Creative on the menu

This is your one stop for recipes, DIYs, tutorials to anything creative and fun.

Category: Dips/Sauces/Pickles

“Healthy” Nutella / Chocolate Hazelnut butter/ gianduia

I know I am a bit late (ok very late) in wishing you guys but I sure did remember you all during the holiday season! J So here’s wishing you all a very beautiful new year from the Creative on the Menu team.

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I think I can somehow compensate for all the delay with the recipe I am going to post. I am pretty sure all of you are Nutella lovers out there! So recently I saw this post, which was showing that 75% of Nutella was sugar and the rest was hazelnut and chocolate. I don’t know how far it is true! Well that made me looking out for a good Nutella recipe. I mean why have all that sugar?

Found this recipe on Pinterest, which is a “healthy” take on Nutella. Guess what! It just takes 4 ingredients to make it!

Source : Minimalistbaker

Ingredients

Hazelnuts – 100gms

Dark chocolate – 1/3 – ½ cup broken to pieces

Salt – a pinch

Vanilla essence/extract – ½ tsp

Method

Preheat the oven to 175C/375F. If using raw hazelnuts, like I did, dry roast them for around 15 minutes [ this step is necessary to just get the oils of the nut out which will help form the nut butter]. If using already roasted hazelnuts just roast them for around 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and let it cool. Once it is cool to touch put in a blender/food processor and blend till you can see the hazelnuts blending to a smooth butter consistency. Meanwhile in a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Put the melted chocolate along with salt and vanilla essence into the hazelnut butter. Pulse till its completely combined. Voila your hazelnut chocolate spread is ready! Transfer to a mason jar and enjoy!

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I found the chocolate hazelnut spread sweet enough so didn’t find the need to add anything to it. But it again depends on the chocolate you are using. You can easily add a tbsp. of honey or maple syrup if you wish, but according to the recipe I followed this could firm up the end result.

Note: If using hazelnuts with skin, once they are roasted just let it cool slightly put in a kitchen towel and roll with your hands. Try to get off as much skin as possible because the lesser the amount of  skin, the creamier your Nutella will be.!

Navel Orange and Lemon Curd

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For all those of you who think this is a curd or yogurt based recipe (like I had thought) well its not. Its more of a dessert spread, which you can spread on your toast or bagel or pipe into your doughnut or fill in your cakes. I tasted my first lemon curd when my Uncle brought us a jar from New Zealand. My husband and I fell in love with it in the first whiff and taste! I then itself wanted to give it a try but never got around to it, because we only get key limes here not the really sweet sour lemons you get abroad.

There are different types of curds ranging from the sour lime curd to the sweet orange curd. I didn’t want to go and try lime curd in my first try. So the inspiration of this curd recipe came from Masterchef Australia where Matt Sinclair fills his doughnuts with orange and lemon curd. So decided to tweak this recipe by adding lemon extract. I found the curd tad sweet, so maybe you can reduce the amount of sugar (by a couple of tbsp.) to suit your taste.

Dollop it on your ice creams or swirl in your yogurt and enjoy.

Source :Citrus curds

Ingredients

Juice from navel orange – 1 cup

Orange Zest – 1 orange

Egg – 1

Egg yolks – 2

Granulated sugar – ¼ cup

Unsalted butter – ¼ cup

Lemon extract – 1 tbsp

Salt – a pinch

Method

Pour the orange juice into a small saucepan over medium-high heat, then bring to a simmer and let it reduce down to about 3/4 cup.

Transfer the juice to a measuring cup to cool, and stir in the zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, yolks, and sugar. When the juice has cooled to room temperature, whisk it into the egg mixture in a steady stream.

Set a clean bowl with a strainer over the top next to the stove.

Pour the egg and juice mixture back into your small saucepan and set it over medium heat. Stir slowly but constantly until the mixture has thickened to a pudding-like consistency — about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture is 180°F.

Strain the mixture into the clean bowl to remove the zest and any bits of cooked egg. Stir in the butter, lemon extract and the pinch of salt while the curd is still warm. Mix until smooth. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.

 

Roasted Garlic Hummus(without tahini paste)

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Its been almost a year now, since I posted anything on the blog. Sorry for going missing without a word but its been a busy year with lots of personal commitments. Thank you for being so patient.

Well, I am not going to start with a big story after a long break. My history with hummus is not long.I hadn’t heard of hummus when I went for a buffet which sported a vast variety of hummus. Since it looked like a bland thing I decided it wasn’t good and also advised ( I really don’t know what made me do that) my friend against having it.To this very day I regret not trying those varieties of hummus. My next meet up with hummus was when my husband took me to a Lebanese restaurant. I have been a loyal fan since.

So I don’t vouch that this recipe is the authentic recipe for hummus, because the authentic one calls for tahini paste which I dint have in my possession. But all the same, I loved it when I tried without the tahini paste. The best thing about hummus is you can tweak it and make it your own. You can add chilly and make it a spicy hummus, add basil and make it a Basil hummus, Olives for an olive hummus, and as my dear friend suggested add shredded cooked chicken for a non vegetarian hummus( I am yet to try it Neethu ;). Thanks for the suggestion)

You can use canned chickpeas for this recipe, hence saving up on the soaking and cooking time of the chickpeas. I have used kashmiri chilly powder for its milder taste. The amount of garlic in this recipe can be as per your tolerance for garlic.You can use this as a dip for your chips and crackers and what not! Or you use it as a spread on your toast for your breakfast or on you roti as I did which I will share in another post.

Ingredients

Dry Chickpeas – ¾ cup

Garlic – 6 – 8 cloves

Kashmiri chilly powder – ¼ – ½ tsp

Cumin powder – ¼ tsp

Water – ½ cup – 1 cup

Olive oil – 3 -4 tbsp

Salt – to taste

Method

Soak the chickpeas overnight. Pressure cook them for 3-4 whistles till the are soft and give away without any resistance. Roast some garlic on a pan. You can also roast them in your oven. I dry roasted them but you can drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some salt if you want. In a blender, mix the cooked chickpeas,roasted garlic, kashmiri chilly powder, cumin powder. Give it a blitz, add water and blitz till you reach the consistency you like. Finally drizzle in the olive oil and salt and blitz for a last time.

Serve into a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a bit of paprika/chilly powder.I sprinkled a bit of cajun spice. Enjoy with your pita bread/nachos/chips/crackers or spread on a toast or roti.

Fish pickle

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How many of you love pickles? It’s a necessary accompaniment for us Indians, and that includes north as well as south Indians. The pickles might be sweeter in the north and spicier in the south.At least, that’s my observation.

This fish pickle recipe, is what my grandmother follows and which my mamma has handed down to me!Without further much of my bickering, here is the recipe..

Ingredients

Fish – 450 gm cut into small pieces

Ginger- garlic – mustard paste – 3 tbsp

Green chilly – cut into ¼ inch pieces

Turmeric powder – ½ tsp

Chilli powder – 2.5 tsp

Vinegar – just enough to make a chilly paste

Oil – 4 – 5 tbsp

Salt – to taste

Method

Season fish with salt and turmeric powder. Marinate for ½ an hour to 2 hours. Deep fry the fish in batches and keep aside to cool.

In the same oil fry the ginger garlic mustard paste. Add the green chilly and fry till the raw smell goes. Meanwhile make a paste of the chilly powder with vinegar. You can also make chilly paste by grinding dried chillies with vinegar.

Lower the flame and add the chilly paste. See to it that the masala doesn’t burn. Saute it for a few mins and switch off the flame.

Add the fried fish and give a gentle toss.

Once cool, bottle it up and top up with oil.

Pizza sauce

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Have I ever mentioned about my perpetual hatred for tomatoes? Let me be more specific before you get the wrong idea. I always was under the impression that I hated tomatoes but I found out I liked tomato curry, tomato rice, etc as long as the tomato was cooked. I haven’t however found the courage to try out tomato soup anywhere, except when I make it at home.

Thus, the conclusion being, I like tomatoes as long as it is cooked long enough that it has the right amount of acidity. But the thought of biting into a plain tomato gives me the shivers, like the one running through me as I write about it. So you can see me pull the tomatoes out of the salads, burgers and sandwiches ,except for one tomato salad which my mom makes! Lots of contradictions eh me?! I know.. And to top it all, my husband loves tomatoes! 😛

So whenever I am treating tomatoes, I do it in a manner which makes me happy enough to eat it. So the way I make my tomato soup or my pizza sauce or pasta red sauce might be different because I don’t personally like the strong acidity of tomato. This recipe is something I made on my own after lot of research. What I have noticed is the authentic recipe won’t call to cook the tomatoes for so long but just to saute it . I, on the other hand, have cooked it till its mush. You can spread this sauce on your pizza, be it homemade or store bought pizza base. You can even use this for your pasta as the red sauce.

Ingredients

Makes: 1 bottle of sauce

Tomatoes- 6 big ripe

Garlic – 2 tbsp minced

Green chilly –  5-6 nos chopped

Dried basil – 1 tsp

Dried Oregano – 1 tsp

Salt – to taste

Pepper – to taste

Olive oil – to saute

Method

Heat oil in a skillet. Saute garlic and green chilly till fragrant. Add in the dried herbs. Toss in the chopped tomatoes. Cook till its mushy. Season with salt and crushed pepper. Take it off the flame, cool and give a blitz in the blender.

Store in an airtight container, keep in the refrigerator and use as and when needed.

Note : You can add fresh herbs instead of dried herbs. You could use any herbs of your choice( like parsley, thyme, rosemary) and make the sauce to your tasting.

This sauce can be used in your pasta with veggies or meat of your choice.