Saturday, April 27, 2013

Picture of the Week ~ Budha @ Gangtok

Picture of  the Week

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Torcettini di Saint Vincent ~ Sugar Crusted Twisted Cookies from the Valle d’Aosta

Torcettini di Saint Vincent

April is over within a week!  " 'We Knead to Bake' something different, so we’re baking yeasted cookies", decides Aparna! Since this particular biscuit/cookies are yeasted and involve a bread-like dough, it qualified perfectly.
So according to her,
Torcettini are smaller versions of Torcetti (meaning small twists), and these pear/teardrop shaped twists are made of a dough of flour, yeast and butter which are shaped and then rolled in sugar before being baked. These biscuits are synonymous with the town of Saint Vincent in Valle d'Aosta, a small mountainous region in North-Western Italy. They’re well known throughout the Piedmont region as well.

The origin of these biscuits is believed to be from Grissini (breadsticks) which were made from the leftover scraps of bread dough. According to one story, a Grissini baker had some leftover butter which he needed to use up. Inspiration struck and he decided to add the butter to the last batch of his Grissini dough for the day. To be able to differentiate this lot of “breadsticks”, he rolled them in sugar and shaped them into loops, and the Torcetti was born. Torcetti/ Torchettini taste even better when they’re flavoured with lime/ lemon zest or anise.

It is said that Queen Margherita, the wife of King Umberto I of Savoy, liked the cookies in one pastry shop so much that she knighted the owner on the spot. A certificate attesting to this still hangs in the pastry shop in Saint Vincent. During her stay in Valle d'Aosta, that she gave her servants enough provisions to bake an abundant supply for her consumption.

Torcettini di Saint Vincent

Torcettini di Saint Vincent
Adapted from 'A Baker’s Tour' by Nick Malgieri

Makes 24 cookies
(I halved the recipe and baked 12 cookies)


1/2 cup warm water, about 110F
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 tsp instant yeast)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lime/ lemon zest
40gm unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
About 1/3 cup sugar for rolling the cookies

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tender Coconut Mint Cooler


Coconuts are nature's IV bags! I vaguely remember reading somewhere about this.
During World War II and the Vietnam War, hospitals used coconuts as IV drips to rehydrate sick and unconscious patients. The hospitals with limited supplies of medicines, particularly during the war, sometimes run short. At one time they saw a bunch of soldiers come in with partial bodily paralysis and high fever. One of them was unable to take in fluids, and soon became severely dehydrated. The hospital was running low on IV bags. Somebody scaled a coconut tree and fetched a coconut down, careful not to crack the outer husk. Part of the husk was peeled away, exposing the eyes of the coconut. Doctors jabbed a large needle through one of them. The needle came out full of coconut meat, and so a new needle was inserted in the existing hole, and, presumably, sucked a little nutrition out of the original needle. The coconut was connected up to the IV tube, which was jabbed right into the patient. The man stayed hydrated with coconut water for two days, after which he recovered and regained his health.
I believe many of you would would have come across this story, but it reminds me of this every time I gulp down the nature's best water.

Hence, apart from the medicinal properties of coconut water, the intracellular fluid or the plasma best matches with the density of salts present in coconut water.
The glucose is easily assimilable and refreshes you instantly once consumed orally!

I can go on and on about the heavenly goodness.
 The peak summer is on in T.N, the temperature touching the perfect 40 deg and today I flavoured the tender coconut water with mint, for a change.


Tender Coconut Mint Cooler

 For one serving,
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Chettinad Kari Varuval / Chettinad Mutton Fry

Chettinad Mutton Varuval

Almost two weeks have rushed past since the previous post. I moved back home from lovely Namakkal last week and  had my hands full with bringing back the house to shape. The past 3-4 days were occupied with house visits and courtesy calls related to ceremonies and grievances I'd missed during my 4 month absence. I unbelievably miss Namakkal and my in-laws which accelerates the no-mood to blog.
It requires so much of your energy to push yourselves at times, right?

Each time I picture and post a non-vegetarian dish, something makes me feel not quite fine, the prime reason, I believe, the respect I have for hardcore vegetarianism embedded in my in-laws.
 I believe they would consider the fact that this is sharing of a traditional recipe and excuse me for the same :)
Parallely, I make sure these dishes are not cooked in my kitchen, but mostly in my parents' place, friends' or elsewhere and pictured to bring up here.Obviously, this is from my drafts.

I request my readers who are vegetarians, not to click the 'read more' option down, if you find yourselves intolerant to meat!
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