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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Watermelon lime popsicle

Quite simple and easy popsicle prepared with watermelon and lime juice, quench your thirst during summer. Check my other popsicle recipes in my blog:

Watermelon lime popsicle

Ingredients:

Serves 4

      • 1/2 no / 3 cups (chopped) – Watermelon with or without seeds
      • 1 tbsp – Lime juice
      • Sugar to taste (optional)

Watermelon lime popsicle

Preparation method:

  1. Chop watermelon into small cubes and transfer them to a wide mixing bowl. Using potato masher, mash the watermelons like puree.
  2. Squeeze some lime juice and required sugar, mix well and strain the juice.
  3. You can use any popsicle mold of your choice. Pour watermelon juice and close the popsicles mold with lid or cover with aluminum foil and insert a ice cream stick in each mould, freeze it for 4 to 5 hours or overnight in the freezer part of the refrigerator.
  4. When it is done, take it out and carefully show the outer surface under tap of hot running water for 30 seconds before pull out the popsicles. Serve it immediately.

Watermelon lime popsicle

Watermelon lime popsicle

Notes:

  • I used small variety of watermelon in this recipe.
  • You may use blender to blend watermelon to a puree.
  • Sugar is completely optional. Since my watermelon was very sweet, I did not use any sugar in this recipe.
  • Make sure to wipe up any spills on the mold or tray before you put the tray into the freezer.
  • When your popsicles are completely frozen, you will be able to pull on the stick easily. If the stick comes out by itself, your popsicle is not completely frozen. If the stick stays fast, your popsicle is frozen (ready to eat).

Watermelon lime popsicle

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Spring onion thuvaiyal

Spring onion thuvaiyal / thogayal is a spicy and tangy side dish prepared with fresh spring onion / green onion and other spices, which goes well with rice, rasam and appalam. It also goes well with idli and dosai. Other thuvaiyal recipes from my blog:

Spring onion thuvaiyal

Ingredients:

Serves 3 to 4

      • 2 bunches – Spring onion( around 1 1/2 cup chopped) (i used only green parts for this recipe)
      • 2 tbsp – Whole black gram without skin / ulunthu
      • 1 or 2 nos – Dry red chillies ( or add as needed)
      • 1 no – Tamarind (slightly less than gooseberry size)
      • 1 tsp – Oil ( for sauteing)
      • Salt to taste

Spring onion thuvaiyal

Preparation method:

  1. Wash spring onion thoroughly and chop them as shown in the picture. Set it aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add whole black gram / ulunthu and dry red chillies , saute until golden brown in color. Followed by tamarind, saute for few seconds.
  3. Add chopped spring onion, saute them until well cooked and reduce in their volume. Switch off the stove and allow them to cool completely.
  4. Transfer sauteed mixture to the mixer grinder along with required salt , grind it by sprinkling little water to a coarse paste. Simple thuvaiyal is ready and serve with white rice, rasam, appalam.

Spring onion thovayal

Notes:

  • Do not over roast ulunthu (black gram) and red chillies otherwise burnt smell will come from the thuvaiyal.
  • Do not add too much water while grinding.
  • You may use any number of dry red chillies as per your spice level.
  • I used only the green portion of spring onion.

Spring onion thuvaiyal

Friday, July 24, 2015

Grilled zucchini

Zucchini grilled with garlic infused olive oil that is quick and yummy starter during summer get to gather. You may serve with any spicy or mild sauce of your choice.

Grilled zucchini  

Ingredients:

Serves 2 to 3

      • 1 no – Zucchini
      • 2 tbsp – Olive oil
      • 2 clove – Garlic (grated or chopped finely or crushed)
      • 1/8 tsp – Italian seasonings
      • 1/4 tsp – Lemon juice
      • Salt and pepper powder to taste

Grilled zucchini

Preparation method:

  1. Wash zucchini and cut them into thick slices as shown in the picture, set it aside.
  2. Take a mixing bowl, add olive oil, grated garlic, Italian seasonings, lemon juice, required salt and pepper powder, mix well and set it aside for 10 to 15  minutes.
  3. Now add sliced zucchini into the garlic infused olive oil and rub it all over zucchini. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a grilled ( i used panini making grill), place marinated zucchini and turn them every few minutes until it is tender and grilled, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.

Grilled zucchini

Grilled zucchini

Notes:

  • Cut zucchini into half inch slices, not too thin.
  • While grilling you may also brush the zucchini with left over garlic infused olive oil for more glazy and yummy look.
  • You may increase or decrease the quantity of pepper powder and lemon juice as per your taste.

Grilled zucchini

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cherry jam / Homemade cherry jam

As we went for cherry picking I got fresh cherries at home and I was eagerly waiting to make some recipes with it. First thing came into my mind was homemade fresh fruit jam, tried one and it came out really well. You may think making jam is difficult, but this recipe is actually simple and really yummy.

Cherry jam / Homemade cherry jam

Ingredients:

Yields upto 1 cup of jam

      • 2 cups – Fresh cherry (chopped finely)
      • 1 1/2 cups – Sugar
      • 1/2 tbsp – Lemon juice

Cherry jam / Homemade cherry jam

Preparation method:

  1. Wash cherries thoroughly in running water, remove stems and seeds, chop them finely ( chop as small as possible).
  2. Put 1 or 2 small silver plates into your freezer, we will be using these plates later to test whether the jam is ready.
  3. Take a wide vessel, add chopped cherries and lemon juice. Heat the cherries on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes until they are soft and well cooked. Using potato masher, mash cherries nicely and switch off the stove.
  4. Meanwhile heat water in a vessel, bring it to boil and sterilize jars thoroughly. Dry them completely and set it aside.
  5. Now you have to work on how much sugar you may have to add. Pour cherry pulp out into a measuring cup. You should add sugar that is equal to measurement of cherry pulp. I had 1 1/2 cups of pulp, so I have added 1 1/2 cup of sugar.
  6. Bring back cherry pulp into the same vessels, add required sugar and stir well until the sugar melts. Increase the heat and bring the jam to the boil. It will bubble and then it will start to thicken up.
  7. When you think it may be ready, place a teaspoon of the liquid on one of your chilled plates and put it back in the fridge for a minute or two. It should get thick and be like jam consistency. If it is still watery you can put it back on stove and cook for few more mins. Take the jam from the heat just in case it is ready - you don't want to overcook it.
  8. The jam is ready when your chilled sample forms a skin on top that wrinkles when you push it with your finger. Cool them completely and fill your jam into sterilised jars. Enjoy cherry with your favourite bread.

Cherry jam / Homemade cherry jam

Cherry jam / Homemade cherry jam

Cherry jam / Homemade cherry jam

Cherry jam / Homemade cherry jam

Notes:

  • Pectin is the magical ingredient that helps jam to set. Since I do not want any artificial ingredients in my jam, I have added lemon juice in place of pectin.
  • Lemons acts as a preservative and helps jam to have longer self life. Also i do not want to make a whole bunch of jam, so i have prepared a small batch of jam and kept it in refrigerator and used it for 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Do not over cook jam. Consistency of jam after it is cooked was little watery, but once cooled it became thick as our store bought jam.
  • You may use food chopper to chop cherries to make it very fine one.

Cherry jam / Homemade cherry jam

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cherry picking trip

July 4, 2015 – We made a trip to a cherry farm and this was a sudden plan that day morning which was initiated by one of our friends. I was so excited as i never been to any fruit picking trip.

Cherry pic 3

Finally, along with our friends, we started our trip from Mississauga around 12.30 in the afternoon and of course we all packed our lunch bags from home like lemon rice, curd rice, mini podi idly, tomato rice, chicken curry and snacks. The weather was really good and we all had wearing hats and sunglasses (please do take them when you go for a trip like this).

Due to heavy volume of traffic we reached there around 2.30 in the afternoon. We parked our cars and grabbed a cardboard basket of our own. Waited in line for the tractor ride to reach the exact cherry picking spot with in the farm. Just took a few minutes to reach that spot and got off the tractor. The children were so excited and running to the cherry plant to pick as mush as possible.

Cherry pic 4

We all had a chance to taste cherry while picking and took pictures with colorful cherries. Some cherries were bright red while others were dark maroon in color. Dark cherries were tasting better than bright red ones. We did pick around 5 lbs and the total cost was 11.25 CAD.

We moved on to have our lunch around 4’ o clock, in the farm they had picnic tables and a little play area for kids. After our lunch kids were enjoyed playing in the little play area with other kids there. After a while we continued our trip to Niagara falls.

Cherry pic 1

Place: Cherry avenue farm

Where it is located: 4303 Cherry Avenue, Lincoln, Ontario, L0R2E0

Phone number: 905-562-5481

Located in the beautiful Niagara Peninsula, farm has been owned and operated by the Moyer Family since 1799.  They are open 7 days a week. Monday - Saturday: 8 am-7pm and Sundays/Holidays: 8 am-6pm. Cherries cost- $2.25 per pound. They do not have an entrance fee, but they do have a minimum purchase of $5/adult and $2/child. They have this rule so that visitors do not go in the orchard just to eat!.

Cherry season in Ontario runs in June and July but always check with the farm first before planning your trip. Cherry picking can be a great way to spend time with your family, as well as getting fresh fruit.

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Health benefits of cherries:

Cherries not only taste great but they also provide the body with key nutrients. Cherries are full of antioxidants. These antioxidants have a number of different benefits, including the ability to prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as fighting off free radicals. The antioxidants found in cherries also work to slow the signs of aging.

Cherries are also loaded with fiber. This fiber helps accelerate weight loss and reduces your cholesterol levels by slowing its absorption into your blood.

Fresh cherries can be eaten as it is or you may prepare cherry jam, baked into pies, swirled into ice cream. 

Cherry pic 2

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