In a vase full of roses, a garden ! On a plate full of dainty cakes, a tea party !

Cardamom sponge mini cakes

All purpose flour - 1 1/4 cups

Granulated sugar - ½ cup + ¼ cup

Baking powder - ½ tbsp

Salt - ½ tsp

Melted butter -¼ cup

Softened butter - ¼ cup to butter the pans

Egg yolks -4

Cardamom powder - 1 tsp

Vanilla extract - ½ tsp

Water - ⅓ cup

Egg whites - 4

Cream of tartar - ¼ tsp

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, butter 24 mini muffin or tartlette pans . Mix flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add,melted butter, egg yolks,cardamom powder, vanilla extract and water to the flour mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon till no lump remains. Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar in a bowl until it foams. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat till soft peaks form. Add the whipped whites into the flour mixture in 3 batches, gently folding in each time with a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared molds up to 2/3rd full. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, Inser a tooth pick to the center of the cake to see if it is done. The toothpick should come out clean with a couple of crumbs attached. Unmold after 5 minutes.

These cardamom flavored, mildly sweet sponge cakes are best friends with cups of tea :)

Ice cream !

Some days you have to have a scoop of chocolate ice cream, some other days you have to have many :)
No churn, dairy free, banana chocolate ice cream

Ripe/overripe bananas peeled, cut into ½ inch pieces -2
Unsweetened cocoa powder - ¼ cup
Instant coffee granules ( optional) - ¼ tsp
Freeze the banana pieces for at least 2-3 hours or overnight or many days :) On the day that you are making the ice cream, take the frozen banana pieces and blend together with the cocoa powder and coffee granules till the mixture is soft and creamy. You will notice at first that the banana pieces break down into small rice like bits, at this point add 1-2 tbsp. water to keep the blades running. Serve immediately as a soft serve ice cream or freeze at least 1 hr. to serve as scoops. If you want the ice cream to be sweeter, add honey or some sugar syrup instead of water while blending

remembering a meal

Cashew-Almond bars


Cashews - 1 cup

Almonds - 1 cup

Whole pitted dates - 3/4 cup

Cardamom powder ( optional) - ¼ tsp

Dried ginger powder ( optional) - ¼ tsp

Heat a thick bottomed pan, dry roast almonds and cashews just until the cashews turn pale golden brown. Turn off the heat, quickly transfer the toasted nuts to a baking sheet, allow it to cool down completely. In a food processor, grind the toasted nuts to a coarse mixture. Take out ½ cup of the ground mixture. Pulse the remaining nuts in the food processor to a fine powder, add dates and spice powder and pulse again till everything comes together. Add the reserved coarsely ground nut mixture back, pulse to combine. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread the nut- dates mixture to about ½ inch thickness, using hands to press it down. Overlay with another parchment sheet and run a rolling pin over to smoothen the surface. Keep it in the freezer for 30 min. Cut into desired shapes, return into freezer for another 30 minutes. Separate the bars and store it in a container in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

A simple vegetable curry


Mixed vegetable curry


Clean and cut vegetables into small bite sized cubes and measure

Carrot - 1 cup

Potatoes - 1 cup

Beetroot - 1 cup

Cauliflower - 1 cup

Green peas or Garbanzo beans cooked - 1 cup

Tomato chopped - ¼ cup

Finely chopped onion -1 cup

Ginger minced - 2 tbsp

garlic minced - 3 tbsp

Green chillies minced - 1 ½ tbsp

Curry leaves - 10 nos

Oil - 2 tbsp.

Rice powder - 2 tbsp

Cumin - ¼ tsp

Clove powder - ¼ tsp

Cinnamon powder - ¼ tsp

Turmeric - ½ tsp

Crushed black pepper - ½ tsp

Salt - to taste

Heat oil in a pan, add cumin, ginger, garlic, onion, curry leaves and green chillies and some salt. Saute until the onion pieces are tender. Add all the spice powders and stir well. Add the vegetables and saute for about 5 minutes or till the pieces begin to brown. Now sprinkle the rice powder and saute for one more minute. Add 2 cups of water and the chopped tomatoes and cook covered for about 5 minutes at high heat, till the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Turn off the heat, add the cooked peas/beans. Sprinkle with black pepper, keep covered for a couple of minutes before serving with any Indian style flatbread.

Mango papaya salad

Here is some proof for a certain clean eating habit someone was trying out for a couple of days :)

Mango papaya salad


Grated semi -ripe mango - 1 cup

Grated papaya - 1 ½ cup

Thinly sliced shallot - 1 tbsp

Lemon juice - 1 tbsp

Minced green chillies - ¼ tsp or less

Crushed cumin - ¼ tsp

Olive oil - 2 tbsp

Salt - to taste

In a bowl mix grated mango and papya, sprinkle with salt,toss and keep aside. In another bowl whisk lemon juice, olive oil, shallots, green chilies and cumin together for 2 minutes. Pour over the grated vegetables, toss and serve.


Fish !

Have you ever had rice served with three kinds of fish curries, two types of fish fries and no less than two other varieties of fish preparations accompanying it ? If you have not, you must time travel to Arthinkal of some 20 years ago. That is what we served to the people we absolutely loved, when they came visiting, in that quaint coastal village, back in the days, etc etc :)

A simple fish curry


Fish, cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch pieces- 2 lbs.

Onion - thinly sliced - 1 ½ cups

Ginger minced - 4 tbsp.

Garlic minced - 2 tbsp.

Curry leaves - 15 nos

Fenugreek - 3/4 tsp.

Green chilies chopped - 1 tbsp. or more if you are using paprika

Kudam puli - 5 nos

Coconut milk - 1 ½ cup

Coconut oil - 2 tbsp.

Salt - to taste

Kashmiri chilly powder or Paprika - 2 1/2 tbsp.

Turmeric - 1tsp

Dry roast fenugreek seeds, grind to a fine powder, keep aside. Soak Kudampuli in water. In a wok, heat oil, add onion and curry leaves, sauté till the pieces are translucent. Add salt, continue to sauté until the onion slices are golden brown. Add ginger, garlic, green chilies, curry leaves and sauté till tender. Add turmeric, stir well. Add the coconut milk and keep sautéing till coconut milk almost completely dries up ( This is the most important step, make sure to stir well  until coconut milk dries up, but be careful not to burn it. At this point you will see oil separating).Add 3 cups of water, chilly powder/paprika and soaked kudampuli to the cooked coconut mixture, mix well. Heat till the gravy starts to boil. Add the fish pieces, cook covered in medium heat for 10 more minutes. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle with the fenugreek powder. Cover with the lid again and leave it covered for at least 1 hr. before serving


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