Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cinnamon Toasted Panettone and Persimmon Mini Trifles

Toasted Pannetone and Persimmon trifles-4

These super easy trifles combine the 2 of my new found love. Panettone and Persimmon. I've had Panettone many times before, but I wasn't too keen on it .... until this year. I've gobbled up copious amount of panettone this month. I have no idea why. But it just tastes delicious this year. May be I have developed a taste for it now.

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My favourite part is biting into the candied citrus peels and raisins.

I've discovered Persimmons only after coming to Europe and have always loved them since. My son calls it “Mango's cousin” and enjoys it as much as I do.

The idea of these trifles took root in my mind one day and all I had to make was custard and assemble them. They can be put together in a few minutes.Cinnamon adds a nice touch. This dessert can be served warm or chilled.


Cinnamon Toasted Panettone and Persimmon Mini Trifles

Yield – 2 to 3

Ingredients -

2-3 Persimmons cut into cubes, chilled or at room temperature
4-5 large Panettone slices
Butter to toast the panettone slices
vanilla custard (store bought or make your own. See notes)
2-3 tbsp whipped cream or crème fraiche
1-2 tsp cinnamon powder
a few pistachios

Method -

Butter the panettone slices, sprinkle some cinnamon on both sides and toast the slices on a hot griddle or toaster until they are slightly brown.
Cut the slices into cubes/squares.
Assemble the trifles. First a layer of pannetone pieces. Then spoon some custard. Next a layer of persimmon cubes. Top with more pannetone and finish off with whipped cream. Garnish with a pistachios and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon.

Notes –

I prepared the egg free custard using custard powder(I used Birds custard powder), sugar and milk. You could also use a pudding mix or store bought ready custard. Chill/warm the custard as you would like to have it.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Potato and Coconut soup with Coriander Cashew Pesto

With temperatures hitting subzero, a bowl of soup is a treat these days.
But we enjoy our soup all year round. Usually Sunday nights are soup nights. Sunday lunch is quite elaborate and traditional and we prefer something light for dinner. A bowl of soup accompanied with homemade bread or salad makes a hearty comforting meal. I simply love that combination.

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I have happily swapped by evening tea for soup many a times. It was also my favourite snack for those sudden bouts of hunger during my pregnancies.

This soup doesn't need a long list of ingredients. Just some pantry basics. 
It is also a great way to use up leftover boiled or mashed potatoes. The soup could of course be had sans the pesto. But the pesto complements the creamy soup well and adds loads of flavour. So I highly recommend it

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Potato coconut soup-2

Potato and Coconut Soup with Coriander Cashew pesto

Serves 2-3

Ingredients -

3-4 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed
half cup coconut milk + a few tsps extra for garnish
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup vegetable stock/water
1 packed cup of coriander leaves, stalk and all
handful of cashew nuts
2 tsp olive oil + extra for garnish
1-2 green chilli
chilli flakes for garnish

Method -

Prepare the pesto
Grinder coriander, cashew, 1 tsp oil and green chilli until a slightly coarse paste forms.

Make the soup
Heat 1 tsp oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions until transparent.
Add garlic, potatoes, vegetable stock, salt and bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Puree with a hand mixer or blender and return to saucepan.
Add the coconut milk and bring to boil again. Switch off heat.
Serve hot with a dollop of coriander cashew pesto, garnish with chilli flakes, coconut milk and olive oil.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Delhi style Pumpkin stir fry

My recent holiday to India has sure made me lazy. I was spoilt by my family and got away without doing any chores. Its been weeks and am still reminiscing about the wonderful time I had.

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Delhi Style Pumpkin-7

But its time we got back to business. With my little girl starting to walk, she is busy exploring the world…the kitchen cabinet and drawers being her favourite!! And the little boy starting kindergarten, they do keep me on my toes and our meals are getting simpler. Elaborate cooking is limited to weekends and special occasions.
This stir fry or sabzi is easy but full of flavour. The pepper and nigella seeds  especially render a very unique flavour. Ive used butternut squash here. But any variety of pumpkin should work.

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Delhi style Pumpkin stir fry

Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

Yeild - 3-4 servings

Things you need -

1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed
1 tsp whole pepper corns
1 tsp nigella seeds(kalonji)
1 tbsp oil
1-2 dried red chilli(or use a tsp of paprika powder)
1 tsp cumin seeds
half tsp fenugreek seeds
half tsp fennel seeds, optional
salt, as per taste
1-2 tsp sugar
1 tsp amchoor powder(dried mango powder) or juice of half a lemon

How its done -

1. Heat oil is a non stick pan on medium-high heat.
2. Put the cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek, peppercorns and red chillies.  Stir for a few seconds and add the pumpkin. Stir for a minute.
3. Reduce the heat to low and cook covered for about 20-30 minutes stirring frequently until the pumpkin is tender.
4. Add salt, sugar, amchoor powder and stir gently.
5. Sever hot with flatbread or as a side dish to any rice.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Poppy seed kissed Sweet Pumpkin fritters


I havent grown up eating much of pumpkins. Dad was never too keen on this vegetable. Mom never bothered to cook much with it. But occasionally she did make these sweet fritters. These are called Gharge or Ghargi in Maharashtra and north Karnataka.
All these years I almost forgot about this delicacy. Last week we visited a farm hosting a pumpkin harvest event. I couldnt resist buying the bright orange beauties and went a little overboard with it. I had pumpkin soup and a few other savoury dishes in mind. But a craving for some thing sweet(its diwali right!) got me thinking about these gharge.



They are crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. These little bites can be quite addictive. The poppy seeds are optional however I highly recommend using them for a unique nutty flavour. I made these over Diwali weekend and we snacked on them over tea time.
A very Happy Diwali to all who celebrate it!!
So, what did you make this Diwali?


Poppy Seed kissed Sweet Pumpkin fritters

Yield – 16-20 pieces

Things you need -

2 packed cups grated pumpkin (any sweet pumpkin variety will do. I used Red Kuri)
1 cup powdered jaggery or light brown sugar (see notes)
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1-2 tbsp poppy seeds, optional
oil for deep frying + extra for moulding the fritters
half tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter

How its done -

1. In a heavy bottomed vessel/pan , heat the ghee and add the grated pumpkin to it. Stir for a minute or two.
2. Add the jaggery and cardamom powder and mix well. The mixture will start to turn mushy. Keep stirring occasionally on medium to low heat until moisture has evaporated and a smooth and sticky mixture has formed. This takes 20-30 minutes.
3. Allow the mixture to cool down. Add the wheat flour little at a time to the pumpkin jaggery mixture and knead it into a dough.
The dough consistency has to be tight enough to form balls. Make golf sized balls and slightly flatten them with your palm. Use a few drops of oil on your palm to help you with this.
Sprinkle some poppy seeds on both sides and press lightly so that the seeds stick to the surface of the fritters.
4. Heat oil in a frying pan. Lower heat to medium-low and deep fry the fritters until golden brown. Transfer them to a absorbent kitchen paper towel to discard excess oil.
5. These taste best a day on from preparation. They can be stored in an air tight container up to a week.

Notes -

Brown sugar can be substituted for jaggery. It may take slightly more time for the moisture to evaporate. So cooking time may vary.
You may also add 2-3 tbsp of rice flour to the wheat flour. This makes them extra crispy.

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