Monday, December 28, 2009
It is that time of the year. New Year is fast coming up upon us. It is time to do something that is now almost mandatory. Make the all important New Year Resolutions.
I make resolutions almost every year, but I am not sure why I do that. I don't think I've ever kept one for a whole month, let alone the entire year. In my opinion, it is impossible to do anything that radical for such a long time time, but I do it anyway. I think it is an annual process of just wanting to turn over a new leaf. Anyway, studies have proven the fact that all New Year Resolutions are doomed for failure. And that they are a near pointless exercise. Now is that supposed to make me feel better? That it is ok for me to be a failure? Or that it is better not to make resolutions at all.
In any case, I've got a few resolutions that I am going to definitely going to TRY to stick to this year, so let us see how it all works out and you, my dear readers are welcome to check back with me anytime during the year on my progress.
Here are some of my New Year Resolutions Version 2.010.
1) Lose weight. This is one resolution that shows up year after year but with no results. I have no answers for this one. I try and try but....
2) Give up sweets for one year. Honestly I will try. Oh that sounds too hard. Maybe eat sweets just once a month? Maybe once a week?? Let's see. No promises on keeping that resolution going through the year.
3)I will spend less than two hours on the internet each day. But that will not count when I am working on my blog or doing my "work".
4) I will definitely stop procrastinating. This simply has to be one my worst faults.
5) Most importantly, post at least once a week on The Bubbling Cauldron. No frivolous excuses any more.
6) STICK TO MY NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS. That is another new year resolution.
I think that's it for now. More, as and when I think of new resolutions to break.
Anyway, here is more on Apple crumble. This is one of the easiest desserts to make. Very easy to assemble and perfect for this weather when there is a nip in the air. Served with either vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, it makes for a very comforting end to a meal.
4 Apples peeled, cored and diced into small bits.
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons brown/ demerara sugar
200 grams all purpose flour
100 grams butter, frozen cold
75 grams white sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
Mix the diced apple, cinnamon powder, flour and sugar till the apples are well coated. Put into a baking dish.
To make the topping, sift the flour into a bowl along with the sugar. Cut the frozen butter using a knife into the flour into tiny bits. Then, using only your finger tips gently mix the butter into flour till it resembles fresh bread crumbs.
Sprinkle thickly over the apple mixture and press down gently to make a semi crust.
Bake for about 30 minutes till the topping is golden brown and apples are done and are nicely bubbling away.
Serve hot with vanilla icecream or a dollop of whipped cream.
Friday, December 18, 2009
My brother went off to college as soon as he finished his 11th. Thereafter, with post graduation and work, he really did not stay at home other than for the vacation breaks. He had no idea about cooking at all, particularly how to cook home style Andhra food. Slowly as time went by, he turned out to be quite good at churning out simple food. The other day he called me and asked me the recipe for this pulusu. So I thought why not just post it. It will be there as a ready reference whenever he needs the recipe.
Pulusu refers to a gravy item in the Andhra menu. It can be made of dal, yoghurt or simply vegetables or even meat. The famous Chapala pulusu is a fish gravy cooked with onions and tamarind. Basically a pulusu includes the use of tamarind as the souring agent and other spices to give it the kick. It is an accompaniment to hot rice. Mukkalu are pieces. I guess it comes from all the vegetables which are diced and added to make the gravy. This is a regular on our table. Very easy to make yet full of flavor.
You can add any vegetables that you fancy - eggplant, lady's finger, drumstick, sweet potato, bottle gourd, pumpkin etc etc.... My mom always only used sweet potato, bottle gourd and pumpkin and I seem to have continued the tradition.
There are any number of ways to make pulusu and one can add spices to add that kick but we tend to make it in a much simpler fashion with very few ingredients.
Anyway, here goes with the recipe...
250 grams bottle gourd diced into 1 inch pieces
250 grams red pumpkin diced into 1 inch pieces
250 grams sweet potato diced into 1 inch pieces
2 green chillies whole
2 stalks coriander leaves
lime sized ball of tamarind soaked in 1/4 cup water and juice extracted
1 teaspoon jaggery powder
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 1/2 teaspoons rice flour powder mixed in 2 tbsp of water
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon jeera( cumin seeds)
2 red chillies
4-5 curry leaves
Put 500 ml of water to boil. Add the salt and turmeric powder along with the green chillies and coriander.
First add the bottle gourd and sweet potato pieces. After about 10 minutes add the pumpkin (otherwise the pumpkin will overcook and disintegrate).
When just about cooked but still very firm, add the tamarind juice along with the jaggery and let cook till raw taste of tamarind disappears and the vegetables cook completely.
Add the rice flour powder mixture to the pulusu to thicken it slightly.
Take off the fire.
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a small vessel and add all the popu ingredients. When fries, pour on top of the pulusu.
Serve hot along with hot rice and ghee and plain mudda pappu (boiled toor dal lightly salted).
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Everytime, I make a wonderful dessert, I wonder why I don't make it more often. After I finish more than my fair share, on my own or with some help from my son (particularly if it is a chocolate dessert), then I remember exactly why. The hours on the treadmill to compensate for just one teeny tiny portion of most desserts, makes me wonder if it is really worthwhile. Like someone wisely said, "a minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips". But anyway, having a sweet tooth of this magnitude, I guess I just have to grin and bear it. Exercise as much as I can, but still no signs of being able of curb my cravings.
We had family over for a meal recently. And I happened to have cream cheese in the refrigerator (cream cheese is a hard to come by product in Indian stores). So for dessert this was a quick and a delicious option.
This is a really easy easy dessert to assemble. When you combine condensed milk and lemon juice, something magical happens. It gets thick and sets into this wonderful flan/cheesecakey dessert. It takes all of 10 minutes of real whisking and there you go .. a really pretty and light dessert to serve up for your guests. It has a light lemony flavor which lends itself well as a backdrop to the sweetness of most fruit. The cream cheese is also something which can be omitted. It gives the dessert its body. In its absence, the dessert will still set but will be more silky and a lot smoother. And will definitely not have the cheesecake flavor.
Creativity can be given full reign in arranging the fruit in patterns on top.
200 grams`Marie Biscuits or any digestive biscuits
50 grams butter melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 can condensed milk
juice of 2 lemons
250 grams cream cheese, softened
200 ml creamed whipped
Assorted fruit ( fresh or canned)
Crush the biscuits in a blender along with the castor sugar.
Mix the melted butter in it and press into a pie plate to get a crust.
In a separate dish, whip the cream cheese, condensed milk and lemon juice till it becomes thick.
Fold in the whipped cream till well combined.
Pour/ spoon into the biscuit base and level the top.
Top with fruit and chill.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
We are always having last minute guests for dinner and we end up serving whatever simple food we are having that evening. But the other day, as usual kids were complaining that I was not being adventurous in the kitchen. So I sallied forth into the kitchen to make something "different". Luckily I had already bought some french loaves. And had basil in refrigerator (that is quite a rarity, as it is hard to get here in Madras). So I decided to make veg lasagna and bruschetta.
And as usual we had last minute guests. So my plan of making bruschetta and lasagna worked really well.
Bruschetta is a popular Italian appetizer which has its birth way back in time. Bruschetta means roasted over coals which obviously refers to the mode of cooking it.
Bruschetta is so easy to make provided one has the right ingredients. Also, extra virgin olive oil makes it taste even better. So easy to assemble. And I think it tastes so good because of all the simple ingredients that go into its making. Also, one can give total license to one's creativity as far as the toppings go. Olives, feta cheese , jalapenos, roasted pepper etc etc.. My sister in law puts one layer of pesto before putting the toppings on. She also uses baby spinach leaves. This gives a whole new dimension to the flavor. The key, in my opinion is to keep it simple with not more than 4 to 5 ingredients or else it will become too complicated.
1 French loaf
3 Roma tomatoes
10-15 basil leaves sliced up
3-4 cloves of garlic
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
100 gms Mozzarella cheese grated
salt and pepper to taste
chilli flakes to taste
Slice the french loaf diagonally to get thin slices.
Cut the garlic into 2 halves.
Deseed and dice the tomatoes finely.
Rub the sliced garlic on the slice of bread and then drizzle a little olive oil on each slice and top with plenty of tomato bits.
Place a little basil on this.
Sprinkle salt, pepper and a little chilli flakes.
Top with grated cheese and pop into a hot oven for 10 mins.