Pears for Autumn

Late September and its already impossible to walk down the pedestrian pathway without ending up with leaves on your shoulders. I can literally smell the fumes emanating from the dhunuchi and the air is filled with sound of a dhak playing…radio stations trying to get everyone into the Durga Puja mood.

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. Neither is it sweltering hot, nor unreasonably chilly. I feel lazy and excited at the same time, now that the Indian festive season is upon us. I can’t wait for October!

Meanwhile, here’s an almost “funky” pear fruit recipe, to make mid-morning a little fizzier.

The pears in our refrigerator have been ripening since last Tuesday. I know.

So I pulled a couple of them out. Poached ’em in a lime-vanilla-cinnamon bath and added some fizz (which I honestly didn’t think would work)…but amazingly, it turned out yummy and fun!

Fizzy Pear fruit Drink (or soup, if you may) – Serves 2

– 2 medium sized pears

– 3 cloves

– 1 medium-sized cinnamon stick

– Half a pod of vanilla, bruised slightly (you could also use vanilla essence)

– Juice of 1 lime

– 2 cardamoms, flattened with your knife

– 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup

– 1 cup of water

– 7Up or Sprite to serve

Halve the pears and remove the seeds. I did not peel the skin off, but you can, of course, if you want. Set the water to simmer on low heat. Add the cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, lime juice, cardamoms and honey. Drop the pear halves in the simmering water, cut side down. Cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the pears have softened considerably. Turn them over (skin-side down) and poach for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes. Chill the fruit in the refrigerator. Cut the halves into thirds. Put them in a shot glass and fill it up with 7up or Sprite. Top with crushed ice (optional) and serve.

Sugar-Kissed Goodness

I am currently completely hooked on to Cafe Coffee Day’s Cookies. They have a range of Chocolate Chip, Honey & Oatmeal, and “Completely Eggless!” ones in pretty brown and yellow tins. Super fattening and not cheap.

My kind of food, ye-ah!

Anyway, my brother and I managed to polish off the last of the cookies yesterday and two hours later I was already craving for more. So…I watched some television, got some butter and eggs home-delivered and…made cookies! The generous amount of cinnamon in these warms up your throat and the raisins add chewyness.

These cookies remind me of college, when we’d try out sugar-cookie recipes at Adi’s place with a microwave (they used to turn out super-soggy) and make spinach & feta dim sums (a watery lot) with the help of an old idli steamer.

Cookie batter:

– 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

– 1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

– 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

– 2 teaspoons cornstarch

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

– 2/3 cup granulated sugar

– 1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon

– 3 teaspoons finely chopped raisins

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 2 eggs

– 2 teaspoons honey

Mix the butter and sugar well till the mixture turns almost white…almost. Add the eggs and beat well.

Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add the butter-egg mixture in. Add honey and stir hard. I like my cookies to be lumpy, but for a smoother batter you could pop it into the processor. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Spoon out dollops of batter on a greased baking tin, leaving enough space between each dollop to allow them to spread. Bake for 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 350° C. Cool on a wire rack and sprinkle generously with icing sugar.