Happiness comes in many avatars. It came to me in form of my own cookbook published by www.betterbutter.in My family felt happy and my kids were overjoyed to see their favourite cakes, breads and cookies in the book. Cooking is sometimes looked upon as a blasé and routine affair. It gets little credit and appreciation. But when it is valued as a skill, it gets a lot of attention and admiration. My cook book added value to my adventures and experiments in kitchen.

Celebrations add colour to life. And small moments, even seemingly insignificant ones, must be stolen from life and celebrated. My cook book was celebrated. We made Doce de grão.

I learnt this recipe from my friend Freda. She blogs at aromaticessence
Her blog is one stop shop for lovely bakes, sweets and candies.

Doce de grão (Goan Chonya Doce)

Doce de grão is a popular Goan sweet. It is prepared during Christmas, festivities, celebrations and special occasions like marriage. It is a soft fudgy sweet with lovely flavor of coconut and cardamom.

It is a healthy sweet that can be made in advance, stored and savoured as and when you like.

250 grams Chana dal (split Bengal gram)
200 grams desiccated coconut
450 grams granulated sugar
½ teaspoon green cardamom powder
1 ½ tablespoon ghee
½ teaspoon salt
Clean Chana dal and soak in water for 3 to 4 hours. Drain.
Add just enough water to cover the dal and pressure cook till tender. Let it cool to room temperature.
Grind dal into a fine, smooth and thick paste
Transfer paste into a thick bottom steel wok. Add coconut, sugar and salt. Cook on medium heat.
Keep stirring continuously. The mixture will be thin initially but as it cooks, it will start thickening. The mixture will bubble and splutter. A ladle with long handle will be convenient for stirring.
The mixture will keep thickening and requires constant and vigorous stirring till it leaves the sides of the wok. Soon it will become quite dry come together as a ball. Add ghee and powdered cardamom. Give a good final stir.
Grease a big size tray or a part of kitchen counter. Empty the mixture and roll it out into one inch thick rectangle with a greased rolling pin. Cut into diamond shapes while warm. Serve when cold

A Brown headed Barbet came to our bird bath today.

We are journeying further into winters. The Sun is getting paler and weaker, softer and calmer. However, it does tend to gain strength by midday.  This is the time when people in small hamlet like ours are through with the routine chores and come out of their rooms to get warmth of the Sun. This is post lunch session. Lazing around and reading a book, or eating oranges and nuts or just napping….it is absolute relaxation.

Having spent afternoon in the Sun, we decided on baking Focaccia with grapes- Schiacciata Con L’uva. Soon the pots and pans clanked as kids, decided to lend help in baking it. My daughter measured yeast and added it to sweetened warm water. Son washed and wiped the grapes dry, tossing a few in his mouth stealthily. Amidst animated conversation and excited chatter, the final dough was ready. Grapes were studded carefully, rosemary tossed, salt sprinkled and olive oil drizzled generously over the bread.

Yeasty aroma wafted through and our bread was ready.

In Tuscany, Schiacciata means “flattened down” and refers to flatbread that is otherwise known as Focaccia in Italy.  Tuscans make this lovely bread with grapes during grape wine harvest. You’ll love this chewy, sweet-salty indulgence that has a unique taste of olive oil, grapes, rosemary all combined in every slice that has crisp edges and soft crumb.

¾ cup warm water
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups black or red grapes halved
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoons fresh rosemary needles or dry rosemary
Mix water, sugar and milk. Add yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes till frothy.
Add salt, flour and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir well and knead for 6 to 8 minutes till you get a very smooth and elastic dough.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Turn around dough so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover with a kitchen cloth. Let is rise for 1 hour or until double.
Press the down dough with oiled hand. Turn the dough onto a floured counter and divide into 2 balls. Let balls rest for 20 minutes. Brush two baking trays with oil. Apply oil in your hands and stretch balls one by one into a rectangle. Cover and let it rise for about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C. Brush the top of the Focaccia with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle the top with grapes, rosemary, salt and sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. The crust should turn golden.
Cool on the rack. Slice and serve warm or cold.

NewerStories OlderStories Home