Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Red Velvet Shake

New Year Shake
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
                                                            Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
                                                            The year is going, let him go;
                                                            Ring out the false, ring in the true.
                                                            ~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

With one of my my favourite shakes at hand- Red Velvet- I'm awaiting the dawn of a new year.  2013 has been an eventful one and I look forward to welcoming 2014.  Let's drink to the New Year 2014.

It’s like a new Sunrise- of Hope, of Prosperity, of Happiness
It’s like a new Beginning- of Thoughts, of Words, of Actions
It’s like a new Day- of Energy, of Strength, of Ideas

It’s like a bunch of whole new things- of Prayers, of Friends, and of Love.

Ending 2013 on a positive note.  To All Of Us.  Cheers.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Impressive Christmas Chicken

Christmas Chicken
I have had a blast this Christmas, cooking all my favourite foods and trying out new recipes.  There's a real satisfaction in churning out fantastic food and I have experienced it very often.  There's nothing I like better than to see people enjoying the food I cooked.  It makes everything worthwhile and here is another simple recipe for the home cook.  Make your Christmas special with this unique blend of coconut milk, lemon grass, chilli powder and other aromatic ingredients.  This is one Christmas Chicken everyone will love.

The Recipe:

1 chicken, whole without skin, wash and drain completely.  Around 1 to 1.2 kg should do.

1 cup coconut milk; 1/2 tsp tamarind paste; 5 kaffir lime leaves and 2 stalks of lemon grass, slit and bruised

For The Marinade: 1 1/4 tsp chilli powder; 1 stalk lemon grass, use only the white part.  If you cannot get lemon grass use about 1 tsp lemon zest; 5 candle nuts; 1 inch piece ginger; 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled; 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and 1 large onion, sliced; salt to taste; 3 tbsp oil for frying or grilling.
Blend to a thick paste and keep aside.

Marinade the whole chicken in half the marinade overnight in the refrigerator.  Next day, heat a large non stick wok large enough to hold the chicken.  Add oil and lower flame.  Brown the chicken all over, taking care to keep it whole.  Add the remaining paste, coconut milk, tamarind paste, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves.  Gently stir to mix well.  Cover and cook till chicken is tender.  Garnish with spring onions and serve hot with Fragrant Christmas Rice.

NB:  You can use almonds instead of candlenuts if desired.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Rice

Fragrant Ginger Lime and Pineapple Rice
This is another of my quick recipes, especially suitable for festive occasions and family get togethers when a large number of people congregate to have fun and good home cooked food.  The fragrance of the ingredients used during the cooking process will make your mouth water and  your nostrils twitch and  you'll find guests making a beeline for a second and third helping.

The Recipe:

2 cups basmathi rice; 1 inch piece ginger, minced ; 1 inch piece galangal (fragrant ginger), crushed roughly; 5 kaffir lime leaves; 1/2 cup pineapple cut into bite sized pieces; 1 large onion, sliced fine; 3 tbsp olive oil; salt to taste and a few kaffir lime leaves for garnishing; 4 cups hot water.

Heat a non stick pan and add the olive oil.  When hot fry the onions till golden brown.  Lower flame to medium and add the two gingers and stir fry till a wonderful aroma fills the kitchen.  Add rice and pineapple and stir till all the grains are coated.  Transfer to rice cooker, add salt to taste, 5 kaffir lime leaves and 4 cups of hot water and cook till done.  Serve with Tamarind Chicken and Poinsettia Salad.

May the Joy Of Christmas Abide In Your House Throughout The New Year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Pie

 Effortless Christmas Pie
I have been having a blast this season baking and cooking to my hearts content.  I have tried out new recipes and baked a variety of cakes to give away to friends and also sent a couple to Bangalore in my daughter's suitcase.  And another went to Germany with a friend's niece.  Some time ago I came across this pie recipe which which seemed very easy.  Somehow I have never had the confidence to make pies.  This recipe instructed the reader to just throw everything in a blender and dump it into a dish and bake it.  That's about all I did  (except that I played around with the ingredients)and the result- a golden yellow, astonishing concoction with the bottom like a pudding, the centre like a cake in texture and a crusty, chewy  top.  The fragrance made my house smell like Christmas and when I scraped the dish, I wish I had made more of this Effortless Christmas Pie.

The Recipe:

1/4 cup flour; 2 large eggs; 2 tsp vanilla essence; 1/2 cup coconut milk powder; 1/2 cup desiccated coconut; 1/4 cup almond meal; 60 gm salted butter at room temperature; 1/2 cup caster sugar; 1 cup low fat milk; 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg.

Blend all the above ingredients together except the nutmeg till well mixed.  The mixture will be a pouring consistency.  Pour into greased and floured pyrex dish.  Sprinkle the grated nutmeg on top and bake in pre heated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for exactly 45 minutes.  Skewer inserted in centre should come out clean.  Serve piping hot with icecream or custard.  It's also scrumptious on its own.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Salad

Poinsettia Christmas Salad
Salads are a great addition to any party and particularly at Christmas when there's so much to eat and a variety of culinary specialities.  Christmas Poinsettia Salad makes a lovely centre piece, an ice breaker and is so simple that a beginner could do it with ease.

The Recipe:

For The Poinsettia:  2 large salad tomatoes, the reddest you can find; a few corn kernels.

For The Salad:   1 green apple, cubed; 1/2 cup fresh pine apple, cubed; 1 medium carrot, skinned and grated; 1/2 a medium cucumber, washed and sliced wafer thin with the skin on; 1/2 cup curds (yoghurt); 2 tbsp spicy fruit chutney or any chutney in your kitchen or salad dressing of your choice; salt to taste; a sprig of kaffir lime leaves; 3 kaffir lime leaves, cut very fine (roll each leaf and then cut).

To Make The Poinsettia:  Cut each tomato into equal halves, then quarter each half and cut each quarter into two.  You should have sixteen nearly equal sized wedges, 8 for each layer.  With a sharp knife, remove the soft flesh and seeds and retain for use in the salad.  Next take a scissors and cut each wedge midway into two.  Repeat with all the pieces.  Keep aside for assembling later.

For The Salad:  Mix all the ingredients except the sprig of lime leaves together.  Taste for seasoning.  Take a pretty plate and place the sprig of lime leaves on it.  Arrange the salad on top of it and now assemble the Poinsettia carefully, eight pieces per layer in a flower shape, skin side up.  Repeat with a second layer on top of the first.  Place the corn kernels in the centre.  Your Poinsettia Christmas Salad is now ready.  Make sure it is admired adequately before it is eaten.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Apricot Coconut Cake

Unusual Apricot Coconut 
I am always on the prowl for any recipe that includes Apricots.  This year I came across an unusual combination of Apricot and Coconut.  Since I've never tried this before, I decided to experiment and the result was a melt in the mouth Unusual Christmas Apricot Coconut Cake.  Just the thing for party time and with a glass of Apricot Liqueur.

The Recipe:

250 gms butter; 2 cups brown sugar; 3 cups self raising flour; 5 large eggs; 2 cups chopped, dried apricots; 1 cup desiccated coconut; 1/2 cup Apricot liqueur; 2 tsp vanilla essence; 1 dsp desiccated coconut for sprinkling on top.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Cream with wooden spoon till glossy.  Pour into two  greased  and lined 9 inch square pans or into cup cake cases (I made a large cake and some cup cakes too) and bake at 175 degrees Centigrade for 45 minutes or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool and sprinkle desiccated coconut on top just before serving.  Spend the evening nibbling this Unusual Apricot Coconut Cake and sipping home made Apricot Liqueur.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Marbled Christmas Brownies

Double Chocolate Marbled Brownies
 Over the years, brownies have become a part and parcel of the Christmas Menu in our house.  Rich Chocolate decadence is an absolute must for any lover of chocolate.  Bake it in a large pan or just pour them into mini moulds and serve them at your Christmas party or simply give away to friends.

The Recipe:

100 gms maida; ½ tsp. baking powder; 30 gms cocoa powder; 112.5 gms. margarine or butter; 140 gms. powdered sugar;2 large eggs; 1/2 tsp. vanilla essence; 37.5 gms. chopped nuts(either walnut, cashew, almond or groundnut).

For the Icing:  110 gms. icing sugar,sifted;, 30 gms. soft butter; milk to mix; vanilla or peppermint essence.

Topping:  60 gms cooking or milk chocolate(either white or brown or a combination of both).

Decoration:  Marzipan Christmas Tree.  For Recipe go to

Take a small ball of marzipan, add a few drops green colouring, roll out and with a cookie cutter cut out a tree shape.  Keep aside till needed.

 Grease and line the base of a 20 cm / 8 inch pan with baking paper, so that the paper extends over two sides.
Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa onto a baking sheet.  Set aside.  Cream sugar and margarine till light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and the vanilla essence.  If the mixture starts to curdle, stir in a little of the flour mixture.  Fold in the remaining flour and the nuts.  Pour the mixture into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven 175C for about 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Allow to cool.  Make the icing by combining all the ingredients to a spreading consistency.  Spread over cooled cake.  When set, melt the white chocolate in a bowl over gently simmering water.  Drizzle over icing.  Follow with brown.  Take a toothpick and gently run it through the melted chocolate.  Leave to set.  Takes about 15 minutes.  Place the marzipan tree in the centre and get ready to celebrate.

Or pour the prepared mixture into mini foil cases and bake for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 175 Centigrade.  Cool and follow same procedure for the icing.  Very enticing and absolutely irresistible.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Wholemeal Rich Plum Cake

Rich Plum Cake
Plum Cake at Christmas brings back fond memories of carol singing, a house full of guests and us children meticulously picking the plums out, one by one from the Nilgiris  Rich Plum Cake gifted to my Dad every Christmas by friends and colleagues.  That Plum Cake was oh so delicious and I can still smell it mixed with the aroma of tangerines, spices, kal kals, rose cookies and other treats my Mum would conjure up for us every Christmas.  This year, I made it for an elderly friend and saved a few pieces for the two of us. This takes me back in time and to the fun we had decades ago.

The Recipe:

2 cups wholemeal flour; 3 cups mixed (black and golden raisins) plums; 1 cup almond meal; 1 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp baking soda; 1/4 cup ginger juice- smash a one inch piece of ginger, add 1/2 cup water and boil till reduced to 1/4 cup; 4 large eggs; 1 cup brown sugar; 250 gms salted butter; 2 tsp vanilla essence; 1 tsp mixed spice powder (I used cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon in equal quantities).

Sieve the flour, spice powder, baking powder and baking soda together three times.  Keep aside in a large bowl.  Add the almond meal and the plums and mix well till all the plums are coated evenly.  This will help to distribute the plums throughout the cake and prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.  Add the eggs, one by one and mix well.  Then add the vanilla essence and give the mixture a whirl.  Gently fold in the flour, almond meal  and plum mixture spoon by spoon until everything is used up.  Pour in the cooled ginger juice and mix really well.  The batter should be of a dropping consistency.  Pour into 2 x 9 inch greased and lined  square cake pans and bake in a preheated oven at 175 Centigrade for 40 minutes or until skewer inserted in pan comes out clean.  Cool, slice and serve with red wine.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Macaroons

Coconut Lime Leaf Macaroons
And of course Christmas in my house won't be Christmas without my favourite sweet of the season -Macaroons.  I always make a different type every year and this year I decided to use coconut which is so beloved by my adopted country Malaysia.  I wanted to give it a twist, so when I was in Bangalore bought some copra and and brought it back with me to Malaysia.  And then a bulb went off in my head when I was in the wet market looking at all the green leafy stuff for sale.  I spotted some kaffir lime leaves and bought a few, chopped them fine and added them to the Macaroon mixture.  The taste was really good, so I've made them again to share with my numerous friends.

The Recipe:

1 1/2 cups copra, cut into tiny pieces; 500 gms sugar; 18 cardamoms, seeds only; white of 1 large egg, you may need to use more or less and a squish of lemon juice; 5 lime leaves, cut really, really fine.

Blend the sugar and cardamom till very fine.  Place in a large bowl.  Add the copra, lime leaves and the lemon juice and mix well with a wooden spoon.  Add the egg a little by little until the  mixture clumps in the middle.  Discard the rest of the egg white.  It should be neither too wet or too dry.  Make into marble size balls and place 2 inches apart on baking tray.  Bake at 160 Centigrade in preheated oven for 10 - 12 minutes until they puff out and change shape.  Cool thoroughly and store in an air tight container.  These delectable morsels make great gifts and you can pop them into your mouth any time you want a sweet fix.  Too good for words.
NB:  You can use any lime leaves for the flavour.  Kaffir lime leaves are used in a lot of Malaysian Recipes which is why I opted for it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wholemeal Christmas Cake

Sugarless Wholemeal Christmas Cake 
This is a Christmas Cake with a difference.  Many older people prefer not to eat sugary treats, so I experimented a few times before coming up with this recipe.  I tested it with various people and got a very good feedback.  So here is my recipe for a Sugarless Wholemeal Christmas Cake for those who wish to make it for loved ones this year.

The Recipe:

2 cups wholemeal flour; 3 2/3 cups mixed, dried, sugarless fruits like papaya, pineapple, grated ginger, raisins,orange/lemon zest and so on (use your imagination and mix and match the quantities); 150 gms almond meal; 1 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp baking soda; 1/2 tsp mixed spice; 1 tsp cinnamon; 2 tbsp dark cocoa for the colour; 4 large eggs; 250 gms butter; 2 tsp vanilla essence and 6 tbsp fresh grapefruit juice.

9 inch circular baking pan x 2; stencil of Christmas  figures like stars, angels, doves etc; pink sugar or icing sugar

Preheat oven at 180 Centigrade and keep hot.  Place all the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until glazed.  Pour into well greased circular 9 inch pans and bake 40 minutes or until  skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool thoroughly.  Next day un mould cake onto a board, right side up.  Place stencil in the centre of the cake and press firmly down.  Sprinkle the pink sugar all over.  Gently lift up the stencil and admire your exquisite design.  Photograph for posterity before you gift it to an appreciative friend.  Your house will smell like a spice garden and each time you open the container, you will be tempted to take a bite.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Exotic Christmas Liqueur

Home Made Hazelnut Liqueur
I never thought that that making liqueurs at home would be so much of fun.  It's the perfect gift for Christmas and other occasions and the best part is the surprise on the recipient's face and then their delight on tasting it.  I've made coffee, cocoa, pineapple, orange, apricot, ginger, strawberry and other liqueurs over the years.  This year I'm venturing where angels fear to tread.  We tasted some Exotic Hazelnut Liqueur at a friend's house which utterly delighted me.  All you have to do is buy the ingredients and follow the four basic steps involved- infuse, filter, sweeten and mellow.  The longer you age it, the better it is.  And let me tell you, this is one fantastic gift. 

 The Recipe:

2 cups hazelnuts; 1 1/2 cups vodka; 1/4 cup caster sugar; 1/4 cup water; 1 vanilla bean or 2tsp vanilla essence.  Use a good quality one.

Place the hazelnuts and vodka in a glass jar and infuse  for two to  four weeks.  The longer the better.  Store in a cool, dark place.  

After infusing, mix water and sugar and heat  till the sugar is dissolved.  Cool and add to the hazelnut mixture.  Steep for another three days.  Split the vanilla bean in half and add to the mixture and rest for five days.  Taste often and when the desired flavour is achieved strain, bottle and enjoy.  Use the hazelnuts for cakes and toppings and ice cream and anything you fancy.  Start the Christmas Season with a little bit of gusto and fun.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Indian Christmas Pudding

Princess Pudding Recipe From Jayanthi Pichamuthu

Christmas is the time for celebrating the birth of a baby boy 2000 years ago in Bethlehem.  It is a time for bonding with family and friends, exchanging gifts, goodwill and fellowship with all.  As always in India any and every festival is an occasion for pound parties, pot luck, get togethers, carol singing and enjoying food together.  Every household will be in a flutter planning for various events and using the choicest of ingredients.  We make vast quantities of goodies like fruit cake, kal kals, ladoos, diamond cuts, macaroons, chakkulis, mixture, savoury nuts and what not to be distributed to family, friends and neighbours.  Dinners are spectacular with every expert cook serving the best.  This is a phenomenal recipe that I got from my niece.  It is so simple, yet extravagant and the best part is that it can be made effortlessly in vast quantities for the perfect Christmas get together.  Surpass yourself with this unexpected Indian Christmas Pudding.

The Recipe:

1 1/2 litres full cream milk; 6 slices white bread, crusts removed- blend into fine breadcrumbs; 250 ml tin of condensed milk or to taste ;  100 ml thick cream; 1/2 cup almond meal; a few drops rose essence- optional.

Boil milk on medium flame till thick.  This takes about 10 minutes.  Lower flame and add the bread and condensed milk, stirring constantly..  When it is thickened enough (about 5 minutes) stir in the almonds gently and ensure there are no lumps.  Finally stir in the cream and the essence.  Remove from flame and cool.  Refrigerate overnight.  Serve chilled garnished with (or without) raisins, nuts or anything you fancy.  This is a rich and creamy dessert that you can serve as thick or as thin as you like.

NB:  I used low fat milk. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Date For Christmas

Sweet Treat
Am starting off the Christmas Season with A Sweet Treat- Stuffed Dates - something so simple that even a child could make it. My Mum told me that her mother used to make this for them at Christmas time every year, the only difference being that the almonds were stuffed with dates dipped in ghee.  Dates featured heavily on their menu as boat loads of dates would come in from the Gulf to Coondapoor as it was called half a century ago.  And the traditional gift to all was a big packet of dates with some oranges thrown in. 
This is an appealing and attractive addition to any Christmas Party.

The Recipe:                                                                                                                                        
 50 dates; 50 almonds  
With a sharp knife, make a slit horizontally down the centre of each date.  Remove the seed and replace with an almond.  Repeat until all the dates are stuffed with almonds.  Serve as a Sweet Treat for Christmas or during any party.                                                                                                                                                         

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mushroom Magic

Mushroom Masala
Going through my recipe book, I came across this long forgotten recipe that is a quick and delicious one to make.  Simple, and tasty, it could be polished off by one person in a sitting.

The Recipe:

1/2 kg button mushrooms; 2 spring onions, minced; 1 tbsp curry powder (I make my own); salt to taste; 1 tbsp oil.

Soak mushrooms in salted water for 15 minutes.  Drain.  Heat a nonstick pan and add the oil.  When hot, lower flame and add the curry powder and salt.  After 30 seconds add the mushrooms and spring onions.  Increase the heat and cook on high flame for 5 minutes till dry and the mushrooms are cooked.  Serve hot as a snack.  I like to eat this while watching a movie at home.

Red Velvet Breakfast Shake

Red Velvet 
 It's time to reveal another delicious breakfast recipe that I have been having for years-  The Red Velvet Shake.  I look forward to Thursdays because that's the day for chocolate indulgence culminating in one of my  favourite breakfasts.  Add a few drops of red food colouring and there it is-  a thick, delicious, energizing smoothie that enables me to take on the world.  

The Recipe:

300 ml low fat milk; a few ice cubes; 1/2 tsp red food colouring; 3 scoops Herbalife  F1 Dutch Chocolate; 2 scoops Herbalife  F3 Protein Powder.

Blend together for 3 minutes.  Pour into a tall glass.  Sit on the balcony and enjoy this bright Red Velvet Shake.  Use it everyday and see how your shape will change for the better.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Mouthwatering Tamarind Chicken

Tamarind Chicken

Just looking at this photograph evokes mouthwatering memories and 
I enjoy gloating over my culinary accomplishments.  This is a simple , easy recipe  to be savoured from start to finish.  The main ingredient is tamarind which I used to love eating as a child.  Combine it with chicken and you have a very unusual, startling dish- looks good, smells good and tastes good.  Get ready to attack and satisfy your taste buds.

The Recipe:

1 small chicken, remove skin, joint, wash and drain.; 2 tbsp thick tamarind paste without seeds; 3 tbsp corriander powder; 1 tsp brown sugar; salt to taste; 1 tsp pepper corns, crush roughly; 3 spring onions, minced fine.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and marinade overnight.  Next day, transfer to pan and cover and cook for 15 minutes on a medium flame until the sauce is thick and  reduced.  Heat 2 dsp oil in a nonstick pan and fry the the chicken for a couple of minutes.  Garnish with spring onions and serve hot with rice.  Tastes wonderful.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Two In One

Falooda Trifle Pudding
My sweet tooth has been very active these past few weeks.  What with friends and others presenting us with delectable home made goodies and other popular sweetmeats of the season, I have been spoilt for choice.  In the midst of all that, Ranita made her usual coffee brownies, so decided to explore unknown territory and combine two of my favourite desserts- Falooda, a popular Indian Dessert and Trifle,  a  family favourite.  The result- extraordinary (even if I say so myself).  But then, you have to make it and taste it for yourself.

The Recipe:

For The Trifle: 1 slice cake or brownies of any kind; 2 tbsp nuts per person; 1/2 an apple, cubed; 1 scoop ice cream per person (optional); a few red icing hearts for decoration.

For The Coffee Brownies:  250 gms salted butter; 250 gms dark chocolate, chopped; 3 tbsp nescafe (instant coffee) dissolved in 1/8 cup of hot water; 1 cup brown sugar; 4 eggs lightly beaten; 2 tsp vanilla essence; 1 cup self raising flour; 2/3 cup chopped nuts.

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease and line a 12" by 6 inch rectangular baking tray.

Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Add coffee and sugar and stir until sugar has almost dissolved. Remove from heat and keep aside. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Fold in the flour and nuts. Bake for 25 minutes or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in tin and cut into  squares. 

For the Falooda :  2 tbsp angel hair pasta; 1 cup cold milk; 2 tsp rose water; 1/4 cup red jelly (follow instructions on packet and reserve left over for the family to eat); 1 tsp sabza (basil seeds); 2 tbsp MTR Badam Mix;
Boil the pasta is a large pan of water for 15 minutes until done. Drain under running water and keep aside. Clean and soak the sabza in 500 ml water for half an hour. Drain just before use in a strainer. Mix the milk, MTR Badam Mix and rose water together. Chill in refrigerator.

To Assemble:  I decided to make individual Falooda Trifle Puddings for everyone.

Take a pretty glass and place the coffee brownie at the bottom.  Press firmly into place.  Scatter the nuts on top evenly, followed by the apple.   Then pour the falooda over the layers.  Decorate with the red hearts.  Set in the fridge and serve really cold with a scoop of your favourite ice cream.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vanilla Wafer Cake

                                                                       A Sweet Note
I am ending October on A Sweet Note.  This is a cake I had at a party many years ago and I ended up making it the next day.  I have always wanted to post this recipe on my blog because this is such an unusually scrumptious, delicious, give me more  Vanilla Wafer Cake.

The Recipe:  
1 cup butter at room temperature; 2 cups soft brown sugar; 4 eggs3 cups vanilla wafers, crushed;1/2 cup milk;   350gms chopped nuts.

For Topping:  1/8 cup butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar; 3 tbsp milk; almond flakes for decoration.

Beat butter and sugar in bowl till fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla wafer crumbs and milk, mixing well.  Stir in  nuts.  Pour into well-greased and lined round 8" pan.  Bake at 275°F for 40 minutes or until cake is done. Cool, unmould and  pour  butter caramel glaze on top.  Decorate with almond flakes.

To Make The Glaze:  Mix the butter, brown sugar and  milk together in a medium sized non stick pan.  Bring to the boil and lower the heat.  Simmer (takes about 5 minutes) till a two string consistency is reached.  Remove from fire, beat for 5 minutes with a fork, pour over cake and decorate with almonds.  This wonderful Vanilla Wafer Cake will certainly add A Sweet Note to any party.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Extravagant Carrot Shake

                                                 Deepavali Three in One Shake

Deepavalli is certainly the right time for this extravagant Three in One Vanilla Almond Carrot Breakfast Shake.  This lovely orange drink not only activates your taste buds, it boosts up your system, keeps you full and provides you with energy from vegetable protein source,  giving you the stamina for all those Festive Parties and social gatherings.  Taken over a period of time (like I have been doing), it enhances your skin, reverses the ageing process , provides the body with all the vital nutrients,  maintains normal  blood sugar levels, helps the body retain adequate amount of water and enables you to move to a high fitness level- burn fat and pack muscles.  One of my favourites and I look forward to having my Extravagant Carrot Shake this weekend.

The Recipe:

150 ml low fat milk; 150 ml cold water; 1 medium carrot, boled and mashed to a smooth consistency; 1 tbsp almond meal; 2 tbsp (Scoops)  French Vanilla Soy Powder; 2 tbsp (scoops) F3 Protein Powder; ice cubes- optional

Blend all ingredients together and serve immediately.  Great for all ages.  And the bonus is this is a low calorie high nutrition breakfast.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Exotic Banana Leaf Fish

Banana Leaf Fish Parcel        
October was indeed a month for feasting and I for one really enjoyed it.  This is a traditional recipe made by my sister Anu and all of us smacked our lips in anticipation and enjoyed the wonderful outcome.

The Recipe:

1 large fish - 2 kg , scaled and cleaned and kept whole.  Wash, rub with turmeric and salt and keep aside to drain.  Make gashes with sharp knife on both sides to rub in the masala.

Large banana leaves to wrap the fish.  Oil for deep frying the fish.

Masala:  1 tsp chilli powder; 1/4 tsp turmeric; 3 tbsp ginger garlic paste; 1 tsp black pepper powder; 1 onion, quartered; 1/8 medium coconut grated; salt to taste.  Grind to a smooth paste and marinade fish overnight in this masala

For Gravy:  3 large onions, sliced fine; 2 sprigs curry leaves; 2 tomatoes chopped fine; chilli powder and salt to taste; oil for seasoning.

Deep fry fish on both sides to a golden brown.  Drain and place in the centre of banana leaf retaining remaining masala for the gravy.  Fold the leaf into a parcel and tie with string.   Bake in a preheated oven at 200 C 15 minutes each side or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.

Next, make the gravy.  Heat 3 tbsp oil in a nonsick pan.  Add the curry leaves and onions and fry to a golden brown.  Throw in the tomatoes and stir fry till thick and gravyish.  Add salt  and chilli powder to taste and a little water if required.  Mix in the remaining masala marinade.    Simmer for 5 minutes.

Untie the banana leaf and pour the gravy over the baked fish.  Garnish or decorate as you please.  Serve with white rice and vegetables of your choice.  A most impressive dish.    The outcome is phenomenal.  We all admired it for a while before attacking it.  And wiped the platter clean.  Hats off to Anu for this Exotic Banana Leaf Fish.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Kiwi Pineapple Cake

De Luscious Birthday Cake 
October has been an extraordinary month full of celebration and fun and best of all eating food cooked by others.  What a treat for me.  Serita made this De Luscious Birthday Cake that vanished in one sitting and left me wanting for me.  It's not easy getting recipes out of her, so here is my version of this De Luscious Birthday Cake.
The Recipe:

For The Cake:   175 gms salted butter; 175 gms caster sugar; 3 large eggs; 175 gms self raising flour, sieved 3 times.

For Filling & Topping:  250 gms cream cheese at room temperature; 1/4 cup curds, beaten; sugar to taste; sliced pineapple (tinned) and sliced kiwi; 2 tbsp apricot liqueur; 2 tbsp of pineapple juice from tinned pineapple.

Grease and line two  8" round sandwich cake pans. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius.  Cream butter and sugar till pale and fluffy.  Gently beat in the  eggs one at a time.  If the mixture begins to curdle add a tbsp of flour to the mixture.  Fold in the sieved flour with a metal spoon.  Divide the mixture equally between the two pans.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or till toothpick or skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool.  Unmould onto board or cake plate.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar to taste and curds till smooth and thick.  Mix the liqueur and pineapple juice together and drizzle 2 tbsp each over the two cakes.  Spread half the quantity of cream cheese mixture  over one of the cakes.  Decorate with pineapple and kiwi.  Place second cake on top and repeat the process.  Store in refrigerator.  This is one of the best cakes I have ever eaten.  Thank you Serita for an enjoyable De Luscious experience.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Queen Of Desserts

Hazelnut Tiramisu
What could be more relaxing than indulging in food cooked by none other than Serita,  the Queen Of Tiramisu?   That's what we did a week ago, thoroughly enjoying the experience.  Loaded with calories, cream, hazelnuts, cream cheese, rum and coffee, this is a dessert made in heaven for the brave hearted - read Herbalife users!!!

The Recipe:

12 sponge fingers; 1 x 50 gm sachet instant hazelnut coffee; 1 cup hot water; 3 dsp rum; 250 gms cream cheese at room temperature; 250 grams high fat cream; 50 gms of hazel nuts, crushed coarsely ; sugar to taste; cocoa for dusting on top.

Beat the cream cheese and cream together with the sugar to taste until smooth and thick.  Dissolve the hazelnut coffee in the cup of hot water.  Add the rum and mix well.  Soak the sponge fingers in the coffee - rum mixture and place 6 of them in a layer on the bottom of the glass dish.   Scatter half of the hazel nuts over the sponge fingers.  Pour half of the cream cheese mixture over the nuts ensuring an even layer.   Repeat the three layers again,   finishing with a dusting of cocoa on top.  Pour remaining coffee mixture over the sponge fingers before layering the cream cheese . Refrigerate overnight and serve cold after dinner.  A dessert made in heaven indeed.

Leftover Pie

Five Star Pie
It's fascinating to see what one could make from leftovers languishing in the refrigerator.  I had some pasta,  mince, mint rice (rice cooked with 1 sliced onion and a bunch of mint leaves) and a piece of dry cheese.  Oh and some chicken soup too.  Put them together in layers, pour the soup over and you have a gorgeous  Five Star Pie.

The Recipe:

For The Mince: http://www.fromthefryingpan.blogspot.com/2013/07/family-trade-mark.html

2 cups leftover pasta- whatever you have will do.  I used spaghetti; 1 cup mince; 1 cup chicken soup; 1/2 cup of Mint Rice;  50 gms of dry cheese, sliced thin; salt and pepper to taste.  Baby tomatoes for garnishing.

Oil the pie dish and arrange ingredients in layers starting with the spaghetti, then the mint rice, followed by the mince.  Pour the soup all over the mince and let it seep down on to the spaghetti.  Arrange the cheese on top and bake in a preheated oven at 150 Degrees Centigrade or till cheese is brown and bubbly.  Garnish with baby tomatoes and serve hot.  Watch your favourite TV programme as you tuck into this delicious Five Star Pie.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gourmet Garlic Chilli Prawns

Once In A Bluemoon Garlic Chilli Prawns
It's a real advantage to have great cooks around you at party time.  Everything gets done in a jiffy and all we have to do is wait for the guests to arrive.  In our house too many cooks do not spoil the broth, they merely enhance it.  We had guests last week and so each of us took on one dish. The result was a meal fit for a king.

The Recipe:

1 kg prawns, shelled, deveined, washed and drained - retaining the tails; 1 1/2 bulb of garlic, minced; 1 inch piece ginger minced; a small bunch of spring onions, cut very fine; chilli flakes to taste (depends on how spicy you want it); 1/2 tsp pepper corns, crushed coarsely ; 1 cup chicken stock; coriander leaves to garnish; 1/2 cup cream; salt to taste and 2 tbsp oil.  

Heat oil in a non stick wok.  When very hot saute the garlic and ginger till golden brown.  Throw in the spring onions and stir for a minute.  Add the prawns and fry on high heat until they change colour.  Lower heat and add the pepper powder, chilli flakes to taste and the stock.  Cover and cook till the stock is reduced to half the quantity.  Add the cream, salt to taste, mix well and remove from fire.  Serve as an accompaniment to the main course or as a soup.  The flavour is amazing and and it tastes as good as it looks.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

One Of The Best

Double Chocolate Brownies

Once upon a time brownies were out of my league until I found a recipe in an old piece of newspaper used to wrap groceries.  Then Ranita  bought me a book on brownies and we tried every one and now make our own version.  This recipe always turns out great and you will find yourself licking up the crumbs.

The invention of the celebrated brownie is attributed to a librarian from Maine called “Brownie Schrumpf”.  She reputedly forgot to add baking powder when she was making a chocolate cake and the rest is history.  However my version has a wee bit. 

Double Chocolate Brownies

100 gms maida; ½ tsp. baking powder; 30 gms cocoa powder; 112.5 gms. margarine or butter; 140 gms. powdered sugar;2 large eggs; 1/2 tsp. vanilla essence; 37.5 gms. chopped nuts(either walnut, cashew, almond or groundnut).

For the Icing:  110 gms. icing sugar,sifted;, 30 gms. soft butter; milk to mix; vanilla or peppermint essence.

Topping:  60 gms cooking or milk chocolate(either white or brown or a combination of both).

 Grease and line the base of a 20 cm / 8 inch pan with baking paper, so that the paper extends over two sides.
Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa onto a baking sheet.  Set aside.  Cream sugar and margarine till light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and the vanilla essence.  If the mixture starts to curdle, stir in a little of the flour mixture.  Fold in the remaining flour and the nuts.  Pour the mixture into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven 175C for about 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Allow to cool.  Make the icing by combining all the ingredients to a spreading consistency.  Spread over cooled cake.  When set, melt the chocolate in a bowl over gently simmering water.  Drizzle over icing.  (If using white and brown chocolate, melt the white first and pour over cake at random.  Follow with brown.  Take a toothpick and gently run through both colours to create a marbled effect.  Decorate with almond flakes , cut into triangles and serve.

NB:  I always use cashewnuts for a rich, delicious flavour. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Watermelon Pith Jam

We took home made jams for granted as children and never  had to resort to  tinned or bought ones.  My Mother would experiment with seasonal fruits, vegetables and what not turning them into delicious jams, syrups, preserves, pickles and chutneys and crushes.  Some time ago I heard a friend talking about Watermelon  Pith Jam and wondered how to make it.  Last week we had some in the house and I thought of using the basic recipe I use for jam.  It turned out fine and here it is today. People usually discard the rind without a thought. The next time you buy a watermelon, keep the rind and slice off the white pith and make it into a delicious golden jam which tastes something like the transparent, golden, ash gourd preserves my Mum used to make. This then is the result.

The Recipe:

1/2 a medium sized watermelon -  after eating the fruit, wash and skin the rind, discarding the green part and keeping the white pith.  You will get about 2 cups when cut into pieces.

1 cup brown sugar (I used 3/4 cup); a pinch of salt; 2 inch piece of cinnamon broken into pieces; 3 or 4 cloves; 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar;  1 tbsp green and red tutti fruitti; 2 tsp orange peel, minced; 2 tbsp rum.

Mix the cut pith pieces with the sugar (see photograph) and keep aside till the sugar melts.  I kept it overnight in the refrigerator.  Next day bring back to room temperature and simmer with spices, tutti fruitti, orange peel, salt and apple cider vinegar  on medium heat for 20 minutes.  Remove from fire, cool and add the rum.  Stir well.  Bottle and use as a topping with ice cream, curds, oats,  chappathis and hot melted butter or as I love best of all with toasted bread dripping with fresh, golden, home made butter!

NB:  The jam turned a golden brown since I used brown sugar.  When white sugar is used the jam is a paler golden version.

Black Forest Shake

Black Forest Shake
It feels wonderful to get up in the morning everyday and look forward to my Black Forest Breakfast Shake.  I have been on it for 8 years now and love it.  Tastes so good and I could rhapsodize on it for hours and hours.  Mix and match, play around with it, enjoyed by all who taste it, I am addicted for life to this low calorie Chocolicious Shake!

The Recipe:

250 ml low fat milk; 4 large scoops Herbalife F1 Dutch Chocolate Flavour; 1 tsp chocolate sprinkles; a few black cherries, stoned;  a dollop of low fat cream.

Blend the Dutch Chocolate and milk together.  Pour into a tall glass.  Garnish with black cherries, chocolate sprinkles and a dollop of low fat cream.  Absolutely Chocolicious!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Deadly Duo

Apricot Vanilla Parfait
I love apricots and I love my daily breakfast  vanilla shake.  Combine them together with cream cheese and you have a deadly dessert.  Made it yesterday and had it after Sunday lunch.  The dish was licked clean.

The Recipe:

250 gms cream cheese at room temperature; 11/2 cup dried apricots; 2 large scoops F1 French Vanilla; 1/2 cup low fat milk; 1/4 tsp almond essence; 2 tsp sugar if desired.

Soak dried apricots in 2 cups hot water for three hours or overnight.  Stone them and extract the kernel.  Keep kernels aside.  Stew the apricots with 2 tsp sugar and water in which it is soaked until  thick.   Cool and puree 1 cup of the stewed apricots till smooth.  Beat cream cheese, milk and apricot puree together until creamy.  Fold in the  French vanilla and almond essence.  Pour into glass dish.  Top with remaining stewed apricots and garnish with the kernels.  Set overnight in refrigerator.  Serve cold.  A hot favourite in this family.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Spicy Mangalorean Clams

Shellfish Divine
This was one of my favourite dishes as a child back in Mangalore.  Every time we visited our grandparents in Kundapoor, we would contrive and look forward to going to the river to pick clams (shellfish) and have a rip roaring time doing so.  Once, we slipped away in the rain and used our umbrellas to collect the shellfish and were so engrossed in our endeavours that we failed to notice the tide had crept in and there we were stranded in the middle of the river.  The boatmen came to our rescue and I still remember the whacking we got.  Nothing could dim our enjoyment of this delicious dish and I urge you to try it too.

The Recipe:

100 shellfish (Molee in Kannada)- wash in running water till all the sand is removed.  Previously we used a foot knife (mettu kathi in Kannada) on which we sat and expertly cut the cockles in half, discarding the empty shells.  Nowadays, I just boil them whole in 1/4 cup water for one minute and wait for them to open, retaining the half with the shellfish.

For Masala: 10 red chillies or to taste; 1/4 tsp mustard seeds; 1 dsp corriander seeds; 1 pinch jeera seeds (cumin); 1/2 tsp khus- khus (poppy seeds); 6 pepper corns; 3 cloves garlic; 1 onion; 1/4 tsp turmeric powder; 3 tbsp grated coconut (fresh or dry- use whatever's available).   Roast the dry ingredients in a pan  on medium heat till crisp; cool and grind with 1/8 cup water to form a thick paste.

For Seasoning:  1 medium onion, sliced fine; 2 sprigs curry leaves; oil for seasoning.  Heat oil and throw in the curry leaves.  Fry for a minute or two.  Add the onions and fry on medium heat till golden brown.  Keep aside until required.

Add masala to boiled shellfish and simmer three minutes.  Stir in the seasoning and remove from fire.  Serve hot with white rice and dhall.  This is one of the most delicious meals one can ever have.

NB:  Instead of cockles  crabs or prawns and potatoes could be used.  Equally delicious.

There's nothing like traditional food to tickle the palate.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Family Trade Mark

Bread Mince

I drool whenever I think of this recipe.  The delicious smells wafting through the house and the scraping of the kitchen spoons against the pan filled me with anticipation of a wonderful meal cooked by my Mum or dad.  My Mum would always use this as a filling for mince patties for our birthday parties and other special ocassions and they had to be rationed out to the guests who greedily fell on them without exception.  To this day, there's no one who can cook like my Mum and whenever I make this recipe I think of long, long ago and the glorious birthday parties we had.

The Recipe:

1/2 kg mince; 2 onions, chopped; 2 spring onions, chopped; 3 flakes, garlic, minced; 1 inch ginger, minced; 2 green chillies, minced;  few coriander leaves, chopped; salt to taste; 2 tbsp oil for frying; a handful of green peas; 2 slices stale bread, crumbled; fried egg tofu - optional.

Wash and drain mince.  Heat oil and add chopped onion, spring onion, ginger, garlic, corriander leaves and minced chillies.  Stir fry on medium heat until onions are golden browm.  Add the mince and fry till brown.  Add peas and 1/4 cup water and cover and cook 5 minutes.  Add salt to taste and the crumbled bread.  The bread will soak up all the liquid.   Garnish with sliced tofu and serve hot with dhal and rice or chappathis.  This is a hot favourite and I love this recipe even today.  Enjoy.

Chicken With Soy Sauce

 Saucy Chicken
This is a recipe given to me by a friend.  I had this at one of her impromptu parties and the taste lingered on my tongue for days.  Quick and simple, this is one recipe that will keep you asking for more.

The Recipe:

1 chicken breast, without skin, deboned; 1/4  green capsicum ; 1/4 red capsicum; 1/4 yellow capsicum; salt  and pepper to taste; 2 flakes garlic, crushed; 1 tbsp dark soy sauce.

Rub the garlic over the chicken and marinade in soy sauce for 5 minutes.  Cut capsicum into strips, season with salt and pepper and keep aside.  Adjust oven to grill setting (highest setting) and grill chicken in pre heated oven for 5 minutes each side.  Remove and slice into bite sized pieces.  Grill capsicum for five mintes only.  Mix together with chicken and serve immediately.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Grilled Jeera Chicken

Grilled  Chicken On A Bed Of Rice
Grilled Chicken is an easy recipe for a lazy weekend or party.  All you have to do is prepare the chicken and marinade it overnight and let the magic work itself into the pieces.  This is  delicious and one that will charm its way into your guests hearts forever.

The Recipe:

1 medium sized chicken, skinned and cut into medium pieces;  1 inch ginger, crushed; salt to taste; 3 tbsp vinegar; 1 tbsp jeera powder; 2 tbsp oil.

Mix all the ingredients together and keep overnight in the refrigerator.  Next day, set oven for grill setting and grill at highest option for 5 minutes each side.  Serve hot as a starter or on a bed of ginger rice or garlic buttered rice with a curds salad.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ten Minute Cheesy Vegetable Bake

Cauliflower Potato  Duo

This is a recipe  that can be made very quickly.  In fact it takes more time to prepare the vegetables than the cooking time.  Throw in whatever you have in your vegetable basket and sprinkle some cheese on top and bake for 15 minutes until cheese melts in a very hot oven.
The Recipe :

1 large cauliflower broken into florets; 2 spring onions, chopped; 12 ready to cook potato quarters; 50 gm grated cheese; salt and pepper to taste; 1 inch ginger, crushed; 3 flakes garlic, crushed.

Cut and soak cauliflower  in salt water for 10 minutes.  Drain.  Boil in very little water for 5 minutes until dry.  Grill potatoes in oven at highest heat for 7 minutes.   Mix the cauliflower and potato with the crushed ginger and garlic and the seasoning.  Place in a heat proof dish.  Sprinkle the grated cheese all over.  Scatter the spring onions on top.  Bake at 175 C for 15 minutes till cheese has melted.  Serve hot with warm, crusty garlic bread.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Broccoli Stir Fry

Broccoli And Almonds Stir Fry
 Broccoli is one of my favourite vegetables.  I used to read about it in books and cookery magazines and wonder how it tasted.  When I came to Malaysia, I was thrilled to see it everywhere we went -  in the supermarket, at the pasar malam or night market, in the wet market and all the dinners or restaurants we went to.  I love it and Ranita hates it, so we have come to a compromise- she eats the almonds and I eat the broccoli!

The Recipe:

1 head of broccoli, cut into flowerettes; 2 tbsp flaked almonds, lightly roasted in the oven at 50 Centigrade for 3 minutes; 3 flakes garlic, minced; 1 small onion, chopped fine; salt & pepper to taste; oil for cooking.

Soak broccoli in salted water (enough to cover the broccoli and 1 tsp salt) for 10 minutes; Drain.  Heat a wok and add 1 tbsp oil.  Stir fry the minced garlic and chopped onion till transparent.  Add the broccoli and stir fry on high heat for 5 minutes.  It should be crunchy and not soggy.  Add pepper and salt to taste and throw in the almonds.  Serve immediately as a side dish.  Tastes good and supremely easy to make.


  Steamed Egg Custard Recipe By Anu Elisha
We all love to experiment in the kitchen and try out new recipes.  I am not a fan of Japanese food, but this recipe was the exception.  It's very simple and quick to make and great for those on a diet and for those who love eating simple, healthy food.

The Recipe:

3 eggs;  2 cups chicken stock;1/2 tsp salt; 2 tsp thin soy sauce;  2-4 prawns, sliced into 2 pieces each if big; 1/2 chicken breast, diced; few button mushrooms, sliced;  1 ½ tsp sake.

     Marinade chicken and shrimps. In a small bowl, mix chicken pieces with 1/2 tsp soy sauce and 1/2 tsp Sake. In another bowl, mix prawn and 1/2 tsp soy sauce and 1/2 tsp Sake. Let them sit for a couple of minutes.
  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix eggs, stock, salt, 1 tsp soy sauce. Strain the egg mixture through a sieve. Let as much egg as you can go through the sieve.
  Place 1/4 amount of chicken, shrimp, and sliced mushrooms in each of 4 small cups or idli bowls, then pour egg mixture over them to fill 3/4 of a cup. Cover with aluminum foil and put the covered cups into a steamer.  I used the idli steamer.
    Steam at medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer to see if it's done. If clear broth comes out when poked, take the cups out from the steamer.
     Garnish with carrot and spring onion leaves and steam for 1-2 minutes.