The weather in Bahrain has been just perfect for the past one week. Dramatic clouds adorn the skies and an odd drizzle around the island makes it just perfect. I have been enjoying this weather because I know it is short-lived and the scorching summers are just a few days away. There is something else that I am enjoying just as much and that is announcing giveaways and winners on my blog. My 6th blog anniversary has been so special because of these generous giveaways from wonderful sponsors. With this I announce the winner of the third giveaway – Anusha Raghuram for consistently being so supportive of my blog. Thank you so much Anusha. You win yourself an Organic products hamper from Lulu Hypermarket.
With this, I concluded the organic hamper giveaway series. A big thank you to Lulu Hypermarket for sponsoring three gorgeous organic product hampers.
But the giveaways do not end here. I have three vouchers for dinner for two at Skywalk Cafe at the Marriott Executive Apartments. The Skywalk Cafe has a sumptuous Italian buffet to offer every Tuesday night. Three lucky winners get to go to Skywalk and for that all you need to do is –
It has been really hectic the past week and I didn’t have the time to update the blog. However, here I am with yet another giveaway from Lulu Hypermarket. Not just that, I also will be sharing Quinoa recipes that are extremely easy to prepare and healthy to treat your family to.
Quinoa is a versatile ingredient that is great for all age groups. Quinoa is a seed that is rich is protein and very useful for weight loss. There are primarily three types of Quinoa – Red, White and Black. I use all the three types of Quinoa varieties in my diet and here are my observations of the same-
White Quinoa is commonly found and on cooking they tend to be mushy. Initially I cooked a lot of this variety but the mushy texture did not appeal to me and so I switched to its red and black varieties. If at all, I do use white quinoa, I use them in salads and eat it cold ( again something I don’t prefer). But I know many people who enjoy cold salads and white quinoa works just fine.
Red and the black Quinoa hold their shape after cooking and in my opinion taste better than the white variety. I make stir fries with vegetables, paneer, tofu, hallumi and even add scrambled egg sometimes.
Quinoa cooks quickly and is the best source of nutrition for people with gluten allergy. Quinoa is also available in flakes and powdered / flour form for several uses in cooking and baking. Quinoa as I mentioned earlier is very rich in protein and has the perfect balance of all 9 amino acids which is real in plant protein and commonly found in meat. So for vegetarians, vegans and plant based diet followers, who usually struggle to meet their daily quota of protein, should definitely consider including quinoa in their diet.
So that was about the Quinoa and its wonderful properties.
Before I get into the recipe, I would like to announce the winner of #Giveaway2 and announce #Giveaway3.
The winner of #Giveaway2 is Anita Das. Congrats Anita! You got all the brownie points for sharing the news about the giveaway on maximum number of social channels – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest. You win yourself a organic products hamper from Lulu Hypermarket!
Now for Giveaway 3, all you need to do to win the LAST ORGANIC HAMPER from Lulu Hypermarket is obviously say that you are interested in the giveaway in the comments AND let me know which of the 3 recipes I shared during the giveaways is your favourite?
vegetables to stir fry such as peas , mushrooms, corn
paneer - 1/4 cup, crumbled
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
red chilli flakes
garam masala ( optional)
lemon juice - 1 tbsp
salad vegetables like onions, tomatoes, cucumber, chopped finely
To cook the quinoa, you can either use plain water or any kind of stock. For the corn and mushroom Quinoa, I used vegetable stock to cook.
For 1//4th cup of Quinoa, you will need to use 1 cup of water. For 1 cup quinoa, you will need 2 cups water.
To cook quinoa, you need to first rinse the quinoa under the running tap and the drain the water. Allow the water or the stock to heat and add the quinoa. Let the water come to a boil and then lower the heat. Close the lid of the vessel and cook quinoa at low heat. Check in between to see if the water has drained you will notice a tail like structure sprouting out of the quinoa grains. Once the water drains fully, take it off the heat and let it cool.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork.
The entire process takes about 10-15 minutes.
During this time, you can cut and prep your vegetable and other condiments.
Take a shallow pan and heat some oil, add your ingredients - first the garlic, then the vegetables, and once the vegetables are cooked, add the Quinoa. Give it a thorough mix and season the mixture well. Take it off the heat.
Type one - For the Corn and mushroom using red quinoa, I used vegetable stock to cook Quinoa. Quinoa, beautifully absorbs the flavour of the stock to give the dish a wholesome flavour. Add salt, pepper, chilli flakes to season it. Serve it hot with yogurt.
Type two - Peas and Paneer using black Quinoa, - I looked the Quinoa in water and then added it to stir-fried peas and crumbled paneer. It looks a bit mushy because of the paneer. Add garam masala and chilli flakes for more dramatic flavour. It is a very satisfying one -pot meal. Serve it hot with buttermilk
Type three - Cold salad using white Quinoa. - Used water to cook white Quinoa and fluffed it up with a fork, once cooked. Added chopped salad vegetables.season it with salt, pepper, chaat masala, lemon juice or opt for a vinaigrette dressing. You can also add roasted peanuts or seeds to give it an extra crunch. Refrigerate it before serving.
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/
Off late, my schedule has been outright maddening. There hasn’t been any time to cook or enjoy a meal in peace. But I am glad that I have plenty of takeaway and home delivery options in Bahrain, that make my life easy. One of the reliable options is the hot food counter at Lulu Hypermarket. It also helps that it is dot opposite my home.
Any time I feel I am missing home and feel a deep craving for home style food, I head to Lulu Hypermarket to enjoy my favourite sweets, snacks like pakoras, samosas.
Lulu Hypermarket’s hot food section has a great selection to choose from as you can see from the pictures.
When I was offered to the opportunity to review the hot food section, I preferred Indian food and this is what they packed for me as a takeaway.
The menu consisted of – A spicy salad which we call “Kachumber”, my favourite kadai paneer, Lemon and spice chicken tikka, Kashmiri Pulao and a selection of Indian sweets.
The Kashmiri Pulao was fragrant and delicious with long-grained basmati rice, vegetables, sweet red grapes flavoured in saffron and spices. Simply delicious!
The kadai Paneer was oily and very “dhaba” style – exactly how I like it. Indulging once in a while is good for the soul, I believe.
The salad was the right accompaniment as it served as a palette cleanser.
The chicken was lemon-y and very appetizing but I preferred by vegetarian fare over the meat.
The milk -based sweets hit the right note without being too sweet.
All in all, the meal from Lulu Hypermarket’s hot counter was filling and scrumptious and comes recommended for that once in a while indulgence or every day meal ( where you should opt for the lighter dals and vegetable curries or grills for the meat eaters)
A 6 -year- old’s enthusiasm for life is matchless. As a parent, sometimes it is difficult to stay unaffected. Halloween, Thanksgiving etc. are few festivities that I have never celebrated before because I haven’t been in a culture where these are celebrated. But with my 6 -year- old I won’t be surprised if I even got around roasting a turkey and celebrating thanksgiving. To me these festivities always held intrigue but not enough to participate. At this time of the year, all the food blogs around the world are making Halloween treats, preppring for thanksgiving in a few days and nearly decorating cookies for Christmas. In that same line, this will be my very first Halloween post ( a day after Halloween unfortunately because we were busy trick o’ treating last evening at a Halloween party). This year, we even carved our very own pumpkin and baked some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
For these cookies, I haven’t used the canned pumpkin puree as most recipes recommend. I made some fresh pumpkin puree at home and even made my own pumpkin spice. The cookies come out perfect with a cake-y texture. The batter will also be loose unlike the usual thick cookie batter.
For my 6 year old, the party never stops. The evening of Halloween was spent dressing up as a pirate with a pet parrot et al. All in all it was a great day spent baking cookies and feeling the Halloween spirit.
I remember very clearly, one of my very first bakes was an apple pie. It was quite nice, though the crust wasn’t exactly even. I couldn’t agree more with Jane Austen when she said, ” Good apple pies are a considerable part of domestic happiness”. The humble apple pie set the foundation for me in baking and gave me the confidence to carry on with my other baking trysts.
Pies have such a rustic appeal to them that there is no way anyone can resist them. Fruit based pies are just as popular as the chocolate, custard and savory ones. When it comes to pie, I pretty much enjoy all kinds of pies. So when the opportunity came my way where I was sent some pies by the generous folks at Pies & Bakes to taste, I couldn’t be happier.
Pies & Bakes is run by the baker extraordinaire, Mohammed. Completely self-taught and immensely talented, Mohammed started Pies & Bakes as a home baking business several years ago. He says, he began by treating his family and friends who enjoyed his creations so much that they encouraged him to share his creation with the rest of the world.
I was intrigued why was he is particularly interested in pies. To this, Mohammed had this to say, “With everyone baking cakes, pies set me apart from the crowd.”
Which were Mohammed’s favourite pies to bake and eat?
“The more complicated the order the more I enjoy the task. As for eating. so far I have not tasted or made a pie savory or sweet that I have not enjoyed eating. But I tend to lean more to sour pies than sweet ones.”
Personally, I enjoy all kinds of pies and apple pie is my absolute favourite. Mohammed and his team were kind enough to send me an apple and a cherry pie. Both these pies were more about the fruit and the crust was buttery, crumbly and just right. It takes years of experience to work a pastry like that and I have nothing but admiration for this self-taught baker.
Check out Pies&Bakes delectable menu and the very special kind of pies they bake – sugar free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free and so on.
The Apple pie was absolutely delicious and wasn’t overly sweet. While the Cherry pie was so much cherry that for a moment it felt like it was spring. To order, all you need to do is call and pies can either be picked up or home delivered.
On being asked, whether he teaches pie baking professionally, Mohammed said, ” So far the only students I have are my nieces and nephew. I spend time with them in the kitchen during weekends and I give them ingredients to create their own mixes.” Sounds like an interesting exercise many of us would like to be a part of.
To get in touch with them and to order their delectable pies and other bakes ( they special in healthy breads ) you can save their co-ordinates here
If you are a fan of savoury pies, you can order for a custom pie ( off the menu) as well.
Mohammed enjoys choosing one kind of pie from each country and reading its literature. He starts with trial and error adding his own touches and once he is comfortable with the taste, it goes to the menu. So far he has several success stories in savory pies such as the chicken mushroom pie, cottage pie, Bastilla, Butter pie, Fisherman’s pie and so on.
I know where to get my pie fix from each time I crave a seasonal pie. Thank you Mohammed, my family, friends and I loved your pies and we think they are top notch.