Throwback Swieback !

I am unearthing piles of pictures of food from days past ,it confirms my hazy memory of running for my camera soon as I finish cooking anything reasonably accountable. These rusks in the pictures here for example were made for my daughter when she was teething, and that was about six years ago. Now we are more excited when one of those precious milk teeth wiggles. The rusk did not help much with the process back then though, the child managed to teeth by biting on the headboard of our then brand new bed ! Now when I see those marks I can only smile, it takes a couple of years to attain that level of composure sweet people :)

This rusk recipe is adapted from a Zwieback recipe from King Arthur flour’s website, tweaked  to get the Indian style rusk, tea’s best friend. My childhood breakfast, lunch and dinner whenever I spiked a fever, like it was for many other kids of that time. Indian style rusk is usually spiced with Caraway seeds or Ajwain seeds or a combination of both.


Indian Tea Rusk


All purpose flour - 2 cups

Sugar- 4 tbsp.

Yeast - 1 ½ tsp.

Salt -½ tsp.

Shajeera ( Caraway seeds) ground - ¼ tsp.

Ajwain seeds ground- ¼ tsp.

Butter softened - 3 tbsp.

Egg - 1

Milk - ½ cup

Raisins ( optional) - ¼ cup

Mix all ingredients and make a soft and sticky dough, adding enough water if needed. Keep in a warm place for 1½ - 2 hours or till the dough doubles in size. Shape the dough into a 12 inch log, longer if you would like smaller rusks. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for another one and half hour. Towards the end of this rising time, preheat the oven to 350 C. Bake for 20 minutes , take the loaf out of the oven and leave it on the kitchen countertop loosely covered with an Aluminum foil till the next day. Heat the oven to 200 C. Slice the bread into half an inch thick pieces and arrange the cut slices on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the rusk pieces over and bake for 10 more minutes. Turn the oven off. Leave the rusks inside the oven for 20 more minutes. Take it out and cool in the countertop for at least three hours. The recipe yields about two dozen rusks. Serve with black tea


Less is more

One of these days I will stare at a potato for a couple of minutes hoping for an amazing dish to happen ! My love for fewer ingredients in a recipe is growing by leaps and bounds. Here is a new favorite.

Lemon Chilly Prawns

Prawns - Tail on and cleaned or cleaned and unpeeled - 1 lb

Kashmiri chilly powder - 2 tbsp

Sugar - 1 tbsp

Lemon - 1

Coconut oil - ¼ cup

Salt - to taste

Keep the prawns in a bowl, sprinkle the chilly powder and salt, squeeze half of the lemon on top, toss well to combine. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Heat oil in a wok, add the sugar and stir well till the sugar is deep golden brown. Add the marinated prawns,stir fry at high heat for 3 minutes. Now turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, gently tossing every two minutes or so, do not cover the wok. Squeeze the remaining half of the lemon over the prawns and stir fry at high heat for 2 minutes until the prawns are dry and coated with the spices. Turn off the heat, keep in the wok covered for 5 more minutes before serving


"മനസ്സിലുണ്ടാവട്ടെ ഗ്രാമത്തിൻ വെളിച്ചവും
മണവും മമതയും, ഇത്തിരി  കൊന്നപ്പൂവും"
എല്ലാവർക്കും  സ്നേഹം നിറഞ്ഞ വിഷു ആശംസകൾ !
Golden chain tree (Laburnum Alpinum) in bloom close to where I work

Sunny side up

We did not use a single egg for making this sweet tart, I promise. Even if we wanted to, there was no choice other than hopping off to the grocer’s to grab some eggs. We ran out of eggs you see, painting them away on Easter day ! So we give you this Peach Mascarpone tart, a recipe inspired purely by what was left over.

Mascarpone peach tart


Ready to use frozen puff pastry sheet (10”x15”)  - 1
Jam - 4 tbsp
Yellow or white cake crumbs - 2 1/2 cups
Mascarpone cheese/or cream cheese - 1 cup
Confectioners sugar - ¼ cup
Rum flavoring - 1 tsp
Corn starch - 2 tbsp
Milk - 2 cup
granulated sugar -1/2 cup
Gelatin - 1 ½ tbsp
Canned peaches or apricots in syrup - 8-10 halves

Thaw puff pastry, leaving a half an inch border on all sides prick or score with a knife.The unscored part will serve as an edge for the tart  when the pastry is fully baked. Heat oven to 400C. Bake the puff pastry on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry turns golden. Cool. Microwave jam for 1 minute. Spread it evenly over the puff pastry, refrigerate for 15 minutes. While the pastry base is getting cooled, whisk  the cheese with confectioners sugar and rum flavoring, till the mixture is smooth. After the cheese mixture is ready, add the cake crumbs in 4 batches, gently mixing with a fork. Spread this mixture over the cooled puff pastry base evenly and smoothen out the top with an offset spatula. Drain the peach slices, and tap it try on paper towels. Arrange the peach halves on the pastry base with some space in between. Refrigerate 10 minutes.

Warm the milk with granulated sugar, add ½ tbsp gelatin, whisk to combine. Make a paste of cornstarch and ¼ cup water, add it to the warm milk with constant whisking, keep whisking till the mixtures thickens. The mixture needs to be of pourable consistency. Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl with a beak to help with pouring. Keep whisking for 3 more minutes. Pour this over the prepared tart in such a way that it spreads around the peach halves.

Mix 1 tbsp gelatin with 4 tbsp water. Melt the gelatin completely by microwaving for a minute. Mix very well to make sure there are no lumps and the mixture is clear. Using a pastry brush, gently apply the gelatin mixture over the peach slices.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving


Happy Easter !

Sending you all much love and rolling these watercolor painted eggs your way. We had great fun working on this very cool Easter egg project, all you need is a set of watercolors and some blown eggs.

Lupines ? May be !

Ranunculus or rose, do we really care ?

Pink and purple flowers of some kind

And now perched neatly on top of Sarah's well used egg cup is the egg that she painted.

Have a fantastic day !

Currying a fruit !

We loved our mangoes so much

that we stoned them off the trees !

When we saw that they aren't rightly sweet

we stewed them in haste !I!

Around this time of the year in Kerala, when the ripe mangoes are plenty at the local markets and cluster in abundance on the mango trees left to be, we curry the fruit in many ways. The most popular is “Mampazha pulissery”- mangoes in yogurt sauce. There are also other ways of tackling the fruit curry wise ,here is one, ripe mangos in a roasted coconut sauce - “Thenga varutharacha pazhamanga curry”.

Ripe mangoes in a roasted coconut sauce

Thenga varutharacha pazhamanga curry


Semi ripe Mangoes - 2

Grated coconut - 1 cup

Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp.

Chopped green chilies - 1/2 tsp.

Turmeric - ½ tsp. + ½ tsp.

Curry leaves - 10

Coconut oil - 1 tbsp.

Dried red chili flakes - ½ tsp.

Salt - ½ tsp.

Cut mangoes into 10-12 pieces without peeling. In a pan dry roast the coconut at medium heat with constant stirring till the color turns pale golden. Add coriander seeds, 3 curry leaves and ½ tsp. turmeric. Roast at low heat till the mixture turns golden brown, Turn of the heat, immediately transfer the mixture to another bowl and cool down. Grind the roasted coconut adding just enough water to a fine paste, keep aside. In a saucepan, toss together the mango pieces, ½ tsp. turmeric, green chilies and salt. Add 1 ½ cup water and ½ tsp. salt. Cook in medium heat till the water begins to boil. Cover with the pan with a lid, turn the heat to low and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove the lid, add the coconut paste, mix well and cook for 5 more minutes at medium heat . Turn off the heat. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot add mustard seeds, wait till it finish spluttering. Turn the heat to low, add the curry leaves and fry for 30 sec. Turn off the heat, add the chilly flakes. Quickly pour this seasoning over the mango curry, mix gently with a spoon. Keep the curry covered for at least 20 minutes before serving with rice.


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