Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to Color Sugar in just a few seconds!

Want to make sugar cookies, but don't have any colored sugar ?Well no worries! I have the world's most easy method to make your own colored sugar. You can dye it in a matter of seconds and even make new colors too!

In the modern world decorative and colored sugars can be easily available but also quite expensive. Well in my opinion if you have sugar and food color at home then why waste money on it?

In my part of the world we cant easily find these decorative items and they are only available at high class grocery stores that stock imported items. So its really a big hassle to get this kind of stuff. Some shops may only have one color or may be none at all. So I usually try to adapt the do-it-yourself mode in such a situation. Most of the items I make are from scratch. This way anyone can make them. Most recipes on the net involve many ready made items that are not available globally. For example Betty Crocker cake mixes, taco seasoning, etc. So making it from scratch makes it easy for anyone to follow.

Ok now for coloring the sugar. Take a jar and put the required amount of sugar in it. If the sugar has large crystals then that's the best kind to use. Otherwise any will do.

Now add a few drops of the required food color. I'm using green. Use a few drops initially and then increase the number of drops until you get the required color.

Now shake the bottle well and make sure all the sugar is evenly coated. and Viola! you have green sugar!

Tip: If your going to use it later then its best to spread the sugar out and let it dry and then store it.. Now enjoy sugar cookies and other desserts with colored sugar and no pinch on the wallet!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quick and Easy Kulfi Ice Cream

In this hot and humid month of Ramadan I was craving for something cool and satisfying. What could be better than yummy rich Kulfi! I wanted to make it, BUT not slave over the heat of the stove for hours. So I tried a few short cuts and came up with an outstanding recipe. Here it is :

Kulfi Ice Cream
1 Liter milk (4 cups)
1/2 tin condensed milk (7 oz)
6-8 pods of green cardamon
1 tbsp sugar
4 slightly heaped Tbsp of milk powder ( I used NIDO)

Take out the black seeds from the green cardamon pods and waste the husks. Now grind these seeds with 1 tbsp sugar till fine powder and set aside.

Take a heavy based pan and pour in 3 cups milk, the cardamon and sugar powder, 1/2 tin condensed milk. Then in the remaining one cup of milk mix in the 4 tbsp milk powder then also add this to the pan. Now turn on the heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Now remove from heat and cool a bit and pour into the Kulfi molds, or a pudding molds or Popsicle molds...what ever you have will do. Then freeze well. When frozen ENJOY!..they were sooo good.


After cool you can add 1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds or Pistachios then freeze

Or for Saffron Kufli ( kesar, zafraan) you can add some strand of Saffron to 2-tblsp warm milk then add to Kulfi mixture and freeze..All are super yummy!

Do let me know if you enjoyed!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quick & Easy Dessert Recipe: Candi Custard

There are so many varieties of desserts. Change one ingredient and you have added a whole new dimension to the dish. A dash of creativity and and a drop of imagination makes the possibilities endless.I have for you here a very quick, easy and yummy dessert recipe.With some slight variations you can create a new master piece every time.

Let me give you a run through of the basic dessert first and we can variate later. There are just 4 ingredients:

One box Candi Biscuits
( coarsely crushed)
2 cups thick cream
3 -4 Cups vanilla Custard (prepared and cooled)
Fruit ( either pineapple chunks, sliced bananas or apples sauteed with a little sugar )

Take a nice 8" glass dish and line it with the crushed Candi Biscuits, then pour prepared custard over it. Then layer it with thick cream and then the fruit. Repeat layers twice and end by covering top layer with the crushed cookies... Chill and enjoy... Now what could be more simple?

As for the variation you can variate by changing the type of cookies, the flavor of the custard/pudding and the fruits. For example use oatmeal cookies, chocolate pudding,strawberries and whipped cream for a whole new range of flavors! You can also add granola instead of the cookies to give it a crunch and turn it into a more healthy option. This dessert looks super in individual glass servings too.

Recipe: No Bake Chocolate Cake - Super Hit!!

Chocolate is an all time favorite. I dont know of many people that DON'T like it. As for me , I am a chocoholic. I always have some stashed away hidden from everybody, then again ...who doesn't ;)

I will now share a recipe that I have been making for many years and has always been a super hit. The taste is somewhat of a chilled snickers bar, so if you like that, you will surely enjoy this one!

No Bake Chocolate Cake Recipe:

6 0z Butter
2 tsp cocoa powder
2 eggs
7 tbsp white sugar
1 pack of Marie Biscuits
1/2 cup of roasted peanuts (you can use any nut)

Fill a heavy based iron pan with water and put it on the stove to boil.
Take another pan (that will fit into the larger pan of water) and in it put the butter, eggs, sugar and cocoa. Mix well. When the water in the larger pan begins to boil , put the bowl with the mixture in the water ( Also called a Ban marie) and stir constantly til the mixture thickens.
Then take it off the stove and allow to cool a bit. When a bit cooler add the crushed Marie Biscuits and Crushed peanuts. Mix and coat well. Now pour this mixture into a 6-8 inch spring form pan lined with butter paper and chill in freezer for 5-6 hours. Then remove from pan , slice and enjoy!

The Bento Box - Good things in small packages!

Bento is Japanese for a single person meal. The Bento box is a box that has various compartments , each containing a different food item. Traditionally it consisted of rice, fish, meat, pickled or cooked veggies as a side dish. The Japanese women were suppose to be able to produce a very appealing and tasty Bento box meals, but now they can be found in various places as take out lunches and fast food. Its history and origin can be found at Wikipedia.

Here is a Salmon Teriyaki Bento box I found at the yummi-licious blog.

The Japanese people are very meticulous when it comes to food. It not only has to taste good, but also has to look even better! They have turned it into a form of art. Here are some awesome ones for kids! I would love to dig into one now...Yummmmm

Saturday, August 20, 2011

White Gazpacho Soup vs. Cucumber Raita

I was going through some food blogs today and came to a very interesting conclusion. There are many foods of different cultures that are actually quite similar to one another. But since they have various exotic names ,it sometimes becomes hard to tell .

Let me start off by telling you about White Gazapacho Soup . Now gazpacho is basically a Spanish cold soup that is made of raw vegetables. Usually tomatoes but in this case since the soup is suppose to be "white" so it uses cucumbers. Here's a recipes that I found off an excellent blog called 100 days of real food.

This White Gazpacho Soup uses cucumbers, garlic, parsley, yogurt, sour cream, vinegar and salt and everything is blended into a puree and served as soup. Here is a gourmet version of the same.

OK now in my part of the world i.e. Pakistan, we have something called "Kheeray ka Raita" which is cucumber raita. Raita is a condiment uses as a sauce or dip. It accompanies many meals during the summer time and can be consumed with curry, rice or bread.

My favorite recipe is to take 2 cups of nice thick yogurt and add one large grated cucumber to it. Then add salt and black pepper to taste along with 1/4-1/2 level tsp of garlic powder. That's it. Your good to go!

The soup is obviously finer in texture and the raita is lumpy and has a nice bite to it. The former is used as starter or course in a meal and the latter is a condiment. Therefore I cant say they are both the same thing but quite similar. I found this comparison quite interesting and hope you did too. Ahhhhh the wonderful world of food!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sattu and Shakar ka Sharbat

Today Im going to share with you one of my favorite summer drinks that is packed with energy and has a cooling effects on the body too. Its Sattu in Shakar ka Sharbat.

Sattu is basically dry roasted grains that are ground into a course powder or meal. It can be of wheat, barley (jaw), oat, green gram, horse gram (chana dal). A classical favorite of mine is the barley "sattu".

For me I love sattu in shakar ka sharbat. "Shakar" is raw cane sugar or non crystallized brown sugar. Just mix it with water and you have raw cane sugar sherbat. This is a very popular drink in Punjab in both India and Pakistan during the summer.

Let me give you a step by step recipe for this awesome summer cooler.

Step one: Take a glass of cold water

Step 2: Add 4-5 tsps of raw cane sugar ( as per desired sweetness) and stir to make sharbat

Step 3: Now add ice and chill then add 2-3 Tbsps of Sattu and mix and enjoy!

Falsa (Grewia Asiatica)

God has bestowed this Earth with numerous organic gems. One of them is the "Falsa" which is also known as Grewia Asiatica. Its is a dark purple berry like fruit that has a sweet and tangy flavor and small hard seeds. This fruit is indigenous to Pakistan and India but can now be found in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

In the summer is seems to be one of the most sought after fruits. It also has immense medicinal value as all parts of the plant is used and very beneficial.

BARK: Infusions are used to reliever fever and used as a remedy for stomach problems and indigestion. Also used to purify sugar cane juice and in the process of making brown sugar.
LEAVES: Have an antibiotic effect and used to heal cuts ,wounds and rashes
FRUIT: Eaten whole has many benefits.

Treatment of liver and gall bladder problems
Regulating blood pressure
Regulating cholesterol levels
Relief from coughs and colds

The Falsa sherbat is an excellent remedy for sunstroke . Here's a recipe :

Falsa fruit : 1kg ( 2.2lbs)
Water : 4 cups
Sugar : 2cups

Make 2 cups of sugar syrup by boiling 2 cups sugar with 2 cups water. When thick set aside. Soak the washed fruit in 4 cups water for at least 4 hours. Then blend the fruit and water and pass it through a fine sieve. Now mix the sieved juice with the sugar syrup. Add salt or black salt as desired and chill well and serve! Yummmm

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nando's Peri Peri Chicken : Review

My family wanted to eat out and wanted a new experience. I had suggested Nando's as I had heard a lot about the "Peri Peri Chicken" , but still had not tried it. Since chicken is an all time favorite and a no-fail choice, therefore with a unanimous vote it was decided. Peri Peri is a small red hot fiery South African Chilli.

Ok now off we go. The ambiance was nice but it was quite a small place in Defense, Lahore, Pakistan. While trodding through the menu we found a very limited choice. Not many things to choose from. By this time the skeptic in me was wide awake and very busy analyzing every aspect of the experience.

The order: We are one of those people who relish all that is hot and spicy. Despite the warning that the waiter gave us , we decided to order the extra hot version of the whole chicken . Now this came with a choice of 4 side servings and viola! They only had a choice of 4 side servings.Hmmmm. I told the waiter to bring one of each. They were cole slaw, peri peri wedges, normal french fries and peri peri rice.

We were four people so the chicken was cut into 4 pieces. It seems that the chef put it on one plate and then cut it up as one plate was splattered with the sauce. Even so they could have taken a second to clean the plate. OK that's the second negative mark. The first was sticky dirty cutlery.

We all first tasted the 4 side orders. All passed with flying colors! We especially liked the peri peri rice. It was light, spicy and very different. Now for the main course. I carved out a piece and very skeptically tasted it. OK WOW! It was very very different, not very spicy but unique and delicious! I loved it! It was cooked well and very tasty. I must say being a food lover and avid recipe tester, this one was a winner! We will definitely try it again!

Ok now after this experience the cook in me wondered what could be a nice clone recipe that I can make from scratch at home. I know that we can easily find the Nando's marinades and sauces in the market, but I wanted something that I could make fresh and change it to suit my needs. I found the perfect peri peri recipe and am sharing here. Hope you enjoy it!

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