It's raining sweets everywhere thanks to Diwali, but this year we didn't partake in any celebration as such and didn't witness a single firecracker display so I couldn't help but miss the festivities back home. However, it's nothing short of a festive mood here as we still have Christmas and New Year's to look forward to so cooking and baking goodies is happening in full swing at my place. The last couple of months are the ones I look forward to the most every year. This year is no different. It helps that we don't plan to travel during the Christmas vacations as I am free to do what I please and yeah, despite warning myself every year I spend most of my days in the kitchen whipping up something new to be added to my festive repertoire. This year is no different but then I have promised myself that I will wind up much earlier than usual and keep a week before Christmas free to spend time with family and take the kids out.
So....the festivities will continue and the goodies will flow, on the blog of course, starting now! Right here, right now is the mantra. I will post as many recipes as I can till mid December after which I will vanish (hopefully) and resurface after I've gotten over the post party hangover! Let's see how much of this pre New Year resolution I am able to keep up with.
So peeps, I found this simple recipe in the book named Hummingbird Bakery, Home Sweet Home, 100 New Recipes for Baking Brilliance, that I picked up from the library. I love doing the library rounds every month as I get to choose from a lot of great books but no prizes for guessing what I select. Cookbooks of course! I bring 2-3 cookbooks every month and I've been going crazy deciding what to cook/bake. So many recipes and just one life to try them out!
A lot of people ask me how I manage to cook so much or who eats it all. Sometimes I also get questions such as do I blog whatever is cooked to feed my family or do I cook to feed the blog. Well, first things first. I cook to feed myself and sometimes I cook to feed the blog. Especially when it comes to traditional Mangalorean recipes that I find in my collection of recipes handed down by family, I try them out just so that they are documented properly and are out there for anyone who needs them. You see, even I like recipes that are properly written down and accurate to the tee. Most times the recipes in my possession were given by people who used approximation while measuring and I really can't be racking my brains figuring out the standard measures out of these approximations EVERY single time that I cook, can I? So yes, I like to try those recipes just for the sake of documenting them properly and be done with them once and for all. Once this is done I can go ahead and discard the paper cuttings/post-its on which they were initially noted down on. Nobody really has the space required to hoard up tons of recipe books and cuttings. So in that sense, I appear to be cooking to feed the blog. I personally feel that there is nothing wrong with it. In the end, the blog is for myself and what I think is important to be document goes on the blog. Period.
Secondly, I am a person who gets completely smitten by great recipes that are made to look so great in beautiful pictures. Pictures so beautiful that they actually make me want to stop doing whatever I am doing and just walk to the kitchen and try it out. This however is not a practical thing to do, so I bookmark a ton of recipes and go through them during my free time (usually when I am at the salon, doctor's waiting room, outside my son's music class). So whenever I do end up making something it is usually in proportions that have been scaled down to fit my family's appetite. Nothing goes waste as I don't cook for 20 people unless there's a party. The little extra that I make usually gets shared with family and neighbours who cheerfully accept my experiments and give me their valuable feedback. Many a dish has been vetoed or tried again and again and again till it was good enough to be posted on the blog. So in that sense, I blog what I cook and most times food gets a makeover and new recipes are created everyday. To add to this, I have married a foodie who loves to cook, so we are a team of two enthusiastic contributors to the blog :) Win! Win!
Since I am a very impulsive person when it comes to food I like to try out anything that catches my fancy. It could be traditional Mangalorean recipes or easy sweet recipes but it's usually cakes and bakes that I love the most. Of late due to time constraints I have resorted to simple everyday meals and most of the elaborate cooking is done only on weekends or once in two weeks or so. Hopefully many of these quick and easy recipes and especially a bigger variety will make their appearance on the blog in the coming weeks.
Folks, for the sake of variety, I have decided that I will accept 50 recipe requests for the coming year so if you have a dish in mind that you'd like to try, please send me a recipe request to firstname.lastname@example.org with Recipe Request 2016 in the subject line. I will add it to my list of recipes to try and if I am able to create a your request successfully I will post it on the blog. So what are you waiting for? Hit me with your ideas! 1-2-3... Go!
Coconut Ice ~ Easy, No Cook Recipe
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: Nil | Setting time: 1-2 hours | Yield 25 small squares
- 250 ml (9oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 250 grams (9 oz) icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting * see notes
- 200 grams (7 oz) desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
- 1-2 drops of red liquid food colour
1. Line a 7 inch square baking tin with parchment (butter paper) and lightly dust with icing sugar
2. In a large bowl, mix the condensed milk, desiccated coconut and icing sugar (use only enough to bind everything). Do a taste check and add the icing sugar or coconut - depending on how sweet you like it.
3. Divide the mixture into half. Place one portion in another bowl and add 1 drop of red food colour to it and mix. Add more colour until you achieve the desired shade of pink. Wash your hands to rid them of any extra food colour that may taint the uncoloured portion.
4. Place the white coconut mixture in the prepared baking pan and pat it down evenly. Next, place the pink mixture and repeat until everything is used up.
5. Leave the tin uncovered (or simply cover with a wire mesh) for about 2 hours or overnight for best results. Cut into 25 pieces and serve!
1. Depending on the sweetness of the condensed milk that you use you will need to adjust the icing sugar as well.
2. For an Indian touch, cover the coconut ice with some silver varq (leaf) before serving.