Tag Archives: GCC

Eid Mubarak with Phirni

13576825_10154114655295709_7839013832894335983_o

Eid Mubarak to all the readers of my blog. Eid has come and gone, and we are settling down to our 8-5 routine and trust me it is very difficult after being spoiled by the easy going Ramadan timings. Lots happened during Ramadan even if it is considered to be a slow month. All in all, I am grateful for all the time I have been able to spend when my parents were here and with Mimi. I am also grateful for the wonderful bunch of special people in my life who always steer me toward the brighter side of life. 

IMG_0528 copy

IMG_0458 copy

IMG_0511 copyEid is a special time in Bahrain and so it is for us. Usually, we plan get- togethers with friends but this time since most of them were travelling it was limited to just us and a friend or two. My enthusiasm for Eid didn’t ebb because of absence of friends and I chose to celebrate it with ‘Phirni’

Phirni, a sweet milk-based dessert is served chilled and is made with  coarsely ground basmati rice and flavoured with rose water, saffron and ground cardamom. The dish is decorated with chopped or ground almonds or pistachio nuts. The history of Phirni goes back a very long way; it seems to have originated in ancient Persia or the Middle East; and to have been introduced to India by the Moghuls. Phirni is traditionally served in earthen pots. The recipe is a keeper and I really urge you to try this.

Phirni
Serves 8
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 +2 tbsp cup basmati rice
  2. 2 litres milk
  3. 2 cups sugar or as required or 1 cup + 3/4th
  4. 18-20 almonds/badam, blanched, reserve a few for garnishing
  5. 6-7 cardamoms/hari elachi (crushed and powdered in a mortar-pestle)
  6. 12-15 strands of kesar or saffron
  7. rose essence - 1 tbsp
Instructions
  1. Soak the basmati rice for 3-4 hours
  2. Rinse the rice a couple of times in water and wipe the grains dry with a kitchen towel.
  3. Take the rice grains in a dry grinder and coarsely grind it.
  4. Heat milk in a thick bottomed deep pan.
  5. When the milk becomes warm, take 1 tbsp from it in a bowl. Stir the saffron strands in this warm milk and keep aside.
  6. Let the milk reach to a boil. then lower the flame and add the ground rice and sugar.
  7. On a low flame cook the ground rice in the milk. do not cover the pan.
  8. Keep on stirring regularly so that the lumps are not formed.
  9. In a microwave safe bowl take the almonds and water and microwave it for 5 minutes
  10. When the almonds become warm, then peel them and slice the almonds. Keep a few almond slices aside for garnish.
  11. When the rice is almost cooked, add the almonds, cardamom powder and saffron dissolved milk.
  12. Cook the phirni until the rice cooks fully and it thickens. I usually keep the phirni on very low flame for a long time to get the desired consistency. Add rose essence once you have taken the phirni off the heat.
  13. Pour the phirni in serving bowls or earthen pots or glasses. garnish with the remaining chopped almond slices and/ or pistachios and saffron strands
  14. Cover the bowls/ glases and once cooled, refrigerate the phirni and serve chilled.
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

IMG_0533 copy

 

Happy 6th Blog Anniversary with a baked Mango Cheesecake

This is my 414th post.

Never realized that taking baby steps can take you so far. 6 years don’t seem so long but statistics on my blog tell me that it has been quite a while. There have been times I have celebrated this space and more than often I have neglected it too. But this space of mine has never really been out of my conscious. This blog gave me an identity in a foreign land and allowed me to express my thoughts in the way I wanted. Sometimes I  cared who read my blog and most times, I wrote only for myself. It has been in sync with my life objectives and most times a complete paradox. This blog is an extension of me. 

image1 (41)

This space has challenged me to attempt things I never thought I would do. I have baked a pavlova, kneaded dough to make bread, used ingredients in recipes I couldn’t really pronounce and written food stories my memories. This space which I call my blog, made me think about myself in a life that was always about what others wanted, it allowed to me hone my skills as a cook, a writer, a baker, a photographer and a food stylist. 

IMG_7660

It made me a social person, who was unafraid to meet people and face unknown situations. This blog gave me that confidence. It took care of me like I took care of it. It gave even when I didn’t- like the numerous opportunities to work with creative people of words and pictures. 

IMG_7653

 IMG_7681

Six years of all this wonderful moments can’t be encapsulated in one blog post and that is why I have several blog posts after this one where I collaborate with some wonderful brands to reward my readers for being with me for so long. Last year I had a world wide giveaway but this time I am going to restrict it to Bahrain as a way of saying thank you for all the wonderful opportunities you sent my way; whether it was restaurant reviews or connecting with my other blogger friends, recipe development, food styling assignments and so much more. Thank you, Bahrain.

So readers in Bahrain, over the course of the next few weeks, 3 of you would have would have won a generous hamper each from Lulu Hypermarket’s “good life” products and another 3 of you would have have an Italian buffet for two from Marriott Executive Apartments.  Thank you Lulu Hypermarket and Marriott Executive Apartments for collaborating with my blog and being so generous. More details to follow in individual posts.

Meanwhile, in this post, I would like to share a beautiful, flavourful, Mango cheese cake recipe. I believe a cheese cake is for all seasons and perhaps that is why I selected it to showcase on my anniversary post. My blog has been wonderful to me through seasons and only something as evergreen as a cheese cake would do to celebrate the 6th anniversary.

IMG_7709

Also, if you are wondering about this beautiful cake plate, I must tell you where I got it from. It was a gift from Silsal Design House – which is leading producer of home accessories, furnishings and light furnishings. Silsal Design House’s USP lies in its contemporary yet Middle Eastern touch in all its designs. They are based out of Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. I love this green cake plate for its elegant design and unique patterns. You can check out all the other beautiful creations from Silsal Design House and even order it online! 

Now for the recipe of the Mango Cheese cake. This is the first time I attempted a baked cheesecake and might I add that I was nervous about how it would turn out. Thankfully, it turned out wonderful and I feel excited about baking more baked cheese cakes in the future. 

Mango Cheese Cake
Serves 12
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 25 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups digestive biscuits, crushed into crumbs
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  4. 4 large ripe mangoes, cubed and pureed
  5. 685 gm packages cream cheese, softened
  6. 1 1/4 cups sugar
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 4 large eggs
Instructions
  1. 1. Stir together the digestive biscuits crumbs, sugar and butter in a bowl; press into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 325º/ 162.7 C for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool
  2. Puree the mangoes in a blender. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and vanilla essence until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, mixing it well and finally stir in the mango puree.
  3. Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake at 325º / 165 C for 1 hour and 25 minutes. After the alloted time, test if the cheese cake is cooked in the center. If find it is still a bit raw, allow the cheese cake to continue baking in the heat of the oven after you switched off the oven for atleast another 10-15 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

 All photographs courtesy : Sushil S

Restaurant Review : Cafe Venissa at the Ritz Carlton, Bahrain

DSC_0019Do you want to enjoy a piece of Venice in the heart of Bahrain?

Here’s your chance to step into the elegant Venetian set up called Cafe Venissa at the Ritz Carlton. The inspiration for Cafe Venissa stems from the famous Italian coffee shop, Caffe Florian, which is the oldest coffee house in Europe. I had the opportunity to experience this last week, thanks to the invite from the Ritz Carlton. 

 

DSC_0020

DSC_0021

The interiors and the decor are striking but then it is the Ritz Carlton that we are talking about. I wouldn’t expect anything less. The day we visited Cafe Venissa, it was particularly gloomy with overcast skies and a slight nip in the air. But it felt so perfect a time to enjoy some high tea type delights at Cafe Venissa.

DSC_0006

Upon entering the cafe, it felt like we stepped into a time and space far away from the one we were coming from. The walls of the cafe are flanked by renaissance -esque paintings, furniture is opulent and there is an atmosphere of elegance all around. We were carefully seated by the window which over looks the Ritz Carlton’s pool side.  Once seated, we were given the menu and a detailed explanation about the concept that was Cafe Venissa. The menu is not very extensive which I appreciate as it tends to get confusing. I expected the staff to help me choose which they did with great expertise. 

What you see here is the warm and inviting Cafe del Doge which is a delightful concoction of coffee, gianduja, cream and hazelnut. Just perfect for a chilly winter afternoon. I carried bits of chocolate in it which gave it an interesting bite. I could have done without the whipped cream but once in a while, I suppose it is fine.

DSC_0004

Someone was very happy with the hot chocolate and the marshmallows in it! 🙂 She even asked for extra helpings of marshmallows. Cafe Venissa has several menu options for children to explore and enjoy.

DSC_0013

It is not only the hot drinks that caught our interest. We were enthusiastic to try something cool as well. We opted for the Frozen Venissa. The frozen Venissa is a cold coffee cream with whipped cream. To me it felt like any other cold coffee with way too much whipped cream for my liking. 

DSC_0010

By this time, we were feeling quite ravenous and thought it was the right time to order for a few light bites.  As guided by the Marketing and communications coordinator, Carolina, we ordered for the Cafe Venissa’s signature salad – Insalata Venissa.  A refreshing bit-sized morsels of mozzarella, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, bresaola  ( air dried, salted beef) and very flavoursome, perfectly poached shrimps. The salad carries a light olive oil dressing and is a good sized portion for two. I can’t comment on the beef as I do not eat beef but my fellow diner was very happy sampling the bresaola. 

DSC_0011

The other recommended dish from the menu was the Salmon and spinach quiche. This was the highlight of our visit to Cafe Venissa. I know for a fact that so many fantastic restaurants get the simple and the basic quiche so wrong. Either it is too egg-y or too dough-y or quite heavy. There are very few places in Bahrain that know how to make the quiche taste really good. Cafe Venissa is definitely one of them! I am allergic salmon so I had to keep that aside and try the quiche which was absolutely delicious. We finished all the four quiche pieces in a jiffy!

DSC_0017

DSC_0014

By the time we reached our final course, the  day light was gone and the pictures began to get really blurry 🙁 I am particularly sad because the dessert – the colours, the texture, the composition, the presentation and not to mention the taste- was fabulous and my pictures do not do justice to this perfection of a dessert duo – Lemon meringue tart and raspberry sorbet. The flavours were fresh, tingly on the tongue and oh-so light! Highly recommended!

By the time we finished our food and drinks, we thought it better to skip dinner. Completely sated and delighted by the service given to us, I resolved about returning to the cafe very soon with friends. 

From November 27 until December 8, the spotlight will be on the renowned band Caffe Concerto Strauss that will fill up the cafe with their enchanting, live music. Caffe Concerto Strauss is the original band of Caffe Florian and will be specially flying in to round up the unforgettable experience of the guests. Guests that would like to be part of this extravaganza can visit Cafe Venissa from November 3 to December 31, daily from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. For more information, and for reservations at Cafe Venissa, please call +973 1758 6499 or email rc.bahrz.restaurant.reservations@ritzcarlton.com.

Enjoy the weather in Bahrain and a true Venetian experience, a specially crafted menu and Ritz Carlton’s elevated service at Cafe Venissa. You will be surprised at how much you will want to go back after experiencing it once. 

Giveaway Announcement

It has been great experience developing recipes, photographing and styling all the 7 diabetes-friendly recipes for Aster Medical Center’s campaign #AsterAgainstDiabetes. All the recipes are sugar-free or use natural sweeteners which make them low -calorie and very healthy for diabetics and non-diabetics alike. 

This final post for this campaign is about an exciting giveaway!

But before I announce, you can check out all the seven recipes here –11 (1)

Sugar free Shrikhand – a refreshing dessert that uses yogurt and nuts

Dates peda – Paneer and dates come together to make this peda delicious and guilt -free

Protein packed burfi – If you are a fitness buff and have protein powder around the house, you have to make this burfi

Baked Apple fries – tasty and oh-so addictive with apple, oats, coconut syrup

Raw date and almonds balls – for instant energy fix

Poached and stuffed peaches in warm orange sauce – delight your guests with this refined dessert that will leave your taste buds tantalizing

Rose sandesh – an understated and elegant dessert that is sure to wow your family and friends

Now for the giveaway!

Two lucky readers of my blog will get a box each of sugar-free/ naturally sweetened dessert from me! So just leave a comment saying that you are interested in winning and follow Aster Medical Center on social media – Facebook, Twitter , Instagram.

The winner will be announced on the 5th of December.

This giveaway is open only for the residents of Bahrain

The Diabetes -Friendly Dessert Series with Aster Medical Centre – Rose Sandesh

IMG_4477

Until 6 weeks ago, I was suffering from a serious delusion. I thought my life was perfect and that everything was just right whether it was my health, work, family, friends and so on. Delusion is dangerous. It makes you believe what is not true. It feels good to remain in  that make-believe world but an intervention becomes necessary. Being a border -line diabetic came as a shock to me. It felt like I was living in a bubble, thinking I was healthy but that wasn’t true. I was pushed to take the test just because a doctor friend was shocked when I confessed about not able to recall when was the last time I got a health check up done. He literally forced me into and I am glad that he did. The result was not the one I preferred but atleast it was a wake up call which is important because only now I was in a position to do something about it.

IMG_7323 copy

When I first got to know that I was a border-line diabetic, I began to analyze why it happened? There could be several reasons –

  1. My irregular and sometimes extreme diet patterns leading to long hours of starvation or eating heavy meals together
  2. the stress levels which I was unable to control

Did I feel any symptoms that I ignored? Well, I felt an unnatural craving for sugar where one morning I woke up to have a big cup of milk with 4 tablespoons of Horlicks and plenty of extra sugar and still it felt like it wasn’t enough! I ate a chocolate every few hours and felt my energy crash several times in a day.

IMG_7328 copy

I started reading up on diabetes and asked my parents who have been diabetics for so many years for their guidance. Obviously, a lifestyle shift was in order and that is what I did. I started eating my meals more regularly. I tried to work out with discipline and started going for walks. I limited my sugar intake and replaced it with more natural sugars from fruits and dates. Ofcourse I have days where I end up eating more than that is necessary but I compensate it by eating light later. Skipping meals was the most difficult habit to overcome and I still struggle with it. But with the encouragement of my family and friends, I manage to stay disciplined. 

IMG_7333This is my last dessert that I developed as a part of the 7 diabetes friendly recipes for Aster Medical Center. It has been absolutely wonderful doing this as it is so close to what I am going through in life. Thank you Aster Medical Center for this opportunity and for running this successful campaign called #AsterAgainstDiabetes. If you have been falling back, here’s your chance to know what Aster Medical Center has been doing this November on Facebook, Twitter , Instagram. You can also get yourself checked for diabetes at their FREE camp happening at Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Park on the 4th and 5th of December (4-7 PM)

This dish is a Bengali dessert called Sandesh. I made a rose sandesh using stevia which makes it suitable for diabetics. It is low calorie and is quite healthy without the processed sugar. I also made the paneer at home, which makes this dessert healthier. To make paneer, you can opt for low fat or full fat milk and allow it to heat until it boils. Once it boils, add vinegar to it so that the milk curdles. Take it off the heat and add ice cubes so that the cooking process stops. Place a colander over a pot, layer it with a thin muslin or cotton cloth. Pour the curdled milk into the colandar. Bring the muslin or napkin together and while doing so squeeze the curdled milk. Take a plate and keep the muslin with the curdled milk on it and place a heavy weight on top of it to drain off as much water as possible. It is as simple as that!

For the rest of the recipe –

Rose Sandesh
Yields 10
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 litres milk
  2. 3-4 tbsp of vinegar
  3. 2 tbsp stevia
  4. few drops of rose essence
  5. crushed rose petals
Instructions
  1. Once the paneer is drained off all the water, open the muslin cloth and take it out of it in a bowl or a plate. Mash the paneer with your fingers and make it very smooth
  2. Add stevia and rub it well into the paneer. Add rose essence and the crushed rose petals.
  3. Knead well to bind and get rid of all the lumps
  4. Make small 10 round portions and if you have a sandesh mould, place it in there. I did not have a mould so I simply shaped them oval with my hands
  5. Garnish with more rose petals and store it in the refrigerator
  6. Serve chilled
Notes
  1. Adapted from Tarla Dalal
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/