Taking my time to do challenges is really helping me breathe well and choose what I want to do on the blog. I am really enjoying the phase, to say the least. With life getting tougher by the day, we need to adjust our priorities and while I still keep my blog close to my heart, I am going really slow and loving the process. This month, after a couple of months break, I got back into Recipe Swap which is now hosted by Mir. In this challenge, we are assigned a blog, which we dig into and choose a recipe that we would love to cook.
This month, I was assigned Usha’s blog, which is one of my favorite discoveries after being in the Blogging Marathon. I love her neat, crisp pictures and her simple recipes. Just like her blog name, she features a lot of savory and spicy Indian food, so you can decide on your meals as soon as possible. Hehe… I actually searched her blog with an agenda on mind. I had this packet of dessicated coconut that was expiring and I had to use it up. Though my heart went out to wanting to try this Steamed Egg Curry and this Healthy Baked Chocolate Oats – which both I am going to try for sure, InShaAllah – I finalized on making these laddoos since they were perfect for my task on hand.
If you notice, I have very little recipes for Indian sweets on the blog, so this was a perfect addition to it. I was actually jittery while trying it. Somehow, laddoo recipes scare me since most of the recipes involve boiling sugar till one string consistency and I really don’t know how to work that around! But this didn’t have that scary step to be done and felt easy. Actually speaking, the recipe was quite straight forward too. The laddoos taste very similar to our Thari Unda.
I did some little tweaks to the recipe. I added a little extra of the coconut since I love the flavor and I was sure it would still be fine. As advised by her, I reduced the sugar, so it turned out to be just like how we like it. I used up more milk since I had added the extra coconut to bind the laddoo. I did have a little difficulty trying to roll them into balls when they were still hot and my shapes were very uneven. But whatever said and done, the laddoo did not last beyond two days. As usual, my girls didn’t touch it and I wasn’t expecting them to. But HD and B enjoyed their portions and I basically binged on the leftovers – yeah, literally spoiling my diet! 😀 Off to the recipe…
The plate I used in these pictures has an interesting back ground. Two year ago, when we traveled home during our vacation, I literally ate HD’s head for a visit to the local pooja store to pick up some of these props. I still can’t forget the look of the store person when he saw a lady in abaya entering the shop… hehe… And I am using it now, after hiding it all this time, hmm… 🙂
I do sometimes thank God for making me keep posts pending to get to an opportunity. If you see, I rarely celebrate any personal occasion of mine except the girls’ birthdays or our anniversary. And today happens to be our anniversary number 15, Alhamdulillah. I almost forgot about it, actually speaking. Every April 14, I have done a post and actually, every year, the posts reflected how exactly I felt about him. The past six years I have been blogging, our marriage has been topsy turvy of sorts. I guess that happens to every family at some stage. At times, you wonder, how stupid you were to be or stay married to the man or the woman you are now with. But then after a few hours, the thoughts just tide over and gets replaced with something else. I guess that’s how life is, we need to wait for the tide to calm down to actually see things in light.
One major thing I have learned in the past 15 years of living with HD is – do not expect people to change for you. Never ever… it causes a major disappointment as days go by. If you think love will change it all, sorry, it really doesn’t. The first couple of years would be bliss but once kids come along and responsibilities increases of having to have a house of your own and property of your own and what not, the honeymoon phase comes to an end. In the beginning, I used to complain a lot and crib too, but nothing changed. We are so accustomed to not speaking to them if we are upset about something. That habit of mine actually damaged a lot of understanding in our relationship. I am now slowly starting to tell my disappointment or displeasure if I don’t get what I expected or I don’t like what he did. Even though it doesn’t invite the same vibe initially, he has slowly started to reciprocate too. 🙂
Nowadays, whenever I get upset about something that he does or get irritated on him not spending time with us as much as I would like him, I try the “positive flip” approach. When my mind gets unnecessary diverted to the negatives, I focus my attention on the positives – on how caring he is, on how good he is with the girls, on how he somehow makes sure that we have a decent and comfortable life. With matters not going so well, I sometimes really wonder how strong he can be to withhold the pressure of the outside world. I try to think like him so that I don’t allow the pressure to get on me.
In the last fifteen years, I have realized that love is not all. There are much more facets to marriage. Compromises, adjustments, lowering yourself down so that the other can climb, being the water when the other is fire – so much more to it! It is like ying yang – you just need to keep complimenting each other whatever the situation may be. When you don’t do that, there will be sparks and those can be bad in every way. I guess one reason of sparks between us are the girls and somehow both of us don’t seem to agree to each other on it at any moment of time. But then, daddies are always so touchy when it comes to daughters that they forget that the mommies were in their life before it! Anyway… my only dua to the Almighty is that He keeps him safe and sound, and He be pleased with us… Aameen…
This year, I am planning a very simple cake, which will hopefully appear on the blog in two to three months, InShaAllah. 😉 I guess I have started actively baking every year, ever since I started blogging. 😉 Below are the cakes I have made for our previous anniversaries…
Coming to the recipe I chose to post today…. B loves anything to do with mangoes. For his birthday, I would ask him what he wants. He was bugging me for a mango mousse cake and I was delaying it citing the absence of good mangoes. OK, if you are asking me when is his birthday, I would say it is the next week. So now that it is time to bake his next cake InShaAllah, I am finally posting his last birthday cake. Hehe… Anyway, no season for cake, right? Right! 😉
OK, so coming back to the mousse cake, this isn’t my first attempt. I tried making one when I had just started blogging. It tasted delicious but it just didn’t set. It was a really wobbly mousse thank to the gelatin. I had kept it in mind to make one when the occasion comes. This has a cake base, with a smooth mango mousse, and a jelly to top it up. It is like having three desserts at one time. We sat and ate it up as if there was no tomorrow. It was such an amazing dessert!
If you see from the pictures, a layer of the jelly is in between the mousse and cake layer. I was actually impatient while pouring the jelly on top of the mousse. The mousse had settled but the jelly was still warm when I pour, so it literally oozed in between of it. But who cares? It created such a beautiful effect in the dessert. Don’t you think so? 🙂
You can make this dessert without the cake base too. You can set the mousse in cups and top it with the jelly, and some extra whipping cream for an oomph factor. That way, you save the time of baking the cake. It is just that the cake gives a good sturdy appearance to the dessert. So there goes the post this time… Hopefully, I won’t share his birthday cake as our anniversary post next year, InShaAllah… I hope so… hehe…
First, we make the cake. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease an 8 or 9 inch spring-foam pan.
Whisk together the milk, oil, sugar and vanilla till it becomes homogeneous.
Sift the dry ingredients into it and whisk till smooth.
Pour into prepared pan and tap to spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes till skewer comes out clean.
Allow it to cool completely in the pan.
To prepare the mousse, bloom the gelatin into the hot water and set aside.
Beat the whipping cream till soft peaks. Add in the mango pulp, honey, mango essence if using and the gelatin water and beat till homogeneous.
Pour over the cooled cake and allow it to settle in the fridge for an hour.
For the topping, whisk the contents of the jelly pack in boiling water till dissolved. Add the cold water and whisk well till combined. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
Pull out the pan from the fridge and slowly pour over the top. Set in the fridge for 6-8 hours.
To demould, slowly pass a knife around the edges of the pan. Pull out the ring. Serve...
You may see in the picture that there is a little jelly in the middle. I was actually in a hurry so poured the semi warm jelly onto the mousse within 30 minutes. So some from the center settled into the bottom, but it did give a pretty effect, so I am happy.
I am usually very prompt with doing my challenge posts. But for this month’s Muslim Food Blogger challenge, I delayed it as much as I possibly could. It wasn’t that the challenge wasn’t tough. I had a lot of ideas floating in my head. Oh, I didn’t tell what was the challenge. This month, we went with Lubna’s suggestion of making some healthy bites. It is summer vacations back home, and even here, schools were off the past month. When kids are off, then naturally, they are constantly hungry and searching the home up, down and center for something or the other to eat. So this theme couldn’t have come at the correct time. If you have noticed, I did three recipes with the similar theme in the last month’s Blogging Marathon too. 🙂
My first thought was to do something in line with the Dates Bliss Balls. But my girls are not very fond of dates. They do like them, but when used it desserts, it becomes very sweet and they don’t like to eat too much of them. I even finalized on a recipe that didn’t use dates in it. But I thought the idea of balls were really boring. I don’t know why… Even though they would have been the easiest thing to do. That is when I chose something that is a bit away from the idea of balls but still easy to make. So I finalized on making some granola bars.
These granola bars are chewy and spiked with some soft goji berries and a little crunch from chia seeds. I wouldn’t say that I am hundred percent happy but I wish I would have been a little more patient with mixing up the oats and pressing it onto the pan. The whole recipe comes together in hardly 15 minutes and another 15 minutes of setting, and you have a healthy snack in your hand. To harden then up, you can freeze them for an hour and enjoy them too. Any way, it didn’t take much time for it to disappear from the fridge. I gifted some to Deepa when I met up with her over the weekend for breakfast, on her short visit to Dubai. It was lovely meeting her. We had breakfast and chatted general things and the one-and-a-half hours spent together felt like minutes. Off to the recipe…
I wish I didn’t have to crib. Everyday I have a tough time trying to decide what to cook for dinner. I seem to find that it is getting tougher as the girls grow up. When I started blogging, they were small so they would eat anything that was given to them. But now, they frown and scorn for anything that I make, except pizzas. 😕 Being a mother, this is totally frustrating. With a totally tight schedule these days, I look forward to cooking meals that get done in 30 minutes. Rasha loathes eggs and any dal curry, while Azza is indifferent towards chicken and meat – I wonder if there are kids like that these days! Vegetables are an even big no-no, except for a cucumber daily. My girls don’t even like whole lentils or potatoes. Sometimes, I feel so lost… but then I pull out my umma’s trick – just cook what I feel like, give the biggest rolling eyes I can do, and tell: “Take it OR leave it!” Most of the time, it does work… 🙂
I have this huge cookbook with me called “660 curries by Raghavan Iyer”. I feel it is a book that everybody should own. It has gravies from every part of India, with every imaginable ingredient used in Indian cooking, separated into sections! You can track paneer recipes in one place, lentil recipes in one place and non-veg in another place. I totally love this book, that at times I feel I should just let it be in my kitchen, flip each page and cook the curries from them. 😉
This super easy potato curry is one from it. Who doesn’t love such breezy curries! I love potatoes so I don’t care if my kids don’t like them. I still make them when I feel like. 😉 The curry uses minimal spices and is interestingly thickened with besan or chickpea flour, which gives it a lovely flavor dimension. I only added one capsicum and cooked it down so that the girls wouldn’t pick it up and throw it, and hence you can hardly see them in the gravy. Please add more if you love them like me, and keep them crisp for the bite. This is awesome with just rotis or even pooris on its side. Off to this simple recipe…
Besan Aloo Mirchi ki Sabzi | Potato Capsicum Curry
I haven’t been sharing much on the blog because it’s been the usual hussle-bussle. I won’t say nothing is happening in life… There is a lot happening but somehow I don’t want to sink myself into it. It is always better to try and stay afloat, rather than push yourself down and feel awful about it. From the start of the year, things haven’t been really positive, and that has stalled even my weight loss. I am not able to put in as much discipline into my eating as I had done last year, and this is frustrating me to the core. But I am trying to stay focused on myself and keeping myself on line, making sure that I don’t lose all the hard work that I have done last year. Maintenance is as important and sustainable at the stage I am in, I guess… 🙂
Talking about the weather, we are slowly moving into summers. Somehow, this time winters have been late and we had some nice cold days last month, followed by some heavy rains towards the end of last week. Even though summers are never welcome in this part of the world, it is taken into the stride and hope that it will pass soon. The mornings are still breezy and evenings comfortable, so it looks like there is still time for some barbecuing and beach visits before we can finally call it a day. Since weather is something not in our control, it makes us realize how much we can mold ourselves to the realities and surprises of life. Just like how we run for shelter when heavy rains hit suddenly or just stay where we are when the strength of the winds increase, we can do the same thing with life too…
Leaving my heavy talks and moving to the recipe for today… I actually baked these for the Bakeathon I did in December. But somehow, I didn’t find it as chocolaty as I would have loved it to be! You may have noticed all my posts were brown and this wasn’t brown enough to go into it, so I pushed it into my drafts. But I didn’t want to wait too long for these to appear. They were that good…
I love Biscoff in my baked goodies and there are enough recipes on the blog. So I am adding one more to it. These cookies are just how chocolate chip cookies need to be – soft, chewy, mouthful… I went in for chunks as the uneven peices add an interesting dimension to the cookie. While you can find a big molten chunk in between, you may even see just traces here and there, making the whole cookie eating process an experience. I have adapted this recipe from here. I must say that as soon as it was baked, I had to salvage a few to click, because the girls were on a competition as to who would eat the most number of cookies. That’s why you can see, the chunks are still melty. 🙂 Off to the recipe…
There is a reason why I chose this week’s theme when Valli declared it in the Blogging Marathon #98 – “Cooking for Two”. You all know, we aren’t two, we are four. 😀 But most of the time, I end up cooking for two because the other two I have are very fussy that I don’t feel like cooking for them. 😕 HD is forever looking into my food, so for my safety, it is better to cook extra and serve him as well. Do you have husbands who want to eat your food?
OK, so jokes apart, dalia or broken wheat is not something that I frequently cook with. But when I got the opportunity to try the ingredient when my mentor included it as a part of my carbs, I fell in love with this upma. Every second day, I was making it for my breakfast and HD would always scowl as to why I wouldn’t make for him. 😀 Then I started making the quantity double and serving him half. He totally enjoys this meal. On Fridays, when I don’t want to cook anything, this upma comes to the rescue. The girls wake up late, so they end up with a bowl of milk and cornflakes. Hehe…
This recipe is very basic. I haven’t added any vegetables but you surely can add some carrot or frozen green peas for some color. I kept the spice profile low for all the other ingredients to vie for attention. It is a really filling breakfast and very comforting too. Off to this simple recipe…