Fresh Homemade Warm Cherry Sauce With Vanilla Ice Cream


Summer is the time to enjoy fruit based desserts. Cherries are in abundance these days and apart from enjoying them as it is I also indulge in making sumptuous cherry sauce. This sinful sauce can be added to ice-creams, yogurt, grilled chicken, shuffle, cheesecake and various other dishes.

To choose cherries – Prefer to buy the ones with stem still attached. The fruit should be firm, smooth and unblemished. Plump cherries are great but they shouldn’t be mushy. I prefer the dark and light multi-hued bunch for the sauce. It gives the sauce a sweet and sour flavor. You may choose the sweet ones.

I have not tried many dishes using this cherry sauce but I do plan to make a pennacota and Risalamande (Danish Rice Pudding sometime soon). It is very similar to our own Rice pudding. Can’t wait to indulge in that sweetness.

Cherry has immense health benefits but those you can always Google and find out. 😀 Here we will just talk about the deep ruby-red flavors of crushed cherries in a warm sauce. Sounds almost erotic, doesn’t it?

To make this sensational sauce you will need 

Sweet Cherries –  2 cups (stem removed washed and pitted)

Sugar – 2 tablespoon (Granulated / Castor or Demerara)

Cornstarch – 1 teaspoon (optional)

Lemon Juice – 1 teaspoon

Water -3 tablespoon

Red Wine – optional

How to make the sauce 

I do not have the tools or technique to pit the cherries so it is a tedious task to take one cherry at a time and carefully sqeeze out the stone without crushing the fruit too much. One day I will learn a better way or indulge in a cherry pitter or a pairing knife to make this easier. Usually cutting the cherries in half is the key to quick pitting.

Once you have pitted the fruit keep it aside.

In a small bowl mix corn starch in a little warm water or use red wine. Dissolve it properly so that there are no lumps. I avoid corn starch if I make a small amount for immediate use. I also like the fruit juices and pulp mingled with sugar to thicken on its own

In a heavy bottom saucepan add cherries ,water and sugar and cook on high flame to bring the mixture to boil. Stir continuously. Then let it simmer on slow flame till the fruit becomes soft. Be careful not to burn the sugar.

Add the wine (half a cup) to the mixture. Add the corn starch mixture and keep stirring the sauce gently.

Taste to check the sweetness. I prefer the natural sweetness of the cherries but you can add a bit more sugar if needed. Add lemon juice in the end moments.

Keep stirring the sauce till it thickens.

Cool it and keep in an air tight jar in the refrigerator or freeze it. Frozen sauce stays for 3-4 weeks and the refrigerated one 2-3 days. I make small quantities and keep in the fridge. IF it doesn’t get licked off 😀

For the topping on Vanilla Ice cream, scoop out the ice cream in a whisky glass, ice cream glass bowls or any other bowl.

Lavishly pour warm cherry sauce over the scoops and watch the red liquid cascade down the creamy white contours of the scoops. Let it drip down in the glass ( if using)

You can decorate it with a fresh basil or cherry on top. Swirl the sauce in the ice cream for more dramatic experience. I am not a food blogger or food photographer so all my images are unprofessional. BUT, the cherry sauce is to die for. I can vouch for that.

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Whole Wheat Penne Pasta In Charred Red Bell Pepper, Tomatoes And Roasted garlic Sauce


I am very fond of pasta in any form especially the wheat one. For this recipe I have used the Colavita Whole wheat pasta.

It’s now six days to my laser surgery and almost four and a half to the RD surgery. My eyes are healing beautifully and to assist their healing I wanted to do something therapeutic, something with colours, spices, veggies and herbs. This recipe seemed perfect for the occasion. A lovely dinner for three. Mom, Kid 1 and me. Main course complimented by chickpeas Mediterranean salad and rounded off with scoops of vanilla ice cream with fresh mangoes and homemade fresh cherry sauce. I will be putting up the recipes for the other two dishes as well.

The cook is given an off and I am in my kitchen saturated with the various colors and aromas. It is a place I love to be doing what I love most. I made the sauce with those awesome looking juicy red bell peppers, plum tomatoes , garlic and red onion. Perfect combination for a summer meal. Of all the bell peppers Yellow is my favorite in summer but the nicely charred red one tastes delicious with this pasta.

Ingredients :

2 Red bell Peppers – Charred , skinned and chopped

One medium size red onion – finally chopped

Tomatoes – 400 4m charred, skinned and puréed

Garlic – 4 cloves (roasted)

Fresh coriander leaves –  finely chopped 4 table-spoon

Salt and crushed Pepper – to taste

Parmesan cheese – for garnish (freshly grated)

Penne whole wheat pasta – 2 cups boiled and drained (spiral, fusilli, spaghetti, macaroni , farfalle or any other pasta of your choice will also do.)

Extra virgin olive oil – 2 table-spoon

To make this full flavor pasta dish :

1. Char the bell peppers till black ( wash the bell pepper, dry and apply oil all over it before putting in on grill or flame. char them from all sides properly), skin and chop them very fine . You can slightly turn them in mixer too. Just enough to make a pulp. (to skin place the charred pepper in a paper bag for 5-10 min and let them sweat. it becomes easier to peel them)

2. Roast the garlic and squeeze the pulp out from paper. mash and keep aside

3. Boil the wheat pasta till al dente in salted water to which a little oil has been added, drain and keep aside. Pasta should feel firm, not crunchy. It should break easily in half. (You can follow the instructions on the packet too)

4. Place a saucepan on medium heat and add  Olive oil. once warm add the roasted garlic and onion. Saute them till onion becomes translucent.

5. Add the tomatoes a charred bell pepper and stir so that all the ingredients mix properly.

6. Cook the sauce for a while on low heat till it becomes thick in consistency . I don’t like pasta floating in a soup like sauce. Add herbs and spices, salt and freshly crushed pepper.

7. Fold in the cooked pasta into the sauce till each penne is coated with the sauce.

8. Turn off the heat and cover for a minute or two.

9. Take out in a serving dish and garnish with freshly chopped coriander, basil ( your choice) and freshly grated parmesan cheese. I don’t like my pasta cheesy so I  go lighter on cheese. It kind of mars the other flavors imo:)

10. Serve hot.

The mild smoky sweet taste of roasted bell pepper, the tangy sourness from tomatoes and the flavor from herbs will really this a hit with everyone.Roasted garlic is one of my weaknesses so I tend to add it to many of my pasta preparations.

I served it with the chickpeas salad and made another version by tossing in the salad into the pasta. The crunchy yellow and red bell peppers, raw onion and tomatoes along with soft chickpeas enhanced the taste of the dish.

You can make any number of variations with this pasta by adding grilled sausages, chicken, meatballs etc.

This is the most satisfying comfort food I have ever had.

Enjoy!

A Gift of Discernment – For A Better World


I believe that Parenthood teaches selflessness, to love and respect your kids unconditionally. Parents teach the children to be independent and rejoice in their blossoming. Both my sons are adults now and when I look back I think all I ever taught them was to shed everything that hindered their growth as human beings and accept themselves as and who they are. This covered almost everything that needed to be said.  As a mother I believed that what I could teach by example I could not by words.

My parents taught me the value of discernment and take independent decisions and that is exactly what I instilled in my boys. To be discerning without being judgmental. It was an uphill task in the kind of environment they were growing up in. To keep their minds from being polluted by  age-old rituals, customs and doctrines was an everyday struggle but I stood my grounds and made sure the boys learned to use their minds and not follow what the adults in the family or in the social milieu shoved down their throat. Since early years both the boys were encouraged to travel, explore, learn from the way people lived. To have a hunger for experiencing life at different levels. Independently. It was a challenge they had to undertake to refine themselves, to shun the comfort zone. To survive in all sorts of conditions. Build immunity, sensitivity, compassion towards life in all its forms. To value life and engage with it with an open mind and a student heart. I believed that exposure would enhance the personality and it did. Most of the times the ordinary things, the experimentation, the willingness to ask question does extraordinary things to children’s psyche. It teaches them important skills and to look beyond what is right in front of them.

I knew the importance of a dialogue, conversations, questioning, airing the differences fearlessly and with a trust that they will not be judged or reprehended. Freedom to converse without inhibition or fear helped them form their own opinions and choose what was right. That they could speak up their mind was largely due to the trust we shared.  It is a friendship that we share even now.  Once you rise above the relationship and treat the children simply as fellow human beings the approach to life changes. They become confident, curiosity helps them to expands their horizons inwardly as well as outwardly and a foundation for critical thinking is laid.

My boys had a privilege to experience two very different perspectives on ‘how to live a life’. A liberal, freethinking one from their maternal side and an orthodox, ritualistic one from the other. I think it helped them form their own set of values for life. They also learned from my limitations and sufferings. It made them a champion for women’s rights. Another major aspect was to make them aware of themselves so that they accept themselves as and who they were. I remember one of my sons asking me how I would react if he told me one day that he was gay or bisexual. I said it was his life and his sexual orientation or the way he is biologically. There was nothing to ‘react’. It is what it is. He asked if I would accept it. I replied that the question of acceptance doesn’t arise because it is ultimately His Life not mine. The fact that I would be by his side if needed was enough to make him comfortable with his choices I guess. I belive and taught them that unless you love yourself as who you are you can not love others nor others can love you. Loving oneself is an important lesson in life. To value the life we are given and live it well. Brief as it is.

The knowledge that I neither considered or treated the boys as my extension nor tied them to my apron strings helped them and me to lead a normal guilt free life in which we had mutual respect for each other, learned from each other and grew up together. Children are keen observers and often make decisions based on their understanding of life. To help them in this process all that is needed is a slight nudge. They have an agenda of her own. Suddenly one saw that the role of a mother as imagined or perhaps, vaguely understood could be questioned. Please! Can I not live my own life? Do I have to answer for each little thing I do? I am disgusted with this refrain “it is for your own good”. I know what it means and I can take care of myself – thank you! There is much heartbreaking pain and avoidable conflict. An uneasy kind of friendship develops as the teens are about to end, and one hopes that some understanding and maturity comes along to make life a little less rough – not for the daughter or son alone but also for the mother too. It is phase that strengthens the bonds without turning them into a noose. All one has to do is understand where they are coming from and help them deal with it if required. Unnecessary involvement in their daily struggles irks them at times.

I feel children who do not carry the burden of ‘teaching’ turn out to be better adults. I have seen around me the all engulfing apron strings, the controller moms who invade the very fabric of their son’s life till the core and leave it tattered. Mothers who just do not know where to draw the line. The worse thing a mother can do is to smother the child with ‘love” stunting their personalities. I cut the umbilical cord for my sanity and for the betterment of my children. They were loved and cared for but never became the primary focus of my passion and preoccupation. For the children to grown up without any mental, emotional, sexual dysfunction it is essential not to suffocate them. Being a free-spirited person myself it wasn’t difficult to instill it in my boys.

Growing up with them has been a wonder filled experience. Still is. I know I am the most unconventional mom but I love just the way it is. Now, I am looking at my life afresh, from their perspective, sharing a more mature friendship which began from the  time I conceived them. A beautiful detached attachment. Motherhood has made me a better person and to sum it all in one sentence I would say, “Let your children be. You can’t teach a sapling how to grow; you can only give it all it needs, sit back and watch.” In doing so you are not just making them good citizens but most importantly better human beings; and in the end, that is all that matters. This post is written for the #MomsforaBetterWorld Project

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Recipe – Gatte Ki Sabzi (Chickpea Flour Dumpling Curry)


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I love gatte ki sabzi as much as I love kadhi pakoda . Usually I keep both the besan dishes simple but sometimes I add veggies to give the original one some new flavor and texture. The traditional gatta curry is a staple dish from Rajasthan made with chickpea flour dumplings dunked in thick yogurt gravy with spices. A delicious blend of flavours. I have someone with lactose intolerance so I made this particular one with onion and tomato gravy which is equally delightful in taste. I am giving both versions here.

The dish can be had with rice or roti. You can make it with a little gravy or just let the gattas soak in all the spiced curry and use it as a dry vegetable.

Ingredients :

To make Gatta you will need:

Besan (chickpea flour) – 1 Cup

Dry roasted cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Red Chili Powder – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Coriander Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

Oil – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida – A Pinch

Salt to Taste

Water – Enough to make a semi hard dough ( I sometimes use Mattha/Tak/whisked curd instead of water)

For the onion tomato base gravy you will need :

Onion – 1 Big (finely chopped)

Tomatoes – 3-4 Medium Size ( grated or puréed )

Ginger – 1/2 inch (grated)

Garlic – 2-3 cloves (grated)

Fresh coriander leaves – 1/4 cup

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

Coriander Powder – 1 Heaped Teaspoon

Red Chili Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon or to taste

Asafoetida Powder – A pinch

Cumin Seeds – 1/2 Teaspoon

Mustard Oil – 2 Tablespoon (You can use any other oil too)

Method 

To prepare the gatta or dumplings

Take a big mixing bowl and throw in all the ingredients listed for making the dumplings (gatta) except the dahi/mattha/tak(buttermilk) or water.

Mix them well.

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Now slowly add the prefered liquid or curd as you bind the chickpea flour. Add enough to make a dough which is neither too hard nor too soft. Stiff enough to roll out like sausages. 1inch thickness is okay. You can roll them out longer too. I find this size convenient to handle.

Now take a heavy bottom pan and boil enough water in it to cover the rounded gatta strips. Delicately slide the sausage like strips into boiling water and let them boil for at least 20-30 mins.

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Once done the gatta strips will turn white in colour and float to the top. This is the time to take them out slowly in a plate and let them dry.

Once dry cut them in to smaller pieces. ( some people fry these before adding to the curry. i keep it oil free.)

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Keep them aside and prepare the curry now.

For the curry 

Put a heavy bottom pan on heat and add the oil. Once the mustard oil reaches smoking point add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Add chopped onions. Add salt at this time. It helps the onion to brown quicker. Once the onion turns golden brown add ginger and garlic and saute it too. Add red chili powder and a little water so that the mixture doesn’t burn.It also lifts the spices. Lower the flame and let it cook for a while then add the grated tomatoes. Stir properly and let it simmer on low flame. Keep it covered. Once the mixture seems cooked , add the spices (haldi, coriander) Mix well.

Cook it till the oil starts separating from the masala. Once it reaches that stage add gattas and stir. Do it slowly so the gattas don’t break. Cover and let the dumplings soak in the flavours.

After five-ten minutes stir it again. ( At this stage you can leave out adding the liquid and enjoy the semi dry veggie with rotis/ parathas etc. Garnishing it with chopped coriander ) Or add warm water to the mixture to make a thick gravy. Stirring in as you add the liquid. Keep the flame high and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for a few minutes then reduce the heat.

Once the gravy is thick and the aromas begin to fill your kitchen it is time to turn off the gas and garnish the gatta curry with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

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Enjoy the curry with rice or roti.

To make the Curd gravy you need 

Whisked Curd – 1 cup instead of water. All other ingredients remain the same.

Heat oil ( or Ghee which I prefer when using curd), add hing, cumin seeds and a whole red chili. Once the seeds splutter, add chopped onion , ginger, garlic and fry till golden brown, add chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder,salt and sprinkle a little water to deglaze the pan.and lift the spices. Fry it till it leaves oil. Gently tip in the whisked curd little by little. Keep stirring so it doesn’t curdle.

Keep the flame low. Stir till the masala is integrated properly Add a little water if needed to prepare the thick gravy. Let it boil for sometime and then tip in the gatta pieces. Let it simmer on slow flame for at least 10 minutes. Keep it covered.

Once done remove from flame and garnish with finely chopped fresh coriander leaves before serving.

Evanesence – Six Short Poems


Your scent,

gentle and sensuous,

warms itself

on my skin,

curling against me

like a cat,

dissolving all the barriers

between us.

*******

The scent will slowly fade

like the last notes of your favorite song,

ebbing into silence,

haunting me like a

ghost of absence.

  *****

we are bound

by the sorrowof the unspoken

and the silence of the spoken words,

our hearts, are made of different stones.

     ******

Have you walked through empty corridors?

there is an intimacy there, like love,

it fills you. echoes of another time,

a fusion of light and dark,

an interplay of shadows.

Hidden under the gloom, vast and intricate,

is a phantasm, shrouded in mystery,

forever reinventing.

   ^^^^^

summer rain,

my body a Smörgåsbord,

a phantasmal explosion

of a rainbow awry, knutschflecks,

the color of orgasms,

someone said I smell of love,

I must be smelling of longing,

of waiting & hoping,

I must be smelling of you

*********

hunger rises from the skin

like an ache, your touch,

like a flint, sparks the flames,

you, the arsonist,

me, the phoenix,

the amber smell of longing

fills the night,

threadbare, our shadows

rock trance like

on the moonlit walls.

*********************

The Summer Quartet


 my shadow lies quartered on the sidewalk

 bleeding ink from its fault lines

 everything is gone except

 the traces of you inside me

 immortalized in words

 

*

I grieve for those

parts of our lives

which you buried

while they were still

pulsating with life

*

It is that time of the year

when the  evenings smell like a breakup

and it is impossible to look at the things

without sniffing the heartbreak in the air

*

I sit in a deserted house,

with a lifetime on my lap.

Each faded, handwritten letter,

a story packed away for years.

a tender reminiscence.

Outside, hot summer rustles

like the skirt of a flamenco

dancer, my heart, as it was then

is on fire.