Diwali down, Christmas to go…

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So here we are, November. The hustle and bustle of Diwali already feels like a distant memory but thankfully I still have rather vivid visions of all the food.

This year, like no other, I decided that it was time to tackle the one area of cookery that every Indian woman (yes, I’m sure even the mothers, aunts and grandmothers quivered at the thought once upon a time) secretly fears but hopefully conquers – mithai. Whether it’s sweet gulab jamun, nutty barfi, chewy halwa, these often sticky morsels of mithai are a pure delight and a welcome indulgence, which makes every Indian meal, occasion and festival complete.

My decision to tackle the mighty mithai this Diwali was spurred by the fact that my next birthday will be the big 3-0 and my mental list of ‘things to do before 30′ includes amongst other foodie conquests, being able to make and not just buy the sweet stuff. I couldn’t have done it alone though, as I went to battle in the kitchen, I was safely armed with none other than Devnaa’s Indian Inspired Sweets recipes.

Devnaa is a brand I recently came across when searching for an ideal present for my in-laws wedding anniversary. I came across the chocolate mithai and then the book, which gave me a great idea. My father-in-law has a very sweet tooth and so I bought both the chocolate mithai box – a hybrid of soft barfi’s coated in a case of smooth velvety chocolate – and the recipe book for both me, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to cook dishes from. And we’ve made good use of the book too. For the anniversary we made delectable pistachio biscuits and delicious rose & coconut barfi. For my father-in-law’s birthday I made the ever so yummy mohanthal – served ‘garam’ (hot) as per his instructions! Diwali saw a trio of sweet treats being made and gifted to family and friends; nutty shahi barfi, hazelnut and chocolate ladoo and white chocolate, coconut and pineapple sandesh – which required me to make my own home made paneer (something I’ve never tried before!).

The result…

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With a little patience (something I’m working on and handy for tackling my adorable yet demanding little girl) and Devnaa’s knowledgable, simple to follow recipes I’d say making Indian sweets at home is a piece of mithai!

Whilst I was on a roll I also tried an unusual halwa dish – apple halwa – from a new website I’ve stumbled on and am enjoying scouring through www.vegrecipesindia.com. Talented Dassana shares a wide range of recipes spanning the Indian continent and beyond, including this simplistic dish of set stewed apple with warming flavours of cinnamon and saffron (the latter ingredient was my own addition). I also cooked our family main meal from one of the recipes on the site – butter Paneer Masala. In one word; yum!

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Now with delicious Diwali down, there’s just Christmas to go. I’m back on the recipe hunt for our annual family Christmas meal. It’ll be a vegetarian affair as always and though I will try to stray away from over use of puff pastry, I will inevitably find another tart recipe…That is unless you have ideas otherwise??

If you do think of anything other than nut roast (yuck!) I’d love to hear from you – mitziesbubble@gmail.com

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