My entry for Mango Manthram

This is my entry for Indira's Food Art ~Mango Manthram.
I had the idea for a long time but just couldn't d find time to paint or draw :) Have been busy lately and was not sure if I will even get time to send my entry. I had to borrow my daughter's color pencils, Watercolors and also a paper from her drawing book :) I am glad I was able to do it though.

I am very eager to see the entries from other bloggers.

Cupcake with Tea Masala extract

Stefani of Cup Cake Project has posted a amazing recipe on Indian cupcake with Tea Masala extract.

Excellent blog with very yummy cupcake recipes.
She also wrote a post on about Supreme Spice.
Check it out.

Ayurvedic herbal tea

According to Ayurveda, fever results due to the imbalance of one or more doshas ( energy fields).
One of the many ways to help your body get over a fever is by drinking a simple 3-ingredient tea.

2 drops of Tulsi extract
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 sprig of Lemon grass

Steep these 3 ingredients in a cup of boiling water for about 10 min. Strain and enjoy.

This tea is an excellent diaphoretic ( promotes sweating) and helps bring down the temperature.

Pear butter and Apple Sandwich

A healthy snack for kids - Pear butter and apples sandwich.
Pear butter has much less sugar than the store bought jams and has spices to balance the sweetness of pears. Apples provide the crunch that kids love. And, last but not least, this sandwich is a good break from PB&J sandwich :)

Coffee Ceremony of Ethiopia

Ethiopia, which is considered the birthplace of Coffee, celebrates and enjoys this beverage with a "Coffee Ceremony".
Its a very elaborate ceremony which begins with roasting of coffee beans with cardamom and cloves ( sometimes with cinnamon too). The room fills with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee and spices. Once roasted to perfection, the beans are then boiled in water, strained and served with little sugar.

Till now I have never been to any Ethiopian restaurant but I might try one soon just to experience this Ethiopian coffee.

A combination of coffee and aromatic spices definitely is something to celebrate.

Caramel Spice Pear Butter

I was just recently introduced to fruit butters. They are very easy to make and require very less number of ingredients. This recipe for Caramel Spice Pear butter is adopted from a early 70's Home Canning book. Here is my version of the recipe.


7 firm-ripe Bartlett pears
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
Cinnamon extract
Ginger extract
Clove extract
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Core pears, do not peel them. Cut them into about 1 inch pieces. Pressure cook. ( If you don't have a pressure cooker then boil pears in water for about 30 min). Let cool and then whirl the cooked pears in a food processor. Place the puree in a pan.

Place 1 cup of sugar in a pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sugar caramelizes to a medium brown syrup. Immediately pour this syrup over the pan with pear puree. Syrup will sizzle and harden, but will dissolve as the mixture is cooked later)
Add the remaining 1 cup sugar, 1-2 drops of Cinnamon extract, 1 drop of Ginger extract, 1-2 drops of Clove extract. Stir well.
( Note: If you wish, you can use Cardamom extract instead of Clove. )

Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat. Now reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, for about 45 min. The mixture should thicken gradually.
Stir in lemon juice just before removing from heat.

Pour this yummy Caramel Spice Pear Butter in jars. Let stand for 24 hrs at room temperature and then freeze or refrigerate. It stays up to 1 month in refrigerator and 1 year in freezer.

Fruit butters make excellent gifts. Homemade, healthy and very delicious.

Fruits and Spices

Can you guess what heavenly treat could be prepared with some Pears, 3 aromatic spices, 1 Lemon and some sugar?

Jams, Jellies and Spices

Have you ever used spices in Jams, Jellies and fruit butters?

The combination of fruits and spices results in a heavenly treat.

Difference between Spices and Herbs

A simple answer to this question would be that the leaf of a plant which is used in cooking is referred to as a Herb and any other part of the plant that is used to flavor food is termed as a Spice.
For example - Cloves (bud), ginger & turmeric (roots), fennel, cumin, coriander (seeds), cinnamon (bark), peppercorns (berries).

Herbs are used fresh and spices are generally in dried form.