Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Olympic Games 2012

vijay kumar, sushil kumar, saina nehwal, gagan narang, yogeshwar dutt, mary kom
First of all, I wish to congratulate and thank the 6 medal winners for bringing home the medals, you all did the nation proud!!

sushil kumar and yogeshwar dutt winning silver and bronze respectively in wrestling and vijay kumar winning silver in 25 m rapid fire pistol shooting, saina nehwal winning bronze in badminton, mary kom and gagan narang winning bronze in boxing and 10 m air rifle respectively....

there is a reason, why I am writing these names and the events...coz prior to the medal, I didnt even know that such an event existed and india was participating in it...i only knew about wrestling and badminton...i didnt know women's boxing was making a debut....i thought it was there all these years at olympics....and I am not proud of it...we should at least know, about the events in which India participates...

Before asking the questions such as "why no gold?? why only 6 medals??? etc. let us acknowledge the hard work put in by each and every participant and of course the winners....


the participants irrespective of the fact that they win or lose have reached this point alone, without any support from others except their close friends and family....the winners have taken things a step ahead, and proved that they are one of the best in their sport by winning the medal....yes, so we are one of the best in 6 events....we are not as good as other countries who have won tons of medals....dont we all already know that....so why are we asking this stupid question to our atheletes, who have reached the place they are through sheer determination and hard work....

its up to us to support the ones who are training themselves to excel in these sporting events....let us look beyond cricket, let us encourage our children to try a hand in atleast one sport...let us support the organizations which train and support atheletes....Mary kom has her boxing academy....i dont get it, is she supposed to make boxers herself for India.....let us support her....she hasn't earned 1 crore despite being 5 time world champion...I do not in detail about other atheletes struggles...but i do know that sushil kumar, mary kom and yogeshwar dutt come from very humble backgrounds....I am sure there would be many such gems hidden, which may never get polished unless WE citizens of India take a stand to do so in any way we can...

this Independance day, let us decide, that each one of us will do our bit supporting sports in our country, only then, will we be able to see gold some day....today, let us celebrate with the winners...let us make their bittersweet victory sweeter :)

I totally agree with the following article posted in TOI, and so am sharing it..."Our medallists/achievers are worth more than mere gold"

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chocolate raspberry mousse cake

yesterday was my sister's birthday....since a long time I was deciding what dessert I should make....I wanted to make something really special, something that I had never tried before...as I am a big chocolate fan, I wanted to make some type of chocolate cake....but I didnt want to make a regular cake, and mousse cake seemed too challenging as I had twice attempted to make chocolate mousse but was unsuccessful....during my research I came across David Lebovitz's recipe "chocolate idiot cake" which looked indeed very easy, and was not a traditional chocolate cake, as it was flourless chocolate cake, and which as per the author "an idiot" could make it, if they followed the instructions....and after reading the description of the cake, I was tempted to make it.

However, I thought it was too simple,so the idea struck me to make a raspberry mousse over the chocolate. after some research I zeroed in on this recipe for "raspberry mousse", again this is a super easy recipe....but while I was looking for raspberry mousse recipe, I came across the recipe for "chocolate raspberry mousse cake". I was tempted to make the chocolate mousse at the last moment...I was skeptical about it, as I had failed twice, but this recipe was different from the recipes I had tried earlier, this one didnt include beating and folding egg whites. I guess, I realized something about myself as I pushed myself to give this recipe a try, that I dont give up easily. I am super proud of myself. I am indeed my Mommy's girl :)


So here I present to all of you the chocolate raspberry mousse cake...and since I wanted to stick to the raspberry-chocolate theme, I used the ghirardelli dark chocolate with raspberry filling for the chocolate cake. you can use any chocolate you like, just use a good quality chocolate that you enjoy eating, as you are going to taste the chocolate in both the cake and the mousse.

Day 1: Chocolate Idiot Cake
Ingredients:
  1. 290 g semisweet chocolate chopped (i used 1 cup ie approx 150 g semisweet chocolate chips and 150 g ghirardelli raspberry squares )
  2. 200g unsalted butter
  3. 5 eggs
  4. 1 cup sugar
Method:
  • Melt the chocolate and butter using double boiler method ie in a large saucepan heat water, and place the chocolate and butter in smaller vessel and stir it till it melts and forms uniform consistency.
  • beat the eggs and add sugar and beat it some more.
  • Pour in the molten chocolate and butter mixture and beat it to form a uniform batter.
  • Prepare the pan by greasing it with butter and dusting it with cocoa powder tapping away the excess. I used a spring form pan, but I think that you can use regular pan too to make this cake. If the springform pan is not 100% water tight then you need to wrap it with foil.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 deg
  • Pour the batter in the prepared pan cover it with a foil
  • In a larger tray pour water and place the baking tray in the larger tray and the water should come till half the inner tray height.
  • bake for 1 hr 15 min, the cake should be springy to touch, your finger should come clean after lightly touching the center of the cake. the knife test doesn't work with this one, as this is a flourless cake. so do not over bake. 
  • the cake will be done if you follow these steps, let it cool, it will shrink some bit and separate from the sides.
  • I made the entire cake in 3 steps. so once the cake is cooled you can keep it in the refrigerator.
chocolate and butter in double boiler
melted chocolate and butter mixture

beating eggs and sugar
after adding chocolate

Prepared pan
batter in pan
chocolate cake ready :)



(I used this recipe as I think this one was easier than the recipe of cake on hunger happenings as this did not include beating egg whites and folding egg whites)




Day 2: Morning, Chocolate mousse
  1. 3 1/2 cups regular whipped cream
  2. 12 ounces (2 cups) semi sweet chocolate chips
  3. 3 tbsp water
  4. 3 tbsp sugar
  5. 3 egg yolks
Method:
  • Melt chocolate using the double boiler method.
  • Keep it aside to cool
  • In a small vessel pour water and add sugar and heat it till water boils, to make syrup
  • Beat the egg yolks, add the syrup to the egg yolk and mix it well.
  • Pour in the melted chocolate, and mix it using beater. the mixture will turn little dry and crumbly, so heat it again using double boiler method just so that it loosens little, or if your bowl is microwavable, heat in microwave for 15 sec. Do not heat too much, else the cream will melt.
  • add 1/3 of whipped cream and whisk well 
  • now add the remaining whipped cream and fold it with the chocolate mixture. The mixture should be fluffy Pour/ spoon the batter over the cake. allow it to set for half an hour minimum
    chocolate in double boiler
    melted chocolate
    egg yolk and sugar syrup mixture
after adding chocolate to egg yolk
after reheating the chocolate mix
after folding in the whipped cream
ready to set :)
     (My cake had shrunk quite away from sides, so I just scooped the mousse and placed it over the cake and spread as much as possible without it flowing over the cake , mine was sloping towards the edges and thicker in the center, but that doesn't make any difference. the look and taste is awesome nevertheless. So if you are using a regular cake pan, you can just invert the pan the next day, place cake on a plate and set the mousse on it.)




Day 2: evening, Raspberry mousse
  1. 3 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
  2. 3 cups regular whipped cream
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
Method:
  • in a bowl smoothen the jam with a spoon till it is loose consistency.
  • mix the sugar with the whipped cream.
  • add the loosened jam and fold it with the cream, till you see an even colour, no streaks.
  • spread the raspberry mousse over the chocolate mousse and allow it to set for couple of hours. 
(I used 3 tbsp jam, but I think if you add 4 tbsp jam, it would give better colour to the mousse and it wouldn't harm the taste much. if you feel it might make it too sweet, you can avoid using sugar. I thought my mousse was little too light pink. I am sorry for not having pics of the mousse in making)

Your cake is ready to be served!!!! You can decorate it with chocolate powder, or chocolate shavings or fresh fruits, anything that strikes your imagination.

it is super easy recipe, and the best chocolate mousse recipe, I loved the chocolate mousse....if you do not know how to fold, here is the video link to fold the cream in the mousse. I would suggest you do it in parts like I did, coz together it might seem little overwhelming and you dont want to add the layers unless the previous one is set well. Also, if you break it in 3 parts, its feels like its no work at all...

slice of heaven indeed..
I loved this cake, and I hope you ll try it and love it too :) 
Happy experimenting :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

cream of asparagus

one of my favourite soups since i was a kid.....i used to wait for my aunt from UK to get the packets of cream of asparagus.....so while I am in US, anytime I see a bundle of tender asparagus, I just buy them and give myself a special treat....and everyone I am with loves this soup too...so you should definitely give it a try if you can get your hands on tender asparagus sticks..

Ingredients:

  1. 1 bunch chopped asparagus 
  2. 1 medium sized chopped onion 
  3. 3 pods crushed garlic
  4. 1 tsp butter
  5. 2 tbsp cream
  6. salt to taste
  7. pepper to taste
  8. any herbs for seasoning (i used parsley and fresh basil, i am proud owner of a basil plant)
Method:
  • chop off the blunt thick one inch of the asparagus....chop the rest of it in one inch lengths...keep some of the tender tips aside for seasoning...
  • in a saucepan, melt some butter, add garlic, asparagus and salt....after a couple of minutes add the onions....once the onions r tender, add the herbs, pepper and then water...let everything cook together and then once the asparagus are completely cooked, blend it in a blender...then pour the soup in saucepan again, add cream...taste, if necessary add more salt, pepper and herbs...bring it to boil and then turn off the flame.
  • in  a separate pan, saute asparagus tips in butter,salt and some herbs..
  • add these tips to the soup or in bowls as you serve...
happy cooking :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

sevya

 SEVYA literally means caring through service....this project was founded by my aunt and her friend....the project is to revive and preserve dying forms of art like weaving, making handicrafts etc. my aunt and her friend support roughly 2000 weavers all over India....they are members of FAIR TRADE FEDERATION...the aim of these federation is similar...to ensure that the poor weavers are not exploited and that they get good income so that the art form doesnt die out....basically making sure that the art form is carried from one generation to other...
rings/ scarf rings

beautiful, isn't it??
every once in a while I get to visit my aunt at one of her trade shows.....and it never ceases to amaze me how these western, sophisticated looking items are hand made by the poor artisans in India...I am extremely proud of my aunt, she sees what the weavers do, what is natural to them and them westernizes the items...as to what will sell in USA...i get tears in my eyes, when people exclaim "this is so beautiful"....and ask where is it made...and when they hear India, they say "of course it is made in India...I shouldn't have even asked, where else in the world would you find such colours"......and this has been consistent with every visit over years....and I am so proud, when they start picking up stuff to order....and they like give me this and this and this....there is always such a long list...and when they say, "I am so confused, I want everything" i feel so happy....

love these scarfs
I am putting some pics here.....this ones for you masi....I am super proud of you, your talent, and the fact that you represent India so beautifully in USA...