baking, butter-free, gluten-free, healthy baking, jowar, millet, quiche, savoury

Being “in the moment” & Gluten-free , Butter-free Spinach Caramelized Onion Quiche

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Every so often one thinks and over-thinks how to manage a crazy schedule with two little kids – who are little enough to find joy in the most ordinary things in life together. Yet a little apart in age to move onto different things that hold their interest.

My son is now in the phase where he loves the story of ‘Black Beauty’, the horse and his life journey. And we are reading it over and over again. And we are carrying it to bed so that he can hug the book and sleep. My daughter is mainly treating books as a chew toy when no one is watching and at times trying to turn the pages to discover what’s inside.
And yet, he decided to keep away his book and try and flip through the pages of his sister’s book with her. She in turn , despite being so tiny has figured out that when we are reading out his story book, she can also actually join in by listening !

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As adults there are so many times when we refuse to give up what we love doing just for a few hours to try and be with the other person and do what they truly want to do.

But children ? They can drop what they enjoy doing with unbelievable ease, and move onto another thing that makes the other person happy and immediately get engrossed in that.

May we all find the quality to be in the moment , be involved and be engrossed in what someone else loves doing – even if it is not what we might like.

Happy week ahead to all of you 🙂

For this time, here is a recipe that is super simple. It’s quick to mix and bake. Contains loads of spinach and some great spices . And a hint of Millet flour . It’s a great recipe to add to your collection of mealtime bakes and get more spinach into your child’s foodplate !

Pick up a fork and dig into these yum crustless glutenfree , butterfree Spinach and Caramelized Onion Quiche.

Ingredients –

1 bunch of spinach washed and chopped finely

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

1 large onion sliced thinly and caramelized till they are brown

1 cup milk

2 eggs

2 tbsp jowar/sorghum flour

1 tbsp oil

Seasoned with salt, paprika and thyme as per your requirement.

Method – Beat the eggs nicely and add the seasoning, as well as the chopped garlic. Add milk and beat well. Add the jowar flour and oil, mix well. Add the onions and spinach. Mix well.

Pour it into ramekins or tart tins. Sprinkle some cheese ( optional). Bake for 20-25 minutes at 175 degrees C.

 

 

 

amaranth, butter-free, healthy baking, jowar, millet, savoury, Uncategorized

Sunday evening conversations & Gluten-free Pizza topped with barbecue chicken

gluten free Pizza topped with barbecue chicken. The base is made of jowar sorghum millet , foxtail millet grains and fresh amaranth leavesMondays are not the most exciting days unless you truly enjoy what you do for a living. Sometimes it becomes better because of conversations that you have had the previous evening just as the weekend was winding down.

One such conversation while I sipped my #tea was with my 5 year old. I usually try and ask him what he wants in his #snack box and we negotiate or re-negotiate to come to a common ground on what we both are comfortable with 🙂 Now, remember I am not aiming to win the parent of the year award and so these are tough discussions about why store-bought chips cannot be a part of the box. But there are many moments which fill my heart with pride for the child I am raising – I told him that I will give him paneer / cottage cheese as one of the items for a snack on his #tiffin . He responded back saying that he wanted to eat #foxnuts / makhana . And as if to convince me he added ‘those are as healthy as paneer, Mamma’ . Truly speaking those are healthier and I realised that the slow and often challenging process of inculcating #healthyeating in #children is finally paying off ! 

On that note, let me share yet another one of my little boy’s favourites – a healthy pizza made with a base that you can’t imagine and topped with barbeque chicken.

Baked gluten free Pizza topped with barbecue chicken. The base is made of jowar / sorghum millet , foxtail millet grains and fresh amaranth leaves !

1 cup jowar

1/2 cup coarsely ground foxtail millet

1/2 cup chopped amaranth leaves ( red ones)

1 green chilly and 2 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp oil

Salt as per preference

1 tsp paprika powder for flavour

Warm water

For Topping – Homemade Pizza Sauce, Grated cheese, corn, capsicum, barbeque chicken pieces / shredded portions.

Mix the flours and the spices. Add the chopped leaves, green chilly and garlic and grind well.  Add to the flour-spice mix. Then add the oil and mix till it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add warm water to bring together the dough. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Roll it out into rectangles, cut the pizza slices / triangles and bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees C, for 15-20 minutes until crisp. Remove and cool entirely, before storing in air tight containers.

Use with any toppings of your preference, and bake again for 10-12 minutes with the topping.

 

 

 

 

 

amaranth, baking, brownies, butter-free, chocolate, coconut sugar, gluten-free, healthy baking, jowar

Sports Days & Gluten-free, butter-free Brownies ( Millets-Amaranth)

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For the first 12 years of my school life , I went to a school that did not have its own field. It was the best school that I could have gone to – inclusive , close-knit, encouraging and warm. But we didn’t have a field that we could call our own – our Sports days were conducted in the field of another school. Our ‘heats’ and practice races were conducted in a large maidan / public ground. All that came rushing back to me as I sat in the pavilion and watched the field being prepared for the Sports Meet for my son’s class.

The way he would come and describe his field practice each day lifted my heart. The way he spoke about how they were running the races , made me smile immediately. The thrill of being in an open space , running a race , with your friends , the march-past , the flags , the dust-covered sports shoes. A child who didn’t care that the field didnt belong to her school when she ran. A child who didn’t care that the field did belong to his school when he ran.

It was as if Calcutta 1988 had merged into Bangalore 2018, seamlessly, from one childhood to another. From one field that we couldnt call our own, to one that we could.

We just loved the thrill of running a race, then and now 

 

Alongside that we also love a Butterfree , white sugar-free , Gluten-free Brownie that melts in the mouth.  Yup, that’s what a treat should be.

Superfood Amaranth ( if you didn’t know it already, it is my favourite flour ) in the form of grains mingled with dark chocolate – who says we need sugar or butter to make life happier ? 🙂

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Recipe –
  • 170g Dark Chocolate ( I used Bournville-  50% Dark)
  • 50 ml Sunflower Oil
  • 80 g Raw Sugar or Coconut Sugar
  • 50g Sorghum / Jowar Flour
  • 25g Amaranth Seeds , coarsely ground into a flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

 

Mix the chocolate and oil, and  melt over a double boiler. Let it cool. Whisk together the sugar, the flours, baking powder. Preheat oven to 170°C.

Beat the eggs well and then add them to the melted chocolate-oil mix. Add the vanilla. Beat well. Pour the batter into your brownie pan or square tin which is lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

cake, chocolate, coconut sugar, healthy baking, jowar, millet, oats

Baked Jowar(Millet)-Oats Dark Chocolate Fudge Squares & How the Mind is more powerful…

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Chanced upon this place in the heart of Bangalore and what a serene place it was , with a sense of purpose. A plant nursery by the Association of People with Disabilities, and the memory I will have imprinted on my mind is of a young boy without legs, expertly guiding us through the rows of plants to help us choose what we were looking for. I did not want to embarrass him by taking a picture and so I strongly urge you to visit the place to meet him, and realize how knowledgeable he is.

Truly the mind is so much more powerful than the body will ever be.

And the icing on the cake was to see my son loving plant our plants into the pots 🙂

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What more could one ask for , to brighten up a weekend ? There is one more thing that could brighten it up a wee bit more 🙂 These yum and healthy fudge squares.

 

Baked Jowar – Oats Dark Chocolate Fudge Squares

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  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into cubes (I used Bournville, 50% Cocoa)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 125 gms butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour mix ( half jowar, half powdered oats)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Pre-Heat the oven to 160 C. Prepare a square tin or square sectional baking pan, since this is a traybake.
  2. Melt the chocolate, coconut sugar and butter in a pan. Keep stirring with the whisk and then when its well mixed, remove it from the heat. Allow it to cool off.
  3. Beat in the eggs,  flour mix and vanilla extract.
  4.  Pour the mix into the tin and bake for 25 mins or so.
  5. Cool in the tin and then cut into squares.

 

almond, baking, biscuits, cane sugar, cookies, healthy baking, jowar, Uncategorized

Christmas Baking Story 2 & Wholewheat Jowar Apricot & Almond Cookies

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What does a child want ? Nothing in the world will be a perfect answer to that question. You will think it will be the “bigger” things – love, security, appreciation, family, education. You will also think that it could be the “smaller” things – toys, chocolates, candies, shoes, clothes.

Well, I am not an expert on understanding children and their psychology, but I think often we overlook the fact that perhaps, just perhaps, a child wants things that are not categorized, things that cannot be slotted into any form of definition.

Could it be a fleeting moment of joy when they see their friends after a school break? Could it be the chance to savour a few minutes of having the slide at the park, just to themselves ? Could it be the thrill of hearing their voices fill up a festive song ? Could it be the anxious anticipation of few seconds from when the school gets over till when they actually see their mother/father across the gate to pick them up ?

Why is my post talking about this ? It is because when I visited Ashraya Initiative for Children( a picture from that visit is shared above), an NGO that works with 200 slum children, with the Pune bakers in December 2016 as part of the “Bake a Sunshine Cake” initiative, I found myself reflecting about what are the things that bring such a warm smile on the faces of children living in abject poverty and why we adults are not able to muster up a smile despite the comfort we live in…

The only answer that connected with me was – because they keep it simple. It is that easy to be happy ! And so simplicity is the approach that I always follow when it comes to my healthy bakes. Presenting one such simple bake here for you to put together easily – Wholewheat Jowar Apricot Almond Cookies.

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Ingredients – 

  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 3/4 cup jowar flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method –

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Mix together the flours, almonds and apricots.

Beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg, beating until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mix slowly and mix without over-beating.

Scoop the dough using a spoon and drop them onto the baking tray, 2 inches apart. Add a chopped almond and apricot on top, and bake them for 15 minutes.

Cool them off and store in air tight containers.

 

baking, biscuits, cane sugar, eggless, healthy baking, jowar, wholewheat

Christmas Baking Stories -1 :Spiced Wholewheat and Jowar Shortbread

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#BakeaSunshineCake, by the Ovenderful Mom Bakers Community is yet again making it a December to Remember, for the 2nd year in a row. Christmas is truly here early in many parts of Bangalore and the US 🙂  Here is a little story from one of those parts – a quiet and serene old age home in Whitefield Bangalore.
A deep sense of poignancy and dejavu hit me the moment we started walking through the gates of Cheshire Old Age Home. Because around the same time last December ( 2015), we had walked into it for the first time – hoping to spread a little bit of warmth and take back a lot of memories. This year was as special as the first – the young ( our children) and the old ( the ladies at the home) met each other and connected instantly, the Christmas carols reverberated through the walls of the home and for a few hours , life became magical for us, the volunteer bakers as it possibly did for the ladies at the old age home.
On my way back from the visit, my son decided to sleep off. And that left me alone with my thoughts – And these were the only ones that kept playing on my mind.
I was thankful…..
For still being able to cry when something moves me.
For not accepting everything that is sad around us as ‘reality of life’.
For being able to know when to move on and when to wait a while.
For still being able to smile instantly on hearing an old friend’s voice.
For being able to wake up with a mind full of ideas.
For being able to sleep with tired feet and plans for next day.
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Spiced Wholewheat and Jowar Shortbread

  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1  cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup jowar flour
  • 1/4 cup demerara sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

Method – Cream the butter and sugars together till it is light and fluffy. Sift the flours together with the ginger and nutmeg. Add it slowly to the sugar-butter mix and mix well. Wrap it well in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Take it out and press it into a greased flat baking tray. Pre-heat the oven at 175 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Place the tray in the middle rack. Bake for 10 minutes and then take it out. Use a sharp knife to cut the rectangle shapes on the tray itself.Bake it again for 15 minutes after doing that and then remove them from the tray to cool off and store.

 

butter-free, healthy baking, jowar, rice flour, Uncategorized

3/11 City- Florence/Firenze, 3/11 Healthy Bake: Schiacciata Alla Fiorentina

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I am not a painter, not one by a far stretch of imagination. My mother’s committed efforts to have a drawing and painting teacher come home and teach us regularly, given her own creative inclination did not yield much result. I can claim to have made one painting at the end of our learning phase. Yes, I could draw to some extent – drawings of science experiments for my school files.

So given my painting skills one would think it strange that one of the things I thoroughly enjoy is exploring museums with paintings by painters, historical monuments and churches, and sculptures made by artists of a bygone era. So a city like Florence is a dream for me – because it has everything that one envisions as a person who loves history and art ( as an observer). The cobbled streets, the eclectic mix of street-side sculptures, the imposing Duomo wherein resides Michael Angelo’s masterpiece, the people from different walks of life, the winding roads that you can climb up and down as you gaze at the city below you.

Florence or Firenze as it is called in Italian, made it to my Top 3 favourite cities right from the moment I stepped in. And despite the fact that it was 7 years ago and I havent had a chance to revisit, it has held its place in my heart – because while some cities flaunt their art and past artists unabashedly, thus enticing tourists from across the world to come over, there are a few rare cities that stand in quiet dignity because the calibre and depth of what they hold does not need a mass of tourists. It needs a discerning and involved traveller:) And Florence is one of those.

So from the heart of Florence, as a tribute to its beauty is my bake – the Schiacciata Alla Fiorentina, which is essentially a Florentine Sponge Cake, but a healthier version of it. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 Jowar Flour
  • 1/2 Rice Flour
  • 1/2 All purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 4 tablespoons oil

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Butter your  baking pan or you can choose to bake them as small cupcakes like me.

Add flours, sugar, baking powder, the juice, zest,milk, eggs and oil. Beat with a mixer until thoroughly mixed together.  

Add the batter to the pan or the cupcake liners and bake for about 30 minutes or until it is completely baked ( I added some almonds as an after-thought, so you can do that if you want as well)

Cool it and serve.

baking, cake, chocolate, jowar, Uncategorized, vegan, vegan baking

Vegan Diwali Treat? Yes, Please! (Published first on Pyjama People)

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There are hardly any Vegan Indian sweets to speak of, or to taste. While many Indians are vegan, gluten, dairy products, and sugar are pretty much the main ingredients to all our sweets. So what’s a vegan to do on Diwali?

First, remember, history’s got your back. There are a few gluten-free Indian sweets you can gorge on.

Boondi Laddoo are made made entirely with gram flour or besan entirely, plus who doesn’t love this classic, right? Similarly, Coconut Barfi or Laddoo with its grated coconut base makes it fully gluten-free!There are also other usual suspects such as Besan Laddoo, which is made with gram flour, and Til Laddo, which is made with sesame.

But, these ain’t no Jalebi, I know. You could try and fry yours in a vegan-friendly oil… but I can’t guarantee that how that’ll turn out.
Instead, why not try my Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake instead?
You know what they say? If you can’t join the treat time, beat them with your own-made deliciousness!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cake

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Jowar flour,
  • 1/2 cup Ragi flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 cup Cane Sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Applesauce
  • 1/4 cup Oil

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius, grease a round baking pan and keep aside.
  2. Sieve together the flours,baking powder, cocoa and keep aside.
  3. Whisk together the applesauce,oil and sugar, beat together until the sugar gets dissolves.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet one. Dont over beat.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes till the toothpick comes clean at the center.
  6. ENJOY!

Article Link :

http://pyjamapeople.in/index.php/2016/10/29/vegan-diwali-treat-yes-please/

biscuits, buckwheat flour, cane sugar, cookies, eggless, gluten-free, jowar, liquid jaggery

Is Baking a science or an art?

Most people will tell you that baking is a science mainly because it is driven by proportions, measures, time specifications.

But a few will tell you that it is part-science, part-art. Science when it comes to proportions of ingredients, art when it is about what the ingredients should be ! Science when it comes to following a recipe, art when it comes to creating one from scratch. Continue reading “Is Baking a science or an art?”