Tag: coconut

Goodbye 2011, hello 2012!

Doesn’t time really fly by? And doesn’t this feeling of time flying by become more pronounced during the end of a year and the beginning of another?

2011 surely flew by me.

The year was eventful, to say the least.

V survived a year of marriage with me!

I was able to make two trips to India this year. And I just realized almost half of this year was spent in India.

But the highlight of this year had to be the birth of my niece, Lahina. Oh how I miss that baby!

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Zucchini & Coconut Bread with Coconut Rum Lime glaze

The very talented Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin started The Secret Recipe Club (or TSRC, here on) a while back. I know! Doesn’t it sound so cool and fun! Well, it is! The idea behind TSRC is simple. Each participating blogger is assigned one of the other participating blogs (much like a Secret Santa). No one reveals whose blog they have, they just visit, pick a recipe, and make it! My assigned blog this month was Suz’s Thru The Bugs on My Windshield.

Now, the moment I clicked on Suz’s blog, I knew what I wanted to make. Because the first recipe itself caught my eye! Now, I have to tell you, recently I have this craving for everything coconut. The list includes coconut chocolates, Indian dishes with coconut like the Kerala cauliflower dish I recently made and Pina Colada (yes, alcohol can never be left behind, can it!). So when I saw Suz’s recipe for coconut banana bread which was topped with coconut lime sauce (coconut lime sauce- who can resist that!) , I was sold.

Coincidentally, Suz tried this recipe for her last month’s TSRC blog hop. Well, Suz and I get attracted to the same sweet things, I guess! Besides this recipe, Suz who lives with her Mountain Man, has a lot of other good recipes that I am tempted to try and have bookmarked, including her Chicken Asparagus Penne Pasta salad, her never-fail Pie crust and Amanda’s Cantaloupe Quick Bread. Do check her blog out, guys (she makes her own homemade vanilla extract- yup, she is that good!) I did a slight variation to the recipe. Though I would have loved to try the recipe with bananas, my stomach just can’t digest it anymore. It’s sad, really, it is, especially at times like these! I used to love banana bread and to have coconut in it, ah! How good would that have been! Sigh! Well, some things you just can’t help, can you. So, instead of banana, I thought of using zucchini. The substitution worked really well, more than what I expected. The only problem, I feel, some might have is that since I took out the banana, some of the sweetness also went away with it. V found the sweetness perfect, and with the glaze you don’t miss the sugar, but if you like your stuff sweet, you should up the sugar amount. Another reason why the sweetness might have been off the mark was that I did not realise that my stock of sugar was low, and found out only when I started mixing everything up.

Now, not that I need a reason to make Pina Coladas, but this was a perfect time to make some! So, there I was, sipping my Pina Colada and biting into my take on Suz & Krista’s coconut banana bread, with this song playing on my mind.

Yes I like Pina Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
I’m not much into health food
I am into champagne
I’ve got to meet you by tomorrow noon
And cut through all this red-tape
At a bar called O’Malley’s
Where we’ll plan our escape.


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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Cauliflower in a spicy kerala curry paste

I am sure by now everyone has rejoiced in the fact that Osama Bin Laden is dead and like me are eagerly waiting for the photographs to be doubly sure that he is actually gone. The news, no doubt, was and is great, but one also silently prays that his supporters do not retaliate in a violent way. For now, its a victory over terrorism.

Another thing saw its end in our kitchen today. My “Indian nod” Sardar got his head cut off today, thanks to my stupid carelessness. Some of you might remember him, from his brief appearance on last week’s Garam Masala Tuesday (GMT, here on). V and I loved this adorable wobbly head that imitated the famous Indian head wiggle (the nod that signifies both a yes and a no). And now, it lies with no head, no head wiggle, standing on the counter, headless :(! We might be able to fix it with some super glue but I think I might have permanently paralysed his head. Sigh!

One good thing that is happening though these days, is that I am getting sleep pretty early. Thanks to the jetlag, there is no more insomnia, no more staying awake all night, making frustrated noises, cursing my body for being so difficult- nope no more of that! yet.

And since I am sleeping early, it means I am getting up early too! Which means I get time to exercise in the morning! I had been doing some light yoga exercises the last week and now that I am more or less settled in after my long vacation (I will not say completely settled as I am yet to organize my closet), I thought to start some serious exercise. So I got up today and went for a jog and realised how out of shape I actually am. My first round- and I was huffing and puffing like a chu-chu train! Anyway, after the jog I felt so much better, thinner! Hopefully I’ll continue!

Coming to today’s GMT I thought to make this spicy kerala curry that I learnt from our cook back in India. The cook used the curry paste to make prawn curry but since, V is not gung-ho on seafood and the fact that he is a vegetarian on Tuesdays, forced me to make cauliflower in the kerala curry paste.

This dish is slightly time consuming, especially when it comes to the roasting of the coconut. But, believe me, the results are worth it!

Serve it with any Indian flatbread and you have a great Indian meal on the table. I had originally planned to make this with Kerala parantha or Porota but I did not achieve the results I was looking for. Well, hopefully I will have better luck next time.


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TOASTED COCONUT ICE CREAM

To be in Kerala (a state in the south of India), and not make something coconutey– it just won’t do! Coconut grows in abundance here, and consequently, grated coconut and coconut milk are widely used in dishes and curries as a thickener and flavoring ingredient. So a coconut dish was definitely called for.

While still figuring out how to use the coconut, the other day we went this gelato place and I tasted coconut ice cream and that was it! That’s what I would use the coconut for! Summer has already hit Kerala. Well, it never actually went. Like some one put it the other day- it only gets hot, hotter and hottest here. Thus, it was decided- coconut ice cream it would be! What better way to beat the heat!


Now, I don’t have an ice cream maker- don’t have it in my house nor at my parent’s house. But, still I wanted to try my hand at homemade ice cream. Yes, I dream big! I used to have an ice cream maker when I was in first grade- you know the manual one- the kiddie kinds- and over the years, of course it gave way. I want to buy one, but the lack of space and budget tells me to wait some more.

But, as of now I don’t have one. So, I turned to whom I always do when in trouble—– Google. And, that’s where I found David Lebovitz’s post on making ice cream without an ice cream maker. Thank you Mr. Lebovitz for coming to my rescue!

Meanwhile, my mom wanted to throw a formal dinner and call a few people before I leave for Delhi (which I do tomorrow). And she gave me the responsibility of dessert and a few other dishes. Perfect- I can impress her guests with home made coconut ice cream! My mom just refused to believe that I could pull it off- that I would me able to make nice smooth home made ice cream. She insisted I would end up with ice crystals and nothing else. She tried her best and kept giving me ideas for other desserts I could try. She wanted me to make my flourless chocolate cake– but it’s just so difficult to find baking ingredients here that I had to squash her hope of having that cake.

Anyways, I told her to give me a chance and if it didn’t turn out to meet her high expectations I would make some other dessert. But, when she tasted it she just could not believe how good it turned out. In fact, yesterday, after the dinner , she was like it was the best thing she had.

Next time I’ll try using coconut cream, though I don’t have an idea how the science behind it will work! Would also like to add Malibu thought of it this time, but did not have either on hand). Also do check out David’s tips on how to make home made ice cream more smooth!

The ice cream is not too sweet. In fact, a little maple syrup on top won’t hurt. I put bits of the spun sugar I made- so anyone who wanted a little sugar could bite into that.

I also decided to serve the ice cream in spun sugar bowls. Like I mentioned, I dream big! I got the idea from here. I just loved the site- its so creative and beautiful. Anyways, it wasn’t an easy task. I got burned my finger. The first attempt I got perfect bowl shape and the color was a nice deep amber (as seen in the picture)- but I did burn the sugar a little and the bowls were a little bitter. I wanted the bowls to be edible- just in case someone decided to have a piece from it. So I went for attempt two. The color was a lighter amber, and the sugar wasn’t burnt but the bowls broke on unmolding. This attempt was where my mom burned her finger! Third attempt I got the same light amber color (I was a little scared of overdoing the sugar and burning it- a candy thermometer would have surely helped!). Since, the first two attempts I had difficulty in unmolding the sugar from the bowls, I thought of making a round design on a flat surface covered with aluminum foil and before the spun sugar cools, quickly mold it in the desired shape. But, one has to be really quick in doing so. While the one or two pieces I could mold into bowls, the rest had cooled and hardened into flat plates, albeit beautiful. Anways, lessons learnt for next time!

P.S: Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!

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