That’s me cutting my 6th year birthday cake baked by my Mom(she’s in the right corner of the pic making sure I don’t hurt myself), wearing a dress she stitched for me. I still have the chair I’m sitting on though I don’t fit on it anymore :) This year I celebrated my 28th birthday away from her and I missed her terribly. This was also my 1st Bday with (r)oomie so its got that bittersweet feel to it. :)
It’s also been a while since I got back to blogging - can’t believe that the last I actually blogged about food was in August for (r)oomie’s bday!!! Life sometimes does that to you – it flies by so fast leaving you to wonder why you didn’t catch up with it. Google+ seems to have caught on, facebook is making tons of changes, the Govt is trying to control the internet and I’ve finally gotten some time to get back to baking. And because of the long break, this post is going to be super uber long. You have been warned!
We’ve made a few changes to our eating habits. We gave up rice – 100%(Well, it’s been 3 weeks now). We almost gave up all other grains too except for the odd parle-g/marie biscuit we treat ourselves to once a day. So well, what do we eat instead? – Samo seeds/Moraiyo/Vari Tandool/varyache tandul/ bhagar . It is quick to cook and the quantity required is very less compared to the regular rice/chapatti.
We have noticed that the craving for rice/chapatti and other grains have reduced drastically since we started on Samo. I’m not sure how long we will continue with it but as long as it doesn’t do us any harm, why not? I do get a craving for Pasta once in a while though and at such times I go with the flow - I don’t like to deny myself of anything :) An added plus is that it is Glutenfree!
“One such food is known here in Marathi as Vari Tandul, Bhagar or Kodri. It is the seed of a grass ( Echinochloa Colonum) which frequently grows amongst the rice paddy as it requires damp, or even waterlogged, soil. Instead of removing it with weedkiller, farmers harvest it. When cooked, it makes a tasty and filling meal. Tandul means rice and though Vari is not a grain it provides the nourishment and energy that rice does. In the west it is called ‘Samo’ or ‘jungle rice’.”
I’ve come across recipes like Khichdi, Upma, Pulav, Kheer, Kadhi, Dhokla, Dosa, Soups with Samo… The easiest way to make it is to wash it and cook it with excess water(1:4 samo:water) in the microwave for about 10-12 minutes. You can add salt and ghee for taste.
On that note I’ve been making ghee at home for sometime now. Apart from cooking I also use it to light the lamp everyday. I’d love to share the recipe with you but I honestly feel this post by Lakshmi from Purevege does it perfect justice!
A few weeks ago our friends dropped by for dinner and shared with us this unique treat called Turkish delights or Locoums/Lokums. I loved almost all the flavours they had to offer. These are perfect gifts to take home to anyone with a sweet tooth– I have them on my list. They were also suspiciously close to Kerala style Halwa - texture wise.
We also got to contribute to a wine and cheese party for the 1st time ever! I’m the wine “connoisseur”(not) of the family so I reached out to Sala and got a ton of help from her via twitter and finally got our act together. Everyone loved the cheese – can’t say the same about the wine. Since it was a day time event people preferred the white wine to the red which made me sad for some reason. After this party I totally got into the wine and cheese mood and got a pinterest board fully dedicated to it.
I also finally figured out a way to bake eggless cookies so I could share them with (r)oomie!(when we go off of being grainfree) Yay! Will put up the recipe soon. Meanwhile all my friends are having babies and so I decided to bake cookies for one of them. I’m super proud of these cookies because I managed to find a balance with the ingredients and an amazingly mess free way to do the icing. Once again thank you Pinterest! I have so much more to learn about icing though. You’ll notice the boo-boos in a bit. I also dedicated 2 cookies to Dude who celebrated his birthday on Oct 25th!
I just cannot bring myself to eat/break these! :)
It’s holiday season!!! I had to redo the red icing because of a taste issue.
I love how soft and white these cookies have come out though I used brown sugar.
Spot the frocks I tried to freehand for the new mommy. :)
Oh and we had a really cozy Thanksgiving this year.
And a really awesome guiltfree/caloriefree cake on my birthday!
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.