April 30, 2017

Watermelon Quinoa Salad with Lime & Chilli Vinaigrette

Sshh Cooking Secret Challenge is a wonderful FB group where a central theme is picked each month and ingredients are exchanged virtually between paired bloggers. I was paired with Priya Suresh and she gave me Watermelon and Quinoa. My husband is very fond of watermelon and feta salad and the addition of Quinoa gave a nutty twist to this unique salad.

It's a simple salad that's apt for the scorching summer days, and it can easily be a complete meal for one.  It's also great for potluck parties. So, go on and make this one, and let me know what other salads you love !

Prep time : 10 mins, Chilling time : 15 mins ; Serves : 1

Cooked Quinoa - 1/2 cup
Watermelon cubes - 1 cup (200 ml)

For the vinaigrette : 
Lemon juice - 1/2 TBSP
Honey / maple syrup - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli flakes - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Crushed pepper - 1/8 tsp
Fresh Orange juice - 1/4 cup

To make:
Mix the quinoa and watermelon with a fork and chill for 15- 30 mins. 
Before serving,whisk all ingredients of the vinaigrette,toss the salad with the same & serve immediately.

a) One can skip honey for a completely vegan version.
b) Ingredients for the Vinaigrette is optional, go with what catches your fancy.
c) This was moderately spicy for me, but you could add or delete any ingredient of your choice.

April 11, 2017

Fingermillet Rosemary Focaccia for #Breadbakers

I admit I didn’t get to think beyond Focaccia when the hostess @AnshieDhar for #Breadbakers announced “Breads from Italy” for this month’s edition. I kept going back and forth between Ciabatta and Pane Bianco only to land firmly on Focaccia every time :) 

What’s more, I found my name calling when I saw a packet of fresh rosemary - a rare sight, we only get dried rosemary flakes- in the supermarket (and there it was telling me to use it in a flavourful bake!)

Focaccia remains our family’s fav bread (apart from pizza which gets a nod every weekend !),but I got to make some twists adding some finger millet flour and then it came about to be a beautiful bread that we munched with some pasta. The next day I quickly toasted some for breakfast (morning rush, hence no pics of that toast!), and loved the nutty flavour from the finger millet and the aroma of the rosemary that was so enticing. If you are keen, check out 3-4 varieties of Focaccia here.  

The little one kept asking me why the bread was a tad dark , and when I mentioned I had added Ragi (aka fingemillet), the elder one freaked out (typical teen !! arghh) but nevertheless dug into the bread even on the second day ! All in all, a winner, and thanks to Anshie Dhar who is hosting this theme this month.  The only change I would make next time is add a little more salt and maybe some more spices to perk it up.

Without any more delay, lets get on with the recipe. 

Prep time : 15 mins, Standing time : 1 hr + 45 mins ; Baking time : 30 mins

You would need:
1 cup = 200 ml here
  • Wholemeal bread flour - 1 cup  (I had a pack of M&S whole meal bread flour which worked beautifully here)
  • Finger millet flour - 1/2 cup
  • All purpose flour - 1/4 cup
  • Warm water - I used about 2/3 cup to 1 tsp less than 1 cup (depends on the flours you use)
  • Sugar - 2 tsp
  • Instant Yeast - 1 sachet (7 grams)
  • Salt - 1 tsp (I used 1/2 tsp but would recommend 1 tsp)
  • Dried Italian spices - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli flakes - 1/2 tsp
  • Fresh (or dried) rosemary - few sprigs - for topping 
  • Olive oil - 1/4 cup (more or less depending on your flours)

  1. Take warm water, sugar. Mix well. Add in the yeast and let it proof (I prove my yeast every time although its instant). 
  2. In a stand mixer (I used my Kitchen Aid), add the flours, spices, salt. Mix well. Add the proofed yeast,give it a mix with a wooden spatula and let it rest (without kneading) for about 10 mins - this standing time helps absorb the water better than trying to knead immediately.
  3. Now add half the oil, and start kneading on a low speed, gradually increase the speed and knead on speed 7-8 for about 10 mins till you get a smooth, slightly sticky  and a smooth surfaced pliable dough.
  4. Place the dough in a oiled bowl and cling wrap / drape a wet kitchen towel. Keep the bowl in a draft-free place and let it rise. As I used wholewheat and finger millet flours, the dough didn’t exactly double.
  5. Once risen (mine took about 55 mins), punch it slightly. In a prepared baking tray, spread the dough to all corners till you get a thickish 7*7 square bread. Cover and proof once again till slightly risen.
  6. Towards the end of the 2nd rise, preheat the oven to 200 C  / 400 F.
  7. Mark small dimples on the surface of the risen dough, place the rosemary sprigs and brush generous olive oil onto the bread, also covering the dimples. 
  8. Bake for 22-25 mins until golden brown, mine took about 28 mins, I then turned it to broil for 2-3 mins to get a nice textured focaccia.
  9. Cool on a wire rack and slice / tear off the focaccia. 
  10. Keeps for upto a week under refrigeration or longer if frozen.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com Links :-
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