My rendezvous with Martha & a recipe for eggless mousse

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This post has been  long over due and I cannot express how much I’ve been pushing myself to write this post. Settling down in a new home and office at the same time can be very exhausting. I’m slowly getting my life back to normal and enjoying meeting new people and learning something new every day.

I happen to know about Martha’s preserves through a friend of mine and was curious to meet the face behind such lovely products. Every product which comes out is dear to every entrepreneur and setting up a business coming from foreign land is not an easy task. Meet Martha Kohlhagen. She makes awesome marmalade and sauces which gives you a taste of a true artisan product sans preservatives.

Martha’s Preserves operates from a 20 acre farm at Bannerghatta. Martha  stays and works from her farm. They are a team of 10 dedicated individuals dishing out 10 plus yummy products like  pomegranate and orange marmalade, lemon curd, caramel sauce, chocolate fudge, onion relish etc. Martha has a  background in food technology and uses her grandmother’s recipe to make these delicious products. She does keep the Indian taste in mind and has created products like chilli pineapple jam. Martha aims to produce quality products without comprising on taste. She says that it takes a lot of care and planning to sort fruits and make seasonal products. Martha plans to increase her reach to other cities too.

What really impressed me about Martha’s preserves is that they not only make unique combinations but also have sauces like caramel sauce, chocolate fudge sauce on offer that make life simple. Some ice-cream and a combo of these two sauces makes for a stellar dessert. However, for those who like a little more salt in their caramel sauce can add some sprinkles of sea salt to round up on the flavours. Martha’s Preserves are a Gourmet range, hence be prepared to shell an extra buck for these artisan products but trust me when I say they are worth it!

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Since the time I’ve moved back to Bangalore, I’ve been enjoying avocados. My mom’s neighbouring garden produces some of the best and creamiest avocados that I’ve ever had. Long live thy neighbour! Avocado mousse is so easy to make and can be made guilt-free. The natural creamy texture of the avocado makes all the difference and you won’t miss any cream in your dessert. If you don’t have Martha’s chocolate fudge at home, you could use cocoa powder or dark couverture chocolate (melted). You can also spike your dessert with a teaspoon of brandy! This dessert allows you to play with ingredients and feel free to experiment by adding rolled oats, cashew butter or hazelnut with different flavours or textures.

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Ingredients for avocado & chocolate fudge mousse

1 big size avocado, scooped into a bowl

2 tbs of Martha’s chocolate fudge sauce

1/2 tbs maple syrup or honey

1/2 tbs coffee decoction

nuts or cocao nibs for garnish

 Procedure:

  • Add all the ingredients in a mixer except garnish and make a fine paste.
  • Pour the mousse into the desired serving glasses or bowls. Garnish with some nuts and cocao nibs. Refrigerate for minimum of two hours  before serving.
  • Serve chilled. Serves 2-4.

Note: I layered my serving glasses with some caramel sauce at the bottom to give my dessert a surprise element.

Martha’s Preserves is available at Foodhall.


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Coconut sugar ladoo (coconut sugar balls) and it’s different!

Coconut sugar ladoo

Festivals are all about eating…Aren’t they?! 🙂 Today, is the last day of Ganapati visarjan and I thought why not share a simple recipe of one of my favourite and versatile ingredient “coconut sugar“. I’ve made cookies, caramel sauce, kheer and decided to make something new again.  Coconut sugar has a very dominating flavor of coffee like caramel. I made use of the ingredients that I had at home and decided to make some coconut sugar ladoos for the festive season. I have used poha or beaten flat rice to make these gluten free ladoos. Just with four ingredients, these ladoos are not only easy to make but can be made in just 15 minutes flat!

Ingredients

2 cups beaten flat rice or brown poha

1/2 tsp cardamon powder

2 tbs of chopped cashew

1 tbs of raisins

1/2 cup ghee

1 cup coconut sugar or more according to your taste

Procedure

  1. Lightly toast the flat rice until light brown.
  2. Allow it to cool and grind in the mixer until fine like powder
  3. Heat ghee and coconut sugar in the pan until the ingredients melt.
  4. Add this warm mixture to the flat rice powder with some cardamon powder.
  5. Mix well until combined.
  6. Take a tablespoon of mixture in your palm and round them into a ball.
  7. These balls tend to be soft in nature. Be careful to place them on a plate and allow it to sit for half an hour before transferring into a container. They become firm after a while. I made 20 ladoos. Store in an air tight container upto 15 days. I’ve noticed that they taste better after two days.
Ganesha

Coconut sugar ladoo offering to Lord Ganesha

Ganesha lunch

My home cooked meal for the festival

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I also made some coconut sugar kheer!

I hope I have convinced you enough about this versatile sweetener.  You can buy coconut sugar here


Salted Coconut Caramel Sauce

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Caramel is generally made by adding butter and cream to caramelized sugar.  I’m sharing a vegan recipe of caramel sauce here. You heard it right! It tastes equally good or I can say even better. The secret ingredients in  this caramel sauce are coconut sugar and coconut milk. Coconut sugar is better than refined sugar and the coconut milk gives right  amount of fat for a great texture.

The low glycemic index (GI) of coconut sugar is 35 (around half of white sugar) and has led some to claim that it’s a good sugar substitute for people with diabetes. It has a high mineral content compared to other sugars and is a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. You can use coconut sugar 1:1 in any way you would use regular sugar, including coffee, baking or cooking. More benefits and details in my previous post about this wonder sugar.

How does coconut sugar taste?  It does not look, smell, or taste the way one would expect it to (like coconut). It actually looks, smells, and tastes like brown sugar with the slightest hint of caramel.

Although this recipe is fairly simple, it does require some understanding of the caramelization process. When sugar is heated to the point of melting (with or without water), it begins to color and caramelize. If left as is, it will solidify into a hard mass. If water is added, it becomes a thin sauce. If water and fat are added, the caramel develops body and  texture. Adding water will make the caramel bubble up-  Caramel is extremely hot and can do serious damage, so be careful.

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Ingredients:

1cup coconut sugar dissolved in 1/3 cup of water

1 cup coconut milk (I used homemade)

1/4 tsp vanilla powder or extract

1/4 tsp sea salt

Procedure:

Mix all the ingredients in a pan. Place it  on a stove top, on low flame. Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes, until thick or till desired consistency. Stir occasionally and keep a keen watch on the sauce. Once done, allow it to cool before transferring into a bottle. Remember, that the sauce will thicken after cooling. You can refrigerate up to 3 weeks.

Serving suggestions: This sauce is so good and tasty to use it as a dip for fresh fruits, crepes, waffles, ice-creams, trifles, cakes, cookies, chocolates or best had straight from the bottle 🙂


Zabaglione, Italian Custard

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I’ve been visiting some organic stores in Bangalore and found the shop keepers promoting a lot of  local food.  Veggies and fruits are brought into the city from the nearby farms, twice in a week. I was  happy to find free range eggs in some stores. I’m constantly  been asked about  where to buy free range eggs in Mumbai and I direct some to a supermarket or a local chicken shop.

A few days in Bangalore and I’ve been treating myself with some avocados, free range eggs, buckwheat flour and mangoes. Talking of mangoes, I bought some delicious organic mangoes  (kesar and Ratna) in Mumbai from Ubay of  Hari Bari Tokri. Hari Bari Tokri is an initiative to grow and eat local produced food. Know more about them here.

Free range eggs & delicious mangoes, I knew instantly that I’m going to make some Zabaglione for my family. One of my favorite and the easiest dessert is Zabaglione. It is a nice creamy Italian custard which sure is a party stopper. I mostly make this dessert non-alcoholic. Traditionally this dessert is made with marsala wine (similar to port). You can also substitute  with some white wine or brandy.

You can top this custard with some crushed cookies, poached strawberries or caramelized pear. This time I’m using some farm fresh organic mangoes and making the best use of them! You can also use this custard in making a trifle with some sponge cake and seasonal fruits. I found this article  for some handy tips.

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Ingredients:

5 egg yolks

200gms full fat cream

6tbs raw sugar

1tsp lemon zest

Seasonal fruit like mango, pear, strawberry

White wine or marsala wine (optional)

 Procedure:

1. Bring a half pot of boiling water to a simmer and reduce the heat to low.

2. Place egg yolks, and sugar in a large, round-bottomed stainless steel bowl. This is the bowl that will go over the simmering water.

3. Add lemon zest to the yolk mixture.

4. Set the bowl containing the egg mixture over the pot of water. (The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water)

5. Whisk the custard mixture gradually adding in the Marsala wine until it is all in.

6. Whisk for about 10 minutes until the mixture froths up.

7. Once it reaches a thicker consistency remove the bowl from the boiling water and continue whisking for a bit to prevent the custard from sticking to the sides. Add cream and mix well.

8. Serve chilled with your desired topping. Serves 5.

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Jackfruit – a wonder fruit & a recipe

 

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Jackfruit is known as the wonder fruit because of it’s numerous uses and benefits.  Jackfruit was once, the staple food of Coorg, when paddy was not sufficient  for consumption. Jackfruit trees are commonly seen in Coorg, to provide shade to cardamom or black pepper. The coffee plantations, bordering forest areas face the problem of elephant menace due to their fondness for the fruit. In order to avoid the menace of animals, many farmers started removing immature fruits and throwing them, leading to wastage. Due to this, the department of agriculture in Bangalore has initiated ‘Jackruit Mela’ to bring together all the farmers and build awareness.

In Kerala, no fertilizer is applied and  it also has the potential to be identified as one of the promising fruits grown organically. Although there is large number of indigenous varieties of the fruit grown in the state, systematic documentation regarding the varieties is yet…

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My guest post on Natural Mantra

I’m happy to announce that I’m a guest author on Natural Mantra’s blog. Their blog focuses on organic, & sustainable living. Natural Mantra is also an online store, that combines  natural, organic and eco-friendly products. And they have also listed i2cook products so hop on to their site to place an order online.

My first guest post is on a very yummy treat  –  Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls made from i2cook’s peanut butter. Creamy, sweet peanut butter filling covered with a thin layer of chocolate. Doesn’t it sound ‘YUMMY’. This is a simple recipe which can be enjoyed by both parents and kids for this Christmas. So go on to Natural Mantra’s blog for the yummy recipe 🙂

 


Bottle them up!

Recently food bloggers in Mumbai celebrated the Terra Madre Day – an annual event celebrated on December 10 every year by the Slow Food network around the world. The objective of this day is to underline the importance of eating locally.

Rushina of A Perfect Bite & Nikhil of Nonchalant Gourmad organized a potluck dinner, where each blogger prepares something local or from the region to which they belong.

I participated in the event by making something sweet. Whenever we had any functions at home, we always had the maharaja/cook prepare malpua with rabri which is one of my favourite Indian desserts. I was short on time and wasn’t  sure about how the malpuas will turn out, so I decided to make shahi tukda/shahi tukra with rabri.

Shahi tukra is a rich dessert which originated from Hyderabad. There is no compromise on this dessert. If you want to enjoy the dessert for its true essence please don’t compromise on the ingredients.

You can serve the dessert either the traditional way by cutting the tukda in triangles or you can bottle them up like the way I did or even serve them in a nice fancy glass.

Warning: this dessert is not suited for the weak-hearted!

Serves 4-8

For Rabri

2ltr  creamed milk or buffalo milk (I used Govind’s organic milk)

5tbs raw sugar (organic – Conscious Foods)

1tsp pure vanilla powder (organic, available at Naturally Yours )

For Tukda/Tukra

4-5 slices Brown or white bread

ghee for frying (organic from Eco fresh, available at Naturally Yours)

1 cup raw sugar (organic – Conscious Foods)

1/2 cup water

1/2tsp vanilla powder (organic ,available at Naturally Yours)

2tbs chopped almonds/pistachios

Optional: 4-8 clean bottles or any fancy glass

For Rabri

Heat the milk in a heavy bottom pan on low flame. Keep stirring and allow it to boil and thicken. It will take about 1.5hrs for milk to thicken. Add sugar and allow it to blend and melt into the condensed milk. This will take another 10 minutes. Add vanilla powder and mix well. Allow it to cool.

For Tukda/Tukra

Cut the bread slices in triangles or stripes. Meanwhile keep the sugar syrup ready and should have a syrup like consistency. Let the syrup boil on  low flame. Heat ghee and deep fry the bread until dark brown. Take care not to burn them. Even a lightly burnt bread will hamper  the taste and spoil the dessert. Once done, transfer the tukda into the slow simmered sugar syrup. Stir it well so that the sugar is well coated.  Take it out of the pot and allow it to cool.

Assembly

Place the  tukdas  into a tray and pour the rabri and sprinkle some almonds. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

If using a bottle or a glass – break the tukdas into medium sized pieces and pour rabri and sprinkle some almonds. Layer them in two  and they work great visually.

Christmas & new year is around the corner and please please hop on to Dalal Enterprises and order their great meal (strictly for non-vegetarians) . My ‘star’ dessert also included. I’m also taking  dessert orders and have created a page with all the details. So hop on to order!