Akki rotti or rice flour pancakes with vegetables

Don’t ask me why, but I love the word “quintessential”. My problem lies in using it in the correct context and after a few chats with my partner, I think I have got it. So it is with great confidence that I say that “Akki rottis” are a quintessentially Kannada dish. These rice based flatbreads comes from the state of Karnataka where I grew up and are a popular breakfast or light dinner option. The word “akki” means rice, usually uncooked. The word “rotti” means bread, usually unleavened. This flatbread is soft and crunchy at the same time, is full of tasty veggies and has a slight sweetness because of the cucumber and rice flour which I love.  I always took a lion’s share of “rottis” when mum made them at home and wolfed them down with a smattering of butter.

This was my first attempt at making it myself after I’d spent the entire afternoon at work day-dreaming about it. It was a big hit with my partner and at lunch the next day. I’ll be making some more soon I’m sure. Hope you try it and like it too.

Akki rotti, turned over in its pan

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Kadlekai usli or boiled savoury peanuts

Dasara is a ten day festival of dolls that is celebrated in the months of September/October in India (lunar calendar). It is a Hindu celebration of the triumph of good over evil. Each of the 10 days is dedicated to a different God/type of prayer. As part of the celebration, most homes in South India erect a temporary staircase indoors. The staircase has odd numbers of stairs (from 3 upto 11), is covered with a white cloth and  idols of Hindu Gods and dolls that recreate many tales from Hindu mythology are places on the stairs. The putting up of stairs was my favourite annual project with dad. Dad being a mechanical engineer had  metal stairs custom made to fit our home and the dolls that my mum had collected over 2 decades. I was in charge of passing dad the tools, nuts and bolts to put this framework of stairs together. Fun days!

The other part of the ceremony is for little kids is to visit every home in the street to see their display of dolls and to collect the day’s offering which was usually a snack of some kind and a piece of fruit. More often than not, the snack would be a little bowl of “usli”. This recipe is dedicated to my “usli” collection days and the fun days of Dasara.

Kadlekai usli

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Madeleines : Lemon & rose water or Orange & vanilla

At work, we have this tradition of bringing back goodies from a holiday/conference destination. It was one such occasion  that someone came back from France and brought back these little, buttery, shell-shaped parcels of goodness. I can’t say I have seen them in the UK very often (surprised anyone ?) but I learnt their name – Madeleines. Since that day I’ve been wanting to make them. I decided to demand a Madeleine tray for a birthday present and it was dutifully delivered by my partner. As a thank you present, I decided to make some the following weekend.

I looked around for a few recipes and settled on David Leibovitz’s one for proportions. I got tips on how to get the browned butter taste/smell into the madeleines  from the Asutralian SBS website. The inspiration for orange flavoured ones came from Chez Pim  though I didn’t actually use her recipe. Finally, the rose water was my little addition to the lemon madeleines. Hope you try them and like them – we sure did. I gave a whole batch and half away and everyone who received it loved it too.

Fresh madeleines anyone?

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Methi Aloo Bhath (Mixed rice with potatoes and fenugreek leaves)

Bhath ( pronounced “bath”) in Kannada means mixed rice. It refers to an almost inexhaustible family of vegetarian friendly dishes. It is great for when you have many guests and you don’t want to spend the evening explaining what goes with what and how to eat it. All you need to do is serve bhath hot or cold, on its own or with a bit of raita (plain unsweetened yoghurt with salt and grated cucumber). One thing you do need to make in advance is the bhath mix which is a powdered mixture of all the spices required. The mix keeps for months so you don’t have to make it each time. I have a recipe for the bhath mix, the bhath itself and a simple raita. Hope you like it!

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Raspberry and White chocolate Brownie

THIS RECIPE IS NOT MY OWN !!!

A picnic in the park is always a lovely way to spend a sunny spring day in England. As one such day happened to be my birthday, I invited some friends along to the park. I had a lovely cheesecake made for me by my partner which I didn’t want to share (Myyyy precious!). So I decided to bake something myself to take along to the party. This chocolate brownie recipe is one I just chanced upon while looking for a recipe the very first time I tried making brownies. I’ve never looked back. I hope you think so too!

I forgot to take a picture of the whole brownie when it was done baking so all I had remaining was the last few slices – sorry!

Source: http://aww.ninemsn.com.au/food/1008232/raspberry-and-white-chocolate-brownie

Notes:

1. The recipe is perfect and gives amazing results so I wouldn’t change much about it in terms of proportions.

2.I’ve baked it in shallow trays, baking dishes and even a pie-tray so don’t panic if you don’t have the right baking equipment – the taste is what you are after.

3. If you eat it straight out of the oven, the white chocolate bits are still gooey and the raspberry still liquidy – yumm!

4. It is a really easy recipe and a sure-fire party hit. I’ve never had any leftovers.

Changes:

1.  I swapped vanilla for almond essence and that turned out quite well.

2. I would toss the raspberries and white chocolate in a little bit of flour before adding them to the chocolate just to make sure they don’t all settle down at the bottom of the baking tray.

3. Use 3/4 cup of sugar or less if you are watching your sweeth-tooth.

Tips:

Watch the top of the brownie, especially if you have a dinky oven like I do. Brownies can burn easily and they are not very tasty if they do.

Pictures:

White chocolate and raspberry brownie
1. Melt chocolate and butter using a double-boiler set up 2. Glossy, melted chocolate and butter 3. Add sugar 4 & 5. Add eggs one by one and stir well after each addition 6. Toss white chocolate in cup of flour 7. Add white chocolate to the brownie mix 8. Toss frozen raspberries in the second cup of flour 9. Add raspberries to the brownie mix 10. Mix well until uniform 11. Put the dense brownie mix into a baking tray – I’ve used a tart/pie tray lines with brown paper (to make cleaning easy) 12. Cut into pieces or slices