Monday, November 16, 2009


The greenhouse window made a good background to set the stage with my collection of cups and saucers n(the guest admired them while drinking tea out of disposable cups), and my collection of biscuit tins, tea tins and boxes from all over the world (most of which are now empty). It was a great chance to display stuff just lying in the cupboard.

Thanks to all of you who helped me with the recipes and ideas it was a great success.
Special thanks to Joan, Prabha, lan of Cheenachatti (, Mallu Girl of Malabar Spices ( and Cynthia Nelson of Tastes Like Home (
The only bad part was I was so busy I didn't get to take too many pictures of the food to share! Can you believe that?

Last week I made Guava Tarts. Unfortunately I made them too early. The family tasted them, decided we all loved them and polished them off, accusing me of depriving them this far in their lives of such a delicious treat. I had to point out I had just discovered the recipe this year. I made them with really ripe guavas. The green one is just for effect in the picture. I did not ice them as I wanted to avoid the extra sugar.

Here's the link to the recipe, from Cynthia Nelson's wonderful website. The link comes with a warning from me: Hide them, if you want to serve them to guests.

Tips for the tarts: I had very small guavas which were a nuisance to peel, de-seed and chop.
It took a couple of hours to get 4 cup fulls. Next time I'll wait for larger guavas before attempting this recipe. It was super delicious.

The next item I made, and you are all going to laugh at this, was murku/chakli.
I hid the box and guess what: when I put out all the other food I forgot to put this out!
I remembered it when only 3 couples were left here, and gave them a packet each.
So much for hiding things.


4 cups rice flour
1 cup gram flour (besan).
Besan is gram flour made by grinding channa dal (a variety of lentil).
1 small stick butter melted.
1 Tbsp brown til/sesame seed or cumin/jeera.
1 inch piece ginger ground.
Salt to taste.
Cracked pepper optional.
Oil for frying.

Mix flours, butter, sesame seed/ginger, salt with warm water to the consistency of cookie dough...NOT like chappatti dough or your murkus will be HARD.
Push through murku mold and deep fry to a golden brown in hot oil.

TIP: When I make it I use a large skillet and make the murku as big as the pan.
After it is fried and cooled, I break it into one to two inch pieces and serve.
This makes the frying process easier than shaping umpteen perfect little murkus, and helps us oldies with leg pain!

This is what the final menu was:

Sangria with red and white wine.
There are so many recipes for this on the Internet that I picked a few and then once I got the idea of how it is made, I picked the fruit I liked the best, chose to use sparkling cider as the base and made it with that.
I used a Cabernet Sauvignon for red and a dry white wine.
In the red I added sliced strawberries, orange, lemon and lime slices, with some of the juice too.
In the white I added frozen peaches and sliced kiwi with orange, lime and lemon slices and juice.
Both marinated in the refrigerator overnight.
HONEST TIP: It wasn't very easy to make at the last minute for every guest as ice had to be placed in each glass, then sparkling cider poured in, then topped off with sangria.
Luckily I had help serving but making it was crunch time.

The rest of the menu went like this: (recipes and pictures that i have are coming...having a problem uploading them today.)


Jam Tarts
Lemon drop biscuits
Pistachio cake
Almond thins (from Trader Joe's)
Fruit salad.
Rice kheer
A tray of sliced pineapple.
(The last two items were brought by friends).

Jam Tarts: Recipe given by someone very dear to us. Thanks Joan.
I didn't make the pie crust from scratch...just bought two pie sheets, which gave me such a hard time to unroll, I don't know why. They cracked , broke and stuck together....which according to Murphy's law always happen if you're in a hurry.
I re-rolled the sheets, cut with a circle mold, placed the circles in muffin pans, put a spoon of jam or marmalade in each, and baked for 15 minuted keeping a watch on them.
They came out scrumptious but not as good as Joan makes.
TIP: Do not make last minute unless you have nothing else to do. They store great when cooled in an airtight container, and taste just as great the next day!

Lemon drop biscuits.

These are buttery and melt in your mouth.
TIP: These are definitely another make again recipe but be careful about the 'room temperature butter' dough got a little too soft and my cookies came out as discs not balls. When you visit this site for the recipe read the other comments and watch out for that butter getting too soft! Also they are VERY buttery and melt in your mouth.
Wonder if they are called Lemon DROP cookies because you drop them into your mouth again and again!
Here's the site for the recipe:

Pistachio Cake

Our daughter brought that and I'll have to get the recipe from here.
It's an old favorite of ours and was a big hit.
She made one big one in a castle mold and the others were five small bundt cakes like the one above.

Fruit Salad

A new variation of the old recipe contributed by my friend, Prabha.

Drain cans of fruit cocktail, pineapple pieces and mandarin oranges reserving juice.
I added lychees too as I had a can.
Cut apples and in juice and then strain and add to other fruit.
Add half a packet of vanilla instant pudding mix and stir. Check for sweetness and then add more if needed. Chill and serve.

Variation 2: My neighbor has just been to a party where she saw a combination of condensed milk and whipped light creanm cheese added, which she liked.

TIP: I ran out of space in the refrigerator before the party and as I could not accomodate a large bowl of fruit salad, I just placed all the cans in the refrigerator till it was time to open and serve. The cans could go into nooks and crannies in the refrigerator.

Rice Kheer

I cooked a cup of rice in the rice cooker and then transferred it to the crockpot and added milk and let it simmer for hours. Halfway through I added, blanched, sliced almonds and raisins (1/2 a cup each), 1/2 a tsp of saffron, 1 level tsp of elaichi/cardamom powder, 1 tsp of vanilla essence, one tiny speck of edible green camphor. I should have added 1/2 a tsp of nutmeg too.
Ten minutes to the end I added 1 1/2 cups of Splenda.
Taste and add more or substitue sugar...our friends watch their sugar so this was a good dessert with all the other sweets. Also there were no kids or expectant mothers coming so I could use Splenda.
It was creamy and thick and I put it in the freezer for an hour for a quick chill.
Had it been a cold day, I would have served it hot from the crockpot.

Pazham Pori: Fried Ripe Plantains

3 plantains repose on my counter eying me reproachfully.
I had no time to make this favorite at the end but I promised the plantains they would be relished by me!
Here's the site for this delicious recipe:

TIP: Avoid too many last minute dishes.


Chicken pie
Baked Salmon
Egg salad
Bean dip with a variety of crackers.
Coconuty corn
Chole samosas
Red ghatia (which is a kind of thick spicy sev... this was store bought.)
Khandvi (brought by a friend and yummy).
Cucumber sandwiches.

You'll have to do a Google search for 'ghatia', and 'khandvi' to get recipes and pictures of what these dishes are like, if you are not familiar with them. They are both made with gram/lentil flour and are popular snacks in India.

It was quite a spread at the end and we were happy that we could serve it up!
Finally a friend made Indian tea with ginger as that's what everyone wanted.

Chicken Puffs

Got two rotisserie chicken and took the meat off and shredded it into little pieces.
Fried 3 really large onion and added chilli powder, and garam masala to it.
Mixed chicken with the onion. and put it into baking pans.
Took puff pastry squares (from our local Lebanese store...they are like Pepperidge farm sheets but are square), and laid them on top.
Baked it in a 375 oven till pastry was golden brown and then cut into two inch squares.

TIP: Don't bake in a too hot oven or chicken will become too crisp.
Next time I'm going to try to bake just the puff pastry squares alone and then place on the chicken and cut.
I didn't wrap the chicken in the squares or place a layer underneath to avoid too many carbs which are a big no-no for diabetics.

Egg Salad

Boil 10 eggs...peel...mash with hand.
Add salt and pepper to taste with one cup mayonnaise and one tablespoon of dill chopped really fine.
This was really yummy.
I meant to serve this with focaccia bread but forgot to take it out of the oven and after the party discovered the focaccia was toast!

I need to take a course of Gingko biloba is supposed to help improve memory.

7 Layer Bean Dip
Another recipe from my friend, Prabha.

First layer...vegetarian refried beans...I heated this and added one pkt of Fajita mix to it,
some chilli powder and some salsa as our Indian friends need something spicy.
Second layer...on top of the hot bean I put a mix of Monterey and Cheddar cheese so that part of it would be melted into the beans.
Third layer...Guacamole dip from the local Mexican supermarket which was HOT with onions, tomato and what had to have been jalapeno peppers.
Fourth layer...sour cream. onions...just a thin layer.
Sixth...olives...I don't like them so I left his layer out.
Seven...tomatoes finely chopped with another dollop of sour cream in the middle for decorative purposes.
I tried to take this picture transversely so the layers would be visible.
I served this with a variety of crackers, small toast and multi colored tortilla chips.

Coconuty Corn

Here's Cynthia Nelson's site for this delicious recipe.

Chole Samosas

Recipe given in this blog under 'Puffs'.


lan said...

geeta, wow! it is an awesome spread indeed! it must have taken an awful lot of time and effort but i know the satisfaction once you pull it off.. thanks for putting at least some pics. those lemon drops look very yum.. this was a fun event and i enjoyed being part of it through you. thanks for all the info you have posted. it will come in handy one day for me. now sit back relax and take that well deserved break that comes after a successful event. said...

Thanks Lan


Monisha said...

Wish I was there-sounds like a real Grand spread,The Guava Tarts sound Yummy!

Cynthia said...

I wish I could have been there to part-take in your high tea! So glad you enjoyed the guava tarts.

I laughed when you said that your guests were admiring our tea cups and sauces as they drank from their disposable cups! :)