Tag Archives: nourishing

Banana Bread (with Vegemite and Almond Flakes)

Banana bread is one of the most forgiving recipes that I know, especially since I am a novice in the baking department.

It does not require the exacting measurements or baking knowledge that is required to bake most other desserts, cakes etc…. But having said that, there are good and bad banana breads.

Banana Bread (with Vegemite and Almond Flakes) - thespiceadventuress.com

If you do not like banana bread, then chances are you have had the not so desirable ones that are sold at most generic cafes. It was the same for all the three of us which put me off baking it for a very long time. But as I started seeing a lot of my friends and favourite bloggers sharing so many different styles of banana bread, I realised that there is more to this recipe.

So began the experiments trying out various recipes to get one that we enjoyed best. There was no dearth of over ripe bananas in the house. By weekend, there are always a couple that has begun to look way too brownish for my son to eat and the only way I used to finish it off was in smoothies and milkshakes.

And overripe bananas are exactly what you need for this bread.

Banana Bread (with Vegemite and Almond Flakes) - thespiceadventuress.com

Though named so, banana bread is a cross between bread and cake drawing inspiration from both baking techniques.

The decision to add vegemite was almost last minute. We are not big fans of vegemite but there is a small bottle in my pantry that I use occasionally to experiment and create recipes that incorporates the flavour and nutritional components of vegemite without being too obvious in the smell department. Just can’t stand that!

One good example of this would be the Vegemite roast chicken that’s quite popular in our home.

As I tasted the banana bread batter, I thought it could do with another ingredient to sort of intensify the flavours and suddenly vegemite came to mind. Added a little bit to the batter and I really liked the richer, almost caramel kind of flavour that I decided to go ahead with it. And boy, it did turn out delicious.

Banana Bread (with Vegemite and Almond Flakes) - thespiceadventuress.com

If you have vegemite at home, then by all means use it; I promise you won’t be disappointed. But if you don’t, then omit it and go ahead with the batter as such or you incorporate other flavours like chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, peanut butter etc….

Ingredients:

  1. 3 medium sized ripe bananas
  2. 2 tbsp whole milk
  3. 3 eggs (room temperature)
  4. 80 gms unsalted butter (melted)
  5. A pinch of salt
  6. 1 cup raw sugar
  7. 1 tbsp vegemite
  8. 2 cups plain flour
  9. 2 tsp baking powder
  10. Almond flakes

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan forced).
  2. Grease a loaf pan with butter or oil spray and then line with baking paper.
  3. In a large glass bowl, add the bananas and mash well with a fork. Then add the melted butter, sugar, milk, vegemite and eggs. Use a whisk or hand held beater to mix all the ingredients.
  4. In another bowl, sift the flour along with baking powder. Add a pinch of salt to this and mix.
  5. Add the flour to the banana mixture and fold in gently till all the whole batter gets combined well.
  6. Pour into the loaf pan and line the top with almond flakes.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or till done (insert a skewer through the centre of the loaf; the skewer will come out clean if done).
  8. Cool before removing from the loaf pan.
  9. Slice and serve with butter.

Banana Bread (with Vegemite and Almond Flakes) - thespiceadventuress.com

Banana Bread (with Vegemite and Almond Flakes) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens

Khichdi – the comfort food of one half of the Indian population!

I say this specifically because khichdi is not a dish that is popular in my hometown, Kerala. And hence I was not aware of its existence for a very long time.

My first tryst with khichdi happened somewhere along the Pune-Mahabaleshwar route. We were living in Pune at that time and were visiting the hill station when we stopped at a roadside dhaba for a quick meal. Sam suggested that I try the khichdi (he had already developed a taste for it, thanks to his office mates) and hesitatingly I did. But oh boy, it was a revelation.

The rich, spicy, almost creamy consistency of rice and lentils with that generous drizzle of ghee made my tastebuds sing with joy.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

And while I consumed many plates of khichdi during my stay in Pune, I never ventured to cook it in my kitchen till about 2 years ago.

I think it’s the memory of that taste that encouraged me to make a khichdi at home. It’s no rocket science, but often we need a motivation or purpose to try out something new.

At its heart, a khichdi is nothing but rice and lentils cooked together, mashed and then tempered with spices. But that tempering is what makes all the difference. It can be as simple or as complex as you want and in my opinion, the whole flavour profile of the khichdi depends on it.

My version of the khichdi is not the most traditional but neither a fusion. It is perhaps an amalgamation of various styles based on flavours and spices that I like best.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

Khichdi is an extremely healthy dish because of its powerful combination of carbs and proteins. Usually prepared with just one type of lentils, but my version has a mixture of lentils and pulses along with some sort of greens like spinach, fenugreek or even carrot greens, as I have done today.

You can either make a mix of the lentils from what you have at home or pick up a packet of the soup mix like I do. Or use just one type of lentil; it’s totally your wish. When using a soup mix, it’s best to soak it overnight so that the cooking process is much faster.

How many of you use carrot greens as an ingredient? It has gained a lot of attention with the raw food movement and is often found as an ingredient in salads, pesto etc…. But I also love to use it in my dal (lentil) preparations just the way I would use spinach. Beetroot leaves can also be used this way but needs to be cooked more than the carrot greens.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

Even though I pressure cook the lentils and rice for time constraints, I always slow cook for a good 15-20 minutes after adding the tempering. A bit of extra time only helps intensify the flavours which I really want from my plate of khichdi. And a final drizzle of hot ghee is an absolute must!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup mixed lentils; washed and soaked overnight
  2. ½ cup medium grain white rice
  3. Carrot greens (I used the greens from 4 small carrots); chopped
  4. Salt, to season
  5. Ghee/clarified butter; for serving
  6. 2 tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  7. For tempering:
  • 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp caraway/shahi jeera seeds
  • 2 dry red chilli
  • 3 large shallots/small onion; finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 large ripe red tomatoes; finely chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • ½ inch piece of jaggery or ½ tsp raw sugar

Method:

  1. Wash the soaked lentils and rice together. Add to a pressure cooker or deep bottom pan and cook well with enough water (remember to season with a pinch of salt). The lentils and rice must be cooked enough to be able to mash well.
  2. In another pan, heat ghee and oil; add the mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
  3. Then add the cumin and caraway seeds; as it begins to crackle, add the dry chillies and shallots and sauté till softened.
  4. Then add the garlic and ginger; sauté till the onions have turned light brown.
  5. Next add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat till the tomatoes have softened and turned mushy.
  6. Then add all the spice powders and jaggery; sauté till the whole masala comes together and oil starts appearing at the sides.
  7. Meanwhile mash the lentils and rice using the back end of a ladle or potato masher.
  8. Add the chopped greens along with the masala to the lentils and mix well; season with salt if necessary.
  9. Add more water if necessary and cook on the low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Finish off with the chopped coriander leaves.
  11. Serve warm with a drizzle of ghee on top.
  12. Tuck in!

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

 

No Udder Dairy Free Yoghurt + Recipes for Green Smoothie and Coconut Yoghurt Zucchini Dip

Important: Please read this before you proceed. 

No Udder and NuLac Foods has bought to my notice that the coconut yoghurt has been recalled due to a cross-contamination issue. Those of you who are allergic to dairy products or vegan or do not include dairy products in your diet for any personal/medical reasons, kindly return  the products to your nearest supermarket for a full refund.

For anyone else, this product is not dangerous in any manner and poses a risk to only those mentioned above. The company assures me that the product will henceforth be released only after revised and strictly enforced quality checks. Please get in touch with the company if you need further clarification on this.

Here is the statement from the company;

‘A statement from the owners, John Gommans and Penny Gandar.

We are taking note of all your comments and we fully appreciate all your concerns.

Our first priority in the recall was to protect those at health risk from the dairy contamination. We have followed the Health Department guidelines in this recall. As well as following these proscribed procedures we also wish to convey that we are personally devastated that this need for a recall has occurred. We are acutely aware of the needs of our allergen free, dairy free and vegan customers and to provide a product people could trust.

We do also process dairy products, our procedures and staff training have always been committed to preventing contamination. Our staff are dedicated and care very much about the quality of our products. We have only sought and used ingredients certified to be allergen and dairy free and are shocked to find that a contamination has recently occurred. We are re-testing and investigating all aspects of the ingredients and manufacture but until this is completed we are unable to give a definitive reason for what has happened. We deeply regret what has occurred and that we have lost the trust of our dairy free and vegan customers.

We are truly sorry.’

 

My love for smoothies has become legendary on my Facebook page.

It all began when I started sharing pictures of my daily morning smoothie with my readers. And soon, there were so many people writing to me asking for more recipes, tips, blender brands, dairy-free options etc…. While I could answer most of the queries, I really did not have much information when it came to dairy-free or vegan friendly options.

So, I was quite thrilled when NuLac Foods wanted to partner with me to develop some recipes for their new range, No Udder Dairy Free Yoghurts. Just what my readers were asking me…..

NuLac Foods is an Australian company that develops both dairy and dairy-free products. All NuLac products are prepared from the highest quality ingredients which are sourced from their own and other farms across Australia. And above all, the products are free of preservatives, colours, additives or flavours – natural and pure. Love their philosophy of being a local business using local ingredients which always reflects on quality.

NuLac has several different brands and two of their highly popular ones are ‘No Udder’ and ‘Alpine’. And it’s No Udder that I will be speaking about today as it is the dairy free and vegan friendly one. The range includes No Udder Almond Yoghurt, Coconut Yoghurt and Coconut Probiotic Drink.

Available at most supermarkets and independent stores in Australia.

No Udder Almond Yoghurt Green Smoothie:

The dairy free almond yoghurt is a great substitute for milk in your daily smoothies. It is not only a good source of calcium but very low in saturated fats and contains a good amount of dietary fibre.

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I admit I was a little skeptical about how it would taste but I actually liked it very much. It was sweet and creamy with that hint of almond flavour; but somehow it also reminded me of this coconut milk pudding.

And since we are on the topic of good health and nourishment, I decided to use the No Udder almond yoghurt as the base for my green smoothie. There is a good amount of pre- and probiotics in this one and at the same time, it is super delish too.

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Ingredients:

Makes 3 glasses

1. 1 ripe avocado
2. 1 ripe green pear
3. ½ ripe red apple
4. ½ banana
5. 2 cup greens (I used chard, use any you wish to)
6. ½ cup parsley
7. 1 tbsp chia seeds
8. 200 ml No Udder almond yoghurt
9. Water/ice
10. ¼ tsp cinnamon powder

Method:

Blend all the ingredients with enough water or ice until smooth.

Note:

• The beauty of this recipe is that it is a basic guideline to making your favourite green smoothie. As mentioned, use any kind of greens you wish to.
• Rotate between chia, flax or hemp seeds and add nuts if you wish to.
• Use coconut yoghurt instead of almond for a sweeter and creamier smoothie.
• You can use regular milk or yoghurt too.

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OCT (1)

No Udder Coconut Yoghurt Zucchini Dip

With live probiotic cultures, the No Udder Coconut Yoghurt is an extremely healthy option and one that is dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian friendly. It is sweet and creamy, perfect for smoothies, desserts or as a snack but I am thinking savoury.

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Yoghurt dips are a common feature of most meals in Meditteranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. In India, it is often referred to as ‘raita’ in Hindi. And there are hundreds of raita varieties that exist depending on the cuisine of each region.
Today’s recipe is a savoury yoghurt dip, adapted from a common preparation of Kerala known as pachadi.

The coconut yoghurt is sweet and deliciously creamy which makes it the perfect base for finely chopped zucchini sautéed with shallots and a hint of spices. This is a delicious yoghurt dip that makes the perfect accompaniment to flatbreads for your mezze platter or to accompany your favourite lamb curry or to pair with that delicious pilaf/pulao.

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Ingredients:

1. 1 medium zucchini; finely chopped
2. 400ml No Udder coconut yoghurt
3. 2 shallots; finely chopped
4. 1 tbsp crushed cashewnuts (optional)
5. 1 tbsp vegetable oil
6. ½ tsp mustard seeds
7. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
8. ½ tsp red chilli powder
9. 2 sprigs coriander leaves; finely chopped
10. Salt, to season

Method:

• Whisk the coconut yoghurt till smooth and without any lumps.
• Heat oil in a pan and crackle mustard seeds.
• Then add the shallots and zucchini; sauté for about 2 minutes on medium to high heat stirring constantly.
• Next lower the heat and add the turmeric and chilli powder. Mix and also add the crushed cashews.
• Sauté for another few seconds, remove from heat and mix through half of the coriander leaves.
• Allow to cool.
• Once cooled, add most of the mixture to the beaten yoghurt and season with salt. Mix well to combine.
• Garnish with the remaining mixture and coriander leaves. Refrigerate till serving time.

Note:

• Again, a very flexible recipe; substitute zucchini with baby aubergines, squash, beets or just nuts.
• Use cow’s milk yoghurt if you wish to.

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Disclaimer – This post was brought to you in partnership with NuLac Foods but the recipes and opinions expressed remain my own.

Baby Spinach with Mixed Lentils

 

A nourishing and healthy vegetarian dish for Meatless Monday!

Baby Spinach with Mixed Lentils - thespiceadventuress.com

This recipe is a variation of a traditional Kerala-style spinach lentil curry. Usually this dish is prepared using toor dal (yellow pigeon peas) and green spinach leaves. I decided to use a mix of lentils and pulses (often referred to as soup mix) along with baby spinach leaves.

The rationale behind using the soup mix was to ‘up’ the protein quotient of the dish making it a much healthier version. In fact, it can be taken as a lentil soup to boost energy rather than as an accompaniment for white rice. And I prefer using lentils in the boiled and mashed form (my hubby can’t pick up the lentils and throw it away then, rite). It’s a cheat – but I am happy as long as the family stays healthy.

There are usually two types of soup mixes sold; one is a mix of only lentils while the other (as I have used) is a mixture of lentils and pulses. There are atleast 8-10 different lentils and pulses in this mix and forms the base for this warm and nourishing curry/soup.

Baby Spinach with Mixed Lentils - thespiceadventuress.com

You can also replace spinach with other leafy greens; in fact, I have tried this recipe with beet greens, bok choy, drumstick leaves etc. and the result has been great every single time. I like to use baby spinach when I am pressed for time. There is no need for any extra cleaning apart from wash and dry.

So let’s get cooking this protein packed lentil curry with baby spinach leaves….

Baby Spinach with Mixed Lentils - thespiceadventuress.com

(If you can’t get soup mix, just mix equal proportions of the lentils and pulses that you would like to use)

Ingredients:

  1. Soup Mix – 1 cup; soaked overnight
  2. Baby spinach leaves – 2 cups
  3. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  4. Salt – to season
  5. Grated coconut – ¾th cup
  6. Green chillies – 2 – 3
  7. Garlic – 3 cloves
  8. Jeera/cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  9. Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
  10. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  11. Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  12. Dry red chilli – 3

Method:

  • Soak the soup mix overnight so that the cooking time is reduced. Pressure cook the lentils with a pinch of turmeric powder and salt to season till soft and almost mushy. Open and mash lightly.
  • Blend coconut, green chillies, garlic and cumin seeds to a fine paste with a little water and keep aside.
  • To the mashed lentils, add the baby spinach and cook for 1 minute. Then add the coconut mixture and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add water depending on how thick you prefer the gravy. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
  • In a pan, heat oil and crackle mustard seeds; add curry leaves and dry red chilli. Add this to the prepared lentils and mix well.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice or Indian breads; this can also be enjoyed as a soup with crusty bread.

Baby Spinach with Mixed Lentils - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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