Rasgulla Recipe

Rasgulla

Rasgullas are popular Bengali sweet made from paneer and cooked in sugar syrup. These deliciously spongy balls initially melt in your mouth even before you relish the taste, leaving you asking for more! Try out this simple recipe and surprise your family with this authentic sweet.

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 5 min
Serves: 5

Ingredients

  • 250 g paneer
  • 500 g sugar
  • 100 g flour (maida)
  • 400 ml water

Method

Knead paneer and flour to soft and smooth dough. Make 20 marble sized crackless balls.

Bring sugar and water to a boiling point. Strain the syrup when sugar is dissolved. Put the sugar syrup in a pressure cooker and bring it to a boiling point.

Drop paneer balls into the boiling syrup. Place lid on the cooker. Cook rasgullas under pressure for 5 minutes.

Remove lid when the cooker is cool. Gently remove rasgullas in a bowl. Serve in individual bowls with some syrup.

Shahi Jamun Recipe

Shahi jamun is a sweet delicacy, which is prepared on special occasions. This variety of shahi jamun is prepared with rice and urad dhal and is very delicious. The fluffy balls are soaked in sweet milk and served. Each bite of jamun with sweetened milk and chopped nuts keeps you asking for more.

Preparation time: 20 mins
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soaked rice
  • 1 cup soaked urad dal
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Chopped dry fruits
  • A pinch of soda-bi-carbonate
  • Few strands of saffron

Method

Heat oil for deep-frying. Grind rice and urad dal to a fine paste adding very little water if required.

Mix soda to this mixture. Make small balls with this mixture and drop them in hot oil and fry till golden brown over a low flame. Remove from oil and keep aside.

Meanwhile boil milk with sugar, dry fruits and saffron. Soak the balls in milk for few minutes.

Shahi jamun is now ready. Serve hot.

Biscuit Pudding Recipe

No party or a get together is complete without a dessert and it often takes lot of effort to prepare one.So let us prepare a very easy to make dessert which is loved all over the world. The recipe has 3 things which kids love the most -biscuit,cream and chocolate, which makes a hit recipe among the kids.

Biscuit Pudding

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4

Biscuit Pudding Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 tbsp drinking chocolate
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 20-25 Marie/Parle G biscuit
  • 1 1/2 cup whipped cream
  • 2 cups tropical fruits (kiwi, apple, grapes, pineapple, strawberry etc)
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds and walnuts for garnishing

Method

Take a pan and mix the milk, cornflour,drinking chocolate,cocoa powder and sugar. Mix well so that no lumps are formed.

Biscuit Pudding

Biscuit Pudding

Once it is mixed properly, put the pan on the stove. We need to stir it continously for 5-6 mins till it becomes thick and takes a saucy texture.

Once the sauce is ready let it cool down to room temperature.

Once the chocolate sauce is cool ,We will take a serving dish and pour little chocolate sauce on the bottom. Now we need to place the biscuit on top of the sauce.Now again one layer of sauce and again biscuit..This way we will pile 3 layers of biscuit and chocolate sauce.

Refrigerate it for about half an hour to allow the pudding to settle down..

Mix the fruits and the whipped cream (with 1 tbsp of powdered sugar if cream is not sweet).

After half an hour, take out the pudding and  top it with the fruits and cream mixture.

At last we will garnish it with some walnuts and almonds keep it in the fridge till being served.

Serving Instruction

Serve Chilled as a dessert in any party or get together.

Biscuit Pudding Cooking Video

Strawberry rhubarb apple tart recipe

The other day, as we were enjoying a family dinner, my husband spotted a recipe book on the table and started to look through it as we were eating. (It happened to be the amazing and ever so appetizing Small Plates & Sweet Treats by Cannelle et Vanille’s creator, Aran Goyoaga). As we were eating, we started to get excited about the many recipes we were going to make off that book.

“You’re really turning into a Frenchman. Talking about food while eating”, my mother commented.

Indeed this is something French people love to do. Talk about food while eating food. Going on and on about it in fact!

I realized that unknowingly, the French are actually practicing mindful eating.

“Focus on the task at hand”, our teachers, or mothers, or grandmothers said. I guess this was another way to ask us to be mindful. To be in the moment with whatever we were doing.

This has been something I’ve been very consciously practicing with Pablo. Trying to stay away from outside distractions while at the table whenever possible. So while I do occasionally indulge Pablo with a small toy if he’s particularly tired and impatient at dinner time, I try as much as possible to keep our family engaged with our meal, with each other in conversation about our day, with the food we are eating (or will be eating), the cooking of it, the shape, flavor, color, texture of it. A lot of playfulness can arise with the “crunch crunch” of the butter lettuce, the fun of making a mini-kebab by prickling a piece of tomato with a piece of hearts of palm on the fork, or Pablo’s new favorite game, calling every item on the dinner table “Monsieur” : Monsieur Patate, Monsieur Radis, Monsieur Pain (Mr Bread) etc. (Yes, barely bearable cuteness ensues.)

I remember reading about mindful eating in Karen Le Billon’s book, French Kids Eat Everything, as one of her strategies to convert her picky eaters. It’s not about hiding broccoli in some pasta or baked good, or trying to distract our children into eating well, or rushing through meals to get them over with. It’s about showing them that eating is a pleasure.

And to find that out, you’ve got to pay attention while you eat.

Pay attention to how the food feels, how it tastes. Be mind and body (aren’t our best, happiest or most fulfilling moments in life when we are engaged both mind and body?). I remember how she described making a game of eating a chocolate mousse as slowly as possible, as a family, and talking about the experience together. What a clever idea to get kids engaged in the wonderful, vastly underestimated, communal, cultural and pleasurable experience that is the family meal.

Beyond easy and quick recipes, convenience and logistics, beyond calories and “healthy eating”, making cooking and eating about connection and pleasure, vs obligation and nutrition, is the core of this education of taste journey I’ve been documenting here. A journey that makes our life so much richer, each and every day.

Sharing today a seasonal variation to the French classic tarte aux pommes. It’s the first year I am experimenting cooking with rhubarb and its lovely flavor. This is really two recipes in one: one for the compote, which can be made on its own. But should you have a couple of apples lying around, the tart is a delicious way to put them to good use. Basil goes surprisingly well with strawberry and rhubarb, and adding it to the spelt crust was a fun, and successful, experiment.

Strawberry rhubarb apple tart on basil spelt crust

Serves 6-8

Prep time: 45 mn
Cook time: 15 mn + 35 mn

Age for babies: The compote by itself is great for a baby from 5 months on, though be sure not to use honey for a baby under 12 months. Add just a sprinkle of sugar. What you don’t use within a couple of days can be frozen for a couple of months (individual serving containers make it easier).
The tart can be given in small pieces (as long as no honey was used) from 8-10 months.



For the strawberry rhubarb compote

Yields about 2 cups.

2-3 stalks of rhubarb
1-2 cups of strawberries
2 tbsp of sugar (or honey)
1 tsp lemon juice

Peel the rhubarb by making a diagonal incision at the top and pulling off the stringy part. Repeat from both end, until all strings are gone (you will be taking off the pink part.)

Then cut the rhubarb in small pieces, place in a bowl with half the sugar (or honey), and let macerate at least 15 minutes. (The rhubarb with produce some juice in that time).

In the meantime, wash and cut the strawberries.

In a pan, place the rhubarb and its juice, strawberries, remaining sugar or honey and lemon juice. Cook over medium high heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring often.

Mix in food processor or blender until very smooth. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a spatula, for added smoothness.

For the basil spelt crust

1 cup (150g) spelt flour
5 tbsp (75g) butter, softened and cut up
4-5 large leaves of basil, minced
1.5 tbsp ice water
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt

In a bowl, mix the flour, minced basil, sugar and salt.

Pour the dry ingredients on a work surface. With your hands, work the soft butter into the flour mixture, by rubbing your hands together, until you get a sandy texture. Then place the flour/butter mixture in a circle with a whole in the middle.  Place the egg yolk and water in the middle, and mix with your hands until you obtain a ball of dough.

Then fraise the dough: flatten the ball into a rectangle (of sorts), and with the heel of your hand, press the dough, little by little, onto the work surface. This is very simple (and therapeutic!), but a picture is worth a thousand words on this one, so you can get a visual here. Do it a couple of times.

Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for 10 minutes.

To put it all together

2 apples
4-5 oz rhubarb strawberry compote
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp butter +  for mold 

Preheat the oven at 375°F.

Butter a tart pan (preferably with removable bottom).

Roll dough onto a lightly floured surface so it’s slightly bigger than your pan.
Press the dough into the pan, pressing the sides with your thumb.

Spoon and spread the compote over the dough.

Peel and core the apples, reserve the peel. Slice them thinly. Gently place the apple slices on top of the compote, in a circular motion around the pie pan (I can never do this perfectly by the way, there’s always an odd piece of apple that doesn’t fit!)

Sprinkle with a bit of sugar, and add a few bits of butter throughout.

Place in oven for about 30-35 minutes, until the apples are soft.

While it’s in the oven, boil 1/2 cup of water with the apple peel and sugar for about 10/12 minutes.

When you bring the tart out of the oven, brush some of that syrup over the apples for a nice gloss.

Let cool and eat warm, or cold.

Making Speculoos cookies and a children’s trifle

We got back from our month-long trip to Greece and France, and I must admit it has
been a bit of a challenge to adapt back to “real life”. Probably because this
intense month of bonding with friends and (re)discovery and experience felt
more real than our so-called “real life”. Most of our time was spent
focusing on things that really matter, and very little time on menial things.
It just always makes me wonder, “What if life could always be this pure and
intense?” Part of me feels energized and motivated from the trip, and another
part feels sad, nostalgic and daunted by the mountain of things to do. I
must start cooking and writing in hope my spirits will lift.
In the meantime, I shall reminisce about a week in Normandy spent with our
friends Christelle and Jean-Max and their children, Calista, 9 and Philéas, 5.

 

 

These children are what I would
consider very French children (the kind Karen Le Billon talks about in her book). While they love pasta and sweets and French
fries, they are also quite the foodies. I was delighted to hear them critique
their school lunch menus (which are amazing by American standards, but
considered mediocre by most French parents), saying the food left to be
desired, the pasta was too greasy, and the meat overcooked. Philéas declared he
only liked a particular brand of Camembert cheese (he also went through a phase
where he declared himself a “cheese vegetarian”). And Calista professed her
love of cooking. When I asked what they liked to cook, they mentioned one of
their favorite desserts: the Speculoos trifle. At my puzzled look, they asked,
“What, you don’t know what a Speculoos is?” I was soon initiated. It turns out
a Speculoos is a very simple, yet tasty, cinnamon spice cookie, as widely known
as Oreos in the US.
It’s from Belgium
originally, but has become a favorite of the French (and of Amélie Poulain in the French film,
Amélie).

So we decide to make home-made Speculoos to use for
the trifle. The children bring out the ingredients, Philéas mixes, Calista knows
all about making a well in the dry ingredients to pour the wet. As we shape the
dough, Calista suggests adding more butter, as it is too dry. She’s correct,
that does the trick. We are in Normandy
after all, the land of cream and butter. In doubt, add more.

Watching Philéas getting so excited about making tonight’s
dessert, and Calista licking the bowl of cream, I feel thrilled at the idea of paying homage
to their gourmet spirit in this space. Their mother is a dear childhood friend of mine,
we’ve known each other since we’re 11, and the thought of our children cooking
and eating together couldn’t make me happier.
This dessert is very easy to make for children, and it is a wonderful refreshing treat for the whole family. The cookie softens
under the yogurt and the fruit adds a splash of sweetness. It is a reasonably healthy
treat, which I will make in Los Angeles,
if only to be transported back to Philéas and Calista Land, for a trifle in time.

Calista & Philéas’ Speculoos trifle

For the cookies (Prepare dough one day ahead)

(Original recipe found here)

2 cups all-purpose
flour

½ cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

½ cup (100 g) butter,
melted

In a large bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar,
allspice, cinnamon, salt and baking powder.
Make a well (hole) in the middle of the dry
ingredients and add the lightly beaten egg and melted butter.

Gently mix together (easier done with both hands)
to form a tube of dough that holds together (if too crumbly, add a little more
melted butter).

Wrap in plastic and keep in the fridge overnight or
more.

Preheat the oven at 350° F.

Cut into ¾ inch slices. Place them on a baking
sheet over parchment paper.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Let cool.

(Recipe invented by Calista, 9, and Philéas, 5)

3 cups of Greek yogurt (use the creamiest you can find, and avoid 0% fat)

2 tbsp of crème fraîche

(*Alternatively, you can easily find and use whole
milk plain yogurt with cream on top)

2 tbsp Brown sugar

4-5 cups of cut-up fresh fruit (For us, it was 5
peaches and nectarines. Use what’s available in season, pears and apples in
winter, stone fruit in summer. Organic canned fruit could also be used)

Speculoos cookies
Lay Speculoos cookies flat to cover the bottom of a
serving dish.

In a bowl, mix the yogurt and cream. Then add the
brown sugar and mix.
Pour the yogurt mixture on top of the cookies, and
use a spoon to spread it evenly.

Place the fruit on top and place in the fridge
until ready to serve.