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August 29, 2009


sweet sesame jam rolls1.JPG

I AM BACK TO BAKING WITH YEAST AND AM HAPPIEST DOING SO!These rolls were baked fresh and soft for breakfast today and they were awesome with a cup of Coffee, go on try these out...the recipe can be found here , with just a few changes-substitute wholewheat flour with regular All purpose flour, roll out small rounds and fill with preserve of choice, I used Orange marmalade, roll up and pinch the ends to seal thus forming a round, brush top with egg white and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top, leave for half an hour to rise, bake till top is golden approx 20 minutes, serve rolls warm from oven brushed with butter on top.

sweet sesame jam rolls.JPG

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August 28, 2009


It's raining outside as the much awaited Monsoons are here and the garden is a riot of colours, almost too beautiful to believe...I am curled up with a cup of hot cocoa and instead of a recipe want to give you a peep of all that is so pretty when I look out of the window...


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Anthrium, pronounced an-THOO-ree-um, are once-seen, never-forgotten flowers. Their unmistakable glossy heart-shaped bright red flower bract (which gives them their popular name of painter's palette) surrounds the true flowers, which are in the form of a spike (or spathe) at the centre. Anthuriums come in shades of reds, pinks, white, lilac, green and chocolate brown.Each flower will last about six weeks on the plant or several weeks when cut and placed in a vase of water

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Calico flower-I find these absolutely fascinating and fairy-like...they are the cutest thing you ever saw!!Native to South America, Calico flower is a tender evergreen vine with very unusual flowers. Leaves are beautiful, bright green heart shaped. Slender woody stems twine gracefully in tight coils around any support, growing to heights of 10-15 ft. In summer the vine produces abundance of 3 in flowers scattered among the drooping leaves. The greenish-white flowers have a s-shaped tube that is flared at the mouth that resembles a 19th century Dutch pipe or I think more like a duck!. The inner portion surface of the mouth of the "pipe" is covered with a purplish-brown pattern that is reminiscent of calico fabric which inspire this species common name "calico flower".


China rose-Nobody knows whether the hibiscus really is a native of China as its latin name, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, (rosa-sinensis = Chinese Rose) suggests or not. Many believe, it comes from India. This large shrub or small tree grows to 15 feet high. Flowers are glorious and huge and occur in many colors. Most are flared and have a bell shape and may be single or double, smooth or scalloped.



Wishbone Flower- What a lovely name! The pale violet flowers have deep purple blotches on the lower petals with yellow inside. The cool colors are a welcome relief during the heat of summer. Flowers bloom throughout the summer and autumn.


Sweet William is a species of Dianthus native to the mountains of southern Europe, with a variety in northeastern China, Korea, and southeasternmost Russia. The flowers are produced in a dense cluster of up to 30 at the top of the stems and have a spicy, clovelike scent. There are varieties with red, pink and white flowers. The plant is widely used in borders, rock gardens. Sweet William flowers attracts birds, bees and butterflies. Many legends purport to explain how Sweet William acquired its name, but none is verified. It is variously said to be named after Saint William of York, William the Conqueror, or Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. Another etymological derivation is that william is a corruption of the French oillet, meaning "little eye". Sweet William is a favourite name for lovelorn young men in English folklore.How sweet is that!


Hydrangea is a rounded shrub, flowers are arranged in huge, ball shaped clusters on the most common varieties. The name probably comes from the resemblance of the flowerheads to mops!!Isn't that unusual??. Hydrangeas are fascinating in that, unlike most other plants, the color of their flowers can change dramatically. Changing a hydrangea from pink to blue entails adding aluminum to the soil. Changing from blue to pink means subtracting aluminum from the soil or taking it out of reach of the hydrangea. Though we commonly call it French hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla is native to Japan and Korea.

text source- http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/garden.html -pictures are all from my garden

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August 26, 2009


pasta- oriental style.JPG

I love noodles, pasta and rice and prefer them possibly over anything and everything else, so I made this delicious Oriental style pasta (not technically pasta but should I call them flat noodles instead here :)) for dinner yesterday which combines possibly all my favorite flavors, this simple, put-together-in-a-jiffy pasta will have your family licking their fingers...literally! for this you require-

  • Pasta boiled and drained-200gms

  • Carrots, sliced- 2

  • Capsicum, sliced-2

  • Cabbage-1/2 head, sliced thin

  • Ginger+garlic- chopped fine-1 tbsp

  • Boiled and shredded chicken-1 cup

  • Cilantro-1 bunch

  • Sweet chilli sauce- 2-3 tbsp (I use Maepranom Thai sweet chilli sauce)

  • Lemon juice- 1 tbsp

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Oil-2 tbsp

Heat oil and toss in the ginger and garlic first, till slightly golden, now add the veggies first and cook for 5 minutes, toss in the rest of the ingredients, season, toss well, taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with cilantro, and a fried red chilli if desired.Enjoy your pasta piping hot!

pasta-oriental style!.JPG

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August 23, 2009

KONG FIRNI (Saffron flavored rice pudding) ...a unique kashmiri dessert

zafrani firni.JPG

Kashmiri Cuisine has very few desserts and this is one of them, a cool creamy delicious rice based pudding served traditionally in small earthenware pots known as "kullars" like the one in the picture above.Fragrant long grain basmati rice is cooked with milk and flavored with zafran, the silver "varq"(thinly beaten sheet of silver) adds a royal touch to this special dessert.

I remember when we were kids Mom used to buy the "kullars", soak them in water overnight to get rid of any mud or dirt sticking to them and to impart a special smell (khushboo)of wet earth to them, then she used to set the firni in them.Ingredients required to make this-

  • Full cream milk-1 litre

  • Saffron- 1/4 tsp

  • Basmati rice- 3/4 cup

  • Khoya-1/2 cup

  • Condensed milk-1/2 cup

  • Sugar- acc. to taste

  • Kewra (vetiver) essence- a few drops

  • Almonds- soaked and sliced , a handful

  • Pistachios-2 tbsp, sliced

  • Silver varq- acc. to requirement.

Soak rice overnight, next day grind finely with little water.Add saffron to milk and bring to a gentle boil, now combine rice and milk and bring to a rapid boil stirring continuously at least for 15-20 minutes till thick, now add the khoya, kewra and condensed milk and cook on slow flame, taste and adjust sugar.Once a thick and creamy, let cool.Pour into small serving bowls/earthenware bowls and garnish with pistachios, almonds and varq.Chill well before serving.

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Enjoy firni with Led Zepp's "Kashmir" video on You tube.

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August 17, 2009


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Yesterday I came across some lovely Himalayan organic ricotta, made locally, otherwise good cheese is difficult to come by in most parts of India except for Delhi I think where you can get a good variety of local as well as imported cheese.The first thing that came into mind was to make a simple,refreshing summer dip, which we munched piled high on to with crackers, veggies and good ole' potato crisps...

  • Ricotta cheese- 200 gms

  • Onion-1 medium chopped fine

  • Green chillies- 2 deseeded and sliced

  • Cilantro- a handful, chopped

  • Fresh, tender ginger- 1 tbsp ,chopped fine

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients well in a large bowl, garnish with more cilantro, serve.Taste the dip you will feel an explosion of all the lovely fresh flavors in your mouth..totally Indian, totally desi, totally us!

ricotta cheese dip.JPG

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August 15, 2009


soft n fluffy pancakes.JPG

These delicious soft, fluffy pillows are the stuff sweet dreams are made of, quick and easy to make- they are the typical all American breakfast must have...all of you too lazy to bake a cake- like me, get up and make these, they are oooooh... so yummy! for making these you require-

  • Flour-1 cup

  • Yogurt- 1 tbsp

  • Vanilla essence-1 tsp

  • Sugar-3/4 cup powdered

  • Milk-1 and 1/2 cup (more if required to make a thin spreadable batter)

  • Baking powder-1 and half tsp

  • Melted butter-2 tbsp

  • Egg-1

  • Your favorite preserve (I used raspberry) +more butter to serve :)

Combine all the above ingredients and beat well, heat a hot heavy bottom non stick griddle, spread out large tablespoons of the batter, dot with butter, let brown evenly.Serve with more butter and honey/maple syrup/preserve of choice.


The above picture was beautifully captured by a friend while I was having a difficult time taking them from just the angle I wanted...thanks Jags!

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August 12, 2009


chicken biryani1.JPG

This is my mother's very famous recipe which she makes only on special occassions but till date she has not given the recipe to anyone, so when I went to see her recently and to tie "rakhi" to my brother she called me to her side and said -"I will not be around for very long but I want to share my special recipe with you and your blog readers so that it lives on forever", I was so touched I had tears in my eyes....Here I am sharing it with you all as per her wishes, along with very detailed step-by-step pictures taken as she made it, do let me know if you make it too so that I can tell her and I AM SURE SHE WOULD BE VERY HAPPY TO KNOW....Ingredients required for making this(serves 10)-

  • Fresh chicken- 2 (approx 700gms each), cut into 8 pcs each

  • Finest basmati you can find- 3 steel glass full OR about 4 and a half cups

  • Onions (sliced)- 7 medium

  • Ginger- 1/2 cup chopped

  • Garlic-1/2 cup chopped

  • Almonds- soaked and peeled, a handful

  • Raisins and cashews- handful

  • Mint- 1 cup chopped

  • Juice of 1 large lemon

  • Saffron -a pinch soaked in milk

  • Pure desi ghee-1/2 cup

  • Garam masala- 3-4 tbsp (freshly ground)

  • Bay leaves-2

  • Butter-50 gms

  • Aniseed powder(saunf)-1 tsp

  • Green chillies- 2 sliced

  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Chopped onions, ginger and garlic.

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Wash basmati and soak at least 1 hour before.

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Make the stock-In a pressure cooker take the lesser desired parts of the chicken like neck and all, add a handful of onions alongwith a tbsp each of ginger and garlic as well as some garam masala and bay leaves and give 5-6 whistles, strain and keep stock aside.

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Fry rest of the chicken in desi ghee, till golden brown,drain and keep aside.

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In the same ghee fry the onions ,ginger and garlic till golden, drain and keep aside.

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Now fry the nuts and raisins in this ghee.

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Soak saffron in milk.

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Take a heavy bottom pot like the one shown above,OR you can use whatever you have at hand. Bring the stock to a boil, add 2 tbsp garam masala to it, then the drained rice, add salt .Let rice cook covered till almost done.

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Add chicken and onion, ginger garlic fried , dot with butter/ghee.

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Add chopped mint, dry fruit and saffron.

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Squeeze lemon juice,add rest of garam masala and saunf powder, adjust seasoning , you can add finely sliced green chillies too.Combine everything well very, very gently so as not to break the rice.

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Seal top of pot with some dough, put on "dum" (put in moderate oven or on slow heat for 10-15 minutes).

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Though it does take time and effort to make a good biryani, I hope this pictorial will be helpful for first timers as well as for the seasoned cook.The biryani has a FULL-BODIED flavor and is essentially Muslim style biryani, we enjoyed ours with some pomegranate yogurt and a glass of wine.I am really happy to finally have the recipe and that too with such clarity so that my mother's legacy is passed down to future generations and the taste that was in her hand can be revived and remembered for years to come.

Thank you mamma for sharing this precious recipe with us...

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August 9, 2009


armenian chicken walnut salad.JPG

Never knew that I would learn so many dishes from my Armenian friend!, well it has been very satisfying and leaves me wanting more of this lovely cuisine...

Since it is so hot here, we wish to eat just the lightest of things and salads are top priority, this lovely light summer salad with a subtle lacing of garlic and the crunch of walnuts is just perfect!, we really enjoyed it with crisp toasted bread and since it is so easy to put together everyone was surprised that dinner was on the table in hardly any time at all!! For this salad you require-

  • Chicken- 1 boiled and deboned (reserve stock for soup of your choice)

  • Walnuts-1/2 cup

  • Eggless low fat mayonnaise-1/2 cup

  • Plump garlic cloves-2

  • Coriander/Cilantro-1/2 cup, chopped

  • Fresh ground pepper-acc to taste

  • Salt-acc to taste

Method- With a sharp knife chop deboned chicken and keep aside, crush garlic cloves.In a large bowl combine all the ingredients together, adjust seasoning as well as the amount of mayo, chill for at least an hour, (you can prepare this salad even a day before).serve with soup and crisp bread slices.

armenian chicken walnut salad2.JPG

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August 1, 2009


banana choco-chip muffins.JPG

I love baking banana bread just because of the aroma that fills up the house, so I thought why not enjoy it in the miniature form as muffins, as a last minute indulgence I lovingly added choco chips :).For these you require-

  • Bananas(very ripe)-2

  • All purpose flour-2 cups

  • Sugar- 1/2 cup

  • Milk- 1/2 cup

  • Yogurt- 2 tbsp

  • Vanilla essence-1 tbsp

  • Chocolate chips-a handful, sweetened

  • Baking pwdr- 3 tsp

  • Butter-4 tbsp (softened)

Preheat oven, and line muffin tray.Mash bananas well with a fork , then add all the ingredients in the order listed above, mix well, batter should be somewhat lumpy, and voila!, your lazy mix muffin batter is ready in the blink of an eye!!pour halfway into lined tray, bake 20 minutes at 180C.Now you know why I love these beauties soooo much, well next time will add a handful of walnuts too...what say?..and maybe frost these too!!

banana choco-chip muffins batterJPG.JPG


banana choco-chip muffins bakedJPG.JPG


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