Hot soup on a windy, balmy day is a godsend. The tang from the tomatoes, the velvety softness of the cream, the earthy aroma of the basil, the hint of spice and the subtle crunch from the almond shavings make it an elementary but robust dish. Pair this with buttered warm bread and it becomes a wholesome meal.

Recipe
Ingredients:
4-5 medium size tomatoes
Handful of basil leaves
1tsp Salt (Adjust as per your taste)
1 tsp Crushed Pepper (Adjust as per your taste)
1/2 tsp Sugar (Optional)
1tbsp Tomato Ketchup (Optional)
Pinch of Powdered Cinnamon
Pinch of Nutmeg
4-5 Chopped Almond

Method
1) Wash the tomatoes and dip them in a bowl of boiling water for one hour.
2) Remove the skin and dice them into bug pieces.
3) Heat a wok and add 1 tbsp butter
4) Once butter has melted add in diced tomatoes, basil leaves and crushed almonds. Cook the mixture for 3-4 mins.
5) Remove from the flame and let the mixture cool down.
6) Once cooled, pulse the mixture in a blender to a thick puree.
7) Reheat the blended mixture in a pan. Donot add any oil/butter at this stage.
8) Add salt, pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg powder, Sugar and Ketchup and let it simmer for 5-6 mins.
9) Turn off the heat and garnish with cream/almond flakes/chopped coriander or basil leaves. Pair it with a warm buttered bread toast or any salad of your choice

Assorted Puff Pastry

Most of us have grown eating puff pastries, mostly brought from our neighborhood bakeries. One might consider it as just an ingredient that can be bought off a store shelf, or just another snack. But no, this is not “just” that. Creating it with one’s own hands, it becomes a delectable experience, what with the delicate flaky layers, the crisp outside cover and the fillings that can stretch one’s imagination. Puffs are one of the most famous snack in Indian bakeries. The origin of the puff pastry is not clear, though it is said to be originated in France, first made by a pastry cook’s apprentice named Claudius Gele.
Puff pastry involves various processes, which is a time-consuming, but the result is a succulently light snack that makes for an exquisite accompaniment with your evening tea.
The recipe below explains the making of the Puff Pastry and the fillings thereof. The fillings can be dispensed with, the plain pastry is delightful on its own. The recipe is purely based on the accuracy of measurements of the ingredients, so it would not be unwise to keep various measuring cups/spoons and/or a kitchen weighing scale alongside.

Chicken Puff Pastry
Mushroom Puff Pastry
Potato Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry Dough

Ingredients

All Purpose Flour (Measure and keep in fridge 30 mins before starting the dough): 280 gm

Cold Butter (Refrigerated): 140 gm and 40 gm separate

Chilled Water: 120 ml

Pinch of Salt

Vinegar/Lemon Juice: 1 teaspoon

The Process

1) Sieve all-purpose flour and salt together in a large bowl.

2) Add 40 gm of butter. Prick it with a fork so entire butter mixes in the dough. The mix should have a granular consistency.

3) Start kneading this mix. Add the Lemon Juice/ Vinegar. Keep adding little water in between (2-3 times). Knead it till it comes together and is smooth to the touch.

4) Cling wrap it and refrigerate for 30 mins.

5) Take out, lightly dust the working surface with all-purpose flour and roll the refrigerated dough into a square sheet. Place the remaining 140 gm of butter in the center and fold the corners inwards to form a parcel. The rolled dough should envelope the butter completely.

6) Flip it, lightly dust all-purpose flour again and roll it into a rectangle.

7) Fold the corners inwards and form a parcel. Wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins.

8) Step no 7 is to be repeated 5-6 times (without the butter).

Assembling


1) Take out the pastry dough from the refrigerator, remove cling wrap.

2) Dust the working surface with all-purpose flour and roll the dough as evenly as possible. Remove the edges with a pizza cutter or knife to make a perfect rectangular sheet.

3) Cut half of the sheet into small squares and the other half into small circles.

4) Take the circular pieces and place a spoon full of mushroom filling in the center of the sheet. Cover it with another circular sheet. Do not press the sides. Give this a gentle egg wash. Place third circular sheet as topmost layer and give it an egg wash. Make this assembly in the baking tray with enough distance between the puffs as they will rise and expand while baking.

5) Take the square sheets and place potato filling in the center of the sheet. Fold it diagonally in the shape of the triangle. Give a gentle egg wash. Do not press the corners. Make this assembly in a baking tray with enough distance between the puffs as they will rise and expand while baking.

6) Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 10 mins

7) Bake these in middle rack for 15 mins at 180 degree Celsius and 7mins at 200 degrees Celsius.

8) Serve hot with tomato ketchup or tamarind sauce.