Monday, January 30, 2012

Mango Mousse Pie

Just before the holidays, my colleague Usha got this delicious and mouth watering Mango Mousse pie for a team potluck.  It was love at first sight for me :) and I couldn't keep my eyes off. It looks beautiful and just melts in your mouth.
Since I never tried any mousse recipe, I assumed it will be a time consuming process. Anyhow, I wanted to give it a try as the taste was so much worth the effort. When Usha sent me the recipe, I was so surprised at the short list of ingredients and how easy it is to put together. I made it thrice so far and every time it comes out great. This pie can be decorated with drizzle of melted chocolate or a dollop of whipped cream with fresh mango pieces or maraschino cherry.
After our New year's party at home, I made this mango pie to give it to our neighbor as a thanks for not complaining about the noise and he loved it. It makes a perfect gift for anyone.

What you need:
(makes one 8 inches pie)
(use dry ingredients measuring cups)

Unflavored gelatin - 2 Envelopes
Regular Cream cheese - 4 oz
Whipped cream - 1 cups
Mango pulp - 1 1/2 cups
sugar - 1/4 cup (add to your taste and also according to how sweet mango pulp is)
Hot water - 1 1/2 cups
2 Pre-baked 8 inches pie shells (I used the store bought ones with graham cracker crust)

Steps to follow:
  1. Dissolve gelatin in hot water
  2. Add the gelatin mixture into a blender along with cream cheese, whipped cream, mango pulp and sugar
  3. Blend until everything incorporate
  4. Pour the mixture into the pie shell
  5. Refrigerate the pie to set for at least 3-4 hrs. Best if set overnight
Instead of pie shell, this mousse mixture can also be poured into a glass dish to set and cut into desired shapes.

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    DIY: Decorative Wall Frame

    I do small crafts at home as an hobby. They are easy and fun to do. I thought why not share it with you all. So, I am starting DIY series to make these simple and affordable items for decorating your home.
    I am starting the series with this simple wall decorative piece that works as a frame. Any kind of wood sticks/poles can be used for this craft, like bamboo or natural wood. Dry branches from any tree will work well too. The whole point is to use something easily available or reuse and not spend too much. I originally used these poles in a vase and I had couple left over. All I needed then was a twine to tie them. Once ready, it can be framed around any small decorative piece to enhance and focus it more. I have set up two of these frames with inexpensive Chinese hand fans. Alter the length of the sticks according to the frame size you want.

    What you need:
    2 wood sticks - 14 inches
    2 wood stick - 12 inches

    Steps to follow:
    1. Place the long and short sized sticks in a rectangle form.
    2. The ends should be intersecting with 1.5 inch on both sticks outside of the intersection.
    3. Tie them at four corners with twine.
    4. Using clear push pins place it around any smaller decorative object. 

      Tuesday, January 10, 2012

      Green Tomato Curry

      I made this curry and took pictures long back, but I couldn't post it. Before we left for India I had to pick all the tomatoes from our backyard since the frost was going to hit them anyway. So I ended up with close to 5-6 pounds of green and almost ripe tomatoes. I gave some to friends but I still had quite many left. My first thought was 'fried green tomatoes', but the words deep frying and calories stopped me. Instead I made this masala curry and added hard boiled eggs. I have to say the tanginess of unripe tomatoes works great in this spicy sauce. Serve this with hot rice or roti or grilled bread to make it a complete meal. Also, this sauce freezes very well for later use.

      What you need:
      (serves 6-8 people)
      3 cups chopped green tomatoes
      2 cups chopped ripe (red) tomatoes
      2 cups chopped onions
      1 1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
      2 tsp red chilli powder (or according to taste)
      1/4 tsp turmeric
      1 tsp coriander powder
      3 tsp dry coconut powder
      1 tsp sugar
      3 tbsp oil
      6-8 peeled hard boiled eggs
      salt to taste
      fresh cilantro to garnish

      spice mix:
      1 inch cinnamon stick
      3 cloves
      1 eliachi
      1/2 tsp sajeera
      1 tsp jeera

      Steps to follow:
      1. Heat a pot and add oil. Keep the heat on medium.
      2. Add spice mix and fry for 20 sec
      3. Add onion to the same pot and saute for another 2 min till the onions are translucent
      4. Now add ginger-garlic paste and turmeric. Stir the mixture.
      5. Add chopped tomatoes  (green and red) and sate for 1 min
      6. Close the pot with a lid and continue cooking for 8-10 min or so until the tomatoes are completely cooked.
      7. Take the lid out and cook for couple more minutes until the tomatoes are slightly browned.
      8. Switch the heat off and let the mixture cool a little bit.
      9. Blend the mixture into a smooth paste and return it to the pot on medium heat
      10. Add red chilli powder and salt. Add water according to the preferred consistency
      11. With a knife make small slits to eggs for flavor to seep in
      12. Add eggs to the pot and bring the curry to a simmer.
      13. Add coriander powder and switch off the heat
      14. Garnish with fresh cilanro and serve hot
      Our last tomato & methi harvest of 2011

      Tuesday, January 3, 2012

      Kondapalli Toys

      Farmer with Bullock Cart
      Kondapalli toys are known for their intricate and colorful hand carved designs on wood. This time when I went to India, I visited Kondapalli village to get some of these toys from the local artisans there. They have quaint little shops in front of their house filled with these wooden toys and it's also their workshop. It was fascinating to watch them carve beautiful characters out of wood with simple tools. This craftsmanship is passed on to next generations within the family.
      I am always a big fan of handicrafts, so I picked up some items for my home and also as gifts for friends here. If you ever come across these, please do buy them. They make gorgeous decorative pieces and it would also be an encouragement to handicrafts.

      Festival Elephants
      Pen Stand
      Dasavatharalu - Ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu

      Monday, January 2, 2012

      Welcome 2012

      Sequoia National Park