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Thoughts, Ideas, Recipes, Tips….

Shortbread mini fruit tarts January 5, 2012

Filed under: Random Recipes — jkomal @ 6:31 pm
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I’ve always loved fruit tarts and wanted to try my hands on it for a very long time. But I never got the time or was reluctant to try making some. But this Christmas, I just went ahead and baked some. I followed the recipe posted in joyofbaking.com, but made a few modifications here and there. They turned out heaven-licious.

fruit tart

For the Shortbread Tarts:

1 cup of salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour/maida
3 tablespoons corn flour

Method

  • Grease your muffin trays and keep it aside.
  • In a bowl beat the butter and sugar till it forms a smooth mixture. You can use a hand mixer or an electric mixer.
  • Once it is smooth, add in the vanilla extract, flour and cornstarch (sieved flour and cornstarch). Mix till the mixture just comes together. When you can see pea size morsels just stop mixing. With the help of your hands get the dough together, wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Now make small balls of the dough and place it in the muffin tin. Press the dough with the help of your fingers to cover the entire area of the individual cup of the muffin tin. Then cover it with cling and refrigerate for about 30 min.
  • In the meanwhile preheat your over/convection microwave to 170 degrees.
  • Now place the tin in the oven and bake for about 20 min. In between check to see if the tarts puff up, if they do just prick them with a fork.
  • Once baked let it cool and remove the tarts.
  • You can refrigerate or freeze these tarts and use it when needed.

Cream Cheese Filling:

200 grams of full fat cream cheese
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
Zest of one lemon
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

With the help of your hand/electric mixer, beat the cream cheese till it smooth and creamy. Now add the remaining ingredients and beat till smooth. Store it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hrs before serving. This filling can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week.

Before serving,

Get the cream to room temperature. now fill the tarts with the cream filling. Then place fruits of your choice and serve. You could use all kinds of berries, kiwi and peach 😀

 

Jeera (Cumin) Short Bread December 22, 2011

Filed under: Christmas Tips,Random Recipes — jkomal @ 9:49 pm
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Short-breads are wonderful buttery cookies that is of Scottish origin. They are usually served during Christmas and New Years. This year I thought to bake some for Christmas, but with an Indian twist and therefore I added some Jeera or more commonly known as cumin seeds.

Ingredients

2 ½ cup all purpose flour

1 cup butter (preferably unsalted, but I used salted butter because it is difficult to get unsalted butter in India. If you are using unsalted butter, then add 1 tsp of salt to the recipe)

2 tbsp castor sugar

Jeera

Method

  • With the help of an electric mixer or hand mixer (which I used) beat the butter till it is soft and creamy.
  • Then add the sugar till it is nicely mixed with the butter.
  • In the meanwhile, sieve the flour and then add it to the butter mix. Just beat the mixture till it comes together when pinched with your fingers. We don’t want to beat it too much and make it like chapatti dough.
  • Take the dough out and wrap in some butter paper or cling wrap and refrigerate for about 30-60 min.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Then roll out the dough to 1 mm thickness and then sprinkle some jeera/cumin on top.
  • Now with the help of a cookie cutter cut different shapes of dough. Place them on the tray and bake it for about 15-20 min or till it is light golden brown. A good thing to do before baking the cookies is to refrigerate them for 15 min so that the cookie retains its shape.
  • Let it cool before removing them from the tray.
 

Christmas Village December 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jkomal @ 12:41 am

This year I thought of going slightly elaborate with my Christmas craft projects. I decided to do a Christmas Village. Unlike the west, you can hardly find the knick knacks required to set up your own Christmas Village in India. Therefore, I decided to create everything from scratch and use materials that I could easily get from a local stationary.

I got some miniature animals, trees and santa clause from the stationary shop. Apart from that I bought some paper in different colors, thermacol, glue and cotton.

For the cottage I used,

  • Reusable cardboard box
  • Glue
  • Velvet paper
  • Craft paper
  • Glue
  • Scotch tape

Method

  • Make sure your box is firmly closed at all sides except the top. Cut the front and back side flaps along the red lines in Figure 1.
  • Then cut out the front and back sides along the dotted lines as shown in Figure 2 to form a triangle.

  • Wrap the box with a paper of your choice (leaving the side flaps) and use glue or tape to stick it to the surface.
  • Now pull the flaps together to form the roof’s base. Attach it with the help of some tape.
  • For the roof cut out a rectangle from a thick piece of paper. Fold it into half and place it on the box’s roof base. Affix with some glue. If you want you draw some grids to give a brick-look.
  • For the windows and doors cut out some small rectangles and attach with glue. You can even create a chimney with some thick paper.

Assemble the cottage by,

Use the thermacol as the base. Now place the cottages, trees and other knick knacks as you please. You can get as creative as possible.

I used LED lights to for a path to the village and on the cottages and trees.

To give a snow effect I threw some cotton all over the base. Voila you have your Christmas Village 😀

 

3D paper star December 5, 2011

There is no better way to get into the festive spirits than taking upon some DIY (Do-it-yourself) Christmas Projects. Every year I like to create Christmas decorations for my home. And like every year,  I am planning to do quite a few  DIY Christmas crafts at home. Will post each one as I complete them 🙂

One of my all time favorites is the 3d star craft. You can make them in different sizes and colors. The best part about this craft is that you can use it as Christmas tree ornaments, Christmas lanterns or danglers to add some holiday cheer to your home.

What you will need

  • Paper of your choice
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Glue

Method

  • Take a print-out of this 3d star template.
  • Using this template, cut out two identical stars from the paper of your choice.
  • Fold the stars along the dotted lines, including the flaps.
  • Glue the inside of the flap and join the two stars (flap of the first star should stick with the flap of the second star). Let it dry.
  • Punch a hole at one tip of the star and run a string through the hole.
  • If you wish to use it as a lantern, you can consider using a light inside the hollow space of the star.
 

Pine cone decoration November 20, 2011

Christmas is just around the corner and many of us start preparing for it way ahead. Most of us gear up to decorate the house, organize parties and prepare several sweetmeats and other Christmas dishes. Every Christmas, I usually have a house party and have friends come over. So I thought why not put down some party ideas, decoration ideas and Christmas recipes in this section.

For any kind of Christmas party(informal or formal), the dinner table is the key component. Therefore it is essential to dress up the table and make it look pretty. You can use lovely linens, cutlery and other knick knacks to make the table look pretty. But having a good centerpiece is essential to highlight the table. Even more, if you create a centerpiece by yourself, it will add a personal touch to all the Christmas decorations. In this post, I will tell you how to create pine decorations that can be used as centerpieces for the table.

What you need

Pine cones (fresh from pine trees)

Metallic paint

Paint brushes

Mini decorations for the pine cones (such as stars, balls etc)

Candles in different sizes and shapes

Method

  • Firstly clean all your cones to ensure they are free from mud and dust.
  • Then paint them in the colors you like. You can even use some glitter to add that extra oomph factor.
  • Once they are dry you can stick the decorations on the cone. You can place the star on the top and balls in between. When placed vertically, it will look like a mini Christmas tree.
  • Once you have several of these, you can arrange it on the table and place candles around it to create a wonderful and different centerpiece for your table. You can use various sizes of candle stands as the base for the cones.
  • Another idea, is to just mound all the painted cones in a beautiful basket and Voila you have a fantastic looking centerpiece.
 

Chicken Burger October 18, 2011

Filed under: Random Recipes — jkomal @ 11:52 pm

This is a very simple and easy chicken burger recipe that can be made in a jiffy. This recipe undoubtedly ends up with some mouth watering and delicious burgers. When you’re in a hurry and want to have a home cooked meal, this recipe is a great option. Children will definitely love it as well.

chicken-burger

Ingredients

For the chicken patties

250 gm mince chicken

1 onion (medium) finely chopped

1 egg

1/2 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

Bread crumbs

For the burger

Lettuce

Sliced tomatoes

Mayonaisse/sandwich or burger spread

Burger Buns

Method

  • Mix all the ingredients for the chicken patties except for the bread crumbs
  • Now take portions of the mince mixture and flatten them in your hands to give it a shape of a burger.
  • Coat with bread crumbs
  • Grill or shallow fry in some oil.
  • Now apply some mayo on the buns, place the burger patty and the veggies on top.
  • Serve with fries or potato wedges.
 

Childproofing your home in India September 30, 2011

In India, safety measures are something that is unheard of. People are quite reckless or ignorant about basic safety standards. But most importantly, when you have a child at home, it is essential that you childproof your home. It is better to be safe than sorry. Time and again, I come across parents who have a story to tell about how their child, broke their crockery, or got hurt by the coffee table or threw everything out from the refrigerator or got locked inside a room or how they meddled with the potty seat in the bathroom. There is a solution to all these…

I do not know if it is ignorance or the unwillingness to invest in some child safety products, but I find people in India raising children without following any child safety measures. Moreover, you will hardly find retailers selling child safety products here. So here I will try and put down some tips to childproof your home, tell you why is it important and where can you buy these products.

The danger begins when your baby becomes a toddler. They are so curious and want to meddle with everything that is within their reach. But sometimes it isn’t good for them.

Electrical outlet covers

Children love to stick their tiny fingers into the holes of electrical outlets in the house. It can cause burns or electric shocks and could be very dangerous. There use electrical outlet covers to protect them from any danger.

Door slam stoppers

Sometimes your child may accidently shut the door and lock himself up. Or maybe while shutting the door, might pinch their fingers. So you need to use a door slam stopper which will prevent the door from slamming.

Safety Gates

If your home has staircases or an open kitchen then it makes sense to install safety gates to prevent any accidents.

Safety latches

These latches can be used for drawers, cupboards, cabinets and your refrigerator. They come in different variety; just select one that suits you best. Sometimes our cupboards contain potentially harmful items, such as chemicals, cleaning products, knives, glass items, perfume bottles etc. You can also use this type of latch for the potty seat in the bathroom. All these can be dangerous for your child and hence it is important to safeguard your precious little one from these dangers.

Cushion corners

If you have furniture with sharp edges you can install these cushion corners to ensure the safety of your child.

Where to purchase Child Safety Products in India?

You can find these products in all mother care stores in India. Shoppers stop has a mother care section in most of the cosmopolitan cities.

Also you can purchase these products on “firstcry” for a very reasonable price.

Just investing sensibly now can save us from disasters that could happen tomorrow. Our child means everything to us, so take all measures to protect him or her.