Peanut Barfi

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Peanut Barfi or Peanut Mithai is a sweet made of peanuts. It was one of my Masi’s (mother’s sister) favourite sweets to make. And I loved how it tasted made by her. She is no more, but it was her birthday on the 16th of July, and I decided to celebrate by making this sweet in her memory.

I never got to asking Masi how she made Peanut Barfi so now I have to improvise and make it myself. I’ve tried, tested, tried and tested again and finally made it my way. It tastes so delicious. You should try it too.

Here’s how I make Peanut Barfi

Peanut Barfi

Makes 25 pieces

Ingredients

1/2 tin/ 200 gms condensed milk

150 gms peanuts, roasted and skin removed

150 gms khoya

50 gms plain flour or maida

1/2 cup milk

Method

1 Grind the peanuts to a powder in the mixer grinder.

2 Mix all the ingredients and put to cook in a thick bottomed pan, on a slow flame, until the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan. The mixture will form a ball.

3 Remove from heat and spread onto a greased rimmed plate, tray or thali. Spread in a thin layer. Cool and cut into squares.

 

Rum, Raisin and Chocolate Ice Cream

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I know, I know, it’s not Christmas. It’s not your boy friend’s birthday either. These are the special occasions you would make rum, raisin and chocolate ice cream for. But for me every day is special. And every day is an occasion to celebrate. So this time I’m making this absolutely tempting, adult ice cream.

This version of rum, raisin and chocolate ice cream is easy, it doesn’t require an ice cream churner, just refrigeration,  it’s soft and creamy and filled with plump, juicy, well actually drunk in rum raisins that will have who ever eats it saying- I want more!

Now you can make this ice cream too and have your partner licking their fingers and yours as well!

This ice cream is inspired by Jessica’s Sweetest Menu.

Here is the recipe-

Rum, raisin and chocolate ice cream

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

160 gms / 1 cup raisins

125 ml/ 1/2 cup rum

500 gms/ 2 cups cream

300 gms/ 1 cup condensed milk

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

50 gms dark chocolate chopped into small pieces

Method

1 Soak the raisins in the rum over a period of 1 to 2 days.

2 Stir the cocoa powder into the condensed milk in a large bowl until the cocoa powder blends in.

3 Whip the cream. Pour into the bowl with condensed milk and cocoa powder mixture, and gently mix it. Add the rum soaked raisins and the chopped dark chocolate pieces and gently mix again.

4 Put it in an airtight container and put it in the coldest part of your freezer, away from the door, so that when you open the freezer door, warm air doesn’t affect it. You may also want to wrap the container in a plastic bag so that the ice cream doesn’t absorb smells from other foods in the freezer.

5 Every 1 1/2 to 2 hours, as the sides begin to freeze, with a spoon, beat the ice cream. Do this thrice before the ice cream sets.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

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Tell me, would you say no to the tempting combination of crunchy peanut butter and bananas? And….when they’re together in muffins, how could you say no?!

Here is a recipe by the famous Rachel Allen, also known as the Irish Nigella Lawson because she’s oh so beautiful and popular. She’s also Rachel Allen of the Cake Diaries fame as seen on television. This recipe is from her book Cake, and it’s delicious, delicious, delicious!

So the next time you have a tea party for your girlfriends  or a kid’s birthday party, put on that apron and show off your baking skills. Make these muffins and watch while you’re showered with praise and 💖.

Here’s the recipe.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Makes 12

Ingredients

75 gms butter, softened

200 gms caster sugar

150 gms crunchy peanut butter

2 ripe bananas( about 200 gms when peeled) mashed

4 eggs

250 gms self raising flour

Method

1 Heat the oven to 180 degrees C, 350 degrees F, and line the muffin molds with cup cake liners.

2 In a large bowl, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar, peanut butter and mashed bananas. Beat the mixture till it turns light and fluffy.

3 Now in a small bowl, break the eggs and whisk lightly for a few seconds. Then add the whisked eggs, a little at a time, to the butter and banana mixture, mixing as you pour the egg into the batter. Then gently fold the flour into the mixture.

4 Pour the batter into the muffin molds, up to three quarters full, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown, the muffins are risen, or a skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.

 

 

Seviyan

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The moon has been spotted in the sky calling for the end of the fasting of the holy month of Ramzan. Eid Mubarak! The festivities begin for Eid and most Indians and Pakistanis  celebrate by making seviyan in their homes.

When we were kids in the Air Force camp in Pune, we had Muslim neighbours. They had two kids, Jaffer and Zainab. We always enjoyed seviyan in their home for Eid. Jaffer was a great entertainer. No wonder, at the time, he wanted to grow up and join the circus.

So today, as you may have guessed I’m doing a seviyan recipe. Seviyan is made in as many ways as there are families who enjoy it. This recipe turns out decadent. The saffron gives it a lovely warm yellow hue and my dad loves it.

Here is the recipe.

Seviyan

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

A pinch of saffron

1 tablespoon hot milk

2 tablespoons ghee

1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

5 to 6 cloves

50 gms broken vermicelli

1/2 tin condensed milk

1/2 litre milk

Garnish

Some slivered almonds

Some chopped cashew nuts

Some raisins

Some rose petals

Method

1 Soak the safron in the tablespoon of milk for half an hour.

2 Pour the ghee into a pan (kadhai) and when it is hot, put the cardamom powder and cloves and fry until fragrant. On medium heat, fry the seviyan in the ghee until it turns golden brown. Do not let it burn.

3 Boil the milk. Turn the flame to low. Put the fried seviyan into the milk. Add the condensed milk and gently stir till everything is well mixed. Cook for 4-5 minutes on a low flame.

4 Add the saffron milk.

5 Remove from heat,  garnish with almonds, cashew nuts, raisins and rose petals.

Serve hot or cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Chocolate Brownies

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The irresistible combination of chocolate, peanut butter and peanuts baked into delicious brownies. These brownies taste luscious, so yum, and unlike walnut-chocolate brownies, they have peanuts in them, which are easily available in Asian food stores.

Bite into one of these brownies and you’ll believe every word I say. They’re like a super love song, like good music, luscious, dreamy, gooey, just so good.

The largest grower of peanuts in the world is China. India comes a close second and then comes America. Although peanuts are classified as nuts they are actually legumes. They are healthy and very nutritious.

These brownies are from a recipe by Chetna Makan from her book The Cardamom Trail. Chetna is a NIFT Mumbai pass out, who relocated to Britain and even participated in the Great British Bake-off 2014 where she reached the semi finals. She’s now oh so popular for her book which treats you to tastes from the east; inspiration from Indian food.

I have used an Amul 150 gm dark chocolate bar for the chocolate in this recipe. It contains 55% cocoa solids and although most recipes asks for 70% cocoa solids in the chocolate, these bars work very well for me. They are easily available in Amul parlours in Ahmedabad and I keep a stock of them.

Remember, self raising flour is nothing but baking powder added to plain flour (Maida). Add 1 teaspoon baking powder to 110 gms of plain flour. There, you have self raising flour!

Here is the recipe

Peanut Chocolate Brownies

Makes 20 small squares

Ingredients

200 gms (7oz) golden caster sugar

200 gms (7oz) light muscovado sugar

4 large eggs

150 gms (5 1/2 oz) plain dark chocolate

110 gms (4 oz) crunchy peanut butter

110 gms (4oz) unsalted butter

110 gms (4oz) self raising flour

110 gms (4oz) roasted peanuts lightly crushed

Vanilla ice cream to serve  (optional)

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, 350 degrees F, Gas mark 4. Grease a 22-23 cm(8 1/2-9 in) square brownie tin and line it with baking paper.

2 In a large bowl whisk the sugars and eggs together with an electric whisk for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is pale and creamy.

3 Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl, add the peanut butter and butter and set the bowl over a pan of steaming water until the mixture has melted, ensuring the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water beneath it. Pour the chocolate -nut mixture into the egg- and – sugar mixture and stir. Sift the flour into the same bowl, then add the crushed peanuts and mix well.

4 Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is crisp but the middle is still a bit gooey. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out. Cut into squares. The brownies can be enjoyed fresh when out of the oven (with vanilla ice cream) or cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Pudding

 

 

A2A84CE2-1652-456E-B48F-40D9C2F1B5F1I love baking, cooking and making delicious desserts. In fact I have a sweet tooth and like eating sweet stuff too. I started baking and cooking years ago, when I was perhaps 10 or 12, when I made my first donuts for the family. Ever since, there’s been no looking back. I enjoy cooking for family and friends, and especially old people and small kids, although all the desserts I make wouldn’t classify as kid’s treats. But this one sure does.

Chocolate is the ultimate treat for the senses. Whether you’re a child or an adult, chocolate is plain irresistible. And what if you have loads of great tasting unsweetened chocolate in your chocolate pudding; and of course the pudding doesn’t taste bitter. I promise this pudding will be enjoyable for the whole family. My family and friends just loved it!

Use good quality unsweetened  chocolate, that enhances the taste of the pudding.

This recipe is from one of my favourite food writers and chefs, David Lebovitz. He lives in Paris and is passionate about food, culture and travel. He also runs a fantastically successful blog and his writing is fun and sometimes cheeky, but mostly a whiff of fresh air. The recipe is called Chocolate Pudding, what else, and it is taken from The Great Book Of Chocolate.

I didn’t garnish my puddings but they still turned out yum!

Here’s the recipe.

Chocolate Pudding

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups (500 ml) milk

4 ounces (115 gms) unsweetened chocolate chopped

6 tablespoons (75 gms) sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 large egg yolks

2 teaspoons chocolate extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup (250 ml) whipped cream

3 tablespoons shaved bittersweet chocolate

Method

1 In a small saucepan, warm the milk and the chocolate until the chocolate has melted. ( It may not be completely smooth)

2 In a medium saucepan make a slurry by whisking together the sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks. Gradually whisk the warm milk and chocolate into the slurry.

3 Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with the whisk, until the pudding thickens, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in the chocolate extract.

4 Divide the pudding among 4 custard cups and chill thoroughly before serving.

5 Garnish the puddings with a dollop of whipped cream and the shaved bittersweet chocolate.

 

 

 

Sugar-free Fig and Nut Laddoo

 

C5CC8DAD-1FE4-41B2-BD80-A6923AD247A8Chetna Makhan is best known for being a semi finalist in the British Bakeoff 2014. But that was before she wrote her pathbreaking book, The Cardamom Trail. In the book she surprises you with giving an Indian twist to all that she cooks and bakes. I just got myself a copy, and the recipes look oh sooooooooo… good. Especially for Indians the book offers unusual variations with our daily herbs and spices. There’s a scrumptious Coffee Cardamom Cake, Black Sesame and Lime Cake and Rose and Honey Cake all of which look beautiful. The book has loads of lovely photographs.

What I’m so excited about today are the Sugar-free Fig and Nut Laddoos which I made and which turned out delectable. Every one in my family loved them. They’re healthy because they don’t have added sugar, and they’re made of dried fruits and nuts, and they’re good for diabetics too. And, the best part, they’re really easy to make.

Sugar-free Fig and Nut Laddoo

Makes 12

Ingredients

150 gms (5 1/2 oz) dried figs

20 gms (3/4 oz) cashew nuts, roughly chopped

20 gms (3/4 oz) almonds, roughly chopped

20 gms (3/4 oz) pistachios, roughly chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 tablespoon ghee, melted

Method

1 In a heatproof bowl, soak the figs in freshly boiled water for 15 minutes. Drain the water from the figs and blend them to a purée in the food processor.

2 Combine the fig purée, chopped nuts, ground cardamom and melted ghee in a bowl, mixing well with your hands. Roll the mixture into 12 small balls and put them on a plate to set. The laddoo will keep in an airtight container for upto 6 days.