Sunday, 30 November 2014

Herb And Cheese Pull-Apart Bread / Roasted Tomato And Carrot Soup

I am not a big fan of soups and yet this past month, a mug of vegetable soup has been the provider of my daily dose of nutrition. Ideally, nothing beats a bowl of steaming chicken soup when you are sick but I wasn't feeling up to having anything do with meat. So, vegetable soup it's been. Tomato, carrot, spinach, pumpkin, cabbage, cauliflower and any other veggies than you can think of putting in a soup, we've had it in some permutation and combination!!

Since I've been feeling better this week, I've been enthused to hunt around for a good bread recipe to go with soup. At first, I thought of a baguette but then while googling around, I came across a few pull-apart breads and the decision was made.
Pull-apart breads are all about the visual. They look like a sequence of bread slices that have been stitched together into a loaf. Essentially made from a regular bread dough that is rolled out, sprinkled all over with a filling of your choice and then the dough is cut into strips and then again into squares to get the requisite look. It might sound complex but if you follow the pictorial step-by-step link that I have provided ... it's all quite simple!
For this dough, I went with a cheese, garlic and herb filling as these are flavours that would go with most soups. Although for this post, I played it safe with a roasted tomato and carrot soup. There is nothing much with the soup. It just involves roasting all the veggies and then blitzing it all up and you are done.
I am not sure on how to describe the final flavours of the soup, other than to say that roasting the veggies evokes the flavours of the Mediterranean. The natural sweetness of the carrots are the perfect foil for the sour tomatoes. Once roasted, there is not much to add to the soup except for the seasoning.And this bread is the perfect accompaniment to it.
Like I said earlier, a pull-apart bread is all about the visual. The golden crust speckled with herbs and cheese is impressive. The best part of this bread is the contrast between the golden-brown hard crust on the outside and that pillowy soft inside that tastes of garlic, cheese and the herbs. Straight out of the oven with all those heady aromas wafting about, I think you'll find the bread simply irresistible!
The seasons have changed and while much of India is yet to experience it, keep this bread in mind for the Winter ahead. Hope you're having a lovely weekend!!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Spiced Cappuccino Biscotti

It's been a while around here. I wish I had some funky, exciting reason for why I've been missing from this space but instead all I have to say is that I fell sick. It's been a while since I've fallen sick, so when I got hit, I got hit realll bad! Of course, with perfect timing, I fell sick a few days before Diwali and its been a slow and cautious recovery since then. And with that, my Diwali post for which I had grand plans were junked because forget going near the kitchen, I wasn't going near any food! And while this is a bit late in the day, I hope you had a beautiful Diwali with your family and friends!!
And like I said earlier, it's been a slow recovery out here. The food cravings have returned but I have been advised to take it easy. And then, just like that, this week, I have been feeling good enough to want to pre-heat the oven!!
Not wanting to risk the recovery by baking something that would be too heavy or rich, I decided to ease back into things by zeroing in on these biscotti. These are coffee biscotti that have been flavoured with cinnamon and cloves and then, for good measure, some chocolate chips. And what works in their favour is how easy it is to make them.
These biscotti do not really score on their looks but you can't fault them on their flavour. The dominant flavour is that of cloves which is a refreshing change to the usual cinnamon that I tend to lean towards. The coffee got a bit lost but then maybe I should have gone for a stronger brew. And those chocolate chips can only make everything better.
Since, there is no butter, these biscotti are crunchy which means they are perfect for dipping into those steaming cuppas that this season calls for.
I should hopefully be getting back into the groove with the blog over the next few days. In the meanwhile, how have you been?? Hope life's been treating you well!!
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