Roots & Rustic – Salad

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Colours, they say, affect our mood. Something, I’m sure, we all agree. It could be the colours we wear, or colours that surround us… it does crazy things to how we feel, lifts our mood or pulls us down.

It also applies to the food we eat. Just to set the record straight- I’m only talking about the natural colours of food. All the food that nature offers are colour coded , naturally! And those colours are not just to please the eye but they are an indication of a certain specific nutrient that the particular food offers. How incredible is that – nature’s way of colour tagging the nutrients and health benefits!

I’ve been reading about this new Rainbow Diet / Eat by Colour Diet that is getting very popular. Was a part of one such discussion thread on the topic in a popular FB Food Group. There was a lady who mentioned that Craving for a certain vegetable is an indication of a certain lack of nutrient in our body. Need to look that up, but I definitely found that interesting.

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I’m talking about colours because that was the inspirations behind this post… this salad. Although colours are always on my mind when I make anything….but here was all the more important – Because it the base of the salad is Black Rice!

Black rice is an incredible offering from Nature! I got mine from the good folks of First Agro Sakura Fresh .

So this one is said to be a natural Super Food because it of it’s High content of Antioxidants , fibre , iron , protein. It is Gluten free too. It is starchy, yes. It has a this beautiful roasted nutty flavour and aroma …and it turns purple when cooked! The grains also look very rustic  -with streaks of purple , brown against pale white. Rice white_

After I clicked it all white , I decided to click it in another way too… something that is truly reflective of it where it has come from and something that justifies its characteristic – Right from the earth. ( So ended up using my old gardening tool as a prop … 😛 )

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Which one do you like more? 🙂

Anyway, back to salad. So, I had this black rice, but needed colours from the other elements of the salad. Had some baby carrots ( again from First Agro – arguably, they are only ones in the city that grow them I think) .I had roasted a few with some spiced honey the previous day ( that disappeared in no time)…and there was a demand for tha to be made again. So thought it would perfect with the black rice. And decided that I would need something sensationally spicy & fresh to lift the flavours of this salad, and a chimmichuri seemed ideal!

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I started this post by talking colours …. this salad is all that for me! Colours of salad elements…. makes it so much more sassy! Make more so much more appetizing. Bring in a certain balance in nutrition too!

For this  , I wanted to use the gorgeous blue deep plate / bowl plate ( is there even a name for such plate that almost a bowl ?) that my dear sis got for me. ❤ Salad solo_

If it looks good to eyes , but generally does taste good ( * there are always exceptions though) But this salad was true to itself.. that is what I think! Can’t wait to make this again…

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Recipe : Roots & Rustic Salad 

Ingredients – for 2-3 servings 

  • Black rice ( Used the hierloom black rice – You may use any other variant of black rice or even brown) – 1/2 cup
  • Baby carrots & Baby white radish ( use baby roots you like or regular roots cut in any shapes you wish) – no measure really for this ( as much as you like)
  • Purple Amaranthus leaves – 3/4 cup
  • Spring Onion – 3/4 cup
  • Lime wedge ( optional)
  • Mix of seeds and nuts ( optional)
  • salt + pepper for seasoning ( to taste)

Ingredients for the Spice Honey marinade for roasting the roots- Make sure you make enough to coat the roots you have for roasting. The following recipe will for a 1/2 cup of dressing:

  • Honey – 3 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • pepper powder – 1 tsp
  • balsamic vinegar – 1 tbsp
  • mustard oil ( you can use regular veg oil / olive oil) – 2 tsp
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for Chimmichuri Dressing :

  • Fresh & roughly chopped Basil + Parsley + Coriander =3/4 cup
  • Garlic pods – 3 med ( chopped / grated)
  • Olive oil – 2-3 tsp
  • Vinegar / Lime juice – 1-2 tsp ( based on how zingy you like it to be)
  • salt & pepper – to taste
  • Cruched dried red chillis ( or flakes , maybe) – 1 -2 tsp ( or to taste)

Method

  1. Wash & soak the black rice in water for about 30 mins – 1 hour. Cook it after in a pressure cooker ( with water in a 1:2 ratio) for about 2 whistles + 5 mins in low gas.
  2. When ready – rinse the cooked black rice in cold water. And keep aside. You could drizzle some olive oil and salt to that though.
  3. Baby roots :
    1. Clean the baby roots , do NOT peel the skin. Leave them on.
    2. Pre-heat the oven for about 200 o .
    3. Make the marinade by mixing all the marinade ingredients together.
    4. rub the baby roots with the marinade.
    5. Put them in a baking tray and bake/roast it for about 30-40 mins ( or based on your oven. DO keep checking on it though)
    6. When ready, take it off the oven and keep aside
  4. Clean the amaranthus and just pluck the leaves. Keep aside
  5. Finely chop the spring onions and keep aside
  6. To make the chimmichurri dressing
    1. Pound all herbs + garlic +  red chilli+ a little olive oil together in a mortar & pestle. ( you can do this all in a blender too. Note that the texture might vary though)
    2. I like it a little chunky and course – so I stopped when I reached that texture.
    3. Put the paste in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients ( vinegar , remaining olive oil ) and whisk well.
    4. Add seasoning and keep aside for the salad
  7. To assemble – there is no measure though – In a salad bowl / plate – add some amaranthus leaves, some cooked black rice, add the chopped spring onions , and the desired amount of roasted baby roots. Top it with some mixed nuts & seeds if you like. Drizzle the chimmichuri ( maybe a spoon and a half  per serving… or more if you like it that way)
  8. And eat!

 

 

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Breakfast Pizza ( Ragi Pizza with Pea Mash & Poached Eggs)

 

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Breakfast …one of the most honest meal on can have.

I believe that because that is the first meal one has after one wakes up., it basically sets the tone for the day. I for one, become so groggy if I don’t have my brekkie ( or on time). Believe me I get cranky. To add to that craziness, for me, it is not just enough that there is breakfast, but is also important that it is something I love…or like or something surprisingly new!

And I love eggs. I also love pizzas. I can never get enough of them.

My breakfast , more often than not, is usually eggs with something in some form. I take pride in the fact that I can manage one month of eating eggs in different forms – I promise no two eggs dishes will be the same .. yes, I can!  My husband can vouch for it! Honest.

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   There are days when I’ve had leftover pizza slices from the night before as my breakfast next day. So having pizza in the morning is not a new thing for me 😛 But making one from scratch ..is!

A breakfast pizza.

My love for pizza has got me try different flours, different toppings etc. One such experiments was the use of Ragi Flour (Finger Millet Flour). I love Ragi flour …esp in my bakes! Makes a great alternative pizza base,  that needs no knead(ing) , needs no yeast and it is GF 🙂  How cool is that? 

 So an Alternative pizza …An alternative Breakfast Pizza

Basically any pizza + Egg(s) = Breakfast Pizza  ❤  ( Thank you! That is my formula)

And because ragi (finger millet ) is in this dark brown almost cocoa color. I wanted something that complements and brings out the eggs on that millet base.  Something Green!!

Peas are green. Just in case you don’t believe me – here is a picture 😀

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But peas are not much fun just by themselves. I love them with garlic, mint or lemon. I make it often as crostinis. With some beautiful goat cheese. Oh boy!

So turns out that this pea mash also makes a lovely pizza topping. Slightly coarsely mashed peas on a rustic millet base and some gorgeous poached eggs is one of them perfect, guilt free indulgences that you can also called breakfast.

I made two little versions of this- because my ma in law doesn’t eat eggs – so a no-egg version for her and one with poached eggs for my husband & I.

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Love how rustic it looks ….sliced or otherwise.

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Poached two eggs for us and kept them ready while the pizza was getting baked in the oven.

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And the colours that this pizza has is beautiful. The green, dark brown, white and yellow from the oozy yolk. Healthy and Gorgeous !

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Ingredients for the Ragi Base (Without Yeast)

  •  Ragi Flour / Ragi Huri Hittu Powder – 1 cup ( You can choose to do a 50:50 too – Ragi to Whole wheat) · Whole wheat flour-1/2 cup
  •  Spices – 1 tspn of mixed Dry/ fresh basil, oregano, red chillie flakes
  • Garlic – 1-2 pods grated
  • Curd ( half to ¾ cup) Or Milk ( half to ¾ cup ) – Add a little more of either based on how the flour dough feels. No problem if the liquid is more or the dough gets sticky. It will be okay after it rests a little. It will only yield soft base.
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil – 2-3 tbsp
  • Note – If you wish to add yeast – you may. In which case, you would need to add the yeast to the flour mix before you pour the liquid.

Ingredients for the Pea Garlic Mint Mash

  • 1 cup boiled / steamed peas
  • Garlic 4 pods (medium size)
  • Fresh mint – a handful
  • Couple of leaves of fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil 2-3 tbsp
  • Water – 1-2 tbsp

Method for the Ragi Base Pizza

  1. Sift the flour mix into a bowl and to that add the dry spices , grated garlic , salt and either of the liquid ( curd/ milk).
  2. Knead well.
  3. To that dough add the olive oil .
  4. Knead a little more and cover and let it rest for about 15-20 mins ( room temp is just fine)

Method for Pea Garlic Mint Mash

  1. Use a blender or a mortar & pestle for this mash
  2. Mash the boiled peas, mint leaves , basil , garlic and olive oil , seasoning together (You may chop the leaves from before if you wish to) And ( Add water if you’d like to be slightly more smooth )
  3. Keep aside for later use.

Assemble and Bake

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
  2. Take the dough that has been resting – dust some flour on the countertop and roll the dough into a pizza shape of your choice.( pref thin crust)
  3. Dust some rava/semolina flour on the base of the pizza pan/stone/bakeware and place the rolled pizza dough on it.
  4. Spread the pea mash generously on the pizza (NOTE : This pizza doesn’t require any base sauce. However, feel free to smear some pizza sauce and then spread the pea mash, If you wish to)
  5. Drizzle some olive oil and pop it into the pre heated oven for about 20 minutes- 25 minutes or till it’s done.

IMP NOTEPoach the eggs while the pizza is getting baked in the oven. Would recommend this – http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/technique/how-poach-egg

Alternatively, you can also poach your egg in microwave , if that works for you ( it doesn’t for me L ) Or you can also try some lovely fried eggs or soft boiled or even hard boiled eggs on top. That will work just fine. But try poached eggs though 😛

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My love for bread is infinite! My love for one of my favorite breads ‘Pizza’… is infinite! And today a bit of that love is all set to get exposed.

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If you do not come , these do not matter…

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The Persian love affair with pomegranate dates back to possibly the beginning of the mankind…They say this ‘fruit of paradise’, for its association with the Goddess of Love Aphrodite,  is the original ‘Forbidden Fruit’ ….and not apples!

Probably one of the very first fruits ever to be cultivated, this pomegranate has different significance in different cultures. Right from being the fruit of fertility, to immortality …to new beginnings… new life…besides just being the original ‘Passion Fruit’ aphrodisiac!

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