Weekend cake peek
Fondant ribbon roses

Cake covered with marshmallow fondant, topped with M fondant roses,leaves, and beads. M fondant irregular pearl border.
Shahi tukde, my way
For JFI- Diwali treats at Vee’s place
and for VCC Q3 at My Dhaba

Sometimes a single problem might result in many interesting solutions, when mankind looked at a stale leftover piece of bread as a problem; many solutions sprang up all over the world as bread puddings of all different sorts. There is of course the English bread pudding, which eventually became universal in appearance , bodding ( what a lovely name !) which is Belgian, and along with many other forms of this pudding there is the Indian version called Shahi tukde (Shahi tukre). “Shahi” is a splendid word, and when you see it as a prefix to the name of a dish, expect a royal treat. Rich creamy gravies, captivatingly perfumed rice preparations, sumptuous desserts topped with edible silver foil (varq), “shahi” is a word to look for in an Indian restaurant menu. .You can find an authentic version of this fantabulous dessert here. The recipe I used is slightly different, and rich in pistachios and cashew nuts. Being a lesser mortal, I do not generally stock up silver leaves; wish I had some to decorate this dessert!
Wish you a very happy Diwali

White bread pieces – 15 (~ 5cm x 5cm)
Evaporated milk – 11/2 cup
Shelled, skinned – 2 tbsp
Crushed – 3 tbsp
Cashew nuts – ½ cup
Milk – 2 1/2 cups
Fresh cream – 2 tsp
Cardamom – crushed 3 pods
Rose water – ¼ tsp
Ghee or oil – for shallow frying bread pieces.
Sugar – 1 cup + 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
Water – 1 cup

Soak Pistachios and cashew nuts in 1 cup of milk for 1-2 hrs. Mix sugar and water, boil till a thick syrup forms. Add rose water and keep. Shallow fry bread slices till the edges are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. To the soaked nuts, add 1 cup of milk and grind to a fine paste in a blender. Add ½ cup of evaporated milk and 2 tbsp sugar to the mixture. Cook in a thick bottomed pan with constant stirring till the mixture thickens (takes 5-8 minutes). Add crushed cardamom, cool. In a bowl mix 1 cup evaporated milk,1/2 cup fresh cream ,1 tsp sugar and 1 crushed pod of cardamom Dip bread slices in sugar syrup quickly and arrange 5 pieces on a plate , top with the nuts+ milk mixture ( use a pastry bag so that you can easily pipe a blob on to the bread piece). Cover with bread and repeat layering till you get 5 neat stacks of 3 bread pieces each with the milk mixture in between. Drizzle the cream + milk mixture on top and decorate with crushed nut mixture. The above directions are for individual plating of this dessert, can be arranged in a baking dish as a single layer of bread pieces and milk mixture. Chill and serve
Weekend cake peek

Grow your own icing grass - using icing tip # 233
“Meen Pollichatu”
Fish in banana leaves – Kerala style

Certain recipes are all about assembling the right ingredients together, "Meen pollichatu" a signature fish preparation of the central coastal region of Kerala is one good example of this class. In the original recipe a fresh water fish called Pearl spot ( Karimeen) is slow cooked with a limited number of spices in a pan lined with banana leaves, and the preparation is finished off with a fine drizzling of freshly squeezed coconut milk. Like many other dishes, this one also tastes best when all ingredients are fresh, but as long as you manage to gather all the required components together, a “close to original” taste is assured. With the advent of backwater tourism in Alappuzha and Kottayam, this fish curry now occupies a cardinal spot in the houseboat dinner menus. If you happen to cruise along the splendid backwaters of central Kerala, in a gorgeous houseboat like this, do request your chef on board (yes, most probably you will have one), to make a “Meen pollichathu” with a fresh catch of pearl spots.

Fish, cleaned - 1 lb (preferably whole)
Shallots - ¼ cup
Garlic - 2 tsp
Ginger - 2 tsp
Chilly powder - 1 ½ tbsp
Curry leaves - 10
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Coconut milk - ½ cup
Coconut Vinegar (optional) - 1 tsp
Banana leaves - to line the pan
Salt - ¼ tsp or to taste

Heat 1 tsp coconut oil, sauté shallots, garlic and ginger for two minutes; add two curry leaves and turn of the heat. Grind the sautéed mixture with chilly powder, 1 tsp coconut oil, salt and 1 tsp vinegar. Make deep cuts on both sides of the fish. Marinate fish in ground spice mixture for 1- 2 hours. Line a thick bottomed pan with banana leaves, arrange fish on top of the leaves. Slightly crush the remaining curry leaves and mix with 1 tsp coconut oil, spread over the fish, sprinkle with the remaining marinade. Cover with banana leaves, close with lid. Cook in medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Remove the lid, sprinkle coconut milk (and optionally add ¼ cup of finely chopped tomatoes), increase the heat and cook till gravy is thick and coats the fish.

Baked version
Line a baking dish with foil and then line with banana leaves. Arrange the marinated fish topped with the rest of the ingredients and layer two pieces of banana leaves on top. Cover the baking dish with foil, poke holes on the foil to let the steam out. Bake at 300 degree F for 20 minutes. Remove the foil cover and leaf strips, sprinkle coconut milk and bake it at 350 degree for 10 more minutes or till gravy thickens.


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