Friday, July 31, 2015

Nourishing Hair Mask

                                                                    Protein Hair Mask

This has to be one of the best recipes I ever found.  More than three decades ago, while browsing through an old book I found this recipe for shiny , well kept hair.  I had no idea what protein was, but never the less I copied it down in my best hand writing and added it to my prized collection of recipes.  Years later, I found it and made it and use it regularly.  It's very effective and my hair has never looked better.

The Recipe:

1/2 cup thick curds (yoghurt), 1/4 cup very ripe papaya; 2 tbsp good quality protein powder; 2 tbsp pure coconut oil.

Blend the papaya, curds and protein powder to a thick paste.  Transfer to a glass bottle or storage container and stir in 2 tbsps of coconut oil.  Apply required amount all over your hair and scalp and keep on until dry.  Wash, rinse and shampoo hair as usual.  You will see the difference after one use.  Hair will be healthier, stronger and shinier.  Use three times a week initially.  After 3 months use it once a week regularly.  Store the remaining Mask in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before using.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Red Indian Basil Chicken

Ruth Isaac

Fresh Indian Tulsi Chicken
Have you ever made chicken with Fresh Indian Basil (Tulsi Leaves)?  I was very excited when the tulsi seeds I planted grew into lush, beautiful plants.   I wondered whether I could use it to cook chicken since I had so much of it.  To cut a long story short, I use it for many of my recipes now - soups, sauces, curries, bread and what not.  Here then is a very simple recipe that is a feast for the eyes and taste buds.

The Recipe:

500 gms chicken fillets, boneless; 1/2 cup very ripe tomatoes, ground to a pulpy consistency; 1 onion, sliced fine; 3 flakes garlic, minced; about 7 Tulsi leaves and a few more for garnishing; a slice of cheese, torn into pieces for topping;salt to taste;  2 tbsp olive oil for frying.

Wash and drain the chicken.  Heat oil in a large non stick wok.  Add oil and when hot, lower the flame to medium and stir fry the onions, garlic and tulsi leaves till the onions are glazed and transparent.  Add the chicken and saute till golden brown all over.  Pour in the tomato mixture and cook for 5 minutes till as thick as you want and the colour changes.  Add salt to taste.  Transfer to serving dish, scatter the cheese and garnish with the tulsi leaves.  Serve with warm garlic bread or toast.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Apple Rose Cake

                                                               Apple Rose Cake 

I love baking cakes and especially cakes that have a creative twist to them.  Today baking is an art and the internet is full of fantastic recipes and cakes that are works of art.  Some are simple, some very intricate and there are enough and more recipes to choose from.  I particularly like to browse through Pinterest and save them to my various boards.  This is a combination of a couple of cakes  I enjoyed baking and giving as a gift to various people. 

The Recipe:

2/3 cup brown sugar; 1 2/3 cup white caster sugar; 2 tsp cinnamon powder; 1 cup butter; 4 medium eggs; 3 tsp vanilla essence; 3 cups flour; 3 1/2 tsp baking powder; 1 cup milk; 2 apples- Wash and cut the apple into quarters.   Core it.  Place the cut side down and slice each half  as thin as you can. Keep in 1 cup water with 1/4 tsp salt for 5 minutes to prevent the slices from going brown.  Drain and  use as required.

2 x 9 inch round pans, greased and lined

Makes 2 Cakes

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Keep aside till required.

Beat caster sugar and butter at room temperature till creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time and then beat in the vanilla essence.  Add the sieved flour and baking powder to the batter 1/2 cup at a time, gently stirring to incorporate the mixture.   Divide the batter into two portions.

1. For The Apple Rose Cake: Cake Number One

Pour half the batter of portion number 1 into one of the greased and lined pans.  Arrange slices from half an apple on the batter, gently pressing to position the slices.  Sprinkle 1/4 of the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture over the sliced apples.  Pour the remaining half of the batter from portion number one over the apples and  cinnamon mixture and layer with slices and sprinkle with 1/4 of the cinnamon.   Bake in pre heated oven at 175 Degrees Celcius / 350 Degrees Farenheit for 40 minutes or until skewer inserted in cake comes out clean.  Cool completely and arrange the roses and leaves on the cake attaching them with honey or icing to stay firmly in place.

How To Make The Roses:  See the video on how to make the roses.  It's pretty easy.

 For Roses:  1 red apple; 2 tbsp sugar; 1 tbsp honey; 3 tbsp water.

Wash and cut the apple.  Core it.  Place the cut side down and slice each half very thin.  Place in a small saucepan with the sugar, honey and water.  Bring to the boil and simmer 3 to 5 minutes until the slices are soft.  Take out the slices and cool on a plate.

For the Pastry:  1 cup plain flour, sifted; 1/2 stick butter- 55 gms approx; 3 tbsp cooked apple water.

Knead the sifted flour, apple water and cut butter until smooth.  Shape into a ball and cut into two pieces.  Roll out each piece into a rectangle.  Cut into strips 1 inch in width and 8-10 inches in length.  Take a strip and place 5 to 6 cooked apple slices on it overlapping each other.  Roll from one end to another into a rose.  Repeat with all the strips until the cooked apple slices are used up.  Make a few leaves too.    Place the roses  in  cup cake cases.  Arrange leaves on baking paper  and bake  both together in a preheated oven at  175 Celcius for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and glaze with honey using a pastry brush.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.   Arrange on Apple Rose Cake when cool.

2.  For The Apple Cake:  Cake Number Two

To see how to arrange the sliced apple go to  

Pour all  the batter of portion number 2 into one of the greased and lined pans.   Sprinkle 1/4 of the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture over the batter.  Arrange slices from remaining apple all around  the batter, gently pressing to position the slices to look like a rose.     Sprinkle remaining cinnamon mixture over the top and gently tap the pan to release any air bubble in the mixture.   Bake in pre heated oven at 175 Degrees Celcius / 350 Degrees Farenheit for 40 minutes or until skewer inserted in cake comes out clean.

Serve both cakes warm or at room temperature with Vanilla Ice cream for an unforgettable experience.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Just Ghee

                                                          Ma's Home Made Ghee

My grandmother made fantastic ghee.  There was always a very large bottle in her meat safe and sometimes when she had extra we would be the lucky recipients.  She would collect the butter from the milk from her buffaloes and cows and make it into delicious ghee that we would pour over rice and dhal or ganji (rice porridge) or payasam blissfully ignorant of the calories it contained.  My Mum also made delicious ghee.  She would get some local milkman to deliver milk, collect the cream that rose to the top the next day after boiling and cooling the milk and when she had enough of cream, she would make it into the rich, creamy, golden yellow, buttery, rich concoction we all loved.  As a special treat both she and my Grandmother would boil a few betel leaves along with the cream and we would greedily wait for them to be shared out to us once the ghee was done.  Just looking at this photograph evokes the most heavenly smells and scrumptious tastes.  Food eaten with a dollop of ghee is like none other.
4 to 6 cups of cream collected over a period of three to four weeks.  Store it in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator till required; 4 betel leaves (The betel (Piper betle) is the leaf of a vine belonging to the Piperaceae 

Bring the cream to room temperature.  Pour it into a large, heavy bottomed pan.  Place the pan on the fire at medium heat.  Throw in the washed and dried betel leaves.  Bring to the boil and then simmer until the solids sink to the bottom.  Skim off the foam from the top. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  Cool and strain with a fine wire mesh strainer into a glass bottle so that the beautiful colour can be seen.  You can either eat the milk solids with a little bit of sugar or add it to your puri or chappathi dough and enjoy that one in a million taste and sensational aroma.