Monday, February 28, 2011

Strawberry Marmelade

Saturday is our usual shopping day. The day when we buy groceries for the following week. Sometimes, we think of finishing the grocery shopping during the weekdays itself and relax on Saturdays, but it just doesn't work out. This week too we did all our shopping on Saturday only.

In Frankfurt, one of my favourite destination is Kleinmarkthalle, where I could get fresh fruits and vegetables of good quality, direct from the farmers. It is just like the weekly markets or so in other places, only that, this market is indoor and it is open 6 days a week. Though the prices are pretty higher than a supermarket, I think, it is worth the quality. This time, we found fresh strawberries and grapes. The grapes were damn sweet. The strawberries were bright red, fresh and smelled great. I thought of making something out of these wonderful berries and suddenly, the idea of making a jam. This is my first ever attempt at preparing a jam and it was not as difficult as I thought it would be.


Strawberries - 500g
Jam sugar(jelly sugar) - 250g
Lemon - juice of half a lemon


Before you get into the preparation, get some suitable air-tight glass bottle(s) and sterilise it in hot water and keep ready.

Wash and clean the strawberries. Remove the leaves and cut into small small pieces. Take this in a heavy bottomed vessel and add jelly sugar to it. Mix and let it stand for an hour, so that the sugar dissolves by itself. Now, cook this by stirring continuously. Remove the froth formed as and when required. Allow the mix to boil for a minute or two and then add the lemon juice. Keep stirring continuously and allow to boil for at least 4 more minutes. Do a jelly-trial once or twice and when the trial succeeds, remove from the heat. Fill it into the bottle(s) and close the lid. Turn upside down and allow it to rest on the lid for a few minutes. Store in a cool place.

Enjoy this home-made jam with bread of any kind. Goes well with Croissants.

Jelly-Trial: Take a small quantity of the mix and put it in a plate. After some 5 seconds, check for the required consistency. If it is jelly like, then it means DONE!!

  • When buying jelly sugar, take care of the ingredients, if you intend to refrain from things like gelatine. The jelly sugar I used here contains pectin from apple, which gives the jelly like consistency.
  • I have read that the skin of apple and normal sugar can be used instead of jelly sugar, but I have not tried it myself.

I'm sending this as an entry to;

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Coconut-Blueberry Muffins

It is after coming to Germany, that I absolutely developed an interest towards baking. There are many reasons behind how and why I developed this interest. But, the main one is my own self-pity. Do you want to know why?? Here is my sad story. Those who do not want to read through, just skip the next two paragraphs.

Tortoise coil rolls!! Flashback.

When I was a child, I was fond of eggs. I used to enjoy this healthy food in every form - as omelette, boiled eggs, bull's eye, scrambled eggs, egg curry, cakes, macarons, etc, etc.... As I grew up, sometimes, after meals, I had a strange kind of stomach pain. After about one and half years of treatment for ulcers, etc. it didn't subside and I opted for my own judgement. Based on trial and error, I finally found out that I had developed an allergy to eggs!! It is still a mystery to me, how I got this allergy. But then, after all, I lived in India and I absolutely had no worries. I had a thousand options other than eggs and this allergy was never a pressing problem for me.

Tortoise coil rolls again!! Flashback ends.

It is me now, landed in Germany. I was safe for some days, as long as I remained at home. When I went out and had to eat in restaurants or in office canteen, only then, I realised - it is not just a problem, but a curse :-( When I eat out, mostly I opt for vegetarian food, and you know what? Every pasta has egg, Gnocchi has eggs, fried cheese(like cutlets) has eggs... Ooopss.. I was frustrated!! In office canteen, only salad!! Apart from that, as I go shopping, I see an array of cakes, sweets, struedel and lots of other inviting items, which I never saw in India. I could only drool on seeing them and taste them in my imagination. I realised, before I get into any kind of depression, I must take some initiative.

This is how I started searching in the internet for cakes, that could be made without eggs. I must admit, I was astonished to find a lot of good recipes. I had a good working oven, and thus started trying my hands. Of course, I get some bad results now and then, but they dont stop me from trying further. After all, my husband gladly agrees to be subjected to my experiments :-) I've made a few cakes from Madhuram's egglesscooking and there, she provides a lot of tips for suitable egg substitutes in cakes and muffins.

I'm going to present here, one muffin recipe, which I adapted from Women's Weekly - Cooking Class Cakes. It was quite simple and called for just one egg. So, I replaced the egg with Flax Seed powder. I had no raspberries, so used blueberries instead. The result was pretty good and we were satisfied. Here it goes...

Self raising flour - 2 1/2 cups
Butter - 90 g
Sugar - 1 cup
Buttermilk - 1 1/4 cups
Dessicated coconut - 1/3 cup
Frozen blueberries - 150g
Flax seed powder - 1 tsp

Take the flour in a large bowl. Chop the butter and gently fold into the flour. Add sugar, buttermilk and dessicated coconut to the flour.

Whisk the flax seed with about 1/4 cup of water and add to the flour mix. Now, add the blueberries and gently fold until just combined.

Preheat the oven to about 180C. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray with butter and arrange the muffin cups on them. Divide the mixture into the cups. Bake for about 20 minutes. Check if it is done. Stand for a few minutes and turn on a wire rack to cool.

It makes about 12 muffins. For flax seed powder ratio, please refer EgglessCooking - Egg substitutes. I followed exactly how it was mentioned there.
I'm sending this post as an entry to Priya's Now Serving : BEST ‘WESTERN’ DESSERT EVENT and to US Masala's Bookmarked Recipes event

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spiced Minced Meat Couscous

It is exactly one month after my vacation and life has fallen back into a routine. We were planning for quite sometime to go somewhere nearby and this weekend, we got the chance. Where we went, what we did comes in another post. After returning home, I was extremely tired, my legs were paining and I hated going into the kitchen. But, this stupid stomach badly needed something and refused to let me just sleep off.

Now, my husband offered to prepare something quick and I was more than glad. What he did was magic !! How can I just let go of this wonderful dish, without writing about it? He usually does not stick to any recipe, neither is he a man of measurements. He did something of his own, but I keenly noted what he did. Instead of me explaining you how it tasted, it would be great if you try this and let me know your comments :-)

Here, you go...

Preparation Time: 30 Mins
Serves: 4


Minced Meat (Lamb) – 300 g
Couscous – 250 g
Onion – 1 large, sliced thinly
Garlic – 3 – 4 pods, crushed
Olive oil – 3 Tbsp
Butter – 20 g
Coriander Powder – 3 tsp
Turmeric – a pinch
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Cilantro and Mint leaves – a handful, chopped
Roasted Pistachios – chopped coarsely
Lemon Juice – from ½ lemon
Salt – to taste
Pepper – to taste


Prepare Couscous: Take the couscous in a large sized bowl. Add required salt and the butter to it. Add about 300 ml of boiling water to this. Cover and stand about 5 mins or until the liquid is absorbed. When done, fluff with a fork.

Prepare the meat: Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the cumin seeds and the thinly sized onion and sauté for a few minutes, until onion is transparent. Add the crushed garlic and sauté until slightly browned. Now, add the meat, turmeric, coriander powder and salt. Stir cook the meat until it is cooked and slightly roasted.

Now, add the lemon juice and the chopped cilantro and mint leaves. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper and stir for a minute.

Finally, toss in the couscous and mix it with the meat. Leave it covered for a minute or two. Garnish with crushed pistachios and cilantro leaves. Serve Hot.

Tipp: This goes excellent with Tzaziki or just yoghurt.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

First Milestone..!!

I was waiting a loooong looong time for my followers count to reach two digits. Yippeee... I have now 12 followers and I'm really very happy!!

Dear Kurinji of Kurinji Kathambam, you are my esteemed tenth follower. Welcome to my space and keep visiting !! Kindly accept these flowers :-)

My first follower is none other than Umm Mymoonah of Taste of Pearl City. Thanks a lot dear. Glad to have known you. Flowers to you too :-)

A heartfelt thanks to all my readers. Your comments and critics are very valuable to me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mor Kuzhambu (with Ladies Finger)

Vacations to India usually result in a few extra kgs to almost all NRIs. Ours was no exception.But, vacations are just to enjoy and be ourselves. So, I dont prefer to be too much sticking to diet and all. Further, when mom or mother-in-law prepares something specially for us, no matter how much additional kilos it might bring later, does it really matter???

Once during our vacation this time, my mother-in-law prepared a simple மோர் குழம்பு  (Yoghurt curry) along with other curries. It is to be had as the last round of our lunch with rice. It was so delicious, that I couldnt resist two rounds of it :-) When asked for the recipe, she guided me and here, I present it to you all. I believe that my own preparation turned out almost equally good ;-)

Mor kuzhambu is a typical south Indian dish. It can be prepared in so many ways with many other vegetables like bitter gourd (பாவைக்காய்), Cucumber, சுண்டைக்காய், etc. This one here is prepared with Ladies Finger (வெண்டைக்காய்) and is utterly simple and takes little time to prepare.

Serves: 2-3
Preparation Time: 30 Mins

Ladies finger – 350g
Yoghurt – 500 ml
Chili powder – 3 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Oil – for frying
Salt – as per taste

To sauté:
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – a few
Dried red chilies - 2

Wash the ladies finger and dry them well with a paper towel. Cut them into one inch pieces. Optionally, you could also slit some pieces vertically.

In a large bowl, add the chili powder, turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and salt. Mix them well. Now, add the cut ladies finger into them and mix gently until the pieces are thoroughly coated with the spice mix. Leave this aside for half an hour.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, add the ladies finger pieces and fry them.  You can fry them in batches. Do not overcrowd in the pan. After frying, collect them in a sieve with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Keep aside.

Take yoghurt in another vessel.  Add little water and required salt to this and beat well. It should be of a thick liquid consistency.

In a small frying pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter, add urad dal, dried red chilies and curry leaves.  Saute for about a minute and pour it over the yoghurt. Now, add the fried ladies finger pieces to this and mix well. Simmer this for just about a minute. Garnish with coriander leaves.

This goes well with freshly prepared rice.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Risotto ai Funghi

Today, it is a beautiful Sunday here and quite sunny out. It is bright and a little bit warm too, not typical of February. For quite sometime now, I was craving for Risotto, and today looked perfect for that. The first time I tasted Risotto was in a restaurant in Chennai, when we went for a Team outing and ever since, I've been a big fan for it. Love Italy for its wonderful cuisine!! This is my first attempt with mushrooms. A simple tasty Italian flavour at home!!

Preparation Time: 30 Mins
Serves: 2 - 3

Risotto Rice – 1 cup
Mushrooms – 250 g
Spring Onions – 2
Vegetable stock – 600 to 800ml
Butter – 60g
Olive oil – 3 Tbs
Mascarpone Cheese – 3 Tbs
Parmesan Cheese – 40 g (grated)
Salt – to taste
Pepper – to taste

Wash the mushrooms and cut them into thin slices and keep aside. Wash the spring onions and cut them into rings and keep aside. Prepare the vegetable stock and keep it hot.

In a thick, heavy bottomed pan, add a tablespoon of butter and a table spoon of olive oil. After the butter melts, add the sliced mushrooms and sauté them. When the mushrooms are soft and cooked, remove them from the pan and keep aside.

In the same pan, add the remaining butter along with the remaining olive oil.  When the oil is hot and butter melts, add the cut spring onions and sauté them. When they turn translucent, add the rice and sauté them nicely until well coated with the butter. After a minute, add a ladle full of stock and stir nicely. The rice starts to absorb the stock and cook along. When it looks dry, add another ladle full of stock and keep stirring. This has to be repeated until the rice is cooked and creamy. This may take about 20 mins. Continuous stirring is essential.

Note: Depending on the type of rice used for the risotto, the amount of stock needed to cook the rice varies. So, it is better to keep about a liter of stock ready (for a cup of rice). I used Arborio rice and it drank almost 900ml stock. If you run out of stock and still your rice isn’t cooked, you can add hot water too.

When the rice is almost done, add the cooked mushrooms and the mascarpone cheese and give a final stir.
Just before serving, sprinkle the parmesan cheese and pepper over your hot plate of risotto and enjoyyyy….

  • Risotto should be consumed immediately after cooking, hot.
  • The consistency of risotto should be such that it is not too gluey and not too liquidy and running out of the plate. When prepared correct, it would be creamy rich and would melt heavenly in your mouth.
  • Chanterelle type of mushrooms is ideal for this type of risotto. Since I couldn’t get it, I used the button shaped mushrooms and they were never a compromise.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

My First Blog Award

It has been a very wonderful moment of joy, when I first saw the message on my dashboard that I’ve got an award. An award??? For me??? Hurray… yippee yippee….

It’s been a very short while, since I’ve started this blog and am very delighted to get this award from Reva of Kaarasaaram. Thank you very much Reva for your thoughtfulness :-)

This award comes with a rule that I must pass it on to 15 other bloggers. This blogging world is a big fat ocean. I’ve just wet my feet on a small shore. I haven’t explored the ocean yet and hence, at this point of time, am unable to name just some 15 :-(

Every blog I stump into, I find that it is special and unique in its own way. So, I dedicate this award to all fellow bloggers, who have taken the effort to put their thoughts and creations confidently into public space. Hearty Congratulations to all of you !! :-)

I’ve read an interesting quote somewhere sometime during my school days and it goes like this: Fame is the perfume of heroic deeds. I didn’t quite understand its meaning then. Now I do… :-) Thanks a lot for all my visitors and fellow bloggers.

Looking forward to your loving support in my little endeavour...

Garlic Rolls

A few months back, we visited a friend of ours. It was in the holy month of Ramadan and we went for Iftar (breaking of the fast). The lady of the house is none other than the creator of Taste of Pearl City. They had arranged a fabulous Iftar Menu and I was like wowwww... There were many dishes and it was a very harmonious satisfying Iftar; may the Almighty bless them.

After returning home, my husband commented about a bread and said it was awesome. I wondered, which bread?? It was probably placed on the other side of the table and I guess, I didn't take the effort to reach it. But, when I called her and asked about it, she said that it was the Garlic Rolls and that the recipe was up on her blog. I immediately knew, I was going to try it.

The next weekend, I tried the recipe, my first ever bread, and here you can see the results.

Hhhhhmmm... :-) the bread was indeed awesome and it just melted in my mouth.One cannot stop with just one piece. In Tamil, we say, "Yaam petra inbam - peruga ivvaiyagam". I hope, those who read this also try these luscious rolls and enjoy like me.

This post goes to US Masala's Bookmarked Recipes and to the event "Tried and Tasted" of Oh Taste and See, organised by Lakshmi of Kitchen Chronicles.