Strawberry triffle

The summers are perfect time for some cool desserts, frozen, chilled and comforting!
This week end my friends had gone strawberry picking and returned with some juicy strawberries. She sent me some of them. So i decided to make the strawberry triffle with a small twist on top!!!
Here is what i did.
( A note of the picture... well as usual i do not have fancy dishes to make for nice presentation. By spouse does believe in eating with your eyes before eating with your mouth! but not me.. for me blind tasting and painfully perfect presentation is all the same if the food tastes good!!!
but i do appreciate people who have the talent to make food look very good!! and eye catching! just that, unfortunately i do not have that skill!!!)
Strawberry triffle.

Strawberries (washed cleaned and quartered) two cups
Sugar 1/2 cup ( more if you like it sweet, i like mine mildly sweet)
Angle food cake/ sponge cake (made from half a box of cake mix)
Whipped cream (made from 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup sugar
Strawberry/ vanilla yogurt 1 1/2 cup
Lemon juice 1 tsp
salt 1 heaping pinch
Cook strawberries and the sugar in a sauce pan gently. combine the lemon juice and salt. Cook till the sugar is dissolved and the mixture attains a jam like consistency (thinner than jam).
Set aside to cool.

To make the whip cream start by freezing the bowl used to whip cream and the whisk for about 20 minutes. Once the bowl is cold , start whipping the cream over a bed of ice, stay away from the stove and oven!!! Once the cream has increased in volume, add sugar, little by little whisking well to combine everything. Stop whipping once the soft peaks appears. set aside.
To assemble the trifle, take a longish bowl ( i don't have one :( )
Break the cake and layer the pieces at the bottom. Spread it evenly. Pour over the yogurt evenly over the cake. Spread some of the strawberry sauce evenly and start again with cake. Continue till all the cake, yogurt is used up. Finish with whipped cream on top. Garnish with a few slices of strawberries on top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours till it is set and serve!

Biscotti/ Rusk

One of my favorite bakery foods back home is the Rusk.. its crunchy, mildly sweet and goes very well with coffee,tea! I remember as a kid i used to adore my eldest maternal uncle (jaggi mama as we call me fondly) because when ever he used to visit us, he used to get us huge bags of Iyengar bakery goodies.. usually including a kilo or so of rusks. Since they are light and airy, a kilo fetches a lot of them in deed. They used to last for weeks after my mama had left!! Yum yum yum... i luv my eldest mama still.. i wish he could visit me here, well past the Atlantic ocean..I close my eyes and imagine.. my mama, his dark bald head gleaming in the eastern sunny summer...walking briskly on the side walk(footpath in India) even as the air carried the scent of fresh mowed grass, carrying his bag and a huge plastic bag that said '.....Iyengar Bakery.....'
I should not be mean!! i would still love him if he forgot to get the Iyengar Bakery stuff...
Back to rusk..
I have not come across risk here in the US. But something that was very close is the biscotti. The Italian twice baked cookies.. Just to recreate the magic of rusk i needed to try the technique and proportions of biscotti, so that i could extrapolate the recipe to get it closer to the traditional rusk. So i started some research and bingo here comes biscotti from my oven!!
But there was something interesting that i came across.. Rusk is popularly consumed in south Africa and not surprisingly the UK. Well i guess it is again a piece of colonial heritage that's become so much a part of our lives... Oh yeah!! we did not have bread (as in leavened bread) if not for our British colonial masters!Anyways, gastronomical histories apart, lets get back to biscotti... Hey this makes me fell why the hell did i not consider a career as a FOOD HISTORIAN!!! i would have been so good at it!! after all its combining two of my passions! Oh! god! i wish i knew this before i went to college!

Here goes the biscotti.
Sugar 1 cup
Large eggs 2
Almonds 1/4 cup chopped roughly
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
Baking powder 1 tsp
salt 1/4 tsp
Flour 2 cups
vanilla Essence(imitation vanilla) a few drops (optional)

Mix the dry ingredients, that is salt, flour baking powder, shift a couple of time and set it aside.
Now for the wet ingredients. Beat the eggs with the vanilla essence in it. ( I initially tried making the biscotti without the vanilla... but it turns out rather eggish smelling..which we did not like. so to conceal the eggish smell i used vanilla ) mix in the sugar orange juice, orange zest, almond.

Preheat the oven at 350 degree F. grease a cookie sheet. fold in the flour mixture into the egg mixture. The dough with be not be very tight. it will be slightly runny. pat the dough into a log. Shift it onto a cookie sheet and bake it for 40 minutes till the loaf has just started to look very dry and cracked on top and of course it smells like Iyengar bakery (yum!!)
Remove and cool. Once cool enough to handle slice the loaf into 1/2" thick pieces. Arrange all the biscotties again on a baking sheet and bake them again at 350 for about 5 minutes on each side, till the sides are slighlty charred ( mine went a minute too far)

Enjoy with coffee tea..... Wish me luck for my attempt to recreate our beloved rusk based on this recipe!!!

Tomato Bhaat and Pacchadi / Tomato Rice

Tomato Bhaat is quintessentially the tiffin that we enjoyed... The dish stayed moist thru the mornings till we had our lunch, of course it tasted good....Now i have started making it more often because it is simple, tasty and of course stays good even when packed.
This is also my one of the few dishes my paternal grand mom makes it great..
This again is my short cut version so that it wont take too much of blending, mixing and time..

Tomato paste 2 tbsp
Rice 3/4 cup
Curry leaves 5-6
Bay leaf 1
Cloves 4 crushed
Cinnamon 1/8" crushed
Garlic 2 cloves crushed
Ginger 1/4" crushed
Channa Dal 1 tbsp
Mustard 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder 1/2 tbsp
Dhania 1/2 tbsp
onion 1 small diced
Oil 2 tbsp /(Ghee will taste better)
Hing a pinch
Salt to taste

Mix tomato paste, chilly powder cloves,Cinnamon and dhania powder in half a cup of water and set aside.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed pot. Drop the mustard, hing, and curry leaves. Stir for a minute and add the channa dal followed by garlic and ginger. Pour the tomato mixture into the pot. Bring it to a boil till it smells fragrant. Mix in washed rice and a little less than two cups of water (if using sona masuri rice;if not about 1.5 cups of water will do) cover and cook till done.
Serve with pacchadi.

For the pacchadi:

Cucumber 1 chopped
Tomatoes 2 diced
Salt a pinch
Sugar a pinch
green chilly 1
Thick Yogurt 1 cup

Mix everything except salt. Stir in the salt just before serving otherwise the pacchadi will become watery.

Love it yum yum yum!!!!