I have resolved,

to take everything easy, speak my head and not heart whenever required, make phone calls to my friends often enough to induce earnest irritation on the receiving end, keep the house as if we are having guests the next moment, get less embarrassed thinking about the possibility of getting embarrassed, and eat more soup than anything else in this brand New Year about to begin tomorrow.

We wish you all an exciting year ahead; live your life with zest, happy 2011 everyone !

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Coconut crusted crab cakes


Cooked crab meat – 1 cup
Egg – 2
Boiled and mashed potatoes- ½ cup
Bread crumbs – 1 tbsp
Jalapeño skin chopped– 1 tbsp
Black pepper coarsely crushed -1/2 tsp
Green onion minced – 2 tbsp
Ginger minced – 1 tbsp
Garlic minced – ½ tsp
Fennel seeds crushed -1/8th tsp
Dried coconut flakes – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Oil – for frying

Mix crab meat with 1 egg and rest of the ingredients except coconut flakes and oil. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Beat one egg. Spread the coconut flakes on a plate. Form small patties with the crab meat mixture, dip it in beaten egg, and roll in dried coconut, arrange on a plate. Heat oil in a frying pan and shallow fry the patties on both sides turning after each side is done. Drain excess oil on paper towels. Serve hot with chutney mayo or a dollop of sour cream. Makes about 20 small crab cakes.
Wish you a very merry Christmas !

Merry Christmas

May the love, peace and happiness of the season be with you.

Now you know where those wrapped little boxes went,don't you ?
Let there be lights !

Christmas lights from Peacock lane,Portland Oregon.
Baking !

Our Christmas week will come to you in pictures, here is one to show how the whole house is at work to keep things going !

The baker
Season’s sweet things – “You-know-what”

Gleeful happenings are taking place on the lower quarter of our Christmas tree, ornaments are constantly switching places and ribbons seem to be perennially on the move. A pink Dora whistle and a yogurt tub lid were found spending time on the tree for a while, before getting replaced with a scrubbing pad and a piece of chalk. Altogether it looks like so much Christmas fun for someone in the house!


I purposely decided not to start off this post mentioning fruitcake; you are still here, aren’t you? People from my home state are long known to pledge their allegiance to this cake perhaps from the time when British inspired bakeries began making the cake, substituting difficult ingredients like molasses with home made caramel syrup, adding on other spice favorites like shajeera, lavishing on cashew nuts, and skimping on candied fruits for good. Every Christmas we bake some, buy some, gift some, eat even more and then start off again in our relentless pursuit for making the best fruit cake ever. The journey is on and we all know that getting there is perhaps all the fun!


My favorite fruitcake recipe still is the most viewed post in this blog, so I think it is only fair to share one more. The Rum and raisin fruit cake gets its intense flavor and melt in the mouth texture from the boiled raisin puree used in the recipe. Always make sure that you bake the cake till the cake tester comes out clean with some crumbs attached to it. Also if you are using a dark surface cake pan, cover outside with Aluminum foil to prevent over browning of the cake during the prolonged baking time.

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Rum and raisin fruitcake

Granulated sugar 1 ½ cups + ½ cup
Butter ¾ cup
Eggs 2
All purpose flour 2 ½ cups
Baking powder 2 tsp
Ground cloves ½ tsp
Ground nutmeg ¼ tsp
Ground Shajeera 1 tsp
Salt ¼ tsp
Orange extract ½ tsp
Rum ¼ cup +1/4 cup+ 2 tbsp
Raisins 2 cups + 2 cups
Chopped cashew nuts 1 cup

Raisin Puree
Cook 2 cups of raisins with 1 cup of water, and ¼ cup of Rum with occasional stirring till the raisins are very tender. Cool the mixture, blend to a fine puree adding just enough water to get the blender going if needed.

Caramel syrup
Mix ½ cup sugar with 2 tbsp water in a sauce pan, turn on the heat, and mix well till the sugar dissolves. Now stand back and wait for the sugar syrup to start caramelizing, mix with a wooden spatula till the syrup turns deep golden brown. Turn the heat to low, add ½ cup water ,increase the heat a bit with constant stirring till all sugar clumps dissolve. Cool and refrigerate up to 1 week.

Soaking fruits
Soak 2 cup raisins in ½ cup orange juice+ ½ cup water+ ¼ cup rum for 1-2 days in the refrigerator (Or microwave the mixture (without rum) for 4 minutes, add the rum and soak for 4-6 hours). Drain off the excess liquid before adding fruits to the batter.

Heat oven to 325 degree F, grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan

In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, and spices with a wire whisk.

Cream butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, add eggs, orange extract, spices, caramel syrup and continue creaming for 2 more minutes. Add the raisin puree and flour mixture alternating between the two, mixing very well after each addition. Add soaked raisins, chopped nuts and mix well with a wooden spoon. Spoon the batter (it will be very thick, you may add a couple of tablespoons of water to the batter if and only if it is needed, otherwise the fruits will sink to the bottom of the cake) into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hr and 30 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake come out clean with a few crumbs on it. Start testing after 1 hr 15 minutes. Keep the cake on a wire rack to cool down for 20 minutes. Invert the cake, brush it with 2 tbsp of rum (optional) and let the cake rest for a day before serving. Store at room temperature for up to 7 days, refrigerate for up to a month

Packed !

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Season’s sweet things – Indian spice cookies

It is the season again, my favorite of all times. As we begin December, I am not craving for sunshine or missing the crisp air of autumn, I have only Christmas in my head for now, and that is where I will stay for the rest of this year. I try to do everything early enough, so that I can kick the kitchen apron off, bunch up icing tips, tuck away rolling pins, brush all purpose flour off every surface in the house, and relax as we get close to Christmas day. That never seems to happen, I go like a spinning wheel come December, till about Christmas Eve when everything suddenly settles, and serenity comes back with such a force that I will not ever have it in any other way at any time in my life! There, I said it!

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Now I dare you all to make a batch of these cookies I loved to hate growing up. My attitude has mellowed ever since, this year I am even making some to include in the goodie basket for friends, a few of them are probably in for a surprise. Hidden behind the deceptive appearance of a crumbly butter cookie lurks an inner self perked up with some good amount of chilly powder and garam masala. A couple of bakeries in my home town used to spice these cookies up so high that your lips will burn for some good number of minutes after you ate one. When you adjust the heat level to fit your tolerance, you will see that these cookies are delectable in a different way.

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Masala/Spice Cookies

All purpose flour 3 ¾ cup
Butter 1 ¾ cup
Confectioners sugar 1 ½ cup
Cashew nuts, finely chopped 1 cup
Garam masala 1 ½ tsp
Chilly powder 2 tsp
Ginger paste 1 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp

Heat oven to 350 degreeC. Soften butter with a wooden spoon, add the rest of the ingredients and make smooth dough with the help of a wooden spoon or a hand mixer. Do not over work the dough, if it gets sticky refrigerate for 20 minutes. Make 1 inch balls of the dough and arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes or till the edges begin to brown. Immediately transfer cookies along with the parchment sheet to a wire rack. Cool, store in air tight container for up to a week.

Makes approximately 70 cookies

Optional : Decorate with edible gold dust to fit the season.

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Felt - the stuff memories are made of

Felt ornaments

To make these felt ornaments you will need

Stiff felt
Star cookie cutter
Assorted buttons
A discerning three year old to glue stuff together
The winner is ....

A BIG THANK YOU to all of you for stopping by and leaving precious comments in my previous post, I am sending you all my love and friendship. I used random line picker to pick the luckiest. The winner of the all –things-good - gift basket is ….


Dalia, please send me an email (spicyana at gmail dot com) with your postal address.

Now Christmas begins……


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