An Indian feast with a Spanish twist!

I don’t usually have friends around on weekdays as it gets hectic with work and other gardening chores at this time of year, but isn’t it marvelous when one can just plan an impromptu event and invite a bunch of friends over on a weekday, and  another spontaneous friend walks in with a bottle of wine and wham, boom, bang, we have a party?  It was a wonderful evening of food, friends and laughter, with a subtle aroma of spiciness emanating through the house.  Since the majority of the girlfriends attending were vegetarian and love Indian nosh, that was the menu of choice.  Now Indian cuisine has got to be my favorite, although I cook various types of ethnic dishes, but it is intensely time consuming.  If I happen to be serving Indian cuisine, I usually start planning the dishes and cooking at least 2-3 days in advance.  Curries actually taste a whole lot better if cooked and steeped in those flavorful spices over a day or two.   So here are some of the dishes I cooked for a “weekday girls’ night IN.”

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Setting the table

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My favorite serving dish

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Getting the wine glasses out

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Oddly enough, some of the wine glasses match the serving dishes

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Cauliflower and roasted green peppers doused in olive oil with sizzling cumin, coriander, lime juice, tumeric and mango powder

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Curried chickpeas sauteed in ginger, garlic, onions, garam masala, cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, chilli powder and yellow mustard seeds, with a splash of coconut cream.

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Pulao, or rice pilaf cooked in a seasoned broth with whole cardamom, whole cinnamon, whole cloves, ginger, garlic and topped with sauteed rasins, almonds and fresh cilantro.

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Salmon curry and roti (Indian flatbread).

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Caramel flan

And now for the Spanish twist.  What better way to end a spicy, flavorful meal, but with this decadent, and oh so simple Caramel Flan. There aren’t many ingredients, and when one is slaving over a hot stove for the better part of the day, this is a quick, effortless, dessert to culminate this girls’ evening “IN”.

Since it is also Fiesta Friday time at Amazing Angie’s, I’m bringing the Caramel flan.  http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/fiesta-friday-16/

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 3/4 cup water

1 (14oz) can Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed Milk (not evaporated milk)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350deg.  In heavy skillet or pan, over medium heat, cook sugar, stirring constantly until melted and caramel-colored.  Pour into ungreased 9 inch round layer cake pan, tilting to coat bottom completely.  In medium mixing bowl, beat eggs, stir in water, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt.  Pour into caramelized pan; set in larger pan.  Fill larger pan with 1 inch hot water.  Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool.  Chill thoroughly.  Loosen side of flan with knife; invert onto serving plate with rim.  Garnish as desired.  Refrigerate leftovers.

61 comments

  1. Loretta – what a fabulous spread and I have just seen it over on FB too! And your photos are absolutely gorgeous!! What a wonderful sounding party and what lucky friends you have!! Enjoy the Fiesta – you are in very capable hands this week…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Selma, I’m getting the hang of it me thinks….actually FB did not automatically post that, I copied and pasted that link. Love having friends over don’t you? I can tell you do. Rushing over to yours to see what you’ve brought this week. 🙂

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  2. Hi Loretta, lovely to meet you, thank you for bringing this gorgeous dessert to Fiesta Friday 🙂 you had me at ‘girlfriends, vegetarian, Indian’!! Throw in the Spanish element and it all sounds perfect!! Have a great fiesta 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Impromptu parties can sometimes be the best parties! I think you’ve just proved that, with your delicious spread! Everything looks spectacular…but that flan…oh, that flan… it looks perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They sure are Nancy, and especially if there’s not too much planning involved. The flan is really yummy, you’ll have to give it a try, and it’s really so simple, yet makes a beautiful presentation. Just joining the party now, will hop on over to Angie’s to see what else is cooking 🙂

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    1. Thanks Aditi, it was a great gathering of friends and food. I too could just devour an entire flan on my own. I must invest in some smaller custard cups for the kitchen.

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    1. Thanks Apsara, you should try this recipe for flan, it’s really simple and easy. I’ve made others too. The purpose of a hot water bath is twofold…First, a water bath adds moisture to the oven and this is important for baking foods like cheesecakes, which tend to crack from the heat of the oven, or custards which can become rubbery without moist heat.

      Second, using the water bath method also provides a more even, slower heat source than the direct heat of an oven.

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  4. Loretta, your flan does look lovely – I’ve bookmarked the recipe to make when my daughter comes home from Uni… it’s just the sort of thing that she loves!
    Your chickpeas look wonderful too… aren’t chickpeas so versatile!
    Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks Emma, I’m sure your daughter will love this. Yes indeed, chickpeas are great hot or cold, I’ll be including them in my salads now that the warmer weather is here.

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  6. Hi Loretta, It is so nice to meet you. I am in awe of your flan, and all of your other dishes as well. My dad absolutely loves flan so I am going to save your recipe to make for him soon. Maybe for Father’s Day! I look forward to reading more of your recipes and posts. Thanks for bringing such a beautiful, delicious dish to the party!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh welcome Shari. I see you’re in Arizona, it will be a lovely cool dessert for your Father, I’d say definitely a desert dessert don’t you think? 😀

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  7. Your table looks absolutely beautiful and so welcoming! I love your glasses. It looks like a perfect place for wonderful conversation and much laughter. The flan looks incredibly delish. It’s nice to meet you. Happy Fiesta Friday!

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    1. Thanks Meghan, so very nice to meet you on Fiesta Friday – isn’t this a happening place? I love the variety of entries, it definitely is time consuming in a good way :). I’ve just come in from work, and joining the party, so many wonderful entries.

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    1. Buon giorno Simi….welcome to my blog! So happy to follow you as well. Love Italy and Italian cuisine! I love your post for FF #16, are those fish heads? Love those! So happy that you stopped by – I enjoy trying recipes from folks who blog from far away :)) Ciao.

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  8. what a lovely blog, very elegant, and the flan looks so perfect, you sure you didnt pop out and buy it? 🙂 interesting using the condensed milk in the flan, dont think I have ever seen that before in a recipe for flan. Thanks for sharing recipe and beautiful pics

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    1. Thanks Polianthus, and no I didn’t buy it :). Yes, there are different versions of the flan, this is quick, easy and light. I have made others too. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Loretta, what a fantastic dinner! I love Indian food AND flan. My girlfriend always makes a flan every time we get together. Yours looks a lot like hers. She also makes hers with condensed milk. Absolutely delicious! Gorgeous photos! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Angie, Indian cuisine has just started to take off in the USA – it seems like a lot of folks enjoy it these days, and the spices readily available, which wasn’t so when we first moved here about 30 some years ago.

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    1. Thank you Stacey, I too get a bit over the top when it comes to entertaining….I even set the table the night before, as there are so many last minute things one has to contend with to the very end. I do love having folks over though, don’t you?

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    1. Thank you so much. It is such a great party isn’t it? So much to learn, so little time :). Let me check out your site and see what you have cooking.

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  10. I love your girls’ night in, Loretta. Your table looks fabulous, especially with those matching wine glasses! You cooked up a feast, dear, and everything looks so wonderful. And your Spanish twist/ Caramel Flan came out perfectly! Mine usually break while I’m trying to get it out of the pan. How do I get an invite for next time? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ngan, you’re so kind :). If I send out the invitation about 2 weeks before, would that give you enough time to hop on a flight to the East Coast from CA? :)). These virtual parties are a treat though aren’t they?

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  11. I love flan but I’m always nervous to make it for guests (the only time I make it though!) in case it breaks when I invert it! Yours looks perfect 🙂 I guess you have to live on the edge sometimes 🙂 Beautiful feast!

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    1. I think the trick is to put the flan pan in a water bath – it keeps it moist and prevents it from cracking when inverted. Give it a go, live dangerously 🙂

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    1. Thanks Fae, I see you’ve had a wee look-around my blog site? Thanks so much for the likes and comments. :). You are quite the traveler aren’t you? I live to travel too, and now that I’ve just retired, I’ll have all the time in the world to explore 🙂

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  12. Aww, thanks Fae, you’re so kind. You have an amazing blog too. I try to get my inspiration by following folks like yourselves who have been at it for a bit. I’m relatively new and half the time don’t have a clue what I’m doing, but I do try. I did “like” your facebook page, so I’ll no doubt see your posts on there too. I don’t have a FB page for my blog, but I am on FB and often the posts get automatically posted. You can add me if you like, I just love reading about travel adventures. I blog on cooking, gardening and travel, but it seems like I end up posting on cooking the most, perhaps because of FF? It was a great start, and have met some great folks from around the world. Do you live in England?

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  13. Such mouthwatering dishes, Loretta and such a lovely setting! Your friends are so lucky! The caramel flan looks absolutely delicious! I will try it one of these days. I make a similar caramel bread pudding which incidentally my mom had learnt from our Goan neighbor a long time ago! 🙂

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