Panna cotta is an Italian dessert mainly made with cream, egg yolk, honey. When blended together and baked in a bain marie…this cooked cream is what one gets. However, there are alternative recipes suggesting using gelatine to set the panna cotta. What I made today followed the alternative technique of creating the dessert rather than the original way. Here is a different way of presenting our traditional kheer(milk pudding) in a panna cotta way !
Ragira ladu and vadi is one of my favourites when it comes to food we have for fasting. I had half a pack of rajgira in my store. I referred Ruchira by Kamalabai Ogale last week to use it up for Maha Shivratri. Just then my N mavshi(maternal aunty) shared her recipe of Rajgira kheer too. It is the same as Kamalabai Ogale suggests in her book. Just that mavshi asked me to cook rajgira in the pressure cooker by tying it in a cloth. I knew I would definitely love this kheer once I decided to make it. When I am hooked on to a recipe, I cook the food twice before it actually gets cooked. First when I read or hear the recipe, next when I start thinking about the flavours and then finally when it actually gets cooked. Happiness is when I hear from everyone that it is just perfect!
My recent experiance on social media fits in so well with the quote-“Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood. Whether it was our mom’s homemade lasagna or a memorable chocolate birthday cake, food has a way of transporting us back to the past.” Well in any Indian family it could be a homemade dal or a memorable halwa. Food finally is a tradition that is about sharing, honesty and identity. We recently established a group on watsapp with my near and dear ones. The group is for sharing our treasured and shared recipe in the family. I started asking my sister, sister-in-law, cousins, mother, aunts and even brothers-in-law. It is just a week gone and we are almost 25 members strong. I am glad this group is giving a productive end in everyone’s kitchen ..well at least it is in my kitchen. I am quite enjoying the time sharing and going through everyone’s recipes. Frankly this is such a better way of using watsapp than forwarding jokes and mocking others.
Recently the weather has been extremely chilly and all I hear at work and home is cough-cough and cough. The weather is taking the toll on everybody’s health. I would prefer the snow regularly than this biting cold weather. Every morning I don atleast 3-4 layers and a huge coat on me! The boots, gloves, hat and scarf make me look absolutely like woollen ball! I just can not wait until the summer…looking forward to some salwar kurtas’, chappals, fresh fruits, juices, salads, ice creams and barbeques!! Oh! for the sunshine, warmth and the summer season!!
This morning I baked a fresh cream cake for a friend’s daughter who is celebrating her birthday with her school friends. She insisted on pink colour and here I added a tiny tinge of red food colouring to the fresh cream to get the pink she wanted.
I am sure I have mentioned in my last post that plain flours are finding no place in my pantry these days. I absolutely refrain from buying them and choose either my regular atta or other alternatives in my cooking and baking. It took me by a shock when once visiting a lake, I read a board which had the warnings about feeding the ducks and swans around the place. They strictly prohibited visitors from feeding the birds with white bread. If the birds are not allowed white bread in their diets why in the world do we eat it?
I started reading about the flours and that is when it occurred to me that I was actually possibly making incorrect choices in my pantry. Reading various facts on internet I realised there were more health risks of eating them..the fact that the white flour is bleached scares me. If it can spike up our sugar levels, imagine what a piece of cake would do with all the flour and sugar added to it and topped with icing! Further the reason that the fibre is deleted from it makes it absolutely useless in our food. No these facts are all that I have read and not which I claim. But I care for my family as all mums do. One reason for anything proving as a health risk is good enough for me to refrain from white flour.
These days I have given up the plain flour I used to bake earlier. I prefer using wheat flour or atta to the most. The recent weather conditions and the stress we have gone through has definitely made us more resilient mentally and physically. I would like my family to stay healthy and avoid crumbling under any pressure. This morning I wished to make gajar ka halwa. I am a dessert person and love all kinds of puddings. However, my men prefer to eat puddings on the lesser sweet side. I wanted them to enjoy the pudding as much as I did. Recently, I had an apple crumble at a friends place. Both P and R had it without much of a fuss. I could give it a go to see if they really like eating warm gajar halwa in crumble form. Absolutely healthy pudding to relish during winters.
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Here is a cake which my mother baked for our anniversary last month. Yes, my parents were here with us for a visit. A visit I wished to cherish both for us and them. They arrived in October, when we were at the tail end of our concert rehearsals. Post the concert, I was looking forward to share the winter time with both aai-baba. A time span, from the month of October till mid January, would have given me quite a nice time with them to create memories which I could cherish always. However, there were other things planned for all of us. Of all the things I experianced during their stay, I would like to remember this carrot cake :)
When I was a kid, aai baked a lot. With time and other commitments lined up, she opted for other things. Baking took a back-seat for her. On our anniversary, she asked me to help her don her baking apron on again. I happily decided to guide her and made up my mind to give her all the support and motivation she needed to bring back baking into her life during her stay with us. However, this was the only cake she could bake with me and my wish to train her…. still is a dream. I hope someday, we manage to steal some time together and play together with our baking tools.
2 cups of flour sifted with 1 tsp of baking powder and 1.5 tsp of baking soda
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of sugar(you may add half a cup more if you like it more sweet)
2 cups of grated carrots
1.5 tsp of mixed spices or just cinnamon if you prefer that alone
Aai added chopped nuts and raisins too….this is optional
For the Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup of cream cheese
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup of icing sugar
Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Aai preferred beating and folding manually. She used a wooden spatula instead of my electric cake mixer. She whipped the eggs till they were frothy. To this, she added the sugar and beat constantly till a consistent mix was ready. To this, she added the oil, a tablespoon at a time and mixed again with a constant speed. This was followed by the sifted flour in portions and folded. Finally the grated carrots, nuts, raisins and the vanilla extract made their way into the bowl to be folded into the batter.
Pour this batter into a pre-greased cake tin and bake for till done. My oven needed 50 mins to bake completely. Cool the cake and free from the tin. Cut the cake into two slices.
For the frosting: Mix the butter, cream cheese, sugar and the extract. Use this mix as a frosting between the sandwich and top it on top as well.
I had candied carrots ready for the cake and they dotted the cake beautifully. To make these all one needs to do it cook the couple of tablespoons grated carrots in quarter cup of sugar mixed with a tablespoon of water. When softened, bring the carrots out and sprinkle soft sugar on it. Place in an air tight jar for later use.