As we come to the end of another year, it's time to reflect. Time to plan and make new year resolutions. In my case, I have stopped making any, I don't keep them. I don't need the guilt on top of everything.
But like you all, I am hoping for a better new year and I'm going to try my best to make it a good one.
I have learned a lot this year, some through personal experience, some from friends and their experiences.
In the end, I know one thing for sure, I have so much to be thankful for.
People have a lot going on in their lives and are battling situations every day. They still smile and trudge on.
This is one lesson I will carry with me, not just in the new year, but always, I am blessed and I am thankful for that.
Now, after this heavy dosage, let me get on to a better topic. Under such circumstances, weather is the safest topic.
You all know how I like to crib about the weather.I'm not cribbing here, just sayin'.
The weather in FL is still *very* warm. While many of you are bundled up in layers and others in a jacket, we still go around in shorts and wipe the sweat off our brow and still switch on the AC.
No kidding, we sweat. Yuck! I know, it's healthy and all that, but honestly.... yuck!
I'm taking it slow on the baking front, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies, which never fail and this time, they did. I was shocked. They taste good, no doubt, but, they went flat. I have no clue why, I'm guessing it was the baking soda. I will make another batch soon, once I have the courage and another fresh pack of baking soda.
I do want to share a picture ( a poor one, sadly) of the last cake I baked for my friend T. I made this in October and was waiting for better pictures taken on a good quality SLR by another guest. But, he hasn't obliged.
In any case, the photo shows the details and I want to share them with you all.
This picture was taken on my iPhone and in a hurry. The children and the birthday girl were eager to cut the cake!
This was a basic chocolate cake, 9 inch and 2 layers with whipped cream filling and the decoration is butter cream. I used my favorite, Wilton 104 to make the roses and the star tip for the basket weave.
I had a lot of fun making this cake and learning too. I know now, for example, that I suck at frosting a cake. I just cannot dollop a gob of butter cream on the cake and spread it in a thick layer. Butter cream is SO sweet and I am very hesitant when applying a thick layer on. I accept it and prefer to make a basket weave, hoping, that it used less frosting. I may be wrong.
I love making floral cakes!
With all the pumpkin and squashes flooding the market, I made the 'subji' version a lot. The family finally got a little tired of it, despite the constant variation. So with just half a butternut squash left and no one willing I had to make them in to ''Ghaarge', or Pumpkin Poories.
In this version, however, I made some changes, I did not use any rice flour. I used some fine rava/ semolina ( just a couple of tablespoons) and whole wheat flour.
I used a bit more jaggery, my son likes his sweets properly 'sweetened'. I like it that way too. Not cloyingly sweet, mind you, but just right for us. So I ended up adding an extra 2 tbsp jaggery.
The dough is a tad sticky and difficult to roll ( traditionally these are patted into a round shape and deep fried) but I managed and the end result is right here!
My son loved them and a friend, with whom I shared these liked them a lot as did her 2 adorable little daughters.
Here is a quick re-cap of the recipe:
Butternut squash ( medium sized ) grated, about 2- 2.5 cups.
3/4 cup Crumbled jaggery ( plus 2-3 tbsp, in my case)
1/4 tsp ( or 2-3 hefty pinches) Salt
1 tbsp Oil to be used while kneading
2 tbsp Ghee
1 - 1.5 cups Whole wheat Flour / Atta
2 pinches Cardamom powder
Oil to deep fry the poories
Heat Ghee in a kadhai and add the grated pumpkin /squash. Cook it till it is soft. This takes about 3-5 minutes on medium heat.
Switch off the heat and add in the crumbled jaggery and mix well. The jaggery will melt and the mix will become a gooey golden syrupy mass. Add half tbs oil.
Mix the flour, rava, cardamom powder and salt and gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and make a dough. The dough must be firm. Towards the end add the remaining oil (1/2 T) and knead and form a ball.
Do not use any water when kneading the dough.
Heat oil in a wok (about 2 inches). While the oil heats up, roll the poories or pat them into small circular discs.
I made a large round 'roti' /'tortilla' and used a round cookie cutter to shape them. 4 poories to one roti.
The dough will stick to the rolling pin and board, just dust some flour between rounds and take it off.
Do not dust the poories. This will only make the oil murky.
Once the oil is hot ( drop a small piece of the dough and if it rises to the top steadily, you are set) slide in 3-4 poories ( depending on the size of your kadhai) and deep fry these beauties to a golden brown. Do not crowd the kadhai.
Drain on paper towels and store in a tight-fit lidded container ( you know what I mean).
These can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days. Beyond that, no idea, we never need to store any! These are good!
* You can also add a hefty pinch of Nutmeg /Jaiphal powder to the mix, it tastes good.
Enjoy these poories as a snack.
Here's wishing you all a VERY Happy New Year and see you all soon! Till then, take care of yourself and your loved ones!