Monthly Archives: April 2011

Noodle Upma

Noodle Upma

Noodle Upma

This is a modified version of the classic Indian dish made with Rava (Semolina/Farina). You can make it as spicy as you want by putting in more green chillies. Feel free to add any veggies that you like. I to use bell peppers as it add a touch of sweetness to the dish. If you do not have roasted peanuts you can use regular peanuts.  It is quick fast and easy.


  • 4 oz Whole wheat thin spaghetti (or angel hair pasta)
    • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
    • 1 1/2 tsp Urad Dal
    • 1 1.2 tsp Channa Dal
    • 5 curry leaves
    • 1 inch Ginger chopped
    • 2 cloves of Garlic chopped
    • 1 chopped Onion
    • 3 Green Chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Red Capsicum, seeded, chopped
  • 1 Yellow Capsicum, seeded, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Green Peas frozen or fresh
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Chili powder to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of  roasted peanuts (optional)
  • 8 stalks chopped cilantro leaves
  • Lemon juice to taste (1 tbsp)

Bring a quart of water to a rolling boil. Add the spaghetti to it and let it cook till almost done. About 6-8 mins. While the pasta is cooking.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pot, add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop.
Add the channa & urad dals & the curry leaves to it and fry till the dals turn reddish – the curry leaves will darken.
Add onion, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Add the vegetables, turmeric & chili powder, and salt to taste.
Stir and cook the vegetables for about a 2 min.

By this time your pasta should be done. Drain the pasta and then add it to the mix and stir well.
Add the lemon juice, roasted chopped peanuts and stir to mix.
Serve hot/cold topped with cilantro.


Easy Bread with spices

Jalepeno Garlic Bread

Jalepeno Garlic Bread

Who does not like bread, served hot with a little salty butter. I love it and came across this really easy recipe (one of the many no-knead recipes out there).  This one is from My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey. I have made a few modifications to the recipe and it is just simply easy, delicious and the aroma in the house as the bread is baking is mouth-watering.

If you do not have bread flour, don’t panic. I tested this recipe with both All-purpose as well as Bread flour and it works. One thing I have to point out is that unless you have an oven thermometer is that it may take a little less or a little more time than my oven. You can also test to make sure that when you knock on the bread the crust has formed you do get a knocking sound (it will be really soft).

Other variation toppings are sun-dried tomatoes (the ones that have been soaked in oil).

I do hope you enjoy it.


  • 3 cups bread flour (or all-purpose)
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • topping
  • 8 cloves of garlic (cleaned and sliced)
  • 2 jalapenos (de-seeded and chopped into smaller chunks – more if you want it spicier)
  • sea salt
  • olive oil


Pour warm water into a large bowl. Add the yeast and sugar and stir.  Dump the flour into the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture all comes together. The dough will be sticky and fairly wet. Put cling film over the top of the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it sit. If you find your kitchen too cold you can always wrap a towel around the bowl.

Prepare the toppings.

After about 12 hours, if you peek you will see the dough has more than doubled in size. It also is covered with lots and lots of bubbles. At this point take your dough scraper and cut it into quarters. This will be a little difficult as the dough will want to travel with the dough scraper. A little man-handling of the dough is perfectly alright.

Dust your baking sheet with flour. Run your hands under a tap. Pick up your first piece of dough. Gently stretching it just a little and put it on your baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Dot the top of the bread with the toppings. Sprinkle with sea salt generously. Brush the tops with olive oil. Cover with saran wrap and then put a towel on top and let it sit for at least and hour till it rises again.

Pre-heat your oven to 450.  Remove the towel and saran wrap. Pop the tray into the oven for 22 mins until the tops are a light golden color. Take the tray out and let it cool down for about 5 mins before you cut into it.


Herbed Cheese Crackers

Herbed Cheese Crackers

Herbed Cheese Crackers

These are quick and easy to make and are really delicious. You can make these any shape that you want. I used a pasty cutter to get square shapes. However, you do need to measure your squares with a ruler or else your cookies will not match up :-). Make sure you roll out your cookies thin as they do rise. Let them cool on the cookie tray for about 1-2 mins before you take them off. Put the spread on the crackers only before you serve them or otherwise they will soften.


Prep Time : 40 min

Makes : 25 – 30 depending on how you cut them.


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 60 g butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh chives

Cheese filling

  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 20 g butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated pepper
  • 90 g cheddar cheese; grated


Preheat oven to 375F. Line two cookie trays with parchment  paper

Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter. Rub between your hand until the mix resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the center and pour in the egg,  cheese and chives. Mix with a butter knife using a cutting action until the mix comes together in beads

Mold into a ball and put it on a lightly flowered surface.

Roll the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper to about 3mm thickness. Remove top sheet and cut into 1 inch squares with a pastry cutter. Re-roll the remaining pastry ends and repeat cutting.

Bake for 9 mins or until lightly brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the filling, beat the cream cheese and butter in a small bowl until light and creamy.

Add the herb, pepper, cheese and beat till smooth. Spread a little on half of the biscuits and sandwich together with the remaining biscuits.

Tea Party Treats

Cucumber and cilantro sandwiches

Cucumber and cilantro sandwiches

I had some of my friends over for a little Tea Party. If you have been to jolly ole England and had high Tea it is quite the treat. When I lived in London we went to the Winter Garden at the Landmark hotel for High Tea. Everyone gets to choose their pot of tea (which to me was not the highlight). The pots are have about 3 cups of tea in them so you are really getting a fair bit of tea. However, the most exciting part for me was the sandwiches, scones and pastries that they had.

For my little Tea Party I went a little light leaving out the scones and clotted cream (which i promise to feature in the future) but did a little twist on the Cucumber sandwiches. I also made Herbed Cheddar Crackers with a cheddar cream cheese spread and for dessert I remade Sumier’s surprise (with a modification). Hope you enjoy them as much as my guests did – cause the treats were all gone.

Cucumber and Cilantro sandwiches


Makes: 8 whole sandwiches
Prep time: 15 min

  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled and very thinly sliced with their skins, dried using paper towels
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, rinsed, patted dry with paper towels, and chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 6oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 slices good quality white bread (I used pepperidge farm)


Mix cream cheese and cilantro.

Butter both sides of the bread. Spread the mix onto both slices.

Put a layer of cucumbers and then the slices together.

Cut off the crusts of the bread.

You can now cut the bread along the diagonals and then cut the triangles into halves to get mini-triangles.

Put them in a container with parchment paper on top and then a damp towel to keep them from hardening until you serve them. You can also put them into the refrigerator if you are making them early in the day.