Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Accidental chocolate cookies!

Accidental chocolate cookies! Strange name, na?? But I made these cookies by accident. Some may say trial and error. But it was neither a trial for cookies, nor can I call the end result as error! Well here's the story: Last week, a friend of mine gifted me some awesome homemade chocolates. They were soo very good, that I was inspired to make some myself. I remembered that I had some cooking milk chocolate which I had bought earlier. So I cut a big chunk of it, around 100 g of it and placed it in the microwave to melt it. This being my first time with melting the chocolate, I realized that the chocolate had caramelized a little, very slightly. So I quickly removed it, added some milk to it to make a gooey mass, and then added some nuts and sultanas to it. I was hoping that it would set when cooled, but after 10 minutes of cooling, I realized that it was still just a gooey mass though very tasty. Instead of eating it just like that, I decided to experiment a little. I sifted some all purpose flour with 1 tsp of baking powder and added it to the chocolate mixture. I mixed it well. Added a couple of drops of cooking oil to it and made a smooth uniform mass. My confidence regained, I made small balls of this mixture, flattened into a cookie shape, and placed in on a baking sheet. Then I baked it in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 14 minutes. When the kitchen was filled with a heavenly chocolatey aroma, I new that I had not lost my way in saving the chocolate!! I removed the cookies from the oven, cooled them and hesitantly bit into one.....and it was GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was light and crunchy, may be not as crunchy as a butter cookie, but definitely crunchy enough to be relished.

So here's the recipe:

Milk chocolate - 100 g
Milk - 2 tbsp
All purpose flour - 100 g
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Cashew nuts - 1 tbsp
Sultanas - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tsp

Method: Melt the chocolate using a double boiler or in the microwave, taking care to see that it does not burn or caramelize. I heated it in the microwave at 50% power for 1 minute. Add the milk, nuts, sultanas. Mix well. Sift together all purpose flour and baking powder. Add this to the chocolate mixture and mix well. Add the oil and knead lightly to make a smooth dough. Take small balls of dough, flatten them like a cookie and place on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 14-15 minutes. Check with a tooth pick to see if cooked well. Remove and allow to cool. Makes around 15 cookies. The cookies tend to be soft when hot, but become crunchy when cooled. You can also microwave them for a minute and then cool. They become very crunchy.

So, I have learnt two things today:
1. It is not easy to melt chocolate.
2. Failure is the stepping stone to success.

I have been interviewed!!!!!

It is less than a year since I started blogging. It was never so much for someone's appreciation as much as for personal satisfaction. But over time, as the number of followers increased, I only felt encouraged to do better, think better, and write better. Today when NRIGirl interviewed me as part of her interview series that she is doing to introduce us to other bloggers, I feel truly truly honoured!! Thank you so much, NRIGirl! It was truly a great pleasure to answer the questions you put forth. Thank you, all my followers and fellow bloggers for making me feel so special! Here's a link to the interview. Happy blogging everyone!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Crispy karela (bitter gourd) in microwave

Firstly, for all those who have been wondering as to why I have not posted any new pictures in my crochet album, here's the situation. Apart from a bad bout of cold and fever, recurring shoulder pain, and a wonderful vacation which occupied a major chunk of my time last month, I have been busy doing repeat orders for some of my bags which I have posted earlier in my blog as well as my album. People who place orders for bags, seem to love the colour combination I have used, and request for the same pattern and same colour combination. So it makes no sense in me posting the pics over and over again. Some of my patterns, I have repeated so many times, that I won't be surprised if I end up doing some crochet with my eyes closed or even in my sleep!!

Apart from crocheting and other crafts, I like to be creative with food. So lately all that I have blogged about is food, mostly healthy, low-fat, guilt-less food. So here's another such recipe which I have made quite a few times earlier but posting only now - crispy karela (bitter gourd) in microwave.

My husband is very fond of bitter gourd, especially fried bitter gourd, and I enjoy it too. Since we both love to eat and both have a tendency to put on weight easily, I am always on the lookout for healthy recipes so that I don't have to abstain from eating something which I like. I believe in eating in moderation where as my hubby dearest believes in no moderation when it comes to food that he loves. Sometimes I wonder if I put on weight merely by taking in the smell of good food or even glancing at it!! So for all good reasons, here's something that I would like to share with anyone and everyone who likes bitter gourd.


Bitter gourd thinly sliced - 1 cup
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Gram flour (besan) - 2 tbsp
Salt - as per taste
Hing (asafoetida) - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp

Mix all the ingredients together and keep aside for 10-15 minutes.

Place the slices in a single layer on a greased microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 6 minutes. Turn over the slices and once again microwave on high for 6 minutes. You can continue to microwave for a minute or two more if the slices are not crispy enough.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Brinjal rava fry in microwave

Mangalore brinjal or Gulla as it is commonly known in Mangalore, is a tastier variety of brinjals. Read about the brinjals here.

Many delicacies are made from these brinjals, among which I enjoy the deep fried ones the most. There are two ways to prepare the deep fried ones. One, is to dip the brinjal slices in gram flour batter and deep fry them. The second method is to marinate the slices in spices and then roll them in semolina or rava or sooji and then deep fry them. The rava fry can also be made as a shallow fry. This time I tried it in microwave. It is easy to make, takes less than 10 minutes and is also healthy.


Gulla/brinjal slices - 10 no.
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Asafoetida/hing - 1 tsp
Rava/sooji - to roll the slices
Oil - 2 tbsp

Mix all the ingredients except rava and oil and keep aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
Then roll the brinjal slices in rava and place on a greased microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 3 minutes.
Brush the slices with oil, turn them over. Drizzle a little oil on top of the slices and again microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Check if cooked.
Serve hot.

Note: The slices shrink a little when ready. Make the slices of medium thickness, neither too thick nor too thin.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Mangalore - then and now and how!

In spite of having lived for nearly 18 years of my life in Mangalore, I adjusted quickly and easily (all thanks to my new family and friends, as pointed out to me by our dear friend, CJ) to the busy life of Mumbai where I moved after my marriage, almost six years ago. I got so used to the grind of Mumbai, that every time I visited my parents, after the initial euphoria of seeing them, I would get bored and not know how to pass time. I used to feel that there was hardly anything to do there. No housework as Mom was used to doing it all by herself, also there was hardly any life outside too. By dusk, all shops would be closed and it was unheard of to venture outside after dark. Lights were off by 10 and people would be off to bed. But over the last couple of years, Mangalore has undergone such a vast development that it is difficult to believe that it is the same city I grew up in. Huge malls, shopping centers, food courts, multiplexes, restaurants, etc have been springing up left, right, and center of the city. People are still out on the streets late in the evening which was unheard of a couple of years ago. Mangalore has become more of a cosmopolitan city now and with the newly laid roads and better infrastructure, it is well on its way to becoming a metropolitan city.

We took off on an impromptu visit, which was planned in a matter of a couple of hours to surprise my parents, a gift for their forthcoming birthdays in the next couple of weeks. It was very hard to keep the entire trip a surprise and it took a lot of coordination with my sister who helped us to maintain the secrecy of this trip, but our efforts payed off when we saw how pleasantly surprised and delighted were my parents on finding my husband and me at their doorstep!

The last 10 days have been filled with a lot of laughter, fun, pampering, shopping, and a whole lot of gorging on delicacies, both home-cooked and some more that Mangalore is famous for. Almost anyone who has ever been to Mangalore would have tasted the Ideal Icecreams. Our trips to my hometown are never complete without having lunch at Hotel Hao Hao and the famous 'Gadbad' ice-cream. These are always on our to-do list even before we set out on our trip. This time too we kept the tradition of having an authentic Chinese lunch at Hotel Hao Hao - gorging on the prawns and the chilli chicken! Nothing ever tastes as good as the Chilli Chicken of Hotel Hao Hao!!! In spite of having been around for nearly three decades now, the quality of food has always been the same if not better, than what it was all those years ago. Great food, great service - all at affordable prices!!!

All in all, it was a great trip and even though it is hardly a day since we came back home, I am missing my parents and my hometown already.


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