Monday, 24 July 2017

675. Instant Pot Corn Potato Cheddar Soup

Amazing Gadgets

    Whenever I'm at my son's place in Montreal, the first few days go into cleaning his place. Out of all my three kids he's probably the one with the most gadgets. Home cleaning becomes an easier task and love that our clothes do not have that awful damp smell. The wonders of a clothes dryer. His kitchen too is equipped with some of the best and powerful appliances. Every visit and we add a new gadget. 

    This time round I was appalled at the state of our very useful pressure cooker. The bottom no longer sits well on the hob and I just don't want to get you into the colour of the poor pressure cooker. So I insisted that we buy an Instant Pot as anyway I'd read so much about it and a few bloggers even use it regularly. In a small kitchen we need gadgets that are multi functional. So the Instant Pot fits that description. 

   I would recommend an Instant Pot anytime. However, don't think I'll get one for my home in Mombasa because of the frequent power cuts and power fluctuations. However, here it works like a charm. I had put some tuvar dal on the slow cooker mode and gone to the market. When we got back home after 3 hours the dal was cooked. I cook rice in it frequently because its also a rice cooker. Saute some dry sabji or a sabji with gravy. No noisy whistles and the best think is that it does not generate heat like a hob, grill or oven does. You can steam stuff in it so next recipe to try is dokhra in the Instant Pot. Can put eggs to boil and don't have to worry about water getting over. It all works on a timer. As soon as the time is over, the Instant Pot goes into the warm mode. The options are endless.

   When Preethi who blogs at Preethi's Cuisine suggested #Fireless Cooking as our 102th theme for FoodieMonday/ Bloghop group, I knew what I wanted to show off... my new Instant Pot :) As my son is reading my post as I'm typing, he comments ' you could have blogged anything your cook here as its all fireless!' My reply ' yes I know but I so want to show off my Instant Pot'. He walked away with a quizzical look on his face and must be thinking that I'm crazy :0

   I made some soup in the Instant Pot. It was ready within 15 minutes. Check out the recipe for a quick and filling soup.








INSTANT POT CORN POTATO CHEDDAR SOUP
4-6 Servings

3 cups small cubes of potatoes (peeled and cubed)
2 cups sweet corn (fresh or frozen)
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 medium onion finely chopped 
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil or butter
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
¼ cup chopped spring onion
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander


  1. Add oil in the inner pot of the Instant Pot (IP).
  2. Switch it on to the saute mode.
  3. As soon as the oil becomes a little hot, add the chopped onions. 
  4. Stir frequently and cook the onions till it becomes soft.
  5. Add the garlic. Stir and add potato cubes. Add salt and the water. Mix well.
  6. Close the lid of the IP. Turn the vent to the sealing position.
  7. Set the timer to 5 minutes manually.
  8. After the 5 minutes are over, cover the vent with a dish cloth.
  9. Move the vent to the venting position.
  10. Lift the vent gently using a long spoon or a knife.The steam will come out. Its best to use a dish cloth so that you don't get burnt with the hot steam and it doesn't create a mess.
  11. Open the lid. 
  12. Set to the saute mode again. 
  13. Add corn and milk and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  14. Add cheese, pepper, spring onion and coriander. Mix well.
  15. Serve piping hot soup with some bread of your choice.
  16. If you are not going to serve the soup immediately, close the lid. It will stay hot for 10-15 minutes. 
Tips:
  • Add any other veg of your choice.
  • I mashed some of the cooked potatoes to make the soup base a bit thicker.
  • You can add ¼ cup cream if you want to.
You may want to check out some of my Fireless Cooking Recipes:
Mangonada (freezing and blending)
Peaches and Cream Oatmeal  Cups (baked)
Tzatziki (mixing and chopping)
Sending this recipe to the following event:

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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

674. Black Forest Trifle

Delish and Evil

Theme: No bake Desserts

BM#78 Week 3 Day 3

   When I saw so many dark ruby red cherries at the market and in the supermarket, I was tempted to bake a black forest cake. Basically a Black Forest cake, is layers of chocolate cake, kirsch soaked cherries, grated chocolate and whipped cream. Kirsch(kirsch wasser) is a spirit made from tart cherries. I would have loved to bake this cake or gateau as its called. However, my family would have probably thrown me out with all the dessert I'm making for the past few days.

   Remember I mentioned in the last dessert post that I was looking for brownies. Well, its for this dessert. Since I couldn't bake the cake(who will eat it??) and as the Blogging Marathon theme suggested No Baked Desserts, I decided to make the next best thing to Black Forest Cake and that is a Black Forest Trifle. 

   Usually trifles are set in a big bowl and then served by scooping out a portion. I decided to go the mini way and made them in individual portions.I used up some chocolate muffins that I had baked sometime back and since no one wanted to eat the last 3 muffins, I put them in the freezer for future use.

   This trifle is so delicious and easy to make. Since I wanted an alcohol free dessert (Shravan month no alcohol), I made some cherry compote or sauce. Though Father and Son were complaining that I'm the reason they are putting on weight, they relished the dessert thoroughly. Just can't win men...can you?






 BLACK FOREST TRIFLE
For 4

For the cherry compote or sauce:
2 cups pitted cherries
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp kirsch or orange juice

For the trifle:
Leftover or store bought cake about 3 muffins or 3 brownie squares
1 cup whipped fresh cream (add 1 tbsp of powdered sugar before you whip)
some grated dark or milk chocolate 

  1. To prepare the cherry sauce, put the pitted cherries, sugar and juice or kirsch in a pan.
  2. Put the pan over medium heat and cook the cherries till they become soft but not mushy.
  3. You'll have a syrupy liquid but don't discard that or cook it further as the syrup will help to moisten the cake.
  4. Let the cherry sauce cool down completely.
To assemble the trifle:
  1. Take 4 clear glasses or bowls.
  2. Break up the muffin or brownies into pieces.
  3. Divide the cake between 4 glasses or bowls.
  4. Spoon the cherry sauce over it.
  5. Top it with fresh whipped cream.
  6. Garnish with grated chocolate and serve.
Tips:
  • Leave the prepared trifle in the fridge to cool for an hour or so before serving if you want to.
  • If the syrup is not enough to moisten the cake sprinkle some orange juice or kirsch over the pieces.
  • Used canned cherries if you don't get fresh ones.
You may want to check out some cherries recipes of mine:

Cherry Cobbler Parfait
Sending this recipe to the following event:


BMLogo

Check out what other Blogging Marathoners have cooked for Blogging Marathon#78 here

673.Vegan Mixed Berries Ice Cream

Just the right time to have ice cream

   It has been really hot for the past few days in Montreal. Its humid and just the kind of weather all Canadians enjoy. People are out walking, jogging, having picnics, swimming, sailing, lazing in the sun. Hubby and I want to be indoors as the sun is too much for us. My dad is here, his first visit to Canada. He is from London, so he too is enjoying the really sunny hot days. When I run for the shade, he thinks I'm mad. So I had to remind him that I get more than enough sun back home in Mombasa, so I'd rather enjoy the cool or cold weather.

   Anyway, its the right theme that Sarah Ellis has chosen for this months Fantastical Food Fight. The theme is Ice Cream. I went through so many options to make the ice cream for this theme, but the abundance of berries just kept on beckoning me. A couple of weeks ago, we saw this documentary on veganism. I'm not totally convinced to give up my dairy products...love cheese and yogurt too much. But the paradox is that my meat eating hubby decides not to became a vegetarian only but also decides to become a vegan!!!!!!!!! Yes, you heard me right; I'm still so so surprised. My chicken loving daughter too is trying out to go the vegan way!

   I'm a vegetarian, and now both are trying to convince me to become a vegan. My argument is that if Lord Krishna loved all dairy products right from butter to yogurt... it surely can't be harmful. However, everyone has the freedom to make their own choice. Now that father and daughter have found a new common passion-vegan-- he was complaining that I was not making enough vegan food for him. On a serious note, most of our basic Gujarati food is vegan except that some food may contain yogurt. 

   Keeping in mind my vegan hubby(and his snide remarks!), I decided against the rich creamy ice creams and decided on a vegan one. I'm glad I tried out this ice cream simply for the reason that its a guilt free and healthy dessert. And I love the beautiful colour that the berries have imparted to this delicious ice cream.





VEGAN MIXED BERRIES ICE CREAM
Serves 6-8

2 large or 3 medium bananas
2 cups of frozen mixed berries
¼ cup almond milk
2-4 tbsp cane sugar or maple syrup
a pinch of salt
  1. Peel and slice the bananas. Layer them in an airtight tin.
  2. Freeze the slices overnight or for 2-3 hours.
  3. Put the frozen banana slices, milk, frozen berries, salt and sugar or maple syrup in a food processor.
  4. Process the mixture.
  5. You may need to push down the fruit with the help of the spatula.
  6. Process till you get a smooth mixture.
  7. Scoop out the ice cream into a freezable tin.
  8. Let the ice cream freeze for 1 hour or so or you may serve the soft ice cream... your choice.
Tips:
  • Add any frozen fruit of your choice.
  • I used over ripe bananas so didn't need to add so much maple syrup.
  • Use vegan milk of your choice like any other nut milk or coconut milk.
  • Once the ice cream sets, its advisable not to re freeze it as it becomes really hard. So small batches are best. Once you have the frozen ingredients ready, this ice cream is really easy to make.
You may want to check my other ice cream recipes (not  vegan):
lemongrass and ginger infused pineapple coconut ice cream
Thandai Kulfi Ice Cream
Sending this recipe to the following event:



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672. Strawberry Mug Cake

A quick dessert fix

Theme: No Bake Desserts

BM#78 Week 3 Day 2

   I must admit its all these theme based cooking that is motivating me to either prepare bookmarked recipes or try out new recipes. I've come across so many mug cakes but never really bothered to try them out. For the No Bake Desserts theme, we are suppose to make a dessert which we would normally bake in a convectional oven but not bake it in an oven...confused?? Basically no using a convectional oven. 

   Taking advantage of the abundance of berries available in the markets in Montreal, I decided to make a mug cake in the microwave oven instead of using the convectional oven. I must admit I still love my 'properly' baked cakes but as a quick dessert treat... and I mean really quick, mug cakes are not a bad option at all. Even my sone was surprised that I could bake a cake so quickly. Last week when we went to the supermarket, I was looking for brownies to prepare my other no bake dessert and I didn't find any(perhaps Montreal people do not like brownies???). His answer was bake it the microwave!

   The first mug cake I tried was when my daughter was visiting us in Mombasa and she made a chocolate mug cake. It was super heavy...not weight wise but heavy for the tummy. I don't have a microwave oven at home (hubby doesn't like any food zapped with laser beams or whatever rays are present in the micro). However, we have one at our holiday apartment by the beach. Nami, packed all the ingredients in a little tin and she baked it at the apartment. It was really delicious and it turned out good and not all mushy and gooey.

   Here in Montreal, my son has a microwave oven so I was dying to try out the mug cake. To make it a bit lighter than the chocolate cake Nami had baked I added fresh strawberries. I must say the cake was really delicious, but this too we shared as it was just too much for one person. 

   So here's my Strawberry Mug Cake and yes I would definitely make it again. I know most people mix everything in the mug itself and bake. However, I prefer to mix the ingredients and then scoop out the batter into the mug. I greased the mug lightly so that the baked cake did not stick to the wall of the mug. This is a vegan recipe. I used the big yellow lemon which adds such a citrusy wonderful taste to the cake.




STRAWBERRY MUG CAKE
Makes 1

4 tbsp plain flour (all purpose flour)
3 tbsp light brown sugar
½ tsp baking powder
3 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 big strawberries cut into chunks
½ tsp lemon zest
½ tbsp lemon juice
a pinch of salt

  1. Lightly grease a big microwavable mug with oil.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a small mixing bowl.
  3. Mix it with a whip or a fork. Add the chopped strawberry pieces.
  4. Pour the batter into the mug. It will fill half of the mug.
  5. Microwave for 80-90 seconds (1½minutes).
  6. Insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake. It should come out clean. If the cake is not done then microwave it further for 20-30 seconds.
  7. The cake is ready.
Tips:
  • Make sure you lightly grease the mug with oil or butter.
  • Use a MICROWAVABLE mug.
  • You may use normal milk or almond, coconut, soy or any nut milk.
  • I used light brown sugar, however you can use normal white sugar if you prefer.
  • You can use frozen strawberries.
  • The sweetness of the cake was just right for us. However, if you prefer a more sweet cake, add 1 more tablespoon of sugar.
You may want to check out my other strawberry recipes:
strawberry mousse (eggless)

Sending this recipe to the following event:

BMLogo

Check out what other Blogging Marathoners have cooked for Blogging Marathon#78 here

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

671. Apple Crumble Parfait

Easy dessert

Theme: No Bake Desserts

BM#78 Week 3 Day 1

    I love making easy desserts. It usually means I get to serve it in a glass and its just a matter of putting a few ingredients together to make a satisfying dessert. Srivalli, the starter of Blogging Marathon suggested that for this theme we make desserts that normally we would bake but instead to beat the heat, make them in such a manner that we don't have to bake them in a convectional oven. 

    When I decided to choose the theme, the first baked dessert that came to my mind was apple crumble or as its known apple crisp. Basically, chopped apples mixed with a bit of butter, sugar and cinnamon are layered in a baking dish. Then its topped with a mixture of plain flour, butter, oats and cinnamon. The dessert is baked. At the bottom you have the soft apples and the top is crispy, crunchy. Its usually served with ice cream...a hot dessert with cold ice cream. I love this dessert. 

    So I had to make a no bake version of this dessert. Anyway its been pretty hot in Montreal and cooking in front of the oven and the hot plates is not so appealing. The weather here can get pretty hot and humid. However, what I really enjoy here are the visits to the supermarket and the market. So many colourful fruits and vegetables are trying to outshine the variety of flowers. One gets to see greenery everywhere and its heaven to walk here without any matatus or rickshaws honking at you and trying to invade your space. 

   
   For the apple crumble parfait I decided to add some blueberries...okay... I just couldn't resist adding them as I want to take full advantage of the abundance of berries here. I cooked the apples and blueberries in a little bit of butter till the fruits became soft. Instead of the homemade crisp layer, I added some ready made granola and the dessert was ready to be served. 




APPLE CRUMBLE PARFAIT
Serves 4

2 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
1 cup blueberries
1 tsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
½ cup ready made granola
4 scoops of vanilla ice cream


  1. Heat butter in a pan over low heat.
  2. Add the chopped apples, blueberries and sugar.
  3. Mix well and cook over low heat till the apples become a bit soft.
  4. Take the pan off the heat. add cinnamon powder and miss well.
  5. Divide the fruit mixture between the 4 glasses or bowls.
  6. Sprinkle the granola over it equally.
  7. Top it up with a scoop of ice cream in each glass.
  8. Serve immediately.
Tips:
  • If you want to make it with only apples then use 3 apples.
  • Use any granola of your choice.
  • For a more healthier version of this dessert serve it with vanilla flavoured greek yogurt.
  • If you prefer you can cool the fruit mixture in the fridge and then serve.
You may want to check out some apple recipes:
apple cinnamon ice cream
apple dessert pizza

Sending this recipe to the following event:


BMLogo


Check out what other Blogging Marathoners have cooked for Blogging Marathon#78 here

Monday, 17 July 2017

670. Date Coconut Energy Balls



Shravan.... A Holy Month

   Shravan or Saawan is the holiest month in the Hindu Calendar. Many Hindus fast for the whole of the Shravan Maas or month. Different Hindu Communities begin the fast on different dates. Some begin the fast immediately after Guru Purnima and some later on in the month. This holy month then culminates with Raksha Bandhan, a festival where the sisters tie a rakhi or thread on the wrists of their brothers. Some people fast the whole month i.e. every day for the whole month and some fast every Monday of this holy month and are called the Shravan Somvar Vrat. 
    
   Why is this month so important to the Hindus? According to the Hindu Mythology, when the Gods and Demons churned the Ocean (Samudra Manthan) many precious gems came out but also poison came out from it in the month of Shravan. This poison would have destroyed everything. However none of the Gods or Demons wanted to deal with the poison. Lord Shiva came to the rescue, he swallowed the poison and kept it in his throat, which turned blue. So thus his is also known as Neel Kanth... the blue throat. This way Lord Shiva saved the world and therefore Shravan month is auspicious and many Hindus conduct poojas, and chant the holy name of Lord Shiva.
  
  Different communities fast in different ways. Some consume only fruits and dairy products... no salt, no grains or vegetables. Some observe the fast by consuming only certain types of vegetables like root vegetables, but no onion and garlic. They do not consume grains but only tapioca pearls (sabudana), samo, amaranth, water chestnut, quinoa, buckwheat etc.  Ans some observe the fast by taking only one regular meal. Devotees are encouraged to visit the temples and offer flowers, bilipatra and panchamrut to the Shiv Ling. They also have to chant the Mrityunjay Mantra. 



   However one is encouraged to chant this mantra not only during the month of Shravan but everyday. It basically means:
"We worship the three-eyed one who is fragrant, and who sustains all living beings. May he liberate us from (Samsara) death. May he (Lord Shiva) lead us to immortality, just as the cucumber is released from its bondage."

   The FoodieMonday/Bloghop group's 101th theme is #Saawan Vrat Speciality or Shravan Vrat Speciality. This theme was chosen by Poonam, a new member to the group and blogs at Annapurna.
When she suggested the theme, I was all excited. For Gujaratis Shravan is the tenth month. Many just fast on Mondays and others fast by eating only one regular meal but without any onions and garlic and strictly no meat, fish or alcohol should be consumed during this month.But most Gujaratis will fast the whole month by consuming farali food. That means no grains and legumes are consumed. As you may know Gujjus love their food and fast also in style:)  During this month several important fastings are observed and rituals followed. Read about it here

   I wanted to make some farali handvo for this theme. However, my joy was short lived as in Montreal I was not able to find samo, rajgira and sabudana. I had to put on my thinking hat again and finally decided on an ultra healthy treat. Not so Gujju but modern Gujjus may love to consume these energy balls or laddoos during any fast. These energy balls or laddoos have not added sugar, are vegan and without any added fat.







DATE COCONUT ENERGY BALLS
Makes 16-18 balls

1 cup pitted dates, lightly pressed (I used 18)
1 cup mixed nuts (cashew nuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios etc)
½ cup desiccated coconut
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
 extra desiccated coconut for coating
  1. Put the nuts in a food processor and process them till the nuts are chopped into a coarse powder.
  2. Add the dates, orange juice, orange zest and coconut and process till the mixture comes together like a paste.
  3. Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball.
  4. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  5. Roll each ball in the coconut till its coated.
  6. Put the balls in the fridge for an hour or so.
  7. Serve. Put the remaining balls in an airtight container and store in the fridge.
Tips:
  • Its best to use medjool dates or any other soft sugarless dates.
  • Adds nuts of your choice.
  • If you don't like orange flavour then add milk or water instead of the juice and add vanilla extract instead.
  • Great naturally sweet treat even when not fasting.
You may want to check out other fasting recipes:
amaranth fruity pudding


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Monday, 24 July 2017

675. Instant Pot Corn Potato Cheddar Soup

Amazing Gadgets

    Whenever I'm at my son's place in Montreal, the first few days go into cleaning his place. Out of all my three kids he's probably the one with the most gadgets. Home cleaning becomes an easier task and love that our clothes do not have that awful damp smell. The wonders of a clothes dryer. His kitchen too is equipped with some of the best and powerful appliances. Every visit and we add a new gadget. 

    This time round I was appalled at the state of our very useful pressure cooker. The bottom no longer sits well on the hob and I just don't want to get you into the colour of the poor pressure cooker. So I insisted that we buy an Instant Pot as anyway I'd read so much about it and a few bloggers even use it regularly. In a small kitchen we need gadgets that are multi functional. So the Instant Pot fits that description. 

   I would recommend an Instant Pot anytime. However, don't think I'll get one for my home in Mombasa because of the frequent power cuts and power fluctuations. However, here it works like a charm. I had put some tuvar dal on the slow cooker mode and gone to the market. When we got back home after 3 hours the dal was cooked. I cook rice in it frequently because its also a rice cooker. Saute some dry sabji or a sabji with gravy. No noisy whistles and the best think is that it does not generate heat like a hob, grill or oven does. You can steam stuff in it so next recipe to try is dokhra in the Instant Pot. Can put eggs to boil and don't have to worry about water getting over. It all works on a timer. As soon as the time is over, the Instant Pot goes into the warm mode. The options are endless.

   When Preethi who blogs at Preethi's Cuisine suggested #Fireless Cooking as our 102th theme for FoodieMonday/ Bloghop group, I knew what I wanted to show off... my new Instant Pot :) As my son is reading my post as I'm typing, he comments ' you could have blogged anything your cook here as its all fireless!' My reply ' yes I know but I so want to show off my Instant Pot'. He walked away with a quizzical look on his face and must be thinking that I'm crazy :0

   I made some soup in the Instant Pot. It was ready within 15 minutes. Check out the recipe for a quick and filling soup.








INSTANT POT CORN POTATO CHEDDAR SOUP
4-6 Servings

3 cups small cubes of potatoes (peeled and cubed)
2 cups sweet corn (fresh or frozen)
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 medium onion finely chopped 
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil or butter
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
¼ cup chopped spring onion
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander


  1. Add oil in the inner pot of the Instant Pot (IP).
  2. Switch it on to the saute mode.
  3. As soon as the oil becomes a little hot, add the chopped onions. 
  4. Stir frequently and cook the onions till it becomes soft.
  5. Add the garlic. Stir and add potato cubes. Add salt and the water. Mix well.
  6. Close the lid of the IP. Turn the vent to the sealing position.
  7. Set the timer to 5 minutes manually.
  8. After the 5 minutes are over, cover the vent with a dish cloth.
  9. Move the vent to the venting position.
  10. Lift the vent gently using a long spoon or a knife.The steam will come out. Its best to use a dish cloth so that you don't get burnt with the hot steam and it doesn't create a mess.
  11. Open the lid. 
  12. Set to the saute mode again. 
  13. Add corn and milk and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  14. Add cheese, pepper, spring onion and coriander. Mix well.
  15. Serve piping hot soup with some bread of your choice.
  16. If you are not going to serve the soup immediately, close the lid. It will stay hot for 10-15 minutes. 
Tips:
  • Add any other veg of your choice.
  • I mashed some of the cooked potatoes to make the soup base a bit thicker.
  • You can add ¼ cup cream if you want to.
You may want to check out some of my Fireless Cooking Recipes:
Mangonada (freezing and blending)
Peaches and Cream Oatmeal  Cups (baked)
Tzatziki (mixing and chopping)
Sending this recipe to the following event:

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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

674. Black Forest Trifle

Delish and Evil

Theme: No bake Desserts

BM#78 Week 3 Day 3

   When I saw so many dark ruby red cherries at the market and in the supermarket, I was tempted to bake a black forest cake. Basically a Black Forest cake, is layers of chocolate cake, kirsch soaked cherries, grated chocolate and whipped cream. Kirsch(kirsch wasser) is a spirit made from tart cherries. I would have loved to bake this cake or gateau as its called. However, my family would have probably thrown me out with all the dessert I'm making for the past few days.

   Remember I mentioned in the last dessert post that I was looking for brownies. Well, its for this dessert. Since I couldn't bake the cake(who will eat it??) and as the Blogging Marathon theme suggested No Baked Desserts, I decided to make the next best thing to Black Forest Cake and that is a Black Forest Trifle. 

   Usually trifles are set in a big bowl and then served by scooping out a portion. I decided to go the mini way and made them in individual portions.I used up some chocolate muffins that I had baked sometime back and since no one wanted to eat the last 3 muffins, I put them in the freezer for future use.

   This trifle is so delicious and easy to make. Since I wanted an alcohol free dessert (Shravan month no alcohol), I made some cherry compote or sauce. Though Father and Son were complaining that I'm the reason they are putting on weight, they relished the dessert thoroughly. Just can't win men...can you?






 BLACK FOREST TRIFLE
For 4

For the cherry compote or sauce:
2 cups pitted cherries
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp kirsch or orange juice

For the trifle:
Leftover or store bought cake about 3 muffins or 3 brownie squares
1 cup whipped fresh cream (add 1 tbsp of powdered sugar before you whip)
some grated dark or milk chocolate 

  1. To prepare the cherry sauce, put the pitted cherries, sugar and juice or kirsch in a pan.
  2. Put the pan over medium heat and cook the cherries till they become soft but not mushy.
  3. You'll have a syrupy liquid but don't discard that or cook it further as the syrup will help to moisten the cake.
  4. Let the cherry sauce cool down completely.
To assemble the trifle:
  1. Take 4 clear glasses or bowls.
  2. Break up the muffin or brownies into pieces.
  3. Divide the cake between 4 glasses or bowls.
  4. Spoon the cherry sauce over it.
  5. Top it with fresh whipped cream.
  6. Garnish with grated chocolate and serve.
Tips:
  • Leave the prepared trifle in the fridge to cool for an hour or so before serving if you want to.
  • If the syrup is not enough to moisten the cake sprinkle some orange juice or kirsch over the pieces.
  • Used canned cherries if you don't get fresh ones.
You may want to check out some cherries recipes of mine:

Cherry Cobbler Parfait
Sending this recipe to the following event:


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Check out what other Blogging Marathoners have cooked for Blogging Marathon#78 here

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673.Vegan Mixed Berries Ice Cream

Just the right time to have ice cream

   It has been really hot for the past few days in Montreal. Its humid and just the kind of weather all Canadians enjoy. People are out walking, jogging, having picnics, swimming, sailing, lazing in the sun. Hubby and I want to be indoors as the sun is too much for us. My dad is here, his first visit to Canada. He is from London, so he too is enjoying the really sunny hot days. When I run for the shade, he thinks I'm mad. So I had to remind him that I get more than enough sun back home in Mombasa, so I'd rather enjoy the cool or cold weather.

   Anyway, its the right theme that Sarah Ellis has chosen for this months Fantastical Food Fight. The theme is Ice Cream. I went through so many options to make the ice cream for this theme, but the abundance of berries just kept on beckoning me. A couple of weeks ago, we saw this documentary on veganism. I'm not totally convinced to give up my dairy products...love cheese and yogurt too much. But the paradox is that my meat eating hubby decides not to became a vegetarian only but also decides to become a vegan!!!!!!!!! Yes, you heard me right; I'm still so so surprised. My chicken loving daughter too is trying out to go the vegan way!

   I'm a vegetarian, and now both are trying to convince me to become a vegan. My argument is that if Lord Krishna loved all dairy products right from butter to yogurt... it surely can't be harmful. However, everyone has the freedom to make their own choice. Now that father and daughter have found a new common passion-vegan-- he was complaining that I was not making enough vegan food for him. On a serious note, most of our basic Gujarati food is vegan except that some food may contain yogurt. 

   Keeping in mind my vegan hubby(and his snide remarks!), I decided against the rich creamy ice creams and decided on a vegan one. I'm glad I tried out this ice cream simply for the reason that its a guilt free and healthy dessert. And I love the beautiful colour that the berries have imparted to this delicious ice cream.





VEGAN MIXED BERRIES ICE CREAM
Serves 6-8

2 large or 3 medium bananas
2 cups of frozen mixed berries
¼ cup almond milk
2-4 tbsp cane sugar or maple syrup
a pinch of salt
  1. Peel and slice the bananas. Layer them in an airtight tin.
  2. Freeze the slices overnight or for 2-3 hours.
  3. Put the frozen banana slices, milk, frozen berries, salt and sugar or maple syrup in a food processor.
  4. Process the mixture.
  5. You may need to push down the fruit with the help of the spatula.
  6. Process till you get a smooth mixture.
  7. Scoop out the ice cream into a freezable tin.
  8. Let the ice cream freeze for 1 hour or so or you may serve the soft ice cream... your choice.
Tips:
  • Add any frozen fruit of your choice.
  • I used over ripe bananas so didn't need to add so much maple syrup.
  • Use vegan milk of your choice like any other nut milk or coconut milk.
  • Once the ice cream sets, its advisable not to re freeze it as it becomes really hard. So small batches are best. Once you have the frozen ingredients ready, this ice cream is really easy to make.
You may want to check my other ice cream recipes (not  vegan):
lemongrass and ginger infused pineapple coconut ice cream
Thandai Kulfi Ice Cream
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672. Strawberry Mug Cake

A quick dessert fix

Theme: No Bake Desserts

BM#78 Week 3 Day 2

   I must admit its all these theme based cooking that is motivating me to either prepare bookmarked recipes or try out new recipes. I've come across so many mug cakes but never really bothered to try them out. For the No Bake Desserts theme, we are suppose to make a dessert which we would normally bake in a convectional oven but not bake it in an oven...confused?? Basically no using a convectional oven. 

   Taking advantage of the abundance of berries available in the markets in Montreal, I decided to make a mug cake in the microwave oven instead of using the convectional oven. I must admit I still love my 'properly' baked cakes but as a quick dessert treat... and I mean really quick, mug cakes are not a bad option at all. Even my sone was surprised that I could bake a cake so quickly. Last week when we went to the supermarket, I was looking for brownies to prepare my other no bake dessert and I didn't find any(perhaps Montreal people do not like brownies???). His answer was bake it the microwave!

   The first mug cake I tried was when my daughter was visiting us in Mombasa and she made a chocolate mug cake. It was super heavy...not weight wise but heavy for the tummy. I don't have a microwave oven at home (hubby doesn't like any food zapped with laser beams or whatever rays are present in the micro). However, we have one at our holiday apartment by the beach. Nami, packed all the ingredients in a little tin and she baked it at the apartment. It was really delicious and it turned out good and not all mushy and gooey.

   Here in Montreal, my son has a microwave oven so I was dying to try out the mug cake. To make it a bit lighter than the chocolate cake Nami had baked I added fresh strawberries. I must say the cake was really delicious, but this too we shared as it was just too much for one person. 

   So here's my Strawberry Mug Cake and yes I would definitely make it again. I know most people mix everything in the mug itself and bake. However, I prefer to mix the ingredients and then scoop out the batter into the mug. I greased the mug lightly so that the baked cake did not stick to the wall of the mug. This is a vegan recipe. I used the big yellow lemon which adds such a citrusy wonderful taste to the cake.




STRAWBERRY MUG CAKE
Makes 1

4 tbsp plain flour (all purpose flour)
3 tbsp light brown sugar
½ tsp baking powder
3 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 big strawberries cut into chunks
½ tsp lemon zest
½ tbsp lemon juice
a pinch of salt

  1. Lightly grease a big microwavable mug with oil.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a small mixing bowl.
  3. Mix it with a whip or a fork. Add the chopped strawberry pieces.
  4. Pour the batter into the mug. It will fill half of the mug.
  5. Microwave for 80-90 seconds (1½minutes).
  6. Insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake. It should come out clean. If the cake is not done then microwave it further for 20-30 seconds.
  7. The cake is ready.
Tips:
  • Make sure you lightly grease the mug with oil or butter.
  • Use a MICROWAVABLE mug.
  • You may use normal milk or almond, coconut, soy or any nut milk.
  • I used light brown sugar, however you can use normal white sugar if you prefer.
  • You can use frozen strawberries.
  • The sweetness of the cake was just right for us. However, if you prefer a more sweet cake, add 1 more tablespoon of sugar.
You may want to check out my other strawberry recipes:
strawberry mousse (eggless)

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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

671. Apple Crumble Parfait

Easy dessert

Theme: No Bake Desserts

BM#78 Week 3 Day 1

    I love making easy desserts. It usually means I get to serve it in a glass and its just a matter of putting a few ingredients together to make a satisfying dessert. Srivalli, the starter of Blogging Marathon suggested that for this theme we make desserts that normally we would bake but instead to beat the heat, make them in such a manner that we don't have to bake them in a convectional oven. 

    When I decided to choose the theme, the first baked dessert that came to my mind was apple crumble or as its known apple crisp. Basically, chopped apples mixed with a bit of butter, sugar and cinnamon are layered in a baking dish. Then its topped with a mixture of plain flour, butter, oats and cinnamon. The dessert is baked. At the bottom you have the soft apples and the top is crispy, crunchy. Its usually served with ice cream...a hot dessert with cold ice cream. I love this dessert. 

    So I had to make a no bake version of this dessert. Anyway its been pretty hot in Montreal and cooking in front of the oven and the hot plates is not so appealing. The weather here can get pretty hot and humid. However, what I really enjoy here are the visits to the supermarket and the market. So many colourful fruits and vegetables are trying to outshine the variety of flowers. One gets to see greenery everywhere and its heaven to walk here without any matatus or rickshaws honking at you and trying to invade your space. 

   
   For the apple crumble parfait I decided to add some blueberries...okay... I just couldn't resist adding them as I want to take full advantage of the abundance of berries here. I cooked the apples and blueberries in a little bit of butter till the fruits became soft. Instead of the homemade crisp layer, I added some ready made granola and the dessert was ready to be served. 




APPLE CRUMBLE PARFAIT
Serves 4

2 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
1 cup blueberries
1 tsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
½ cup ready made granola
4 scoops of vanilla ice cream


  1. Heat butter in a pan over low heat.
  2. Add the chopped apples, blueberries and sugar.
  3. Mix well and cook over low heat till the apples become a bit soft.
  4. Take the pan off the heat. add cinnamon powder and miss well.
  5. Divide the fruit mixture between the 4 glasses or bowls.
  6. Sprinkle the granola over it equally.
  7. Top it up with a scoop of ice cream in each glass.
  8. Serve immediately.
Tips:
  • If you want to make it with only apples then use 3 apples.
  • Use any granola of your choice.
  • For a more healthier version of this dessert serve it with vanilla flavoured greek yogurt.
  • If you prefer you can cool the fruit mixture in the fridge and then serve.
You may want to check out some apple recipes:
apple cinnamon ice cream
apple dessert pizza

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Monday, 17 July 2017

670. Date Coconut Energy Balls



Shravan.... A Holy Month

   Shravan or Saawan is the holiest month in the Hindu Calendar. Many Hindus fast for the whole of the Shravan Maas or month. Different Hindu Communities begin the fast on different dates. Some begin the fast immediately after Guru Purnima and some later on in the month. This holy month then culminates with Raksha Bandhan, a festival where the sisters tie a rakhi or thread on the wrists of their brothers. Some people fast the whole month i.e. every day for the whole month and some fast every Monday of this holy month and are called the Shravan Somvar Vrat. 
    
   Why is this month so important to the Hindus? According to the Hindu Mythology, when the Gods and Demons churned the Ocean (Samudra Manthan) many precious gems came out but also poison came out from it in the month of Shravan. This poison would have destroyed everything. However none of the Gods or Demons wanted to deal with the poison. Lord Shiva came to the rescue, he swallowed the poison and kept it in his throat, which turned blue. So thus his is also known as Neel Kanth... the blue throat. This way Lord Shiva saved the world and therefore Shravan month is auspicious and many Hindus conduct poojas, and chant the holy name of Lord Shiva.
  
  Different communities fast in different ways. Some consume only fruits and dairy products... no salt, no grains or vegetables. Some observe the fast by consuming only certain types of vegetables like root vegetables, but no onion and garlic. They do not consume grains but only tapioca pearls (sabudana), samo, amaranth, water chestnut, quinoa, buckwheat etc.  Ans some observe the fast by taking only one regular meal. Devotees are encouraged to visit the temples and offer flowers, bilipatra and panchamrut to the Shiv Ling. They also have to chant the Mrityunjay Mantra. 



   However one is encouraged to chant this mantra not only during the month of Shravan but everyday. It basically means:
"We worship the three-eyed one who is fragrant, and who sustains all living beings. May he liberate us from (Samsara) death. May he (Lord Shiva) lead us to immortality, just as the cucumber is released from its bondage."

   The FoodieMonday/Bloghop group's 101th theme is #Saawan Vrat Speciality or Shravan Vrat Speciality. This theme was chosen by Poonam, a new member to the group and blogs at Annapurna.
When she suggested the theme, I was all excited. For Gujaratis Shravan is the tenth month. Many just fast on Mondays and others fast by eating only one regular meal but without any onions and garlic and strictly no meat, fish or alcohol should be consumed during this month.But most Gujaratis will fast the whole month by consuming farali food. That means no grains and legumes are consumed. As you may know Gujjus love their food and fast also in style:)  During this month several important fastings are observed and rituals followed. Read about it here

   I wanted to make some farali handvo for this theme. However, my joy was short lived as in Montreal I was not able to find samo, rajgira and sabudana. I had to put on my thinking hat again and finally decided on an ultra healthy treat. Not so Gujju but modern Gujjus may love to consume these energy balls or laddoos during any fast. These energy balls or laddoos have not added sugar, are vegan and without any added fat.







DATE COCONUT ENERGY BALLS
Makes 16-18 balls

1 cup pitted dates, lightly pressed (I used 18)
1 cup mixed nuts (cashew nuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios etc)
½ cup desiccated coconut
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
 extra desiccated coconut for coating
  1. Put the nuts in a food processor and process them till the nuts are chopped into a coarse powder.
  2. Add the dates, orange juice, orange zest and coconut and process till the mixture comes together like a paste.
  3. Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball.
  4. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  5. Roll each ball in the coconut till its coated.
  6. Put the balls in the fridge for an hour or so.
  7. Serve. Put the remaining balls in an airtight container and store in the fridge.
Tips:
  • Its best to use medjool dates or any other soft sugarless dates.
  • Adds nuts of your choice.
  • If you don't like orange flavour then add milk or water instead of the juice and add vanilla extract instead.
  • Great naturally sweet treat even when not fasting.
You may want to check out other fasting recipes:
amaranth fruity pudding


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