Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Indeed the thrill and joy of achievement is just unexplainable. Last year in the month of July when I was at my parents place for the monsoon break from school , I least expected the outcome of my long awaited cookbook “4 o’ clock temptations of Kerala” .I have had the craziest as well as the most unexpected circumstances when I look back .I lost the data of my book thrice and then send it for print .Things were totally haywire with my harddisk broken , my laptops display dead and so on ….it was just never ending and I had time constraints as I was to exhibit my books at the Frankfurt World Book fair …When the book print was all sorted just two days before my flight I am informed that my visa got rejected ..It was totally devastating 🙁 ..to top all these my son was down with pneumonia .I tried my level best ..but unfortunately I couldnt make it to Frankfurt .The books were exhibited there as my brother was there for the event ..but it took me months to recover from the mishaps .
Whatever happened, happened for good.
Whatever is happening, is happening for good.
Whatever will happen, that will be for good as well. –
Its taken me a very long time to share with all of you the news of my book , but as its told better late than never ..so I am very happy , excited, thrilled, ..you can take up all the synonyms that can go with it ….to share with you all tht my cookbook , “4 o’ clock temptations of Kerala ” which is on the snacks of Kerala cuisine has won “Best Indian cookbook in the world ” for the Gourmand world cookbook awards 2015-16 from 209 countries representing India .I seriously had no words to say on stage… when I was called up I was in all tears ….
Its great to win the Gourmand awards the second time and experience the whole event .Earlier it was for my cookbook “Lip smacking Dishes of Kerala” which won the 3rd Best Local Cuisine book in the world for 2013-14 at the Gourmand World cookbook awards from 187 countries representing India , held at Beijing , China .
Now to spice up all this news I have a recipe for a pickle that I made from the garden fresh cherry tomatoes…
- 1/4kg cherry tomatoes
- 2tbsp of kashmiri chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
- 2-3 green chillies chopped
- 1 small piece of ginger finely chopped
- 1 tsp of mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 tsp of asafoetida powder
- 2-3 tbsp of oil
- 1/2 tsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of vinegar
- salt to taste
- 2-3 sprigs of curry leaves
- Heat a pan , add oil and fry the tomatoes till they shrink in size and seperate.In the remaining oil , pop mustard seeds, add fenugreek , ginger, green chillies and stir fry them for a minute or two on med flame .Lower the flame and stir in the turmeric and kashmiri chilli powder .Once the oil starts seperating add in the vinegar .I added a little extra vinegar so that i can cook the the sauce a bit more .You can also add water but that at times accelarates mould growth in the pickle .
- Now mix in the fried tomatoes , add sugar , asafoetida , salt and curry leaves .Turn off the flame and let it cool before you bottle them .
- Enjoy these pickles with rice or rotis ...
A few months back when Facebook team contacted me to do a video on my journey from a homemaker to an entrepreneur I had no clue of what to expect .My latest cookbook “4 o’ clock temptations of Kerala ” won the “Best Indian cuisine book in the world” for the Gourmand world cookbook awards 2015-16.A few weeks back I received an email from Facebook India with the statistics of the reach…”The video had reached 600,000 people across India! The video itself has been viewed 300,000 times ”
I whole heartedly thank all the wonderful people who had viewed,supported,encouraged ,shared and liked the video .Kudos to YourStory for the wonderful video 🙂
Greg Grano and Sarah Sellman two wonderful filmmakers from SanFrancisco did a portfolio on me for the website Hooplaha-Only good news ..it was just magic as the video is very close to my heart ..
Its crazy when I look back and see how my passion for food has created magic …the magic of following my heart!!!
A spin of the time wheel and back to being a child …..gosh wish that happened !!!When you are a child all you wish is to be a grown up and you get to do things that you want to do and when you are grown up you are more bounded with all the worldly expectations that you least expected …well that’s life !!!
The school has closed down for a ten day break and I am at my home (hehe..of course my parents’ home ).For the past few months it’s been a suffocating schedule that I have been hooked up to with my younger one being a bit sick .There’s loads of news that has yet to be shared..a few are waiting to be yet unfolded.
Today’s post is one that I have always longed to post …Baked Caramel custard!
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 can condensed milk
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- 2 tsps of cornflour
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup of milk
- In a bowl using blender mix all the ingredients except sugar till creamy. Heat a non-stick pan and melt the sugar without stirring till the sugar is wholly caramelized. Pour the caramelized sugar on to the base of the baking dish to coat the base evenly. Pour the creamy mix over it .Preheat oven at 180 degree and bake the custard for about 60 minutes or longer till the custard is set in a water bath in the oven. Once baked remove it from the water bath and let it cool down .Run a knife on the edges of the pan and invert it on to a plate. Cut in desired shapes and serve .
Its surprising how 2015 is over and 2016 has started ..an year with quite a bit of happenings..moments of bitterness, humour , love and friendship an other year winds up and the upcoming days are awaiting to be unfolded ..
My long awaited cookbook on the snacks of Kerala at last came to life in October 2015 and was first exhibited at the Frankfurt world bookfair 2015…the worst part was that I couldn’t make it for the most unexpected reasons and my younger one was very sick for a few months.I guess ups and downs are after all a part and parcel of life .I was blessed to have some of my first and best experiences in life all topped with the love for food. That would have been the first and foremost experiences to treasure.
“Its strange how we find the best of friends in the most unexpected people.” This is one quote that I would totally agree with .. that I would say have brought me quite a number of friends in my life in the most unexpected situations of life ..for me life has always been a bag of surprises .The best part is to hitch in the surprises be it the bitter or best moments. This year here’s my profile teaser that was released ..
Starting off this years post on sweet note there’s one recipe from Lal Majid’s chocolate & dessert book ,”Deliciously Yours !”…that I have been longing to post ..”Coffee apple Bavarois”
- 1 egg yolk
- 25g sugar
- 125ml milk
- 1 tsp of gelatin
- 75ml chilled cream
- 1 apple peeled and pureed
- 2 tsps of coffee
- Boil milk on low heatwith the pureed apple .Beat chilled cream with an electric beater and set aside.Add egg yolk sugar gelatin into milk and mix well.Add coffee into the mixture and incorporate well.Let the mix cool.Fold in the whipped cream until smooth.Pour into glasses or bowls of desired shape and chill for 10 hrs before serving.
It’s after a gap of about 6 months that I am posting today….I had been head over heels on a few commitments that were lagging on .There were bubbles of happiness and a few perks of disappointments in this time span ..and after all thats all about life .The photos were always all set for my posts..but scheduling out my time to post was the hardest part …with my classes and working on my biggest project which was my new cookbook…”4 ‘o’clock temptations of Kerala”. This year I was invited over to the world’s largest book fair “The Frankfurt Book fair 2015” to represent my cookbooks. I was one among the 5 Indians to be a part of the Gourmet Gallery at the fair. Although I couldn’t make it at the last minute to the fair my new cookbook on the snacks of Kerala were exhibited at the fair….Thanks to my brother and the Frankfurt fair team .My new cookbook is an insight to the authentic snack recipes of Kerala.
The new cookbook would be soon out for sale on my blog and other sites for sale within a month…
So with all this hotchpotch at the background my recipe for today’s palette is a Srilankan Crab curry .This recipe was adapted from the cookbook “Saraogini’s Srilanka food” by Sarogini Kamalanathan. A very composed and loving lady whom I had met during my visit to Beijing for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards last year in May 2014…she was Sarojini ..We had exchanged our cookbooks and I have been cooking many wonderful recipes from her collections….
- 3 medium sized crabs, cleaned & prepared
- 2tbsp of oil
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1tbsp fenugreek seeds
- 1tsp mustard seeds
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 2 green chillies slit
- 2 tbsp of paprika powder
- 1 cup of water
- 1 ½ cup of coconut milk
- Sprig of drumstick leaves(muringa leaves)/ coriander leaves
- Heat oil in an earthen pot or a heavy bottomed vessel , add fenugreek , splutter mustard seeds and sauté the onions till they caramelise, add green chillies, chilli powder , salt and stir. Add in the prepared crabs, pour in the water, give a good stir cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes. When the crabs have turned a nice orange colour ,add the coconut milk and slightly simmer for another 10 minutes, turn off the heat and garnish with fresh muringa leaves or coriander leaves and serve ..
- Its best to cook the crab curry at the least an hour before you serve ..
Its been for long that I have been trying to get my cherry tomato plant healthy and bloomin..but every year theres something or the other that pours water on my intentions.This year too something similar happened.The first saplings were accidentally pulled out by our gardener who was busy levelling out the grass.The second sapling pulled out by rodents and phew.. the third set planted ..washed out by untimely rains this year.So this year I have decided to be more contented on using the cherry tomatoes that my friend was kind enough to share with me …
The cherry tomatoes are very small varieties of tomatoes. These beauties are so pretty in sight and they are thought to have originated in Peru and Northern Chile. These variety of tomatoes are used more in salads , with pasta, the dried versions in breads..
- 1 cup of bow pasta/ any other type of pasta
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes chopped in half
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of oil
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp of chilli flakes
- ½ cup grated Mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp of basil seasoning
- 1 tsp of thyme seasoning
- 2 onions finely chopped
- Crushed pepper to taste
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- Cook the pasta in boiling water with salt to taste and strain in a colander.
- Heat oil in a pan saute the chopped onions with garlic till transparent.
- Add in the cherry tomatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Add in the chilli flakes and mix in the pasta.
- Add basil, thyme and crushed pepper and mix.
- Mix in the grated cheese and season with olive oil and turn off the flame.
Vishu is the start of the new year in Kerala..the festival of lights and fireworks. Vishu always strikes pictures of the vibrant yellow Konna flowers (Cassia fistula) , the “Vishu kani ” , Vishu kodi , the feast , the Vishu kaineettam …all floods in memories of childhood days..
Wishing all a happy and prosperous year with love, peace, hope and joy for the year ahead.
Happy Vishu !!!!
In two days the holidays come to the winding stage and its back to normal .The temperature has been really hot in Thrissur ..I think its been almost the same in most parts of Kerala.Being accustomed to the Munnar climate , changing over to the tropical climate it was a bit difficult.But its nice to have a little rain although the heat doesnt come down very much .
Todays post is an Andhra style mixture with poha or beaten rice.A mixture that looks complicated but which is super simple to try and can be kept bottled for some time.I love this snack as its a wonderful melt in the mouth snacker with a very distinct taste.
- 500 gm thin white Poha (beaten rice flakes) dried in sunlight for 2hrs
- 1 cup of coconut chips
- 1 cup of peanuts
- 1 cup of fried gram
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 tsp of chilli powder
- 1 ½ tsp of chaat masala
- 1 tsp of cumin powder
- ½ cup Curry leaves
- Oil for frying
- Fry the poha till it is crispy in a dry pan and separate.
- Fry and separate coconut chips, peanuts, fried gram and curry leaves in to a
- colander so that the oil oozes out.
- Mix the fried ingredients and poha together, add in salt and mix.
- Mix in chilli powder, chaat masala, and cumin powder.
- Once cool store them in air tight containers.
A break from the busy bee schedule is something that I have been longing for the past months.With all the cooking at home I have been longing for my mom to cook for me.I guess theres no age bar to crave for your moms food…isnt it true ??Its funny how the days fly when you dont want to end your holidays so soon.The school reopens by the 16th and its back on wheels…
We Keralites are so very much into coconuts and when I came across this recipe with all the goodness of coconuts how could I stop myself from sharing. Baked with the coconuty goodness of everything coconut from scraped coconut to coconut milk…
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 4tbsp of butter
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup scraped coconut
- Preheat oven at 180 degree Celsius. Heat the coconut milk with butter so that it
- melts and turn off the flame.
- Sift baking powder, flour and salt together. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar for
- about 3 minutes till they go pale in colour or they double in size.
- Mix in the warm coconut milk and vanilla essence.
- Slowly beat the flour mix into this without any lumps.
- Mix in the scraped coconut.
- Grease a bundt pan and pour in the cake mix and bake the cake for about 60
- minutes or till done.
Strawberries , Mulberries …I can never get over them .My munchkins are now equally crazy about them.Living in Munnar ..the best part is to get the best fruits in the best seasons. I remember reading the recipe in a food magazine.This was a post that I was very keen on posting …as it was all set long back.
A very easy recipe that will be a sure hit with guests at home or even with kids. These chocolate shots are best with fruits like raspberries and strawberries.
- 284ml fresh cream
- 150ml milk
- 450g chopped white chocolate
- 1 tsp of vanilla essence
- 6 egg yolks
- 150 g strawberries sliced into halves
- Heat cream and milk together.
- Put the chocolate in a bowl and pour over the cream mixture.
- Stir until all the chocolate pieces are melted and stir in the egg yolks.
- Pour back into the saucepan with the vanilla essence and stir on low heat, stirring all
- the time until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon.
- Take care that you don’t boil or the eggs might scramble.
- Then strain into a jug.
- Divide the strawberries for around 8 small glasses.
- Divide chocolate mix between and cover glasses with cling film and refrigerate till
- they are set.
- They have to just set not go firm.