Tag Archives: Bahrain Confidential

Chocolate Chocolate Cookies and a note about lost things

15 Aug

Tinkerbell is a collector of lost things. With these lost things she made the most useful inventions which helped make the life of the fairies of Neverland better. Mimi and I love Tinkerbell. She is our favourite fairy.

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When Mimi was younger, she had this incredible talent of finding lost things too. When she was a toddler, she would bound about around the house and find stuff that we would have given up for good. My favourite clip from under the bed, hoards of pens stuck in between the sofa crevices, abandoned restaurant bills which are the only evidence of the good times we had with friends.  Finding them, looking at them creates their own separate memories. That is the beauty of finding lost things. Today Mimi is 4 years old, soon to be 5. She still retrieves her Ammamma’s glasses from wherever she last left them. That is the uncanny ability that children have. We grown ups are hopeless like that. We lose things that then forget that we lost them. That is how I am. What’s gone, its gone forever. New things take the place of lost things. But today, I feel a little different.

Because I lost a poem.

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I wrote it on a whim with the excitement of a child for having seen a beautiful cookie. That cookie was my muse and it made me write a poem. I never write poems because they are not for me. I read and enjoy poems written by others. But I never write one.

This cookie is special. It forced me think like a poet and express like one. It was actually quite nice, is what my friends and family told me. But no one saved it and neither did I. So I have lost it forever and I can’t seem to recreate it. The cookie is still inspiring and that is why I am sharing it today in this blog post. But the poet in me, is silent. I depend on Mimi to write one and bring it back to me, like she has always done by finding lost things and bringing it back to me. That will make a separate memory.

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This is the chocolate chocolate recipe that Mimi baked like a dream and it made it into a magazine. The Bahrain Confidential featured me as the blogger of the month. Check out their beautiful, brand new website and their digital edition here. Thank you.. Melissa!

Bloggers Bytes BC August 2014

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The recipe is simple and uses very few ingredients. It is gluten – free, dairy – free and nut – free though, that was not intentional. I tried it, because I thought it would make for some amazing cookies. It uses enormous about of icing sugar but let that not scare you. The recipe is as follows:

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Here’s wishing all my Indian readers, a very happy Independence day today! Cheers.

Eid Mubarak and my family’s favourite Kheer recipe

3 Aug

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Here, in Bahrain, we are still reeling from our longish yet blink and you miss kinda  Eid Holidays. My kitchen still smells of butter and chocolate and spice from plenty of baking expeditions that Mimi and I carried out. My instagram account is filled with pictures of my moreish banana breads ( will blog about it soon), Nigella’s Orange and chocolate cake and almond biscotti. As an expat and a non- Muslim in Bahrain, being around during Eid celebrations is a special experience each year. As an outsider and an observer, the festivities marked by a long holiday and the Muslim community getting together to celebrate after a month of fasting and prayers, have always left me with a feeling of longing for my family back in my own home country. There is a spark in everybody’s eyes as they go shopping for gifts and traditional sweets. To feel close to it all, I too, go for shopping for traditional sweets and gifts for friends and my family.The other major attraction during Eid would be to go to the Grand Mosque which is a unique experience and this year my parents would be visiting the Grand Mosque for the first time. It would be interesting to see the Mosque once again through their eyes. The Ministry of culture has come up with a great line up of performances from all over the world as a part of the Bahrain Summer Festival 2014. I can’t wait to attend some of them which sound every bit delightful. At home, I try to create a festive atmosphere by preparing some delicacies like the Shir Korma and  Biryani. I call friends home and do our own little Eid party with cheese sampling and such. Eid, on the whole, leaves me feeling festive and I look forward to this festival like I would, Deepawali, while I lived in India.

So that was a bit about how we spent the holidays. I would also like to share a few interesting updates. I couldn’t have imagined on that sultry afternoon of 23rd February, 2010 that my blog would come this far. The innumerable opportunities that my blog has provided have helped me explore my own potential as a food writer and a food photographer. I still have a long way to go but every opportunity is a divine gift that I shall treasure.

I had the opportunity to share a recipe, picture and a write up of the famous Thalassery Biryani with the readers of Bombay times. It is a small mention but for me a big milestone to be featured in the supplement of the Times Group. In this article, I talk a bit about its origin and the interesting history behind the Thalassery Biryani. The recipe is pretty amazing too.

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The other update includes a chocolate cookie recipe that Mimi and I shared with the readers of a Bahrain based magazine – Bahrain Confidential. Here, I discuss why baking is such a fruitful exercise with children especially during their summer holidays. I shall share a detailed post on the cookie recipe, soon.

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Now that the updates are out of the way, let me share with you my simple, yet absolutely delicious Kheer ( rice pudding) recipe which I made to celebrate Eid.  Just with a few ingredients it is possible to create something so magical that it unites your family at the dining table even if they have vastly varied tastes for other foods.

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Most of my cooking that I do at home is instinctive and I never take the pains of jotting down the recipe. But during these Eid holidays, I thought better and wrote down the recipe for Kheer as I made it. It is a favourite with my family especially my daughter and my husband. They enjoy a cupfull of this in its warm and chilled forms.

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While it uses few ingredients, its taste blooms because it is cooked slowly on low flame. To speed up the process would mean cooking it at high temperatures but then it would completely kill the taste. I know of several other methods of making Kheer like cooking it in the pressure cooker etc but these short cut methods do not do it for me. I like the traditional way of cooking it slowing and allow the flavours of the reduced milk to merge with the cardamom, sugar and the ghee-fried raisins and cashews.  This recipe gives atleast 8 servings.

Wishing everybody a great week ahead!

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A very rich fruit cake – Happy Christmas and Happy Holidays

16 Dec

It is still a few days until Christmas, but the nip in the air makes you feel like it is here already. Christmas is a state of mind. It’s about tinsels, gifts, families getting together, mince pies, eggnog and all kinds of indulgences. I believe indulgence is absolutely necessary and special days like Christmas are just for that. My fondest memories of Christmas involve sampling pieces of fruit cake – laden with almonds, walnuts, glaced cherries, candied fruit and raisins.

 

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Every year on Christmas we decorate a Christmas tree at home. My daughter waits anxiously for Christmas mornings to see what Santa has got for her this time. This year she has wished for a Ballet dress and shoes because she has been a good girl throughout the year. Let’s see if Santa thinks so too.

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The fruit cake is seriously quite rich and a small slice really goes a long way. My recipe for this fruit cake was featured in the Decembers Christmas Special issue of the Bahrain Confidential 

_Christmas Confidential BC Dec2013 (1)The recipe is as follows:

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The preparation is a bit time consuming with all the chopping of the dried fruits and nuts but the result is absolutely worth it. Since it stays good for 2 months, this indulgent fruit cake can be enjoyed for a very long time.

The spirit of Christmas is very addictive and sometimes I wish we could bottle up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every now and then. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Summer Special Strawberry Lemon Popsicle

18 May

Its been 13 days now that I am back from my vacation and I haven’t had the time to sit and reflect on how wonderful it was. Our 10 day tour of France seems like it happened in some other lifetime. This blog has suffered a lot of neglect and I can’t help feel thoroughly guilty about it. I have so many pending posts and recipes to share that I have lost track. The other regret I have is not being able to visit and comment on my favourite blogs. I do skim through the new posts of all the blogs that I am subscribed to whenever I have a breather in between.  I hope this crazy, out-of-control phase of life quickly passes by and I get some time to do what I love to do which is to bake, cook and write.

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 In between the madness surrounding my work life, I took some time out to do a summer special feature for a Bahrain Confidential – A monthly publication. As it is commonly known, the summers in the middle east can be quite taxing and it is only by keeping hydrated at all times, can I get through my day. Two of my summer special recipes of a popsicle – Strawberry Mint popsicle and a summer drink – watermelon, mint, rose cooler were published.

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Popsicle are my favourite summer time treat when I am fed up of raw vegetable juices and ice teas and in  this post I share with you the recipe for Strawberry Lemon Popsicle   My  daughter was the one who enjoyed them more than others. She is really not a big fan of strawberries but with the Popsicle I have a convert.

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I chopped pieces of strawberries into the popsicle  which gave it an interesting texture. It hardly took 10 times to put everything together and it took about 4-5 hours for it to set in the freezer. Hope you enjoy a fruity summer and I shall come back to share with you all the splendid details of my birthday in France.

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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.

News and My Culinary Bucket list + Millionaire’s Shortbread

9 Feb

Well how do I begin..

Lots of news to share.

First things first. You may recollect I had requested all my blogger friends and readers for Facebook votes for a photo contest that Mimi (my daughter) was participating. The news is she won the title of the cutest kid in Bahrain. Mimi won a professional portfolio as the prize for winning the contest. The details of how Summer ( the professional photographer) managed to get some shots that were portfolio -worthy would be a blog post in itself. In a nutshell, I can summarize the photo shoot as:

Mimi– hates wearing girly stuff- made to wear a dress- cranky best- hell broke loose- wouldn’t pose- cried till her nose was red– a super stressed hubby and me– a super patient photographer( Summer Weeks)– asked us parents to step out– sorted the shoot and the change of clothes herself– got some photos that were portfolio worthy– phew!

Well the moral of the 58 word story is – the photos are here and I am so glad to share a few of them in this post as a thank you to all my blogger friends who took time out to vote for Mimi. We are so happy with the photos and at what a beautiful job Summer has done.

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Now for the second round of update – My recipes were featured in one of the leading Magazines in Bahrain – The Bahrain Confidential. For this I have only one person to thank – Pooja Rajpal – my beautiful friend. I have blogged about these recipes and you could take a look at them here and here.

BahCon-Anita-LRFor the third round of update. I have, inspired by Sally, decided to build a culinary bucket list for this year. This is no rocket science stuff. It includes all the culinary pursuit that I have been procrastinating endlessly. Either I am too lazy or plain scared to take it up. So to put all that unimportant fears and insecurities on the side and take up all the challenges  one by one would be my culinary goal for the year. In the bargain, I feel, this bucket list will give my blog a new and adventurous feel. Basically, anything to keep going. Otherwise, knowing me, I would keep making those old-fashioned chocolate cakes, brownies and cookies over and over again. This bucket list not only features new bakes and recipes I intend to try but also would help me push my gastronomical boundaries. Ofcourse the list is subject to change.

Why?

Because its my list. I can do what I want to with it. ( that’s just me justifying my ever-changing goals in life!!)

So here goes my Culinary Bucket list in no particular order:

Barbecue– It may sound funny but I have never got the opportunity to attend a barbecue. But I did in early January, this year and I can’t wait to share my experience of doing so with the locals here in Bahrain. So this I can safely tick off my list.

Macarons – Dread to even try. Have been procrastinating for too long. Have to tackle the bulls by its horns now.

Pavlova – Plain laziness. The only worry I have is, what would I do with all the yolks that remain once I used all the whites of the egg.

Oyster – Ernest Hemmingway called it tasting the sea. I would like to experience this myself. Hopefully, this should happen sometime in April ( why April? I won’t tell you, just yet)

Quail eggs – I have seen these delicate, patterned eggs on the supermarket shelves but using them in my recipes always made me uneasy. Hoping to put a good quail egg recipe on this blog.

Baklawa – Being in this part of the world, its shameful that I haven’t tried my hand at any dessert of the middle eastern origin. Considering how much I love Baklawa and enjoy licking off the honey laced pastry bits off my fingers, its time I try and recreate this beautiful dessert at home.

Learn how to pipe – Chocolate ganache has been my go-to cake decorating option all the time. My piping skills are absolutely dud and I need to try to do some skillful piping this year to put my piping related anxiety at rest.

Swiss roll – I failed miserably at making the yule log for Christmas. It was a defeat in every sense. The log, the rolling, the cream filling; everything. The Swiss Roll will be conquered.

KhandviThis Gujarati (Indian) delicious snack made from gram flour has given me a tough time. But again, like the Swiss Roll, I shall endeavour to tame this rogue snack.

Jalebi I have been aspiring to make Jalebis for as long as I remember. I know for sure that my hubby would be very thrilled to see this in my culinary bucketlist.

Now with that out-of-the-way, I shall  turn my attention to this delicious, wickedly sinful and indulgent shortbread called the Millionaire’s shortbread that uses more butter than you can imagine and tastes a bit like heaven.

A slice of heaven would be a perfect description.

While the other description would be – ‘ deliciously buttery, crumbly shortbread with a layer of insanely addictive fudge and topped with a shiny coat of melted chocolate. This tri-layered slice of heaven is a calorie bomb but what is life without a little indulgence here and there. During times like this when I am savouring a delicate slice of Nigella’s Shortbread, I tend to completely forget about my New Year resolutions about losing weight and such insignificant issues.

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Surprisingly, it is very easy and quick to assemble as most of Nigella’s baking treats are. Literally three short steps and its done. That trickiest part is to be patient let the darn thing set well. But I am not blessed with that virtue and cut them into slices before it had the time to meld into each other like a single unit. The result was  as you can see in the pictures, uneven slices that don’t look good in photos and the chocolate layer sliding over the fudge layer that reminded me of drifting continents.

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I console myself with the fact that food needs to taste great; never-mind it doesn’t look too good.

I packed these shortbread pieces for my daughters last day of the term party and took some to office.

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Now for the final update, that I remember at the fag end, because there is so much happening that I am losing count. My hubby and my sweet friend Gayathri participated in a Quiz contest – India Quiz 2013 on the eve of the Indian Republic Day in Bahrain and won the 2nd prize. It was a fantastic moment for us. My hubby had been an avid quizzer during his college days but I never had the chance to see him in action. This was the first time I saw him participate and do so well and finally win it. It was a moment of ultimate pride for me. Also that Gayathri was his quiz partner made it ultra special. Kudos to both of you and I am so so so so proud of you!!!

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Now for the Recipe Card;

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Hope you all have an (nice) eventful week ahead!

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