Floating Islands

I made this totally amazing dish for Eid this year (Technically, by the Islamic lunar calendar, it was last year.) And well, I loved it. My mother didn’t. But I did receive compliments from a few other people as well. Although, I do suspect most of them were just to keep me happy. So I want you all to try it and give me some REAL feedback. Please. 🙂

Floating Islands are basically poached meringues floating on a pool of liquid. In most recipes, the liquid has the thin consistency of milk (somewhat like it), but in this recipe, it’s more custard-ish.

So here goes:

Ingredients:
500 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs, separated
A pinch of salt
70 grams caster sugar
100 ml cream
Caramel syrup, to serve

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You are gonna need at least (The recipe called for even less. But it began finishing so I added more and it turned out perfect.) 500 ml of milk (I used normal, full-fat, pasteurized milk that comes in the box, like the Tetra-Pak packaging.) Add 1 tsp of vanilla essence and heat the mixture on a stove for at least 3-4 minutes. Keep aside.

Whisk the whites of 3 eggs (like MAD) until fully frothy (you know what it looks like). Now add a pinch of salt and approximately, half (or a little less) of 70 grams of caster sugar. Whisk like mad again.

Now for the tough part! Put the milk on the stove again at low heat. Using a rounded tablespoon, spoon 3-4 balls of the egg white mixture onto the milk, gently. Cook for around a minute. Turn over using a silicon/plastic spatula (rubber is too flexible for easy handling and metal destroys everything). Cook for around a minute more. You’ll know when it’s done, because the colour changes slightly and it becomes ‘solid’ (You’ll understand when you see it.) Take the meringues out on a paper towel to dry. Repeat until all the egg whites have been used up.

Strain the milk.

Beat the yolks of the three eggs and the remaining sugar.

Simmer the milk and the sugar-yolk mixture. STIR CONSTANTLY AND DO NOT LEAVE FOR EVEN A FEW SECONDS. That is the only mistake I made, and I ended up with a very lumpy custard. It almost totally destroyed the look. *sniff* 😥 But it made no difference to the taste, thank God!

Remove it from a heat after sometime (4-5 minutes). Let it cool until it’s totally at room temperature. Add 100 ml of cream and mix well.

Pour the custardish liquid out into the glass serving bowl. Put the meringues on the top. Pour caramel syrup on the top (Just heat 150 grams of sugar+100 ml of water until very very light golden, and pour immediately). Serve, Enjoy! Oh…and give me honest feedback please 😛

 

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The Spoiled Birthday

“Hmm…All of you are invited to my 6th birthday party, held on the day after tomorrow. There will be cakes, and ribbons, and balloons. Please wear blue-and-white clothes like Cinderella and do bring my gift along. Entrance by invitation only!” jotted down my sister, in her loopy, scrawling handwriting, pronouncing each word carefully with her little tongue stuck out and her dark-brown bangs falling over her face.

“Hey girl! What are you doing?” I said as I walked in the room.

“Writing out invitations to my birthday party on Saturday,” she replied. “Will you please, please, pretty please post these for me today?”

“Sure I will!” I ruffled her hair playfully, and took the pile of brightly coloured envelopes from her. My sister could be a total brat sometimes, but she was, after all, my younger sister and I was almost always ready to do anything for her.

It was thus, that I made the biggest mistake of my life. I forgot! It totally escaped my mind that the invitations had to be posted today, and it was not until the next day that I remembered that I had yet to post them. As soon as I did remember, I rushed to the post office and completed my task, heaving a sigh of relief. Thank God I remembered, otherwise, my sister’s anger could be a really terrible thing to face.

The house became a zoo, as we started the decorations for the party. My mother, brother, father and I worked endlessly to hang up the never-ending bunch of ribbons in exactly the ‘right’ places, as our little Ms. Bossy birthday girl, stood supervising, hand placed on her hip, and ordered us about. Our lungs hurt from blowing up the millions of balloons that we had to, just because the birthday girl wanted them.

Even the menu had to be perfect! “I shall want pizza, lemon slush, strawberries with chocolate fondue, chips, brownies, oh…and gingerbread men, and your chocolate chip cookies, Mama,” she ordered, as we stared at her helplessly. “And, I want my birthday cake (and it should be Cinderella) from you!” she turned on to me.

The day arrived, as our tension mounted up to the peak. However, I could not help smiling as she pranced about in her gleaming, white Cinderella costume, while I layered the blue fondant onto the magnificent two-tier cake. It had hundreds and thousands, edible fairy pearls, and an edible Cinderella figurine on top. It was my best creation so far, and I could not wait to show it off!

Time ticked by, but the doorbell never rang. My sister had resorted to sitting glum on the sofa, awaiting her guests, but they never came. We were all pretty disappointed. I could sense danger approaching when I saw her lips quivering, her cheeks bright red, and her pupils getting all watery. It did come! “Nobody likes me!” she wailed out. I tried consoling her but in vain. Upset, we left the decorations as they were, deciding we would take them off the next day.

But, the next day turned out to be a bigger surprise for all of us. As the clock struck twelve in the noon, voices started singing “Happy Birthday to you!” outside our home. As I went to open the door, a flock of Cinderella-idolizing girls rushed in, with a couple of mothers following behind. The Birthday Guests were here!

My sister, who had till then been sulking around in her pyjamas, was dumbstruck. We later discovered from one of the mothers that they had received the letter only two days ago, and thus they assumed that ‘day after tomorrow’ was today. “Oh My God! I forgot!” I cursed myself, praying at the same time that nobody would question me. But, the Truth had to come out, and it did. My sister glared at me with a look of murderous rage in her eyes, as I stood, blushing furiously with embarrassment. The rest of the people were laughing so hard that they were unable to speak. As we later termed it, it was indeed an amusing misunderstanding. But not so amusing for me, because I was the one who had to face the brunt for my carelessness and my sister gave me THE silent treatment for weeks after the incident. Never am I, ever, going to procrastinate again!