mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

The Perfect Flan: In the Kitchen with Manisha

In Desserts, Eggs, Tea Party, Travel on August 29, 2015 at 7:38 pm

At the Garden of the Gods

[Continued from the previous post]
The next morning Andrea graciously offered to drive us through the Garden of the Gods before dropping us off at Jim’s office downtown. Kristin was driving up from Denver to pick us up. She, her husband Paul, Jim, and I, had been classmates at KSU and later Paul and I ended up working together in Denver. Today they own a successful design firm that is doing impressive work in and around Denver. It was so good to note that not only were all of us make a living out of what we had trained to do but also that we loved doing it!

In Denver, Paul and Kristin took us down memory lane, literally. Together we drove to some of the once-familiar places including the little garage-unit at Corona and 11th (it had it’s own fractional address: 1125 1/2!) that had been my home, and the office at Cherokee and 11th. By the time we were through it was too late for a Japanese country-style lunch at Domo’s, which had been a favourite with the office bunch. So we went to Benny’s for Mexican instead – chimichangas and margaritas it was. Later we hung out at the City Center Cultural Complex with quick visits to the Denver Public Library, the Capitol Plaza, and the Denver Art Museum before catching the bus to Louisville from the all-new Union Station.
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Patali Gur er Payesh

In Bengal, Bengali, Desserts, Vegetarian on June 13, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Some time last year, I was finally able to lay my hands on three beautiful blocks of Patali gur (also called Khejur gur or nolen gur in Bangla) from West Bengal.  Even though Sroboshi no longer worked with us in the office in Delhi, she sent the promised gur, that had arrived with her parents from Kolkata, through a courier from Bombay where they had all moved to.  It is always a busy time here and more often than not, I put such gifts into the refrigerator, where they hide reside till their time.  Only destiny decides when that might be.  This one was languishing in the office refrigerator along with some dried shrimp that had been stored there all winter as well.  Come summer, the refrigerator was required for mundane purposes, such as providing chilled drinking water, to all of us in the office.  TH put his foot down, and I had to remove the offending package – the shrimps.  With that I re-acquainted with the blocks of patali gur.  They were in double packaging and looked as good as new.  These were removed to the fridge in the kitchen downstairs.

patali gur

Patali gur is an unrefined sugar made from the sap of the date palm.  You might compare it to jaggery made from sugarcane, but it would be inappropriate.  I am not about to take sides here; they are not as different as chalk and cheese, but I will say that they may not be substituted for each other, and that I love them both.  Patali gur definitely has a more intense caramel-ly, smoky flavour than jaggery.

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The Fruits of Summer

In Desserts, Low Fat, Vegetarian on June 20, 2012 at 11:33 am

Hell couldn’t be hotter than Delhi in June.  This summer seems to be particularly hot.  Many of my less heat-hardy plants have just dessicated.  Even the Temple Tree is showing signs of heat stress!  I can only pray the monsoon will keep its date with Delhi; if all stays well with the wind systems, it should hit Delhi on June 29.

Mango Lychee dessert

The week has started off well with a sharp shower on Monday morning that brought a seven degree drop in the day temperature, from a scorching 44 degrees Celsius the previous day to a ‘balmy’ 37.  We take our silver linings as they come.  Monday was also my birthday and I was supposed to hit the streets, albeit those of the air-conditioned neighbourhood mall, with my sister, mom, and niecelet, who herself turned all of six years last week.  No, I wasn’t planning to shop till I dropped; it was Mom who needed company to shop.  We spent a pleasant couple of hours telling her what to splurge on.  Nothing beats shopping therapy when it is not even your own money.

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Cinnamon Rolls

In Baking, Desserts, Tea Party on September 15, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Cinnamon rolls

I’ve had these on my mind for some time. A long time.  Even though the dough is like your basic bread the decadent sauce takes it to another level.  And yet it is not as sinful as cake (err…if you leave the sauce out, that is).  It comes together easily with just a little wait for the yeast to do its thing.

After ogling at many house-and-garden magazine in the college library while at graduate school, I finally succumbed and subscribed to one – Cuisine.  Low annual subscriptions for most magazines in the US make them affordable even for poor students from India. When you are home sick, missing your husband and your little boy, there is much comfort to be derived from staring at pictures of delicious looking food; it’s not called food porn for no reason.  Cuisine was 44 pages of only food, no advertisements.

I had a very basic kitchen then; not much in the name of gadgets except for a blender.  I don’t recall attempting any of the recipes I would drool over but all the issues of Cuisine were packed along with the text books and brought home to India.  Even today,  whenever I am feeling a little out of sorts, I sit down with some of my cookbooks and look for something I might want to cook (not for the next meal, necessarily).  It never fails to improve the mood even if it might mean butter-toast for dinner!

One of the recipes that I did finally try out were these sinful cinnamon rolls (sorry about the off-colour pictures; they are from two years ago when I hadn’t yet figured out white-balance, much to Manisha’s consternation).  They are as decadent as they look especially with the sticky caramel sauce; skip the sauce only if you need to diet.  I give in to occasional gluttony; we are all worth it. Read the rest of this entry »

Classic Shrikhand

In Desserts, Low Fat, Maharashtrian, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on September 30, 2009 at 11:29 pm

shrikhand

My previous post didn’t quite make the cut for Express Indian: 6-ingredients-or-under because I had one ingredient too many and there were some protests that I was breaking my own rules. Little do you know that we Delhi-ites are like that only; we know rules are made so that they may be broken!  Nor are we about to turn over a new leaf just because the Commonwealth Games are round the bend and the honourable Minister of Home Affairs P. Chidambram feels we ought to mend our ways. Some things take time.

Meanwhile, here is another Express recipe, this time from TH’s home state of Maharashtra: second to none, the Shrikhand, a creamy dessert that comes together in no time and involves no cooking.  But do plan ahead, more so if you are planning to make the chukka (hung curd) at home.  Shrikhand tastes best if you allow 12-24 hours for the delicate  flavours to meld.  Some like shrikhand to be really smooth and achieve this by passing the mix through a sieve.  In our house we like some texture to shrikhand and skip this step.  My mother-in-law used to add a few spoonfuls of malai (clotted cream) to the chukka.  Every now and then there would be a tiny nugget of the soured malai that gave the shrikhand an additional richness and texture.  But gone are those days of buying fresh water-buffalo milk every morning (long live low-fat lifestyles), skimming the malai off, adding some yoghurt for culture, and collecting it over the next week or two to make butter and ghee. The buttermilk from churning this cultured clotted cream made the best kadhi. Undoubtedly. Sigh.

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Another chance – a piece of cake?

In Desserts, Muffins and Cookies, on the side, Tea Party, Under 30 min! on May 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Despite what you might be beginning to think. I haven’t fallen through any hole and disappeared from the surface of this earth.  Though, I came pretty close to just that this past weekend.

Given the hectic work pace of the past month, a fleeting thought that this might be our last chance to find some time with a young son on the threshold of adulthood (and college), and the by-now oppressive Delhi summer, we decided to steal a quick trip into the neighbouring Himalayan foothills.  A few calls and we were booked for an extended weekend in the tea gardens of Palampur.

But I am not going to be able to tell you anything about the tea there.  We never made it that far.  We had a nasty accident just a few hours out of Delhi and are really lucky to have made it back at all!  It even seemed a bit surreal after the crazy moments of the actual crash for the first few seconds of which we did not even know what was going on.  There we were turned 180 degrees and looking at the giant trailer that had just fish-tailed us!  Thankfully, the truck loaded with reinforcement steel wasn’t going too fast and came to a stop without dragging us too far or crushing into us further.  It was all over in a matter of seconds.  I looked around – all seemed okay, got out of the car and walked over to the side…. I was pretty amazed at my steady steps!

Good karma. 🙂  And another chance at A Mad Tea Party!

A silver lining of the botched trip was that I was able to be in town for a visiting friend.  Shilpa was going to come over with her daughter and friends for A Mad Tea Party.

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Cheesecake in Delhi!

In Desserts on January 9, 2009 at 10:59 pm

cheesecake

A very Happy New Year to all of you.  (No, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth.)  May you have all you need.  Yes – need, not want.  And may you never want.  And what you cannot have may you be able to cook it up.

Do you crave things from long ago, from once-upon-a-time-when-I-lived-in-Cherapunji?  One of the things I have craved ever since I left the shores of America, besides New York style bagels, is a slice of cheesecake.  I have tried my luck with many restaurants here in Delhi. Other than The All American Diner at the IHC none have served anything worth a second fork-full, most being a jello+whipped-cream-on-a-crumb-base thing.

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Coming soon….

In Desserts on December 17, 2008 at 10:51 am

rising

Dec 30: Well, well…I didn’t really think anyone would be able to guess this!  But Bhavna got it right!  I might as well do as Manisha says and make this an edition of Riddle Me This even if a couple of weeks late!  Here are the rules for you, Bhavna.

You have to:

  1. find something stranger than strange and,
  2. post it on their blog within the next two weeks.
  3. The quiz remains open for at least 1 day and at the most 2 days.
  4. The person who guesses it correctly gets the torch and is the next host for Riddle Me This.
  5. If the person who guesses correctly is the previous host, then that person will get to pick someone to pass the buck to from all those who made a guess.
  6. And so on.
  7. Please use the fabulous logo, also designed by Manisha, and link back to the host who passed the baton on to you.
  8. Please do your best to keep this alive. Just think of how much fun it will be!

The clock is ticking… you have 48 hours starting now…

Here’s to the old…

In Desserts, Drinks, Random Musings on December 31, 2007 at 1:49 pm

I hope it has been a good year for all of you. If it’s been a mixed bag, as most years are, you’ll find yourself looking back at it with much nostalgia soon enough. The past has a way of turning rosy.

There was much that was good with this year for me too. Even though I slowed down in the frequency of my posts, it was always fun to discuss with you, dear reader. I have to admit that you are the best part of blogging! After each post, I eagerly await your response. Since I usually post in the night, checking the comments is the first thing I do next morning, with my morning cuppa by the side. For some of the posts there is as much information in the comments as there is in the post… even if occasionally the discussion gets off topic 😉 .

gifts yay!
Thanks to some of you I got to taste many new flavours this year – some quite exotic!

Thanks to this blog I have made new friends at an age I never thought it possible; friends with whom I have found much in common, and much to learn from. What did The Learned One say about surrounding yourself with smart people? …some of it will rub off on you. So true.

hot chocolate

I am late for Nupur’s event: Best of 2007, but I do want to do the roundup… Come along, grab some hot chocolate (while it is still snowing here) like I did, let’s walk the year again together…

My ten favourite posts (and recipes) from 2007:

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Zafraani Zamodod

In Desserts, Kashmiri, Low Fat, Under 30 min! on August 4, 2007 at 11:19 pm

dahi
plain dahi

Zafraan (Persian)/kesar (Hindi)/kong (Kashmiri) or saffron, is the most expensive spice in the world, worth more than its weight in gold. In India it has always been measured in tolas, a unit of measure used for weighing gold (approximately 12gm). Kashmiri saffron with its long and deep maroon strands and a delicate aroma is the most valued in the world.

If you were ever disappointed with your Kashmiri saffron, and wondered what the fuss was all about, it is likely that you received saffron that was blended with the less expensive Spanish or Iranian saffron. A few months back my Mom got hold of a little of the real stuff through a cousin working in Kishtwar (Kashmir). Despite having all her culinary secrets revealed here she gave the entire lot to me! Isn’t she the best?

Very little Kashmiri saffron is exported, most of it being consumed within India. It is an ideal flavouring for Indian desserts which are mostly milk based. Occasionally it is also used in savory preparations such as pulaos and biryanis.

In Kashmir, it is primarily used in desserts such as the Modur Polav, and Kheer. On special occasions it may also be used to flavour Kahva. During weddings it gets sprinkled on top of our much loved zamodod/dahi (yoghurt) served in earthen pots to guests at the banquet, and also on the larger pots of dahi that make up the goodies (including nuts, fruits, and giant balls of rock-sugar, called nabud in Kashmiri, and mishri in Hindi) that the new bride brings with her to her new home. Those of you who have had Shrikhand will know how special dahi becomes with the addition of saffron.

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