Easy desserts

Tiramisu

We are back in London after a rather long holiday in India. This week has been busy as we have had a lot of things to clear out and also do all the unpacking. We are almost done and slowly this change is starting to feel more normal. I even managed to whip up some dosa batter in between all the de-cluttering. Last night I was the tired mother who was sipping on a glass of Merlot and also trying to make dosas for the half pint who was happily sat on the kitchen counter to see his mum in action. Somehow, those few moments I shared with him while I served him and watched him eat made me feel oh so nostalgic. I was the little child in my mother’s kitchen who always sat on the counter and enjoyed having food off the stove while mom and I spoke random things. Yesterday, I saw myself sharing a slice of my childhood with Neil while he enjoyed his dinner just like the way I used to. This whole scene from last night made me feel something that pretty much sums up life for me. All I want to do is cook for the family with a bottle of wine perhaps….

It may only be appropriate to share one of my favourite recipes while I am talking about how much I love to cook. The recipe is only a matter of getting things in order and layering them up to form a Tiramisu. This is a non-alcoholic version only because I find the existing amount of coffee and cocoa is enough for me to go bonkers. So feel free to add a bit of rum to your coffee decoction if you are more grown-up than I am.

 

Ingredients

Cocoa powder to sprinkle the tiramisu

Coffee to wet the sponge fingers

Mascarpone -500 g

Eggs- 6 medium

Sugar -120 g

Finger sponge -it depends on the size of the box/tin u will use

 

This is the dish I like to use so it is easy to build a neat layer. The wider the better!

First prepare the coffee like you would normally do.( enough to soak the finger sponges , I usually fill a pasta plate) pour into a bowl and let it cool.

Whip the egg yolks with half the sugar to obtain a very light and creamy mixture.

Add the mascarpone to the mixture and work the whole thing with a whisk (or wooden spoon until creamy with no lumps, At this stage it should be very creamy

Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt, add the sugar (the remaining half), with a wooden spoon, add them gradually and gently into the mixture of mascarpone and egg yolks, so you now have the cream for the tiramisu.

Soak the sponge fingers one by one in the coffee and start to build your layers.

Cover the fingersponge soaked with a layer of mascarpone cream adjusting with a spoon.

Sprinkle the surface with cocoa powder. Go ahead with  the second layer of fingersponge, cream and cocoa. Also, if before you have them arranged vertically, then place them horizontally (and vice-versa).

Complete with plenty of cocoa powder to cover the surface of your Tiramisu and Store in refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

A few ways I embarrass my better-half and a tikka recipe.

I do feel that the husband-wife relationship is probably the most funniest of all relationships. At least, in my case it is. Well, purely because, I never fail to amuse him and so does he. Oh but I am the agreed winner when it comes to being an total embarrassment. I hope at least by writing it all down, I will learn to grow up and act rather lady-like.

  1. Love for noisy eating- I cannot help but be plainly honest on this one. I eat a lot and making all kinds of noise like aaahh, mmmm( sometimes you may even hear me chewing) gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. But my ever so polite husband is hugely embarrassed while dining out with me. Even while we go to an okayish place, I am still making noise out of disappointment because my food wasn’t to my expectations.
  2. Many good things come in small packages – My love for little things – I am a sucker for small things. Sometimes, I don’t mind paying more than its worth as long it is small and pretty. For e.g, on our way back home from our holiday recently, I had bought a lovely pot of yoghurt (made of plain glass-nothing too fancy) but looked very good to me for the price. This pot kept me dreaming of what I would use for after I have finished the yoghurt. And reality hit me when the airpot security told me off as I couldn’t carry that size in my hand baggage. They were kind enough to let me finish the yoghurt and take the bottle empty if I wanted. And like a silly young woman, I ate all of it in front of them in two minutes and was then allowed to carry it. So, while all this happened, my husband still kept his cool. But I knew, he was wondering how on earth could I come up with such new ways of embarrassing him. But all that mattered to me was bringing that darn pot home and I did.
  3. Talking loud – Well, coming from a place like India, how many of us talk slow and low toned? I don’t always talk loud but sometimes it just happens when I really have to convey my point. I know being loud makes no guarantee that I will win any argument but at least I have got him listening. But, honestly, I am way better now than I used to be. Thanks to my new role as a mother that has helped me tone down drastically.
  4. My OCD rules- Ever so embarrassing. I would ask him to check the refrigerator door a hundred times before we hit the bed. I would ask him about thrice if the doors were locked. I would ask him to check on the lights a few times. I would ask him to make sure his wardrobe door wasn’t kept open while we are off to bed. He really is one cool-headed man for he deals with these awkward things every single day.
  5. My rather amazing sense of spacial awareness- While we go out together, It feels as if I don’t have to worry about being dangerously close to someone or something. Somehow, I take it for granted that I won’t be hurt. But fate has it that I always end up hurting myself more in some small way when I go with my husband than when I am alone. These kind of things happen at supermarkets mostly. Incase, you didn’t know, a majority of them are huge and have dodgy trolleys here. While we are there shopping,  I am half the time dreaming of what new vegetable to buy or what new ingredient I could add to my existing recipes. So, I am kind of not really paying attention to who is around. For the record, I have got my feet badly stamped by a rather giant footed man who obviously saw me standing and doing the packing at the till.  And now my ever so practically-thinking husband points to me by saying I should have worn proper shoes and also looked around before I started packing. Well, little did I know or expect that I would get hurt if I walked into a store with a flip-flop. Well, many people do don’t they? But why is it that I am the one who gets caught up?  The reason is simple, my sense of spacial awareness is very poor and had I been mindful enough to see that giant man earlier than that, I would’ve been more careful and stood an inch away. But I didn’t and I went ahead blocking the way and ended up getting hurt.

These are just a few things I am a regular at. Besides these, I have had my fair share of moments where I have dropped things off the floor and looked very clumsy too. If truth be told, I am only getting better by the minute. I am also looking forward to hearing what my son thinks of all this in a few years. I am only hoping to not embarrass him as much although I do have a few ideas already 😉

In order to save myself from all the embarrassment, I do make things that make my boys go oooooo and aaaahhhh. For e.g, I make a decent variety of food to begin with. So today, being Easter sunday, I cooked Salmon tikka and a vegetarian version with paneer, some potato wedges and simple cumin spiced rice. And a very easy vanilla yoghurt with berries to finish it all on a sweet note. My husband gave me a big thumbs up for the salmon. I want to admit it that this probably was my best attempt in making a good tikka. It was delicious and full of flavour.

lucnh 2

So, in case any of you are interested in the tikka recipe, here is what you will need 🙂

Choose any vegetable or meat of your choice. ( Some suggestions for a vegetarian version include broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes and cottage cheese too)

To make the basic tikka marinade: 

  1. Hung curd/yoghurt – This is the result of hanging up some yoghurt in a muslin cloth for a couple of hours atleast to drain the water. The longer it is kept for draining, the thicker and creamier your yoghurt will be. I left mine for four hours. 
  2. Ginger garlic paste- 
  3. Green chilli paste – roughly pounded in a mortar and pestle or you can even grind it coarsely
  4. Cumin powder
  5. Garam masala
  6. Kashmiri chilli powder
  7. Turmeric
  8. A few saffron strands
  9. Kasuri Methi or dried fenugreek leaves
  10. Salt 

These are the ingredients for the marinade. Depending on the quantity of fish/vegetable, make a marinade by carefully mixing all the above. If you are making it with fish, then DO a salt check before you add to the raw fish. Then gently coat the fish and vegetables and leave it to marinate for atleast 30 minutes. And now bake/grill in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or till you see some dark roasting spots here and there. If you don’t have an oven or you are too lazy to use the one you have, then You can also pan fry these with some butter or oil on a medium flame till its all cooked through well.

Today, along with the salmon, I added cubes of red and green peppers/capsicum and onions. I marinated all of these together and it took me about 20 minutes in my oven to get that roasted look. Finally, squeeze very little lemon before serving.

This can be had with any flatbread for a hearty lunch or just had on its own for a light meal.

easy dessert

 

This was our dessert. Since, I did not have much time today, I just added some vanilla paste and few sprinkles of sugar to plain greek yoghurt and layered it with strawberries and blueberries. It was solely for the darling son who loves berries and yoghurt. However, It was rather scrumptious and we enjoyed it too. On that note, A very Happy Easter to you and yours!

Goodbye Summer with yet another recipe

Summertime means a lot more than ever since I have been living in Britain. Having said that, whatever the weather brings, I just have to talk about it simply because thats what many people do here. That doesn’t make me feel entirely British but I love to use it as a conversation starter while I am out and about. Some people are so likeable at the first instant, and I don’t want to miss a chance to exchange some good words. So, when I start to talk about the weather, I know that the other person is most definitely going to respond. Now, we have all been told not to talk to strangers and in fact I might tell that to my son too. But in a place like Britain or even America for that matter, I have noticed a majority of people greet you with a smile to the least while you are simply walking by or sharing a lift. Thats one thing I wish I could experience in India because ever so often when I go back home, I find myself smiling so much only to realise that people are always in a hurry and just don’t notice or they simply think I am mad. Very very few of them stop and smile genuinely. Well, each to their own!

Going back to talking about summer, I am a little sad that its almost over now and so quickly too. For one thing, I will miss taking my little man-cub to the park on his cute shorts and tees and also the many ice creams that followed after. So, we have decided we would wish for brighter days even in the peak of winter just so we can at least breathe in some fresh air and wave to all the buses and cars passing by. One another thing that screams summer to us is berries. Especially, Strawberries!!! Just like how many of us wait for Mangoes to pop up in India every summer, we wait for strawberries here. My husband, sometimes thinks we have probably spent the most money on these berries than anything else every week. But, ignoring his comments has become quite a habit these days. So, maybe he is a little glad that we wont buy too many boxes of berries for a while but we have plenty of other choices for autumn and winter and spring too!

As we kiss goodbye to summer and also to finish off the last few berries from the fridge, I decided to whip up a quick dessert for us over the last weekend. Before getting onto the recipe, I have to tell you where the inspiration came from. On our recent holiday in Dubai, we indulged quite a bit. Isn’t that the law anyway? Extra food, extra cuddles, extra sleep and everything a bit too much on a holiday. So, one of the days we ordered for a luscious dessert with greek yoghurt, honey, figs and nuts. That sure sounded hopelessly exotic when I first read it on the menu. But when I actually tasted it, it was so simple that I could see all my senses working in perfect harmony to guess each ingredient that went into it. It was basically a huge serving on greek yoghurt flavoured with honey and topped with grilled figs and pistachios. And needless to say, it was one scrumptious thing. Ever since, I have been trying to make that at home. As I didn’t plan ahead, I thought I will just use the berries as topping for our recipe. It was obviously different from what we had in Dubai, but It sure did remind me of the good times from our holiday.

Here is all you need :

Plain Greek Yoghurt- As needed ( I would one half a cup to one cup per portion)

Honey- About a tablespoon for each portion

Sliced pistachios – Just a few to sprinkle

Any fruits of your choice

Take a dessert bowl, add the greek yoghurt. Do not whip or mix just spoon them straight from the container. Now drizzle honey all over. Then top it off with fruits and pistachios and serve.

IMG_6741 Berry post

I have not followed any rules for arranging the fruits as I like to give it a homemade look rather than a Michelin Star recipe. So, serve as you please and enjoy!

Easy Peasy Apple Rabdi ( And some silly babble!)

I am always ever so enthusiastic to make a visit to the supermarket. Given a chance, I wouldn’t mind going to a local farmers market everyday to pick up vegetables and fruits for the day. Now, please don’t think I am trying to sound like a parisian chic who shops and eats so sensibly! But what i do like is most french woman hate diets and exercise because I hate them too. Yes, I don’t think I will ever go on a diet or get an exercise exhaustion. But I do believe that a healthy diet is about moderation and not deprivation. If you want to eat that darn chocolate cake, eat it but some of it. And then eat whole clean foods and eat homemade foods as much as you can.This is it! This is what I like most of the times apart from one of those trashy days when I greedily eat a big bowl of fries and I let the humble fruit bowl stare at me. But these days, I am following the moderation intake quite strictly as I am trying hard to be a good example to my dear little boy.

Anyway, enough of all this. Look at this dessert!

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What is Rabdi you may ask especially if you are not from India? Rabdi/ Rabri is an Indian dessert which is sweetened reduced full fat milk and garnished with some nuts and spices like cardamom and saffron. A lot of the Indian sweets are made up with different combinations of milk based products like Khoya, Paneer and Malai. When it comes to making sweets at home, my favourite is Malai. For one thing, you can hardly go wrong in reducing milk to a creamy heaven and mainly this malai stuff is just heaven in a bowl. One can probably make an endless list of recipes using a cup of Malai. This Apple Rabdi is also made with malai and is a little less sinful as it has grated apples. This is a perfect dessert for kids too!

All you need is

1 litre of whole milk

1/2 can of condensed milk(I used a little less as the apples were sweet and crunchy)

A pinch of saffron and cardamom powder

Some nuts of your choice to garnish

Take a wide milk pan and boil the milk till it reduces to half. Keep stirring in between to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan. Half way through the boil, you can add saffron and cardamom. Once reduced to half, it may look a bit pale yellow but this is only a good sign. Now, add the condensed milk and grated apples. Simmer for five to ten minutes till it all comes together nicely. Turn off heat and serve it warm or cool it completely before chilling it in the refrigerator.

How easy was that? A couple of things to keep in mind with using apples in this recipe.

-Only grate apples just before you add them to the hot milk.

-Make sure that the apples are not too sour as it may spoil the milk.