How to Make Jalebi

Jalebi is popular sweet treat served throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa, India, and Western Asia. Many people enjoy jalebi during special occasions such as iftars served during Ramadan, Eid, weddings and other celebrations. Depending on the region, jalebi is known by other names. In south India is commonly call Jaangiri and in north India, such as Uttar Pradesh, and parts of Pakistan is known as Imarti and is usually served with rabri, a type of condensed milk.



1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon besan (gram flour)

1/2 teaspoon yeast

1/2 teaspoon oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

About 1/3 cup of lukewarm water (as needed)


1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons rose water or lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

Few strands of saffron

2 drops of orange food coloring

Batter directions:

Dissolve the yeast in warm water and then let it sit for approximately five minutes. During this time, mix the flour, besan, oil and sugar together. Then add the yeast solution and mix well. Mix well enough that the batter is smooth with no lumps at all. Now set the batter aside and let it sit in a warm place for about one hour.

Syrup directions:

Boil the sugar and water together on medium heat for about 15 minutes or to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit (95 degrees Celsius). Then add the rose water, cardamom powder, food coloring and the saffron.

Directions for making jalebi:

Heat the oil in a flat frying pan at least 1 1/2″ deep. Check if the oil is ready by dropping a little of the batter in the oil. Next, fill the Jalebi batter into a piping bag with a number 3 nozzle or use a ziplock bag with a small cut in the corner. You can use an empty ketchup bottle or a ketchup bottle bought at the Dollar Tree or any general store. Squeeze the Jalebi batter into the hot oil in the preferred shape you like about 2 inches in diameter.

Once you have fried the jalebi until golden-brown on both sides, transfer into the warm syrup. Now let jalebi soak in the hot syrup just for a few seconds to a couple of minutes and then remove. Jalebi is best served warm but is also delicious served at room temperature or cold.

Makes approximately 10 – 15 jalebi.

Click here for a video on how to make jalebi.

Hostess Gifts

A dinner party is a great way to celebrate some of the best things in life: great friends and great food.  When you are invited to a dinner party, even if you know the host or hostess quite well, it is polite to bring a gift for the host as a way to say thank you for opening up their home.  Choosing an appropriate gift depends on a few factors such as who is throwing the party and how formal of an affair it is, but making the right selection doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive.

A bottle of wine is a great, though somewhat obvious choice.  If you are going to present the host with a bottle of wine, make sure you put a little effort into it.  Try and find out what kind of food is being served at the party and pair the wine accordingly.  Many higher end liquor stores will have someone on hand to help make a selection.  Also be prepared to tell the recipient a little bit about your choice; no one expects you to be an expert, but they will appreciate the extra bit of thoughtfulness.  Also, for the extra few dollars, buy a nice wine bag to present the wine in.  It is just another small detail that makes the gift extra special.

If your host is not a big drinker, or you just find wine too intimidating, bringing a nice dessert or other sweet treat is also a great idea.  If you are so inclined, roll up your sleeves and bake something yourself, maybe a family recipe, or a personal favorite.  But if baking is not your thing, buying something ready made is perfectly fine.  Most communities have great neighborhood bakeries who can supply you with freshly made treats.  Go for something seasonal, like a Christmas ring or peach pie.  Gourmet chocolates are also widely available and are a good choice if you suspect your hostess may have prepared dessert as well.  If your host is a real foodie, you can even take the gourmet gift idea to another level.  Rare or expensive spices, exotic, flavored salts, or a bottle of aged balsamic will impress any food lover.

If you are not particularly close with the hostess, maybe because it is a business associate or a new neighbor, you may not be aware of their tastes in food and might want to select something for the home instead like a large scented candle with holder for a candlelit dinner or a set of artsy wine charms.  Another great gift idea is a pound of high end coffee.  Almost everyone has a coffee drinker in the house, which makes it a safe bet, and you don’t need to be a gourmand to appreciate a hot mug of great coffee. The best way to select a hostess gift for a dinner party is to think of a way to treat the recipient, to show them that you appreciate them putting in all the hard work to create a lovely party. 

1. Unique Hostess and Host Gifts | UncommonGoods
2. South Beach Diet Phase 2: When it isn’t Working
3. Hostess Gift Ideas | Martha Stewart

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Health Benefits of Blue Corn

If you think that blue corn is something new or strange, then you may want to consider these facts.

Blue corn actually goes back to when the American Indians migrated to the Southwest.  Depending on the tribe, blue corn is also known as Hopi maize or Hopi corn. Though corn, or maize, was a large part of their diet, the dense texture of blue corn lent itself to more variety in a number of dishes.

Years later, blue corn flour was used by the Mexican-Americans as a thickener for soups and stews. They would also use it as a base for atole (also known as atol or purple corn drink), which is considered a healing beverage.  It is normally consumed at breakfast or early morning meals and known to give energy to the elderly or to increase milk production for nursing mothers. This simple recipe consists of milk, one cup of blue corn flour, sugar and sweet spices like cinnamon or clove.  The mixture is cooked for a few minutes under medium heat.  There are also Peruvian and Salvadorean versions of this popular, yet slightly thick drink that use fruit and chocolate, respectively.

The pigment that makes the blue corn kernel varying shades of light gray to navy to deep purple are the result of anthocyanins.  These are water-soluble based compounds that give a dark or deep color to plants, flowers and various types of produce, like berries.  These compounds have also been proven to fight certain types of cancer, high cholesterol and can be helpful in weight loss as it has been shown to keep glycemic levels low.  If you ever heard that the best way to lose weight is to eliminate white or beige foods, it most likely was based on this fact.

Overall, blue corn is a much healthier alternative to white or yellow corn as it has about twenty-five percent more protein.  It’s also high in vitamins A and B complex as well as Niacin.  Compared to white and yellow corn products, it has less starch and carbohydrates which makes it ideal for those looking to drop the excess pounds.  Diabetics are also choosing blue corn as an alternative to white or yellow corn products as a way to keep their metabolism at a level that will prevent sugar spikes.

So now you know that this is not a new or artificially produced food and it’s good for you as well.

1. Blue corn
2. 3 Tips for Digestive Problems
3. The Life Extension Blog: Is Blue Corn Healthy?

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Have you a Recipe for Cullen Skink

“Some hae meat that canna eat
And some wad eat that want it:
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.”

This is the Scottish Covenanter’s Grace that was said before meals in the reign of Queen Mary; in Scotland it can still be seen carved into the tops of doors in some of the older buildings. One of the dishes that the Scottish people would have been thanking God for would undoubtedly have been ‘Cullen Skink’.

Cullen Skink is a delicious and traditional fish and potato soup that comes from the small coastal town of Cullen in Moray on the northeastern Scottish coastline. The word “Skink” is a Scottish word for soup that was originally from a shin of beef – the ‘skink’ of beef; with Cullen Skink however the beef is replaced by Finnan Haddie, better known to most people as smoked haddock.  Finnan Haddie got its name as it was originally the haddock caught in the Aberdeen town of Findon, or Finnan, and smoked there; now it tends to be a generic word for smoked haddock for many people, especially of the older generation.

The recipe that I use for this soup, while still being traditional, omits cream and butter making it a low fat soup and perfect for people watching their weight or keeping to a low fat diet. These omissions do not deter from the lovely taste of the soup.

I would stress the importance of natural smoked fish for this dish and not the artificially coloured yellow fish that we see so often in the supermarket or fishmongers.


Serves four people


1 fillet of natural smoked haddock
Water to cover
1 Onion peeled and chopped
900ml skimmed milk
225g mashed potato

Salt (if needed) and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Place the haddock in a large frying pan (skillet), skin side down, so that it is just covered with cold water. Bring to the boil, and allow it to simmer for around 7 minutes or until the fish is just cooked. Take the fish from the pan; carefully remove all the skin and bones.  Flake the fish and put in a saucepan the water from cooking it and the chopped onion. Taste and adjust seasoning (you may find that only pepper is required because of the saltiness of the fish), simmer for thirty minutes. Strain reserving both the stock and the fish. Add the milk to the fish stock and then add enough mashed potato to make your preferred consistency. Add the fish, reheat and check again for seasoning. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.

This dish makes a hearty and filling soup and with soup crusty bread makes a wonderful lunch dish, especially on a cold winter’s day.

1. Cullen skink
2. Hardgainer Meal Plan to Gain Weight
3. Cullen Skink | BBC Good Food

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Greek Tavernas

When you want good food and company in Greece you head to a taverna, a family run small restaurant offering freshly cooked food. Typically Mama will be in the kitchen tending to the oven cooked dishes, Papa will be in charge of the grill, whilst the rest of the family take the orders and wait on tables. The atmosphere is generally convivial and informal, and many still allow the old tradition of letting you pop into the kitchen to see what is cooking that day.

Good tavernas are slightly distinct from more formal estiatorios. In the summer time the seating will be outside and the people eat late, usually after 10p.m. In the winter dining will be inside with customers vying for a place by the log fire or the somba. Some of the tavernas with the best food could well be mistaken for someone’s home, but will fill up with people as everyone knows where the best food is. Appearances may well be deceptive and tavernas generally offer excellent home cooked food for a good price.

Greek tavernas serve one type of food: Greek food. There will be a selection of appetizers and salads to choose from, which go in the center of the table to be shared. Sometimes a meal can be made of these delicious dishes which usually include favourites such as saganaki, feta cheese baked in the oven with peppers, courgette balls, meat balls, anchovies, fried courgettes and aubergines, and tzatiki and taramasolata. A basket of bread is brought with the food, whilst in winter the bread is toasted and drizzled with oil and oregano.

Salads are always in evidence on every Greek table, ranging from the traditional Greek salad to beetroot salad, tomato salad, and the typical winter salad of cabbage and lettuce garnished with olives.

Most tavernas offer a range of oven cooked fare which will vary by day, depending on what Mama is cooking. Dishes may include traditional mousakka or beef stifada, which is a tasty casserole of beef and small onions. Kelftico is a popular choice, comprising lamb wrapped in paper and oven cooked with vegetables until deliciously tender. The grill will turn out chicken, pork and souvlakis.

Seafood is especially popular in summer when the fish is caught fresh from the sea, and it is not unusual to see Greek fishermen bringing their own fish in for the taverna to be cooked for them. Kalamari is on most menus, and octopus is either grilled or served cold in vinegar. Fresh fish can be pricey as the taverna will price it by the kilo, but small fish such as grilled sardines are very reasonable.

Food is usually served with wine, and a taverna will usually offer their own house wine, which in winter may well be ‘spitico’ which is home made and matured in the barrel. Unlike shop bought wine ‘spitico’ has no additives and preservatives and is a welcome choice.

Previously if advising people where to find the best tavernas in Greece one would say look for one full of Greeks smoking and you will know the food will be good. However the recent smoking ban has put paid to that and now you will need to look for a taverna with lots of Greeks nipping outside for their cigarettes. If they are prepared to forgo this essential part of dining out then it is a clear sign that the taverna must have food worth going out for.

1. Taverna
2. BPA Canned Food Plastics
3. Greek Taverna

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Giving up Coke Cutting Back on Soft Drinks Dangers High Fructose Corn Syrup

Soft drinks are delectable. You can get them in all kinds of flavors, and they can be an accent to a meal or a pick-me-up all by themselves. Because cola soft drinks have a good amount of caffeine and high fructose corn syrup (which is far worse for you than sugar itself), soft drinks can also be a substitute for those who don’t enjoy coffee.

However, all is not perfect when it comes to soft drinks. They can easily add hundreds of calories to your day, even if you only have one with every meal. With no nutritional value, there’s little defense for the soft drink except for the fun factor. Because of soda’s fun factor and the habit that drinking them can become, one doesn’t have to go cold turkey altogether.

Take it slow at first. Try giving up just one a day at the time when you would least notice it. Drinking water with lunch will probably be just as much fun. It may even allow you to focus more on the tastes of your food choices.

When it comes to cutting back on soft drink consumption, do taste tests of healthier drinks. Read the ingredients because substituting soft drinks with other beverages that are also full of high fructose corn syrup will do very little to improve your health. You’ll reap almost no benefits of cutting back on soft drinks if you replace it with something equal or worse.

When you long for a fizzy delight, try plain sparkling water. Add just a bit of juice to it. Use your favorite flavor. You’ll be getting the fun of the carbonation and the zing of a sugary taste, except the taste will be the much healthier juice. Because you only use a little to get a lot of flavor, this beverage will have the advantage of being very low in calories. You can also do the same with plain water when you aren’t in the mood for fizzing.

Increase your water consumption. Your body is composed of mostly water, and you probably need to be drinking more water than you already are. Water has no calories, and it helps to flush your system. It’s a much smarter choice than reaching for the soft drink.

Think of the situations in which you normally reach for soft drinks. Ask yourself what you are really craving. If it’s something tasty, maybe you want to reach for a granola bar or something with more nutritional value. If it’s a pick-me-up, try green tea or juice. If it’s simply out of boredom, think of other fun activities that you can do instead. Make sure you think ahead. You need to have a substitute within easy reach. It’s much easier to break a bad habit if you think it through and plan for ways to make it easier on yourself.

1. Yikes! High Fructose Corn Syrup Health Risks | Earths Friends
2. Sardinian Diet
3. 8 Reasons to Cut High Fructose Corn Syrup – Kitchen Stewardship

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Have you got a Reciep for Berry and Chocolate Lasagne

Think of lasagne and you think  of a savoury dish filled with a bolognaise sauce and with a savoury white sauce topping all topped with lashings of Parmesan cheese.
However this is a delicious twist on lasagne – in this dish the filling is yummy summer berries and the white topping has a lovely white chocolate flavour – instead of grated Parmesan this is served with grated chocolate – this is in fact a really tasty and delicious desert that can be server hot or cold.

Serves 4
8 lasagne sheets (noodle sheets)
200g frozen mixed berries
1 tablespoon water
75g sugar
1 pint milk
1oz butter
1 oz plain flour
2oz sugar
100g white chocolate, broken into small pieces
A little milk or dark chocolate for grating
Fresh Mint leaves


1. Preheat oven to 180 C/350/F/Gas Mark 4
2. Gently heat the fruits, water and sugar in a saucepan until the fruit is cooked and the sugar is defrosted. Keep to one side
3. Make a white sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan, stir in flour and cook for 1 -2 minutes, add milk a little at a time and beat until smooth add sugar and broken chocolate and stir until, sugar is dissolved and chocolate melted. Keep to one side.
4. Place half the fruit mixture in a greased baking dish, layer two lasagne sheets evenly over the fruit.
5. Pour half the white sauce over the lasagne, layer two more lasagne sheets evenly over the sauce.
6. Spread the remaining fruit on top of the lasagne and top with the remaining two sheets of lasagne.
7. Top with remaining white sauce, pouring slowly.
7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
8. Garnish with grated milk or dark chocolate, berry and mint leaves.

This unusual desert recipe will certainly be a talking point and I’m sure will prove very popular.

1. Chocolate Lasagna | Recipe | Chocolate Lasagna, Lasagna and …
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3. Chocolate Lasagna Cupcakes | Recipe | Lasagna Cupcakes …

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Great Gift Ideas for Wine Enthusiasts

When you are choosing a gift for someone who happens to be a wine enthusiast then you can enjoy a wonderful shopping experience. Wine lovers appreciate fine wine and assorted accompaniments, as well as always learning more about wine, and enjoying the peripheries which go with the full wine experience.

A wine thermometer is an essential tool for the wine enthusiast and they come in a variety of types. Your friend may well have a traditional one but would be sure to appreciate a thermometer bottle collar from Varietals. A stainless steel cuff which wraps around the bottle reveals the wines temperature in minutes.

Good corkscrews and wine stoppers are a must have for wine buffs. You could opt for a corkscrew and stopper combination in a rosewood box, or choose a fantastic replica corkscrew from New Legacy which are crafted from bronze or pewter. They offer a bronze opener designed to be mounted on a table, beautifully styled with the addition of a grapevine design. The pewter opener is attached to a wooden stand and is the epitome of an elegant opener.

No wine enthusiast can be without Hugh Johnson’s most respected tome, ‘The World Atlas of Wine’, the most recognized wine lover’s reference guide. If your friend already has the book then opt for the smaller ‘Pocket Wine guide’ by Johnson, which the wine enthusiast can carry around on his wine tastings. Another must have is the renowned ‘Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopaedia’ by Tom Stevenson, a wine writer who is acknowledge for his expertise and recognized by his three time award of wine writer of the year.

A really nifty gift would be the ‘Wine Master Special Edition’ which is actually a gadget in the form of a small electronic device which holds wine reviews from the ‘Wine Enthusiast Magazine’. This is absolutely perfect for the wine enthusiast to take out to dinner to choose the right wine from the wine menu, or to take along on their wine hunting expeditions.

Those who appreciate fine wine often like to keep the corks as a reminder of special bottles they enjoyed, and there is a wonderful wine cork collection cage for them to relish. A stylish metal frame in the shape of a wine bottle is designed to store and display the cherished corks.

Gourmet foods and cheeses are another perfect gift to choose. You could order a wine gift basket from a myriad of sources, or make your own selection. If you aren’t as much as a wine buff as your friend then follow the basic principle that strong cheeses go best with full bodied wines, whilst more delicate cheeses marry well with lighter wines.

Another good way to select cheeses is by region, so if your friend is a French wine enthusiast look for good French cheeses such as brie, Epoisses, Roquefort and Blue d’Auvergne.

Finally red wine enthusiasts will most likely savor the finest dark chocolates to accompany their wine, making for a healthy and indulgent combination. Dark chocolate covered coffee beans or plain truffles make for an excellent choice to accompany red wine.

There really is so much choice to gift to the wine enthusiast that you’ll never be stumped for gift ideas. Of course the simplest choice of all is to buy a bottle of good wine.


1. Wine Gifts – Wine Enthusiast
2. Cookie Diets are a Recipe for Weight Loss
3. 24 Unique Gift Ideas for Wine Lovers | Bored Panda

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Flavoured Milk Drinks

I love milk but as a rule don’t like it flavoured, preferring the naturalness of it when on it’s own.

On popping into our local garage shop to buy a magazine, I spotted this drink nestled in the fridge nearby to the magazine stand.

Bounty flavoured milk? Mmm…that sounds interesting I thought.

Being a fan of all things coconutty, I opened the fridge to investigate further.

What caught my eye immediately was the bottle. It’s a blue and white colour (the same as on the chocolate bar wrapper) with pictures of palm trees, a beach, the sunny sky and of course not forgetting coconuts. There is an image of a coconut cut into two with the words Real Coconut.

This really looked liked something I would like, so took a bottle to the counter along with my magazine and decided I would try when I got home.

On opening the screw top lid, I was greeted with a real tropical aroma – you could certainly detect the coconut presence in this milk.

On pouring into a glass the appearance of the milk is a pale, chocolatey brown and quite thin and watery in consistency which surprised me as I thought it would be thick (like Frijj for instance).

The actual taste is just hard to put into words, it’s really that good! Obviously if you don’t like coconut you are not going to like this, but if you do your taste buds are certainly in for a treat.

The thing I noticed first on tasting the drink was it’s not overly sweet. It gives off a sweeter smell than it tastes which is good as I thought it may be marred by a sugary taste.

As it’s made using semi skimmed milk this needs to be kept in the refrigerator. I don’t like drinks that are icy cold, so having taken it out of the cooling cabinet in the shop and walked the short distance to my home, I found that it was just the right temperature (still cool but not cold) for me to enjoy it.

I really like this drink but it seems hard to track down anywhere. I’m sure lots of places do stock it but so far I have only seen it in my local garage.

Another down side is the price. For a 388ml bottle it cost £1.59 so it will be more of a treat than a daily essential for me I think!

A few bits of general information –

Made with 5% real coconut

*No artificial colours or sweeteners

*Made with milk (no surprises as it’s a flavoured milk!)

*192 calories per every 200ml serving

*Made by Mars – for more information contact

*Suitable for vegetarians

My opinion~
This is a really nice milk drink that although appears to be on the thin side, it has a deliciously creamy texture. The coconut is subtle and not overpowering but enough to save this from being a plain run of the mill chocolate milk drink.

I love it!

1. Flavored milk
2. Does Eating Later Affect Weight Loss Efforts
3. Flavoured milk drinks – Tetra Pak

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Easy Meals Hamburger Casseroles Inexpensive Recipes Noodles

Most everyone I know likes hamburger, ground beef and it can be purchased fairly reasonably to help with the food budget and can be purchased without a lot of fat content.  There are so many wonderful and appetizing ways to use hamburger besides the plain old burger patty.  I’m always looking for tasty but inexpensive recipes that are good for me and easy to prepare.  I often lean toward casseroles that can be eaten for several meals or feed a crowd.  Casseroles made with hamburger definitely work.  Because there is just me that I am preparing meals for these days, most of the time, I also appreciate it if the recipe is one that I can divide into individual meals and freeze for later use so I am not compelled to eat the same thing several days in a row.  I appreciate a bit of variety in my meals.  A friend shared the following recipe with me and it fits all criteria.  It really is very good.  I hope you will try it and enjoy it too.


1 lb. ground beef,(Hamburger) browned and drained
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. finely chopped pimento
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
4 cups egg noodles, cooked and drained
salt, pepper to taste
Brown ground beef. Add onions, celery, parsley and pimento. (drain off excess fat). Add corn and both cans of soup. Stir and set aside. Cook the four cups of egg noodles until just tender. Drain and rinse in warm water. Combine meat/soup with noodles in a 6 qt. casserole dish. Stir to combine. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly, about 20 to 30 min. Allow to stand about 10 minutes before serving.

1. Budget-Friendly Recipes For Pasta – Allrecipes Dish
2. Natural Diuretic Foods
3. Budget Casseroles – Better Homes and Gardens

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