It’s raining once again.After a hot dry summer, it’s such a welcome change.Especially when you are at home watching nature’s beautiful gift through your open window,letting in the cool breeze and the fresh comforting smell of rain kissed earth.It seems to awaken all your senses and transport you into a state of calm and peace. The earthy scent of petrichor, the sound of tiny drops of rain on the windows, the feel of the gentle breeze on the face, the sight of squeaky clean and green trees all around…I simply love it all. And what better way to enjoy the rains than munching on some delicious snacks while sipping on a mug of steaming hot tea or coffee.
It has been raining the whole of last week. Not the heavy paralysing kind but light and pleasant one. I made Chicken and cheese shots on one such day to celebrate the rain. The cool breeze carried with it the delicious aroma of these chicken shots from the kitchen to the entire home making everyone hungry. The shots are small in size and it is recommended that you eat each shot whole. The flavors of the crunchy crust and the melting cheese kind of deliciously burst in your mouth and play on your tastebuds. If I have tempted you enough do make a note of the recipe and prepare these yummy chicken and cheese shots. You don’t have to wait for it to rain.You can eat them right now. Or better still, make a big batch,use some now and freeze the rest. Whenever you smell Petrichor, take them out of the freezer, thaw them and get your deep fryer ready because….. it will be raining soon😉
Recipe for Chicken and Cheese shots
Ingredients for chicken mince:
500g chicken breast
2 spring onion
5 cloves garlic chopped
2 tsp. ginger chopped
salt to taste
2 tbsp. vegetable shortening/ghee
1/2 tsp. red chilli flakes
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 egg yolk
2 tbsp. water
For the breading station:
1 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornflour
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. milk
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs/nachos crushed
For the filling:
2 cups mozarella cheese shredded or a combination of your favorite cheeses
Ramadan the 9th and holiest month of the Islamic calender brings with it a lot of cheer and blessings. It is a month of fasting, charity giving , self analysis and introspection. During this month, muslims across the world fast from dawn to dusk. The pre-dawn meal is called Suhoor or Sehri. After partaking this meal they abstain from eating or drinking till dusk.Apart from food and drink, muslims refrain from sinful behaviour like gossiping,back-biting,fighting,lying or cursing which negates the reward of fasting. People are encouraged to increase religious devotion by means of prayers and recitation of the holy Quran.The day long fast is broken after sunset with a date and a sip of water as was the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). This is called Iftar.After the sunset prayers a more elaborate meal is shared with family and friends.
Muslim women besides fasting,praying and their daily routine make delicious treats for Iftar and Suhoor for their families. Most of them would agree that preparing these special dishes is easier than actually deciding what to make. I have rounded up some interesting recipes which they can make easily for Iftar and enjoy with their families.
I am including 10 Non-veg snack recipes, 10Vegetarian snack recipes and 10Dessert and sweet snack recipes.
Come Summer and the royal land of Nizams, Hyderabad appears golden yellow.Hyderabad fondly known as the ‘Pearl City’ is an enchanting land of heritage monuments,forts,palaces, lakes, museums, gardens, software parks and more importantly a delectable cuisine fit for the kings. And when it is summer, especially in the month of May, the entire city is dotted with the king of fruits-mangoes,beautiful luscious mangoes,aromatic,sweet and full of flavor.You can see them everywhere,on every street,in every nook and corner. On pushcarts,in kiosks,in fruitstalls,in stores,in juice corners,in homes..just everywhere. Mango is the most loved fruit across the world and India alone produces half of the world’s mangoes.
Mango lovers can’t have enough of mangoes. And to their delight this year the food safety department of hyderabad has ensured that the vendors or producers keep the mangoes chemical free,i.e free of artificial ripeners like Calcium Carbide.
I really look forward to summers and fresh ripe mangoes to bake this time tested easy mango bread recipe. The aromas and flavors of this bread are truly amazing. Moreover, this recipe is light and does not use butter or too many eggs. You can add raisins and walnuts in this bread for extra flavor and a crunch. The color of the loaf is beautiful. You can enjoy it warm on it’s own or with a scoop of mango ice cream….mmm…I can still remember the taste and smell the aroma wafting around….long after the bread was devoured.
Mango Bread Recipe
125g all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/4 tsp. salt
90ml vegetable oil
125g caster sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. raisins
1 tbsp. chopped walnuts
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
200g chopped mangoes
First mix all dry ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Whisk the egg.
Fold in the dry flour mixture.
Add the chopped mangoes and lemon juice and fold in gently.
Line a loaf tin with butter paper and pour the batter in it. Cover the tin lightly with aluminium foil so that the top does not brown fast. You can remove the foil after half an hour. Complete baking until a toothpick comes out clean. It should take about 1 hour.
Let it cool before you unmould it and slice it. Enjoy just like that or with a scoop of icecream.
I wonder what KFC was thinking when it decided to introduce edible chicken flavored nail polishes. I know they were taking their motto ‘finger lickin’ good’ literally but why on earth would anyone want to lick their nails when they could eat their delicious chicken instead.Thankfully, it has not yet hit the shelves. It is just being promoted on social media to test the market reaction.
5 reasons why I think edible nailpolish is a bad idea:
Moms are not going to buy that nail polish for their young kids because they alone know how hard it was to get them off that nasty nail-biting habit. Buying edible nail polish would be potential suicide.
Teenaged girls! think twice. you don’t want those braces back with all the finger licking an’ chewing.
Hygiene. Has anyone thought of that. Either you wear gloves or protective finger caps or you just sit whole day with your fingers in a fridge. After all who can resist KFC….you can’t stop your pet cats,dogs or flies from a teeny lick or weeny bite of your nails. And who wants to be chased or followed by street dogs when walking on the road with irresistibly tempting chicken on your finger tips.
Young ladies! It is not at all elegant or lady-like to lick or bite your nails in public. And imagine it getting runny or sticky on your important papers in your office.
KFC is hugely impartial…meaning..their nail polish is unisex. OMG! That would mean…our dear planet will be invaded by men of all sizes and shapes with their nails painted RED…and at one time you will find atleast a dozen of them with fingers in their mouths….everywhere…in trains,in offices,in shopping malls,on roads…everywhere.Oh God! Please no.
KFC! Are you listening?We all love KFC. But the idea of an edible nail polish is a bit weird.
A little suggestion: How about an edible LIPSTICK or chicken flavored chewing gum or lollies? Think about it.
Well! There is still time till KFC’s nailpolish is available for us to buy. Till then if you want to taste,lick or eat some delicious fingers while still looking elegant…go for this dish. Crispy Eggplant fingers are easy to make, crunchy and delicious. You can serve them as an evening snack or a party appetizer. I tried frying as well as baking them. Honestly speaking, I found the baked version even better. Well! to each his own. Why don’t you try both and decide for yourself. Eat it just like that or with an Italian dip like marinara or a hot and sweet chilli sauce.
Recipe: Crispy Eggplant Fingers
8 finger eggplants (vertically sliced into two) or 1 medium eggplant (cut into finger size strips)
1 tsp.dried oregano
1 tsp.chilli flakes
1 tsp.onion powder
1 tsp.dried basil
1/2 cup Rice flour
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1 egg beaten
oil for deep frying
– Place the eggplant fingers in a colander. Sprinkle salt on them and leave for 30 minutes. This helps reduce the moisture content in the eggplants. Wash and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Meanwhile, put salt,pepper,garlic powder,dried oregano,chilli flakes,onion powder,thyme,basil in a blender and blend together.
Mix this spice mixture and cheese with bread crumbs.
Spread rice flour on a plate. Put the eggplant fingers on it and toss till they are coated with the flour.
Beat an egg with a tbsp. of milk in a bowl.
Spread the bread crumb mixture on a plate.
Dip the eggplants in egg first after shaking off the excess rice flour.
Then roll gently in the bread crumbs.
Keep the rolled eggplants in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Pour 1 inch of oil into a pan. When the oil is hot, put the eggplant pieces in the oil, and fry till golden brown.
Baking: Spray some oil on a baking sheet.Place the breaded eggplants on the sheet and spray some oil.Bake at 360ºF for 10-15 minutes.
Serve hot with your favorite sauce.
Enjoy this lip smacking,delicious snack with your family and friends.
There’s nothing that beats chilled icecream desserts on hot summer days especially when you don’t have to spend time in the kitchen. If you are bored of serving scoops of icecream or sundaes,try something different. Try making an Icecream dome cake with your favorite flavors. You can be innovative with this dessert. I have used pineapple slices, strawberry and vanilla icecreams and chocolate layer cake fingers. The combination worked beautifully. You can try the same or work with other flavors. You can use Kiwi slices instead of Pineapple too.
Step 1: Take a dome shaped glass bowl and line it with plastic cling wrap. This step makes it easier to demould the cake later. Chill this bowl in the freezer while you prep the other ingredients.
Step 2: Cut 1/2 inch wide and about 4 inch long fingers from your favorite layer cake. I used chocolate layer cake.
Step 3: Keep the strawberry and vanilla ice cream bricks on the counter. Let the icecream become slightly soft for easy layering.
Step 4: Place a pineapple slice(from a tin) at the bottom of the bowl.
Step 5: Start placing the layer cake fingers around the pineapple slice and working all the way upto the rim of the bowl.
Step 6: Now scoop out a layer of strawberry icecream on the pineapple slice. Smooth with a palette knife.
Step 7: Place a layer of cake fingers on it.
Step 8: Scoop out a layer of vanilla icecream and smooth with a palette knife. Repeat layers according to the size of your glass bowl.
Step 9: Cover with a layer of cake slices.
Step 10: Keep the bowl in the freezer.
Step 11: Keep a serving platter in the freezer so that the cake doesn’t keep sliding when you serve.
Step 12: Keep the bowl out of the freezer for 5-10 minutes depending on your room temperature before serving.
Step 13: Invert the bowl on the serving platter and peel off the cling wrap.
India is dotted with beautiful and exotic hill stations which serve as a perfect getaway from the sweltering heat. Darjeeling which is known as the ‘Queen of hillstations’ sits atop a ridge with a spectacular view of the snow peaks of the mighty Kangchenjunga,the third highest mountain in the world.
It is one of the most popular hill stations of India,famous for it’s six T’s- Tea, Teak,Toy train,Trekking,Tiger hill and Tourism. Having covered most other hill stations of North and South India, Darjeeling had somehow eluded our list. So this time by unanimous choice it was Darjeeling. The nearest airport is Baghdogra which is approximately 2 to 3 hours away from the hill town. The distance between Baghdogra and Darjeeling has to be covered by cab. The journey in itself is an exhilarating experience.
As we drove up the rolling mountains, we could see slopes of beautiful tea gardens, orchids, pines & rhododendrons. There were flowers in every shade and every where.
We stopped by a quaint old Tibetan shop which was selling steaming hot momos. Needless to say they were very delicious.It was by now 5 in the evening and it was getting colder.We had to pull out our jackets and roll up the windows of our car. As our car negotiated along the winding hills, a cloud or fog rose up from the valley and covered the path with a white blanket. For the next 3 to 4 kms there was zero visibility. Our cab driver who was well aware of the hill contours was quite confident but I was shivering with thrill and chill and kept sending silent prayers. The kids were excited though.
I heaved a sigh of relief when we reached our destination. Darjeeling true to what we had heard had a picturesque landscape and a mix of colonial and modern world charm. There are centuries old buildings and houses in Darjeeling that reflect the traditional British architecture from 1800’s. The hotel where we stayed was originally built for the British Lords and got later rebuilt keeping the old world charm intact. It had a spectacular view of the Himalayas.
The toy train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railways which runs on a steam engine on a 2 feet narrow gauge track is an engineering marvel. It has been accorded the UNESCO World Heritage status. The train ride was an enjoyable experience as the train honked along its way through several loops and zigzags while negotiating steep gradients.Much to the chagrin of my kids who thought I would fall out of the train, I loved standing at the doorway of the chugging train breathing in the fresh air and viewing the breath takingly beautiful mystical snow capped mountains.
There is a wonderful Japanese temple built in traditional Japanese architecture,monastery and Peace pagoda in a 10 minute driving distance from the town centre. It is surrounded by 100 year old pine trees, flowers in different hues and a clear view of the Kangchenjunga. You can hear the reverberating and rhythmic sound of a huge drum and the soft hum of the chants coming from the prayer room. Visitors are given a small drum pad and a stick and invited to join the prayers.Photography was not allowed inside the prayer room.
Our visit to the Darjeeeling zoo was an excitingexperience,especially for our animal lover girl. It is home to many endangered species and high altitude Himalayan animals like the Tibetan Wolf, Red Panda, Snow Leopard ,Siberian Tigers, Yaks and many other animals in semi natural habitats. We had to walk up the steep slopes to see the animals in their enclosures but it was well worth the effort.
In close vicinity to the zoo is the Himalayan mountaineering Institute which conducts Adventure, Basic and Advanced Mountaineering courses.
Right outside the zoo were small vendors selling berries and himalayan spices.
All the sightseeing tours,trekking and activities made us all very hungry. Darjeeling cuisine is a mixture of Tibetan,Chinese,Nepalese,Naga and Bengali cuisines. I always love to explore the local food of the places we visit.Momos are the most popular local snack food in Darjeeling. Another very popular Tibetan food is Thukpa. It is a hot noodle soup mixed with meat, eggs, vegetables etc which is served in a large bowl.Alu Dum is a typical Nepali and Bengali snack which is prepared by boiling cut potatoes in a thick gravy and mixing dried red chili powder in it along with onion slices, few cloves of garlic, some mustard oil and some red color.Shaphalay is a Tibetan bread which is stuffed with meat.
Our journey downhill to the airport was another exciting experience. We were generously allowed to spend a day at a tea estate by one of my husband’s friends who owned it. It was extremely beautiful. We learnt how tea was plucked,processed and packed. And of course we got to taste the finest and freshest of darjeeling teas.
A surprise visit to Nepal
While driving down the hill, the road acts as the divider between India and Nepal. The road belongs to India and the valleys belong to the neighbouring country Nepal. Our cab driver offered to take us to Pashupati market in Nepal. There was a small immigration counter where tourists can register their names and enter Nepal. Yes, it is that easy.
There’s something about childhood friends that you just can’t replace – Lisa Whelchel
Every friendship is special but the friendships made in our childhood are closest to our heart. Aren’t they? There is an amazing level of comfort and understanding having literally grown up together.Sharing lunches and secrets,dreading some strict teachers and loving some adorable ones,celebrating victories and crying over losses,learning and unlearning- we did all these together.We saw each other being praised- being punished, in happy times and in sad, in braces and in ruffled hair. There was innocence and healthy competition- no adult rivalry or fear of being judged. A sense of familiarity,of belonging and bonding -something which transcends time and distance.
My school organised a reunion recently- the first of it’s kind on it’s 50th anniversary. I have attended college reunions but a school reunion is something different. A beautiful experience which I cannot describe in words. I met a lot of friends and teachers who came from all over the world just to attend this meet. I found atleast 25 class friends who I had lost contact with after we graduated. We were meeting after more than twenty years.There was a lot of fun,excitement and catching up. We promised to keep in touch. Thanks to social media it is so much easier now. We made a whatsapp group and there has never been a dull day on it ever since. It is literally active 24/7 because we are all scattered across the globe in different time zones and have stories spanning 20+ years which need sharing.
This post is dedicated to all my glamour girls❤
Strawberries, cream and chocolate are made for each other. They complement each other and combine beautifully into a sweet relationship like the best of friends. Strawberry Tiramisu is one such delicious dessert which can be relished with family and friends. It is simple and easy to prepare and assemble.
Strawberry layer: Clean,hull and chop strawberries. Mix some strawberry syrup or jam and keep in the fridge.
Chocolate layer: This requires a chocolate cake about one inch thick. You can either bake it at home with this recipe or use a store bought one. Cut discs from the cake with the help of a cookie cutter. The discs should be the size of the glass you are setting the tiramisu in. I used shot glasses because they are so dainty and make for small and pretty serves.
Cream and Cream cheese layer:Whisk 180g cream cheese and 75g heavy cream separately till light . Add 40g sugar to cream and whisk well till fluffy. Add vanilla pod or essence. Fold in the cream cheese. Pour this mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle or any other nozzle and keep in the fridge.
Assembling the Strawberry Tiramisu:
Put a teaspoon of strawberries into a shot glass.
Place a disc of chocolate cake.
Dissolve a teaspoon of instant coffee powder in a cup of hot water. Let it cool.
Drizzle a teaspoon or less of this coffee on the chocolate layer.
Pipe a layer of cream cheese over it.
Repeat the layers.
Top it with some strawberries and a mint leaf.
Keep it in the fridge for at least an hour.
Dear Friends and readers
Could you help me choose the correct lighting for the pictures. Which picture according to you is better.None of the pictures have been edited.
My dear friends and readers, your friendly food blog is finally on Facebook. All of you have been a huge support to me and have encouraged me with your likes and kind comments.I want to thank each and everyone for that. Please continue with your motivation by joining me on Facebook.
Eggplant rollups is an amazing dish which can be served as hors d’oeuvre at a party or a lip smacking finger food at home. It is light, healthy,vegetarian,appealing,easy to assemble, can be prepared in advance and can be served warm or cold. Eggplant slices are grilled in the oven,seasoned and spread with muhammara, ( walnut and red bell pepper spread ) and rolled up tight. You can get innovative with spreads, but personally I found this combination very delicious ….tangy,nutty,sweet and hot flavors all rolled in one.
Hummus and Baba Ganoush are the most commonly prepared and relished Middle Eastern dips. Muhammara though lesser known is a classic dip found in Levantine and Turkish cuisines. It is infact an ancient traditional dish which is being revived and is gaining popularity across the world.Muhammara in Arabic means ‘reddened’. This rust-red dip with its tangy,nutty, a little sweet and a little hot flavors can be enjoyed by vegetarians as well as the meat eaters. Dip your veggies, pita chips, crackers, breads, grilled meats in this delicious, healthy and no guilt dish or simply add it to your meze platter and wow your family and friends. You can use it as a spread on your bread as well.
Middle Eastern cuisine is mostly healthy and Muhammara is no exception. It is a blend of beautiful ingredients and flavours which makes it deliciously enticing. Walnuts, red bell peppers, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, bread crumbs and lemon juice make their way into this amazing combination.If we want to match the Syrian traditional way of preparing Muhammara, the ingredients should be crushed and blended in a mortar with a pestle,which gives a lovely texture to the dish.But if you are short of time or patience, you can blend it in a food processor as well. The taste is pretty much the same but you end up losing that alluring texture.It can be eaten immediately or stored in the fridge. The flavour enhances after a day in the fridge.
Heat the oven to 200º C. Put the peppers on a tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, turning once midway, till the skin is blackened. Immediately transfer them to a bowl and tightly seal with plastic wrap. In about 15 minutes,the skin of the peppers wuld have loosened up.Peel and discard the skin and seeds. Mash the flesh with a fork and set aside.
Remove the crusts of the bread and toast them in a bread toaster. Once cooled, make bread crumbs from them either using a rolling pin or in a food processor.
Put the mashed peppers,bread crumbs and all the ingredients except the olive oil in a mortar and crush with a pestle. You can also pulse them in a food processor till coarsely blended.
Stream in ¼ cup of olive oil all through the blending process.
Transfer the blend into a serving bowl. Make a shallow well in the middle with the back of a spoon. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over it.
Sprinkle sesame seeds,sumac and walnuts.
Serve immediately or leave in fridge for a day for improved flavour.
But remember not to serve it chilled. It should be at room temperature.