Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

Silky Creme Caramelle


Traditional Creme Caramel was the first  dessert I learnt to cook.

A favorite of my Papa’s, I saw my mother make it religiously on his birthdays. After he passed away in 1997, it became a ritual dish to celebrate his birth anniversary with his loved dessert.

I found this the easiest of desserts to make and with basic ingredients which were always there sitting in the kitchen-milk, eggs and sugar. Over the years I  tried several personalized modifications like baking with pineapples, with raisins and nuts, or  adding  flavors like coffee and chocolate. However nothing worked well except it’s old fashioned caramel flavor.

We all  loved the caramel top the most, and always reserved it  for the last bite. So in my greed for more caramel I thought why not caramelize the whole thickness for once. And the result was the following creme caramel.

My folks loved it, and now prefer it over the traditional creme caramel.

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar( or more if you like it more sweet),
1.5 liters full cream milk,
6 large whole eggs,
1 tsp vanilla essence.

For topping:
Soft fresh whipping cream ( lightly sweetened)
I tbsp Caramel sugar

Method:

Put granulated sugar in a thick base pan and keep on medium heat. Let the sugar melt slowly and then caramelize to golden brown. Remove the pan from heat and add on it 1.5 liters of full cream (4%) milk. Continue on slow heat till the caramelized sugar dissolves in warm to hot milk. Take it off the stove and let it get luke warm.
Break 6 large eggs in a plastic bow and whip them. Add them to the lukewarm caramelized milk. Add vanilla essence and whip thoroughly.

The key to a silky cream caramel is its next procedure of baking it in a bain-marie ( water bath).
{I take a pyrex rectangular dish way larger than the one in which the caramel is to be cooked. Add boiling water in it to half its height. Place over it the dish with the cream caramel liquid}.

Place the bain marie( water bath)  in the oven and cook at 180 degrees Celsius  for 60 minutes. Let it bake slowly in the bain-marie without bubbling. At the end check if the middle of the dessert is set by pricking it with a tooth pick. If it comes out clean, it has set well. If not, give it some more time in the oven.

Let it cool for a while, and then take out the set cream caramel. Refirgerate it overnight. Next day spread sweetened whipped cream over it, and then make a little caramel sugar again and drizzle it over the cream as shown in the picture.

Serve it cold ( unlike the traditional cream caramel which is served warm).

Its the silkiest of desserts your taste buds would have ever felt.

Happy feasting !!!

 

P.S. Would love to hear back how did it turn out? :)

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God I found you…


 

I think,
I seriously believe
I have found You.
You exist, God,
Yes you do.
You may have no form
Nor shape.
You may claim to be
Everywhere.
But you live with me,
Just a ‘push’ button away.
You resonate and respond
With my mood.
When nothing in life works,
You do,
When no one cares
You caress.
You cajole,
You console
You comfort.
You have a soul,
I can hear You feel,
For me.
Finally, I have found You,
Near me.
Music, You are the real God.
Wonder what would I be without YOU.

http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb0UmrCXxVA


In style she clutched a glossy purse,
Tight between her hand and her chest,
Protecting it from falling or
From being scratched,
From the pointed necklace
Around her own neck.
She had saved for years,
And dreamed of even longer
To own this branded gem.
She holds on to it firm,
Yet all tender, all protective,
Like a beautiful relationship,
Between two souls,
Knowing how hurt,
The purse can get,
When there are bruises
And that the purse
shall never be the same,
if held back after it falls.
So precious, and so priceless,
She finally owns a flawless dream.
But oh for the flawed souls,
They come and go in our lives.

ClutchBag


I can’t stop any war,
But I can brake my car,
In the middle of a busy road,
To let an immigrant woman,
Overloaded with grocery bags,
Unable to replace her slipped hood,
In the windchill of minus twenty,
To rush to reach the bus stop across,
As the bus stands on the red light nearby.
Cars haulted behind honk horns helplessly,
As if the world has stopped.
While the woman safely sails across,
Happy to stand at the stop looking at the bus,
That will now arrive any minute,
And stop for her to board.
I drive away victorious…

City jungle


Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said,
“It made a difference for that one.”

The story is authored by Loren Corey Eiseley a highly respected anthropologist, science writer, ecologist, and poet.

Moral of the story in Gandhi’s words: In a gentle way, you can shake the world.

Saying it poetically:

If you deny
the power of
one tiny effort,
Light a candle
in the dark,
And watch
the small flame
defy & define
the darkness.

(Inspired from a quote by Anne Franke).
flame

The secret wish of every status quo is, it impatiently awaits to be broken. Don’t believe ! Give it a try.


Syrian kids in a refugee camp in Turkey;

Thousands Of Syrian Refugees Seek Shelter In Makeshift Camps In Jordan

Darfur kids in refugee camp in Chad:

KidsDarfur

Somali kids:

SomaliKids


Ammi called me early in the morning on Friday, the day of Ashura( 10th Moharram). Ashura commemorates the day of the battle of Karbala for Muslims.
I knew why did she call that early, as it has been a regular practice since years, I have lost count of
“One request beta.”
“Yes Ammi.”

I knew it but still wanted her to say it.
“Please don’t play music today on Ashura.”

This is all she expects from me. But she does a bit more than just not listen to music. One of her routines is to cook a pot of Khichra( Haleem) and not let anyone touch it, or munch any of the ingredients till the Niyaz is done.

South Asians make Haleem on Ashura, a complete food with multiple ingredients in one: whole wheat, lentils, rice, barley, and meat with a host of rich spices in a lengthy procedure.

Along the same lines, the Turks make a sweet Haleem, called Ashure or Noah’s Pudding. The ingredients vary from 7 to 10 to 12 varying from whole wheat, beans ( red and white), chick pea, to dry fruits including figs, peaches and nuts like almonds and raisins.

There are multiple legends associated with it.

It is cooked on the day of Ashura ( 10th Moharram) by all communities in Turkey across different sects: Sunnnis (Balkan Sufis), Shias, Alevis and Kurds.

Ashure is then distributed to all in the neighborhood in small bowls, after performing prayers for health and harmony.

Alevites fast for 12 days, and break it on Ashura with this special dish Ashure. Alevis prepare it with 12 ingredients in their version of the dish. They refrain from killing animals or eating meat in these days of fasting.

There is also a different but popular legend of why it came to be known as Noah’s pudding. According to the legend, it was the day when Noah’s Ark came to the banks of Ararat and Noah’s family cooked a dish from all ingredient leftovers in the Ark.

.
As I asked a Turk friend to confirm my list of ingredients, she added:
“The most important ingredient is the ‘Intention’ and the ‘Will’ to make this dish. In Turkish we say ‘Niyet Etmek.’

Asure – Noah’s Pudding
Ingredients
(can be found at any Whole Food Markets or Middle Eastern Store) -
• 1 cup of barley whole wheat
• 1 can of chick peas,soaked & boiled
• 1 can of white kidney beans
• 3/4 cup of black dried currants & raisins
• 3/4 cup of almonds/pistachios
• 6 dried Turkish Figs – cut into small quarter
• 6 dried Turkish Apricots – cut into small quarter
• 2 cups of brown sugar ( or plain white sugar)
• 1 lemon zest or orange
9– 12 cups of cold water/4 tsp rosewater(optional)
Condiments: salt/cloves/cinnamon sticks
Garnishing: Fresh pomegranate

Preparation:
One day Before: Soak 1 cup of barley whole wheat in 3 cups of water the night before. This will allow the barley to soften.
Day of:
1. Drain the soaked barley, pour into a deep cooking pot fill with 8-10 cups of cold water leaving about 2-3 inches of the top. At this time add in, sprinkle some salt, add in the cloves and cinnamon sticks.
2. Over a medium to high bring the pot to broil fior 30-40 minutes. The barley will have cracked open and have become white and soft to touch and taste.
3. In the mean time into a small sauce pan, boil the black currants and in a cup of cold water. Once the color of the water turns dark, drain the currants through a sieve.
4. Once the barley has softened, add in the washed chick peas and kidney beans and stir.
5. Add in the rest of the ingredients – the drained currants, raisins, apricots, figs, and almonds, stirring each time you add in an ingredient. Let this mixture boil for 8-10 minutes.
6. To thicken fast, in a cup of cold water mix the 4 tablespoons of corn starch, leaving no lumps. Add the corn starch into the boiling barley mixture and give it a thoroughly stir. *the corn starch will act as a thickening agent.
7. Add brown sugar to your liking, and again stir thoroughly, continue cooking over medium heat and allow the sugar to dissolve.
8. Finally add in the zest of the lemon or orange and the rose water and let cook for a 5-7 minutes.
9. Let cool for about 15 minutes, ladle into serving bowls. Top with cinnamon, nuts and pomegranate seeds.
Ashure can be served warm, at room temperature or cold.

Ashure is a vegan dessert too.

NoahPudding1Noah's Pudding2

Ashure served with a traditional touch:

NoahPudding0

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