Tag Archives: Holidays

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!

The belated Eid Holidays Post

8 Sep

It is past Eid holidays and I have taken my own sweet time to do this post. Like I had mentioned, I wasn’t looking forward to this 5 day break as   we had no vacation planned like many of my friends. It was disheartening and unfair. But  to my great surprise, the holidays turned out a truckload of fun. Here’s my day by day brief of how wonderful these holidays turned out for me.

Day 1 : Watched Salman Khan’s ” Ek tha Tiger” with great trepidation. I am not a fan of this big Bollywood star and my general opinion is that his movies are rubbish. I had hoped to watch Pixar’s “Brave” but got late and missed the show. Finally I settled to watch this Eid big release – Ek tha tiger and to my utter astonishment, it was quite enjoyable. The script was tight and Salman Khan was quite bearable. I came out of the movie hall with a good feeling of having watched an entertainer, not to mention how beautiful Katrina Kaif looked in the song ‘Mashallah’

Post this entertaining watch, we had dinner at a Lebanese restaurant- Beyroute and ended a perfect day with good food memories.

Day 2: This was more relaxed and I spent the day doing chores at home and spending some quality time with my daughter. Post lunch, I took off to a cafe and spent that time until dusk working on my novel ‘ The Come Back‘. I am yet to wind up the pending chapters and nearly done with my first draft. I am excited as it nears the end and it feels like a dream that I managed to do a 50,000 words plus novel. Never thought I had it in me to write so much. Ofcourse this is just the start, as I would have to spend time editing it; adding and deleting chapters to make it tighter.  That same night, we had a small wine and cheese tasting party at home. Nothing elaborate but it was fun to do it between us and enjoyed the different tastes as they came together to create a wonderful culinary experience. It was educational as it was exciting as I got to know about the different cheeses; their names and tastes. In conclusion to this wine and cheese tasting event, I realized, Blue cheese was completely unpalatable and the stench was so overpowering that I doubt I am ever going to try it again. Rest of the cheeses were quite appetizing.

photo courtesy : Namit Bhatia

Day 3: Eid was declared and we were invited to my dear friend, Farheen’s home for special Eid lunch. I baked brownies for Farheen and her lovely family. These are Nigella’s BEST brownies ever and I have to admit, they are mine too. These brownies were received well and I made 3 batches already. One of which I took to Farheen’s home. Each batch makes a minimum of 48 pieces. Even if this recipe makes so many, you don’t have to worry about a thing as they would vanish just as quickly. I guarantee that.

Photo courtesy : Namit Bhatia

At Farheen’s home it was wonderful to catch up with my other writers’ circle pals – Melissa and Dhanya. Conversation flowed about books, about writing, styles of writing and hours just passed by. In between, we pigged out on Farheen’s delicious Chicken Biryani, Chicken curry,  Gajar halwa, Sevai, and so many other goodies. It was a wonderful lunch and fantastic time spent together.

extreme left onwards( Dhanya, Farheen, me and Melissa)

all the yummy Eid food

Photo Courtesy: Namit Bhatia

The same evening, we watched Pixar’s Brave and it was so enjoyable. Perfect end to a perfect day.

Day 4:  This day was a bit slow and I had planned it such. Post lunch, I took off to a cafe closeby to spend some time writing and it turned out to be quite a productive pursuit. Took some time out in the evening to shop for some props and managed to get a good deal at Daiso. In the posts that would follow this one, you are likely to see many props in my food photos. So excited already!

Day 5: With the 5 day holiday coming to a close, it was quite depressing to think about going back to office. But on the whole, I was content that all the 5 days were spent well doing all sorts of different things which made the vacation really wonderful. I decided to spend the day making jammy dodgers. The post of the same will be out soon. They turned out lovely and I took them to office to share with my Bahraini colleagues who had spent the entire month fasting during Ramadan.

In between I did do some shopping and INVESTED in some office wear but I can’t quite place which day that was.

So that is how Eid vacation came to a close. I wasn’t disappointed at all and on the contrary, it felt like a holiday well spent. Having said that, as I type this post, I am still craving for a vacation. Hopefully, I should be able to plan for one soon.

 

 

 

Muffin Mondays : Oreo Muffins

2 Jan

Happy New Year, you guys!!

How did your New Year celebrations go?  Mine was absolutely super. My daughter danced and tottered around the dance floor until 2 am and I watched her all the time. It was the best feeling ever.

It’s the morning after, you know… well not the kind you all want to hear about but the morning after where I am still reeling from the after effects of partying too hard. My legs ache from those heels, my head feels a little heavy and all I want to do is pull a comforter over my head and sleep the entire day. But I cannot,  because I believe that whatever I do on the 1st of New Year, I would be doing it all through out the year.  So I did all the wonderful things that mean so much to me because I want to do them all around the year and much more.

1. Video chatted on Skype with my parents and listened to my father’s New Year advice in perfect silence.

2. Lot of cuddling with hubby and Mimi.

3. Spoke to all my best friends.

4. Had my favourite Teriyaki noodle soup ( love that stuff)

5. Lazed around and read Ruth Reichl’s memoir about being a Restaurant Critic called ” Garlic and Sapphires” . Hilarious stuff.

6. Wrote a bit

7. Took photographs with my wonderfully talented  friend, Namit.

8. Made Oreo Muffins!!!!

Shucks!! I should have gone shopping too!

How awesome can a list get? I mean it has drama, action, and so much romance in it. Perfect! Just the way I wanted it to be without planning too much.

Now here we are back with the last of the Holiday Muffin series and I am so excited to usher in the New Year with some scrumptious Oreo Muffins. When you think oreos and then Muffins, whats not to like!

Only change I made was I halved the recipe since I already had some candied rose petal and chocolate cake I had made on New Year’s eve. Though I understand that there cannot be anything like too much cake, halving it ensured I had more Oreos left to dunk  into my milk  at breakfast. *laughs her evil laugh*. I am jotting down the recipe here with its original proportions.

Recipe for Oreo Muffins

Source: Food.com

Ingredients

1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/4 cup margarine

20 Oreo cookies

Preparation

1. In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, set aside

2. In small bowl, combine milk, sour cream, and egg

3. Stir the egg mixture in to the flour mixture with margarine until just blended

4. Gently stir in the cookies

5. Spoon batter greased  muffin pan cups.

6. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

7. Remove from pan, cool on wire rack.

8. Serve warm or cold.

These muffins looked wonderful with little specks of Oreo cookies that I crushed into the batter. I used a few to chop them into quarters to embellish the muffins. They looked quite royal, methinks. I had some chocolate ganache in my refrigerator from my Black Forest Cake preparation which I used to frost the Oreo Muffins. They were simply decadent and the best possible muffins to sign off such a wonderful series of Holiday Muffins.

I have to thank Anuradha for letting me participate as it has helped me gain a good number of gorgeous muffin recipes and make acquaintance with such splendidly talented fellow bakers.

My friend Namit, whom I have been urging for ages to start his photography blog, has helped me click these muffin pictures. Thanks so much, Namit.

In other news, my Black forest cake photo was accepted by Tastespotting and that makes me so happy that I had to share the news here.

Here’s wishing each one of you a wonderful, sweet start to this New Year.

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

‘Mixed Bag’ Week

5 Dec

This is my last post  for my weekly updates until the New Year. Wow! How quickly the year passed. My head starts to spin when I even try to recount my experiences. How my life has done a 360 degree flip in  an another dimension. On the whole, I would like to give myself a pat on my back for having survived it all and come out of it graciously. I have always felt that I keep beating myself up where I should have given enough credit. But by adopting the philosophy of “Taking one day, at a time” has made me realize that I have indeed grown as  a person, metamorphosed into something ( beautiful or not, I am still unsure) and I am plodding ahead with a lot of enthusiasm. Taking account of what I do, did or will do and writing it down, like I am doing right now has definitely helped. So here’s wishing my lovely blog and its wonderful readers a wonderful NEW YEAR in advance.  I do have a restaurant review pending  which shall be up and about by Wednesday. Continue reading

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