Archive | April, 2013

The Happy Birthday Post – A Guest Post by Gayathri

29 Apr

While you read this Post, I would be at the Eiffel tower realizing my long-cherished dream of celebrating my birthday in Paris. But my blog shall not be neglected and for that my dearest friend Gayathri offered to do a  guest post for me. She knows how much I love my desserts where puddings and custards are my absolute favourite. She being the wonderful friend that she is, Gayathri made lovely Panna cotta for me to celebrate my birthday in her own sweet way. I will come back from my trip and come over to your place Gayathri to have my share of the luscious looking Almond- Honey Panna Cotta.

Thanks so so much Gayathri!

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So without any further delay, I hand this space over to Gayathri.

So finally, here is it. Its been over a year that Anita has been asking me for a guest post. Please don’t jump to conclusions that I have been so held up and busy that I didn’t have time for the post. No, the actual reason is, ( confession time) I was not confident enough to post on this wonderful blog. I was just pushing my luck and postponing hoping that she would forget about it but she has a wonderful memory. So here I am with my post hoping that I do justice to her wonderful style of writing and her photography. I couldn’t think of a more suitable occasion than her birthday to do this.

Anu  has been the biggest motivator for my baking and blogging pursuits. It was about a couple of years ago that our common friend Ankur casually mentioned about Anu coming to Bahrain during one of our conversations when I was in India on vacation. I was already in Bahrain for a couple of years at that time having moved here subsequent to my marriage. When I was back from vacation I was surprised to see a mail from Anita along with her number. I was very hesitant and apprehensive at first. But I dialled the number and we haven’t stopped speaking till then. (Wait, this is just to say that we have been friends ever since. Please don’t take it literally. I had been thrown out of my house just for the telephone bill). I think many of her friends will agree with me when I say that she is  one of the sweetest and the bestest ( well , this is grammatically wrong but when you describe friends, you can safely ignore grammar) person one can have for a friend. ( Cue for Anu to get me a lovely gift from Paris). But honestly Anu, I really mean it.

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I hope you have a wonderful birthday In Paris atop the Eiffel while I celebrate by eating this Almond Honey Panna Cotta. I finally cracked how to use agar-agar and this is such a simple recipe to put together. You can prepare it the previous day for any party and the I assure you that the guests will be blown over by the taste.

Almond Honey Panna Cotta (Adapted from Easy Vegetarian)

Ingredients

 1.5 tablespoons agar –agar

3 tablespoons hot water

250 ml thick Yoghurt/hung curd/Greek Yoghurt

200 ml thick cream

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

5 tablespoons honey

¼ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup ground almonds/almond meal

Method

  1. Mix the agar-agar in the hot water and keep aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Take the cream in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix till smooth
  3. See if the agar-agar mixture has dissolved in water else, just heat the mixture till it forms a gelatinous mixture. Add immediately to the cream mixture.
  4. You can refrigerate it in the bowl or transfer it to ramekins for about 4 hours or even overnight.

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Happy Birthday, Anu and thanks for being there for me always ( though I cannot claim the same for you..:).

P.S: Sorry about the juvenile pictures.

P.P.S: If the panna cotta doesn’t set well, you can serve it as a pudding and it will taste still as yumm.

P.P.P.S: My panna cotta hasn’t set well as much as I would like it to set. But for all those puritans read it as the recipe for Honey Almond Pudding.

P.P.P.P.S: I guess this is the last time Anu will ever ask a guest post from me.

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The catching up post + chocolate mousse recipe

20 Apr

Wow!

This space sure feels strange after a month plus long hiatus.  My mind is blank and typing words to form lucid sentences is a struggle. But I have to do this because I am going to take a small break again until the second week of May.  My last post was about my 3rd blog anniversary where I did mention that I had something exciting to share. Well that was so long ago that I really do not know what I was talking about then. So much has happened since then and it reaffirms my belief that happiness is in the moments and that state of mind. I didn’t share it back then and now it feels diluted.

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Update 1 : A big portion of February ( read 20 days ), I spent writing 35,000 words for a fiction competition. This competition was announced sometime in September, 2012 and its deadline was 28th of February 2013. I started my research and some field work at the last moment because until then I did not have any story line in my mind. I started working on the draft on the 8th of February and started writing seriously by the 14th of February. It was during this writing journey that I came to appreciate the amount of effort professional writers put into their work. Writing 35,000 words turned into a daunting task with a full time job ( 10 plus hours)+ a hyper toddler+ chores + misc.  With barely 2 hours of sleep some days I did manage to turn out a fantasy fiction of 35,000 words by 11:59, 28th February. I am the last-minute-queen. This 20 day story writing exercise reminded me of my engineering college days. But as a student there weren’t as many responsibilities as I do now. So with that obvious difference factored in, I was drained by the time I finished my task. Once it was over for a week or so I felt lost like a big part of my life was over. It was such an engaging and challenging process that I don’t remember the last time I felt so engrossed in any project. My family and friends were such a huge support especially my brother without whom I wouldn’t have completed this on time. My hubby and my friends at work and outside helped me proof read  my story. The results of this writing competition will be out in this month or early May. So that is something I am definitely looking forward to.

Update 2: In between, I had the opportunity to contribute my thoughts towards women empowerment to Sabaya Magazine (Bahrain)

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          sabaya1I have shared this write up on my other blog–>dazzlersdiary

Update 3 : Another feature about a Mother’s Day special in Bahrain Confidential. I shared my recipes of carrot cake  that is a tad bit special with the addition of pineapples and a healthy egg and veggies breakfast. Both of these recipes have been featured in my blog many months ago.

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Update 4: Work was the theme of the month for March.15-16 hours of working took a toll on my health – both mental and physical. I had to cut off from everything including the blogging, all social networking sites etc. Whatever little time I did get I turned it towards my family and entertained a few guests in between this madness, threw a birthday party,  nursed a sick child, travelled for work, went to a spa and shopped to de-stress  So all in all it was a mixed bag.

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Update 5: Now for the last update for this post is definitely the best and the most exciting for me. We are taking a trip to France for 10 days. We have a day in Amsterdam and then several days between Paris and Nice. I can’t wait for my vacation to start. I am looking forward to unwind and experience Paris in its best weather. It would be cold but it would be wonderful to experience that chill as the scorching summers have already set in here, in Bahrain. I want to take this vacation and come back inspired and rejuvenated. Oh, did I miss out mentioning that I would be celebrating my birthday at the Eiffel tower! Yippeee!

Now to end this post with some scrummy pud. I made these chocolate mousse for some guests. It is a great recipe and doesn’t take much time to put together. I made these again with more coffee than chocolate which I then called the expresso mousse.

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With this I end my post with the promise to be back with my Paris culinary adventures and some culinary insights.

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