Monday, 28 April 2014

Eat Pasta, Stay Healthy


The Health Benefits of Pasta

Pasta is a perfect foundation for healthy, nutritious and satisfying meals: pasta is generally eaten with nutrient-dense food partners, such as fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish and monounsaturated oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce and protein-packed cheeses, poultry and lean meats. Pasta offers:

SUSTAINED ENERGY: Carbohydrates like pasta provide glucose, the crucial fuel for your brain and muscles. Pasta is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which provide a slow release of energy. Unlike simple sugars that offer a quick, yet fleeting boost of energy, pasta helps sustain energy.
LOW SODIUM & CHOLESTEROL-FREE: Pasta is very low in sodium and cholesterol-free. Per cup, enriched varieties provide a good source of several essential nutrients, including iron and several B-vitamins. Whole wheat pasta can provide up to 25% of daily fibre requirements in every one cup portion.
FOLIC ACID: Enriched pasta is fortified with folic acid – essential for women of child-bearing age. FDA regulations require enriched grain products to contain this important vitamin. A serving of dry pasta supplies the equivalent of roughly 100 micrograms of folic acid, or 25% of the recommended daily intake. 

                                   
BALANCED DIET: Pasta is part of a well-balanced diet. Current dietary guidance calls for up to 65% of daily calories to come from carbohydrates, such as pasta.
LOW GI: Pasta has a low Glycemic Index (GI) so it does not cause blood glucose levels to rise quickly. Blood glucose is sometimes referred to as blood “sugar

                                                

How Pasta Fits into a Healthy DietPasta makes the perfect delivery system for the healthy foods you should have each day. Pair pasta with a variety of nutrient-dense foods and create meals that you can feel good about. Nutritious and delicious “pasta partners” include:
Carbohydrates - Ever wonder why it’s a tradition for athletes to eat pasta before a big race or event? Carbohydrates such as pasta provide glucose, the crucial fuel for your brain and muscles. Pasta is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which provide a slow release of energy. Unlike simple sugars that offer a quick, yet fleeting boost of energy, pasta helps sustain energy.

Studies show there are no significant differences in weight loss over the long-term between low-carbohydrate diets and those considered “high” carbohydrate when dieters achieved similar calorie reductions


Weight Loss - Pasta is a fat-free, low sodium food that can fit right in with your weight loss plan. One cup of cooked pasta contains just 100 calories, in addition to valuable vitamins and minerals. It also fills you up so you don’t feel hungry while trying to lose weight!

Pasta has a low Glycemic Index (GI) so it does not cause sugar in the blood to rise quickly. The GI measures how rapidly a carbohydrate triggers a rise in blood sugar – the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. A low GI means a slower rate of digestion, which can help with appetite control.


Gluten - Gluten is a protein found in wheat and related grains in the wheat family like barley, rye, spelt, faro and bulgur. Foods made from wheat such as breads, cereals and pasta, contain gluten. Most people enjoy products that contain gluten without any side effects. A small group of people may have a gluten intolerance or allergy. For those individuals who have been diagnosed by a doctor with a gluten sensitivity, there are numerous gluten-free pasta options which allow them to enjoy a wide variety of pasta dishes.

Individuals who do not have gluten sensitivities derive no nutritional benefit from eating gluten-free pasta and will find that traditional enriched pastas provide good nutrient value, such as iron, folic acid and vitamin B.


Whole vs. Enriched Grains - Eating a balance of both whole and enriched grains is recommended by nutrition experts in order to ensure a diet rich in the essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that promotes health and helps reduce the risk of chronic disease. Both whole and enriched varieties of pasta provide a perfect foundation for healthy, nutritious, and satisfying meals.

                                         

Whole Wheat or White Pasta - While whole and enriched grain pastas offer bountiful nutrients and health benefits, some people prefer white pasta (also called “refined”). Some people (and kids) favor the milder flavor and tenderness of white pasta. However, refined or white pasta is also a healthy choice, as it enriched with vitamins such as vitamin B thiamine, making it a significant source of these nutrients.



(An article from the research made for my college project.)

Saturday, 26 April 2014

A Battle for A trip to New Zealand at APB Cook Studio

This all started a couples of weeks ago on the Twitter and Facebook page of Food Bloggers Association, India (FBAI), where they announced a competition in collaboration with Beacon Holidays - India, in which the participants had to tell something they love about New Zealand in less than 12 words.

                                                       

After me submitting my answer on the Facebook page of Beacon Holidays - India, i almost forgot about that i had given submitted my answer and thought that the winner was declared and it was over.

Suddenly one day i got a mail from the FBAI saying that i have won a spot in the Cook - off for a chance to win a trip to New Zealand -  the place of great adventure, lovely food, wine, people and culture, the environment and the specialties like the Pavalova, the Kiwi fruit and the succulent  lamb meat.

                                    

In the mail had to submit my recipes with the ingredients i wanted and was called for a cook - off at the Apb Cook Studio, which was owned by a well know food blogger Rushina M. Ghildiyal.

                                                  

The night before the cook - off i was a bit nervous and was in a bit of tension, like what is going to happen, how will it all go, and many more questions.
As i arrived at the studio, i was a bit relived after meeting Rushina and other people.

Before starting the cook - off there was a lot of chit chat going on, who going to make what, what are the different ideas of people, hearing to the people, it made me a bit nervous, as the recipes and the dishes which was going to be made by them sounded very interesting and mouth watering, but i remained confident, and said lets make it and no matter what the result is, i hope it will be a fun session.

The time arrived, everyone got to their own cooking stations, took the ingredients they wanted and hit it off and started cooking.

As time was passing by, people started coming in, and while cooking, we were all getting to know each other, like what is the profession and what was happening at the cooking counter.

                                         

I had decided and come, may what happen, i have to complete my dishes, which included,
Sweet Bruchettas  -  made using the fruit from New Zealand - Kiwi

                             


A Classic Sheperds Pie using the succulent lamb mince

                           

and to end the meal, i had a smoothie
Refreshing Kiwi Smoothie - healthy, refreshing

                                   

As time was passing and cooking was happening, there were sizzling sounds from the pans, aromas of New Zealand in the studio, wine being poured, some snacks being served which were made by the people of the Apb Cook Studio.

                                      


To be honest, they were a big support in the making of the food, they go everything arranged, the helped in whatever things we needed and asked them.

                     

This is a place where i met many people, made new friends, and got to learn a lot from people around me
like, Aarthi Basrur, Prachi Joshi and Pushpa Moorjani, and others as well, i would also like to thank these people for teaching me.

So in the final minutes, everyone started plating up the food and got it to the table and was waiting for the judges to taste the food and announce the winner.

All the contestants sat on the table, while some lunch was served, while having the lunch, all were eagerly waiting for the results and wanted to know that who is the lucky one to enjoy New Zealand and have fun there.

While there was lunch and some chit chat going on, people were talking, and waiting, the judges were busy tasting the food and deciding the winner.

Then time arrived and the judges came out with a decision in their mind and I'm sure it was not easy for them to decide who was the winner as there were soo amazing dishes
                                                   
                                                             


The winner was announced, Aarthi Basrur it was, I was a little disappointed by my self, but guess what, it was a stepping stone and a learning part which ill always cherish and may be in future ill win. This was the only thing which made me strong and i know, i dint leave the place losing something, i won the hearts of many people with my food and also won the friendship of many people there.

                                       

To end the day, there was warm and goey and amazing lemon curd tart for all of us, and a wine bottle for all the participants and a small goodie bag of candied fruits for everyone over there.
P.S - the fruits were brilliant and got over in no time after coming home.

Last but not the least, the event was wonderful, i enjoyed myself, learnt alot, made friends, got to know people. Thanks to each and everyone present there and specially the APB Cooking team and Beacon Holidays for organizing such a event.




Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Oreo Pops

OREO POPS

Simple, easy and ready in 5 mins.

A perfect after dinner sweet.



Ingredients –
1 pack oreo biscuits
1-2 spoon Nutella
200gms melted white chocolate
some nuts chopped
lollypop sticks

Method-
1. Put the biscuits in the blender and make a crumbs like texture.
2. Put in a spoon of Nutella and get into a form of paste
3. Remove and shape them in rounds.
4. Put on a tray and keep in the fridge for 10 mins to set,
5. Mean while melt the chocolate.
6. Remove the pops from the fridge, dip the tip of lollypop sticks in white chocolate and insert it inside the oero pops
7. Keep in the fridge for 5 mins, remove and dip in white chocolate, and coat with chocolate sprinkles, nuts and serve


Note - 
1. Satay sticks or toothpicks can be used instead of the lollypop sticks.
2. Add a pinch of sea salt in the mixture to get a sweet and salty taste. ( try it out )

3. Some Almond powder can also be added in the mixture to obtain a flavor of the almonds. ( any nuts will do )

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

SHEPERDS PIE

SHEPERDS PIE


A British classic dish consisting of lamb mince, with a simple flavor and topped with creamy mashed potatoes to finish off.
   

                           

Ingredients – Lamb mince – 250 gms
Red chilli powder – 10 gms
2 Bay leaves
Tomato Puree - 1 pack
Tomatoes - 30 gms
Onions – 55-60 gms 

Garlic - 3 - 4 cloves
Potatoes – 350-400 gms
Butter – 100 gms
Fresh Cream – 50- 60 ml
Processed Cheese – 50 gms
Worcestershire sauce – 10 ml
Flour - 30 gms
Chicken stock - 150 ml.
Salt and Black pepper.

Method - 
1. Peel the potatoes and keep them for boiling in salted water.
2. Chop the onion, tomatoes and garlic finely.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add in the bay leave, garlic and onions and sautee till golden brown.
4. Add in the tomatoes, and cook till they are soft.
5. Add in the washed, drained mince and get it colored.

6. Dust the flour over the mince and coat it nicely.
7. Pour in the tomato puree and cook till the sourness is gone.
8. Pour the chicken stock little at a time and keep cooking.
9. Make sure the mince is properly cooked and the mixture is not dried up.
10. Season with salt, pepper and worcestershire sauce and turn of the heat.


For the Mash Potatoes.
1. Once the potatoes are boiled, pass them through a sieve and get a smooth texture.

2. Add in cream, butter and season with salt.
3. Mix till a smooth texture is obtained.


To end.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree C
2. Prepare a mould, tray or an oven proof bowl, grease it with butter.
3. At the base, pour in the Lamb mixture and spread evenly.

4. Put the mash potatoes on top and layer it properly and evenly.
5. Grate the processed cheese on top and keep it in the oven for about 5 mins or until the cheese has melted. 

6. Serve hot.

Note - 
1. Lamb mince can be substituted with chicken mince.
2. Make sure the oven is pre-heated.

3. It can be served in individual moulds.
4. Make sure the mash potatoes are not lumpy and are smooth and creamy.



Monday, 21 April 2014

KIWI SMOOTHIE

KIWI SMOOTHIE
A healthy, simple and easy drink made from the New Zealand's famous Kiwi Fruit.





Ingredients –

3-4 Kiwi fruits peeled
200 gms Thick Yogurt
50 ml Fresh Cream
10 ml Honey
20 gms Sugar

Method -

1. Cut the kiwi fruit roughly and put in a blender. 
2. Add in the yogurt, fresh cream for richness, honey and sugar.
3. Blitz the mixture into a proper liquid consistency.
4. Keep in the fridge to chill.
5. Serve in a tall glass with some dices of the kiwi fruit at the bottom for texture.

Note -
1. Keep little kiwi fruit and cut them into small dices for garnish to be put in the glass while serving.
2. If you think the mixture is very thick, add a little milk to it to thin it down.

SWEET BRUSCHETTA WITH FRUITS

SWEET BRUSCHETTA WITH FRUITS

My this recipe is a take on a dessert and the famous Italian starter (antipasto / antipasti ) - Bruschetta.

                             


Ingredients –

2-3 Kiwi fruits peeled 
1 Banana
1 Apple
1 Box Strawberries

1 French Baguette
1 Small jar Nutella
20 gms Icing sugar
1/2 lemon 


Method - 

1. Peel the Banana, core the apple, and clean the strawberries.
2. Cut all the fruits into small cubes and keep them in a bowl and squeeze half lemon and mix well.
3. Keep it in the fridge for sometime to chill.
4. Slice the baguette in thin slices.
5. Heat a grill pan and toast the baguette until grill marks appear.
6. Remove the fruits from the fridge.

7. Spread the baguette with lots of Nutella.
8. Take a spoonful of the fruits and keep on top of the nutella.
9. Sprinkle icing sugar on top on the fruits and serve.




Friday, 18 April 2014

Spaghetti with Cheezy Cream Sauce

Spaghetti with cheezy cream sauce
                                     

                        

Ingredients 

1 – 500gm pack spaghetti
100 ml cream
salt, black pepper to taste.
50 gms parmesan cheese
10 gms chilli flakes
10 gms mixed herbs
10 ml olive oil


Method 
1. In a bowl take cream, add in the salt, pepper, mixed herbs and chilli flakes and mix well.
2. Meanwhile boil the spaghetti, till al dente* ( al dente -  to the tooth )
3. add the grated parmesan cheese in the cream mixture.
4. Take boiled spaghetti from the water and put it directly in the cream mixture when hot.
5. Mix well and make sure that the spaghetti is properly coated with the cream sauce.
6. To serve, put it on a plate, sprinkle some herbs, chilli flakes and parmesan cheese on top to make it look attractive.
7. Just drizzle olive oil and serve hot.

* Al dente - not boiled 100%, just so that there is a bite when having the pasta.

Note - 
1. Season the boiling water properly as it is very difficult to season the pasta later.
2. Do not add oil to the pasta while boiling, this will make the sauce not stick to the pasta.
3. Any cheese can be use instead of parmesan.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Spaghetti in Cream Sauce.






quick and easy recipe for spaghetti in cream sauce.

Some Italian Rules for Eating



SOME OF THE EATING RULES FOR ITALIAN CUISINE.

*Never, sip a cappuccino during a meal. (Espresso) coffee and cappuccino are Italy's pride. The first is to be consumed after a meal, and a cappuccino is for breakfast, ideally with something sweet, like biscotti. Order a one after a meal but, an Italian would never do so.


                              

* Risotto and pasta are not meant to accompany other dishes, they are a dish or a preparation on their own. Pasta served as if it were a veg is "a mistake committed in many other countries, but in Italy is considered like a crime (sacrilegious) ".


                          

* Don't put oil in the pasta water. Any addition should be made after the pasta has been cooked. Any addition made during the boiling process will make the sauce not sticking to the pasta and which everyone doesnt want.


* Spaghetti Bolognese? No! Probably Italy's most famous dish, yet there isn't a restaurant in Bologna that serves it. The famous sauce is traditionally cooked with tagliatelle, not spaghetti, which is not known to many people and is still served with spaghetti in many countries

                                         


* Pasta with chicken – never in Italy. Americans regard this as "typically Italian", says the report, "but we have to tell you: no one in Italy would serve such a dish".


* "Caesar salad": unknown in Italy, even if its inventor, Caesar Cardini, was Italian. Served all of the world except Italy.


                                              


* Ketchup on pasta. This really shocks Italians. Barilla calls it "a true culinary sin". Ketchup resembles that the chef cooking is not living to the food standards. 


* Red and white checked tablecloths. They don't exist in Italy, even though countless Italian restaurants abroad use them.


                              

* Respect tradition and a mother's advice, namely that Italian food is to be shared with those you love. Love and family are "tutto".





Wednesday, 9 April 2014

My take on the French cuisine at Suzette


Suzette, the first thing that comes to my mind when i hear the name is
Crepe Suzette, the classic french dish made with a nice crepe with reduced orange sauce and orange segments.
It is one of the most famous crepe dishes all around the world if i would to say...

Talking about the restaurant/joint Suzette, the place is located in one of the best and high fi areas of bandra, pali hill.
This place is a very small joint, i guess hardly it can accommodate about about 30 peoples..
Its quite congested and the tables are all squeezed up to get maximum people fitted in the area...
To start with, for me this was one negative point i get there...

The place serving french food, is quite famous among the people from foreign countries as they prefer crepes, and the stuff served there for the meals...also it is quite famous among indians as well, as many like the same food as well.
                                              


I visited the place for a breakfast cum brunch if i would to say...
the moment i reached here...all the tables were full and i had to wait for sometime which was a bit irritating, coz when im hungry, i hate waiting...

As soon as we were seated, we went through the menu and it was a bit confusing on what to order and what not to order as all of the dishes seems quite interesting with the wonderful description given there..
After thinking a lot we ordered a small bowl of the pesto pasta salad with sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes..
a citrus juice, banana and yogurt smoozie...in veg v ordered the foret suzette, non veg was the estragon as suggested by the server..
first comes the salad and the smoozie...
the salad..quite nice..pasta was cooked perfectly...the pesto sauce was quite good...not the best but nice...
the smoozie some how let me down...it was warm..not cold...and very thin...and seemed like it was kept and not fresh...


it is said that people eat with their eyes first...it was time to welcome the crepes...the veg foret and the non veg estragon...
looking at the plate...i personally dint feel like eating...there was no garnish..just a plain white plate with the crepe on it...which according to me is not a good sign of a nice restaurant...the plate looked like lifeless...
taste wise the crepes were pretty decent..not the best if i say...honestly i have had better...
the non veg estragon...has a good amount of cheese in the center, but on the edges of the crepes it was empty...and the same goes for the veg...

Both the crepes looked the same on the plate...only the stuffing was different...if u dint know which is which...without digging in...it mite create problems if there is a veg and a non veg person on the same table...


never the less...after some savory crepes...it was time for some sweet crepes...
and we knew what to order..it was nutella and banana...my all time favorite..and the apple compote with walnuts..
along with some whipped cream and vanilla ice cream...

Again..there was no garnish on the plate... but one thing was there...that is the stuffing...the edges has nutella and banana and other one had a generous amount of apples and walnuts...this was one thing that i liked after the salad in the whole meal...
but still..the food was not eye appealing...which i think they need to work on...
                                  


To be honest...i wouldnt pay 350rs for a crepe which doesnt have ample stuffing and was lifeless...
the sweet crepes i would recommend...but not the savory ones..
the place is averagely priced..not very expensive..

Overall...the food is not that great and lifeless...the place is quite congested...there is waiting and the ambiance was nothing great to talk about..

will i go to the place again?? i would think twice or thrice before going..


My take on Suzette - Bandra.
My Review on Levo Restaurant - Mumbai.




Levo, the place which recently opened up like about 6-7 months ago is seem to being heard alot among my friends,
which made me to go here and try the food.
To be honest, dint have much but some of their amazing starters and a salad and a main...thats it, but whatever i had was totally worth it.

To start with, the place has a indoor, an outdoor and a banquet kinda room for a get together or may be a function.
While entering, there is an encounter with a big door and when you cross it, there is this beautiful place waiting for you.

The ambiance of the place is sober, simple and kind of elegant according to me, there is a bar with some bar chairs where one can enjoy a drink with some snacks.
The staff was quite helpful and adequate knowledge about the dishes they were serving, they helped me on what to order as the dishes are soo confusing, its hard to decide what to have and what not to have.

To begin with came the Veg Levo Salad,( made on request) a simple salad but great in taste, not much in the salad, this shows that less ingredients make a great dish.

The starters included, barbeque chicken, mince lamb kebab, french pissaladiere.

The Barbeque Chicken which had an amazing fragrant of cardamon and flavored with cheese was just soo moist, juicy, i was liked cooked to perfection i must say.

The Mince Lamb Kebab, small in shape, spicy, had that effect of black pepper hitting the throat, it was a bit on the dry side. but taste wise it was really good.

The final French Pissaladiere, i must say that this is one dish you dont wanna miss, it taste just fantastic, the caramelized onion and olive dip on top of the bread tasted out of the world.


This ends the starters, and it was time for the mains.
The order was only for a veg green thai curry with jasmine fragrant rice.
The curry was a bit runny, could have been a little thick, but apart from that it was the best i have had till date in bombay.
the vegetables had a bit of a crunch, the flavor of the coconut was not overpowering and complimented the jasmine rice.


Overall if have to say, the place is a total paisa vasool, the food is delicious, the ambiance is pretty nice, helpful staff.

Now the question is, will i go here again? , surely to try out other dishes and the for some more food.

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