Ria's Collection

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


How to make breadsticks better than Pizza Hut with flavours fresh from Italy!
Pizza Hut Style Breadsticks
These breadsticks are really to die for! They are so chewy, so addictive, so flavourful, so filled with everything you asked for and so full of carbs! Don't get me wrong when I said it is filled with carbs. I am all for it and on most days I am on a carb heavy diet. I mean, how can I ever say no to rice and bread. They are the staple food in our home. Ian asks for bread everyday and will be happy if I gave him that for all three meals!

Pizza Hut Style Breadsticks
He is all for Pizza, like most kids are. Once a week, I bake him a pizza at home with his choice of toppings,which almost always ends up being Pepperoni! No surprises there! So yesterday, when I made these bread sticks, I told him it's like a deconstructed pizza and that he needed to dip the bread sticks in the delicious Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil Marinara from Mezzetta. He wasn't very excited about that idea at first but once he took a bite of it, he was really hooked onto it. He literally licked the plate clean! Thank you Michelle for this delicious recipe!
Pizza Hut Style Breadsticks
Mezzetta makes really good marinara sauces in multiple flavours. We are big fans of anything with garlic in it,so we picked up the Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil Marinara sauce to dip these wonderful bread sticks in. It's 100 % natural marinara sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes with no added colours or sugar. I am already eyeing their other flavours like Caramelized Onion & Butter Marinara!
Pizza Hut Style Breadsticks Makes 20 pieces

For the breadsticks
1/4 cup non fat dry milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups bread flour

For the seasoning:
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons butter, melted

Breadsticks: Place the dry milk powder, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of your standmixer attached with a dough hook.Add the warm water and mix well. Let it sit aside for 10 minutes until foamy. Add the oil and mix well. Add the flour 1 cup at a time,kneading on low speed. Once all of the flour is added, increase the speed to a medium high and knead for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, take two 9X13 inch pans and pour 4 tablespoons of melted butter into each of them. Divide the kneaded dough into two equal parts and roll them out into two 9X13 inch rectangles and place them in the tins. Cover and let it proof until doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

Seasoning: Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside until needed.

Preheat the oven to 475 F.Once the dough has risen, score each pan of dough into 10 breadsticks. Brush the tops with 1 tablespoon each of melted butter and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the are brown at the edges. Take them out and sprinkle generously with the seasoning. Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then slide it out onto a cutting board. Slice the breadsticks with a pizza cutter or knife and serve them warm with your favourite marinara sauce.

These were really good! The seasoning is spot on and will make you crave for more! Try it sometime and be surprised as to how easy it is to recreate restaurant food at home!

Mezzetta is holding a HUGE giveaway for you! The Grand Prize consists of a trip for a Winner and one (1) Guest to attend culinary experiences (including cooking class and farm tour) in the San Marzano region of Italy and explore other cities of Italy. The Grand Prize trip consists of the round trip coach air transportation between the major commercial airport nearest to winner's residence and Rome, Italy and the culinary experience and tour of Italy.

To enter,click here!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Old Fashioned Kerala Doughnuts
Honestly, I don't know how many of you can relate to these doughnuts.These doughnuts played a huge role in my childhood days. Thankachi aunty, my Mamma's sister-in law would make these and send it across to us whenever Mamma visited her. Later, Amma got the recipe from Thankachi aunty and would make it for me once in a while. I don't remember Amma making it much after Ritchie was born. I was 8 1/2 years old when my brother was born,so I pretty much remember everything that happened then. It was my first hands-on experience with babies. Gosh, I do have a lot to tell you all!
Old Fashioned Kerala Doughnuts
So, till Ritchie was born, Mamma's grandkids were all girls. Anju chechy, Tinu, Neethu and I. We would spend our vacations together in Mamma's terrace,grinding up her bougainvillea flowers and then diluting it with water,pretending it to be wine! Mamma was totally against anyone plucking flowers from her plants. That's because her Headmistress,a foreign lady, in her school Balikamadom (Tiruvalla) was very strict about it . She (The Headmistress) would pull out two strands of hair from the head of anyone who dared pluck the flowers from her garden. Then when her birthday came, she would let everyone pluck the flowers to their heart's content. That was the story Mamma would tell us,even though she never pulled out her granddaughter's hair. So finally,when Ritchie was born,she got her first Grandson!Anyway, that has nothing to do with these doughnuts, well almost.
Old Fashioned Kerala Doughnuts
So when Anju chechy got married and was living in Bangalore, we visited her once and Neethu made these and brought it for her sister. Everyone made fun of her saying it's the Home Science effect,because of the subject she took for her undergrad! I was so thrilled to see my favourite thing and still remember eating them early in the morning as soon as we got to Anju chechy's apartment. I don't know if Neethu remembers it but I do!
Old Fashioned Kerala Doughnuts
So, if you are thinking these are the typical melt-in your mouth doughnuts,you are wrong. These are more of the 'Vettu Cake' kind, soft yet a bit like a cookie. I must say that these are super addictive. I wanted to take the pictures of the doughnut holes but I popped them one by one into my mouth while frying the rest. And do you know why I made these today? It was raining here! It was so dark outside and it was thundering and raining at the same time. Even if there is no dinner at home, we always have some kind of a thing to snack on and usually,it is deep fried if it rained like how it did today!

Old Fashioned Kerala Doughnuts Makes 26-28 pieces

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons ghee
3 eggs, separated
Oil for deep frying

In a bowl, mix together ghee and powdered sugar. Add the egg yolks and mix well. Add the flour,baking powder, salt,lightly beaten egg whites to it and mix to for a soft dough. Set it aside covered with a cloth for 10 mins.
Roll the dough out into 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface and cut them out like doughnuts. Deep fry in hot oil over medium heat* until golden brown.Drain on paper towels and store in an airtight container. They have an amazing shelf life!

*Don't heat up the oil too much, the doughnuts will brown very fast since there's sugar in the dough.
Well, now this is not Thankachi aunty's recipe.I didn't want to wake Amma up in the middle of the night asking for the recipe. Instead, I checked my favourite source for recipes of these kind, Swapna chechy's blog because I was 100% sure she would have it and she did! Her recipes are foolproof and delicious!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Happy Birthday, Ian!
That little boy of ours is FOUR now! Where did the time go? I think I ask that question to myself a lot these days. He has grown so much in the last one year. He also helps me a lot with things at home. His specialty is clearing up the mess and folding his own laundry! From the time he could walk, I made sure that he cleaned up after his own mess,every single day.He has been happily doing his share of things around the house without being asked to these days. The best thing is, he tells me that he is very good at cleaning up stuff!
Happy Birthday, Ian!
He has recently started folding his clothes and puts them away in a nice little pile. His Malayalam is pretty awesome for his age and we are strict about speaking in Malayalam at home. His favourite cartoons still remain the same so I decided to surprise him with a Pocoyo on top of his birthday cake.I made that for my last term in school and saved it for his birthday. His favourite cake is still my Chocolate Cake.
Happy Birthday, Ian!
Happy Birthday, Ian!

When I asked him sometime back in February what cake he wanted for his birthday, he immediately told me that he wanted a red racing car. So, for the birthday, I made him a Butter Cake with Malted Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and for the birthday party next day, a Red Racing Car Cake ( courtesy Pinterest) with his favourite Chocolate Cupcakes. He was really excited about those and had a great time with friends both at his Montessori and at home.
Happy Birthday, Ian!
Birthday Party Menu ( Dinner)

Pork Ularthiyathu
Cherry Cheese Pineapple
Curried Chicken Dip with Tortilla Chips

Chicken Biriyani
Fish Moilee
Homemade White Bread
He couldn't wait for me to finish taking pictures of him as he wanted us to light the candles and sing for him! Look at that face, isn't that worth more than a million bucks? Be still my heart.

Monday, July 11, 2016


Hot Fudge Sauce
It's been really really hot outside today. So naturally,it's a day when I feel like eating something really cold, like an ice cream. These days, Ian gives me a list of things he would like to eat once he back from his Montessori. Chocolate ice cream, Fish Fry & Homemade Pizza tops the list. That reminds me, I need to thaw the fish for our Fish Fry, Yogurt & Rice dinner tonight!

Hot Fudge Sauce
I made some Hot Fudge Sauce yesterday to pour over our ice cream and Ian has fallen for it completely. This has been my go to homemade chocolate sauce recipe for years now. It's a fool proof recipe and can be made in no time at all and lasts for a good time in the fridge. When Kemp's asked me if we would like to try some ice cream from their 40 different flavours, I jumped in at that opportunity.  I mean, it is so hot outside now and who wouldn't like to enjoy some ice cream drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce? That too, when it's a brand that I've enjoyed over the years!
Hot Fudge Sauce
I decided to try the Caramel Cow Track and Caramel Fudge Cow Tracks because I am all about caramel right now and I was really sure Ian would enjoy the Caramel Fudge Cow Tracks and I wasn't wrong! He calls it the chocolate ice cream and when I drizzled the Hot Fudge Sauce over it, it made the whole thing extra decadent!
Hot Fudge Sauce
This recipe is from Kamran,a good source for awesome recipes! I just cannot wait to use up this sauce and create homemade sundae's for my little family! Summer is the best season even if it's scorching hot outside right now.

Hot Fudge Sauce Makes about 1 cup

100 grams good quality dark chocolate,chopped small
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup golden syrup /light corn syrup
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

Method: Melt the chocolate and cocoa powder together over a double boiler or using a microwave oven. Stir well. Add the golden syrup followed by heavy cream and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and salt and mix well. Bottle it up and use as needed!

Friday, July 8, 2016


Turkey Sheek Kebabs
Finally,I am free! I am done with school and my internship which can only mean ONE thing... that I've been catching up on my sleep ever since! It was really crazy here for the last one year and it intensified ever since I started my internship. There was zero personal time, no family time,no nothing. It was all about getting out of the house in time,even if that meant waking up at 3.30 am even on weekends! We are slowly getting our life back together now and it will come into a full circle once Jobin gets back home from India. As of now, it's just Ian and myself enjoying the big,much needed break.
Turkey Sheek Kebabs
Everytime I've made Sheek Kebabs before, I've used chicken. This time, I wanted to try it with Turkey. Turkey meat is a lean and inexpensive protein.The dark meat is juicy and succulent. If you are planning to grind the meat yourself,buy the dark meat. If not, just use whatever your grocery store has to offer. One thing that I really liked about using Turkey meat is that it really absorbs all the flavour that we add to it. When I first tried it at Jobin's friend's house,I wasn't really sure if I would like it or not and this was 6 years ago. I was proved so wrong because I honestly couldn't taste anything  'weird' like I thought,instead it was a nice,tasty and juicy affair.
Turkey Sheek Kebabs
This Kebab is a cinch to make,like most other Kebab recipes. I found this recipe online and changed it a bit to suit to our taste.I have linked to the original recipe and noted the changes in the recipe below.I felt there was a lot of heat in the original and since it's just me and Ian, I decided to keep it mild and simple for the boy.
Turkey Sheek Kebabs

Turkey Sheek Kebabs Makes 12

For the Kebabs:
1 lb ground turkey meat
1/3 cup minced red onions
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon storebought Sheek Kebab Masala
1 1/2 teaspoons grated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 teaspoon red chili powder / cayenne
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lime
1 egg,beaten lightly
Breadcrumbs from 2 white bread slices

For the chutney:
1/2 cup thick plain yogurt
1 serrano chili
a handful of cilantro leaves

Kebabs: Mix all the ingredients together and marinate it for 4-5 hours in the fridge. Form them into long cylinders over wooden skewers (previously soaked in water) with wet hands. Grill over medium high heat turning occasionally till it is completely cooked, 7-8 minutes.

Chutney: Blitz everything together in a blender and serve it along with Kebabs.

I am so in love with these Kebabs. They are very moist and succulent with a hint of heat from the cayenne and tons of flavour from the other ingredients. This is the grilling season and I do it both indoors and outdoor depending on my mood and how hot it is outside. This works well for both and all you need to do is just be patient and wait for it to cook at the bottom before you turn them over. Ground meat is delicate,so be gentle!

You can visit the Serve Turkey page for more information about Turkey!


Saturday, June 25, 2016


Valley Fair
Our life right now is so busy that there are days when Jobin & myself don't see each other for more than a minute and I am not exaggerating.  We don't have anytime for get togethers, meetups, day outs...nothing. It's mostly my schedule at Hyatt. Jobin has a pretty 9-5 job where as mine is so not like that! I am not even home over the weekends. In between all this, Jobin is studying and he travels to New York for his school and there has been many official India trips for him this year. Finally, among this crazy schedule, we took some time off on Fathers Day to pay a visit to the Valleyfair.
Valley Fair
Whilst we were there, we attended a 'Hotdish & Hops' food event. Basically,there were many stalls sampling different types of Hotdish (a.k.a Casserole) & beer. We decided to go for it and tasted some of them.There was a live band perfoming while the event was on. It was very hot that day and Ian wanted to go for a train ride that he had been eyeing ever since we entered the fair grounds. I should say that train ride was a calming one. We just sat down and enjoyed the hot yet fairly cool breeze while the train took us around the whole fair (and tunnels, much to Ian's excitement!).
Valley Fair
We came back home sweaty and sticky,something that I have rarely experienced here but very happy that we could spend some quality time together as a family! I hope we get more such days together before our Summer is over,which is usually very short! If you live in Minnesota and would like to make a trip to the Valleyfair, here's the link to the various events happening this Summer & Fall.
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