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Apricot Cranberry Walnut Quick Bread #BreadBakers


It's time for yet another Bread Bakers challenge. This month's host is Mireille of The Schizo Chef and she suggested stone fruits as the theme. Stone fruits are not in season now as winter has started in this part of the world. So the only option left was to use dried stone fruits. If you love baking bread and want to join this wonderful bread baking group, scroll to the end of the post for further details.

I decided to bake a bread with apricots, but none of the recipes appealed to me much. Finally I settled on this recipe from King Arthur Flour. I was bit apprehensive about the recipe because of the amount of sugar, butter and number of eggs but nevertheless decided to give a try because the reviews for the bread were good.  I'm so glad I tried it because this is definitely one of the best quick breads. Soaking the dried fruits kept the bread moist and the bread was not overly sweet with a nice hint of orange. If you love fruits breads then give this apricot cranberry walnut quick bread a try.

APRICOT CRANBERRY WALNUT BREAD RECIPE

{ Quick bread with dried apricot, dried cranberries and walnuts }
Yields 9 x 5 loaf


Ingredients:

1 cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup dried cranberry
113 grams / ½ cup butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 orange
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
½ cup chopped walnuts

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 C | 350 F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper.

2. Soak the apricots and cranberry in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition.

4. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange zest and beat until well blended.

5. Stir in the flour and then add the milk ¼ cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Fold in the apricots, cranberries and nuts.

6. Pour the batter into loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack. 

Notes and Tips
  • Soaking the dried fruits plumps them and keeps the bread moist. Do not soak for more than 15-20 minutes.
  • You can use pecans or any other nuts instead of walnuts.

BreadBakers
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.



#BreadBakers - Stone Fruit
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Ennai Kathirikai Poriyal | Stuffed Brinjal Fry


Eggplants / brinjals is one of our favorite vegetables. The aubergine or the bharta baingan is available all year around here and occasionally I can find the Japanese eggplant as well. Back in India, we get the round purple and green brinjals, but sadly I get those varieties not often here. I was so excited when I spotted these purple beauties in the market last week and I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them.

I had bookmarked this ennai kathirikai fry recipe from Chitra's Food Book. Chitra has got a lovely blog with a great variety of recipes from different cuisines. Thanks Chitra for the recipe, we loved it so much. The poriyal was packed with flavors and we actually didn't need any side dish. We had it some plain rice and ghee - yum! If you get smaller brinjals, it will be more tasty. Off to the recipe now!

ENNAI KATHIRIKAI PORIYAL RECIPE

{ Stuffed brinjal fry with Indian spices, onion and tomato }
Serves 2-3


Ingredients:

3-4 tbsp sesame oil / nallennai
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp split urad dal
1 sprig curry leaves
4-5 big garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomato, finely chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
4 purple brinjals
Salt to taste

To roast and grind:
1 tbsp chana dal / kadalai paruppu
1 tbsp peanuts
2 tsp coriander seeds
3-4 dry red chillies
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds / methi
1 tbsp grated coconut

Method:

1. Lightly roast all the ingrdients 'to grind' except coconut. At the end add coconut and remove from heat. Cool and grind to a smooth paste adding 1-2 tbsp of water.

2. Slit the brinjals into 4 without removing the stalk. Stuff with the ground masala and set aside.

3. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add split urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves and fry till dal turn golden.

4. Add garlic, onion and fry till it's translucent and raw smell of garlic goes. Add the tomatoes and cook till they are mushy.

5. Add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, remaining masala if any salt and fry for 4-5 minutes. Add the brinjal and toss to coat them with masala, 

6. Turn the heat to low and cover and cook till the brinjals are soft, turning them every 2-3 minutes.

7. Once the brinjals are tender, cook uncovered till the masala becomes dry. Adjust the salt as required.

Notes and Tips
  • If you prefer less spice, add 2 or 3 chillies only.
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Cream of Mushroom Soup


With the weather getting colder, soups are a great choice to stay warm. They are easy to put together and makes a comforting and hearty meal on a chilly day. If you go through the blog, you can see there aren't much soup recipes. Why? Because I'm not really a soup person but my hubby loves soups. So I'm trying out few soup recipes once in a while. Have a look at the sweet corn soup and spiced carrot-ginger soup I posted sometime back.

As I said, soups are really quick and easy to make and you just need few slices of bread to serve along. Cream of mushroom soup is a simple and delicious soup which does not involve any grinding. The thickening agent for this soup is basic roux thinned with milk. I slightly adapted from this recipe and adjusted according to our taste. I used shallots in the recipe as I love the slight hint of sweetness. You can use regular onions too. I have tried the soup with parsley and coriander, but I prefer thyme as it pairs well with mushrooms and adds more flavor to the soup. Even if you are not a fan of mushrooms, I'm sure you would love this soup. Off to the recipe.

MUSHROOM SOUP RECIPE

{ Cream of mushroom soup }
Serves 2


Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup chopped shallots
200 grams button mushrooms, sliced
5-6 thyme sprigs / 2 tsp thyme
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ cup vegetable stock
2 cup warm milk
3-4 tbsp cream

Method:

1. Heat a saucepan/pot and add olive oil, butter and bay leaf. Once butter melts, add garlic, shallots and saute till they are soft.

2. Turn the heat to high and add the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until they turn light brown and all the water has evaporated.

3. Turn the heat to medium-low and add thyme, nutmeg, salt, pepper and mix well. Add the flour and saute for 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the milk, vegetable stock to the mushrooms and cook till the soup starts to thicken.

5. Once the soup has thickened, stir in the cream and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Notes and Tips
  • Do not add salt while frying the mushrooms. 
  • Do not add more nutmeg as it can over power the flavor of the soup.
  • Instead of vegetable stock, you can use water or milk.
  • If you want a low-fat option, you can skip the cream.
  • Thyme goes well with mushrooms, but you can use other herbs like parsley or coriander.
Read More >>

Avocado Cucumber Feta Sandwich


If there is something I can have everyday for breakfast without getting bored, it's avocado. Just some mashed avocado with lemon juice, salt and pepper on toasted bread for breakfast would make me super-happy. When I posted avocado and egg salad sandwich on the blog sometime back it was a hit. Many of them tried the sandwich and loved it. 

I wanted to make a complete vegetarian version based on that recipe. And this is the after result - a delicious hearty and filling vegetarian sandwich with avocado, cucumber, feta cheese, basil pesto and baby rocket. I love the flavor of rocket, so I always prefer it over lettuce or other greens in my burgers and sandwiches, but you can use whatever you like. I used basil pesto because that's what I had in hand but again you can use any pesto or whatever sauce you like. Instead of plain feta, I find that marinated feta gives more flavor to the sandwich. You can see how versatile the recipe is - you can chose the fillings according to your taste preferences. Do try these quick and tasty sandwiches and let me know how you like it.

AVOCADO CUCUMBER FETA SANDWICH RECIPE

{ Sandwich with avocado, feta, cucumber, rocket and pesto }
Serves 2


Ingredients:

4 multi-grain bread slices
1 avocado
1 small cucumber, sliced
¼ cup crumbled feta
2 tsp basil pesto
Few rocket leaves
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt / pepper, as needed

Method:

1. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh to a bowl and add lemon, pepper, salt. Mash with a fork.

2. Lightly toast the bread. On one side of the bread, spread the basil pesto. Place some rocket leaves or any greens of your choice.

3. Add the crumbled feta, followed by cucumber slices and top it with mashed avocado. Cover the other bread slice and press gently. Serve immediately.

Notes and Tips
  • You can use any greens of your choice. I have used baby rocket here.
  • You can add some mayonnaise and mustard sauce to the avocado mash to give different flavor.
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Rajma Pulao | Kidney Beans Pulao


Whenever I'm in a dilemma to decide what to cook for dinner and have enough leftovers to pack for lunch next day, I go for a quick one pot meal like pulao. You can make a variety of pulao varying the vegetables, greens, lentils and legumes, so that you don't get bored. Browse through the different quick and delicious pulao recipes already posted in the blog.

Today's pulao recipe is a healthy, delicious and protein packed recipe. Kidney beans as you all know is a good source of dietary fibre and also a very good source of proteins for vegetarians. If you have some leftover cooked kidney beans or canned ones, then making this pulao is a breeze. A simple onion tomato raita is enough to complete the meal. Now let's see how to make this rajma pulao.

RAJMA PULAO RECIPE

{ Quick pulao with red kidney beans and Indian spices }
Serves 3 -4


Ingredients:

1 cup basmati rice
1 cup cooked kidney beans / rajma
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp butter / ghee
1 bay leaf
¼-inch cinnamon
1 clove
1 cardamom
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1/8 tsp fennel seeds / sombu
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tsp ginger -garlic paste
1 small tomato, pureed
¼ tsp turmeric powder
 ¾ tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp coriander-cumin powder
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp dry mango powder / amchur powder
1 tsp kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves
Few coriander sprigs, finely chopped
Salt to taste

Method:

1. Soak the rice for 30 minutes. If using dry kidney beans, soak overnight and pressure cook until soft.

2. In a kadai, heat oil and butter. Add bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and cumin seeds. Once spices crackle, add onion and fry until soft.

3. Add ginger-garlic paste, tomato and fry till soft and mushy. Then add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, coriander powder, garam masala, amchur powder and kasuri methi.

4. Fry for 2-3 minutes, then add kidney beans, salt, coriander leaves, drained rice and mix well. Add 1 ½ cup water and bring to boil.

5. Once the rice is  ¾ cooked, reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the rice is soft. Remove from heat and gently fluff the rice with fork.
Notes and Tips
  • You can also use canned kidney beans (1 tin / 400g).
  • Adjust spices according to you preference.
  • You can also transfer the contents to pressure cooker at the end and pressure cook for 1-2 whistles.
Read More >>

Stuffed Vegetable Masala Buns #BreadBakers


For this month's Bread Bakers, our host Deepthi of Baking Yummies suggested to bake yeasted or quick, sweet or savory rolls. I loved the Iyengar Bakery style khara buns that I had tried few months back. So I was looking for a similar kind of  Indian inspired rolls, and saw this stuffed masala buns in Rak's Kitchen. These buns are similar to the ones we get in Iyengar bakery. The buns are so easy and quick to make. They taste really good with a cup of tea. If you want to join this wonderful bread baking group, scroll to the end of the post for more details. Off to the recipe.

STUFFED MASALA BUNS RECIPE

{ Indian style vegetable masala stuffed buns }
Yields 6 buns


Ingredients:

For the dough:
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 ¼ tsp instant dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
3 tbsp light olive oil
¼ cup warm milk
¼ cup warm water

For the stuffing:
2 tsp oil
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1/8 tsp ajwain
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp tomato paste
1 large potato, boiled
1 small carrot, finely chopped
10 beans, chopped
½ cup green peas
½ cup finely chopped spinach
¼ cup capsicum, chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp curry power / veg tawa masala
¼ tsp garam masala
½ tsp amchur powder
Salt to taste
Few coriander leaves, finely chopped

Oil / butter, to brush
Sesame seeds

Method:

To make the dough:

1. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, yeast, sugar, salt and mix well. Add oil, milk, water and knead well to form a smooth and soft dough.

2. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in it. Cover with a cling wrap and keep in a warm place for 1 hour or until almost doubled.


To make the stuffing:

1. Mash the boiled potatoes and set aside. Steam the carrot, beans and green peas until soft.

2. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, ajwain and asafoetida. Add the onions and fry till soft. Then add ginger garlic paste, tomato paste and fry for a minute.

3. Add the potatoes, cooked vegetables, spinach, capsicum, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, curry masala, amchur powder, garam masala, salt and mix well.

4. Add the coriander leaves and mix well. Set aside to cool.

To make the buns:

1. Punch the dough and divide into 6 equal balls. Place them on a lined tray for 30 minutes and cover loosely with a cling wrap.

2. Take each bun and slightly flatten them. Place 1 tbsp of the stuffing inside and bring all sides to center and cover the stuffing. Pinch the ends and roll and shape to a smooth bun.

3. Place the prepared buns in the lined tray for 10-15 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 190 C. Brush the buns with olive oil or butter. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top,

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the buns are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Notes and Tips
  • If using active dry yeast, add yeast to milk-water mixture and let sit for 10 minutes or until yeast is foamy.
  • Add more water if required to form the dough. The dough should be soft and non-sticky. Add little flour and knead well if sticky.
  • You can prepare the stuffing with your choice of vegetables and adjust spices accordingly.

BreadBakers
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.



Quick or Yeasted, Sweet or Savory Rolls:
Read More >>
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