SPINACH PESTO SAUCE



Sweet basil pesto is the original pesto! But over the years we have come to invent various versions of the pesto - be it the ingredients or even colour! 

The original pesto has been my daughter's favourite since she 'was 8 months! Yes! I'm not kidding!'................ and she still loves it! So I try to sneak in veggies into it whenever I feel 'mean'! Kidding! Not abt the sneaking in veggies part! ;) The recipe for the original pesto can be found here.




INGREDIENTS:
sweet basil- 100g
baby spinach leaves - 100g
almonds - 1/4 cup
garlic cloves - 3
parmesan cheese, grated - 1/3 cup, more for garnishing
extra virgin olive oil - 1/2 cup
lemon juice - 1 to 2 tbsps (as per taste)
salt and pepper to season 

PROCESS:
  • Clean and discard the stems of the basil. 
  • Clean and wash the spinach leaves.
  • In a blender/ food processor or you can even use an immersion blender  dump in the basil, spinach, almonds, garlic and half of the extra virgin olive oil. Blend till the almonds and garlic have been ground completely.
  • Once all the ingredients are pulsed well, add in the cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper and the rest of the olive oil and pulse again till just blended. 
  • Transfer to a clean dish and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top and use as required.
  • Store in the refrigerator and stays fresh for about 5 to 6 days.

KALAKHAND - A MILK SWEET MADE FROM CHENNA/PANEER





Kalakhand is a famous North indian milk sweet made from reduced milk and cottage cheese/chenna. it is flavoured with cardamom and saffron and garnished with chopped nuts. totally delcious and ofcourse fattening.

 diwali is around the corner and many of you must be excited and getting ready for it. although this year will probably be low key in many households due to the covid situation im sure nobody will cut down on the sweets ....wink! food definitely brings us happiness!!




This dish is definitely very easy to make provided you have the patience. you have to be near the stove and stirring the milk at all times as it is very easy to burn the milk. Im sure we all have our 'milk stories'!! one minute we turn around and that milk gives us double the work!! but its alllll worth it :)



You can aslo view the recipe video below!

INGREDIENTS:
to make the chenna/ paneer-
full cream milk - 500 ml
lime juice or white vinegar - 2 to 3 tsps

to make the kalakhand:
full cream milk - 500 ml
sugar - 1/4 cup + 2 tbsps
cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
ghee - 1 tbsp
almond, sliced - 10 (to garnish)
pistachios, sliced - 15 (to garnish)

PROCESS:
  • To make the chenna, bring the milk to boil. 
  • Then, start adding the lime juice or the vinegar 1 tsp at a time to curdle it. Stop when the milk has completely curdled, and the whey water has completely separated.


  • On a strainer, spread a muslin cloth. next pour the curdled milk on it. The chenna will collect in the muslin cloth and the whey water underneath. 


  • Wash the chenna under running water to completely remove the lime/ vinegar taste.
  • Then wrap the muslin cloth tightly to remove any water and let it stand/ hang for awhile.


  • In the meanwhile lets make the kalakhand - In  a non-stick pan, heat the milk on low flame. Keep stirring continuously so that the milk doesnt burn at the bottom. 
  • When the milk has reduced, and only quarter of the milk is left behind, roughly break up the chenna/ paneer and add it to the milk and continue to cook on low flame. 


  • Continue stirnng and let the chenna absorb all the milk.
  • When the milk has thickened slightly add in the sugar. Now, again the milk mixture will become loose and runny.


  • Continue stirring on low flame till the milk has thickened again.
  • Now, add in the cardamom powder and the saffron and mix.


  • Continue cooking and stirring. When the milk has almost thickened add in the ghee to moisten it.


  • Cook further and when all the moisture has left you will be left with thick lumps of chenna and milk you can switch off the flame.


  • Generously grease a 5x5 inch dish with ghee. If you want thicker slices you can choose a smaller dish.
  • Drop all the hot kalakhand mixture into the greased dish and press it well so that there are no gaps. 
  • Garnish with the sliced almonds and pistachios and press so that it sticks to the kalakhand. Let it cool completely before cutting.


NOTES:
  • This sweet, like palkova, takes a long time to cook. It took me almost 45 minutes to cook this. We have to be patient and cook on low flame. Otherwise it is easy to burn the bottom.
  • It is advisable to use a non stick pan so it is easier. I started off using an iron pan, and even though I was stirring continuously, towards the end it still started to burn at the bottom. 
  • Also it is easier to cut neatly when you line the pan with parchment paper before you set the kalakhand. so you just lift it out along with the baking paper. this way you can get neater cut slices.
YOU CAN ALSO VIEW THE VIDEO BELOW:



WHOLEMEAL MOZARELLA CHEESE BOMBS





I make these rolls atleast twice a month coz I have a cheese lover in the family. She can have anything dairy for all 3 meals, 365 days a year. Yes! That's my daughter for you!

I know most of you may wonder why I cant just get these from the bakery! Why do I go through the entire bread making process myself?!Well..... I make it wayyy healthier by using wholemeal flour and we do not use softening ingredients or stabilizers. We make it 100 % natural and healthy. 




It's literally a cheese bomb! Serve it hot/warm so the cheese can ooze out! Yummmm!!!!!!! great for snacks/snack box!



Makes 15 rolls
INGREDIENTS:
warm milk - 1 cup
sugar - 2 tbsps
instant yeast - 2 and 1/4 tsp
egg - 1
salt - 1 and 1/2 tsp
dried herbs (italian seasoning)  - 1 tsp
garlic, minced - 2
wholemeal bread flour - 2 cups (see notes)
all purpose flour - 3/4 cup (see notes)
unsalted butter, softened - 2 and 1/2 tbsps
mozarella cheese - 300 g 
egg,lightly beaten - 1 
salted butter - for brushing once the rolls come out of the oven

PROCESS:
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the sugar and warm milk. Add the yeast and give it a stir.
  • Add in the egg and give it a good whisk.
  • Next, add the salt, dried herbs and garlic and mix well.
  • Add in the flour and mix on low speed. You can also mix with a big spoon because it will be too stick to use your fingers.
  • Knead for atleast 10 minutes with your hands or the stand mixer. Once the dough has come together (it will still be sticky at this stage) add the butter.
  • After you mix for 2 minutes, the dough will be wet but no longer sticky. At this point roll into a ball and tuck the uneven edges at the bottom.


  •  Cover and keep in a warm place to rise till its doubled in size. Mine took 1 hour and 15 minutes.


  • Choose a baking pan that will fit 15 rolls. line it with parchment paper and keep it ready.
  • Cut the mozarella cheese into 1 inch cubes and keep it ready.
  • Once the dough has doubled, lightly flour your work surface and place the dough on the counter. Gently press it down so that it deflates. 
  • Divide the dough equally into 15 balls.
  • Take each ball and roll it out roughly into a circle. Place 1 cheese cube in the middle and close it by bringing the edges together. pinch the edges closed so that it looks like a ball.




  • Do the same for the rest of the dough and arrange it on the baking tray leaving little space for the dough to rise.


  • Cover and leave it in a warm place for the second rise, say about 30 minutes or until doubled.
  • Preheat the oven at 180 degrees celcius.
  • Brush the rolls with the egg and bake in the pre heated oven for about 18 to 20 minutes or until browned.


  • When its done baking, brush it immediately with some butter and let it cool on the counter.
  • It will become nice and soft once it has cooled down.
  • Pop it into the microwave before eating and serve warm.
NOTES: 
  • I have used 2 cups wholemeal flour and 3/4 cup all purpose flour. but you can choose to use all purpose flour completely or even half and half. Its completely upto you.

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