ooph ooph..Ayyoo…some weird noises followed by he running and gulping down a bottle of hundred plus J
..Anyways after the initial trauma..we did njoy it..as pickle!

Bitter Gourd Pickle /Pavakka Achar
Recipe Courtesy: Taste of Kerala show. You can watch the video here
2 Bitter gourd chopped finely
1 tspn salt
½ tspn Turmeric powder
3 tbspn Chili powder
1 tspn Fenugreek powder
Curry leaves 10 nos
2 Dried Red Chilies
½ tspn Mustard seeds
1 tbspn Sesame Oil

Add the salt and turmeric powder to the bitter gourd and mix well. Set aside for 10 minutes
After 10 min, spread the mix over a kitchen towel and rest it for another 5 minutes
Heat the oil in a wok and ad the mustards seed, curry leaves and red chilies. Sauté until it sizzle up
Now add the bitter gourds and stir well. Lower the flame, cover and cook for 5 minutes
Now add the chili powder and the Fenugreek powder and mix well
[You can dry roast the Fenugreek seeds and powder in a blender]
Increase the flame and sauté it until all moisture is gone.
Mind you.. it is really spicy and goes soo well with Curd riceJ

Hot and Spicy Biscuits/Khara Biscuits/Masala Biscuits

These hot and spicy masala Biscuits are perfect snack to munch on during a rainy day!
I made it few weeks back when I had few friends over and all of them loved itJ

Hot and Spicy Biscuits/Khara Biscuits/Masala Biscuits
1 Cup flour
2 tbspn Rice flour
¼ Cup Butter
2 Green Chilies
½ Inch piece of Ginger
1 tspn Pepper corns
1 ½ tspn Cumin
Curry leaves/Fresh Herbs of your choice
1-2 tbspn White sesame seeds
1/2 tbspn Sugar
½ tspn Salt
3-4 tbspn Milk or water
Optional : 1 tspn Garam Masala Powder

Dry roast the Cumin and Sesame seeds separately. Grind together the Chilies, Ginger, Cumin and pepper corns to a coarse mix
Mix together the All purpose flour and rice flour.Rub the butter to the flour mix until it resembles bread crumbs
Add the ground spice mix, finely chopped curry leaves, sesame seeds, masala powder ,salt and sugar to the flour mix
Add one tablespoon milk at a time and knead to form a soft dough.
Take a small portion of dough and roll it to 1/4 inch thick and cut out with cookie cutter into desired shapes.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 Degrees for 15-20 min.
You can switch on the oven fan for 1-2 minutes towards the end of the baking to get a more crunchy biscuits

Off this goes to The Bake Fest Event hosted By Sangee from Spicy treats and Vardhini from Zeste Palette

Apricot Butter

Are of tired of having the same old peanut Butter, Kaya or Jelly with your morning toasts?
If so,do try this guild free and healthy spread…
Nope!!This recipe has no butter and it’s absolutely fat and dairy free!! Its just pure fruity goodnessJ

We absolutely loved it and sure it was a big relief from the usual dry morning toasts!!
In fact I can’t wait to experiment with other dry fruit butters!!

Apricot Butter
Adapted from Recipes for Health Bliss by Susan Smith Jones
1/2 Cup Dried Apricots
1 Cup water
1 stick Cinnamon
1 tspns Agave Nectar or Honey
Soak the apricots overnight in one cup water.
Next morning, transfer the apricots and water to a pot.
Add the Cinnamon stick and bring it to a boil.
Simmer it for 15 minutes until it has become soft and most of the water has been absorbed.
Do note to keep some liquid to make a puree. 
Let it cool down a bit. Remove the cinnamon stick and transfer the apricots to a blender.
Add the sweetener and pulse it for few seconds until a smooth puree is formed

Gnocchi with Mushrooms in Red wine reduction

Gnocchi, the soft Italian dumpling is one among my all time fav Italian delights!
I have posted a Gnocchi recipe from scratch here
That was when it was really hard to find Gnocchi here and once in a blue moon when you spot it in Cold storage the price would be really repelling
Back to Gnocchi..The best thing about the Gnocchi is that it’s very versatile..You can choose an alternate base instead of potatoes like pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato .
And can play around the flavorings by adding different varieties of cheese and herbs
Now a days you can easily find Gnocchi here in Singapore, that too at very reasonable price.
So here is one recipe which is very easy to put together!

Gnocchi with Mushrooms in Red wine reduction 
150 gms Gnocchi
100 gms Mushrooms. [I chose the pretty white Beech mushrooms]
¼ Cup Red wine
Flavorings of your choice- I used Oregano and Rosemary
1 tspn Olive oil
3-4 tbpsns Parmesan Cheese
Salt/Pepper to taste
First step is to start cooking the Gnocchi. Bring some water to boil in a large pot, add some salt.
Once it starts boiling, add the Gnocchi. In 2-3 minutes, they will start to float. Drain it in a colander and keep aside
While the water is boiling you can start with your Mushrooms.
Heat Oil in a wok, add the herbs of your choice, once that sizzle up, add the mushrooms and sauté for 2-3 minutes
Add the wine, salt and pepper to taste and stir until most of the liquid has been evaporated.
Add the cooked Gnocchi to the mushrooms and add in the cheese.
Give it a quick stir and the creamy Gnocchi is ready.

I served it on top of some yummy Tomato and Basil pasta sauce. It was an absolute delight!!!

Broccoli in Five Spices

 This is one of the most fragrant Broccoli recipes I have come across. The recipe is from Monisha Bharadwaj’s India’s Vegetarian Cooking.
She have used five whole spice seeds :Cumin, fenugreek, kalonji (Nigella seeds) fennel and mustard
The broccoli florets absorb all the flavors and tastes amazing. I prefer to ignore the nutty stems as it’s too lazy to absorb any flavor

Broccoli in Five Spices
Adapted from: Monisha Bharadwaj’s India’s Vegetarian Cooking.
1tspn each of the five spices
Nigella seeds
1 large broccoli
1 tspn Oil
1-2 Green Chilies
Salt to taste 
Pound the spices lightly. Heat Oil in a pan
Once oil is hot enough, add the spices and toss well until it sizzles and the nice aroma of spices fills your kitchen
Add chilies and give it a stir
Add the broccoli and salt to taste and cover and cook until tender but not too mushy.

Fresh Lemongrass and Ginger Drink


I disappeared from blogosphere for yet another week..
But this time I had a real good bad reasonL
I was diagnosed of an unnecessary growth in my nose..
And we had to spend quite a lot of time in hospital doing tests after tests to identify the root cause.
The worst phase was the 3 days when we had to wait for my biopsy results
Man…that was my longest weekend!! And probably the only time I felt weekend was too long and we just want it to be over.
I can’t pen down the feelings we went through during those 3 days..
When you realize you are this close to one of the most dreadful disease..And your life might never be the same again!
Thank to God and to my family for all their prayers...It was not what we feared and I felt soo relieved when doc called me to tell the test results

Needless to do say there was not much cooking happening in my kitchen recently.

Anyways we are back to the routine now and I was on a cooking spree this weekendJ
Now back to today’s recipe.. Lemon Grass and Ginger drink
If you are a Thai cuisine admirer like me you sure must have tried this refreshing drink!
I must say this cooling and refreshing drink is the perfect accompaniment to the hot Thai foodJ
You can try the hot version and it’s an excellent remedy for Cold and flu.

Lemon Grass and Ginger drink
4 Cups water
4 Lemongrass stalks
½ inch Ginger
50 gms Rock sugar/increase as per your taste
Bring the water to boil
Clean the lemon grass and peel off the first 2-3 layers.
Lightly pound the think end of the lemon grass stalks and add to the water
Pound the ginger lightly and add to water
Add the sweetener of your choice and bring to boil
Cover and let it simmer for 20 minutes

Tofu Pancake..Yummy Vegan breakfast

It was after moving to Singapore that I started experimenting with Tofu and Soy milk.
We have a very famous outlet here called Mr. Bean which sells superb soy milk with different flavors.
Thanks to Mr. Bean, I am a hard core lover of their soy milk and pancakes.
Anyways…my dear husband totally hates it.. And here is the weirdest comment you will hear about soy milk
“Soy milk tastes exactly like plastic” as if plastic was part of his staple diet Lolzz
Anyways that didn’t stop me from trying new Soy/Tofu recipes
And here is my  attempt to sneak tofu into our breakfast-> Tofu Pancake
Isn’t that lovely.. And this definitely didn’t taste like plastic at all and we loved it

Vegan Tofu Pancake
Adapted from: Recipes for Health Bliss by Susan Smith Jones
100 gms Tofu- Soft tofu/Silken tofu
1/3 Cup Soy Milk
1 Medium Banana Mashed
1/4 Cup + 2tbspn Whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbspn Flax seed meal
1 tbspn Agave nectar
Pinch of Cinnamon powder
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and consistency is that of a cake batter.
If the batter is too runny, add a tablespoon of flour. If it is too thick add little more Soy milk
Heat a non stick pan over medium low heat.
Once pan is hot, pour a ladle full of batter into the pan.
When the bubble appears, flip the pancake and cook the other side.
Server with fresh fruits and syrup


And I did it..I finally made the first batch of macarons ..Successfully [sort off]!!
I have tried it numerous times before without much success…read the macarons disaster episodes here
I followed the tip given by some of the readers and my macarons finally got the feet.
I virtually sat in front of the oven and kept peeping to see if they are getting the feet for the first 10 min
..And once I saw the feet I was running around like a happy child for next 5 min…

I had actually given up macaroon until I started seeing macaroons all over Singapore.
I guess that coz of the Christmas season nearing..
Anyways I got inspired by all colorful macarons around and gave it a try.
Came out well, tasted yummy..need to work on the shape a bit more.
And here is the result!!

Strawberry Macarons
Recipe Courtesy: Deeba from Passionate about Baking
1 egg white
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup Icing sugar
1/4 tsp egg white powder
2 tbspn Caster sugar
½ tspn Strawberry essence
A drop of Pink coloring
½ tspn Meringue powder
Preheat the oven to 140 degree
Powder together the almond meal, Icing sugar and meringue powder in a blender.
Sieve it at least once.
Beat the egg white until foamy, add the caster sugar tbspn at a time and continue to beat until stiff peaks are foamed
Add the almond meal mix to the egg white in 2-3 batches and fold in until just smooth
Using a piping bag, pipe the batter into the parchment paper lined baking tray
Bake for 15 minutes.
Peel of the macaroons and let it cool in the wire rack 
You can choose the filling of your choice and sandwich the macarons.
As I was too lazy after making the macaroons, I chose the simple strawberry jelly.

Mushroom Risotto

I have been yearning to make risotto for such a long time..Courtesy to Tyler Florence and master chef series
You see the Arborio rice is 22 dollar per kilo hereL Isn’t that a crazy price for rice?
I would rather go out and eat Creamy risotto somewhere in Robertson Quay than pay such a hefty price for rice!!

Anyways back to today’s headlines, after having a scrumptious Thai lunch @ Bangkok Jam, we went to the movie Adventures of Tin tin
Half way through the movie there was some technical issue and movie was paused for 3 minutes or less than that
And guess what, all of us were given a movie /pop corn vouchers as a compensation for that 3 minutes!! Yeyy..I love GV CinemasJ
The lucky charm continued and I managed to get a pack of Carnaroli rice from Cold storage for a reasonable price!
I grabbed some mushrooms, parmesan and a bottle of wine too and rushed home..
And here is the Creamy mushroom risotto without any cream though!

Mushroom Risotto
3/4 Cup rice
3/4 Cup of flavorful mushrooms of your choice cleaned and diced
3 cups of vegetable stock
1 Onion diced
1 Garlic chopped
1 tspn of dried rosemary leaves or flavorings of your choice
3-4 tablespoon of parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Olive oil
Bring stock to boil, reduce the flame let it simmer in the sauce pan
In a pan, heat the olive oil sauté the onion, garlic and rosemary for 3-4 minutes
Add the rice and sauté for 2-3 minutes
Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté for another couple of minutes
Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time and stir lightly. You have to keep stirring lightly. As George Calombaris says agitating is very crucialJ
Once the stock is completely absorbed, add another half cup of stock and continue to stir.
Keep adding ½ cup stock at a time and stir until the rice is cooked and slightly chewy.It might take 15-20 min
You can add the parmesan cheese towards the end and stir well.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Green Tea Jelly / Matcha Jelly

Jellos are always a fuss free easy breezy dessert!!
And this treat is to all green tea lovers! May the Jello be with youJ

My love for jellos started years back when we were in Chennai,India.
I used to make bowls and bowls of jello and there was nothing more refreshing than a fruity jello on a hot sunny day!
Back then Jello was the de facto dessert for all occasions or gatherings!
I used to claim that, jellos are the healthiest dessert blah blah..The ugly truth was that Jello was the only desert I could make 4 yrs backL
After so many yrs, I still feel jellos are such a guilt free treat!!

Green Tea Jelly / Matcha Jelly
1 Cup Low fat Milk
1 tbspn brown Sugar
1 tbspn Agar agar powder
1 tspn Matcha powder/Green tea powder
Add the sugar, agar agar and matcha powder to the milk .
Keep stirring and bring to the boil.
Let it cool for 10 minutes and pour the mix to jelly moulds/ramekins and let it set in refrigerator for 2-3 hours
Drizzle a little honey on top of the jello and njoy the refreshing treat!

Bitter gourd with Eggs

Does Bitter gourd turn you away? If yes , read the below facts and be enlightened about the goodness of this bitter veggie.
If not, jump straight to the recipeJ
This vegetable is an excellent source of health benefiting phyto-nutrient, folates, flavonoids such as b-carotene, a- carotene, lutein, zeaxanthins. It also contains good amount of vitamin A. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes. [Info courtesy: Nutrition and You]
And most importantly this veggie is in fact very cooling for your body , a perfect item to include in tropical diet

This dish is very common in hawker centers/food courts in Singapore. I usually pick the version with Bitter gourd and fermented black beans.
I have no clue where to find fermented black beans so I am stickling to the second version with eggs.
The recipe was passed down to me by one of my dear friend.

Bitter gourd with Eggs
1/2  Bitter gourd
1 egg
1 tspn Soy sauce
1 garlic chopped
1 Green Chili
Slice the half bitter gourd, length wise and scoop out the seeds. Slice the bitter gourd thinly.
If you want to reduce the bitterness , you can spread the sliced bitter gourds in a kitchen towel and this will take away some bitter juices.
Heat oil in pan and stir fry garlic and chilies for few seconds.
Add the sliced bitter gourd and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until it turn slightly translucent 
Drizzle the soy sauce over the bitter gourds and stir well.
Now you can beat the egg and pour the egg over the bitter gourds. Stir fry until egg is cooked.


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