Amazing Grass · Banana · Breakfast · Dates · Milk · Yogurt

Breakfast Smoothie

Breakfast Smoothie
Breakfast Smoothie

Winter is fast approaching.. the days are colder and nights even more.. Summer clothes have been packed away.. Plants are wilting.. The few which need to be saved like my beloved banana plant and my curry leaf plant have been brought indoors…The last few weeks were riddled with episodes of cough, cold and sore throats. Hubby was down with a bad respiratory infection for three weeks and is slowly getting back to normalcy. T is ok. I caught a sore throat which is steadily becoming a cough. Inspite of these minor inconveniences which cold weather brings, I simply love winter. I eagerly look forward to the first snow every year. My family usually finds me standing by the window transfixed watching the delicate snowflakes fall to the ground. Oh, it’s a magical sight! I never cease to wonder at this marvel of nature. As if shaking me out of my reverie, a cough or a sniffle would echo through the room, bringing me back to reality.
When T was little, she was a picky eater and had frequent episodes of cold and cough. One particular year was very hard with multiple visits to the ER. In her case, a cold turns into a cough and a cold cannot be avoided in daycare. The only logical way was to strengthen her immune system. I started looking for an immunity booster and found Amazing Grass. I had used it before and it helped stopped my allergies within a week. There was no harm in giving it a try. If T benefits from it, what more could I ask for?
But how do I make her take it? I usually have a scoop mixed into juice or water and gulp it down. T drinking it that way is not going to happen even in the wildest of my dreams. That’s when this smoothie came to the rescue. Did I tell you that T was a picky eater? I started her on this smoothie when she was 2 years old. It packed a good amount of calories, enough to kick start the day. And even if she didn’t eat much the rest of the day, the calorie count tallied because of the smoothie.
So, to this miraculous smoothie I added a scoop of Amazing Grass and T drank it upwithout a fuss. Her health did improve and to this day, I trust this smoothie and the green powder.
Let’s take a look at the recipe:
Breakfast Smoothie Recipe:
Banana – 1
Raw almonds – 5
Pitted/Seedless Dates – 3
Milk – 1/2 Cup
Plain Yogurt – 1/3 cup
Amazing Grass for Kids – 1 scoop (Optional)
Blend till smooth. I use a Vitamix. In case your blender doesn’t ground almonds finely, use almond flour. Banana adds a definite smoothness to the drink. You can add berries or other fruits to the mix as well.

Jaggery · Milk

Jaggery Blancmange

Jaggery Blancmange
Nowadays , how much ever I try, I am not being very successful in reducing the time gap between two posts. Either I would not have cooked anything interesting, or even if I do cook, the dish vanishes by the time I could take a photograph…With so many things coming into play, I keep wondering how my fellow blogger friends manage the show! 🙂

I missed a lot of food events recently and I didn’t want to miss JFI-Jaggery as well. Ever since Kay announced the ingredient for this month’s JFI along with a request for new recipes, so many ideas flashed by and I thought I could make atleast two recipes. But thanks to time, I managed just one.

Blancmange pronounced bluh-mahnj is a classic jelly dessert which originated in Arab world, and was typically made of almond milk, though in recent days, milk has taken its place. In its basic form, it is a pudding gaining its consistency from corn starch and sweetness from sugar.

My very first brush with this delectable dessert was through Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, a heart warming novel, where Jo takes across blancmange to sick neighbor Laurie to soothe his sore throat. Well, I did not have a clue of what it was at that tender age, but kept wondering about it, till I made it myself a couple of months ago. As ever, my sweet loving, give-me-new-recipes-any-time DH loved it. I had my reservations though, and was looking for a way to spice it up. JFI gave me the idea and I added jaggery and a little lemon zest and the result was delicious. Here’s the recipe…

Recipe:

Jaggery/Gur/Vellam/Bellam – 8 Tbsp
Corn Flour – 4 Tbsp
Milk – 2 1/4 Cups
Lemon Zest – 1 Teaspoon

Boil half of the milk. In the other half, dissolve the jaggery and strain to remove impurities. Add the corn flour and stir without any lumps. Finally add the lemon zest. Add the boiled milk to this jaggery mixture and stir well. Return it to heat and keep stirring on a low heat. In about 5 to 10 minutes, the milk will attain the consistency of a porridge. To test doneness, dip a spoon into the milk and draw a line using your finger on the back of the spoon. If the line stays clear, the blancmange is done. Pour into a mould which is wet and refrigerate. It usually takes about one and a half hours for the blancmange to set. Unmould, and serve with cream, fresh fruits, nuts and a syrup of your choice.

I cannot stop myself from saying that jaggery adds a whole new dimension to the flavor of this dessert..and served with a tangy orange syrup, it truly is scrumptious. The recipe for the syrup is as follows…

Tangy Orange Syrup:

Orange Juice – 1 Cup
Brown Sugar – 2 Tbsps
Cardamom – 1 pod
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick

Combine all ingredients and cook on a low heat till the juice thickens. Instead of orange juice, you can use any juice. My favorites are black currant, apple and grape.

Milk

Nutty Delight

Nutty Delight

When Vineela of Vineela’s Cooking announced the topic for JFI#5 – Milk, I was delighted and went off on a trip down memory lane reliving all my “milkilicious” memories…! This is my entry to the event.

I love milk…I really love milk. My mom used to say that even as a child, when kids my age made their moms run after them to make them gulp down a glass a milk, I would finish mine and ask for more !! Even my little sister would drink milk only if a couple of drops of coffee is added to it. Quite funny, isn’t? Well, my love for milk continued well through adulthood and I realise that I play a very important part in emptying the gallons of milk in our refrigerator!

Back home, plain milk had quite a good flavor. But I somehow do not like the milk which we get here. So, I have to mix it with something like Complan, Horlicks, Rose Syrup and anything which would add some flavor.

Coming to today’s recipe, this is a beverage I make quite often, when I get fed up with the store bought products. It’s a refreshing and maybe a little heavy drink, given the fact that lots of nuts go into its making.

Let me get to the recipe:

Milk – 1 Tall glass – Approximately 450 ml

Broken Cashew Nuts – 3 Tablespoons
Blanched Almonds – 6
Raisins – 1 Tablespoon
Pitted Dates – 4

Vanilla Extract or Almond Extract (Optional) – 1/4 Teaspoon

Except the milk and the extracts, grind the rest of the ingredients to a fine paste, adding a little milk. Mix this paste with the rest of the milk. Chill and serve.

The vanilla or almond extract is optional. Instead a little cardamom powder can be used. Added to the cashews and almonds, pistachios can also be used.
Milk · Rice

Lemon Rice & Kiwi Milkshake

Kiwi Fruit

The sun was as usual at its zenith yesterday and our hopes of a cool drizzle to quench our parched bodies were wasted. I was not in a mood for an elaborate lunch, so Sai and I settled in for lemon rice with peanut chutney, along with a glass of kiwi milkshake.

I tasted the kiwi fruit in US, for the very first time. I cannot say that I was thrilled by its taste. It tasted more or less like a berry. We had bought a dozen at our local farmer’s market last weekend and after a couple of tastings, they were forgotten in the recesses of my refrigerator, till Sai reminded me of Kiwi Milkshake.

Here goes the recipe:

Kiwi Milkshake:

Ingredients:

Kiwi – 2
Milk – 1 Cup
Sugar – 1 Teaspoon
Vanilla Extract – 1 Teaspoon
Vanilla Icecream – 1 Scoop

Peel the kiwis and blend with the rest of the ingredients till smooth. Hmm..Lip Smacking!!

Lemon Rice:

Ingredients:

Cooked Rice – 1 Cup
Green Chillies – 4 – 5
SplitGinger – 1 inch piece Crushed
Raw Groundnuts – 3 Tablespoons
Curry Leaves – 10
Urad Dal – 1 Teaspoon
Mustard seeds – 1 Teaspoon
Channa dal – 1 Teaspoon
Lemon – 1
Oil – 2 Tablespoons
Turmeric – A pinch.
Coriander (Finely Chopped) – 1 Tablespoon

Juice the lemon and mix the juice with the rice along with salt. In a skillet, heat the oil and add mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal and the curry leaves. After the mustard seeds splutter, add green chillies and ginger. Fry for a minute. Add the groundnuts and fry till they turn golden brown. Add a pinch of turmeric and toss in the rice. Mix well and garnish with coriander.

Serve with groundnut chutney.

Groundnut/Peanut Chutney:

Ingredients:

Groundnuts – 1 Cup
Garlic Flakes – 3
Green Chillies – 3
Tamarind – a cherry sized ball
Jeera – 1 Teaspoon
Water – 1/2 Cup

Seasoning:
Oil – 1 Tablespoon
Mustard Seeds – 1 Teaspoon
Curry Leaves – 5

Fry groundnuts without oil till light brown. Grind with the rest of the ingredients till smooth. Finish off with a seasoning of mustard seeds and curry leaves.