Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Homemade Wine

Making wine at home, is a tradition that I have seen my grandmother and mother follow without fail. Its just the perfect thing to be served with Christmas fruit cakes. It is also something that is first served for the newly weds when they visit our home. The joy of christmas gets doubled when little things involved in the celebration has that personal touch of love. This wine is just the perfect example of that.

Last christmas, I tried making my mom's wine recipe for the first time. I went wrong with the schedules of stirring, and made a wine that would just make you high in just few sips. Wine making is not at all difficult, but ya remembering and sticking to the schedules is. So the second time I made it, I kept reminders and kept the calendars marked to follow it accurately and WHOLA! We were sipping on a wine that was just THE PERFECT. 

Now that it is that time of the year when you soak up the fruits for the fruit cake and also get ready for wine making to be served for christmas, I thought I should be posting it without any delay.So here you go. Make it and  enjoy the coming christmas with the homemade wine and homemade Christmas fruit cakes

  1. 1 kg of Black grapes, preferably seedless
  2. 800 gms of sugar
  3. 1 tsp of yeast
  4. 1 1/2 litres of water (boiled and cooled completely)
  5. 1 tbsp wheat grains
  • Wash the grapes thoroughly. Refer notes.
  • Pick a glass jar/ceramic jar which has atleast double the volume of the water used. In this case, I would go by a 3 litre glass jar. Wash and dry it.
  • Add the washed grapes in the jar. Crush them with your hands. Try to crush or break open each grape. Add the sugar, yeast , wheat grains and water. Give it all a mix. 
  • Cover the glass jar tightly. Place the jar in a place which is cool and dark.
  • After exactly one week, open the jar and stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon/laddle.
  • Until the 21st day, keep repeating the same process of stirring in the ingredients with a wooden spoon, preferably during the same time, everyday.
  • Let it rest on the 22nd and 23rd day. On the 24th day, transfer/strain the clear liquid on the top to glass bottles. Wine is ready. 
  • Serve it with christmas cake. 
  1. Soak the grapes in water with 1 tbsp of salt for 2 hours. Rinse and wash it couple of times to reduce the harmful side effects of pesticides, if buying the grapes from the market.
  2. Quality of the grapes does determine the quality of the wine. So make sure you pick up grapes that is sweet and not sour.
  3. Make sure you stir the wine with wooden spoon only. Do not use any steel or aluminium spoons for it.
  4. Make sure you keep to the stirring schedules strictly. If you go by each step, exactly the way its mentioned above, you can't go wrong.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ragi Paniyaram

Day turns out to be good, if you started good. For me, if I have managed to have a good breakfast, day goes good. Its a bonus if I get some time to make something special, which is on weekends, since all are off from school and work and get up late, which gives me enough time to make something else if my hopefully interesting recipes turns out to be a disaster.

On weekdays too, we make variety of breakfast other than just cereals or sandwiches, which helps me not to deal with the tantrum of lil one wanting for something different and ignoring to eat what is offered. Well, I have the luxury of being a stay at home mom, if I may say so, which lets me plan a variety of breakfast option, so why not do it right?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Broccoli Paratha

I used to dislike Broccoli for a long time. I don't know if its the bland taste of broccoli or something else that made me hate it. I have liked it if they are not in the floret form. If they are added in the grated form or pureed to add into Broccoli soup, I like it. Oh by the way, that's my little hand model who volunteered to pose for the food pics. He is officially my hand model from now on. But its absolutely a volunteering positions because he chooses if he wants to pose or just walk out...he he. The cute smile that he kept on for the pics really meant he didn't want his modelling to be restricted to just his hands :P.

When you become a parent, you tend to include all the healthy foods into your diet no matter if you like it or not. When the kids are picky, you tend to explore and experiment to make food interesting to them too. And that how this Broccoli paratha first appeared on our table.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Pumpkin Pecan Loaf

When my brother visited , they brought some pumpkin loaf with them. So while we were site seeing and the lunch or dinner happened during odd timings, hogging on all those stocked snack items helped to keep up the tourist energy. That pumpkin loaf was a hit. So when I stocked up on pumpkin puree I knew I had to try it.

When I first came to the US, it was Thanksgiving season. Jacob had bought some pumpkin chocolate cookies and they were heavenly. I remember those being the days when I was novice in baking, I didn't think of baking it myself then. But as I got better with baking, I did bake them and ate it to my hearts content. These seasonal cookies/loaf are my weakness. If I try to control myself; I cannot and just end up eating it all. So I try to make pumpkin puree at home and freeze it in portions to bake it in intervals over an year untill pumpkins start appearing next. So I do not hog over all those goodies baked all at once but have it spread all throughout the year.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Pumpkin Pancake

The joy of waking up on a weekend a little late than usual and having no particular schedule for the day is such a pleasure. Those days call for a beautiful family breakfast. On other days, it is like, husband grabbing some bites of the breakfast; me having it after he has left and mid way my breakfast, a toddler who gets up crying and clinging on to you, that I leave the breakfast and go after him. And then while the kido is having his breakfast hot, I would be finishing off my leftover cold breakfast. And oh in between all this drama, there is a cup of tea that gets reheated multiple times or if I am just fed up of the reheating business, I just have it cold. So, yes the weekend family breakfast is much look forward to, when everyone gets up together and eat together :). 

Last Saturday, I wanted to have these pumpkin pancakes. But Jacob was craving for Omlet. So I thought why not give the little one an option to choose his breakfast as well. After lots of thinking with ehh's and ahh's he finalized on banana bread from previous day. I was expecting some pizza or pasta or pie as the outcome but he made my work easy..he he.. Even though all of us chose something for themselves, every body got a share of everything, to have for breakfast.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

When pumpkins are in season, make the most of it. Not only is the pulp of pumpkin edible, but also its seeds. Some roasted pumpkin seeds are great to munch on. We love having it . And it is not tough at all to make it and stores well too.

Now when I think of all the pumpkin seeds that I threw away, without knowing if those could be eaten, I feel sorry. They are yum. My kid loves to munch on it and so do we.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Custard Halwa

Happy Diwali to all. We don't celebrate it but having brought up in North India, it definitely gets real nostalgic every year when Diwali comes. We have been sharing pics of Diwali sweets over the family whatsapp group for the past couple of days. Everybody is either making it or getting it from the market to refresh the memories of Diwali spend in the small township that I was brought up in. Getting days off from school or work was always the highlight. But nothing can beat the fun having some diwali sweets or snacks and busting crackers with friends in our neighborhood. Ahh well, those days are gone, having left us with some memories to cherish.

That last minute rush to make some goodie for festivals is always there. No matter what the festival is. Well at least in my case it stands true. I go for the last minute rush. Even though I would have made n number of things , I might just add up one more thing to make it even more memorable or interesting. If it stands true in your case too, then this might be the last and right thing to make this Diwali. A halwa that hardly has anything fancy involved but would definitely have its absence been felt if not put up on the menu. So grateful to have found this recipe while I was so badly craving for sweets having gone through so many Diwali posts from fellow bloggers and friends. Made me calm down the cravings so easily :). So go for it, this Diwali. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Rice Murukku ~ Spicy version

With Diwali approaching, you might be spending a lot more time in the kitchen preparing all the snacks and sweets for your family and friends. Sweets are one important thing on the menu and so are snacks. I still remember having Dahi Vadas, Chaats, Chakli etc along with the sweets, which our neighbor aunty used to serve us for diwali. Yum they were. Years have gone by but those days and memories are still so fresh. This spicy version of chakli is something that you should try to add a little variety to usual murukku/chakli that you make. If your family loves spicy food then I bet this would definitely be a hit.

This recipe just happened when I was trying out some other snack and it usually takes a lot of time, but I had to head to some place in an hour and just thought of giving
 it the murukku avatar instead. It wasn't a flop at all. My lil one loves spicy food and when I made it, he kept coming back to me asking "Eruvulla murukku Tharamo" meaning "Can you give me the spicy murukku". 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

When Pumpkin is everywhere, literally seen/available everywhere, you need to take full advantage of it. If you are a pumpkin lover like me, bake or cook as many as dishes as you want because once they are out of the market they would be able to source them only, after a year. You get those preserved forms anytime, but they cannot replace the goodness of the fresh ones. Last year, I had made the pumpkin puree and preserved it to make goodies out of it during off season. And I must say, its been working. Those cravings of having pumpkin bread or pancakes have been fulfilled soon enough without waiting for the fall season to come or having indulged in store bought preserved pumpkin purees. I have been meaning to share the process for some time now. I am glad, atleast I could post it this fall season. If you spare some time and make it, the outcome is just rewarding. So here is how it is done.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

DIY : Making of thick Curd/ Yogurt

Anything homemade is just perfect. So is the homemade curd. Not only is it healthy because you know what you goes into it, but also its much cheaper when made at home. If you ever make it at home, you won't go back to the store bought ones. Because why would you, when you could make it at home so easily. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Apple Chips

I had eaten banana chips, potato chips, bitter gourd chips etc. which are very easily available anywhere in India. But my first visit in US made me realize that there could be more options to chips with kale chips, beetroot chips and chips made with fruits too. And they really taste good to you in the form of chips, even though you might hate it as a veggie or fruit.

Last fall, while I was baking some pumpkin goodies, the smell of cinnamon from the freshly baked pumpkin bread made me think of the apple chips with cinnamon, I had some time back. Those were store bought. I knew we could easily make it at home but I had never tried or bothered to try. But now as a mother, I always prefer or try to make homemade goodies than go with the convenience of having store bought snacks. And since my lil one gets bored with same snack options, I keep trying different things. So I gave these chips a try. I didn't have to store it because they just vanished in no time. Not only lil J, but all of us liked it.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Steamed Beetroot Cake

Today marks the 5th Anniversary of my dear blog, Palaharam. I never imagined it to be coming this far. But now I guess, it is a part of my life - something that would define me and keep me occupied by doing something that I love. This is not just the celebration of having started the blog but also the celebration of having made some good friends over the span of these last 5 years, whom I have not even met in person. I thought I should make something sweet to mark this milestone and nothing better than this beetroot steamed cake to make this moment absolutely perfect. A BIG thank you to all my supporters for always being there to motivate me, to blog. No words can suffice my gratitude towards each one of you.

It was only recently that I started to fall for Beetroot. Since then, it has been appearing in my kitchen often, either in a savory or sweet form. This beetroot cake was made as a tea time snack one day and it was so much in demand that we have repeated it couple of times. They are amazing in taste and healthy too.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ghugni Chaat / Curried Green Peas (Vegetarian's Chilli)

Childhood friendship is always beautiful to remember at any point of our life time. I had friends who were my classmates as well as neighbours too - Shammi and Zammi. We were always spotted together. I remember their mom making this Ghugni quite often. Their birthday parties were incomplete without it. And everytime I had it, it tasted yummier. My family is not a big fan of dried yellow peas, so it was never or very sparingly seen at our home. So that could have made it more special. 

The other day when I was prepping to make some dry peas curry, I thought of making this ghugni chaat for tea time. Both son and father scrapped off their bowls :). The father had heard about it multiple times from me when I would be repeating stories from my childhood and had never shown any interest in it. But when finally it was served to him, he was like "You should make it often. Its like the vegetarian's chilli". Oh yes, might sound funny, but I don't know if it is the chopped red onions on top and the cumin and pulses that make it taste so much similar to beef chilli. So we have this recipe saved for the lent to have vegetarian chilly if craving for beef chilli...he he..

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Masala Dosa/ Masala Dosa Mix

A dosa center, whether it be at a mall or on the streets, is always packed with customers. Well, who doesn't love it. Pair it with some filter coffee and it is so yumm and heavenly. Now, to have dosa / masala dosa , you don't have to just wait to go to a restaurant to enjoy that dosa. You could just make it at home and enjoy it with family, at the comfort of your own home.

When we first got hold of this recipe, we just made it every other weekend. We were so fond of it. Those memories of going into the Indian Coffee House to relish on those amazingly crisp dosas over an excuse of birthdays or get together or a treat, was brought back when we recreated it at home. If you belong to our generation then you would understand what I am talking about, because these days, its all about the burgers, pizzas and fried chicken. Anyways, if you are a Masala Dosa fan or addict like me, you got to try it at home. I bet you would be hooked.

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