Friday, November 30, 2007

Tutti Frutti Cookies and not posting enough

Now what does one say about not posting for such a long time? For sure, it is not that I have become lazy or lost interest in my blog. I am sure being busy on all fronts in life should qualify as enough reason for not blogging. But the blog is not too far from my thoughts. It eats at me every morning when I realise one more day has passed without anything new on here.

This is now a far cry from my earlier post on being addicted. So now I have decided that If I can't do it then I can't do it. No pressure, right? Hopefully I should be able to accelerate the cooking, photo taking and the posting to keep the momentum going.

Let me quickly get to the point now.

Doesn't the name Tutti Frutti Cookies make you feel a kid again? Some things are always associated with childhood and I think the word tutti frutti features right on top of that list. I loved tutti frutti ice cream as a kid. How many of you remember that silly ball ice cream? I think Kwality made that. It was only ordinary vanilla ( not that vanilla can ever be ordinary) But we would simply die to eat that. And then carefully wash it out and use the plastic to play for a bit. I cannot still understand my fascination for that but well... thats how childhood is, I guess.
Anyway, here is the quick and easy recipe.
180 grams Butter
1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
3 cups All purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
200 grams tutti frutti (candied peel)
Soften the butter and add the brown sugar. Mix well till light and creamy.
Add the egg and vanilla essence and mix well again.
Sift the dry ingredients. Add to the butter sugar mixture.
Add the tutti frutti. Roll into logs of 2 inch diameter.
Put it into the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
Cut into thin slices and bake at 170 deg C for about 8 minutes or till done.
Cool and enjoy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dal Palak

I used to hate spinach as a child and those days Popeye wasn't such a popular character. So I received absolutely zilch inspiration on that front. I simply hated the sight of spinach in any form. I don't think I even tried it once. I guess just the look of it (so green and bursting with goodness and health) that was so unappealing. It used to make an appearance in many avatars and find its way on to the dining table ever so often but no, I would not touch it.

One day when my mom was out of town, I came back from college and I was simply starving. You know the of feeling rats gnawing in the tummy and all that. I went into the kitchen looking for something yummy to eat. To my horror, all I saw in the fridge was rice and palak dal. OMG!!! That was the scariest thing to happen to me ever. But by now I was starving. I had no choice in the matter. Took the rice, added some dal very gingerly, put in lots and lots of ghee and heated the whole thing up in hopes that it will morph into something that I loved. But no, the gods were not on my side. It still remained the same vile looking palak dal and rice..

Put the whole thing into a bowl and sat at the table with a book for company (mom wasn't there, remember?). Put one spoon of it into my mouth. I cannot even start to describe the shock I got.

It was heavenly. Tasted so good. Till today I cannot say if I loved the taste because I was hungry or because it just tasted yummy. But ever since then, it has remained one of my favorite dals. And has triggered my tastebuds into loving all the different varieties of greens.

So now I dont ever refuse anything until I taste it once and the same rule applies to the kids too. One taste and if you still don't like it, then its ok, you don't have to eat it. But one taste is mandatory.

So here goes my mom's version of the Palak Dal


1 Bunch Palak ( maybe about 100 gms)
6 cloves of garlic peeled (if the smaller garlic is used, feel free to put in more)
1 teaspoon jeera
1 teaspoon oil
1 cup toor dal washed and boiled till done
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
salt to taste


Wash and chop the spinach finely.

Heat oil in the kadai and when medium hot, add the jeera and fry till it sizzles.

Add garlic at this point.

When the garlic is browned nicely, pour the dal into the kadai. Add salt and chilli powder.

When it starts to boil add the finely chopped spinach leaves. Heat through for about 5 minutes till the leaves start to wilt.

Switch off the heat.

Serve hot with rice or chapatis.

Note: The garlic adds a lot of taste to the dal. So feel free to use a little more than the quantity I have mentioned.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Badam Halwa and Happy Deepavali

Deepavali – The festival of lights… The festivities are all set to begin.
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.

But hold it right there. There are conditions: 1) It has to be easy to make and quick and 2) it has to be different from what the others will make.

So I tried out a Badam Halwa recipe in preparation for Deepavali. Now when it comes around, I will have the perfect sweet to make.

This was one of the simplest things to make. Not too many ingredients and no complicated steps in the preparation process.

Now for the Almond Halwa...


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.
Serve cool.

BTW: There is this description of eating Badam Halwa which says it all.