Stirfry Spring Rolls

Fresh Vegetable Stir Fry Spring Rolls

**Most of the time, I like to cook quick meals that I know are healthy and require little preparation. One staple go-to meal for me when I’m feeling peckish but not famished is a simple fresh spring roll with stir-fried vegetables. By fresh, I mean not deep-fried. Since I bought my first packet of rice paper in Chicago, I’ve never looked back. It is now one of the main ingredients I will buy in bulk to bring back to India whenever I’m travelling.**

Stirfry Spring RollIngredients:

1 tsp Oil
1 Onion
1 Carrot
1/2 Bell Pepper
1/4 Cabbage
1-2 Tbsp your choice of Sauce
[Option: tasty with a handful of bean sprouts and/or rice noodles]

Recommended Sauces:
Soy Sauce
Barbecue Sauce
Peri Peri Sauce

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan and add onions. After 2 minutes, add carrots and green peppers. In the end, mix in cabbage and noodles/sprouts (optional) then put in a few drops of your favorite sauce to the mixture. Make sure it tastes a tiny bit stronger than you’d like, because it will get wrapped in rice paper.
  2. Take a rice paper round and dip in water for 10-20 seconds. place wet rice paper sheet on a mat or cutting board, load stir-fried mixture, and wrap into a parcel to make spring roll. Repeat until your rice sheets and stir-fried vegetables are over.

Note: Through trial and error, I’ve learnt that this form of spring roll tastes better when the sauce flavoring is put inside the roll, as opposed to a dipping sauce accompaniment. Also, even if the filling for the spring roll is runny, the rice paper tends to hold liquid well. Alternatively, adding just a few strands of rice noodles will have the effect of soaking up any extra liquid. Just have fun and experiment!

Cooking Time: 15 mins
Yields: 4-6 rolls 

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Russian Baklazhannaya Ikra / Poor Man’s Caviar

IMG_20151119_135815

**This classic Russian eggplant spread is best served cold with Russian rye bread. The flavors remind me of Indian dishes like Pav Bhaji and Baingan Ka Bharta, and would taste great warm with roti as well! This Ikra was made using local Indian produce and will require readjustment in amounts if cooked elsewhere.**

This is a Vegan, and Vegetarian dish that can be eaten warm or cold!

Ingredients:

2 medium-sized eggplantsIMG_20151119_125950.jpg
1/4 cup tomato puree
4 tomatoes
3 onions
1 green pepper
1/2 head of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste

Directions:

Place whole eggplants on direct heat and roast until skin begins to bubble. Take off heat, peel skins, and dice eggplant. Dice or mince the tomatoes, onions, pepper, and garlic too.

Heat oil in a frying pan and put in onions and garlic. When translucent, add green peppers and eggplant pieces. After 2 minutes, stir in tomatoes.

Now add tomato puree, salt, and sugar. Mix, cover with lid, and turn down the heat to medium low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes while stirring occasionally.

Your caviar is ready to eat as is (that is what I did) or refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight) before serving with your choice of bread!

Note: I tried an online recipe much like this one (no tomato puree) about a year ago and loved it, but I misplaced the recipe, so this time I made it from memory and it still tasted delicious. A lot of the recipes you will find are either pureed to a paste or a lot chunkier, but I like making mine with minced/diced vegetables so that it can evenly be spread on the wheat bread we have at home.

Cooking Time: 60 minutes
Serving Size: 4  people

Vegan Carrot Cinnamon Cake

**I adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com according to what local Indian ingredients are available and take into account my family’s food preferences. This delicious recipe is super simple to make and very moist to eat. It doesn’t require frosting and can be gobbled up in a matter of minute!**

This is a Vegan, Vegetarian, Egg-Less Recipe!

Ingredients:

Ingredients for Vegan Carrot Cinnamon Cake

carrot cake ingredients

5 carrots finely grated
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal
3/4 Tbsp cinnamon powder
3/4 cup hot water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/8 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 180 degrees Celsius). Prepare a greased baking pan (I used 3 small bread loaf pans).

How To Make Vegan Carrot Cinnamon Cake

dry and wet mixtures

In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, cinnamon powder, baking soda, and salt. In another mixing bowl, soak flax seed meal in the hot water until it absorbs the water, then add sugar and vanilla essence.

Vegan Carrot Cinnamon Cake Batter

ready to bake!

When sugar has melted, add grated carrots and almonds. Now add dry mixture to this wet carrot mixture and pour into baking pan.

Baking Vegan Carrot Cinnamon Cake

bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Celsius

Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the cake is cooked properly in the center.

Sliced Vegan Carrot Cinnamon Cake

sliced and ready to gobble up!

Let it cool before slicing, and it’s ready to eat!

Note: I halved the original recipe, which also suggests eating this with frosting but I found it sweet enough on its own. It was gobbled up in a matter of minutes!

Cooking Time: 60 minutes
Serving Size: 10-12 people

You’ll find that I don’t have a post up for my green smoothie attempt #1 up because it was a DISASTER! I’ve since tried to eradicate that particular disaster from my mind (lets just say, spicy green chutney in a smoothie – even by mistake – is a sure way to die by acid reflux…).

Anyway, attempt #2 was a success and I really liked the combo of ingredients in this one! Plus, it doesn’t call for sugar, honey, or maple syrup! Unless it’s chocolate or pastries, I prefer my food & drink not too sweet anyway. So, the smoothie I made a few days ago was perfect! It was mild, sedated, had loads of texture, and tasted yum! I didn’t realize until I sat down to drink it that I hadn’t put anything other than 4-5 grapes and a few chunks of banana in for sweetness.

Try it and let me know what you thought!


Dragon Fruit and Banana Green Smoothie

Dragon Fruit and Banana Green Smoothie

**This recipe is nutritious and includes no sugar or sweeteners. It is mild and had lots of texture due to the dragon fruit and chia seeds**

This is a Quick, Sugar-Free, Raw, and Vegetarian Recipe!

Ingredients:

1/2 – 1 banana
1/4 dragon fruit
handful of grapes
small handfull spinach
1/2 Tbsp chia seed powered
1 glass (220ml) milk
ice cubes

Directions:

Put all of the ingredients into a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Serve fresh immediately.

Note: If you’d like to up the sugar content of this smoothie, just add 1 Tbsp of sugar or twice the amount of grapes and banana and that should set you straight!
Optional: simply substitute the milk for soy milk or almond milk to make this recipe vegan!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serving Size: 2 glasses
Flavour: Mild Banana
Color: Light Green
Texture: Crunchy!

 

**I really could have used this recipe when I was living in the UK and US trying to wax by myself for years! Now that I use an epilator, my need for instant wax has diminished considerably (though not completely).**

Recently, when I made a trip to Japan for what I thought would be a fleeting 2 weeks, I left my razor and epilator behind, not realizing the trip would morph into over 4 months. In desperation, I set out to find and make my own wax so that I could at least remove hair from my lip and chin, if nothing else. It was the middle of a hot summer there, so I also wanted to wax my underarms so that I could wear some sleeveless clothes there!

My attempt at making sugar wax turned out to be a successful endeavor and the recipe I used was taken from here. I decided to make half the recommended amount because all the areas that needed waxing for me were small (see above).


Instant Sugar Wax Recipe

This simple recipe involves only 3 ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons tap water
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Follow these easy instructions to make your wax:

You’ll need a pot (be safe and avoid the nonstick) to heat the mixture. Heat on medium as the sugar will melt then boil and bubble, which can easily burn you if it froths and to the point of overflowing. Mix until the sugar mixture thickens a little and turns dark like maple syrup. Consistency should be syrupy and take about 6-8 minutes.

Immediately take the pot off the heat and pour into the container you wish to store it in. Do this while it’s still hot so that the wax doesn’t harden and stick to the pot. (At this point, the wax is ready-to-use!) When I made this wax a second time in America, I made the mistake of leaving the wax in the pot and going out for lunch. When I got back, I was able to melt the wax enough to get it out, but the wax was nowhere as good at doing it’s job because it has been heated too long!

The wax can be stored at room temperature and seems to hold for ages! I put my wax into a small glass bowl, let it cool, then covered it with cling film and stuck it into my bathroom cupboard.

If you would like to see photos of the process, click here.

Personal Tip: I like to heat my cold wax for about 20 seconds in the microwave before I start waxing so that it’s warm but not scalding hot! 

Recipe: Spanish Gazpacho

November 1, 2015

Spanish Gazpacho

**A smooth classic cold soup recipe made with local Indian ingredients… perfect for those hot Indian summers!**

This is a Vegan, Vegetarian, Raw, and No Chew Recipe!

Ingredients:

fresh produce sourced in India!

13 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 small green pepper
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 green chilli
2 tbsp fresh coriander
2 1/2 cups water
4-5 tbsp vinegar
1 cup olive oil
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Blanch tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and peel the tomato skin and chop roughly.
  2. Into a big blender, add tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, onion, garlic, and green chilli, Blend. Add water, vinegar, salt and black pepper and blend again.
  3. While blender is on, pour in olive oil slowly. Keep blending for another 2-3 minutes. Color and consistency of soup should change.
  4. Add finely chopped fresh coriander in and pulse to incorporate thoroughly.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 5-7 hours before serving cold.

Note: Make sure you use the reddest ripest tomatoes (mine weren’t) in combo with olive oil for best color and taste. This recipe tastes great on the next day. 

Serving Size: 5-7 people

Gazpacho I had last night!

So I’m currently on a detox diet of fruits and soup for a few days and needless to say, this delicious post heightened my cravings for chocolate to feverish heights! Don’t forget to try out the chocolately Mug Cake recipe and share a bite with me…it’s only polite!

While We're Paused!

Every writer has dealt with that massive, invisible beast that plants itself squarely on our desks, preferably in front of our computer screens, and leers at us in a mocking sort of way, just daring us to get anything accomplished.  Sometimes this beast teams up with Facebook or another soul-sucking website and we lose hours without knowing where they’ve gone.

And our story sits tragically abandoned.

There are lots of ways to get around writer’s block.  We all have our tried and true methods, so I  thought I’d contribute a couple of mine.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes (quite frequently, actually) I just need to get away from my work.  And I don’t mean Facebook away or even read-a-good-book away.  Those have their places (especially the latter).  But little treats that allow me the sense of escape can make all the difference when it’s…

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