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Story of My Tiramisu

I got the first taste of my now favorite dessert- Tiramisu, about 20 years ago right here in Kenya. I loved it the first time I had it in a small Italian restaurant in Hurlingam, Nairobi. It was made to order with freshly brewed coffee and liqueur, resulting in an incredible taste, delicate flavours and a hot and cold mix that I didn’t find anywhere else in the world for over 20 years. It was always different, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but never as amazing. It had not occurred to me to try my hands at making it myself until I had a really terrible one at a new dessert outlet in the modern wing of Village Market in Nairobi. The dessert place was so fancy, but the Tiramisu was so bad! I could not see how difficult it could be for an expert desert chef at a high-end cafe to make a decent Tiramisu.

I started out by looking for various recipes available online, but all asked for lots of cream and cheese. I tried a couple and then came with up my own recipe that uses all the essential ingredients and follows the general process but makes a moderately less rich Tiramisu. Having made it so often for the last year or so, I now find it to be the easiest thing to make! I feel now it is time that I share this on my blog for my friends to try and enjoy. Check out the Quick recipes page on my blog to see the full recipe..Quick and Easy – My Tiramisu

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Quick and Easy – My Tiramisu

SERVES- 3-4
COOKING TIME- 20 minutes

TiramisuINGREDIENTS
2 eggs
100 grams Mascarpone cheese
50 ml brewed coffee
25 ml Irish cream liqueur (optional)
50 grams sugar powder
20-25 lady finger Italian biscuits (or left over bread or cake)
50 grams whipped cream(optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

PREPERATION
-Brew coffee and put it in the fridge to cool down
-Keep Mascarpone cheese outside the fridge to bring it to room temperature
-Separate egg yolks from whites and keep whites in the fridge until you need them in the recipe

STEPS
STEP 1. Mix egg yolks and sugar and put it on a double boiler pan. Keep stirring it until it gets a little thick and sugar looks cooked (about 4-5 minutes). Put this in fridge to cool down. You will start making Tiramisu once this is cooled down.
STEP 2. Beat egg whites with electric beater to a point where whites are drip free and form soft peaks. Similarly, beat whipped cream to a point where is becomes thick and soft NOT to make butter, stop just before that.
STEP 3. Fold in egg yolks mixture, egg whites mix, cheese and whipped cream softly.
Step 4. Mix coffee and Irish cream liqueur in a shallow dish, dip the biscuits in a quick motion into this mixture (do not dip them in the liquid too long as the biscuits are very light and may melt away) and layer them in the serving dish. Spread the cream mixture as per step 3 over the dipped layered biscuits, place another layer of coffee dipped biscuits and then another layer of the cream mixture. Sprinkle cocoa powder and cinnamon powder over this using a small sieve.

HANDY TIPS:
1. As a substitute to Italian lady finger biscuits you could use left over bread or cake and dip it well in the coffee and liquor mixture before spreading the eggs and cream mixture. It comes out quite close to the original taste.
2. You can avoid putting whipped cream if you are counting on calories. I have skipped it quite a few times and it has come out well.
3. I also use reduced amount of sugar and cheese at times.
4. You could also sprinkle nutmeg powder as per you taste buds.
5. Irish cream liquor can be substituted with any other liqueur like Amarula, Baileys or other cocoa /coffee based liqueurs.

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Easiest Homemade Dhokla

SERVES: 4

GLUTEN FREE

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Quick to make, great to store, quick to steam in a pressure cooker or in microwave. 

Dhokla is chickpea flour steamed savoury cake. It is one of the most healthy snacks to have at a time when you carve for something savoury but do not want to have some off the shelf that has pastry flour or shortening in abundance.

COOKING TIME- 5-10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoon oil
100 grams Besan (chickpea flour)
½ cup yogurt
150 ml water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 inch frozen or fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoon of sugar
3-4 figs of fresh coriander or parsley
1 tablespoon mustard seeds(for garnish)
2-3 green chillies

You will need a regular vegetable steamer or a microwaveable dish that you can use steam the dhokla.

dhoklaSTEPS
1. Mix oil, yogurt, 50 ml of water, chickpea flour, turmeric powder and salt in a mixing bowl and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
2. This mixture has to be steamed for 8-10 minutes in a regular steamer or 5 minutes in microwave. Just before pouring the mixture in the steamer mould, add antacid powder to the mixture and stir it for a minute, you will see it will start coming up because of the soda in antacid powder.
3. While the steaming is on, take a separate small pan and add 1 teaspoon of oil, mustard seeds and split whole green chillies, once splattering starts, add 100 ml of water and sugar to it. Let it cook for 2 minutes.
4. Let the steamed dhokla cake cool down for 5-10 minutes and then pour this sweetened water mixture on it before you cut it into pieces to serve. Sprinkle fresh coriander or parsley before serving.

HANDY TIPS:
1. Dhokla goes very well with spicy hot and sweet chutneys and home made dips.
2. This snack is considered one of the most healthy and nutritive ones as it is steamed.

Quick Palak Paneer in less than 10 minutes


SERVES: 4

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Using Pressure Cooker will take 8-10 minutes whereas it will take 25-30 minutes in a regular pan. 

You save: 40% of fuel energy and 10 minutes of your precious time that is about 5 to 8% of the total time you spend in kitchen on an average (assuming you spend a total of 2-3 hours in a day in the kitchen)

COOKING TIME: 8-10 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 tablespoon oil
1 cinnamon stick (daal chini)
1 star anise (Chakraphool)
1 brown cardamom (elaichi)
2 bay leaf (tez patta)
½ kilo bag of frozen spinach pellets or
1 kg of fresh spinach leaves
1 large onion – chopped any size
1 large tomato -chopped any size
1 fresh green chilli or 1 inch frozen crushed green chilli
4 cloves of garlic or 2 inch frozen garlic
50 grams freshly grated ginger or 2 inch frozen ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons red chilly powder
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 teaspoons garam masala (all spice)
1/2 kilo Paneer (cottage cheese)cut to 1 inch pieces
Butter oil for topping (if preferred)

STEP 1. Put all whole spices into heated oil, let them get brown
STEP 2. Add rest of the ingredients and cook for 2 whistles (4-6 minutes) in cooker or in the pan until all tender
STEP 3. Remove whole spices and run the hand grinder for 1-2 minutes right into the cooker/pan to make it smooth. You can then put the whole spices back in if you want to.
STEP 4. Add garam masala and the paneer/tofu pieces and let it simmer for 5 minutes before serving

HANDY TIP:
1. As no oils are needed to prepare the dish, you can add a dollop of butter or butter oil (butter oil) when serving, Spinach is supposed to be dry in nature for body so some healthy grease is advisable.
2. Feel free to replace paneer (cottage cheese) with sautéd Tofu or grilled potatoes.
3. For non vegetarian option replace paneer with boneless chicken tikka.

Quickest Shahi Paneer ever- with a vegan option- No Ghee- No Butter

This is the easiest and a quick recipe for a complicated sounding yet most popular Indian delicacy. People in love with aroma of spices appreciate this preparation the most. Read through handy tips at the end of the recipe to try out vegan and no fat options. 

SERVES: 4

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Using Pressure Cooker will take 5-7 minutes whereas it will take 20-25 minutes in a regular pan. 

You save: 40% of fuel energy and 20 minutes of your precious time that may be about 20 to 30% of the total time you spend in kitchen on an average (assuming you spend a total of 1-2 hours in a day in the kitchen)

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoons oil
1 cinnamon stick (small)
1 star Anise
1 brown cardamom
5 pieces of cloves
1 teaspoon of tandoori masala
3 medium tomatoes cut very small (preferable pureed)
½ kilo paneer (cottage cheese, feel free to replace it with Tofu, I love it)
1 inch frozen garlic or 2 crushed cloves
2 inch frozen or 25 grams fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon red chilly powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
20 cashews or almonds (powdered)
200ml full cream milk (I usually make it with low fat milk)

STEP 1. Put all whole spices into heated oil, sauté until brown, should take about a minute or less.
STEP 2. Add small cut tomato/puree, red chilli and sugar and cover pot, let simmer for 3-4 minutes before you add powdered nuts with ¼ glass of water and put pressure cooker lid. Cook for 3-5 minutes in Pressure Cooker until pressure builds up. In an regular pot with lid it will take about 15-20 minutes.
STEP 3. Remove whole spices and run the hand grinder for 1 to 2 minutes right into the pan to make gravy smooth.
STEP 4. Add paneer pieces and half cup of cream/milk to curry as it becomes thick. Let it boil for 5 minutes before you serve.

HANDY TIPS:
1. You can replace cashew nuts/almonds with peanuts or other nuts as per your taste.
2. You may want to garnish it with cut fresh coriander leaves and if you don’t care about making it lean (fat free), feel free to add a tablespoon of fresh cream or butter while serving. For vegan options replace milk with soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk and paneer with Tofu.

Deadly Nyama Choma..

This memory ruminated back early this week after I met some of my long lost friends from my time working at the IRC in Kenya, two decades ago. A quickly arranged reunion at our new home in Nairobi turned out to be such a pleasant afternoon catching up with everyone. It was great to see the same old faces with a new look — more mature, yet holding the same expressions, nuances and  innocence of twenty years ago. We talked and chuckled about all the time we spent together as colleagues. One memory from 1998 that we all fondly recalled and could not stop laughing about was when I had suggested hosting a small house warming party at our new home in Nairobi. This was going to be the first get together with just my finance colleagues. Reacting to my proposal, Gabriel instantly came up with the idea that we should have a nyama choma evening — a traditional Kenyan barbeque. It seemed like a good idea to me to do something that would introduce me to the local culture.

I was new to Nairobi so I asked them where to get the meat for nyama choma, Gabriel readily offered to arrange for it. I was relieved that I just had to make some Indian food to compliment the main dish. It was agreed that the meat would be sent to my home and I would marinate it to be roasted in the evening.

On the day of the party, I was busy cleaning and getting the house ready when I saw somebody coming in through the gate. They were accompanied by a hopping, healthy, breathing and very much alive 3-foot-tall goat!

Seeing the live and kicking mammal, it did not occur to me even once that this could be the meat that Gabriel had promised to arrange. I was in a shock. I could not visualize this live goat lying in tiny pieces in the evening on the small outdoor griller we had. I called him and shared my sentiments as best as I could without sounding too distressed or tousled. I asked how he could possibly help in the situation and what to expect next. To my respite he offered to arrange for the meat to be made available in the form that we are used to see it. Soon enough there was somebody who took the live goat behind the house and came back with a torso of the goat without the head. It was again a sight that I had not expected. So I asked for it to be cut into a size and form that could be roasted. It took a couple of hours and the sacrifice of two chopping knives to get the meat to be ready. I once again cringed when I saw the quantity of meat we had on hand, considering that we would have a maximum of ten people that night for the get together. I recall mentioning to Manoj that we needed at least 50 people to tackle this much meat. Nevertheless, we had a great evening and all of the meat was polished off.

We not only created some treasured memories, we got acquainted to the local custom of nyama choma in the best of company we could have had.

Gopesh Mehra, our papa, that’s you

Jan 25, 2018

 

It is 20 years today that destiny snatched you away from us. We have missed you since then. You have been in our thoughts each day. No words can describe what you were to all of us in the family. Your untimely departure from this world was not only a loss to the family but also to the Indian sports world. Here are a few words that Meizu has put together in an attempt to encapsulate your life and career.

Gopesh Mehra (born 12 June 1932) was an Indian publisher, journalist, and sports administrator. He was the founding Secretary General of the Archery Association of India.[1] and First Secretary of the Asian Archery Foundation. He served several terms as a member of the Indian Olympic Association[2]. He also founded and published the news magazine Sporting News from 1985 to 1987 and authored two books on international sports tournaments.

He was born in Chandni Chowk, New Delhi in India.

Career

Mehra began his career as a sports journalist with The Hindustan Times . He also reported for The Indian Express and The Motherland, an English daily newspaper published in New Delhi. During the emergency, he joined Samachar, the newly merged national news agency.[3] Samachar was closed after the fall of Indira Gandhi’s defeat in general elections.

Mehra then joined United News of India (UNI) where he would go on to cover major international sporting events including cricket series in United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan. Mehra also traveled to Montreal for the 1976 Summer Olympics, Edmonton for the 1978 Commonwealth Games, Tehran for the 1974 Asian Games, Moscow for the 1980 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles for the 1984 Summer Olympics, Seoul for the 1988 Summer Olympics, and Bangkok for the 1970 Asian Games and 1978 Asian Games[4]

Mehra took early retirement from UNI after he was transferred to Calcutta as the Eastern Regional Manager for UNI. He covered the cyclone in Orissa in 1980.

He was a special correspondent with Associated Press for the 1982 Asian Games held in New Delhi.

Publications

Soon after the 1982 Asian Games, Mehra started a weekly news magazine Sporting News that ran for 2 years from 1985-1987.

Mehra also authored two books–Asian Games: A Book of Records (1982) and 1979 Pre-Olympic Games Moscow (1980). He also produced two TV shows for Doordarshan–Yoga for fitness and Asian Games preparations.

He was a member of the Press Club of India and Delhi & District Cricket Association.

Education

Gopesh Mehra attended the Ramjas School in Darya Ganj, New Delhi before completing a BA (Honours) in English Literature from Ramjas CollegeUniversity of Delhi. He then completed a Masters in History from Hindu College, University of Delhi. He was an ardent sports person and played cricket for both Ramjas College and Hindu College.

References

  1. http://www.indianarchery.info/history.aspx
  2.  http://library.la84.org/OlympicInformationCenter/OlympicReview/1976/ore103/ore103ze.pdf
  3. Mehta, D. S. (1979). Mass Communication and Journalism in India. Allied Publishers. ISBN 9788170233534.
  4. Mehra, G. N. (1982). Asian Games : a complete book of records. Rupa & CO: Calcutta.

External links

http://vintagerarebooks.blogspot.ca/2016/07/asian-games-complete-book-of-records-by.html

 

Baked Arrowroot Chips

SERVES: 2

GLUTEN FREE

Why this recipe? 

Quick to make, great to store, healthy option for munching time.

I cup of sliced Arrowroot (120 grams) is only 78 calories. With this baked chips option you will have a healthy snack loaded with folate and B12. It is low calorie and is easy to digest. These crisp chips taste as good as potato chips, even better. 

 

INGREDIENTS

1 small arrowroot bulb about 80-100 grams
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoning

PREPRATION

Preheat oven to 200 C degrees

STEPS
STEP 1. Slice arrowroot to make chips. Pat them with a clean cloth or paper napkin to remove moisture.
STEP 2. Put all ingredients together in a bowl and mix well
STEP 3. Spread evenly, the oil and salt smeared chips on a baking tray on parchment paper
STEP 4. Bake the chips for 8-10 minutes in top rack and then turn them around and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve with one of the delicious and healthy Yogurt dips

HANDY TIPS:
1. You can make Zucchini, cassava or sweet potato baked chips the same way, adding a bit of minced garlic or ginger will give the chip a different and a nice flavour.
2. For more crispy gluten free options try adding some oats flour, rice flour, or consider adding an egg white when preparing the chips for baking.

Day 77

Mumma, I try to keep myself busy with things to do but every time I pause, I still think of you. When you left us, my grief knew no bounds. I felt completely devastated. I am glad I decided to stay connected with you for all of these days, recollecting your memories. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I knew it would be worth it. All this while it felt like I was with you, talking to you everyday just like we used to do before October 15.Day 77.jpg

This journey of staying connected to you does have an end, but it is the journey that has mattered the most. It was a journey to deal with pain that I did not expect many to understand, as it was not their journey to make sense of, it was mine. Manoj and the kids were with me all the time, helping me recall interesting anecdotes, picking pictures from archives, suggesting edits to my scribbling and just being with me in all of this. Having said this, there was a part of me that knew I’d have to deal with most of it alone. I also got a few people to join in sharing anecdotes in the last few days and discovered and rediscovered many fond memories of you.

I recall I used to tell you how I wished I could share each and every experience of yours – including the deadly health condition you were in, and you used to get annoyed. While this sharing was not possible, I know that you are no more than a thought away and will walk beside me unseen, unheard, but always near. I hate missing you and not being able to do anything about it. Missing you and not being able to see you is the worst feeling ever. I wish you were here or I was there or we were somewhere together!

All these past 76 days, I have talked to you about your strengths and qualities. Mumma, your life was not easy, being born as a woman more than seven decades ago in India. This was a time when women did not have rights, were not expected to have their own identities or stand up for their dignity. A woman’s life was typically run first by her father and her brothers, then husband and later in life, by her sons. I know you went along with this rhetoric but you still held your head high and tried to hold your ground as much as was possible. Your strength grew in the moments when you thought you couldn’t go on but you kept going anyway. There were times I noticed that you were giving in and these were the times when I felt even more close to you and tried my best to motivate you to be yourself and not give in. It worked sometimes and not so much at the other times. But I can say with a sense of pride that you tried your best each time. I also recall how when I used to support and encourage the girls in the family to try out new things in life, asking them to be themselves, being confident in whatever they do, wear whatever they like and have fun without bothering about what others have to say. You used to lovingly say to me that “ तूने घर की सब लड़कियों को बिगाड़ दिया है, (you have spoilt all the girls of the family) by encouraging them to do things that were unheard of in our family like drinking alcohol, wearing short and trendy clothes, going out for late night coffees and traveling alone to unknown places and much more. Yet, at the same time you always supported me quietly in all of this realizing that the world is changing and we have to move along with it. I feel that this freedom of choice made our girls stronger and gave them the courage to face the world with confidence. I know you were so proud of all our little girls who have become beautiful, confident and empowered young women. Today, as I conclude this journey with you, I promise that I will continue to encourage them to walk untrodden paths and carry forward your legacy of being progressive. I will make every effort to ensure that women in our family have control of their own lives, be it psychological, physical or financial. They will have the freedom to think and decide for themselves. Due to your unexpected and untimely departure from this world, I know that you left some tasks unfinished that you discussed with me, I hereby undertake to work on getting them done as you wanted them done.

Of all the gifts life has offered me, you, Mumma were the greatest of all. I will hold you in my heart forever. चरणस्पर्श (warm regards) and a final adios on social media to you…