September 2, 2014

Brazilian Coffee Shots - a decadent dessert from Brazil...

After the delicious Armenian dip Baba Ghanoush yesterday, today we are in Brazil for the ABC International Blogging Marathon

Brazil = football. Perhaps their map also endorses that J Notwithstanding that they didn’t win the recently held World Football cup 2014, I know of many friends who were heartbroken to know their favourite team didn’t make it to the top.

Brazil also being a tropical country, is best known for its coffee, banana and exotic cocktails. Wiki tells me that The national beverage is coffee and cachaça is Brazil's native liquor. Cachaça is distilled from sugar cane and is the main ingredient in the national cocktail, Caipirinha.

So, today’s dish has two of their top produce – coffee and banana - in an exotic party shot type dessert… And what's more, my elder girl helped me choose it, make it, style it, and even took pics.. (She asked me to mention this specifically that today's dish is 100% her effort ). A huge kiss to my lil chef in the making.. :-) :-)



Before that, lets check out Top 5 things about Brazil --- ( I promise to keep this short)


                                                      (Source:Wiki)

These Brazilian Coffee Shots have a hint of banana and cinnamon in them. You can serve them cold or even make ahead for a party. I love cinnamon and coffee flavor, but you can choose to skip the cinnamon and it would still taste great !!

Coming to the recipe :
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Country – Brazil
Dish – Brazilian Coffee Banana Shots | Recipe type – Dessert
Cuisine - South American (Brazilian)
Difficulty level – Easy
Recipe adapted from Here
Prep 10 mins | Cook time : Nil | Serves : 2
Serving Suggestions : Chilled
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Ingredients:
  • Ripe Bananas – 4 ( I used Elaichi variety)
  • Instant Coffee Powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Thick yoghurt (or hung yoghurt) – 4 TBSP
  • Brown Sugar – 3 TBSP
  • Almonds Silvered  - 4 nos (or use flakes)
  • Garnish : pomegranate pearls and mint leaves (optional)

Method:
  1. Peel and chop bananas roughly. Add instant coffee powder and blend till smooth
  2. Chill glasses. And fill half glasses with this banana coffee mixture.
  3. Spoon thick yoghurt (whisk it lightly with cinnamon) over this.
  4. Top with almond flakes / slivers and pomegranate pearls and / or mint leaves
  5. Chill and Serve



September 1, 2014

Baba Ghanoush, and kick starting the International Blogging Marathon

We begin our journey into the International Blogging Marathon – a brain child of Valli, and the preparation for this has been going on since so many months. Like the Indian Blogging Marathon where we covered Indian states, this month will see us savour dishes from across the world in an alphabetical order. What’s interesting is more than 25 bloggers are participating in this from across the world, and the countless chit chat we have had is not funny. Bordering from humour to early leaders who had their lists and cooking done even before some of us were hearing about the country for the first time, it all comes down to comfort homemade food, cooked with love and enjoyed by the family :-)

One particular Googly thrown at me by the husband was no Maida (APF) and no refined sugars and very low fat to be used during this entire Blogging Marathon.. Rather than a hurdle, I took up the challenge, faltered a bit (read a lot), altered my recipe list a hundred times, and then ended with dishes that was welcomed by all in the family.


So stay tuned as we take you across the world through different countries alphabetically all this September. Words fail me when I thank Valli and the entire team of gals for their constant support and motivation (sometimes into the wee hours of the night , whatsapping endlessly). 

Loads of bookmarks and world cuisine books were consulted, and reconsidered again and again, till we started cooking something doable and tasty and healthy for the family. Not to mention the loads of information that google and wiki provided and sifted through them to present little tidbits for you along with the food made for that country.

Hope you enjoy this joy ride with me ...

When I had to choose for Alphabet A for today, I hopped between Austria and Armenia and Algeria many many times before settling on Armenia. Top 5 things about Armenia that I learnt ---

Flag of Armenia (Wiki)
The Etchmiadzin Cathedral
  • Armenian cuisine is as ancient as the history of Armenia, a combination of different tastes and aromas. The food often has quite a distinct smell. Closely related to eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, various spicesvegetables,fish, and fruits combine to present unique dishes. 
  • The main characteristics of Armenian cuisine are a reliance on the quality of the ingredients rather than heavily spicing food, the use of herbs, the use of wheat in a variety of forms, of legumes, nuts, and fruit (as a main ingredient as well aa to sour food), and the stuffing of a wide variety of leaves.
                                            (Source:Wiki and The Lonely Planet)

Location Map of Armenia - Courtesy CIA 

Baba Ghanoush (aka Baba Ganoush), like so many other middle eastern - Eastern Europe recipes, belongs to Armenia amongst so many other countries due to its geographical location, its cuisine is influenced by neighbouring Persia, Turkey and Iran. Its a versatile dip made with roasted garlic and eggplants and goes great with Pita crusts or veg crudites alike. Great dip to make-ahead for parties too. 


So, at the end of a longish post, lets get to the recipe :

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Country – Armenia
Dish – Baba Ghanoush | Recipe type – Dips, served warm or cold
Spice level – Medium  | Difficulty level – Easy
Recipe adapted from Here
Prep : 20- 25 mins | Cook time : 10 mins | Serves : 4
Serving Suggestions : Pita breads, crackers, Veg Crudites, and also as a side dish for flat breads / yeasted breads ( I served it with Tacos)
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Ingredients:
  • 6-8 pods garlic
  • 1 medium sized eggplant
  • Red Onions – 1
  • Raw Tomato – 1 (Ioptional – but I added it)
  • Coriander chopped – ¼ cup
  • Tabasco Sauce – ½ tsp (I used really spicy version)
  • Basil leaves (fresh or dried) – ½ tsp
  • Olive oil – 1 TBSP
  • Tahini (or sesame paste) – ½ TBSP ** (See Notes for a quick version) - optional
  • Salt  & pepper – to taste
Method:
  1. In a lined baking tray, lightly grease the tomatoes and wrap the peeled garlic pods in double foil. Bake at 180-190 C for 14-15 mins till tomato is roasted and garlic shrivels and darkens a bit (To speed up the process, I heated a large iron wok instead and seared the garlic till they were roasted, and charred the tomatoes a bit)
  2. On a medium gas flame, turn the oiled eggplant several times (with a fork / knife inserted at the crown) and keep turning till the eggplant is roasted evenly on all sides (this will take about 9-10 mins) - I roasted the eggplants a tad longer coz S likes it that way so you see a darker version of this dip
  3. Cool both garlic, tomatoes and eggplant. Peel off skin of eggplant and lightly mash it with a fork. Chop up the roasted garlic and tomatoes (into smaller chunks)
  4. In a large bowl, add this mashed up eggplant, diced garlic,basil, tomatoes, coriander (or parsley), Chopped onions, salt, pepper and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  5. It can be lumpy or smooth as you like it.
  6. Serve with canapés / crackers or anything else you might fancy. It keeps for upto 4 – 6 days under refrigeration, so you might enjoy it as a sandwich spread the next day too :-)

** Notes:
For a quick Tahini paste, blitz roasted sesame seeds with olive oil, a sprig of basil and thyme and some salt / pepper. I used black sesame seeds for this paste

Also linking to Beulah’s Eggplant event, hosted for Nayna.




 

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