Sunday, March 25, 2012

Foodbuzz 24X24 : A Tandoori Feast Party to Welcome Spring !

~~~ Spring is Nature's way of saying, "Let's Party!" ~~~
This quote by Robin Williams inspired me to start partying as spring is already in the air. The Plants are the first to feel the spirit and start blooming with happiness. The spring indeed  sets the mood to be merry and have loads of fun n frolic. I am so glad to welcome official onset of the spring (though enjoying warm sunny days for almost a month now)... Thanks to Steve Jobs for keeping us hooked to his itech world in the shady winters and stay tuned to our family n friends. But now its already spring and I like to go for morning walks  sans my ipod. Is time to enjoy listening to the natures music over your favorite numbers - the majestic rattle made by bells and chimes; chirping of the birds; quacking of the little ducks; blooming of flowers and bursting trees nodding to the fresh breeze in the air. The glowing grass with dew drops is perfect to step out and have power yoga in fresh air and doing some gardening with sowing seeds in my tiny pots. I simply love everything about spring and I'm Loving it more this season... !!!!!!!!

Spring is in the air... Yay !

So one thing is for sure that spring brings hope, happiness and lots of party time. It's time to spread love... ! It's time to relish food and cherish the moments spend with family and friends. This weekend I planned to have a small party with friends to welcome spring and a fabulous opportunity to join hands with passionate team of 24 bloggers across the globe during 24 hour period to make and share meals for Foodbuzz 24x24.  Here is the Menu of A Tandoori Indian Cook Out Party @ Home !

We started with Appetizers: -
Tandoori Achaari (pickled) Potatoes on a Stick

Who can resist this... raise your hands !!!

Recipe of Achaari Aloo (Potato) Kebabs:
Baby Potatoes: 10-12 (Washed and parboiled)
For Marinate :
Yogurt: 2-3 tsp
1/2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
Salt & Red chilli powder to taste
1/2 tsp Chaat masala
Achaari Masala: 1/2 tsp
Tandoori Paste: 1/2 tsp
Finely chopped Cilantro leaves

Wash and par boil a bowl full of baby potatoes.
Heat Olive oil in a pan. Add ginger garlic Paste & all the spices. Roast lightly for 5-6 minutes.
Add this mix to Yogurt in a bowl and gently mix to make a paste like consistency. 
Now put  the potatoes with jackets in the mixture and toss to coat all the potatoes well. If you want, you can peel the skin too.
Cover the bowl and keep in refrigerator for atleast 45 mins to 60 minutes. 
Take a wooden skewer and put the marinated potatoes. 
Repeat the process to make more skewers.
Spray oil on the grill and  slowly lay the skewers.
Turn the  skewers around after 5-6  minutes to ensure all the sides are grilled.
A dash of chat masala on skewers makes it little more tangy.
Enjoy with Fresh Mint/cilantro chutney...!!!

Mini Sweet peppers on skewers with a Healthy Diet of Greens
Fresh Lot of smoky mini peppers ready to go...

followed by some piping hot Grilled Tomato & Cilantro Shorba (Tangy Curried Indian Soup).
and a visit to Kiddie special snack bar

Kids loved these little Choco Eggs...

Moving on to main course: -
Stuffed Paneer Steak (Indian cheese marinated with spices, stuffed with mint sauce & grilled to perfection)

Love the color !!!

Recipe of Paneer Steak:
Paneer (Indian Cottage cheese): 250gms 
Fresh mint sauce (mint- coriander Chutney): 2 tsp
Tandoori Paste: 1 tsp
Sweet tamarind sauce to garnish
Cilantro to garnish
Chaat masala - dash to sprinkle on top

Thinly paneer into squares almost 1.5 inch X 1.5 inch. 
We need two squares to make one steak (2=1; 8=4).
Spread chutney on a paneer slice & place another slice on top of it. 
Gently coat it with tandoori paste.
Leave in refrigerator for min 45 mins.
Grill for 7-8 minutes on each side, till you get the smoky flavor.
Sizzle a dash of sweet tamarind chutney and garnish with cilantro.
Sprinkle some chat masala on top, & here you go...

Onion Kulcha - Oven roasted Indian bread served with Tangy Onion spiced chickpeas

These disappeared in no time !!!

For sides we had: -
Spicy Indian Fried Rice
Healthy Tomato Rice with spinach greens

And finally desserts: -
Gulab Jamun with Ice Cream - an all time fvt at all Indian Parties :)
Roasted nuts Panjiri Mix - we made a fresh batch for the occasion

Crunchy & Yumm... Best for last !!!
We had a great time having our friends over, cooking & eating with them. Hope you enjoyed this virtual feast. I plan to share some more recipes in coming posts. So watch the space.

Enjoy life churning your best self to the hilt till the sun rises with spring surprises for your dear ones. Take Care .........!!!!!!!!!!!  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Intriguing Kumquat Marmalade with a hint of Ginger

Every day has a new beginning !

I simply love learning new recipes from different regions and cultures from across the world. I learnt cooking from the scratch, umpteen dishes and desserts from all of YOU.  Awesome cooks, indeed.

 Recently, I experimented making some marmalade with kumquats. I have always been fascinated by Kumquats, the lovely plant with its lush green leaves and bright tiny Kumquat fruit.

 Last weekend I was lucky to have found much awaited wintery/spring fruit-fresh kumquats at the local Trader Joe's

After capturing plenty of shots of these beauties, I threw a couple of these in my bowl of salad.It was a blend of sweet and tangy. Then I thought of making Kumquat salsa to enjoy it with crackers but eventually made a marmalade so that it lasts  longer :) 

My wish to make these stay at my house still persists, so with utmost care I took out the seeds, washed and dried and sowed a few in my little Pots. Now keeping my fingers crossed and really wish that seeds germinate real fast ....!!!!!!!

Little Gems are Gorgeous !!!!

Beauty at its Best !

3 Step Process - Cut in Half horizontally, de-seed, thinly slice


Kumquats: 1 Cup (finely chopped & de-seeded)

Orange: 1 (peeled, de-seeded)

Sugar: 1 Cup

Lemon Juice: 1/2 tsp

Ginger: a dash (squeezed to juice 1/2 tsp)

Wash and thinly slice the kumquats. 
Peel one orange, deseed and add to the bowl of kumquats.
Add powdered sugar and let it sit for at least 4-5 of hours (preferably overnight). 
Now take this mix in a pan & start simmering over low heat for 10-15 mins.
Bring the mix to boil, & keep it boiling for 5 mins
Now, lower the heat again, keep at low heat for 20-25 minutes till you get a jelly kind of consistency (natural pectin in the fruit will start oozing out & gelling at this stage).
Squeeze in lemon juice and add a dash of ginger juice. 
Simmer for at least 5 mins more.
Skim of the foam if any, remove from heat & keep ready to unload into a glass jar.
Now fill the marmalade into your glass jars. 
Let the jars cool down to room temperature before putting on the lid.
Seal the jar & refrigerate. 
If you can sterilize the jars ahead, with hot air - it will keep longer.

Kumquat Marmalade

Enjoy a generous spread as the marmalade is rich in antioxidants (Vitamin A,C,E) essential oils and fibre.

Enjoy, Enjoy n Enjoy !

We have been loving our kumquat marmalade on our toast every morning since last week.

I like biting into a spoonful every now & then - it's tangy, sweet & Yumm !!!!

Hope you will like the kumquat marmalade and shall give it a shot.

As always, Thank you so much for being here!
Love, Sonia

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Play Date in New York with Kelly Ripa & World Champion Brandi Chastain

"And then ultimately what I tell the kids is: coaches can give you information, they can give you guidelines, and they can put you in a position. But the only person who can truly make you better is you...And to learn, you have to be willing to push yourself." - World Champion Brandi Chastain

This is a very special season for me. Can you guys guess why ?????? Courtesy FoodBuzz & Electrolux -Me & My 5 year old had a wonderful playdate with none other than Kelly Ripa and World Cup Champion, Brandi Chastain at Chelsea Piers, New York......Wohoooo!!!!!!!

Today I'm gonna share my "Memorable Moments" with one of the America's fave role models of our generation. The Soccer icon - Brandi and Celebrity Spokesperson - Kelly exhibited a perfect blend of being a loving moms and a true professionals who have carved a coveted niche for themselves on & off screen. Both the women are utterly busy yet always supportive of a noble cause. Both KR and BC with a bunch of bloggers moms teamed up for raising funds for cancer at the meticulously planned event by Electrolux "Kicking and Cleaning' in association with Foodbuzz.

The Chosen Few - Us Blogger Moms with Kelly & Brandi

7th March 2012 was a perfect sunny and warm day. Me and my little 5 yr old were all set in the morning, feeling thrilled to capture clicks of these amazing women with my camera.

Lovely Ladies & Cutie Pie Kids ...

I was moved from the core of my heart on getting words of inspiration for my budding sportstar. 
So here are some snapshots from the trip:-

Brandi was so warm & friendly , made us feel at home immediately !
Tanish & Brandi - The Inseparables

His highness being treated special by the World Champion !

Electrolux is raising awareness for Cancer Research Fund with its campaign of 'Best Moments'. Electrolux will donate $1 toward OVRF for each best moment shared on little step of this social responsibility towards other humans is a HUGE HUMANITARIAN ACT... !
And a great cookie in a bag to go !

It was a whirlwind of a  trip and we returned exhausted yet happy. Thank you so much to FoodBuzz & Electrolux for inviting us to be a part of such an important event and a noble campaign.

My participation in this event was sponsored by Electrolux in association with FoodBuzz who provided me with travel arrangements to and from Chelsea Piers, NYC.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Classic French Onion Soup - to warm up your afternoon

French Onion soup is an all time classic that'd been sitting on my recipes to do list for some time now. Like all things french I'm normally a bit cautious playing around with the french recipes. In all fairness following a classic french recipe brings out the best in ingredients, so why play !. Here I am trying my hands on a recipe which is mildly inspired by a method I found on foodnetwork website. Being a vegetarian I have done some minor tweaks, which I'm happy to state worked out well. So let's see how we go about it.
This French Beauty turned out Lovely.. What say ??
Ingredients: -  (serves 2)
2 medium yellow onions
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cups apple cider
1 cup vegetable broth
Thyme sprigs, 1 chopped garlic clove, bay leaf and parsley
1 French baguette, sliced 
1 teaspoon sugar
Black pepper powder
2 slices low fat swiss cheese
Spring Onion Greens to garnish

Method: -
Peel the onions and thinly slice them. 
In a skillet take butter and let it melt. 
Now add sliced onions in form of a layer and sprinkle with a little salt. 
Now start stirring occasionally & wait for onions to turn golden brown. 
This should take approx 15-20 mins. Make sure you don't burn the onions. 
Stir in vegetable broth, apple cider, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and sugar; Bring all the ingredients to a boil. 
Reduce heat to medium; and simmer for another 20 minutes.
Pour the soup into an overproof bowls. 
Top the bowls with a slice of baguette each and top with Swiss cheese. Can also add a dash of pepper over here.
Place bowls under preheated oven for 2-3 minutes at 350 C until cheese is melted & bubbly.

The lovely aroma indicates that our soup is done.  Take it out with a caution and season with some finely chopped green onion and now simply ENJOY............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Its nice, subtle in taste and am loving the blend of cheese & bread over it...
Hope you like my version of French onion soup.

Have a Warm week... Sonia!

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