I’m back with yet another cookbook review and this time it’s very special as it’s a book written by two popular bloggers Ruchira and Ranjini from the popular blog Tadka Pasta.
I was initially approached by Ruchira Ramanujam in last December for their book launch here in Westin but unfortunately I could not attend it as I was travelling. She approached me again about a month back asking whether I would be interested in reviewing the book and I was ecstatic to give a nod. I found the name of the book very interesting and after reading the book realised that it was absolutely apt.
The two girls have travelled through the globe and I must say have been keen observers too as the book clearly depicts that. This cook book is a repository of recipes influenced by their travel around the world tweaked to suit the Indian palate.
The book published by Westland is slim with some 151 or so odd pages, with 70 recipes to try and has a very vintage appeal. I didn’t find the front cover very attractive but don’t get deceived by it as there’s a lot of substance inside the book added by the two awesome bloggers through their recipes. Isn’t a cookbook all about good recipes to cherish!!
As a habit, before I start reading a cook book I’m more interested in the writer’s note to the readers and also the guidelines and glossary provided in the book. This book matched my expectations as I loved reading through the preface and then subsequently ‘How to Use This Book’ in the prelude. The authors have also provided clues on ‘Where to start’ in the prelude by providing options like recipes for the newbies in the kitchen or recipes using the leftovers or recipes for people racing against the clock etc., there are recipes for all! The prelude also has measurement cheat sheets and Oven conversions to make the reader’s life simpler.
The book is divided into nine categories; breakfast and brunch, bites and brews, soups and salads, bread basket, pasta and rice, signaure tadka, sweet treats, fiesta fare and funnibles. I was very happy to see that the book has largely vegetarian recipes, so it is definitely a book which vegetarians could pick up.
The most important aspect of any cookbook are the recipes which have to be innovative and worth trying. I must say that all recipes are notable and inspiring making the book worth a buy. The book is priced at Rs.495/- and is published by Westland Books.
Each recipe has a very interesting name which captivates you to read the recipe, for example ‘A Salsa Eggsperiment’, ‘Anda Curry- Peanut Plug In’. The introduction of each recipe is what I further loved reading. The impeccable use of English language intrigued me and also confirmed that both authors are not only great cooks but accomplished writers too. It is very interesting to read the narrative of each recipe which are based on real life stories.
Personally I love reading books which makes excellent use of English as a language making them worth the read but I did feel since this was a cookbook and not every one is an expert in English, the introductions might be unfathomable for people who are used to reading simpler English.
I’ve always said that I’m a visual person. The book does have a few pictures but not many, so I didn’t get a fair idea of how final product would appear for many recipes. Plus the pictures are not aligned along with their respective recipes though the name of the recipe is mentioned on them but it makes more sense to see them along with their respective recipes.
The recipes are easy to understand and doable. All the ingredients are listed out in the order of their usage, making it easy to align the ingredients while cooking. All recipes are also provided with the serving size. The measurements are perfect in the recipes that I’ve tried. Their are ‘Notes’ provided with each recipe which helps you to understand a precaution or more ideas on the recipe.
I decided to try two breads from the book as I was in the mood of baking. I picked the ‘Irish Soda Bread With Raisins’ and ‘Do It Yourself Oatnut Bread’ from the chapter ‘Bread Basket’. Both the breads turned out fine and what I liked about them that they had whole wheat flour in them. I’m sending both the breads to my event ‘Only’ Food For Growing Children guest hosted by Shruti.
Irish Soda Bread With Raisins
Ingredients For Irish Soda Bread
1/3cup seedless raisins
1cup atta/ whole wheat flour
1-1/2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp baking powder
2tbsp unsalted butter
1/2cup curd, at room temperature
Method For Irish Soda bread
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Line a baking tray or grease it lightly.
Warm the milk and soak the raisins in it for 30mins.
While the raisins are soaking, sift the flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder together into a mixing bowl and mix in the sugar.
Using the fingers or a fork mix the butter with the flour till crumbly.
Add the curds to the milk and churn well.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and remove the raisins from the liquid and put in the well. Pour half the liquid. Mix the dry ingredients with the liquid using either a spatula or fingers. Gently mix in. Add the remaining liquid as required to make a soft dough.
Turn the dough on a floured work surface. Working quickly, flour the hands and knead it a couple of times.
Pat the dough into a ball. Place the rounded loaf on the prepared baking tray.Using a sharp knife cut a cross on the top, about 1/2” deep.
Place the baking tray immediately in the oven and bake for 25-30mins, till well browned and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer on a cooling rack. Cool slightly before cutting it.
Ingredients for Oat Nuts Loaf2tsp active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups or more lukewarm milk
a pinch of sugar
1cup WWF/ atta
1-1/2cups rolled oats, coarsely ground
2tbsp unsalted butter, melted (I used vegetable oil)
1tbsp peanut butter
1/4cup chopped almonds/walnuts/ mix
For The ToppingExtra milk for brushing the loaf
1tbsp rolled oats
Method For Oat Nut BreadTake half the milk and add sugar and yeast, wait till it froths up.
Combine all ingredients except the nuts and the topping in a large bowl and mix well. Add the remaining milk gradually as required to make a very soft dough. Knead well for about 10mins till a smooth texture is obtained.
Once the dough is supple, knead the nuts and roll the dough into a ball. Grease well and keep it covered in a warm place till the dough doubles in volume. This process depends completely on the room temperature. For cold areas, you can follow one of the tips provided here. To understand on how to work with yeast and precautions read the post here.
Meanwhile grease a loaf pan of 9” x 5”size.
Shift the dough to an oiled surface and spread it using both the palms or roll it using a rolling pin. Fold the spread dough like an envelope and seal the ends.
Place the folded log into the greased loaf pan and press lightly towards the ends.
Brush the top of the loaf with milk and sprinkle the oats and using fingers press them lightly into the dough.
Cover it with an oiled cling film and let the dough rise to double it’s volume again.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to180C.
Put the loaf the oven and bake for 35-40mins or more till the bread turns golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped lightly on the top.
Cool the bread and slice it. Apply a spicy spread or a jam on the slice and eat the slightly sweet bread.
I’ve enjoyed reading the book thoroughly and after successfully trying two recipes I’m looking forward to try many more recipes from it and I would highly recommend it to my readers. In case you are interested in trying cuisines of the world with an Indian Tadka, this a book for you.
I also take this opportunity to announce the winner of cookbook for the last month’s ‘Only’ event and a new winner again for December’s event as the announced winner did not claim the win.
The winner for this month was chosen from the 18participants from Rafeeda’s round up, and the lucky number is
which is of Princy of Spicy Foood. Congrats dear, please contact me within next 48hrs at email@example.com.
For December’s new winner, based on the round up here