Haskap berry hand pies

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IMG_5856The what kap berries? I know exactly what you are thinking. Strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, elderberries yes… Haskap berries? Nope! Never heard of that.

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Trust me I am clueless about the name too. They sure are unique. Unlike other regular plump, round berries these are slim, shiny with blood red juice inside! And the taste?. Sweet, melt in the mouth, no pit inside, need we ask for more?

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We paid a visit to the U pick berry farm recently. Armed with an ice cream pail, we got down on our knees as these berry bushes are small and compact. Under the dark green leaves hung a cluster of berries, almost iridescent. One touch they settle in your palm.  There were four different varieties based on how sweet or tart they were. You could choose from Aurora, Indigo, Blizzard or Beast.

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Not sure about you, I love hand pies. Give it a try friends…

Recipe: Adapted from dessertfortwo.com

Ingredients;

All purpose flour                         21/4 cups

Granulated sugar                       1 Tbsp

Fine salt                                    1 tsp

Chilled unsalted butter                2 sticks

Ice water                                   1/2 cup

For the filling;

Haskap berries                        13/4 cups

Corn starch                             2 Tbsps

Granulated sugar                    6 Tbsps

Zest of 1 lemon and 1 Tbsp of the juice

Salt                                        1 pinch

Milk                                         1 Tbsp

Sugar to sprinkle on top

Method;

Take the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a few times to combine,

Add the diced cold butter next and pulse a few times so that they are well incorporated. Add the cold water next, mix till the dough come together.

Remove the dough from the processor, divide in half, wrap in cling film and press to form two discs. Let it sit in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Dust the work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the disc into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. I used a round cookie cutter to cut out shapes. I cut out a small circle in half of them.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

In a bowl combine the berries, corn starch, lemon zest lemon juice and salt. Spoon out this filling on the plain circle and cover this with the circle with hole in it. Press the edges firmly to seal, use a fork to crimp the edges. Brush with milk on top. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for about 18 minutes, until the crust is  golden.

Let them cool and enjoy!

Strawberry Shondesh ( Milk Fudge )

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…… The small packet of “Shondesh”, neatly arranged in a paper box with the name of the famous sweet shop imprinted artistically on top, was sitting on the top shelf of the kitchen. We were expecting friends in the evening, that is when the Shondesh would be enjoyed by all. “Why can’t we have Shondesh everyday Ma?”, we siblings would ask in unison. “It tastes sweeter when you share things”, came Ma’s reply, carefully veiling the ‘we cannot afford that everyday’ truth.

IMG_5154Shodesh is the ‘King’ of sweets in Bengal. Reserved for exclusive occasions like birthdays, weddings, success in job interview or visiting that special relative. Made from milk and either sugar or  a special jaggery. Not other additives were added. ….

Changing times have changed Shondesh too. Keeping up with the millenial taste Shondesh these days come in all flavours, like chocolate, Tutti frutti, strawberry, mango and so many others.

Try this easy peasy recipe and let me know if you liked it.

Recipe: Made 20 pieces.

Ingredients,

Ricotta cheese                         2 cups

Milk powder                             1 cup

Strawberry puree                      1 cup

Sugar                                      1 Tbsp ( or to taste )

Ghee                                      1 Tbsp

Red food colour                      4 drops ( optional )

Method;

In a non stick pan mix the above ingredients and cook on low heat for 25-30 minutes. Keep stirring so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Put the gas off when the mixture starts to form a dough.

I love the mild flavour of the strawberries, hence have not added any other flavouring agents.

When it is safe and warm enough to handle, take one tablespoon measure of the dough and form into a ball. If you have moulds, grease the mould and press the mixture in and then carefully remove to get an imprint.

Enjoy, store in air tight container in refrigerator for up to one week.

Strawberries and Kulfi Pannacotta

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Summer is incomplete without kulfi back home and strawberries here in North America.

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……The “U pick berries” sounds novel to me. Armed with an ice cream pail, it is you and the rows and rows of strawberry bushes. A split second to decide based on the size, colour of the fruit and in it goes in the pail. These variety are tiny but oh so sweet!

….. The very hot temperatures back home melted the kulfis so fast, I clearly remember  sometimes an obligatory lick on the elbow to do justice to the precious liquid seemed mandatory.

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……I tried to blend both the worlds in this recipe. using agar agar instead of gelatine, makes this a vegetarian dessert.

Here is the recipe for you….

Recipe; Serves 4

Ingredients,

“Gits’ kulfi mix                         1 pkt

Full cream milk                       1.5 cups

Strawberry puree                     1 cup

Sugar                                    2Tbsp or more.

Agar Agar                               2/3 tsp and 2/3 tsp

Water                                     2 Tbsps

Whole Strawberries and cashews to garnish

Method:

Empty the “Kulfi’ mix in a bowl, add milk and mix together. Take one Tbsp water and add 2/3 tsp of agar agar in a sauce pan on low heat. As soon as it mixes together add the milk mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes until it thickens. Take it out of the gas and keep aside.

Clean the strawberries and make a puree. In another bowl take one tbsp of water and add 2/3 tsp of agar agar on low heat. As it blends together, add the strawberry puree and sugar. Cook on low heat for around 10 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Put the gas off.

In a tall glass carefully layer 2 ladles of the strawberry mixture and let it cool. I put them in the fridge for 15 minutes. When set carefully pour the milk mixture on top of each of previously filled strawberry mixture.

Put the glasses in the fridge for about half hour. Garnish with whole berries and nuts of your choice and enjoy!

Notes:

Heavy cream with a flavouring agent and sweetener of your choice can be substituted if “Kulfi” mixture is not at hand.

 

Milk powder Burfi (Fudge) for Easter

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Who would have thought that underneath the thick layer of snow, lay the seed in a dormant state. When the time is right, it gently wakes up. From inside the hard coat comes out the softest shoot. The buds on the trees are swollen, the birds are back. The nature just woke up from a slumber. Very soon there will be beautiful flowers in all shades and scents.

Spring is almost synonymous to ‘Hope’. It will be alright. All will be well. I consider this a very important message. Did you have a great Easter? We still cannot lay our guards down, can we? Stay safe friends.

Here is a very easy recipe for a milk fudge. Hope you give it a try.

 

IMG_4580Recipe: ( Based on a recipe from Hebbar’s kitchen)

Ingredients; Made 12 pieces. ( Depends on the size)

Ghee.   1/4 cup

Milk       3/4 cup

Milk powder   21/2 cup

Sugar       1/2 cup

Vanilla extract     1/2 tsp

Easter eggs to garnish

Method;

Place a wax paper on a rectangular pan and grease with butter. Set aside.

Take the ghee on a non stick pan on low heat. Add milk, milk powder and sugar. Keep stirring to avoid any lumps, till the moisture evaporates and it comes together like a dough, about 12-15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix properly. Turn the heat off.

Transfer this to the greased pan. Use a spatula to get an even surface. Break the easter eggs to big chunks and lay them on the surface. Let the dough rest for about half hour then cut in pieces, in size that you prefer.

Enjoy!

Water Chestnut flour fudge: Singhare ke atte ki burfi: GF

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Fasting once a week or once every fortnight has long been prescribed by our ancestors as a  means to stay fit. “Keeping the body light ” has many benefits as shown in recent studies by the Nobel Laureats.

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Maha Shivratri or the Night of Shiva is a time when there is an upsurge of natural energy in the Northern hemisphere. ( Isha.Sadguru.org).This can be utilized in a positive way by sitting erect, keeping the vertebrae straight and  practising to calm the mind.

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Grain free food is recommended on these days. The human body is about two thirds water. Just like the waves  of the ocean rise high or gets pulled up on full moon or new moon days, the same forces can affect the human body, causing  a disruption. in the metabolic system. In order to have a control of the mind, food that has less water in them are prescribed. Since the grains have lot of water in them, they are avoided.

Water chestnut is a fruit, the skin of which is removed, and then the fruit is ground, dried into a flour.

Hope you get to try this interesting flour!

Recipe About 20 pieces, depending on size

Ingredients

Water Chestnut flour                              3/4 cup

Sugar                                                     1/2 cup

Ghee                                                     2 tsps

Cardamom powder                                1/4 tsp

Water                                                     21/4 cup

Slices of cashew, almonds and grated coconut to garnish.

Method ;

Take the flour and ghee in a non stick pan and dry roast on medium heat till the colour changes to light brown. Collect it in a bowl. Add one cup water to it and mix till you get a lump free solution. Set aside.

Grease a small tray and keep ready.

Take the above lump free flour solution in a pan, add the rest of the water, sugar and cardamom powder, on high heat. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens, crank the heat down and let it cook till it leaves the pan.

Transfer the mixture to the greased tray, garnish with the chopped nuts and grated coconut. Wait for about half hour for it to set. Cut in pieces and enjoy.

Notes; This flour is available at Indian grocery stores.

Turmeric Chai latte : Haldi chai: Df option

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Slipping and sliding on the foot deep snow I carry my props and drink to the outdoors. The minus twenty two degrees celsius cold air that I breathe in feels like a knife cutting through my chest. A  polar vortex has blanketed the prairies as predicted by the weather man.

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A pick-me-up for this bone chilling weather has to be this deeply nourishing, powerfully healing and warming drink.The ingredients for this comes from the 4000 year old Vedic culture in India. The science of Ayurveda prescribes turmeric ( Cucurmin ) for its antioxidant, anti inflammatory and mood elevating properties.

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If you are looking to be healed inside out look no further friends, give the “golden milk ” of Ayurveda a try.

Recipe For 2

Ingredients:

Cow’s Milk  ( or Coconut milk )                                          2 cups

Turmeric powder ( or freshly grated )                                 2 tsp

Grated ginger                                                                   1 Tbsp

Peppercorn                                                                    2-3 ground

Cinnamon powder                                                          1 tsp

Honey ( or maple syrup )                                                To taste

Brewed tea                                                                  1 cup

Method:

Take all the above ingredients in a sauce pan and bring it to a slow boil. Put the gas off. Strain the mixture and enjoy!

Disclaimer:  Using this in lieu of prescribed medication is not recommended. Please consult your physician first.

Mung Puli Pitha: Yellow lentils and coconut cake; Gluten free

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IMG_4065Sankranti is the transmigration of Sun from one rashi ( zodiac sign ) to another. The most auspicious among all Snakrantis, the Makar Snakranti marks the migration of the Sun to the Capricorn sign. This marks the end of winter, days get longer, new harvest is ushered, and the glories of Sun, the all powerful  and most important of all cosmic bodies is celebrated.

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Rice is the staple food among a  large majority of people in India. The grain that satiates hunger has a special place among it’s people. The first harvest is given a haloed place. Prayers are offered to the all powerful  sun god, who sustains this world.

Food takes the centre stage in any celebration. Rice from the freshly harvested paddy and Date palm jaggery are used to make this delicious ‘Pitha” or cake.

Give it a try friends. This can also be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

Recipe : made 35 pieces

Ingredients;

Mung dal ( yellow lentils )                         2 cups

Grated coconut                                      1 1/2 cups

Heavy cream                                          1 cup

Date palm jaggery                                  11/2 cup

Rice flour                                               3/4 cup

Ghee                                                   2 tbsps

Canola oil for frying.

Method;

Dry roast the mung dal on a  medium high flame, stirring all the time. As soon as the colour start to change put the gas off, rinse the dal. Cook in water with a pinch of salt till soft. Use the back of a ladle to mash it smooth. Add rice flour one table spoon at a time and mix well. Set aside.

Take a non stick pan with ghee on medium heat. Add the jaggery, once it melts, add the grated coconut. Mix well. Throw in the cream, keep stirring now and then until the water evaporates and it forms a dough. Put the gas off.

Take a tablespoon of the dal mixture form into a ball, flatten into a flat disc. Seat one teaspoon of the coconut mixture in the middle of the disc. Close the flaps carefully. Dip fry on high heat using canola oil.

Collect on kitchen towel. Enjoy. Some prefer making a sugar syrup and dipping these in it.

Wish you all a happy and prosperous Makar Sankranti!