easy holiday sweets

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.

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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!

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Holiday banter and Baklavas.

We are back in London and the holiday mood has set in. It’s cold and feels so christmassy here. But the chances for a white one seems pretty low. Did I just sound like I am going to report christmas weather in London? I hope not. I am only selfishly hoping for some snow this year. I know its not entirely convenient when it snows but it is such a beautiful thing to see. Now that I have a small boy at home, I cannot imagine anything more prettier than the sight of us looking out the window while it snows. Besides the snow, we like festive lights, scented candles, dancing in our christmas pyjamas and lots of yummy treats to munch on. So, while we  sing.. all we want for christmas is some snow…. la..la..la, here are a few photos from our home…

christmas blog 2015 2

 

 

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owl blog final

A little story behind the owl wall hanging is that a certain small man in our house adores the Owl. Mainly inspired from the Gruffalo story and the owl from the Twinkle twinkle little star video. As its my duty to keep him happy, I got this DIY kit(Shhhh…. the secret here is that this kit is for 8 year olds and I only got it to practise my basics in stitching). This is my christmas present for the young man although I know when he is old enough to understand more, he is going to hate me for giving a pink one. Until then, I am going to get away with it.

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 Baklavas

Finally, What’s a holiday without sweets?  I like sweets in all forms. Sticky, gooey, crumbly,cakey,creamy and so on but what matters more to me is the flavour and the sweetness itself. Lesser the sugar the better for me. I know you are thinking that I am being rather silly to have said that but more than my tastebuds, the waistline is struggling to handle too much at the moment. Besides that, I think too much sugar in general in any dessert only makes it boring. Throwing in different flavours in good proportions makes it more palatable don’t you agree? Here is one such recipe, when well made makes it a great treat for any occasion. So why not get your hands sticky with this baklava recipe for the holiday season?

Here is what you need 

Filo pastry sheets- store bought

Mix of nuts- crushed roughly

Sugar – as required

Dessicated coconut – A handful (Optional)

Butter – Lots of it (Enough to brush every other sheet liberally)

For the glaze :

Sugar – 2 tblspns

A spoon of rose water

Plain water – a little less than a cup

If you have never worked with filo dough, then please don’t think this might be tough. It only sounds a bit fancy but it is indeed very easy to work with. I have only used them for baklavas although a lot of recipes have come up with filo pastry fillings. All you need to remember is that these sheets are very very thin. They tend to break/dry out easily at room temperature. So, the best is to work quickly and be more organised. And here is a small tip which you may have already known or seen on other recipes with regards to filo pastry:

A wet or a rather damp tea towel comes in quite handy to avoid the filo sheets from drying out in room temperature. So, keep them covered with the towel until the moment of truth, i.e. till the exact point you want to start filling and layering. 

  1. Preheat oven at 180 C. Place parchment/baking paper on a large sized rectangular tin.
  2. Take the roughly chopped nuts(I used almonds, pistachios and walnuts) and add a few spoons of sugar and mix well. Add as much sugar as you like after a quick taste check.
  3. Take atleast 2 filo sheets and butter them. Start filling the nut mix lengthwise. (See picture below) baklava 2

4. Next roll them like how you would roll a paper/poster. As you roll, keep brushing butter randomly on the sides. Repeat this for the remaining sheets.

5. Make as many rolls as your baking tray will hold. I made about 7 rolls with 3 sheets at a time. Now with a very sharp knife, cut them into small squares or diamonds or you may simply halve it.

6. Bake at 180 c until the crisp and golden brown at the top. Keep an eye after about 10 minutes to avoid burning.

7. Lastly, make the sugar/rose water syrup by simply boiling sugar and water until thick. Then add a few drops of rose water to the warm syrup. Once the baklava is out of the oven, take a small brush and apply the syrup evenly or just pour it gently all over. Let it rest for at least 1 hour to allow the syrup to soak through and you can then enjoy some sticky soggy nutty rich parcels. After a day, they hold well so you may even go ahead to pack them for friends or family. And with fillings, you can always experiment. I have even tried adding bits of dates and turned out just good.

A very Merry Christmas and A happy New year to you