Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Cupid Games with a Hamburger!!

I have had a crush for quite long, but I couldn’t muster up the courage to propose it to be mine till date. It’s just not in me. I just couldn’t do it for this long. It was hard, but I have decided finally that this year I will do what I haven’t done for this long. I can’t go into my 30th year of being, thinking what a coward I am. I am going to chin up and do what is expected out of a modern Indian like me. I am going to woo that precious thing, that makes me, ME….

Valentine’s Day is upon us already… phew, the time flies literally!! Being me is not difficult. A good taste is all I seek, and you have given that to me quite a lot. I know we live in a society where my love can never be christened or accepted, but I say let’s break open the shackles of religious dogma. Gods made us all equal with a sense of survival, and all we need to do is, eat!

So here it is world. I am proposing to you now, and no, my religion is not going to stop me. HAMBURGER, I have loved and loathed to have the delicious you in me for long. But when Burger King opened up in India, and decided not to serve you in their menu, I decided it was time to take matters in my own hands. And today I did. For the very first time, I got you in my kitchen. I finally made it, my love of life.
I gave you a new twist, a curried burger it was. Soft, supple but full bodied, you really blew my senses off. My husband too adored you, and I can’t wait to make you again and again. I filled you up with your eternal love, cheddar cheese; and somehow everything on the plate made sense to my palette. The balance of curried flavours, the distinctive melt in mouth juiciness, the cheese- Sigh, it was perfect in each bite. I made special caramelized wine onions and crunchy French beans to go on the side. I know, I know; you love your French fries, but for me you are perfect with a bit of green too. I mean you are such a hero dish in yourself, why add tasteless grease on the side to diminish your value…

The recipe will follow in the next post. If you liked my proposal, then do visit http://cupidgames.closeup.in/ to read how the rest of India proposed their loved ones! Do follow me- Antarazandc and Closeupindia on twitter to keep connected always. I wish you and your loved ones a very happy valentine’s day!! Enjoy to the fullest!!


Monday, 19 January 2015

Immune India

Childhood memories are precious gems of life which are supposed to be cherished and remembered for long. A child’s selfless smile just brightens a day, and render it to be as pretty as a planned extended holiday. But just as that, if the child is sick, the whole household somehow falls sick along with it. This precious energy is to be preserved, remembered as healthy and vibrant. Trust me guys, a sick child is absolutely no fun to be around.

My little guy is about to enter the big bad world of school and playgrounds with all sorts of infections around. I have been searching for an armour for him since his birth. From that precious drop of colostrum to 6 months of exclusive breast feeding to stem cells preservation; as a mom, I have done all possible things to strive for getting his future secured and immuned. But then I stop and think, is it enough? With the pollution rising to such alarming levels; where the white house has warned president Obama (who is the chief guest to our red fort celebrations during Jan 26th); to not step out jogging in Delhi. The pollution levels are bad for his health, but not for us, who live and breathe this air all day long? That is why, I need something more for my son’s immunity.

Chawanprash seems like my only resort as for now. In his growing years, chawanprash with all ayurvedic components and natural ingredients should help in building a strong base for life. We as kids have loved licking the pasty brown mix off the spoons, and so do I feel our next generation would. They say, it’s scientifically proven that Chawanprash increases immunity by 3 times. I don’t know about what’s proven or not, but sans a bout of typhoid, I don’t remember falling sick at all. My delivery and recovery was smooth too and I regained all my strength pretty soon as well! Now I don’t know if these things are interrelated, but I had licked a daily spoon of chawanprash- loving it, for more than 3 years. I am going to follow the same tradition with my little guy. You may choose whether you want or not, but I urge you to definitely try it once at least! Cheers!!

Dabur Archives
This post is written in collaboration with Dabur Chawanprash, though all views expressed in the post are very personal and taken from author's own life. For more informatoin click- https://www.liveveda.com/dabur-chyawanprash/

Friday, 16 January 2015

Left Over Series Finale!!

Since you guys have loved my leftover series so much, I reckoned a few more tricks and tips is something I owe you lovely people. If you have any more left over cakes, and parfait don’t interest you; then read up to get to know of other wonderful stuff that you can do with it.
Now these tricks and tips I picked up, but didn’t try all of them, as of yet. If you ever try it out, let me know! But I am sure, all of it will work well and would give you guys a very satisfying dessert to enjoy after a hearty meal, or a snack to be had between meals.

First in my list is an Ice Cream Sundae. Now you can get really creative here. And make different flavours with it. The steps are simple, and the best part being all of it has to be done the day before. So it’s the perfect party dessert.

Take a litre of vanilla ice cream and let it melt a bit to the semi solid level.

Now whisk it well, while adding stuff like chocolate chips, almond flakes, raisins, dried cranberries etc.

Take a handful of crumbled cake and incorporate well with a spatula, making certain that the cake don’t powder off in the ice cream. Some gentle firm stokes is all that’s required.

Freeze it overnight and enjoy a perfect frozen dessert. No one can ever tell that it’s a store bought ice cream. And instead the guests would swoon in absolute joy.

The next in line is a Toasted Jam Cake-wich.

Google Images
Take 2 thin slices of stale cake loaf, like plum cakes or rum cakes from the festive season.

Toast it lightly in a buttered pan, and generously spread over a tart fruit preserve like diabetic jam or a really good bitter orange marmalade. The sweet bread with not so sweet jam is so enticing and confusing to the palette that it would be one of the greatest hits in a high tea party. Do chop the Cake-wich to smaller pieces so that it’s easy to hold and eat.

And as for the last, yet one of the best things to do with stale cakes; is to make a Bread-no-Cake Pudding with it.
Cut little cubes of the cake and set it aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk 1 egg to half a cup of milk, mix vanilla and a tbsp. of oil to get a sugar free custard made. I soak the cake in the custard for at least an hour or more, and then top it with additional flavours like that of half a tsp of cocoa followed with a handful of chocolate chips. A brief whisk later, I let it all go into a preheated oven to cook off.

Now this is a basic custard recipe that I have given measurements on. Adjust it to suit the amount of cake you intend to bake in the custard. After pouring, the custard should be visible to you, which will be soaked up in the hour you let it soak for. A rum cake might not soak so much, but a simple sponge will soak up all liquid.   
Keep an eye on it while it’s in the oven. If the top is browning too much, cover it with a foil. The test of doneness remains the same as a cake. A toothpick if comes out clean, then the pudding is done.

This dessert is very versatile. You can serve it hot or warm with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream. And it can also be served cold to enjoy just like so.

Armed with so many left over inspired dishes, I am sure you will never ever have a problem stale cakes again!! Cheers!! 

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Left-Over Series-: Gulab Jamun Parfait

Left over Series Continues with a twist of west meets east! Yup, the cakes go in a short-cut custard topped with a Gulab Jamun. Yeah, on the new year I was gifted a big jar of Gulab Jamun which was both- yummy and super soft. But just in a day, we got bored of binging on the fried delight. So I ended up jazzing it up with a few more things, to make this phenomenal dessert Parfait.and as expected, the guests did va va voom!!

Now, this recipe cannot come with any set measurements. The amounts will vary upon the number of layers that will go in it, and the thickness of each layer that you want to put on.

A handful of vanilla fruit cake, crumbled
10 Roasted almonds, chopped
A cup of prepared Custard (follow the instruction on the pack)
2 Gulab Jamun to top it all.


In a pretty cocktail glass, pour the chilled custard and coat the bottom well. Sprinkle on some roasted chopped almonds.

Now layer it with a big helping of crumbled cake. You may repeat the layering a few times, till you fill up the cocktail glass to your liking.

Top the glass with a pretty plump Gulab Jamun and top everything with some chopped nuts.
And a top class dessert is made. Cheers!!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Left-Over Series- Berry Cake Parfait

We are almost 10 days in the new year! And do u have a refrigerator yet filled with cakes of all sorts? If you do, then this article is tailor made for you.  

Christmas this year was much bigger than what I had thought of it to be. Lots of edible gifts landed my way, including some exotic stuff like this mouth-watering jar of Bhut-Jholokia pickle to the usual fare of rum cakes and cookies.

About a fortnight gone, and all these bits and pieces of stale cakes are haunting my refrigerator. Add to it all the Christmas baking that I specifically did for my friends and family, and you know I have a big sweetish problem to tackle for some days to come. So I reckoned, it just can’t be me, but many more like me with the same problem. So this post is a shout out to all you disturbed souls, who hate throwing, but can’t keep junking on so much sweets as well. I am going to try and transform all these sweets into drool worthy desserts to be served to your guests while you entertain your first parties of this receding winter. First in the series is my Berry-Cake Parfait, which look so so pretty in these see through borosil glasses. Second would be an Indian twist to this layered dessert, with homemade fresh custard served with Gulab Jamun Parfait.

Berry - Cake Parfait


Now, this recipe cannot come with any set measurements. The amounts will vary upon the number of layers that will go in it, and the thickness of each layer that you want to put on.

A handful of quick cooking oats
A handful of old biscuits or cookies smashed
A pinch of cinnamon
A blob of salted butter
A big handful of any flavour of stale cake smashed
100 to 200 gms of fresh strawberries/plums or any other fruits that will soften on cooking
Lemon juice
Sugar to taste
A pinch of salt

First prep the strawberries. Wash and clean it thoroughly, and chop it to small bite sized pieces.

Season the pieces well with lemon juice and sugar. Microwave this mix for half a minute at a time, till the berries are soft and cooked through. Mix in a small bit of butter while the berries are still hot, and set it aside to cool completely.

In a pan over medium heat, dry roast the oats till fragrant.  You may add some chopped nuts too in the pan, for added crunch. Remove from heat and add the smashed biscuits to the hot pan. Mix both these well and set it aside to cool down the mix and the hot pan. This will ensure that the parfait toppings won’t attract condensation, and instead remain crunchy as it slowly cools with the pan.

Now to assemble, take a clean see through glass like so, and brush the bottom with a bit of melted butter. Add the berry mix in the bottom. Follow it up with a good sprinkling of the oats and cookie mixture. Another layer of berry mix followed with crumbled cake. Continue like so to create a beautiful mix of colours and flavours in the little glass. This should be served in room temperature, not too chilled. A blob of vanilla ice cream will compliment all these flavours even better.

Now tell me, if your guests won’t end up gaga-ing on this beautiful master piece? Cheers!!
Next up would be the pretty glass of Gulab Jamun Parfait, so stay tuned to return back tomorrow!!


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