As I thought about the things that matter so much during this festive time, the November & December time of the year, so many things came to mind to post about without which it can never be this season of the year. Selecting just a couple of them for this post.
It will never be Diwali festivity without the oil Diyas, the floating candles, the fresh Marigold and Mango leaves garland to hang on the entrance door of the house, the rangolis, the Diwali faral/snacks etc. etc. and my list would go on and on 🙂 .
Maharashtrian Diwali Faral/snacks can never be complete without this goodie-Anarsa on the plate.
The winter season brings with it the seasons best fruits and vegetables, the holidays would not be complete without these fresh and sweet juicy Nagpur Oranges, the Nasik Guavas, and the Singadas. The taste of these delicious fruits is so badly missed every winter if I am not visiting India.
Finally, the December month brings to mind the memories of the house filled with divine & heavenly aroma of my homemade freshly baked cakes, the Christmas time would not be complete without the special Dry fruit soaked Cake.
For recipe of the Dried Cranberry & Blueberry Loaf click here. Do checkout ashus other cakes and muffin recipes in the archives.
Just writing this post makes me want to bake something right away , but I know I will have to wait as I have other plans for today :), it is the 45th UAE National day today here in the UAE 🙂 .
It has been over a month and I have not stopped by here to write any new post. Well, I can call it my sabbatical from blogging, never meant to be away for this long :). I know I have missed out reading lot of awesome posts of my fellow bloggers, will be catching up reading them all for sure.
October is the birthday month, so this Libran was tied up with family and the Diwali festivities in the later part of the month. Being a foodie and one who loves cooking a variety of food, I thought ‘let me share’ my food journey here for this October month :). With the daughter visiting home for a couple of days, the days were well spent in pampering her by dishing out a couple of her favorite foods and all the new recipes on her mom’s blog that she missed out in tasting and relishing. This month also happen to be my late dad’s birthday month, a day when I cook all the favorite food and cherish the old memories.
I also made a chocolate cake with a gooey crumble base of ripe bananas, raisins, black currants, almond slices, and chocolate chips, the cake was plated upside down, sharing the picture below.
My birthday dinner was a special meal for me as it was cooked from scratch by my daughter, it was the best birthday gift received. I had a lovely day that saw me being chauffeured by her to the Mall for some retail therapy :), the day spent in receiving phone calls from loved ones and the birthday messages, a Pizza Hut takeaway lunch, with an evening when I received a lovely flower bouquet from the hubby and an equally amazing food cooked and served by my darling daughter. It was indeed a memorable birthday.
This Caramel Custard for dessert was also made from scratch by her, steamed cooked, and perfectly cooled and served, the best way to end this yum & memorable dinner. Post dinner I was given my birthday gifts too :). What more could one ask for, right? and hence I wished to share my memories with you all.
I cooked vegetable Masale Baath, mattha, Palak puris, Basundi, and mint yogurt chutney for lunch on Dussera day.
Birthdays are incomplete if not celebrated with friends, called them over for brunch, made couple dishes and baked the fresh strawberry muffins.
The weekend after Dussera I was finally able to go to the Last exit on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway, it has the food-trucks stationed. It is a carnival kinda experience, the different fast food joint food trucks, the ultra sophisticated and huge locomotives with modern kitchen gadgets are stationed and cater to the foodies who drive down to this last exit just to have that outdoor experience. The whole area is lit up in lights and the headlights of the vehicles entering the area makes the whole place flooded with light. I did try capturing some clicks of the locomotives but it was impossible to get a picture without the visitors and hence not sharing here. To name a few of the food joints that have the trucks-Burger and Fries, Al Karak – their kheema paratha was yum but too oily for my families taste, Poco Loco- ate their Tacos, Cafe Di Roma, Urban Seafood, Burgerpit, Bigsmoke Burger etc.
Dubai Food Trucks
From here we next went to Boxpark, Dubai, another foodie location that has the Container boxes converted into restaurants.
We dined at Kuai Restaurant, a Chinese joint. Few pictures below from that place and the main course dishes that were ordered. They serve rice with each main course dish.
This month saw another outing with my girlfriends, a dinner at the Absolute Barbecue, Deira branch in Dubai. It is a grill buffet place where they serve barbecue on the table, they have live grills that are placed on the table that have slots to hold it, the veg or non veg food skewers are then placed on this. The waiters keep serving a variety of appetizers on the table, there are also other chaat and tawa counters, saw a Daal bati Churma counter too as well as the dessert counter that had a chocolate fondue fountain, assortments of sweet dishes from bengali sweets to french pastries to cheese cakes, fresh fruits, ice cream, gulab jamuns, rabri too. The main buffet has an array of dishes laid out with both veg and non veg foods, salads, bread etc. The different Indian breads like Naan, Tandoor roti, etc can be ordered and they serve it on the table. It is a good dinning experience, and one definitely needs a large appetite to enjoy the numerous dishes served. They charge 85/- dirham for one person on the weekends, with a little less on week nights. The weekend nights here in UAE are Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I need to mention here the desserts and the crispy corn that was served on the Veg menu, it was great. They had fried ice cream too on the dessert menu, a scoop of vanilla ice cream is shaped as a ball, rolled in desiccated coconut and breadcrumb mixture and dipped in cornflour batter and then fried in hot oil till outer coat is golden. This fried ball is then drizzled with either a chocolate syrup or strawberry one.
They even have deep-fried watermelon triangles that is later dipped in sugar syrup as dessert on the menu, had seen it on an earlier visit to the place. Intriguing menu options, but definitely are not my choice. The whole idea of something that is extremely cold getting subjected to high heated oil is a big put off for me, but heard that these are the latest food trends offered in weddings too in India.
The last week finally was the much awaited festivity time, the Diwali celebrations. This year it turned out to be a week-long socializing and partying time with get-together, Diwali dinners and parties, a total foodie indulgence week for me. Celebrations and the Indian festivals all call for homemade delicacies, and keeping with all the rituals and traditions that I follow, it was a great time, happy time. The Indian festival Diwali, which is also known as the festival of light brings with it the colorful rangoli patterns adorning the front door, the puja room, the puja setups, the oil diyas and the scented tea lights being lit for all the five days of this festival. The apartment balcony too gets decked up in the colorful series of lights, the whole atmosphere is bright, colorful and joyful. One can identify the Indian houses from the lights that are lighted and series of light bulbs seen adorning the building balconies on the different floors.
I tried giving a few pebbles that were collected during my beach walk a new look, tried coloring them but the brush was old and though I was not satisfied with the finesse, but it did bring on a cheer to see the final result of an hour of painting. Buying of utensils is a custom on the first day of Diwali, I used the stones to decorate my purchase and placed it on the living room glass top coffee table.
Anarsa and Methi gota Prasad for Laxmipuja
This Diwali too I have made the Anarsa from scratch. This is my second attempt only at making this, the first being last Diwali :). It is a lengthy and laborious rice recipe, an Indian sweet that is made during this festival in Maharashtrian households.
The Diwali Faral includes the Chivda, Besan Ladoo, Sev, Namkeen para, Shakarpara, Jowar chakli, rice and sesame Andhra recipe chakli, and Anarsa (as seen in previous pic). It was a week long celebration with rich food either at home or at parties for at least one meal of the day.
Starting November I am already busy shedding out all the extra kilos gained during Diwali, back to fitness regime of daily walks. Eating and working out needs to be balanced, right!
Hope you all too had a great festive time with your loved ones. Life is always fantastic, one needs to grab the moments and make them memorable.
Dance is something that I associate with the emotion happiness. Anything that is a source of happiness makes the heart leap with joy. One who loves dancing would do so when favorite music is played, it is an action that happens automatically.
We too have a lot of fun dancing in our family functions, all members be it the seniors to the juniors join in. Occasions like marriage celebrations, birthday parties or say like winning a Cricket match ( I was just watching on TV-India won a Cricket match) or any sports game is a normal sight. When India wins a cricket match not only the spectators jump up with joy, the whole country celebrates, every household. Music and dance are such an essential part of our Bollywood movies.
It is not only music that makes us dance. Submitting below a few pictures that are my source of happiness. The pictures are of the tea lights/candles that I light at home for the Diwali festival. Diwali is an Indian festival of lights, we perform puja and the whole house is lit up with diyas. The dancing flames of these diyas or candles is always a fascinating experience for me, I love to keep looking at the light the small wick gives out and thus illuminates the surroundings. Everyone of us is special and has that light that can illuminate the lives of others, be it the family, the kids, the parents or the friends we have. The pictures are from the last five Diwali celebrations at home, one from each Diwali.
Hope you all enjoyed my pictures for this WPC-Dance. Stay happy and keep dancing with joy :).
Last week we celebrated the festival of lights, Diwali. It is the big festival that brings with it an excitement all around with lot of preparations, lot of household work from cleaning to painting the walls, shopping for gifts, new clothes, some utensil or silverware and/or gold, lot of festive cooking of meals, as well as the traditionally associated snacks that one is so fond of eating. A Diwali without the traditional savory and sweet snacks and loads of Mithais and ladoos would be incomplete.
I grew up with fond Diwali memories of the customary rituals followed by my mother, her homemade snacks, the fire crackers, the new clothes, the visiting relatives and the good food being served to all. It was a time with lot of activities and family gatherings. I have tried to continue the rituals that I grew up following, and thus every year Diwali is a busy time, occasion that brings with it lot of festive mood and celebrations. The past week was thus family time, with diyas being lit, handmade rangolis done on the floor and colored, tried making first time a sweet that I like a lot but had never tried making in my kitchen. Yeah, this was my first try of making Anarsa, a sweet that is made of rice flour and sugar. I was under the impression that it involved a lengthy process and needed perfection to make and hence had never tried making it ever. But, this time I tried and they turned out just the way I like them.
Sharing here some snaps from my Diwali this year.
Anarsa: A sweet made from rice that is soaked for 3 days, then wiped dry and finely ground to flour. Sugar is added to the flour and a tight dough ball is made and Anarsa is made from this dough. It is deep-fried on slow flame. The frying takes a bit of patience and expertise and technique, but nothing that a beginner cannot follow. I was able to get the perfect shape, so anyone who knows how to fry them can do it. I have used fine Semolina coating, a change from the regular recipe ingredients.
Traditional snacks for Diwali include Chakli, Chivda, Sweet and salty Sankerpala, Besan Sev, Mathri, Anarsa, Karanji or Gujjia, Ladoos, and Barfis. Above are some of the snacks that I made this Diwali.
It is a different type of Chakli I made this Diwali, a family recipe that uses rice flour and sesame seeds and are shaped by hand. I have started making this type of Chakli since last two months, a never tried recipe before that is getting mastered with frequent attempts. This rice Chakli making is a bit tedious process, but a favorite of my daughter and hubby and hence the extra efforts to master it.
Rice Chakli, a family recipe that is being mastered with frequent attempts of making it, since September’15.
The handmade décor of rangoli design at the door during the festival, a ritual followed by making this Rangoli. The design is inspired from internet images.
The Laxmi Puja day Prasad:
Diwali festivities have now come to end. It was a week of food indulgence, lot of tasty snacks and yummy and rich food eaten, both at home and at parties. Now, with the end of the festival, it is time to start the fitness regimen and go for walks with friends. Yup, the weather is turning out perfect for outdoor activities and hence no excuses.