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Something Sweet

Phew, I am so tired! This is the birthday weekend- I had mine on Thursday, Aarabhi turned three months today and the hub has his coming up tomorrow. I’ve been trying to get lots of things done this weekend and ultimately ended up doing nothing. Oh I did edit a few pictures, click new ones and made a birthday cake for Kishore (shhh!). I have four huge projects/case studies to complete in Financial Accounting and a paper I should be working on for Information Systems. Yet, I sit here all careless and free and write about the wonderful Kesari Amma made for my birthday. Daredevil much?
semiya kesariKesari is a kind of pudding made with Rava, a by-product of wheat. It has a coarse, cornmeal like texture and a nutty flavor. I once replaced it for couscous in a salad I made and called it semolina salad. Kesari is also made with Semiya or Vermicelli, a kind of noodles we use quite a bit in Indian cooking.

My mother, well aware of the fact that I am mentally-allergic to Rava Kesari (thanks to a gluttonous incident that happened more than ten years ago), made Kesari with Semiya last month. I fell in love with it and nearly replicated the afore mentioned incident (some people never learn!) but good sense stopped me on time. Well, that and a husband who fell equally in love with the dish. So when Amma asked me what sweet I wanted for my birthday (making sweets for birthdays is a tradition quite common in India), it was only natural that I pounced on another opportunity to eat the wonderful Semiya Kesari.

This time, she stepped it up a notch by adding pineapple to it. Before you make unappetizing noises, let me tell you this. It was wonderful!!! So wonderful that I am already making plans to go eat the leftover Kesari after I write up this blog entry.

Semiya Kesari

Ingredients
One cup Vermicelli or Semiya (from your Indian grocer) or broken up angel hair pasta

One and a quarter cup sugar

One cup frozen pineapple finely chopped

Ten almonds coarsely chopped

Ten raisins (any kind!)

One tsp powdered cardamom (or four pods of cardamom, slightly broken)

One Tbsp plus one tsp clarified or melted butter

Half cup milk

One and a half cups water

Method
Heat the clarified butter on medium heat in a pan. Slightly toast the Semiya. Add the milk and the water when it releases a nutty fragrance. When it starts boiling, add the sugar, powdered cardamom and pineapple and mix. Turn the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Let it cook, absorb the water and melt the sugar. When the Kesari turns semi-solid, turn the heat off. In a separate pan, add the one tsp of butter and fry the almonds and raisins until brown. Mix it with the Kesari. Eat with vanilla ice cream to attain dessert Nirvana.

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This is it!

It would be an understatement if I say that the last month has been a roller-coaster ride! My little bundle of cuteness arrived exactly thirty days ago and settling down into motherhood has been the hardest and the most delightful (well for the most part) thing I’ve ever done. Apart from days when I have contemplated going back to the hospital, faking a mystery illness, we have all settled down into the groove of things. I am trying not to think of life after the next three weeks. School is scheduled to begin then and I would be away for at least three hours everyday. I don’t foresee any separation anxiety. Just a full, overwhelming plate.

Mommy dearest has been a star in the kitchen and a wonderful support system in the past month. Although we have been having wholesome, albeit very tame, food to accommodate Aarabhi’s sensitive new-born tummy, I have hardly had any time to click pics of it, let alone upload them.

So when I made Pizza on Friday night, I made sure I clicked a couple of pics on the phone. I don’t foresee touching the SLR for food photography for the next few months at least. And as it turns out, I don’t mind it much. I do have a bigger project to tackle 🙂

pizzaThat’s my rustic veggie pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil. I opted for the usual veggie toppings but added pineapple to make it a tad exotic and because, well, Amma and I love it. After making the equivalent of a large and a personal pan pizza, I had dough leftover. Hence, I made a couple of cheesy garlic “cups” for snack this afternoon. It was so easy that it requires no formal recipe. You would understand why as soon as you see the pic below. I adder dried oregano flakes, garlic butter and red pepper flakes for seasoning apart from the (not so) fresh moz again. Mom and Kishore ate it with marinara sauce and deemed it a success.

moz cupsAgain, I apologize for the pics. I do feel a tad guilty for lifting it from my Instagram post. Ah well, I will get over it!