2011 the year that was and a look ahead

 Time files and how! I cannot believe that December is over and that we are only a day away from opening a new page on the calendar, ushering a new chapter in our lives. Even though it is a brand new day, brand new month and a brand new year I have mixed feelings standing on the threshold; letting go of the old known while inviting a new unknown. 

With an awesome road trip and wonderful vacation few days ago it was a glorious end to 2011. Soaking up warm sun, dipping feet in the sparkly green water and relaxing on the white sand beaches, I had time to unwind and ponder over what 2011 had meant for us. There have been some ups and downs, a personal accomplishment, sad – happy phases the usual mix, but overall it has been a fruitful year, with blessings and the one full of gratitude. 

In terms of my blogging, it is now four and half years since I started and I have continued my passion and hobby. I now have 400 recipes here on RedChillies in which 75 new recipes were posted in the year 2011. I enjoy cooking, trying out new recipes and I hopefully will continue sharing more with you all. 

On a low note, there were two instances this year, where in RedChillies was affected and remained inaccessible for many days. Those were some nerve wracking days with the fear of losing one of my prized possessions. Luckily in both instances and the issue got resolved and the site was restored back to normalcy. 

We bought a new Canon Rebel DSLR toward the end of last year and that has given me an opportunity to learn and experiment photography on a whole new level. As I go about understanding it, I realize it is much more complex and I have a long way to go. But one thing is for sure, I love taking pictures be it nature, people, architecture but mainly food. One task we did for this year is we have uploaded most of the pictures on RedChillies on Flickr and this inspires us to take more and showcase them. 

One main thing I wanted to do in this post was to share some of my family favorites dishes that we prepared in 2011.

Vada Paav

Tutti Frutti Cake

Murmura Upma

Besan Ladoo

Light Lunches Ideas

Dosa Varieties

Bombay Tawa Pulao

Corn Chivda

Horse gram raw jackfruit Curry

 

For the next year, I do not have any special goals in mind for this blog. With home, work, family it becomes a challenge to commit and post on regular basis. But I do hope to continue the way I have done before, working on Revived recipes, presenting more Monthly Featured Recipes and of course, coming up with more new tried and tested recipes. 

Before I let you go, I wanted to express my heartfelt feelings dear readers. Thank you for taking time sharing your comments and expressing support. This motivates me to continue and strive to do more. 

 Wishing you all the very best and hope for a bright, successful 2012!

Strawberry Oat Bars


These bars are delicious, adaptable and very easy to make. You can substitute any preserves of your choice like raspberry, peach etc. I usually have strawberry preserves on hand and so I used it in this recipe.   

The crust in many ways reminds me of the one that I had made for Apple crisp.I was in a hurry when I made these and so did not have the time to take good pictures. Trust me the pictures do not do justice to the taste of these delicious bars. These make a good snack and great accompaniment with tea or coffee. 

Adapted from: All Recipes

 Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups All purpose flour/maida
  • 1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter ( melted)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup strawberry preserve (substitute with raspberry or any other flavor)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes

Method: 

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Grease a square baking pan and set aside.
  • Take a bowl and in that first combine dry ingredients AP flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Add melted butter and vanilla to this and mix until crumbly. Measure 1 cup of this crumbly mixture and keep aside.
  • Take the remaining mixture and press the crumb mixture evenly in the baking pan. Use the tip of your fingers to even it out and making sure there are no spaces.
  • Take spoonful of the preserves and spread the preserves over the crust. Continue until the entire crust is covered.
  • Combine the coconut flakes to the reserved crumb mixture and it sprinkle over preserves and press lightly.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes or until coconut is lightly browned. Cool and then cut into desired shapes.

Methi Besan Sabji

Around this time of the year (Fall/winter) we get good and fresh methi/fenugreek leaves, dill in the groceries and I make good use of that. I am not too fond of the frozen fenugreek leaves, as I feel that they do not have the same flavor and so I look forward for the arrival of the fresh ones. 

Few people I know do not like the intense or bitter cooked taste of the methi, but fortunately we love it at home and so I get an opportunity to try different recipes with it.

This methi besan sabji was one of my favorites and that which my mom used to make often when we were kids. I love the simplicity of this dish, with just basic ingredients yet has a flavorful taste. 

Here are some recipes using Methi that I have blogged earlier: 

This might be a little dry for chapathis (unless you serve it with a salad or raita), but tastes good with yogurt rice.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup gram flour/besan
  • 10-15 spring onion stalks (chopped)
  • 1 small bunch Methi/fenugreek leaves
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste 

Seasoning/ Tadka:

  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2-3 garlic pods (grated)
  • 4-5 Curry leaves
  • oil

    Method:

  • Dry roast the besan flour on medium flame until it toasts and turns light brown. Keep aside.
  • Wash the methi thoroughly, cut and discard the thick stems. Retain only the leaves and the thin/soft stems. Chop finely.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, asafetida, curry leaves. After the seeds splutter, add ginger garlic, mix well, and then add the slit green chillies andchopped onions.
  • When the onions are nearly cooked, add the chopped methi leaves, chopped spring onions and keep stirring until the raw small of methi is gone.
  • Add the roasted besan, salt and stir well. Be careful as the besan sticks to the bottom.
  • Keep stirring in between until the besan blends and cooks.  ( I do not cover the lid for this sabji).