Lemon Yoghurt tea cake (healthy)

Since September 2020, we have been on a life style change phase. We are mindful of what we eat and workout with the wonderful BSA training group live from California. Their coaches have changed our eating habits permanently. After almost 30 pounds less and a new me (husband also distinctly less), this is a cake we vouch for when we want to have a tea and cake moment. It is yum!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup walnut flour
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 3/4 cup blended dates and half banana (for sugar)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Method

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and ready your 8 inch cake pan to bake the cake. Whisk together flour (both kinds), baking powder and salt. In another bowl add grated dates, banana and lemon zest, make sure the mix is blended and not lumpy. Add yoghurt, butter, eggs and vanilla extract. Stir lightly into flour mixture make everything smooth by whisking. Pour into cake pan and bake till tooth pick or fork comes out clean in 25-30 minutes.

Tip: You can add a little more of dates to have a sweeter cake! Decorate with any fruits as you will. Raspberries go well with it too.

Sweet potato, savory waffles

We both love waffles (who doesn’t!), but in the middle of the pandemic, we have started a whole new lifestyle with healthy eating and working out, at least thrice a week. Junk or processed foods have been out of our diet completely. So, we had to think of incorporating waffles back into our menu in a healthy way, and then we found Food Pharmacy’s fantastic sweet potato waffles recipe. We followed their recipe pretty much ditto, but had small tweaks in the topping, which you can modify with any healthy additions as per palette.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 4tbsp corn starch
  • 2 eggs

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 cup red cabbage shredded
  • 1 small fennel, shredded
  • 4 tbs lingonberry
  • 2 tsp honey (go easy, you don’t want it too sweet, we barely had a tiny bit)
  • 1/2 lemon or orange zest
  • green chilli
  • coriander
  • cottage cheese
  • salt and pepper

Method

First peel and chop the sweet potatoes and the onion and put in blender till it is a paste. Add two eggs and blend again. Mix this mixture with the corn starch. Let this “batter” rest for at least ten minutes.

The topping: grate cabbage and fennel, mix with lingonberries, little bit honey and lemon zest. Add salt pepper and keep the chili and coriander, cottage cheese ready to add on the side.

The beauty of a red cabbage

Tip: Keep the waffle maker heat to medium high (our scale was from 1-6 and we made the waffles at 4). Smear a tiny bit of butter on both sides of the grid. Add some batter to the grids and put the cover. It is very important not to open the waffle maker to check if the waffles are done, and leave it to cook for at least 7 minutes. If they are not cooked yet, leave them for some more minutes, and they come together nice and crispy.

Add the salad topping on top of the warm waffles, sprinkle some green chili and coriander and add desired amount of cottage cheese beside the salad. It’s a yum, savory waffle that you can enjoy without any guilt!

Special thanks to Food Pharmacy for this outstanding recipe!

Swedish knäckebröd

We are back after a long time since the summer to write about one of our fav crispy bread recipes, a tradition in Sweden- the knäckebröd. It’s very healthy and fibrous, made out of rolled oats, lentils, pumpkin and other seeds with very little oil in it. We have also been transforming our diet lately with lot of natural foods, fruits, veggies and complex carbs and thought of sharing this bread recipe. Hope you try it out!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of dry red lentils (soaked in water overnight)
  • 3/4 cup of oat flour (we had rolled oats that we ran in the blender)
  • 1 cup pumpkin seed
  • 1/4 cup linseed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chia or hemp seed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1/2 tsp of kosher salt plus some extra to sprinkle on top when it’s done.
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Method

Preheat oven at 150 C. Wash and drain the lentils. Then mix all the dry ingredients with the lentils in a large bowl. Next, boil the water and oil for a little bit and pour over the dry mixture and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

Next, flatten and roll out half the dough on a baking paper and cover with a baking paper to make it easy for rolling the top. It should flatten out nicely on the tray (see photo). Do same steps on another baking tray. Sprinkle some kosher salt on both trays. Let it stand on the counter for 20-25 minutes for everything to stick together before baking.
Bake one tray of crisp bread at a time in the oven, for about 50 minutes. Check to make sure it is completely dry and crunchy, if not add extra 10-15 minutes. Cool on counter before cutting and eating.

Rum n Raisin ice cream

We had a really bland and off putting Rum and Raisin ice-cream on a trip to the west coast of Sweden. More than me, C was disappointed at how bad it was; the rum flavor was synthetic and we hardly found any raisins. So he decided to make his own rum and raisin ice cream that tastes like it. The raisins were soaked in rum over night and were plump and juicy and it was one of the best Rum and Raisin we have had, if we can say it ourselves. :- )

Ingredients

  • 200ml Cream
  • 300ml Whole milk
  • 20g Whole milk powder
  • 100g Sugar
  • 30g Glucose
  • 1/3 Cup of raisins
  • Rum

Method

Put raisins in a cup and pour rum over them until it covers all the raisins. Cover the cup and let it stand until the next day (in or outside the refrigerator). Mix the milk powder and sugar in a small bowl. Place the cream, milk and glucose in a saucepan over medium heat till it comes to a boil. Whisk in the sugar and milk powder and continue to simmer lightly for about 2 minutes. Continue whisking to prevent burning. Take it off the heat and submerge the saucepan 2/3 of the way in cold water and continue to whisk until the mixture cools down. Transfer the ice cream base to the refrigerator and let it sit for minimum 4 hours (preferably over night). Strain the raisins and mix the surplus rum with the ice cream base in the fridge. Churn the mixture in a cooled ice cream maker until it starts to freeze. Mix in the rum soaked raisins at this point and continue to churn until it hardens. Transfer the ice cream to a container with an air tight lid and put it in the freezer until it is freezes and is completely ready.

Weekend Neapolitan pizza

My fascination for pizza started after listening to an interview with two friends who wanted to learn how to make the perfect Neapolitan pizza at home. Their adventure that started with a passion for perfection eventually resulted in a restaurant and a 300+ page book about this narrow field of pizza.
I was inspired by them– Besmir Balaj and Ville Ilola who have a fantastic restaurant called Lilla Napoli in Falkenberg, Sweden.
This is my version of the Neapolitan pizza!

Ingredients

  • 500g Tipo 00 flour (a special super fine Italian flour)
  • 330g Water
  • 12g Salt
  • 0.2g dry yeast (trust me…)
  • 400g Can of San Marzano tomatoes crushed by hand. (or any good crushed tomatoes)
  • Italian Salami
  • 3 Mozzarella balls, cut in thin slices
  • Parmigiano cheese
  • Olive oil

Method

Mix the dry yeast with the water and stir until dissolved. In the bread kneader bowl put the flour and salt, and turn on the kneader. Pour in the dry yeast liquid and knead the dough for 15 minutes. Let it ferment until the next day. If you don’t have time, just increase the amount of yeast but ideally leave it to make the pizza next day. Divide the dough into 3 parts and form round balls by stretching the edges and pulling them underneath. Put them separate and let them ferment again. Now its time to turn on the oven as high as it goes! Just before the pizzas go into the oven, turn on the over head grill if you have any for the pizza top to get heat (this bakes the pizza in few minutes but keep an eye to not char it).

The traditional way of flattening a Neapolitan pizza is by slapping it back and forth but my way is just by taking one of the doughs and pressing my finger tips in the middle and leaving the edges as a thicker rim. (This will come by practice, or you can also watch some videos on how to flatten a Neapolitan pizza.) Then grab the pizza by the rim and let it stretch by gravity while turning it around as it becomes thinner and bigger. Put it on a parchment paper, add the crushed tomatoes on top, along with the salami and mozzarella spread uniformly. Sprinkle some olive oil on top and put it into the oven.
Bake for a few minutes until the bread turns golden brown with some darker spots on the sides. Just perfection and yum!

Steak with green peppercorn sauce

This recipe is three years old and we make it frequently at home. A first spotted it in food network in a recipe by Ina Garten. Since then, that recipe has undergone some changes as I have added pink peppercorns sometimes with the green and sometimes juniper berries. Both go with the wonderfully fragrant green peppercorns. For the steak, a good filet mignon or ribeye works great but any other cut goes with this rich creamy sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 Carrot, sliced
  • 1 Cup red wine
  • Vinegar
  • 1 Cup cream
  • 1/2 Cube of stock or 1 cup stock any kind
  • 1 tbs Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tbs Green peppercorns, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs Juniper berries, finely chopped (optional)
  • Steak
  • Starchy potatoes

Method peppercorn sauce

Fry the shalots and carrots until they are soft. Add wine and boil for a while. Add some water and strain out the vegetables. Add stock, cream, soy sauce, green peppercorns, (juniper, if you are using) and adjust the acid levels with the vinegar to taste. Reduce to a thick sauce. Taste for salt.

Method potatoes

Peal and cut the potatoes to wedges. Boil the wedges until they are slightly soft. Fry the wedges at 130C (265F) for 10min. Heat up the oil to 180C (350F) and fry until they are crisp and golden. If a fryer isn’t available, you can put all wedges in the oven with oil salt salt sprinkled, at 225 C or 440 F.

Serve steak (medium rare to medium for us) with potatoes and salad with a gorgeous peppercorn sauce on the side.

Tip: You can mix around pink peppercorns chopped with the green ones sometimes, as this time we used juniper berries. The sauce can still be superb with just the green peppercorns.


Quick Chilla

My early childhood in Calcutta had no chilla in the menu. Then whatever little time I have spent in North India, strangely I don’t recall having this delicious thing either. Only recently, a friend from Delhi told me about it and then I started looking for Gram flour in Sweden. We thought we got gram flour (chick pea flour) but turns out what we had was Grahammjöl which is this very coarse fibrous wheat flour, full of kernels. While making chillas today, I realized what I should have bought instead is called kikärtsmjöl (if you are looking for it in Sweden). For others, besan or gram flour will do. This was made with the grahammjöl and still very tasty. I recommend using the real gram flour if you are attempting this. Chillas are very nutritious and you can throw in any vegetables from home and we also debuted our home grown spicy green chili and cilantro in it. Serve hot, preferably with coconut or coriander chutney! Yum.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gram flour (besan) or kikärtsmjöl if you are in Sweden
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 2 inch ginger finely chopped
  • Some spinach leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Tiny hint of fenugreek powder (optional)
  • Freshly chopped green chilli (we did 2, you can add 1 if you want to go easy on it)
  • Chopped cilantro leaves
  • Salt
  • Water for mixing

Method

In a large bowl, add the gram flour and turmeric and salt. Then add half a cup of water and start mixing well. Add more water as needed to make a smooth batter which shouldn’t be too runny. As the batter becomes smooth, add all the veggies, cilantro and chili and whisk very smoothly. At this point, the batter may need a little more water but make sure to add little and mix so that the mixture is not too liquid. As the batter consistency is reached, leave aside for 15-20 minutes. Heat oil in a pan, and pour and smear batter in rounds and fry. I was cautious about the oil and didn’t deep fry the chillas. Also made sure the pan was hot and then fried one side, put some oil on the sides and flipped to fry the other. Chillas are golden brown, fried in medium heat and delicious with any good chutney. The ingredients provided here make about 6 big chillas. If you don’t have chutney at home, they go well with a yoghurt, sriracha and hint of garlic dip also. Just an idea! Serve hot.

Quick Spicy Kebabs

My mother called me today and we were discussing food she used to make in the childhood. I asked her a kebab recipe she used to make in Calcutta and she told me everything in a big hurry without any ingredients measured. It’s the Bengali style of cooking she has taught me: “eyeball it” —She would say “and if it’s not right, learn and do it again.” Well, I learned and I’ll try to give you all some measurements for this delicious kebab.

Ingredients

  • 500 g minced lamb
  • 1/2 finely chopped large onion
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 clove garlic chopped
  • 1.5 inch ginger finely chopped
  • sprinkle of mace powder
  • sprinkle of nutmeg
  • cilantro finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 table spoon besan (kikärtsmjöl in Sweden)
  • 2 fresh green chili chopped
  • black pepper
  • salt

Method

In a bowl, mix together all ingredients and blend well. As all ingredients are mixed add the besan. Make sure to mix really well, then form rounds and flatten with the palm of your hand to make the shape. Heat oil and in medium heat fry all kebabs. They should be golden brown in color. Serve hot with a cucumber mint yoghurt or salad. They are quick, delicious and go well with coriander chutney too.

Elderflower gin soda

Sweden is absolutely spectacular this time of the year; lilacs and elderflowers are in full bloom and every corner suddenly wakes up to flashes of color with pink and purple rhododendrons and lupines emerging. Elderflowers are the rather unnoticed ones, gorgeous, small white flowers and the fragrance wafts through the air deliciously. The fragrance is unique, it’s sweet and floral but also has a splendid freshness to it. The elderflower syrup in this recipe can be enjoyed with plain water or in our case with this handcrafted gin distilled with botanicals handpicked locally on the island of Gotland hellstromgin.com

Ingredients Elderflower syrup

  • 500g Sugar
  • 500g Water
  • 10g Citric acid
  • Elderflowers

Method

Heat sugar, water and citric acid until it boils. Turn off heat and add a hefty bunch of elderflowers (I had maybe 10-15 small bunches) and set aside to cool down. Keep in the fridge until next day and strain of the flowers. The drink can simply be made by mixing a small amount syrup (or as much as you prefer but this is a concentrated syrup), gin and soda water.

Gyoza (Dumplings)

We are a bit picky with our food and dumplings need to be great, not just good. We have been able to find one nice place to get dumplings in our city and then we decided to make our own. This was our first attempt and we learned a thing or two in the process— dumplings need a bit of our soul in them, and some heavy patience in the laborious process. Also, the time taken to make them is not directly proportional to the time it takes to eat them!
ps: we made pork dumplings but these are as good with minced lamb or chicken. (Add some heat if you kick up the fire a bit)

Ingredients Wrappers & filling

  • 2 Cups of flour
  • 1/2 Cup of water
  • 1 lb Minced pork
  • 3 Leaves of napa cabbage
  • 1/2 Cup of spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1.5 Inch ginger piece, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tbs Japanese soya sauce
  • 1 tbs Sesame oil

Ingredients Dipping sauce

  • 4 tbs Japanese soya sauce
  • 3 tbs Sugar
  • 4 tbs Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Grated ginger
  • 1 Finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp Sesame oil
  • Finely chopped chili

Method

Boil the cabbage for 2-3 minutes. Rinse with cold water and squeeze out the water. Then chop cabbage into small pieces. Mix the cabbage with the minced pork, spring onions, ginger, salt, soy, and sesame oil. 

Mix water and wheat flour. Roll out the dough, punch out rounds with the rim of cup turned upside down on the dough . Add the filling, fold and pinch to the edge so the dumpling becomes dense. You can also make the edge nicer with a dumpling shaper.

Boil the dumplings in water for 4-5 minutes and fry them in oil to get some nice color and crunch.

Mix all ingredients to the dipping sauce and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Season with finely chopped chilli and serve the sauce to your dumplings.