Creamy Peach Apricot Cardamom Ice Cream – Eggless, Quick and Fuss free

An impending trip to the farmer’s market  usually has me emptying the fridge and scurrying around creating more space in the veggie and fruit racks. And rarely am I disappointed . This visit too I was treated to gleaming rows of veggies and fruits. Peaches and more  peaches. Naturally I had to pick a basket. And then of course apricots. Bright yellow and of course beckoning to be taken home.

The peaches were so luscious and sweet . Just the right balance of tart in them. The gorgeous apricots though cut a zinger right through me. So tart that you can cut your  teeth with it! They sure looked and felt ripe. So my options were limited to making a tart chutney with it  or make an ice cream. The chutney was of course out of question as my fridge was loaded with greens and I would making a few chutneys out of it, so therefore Ice cream it was !

Creamy Peach Apricot Cardamom Ice Cream - Eggless, Quick and Fuss free

Taking off from my Guava Ice cream and Mango Ice cream , this too is quick fuss free and uses minimal ingredients and  is made in a jiffy.

Sizzling hot summer? Tons of fresh fruit ? Peaches? Apricots? Would you like some creamy dreamy no fuss and egg free Peach Apricot Ice Cream? Made in a jiffy and with just a hint of cardamom? Exotic, Mon Cher.. and not overtly sweet and such an indulgence on a hot day!

Chilling time of fruits and  mixing bowl : 4-6 hrs

Actual prep time : 20  minutes        Freezing time : 4-6 hours.

Serves : 10-12  people

Ingredients:

  • Heavy whipping cream : 1 pint / 16 oz
  • Sweetened Non fat Condensed milk : 14 oz can
  • Ripe peaches : 6-8, washed and sliced
  • Apricots : 10-12 , Washed and sliced
  • Cardamom powder : a generous pinch

Method:

Note : Pre Prep :

  • Before whipping the cream ensure the contents as well as the mixing bowl is well chilled . This will get you to whipped creamy stage faster and also hold it.
  • If using the KA stand mixer, ensure the wire whisk and the bowl is chilled well for a couple of hours.

Procedure :

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer if using ( or a regular hand mixer can be used ) attach the wire whisk and proceed to whip the heavy cream to nearly stiff creamy peaks. Start on slow speed and bring it to higher speed for about 4-7 minutes. By now you should have very creamy and stiff peaks formed. Take care not to harden it and create the sweet cream whipped butter from it . You do not want it.
  • Meanwhile slice the peaches and apricots and blend it smooth to a thick smoothie/ pulp like extract without adding any water. 
  • Add in the condensed milk and apricot – peach pulp .
  • Change to flat beater and mix it again for about 3 minutes until they are mixed well. You will see a thick creamy mass. 
  • Add in cardamom powder and mix it again.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowls and pour into a freezer safe bowl. Close tightly  to prevent any crystallization.
  • Should set in about 4-6 hrs.
  • Thick , luscious creamy peach –  apricot ice cream is ready to be indulged in !

Creamy Peach Apricot Cardamom Ice Cream - Eggless, Quick and Fuss free

Notes :

  • You can use whipped cream in place of the heavy whipping cream if you are pressed for time.
  • Saffron is an optional exotic spice which will also lend a unique flavor

Verdict : Very creamy , smooth and light  ice cream, with flecks of the fruit and cardamom.

 

Mango Banana Walnut Sweet Bread (Or dare I say Loaf cake?)

Mango Banana Walnut Sweet Bread (Or dare I say Loaf cake?)

 It was a very hectic day. To say the least! Juggling the wants and the needs and answering some thought provoking questions leaves one reaching for brain sharpening tools. While I pondered on the questions, the root of the questions and the answers – and needles to say the propensity to answer certain questions with alarming conventional replies, left me wondering if as a parent I am guilty of espousing certain staid rules in the house! Sigh!

While society molds and shapes you to a certain extent, who exactly molds the society? ( My cure -all, solution to many a problem, A cup of ginger chai did not seem to awaken the required neurons to deal with this ). Well a few upcoming events did put a cheer in an otherwise gray day. May be we can make one day of the week a mental flossing day or so ?

 In any case, a bit past the required cook time for dinner and me going through the blah phase of the day still, left me frantically scavenging in the refrigerator. There are times, I open the fridge and stare intensely at it, almost willfully wishing for things to appear. Kind of like at Hogwarts , except my house elves are in my imagination !

If only I can channel some of the much required genie powers. Sigh!  Well genie powers aside, what I did find was a pack of sprouts , a cucumber  and a strange assortments of veggies. And then I saw it. Tucked away in the corner of corner, in the back corner, (you get the idea) a bushelful of champagne mangoes. How in the  world did I let this slip by me? No clue, except I had atleast half a dozen mangoes with sweet firm, juicy flesh and a bit wrinkly skin (nope, this is not a metaphor for middle age. People ! Tsk ! Tsk!) 

Ah! Dinner, I know. Well, will make do with salad and sandwiches and left overs. But the mangoes had to be skinned and diced. And then inspiration struck. And I yielded to temptation ! So while we had dinner, fresh mango sweet loaf bread was baking in the oven !

Ingredients:

 Dry:

  • Self rising all-purpose flour : 1  and 3/4 cups
  • Baking soda : 3/4 Tsp.
  • Ground cardamom: 1 Tsp.
  • Saffron threads: A generous pinch
  • Chopped walnuts : 1/4 cup

Wet:

  • Mashed Banana : 2 large ripe bananas  ( approx. 1-1.25 cups) super speckled and very ripe is the best always.
  • Firm Mangoes 2-3  : 1.5 -2 cup, finely diced mango flesh
  • Brown Crystal sugar : 1/3 cup
  • Olive oil : 1/4 cup.
  • Egg : 1 ( or substitute with flax seed ratio equivalent to one egg.)
  • Plain yogurt : 1/3 cup

Topping :

  • Fine diced mangoes : 2 Tbsp.
  • Ground cardamom powder: 1/4 Tsp.
  • Brown Sugar : 1 Tbsp.
  • Chopped Walnuts : 2 Tbsp.

Method:

Prepping and Mixing:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ΒΊF
  • Grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. I used olive oil spray to grease it.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl – the self rising APF + baking soda+ cardamom powder + saffron threads and set aside.
  • Mash/ Puree the bananas. Add in the egg and whisk it very well. Add in the sugar and whisk it very well . Add in the yogurt and oil and whisk it very well again . Once again, this entire process of mine happened in one jar of  magic bullet. You can go the traditional way and use the hand mixer or stand mixer too.
  • Fold the flour mix into this very gently.
  • Fold in the chopped walnuts reserved in the dry mix section.
  • Add in the diced mangoes and fold it gently into the batter. Do not smush it please !
  • Spoon the batter into the prepped loaf pan.

Topping:

  • Gently toss the diced mangoes and sugar and cardamom powder together so as to coat the pieces very well.
  • Top it on the wet batter.
  • Add the reserved 2 Tbsp. of chopped walnuts so as to stud the entire top layer

Baking:

  • Bake at 350ΒΊF for about 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes clean. Mine was done in 53 minutes.
  • Cool for about 10 minutes or so in the pan.
  • Transfer to a wire rack. Let it cool down well before cutting into nice thick wedges……

Want to make this Vegan?

  • Substitute the egg with flax seeds. One egg equivalent would be 1 Tbsp. of flax seeds ground well in a spice grinder initially. To this add the 3 Tbsp. of warm water and blend together to get a nice creamy mix. Use in place of 1 egg.
  • Swap the yogurt for applesauce. Though you might taste more of the apple  in the resulting loaf.

Result:

A very fragrant and moist loaf of mango bread ( I probably should say it’s more a sweet bread or morning cake bread consistency) The top layer of the mango was caramelized and the walnuts very toasted and crunchy.

Make no bones about it, this is a special occasion loaf!

 

Thandai Chai Masala Eggless Cake – Of Friendship, Gossip and More!

Ever wonder how some people just cross paths for a reason.. Or for no reason! When we first moved to NC, we left behind a horde of family and friends in California. Sunny California and the Bay area was teeming with our friends, family, friends of family and family of our friends.. (You get  the drift)

I thought I loved people ( well most of them anyways πŸ™‚ ) and then I meet DH and his family . They simply dwarfed mine. These guys seriously loved people and people seriously loved them. We just became one big crazy family.. Crazy alright !!

The move therefore while we welcomed it, definitely created a pang in our hearts. So just about 2 months of our moving into this new neighborhood in a new state all the way on the opposite coast, a lady in a min-van filled with chirpy kids stopped my MIL on the street , welcomed her home for chai – a cup of tea and some company. My MIL, though could not take up on it but I happened to meet this lady , our neighbor soon thereafter and so began a wonderful friendship.

 Here’s a toast to one of the finest to have crossed ( and stayed in) my path!

“Dear SP, you are one heck of woman ! I love your chai addiction, your margarita madness and your steadfast company!  Filled with many moments of laughter, lunches, crazy talks and some more crazy moments – or shall I say sparkling moments of insobriety.. Dialing in thin air and holding conversations to yourself, monologues and more… You go girl!

While I did want to bake a chai cake ( I promise, I will do it soon), I experimented this on a lark and got to combine your favorite flavors of chai masala and Thandai ..

Happy Happy Birthday Dear SP and please have your “Queen” moment soon.. For I cannot wait to witness it !”

( This recipe is an amalgamation and innovation of a recipe from ED site  and my eggless recipe cake)

Chai Masala Thandai Spice Cake Ingredients:

  • Self rising APF : 2 cups
  • Non-Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk : 14 oz can
  • Butter : 1/2 cup  (Melted)
  • Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp
  • 1% Milk : 1 cup
  • Thandai masala : 1 tsp
  • Chai Masala : 1 tsp
  • Saffron : crushed, a few strands
  • Walnuts: 1/2 cup chopped 

Method:

  • Preheat the overn to 350 deg F.  Spay oil  and dust flour on the pan of your choice. I used a 9 inch round pan for this.
  • Sift the APF and Baking Soda together
  • Dry whisk it with Thandai Masala, Chai Masala and Saffron  Strands
  • Melt the 1/2 cup of butter and add it in along with the milk and condensed milk.
  • Stir it in gently so the flour is completely incorporated.
  • Now add in half the chopped walnuts in this and stir it in.
  • Add in the batter into the pan.
  • Add in the rest of the chopped walnuts – sprinkle on the surface
  • Bake it in the oven for 35 min or so at 350 deg F.

 Notes:

Please keep an eye on the oven as the quality of the flour and materials used could cause slight variations in the baking time.

Mine took about 38 min to bake. In hindsight, I think I should have reduced the temp from 350 to 325 midway during the baking  process. I have read that this would ensure more even baking .

[yumprint-recipe id=’7′] 

 

Cashew Cranberry Rava ladoos – Semolina Mounds (rounds) of Festivity

I think I simply got bit by the festive bug severely. Seriously, this Diwali I seem to be favoring the creation of sweets or mithai more over the savory, spicy crunchy stuff. Maybe it has to do with the awesome piece of news I received last week. In any case, “more the merrier” seems to be the motto as I favor this creation. My oldest loves these and my youngest will eat anything that is a ladoo πŸ™‚ the rest of the family don’t really need an excuse.

This particular mithai is super quick, no seriously super quick to make and I barely have any stove time involved in it at all.

Prep time :  15 min

Make time : about 15 – 20 min

Yield : 20-24 ladoos

Ingredients:

  1. Semolina/Cream of wheat/ Sooji/Rava : 2 cups
  2. Sugar : 1.5 cups
  3. Melted Ghee : needs to be in the warm liquid form – about 1-1.25 cups.
  4. Raw Cashewnut powder : Totally optional: 1/2 cup – I just added it in, cause I had some leftover from making Kaju Burfi.
  5. Cashewnuts pieces : 2 tbsp : toasted or pan-fried in ghee
  6. Dried Cranberries : 1 tbsp : Panfried in ghee
  7. Saffron : a few strands
  8. Cardamom pods – 10-12
  9. Milk : 2 -4 tbsp ( if required)

Method:

  • In a microwave safe bowl, add in the 2 cups of semolina and microwave it for about 5 minutes in total in 2 minute intervals. Now keep an eye on it, as you want this to be toasted not burnt. When it turns a light brown color, keep it aside to cool . Say for about 5 minutes or so.
  • Once it cools down, pulse the semolina in a blender to coarsely powder it. Add in the sugar and pulse it once again.
  • Slight heat up the saffron strands and pulse it with cardamom pods.
  • Give a final spin in the blender incorporating the semolina, sugar, saffron and cardamom and the cashew nut powder if adding it in.
  • Remove this dry mix in a work bowl and add in the toasted/ pan fried cashew nuts and  cranberries.
  • Gently mix it to ensure the nuts and berries are distributed evenly.
  • Now add in the melted ghee in liquid and warm state, a few tablespoons at a time. The idea is to gently mix in small portions and roll in to spherical globes or ladoos.  If you are having difficulty shaping the ladoos or want to restrict the use of ghee, then add in the 2 tbsp of milk and gently mix it in. the idea is to get the mix wet not soppy. If required add in the remaining 2 tbsp of milk as well.
  • Place the ladoos on a flat plate to rest and air dry. ( The ghee solidifies to maintain the spherical shape)
  • In about 15 -20 min, the ladoos should be ready to be devoured.  ( I am missing quite a few  by the time the post is done πŸ™‚ )

Notes:

  • I did not use milk to make these ladoos. Especially since I am going to be sending a few in a care package and I did not want to reduce the shelf life.
  • Finely chopped pistachios can be added to this and it makes it even more delectable!
  • The coarseness of the semolina to be used is a personal preference.
  • I used a little under a cup of ghee to prepare the ladoos. Usage of ghee can vary depending the raw material used.

Dry fruits fudge and Ladoos – Geometric shapes of goodness and they are sugar free!

The festival of lights, can be the occasion to indulge in quite a few calorie laden and very rich as in very fattening sweet meats or mithai. Indulging in wisely is the key, otherwise we find our hearts lighter and the scale heavier by the end of the festive season. This particular dessert is the rule breaker.  This  is  so rich and wonderful in taste, that we almost miss the fact that this has no added sugar – gasp, seriously no added sugar or fat to the fudge. Oh my! These can be quite addictive . They are such a delish to make and absolutely wonderful to indulge in. And they are truly versatile. You can add in any kind of nuts and dried fruits you like. The two main key ingredients forming the base are figs and pitted dates. Just make sure you get these in, and let your imagination take over. Prep time : 15 min Cooking time About : 15 min Yield : 36-40 fudge pieces/ ladoos

Dry fruit and nut fudge and Ladoo

Ingredients : ( For measurements , I used the standard pyrex glass measure. Not very accurate I suppose, but served the purpose nevertheless.)

  • Dried figs : about 2 whole cups
  • Pitted dates : 1 cup. Finely chopped.
  • Mixed Raw Nuts : walnuts,almonds, pistachios and cashews : 1.5 cups total – Finely chopped
  • Flavorless oil or ghee : 2 tbsp.

Optional:

  • Few strands of saffron
  • Crushed cardamom pods – 6 nos.

Method:

  1. In a large sauce pan, boil about 3 cups of water. Dunk in the dried figs, so they soften and rehydrate. The process should take about 10 min. Note you are not boiling the figs. Just added the figs to the hot boiling water and keep it covered.
  2. Once the figs are softened, puree them in a blender.
  3. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably non stick one, add just a tbsp of the fat of your choice to grease the pan.
  4. Add in the pureed figs and cook on medium heat for about 7- 10 minutes. By now the gooey mass of fig puree would be supremely sticky.
  5. Add in the crushed saffron strands and cardamom pods at this stage if using.
  6. Mix well and turn off the heat.
  7. Add in the chopped dates and nuts and stir well. You should have a nice mass of fruit and nut mixture by now. ( Note : If you think it is not in a thick mass, by all means heat up the mix again for a few minutes. usually 5 more minutes should do the trick.)
  8. Meanwhile take a baking tray of your choice, or a thin rimmed platter should do the trick as well and grease it with the remaining tbsp of fat of your choice.
  9. Add in the dry fruits and nuts mixture and pat it down so it can set in evenly.
  10. Let it rest for a few minutes say about 5-7 minutes , and with a greased or ceramic knife cut in the squares or patterns of your choice.
  11. Let it set in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  12. Dish out the pieces and enjoy .
  13.  Roll up the pieces to form spherical balls or ladoos for variety. Also, please do note that these are soft set fudge .

Verdict: Awesome ! The crunch from the figs, the sweetness of the dates, the nutty indulgences all makes this a royal dessert. Go ahead and indulge. This one is definitely worth it!

Eggless Sponge Cake studded with Almonds and Walnuts!

I simply cannot stress enough on the integral part to any outcome of any culinary experimental equation:

Good, fresh ingredients in = great food out  from the hearth of the house.. aka the kitchen.

In this case though a bare bones pantry and an impending trip to the west coast actually brought about this culinary experiment. My darling MIL, a frail looking but with nerves of steel lady is a precious gem. She would be this burst of sunshine in an otherwise humdrum day. I am constantly amazed at this septuagenarian’s endless energy and unflailing enthusiasm about things.. everyday things, cooking cleaning, you- name -it- anything.

My otherwise tempestuous affair with cooking is completely complemented by her abounding stable, and infectious enthusiasm . I would seriously marvel at how she could be really ebullient about the cooking process …everyday. And she is one awesome cook!!! Seriously folks, it is lip smacking good food… every time. Traditional Indian food, vegetarian and no frills but prepared with abundant  love would be her signature style. And everyone is welcomed with a smile. No one leaves hungry at her door πŸ™‚

Cut to this day, since eggs are not a part of her repertoire, a bit of organic chemistry came to my rescue to yield this birthday cake for her . So dear MIL aka MOM, this one is for you πŸ™‚

Eggless Sponge cake studded with walnuts and almonds- Seriously simple, seriously good!

Prep work:

  • Preheat the oven / 350 deg F
  • Grease and flour the pans of your choice. . I used one 10  inch round and one bread loaf pan.
  • Chop 1/2 cup of walnuts roughly along with 1/4 cup of slivered almonds.

The Ingredients : Dry

  1. Self rising flour : 4 cups
  2. Baking soda : 1.25 tsp
  3. Baking powder : 1 tsp ( I approximated this as the flour I used already has some baking powder in it )
  4. Salt a pinch
  5. A generous tsp of ground cardamom powder

Dry whisk all these ingredients together and keep aside to be used later.

The Ingredients: Wet

  1. Fat Free condensed milk : 14 oz cans, 2 tins . Use any brand. I used the Eagle one.
  2. 1/2 cup of butter melted ( told you – fat come in here !)
  3. 1/2 cup of olive oil ( sort of balancing the guilt here by not adding in more butter )
  4. 1 cup of milk – I used the fat free evaporated kind. Why? The evaporated kind will still provide the density in the medium anyway.
  5. 1/2cup of water. ( OK folks, this was seriously some rough calculation. I wanted to add in 1.5 cups of liquid based on my previous banana nut cake recipe and decided to split it amongst water and milk.
  6. 1 tsp of vanilla extract – optional. I just had it so added it in !

Mix all the wet ingredients along with a generous pinch of saffron.( Ahem ! Notice my mild obsession with saffron:-) )

Process work:

  • Gently add in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. I just added it in slowly with gentle mixing of the batter with my trusted electric whisk at low speed.
  • The gooey mass emanating the mild and wonderful flavor is going to turn even more better. How?
  • Add in the1/2 the chopped pieces of walnuts and almonds and fold in gently.
  • Distribute the gooey mass of goodness in the prepared baking pans of your choice.
  • Add in the remaining nuts ( walnuts and almonds) as a garnish.

Baking : 350 deg F  for 45- 52 min or until done. Mine took approximately 47 min to be done.

Ok the exam results are out! It smelled heavenly …the aroma of the toasted nuts mixed with saffron and cardamom to emit an – oh – you-so – cannot – resist- me – siren’s call.

 

Verdict. Slight more dense than the eggs added version, but still very light on the palate. One huge bonus was that it was very mild on the sweet scale. It would make a wonderful custard cake served with fruits and whipped cream or vanilla custard. Or a wonderful tea cake..

Serves : Well it could well serve an army but was polished off  by a dozed people in under a day – flat!

Possible variations? orange cake? banana orange cake? spiced cake? chai cake?  Well, my chemistry instinct is going on an overdrive πŸ™‚ But you get the idea!

Versatile, simple and so divine. Go on try it out, you will not be disappointed !

Banana Walnut Cake – So awesome, Light , Fluffy and Nutty!

Planning your day around possible thunderstorms is a bit like planning a scientific experiment with a ton of variables thrown in. An experiment, that is fun but the outcome  is so unpredictable . To cut a long story short, it was the ” boy who cried wolf “.. while the huge thunderstorms didn’t show up, what did was  a reminder from mother nature that she  was the  one in charge . And we were blessed with blistering temperatures hitting near ninety ..Lovely !!

And of course when temperatures hit that high,  the stock of sorry looking bananas get even more sorrier. read natural organic progression .. more dark brown spots appear ( more like the pounds that magically appear on self ). πŸ™‚ Well, I cannot just dump nearly half a dozen bananas out. They were just overripe and more sweet than the youthful ones. But no amount of cajoling could get my 3A’s to venture near them. And then inspiration stuck, or rather the thought in the back burner   just jumped several hoops ahead to make itself shout ” Make banana bread / cake “. Sure, sounds easy, but here is the cinch, I have never baked this one. Yes, I have baked so many more kinds, but banana bread/cake, the easy peesy one, I have never attempted to do so. Well partially because , I had a good friend who would treat me to her delectable version quite often and partly because it’s banana bread. And well honestly a fruit smoothie would be so much easier. Just throw in the bananas, add a couple more fruits, a dash of honey and there you have it. But no, the itch to bake set in and I do need to scratch it. Call me stubborn, but my friend , let’s just call her D ( you know who you are , sweety), had this heavenly version and  I just wanted to try it. After about  half an hour of searching,I did manage to locate the one. Here is the version, that she primarily used. (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/a-number-1-banana-cake/)

This is the one I based this experiment upon,  but of course my pantry ingredients decided the kind that went into the batter mix. Seriously, I was in  no mood to go shopping to the grocery store in the sweltering heat, just because I did not have buttermilk. The ones’ marked in Asterix, are variations of the original recipe.

Alright , folks, this is my version of the ingredients that went in:

  • 2.5 cups of self rising flour* ( notice it is self rising, why? cause I did not have the regular one ,and seriously a little bit of baking powder should technically make the cake more airy. In any case, my gripe about the run to the grocery store , well I stood my ground )
  • 1/2 cup of  unsalted butter .( You can substitute this with almond butter for a more nuttier taste I suppose )
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of milk* ( the original recipe called for butter milk. Well, I decided to use milk here πŸ™‚ . Why.. well no buttermilk and seriously, thought milk would be an awesome choice. I used 1% milk of course.)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup of sugar* – I used brown granulated sugar entirely
  • About 5 medium ripe bananas  * mine were pretty spotty brown ( the original recipe calls for 4. But I suppose an additional banana would do no harm )
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • A generous pinch of saffron *( I know I am obsessed with saffron )
  • A generous pinch of caradamom powder *
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of skinned sliced almonds*
  • A pinch of cinnamon powder *

( Whew, don’t let the exhausting list fool you. I just emptied those nuts that were sitting in the pantry. And decided to add in a few flavors  to enhance the mix. More like, once I get started, I just cannot get to stop myself from adding a dash of this and dash of that ).

Alright, now that the stage is set, lets get the gooey good stuff going.

Prep work:

  • Preheat the oven / 350 deg
  • Grease and flour the pans of your choice. the original recipe called for two 8 inch pans. I used one 8  inch round and one 9 inch square pan.

Let’s get the party started …

  1. Sift the flour,baking soda and salt together and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter,sugar and eggs.
  3. Add in the pureed bananas,,cardamom powder ,cinnamon powder and saffron strands.
  4. Add in the flour and whip up the gooey mixture.
  5. Fold in the walnuts and almonds

Let’s cook them:

Stick those pans in the preheated oven and bake them at 350 deg for 30 min.

The results:

Holy mackerel ! Honest to goodness yummy light and fluffy and airy goodness in squares and circles. Beautiful brown goodness, perfectly baked and crunchy walnuts. The aroma filled the entire kitchen and brought the oldest scooting down to the kitchen.. all the way form the attic. πŸ™‚

Texture : Very very soft ( possibly the baking powder in the self rising flour combined with the baking soda, did wonders) and porus.

Aroma : Fragrant cardamom and hint of cinnamon with saffron emanating creating the wonderful fusion with bananas.

Serve it up..the kids devoured it it warm with the cool combination of whipped cream. Yummy!

Verdict: Just awesome !.. And like I always believe, great cooking results is mostly achieved by right combination of ingredients and the freshness of  your stock. And of course, the right chemistry !!!

Creamy Mango Ice Cream – Mango Tango with Cream and Saffron!

I have a confession to make !  You know how some people love shiny new toys? the new car? the smell of new books? I have a few of these quirks ( .. which shall presently go unnamed ) and plenty more that can be quite baffling like mild obsession over sparkling wine glasses and beautiful crockery, Wolf range shiny new stove… But there is this particular lust factor, If I may call it , towards the King of the fruits that I find it particularly hard to overcome. Yessir, so when I spotted a box of ripe mangos, waiting.. just waiting to be picked up…It was the proverbial siren song for me as I drifted towards the box to pick it up. I knew , just knew,what they were going to transform into.. Mango Ice cream..I love it, the kids love it, my  family loves it, neighbors love it, neighborhood and extended family love it , you get he picture I am sure .and I am in love with it .. Sigh!!

To make this particularly delectable and to die for creamy ice cream , Please note…

YOU DO NOT NEED AN ICE CREAM MAKER..YES ..NO ICE CREAM MAKER .. JUST 15 MIN OF YOUR PRECIOUS TIME πŸ™‚

The goodies to be transformed :

  1. 6 -8 large,ripe mangos- deseeded, skinned and pulped. should yield about 2-2.25 cups
  2. Condensed milk – fat free ( – 14 oz – one tin) Hey !  I need the sugar, not the fat. I used the Eagle variety. I am not a brand aficionado. So pick what works for you )
  3. Whipped cream or cool whip – 2 tubs  ( 8 oz each = 16 oz ) or for the extra creamy version add one more (use 3 tubs to make it 24 oz). I used the cool whip lite in this case.
  4. Saffron – a pinch soaked in warm milk for about 5 min. ( optional)
  5. Elaichi or Cardamom powder – 1 tsp( Optional )
  6. 1 large mango – skinned and cut into cubes ( this is optional)

The Mechanics

  • In a large working bowl dump the contents of the mango puree and whipping cream using a hand blender or whipper, blend the mixture till you get a nice creamy concoction of goodness.
  • Now this should take at the maximum 7 -10 minutes.The point is for you to aerate the mixture very well. I have used the portable hand whippers as well on occasions and they have  worked extremely well with no variations in the results.
  • Add in the saffron and cardamom powder if so desired and whip it up again for a min or so to ensure even distribution.
  • Now if you are using the cubed mango pieces, gently fold them into the mixture.
  • Pour into mould, tubs variations of any desired shapes. (Do ensure the bowl is licked clean meanwhile though !)
  • Let it set in the freezer for minimum of 4 hours or until it is firm.
  • Indulge, enjoy and pat yourself on the back for the bout of creamy goodness is worth it.

Cliff’s notes

  • No Mangos, but still crave for it? Mango pulp is so worth it. A single tin of Mango pulp – any variety , 14 oz 850 gm would suffice.
  • If it is sweetened Mango pulp, reduce the amount of  condensed milk – instead of 14 oz tin – use only half of it.
  • Cool whip – I have used the 16oz variation in this case and it was still extremely creamy. The 24 oz variant also worked very well when I had used the sweetened Mango pulp available commercially)

End result:

  • Bowl licked clean – check
  • Ice cream tasted heavenly – check
  • Indulged self, family and neighbors – check
  • 2nd batch in the making – check

Yield 

Served a family of 10. Now the serving size depends on the time of the day – dessert or after the hot sun indulgence!

Guaranteed repeat request though !!

Signing off!

Ginger Chai – Warding off the flu blues !

As much as I can curse my genetic make up for the susceptibility to the rhino virus, it is an indisputable fact that when it comes to the flu season, I lose! As gracious as it may sound (harboring suspiciously on borderline sarcasm) I try to beat it with my cure all – Ginger tea!  You really cannot go wrong with this πŸ™‚

You know the thing about colds right?  something about a week with medicine and 7 days without it.. right!..  Treat the symptoms, but suffer through the bout πŸ™

Anyways, day 2 with my tryst with the flu, loaded up with Tylenol cold and flu ( severe!) and sharpening my drowsy, medicine clouded brain on the keyboard, I decide to enthrall my audience ( sic !) …wonder if invalidity has something to do with weird proportionality on creativity .. hmm.

For a fresh cup of my cure all tea  – The magic ingredients are???

  1. Fresh ginger : 1/4 of an inch : grated finely
  2. Few sprigs of tulsi leaves aka holy basil ( Ocimum sanctum)
  3. Black cloves – just 1- break it part of grind it fresh!
  4. Ground fresh cardamom : a pinch
  5. A pinch of fresh ground black pepper ( yes black pepper !)
  6. Black tea leaves – 1 tsp
  7. Water : 1/2 cup
  8. 1% milk : 1/2 cup
  9. Sugar : Optional  ( I use honey )

Boil 1/2 cup of water with ginger and holy basil leaves . This should take you about a couple of minutes.

Note:  you are not reducing the quantity of water, you are just allowing it to steep in the flavors  of ginger and basil.

Add the tea leaves and the rest of the fresh ground spices. About a minute later, add the milk. Sweeten with sugar, brown sugar or honey.

Filter it and enjoy!

Quick Pointers:

  1. Do not have fresh ginger ?- add dried ginger powder πŸ™‚ works like a charm too.
  2. You can always add cinnamon to add the extra touch of flavor
  3. The steps are not daunting- I just like to steep in the flavors of ginger and holy basil.
  4. Fresh Mint leaves  too can be added and gives nice touch.
  5. As a last resort, do not have holy basil , add in the tulsi tea bags. But the other kind of basil – the one we use for italian seasoning will not work πŸ™‚

Signing off!

Besan Ladoos – Rich, Globes of heaven made in a Jiffy!

Besan ladoos.. Chick pea flour Ladoos,.. A gazillion recipes you can find if you troll the web.. What’s special about this one here?

Well,just that you can be done pretty quick using the microwave  for cooking rather than slaving over the stove ,frying the besan to get the right roast mix.

Again , did I mention, theatrics are part of this family ?  or rather the particular incident that led to delicious ladoos emerging from the kitchen of this queen.

The background:

A3 (my youngest) : “Mommy, if I eat this veggie aka broccoli, can you please make Ladoos?”

Mommy (me) :  ” You know we do not negotiate on the eating of veggies. They are good for you. They build muscles and you can be big and strong like your older brother. Or like daddy” Yada yada yada  and you know how the routine goes… As I expound the virtues of green goodness in ones’s life , I am surreptiously interrupted by ..

A3 : “Yeah , yeah.. but will you still make ladoos?” All of innocence (as much as can be mustered on an impish 4 year old’s face)  he declared “It is your anniversary. I love you mommy ! ”

Okay now, totally suckered by the charm and the demand, I decided to make a real quick ladoos , Besan aka chickpea flour Ladoos πŸ™‚ Goodies are great, but I totally did not feel like slaving away in the kitchen for this delicacy.

Quick Pantry Check List

  1. Besan or Chickpea flour – I used the ladoo flour  – 2 cups
  2. Sugar powdered – 1 cup
  3. Clarified butter – ghee – 4 tablespoons.
  4. Chopped cashew nuts, almonds and walnuts – 1/2 cup
  5. Cardamom powder – a pinch

The procedure….Go on try it .. Its not that hard πŸ™‚  

  1. Heat 4 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter) in a microwave safe bowl on high for 2 min or so. Yep, you need to get it in the liquid state πŸ™‚ but not the smoking hot one .
  2. Add the 2 cups of flour  to the  the melted ghee and stir in gently. Do note that stirring in gently will avoid lumps .
  3. Microwave it again on high for 3 minutes. Stir in well.and gently break ay lumps.
  4. Microwave it again for 2 minutes. Take it out and  stir again. By now the faint aroma of the besan with ghee would start wafting in your kitchen. Don’t be fooled yet! We are halfway there.
  5. Again microwave it for 5 min .. But this time in intervals of 1 min with stirring.
  6. When I took out the mix after the last interval of stirring, the Besan was nice light brown and my kitchen smelled very heavenly πŸ™‚
  7. I added a pinch of the saffron strands( I know its customary  soak it in warm milk and then add it) but I just added here  along with the cardamom powder  and 1/2 cup of chopped nuts. (Note : I did not fry these nuts in ghee or even toast them)
  8. Microwave it again for 1 min.
  9. Let it stand  for a few seconds and add  1 cup of powdered sugar to this.
  10. Mix it nice and thorough.
  11. Make ladoos or balls out of these .. Now unless you have heat proof hands, it is not wise to dig in immediately. So I say wait about 5 min!
  12. Don’t be shy as you pack these heaps of  mix into ball shapes. I actually noticed it glistening after I made sure they were a nice sphere by adding a few extra rolls in my  hands.
  13. I made about 16 medium sized balls out of these..
  14. Let it stand for a few minutes and indulge πŸ™‚

The fine print:-)

  1. If you use the Ladoo flour from the indian grocery stores, you do get the nice crunchy texture. Say you don’t have it, don’t panic :-). Just add 2 cups  of regular Besan or chickpea flour and a tablespoon of sooji or rava (cream of wheat in coarse form) to get the crutch. I would say add it it to the very final stage of microwaving , just before the saffron and nut goodies get added.
  2. If you get lazy and do not go thorough with the entire process of frying the besan in microwave (the nice light brown color of the besan with aroma wafting ), you will still have ladoos albeit with a raw taste. Experience does wonders πŸ™‚ (At this point author is nodding her head sagely πŸ™‚ )
  3. I used 4 tablespoons of unmelted / softened  ghee. It will be a bit more in the volume in the liquid form.
  4. Size of the ladoos – make it smaller if you are attempting it for a party. Make more that way πŸ™‚ sneaky .. sneaky…
  5. The sugar to besan ratio , I personally like it at this level. You  could increase it of course per your convenience, I did not try this with brown sugar. Maybe next time !
  6. Ladoos not happening???.. balls breaking off? Add more ghee or maybe you can sprinkle with warm milk – note sprinkle, not add it in!. Shelf life will be considerably lower if you do decide sprinkle with milk.

 

Cooking time : about 40 min , including the ladoo making process.

Yield : About 16-25  depending on the size of the ladoos and in this case considerably less after sampling !

Verdict : Sinful and worth the effort!

Signing off..