Pickles – This condiment literally tickles my palate. I LOVE pickles of any sort – sweet pickles, sour pickles, water pickles, candied pickles, fermented pickles, spicy pickles, tangy pickles. Pickles are vegetables or fruits soaked in solutions as a preservative. Be it European pickles that is acidic like the gherkins in brine and Kosher dill pickles or Far East’s fermented pickles like Kimchi and Japanese tsukemono with complex flavors. Likewise, Indian pickles have a myriad of spices and flavors. When citrus fruits are in season I make lemon/ lime pickle and preserve for later use.
Lemon pickle is commonly used in my household. I must say I’m the only pickle lover at home. I need any pickle with thayir sadam (plain yogurt rice). The husband cares less. It’s time-consuming (about 2-3 weeks) to yield the desired outcome, but takes less than an hour to put together. I make tonnes of pickle during summer and savor it throughout the year. Usually, I make the south Indian style pickles. Difference being the oil used for tempering and the spices used for seasoning. South Indians use sesame oil, while north Indians use mustard oil. Each impart a distinct flavor and aroma to the final output. Price wise, It costs half the price you’ll spend outside.
I love summers because I have an excuse to dunk my head into a tub of ice cream. You’ll be surprised how many pints I can finish myself. All those calories conveniently rest on my waist throughout the season, and longer. After all it’s ICE CREAM.
Ice creams with a smooth mouth feel, rich body and milky sweetness is what I prefer . I absolutely dislike ice creams that tastes sugary. My first American ice cream experience was in NYC, a vanilla waffle cup bought from an ice cream truck. It was cloyingly sweet and headed right to the bin. You know what I mean. Since then I stick to trusted brands I’ve tried before.
American cartoonist Jim Davis said ‘Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.’ I remember this when I see carrots, zucchini,pumpkin and any cake. This recipe is for mini carrot cake made in a microwave. It also happens to be Egg free and can be veganized easily. The whole process takes about 10-12 mins including the preparation, baking and resting time. Eating time differs from person to person. It takes 2 mins for me to attack and devour!
I baked cookies today. So I shall call myself cookiewali!
For the non-Indian readers, ‘wali’ is the suffix for female gender and ‘wala’ for male gender. Recently, I came across a thread in an online forum where a home baker was addressed by her client as ‘cakewali’. Going by the same suffixation, an IT personnel is computerwala/wali, an oscar winning actor is nautangiwala/wali, a chemist is dawaiwala/wali, a renowned chef is bawarchi, a pâtissier/ chocolatier is halwai and so on.
It sounds funny, right? Politically and technically it’s not wrong. At the same time, it’s about being sensitive and respectful to your fellow being. Addressing someone by their name is a kind gesture. Trust me, it costs nothing!
CHOCOLATE, this is something I’m never bored of. I mean it! How can anyone be bored of chocolates? You can unfriend me if you dislike chocolates.
Good chocolates always have a place in my pantry. And good strawberries are seasonal. I’m wary of buying strawberries off the shelf. Rarely, I land up with sweet strawberries. Anyway I picked this pack of organic strawberries just to find out that it wasn’t sweet enough for snacking. I was not in a mood to bake anything. But, I had to use these berries before it started rotting in the refrigerator.
I didn’t have anything in mind. Since we were going to Gilroy for a day long shopping, I wanted to take something to snack on the way. The berries became bars!
I had a long day. Cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. Phew! I was tired by the time I cooked dinner. But I had all the energy to bake something. I had no agenda. I put together something with the ingredients I had in hand. Well, I had two zucchinis sitting in the refrigerator. I try to incorporate this vegetable in my cooking now and then. Even in the bakes.
I am often asked to share the recipe for ‘HOME MADE CREAM CHEESE’. Cream cheese is readily available for me. But the same can be pricey and inaccessible for some folks. It’s mostly readers from India who find it hard to lay their hands on cream cheese. So here’s the recipe I experimented just for the heck of it. This one has a slight tang with a creamy texture.
I’ve come across many online recipes that use just whole milk to make cream cheese. I would rightly call it ricotta cheese which has a grainy texture. CREAM CHEESE needs cream and culture and/or rennet. This recipe requires no starter cultures or unpronounceable ingredients. It takes about 5 days! But you can check the consistency mid way and stop the process even on the 3 rd day.