Climbing the Mango Tree

Although my knowledge of the works(on TV or otherwise) of Madhur Jaffery are extremely limited(read zilch), I was extremely excited to read Climbing the Mango Tree, her childhood memoir.

If you look at the book you will know what I mean. It’s a good looking book, if I may say so. I also enjoyed reading this delicious book; full of history, culture,food and beautiful childhood memories.

Although this is not a ‘novel’ as in it has no real story to tell, Madhur keeps us ( well..me, anyway) captivated with her recollection of life in a joint family household( sometimes there were up to 40 members of her family for dinner; Oh the logistics of it all!).
Make that super wealthy joint-family.She invokes beautifully detailed images of the lavish parties they held, the gilded childhood in Delhi mansions and Himalayan hill stations, the family picnics with a retinue of servants ,the summer breaks when the entire household shifted to Shimla, her school life or even of the dry heat of the summer garden

“I loved history in school,” Jaffrey writes in one of the early chapters of Climbing the Mango Trees. And she definitely shows us her love. Early on she discovers the “Red Book,” chronicling the history of her family and so we are given detailed description of the history of her ancestors.

She also infuses history, in the form India’s transition from empire to independence when she recounts the partition, Gandhiji’s assassination, and the resulting violence, riots and massacres. Her family, while Hindu,was progressive enough to have ties with the Muslim culture of northern India, and even embraced many aspects of Muslim culture. Thus her viewpoint makes for interesting reading.

Her graceful prose is however best when she describes…YES , FOOD. Check this out…“venison kebabs laden with cardamom, tiny quails with hints of cinnamon, chickpea shoots stir-fried with green chilies and ginger, and tiny new potatoes browned with flecks of cumin and mango powder”…I mean, Boy!! She can make me hungry.

And as bonus Jaffrey also includes several family recipes for her favorite dishes in Indian cuisine….a treat for the mind and the stomach.

Especially for the stomach.

I have 2 recipes to share with you from this delicious book…one of these I will share today. ( I am still looking for the pics of the other:))


Cauliflower with Cheese
This turned out to be too bland for my tastebuds…but Im sure many of you may like it//.

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1½ lb. (8 cups) medium-sized cauliflower florets, cut so each floret has a stem
1¾ cups grated fresh tomatoes
1 piece of fresh ginger, one inch square, peeled and grated to a pulp on the finest part of a grater or Microplane
2 fresh hot green chiles, cut into slim rounds (see Note)
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
¾ tsp. salt, or to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
¼ cup coarsely grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Steps

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Pour the oil into a large, preferably nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, put in the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for 10 seconds. Add the cauliflower florets and stir them around for 2 minutes. Add the grated tomatoes, ginger, chiles, cayenne, turmeric, ground coriander, and salt. Stir to mix. Stir and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the tomatoes are almost absorbed and the cauliflower is almost done. Add the cilantro and mix it in.
3. Put the contents of the pan into an ovenproof dish about 8 inches square, add the cream, mix, and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Put in the top third of the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and developed a few light brown spots. Serve hot.

Notes

Do not use jalapeño or serrano chiles for Indian dishes; they have the wrong texture and flavor. Green bird’s-eye chiles or any long, slim, thin-skinned variety, such as cayenne, are ideal. If you can’t find them, use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper instead of 1/4 teaspoon.

Nanaimo Bars(pronounced Nah-nye-moh)- DB goes to Canada

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and http://www.nanaimo.ca.

If you are on a diet don’t even LOOK at this Canadian Dessert, cuz it will BLOW your diet away!

But it will be totally worth it.

These outrageously rich and delicious treats are as delicious as they are fattening and pretty much uncomplicated to make. I followed the instructions, but I did reduce the sugar by half and they were still fine. I gave away a few to my friends and my family and I polished off the rest. Though I may not make them too often. I’m glad I did make them this time. Thanks Lauren.

Try these out if you want a piece of heaven…But make sure you share it too…

Since we don’t not get Gluten-free dough here(I tried a LOT) I just replaced it with whole wheat.
Graham Wafers

Ingredients
3 cups whole wheat flour
200g dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
100g unsalted butter (cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
80ml honey, mild-flavoured
75 ml whole milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 180′C.
6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
9. When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups of crumbs.
Nanaimo Bars

Ingredients:

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer

115g unsalted butter
25g granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups gluten free graham wafer crumbs (See previous recipe)
55g almonds, finely chopped
130g shredded coconut

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
115g unsalted butter
40ml heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder
100g icing sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer

115g semi-sweet chocolate
28g unsalted butter


Directions:
1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

Irresistible Spinach and an Award

Ever since I laid my eyes on Sias blog I was hooked. It’s got some witty write-ups and absolutely gorgeous pictures.
And the recipes.Man! the recipes! I have tried a few with stupendous success and wish to share with you one such.

But wait!!

Before that I would like to thank…with all my heart…Sumi for bestowing me with the following award…..and since I have already spilt the beans on 7 unknown facts about me ..all I need to do now is pass on this to 7 other wonderful bloggers…

The rules of the award goes like this:

Copy the award to your blog.
* Thank the person giving the award.
* Place a link to their blog.
* Name seven things people don’t know about you.
* Nominate 7 bloggers.
* Place a link to those bloggers.
* Leave a comment to those bloggers letting them know about the award.

Meeso of For the Love of Food
Sapna of Sapnascuisine
Saee Koranne-Khandekar of myjhola
Ranjani of wakeupandsmellthemasala
Shaz of Testwithskewer
Deepa of Foodlyrics
Holly of phenomenon..
These are awesome blogs..Go check them out..

Anyway BACK to my recipe here’s a list of ingredients you will need.This easily serves 6 .

3 bunches Palak/Spinach, chopped
1 cup Milk
3 Onions, finely chopped
5 Potatoes
4 slices of Bread
1/4 cup Green Peas
1 inch Cinnamon
2-3 Green Cardamom
3 Green Chillies
1 inch Ginger, minced
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Turmaric Powder
1/2 tbsp Amchur/Dry Mango Powder
1 tbsp Garam Masala
2 tbsp Cashew nuts,ground into a paste
2 tbsp Butter/Oil/Ghee
2-3 tbsp of Gram Flour
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method:
For Koftas:

Pressure cook potatoes,peel and mash thoroughly.
Soak bread in water, squeeze and add to the potatoes.
Mix with 2 tbsp of the finely cut onion, chillies, cooked green peas, coriander leaves, garam masala, salt, amchur powder, cashew paste and small amount of finely chopped palak.
Mix well and prepare small balls.
Make a paste of the gram flour and water.
Dip these balls in the gram flour paste and deep fry in hot oil.

Keep aside.

Now the Gravy:

Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and fry the palak with a little sugar added to it(this apparently is to retain the green colour)

Sprinkle little water if necessary.Cook until soft.
Once cool grind to a smooth paste.
Heat butter in a pan and add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
After 1 minutes add the chopped onions and fry till it turns transparent.
To this add ginger, ground palak with milk, salt, chilli powder, amchur, turmaric, and garam masala.
Mix well and cook it till the gravy thickens in a medium flame.
Add Koftas just prior to serving.

Fort Aguada and some Desi Food at Fidalgo

One of the touristy things to do when in Goa is to visit the splendid Fort Aguada, located in North Goa.
And although we have lived in Goa for 8 years in total, I’ve been to this fort just twice.
It’s a don’t-value-what-you-have syndrome which I’m sure many of us suffer from.
Take the Jewish Synagogue in Kochi for instance. I’ve lived in Kochi most of my student life and I’ve been there-ONCE!! Now how AWFUL is that!

One of my many resolutions for this year was to explore places around me (as opposed holidaying to distant places).
Here are a few glimpses of the Fort as I saw it a few weeks earlier.

The fort, situated at the mouth of the Mandovi River was built by the Portuguese in 1612 to protect old Goa against the Dutch and Marathas and check access of enemies into the River Mandovi. It is home to several natural springs and that’s how it got its name-Aguada meaning Water in Portuguese.

The beaches of North Goa extend from Fort Aguada, in an almost uninterrupted 30 km sandy stretch ,to the border of Maharashtra.

The fort now houses the central jail and has one of Asia’s oldest lighthouses, a four-storied structure looking over a vast expanse of sea, sand and palm trees.


Whenever we do eat-out here in Goa we always prefer to eat at the beach side shacks instead of the usual restaurants in the city. The only time I do relent is when Hotel Fidalgo is one of the options.

The food is EXCELLENT and the hotel looks real nice post-renovation. It is situated right in the heart of Panjim on 18th june Road and has 6 restaurants to chose from( Bhojan, Legacy of bombay, Mirch masala ,Chilli n Spice amongst others).

The last time we went we decided to eat at Mirch Masala, which serves Indian food.

We started off with a chicken clear soup ( as I was supposed to be on a diet).It was delicious and I could have had buckets of this soup.

For starters we had the Chicken Pahadi Kebab(Rs 220) and the

Delhi chaat(Rs 95).
The Kebab was mouthwatering and its something Im looking forwad to ordering next time too.

The main course was just some Butter Naan, a mughlai chicken(240) and a paneer dish(130) and a chicken dum biriyani(Rs 270).

Everything was yummy and I hope to try the other restaurants in there too…

No I havent broken it…


My diet , I mean.
I was initially too ashamed and embarrassed to try out and post this calorie laden dessert as I’ve been on a diet all week long….
But it seems that I wasn’t THAT embarrassed.
So here’s the recipe for a delicious and RIDICULOUSLY EASY Pomegranate Ice Cream. No churner required and its as creamy as creamy can be. Your kids will thank you..
But your hips will not 😦

INGREDIENTS
Source: Nigella
2 pomegranates
1 lime
125g icing sugar
500ml double cream( I used 25% )

METHOD

Juice the pomegranates and the lime and strain the juices into a bowl.

Add the icing sugar and whisk until it has dissolved.

Whisk in the cream and keep whisking until soft peaks form in the pale pink cream.

Spoon and smooth the ice cream into the airtight container of your choice and freeze overnight.

Eat….and get fat! Ha!!

Just have a look at this..it’s HILARIOUS!!!!!

Avatar

Here’s the thing; I LOVE going out to the movies; but with a 2 year old its been rather difficult lately.
It was after much hesitation that we finally decided to watch Avatar. And its been the highlight of my weekA fabulous visual treat.

Have you watched it…not yet? Well you absolutely must.

James Cameron spent a good amount of the last 15 years trying to make a film that would elevate him from the “king of the world” level….presumptuous as it sounds. But with Avatar , I think he does just that.

The story follows paraplegic Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) to planet Pandora , where his consciousness controls an avatar, a clone of Pandora’s local humanoid Na’vi people.

Apparently the local Na’vi people do not take too kindly to human visitors , which is pretty unfortunate because their “home-tree” is sitting right on top of a rare mineral “unobtainium” which the humans need to resolve a staggering energy crisis back home(ya guys, its 2145 but we are still at it!!). It helps that this mineral sells for 20 million a kilo !!!
So the scientists use genetically engineered Na’vi look-alikes that they can mind-control while the human body is in a kind of deeply-claustrophobic space craft.

Sully( in his blue pointy-eared ,cat-eyed avatar body) falls in love with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the Na’vi warrior princess with whom he explores the wondrous Pandora.
And its from here that the movie explodes into life. It proves wrong the main antagonist Col. Quaritch’s words that “if there is a hell, you might want to go there for a little R&R after Pandora”.On the contrary Pandora is a dream come true…..

The visual effects are eye-popping optical candy
The landscape of the forests, cliffs, waterfalls , floating mountains.. The animals on Pandora are incredible too, weird and fascinating hybrids of dinosaurs and devilish imagination. Cameron just pushes the boundaries of technology and we are drawn into this mind-boggling alternate reality!!!

The CGI fantasy world will take your breath away….literally for some. I read here that some people were so enamored by the make believe world that they were feeling depressed AND SUICIDAL!!!

“After I watched Avatar at the first time, I truly felt depressed as I “wake” up in this world again” said someone of the site….
Anyway, in the end Jake is torn between his military orders to infiltrate the Na’vi and his understanding and love for the blue”tree-hugging” people. Yes, it’s nature versus machine again, and well you know what happens next….

While the plot-line was really “formulaic” and well, even cheesy at times….but there are some metaphors to look out for.
You cannot miss the film’s obvious reference to white guilt- America’s wrongful invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, or the wrongful atrocities committed against Native Americans and during the slave trade years. The pro-environmental message is also loud and clear.


The acting was spectacular especially Zoë Saldana .Terrific.


All in all a great movie, especially if you love(d) Star Trek.

The original images are here

Delicious Party Salad

Dinner parties are a regular part of the Navy Way of Life. We invite and get invited to NUMEROUS such parties, and since Goa is a rather small base its almost always the same group of people you meet at every party.
Although this has helped forge some great friendships ; most parties CAN and DO get BORING BORING BORING. Just imagine having to discuss how much the maid gets paid at 3 parties in a row!!!!

So it was an understandably refreshing change when we had friends from out of town visiting us. Since we were in any case cooking for 4, I added 2 more families to the list and it was only after all the invites were sent out that I realized that we had 20 people in all !!

The menu was the regular fare- a chicken curry and a Paneer curry and a cauliflower bake which my cook made. I made a Palak Kofta(I shall post the recipe later..It was really good) and the Apple Cake with Ice cream( which ALWAYS earns me praises and gushes and oooh’s and aaah’s and wows!!!

I also decided to try out this wonderful salad that I found on Aparna’s blog. She in turn adapted the recipe from here. Aparna is a fellow Palakkad-ite and a fellow Goa-dweller whose fantastic blog I often turn to for delicious vegetarian fare. Try this colourful scrumptious absolutely delicious salad..It will earn you praises…..

Ingredients:

125 gm paneer
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
1 ½ tbsp honey
1 tbsp water
½ tsp garlic paste
80 gm uncooked penne or anyother chunky pasta
1 medium sized red bell pepper, chopped into fairly big cubes
1 medium sized yellow bell pepper chopped into fairly big cubes
1 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
8 green bean, cut into ½” pieces
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn

Dressing:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil

Mix up all these to make a dressing.

Method:
Cut the paneer/tofu into 1/2-inch cubes, and dab using paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, water and the garlic paste. Marinate the paneer in this mixture for at least an hour or even overnight. Keep tossing the paneer so it gets all marinated.

Place the paneer on a greased tray and bake at 200C for about 12minutes or till the paneer cubes start to brown at the edges.

In the meanwhile boil water with a pinch of salt.Throw in the beans, carrots and sweet corn and blanch for about 2 minutes.Drain but keep the water.
Now in the same water cook the pasta.Be careful not to over cook. Drain.
Add to the blanched veggies and also add the paneer and bell peppers and tomatoes. Pour in the dressing and season with salt and pepper.Mix well and serve at room temperature…or chilled if you prefer it that way. YUMMMMY!!!!

Moong Dal Halwa for ICC

I should have atleast looked online for some pics of this delicious Indian Sweet; to tell you the truth I had NO idea what this was even supposed to look like or even heard of it until Srivalli announced this months ICC recipe.

I followed the recipe using milk instead of Khoya but I guess I should have fried the dal for a lot longer as it looks drier as compared to the pics on Google…also I reduced the ghee a bit…maybe that’s why…

But still I have only this to say…IT WAS JUST MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH-DELICIOUS!!!!!!

Ingredients
Split (Yellow) Moong dhal – 1 cup
Ghee – 1/2 cup
Sugar – 3/4 cups to 1 cup (as per required sweetness)
Milk – 1/2 cup (Notes from Lataji – instead of water for the sugar, this gives the khoya added taste, Simran’s recipe asked for water)
Cashews/ raisins roasted in ghee for garnish.

Method to Prepare:

Soak 1 cup moong dal overnight. Next morning, grind to a paste.

Heat a heavy Kadai, take initially only 1/2 of the ghee and heat it.

Add the dhal and stir continuously, not allowing lumps to form. This part is very tricky as the dhal cooks really fast, irrespective of the ghee.

Keep the heat at the lowest and keep stirring even after the dhal becomes thick.

Add the rest of the ghee intermittently and cook the dhal until aromatic and the ghee starts oozing out.

Meanwhile mix the sugar with water/ milk in a pan and bring to a boil. Add this slowly to the cooking dhal.

Keep the fir low at all times and break lumps if formed while adding the sugar and water/ milk mix.

Cook until the ghee surfaces.

Garnish with cashews and raisins.

Notes :

* Use a thick bottom pan or better nonstick pan
* Don’t leave the halwa unattended. The dal can stick and it can go from just done to burnt in a second so keep stirring as much as possible. You should remember to keep stirring to prevent dhal from sticking irrespective of the ghee added.
* You aren’t looking for the halwa to get too thick when you turn off the heat. It was thicken as it cools.
* Cook until ghee surfaces on the sides and the halwa attains a very nice shine.
* Initially, it may appear that all the ghee is being used up. But as the dhal cooks the ghee separates. So the ghee measure is sufficient.
* In both recipes depending on how you got the moong dal paste, you may require slightly more ghee to get the texture
* Though original recipe didn’t call for roasting the dhal before soaking, Lataji felt roasting it a bit gives more fragrance.

Also a special Thank You to Lathaji and Simran’s Mom for recipe inputs.

Lofty Heights

Just wanted to share few pics of the New Tallest Building in the World- Dubai’s Burj Khalifa . The building is more than twice the height of the Empire State Building in New York City and almost twice the height of Chicago ‘s Sears Tower .

Point to ponder
Does this help man reach new heights or does it dwarf him???

Another high( for me) is this lovely award conferred upon me by PJ of seduce your tastebuds fame….

Thanks a lot Daahling!!

Now as the rule book says i need to REVEAL 7 things that people don’t know about me….so here goes..

1. I have studied Carnatic vocal music for 15 years but I have never given a public performance.

2. I am a compulsive planner. I NEED to meticulously plan my entire day…right down to if I’m going to oil my hair or run the washing machine.

3.I can be the WILDEST person you know(I have lived some PRETTY WILD days during my college days in Paris)but I can also be your quintessential Good religious girl( I know the VishnuSahasranamam, Lalitha Sahasranamam and many chapters of the Bagavath Gita by heart), when I used to live in Kochi I would visit the nearby Shiv Temple everyday at 5 in the morning.

4. I used to be a HUGE fan of NKOTB during my school days. In fact i even wrote to them saying I was a dying fan and that my last wish was to see them….(well, they did send me a letter!!!!)

5.I get a pedicure done every week….but I can sometimes go for DAYS without even combing my hair after a bath.

6.I have a deviated septum.

7. I have an AWFUL memory….I forget peoples faces almost as soon as they are out of sight!!!!!

Well, there ya go….7 SECRET ME things!

And I’m giving this award to 7 Lovely Bloggers and going to put them through the same quandary!!!

They have fabulous blogs and i love all of them….

Sayantani of A Home Makers Diary
Sheetal Kiran of Eats Eats and Eats
Sarah Naveen of Vazhayila
Sunita&Namita of Collaborative Curry
sig of Live to Eat
Roma of Roma’s Space
Farida of AZ Cookbooks

Burning Burning Burning

Ha! Gotcha! That should have actually read Gaining Gaining Gaining

My weight that is.

Ever since i stopped nursing my younger son, I have steadily packed on the pounds.
It’s not like I’ve ever been skinny, but as Alexander mccall smith
would say i have a ‘traditional waistline‘.

But when i gained 12 kgs( no, that’s not a typo) in just ONE MONTH, i knew something was wrong…

A visit to my doc confirmed my worst fears…er..no I wasn’t pregnant again…rather i had low Thyroid. My TSH — Thyroid Stimulating Hormone-levels had hit the roof…

Now as many of you probably know, the Thyroid gland which is situated at the bottom of the neck regulates the body’s metabolism(among its other functions)..sorta like a thermostat.

What I have is low Thyroid /hypothyroidism or rather an under-active thyroid which translates into a high TSH level.

Well I am on medication now so all should be fine soon..but what i need to do is WATCH MY DIET and more importantly Exercise…


So when i saw the Ten in 10: Ten weeks to healthy in 2010 challenge on the Recipegirls blog I just HAD to join…

So here goes..
These are my goals

Eat healthier.. which means include more veggies and fruits…and not as desserts!!-Include more salads and soups each week…
Try and get to the gym atleast 4 days a week.
Continue with my walks and yoga ….
lose weight in time for our annual holidays!!!!!!

So now i leave you with a wonderful recipe(ok ok it’s not all that fat free) but it does have loads of beans….


Beans Casserole

Ingredients

600 grams beans- halved and rinsed and cooked until crisp-tender
2 medium onions, thinly sliced into rings
2 tbsp bread crumbs( I used whole wheat bread crumbs)
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp butter
200 grams mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups milk
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp oil
salt
pepper


Boil/steam beans in some water until cooked but still crunchy.

In a saucepan heat the oil. Add the onion rings and cook till crispy brown.I also read here that you can bake them instead. So that’s what i did. To do this preheat oven to 300 F. Lightly grease a baking tray and spread the onion rings on them and bake 20 minutes or until they turn brownish…Set aside.


In a well buttered pan, add the mushrooms and cook on high flame for no more than a minute or so. Add the garlic cook for another minute and remove and strain.

Add 1 tbsp butter to a saucepan and once it melts add the flour.After a few minutes slowly add the milk.Cook it on low heat for maybe 15 minutes. Stir it every once in a while.Add the salt and pepper and any other seasoning you want to….

Add the mushrooms into this sauce.


Take off heat and combine with the cooked beans.

Top with the baked(or fried) crispy onions and the bread crumbs

Place into the oven and bake(350F/160C) until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes….As you can see the bread crumbs haven’t browned enough( I took it out too soon)…but they should have…

Note: You can top with cheese if you wish…but well to cut down on fat , I didn’t.

It is one delicious one dish meal….Try it…


I got this recipe from many sources….you can look here, here and here….

12 Kuvaa-Jan 2010

January 2010

12 kuvaa/photos-october

12 kuvaa/photos-october

12 photo september
My Finnish Blogger friends, Krisu and Mari, have invited me to join the project of a Finnish bloggers’ group, “12 kuvaa, 12 pics” which involves photographing the same spot from the same perspective over the course of one year, one photo each month. So this is my picture for the photo challenge. Its taken from the top of Spring Beach in Dabolim, Goa. It’s a breathtaking view and a fantastic beach. It’s the first beach I visited in Goa, and its one place we love to go to..rain or shine. The pic was taken at 9 am, 13 Sept 2009.

Brief Instructions

1) Select the target.
2) Take a photo, write down the place, the focal length and time.
3. Make the blog post between September 1st and 15th to your blog.
4. Link post to MckLinkyyn (here at Kameravene.fi Logbook).
5. Wait a month:-D
6. Take a photo from the same spot under the same settings as before. EDIT 2.9: … as same size as possible and from same perspective.
7. Make the blog post between September 1st and 15th to your blog. Include all photos taken over the past months (two photos in October, November three, etc. ).
8. Link post to MckLinky.
9. Repeat every month points 5-8 above.

The Easiest Dessert Ever- From Portugal


I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not sure

I’m a typical Libran. Most qualities that apply to the Libra Zodiac usually match mine. And one that certainly stands out is my indecisiveness;my friends and family will vouch for it I’m sure!

I suck BIG TIME at making decisions. Seriously. Ask me to choose between A and B and maybe we’re OK, but ask me to choose between A,B and an infinite number of other choices and boy! are we in a Buridan’s ass situation

First i want this, and then i want that …and then i want this again….i can do it all day long.

Sourse: CartoonArt

To chose one dessert off Portuguese Cuisine put me in such a quandary. I had so many I wanted to make…there was the Portugal Leite Creme – Egg and Milk Custard, then i decided to make the Bolo Rei – a traditional Portuguese cake/bread. Finally it came down to deciding between Bolas de Berlim which are plump little ovals of fried dough–white flour tanned by the ovens heat and filled with custard(YUM!!) and the Bolo De Bolacha– Chocolate Cake Roll.

What I finally did make was the Queijadas Economicas or simply Milk Tartlets . I finally chose these because they seemed ridiculously easy to make. It was so easy that i JUST HAD to try it out.

The end result was really nice. It didn’t have great texture or anything but tasted delicious…comfort dessert, if i may….

The addition of cinnamon gave it beautiful flavour and I was extremely pleased with my decision.So were my kids:)

The recipe I found here.Its a lovely blog with lots of great recipes.

And Hey! Have you ever noticed that Libra is the only inanimate sign of the zodiac, all the others representing either humans or animals? Doesn’t that make us most unique and desirable ????What say you?

Ingredients

300 gr/ 2 cups sugar
50 gr/ about 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
0.5L/ 2 cups milk
150 gr/ 1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs

Preparation
Mix all the ingredients well well then pour into greased muffin pans.

Bake at 375 º for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with a mix of cinnamon and icing sugar.Serve warm(I did!)

This quick and easy dessert goes to the A.W.E.D event started by DK of Chef In You and hosted this month by the lovely Priya.

When I saw Blue…and then Red!


Source:clipart

I was just SHOCKED(well, that was just the first emotion..it just got worse from there on) when I walked in on my son typing out the words BLUE FILM on Google search the other day!

I felt faint, depressed and well , very very confused!

I mean, he’s only 6 , for crying out loud! What the hell was he doing!!!!!!!!!!
What had I done wrong!!!

I walked up to him and asked him what he was doing. My question came out as a series of bummbling blurs..i mean, what do you expect I had just caught my oldest baby(well, he IS just a bit older that a baby!) checking out porn!

“Amma” he tells me all cute and innocent faced, when I had to repeat the question, “ All my friends were telling me that the movie BLUE was shot in Hollywood and I just wanted to see what it was all about”
Well, well, well!!! Turns out he was trying to see pictures of the Hindi movie BLUE….and yes! all you skeptical people I TRUST him and totally believe his explanation.…..

Internet access for children in India,or atleast in most families I know of, is pretty much unrestricted and unmonitored…I have now learnt my lesson.

But I shudder to think of the explaining I would have had to do had he actually PRESSED that enter button.

WHEW!!!!!!

Apple Jam

Here’s some Apple Jam I tried out…never thought I would actually attempt something like this ..but its not that hard and gave me quite a sense of accomplishment!
I adapted the recipe that i found here.

You will Need:

4apples
1 orange
10 big spoonful sugar
2 cups Water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Any Fruit essence/color-few drops(optional)

Directions:

Peel, core and cut the apples into slices.

Put the slices in a Pan and pour water.

Cover the pan with a lid and cook on a slow flame until slices become tender.This might take you 15 minutes.

Now take off flame and let cool .Puree coarsely in a blender.

Put back on stove and add sugar and cardamom powder slowly and stir. Add the lime juice as well. Keep stirring .
You will notice that it is slowly becoming a thicker mass.

Add the fruit essence/ colour and continue stiring until it becomes a jam-like thick crystallized mass.The aroma will knock you off…just lovely!

Cool well and then refrigerate in an air-tight jar!

Apple Preserve

Voila! Now wasn’t that easy-peasy!!!

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