Food Gifts for this Diwali

Diwali is all about food, food & only food  for me!  It is the time of the year to let go of your calorie count and indulge 🙂

Every Diwali I receive   3 very common gifts – mithai (Indian sweets), assorted chocolates or just plain dry fruits. It’s not that I don’t like any of the above. But Diwali is special and requires some thought while gifting your close friends and family members. Don’t you agree?

I’ve divided the gifting options into two categories:

  • Homemade/Handmade by you
  • Create your own Food Baskets – assortment of some hand made and some store bought

Homemade/Handmade

I love the idea of doing it yourself for simple reasons –  it’s different, made by you with love and your gift becomes the talk of the town 😉

Orangettescandied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate

It’s the most delicious thing to be nibbling on. I’ve made these and they are really easy and you really can’t go wrong with them even if you are an amateur cook. You can negate the chocolate  and gift them as plain ones too. They go great as a topping in salads or even on some of our Indian sweets – try using just the candied orange as a topping on gulab jamuns…..sounds yum right :).

Sesame Balls in Chocolate  – til ke laddoo dipped in chocolate

These will really surprise anybody. The combination is different and sure is a hit – don’t worry I’ve tried and tested this recipe at the Farmer’s Market and it was a hit!

Herb or Spice Infused  oilsuse your favorite spice or herb to flavor your oils

Recently I spotted them at a dinner during the Food Bloggers Meet. I love, love and love them!

Pickles – every house has it’s own special variety

We Indians love our spicy, tangy pickle with our food. You can bottle  them up in fancy bottles and proudly gift your in-house specialty, North – South doesn’t matter just add some spice this Diwali!

You can explore a wide ranging of gifting ideas depending on your personality. But remember whatever you gift, it sure does reflect your personality…….. So go ahead and put on your creative hats!


Few points to consider for your gifts:

  • If using glass jars, make sure you wash them properly and sterilize them.
  • You might want to include a card with instructions or ideas about how to use your fabulous gift. It might be completely new to the person whom you are gifting.
  • If using plastic bags, it’s advisable to use the food grade ones.
  • It’s always better to use biodegradable material for a safe and sound environment.

Create your own food baskets:

There are hundreds of combination that you can try while creating your own baskets. All you need is a good cane basket and  some attractive colored papers. Again put on your creative hats and lets begin to create some interesting combos 🙂

 


This was a basket created by me (all Organic) – a vanilla pod, homemade cinnamon salad dressing, homemade Indian fudge along with a recipe card for the dressing.

 

This is what I’m gifting this Diwali – i2cook’s Natural Peanut Butter & Mustard with colorful coasters from Freedom Tree.

Hope this post has given you  ideas/inspirations to start with your own food gifts. I’m sure you will do a good job!

I would love to hear your gifting ideas too 🙂


Namaste says Santa & a double treat!!!

Warning: This is going to be a long read, so please stock up your coffee & cookies…..

Santa greeted me first by saying Namaste, when I visited him in 2009 in Rovaniemi (Finland), Santa’s official address. The Santa park has it’s own post office from where you can post greetings to your loved ones sitting anywhere in the world. Rovaniemi is the land of reindeer and yes I got to try out reindeer meat with wild berries and I know I sound like a carnivore now….
This Christmas, I’m  remembering my wonderful holiday and would like to share some of my happy times!

That’s ME with Santa
Reindeer meat served with wild berries
All smiles with Lapish hospitality
No…wait! I’m not done yet….

I would also like to share with you a double treat of  sweets that I made from sesame seeds that I received from iherb, for being  selected as one of the winners among ten  in  SOS Challenge in the month of October, hosted by Diet, Dessert & Dogs and Affairs of Living.
I’m heading home for this holiday season to Bangalore and looking forward to some travelling and exploring new recipes.Since it’s Christmas time and you would want to gift some cookies, cakes or nibbles and I have come up with two easy to make recipes that would be easy to pack and can last up to a week even without refrigerating. So here it goes…

Sesame Chikki (Til ke Chikki)
4cups of sugar
1cup hulled sesame seeds
1tsp lemon juice
2tsp cardamon powder

Heat sugar in a pan and just when it’s melted and before it’s crystallizes, add lime.Once the sugar is fully melted, add sesame seeds, cardamon powder and turn of the gas. Mix well. Grease back of a plate or tray and spread the prepared mixture while hot. Allow it to set for an hour. After an hour, you will be
able to break the pieces easily. Break them into desired sizes and store them in an air tight container. I got about 30-35 medium sized pieces.

Sesame & Chocolate Balls
2cups hulled sesame seeds
1cup dessicated coconut
4tbs butter/ghee
1/2 cup honey
2tsp cardamon powder
1tbs raisins
1tbs cashew
50gms dark chocolate

Mix all the dry ingredients except for the chocolate in a bowl and mix well. Make small balls and keep them aside. Melt the chocolate in a bowl (microwave it) and dip the balls one by one, until it is fully covered with chocolate. I prefer to have a thin layer of chocolate rather than thick one. Allow it to dry and refrigerate for an hour. Store them in airtight containers either at room temperature for a week or refrigerate until they can last. I got about 25 pieces.

My tastebuds: I’ve had sesame chikki before and they are not my favourites. Sesame & Chocolates balls has been tried out  for the first time with the intention to clear my  fridge before I head start out on my travel. This recipe seems to have become an instant hit with me and hubby.

Wish you all Merry Christmas!!!

Sesame & Chocolate balls is my submission to this month’s Monthly Mingle – Chocolate Extravaganza hosted by Ria’s Collection and What’s for lunch, Honey?


Happy Diwali with Tri-Flavoured Kheer

  (Image Source: Livetoeat!!!)
Everyone I know is busy cleaning their house and shopping for new artifacts. Wondering  how you are going to celebrate this Diwali…….here are some simple suggestions without being heavy on your pockets.
I like the simplest things of using just clay or ceramic diyas; they light up the house beautifully and dramatically or welcome your guests with  simple rangoli and a diya at the entrance.
 (Image Source: Livetoeat!!!)
 (Image Source: Internet)

I also used some lights (mirchi lights) from the previous Diwali and managed to create a romantic atmosphere in my living room (I made used of the throw-away wine bottle). These lights are commonly seen in Mumbai for decorating balconies. One more item commonly seen are the colourful lanterns used outside everybody’s balconies. There are all kinds of Indian and Chinese lanterns widely available during this season.

(Image Source: Nature’s Basket)

It is also the time when you gift your special ones. One best thing would be to gift some really good gift hampers – an assortment of various products. Nature’s Basket has some really cool gift hampers this Diwali. You might want to check them out and get some ideas. You can also go to Crawford Market and buy your own assorted products and create you own basket. That sounds like really good fun and it’s a  personalised way of gifting.

And of course a time to eat and share some good food. Every festival is celebrated with sweets and what a better way to start Diwali with Kheer.Kheer is everybody’s favourite and easy to make. It is a rice pudding which requires the right consistency. Kheer is not complete without cardamom and Kesar again is optional. Tri-flavoured kheer has a vanilla twist to it. Thats right..a vanilla, cardamom and kesar flavoured kheer. A beautiful blend of these flavours keeps you guessing on every bite, whether it’s vanilla or kesar or cardamon…..Enjoy the fun- filled flavours and Happy Diwali!!!

The Recipe:

1 litre milk
1/2 cup Basamti rice
2tsp vanilla extract
2stp cardamon powder
2tsp kesar soaked in warm milk
1cup sugar ( you can add more for your liking)
Almonds for decoration

Wash and soak the rice for about an hour. Heat milk in a pot. Add vanilla extract before the milk comes to a boil and enjoy the vanilla fragrance taking over your kitchen. Add soaked rice (without any water) to the boiling milk. Let the milk and the rice cook on medium flame for about 20minutes. Add sugar and let it cook for 15minutes.You will see that the whole grain rice would have become half it’s size. It kheer is almost done and you will also notice the thick consistency. Add cardamon and turn off the gas.
Let it cool. Serve cold or at room temperature, garnished with kesar and chopped almonds.

This is my submission to this month’s event Celebrate Sweets – Kheer, hosted by Taste of Pearl City and Nivedita’s Kitchen, to Virtual Party Snacks hosted by Ruchika Cooks and From My Home Kitchen and to this week’s Blogadda Diwali Moments. 

Go to http://www.myntra.com/ and check out Myntra Diwali Offer. Shop for Rs 500 and get Rs 500 off on your travel with Cleartrip! Also visit the largest community of Indian Bloggers at BlogAdda.com


Pumpkin & Carrot soup – spiced with cinnamon & wasabi

(Image Source: Anonymous)

Halloween is tomorrow and even I wanted to contribute to the blog stream by dishing up some hot soup.It is also the time to eat and share good food. Halloween can be fun and scary at the same time with costumes, hand-crafted pumpkins and trick-or-treating (it is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy). It is also the time to get to know your neighbours. So dress up in your scariest mood and offer your basket of candies.
Happy Halloween!!!

1/4 kg pumpkin,diced
2 carrots, diced
1 cup onion finely chopped
1ltr vegetable stock or water
1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
1tsp cinnamon powder
1tbs oilve oil
1tsp wasabi paste
salt to taste
cinnamon powder for garnish

Steam pumpkin and carrots in a steamer or microwave with ginger and a little stock or water until tender. Purée in a blender and set aside.
Heat oil in a pot and add chopped onions. Stir-fry until the onions are translucent. Add the purée, cinnamon and salt. Add remaining stock and bring back to boil, stirring well.
Combine olive oil with wasabi. Transfer the soup to serving bowls and dot with a drops of wasabi oil. Garnish with some cinnamon and serve hot.Serves 4.

This is my submission to this month’s Food Palette Series – Orange, hosted by Torview and to this week’s Souper Sundays, hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.


Sweet & Pearl Modaks

Ganapati Bappa Morya!!!!

Festival of Ganesha is the most happening festival in mumbai. This festive season comes in August/September and is well known for decoration of mandaps upto 10 days.
By far the most popular of hindu Gods and Godesses, Lord Ganesha is considered to be bountiful and eternal. He is the endower of joy, the God of knowledge and of wisdom. Lord Ganesha is worshipped at the beginning of every puja and his holy name is invoked before starting any venture.

No festival is complete with good food and sweets. Like Ganesha, I too love modaks and wait every year to eat them. As it is my first stint at making modaks, I refered to Chefinyou to prepare Sweet Modak and Pearl Modak.

It was my first time experience cooking with rice flour and the sweet modaks became a bit thick. The filling was just perfect and compensated for the thick covering.

Pearl modaks are made from the left over modak rice flour dough.I seasoned it with mustard seeds, curry leaves,a pinch of asafoetida, tumeric powder, green chillies, grated coconut and cilantro.

I’m enjoying my festive foods and hope you are enjoying yours too.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi.

This is my submission to this month’s Iron chef Edition, hosted by One Hot Stove.