Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Yogurt Pie with Strawberry-Balsamic Topping

Okay, so I’m a wee bit embarrassed about the last post. 

I know you come here for the pretty food pictures and the (seemingly) healthy recipes...and here I was, being completely useless, whining and drowning in self-pity. Not to mention, shoving that ghastly picture of my bloated visage in your face. 

Not cool. Not cool at all.

But I’ll make it up to you, I promise. How? I have a master plan. A fool-proof plan involving crunchy oatmeal, creamy yogurt and…strawberries.

Do I see you smiling already? 

This is almost as good as the best cheesecake you’ve ever had, minus the butter in the crust, the cream and egg yolks, and lo, even the cream cheese!

Okay, so maybe we can’t call it a cheesecake…but you’ve got to trust me on this. If there is any way you are going to pass up on loading carbs with an actual cheesecake, this is it. This is you one-way ticket to low-calorie dessert bliss. (Melodrama, much?!)

 For starters, you have oatmeal instead of graham crackers. Applesauce instead of butter. And a fat-free, healthy crust which is just as crumbly as the conventional cracker crust.

For the filling, we have low-fat yogurt. Sweetened with vanilla and sugar, with some dissolved gelatine to hold its shape.

And then…STRAWBERRIES. Loads of them, macerated with raspberries, sugar, mint and balsamic vinegar. Sweet, sour, tangy goodness.

Go on, make a pie, share a slice, spread the love. 


Yogurt Pie with Strawberry-Balsamic topping

For pie crust:
1 and ½ cups old-fashioned oats
2 packed tbsps. brown sugar
¼ cup applesauce
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  •  Process the oats, brown sugar and cinnamon in a food processor for about 30 seconds until the oats are crushed and all of it is incorporated together
  • Add applesauce to the oats mixture and stir until it is coated evenly
  • Press mixture into a 8 or 9 inch pie dish and bake for 10-11 minutes until brown.
  • Take the pie crust out of the oven and let cool completely
For filling:
2 cups Greek yogurt (or normal yogurt drained of excess water)
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 envelopes of unflavoured gelatine
  • Dissolve the gelatin in three tablespoons of cold water
  • Boil water in a pan and reduce to a light simmer. Place a heat-proof bowl over the pan to create a double-boiler.
  • Empty the yogurt onto the double-boiler, add sugar, vanilla and stir until dissolved completely. Add the dissolved gelatin to the yogurt mixture and stir again until incorporated fully. Remove from heat and let it cool
  • Optional: For a richer filling (and a texture closer to that of cheesecake), you can whip 1 and ½ cups of heavy cream and fold in the whipped cream into the yogurt mixture. This would make the pie lighter and less dense. (I skipped this step as I didn’t want to keep it as healthy as possible- was already going crazy with the sugar, didn’t want to add cream to weigh on my conscience later!)
  • Pour filling into pie crust, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until the yogurt is set.
For topping:
2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
1 cup raspberries
¼ cup sugar
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar (you could substitute it with lemon juice, if you don’t have vinegar at hand)
A few mint leaves
  • Take half of the strawberries and raspberries and mash them to an almost-pulp consistency with a fork.
  • Add the sugar, vinegar and julienned mint leaves to the mashed fruit and mix well.
  • Finally, add the rest of the fruit, stir everything together and refrigerate.
  • When the pie is set, cut wedges and serve with the macerated fruit on top.

Get cooking already!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Story of My Misfortunes

Have you ever kept exciting news to yourself, afraid to let it out into the world lest it get jinxed and things go inexplicably wrong when you least expect it? Are you the kind that treats good fortune with caution, keeping it under wraps, never indulging in it fully, lest someone someday casts their evil eye upon it, robbing you of your good times?

I wasn't. Up until last week, at least.

But I've learnt my lesson. There are evil spirits lurking in invisible corners round you, they do cast their malevolent eye on you whenever they think you might be enjoying yourself too much, and they are fully capable of jinxing situations in way that you would have never thought possible.

And in testimony to this undeniable fact is everything that has happened to me in the last one week. You already know the sob-story of my weight loss goals. And then, that trip that I'd been so excited about- didn't happen. Tickets booked, bags packed, hair done, hell, even the taxi cab to the airport booked, and then, lo, trip canceled due to some seriously crazy, unforeseeable circumstances.  So, I mop around for next few days, wistfully looking at my packed suitcase and conjuring up mental images of the mojito I might have been sipping by the beach, had things gone as planned. And then I think, hmmm, maybe a day in the city is just what I need to snap out of my moroseness, so I call a friend and plan to meet at Greenwich Village for burgers at the Corner Bistro.

Great plan, you'd think? What better way to cheer up than chomp down some greasy food and wash it down with beer? Aha, not so easy. You forget that I'm not exactly in the good books of of Lady Luck right now. Not surprisingly, we get lost, and go around the village in circles in the hot sun for TWO and a HALF hours. (Damn, I need to get that smartphone!).

And then, out of the blue, an unexpected stroke of good luck- in our quest for the Corner Bistro, we had stumbled upon another NY landmark that we'd been planning to visit for ages- the Magnolia Bakery, with their world-famous cupcakes! And that too, without the mile-long queue that is characteristic of most of the landmark eateries in the city. Burgers- forgotten. Cancelled trip- a thing of the past. Weight loss goals? Um, i have no idea what you are talking about. We closed in on the cupcakes with single-minded focus. There was not even the usual deliberation as to choose between flavors, we just picked everything we wanted to. It took us less a minute to polish of the last of the cupcakes. And it took exactly half that time for my body to react to them. In about thirty seconds time, my face had puffed up like a melon, my eyes like slits under the burgeoning eye-lids. Some crazy allergic reaction to egg yolks. Twenty four hours of popping pills, itching and near-blindness later, my eyes still look like this:

Still waiting for Lady Luck to relent.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Vegan Carrot Cakelets

It's like my body just decided to grind to a halt mid-way, stubbornly refusing to move forward. Two weeks of more-earnest-than-ever working out and conscientious eating, and ONE pound lost. Which translates to- three days to go and six pounds to lose. Which translates to- impossible, end of story. This would be the time to crack open a bottle of hard liquor, wallow in some serious self-pity and cry myself to sleep.

But strange as it might seem, I can hardly stop myself from grinning ear to ear all day these days! Despite all the despair on the weight-loss front, life's looking pretty sunshine-y at the moment! :) Why, you ask?



 Sorry, not a cookbook. Not yet, at least. Ermm... no, not a novel either. Not that i wouldn't want to. But for the time being, this is just a couple of my recipes from the blog. In the Mumbai edition of The Asian Age. But needless to say, i was inordinately stoked at seeing my name in print, and have been walking around with my head in the clouds for the past couple of days!



And oh, after so, SO long! Cold weather and I don't seem to see eye to eye, so I'd been house-bound all through winter. But now that spring is finally here, I'm all ready to fish out those linen shorts, sunglasses and flip flops and hit the road! And to make things even better, I'm going on this trip with an old friend of mine, who I met in NY after a long gap of eight years! Lots of walking, talking, giggling, catching up, fooling around, and late night gossip sessions lined up for next week ...can't wait!

#3 (saved the best for the last!)

I hit upon the ultimate SNACKING JACKPOT yesterday!

Call them chewy cookies. Or cakes with a bit of crunch. They are pretty, tasty and addictive. Moist and delicious. And unbelievably quick and easy to whip up in a hurry. Not to mention, one hundred percent healthy.  Impossible? Ha, what do you know.

Carrots, oats and whole wheat flour. Rum-soaked raisins. Vanilla, cinnamon and cumin for flavour. Held together with applesauce and honey. Rounded off with a tablespoon of coconut oil. No unrefined flour, butter or eggs, but just as delicious. Tell me the health-freak in you isn't doing cartwheels already!

Peel carrots and grate them fine. Plum up some raisins in hot water, or if you anything like me, in some good liquor, preferably rum.

The original recipe called for all coconut oil, but when I made it that way, the smell and taste of the oil overpowered all other flavors in the cookie. After a couple of trials, i have concluded that applesauce works best, with just a tablespoon of coconut oil in the end, just to give it a slight hint of the aroma and flavor. But if you are a fan of coconut oil, go ahead an do away with the applesauce entirely.

Sift all dry ingredients together, add the carrots and raisins (drained), pour the wet ingredients into the mixture and stir until incorporated fully. For bite-sized cookies, make balls of one tablespoon of batter apiece and lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly to form the shape of a cookie.  Bake for twelve minutes in an oven pre-heated at 350 degrees farenheit. Allow to cool for ten minutes and then- stuff.your.face.

Vegan Carrot Cakelets
Recipe adapted from ohsheglows

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1/4 cup regular oats 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4-cup slivered almonds 
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots, packed 
  • 1/4 cup raisins, soaked in water/liquor (preferably overnight) 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)(i like mine really sweet) 
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce (could be substituted with coconut oil)
  •  1 tablespoon coconut oil (need not add if you substitute applesauce with coconut oil)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  •  Pinch of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper 
  2. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cumin, baking powder, salt, and oats in a large bowl. Add in the almonds, raisins, and shredded carrots 
  3. In a small bowl mix the honey, applesauce, brown sugar, vanilla, coconut oil and freshly grated ginger. Add this to the flour mixture and stir until combined 
  4. Take one heaped tablespoon of dough at a time and shape into balls. Flatten slightly and lay on the lined baking sheet 
  5. Bake for about 12 minutes and cool for 10 minutes on a baking rack.
Enjoy! Meet you back here in a week's time, all tanned and happy (and atleast a couple of pounds heavier, going by all the junk food that is on the radar!).Till then, take care and be good. Toodles!