Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Pesto has got to be one of the most versatile spreads in the world. And so easy to personalize. Pesto is just a combination of greens/ herbs, nuts and cheese with a wonderful addition of olive oil.

Here is a wonderfully easy recipe for pesto. Feel free to use any combination of greens/ herbs and nuts. Some good ideas are spinach, basil or even sun-dried tomatoes. And any nuts at all. I like to go with a sharper cheese, and hard cheeses seem to give it a nice texture, but feel free to use a creamy cheese (like goat's).


2 cups Herbs/ Greens (I used cilantro)
1/2 cup Cheese (I used Parmesan)
1/2 cup Olive Oil (I used extra virgin)
1/3 cup Nuts (I used walnuts)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
Salt + Pepper, to taste

Pulse the cilantro and nuts in a mixer. Add garlic and pulse. Pour the oil into the mixer in a constant stream while continuing to pulse. Mix in the cheese and pulse until thoroughly combined. Add salt and pepper at the end.

Use the pesto as is. Mix it with some hot, cooked pasta. Spread it on toast. Use it as a base for pizza. Or eat it by the spoon! Some recipes that use pesto from this blog:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spinach Rice

I recently went to a modern Andhra restaurant, Maya, in Chennai. Andhra Pradesh is a small state in southern India, whose cuisine is typically very spicy and loaded with masala, tamarind and ground spices.

This restaurant surprised me though. The food was mild, full of subtle flavors and delicious. The one dish that really stood out to me was the lovely spinach rice. I asked my waiter if he could give me the recipe and he, very graciously, told me the ingredients. So I made an attempt at it, and thankfully, it turned out exactly how I'd hoped. (I've added peas to this rice, in order to get in more veggies, but the original recipe didn't have it, so feel free to leave it out).

Spinach Rice (with Peas)

2 cups White or Brown Rice, cooked and cooled
4 cups Spinach, cleaned and washed
1 tbsp Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp Urad Dal/ Bengal Gram
1 large Onion, peeled and chopped fine
2-3 Green Chillies, slit (optional)
1/2 cup Green Peas, cooked (optional)
2 tsp Sesame Oil
Salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds and urad dal and stir until mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the onions and green chillies and cook until the onions are transparent. Now add the spinach. Continue stirring/ cooking until wilted.

Mix in the cooked rice, peas and salt and fold until fully combined with the spinach mixture.

Delicious! Even my I-won't-eat-anything-green daughter ate it without a complaint!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Banana Apple Muffins

I'm always looking for fun and healthy food to bake with my daughter. When I came across Divya's post in her blog, Easy Cooking, on Eggless Apple Banana Muffins, they sounded perfect. I was fine with using eggs, but decided to just follow her recipe. I made a couple of changes though, I added some chopped walnuts, and a small fistful of chocolate chips.

Banana Apple Muffins (without eggs)

3 ripe Bananas, chopped (OR 1 egg + 2 Bananas)
1 cup Apple, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup Butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 1/8 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 cup Walnuts, chopped
1/8 cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Mix together the mashed bananas, sugar and vanilla until the sugar is well blended. Whisk in the melted and cooled butter.

Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, apple and salt). Fold in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Spoon the batter into a greased and lined muffin pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

The muffins are absolutely delicious. And both my daughters ate them as they came out of the oven!
Thanks for a great recipe, Divya. And I'm excited this is my first eggless muffin recipe, and it's already a keeper.