Happy New Year dear readers!  

I hope all of you had a great start no matter how you chose to celebrate. My first day of 2011 went by in a blur amidst the mad influx of patients in hospital. Binge eating and drinking caused many of them to turn up for admission which kept our unit working till late into the night.

To make up for my wasted January 1st, I tried to compensate for my lack of good food and sleep over next 1 1/2 days at my grandma’s place. Instead of the traditional family trip to the seaside, we opted for mountain climbing [see photos on Flickr] as part of our New Year resolution for a healthier lifestyle.

I guess many of you must have made similar resolutions to lose those extra kgs through diet and exercise. To counter the high carb & fat content of main courses during the festive season, I gave up on baked desserts for a while and switched to fruit-based ones. 

Fruit kebobs are a fun way to encourage kids to eat fresh fruit in larger amounts than they normally would. Even picky eaters in my family did not spare those cubes of cuteness for which you can use any fruit combination as per preference and availability.

FRUIT KEBOBS

 

Ingredients:

1 small punnet strawberries

2 kiwi fruit

1 large ripe mango

Method:

  • Wash strawberries, remove stalks and dry on a paper towel.
  • Peel kiwi fruit and mango. Cut the pulp into large cubes.

 

  • Thread the diced fruit onto bamboo skewers finishing with a strawberry. Store in the fridge if making in advance.

 

To end my New Year meal with a splash of colour, I chose to make this deliciously refreshing terrine. In abundance this summer, fresh fruit like mangoes, lychees and berries can be thrown together to yield this stunning last-minute dessert. Add a twist to your fruit terrine; flavour the agar agar with fruit juice, coconut milk or even champagne! 

If you are making dessert for the first time, this is one you simply cannot go wrong with. Take your time to select good quality fresh fruit and make the agar firm enough to hold its shape after unmoulding. That’s about all you need to produce a light summer dessert – no sugar added.

FRUIT TERRINE

 

Ingredients:

200 g red grapes, seedless

200 g green grapes, seedless

1 large alphonso mango

100 g mixed red berries

100 g strawberries

2 ripe peaches

1 kiwi fruit

4 cups water

1 package agar agar

Method:

  • Prepare fruit by slicing or dicing to desired size.
  • Bring water to boil in a medium heavy-based saucepan.
  • Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add sugar if you wish.
  • Soak agar agar in hot water until completely dissolved.

 

  • Lightly grease a 3″x7″ loaf pan with a dab of vegetable oil.
  • Pour agar agar mixture in pan to a depth of about 1cm.
  • Leave to set at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  • Arrange fruit in a random pattern over this agar agar layer.

 

  • Pour remaining agar agar mixture over fruit so that the latter is completely covered. Set aside until agar agar is firm.
  • To unmould, dip pan in hot water for a few minutes or run a knife around egdes before inverting over a serving plate.

Have a wonderful start!


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