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?


Beet Puri

We have had all kinds of puris..haven’t we? How about some beet ones…I tried these first from a lady, who was my daily tiffin provider for lunch; a common practice in Mumbai to carry home-cooked tiffin/lunch to work.Though I’ve never had this in my packed tiffin; I happen to get a taste of it from her kitchen. I really liked the idea of adding beet in puris and visually they look great. It’s definitely an eye catcher on your dining table.

2cups wheat flour
1cup beet purée (boiled & puréed in a blender)
2tbs roasted sesame seeds
salt to taste (optional)
any refined or groundnut oil for frying

Take  flour and mix beet purée make a soft dough. I opted out the option of adding salt as beet already contains sodium  and I prefer to use less salt in my cooking.Once you’ve got the dough to the right consistency, add 2 tbs of oil and continue to knead. The dough will become silky in texture. Cover with a damp cloth now and keep aside in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator and divide the dough into golf ball-sized portions.Roll round balls and roll it into a circle using a rolling pin (roll each ball into a 5″ circle). For convenience, roll out as many Puris as you like, stacking them, ready to cook with a layer of cling film between each Puri.
Roll into a circle of desired thickness and take care not to make it too thin. Heat the oil for deep frying in a thick-bottomed flat pan on a medium flame.
Deep fry the Puris one at a time, pressing very gently on each side with a slotted spoon. This will help the Puri to puff up! Fry one the first side till golden then turn over and fry the same way on the other side. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
Serve them with any vegetarian curry or your favorite pickle. I served mine with Peas curry (will share the recipe soon). I got about 15 puris.

A handy tip: For foods like gujias, samosas or puris, that are made of or have an outer covering/wrap of flour-dough and need deep-frying, prepare in advance and chill them in the refrigerator. This way when you do fry them they will consume less oil and therefore have a lower fat content!

My tastebuds: I’ve always eaten beet fresh and never in any fried form. I liked the combination of the sesame seeds and beet. Few bites of the seeds, gives it a nice flavour.

This is my submission to this month’s event, Food Palette – Red, hosted by Torview and to Complete My Thali, hosted by Torview and Joy of Cooking.