Friday, August 7, 2015

Gurupurnima (and Prasad Recipe!)

Guru Govinda dono khade, kake lagoon paay?
bali hari Guru aapno, Govinda diyo milay

Guru and Govinda (Shri Krishna, The God Himself) both are standing in front of me;
Whom should I bow to first?
(Of course Guru because) it is the grace of Guru that I have been able to meet Govinda.
- (Sant Kabir)

"Jai Guru Dev!" - Glory to the Divine teacher!

In the Aapastambgrah Sutra it is said:

"The mother and father give birth to the physical self. It is the Guru who gives true birth to the soul. Wise people call it a special birth."

A human soul, even though initiated in the spiritual path, cannot love an abstract force; and for this reason Scriptures advise us to venerate those who lead us to God and to love being in their physical presence as the Divine manifesting itself in human form. The Guru's physical body is just receptacle of the mighty Divine, and as such worthy of the utmost devotion and reverence. The Guru and God are one because the Almighty and his intermediary cannot be different.

Gurupurnima is one of the main Vedic celebrations, which every year falls on full moon day Purnima in the month of Ashadha. On this day, we express our respect and reverence to our Satguru with all our body, speech and thoughts, as well as to all spiritual teachers of mankind thank them for the knowledge they gave us.

Gurupurnima is the day of the full moon. A full moon reminds (each of us) about the fullness of life, how complete our life has become and how our love has blossomed.

It is a day to be grateful. And on this special day, we are grateful and bow down to the lotus feet of our beloved Satguru Sri Swami Vishwananda. We thank him for that he awakens the Divine love in our hearts, reveals knowledge, transforms our lives; thank for his mercy and all the blessings that we receive from him. Thank you for all that came into our lives. We take refuge in Your Divine love and peace, it is You who steals our hearts, our true SatGuru.

Glory to our Divine SatGuru Sri Swami Vishwananda who is manifestation of Divine Love!

Being close to Gurudev, we can only be bhakti itself, love God for love's sake, give everything to God. Oh God! Grant me that I could always love you. Blessed is the heart, which is filled with love to you day and night! 

When thus I lose myself in Thee, my God,
Then do I see, and know,
That all Thy universe reveals Thy beauty,
All living beings, and all lifeless things,
Exist through Thee.
This whole vast world is but the form
In which Thous showest us Thyself,
Is but the voice
In which Thyself Thou speakest unto us.
What need of words?
Come, Master, come,
And fill me wholly with Thyself.
Saint Tukaram 

On this day we offered to our beloved Gurudev all the dishes that he likes as prasadam.

And today we share with you cookies recipe - Mauritian Napolitaines. These beautiful delicacy consists of 2 berry jam sandwiched between two short crust biscuits and finally covered with colored sugar icing.

250 g white flour, sifted
175 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Raspberry jam, aprox. 50-75 g
250 g powdered sugar (icing sugar)
50 ml water, at room temperature (can use rose water)
2 drops of red food colouring (or colour of your choice)

1. Prepare all the ingredients. 
2. Sift flour. Make sure you sift the flour well, it makes the biscuits more light and flaky.   
3. In a bowl, rub the butter in the flour and knead for 5 minutes until you obtain a soft smooth dough. 

4. Divide the dough into 2 parts. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
Keep the second part in the refrigerator while working with the first part.

5. Roll the dough about 5 millimeters - 1cm thick in between plastic or wax paper.  For convenience, we began to use wooden sticks, which are placed on both sides, allowing you to roll the dough of the same height.

6. With cookie cutter cut the dough into rounds. This traditional form of Napolitaines. But this year we also cut the form - hearts and stars, a small quantity, for decoration.

7.  Place the rounds on baking sheets.  No need to leave much space in between the biscuits since they will not grow in diameter.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 165°C for 10-13 minutes (The cooking time depends on the type of oven you have, so keep an eye on them while they are baking).

8.  The biscuits are ready when you notice a colour changes from yellowish to pale yellow or cream coloured.  They should not turn brown and don’t overcook them. That is the reason why the oven temperature is kept low so that it bakes evenly without taking too much colour.
By the way, your kitchen is going to smell great!  

9. Once the biscuits are done, leave them to cool on the baking tray at room temperature.  Don’t move them while they are cooling. 

10. After cooling, spread jam onto the bottom of one biscuits and stick another biscuit on top. Be careful while spooning the jam, because these biscuits are really fragile.

11. To prepare the glaze, you just need to mix together icing sugar with room temperature water until you get a nice smooth viscous glaze. If the glaze is too liquid, you just need to add more icing sugar and if it is too thick, you need to add some more liquid. Add little red colouring to make it light pink. The traditional Napolitaines are coated with a pink glaze.  And here we have moved away from tradition. Biscuits painted in different colors - blue, red, orange.

12. The sandwiched biscuits should be ready on a cooling rack with a tray underneath. Pour 1 tablespoon of pink icing on each biscuit and using teaspoon smooth icing on top and ensure that the sides are covered. Allow the icing to set completely onto the wire rack (should take around 15 minutes). Allow the glaze to harden for some hours.  Store in an airtight container. Do not store in the refrigerator since it may affect the glossiness of the glaze.

13. If you have a sweet decoration balls, you can decorate biscuits with them as per your taste! Voila!

14. Offer to the Lord.

Vishwānandam Brahmānandam
Brahmā Svarūpam Nīlavarnam
Triloka Nātham Shrī Gurudevam
Om Namo Vishwānandam