Tropical Fruit Salad


My sister was looking for a new fruit salad recipe for a wedding she needed to cook for. I told her about this recipe and thought I hadn’t made it in awhile. My husband loves fruit salad. It is similar to Frog’s Eye Fruit salad in that you add a very small round pasta called Acini de Pepe or the star shaped Stelline pasta. It gives the consistency of tapioca.


Tropical Fruit Salad

Serves at least 10-15


2 cans chunk pineapple

2 cans Mandarin oranges

4 containers of Del Monte Diced Mango–yields about 2 cups

1 pint whipping cream

1/2 block of Cream cheese, softened

1/2- 1 cup sugar, as per taste

1 cup uncooked pasta- Stelline or Acina de Pepe

1/2-1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

3 tbs chopped nuts- walnuts/macadamia, hazelnuts–whatever you like

Handful marshmallows


In boiling water cook and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the reserved fruit juice and let sit in it for a few minutes until totally cool.

Take whipping cream and start whipping until it gets frothy. Add sugar gradually and then the very soft cream cheese. Whip until fluffy and thick. Combine all the drained canned fruits in a large bowl. Reserve some of the liquid.  Drain.

Combine the pasta to fruit and gently fold in the whipped cream to combine. Add coconut, nuts and marshmallows. Garnish with more nuts and refrigerate for an hour or 2 before serving.


  • You can add mango pulp as you whip the  cream for added flavor.
  • May omit marshmallows if vegetarian.
  • Add fresh fruits if in season.
  • Delicious when topped on warm pound cake.
  • Layer with angel food cake for a light trifle.

Heavenly Rose Phirni



I must give some credit for this recipe to Asha at and another friend GB. Adding fruits comes from Asha as her post shows. And adding rose syrup comes from GB. She actually served this on top of vanilla ice cream. Thanks for the inspiration! Wish my kids were here to try it:(

The coarse grinding of the rice gives this a custardy pudding like consistency.
I made this for church and think everyone enjoyed it.Someone said this was a very girly dessert! This is perfect for a party.

Rose Phirni

Serves 6-8
1  cup  Basmati rice
4 cups milk
1 c sugar or to taste
1/4 tsp cardamom pdr
1-2 tbs rose syrup
Strawberry ice cream topping or mango pulp ( can also use fresh fruits)
Sweet coconut flakes
Chopped pistachios, optional
Saffron dissolved in a tablespoon of milk

Rinse rice well and soak for 4 hrs. Grind slightly in food processor until somewhat grainy.
Boil milk in a heavy sauce pan. Add ground rice and stir continuously to avoid lumps. Cook for 10-15 mts, stirring frequently. When rice is cooked add sugar, rose syrup, and cardamom pd and saffron milk. Top with fruit topping, garnish with coconut and pistachios. Serve chilled or room temperature.

Here are some pics of how the rice should look and the Phirni made in a larger quantity. ( Also made Vellayappam for church)



Grape Salad


I had bought some green grapes that were more sour than sweet so decided to make a salad out of it. I have seen a similar salad at my friends house adding pomegranate seeds. It is very light and a perfect side item anytime.

Grape Salad:


A bunch of grapes, halved
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 onion, diced
2 green chilies, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped cilantro

Toss a ingredients together and chill. Serve as side salad. Feeds 5-6.

Pineapple Ladoo


I saw this sweet on an Indian website and modified it a bit. More low fat as no Ghee. Was quick and easy, especially with the use of canned pineapple.

1 can crushed pineapple
2/3 cup rava or cream of wheat
1/4 c of the pineapple juice
Sugar ( or substitute) to taste
8-10 split cashews
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1-2 drops yellow food color
Some dessicated or shredded coconut

Drain pineapple and squeeze out as much as possible. Heat up rava slightly in a frying pan and set aside.Do not brown. Brown cashews in a little ghee until brown, set aside. In a small sauce pan add the pineapple water and heat until slightly syrupy.You may add sugar or sugar substitute if you want it sweeter. Add rava, nuts, pineapple and cardamom powder, yellow color and mix well. Keep stirring until rava is cooked. Add little more pineapple water if dries up. Will be somewhat mushy and the rava should be cooked. Mat add ghee at the end if want more flavor but that is optional.
After if cools down shape into balls and roll in coconut. Top with cashew pieces if desired. Makes about 20 pieces.


Addendum: A blogger from UK mentioned that they cannot get Rava or Cream of wheat….may substitute with semolina

Meyer Lemon Blondie


I had some leftover Meyer lemons and was trying to figure out what to do with them hence this recipe….I didn’t want a heavy cake and thought why not a blondie. I forgot to add some baking powder/soda and was scared that it would be dense but it came out simply beautiful. Looked more like a lemon tart .This would be great with a cup of coffee, maybe accompanied with fresh raspberries, mint and some light whipped cream. I only had mint on hand but love the simplicity it adds. This is a keeper.

Meyer Lemon Blondie


3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick butter, softened

2 large eggs

2 large lemons—for zest and juice

For glaze:

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tsp lemon zest

4 tsp lemon juice

Garnish- fresh raspberries, mint leaves-optional


Preheat oven to 350
Combine sugar, butter, salt. Add the zest of one lemon and the juice of one lemon. Add eggs and combine. Add flour and fold til well incorporated.Put into round or square 8×8 greased baking dish and bake for 20-25 mts. Make sure it does not get too brown and just set.

Allow to cool. Make glaze…combine all ingredients for glaze and when blondie is totally cool, spread glaze and let harden. Garnish as desired.



Well, we dropped off our first-born daughter  to college in Grenada, West Indies. I was fine until the very last moment on the night before we were to leave…..saying good-bye to her in the dorm. My heart felt like someone was squeezing it and it was going to explode with sadness. The f irst week back was horrible and I slept most all day. I am better. It has been a couple of weeks and I do miss her terribly but it is better. . Daily life is not the same. She is fine ,of course.  She likes her roomies and will have to find her way and figure things out for herself. She can do it. The only immediate issue on the island is food. There are no cafeterias on campus. Only one coffee shop and a sit down restaurant that takes forever for food to come. Typical laid back carribean atmosphere. No one is in a rush! There is one grocery store nearby and she takes the college bus to do grocery. It is really expensive! A bottle of shampoo is $15!. Yes,  I said $15!  So,  I have been sending weekly care packages full of instant masala mixes, rice mixes, noodles, etc. She actually made a beef curry, a pork curry, okra with spinach…..they looked pretty good on SKYPE. It’s amazing to me considering she never stepped foot into the kitchen to cook until her last few months at home.this summer. Maybe those sessions have paid off! She also went to aunties houses to learn some of their signature dishes. Anyway, I hope this blog will help her in her culinary adventures. 

 Since this is my first recipe post, we should start with something sweet. My husbands’ cousins’  wife, Savita,  made this one day for breakfast while we were visiting them in Maine. It was delicious. Being a Mysorean brahmin vegetarian she makes some of the best veg dishes. Thanks to Savita for introducing me to this recipe, which has become a staple in my repertoire. Being from the southern state of Kerala, I  had to take some  liberties with the recipe and added grated coconut.  Kerala is all about the coconut! Enjoy it as a dessert, breakfast side or with tea.

Banana Kesari


2 cups Rava (Semolina, Cream of Wheat)

2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter

2 ripe yellow bananas- mashed

2 cups sugar

4 cups water

few strands of Saffron or yellow food coloring

1/4 tsp ground cardamom powder

2 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut


In a large sauce pan, add the ghee and mix the Rava into it. Roast on medium heat until a dark straw yellow color. Watch carefully or it can burn in a flash.

Remove the rava onto a plate. In the same sauce pan add water, cardamom, shredded coconut and bananas.

Let cook for 4-5 minutes then add sugar and saffron or food color. When it is boling, carefully slide rava in small amounts into the sauce pan, mixing constantly to avoid lumps. The rava cooks quickly. Pour into a greased pie plate and garnish with Shredded coconut. It well get firm as it cools.

You can add cashews and raisins,  fried in a little ghee as well to garnish. My kids hate nuts so I omit these.