Homemade Cherry Jam

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I have been totally smitten by the amazing fresh cherries available in the grocery stores in abundance. Ruby red, a beautiful combination of sweetness and tartness and yes they are as expensive. I recently bought a huge box of cherries and my family is enjoying it thoroughly. Be it munching of these beauties as is, blending it into a smoothie, making desserts or slathering some Homemade Cherry Jam on breads and eating for breakfast.

The latest addition to the Jam and Spread section of my fridge is this delicious Cherry Jam. Chunky, vibrant and divine in flavor. Whether its topping my oatmeal or adding to desserts, this jam is creating some great flavor havoc in my kitchen. Super simple to make and surely this one will make you quit all the store bought jams and marmalades.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 1 cup)

  • 1 3/4 cup fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar (You can add more if the cherries are too sour)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD:

  • Put a saucepan on medium flame. Add cherries, water and caster sugar and let the cherries cook in its own juices.
  • Once the cherries have becomes mushy, take a spoon or a potato masher and slightly mash it.
  • Take it off the flame and stir  in lemon zest and vanilla.
  • Allow the jam to cool and store it in the fridge for upto 1 week.

 

Mushroom Pasta

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The unraveling of a full season of monsoon calls for some rustic comfort food. The slight nip in the air, the lashing of the rains on the window pane, the lush greenery all around and an enticing smell of the wet sand (aka “gilli mitti”). And along with this comes a lot of everyday hurdles – bad traffic (especially here in Bangalore), the crazy water logging (even if it rains for 10 minutes) and a sudden lethargy. All this calls for a simple and quick pasta meal and this Mushroom Pasta hits the right spot. Hot bowl of pasta, a perfect brown tone of the mushrooms, fresh herbs and aged parmesan adorning it and I am already in food coma. An absolute heavenly dinner meal (Tastes best when paired with a glass of your favorite wine).

I simply love pasta. My appetite almost doubles with a bowl of good pasta. The beautiful combination of garlic and mushrooms make me fall in love with this fungi even more. Whether you are tired after a day of work, a quick meal of this delicious pasta will be the reason of your heart and belly being happy.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 250 – 300 gms fresh button mushroom, sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 – 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh cream
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp parmesan shavings
  • 1 basil leaf, to garnish
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper

METHOD:

  • Cook the pasta according to the instructions in the packet and keep aside.
  • Meanwhile take a saucepan and put it on medium flame. Add olive oil and chilli flakes and saute for 20 – 25 seconds.
  • Now add garlic and saute it until its fragrant. Now add all the mushrooms and let it cook for 1 minute or so until tender and water has evaporated.
  • Add soya sauce and toss the mushrooms for 30 – 40 seconds. Now add the cream, 1 tbsp Parmesan shaving, salt, pepper, half the amount of parsley and toss.
  • Add the pasta and gently toss. Add the pasta cooking liquid (if required) and let the pasta cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Garnish with parsley and Parmesan shavings and serve!

Cherry Banana Oats Smoothie

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Summer breakfast is always delicious – healthy, fresh and colorful and this Cherry Banana Oats Smoothie is all about that goodness. An everyday morning stressful affair is almost sorted with this yumness. While mangoes are a must eat during summers, the market is full of ruby red cherries. Perfect balance of tart and sweetness, cherries are a perfect ingredient to enjoy in smoothies, desserts and of course as is. This recipe is as simple as anything can get. Throw in a bit of this and a bit of that and you have a glass of awesomeness.

So while the fruits are still available in the grocery store, it’s time to kick start the hot and long days with this Cherry Banana Oats Smoothie

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: ( For 2 people)

  • 2 medium bananas, diced and frozen
  • 1 cup pitted cherries
  • 4 tbsp oats
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds + extra for garnish
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 8 – 9 ice cubes

METHOD:

  • In a blender add the chopped bananas, pitted cherries, oats, yogurt, vanilla extract, flax seeds, maple syrup and ice cubes and blend it until smooth and without any lumps.
  • Transfer it to serving glasses and garnish with flax seeds and chia seeds and serve cold.

Homemade Lemon Curd

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Bold and bright citrus flavors in my desserts is my new favorite and when I made a batch of citrus-y lemon curd at home, it got polished off in no time! Whether is about gifting a bottle of freshly made lemon curd or whether it is slathering in on your morning toast or making some delicious desserts out of it, lemon curd is surely here to win your heart. Sweet, zesty, luscious and yummy – it goes with everything!

A quick and easy recipe, you can make a big batch to enjoy it almost daily. When life gives you lemons, you no longer make lemonade, you definitely need to make Lemon Curd!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 1 1/2 cups)

  • 3 large eggs (approx 155 gms without the shell)
  • 130 gms granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 50 gms unsalted butter, room temperature

METHOD:

  • Take a saucepan with water and put it on medium flame on the stove.
  • Take another saucepan with 3 whole eggs and sugar and place it over the saucepan of simmering water and keep stirring the egg and sugar mixture.
  • Make sure to keep stirring it to avoid curdling of the mixture.
  • Now add the lemon juice and stir continuously for almost 10 – 12 minutes until the mixture becomes thick.
  • Once its thick, pass the mixture through a fine sieve to avoid any lumps. Now add the lemon zest and butter into this mixture and stir until there are no butter chunks left.
  • Cover this mixture with cling film such that the cling wrap is touching the top of the lemon curd. This is done so that there is no skin formation.
  • Refrigerate it and use it within 8 – 10 days.

Mango Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing

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Mangoes in desserts, Mangoes as is, Mangoes in salads…. yes Mangoes in salads and it tastes downright irresistible. This Mango Salad with Peanut Dressing is a summer healthy meal dream. A peaceful afternoon in my balcony, enjoying the light breeze, this salad was a perfect weekend lunch. I enjoyed the season’s favorite produce in the most beautiful way possible. This salad has been ruling my kitchen everyday since then and I guess going to be my new quintessential summer recipe.

A blend of great flavors of fresh seasonal mangoes, crunchy peanuts, lush greens and an amazing peanut butter Thai dressing. And mind you, this PB dressing is going to be your new salad friend. Whip this up in minutes and enjoy your summer afternoons with this beauty!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

For the salad:

  • 2 cups lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 medium Alphonso mangoes, cut into 1 inch long pieces
  • 1 cup mixed bell peppers, cut into 1 inch long pieces
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 tbsp white and black sesame seeds

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 5 – 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup/ honey
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3/4 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp soya sauce

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METHOD:

For the dressing:

  • Take peanut butter, lime juice, maple syrup/honey, sriracha sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and soya sauce in a bowl and whisk until it is all incorporated.
  • Add garlic cloves and chilli flakes and whisk and keep it aside until ready to use.

For the salad:

  • Take lettuce, arugula, mangoes, bell peppers and cilantro in a bowl and toss it together.
  • Now add peanuts and sesame seeds to this mixture.
  • Toss the salad with dressing right before serving and enjoy!

Oreo Truffle Tart

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Oreo + Truffle + Tart = I am salivating again! Are you ? These are all my favorite things put together in a single decadent dessert. If there is one cookie/ biscuit that I can munch on without getting bored, it has to be classic Oreo Cookies. These mini wonders are by far one of the best in the whole world. You can’t get enough of it. And putting these cookies in your desserts is divine. The luscious truffle compliments the sweetness of the cookies and this tart has become my new heart throbber.

I must admit that I often want to use quick fixes in complex cooking methods. One of which is making a tart base and blind baking it. And using oreo is one such solution and why not is it tastes so good. A quick dessert fix for all the get together and birthdays, this chocolate tart is going to be everyone’s new favorite.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes a 6 inch tart)

  • 12 Oreo biscuits, cream removed
  • 3 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 120 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 200 grams fresh cream (I used Amul cream)
  • 8 – 9 berries (I used fresh strawberries)
  • 5 – 6 hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup sugar

METHOD:

  • In a blender take oreo biscuits and blitz until its a fine powder. To that add 1 tbsp melted butter and mix it using a spoon.
  • Transfer the mixture to a tart mould and press on all sides evenly using the back of a spoon evenly. Put it in the fridge until you need it.
  • Meanwhile heat the cream and remaining butter in a saucepan on low flame. Do not boil it. Let it simmer.
  • Pour this cream and butter mix on the chopped dark chocolate and whisk it until its smooth and cream without any lumps.
  • Transfer this on the oreo base and refrigerate it overnight.
  • Take a saucepan and melt sugar. Once the sygar melts and turns golden brown, remove it from heat and spread it over a parchment paper (yu can  also coat some hazelnuts in it)
  • Before serving the tart, garnish with fresh berries, candied hazelnuts and praline.

Enjoy!

Mango Shrikhand

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Whats you favorite childhood memories associated with mangoes? For me ts definitely Aam Shrikhand (and also Aamras). A bowl of this beauty makes everything about summer good. Fresh mango puree mixed with the creamiest homemade yogurt – and I am already salivating! I made this Mango Shrikhand a few days back and it screams summer. My summer happiness would be incomplete without this delicious dessert or accompaniment.

While I miss my mum’s and nani’s Mango Shrikhand, but this sunny beauty is my new friend this summer. What are you waiting for when such simple pleasures can be made in no time.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 3 cups)

  • 3 medium sized alphonso mangoes, skin removed and chopped
  • 2 cups homemade hung yogurt
  • 4 tbsp jaggery powder (you can adjust it depending on the sweetness of the mangoes)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • slivers of 7 – 8 almonds
  • 1/2 tsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 5 – 6 strands of saffron

METHOD:

  • In a blender take the chopped mangoes, cardamom powder and jaggery powder and blend it into a smooth puree.
  • Fold this into the hung yogurt and chill until you are ready to serve.
  • Garnish with almond slivers, pistachios and saffron strands and serve immediately.

P.S: You can serve this with Aloo Parathas, Puris or have it as is.