Do check out my new blog "Claire's Party Supplies". From now on all party supplies and current offers and discounts will be featured here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Date Rolls

Typically, I make date rolls around Christmas time. They make a lovely addition to the Christmas platter. But these little rolls are really good any other time of the year as well. This recipe is also ideal for those watching their sugar intake - simply leave out the sugar from the dough recipe and the sweetness of the dates is sufficient to make these into a delightfully healthy treat.



Date Rolls
(Make 35-40 depending on the size)


200g all purpose flour
100g butter
60g fine sugar
200g dates, cut into strips
200g walnuts, slices
1 egg
Yolk of an egg for glazing

Beat the butter till fluffy.

Add the sugar and beat till fluffy again.

Add 1 well beaten egg and beat till incorporated with the sugar and butter.

Fold in the flour and mix till well blended. Knead lightly till it forms a dough.

Roll it out to a rectangular piece to a 1/4" thickness. Cut into 2" squares.

Put 2 strips of date and walnut (if you're using walnuts) on each roll and roll it up. Apply a little water to seal the edges.

Place on a well greased baking tray leaving about an inch of space between any 2 pieces.

Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each roll with egg yolk for a glazed look.

Bake for 10-15 minutes  at 160ÂșC.

Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

This recipe has been linked to Sweets for a Saturday @ Sweets as Sugar Cookies, hosted by the lovely Lisa. 

You should spend some time browsing her blog. She makes some lovely treats.



Also, don't forget to check the others have submitted this week.


Scrambled Cottage Cheese - Paneer Bhurji

Today I'm going to share with you one of my all time favorite super-quick meal recipe. This takes about 10-15 minutes to throw together and is a vegetarian alternative to scrambled eggs. Don't let that deceive you. Even though it is a vegetarian option, if you love cottage cheese like I do, you will love this. For all you egg lovers out there, just substitute the cottage cheese with eggs. And within sheer minutes, you will be sitting down to a warm, hearty and healthy meal.



Scrambled Cottage Cheese - Paneer Bhurji

(Serves 4)

250g Cottage Cheese / Paneer
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 green chilly, chopped (Adjust the amount of spice to your liking)
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
2-3 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp. oil

Heat the oil in a pan.

Saute the onions and green chilly till onions turn soft and are lightly colored.

Add the turmeric powder and stir well.

Add the tomato and let it cook off for a minute or so.

Now crumble the cottage cheese into the pan and stir well to mix with the rest of the ingredients in the pan.

Add salt to taste.

Cook uncovered for a few minutes till the liquid has dried up.

Lastly, add the coriander leaves and stir well.

Serve with hot chapatis or bread.


This recipe has been linked to -
Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent @ Ceo a's draiocht
Fun With Food Friday @ Paisley Passions
Whats Cooking Thursday @ Feeding Four

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gaajar ka Halwa

Gaajar ka Halwa, Carrot (Gaajar) Halwa or Carrot Pudding is a very popular dessert in India. There are loads of recipes you will find being using to whip this up. Some serve it warm, some serve it cold, some recipes will result in a richer version, but I'd like to think of mine as a slightly more health conscious variant which still results in a delightful dessert. This can also be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a long time. But truth be told, it'll get gobbled up much sooner.






Gaajar ka Halwa
(Makes about 14-16 servings)

1 kg carrots, grated
1 (400g) tin condensed milk (I used Milkmaid)
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter
2 tbsp. sugar (please adjust this to suit your taste)
Seeds of about 15 green cardamom pods, pounded to a fine powder
A few almonds, slivered

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the ghee.

Add the grated carrots and stir well. Let the carrots sweat a little.

Add the milk and let it cook off for a couple of minutes on a medium flame.

Add the condensed milk. Stir well. After a few minutes add sugar to taste. Stir well.

Leave it uncovered on a medium flame, stirring occasionally till all the liquid evaporates. You may need to turn the heat down towards the end of the cooking process.

When its almost done, add the powdered cardamom seeds and slivered almonds. Mix well and take of the heat.

Garnish with a few slivered almonds and serve.

Once it has cooled completely, you can refrigerate the rest.

Note: When adding the powdered cardamom and slivered almonds, you can also throw in a few raisins and/or some chopped pistachios if you want.



This recipe has been linked to
Sweets for a Saturday #1 hosted by Lisa of Sweet as Sugar Cookies

Please spend some time and check out what the others have brought to the table this week.

Prawn Chilly Fry with Coriander Speckled Rice

Folks, one of my fondest childhood food memories is when my Mommy used to whip up this Prawn Chilly Fry with Coriander Speckled Rice for us. I ♥ prawns in any form and in the days to come, I will share a few more of my prawn recipes with you. I have wanted to try making this dish forever, but did not get around to it till a couple of days ago. I picked up some gorgeous, fresh prawns and I knew that I just had to finally whip this up. There was just one little problem, I didn't have my mother's recipe and my parents were on holiday and I really didn't want to bother her by calling. So I decided to put it together from memory, trying really hard to remember what the flavors were like. And boy,oh boy! I was thrilled with the result. This meal is going to make many more appearances in my home, for sure.


Prawn Chilly Fry with Coriander Speckled Rice
(Serves 3-4)


For the Rice  - 
1 cup basmati rice
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 tbsp. Ghee or clarified butter
Salt, to taste
A bunch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped (This will be used while assembling the meal.)


Heat the ghee in a vessel and add the bay leaves.

When the ghee had released the aroma of the bay leaves, add the washed rice. Stir gently just until the rice is coated with the ghee.

Add 2 cups of water, salt to taste and stir a little. Make sure you don't stir it too much as the grains of rice will breakdown.

Cover and bring to a boil on medium heat. On low heat cook till all the water has been absorbed. Make sure you don't stir the rice during the cooking process.

Once all the water has been absorbed, use a fork and loosen the grains of rice and make sure that all the water has evaporated. Keep covered.


For the Prawn Chilly Fry - 
250 gms. fresh prawns, shelled and de-veined
2 large onions, chopped
4-5 curry leaves
1 large tomato, chopped
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 green chillies, cut into 1/2" pieces (Please adjust this to taste. We like our food spicy.)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
3/4 tsp. red chilly powder
Salt, to taste
A dash of lime juice
2-3 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Marinade the prawns with a little salt and a dash of lime juice and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan.

Add the curry leaves and when they release their flavor, add the onions and green chilly. Saute till the onions are light golden brown.

Add the turmeric powder and chilly powder. Stir well.

Once its mixed well, add the tomato and stir well.

When the ingredients in the pan have been sauteed well and you see the oil starting to separate, add the prawns and cook on medium heat. Still well and cook uncovered till the prawns are done.

Sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves and stir till combined.


To Assemble - 

Layer about half the rice on the serving platter on in individual plates.

Spoon the prawn chilly fry over it. 

Add another layer of the remaining rice.

Sprinkle generously with the chopped coriander leaves. Don't be shy while topping the rice with coriander leaves. Its a generous sprinkling of the coriander leaves that brings the elements of this dish together and makes it one finger-licking meal.

Serve hot.

Enjoy!


This recipe is linked to -

Fun with Food Friday
Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent

Herbs and Flowers in my Platter" - Coriander leaves/Cilantro




Saturday, January 15, 2011

Coconut Pancakes

Those of you who've been following this blog, know that I love coconut. Today, I'm going to share with you one of my all time favorites, the coconut pancake. From what I know, the coconut pancake has its roots in Goan cuisine. It uses Goan jaggery which is a lovely sweetener and is much healthier compared to sugar. So yes, its Decidedly Healthy and at the same time what I would consider Horridly Decadent. Its fairly easy to make and it is a wonderful treat. These are the pancakes that we make year after year on Pancake Tuesday. You can choose to use store bought crepes or make your own. I hope you enjoy these pancakes as much as we do.



Coconut Pancakes


For the Pancakes -

1 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp. sugar, optional
Milk

Put all the ingredients except the milk in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Add milk gradually to get the batter to the consistency ideal for making crepes. It should flow smoothly but should also be able to coat the back of a spoon.

Cut off the root portion of 1 small onion. Pierce a fork into it at the other end. Take a little vegetable oil in a shallow bowl. Dip the onion, cut side down into the oil and use the onion to smear oil on a warm pan. (My grandma and mum used to do it this way and they say it is an effective way to regulate and lessen the amount of oil used.) Alternatively, you can also pour some oil in the pan.

Ladle the batter onto the pan and swirl the pan around to spread the batter. Once little bubble start appearing on the top of the crepe, cover the pan for a few seconds. When the bottom of the crepe has browned a little,  pour a couple of drops of oil on top of the crepe and flip it. Once this side has cooked as well, take it off the pan.

Repeat the oiling of the pan after each crepe is taken off and continue with the rest of the batter.


For the filling -

Freshly grated coconut (about 1/2 a coconut)
Grated Goa jaggery, to taste

Mix both adjusting the amount of jaggery to get the desired amount of sweetness.


To assemble the pancakes -

Once the crepes have cooled, spoon some of the filling onto the crepe and roll it up, making sure to tuck in the sides to stop the filling from falling out.

The pancakes are now ready to serve.


This recipe has been linked up with -
Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent Saturday Party
Fun with Food Friday


and




Do stop by and check what the others have made.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bridal flowers

I've been busy ... really busy. I haven't been able to devote as much time as I'd have liked to cook, bake and blog. But I've been having fun working on my latest project. I just completed an order for some bridal flowers. Needless to say, I had some help from my very talented sister-in-law, Maria, who made completion of this last minute order possible. Here's a peek at the stuff we made.

We made 1 of this bouquet -


1 of this bouquet -


1 of this basket -






1 of this coronet -





22 of these buttonholes -





3 of these buttonholes -



1 of each of these buttonholes -









All this came together in about 4 days. Thats how rushed this order was. If you are planning a wedding and intend getting flowers made, please contact your vendor well in advance. The sooner the better. Please.

I have tons of more stuff to share. Stay tuned.

This post has been linked to Thrilling Thursdays @ Paisley Passions

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Granny Ripple Blanket & A Granny Square Blanket

I'd like to share with you a couple of my crochet projects that finally saw completion in 2010. I was working on 2 blankets for my adorable nieces. I gave it to them as Christmas presents. The blankets took a while to come together, but I'm really glad I decided to make them. They turned out really well.

Granny Ripple Blanket

This one was inspired by Lucy's work at attic24. You should stop by her blog. She has some amazing stuff to share.



You will find a detailed explanation of how to work the pattern on her blog here.

For those of you who are more familiar with the US crochet terminology, I've made a note of it here. One thing that I did differently was changing color every 3 rows and not 2 like the original pattern suggests.



NEAT RIPPLE PATTERN
dc2tog = work two incomplete dc stitches, keeping last loop of each stitch on the hook, as follows ::
YO, into stitch, YO, back through stitch (3 loops on hook)
YO, draw through 2 loops (2 loops on hook)
YO, into next stitch, YO, back through stitch (4 loops on hook)
YO, draw through 2 loops (3 loops on hook)
YO, draw through all 3 loops.

To begin, chain multiples of 14, plus 3 for turning.

ROW 1
1 dc into 4th chain from hook
1dc into each of next 4 chs
dc2tog
dc2tog
1 dc into each of next 4 chs
*2dc into next ch
2 dc into next ch
1dc into each of next 4 chs
dc2tog
dc2tog
1 dc into each of next 4 chs*
Repeat between ** ending last rep with 2 dc into last chain, turn.

ROW 2
ch3, 1 dc into same stitch,
1dc into each of next 4 chs
dc2tog
dc2tog
1 dc into each of next 4 chs
*2dc into next ch
2 dc into next ch
1dc into each of next 4 chs
dc2tog
dc2tog
1 dc into each of next 4 chs*
Repeat between ** ending last rep with 2 dc into the top chain of the chain-3 from previous row.
Repeat row 2 for length required.


I hope you have as much fun as I did using this pattern.
Granny Square Blanket

While scouring the internet for another blanket idea, I stumbled upon Retro Mummy. I've always wanted to try out Granny Squares. What better way to try out a new idea with something simple to begin with. I love the idea of one large granny square. It saves time having to join little squares together. Though this year, I hope I can try out something with little granny squares.




I worked with an array of colors, using 1 row of white between every 3 rows of a color. But you can work with whatever combination takes your fancy.

Here's the pattern.

Ch4 and sl st into a ring.

1st round - Ch3, then 11dc into the ring. (You should have what looks like 12dc as the 1st ch3 counts as 1dc).

2nd round - With a new color, sl st into any space between the dc. 
Ch3, 2dc, ch3, 3dc, ch1. (This is your first corner).
Skip 3 dc from the 1st round and do 3dc, ch3, 3dc, ch1. 
Repeat so that you complete 4 corners with 2 sets of 3dc.
Sl st into the 3rd ch you did at the start.

3rd round -  
Ch3, 2dc, ch2, 3dc, ch1. 
Skip the next 3 dc on the previous round and 3dc in that space, ch1.
Skip the next 3dc, and do the corner stitch (3dc, ch3, 3dc).
Repeat this till you have filled in your corners and spaces to complete a round.

4th round continue as you have done before. In each corner you are doing 3dc, ch3, 3dc and have 1 chain separating each set of stitches. When you are in a space that isn't a corner you are doing 3dc with 1 chain separating! When you are starting a new round your first double crochet is actually a 3 chain which gives you the height of the round!

Keep repeating this till you have achieved the size of blanket you want.

When changing colors, sl st new color into any space and continue as mentioned in the pattern. 


These patterns have been linked to Thrilling Thursdays @ Paisley Passions