Monthly Archives: October 2011

Simple Butternut Squash Soup



  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash
  • ½ cup cubed potatoes
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup 2% milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle (optional)


  • Add butter to skillet.  Once butter start melting add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or onion becomes soft
  • Add squash, potatoes, vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft
  • Pour soup to a blender and puree until smooth
  • Return back to the saucepan and add milk and heat until the soup is heater through
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Pour soup into bowls and sprinkle with cheese
  • Serves 2

Apple Crumble with Mixed Berries



  • 1 lb apple (granny smith would do good)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • Grated rind of 1 orange
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup mixed berries (blackberry and raspberry)
  • Pinch of cinnamon

For the crumble topping

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup crushed almond (I used slivered almonds which I crushed with my hand)


  • Pre heat oven to 350F
  • Peel and core the apples and thinly slice them and then cut each slice diagonally into 2 pieces
  • Add butter to a skillet and when it starts sizzling add apples and brown sugar and cook on low flame until apples are slightly cooked (make sure apples does not become too soft and mushy)
  • Mix in the grated orange rind and cinnamon.
  • Spread the apple mixture into a baking pan and sprinkle the berries on the top
  • Pour orange juice all over the fruit mixture
  • To make the crumble topping, mix flour and butter until they become like coarse bread crumbs
  • Mix in sugar and crushed almond
  • Spread the crumble mixture over the fruit base
  • Press the topping lightly
  • Bake for about 45 minutes or the crumble topping is lightly browned

  • Note: if the topping does not turn brown, increase the temperature to 400F and leave for about 5 minutes or less to get the topping browned
  • Yields: 5 – 6 servings as a dessert
  • Serve topped with a scoop of ice cream or with fruit topping.  You can also serve this with a spoonful of custard

Happy Deepavali

Wish every one a Happy Deepavali! (தீபாவளி நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்)

Kesari with Almond Meal

I was thinking about making some sweet which should be quite healthy but at the same time quite easy to make.  So came up with this idea.  I used ground almond which gives this sweet dish a crunchy taste.  Also I have added less sugar and ghee compared to the normal kesari and other Indian Sweets.



  • ½ cup semolina (Rava)
  • ½ cup ground almond (almond meal)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 ½  teaspoons ghee
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • Yellow food coloring 1 – 2 drops
  • About 12-14 cashew nuts broken into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • Cardamom powder


  • Add ½ teaspoon ghee to a skillet and fry cashew nuts and raisins until cashew nuts are golden and raisins are puffed.  Set aside.
  • Add semolina and almond meal to a deep saucepan and add about 3 teaspoons ghee and roast on medium flame for about 5 minutes
  • Add sugar, fried raisins, cashew nuts to the saucepan and mix well
  • Add hot water slowly to the saucepan while stirring continuously.  At this point add food coloring
  • Cook on medium-low flame stirring continuously
  • Once the mixture start thickening, add cardamom powder and the rest of the ghee and cook until all the water is absorbed and the kesari starts leaving the pan at the edges
  • Serve warm.
  • Yields: 4 – 6 servings

Banana Date Tea Loaf


  • 2 cups (8 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup oil (preferably canola since it does not have any smell)
  • 4 oz castor sugar
  • about 1/4 cup generous orange juice
  • Grated rind of 1 orange
  • 2 bananas peeled and mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 4 oz dates chopped
  • 2 oz walnuts chopped
  • Pinch of salt


  • Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9×5 inch loaf tin and set aside
  • Sift together flour and baking powder and salt and set aside
  • Beat eggs lightly and beat in oil, orange juice, orange rind and sugar
  • Add vanilla extract and almond extract and mix well
  • Now add flour and mashed bananas alternatively and mix thoroughly
  • Mix in chopped dates and walnuts
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean
  • Cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack

Sesame Rice (Ellu Satham)

I had some left over rice and was wondering what to do.  I wanted to do some thing quick and simple.  Making fried rice or vegetable biryani will take a lot of time.  So I settled with the sesame rice which is easy and quick to make.  I mixed white and black sesame seed for this recipe.  Black sesame seed has high nutritional value since it has the skin.  Also black sesame seed has a much stronger taste and flavor.  But you can completely replace the black sesame seed with white one.


  • 1 cup cooked basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seed
  • 1 teaspoon shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
  • 3 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon urad dhal
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 strand curry leaves


  • Dry roast sesame seeds until they start splattering
  • Dry roast one red chili and coconut until coconut is quite dry (lightly golden).  If not using coconut, just dry roast chili for a few seconds (make sure it does not get burned and start smoking)
  • Add sesame seed oil to a saucepan and add mustard seed
  • When they start splattering, add urad dhal and fry for about 25-30 seconds in low flame
  • Now add cumin seed, curry leaves and the rest of the dried red chilies (bread the red chilies into 3-4 small pieces) and sauté for about 30 seconds
  • Add rice, ground sesame seed mixture and salt to the saucepan and cook on low flame for about a minute.  Sprinkle just a little bit water and cover the saucepan.  This is to keep the rice moist and soft
  • Serve warm with appalam or moar milagai (curd chili)

Roasted Pepper Soup

When making a soup, I have seen a lot of additional ingredients being added like tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, heavy cream etc.  So I thought to make this very simple soup without any additional stuff.  I love the smell of roasted pepper.  So I thought to omit any tomato paste or tomato puree to make sure the soup definitely has that strong roasted pepper flavor.  Also I used just 2% milk instead of heavy cream.


  • 2 Bell peppers (1 orange and 1 red)
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • Few rosemary sprigs (fresh is better, but since I did not have it, I used the dried one)
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 250 ml Vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup 2% milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Turn on oven to the broiler setting with temperature 450F.
  • Put the peppers in the broiler pan and roast until the skin is blackened and blisters are formed

  • Cool for a couple of minutes and peel off the skin (do not wash after washing since this will remove some of the flavorful oils from the pepper)
  • Chop the flesh into small pieces.
  • Add oil to a deep saucepan and when hot add onion and rosemary and cook on low flame for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the rosemary sprig and discard
  • Now add the peppers and vegetable stock to the onion and bring to a boil
  • Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes
  • Let cool a bit and process the soup in a processor to a smooth puree.
  • Add soup back to the saucepan and add milk
  • Slowly heat for about 2 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Serve hot (or chilled)
  • Yields: 2 servings.