Tag: ice cream

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger….stand a little taller…

Yesterday was one of those days when I wish I could be a kid again. Life was full of hope and dreams and filled with all kinds of opportunities.

It was simpler.

It was uncomplicated.

The only real problems being homework and exams. And the occasional peeing in your bed.

I am a strong believer of whatever happens, happens for good and that has kept me sane through the past few years, but sometimes the wait gets to you and you end up writing a depressing post like this.

Now, I have written my share of optimistic posts (don’t believe me? check this out and this) and not that I don’t believe in all that I say in those posts, I do. But for today lets just give the silver lining a rest, can we?

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Chocolate Ice Cream Philadelphia Style

Off lately I haven’t been too blog social.

Besides writing the occasional blog post, I haven’t been spending too much time online, (except for prying on other people’s lives on Facebook, but that doesn’t count, does it?)

Anyway, I haven’t been able to visit the lovely blogs on blogosphere and telling the oh-so-many talented bloggers out there how much I love their recipes and posts. I am sorry. I truly am. I also have been very lazy with replying to the lovely people who have been leaving comments on my blog. I know its the rudest thing possible, but please know each and every comment you leave makes my day.

I am just bad at all this.

That’s one of the biggest reasons why I don’t have a facebook fan page (besides the obvious- the fear of not having anyone to like my fan page!). I know fan pages require constant updates and interactions. And even though I would like to be interactive, I am very lazy with such things.

That’s also why I have no twitter account. Keeping up with my own personal facebook page can be a task, I don’t think I would be able to manage twitter as well.

Maybe I should have a ghost writer too! Maybe that way NY times would talk about me too!

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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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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Kavita Massi’s Mango Kulfi

Its getting hot- quite hot here in our small town. Back in India, its getting even hotter. Thus, its only apt that I post this for today’s GMT- a sweet treat to beat the escalating summer heatKulfi. And since ’tis the season for mangoes, I thought of taking it up a notch and made Mango Kulfi :)!

In India, kulfi – a frozen milk-based dessert- is a street-vendor food. Sellers keep the frozen treat cold in a special ice and salt filled big pot called a matka. Although the usual way to serve it is with a simple garnish of nuts, some vendors also serve sweetened vermicelli rice noodles with Kulfi. Some serve it in small earthernware pots called matkas– and this kind is called Matka Kulfi. For me the name Kulfi always reminds me of this vendor who used to sell kulfi outside Moet’s in Defence Colony, Delhi. I loved his Kulfis. I am not a falooda fan, so would just have the stick of Kulfi. Kulfi is also quite a popular menu item at Indian weddings, especially summer weddings.

Unlike western ice cream, Kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert that takes a long time to melt– hence the perfect treat during a hot summer day- you have no worries of it melting it on your shirt or ruining that new summer dress you bought!

It is believed that the first Kulfi was made by freezing Rabri (reduced milk and sugar) in ice. During the Mughal empire reign in India, the ice was brought in from Hindu Kush to Delhi. For a long time the privileges of having Kulfi were limited to royalty and upper levels of aristocracy in India until modern day refrigeration technology reached South Asia.

Traditionally, Kulfi is prepared by evaporating the heck out of milk by slow cooking it and stirring it continuously so that the milk does not stick to the bottom of the vessel and burn. This is done until the volume of the milk is reduced by more than half and you get an extremely thick milk. This takes hours. After the milk is reduced, sugar is added while still hot. Nuts like pistachio or almond and flavorings like saffron, rose water, kewra are added. The mix is then frozen in tight sealed molds that are then submerged in ice mixed with salt to speed up the freezing process. The ice/salt mix, along with its submerged kulfi molds, is placed in earthen pots or matkas that provide insulation from the external heat and slow down the melting of ice. Kulfi prepared in this manner is hence called ‘Matka Kulfi’. Kulfi, thus prepared by slow freezing, also renders a unique smooth mouth feel that is devoid of water crystallization.

I also read that aging the mixture overnight (about 12 hours) in the refrigerator prior to start freezing, gives a better Kulfi.

Now, now, I would not dream to suggest you all to be in the kitchen for hours at a stretch especially in this heat. Of course you could do all that I mentioned above, but one of Vikram’s relatives whom I fondly call, Kavita Massi, gave me a “cheat’s version” for making Kulfi. And it’s pretty easy with fabulous results!

The best part of the recipe is that it can be assembled in minutes. You don’t have to slave for hours to make this dessert. And the beauty of any Kulfi recipe is that it’s flexible to any addition. If you do not have mango on hand you can omit it (of course, you will need to add a few tbsp of sugar but do not go overboard with the sugar as it affects the creaminess of the kulfi). You can also omit the pistachio, instead you can choose to add rose water, cardamom or go a little on the wild side and add avocado, strawberry or orange! No matter what flavors you choose, you will have a wonderful treat to bite into!

I had made these treats when we had a few of our friends over and had quite a few left over as the recipe yields quite a lot. V was quite happy because he loved the kulfi. As I have already mentioned before, on occasions more than once, V is not much of a sweet fan. More often than not I have to ask him whether he wants something sweet, and after a lot of contemplating, he says a very disheartened “ok”. But, not with this dessert. (I think I have stumbled on something great here.) V actually asks for this Kulfi (and let me also mention here, he hardly used to eat Kulfi back in India. So he must really like it!) Even if I am full and assume that he is too and as such don’t serve any sweet, he actually suggests that we should have a Kulfi each! That should be evidence enough to convince you to try this recipe. This is the biggest testimonial that the dessert is good if V asks for it. (He had it twice yesterday- and both times I did not even have to remind him that there is Kulfi in the refrigerator).

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Bailey’s & Dulce de leche Mocha Cookie & Cream Ice Cream

If you are like me, then the mention of cookies, alcohol, and ice cream in the same breath would make your eyes brighten up and your mouth drool! That is if the long name doesn’t scare you away!

The idea behind this crazy sounding name came the other day while I was thinking of  how to incorporate the cookies left from the time I made the Mocha Chocolate chip cookies.

Now, during the visit to my grandparents’ place, somebody had invited us for dinner and I had the most amazingly creamy strawberry ice cream- which was homemade and completely eggless. The aunty told it was a fairly simple eggless recipe with equal proportions of milk, cream and milk powder and she adds strawberry crusher which lends the sweetness and flavour to the ice cream. But, I wanted to add the cookies, so I thought I would replace the strawberry crusher with crumbled cookies.

The Bailey’s was something I remember from one of David Lebovitz “no ice cream machine” ice cream. Just before leaving US for my India vacation I got my copy of Room for Dessert and I remember seeing David’s chocolate and banana ice cream that requires no ice cream maker.

Now the thing is I think I am allergic to banana. I think  so because everytime I eat a banana I get this horrible-horrible pain in my stomach. This allergy was never there before. I experienced it for the first time when I was at some one’s place and had taken my banana bread for them. I ate it at night. The next day I had severe pain. Since we had eaten out I thought it was a result of that. But it remained for quite a few days, because I was still eating bananas. Anyway, our home stock of bananas finished and so did the pain. Still it did not strike me. After few days again the same thing and the same happened when my in-laws were there. The only food that was common all these times was banana. So well, I guess I am allergic to it, which kind of sucks because I love banana bread!

So with these two recipes and a little help to get it all together from  here I set out to make my jacked up mocha cookies, dulce de leche ice cream!

Dulce de leche (pronounced DOOL-say day LAY-chay) is Spanish for “milk candy”. It tastes quite like caramel but with the additional taste of cooked milk. (Technically, dulce de leche is a type of caramel.) It’s often used in liquid form as a sauce for ice cream, cakes, cookies, just about anything that needs a sweet topping. In solid form, it is most often eaten as a tasty candy.

The ice cream turned out more like mocha cake batter ice cream.-probably because of the soggy cookies that I had used. Anyway, that wasn’t a problem. Only problem that I had was that it was melting too soon. Homemade ice creams are generally more soft than store bought- they have the soft serve consistency. But this one was melting way too fast. It is really hot here but still not so much that a ice cream can’t behave itself for a few minutes. I guess it could be the alcohol level that did not allow the ice cream to freeze too much. The person, whose original recipe I used, does not add alcohol and has a very creamy ice cream thanks to the milk powder in the recipe. And since I added alcohol, as well as the milk powder, it might have changed the science behind freezing the ice cream. I, actually like my ice cream melted. So I wasn’t complaining, but my mom likes her ice cream “ice cream consistency” (which she couldn’t get because the tub had been out for quite a while as I was busy clicking some photographs). She loved the taste though.

The melted ice cream did make a darn good adult cookie and cream shake! But next time I would skip the cognac and see how that works.

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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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