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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Maakhanya Lassi ~ Buttery Lassi

There are many dishes that one can associate with some special memories. Some can be associated with childhood - food prepared by mom. It can make you nostalgic and flood your mind with sweet anecdotes. Some dishes can be related to events - a special sweet dish or a cake that was meant for special occasion. And some are linked with a particular place - 'nukad ka chaat wala' (road side vendor) who makes the best Papdi Chat or a particular place known for their mouthwatering kulfi.

One such dish for me is this Maakhanya Lassi,  maakhanya literally means buttery.

I brings back to me the memories of visiting Jodhpur, Rajasthan. There is a snack shop (unfortunately I don't remember the name. I will update this if I remember) which is famous for this Lassi. All day long people throng to this place to enjoy a glass or two of this cold Lassi. In summer it sells like hot cakes! 2-3 years back when I had been to Jodhpur, my FIL had taken us to this shop. One sip of the Lassi and I was in heaven. One will be tempted to buy a second glass, but let me tell you, it is very filling. Two glass of this Lassi and you can forget about lunch!

When I had prepared this butter, this Lassi was the first thing I thought of making. I tried to replicate the taste from memory, so, I am not sure if it tastes exactly same, but it is definitely near.

You will need:

2 tbsp of fresh butter at room temperature. You can also use store bought unsalted butter
1 cup yogurt
1/4 cup water or more
1cardamom, pounded
4-5 saffron strands
2 tbsp sugar, more of less, adjust to taste
4-5 ice cubes

Process:
1. Rub the saffron with a few drops of water to bring out the colour.
2. In a blender jar, add yogurt, water, saffron, cardamom, sugar, ice cubes and half of the butter.
3. Blend it for a few seconds. Pour it into a tall glass. Top it with the remaining butter and serve immediately!

Notes:

1. The butter which is added while blending will be in bits and will float on top. So, you will have a buttery, creamy top layer. You can add more butter to have a thicker creamy layer if you like.
2. Add more water if you like thinner Lassi.

It tastes best when served cold.

Enjoy! Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jyoti's Pages on 'Scene of the Blog' and other Books update

Have you ever wondered about the work space area of bloggers around the world?

Ever wondered how their creative corners look like, where they sit and churn out beautiful posts..

Cathy of Kittling Books was intrigued by this question which led her to start a meme -Scene of the Blog where every Wednesday, she features a blogger from any part of the world to share their scene of blog.

This Wednesday, my space is being featured in Cathy's Scene of the Blog series. Wondering how my creative space looks like, go check this out.

Coming back to the books update, about two months back I had made a list of books I wished to read before my India visit in September. Well, in a line I can say that was an ambitious list, These are the books from the list that I have read:

My Friend Jesus Christ by Lars Husum
1Q84 Book 1 & 2 by Haruki Murakami
A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir
Prince of Ayodhya by Ashok K. Banker
Ninepins by Rosy Thornton
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Apart from this I also read Skid Marks of Logic by Divya Diana Dias and 1Q84 Book 3 by Haruki Murakami

I will read the rest of the books from the list after coming back from my India visit. To tell you the truth, I don't really feel like reading a book now. Give it to my excitement of visiting my home country and meeting family and friends or to the numerous chores I have to do before that, I am unable to concentrate on reading anything. So, I am giving my books a rest while I deal with other things in life.

By the way any books you would like to suggest to pick up in India. Suggestions welcome.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How To Make Butter At Home From Cream

There are certain things we can learn from our mistakes. That holds good for life in general. But, here I am talking about learning from cooking disasters. Most stories of kitchen disasters doesn't see the light of the day. Dishes than doesn't turn out as expected often finds it way to the dustbin and the memories of an unpleasant experience is shoved to the back of our mind. But, sometimes we learn certain things by mistake.

Here I am talking about churning butter from cream.

Quite a while back, one of my friends had asked to give her a hand in baking and decorating a cake. That was the time, I was a new bee in cooking and had found my new love for baking. I agreed and we set out to bake a nice, gorgeous cake. But that was not the case to be. Something went wrong! Still, we did manage to salvage our cake and produce something presentable.

The thing that had gone wrong was with the cream icing. While whipping the cream, we realized that it had curdled a bit. Now I know that it was over whipped and the butter and the whey had started to separate. But, back then I wasn't sure. Recently, DH said he felt like having fresh homemade white butter on cream cracker biscuits. It had been ages since he had those and I was wondering what brought them to his memory. 

The thought of making butter at home was constantly there in my mind for a while. I have seen my mom make ghee. For that she collects thick cream from the top of homemade yogurt patiently, over a number of days and when she has a good amount of it, she churns butter out of it which is then used for making ghee. All these made me think of my icing disaster and I googled about 'making butter from cream' and landed on this WikiHow page. Confidently I decided to try it on my own and you can see what I got.

Ingredients:
250 ml heavy cream
A hand whisk or an electrical one. I used electrical one as one has to whisk a lot.
A few ice cubes

Process:
1. In a cold container pour the cream and start whisking. The cream will go change texture as you continue whipping. Don't stop even when you get the soft peak consistency and continue whipping. At some point in next 5 minutes the cream will start curdling and chunks of butter will start floating in whey and soon your mixture will look something like this.
 
2. Separate the butter from the whey. Add ice cubes to the whey so that any remaining butter solidifies. Once you have collected all the butter, make sure there is no buttermilk left in it. Wash it with cold water as stated here until you get clear water. Save all the butter and shape it. Store it in an airtight container.

I got about 120 gm butter from 250 ml of double cream. Enjoy homemade butter on toast, on cream cracker biscuits, in soups etc. I also made Makhanya Lassi with it. I will share it next here.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Book 1, 2 & 3)

It has been a while since I read this book, but some how couldn't put my thoughts together to write a review. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is a huge book, it is the first book by the author that I have read.

It was first published in three volumes in Japan in 2009–10. The novel quickly became a sensation, with its first printing selling out the day it was released, and reaching sales of one million within a month. The English language edition of all three volumes, with the first two volumes translated by Jay Rubin and the third by Philip Gabriel, was released in North America and the United Kingdom on October 25, 2011. (Source-Wikipedia)

It can be categorized as a thriller and a fantasy love story. To be able to appreciate this novel fully, the reader has to believe in what the author is trying to convey. That becomes a challenge in the later part of the novel.


The story is set in year 1984 and spans over the year. Book One starts with the female protagonist of the novel, Aomame (a name which literally means green peas in Japanese) in a taxi on a Tokyo highway. There is a huge traffic congestion and vehicles are moving slowly. To be able to reach for her scheduled appointment Aomame, on the advice of the taxi driver takes a short cut. That seems to work fine but after a while, she discovers seriously puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She realizes that on taking the short cut route, she has entered a parallel existence which she calls 1Q84,Q for question mark. This world has two moons in the sky(that is evident from the cover). There are a lot of questions in this world that Aomame has to find answers to and time is not on here side.

Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo Kawana takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author, Fuka Eri that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled. The novel Air Chrysalis makes it to the top of the chart, only to complicate things for every one involved in the projects. From one thing to another, the author conjures up a complicated plot that successfully keeps the readers hooked.

The pace created in Book One carries well into the Book Two. Murakami is an author with huge creativity and vivid and fantastic imagination. One would not be able to predict what turn the story is going to take. At the close of Book Two, both Aomame and Tengo finds themselves in precarious situation, threatened and confused. There are many loose ends in Book Two which I was hoping would be addressed in Book Three and hence I promptly borrowed the Book Three from the library.

 
In Book Three, Aomame and Tengo are pursued by people and forces that seem to be from some other world. They try to decipher the strange world around them and soon realize their destinies converging. What they cannot surmise is if they would be able to find each other before they are themselves found. What actually happens is the thing to find in the book.

Book Three did not live up to my expectation. Fantasy is fine but loose ends are what leaves me unsatisfied. The author didn't even try to convince as to why things were happening the way they were. It actually left me squirming in uneasiness and for a while I couldn't decide if it was a good thing or bad. Finally, I felt that I must be able to picture things in the novel to understand them fully, like I have no idea who these little people, what they want, from where they come. May be the author wanted to keep it to the imagination of the readers, but it didn't work for me. The whole plot seemed to concentrated on making Aomame and Tengo meet, but why take them to a different world to make that possible. I enjoyed the first two books, they kept me dangling by a thread. But, Book Three disappointed me. Certainly, I don't understand the hype around the book. I would give it a balanced 3/5 overall rating.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Veg Chow mein Noodles ~ A Popular Indo-Chinese Dish

Indo Chinese Food is very popular in India. It is basically a fusion cuisine. Veg Chow mein is perhaps one of the most popular Indo Chinese dishes. From road side carts to posh restaurants, this humble noodles finds a place in many menus.

When ever, I prepare this dish, the first person who comes to my mind is my little sister, she loves this dish. DH likes it too. When I am not in a mood for elaborate cooking, I resort to making it. It is easy, yummy and filling too. Only task that can be cumbersome about making this dish is the way the veggies are sliced. It can take a lot of time if you are cooking for a lot of people, but for the two of us, it is not much work. Lets hop of to the recipe now-

Veg Chow mein Noodles

150 gm Chow mein Noodles
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp chilli sauce( add more if you like it spicier).
1 tbsp vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
1" inch ginger grated
2 cloves garlic chopped

Julienne cut vegetables (Amount may vary, I generally add about 1/4 cup of each)
Onions
Bell peppers (I used red, green and yellow)
Carrots
Cabbage
Beans
Thinly sliced baby corn
Peas

Spring Onions for garnish (That you had grown on your window sill)

Process:

1. Cook the noodles as per the instructions given on the box. Make sure you cook it upto 80%. When it is sautéed with veggies, it will cook further.
2. Heat oil in a pan. When heated add the sliced onions. Fry them till they are slightly translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté it for 30 seconds. Now add the carrots, beans and baby corn. Add salt and stir. Cover it and cook for 2-3 minutes, so that the carrots, beans and baby corn are tender. Now add the cabbage, bell peppers and peas. Stir and add some more salt and pepper.
3. Now add the cooked noodles and give it a nice stir. Add the soya sauce, chilli sauce, vinegar. Give it a good stir. Check seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Cook for another 3-4 minutes and take it off gas.
4. Serve it hot with Sweet chili sauce or ketchup or both! Enjoy!

We had it with Chilled Sweet Lime Soda..

Note: You can also add tofu or paneer pieces.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Powerscourt Gardens Pictures ~ For Saturday Snapshot

This week for Saturday Snapshot I am sharing a few pictures from our visit to Powerscourt Gardens last week. I will elaborate about the trip later, for now enjoy the pictures. I had shared a few pictures of Roses from the Rose Garden there for Wordless Wednesday. Do check them as well!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Alyce’s site.


 On the way..
 Lake at the Italian Garden..
 Dolphin pond..
 Lovely Lotus!
Italian Garden

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Growing Spring Onions On Your Window Sill - Easy and Economic



Growing Spring Onions on window sill is one of the many things I have got to know because of Pinterest.   
If you are not on Pinterest yet then you are missing quite a lot of fun ideas and things. Do join in.

Growing spring onions at home is easy, economical and the best part is you don't need anything fancy. Just a glass jar and water and good amount of sunshine.

I use spring onions quite often, be it for garnishing or in Indo Chinese dishes or in stir fries, I need it often. So, when I saw this simple trick of growing it at home, I decided to try it straight away. I am growing my own spring onion for quite some months now and I am absolutely delighted to see them grow. It comes in real handy when you need just a sprig for garnish dishes.
 
 Next time you buy spring onions make sure you do not throw the white root part away. All you have to do it take a glass, add half a cup of water, take the spring onion roots (snip off the green part completely, we just need the white part with the roots) and put them in the water.

 Make sure the water doesn't submerge it completely, the top ends need to get some air! Keep it on your window sill that gets good sunshine and watch it grow to its fully glory in just a week.
Add and change water is 2-3 days. Snip off the greens and keep the whites in water and it will grow again.

Note: I have realized that after 5-6 growth, the greens come out very thin. So, I usually discard them after 5-6 times and start over again with new roots.

Isn't that easy?

Do try it yourself and let me know how it works for you.

Do you have any other such tips? Will love to hear.

Thanks for stopping by! Cheers!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Homemade Blueberry Jam


I am not really a jam person. There are only a few times when I actually had jam on toasted bread. I specially don't like the store bought jelly like set jams. No, they are not for me. The first time I actually liked having jam was when I bought a bottle of blueberry jam from IKEA. Since then I started enjoying it with Crepes, Scones and on Crispbreads.. But, I really never thought of making it at home.

Recently when I saw these berries on sale, I thought to try making jam at home. I have seen many fellow bloggers swearing how homemade jam is so much better and that one would never buy a bottle again, once they have tasted the homemade jam. I know now what they mean.


Home made jams are so much more flavorful and it is so easy to make them at home. But, one should be always cautious while storing them. Properly sterilized jars can increase their life and you can enjoy them longer. The lemon juice used in the recipe gives it a bit of tanginess in addition to helping it set. Lemon juice had a high pectin content which helps jams in setting.


Ingredients:

1 cup Blueberries, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup sugar (if you like your jam sweeter add more, up to another 1/2 cup)
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon rind

Process:

1. In a large deep pan, add the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Bring it to a boil.
2. In 5 minutes or so, the berries will burst and give out it juice and the mixture will become liquid. Turn the heat to medium.
3. Continue heating for another 10-12 minutes. The mixture will thicken. Heat for another 5 minutes if you like it thicker. It will get thicker as it cools.
4. Take it off heat and let it cool completely before storing it in a sterilized jar. It should keep well for month in refrigerator.


Enjoy it on toasts, pancakes, crepes, scones etc

Note: Using the same recipe you can make jam of any berries or mixed berry jam.

Linking it to Jagruti's Super Food~Super Power Event

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Event Round Up ~ Cool Summer Sips


It has been quite a while since I announced the 'Cool Summer Sips' event and finally today I am up with the round up. I must admit that I didn't give this event the due attention. I was more prone to cough and cold this summer and hence didn't try out as many cool drinks I would have liked. My board for Cool Drinks on Pinterest is full of beautiful summer drinks that need to be tried. I guess there is still time for those.


Coming back to the round up, I have arranged the drinks mostly in chronological order. My event was all about cool drinks, so I have excluded the entries of ice creams. Enjoy this virtual display of cool drinks. Thank you very much for sending in your entries. 






















  


My contributions: Sweet Lime Soda 

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!
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