Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Honey flavored Bread Pudding with Raisins and Cashew Nuts

Bread Pudding is dessert made with a commonly available ingredient - bread. It is popular in many countries in Europe, the Americas', Australia .... Some versions of bread pudding include alcohol - bourbon, rum, some include honey, some others nuts, raisins, dried fruits, etc. Syrup and sauces are also added when serving, to enhance the taste further.   
Today, I have added honey and vanilla essence to flavor the pudding along with some cashew nuts and raisins for that extra bite. I also broiled it for a few minutes for a brown and lightly crisp top.
Bread slices - 7
Milk - 2 cup
Eggs - 4
Sugar - 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp additional (optional)
Honey - 3 tbsp
Butter - 2 tbsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Cashew nuts - 2 tbsp
Raisins - 2 tbsp
Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. Take some of the butter and grease a loaf pan or square cake pan. 
Cut the crusts off the bread slices and cut into 1 inch square pieces. Put the bread pieces into the greased pan and pour the remaining melted butter into the pan. Reserve a few raisin and cashew nut pieces for topping and add the rest to the bread pieces.

In a bowl, add the milk, sugar, 2 tbsp honey and vanilla essence and mix. Break the eggs into the milk mixture and whisk with a fork till the sugar is mixed in. Pour this on the bread and using a spoon press the bread into the milk mixture till all the pieces are well soaked.
I used granulated sugar and depending on how sweet you want adjust the sugar.

Put the pan into the oven and bake for 45 minutes. After 20 minutes spoon the honey over the pudding and carefully spread it all over the top. Top the pudding with the reserved raisins and cashew nuts and continue baking. Once the 45 minutes is up, change the settings to broil and broil for about 5 minutes to get a browned top. Let it cool.
Cut slices and serve with honey and cream on the side.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Badam Doodh / Almond Milk Shake

We Indians, surely have a thing for milk. The fascination and fixation for milk even produced a legend like Milkha Singh, though it is sheer coincidence that even the name begins with the word 'milk'. Then, there's the fascination for milk-based drinks and milkshakes that come in myriad varieties and flavors, with uses that range from thirst quenchers to desserts to energy drinks and even cannabis (bhang)-based cocktails called as thandai. A good glass of milk, boiled with a clutch of crushed dry fruits like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, dates, and more, laced with cardamom or chironji seeds, served chilled or warm, is surely a comfort drink for a sweltering hot day or a shivery cold night.
Milk - 2 cup
Almonds - 18 to 20
Saffron - a pinch or Saffron syrup - 1 tsp
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Sugar - 2 tsp
Soak the almonds in lukewarm water.
Boil the milk and keep aside. After a few minutes strain it to take out any of the cream that forms on top. Grind the almonds in 1/4th cup milk to a fine paste. Add this paste to the rest of the milk and strain it if you like especially for children. I prefer not to strain it. Then add the sugar, saffron strands and cardamom powder. Mix well and keep in the refrigerator to cool. Serve it either cool or chilled.

For people with lactose intolerence try the same with almond milk. Soak about half a cup of almonds overnight or even upto 24 hours and grind to a fine paste. Then add water and pulse it once more. Use a fine mesh sieve to separate the milk. Grind the leftover nut pieces with a little water and again sieve to get the fine milk, discard any remains. Add the sugar, saffron strands and cardamom powder. Mix well and keep in the refrigerator to cool. Serve it either cool or chilled.