Diwali Dhamaka

If Diwali is around the corner, can food and fun be far behind! My team is excited about the challenge thrown to them…create an innovative Indian dish in under 2 hours! This is on coming Tuesday. Will also be having a havan on next Monday. Long time since we have had one in the office and so it will be a good thing. Then some break from work for everyone!
Last week, spent some time in Aurangabad giving a demonstration of recipes at the MGM Institute of Hotel Management. Yes, my new offering was a hare choliye ki pani puri!
So what is cooking this Diwali! Tell you, there is hope in the air as even the rising prices have not been able to dampen the festive spirit. The markets are aglow with sale of diyas and electric lahrees, the saree shops seem to be always packed (!) and soon we will see the same rush in mithai shops….
Wherever you turn, you witness some innovation in the food offered to you. The palate is growing at such a fast pace that restaurateurs are on their toes! People want new foods, new tastes and textures and I really think this is time that food is shining in India. But let us not forget the traditional greats. If we do not make them at home, how will our children learn about them and continue cooking them for the future generation? I urge you to write down all your grandma’s recipes, your mother’s recipes, your mother in law’s recipes, your elder sister’s recipes, your aunties’ recipes….whatever you can get hold of…because soon we will be floundering under so many fusions and innovations that our great cultural heritage will be ignored. I do take documentation quite seriously and hence so many books. Have you seen the latest book Cooking with Love which carries food cooked by my mother and mother in law? It is a cherished treasure for me.
So, as the mood goes, let us look at the good old home made Diwali treats. Go for them!

Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Christmas – time for warm and cold desserts

Christmas Dessert Recipes are the best way to dedicate your meal to the festive season. Desserts not only mark the end of a meal but also are the highlight of any celebration.
Christmas Dessert Recipes will, of course, feature the traditional Christmas Cake, Christmas Pudding and cookies. But going with the fads, let us also use some fresh fruits to make some delightful puddings and desserts. Also, as we all know it, chocolate is on an all time high. So what about going through some Chocolate and Prune Pudding and Chocolate Marquise. Those who love some liquor who definitely adore the Bailey’s Ice cream Mousse.
For fresh fruit ideas, let me run you through some simple puddings using apple and banana.
In this, apples and strawberries covered with oats and wheat flour with brown sugar to make a healthy dessert. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Core 2- 3 medium apples and chop roughly. Put them in an ovenproof dish. Slice 15-20 strawberries thinly and add. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar and mix and let it stand for sometime. Place ½ cup rolled oats in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder and 3 tablespoons brown sugar and mix. Add 2 tablespoons chilled diced butter and mix with finger tips so that it resembles bread crumbs. Spread this mixture over the fruits in the dish. Place it in the oven and bake for about twenty minutes. Serve warm.
This is an ideal teatime cake with the goodness of whole-wheat flour. Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease and line a nine-inch by four-inch loaf tin. Sieve ¾ cup whole wheat flour, ¾ cup refined flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, salt, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder. Cream 200 grams butter and 1 cup brown sugar together in a bowl till light. Add 2 medium mashed bananas, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence and mix. Beat 3 eggs with a hand blender till light and fluffy. Add one third of the flour mixture to the banana mixture. Add one third of the beaten eggs and mix with a light hand. Again add one third of the flour and one third of the eggs and mix. Add the remaining flour, ¼ cup chopped walnuts and the remaining eggs and mix. Add 2 tablespoons milk to correct the consistency of the batter. Transfer the batter into the prepared tin and place it in the preheated oven. Bake at 180 C for about thirty minutes. Check if it is done by inserting a skewer. If it comes out clean it is done. If not, keep the tin back in the oven and bake for another five to ten minutes. Turn over onto a rack and cool before slicing.
You can serve this cake hot or cold.

Christmas time – have some fun with cookies

Christmas cookie recipes are really fun to share! Not only can you get some good Christmas cookie recipes from books, magazines and sites but also from friends and family members who you know are crazy about baking.
So this Christmas not only make some of your favourite cookies, but also some really different ones like Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies, Crunchy Peanut Cookies and Honeyed Fig and Walnut Cookies.
For the easiest and the most festive delight, follow this recipe: Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a baking tray. In a bowl mix together 2 cups refined flour, a pinch of salt and ½ teaspoon baking powder and set aside. In another bowl beat together ½ cup butter and ¾ cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg and1 teaspoon vanilla essence and beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix to make a smooth dough. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll to a thickness of a quarter inch. Cut the cookies into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place them on the baking tray keeping a little distance between each. Bake the cookies for ten minutes or until browned around the edges. Take the tray out of the oven and set aside to cool.
To make the icing, sieve 1 cup icing sugar. Cream ½ cup butter till soft in a bowl. Add icing sugar a little at a time and beat. Add ½ teaspoon vanilla essence and continue beating till light and fluffy. Decorate the cookies with the icing and glaze them with jam.
Christmas cookie recipes are best written down and stored for posterity once you have hit upon the perfect working recipe for you. Cookies not only make any time snacks but also make a fantastic post meal event with some coffee.