Monday, 22 May 2017

648. Chocolate Avocado Pudding

A big green berry

      Yes you read the title correct. Botanically speaking an avocado is a berry and thus classified as a fruit. It is a single berry fruit. There is much confusion as to whether it is a summer fruit or spring and nowadays its available in winter too. However, in Kenya where we don't really have our climate divided into 3 or 4 seasons like winter, spring, summer and autumn, avocados are available mostly throughout the year. Some countries classify it as a summer fruit. So as far as I'm concerned summer fruit or not I decided to use it for our 93rd theme on FoodieMonday Bloghop group. The theme is Summer Fruits suggested by our group member Pushpita. It certainly isn't hot here as we're into the rainy season. 

        Basically the only locally grown fruits available in abundance during this season are watermelon, banana, papaya and avocados. Didn't want to do another watermelon recipe, the papaya is still not ripe and banana.... got quite a few recipes on the blog using banana. Imported summer fruits are very expensive. So I was left with avocados as an option.
    
         Did you know that avocados contain more potassium than bananas? Avocados can be used to replace cream and butter. That is why they are used in baking and as an excellent option for desserts to replace dairy products. I'm not going to go into the health benefits of including avocados in your diet as most of us are aware of nutritional value of this alligator pear, butter fruit, avocado pear,cheese pear etc. 

        I am trying to prepare healthy dishes as much as possible this year. So for this theme I decided to make an avocado chocolate pudding. Its one of the easiest desserts to make and healthy. The dessert leaves you feeling full but its light on the stomach compared to desserts made using fresh cream. Both hubby and I love our desserts but we cannot have a sweet treat that often. So as an alternative I make this pudding often. I add honey or maple syrup to my portion and add stevia to hubby's portion (he is diabetic and so the notion that diabetics can have honey and maple syrup till end of time is absolutely wrong.Honey, maple syrup all affect blood sugar levels just the same way as sugar does).  I also keep the portions small, say about ¼ - ½ cup for each.

        Check out the recipe for this delicious chocolatey dessert.










CHOCOLATE AVOCADO PUDDING
Makes 3-4

1 large ripe avocado (about 1½ cups of the pulp)
¼ -⅓ cup of honey, maple syrup or agave nectar)
¼ - ⅓ cup cocoa powder or cacao powder
½ tsp orange extract
1 tsp orange zest or rind, grated
¼ cup milk (can be normal, nut, soy or coconut milk)
a small pinch of salt
1 tsp chia seed powder

To serve, some options:
whipped cream, fresh berries, grated dark chocolate, chopped nuts.


  1. Cut the avocado into half and scoop out the flesh into a blender.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Process the mixture till it is smooth. You may need to use a spatula to mix the avocado mixture to help it process well.
  4. Scoop out the pudding into serving bowls or small glasses. Cover it with cling film.
  5. Refrigerate the pudding for 30- 60 minutes or till its chilled.
  6. Serve topped with a topping of your choice. I served mine with a generous sprinkle of pistachios and dark chocolate shavings.
Tips:
  • Add a small banana for a much thicker creamier pudding.
  • Add ¼ cup of melted chocolate if you want.
  • Add flavourings or spices of your choice.
  • For vegan option use maple syrup instead of honey and nut milk of your preference.
  • Adding chia seed powder is totally optional. I added it for nutritional value.
You may want to check out my other avocado recipes:
avocado dressing
mashed avocado and tomato bruschetta
Sending this recipe to the following event:

Blog Hop



Wednesday, 17 May 2017

647. Cherry Cobbler Parfait

Precious Cherries

   For the month of May, the Fantastical Food Fight theme was Cherry Cobbler. As I read that, I thought here's another month I'll have to sit out (last month was BLT and being a vegetarian B was certainly out for me). I asked if I could use glaced cherries and the reply was yes. However, wasn't feeling too happy about using them. So I waited practically till the last minute still deciding what to make. The charming thing about this group is that you don't have to participate monthly. Last Saturday I went to the local vegetable shop and I saw a whole big carton of cherries smiling at me. I asked the price and nearly fainted. Cherries are not tropical and so they are imported from South Africa or where ever! These days it baffles me to see Parathas from Philippines (I thought that was a rice eating nation), Oats from Turkey and just lets not get into what the Chinese are selling to Africa.

  Getting back to the precious cherries, I shopped for the other stuff and walked out without the cherries. $29 for 1kg... yes I'm not joking. With thoughts banging in my head, I did an about turn and bought 250 g on the condition I am allowed to pick the cherries myself. I didn't want any spoiled ones... not if I'm paying nearly $7 (Ksh 722/-). Shhh, for once hope hubby is not going to read the post :) Now you can see what silly things we bloggers can do. Anyway, I'm glad I spent that money on sweet, juicy cherries.

   I didn't want to make the cobbler, though I was tempted to as I've not made one like for years! However, wasn't going to spend a fortune on butter (yes, this crazy country is selling local butter 500 g at $9.70 all in the name of drought and now rains). The best next option for me was to make a cherry cobbler parfait and I am so glad I made that because its another dessert/breakfast added to my healthy list.
Usually a parfait has layers of fruits with layers of ice cream, whipped cream, yogurt , jelly(jello) or custard and something crunchy in between. I decided to use yogurt. I made the cherries the way we would normally do for the cobbler and since I didn't want to add too much flour to the crunchy biscuit topping, I replaced it with some oats.










CHERRY COBBLER PARFAIT
Serves 2

250 g fresh cherries
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornflour (corn starch)
¼ cup water
3 tbsp oats
1 tbsp flour
2 tsp butter/oil
1-2 tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
a generous pinch of clove powder
1 cup plain greek yogurt or any thick yogurt
½ tsp vanilla essence
1-2 tbsp powdered sugar or honey or maple syrup
  1. To prepare the cherry filling wash and pit the cherries. Cut them into halves.
  2. Mix cherries, 1 tsp sugar, water and cornflour in a heavy bottomed pan.
  3. Cook the mixture over low heat till the cherries become a bit soft and the syrup becomes thick.
  4. Cool the mixture and store in the fridge till required.
  5. I strained the yogurt to remove excess water. Cover a strainer or big sieve with a clean cotton cloth.I like to use  gent's hankerchief for this purpose as it's just the right size. 
  6. Pour the yogurt into the hankerchief.  Cover with the edges of the hankerchief. To make the process a bit fast, fold a page of newspaper and place it over the covered yogurt. Place something heavy on it like a pestle and mortar or a  small brick or stone. This presses the yogurt down and the paper absorbs the water. 
  7. While the yogurt is getting ready, make the topping or biscuit/cookie.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  9. Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, butter or oil cinnamon and clove powder together.
  10. Put the mixture on a lined baking tray.
  11. Bake it for 10-12 minutes.After 8 minutes keep an eye on the cookie mixture,you don't want it to burn.
  12. Take it out of the oven and let it cool.
  13. Crumble up the baked mixture. If not using it immediately, then store it in an airtight container.
  14. Scoop out the thick yogurt from the cloth into a mixing bowl.
  15. Add vanilla essence, sugar (honey, maple syrup) and mix it well till it is smooth. Let it chill in the fridge for at least 30-40 minutes.
To assemble the parfait:
  1. Take 2 glasses.
  2. Add half of the yogurt into both the glasses.
  3. Top it half of the cherry filling.
  4. Sprinkle the crumbled mixture.
  5. Add the remaining yogurt to both the glasses.
  6. Add the remaining cherry filling and finally sprinkle the crumbled mixture over it. 
Serve the chilled parfait as dessert or as breakfast.

Tips:
  • I used home made yogurt as the ready made yogurts are too sweet.
  • If you don't want to make the oat flour topping or crumble then just break up your favourite cookies and use that instead.
  • You can use ready made cherry filling, but again the sugar content may be high.
Check out what the other members have prepared for the cherry cobbler theme:







Sending this recipe to the following event:


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

646.Paneer Dum Biryani

Guest No.10

         I was supposed to post this last week but the whole schedule got messed up. I had some posts that had to b live on certain dates (that's what happens when you're in too many groups!) and problems with the internet. It rained a lot last week and many places in Mombasa were flooded. 
         My 10th Guest on the blog, its my sister in law Heni. She's married to my cousin Hiren. His mum was my 3rd guest. She had prepared Tangy Creamy Potato Curry. I've not had much opportunity to spend time with Heni, but whatever time we spend together at my dad's home, their home or an outing, its fun. When I first met Heni, she appeared to me as a very friendly, caring, loving and warmhearted person. She is a fun loving person, always smiling and ready to help any time. She is a great cook herself and my hubby loves her non vegetarian curries.She taught me how to make farali theplas. Along with my brother's wife, they both make any party lively. She encouraged my cousin Hiren to travel all the way to Bangalore to surprise my daughter and me.It was a pleasant surprise and am glad that he attended my daughter's wedding. Heni and Hiren share a special bond not only with my brothers and bhabhis but also with me. Its rare to see such a close relationship especially between cousins nowadays. Heni and I share a lot of common interests... movies, cooking, enjoying good wine ;) She also enjoys watching documentaries and loves reading and is eager to learn anything new. She would love to see different countries. My first experience at the Notting Hill Carnival with them was totally fun. 
Over to Heni:
Mayuriben, my eldest sister-in-law is someone who I have spent very limited time with but what little time I have spent with her has been very positive. Kind, generous and very understanding personality but also someone who has a passion for cooking. She is very innovative and has lots of different ideas for making different types of cuisine with a twist.Her relaxed demeanor depicts a very wise and knowledgeable person respected by all that meet her. I have only seen her or met her when she visits her family in London that too for little time as we have a huge family.
My fondest memory of her is our trip to Notting Hill Carnival (can you imagine going to a street carnival with your husband AND his elder sister…?). Walking amongst the crowd we saw many “characters..” and there was a guy dressed up as an Arabian king. Needless to say that was the perfect photo opportunity for Mayuriben to sidle up to him and SNAP… Certainly made me smile.. It was an experience for us all but a day full of fun and laughter and lots of entertainment.




Paneer Dum Biryani
Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients:
1 cup carrot (diced big pieces)
1 cup sweetcorn (fresh or frozen)
1 cup sugar snaps (or pod peas halved)
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1 cup green beans(halved)
1 cup broccoli florets
3 cups of paneer cubes
3 onions (paste)
8 garlic cloves (paste)
2 tablespoons ginger paste
2 tablespoons chilli paste
3 tomatoes paste/finely chopped
1 tea spoon turmeric powder
2 tea spoon chilli powder
2 table spoons coriander and cumin powder
2 table spoon Biryani masala
1 cup yogurt
oil for deep frying

Rice preparation:
3 cups extra-long basmati rice or Biryani Rice
6 cups water
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
4 Black pepper
4 cardamom

Biryani layers:
6-7 medium size red onions thinly sliced (for fried onions) you can use readymade fried onions
2 cups chopped mint
1 cup lime/lemon juice
1 cup chopped coriander
4 table spoons of ghee

Method:
  1. Wash and soak the rice in the measured water for 30-45 mins.
  2. While the rice is soaking, blanch carrots, sugar snaps, broccoli, sweet corn and peas in hot water. I did that in the microwave for 2-3 minutes each, but cooking time will vary depending on the power of  your microwave.
  3. Drain out the water from the rice into a saucepan.
  4. Boil the water, add the whole spices for rice. Add the rice and let it cook till half done.
  5. Drain the rice out of the water. Spread the rice out in a tray and let it cool.
  6. Heat oil in a wok, karai or frying pan over medium heat.
  7. Fry the paneer until it is golden brown in colour. Keep it on the side till required.
  8. In the same oil, fry onions until they are brown in colour. Remove them from the oil and keep it on a kitchen towel so that the excess oil drains out.
  9. Heat about 2-3 tbsp oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  10. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli paste and stir fry over low heat till its light golden in colour.
  11. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander cumin powder and biryani masala. Add about 2 tbsp water so that the masala does not stick to the bottom of the pan.Mix well and cook for 2 minutes.
  12. Add the tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes become soft.
  13. Add all the blanched vegetables, paneer, 1 cup chopped mint and yogurt.
  14. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes. The curry is ready.

Layer the biryani
  1. First, layer half the curry at the bottom of a deep saucepan or a glass baking tray if you're going to put it in the oven.
  2. Cover the curry with half of the rice.
  3. Sprinkle half quantity each of fried onions, mint, lemon/lime juice, ghee and coriander.
  4. Cover this layer with the remaining curry.
  5. Top it with the remaining rice.
  6. Finally sprinkle the remaining fried onion, chopped mint and coriander, ghee and lime/lemon juice.
  7. Cover the saucepan or tray with aluminium foil.
  8. Cover the pan with a tight lid. At this point you can seal it with some chappati dough.
  9. If you are using the saucepan method then put the saucepan on a frying pan (thick bottomed).
  10. Put the frying pan on high heat for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat and let the biryani cook slowly for 35 minutes. You may need to check halfway to make sure the biryani is not sticking at the bottom.
  11. To bake in the oven, preheat the oven to 200°C. 
  12. Bake the biryani for 1 hour.
  13. Serve the biryani with some raita, salad and papad (poppadum).

Tips:
  • Do not over cook the rice.
  • Put the fried paneer in water so that it remains soft.
  • If you don't want to fry onions at home you can use the ready fried ones available in the stores.
  • Use vegetables of your choice like baby potatoes, mushrooms, baby corn etc.
You may want to check out what other guests had prepared:
Chinese Cauliflower Rice
methi and spinach potato curry




Monday, 15 May 2017

645. Tzatziki

Where is my dahi?

    Dahi is the hindi/gujarati word for yogurt. When my kids were growing up, yogurt was a part of their meal every single day. Plain yogurt or made into lassi but mostly good old plain home made yogurt . Dollops of the thick creamy goodness was eaten with dals, rice, khichdi and vegetable curry.If anything was slightly chilli for the kids a dollop of yogurt took care of it. While the boys were not too fussed about yogurt or lassi, my daughter on the other hand would throw a tantrum if she didn't have her bowl of yogurt for lunch.She'd cry out "where is my dahi?" if we didn't serve it with her lunch.

   As you may have guessed by now, the #FoodieMonday #Bloghop 92nd theme is yogurt. Preethi our group member requested us to make anything using yogurt. 
   
   Yogurt is known to have many health benefits. 

  • Its easier to digest than milk, its rich in calcium, it has high levels of Vitamin B especially Vitamin B12. 
  • It has your daily requirement of phosphorus, magnesium and potassium which all are good to regulate blood pressure, good for the bones and metabolism.
  • Its high in protein so a good food item to include in your diet especially if you're a vegetarian. 
  • Dietitians recommend eating a bowlful of plain yogurt to ward off hunger. The protein in the yogurt makes you feel full and has fewer calories.
  • Yogurts contain good bacteria and probiotics which are very good for for the digestive system. Yogurt reduced bloating, helps reduce constipation and a bowlful of yogurt is recommended when one suffers from diarrhea. 
  • With all the minerals and calcium and protein present in the yogurt it improves your immune system and also helps to protect one against osteoporsis. 
     It is said that ready made pasteurized yogurt does not contain the beneficial bacteria (lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, strptococcus thermophilus). To know whether your ready made yogurt contains the beneficial bacteria the label should read 'live active culture'.

     Making yogurt at home is very easy. 

     I've tried using ready made yogurt as the starter and have failed. So best to get about 1-2 tbsp of good yogurt from a friendly neighbour or family who make their own yogurt unless you get the live active culture variety yogurt.

     Bring 500ml of milk to a boil. Let it cool down to room temperature. Heat the milk till it is warm(45C).It should be warm like the temperature you can drink. Pour into a glass bowl or container. Add 2 tbsp of yogurt and mix gently.Cover the bowl or container. Place the bowl in a warm place for the milk to ferment. In warm places yogurt sets in about 6-8 hours and in colder places it takes longer. Its best to place the bowl in a warm place like your geyser cupboard, or the oven. Or cover it with a blanket as my aunt used to. 
Colder places may require a bit more starter yogurt about 2-3 tbsp.

     I made Tzatziki pronounced as (zaatzeekee or chacheeki in Greek).What is Tzatziki? Well, its a Greek yogurt sauce or dip. Known as cacik in Turkey and North Cyprus, this sauce is very versatile. Its used to accompany mezze(appetizer). It is also used on grilled meat and as a salad dressing. Tzatziki is so easy to make and its the yummiest and most refreshing sauce/dip I've had. I served it along with some carrot, cucumber and tomatoes as a starter. You can serve it with warm pita wedges, or any other warm bread. We even had some of it with potato chips and it tasted so delicious.







TZATZIKI
Makes 1 cup

1 cup thick yogurt (use Greek yogurt or hung yogurt)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small cucumber (grated about ½ cup)
2 cloves garlic -minced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder

To serve, some ideas:
carrot sticks
cucumber sticks
celery sticks
pita wedges or any flat bread 
tomatoes
olives
bell pepper strips
falafel 

  1. If the cucumber skin is thin, then you don't need to peel it. Cut it into half and remove the thick seeds if any. Its best to scoop it out using a spoon. 
  2. Grate the cucumber.
  3. Sprinkle a generous pinch of salt and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Squeeze out the water from the cucumber.
  5. Add cucumber, oil, garlic, dill, salt, pepper, lemon juice to the thick yogurt. Mix well and the sauce or dip is ready.
Tips:
  • If you are using normal plain yogurt you may need about 2 cups of it. Take a thin cotton cloth (I find using a man's hankerchief the best). Place the cloth over a strainer or sieve. Place the strainer over a bowl to catch the water. Pour the yogurt into the cloth. Cover it up with the cloth. Place a folded newspaper over it. Put some weight like a mortar and pestle or a small brick. This helps to remove the water from the yogurt faster.
  • I strained the greek yogurt to remove water.
  • You can use fresh mint or parsley instead of dill.
You may want to check out the following yogurt recipes:

roasted eggplant dip
banana cucumber raita
yogurt dressing
rasiya muthia
Sending this recipe to the following event:

Blog Hop


Saturday, 13 May 2017

644.Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day

A few weeks back, I was thinking of my mum and obviously missing her tonnes. I wanted the approaching Mother's Day to be less painful. Now don't get me wrong my kids (from 3 now I have 5 :) ) all shower me with lots of love. I thought why not get some of my blogger friends to celebrate this day with me. Its amazing how much closer we all have become and most of us poured our hearts out and each ones recipe is somehow, somewhere connected to their mothers. I approached 25 and 19 responded with enthusiasm and sent heartfelt messages. So here's what each of them shared for Mother's Day. 



Mayuri Patel:

My mum loved her Gujarati snacks like handvo, khandvi and her most favourite was matar kachori. Made with simple spices it was the yummiest snack. Patiently, she would make tonnes of these kachoris for our huge family. Missing you so much mum.


Matar Kachori

Kriti Singhal Agrawal says:

Being a Mom is the toughest yet most cherishing job ever. This Mother’s day, I dedicate this beautiful and scrumptious Apple Pie to you Mom… This pie truly reflects your choice of ingredients and your imaginations of reaching out to  the stars… These tiny beautiful stars are specially for you thus telling the World that you are the most pretty and shining star of the Galaxy…today and always!


Classic Apple Pie 

Huma Kalim's mother loved the flower mogra.

Mogra/ Indian Jasmine for me holds for me one such memory of my beautiful mother with a ever smiling face. 


Mogre Ka Sharbat
Nisa

' God's most precious gift to mankind is a Mother.'


Mango Cream Cake

Rupal Patel thanks her mum

All mom's are special and so is mine... My mom is my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my mom. Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life. God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers. I remember my mom's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life... Thank you Mom to being my Mom:) Happy Mother's Day to all...

Mustard Green Chilli Pickle

Sujata Roy shares her thoughts on her mum:

'I lost my mom 4 years ago. She is still with us in our minds and hearts. She was a very simple person and a bookworm. She loved to make different types of sweets.The list is too long. I remember when our house was filled with lovely aroma in the afternoon. My brother and I loved her malpua and gokul pithe the most. These delicacies made our mood festive. Not only do we miss her sweets but also her delicious food prepared without any onions or garlic'.

Malpua

Amrita Iyer keeping in mind her mum's favourite, strawberries and pomegranate juice made this swiss roll especially for her.

"My mother is one of the strong ladies in the world who has stayed strong despite all odds!She is one person who has proved herself time and again and shown that come what may obstacles can be perceived as opportunities to grow and develop!She specially loves this Swiss Roll which is why I am featuring this delicious dessert for Mother's Day"!

Strawberry Pomegranate Swiss Roll

Nayna Kanabar shares her memories of her mother whom she lost when she was very young. 

As a child I was a picky eater or so my family tell me and I still remember my mum encouraging me to drink milk which I hated. However I never had any problems gulping down this delicious Masala milk she used to make. The masala milk was flavored with saffron, cardamom, nutmeg and had a blend of  mixed nuts which are rich in protein, fibre and essential fats. When we were running a temperature or had a cold she used to add a pinch of turmeric to the milk too. This was definitely "Mothers love and goodness in a glass.

Masala Milk

Jagruti Dhanecha

"I would like to dedicate this post to my amazing Mum and step Nan, both are no longer here, sending my love and kisses to both of them in heaven on their cloud! Xx Without them I would have never known about this personal favourite recipe which brings back the memories of them enjoying this as well'.

Rajasthani Bajra Raabdi

Saswati Hota plans to make this delish dessert for her mum when she visits her.

"The mother child bond is an eternal one; distance, time not even death can shake it's rock solid existence and essence. My memories of my mother evokes feelings of contentment, safety and warmth.Its been twenty long years that I have been away from her but I always feel her comforting presence by my side. Even years after moving away from home, getting married, having children I always refer to my parents home as my home. My mom's arms is a place that makes me feel carefree and childlike again. Home is where Mom is!! 
Mangoes are my mom's favourite and this time when I go to meet her for the vacations I am planning to indulge her with this sinful and mouthwatering dessert for her, a Mother's Day show stopper for sure."

Mango and Coconut Mousse Tart

Avin Kohli showers her love on her mum

"I have never seen someone quite like her. She's fast, energetic, witty, funny...all in one😀. When other mums were pampering their kids, my mum was training me to be independent. Whenever I need advice I can go to her for an unbiased opinion.
She taught me all the cooking I know. Some people say I have "maa ka SWAD" in my hand; which is a huge complement for me. I starting out my blog 1&1/2 year ago and there are so many dishes there inspired by her. I wish her a long life of health, love and togetherness. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MA. I LOVE YOU"❤❤

Beetroot Cutlets

Mina Joshi remembers both her parents on this day and always
"God could not be everywhere so he created mothers'. Rudyard Kipling

Aloo Parathas

Chef Mireille

Mireille made these cornmeal lavender muffins for Mother's Day. Her mum is from the Carriebean where cornmeal is used in every part of their meal from drinks to desserts.

Cornmeal Lavender Muffins

Vidya Srinivasan says :

 "Coconut is my mum's favourite ingredient. She prepares this podi and sends it to me". Its only mothers who know how to make their children's life easier.

thengai podi

Priya Suresh

Priya's grandmother used to make this delightful sweet dish, her mother made it for her and now she makes it for her children.


Paal Podi

Pavani Nandula

Pavani made these delicious sweet rolls for her mum who is visiting her, and she loved them.She's very happy that after 15 years she is celebrating Mother's Day with her mum.


Apricot Sweet Rolls
Preethi Bala 

decided to share two sweet treats to honour mums all over the world and not forgetting her own mum who is her pillar of strength.
'Mother’s day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society'.


Mango Mastani

Mango Ice Cream with Chocolate Swirl

 Wishing all you wonderful mums out there a very Happy Mother's Day.
May every mother's life be as sweetly scented as fresh flowers,be as bright as the stars,may her most treasured jewellery be her children's arms round her neck and may she eternally live in her child's heart.


Pogaca



Last but not least for my blogger friends:

Monday, 22 May 2017

648. Chocolate Avocado Pudding

A big green berry

      Yes you read the title correct. Botanically speaking an avocado is a berry and thus classified as a fruit. It is a single berry fruit. There is much confusion as to whether it is a summer fruit or spring and nowadays its available in winter too. However, in Kenya where we don't really have our climate divided into 3 or 4 seasons like winter, spring, summer and autumn, avocados are available mostly throughout the year. Some countries classify it as a summer fruit. So as far as I'm concerned summer fruit or not I decided to use it for our 93rd theme on FoodieMonday Bloghop group. The theme is Summer Fruits suggested by our group member Pushpita. It certainly isn't hot here as we're into the rainy season. 

        Basically the only locally grown fruits available in abundance during this season are watermelon, banana, papaya and avocados. Didn't want to do another watermelon recipe, the papaya is still not ripe and banana.... got quite a few recipes on the blog using banana. Imported summer fruits are very expensive. So I was left with avocados as an option.
    
         Did you know that avocados contain more potassium than bananas? Avocados can be used to replace cream and butter. That is why they are used in baking and as an excellent option for desserts to replace dairy products. I'm not going to go into the health benefits of including avocados in your diet as most of us are aware of nutritional value of this alligator pear, butter fruit, avocado pear,cheese pear etc. 

        I am trying to prepare healthy dishes as much as possible this year. So for this theme I decided to make an avocado chocolate pudding. Its one of the easiest desserts to make and healthy. The dessert leaves you feeling full but its light on the stomach compared to desserts made using fresh cream. Both hubby and I love our desserts but we cannot have a sweet treat that often. So as an alternative I make this pudding often. I add honey or maple syrup to my portion and add stevia to hubby's portion (he is diabetic and so the notion that diabetics can have honey and maple syrup till end of time is absolutely wrong.Honey, maple syrup all affect blood sugar levels just the same way as sugar does).  I also keep the portions small, say about ¼ - ½ cup for each.

        Check out the recipe for this delicious chocolatey dessert.










CHOCOLATE AVOCADO PUDDING
Makes 3-4

1 large ripe avocado (about 1½ cups of the pulp)
¼ -⅓ cup of honey, maple syrup or agave nectar)
¼ - ⅓ cup cocoa powder or cacao powder
½ tsp orange extract
1 tsp orange zest or rind, grated
¼ cup milk (can be normal, nut, soy or coconut milk)
a small pinch of salt
1 tsp chia seed powder

To serve, some options:
whipped cream, fresh berries, grated dark chocolate, chopped nuts.


  1. Cut the avocado into half and scoop out the flesh into a blender.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Process the mixture till it is smooth. You may need to use a spatula to mix the avocado mixture to help it process well.
  4. Scoop out the pudding into serving bowls or small glasses. Cover it with cling film.
  5. Refrigerate the pudding for 30- 60 minutes or till its chilled.
  6. Serve topped with a topping of your choice. I served mine with a generous sprinkle of pistachios and dark chocolate shavings.
Tips:
  • Add a small banana for a much thicker creamier pudding.
  • Add ¼ cup of melted chocolate if you want.
  • Add flavourings or spices of your choice.
  • For vegan option use maple syrup instead of honey and nut milk of your preference.
  • Adding chia seed powder is totally optional. I added it for nutritional value.
You may want to check out my other avocado recipes:
avocado dressing
mashed avocado and tomato bruschetta
Sending this recipe to the following event:

Blog Hop



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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

647. Cherry Cobbler Parfait

Precious Cherries

   For the month of May, the Fantastical Food Fight theme was Cherry Cobbler. As I read that, I thought here's another month I'll have to sit out (last month was BLT and being a vegetarian B was certainly out for me). I asked if I could use glaced cherries and the reply was yes. However, wasn't feeling too happy about using them. So I waited practically till the last minute still deciding what to make. The charming thing about this group is that you don't have to participate monthly. Last Saturday I went to the local vegetable shop and I saw a whole big carton of cherries smiling at me. I asked the price and nearly fainted. Cherries are not tropical and so they are imported from South Africa or where ever! These days it baffles me to see Parathas from Philippines (I thought that was a rice eating nation), Oats from Turkey and just lets not get into what the Chinese are selling to Africa.

  Getting back to the precious cherries, I shopped for the other stuff and walked out without the cherries. $29 for 1kg... yes I'm not joking. With thoughts banging in my head, I did an about turn and bought 250 g on the condition I am allowed to pick the cherries myself. I didn't want any spoiled ones... not if I'm paying nearly $7 (Ksh 722/-). Shhh, for once hope hubby is not going to read the post :) Now you can see what silly things we bloggers can do. Anyway, I'm glad I spent that money on sweet, juicy cherries.

   I didn't want to make the cobbler, though I was tempted to as I've not made one like for years! However, wasn't going to spend a fortune on butter (yes, this crazy country is selling local butter 500 g at $9.70 all in the name of drought and now rains). The best next option for me was to make a cherry cobbler parfait and I am so glad I made that because its another dessert/breakfast added to my healthy list.
Usually a parfait has layers of fruits with layers of ice cream, whipped cream, yogurt , jelly(jello) or custard and something crunchy in between. I decided to use yogurt. I made the cherries the way we would normally do for the cobbler and since I didn't want to add too much flour to the crunchy biscuit topping, I replaced it with some oats.










CHERRY COBBLER PARFAIT
Serves 2

250 g fresh cherries
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornflour (corn starch)
¼ cup water
3 tbsp oats
1 tbsp flour
2 tsp butter/oil
1-2 tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
a generous pinch of clove powder
1 cup plain greek yogurt or any thick yogurt
½ tsp vanilla essence
1-2 tbsp powdered sugar or honey or maple syrup
  1. To prepare the cherry filling wash and pit the cherries. Cut them into halves.
  2. Mix cherries, 1 tsp sugar, water and cornflour in a heavy bottomed pan.
  3. Cook the mixture over low heat till the cherries become a bit soft and the syrup becomes thick.
  4. Cool the mixture and store in the fridge till required.
  5. I strained the yogurt to remove excess water. Cover a strainer or big sieve with a clean cotton cloth.I like to use  gent's hankerchief for this purpose as it's just the right size. 
  6. Pour the yogurt into the hankerchief.  Cover with the edges of the hankerchief. To make the process a bit fast, fold a page of newspaper and place it over the covered yogurt. Place something heavy on it like a pestle and mortar or a  small brick or stone. This presses the yogurt down and the paper absorbs the water. 
  7. While the yogurt is getting ready, make the topping or biscuit/cookie.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  9. Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, butter or oil cinnamon and clove powder together.
  10. Put the mixture on a lined baking tray.
  11. Bake it for 10-12 minutes.After 8 minutes keep an eye on the cookie mixture,you don't want it to burn.
  12. Take it out of the oven and let it cool.
  13. Crumble up the baked mixture. If not using it immediately, then store it in an airtight container.
  14. Scoop out the thick yogurt from the cloth into a mixing bowl.
  15. Add vanilla essence, sugar (honey, maple syrup) and mix it well till it is smooth. Let it chill in the fridge for at least 30-40 minutes.
To assemble the parfait:
  1. Take 2 glasses.
  2. Add half of the yogurt into both the glasses.
  3. Top it half of the cherry filling.
  4. Sprinkle the crumbled mixture.
  5. Add the remaining yogurt to both the glasses.
  6. Add the remaining cherry filling and finally sprinkle the crumbled mixture over it. 
Serve the chilled parfait as dessert or as breakfast.

Tips:
  • I used home made yogurt as the ready made yogurts are too sweet.
  • If you don't want to make the oat flour topping or crumble then just break up your favourite cookies and use that instead.
  • You can use ready made cherry filling, but again the sugar content may be high.
Check out what the other members have prepared for the cherry cobbler theme:







Sending this recipe to the following event:


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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

646.Paneer Dum Biryani

Guest No.10

         I was supposed to post this last week but the whole schedule got messed up. I had some posts that had to b live on certain dates (that's what happens when you're in too many groups!) and problems with the internet. It rained a lot last week and many places in Mombasa were flooded. 
         My 10th Guest on the blog, its my sister in law Heni. She's married to my cousin Hiren. His mum was my 3rd guest. She had prepared Tangy Creamy Potato Curry. I've not had much opportunity to spend time with Heni, but whatever time we spend together at my dad's home, their home or an outing, its fun. When I first met Heni, she appeared to me as a very friendly, caring, loving and warmhearted person. She is a fun loving person, always smiling and ready to help any time. She is a great cook herself and my hubby loves her non vegetarian curries.She taught me how to make farali theplas. Along with my brother's wife, they both make any party lively. She encouraged my cousin Hiren to travel all the way to Bangalore to surprise my daughter and me.It was a pleasant surprise and am glad that he attended my daughter's wedding. Heni and Hiren share a special bond not only with my brothers and bhabhis but also with me. Its rare to see such a close relationship especially between cousins nowadays. Heni and I share a lot of common interests... movies, cooking, enjoying good wine ;) She also enjoys watching documentaries and loves reading and is eager to learn anything new. She would love to see different countries. My first experience at the Notting Hill Carnival with them was totally fun. 
Over to Heni:
Mayuriben, my eldest sister-in-law is someone who I have spent very limited time with but what little time I have spent with her has been very positive. Kind, generous and very understanding personality but also someone who has a passion for cooking. She is very innovative and has lots of different ideas for making different types of cuisine with a twist.Her relaxed demeanor depicts a very wise and knowledgeable person respected by all that meet her. I have only seen her or met her when she visits her family in London that too for little time as we have a huge family.
My fondest memory of her is our trip to Notting Hill Carnival (can you imagine going to a street carnival with your husband AND his elder sister…?). Walking amongst the crowd we saw many “characters..” and there was a guy dressed up as an Arabian king. Needless to say that was the perfect photo opportunity for Mayuriben to sidle up to him and SNAP… Certainly made me smile.. It was an experience for us all but a day full of fun and laughter and lots of entertainment.




Paneer Dum Biryani
Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients:
1 cup carrot (diced big pieces)
1 cup sweetcorn (fresh or frozen)
1 cup sugar snaps (or pod peas halved)
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1 cup green beans(halved)
1 cup broccoli florets
3 cups of paneer cubes
3 onions (paste)
8 garlic cloves (paste)
2 tablespoons ginger paste
2 tablespoons chilli paste
3 tomatoes paste/finely chopped
1 tea spoon turmeric powder
2 tea spoon chilli powder
2 table spoons coriander and cumin powder
2 table spoon Biryani masala
1 cup yogurt
oil for deep frying

Rice preparation:
3 cups extra-long basmati rice or Biryani Rice
6 cups water
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
4 Black pepper
4 cardamom

Biryani layers:
6-7 medium size red onions thinly sliced (for fried onions) you can use readymade fried onions
2 cups chopped mint
1 cup lime/lemon juice
1 cup chopped coriander
4 table spoons of ghee

Method:
  1. Wash and soak the rice in the measured water for 30-45 mins.
  2. While the rice is soaking, blanch carrots, sugar snaps, broccoli, sweet corn and peas in hot water. I did that in the microwave for 2-3 minutes each, but cooking time will vary depending on the power of  your microwave.
  3. Drain out the water from the rice into a saucepan.
  4. Boil the water, add the whole spices for rice. Add the rice and let it cook till half done.
  5. Drain the rice out of the water. Spread the rice out in a tray and let it cool.
  6. Heat oil in a wok, karai or frying pan over medium heat.
  7. Fry the paneer until it is golden brown in colour. Keep it on the side till required.
  8. In the same oil, fry onions until they are brown in colour. Remove them from the oil and keep it on a kitchen towel so that the excess oil drains out.
  9. Heat about 2-3 tbsp oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  10. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli paste and stir fry over low heat till its light golden in colour.
  11. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander cumin powder and biryani masala. Add about 2 tbsp water so that the masala does not stick to the bottom of the pan.Mix well and cook for 2 minutes.
  12. Add the tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes become soft.
  13. Add all the blanched vegetables, paneer, 1 cup chopped mint and yogurt.
  14. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes. The curry is ready.

Layer the biryani
  1. First, layer half the curry at the bottom of a deep saucepan or a glass baking tray if you're going to put it in the oven.
  2. Cover the curry with half of the rice.
  3. Sprinkle half quantity each of fried onions, mint, lemon/lime juice, ghee and coriander.
  4. Cover this layer with the remaining curry.
  5. Top it with the remaining rice.
  6. Finally sprinkle the remaining fried onion, chopped mint and coriander, ghee and lime/lemon juice.
  7. Cover the saucepan or tray with aluminium foil.
  8. Cover the pan with a tight lid. At this point you can seal it with some chappati dough.
  9. If you are using the saucepan method then put the saucepan on a frying pan (thick bottomed).
  10. Put the frying pan on high heat for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat and let the biryani cook slowly for 35 minutes. You may need to check halfway to make sure the biryani is not sticking at the bottom.
  11. To bake in the oven, preheat the oven to 200°C. 
  12. Bake the biryani for 1 hour.
  13. Serve the biryani with some raita, salad and papad (poppadum).

Tips:
  • Do not over cook the rice.
  • Put the fried paneer in water so that it remains soft.
  • If you don't want to fry onions at home you can use the ready fried ones available in the stores.
  • Use vegetables of your choice like baby potatoes, mushrooms, baby corn etc.
You may want to check out what other guests had prepared:
Chinese Cauliflower Rice
methi and spinach potato curry




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Monday, 15 May 2017

645. Tzatziki

Where is my dahi?

    Dahi is the hindi/gujarati word for yogurt. When my kids were growing up, yogurt was a part of their meal every single day. Plain yogurt or made into lassi but mostly good old plain home made yogurt . Dollops of the thick creamy goodness was eaten with dals, rice, khichdi and vegetable curry.If anything was slightly chilli for the kids a dollop of yogurt took care of it. While the boys were not too fussed about yogurt or lassi, my daughter on the other hand would throw a tantrum if she didn't have her bowl of yogurt for lunch.She'd cry out "where is my dahi?" if we didn't serve it with her lunch.

   As you may have guessed by now, the #FoodieMonday #Bloghop 92nd theme is yogurt. Preethi our group member requested us to make anything using yogurt. 
   
   Yogurt is known to have many health benefits. 

  • Its easier to digest than milk, its rich in calcium, it has high levels of Vitamin B especially Vitamin B12. 
  • It has your daily requirement of phosphorus, magnesium and potassium which all are good to regulate blood pressure, good for the bones and metabolism.
  • Its high in protein so a good food item to include in your diet especially if you're a vegetarian. 
  • Dietitians recommend eating a bowlful of plain yogurt to ward off hunger. The protein in the yogurt makes you feel full and has fewer calories.
  • Yogurts contain good bacteria and probiotics which are very good for for the digestive system. Yogurt reduced bloating, helps reduce constipation and a bowlful of yogurt is recommended when one suffers from diarrhea. 
  • With all the minerals and calcium and protein present in the yogurt it improves your immune system and also helps to protect one against osteoporsis. 
     It is said that ready made pasteurized yogurt does not contain the beneficial bacteria (lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, strptococcus thermophilus). To know whether your ready made yogurt contains the beneficial bacteria the label should read 'live active culture'.

     Making yogurt at home is very easy. 

     I've tried using ready made yogurt as the starter and have failed. So best to get about 1-2 tbsp of good yogurt from a friendly neighbour or family who make their own yogurt unless you get the live active culture variety yogurt.

     Bring 500ml of milk to a boil. Let it cool down to room temperature. Heat the milk till it is warm(45C).It should be warm like the temperature you can drink. Pour into a glass bowl or container. Add 2 tbsp of yogurt and mix gently.Cover the bowl or container. Place the bowl in a warm place for the milk to ferment. In warm places yogurt sets in about 6-8 hours and in colder places it takes longer. Its best to place the bowl in a warm place like your geyser cupboard, or the oven. Or cover it with a blanket as my aunt used to. 
Colder places may require a bit more starter yogurt about 2-3 tbsp.

     I made Tzatziki pronounced as (zaatzeekee or chacheeki in Greek).What is Tzatziki? Well, its a Greek yogurt sauce or dip. Known as cacik in Turkey and North Cyprus, this sauce is very versatile. Its used to accompany mezze(appetizer). It is also used on grilled meat and as a salad dressing. Tzatziki is so easy to make and its the yummiest and most refreshing sauce/dip I've had. I served it along with some carrot, cucumber and tomatoes as a starter. You can serve it with warm pita wedges, or any other warm bread. We even had some of it with potato chips and it tasted so delicious.







TZATZIKI
Makes 1 cup

1 cup thick yogurt (use Greek yogurt or hung yogurt)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small cucumber (grated about ½ cup)
2 cloves garlic -minced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder

To serve, some ideas:
carrot sticks
cucumber sticks
celery sticks
pita wedges or any flat bread 
tomatoes
olives
bell pepper strips
falafel 

  1. If the cucumber skin is thin, then you don't need to peel it. Cut it into half and remove the thick seeds if any. Its best to scoop it out using a spoon. 
  2. Grate the cucumber.
  3. Sprinkle a generous pinch of salt and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Squeeze out the water from the cucumber.
  5. Add cucumber, oil, garlic, dill, salt, pepper, lemon juice to the thick yogurt. Mix well and the sauce or dip is ready.
Tips:
  • If you are using normal plain yogurt you may need about 2 cups of it. Take a thin cotton cloth (I find using a man's hankerchief the best). Place the cloth over a strainer or sieve. Place the strainer over a bowl to catch the water. Pour the yogurt into the cloth. Cover it up with the cloth. Place a folded newspaper over it. Put some weight like a mortar and pestle or a small brick. This helps to remove the water from the yogurt faster.
  • I strained the greek yogurt to remove water.
  • You can use fresh mint or parsley instead of dill.
You may want to check out the following yogurt recipes:

roasted eggplant dip
banana cucumber raita
yogurt dressing
rasiya muthia
Sending this recipe to the following event:

Blog Hop


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Saturday, 13 May 2017

644.Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day

A few weeks back, I was thinking of my mum and obviously missing her tonnes. I wanted the approaching Mother's Day to be less painful. Now don't get me wrong my kids (from 3 now I have 5 :) ) all shower me with lots of love. I thought why not get some of my blogger friends to celebrate this day with me. Its amazing how much closer we all have become and most of us poured our hearts out and each ones recipe is somehow, somewhere connected to their mothers. I approached 25 and 19 responded with enthusiasm and sent heartfelt messages. So here's what each of them shared for Mother's Day. 



Mayuri Patel:

My mum loved her Gujarati snacks like handvo, khandvi and her most favourite was matar kachori. Made with simple spices it was the yummiest snack. Patiently, she would make tonnes of these kachoris for our huge family. Missing you so much mum.


Matar Kachori

Kriti Singhal Agrawal says:

Being a Mom is the toughest yet most cherishing job ever. This Mother’s day, I dedicate this beautiful and scrumptious Apple Pie to you Mom… This pie truly reflects your choice of ingredients and your imaginations of reaching out to  the stars… These tiny beautiful stars are specially for you thus telling the World that you are the most pretty and shining star of the Galaxy…today and always!


Classic Apple Pie 

Huma Kalim's mother loved the flower mogra.

Mogra/ Indian Jasmine for me holds for me one such memory of my beautiful mother with a ever smiling face. 


Mogre Ka Sharbat
Nisa

' God's most precious gift to mankind is a Mother.'


Mango Cream Cake

Rupal Patel thanks her mum

All mom's are special and so is mine... My mom is my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my mom. Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life. God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers. I remember my mom's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life... Thank you Mom to being my Mom:) Happy Mother's Day to all...

Mustard Green Chilli Pickle

Sujata Roy shares her thoughts on her mum:

'I lost my mom 4 years ago. She is still with us in our minds and hearts. She was a very simple person and a bookworm. She loved to make different types of sweets.The list is too long. I remember when our house was filled with lovely aroma in the afternoon. My brother and I loved her malpua and gokul pithe the most. These delicacies made our mood festive. Not only do we miss her sweets but also her delicious food prepared without any onions or garlic'.

Malpua

Amrita Iyer keeping in mind her mum's favourite, strawberries and pomegranate juice made this swiss roll especially for her.

"My mother is one of the strong ladies in the world who has stayed strong despite all odds!She is one person who has proved herself time and again and shown that come what may obstacles can be perceived as opportunities to grow and develop!She specially loves this Swiss Roll which is why I am featuring this delicious dessert for Mother's Day"!

Strawberry Pomegranate Swiss Roll

Nayna Kanabar shares her memories of her mother whom she lost when she was very young. 

As a child I was a picky eater or so my family tell me and I still remember my mum encouraging me to drink milk which I hated. However I never had any problems gulping down this delicious Masala milk she used to make. The masala milk was flavored with saffron, cardamom, nutmeg and had a blend of  mixed nuts which are rich in protein, fibre and essential fats. When we were running a temperature or had a cold she used to add a pinch of turmeric to the milk too. This was definitely "Mothers love and goodness in a glass.

Masala Milk

Jagruti Dhanecha

"I would like to dedicate this post to my amazing Mum and step Nan, both are no longer here, sending my love and kisses to both of them in heaven on their cloud! Xx Without them I would have never known about this personal favourite recipe which brings back the memories of them enjoying this as well'.

Rajasthani Bajra Raabdi

Saswati Hota plans to make this delish dessert for her mum when she visits her.

"The mother child bond is an eternal one; distance, time not even death can shake it's rock solid existence and essence. My memories of my mother evokes feelings of contentment, safety and warmth.Its been twenty long years that I have been away from her but I always feel her comforting presence by my side. Even years after moving away from home, getting married, having children I always refer to my parents home as my home. My mom's arms is a place that makes me feel carefree and childlike again. Home is where Mom is!! 
Mangoes are my mom's favourite and this time when I go to meet her for the vacations I am planning to indulge her with this sinful and mouthwatering dessert for her, a Mother's Day show stopper for sure."

Mango and Coconut Mousse Tart

Avin Kohli showers her love on her mum

"I have never seen someone quite like her. She's fast, energetic, witty, funny...all in one😀. When other mums were pampering their kids, my mum was training me to be independent. Whenever I need advice I can go to her for an unbiased opinion.
She taught me all the cooking I know. Some people say I have "maa ka SWAD" in my hand; which is a huge complement for me. I starting out my blog 1&1/2 year ago and there are so many dishes there inspired by her. I wish her a long life of health, love and togetherness. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MA. I LOVE YOU"❤❤

Beetroot Cutlets

Mina Joshi remembers both her parents on this day and always
"God could not be everywhere so he created mothers'. Rudyard Kipling

Aloo Parathas

Chef Mireille

Mireille made these cornmeal lavender muffins for Mother's Day. Her mum is from the Carriebean where cornmeal is used in every part of their meal from drinks to desserts.

Cornmeal Lavender Muffins

Vidya Srinivasan says :

 "Coconut is my mum's favourite ingredient. She prepares this podi and sends it to me". Its only mothers who know how to make their children's life easier.

thengai podi

Priya Suresh

Priya's grandmother used to make this delightful sweet dish, her mother made it for her and now she makes it for her children.


Paal Podi

Pavani Nandula

Pavani made these delicious sweet rolls for her mum who is visiting her, and she loved them.She's very happy that after 15 years she is celebrating Mother's Day with her mum.


Apricot Sweet Rolls
Preethi Bala 

decided to share two sweet treats to honour mums all over the world and not forgetting her own mum who is her pillar of strength.
'Mother’s day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society'.


Mango Mastani

Mango Ice Cream with Chocolate Swirl

 Wishing all you wonderful mums out there a very Happy Mother's Day.
May every mother's life be as sweetly scented as fresh flowers,be as bright as the stars,may her most treasured jewellery be her children's arms round her neck and may she eternally live in her child's heart.


Pogaca



Last but not least for my blogger friends:

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