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Bread Poha & a slice of my life

We had the most enjoyable three days for Eid this time. Time spent in the company of friends, eating out, bowling, watching movies was truly memorable. I thought of indulging in some cooking in these holidays but I couldn’t really get down to it. 

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Lately, I haven’t shared much on the blog about what is going on with my life. Well, there is a reason as to why I have been so cut off from this space. Everyday, there is so much happening that it is difficult to pin point a few events or even morals from the lessons I learn each day as a woman entrepreneur. Moreover, as a person, I always find it inspiring to focus on the positives that would help me move forward.

 

So here I am sharing a few highlights of my life in the last 6 months.

  • My company – The Butterfly Effect Co completed 3 years ( www.thebutterflyeffect.co). This means it has graduated from being a startup to a small business now. This also means we graduated from being a 2 people company to a 6 person company focusing on clients across industry verticals and geographies. We have also expanded our service lines from being a pure-play social media management company to a full-fledged digital marketing company providing services like SEO, mobile apps, Website development etc. 
  • Little Mimi who took up maximum space on my blog will start with grade 3 now in September. She is a little person now who has opinions and expresses them with the ferocity that makes me wonder how did she grow up so fast!
  • The blog completed 7 years in February, this year. I celebrated it with skillet brownie and ice cream. You can check out the recipe here.
  • One of the highlights this year was my foray into organizing events. Having organized community based food, art and craft festivals, bake sales in the previous years, I was able to harness on that experience to conduct a children’s painting exhibition. I cannot thank God enough for it went off smoothly despite all odds. 
  • Mimi and I started a reading club at home for children every Wednesday. It has been delightful sharing my love of books with these 7, 8, 9 and 10-year-olds. It also gives me a glimpse into the minds of this age group. How they look at books, plots, characters and what keeps their interest alive in the books they read!

These are few wonderful things that happened over the course of these 6 months which makes me feel very optimistic about the time to come. 

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Another highlight was preparing this awesome bread poha for breakfast this morning. Bread poha is one of my favourite snack / breakfast that I enjoy every once in a while. Generally, I am tempted to try this when I have some left over bread at home. It is wholesome, delicious and healthy too. Weight watchers may want to limit the portion cause it is nothing but C-A-R-B-S. For such dieters, I would recommend this dish for a cheat meal. For the recipe check out the recipe card.

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Bread Poha
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. Bread slices, torn into small pieces ( atleast 8-10 slices- older the better)
  2. 2 large onions, chopped
  3. 5 green chilles, chopped fine,
  4. peanuts - half cup( boiled)
  5. salt as per taste
  6. chilli powder - 1 tsp
  7. coriander powder - 2 tsp
  8. tumeric powder - 2 tsp
  9. sugar - 1 tbsp or less
  10. lemon juice - a dash
  11. sprinkle of water
  12. mustard seeds,- 1 tsp
  13. cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  14. dash of asafoetida
  15. curry leaves - 8 -10 leaves
Instructions
  1. Tear all the bread slices into bite sized pieces, keep aside
  2. Take some oil in a flat frying pan, splutter mustard seeds, cumin seeds and add asafoetida
  3. Add chopped onions and fry until light & translucent
  4. Add green chillies and curry leaves and fry.
  5. To this add, all the spice powders including salt and sugar and mix well.
  6. Add boiled peanuts and fry well
  7. Add bread pieces and let the spices coat the bread pieces very well.
  8. Once the bread is mixed well, sprinkle water to soften the bread.
  9. Take the pan off the heat and add a dash of lemon juice and serve hot
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

Nutella & Peanut Butter Palmiers for Me and You

Do you fancy something sweet? Then do you crave for something salty? Sweet again? Salty?

That is the kind of craving I go through certain days of the week.  For starters, I begin with something  like an apple or pear and then reach for some salted peanuts. Then I have a handful of raisins and then some salad with good drizzle of tangy dressing and so on.  This irritates my hubby no end. He would beg and plead to me to have a proper meal so that I don’t go yo-yo-ing on my diet like that.  Regardless, I carry on.

Peanut Butter for my better half and Nutella for me

My hubby on the other hand, is very disciplined about his food habits. He eats a set portion of food every day and at a set time. He prefers eating home cooked meals over having to eat out. He is not a fan of fried stuff or anything that is synthetic tasting or remotely snack-able.

He is a night person and I, the early morning sort.

He has a fantastic sense of direction and I find it difficult to find my way around the locality wherein I have lived for years.

He is a skeptic and I am a believer.

He adapts and I resist.

He is water and I am earth.

I love nutella and he peanut butter.

I hate peanut butter and he hates nutella.

That is why we are made for each other.

That is why I made these Nutella and Peanut butter Palmiers

 

 

 

 

Crackling Spicy Lavash Crackers

I love playing hostess. It gives me a high when guests leave my home, happy, well fed and promising to come back as they enjoyed their meal so much. When the thanking continues over Twitter, Facebook and even text messages you know you really hit the nail at the right place. Just to get the conversation going, I always want something that the guests find irresistible and love to munch over their glasses of wine and other drinks. So I turned to this incredible bread baking book for inspiration – The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. Peter Reinhart is such a craftsman that you feel his precision when you leaf through the pages of this massive book.  He demystified a lot of my bread baking myths with pictures and instructions that carefully consider every single step that is involved. I like such precision and attention to detail. So I was tempted to try these Armenian Lavash Crackers that looked so beautiful and appetizing. I did not feel the weight of the actual work involved because of the thorough instructions.

A little about Lavash Crackers – Typically, Lavash is called Armenian flatbread and is eaten all around the Middle East. They are very similar to the Mannaeesh which is a Lebanese bread or a pita which is  a Turkish flat bread. The main difference between these breads is either how thick or thin the dough is rolled out or the type of oven in which they are baked.

The key to getting extremely crisp Lavash,  is to roll out the dough paper-thin. The Lavash dough sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation, in my opinion and Peter Reinhart’s too.

Recipe for Lavash Crackers

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups  Unbleached bread flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp instant yeast

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/3 to 1/2 cup water , at room temperature

Poppy seeds ( I left this out), sesame seeds; white and black, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, paprika, for topping.

Preparation

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, yeast, honey, oil and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the Window Pane test which is a reliable method to determine when the gluten development is sufficient. This can be done by cutting off a piece ( a small one) off the dough and gently stretch. Keep stretching, pulling and turning it to see if it will hold a paper-thin translucent membrane and that is why it is also called a Membrane Test. If you hold it against a light source you should easily see through the translucent membrane. But if the stretched dough tears, then you need to add some more flour and keep working on it till you pass the window pane test. Do not worry about over kneading the dough, as there is zero chance of that happening. So knead away.

3.  The dough that you end up with should be medium-firm dough; satiny to touch and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil the bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap.

4. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes or until the dough doubles in size. ( Alternately you can  also rest the dough overnight in a refrigerator immediately after kneading)

5. I chose to ferment the dough since I wanted my crackers that very evening. So I sprayed the kitchen counter lightly with oil and transferred the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling-pin into a paper-thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or a plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 mins. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully, lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip of the excess with scissors.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 F with the over rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds and spices on the dough ( such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, Paprika, caraway seeds, etc)

A) if you want to cut it straight away do it before you tuck it in the oven at this juncture. You do not need to separate the pieces right now since they will snap on their own after they have been baked.

B) If you want to make shards like I did, the bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

6. Bake for 15-20 mins, or until the crackers being to brown evenly across the top ( time would depend on how thinly you have rolled the dough)

7. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 mins. You can then snap them apart or snap off the shards and serve.

I served these appetizing snack with basil flavoured home-made hummus. The guests enjoyed these so much that there weren’t even any crumbs left and I am not exaggerating.

The fantastic part about using Peter Reinhart’s recipes is there are never any leftovers because

1. They taste scrummy

2. The portions are just right for my little family and a few guests.

These crackers would taste delish with hummus, salsa and all sorts of dips and they are very healthy. Next time I would try them with wholemeal bread flour and see how they come out.

Muffin Mondays: Zucchini & Sesame Seeds Muffins

I feel so delighted to be baking with a bunch of wonderful Monday – Muffin bakers week after week. I was sorry about not being able to bake last Monday, but this Monday, I am here with some lovely Savoury Muffins. If it were not for this group and An’s attempts, I would have never tried this savoury version. Since An always lets us on a base recipe and asks us to interpret it the way we want to, it makes it incredibly exciting to try different flavour combinations.

This week, she invited us to bake Zucchini & Sesame seeds muffins. Sounds very interesting, right? Well it was since it called for herbs of our choice and I added some fresh, chopped parsley, dried rosemary and dried sage. I couldn’t resist adding a little cheddar since it is my go-to for anything with zucchini; savoury ofcourse.

I halved the recipe, so I got 6 muffins and fresh from the oven, they were simply yummy. The topping of browned cheddar and black sesame seeds gave it just the right amount of crackle. I am giving out the quantities, as in the original recipe provided by An with little notes of modifications that I made, on the side.

Recipe for Zucchini & Sesame seeds Muffins

Gives 12 muffins

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini (roughly 300grams)

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoon sesame seeds (Plus extra for sprinkling on top) I used black & white sesame seeds.

1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs ( I increased the quantity of herbs from 1/2 tsp to 3 tbsp of fresh parsley, dried rosemary & dried sage)

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

6 tablespoons sunflower oil or melted butter

3-5 tbsp of cheddar ( optional) and some for topping

 Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C

2. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line it with paper liners

3. Grate zucchini and squeeze out any excess moisture.

4. Lightly beat the eggs in another bowl. Beat in the buttermilk and oil.

5. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir in the mixed herbs and half the sesame seeds.

6. Make a well in the centre and add in the liquid ingredients. Stir gently until just combined.

7. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin pan and scatter the sesame seeds to top.

8. Bake for about 20 minutes

9. Let the muffins cool in the pan and then serve warm.

I enjoyed my muffins with a bit of tomato ketchup.( I know, it’s shame but couldn’t help the temptation)

My family, is still of the traditionalist thinking and weren’t too excited about the savoury version of their breakfast muffins. In a way, it is a good thing because, I get to eat all the muffins everyday; as I like and when I like.

So happy Monday to you all!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week

Indian Street Food : A Guest Post for Taste Junction

In my opinion, the whole Guest Post concept is such a swell one. In many ways, it expresses the great camaraderie that the  food blogging community shares. I did a guest post about Indian Street Food for Anamika of Taste Junction who had been away for three whole weeks on a beautiful vacation. My love for chaats and all things chaats is legendary, so before Anamika took off for her vacation, we had an Indian Street Food theme dinner at my place. The excerpts from that delightful night are here.

While Anamika and I were busy prepping the dinner, the food was being photographed by my talented friend Namit. He did a brilliant job with the collage that depicts the true essence of Indian Street Food.

Though a bit late, hope you have a good time reading it!!