Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Almond Blackberry Laddu



 I have brought back a truckload of dry fruits from Kashmir. We were driving back to Srinagar from Pahalgam and we crossed this area where the high way was flanked my saffron fields and there were lines of shops selling saffron and dry fruits, each one vying for attention, claiming their stuff if the best. Our driver said he one of the shopkeepers was a friend and that he had good stuff to sell. We decided to take a look, though we knew how it all worked, the friendship between the driver and the shopkeeper. We had walked in to check out the kesar, we walked out with a few too may kinds of dry fruits and of course the kesar.

The shop-owner a young Kashmiri Guy was a shrewd businessman. He speaks at least five sentences in every Indian language...well almost. Has a witty retort for anything you might say. Flirts when and where necessary. He will engage you will interesting tales, and has deep insights on a mother's lover and human transgressions.He refers to Go Air as "apna airlines" and can get you up to 5 kgs of extra luggage allowance free should you buy his stuff and add to your luggage. And check out this conversation between  him and my friend Chetna.
Kesar guy: Yeh sabse badiya kesar diya aap ko. Humne ye kesar kinko khilaya hai pata hai? (This kesar I gave you is superlative. Have you any idea who all have had it?)
Chetna: Batayiye (Tell me)
KG: Atal Bihar Vajpayee ji lete hain. Aur Sonia Gandhi ji ka bhi favourite hai. (Atal Bihari Vajpayi has it and it is Sonia Gandhi's favourite)
Chetna: Aap mile ho unse? (Have you met them?)
KG: Courier karke bhejte hain. (No sent it by courier)
Chetna: Arre to apne aaj Narendra Modi ji ko bhi bheja hoga...unka oath ceremony hai after all. (Oh so you must have couriered some to Narendra Modi today, it is his oath-taking ceremony today)
KG: Aaj aapko diya na (Why today I served you)

He taught us the how to gauge the quality of kesar, he demonstrated and we followed suit.So you need to take one strand of kesar ad mull it it between your buck teeth and lower front teeth, if it tastes bitter the kesar is of great quality, the rich orange-ish yellow colour that stains your lips ad teeth only add to the proof. A gram would cost Rs 200 and not a penny less. To us the fragrance of his kesar was bewitching, our Kashmiri friend, no not the driver, also vouched for the quality of the kesar so I went ahead and bought it, 5 g of Kashmiri Kesar.

But all the while my eyes were trained on the dates, apricot, dried figs and pine nuts, the fragrance of cinnamon and cardamom was driving me crazy. I told myself...control...not yet. Once we were done with the fragrance the owner order his staff to give us all a taste of his dry fruits. He said they were the best we would get. All of us vociferously protested, said we won't be needing any and we were too full to taste even. He insisted, said it'll break his heart. 2 hours later we came out with kilos of dry fruits from his shop. Huh.



My aunt and my cousins went back this morning. My mum has accompanied them back to Chandannagar and will return only later in the evening. Dad's at work and my brother is wherever it is he haunts, The house is awfully quite. The neighbours have their television turned on at an preposterous volume and I can hear Usha Uthup sing Daaaarrrrrling....I believe they are watching the grand celebrations unfold at the Eden Gardens to commemorate KKR's IPL victory...phew. Buddy, my 2-year-old golden retriever, has been sleeping all day today...he has had a very busy weekend! I am home alone, well sort of.

I usually do not get bored when I am alone, I always find ways to entertain myself. Today I read a few pages of Albert Camus, took out a few and added a few more sentences to my latest literary masterpiece, watched three episodes of Drop Dead Gorgeous, applied some tomato pulp to my abnormally tanned face (Mountains are worse than seashores when it comes to tanning, at least as far as I am concerned), shopped for some crockery online and finally headed for the kitchen and whipped up some Almond Blackberry Laddus. Check out the recipe





Ingredients

Ground Almond (not powdered completely, a little coarse) - 225 g
Blackberries - 1/2 cup
Nutmeg powder - a pinch (optional)
Desi ghee - 2 tbsp
Sweetened condensed milk - 3tbsp
Sugar - 4 tbsp


Method

In a bowl mix sugar, ground almond and keep.

Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan and add a pinch of nutmeg powder. Once done add the almond and sugar mix. Cook for a few minutes, stirring continuously, until sugar almost dissolves and the mixture is fragrant.

Turn of heat and add the condensed milk and blackberries, and mix well.

Form laddoos, pop a few into your mouth while you'e at it and enjoy!




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