~ Spring Rain ~ April has already stepped in!! Its difficult to understand how quickly time flies , its hard to believe that the new year and christmas bellsrang more than 3 months back! Seems like a few days back we were decorating the Christmas tree and now easter and summer both are gradually stepping in. The colorful spring flowers are in their last blooms but wait there is something really unusual about this spring, its has been raining quite a lot this time , undoubtedly the sudden showers refresh us but it adds to the plight of the poor farmers who have already faced much damage to their crops. Owing to the sudden thunderstorm and downpour in the evening , little one could not go out to play with her friends. While she was busy admiring the pitter patter of the rain on the leaves and spring blossoms, I decided to capture the scene on plate. The sudden thunderstorm and weather disturbance filled the market place with oranges and I stocked up (as much my refrigerator could hold) a few dozens for juice and fruity ice lollies. The berries were driving me crazy!!Spring is also the season to dig into unlimited berries too. Along with the fun salad I made a big bowl of refreshing fruit salad too.Luscious strawberries, cape gooseberries, cherry tomatoes, kiwi, grapes all tossed up with some lemon juice,mint and black salt .The garden and the plants thoroughly enjoyed the sudden shower and the lil one her themed salad. Orange, grapes, banana , parsley and toasted sunflower seeds.
~ Happy Holi ~Hope your life is framed with the colors of love and happiness, today and always ....Little Food Junction wishes all its readers a very Happy Holi !! Holi or the festival of colors , is the most fun filled and boisterous of Indian festivals . It is synonymous with aromatic colors, music,delicious treats, fun and play. The warm breeze , the colorful flowers, the fun and frolic of kids , the smell of aromatic Holi pigment and freshly made sweet treats all beautiful symbolize the advent of spring.The festivities begin with lighting a bonfire the previous evening and offering the new harvests, particularly wheat sheaves, gram pods,sugarcane and natural pigments made of turmeric, marigold or flame of the forest flowers ( called tesu/palash in local dialect) to the fire God.Soon after this ritual elders start distributing sweets while the lil ones get busy smearing dry pigment on each other. Holi is incomplete without Thandai - a spiced traditional Indian beverage made by pounding together almonds,melon seeds, rose petals , fennel n cardamom. For my lil ones pre Diwali bash I prepared some Thandai choco cups. Filled with bits of cake and chopped fruit and topped with thandai flavored whipped cream, surely too quick to assemble.Once the choco shells are made the rest of the recipe is truly a breeze.Fill it with some diced fruits and cream or with some chilled custard ,pudding or mousse - the crunch of chocolate makes everything heavenly !!The shells can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.A tiny 'Fill your cup counter' at a kids party with loads of ice cream berries, nougats and colorful sprinkles is always a win win idea .Lil ones love to fill their cups with tons of goodies and eat it inside out too !!Choco Thandai Cups The thandai flavored cream is perfect to add a zing to the Holi party , the aroma of this traditional mix beautifully blends with the whipped cream. The heady fragrance of cardamom and saffron and a nutty taste of finely pounded pistachios and melon seeds make it very Indian. Makes - 13-15 cups Ingredients 250 gms cooking chocolate ( I used Morde Dark compound), 1 cup whipping cream (Richs / Delecta / Tropolite work great) , 1 tbsp mild thandai powder ( reduce the quantity if using home pounded version)few drops green food color (opt), 1 cup chopped mixed fruit , 1 small sponge cake ( or pic up 2 packets of Brittania sponge cake ) few colorful sprinkles/nonpareils Gadgets - 13-15 silicon muffin molds , piping bag and a star/1M tip Method Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler. Brush the inside of the silicone cups with melted chocolate ( make sure to use a thick coator it will break while de molding). Refrigerate for 3-4 mins. Gently peel off the silicon case. Divide the sponge cake in small squares and place a piece of sponge cake in each cup, top with chopped fruits and keep aside. Whip the cream till double ,mix in thandai mix and food color and pipe with a bag fitted with star/1M tip. Sprinkle colorful nonpareils.Serve .
~ Banana Muffins ~With all the hustle bustle and fast pace life of a metro, I sometimes deeply crave for simple country life - deep blue skies, the gentle warmth of morning sun,deep earthy aroma of wet soil and dew drenched crisp blades of wild grass.The city life enriches us with super luxuries and comforts but slyly keeps us away from the little joys of nature ...Amongst this city life my little green area aka the balcony of apartment is my best little hideaway and a perfect place to spend the Sunday mornings with family and enjoy a cup of piping hot tea with some warm buttery muffins. Most of the kids in northern India are enjoying a spring break or a change of new academic session break to be more precise, owing to which my lil one is at home these days. This weekend she was adamant to bake a treat for her dad . With a couple of over ripened bananas on the fruit tray it had to be some banana muffins .....Bananas are a wonder fruit, they are a rich source of potassium n magnesium that aid in maintaining normal blood pressure , healthy heart and strongbones. Being rich in soluble fibre they help in healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. Bananas are perfect anytime snack for little ones too. The overripe ones are great to bake muffins and banana breads !! I'm a sucker for pretty colorful stuff , right from cupcake liners to funky molds , tableware and baking accessories. Picked up these cute polka ones at a throw away price from the local market . These easy to bake buttery delights are a perfect accompaniment to any hot beverage. Add some choco chips or nuts or keep them plain ; eat warm or pack them as treats in lunch boxes - they are absolutely indulging. With almost equal measurements of flour , butter and sugar this recipe based on traditional pound cake is simple enough for lil ones to remember and try their hands on. With loads of butter it is better to term these as divine indulgence and treats ....I love the smell of vanilla and banana together but you can omit vanilla for a stronger banana aroma. Banana Muffins Ingredients- 100 gms flour , 100 gms butter ( I used Amul), 100 gms powdered sugar , 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 2 over ripe bananas mashed, 1tsp baking powder, 50 gms walnuts /choco chips .MethodPreheat oven to 180C . Sift flour and baking powder twice and keep aside. In a large bowl cream( beat) butter and sugar till light and fluffy.Gradually add the eggs and vanilla .Mix well . Gently fold in the sifted flour .Finally add the mashed bananas and walnuts/choco chips. Add 1-2 tsp milk if required. Spoon the batter in lined muffin cups and bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 mins or till toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on wire rack and serve.