2 healthy dessert recipes made with organic products from Kokos Natural

We’re currently living in the ‘organic’ age! All of a sudden, everyone has started focusing on all things pure and natural. So when I came across Kokos Natural, I thought maybe its just another brand in the market. But I was wrong!

Kokos Natural is an export and retail house that specializes in selling natural & organic products. With products like organic coconut sugar, Himalayan pink salt and raw banana flour, they aim to transform the food industry into a healthier and organic eating one.

FYI –

– Organic Coconut Sugar:
With the sweetness similar to cane sugar, organic coconut sugar is the best substitute sweetener without any negative health hazards. Suitable for anyone with diabetes, gallstones, cancer and heart diseases, coconut sugar is obtained from the Coconut Nucifera grown in abundance in South India, South East Asia and Hawaii. It is minimally processed, unbleached and contains no preservatives.
Their Tropikoko Organic Coconut Sugar is one of the healthiest sweeteners as it has a low glycemic Index, low fructose content and trace amounts of various vitamins and minerals.

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 4.22.02 pm

– Himalayan Pink Salt:
Hand mined from the Himalayan Mountain range, Himalayan pink salt is not only a substitute, but a better choice than table salt. The salt color varies from pink to white to red, depending on the rich iron content in it. Protected from today’s pollution because of its pristine environment, snow and lava beds, Himalayan pink salt is said to be the purest form of salt on Earth.
Their Natirèl Himalayan Pink Salt is the best option to regulate body hydration levels, blood pressure, and healthy sleep patterns. It also has less sodium intake per serving in comparison to table salt, making it a healthier option.

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 5.00.29 pm

– Raw Banana Flour:
A gluten free replacement of flour, raw banana flour is becoming a fast growing trend amongst a lot of new diets. With its light texture, high fiber content, low sugar content, low cholesterol and zero chemicals and preservatives, it is the fastest growing substitute for wheat and whole wheat flours.
Their Natirèl Raw Banana Flour can be incorporated into every meal of the day and can be preserved from 6 months to a year, if stored in place free of moisture and excess heat.

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 4.21.33 pm

Here are some super easy, healthy dessert recipes incorporating all the above products. Don’t forget to tag me if you try them 🙂

Chocolate Beetroot Cake:
Ingredients:
– 160g roasted beetroot (about 1 medium/large)
– 90g Kokos Natural Organic Coconut sugar
– 60g dark chocolate, chopped
– 80g olive oil
– 2 eggs
– A pinch of salt
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 20g cocoa powder
– 55g Kokos Natural Raw Banana Flour
– 1 tbsp tapioca flour
– 1 tsp baking powder

Method:
– Puree the beetroot, chocolate and sugar together for 10 seconds in a blender.
– Add the oil, eggs, salt, vanilla and cacao powder, and blend for 10 seconds.
– Add the banana flour, tapioca flour and baking powder and fold until well combined. Pour into a lined cake tin and bake for 30-25 minutes at 160*C.

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 4.57.37 pm

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Ingredients:
– 2 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
– 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 2 large eggs
– 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1 pinch ground cinnamon
– 2 cups chocolate chips
– 1 tbsp Kokos Natural Himalayan Pink Salt

Method:
– Preheat oven to 180*C
– In a mixing bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter together at medium speed until fluffy.
– Add the eggs and beat until combined.
– In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, then add to the butter mixture and combine. Stir in the chips by hand.
– Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets by rounded 1-inch balls, leaving 1 inch between them. Sprinkle a pinch of Himalayan pink salt on top of each ball of dough.

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 5.00.36 pm

5 min Singaporean flat rice noodles

Singaporean food is a significant cultural attraction for tourists and visitors. Influenced by various ethnic groups like Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Sri Lankan among others, Singaporean cuisine hails from everywhere but is still unique in its own way.

So when I heard Foodhall was hosting an exclusive masterclass in association with the Singapore Embassy, I had to be there. The food superstore’s in-house chef whipped up some delectable recipes that were easy to make and not very time consuming too. Here’s a super quick recipe of the flat rice noodles with fresh herbs by Food Strategist, Swasti Aggarwal.

All ingredients are available at the Singapore food aisle in the store.

Ingredients:
1 pkt Koka flat rice noodles (soak in warm water to soften)
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– A pinch of salt and pepper

For herb and olive mix:
3 tbsp fresh parsley
– 6 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
– 1/4 cup green olive, thinly sliced
– 4 canned artichoke (cut to bite size)
– A pinch of rock salt and freshly cracked black pepper
– 1 cup good quality olive oil
– 12 Cherry tomatoes, halved

Method:
Heat up a non-stick pan and add olive oil.
– Fry the garlic till fragrant.
– Add flat rice noodles and the rest of the ingredients. Can also add other vegetables as per taste.
– Lightly fry for 3 to 4 minutes and season to taste.

Singapore Class

 

3 Refreshing Fruit Infused Monsoon Recipes

Monsoon is the perfect season to enjoy cold, tangy beverages that quench your thirst and hydrate you at the same time. And if those drinks are healthy and super yummy, what more can you ask for? Over the past few months, I’ve heard people talk about fruit infusions. If you’re wondering what that is…they’re basically a combination of several fruits, best enjoyed when immersed in hot/cold water. So I obviously decided to experiment with them and see what the fuss is about.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 5.10.15 pm

Image sourced from Pinterest

Ty.phoo – the Indian arm of a 100+ year old British brand known for its delectable tea flavors has recently introduced a refreshing range of fruit infusions that can be savored as a hot or cold beverage. Their luxurious brews are caffeine free and available in three exotic flavors – Orange Spicer: A blend of fruity orange with cinnamon, ginger and clove, Blackcurrant Bracer: Made from blackcurrant berries, hibiscus and rosehips and Lemon & Lime Zest: Made from lemon and lemon zest.

Infusions

I decided to check them out and discovered some really cool things in the bargain:
1) If you ever get bored of water, infused water brings variety to the palate and is a fun,  simple yet delicious option that keeps you hydrated through the day.
2) Ty.phoo’s fruit infusions are natural sources of antioxidants and are a great alternative against artificially flavored drinks. So good-bye fizzy sodas and (so-called) diet drinks!
3) Aromatic and refreshing, these thirst-quenchers boost your energy levels and prevent you from feeling lethargic.
4) They are packed with freshness that help calm you down after a long and tiring day at work or post an intense work-out.
5) Each pack contains 25 tea bags and is packaged in a heat sealed envelope that helps retain their flavors…which means you can experiment and come up with atleast 10 different recipes. Isn’t that awesome!

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 5.10.06 pm

Photo Credit – http://www.brit.co

In short, Ty.phoo’s fruit infusions make the perfect monsoon coolers that can be relished at any given time of the day. Wondering how to use them? Try out these quick, easy and stimulating recipes at home. I promise, you’ll thank me later 🙂

1) Orange Spicer:
Ingredients:
– Water
– Ty.phoo’s Orange Spicer Infusion
– Orange juice
– Clove
– Bay leaves

Method:
– Add two bags of the infusion to a cup of hot water and infuse for 2-3 minutes.
– Boil a cup of water and add in 9 cloves and 3 bay leaves. Keep on flame until the water is reduced to half. Strain and keep aside.
– In a glass, pour 1/2 the infused concentrate along with the strained water.
– Add orange juice, as per taste.
– Stir well and serve. Can also be refrigerated for 2-3 hours prior.

2) Blackcurrant & Peach:
Ingredients:
– Soda
– Water
– Ty.phoo’s Blackcurrant Bracer Infusion
– Cinnamon
– Peach

Method:
– Add two bags of the infusion to a cup of water and infuse for 2-3 minutes.
– Cut 2 peaches into chunks.
– In a separate glass, pour 1/2 the infused concentrate. Add in the peaches and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
– Stir in the soda and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

3) Lemon & Lime Cooler:
Ingredients:
– Water
– Ty.phoo’s Lemon and Lime Zest Infusion
– Ginger
– Mint leaves
– Pineapple

Method:
– Add two bags of the infusion to a jug of water and infuse for a few minutes until the water changes color.
– Cut 1/4 pineapple into chunks, grate some ginger, finely chop a spring of mint leaves and add to the infused water.
– Refrigerate for about 2-3 hours and serve chilled.

*Ty.phoo fruit infusions are available at all leading MBO’s such as Nature’s Basket, Foodhall, Big Bazaar, Modern Bazaar etc. They also have a wide variety of black teas, green teas, flavored teas and organic infusions.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 5.28.08 pm.png

Cook Healthy…Eat Healthy!

More often than not, when we see a delicious food picture, we want to jump right into our screens and savor every bit of it. Being the social media freaks that we are, our timelines are always flooded with those tempting videos/pictures that leave us drooling for hours. Most of us either land up at those restaurants to satisfy our cravings or simply make those dishes at home without paying attention to the health aspect of it. We seldom realize that what looks good may not always be healthy. But healthy food can surely taste and look good.

Fresh ingredients and the use of a good oil are the most important aspects involved in cooking. Problems like high cholesterol, heart risks are on a rise due to a wrong choice of oil. However, in a city like Mumbai where people are exposed to global cuisine and basic health orientation, consumers are getting more conscious about the oil they use for their day-to-day consumption. Keeping in mind the number of brands advertising on TV and on the internet, making the right choice can surely be a task! But after having tried various brands of olive oil, I recommend using Leonardo Olive Oil by Cargill Foods India – available in three variants – Pomace (used for frying), Extra Light (used for stir frying, sauteing and shallow frying) and Extra Virgin (used for salads, pastas and dips). Now I’m sure you’re wondering what is so special about this oil? So here’s why I recommend it:

  1. It’s lighter than most other oils available in the market
  2. Your food will surely be tastier than ever before
  3. It is 100% natural and very high in antioxidants
  4. It has innumerable health benefits, some of which are listed below:
    – Lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and hypertension
    – Maintains cholesterol and sugar levels
    – Reduces the risk of breast cancer
    – Protects the skin from premature aging
    – Helps in controlling weight
    – Improves metabolic rate
    – Fights stomach ulcers and chronicle gastritis
  5. Repairs damaged skin by making it softer, smoother and healthier. Not just that, it also exfoliates chapped lips and is a great moisturizer that can be used all over the body too
  6. Adds lustre, body, softness and bounciness to the hair and also prevents dandruff
  7. Pocket-friendly and easily available at all modern retail stores and hyper markets.

FullSizeRender(3) copy 3.jpg

It’s been a week since I’ve been using Leonardo Extra Virgin Olive Oil and it’s made cooking easier, faster and so much fun. In the past seven days, I’ve made spaghetti Aglio-olio, zucchini and cream cheese bruschetta, hummus and spaghetti in pesto sauce!

FullSizeRender(3) copy 4

Spaghetti Aglio-olio

FullSizeRender(3) copy 2

Zucchini & Cream Cheese Bruschetta

If you also want to relish good food without compromising on health, start with these two quick and easy recipes. Incase you land up making them, please do share the same with me 🙂

Hummus:
For those of you who have never tried hummus – it’s a thick spread/food dip, beige-ish in color, originally from the Middle East but now popular all over the world. Traditionally enjoyed with warm pita bread, it can also be used in salads, sandwiches and wraps.

FullSizeRender(3) copy

Hummus

Ingredients:
– 2 cans of chickpeas (preferably soaked overnight/for a couple of hours in water)
– 4 tbsp Tahini paste
– 2 garlic cloves, crushed
– 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 2 tbsp lemon juice
– Salt (to taste)
– Paprika (optional)
– Olives (optional)
– Parsley (optional)

Preparation time:
5 mins

Method:
– Add chickpeas, tahini paste, crushed garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and some water from the chickpeas into the food processor.
– Turn on the food processor and slowly pour oil into it.
– Check the consistency – it should be properly combined, thick and smooth. The color will also change. Incase it does not, add more tahini paste and oil.
– Once done, remove in a serving dish and generously drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil. Decorate with black/green sliced olives or finely chopped parsley. Sprinkle paprika over it and cover.
– Place it in the refrigerator and remove 20 minutes before serving.

*This is a basic recipe of hummus. You can keep experimenting with the flavorings.

Spaghetti in Pesto Sauce:
Pesto is a green colored, flavorful sauce originally from Italy. It goes perfectly well with different kinds of pastas and can also be used in wraps and sandwiches instead of butter and mayonnaise.

FullSizeRender(4)

Spaghetti in Pesto Sauce

Ingredients:
– 1 packet spaghetti, boiled in a pinch of salt and extra virgin olive oil, until al dente
– 2 cups basil
– 1/2 cup pine nuts, shelled
– 1/2 cup Parmesan
– 4 cloves garlic
– 4 tbsp olive oil
– Salt (as per taste)
– Cherry tomatoes (optional)
– Olives (optional)

Preparation time:
10 mins

Method:
– Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor. Add more olive oil and Parmesan, if required.
– Once perfectly combined and smooth, remove in a pan.
– Add boiled spaghetti and mix well with the sauce. Cook for about 1 minute.
– Garnish with Parmesan. Can also use cherry tomatoes and olives .

By switching to Leonardo Olive Oil, #IChooseHealthy ….. What about you?

5 things that happened at the #GoCheeseTastingEvent

If you’re following me on social media, I’m sure you know by now that I recently attended the #GoCheeseTastingEvent organized by Femina in association with Go Cheese at blueFROG, Mumbai with Chef Ranveer Brar.

IMG_0991

Selfie with Ranveer Brar

Here are 5 things that happened at the event:

– The afternoon started on a funny note with standup comedian Angad Singh Ranyal’s hilarious act. The Pirated Sardar surely left the audience in splits with his wise cracks and one liners. All the Punjabi’s in the house were seen laughing out loud to his famous line – Punjabi’s either create history or catastrophe!

– Next, Mr. Mahesh Israni, CMO of Parag Milk Foods took to stage to brief us about Go Cheese. ‘There are over 2200 varieties of cheese available all over but still India consumes only 9% of cheese. Our aim is to change that,’ he said. The company is divided into three categories – Gowardhan (focuses on kitchen consumption like ghee, paneer, etc), Go (targets the youth with its quirky brand image), Pride of Cows (premium farm milk in Mumbai & Pune).

– Soon after, celebrity chef Ranveer Brar took centre stage and was warmly welcomed with a thundering round of applause. He introduced us to the different varieties of Go Cheese and also to his specially curated cheese themed menu. Out of all the varieties available, he recommends trying Go Cheese’s Almette that will soon be available in the market.

– After an interactive session with Chef Ranveer, the audience sipped on wine while relishing their scrumptious cheese platter. A variety of mains and desserts made with cheese were also served.

– According to Ranveer Brar:
1) Wine and cheese go well together because of their acidity
2) The combination of Earl Grey and Cheddar are a match made in heaven
3) Mild Cheddar and Indian Spices will leave you craving for more
4) When you have garma-garam samosas with Gouda, you wont be able to stop yourself at just one
5) While baking, try to blend two or more cheeses. Parmesan is perfect, if you’re looking for a crumbly texture while Mozzarella gives you a creamier texture
6) Try mixing Parmesan and White Chocolate for dessert and you’ll be licking your fingers and maybe even the bowl after you’re done
7) During winter, enjoy mature cheeses and even Blue cheese along with some crackers

FullSizeRender(3) copy

IMG_0958

Angad Singh Ranyal shows us how girls pose for pictures

IMG_0961

Mr. Mahesh Israni talks about Go Cheese

Our scrumptious cheese platter

IMG_1014

Our gift hamper

IMG_1040

Goodies inside the hamper

Sweet dreams are made of cheese…who am I to dis-a-Brie!

How to make Cheese Pakoras with Go Cheese:
Ingredients:
– 1 cup Go Cheese Angles
– 1 onion thinly chopped
– 4 green chillies thinly chopped
– 1 cup Bengal gram flour (besan)
– 2 tbsp corn flour
– 1/2 tsp cumin powder
– A pinch of black pepper powder
– A pinch of baking soda
– 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
– Fresh cilantro chopped
– Salt to taste
– Oil to deep fry

Method:
– Take a big bowl and mix the flours, onion, green chillies, baking soda, salt, cilantro and spices
– Add little water for making the average consistency pakora batter. Make sure there are no lumps
– Heat oil in a pan. Dip each Go Cheese Angle one by one into the batter, coat from all the sides and drop into hot oil
– Deep fry few at a time until pakora turns crispy and little brown
– Remove on oil absorbent paper and serve hot with coriander chutney and tomato sauce.

Macaroon Demonstration by Le Cordon Bleu’s Pâtisserie Chef Nicolas Houchet

World renowned in the culinary industry and with a heritage expanding over 120 years, Le Cordon Bleu is one of the finest institutions in the world that offers a wide range of courses in cuisine, pâtisserie, wine and management. It is dedicated to providing excellence in culinary arts for all of its 20,000 annual students, across 40 schools in 20 countries. Le Cordon Bleu recently visited India with Pâtisserie Master Chef Nicolas Houchet who led pâtisserie demonstrations at various locations across the country.

Chef Nicolas has participated in several competitions, coming 2nd in the French festival National du Croquembouche in 2002 and 11th in the festival International du Croquembouche in 2004. He worked as an apprentice for Restaurant Hammerer, a pâtisserie, chocolaterie and boulangerie in Nancy for five years where he mastered pâtisserie as he trained under award-winning mentor, Jean Claude Hammerer (Pastry Chef of the year 2000). Since then, there’s been no looking back for him. At the prestigious 5-star Le Grand Hotel de la Reine, he worked as Chef de Partie before moving to London where he set up Pâtisserie Macaron and worked as Head Chef for 5 years and Director for 2 years. In 2010, he joined Le Cordon Bleu London and has been teaching pâtisserie to budding bakers ever since.

During the institute’s recent trip to Mumbai, Chef Nicolas demonstrated his expert techniques at the exquisite Sofitel Mumbai BKC. I was fortunate to attend this amazing demo and learn the art of making perfect macaroons from the award-winning master chef himself. Not only did he demonstrate how to make the most delectable macaroons, he also took us through life at the esteemed institute by sharing interesting anecdotes. The demonstration was soon followed by a quick Q&A and a much-awaited tasting session.

With Master Chef Nicolas Houchet

Entremet 1 L’Été indien (Eggs free entremet):

Light chocolate mousse:
300 gr dark chocolate
225 gr milk
500 gr whipping cream
5gr gr gelatine

Method:
Soak the gelatine in cold water
Heat up the milk and dissolve the gelatine in. Gradually pour over the chocolate and stir to form a shiny mass, once cooled to 30C add in the whipped whipping cream
Use immediately or cool down further in such a way that you should be able to pipe the mousse

Mango and Lime jelly:
200 gr mango puree
50 gr lime juice
75 gr caster sugar
8 gr gelatine

Method:
– Heat up the juice and puree with the sugar
– Add in the soaked gelatine
– Pour in a mould/ring/fudge pan and let it set for 45min minimum in a freezer

Moist cocoa sponge:
100 gr T55 flour
100 gr dark brown sugar/Muscovado sugar
25 gr cocoa powder
8gr soda bicarbonate
125 gr water
50 gr vegetable oil/olive oil
10 gr balsamic vinaigar
10 gr vanilla extract

Method:
– Sieve all the dry ingredients together
– Add in gradually the wet ingredients until they combine
– Spread on baking sheet and bake for 12-16min at 180C

Glacage chocolat:
145 gr water
195 gr sugar
120 gr whipping cream
12 gr gelatin leaf
60 gr cocoa powder

Method:
– Soak the gelatin leaves in ice cold water, once softened drain off the excess water
– Place the caster sugar, water, cocoa powder and whipping cream into a pan and bring to a boil
– Take off the heat and add in the gelatin, blend with the hand blender and then pass through a fine sieve. Place into the fridge until ready to use

Decoration:
Tempered dark chocolate
Sugar garnishes
Fresh mango x1
Fresh limes x2

Entremet 2: Fraicheur Citron (Gluten FREE)

Flourless Cocoa and pistachios Sponge:
120 gr egg yolks
75 gr caster sugar
180 gr egg whites
75 gr caster sugar
35 gr cocoa powder
50 gr chopped pistachios

Method:
– Whisk egg yolks and 75 gr sugar until pale
– Make a meringue with the remaining sugar and egg whites
– Incorporate the meringue to the blanched egg yolks
– Incorporate the cocoa powder and spread out onto baking paper, sprinkle the top with pistachios
– Bake for 12 min at 180C

White chocolate and lime mousse:
150 gr whipping cream
70 gr egg yolks
10 gr gelatine
350 gr white chocolate
450 gr whipping cream
2 lime zest

Method:
– Cook an anglaise with the egg yolks and the 150 gr of whipping cream, add the soaked gelatine
– Pour the anglaise over the white chocolate in 3 inclusions
– Once cooled to 30c, add the whipped cream
– Use immediately

Lemon and lime Cremeux:
200 gr lemon juice
1 lemon zest
1 lime zest
175 gr caster sugar
3 eggs
50 gr egg yolks
140 gr butter
5 gr gelatine

Method:
– Cook the lemon juice, zests, sugar, egg yolks and whole eggs to the boil, add in the gelatine
– Once cooled down to 40c , incorporate the butter until fully emulsified
– Pour inside a mould and chill for 1h, it can also be piped after reconstitution

Yellow Glacage:
135 gr water
165 gr caster sugar
115 gr whipping cream
9 gr gelatine
75 gr white chocolate
White and yellow food colouring

Method:
– Combine cream sugar and water and bring to a boil, add the gelatine, then to the melted chocolate
– Let it cool and thicken before application

Decoration:
1x lemon
1x lime
Caramel garnishes
500gr dark or white chocolate

DSC_8124

Chef Nicolas’ tip for aspiring pâtisserie chefs – Persevere. The first few months in a working environment are very hard work and it’s important to keep on going at this stage. Also, never forget the basic techniques – it’s nice to want to make complicated sugar work or fancy desserts but the basics are the most important skills to have. Remember the fewer ingredients in a recipe, the harder it is to get right.