Monday, April 24, 2017

Unicorn Smoothie

A perfect recipe to make your own version of the Unicorn Smoothie. Full of fruits and vegetables and NO artificial colors! With all things healthy, Let the MAGIC begin 🦄 🦄 🦄


Hey people! How was your weekend? Were you guys at a Starbucks to get hold of a Unicorn Frappuccino? I spent the weekend making glasses full of a look alike smoothie at home!! And we had a great time with all the colors and flavors, right in our kitchen.

Ever since I saw the ads of the Frappuccino coming up, I was thinking of a home-made version since. Finally I started making it last week. The colors were so catchy and bright and the combination perfect. So instead of a Frappe, I made a smoothie using fresh fruits and vegetables. The result was an awesome colored smoothie that managed to impress my hubby too :)


Natural blue and pink color you ask? Yes the pink was cakewalk; given that nature has a ton of pinks. Beetroot, raspberries, strawberries, pitaya and what not! So any combination of these would work. Coming to the blue; it is either pea flowers, red cabbage or blue matcha. Again, any of these will work. 

I used beetroot and strawberries for the pink; red cabbage for the blue. Wonder how to get blue from a red cabbage? It is nothing but simple Chemistry! Extract the violet color from cabbage, add a base to make it blue and use! Sounds difficult? It is super simple, trust me :) It is a recipe that you make once, and then use the color in muffins, beverages, smoothies, and what not! The amount of ingredients below give you 1/4 cup color; enough to color a TON of food. 


After this information overload of Chemistry and the like, here is a small introduction to the drink. unicorn has been a food trend for a while. Muffins, bagels, cakes, ice-creams, cookies, waffles, hair color, clothes and what not! And now Starbucks announced a limited time version of Unicorn Frappuccino. All these foods have the pinks and blues in them and are totally magical (or atleast they claim to be). So now anything that has light blue and pink colors is tagged as Unicorn Inspired. 

Majority of these recipes use a LOT of food color. I generally try and avoid all the color and opt for natural colors. Blood Oranges for red, Strawberries and beets for pink, spinach for greens and carrots for orange. I make a lot of recipes using these fruits and vegetables and they are all a part of my blog. I have been planning to put all the colors into ONE dish and eat a rainbow. My urge to do so has increased since I saw Asha's Naturally colored Rainbow Waffles. They are not only colorful, they look super delicious too!   


So back to the recipe, the steps below might sound a little intimidating but it is not. Once you make it, you can make it again in under 10-12 minutes. The maximum time is taken in whipping the cream! All the remaining work is pretty quick. 

A few substitutions for this recipe:

  • Substitute milk and cream for coconut milk and cream to make a Vegan version. Add sugar instead of honey if you desire
  • I added beetroot powder once and left it out the other time. The shade of the drink differs, but the taste does not. Add some cooked beet if you like
  • The blue color I made is stored in the refrigerator. I use that for all my baking recipes
  • Mangoes are in season, and I love them. So I drizzled some puree on top. It definitely adds a great taste and color to the drink, but is not mandatory
  • Add sprinkles or fairy dust on top. It definitely adds to the magic! 🦄

So do try this recipe at home. And definitely don't forget to share it with me on  FacebookInstagram or on this space! I love to see all the pictures that my readers make using the recipes from the blog!  


Ingredients

For the Blue Color 

Red Cabbage 1/2 medium
Baking Soda 1/4 tsp
Water 3-4 cups

For the Pink Layer

Strawberries 5-6
Banana 1 medium 
Beetroot Powder (optional) a pinch
Milk 1/4 cup
Honey 1/2 tsp

For the Blue Layer

Whipped Cream 2 tbsp
Natural Blue Color (Recipe below) 2-3 drops

For the Whipped Cream Layer

Whipping Cream 2 tbsp
Honey 1/4 tsp
Vanilla Extract 1/4 tsp

For the Toppings
Mango 1/2 medium
Pink and Blue Sprinkles


Method

For the Blue Color

Chop half a head of Red Cabbage. Just chop them roughly and add in a pan with the water. Ensure the water is enough to cover the cabbage completely. 

Boil for 15-18 minutes, till the water is dark purple. Drain the cabbage and transfer the water back to the pan. Boil for 35-40 minutes, till it is reduced to 1/4 cup.

Transfer to a glass container to make it easy to spot the color change. Add  1/8 tsp baking soda and stir. Mix completely and see the color. If it is still violet, add some more baking soda. Ensure not to add too much, else it will taste metallic. Stir completely and let stand for a few seconds to see the homogenous color. 

Keep the color refrigerated and use within two weeks.  


For the Pink Layer
Freeze the fruits for an hour. In a blender add the strawberries, banana and beetroot powder (if using). Then add the milk and honey. Blend till smooth. Set aside.


For the Blue Layer
Chill the cream till ready to whip. Remove and whip till soft peaks are achieved. I whipped 4 tbsp together and then divided between this and the topping. 

In half the whipped cream add a couple of drops of blue color and mix. Adjust the amount till you achieve the desired tinge. Transfer to a ziplock bag and keep ready.



For the Whipped Cream
In the remaining half of the whipped cream, add honey and vanilla extract. Whip till firm peaks appear. Transfer to a piping bag.


For the Mango Layer
Puree the mango till smooth. Transfer to a ziplock bag and set aside. 


To assemble the smoothie
Transfer half of the smoothie to a tall glass. Snip off a small hole in the ziplock with the blue colored cream. Make a wave on the edges. The messier it is, the more beautiful it looks! You can make more than one layer by adding the smoothie in three or four parts too. 

Add the remaining smoothie. Pipe the whipping cream on it. Make a small hole in the ziplock with mango and drizzle it over the cream. Top with sprinkles and enjoy! 




Friday, April 21, 2017

Blood Orange Lemonade

A perfect summer drink using Blood Oranges. Ditch all the artificial colors and join the clean eats bandwagon with this one!


It is getting warm and it is time to bring out chilled drinks. Plus the season for Blood Oranges is almost coming to an end. Isn't it the best time to combine the two and make something delicious?

That was exactly my thought when I made this Sparkling Lemonade. Every weekend we go to the Farmer's Market and I end up with atleast a dozen citrus fruits. Juicing them all is an option but not the most interesting one. So I made this drink this time with fresh Blood Oranges. 


Apart from the taste and flavor of the oranges, there is something else I like in this drink. It is the way the way the 'blood' mixes in slowly with the transparent drink. It gives me a feeling that I should make this one for Halloween. Such a pity we do not get the Blood Oranges at that time. Else this recipe would give all the red velvet recipes a run for their money!


I was not a great fan of this fruit till not long ago. The color intimidated me all the time. And then I had Blood Orange Lemonade at the Farmer's Market. Since that day I have fallen in love with the color itself! No more red velvet color in use for the months that I can get this citrus. And the flavor is so good. I love that too. 

Now that I have told you all about why I got these beauties, here is a little something about the fruits themselves. Blood oranges' red pigment, anthocyanin, is an antioxidant. Blood oranges are a source of vitamin C like all citrus fruits. A medium-sized orange also provides 28% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber. These oranges can also be a valuable source of folate, calcium, and thiamine (source:Wikipedia). 


So using this power house fruit and a few more ingredients, head straight to your kitchen and make this immediately. Wait, is this recipe useless after a couple of weeks? Not at all; This recipe can be made in several other ways; read on about the variations and then start making your version.  


Variations

I used only blood oranges for this recipe. However, you can use any citrus fruit; orange, limes, sweet limes or a mixture of these. Also, if you would like a slightly sour version, skip the sugar. 

Another way of making a refreshing drink with Blood Oranges is to substitute Sparkling Water with a lemon flavored soda like Sprite or Sierra Mist. As they are sweet, the lemonade will be slightly sweeter. 

Looking for more drink recipes? Head to this gallery on TastyBev.co. There is a collection of all the drink recipes from my blog and more!   


Ingredients

Blood Orange 2 medium
Sugar 2 tbsp
Sparkling Water/Club Soda 
Lemon wedges 1-2
Ice as required


Method

Juice the blood oranges. Ensure no seeds or rind gets into it. Add sugar to the juice, mix and set aside. 

In two glasses, add ice cubes as desired.

Pur in the sparkling water and add a wedge of lemon. Slowly pour in half the blood orange juice in each glass. Mix and enjoy!




Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Simplest Blender Mango Popsicles

The easiest way to make Mango Popsicles is here! This one needs just three ingredients and a blender. No cooking, no machine needed and absolutely no artificial flavoring!


Mangoes are in season and I cannot stop making delicacies using them. Whether it is ice cream, milkshake, cake, aamras, mousse or savory fajeto; I am making everything. Apart from that, I am even gorging on slices of mango just like that! 

Such is my passion for the King of Fruits. A few days ago I posted a traditional recipe of Saffron Mango Kulfi, something that takes hours to make. Then I made this super easy recipe that needs just THREE ingredients and 5 minutes to mix. And yes, it is a one bowl recipe; needing just a blender! 

The recipe is straightforward; dump everything in a blender, churn and freeze. As the recipe does not have any milk or ingredients that has water, the possibility of the popsicle having ice crystals in them is eliminated. And it is so simple, even your kids can make their own popsicles. 


Not a fan of popsicles? Set the same ice cream in a pan and scoop the creamy ice cream into bowls. And when served with a side of mango slices; this ice cream is super awesome.

I made this version two weeks back for the first time. I LOVED it so much, that I have made two lots in the last two weeks. Thank God I have just one set of popsicle mold; I can only make six at a time! Otherwise we would have a sugar overdose at home!  

Wonder what I like best about this recipe? It is the fact that this is no cook and yet so creamy and delicious. To make this, I just place pieces of mango in the blender first, churn them and then add the remaining ingredients. Churn it one more time and then all you need to do is wait for the popsicles to set! 


The quantity of condensed milk will vary based on how sweet the mangoes are. So first start with 1/2 cup and go on increasing based on requirement. Plus, I did not add any color in the popsicles, as the mangoes I used vere bright yellow. If you like, add some color and you will get deep yellow popsicles. 

Fancy pieces of mango in the pops? Go ahead and add them. Plus, if you like you can add some pineapple too. The popsicles will be amazingly sweet and sour. I have made them once, but never got a chance to shoot them. 

Do try these popsicles at home. I am sure they will become your favorite popsicle recipe too! And don't forget to share them with me on Facebook, Instagram or on this space! 


Ingredients

Heavy Whipping Cream 2 cups
Condensed Milk 3/4 cup
Mango Puree 3/4 cup


Method

In a blender add all the ingredients and blend for a couple of minutes, till all the ingredients are blended. 

Add the mixture to the popsicle molds. I could make 6 popsicles, but it will depend on the size of the popsicle mold you have. Alternatively add to a pan. Freeze for 4-6 hours. 

To remove, run under hot water for 20-30 seconds and enjoy!



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Chocolate Carrot Cupcakes for Easter

These are not your regular chocolate cakes. These cupcakes are full of carrots and spices. Are you making these for your Easter brunch?


This Sunday is Easter and I am already in mood for everything Carrots, Bunnies and the like! For the upcoming weekend I made some delicious cupcakes. I started preparing for this cupcake last week. The first step to make these beauties was to get the carrot tops and clay pots ready to use.


Initial Preparation 

While it only takes a few minutes to buy the carrots with tops from the Farmer's Market, I decided to grow them at home. I got a bunch of carrots last week and cut the tops. Added some water in a flat plate, placed the carrot heads in them and watched them grow! The only thing required was to change the water each day. In about 5-6 days, I had lovely greens on top of the carrots. You can do that or buy them ready-made. And yes, post the pictures, I made a delicious Pesto with the greens. It tastes delicious and super flavorful!

Coming to the clay pots, I have been meaning to use them for cupcakes and breads for a while. Finally the plan materialized for Easter and I bought myself these cute pots. Now that I own them, I will be using them more often for cakes and breads. While shopping, I saw that Wilton has silicone molds that resemble the clay pots, but I decided to stick with the traditional ones! 



Seasoning the Clay Pots

To season the pots, wash them well and dry them completely. I like to bake them at 350 F/ 180 C for 20-25 minutes before making a cake in them. This way you are sure the pots are perfect and do not end up breaking them with all your batter in them! Let them cool completely before pouring the batter in them. 


Making the Cake

With all these preparation done,I started with my cake. I used the basic recipe I use for all my chocolate cakes. I just added half a cup of shredded carrots and some cinnamon powder to make it perfect for Easter. Fill the molds upto 2/3rd level and bake them. Because there is carrot in there, it might take a few extra minutes to bake. But it gives a cake that is super moist and full of carrot flavor. 

Once the cake is baked, cool it completely and then start the decorating. I used Nutella (a personal favorite) to top this one. You can use Cream Cheese or Whipping Cream too. But I wanted the topping to be basic, given how moist the cake was! So just a tbsp of Nutella went on top, to ensure my shredded chocolate stuck well on the top. I added that and finally decorated the cupcakes with chocolate eggs and carrot tops.


The cake was almost too cute to eat. I ended up taking pictures for over two hours! After the pictures, I saw that it was really easy to remove the cakes from the pots. The parchment paper did all the work and my pots were clean after I ate the cupcakes. The cakes were super moist, full of carrots and cinnamon and really chocolatey! We had such a great time having these even before Easter is here! 

So wait no more, just head straight to the recipe. And do not forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to catch all the new posts instantly when they are published. 


Ingredients

For the Cake

Allpurpose Flour 3/4 cup
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 1/4 cup
Brown Sugar (or white) 1/2 cup
Milk 1/2 cup
Vinegar 1 tsp
Baking Soda 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon Powder 1 tsp
Oil 1/4 cup
Carrot Shredded 1/2 cup
Salt a pinch


For the topping

Nutella/ Chocolate Hazelnut Spread 1/4 cup
Chocolate bar 1 piece
Colorful Eggs a few
Carrot tops (I grew them at home) 


Method

For the Cake

Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Line six claypots or regular muffin tin with parchment paper. Mix the milk and vinegar and let it stand for ten minutes. 

In a bowl sieve together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt. Mix well and sieve again. Set aside. 

In a large bowl or the bowl of the stand mixer, mix together milk, vinegar and oil to a homogenous mixture. Add the dry ingredients and fold them all together. Finally add in the shredded carrots and mix together. 

Divide the batter equally among the pots/molds and bake for 14-16 minutes, till a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cupcake comes out clean. 


Remove and cool completely on a rack. The cupcakes can be wrapped in cling wrap and refrigerated overnight.


To finish the cakes

When ready to decorate, remove the cakes from the refrigerator. Keep the carrot tops and eggs ready. Using a microplane shred the chocolate bar in a plate. Add a tbsp of Nutella on each cake and spread it evenly.

Turn the cake over into the plate with shredded chocolate and ensure it sticks evenly. Add the carrot tops, Easter eggs and Easter toppings. Serve!




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ciabatta Sandwich Rolls for #BreadBakers

Making artisan bread from scratch is easier than you think. This Ciabatta recipe is a perfect example; no bread maker required and no special ingredients!




Bread baking is therapeutic. That has always been my feeling since the FIRST time I baked bread at home. I fell in love with the Chemistry and Biology that goes on in bread-making. Whether it is the right mix of ingredients to ensure that the dough rises or the way yeast reacts with sugar and salt to raise a whole loaf of bread. It is all very interesting and fascinating to watch.

Besides, serving fresh bread to family and friends is like a small achievement in itself. When they all look at the even size dinner rolls or at a loaf that resembles the one bought from the store, there is an excitement that I made it at home. They refuse to believe it at first, but finally they do. So the next statement is almost always the same; will you teach me please? 

Seeing and hearing all this, I have been making similar types of breads for a while. Since a few weeks my husband has been insisting that I make some more exotic breads and he has been pushing me to make sourdough at home. While I muster enough courage to make that, here is my first bread from sponge that has risen slowly over 18 hours! 



It is all thanks to Anshie, our hostess for this month's BreadBaker's challenge; where the theme is Italian breads. Do check out her blog for some delicious recipes. I looked up a few sources and made up my mind that I was going to make Ciabatta for this month. 

A lot of resources online have different ways to make the bread. I had a copy of The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book, and followed the recipe there. And boy, after having this bread I do not think I am going back to the regular bread rolls again! 



Ciabatta, a flat bread from Italy is perfect for sandwiches. Made from a slowly risen sponge, this bread has a slight sour taste, making is appropriate for flavorful sandwiches. This version of sandwich bread has zero or very little oil. I loved this fact the most! Adding 3 tbsp oil/butter in my regular bread recipe is my least favorite step! With this bread I can do away with that. 

I made the sponge as mentioned below one evening. The next morning I baked the bread. I loved how I got uneven holes in the bread, and the amazing sour flavor the bread had. I could make four medium size sandwich breads from the proportion mentioned below. 



We had sandwiches stuffed with greens, cucumber, tomatoes, mayonnaise and cheese. For the remaining two breads, I cut them to slices and smothered them with minced garlic, balsamic and some butter. Toasted the slices and served them with a side of balsamic. The combination was simply too good! I now look forward to making a large loaf and making garlic bread out of it. Until then, enjy this recipe!



Ingredients

For the sponge 
All purpose Flour 1 cup
Instant Active Dry Yeast 1/8 tsp
Water 1/2 cup

For the dough
All purpose Flour 2 cups
Instant Active Dry Yeast 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 1/2 tsp
Water 3/4 cup
Milk 1/4 cup (Room temperature)




Method

In a bowl mix together the ingredients under sponge. Ensure that all the flour is well incorporated with the yeast and water.

Cover and rest in a warm dry place for 12 hours. The sponge can be made 24 hours in advance too. 

To make the dough, mix all the ingredients under dough with the activated sponge. It will be super sticky and using a stand mixer will make the process less tedious. 

Mix it all and knead on medium speed for 12-13 minutes. The dough should be shiny and smooth by then. Cover and let the dough rise for an hour, till doubled.



Coat a rubber spatula with nonstick spray and use it to remove the risen dough onto a baking sheet. Get the entire dough out and mix once. 

Divide the dough into four parts. Using one part, flatten it out a little. Fold the dough into half and into half again. Transfer the bread onto a parchment lined tray. Repeat for the remaining three parts and let the breads rise for 30 minutes, till the top develop some holes. 

Preheat oven to 450 F/ 230 C. Place the breads in the middle rack and place a large tray filled with water in the lower rack. Bake the breads for 22-25 minutes, till it is light brown on top. Remove and cool completely. Use the bread as required. 





#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

BreadBakers
Check out the breads from Italy that our fellow #BreadBakers have baked this month: