Rava Laddu/Semolina balls

I am sitting near a window with the blinds rolled up and looking at the yard beyond. Fall is in full swing with its brilliant colours. A leaf falls so gently in the dull daylight with a rain cloud hanging above.

I think of my friend who introduced me to e.e.cummings, who is not very particular about capital letters. In my University days when we were idling on the steps near the library and commenting on the students walking by, my friend held an anthology of American poetry and pointed out to this poem which of course, affected me and changed my thought pattern. We then read it together and tried to decode it.

[l(a] by e.e.cummings

l(a

le
af
fa

ll

s)
one
l

iness

This poem expresses an abstract message. If you read everything between the brackets it reads ‘a leaf falls’ and outside it ‘oneliness’, and adding the ‘l’ from the beginning, we get ‘loneliness’. Upon first reading I thought it was clever and whimsical. But this poem is endlessly intriguing.

Look at the structure of the poem! It is just like a leaf falling from a tree…sometimes horizontal and at times vertical. The leaf swirls in the lines fa/af  and lands on the ground with its ‘oneliness’ or loneliness. Our eyes are forced to a movement from top to bottom as the leaf floats down alone. There is this strong image of solitude and a lonesome death. It is simple yet beautiful and profound. This poem touched me in many ways. At that time my nose was deeply buried in Sciences and this prompted me to turn to Literature. It is no wonder I think of it every time I see a leaf fall. I can never look at a Fall leaf without a trace of poetry in it.

So I did not miss a chance to go on a Fall drive and enjoy the solitary leaf falling and admire the sky with its ever changing moods.

IMG_9921I was away travelling for a while so my posts are not consistent. The latest is a trip to Ottawa and then to Boston and New York. Now I am committing myself to a regular schedule of home cooking.

Semolina sweet treats1 llI recently promised another friend of mine from Kenya, that I would visit her son studying in Boston. I asked her what was his favourite snack and she replied it is Rava laddu. I was surprised because Rava laddu is always considered a humble home made sweet and this young guy is very trendy and has a sophisticated sense of style and tastes so I did not expect it coming. I was more than happy to make a batch of these sweet balls and pack it for him. It was delightful to watch him smile at the sight of it. It made my day!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rava/semolina
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp ghee(clarified butter)
  • 1 tbsp cashew nuts broken
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3 cardamom pods
  1. Separate seeds from cardamom pods and crush it in a mortar to a powder adding some granular sugar to make it easier.
  2. Heat a pan and add 2 tbsp ghee.
  3. Fry cashew until golden and fry raisins till they plump up.
  4. Remove them from the pan and keep aside.
  5. Fry rava adding the remaining ghee till it becomes aromatic but without browning.
  6. Add sugar, cardamom powder, raisins and nuts.
  7.  Turn off the heat and let it cool down to bearable heat.
  8. Sprinkle heated milk and make the mixture into balls. (Pour the milk little at a time in the center and make balls so if it is watery soft it can be rolled in the dry mixture to firm it.)
  9. As it cools down the balls harden and are ready.

Enjoy these after they firm up. It can be stored for many weeks in the refrigerator. I made 14 medium sized balls with these ingredients. Desiccated coconut can also be added to the mixture before making the balls. I love these as a sweet treat to celebrate Diwali. When young, I was assigned the duty of taking sweets on a tray as gifts to our neighbours and I loved it. We get to enjoy food made in their houses in return. I remember eating this laddu during Diwali from a particular neighbour who made it without adding coconut and that taste is stuck in my mind. I have not eaten it for quite some time so I made another batch. It is easy to make and delicious with the flavour of cardamoms. These sweet balls surely bring memories of the festivities. 1Laa

1 l

Posted in Fried, Not just for kids, Pack-and-go snack, Snack | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Fig and date bars/ Fruity snack

Whole wheat, fig & date bars

I am back from my trip to India and unpacking. Here are two travel shots from the lot! Pictures reminding…life is a struggle and one big burden!

1-IMG_8142-0011-IMG_8207This visit was short and I am feeling a little homesick and longing for more. The intention was to visit our parents and hang around for a few days. We were carrying out simple errands and eating a lot of goodies.  It is fascinating that in our parents mind we are still kids, so they give us thousand warnings and guide us with all sorts of instructions when going out. I literally wanted to scream, “For heavens sake, I manage a family too!”, but pasted a dumb smile to make them happy. I can totally understand that they are mostly bored and feel elated being useful and I felt a wee sense of pleasure being treated like a 10 year old.

Driving around did not take a back seat as my husband’s wanderlust was provoked. I travelled through lush Kerala and visited a lot of temples as that was my mothers main agenda. I had the opportunity to visit Ambalapuzha temple and taste the original Paal payasam which was almost close to my payasam here - Vishu and Paal payasam. The trip was so good that I didn’t have enough of it!

As I have to get back to blogging I made this recipe with dry figs to celebrate my return. This is a quick simple recipe I adapted from here. Of course, I found those display containers by ransacking old treasures.

1-fbIngredients

  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 6-7 dates
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp flax powder
  • 1/4 cup corn flour
  • 1/4 cup honey/molasses
  • 1 egg and some egg white to brush
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  1. Soak dry figs in boiled water for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain figs, remove stalks and add chopped dates. (Dates for extra sweetness!)
  3. Crush the fruits into a smooth paste in a blender adding some water used for soaking.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg, honey, vanilla extract and cinnamon until well blended.
  6. Add the flours and flax powder to the wet ingredients and knead to a smooth ball.
  7. If needed, sprinkle some figs soaked water to form the dough.
  8. Lightly flour a surface and divide dough into 2 parts.
  9. Roll out dough into a large sheet and trim the edges to get a rectangle shape.
  10. Spread fig paste thinly in the center of the sheet leaving 1 centimeter margin on two opposite sides.
  11. Fold the dough on to the fig paste starting from the side having a margin.
  12. Roll the dough over on itself till the other end, checking that the seam is on the bottom.
  13. Cut into even sized bars.
  14. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  15. Brush top with egg white and sprinkle poppy seeds.
  16. Arrange bars on prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or till the bars are lightly golden.

Fig bars1This yields about 12 bars, as I did not calculate ahead, I got only 11 bars. The bars tasted delicious and can be used as a school snack in addition to being an all time snack. It is almost like chappati rolls…only a bit crispy. The dough was not flaky which would ask for a lot of butter though. These fig bars are sturdy with a chewy center.

1-IMG_87611-f2As they freeze well I have put some away for future use. I guess, we can try using other fruit fillings too for a change. Make some as your next travel snack!

Posted in Baked, Dessert, Easy recipe, Not just for kids, Pack-and-go snack, Snack | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Mixed Vegetable Kurma (Coimbatore style)/Spicy veggie curry

Restaurant style vegetable Kuruma

Hi guys…I am in India right now, enjoying the lovely weather, hanging out with relatives and gobbling amazing food in different places. If I am not able to post regularly, please excuse me! Right now I am typing from an Internet cafe and it is quite difficult to concentrate with all the commotion outside. Some people at the entrance are expressing their opinions on worldly matters at a very high pitch…still, let me continue!

v kurHome style vegetable Korma is a bit different from what they serve in restaurants. I don’t know the commercial additives that make their preparation more attractive to hungry costumers. But I love that taste and their appealing presentation making the main dish more appetizing. Every home has its own spice blends to make curries but they make subtle changes to add taste and flavour.

The same goes to the restaurants also. Each restaurant and every city has its stamp and style in crafting Kurma, a spicy side dish for flat breads. I was addicted to the kurma made in a particular restaurant called Ajantha in Coimbatore in the prime of my life, but to my grief I found that they are closed now for renovation and could not treat my senses. Yesterday, I tasted a Mugalai style Kuruma and it was yummy. Oh, I have to learn that style too!

The taste of my hometown dishes are etched on my taste buds. Long back I used to admire restaurant food because of its rarity. My father did not like restaurant food as it upsets his stomach and stuck to homemade food. It was special guests who made it possible. As a kid I longed for such instances as it exposed me to spicy variation of food and the special restaurant taste.

As I grew up, I took things in my hand and could visit restaurants with my friends. My husband came into my life as a blessing in disguise as he loves restaurant food, especially the good kind. I would say my golden era of food tasting started soon. He took me to sample all kinds of foods…but has his own preferences too. When I was pregnant, I loved restaurant food with a passion. I was this strange person without morning sickness and could eat anything and everything with a heavy heartburn from the oily and sweet stuff. I devoured truck load of food without a care!

I make veg korma quite differently which can be branded my style. Last time when I visited home, I tasted Coimbatore style kuruma. It has a particular taste and I asked our house help for that exact recipe. She got this recipe from her friend who runs a food stall. When I tried it, it took me back to all the restaurant taste I could recall. Of course, when I recreated it, I added less oil with consideration to health.

v k

 Ingredients

  • 3 cups mixed vegetables (Carrot-1 cubed, Potato-1 cubed, Peas-1/4 cup, Corn 1/4 cup, Beans-1/4 cup chopped and Cauliflower florets-1 cup
  • Spices to roast – 2 cloves, 1 cardomon, 1 stick cinnamon, ½ tsp pepper corns, 1 ½ tsp coriander seeds, ¼ tsp cumin seeds,
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp white poppy seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 medium  onion- chopped
  • 2 green chillies
  • ½ tsp red chilly powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tomato
  • salt as needed
  • vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • curry leaves-few
  • few coriander leaves-chopped
  1. Chop vegetables into small pieces and cook them.
  2. Gently fry coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper corns and cloves.
  3. Grind coconut with fried spices, fennel seeds,poppy seeds (may use cashew instead of poppy seeds) and garlic.
  4. Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds and add curry leaves.
  5. Saute for few seconds and add chopped onion
  6. Fry till it turns golden brown and add split green chillies.
  7. Sprinkle turmeric powder, chilly powder and saute for 1 minute.
  8. Add coconut paste, mix well and cook it.
  9. Then add all the vegetables, enough water and boil until vegetables are cooked.
  10. Add chopped tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  11. Turn off the heat and add chopped coriander leaves.

This curry is a perfect side dish for all kinds of flat breads, appam, idly and iddiappam.

veg kuvegI am back in our family kitchen and enjoying the taste of homemade Kuruma again. If you like to taste Coimbatore style Kuruma, do try this.

Kindly excuse me if I am not able to respond to your comments. I may not be able to visit your posts and comment frequently too as time is not in my favour. But I will get back to you at the earliest.

Have a good time every one!

 

Posted in Coconut, Curry, Side dish, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Vegetarian burger/Sweet potato bean burger

Sweet potato, beans, purple kale burger patties

bur

Make your ultimate gourmet veggie burger

Burgers are an all time favourite. Some fast food joints do not offer veggie burgers and I have spent many lunch time just munching french fries dipped in ketchup. Sad story! Summer is grilling time and the best way to get out of the kitchen and spend time outdoors is by having a burger lunch on the deck. It is vacation time without taking off from the patio. Barbeque is one task totally assigned to men folks and I get to enjoy the show! Father and son decided to grill few store bought meat patties.

bmeSo I joined the fun, making a simple vegetable burger with mashed sweet potato, onion and beans. Chopping some home grown purple kale and vine ripe heirloom tomato added pride and taste to my burger patties. I tried to grill one on the vegetarian side of the barbecue but it stuck to the grill and was a disaster. Then I cooked it on a non stick frying pan adding a little oil. This is a simple and delicious burger and one may even ditch the meat burger for it. If you are a vegetarian like me this might be the burger you have been waiting for.

 Ingredients   

 b i 

  • 1 large sweet potato cut into chunks
  • 1 cup beans (white, chickpeas or fava beans)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • few purple kale leaves chopped
  • 2 Weetabix or 1 cup bread crumbs
  • Spices (½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp crushed coriander seeds, ½ tsp red pepper, a pinch dill seeds)
  • salt & pepper

This makes 5 burger patties and they freeze very well for future use.b p

  1. Steam cook sweet potato cut into large chunks with the skin.
  2. Mash it with a spoon after it has cooled completely. (Can include some skin too as it is very nutritious.)
  3. Drain beans (I used fava beans) and add to the sweet potato mash.
  4. Add chopped onion and kale leaves to it.
  5. Sprinkle garlic powder, red pepper, crushed coriander seeds, dill seeds, salt and pepper (or steak seasoning mix).
  6. Crush 2 Weetabix or more and mix with the mash to absorb extra moisture.
  7. Take a big ball of the mash and pat it into a burger patty.
  8. Heat a shallow pan and fry this on both sides adding a little oil.
  9. Serve it between sliced soft bun with other fresh veggie toppings.

To assemble bun

There are many ways to assemble a burger. ‘How to build a better burger’, here gives this layering and I followed it with a slight variation avoiding cheese and mayo.

b assem

 

  1. Spread pickle, yellow mustard and ketchup on the bun.
  2. Place vegetable or meat patty on it.
  3. A slice of tomato and onion rings on top.
  4. Cover that with lettuce and then with the other slice of bun on top.

Grab it with both hands and sink your teeth into it to enjoy a vegan burger. This patty holds up perfectly and tastes delicious.

1-b-001

Veggie burgers with fresh ingredients are fantastic and I will be making these again and again.

My son assembled his meat burger in a different style. No harm in trying your own way!

 

b meatHave fun!

 

Posted in Fried, Main dish, Not just for kids, steamed, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Chocolate cheesecake swirl brownies

Chocolate orange cheesecake brownie

1-brLast week end was a long one with Monday included and I went on a road trip to New York and had a wonderful time. We couldn’t ask for more…the weather was mild, sky was overcast and the company, merry! It was mostly a sight seeing tour of New york city on foot. My legs were begging by bed time every day! The best part was looking at people from different corners of the world congregating at attractions and departing, living that moment!

Personally, I liked the High Line walk, an elevated freight train line converted into a public garden above the ground, cutting across streets and passing in between building. Good feeling, like floating above the streets!

Some visuals from our trip…

1-IMG_4729 Metropolitan Museum of Art- New York City

Metropolitan Museum of Art- New York City

1-IMG_5223

High Line – a walk in the high raised garden in West Manhattan

1-a tall

Manhattan Municipal Building

1-a sky

Manhattan skyline from Hudson river

1-a libert

Liberty Statue at Sunset

1-a walk

Brooklyn Bridge traffic

1-abb

Brooklyn Bridge

1-a q

Tram to Roosevelt Island

1-aroad

What a day to drive!

Chocolate orange cheesecake brownie

1-chu

This recipe is from Milk Calender. I have modified the recipe slightly as I had some extra  cheese to finish which was nearing its ‘best before date’ I added that too. This is a treat for cheesecake lovers. Enjoy it!

Ingredients

Brownie batter

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter cut into cubes
  • 3/4  cup sugar
  • a generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cheesecake batter

  • 250 g cream cheese, softened (brick style cheese)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil with a little over hang to pull it out after baking.
  3. Brownie batter: Combine milk and butter and warm it in a pan. In a large bowl whisk together sugar, salt, cocoa powder and warm milk. Whisk in egg, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla.
  4. Reserve a quarter of the batter for the swirl on the top.
  5. Pour the remaining brownie batter into the prepared baking tray.
  6. Cheesecake batter: In a bowl beat cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer. Beat in flour until blended, then beat in egg, orange juice and vanilla essence.
  7. Pour cheesecake batter on top of brownie batter.
  8. Drop reserved brownie batter in dollops on top and swirl with a knife tip to create the marbling effect.
  9. Bake about 35 minutes or until edges are set.
  10. If a few crumbs stick to a tooth pick tester it is baked.
  11. Cool completely in pan.
  12. Transfer to a cutting board using over hanging paper or foil and cut into squares.

This recipe makes 16 square pieces of Chocolate orange cheesecake brownies. It can be stored for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator and travels well. It is very filling as it is a bit denser than cakes.

1-s 1-b ch

 

Posted in Baked, Cake, Cake decoration, Cheese, Dessert, Not just for kids, Pack-and-go snack | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Beetroot Pulav/Fried beet rice

Beetroot Fried Rice

1-IMG_4125I don’t know if it is a cultural thing or a motherly thing that I always ask my children what they ate if they did not have home made lunch. When I ask my son, invariably he says, “FOOD”! But I still prod with questions to get all the details. While talking to friends, I include the inevitable question what their culinary experiment was and most friends ask me in return. I have seen my mother discuss with our neighbours about the food they cooked. Maybe it is to draw inspiration or cook a copycat version of it. It always helps!

Recently, I was on a phone chat with a friend and asked her what she made for lunch. She mentioned making beetroot rice. She also packed it for her son’s lunch as he likes to deal with something that can be spooned easily. I thought it was a cool idea. So I tried the same but spiced it up with tikka masala to add some oomph to it.

1-bpulav

Fried rice coloured with beetroot and infused with the flavours of tikka masala and coconut

Beet root is a great colouring agent that overpowers and colours everything added to it and makes this rice look attractive. I made this pulav mainly for visual delight but slyly for all the hidden benefits. I added broccoli at the end of the preparation to add a little contrast. My dear son who considers rice as empty calories and doesn’t get charmed by beets commented, ‘It tastes pretty good!’. Wow, that was a big stamp of approval! So I decided to post it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1 medium beetroot
  • 1 red onion
  • few broccoli florets
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 inch piece cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ginger, garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp Tikka masala (recipe at the bottom of the post)
  • few mint leaves
  • 2 green chillies
  • salt
  1. Wash and drain rice.
  2. Fry rice in butter to get a coating around it.
  3. Transfer it to a pan or rice cooker and add 2 cups of water and cook.
  4. When it is done allow it to cool.
  5. Heat coconut oil in a pan and add cumin seeds to splutter.
  6. Add bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon to it and fry for 1 minute.
  7. Fry onion in the same pan to a golden colour adding a pinch of salt.
  8. Next add ginger-garlic paste, slit green chillies and turmeric powder.
  9. Puree tomato and add that to the pan and fry well until water evaporates and oil appears on the sides.
  10. Add grated beetroot to it.
  11. Fry for 5 minutes for the raw smell to disappear and a nice aroma to develop.
  12. Add coconut milk and boil.
  13. Sprinkling tikka masala, salt and mix well.
  14. Gently add cooked rice and coat each grain with the dark purple mixture.
  15. Cut broccoli into small florets, sprinkle some water and a pinch of salt and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  16. Add this to the beet pulav for a pop of green.
  17. Garnish with mint leaves and serve with curd raitha.

1-IMG_4121

Tikka masala spices

    • 3 tsp coriander
    • 3 tsp cumin
    • 3 tsp garlic powder
    • 1½ tsp ginger powder
    • 3 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp red chilli powder
    • 2 tsp garam masala

Mix all these ingredients and store it in a jar and use as needed.

A combination of theses spices make the pulav stand out by adding extra flavour. Tikka masala infuses an additional aromatic punch and turns ordinary rice into a special meal. I have plans to use it in other fried rice dishes too. This spice mix can be used in recipes like  Chicken tikka masala, Butter chicken and mixed vegetable curries.

 

Posted in Coconut, Fried, Main dish, Rice, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Basil garlic cheddar biscuits/Hot spicy scones

Cheesy Scones

1-bbiI was cleaning up some clutter when I came across a calendar with a Garlic cheddar biscuit recipe and I tried it out earnestly. It did not work out at first and tasted horrible. Normally, I try making a small batch, like half of the recipe before I am sure about some recipes. Intrigued by the texture and rise in the biscuit, I wanted to try it out differently and did not want to give up. It was a good decision though! I guessed, the culprit in the recipe was cream of tartar and green onions. So I changed some ingredients and completely avoided those two. I used buttermilk instead of milk and basil, garlic powder to add flavour.

It turned out impressive! So I made a big batch as I am expecting some guests. It was a triumph and I want to gloat a little by sharing this recipe with all of you. This will make a good snack and a fine finger food with any sweet wine.

1-IMG_3924-001Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil or chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup cold unsalted butter
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F
  2. Grease a large baking tray with butter.
  3. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and chilli flakes.
  4. Using a knife cut cold butter into tiny pieces.
  5. Mix it with the flour until crumbly.
  6. Stir in cheese dried basil and garlic powder.
  7. Slowly add buttermilk, stir with a fork, until the dough comes together.
  8. On a floured surface knead the dough 3-4 times until it holds together.
  9. Roll out to 1½ cm thick disk and cut into circles using a round cookie cutter.
  10. Re-roll scraps to make more.
  11. Place the cut biscuit dough on the prepared baking sheet with space for expansion (about 5 cm).
  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes until it starts to brown.
  13. Brush biscuit top with melted butter and bake for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
  14. Best served warm.

This recipe makes about 16 biscuits. It flakes and crumbles pleasantly. Add chilli powder according to your preference to have it subtle or more pronounced heat. Use it warm or warm it before serving as it can be stored in the freezer for months. 1-IMG_3930 1-IMG_3950 It can be rolled into larger pieces and used as breakfast biscuits. Slice it in the center and add fried eggs and lettuce or some bacon strips. It will make a great snack with tea too.1-IMG_3969My husband generally avoids buttery treats but I spoil him with some of my baked bites. Normally, I tempt him but he holds his stern determination to avoid high fat snacks. And he is not a fan of anything made with cheese! After eating this biscuit he came for seconds! Glory to hot scones!

Posted in Baked, Breakfast, Cookies, Not just for kids, Snack | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

No bake torte – my 100th post

        POST

cutIt is amazing how time flies! I started this blog just for fun but soon was hooked by it. This is my 100th post and cannot substantiate how much I have learned or how some readers have become close friends. It was incredible! Thank you everyone for all the love, encouragement and suggestions. Hugs and kisses!

I enjoyed getting in touch with so many like minded people out there! This is a real milestone and I thank everyone for reading, commenting and keeping me motivated.  I have taken it slowly and experimented exclusively for the kick of it. There were times when I sat scratching my head not able to decide on a good recipe, feeling lazy, uninspired and eventually jumping up with sparks of enthusiasm discovering something that worked out differently. It was an awesome journey and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

100th postTo celebrate this occasion and to say a huge “THANK YOU”, here is my easy unbaked torte that is addictive and approved by family and friends.

There is no one source for this recipe…it was a mixture of what I read, saw and tasted…all put together.  The cookie layer is not just a single type of cookie but odd cookies those are not eaten and less sweet rejects, combined together. (Do a pantry hunt for some mismatched cookies at the bottom of your cookie jars.) It was a free flowing thought and I even made the last layer after a day as it did not look good with the white chocolate layer alone. I would say there is no strict measurements too, but can use this as a guide. Increase or decrease ingredients and add more dry fruits and nuts. How interesting!

Tasty double chocolate torte!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups crushed cookies
  • 2 cups dates chopped
  • few dry figs chopped
  • 1½ cup almond chopped
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2½ tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup frozen blue berries
  • 2 cups chopped white chocolate chunks
  • 2 cups chopped milk chocolate chunks/semi-sweet chocolate
  1. Crush cookies in a ziplock/plastic bag using a rolling pin.
  2. Throw it in a blender with chopped dates, figs, almonds and maple syrup.
  3. Add cocoa powder and pulse in a blender to mix well. (It has to be sticky to roll into a ball.)
  4. Take a removable bottom baking pan/ spring form cake pan (7 X 2 inches).
  5. Cover the bottom with parchment paper for easy removal.
  6. Spread the mixture on the parchment paper and level the top.
  7. Keep this in a fridge until the chocolate is ready.
  8. Melt white chocolate chunks in a double boiler (see notes).
  9. Sprinkle frozen blue berries on the cold cookie layer and pour the white chocolate. (It hardens immediately after hitting the frozen berries so no leveling required.)
  10. Put it back in your fridge and allow it to firm.
  11. Melt chunks of chocolate using the double boiler method.
  12. Pour this over the white chocolate layer quickly before it hardens in the bowl.
  13. Firm it by cooling in the fridge.
  14. Remove the bottom of the baking pan and peel off parchment paper.
  15. Cut them into any fancy size pieces and enjoy.

Notes:

  • Double boiler – Place a container with water and boil the water, reduce heat and simmer. Place a bowl that fits on top without touching the water. Add chocolate into the top bowl and let it melt by the steam from the water below.
  • I found a ceramic bowl and silicon spatula make it easier to pour.

doubleIMG_3196IMG_3209Torte1c p

1to This is a high calorie treat…so indulge with caution! When you are celebrating something, you can go unchecked and wild!

I dedicate this torte to all my readers who made this blog a sweet venture! Love you all!!!

 

Posted in Not just for kids, Dessert, Cake, Torte | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Broccoli and spinach soup

Fiber packed soup thickened with oats flour

Soup is a simple meal addition that makes life easier and food nutritious. Spinach and broccoli could be difficult to eat raw but when you beat them into a pulp it is enticing. The sure way to grab some attention and feed picky eaters is to fill these healthy vegetables in a soup bowl. I personally don’t enjoy raw broccoli so I had to make a soup to include this wonderful vegetable in my diet.  It is a good starter/appetizer or a full meal accompanied by a protein rich salad.

1soupBroccoli and spinach contain vitamins and minerals that make them nutritional powerhouses. Low in calories and high in fiber, these vegetables fit well into any diet plan. Soups are normally quite filling and help in consuming less food and so very good for weight watchers. They are not just there to heal the sick but also to maintain a sound body and  prevent illness.

This green soup is hearty and healthy with the added goodness of roasted garlic and oats. It has a pleasant flavor with visual and textural appeal. The aroma of this soup simmering on stove top is an attractive invitation to pull everyone to the table.

roasted garlicRoasted garlic

  1. Chop off the tail portion of entire bulbs of garlic and drizzle some olive oil.
  2. Wrap them in aluminum foil and roast in an oven preheated to 400º F for 25-30 minutes.
  3. When it is soft to touch and starts browning remove from the oven.
  4. Cool it and squeeze out the contents into a container and store for weeks in the refrigerator.

This can be added to many dishes including pastas and garlic bread.

Ingredients for soup

  • 1 big head of broccoli
  • 1 small bunch spinach
  • 1 tsp roasted garlic
  • 1 small white onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp oats flour (more if you want it thicker)
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • few sprigs of lime thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lime squeezed
  • 2 tbsp fresh cream
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Break broccoli into small florets and remove most of the stem.
  2. Sprinkle a little salt and water and microwave for 2 minutes on high.
  3. Blanch spinach in hot water and dip it immediately in icy cold water.
  4. Chop it into smaller pieces.
  5. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute chopped onion.
  6. Add roasted garlic and oats flour and mix well.
  7. Then, add vegetable broth to it and stir well for oat flour to dissolve.
  8. When it boils add lime zest, leaves of lime thyme, broccoli and spinach.
  9. Simmer for a few minutes and add salt. (Store bought broths generally have a lot of salt unless it is low sodium broth, so salt after tasting.)
  10. Remove from heat and add lime juice.
  11. After it cools, puree using a hand blender.
  12. Garnish with lime thyme and fresh cream.
  13. Serve it hot or cold sprinkling the right amount of pepper.

Broccoli soup

SoupI am linking this post to the event ‘Soups with SS’ hosted by Shruti @ Cooking with SJ and Sonal @ Simply Vegetarian 777

Soups

Posted in Side dish, Soup, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Sun colada/Pineapple cocktail

Pine apple coconut cream rum cocktail

1co

Pinacolada brings memories of Hawaii, the sand, wind and waves. If everything cannot be remade, at least the drink can be recreated. This is invariably the best chilled drink you’ll ever have. I have made certain variations as I wanted to deviate from the milky white, classic Piñacolada. This indulgent sipper is best served outdoors on a patio while the sun gently kisses the skin or at the poolside for the best experience.

Rum is made from sugar cane. Molasses that is left after making sugar from cane juice, is fermented with yeast and distilled to make light rum. It takes 24 hours for experts to make it. As it can blend well with other fruit flavours it is widely used in cocktails. Medium bodied Golden rum also called Amber rum is mellow and smooth as it is aged for several years. Heavy bodied Dark rum will be fermented for many weeks and aged in oak casks for extended periods. They are coloured naturally by caramelized sugar.

Making cocktails is an art of precision as the bartender has a recipe for every drink and they are creative in concocting new imaginative combinations! To get the right flavour, skilled mixologists have a few trick up their sleeves. The elegance they employ in mixing these drinks is a show of its own. There are thousands of recipes and no wonder mixologists are called bar chefs.

Cocktails can also be created by anyone following the exact measurements in a recipe because they are balanced to get the best flavour. Changing the quantity of each ingredient result in a variety of flavours and as a home mixologist I have tried mine. In this Summer Colada everything is combined in a blender. It creates a drink with a smooth consistency that can be served to please all the senses.

1 drinkIngredients

  • 3 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 oz coconut cream (2 tbsp)
  • 1 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 4 cubes raw sugar
  • 2 oz golden rum
  1. Crush pineapple, sugar and ice until smooth.
  2. Stain to remove any coarse particle.
  3. Add coconut cream and whipping cream to it.
  4. Finally add 2 oz rum to it for an adult version and whiz once.
  5. Serve it immediately.

glass Mix everything except rum for a kid friendly version. Add sugar depending on the sweetness of the pineapple.

1 summer

 

Posted in Drinks, Not just for kids | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments