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.