Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jab We Met and how I miss my space ...

You know how it is, when are you are living abroad,  go back  HOME (your paternal home) for vacation and you go around the whole place looking out for any new additions, may be a new wall clock, a new plant ... you wardrobe would be just the way it was the way you left it during your past visit. ......  all the nostalgia sets in...

and, thats how exactly i feel now. NOSTALGIC ....




I keep giving excuses of not being able to be consistant with my blogs, Gosh ! my Pick Quicks had just 4 posts in 2014 . (hopefully, 5, in 2015 atleast )

Not a positive note to start a New Year yeah ? the first post of the year . Hmmm...i know....but on the brighter side... to bring in some smile...just sharing...a concidence factor.

My first post last year...and my 100th post was a guestpost by The Big Sweet Tooth lady, Rafeeda.

The ever consistant, smily faced ...she knows the art ! The art of blogging, i have to say. Her posts are regular, her visits to others places are regular...I really envy you Rafeeds !!!

                                  My 100th . thats the post she wrote for me last New Year...

and....  this New Year...

 


there we are !!!!

Bingo !!! Jab We Met !

Never did believe we could make it, but finally, on the day of our return after a week vacation in the UAE, we did manage to catch up at a Supermarket next to her home. It was just for a brief while; the kids were restless, my neice had lost hercell phone, and it was all kinda chaos, yet...some chit chat and a click !!
 
Was great meeting you in person, dearo.
 
Wishing you all the very best in this New Year and to all my dear co-bloggers as well.
 
 
from us !!!

 
So, till i can manage to make some detailed posts in here....(by the way, forgot to mention, i now keep my recipes and tips as simple few liners, and post it directly on the my fb page - Sona's Pick'y Bank) ...
 
i miss you all and ......

  tooo ;)
 
 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

An intro to an Air-Fryer and simple Potato Wedges


As promised on my fb page…the introductory post to an Air Fryer and a simple Starter Recipe to kick start some Air-Frying.  

 
Now..on the Air Fryer, in just two lines -   



In comparison to a deep fryer – this is a big yes !!
In comparison to a conventionaloven – this is partial(about 70%)yes. Read further to know the reason why..

But firstly...What is listed below  are just my views. I definitely am not compelling anyone to purchase it, if its not going to be used. I know quite a few who has huge cooking ranges at home but its oven would have turned into a storage cabin. So, if you seriously are planning to replace your deep fat fryer, then definitely go for it, this is way healthier an option, but compared to a conventional oven…well…its mixed choices, depending on what we need to prepare.
 
To getting started – some simple faq’s.
1.    Why is the Airfryer better than a conventional deep-fat fryer?
 
Coz it takes absolutely nil or very very less oil in the Airfryer compared to the deep-fat fryer, to prepare tasty food.
2.    So, when exactly do we add oil for air-frying, for what and how much ?
 
Adding oil is only necessary when you prepare homemade dishes from fresh ingredients that have not been pretreated, such as freshly peeled potatoes or unmarinated skinless chicken. Adding oil creates a crispy layer to the untreated food and improves its taste. It needs just a bit of cooking spray to 'cook' the outside and make it golden brown as if submerged in hot oil.
3.    What about on an Air Fryer in comparison to a Conventional Oven?
a)To me, it looks like the conventional oven is better for big items like roasting chickens, smaller whole turkeys, etc. It doesn't look like the convection heating can get 'under' the food if the quantity is more. Upto 1 whole chicken cuts is fine. But more than that..i would go for an oven. But for fries, snack items…it’s the Philips.
 b) The next advantage I noticed is the ease in temperature control . It can easily be varied in an airfryer compared to the oven.
c) The pre-heating time is also less. Its just 3 mins standard for any temperature  in the Philips, which is a great time saving.
 
4. What types of frozen fries can I prepare in the Airfryer?
 You can use frozen oven-ready fries or frozen fries suitable for deep-fat frying.
 
Breaded ones can be avoided though as it becomes too dry.
 
Burgers works just great even without a drop of it.
5. Can we use other baking pans?
 
Any dish that can be used in the oven, can be used in the Airfryer. In terms of materials, it can be metal, glass, ceramic or silicon. If a dish is 6.3 inches round or 5.9 by 5.9 inches square with rounded edges, it will fit into the basket of the Airfryer. When using a baking dish, you need to place it into the basket of the Airfryer.
 
6. The cleaning of the parts ?
 
Let the appliance cool down for approximately 30 minutes before you clean it.
 
The pan and the basket needs proper cleaning. They both have a non-stick coating. So, do not use metal kitchen utensils or abrasive cleaning materials to clean them, as this may damage the non-stick coating.
 
The pan and basket are dishwasher-safe. You can also clean the pan and basket, with hot water, some dishwashing liquid, and a non-abrasive sponge.
 

7. Which parts of the Airfryer get hot?
Hot air from the cooking chamber is blown out at the back of the appliance. This area gets very hot. The pan, basket and the area where you put those parts into also get hot. The outside of the appliance warms up during cooking, but does not get too hot to touch.
 
8. Does it create smoke?
 Not under normal usage, but foods with high fat content may cause some smoke to appear.
 
Frying chicken with its skin on definitely produces smoke.
 
9. What are the different types of Airfryers available ,and what is the difference ?
 
There are 2 types –Digital and Analog.
 
The former has a digital touch screen where the latter has a knob that you turn to the degrees. The 9230 will cook continually for 60 minutes and the 9220 has a 30 minute cooking time.
 
Which do I prefer ?
 
Well.its a personal choice. I have gone for the analog, and I don’t want to dish out some extra “more” bucks just to get a touch screen control. I seriously don’t mind turning a knob to change the settings ;).
 
Also, the 30 – 60 mins time settings. Well.. all the items that can be prepared in the Air-fryer takes less than 30 mins to cook. So, if you need to repeat the processs, you necessarily don’t have to go for one which has a 60 mins setting. You can just turn the knob once again.

These were the common questions that me too had in mind while planning to purchase one. Hope it helps.

And now to getting started...with a simple starter.



Some simple homemade potato wedges.
 
Not the store brought ones. So you need to have some oil in it. A few tsp's depending on quantity, preferably olive oil.
 

 
Step 1 - Set the temp to the desired..normally, similar to the conventional onens , ore refer to the side of the fryer which gives the required temperature and time details for most common items that can be done.
 
 Step 2 - Pre-heating : This is just 3 mins , for all temperatures. Standard.
 
Here, i set the temperature to 180 deg C.
 
Meanwhile, wash thouroughly the potatoes as you are not removing the skin, cut and add any seasoning of your choice. I gave a dash of olive oil, salt, paprika, Itialian seasoning, some dried herbs,a drop of chillie powder. Its optional...thou. Feel free to use your choices.
 
 
While the fryer is pre-heating , place the seasoned wedges in the microwave at full power, covered for about 5 minutes, or just to cook its interiors. (A time saving anyways).
Set the temperature to about 10 mins.


At about 5 minutes, it was like this. Turn around to cook evenly.
 
 
By about 10 mins, they were fully done.

 
Serve hot..with some sweet chilie sauce.
 
(note : microwaving the potatoes helps, as i said, in two ways.
 1, in saving time.. and other, it reduces the time needed in the fryer, as the interior is already partially cooked.)

Stay tuned for more simple recipes and tutorials using Air-Fryer. Easy healthy cooking. ;)
Cheers...
 
(sorry for the low quality of the images..i get absolutely no time for some proper clicks and edits. just instant shots from my mobile cam and think the lighting doesnt go well with the pics .)
 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Clab cleaning - a tutorial, and simple crab-stock soup


Crab meat is just ultimate !!..its tastes heavenly..but its all about getting there. To prepare it. I have had quite a few people telling me..that they love crab but not sure how to get started with it. So, decided to put something up on the very basics of Crab - from cleaning....storage..to a simple soup recipe.
 
Step 1 : Removing the Arpon
 
Usually, the crabs we get here would have its mandibles (the mouthparts at the front) removed . All the more better. Now, to what we call the APRON.
 
Flip the crab over. You'll see a triangular part on the underside near the rear of the crab That is the crab's abdomen .(called the APRON) with the excretory and reproductive organs, and you don't want to eat that  , so get your nails into the crack  and pry the abdomen open.


Inside,  see that there's many loosely attached white coloured things that don't look like meat. Those are the crab's gills, which are obviously not good for eating, so get them all off.

 
(Apron and the gills removed and cleaned)
 
Step 2 : Removing the Carapace
 
 
Chop off the last segments at the end of the legs (the crab foot/toe). You dont need those either. (left side image above)
 
Carapace is the back of the crab,and we remove it by sticking our thumb into the hole left from removing the apron and lifting up firmly. The shell will detach from the body with some guts attached. Remove and discard the leaf-like, spongy gills from either side of the body. Rinse out the greenish-brown guts (image on the right hand side above, with the carapace removed)
 
Step 3 : Seperate the legs and the claws
  
 
 
Now twist the leg at the joints to break it into parts.
 
and the next is to cut the body into half, at the centre, halfwise.

 
          


Rip off the smallaer claws. U keep it. Wash all the cut parts thoroughly in running water.
 
 
 that the cleaning part is done..you are literally, more than half way through the process....phew !
 
 
A L M O S T   D O N E  !!!
 
 
now to the stove top part. Always have seen my mummy do this - with crab and prawns, as well.

 
 Cook them in enough water with salt and pepper .
 
 
 
  Drain the stock and keep the cooked meat for future use.
 
And  what ended up of the stock was a quick simple soup. Basically, its just some veggies and noodles added into it.
 

 
Into a wok, goes a tbsp or two of olive oil.
Saute some garlic, fine julian cut carrot, sweet corn, cooked noodles (which i had beforehand-some lefotver, to be honest).
Once the carrtos are tender, add in the stock.
 

 
I didnt go for much additives, as i wanted the crab flavour to stay. Some hot and spiced vinegar, pepper powder and salt. Thats all that went it.


Mix some corn flour in water and add to the boiling soup, stirring well..to thicken.

 
Serve hott !
 
 Egg, chicken, cabbage, soya sauce... anything could go in. Feel free...

 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oats Cookery Workshop Part 5 :Recipe No: 7 - Cabbage Oats Pakoda


In continuation to the last four posts - on the Oats Cookery Workshop Demo -
Recipe 7 of 8 - Oats - Cabbage Pakoda
Oats Type Used - Regular Quick Cooking
Recipe Type - Snack
 
 
 
Ingredients:

Cabbage 1/4 no (Chopped lengthwise)
Onion - 2 no (Sliced lengthwise)
Oats – 4-5 tbsp
Kadalai Maav/Chickpea flour/Besan -  6 tbsp
Corn flour - 3 tbsp
Red chilli powder - (As per your taste)
Curry leaves - few
Salt
Water to sprinkle
Oil for deep frying
 
Method:
 

In a wide bowl, put cabbage, onion, oats and slight mix.



Add all other ingredients and sprinkle little water and mix well. It should not be watery.

Heat oil in a kadai/wok. When its hot, deep fry till brown both sides and take out on tissue to remove excess oil.

 
 
The ladies preparing the pakodas

 
Paired it with a dip of sweet-chillie-sauce mixed with mayonnaise.


 
This was the most liked of all...they are very crispy and need be served hot!
 
 

Oats Cookery Workshop Part 4 : Recipe No 6 - Oats-Green Peas Tikkis

In continuation to the last three posts - on the Oats Cookery Workshop Demo -
 
Recipe 6 of 8 - Green Peas Oats Tikkis.
Oats Type Used - Quick Cooking
Recipe Type - Snack
 

Ingredients :
 
Green Peas : 1 can
Oats – 1 cup
Onion - 1 (chopped into small pieces)
Ginger - 1 small wedge
Green Chilly - 2-3 nos
Coriander leaves - a hand full
Salt - as reqd

Method:


 
Drain the canned green peas off the water.    


Crush the green chilies and ginger first, then mix it with the green peas and oats.

 
Give one spin in the blender just to coarsely grind the peas and oats. But this is optional..you can make the tikkis without grinding too.
Add the coriander leaves and chopped onion to the mix.
 
 
 Make small vada shapes and deep fry.


 
 
For a change, we tried a small batch dipped in beaten egg before frying. The cutlet effect ;)

 
The ladies preparing the tikkis.

 
Thats it there, on the right, served with some hummus. Yeah...it might sound wierd, but paired it so, out of some instinct.

 
 
Click on the links below to go back to the previous posts
 
 
 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jab We Met and how I miss my space ...

You know how it is, when are you are living abroad,  go back  HOME (your paternal home) for vacation and you go around the whole place looking out for any new additions, may be a new wall clock, a new plant ... you wardrobe would be just the way it was the way you left it during your past visit. ......  all the nostalgia sets in...

and, thats how exactly i feel now. NOSTALGIC ....




I keep giving excuses of not being able to be consistant with my blogs, Gosh ! my Pick Quicks had just 4 posts in 2014 . (hopefully, 5, in 2015 atleast )

Not a positive note to start a New Year yeah ? the first post of the year . Hmmm...i know....but on the brighter side... to bring in some smile...just sharing...a concidence factor.

My first post last year...and my 100th post was a guestpost by The Big Sweet Tooth lady, Rafeeda.

The ever consistant, smily faced ...she knows the art ! The art of blogging, i have to say. Her posts are regular, her visits to others places are regular...I really envy you Rafeeds !!!

                                  My 100th . thats the post she wrote for me last New Year...

and....  this New Year...

 


there we are !!!!

Bingo !!! Jab We Met !

Never did believe we could make it, but finally, on the day of our return after a week vacation in the UAE, we did manage to catch up at a Supermarket next to her home. It was just for a brief while; the kids were restless, my neice had lost hercell phone, and it was all kinda chaos, yet...some chit chat and a click !!
 
Was great meeting you in person, dearo.
 
Wishing you all the very best in this New Year and to all my dear co-bloggers as well.
 
 
from us !!!

 
So, till i can manage to make some detailed posts in here....(by the way, forgot to mention, i now keep my recipes and tips as simple few liners, and post it directly on the my fb page - Sona's Pick'y Bank) ...
 
i miss you all and ......

  tooo ;)
 
 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

An intro to an Air-Fryer and simple Potato Wedges


As promised on my fb page…the introductory post to an Air Fryer and a simple Starter Recipe to kick start some Air-Frying.  

 
Now..on the Air Fryer, in just two lines -   



In comparison to a deep fryer – this is a big yes !!
In comparison to a conventionaloven – this is partial(about 70%)yes. Read further to know the reason why..

But firstly...What is listed below  are just my views. I definitely am not compelling anyone to purchase it, if its not going to be used. I know quite a few who has huge cooking ranges at home but its oven would have turned into a storage cabin. So, if you seriously are planning to replace your deep fat fryer, then definitely go for it, this is way healthier an option, but compared to a conventional oven…well…its mixed choices, depending on what we need to prepare.
 
To getting started – some simple faq’s.
1.    Why is the Airfryer better than a conventional deep-fat fryer?
 
Coz it takes absolutely nil or very very less oil in the Airfryer compared to the deep-fat fryer, to prepare tasty food.
2.    So, when exactly do we add oil for air-frying, for what and how much ?
 
Adding oil is only necessary when you prepare homemade dishes from fresh ingredients that have not been pretreated, such as freshly peeled potatoes or unmarinated skinless chicken. Adding oil creates a crispy layer to the untreated food and improves its taste. It needs just a bit of cooking spray to 'cook' the outside and make it golden brown as if submerged in hot oil.
3.    What about on an Air Fryer in comparison to a Conventional Oven?
a)To me, it looks like the conventional oven is better for big items like roasting chickens, smaller whole turkeys, etc. It doesn't look like the convection heating can get 'under' the food if the quantity is more. Upto 1 whole chicken cuts is fine. But more than that..i would go for an oven. But for fries, snack items…it’s the Philips.
 b) The next advantage I noticed is the ease in temperature control . It can easily be varied in an airfryer compared to the oven.
c) The pre-heating time is also less. Its just 3 mins standard for any temperature  in the Philips, which is a great time saving.
 
4. What types of frozen fries can I prepare in the Airfryer?
 You can use frozen oven-ready fries or frozen fries suitable for deep-fat frying.
 
Breaded ones can be avoided though as it becomes too dry.
 
Burgers works just great even without a drop of it.
5. Can we use other baking pans?
 
Any dish that can be used in the oven, can be used in the Airfryer. In terms of materials, it can be metal, glass, ceramic or silicon. If a dish is 6.3 inches round or 5.9 by 5.9 inches square with rounded edges, it will fit into the basket of the Airfryer. When using a baking dish, you need to place it into the basket of the Airfryer.
 
6. The cleaning of the parts ?
 
Let the appliance cool down for approximately 30 minutes before you clean it.
 
The pan and the basket needs proper cleaning. They both have a non-stick coating. So, do not use metal kitchen utensils or abrasive cleaning materials to clean them, as this may damage the non-stick coating.
 
The pan and basket are dishwasher-safe. You can also clean the pan and basket, with hot water, some dishwashing liquid, and a non-abrasive sponge.
 

7. Which parts of the Airfryer get hot?
Hot air from the cooking chamber is blown out at the back of the appliance. This area gets very hot. The pan, basket and the area where you put those parts into also get hot. The outside of the appliance warms up during cooking, but does not get too hot to touch.
 
8. Does it create smoke?
 Not under normal usage, but foods with high fat content may cause some smoke to appear.
 
Frying chicken with its skin on definitely produces smoke.
 
9. What are the different types of Airfryers available ,and what is the difference ?
 
There are 2 types –Digital and Analog.
 
The former has a digital touch screen where the latter has a knob that you turn to the degrees. The 9230 will cook continually for 60 minutes and the 9220 has a 30 minute cooking time.
 
Which do I prefer ?
 
Well.its a personal choice. I have gone for the analog, and I don’t want to dish out some extra “more” bucks just to get a touch screen control. I seriously don’t mind turning a knob to change the settings ;).
 
Also, the 30 – 60 mins time settings. Well.. all the items that can be prepared in the Air-fryer takes less than 30 mins to cook. So, if you need to repeat the processs, you necessarily don’t have to go for one which has a 60 mins setting. You can just turn the knob once again.

These were the common questions that me too had in mind while planning to purchase one. Hope it helps.

And now to getting started...with a simple starter.



Some simple homemade potato wedges.
 
Not the store brought ones. So you need to have some oil in it. A few tsp's depending on quantity, preferably olive oil.
 

 
Step 1 - Set the temp to the desired..normally, similar to the conventional onens , ore refer to the side of the fryer which gives the required temperature and time details for most common items that can be done.
 
 Step 2 - Pre-heating : This is just 3 mins , for all temperatures. Standard.
 
Here, i set the temperature to 180 deg C.
 
Meanwhile, wash thouroughly the potatoes as you are not removing the skin, cut and add any seasoning of your choice. I gave a dash of olive oil, salt, paprika, Itialian seasoning, some dried herbs,a drop of chillie powder. Its optional...thou. Feel free to use your choices.
 
 
While the fryer is pre-heating , place the seasoned wedges in the microwave at full power, covered for about 5 minutes, or just to cook its interiors. (A time saving anyways).
Set the temperature to about 10 mins.


At about 5 minutes, it was like this. Turn around to cook evenly.
 
 
By about 10 mins, they were fully done.

 
Serve hot..with some sweet chilie sauce.
 
(note : microwaving the potatoes helps, as i said, in two ways.
 1, in saving time.. and other, it reduces the time needed in the fryer, as the interior is already partially cooked.)

Stay tuned for more simple recipes and tutorials using Air-Fryer. Easy healthy cooking. ;)
Cheers...
 
(sorry for the low quality of the images..i get absolutely no time for some proper clicks and edits. just instant shots from my mobile cam and think the lighting doesnt go well with the pics .)
 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Clab cleaning - a tutorial, and simple crab-stock soup


Crab meat is just ultimate !!..its tastes heavenly..but its all about getting there. To prepare it. I have had quite a few people telling me..that they love crab but not sure how to get started with it. So, decided to put something up on the very basics of Crab - from cleaning....storage..to a simple soup recipe.
 
Step 1 : Removing the Arpon
 
Usually, the crabs we get here would have its mandibles (the mouthparts at the front) removed . All the more better. Now, to what we call the APRON.
 
Flip the crab over. You'll see a triangular part on the underside near the rear of the crab That is the crab's abdomen .(called the APRON) with the excretory and reproductive organs, and you don't want to eat that  , so get your nails into the crack  and pry the abdomen open.


Inside,  see that there's many loosely attached white coloured things that don't look like meat. Those are the crab's gills, which are obviously not good for eating, so get them all off.

 
(Apron and the gills removed and cleaned)
 
Step 2 : Removing the Carapace
 
 
Chop off the last segments at the end of the legs (the crab foot/toe). You dont need those either. (left side image above)
 
Carapace is the back of the crab,and we remove it by sticking our thumb into the hole left from removing the apron and lifting up firmly. The shell will detach from the body with some guts attached. Remove and discard the leaf-like, spongy gills from either side of the body. Rinse out the greenish-brown guts (image on the right hand side above, with the carapace removed)
 
Step 3 : Seperate the legs and the claws
  
 
 
Now twist the leg at the joints to break it into parts.
 
and the next is to cut the body into half, at the centre, halfwise.

 
          


Rip off the smallaer claws. U keep it. Wash all the cut parts thoroughly in running water.
 
 
 that the cleaning part is done..you are literally, more than half way through the process....phew !
 
 
A L M O S T   D O N E  !!!
 
 
now to the stove top part. Always have seen my mummy do this - with crab and prawns, as well.

 
 Cook them in enough water with salt and pepper .
 
 
 
  Drain the stock and keep the cooked meat for future use.
 
And  what ended up of the stock was a quick simple soup. Basically, its just some veggies and noodles added into it.
 

 
Into a wok, goes a tbsp or two of olive oil.
Saute some garlic, fine julian cut carrot, sweet corn, cooked noodles (which i had beforehand-some lefotver, to be honest).
Once the carrtos are tender, add in the stock.
 

 
I didnt go for much additives, as i wanted the crab flavour to stay. Some hot and spiced vinegar, pepper powder and salt. Thats all that went it.


Mix some corn flour in water and add to the boiling soup, stirring well..to thicken.

 
Serve hott !
 
 Egg, chicken, cabbage, soya sauce... anything could go in. Feel free...

 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oats Cookery Workshop Part 5 :Recipe No: 7 - Cabbage Oats Pakoda


In continuation to the last four posts - on the Oats Cookery Workshop Demo -
Recipe 7 of 8 - Oats - Cabbage Pakoda
Oats Type Used - Regular Quick Cooking
Recipe Type - Snack
 
 
 
Ingredients:

Cabbage 1/4 no (Chopped lengthwise)
Onion - 2 no (Sliced lengthwise)
Oats – 4-5 tbsp
Kadalai Maav/Chickpea flour/Besan -  6 tbsp
Corn flour - 3 tbsp
Red chilli powder - (As per your taste)
Curry leaves - few
Salt
Water to sprinkle
Oil for deep frying
 
Method:
 

In a wide bowl, put cabbage, onion, oats and slight mix.



Add all other ingredients and sprinkle little water and mix well. It should not be watery.

Heat oil in a kadai/wok. When its hot, deep fry till brown both sides and take out on tissue to remove excess oil.

 
 
The ladies preparing the pakodas

 
Paired it with a dip of sweet-chillie-sauce mixed with mayonnaise.


 
This was the most liked of all...they are very crispy and need be served hot!
 
 

Oats Cookery Workshop Part 4 : Recipe No 6 - Oats-Green Peas Tikkis

In continuation to the last three posts - on the Oats Cookery Workshop Demo -
 
Recipe 6 of 8 - Green Peas Oats Tikkis.
Oats Type Used - Quick Cooking
Recipe Type - Snack
 

Ingredients :
 
Green Peas : 1 can
Oats – 1 cup
Onion - 1 (chopped into small pieces)
Ginger - 1 small wedge
Green Chilly - 2-3 nos
Coriander leaves - a hand full
Salt - as reqd

Method:


 
Drain the canned green peas off the water.    


Crush the green chilies and ginger first, then mix it with the green peas and oats.

 
Give one spin in the blender just to coarsely grind the peas and oats. But this is optional..you can make the tikkis without grinding too.
Add the coriander leaves and chopped onion to the mix.
 
 
 Make small vada shapes and deep fry.


 
 
For a change, we tried a small batch dipped in beaten egg before frying. The cutlet effect ;)

 
The ladies preparing the tikkis.

 
Thats it there, on the right, served with some hummus. Yeah...it might sound wierd, but paired it so, out of some instinct.

 
 
Click on the links below to go back to the previous posts