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Curry pies made with a William Sonoma lattice mold

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Hope you guys had a swell Christmas and plan to have a really cool New years eve as well. HAPPY NEW YEAR !

I catered a couple of Christmas parties and had a really fun time preparing for them! My husband was out of town so I decided to party and dance along with everyone else. I thought that it would be the antidote to me missing him.  If you are a regular visitor here, you most probably know that I love dancing, ( a great way to work out),  and occasionally, yet, enthusiastically burst into song, (this you did not know!)!  Oh, come on, don’t be coy with me, tell me you don’t do this when you are alone? It turns out to be a favorite pastime of mine and heck, I am actually insulted for not being discovered ….yet he he ! Hay, let me tell ya, singing, whether on or off key,  is good exercise for relinquishing, cooped up crap, as long as it is in the confines of your own home ( the shower), you’re not hurting anyone’s eardrums! In fact, catchy lyrics and a visceral heave or two, ( you know when you hit those high notes), are  my melodramatic stance at “stardom.” What can I tell you, music,  simply moves me!

This was pretty much the festive mood I was in, trying to expedite the task of baking all thirty of these scrumptious curry pies and other delectable party food. I had lots of help so setting up, including decorating the huge table for the party was a cinch. People were very much impressed by the food and the beautiful table decor! Within in no time, we were dancing and just having a really good time.

Vocal trance rocks!

There I was, minding my own business and rhythmically swaying to the beat of my ultimate favorite trance song—— DASH BERLIN—featuring CERF,MITISKA & JAREN singing MAN ON THE RUN and the Tritonal vocal trance of Nadia Ali, singing  “Fantasy”, ( I am a trance junkie &  I  actually requested the DJ to play this because frankly, he was just playing crap all night, you might also  recognize Nadia Ali, from the group, Iio,  singing Rapture,” when this Matthew McConaughey wannabe, comes up to me and says in this rather humorous &  Southern colloquial drawl, ” Na za ray na”, I am digging your “abonible” snowman,would you like to dance?” I was actually surprised because when we were introduced earlier, he could barely say two words to me & I do think he was a little drunk, (not snockered) at this point in time.  I felt like saying to him, the word is  “abominable” you fool, but instead I  pretended  that I did not hear him and just sang the chorus line  of  “Fantasy”, a little louder……”Stay away from me….” and hoped that he would just go away.  He most probably realized then that I was not going to oblige, when he turned  around and said, ” Your food and your dance moves are fantastic but your singing is not!”  Flustered, I defiantly stammered a bad word  in Afrikaans, “Vok jou, jou ou moer”  “last time I checked Mr Simon Cowell, you certainly are  no American Idol either!”After a rather awkward silence, we both just cracked up and I decided to just dance with him to keep the peace! Turned out that he was a rather nice guy after all! He did ask what I said to him in Afrikaans, I politely answered, ” I plead the fifth!”


Lattice pocket pie mold

( Talk about party crashers & a disappearing act! these curry pies simply vanished the minute, they came out of the oven). I had to literally scramble to take the picture of my final presentation!

I bought this simple, yet inexpensive mold from William Sonoma and it truly does a marvelous job of molding these lattice pocket pies. They have a fruity filling on their box & another type of dough.  However, I used my own recipe for the pie crust and the filling. I made my pie crust with pastry flour,  cream cheese,  unsalted butter etc….. The cream cheese gave this dough a flaky and tender crumb, while the butter gave it lots of flavor. I also added a teaspoon of my masala, ( spice blend),  into the prep of the dough, thus giving it that extra burst of flavor! As you can see below, my pie dough is extremely forgiving and holds its shape beautifully!

I would recommend buying this little gadget because it makes the lattice design appear very professional & the other good thing is that, one can really place a lot of filling in the pie without distorting the design.


These pies had a very flavorful & light curry flavor with bits of chopped egg on top. I also made some without egg, but added small chunks of potatoes to the ground beef mixture. The potatoes has to be tender! I also made a roasted apricot & chili chutney as an accompanying dipping sauce. Delish!

Accompanying them were icy cold glasses of the non alcoholic Martinelli’s sparkling apple drinks & maraschino cherries as a garnish. I do not drink alcohol,  ( this does not mean that I cannot have my fun LOL!),  so the hosts, I cater for,  always provide their own alcoholic drinks .

lattice 580 curry pies 1


  • Please use organic ingredients when possible!
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 large tomatoes, skins removed ( to remove the skins,  make a deep “cross” in the top of the tomato and soak in boiling water)
  • 1 T pounded garlic
  • 1 teaspoon pounded ginger root
  • 1 lb of ground beef, slightly rinsed and drained in a colander
  • 2 teaspoons of meat masala( I make & toast my own spice blends)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala ( My blend has toasted cumin, coriander, fenugreek etc…..
  • 1 julienned  green bell pepper
  • 1 chopped green jalapeno, seeds removed
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • half cup chopped cilantro, including the stems
  • 3-5 curry leaves
  • 2 small potatoes peeled and diced (optional)
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped into tiny pieces ( Do this only if you do not want the potatoes in the ground beef mixture)
  • If you cannot find all these spices, then use cumin, sweet red paprika & turmeric of course
  • an egg wash for the glaze


Peel & finely chop the onion & saute in 3 T olive oil & 1 T unsalted butter until translucent. Add the pounded garlic & ginger and cook for 5 minutes. Chop the tomatoes into chunks & then add to the onion mixture and cook for 10 minutes until saucy. Add the ground beef and cook for 30 minutes. Toast all the spices first….this brings out a tremendous flavor & aroma…then add them, green peppers,  jalapeno & lemon juice and cook further for about 10 minutes. Now would be a good time to add the potatoes, if you so wish and cook until they are almost tender & then top off with cilantro & curry leaves and cook for 5 minutes more. When done, the potatoes have to be soft & have taken on the color of the spices! Fill the lattices with the ground beef mixture and scatter the chopped egg on top and continue to follow the instructions of molding the pies as per the William Sonoma box. If you wish to leave out the egg then just follow the recipe with the chunks of potatoes instead. Frankly , I love the potato ground beef mixture the best,

Beat an egg yolk with a little water and then brush pies before baking. You can freeze these pies as well. I let the pie dough rest in the refrigerator for an hour before molding and filling them. I baked them at 400 degrees for 25 minutes


Here are just a few of my other favorite songs for 2010: My sweetie always cracks up when I say “The Giddy DJ is in the house”

I really, really really want to go to a concert & see the two best DJ’s in action, one of them is,

Tiesto—-power mix

& the other is Armin Van Buuren—–Imagine

Lady Antebellum—– Need you now

Vocal trance 2010——Xtreme snow mash up

Rihanna——Only girl in the world, what’s my name etc….

Also listen to this version of Nadia ali “Fantasy” & cool dance moves from the queen of clubs

Nadia Ali—-Is it love?


Gosh, I have so many more, I swear I do not have enough time to list them all!!!

Hope you too can dance the night away!



Sweet potato recipes, “Lays style” potato chips & making sushi napkins

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

How to make food soar:  sweet potato chips, “Lays style” potato chips, panko  baked  pearl onion & sweet potato salad and super easy & cute sushi napkin folds.

The premise of this blog is to share cooking, crafts and many laughs and many of you already know that I am extremely ostentatious in all of my efforts whether culinary, presentation of dishes or otherwise but never gaudy! I love exciting food and to say that I am disambiguous would be an understatement especially since I am more than eager to transform anything into more ways than one and totally override  an ingredient’s current potential. So, today I am going to do just that share a recipe, a craft and many a laugh in the form of  a couple of jokes, (hopefully, not too indecorous for your taste!) Oh! c’mon, are you going to sit there and tell me that when friends get together that one of them is not liable to let loose a “dirty” joke? Its funny because normally, I am the one that is easily embarrassed. I always turn red as a tomato and in the process mess up the entire joke he! he! Isn’t it fun to be a little naughty?

Spuddy, buddy?

Tomato flavored potato chips and Chinese 5 spice sweet potato chips

Everyone has a favorite chip and a different term of endearment for this comfort food, whether they are gaufrettes, crisps, frips or like a former neighbor of ours in South Africa would say ‘KRIPS” ( this one always cracks me up!). “Wil jy ‘n pakkie krips he?”

Nevertheless,  they all have to be crispy! My favorite were “Tomato chips” back in South Africa. Unfortunately, I cannot find this flavor here, so,  I made my own. I made my spice  with tomato powder ( on its own, this powder lacks va va va voom), so I  toasted some pink peppercorns in a hot pan, and a few more toasted ingredients to make up the most captivating blend! This spice blend is to die for and imparted a very good flavor to my popcorn, french fries and roasted tomato soup as well. I also made a Chinese  5 spice, a little cinnamon, & a few more toasted ingredients, a custom blend, for the sweet potato chips as well. I made a note of all so that I can get the same flavor every time! Don’t you just hate it if you did not!

See some good tips below on how to keep the chips crispy!


Recipes :

Please use organic ingredients when possible

  • 2 big Idaho russet potatoes or Yukon golds or more
  • 2  garnet sweet potatoes or more
  • Bob’s Red Mill potato starch ( so silky, you do not even have to shake off the excess! I love Bob’s Red Mill!!! & this makes the spuddy extra crispy!
  • peanut oil for frying
  • kosher salt
  • my special tomato spice blend
  • my special Chinese 5 spice & cinnamon blend (for sweet potatoes only)

Method and tips for making a batch of “Lays style” chips

Warm half of a saucepan with peanut oil and if you drop in a piece of bread, it should immediately crisp up, this is your queue to drop in the chips. Meanwhile scrub the russets,  (do not peel some of the potatoes, keep it rustic),  under running water and thinly slice with a mandolin. It is fun to use all the different settings on the mandolin like the waffle and many others.  Rinse the russet slices until water runs clear and pat dry with paper towels. Do not let the potatoes sit in water!!! They will become water logged and will steam instead of crisp up! These slices should  be very dry and then toss them in the silky potato starch and then drop immediately into the electric fryer or a Dutch oven, ( cast iron pot). These two utensils tend to maintain the temperature of the oil and allows anything to be fried evenly. Do not overcrowd the pot, you do not want to steam the potatoes. Fry for about 2 mins until golden brown and drain on a cookie sheet covered with paper towels. Season with your choice of seasoning. If you have a big batch to make,  keep the cooked potato chips in a 300 degree convection bake oven until you are done with the rest and no longer than 15 mins. I use the convection setting because the air flow further dries the residual oil and hence the crispy appeal!

Scrub the sweet potatoes in the same way and dry with a paper towel but do not rinse the slices in water. Toss with Bob’s Red Mill potato starch and fry in the same way as for the regular russets. When the Chinese five spice blend hit the sweet potato chips as it came out of the fryer, the dry cold weather outside seemed like a cinch to bear.

I actually sliced the garnet sweet potatoes very thinly by hand and let all the slices air dry the night before I fried them. This is a kick a.. snack for Thanksgiving !

*Try this as well if you dare!

As the regular russets or Yukon golds come out of the fryer, lightly drizzle with malt vinegar and kosher salt. Do not put on any of the spices I mentioned on this batch though, it will clash with the vinegar! This is a British influence on the tater and was taught to me by my Mom.

Actually now that I remember, it was the Portuguese fish & chip shops that would sell these in South Africa.


However, the same does not go for the prep of my homemade french fries, here you can actually let the french cut style potatoes sit longer in cold water. This will release more of the starch, you will have to dry the cut potatoes very well with paper towels and then deep fry in hot oil. The result, a very crispy, french fry!


I share with you this really cute sushi napkin fold that I folded by using fabric remnants. You could use paper napkins as well! This will be great for a sushi party!



“How to fold the sushi napkin”

For the inside napkin:

  • Fold the napkin in half  with the folded edge on bottom & iron flat
  • Fold the napkin into 2 & half inch wide bands, starting from the bottom to the top. Do not worry about the little piece sticking out, when you reach the top.
  • Roll the napkin tightly, starting from one end into a “roll” and set aside.
  • Lay the second napkin in a diamond shape and fold the bottom point up to about 2 & half inches and continue folding into 2 &half inch bands until you reach the top and then flip over.
  • lay the first napkin roll about 2 inches from the left side of the second napkin and roll the outside napkin around the first like a sushi roll all the way to the end. The bottom edges of the sushi rolls should be aligned.  Secure with a corsage pin or just tuck the loose end into the folds of the second roll.


*Baked panko sweet potato balls & half pearl & half boiler onions “onion rings” salad. My take on a potato salad.  I made this as a pot -luck dish for friends and went over really well even with those “burly, bad boys!”

This is a totally vegetarian meal! ( not that I have anything against meat because I do indulge every so now and again )

There is a bed of sesame vinaigrette slaw ( julienned  carrots, cucumbers & parsnips) on the bottom of my panko sweet potato balls and crispy pearl onion “rings” & tomato salad. I made the mayonnaise also from scratch and lightly coated this unique potato salad. Both the little panko sweet potato balls and the pearl & boiler onion rings (balls) were baked.

I say unto all carnivores in light of this menu, “Eat your hearts out!”

600 sweet potato & pearl onion ring salad

Looking at these pictures, one would think that these are meatballs, but I kid you not, they are baked  panko sweet potato and onion balls. The pearl onion balls had a very cool coating on it as well & no it is not a regular flour coating!!!

sweet potato570

You will love this homemade version of this light & creamy ” Hellman’s style” mayonnaise and believe it or not, no raw eggs were used!

BTW, I am still getting tomatoes from my patch! See post below for the tomato patch and spicy tomato jam!




A funny senior citizen joke

“You’re getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.

Mother-in-law joke

A married couple was in a terrible accident where the man’s face was severely burned.

The doctor told the husband that they couldn’t graft any skin from his body because he was too skinny.

So the wife offered to donate some of her own skin. However, the only skin on her body that the doctor felt was suitable would have to come from her buttocks. The husband and wife agreed that they would tell no one about where the skin came from, and they requested that the doctor also honor their secret.
After all, this was a very delicate matter.

After the surgery was completed, everyone was astounded at the man’s new face. He looked more handsome than he ever had before! All his friends and relatives just went on and on about his youthful beauty!

One day, he was alone with his wife, and he was overcome with emotion at her sacrifice. He said, ‘Dear, I just want to thank you for everything you did for me. How can I possibly repay you?’

‘My darling,’ she replied,
‘I get all the thanks I need every time I see your mother kiss my ass.’

Employment joke!

How to ask your Boss for a salary increase..?

One day an employee sends a letter to her boss asking for an increase in
her salary!!!

Dear Bo$$

In thi$ life, we all need $ome thing mo$t de$perately. I think you $hould be
under$tanding of the need$ of u$ worker$ who have given $o much $upport
including $weat and $ervice to your company.

I am $ure you will gue$$ what I mean and re$pond $oon.

Your$ $incerely,
Marian $hih

The next day, the employee received this letter of reply:

Dear Marian

I kNOw you have been working very hard. NOwadays, NOthing much has changed.
You must have NOticed that our company is NOt doing NOticeably well as yet.

NOw the newspaper are saying the world’s leading ecoNOmists are NOt sure if the
United States may go into aNOther recession. After the NOvember presidential
elections things may turn bad.

I have NOthing more to add NOw. You kNOw what I mean.

Yours truly,

State of mind joke!

It doesn’t hurt to take a hard look at yourself from time to time, and

this should help get you started

During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the director what

the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be


“Well,” said the director, “We fill up a bathtub, then we offer a

teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to

empty the bathtub.”

“Oh, I understand,” said the visitor. “A normal person would use the

bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No” said the director, “A normal person would pull the plug … Do you

want a room with or without a view?”


That’s it folks, oh dear, I need a room with a view!!!!

I decided against the really bad jokes after all!



New growth: berries, tomatoes, mint, cherries, cucumbers

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I am so sorry for my long absence, six months sure goes by fast……dare I pin my preoccupation on a certain adorable, sometimes quite edible little munchkin? See him at the end of this post?  I was inspired  by him and us watching the animated movie, “The Ant bully” ( only about a thousand times), and then photographed all our treasures from the garden as seen from the “eyes” of an ant! This movie teaches little munchkins to be kind to each other and  bugs!

Not-so-mundane garden variety

Here are a few recipes I tinkered with throughout the summer, using things from the garden and hey, the garden parties were not bad either!

For some reason, there seem to be an amicable and almost clandestine rivalry between my husband and me and where arbitration in “whom will reign supreme” is not really important. What does matter, is the fact that both of us are passionate about our endeavors and that I am able to constantly chase after gastronomic nirvana!

With this said, my husband is the avid gardener in this family, so the term “green thumb” presumably alludes to his soil stained fingers. He grows all kinds of things from seedlings,  which he first germinates in the sun room, while the snow is still rampant around these parts and then during the warmer months, transplants them to either pots or the yard where “difficult dirt” is the order of many a day! Were it not for his tireless efforts, ( and in my mind, sometimes foolhardy perseverance LOL!),  to dig and aerate this impermeable piece of underlying crap, so sorry,  I meant to say clay,  that lurks just below the already, ( I swear),  denuded top soil, I  would not be able to “showboat” these beauties below! Nevertheless, daunting as this task may seem, he enjoys every minute of it!  Thank  goodness, he has the “balls” to do this every spring, among countless other things!


This tree is on the side of my studio where it receives plenty of sunshine but also the much needed shade during those 100 degree days from the shadow, cast by  the wall. My grandmother had a blackberry tree that fed the whole neighborhood. She made us climb the tree and then made all kinds of things with blackberries and it is those very moments that I miss so terribly. My sister S shared a memory with me, saying that my Grandfather wanted her to catch all those pesky ripened berries  before they fell onto his vintage Simcar, ( the ones that stained your hands and face and looked like some tattoo artist was hard at work at your expense). Apparently, there is really nothing wrong with inexpensive and underage labor, just look at how we turned out! just kidding! He, he!


Can you imagine a world in black & white? Thank God for granting us a vivid color spectrum!

berries-naza550 br10 &3

This is my  so called “big, little very berry  Petit Four” that serves four or many more! (only 6 & half inches in diameter)

I developed this recipe when the berries were bursting with juice and flavor and just falling to the ground. This almost salacious motion needed an equally amorous mate,  ( i.e. a spongy Madeira with berries in the batter), to showcase the berry in all its sun-kissed  glory. The taste was absolutely stupendous,  not in the least sweet, just fruity and a little tart!

Everybody and their Mama are always over at my house, so when I tried dividing this baby into a thousand little pieces, one of my friend’s said “What the fudge Naz, what’s up with this? I need a freakin magnifying glass to even locate my piece!”


This big, little petit four is covered in a fruit fondant that I bought on-line and came all the way from Great Britain. So, it is more than fitting  to serve even the queen of England and the rest of the royal clan!

I served this dessert with a raspberry and blackberry coolie on the side. The berry coolies  intermingled with the fruit fondant ,  making every bite bursting with bits of succulent berry magic! Need I say that this endeavor was pretty darn fruitful!


Just add cooled down boiling water to a mixture of both raspberry & blackcurrant fondants and voila! you have real berries in a liquid state. I added a touch of lemon juice and the berry coolies to make it extra fruity!

It was this fruit fondant that really made this cake soar!!!!


Squires Shop distributes  orders of their products, magazines & magazine subscriptions worldwide, just click on their logo below for this fondant and many more.



It is such a pleasure to cook straight from the garden and it also gives us that much needed “reconnect” to our food source, especially among the youth where this disconnect seems hauntingly palpable!

This season, my husband uncharacteristically cross pollinated the “Roma” with the  “Big Boy Hybrid” to produce a tomato with an inexplicably delicious flavor, that of my favorite, “Pink Lady” apple. Anyone can purchase a little tomato plant and plant it and nurture it and this is all good, but it is the mere planting and growing directly from seed and experimenting with cross pollination that grabs my attention!


tomatoes naza1

tomato naza

Naturally, I just had to reciprocate and make the best tomato jam ever, so  I did some  “cross pollination” of my own.  I married the tomatoes in this  jam with a few surprises , one of them being harissa, ( just a smidgen to give it that slightly spicy flavor),  and also added a  fruit and a few other ingredients that will knock your socks off! BTW, I used honey and not sugar in this jam.

I removed the doughy insides from some Einstein bagels and filled them with a  crumbly  farmers cheese , topped them with a savory custard , a shower of freshly grated Parmesan and then baked in the oven until golden and crispy. My jam provided that undercurrent of gastronomic mystery to these bagels because without it,  felt amiss!  I am afraid that you just had to be here to appreciate the added flavor that this jam brought to the table!

Spicy tomato jam & inside out cheesy bagels

harissa tomato jam1

Mint patch (this is the bees favorite hangout!). These suckers can really dominate a garden but in essence this symbiotic relationship between bee & mint if you will, is really  a win-win situation for me and my tomatoes! If this is what my garden has to endure for the attraction of bees to our tomatoes, then who am I to argue with nature.



This is a steamed dark chocolate & mint pudding ( I cooked this baby in a pot on the stove top). A simple prep, but of course I am all about a challenge, so I had to go and make those pesky but pretty chocolate mint leaves for the decoration! If I were to describe this dessert, my best answer would be, like biting into a piece of spongy marshmallow without the sweetness of course!

Can someone please notify the CIA, someone has to pay dearly with his good name for this luscious chocolate thingy! Yeah, baby, this is criminal!

I did mean the Culinary Institute, what were you thinking?

steam puddi580

Cherries ( or whatever the heck this is!). This berry was already growing in the backyard before we took up residence here. Anyway, it has a big seed in the middle and has a  slightly sour taste and so I cooked  about a handful together with craisins in a tangy chutney.

N.B. The Denver Botanic gardens got back to me and told me that these are actually chokecherries! Apparently, these make great jams/chutneys etc…. so I was on the right track.

cherry-grey-bor600 pgr7

This is a  “Craisin” good,  Nazarina’s special masala ( paprika},  roasted turkey tenderloin with a drunken  ( Pink Lady) apple slaw. This turkey takes only 40 minutes to bake and is so’ stinkin” good, your family would want to eat it everyday! It is moist and tender and the cherry and craisin chutney are a perfect complement to this dish. So to this dish there are three of my favorite recipes…….1) Craisin & cherry vinaigrette with a twist! ( gingerly toss the crispy apple strips), 2) Craisin & cherry chutney made with honey ( to baste the turkey loins) and 3)  the paprika roasted turkey tenderloin

turk tenders

Cucumbers, where pickling is the least of your culinary capabilities!


Roasted jalapeno (seeds removed) flavored DAHI.  I added some  other surprising twists to this cucumber raita as well . You would say, “Why did I not think of this?”

Sorry Mom, could not resist bringing the Dahi into the new millennium. This is truly mod & daring cuisine!

This is an accompaniment to Briyani and pappadoms , but my family loves  it as a refreshing summer soup as well.


All he ever says is Mmmmmmmmmm!!!!

Well, Mmmm yourself, you little cutie petudie!


Recipes (Please use organic ingredients when possible)

Mint chocolate steam pudding with chocolate leaves

(cooked in a pot of simmering water)

  • 3.5oz ( 50% dark Lindt) chocolate (the whole bar) & another bar for the leaves and the sauce.
  • quarter cup milk
  • 7 oz chocolate cake crumbs / or I just thought of ladyfinger biscuit crumbs ( Boudoir biscuits) ! I am definitely going to use the ladyfinger crumbs, the next time I make another steam pudding! How ingenious of me! Don’t mind if I pat myself on the back! LOL!
  • quarter cup sugar
  • 2oz unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • quarter tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract


Steep the milk on low with 2 mint leaves then melt the 3.5 oz chocolate via a “bain Marie” method, stirring gingerly until smooth and set aside. Cream the butter with the sugar until creamy and then incorporate one egg yolk at a time. Add the vanilla and peppermint and blend.  Add the melted chocolate to the cake crumbs and mix. Fold this mixture into the creamed butter, sugar & egg-yolk mixture. With an electric beater, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until fairly stiff and the fold into the chocolate mixture. Spoon this batter into a 4 cup, lightly greased  pudding mold and close with the lid/ or you can use any pudding mold.

Immerse the  pudding mold into a pot,  pour cold water halfway up the mold and then remove the  mold. Bring this water to a boil and then turn the burner on low. Place the pudding mold back into the boiling water, set on an overturned heatproof plate, and place the lid on and then cook on a slow simmer for 75 minutes. This will come out of the mold easily if you cool on a rack for 20 minutes and loosen the edges with a knife.

To make the leaves:

Melt some chocolate in a bain Marie , thickly paint the underside of a mint leaf with chocolate and allow to dry and cool in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Do not let the chocolate spill over to the other side of the leaf, this will make it difficult to do your next step!  Carefully pull the leaf off the hardened chocolate.

Or just dip the leaves in the chocolate, harden and get on with the recipe!

Thanks for being the subjection to a long and hopefully not a  tedious post!



A cute napkin fold, baked potato bonda, chili pesto & a great giveaway!

Friday, April 30th, 2010

How to make food soar!

On the agenda today:

napkin folds, bonda ( baked recipe), pesto recipe & a giveaway!

May 13th: We shuffled all the names and Teresa was the lucky winner of this giveaway. Congrats to Teresa!

A huge giveaway from Bob’s Red Mill!

Bob’s Red mill is giving away a box containing several packs of different kinds of their stone ground flour to a lucky person out there. Yes, not just one but several! In order to win this awesome gift, just leave me a comment and voila this box will find its way to your door! Imagine all the nutritious and fun things you can bake and use in your stove top dishes with these superior products! For me there can be no other, so get with the “grind” you’ll, get with Bob’s Red Mill!

See also other recipes in previous posts using Bob’ Red Mill!

Thank you Bob’s Red Mill!

BTW, the winner of  the spa soap basket giveaway  was Jo, of Literally in the moment, as mentioned at the end of my previous post! I am working on another basket for yet another lucky person, so check back with me! Also there will be another giveaway from Bob’s Red Mill but you will have to come up with a simple recipe using their flour.  I shall let you know more about this later!

Is this not a cute napkin?  See the super easy “how-to” below! I swear your little child will be able to make this napkin fold!!! Guests will really find them amusing! Now, even the guests at the B&B are learning the whole’ napkin folding thing” and they often e-mail me, saying that they get rave reviews from friends and family when they put it into practice back home.


Baked potato bonda with chili & pistachio pesto. Typically, this hors d’ oeuvre is fried but here I put my own spin on it by rolling the potato dough into balls, poking a hole in it with the back of a wooden spoon & baking it.  I did not mix the garbanzo flour with water like in the traditional recipe.

This crispy potato had a  golden brown “skin” and a silky soft interior. The little hole was a perfect place to hide my tasty chili pesto. Yeah, potatoes are real peasant food, but when presented and baked in this chic way, will make even those food snobs stop looking down their snotty noses!

Made with Bob’s Red Mill stone ground  Garbanzo bean flour!


Chili & pistachio pesto, (creamy, slightly spicy and a nutty accompaniment), I have coated shrimp, smeared under the skin of whole chicken and prepared several other meats & seafood with this  pesto and then grilled or baked! Just thin out just a touch with water for this purpose! Use your culinary realm of imagination!


How to fold the napkin

  • Iron the napkin
  • Bring the upper & lower edges horizontally together to meet in the center
  • Put finger on the center and open out each of the four corners diagonally from that center point like in the picture below


  • Roll the left side of the napkin vertically toward the center point and place something on this fold, while you roll up the right side toward the left to meet in the center.
  • Fold back the upper section to form the arms of the person.
  • Turn the napkin over and gently pull the arms apart.
  • Slide the handle of the spoon in the folds in the back of the little person like in the presentation above.

Please use organic ingredients when possible

How to make the baked potato bonda:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill stone ground garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 t pure pickle masala or Hungarian sweet paprika ( I always put about 2 teaspoons just because I am crazy for spice that way!)
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 T ” Tofutti” brand cream cheese( a soy product & available at Whole Foods and Sunflower Market) or you can use regular
  • 2 T Tofutti sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Silk soy milk or regular dairy
  • 1 T unsalted butter (optional)
  • 3 T chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons bell pepper seeds ( optional)

Do not overwork the dough!!! Just incorporate and be done with it! Do you want stiff balls , then practice being light-handed!

Mix the first 3 ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Peel and boil the potatoes in salted water, until soft, drain the water, and put back on a low heat so that the potatoes are dry. Add the butter, cream cheese and milk and mash. Take off the heat and mix in the garlic,bell pepper seeds and cilantro and check your seasoning. Roll the mashed potato into little balls and poke with the back of a wooden spoon and place on a cookie sheet, see below.


Chill in  the refrigerator for half an hour. Brush with egg wash and lightly sprinkle with the garbanzo mixture. I put the garbanzo bean mixture in a sifter and sifted over the potatoes. This will ensure a lighter coating. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 45 mins until golden brown. Immediately fill the little cavities with chili pesto and serve

For the green chili and pistachio pesto:

  • 1 x 7oz can green chilies
  • 1 t pure pickle masala
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c pistachios plus 1/4 c pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 t basil
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 3 T salad oil
  • a little kosher salt to taste.

Blend everything in a blender and refrigerate the leftovers!

Are these really pears?? See recipe on my old blog! You will be surprised to see what they really are!


Thanks for your visit! Don’t forget to leave the comment for the giveaway!

Much love,


Streusel topped pumpkin pie & a recipe for kumquat & loquat success!

Thursday, March 25th, 2010


How to make food soar!

On the agenda today:

A bedroom remodel & a date with a creamy pumpkin pie

My husband and I are undertaking this messy project. So far the only thing that I was good at was to search for TV stands . Hay, my name is not “giddy” for nothing! Sorry, I  will put my shoulder to the wheel when my sweetie gets mad LOL! Anyway, my  father-in-law has opted to buy the one that I like, the “Riley Holiday bedroom console” in an espresso color. Check it out and let me know whether I made the right choice!

My old blog www.giddygastronome.blogspot.com

At the B & B, I have the propensity to work freely and unwaveringly through this maze of culinary ideas, bottled up within me and it is this “waiting to get out” that is the only antidote to my restless soul. I am constantly making up dishes and preparing them purely from imaginary measures with the intention of bringing tasty and colorful dishes to life. I really want people to experience that same type of  enthusiasm when dining at my kitchen table or when reading my recipes. I want them to fall hopelessly in love with my cuisine and any fears of having  a “bad plate”, allayed. They should  have a pensive longing  for a dish that I made a “while ago” and console themselves with the thought that they will at least try to make it. This inconceivable need to feed others and not myself  is part of my innate and I find it  extremely hard to go against this selfless trait.  Am I freakin insane?

You are most probably thinking, ” Oh! boy, she is going off on us with her personal crap.” To that I answer, ” Can a girl  have a personal moment here please!”

In this recipe, it is the rice flour that gives these tarts that much loved “airiness.” These are pumpkin and cottage cheese tarts with a golden brown streusel & butterscotch whipping cream rosettes.

I had to laugh when one of the guests at the bed & breakfast said, ” My grandmother’ s pumpkin pie is fantastically stuck in time! I am so darn  sick of hearing her  story about a mythical pumpkin patch, which she has to hoe and  harvest in order for her pie to happen”. I hope she can take your queue!”


I used a 7 inch spring form pan for the one below. This dough yields 4 small tarts and this 7 inch. The filling is made of light cottage cheese, fresh whipping cream, pumpkin…etc. I think it was the streusel that had this pie sold!

The scattered crumbs on the plate tells the story of a soft crunch and the melt-in-your-mouth filling will transport you to your “happy” place! As you know by now, I dislike overly sweet desserts, so naturally I manipulated the sugar content of this pie.


Trust me, beneath my contemporary veneer, there is always a hankering for the traditional recipes, but not this time!

Lo and behold! I did  manage to get a small piece of this delectable pumpkin tart that I so lovingly slaved over! All I ever do is get to taste & then the whole thing disappears right from my reach! I  really loved this recipe, this is a keeper & will appear in my cook book. “Pile some more of that streusel on please!” was the overall consensus . I think I positively seduced even myself with this creamy filling and crunchy topping!


Kumquat & Loquat sambal: Normally this sambal is only made with kumquats, but my innovating spirit begged me to add the loquats!  Serve this as an accompaniment to my savory stacked rice stick & shrimp cakes. See the post below for these cakes. Definitely, serve this sambal with grilled or Cajun fish, fish curry or any vegetarian dish.

This exciting concoction was succulent & tangy and a perfect complement to my rice noodle cakes. The rind of the kumquat was  sweet & the juicy centers,  a little sour and salty. This is by far my  most favorite sambal! My mouth is puckering with pure delight as I write this!



Please use organic ingredients when possible

Kumquat & Loquat sambal (pickle). See post below for the savory rice stick cakes

  • 1 x 15 oz can pitted loquats, discard the juice & cut into small segments or use the fresh ones, but add these when you add the kumquats. Hay, anyone out there willing to swap some fresh ones for my beautiful handmade soaps?


  • 6 oz fresh kumquats, washed and cut into segments
  • 1/3 c plus another 1/2 of a third cup organic honey
  • 1/4 c organic brown rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1 t pure pickle masala, You are most probably thinking  that she would  brush her teeth with this spice, if there was no tooth paste, but I kid you not this stuff is “all that.”
  • juice of 2 tangerines or small oranges
  • 1 red thai chili chopped and deseeded
  • 4 curry leaves
  • Big pinch of salt
  • 1 T grapeseed oil / or any vegetable oil
  • 1 t yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 t white sesame seeds
  • 1 t black sesame seeds
  • little chopped cilantro


Heat the vinegar on high  in a saucepan, add the kumquats and cook until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer & cook   for about 4 more mins. until the rinds  of the kumquats become  seemingly soft. Now add the honey and stir the until the mixture becomes syrupy ( takes about 10 mins.) Add the masala & the tangerine juice and cook until incorporated ( 1 more minute).

Remove from heat and pour the contents into a bowl. Add the garlic slivers, red chili and the salt and incorporate & cool for a while. Now you can mix in your loquats. Meanwhile, in a separate pan , heat the grapeseed oil until hot, add the mustard seeds and wait until you hear the “popping” sound of the mustard seeds. Then, quickly add all the sesame seeds and the curry leaves. Pour the contents of this pan  over the kumquat mixture in the bowl. You can now spoon into little bottles, garnish with the cilantro  and refrigerate.

Much love and warmth from my kitchen,


click here ! See the inside and the details of this fruit fondant cake at www.giddygastronome.com

Just add water to this fruit fondant powder and it turns any dessert into a delicious, fruity heaven!


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