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Fruit Salad with Custard Sauce

This has been my family's favourite from the time I was a little kid. Any festive occassion, this is dish along with biriyani that marks the occassion. It might be nostalgia itself that makes this dish so enchanting..or it might be the subtlety with which the fruits mingles themselves with the custard. It is for you to decide.

For Fruit Salad
Mix fruits, cut into bite-sized chunks (use a mix of any fruits of your choice, excluding citrus fruits like orange or kiwi). My favourites are apple, banana, pears, grapes, mango, pineapple and pomegranate.
Cloves - 3No.s
Cinnamon - 1"pc
Cardomom - 3No.s
Crush these together.
Boil 1 cup of water with 2Tbsp sugar and crushed spices in a pan until the sugar melts. Add the cut fruits and let boil until the juice reduce to little amount. Add 1Tbsp lime juice and 2 drops of vanilla essence. Remove from fire and refrigerate after cooling.
Prepare the custard as per the package. Refrigerate.
At serving time, take 2Tbsp fruits in a serving bowl, pour custard over it, garnish with raisins and cashew nuts pieces.


My kids are the biggest fans of Indian food at our home. They are absolutely pleased with home-made Paav Bhaaji, Sev puri and Dosa and most of the times prefer it over McDonalds. I am proud of this and try to cook them up at home as much as I can.
So, this weekend it was Chole-Bhatura for dinner.

I have tried to stay as much true to the real Punjabi Chole and Bhatura.

Recipe for Chole :-
Chana - 2 cups, soaked overnight or for 4 hours in hot water
Oil - 2Tbsp
Ginger-Garlic paste - 2 Tbsp
Onion, chopped - 2 Large
Tomato, chopped - 2 Large
Green chilli, split - 2No.s
Red chilli powder - 1Tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1tsp
Coriander powder - 2Tbsp
Garam Masala - 1Tbsp
Chole masala - 1Tbsp (optional)
Coriander leaves - 3Tbsp

Method :-

Cook the chana in a pressure cooker with enough water and half a teaspoon of baking soda for around 20 minutes on a low flame.

Heat oil in a pan. Saute the ginger garlic paste until it start to brown. On low heat, saute the onions until it starts to brown. Add the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt and saute well on low flame for 15-20 minutes, stirring in between, so that the masala gets completely dry and the oil starts to seperate. At this point, add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and chole masala and saute on a low flame for 1 minute.
Add the cooked chana to this with the water left from cooking chana. Add the coriander leaves. Cover with a lid and cook again on low flame for 10 minutes until the gravy gets to the desired consistency.

Recipe for Bhatura:-
All purpose flour, maida - 3 cups
Semolina - 1Tbsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Yogurt - 3 Tbsp
Yeast - 1/2 tsp (if not using instant yeast, stir the yeast in 2Tbsp lukewarm water)
Milk - 2Tbsp
Oil - for deep frying

Method :-
Mix all of the above mentioned ingredients. Addind enough water, knead it into a dough like that of a chapati dough. Cover and let stand for 4 hours.

Roll the dough into small balls size of a tennis ball. Flour the work surface and roll it out into thin rounds.

Heat the oil in a kadai or wok and deep fry the balls until it starts to brown on both the sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels.

Serve with chopped onion, raita, pickle and lemon wedges.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Brocolli florets, chopped fine - 1 cup
Onion, chopped fine - 1 Large one
Garlic pod, chopped fine - 1-2No.s
Salt and pepper - to taste
Oil - 1 Tbsp
Butter - 1Tbsp
All purpose flour - 2 Tbsp
Chicken broth - 1 cup
Low fat milk - 2 cups + Water - 1 cup
Heavy cream (optional) - 4Tbsp
Heat oil and butter in a deep pan. Saute onion, garlic and when it starts to change its color, add the finely chopped broccoli and saute. Add salt and pepper and saute on low heat for 5 minutes.
Add the flour to this and mix well, saute for 2-3 minutes until the flour changes color and gives out a nice aroma. Add the chicken stock to this and mix well. Now add the milk and water mixture, whisking briskly so that no lumps are formed. Cover the pan and let sit on a low fire for 5 minutes. Add cream to the end of the cooking and turn the heat off.
Serve hot.

Thai Red Fish Curry

I have always loved Thai dishes, especially the coconut milk based soups and curries they serve at the restaurant. I have tried to attempt some of these dishes at home but the lack of fresh Thai herbs like Galanjal, lemon grass etc which impart the aroma and flavour that is so specific to Thai food always left them somehow void.
I had given up my attempts at Thai food and had resorted to restaurant food whenever I was in the Thai mood, until I came across these divine herbs in the local grocery shop. Went home armed with some of them and just got going.
The combination of Seafood with coconut milk and Thai herbs always had a mystical aura to it. And in that Tom Yum Soup takes the cake. I didnot dare to attempt it this time but settled for a lesser one, Thai Fish red curry, which I knew was a hard-to-go-wrong dish.
This curry is very fragrant, with the use of fresh herbs and rich in flavours.

Any fleshy fish fillet, cut into 1" pieces - 250gms
Oil - 2Tbsp
Red Bell Pepper - 1/2No, sliced thin
Mushrooms, cut into pieces - 1 cup
Garlic cloves, finely chopped - 2No.s
Lemon grass, finely chopped - 2Tbsp
Galanjal or fresh ginger, grated - 2 Tbsp
Red chilli powder - 1tsp
Turmeric powder - 1tsp
Thai Red Curry Paste - 2Tbsp
Canned Thick coconut milk - 1/4ltr
Fish Sauce - 2 Tbsp
Brown Sugar - 2tsp
Fresh Basil, finely chopped - 2Tbsp

Method :-
Heat oil in a deep pan. Saute Bell peppers nd Mushroom with a little salt for 2-3 minutes, stirring in between. Add the garlic, lemon grass and galnjal and saute while stirring, until the garlic gives out a nice aroma.
Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, fish sauce, Thai red curry paste, brown sugar and saute for a minute.
Add the coconut milk and water, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Slowly add in the fish pieces and simmer, covered for 10 minutes, until the fish gets cooked.
Remove from fire, add lime juice and basil leaves and serve with Thai Jasmine Rice.

Yellow Macarons with Strawberry Ganache

After tons and tons of reading, blogs, sites, videos and walkthroughs about these delicate beauties, I ventured into this attempt, just to make sure that I didnt end up being a failure without even trying it out. I was pretty much intimidated by the amount of research that has gone into the making of the perfect macaron but the more pictures I saw, the more I wanted to create one.
Since Spring is in the air and Mactweets have announced the arrival of spring by their 

SPRING FLING ... Mac Attack 5 

I decided to go for a spring inspired theme...spring is for yellows, violets and strawberries for me...

Spring holiday crocus flowers  photo
Woman holding a wicker basket full of vibrant yellow tulips photo
spring flowers photo

Spring holiday crocus flowers  photo

Do educate yourself as much as you can before you attempt to make them, cos from what I have read, the same recipe can turn out to be a complete success or an utter failure, it just depends on how you treat the ingredients.

I have tried to make things easy and while compiling all tips I have collected through my own research, I am trying to give it in a chronological order.
After going through many, I decided to follow Tartlette's recipe for the basic French macaron.
Basic Macaron Recipe (French Method)
3 egg whites, or 100g weighed
25g granulated sugar
200g powdered (icing) sugar
110gram blanched almonds, whole or ground

1. I started 4 days prior. Fix the recipe you are going to follow. Seperate the egg whites and keep it in a plastic container inside the refrigerator for 3 days. 24 hours before making the macarons, remove the egg whites from the fridge and put it in the coolest part of your kitchen.
You can also refrigerate for 5 days in the fridge and use it.

2. On the big day, prepare your cookie sheet, 2 or 3 if you have. Draw circles of 2cm diameter on wax paper, cut to the size of your cookie sheet, each circle 2cm apart, and keep ready.

3. Use a scale. Weigh all your ingredients, try to be as precise as you can.

4. Almond powder bought from shop is the least preferred option. You never know how long it has been on the shelf and how pure it is. You can either use blanched and peeled almonds or use raw ones. The raw ones will give a nice grainy look to your batter which I loved. Pulse the almonds  for 1-2 minutes in your grinder. Then add the icing sugar and grind for 1-2 minutes.

5. Sieve this mixture atleast 3 times. I used 2 pieces of wax paper to sieve to and fro. Make sure there are no lumps and the sugar and almond powder is mixed well.

6. Wash and dry your mixing bowl. Pour the egg whites into the bowl. Using your mixer, start to whisk the egg whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar. Add desired food coloring and flavor at this point so that it gets nicely incorporated. Beat until the mixture forms firm peaks and becomes glossy, but not too stiff.

7. Macronage: This is the vital step in the process of making macarons. If you beat the wrong way or beat either too much or too less, you are bound to end up with flat discs or broken macarons or anything other than the perfect macarons we all die for.
Using a spoon, add the powdered mixture of almonds and icing sugar, in around 6 parts to the whisked egg whites. Add each part and mix briefly. The ideal way to go is to mix quick and firm for the first 30 seconds and then slow down. Using a flexible spatula, scrap the sides and slowly mix to the center of the batter, being careful not to deflate the batter. The pictures at Kitchen Musings are a good indicator of how you should go about macaronage. The entire process should take only around 50 strokes. Remember, it is better to under mix than to over mix. Make sure that the ingredients are well mixed within the first strokes.
This video gives an idea of how to go about mixing the ingredients while not disturbing the batter much.

8. Consistency of Magma: This is another pointer every macaron maker eagerly looks into. This means that the batter should be neither too thick now too thin, it should be the cosistency magma. A useful test for me is that if you take a spoonful of batter and pour it down into the bowl, it should fall back in thick flowing ribbons and flatten themselves. If it doesnot, give it a few more folds.

9. Put spoonfuls of batter to the piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and keeping the nozzle at the center of the circle you have drawn, pipe into the center with small circular motion. Do this until you have filled 1/2 of the circumference of the circle. We want the batter to flow out and fill out the rest of the circle. Do this way for the entire circles you have drawn. Leave for 1 hour so that the batter develops a skin, which I find to be as important as aging egg whites to achieve the perfect macaron.

10. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees C or 300 degree Fahrenheit.

11. Once the macarons are ready, bake for 12-15 minutes. 5 minutes or so into the baking period, if everything you have done is good or if your stars are just lucky on the given day, you will be lucky enough to see the little feet popping out of your beauties, which is every macaron maker's dream come true.
Once th baking period is over, Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

12. For me, the hardest part was removing the macarons from the baking paper. After cooling the macarons for 5 minutes, when I saw that I couldnot lift them from the paper without breaking th delicate macarons, I decided to use the water technique. I sprinkled some water on to my kitchen counter top and carefully kept the wax paper containing the macarons on top of it. After 5 minutes, they should come of easily. Use a flat spatula to lift them. Remove from top of water after 5 minutes or your macarons will be soggy.

13. Fill the downside of one macaron with your choice of filling and keep a similar one on top. Do not press. Repeat for the rest of macarons.

For the White Chocolate Strawberry Ganache
11/2 cup white chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup strawberry jam
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and keep ready in a bowl. Heat the cream until hot. Pour the cream into the chocolate, add the jam and mix well until everything is well blended together. Cool and keep it in fridge until it sets, for around 2 hours.

From Bahrain...With Love

Who hasn't tasted this dessert and fell in love with it!!! 

Bahrain has almost become synonymous to this exquisite sweet, at least for the gastronomers. This jelly like sweet, made from corn startch, saffron and nuts, highlighted with the taste of cardamom, has taken the center piece of all arabic desserts.
Comes in 2 varieties and personally I favor the red one over the green.

Salad De Glorious

Lettuce, holland - 2 cups, shredded into bite size pieces
Mandarin Oranges, peeled and cut into bite size pieces - 2 No.s
Pomegranate seeds - 1 cup
Lemon juice - 2Tbsp
Salt & Crushed Pepper - to taste
Olive oil - 1Tbsp

Toss everything together and dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve on a bed of leetuce leaves. Garnish with mandarin segments.
I am sending this to Show Me Your Salad Round Up hosted by Divya of Dilse