Friday, April 16, 2010
Wait, what? Cauliflower? That smelly vegetable? In a sweet muffin? Oh yes, you read that right, people. This muffin recipe actually does have raw cauliflower as an ingredient. If you're like me, you'd be wondering why anybody would want to add cauliflower to a muffin. (If you're not like me and you routinely add inappropriate ingredients to your recipes and make a success of them, what are you doing reading this blog in the first place??? My conservative - in terms of mixing and matching food ingredients - blog will hold no surprises for you!)
But while I might not come up with weird and wonderful food ideas all on my own, I'm still capable of recognising weird and wonderful food ideas when I come across them on other blogs. And, assuming the weirdness and wonderfulness does not seem completely insane to me, I can be intrigued into trying out the weird and the wonderful for myself, just to see if the weird and the wonderful can actually come together and make something edible and tasty.
I really, really didn't think the muffins would turn out well - in the sense that they would appeal to my tastebuds, especially with me knowing about the cauliflower. (I would have preferred to make them without me knowing, to be honest, but I just couldn't bend reality enough. Should have tried harder, maybe...) I was doubtful about the muffins' edibility mainly because I'm not one of those people who eat dreadful-tasting things merely on the dubious grounds that they're "healthy". My healthy has to come strongly disguised as tasty, let me tell you.
Anyway, as I was saying, I was sufficiently taken up with the thought of trying out the muffins on Pete (what, did you think I'D actually eat one first???), so I went ahead and made them, with a couple of minor changes in ingredients and quantities. (The original recipe can be found here.) As it turned out, even if I'd wanted to be the guinea pig, Pete didn't give me the chance. He sneaked one while it was quite hot and still cooling on the countertop, and pronounced them "lovely". To be fair, they smelt really rather nice.
I let him eat the muffin fully and start on another before I said: "The muffins are nice, are they?"
"Oh yeah, really soft and fruity."
"Oh good," I said, happily. "So do you want to know what's in them?"
He regarded me suspiciously, mid-bite. "What? I suppose you're going to say it's something dreadful?"
"Depends on what you'd consider dreadful." I grinned at him. "It's got pureed cauliflower in it!"
He looked at the half-eaten muffin in his hand like it was an apple in which he'd found half a worm.
"Cauliflower?" he repeated in pained disbelief. "What in god's name made you think of making muffins with cauliflower?"
"It was a recipe I saw on a blog," I said. "Obviously it works, because you couldn't taste or smell the cauliflower. Glad you tasted it first, though."
He made a few noises like he was going to be sick, while swallowing the rest of the muffin. "For god's sake, don't sppring this sort of thing on me!" he grumbled.
And then he went back to the kitchen to get himself another muffin.
Recipe for: Powerhouse muffins
1/2 (heaped) cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used chunky, and I'm glad I didnt use 1/2 cup as I found the peanut butter taste far too strong - and sort of overbaked, too, when I tasted a muffin)
1 large banana, mashed with a fork
1/2 cup raw cauliflower puree (leave out the stem, use just the "flowers" in the puree)
1/4 cup fresh pineapple puree
1 large egg
1 cup whole-wheat self-raising flour
1/4 cup powdered flaxseeds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
15-20 skin-on almonds (toasted and chopped)
1. Heat oven to 180C/350F. Spray 12-cup muffin tray with non-stick spray or use silicone liners (which I sprayed anyway).
2. Mix brown sugar, flaxseed powder,
mashed banana, pineapple
and cauliflower purees,
and vanilla extract. Mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking power and baking soda.
Pour into puree mixture, stirring just until mixed. The batter will be lumpy.
Lightly stir in the chopped toasted almonds.
4. Divide batter into muffin cups and bake till the muffins are done (20 minutes or more, depending on your oven).
Test with a toothpick to check. Best served warm and fresh, but can be reheated to good effect in a microwave oven.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Eggs aren't the first thing that come to my mind in a culinary fix, simply because I'm not used to thinking of them as actual food. I mean, of course I use them, but usually in cakes. It's a rare thing for me to cook eggs for a meal - especially my meal. So when I suddenly remember them, it's always with a sense of pleased relief ("How clever of me to remember the eggs!") . Because once they're boiled, eggs are ready to be thrown - not literally, unless cleaning the hob and your clothes is your hobby - into any sauce you wish to conjure up.
And that is what I did recently.
Recipe for: Eggs in tomato-cashewnut gravy
4-6 eggs, hard boiled and shelled
1 tsp ginger, grated
2 small onions, sliced
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 cup smooth sieved tomatoes (I used readymade thick tomato pulp)
1-1/2 cups milk (I used semi-skim)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 htbsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1 tsp red chilli powder (optional, as per taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
4 tsp oil
salt to taste
chopped coriander leaves for garnish
1. Heat two tsp oil in a small pan, add the ginger, cumin seeds and cashewnuts and fry them till the cashew nuts turn a light brown.
2. Add the sliced onions and cook till they begin to turn soft.
3. Add 1/2 cup milk and cook till the onions are done. Cool, then grind to a thick paste.
4. In another pan, heat the remaining oil and add the turmeric powder. Add the boiled eggs
and fry them, turning them gently every now and then, till the eggs are slightly blistered all over. Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside till required.
5. In the same pan, add the tomato pulp.
6. Add the kasoori methi and the red chilli powder (if using) to the pulp and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
7. Now add the frozen peas along with 1/2 cup water,
and cook them covered till done.
8. Now pour in 1 cup milk along with the onion-cashewnut paste and mix it in well. Add salt to taste. Let the gravy simmer for 5-7 minutes till it thickens to the consistency you like.
9. Add the reserved eggs (I made four vertical slits in the eggs) to the gravy and simmer for a few more minutes, spooning the sauce over the eggs.
10. Sprinkle the coriander leaves over, and serve hot with rotis or rice.