Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Recipe of the month: Musti Polo

If your wondering about the unusual name of this dosa, then you are not alone! 'Musti' in Konkani means fistful and 'Polo' means dosa. Musti Polo is a thick dosa which uses very little urad dal (just a fistful) and hence the name. These dosas are typically cooked only on one side and are characterized by their distinctive soft and fluffy texture. Call it an Indian pancake if you will! This dosa reminds me very much of the set dosa that I used to enjoy at one my favourite restaurants Nalpak in my hometown of Mysore. Ah! the nostalgia :)

A few weeks ago, I was browsing through Facebook book and happened to notice this recipe for Musti Polo that one of my friends had shared on her wall. It was from a page called Nisha's Culinary. I found the name very intriguing since it sounded nothing like I had ever heard before. The photo that accompanied the recipe appealed to me and the instructions seemed pretty simple, only a slight variation from the rice and lentil dosas that I usually make. I'm always looking for good dosa recipes so I was immediately prompted to try it out which I did the very same weekend. After overnight fermentation, the batter was well aerated so when I poured the first ladle full of batter on a hot pan, I was pleased to see plenty of holes appear within a matter of seconds. With regard to this dosa, the number of holes in it is directly proportional to the degree of awesomeness of the texture and taste! The dosa turned out super soft and fluffy and I was delighted with the outcome. I had made two kinds of chutneys to go along with it - one was a regular coconut coriander chutney and the other was an onion tomato chutney. Both accompaniments paired well with the Musti Polo and alongside a steaming cup of filter coffee on the side, it made for a heavenly breakfast!

This is a gluten-free recipe and it is also vegan-friendly recipe provided you use oil instead of ghee for roasting the dosa. The recipe below serves 4-5 people but since I was cooking only for two, I halved all the ingredients. On the same note, if you are cooking for a large number of people, this recipe easily doubles. I highly recommend that you try this dosa. It has become a recent favourite of mine and I've already made it thrice since coming across the recipe! It is that good, trust me :)


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Baker's Corner: Lemon Syrup Cake

I had put the brakes on my baking exploits for a while since I'd been adamant to drop a few pounds. Now that I've accomplished that, look what I'm back to doing! *guffaws* I've returned from my baking hiatus with this delightful Lemon Syrup Cake. 

I am an avid follower of MasterChef. I even own a MasterChef white apron which makes me feel like even though I can never win the title of MasterChef, I can surely feel like one in the comfort of my own home! I watch the UK, US and Australia versions of the show religiously. MasterChef Australia is my favorite among the three because I find it the most interesting without being overtly melodramatic or gimmicky (so far so good!). My hubby watches along with me so we usually have some food related discussions or comments after the show ends. We are currently lagging behind just having watched the 4th series of MasterChef that premiered in 2012 and in one particular telecast, the runner-up Julia Taylor, made this Lemon Syrup Cake. It looked simple, moist and delicious and most importantly, it was something that screamed "make me" "make me" :D I was happy to find Julia's original recipe on the internet and after going through the ingredients, even happier to note that I had all of them except for the required number of lemons. After a quick dash to the grocery store with a handful of lemons, I got cracking on this dessert. The interesting feature of this cake is that it has to be completely cooked and firm at the edges whereas at the sides, it needs to be slightly sticky and gooey. When the cake is baked this way, the addition of the hot lemon vanilla syrup over the top of the cake, causes a depression in the middle of the cake. Even though from the photos, you do see a depression in the middle of my cake, I did encounter a few problems during and after the baking process. The cake was cracked at the top when it came out of the oven which was probably the result of over beating the batter. I baked the cake for exactly 40 min which I thought would be just right to maintain the two different consistencies across the edge and center but I figured I could have baked it for an additional 2-5 min more. The centre was a bit more gooey than I expected it to be. I also did an incredibly clumsy job of transferring the cake to the cake stand. The cake ripped at one end which I felt like kicking myself for! But having said all that, the cake was lovely in flavor and texture. It was soft, moist, sweet and tangy. The lemon zest beautifully perfumed the cake and it was totally worth making.

The weather in Singapore has been nothing short of miserable lately with looming black clouds and rain threatening to lash out at any given opportunity. I constantly find myself bitterly complaining about the weather especially when I happen to cook for my blog! I had my fingers crossed that by the time I was done with my cake, the weather would co-operate with me long enough to get some decent shots that I could use as evidence of my hard work. It turned out to be wishful thinking because the rain that started in the morning incessantly pelted against the windows for the whole day. Despite that I still managed to get these two shots.....something is better than nothing I guess!

The recipe that I've provided here has been taken from Julia taylor's website. Do try this yummy won't regret it!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Restaurant review: Capri Trattoria & Pizzeria, Singapore

Capri Trattoria and Pizzeria is named after the island of Capri in Southern Italy. This small and cozy restaurant situated at Binjai Park in Singapore features a menu of freshly made pasta, seafood, grilled meat and pizza made in a brick oven.

A few months ago, me and eight of my girlfriends decided to hop over to Capri one Friday evening for dinner. One of our colleagues was leaving and it being her last day at work, we wanted to throw her a small farewell. The Bukit Timah area in Singapore has a lot of good food establishments and one of the restaurants that popped up during our animated discussion of the venue was Capri. And who doesn't like Italian food?! The best thing about it is its simplicity, flavor and character. Moreover, we were eager to go to a restaurant that served authentic fresh Italian cuisine and not the generic, mass-produced pastas/pizzas that is served in most places. So with the unanimous vote for Capri, having made a reservation in advance, we made our way to Binjai Park.

We reached by car and unfortunately at that hour, finding a parking space in the area was a bit of a nightmare. The restaurant did have complimentary valet parking which we probably should have gone for but in the end we did manage to find a spot. So, if you are driving down especially on a weekend, don't fret - it is valet parking to the rescue!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Solutions for Sustainable Living

Recently, one of my cousin's mentioned to me about starting a website that was dedicated to sustainable living. Sustainable living, simply put is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the earth's natural resources and personal resources. This mainly entails altering the methods of transportation, energy consumption and diet. A few days after our conversation, I received the link to the  afore-mentioned website and was asked to contribute an article if I was interested. I thought to myself that this could not have come at a better time. It had always been on my mind to make changes to my lifestyle in order to reduce my carbon footprint. The motivation to finally do something about it rather than be a passive onlooker came about after a recent holiday in Bali where I stayed at an Eco-friendly resort. From my stay at this resort, I gained a finer appreciation for utilizing as minimum resources as possible, reducing waste and being more respectful towards maintaining the ecological balance of nature.

Thanks to globalization, we are so wrapped up in consumerism that we find it difficult to foresee how the choices we make today, impacts the future. Given everything we are shown in the media regarding status-symbols and elitism, it is expected that we develop the tendency to lean towards instant gratification. This makes us unrelenting to the prospect of an alternate lifestyle and cultivates a cavalier attitude towards it. I understand and agree that it may not be possible to live our life in a way that fulfills every requirement of sustainable living but there are certainly small changes that we can adopt on a daily basis that could make a difference for the generations to come. Although, a significant change can happen only if these changes are implemented on a much larger scale, we can make informed decisions regarding what is in our control and set a good example to those around us.

If you have given the concept of sustainable living some thought but are unsure of what you can do about it then this post is perfect for you. This post is a list of 20 tips aimed at sustainable living that I thought would be easy to integrate into our daily lives with minimum hassle. It can be challenging at first no doubt but I reckon these tips are simple and easy to follow 

The photos in this post are from my home/workplace with the exception of the title photo and two logos which were obtained from the internet

So without further ado, here we go!