Skinny Banana Chocolate-chip Dutch Baby

Skinny Banana Chocolate-Chips Dutch Baby4

I know I went MIA AGAIN and you must think that I do not take the blog seriously but in my defense, life happened. It so happens that life loves to throw unlikely surprises my way! So what happened you ask… Well, my in-laws arrived in town 3 weeks back and due to the super-dramatic climate-change here, both caught Mono. Next in queue was my hubby dearest!

So in the midst of house-work and multiple visits to the clinic on daily-basis, I could squeeze in time to blog only 2 previous recipes. I was definitely active on social media. I did check-out what my other blogger friends were writing about but I did not have patience to write down a recipe or to edit pictures for the post. It’s not like I did not have recipes to post or I was not cooking. In fact, I was cooking more regularly than ever! At least 3 different meals were being prepared on a daily basis. And now that everyone is fit and fine, I’m going to take a little breather from home-cooking and going to eat-out little bit more and of course, start posting here regularly!

Skinny Banana Chocolate-Chips Dutch Baby1

I bring you today another easy skinny pancake recipe. It is perfect for breakfast or Brinner, serves a small family perfectly that too without the hassle of flipping individual pancakes! You know I’m lazy and love quick-fixes more than anything right?! 😉

The Dutch Baby is another name for German pancake which is baked in a cast-iron skillet or a metal pan and its puff falls soon after being removed from the oven. This pancake is ready in a record time of 20-25 minutes from start-to-finish! Made with minimum ingredients, this is a perfect recipe for days when your refrigerator has scarce ingredients. You just need 2 eggs, little flour, some milk and 1 banana to be in business! Rest of the ingredients are your usual suspects.

I do not own a cast-iron skillet so I baked this in a 10-inch metal pan I have. Brown sugar, banana and cinnamon is a match made in heaven. The result is perfectly caramelized banana topped pancake topped with chocolate-chips. Your house is going to smell delicious for next few hours! Whattay way to start mornings or end work-laden days! Enjoy! 🙂

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Skinny Banana Chocolate-Chips Dutch Baby3

Skinny Banana Chocolate-chip Dutch Baby

Makes: 1 big Dutch Baby | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 15 to 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (skim milk, soy milk or almond milk)
  • 2 or 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp dark chocolate chips (Use more as per your liking)
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Prepare a 9-inch oven-safe skillet by spraying with cooking spray or greasing it. Place butter in the skillet. Put skillet in the oven to melt the butter. You can do this while oven is still in preheating mode. Once butter has melted, in about 2-3 minutes, remove the skillet from the oven and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the flour, cinnamon, salt and whisk until smooth and free from lumps.
  5. Pour the batter on to the skillet and evenly top with banana slices. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and puffy. Mine was ready in 15 minutes.
  6. Slice and serve optionally with a dusting of powdered sugar or a pour from maple syrup.
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Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Salad1

 

It’s my Mother’s Birthday today! She is the most special woman in my life. She is my first best friend and I have had heaps of special moments with her. She handed down so many traits of hers to me… We both love bags, shoes, clothes and FOOD! She is such an awesome cook!

As already confessed in my intro page, I never learnt to cook before I got married and being such a great cook that she is, my mom was quite concerned about that part. She sincerely wrote down all her recipes in a diary for my convenience and gifted it to me on my D-day. That is my most prized possession and a lovely gesture on my mom’s part! I should soon get down to posting few of her special recipes!

Among many things my mother and I share, we both LOVE pasta! So aptly, I am posting a very simple pasta salad which is very refreshing and flavorful. I’m sure my mom would have enjoyed this thoroughly if I could make this for her at home for tonight’s celebration. But we are distanced by miles hence a virtual birthday dish will have to suffice! 😦

 

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I love Caprese in any and every form!

You must remember I once created this unusual ice-cream with it and these skewers served with pesto!

This time I brought together 2 of my favorites and created this dee-lish caprese pasta salad. Of course with a twist… I added capers for a little tang! And it really did wonders. This salad is so beautiful, adorned with pear tomatoes and bursting with basil! Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Happiest of Birthday Mother! Cheers!!!

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Caprese Pasta Salad
Servings: 4-5 as a side and 2-3 as a light lunch/dinner
Ingredients:
For salad:
  • 2 heaping cups bow-tie pasta
  • Around 20-25 pear tomatoes, sliced
  • 25-30 small cubes of Mozzarella
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained & washed
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
For dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of red chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in generously salted boiling water according to package directions till al-dante. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, add pasta, sliced tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese cubes, capers and toss.
  3. In a small bowl, take all the ingredients mentioned under dressing and whisk.
  4. Add the dressing to the large bowl of salad ingredients and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let it chill in refrigerator for half an hour. Top with sliced basil leaves just before serving.

Skinny Banana Zucchini Chocolate-Chip Buttermilk Pancakes

Skinny Banana Zucchini Chocolate-Chip Buttermilk Pancakes1

Such a long title… huh?!

Don’t get scared!

Today’s recipe is just filled with way too many nice things! 🙂

I love my breakfast so much! That is the best meal of the day for me.. I love it so much that we usually end up having breakfast-for-dinner more often than I would like to admit… not that I’m complaining! I had made these pancakes on one of such nights. They were so so so good!

These healthy yet delectable pancakes are laden with chocolate-chips. Mashed banana and shredded zucchini are folded into the batter for a nutritious breakfast treat. These taste best served the traditional way with butter and maple syrup. If you’re even more calorie-conscious then use the light butter or skip it completely but maple syrup is a must. Because there is hardly any sugar added in the batter itself.

These pancakes have no eggs or butter in them.

Yup… Zero. Zip. Zilch. 😉

They are still quite fluffy, soft and aerated because of these ingredients ~ banana and buttermilk-baking soda. They create magic and make these pancakes possible without addition of butter or eggs.

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Not a zucchini fan? Worry not… Banana successfully masks the tasteless zucchini for you! Trust me… these pancakes will rock your world!

They are so easy to whip up and hardly requires any prep time. The recipe makes enough for a small family and if you’ve any spares than freeze them for quick grab-n-go breakfast! I’m a zucchini fanatic so I love to have them about any time of the day! 😉

So go grab some zucchinis before they disappear!

Skinny Banana Zucchini Chocolate-Chip Buttermilk Pancakes3

Banana Zucchini Chocolate-Chip Buttermilk Pancakes

Yields: around 15 pancakes (4-inch size) | Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 + 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed with fork
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar (dark/light)
  • 1 + 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • butter, for greasing the skillet

Directions:

  1. Put shredded zucchini in a cheese cloth or muslin cloth and give it a good squeeze to remove extra liquid.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the mashed bananas, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla together.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir to combine and then fold in zucchini.
  5. Heat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat and grease with butter. Work in batches. pour scant 1/3 cup batter for each pancake into the skillet and sprinkle the uncooked top all over with chocolate-chips. When the edges begin to look dry and cooked and bubbles dot the top, flip and cook until golden on the other side.
  6. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

Independence Day Special ~ Saffron Pistachio Kulfi

Saffron Pistachio Kulfi1
I seem to have desserts ready for almost all the occasions.. I love love love sugary sweets! When the cravings hit me, it is impossible to shut my brain and there is no turning back till those cravings are satisfied. You must think I’m talking like a crazy or an addict! You’re thinking right! Not that I need a therapy or something… Just saying! It’s 1 a.m. here as I type this post, got a coffee craving which I tried to control and instead ended up snacking on a coffee-almond ice-cream! I know… weak! 😦 But don’t judge! In my defense, this is the only sweet stuff I have had in a whole day!
You all know I have a sweet corner for ice-creams. So much that not so long ago I even had an ice-cream week on the blog! Check this out! Crazy right?! So it would be impossible that I would let the Independence day be gone without posting a total Desi ice-cream dessert in the honor of the occasion.
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Kulfi is so popular throughout the country. Love of it is unbiased. It is a perfect reflection of our country’s unity despite the cultural diversity! Oh well, I have a way of twisting everything as per my own convenience! I mean only I can talk about kulfi and country being mirror-image of each other or whatever! But I hope you all agree with me on this one.. What better way to celebrate 15th August, our 66th independence day than this ice-cream dessert! I bet it’s a family favorite in every household! 🙂
Kulfi is traditionally prepared by evaporating milk on a low heat with almost continuous stirring to keep milk from sticking to the bottom of the vessel, until its volume was reduced by half, thus thickening it. It is almost like eggless custard turned in to ice-cream. I’ve stuck to the traditional recipe and have refrained from using condensed milk as I somehow detest it! Okay, I sort of hate condensed milk! I guess it’s a night for confessions! Relieved! Humph..
Of course no cliched tricolor desserts people! Hence the recipe for kulfi is has been kept as close to natural as possible. No artificial flavorings or colors have been used. You get a subtle yellow from saffron, crunch from pistachio and aroma from cardamom. It is heavenly! Do try it now and thank me later! 😉
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!
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P.S. No saffron was harmed during the shoot of these photos. It was all returned back to the safety of its jar. So you all can relax now! 😀
Saffron Pistachio Kulfi
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cup full-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup full-fat milk, extra
  • 2 Tbsp cornflour
  • 4 pods of cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp strands of saffron
  • 1/3 cup sugar (adjust as per preference)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped salted pistachios, plus extra for garnishing
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream (40% fat)

Directions:

  1. In a non-stick/ceramic heavy-bottomed saucepan, add 1 and 1/2 cup milk and bring it to boil on a high heat. Now reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the vessel.
  2. Warm 1/4 cup of milk in microwave for 10-20 seconds. Add cornflour to it and mix till it dissolves completely. Add saffron strands to it. Separate the cardamom seeds from the pod and powder the seeds with mortar-pestle. Add the powder and pods to the milk. Let this mixture sit aside till the milk is getting reduced.
  3. Once milk has evaporated and thickened till its volume has reduced to half (in about 10-15 minutes), add the flavored milk-cornflour mixture (remove the cardamom pods) slowly to the milk stirring continuously. Add sugar and pistachio and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust sugar as per your preference.
  4. Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool and come to room temperature. Whip the fresh cream till soft peaks are formed. Whisk in the whipped cream to the cooled milk mixture. Pour the mixture in the molds. Refrigerate in the freezer. After about 1 hour of freezing, insert kulfi stick in each mold and freeze for another 4-5 hours. De-mold and serve immediately topped with chopped pistachios (optional).

Notes:

*You can make these without adding cornflour too. It will still taste the same but may melt at a faster rate.

*I did not have kulfi molds hence I used paper cups covered with silver foil. To de-mold, simply cut the paper cup from one side and loosen the kulfi.
*In case you’re using plastic/metal kulfi molds, dip each mold in hot water for 2-3 seconds and then de-mold the kulfi easily.
*Kulfis are best consumed within 2 days of being made. They won’t get spoiled in freezer but will become icy and rock-like if kept for longer duration.
Saffron Pistachio Kulfi4

Caprese Skewers & Spinach Walnut Pesto

Caprese Skewers1

So I made some Caprese skewers.. They are so dang cute! Of course there is absolutely no need of a recipe to make them. It’s just cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and Mozzarella cheese on thrown together on a stick seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. That simple! Making these is a child’s play and they’ll rock any party! It can be served as an appetizer or as a last course with favorite cocktail or wine! 😉

I served these skewers with spinach walnut pesto.. Hmm… seems interesting?! Require a recipe for another quick pesto? Then read on.. I have told time and again that pesto is my fave. It is so versatile. I made a big enough batch for only 2 of us in the house and served it with these skewers, made dinner with some spaghetti, threw some in my breakfast omelet and made some grilled cheese for lunch. Phew!

So let’s get down to the recipe business!

Caprese Skewers:

Ingredients:

  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • fresh Mozzarella balls
  • basil leaves
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, as per taste

Directions:

Skewer the cherry tomatoes alternating with basil leaves and Mozzarella balls. Once they are all skewered, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and serve alongside spinach walnut pesto.

Spinach Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted or untoasted (I’m lazy & used untoasted)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup olive oil to begin with, add more as and if required

Directions:

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor till smooth puree is formed. Add more olive oil as and if required. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate up to 4-5 days.

Spaghetti with Spinach Walnut Pesto

Grilled Cheese

Serenity ~ Coconut Water Fruit Punch

Serenity2
Its been ages since I last posted drink’s recipe here. In fact, its been long since I stirred up some new fancy-schmancy drink! I have been drinking my share of Iced teas and coffees but have not created any new combination worth sharing…
So here is what I made over this past weekend. And it involves something I’ve been drinking a lot lately! Cocojal.. It’s nothing but packaged tender coconut water.. It comes in pineapple and lime flavors too but I prefer it plain, unflavored one. I’m in so much love with it that I have almost 2 bottles a day. You can see I’m totally addicted!
Serenity3
I know what you guys are thinking.. Every nook and corner of my part of world is bursting with vendors selling tender coconuts and still I drink packaged version! Shocked?! Don’t be.. I prefer the packaged version for several reasons. It’s convenient, I like it chilled and you know it is going to be sweet every single time! If you’re against packaged stuff then feel free to use fresh tender coconut water.
I have been craving for some vacation from quite sometime now. Situation has it that it’s not going to be possible for sometime. Hence I took control of the situation, made this, put my feet up and relaxed while sipping on these. And I envisioned myself at my favorite beach in Goa! If you are in more of a celebratory mood, add champagne/white wine to it!
There is no specific recipe for it as such as it is not exactly science. Feel free to make with whatever combination works for you. It is just that simple… No sugar added required!
I was feeling tropicalish so I added a drop of blue food-color to my drink and it turned in to perfect ocean blue! If you hate food-colors then add Curacao Bleu syrup to achieve the desired blue. Double or triple the recipe if serving a larger crowd as it is so perfect for parties. If making this for girls’ night or bridal shower, add a drop of pink/red food-color! Again you may add a splash of Grenadine syrup to achieve the desired pink. World is much better in PINK! 😉
Garnish with fruits like berries or pineapple and cheers!
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Serenity ~aka~ Coconut Fruit Punch (vegan, gluten free, soy free, no added sugar)
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • 3 bottles Cocojal, 600 ml (approx 20 oz)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 drop blue food colouring
  • Choice of frozen/fresh fruit cubes, for serving

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl or pitcher, stir and refrigerate till it is time to serve. Garnish with fruits on stick.

*Notes:

Do not add ice-cubes to the drink. It makes the drink more watery. If you want then freeze coconut water, pineapple juice or apple juice in an ice-cube tray in advance and add them to drink as “ice” cubes.
Liqueur lovers can stir-in champagne/white wine to the drink.

P.S. I have not been compensated by Cocojal in any way for writing this post. All the opinions expressed here are personal.

Strawberry Fool & DIY Chocolate Cups

I hope to write a small post! Is that even possible? Humph.. Let’s try and see..

I’m writing about this easiest dessert ever today… It is an English classic! I’m talking about Strawberry Fool.. The name says it all! It is so simple that any fool should be able to make it! No kidding 😀

Strawberry Fool1

The fool ~ this dessert is nothing but sweetened fruit folded into stiffly peaked and slightly sweetened whipped cream. THAT IS IT! Berries work perfectly for this dessert, especially strawberries. Kiwi and rhubarb would be a nice twist too.

For serving my fool, I made heart-shaped chocolate cups! Do you remember my post “Brownie Bombs“? I had mentioned in that post that even after coating all the cake pops generously I still had some left-over melted chocolate. I had to think on my feet… How to turn this left-over melted chocolate into something amazing and this impromptu idea came to my mind. Very easy to make. All you need is silicone cupcake liners.

Chocolate cups are so easy to make that once you’ve started, it is difficult to stop. You’ll find yourself stuffing them with all sorta yumminess out there! Imagine your favorite peanut butter, ice-creams, mousse and cheesecake served in these edible chocolate cups. Now no need to lick the plate!

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DIY chocolate cup seated on my DIY cupcake stand!

Don’t overfill the cups with fool like I did! 😛

Chocolate and strawberries are match made in heaven. So serving strawberry fool in a chocolate cup makes for a perfect and elegant party-dessert. Chocolate cups can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator for months and strawberry fool is a no-cook, no-nonsense dessert. Perfect for last-minute dessert-fix or midnight-cravings!

P.S. I’m sorry but I do not have step-by-step photos for chocolate cups. As you can imagine my kitchen and hands were covered in chocolate. 😛 But do not worry. These are easy-peesy to make and you will not require my horrible photographic skills to show you that.

DIY Chocolate Cups:

Yields: 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 50 gm dark chocolate*, melted
  • 4 silicone cupcake liners, frozen for 5 minutes
  • small sheet of grease-proof baking paper

Directions:

For detailed information on how to melt chocolate: Refer to this post

Method-1:

Dip the outer surface of the silicone liner into the melted chocolate. Remove the excess chocolate by giving the liner a slight shake. Ensure that the chocolate coats the liner evenly. Upturn the liner and place it on grease-proof baking paper. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Dip the liner again in the melted chocolate to get a thicker layer of chocolate and refrigerate again. Repeat these steps to make 3 more cups.
Once cool, separate the chocolate cups from silicone liners slowly and carefully. Refrigerate till the time of use.
Method-2: For this method a small paint brush will be required.

Paint a thin layer of chocolate onto the inside of each cupcake liner. Refrigerate them for 10 minutes.
Paint a second thin layer of chocolate on top of the first layer and refrigerate for another 10 minutes.
Carefully pop the chocolate cups out of the liners. Refrigerate till the time of use.

* Feel free to use white chocolate or mix of dark and white chocolate.

Strawberry Fool:

Yields: 4 servings | Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 large frozen strawberries, hulled and thawed
  • 3 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 cup fresh cream (medium fat 40%), chilled
  • For garnish: 2-3 strawberries, sliced or any cookie of your choice, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Chill mixing bowl and beater in freezer for 5 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, blend strawberries to a smooth puree. Mix 2 Tbsp sugar in the puree and set aside.
  3. Remove mixing bowl and beater from freezer. Add fresh cream to the mixing bowl and whisk. Gradually add 1 Tbsp sugar to the cream and whip till you get stiff peaks.
  4. Fold the strawberry puree in to a whipped cream until nearly incorporated, leaving a few streaks of whipped cream and strawberry puree. Divide the mixture among 4-chocolate cups. Serve immediately garnished with strawberry slices/cookie crumble or refrigerate for up to 2-3 hours.

P.S. Writing a short post requires a skill I don’t seem to possess! Have a happy weekend! 🙂