Homemade Nutty and Cinnamon Muesli

I had been wanting to do this for the longest while. Make a batch of  muesli at home. It sounded so simple. And thanks to the in-laws trips from India, I seemed to have every kind of dry fruit at home. So what was stopping me?

My inherent laziness. That’s all.

And also, the fact that at any given time we have 3 types of cereal lying at home. There’s the healthy bran flakes that Arjun Singh gets home, the Chocolate Pillows (from Aldi) that we both love, and the whatever-be-my-fancy-that-month batch of muesli/granola that I get from the supermarket (this month I am tripping over a dark chocolate and cranberry oat cluster pack from Carman’s Kitchen.. it’s supremely blissful).

I love milk and cereal for breakfast. And especially cold cold milk and a crunchy bite to my cereal. So last week when we ran out of our truck load of cereal (gasp!) and I didn’t want to make a trip to the market JUST for cereal, I decided to make some at home.

And trust me, it’s one of the easiest things on the planet. Plus super healthy too.

You need good quality oats, your choice of dry fruits, seeds, and nuts, honey/maple syrup, sugar, cinnamon and you are good to go. And because you are making this at home, you can control what goes in, the amount of sugar level, the level of crispiness or smokiness you want the cereal to have. It’s all super easy and simple.

Oats:

The thing with making muesli at home is that there is no fixed ratio of ingredients. Obviously the oats are the most in quantity, and it is better if you make it with traditional rolled oats. You can always try making muesli with quick cooking oats but do remember that if you are aiming to make granola (muesli that is baked for longer and thus chewier) and/or granola clusters, then traditional oats get better results. They change texture which quick cooking oats don’t. That’s what gets the oats to bind together and form those yummy crunchy clusters.

Muesli1

 The Add Ons

This is where you make up your muesli mix. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, dried figs, dried prunes, dried apricots, seeds, coconut flakes, raisins. Put them all. Or put none. Okay, put some of these at least. It’s not muesli if its just dried oats and milk!

Word of advice: If you plan on adding chocolate chips, fresh fruit etc, do so in the last 5-10 minutes of the bake. Not from the very beginning.

Muesli 2

muesli3

muesli4

The Sugar and Syrup

This is the part where you add the honey or maple syrup or both and mix up everything. I sprinkled some vanilla sugar and a touch of cinnamon.

muesli5

The Bake

After giving it a thorough mix, lay it out on a baking tray and put it in a pre-heated oven to bake at 180 C for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, take them out and swirl the mix around with a spatula and put it back in the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes. This is so that the entire mixture gets baked evenly.

muesli6

muesli7

I baked this batch for about 25 minutes, mixing it up twice, and then taking it out of the oven to cool down. Once cool, store in an air tight jar. The smell of the nutty baked muesli will enliven the house.

muesli8

I can’t wait to make my next batch of breaky cereal. This one got over in 3 days. Hope you try it too. And hit me up with  a comment below if you have any questions, feedback, criticism or just want to say hi.

Happy munching!

:)

 

Nutella Banana Bread

Nutella Banana Bread
Nutella Banana Bread

I had been laying off banana bread for a while now. You know, all that calorie counting, healthy eating, and jacksh*it. But it’s like it was calling out to me every time I saw a slice..

Shrutiiii, I am banana bread.. I fulfill the craving in your head

I know you know I am actually cake, but gurl, you know I am better than steak 

Bah! bad rhyme, but you know what I am saying. A lot of us (or maybe just me) eats the banana bread thinking oh, it’s so good for me, and maybe for some of you out there it is. However a lack of a dedicated exercise regime, plus counting calories had finally made me realise I needed to lay off the ‘cake-bread’ for a bit. But how to ignore the innocent looking packaged slices just lying around the office cafeteria; or implicitly imploring me from store shelves to just take them home with me.

Simple. Bake it at home, silly.

So I made my version of home-made healthy wholemeal banana bread to shush the inner calorific demons. And when I say healthy, and bread, I mean healthy, and bread. This tastes more bread-y than cake-y. So if you want a healthy-wealthy bread, you have come to the right place.

This is a loaf made of wholewheat flour, using no sugar, and no eggs, and no butter. That’s the beauty of baking with bananas, they are the best supplement for eggs and fat (butter, oil), plus they provide the sugary content too.

And okay, I cheated a bit. I added a spoon of Nutella because it was lying right in front of me. But to compensate, I spooned in a big serving of pumpkin seeds in the batter too. Sorted.

and yes, always ALWAYS make sure you use over-ripe bananas because that gives the best result. And does all that magic.

1

2

3

4

5a

Ingredients

  1. Bananas: 3, mashed
  2. Wholewheat flour (atta): 2 cups
  3. Baking powder: 1.5 tsp
  4. Vanilla essence: 3 tsp
  5. Ground Cinnamon: 1 tsp
  6. Ground Nutmeg: half a tsp
  7. Walnuts, slightly roasted and chopped roughly: ½ to 1 cup (individual discretion)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  3. Add the vanilla essence and mashed bananas to this mix, and mix gently
  4. The batter will be sticky. Don’t worry, that’s a good sign
  5. Add the chopped walnuts to this batter.
  6. Lightly flour a baking loaf pan and pour batter into it
  7. Place pan with batter into the pre-heated oven, and bake at 180 degrees Celsius, for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the batter comes out clean.

Wasn’t that easy? Ta-da, the really healthy banana BREAD is ready. Enjoy it plain, or toasted with whatever topping you prefer (butter, jam, honey…). Now eat it within the next week or so. Or store in your fridge, that keeps it for 2-3 weeks. (If you have managed to not finish it off within that time)

 

Blueberry Crumble Cake

As any self-respecting food blogger will tell you, and even if I am a newbie I can tell you, that you just have to subscribe to tons of amazing food blogs out there. It’s all for the glorious love of food, for gazing lovingly at those yummy food photos, for sharing recipes, for finding more food-obsessed people out there and realising you are far from being alone in this gluttonous world, for that slightly envious twinge when you see a brilliant food shot and wonder how they pulled it off, for that aha moment when you realise that all the ingredients for this particular recipe are in your kitchen right now.

The last is what I had been experiencing quite a few weeks going now. Must be all those random grocery trips. I made this one-pot pasta wonder thanks to Joy the baker (joythebaker.com)

Joy Baker

Then this home-made satay sauce for a quick weeknight noodle dinner courtesy Averie from averiecooks.com

peanutnoodles-14

 

So when this blueberry crumble cake recipe, from the Smitten Kitchen, popped up in my email feed, and I quickly ticked off all the ingredients on the list as being PRESENT in my kitchen, I was so SO happy. I love the smittenkitchen blog. Deb Perelman, author/creator/owner of the smittenkitchen.com, has this super gorgeous food blog, with such decadent food photography. Yet her recipes are ones which you and I can create, with no added stress,  using basic and fuss-free ingredients from our kitchen.

Sample this blueberry cakey beauty.

Blueberry Bliss
Blueberry Crumb Cake baked by me

You would think a cake with the words crumb, and blueberry, taken from an award-winning food-blog means 30 ingredients, 10 hours prep-time, 20 steps, yada yada yada. But nahhh. No triple-milled flour, or thrice-processed granulated sugar, or .. you get the drift. Her recipe calls for basic baking ingredients (flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla essence) which I can vouch for being present in every bakers kitchen. And the method to make the cake itself, as simple as fudge.  Trust me.

In her own words:

What I’m wary of is: Excessively fussy foods and/or pretentious ingredients. I don’t do truffle oil, Himalayan pink salt at $10 per quarter-ounce or single-origin chocolate that can only be found through Posh Nosh-approved purveyors. I think food should be accessible, and am certain that you don’t need any of these things to cook fantastically.

I followed her instructions bit by bit…..

The Crumbly Layer
The Crumbly Layer

The basics are simple. Leave all your ingredients out to get them to room temeprature. Make the crumb layer first. Set aside. Make the batter. Pour batter into tin. Top with crumb layer. Bake. Serve. Store.

(I can’t take any credit for the recipe this time around. All steps and ingredients were as listed by Deb in her recipe; so I shall be sharing the link for the same throughout the blog; and just showing off pictures of my attempt at baking it :) )

You follow her instructions to the T and get this
You follow her instructions to the T and get this

God! The husband and I gorged on this blueberry brilliance for days. It got over a few days ago and I miss it so bad already. :(

Give me more
Give me more

For those of you reading this and are raring to replicate this in your kitchen, here’s the recipe and blog post from Smitten Kitchen:

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/07/blueberry-crumb-cake/

If you do make it, do let me know if it worked out as well for you as it did for me. Meanwhile, I have my eyes set on this yummazing Strawberries and Graham cracker crumb with cream recipe Deb shared on her blog a few days back. nom nom nom

Healthy Wholewheat Carrot Cake

IMG_20140527_155904

So I always knew that this blog would sooner or later start becoming an  honest-to-goodness-and-gluttonous love for all things food. I mean, I am someone who lives for, and loves food. I remember once I was showing my mom around town, in Pune, India, and each of my stories went something like this, there in that corner, we had the best vada pav, and that’s Marzorin, they have yummmazing cakes and shakes, and ooh, this is Koregaon park, they have this amazing burger joint.. And my mom turns to me and asks, is that ALL you did in Pune, eat? Emmm, yeah-huhh!

My happiest places are farmers markets, restaurants, kitchens, patisseries, cafes, anywhere I am eating good food. And I am kind of proud of it :D

The other thing I love about food is baking it. But for someone who loves baking and baked products as much as me, I do very little of it nowadays. And lately, I always have an excuse for not doing it…I am in a new country, new house, am staying alone, counting the days until the husband gets here, it’s no fun when you are alone, I don’t have the stuff I need, I am going to gain weight yada yada yada… Excuses excuses, and more silly excuses.Time to stop the silly whining and get back to it.
Continue reading “Healthy Wholewheat Carrot Cake”