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My (R)oomie is easily pleased. A simple Indian dinner, a slice of mango, makes him plenty happy. What I’ve noticed is that it’s the attitude he gets it with that makes him all the more happy. That child like glee is something I’ve seen in very few people.

My Mom too, is easily pleased - genuineness is the easiest way to get to her. She lives in the details and then cares about the big picture anything in between and you’ve lost. Although these two people mostly very different I see some similarities that make me happy.

They both are true and fair minded people - they love to give, they never care about themselves as much as they should(I keep telling them both this often), they both love me loads(which is the best part) and I love them both loads and loads albeit we rarely need a reason to start a war discussion…

Well, why this mushy post, you ask? Because I don’t want to wait a year(for special days) to say ‘i love you’ to the special people in my life. Each day is special(in its own weird twisted discussion filled way) because I have you in it.

Sometimes long drives end up being great places to pick up fresh fruits(like the apples in the picture above). One such drive got us a plethora of strawberries and mangoes. Coming from India, I miss mangoes the most during summer… All those summer vacations spent eating every variety of mango available in every possible form, trying to get a taste of the mango pickle without getting caught are some of my favorite memories.

Although strawberries never played a big role in my life as a kid I did get to taste it as a special treat once in a while and when I got a chance to play with so much of it I jumped at it. I’ve mostly made strawberry preserve/jam but more recently I’ve tried consuming some of it fresh or in a milkshake with some other seasonal berries. 

Having said that, the milkshake it a great way to consume this delicious fruit. Or just fresh, out of the box. 

I cannot have enough of these either… Except that I sometimes feel lazy to cut them up :)

Days like these all I want to do is sit on my papasan chair and drink some masala chai… And since the weather here is unpredictable such times are precious!

How many of you freak out when you get new glassware and have to remove those uber sticky price tags off the bottom? And there’s a party the very next day!

I’ve tried many methods and this works best for me - plus it’s easy and I happened to think it up myself withOUT googling! Take warm water a bowl. Maybe a little more than warm but not hot.

This is the martini glass I got with the sticky pricetag.

Place it in water for 5-10 seconds. Now gently peel it away under water.

The easy peasy peeled price tag - sticky no more! YAY!

I’m not sure if it’s okay to make a post for a simple tip but I think I’m in love with these glasses! They’re best if used to eat.. ermm, serve some yummy dessert!

:D

Also do you like bite size desserts like they serve in PF Changs? I for one, wish Everyone did that. I’d be able to taste more varieties that way, no? :P Anyway that’s just me. But I did buy some tequila shot glasses just for that reason!

Not the best picture, I know, but it was taken at midnight.

Recipe?

Its whipped cream with sugar on the bottom, layered with vanilla cake and chocolate cake, sprinkled with sugar syrup and coffee decoction and topped with the whipped cream with sugar and some chocolate syrup. It’s very easy and fun!

P.S: ignore my messy fridge.

Have a great week!

Hey yo’ll…

Id Mubarak and Happy Ganesh Chathurthi to all of you… August had a lot of Birthday celebrations Krishna(yea the Hindu God) and Balarama’s(His Brother) and (R)oomie! September brings along more celebrations and it continues to the end of the year and then again it’s welcoming the new year and many many more festivals… So happy festivities!!!

Abhi-Zee’s Ganesha just before Visarjan…

Lav’s Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations

I cannot imagine not having the amazing kheer that Mom’s friend and mine used to serve us on Eid and neither can I imagine not celebrating Christmas. There are tons of festivals I am not aware of and do not celebrate simply because I haven’t had the luck&pleasure of experiencing them…  You will however observe how I have come down to associating the my memories with the one thing I speak and write so much about - FOOD…

PB Aunty’s handmade Ganesha

We all have our favourites, dont we now? So does Ganesha - Modaks, Besan ke laddu,  Rawa Laddu, Puran Poli, Motichoor Laddu, Moong Dal ka Halwa, Karanji, Puliodarai and lot’s more… Given the size of his rotund belly, its really not surprising. Last year, for the first time I tried making a few of his favourites and they were Okay but not as great as I’d have liked them to be. This year we decided to focus more on quality and less on quantity.

So I went a little overboard and made a homemade mandir with drapings(handstitched) and a clay Idol with as realistic colours as I could get. Unlike last year when I worked on the clay using a video - this year I created mostly using my imagination, sitting all through the night… At the break of dawn, I read about the earthquake and the upcoming hurricane and I prayed that the effects not be catastrophic… But that’s another story altogether.

So here are my memories and also a few on my frds’ celebrations and with it I include a prayer for you - a prayer for peace, happiness and success in all the good that you do… And also for you all to find love and stay loved.

I was a marshmallow lover till I got to know that it had gelatin in it. Sometimes Ignorance is Absolute Bliss. Having realized what gelatin was and so on and so forth I decided to give it up. This was a longtime ago(almost a decade). I wasn’t a very conscious vegetarian - in the sense that I never went about looking at labels on sweets to check for gelatin. Hell… I wouldn’t even know what gelatin was if it danced in front of me.

After the enlightenment I kinda felt sad that I had to give up something i really liked but it also made me painfully aware of a number of candies I had to give up on. In the recent few months I’ve been through some absolutely gorgeous sites with beautiful desserts decorated with fondant. Alas the ingredients included the dreaded gelatin. I almost gave up when I got this crazy idea of making a vegan version from scratch. But again, the procedure and the number of ingredients threw me back.

The last google I did in frustration was for vegan marshmallows and bingo - Whole Foods had it. I drove there and picked a packet and tore it open to taste it. There’s definitely a diff in taste but it’s pretty darn good. So I used it to make some Vegan Fondant. I found many videos on youtube which demonstrated how to make fondant with regular marshmallows and I simply substituted it with the vegan version. Surprise surprise, my first batch of vegan fondant :) I even managed to cover a few cookies but to be absolutely honest I did feel it was a little dry. Maybe I should mix it up more. I’m still learning and experimenting with rolling out the fondant and shaping it. I tried some roses which look very immature but are a start nonetheless and I’m only going to get better so I look forward to it.

They tasted nice and so I packed them up for the bake sale though there wasn’t any baking involved :D The white dot shaped thingies is powdered sugar that i used to roll out the fondant. Trust me - these look very immature but they are absolute fun especially when you are not sure of what you are doing!

The other thing is that there has been so much sugar usage for all the baking that I actually am revolted at the sight of sugar. Well, whom am i kidding - not really revolted, I’m keeping myself away consciously. A dear friend constantly reminds me about living and running a healthy lifestyle. That and my dearest Mom who surprises me with amazingly new things she starts up like this cabbage juice she suggested for detox, guava leaves to control sugar and I can keep on going…

Now about the above cookies - I wish I had taken a pic of the cookies when i just piped them on the silpat hoping they would retain their shape(I piped them so close to each other too!). They looked so pretty and when I put them in the oven and checked on them 10 min later and they were bubbling their way all over the silpat - I almost yelled in frustration! The first time I participated in the Daring Bakers and I was supposed to make Florentines they didn’t spread out the way they were supposed to but this time I didn’t even try and these cookies laced out pretty darn well! These cookies have NO EGG and have cocoa, hazelnuts & almonds. They taste really buttery because of all the butter I generously used. When I got the out of the oven I had to use a pizza cutter to gently separate them out!

I had this post in my drafts waiting for find my camera’s connecting wire so that I could transfer some of the pics I managed to click on the Baking Sale(because in my excitement I forgot the memory card-silly me) hosted by Gaby. The bake sale was a huge hit at the BLD restaurant generating more than $2300 at the LA location and more than $22000 all over the country for Share Our Strength. I tasted a macaron for the first time ever and it was delish! I also got some strawberry preserve made by Kate at savour-fare which didn’t last more than a day!

Sources: My cookies are all inspired by Amanda from iambaker and iammommy and Bridget at bakeat350. They make the most exceptional cookies I have ever seen and have even put up videos at university of cookies to add to my pure delight!

I made the meringues by following the step by step procedure mentioned here(it’s in great detail). The Florentines were a trial and error recipe which I am going to work on till I get the desired shape.

Enjoy!

I have been a tea addict ever since I could spell the word tea. I could make tea since I was tall enough to reach the stove. It may not be the best thing to be addicted to because there have been days in my recent years when I would get a migraine if I didn’t get my morning cuppa tea.

Also for the past 3 years now bagels are one of my most favourite food type. I have treated myself to one bagel with some Dunkin donut coffee for 1.5 years straight which also meant that I was putting in at least 500 cals in one meal with all the creamcheese and all the cream in the coffee. And then I gave it up just like that, suppressing all the craving deep inside. I best love my bagels Unsliced, Untoasted and microwaved for exactly 30 seconds and eaten without any spread on it.

Weekends usually start late with a nicemasala chai with rusk to dip in. After having my share of chai today morning I felt greedy for more. And then suddenly this bulb lit up on the right side of my head and I decided to get off my arse and make some tea infused bagels!

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Pasta delight with spinach patties!

It’s been a while since I could get some Pasta on our plates. So when I finally got a chance to make some, I decided to go all the way! Let me warn you that this takes quite a bit o time for the dish to be finally plated.

First:

Boil and drain multi grain pasta and keep aside.

Second:

Make some white sauce and keep aside.

You will need

butter - 1/2 cup

all purpose flour - 1/2 cup

milk - 1/2 cup

salt - 1 pinch

sugar - 1 tspn

dry basil - a sprinkle or two

Melt the butter and add the flour and mix well to avoid all the lumps. Slowly add milk and make a smooth paste and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the salt , sugar and basil and mix. Turn off the heat and keep aside. This should be of thick but pouring consistency.

Third:

Saute all the veggies in some olive oil. Onion, green peppers, mushroom will do!

Fourth:

Making the spinach patties…

Spinach cleaned and chopped - 2 bunches

Ginger garlic paste - 1 Tspn

Corn flour - 1/2 cup

Panko bread crumbs - 1/2 cup

chilli powder - 1/2 tspn

salt - per taste

parmesan - 1/4 cup

Oil for frying

Boil some water and put the spinach. Wait for the spinach to wilt and drain it out really well. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. You might need to add more cornflour or breadcrumbs if the mixture is liquidy. Now make 2 inch size balls and press gently to form patties and keep aside. Heat some oil in a pan and shallow fry the patties till they turn golden brown both sides.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 F. In an oven friendly bowl layer the pasta, sauce and veggies like you layer lasanga. Put a pattie or two inside. Top it with the parmesan. Cover with an aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes.

I’m sending this off to Presto Pasta Nights #197 hosted by GirliChef!

Roundup here.

Veggie Omelette with Baked Tofu

The Baked tofu(with a twist of my own) is borrowed from Sala of VeggieBelly who has been on an awesome vacation. The Omelette is any regular omelette that you like. Add as many veggies as you like… And garnish with some Parmesan cheese - strictly optional.

For the tofu:

Drain the Firm tofu sliced it into 2”*2”*1” size pieces.You can used extra firm tofu depending on the texture you prefer.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Soy sauce - 1 Tbspn

Olive Oil - 1 Tbspn

Ginger Garlic paste - 1 Tspn or to taste

Dry Basil - 1-2 sprinkles

Mix the above four ingredients really well and soak/marinate the tofu pieces for about 10 minutes before you slip it into the oven. I didn’t add salt because the ginger garlic paste already had enough in it. Let the extra marinade remain in the baking dish. This takes more than an hour to be all set - Mine took 80 minutes! So time your omelette accordingly. The tofu is best eaten hot!

Now for the omelette:

I can tell you what I did but make your own, really. I like my omelette with onion, tomato, mushroom, green pepper(all sauteed) but to each their own…

The Omelette has:

2 large eggs beaten

tomato - 1 small chopped into tiny pieces

Onion - finely chopped but half the tomato in quantity

salt and pepper to taste.

Oil to wet the pan for the omelette. So heat some oil in the pan and saute the veggies and add to the beaten eggs. Pour into the same pan and let it cook for 2 minutes before you carefully turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes on medium heat.

Once the omelette is done you are all ready to plate your dish. Garnish with any cheese you like… I used one pinch of parmesan :D