All those who have seen this hilarious viral video know I have not gone crazy. Every other person around me is humming the PPAP song.It has been reportedly viewed over 25 million times and leaves it’s viewers in splits.For those who somehow missed the bizarre sensation check this out. It can leave you either amused or irritated, but one thing is for sure it won’t leave you for the rest of the day:
People are making parodies of the PPAP song. So I thought I will try something else and make a dessert out of it. Because….I have a Penne! I have a Apple! I have a Pineapple…I threw them all together and… Uh! I now have a Penne Pineapple Apple Penne dessert. Beaming over a slice to Piko-Taro.
If you want to be a part of this crazy sensation make a note of this crunchy and delicious dessert I came up with. I mixed the pineapple in the batter but flavored the apple slices with lemon and cinnamon and layered them on the top and baked it till the crust became golden and crunchy. The dessert looked very pretty when sliced. It tastes best when eaten warm.
Ingredients for batter:
350g penne pasta
1 cup sugar
1 cup cottage cheese crumbed
1 cup cream cheese
1 and 1/2 cups greek yogurt+1/2 tsp.baking soda OR 2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1 cup tinned Pineapple chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence
Ingredients for crust:
1 apple thinly sliced
juice of half a lemon
2 tsp. cinnamon powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1-2 cups cornflakes crushed
Heat water in a large pot. Add 1/2tsp. salt. Cook the penne pasta till aldente. Strain,run cold water over it and keep seperately.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
In a bowl put all the ingredients required for batter and mix well.
Grease a baking dish with butter and pour the batter into it.
In a microwaveable bowl put a glass of water,apple slices and lemon juice. Heat in microwave for 3 minutes. Take the apple slices out of the water gently and place on a kitchen towel to remove extra moisture.
Spread crushed cornflakes on the batter.Arrange the apple slices over the cornflakes. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon all over.
Bake for approximately an hour or until the crust is golden and the knife comes out clean.
I know I said I am a pluviophile, a rain lover and waxed eloquent about the pleasure of watching the drizzle from an open window munching some delicious hot snacks and how it awakens our senses and the calm and peace which follows and all that…yes..yes..I said all of that in my recent post but I never asked for lashing,pounding,hammering,incessant rains. It has been raining cats and dogs(I would rather say cows and horses) continuosly for more than a week. My beautiful city Hyderabad is battered and inundated due to rains which broke a 16 year record and have brought normal life to a standstill. There is a flood-like situation with vehicles floating in the water in several places.A high alert has been sounded by the weathermen.Schools and several shops have been ordered to shut down.People have been asked to stay indoors until water receded to avoid traffic snarls.I will not post pathetic pictures here because that is not how I want you to remember my lovely city.
I still love the rains(light drizzles 😉 to be precise) as long as we stay indoors that is.And when it is raining and we are cooped up at home,the next best thing to do is? …….bake ofcourse….because as I said before the cool breeze carries the delicious aroma from the kitchen to every corner of your home making all it’s inhabitants ravenous and bringing them out of their rooms to see what the lady of the house is baking.
But what I am missing most is the sunshine. Because I need sunlight to click my food pictures. I can never get them right with indoor lighting.While my basbousa was baking in the oven my eyes were constantly shifting from the oven to the balcony(my favorite place to shoot )wishing the rain would stop.Luckily, by the time it came out of the oven it had stopped raining and the sun shone mercifully,though in bits and pieces from amidst the clouds. It refused to shine on my balcony so I had to scout for it on the terrace of my house. God! What we food bloggers do for the love of blogging.So whatever pictures I have for this post are the result of running with the tray and the camera to places where the sun mischeviously chose to shine on the terrace of my home while the hungry family anxiously waited on the lower floor.
My realisation no.1: Nothing in excess is good,not even something you love!
My realisation no.2: I love the rains, but I lovvve the Sun too!!
Coming to the muse, Basbousa is is a native Egyptian and traditional Middle Eastern cake, made from semolina and flavored sugar syrup. It is also known as Revani (Turkish) Ravani(Greek/Persian)Harissa(Arabic)Namoura(Lebanese)and gabelouze(French)
I have found an ultimate recipe which can be made easily at home and is delicious.The internet is full of recipes for this traditional dessert. But if you like the look of it from the pictures,I will assure you of its taste. Don’t think twice. Just try it. It is best eaten warm like most baked goodies are. You can store whatever is left in the fridge after covering it with a plastic cling film. All you have to do is warm it up in your microwave whenever you feel like having a dessert.
Ingredients for the cake:
2 cups semolina
2tsps. baking powder
1 cup dessicated coconut
2/3 cups butter melted
1 cup yogurt
2 tsps. vanilla essence
12 blanched almonds vertically sliced in two halves
Ingredients for the syrup:
2 cups sugar(a little less if you don’t like it too sweet)
2 cups water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. orange water/rose water
Mix all the dry ingredients except sugar and keep separately.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs and mix well.
Add the yogurt and the essence.
Add the dry mixture and blend well.
Butter and dust a baking dish.
Pour the basbousa batter in it gently and uniformly.
Keep this dish in the fridge for half an hour.
Meanwhile preheat the oven at 374ºF/190ºC
Boil sugar with water for approximately 10 minutes. Take off heat and add lemon juice and orange/rose water.
Remove the dish from the fridge and run a pizza cutter through the batter which must have firmed a bit by now, in such a way that it is divided into diamond shapes. Diamond shape is the traditional way of serving Basbousa.
Press an almond half into each diamond piece.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes put the dish under broiler if required for an additional 8 minutes to get a beautiful golden brown hue.
Remove from oven and pour the sugar syrup all over the cake.
How many times has it happened that you are on your way back home from work, both hungry and exhausted, looking blankly out of the window of your bus or car wishing there was something appetizing waiting for you at home and you didn’t have to cook.
It is exactly in such days that this mouth watering,tongue tickling, to dive for bottle of gosht ka achaar comes in handy. You can eat it with steaming hot rice, leftover rice warmed up in a microwave or most kinds of breads. You can make it and store it in an airtight container. It should last for atleast a week in cool temperature (maybe even more) and for more than a month in the fridge. It can be made with lamb or chicken. Please note that this recipe is just medium hot.You can also make this with less heat according to your taste.
There are certain foods whose sight and aroma tantalize our tastebuds and makes us instantly crave for them. Gosht ka achaar is one of those. Don’t hesitate.Just make it and store it in small bottles. Take a few along next time you plan a weekend trip or pack a few for your son or daughter who are staying in a hostel and have to make do with unappetizing food.
‘Gosht‘ means meat and ‘Achaar‘ means pickle. This recipe works best with boneless lamb meat but you can try it with chicken as well. The combination of spices in this recipe makes the meat succulent and flavorsome.The tip to keep this dish long lasting is buying fresh meat from the butcher. Traditionally the meat is not rinsed. But if you have to rinse it,make sure you pat it absolutely dry.
So this weekend,head to your local butcher and make him cut bite-sized pieces of boneless meat(lamb/chicken). Make a big batch of achaar and store it in small airtight glass containers. Keep them in room temperature for a week or in the fridge if you have made enough to last you for a couple of months. Enjoy with steaming hot rice or breads…
Pat dry the meat and marinate with salt and garlic paste for an hour.
Heat 1 and 1/2 cups oil in a wok. Reduce the heat to low flame.
Add mustard seeds, caraway seeds,fenugreek seeds,cumin seeds and curry leaves.
When they start spluttering add the marinated meat and cook on medium heat till meat is tender and cooked. It should take about 5-8 minutes.
In another pan pour the remaining 1/2 cup oil and heat it.
When oil is hot,turn off heat and add 2 tsps. red chilli powder and food color.
Add coriander and cumin powder.
Add the fried meat and lemon juice.
Toss well. Enjoy it warm with rice or bread.
Let it cool before storing.
A sorry and a thank you note:
I think I owe an explanation and an apology to all my readers and blogging friends for disappearing from the blogging radar for more than a month. I was caught up with jobs which required my immediate and full attention which left me with little time and energy to put up a post. I thank all my friends and readers who enquired for me and sent me ‘miss you’ messages. They really inspired me to get back to my favorite and stress busting hobby-blogging.
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.