Smoked and Stuffed Quail


Quails are small game birds grown commercially for their meat and eggs.They have lean,meaty flesh with a delicate flavor and require very less cooking time.
There are 4 steps to this recipe.

  • Smoking
  • Marinating
  • Stuffing
  • Roasting

I have smoked the quail with lemon tea,demerara sugar and basmati rice before roasting it in the oven. It imparted a beautiful flavor and fragrance to the meat. The smoking part isn’t difficult at all so please do not skip the step.The stuffing is with long grain rice, nuts and raisins. So each quail can be served as a complete meal.

Quails are not easily available in the local markets as poultry. I ordered fresh quails from an online store FishandMeat which caters to people in Hyderabad.They have an impressive array of fresh seafood and meats.The quails came clean,dressed and neatly packed in airtight containers. The meat looked fresh and tender. When the ingredients are fresh and of good quality,it makes cooking interesting because you know the final product is going to be worth the effort.

Smoked and Stuffed Quail

Step One-Smoking:

Ingredients:

  • Lemon tea 1 tbsp.
  • Demerara sugar 2 tbsp.
  • Basmati rice 2 tbsp.
  • 8 small quails
  • oil for brushing

Method

Line a wok with aluminium foil. Put tea,sugar and rice on it.Brush the quails with oil and place on a wire rack.Place this rack in the wok and cover it tightly with a lid or foil.Turn on heat. Let it smoke for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered until you prepare the marinade.

Step two-Marinate:

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 4 tbsp. honey
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. garam masala(cloves,cinnamon,cardamom)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

Method

Mix all the ingredients and brush the marinade on the smoked birds inside out.Leave it to marinate for at least 4 hours.

Step three-Stuffing:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice washed ,soaked and cooked with salt
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 8 almonds halved
  • 8 cashewnuts halved
  • 2 tbsp. raisins
  • 1 tbsp. fried/caramelized onions

Method

Heat ghee in a pan. Saute the nuts and raisins till golden in color. Add the fried nuts and onions to the cooked rice and mix well. Use this as a stuffing. Spoon this mixture in the quail cavity and secure it with a thread.

Step four- Roasting:

Method

Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Remove the marinated quails from the fridge and let them come to room temperature. Brush a baking tray with oil and place the stuffed quails on it. Roast in the middle rack for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.

 

Mango Payasam and Picking Up the Pieces

A few days back,we woke up in the middle of the night to a loud crashing sound.For a few moments I just sat on the bed wondering what might have happened.We didn’t know where exactly the sound came from.It was from inside the house,that was for sure.While I was shivering with the thought of an intruder,my own Mr.Sherlock went around to look for the source.And a few minutes later, I heard him calling out to me.With my heart still trembling,I wobbled up to where he was,all the while thinking I would make a poor Dr.Watson.

He was standing at the door of one of the bathrooms of our house. The glass of our new shower cubicle had shattered.There were pieces of glass all over the place,on the floor,shelves,in the soap,yes in the soap,on the towels everywhere.I was relieved and sad at the same time.Relieved because, first of all there was no intruder as my mind had wildly imagined and secondly there wasn’t anyone present at that time.And sad because it  was fixed just a week back.I wonder why it broke.

Image result for shattered glass all over the place

Well! We picked up the broken pieces with a heavy heart and shoved them in a big bag and kept it in a corner because it was too late in the night to dispose it.The next morning when we were about to throw the bag in the trash an idea struck me. Scroll down to the end of the post to see how I made peace with the pieces 😉

Meanwhile,I made this traditional South Indian dessert with mango puree, milk and vermicelli.Vermicelli, also known as Sevian in India is a type of pasta similar to spaghetti. It is used in various desserts and savory dishes. If you are not in India,you can still get it easily at the Indian section of supermarkets or at amazon.

Roasted Vermicelli

India is a big country with 29 states and each state has it’s own language,culture,traditions and rich regional cuisine. Vermicelli payasam is an authentic delicacy from South India.It is easy to prepare and delicious.

 

Mango Payasam/Kheer

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 15-20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A delicious South Indian dessert with milk,nuts and vermicelli.

Ingredients:

  • 100 gm roasted vermicelli
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 tbsp. cashews slivered
  • 1 tbsp. Raisins
  • 500 ml milk boiled
  • 150-200 gm sugar(depends on how sweet you like it)
  • 1 teaspoon powdered green cardamom
  • 1 cup mango puree

Method:

  1. Heat ghee in a pan and lightly saute the cashews and raisins on low heat. Take them out when they are golden in color.
  2. Add the vermicelli and fry lightly.
  3. Add the boiled milk,sugar and cardamom powder and cook till a thick consistency is achieved and the vermicelli is cooked.
  4. After turning off heat add the nuts and raisins and mix well.This is what is called Payasam or kheer.
  5. Pour the payasam into shot glasses. It can be eaten warm or chilled at this stage.
  6. But since we are making a Mango Payasam,chill the glasses with the payasam in the fridge.
  7. After an hour or half,take the glasses out and carefully spoon the mango puree on top of the payasam.
  8. Serve chilled and enjoy.

If you want a better way of presenting this dessert you must visit keralas.live The author is an expert at food presentation.You can see how the simplest of dishes come alive at this amazing food blog.

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Ta da! This is how I made peace with the broken pieces of glass. I made a coffee table. I had an old polished teak wood stool with a cushion seat which was not in use.I removed the cushion and painted the stool white. I filled the cushion place with the broken glass. I placed a round piece of glass two inches bigger in radius on the stool. And viola! I have a pretty little coffee table now.What I am planning to do next is line the inside of the table with LED strip lights to see my broken pieces of glass shine like diamonds.What do you think of the idea 🙂

Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the ...

Chicken Puff Pastry

Happy Ramadan to all my friends and readers!

Ramadan the holiest month of the Islamic calendar is a month of fasting, charity giving , self analysis and introspection. During this month, Muslims across the world fast from dawn to dusk. After partaking the pre-dawn meal called Suhoor or Sehri,they abstain from eating or drinking till dusk.Apart from food and drink, Muslims refrain from sinful behavior like gossiping,back-biting,fighting,lying or cursing which negates the reward of fasting. 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.

Chicken puff pastry is a delicious and filling snack which can be easily made for Iftar. The pastry is light,flaky and crunchy with a creamy chicken filling. I have not used cheese or cream in the filling to cut the calories. The filling can be made in advance. Actually this filling is versatile and can be used in different ways. You can make a chicken roll with tortillas, use it as a taco filling,pie filling,sandwich or shawarma filling. You can add cheese/corn kernels/bell pepper to add a crunch to the dish.

 Recipe: Chicken Puff Pastry

Step 1

  • 250 g boneless chicken boiled and shredded

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am not a fan of frozen meat.Nothing beats the taste of fresh tender chicken straight from the butchers. I discovered this online store FishandMeat which supplies fresh fish and meat straight from the butcher’s table right to your doorstep in and around Hyderabad..They have quite a variety of fish and meat with different cuts. I was really impressed with their prompt delivery and packing standards. The chicken was clean,looked tender and juicy.It made a lot of difference to the final taste of the dish.

Method:Boil 250 g boneless chicken with a cup of water and a dash of salt and ginger garlic paste.Shred it and keep it aside.

Step 2

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • salt to taste
  • pepper powder
  • Piri Piri seasoning
  • 1/2-1 cup of milk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Method:

  1. In a wok, melt butter and add the onions. Saute them till they are transparent.
  2. Add flour and mix well. Add all the seasonings. If you don’t have Piri Piri, try paprika and mixed Italian herb seasoning.
  3. Saute further and add milk to make a thick consistency.
  4. Add the shredded chicken and take off heat.

Step 3

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry(home made or store bought)
  • 1 egg whisked with a teaspoon of water

Method:

  1. Spread out the thawed puff pastry sheet. And cut different shapes with a cookie cutter. Each puff needs 3 layers. So if you are making a heart shaped puff you will need to cut out 3 hearts from the sheet.
  2. Preheat the oven at 200ºC /392ºF.
  3. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and brush lightly with oil.
  4. Place one heart/roundel on the sheet.
  5. Brush it with the egg.
  6. Place some filling on it.
  7. Put another layer of heart/roundel,press the corners lightly and give it an egg wash.
  8. Place the third layer,press it lightly and brush it again with egg.
  9. Make all the other puffs in a similar fashion.
  10. Make sure the pastry is still a bit cold. It will ensure that it rises well.
  11. Put the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or till golden brown and done.
  12. Serve hot and enjoy this flaky creamy delicious pastry with your loved ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey and Sesame Chicken

My new neighborhood has a lot of big old trees and hence is home to different species of birds. Bird watching has become my new pastime. I have spotted kingfishers,rock doves,white doves,parakeets,mynas,koels,crows,bulbuls and a few others I couldn’t identify. There is a pair of red vented bulbuls who are trying to build a nest by my window. I can watch them working real close  because I guess they cannot see me through the tinted glass. And last week there was a lovey ‘dovey’ couple who decided to lay their eggs on the window lintel,raise and tutor their offspring one of whom wanted to test it’s newly acquired skills by pecking a giant harmless rooster who my daughter has fondly named Red Beard. It was funny watching the plump baby dove trying to scare ol’ Red Beard who conveniently chose to ignore it.

Then there was the mystery of the missing milk packets.Our CCTV caught a little monkey pick up our milk packet left by the milkman, make a tiny hole in it and sip it in style without spilling a drop. It was soon chased away by a monkey mom with it’s pillioning baby, who snatched the other milk packet and escaped to the nearby mango tree.I guess they picked a few mangoes too on the way and made a mango milkshake 😉

Now you can understand what or who is keeping me away from my blog though my gallery is full of food pics which are asking to be posted.

Now it’s eight in the evening and there is nothing much happening around so I decided to post this recipe of Honey and Sesame chicken I made a few days back.

This dish is delicious with a little crunch coming from the sesames and the peppers.It can be eaten with rice,noodles,pasta or as a kind of gyro filling.

Honey and Sesame Chicken

Ingredients Set 1:

  • 400 g boneless chicken pieces
  • 1 tbsp. cornflour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. red chilli sauce
  • 1/2-1 tsp. paste of red chillies(optional)
  • 2 tsps. soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

Step One

  1. Marinate the chicken with all the above ingredients for at least an hour.
  2. Deep fry the chicken and place them on a kitchen paper towel to soak up the excess oil.

Ingredients Set 2:

  • 2 tsps. garlic paste
  • 4 chopped spring onion whites
  • 2 tsp. tomato ketchup
  • 2 tsp. red chilli sauce
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tsp. sesame seeds (lightly roasted if you prefer)
  • half each of red,yellow and green peppers cubed
  • 1 tbsp. oil

Step Two

  1. Place a wok on medium heat.
  2. Pour the oil in it.
  3. Put the garlic paste in the wok and saute for half a minute.
  4. Add the onions and saute further.
  5. Now add the bell peppers and keep sauteing.
  6. Add the sauces, fried chicken and honey in quick succession.
  7. Remove from heat and arrange on a platter.
  8. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve immediately.
  9. Enjoy with family and friends.

 

Jordanian Chicken with pomegranate molasses and Mujaddara-Jordanian rice with lentils

Jordan,a Hashemite kingdom on the banks of river Jordan is a country rich in cultural heritage and paleolithic remains. My son along with his work friends had a mini weekend vacation to this exotic country. They visited the ancient red city  Petra- a wonder of the world and Jordan’s most valuable treasure, the famous Dead Sea which has no life in it because of high salinity, Wadi Rum-Valley of the Moon formed of sandstone and granite,Amman-a capital city spread over 19 hills , camped in Dana-a quaint old stone village and enjoyed the local food prepared by Bedouins.

Petra-Wonder of the World
Theater at Petra
Dana village
Stone cottage at Dana
Sunset at Wadi Rum

 

Local Jordan food

Jordanian cuisine is famous for its meats,baking,grilling,olive oil ,Sumac and blend of spices like Za’atar. Mujaddara is a rice and lentil casserole garnished with caramelized onions. There are different versions of Mujaddara. The one I have tried is simple and easy to make and needless to say delicious. It can be simply eaten alone or paired with yogurt or some flavorful roasted Jordanian chicken.It makes a wonderful meal.

Jordan Roast Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken pieces( breasts and thighs)  with skin 
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme 
  • pomegranate arils for garnish
  • fresh chives/spring onions, chopped fine for garnish

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF or 180ºC
  2. Rub the chicken pieces with a mixture of salt,sumac and cardamom making sure the seasoning reaches under the skin.
  3. Heat a skillet and add olive oil in it. Place the chicken pieces with skin side down.
  4. Sear the chicken for 5 minutes on each side on medium heat.
  5. Remove chicken from the pan and keep aside.
  6. In the same pan add chicken stock,pomegranate molasses and thyme. Bring to a boil while scraping and stirring it.
  7. Let the sauce reduce to half.
  8. Now add the chicken pieces and coat them with the sauce.
  9. Put the chicken along with the sauce in an ovenproof dish/baking tray and roast for 15 minutes.
  10. Serve with the reduced sauce and garnished with pomegranate arils. Enjoy…

Mujaddara-A flavorful Jordan rice and lentil casserole

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white rice(soaked in hot water for 30 minutes)
  • 2 cups brown lentils(soaked overnight in water, drained)
  • vegetable oil
  • ½ cup vermicelli noodles (fried golden in a teaspoon of oil)
  • 1 kg  onions( thinly sliced and fried golden)

Method:

  1. Place the lentils in a cooking pot with 4 cups of water.Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the drained rice, fried vermicelli and half of the fried onions to the  lentils pot and stir. Add salt. Cover with a lid slightly ajar and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender. Check halfway through to see if you need to add more water. Remove from the heat and allow to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Place the lentil and rice mixture on a large serving platter and scatter over the remaining fried onions to serve. You can serve hot or at room temperature.
  4. You can serve it alone,with yogurt or with the Jordan roast chicken.

Recipe Courtesy: sbs.com

Enjoy this delicious platter from Jordan in the comfort of your home.

 

Strawberry and Orange Sorbet- A Royal Palate Cleanser

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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. The once princely state was a kingdom of the wealthy and powerful Qutubshahi and Asafjahi rulers. The relics of their glorious rule can still be seen all over the city.

We recently had a chance to visit the beautiful Falaknuma Palace where one of my close relatives got engaged in true royal style. Falaknuma which means ‘like the sky’ is a grand palace built by the Prime minister of Hyderabad Viqar Ul Umra between 1884 and 1893. It was built in the shape of a scorpion with two stings and is a rare  blend of Italian and Tudor architecture. The palace which was the Prime minister’s dream project was used as his private residence until in 1897,he decided to extend an invitation to the then ruler of Hyderabad, Mehboob Ali Pasha Nizam VI. The ruler liked it so much that he stayed there for almost a month. The Prime minister had to offer the palace to the ruler as a gift. But the Nizam was a grand man and he paid a huge amount for the palace and bought it.The palace remained as the private property of the Nizam family, and was opened to the public,not until 2000.

Falaknuma Palace
Falaknuma Palace

The state reception room is one of the palace highlights where the ceiling is decorated with frescoes and gilded reliefs. The ballroom contains a two-ton manually operated organ said to be the only one of its kind in the world.

State reception room

The Falaknuma Palace also has the largest collection of Venetian chandeliers, with 40 138-arm Osler chandeliers in the halls.

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The palace has a huge 108 ft long 101-seat dining hall, considered the largest in the world, and the Durbar Hall, embellished with intricately carved wooden ceilings, parquet flooring, walnut furniture and handcrafted mirrors. And the tableware was made of gold and crystal.

Dining hall

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Our dinner menu was neatly rolled up and placed on individual plates

“The library at Falaknuma Palace is as majestic as Windsor Castle’s library in England. Modeled after Windsor Castle’s library, it treasures a large collection of rare manuscripts and books from the Nizam’s repertoire. The billiards table in the billiards room is one of the two pieces of its kind. The other is at the Buckingham Palace in London.”

Library
Library

The bride and the groom arrived in royal style in a  horse drawn carriage.And when everything was so ornate and opulent,how could the food be left behind.The grandeur of the elaborate spread was borrowed from the days of the legendary Nizami feasts.The dinner   in the stunning Durbar hall bedecked with Belgian chandeliers was served with utmost care and  carried with it the sumptuousness and royal splendor of the bygone era.

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Our Dinner Menu

Our dinner menu was neatly rolled up and placed on individual plates,so that we knew what was being served and what was coming up next. If you can see on the menu there is a course named ‘Waqfa’ which means a pause or interval between something. We were served Strawberry and lemon sorbet as a palate cleanser in this course.

A palate cleanser is mainly served for the purpose of clearing the taste buds of one taste from a previous food to prepare for a new one. Sorbets are considered as the traditional palate cleansers because of their tart and clean flavors.

Strawberry and lemon sorbet served at the palace
Strawberry and lemon sorbet served at the palace

The whole experience was mesmerizing and enchanting. We felt no less than royalty.After coming back home I tried to make the Strawberry Sorbet at home which was quite close to the one we had at the palace.

My home made sorbet
My home made sorbet

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Recipe: Strawberry and Orange Sorbet

You can make it in an ice cream maker or simply freeze it in a shallow container.

Step One:

  • 900g strawberries hulled , pureed and strained
I used 2 such packs
I used 2 such packs

Step two:

  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

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Step three:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water

Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Keep stirring and cook for 5 minutes.

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Step four:

Blend the strawberry puree,orange and lemon juices with the sugar syrup. Cover and cool in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Step five:

Now either churn it in an ice cream maker or if you don’t have one, simply place it in an airtight food grade plastic container and freeze it. Stir it every hour for at least six hours for a smooth texture.

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Enjoy this delicious sorbet as a palate cleanser between different courses of a meal or simply as a dessert.

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Stuffed Tangdi Kabab

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Hello Everyone! First of all I am sorry for disappearing from the blogging world. It is three whole months.I have been super busy doing up our new place and then moving in.Everything had to be done from scratch and that took a lot of  time and patience.Those who have experienced building a home in India know exactly what I mean.Coordinating between different sets of workers,electricians,plumbers,carpenters,painters is a huge task. It is easier to buy a ready made place but we didn’t find one which suited our requirements.But all the hardwork was well worth thankfully.And well! If someone needs some construction or interior advice, I am just a blog away 😀  (I hope my absence will be excused now)

So much has happened while I was away. The world got trumped and India got demonetized. Well! Well! Now that I am back I will see what can be done.

Meanwhile just relax and enjoy this deliciously easy recipe. ‘Tangdi’ is a hindi word referring to the chicken drumstick. Tangdi kebab is a succulent appetizer quite popularly served in Indian restaurants. It is marinated and traditionally grilled in charcoal ovens. Stuffed tangdi kabab is an interesting variation of the original recipe. Moreover it can be easily made at home in a regular oven. The chicken legs are marinated,stuffed and baked in a way that they are subtly spiced but very flavorful,juicy and melt in the mouth.

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Recipe:Stuffed Tangdi Kabab

Ingredients for Marinade

  • 8 chicken drumsticks(legs)
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder*
  • 1/2 tsp. black salt (omit if unavailable)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • saffron strands soaked in a teaspoon of water/yellow food color

Step One: 

  1. Wash the drumsticks and pat dry. With a sharp knife make a horizontal slit along the bottom half close to the bone in such a way that you can open the flap for stuffing.
  2. Mix all the ingredients and marinate the chicken in them.
  3. Leave aside for half an hour.

Ingredients for stuffing

  • 200g Minced prawns OR  grated Cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
  • 2 green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. cashewnuts finely chopped(optional)
  • salt to taste

Step Two:

  1. You can choose between prawns and cottage cheese for the filling.
  2. In a mixing bowl add prawns or cottage cheese.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and mix well.
  4. Open the flap of each chicken leg and gently stuff with the mixture.
  5. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Ingredients for the coating

  • 2 tbsp. greek yogurt/hung curd
  • 4 tsp. grated cheese
  • 4 tsp. cornflour
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter

Step Three:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF or 190ºC.
  2. Mix all the coating ingredients and coat each drumstick with it.
  3. Brush a baking tray with melted butter and place all the chicken drumsticks on it.
  4. Cook on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes. Check with a skewer to see if they are done. The juices should run clear. Otherwise continue for another 10 minutes.
  5. Brush with melted butter and broil for 5-10 minutes for a beautiful  glaze.
  6. Serve hot with onion rings and a lemon wedge.
  7. Enjoy

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A Big Thankyou:

A big thank you to all my friends,readers and well wishers who enquired for me, who missed me and who kept sending me inspiring messages.

Special thanks to my sister in law who brought me a beautiful gift from Atlanta for my kitchen as an inspiration and reminder to get back to blogging.Thank you ❤   and I just can’t wait to try it.

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And I can’t forget to thank my gynaec friend who sent me a big jar of Cocoa for my baking experiments. Thanks Bil.

I have a lot to share with all of you. So please stay tuned and do keep visiting.

 

Penne Pineapple Apple Penne – PPAP Dessert

I have a Penne!

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I have a Apple!

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 Uh! Apple Penne!

I have a Penne!

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 I have a Pineapple!

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 Uh! Pineapple Penne!

I have a Penne Pineapple Apple Penne!

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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.

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Ingredients for batter:

  • 350g penne pasta
  • 6 eggs
  • 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

Method:

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.

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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.

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Bake for approximately an hour or until the crust is golden and the knife comes out clean.

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Serve warm and enjoy….

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Basbousa- Traditional Middle Eastern baked dessert andGod!I love the Sun too

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Traditional middle eastern Dessert made with semolina

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.

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                   Basbousa Recipe

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 2 cups semolina 
  • 135g sugar 
  • 2tsps. baking powder 
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut 
  • 2 eggs
  • 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

Method:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients except sugar and keep separately.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the eggs and mix well.
  4. Add the yogurt and the essence.
  5. Add the dry mixture and blend well.
  6. Butter and dust a baking dish.
  7. Pour the basbousa batter in it gently and uniformly.
  8. Keep this dish in the fridge for half an hour.
  9. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 374ºF/190ºC
  10. Boil sugar with water for approximately 10 minutes. Take off heat and add lemon juice and orange/rose water.
  11. 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.
  12. Press an almond half into each diamond piece.
  13. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
  14. After 40 minutes  put the dish under broiler if required for an additional 8 minutes to get a beautiful golden brown hue.
  15. Remove from oven and pour the sugar syrup all over the cake.
  16. Enjoy warm with a cup of tea or coffee.

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