Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fruit tart

The only good thing about summer is you get to have mangoes and variety of berries. We love having mangoes the way they are or may be in the form of Mango Shake. When it comes to berries, we usually have it during breakfast, by adding into oatmeal or may be to bite into it while having Pancakes, French Toast etc.



Another way of having berries (if you don't want them to be eaten alone) is to go for this colourful tart. Don't they look so lovely? They taste good too. Every bite of it is so refreshing with so many variety of fruits in it that anyone is gonna love having it.

I was so thrilled to make it, esp. while I was decorating it :). Hope you too enjoy making it and love having it.



Ingredients

For the sweet pastry crust

  1. 1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  2. 1/8 tsp of salt
  3. 113 gms of unsalted butter @ room temperature
  4. 1/4 cup of white sugar
  5. 1 large egg, beaten
For the cream filling
  1. 1 1/4 cup of milk
  2. 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  3. 3 large egg yolks
  4. 1/4 cup of granulated white sugar
  5. 2 tbsp of all purpose flour
  6. 2 tbsp of cornstarch
For the toppings
  1. Variety of fruits washed 

Method

Making of the sweet pastry crust

  • In a bowl, mix the all purpose flour and salt.
  • In another bowl, beat the butter untill it softens and then add the sugar and beat it till fluffy. Now add the egg and beat it untill everything gets incorporated. 
  • Add the flour mixture, all at one go and beat it just untill it forms a ball.
  • Flatten the pastry on to a sheet and cling wrap it and refrigerate it for 15- 20 mins.
  • Lightly butter and flour the base and sides of a tart pan. Evenly pat the chilled pastry on to the bottom and sides of the pan and cling wrap it and place it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove it from the freezer and using a fork, lightly prick the bottom of the crust, so that the dough does not puff up while it bakes.
  • Preheat the oven at 400 F. 
  • Bake the crust for about 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 F and continue baking the crust for another 15 minutes, or untill it turns golden brown. 
  • Remove it on to a wire rack to cool completely before you go ahead with the filling. 
Making of the cream filling
  • In a bowl, mix the sugar and the egg yolks together. 
  • Sift the flour and the corn starch and add it to the egg mixture untill it forms a smooth paste.
  • In a saucepan, heat the milk just untill it starts to boil. Pour it into the egg mixture slowly while you keep stirring constantly to avoid curdling. If it curdles, you could pour it through a strainer to remove the cooked pieces of egg in it.
  • Pour this mixture onto a saucepan and cook it over medium heat untill boiling while you keep stirring it constantly. Continue to stir it untill you get a thicker consistency.
  • Remove it from the heat and add vanilla extract to it.
  • Pour it into a clean bowl and cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap to prevent forming of crust over it.
  • Let it cool completely before you use it as filling.
Assembly of fruit tart
  • Pour in the cream filling into the pastry crust. Level it out using a spatula.
  • Now spread the fruits on top of it in a pattern of your choice. 
  • Serve it immediately. You could also refrigerate it and bring it to room temperature before you serve it.
Tips

  1. You could mix some apricot jam and water together and use it to give glaze to the fruit toppings. You could also spread the apricot jam on top of the pastry crust and let it dry out before filling it with cream filling. This could prevent the crust from getting soggy.
  2. Using a tart pan with removable base helps to keep the pastry crust in shape.
  3. You could use fruits of you choice. I used blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and kiwi.

Recipe courtesy : Joy of Baking



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Broccoli soup

Broccoli has never been my cup of tea. We had bought it just once and never again after that. Even at the restaurants, if it is served as a side , I would just leave it untouched.



Whenever I used to see recipes related with Broccoli in it, I would wonder what makes people to love it. And then one day, I saw Broccoli soup being posted by Meena and Divya. Those soups seemed to be attractive because they didn't have broccoli visible in them(they had added them having pureed). I thought may be if I try something similar, it could drive off the dislike towards Broccoli and it worked. We loved it. It served as a warm appetizer for our dinner.



Try it and if you too are not a fan of Broccoli, I wish it turns out to be a turning point for you to start loving it like I did.



Ingredients
  1. 1 Medium sized Broccoli floret
  2. 3 tbsp of white onion, cut into small cubes
  3. 2 tsp of finely chopped garlic
  4. 1 Capsicum/ Bell pepper cubed
  5. 3 tsp of butter
  6. 1 cup of vegetable stock
  7. 1/2 cup of milk
  8. 1 tbsp of corn flour
  9. Water to boil Broccoli
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Ground black pepper to taste

Method
  • In a pan, take water and drop in the broccoli florets. Boil it untill the florets gets cooked and turn tender. Drain out the broccoli florets and preserve the water to use while grinding the broccoli.
  • In another pan, heat the butter. Add cubed onions, chopped garlic and salt to it. Let the onions turn tender. Now add capsicum/bell pepper and pepper to it. Let it get cooked. Remove it from the heat.
  • In a blender, add the cooked broccoli and cooked bell pepper mixture. Add just enough water (the water that had been used to boil broccoli) to grind them all together into a fine paste.
  • To a pan, pour in the vegetable stock and add the corn flour to it. Mix it well. Now add the ground paste to it and bring it to a boil. Then add milk to it. Let it boil and cook till you get a desired consistency for the soup.
  • Serve it hot with some crackers / croutons and some ground pepper sprinkled on top of it.

Tips
  1. You could use ghee(clarified butter) instead of butter if you wish to.
  2. You could substitute corn flour with all purpose flour to bring about thickness to the soup.
  3. If you eat chicken, then you could use chicken stock to make the non vegetarian in you happy :).
  4. You could avoid adding black pepper to the soup and then leave it to be added as required while you have it by sprinkling on top of the soup.


Recipe courtesy : Adapted from Elephant and the coconut trees and Dishing with Divya




Saturday, July 5, 2014

A beautiful evening in Phoenix !

Just when we thought of going out to wipe out boredom, nature made our surroundings even more interesting.





Friday, July 4, 2014

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake

A visit to the IHOP is always meant either for pancakes or omelets. I just can't have enough of those. While I was pregnant with Jordan, I used to feel sick in the initial months. During those days the only things I could have was dosas or pancakes. I have had plenty of servings of them and I am so much grateful to all those restaurants who served me with those and made me feel good.



I have always made these pancakes in the past. But to make the pancakes fluffy was always challenging for me. Finally I learnt the trick of making them fluffier.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Arabian grape juice

Arabian grape juice reminds me of Oasis, a hotel that had opened up just next to our college. We used to looove the Arabian grape juice served there. We being a huge gang of friends, every month there would be one or two birthdays that we would celebrate. With Oasis having come up so close, we changed the birthday cake cuttings from cafeteria's or parks to Oasis. We(the noisy bunch of college students) could cut the cake as well as get a glass of this juice (which was super filling) so the restaurant guys also could not say no to us. Later we overheard a server nicknaming us as 'The juice gang'. So we had to put a full stop to our birthdays celebrations to be held there but used to still go there in small bunch to drink this juice.

I have no idea if the same restaurant does exist there but I would so love to go back and enjoy that chilled glass of juice to refresh old memories. But for now, as an alternative I am just going to drink this homemade juice sitting at home and pretend I am with that same noisy gang back there in Oasis :). Even though you may not have nostalgic moments attached to this grape juice, you should try it. It is so good and filling that you are sure to make this quite often.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Homemade Pizza

Who does not love Pizza? Well there may be few people who may not love it, but we definitely do, except for the guilt of stuffing ourselves with that amount of cheese, we are all in for it, anytime. 


Pizza making is not as big a deal as I had thought of. One day when I finally thought of trying it , it came out so good that it just vanished.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Torcettini

Its almost a year now that I made these. Last year this time is when I made it, to pack as snacks for a road trip. I thought, now that I would want to spend more time with my baby and at the same time keep my passion towards blogging intact, I could look back on all those drafts that have been lying behind untouched. So here it is.



I had made these the day prior to our trip and it tasted great. What I liked the most about it was the ease of making it while I was busy packing stuff for our travel. They are just so simple to make.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dhokla

I had not been a fan of dhokla untill 31st December, 2008. Ya, I am pretty sure about the date because that day I paid an unplanned visit to my mom's cousin in Bhopal. All thanks to Indian Railways to have messed with my ticket that made me jump of the moving train. Well the train had just left the platform and wasn't in full speed, else I wouldn't be writing this post right? Oh no, this is not what you think, not a suicidal attempt. Trust me, the very thought of it, still leaves my knees fellowshipping. But in a way it was good to have spent a new year and bond with relatives, who otherwise would have most probably been more familiar to me just by their names.



Anyways, getting back to dhokla - Alphonse aunty, who came to my rescue, made these at home and I must say that the taste of dhokla is still hanging around on my tastebuds.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Lettuce wraps

Lettuce wraps are a must to order when we are at P F Chang's. We love it. Every bite is so refreshing with the crunchy lettuce and made yummy with the filling in it. 



I just wanted to recreate something similar at home. Couple of times that we made earlier were not that great. Finally this version seemed to be getting much more closer to the ones that we usually have.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Semiya Upma / Vermicelli upma

Yup, I am back as I had told in the earlier posts that I would be. For the time being I have some drafts which I had been delaying in posting for a while now. Those drafts are gonna feed my blog untill my baby gets settled down in our crazy world. He still has got his nights and days mixed up. So while he is sleeping through the day, I thought I could do something else other than starring at him :). Anyways, this time it is Semiya Upma. Lazy morning breakfast option is what I would describe these to be.



During college days, when we used to attend camps, Rava Upma used to be served quite often. No complaints from my end, because I love Upma. But Upma is not very well accepted by all. Atleast that is what I have seen while I was in hostel or while attending camps. Even my man does not like it. But this semiya upma is well appreciated by him. So this is like a life saving breakfast option for me when we would get up late and have to quickly make something up for breakfast while I would be juggling with the options for lunch, to pack for him. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Birth Announcement ~ A very special post on Mother' day !

Happy Mother's day !

It's been almost a month since I had my last post published. I thought I owe an explanation to all my readers of the reason for me being absent from this virtual space of mine. Well, the reason being a very special and close to our heart, I am glad that I could publish this post on Mother's day. Nothing more apt than that.



God assigned me a full time job of being a mother and handed over a baby boy to us on April 21st, 2014. We chose to name him Jordan Jacob. He missed it by a day of becoming an Easter baby, may be because he wanted his foodie mother's wish of having Appam and Chicken curry made by his grandmother for Easter breakfast (an indirect way of him enjoying it too while he still remains in my tummy). 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kozhukatta

Have you heard of Kozhukatta perunnal ? I am sure most of you have not. Because it is a catholic tradition followed only in certain parts of Kerala. My mom had never heard about it untill she got married. At my father's home this is a great tradition, where every one joins in to make it the day before Palm sunday and its called Kozhukatta sheniyazhcha. So we too used to follow the same tradition.



Its celebrated in memory of Jesus Christ being stoned. Its in memory of that, that we make these round stone shaped sweet dish. It has always seemed a strange thing to me to eat something sweet in memory of someone who was hurt that day. That is just one version of the history behind it. There are so many other versions. Hmm...anyways, I love having it and it gets all nostalgic when I start making it. It reminds me of those days as kids when we would sit down to give a hand in making these and my father would pour out so many memories from his childhood. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mango Shake

Summer is almost here. Do you have any plans for this summer? Well, with the past year's experience I think we would keep ourselves locked inside rather than going out. Last year, we kept running away from sun. It was pretty hot. Atleast, we felt so. Five minutes in the sun was like sedative for me. I would fall off to sleep as soon as we would be back home, all tanned and burnt. I wonder how harsh it would be this time. If at all there was a weather moderate enough and remained the same all through out the year. Ahh, but then again, we would complain...human nature.



Now that mangoes are in season, I thought I should do this post. I must admit, I really miss the taste and smell of mangoes back home. The mangoes that we get here are no way close to comparison what we get there.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tip to make perfect boiled egg



  1. In a saucepan, take the eggs that need to be boiled. Pour in water such that the eggs gets immersed in water completely. 
  2. Add 1/2 tbsp of salt to it. 
  3. Place it on high heat. When the water starts to boil, simmer the heat to medium and let it cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat. 
  4. Pour out the hot water from the pan. Now run the normal tap water ( cold water ) on the eggs untill the shells cool completely.
  5. Take a boiled egg and drop it on the kitchen top and roll it under your palms applying pressure gently such that the shells crack in a circle, by the center of the egg. The shells would now peel off quickly.




Nadan Egg Roast / Egg Roast (Kerala style)

Sunday lunch used to be a treat for us, as kids. Early morning mass followed by sunday class and then when we get back, there would be another round of breakfast as we would have rushed through it in the morning. Then there would be a relay of programs to watch in television. 



As we watched Mahabharat/ The Bible / The Bournvita quiz contest, the lunch would be ready. It would be always special and different.
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