Monday, November 30, 2015

Beetroot and Roasted Tomato Soup

I had signed up for the 30 Days to Better Photos course conducted by Learn Food Photography Blog. For the duration of the course, we were given assignments on various aspects of food photography. It was required that we pay attention to the food we were to photograph, think about showcasing it as we visualise the food and so on. I had wanted to make a soup and photograph for one such exercise.
Earlier I had seen a few images of  beetroot soup on pinterest and wanted to have a go at the soup for it looked so colourful with nicely set up backgrounds in all of those photographs. I had also read somewhere that to give a good deep colour to your tomato soup all you need to do is add a little beetroot to the tomatoes. Now, if such a colour was possible, I wanted a more pink looking soup; thus I decided to make beetroot soup and add tomatoes to it for an extra tang. Now, if only I can roast those tomatoes with some herbs, would it not be a better idea, I thought and executed the same.
The result was a nice pink soup where the sweet of beets were balanced with the slightly sour tasting tomatoes and a hint of herbs in it.
In one of those many recipes I looked up, there was one which had some cheese added to the soup. While I do not relish cheese so much, I still wanted to give it a try. I only had some paneer/cottage cheese cubes on hand and thus used them. It was a good addition as it gave an added ingredinet soft to bite and chew as you sipped the soup.
Where I live the only seasons that change are summer, hotter summer and downpours that can open the skies up. So I have to make soup whenever I feel like as the weather is not going to change and throw some chillness to enjoy a warm soup.

Beetroot and Roasted Tomato Soup

Serves two

3 medium large beetroots/ about 400 grams
5 large and plump tomatoes
1/2 of a whole garlic (about 5 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs of choice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium onion
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 teaspoons olive oil for rubbing over tomatoes
350 - 400 millilitres of water or stock if you can make
Salt to taste
6-8 cubes of paneer/ cottage cheese

Peel the beetroot and cut  them in small cubes.
Crush the garlic.
Halve the tomatoes and fill the crushed garlic and the herbs in these.
Rub the 2 teaspoons olive oil around the tomatoes, place them in a baking tray. Oven roast them in a pre heated 200 degrees C oven for half an hour.

Slice the onion thinly.

Place a pan on the stove, add the oil and toss the sliced onion until they are slightly transparent.
Add the beetroot and the water or stock. Cover and cook until the beetroots are tender.
Once the tomatoes are roasted, cool them and remove the skin.
Add the tomatoes to the cooking vegetables and cook for a further five minutes.adjust salt and the black pepper to taste.
Switch the heat off. Allow to cool and puree in a blender until smooth.
Adjust the level of liquid by adding some more water if necessary and pour it back into the pan. return the pan to the heat and cook until the desired consistency of soup is obtained.

Drop the cottage cheese cubes while the soup is thickening so they absorb the flavours and become tender.
Serve warm.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Rolls for Thanksgiving - We Knead to Bake 33

I have not been writing or doing any blog reading during the past month. There were other commitments outside of this small space that kept me away. I hope to get over being irregular and get back to blog more regularly. I fall into the trap of my own laziness and keep going off. Call it, if you may, a writer's block or by any other, I sit keeping the page open and stare at the blank template, not knowing where to begin. I hope this post will be a start of getting back to routine, even if only slowly.
One of the members of the We Knead to Bake group, Ms. Mayuri Patel found this interesting bread and highlighted a link on our group. By then Aparna had chosen this bread for thanks giving season and hence we shall bake it this November.
These spiced rolls are not only shaped as tiny pumpkins but also have the real vegetable added to the recipe. These are slightly sweet, very soft and are very easy to make. They look gorgeous in the bread basket during this festive season.
I made the pumpkin puree at home. you might use store available ready made puree too. I shall add the recipe for making the puree also.
I share here the recipe as given by Aparna for both the rolls and the puree. There are other recipes found to make the puree, but I found following Aparna's recipe easier. I have as is usual with me, baked with reduced proportions to get five rolls in all. This following recipe, however, makes 8 to 10 small size rolls.

Spiced Pumpkin Rolls for Thanksgiving

(Adapted from Beyond Kimchee - )

Makes 8 - 10 small rolls 
1/3 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons honey (or 1/4 -1/3 cup sugar if you like sweeter rolls)
2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
40 grams butter melted
1 egg (I left the egg out, did not substitute also)
1 teaspoon salt
21/2 to 23/4 cups all purpose flour
1/ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon all spice
5-6 pecans cut in 3 vertical portions (or any that will pass of as a stem; I used dates seeds)
Glaze with melted butter or honey mixed with warm water.

To make pumpkin puree:
Remove the peel of pumpkin, cut and remove the core with seeds and membrane.
Cut small pieces and cook them until soft.

Cool and blend in a puree in a blender.
This can be used in a variety of dishes.
Store in a clean container in the refrigerator until you want to use.

For the bread rolls:
Place warm milk, honey and yeast in a bowl. Allow the yeast to proof. This step is not a must for instant yeast. but it will help to see if the yeast is active.
You may knead the dough by hand or use a processor.
Place flour in a large bowl/ that of your processor.
Add salt and spice powders and mix them.
Add the yeast mixture, pumpkin puree, melted butter and egg (if you are using). Knead until a smooth and elastic dough that is somewhat sticky is achieved.
The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Add little ore flour or liquid to get this consistency.
turn the dough on to a flour dusted work surface and knead for a couple more minutes, roll in a ball shape and place in an oil smeared bowl, turning the dough in oil to coat all over.
Cover and keep the dough aside for an hour to an hour and a half allowing it to double in volume.
Turn the risen dough on the work surface, gently deflate it and divide in eight or ten small portions. if you want larger rolls, divide in six. Roll each portion in a ball.

Flatten slightly and using a sharp knife make eight diagonal slits in the dough to give it a flower with open petals shape. This will make a cute pumpkin shape when the dough gets the second rise.
In the centre of the flower pattern, use the back of a wooden spoon or tip of your finger, lightly dipped in oil to avoid sticking, and make a slightly deep dent. This will hold the pecan 'stem' when baked.

Place the shaped dough on a parchment lined or lightly oiled baking tray.
Repeat this with the rest of the dough portions.
Brush with some milk.
Loosely cover and allow the rolls to puff up.
Bake in a pre-heated 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and give a glaze.
Place the cut vertical pecan stem in the centre.

You may use, celery stalks, stems of small bell peppers or any of your choice.
Serve these very cute pumpkin rolls for thanksgiving.
Please head over to Aparna's post here to check other members' posts too.