Summer is the best time to make brinjal dishes in Tamil Nadu as we get excellent kanmai kathirikkai (eggplant grown in dried water bodies). When I was a young girl in Palayamkottai, my mother used to make vattral as a way of preserving brinjal. I don’t have the facilities for that now in Chennai, so I decided to pickle the brinjal. There are several Tamil recipes for brinjal pickle that are very spicy. I wanted a pickle that was not spicy and could be served with a wide variety of dishes from any part of the world. I created this recipe by borrowing concepts from meat-based pickles, making this a very unusual vegetarian pickle that is also easy to make. The bottles empty in no time in my home 🙂
A New Year is when we make resolutions to better ourselves, such as starting a diet. Before we deny ourselves delicious treats we should end the old year with one last hurrah – a decadent delight of calories and protein in the form of Mocha Brownies. The fragrance of the coffee in the brownies will make the entire neighbourhood come to your house on some excuse or the other 🙂
During the 80s, unsold books from Western countries used to be exported to India as waste paper and sold here as books at throwaway prices. I picked up The Cookie Cookbook by Evelyne Johnson in one such sale for just Rs. 6. It’s a tiny book, called a Dell Purse Book, and I forgot I had it until I discovered it amongst my books 30 years later. This book has a recipe called Mrs. Graham’s Honey Dough which disappointed me with its flavour and texture. A year later I tried the recipe again, modifying it to improve its taste and mouth feel. I increased the eggs and honey in the recipe, which improved both the flavour and appearance and imparted a cake-like texture to the cookies. These cookies have a very soft texture and can be served to the elderly who face difficulty in chewing, as well as to toddlers. Because they are soft, crumbs do not fly, reducing post-consumption cleanup time 🙂
Unfortunately Mother’s Day falls on May 8. In South India the dog days start in the first week of May. It is a challenge to use butter icing when you are experiencing a heat wave. The cake will have to be refrigerated every now and then otherwise the icing will begin to run. The butter icing mix will also have to be cooled frequently while icing the cake or else it will not retain its shape. With all these thermal challenges the cake was iced, photographed, then gobbled up by the whole family.