Italian Summer Pasta Salad

 Italian Summer Pasta Salad1

 

After radio silence for 3 weeks, I’m back. Again. Can’t say for how long but I am here. So how are things guys? Here, monsoon has almost arrived and summer is officially over (for good!). But here I am, with a huge backlog of summer recipes. What am I to do when all these days I have been cooking all things “summery” regularly but not getting time to post them. Let’s just say that it is still summer somewhere in the world, right?! 😉

I love anything and everything Italian so when I came across this pretty looking salad on Sommer’s amazing blog I knew I had to get to it pronto. It is so good and SO refreshing! Zests of orange and lemon, al dente pasta, orange chunks, tiny tomatoes and torn basil all tied together with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. What’s not to love? Must try, whatever time of year it is for you.

I hope you’re having an awesome weekend.
Stay cozy, it’s gonna be a rainy one! xx

 

Italian Summer Pasta Salad3

 

Italian Summer Pasta Salad

Recipe scaled down & adapted from A Spicy Perspective

Yield: 2-3 servings | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat Farfalle pasta
  • 1 naval orange, zest and orange segments
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup scallions, cut into 1 inch segments
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, zest the orange and lemon. Place the zest and the juice of lemon in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk. Peel the orange, gently break the segments apart and seed them. Place them in the bowl.
  3. Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl. Then pour the drained pasta over the tomatoes and gently toss to coat. Add the scallions and basil leaves to the bowl and toss. Salt and pepper generously, about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: I didn’t have scallions at hand so I had to skip them but they are highly recommended as it’d add some crunch & make the dish all the more flavorsome. 🙂

 

Italian Summer Pasta Salad2

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Mango Cucumber Salsa

Mango Cucumber Salsa1
Hi! Trying to compensate my absence with back to back posts. I need to blog all the summer recipes I’ve made before the rainy season officially starts and I am really lagging behind. I thought at least I’ll give you this mango salsa recipe before mango season is ends. This salsa is a perfect accompaniment to your chips and a great side to grilled chicken or lamb chops.
I don’t remember how many bowls of this sunshine I have devoured this summer. It is my absolute favorite. I eat chips just so that I can have salsa (or any other dips/condiment for that matter!!) and end up having it by spoonfuls in lieu of chips! I have a couple of peaches sitting in my fridge, waiting to be used up & I most certainly plan of turning them in to this salsa sans cucumber this evening (with mint of course!).
Enjoy& be patient.
Weekend is almost here! 😉
Mango Cucumber Salsa2
Mango Cucumber Salsa:
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 0 minute | Total time: 5 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded & finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 ripe mango, sliced, pitted & finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cup)
  • Salt & freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade (can be subbed with coriander leaves)
  • Juice from 1 lemon

Don’t know what is basil chiffonade? – Pioneer woman tells you here!

Directions:

Toss all of the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve (about 3-4 hours max otherwise it turns mushy). Serve with your favorite chips or a meat of choice.

3-Ingredient Watermelon Kiwi Popsicles

3-Ingredient Watermelon Kiwi Popsicles3

 

Hello lovely people! Let me give you an update on whats been going on in life, you don’t know if you’re not following me on Instagram. It’s been more than 2 weeks since I last posted. Very eventful 2 weeks they were. Hubs & I visited my parent’s house for about 10 days. We celebrated Father’s day, spent some time with my grandmother, met up with couple of school friends after long long time, visited some cool, hip places for meal, watched drama after ages, shopped with my mom & sis, visited beach, bought way too many peach fruits, brushed up on some childhood memories, had an early birthday celebration and consumed liters and liters of Aamras (unsweetened mango pulp) accompanied by some kickass mom-made Gujju food! List is quite long and don’t ask me how I was able to fit ALL of this in my stomach in our such a short stay!!! But it was all too much fun!

I celebrate my 29th birthday this Saturday. I’m freaking out as big 3-0 is approaching and my life in twenties as I know it is going to end. I am excited too ‘coz CAKE!!! Yeah, my brain is confused on how to react to this situation. Anyhoo, Friday can not get here sooooner! It is going to be a funtastic weekend!! 🙂

 

3-Ingredient Watermelon Kiwi Popsicles1

 

After dealing with unpacking, laundry and a health check before I apply for the Visa, I finally got some time to sit down today. I made these popsicles before we left to visit my parents (more than 3 weeks back). It was so dang hot there, I missed these very very much. I had to constantly drink ice water/tea or eat ice-creams in order to stay cool. These popsicles are child’s play to make with just 3 ingredients and only 2 if you skip kiwi slices (do not skip though!). The watermelon I used was quite sweet so I didn’t have to use any form of sweetener for these popsicles. In case the watermelon you use is not sweet enough, feel free to add a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup or any sweetener of your choice while blending. These are just perfect for breakfast, post-workout snack or dessert.

Happy Hump Day you all! 😀

3-Ingredient Watermelon Kiwi Popsicles

Yields: 4 Popsicles | Prep time: 2 minutes | Chill time: 6-7 hours or overnight

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watermelon cubes, seeded
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 kiwi slices

Directions:

Blend together watermelon and lemon juice in a blender. Slide in kiwi slices in each Popsicle-mould and pour watermelon mixture on top, dividing equally. Insert stick in the centre of each mould, cover and freeze for about 6-7 hours. To demould, run the moulds under warm running water for 30-50 seconds. Dig in immediately!

*Recipe can be easily doubled or tripled or quadrupled!
*For less sweet watermelons, add 1 Tbsp of sweetener of your choice while blending.

 

3-Ingredient Watermelon Kiwi Popsicles2

5-minute Tomato Pasta Sauce ~ Meal for Two & Some Chit Chat

5-Minutes Tomato Pasta Sauce1

 

Let’s chat, shall we!? Time to end the lazy slump I’ve been rolling in lately. A lot’s been going on around here and I’m up for a full disclosure now. I did slip the news on Instagram couple of weeks ago but didn’t announce officially on the blog. So here it goes!! Drum-rolls please!!! I am going to LONDON this FALL for a one year postgraduate programme!!!!! WOHOOOO!!!!!!! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!! Sorry for all the yelling but I’m SOOOOO excited for this new chapter of my life to begin. This year has been truly magical so far!

I got the confirmed offer on my admission about a couple months ago but was skeptical on sharing the news as there were so many things to consider and plan for before I decide to accept the offer. Let’s just say I didn’t want to jinx it! I was ecstatic (to say the least) to get into this prestigious college. I was (still am!) over the MOON would be an understatement. I leave in September and there is so much to do. I need to visit my parents, apply for Visa, do the shopping, pack my bags and off I go. Fingers crossed for a smooth sailing!

Now here is a bit of not-so-good-news. Umm… I’m not sure if I’ll be able to continue blogging along with my studies but I’m not going to incessantly worry over something I can’t control. As of now, the only thing I’m sure of is that the programme is going to be very intense and I am going to have to give my 101% attention to it, even if blogging takes a backseat. I AM absolutely ready to prioritize. I love blogging so much therefore I’ll be blogging here as much as I can until September and after that we’ll see how things go. I would love to pop over in between during my stay in London to share my experiences in new country, food related or not. I will definitely try to stay as active as possible on Instagram nonetheless so do follow me there to stay in touch and be my companion on #LondonDiaries! 🙂

*Recipe*

This recipe I am sharing today is bonkers awesome! It is the quickest meal I have ever made (apart from toss-in-all-you-have salads or couscous!). If you can boil the pasta then you can make this recipe. This one here is basically foolproof! The tomato paste (Brand name – Splitz) I used for this quick pasta sauce is made locally in Bangalore and the ingredients list reads – Tomatoes. That’s it! It does not have any funky ingredients I can’t understand or pronounce, just pure tomato goodness without any color or preservative or salt! Too good to be true and but sadly, it is mostly available only in Bangalore. But fret not. You can go ahead and try any other good, organic tomato paste you can find in the store near you.

This packet is definitely going with me everywhere I travel. I guess it’d be a blessing during my soon-to-start student life! What a cheap, no-fuss and delicious meal option with so many possibilities. Add any number of vegetables to this dish to make it more hearty and fulfilling. Just a heaping Tablespoon of this potent tomato paste is enough for one portion. You can tell I’m quite impressed! What can I say, sometimes simple is truly THE BEST! xx

 

5-Minute Tomato Pasta Sauce2

 

Quickest Tomato Pasta Sauce ~ Dinner for Two

Yields: 2 generous servings | Prep time: 2 minutes |Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups macaroni pasta
  • 1 cup pasta water, reserved after boiling
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • Scant 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dry basil herb
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • Shavings of Parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Cook pasta as per the package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.
  2. In the meantime, heat the pan on a medium-high heat. Add olive oil, garlic and onion and sauté for a minute. Add tomato paste and salt and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, scraping and stirring occasionally. The tomato paste will turn brown and this will enhance the flavors. Mix in basil and pepper and cook for another minute.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup of reserved pasta water to the tomato paste and magically you’ll get your pasta sauce ready! If you want thinner consistency sauce, add remaining 1/4 cup pasta water too. Stir in the drained pasta. Divide between 2 serving dishes. Top with some shavings of Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Notes:
*You can add vegetables of your choice to make the meal more hearty. Just sauté the vegetables along with garlic and onion before adding tomato paste to the mix. Zucchini, broccoli, eggplant, bell peppers…. sky is the limit!
*You may also top the pasta with capers or olives.
*Use whole wheat or quinoa pasta to make this meal healthier. 
*Use penne or spaghetti pasta instead of macaroni.

Leeks, Fennel, Apple + Walnuts Warm Salad

Leeks, Fennel, Apple + Walnuts Warm Salad1

 

Just popping in to say Hi as it’s been two weeks since we last talked! I am feeling unbelievably lazy and  don’t want to write much so I’ll leave you guys with this quick recipe. I hope you guys’ll understand.

Salads are usually underrated but this one right here is a total stunner. Perfect for spring! It was my first time using fennel in my home kitchen so I was quite excited in terms of what to make with it. I’m a salad person so that is what I wanted to experiment first. The combination of leek, fennel, apple and walnuts works so beautifully and sounds quite exotic but mostly they are all simple, earthy ingredients bound together by a simple dressing. I can’t wait to turn these ingredients in to a soup once the rainy days arrive in full swing(which I hope will be soon!).

Enjoy!
xx

 

Leeks, Fennel, Apple + Walnuts Warm Salad2

 

Leeks, Fennel, Apple + Walnut Warm Salad

Serves: as a side for 2/a hearty meal for 1 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 apple, cored & sliced (peeling is optional, I didn’t)
  • 1 + 1 tsp lemon juice, divided
  • 10-12 walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • 1 fennel, small bulb, sliced
  • 3-4 lettuce leaves
Dressing:
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

*Preparing Leek : Cut the ends off the leek and discard. Quarter the leek lengthwise, wash under running water to remove all the grit and cut them into slices.
*Preparing Fennel : Check this easy tutorial on The Kitchn

  1. Wash, core and slice an apple. Toss with 1 tsp of lemon juice to prevent discoloration and set aside.
  2. In a fry pan, add the walnuts and toast them on a medium-low heat until fragrant. Set aside.
  3. In the same fry pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic, leeks and thyme leaves to the pan and sauté for about 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally. Add sliced fennel, cook for another minute or so and remove it from the heat. Immediately stir in sliced apples and splash remaining 1 tsp lemon juice.
  4. In a small jar, add all the ingredients for the salad dressing. Close the lid tightly and shake the jar vigorously until completely combined. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
  5. In a serving plate, make a bed of lettuce leaves and top with salad. Garnish with toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.

Baked Lemon Doughnuts with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze ~ Eggfree

Baked Lemon Donuts with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze1

 

Hello folks! April went by at a lightening speed. It was a total blur. A beautiful blur at that. Yes, I absconded again for the latter part of April. Well, I hope you didn’t miss me much. Sorry to say but I didn’t miss you guys one bit. Here is why. These past days were spent with my most beautiful angelic cutie pie tiny-little-peanut-sized-newborn-niece. She turned 12 days today. We feel so blessed to have her in our lives and welcomed her in to this world with lots of snuggles and baby talks. We immediately named her Cherry (lovingly, of course!) because trust me when I tell you this, she looks just like a ruby red cherry. She is such a doll, so adorable, so so precious. All the sleepless nights spent in soothing her back to sleep were totally, absolutely worth it. I’m back home now and miss her so so much.

The moment I returned home, I had to bake. To celebrate. I instantly thought donuts! I mean, come on, donuts=celebration. Summer is not treating us Bangaloreans well this year and lemons are always on my mind. Big, plump, juicy, organic, tart yet sweet lemons from my parents-in-law’s lemon tree. They are simply THE best. So lemon donuts it was. They turned out so amazing that the next day I made them again. This time around I doubled the recipe and baked it as an 8-inch single layer cake for my parents-in-law’s wedding anniversary. So if you don’t own a donut pan, buy one ASAP! These little things are addicting! For now, simply bake them as mini cupcakes or just double this recipe to get a cake.

 

Baked Lemon Donuts with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze3

 

The recipe is simplicity at its best. Almost refined sugar free. No eggs required. No mixer needed. Just one bowl and a whisk is all you need to make the sun shine brightest! You can even prepare the glaze in the same mixing bowl. I am always happy with less dishes and lesser clean up. So in these donuts, moisture is being imparted by buttermilk and oil. Honey shoulders the responsibility of lending sweetness. Truly ordinary ingredients create this extra-ordinary treat. These baked donuts are light, fluffy and just lemony which doesn’t make you pucker!

These donuts are then topped with lemon cream cheese glaze. The glaze is a perfect accompaniment for the donuts. Again, just lemony and just sweet. Decorate them with a sprinkle of yellow colored sanding sugar. Vibrant, just like our little one.

So celebrate life and all things nice with these lemon glazed donuts!

 

Baked Lemon Donuts with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze4

 

Baked Lemon Doughnuts with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze ~ Eggfree

Makes: 6 | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

For donuts:
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (lemon enthusiasts may use 2.5 to 3 Tbsp)

For glaze:

Following measurements can glaze about 10-12 donuts.

  • 100 gm (3.5 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • Yellow colored sanding sugar, to decorate

Directions:

  1.  Preheat the oven at 180ºC / 350ºF. Grease 6-count donut pan with oil. Set aside.
  2. In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add sugar and lemon zest and rub together with finger to release oils from the zest. Whisk in honey, oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract and lemon juice until the mixture formed is completely smooth.
  4. Slowly whisk in dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. Divide the batter among prepared donut pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 8-9 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then carefully turn out doughnuts directly onto rack to cool completely.
  5. Glaze: Whisk together cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and sifted icing sugar to form a smooth consistency. Dip completely cooled donuts one by one into a bowl of glaze and place back on a cooling rack. Sprinkle with yellow sanding sugar just before serving as the colors will bleed. Donuts will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days stored in a refrigerator.

*You will have little cream cheese glaze leftover which is never a bad thing in my book. You may lick with spoon or store it in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Give the glaze a good whisk before using on baked goods.
*Double the donut recipe and bake it in an 8-inch cake tin. Bake for about 20-23 minutes.
*To make this recipe vegan, make your own non-dairy buttermilk. To 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, add 1/3 cup non-dairy milk of your choice . Let sit for 15-20 minutes and use as a regular buttermilk substitution.

Skinny Chocolate Avocado Banana Pudding & Pops – Raw! ~ For Two

Raw Chocolate Avocado Banana Pudding1

 

Raw Chocolate Avocado Banana Pops1

 

Okay, so I”m ashamed to EVEN call this a recipe but in actuality it is! However simple it might be. Sometimes simple is all we need. Simple is beautiful. We are experiencing summer at full force and I want to spend minimum time in kitchen that too away from stove and oven. Of course, still wanting extraordinary food to appear magically on my plate so I’m all about quick recipes nowadays. Cold salads, iced coffees/teas, cold cereal, smoothies and frozen fruit treats are what my days are made of.

A raw pudding. And pops. Same ordinary ingredients with just a bit of tweaking gets transformed into two incredibly delicious desserts. Desserts which are healthy and skinny at the same time. All you need is a high-speed blender. And some chocolate, cocoa powder to be specific. And avocado and banana. Avocado-haters, do not fret. You can not taste avocado. Promise! My husband truly hates avocado from the bottom of his heart, if used in anything other than guacamole and he couldn’t tell! Yes, I didn’t tell him beforehand and he couldn’t make out. Win! Also, you can totally have these for breakfast! 😉

 

Raw Chocolate Avocado Banana Pudding2Raw Chocolate Avocado Banana Pops2

 

Each recipe serves two but you can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe to serve more people or have bigger portions. Stay cool this summer with these cool recipes up your sleeves!

Happy Monday you all!

Raw Chocolate Avocado Banana Pudding:
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 2 minutes | Chill time: 3-4 hours
Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 ripe (large) avocado
  • 1/2 ripe (large) banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 Tbsp honey/maple syrup/date syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10-12 dices of fresh, ripe mango, for garnish

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in a blender (place dry ingredients in the bottom so they don’t stick to the sides of the blender) and whip till you get completely smooth consistency. Divide the pudding between two ramekins/bowls and refrigerate covered for at least 3-4 hours. Serve, topped with mango dices.

*Consume the pudding within 1 day of making it.
*Instead of mango, you may use strawberries/raspberries.

Raw Chocolate Avocado Banana Pops:
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 2 minutes | Chill time: 8 hours/overnight
Ingredients:
  • 2 and 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp instant coffee powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 ripe (large) avocado
  • 1/2 ripe (large) banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup honey/maple syrup/date syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in a blender (place dry ingredients in the bottom so they don’t stick to the sides of the blender) and whip till you get completely smooth consistency. Divide between two Popsicle moulds. If you do not have Popsicle moulds then divide between two paper cups like I did and cover with tin foil, poke the center of the foil with the Popsicle stick. Chill in freezer for at least 8 hours/overnight, demould and serve immediately.

P.S. Want to make these Pops even more chocolaty? Cover them with the chocolate magic shell just like a professional by following this easy-peesy tutorial.
P.P.S. Use white chocolate for these Pops! 😉