Wednesday, 3 February 2016

POMEGRANATE AND CHERRY TRIFLE

POMEGRANATE AND CHERRY TRIFLE

Happy Valentine's day !

Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life”-Leo Buscagila.

Wow. What a nice quote on love, it is true that we cannot live without love; love is as important as other basic necessities of life like-food, shelter and clothing. Am I right?


I remember, I discussed this issue of basic necessities, with my secondary school students, many times in the class room, when I was teaching economics to them. In those lessons the major point of discussion for the students was to accept love as a basic necessity or not.


In economics, there is a topic on necessities, comforts and luxuries which students have to understand with examples. In their text books it was mentioned that, in necessities, after food, shelter and clothing comes- love, affection, health, education etc. Students used to enjoy this topic, because their input was also considered a lot, in allocating different things under these three categories of necessities, comforts and luxuries. The problem, we teachers had, was that these type of topics were taking much longer than the other ones. Students were debating a lot - some would agree on accepting love, affection, health, education etc as a basic necessity, while others would disagree.


You know, teaching secondary school students on one side is a challenge, but on the other side is a lot fun and enjoyment. If a teacher is confident on the topic, what she/he is teaching in a class, then there is no problem, she/he can really enjoy teaching it. Secondary school students like to challenge teachers a lot, for them it is fun, but as a teacher we should be patient enough to answer them and our duty is to satisfy their questions. I personally think that when an effort is made to answer and convince them to the fullest, they develop respect and admiration towards us as a teacher.


I have really enjoyed this profession and my long years of teaching in a secondary school. I think teaching is a noble profession, where we teachers get a lot of respect and love from our clients (students), as compared to other professions.


Coming to the recipe, this trifle, I made for a friend of mine who was visiting me, last Saturday evening. She informed me about her visit only one day before, and by chance Saturday was also her birthday. On that morning, I went to the nearby shops to get madeira cake, I could not get it, I tried in three shops, then I gave up. I had no choice but to buy the soft cake, that is the reason cake is not visible in the serving glass. I enjoy madeira cake in trifle because when we eat, we can enjoy a bite of the cake but if the cake is too soft or spongy you do not really enjoy that bite of the cake.

In this recipe I did not use any custard, and wanted to make it fruitier. I had some frozen cherries with me, which I used to give a layer after the cake.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 grams fresh/whipping cream
  • 100 grams icing sugar
  • 500 grams cherries, some more for garnishing
  • 1 small madeira cake or any plain cake ( I used eggless cake)
  • 1 packet of vegetarian pomegranate jelly
  • 50 grams walnuts
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils

METHOD
  • Read the instructions on the packet and make jelly and put it in the fridge before hand.
  • Mix sugar in cream and whip it for 5 minutes.
  • Thaw cherries and make puree in a food processor.
  • Slice cake thinly.
  • Start layering all items in serving glasses, start with the first layer of cake.
  • Then next layer is cherry puree, then cream on top of it.
  • Next is the layer of jelly, top is the thin layer of cream.
  • Decorate it with pomegranate arils, some cherries and walnuts.
  • Serve cold as a dessert.


This can be made few hours in advance and can be kept in a fridge. 6 glasses can be made as shown in the pics above.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

SPINACH BALLS IN TOMATO CURRY

SPINACH BALLS IN TOMATO CURRY

#Edited:- This recipe was featured as the best recipe on Real Food Friday blog hop, check here.

PALAK KOFTA CURRY


 

Three years ago, when I went to Vancouver during the summer holidays, I saw a bird show, that was named “birds of prey in action”, on the hill top of Grouse Mountain. It was really an amazing show; birds flew meters into the sky, and dived back within a few minutes to take a bite of meat from the girl who was performing this show. Different types of birds were there- owls, falcons, hawks and eagles.



 Those birds were trained for that demonstration, and it seems the birds were enjoying the show as much as we were enjoying. I was amazed to see that show and thought how much patience and time those trainers might have devoted to train those birds. Then I came to the conclusion that nothing is impossible in this world, anything can be done with time and dedication.



I enjoyed that trip so much, and want to go and see it again. I am also sharing some pics below, of this show, which were taken by my son-in-low who is a photographer. This is the most popular summer programme on that mountain which is viewed by hundreds of people every day during the summer months.




In the evening when we reached our hotel room, my grandson who was seven years old, explained me about the birds, which he had learnt in his school. He told me how thousands of birds migrate from Canada in winter to warmer countries, they fly and travel kilometers and kilometers to settle in a new place, and when summer returns to Canada, they travel back. I enjoyed his lesson fully and was pleased to see/know his knowledge about birds and in general about Canada as well. This lesson and explanation from him was not new to me, this is a normal routine for me. Whenever he comes back from school, with all his enthusiasm and excitement, he will start like this, “Do you know, grandma? ….”- and the whole lesson will continue on with whatever his teacher taught him that particular day in class. This is a lot of fun and a memorable moment to enjoy, for a proud grandma like me.



Coming to the recipe, I tasted spinach balls in tomato gravy, in a restaurant in Vancouver and really enjoyed it. When I reached home, I tried the same recipe, based on the taste and look of that particular dish, it came out very nice. I was glad to have another recipe of spinach, as it is green and a healthy vegetable. In this recipe I have used a small pack of frozen spinach, because in this recipe it is easier and faster compared to the fresh one.




RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • I packet of frozen spinach (400 grams)
  • 3 tbs chickpeas flour
  • 1 big onion (200 grams)
  • 2 big tomatoes (400 grams)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • small piece of ginger
  • Salt and red pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbs oil and some oil for frying the balls

METHOD
  • Thaw the frozen spinach and remove all the water, then slice it again to make sure there is no whole leaf of spinach left.
  • Dry roast the chickpeas flour in a fry pan on low heat, once it is changing the colour to a few shades darker, remove from gas and leave it to cool.
  • When cool, add chickpeas flour into spinach with little salt and pepper and make small balls, and fry them on medium heat. Once they turn into light brown golden colour, take them out and drain on kitchen towel.
  • For curry, roughly chop ginger, garlic, onion and tomatoes,
  • Heat 2 tbs oil in a sauce pan and add cumin seeds, when seeds are changing the color, add ginger, garlic, onion and saute till light brown, add tomatoes and saute for another five minutes. Add all other spices and leave it to cool.
  • When this mixture is cold, make a puree in a blender, with 1/2 cup of water.
  • Boil again in a sauce pan; when boiling, add the spinach balls, leave it on slow heat for 5 more minutes.
  • Serve hot with roti, naan, rice or dinner bun.





Tuesday, 12 January 2016

INSTANT NAAN

INSTANT NAAN

Indian flat bread


I got my first cookery book, as a gift, by one of my colleagues in 1995, which was written by Madhur Jaffrey. I made many dishes using the recipes from her book and everybody in the family has enjoyed them. Some of the recipes were totally new to me where I had to start from scratch. However her instructions in the book were so easy to follow and the measurements given in that book were so accurate that even an unacquainted person can easily follow them and can cook. I remember once I made coconut chutney using her recipe, then my husband said, “Let me call Madhur Jaffrey and tell her that my wife can cook exactly like you”. That was a big compliment for me.


A few weeks ago, I was amazed to see in the news that Madhur Jaffrey was publishing her 30th cookery book, I could not believe it. Now she is 82 years old, she is an internationally known authority on Indian and vegetarian cooking and a big inspiration to many like me. She is recognised for bringing Indian cuisine to the western world with her first book, which was published in 1973 as “An invitation to Indian cooking”. I was astonished to see how this lady has written so many books in the last six decades and inspired the world with the knowledge of the Indian cuisine.


While I was writing this post, I came across another clip of her in the news on 9th December 2015, when she was interviewed by Chris Caldicott of Telegraph.co.uk. My eyes wanted to get the glimpse of that headline, and it read- “No restaurant can ever compete with home cooked Indian food”. I searched on Google, and then read the whole interview.


Through this post, I would like to pay my personal tribute to herself and her reputation in Indian cooking/book writing and want to salute her for the commendable job she did in the field of cookery and book writing from last 50 or more years.


Only because of personalities like Madhur Jaffrey, people in the world today have the knowledge about Indian cuisine. Even before Google came into our life, these were the people spreading the knowledge of Indian cuisine to the world through their writings.


Coming to the recipe, naan is a world famous Indian flat bread, which is served in many Indian and non-Indian restaurants around the world. People really admire this Indian flat bread with both vegetarian and non-veg curries and stews of different types.



I have already posted Stuffed Tandoori Naan on my blog, that was the traditional recipe. This one is an instant one, which can be made in an hour or two depending upon the fermentation of the dough, and off-course is the recipe of Madhur Jaffrey.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 and ½ cups all-purpose flour (500 grams)
  • 1 tsp instant yeast *
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • butter to garnish the naan
  • 1 tbs oil for glazing the dough
* Check instructions on the yeast packet, you might need more.

METHOD


  • Mix instant yeast in half cup warm water, mix it and leave it to froth.
  • Take flour in a big bowl, mix water with yeast and make a medium-hard dough by adding more water.
  • Glaze with oil, cover it with cling film and leave it aside in a warm area to ferment, it may take 1-2 hours, depending on the temperature of the room.
  • Once the dough is fermented, make small balls.
  • Heat the grill /broiler on 200 degree C
  • Flatten the ball with the help of your palms and roll it, giving round shape around 5 inches diameter.
  • Heat a fry pan on the stove.
  • Roast one side of the naan over fry pan, once slightly roasted transfer it into oven in a flat tray.
  • Roast till golden brown on both sides, garnish with butter and serve hot, it may take 5-10 minutes.
  • Around 20 naans can be made, depending on the size.