Banana Crêpe

I love making crêpes especially at the weekend for breakfast. I guess this is yet another trait I carry from my mum who I can call an award winner crêpe maker. Because when mum makes them, which she does on the “tawa” they simply fly off the plates especially when the grandchildren are around. I have my own version of these simple yet delicious homemade banana coconut crêpes, served here with extra topping of caramelised banana slices.

Crêpes from breakfast, brunch to dinner and dessert can be customized for any meal of the day, all by simply swapping them from sweet to savoury. Start with a simple batter then experiment with your favourite ingredient pairing the toppings to ultimately create your very own special crepes.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 cup all purpose plain flour
1 Tablespoon white sugar (depending on how sweet your taste buds are)
1 overripe banana (mashed)
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs plain yoghurt
Approx 2/3 cup water (enough to make a pancake batter consistency)
Butter to grease the pan
Desiccated coconut as per taste
1tsp baking powder
Vanilla extract
Cardamom powder

Method
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar together.
Add the mash banana.
Add the milk, yoghurt, water, vegetable oil and whisk into a smooth batter.
Optional – Cover and leave to rest for one hour. (This is instant therefore by all means you can avoid the resting time)
When ready to prepare…Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Using a brush lightly brush with butter.
Using a ladle pour a full spoonful of the batter into the pan.
Immediately start to swirl the pan over the heat to spread the batter into a large circle.
When the edges of the crepe appear dry and lightly browned, flip the crepe and cook other side until lightly browned.
Repeat with remaining batter.
To keep warm you can put the cooked crepes in the oven set at 200 degrees – placing parchment paper between stacked crepes.

☆This does not happen in my household as these crêpes are eaten as soon as they are taken off the pan.

■ To make the caramelised banana, simply place a pan on medium heat.
Sprinkle with granulated sugar, as it starts to caramelise, add slices of banana to the pan.
Leave to caramelise with the sugar, flip over until golden brown.
Note this process is very quick. Remove the caramelised banana.
Deglaze the pan with either butter or s little water to make a caramelised rich sauce.

Serve the crêpes warm accompanied by the caramelised banana with a drizzle of sauce.
Enjoy.

CARROT HALWA

Raksha Bandhan – Celebrating the sacred bond of brothers and sisters

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Carrot Halwa or commonly known as “Gajar Ka Halwa” is one of the most popular sweet recipes in many Indian household. It’s a sweet dessert made on festive occasions such as Diwali, Holi, parties etc. Carrot halwa is a classic Indian dessert that is made for most celebrative occasion and very much a favourite of many people. So why not on today’s Special Day “Raksha Bandhan”. 20150304_225136

Raksha Bandhan’ or ‘Rakhi’ is a special occasion celebrating the special unconditional bond between sisters and brother. ‘Raksha Bandhan’ means ‘bond of protection’, and by tying a thread round the brother’s wrist it signifies strengthening and protecting from all bad deeds. The significance of which symbolizes the love between siblings, well-being, good health, prosperity and happiness.

However as I always say every day is a Special day in itself…..Today some people may feel very sad today for personal reasons and others very happy and yet those who despite having their brother/sisters it makes no difference. We all have our own opinion and ways to deal with relationship and bonds.

For me there is not one day that passes by and I do not think of my brothers…they are in my thoughts always. Yes today is a dedication day, but celebrate Raksha Bandhan every day as blessed are those who maintain such bonds. I feel blessed to experience it every day …wish my dear brothers a Happy Raksha Bandhan Day.

Onto something sweet and indulgent is my Carrot “Halwa” to follow.  The bright golden colours that exude from the carrots, melting in the mouth, sweet crumbly yet creamy texture is totally irresistible. It is a dessert that does not need much introduction, as it is one that explains itself – deliciousness.  20150303_190720

Ingredients Serves 4-6

  • 1 kg Carrots – approximately 2-3 grated carrots
  • 400 mls full fat milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 can condensed milk or evaporated milk
  • 3Tbs unsalted butter
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)
  • ½ vanilla pod – cut lengthwise scrape the seeds
  • 1tsp ground cardamom
  • Handful of mixed nuts – chopped (pistachio, cashew nuts, almond) I like to dry roast the nuts in a pan and set aside to cool. 20150304_184546

Method

  1. Wash, peel and grate the carrots (gajar)
  2. Mix the half of the condensed milk (evaporated milk is using) and milk together.
  3. In a deep bottom non-stick pan, melt the butter, add the grated carrots and gently fry until it softened.
  4. Pour the milk over the carrots and cook over medium to high heat, stirring frequently. Add the cardamom and stir into the mixture.
  5. Leave to simmer until the carrots are soft and the milk has reduced to less than half the original quantity. Now add the sugar and let the mixture simmer until thickened together until they have reduced nearly. 20150304_211021
  6. Add the rest of the condensed milk over the carrot mixture and stir frequently to prevent the mixture from burning and sticking to the pan. You should slowly see the mixture start to thicken and stick to the spoon. Before removing from the heat and half of the mixed chopped nuts, quick stir. 20150304_212945
  7. Remove from the heat, set aside.
  8. To serve sprinkle the some of the toasted mixed nuts on top.

Brinda’s Note: Carrot Halwa can be served hot or cold. They will keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 20150304_225734

Egg free, Homemade Mango Ice-cream

As we approach the festive season I am feeling very nostalgic because this year I will not be visiting my family in Mauritius over the festive period. I will miss them all so much but hey that’s life, like my dad would always say no matter whether you are far or close it’s all about being firm to your commitment and this year my work commitment takes over. Instead of flying to Mauritius I thought of sharing some of my fond memories while you travel with me.

Let’s talk about Xmas Spirit in Mauritius where the heart lies. Ile Maurice being a tropical island we are used to enjoying Christmas celebration in a summery hot weather of plus ºC. Tropical fruits are at their best, mangoes, litchis; longan (dragon eye fruits), sweet small pineapple, watermelon and many more including several citrus fruits.

Living on such a tiny island we are blessed not just by being surrounded by beautiful landscapes but also being able to experience some of the most delicious food. If you are planning to visit the island over the festive period you will have the privilege to experience Christmas on the tropical Island and tasting Mauritius multicultural cuisine.

My memory of Christmas in Mauritius still resounds in my eyes and my heart, seeing lively shops, street markets selling toys, firecrackers, clothes, balloons as they fill the street with such a buzz until late evening.

Many would think here she goes again the crazy girl Ice-Cream at Christmas!!!! in this cold wintery weather. But I am feeling the nostalgia while I think of  summer in Mauritius talking about seasonal ice-cream was indispensable. Let’s travel to home Island Mauritius and be merry.

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I know mangoes are in full bloom in Mauritius at the moment, and I also know it is the kind of fruit that many absolutely adore. It was one of my papa favourite fruit; he would munch away all the time when they were in full season. Having tried this ice-cream several times and loving it my pleasure to share it today as it’s a special day.

Like most people I do like a good creamy ice-cream but I must admit I prefer egg free ice-cream anytime. I have recreated this flavor from one of my old recipe – and woooow this is totally scrumptious. Making homemade ice-cream has always been on my bucket list of recipes to create and try out and to try out different flavours too. 20150901_205308

Despite having an ice-cream maker I must admit I don’t use it as much as I intended to use it, instead I have been making no churn ice-cream all throughout last summer. It is so easy that I have NOT bought any ice-cream last summer. This is a no-churn, eggless ice cream that can be made in no time using a mixer. The first time I made it I was overwhelmed by how easy, simple it was the ice cream is rich, creamy and outrageously good! Yet so simple to do. 20150901_205555

Ingredients Serves 6-8

  • 500 mls puree mango
  • 1 tin evaporated milk (or condensed milk, I strongly advise to reduce the amount of sugar)
  • 3 Tbs castor sugar (or as needed depending on how sweet the mangoes are)
  • 125mls double cream

Method

  1. Peel, stone and place the mango flesh in a blender, puree to smooth paste, keeping aside. In a bowl add the double cream whisk until thick, empty the evaporated milk into the cream mixture, add sugar to taste. Using a hand mixer blend till well combined. Taste and add more sugar if needed (Remember once food is frozen it tends to reduce the sweetness of a dish therefore do taste the creamy mixture and adjust as necessary).
  2. Add the pureed mango and mix well. 20150110_102303
  3. Pour the ice cream mixture into a freezer safe bowl. Cover and freeze for 1-2 hours till the edges begin to freeze (I leave mine overnight, leave to stand on the counter for ten minutes before attempting to whisk again).
  4. After 2 hours take the ice cream out, put it back into the bowl and whisk till creamy and return to the freezer bowl.
  5. You can repeat steps 2 & 3 times, but I find this is not necessary. I tend to do this process only once and end up with a very creamy ice-cream.
  6. To serve let the ice cream stand on the counter-top for 3-4 minutes before scooping and serving.
  7. Serve with on cones or a few scoop topped with fresh chopped mangoes or sweet mango puree.

Brinda’s Note: Condensed milk is a great ingredient when making no-churn ice-cream, it’s really creamy and smooth but as you noticed I used evaporated milk instead and trust me it’s just as creamy with less sugar – you can use either one of them.

Do give it a try and experiment of flavours! I can guarantee you will no doubt impress yourself and your guests.

 

Madeleine flavoured with Cardamom & Vanilla Seeds

20200808_133121When I think of Madeleines first that comes to mind is French Patisserie, sitting down in a Cafe in Paris having breakfast and enjoying these beautiful buttery sponges with a lovely coffee. Madeleines are these buttery French sponges rather cute scallop-shaped little cakes that can be eaten in just one big mouthful. This classic recipe for Madeleines couldn’t be more delicious, or easier to make.

Like most home baked cakes these are no comparison to the mass production ones you can easily get in the shops, they cost so little to make and in term of time to make these, they can be prepared in advanced and baked fresh. I find by the time my coffee or tea is brewing Madeleines are ready at the same time (9-12 minutes to bake). 

My love for adding exotic spices to my food does not stop in any way, and here I decided to add two of my favourites in these Madelaines – and oh boy they tastes amazing. It’s that festive taste that comes through these buttery sponges which I have been enjoying with “masala chai”.     

Ingredients Makes 24 Madeleines

  • 200gms all purpose flower
  • 2 eggs
  • 75gms granulated sugar (if you don’t want to use dark sugar just increase the white sugar by another 25gms)
  • 25gms dark muscavado sugar (I like the texture of dark Muscavado Sugar in baking it gives a festive warm flavour and a lovely colour to the cake)
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ Vanilla pod – seeded
  • ½ tsp teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100 gms butter, melted and cooled

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas mark 5. Grease and flour 24 Madeleine moulds.
  2. In a medium bowl using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs sugar until light and pale in colour. Add the vanilla seeds, cardamom powder whisk all thoroughly.
  3. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Sift 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg mixture, gently fold in. Continue to fold rest of the adding 1Tbs at a time. Then fold in the melted and cooled butter. You will end up with a very smooth batter.
  4. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours, this helps the Madeleine to rise. You can leave the batter overnight in the fridge (which is what I do, and bake them in the morning nice and fresh to accompany a lovely cup of tea or coffee)
  5. When ready to bake spoon batter into the prepared moulds, filling 3/4 full.  I use  a wooden skewer to pass through the batter so I make sure the mould is evenly filled. Give the tray a little tap before baking. 20151115_091810
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 9 to 12 minutes or until the edges are golden and the tops spring back. It’s always so rewarding to see the hump as the little cake rises. 20151115_092905
  7. These Madeleine will cool down very quickly and should be very easy to unmould. Leave to further cool down on a wire rack. Sift icing sugar over the tops.
  8. Store in an airtight container, they will keep well for a few days. 20151115_090938

Brinda’s Note: Madeleine will keep well for a few days in an airtight container. You can add any flavour of your choice such as lemon zest, vanilla essence, almond, etc.