Paint the World Red with La Tomatina Festival

The great cultural extravaganza Spanish food fight festival, La Tomatina is here. Hope you enjoyed my last year’s tomato and meat recipe, Meatballs with Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce. The fest gets popular from year to year with the streets of Bunol running blood red with juicy tomato. The festival is welcomed by singing, dancing, parades, fireworks etc.

The festival is complete fun but let’s adhere to the rules as well. Just have a look:-

-Bring your goggles to avoid acidic tomato pulp going into the eyes

-Squish tomatoes before throwing on one another such that it does not hurt anyone

-Avoid bottles and other sharp objects

-Girls must wear bikini underneath clothes

-Wear tight and strong shoes.

Let’s add some more spice to La Tomatina with Spicy Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Tortellini Soup

Spicy Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Tortellini Soup
Spicy Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Tortellini Soup

Ingredients:-

1 Clove Garlic,

Salt as required,

6 oz. fresh Tortellini,

1 quart Chicken Broth,

8 leaves chopped Basil,

1 chopped Green Chilly,

10 oz. chopped Spinach,

Black Pepper as required,

2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter,

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano,

14 oz. canned diced fire Roasted Tomatoes with liquid.

Preparation Method:-

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan. Put over medium-high heat. Add garlic, chillies and saute until fragrant. This takes two minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

  2. Now add tortellini and cook halfway for two minutes. Add canned tomatoes and their liquid. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until the tortellini is soft.

  3. Stir fry spinach and basil in butter for five minutes on simmer. Add this and cheese in soup and cook for 2 minutes.

  4. Serve hot! I love pairing the soup with cheese and garlic bread. What do you pair it with?

Tomatina Festival, Bunol, Spain
Tomatina Festival, Bunol, Spain

Enjoy La Tomatina!

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Cheung Chau Bun Festival and the Vegan Recipe

Highlighting wild lion dances, vibrant parades, funny bun scrambling contest and showcasing bun towers, here comes the most lively and colorful Hong Kong Festival, the Cheung Chau Bun Festival. This festival portrays tradition and folklore of China. The centre of attraction includes giant bamboo mountains which are covered with homemade buns. These are set up at Pak Tai Temple, where the main celebration takes place. Like every other fest, this too has a story related to it. There was an island which was hit by epidemic ruining many lives. Finally the local people got in God Pak Tai. He eradicated plague and killed evil spirits. Hence Pak Tai Temple is considered as the most religious centre of the island.

Ma Po Tofu
Ma Po Tofu

The festival’s parade includes colorful lions, marching bands, martial arts activities, flowery floats, loud drums and cymbals. The most unique and thrilling activities includes adults carrying children on their shoulders, dressed up like mythological Chinese deities. Their dressing-up like this symbolizes driving away the evil spirits. Next is the peculiar Bun Grabbing Contest. A tower of 60 foot is made, all covered by buns. You have to grab maximum buns in 3 minutes, isn’t it interesting? There are more fun activities to add on to this. During 3 days of the fest, entire island goes for a vegetarian diet. I am very fond of Chinese food. So let’s add some vegetarian yummzz from the land of China.

Vegan Mapo Tofu

Ingredients:-

3 sliced Scallions,

1 cup warm Water,

1 block diced soft Tofu,

2 minced Garlic Cloves,

1 teaspoon minced Ginger,

2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil,

15 dried Shiitake Mushrooms,

1 1/2 tablespoon Black Bean Sauce,

1 tablespoon Cornstarch with 2 tablespoons Water.

For Sauce:-

2 teaspoons Sugar,

2 teaspoons Soy Sauce,

2 teaspoons Sesame Oil,

2 ½ tablespoons Chili Bean Paste,

½ teaspoon ground Sichuan Pepper,

1 tablespoon Chinese Rice Wine or Dry Sherry.

Preparation Method:-

  1. Soak shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup of warm water for 20 minutes. Drain mushrooms, squeezing excess water. Keep this water. Discard the stems and chop the mushroom caps. Now let’s prepare the sauce. Take a small bowl. Add in leftover water and all the ingredients mentioned under sauce. Keep aside.

  2. Heat a wok. Add oil. Add the mushrooms, black bean sauce and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add scallion whites, garlic, ginger and stir-fry until fragrant for 1 minute.

  3. Pour in the sauce. Now add water. Bring it to boil, then simmer. Gently add tofu cubes. Allow the sauce to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

  4. In a small pan, add in the cornstarch and water mixture. Heat for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Add to the tofu gravy. Allow to simmer till the gravy thickens.

  5. Garnish with green scallions. Serve hot with rice!

Cheung Chau Bun Festival
Cheung Chau Bun Festival

Enjoy the Chinese treat!

Easter Special – Hot Cross Buns

I was just remembering how I use to rhyme the poem, in my childhood..

Hot-cross buns, Hot-cross buns!

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot-cross buns!

If you have no daughters,

Give them to your sons.

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot-cross buns!

It is often said, “Easter is the only time of the year when it is safe to put all your eggs in one basket”. My friends, you already know that no Easter is complete without baking the rich and aromatic, spongy, hot cross buns. This bun, marked with a cross, is eaten since many many years. These are traditionally served on Good Friday and Easter. Nevertheless, lot many myths are related to these hot cross buns. Some people believe that if the buns are baked plus served on Good Friday, they will never spoil during that year. Others use the buns for medicinal use. If an ill person consumes it, he recovers very soon.

Easter Hot Cross Buns
Easter Hot Cross Buns

On the other hand, if this bun is shared with a friend, there has to have a strong bond between the two in near future, especially if you say, “half for you and half for me, between us two shall goodwill be”. Isn’t it interesting? Not only this, if these buns are carried in the ship, during the voyage, the journey is considered to be safe throughout. The hanging bun is also replaced each year in the kitchen and is consider to protect the kitchen against fire. Similar Easter recipes served on this auspicious occasion are Easter Ham and Simnel cakes. I will be sharing my recipe of Simnel cake with you shortly. So let’s bake the Hot Cross Buns together on Easter.

For Buns:-

2 Eggs,

200 ml Milk,

50 grams Butter,

½ teaspoon Salt,

7 grams Dry Yeast,

500 grams White Flour,

50 grams Caster Sugar,

2 teaspoon Mixed Spice,

200 grams Mixed Dried Fruits.

For the Cross and Glaze:-

Honey for brushing,

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour.

Preparation Method:-

1. Take a bowl and add flour, salt, mixed spice and sugar, butter, dried fruits and yeast. Beat eggs and pour into this mixture.

2. Mix the ingredients with warm milk to form a moist dough. Leave for 5 minutes. Bring dough out of the bowl and cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.

3. Shape the dough into buns placing on a floured surface. Place in baking sheet. This will take 30 minutes.

4. In the meantime, prepare glaze. Mix the flour with 2 tablespoons of water to make a paste. Pour into a plastic food bag. Make a nick in one of the corners.

5. Take the buns out. Make crosses on top of each bun. Bake for another 15 minutes until risen and golden. Brush buns with honey. Serve!

Sweet Easter Bunnies Wishing you..
Sweet Easter Bunnies Wishing you..

Happy Easter 2015!

Quick and Easy Recipes on St. Patrick’s Day

Hey friends! Hope you enjoyed my St. Patrick’s Day cocktails. Now it’s time to enjoy some quick and easy green recipes. So here we go!

Green Fritters
Green Fritters

Green Fritters (Broccoli and Peas Fritters) – These green crispy and quick fritters make a perfect party appetizers for St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Broccoli boosts up the immune system and also helps in preventing cancer. It also maintains the cholesterol level. On the other hand, peas help in managing weight and blood sugar level and cholesterol level. It prevents from aging and keeps the heart healthy. I would love pairing these fritters with my all time fav Cheesy Beer Dip. What would you pair it with?

Green Lime Bars
Green Lime Bars

Green Bars (Creamy Lime Bars) – Green lime bars are made up of simple ingredients. This recipe is quite similar to key lime pie, except that I add in few drops of mint syrup to get that green color for St. Patrick’s Day. Despite of the creamy texture, I find the recipe refreshing and sweet. The best part is that you can offer green bars to your guests at home and also gift the bars to someone special. I couldn’t resist having few bars while preparing the recipe.

Green Chicken
Green Chicken

Green Chicken (Mint Sauce Chicken) – Having green chicken on St Patrick’s day is definitely a big hit! The idea behind this green chicken is simple. Broil chicken pieces with ginger and garlic paste coated on them. Set aside. Prefer boneless. Prepare a green sauce (this does not require cooking). In the blender, add in coriander, mint leaves, lemon juice, green chillies, salt and pepper. Take a wok and add in broiled pieces. Add the green sauce, toss the pieces and heat for two minutes. Serve at once as bitings on St Patrick’s day.

Happy St. Patricks Day
Happy St. Patricks Day

Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Enjoy Frozen Dead Guys Day with Hot Cocktails

Here comes the Frozen Dead Guys Day! This is one of the most unique, funny and quirky festivals in the town of Netherlands, Colorado. The festival is a lively one because of it’s numerous events. Coffin Racing, Costume Polar Plunging, Ice Turkey Bowling, Parade of Hearses, Frozen Salmon Toss, Frozen Dead Poet Slam etc. are the major centre of attraction. The festival encourages participation in many such activities. There is a bunch of activities for the music lovers also. There are over 20 Live bands, Friday The 13th “Superstition” Blue Ball, Theatrical Wu Shu performance etc. to cheer the crowd.

There is no doubt that the vibrant festival has earned the title of ‘Top Five Winter Festivals in the Country’. What my generation prefers (I am not that old) is Montreal Jazz Festival. However, I can’t look at this fest with indifference. This fest is funny in a weird way, which is all good for the young ones. A music fest is nothing without a bit of intoxication. “A bit” is a lot for such fests, which is nice as you need to beat the chill. Where jazz fests are about cocktails and smoothness, this is all about binge drinking. Hope you enjoyed Thandai, which was one of the best among the traditional drink recipes. This blog is a blend of hot cocktails to break the cold!

Mulled Wine
Mulled Wine

Mulled wine

Ingredients:-

3 star anise,

1/4 cup honey,

4 whole cloves,

2 cinnamon sticks,

4 cups apple cider,

750 ml bottle red wine,

1 zested and juiced orange.

Preparation Method:-

1. Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan.

2. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs. Enjoy!

Peppermint Patty

Peppermint Patty
Peppermint Patty

Ingredients:-

1 cup Milk,

100 ml Peppermint Schnapps,

1 teaspoon Hot Chocolate Powder.

Preparation Method:-

1. Heat milk in a pan. Pour in a glass when hot. Add powdered chocolate to taste.

2. Add a shot of liqueur and top with whipped cream. Serve!

Frozen Dead Guy Days - Coffin Race
Frozen Dead Guy Days – Coffin Race

Enjoy the Fest!

Cheers with Grilled Orange Cocktail for The Battle of the Oranges

Do you know the stories behind the Battle of the Oranges? As per the legend, this festival was started because of the anger of oppressed ones against the ruling class. History says, “he” was someone from the Royal family who was exercising his right to have fun with a commoner. Well, this commoner called “Violetta” knew what sort of fun, this was. Her mother must have advised her to behave properly, but mother was not convincing enough. As he approached her, behind closed doors, she decapitated him. He was the last one to use that right. Since then, people of Ivrea, Italy have been throwing oranges. There are two groups, one represents the Royal family on the cart and other the commoners.

The commoners throw oranges at cart with people portraying as the Royal family, taking out their anger on them. The concept of throwing oranges has a different story too. Violetta might have had skin issues like acne or dry skin. Royal guy must have been honest with her and told her the truth. Being honest with a woman on her beauty cost him his head. She made sure that in future no more heads are decapitated at the cost of skin issues. Since then, oranges are being thrown. Orange reduces wrinkles, acne, dark circles under eye and make hair softer and dandruff free. I love cocktail recipes. So let’s dance with Grilled Orange Cocktail on the orangey day.

Grilled Orange Cocktail
Grilled Orange Cocktail

Ingredients:-

1 Orange,

Few Ice Cubes,

2 Ounces Rye Whiskey,

Dash of Orange Bitters.

Preparation Method:-

1. Preheat your oven to 350 D.C. Halve the oranges and roast it for 30 minutes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Run the broiler for last 5 minutes.

2. In a glass, combine juice from the roasted orange halves, whiskey, orange bitters and ice. Cover and shake for 10 seconds.

3. Strain in a glass over ice cubes. Garnish with grilled orange slice.

Enjoying Battles of Oranges
Enjoying Battles of Oranges

Let the fun begin!

Celebrate Australia Day with Traditional Chocolate Lamington

Australia Day, falling on January 26, has become nation’s largest annual public celebration. It brings together Australians from all walks of life. Make sure to grab your spot along the streets of Australia to cheer the bulk parade participants. It’s the national day and ultimate time to celebrate with classic and traditional dishes. Australia has a rich variety of food and drinks. Last year, I shared with you Australian Cocktails and I’m so glad that everyone loved to dance with those drinks.

Yummy Chocolate Lamington
Yummy Chocolate Lamington

This time I’ve come up with the traditional dessert called Lamington. Lamington are squares of sponge cake that are dipped in melted chocolate and grated coconut. Lamingtons are usually made up of stale cake. I have used fresh cake. So the trick is to freeze it. After this, dip the lamination when it is slightly frozen. Though I am equally fond of strawberry and raspberry flavor, this time I tried Chocolate Lamington. You can also add in strawberry cream in between the cake as I have done. 

For the Cake:-

3 eggs,

1/4 cup milk,

1/2 cup sugar,

1/4 cup cornflour,

3/4 cup self raising flour,

3 teaspoons melted butter.

For Icing:-

1/2 cup milk,

3 1/2 cups icing sugar,

1/3 cup cocoa powder,

2 teaspoons melted butter,

2 cups desiccated coconut for coating.

Preparation Method for Cake:-

1. Preheat oven to 180 D.C. Now grease and flour a square shaped cake tin. Take a bowl. Beat eggs, sugar, butter and milk in it. Sift this mixture in flour and cornflour mix. Mix until well combined.

2. Pour the mixture into the greased tin. Bake in preheated oven until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Bake time is 25-30 minutes.

3. Allow to cool. Cut into smaller squares. Place in the freezer until it begins to harden, for 1 1/2 hours, uncovered.

Preparation Method for Icing:-

1. Stir butter, milk and cocoa powder, together. Then stir in the icing sugar.

2. Dip frozen cake squares into icing mixture and then into grated coconut.

3. Place on baking paper and allow to defrost. This must take 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.

Australia Day Parade
Australia Day Parade

Enjoy Australia Day!


Christmas Colors Chilli Fish

Sweet and chilli flavored food is always welcomed on fests and occasions. For many of us, appetizers are the favorite part of the Christmas feast. Isn’t it? And on top of that tangy-spicy appetizer is something you can’t resist. So, I decided to prepare tangy fish. Yummzz! Hope you liked my recipe, grilled fish (cod), it is Cristiano Ronaldo’s all time fav. I am very fond of varieties of fish especially pomfret as it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B3 and vitamin E. It also helps in fighting wrinkles and skin redness. It adds moisture to your skin.

Sweet and Chilli Fish
Sweet and Chilli Fish

Soy sauce is an awesome ingredient to flavor recipes. It’s the most common in Asian cuisine. Most dishes don’t specify the type of soy sauce that we use, but they vary wildly as per flavor, texture and appearance. I have used a strong one here to imbibe the Asian flavors. I have used homemade green chilli sauce here to add-on extra spice to the recipe. Tomato Sauce that is a bit sweet is recommended.

Ingredients:-

1 cubed Onion,

1 cubed Capsicum,

1 teaspoon Honey,

3 tablespoons Flour,

Olive Oil for deep frying,

1 teaspoon Tomato Sauce,

1 tablespoon Soya Sauce,

31/2 tablespoons Cornflour,

1 teaspoon Green Chilli Sauce,

1 bunch chopped Spring Onions,

250 grams cubed deboned Fish,

2 teaspoons Ginger-garlic paste,

1 teaspoon Black Pepper Powder.

Preparation Method:-

1. Make a thick batter of 3 tablespoons cornflour, flour ,1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste, salt, pepper powder and water. Dip the fish pieces in this and shallow fry in oil until golden brown.

2. Drain and set aside. In the same oil, add the onions and capsicum. When the onions start to turn pink, add the ginger-garlic paste. Stir until fragrant.

3. Turn the heat to high. Add the soya, chilli and tomato sauce. Mix well and reduce heat. Add the fried fish pieces. Again mix well and cook on low heat.

4. Mix well the 1 teaspoon cornflour in 4 tablespoons water. Add to the fish mixture and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the fish completely. Add chopped spring onions and honey. Serve hot with your fav drink.

Santa Wishing You
Santa Wishing You

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Food Ideas

Food ideas for any party is all about smart cooking and great presentation. Isn’t it? Nevertheless, whatever looks good tastes delish. Indulge yourself in the spirit of Christmas with yummy, quick and easy recipes. It is certain that you would like to spend maximum time with friends and families and not in the kitchen. I am going to disclose some swift fun food ideas right away!

Yummy Christmas Wreath
Yummy Christmas Wreath

Christmas Wreath (Ham-Veggie Crescent Wreath) – Grab some fresh bruschetta from the market, arrange on a plate in form of a wreath as shown. You can also use homemade garlic and cheese bread, if time permits. I prefer cheese and garlic bruschetta bread. Add on it, the topping of your choice. Spicy mayo and honey cream form a great topping. To it add diced ham and roasted veggies. Just bake the bread for 2 minutes before adding the topping. Get an eye-catching and sumptuous party appetizer.

Christmas Muffins
Christmas Muffins

Snowy Deer Muffins (Chocolate/Vanilla Muffins) – Any party is incomplete without desserts, isn’t it? Make the muffins of your choice. They can be simple, raisins or berry muffins. The game here is only the way you present it. Prefer a smooth base and spread chocolate evenly. You can also add vanilla cookie on the top, as shown. Add pretzel to make horns of the deer. Decorate eyes with berries/small candies. Enjoy the cute treat with lots of goodies within.

Mini Pizza
Mini Pizza

X-Mas Tree pizza (Mini Veggie Pizza) – Prepare the pizza base beforehand. You can make variant of shape using special baking cutters eg. Christmas tree or Star-shape. Ah! kids are gonna love it. Just bake with your favorite cheese and veggies. The taste will be doubles seeing these mini cheesy pizza bites. Even a novice cook can master the art of preparing pizza. So let the fun begin with this veggie and cheesy treat.

Cheers to all of you!
Cheers to all of you!

Merry Christmas!

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