Sunday, February 7, 2010

Buttermilk Scones with Garlic Chives

The first time I had ever tasted scones were at Miri's place years ago...I remember they tasted really nice, but she doesnt remember ever making them !
Incidentally, Miri was in town for a training last week and managed to squeeze in few hours to meet up, almost everyday, which was so great for me, considering I barely have any friends here in Ahmedabad.
She was here when the scones were made and she liked them, so I am guessing I got it right !

I couldn't remember if the ones I had tasted earlier were flaky, crisp, bread-like, biscuit-like, but I liked what I finally came up with...

scones and tea

Looked up a whole lot of recipes in the blogging world and in my books...
I have this book called 'Baking' by Martha Day, that had this recipe for scones, using buttermilk. The idea of using chives was from Parita's sping onion scones

I had a few garlic chives ('hara lasan'/greens from fresh garlic), and here again its the first time I've ever used them. Its available here in winter and is used in the famous Gujarati 'undhiyu'.
Most scone recipes used cheese for the savoury ones, but I intended keeping them as low fat as I could, so skipped the cheese.
The buttermilk (from the churned out home made butter) was buttery enough, so cut down on the additional butter and these turned out to be a nice, light snack.
I got some really helpful tips from JoyOfBaking one of which said that if you used buttermilk, it took slightly longer to bake, gave a more light bread-like scone, with a crisp crust and tender inside...


The chives gave it a mild garlic flavour, and the pepper and chilli powder added to the spice factor...The crust was crisp and inside, it was soft and tasted absolutely great when eaten hot !
I'm sure they would taste good with a nice hot soup too, but couldn't wait till dinner time, so had this with a cup of hot tea instead.

What you need -

2 cups wheat flour
2-3 stalks of garlic chives
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda / baking soda
1 tbsp cold butter
upto 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp salt

What you do with it -

Preheat the oven to 220 deg C. Grease a baking sheet / pan
Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda
Rub in butter using your fingertips till it resembles breadcrumbs
Now add in the chopped garlic chives and salt to taste
Gradually, pour in the buttermilk as required and make a soft dough (softer than the one used to make rotis)
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 3/4 inch thick
Sprinkle chilli powder and crushed pepper powder on the rolled out dough
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 wedges, like a pizza or use cookie cutters to make little rounds
Bake this at 220 deg C, for about 30 mins

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pasta in a spinach almond pesto

I had always assumed that 'pesto' had to be made with pine nuts and basil, both of which were never easily available...
Thanks to a lot of posts on in the food blogging world, I realised that pesto was basically 'nuts and herbs pounded together'
I have tried a lot of different combinations and its made my life so much simpler to use whatever is on hand !

spinach-almond pasta

My son loves pasta and I get the organic whole wheat one from Fab india here, which is really good..
Have tried coriander-walnut pesto earlier, settled for a spinach-almond one this time...
Found this whole packet of almonds that was a gift from Diwali and decided this was a good way to get it into my son's diet...

Simple flavours, some veggies, whole wheat pasta and a healthy meal was on it way...

What you need -

2 cups pasta (I used whole wheat fusilli)
2 carrots
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1 capsicum
(You can use any vegetables, I had these for the day)
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp crushed pepper (optional)
salt to taste
3-4 tsps olive oil
5 tsps milk (optional)

For the Pesto

10 almonds
2 cups chopped spinach
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp grated cheese
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp olive oil

What you do with it -

For the pesto
Soak the almonds in hot water for 15-20 mins and peel the skin off
Blend together with all the ingredients listed under pesto
Do not add water, add more olive oil if necessary

Bring water to boil in a large deep bottom pan, add salt and a drop of olive oil
Add pasta and reduce the heat and cook for 8-10 mins, or till done (Follow instructions on the pasta packet)
Drain the water out and spread the pasta, sprinkle a tsp or two of olive oil, so it doesn't stick together
In a pan, heat a tsp of olive oil, add chopped carrots, corn kernels and chopped capsicum
Stir frequently till the veggies are almost cooked and then add the pesto
Add crushed pepper, chilli flakes and salt
If its too dry, add olive oil or milk, depending on the flavour you like
Add the pasta and stir once or twice
Turn off the heat, add shredded cheese if desired
Serve hot !


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