Saturday, December 29, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
600 gm Paneer
2 teaspoons Chilli Powder
1 teaspoon Cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
Salt, to taste
4 tablespoon Yoghurt
4 tablespoons Oil
2 teaspoon Jeera (Cumin seeds)
4 large Onions, chopped
6 Tomatoes, chopped
8 cloves Garlic
50 grams Coriander leaves
Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and saute the onion, garlic and ginger till the onions brown a bit. Then add the tomatoes and cilantro and cook with a pinch of salt till it softens. Grind this to a paste in the mixie once it has cooled down a bit.
Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add jeera seeds, then add the ground paste along with all the masala powders and let this cook well with frequent stirring.
After about 5 minutes, add a cup of water to this paste and let it come to a boil.
Now add the crushed Kasuri methi and stir in the yoghurt.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
The other day I received a very pleasant surprise in the mail. It was from Srivalli of Cooking4allseasons. This was a surprise ingredient ( along with a very sweet letter seen above) sent to continue the Arusuvai friendship chain where we send something to a fellow blogger for them to make a dish using the surprise ingredient. She is one of the only fellow Chennai bloggers that I have met. Unfortunately the same reasons for not blogging are also the reasons for not meeting up with everyone.
She sent me a very sweet letter and a nicely packed little packet of something. It was a puzzling few minutes for me till I figured what it exactly was. Then it struck me. China grass.
Though vegetarians, I have always stuck to using gelatine in all my desserts as it was something I was used to doing. I never really tried out the vegetarian version of gelatine which is Agar Agar or popularly known as China Grass in India.
Agar or agar agar is a gelatinous substance chiefly used as a culture medium for microbial work. It is an unbranched polysaccharide obtained from the cell membrane of some species of red algae or seaweed. It can be used as a laxative, a vegetarian gelatin substitute, a thickener for soups, injellies, icecreams and Japanese desserts such as anmitsu, as a clarifying agent in brewing, and for paper sizing fabrics. The word agar comes from the Malay word agar-agar (meaning jelly). It is also known as kanten, agal-agal (Ceylon agar), or China grass. Chemically, agar is a polymer made up of subunits of the sugar galactose. Agar polysaccharides serve as the primary structural support for the algae's cell walls.
Agar-Agar is the sea's natural gelatin. White and semi-translucent, it is sold in packages as washed and dried strips or in powdered form. It can be used to make jellies, puddings and custards. For making jelly, it is boiled in water until the solids dissolve. One then adds sweetener, flavouring, colouring, fruit or vegetables, and pours the liquid into molds to be served as desserts and vegetable aspics, or incorporated with other desserts, such as a jelly layer on a cake.Agar-agar is approximately 80% fiber, so it can serve as a great intestinal regulator. Its bulk quality is behind one of the latest fad diets in Asia, the a Kanten diet. Once ingested, kanten triples in size and absorbs water. This results in the consumer feeling more full. Recently this diet has received some press coverage in the United States as well. The diet has shown promise in obesity studies.
In Indian cuisine, agar agar is known as "China Grass" and is used for making desserts.
( Source- Wikipedia)
So after a lot of brain storming and looking for things to make, I decided to use it exactly the same way as I did gelatin and used a recipe that I already had for a Peach Pie using yoghurt, just substituting the gelatin with the China Grass.
I had a lot of doubts about it as I was not sure if it was going to set ultimately, but I carried on regardless. The recipe called for 1 tablespoon of gelatin and this was something which proved very tricky. Not sure how much was a correct quantity of China Grass to substitute, I just forged ahead with the entire quantity that Srivalli sent. I had seen other recipes calling for 5 grams of China Grass but again I was not sure how much she sent. But thankfully the entire dessert set ( I will not say it was very well set, it was still pretty wobbly. Maybe, I need to up the quantity next time round).
In all this, I have to recount my kitchen disaster which almost happened. I left the china grass after dissolving to cool down before I added it to the yoghurt mixture. When I was ready to add it, IT had already set into this mass of jelly. I promise, it was still warm like I was supposed to keep it but it was this wobbly nicely set jelly. Anyway, I still added it to the mixture. I now had this nice tasting creamy base with all the absolutely hardened china grass bits floating in it. OOPS!!! You can say OOPS again. I just put the whole thing into the blender, said a little prayer and whirred it a bit. The bits disintegrated quite nicely and I poured into the crust, said another little prayer, and placed it into the fridge.
Yipppee!! It set in a nice wobbly fashion.
But the final product was quite delicious and looked interesting too until it started to collapse as I began taking the pictures. But it sure tasted good and I finally consoled myself that THAT is the bottomline, isn't it?
Now for the recipe....
200 grams Marie biscuits powdered
50 grams butter melted
2 tablespoons sugar powdered
600 grams yoghurt ( before draining the whey)
1 cup sugar
200 grams cream, whipped
5 grams (?) China grass ( or substituted with 1 tablespoon gelatin)
3/4 cup of water
1 can peaches drained
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix the biscuit crumbs, butter and sugar and press well into a pie dish to make a crust. Put in the freezer for a few minutes to harden.
Cut 4 peach halves into small pieces and puree the remaining in the blender.
Tie the yoghurt in a muslin cloth till all the whey drains out. Mix in the sugar well.
Soak the China Grass in water and put on very low heat and cook until dissolved well. KEEP WARM.
When bearably hot, add to the drained curd and sugar mixture.
Add the whipped cream to this.
Put the chopped peach bits on the crust.
Pour the curd, cream mixture on top. Leave to set in the refrigerator
In the meantime, mix the pureed peaches with the cornflour and the sugar and cook it over a low flame till it thickens and becomes glossy. Cool it down to room temperature.
When the dessert is set, pour the pureed peaches over. Leave to set fully and garnish with cream and mint leaves.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Yes!!! Finally!!! Waited for a long time. I used to dream about it. When I first started the blog, I used to get so excited each time I got a hit. Everyday was something to look forward to. Get up wondering, how many new people have seen my blog today?
Then came along Food Blog Desam and my slow interaction with my fellow bloggers , and the numbers grew exponentially. It was a slow but very steady growth.
And now here I am having touched the 10,000 mark. ( I remember a movie, Twins where Danny Devito on hearing he could make 10 million dollars says "ten million dollars" in many different tones. Now if only I could write the words ten thousand in different ways. )
Ten thousand is a landmark figure and I am thrilled to be here.
To celebrate, I made Gajjar Halwa.
I once met a cook at a Guest House who was an old Sindhi man. He taught me this version of Gajjar Halwa. He is now no more but memories of his delicious Gajjar Halwa stay on.
It is a time consuming progress. Not laborious, just time consuming. Simple ingredients, and a very delectable result.
Gajjar Halwa is a hot favorite at home. Come December, we wait for the " Delhi" carrots to come in(the purple variety). Immediately we buy a few kilograms and now we are all set.
1 kg Purple carrots washed and peeled
1.5 litres milk ( seems like a lot but that is the key to yummy gajjar halwa)
350 grams sugar
3 tablespoons ghee
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 tablespoon each cashewnuts, almonds and raisins fried in a little ghee
Grate the carrots. Cook along with the milk till all the milk gets absorbed ( I warned you, it was going to be time consuming). This should easily take about an hour.
When done, the milk would have condensed into milk solids along with the cooked carrot.
Now add the ghee. Fry for a bit longer and then add the sugar. Keep cooking till the sugar dissolves well and is absorbed into the halwa.
Garnish with cashews, almonds and raisins and serve hot.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
As mentioned in my earlier post here, the change of seasons brings the freshest of fruits and vegetables. Right now with winter on our heels, the market is flooded with delicious kamala oranges. I think nature also knows what is good for us and when. Oranges with their high Vitamin C content helps protect us against colds and any other passing infections. And sure enough, right on cue, oranges come right when we need them to.
Oranges are one fruit that the children really enjoy. Even if they are a little tart now and then, they still down them at a furious pace. Oranges are supposed to have a high satiety factor even compared to bananas.
Oranges are such a versatile fruit. Can be used in so many different ways. Cakes, desserts, juices, cooking, just by itself... the list goes on.
The other day a friend asked for a cake for a bake sale. I had been wanting to make this cake for a long long time. This then became the perfect one to make for the sale.
It is an easy recipe which can be made by anyone, even rank beginners.
2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon essence
1/2 cup orange juice
For glace frosting:
2 cups icing sugar/ confectioners sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
juice of 1 lime
Sift together all the dry ingredients ( flour, baking powder, salt).
Cream the softened butter and sugar till light. Add lemon essence and eggs one at a time. Mix well.
Add milk and the dry ingredients and continue to beat till well mixed.
Bake in a greased and lined 9 X 13 inch pan at 175 deg C for about 25 minutes
When the cake is still hot, take out from the pan and poke holes in it. Pour orange juice over it till it gets soaked.
Frost the cake.
Sift the icing sugar. Heat the orange juice and mix with the icing sugar and lemon juice. Pour over the cake and leave to set.
Decorate with sprinkles.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
It is a magical time when everyone is in high spirits - full of joy and happiness. The atmosphere is absolutely thrilling and excitement is at an all time high whether young or old.
With Deepavali round the corner, one can sense the excitement slowly building up. Children wait eagerly for the roadside firecracker shops to set up shop. Families make the dreaded but absolutely necessary trip to chaotic T Nagar in the hunt for the perfect Deepavali dress, sari, outfit…. Everyone starts planning for the special day. Gifts to be given are decided on. Gifts are also received with a great deal of joy.
In a nutshell, Deepavali can be said to be a festival celebrating shopping, eating, fireworks, eating, gift giving, eating, lighting diyas, eating, getting fat. Agree with me?
Menus for the lunch are decided and of course how can one forget the sweets (the downfall of all dieters and weight watchers)?? I think nowadays, sweets are the most important part of Deepavali. Everyone is on the look out for that scrumptious sweet recipe that they can try out.
1 ½ cup almonds
1 ½ cups sugar
4 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons ghee
A few strands saffron dissolved in a teaspoon of hot milk
½ teaspoon cardamom powder
½ cup water
Heat 2 cups of water. Put the almonds in. Boil for a minute. Take it off the heat. Peel the almonds.
Grind in the mixie along with the milk till it is a smooth paste.
Heat the sugar with the water till it starts boiling. Add the almond paste and keep stirring well to avoid any lumps and making sure that it does not stick to the bottom of the vessel. Add the saffron milk mixture now. Add ghee a little at a time.
Stir till it becomes thick. (Note: It gets a lot thicker on cooling.)
Add cardamom powder and take off the heat.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
90% of my working life has been in the hotel business, having done my hotel management. I loved working in that industry especially in the Food & Beverage department (no prizes for guessing why!!! I guess my interest in food was just blossoming then). But when I settled into work, I gravitated towards the Banquets which was very interesting. I helped in planning menus and execution of the dinners/parties/weddings. It helped me really develop an interest in food and understand the whole concept of menu planning. However much all this is taught theoretically, it is only when you do something practically that it is understood well. Also, I learnt a lot about the various cuisines of India because wedding menu planning is whole different ball game compared to dinner menus.
One very special dish on the menu which was often requested for, particularly for weddings would be hot Malpuas made on the spot and served along with Rabdi or vanilla ice cream. It was simply divine. I looked forward to this being featured on the menu because then I would have a yummy dessert to look forward to after a hard day's work. That was back in the day when I did not even look at the calorie count of anything. The combination of really piping hot Malpuas with ice cold rabdi or vanilla ice cream has to be tasted to be believed. It is the ultimate waistline busting dessert. It is so calorie laden, that even one look at it makes one gain a few pounds.
Malpuas are usually made of full cream mixed with flour and fried (albeit shallow, that is it's only saving grace) in ghee. It is then dipped into a hot sugar syrup flavored delicately with saffron and cardamom. And if one thought that the calorie intake was not enough at this point, it is served with chilled Rabdi.
Simply typing all this is making me feel I have put on a couple of pounds.
But now everything cannot be forsaken in life, can it? We have to have these treats every now and then.
So I lightened up the recipe and made it a little less calorie dense. Used milk instead of cream and shallow fried it in oil instead of ghee and on a non stick so that reduced the oil. This at least made me feel better about eating Malpuas.
So let me quickly move on to the recipe....
100 grams fine Rava (semolina)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
A few strands saffron
4 cardamoms peeled and coarsely powdered
For the syrup:
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 tablespoon rose water (optional)
Oil/ghee to fry
Make a batter with maida, rava, sugar and milk. The batter should be thick like idly batter. Add a little more milk if the batter is too thick. Add the saffron and cardamom to it. Keep aside for ½ an hour.
In a deep dish mix the sugar and water and boil till it becomes thick. Skim off any impurities. Add the rose water.
Heat the oil or ghee is a shallow frying pan till medium hot. Pour in a little batter and make a small circle of about 3 inches diameter.
Fry till it is golden and turn over and fry the other side as well.
Dip into the sugar syrup for a minute and strain.
Serve hot along with chilled rabdi.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
½ cup sugar
6-8 almonds slivered
10- 12 cardamoms, peeled and coarsely powdered
Few strands saffron dissolved in a teaspoon of hot milk
Heat milk in a deep dish. Bring gently to a rolling boil. Reduce the flame and continue boiling the milk. Scrape/skim the top cream and keep adding it to the boiling milk. When reduced to half its quantity, add the sugar, cardamom powder and saffron. Garnish with slivered almonds. Chill and serve either by itself or with any of the items mentioned above.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts(optional)
Heat oven to 170 deg C. Grease and flour 9-inch square baking pan. A suggestion here is to use parchment paper or foil to line the pan otherwise it may stick to the bottom.
Monday, October 15, 2007
A lot in this article made sense to me.
Food Bacteria-Spice Survey Shows Why Some Cultures Like It Hot
Fans of hot, spicy cuisine can thank nasty bacteria and other foodborne pathogens for the recipes that come -- not so coincidentally -- from countries with hot climates. Humans' use of antimicrobial spices developed in parallel with food-spoilage microorganisms, Cornell University biologists have demonstrated in a international survey of spice use in cooking.
The same chemical compounds that protect the spiciest spice plants from their natural enemies are at work today in foods from parts of the world where -- before refrigeration -- food-spoilage microbes were an even more serious threat to human health and survival than they are today, Jennifer Billing and Paul W. Sherman report in the March 1998 issue of the journal"Quarterly Review of Biology".
"The proximate reason for spice use obviously is to enhance food palatability," says Sherman, an evolutionary biologist and professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell. "But why do spices taste good? Traits that are beneficial are transmitted both culturally and genetically,and that includes taste receptors in our mouths and our taste for certain flavors. People who enjoyed food with antibacterial spices probably were healthier, especially in hot climates. They lived longer and left more offspring. And they taught their offspring and others: 'This is how tocook a mastodon.' We believe the ultimate reason for using spices is to kill food-borne bacteria and fungi."
Sherman credits Billing, a Cornell undergraduate student of biology at thetime of the research, with compiling many of the data required to make the microbe-spice connection: More than 4,570 recipes from 93 cookbooks representing traditional, meat-based cuisines of 36 countries; the temperature and precipitation levels of each country; the horticultural ranges of 43 spice plants; and the antibacterial properties of each spice.
Garlic, onion, allspice and oregano, for example, were found to be the best all-around bacteria killers (they kill everything), followed by thyme,cinnamon, tarragon and cumin (any of which kill up to 80 percent of bacteria). Capsicums, including chilies and other hot peppers, are in the middle of the antimicrobial pack (killing or inhibiting up to 75 percent of bacteria), while pepper of the white or black variety inhibits 25 percentof bacteria, as do ginger, anise seed, celery seed and the juices of lemons and limes.
The Cornell researchers report in the article, "Countries with hotter climates used spices more frequently than countries with cooler climates.Indeed, in hot countries nearly every meat-based recipe calls for at least one spice, and most include many spices, especially the potent spices,whereas in cooler counties substantial fractions of dishes are prepared without spices, or with just a few." As a result, the estimated fraction of food-spoilage bacteria inhibited by the spices in each recipe is greater in hot than in cold climates.
Accordingly, countries like Thailand, the Philippines, India and Malaysia are at the top of the hot climate-hot food list, while Sweden, Finland and Norway are at the bottom. The United States and China are somewhere in the middle, although the Cornell researchers studied these two countries'cuisines by region and found significant latitude-related correlations.Which helps explain why crawfish etoufée is spicier than New England clam chowder.
The biologists did consider several alternative explanations for spice use and discounted all but one. The problem with the "eat-to-sweat" hypothesis-- that people in steamy places eat spicy food to cool down with perspiration -- is that not all spices make people sweat, Sherman says,"and there are better ways to cool down -- like moving into the shade."The idea that people use spices to disguise the taste of spoiled food, he says, "ignores the health dangers of ingesting spoiled food." And people probably aren't eating spices for their nutritive value, the biologist says, because the same macronutrients are available in similar amounts in common vegetables, which are eaten in much greater quantities.
However the micronutrient hypothesis -- that spices provide trace amounts of anti-oxidants or other chemicals to aid digestion -- could be true and still not exclude the antimicrobial explanation, Sherman says. However,this hypothesis does not explain why people in hot climates need more micro-nutrients, he adds. The antimicrobial hypothesis does explain this.
The study of Darwinian gastronomy is a bit of a stretch for an evolutionary biologist like Sherman, who normally focuses his research on the role of natural selection in animal social behavior and is best known for his studies of one of nature's most social (and unusual-looking) creatures, the naked mole-rat ("Heterocephalus glaber") of Africa. But eating is definitely one of the more social behavior of "Homo sapiens"s, he maintains, and it's a good way to see the interaction between cultural evolution and biological function. "I believe that recipes are a record ofthe history of the co evolutionary race between us and our parasites. The microbes are competing with us for the same food," Sherman says."Everything we do with food -- drying, cooking, smoking, salting or adding spices -- is an attempt to keep from being poisoned by our microscopic competitors. They're constantly mutating and evolving to stay ahead of us.One way we reduce food-borne illnesses is to add another spice to the recipe. Of course that makes the food taste different, and the people who learn to like the new taste are healthier for it."
For biology student Billing, the spice research for a senior honors thesis took her to an unfamiliar field, food science, and to the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, where the library contains one of the world's largest collections of cookbooks. Now that the bacteria-spice connection is revealed, librarians everywhere may want to cross-index cookbooks under "food safety." And spice racks may start appearing in pharmacies.
Top 30 Spices with Antimicrobial Properties
(Listed from greatest to least inhibition of food-spoilage bacteria)
Source: "Antimicrobial Functions of Spices: Why Some Like It Hot,"Jennifer Billing and Paul W. Sherman, "The Quarterly Review of Biology",Vol. 73, No.1, March 1998
10. Lemon grass
11. Bay leaf
26. Pepper (white/black)
28. Anise seed
29. Celery seed
Source of article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980305053307.htm
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I have so much time on my hands and nothing to do with it. I really miss working on my blog (on that all important task in my life these days). Poring over all the other bloggers posts. In all this I have had enough time think of all the new and exciting foods that I am going to make and feature in my blog.Visions of me cooking these delectable dishes, turning out these picture perfect creations, getting a million comments and a gazillion hits.. all these have been floating before my eyes. Well, a girl can dream, can't she?
But all that will still take some time till I am completely fit.
In the meantime, I decided as I can neither cook nor take those pictures and as I can at least type now, I shall be posting articles from sourced from the internet that I think may be of interest to all. Sounds like a good idea? It will keep me from climbing the walls for sure ( I am not really sure which walls and what climbing I am really in a position to do) but as you can gather, its only a figure of speech.
The articles will feature anything that I find interesting, of note, important, humorous, food based or otherwise....
To start off, here is a sampling of jokes on candy and desserts.
CANDY AND DESSERT HUMOR and JOKES:
1. Q: What happens when you eat too much candy?A: It makes you THICK to your stomach.
2. Q: What do they call a man who abandoned his diet?A: DESSERTER.
3. Ice cream is exquisite... --what a pity it isn't illegal.
4. The optimist sees the doughnut, the pessimist sees the hole, and the realist sees the calories.
5. A birthday greeting: For someone special as you, only ANGELFOOD would do. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
6. Did you hear there are two suspects in Two Ton Charley's death? --BEN and JERRY.
7. Don't eat too much fudge, or else you will have so much pudge you won't be able to budge. --Daniel Worona "The Candyman"
8. You know you're a mom if... Popsicles have become a staple food.
9. Mexican candy makes my taste buds say "OLE!"
10. FORGET LOVE... I'D RATHER FALL IN CHOCOLATE.
11. Dieters are being advised to avoid drinking Pepsi, "THE PAUSE THAT REFLESHES."
Hope you enjoyed that!!!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Mother nature has really perfected herself. Each day the sun rises and sets, moon waxes and wanes when they should. Seasons come and go just when they should. The nicest part of all these changes are that the fruit and vegetables also change. One really looks forward to summer when you know mangoes will flood the market. In December, it is the Kamala oranges from Nagpur. Come February and the grapes are there. Though nowadays with globalisation, the world is getting to be a smaller place and you seem to get most fruit all through the year. I guess it must be autumn in the Southern hemisphere when it is spring in the Northern parts. (Like a friend would say... If he wanted a drink a little earlier in the day then he would simply justify it by saying it was 7 pm in some other part of world and would very conveniently imagine himself there enjoying his tipple.)
But in India, during its season each fruit or vegetable takes pride of place. If it is apples, mangoes, oranges, cauliflowers or peas then every street corner you see nothing but that... on handcarts, on pavements, in stores.
It just makes you want to run into the kitchen and make something using them.
At home, come September ( remember the old Ventures tune?) then it is Apple Pie time. If time is a constraint, then it becomes Apple Crumble.
This time I had enough and more time on my hands as you can see. I had enough time to try out the lattice on top which I learnt from here.
Now for the recipe...
For the crust:
400 grams all purpose flour.
200 grams butter ( really cold and hard)
1 teaspoon sugar
For the Filling:
6 apples sliced finely
3 tablespoon flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
For the crust
Sieve the flour and add the sugar into it.
Put in the butter into the flour mixture.
The key here is using absolutely cold butter. Using a knife, cut the butter into little pieces in the flour itself. Then using only your finger tips, mix the butter into the flour till it starts looking like fresh bread crumbs.
Put a couple of ice cubes into 1/4 cup cold water. Use this very cold water a tablespoon at a time to gather the dough together. Don't make the dough too mushy or you will have a hard time rolling it out.
Keep it in the fridge immediately.
The idea of keeping everything so cold is that it helps make the final shortcrust pastry really flaky.
Divide the dough into two. Roll out one half to a size a little larger than the pie dish you are using. Place it in the pie dish. Use a fork to make little holes in the base crust to prevent it from rising while baking.
The other half of the dough can now be rolled out and strips cut to make into a lattice top after piling the apple filling.
Now for the filling.
Slice the apples. Mix in the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pile it into the base crust till it is about 2 to 3 inches above the pie plate.
Make the lattice on top otherwise just roll out and place another full crust on top.
Bake at 180 deg C for about 30 minutes or till the top is golden brown and the apple filling is bubbling.
Another tip is that if you want a shiny look then you can lightly coat the top of the crust with an egg wash ( a mixture of equal quantities of egg and water) before baking.
Friday, September 21, 2007
1/2 cup lightly roasted sesame seeds along with
3 tablespoon light sesame oil.
1/2 cup yoghurt,
1 minced garlic clove,
salt to taste ,
2 tablespoon lemon juice,
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder to the
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The other day a friend of mine gave me a few packets of instant yeast and I was wondering what to do with them. Made baby naans and they were a huge hit as usual.
Coincidentally or as I prefer to call it - divine intervention, I saw Coffee's blog event on MBP: Bread. It was perfect. I had all this yeast and now I had the perfect opportunity to make something new AND send it for an event. So scouting I went. I had been wanting to make pita rounds for a while. The idea of stuffing them with different fillings really appealed to me. Very novel idea and an opportunity for the children to try out something different.
I landed up at Jugalbandi. They had a very nice healthy looking recipe for whole wheat pita bread. I followed their recipe for the most part, except I used 4 cups of whole wheat flour instead of 3.25. I also had to use 2 cups of warm water to make the dough.
Result?? Excellent. The pita bread was soft , round, well puffed and easily separated. I kept in mind that it should not be too brown. Though I have to admit, I missed a few which got toasted to a crisp :(.
I loved their phrase of 70% puff rate. I like to think I had the same result. They were pretty easy to separate even in the 30 % stuck part of the bread.
I stuffed them with falafel and taratour sauce ( recipe follows).
And Coffee: My most favorite aromas in the kitchen will have to be:
1) Strong South Indian coffee percolating in the filter early morning.
2) Ginger/garlic sizzling in the oil when added to the tadka.
3) Brownies baking in the oven.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
When I heard of Sunitas think spice event on mustard, I thought avakai will be the perfect entry as it typifies the use of mustard. Ava itself means mustard in Telugu and Kai refers to raw fruit. This is my entry for the Think Spice: Mustard event.
1 kg Mango pieces cut with a part of the shell in each
250 grams mustard powder
125 grams chilli powder
250 grams salt
1/4 litre gingelly oil
2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon methi seeds(fenugreek)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Mix all the dry powders together.
Heat 2 teaspoon oil and fry seasoning ingredients.
Cool and add with remaining ingredients to the powdered ingredients.
Finally add to it the mango pieces and mix thoroughly.
Store in a DRY clean bottle or Jaadi. It should easily last for about a year.
Main thing to watch out for is that no moisture should come in contact at any point. This will result in the pickle getting spoilt.
UPDATE: I believe this is also called Mavinikai Upinikai in Kannada so this goes as another entry for RCI: Karnataka.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Recently for my husband's birthday, the kids and I got him this recliner that he had his eye on for a long time. It was one herculean effort to get the recliner up, make space for it in the room, setting it up... But now that it is set up... its a whole new story....
The room duplicates Kurukshetra and the biggest battles now at home resemble mini Mahabharatha yuddhas. Ask me why. Everyone is now is vying for possession of the chair. It is like a land grabber who will not give up for anything on earth. I did not realise how quickly a sweet husband and two lovely children can turn into a bunch of vultures circling their prey. One just has to get up when under him, the other has wriggled in....No one is willing to give an inch. It is a sight to see. To make up for my time on the chair, I end up sitting and rocking myself at 6 in the morning while brushing my teeth. Thats the only time the seat is free for me.... What's a girl to do???? I submit with good grace
Now for the chocolate cake. We made this for his birthday. Turned out well and looked good too.
Heres the recipe...
2 1/4 cup Flour
1 2/3 cup Sugar
2/3 cup Butter softened
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 190 deg C
Grease and flour a 9"X13" pan.
Cream butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla till light and fluffy.
Sift all the dry ingredients till well mixed.
Alternately add flour mixture and water to the creamed mixture.
Pour into the greased pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
PS: When I say grease and flour it means first appl a little butter or vegetable oil to the baseand sides of the baking pan and then dust a little flour on it till there is a light spinkling of flour coating the base and the sides. This helps in freeing the cake from the pan without any mishaps. Otherwise just use parchment paper to line the base after greasing it.
I use an icing when it is for a celebration. But no butter in the icing. I just make a simple glace icing with sugar and cocoa.
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons hot water
Sift the icing sugar and cocoa. Mix in the hot water one teaspoon at a time till the icing is pourable but not runny.
Pour on top of the cake and spread gently with a knife.Put some grated chocolate or some sprinkles on top and leave to set.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Saturday, September 8, 2007
outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty
food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.
The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door
to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Proceeding
into the foyer, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had
been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against
one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a
cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys
and various items of clothing.
In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was
spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog
food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the
table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back
He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and
more piles of clothes, looking for is wife. He was worried
she might be ill, or that something serious had happened.
He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way
out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet
towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor.
Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been
smeared over the mirror and walls.
As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled
up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked
up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went.
He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened
She again smiled and answered, "You know every day
when you come home from work and you ask me what in
the world did I do today?"
"Yes," was his incredulous reply.
She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it."
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Mix the grated carrot, cucumber, soaked moong dal, grated coconut and green chili.