Grape Galette (Last of the Summer Vine)

Grape  Galette

By  RatnaDSC_0640

I  used  my  blue  handle  secataurs  to  sever  the  fruit  from  the  stem, careful  not to cause   any  damage  to  the  leaves.  I  had  counted  them  before,  many  times,  there  were  sixteen  bunches  in  all. They  started  as  tiny  green  specks,  sometimes   hiding   under  cover  of  the  leaves.  With  time  they  became  plump  and   then  changed  color  to  purple. The  girls  in  my  office  got  daily  briefings,  from  conception  to  maturation,  with  pictures,  in  different  lightings.

DSC_0526DSC_0453I  held  the   basket  of  grapes  very  carefully,  brought  it  in  my  kitchen,  and  was  busy  giving  them  a  nice  wash,  just  like  a  new  mother  would , to  her  infant.   ‘Why  did  you  buy  such  tiny  little  grapes,  Mashi?”  exclaimed  Buri,  my  teenage  niece.  “They  are  organic  grapes  and  I  grew  them  in  my  garden”,  I defended.  Unaware  of  the  hurt  feeling  I  was  tending  to,  she  asked,  “Are  they  atleast  sweet?”  “There  are  different  varieties,”  I  cleared  my  throat,  ‘These  are  a  bit  tangy,”  I added.  At  this  time  she  tore  a  couple  of  them  from  one  bunch  and  vollyed  them  to  the  direction  of  her  mouth.  The  grapes  made  a  perfect  landing.  I  heard  a  crunch  first  followed  by  a  loud  “Ew,  it  has  seeds!”DSC_0586DSC_0573

My  grapes  are  small,  tangy  and  seeded,  I  said  to  myself.  They  have  grown  in  my  USDA  2a  garden  with  minimum  care.  They  are  not   “Concord’, “Cabernet  Sauvignon’  or  ‘Merlot’,  they  are  “Valiant’.  Staying  true  to  their  name,  they  come  back  year  after  year,  surviving  the  minus  thirtyfive  C  winter.  To  me  they  are  no  less than  Shiraz,  Pinot  Noir  or  Petit  Sirah.DSC_0664

What  do  I  cook  with  these  grapes,  I  pondered.  As  I  type  in  the  words  grape  recipes,  I  got  Gazpacho,  Gelato,  Salad,  Galette. My  eyes  were drawn  to  the  open  window,  where  I  saw  only  red  and  yellow  leaves.  The  combines  and  swathers  in  the  farmer’s  field  were  put  away  after  a  busy  last  few  days.  As  far  as  the  eyes  could  see,  the  hay  bales  were  neately  arranged.  ‘Your  days  are  gone  Gazpacho  and  Gelato,”  I  said  to  myself.  Grape  salad  sounded  too  plain  to  me.  Surely  these  grapes  deserve  much  more  than  being  added  in  a  salad.  Galette,  sounded  interesting . I  have  never  ‘Galetted”  anything  before.  Looked very  crispy  from  outside,  with  a  gooey  goodness  within. Galette  it  is, I’m  going  to  make  a  grape  galette.DSC_0672

I  followed  the  recipe  from  “Chatelaine”  magazine,  August    2013  with  some  changes.”  “The  autumn  leaves  ,flies  past  my  window”,  Diana  Krall’s  raspy  voice  was  playing  on  my  ipod.  I  started  measuring  the  flour..DSC_0693-3

Recipe

Ingredients;Pastry

 

All  purpose  flour  11/4  cup

Granulated  sugar  1Tbsp

Salt  1/4  Tsp

Unsalted  butter  1/2  cup  cold,  cubed

Ice  water  4  Tsp

Lemon  juice  1  Tbsp

Filling;

Packed  brown  sugar  1/2  cup

Cornstarch  3  Tbsp

Salt  1/8  Tsp

Grapes  seeded  4  cups

Almond  slivers  1/2  cup  Dry  roasted

Icing  sugar  1  Tbsp

Mint  leaves   2  or  3,  shredded  ( optional )  to  garnish.

Method

Take  the  flour,  sugar  and  salt  in  a  mixing  bowl.  Add  the  butter  and  mix  it  with  the  flour  till  crumbs  form.  Add  ice  water and  lemon  juice,  bring  the  dough  together.  It  should  not  be  sticky.

Position  the  rack  in  the  bottom  of  the  oven.  Preheat  it  to  375  degrees  F.  Lay  a  large  piece  of  parchment  paper  on  the  counter.  Sprinkle  lightly  with  flour.  Dust  the  rolling  pin  with  flour.  Roll  the  pastry  on  the  parchment  into  a  circle  about  12′  wide.  The  edges  can  be  uneven.  Transfer  the  parchment  and  pastry  to  baking  sheet.

Combine  brown  sugar,  cornstarch  and  the  salt  in  a  bowl.  Dry  roast  the  almond  slivers  and  add  them  in.  Tumble  fruit  mix  onto  centre  of  pastry  forming  a  10′  circle.  Fold  pastry  over,  just  to  cover  the  edge  of  the  fruit.  The  centre  of  the  pie  should  not  be  covered  with  pastry.  The  edge  will  be  uneven.  Lightly  brush  pastry  with  water  then  sprinkle  some  sugar.

Bake  till  pastry  is  golden  and  mixture  is  bubbly,  about  35 –  40  mts. I  garnished  with  slivers  of  mint  leaf.  Enjoy  either  with  icecream  or  with  a  drizzle  of  sugar.

Inside  Scoop;

1.  Deseeding  the  grapes  took  a  long  time.

2.I  had  to  take  help  from  black  seedless  grapes,  as  my  “Valiant”  grapes  did  not  yield  four  cups  as  the  recipe  asked  for  (  Shh….)

3.  Mum’s  sister  is  addressed  as  ‘Mashi’.

Munni’s Thekua (Indian Shortbread Cookies)

Indian shortbread cookie

Acchha  laga  Bhabiji ? ” Did   you  like  it  Bhabiji “?  Her  anxious  eyes  looking  at  me  for  approval.  “Munni”  is  the  household  help  at  my SIL”s  place.  She  spoils  us  everytime  I visit  my  SIL.

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As  I  took  a  bite  of  the  Thekua  I was  transported  to  my  University  days.  Staying  away  from  home  the  first  time,  Ma  always  worried about  food. Not  entirely  convinced  I  got  my favourite  snacks,  she  used  to  send  homemade  treats  for  me, treats  that  had  a  longer  shelf  life.  “Thekua”  made  frequent  visits  to  my  dormroom.  My  forever-hungry  roommates  cut  Thekua’s  life  short.DSC_0261

Tackling  the  rogue  aniseed  from  between  my  teeth,  I nod  my  head.  I  was  relishing  the  liquorice  taste  that  filled  my  mouth.  Satisfied  that  I  like  her  creation,  Munni  moves  on  to  her  next  chore,  washing  clothes,  tending  the  garden,  getting  groceries.  The  helping  hand  in  my  Prairie  kitchen  does  very  well  in  doing  dishes  and  clothes,  Miss  Whirlpool  hasn’t  tried  her  nuts-and-bolts  in  making  Thekua  though!

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..The  days  have  started  getting  shorter. There  is  a  chill  in  the  air.  The  blankets  are  left  out  on  the  sun,  so  they  are  more  comfortable  at  night. This  transition  of  seasons  reminds  me  of ‘Chhath’ – a  festival  celebrated  by  some  in  India, traditionally  in  November.  Our  neighbour  Renu,  would  always  bring  some  treats  for  us,  her  long  platts   neatly  tied  with  matching  ribbons.  We  were  half  expecting   her  to  do  the  same  this  year,  as  she   always  used  to.  Chhath  is   a  festival  where  the  devotees  worship  the  sun,  the  god  of  energy  and  of   life  force.  The  rituals  are  rigorous.  Devotees  abstain  from  drinking  water,  offer  prayers  to  the  rising  and  setting  sun,  standing   knee  deep  in  water. Thekua  is  a  revered  offering  during  this  festival.

Last 12 Months - 0541-2

 

DSC_0490DSC_0492.DSC_0301Recipe

Ingredients:

All  purpose  flour  (Maida)  2  Cups

Sugar  1  cup

Semolina  2  Tbsps

Baking  soda  a  small  pinch,

Aniseed  1  Tbsp,

Ghee  2  Tbsps

Method.

Mix   the   dry  ingredients  first  ,mix  in  the  ghee  next,   then   add  lukewarm  water  little  by  little,  to  make  a  dough. If  the dough  ends  up  being  a  bit  sticky,  sprinkle  a  bit  flour  to  make  it  right.    Divide  the  dough  into  16  pieces.  shape  them  in  any  way  you  like.  Traditionally  moulds  are  available,  like  the  one  I  used  here. I  sat  the  dough  ball  in  between  two  moulds  ,to  get  two  designs  on  either  sides.  Shallow fry  them  in  oil.

Let  it  cool  down  completely.  It  hardens  a  bit.  You  can  box  it  up  for  a  cookie exchange  or  surprise  your  family.

Inside  Scoop

1. For  a  healthier  version,  wholewheat  can  be  used. Grated  coconut,  raisins  can  be  added  in  the  mix.  Semolina  can  be  found  in  Indian  grocery  stores.

2. Bhabiji  is  how  an  elder  brother’s  wife  is  addressed  to.

3 .SIL:  Sister  in  law.

4.Ghee  is  clarified  butter,  available  in  the  world  food  section  in  most  grocery  stores.

Ra-ain in Spa-ain

by Ratna.

That  was Miss  Eliza  Doolittle,  the flower  girl; with  her  very  heavy  Cockney  accent  in  George  Bernard  Shaw’s  play  “Pygmalion”.  It was beautifully  portrayed  by  Audrey  Hepburn  in the  Hollywood  film  “My  Fair Lady”. All  was  well until Eliza  meets Henry  Higgins,  the Professor of Phonetics…..

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Fast  forward  to  June  2013,  I  was  very  lucky  to  be  able  to  participate  in  a  Food  Styling  and  Photography  Workshop  held  in  Sevilla,  Spain  by  Beatrice  Peltre,  author,  photographer,  &  food  stylist  of  “La Tartine Gourmande”,  and  Marta Munez-Calero.  Passionate  photographers,  food  lovers  and  bloggers  joined  them  from  near  and  far.  We  came  not  only  from  Andalucia  and  Australia,  but  also  Malmo  and  Michigan,  Istanbul  and  India,  California  and  Canada,  the  list  goes  on.  The  one thing  that  bonded  us  all  together  was  an  intense  desire  to  learn  more,  to  hone  our  skills,  and  to  see  how  the  experts  performed.

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The  workshop  ran  for  four  days  with  a  very  specific  itinerary.  Our  time  was  divided  between  learning  the  basics  of  the camera,  styling  and  photographing  different  dishes,  and  hands–on  exercises  with  feedback  sessions.  It  also  included  a   visit  to  the  local  vegetable  and fish  market,  a winery  and  of  course  an  exploration  of  the  Tapas  culture.

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It  was  hard  to believe  that   the  four  days  ended  so  soon  and  it  was  time  to say  good bye.   The  end  of  the  workshop,  heralded  the  beginning  of  new  friendships.  Hello  Sabrina  (Inside  my  bag),  Alexandra  (Strudel  and  cream),  Bahar,  Stephanie  (Bread  and  water  blog), Peta  (food Matters), Teki,  Kumud,  Michelle,  Seema,  Nikki, Anna  (Gastroadikta).  The  one  word  to  sum  up  the  whole  experience  would  be  “Amazing”. The  high  standard  of  instruction  was  coupled  with  attention  to  details. Thank  you  Bea  and  Marta.

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I  am  a  changed  person  now.  I  ‘tell’ the  camera,  what  to  do.  I  ‘see’  noise.  I  can  ‘eat’  food  with  my  eyes,  so  to  speak.

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Oh,  what  happened  to  Miss  Eliza  Doolittle  you  wonder?  “Rain  in  Spain  stays  mainly  in  the  Plains”,  she  said.

Sandwizza

by Ratna

My  daughter  and  I  were  Sari  shopping  in  Mumbai.

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The  list  looked  long  and  convoluted.  The  pile  of  “Short  listed”  saris  grew.  “Doh coke  la” (Get  me  two  pops),  the  man  behind  the  desk  shouted.  A  little  boy,  no more  than  ten,  ran  across  the  floor  and  handed  us  the  chilled  drinks.

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Working  steadily  through  our  list,  the  “must  have”  pile  of  saris  grew  in  size.  “Khana  mangateh  hain”  (Let  me  get  some  food)  the  salesman  suggested  this  time.  The  smell  of  melted  cheese  was  followed  by  the  two  plates  of  sandwiches. All  promises  of  not  eating  street  food  was  broken  that  afternoon.

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As  we  came  out  of  the  store,  I  noticed  this  “hole  in  the  wall”  with  Sandwizza written  in  faded  letters.  I  could  barely  see  the  man  sitting  between  an  assortment of  tin  containers,  plastic  packets,  fresh  produce,  Foreman  grill  look- alike  and  old china.  I  chose  a  safe  distance  to  stand  and  watch  him,  much  to  my  daughter’s disapproval.

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His  deft  fingers  methodically  working,  cutting,  assembling,  ingredients  at  ease.  A sprinkle  of  this,  and  a  dash  of  that,  while  maintaining   a  conversation  with  his customer.  His  beetle  juice  stained  teeth  peeked  through  his  thick  moustache.  I made  mental  notes.

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I  tried  the  same,  here  in  my  kitchen,  a  few  times,  before  I  thought  it   was somewhat  close  to  the  taste  from  that  day.  So  here  it  is,  Sandwizza.

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Ingredients:

Brown bread – 4 Slices
Olive Oil -2 Tbsps
Green Chutney _One third cup. See recipe below
Boiled potato _2 small thinly sliced
Chopped onions _1 small
Finely sliced tomatoes _ 2 medium
Chat masala _1tsp, according to taste
Thinly sliced Zucchini _ 1 small
Swiss cheese grated _1 cup

Method:

1.Brush olive oil on both sides of the bread slices.
2.Lather the green chutney on the inside of the bread slices.
3.Assemble the sandwich. I put the potato slices first followed by Zucchini,tomato,onions and grated cheese. Sprinkle the chat masala according to taste. Put the other slice of bread on top.I used a Breville grill 360 degrees F, for 4 minutes

Inside scoop:

1. I used Brown bread, but white bread can also be used.
2.Butter can be used instead of olive oil.
3.I had Zucchini at home, long English Cucumber or green Capsicum can also be used.
4.Recipe for the green chutney:
Cilantro choped: 1 cup
Mint leaves; Half cup
Green chillies 2
Garlic cloves 2
Ginger Half inch
Salt Pinch
Lemon juice 1 tsp
Grind all of the above with very little water.
5. I used store bought chat masala.