Sunday, 11 November 2012

Diwali 2012

The warm glow of diyas , the twinkle of fairy lights , the power of devotion and all night card parties ....It's that time of the year again .....the time for friends , festivities and fabulous food......Happy Diwali .... May Goddess Lakshmi bless you with abundance and prosperity all year long ....

I love the build up to Diwali.......

This year was special ...... my most favorite of my mothers friends Darshan Aunty and I made some amazing Diwali specials .... I was lucky I got to be her kitchen helper and in return I got to sample and take back some amazing traditional Diwali specials......

Let me tell you a little about Darshan aunty ....she is the warmest most generous person I know mother and aunty have known each other a long long time young Army wives they were neighbors in Udhampur , Jammu even before I was born so its a friendship spanning decades ..:)

Mrs Darshan Kalsy 

Watching her work in the kitchen is like a dream .....she makes the hardest things seem so simple and is so sweet about sharing recipes and making sure to give me all details so  I can replicate the recipes in my kitchen also!

She is super systematic and keeps a beautiful well stocked kitchen ......I have such a good time hanging out in her kitchen she even pauses ever so often so I can take pictures :)

Here is a sneak peak of all we made ...............

Shakar Paare

Gud / Jaggery Paare

Melt in your mouth gujjiyas.....


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Orange & Lemon Cake

I totally go ga-ga for fruity desserts~

 This cake is lovely .... light & fluffy and bursting with citrus-y goodness , moist and very home-y tasting! 

When the cake is fresh out of the oven , pour the lemon - orange syrup over the cake ....the syrup soaks into the cake and infuses it with the heady citrus-y flavour and aroma of lemon and orange...

180 g sugar ...ground
180g softened butter

4 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
180 g self-raising flour

Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Beat caster sugar , butter and zest of lemon and orange till pale and creamy. 
Next add the milk and eggs ...keep beating . 
Add in the flour in batches using a spatula .
 Pour batter into greased cake tins and place in a pre-heated oven for about 30-45 minutes at 180 deg C or till a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is in the oven put the juice of the Orange  and the lemon in a saucepan boil and allow it to reduce to about 4 tablespoons add in the sugar and leave this syrup to cool . 
As soon as you bring out the cake from the oven prick it all over with a tooth pick / skewer . 
Pour the syrup all over the cake . Let the cake soak all the syrup .
 Leave to cool completely before you serve or remove from cake tin .

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Friday, 2 November 2012

Chocolate Mousse

Some days call for indulgence. Maybe you’ve stuck to your diet for a whole entire day and deserve a treat :D.

 Maybe you have passed an exam with flying colours or maybe you have failed a test :)), maybe you have been through with a tough-to-make-decision, or have a special occasion to celebrate. Or maybe there is nothing better to do in the evening .

Whatever be the reason, this light, dreamy, airy  little cups of heaven will be perfect. They are simple enough to make, but look and taste so elegant .

Beyond delicious ...the secret lies in getting very stiff egg whites :)

Serves 4 

200 g Dark chocolate 

4 eggs , split into whites and yolks

25 g butter

Mint leaves

3 tbsp icing sugar

4 tablespoons water/Baileys Irish Cream/ Old Monk / Orange Juice 

Pinch of salt

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Stir till its a smooth homogeneous mixture. 

While the chocolate mixture in still in the double boiler add beaten egg yolks and 4 tablespoons of water .

Mix well .......stir for around 2-4 minutes . Then take off the gas . This helps in removing the eggy smell so wait the entire 2-4 minutes.

Keep aside to cool.

Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites beat till soft peaks . 

Then add the icing sugar and beat till egg whites are very stiff.

Now add the stiff egg whites a spoonful at a time into the melted chocolate using a spatula ....use the cutting and swirling action to blend in the egg whites .

Dont over mix ...and dont worry about little white bits that may remain.

Pour into individual serving glasses. Leave to chill for 2 hours.

**Grab a spoon and dig in **

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Happy Dashera - Ganne Ke Rass ki kheer

 May the divine blessings of Goddess Durga help you achieve success in all your endeavors...Happy Dashera :))

Sugar Cane Juice Kheer

1 litre fresh sugar cane juice

0.5 litre full fat milk

0.5 cup rice washed & soaked for 30 minutes

Cardamom powder

5-6 tablespoons fresh grated coconut

In a heavy bottomed pan boil sugar cane juice . Stir intermittently . Boil juice for around 15 minutes on a low flame .

Add half the milk. It may split ....dont worry it all comes together beautifully in the end. Keep stirring .

Add the soaked rice and grated coconut  . Let everything boil ...till rice is tender and cooked.

At this point the mixture should have thickened considerably .

Add remaining milk .

Add elaichi powder . Garnish with more fresh grated coconut , almonds etc!

Happy Dashera once again y'all :))))

Monday, 22 October 2012

Happy Durga Pooja

May the divine blessings of the Goddess be with you and all yours always 

Pandal Hopping in Pune :)) 

Chicken Kosha 

Prawn Chops

Sandesh  , Kheer Kadam

Add caption

Lucchie & Aloo Dum

Happy me :))))

Friday, 7 September 2012

Anti-oxidant Hibiscus Juice shot

I am a teenie weenie bit vain so when a drink promises radiant skin and anti-ageing benefits it must feature in my day!

Well , jokes apart Hibiscus flower has been used for centuries in Asia and in the Caribbean in teas and other drinks. Also used as a medicinal aid the hibiscus flower is known to have several health benefits like lowering blood pressure etc.

Vendors selling a deep red sweet iced tea called  Agua Fresca (hibiscus tea) in opean air markets in Mexico is a common sight.

Hibiscus flowers contain high levels of anti-oxidants including flavanoids ....the same stuff found in red wine :))

Hibiscus flowers contain 17% more anthocyanins ( anti-oxidants) ....simply put the good stuff that makes your skin glow and helps fight ageing :)))  .....than other juices!

Tastes so refreshing ........a berry like taste with slight flowery undertones ... I dont know about the health benefits but I know every time I have this I feel a spike in my energy levels ....:))))

So here it is ......

For 1 Glass you need

Petals of 2 hibiscus flowers - washed 
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1.5 - 2 tsp honey

In the smallest attachment of your mixer add washed flower petals along with lemon juice. Leave in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Grind with a little water till you get a beautiful concentrate all ruby red and pretty ...should look like this......

Add a glass of water .

Stir in some honey and drink to good health :))

Thank -you for taking the time to visit :)

Do leave a comment will make me really happy :)))

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Eid Mubarak and Iftar Celebrations!

Ramzan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and is observed as a month of fasting .......fasting is endured from dawn to sunset ......according to Islam there are rewards to be reaped from fasting but in the holy month of ramadan rewards are believed to be multiplied!

Close to sunset at around  4 pm  the fun begins as people start coming to make shift food bazars to pick up food to take home to break their fasts!

Entire streets get converted into floodlit buffet markets...buzzing with people , smoke from the tandoor as kebabs sizzle and crackle on open charcoal flames.

One such street is Kausar Baug , near NIBM . From the outside it all looks a little too crowded and gastronomically risky....but the adventurous eater that I am I couldnt resist!

So with mineral water and hand sanitizer in tow off I went  ......and this is what I saw

Yummiest ever Chicken biryani ( Rs 65/)

Shahee Tukra 
Lauki Ka Halwa

The BEST part of the night!  Salim Bhai's Halwa Paratha die for!!!!! ( Rs 120/kg)

By the end of the evening I ended up being good friends with Salim Bhai because the whole time we were there I just kept going
back for more and more. The halwa is a regular sooji ka halwa but it tastes fantastic ...I normally stay away from anything that is such a bright shade of orange .....he obviously uses artificial food color but its so fantastic when eaten with this ginormously huuugeee paratha thats flaky with so many layers. The halwa is kept warm by coals that burn under the lovely silver tray and decorated with tuti-fruity and makhane and dessicated coconut and overly sweetened  cherries :))

So Salim Bhai is an absoulte pro when it comes to halwa paratha ...hes been doing this for around 30 years he couldnt really remeber exactly how many years when I asked him and this is all he does after Ramzan he will take a break for 10-15 days n then set up his stall in Bombay and from there to other cities in India! Thats a pretty cool job and lots of good karma what with selling such insanely good food!

So this is how the parathas made ....

Thats me with my new friend :)))


        Heart Attack on a plate! Malpura deep fried stuffed with egg and topped with Rabri

       Eid Mubarak!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

 I love cupcakes and for the longest time I have been looking for a good enough  reason to make some at home!

 Last week I had 2 very special people come over and what better than to bake and serve some cupcakes?

I was pretty happy with how they turned out considering this was my first attempt at making cupcakes at home!

So here they are ..........

I took a few pictures just before my friends came over and I had to take a bite .....just to make sure they were all okay **giggles and winks** yes that was the only reason......

I loved them.....the frosting was just right got rave reviews!

Vanilla Bean cupcakes ( Makes around 12-14 )

85 g  plain flour + 1 1/4 tsp baking powder

70 g plain flour

110 g softened butter

120 g caster sugar ( I ground some regular sugar)

2 eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup milk

Scraped insides of half a vanilla bean / 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1. Mix the first two ingredients ...both the dry flours and keep aside.

2. Cream butter and sugar till fluffy and smooth around 3-5 minutes.

3. Add eggs and vanilla.

4. Add dry flours , in batches of 3 alternating with milk.

5. Beat till everything is well combined.

6. Line cupcake moulds with cupcake liners and fill only half way up else when they rise and bake they tend to spill over.

7. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 C or until done.

8. Cool on wire rack completely before you frost.

Chocolate frosting  

160 g caster sugar (again I just used ground regular sugar)

55 g butter ( I used salted Amul butter )

45- 50 g dark chocolate

20 ml milk

5ml vanilla essence

Melt chocolate in a double boiler.

Mix butter and sugar till light and fluffy....... add melted chocolate , milk and vanilla beating till well blended.

Frost cupcakes just an hour before serving. Store in refrigerator once frosted and remember to bring them out 20 minutes before serving as the frosting tends to harden in the refrigerator so keep it outside for a bit for the right texture!

Hold your breath and take a bite! :)))

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Thai Mango & Coconut Rice Dessert

I love traditional Thai desserts they manage to create such a perfect balance of sweet and salt. Nothing is overpoweringly sweet , still manage to be so full of flavor and low calorie! 

Some of my favorites ....

Khao Niaow Ma Muang  ( Classic Mango Rice Dessert)

Kanom Mor Kaeng ( Taro Coconut Custard )

Khao Neo Dahm - Black Sticky rice with coconut milk

Kluay Buat Chee - Banana in Coconut Milk 

So I thought Id attempt making  Khao Niaow Ma Muang  ( Classic Mango Rice Dessert)  at home tonight .....its so simple takes about 5 minutes to make and tastes soo soo good and looks even better !

So heres what you need :

One beautifully ripe and sweet Mango

Cooked sticky rice - 1/2 cup

Thick coconut Milk  - 1/2 cup

 Sugar - 4 tablespoons

 Salt - 1 pinch 

Black Sesame seeds : to garnish

A very sharp knife

Some sushi skills and some luck :))

While the rice is still hot  in a microwave safe bowl heat coconut milk , sugar and salt for 30 seconds ...anymore and your milk may turn into coconut oil.

 So watch out.You want to heat just enough for all the sugar to dissolve into the coconut milk.

 Pour over hot rice . Give the rice sometime it will absorb most of the coconut milk. 

Let the rice come to room temperature as this is a dessert served at room temperature .

Using a very sharp knife make slices of the mango . Put sticky rice inside roll it up.Garnish with some black sesame seeds.

Note : I made it this way because I saw a pretty picture on pinterest  you can just as well serve diced  mango pieces over sticky coconut rice and garnish with some sesame seeds :))May not look so pretty but still tastes darn goooooood!! :))

And since we are talking about desserts and Thailand how can I not mention  my absolute favourite - Home made coconut ice cream sold on the streets........

Its going to take me a few more years before I even dare to attempt making this at home !
Coconut Ice cream with palm sugar , candied Pumpkin & Pineapple 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Of Birthdays and Cakes!

Insanely great lemon cake filled with velvety lemon curd ....this is totally addictive ...bursting with flavor .

Lemon Cake 
  • 1/2 TBLS white vinegar
  • Nearly half cup milk
  • 8 TBLS melted butter 
  • 1 cups white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TBLS Lemon Zest
  • 1 TBLS Poppy Seeds ( Optional)
  • Cream butter , sugar and eggs and mix really well.
  • Pour the milk , lemon juice, lemon zest and vinegar into the mixing bowl and blend really well.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients-flour, baking powder, baking soda and poppy seeds.
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, make sure to mix together completely until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into a greased cake tin .
  • Bake for 30ish or so  minutes or until a cake tester/toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 7-10 minutes, then gently tap  to loosen the cake. 

Lemon Curd 

2 small Eggs
Little more than 1/4th cup of sugar 
40 ml Lemon Juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 TBLSP butter cut into small chunks at room temperature

Get a water bath ready. In a steel vessel using a wire whisk , whisk together eggs , sugar , lemon juice and zest.

Put this vessel on the water bath and whisk for 7-10 minutes or until the mixture is thick and creamy . Be patient as if you undercook your lemon curd will taste of raw egg .

So let it cook through till nice and thick taste a little to check for no raw egg taste :). Take off the water bath .

Add butter . Whisk some more the addition of butter makes the lemon curd smooth and velvety .

This will thicken further as it cools .

To assemble


Sweetened Whipped Cream

Lemon Curd ( From step 2 )

Lemon Cake ( From Step 1)

Lemon curls - To granish 

Make sure your cake is cool . Slice through the middle using a string / knife.

Drizzle both slices with lemonade . Dont drench them just drizzle to moisten cake.

Put a layer of lemon curd in the middle of the cake.

Put the 2 slices together . Cover cake with Whipped cream. Decorate with lemon curls .

** Assemble cake just at the time of serving so that you dont need to put the cake in the fridge for too long tends to go hard. So assemble very close to serving time :))

Friday, 18 May 2012

Rustic Goan Prawn and Okra Curry

Some pairs are made in heaven strawberries - cream, wine - cheese , Champagne - caviar and one that I've known about for a while  but tried for the first time yesterday and loved  Prawns and Okra

This is a great smooth curry .....full bodied and so flavorful  and somehow the okra stays crunchy despite being cooked in the curry for a while!

This recipe is something I picked up from the sweet cook at the home-stay we lived in during our last visit to Goa ......

So here goes!

Rustic Goan Prawn and Okra Curry (Serves 2)

 Prawns cleaned , de-veined  : 250 grams
Okra : 50 grams ( tops and end chopped off with a slit running through the middle....but keep the bhindi intact ...dont slit all the way through)
200 ml thick coconut milk ( I used the Homemade can....but fresh is always better)
2 pieces kokum or Tamrind
1/2 cup thin coconut milk
Salt to taste
Lemon juice
1/2 cup water or as required
Grind to a smooth paste 

6 dry kashmiri red chillies  ( I removed all seeds)
1/2 tsp peppercorn balls whole
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Turmeric
6 cloves of garlic
A little piece of ginger 1/4th inch or so
1.5 tsp white sesame seeds

Grind all this to a smooth paste with a little water.

1. Mix ground spice paste with thin coconut milk ....put into a heavy bottom pan. Cook over low heat for 5- 7 minutes till the spice paste is cooked and changed color.

2. Slowly add the thick coconut milk ....stirring all the while till everything is mixed well .Add kokum.

3. Next add okra ...cook for 3-5 minutes . Then add prawns cook for another 5- 7 minutes . Add 1/2 cup of water at this stage.

4. Add lemon juice and serve hot!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sirke walle pyaaz ( Pickeled vinegar onions)

Ruby red , crunchy , sweet and sour all at once these pickled onions were a standard accompaniment to all Indian /Punjabi  meals that you ate in  restaurants in the 90s .

For some reason I dont see them so much these days but I love them so I decided to make them . A little bit of trial and error this recipe worked the best just like the sirke walle pyaaz at Kumar Sweets in Dehradoon.

The first time I tried making these I just put onions in vinegar but that resulted in only a very slight pink color and not such a great taste! I guess thats how American pickled onions are made ......since thats all I could find on the internet .

 But this recipe is perfect....the secret to getting a nice full bodied color is the beetroot! :)

Sirke walle pyaaz

Onions (the tiny kind ) : 100 grams cleaned  ...I used  sambar onions
Regular White Vinegar : 1/2 cup
Peppercorn : 7
Bay leaf : 1
Sugar : 2 teaspoons
Salt: to taste
Beetroot : 1/2 of one small beetroot

Boil vinegar along with sugar , peppercorns , bay leaf , sugar and salt for around 5 minutes .
Add thinly sliced beetroot.
As soon as you add the beetroot vinegar will change color to a ruby red . Boil for another 2-3 minutes.

Put clean dry onions in a clean dry glass bottle . Strain the red vinegar solution into the glass bottle . Add a few pieces of the beetroot that you strained out into the bottle as well.

Keep in the fridge . Eat after 24 hours , gets better with time as onions loose their sharpness .Keeps well for 2-3 weeks as long as it dosent come in contact with water!

Julia Child

I love Julia Child and I love Meryl Streep .....So I obviously liked the movie Julie & Julia (2009).

I think every foodie, food blogger should watch it! Of course I wish it had more about the life of Julia Child but it was a great watch none the less. In fact this movie has inspired so many people to start writing their own food blogs.

For the uninitiated Julia Child  was an American chef , author and television show host. She taught Americans to love food and take pride in making it in the 60s with her debut book Mastering the art of French cooking. 
Julia Child 

So going back to the movie it talks about how Julia Child a bored house wife started cooking at the age of 32 by enrolling at the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris in 1950 and in parallel talks of Julie Powells life in 2002 a bored secretary who takes on the challenge of cooking 524 of Julia Childs recipes in 365 days in her tiny apartment kitchen and then blogs about all her cooking experiences .

So two great women whose lives take on entirely new meaning when they discover that with the right combination of  passion , fearlessness , butter and cream anything is possible.

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen 

Meryl Streep as Julia Child

Julia Child was a one- of - a -kind woman absolutely fearless and not afraid of massaging poultry and dropping food and utensils when cooking . She also left us with some great quotes some of my favorites:

“Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” 

“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate” 

"Tears mess up your make-up" :))

“Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed. Eh bien, tant pis. Usually one's cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile, and learn from her mistakes.” 
― Julia ChildMy Life in France