|Painting by Jaya V Chala|
I grew up with paints, threads, canvas, colored pencils, clay and art books. There were books of art from Rembrandt’s landscapes, Michelangelo sculptures, Leonardo’s inventions, Macchietti’s manneristic style to the nudes of Sandro Bottecelli. My mother an artist, spent a good chunk of her day doing embroidery which she calls human moods in thread - portraits done with embroidery as the medium. Mom and dad would discuss her art for hours, even though dad was not an artist, he had a very keen eye, he really helped my mom grown as an artist.
Dad would always tell my mom, “I want people to know me as Jaya’s husband”. He was her worst critic and her best fan. It was more ‘their’ art than her’s. Many times he would conceptualize and she would be the hand behind his vision.
As my mother’s art work hangs proudly in my home today, it is more than just art. I think it represents a part of my childhood. Even though she is the artist but all of us have had our contribution, from color combination to how the hand should be, so many details…I really feel so lucky to have been born in a house that valued art. As kids we were encouraged to participate in local flower shows, art exhibitions and every summer vacation we always made a few paintings.
Not a lot has changed, even though I miss my dad, mom and me still talk a lot about art, her inputs on my photography to my critique about her latest sketch. One thing we never agree on is her dislike for tarnished props :)
The paintings in this post or Goddess Lakshmi and Ganesha is done by her. This post is special for me as my mom’s birthday coincides with Diwali this year.
I love the excitement and the fervor the festival season brings. I am enjoying all the gorgeous desserts in the blogosphere and must have put on a few pounds just looking at the rich desserts.
I have been planning to make almond burfi for a while, Diwali was the perfect excuse. This recipe is from my husband’s aunt, who is an amazing cook and her desserts are fabulous. This burfi/fudge just melts in your mouth.
Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali. A lot of happiness and a great year ahead.
Here are some more choices for desserts you might like to make for this Diwali.
1 cup almond soaked for 3-4 hours in warm water
1 1/4 cup sugar (couple of tsp less than 1 1/4)
2-3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp milk powder
2 tbsp ghee
few strands of saffron
1/4 tsp powdered green cardamom
saffron for garnish
Soak the almonds in warm water, peel of the skin and grind it into a paste with 2-3 tbsp milk and saffron. You may need more or less milk depending on the grinding capability of your blender. Don’t worry if you add more milk, you just have to cook it for longer. But certainly keep it to a paste consistency, you do not want to spend your whole day making this burfi.
The saffron blended gives a nice color and beautiful aroma to the barfi.
Make sure the paste is not very smooth and is a bit course. It just tastes better.
Take a heat proof plate, preferably steel and add a bit go ghee on it. Spread evenly.
In a pan mix the almond paste and sugar on high heat till the sugar melts - keep string. When the sugar has melted, lower the heat to medium and add 1 tsp ghee and keep string. Keep string ( yes, there is a lot of stirring) till the almond thickens and just starts to lift of the edges - add the milk powder and stir more. This should be easily about 25 minutes. Now add the other tbsp of ghee and stir some more till it is thick and the ghee starts leaving the edges. input 5-7min more.
Pour it on the greased plate and with a spatula level it flat - let it cool. When it becomes a bit firm cut it in squares or diamond shape with help of a pizza cutter. Let it cool completely. Remove from plate and store in air tight container. Should stay good for three weeks.