Category Archives: Fruits

Summer berry – Mulberry



I know it is my second post of the day. I am just back from a two day vacation. I am invigorated and have tons of energy. Energy to do such simple posts but not for recipes.

These fruits are from a mulberry plant that has decided to climb over our neighbors fence and give us a share of the bounty too. Feeling unappreciated can make you do things like that. : ) It is a crazy maze of a trumpet vine, a grape vine and the mulberry plant tree. Today I had the energy to find my way into this maze and return with these berries.


Today’s pick

It seems like Americans don’t think these berries are edible. No one else seem to be enjoying these berries around here. I am not complaining, the more for us. As kids in Kerala, these were all the rage. Most of the berries were consumed before they were this ripe because we were impatient to let them get this ripe, and also your friend might eat it before you do if you wait.


Mulberries are sweet and tart and they also stain purple. Natural lipstick, I say.

Unripe mulberries at Inji’s

Handmade Basil Pesto for GBP Summer 07



A recipe that mentions its source as grandmother or mother instantly attracts my attention. I have a sort of blind faith in such recipes. When Heidi of 101 cookbooks blogged this pesto recipe from her friend’s mother, it was instantly bookmarked.

Our basil herbs were fresh with new young sprouts after a recent harvest and it would be perfect with the grilled lamb chops that were making for dinner. And better yet, no food processor to clean.


Original recipe here

Young basil leaves – 1 cup packed.

Garlic- 2 cloves

Pine nuts – 2 tbsp

Parmesan cheese freshly grated- 1/4 cup

Good quality extra virgin olive oil- 2 tbsp

For mincing, you will need a sharp mezzaluna, but I replaced it with a crinkle cutter.

There is only one step. Mince till you get a fine mince of the ingredients. Heidi recommends starting with the garlic and 1/3 rd basil. Keep adding the ingredients in parts till everything is minced. Start with garlic, then basil, followed by pine nuts and cheese.


Once mincing is done, transfer the pesto into a bowl and add the olive oil.

At this point I kept it in the refrigerator. At dinner time, mixed it with some cold angel hair for a cold pasta side dish. It was delicious. Thanks Heidi for sharing this wonderful recipe. It was really relaxing mincing and mixing with hand and using the crinkle cutter.

As Heidi said, there is no salt and pepper in the pesto. So salt your pasta water generously.

This is my entry for Summer Green Blog Project being hosted by Deepz of Letz Cook.

GBP was originally born in the ever scheming head of dear Inji. Ever since many bloggers have discovered their green thumbs and have grown wonderful things. Join the fun!

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice



On our trip to Acadia last year, we had breakfast at a really cute place called “Two Cats“. It was a great place, great food and great ambience. You could sit amidst blooming lilacs and down their amazing stuff ( the best pancakes) with some fresh squeezed orange juice. Read another review here.

The place was so good that we couldn’t bear to have breakfast anywhere else during our stay.


And after coming home from the trip, I started making my own orange juice for breakfast. When winter came, fresh squeezed orange juice was replaced by piping hot tea. Now that summer is around the corner, it is time to bring fresh squeezed orange juice back.

How to?

I don’t have a juicer. So I just cut the oranges into two. Squeezed the oranges with my hands and using a spoon, added some of the pulp to it. Regulate the pulp content to your liking.

Serve chilled.



Oranges should be at room temperature to get a good yield of juice.

Submitted for Weekend Breakfast Blogging (brainchild of Nandita) hosted by Padmaja of Spicyandhra.

The theme for this month is Summer Fruits.

Mango Ginger Smoothie – JFI Ginger



For the life of me, I coud’t find a dish that screamed ginger. Kerala Fish Curry was in my plans for a while, but then I couldn’t find decent fish. Today I landed on this recipe, and as fate would have it, I am contributing to JFI Ginger. Hurrah!!

Ginger is indispensable in an Indian household. Shown below is a patch of ginger growing at my home in Kerala. Usually there are a few patches of ginger growing close to the house. When you need ginger, take your digging equipment and unearth fresh ginger. The wonderful smell of ginger on your hands is pretty amazing. Of course, as a kid I hated the chore of having to get out and dig the ginger out of the soil. Now, I wish I had some freshly dug ginger.


Original recipe here

I followed the recipe exactly, except for using greek yogurt and cold milk.


Yogurt – half cup

Chopped ripe mango – a handful ( I used frozen mango)

Sugar or honey – 2 tbsp or adjust to taste

Low fat milk ( cold) – 1/2 cup

Crushed ice- half cup/handful

Fresh ginger- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp based on your taste. I used a thin slice and chopped it into thin strips.

Powdered cardamom – a pinch


Just mix everything in a blender. If too thick, add more milk or cold water.


Adding fresh ginger to mango lassi was new for me. I liked it, but I suspect it could take getting used to.

Hugs to Rosie for hosting JFI Ginger amidst her move.

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Tale of two pestos



Parsley leaves and flower
Althouth we make pasta quite often, we have never made pesto before. Pasta and pesto sound so close, no wonder they are made for each other. I had some parsley growing crazy in my garden and some of them had started to flower which meant that if I dont act quickly, they would all be gone and not edible anymore. So we had to act fast. Meanwhile Satish had been craving for pasta for some time. And finally it seemed to be the best possible time for some ‘pasta with pesto’.

I just read the rules of herb blogging and it requires you to write somehting about the herb. Makes sense, but I hardly know anything about parsley except that it is used in Italian and Meditteranean cooking, and also have two forms- the curly one and the flat leaf one. The ones I grew were flat leaf . They hardly require any special growing conditions. I never watered them regularly, they just grew on rain water. I definitely had to search for more info on this herb and this is what I found.

Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (parsley is a relative to celery). It is a biennial plant that will return to the garden year after year once it is established.Parsley is among a small number of foods that contain any measurable amount of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating parsley.(Info from here.)

One of the blog posts in The Traveler’s Lunchbox some time ago had been on pestos, and it had somehow stuck to my brain. So I found the recipe, but unfortunately it did not have a recipe for parsely pesto but it did have one for a sundried tomato pesto (Pesto Rosso). It looked so fab that we had to try that out. Now as for the parsley, this recipe came to my aid.



Parsley Pesto Ingredients( I did not measure any ingredients, just combined them all and tasted it to balance all the ingredients.)Parsley, pine nuts, parmesan grated, salt, garlic and extravirgin olive oil.
Now we all know linguini is cooked as it is, I mean in its all entire form (not broken).But recently we had eaten at an Indo Chinese restaurant in NY City and I had loved the hakka noodles which looked like linguini broken into small pieces. So that is what I did with the linguini…broke it into 3 parts.



Linguini with two pestos– sundried tomato pesto and parsley pesto.

Made a batch of each pesto and mixed it with pasta. We were very satisfied with both pestos. The remaining pesto was used as a sandwich filler. We still had leftover pesto which we had with some bread and cheese.




This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging held by our own Bachelor Boy.

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Lamb chops with mint yogurt sauce- recipe


Creating a beautiful plate of food is immensely satisfying for the eyes and mind. On a weekend day, we decided to take our dining at home to a fancier level and that is how this dish was born.

Lamb chops are always elegant and is one of the easiest meats to cook. The strong flavor of the lamb can stand up to strong flavorings. This recipe for lamb chops is from the cookbook: Gourmet Meals in Minutes. The beautiful picture of the lamb chops on its cover is what made me buy the book.


Mint yogurt ( recipe from Starchefs, Chef Thomas John at Mantra, Boston)

1 cup fresh mint leaves, well rinsed and tightly packed

1 cup cilantro leaves, as above

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup onion, chopped

salt, to taste

1/4 cup raw mango, pitted and sliced

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 cup plain yogurt

Blend all ingredients in a blender. I used only half of the above measurements for two people.

Lamb chops( Broiled)

8 lamb chops

3 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon each of Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, veg.oil and chopped rosemary.
Freshly ground black pepper half tsp or more to taste

Thyme 2 tsp.chopped ( I used a tsp. of dried thyme) – optional

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine soysauce, mustard, Wostershire sauce, veg. oil, pepper, rosemary, thyme into a ziplock bag. Add the lamb. After squeezing the air out, seal the bag and turn to coat the lamb with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 min.

Preheat the broiler. Remove the chops from the marinade. Brush off excess marinade off the bones or else it burns under the broiler. Season the chops with salt and pepper.

Broil the chops 5 inches from the heat until done. 4 min on each side for medium , and about 6-7 min for well done. Remove and cool for a few min and then plate. If desired, you can pan fry the chops before putting under the broiler.

To plate

Create a base using the mint yogurt. Place 2 lamb chops in an intercrossing pattern or side by side as seen in the picture.

Use a tuna can with top and bottom removed. Fill the rice into this to plate rice in a circular shape. If you have another side dish, place it on the side of the lamb chops.

Lassi with blackberries and pistachios


Looking for a mid day snack, I decided on this. Had some blackberries purchased from Costco, and also had pistachios on hand.

Just throw everything into a blender and it is ready to go..Start off with a crunch from the pistachios and end with bites from the crushed blackberries. Nothing fancy, but something nutritious to help you get all the goodness from fruits and nuts.

Recipe for lassi with blackberries and crushed pistachios
Yogurt !/2 cup

Water 1/4 cup ( substitute milk for a richer drink)

Sugar 1 tsp ( can substitute honey ) (might need more sugar if u like your lassi really sweet!)

Blackberries 5 ( substitute any fruit or go fruitless)

Crushed pistachios for topping

Just combine all the ingredients in a blender.

I used my mini food processor as I was making only one serving.

Kefir cheese and pistachio cake for SHF


cake.jpgI had made this cake about a week ago and had taken some pics at that time. I then forgot all about it till I downloaded all the pics from my camera today. And incidentally Sugar High Friday focuses on dairy. Since yogurt/unknown cheese was the highlight of this cake, I think this was an apt entry to SHF

I didnot use yogurt for the cake as the original recipe mentions . I used something that said Kefir cheese on the container.It almost looks like sour cream but is more of a thicker consistency. Is this Greek yogurt? I dont says on the cover that it is a rare lebanese treat. This was brought home by our friends when they shopped for Arabic groceries at a middle eastern store for our Arabic meal. We never used it and it remained in the fridge till I saw this recipe, and decided to substitute it for the yogurt in the recipe.
Another reason this recipe attracted me was that it gave me a way to use up the pistachios that I had in my pantry.

The original recipe can be found here
I found it when I was searching for pistachio recipes.


I cup shelled pistachios ( I had salted ones on hand, so I decreased the amount of salt in the recipe)

All purpose flour 1 cup

Baking soda 1 tsp

Salt 1/2 tsp
Eggs 6 seperated

Sugar 1 1/4 cup

Yogurt or kefir cheese 3/4 cup

Extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F
Toast the pistachios for about 10min. (The original recipes says 15min but to retain some of the green color I removed it a little earlier).

After removing the pistachios increase the oven temp. to 350 F

Once the pistachios have cooled, rub them between the folds of a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins. I didnt do this very aggressively either and some skin on the pistachios is not a problem. Grind them finely in the food processor. Some large pieces may be left and it is fine to leave them as it is, this adds a bite to the cake after it is cooked.

Add flour, baking soda, and salt( if using unsalted pistachios, add 1/2 tsp salt) and mix in the food processor.

In a clean vessel, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add 3/4 cup of sugar and beat it to
stiff peaks.

egg whites.jpg

In another vessel, using the same beater,beat the egg yolks with the remaining half cup sugar till it is a pale yellow color. Add olive oil and yogurt and mix well. Then using a spatula, fold in the flour.

Lastly fold the egg whites, Do this gently using a spatula. The eggwhites add to the fluffiness of the cake and so when mixing be gentle so as not to flatten the egg whites.

Pour the batter into a 10inch buttered springform pan and bake for about 40 to 50 min.
Mine was ready at about 40min. Keep a close eye on the cake after 30min. Insert a toothpick to see if the cake is ready. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is ready.

Let cool. Serve with honey and chopped pistachios or as it is. This cake lasted us a few days in an airtight container on the countertop. It was a lifesaver after tired work days.

Torte for procrastinators


Thanksgiving has come and gone. I had a great day with friends and this was my contribution to the turkey meal. I wanted to make the torte the day before thanksgiving but was too busy with work and laziness prevented me from cooking. So we woke up early in the day and made the crust. Did the filling while the crust was cooling. Took it over to friends and I held this beauty in my lap all through the drive as this was the outcome of hard work and lost sleep.
This was served after a sumptous lunch and was very well received.
This recipe is almost hard to mess up and the results are always good.
The original recipe is at

To make the crust

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Toast 1/2 cup walnuts( The original recipe says pecans or walnuts)
In a food processor, use the pulse button and grind the walnuts fine.
Add 1/2 cup sugar and 11/2 cup all purpose flour.
Blend this well and add the butter(3/4 cup cold butter, cut up into small pieces.

Spread the mixture into a spring form pan, and push up the mixture one inch up the sides of the pan. Bake until golden (original recipe said 30 to 40 min. but it took almost 45-50 min. Keep checking to see if the crust has the desired color.)
Remove from oven and cool.

To make the filling
Beat together using a hand held mixer, 8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature with 1/2 cup sugar.
With the mixer running, add small amounts of the whipping cream ( 1 cup)in a steady small stream into the cheese mixture. The recipe recommends not to add the whipping cream too fast, or the mixture will be too runny. Finally add 11/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. I think adding the vanilla gives it a real nice kick. ( The original recipe doesn’t suggest this.)
When well blended, spread the cream mixture evenly into the baked, cooled crust.Cover the top with a plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator to be chilled.


Cut strawberries into halves and arrange it on the top of the filling and place mint leaves in between strawberries.
Just before serving, remove the spring form pan rim.
Riesling makes a good wine accompaniment to this dish.
This dessert will be perfect for Christmas as it has green, red and white colors.