Monday, 19 February 2018

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas

Healthy Dessert For Kids

Theme: Kid's DelightBM#85 Week 3 Day 3

   During my last trip to Montreal, during the weekend we decided to go to the Old Port area. It was bustling with people, it was a very hot sunny day, many food trucks were around selling food, desserts etc, stalls selling hats, sunglasses, souvenirs, and so many things. While most of the Canadians and tourists were enjoying the sweltering sun, I was looking for some place to sit under the shade. I  cannot bear really hot weather. It just zaps all my energy and I feel so sluggish. I finally found some place on the bench under a tree and right in front of the truck selling chocolate dipped frozen bananas. The choice was to stand in the long line in the sun to get that or just sit under the tree. However, I so wanted to try the frozen banana dessert. Never had it before. The foodie in me got the better of me and I waited in the sun patiently for my turn. The wait was worth the while. It was so cooling, healthy, filling and delicious.

   After that I've made this treat twice. Its so easy and kids love the bite size. They prefer the sprinkle ones but I love the nut ones. My tasters the second time round were neighbors kids. In no time the whole tray vanished. Its good that my neighbors didn't mind me treating their kids to this delicious treat. Now whenever they see me they ask "aunty when are you making banana chocolate ice cream again?"

Its a great dessert treat for adults too. The bite size makes its just the right portion to ward off sugar pangs. I used a mixture of chopped  nuts. You can use whatever you prefer. During the summer holidays if kids demand some dessert make these healthy chocolate dipped frozen bananas for them.






CHOCOLATE DIPPED FROZEN BANANAS
Makes 18 bite size pieces

3 bananas
1 cup (approx 150g) dark or milk chocolate chips 
¼ cup chopped mixed nuts
¼ cup desiccated coconut 
¼ cup sprinkles or funfettis
1-2 tbsp coconut oil

cocktail sticks


  1. Put the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl. 
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave oven or over a double boiler.
  3. For double boiler make sure the bowl sits snuggly in a pan without touching the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add some water in the pan.
  5. Heat it till its hot.
  6. Place the bowl of chocolate over the hot water.
  7. Mix till he chocolate melts.
  8. Add coconut oil and mix well.
  9. Peel and cut the bananas into bite size thick slices. I cut 6 from each banana.
  10. Line a tray with parchment paper.
  11. Dip a banana piece in the melted chocolate.
  12. Using a fork remove it from the chocolate. Tap the fork against the bowl to remove excess chocolate.
  13. Sprinkle chopped nuts or desiccated coconut or the sprinkles.
  14. Place it on the prepared tray.
  15. Insert a cocktail stick in the middle.
  16. Repeat steps 11-15 with the remaining banana pieces.
  17. Use on type of topping or a variety.
  18. Place the tray in the freezer and let the banana pieces freeze for 2-3 hours before you serve them.
Tips:
  • If you are using one type of topping then you will need more quantity than that indicated in the ingredients.
  • I used a separate fork for different topping. Its best to hold the chocolate dipped banana with a fork and sprinkle the topping. Dipping in the topping is just too messy.
  • Use nuts of your choice.
  • Don't leave the frozen bananas out to thaw as they will taste mushy.
You may want to check out other chocolate recipes:
Chocolate Coated Strawberries
Coconut Chocolate

Sending this recipe to the following event:

Kids Delight event is initiated by Srivalli of  Spicing Your LifeFor BM #85th Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds is hosting the event.


Fruit Flowers

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

   Every Tuesday, the members of Foodiemonday/ Bloghop group wait in anticipation to see what a fellow member will suggest as a theme for the coming week. We all take turns in suggesting the theme. For the #132nd theme Mallika who blogs at A Foodie Housewife had to decide the theme. She suggested Edible Food Art and also gave us some examples. So some of us said no to the theme and some of us immediately said yes. Usually the majority win. All who said yes immediately, slowly began sending messages that they are not artistic and have no clue how to go about this theme. I was one of them. What came to my mind first was a pretty shaped bread, but then I do that now and then. Then I thought of cookies and seriously couldn't go through the stress of icing in my super hot kitchen... yes its just too hot in Mombasa! Finally, I decided to challenge myself with a nicely arranged food shapes which normally all mothers do to make their kids eat. I really never had to do that for my kids as they ate whatever we prepared for them without a fuss. So then began the hunt for ideas. I decided to make this pretty flowers for hubby as a dessert treat.

   There are lots of creative ideas using food for kids. I thought this should be easy peasy. Let me assure you its not! Try cutting a juicy ripe fruit into a desired shape, had several strawberries on the counter all mushed up! The day I was trying out different shapes, my maid took one look at the kitchen and quietly walked away to tackle some other jobs. She definitely knew that there would be no space for her. 

   I love flowers so I had decided to make flowers with fruits and serve with chocolate sauce as dessert. A trip to the green grocers and didn't get kiwi,(where are they when you need them?) , no nice light orange melon. Buying what was available I was ready to get 'creative'. (I suck at decoration by the way!) 

   Let me assure you this is not easy at all. I should have thought of some shapes using bread as its much easier to handle. But what happens to the big grand glamorous idea of serving fruits with chocolate sauce? There was no turning back. It took me longer to cut the flower shapes than it takes me to cook a dish! 

   Now that's not where it ends, once the flowers are cut, then getting the chocolate chip to stick in the middle was another frustrating task. It kept falling off and I thought can't have flowers without the pollen centre. Then comes arranging the flowers in my 'vase'. Get one stem up correctly, and the other begins to stoop! In the end I just didn't care whether the arrangement looked balanced or not, and I quickly clicked some photos. 

   Its not that I don't decor or garnish the food whenever I put it on the table. I try, but in a more traditional sort of way using spices, coriander and other greens. I've used cute little jellies with fruits as centre piece for salads, but craving out fruits and veggies and icing a cake is not me! But never know maybe one day will be doing that too. Will have to learn as presentation of a dish is nowadays as important as the taste. 

   In the meantime please please please appreciate my work of art.





FRUIT FLOWERS

Strawberries:
I made five small cuts to resemble the petals of a rose. Repeated again above. And hey got a somewhat rose like flower.

Watermelon and Mango:
Used flower shaped cookie cutters.
Stick a chocolate chip in the middle.
Push the flowers through  long wooden skewers.
Fill the vase with grapes.
Stick the skewers in the grapes or in between. 

For Chocolate Sauce:

  1. Melt about ½ cup dark chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave oven.
  2. Add 1-2 tbsp coconut oil and mix well.


You may want to check out my other creative food ideas:
savoury rose rolls
Leopard Patch Bread
Kerstkransjes

Pogaca
Spiced Pumpkin Rolls

Sending this recipe to the following event:



Double Chocolate Cookies

Double Treat
Theme: Kid's Delight - Chocolate Dishes
BM#85 Week 2 Day 2

   I often bake chocolate cakes, cookies and muffins for my niece and nephew. Whenever hubby and I visit his uncle, I take either cookies, muffins or cakes for the kids. For my nephew its the more chocolatey the better. I still remember when he was in hospital with dengue fever, he wanted to have chocolate cake and asked me to put chocolate pieces in them. That's how much he loves chocolate. The next few days the only food he'd eat was cake. My niece now tries out some of the cakes that are on my blog. Its such an overwhelming feeling; the niece that I used to bake for now bakes for her family. 

   When I chose the chocolate theme, I didn't have any specific recipes in mind. I then realized that though I bake a lot of cookies, I don't have  chocolate chip ones on the blog. I baked these cookies and immediately took photos as they were fast disappearing. I had to hide some of them for my niece and nephew. Who was the cookie thief? Hubby dear. 
These cookies are so easy to make and you don't need to roll them or shape them. Just put blobs of the dough on the baking tray and you get lovely double chocolate cookies. Aroma of freshly baked cookies is heavenly. So go on put on your apron and get baking. Get your kids to help you to bake them...they are that easy!





DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES
Makes about 35

1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ cup brown sugar
60g (approx. cup) soft butter
¼ tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
¼ tsp baking powder 
½ cup chocolate chips (milk or dark)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup chopped nuts (any of your choice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup milk

extra chocolate chips for topping - about ¼ cup

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Line a baking tray with some parchment paper or grease it with some butter.
  3. Sift flour with baking powder, soda bicarbonate and cocoa powder.
  4. Add the chocolate chips and nuts into the flour mixture and mix.
  5. In another bowl, add sugar and butter.
  6. Cream it till its soft and light in colour.
  7. Add milk and vanilla extract and mix into the butter sugar mixture.
  8. Add the flour mixture. 
  9. Mix till the flour becomes wet. Don't over mix.
  10. Using a tablespoon scoop up the dough and with the help of a teaspoon drop it onto the prepared tray.
  11. Make sure they are spaced, about an inch apart as the cookies will spread during baking.
  12. Top the spooned batter with some chocolate chips or nuts.
  13. Bake at 180°C for 10-15 minutes.
  14. Remove the tray from the oven.
  15. Let the cookies rest on the tray for 5 minutes.
  16. Then put them on a wire rack till they cool down completely.
  17. Enjoy with a glass of milk.
  18. Store them in an airtight container.
Tips:
  • The batter should be much like cake batter.
  • These cookies are not the typical crispy kind.
You may want to check out my other chocolate bakes:
marble cookies

Sending this recipe to the following events:
Kids Delight event is initiated by Srivalli of  Spicing Your Life. For BM #85th Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds is hosting the event.




Saturday, 17 February 2018

Nut and Fruit Clusters

For Little Angels

Theme: Kid's Delight - Chocolate Dishes
BM#85 Week 3 Day 1

   Its the first time that I'm actually making something with kids in mind. Mine are all grown up and now treat hubby and me like kids! Don't do this, don't travel alone, call us when you're going out, etc etc. Does that sound familiar? Are we getting a dose of our own medicine? My daughter in this respect is just too over protective. Sometimes I feel good but sometimes get irritated when she thinks I can't think for myself. However, when she automatically holds my hand when we're crossing a very busy road, I feel so loved. When my sons ask me if I need anything, its such a comforting feeling. When my son in law calls me mum, I feel joyous and when my daughter in law gives me a tight hug I feel as though my happiness cannot be contained. 
   
    I made these nut and fruit clusters and shared it with my neighbors kids. The two year old who is not into anything sweet, refused to touch it. However, the rest enjoyed them. However, I was not allowed to take photos so have no proof. 

   These clusters are so easy to make. I'm wondering why I've not made them till now. Hubby is always looking for chocolates with nuts in them. Whenever we buy a bar of Cadbury's Whole nut, its difficult to find enough nuts in them. Same goes for the fruit and nut one that I love. So from now onwards, I think I'll make these clusters at home so we can enjoy more fruit and nuts in our chocolates. These clusters are a a very convenient way to get kids to include nuts and fruits in their diet. Add nuts and fruits of your choice. I used almonds, cashew nuts and walnuts along with some dried blueberries and raisins. They make an ideal home made gift for anniversaries, Christmas, Diwali, Eid, for that matter for any occasion. 






NUT AND FRUIT CLUSTERS 
Makes approx 24

1 cup chocolate chips (dark or milk)
¾ cup nuts of your choice cut into big pieces (walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, etc)
¼ cup dried fruit of your choice (cranberries, blueberries, raisins, strawberries etc)
½ tsp vanilla or orange extract


  1. Lightly roast the nuts in a pan if they are not crunchy.
  2. Cut big fruit into pieces e.g if you're using strawberries.
  3. Line a tray with parchment paper or use small paper cups.
  4. Put the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave oven or over some hot water.
  5. To melt it over some hot water, take a pan over which the bowl can sit in the pan without touching the bottom of the pan. (I find that some of the steel little pans most Indian kitchens have works well).
  6. Add some water to the pan and let it get hot over medium heat. Switch off the heat.
  7. Place the bowl with chocolate over it.
  8. Stir it with a spoon or spatula till it melts.
  9. Add vanilla or orange extract and mix well.
  10. Add the chopped nuts and fruits.
  11. Mix well.
  12. Using a teaspoon, scoop up the chocolate mixture. With the help of another spoon, drop it into a cluster on the parchment paper or small paper cups.
  13. Let the clusters chill in the fridge.
  14. Serve these clusters as a treat to your children or add to their lunch boxes. 
Tips:
  • If the chocolate does not melt properly then its probably very old.
  • You may add only nuts.
  • I find these clusters are a great party treat for both kids and adults.
  • Very easy to make, get your kids to help you to make them.
  • The number of clusters will depend on how big or small you make the clusters.
You may want to check out other chocolate recipes:
cardamom chocolate fudge
chocolate medallion
choco coconut bites
Sending this recipe to the following events:

Kids Delight event is initiated by Srivalli of  Spicing Your Life. For BM #85th Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds is hosting the event.


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Hoppers (Sri Lankan pancake)#BreadBakers

Today is Pancake Day
Theme : Pancakes
   
   Imagine a whole day dedicated to pancakes. Most people love pancakes. When I say pancakes there's such a huge variety out there that its unbelievable. Right from fermented batter to quick batters. I could eat pancakes everyday, but have to control myself because of all the butter and honey or maple syrup. Pancakes without butter taste dry. However, what I've made for this theme, hoppers can be eaten without any guilt as they are gluten free and hardly have any sugar in it.

   For Christians Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent. Lent is the 40 day period of fasting before Easter. Usually ingredients like sugar, fat, flour and eggs had to be used up before the fasting period began. So the most obvious way to use them up was to make pancakes.Nowadays Pancake Day is enjoyed by all whether Christian or not. It gives one an excuse to indulge in pancakes.


    Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm and a member of the Bread Bakers team decided that we should make Pancakes to celebrate Pancake Day. Before I go into my choice of pancake, please take time to visit Wendy's blog. Besides some exciting and simple recipes she has a whole list of books year wise that she recommends one can read. I usually find reading lists very useful as sometimes I don't have the foggiest idea what I want to read! I'm actually quite a sight at a bookshop. So many books and I just wouldn't know which one to pick. So usually I carry my list on my phone, just in case I come across a good bookshop. On occasions that I have picked a book that was not recommended, they're still on the shelf half read! Yes I have a tendency to pick up boring books.


   For the pancake theme, I decided to make Hoppers. Hoppers is nothing but appam or pancakes from Sri Lanka. They are made from a fermented rice and coconut batter. However these pancakes are not flat at all. They are in the shape of a wide bowl. To get that shape the batter consistency has to right and most important you should have a hopper pan or a small wok to make them.


One of the flatbreads served during my daughter's wedding was appam or hoppers. Its since then that I'd wanted to try making them at home. However, I didn't have the pan and then most times you forget about the bookmarked recipes till some event comes up. I'm glad that most of the forthcoming themes have been planned months in advance. Knowing that I wanted to try making hoppers at home, I made sure I bought the hopper pan or thachhiya from India when I was there in Dec/Jan.


   The first hopper I made as a trial and hubby got so excited. He simply loves them. He started looking for a curry to go with it. I wanted to make eggs in them... typical Sri Lankan breakfast but he wanted some curry. I put the batter away in the fridge and made the hoppers next day with some egg curry. Hoppers can be served with egg, curries, stews, or make them into a dessert by serving with some fruit and fruit sauce. A simple mixture of fresh grated coconut with jaggery too is served as a sweet treat. 


   During my research for the perfect and easy recipe, I came across one that had way too much sugar, some added sourdough bread(not starter!), some added boiled rice, some methods were just too confusing. I got a bit frustrated that a simple everyday staple of Sri Lanka cannot be so complicated. Then I stumbled upon this video. Check it out before you begin to make hoppers.


With the measurement given below you can make many hoppers. I've just indicated that it serves 4-6 people as they will not stop at one. Each person may consume 3-4 with a curry. This batter was just too much for 2 people. I froze the remaining batter  to use it for breakfast pretty soon.






fermented batter

hopper with egg




HOPPERS (SRI LANKAN PANCAKE)

Serves 4-6 people

2 cups rice flour

3 cups coconut milk
½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar 
¾ - 1 cup water
2 tsp dry active yeast


  1. Heat about ¼ cup water from the measured water till its Luke warm.
  2. Add sugar and stir.
  3. Sprinkle the yeast over it. Cover and let it ferment for 10 minutes.
  4. The mixture should be frothy. If not then the yeast is too old.
  5. Add the yeast mixture and coconut milk to the rice flour.
  6. Whisk it well so that no lumps are left and you have a smooth thick batter.
  7. Add salt and water little by little. Whisk it well. The batter should be a little thinner than a pancake batter.
  8. Cover the batter and leave it in a warm place to ferment for 3-4 hours. The batter will become frothy and will be double in size.
  9. Gently, mix it. If the batter is too thick, add little water.
  10. Heat a small hopper pan(wok, thachhiya) over medium to low heat. If you're using a non stick one no need to oil it.
  11. Pour a ladleful or ¼ cup of the batter into the centre of the pan.
  12. Swirl the pan around so that the batter coats the sides of the pan.
  13. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes.
  14. Cover and cook for a further 1-2 minutes so that the middle spongy part of the pancake or hopper gets cooked.
  15. Th hopper is ready when the sides begin to brown and it starts to pull away from the pan.
  16. Serve hot hopper immediately with a curry of your choice.
Tips:
  • If the batter is too thick it will not be easy to swirl it and coat it on the sides of the pan. Always do a test run to see if you can swirl the batter around easily. If not add little water.
  • You can drizzle a tiny amount of oil on the sides so that the sides become really crispy.
  • Its best to serve hot hoppers as cold ones don't taste that good. The sides tend to go soft.
  • As the batter ferments further it becomes thicker and you may need to add some water.
  • Many sites recommend that you cover the pan after a minute or two. I found that when I did that the condensation made the sides go all soft. Its just best to let them cook over medium to low heat without the lid. However, you will need to use the lid if you cook and egg with it.
  • To serve hoppers with eggs for breakfast, after swirling the batter around the pan, break an egg over it. Cover and cook till the white of the egg is done. Serve with sambol and kiri hodi a typical Sri Lankan Coconut curry.

Check out what other types of pancakes fellow bloggers have made:


BreadBakers


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.


We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.


Monday, 12 February 2018

TonDak/ ToNak (cowpeas in coconut curry)

Just too busy

Theme: Main Course with Gravy/Rice
BM#85 Week 2 Day 2

   Its amazing how many caps a woman has to wear. I really thought that once the kids are all grown up, I'll be free. However, so many daily chores need our attention. Last week I was like up to my head and nearly wanted to stop everything and just sit. When I say everything, it means everything...cooking, housekeeping, blogging, book keeping, social, exercise, you name it... except of course sleep. Would just love to sleep, wake up, eat and go to sleep again. However, we all know that is not possible. 

   Since I've started blogging, never have I had to prepare for 3 events on the same day...yes you read right 3 events! I tried to sort of make one dish to fit all three themes but that was not working out. I thought of backing out but felt really bad.  The cooking part was not difficult, but the writing part is. I'm tired of writing. I know I should not have committed myself to so many events. The truth is that I didn't realize at that time that they all would fall on the same date. And power cuts do not help at all! We've been without power for over 5 hours. So much work cannot be done as we depend so much on power. 

   Well, this is the last post for the day, two are out already Rose and Saffron Yogurt Mousse and Watermelon Gazpacho. Please take some time to check out the recipes.

   Coming to the last recipe for the day, my curry for today is a coconut gravy. This is a Goan Curry. The gravy is made with fresh coconut, onion and spices. I had bookmarked this recipe from Sandhya's blog ages ago. I'm so glad I finally got to try out this curry as it was so delicious. I'm really nuts about coconut so this is a winner recipe. I enjoyed it with bread and hubby had his with rice. A bit of the curry was left over and next day I added some more chopped onion, coriander and some sev... it was like usal as Sandhya mentioned in her write up. Thank you Sandhya for sharing an awesome recipe.

   The coastal people of Kenya prepare cowpeas in coconut gravy but it tastes so different. Less spices are used and the cowpeas are cooked in coconut milk. But I love both the versions. Enjoy the recipe below with whatever you want, rice, parathas, roti, bread or as I had it the second day with chopped onions, coriander and sev. 





TONDAK/TONAK (COWPEAS IN COCONUT CURRY)
Serves 4
Recipe Source : My Cooking Journey

1 cup cooked cowpeas (soak in water overnight and then pressure cook)
1 medium potato, boiled, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup fresh grated coconut
1 tsp green chili paste or 1-2 finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp tamarind pulp
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1-1½ cup water

Tondak Masala:
2 tbsp coriander seeds (dhana)
½" cinnamon stick
2 dry red chillis
3 cloves
4-6 pepper corns
1 star anise
½ tsp fennel seeds (valiyari, saunf)
½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 cardamoms

For garnishing:
1 small onion finely chopped
2-3 tbsp fresh chopped coriander

Preparation of Tondak Masala:

  1. Dry roast the spices in a wide pan over low heat till the cumin seeds begin to crackle.
  2. Take the spices out of the pan and leave it a plate to cool of a while.
  3. Grind the spices in coffee grinder or any dry food processor.
  4. Keep the spice powder on the side till required.
Preparation of Tondak:
  1. Heat oil a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced onions and stir fry till they become golden in colour.
  3. Add garlic and chili. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Add grated coconut and stir fry till becomes light golden in colour.
  5. Add the stir fried mixture into a blender with the water. 
  6. Process to a smooth paste.
  7. Pour out the coconut onion paste into the pan.
  8. Add the cooked cowpeas and chopped potato. 
  9. Add salt, tamarind pulp, 2 tbsp of the tondak masala and more water if required.
  10. Mix well. Let the curry simmer over medium heat.
  11. Garnish the curry with chopped onion and coriander. 
  12. Serve tondak with pav (bread rolls) or rice.
Tips:
  • Half a cup of raw beans when soaked and cooked yields about 1 cup.
  • I used more coconut. You can reduce the quantity.
  • Store remaining tondak masala in an airtight jar and use it for other curries.
  • Can use dried peas, black eyed beans to prepare this curry.
You may want to check out other curry recipes:
Red Chora Curry
Sending this recipe to the following event:






Monday, 19 February 2018

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas

Healthy Dessert For Kids

Theme: Kid's DelightBM#85 Week 3 Day 3

   During my last trip to Montreal, during the weekend we decided to go to the Old Port area. It was bustling with people, it was a very hot sunny day, many food trucks were around selling food, desserts etc, stalls selling hats, sunglasses, souvenirs, and so many things. While most of the Canadians and tourists were enjoying the sweltering sun, I was looking for some place to sit under the shade. I  cannot bear really hot weather. It just zaps all my energy and I feel so sluggish. I finally found some place on the bench under a tree and right in front of the truck selling chocolate dipped frozen bananas. The choice was to stand in the long line in the sun to get that or just sit under the tree. However, I so wanted to try the frozen banana dessert. Never had it before. The foodie in me got the better of me and I waited in the sun patiently for my turn. The wait was worth the while. It was so cooling, healthy, filling and delicious.

   After that I've made this treat twice. Its so easy and kids love the bite size. They prefer the sprinkle ones but I love the nut ones. My tasters the second time round were neighbors kids. In no time the whole tray vanished. Its good that my neighbors didn't mind me treating their kids to this delicious treat. Now whenever they see me they ask "aunty when are you making banana chocolate ice cream again?"

Its a great dessert treat for adults too. The bite size makes its just the right portion to ward off sugar pangs. I used a mixture of chopped  nuts. You can use whatever you prefer. During the summer holidays if kids demand some dessert make these healthy chocolate dipped frozen bananas for them.






CHOCOLATE DIPPED FROZEN BANANAS
Makes 18 bite size pieces

3 bananas
1 cup (approx 150g) dark or milk chocolate chips 
¼ cup chopped mixed nuts
¼ cup desiccated coconut 
¼ cup sprinkles or funfettis
1-2 tbsp coconut oil

cocktail sticks


  1. Put the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl. 
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave oven or over a double boiler.
  3. For double boiler make sure the bowl sits snuggly in a pan without touching the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add some water in the pan.
  5. Heat it till its hot.
  6. Place the bowl of chocolate over the hot water.
  7. Mix till he chocolate melts.
  8. Add coconut oil and mix well.
  9. Peel and cut the bananas into bite size thick slices. I cut 6 from each banana.
  10. Line a tray with parchment paper.
  11. Dip a banana piece in the melted chocolate.
  12. Using a fork remove it from the chocolate. Tap the fork against the bowl to remove excess chocolate.
  13. Sprinkle chopped nuts or desiccated coconut or the sprinkles.
  14. Place it on the prepared tray.
  15. Insert a cocktail stick in the middle.
  16. Repeat steps 11-15 with the remaining banana pieces.
  17. Use on type of topping or a variety.
  18. Place the tray in the freezer and let the banana pieces freeze for 2-3 hours before you serve them.
Tips:
  • If you are using one type of topping then you will need more quantity than that indicated in the ingredients.
  • I used a separate fork for different topping. Its best to hold the chocolate dipped banana with a fork and sprinkle the topping. Dipping in the topping is just too messy.
  • Use nuts of your choice.
  • Don't leave the frozen bananas out to thaw as they will taste mushy.
You may want to check out other chocolate recipes:
Chocolate Coated Strawberries
Coconut Chocolate

Sending this recipe to the following event:

Kids Delight event is initiated by Srivalli of  Spicing Your LifeFor BM #85th Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds is hosting the event.


Pin It

Fruit Flowers

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

   Every Tuesday, the members of Foodiemonday/ Bloghop group wait in anticipation to see what a fellow member will suggest as a theme for the coming week. We all take turns in suggesting the theme. For the #132nd theme Mallika who blogs at A Foodie Housewife had to decide the theme. She suggested Edible Food Art and also gave us some examples. So some of us said no to the theme and some of us immediately said yes. Usually the majority win. All who said yes immediately, slowly began sending messages that they are not artistic and have no clue how to go about this theme. I was one of them. What came to my mind first was a pretty shaped bread, but then I do that now and then. Then I thought of cookies and seriously couldn't go through the stress of icing in my super hot kitchen... yes its just too hot in Mombasa! Finally, I decided to challenge myself with a nicely arranged food shapes which normally all mothers do to make their kids eat. I really never had to do that for my kids as they ate whatever we prepared for them without a fuss. So then began the hunt for ideas. I decided to make this pretty flowers for hubby as a dessert treat.

   There are lots of creative ideas using food for kids. I thought this should be easy peasy. Let me assure you its not! Try cutting a juicy ripe fruit into a desired shape, had several strawberries on the counter all mushed up! The day I was trying out different shapes, my maid took one look at the kitchen and quietly walked away to tackle some other jobs. She definitely knew that there would be no space for her. 

   I love flowers so I had decided to make flowers with fruits and serve with chocolate sauce as dessert. A trip to the green grocers and didn't get kiwi,(where are they when you need them?) , no nice light orange melon. Buying what was available I was ready to get 'creative'. (I suck at decoration by the way!) 

   Let me assure you this is not easy at all. I should have thought of some shapes using bread as its much easier to handle. But what happens to the big grand glamorous idea of serving fruits with chocolate sauce? There was no turning back. It took me longer to cut the flower shapes than it takes me to cook a dish! 

   Now that's not where it ends, once the flowers are cut, then getting the chocolate chip to stick in the middle was another frustrating task. It kept falling off and I thought can't have flowers without the pollen centre. Then comes arranging the flowers in my 'vase'. Get one stem up correctly, and the other begins to stoop! In the end I just didn't care whether the arrangement looked balanced or not, and I quickly clicked some photos. 

   Its not that I don't decor or garnish the food whenever I put it on the table. I try, but in a more traditional sort of way using spices, coriander and other greens. I've used cute little jellies with fruits as centre piece for salads, but craving out fruits and veggies and icing a cake is not me! But never know maybe one day will be doing that too. Will have to learn as presentation of a dish is nowadays as important as the taste. 

   In the meantime please please please appreciate my work of art.





FRUIT FLOWERS

Strawberries:
I made five small cuts to resemble the petals of a rose. Repeated again above. And hey got a somewhat rose like flower.

Watermelon and Mango:
Used flower shaped cookie cutters.
Stick a chocolate chip in the middle.
Push the flowers through  long wooden skewers.
Fill the vase with grapes.
Stick the skewers in the grapes or in between. 

For Chocolate Sauce:

  1. Melt about ½ cup dark chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave oven.
  2. Add 1-2 tbsp coconut oil and mix well.


You may want to check out my other creative food ideas:
savoury rose rolls
Leopard Patch Bread
Kerstkransjes

Pogaca
Spiced Pumpkin Rolls

Sending this recipe to the following event:



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Double Chocolate Cookies

Double Treat
Theme: Kid's Delight - Chocolate Dishes
BM#85 Week 2 Day 2

   I often bake chocolate cakes, cookies and muffins for my niece and nephew. Whenever hubby and I visit his uncle, I take either cookies, muffins or cakes for the kids. For my nephew its the more chocolatey the better. I still remember when he was in hospital with dengue fever, he wanted to have chocolate cake and asked me to put chocolate pieces in them. That's how much he loves chocolate. The next few days the only food he'd eat was cake. My niece now tries out some of the cakes that are on my blog. Its such an overwhelming feeling; the niece that I used to bake for now bakes for her family. 

   When I chose the chocolate theme, I didn't have any specific recipes in mind. I then realized that though I bake a lot of cookies, I don't have  chocolate chip ones on the blog. I baked these cookies and immediately took photos as they were fast disappearing. I had to hide some of them for my niece and nephew. Who was the cookie thief? Hubby dear. 
These cookies are so easy to make and you don't need to roll them or shape them. Just put blobs of the dough on the baking tray and you get lovely double chocolate cookies. Aroma of freshly baked cookies is heavenly. So go on put on your apron and get baking. Get your kids to help you to bake them...they are that easy!





DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES
Makes about 35

1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ cup brown sugar
60g (approx. cup) soft butter
¼ tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
¼ tsp baking powder 
½ cup chocolate chips (milk or dark)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup chopped nuts (any of your choice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup milk

extra chocolate chips for topping - about ¼ cup

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Line a baking tray with some parchment paper or grease it with some butter.
  3. Sift flour with baking powder, soda bicarbonate and cocoa powder.
  4. Add the chocolate chips and nuts into the flour mixture and mix.
  5. In another bowl, add sugar and butter.
  6. Cream it till its soft and light in colour.
  7. Add milk and vanilla extract and mix into the butter sugar mixture.
  8. Add the flour mixture. 
  9. Mix till the flour becomes wet. Don't over mix.
  10. Using a tablespoon scoop up the dough and with the help of a teaspoon drop it onto the prepared tray.
  11. Make sure they are spaced, about an inch apart as the cookies will spread during baking.
  12. Top the spooned batter with some chocolate chips or nuts.
  13. Bake at 180°C for 10-15 minutes.
  14. Remove the tray from the oven.
  15. Let the cookies rest on the tray for 5 minutes.
  16. Then put them on a wire rack till they cool down completely.
  17. Enjoy with a glass of milk.
  18. Store them in an airtight container.
Tips:
  • The batter should be much like cake batter.
  • These cookies are not the typical crispy kind.
You may want to check out my other chocolate bakes:
marble cookies

Sending this recipe to the following events:
Kids Delight event is initiated by Srivalli of  Spicing Your Life. For BM #85th Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds is hosting the event.




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Saturday, 17 February 2018

Nut and Fruit Clusters

For Little Angels

Theme: Kid's Delight - Chocolate Dishes
BM#85 Week 3 Day 1

   Its the first time that I'm actually making something with kids in mind. Mine are all grown up and now treat hubby and me like kids! Don't do this, don't travel alone, call us when you're going out, etc etc. Does that sound familiar? Are we getting a dose of our own medicine? My daughter in this respect is just too over protective. Sometimes I feel good but sometimes get irritated when she thinks I can't think for myself. However, when she automatically holds my hand when we're crossing a very busy road, I feel so loved. When my sons ask me if I need anything, its such a comforting feeling. When my son in law calls me mum, I feel joyous and when my daughter in law gives me a tight hug I feel as though my happiness cannot be contained. 
   
    I made these nut and fruit clusters and shared it with my neighbors kids. The two year old who is not into anything sweet, refused to touch it. However, the rest enjoyed them. However, I was not allowed to take photos so have no proof. 

   These clusters are so easy to make. I'm wondering why I've not made them till now. Hubby is always looking for chocolates with nuts in them. Whenever we buy a bar of Cadbury's Whole nut, its difficult to find enough nuts in them. Same goes for the fruit and nut one that I love. So from now onwards, I think I'll make these clusters at home so we can enjoy more fruit and nuts in our chocolates. These clusters are a a very convenient way to get kids to include nuts and fruits in their diet. Add nuts and fruits of your choice. I used almonds, cashew nuts and walnuts along with some dried blueberries and raisins. They make an ideal home made gift for anniversaries, Christmas, Diwali, Eid, for that matter for any occasion. 






NUT AND FRUIT CLUSTERS 
Makes approx 24

1 cup chocolate chips (dark or milk)
¾ cup nuts of your choice cut into big pieces (walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, etc)
¼ cup dried fruit of your choice (cranberries, blueberries, raisins, strawberries etc)
½ tsp vanilla or orange extract


  1. Lightly roast the nuts in a pan if they are not crunchy.
  2. Cut big fruit into pieces e.g if you're using strawberries.
  3. Line a tray with parchment paper or use small paper cups.
  4. Put the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave oven or over some hot water.
  5. To melt it over some hot water, take a pan over which the bowl can sit in the pan without touching the bottom of the pan. (I find that some of the steel little pans most Indian kitchens have works well).
  6. Add some water to the pan and let it get hot over medium heat. Switch off the heat.
  7. Place the bowl with chocolate over it.
  8. Stir it with a spoon or spatula till it melts.
  9. Add vanilla or orange extract and mix well.
  10. Add the chopped nuts and fruits.
  11. Mix well.
  12. Using a teaspoon, scoop up the chocolate mixture. With the help of another spoon, drop it into a cluster on the parchment paper or small paper cups.
  13. Let the clusters chill in the fridge.
  14. Serve these clusters as a treat to your children or add to their lunch boxes. 
Tips:
  • If the chocolate does not melt properly then its probably very old.
  • You may add only nuts.
  • I find these clusters are a great party treat for both kids and adults.
  • Very easy to make, get your kids to help you to make them.
  • The number of clusters will depend on how big or small you make the clusters.
You may want to check out other chocolate recipes:
cardamom chocolate fudge
chocolate medallion
choco coconut bites
Sending this recipe to the following events:

Kids Delight event is initiated by Srivalli of  Spicing Your Life. For BM #85th Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds is hosting the event.


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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Hoppers (Sri Lankan pancake)#BreadBakers

Today is Pancake Day
Theme : Pancakes
   
   Imagine a whole day dedicated to pancakes. Most people love pancakes. When I say pancakes there's such a huge variety out there that its unbelievable. Right from fermented batter to quick batters. I could eat pancakes everyday, but have to control myself because of all the butter and honey or maple syrup. Pancakes without butter taste dry. However, what I've made for this theme, hoppers can be eaten without any guilt as they are gluten free and hardly have any sugar in it.

   For Christians Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent. Lent is the 40 day period of fasting before Easter. Usually ingredients like sugar, fat, flour and eggs had to be used up before the fasting period began. So the most obvious way to use them up was to make pancakes.Nowadays Pancake Day is enjoyed by all whether Christian or not. It gives one an excuse to indulge in pancakes.


    Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm and a member of the Bread Bakers team decided that we should make Pancakes to celebrate Pancake Day. Before I go into my choice of pancake, please take time to visit Wendy's blog. Besides some exciting and simple recipes she has a whole list of books year wise that she recommends one can read. I usually find reading lists very useful as sometimes I don't have the foggiest idea what I want to read! I'm actually quite a sight at a bookshop. So many books and I just wouldn't know which one to pick. So usually I carry my list on my phone, just in case I come across a good bookshop. On occasions that I have picked a book that was not recommended, they're still on the shelf half read! Yes I have a tendency to pick up boring books.


   For the pancake theme, I decided to make Hoppers. Hoppers is nothing but appam or pancakes from Sri Lanka. They are made from a fermented rice and coconut batter. However these pancakes are not flat at all. They are in the shape of a wide bowl. To get that shape the batter consistency has to right and most important you should have a hopper pan or a small wok to make them.


One of the flatbreads served during my daughter's wedding was appam or hoppers. Its since then that I'd wanted to try making them at home. However, I didn't have the pan and then most times you forget about the bookmarked recipes till some event comes up. I'm glad that most of the forthcoming themes have been planned months in advance. Knowing that I wanted to try making hoppers at home, I made sure I bought the hopper pan or thachhiya from India when I was there in Dec/Jan.


   The first hopper I made as a trial and hubby got so excited. He simply loves them. He started looking for a curry to go with it. I wanted to make eggs in them... typical Sri Lankan breakfast but he wanted some curry. I put the batter away in the fridge and made the hoppers next day with some egg curry. Hoppers can be served with egg, curries, stews, or make them into a dessert by serving with some fruit and fruit sauce. A simple mixture of fresh grated coconut with jaggery too is served as a sweet treat. 


   During my research for the perfect and easy recipe, I came across one that had way too much sugar, some added sourdough bread(not starter!), some added boiled rice, some methods were just too confusing. I got a bit frustrated that a simple everyday staple of Sri Lanka cannot be so complicated. Then I stumbled upon this video. Check it out before you begin to make hoppers.


With the measurement given below you can make many hoppers. I've just indicated that it serves 4-6 people as they will not stop at one. Each person may consume 3-4 with a curry. This batter was just too much for 2 people. I froze the remaining batter  to use it for breakfast pretty soon.






fermented batter

hopper with egg




HOPPERS (SRI LANKAN PANCAKE)

Serves 4-6 people

2 cups rice flour

3 cups coconut milk
½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar 
¾ - 1 cup water
2 tsp dry active yeast


  1. Heat about ¼ cup water from the measured water till its Luke warm.
  2. Add sugar and stir.
  3. Sprinkle the yeast over it. Cover and let it ferment for 10 minutes.
  4. The mixture should be frothy. If not then the yeast is too old.
  5. Add the yeast mixture and coconut milk to the rice flour.
  6. Whisk it well so that no lumps are left and you have a smooth thick batter.
  7. Add salt and water little by little. Whisk it well. The batter should be a little thinner than a pancake batter.
  8. Cover the batter and leave it in a warm place to ferment for 3-4 hours. The batter will become frothy and will be double in size.
  9. Gently, mix it. If the batter is too thick, add little water.
  10. Heat a small hopper pan(wok, thachhiya) over medium to low heat. If you're using a non stick one no need to oil it.
  11. Pour a ladleful or ¼ cup of the batter into the centre of the pan.
  12. Swirl the pan around so that the batter coats the sides of the pan.
  13. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes.
  14. Cover and cook for a further 1-2 minutes so that the middle spongy part of the pancake or hopper gets cooked.
  15. Th hopper is ready when the sides begin to brown and it starts to pull away from the pan.
  16. Serve hot hopper immediately with a curry of your choice.
Tips:
  • If the batter is too thick it will not be easy to swirl it and coat it on the sides of the pan. Always do a test run to see if you can swirl the batter around easily. If not add little water.
  • You can drizzle a tiny amount of oil on the sides so that the sides become really crispy.
  • Its best to serve hot hoppers as cold ones don't taste that good. The sides tend to go soft.
  • As the batter ferments further it becomes thicker and you may need to add some water.
  • Many sites recommend that you cover the pan after a minute or two. I found that when I did that the condensation made the sides go all soft. Its just best to let them cook over medium to low heat without the lid. However, you will need to use the lid if you cook and egg with it.
  • To serve hoppers with eggs for breakfast, after swirling the batter around the pan, break an egg over it. Cover and cook till the white of the egg is done. Serve with sambol and kiri hodi a typical Sri Lankan Coconut curry.

Check out what other types of pancakes fellow bloggers have made:


BreadBakers


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.


We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.


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Monday, 12 February 2018

TonDak/ ToNak (cowpeas in coconut curry)

Just too busy

Theme: Main Course with Gravy/Rice
BM#85 Week 2 Day 2

   Its amazing how many caps a woman has to wear. I really thought that once the kids are all grown up, I'll be free. However, so many daily chores need our attention. Last week I was like up to my head and nearly wanted to stop everything and just sit. When I say everything, it means everything...cooking, housekeeping, blogging, book keeping, social, exercise, you name it... except of course sleep. Would just love to sleep, wake up, eat and go to sleep again. However, we all know that is not possible. 

   Since I've started blogging, never have I had to prepare for 3 events on the same day...yes you read right 3 events! I tried to sort of make one dish to fit all three themes but that was not working out. I thought of backing out but felt really bad.  The cooking part was not difficult, but the writing part is. I'm tired of writing. I know I should not have committed myself to so many events. The truth is that I didn't realize at that time that they all would fall on the same date. And power cuts do not help at all! We've been without power for over 5 hours. So much work cannot be done as we depend so much on power. 

   Well, this is the last post for the day, two are out already Rose and Saffron Yogurt Mousse and Watermelon Gazpacho. Please take some time to check out the recipes.

   Coming to the last recipe for the day, my curry for today is a coconut gravy. This is a Goan Curry. The gravy is made with fresh coconut, onion and spices. I had bookmarked this recipe from Sandhya's blog ages ago. I'm so glad I finally got to try out this curry as it was so delicious. I'm really nuts about coconut so this is a winner recipe. I enjoyed it with bread and hubby had his with rice. A bit of the curry was left over and next day I added some more chopped onion, coriander and some sev... it was like usal as Sandhya mentioned in her write up. Thank you Sandhya for sharing an awesome recipe.

   The coastal people of Kenya prepare cowpeas in coconut gravy but it tastes so different. Less spices are used and the cowpeas are cooked in coconut milk. But I love both the versions. Enjoy the recipe below with whatever you want, rice, parathas, roti, bread or as I had it the second day with chopped onions, coriander and sev. 





TONDAK/TONAK (COWPEAS IN COCONUT CURRY)
Serves 4
Recipe Source : My Cooking Journey

1 cup cooked cowpeas (soak in water overnight and then pressure cook)
1 medium potato, boiled, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup fresh grated coconut
1 tsp green chili paste or 1-2 finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp tamarind pulp
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1-1½ cup water

Tondak Masala:
2 tbsp coriander seeds (dhana)
½" cinnamon stick
2 dry red chillis
3 cloves
4-6 pepper corns
1 star anise
½ tsp fennel seeds (valiyari, saunf)
½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 cardamoms

For garnishing:
1 small onion finely chopped
2-3 tbsp fresh chopped coriander

Preparation of Tondak Masala:

  1. Dry roast the spices in a wide pan over low heat till the cumin seeds begin to crackle.
  2. Take the spices out of the pan and leave it a plate to cool of a while.
  3. Grind the spices in coffee grinder or any dry food processor.
  4. Keep the spice powder on the side till required.
Preparation of Tondak:
  1. Heat oil a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced onions and stir fry till they become golden in colour.
  3. Add garlic and chili. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Add grated coconut and stir fry till becomes light golden in colour.
  5. Add the stir fried mixture into a blender with the water. 
  6. Process to a smooth paste.
  7. Pour out the coconut onion paste into the pan.
  8. Add the cooked cowpeas and chopped potato. 
  9. Add salt, tamarind pulp, 2 tbsp of the tondak masala and more water if required.
  10. Mix well. Let the curry simmer over medium heat.
  11. Garnish the curry with chopped onion and coriander. 
  12. Serve tondak with pav (bread rolls) or rice.
Tips:
  • Half a cup of raw beans when soaked and cooked yields about 1 cup.
  • I used more coconut. You can reduce the quantity.
  • Store remaining tondak masala in an airtight jar and use it for other curries.
  • Can use dried peas, black eyed beans to prepare this curry.
You may want to check out other curry recipes:
Red Chora Curry
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