Evocative Press

Insights and inspirations of a homeschooling mother and a full-time homemaker

Swift Chocolate Tart

Sep 6 2014
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Nathan wanted to bake a chocolate tart,  so we just went at it all rough and tumble with approximate measures. This recipe takes just under 15 mins. to prepare and 25 mins. to bake.  This was my own assemblage of ingredients and it worked!

For the base:

225g digestive biscuits

75 g butter

For the filling: (besides the eggs, all other ingredients can have approx. measurements)

1 egg yolk

2 whole eggs

125 ml coconut milk OR 2/3 pckt. Hommade coconut milk (substitute with fresh cream if you like)

1/2 cup raw sugar (use less if you use sweetened chocolate)

80g good dark chocolate (1/2 slab of chocolate)

1. For the base, blend the biscuits and butter into a sandy rubble. Press mixture in a 10 inch tart dish.

2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

3. Blend all the filling mixture save the chocolate. Then add the molten chocolate. Stir and pour into the tart dish. Bake for 20mins. at 200C or till the knife comes out clean.

Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Salad
Aug 9 2014
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This takes mere minutes to make, and yet it manages to look painterly on a plate! The white, salty cheese against the sweet, red flesh –  dual contrast of taste and color, and strewn with mint…… I tried it and loved this summer salad!  Don’t worry about the onion, being soused in lime juice its acrid burn will elude you. It is fresh, fast and fantastic!

Half a medium sized watermelon

200 gms feta cheese

1 large onion

some mint leaves

juice of one lime

1. Cut the watermelon in triangular pieces. Chop the feta cheese into one inch cubes.

2. Slice the onions in rings or half moons and douse them in the juice of one lime for about 15 mins.

3. Arrange the salad on a plate. First the watermelon, then the cheese, and a final strewing of soused onions and mint leaves. It’s as simple as that.


Jan 10 2012
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This recipe is no authentic way of making biryani. But it works and tastes really good! This recipe is a combination of my mom-in law’s pulao and biryani as I knew it. Her pulao had such a strong biryani taste and flavor, that I thought, hmm, may be I need to flavor the rice this way. And guess what, this biryani is suffused with gutsiness!!!


5 large onions, chopped

3 large green chillies, slit

1 cinnamon stick

2 small bunches pudina/ mint leaves

1 small bunch coriander leaves

2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste

3 peppercorns

2 cloves

3- 4 tablespoons oil

Saute all the above ingredients in oil until onion turns light brown. Cool and puree. That’s the ground masala.

1-2 tablespoons chilly powder

400 gms curd

1 ½ – 2 Kg mutton (Depends on the mutton to rice proportion you prefer.)

Marinate the mutton in salt, curd, ground masala, and chilly powder for an hour in the vessel you desire to cook in. Cook the marinated mutton as is for an hour or till the meat is tender.



1 kg basmati rice (5 cups)

9 cups water ( a little less than needed)

2-3 drops kewra water

a pinch of saffron

2 small bunches mint leaves (pudina), cleaned and choped

3- 5 chillies, slit in 4 (number of chillies will depend on how spicy you like it)

2 onions, chopped

2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste

3 cardamoms

3-4 cloves

large stick of cinnamon or cassia

1 tablespoon ghee ( it does flavor the biryani)

1 tablespoon oil

  • Over medium heat, in a large pan with a lid, melt the ghee along with the oil and the garam masala (cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon), stirring a bit. Add the chillies, onions and mint leaves, frying each a bit before adding the other. Then the ginger and garlic paste. Stir a little.
  • Add the washed rice, stirring till lightly slicked with the oil. Pour the water and kewra water. Add the saffron. Clamp on the lid. Let it cook.



8-10 onions, thinly sliced in rings

8-10 potatoes (optional), cut in thick discs

200gm  cashews, split in half

Oil for deep frying


  • In a pan of hot oil, fry the onions in batches to get dark brown strands. Stash them on paper towel.
  • The potatoes can be grilled on a nonstick pan
  • Toast the cashews on a nonstick pan till lightly brown.


  • In a large vessel with a lid, layer the bottom with potatoes. Spoon the rice to cover the bottom with a thin layer. Then pour some gravy and strew few mutton pieces. Add the second layer of rice. Scatter onion strands and cashew.
  • Then spread the mutton and gravy. Scatter few potatoes over the grayy layer. Then the rice…. Continue layering till you fill the vessel, the final layer being rice. For the garnish, a final smattering of onion strands and cashews. Clamp on the lid. Place it over a very low heat for 20 min., or till warmed through. Done


When serving, never mix the layers so that the gravy completely mingles with the rice. So spoon out delicately! Serve with raita!


TALIMPOO? What is that?

Dec 10 2011
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Being married to an Andhrite, assisting my mother-in-law, a solicitor of recipes.. I conclude thus: One needs a passion for the picante to love Andhra food. Although there are many ways of cooking a simple subzi or curry as there are homes in Andhra, no dish is without braised chillies. By braised, I mean chopped chillies are fried along with diced onions before stewing them in the vegetable, dal, or meat in question.

This brings us to TALIMPU, a.k.a. bagar, an imperative step to give Andhra food its pungent punch! The trifecta of ingredients: onions, green chillies and curry leaves means you can make almost any dish taste from there. Chillies are cut in rings or slit in 4 and thrown in a well of hot oil that’s been spluttering with a tablespoon of TALIMPU GINJALU (mixture of mustard seeds, split urad dal, split gram dal, and cumin). The chillies have to be fried well before you add the onions and curry leaves. When cooking meats, substitute the GINJALU (seeds) with a small cinnamon or caccia stick.

So, ever wondered why Andhra food is smacked with fieriness? Thanks to karam podi (Andhra chilly powder) on top of braised green chillies!

Check out the recipe for rasam.


Dec 10 2011
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Since I did a post on TALIMPU, I thought I’ll give the recipe I learnt from atthayah (my mother-in-law). This will banish the snuffles!


3 medium sized tomatoes chopped

4 tablespoons tamarind

4-5 cups water

fresh coriander, finely chopped

1 tablespoon grated coconut

2- 4 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoons talimpu ginjalu (mixture of mustard seeds, urad dal, gram dal, cumin)

2 large green chilles (cut in thick rings)

1 large onion (sliced)

2 sprigs curry leaves

1 – 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste

½ teaspoon turmeric

4 teaspoons MTR Rasam powder

¼ teaspoon karam (chilli powder)


1 Add tomatoes, tamarind and water in saucepan. Boil until reduced a bit and tomatoes are mushy. Strain through a rasam strainer, squeezing out as much as possible. Add a spoon of the strained pulp.

2 Talimpoo: Add the mustard mixture to a hot well of oil. Then throw-in the chillies, onions and curry leaves. Fry until lightly scorched. Then the ginger garlic paste. Bagar till it just starts to change color, then add the spices. Fry on low heat not burning the spices.

3 Add the strained tomato broth and salt. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 mins. Garnish with chopped coriander and grated coconut. Done.

Douse steamed rice with rasam. Enjoy!