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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another fresh year is here...2008!!

Another fresh year is here..
Another year to live..
To banish worry, doubt and fear..
To love, laugh and give.

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs! Ahem.. I mean to write more joyful posts..:D

~ Original quote by William Arthur Ward

Light of a New Beginning

As our dear friend, the year 2007 says adieu to us, its time to cherish those wonderful memories I shared with my blog . In my short stint of 4 months, I have had 68 posts, numerous blogger friends around the globe and loads n loads of fun. To be honest with you all, the idea of blogging struck me accidentally and now it became a part and parcel of my life. 'Bloghopping' is my favorite past time now and Thanks to wonderful blogger friends out there for their soulful and yummy posts which make my every single day.

Now, coming to what were those special moments for me, in these few months...
First is undoubtedly my 15 day NaBloPoMo Marathon Blogging, for which I had to come up with a post every single day.. Phew..that was one awesome and satisfying experience.

Here is a quick compilation of all the 15 posts..:)

Day 1: How About a Titanium ToothBrush? – Toothpaste Not Needed
Day 2: Her Vs Him
Day 3: Paneer Achari
Day 4: I am tagged for another Meme
Day 5: Dal Dhokadi
Day 6: Hyderabadi Double Ka Meetha
Day 7: 'Wormi'celli for CLICK
Day 8: Happy Thanksgiving
Day 9: A Happy Thanksgiving Meal
Day 10: Paris Hilton and Aishwarya Rai on David Letterman Show!!
Day 11: Besan ki Sabzi, Tadka Dal, Cabbage Raita
Day 12: Are U still dwelling on it?
Day 13: Ilusion or Magic?
Day 14: The World's Most Expensive Desserts!!
Day 15: 'Powerless Egg Biryani' and I DID IT !!!

Also, I felt very privileged to be a part of Feed A Hungry Child campaign initiated by VKN and Indira, which managed to spread many smiles all around the blogosphere..:)

and now time for my Top 5 recipes which I would love to make anytime of the day!

1. Easy Garden Veggie Frittata

2. Vegetable Pot Pie

3. Mango JellO and Shrikhand

4. Bajji Platter

5. Palak Theplas and Roti Telur

Guess which one is my 'Best of 2007' recipe - Shriya's Chocolate Sformato with Amaretto Whip Cream..:).. Yumm-O!

Whats in store for 2008?
Hmmmm, frankly I donno, but will definitely try to serve many more delicious recipes from my kitchen and will work on my style of writing posts.. I need to refine my vocabulary and be more expressive...:)



Thanks to Nupur's 'Best of 2007 event', which made me browse through all my previous posts and relive those moments which I spent with my blog..:)

Adieu for now folks and Wishing You all a very Happy and Joyous 2008!



~ Siri

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!!



What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.

~ Agnes M. Pharo

Merry Xmas to all of you!

~ Siri and Shriya

Friday, December 21, 2007

the real 'me'..




Who am I?

I am Siri, somebody just like you - passionate about food, happiness and life in general.


What is Siri's Corner is all about?

It was the summer of 2007 and those were the times when nothing worthwhile was happenning in my life and 'Food' gave me solace and embraced me...and asked nothing in return..It still gives me bountiful love and joy and this blog is a place where I try to share all that with you all :).

All opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine and are not intended to hurt anybody's sentiments.

Is this is a food-blog only?

Not at all..though it is mostly a food-related blog, one would find all kinds of stuff here - stories that inspirehumour, food art , articles and other non-foodie posts..

Whenever possible, I do host various food-events and for the roundups done uptil  now, click here.


How often do I blog?

I blog when I find a recipe that 'connects' with me and 'talks' to me.. when I dig into that first bite, my heart either skips a beat out of joy.. or atleast brings a smile on to my face...when I know for a fact that dish will be made again and again by me..
... this blog is my online 'diary-of-keepsake-recipes'.  Not every experiment of mine in the kitchen is a success, but as Tom Krause quoted - 'There are no failures - just experiences and your reactions to them.' .

Where do I get the recipes from?

...from everywhere - my own crazy ideas, cookbooks, magazines, websites, fellow bloggers and sources of all kinds...and every time the idea/recipe is 'borrowed' or adapted, it is duly credited to its original author.

Questions and/or Comments?

Click here to leave a message or drop a comment on my blog. I will surely respond to it as soon as possible. Your feedback is always welcome.

Happy browsing and hope to see you back soon!



Monday, December 17, 2007

Chocolate Sformato with Amaretto Whip Cream

best of 2007

'Everyday Italian' hosted by lovely Giada De Laurentiis is one such show on Food Network which I absolutely adore to the core. She makes such pretty looking cookies, desserts, cakes and other Italian savories, that are worth drooling for..:D..
I tried her "Chocolate Sformato" this weekend and it tasted just yummy, moist and delicious!
Read on for the recipe...

I made few variations for the original version.



Recipe Summary:
----------------------
Adapted from : here
Difficulty: Easy
Preparation Time: 35 minutes
In active Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk, divided
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 packet gelatin
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 (12-ounce) bag bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon almond liqueur (recommended: Amaretto) [ OPTIONAL]

How to make:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups of the milk, sugar, and vanilla. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.

3. Sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining 1/2 cup cold milk and let dissolve for 2 minutes. Combine the cold milk and gelatin with the hot milk and sugar. Stir to
dissolve the gelatin, about 5 minutes. (Heat the milk gently if the gelatin is not dissolving easily.)

4. When the gelatin is dissolved combine the eggs with the warm milk, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh trainer
into a large measuring cup or small pitcher.

5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. When the chocolate is melted gradually combine the milk and egg mixture with the melted chocolate, stirring between each addition to create a smooth chocolate mixture.

6. Pour the mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with the almonds. Place the casserole dish in a larger dish or roasting pan. Add hot water to the outer pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

7. Bake until the sides are firm and the center is jiggles slightly, about 1 hour.

8. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

9. Spoon the Sformato along with some whipped topping!



Tips:

1. I didn't use any liqueur, instead I used regular whipped topping that you get in the frozen section of any grocery stores.

2. If you don't have a Double boiler , you can use 2 vessels, one with a smaller rim than the other. Simmer water gently over low heat in the smaller rim vessel and make sure the other vessel that you put on top will sit on top of the vessel but will not
touch water so that the chocolate/eggs wont get scrambled.

3. If you don't have a 2 Qt Casserole dish, use any ceramic dish that can be used in the oven. Avoid using the metal ones.



'Chocolate', being one of my FAVORITES, off this 'Chocolate Sformato' goes to Bindiya's " These are a few of my Favorite things: Chocolate" event..:D

Also sending this to Cate's weekly ARF: Tuesday event..:)



Off this lovely Chocolate recipe goes to our own JFI: Chocolate hosted by Deepz.
Thanks Bee for letting me know!

Wow, three birds in one shot.. Yupeee!!!


~ Shriya

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Plantain Curry with a twist of Tamarind


Ingredients:

Plantains - 2
Tamarind Extract - 3/4 tbsp ( can be varied acc to our taste)
Salt - to taste
Curry leaves - few
Turmeric - 1/4 tbsp
Chopped Garlic - 1/2 tbsp

For Seasoning:

Oil - 1 tbsp
Black Spilt lentil seeds (Urad Dal) - 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 1tbsp
Red Chillies - 1 or 2
Asafoetida - a pinch

How to make:

1. Peel off the skin of Plantains and cut into small pieces. Cook them for a while with some water until tender. Once cooled, mash them and keep aside.
2. In a flat skillet, heat oil, and add urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and red chillies and let them splutter.
3. Then add curry leaves and chopped garlic. Cook until the raw taste of garlic is gone.
4. Now add the mashed plantain pieces, season with salt and turmeric. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Finally add the tamarind extract diluted in little water. Mix the contents well and let it cook for couple of minutes.
6. Serve hot with a heap of rice and a dollop of ghee.. Yummy..:D



Off this goes to Charlotte's Great Big Veggie Challenge as this week's vegetable is our 'PLANTAIN'..
P.S: The spice levels can be varied according to one's taste.

Hope Freddie - her 7 year old adorable son loves it!..:)

Adieu for now folks and Have a great weekend!


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Origin of Cookies:

"Early English and Dutch immigrants first introduced the cookie to America in the 1600s. While the English primarily referred to cookies as small cakes, seed biscuits, or tea cakes, or by specific names, such as jumbal or macaroon, the Dutch called the koekjes, a diminutive of koek (cake)...Etymologists note that by the early 1700s, koekje had been Anglicized into "cookie" or "cookey," and the word clearly had become part of the American vernacular. Following the American Revolution, people from other parts of the country became familiar with the cookie when visiting New York City, the nation's first capitol, a factor that resulted in widespread use of the term...During the seventeeth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries most cookies were made in home kitchens. They were baked as special treats because the cost of sweeteners and the amount of time and labor required for preparation. The most popular of these early cookies still retain their prize status. Recipes for jumbles, a spiced butter cookie, and for macaroons, based on beaten egg whites and almonds, were common in the earliest American cookbooks...Because it was relatively inexpensive and easy to make, gingergbread was one of the most popular early cookies...As kitchen technology improved in the early 1900s, most notably in the ability to regulate oven temperature, America's repertoire of cookie recipes grew."

---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 1 (p. 317-8)



I made these tweeny yet yummy Mexican Wedding Cookies couple of days for 'S' birthday. These cookies are adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.

Serving: 12 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup Pecan halves
2 cups Confectioners sugar
2 cups All purpose flour
1/4 tbsp salt
2 sticks(1 cup)unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

How to make:

Preheat the oven to 350F w/racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a food processor combine pecans with 1/4 cups sugar. Pulse nuts until they are finely ground. In a bowl, whisk together sugar-nut mixture, flour and salt. Set aside.

Beat the butter and 3/4 cup sugar using an electric mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffly for few minutes, scraping down the sides. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts.

Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the dought just comes together.
Roll dough into 3/4 inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
Bake, rotating halfway through , until cookies are pale and lightly browned.
Lift with a spatula to check after 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place remaining 1 cup sugar and roll cookies to coat the cookie completely.Cookies can be kept in an airtight container and can be eaten for days... Yumm-O!!


These cookies are so soft that they just melt in your mouth!!

I am bringing along these cookies to Peabody's Housewarming Party..:))

Enjoii!!

Also, part of these go to Cate's ARF Tuesday # 100th week.. Congratulations dear!..:)

~ Shriya


[UPDATED on December 15th 2010]: This post was though written by me, the cookies were made by my lovely sister-in-law Shri who blogs now as 'Tasty Touch'. Check out her blog for more such tasty holiday goodies. She is an excellent baker, I must say!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Andhra Style Tamarind Rice

Tamarind is one such spice which almost everybody loves. and its an integral part of Indian cuisine. Ask any andhraite, about whats your favorite dish with Tamrind in it - I am sure the answer would be 'Tamarind Rice'. Man, I love the tangy taste of it and used to just drool over whenever my mom makes it...:D




Before I share my mom's classic recipe with you, here is a story from Ramayana, about why the Tamarind leaves are of saw-tooth shape...:)

"...During Rama’s exile, Laxmana built the hut they were to live in. He made the roof and the walls with Tamarind leaves that were large and thick. In fact, they were so big and tough that not even a drop of rain or a streak of sunlight could come in.
Sita was delighted with the hut but Rama looked unhappy. Finally he asked Laxmana to remove the tamarind leaves.

"But why?" asked Laxman in surprise, "They are perfect for protecting the hut".

"That is precisely why,” answered Rama. “Living in the forest means facing the elements and not sheltering from them. That is what Vanavaas (exile in forests) really means. We are too secure, too comfortably protected."

Laxmana smiled and said - "There is no need to remove the leaves." He shot at the leaves with his arrows until all of them were shredded and the sunlight streaked in....
"

Since then the tamarind leaves have remained feathery and serrated, so goes the legend.

and remember where does own 'Bethal' of famous Vikram and Bethal stories live.. Yes, U are right, on a Tamarind Tree!

Now, enough of Tamarind talk, lets get to business a.k.a Tamarind Rice recipe!

Ingredients:

2 cups Cooked White Rice
3 tbsp of Tamarind pulp extract
few Curry leaves
Salt - to taste
few Green Chillies
2 tbsp of Oil
1/4 tbsp Turmeric


For Seasoning:

1 tbsp Urad Dal
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Chana dal
1 tbsp Mustard seeds
a pinch of Asafoetida

How to make:

1. Heat oil in a skillet, add all the ingredients listed under Seasoning. Let them splutter for a minute or so.
2. Then add chopped green chillies, curry leaves. Mix well.
3. Now add the Tamarind pulp with some water. Cook it on medium heat for couple of minutes. Add salt and turmeric.
4. Finally add cooked rice to the tamarind mixture. Mix well and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Note: The Rice tastes even more yummier when served the next day.

Thats the magic of TAMARIND!



Wondering whats the topping - Its tomato pickle mixed with some yogurt. The combo tastes so awesome that I literally licked my plate...and I am not kidding! hehhe..:D

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

Poll: I am a big fan of famous 'Akbar and Birbal' stories and am sure even you like them.
How about sharing some of their stories here at Siri's Corner. Will U be interested? Do let me know!..:D

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

Take care folks and Have a great week ahead!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

'Powerless Egg Biryani' and I DID IT !!!

Scene: 'S' comes home from work and smells the aroma of some yummy peas pulao right from the door.

S: Whats cooking dear? I can smell something awesome.
Me: Nothing special da! Just some peas pulao and raita.
S: Wow, sounds interesting.
Me: (frowning..) Ya, it OK!
S: Why, what happened ?
Me: I am so bored of my cooking that I am craving for something.... hmmm.. something spicy like a vegetable or egg biryani and some awesome creamy palak paneer! Chalo lets get it from Biryani House. Please Please...:)
S: Oh dear, I am so tired today, can't move my leg. I was so busy at work, U can't even imagine.
Me: Sad face :((((
S: (in a consoling and patafying tone..) U are such an awesome cook, u even maintain a food blog, why don't you blog-hop for a while dear. I am sure you would get something yummy and we can prepare here at home.
Me: (even more sadder face...) .. Hmmmm...I am craving for that egg biryani where they just mix such spicy boiled egg masala with white rice. I want that ! I want that! ..:(
S: Oh, thats so simple to make, just make some masala , put some boiled eggs and then mix left over rice... What say! I think that would be delicious...:))
Me: ( Tadah! idea... ) I know how to make a simple egg biryani for myself.. and I am sure it would be yummy.. ( runs towards kitchen!)
S: A Happy soul becoz he is not dragged out to drive to a restaurant in this cold chilly weather...!

This is what happened two days, when I made to super simple Egg biryani, which I always crave for. I had this for the first time in Palace Heights, a five star hotel back in Hyderabad. and it was so yummy that I still remember the taste, the table I sat and even the color of the plate in which it was served. Phew! I guess, its becoz I enjoied it sooo much...:) hehehe..
and the best part is - my version of Egg biryani needs no grinding and can be made with just 5 to 6 everyday used ingredients.

So, sending this off to EasyCrafts's 'Powerless Event'...:))



Ingredients:

2 cups Cooked rice
3 boiled Eggs
1 medium Onion ( chopped into fine strips)
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp grated Coconut
1/4 tbsp Turmeric
1/2 tbsp Cumin seeds
1/2 Ginger Garlic paste
Salt - to taste
1 tbsp Biryani Pulao Masala
1/2 tbsp Red Chilli powder
1 tbsp Butter or Oil

How to make:

1. Heat the butter or oil with bay leaves in a flat skillet and add cumin seeds till they splutter.
2. Then add chopped onions and ginger garlic paste. Cook for few minutes.
3. Season with salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and biryani pulao masala. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on Med-Low heat.
4. Then finally add grated coconut, don't cook for more than 3 minutes.
5. Turn off the heat and add cut boiled egg pieces. Mix gently.
6. Add hot rice to this spicy egg mixture. Don't mix completely to give that restaurant style look and taste to the biryani!!

I enjoied this simple biryani so much that I made it again today and ate with yesterday's leftover Baingan-Ka-Bhartha!
Yumm-O..:))

Also, sending this yummy Egg Biryani to Cate's ARF Tuesday event.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This post marks the end of my 15 day NaBloPoMo challenge. Yuppeee. I did it, I did it.!!! ( drum roll please...........)
It was so much fun thinking what to post every single day which actually made me search for interesting articles on leading newspapers suitable to my blog. Last but not the least, thanks to all my dear blogger friends who appreciated every post and expressed their opinions on each and every single post!!

Thank You Dearies!!

~ Siri



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