28 March 2008

Cup of Friendship

This cup is spun in pewter with a highly polished finish. It features a Celtic scroll design on its handles and has a Celtic braid design around its body. The centre of the bowl is usually decorated with a silver coin or an engraved disc or print, with coat-of-arms, initials, motto or familiar phrase such as 'drink up'. This Scottish drinking vessel, traditionally made of wood was used to carry whisky, brandy or ale to the Highlands and Islands. Over the years, it has been made in stone, horn, brass, pewter, silver and gold. It is said that water drunk from a silver quaich tastes crisp due to the clearing effect of silver.

Cup of Friendship - entry to Click event
We received this Scottish Cup of Friendship also known as quaiche or quaich as a wedding gift. The Quaich (pronounced "quake" from the Gaelic word "cauch") has a rich heritage in Scotland. It was a custom to offer a welcome or farewell drink, usually whisky, in a quaich to a guest. The guest reciprocates the gesture by drinking the whisky from the quaich and thus expressing his bond of friendship to the host. At parties and clan gatherings, large quaichs filled with whisky were passed around the company from person to person. The two-handed design of this drinking vessel incorporates trust, on the part of both giver and receiver. The quaich is used as a favour at many Scottish weddings, being presented to all at the top table, at christenings to celebrate the new life or gifted to friends as a symbol of friendship. The quaich's simple, yet beautiful, form has ensured its longevity as a vessel offering kinship and love, from the humble Highland crofter, through proud Clan Chiefs to the Kings of Scotland. The quaich's unique history is often shrouded in myth and mystery. It has a special place in the heart of all who know something of its history and is a prized possession of many people who have family links, or other associations with Scotland. Source here.

The second picture is my entry to Click - hosted by Jai and Bee at Jugalbandi.

26 March 2008

Sambharam - Spiced Buttermilk

Hot summer noons and cool, refreshing buttermilk go hand-in-hand. While the summer isn't too harsh on us yet, spiced buttermilk does bring on some respite. The other day I saw Nags' spiced buttermilk recipe and decided to piggy-back on that as my entry to MBP-Mixed drinks hosted by Sig of Live to Eat. Thanks Sig for extending the deadline, I'll squeeze in my entry too!

A variant to the more famous lassi, Sambharam or spiced buttermilk is a combination of buttermilk, salt and spices to suit your taste. The proportion of water added to the buttermilk may be more or less depending how thin you prefer the sambharam. You may also add a pinch of asafoetida, some grated ginger or a few kaffir lime leaves for a different flavour.

You need:
1 cup yoghurt/curds
4 cups water
2 green chillies slit
1 sprig of curry leaves
3 tbsp coriander leaves
2 tbsp mint leaves
1 stick of lemongrass
salt to taste
some icecubes

Blend the yoghurt, water, salt, curry leaves, coriander leaves and mint leaves well till frothy. Add the green chillies, lemongrass and icecubes and let it sit in the refrigerateur for half an hour till the spices infuse into the buttermilk. Strain and serve chilled.

24 March 2008

Methi Aloo

Methi alu is a dry side accompanying rice or rotis, combing the benefits of methi with the ever popular potatoes, mildly seasoned with turmeric, chilli and garlic. Fenugreek or methi has been used in ancient Indian and Chinese medicine to treat a number of ailments from bronchitis and arthritis to inflammations, rashes and digestive disorders and promoting healthy metabolism. Recent studies have shown that fenugreek lowers blood glucose and cholestrol levels and are hence used in treating diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Read more about benefits of methi here and here. Turmeric, popularly used in Indian cooking is considered a cleanser, blood purifyer, antiseptic and most importantly for it anti-cancer properties. Read about the benefits of turmeric here and here. This healthy combination of fenugreek and turmeric in the form of methi aloo makes an appearence on our table whenever fresh methi is available at the wholesale market. Methi aloo is clearly not a favourite due to the bitterness of methi. Sauteing the methi leaves till they wilt lightly removes the bitter taste. This post goes to Barbara for her LiveSTRONG with a Taste of Yellow event.

You need:

1 onion finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
2 large potatoes boiled and chopped
2 cups fenugreek leaves/methi
1 green chilli minced
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste

Heat a pan and add the fenugreek leaves/methi to it. Stir till it wilts slightly. This removes the bitter taste of the leaves. Remove the leaves from the pan. Now add some oil to the pan and throw in the cumin seeds and allow it to splutter. Add the onion and garlic and stir-fry. Add the potatoes, green chilli and tomato and cok till the tomato turns soft. Add the fenugreek leaves, salt, red chilli powder and turmeric and cook for 5 minutes till the flavours blend. Serve hot with rice or rotis.