Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Baking I Ghee Cake with Cowboys Desi




I love the name Cowboys Desi. It tickles me because I get where it's coming from. However for those who have no idea what I'm talking about this is a fabulous company dedicated to dairy activities and allied agriculture. It's these peeps who deliver some amazing cow milk, cooking oils, ghee, flour and honey right at your doorstep.

So when the good people at Cowboys Desi sent me a hamper with some amazing goodies, I was just itching to do something fun with it. I drank the milk (that was a no brainer), used the spices in the normal ghar ki subzis - of which the turmeric was my favourite and finally used the mustard oil in a spot of Kashmiri cooking.





But it was that large vat of ghee that had me puzzled. I wanted to do something fun with that ghee because it just smelt so wonderful. And while we aren't big parantha eaters, that would mean that the ghee would last forever and forever at home.

That was until the husband mentioned that the smell reminded him of this cake, he'd eaten off the streets in Cochin as a child. He said that the distinct smell of the ghee was making him hanker for a chunk of that cake and he looked at me rather longingly.



Fine, I said. Let me figure this out. As I started searching for recipes, I realised that the Ghee Cake was EXTREMELY popular and with good reason. First off, it made for one of the most moist cakes you've ever eaten. Secondly it preserves very well and thirdly, it just tastes delicious.

So armed with a idea in my head, I decided to experiment with a few flavours - lemon ofcourse was the easiest bet, followed by plain vanilla. As I flipped between the two, I settled to make an intensely vanilla ghee cake - with bourbon vanilla and vanilla bean. And what a good choice that was.

Such a fun cake this was. And the Cowboys Desi Ghee was just amazing. It was like silk and smelt so rich that I had to make this cake over and over. Plus this easy recipe was such a bonus that it really made my day.

So without much ado, here goes:



Cowboys Desi's Ghee Cake
Serves 6

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp baking soda1/4 tsp salt1 cup ghee1 cup sugar2 whole eggs2 egg yolks1/4 cup milk1 tsp vanilla extract1 vanilla bean scrapped

Method
1. In a bowl measure out the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
2. Cream ghee and sugar in a large bowl. And add in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat well.
3. Add in the remaining eggs, milk and vanilla bean and mix for a minute.
4. Add in the dry ingredients and just bring it all together. Do not over mix.
5. Pour into greased pans and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degree centigrade or until a skewer comes out clean once inserted. 
6. Serve with a drizzle of icing sugar and milk.



Monday, October 10, 2016

Baking | Toblerone Mud Cake with Toblerone Ganache





I am on a diet. And it's sort of driving me insane. Not so much that I can't eat certain things but that I can't think of combinations that will just keep me eating my small meals so that I don't go completely insane.

Because I am not such a big meat-eater, I am having a hard time eating my proteins, since well, I am just bored of eating the same things. In fact things got so bad last week, I nearly had a melt down and then I met someone who told me to "stop fearing food, and learn how to enjoy it." Since then the wheels in my head have been turning.

Ofcourse I am reaching out to friends for some inspiration as well but all in all I am feeling better about the fact that I have more and more ideas to make my meals better. The only catch? I've got to do it myself.



One of the things I've also seen is that if I am baking, then I really don't feel like eating. Which I feel makes it a win-win situation. So this weekend, I baked up a storm, just so that I could feel better and not be a crab anymore.

I baked this yummy Omani Date and Walnut Cake which I took to my friends house and I baked some cheese crackers, which I will share soon. What I didn't bake was this Toblerone cake. That is, yesterday. I'd baked this last month for a friend's birthday and it turned out just so good that I needed to post it super soon.

Except I couldn't post it super soon, but now with the festive season right around the corner, I just felt that people needed to make this. I mean really needed to make this because this is that kind of a cake. Rich, decadent and chockful of that Toblerone goodness, this is THE cake for you if you love Toblerones.




Toblerone Mud Cake with Toblerone Ganache
Serves 8
Adapted from Cake Central


Ingredients
For the cake
200 grams butter100 grams Toblerone100 grams dark chocolate
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vodka
3/4 cup buttermilk (or 3/4 cup milk with 1 tblsp vinegar)
1/4 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 tblsp honey
1/3 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking soda3 small eggs1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

For the ganache
100 grams dark chocolate
100 grams Toblerone 
200 grams cream


Method
1. For the cake, sift together cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Keep aside.
2. Melt the butter and both the chocolates and keep aside.
3. Beat in the eggs and oil into this. Add the water, vodka, buttermilk, sugar and honey into it till smooth,
4. Add the dry ingredients and whisk till smooth
5. Pour into a prepared tin and bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes or until cool.
6. Meanwhile make the ganache by boiling the cream and pouring it over both the chocolates. Stir until smooth and glossy. Let it cool.
7. Once the cake is done, frost it with the ganache and refrigerate until you're ready to serve. 


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dessert | Lemon Panna Cotta with Vegan Lemon Curd




Hola good people! I want to tell you a story. It's the story of how my love for all things lemon began. And well how it evolved.

I must have been all of 6 when my mother would lug me to buy a bunch of things from Bengali Market. I could get to pick one thing that I wanted to eat, two if I had skipped lunch, which meant one sweet one savoury. Or if I nothing else, then eat at Nathu's Sweet Shop and then come back to the Pastry Shop to buy some bread and well, dessert.

Most often than not, I'd end up with a French heart. I loved the crystallised sugar on top and the sweet savoury crunchy puff below. But that was only because I couldn't get myself to buy what I wanted - that pretty lemon yellow tart with fruit on top and what seemed like a soggy bottom.

A year later, or more perhaps, I mustered enough courage to order that dang lemon tart. I sat in the car, as good children must, before I could open my box and bit into the tart. I hated it. It was too sour, too synthetic and way too weird for a 7-year-old to appreciate.





But I plodded on, after all, I'd given up eating that French tart for this terrible dessert, but it was dessert none the less.

For years after (read 15) I never touched a lemon tart. In fact I'd never even come near a cake if it said lemon and god forbid if a lemon dessert crossed my path, I'd be up in arms.

But something happened when in 2003. I was visiting Delhi for a bit, and I met up with some friends at Big Chill in East of Kailash market.  One of them was drinking a thick white smoothie, puckering her face each time she'd taken a sip. I was curious, I needed to try it and called for a straw. That one sip changed everything.

Turned out it was a Lemon Smoothie. Here was a drink that was sweet, sour, puckering, refreshing and just delicious all rolled into one. I ordered for the same, and then another and then another. I don't think I've ever drank anything else at Big Chill ever since, but trust me, that's what got me hooked to lemons.

Since then, I've made lemon cakes, lemon pies, lemon curds, lemon creams but nothing has come close to that first burst of flavour from Big Chill's Lemon Smoothie. Until now, that is.



This Lemon Panna Cotta is a dessert replication of that smoothie. It happened to me by accident. But now it's here to stay. I've used gelatin in my dessert, but feel free to replace with agar agar to have that 100 percent vegetarianness that some of you good people appreciate.

I paired it with my Vegan Lemon Curd (which is perhaps the best lemon curd there is ever) and it worked beautifully for me.  I'd served this at a pop up I'd recently hosted and was left with all of 3 glasses which, by the next morning , had also disappeared (I suspect the husband, but that's a story for later).

Smooth, silky and pucker-worthy, this Lemon Panna Cotta is the love. You could pair it with some berries or even some chocolate to create a fabulous new dessert. Try it to believe it.



Lemon Panna Cotta 
Serves 6

Ingredients
250 ml cream
100 ml coconut milk
5 tblsp sugar
zest of two lemons
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp gelatin
4 tsp water


Method
1. In a saucepan mix together the cream, coconut milk, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Bring it together to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the flavours infuse for atleast 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile soak the gelatin in water. Let it bloom. Heat the cup gently and then add the gelatin to the cooled cream mix.
3. Mix in the lemon juice and salt. You mix the juice in at this point because you don't want the cream to curdle.
4. Strain and pour into glasses. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Top with Vegan Lemon Curd before serving.




Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Condiment | Eggless & Vegan Lemon Curd




I love lemon curd. I love the tartness. I love the fragrance. I especially love the fatal punch it can give any dessert. But what I don't love is its eggy-ness.

I mean, suppose your eggs are old and you decide to make lemon curd, then you're just done for. While the citrus can mask all the smells, it's the after taste that is difficult to overturn. Just imagine, you want to eat that yummy lemon tart but the taste that's left in your mouth is nothing but "anda". The thought is making me go ewwww.

Now imagine if your eggs aren't cooked through while you're making the curd. Then you're left with that intense raw egg smell that could possibly remind you of an old sock or even worse a wet one. Point is, it can be pretty darn gross.


Which is why an eggless lemon curd is the need of the hour. It is that one recipe that can change the way you look at a lemon tart. It is that one recipe that you have been looking for all your life. I honestly discovered it when I was looking for a vegan recipe and found it here and then it was as if I couldn't stop dreaming about it.



The first time I made this lemon curd, I felt it had a slightly bitter after taste, so I decided to tweak it a bit and figure out the best way to get that wholesome and refreshing lemon punch. I used 5 basic ingredients - coconut cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, salt and corn flour and some water. The end result was delectable.

I tried to make this with whole milk, but I didn't particularly care for it. The coconut cream however is inspired. The coconut takes on lemon flavours beautifully and you can't even tell what the base it unless well, someone tells you the same. The coconut cream also thickens like a dream, which makes it the perfect base of the lemon curd, which in turn also makes it vegan, so you can just about imagine the win-win here.

I did use a drop of yellow colour because I felt that otherwise it was looking way too pale. Just a drop of the Wilton yellow gel did the trick for me.

I used this lemon curd as a topping for my lemon pannacotta, which I will share in the next post. But till then, try this lemon curd to know how awesome it is.




Eggless and Vegan Lemon Curd
Adapted from the Minimalist Baker

Serves 10

Ingredients
1 can coconut cream
zest of 4 lemons
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
4 tsp corn flour
a pinch of salt
1 drop of yellow colour

Method
1. In a saucepan add all the coconut cream, sugar, salt and lemon zest together. Stir and let the sugar dissolve completely.
2. In a bowl mix together the water and the corn flour with 1/4 cup of the lemon juice. Mix well.
3. Add this into the saucepan and keep stirring, making sure you do NOT bring it to a boil.
4. The mixture will take about 10 minutes to thicken keep stirring.
5. Once thick, turn off the heat and add the remaining lemon juice as well as the yellow colour. Pour into a jar and let it cool.
6. Let it sit overnight and then use.



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Baking | Mediterranean Yogurt, Raisin and Sumac Roast Chicken




So I wrote an interesting piece for the Delhi Secret Supper Club a couple of weeks ago. It was all about ordering off a meat delivery service called LionFresh and you can read all about that here

Because I ordered a few different kinds of meat, I decided to go crazy with the kinds of ingredients I was using, only because well, I could. I did the pork with coca cola, the mutton in a Pakistani style stew but it was the chicken that really had me looking forward. This was because, I'd been truly looking forward to eating a succulent roast that was a breeze to make. Also you could see this was a chicken that hadn't been pumped with hormones, which I have to say, is such a blessing these days.



This chicken is all that and more. The marination barely takes any time to put together. And the next morning, preferably over a weekend, you let it bake for 2 odd hours until its juicy and perfect. The thing to remember though is to let it rest for atleast an hour before you actually attack it. Serve with some roasted veggies and some fresh bread and you will be in heaven. 

I used a lot of things that were just lying in my pantry, so feel free to experiment and pick out the spices the spices that work for you, but I can assure you that garlic and lemon are the just classic and amazing.

So without more ado, here's a recipe for my favourite roast chicken



Mediterranean Yogurt, Raisin and Sumac Roast Chicken
Serves 3

Ingredients
For the Marinade
1 cup of yogurt
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 pinch of saffron
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sumac

For the stuffing
1 preserved lemon
1 regular lemon
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion sliced
50 grams raisins

For the vegetables
1 potato, thickly sliced
1 onion, thickly sliced
2 tsp raisins
1 preserved lemon chopped.

Final basting
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp sumac

Method
1. Mix all the things for the marination into a bowl and then marinate the chicken, breast-side down overnight.
2. Arrange the onions and potatoes into an oven proof dish. Add in the raisins and the chopped preserved lemons. Pour 1/2 cup of marinade over it and set aside.
3. Stuff the chicken with the said ingredients and truss and tie the chicken 
4. Place it on top of the vegetables. Mix all the things together for the final basting and rub the chicken with it.

5. Bake in a preheated oven for 2 hours, covering the top of the bird for the first one hour. Let it rest for 30 minutes before eating.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Baking | Skillet Brownie with Chocolate Chips




What is a point of a skillet brownie you are bound to ask? How different is it from a regular brownie will be your next question? Do you need a skillet to bake them only, is a question weighing your mind down?

Don't worry this post will answer all that and more.

I'll be honest here, I have been wanting to make a skillet brownie ever since Sangeeta gave me this cast iron skillet a few years ago. But somehow I just forgot all about it, until I was rummaging through my prop cabinet and I found it sitting right at the bottom.



A skillet brownie is a dessert you make when you want to impress someone. It's a one pot brownie that needs no cutting but instead is served up like a pudding. With a scoop of ice cream on top there is nothing better than a warm decadent piece of chocolate brownie. Slightly more fudgey than a normal brownie, this requires a bit of chocolate and cocoa to give it that texture. Lesser flour and more chocolate.

Ofcourse you are free to throw in whatever you'd like into it -peanut butter, marshmallows, walnuts, cherries, cream cheese - this recipe is just so versatile that it will take just about anything. I, ofcourse, wanted it to be as full of chocolate as I could, and so used only chocolate chips.

I think, I'd like to take a moment and celebrate the glorious moment where cast iron meets chocolate and yes, while you can bake this in any other mould, the skillet just bakes it to fudgey gloriousness that is hard to beat.




Skillet Brownie with Chocolate Chips
Serves 3


Ingredients
100 grams of butter
200 grams of dark chocolate
1 egg
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coffee granules (such as Nescafe)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Method
1. Grease your skillet and keep aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degree centigrade.
2. In a large bowl melt the chocolate and the butter together in the microwave. Stir well and keep aside.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients, apart from the chocolate chips, into the chocolate mix and stir until well combined. Using a whisk, stir the mix for 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Now add three quarters of the chips into this mix. Stir well. And pour into the skillet. Top with remaining chips.
5. Bake this for 20-25 minutes only. The skewer should come out slightly damp. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Serve with ice cream of your choice.



Monday, August 8, 2016

Baking | Eggless Lemon & Blueberry Mini Cheesecakes



I spent a good part of July just sorting my life out. From running to doctors for health check ups to eating more fruits and vegetables and to meeting interesting people that just made me want to do more things.

The reason I say this is because for a good part of the year I have felt nothing but uninspired. I haven't wanted to cook or create something new. Or pick up the camera to shoot or to even browse through recipe books that would motivate me to make things right now. But now, now I am feeling way better. Or atleast I am not exhausted when I get out of bed anymore.


So a hectic July later, I thought I deserved a bit of a break in August. This weekend I treated myself to a whole day of me-time. I went for a movie alone, which I honestly feel is the best way to watch a film. I went to the spa and got that crick in my neck out. I treated myself to a delicious meal at a fancy Italian restaurant. I bought some props for the blog and finally went grocery shopping. I spent the evening in the company of my little cousin S and the dogs at home and I fell asleep to the gentle snore of the husband.



Why am I sharing this with you? Because I realise so many of us just keep trying to balance it all out without taking a break. I think balance is overrated. I think we are meant to fall apart to restart over and over again. Which is why even a 6-hour mini break is a good way to restart.

I know that when I take that time out for myself, I am in a good mood (until I am not) and I am able to cope with everything around me quite effortlessly. Which is I managed to squeeze in a bit of baking too this weekend, and by that I mean, quite effortlessly.

I made these delicious eggless lemon cheesecakes that had been whirling in my mind for a bit. I made them with a combination of yogurt, creamcheese, cream and condensed milk and they came out just perfect. I think this is a good base to start something new. I have like a million ideas that I could do with these, but I settled for the classic flavours of lemon and blueberry - only because I had a box of blueberries in the freezer.

I baked these up in a cupcake tray but you could easily bake them as a complete cheesecake too. I just find it way easier to do portion control when I make mini versions, otherwise I am quite capable of eating the whole thing up.

That said, these mini cheesecakes bake up very quickly so you need to watch them closely. You can use any topping you'd like - lemon curd, jam, compote or just leave them naked. The choice is yours.




Eggless Lemon & Blueberry Cheesecakes
Makes 15

Ingredients

For the cheesecake
100 grams Digestive biscuits
1 tblsp butter
200 grams Creamcheese
200 grams cream
200 grams yogurt
200 grams condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup blueberries

For the topping
100 grams raspberry jam
1/2 cup blueberries
Extra blueberries for scattering

Method

1. In a ziploc bag crush the biscuits using a rolling pin. Keep aside.
2. Melt the butter in the microwave and add the biscuit crumbs to it. Mix well.
3. Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners and add two teaspoons of biscuit crumb mix into each liner. Press down using the back of the spoon till well packed. Keep aside.
4. In a bowl whisk together yogurt, creamcheese, cream, condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon until smooth.
5. Pour the mix into the biscuit lined tray, until 3/4 full. Scatter the blueberries into each mix.
6. Bake at 160 degree for 20 minutes or until slightly jiggly in the center. Remove and let cool for 4 to 6 hours.
7. For the topping add the raspberry jam into saucepan with 1/2 cup of blueberries. Cook for 5 minutes, until the jam and blueberries look like they belong together.
8. Spoon over the mini cheesecakes and scatter more blueberries on top just before serving.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Baking | Pear and Almond Cake with Dark Chocolate Chunks



I keep disappearing. I know this. And honestly, I am not proud of it. But circumstances were such that I was finding it difficult to even pick up my camera. Uninspired and exhausted all the time, this was really not something I wanted to do at all.

I'll get into whats wrong later, but for now, I think I am ready to make a comeback. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I haven't been cooking - I have, it's just the styling and taking pictures - was just something I wasn't able to do.

But last week, as I shopped at my local vegetable vendor, I spotted a glut of gorgeous red pears perched on another cart close by. My heart did a quick flip and I knew I just needed to eat those buggers. I bought a few kilos from the guy, washed one in the car and chomped down on it all the way back home, juice dripping down my chin and all. They were just spectacular.



While I threw a few into a salad, used a few in my smoothie bowls and then decided to use up the rest in a cake that I had been aching to make. This Sicilian Pear and Chocolate Cake from Not Quite Nigella stole my heart when I saw it last year.

I had chocolate. I had pears. What I didn't have enough of was flour. But when I rummaged through and my pantry I found lots of almonds. So I decided to go ahead and make this cake with almonds flour and then eyeball as I went ahead.

The turned out to be moist and decadent. In fact the husband said that it was perhaps the best cake he's ever eaten. So yay!

So here's my version of the Sicilian Pear Cake with lots of almonds, lots of chocolate and lots of pears.




Pear and Almond Cake with Dark Chocolate Chunks
Adapted from this recipe by Not Quite Nigella

Ingredients

1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup almond flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tblsp corn flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 pears diced into small pieces
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
3 pears halved and cored

2 tsp icing sugar for the topping

Method

1. In a bowl mix together sugar, almond flour, all purpose flour, corn flour, salt and baking powder.
2. In a separate bowl mix together mix together the oil, vanilla, eggs and milk
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined.
4. Add in the diced pears and chocolate chunks and mix well.
5. Pour into a greased and lined baking tin and then arrange the remaining halves of pear on top.
6. Bake at 180 degree centigrade for 45 minutes to 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
7. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm with a cup of coffee.





Friday, February 12, 2016

Dessert | Tiramisu Cake




So just as I posted the recipe for Roasted Purple Carrot and Goat Cheese, my friend Sangeeta had just posted her recipe for the Black Carrot Soup with Feta on her blog as well. What a wonderful coincidence.

You see, we've had a glut of purple carrots this year. I mean I've never seen them last this long ever. Strange, but so good no? Therefore how can one resist not making something seasonal and delicious with them?

I roasted these bad boys a lot this winter and then topped the with thyme and goat cheese and ate them as is. Then I made a purple carrot cake, which I'll post later.

Meanwhile the big V-day is making its way towards us and as much as I love strawberries, I've been dying to eat something non-chocolate and non-fruity for a while. The toss up was between caramel and coffee and coffee won hands down, when I saw a cake Chandrima Sarkar had posted.


I used Deeba's foolproof sponge cake recipe - 3 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar. 1/2 cup flour - and made a nice dry sponge and finally used plenty of mascarpone to make a filling and topped it with some coffee whipped cream.

To be honest, this was a simple cake to make on a busy day, since I was able to bake, cool and fill in less than an hour and and a half and let it chill till the night, when we decided to cut and eat.

Oh this cake was delicious, and it totally made my day! I loved the tang from the mascarpone and the booziness from the Kahlua and rum. I loved how nicely the cake soaked up the juices and I love the how beautifully the coffee cream just brought it all together.

This is a must make cake, its stunning, easy and super delicious.



Tiramisu Cake
Serves 8

Ingredients

For the cake
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 flour

For the mascarpone filling
100 grams mascarpone
50 grams cream
1 tsp instant coffee
1//3 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

For the soaking syrup
1/3 cup freshly pressed coffee
1/3 cup rum
1/4 cup Kahlua (optional) or 3 tblsp sugar

For the coffee cream
200 ml whipping cream
1/3 cup icing sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tblsp freshly pressed coffee

Method

1. Start with the cake. Preheat the oven at 180 degree centigrade. Line a 5 inch tin with butter paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff keep aside.
3. In another bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and frothy and nearly tripled in size. Fold in the flour.
4. Gently fold in the egg whites. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes or until done. Keep aside till cool.
5. Prepare the syrup by mixing together the coffee, rum and Kahlua or sugar.
6. To make mascarpone filling, whisk together all the ingredients until smooth. Keep aside
7. Make the coffee cream by whipping cream until stiff and add the coffee, icing sugar and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
8. To assemble the cake: Cut the cake in half horizontally. Brush one half of the cake with half the syrup. Top with all the mascarpone filling. Top with the other half. Brush with remaining syrup. Now, ice the cake with the coffee cream, covering it completely. Refrigerate for 4 hours until set.



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Savoury Baking | Roasted Purple Carrots and Goat Cheese Souffle



Having spent my college years in Chennai, meant that I was more or less the designate cook for dinner at home. I mean, ofcourse we had help and my grandmother would make the menu, I would be the one who would finally cook.

Three out of the seven days we'd have staple North Indian fare, other days would be bakes such as Mac and Cheese or vegetable gratin or a simple soup, cutlet and toast. And when I'd feel fancy I'd whip up a cake, or some mangoes and cream or a trifle pudding. 

And then ofcourse there were Sundays. Sundays were when we made whatever we felt like. Homemade pizza from scratch, hand rolled pasta, momos, quiches and salads, just whatever we had craved all week long in our heads. Cheese souffle was another thing that I'd often experiment with. Souffles were my nemesis. They'd fall too often, be dense too often or just often be undercooked. It wasn't until I realised I had to love them eggs to begin with, did I ever manage to make a mean souffle. 



Ever since that, I've been experimenting with flavours for a good souffle. Blue cheese is my personal favourite with a side of arugula salad with balsamic drizzle. I've made a corn and jalapeno souffle which I love and a double baked goat cheese souffle which is amazing. 

This souffle is made from seasonal purple carrots that have been roasted for a deeper and sweeter flavours. Paired with tangy goat cheese, it made a delicious meal. The first time I made this souffle I realised it needed a lot of secondary spices to seduce the flavours of the cheese and the carrots.

My second attempt at the souffle was way better. I'd upped the goat cheese, added a bit of lemon and finally added more cheese and thyme. The result was a filling savoury souffle that was just perfect for dinner for two. 

And while purple carrots are seasonal, (and chockful of anti-oxidants and Vitamin A) these can easily be made with regular carrots as well.




Roasted Purple Carrots and Goat Cheese Souffle
Serves 6

Ingredients
4 large Purple carrots
Olive oil
Salt 
Pepper
1/2 cup Goat's cheese
1/2 cup Cream cheese
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
1/4 tsp paprika
juice for half a lemon
1 tsp corn flour
Butter for the ramekins

Method

1. First peel and cut the carrots. Drizzle olive oil over it with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes at 200 degree centigrade. Keep aside. 
2. Once the carrots are cool, puree and keep aside.
3. In a large bowl mix together the goat cheese, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, egg yolks, milk, thyme, paprika, mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice and corn flour. Whisk until smooth. Add in the carrot puree.
4. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
5. Fold the egg whites into the carrot mix. 
6. Pour into buttered ramekins and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degree cenitgrade. 
7. Serve hot with a salad or some bread.


Restaurant Review | Pluck at Pullman Aerocity



I'm going to say this outright. This was perhaps the best meal I've had in a long long time. Heck, it's certainly the best meal I've had so far in 2016.

It was so good, that I've already gone back twice. Once for a complete meal and another time just for that deadly Parmesan and burnt garlic soup. Which by the way is the love. 

Situated at Pullman Aerocity, close to the International Airport, Pluck is a sort of farm to table restaurant in the city. Why farm to table? Because most of the greens and veggies are all grown in the vicinity and then used in their salads, dressings and sides. Pretty cool huh?



Our meal started with a beautifully plated amuse bouche. A little arancini with bread dust. Simple, stunning and just delicious. A few fresh salad leaves arranged in a vase along with the day's dressing - I had the sundried tomato dressing - made its way to the table. Very nice. As were the flavoured butters and home-made breads.

Then came the best part ever - the soup. This gorgeous molten preparation was like eaten a river of Parmesan. Velvety smooth and so fantastic, this is the stuff that dreams are made of. I could have eaten bowl fulls of this soup. At least three before I had my fill. Plus after I saw this one particular episode of Chef's Table, I couldn't stop dreaming of this soup.



The Pluck special Caesar Salad was also very nice. Fresh and crisp leaves, with thin slices of croutons and parmesan, what set it apart were the pieces of candied orange and a beautiful raspberry vinaigrette. I loved the textures at play and was very happy with my choice.

For my mains, I opted to eat the black cod, whilst my companions tried the broccoli and quinoa cake and the sous vide chicken with home fries. Every single one of this dish was so beautifully presented. They looked like works of art and it took quite a bit of cajoling to eat it.



My cod had a lovely crispy skin and was served with the smoothest mash in the world! That and puy lentils just made the entire meal complete. The broccoli cake too was a winner all the way. The quinoa just lifted the dish completely and the lemon butter it was served with, was absolutely stellar.

Finally, it was time for dessert - we tried two the first time - Yuzu and white chocolate flan and the double chocolate mouse. Again, absolutely stunning looking and my favourite was the yuzu and white chocolate flan.



But here's what happened the second time I went - I'd ordered the Gulab jamun creme brulee and the pear and toffee as well as the other two and was underwhelmed by all three other than the flan. Just some place the flavours are amiss and I was a little saddened by that. Even then, it's a brand new restaurant and it's only going to get better from here.

But all in all, what. a. meal. I still can't stop talking about it.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Baking | 3 Ingredient Nutella Loaf Cake



It's World Nutella Day today which means this is a day dedicated to me. Ok I kid. This should technically be my most favourite day ever, if and only if I had a huge repertoire of friends who bought me Nutella by the kilo.

The other day I wrote ten points why I love Nutella so much. If you haven't read that already, you must read it here. The truth is, I haven't found an ingredient as versatile as this.

I am always trying to look for super simple recipes to make with Nutella. I have made quite a few cakes with Nutella such as this one. But what I've seen what work the best are my 2 or 3 ingredient Nutella recipes that are basically hassle free. Take this Flourless Nutella Cake for example - just two ingredients and it poufs up to become a beautiful cake. Like magic almost.



Then there's the Banana Nutella Ice Cream. Again a two ingredient recipe. But so quick that it's almost unbelievable. Oh and how I can I forget my Nutella Brownie Bites. Oh. My. God. If there's a recipe I have loved more than anything, it's been this one.

So for World Nutella Day, I decided to figure out something super simple too. And something I could whip up in a jiffy. This cake is exactly that. Eggs, Flour, Nutella and a pinch of salt that well, optional. Pop it in the oven and the next thing you know the cake is done. Drizzle some Nutella and serve!



Nutella Loaf Cake
Makes 1 large cake or 4 small loaves


Ingredients
250 grams Nutella
150 grams flour
4 eggs
a pinch of salt

Method

1. In bowl, whisk the the eggs until they are foamy and almost double in size.
2. Mix in the Nutella, the eggs will air out a bit, put don't worry
3. Sift in the flour with the salt and then using a spatula cut and fold into the batter until mixed.
4. Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.
5. Drizzle more Nutella and serve.


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