Sorry for the almost weeklong absence. This was the week when most of the pre-school applications for Varun were due. And we had not even toured some of the schools; which is mandatory in some cases before applying.
With Vipul at work, the task was on me and I was driving all over the town to attend the last few tours that the schools had. I joked one evening that we need a SCRUM board to just track the schools and their process (plus other things we had to do like pick up house keys, find a pediatrician closer to new house, possibly look for an interim preschool closer to our new apartment etc).
To be out and about, I used to have a heavy breakfast (fried eggs and cereal) so it would tide me over till lunch.
I don’t like yellows in my eggs. Its been the case since I was young and before the low-fat/carb diet etc were even part of my vocabulary. I can’t stand their smell unless it is poached or baked.
So, what do you do with the yellows? They are actually rich in vitamin A and D, folic acid, potassium and selenium – not to mention protein and omega-3 fatty acids. The bulk of nutrition in an egg is in the yolk.
Instead of discarding them as I previously used to do, I used a recipe that I read in Jamie Oliver’s cookbook to make a pasta dough with flour and egg yolks. Knead this with a little water like nobody’s business. And you have a dough that can be rolled, filled or shaped.
You will have a naturally yellow whole wheat pasta that is rich in nutrients and then can be made into anything you like. I don’t have a pasta making machine, but it can easily be rolled thin and cut up to make fettucine.
I gave a small dough to Varun and he rolled and played with it while I made the rest for us. This pasta cooks in a couple of minutes and topped with olive oil, parsley and pepper was one the yummiest meals in a while.
Am in love with making fresh pasta. Next time, I plan to add some chopped spinach or kale to sneak in some veggies!
Whole Wheat Egg Yolk Pasta Recipe
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups whole wheat flour + 1/4 cup for rolling
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil ( for greasing)
- 7-8 cups water (to boil pasta)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley chopped
- Olive oil, parmesan cheese to top and serve per taste
1. Take the flour on the counter and form a well in the center. Add egg yolks. And a little bit of water.
2. Oil your hands. Mix a little bit of yolk and flour, in circular motions, incorporating more and more flour on each pass. The mix does get hard, dry and crumbly. Don’t give up. Use a little bit of water if it’s too dry. Keep kneading.
Using the heel of your hand, massage and knead the dough till it comes together and eventually becomes soft and pliable. This took me about 15 – 20 minutes.
3. Set the dough aside for 30 mins to rest.
4. Set water for pasta to boil.
Flour the counter and then roll the pasta into largish ovals/circles and cut up using a knife. Or use a pasta making machine if you have one.
5. When the water has a rolling boil, add the pasta. Cook for about 2 minutes till the pasta floats to the top.
6. Season with salt and pepper. Top with some olive oil, parsley and cheese.
My apologies for being a bit tardy in posting last week. Work got in the way and I didn’t have enough time to blog. I promise to do better this week.
Last night, I was mentally prepping menu’s for weekend and the week so I can shop accordingly. A fried egg sandwich came to my mind. Hmmm…that with coffee would be a good strat to the weekend. While thinking about bread, focaccia came to my mind. Only problem – I haven’t found focaccia in the supermarkets or even in a bakery here in Hyderabad. I needed a hearty bread for brunch.
So I looked up online to find an easy focaccia recipe and found one that needs minimal effort. Just mix all the ingredients up and let yeast do its work. The dough rises and flavours meld. A few hours later with minimal effort we had a chewy focaccia. It was denser due to whole wheat flour but I am sure half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour would result in a lighter bread while still being healthy. Olives added saltiness to the bread. Herbs in the bread enhanced its flavour so we could eat it as is. Which is exactly what Varun did after removing olives.
The recipe is very simple and requires very little effort beyond the initial kneading. If you have a food processor or a stand mixer then even that is minimal. Also, it is very versatile. Change the herbs – lemon – cilantro, roasted garlic, smoked paprika – sun-dried tomatoes per your mood. Play with toppings, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, red onions. Its bound to surprise you with its flavour.
Give it a try this weekend. It can be dressed up into an elegant brunch with salad and wine or into a memorable breakfast with fried eggs and bacon.
Easy Peasy Whole Wheat Olive Focaccia Recipe
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons rosemary
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for topping + 1 tablespoon to grease the pan
- 1/2 cup olives
1. In a large bowl, mix sugar in the water and add then add yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes till the yeast proofs.
2. Once proofed, add all the ingredients listed (other than olives) and knead for about 10 minutes. It will be sticky which is fine. Cover with a plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to double. It takes about 3- 4 hours here but can take longer. Have patience with the first rise. Else the bread will not be soft.
3. Punch down the dough, and knead for 30 seconds again. Oil a baking pan well and spread the dough in this pan. You can leave this free form. Using your fingers, make dimples in the dough. Insert an olive in each dimple. Brush with olive oil.
Set aside for another 45 minutes to rise.
4. Pre-heat oven to 180F/350 C and bake the bread for 30 – 35 minutes till golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool in pan.
Cut and serve warm. It goes well with salads, soups, or in an open faced sandwiches.
Panna Cotta is a simple custard made by simmering milk, cream, sugar and gelatin and chilled till it sets. Silky smooth it is light and a perfect weeknight dessert. Quick and easy to make, leave it in the fridge to set, top with some fresh fruits to ease the guilt.
As mangoes are in season, and I had fresh cream on hand (since we boil milk everyday and save the creamy skin) I made a mango panna cotta. Most recipes call for the custard to be set for at least 4 hours but we couldn’t really wait more than two. Topped with fresh mangoes it was every bit of summer in a cup.
Use canned mango pulp, fresh Mexican mangoes or substitute with other seasonal fruits – strawberries and rhubarb particularly would be awesome this time of the year in US/UK.
Give it a try – its easy to make in a large quantity if you are entertaining or scaled down dessert just for two!
Mango Panna Cotta Recipe
- 2 tablespoon cold water
- 1 packet Gelatin ( or Agar Agar if vegetarian)
- 1 cup fresh cream
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1 cup mango pulp
- 1/4 cup sugar (optional if the mango is sweet)
- 1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
- Fresh mango cubed
1. Add the gelatin to water and stir well so that there are no lumps. Set aside for 5 -10 minutes.
2. In the meantime bring the cream, milk, sugar, mango pulp and vanilla bean to a simmer. Take off heat.
3. Add gelatin and stir well.
4. Remove the vanilla bean, if using, split and scrape it. Mix well. If you want a smooth mixture without tell-tale mango pulp bits then run through a blender.
5. Ladle in individual cups. Keep in refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours.
6. To serve, top with fresh fruit and mint leaves. Enjoy!
As promised, this is the list of restaurants we have tried and tested and the ones on the wish list. We have tried these places for dinner and its been almost always ala carte.
I don’t go for buffets unless they are highly recommended or unless I like the place on a prior visit. Buffet’s almost always have poor fare and lower quality.
There are virtually no hole in the wall places primarily because we are still adjusting to Indian palate and I don’t want us to catch a stomach bug (especially Varun!).
Restaurants we love: If you are visiting us, chances are we will take you to one of this.
- Ohri’s Tansen – Ambience, live sitar music, north indian food, impeccable service.Go early around 7:00 -7:30 pm to avoid crowds. Drinks and chaat are particularly good.
- Urban Asia – Young and buzzing,live music, Pan Asian food. Make reservations for window side table overlooking the Jubilee hills traffic below. Salt and Pepper prawns and drinks are highly recommended.
- Little Italy – Vegetarian, Italian thin crust pizzas, homestyle pastas and a decent wine collection. Love everything on the menu.
- Westin Brunch @ Seasonal Tastes– Obscene variety and perfect opportunity to be wasted on drinks and food if you have nothing else to do on a weekend. Live music, awesome dessert bar and separate children’s play area with kids menu.
- Four Seasons – Kebabs and Mutton Biryani. Go in a big group to taste the variety of this place can offer.Lassoni chicken kebab are highly recommended.
- La Cantina – Mexican food by pool side. Strong drinks, nachos, and a delectable tres leches cake ever. Live music. Need I say more.
- N Grill – Patio dining on a balmy evening, European/Italian. Mostly businessmen,families. Patio was a hit with Varun. Service is slow but food is good.
- Chutney’s – South Indian food. Period. Extremely busy and fast paced. Time at noon to avoid the morning breakfast/brunch crowd and lunch folks. Thali, idlis, wadas and traditional dosas are highly recommended.
- Mainland China – Indo-Chinese, friendliest service.
- Vadapav factory- Hole in wall, wink and you miss joint doling out vada pav in this southern city.
- Sweet Nirvana – Pastries and bread (havent tried their European dinning restaurant)
- Paradise – Mutton Biryani. Have to go here at least once.
- Taj Falaknuma – High tea, palace, grandeur.
- F Cafe and Lounge – Drinks , walking distance to home. Decent crowd and good music.
- Park (Hyderabad) – Location, Views and Chicken Biryani!
Been there, done that, may not go again
- Sahib , Sindh and Sultan – Setup in an old Indian railway coach. Mughlai food. Heavy and greasy.
- Ohri’s Urban Tadka – Typical north Indian. Nothing that you don’t get anywhere else, but good for weeknight dinner.
- N Asian – Liked it initially, but Urban Asia is better
- Prego – Great Italian food, but pricey and pretentious. Mostly business folks
- Dialog in the Dark – Unique dinning experience in the dark
- Cakes and More – Run of the mill pastries, ho hum.
- Subway, Kondapur – Slow service. Why should anyone eat here when there is four seasons right above it?
- Hyderabad House – Chicken biryani and salaan was better than Paradise but it’s better as a take out place than eat-in.
- Testa Rossa – OK food, great staff with kids. Smokers made us leave the place early though Varun had fun running around.
- The Square @ Novotel buffet – Pricey, OK food, OK variety. Westin is a better bet in that price range.
- Ista – Multi-cuisine. Went for burgers which were OK. Will go only if Microsoft pays for it.
Wish List – Can’t wait to try these
- Cinnamon Fusion – Multi cuisine
- Angeethi – Indian
- Ohris Serengeti – Indian
- via Milano – Italian
- Bikanervala – North Indian, chaat, street food
- So Restaurant – Continental/European
- Kibbeh Lounge- Lebanese
- Taj Krishna – Brunch recommendation
- Sigree – North Indian
- Khaan Saab – Hyderbadi food and Biryani
- Kerala Kitchen – Kondapur , Kerala cuisine
- Pista House – Haleem, Highly recommended. Almost always get sold out within an hour of availability.
- Shadab – Biryani
- Yellow Spice – Loved the one in Powai, Mumbai.
Have any recommendations that we must try? Drop a comment below!