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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – One step towards a healthy snack :)

I think I must’ve mentioned several times on previous blog posts that I do not have much of a sweet tooth. In fact, back in India, I used to very rarely eat anything sweet. And it did not help that most of Indian desserts or sweets are cloyingly sweet. Subtlety isn’t a strong point of traditional Indian โ€œmithaisโ€. However, after coming to the UK, I discovered that a sweet dish does not necessarily have to rely on sweetness to score on the flavor front. And one of the first items to convince me of this was the cookie. Cookies could be crunchy, crumbly, chewy, sweet, bitter, gingery, buttery… so many possibilities. I kinda fell in love with cookies. ๐Ÿ™‚

Having already posted a cookie recipe before, I decided to go healthy this time and do the very popular peanut butter oatmeal cookies. These are butter-free, gluten-free and have all the goodness of oats with a little bit of naughtiness in the form of dark chocolate chips ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have picked this recipe from a blogger named Monique.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes ~15-18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • Creamy or chunky peanut butter – 1 cup
  • Dark brown sugar – 2/3 cup
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Large eggs – 2
  • Rolled oats – 2/3 cup
  • Baking Soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Chocolate chips – 2/3 cup

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (170 degrees C)
  2. Mix oats and baking soda in a bowl and keep aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract and eggs with an electric whisk for 3 mintues until well blended.
  4. Add the oats mixture into the peanut butter batter. Mix well.
  5. Add the chocolate chips to the batter and fold in gently.
  6. Please note that the mixture will be sticky in nature. Take two teaspoons and scoop small balls of cookies onto a flat baking dish (on a baking paper).
  7. Flatten the top and make sure to keep a little distance while place the cookie balls.
  8. Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes and remove when the edges begin to turn brown.
  9. The cookies may look a little underdone but they will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking dish and then tranfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Have it with a glass of milk and you are good to go for sometime ๐Ÿ™‚

Would be happy to hear from you ๐Ÿ™‚

Limoncello Trifle – Little bit of Italy & a little bit of England :)

I had always dreamt of visiting Italy since I was a little kid. I did not know anything about Italy at that time but the country fascinated me and the thought of going there for a vacation seemed like fun. I finally got a chance to visit Italy in Dec 2011 and it was one of the most cherished vacations ever! 6 days passed in a flash. There are so many beautiful memories I have; food, places, people, nature, architecture, scenic beauty… Needless to say, the food I ate there was the most authentic Italian cuisine that I have ever tasted. When I returned, I just had to try to recreate the Italian taste. There was a bottle of Limoncello that I had bought from my trip. Since I knew that Limoncello was a uniquely Italian Liqueur, I decided to incorporate it in a dessert. Luckily, I came across Jamie’s recipes about a trifle which had limoncello and bingo! So, here is a fusion of Italy and England for you ๐Ÿ™‚

Limoncello Trifle

Limoncello Trifle

Ingredients:

  • Oranges – 3
  • Limoncello -75 ml
  • Sponge Fingers – 100 grams
  • Mascarpone – 250 grams
  • Icing Sugar – 2 tablespoons + extra for dusting
  • Semi-skimmed Milk – 100 ml
  • Lemon – 1
  • Pure Vanilla Extract/paste – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh Raspberries – 250 grams
  • 1 bar of good quality dark chocolate (100% cocoa) for grating

Steps:

  1. Take a dish (preferably flat) and squeeze the juice of 3 oranges. Add the Limoncello and mix well.
  2. Mix mascarpone, milk, vanilla extract and icing sugar in a separate bowl. Grate the zest of a lemon and squeeze half of its juice. Mix well with a spatula or an electric whisk. Please do not over whisk to avoid any chance of splitting the mascarpone cheese.
  3. Dip the sponge fingers in the orange + limoncello mixture, a couple of seconds on each side and start layering your bowl with them.
  4. Once one layer is completed, cover it with the mascarpone batter. Grate some dark chocolate over this layer along with some raspberries.
  5. Repeat a layer of sponge fingers dipped in orange + limoncello. And cover the sponge fingers with the remaining mascarpone batter.
  6. Grate the remaining dark chocolate on the top along with the remaining raspberries and keep it in the fridge overnight to set.
  7. Just before serving, sprinkle the icing sugar and serve.

This is a perfect summer dessert which makes my heart happy and joyous ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope you and your guests love this dessert.

Do share your experience ๐Ÿ™‚

Homemade Spinach & Pepperjack Cheese stuffed Chicken breasts wrapped in Parma Ham

I have been an eggetarian almost all my life. But while doing post-graduation, one of my closest friends introduced (read forced ;)) me to try chicken. The first dish that I tried was Chilli Chicken and it still is my favorite. After that, for a very long time, I only used to eat very few chicken dishes, all of them made with boneless chicken. It was only when I got married that I started eating chicken in all forms. As I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts, myย husband is an amazing cook and one of his specialties is cooking chicken. Still, I was not very comfortable in trying out any chicken dishes which were not Indian (spicy) but my brother slowly introduced me to milder, subtle flavored chicken and I must say I have come to love them too! So, here is one such recipe made with chicken breasts, which is very simple to make and super delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

Preparation of Breasts

Preparation of Breasts

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Spinach Leaves – 150 grams
  • Sour Cream – 1/4 cup
  • Shredded Pepperjack Cheese – 1/4 cup ย (you can also use Monterey Jack Cheese)
  • Garlic, minced – 4 cloves
  • Red Chillies – 2 (deseeded if don’t want to make it hot)
  • Skinless, boneless Chicken Breast Halves – 2
  • Black Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – To taste
  • Parma Ham (optional) – 6 slices

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 392 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Blanch the spinach by adding it to a boiling water followed by plunging it into chilled water. Alternatively, you can heat it in microwave for 3 minutes or until wilted.
  3. Chop the blanched/wilted spinach roughly and make sure you have drained all of its water. Transfer it into a bowl.
  4. Add sour cream, garlic, chillies and pepperjack cheese. Mix well until it has formed a smooth texture.
  5. Lay the chicken breasts out on a clean surface, and make a slit down the side of each of the breasts to either form a pocket or to open a flap like I did (see figure 1 from the image above).
  6. Spoon some of the spinach mixture inside each pocket or on the thicker side and close the flap. Refer to image 1.
  7. Now, wrap the breasts with parma ham slices and secure the assembly with toothpicks. Wrapping with parma ham is, of course, optional so if you do not want to use the ham, simply secure the breasts with toothpicks. Arrange the prepared breasts in a shallow cooking dish, as shown in figure 2.
  8. Bake it for 25 minutes at 200 degrees C and your dish is ready.
  9. You can have it with rice or boiled veggies. I usually like my chicken with stir fried veggies and herbed couscous.
Homemade Spinach & Pepper Jack Cheese stuffed Chicken breasts wrapped in Parma Ham with sides of stir fried veggies and couscous.

Homemade Spinach & Pepper Jack Cheese stuffed Chicken breasts wrapped in Parma Ham with sides of stir fried veggies and couscous.

I would love to know your experience and would love to hear about any other inventive accompaniments to go with the chicken ๐Ÿ™‚

Baked Vegetable or Veg Au Gratin

Indore (a city in Central India and my hometown) is a food heaven. If you are an India-based foodie, Indore is a must-visit place for you, if only for its food. It has been more than a decade that I have left Indore but I always dream of visiting my hometown, especially since I now want to take my husband who will surely love the trip. Indore has a street called Chappan Dukaan (which literally translates to 56 Shops) and all these are food shops. You name it and you will find it here. Well, the reason that I am talking about Indore, and especially Chappan Dukaan, is because this is the place where I tasted the heavenly Baked Veggies (later on I got to know that it is also called Veg au Gratin). I vividly remember that my Dad’s office was near this place and I often used to ask him to get this dish as a take away only for me.

I tried Veg au Gratin in many other places after leaving Indore but nothing matched the taste. So I thought that why don’t I give it a try. The recipe is largely from my memory of the dish I used to love in Indore. For white sauce, I have adapted Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe that you can find here.

Baked Veggies

Baked Veggies

Ingredients for the White Sauce

  • Onion, small or medium sized – 1
  • Cloves – 4
  • Bay Leaves – 2 or 3 (depending on the size of onion and the size of bay leaves)
  • Milk – 2 1/2 cups
  • Butter – 2 tablespoons
  • Fine Flour – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and White Pepper – To taste

Ingredients for the baked vegetables

  • Chopped french beans – 1 cup
  • Chopped carrots – 1/2 cup
  • Green peas – 1/2 cup
  • Fresh Pineapple – 1 cup
  • Chopped cauliflower – 1/2 cup
  • Baby corn (optional) – 1 cup
  • Salt – To taste
  • Sugar – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Grated cheddar cheese – To cover the dish
  • Baking Tray

Steps for making White Sauce:

  1. Peel the onion and wrap it with bay leaves using cloves to pin the leaves onto the onion. This is called Onion Cloute.
  2. Heat the milk in a pan and add the prepared Onion Cloute to it.
  3. Bring it to a boil then turn off the heat. Drain the milk in a bowl and keep aside to cool.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  5. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the prepared milk to get a smooth sauce.
  7. Simmer gently till it starts to thicken and season with salt and white pepper.

Steps for making Baked Veggies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Cook the veggies (except pineapple) half-way through in water with salt and sugar on a high heat or in the microwave. Drain the vegetables and allow it to cool for sometime.
  3. Add the pineapples in the drained vegetable and put all the vegetables in a baking dish.
  4. Pour the white sauce over it. Make sure that the vegetables are totally immersed in white sauce.
  5. Bake it for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Take it out and cover it with the grated cheese and bake until the cheese melts and serve hot ๐Ÿ™‚

In terms of veggies, you can add/remove as per your taste. But, do keep the pineapple as it adds a lot of flavor ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you enjoyed making and eating my version of Baked Veggies ๐Ÿ™‚

I would love to know your experience ๐Ÿ™‚

Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Loaf

Love at first sight! This happened with me when I first saw photos of Marble Cake while browsing online. Until then I had not tasted this cake. I loved how beautiful the cake looked, especially the swirls, so I decided that I had to give it an attempt. I can’t say that my attempt was entirely successful as far as the swirls are concerned but did it taste good! I will definitely try my hand at this cake again until I get the swirls I desire ๐Ÿ˜€ I will update this post with the photos of perfect swirls and the technique that I used to achieve them. This recipe is adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe with some minor tweaks in it.

Marble Cake_Watermarked

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • Self-raising flour – 275 grams
  • Golden Caster Sugar – 225 grams
  • Unsalted Butter, softened – 225 grams
  • Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Large eggs at room temperature – 4
  • Milk – 2 tablespoons
  • Vanilla Extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Zest of 1/2 Orange or 1 lemon
  • 100% natural cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons
  • Hot/boiling water – 2 tablespoons

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Butter and line a 900 grams (2lb) loaf tin. You can use any sort of tin available to you.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Keep it aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  4. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Fold in the sifted flour along with the milk. Mix well to ensure that there are no lumps.
  6. Once the batter has been mixed well, remove about 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl.
  7. Now, add orange zest and vanilla extract to the bigger (2/3rd) portion of the batter.
  8. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and boiling water together until smooth with no lumps.
  9. Allow to cool slightly then add to the 1/3 portion of the batter that was separated out earlier. Mix well.
  10. Spoon the vanilla and chocolate batter randomly into the prepared tin until all of the mixture is used up. Gently level the surface. You can also refer to this link which will help you out in making the swirls ๐Ÿ™‚
  11. Bake it for 50 minutes to an hour, until the cake is well risen and a knife or a skewer inserted through the center of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before cutting it.

I hope you are happy with the outcome. This is such a beautiful and delicious cake that you can bake it on any special occasion ๐Ÿ™‚

Do share your experience ๐Ÿ™‚

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