Patishapta Pitha

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Today I have a lip smacking dish all the way from the eastern part of India, West Bengal. I like to repeat that the mega marathon of this kind pushes you to look beyond your comfort zone and find some unique dishes from places you never expected to see. I never thought I would blog about a crepe / dosai kind of dish from Eastern India and now I have three and counting. The husband has spent around 8 years living there and so he is a self proclaimed expert on all things Bengal. I managed to raise his eyebrows too. If that is not an achievement I don’t know what is. Okay, I know but this is an achievement too, right?

Patishapta Pitha is a light and soft crepe made with all purpose flour, semolina and sugar and the most delightful part of it is the filling which is sweetened khoya or pal gova (in Tamizh). I read the recipe a few times to confirm the filling and to be honest, it makes for a wonderful snack or a unique desert. The husband and daughter have been making puppy eyes in a bid to get an unending supply of these pithas. Ha!

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Recipe adapted from here

Makes 8-10 pithas

WHAT WE NEED

130 gms All purpose flour

85 gms Semolina

80 gms Sugar

100 gms Unsweetened Khoya

500 ml Milk

Ghee / Clarified butter

Water

 

WHAT TO DO

For the filling

  • Heat the milk in a heavy bottom pan till it comes to a boil
  • Reduce the gas to simmer and let it reduce to half the quantity
  • Stir the milk at frequent intervals and remove the cream stuck to the sides of the vessel and add to the boiling milk
  • After it has reduced to half or less than half of the original volume, add the khoya and 50 gms sugar and mix well
  • Stir continuously if on a high flame else stir frequently
  • Once the mixture reaches a semi solid consistency turn off the gas and let it cool slightly
  • It will thicken further even after turning off the gas

For the pitha

  • Mix the all purpose flour, semolina and balance 30 gms sugar with sufficient water to make a thick batter
  • The batter should be in the consistency of a regular dosai batter
  • Heat a tava and once it is hot, spread a little ghee on it
  • Pour a ladle full of batter and spread it into a circular shape
  • Add a large spoonful of the filling at one end of the pitha in a straight line
  • Disengage the pitha from the tava with a steel spatula and roll it starting from the side where the filling is kept
  • Once rolled, keep turning it every 20 seconds on either side till it turns golden brown
  • You can add a few drops of ghee to fasten the process
  • Take it off the heat and repeat the procedure with the rest of the batter
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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NOTES

  1. If you do not have khoya, add another 500ml of milk to make the filling. It will take much longer (around 2 hours) to complete the process
  2. You can replace this filling with a mixture of grated coconut and jaggery
  3. If you do not want it to be too sweet, reduce the sugar in the pitha by 10gms
  4. This dish can be enhanced by serving it with some sweetened condensed milk

 

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Hi Tea

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This is the final post in this week’s Thali series. My sister-in-law gifted me a cupcake / hi tea stand and I have been planning to use it in the blog for ages now. I didn’t want to miss the chance this time and so I figured making a hi tea spread for the Thali theme would be just perfect. Hi tea is a British tradition of drinking tea sitting on high back chairs at the table with a spread including cold cut meat, fruits, breads, crackers, etc.

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This hi tea spread includes –

1. Iced tea (because it it summer now)

2. Regular black tea & milk

3. Cheese and Garlic Scones

4. Walnut Cake Slice

5. Masala Chai Mini Muffins

6. Dry fruit biscuits

7. Pistachio and chocolate biscuits

8. Peas & Carrot Finger Sandwiches

9. Cucumber & Mayonnaise Finger Sandwiches

8. Jam

9. Honey

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Here is a quick recipe for the masala chai muffins –

Makes 16-18 mini muffins

WHAT WE NEED

3/4 cup Whole wheat flour

1/2 cup Granulated sugar

1/2 tsp Baking powder

1/4 tsp Baking soda

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup Masala chai / tea ( no sugar)

1 tsp Vinegar

2 tbsp Oil

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven at 190C
  • Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl
  • Mix the oil, masala chai and vinegar in another bowl
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well to combine
  • Line a mini muffin tray and pour the batter up to 3/4 full for each muffin mould
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or till the toothpick inserted comes out clean
  • Cool for half hour
  • Enjoy!

This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Thalis’.

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Rose scented Hazelnut Cookies

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This is my third and final post on New Year Challenges. I have been planning forever to experiment on ideas and recipes instead of adapting other recipes. Though I am sure most flavour combinations have already been discovered and perfected, there is a thrill and satisfaction of discovering something on your own instead of simply adapting another recipe. I used to do that a lot during my initial days in the kitchen but then it slowly died down as the years went by. Now I want to try dishes on my own and document it. Here is the first one – a rose scented cookie with hazelnuts and rose petals.

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Makes around 15 cookies

WHAT WE NEED

1 cup Whole wheat flour

1/2 cup Sugar

1/3 cup Unsalted butter, room temperature (around 80 gms)

1 tbsp Rose water

2 tbsp Hazelnuts, chopped

1 tbsp Dried rose petals

2 tbsp Milk / as required

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven at 175C
  • Beat butter and sugar till soft and fluffy, around 4-5 minutes
  • Add the rose water, flour and hazelnuts and mix
  • Add milk to form a smooth dough
  • Line a baking tray with parchment
  • Divide the dough into 15-20 parts
  • Roll each one into a ball, flatten and place on the baking tray
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes till the cookies get brown at the bottom
  • Let cool for 10 minutes
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘New Year Challenges’.

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Cinnamon Rolls

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Every now and then I wonder how I end up missing the classic dishes, the most popular ones that have stood the test of time. I keep thinking about baking them and blogging about it but then I discover something new and exciting and this gets sidelined to be revisited another day. I always imagine someone visiting my blog and then is stunned speechless because there is no recipe for cinnamon rolls or pound cake. So now there is one less thing to worry about.

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The husband and daughter threw a fit about having to eat too many breads. They wanted something sweet and made all sorts of threats to ensure I give them that. So I figured I could make cinnamon rolls because they satisfy my criteria of yeast dough and so kind of fall in the bread category and at the same time they are sweet and will please the family.

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Recipe adapted from here and here

Makes 15 medium rolls

WHAT WE NEED

For the rolls

120 ml Milk

56 gms Unsalted butter at room temperature

1 1/8 tsp Instant yeast

pinch of salt

3/4 tsp Cinnamon powder

8 tsp Brown sugar

204 gms All purpose flour

For the glaze

1/4 cup Icing sugar

1 tsp Unsalted butter, melted

1/2 tsp Vanilla essence

2-3 tsp Milk

 

WHAT TO DO

For the rolls

  • Heat 21 gms butter and the entire milk together in a microwave oven/ saucepan till melted
  • Let it cool to become lukewarm
  • Transfer the butter and milk mixture to a large bowl and add yeast, 2 tsp brown sugar  and salt
  • Add the flour little by little and knead to a loose ball consistency
  • Cover and set aside till the dough doubles in volume, around 1-2 hours
  • Roll out the dough to a thin rectangle
  • Brush it 21 gms butter and top it with 6 tsp brown sugar and cinnamon powder
  • Roll the dough tightly into a long tube shape and place it seam side down
  • Cut it into 15 pieces with a knife
  • Place the rolls in a greased baking tray leaving little space between them
  • Brush the top of the rolls with the balance butter
  • Cover and let it rise for 30 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or till it is slightly golden brown

For the glaze

  • Mix all the ingredients for the glaze to form a thick glaze
  • Pour over the rolls as soon as they are taken out from the oven
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2017

Fudge Brownies 

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If there is one thing I am scared of baking then it is an eggless recipe. I panic and then mess up even the best of recipes. I have tries multiple recipes from various sources but the eggless version always betray me. My parents have now reached the stage of ‘super annoyed’ because they see the dishes I bake but can’t eat them because of the egg. So it is my endeavor to master the art of eggless baking so that my parents can have a feast of my baked goodies soon.

I have tried multiple eggless brownies but I only manage to get the ‘cakey’ version of it and never the fudgy version. Also most of them do not hold the structure and partially collapse. So for now, I continue to bake brownies with eggs. This is a recipe for keeps. The brownies turned out so fudgy and chewy and simply delicious.

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I have added chopped walnuts to the brownie. It is not mandatory but I will judge you a little bit if you don’t. It has dark chocolate in it though you can replace that for milk chocolate. The key to a delicious brownie is to not over-bake it. The pointers to figure out the brownie is done are – it starts to pull away from the sides, the top is cracked and when you insert a toothpick in it, there are a few crumbs. I halved the recipe and made adjustments because I had only 1 egg and the recipe needed more.

Recipe adapted from here

Serves 3

WHAT WE NEED

Dark chocolate                   170 gms

Unsalted butter                    56 gms

Egg                                          1

Granulated white sugar      100 gms

Vanilla extract                       5-6 drops

All purpose flour                  55 gms

Baking powder                     1/2 tsp

Salt                                          a pinch

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Grease a 6″ baking pan and line it with parchment
  • Melt the chocolate and butter by the double boiler method or for 50 seconds in a microwave oven
  • Mix well and let it cool
  • In another bowl, mix the egg, vanilla and sugar until frothy (4-5 minutes with a whisk)
  • Add the chocolate mixture and mix well
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well
  • Pour into the baking pan and bake for 27-30 minutes till the top of the brownie is cracked and it has started pulling away from the sides slightly.
  • Take it out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for 2 hours at room temperature
  • Serve warm with some ice cream
  • Enjoy!

 

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Cuisine of USA’.

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Ras Malai

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This is the last post for this mega marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’. I can’t believe how quickly the month went by and I am so glad that I successfully completed my third mega marathon in a row. My protein for today is my favourite, that I was saving up to be the final post to finish with a flourish. I was not able to decide what dish to make with paneer. The choices are too many and I love all dishes that have paneer in it. So I kept postponing making this dish till it was time to go to Mumbai for my week long vacation. I completely forgot that I was yet to cook the 26th dish and made a distress call to my mom. She, as usual, made a million suggestions in under a minute and confused me more than ever. Then, as I was reading and drooling over Valli’s post (our boss lady, for the uninitiated), I figured it has to be a paneer based Bengali sweet and since mom makes an awesome Ras malai, I finally decided on my dish.

Mom has these phases where she masters 2-3 sweets and feeds them to everyone who visits our home for a 2-3 month duration. Then those are forgotten for the next 2-3 dishes. Her Ras Malai phase happened just as I got married and so I wasn’t a frequent beneficiary though I remember her stuffing the husband with it during our first Diwali. She was only too happy to make it again, especially after I mentioned that the husband is a huge fan. ( I might have exaggerated a bit). So this is my mother’s dish and her recipe. I helped her with most things but all my cooking and food blogging experience was not sufficient for her to trust me with the kneading of the paneer. Mothers! 

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Protein – Paneer

Serves 7-8

WHAT WE NEED

Milk (to make the paneer)                      2 litres

Lemon                                                         2

Water                                                           1 litre

All purpose flour / maida                        1 tbsp

Milk (for the soaking paneer)                 2 litres

Sugar                                                           200 gms +60 gms

Saffron                                                        a pinch

Almond and cashew slivers for garnish

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat 2 litres of milk in a large vessel till it comes to a boil
  • Simmer and squeeze the juice of the lemon on to the milk and mix well
  • The milk will separate into fat and whey (greenish liquid) 
  • Transfer the fat / paneer to a cheesecloth and tie it. 
  • Let the balance whey drip out of it. It should take approximately 2 hours
  • Transfer the paneer to a large plate and knead it for 15-20 minutes
  • When you make balls from this paneer, it should be whole and soft and without any cracks. 
  • Then it is done else continue to knead for another 3-4 minutes
  • If it is your first time, it is better to add 1 tbsp of all purpose flour while kneading the paneer. This ensures that the paneer doesn’t scramble when cooked
  • Heat the water along with 60 gms of sugar
  • Divide the paneer into small balls and roll them into balls. 
  • The paneer balls will expand once cooked and soaked in milk which needs to be considered before deciding the size of the individual paneer balls. 
  • Press the balls to form discs 
  • Once the water is hot, transfer the paneer balls in batches to the water and let it cook
  • After 2-3 minutes, carefully flip the paneer disc and let it cook on the other side
  • When the paneer starts turning pale in colour, around 5 minutes, remove it from the water and set it aside
  • The milk for soaking the paneer can be done simultaneously in another large vessel
  • Heat the 2 litres milk till it is reduced to half its quantity 
  • Add the 200 gms sugar and saffron strands and let it cook till the sugar is fully dissolved
  • Add the cooked paneer balls to the milk 
  • Serve chilled and garnish with almond and cashew slivers
  • Enjoy!



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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Quinoa Chocolate Mug Brownie

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So I am back home to Bangalore. Like every time, I am back with some amazing memories with my family and friends, lots of promises made about keeping in touch and visiting at leisure, a reasonable break from mother chores of feeding and putting the daughter to sleep, suitcases bursting at their seams thanks to my shopping excesses and very tired legs thanks to all the meeting and shopping. Finally, after so many years, I am at peace with the fact that Bombay is no longer home and I am a guest here after all.

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Today’s dish is a quick microwave mug cake. I never bought a microwave but always end up getting on my kitchen counter thanks to the house owners. I use it rarely and that is when I am sleepy and tired and need a quick fix. This brownie worked perfectly for my ‘cranky after a flight’ daughter and me. It tasted warm and fudgy which, in the cool and rainy Bangalore weather, seems like a blessing.

Protein – Quinoa

Recipe from here

Serves 1

WHAT WE NEED

Quinoa flour              1/4 cup

Sugar                           1/4 cup

Cocoa powder            2 tbsp

Oil                                 2 tbsp

Milk/ Water                2 tbsp

Pinch of salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a mug
  • Add the oil and milk to form a dough
  • Microwave for 1 minute and check to see if it is done i.e. springy on top and gooey inside. Else microwave for another 20 seconds
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Italian Lunch Spread

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Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes on my blog or talking to me will know I adore all things cheese and all food Italian. I have been planning on making a full fledged Italian meal forever now but never got around to doing it. The Thali theme for this month’s Blogging Marathon finally forced my hand and I ticked an item off my bucket list.

Disclaimers first – This may not be an authentic Italian meal considering it is purely vegetarian except for an egg in the Eggplant Parmigiana. This would be the meal you would have in popular Italian restaurants in India. My limited research tells me the meal usually consists of –

Soup

Antipasti / Starters

Primo / First course – Usually a risotto or pasta

Secondo / Second course – Usually some meat or fish

Dolce / Dessert

I have made –

Mushroom Soup

Bruschetta – A simple and lip smacking starter that goes well with the soup

Pasta in Arrabiata Sauce for the First Course

Eggplant Parmigiana – A tasty baked eggplant dish topped generously with cheese

Mushroom and Capsicum Pizza with lots of Mozzarella cheese – I used a healthy pizza crust recipe with oats and wheat flour which results in a guilt free indulgence.

Vanilla Panna Cotta – An easy and quick dessert to round up the meal

The usual Italian meal also includes a cheese platter and seasonal fruits. I have omitted them and replaced that with a Pizza in typical Indian style because all we know about the Italian cuisine is pizza, pizza and some more pizza.

I have detailed the recipe for Bruschetta here which is a perfect answer to an easy and tempting starter and can be made quickly if you have unexpected guests.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – Thalis.

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Ugadi Pachadi

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My father had warned me years ago that if I watch movies at the rate I was watching, soon there would be no more movies for me to watch. I scoffed at him with all the disdain of a twenty something who knew better than her parents. But the thirties of your life teaches you how right your parents always are and so now I am actually in a situation where I have finished watching almost all Hindi and Tamil movies there are except of course the few I resolutely avoid. This happened sometime last year when I was still in Malaysia and discovered that I had watched every movie on TV. So I had two choices – either I switch to Chinese movies or Telugu movies (just to be be clear – not watching movies is not an option!). I chose the latter because they had subtitles, were comparatively easier to understand since there is a lot in common with Tamil and Hindi and the heroes look awesome. It was mostly the last reason but come on!

Since I started watching Telugu movies, I became interested in the Andhra cuisine too and started watching telugu cookery shows to improve my understanding of the language and discover the cuisine. I discovered the innumerable similarities and differences with Tamil cuisine.So this recipe today is a perfect example of similarities and differences of Andhra and Tamil cuisine. Ugadi Pachadi is made on the occasion of Ugadi which marks the beginning of the year for people in Andhra and Karnataka (two states in the south of India). This dish symbolizes life itself which is sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, sometimes bitter and sometimes spicy and so it has the mixture of ingredients of all the six tastes – sweet, salty, spicy, bitter, sour and pungent.

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The main ingredients of this dish are raw mango and jaggery. The Tamil way of making this dish is to cook the raw mango and heat the jaggery till it melts and mix the two. But I am so much in love with the much more simpler no cook Telugu version where all the ingredients are mixed and made into a slightly thick mixture.

Recipe source here.

Serves 5-6

WHAT WE NEED

Raw mango, large                     1

Jaggery, grated                           1 cup

Tamarind paste                         2 tsp

Red chilly powder                     1/2 tsp

Dried neem flowers                 1 tbsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Peeling the mango is optional. Deseed and cut the mango into small pieces which will amount to 1 cup.
  • In a large bowl, add the mango pieces, jaggery, tamarind paste, chilly powder, salt and dried neem flowers
  • Mix well to form a thick sauce like consistency. It will take some time for the mixture to come together
  • To speed it up, heat a tava till it is very hot and turn off the gas. Keep the vessel on top of a hot tava to aid the melting of the jaggery. Else keep the bowl in a large vessel of hot water for similar results
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon for the theme – Festival Recipes.

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Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand with Poori

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My second recipe for the festivals of March is Poori Shrikhand for Gudi Padwa which is celebrated as the first day of a new year in Maharashtra, India. This idea is again from my bestie who i requested to give me the name of any dish except puran poli. For some reason the poli is nemesis. I have tried it thrice and failed so miserably that I am convinced it is not to be. I have conducted extensive research on puran polis but every hack and idea fell short and my husband’s face was a sight to behold whenever I tried to make it. Since he is a nice guy, I decided to spare him any further experiment and stop trying for now.

Thankfully Maharashtrians make puran poli for Sankranti which is the harvest festival in the month of January and they make the delightful shrikhand poori for Gudi Padwa. The shrikhand is amazingly easy to make and can be done within minutes, once you have the hung curd ready. It is a creamy, smooth dish which leaves you licking your fingers for a long time after. Another lovely aspect is that it lends itself to multiple creative flavours and can burst into a new flavour every time. You can add fruits like strawberry, mango or apple or spices like cardamom, saffron and cinnamon to name a few. This is a perfect dish to try new flavour combinations.

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Since this is my first time I decided to try the classic flavour of saffron and cardamom and I couldn’t have been happier with the result. Since this is a no cook recipe, it can be whisked together within minutes and served to an excited family.

Serves 4-5

Recipe from here

WHAT WE NEED

Curd (made from 1 litre milk)            4-5 cups

Sugar, powdered                                    1/2 – 3/4 cup

Cardamom powder                                1/4 tsp

Milk                                                            1 tbsp

Saffron                                                       5-6 strands

Pistachios                                                 4-5 for garnish

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Take a clean kitchen towel and place it over a deep bottom vessel
  • Pour the curd into the towel and tie it up to a large spoon or spatula and place it in the vessel
  • Ensure that there is a significant gap between the bottom of the towel and the vessel so that the whey that drips from the curd does not find its way back to it
  • Keep it in the fridge overnight till all the whey drips from the curd to the vessel and only thick curd remains in the towel

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  • Take the milk and add the saffron strand to it and keep aside for 10 minutes
  • Take the thick curd in a large bowl and add the powdered sugar, cardamom powder, milk and saffron
  • Using a whisk, mix all these ingredients together to form a smooth mixture
  • Taste it to ensure it is sweet enough for your taste
  • Chill the shrikhand for 2 hours before serving
  • Garnish with pistachios and serve with hot pooris
  • Enjoy!

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NOTES

  1. Usually 1/2 cup of sugar should be sufficiently sweet but if you need more then add 1 tbsp at a time and taste before adding more

 

This is my post under Festival Themes for the Blogging Marathon.

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