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Friday, December 2, 2016

No- Bake Chocolate and Lemon cheesecake


I was never a fan of classical orchestra music, but don’t know what happens with Hans Zimmer, and I do really like what he creates- these past couple of days I have been listening to his masterpieces- and one is the sound-track of Inception- Time. The tune is so haunting and keeps lingering on. It gives you motivation and sadness at the same time. Another one is ‘A Way of life’. Those are real masterpieces. Any way music is to soul and so is the food. There are many soul satisfying foods as well.


We were carving for some cheesecake and my daughter was asking for a cheesecake for a long time. I was having some left-over crumbs from this recipe of – Chocolate mice, so wanted to use it and it ended up as the crust of the no-bake cheesecake. The slight hint of lemon was also an added bonus. So, the no bake cheesecake with lemon and chocolate flavour was born. The end product was very appetising and soul satisfying just like music by Hans Zimmer.
Now to the recipe

No-bake chocolate and lemon cheesecake

Recipe requirements
For the top
1 and half cup of mascarpone cheese
1 and half cup pf cream cheese
½ can of condensed milk (optional)
Roughly about 3-4 tbs of lemon juice
½ cup of chocolate powder
For the base/crust
5-6 tbs of butter at room temperature
 20-25 Chocolate biscuits -
Method
Crush chocolate biscuits in a mixer or you can use rolling pin as well. I have used oats and chocolate biscuit for this recipe (available here as Oats crunch biscuits). You can use crackers as well. The crust was delicious with chocolate flavour and sweet.
Now in a big mixing bowl, mix together biscuits crumbs and butter with your hands. The mixture will be like a moist crumbs.
Take a  round 9'' inch cake tin and put the mixture in to it and press gently to make it firm. This will be the base/crust of no-bake cheesecake.
In a separate mixing bowl mix in mascarpone cheese, cream cheese and condensed milk with lemon juice and about 1 tsp of fresh lemon zest. (You can skip condensed milk if you wish but then you have to increase the cream cheese and mascarpone content and also will have to add castor sugar to make it sweet.)
Now pour this mixture over the base. Tap the corner of the cake tin so that it evens out.
Now sprinkle chocolate powder all over it.I have used Caotina drinking chocolate powder. You can use any other brands as well. But for me it’s Caotina for sure.

Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight. Serve it next day.
Tip- You can use Oreo biscuits as crust as well.

Happy Cooking Friends and have a relaxing weekend

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Instant Rava Idli - super easy

Sometimes I feel like I am living in a very wrong world. The world where views are biased, people have no morals to fall back and where people take things for granted. They mock or doubt you, if you wear your emotions on your sleeves. And then, even if you happen to tell your true inner feelings, people ridicule you for being over-sensitive. I really don’t know when caring or showing concern to fellow humans became being over sensitive. But this is a modern world we are talking about, someone told me and you should also act modern. I am like if these acts mean modernisation, then probably I am well off, without it.


Well this recipe has nothing to do with being over-sensitive, but yes it’s a very quick way of making idlis, when you are running short of time and patience.
 We were craving for some idlis but I had no time for doing the whole procedure of soaking, grinding and then fermenting. There are plenty of recipes for instant idlis out here in net.But all of them use ENO, I didn’t have at the time of making these idlis, so used baking soda and it still came out fine.

Instant Rava  idli  recipe

Recipe requirements

 2 large cups of semolina/rava
3/4  cup of yogurt
¾ tsp of baking soda
For tempering
2 tbs of chana dal
2 tbs of urid dal
 1 -2 twigs of curry patta
3-4 dry red pepper powder
1-2 tsp of brown mustard seeds
2 tbs of cooking oil




Method

Dry roast rava/semolina in a fry pan. Do not let it burn.
Now take the slightly roasted rava in a separate bowl.
Add in cooking oil to the fry pan.
Now add mustard seeds, urid dal, chana dal, dry red peppers and curry leaves.Let it splutter.
Add in the roasted rava to it and mix well.
Transfer the entire content in a big bowl.
Let it cool.
Now add in yogurt and mix well. Add about a cup of water to it. Adjust salt in the above. Leave it for about an hour.
Add in baking soda just before you will make instant idlis.
Prepare idli stand and scoop the rava mixture in to the slotted space for the idli in idli-stand.
Steam about 20-25 mints or till the idlis are cooked well in a pressure cooker.
take out once they are all done.

Serve with coconut chutney.These are always well recieved by my family whenever we feel like having it for breakfast or quick dinner with sambhar.Here is Lauki and bean sprouts sambhar.

Happy Cooking Friends

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Langkawi- a hidden paradise

Langkawi is cluster of 99- 104 islands on Malaysia’s west coast. This is a great destination for beach lovers and the ones who wants to relax in nature’s lap. The very essence of Langkawi is its blue sea-water and paddy fields with some hilly region.



Our 4 days visit was a much relief from busy Kuala Lumpur life.
Although there are many things to see and do as per activity wise, for active people there is snorkelling, sea-sports etc. but we were more into spending time on beaches. The island is blessed to have three conservation areas Machincang Cambrian Geoforests park, Kilim Karst Geoforest park and Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest park (which is island of Pregnant Maiden lake).One can take ferry transport from Penang, Kuala Kedah or by domestic flight from Kuala Lumpur.The touristy population is confided into southern part and the north-east is more secluded with little tourist. We based our selves in Kuah Town.



The views from our apartment balcony were breath-taking- each morning and every evening there was a different view to greet us.
Most popular beach is Chenang beach or Pantai Cenang.This white-sand beach is the most frequently visited place. 




The main road which lead to the beach is lined by street-side hawkers selling beach activities things and also clothes and accessories. Do visit them when you are in this area and buy couple of things from them. 




Although, I would say avoid the shopping malls, but if you are into chocolates and alcohol then you can try out duty-free shopping malls as well.
Langkawi cable car takes visitors up to the peak of Gunung Mat Chingchang. The entry is through Oriental village that includes various fast-food joints, fish spa and a 3-dimensional art museum known as Art in Paradise. We went for a quick fish spa session which was tickling and entertaining as well.
It’s better to have your own vehicle to roam around in the island. But we hired local taxi-drivers on two days and it was well worth it.Day 1 Hakkim- drove us around in the island, very cultured and experienced driver. He took us to Eagle square





and also to
Tanjug Rhu beach



 and Black sand beach




and dropped us at Cable car site in the afternoon.
We were mesmerized by the top view, the journey time from bottom of hill to the top is roughly 15 mints. 



The cable car takes to the top station and from there, is an inclined lift which takes people to the sky bridge. 





Although, there is another passage through steps which took us to the sky bridge. We were tired climbing up and down the steps, but we finally made it to the sky bridge. We started walking on the open sky bridge, once we reached the other end, weather started to deteriorate and wind started howling at us, and soon we were trapped in a heavy thunderstorm. 





While we waited holding our breath, the loud rumblings continued and then the outcome, heavy and lashing rain, and we were trapped in a sort of a trench. A care-taker luckily was there with us, guiding us through the whole situations. We waited there for about 15 -20 mints till the ferocity of the rain subsided. While still it was raining, we made our way back to the origin of Sky Bridge. And what an experience it was. We were planning a relaxed action-free holiday, lo behold we were facing a thrilling adventure of sort. So, when life gets tough have 'snickers', yes we snicked  snacked on snickers while waiting for the thunderstorm to subside, entrapped with fellow tourists under a sort of trench.
When Hakim came to pick us up, he seemed worried about us, and asked if we are fine or not. He dropped us back to our hotel. 
And this is how our day one was spent with an unplanned adventure.



Day two and three, we went to Pantai Cenang and spent entire days there, relaxing on beach. I was hooked on to reading book for a change, and yes I did finish ‘The Girl on the Train’ during this holiday, and what a good read this turned out to be.




We got nicely tanned even though we were siting under these large umbrellas.





We are blessed with more skin pigment melatonin and so you would know how things are for us.
 Last day we were not sure what to do, so, we picked up a local driver Abu and he showed us rest of the interesting places in Langkawi. 



He seemed very keen in sharing local stories or legends about Langkawi. The legend of pregnant maiden lake is based on a lady. The whole day he kept telling us very interesting facts about Langkawi and he told us, he preferred life over here rather than in Kuala Lumpur, and I couldn’t agree more.





The splendid waterfall of Telaga Tujuh or seven wells waterfall kept us feeling relaxed and mesmerized. 




Abu also happened to tell us stories about fairies who visit this place frequently (hmmm never meant to feel haunted, but he told us they are good spirits who take care of the waterfall area).We saw many tourists diving into the fresh waterfall water. Although, we didn’t make it up to the top of waterfall, but enthusiasts do that. We spent more time sitting there, soaking up the positive energy. Another pit-stop was Temuran waterfall , we had a quick visit there.




We called the day at Pantai Kok Beach and this is how our visit ended in Langkawi. We were returning back to the real life now- life at Kuala Lumpur.

‘’ It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.’’

 ---------------Ursula K Lee Guin.

See you all next week with a new blogpost ...till then take care and enjoy life....

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chocolate mice and Happy Diwali

Today is Diwali or should I say Deepawali. And Diwali invokes lots of good old memories- Rangoli decorations, bursting crackers, and eating ‘kheel’ and ‘khilona’ (you know those sugary things moulded into various shapes of animals).Stocking up fire-crackers and drying them in the sun, in case they were still wet somehow (god knows how many times we used to go upstairs to our terrace to check them in between). Putting up light bulbs on terrace or balcony, checking with a tester and feeling elated to become an electrician for the time being, gorging on home-made sweets that our mothers would churn out for these past couple of days. When I look back (yes, I do like to do from time to time. Everyone has their own share of memories. I would say treasure them and re-visit them from time to time, but be ready to make new and fresh memories.) And I have stacks of all those memories, and that includes memories associated with Diwali as well.

Here wishing everyone a very happy Diwali.

Shubh Deepawali everyone.May festival of light brings you loads of happiness, peace and prosperity.




Our residential complex had a Halloween potluck get –together couple of days ago. I happened to make these chocolate mice which was well received by the crowd. Little ones specifically adored these cute, tiny chocolate mice. 
I made about 60 of them and not a single mice was left. So you can imagine how delicious these can be.



Now to the recipe for chocolate mice

 Chocolate mice

Recipe requirements – makes 60 small mice

adapted from here
500 Gms of oats chocolate biscuit crumbs
4 chocolate bars 100 Gms each
5-6 tbs of sour cream (can use thick yogurt as well)
For decorations
  1 cup of chocolate biscuit crumble
Almond flakes about 1 cup for ears or 120 almond flakes
Dragees for eyes – 120
 Carrot thin juliennes for tails- 60




Method
Crush chocolate biscuits in a mixer or with rolling pin. I have used oats and chocolate biscuit to make it healthy. But you can use any other chocolate biscuits.
Melt chocolate bars in microwave for about a mint.
In a big mixing bowl – mix together oats chocolate crumble with melted chocolate. Add in sour cream and bind them well. Check with a tsp of sample and try to roll, if they stick together the mixture is ready to be shaped in like little mice.
Store it in fridge for about an hour. This will help it to help in shaping of mice.
Now take out about a table spoon of the mixture and start shaping in to rounds. Now at one end slightly, mould to a point (the nose) to form mice.
Roll each mice over the biscuit crumble to coat it evenly. 
Now put dragees for eyes. Almond flakes for ears and carrot thin juliennes for the tail. 
You can use strawberry juliennes as well for tails.


Chill at least for about 2-3 hrs or until they are all firm.

Happy Cooking 



Wish you all a very happy Diwali and a happy Halloween