Saturday, 15 July 2017

Lemon Marmalade | Himalayan Lemon Marmalade

It was May when we last visited the hills. Call it late spring or early summer or amalgamation of both, the weather was pleasant and every bush, every tree was bursting with blossoms. We trekked on leafy lanes and silent alleys that passed through villages and fields.

Somewhere in between, we spotted a cottage with a lemon tree in the side laden with fruit. Some were fallen on the ground. 

We collected them and got them home. Some were used to make tangy lemonade while the rest were made into thick chunky marmalade.

Hilly Lemons or Pahari Nimbu as they are locally called, are spindle shaped with thick skin. The fruit is sour. The lemons are popularly used to make pickle. The best thing is that they are organic. No sprays or pesticides are used in cultivation. The peel can be used without any hesitation

 Brighten up your breakfast with tangy and chunky marmalade. I used some to bake a Marmalade cake.

Himalayan Lemon Marmalade


  • 2 large lemons
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar

You will also need –
Muslin cloth, a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, a steel plate


  1. Wash the lemons. Wipe them dry. Chop off the edges of the lemons
  2. Peel the outer skin with a peeler. Take care not to peel too deep.
  3. Cut the peels into fine shreds. Keep aside.
  4. Cut lemons in half and then cut into segments. Remove flesh. Remove and collect all the membranes and seeds. Take membranes and seeds in the muslin bag. We will use them to make pectin.
  5. Take the flesh and shredded peels in a large steel wok. Add water.  Place muslin bag on the side. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes or till the peels become tender. Eat one to test. If it is chewy, cook further add more water if needed.
  6. Remove the pectin bag and keep it in a bowl. Let it cool. When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze it get pectin. When you’ve collected enough, add pectin to the mixture.
  7. Add sugar.
  8. Cook the mixture on medium heat. It will foam up. Keep stirring continuously. Lower the flame if it is foaming up too much.
  9. After 20-25 minutes of cooking when it begins to thicken, drop some mixture on the steel plate If it Spreads out thinly, it needs to be cooked further. If it sets and wrinkles when pushed with a finger, it is done.
  10. Sterilise the jars while the marmalade cools. Wash and dry the jars with the lids. Keep them in the oven. Set temperature to 100 degrees and timer to ten minutes.
  11. Ladle warm jelly into the jars. Leave ¼ inch headspace at the top. Secure the lids.
  12. Once open, refrigerate.

My tip – The quantity of fruit, water and sugar will be same. If you have 1 cup peels and flesh, then you’ll require 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Braided Herbed Breadsticks | #BreadBakers

It has been raining incessantly. The rain is falling heavily.  The sound is metallic when it falls on the car shed, it whispers when it passes through the trees. It sounds like strains of some musical instrument when it falls on our pond. The rise and fall of the wind speed gives rhythm to the sonorous music. The leaves seem to be studded with jewels with water droplets sitting on them.

We spot a Scaly Breasted Munia enjoying the rain.

Later in the day, it clears up. Sun shines through the clouds and butterflies begin to emerge from the bushes.

There is a lot of hullabaloo in the kitchen. We are making breadsticks. The dough is being rolled to be braided. Kids are trying their hand at braiding. Younger one makes fat braids while the elder one braids tightly. Soon the baking tray goes inside the oven and the yeasty aroma fills up the nooks and crannies of our home.

In the evening it begins to rain again and we enjoy our crisp breadsticks with thick tomato soup.

Braided Herbed Breadsticks


  • ¾  cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Italian spice mix
  • 1 tablespoon mixed dry herbs
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or any neutral oil


  1. Mix together first three ingredients. Cover and keep for 10 minutes. The mixture will turn frothy.
  2. Whisk together remaining ingredients.
  3. Add to the yeast mixture and stir till well combined.
  4. Empty dough on a floured counter and knead for 5-6 minutes till it becomes soft, supple and elastic.
  5. Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Turn around once to coat it with oil evenly.  Cover and keep for an hour or until doubled.
  6. Punch the dough and divide into two. Roll the first piece into a circle of about 12 inches in diameter.
  7. Cut 24 strips. Roll three strips one by one, at a time. Pinch the ends together and make a tight braid.
  8. Tuck in the edges on both the sides.
  9. Prepare all the bread sticks this way and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  10. Repeat with the other piece of dough
  11. Cover and keep for 20 to 25 minutes or until doubled. Preheat oven at 180 degrees C.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  13. Cool on the rack.

Linking to Bread Bakers-

This month's Bread Baker's theme is Braided Breads and is hosted by Gayathri Kumar of Gayathri's Cook Spot   
Gayathri's blog has a lovely collection of eggless bakes. Thank You Gayathri for choosing the 
wonderful theme
Here is the collection of all the beautiful braided breads from our team.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to [email protected]


Monday, 26 June 2017

Peanut Oats And Honey Laddu (Gluten free and Sugar free)

It is late evening. The sky is packed with clouds, gray and heavy. Our little one sees his favourite cartoon characters in the clouds. He squeals with joy.  Our elder one spots animals. A strong breeze blows. Clouds change shapes and so do the characters. The breeze shakes the tree tops and there is a pitter patter of ripe jamuns falling on the dry leaves. Kids rush to collect the fruits and a Barbet drinking from the pot is caught unawares. She is bewildered.

Soon the clouds spread like a gray film on the sky and it begins to drizzle. Kids’ giggles are audible as they run around in the cool showers.
The kitchen is active. Dinner is being cooked. And, some healthy sugar-free laddus are also being made.

When hunger comes at odd hours, we enjoy these healthy sugar-free laddus. These are laddus in a new avatar. We prepare them every weekend and enjoy round the week. You can take them on journeys and picnics as well. It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare these guilt free laddus.

Peanut Oats and Honey Laddu (Gluten-free and Sugar-free)


  • 2 cups roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup Honey or maple syrup for vegan version
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla essence 


  1. Take roasted peanuts in a grinder and grind till you get a fine powder.
  2. Add oil and salt and grind till you get peanut butter (almost). You will have to keep scraping the mixture down the sides and keep grinding to get peanut butter. It is ok even if the peanut butter is not creamy.
  3. After 10 minutes, add 1 1/4 cup oats and honey. Add vanilla. Mix once
  4. The mixture will be dough-like in consistency. Take a spoonful of mixture and press to see if you can make a laddu. If it is not holding shape, add remaining oats.
  5. Take a tablespoon of mixture and make laddus.
  6. Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate if making in summers.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Sfouf – Lebanese Curcuma Cake (Vegan)


It is late morning. We are sitting on the stairs in our backyard. The Sunlight is visible on the tree tops. The Sun will soon rise up higher and engulf our world in sweltering heat. Another very hot day is about to unfold. We are feeling listless. It is heat-induced lethargy. The Sun rises higher and golden hues spread further down. We see a spotted dove in our Magnolia tree.  It seems to be thirsty. The water pot is duly filled up.

Ginger tea arrives and we love to sip a  hot mug of steaming tea. Before the heat makes working impossible, we clean our backyard, a pumpkin climber is guided to climb the branch fixed on the ground. We notice the Dove again, now sitting next to the bird pot and intently watching our activities. We realized that we had forgotten to keep millets in the food table. The needful was done.

Later in the day, we got down to baking   Sfouf.
Sfouf is a sweet almond cake from Lebanon. Sfouf gets its beautiful golden hue from Turmeric. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant. It has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. This definitely makes Sfouf healthy. Aniseed gives it a beautiful flavour. This is a simple, healthy, low fat and easy to make cake

Sfouf – Lebanese Curcuma Cake


  • 1 cup fine Semolina
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 3/4 + 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons aniseed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup almonds (blanched, peeled and halved)


  1. Grease and line the bottom of one 8 inch round cake pan. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Boil water. Add aniseed, cover and let steep for 20 minutes.
  3. Strain and keep aside anise tea till lukewarm.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together semolina, all-purpose flour, baking powder, turmeric powder and caster sugar.
  5. Add anise tea, oil to dry ingredients and mix well.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Decorate with almond halves.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes. Check with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it is done, Else, bake for another 5-6 minutes.
  9. Remove from the pan after 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and invert onto the cooling rack.
  10. Slice when cold

My Tip   Substitute water with milk. In that case, add just ground aniseed. You may also use toasted sesame seeds and pine nuts for decoration

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Mixed Berry Almond Loaf | #BreadBakers

The season of flowers never seems to get over in the foothills. Even when the Sun is belligerent and spewing heat with all generosity, the Neem tree bears small milky flowers. It is a soothing sight to see cascades of flowers in the boughs. A sweet smell soothes the senses as you pass by or stand underneath. Bees, insects small birds all swarm around the bunches of flowers.

Last week we had an unexpected downpour. It rained heavily and our lawn turned into a swimming pool. A few days later, we a riot of colours. Football lilies sprouted out of every inch of the Earth. 

Dad loved them and the bulbs planted by him have been multiplying. He must be smiling from up there.

 It is early morning and we head to our backyard to collect ripe wood apples and mangoes that fall and remain hidden in the dead vegetation.  Our backyard is a parched landscape in the summer with mottled shades of brown. Some plants ( presumably planted by Dad) brighten the dull corners of the dry patch. These are snow white flowers growing around the tender branches.

We come home with bags full of ripe fruits and enjoy a hot cup of tea. No matter how hot it is, a cup of tea is refreshing. 

Later, we get down to baking a Mixed Berry Almond Loaf.
The loaf is moist, mildly sweet and full of chewy berries. Almond meal makes the crumb really soft and delicious. You can identify every berry by its taste and flavour.

Mixed Berry Almond Loaf


  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Almond meal
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (scant) baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 flax egg (1tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp water. Mix and refrigerate for 10 minutes, Whisk. Use)
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 ½ cup dry mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, strawberries, blackberries)


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line one 8x4 inch loaf tin.
  2. Whisk together first six ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, take all the liquid ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients and mix to combine.
  5. Fold in berries tossed in some flour.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin.
  7. Arranged almond slices on top.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes or till the top turns golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the tin. Slice when cold                                                                                              
Linking to Breadbakers -

This month's BreadBakers' theme is Breads with Nut Meals and Nut Flours inspired bread, hosted by Cindy at Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Enjoy all these creative breads using nut meals and nut flours from The Bread Bakers Group!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to [email protected].


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