Whats Cooking Today!!

Chocolate Cheesecake

The teen of the house decided no cakes again and wanted his favorite dessert for the birthday. We had planned out a nice celebration for him and his friends and in a matter of days the Covid situation in the city just started to rise. We thought the best thing to do would be to postpone the celebrations with the friends and reserve it to just being at home, order in his favorite meal and do what we could within the limitations. My teen didn’t complain and it didn’t deter us from enjoying a birthday, a time to reflect on the years added and given and indeed be grateful for. This cheesecake is a no bake dessert and requires no setting agent. Follow the recipe to the tee and it perfectly sets.

INGREDIENTS

Oreo Crust

  • 2 3/4 cups (369 grams) oreo cookie crumbs (about 31 oreos)
  • 5 tbsp (70g) salted butter, melted

Chocolate Cheesecake Filling

  • 24 ounces (678 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (104 grams) sugar
  • 3 tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 3/4 cup (86 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1/2 cup (58 grams) powdered sugar (you may want to give it a taste test before adding the 1/2 cup and adjust accordingly)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Steps to make the base:

Into a food processor, crush the Oreo cookie crumbs and melted butter and mix well. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set in the fridge to chill.

Steps to make the filling:

In a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and cocoa until it’s well combined and smooth. Add the melted chocolate and mix until well combined and smooth. In another large mixer bowl, add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture in two parts until well combined. Add the filling to the crust and spread into an even layer. Refrigerate cheesecake until firm, 5-6 hours or overnight. To finish off the cheesecake, remove it from the springform pan and set on a plate or serving platter. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract for the whipped cream topping to a large mixer bowl. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the edge of the cheesecake. Top the cheesecake off with your desired toppings, such as strawberries, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc. Refrigerate cheesecake until ready to serve. Cheesecake is best for 3-4 days.

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Whats Cooking Today!!

Chocolate Almond Cake with Coffee Syrup

There is something about chocolate cake which cannot be denied. Once you drizzle this coffee syrup on it the cake becomes all mushy and then your transported to a coma state of being with every bite. Take your time to enjoy this cake over a cup of tea or coffee and just be!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 225 grams Semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1 tbsp Strong black coffee
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup Caster Sugar
  • 1/3 cup All-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 cup Ground almonds

For the Syrup

  • 1 1/4 cups strong black coffee
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon stick

Steps to make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 190 C. Grease and line the bottom of a 8 inch round cake tin. Into a heatproof bowl place chocolate, coffee and butter over a plan of simmering water until melted. Stir well to blend and then allow to cool slightly

Into a mixing bowl, place the eggs, yolks and sugar and whisk together until thick and pale. Sift in flour, cinnamon powder over the egg mixture. Add the almond mixture and the chocolate and fold through. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and then bake for about 35-40 minutes until the knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool slightly before turning onto a serving plate.

Make the syrup by placing the coffee, sugar and cinnamon in a heavy based pan and allow to simmer gently until the sugar has all melted until reduced. Keep warm. Drizzle half the syrup over the cake. Cut the cake into wedges.

encouragement

It’s “OK” to be Selfish

I have been having different conversations with women lately. I came to realise that the one thing in common we lacked was time for ourselves. We are so caught up with our work, the spouse, the kids, home, parents and possibly the in-laws, social circles of influence, ministry and the list is endless. We have a thousand people dependent on us. In the grind of our schedules we don’t make the time or find the time to invest in our friendships, have some sort of a renewal, or have a nourished clear mind and body to be able to run the whole show. We may already be on the verge of a burnout and already running around in a tired mom-zombie mode. So let alone the thought of being selfish. The meaning of selfish is ” lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.” The last thing on our mind is to be selfish for our needs. So, here are some valuable insights that could put that perspective in perspective

We have needs: We are just as human as the other members in the family, so we have needs and wants too. So buy that lipstick, get the pedicure or even the spa you have been thinking of. Go out for a coffee with your friends. Do you know when our needs are met, we have so much to give out too?

You cannot give if you do not receive: To be able to be the best wife/ mother/ friend/ daughter and daughter in-law we need be able to give ourselves permission to take a break which is perfectly acceptable as somewhere in the betterment of our children family and everyone else involved we have decided to lose ourselves.

Your life is meant to impact: When you start loving yourself a little more and start being kind, you accept yourself, build on your confidence and overall morale to be the person that you are. Once you are taken care of, think of the number of women out there you can make an impact on!


Here are my recommendations on some selfish self-care:

  • Get up before the household does just so that you are recharged, renewed and your mood is set for the day.
  • Schedule appointments for yourself just like we squeeze in everyone else’s things to do for the day/ week and month.
  • Prioritise your health and nutrition and ensure that you make time for exercise because most often we are the backbone of the family.
  • Accept gladly when help is given or offered.
  • Stop multitasking because we get overwhelmed at the too – much- to- do.
  • Accept occasional failure.
  • Just breath.
  • Start small.
  • Be “STILL”.
  • SLEEP!

None of what I listed above has shocked you, so why is it so hard for us to do. I think we forget that we’re stewards of our bodies that God has given us. We focus so much on others that we put ourselves last. In the words of Christian author and speaker LysaTerKeurst, “If your overwhelming schedule has left your soul underwhelmed, then maybe self-care is a good place to start”. What self-care looks like for you may look like something completely different to someone else. The important thing to remember is that caring for yourself is a process, not a one-time magic pill.  But one thing we can be sure of is this: Jesus promises real and meaningful rest wherever you find yourself today. 

Credit:Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Propel Article :https://www.propelwomen.org/content/selfcare-is-selfish-and-other-lies-i-was-told/gjebd3

Propel Article:https://www.propelwomen.org/content/eight-tips-for-selfcare/gjeb1

encouragement

What The New Year Should Look Like

Image Source from Unsplash by Tony Eight Media

A New year begins with excitement and then the hype around it fizzles out by the middle of January. As we embark into the second month of the year I hope we haven’t lost out in our steam to propel ourselves forward. We clutter ourselves into thinking we need to attain those resolutions to perfection. But, let me just tell you as much we are trying to attain perfection, there are certain baby steps that need to be taken. Then in that process the baby steps turn into bigger and possibly longer strides, otherwise we fall out on those resolutions much faster than we made them.

What we need to realistically tell ourselves is to set goals that are achievable and not instagramable. Take a moment to think what 2020 was like for you, apart from being restricted and locked up. Let’s leave the setbacks aside and think of the good that came to us. When you think about it, 2021 doesn’t start on a promising tone. 2020 sort of set the stage – prepared us in a way for a new normal. So let’s get ourselves together to take on 2021 differently on a personal level. And how do we do this?

Firstly Set Goals for yourself: It could be reading goals, health goals, or even Bible study goals. Don’t lose heart even if you skip days. Pick up from wherever you stopped and resume. Keep at it by maintaining a calendar. This is what I do: I write them down on my daily to-do list and then strike it out (there is a sort of excitement in striking out the list). Even asking friends to do things together can help so that it helps to keep track of each other’s progress as well.

Be thankful: Practising gratitude helps us to remember how good God is and not just for the good things he does and gives us. Thankfulness helps us to appreciate situations and helps us to cope. Coping with different seasons in life allows the right behaviour to come through in terms of reactions and responses. Find the right reasons to be thankful because, there is no shortage of reasons for not to be thankful.

Have faith: Be still and know that I am God is what the Word says in Psalm 46:10 . He knows and He sees it all. He is Emmanuel God with us – not just on the outside like a friend, but on the inside. This means that whatever God allows us to go through in our life, he goes through it with us too.

Aim to Live High: Raise your standards in terms of your own conversations with people. Aim to change where change is required. Don’t let the disappointments, the negativity, the news, the drudgery, lack of motivation continue with you to this year, but aim to live above conversations, above disappointments, above hurtful statements, above the negativity so that you have an elevated and higher view of things so that you can get through and move forward.

Finally, Give Yourself some Grace and Celebrate the progress: We all suffer certain obstacles and roadblocks in our journey, and it is the most vulnerable time because we can have the tendency to slip back into our old ways. Instead keep trying and trying. Don’t be discouraged. Try -try- try till you achieve the minor goals and give yourself those moments to celebrate those milestones. A step forward is a step forward.

On that note have a beautiful year ahead……………………….(I’m waiting to hear what’s in store for you in 2021)

Image Souce: Taken by Pricisilla Du Preez from Unsplash

Credit: Pastor Mark Varghese of KingdomCity Church on his message on how to take on the new year.

Propel Article:https://www.propelwomen.org/content/how-to-create-lasting-change/gjeb5z

Parenting

Raising the ‘Next – Gen’ Prayer Warriors

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Who knew 2020 would turn out to be this way, so many unprecedented changes that have come our way. There is now a need to embrace the new normal functioning of things around us. Regardless of all that’s happening around us, the thing that hasn’t changed is the way we reach out to God. That is through the one thing called PRAYER. Prayer is a two way conversation between us and God. The current pandemic has only accelerated the need for us to teach and train our kids to pray.

Children need two things in order to develop as praying people: example and opportunity.  The majority of our children do not get either one.  We are so caught up in the busyness of our current life, that we neglect what is most important which is sitting at the feet of Jesus as Mary did (Luke 10:39). She listened to Him, hanging on His every word – eager to know Him better and to hear what He had to say to her personally.

We need to teach and train our little warriors. What will God do? Let me say, God will manifest HIS amazing plan upon them just as He did with us. Our children can turn the world upside down for Christ through their prayer life by imparting it to them.

Luke 11:1-4 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Here are 5 simple ways:

  1. Teach them to pray: It could be meal time prayer, family prayer, before going to school, before engaging in an activity or even prayer before bedtime.
  2. Testimony: Children learn by watching us and they learn from our every move. So do we take our Sundays seriously? Do they see us reading the bible? Do we tell them about the God’s goodness over our lives?
  3. Give Children special prayer assignments: Ask them to pray for their friends, grandparents and also for children who are unwell  or have prayer needs in your social circles and let them hear of the testimonies.
  4. Teach the children to read the bible and follow a devotion plan: If they don’t have a bible it is a good opportunity for you to buy them one for their use. Buy them a Bible preferably one with a study plan or a daily devotion plan which would help them start somewhere. Help them with explaining the meaning, memorising scriptures and telling them facts about the Bible.
  5. Encourage them to talk about God: Initiate conversations about God and help them think about what they think about God. We need to help them discover who God is for them on a personal level.

We are commissioned to raise Godly warriors. Let’s do this together to raise the next generation and leave them a legacy of prayer.

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Whats Cooking Today!!

Maria’s Lemon Parfait

A dessert guaranteed to be a hit. Simple and easy to whip as Maria says. Get this up and you would have everyone wanting more of this yummilicious good looking dessert.

Lemon Parfait 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter (43 gms)
  • 3 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Graham cracker crumbs (I used Marie biscuit/ Digestive is also a good option)
  • 1 tin (395 gms) Condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup Fresh lemon juice (refer notes)
  • 1/2 tbsp Grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream, chilled

Steps to make the parfait:

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan/ pan or small skillet. Once it it melted add sugar and stir until bubbling for about 1 min. Mix in the biscuit crumbs. Stir until colour deepens, for about 3 mins. Turn it out onto a plate and let it cool completely. Stir condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon peel in a large bowl to blend. Using an electric beater, whip the cream to firm peaks. Fold the lemon mixture into the cream. Spoon biscuit crumb into individual glasses and then top with the lemon cream mousse. End with the biscuit crumbs. Refrigerate for about 6 hours or overnight preferably.

 

lemon parfait

Tips From Maria:

If you don’t like lemon flavour, you can try a coffee version. Use coffee instead of lemon juice and skip the lemon peel part. For the coffee version, you can add 1/2 tbsp of instant coffee powder and 1/2 tbsp sugar to 1/4 cup of hot water. Dissolve it and let it cool. Continue with the rest of the recipe as mentioned.

Whats Cooking Today!!

Lockdown Chicken Curry

lockdown chicken curry

This is a recipe by Chef Nehal Karkera which basically involves no crazy amounts of chopping. An absolutely fuss free and easy curry that can be made real quick. Pair this with rice or roti and a crunchy salad and that’s a meal done.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Chicken – 1 kg, curry cut pieces
  • Whole spices – 4 cloves, 2 cardamoms, 2 -1 inch cinnamon sticks,  5 to 6 black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • Oil – 3 tablespoon
  • Cumin Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Tomato Puree – 1 1/2 cup
  • Onion Puree – 1 cup
  • Kashmiri Chilli Powder – 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder – 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Garam Masala Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Potatoes – 2 medium sized, diced
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Coriander Leaves – finely chopped

lockdown chicken curry3

Steps to make the curry:

Heat a large deep pan, pour oil.  Add your whole spices and curry leaves. Once they splutter, add your ginger garlic paste and onion puree. Saute this mix for about 5-6 minutes till the mixtures turns a light brown. Then add the tomato puree and continue to saute this for another 5-6 minutes. Tip in all the powders and once the oil starts to separate in the masala, add the garam masala powder and salt.  Add the chicken, diced potato and water. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Once the curry is cooked, garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve warm.

lockdown chicken curry2

 

 

 

 

 

Whats Cooking Today!!

Butterscotch Cake with Salted Caramel

butterscotch cake

Right about the time of the lockdown in the month of may I found this recipe in one of mum’s old books by B.F Varghese which is almost in tatters. The siblings came over for a cup of tea because it had been 50 days since we had all seen each other though we are all in the same city. Anyway’s to go with the cup of tea and catch up conversations we needed this to make it all come together. So for those who like the butterscotch cake at corner house, this cake just does it for you.I’m being quite audacious and saying the taste of this cake is quite similar to that. Couple this cake with scoops of butterscotch ice cream and you could go weak in the knees I tell you! And for those who own a B.F Varghese recipe book, this is the red coloured book called ‘Recipes for all occasions Part- 1’ page number 219.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Butter – 1/2 cup
  • All Purpose Flour – 1 1/4 cups
  • Baking Powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Eggs – 2
  • Caster Sugar – 1 cup
  • Butterscotch Syrup – 4 dessertspoon ( 1 dsp =2 tsp or teaspoons)

Butterscotch Syrup

  • Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Water – 1/4 cup
  • Butter – 2 dessertspoons (4 teaspoons)
  • Boiling Water  – 4 dessertspoons (8 teaspoons)

Salted Caramel Sauce 

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) salted butter, room temperature cut up into 6 pieces
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Grease and line a 8inch loaf tin or cake tin and keep aside.

To make the butterscotch syrup:

Melt the granulated sugar in water over a low to medium heat. When it turns into a caramel, take it off the fire and then add the butter. Return the pan onto the heat and slowly add the boiling water. Allow the caramel to turn into a thick syrup on low heat. Once it turns syrupy, allow to cool.

Steps to make the cake batter:

Cream together the butter and caster sugar till light and fluffy. Into the creamed butter add the cooled down butterscotch syrup (4 dessertspoons). Add the eggs one by one and mix well with each addition. Fold in the flour and baking powder. Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin or loaf tin and bake at 180 C or 360 F for about 25-30 mins or till the skewer comes out clean. Once baked allow to cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes before overturning it onto a plate.

For the salted caramel sauce:

Heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2 minutes. If you notice the butter separating or if the sugar clumped up, remove from heat and vigorously whisk to combine it again. (If you’re nervous for splatter, wear kitchen gloves. Keep whisking until it comes back together, even if it takes 3-4 minutes. It will eventually– just keep whisking. Return to heat when it’s combined again.) Very slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to slightly cool down before using. Caramel thickens as it cools. Cover tightly and store for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Caramel solidifies in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove to desired consistency.

Serve the cake warm with warmed up caramel sauce.

butterscotch 2

 

Whats Cooking Today!!

Flan De Cafe ~ Coffee Flan

flan de cafe 2

With all this lockdown going and with everyone being at home and online glued to devices, the bouts of hunger are at different levels. So I’m on this mission constantly “what next?” “what’s there I haven’t made for a long time or haven’t tried?”. So decided to make this flan de cafe which is your traditional spanish flan made with sweetened condensed milk and coffee.

flan de cafe 3

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 5 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons instant-coffee granules dissolved in 4 teaspoons hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Steps to make the caramel:

Cook sugar in a dry small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar melts into a deep golden caramel. Immediately pour into a 9-inch round ceramic or glass baking dish or metal cake pan (2 inches deep) and tilt dish to coat bottom. If you have individual ramekins then you can pour the caramel into the ramekins and tilt to coat the bottoms and leave to cool and harden

Steps to make the custard:

Blend remaining ingredients in a blender until smooth. Using a sieve pour the custard into the baking dishes or ramekins. Transfer dish to a 17- by 11-inch roasting pan. Pour enough boiling-hot water into roasting pan to reach 1 inch up side of dish. Bake until custard is set but still wobbly in centre when gently shaken and a knife inserted in centre comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Transfer dish to a rack to cool completely, about 40 minutes. Chill flan, covered, until cold, at least 8 hours. To un-mold flan, run a thin knife around edge of dish to loosen flan. Invert a large platter with a lip over dish. Holding dish and platter securely together, quickly invert and turn out flan onto platter. Caramel will pour out over and around flan.

flan de cafe

Whats Cooking Today!!

Coorg Pandi Curry

COORG PANDI CURRY

An intensely flavoured dish that I started to eat only after marriage. My father in-law’s parents were in Coorg, so Daddy (that’s my father inlaw) has a way of preparing the pork. The pandi curry apparently originated during the days of the Raj, where wild boar was hunted and eventually ‘curried’. To add more flavour to the dish, I have added mint leaves, coriander leaves – stem and root. I watch a lot of Marion Grasby videos and that is where I derived the inspiration of using the coriander root. Here’s how to give this dish a go!

COORG PANDI CURRY (1)

INGREDIENTS:

Dry roasting ingredients:

  • Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Whole black peppercorns – 10-12
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon sticks – a couple of 2 inch pieces
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cloves – 4-5

Ingredients for the curry

  • Pork – 1 kg
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon for marination
  • White vinegar – 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander Powder – 2 tablespoons
  • Coriander Leaves and the root – 1/2 a bunch (leaves, stem and root)
  • Mint Leaves – 1/2 a bunch (just the leaves)
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Onions – 5 medium ones, sliced
  • Green Chilies – 2-3 (we are not fans of the green chilly so our spice levels are low)
  • Kachampuli – 1 tablespoon (slightly more or less depending on your taste
  • Salt to taste

Marinate the pork:

Marinate the pork with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and a tablespoon of vinegar and keep aside till everything is prepped up for the curry base.

To dry roast the spices:

Into a shallow frying pan, add the mustard, cloves, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds and dry roast them till they become fragrant over a low to medium heat. You would need to watch this like a hawk so that you don’t burn the spices. Then grind them to a fine powder and keep aside.

For the curry 

Into a large deep frying pan, add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the sliced onions and fry till the onions are nice and caramelly browned. Into the onions add the green chilies, ginger garlic paste, the turmeric powder, coriander powder and the dry roasted ground powders. Saute till the masala is done and the oil starts to separate. You can add dashes of water to get the masala cooked through. Once the masala is cooked through add the leaves along with the root and allow the leaves to cook through and merge well with the masala. Grind the masala using minimal water just to get the blades running. Return the ground masala to the pan. Add the marinated pork, kachampuli, salt to taste and about 1/2 cup warm water. Cook on low flame for a good 45 minutes stirring in between or alternatively in a pressure cooker for about 3-4 pressure releases. If the gravy runs low you can add 1/2 cup of warm water and cook till the pork becomes nice and tender and the oil starts to float on top. Serve hot with sannas, neer dosa, rice or chapathy.

COORG PANDI CURRY2