Ria's Collection: July 2020

Monday, July 27, 2020



Cherries are without a doubt one of our favourite Summer fruits. No matter how many packs we buy, they get over in a couple of days time. I look forward to seeing them in stores by mid May and when I do, a pack is definitely coming home with us! This year, we take turns in doing grocery shopping and Jobin is the one who does most of our Target shopping. I often tell him how much I miss going there and walking around casually looking at all the wonderful fruits and produce! It's all done in a rush these days. Get into the store as quick as you can and get out even quicker. 


Talking about doing things quickly reminded me of how I work in my kitchen. I love to cook but I do not believe in spending a lot of time in the kitchen just cooking and doing dishes. I want everything to be done quickly, without wasting time. I sometimes feel that I push our children also into doing things quickly, unknowingly. I try to slow down at times but then the itch to finish things begins quickly! :-)  Are you guys like me? I am sure, I am not alone in this race against time. I always feel that my biggest competition is myself. It's not just in the kitchen... I am always trying to better myself from what I was yesterday. I sometimes fail but I pick myself up and try again! It's a never ending process but a happy, satisfying one!


I have been making jams and jellies for a while now and I love how quick the whole process is and in the end, you are rewarded with multiple bottles of goodness that you can use over the year and even gift to friends, especially around the Holidays. We go through quite a bit of jam yearly because we love our jammy treats. I use them on our toasts, plop some on my thumbprint cookies and also sandwich my cookies with them. I enjoy thinning it out with some fruit juice which complements the jam and sometimes even water and use it to serve alongside my cheesecake, pannacotta, cakes etc. It's very versatile and handy to have them with you throughout the year! This wonderful jam recipe comes from MJ.
Makes 2 cups
20 ounces pitted fresh cherries
10 ounces white granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon

Method: Roughly chop the cherries and add to a large pot with tall sides. Add the sugar and lemon juice and cook on medium heat until the sugar melts. Increase the heat so that the mixture comes to a full boil. Cook until the jam reaches 220F on a candy thermometer or when a drop of jam poured onto a cold plate, sets.
Ladle the hot jam into clear, sterilized bottles and let it cool completely. Put the caps on and refrigerate until its used up. If you are canning it, you don't have to refrigerate it.

* There are many ways to check if the jam is done. Using a candy thermometer makes the guess work much easier. You could also do a sheet test or a single string test. Some even draw a line in the hot mixture and if you can see the bottom of the jam pot, it's ready.

The colour of this cherry jam is so lovely! Once I was done making it, I somehow just didn't feel like washing the pot. It was a lovely deep purple-pink. I don't know how else to describe the colour! :-) When you make the jam this way, the cherry pieces are still visible in the end product. If you don't like it that way, you can quickly blitz the cherries once you roughly chop them using an immersion blender. I have seen people do it once the jam is cooked and before it's bottled. I like to bite into fruit pieces so I've kept the cherries roughly chopped.
Some fruits have natural pectin in them and some not so much. Cherries do not have enough pectin to make the jam set, so lemon juice is used to help it reach the desired consistency. So do not skip it altogether. The jam does not taste of lemon. I hope you like it!

Thursday, July 16, 2020


Baked Cheesecake

I enjoy trying new recipes because they keep boredom in the kitchen at bay. Ever since the lockdown began, I have been seeing a lot more people cook and bake on Instagram. It's so tempting to follow all of them but then again, I feel I might overlook the updates from people who I know in person because that's what happened to me on Facebook. So I just take a screenshot of the recipes and let them know once I've tried it. 

Baked Cheesecake

I absolutely enjoy when you tell me that you have tried something from here. It's not a sense of accomplishment but it's something that makes me feel that I've been helpful to someone. I get a lot of responses, more than what I can respond to in a day's time on Instagram these days. I enjoy every bit of it and sometimes I fight with the kids to get that extra five minutes to reply to all the queries and the beautiful pictures you all send. It is really heartwarming going through every single one of your messages.

Baked Cheesecake

Whenever I get similar questions, I do a Q & A session once in a while. It's even more fun because I get to interact more with my followers. I just finished doing one today and I am amazed at the variety of questions you had for me. I've heard that variety is the spice of life and it really is true, in this case for me. By doing so, I get to know you guys more. It's boring when it's a one-way interaction. Don't you think so? 

Baked Cheesecake

So when I was scrolling through my Instagram explore page, I came across Simi's page and found her recipe for this baked cheesecake. Even though I've baked many a cheesecake before, I felt that this one would be incredibly delicious because of the ingredients. Condensed milk is my forever favourite ingredient to add in a dessert. I have been caught multiple times by Ian while trying to scrape and lick the bottom of the tin. I don't know what it is but condensed milk just makes everything taste better!

Baked Cheesecake

I baked this cheesecake over the weekend because a friend of ours was coming over with her baby after what felt like ages. Now, meeting anyone outside the family feels like a celebration. So I felt I needed to bake something different yet something that she would enjoy. As I was scrolling through my screenshots on the phone I quickly thought of this recipe. I had everything on hand so didn't waste any minute and set out to baking this beautiful, delicious cheesecake.
Make a 9 inch cake
250 grams Marie biscuits, powdered fine
100 grams unsalted butter, melted
500 grams cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup condensed milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Dulce de Leche, as needed

Method: Preheat the oven to 400 F / 200 C and wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform tin with foil.
Base:  Mix the two together and press into the tin.
Filling: Using electric beaters on medium high speed, beat all the ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined, about 2 minutes. Pour over the base and bake in a water bath for about 40-45 minutes or until the cheesecake is almost set and still a bit jiggly, like jelly. Take it out and let it cool completely. Chill for 6-8 hours to set it further. Top it with a few dollops of Dulce de Leche before serving.
* You can add berries, chocolate, cookie crumbles etc to the batter before baking. Change the topping accordingly. You could also bake it plain and serve with fruit toppings.

Baked Cheesecake

When our friend left, Jobin wasn't around and when he came down later I thought he looked serious when told me that it was the best cheesecake that I have ever made. He kept saying how perfect the slice looked and how soft the filling was and how perfect the base was. I didn't know how to react because I was trying to read his face at first that whatever he said didn't register quickly. I laughed out loud when the compliment finally sunk in. 
Baked Cheesecake

Our friend really enjoyed the dessert and I packed a few pieces for her to share with her family later. This is indeed a good recipe and I am sure there will be multiple repeats and requests for it from now on. The leftovers were happily polished off by Jobin & Zara! I urge you to try this sometime soon, you will really enjoy it! Just keep an eye on the baking time. It can vary from oven to oven. The final jiggle of the cheesecake as you pull it out of the oven should remind you of jelly-jiggle. It will continue to cook and firm up as you let it cool down and later chill in the fridge. To get clean slices, dip your knife into boiling hot water and wipe it. Repeat for each cut. Simple, right? 

Monday, July 6, 2020



have been wanting to bake a Mango cake for the longest time and I also had a specific texture and taste in mind as well.Like how Porotta is an emotion in Kerala, the smell and taste of Mangoes evoke a lot of childhood memories in me. We used to spend quite a bit of our Summer vacations in Pallikuttumma every year. Our ancestral home was surrounded by a lot of trees and that included many,many Mango trees.


There were two mango trees on either side of the main gate which were fibrous so we used to eat them raw with salt, chili powder & coconut oil. The ones on the sides of the house were the kind you could just squish and drink the juice (with the peel intact) and the ones behind the house which we all called  Perakka Manga were the best! Amma tells me that Velliammachi planted that mango tree when she was pregnant with Amma & Daisy Mummy. Those mangoes were sweet and the flesh was like butter.


As kids, all of us would pick whole mangoes after lunch and go out to swing on the hammock tied in between the Guava tree and a Mango tree on the East side of the house. We would all squish ourselves, trying to wiggle & fit onto that old white Macramé hammock. We are 24 grandkids on Amma's side and it was usually the girls who were interested on being on the hammock. One such afternoon, the hammock decided to come crashing down when all of us were on it, literally piled up like bricks. I still clearly remember how that felt and every time I sit on our hammock in the backyard, I can't help but smile thinking about that incident which happened over 25-30 years ago.


However, that house is no longer there. It was sold when my Uncle and family moved back to Goa a few years ago. It was demolished and converted into a beautiful restaurant named 'Memories' on Alappuzha - Changanaserry highway. Their food is amazing and we always go there everytime we go to Pallikuttumma. Another Uncle's family lives next door, so that makes it even more convenient. They named that restaurant perfectly because that home still holds so many memories for all of us. It's where my Amma was born and raised, where we celebrated many family functions and where all of us spent our childhood vacations. 
mango cake

Serves 8-10
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable / canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup fresh mango puree, divided
Preheat oven to 325 F and prepare an 8 inch round cake tin. 
Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time and mix until it's incorporated. Add the milk, extract, oil and 1/2 cup mango puree. Mix on medium high speed for 4 minutes till it becomes fluffy and increases in volume by a bit. Add the dry ingredients in three additions and fold it in very gently with a spatula, just until the dry flour is incorporated. Fold in the remaining 1/4 cup of mango puree as well. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 60-65 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Let it cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then unmold and cool completely.


I followed Savita's recipe and the cake came out just like how she had described it to be. Moist & fluffy. I personally prefer cakes made with butter over cakes made with oil. However, a cake made with mostly butter and a little bit of oil brings out a good product. It's like the best of both worlds! Butter adds flavor and oil lends moisture. This cake recipe is a good example of that.
We loved this cake! Use good quality mangoes. If not, the flavor will not shine through. I used frozen mango puree that we get in Indian stores here. It was unsweetened, just like how it would be if I were to puree fresh mangoes. If you are going to use the tinned sweetened mango pulp, you will have to make adjustments with respect to sugar in this recipe. I buy our fresh mangoes from Asian/ Mexican markets and they are available in plenty these days. Just like how we enjoy a Black Forest Cake made using fresh cherries every Summer, I am sure this particular cake will make it's appearance on our table every Summer from now on! You don't need anything over the top of this wonderful cake, not even a dusting of powdered sugar. It's a simple, delicious cake!

Thursday, July 2, 2020


Egg Drop Curry

hen I've made the same curry about 5 times in the last three weeks, it might indicate that  it's a good one!I am usually not the one to make the same curry repeatedly, atleast not this frequently but the flavours of this egg curry are so basic yet so comforting. The method is extremely simply yet time saving. You get the drift, right? This is a curry that you can pull of in no time at all! Usually, when I make my Nadan Motta Curry where I  need to hard boil the eggs separately and peel them later. Here, it's all made in one pot and the results are fantastic!

Egg Drop Curry

The only thing I would suggest you to use would be a little spacious pan. You need to break open the eggs slightly apart from each other, so that they get their own space to cook. Also, if you feel like flipping them towards the end, you need that little room to wiggle your spatula around without breaking the eggs. Other than that little tip, I can only ask you to make this curry as soon as you can because you will love it! It pairs perfectly with Appam, Chapathi, Pathiri, Idiyappam,White Bread, Rolls etc. I found this lovely,quick recipe from here.

Egg Drop Curry

Talking about Appam reminded me of the recipe that I have been making for a few weeks now. It's such a quick one and doesn't need more than 30 minutes to make it...yes, from start to finish. Amma shared that recipe with me and it makes such soft, wonderful Appams. I am hoping to share it with you sometime. I have so much planned and photographed for the blog but when it comes to sitting down to write about it, it requires a little more time than before. It could be the age catching up on me or it could be that it's crazy right now with everyone being at home! :-)

Serves 4

4 large eggs
4 tomatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tablespoon Kashmiri red chili powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 - 1 cup coconut milk*
Coriander leaves for garnish
Method: Heat oil in a wide saute pan on medium heat and once hot, add the fennel seeds and let it sizzle. Then add the onions and a pinch of salt and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds followed by the diced tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes loses it's shape and becomes mushy.Add the spice powders and 1/3 cup water and cook stirring occasionally until the curry becomes little thick,about 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat to low,check for salt and then crack open the eggs directly onto the curry. Do so gently and open the cracked eggs close to the gravy. Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until the eggs are cooked. Serve the curry garnished with coriander leaves.

* The original recipe called for 1/2 cup coconut milk but I have been using 1 cup. I felt the gravy was too less with just 1/2 cup. Maybe my pan is wider or my coconut milk was thick. So use your own judgement here. This is a slightly thick gravy and not a watery one, so don't be tempted to add a lot of liquid.
If you feel the need to flip the eggs around 12 minutes, please do so. I flip ours because we like them set on both sides.

Egg Drop Curry

I must admit that whenever I've made this curry, it's as if I've haven't made enough. It just vanishes before I can even think of taking a photograph of it. Every time I've shared the photographs on my Instagram account, my inbox literally gets flooded with recipe requests from so many! I feel terrible to tell them that I will share it the next time I make it because that's what really happens in our home. Everything I make vanishes...unless I fight with them saying I need to click pictures first before they get a taste of it. It used to be like that long, long ago...like in 2008-2009 time frame but it's all coming back especially after having two little ones who absolutely love to eat! :-)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy making this as much as I do on a weekly basis! 
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