Easy Mango Jam (No Preservatives Or Added Pectin)


Monsoon is here in Delhi and the last of the mangoes have flooded the market. I found vendors selling them at a very low price.  The small dasheri is a delicious variety we get in North India. Sweet, fragrant, juicy and full of flesh. The pit/stone/seed inside the fruit is very thin. I prefer it to the bigger variety of dasheri.  One can simply massage the fruit between palms and cut a tiny opening at the stem end the n suck the juicy flesh straight away, rolling and sqeezing it till every bit is finished. Then take out the pit and suck it clean. 😀

That’s the best way to to have mangoes.

I find it sacrilege to cook some of the fruits. They need to be consumed as fruits. Figs, leechee, mangoes are a few of them but this batch of mangoes had some very overripe ones and so I decided to make a little quantity of Jam. I don’t eat commercial bread these days but home made preserves can be used in many ways. I use them for filling, as topping or spread.

Usually I mix a few varieties while making Jam. Also, I prefer to choose a combination of overripe and fully rip but firm mangoes when making  chunky version. It makes the jam rich in flavor and texture. I use no artificial pectin or preservatives.

This is the simplest way to make mango jam.

Ingredients :

Ripe, juicy mangoes – 4 medium size

Lemon Juice – Of 1/2 a lemon

Lemon Zest – 1 teaspoon (optional)

Minced Fresh Ginger / Fresh Ginger Juice – 1 teaspoon (optional)

Sugar – According to the sweetness of the mango ( I used 2 heaped tablespoons)

Red chili Powder – 2 pinches ( optional)

Steps –

Wash, peel and chop mangoes. Squeeze  and gently massage the pit / seed / stone to recover all the flesh and juice.

Place a plate and spoon in the freezer for plate test later on.

In a thick bottom pan add mango pieces, sugar , lemon zest, minced ginger, red chili flakes or powder if using ( you can use cayenne pepper also, it tastes yum) and the lemon juice.

Cook these on a high flame , stirring continuously till the sugar melts.

Turn down the heat to medium low now and let the mixture simmer.

I like my jams with fruit pieces but if you prefer smooth jam you can either puree the mangoes or mash the pulp with a masher or back of the ladle.

Keep stirring the mixture as it thickens. It may take about 10 minutes or so. Test for sugar and add more if you like it sweet, I prefer to retain the natural sweetness.

As the mixture cooks it will start to leave the sides.  Keep a check on the consistency as you won’t want to overcook it. The mixture at this stage should have a  rich deep color an a glossy texture.

Do the plate test at this point.

Remove the pan from heat to avoid over cooking.

Drop some mixture on a chilled plate and give a slight nudge with your finger, if the mixture should give away a little but shouldn’t be runny. If that’s the case then the jam is done. I invert the plate usually to check. Mixture shouldn’t fall off.

If the mixture is runny , cook a bit more till it gets to the desired consistency.

Once the gorgeous fragrant jam is done, spoon it in clean airtight container and let it cool on the counter completely before putting it in the fridge.

 

I make small amounts so keep them out for daily consumption.

This jam usually stays good for at least a fortnight in the fridge.

You can spice it up with all spice or star anise or cinnamon but I prefer the natural flavor of the mango, ginger and lime.

Enjoy this dose of summer sunshine with any thing of your choice. I spooned it over a cracker and devoured it with strong black coffee.

PS –  You can cut thin strips of lemon peel and add if you wish to convert the recipe to a marmalade. I love that version too but I don’t use it with very sweet fragrant mangoes.

 

 

 

Simple Fruit Compotes – Mango And Malta Fruit


I am sharing the quick recipes for Malta Fruit Compote and Ripe Mango compote that I used in the Orange Bread Pudding and Mango French toast. I made small quantity  but you can adjust the proportions to make larger quantities and keep them in the fridge to use with various dishes esp barbecued meats and of course some desserts. 😉

Compote is a delicious fruit dessert made with whole fresh fruits or cut into pieces. Almost any fruit can be used – mangoes, orange, apple ,figs, berries, apricots, peaches etc. It is the best use of ripe seasonal fruits.

Mango Compote 

Ingredients : 

  • Ripe Juicy Mangoes – 2 large
  • Fresh Ginger juice – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cayenne pepper – 1/4 teaspoon ( you can use chili flakes too)
  • Malta juice/ Orange Juice – 1/2 cup
  • Sugar – as required (depends on sweetness of mangoes)
  • Butter – 1 tablespoon ( a dollop)

Steps :

  1. Dice mangoes into small cubes and squeeze juice from the pit too. In a bowl mix diced mangoes, malta juice, ginger juice, lime juice ( if using), sugar, cayenne pepper or chili flakes. Let the mix macerate for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Heat a heavy bottom pan and add the fruit mix. Let it simmer for 10 minutes on medium flame. Stir gently so that you don’t squish the fruit.
  3. Add butter and stir again. Simmer again for 5 more minutes then turn off the heat. Your compote is ready to use.

 

Every variety of mango will give a distinct flavor to the compote. Try and choose the most juicy ripe ones to minimize added sugar.

The fresh Malta fruit ( kind of blood orange from the hills of Uttrakhand in India) adds a refreshing tang to the compote along with a little lime and ginger juice. The zest of the fruits goes in the egg bath or the custard. Ginger juice, cayenne pepper enhance the flavors just right. You can replace Malta wit ha good orange.

 

 

Orange Compote 

Ingredients: 

Orange | Malta Fruit – 2-3

Zest of the citrus fruit you are using – 2 tablespoon (from 1/2 orange at least)

Fresh juice of Orange/ malta – 1/4 cup

Sugar – 1/3 Cup

Salt – Sea salt or even coarse table salt would do

Steps:

Wash, dab dry and peel the Oranges / Malta. Remove the pith and seeds. Chop into small pieces.
Retain all the juice that dribbles out.

In a heavy bottom saucepan add chopped fruit, zest, sugar, salt and juice and mix.
Bring this mixture to boil on high heat and then reduce the heat.
Let it cook on medium low heat till the fruit collapses and the liquid resembles a syrup. (10-15 minutes)
Stir occasionally to avoid burning. Turn off the heat and cool the compote to room temperature.

Use it with your favorite dish or as a spread on breads.
You can use it as a topping for yogurts and ice cream too.
Spice it up with star anise, clove and cinnamon if you like.
I do not use vanilla as it masks the fruit flavors.
Sugar should be adjusted as per the sweetness of the fruit. I prefer natural sweetness over added one.

When Life Gives You Lemons…


In Himachal it is called Khatta, in Uttarakhand, simply neembu. Some call it galgal (though I think galgal is tougher variety) or hill lemon. I was lucky to get some fresh lemons. It’s a sturdy fruit and stays for long. I love shikanjee made from this and pickle too. In kumaon, the local women make a dish called ‘nimbu’ with this. Made with lime, creamy yogurt, flavoured salt(pisi nud), raddish, carrot, jaggery etc. They also concentrate its juice by heating.  This juice, called “chukh” in local dialect, is then stored in glass bottles and is used later in the season as souring agent and for other recipes.  Lemon marmalade is to die for but I have not tried it with hill lemons.

On my recent trip to Ranikhet and nearby areas I saw a lot of trees loaded with this juicy citrus fruit and even the markets were full of them. We relished the jalzeera and shikanjee made from these khattas almost daily.

I was fortunate to get my hands on freshly plucked lemons of two sizes.

Now a traditional lemon pickle takes about 15- 30 days of sun warming to mature and I was dying to savor some fresh tangy sweet pickle and decided to use the large khatta to make an instant pickle. Pickle for me is inevitable part of a meal without which the meal seems incomplete. Be it hot aaloo paratha, khichadi or simple daal chawal, a delicious pickle can be a complete game changer.

Every household has its own unique recipe for pickling various fruits and veggies. Regional ingredients (spices) are used to give the pickle its distinctive taste.

This hill lemon pickle is my favorite though the spicy one that came from my mother in law’s village was out of the world. I am trying to procure that recipe. Lemons are usually cheaper in winter so a big batch will be made then too.

This instant pickle has a unique taste of coarsely pounded spices, sugar and lemon. It tastes delicious. It is also digestive and its taste enhances as the pickle matures. Though it doesn’t need any warming in sun, I still keep it in sun for a week. For instant consumption I take out a small quantity in a small jar / barni or glass bowl.

I must tell you that these instant fixes can not beat the traditional way of pickling and the taste differs but then when craving hits you big time you need to settle for a quickie. 😉 Boiling or microwaving also kills the Vitamin C  😦 unlike traditionally sun soaked lemon pickles.

There are a few things one must keep in mind while pickling. Everything you use should be dry and clean. Always take out  a small quantity for daily use so the main jar is not opened and exposed to impurities everyday. The utensils and jars should be washed and dried properly. Moisture is the biggest culprit in ruining pickles and any lapse would cause mold to form. .Pickles are a labor of love and care even these quick ones. .

Remember how pickling used to be an annual ritual at your granny’s home? How the pickle jars were jealously guarded and only one person would handle them? The small storeroom or bhandarghar where the barnis were stored away from the praying eyes and kids who left no opportunity to steal some tangy deliciousness while the elders got busy doing stuff that elders do? 🙂 Those were the good days. The whole house and sometimes the lane too would fill with the mouthwatering aroma of freshly made achar making everyone drool. Pickle making was a community affair and women would gather to catch up with each other, harvest the fruit, blend, pound spices and mix the ingredients under the watchful eye of an old matriarch. Sigh! Those are the earliest food memories I have and the fondest ones.

Here is the tangy sweet spiced up Hill Lemon or Khatta Pickle recipe :

Ingredients :

1 big hill lemon ( this one was about 250 gm)

4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup shakkar or jaggery powder (optional)

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek  seeds

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

5-6 cloves

1″ cinnamon stick

8-10 black peppercorns

2 black cardamoms ( just the seeds)

1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds (carom seeds or bishop’s weed)

1 teaspoon Turmeric powder

3 teaspoon red chili powder

1/4 teaspoon asafoetida

( you can adjust the salt, sugar, spices etc according to your taste. Also, the use of jaggery is optional. Jaggery ferments quicker so I use it only for a small quantity pickle. For others I prefer sugar.)

Method :

Wash and wipe the Hill Lemon with a kitchen towel.  Always prefer lemons which have no skin bruises.

Cut the lemon in small pieces and place them in a microwave proof bowl. Close the lid and microwave them for 3-6 minutes. You need to stop and check the softness of the skin in between. Alternately, you can place the whole lemon in a steaming basket and pressure cook it till three whistles. Do not overdo it or the lemon will become a pulp and also turn bitter. If using usual thin skin small lemons (kagazi neebu) reduce the time to one minute or two depending on the quality of the fruit.

Once the skin is soft to touch and breaks easily, let the lemon cool completely.

When the lemon pieces are cool, transfer them to a wide glass bowl and add, salt, chili powder, black salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida, sugar and jaggery powder (some people make a syrup and add that but I just put the shakkar as it is and give it a good mix).

Give this a good mix using clean and dry spoon.

Now pound cloves, cinnamon stick, black pepper corns, seeds of black cardamom and ajwain seeds coarsely in a mortar and pestle. You can grind them to powder too.  Dry toast the mix with fenugreek and mustard seeds on low heat. Keep in mind to just slightly warm the spices or the mix will become bitter.

Add this spice mix to the lemon mixture and give it a stir. You can coarsely ground the fenugreek and mustard seeds too or use them whole like I did.

At this point you can either add two tablespoon of olive oil or smoked and cooled mustard oil or just omit the oil. The pickle won’t go bad if there is enough juice to submerge the pieces.

Once all the ingredients are mixed, taste the pickle to add anything to suit your taste. The sugar and salt will make the lemons sweat and release the juice. That’s a good sign and will make the pickle taste better and help in preservation too. As the days pass the pickle will thicken a bit.

Spoon the tangy sweet spiced up lemon pickle in a clean dry airtight jar, close the lid properly. Your instant Hill lemon pickle is ready to eat. You can keep the jar in dry summer sun for a few days to mature but it is optional.

You can add slit / diced green chili and/or ginger julienne to this pickle. Though I don’t like green chili in a sweet sour pickle. Ginger tastes great.

If kept in the fridge, the pickle stays up to three months.

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Relish this lipsmackingly delicious pickle with curd rice, hot parathas, roti or just about anything.

 

Homemade Guava Jelly – Recipe


Guava Jelly

When life gives you guavas turn them into jelly, jam, butter, cheese, juice or just eat them fresh from the basket sprinkled with some tangy chaat masala. As I always say, anything guava is good. This lovely tropical fruit is versatile and utterly delicious. It also ranks high on nutrition scale. Low in calorie, rich in Vitamin C, dietary fiber and other nutrients, the sweet fleshy ripe guavas are my favorite for more than one reason.

There are lots of childhood memories attached to this humble fruit. What fun it used to be to forage them from the trees and run for life before one was caught and then relish it in some quiet peaceful corner. Guava trees used to be in abundance when I was a kid. Almost every home with a patch of land had one in the corner. We too had a small guava tree in one of our houses and it was a joy to behold so many different birds having a feast there. The guavas were sweet and delicious too.

I make guava jelly in every season. As the fruit has high level of pectin I never add artificial pectin. The jelly sets perfectly with the natural fruit pectin. It is basically a very simple recipe and I am sure al of you can enjoy making it at home. You can adjust the measurements sugar and water according to the  liquid extract of the fruit.

To make this beautiful translucent jelly you need just four things.

Ingredients :

Guavas – Ripe but firm 1 kg

Sugar –  4 cups approx ( 3/4 cup to each cup of liquid extract)

Lemon Juice – 4 tablespoon

Water – Enough to cover the fruits

Method :

  1. Wash and pat dry guava fruit that is ripe but firm. Too ripe and soft fruit has low quality pectin and won’t help jelly to set perfectly. Avoid the raw ones totally. You can use a mixed bag of guavas ripened to various stages. I used the firm, ripe ones.
  2. Chop the fruit and put it in a large steel pan with enough water to cover the fruit.
  3. Turn on the heat and bring the mixture to boil on high heat then reduce the heat and let it simmer till the fruit is soft and mushy,
  4. Once the fruit softens take a another pan and put a strainer that sits properly on its rims. (This is optional) Cover the pan with a muslin cloth that is wrung out in water so that it absorbs very little of the precious guava liquid extract. Pour the fruit mixture slowly on the cloth or jelly bag (if using) . I do this process twice to extract maximum juice. Once the fruit is strained I put it again to boil for 5-10 min in just enough water. Ten add it to the previous extract before tying the pulp in the jelly bag or muslin cloth.
  5. Gather the four ends of the cloth and twist and tie a knot or tie it with a string. Hang it at a safe place and let the liquid drip and collect in the pan. DO NOT  squeeze the bag or this will make the jelly cloudy. Let the liquid collect preferably overnight.
  6. Once you have all the strained liquid , discard the pulp or make guava cheese from it.
  7. Measure the liquid and add sugar and lemon juice to it. For each cup of liquid add 3/4 cup of granulated white sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir it properly and put it back on stove  to boil in a heavy bottom pan. Make sure you use a large pan as the liquid will tend to over boil and spill.  Always cook the liquid rapidly so there is no loss of pectin. Slow cooking destroys the pectin in the juice.
  8. I usually do not cook more than 4 cups at a time because the secret to flavorful and aromatic jelly is in its freshness. So, make it in small batches.
  9. Cook it on medium -high flame stirring constantly. Skim off the foam from the top of the liquid. By now your home will be fragrant with the intoxicating aroma of guava jelly. This is one aroma that you can not forget.
  10. Keep checking so that you do not overcook the jelly and turn it into a toffee. 😀 Once the liquid starts to drop off the spoon in two joined drops or coats the spoon even slightly and hangs from the spoon when inverted, turn the heat off.
  11. Do a plate test – Chill a steel plate beforehand in the freezer. Take it out and place a little jelly on it, if the top skin wrinkle or if you run a finger through it and the jelly takes its shape back it is done.
  12. Let it cool for 5 minutes and skim off all the froth and bubbles from the top before pouring it in the clean sterilized airtight jars. Always keep a cloth under the jar to prevent breakage.
  13. Let it cool before putting on the lids.
  14. Use this magnificent, delicious jelly as a spread or as a filling in cakes or just simply eat a spoonful whenever the craving hits you.

 

 

 

Five grain biscuits with guava jelly

I made a sinfully delicious PBJS with homemade peanut butter and this jelly and while drooling on that realized that the treat wasn’t yet over. So, a little bit of both went into some yummy mug cakes. The jelly tastes best with fresh crisp toasts with a hot mug of coffee.

Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Gooseberry | Amla Preserve In Honey


I wrote some days back about the goodness of Amla or Indian Gooseberry. The fruit is in abundance these days and I am making full use of it. I love it in pickles, juices, chutneys, jams, and add it to rice, daals, salads etc. The amla tambli, amla supari and amla candy are delicious. I will try to post the recipes as I make them.

In this post we will make a simple preserve with honey. Honey has medicinal properties and this preserve is very good for immune system among other things.

The fruits cut in small wedges absorb the goodness of organic or wild honey and taste delicious. A tonic for those suffering from anaemia. I benefited from it immensely.

Some people use sugar for the preservation but I prefer honey for obvious reasons.

To make this preserve all you need is good quality honey and Amlas.

Make sure the containers are clean and dry.

Method :

Take fresh amlas and wash them with drinking water. Pat dry and keep aside. ( you can alternately cut raw ones into wedges and dry them in the sun to get rid of the water in the fruit before using).

In a clean, dry glass jar add whole amlas or wedges. If using them whole, do remember to prick them with a fork so the honey gets absorbed.

Pour honey over Amla wedges till they are totally immersed in it. Close the top with a muslin cloth or lid and keep the jar in the sunlight for 5-7 days.

The fruit will leach water so don’t worry. Just let it bleed all the water. Amla wedges will settle at the base full of honeyed goodness.

Once that’s done, take another dry and clean bottle. Transfer the fruit minus the liquid in the new bottle and add fresh honey.

The preserve is ready to eat.

Exposure to sun ensures the longevity of the preserve.

Use the leftover thinned down honey for second batch. I just keep it in the fridge till the next use or sometimes mix it in juices smoothies etc.

If using fresh sun-dried amla, just wait till all the water dries up and then you can put it straight in the honey. No need to change twice.

Both methods work fine. Be sure to keep the preserve in hot sunlight for a few days. Keep making a new lot when the first is about to finish.

Enjoy this delicious and healthy preserve daily to reap its full goodness.

Recipe – Indian Gooseberry | Amla Jam


 

Indain Gooseberry | Amla Jam

Indian Gooseberry | Amla Jam

I found good quality Alma in the local market and bought a large amount to pickle, preserve and use it in other dishes including chutney. Indian gooseberry jam has just the right sweet and sour taste that I enjoy. I added three very sweet Indian red delicious kinnaur apples to the jam to reduce the amount of  added sugar. All of my jams and jellies have natural fruit pectin. I avoid the commercial one. I do not use preservative either.

This is a simple recipe that stays well for a long time. I don’t add apples to this jam usually but instead of making apple jam this time I thought of combining the two with a hint of cinnamon, some fresh ginger & zest of lemon. Oh boy ! the result was simply superb. It tastes awesome with toasts, muffins etc.

 

Here is an easy step by step recipe for the Indian Gooseberry Jam

Ingredients :

Indian Gooseberry (Amla) – 1/2 kg

Apples – 3 medium (optional)

Sugar – 400 gm ( depends on how sour the amla is so adjust accordingly)

Grated ginger – 1/2 teaspoon

Juice & Zest  of one small lemon

Cinnamon powder – 2-3 pinches

Clove – 3-4

Water – to cook

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Method:

Wash and steam the Indian gooseberry or amla till they become soft. You can boil them or pressure cook. I kept a vegetable steamer in the cooker and give 2 whistles.

Remove the fruit in a plate and allow to cool.

Separate the fruit into wedges and throw away the pits.

Wash, peel, core and chop the apples (if using).

In a heavy bottom pan add the fruits, lemon zest, grated ginger and the spices along with water. The fruit needs to be totally immersed in water. (Approx half a liter)

Cook it on medium low heat and stir frequently till the fruits break down and resembles nice chunky amla/apple sauce.

You can pass it through a sieve at this point or leave it a little chunky as i did. Just mash it properly with a vegetable masher. You can remove the cloves while mashing. I often use clove powder so that the spice is not wasted.

Stir in the sugar. The mixture will become a little watery at this point. Don’t worry and keep stirring  till it comes to boiling point. Keep the heat medium.

(Be careful  as the mixture boils and bubbles. Depending on the size of your pot/pan it may splash.)

Squeeze the lime juice now and stir. Keep the heat low.

Remove all the froth that floats to the top.

Cook for some more time.

Do a plate test at this stage. ( Chill a plate beforehand. Drop some jam in the center of  the plate and prod gently, if the jam wrinkles on prodding it’s done. If it flows or is saucy then cook a little more. Test again till you get the right texture.

Turn off the heat and let it come to room temperature.

Keep the sterilized jars ready for canning. I simply wash the jars with hot water and dry them completely before using.

Spoon the jam in the jars and close the lids tightly. Stirlization of jars is essential if you are storing jams/jellies for a longer period.

I make small batches so avoid the process.

Always use clean dry spoon for serving.

Enjoy the Indian Gooseberry jam with hot crisp toasts, rotis (flat breads), crackers, any of the swiss or french breads.

 

*Adding apple is optional. The jam will need a bit more sweetness. You can add honey or more sugar. I want to make it with unrefined sugar too. I think it should work fine. Give it a try and let me know the result.

Sweetness remnds me of jam filled cup cakes I had somewhere. Have you tried making them at home?

Fresh Apricot, Dates and Raisin Chutney Recipe


I love apricots and the markets are flooded with these gorgeous fruit these days. Apart from making them a part of my daily fruit intake I love to make compote, preserve (click for my recipe of apricot preserve) , chutney etc from any seasonal fruit I can find in the market. Apricot chutney is delicious and a perfect condiment with cold meats, grilled meats, parathas, bread, cheese crackers, tacos etc. It sure is a great accompaniment for curries, roasts and in sandwiches.

You can even lick it off the spoon any time of the day for a tangy sweet experience. It is gluten-free, low in calorie and full of flavour plus nutrition. Packed with vitamins , fiber, this iron rich date, raisin, apricot chutney is one thing I always have in the fridge during summer. Ginger and other spices give it a burst of flavor. Overall it is a treat.

To make this lovely chutney you need

Fresh Apricots – 500 gms (washed, pitted and roughly chopped with skin)

Raisins – 1/2 cup

Dates – – 1/4 cup ( roughly chopped)

Red or White Onion – 1 Medium

Garlic – 2-3 pods ( crushed and chopped finely)

Ginger – 1/2 inch (made into juliennes) (can use glace candied ones too 1/4 cup)

Red chilli whole -1 Small

Peppercorns – 5-6 crushed or whole

White vinegar/ apple cider vinegar/ malt vinegar or lemon juice – 1/4 cup or juice of one lemon

Salt – 1/2 teaspoon

Garam Masala * – 1/4 teaspoon

Olive Oil – 2 tablespoon

Honey – 3 tablespoons

Sugar – 1/2 cup ( as required) ( brown or white. You can add palm jaggery or sugarcane jaggery too)

For the muslin spice infusion bag 

Bay leaf – 1

Peppercorns -8

Mace blade – 1

Cinnamon stick –  small piece

Cloves – 3-4

All spice – 1

All spices slightly roasted and tied in the infusion bag)

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Directions – 

Wash, dry, pit and chop Apricots. Chop dates and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add peppercorns and red chilli. (You can remove the red chilli before spooning it in jar)

Add chopped onion and stir till translucent. Add ginger and garlic. Stir for a minute. Keep this on low flame.

Add chopped apricots, dates and raisins. Stir.

Add the dry powder masalas and salt.

Add sugar and little water (about 1/4 cup)

Add the spice infusion bag.

Bring it to boil and let it cook till the fruit becomes soft.

Keep stirring till the mixture thickens to the desired consistency.

Add honey and vinegar or lime juice. Stir constantly on medium heat so the chutney doesn’t stick to the pan.

You can taste and adjust the sweetness etc as desired.

This chutney takes about an hour to cook. You can use slow cooker also.

Once the chutney reaches its desired consistency put out the heat and let it cool till it reaches room temperature.

Remove the spice infusion bag.

Spoon the yummy chutney in sterilized air tight mason jars and refrigerate. Use of lemon juice or vinegar helps in preservation.

One can keep it for a couple of days or a few weeks in the fridge.

Fruit selection – Always use sweet-smelling fruit. It will definitely taste good.

Tips – You can get creative with this chutney and ad/ remove dry fruits. Add sultanas instead of raisins, add apple shreds or orange rings. It is an artwork in which you get to use the imagination and bring out something delicious.

*Garam Masala – I make it at home with black whole cardamom, clove, peppercorn, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg etc. all roasted slightly and ground to a fine powder)  We use very little of it as there are already whole spices infused in the chutney.

Enjoy !

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.

Recipe – Homemade No Pectin Golden Apple Jelly And Applesauce


The delicious red apples and the juicy Golden apples are one of my favorite winter fruits. Day before I found a vendor selling them at a very low price and wondered why he had slashed the prices so much. Turned out he had to finish the batch and bring in other fruits like Sapota, oranges etc. The fruit was good so I bought some extra kilo to make season’s first batch of apple jelly and applesauce. Simply can’t resist when it comes to flirting with seasonal fruits.  😉 I use the natural pectin in the fruit and never add it to any of my jams and jellies. The recipe is simple and delicious. Just needs some TLC. Apples have a lot of natural pectin and combined with sugar and heated to the right temperature the fruit pectin bonds beautifully with water and gives a smooth glorious jelly. I use the remaining strained apple to make applesauce. So nothing goes waste. Here is how we make it. Ingredients for the Jelly: 1 Kg. Apples ( Choose any sweet and tart mix. The tart ones have more pectin I used Golden Apples for this one.) Sugar – 2 cups Water – 3 cups Ginger juice – 2 tablespoon (freshly grated and pressed) Lemon juice 1 tablespoon

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Method –  Wash, wipe, cut and core the apples. I grated them without the peel because I was going to make apple sauce too but otherwise I use the peel. It has most of the pectin and gives a nice color too. Take enough water to cover the grated apple (approx 3-4 cups) and in a heavy bottom pan add apple to the water and boil at high heat. When bubbling reduce the heat and cover till the fruit becomes soft and nicely cooked. Next , use a jelly bag & stand, cheese cloth to line the mesh colander and ladle the fruit mixture into it. You can tie the muslin cloth to the kitchen cabinet handle like I do and place a colander under it to catch the juice. Allow the juice to drain. Never ever press to extract the juice as it will cloud the jelly. Let it drip on its own. I keep it 4-6 hours or overnight.  Once the juice collects, measure it and then take a big pan ( the mixture will boil and froth and we don’t wont it spilling over), add the measured juice and sugar to it. ( 1 cup juice 1 cup sugar) though I cheat and keep it just a little low. Love the fruit sweetness. It all depends on what you like and the quality of apples. Add the ginger juice and the lemon juice. Put the pot on high flame and stir constantly till it reaches a high boiling point. Recommended – 220 degree F but I don’t have a thermometer so I just boil it and do a sheet test. (Sheet test – Keep a plate in the freezer and once you think it has reached the jellying point, drop some on the chilled plate if the mixture wrinkles and holds shape , it is done or else boil some more. Re-test it at small intervals) Once done stir and ladle into clean dry jar while still hot. Keep the jar on a towel to avoid breakage. Let it cool and set. I don’t do the usual canning process as I make small batches and eat them quickly. You can keep the jelly in the fridge to retain flavour and texture for a longer period too. It is a Bhuira Jam bottle by the way. The jelly is still cooling. The bubbles vanished once the jelly got set. 😛 Next time I must get some mason jars. ( reminder to self)   Now the Applesauce – Measure the strained apple and put it in a heavy bottom pan. Add sugar to your taste. Usually 1 cup apple to 1 cup sugar is good enough but taste it and add accordingly. I add a teaspoon of lemon juice and 2 powdered cloves and a pinch of cinnamon powder to it along with sugar. Mix well and cook it on slow heat till the sugar it absorbed nicely and the applesauce mixture is smooth and nicely textured. All water should evaporate before you turn off the heat. Keep a dry jar handy. Let the applesauce come to room temperature then ladle it into the jar or a big bowl. Keep it in the fridge. Use hot or cold with yogurt, ice cream, as a spread, as a side dish with chops etc or just take a spoonful and relish it just like that as a light snack. Sometimes I run the mixture in the blender once to get the smooth even texture but usually I just mash it while its cooking. I love the grainy texture of the mashed fruit. Enjoy these simply yet delicious recipes and tell me your variations of it. BON APPETIT

Two Delicious Preserves With Apricots And Plums


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After almost ten days of  being sick and stressed I finally managed to pick myself up and get going. Nothing is more therapeutic than cooking/backing something and as summer fruits are in abundance I picked up two of my favorites to indulge in and make preserves.  I find the market products too sweet. I love my preserves a little tart and flavorful. So I picked up fruits which were firm and tart and yet had those delicate flavours.  Some people may find a boiling pot of sugar and fruits a little too much on a hot summer noon but the aroma and the colors of summer captured in a nicely bottled preserve can cheer you up any time.

I have a weakness for apricots and once they cook, the luscious fruit tuns the color of golden summer sun and tastes fantastic. A little hard, a little bruised apricots would do too for this recipe. They need not be perfect. I use a mix of firm and soft ripe fruit to bring out the sweet and tangy flavours.

As for plums , I decided to do a cross between jam and preserve and kept the skin on the fruits. Again picked up some firm and soft mix fruit as I prefer the tart flavour. Discarded the pits for both fruits though some people crack them open and use the kernel. I don’t.

Washed fresh Apricots and Plums

Washed fresh Apricots and Plums

 

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Recipe for Apricot Preserve :

 

Ingredients :

1/2 Kg – Apricots

1 Cup Granulated Sugar (depends on sweetness of the fruits and your liking)

1/2 Cup Water

Juice of lemon – Two table-spoon

Method :

Wash the fruit carefully and rip it open in two halves. Discard the stone.

Take a bowl and place the halves in it.

Add the sugar and mix it well so that it coats the fruit completely .

Keep it covered for an hour or till the sugar dissolve a bit.

Keep a heavy bottom pan on medium flame and add the fruit mixture to it.

Add a little water to cover the fruit and bring it to boil.

Let it boil for one minute on high flame .

Keep stirring so that the mixture doesn’t burn.

Lower the flame and remove any froth or scum that forms on the top.

When the fruit starts to fall apart add juice of lemon.

Keep stirring till the mixture thickens.

Take a set test – Chill a plate in the freezer. Once you think the mixture is thick enough for the preserve consistency drop a teaspoonful on the chilled plate and place it back in the freezer. After a few minutes take it out and check , if a crinkly skin forms on THE preserve when pushed it is done otherwise boil it for another five minutes and text again.

Once done, let it cool to room temperature and then fill it in the jar. Make sure to stir it so that no air gaps are formed.
Seal it when still warm and label it when cooled.

Enjoy this delicious preserve on bagels, toasts, biscuits, parfait or just lick it from the spoon. 🙂

Plum and Apricot Preserve

Plum and Apricot Preserve

Plum Preserve Recipe :

Ingredients :

1/2 Kg Red Plums

1 Cup Granulated Sugar ( according to the sweetness of fruit and your liking)

Lemon zest – 1/2 teaspoon

Lemon Juice – 1 Table spoon

Cinnamon – 1/4 inch stick

Water – 1/2 cup ( just enough to cover the fruit)

Method :

Wash and wipe the plums.
Split them in halves and discard the stone.
Keep the skin on.
In a deep bowl layer fruit and sugar so that the plums are entirely covered.
Keep the fruit for an hour or till the sugar dissolves a bit.
Take a heavy bottom pan and pour the content into the pan along with cinnamon stick and lemon zest.
Stir it on medium flame and bring it to boil.
Let it boil on high flame for a minute or two. Keep stirring to avoid burning.
Lower the flame and let it simmer.
When the fruit softens a bit add lemon juice and remove any scum that forms on the top.
Let the mixture thicken and then do the set test as described in previous recipe.
Once the preserve sets to the right consistency remove it from heat and let it cool at room temperature.
Remove the cinnamon stick and bottle it while still warm.
Label when cool.

Use it on toasts, bagels, biscuits, parfait or in any way you like.

Hope you like these simple recipes. Do let me know your experience  if you make them.