Venezuelan Spiced Hot chocolate

BM# 102 : Week 2, Day 3
Theme : Recipes from South America

With some showers here, the weather is on the pleasant and cooler side now. So for the third day, I didn’t hesitate to make hot chocolate. Surprisingly my husband loved this more than my son, both of which is due to the presence of ginger in the drink. I loved the ginger in there too.

There is no unique recipe for hot chocolate or this version of spiced hot chocolate. There are so many different recipes to be found in the internet. Many have orange zest in it and no ginger, but after trying it with ginger, I have become a fan of the flavor. The recipe here is from the book Gran Cocina Latina which I have borrowed from the library.

The book mentioned truffles from a shop for hot chocolate, so I think this recipe can be adapted to make chocolate truffles as well to make instant hot chocolate. The cream for ganache can be seeped with the spice mix and later filtered and added to chocolate to form truffles. The truffle balls can then be added to hot milk to make hot chocolate. A good quality chocolate is needed to make this, I used chocolate chips since that’s what I had in my hand.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: The book Gran Cocina Latina

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon peeled and chopped ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or one vanilla bean
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 100 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Method:

  1. Grind the sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cloves,ginger and vanilla beans into a fine powder using a blender/food processor.
  2. Combine the powdered spices with milk and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring In between. Take off heat and let it sit covered for ten minutes for the flavors to seep.
  3. Strain the milk into a large saucepan, place over medium heat. Add the chocolate and beat with a whisk vigorously until you have a good froth. Serve immediately.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

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Crema de Quinoa

BM# 102 : Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Cuisines from South America

For the first day under the theme, this is a creamy quinoa chowder from Ecuador. The recipe is from Jose Garces’s book The Latin Road Home. It’s his take on the local crema de quinoa, which is a rich diary based broth with potatoes, white corn and avocados. I didn’t have the achiote paste, which is the main flavor inducing ingredient here. The paste has quite an unique taste, so I will definitely be looking for it the next time I go shopping. But for today, I had to follow the substitute mentioned in this link. I also substituted the white sweet corn with yellow corns.

The quinoa absorbs the liquid as it sits, so it’s a good idea to serve this as soon as it’s prepared. Else remember to check the seasoning again if you add more stock/ water to adjust the consistency.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 small potato, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup sweet white corn
  • 1 tablespoon Achiote Paste or substitute
  • 2.5 cups stock or water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • Sliced Avocados for serving

Method:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in an omelette pan and fry the matchstick potatoes. Set aside.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a pan. Sauté onions and garlic until it turns pink. Stir in the achiote paste, if the paste is not available, add the substitute spices mentioned in the link.
  3. Add the quinoa and corn and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the stock/water and cream. Bring it to a boil.
  4. Lower the heat, add salt and simmer the chowder uncovered until the quinoa is completely cooked and the liquid is reduced to 3/4th it’s original size. Take off the heat.
  5. To serve, add the chopped parsley, fried potatoes. Garnish with sliced avocados.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

Falood

BM# 100: Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Let’s have a toast!

Falooda was a regular dessert I used to order in India. With its many layers, it always looked like a complicated recipe to me. So for a long time, I didn’t even look up the recipe. I had decided it in my mind that this is too difficult to make it at home.

It took me sometime to realize that every single layer of this dessert is easy to make. But it does require some shopping to be done. As long as you get basil seeds (Sold as Tukmaria seeds or sabja seeds in Indian stores), falooda sev (thin strands specially made for falooda) and rose syrup, you are good to do. If you really think about it, it’s nothing but glorified rose milk. Top it with ice cream or kulfi of your choice, it’s a great dessert or an icy cold drink for summer.

Some recipes add strawberry jello also as another layer. But it’s optional. It adds another stunning color to the dish, though.

Read on for the recipe.

Makes 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons soaked basil seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cooked falooda sev
  • 1 tablespoon rose syrup, readymade
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 scoop of malai kulfi or ice cream

Method:

  1. Soak 1 teaspoon Basil seeds in 2-3 tablespoons of water. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Cook falooda sev per package instructions. Let it cool and set aside.
  3. At the time of assembling, add a tablespoon of rose syrup to a glass. Add a spoon or two of the now puffed up basil seeds. Add about 2 tablespoons of sev and then add a glass of milk.
  4. Top it with ice cream or kulfi. Using a spoon, mix and drink.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#100

Watermelon Aguas Frescas

BM# 100: Week 3, Day 2
Theme : Let’s have a toast!

Summer means watermelons and mangoes in India. Drinking Watermelon juice is very common to help cool the body down. It’s a straightforward no fuss recipe of blending watermelon with sugar.

Now coming to the recipe here, it’s the Mexican version of watermelon juice. Agua means water and fresco means cool in Spanish. Agua frescas means cool water and are not limited to just watermelons. It can made with a whole bunch of fruits and sometimes even cereals. Water and fruits are blended with sugar or sweetener of your choice and served with ice. I have seen some interesting recipes like tamarind agua Fresca and cinnamon rice water. You can read more about it here.

Read on for the recipe and prepare it this summer please :-)!

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups diced watermelon
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar, or per taste
  • Ice cubes

Method:

  1. Blend the fruit with 2 cups water and sugar.
  2. Pour it into a pitcher and add the remaining 2 cups of water. Taste test and add more sugar if needed.
  3. Serve immediately with ice cubes.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#100