Author Archive

Healthy Gluten & Dairy Free Pecan Brownies

Who doesn’t love to eat sweets without feeling guilty? Well, I love to when I don’t have to think about calories so I often look for healthy recipes and of course, it has to taste delicious! Seeing my passion for cooking, my husband has started gifting me cook books and I absolutely love these gifts. One of the first books he gifted me was Rachel Allen’s “Cake” and it has everything you would ever need to make and bake stuff. I must have made dozens of desserts from that book and one of the favorites amongst friends & family are “Pecan Brownies”. This is one of the most delicious brownies and the best part is, that it is super healthy! I have tried it with walnuts as well, so you can try adding any nuts to add crunch to the brownies 🙂

Pecan Brownies

Pecan Brownies

Ingredients:

  • Dark Chocolate – 125 grams
  • Soft Dark Brown Sugar – 225 grams
  • Sunflower Oil – 125 ml (plus extra for greasing)
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Eggs – 2, at room temperature
  • Ground Almonds – 75 grams
  • Rice Flour – 25 grams
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Baking Powder or gluten-free baking powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Pecans (or walnuts or any other nuts) – 75 grams chopped plus 12 whole (shelled) pecans to decorate

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease a cake tin with sunflower oil and line it with a baking paper and keep aside.
  2. To melt the chocolate you can EITHER use the double boiler approach where you place chocolate drops or broken chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Leave just until melted, stirring occasionally. OR you can also use a microwave-safe bowl on medium power setting, heat the chocolate in shorter intervals and stir between each bout of heat.
  3. Add sugar, sunflower oil, vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time into the cooled melted chocolate. Whisk together well.
  4. Gently fold in the ground almonds, rice flour, salt, baking powder and chopped pecans.
  5. Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife or a skewer inserted through the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before cutting it.

Enjoy these brownies without feeling guilty 😉


Fluffy American Pancakes

I love breakfast, well who doesn’t? 😛 I for the one, can’t start my day without having a hearty breakfast. I am not fond of cereals or oats. I really like something heavy. I generally have typical Indian breakfast but when I discovered Pancakes, I knew they were going to be one of my staples for breakfast. And they are so easy to make and taste delicious with any choice of fruits that you would be amazed.

I usually have pancakes with either fresh strawberries, blueberries, caramelised apples/bananas or just maple syrup or honey. They taste great with anything 🙂

It’s a Gordon Ramsay Recipe. I tried many but this is the one I like the most 🙂

Fluffy American Pancakes

Fluffy American Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • Plain Flour – 160 grams
  • Caster Sugar/Honey – 2 tablespoons (optional, if you want to make them a bit sweet)
  • Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon (optional)
  • Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Buttermilk – 120 ml
  • Water – 75 ml
  • Eggs at room temperature – 3
  • Oil/butter for frying pancakes – 2 tablespoons

Caramelised apple or bananas:

  • Sugar – 50 grams
  • Green Apple, peeled and diced – 1 medium
  • Banana, sliced lengthwise – 2 medium
  • Butter – 2 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon – ½ teaspoon
  • Salt – a pinch

Steps:

  1. For Pancakes: Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon (optional) into a bowl. Add honey/sugar if you are opting for a sweet pancake.
  2. Lightly whisk the eggs and add it in the dry mixture.
  3. Mix together the buttermilk & water and add half of it to the egg + flour mixture. Once mixed well, add the remaining buttermilk mixture and mix well so there are no lumps and the batter is smooth.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter or little oil. When it is hot, add a ladle of batter (or two if the frying pan is big enough to cook two).
  5. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both the sides are golden brown.
  6. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
  7. For caramelized apples/bananas: Heat the sugar on a medium heat until it is melted. Take it off the heat and add the butter and diced apples or bananas. Stir to coat.
  8. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the apples are tender. For bananas, just cook for a minute or two. Stir occasionally so the caramel doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Top the pancakes with the caramelized apples or bananas and serve 🙂

You can also top them up with fresh strawberries, blueberries along-with some whipped cream. Or you can also serve these with mayple syrup (my favorite) or honey 🙂


Coconut Loaf – Simple, Delicious & Healthy :)

We all have some favorite ingredients which we try to use quite often in our cooking. One of my favorite ingredients is coconut. I love coconut. And I try to use it in many of the desserts I make. I must have made a handful of cakes which have coconut in it. But this time, I wanted to bake something which is fairly healthy (so no guilt factor while hogging :D) and made with minimum ingredients. I came across this recipe and I knew that it would taste great and I was right!

Coconut Loaf

Coconut Loaf

Ingredients:

  • Desiccated Coconut – 3 cups
  • Eggs – 4 (large) or 6 (small to medium)
  • Vanilla Extract – 3 teaspoons
  • Orange/pineapple Extract – 2 teaspoons
  • Natural Honey – 4 tablespoons (more to make it sweet)
  • Mixed dried fruits – 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Bicarbonate of Soda – 2 teaspoons

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C. Line a loaf tin with a baking paper and keep aside.
  2. Mix coconut, eggs, vanilla extract, orange/pineapple extract, honey and soda in a food processor or using a hand mixer. Mix well until well combined.
  3. Add the dried fruits into the batter and fold in gently.
  4. Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a knife or a skewer inserted through the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before cutting it.

You can modify this recipe as per your taste because it has so much scope for tweaking. I know I will make more modifications 😀

Have it with your evening cuppa of tea or coffee or make it for a tea party, I am sure everyone will love it 🙂

Do share your experience 🙂


Homemade Frangipane Cherry Tart

I started baking around a couple of years ago. I took it up as a challenge because I felt baking was one of my biggest culinary fears. I used to be fascinated seeing people baking all delicious desserts and I used to feel a bit inept. Another reason for not baking was me not having a sweet tooth. But my husband loves sweets and that really gave me an inspiration to try my hand at baking. I started with basic cakes and it was an absolute thrill to see myself baking them perfectly. Then I got introduced to tarts, courtesy MasterChef Australia and UK. They looked so picture perfect and delicious that I just had to try them. So, here is my first attempt at a tart and since I love almonds, I attempted making Frangipane Cherry Tart and it tasted D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. I have already made it a few times now and it was a hit every time! Everyone loved eating it 🙂

Frangipane Cherry Tart

Frangipane Cherry Tart

Ingredients

For Frangipane Tart Filling

  • Unsalted Butter, softened – 150 grams
  • Caster Sugar – 100 grams
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Large Eggs – 2 at room temperature
  • Ground Almonds – 200 grams
  • Plain Flour – 85 grams
  • Cherries, pitted – 400 grams

For Pastry:

  • Plain Flour – 160 grams
  • Icing Sugar – 40 grams
  • Ground Almonds – 25 grams
  • Butter, chilles and chopped into cubes – 125 grams
  • Egg yolk – 1

Steps for making Pastry

  1. Mix flour, icing sugar, ground almonds and chilled butter cubes in a food processor until it appears like fine breadcrumbs. It is important to use cold butter or else you won’t get a breadcrumb texture.
  2. Now add the egg yolk and mix it until dough just comes together.
  3. You can either add a little flour in the food processor and can knead until smooth or you can take it out on a lightly-floured surface and knead by your hands until smooth.
  4. Shape the kneaded dough int a flat-ish disc and wrap it with clingfilm refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (180 degrees C fan-forced). Grease a 3cm-deep, 24cm (base) round, fluted loose-based flan tin.
  6. You can also ready-made pastry (either a pastry block or a pre-rolled pastry sheet)
  7. Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking powder or on a flour-dusted work top to form a 32cm circle. Line the base and side of the prepared tin with pastry. Trim pastry. Trim excess. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Steps for baking the pastry

  1. Place tin on a baking tray. Line pastry with baking paper and fill it with ceramic baking beans/balls or uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes. This technique is called Blind-baking.
  2. Now remove weights or rice and paper. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden. Cool. Be careful with the pastry once it has been cooled. Shortcrust pastry tends to be crumbly and anything other than gentle handling is likely to damage the pastry case that we have created thus far.

Steps for Frangipane Tart Filling and baking

  1. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees C (140 degrees C fan-forced).
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  3. Add the grounds almonds. Beat until just combined. Stir in the flour and mix well.
  4. Spread mixture into the pastry case which you have just cooled. Arrange cherries over mixture.
  5. Bake the tart for 40 minutes or until golden and firm. Let it cool in the tin.
  6. Dust with icing sugar and your Frangipane Cherry Tart is ready to serve 🙂

Do share the results of your attempts 🙂


Jalapeños Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls

I am a sucker for snacks. I always look forward to evening snakcs. Since my childhood, the only time I used to wait for is evening snacks and like all mothers, my mother has spoilt me to the core. She used to make absolutely lip-smacking dishes for me in the evening and she still does that whenever I am at home with her. After marriage, it was really difficult for me to get used to the fact that I will have to cook my own evening snacks now onwards. Anyway, with time, I have gotten used to it and I have also learned to experiment and prepare new dishes. Of course, nothing beats mom’s food but it is just for me to keep my hunger in cotrol 😀

So, you will see many snack posts in the future. This post is about one of my favorite chili pepper, Jalapeño. This is an absolutely delicious, pop-in-your-mouth kind of appetizer/snack which goes brilliantly with an ice cold beer or margaritas 🙂 And one more thing, it is super easy and quick to make.

Jalapeños Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls_Watermarked

Serves approx 10-12

Ingredients:

  • Puff Pastry, ready made – 1 roll (you can also make it at home)
  • Cream Cheese – 225 grams
  • Green jalapenos, chopped (preferably bottled) – 1 tablespoon
  • Red jalapenos, chopped – 1 tablespoon (you can either have 1tbsp each of green and red jalapenos or 2 tblsp of the same color)
  • Sugar – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Italian herbs (optional) – 1/2 teaspoon

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 374 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Mix chopped jalapenos (green and red), sugar and italian herbs (optinal) with the cream cheese in a bowl. Take fork and mash it well until everything is well blended and becomes a mixture.
  3. Roll out the puff pastry thinly.
  4. Place the jalapenos and cream mixtre in the middle of rolled out pastry and spread it evenly. Please note that the mixture should not touch the edges of the pastry.
  5. Once all the mixture is spread evenly, start rolling the pastry in the shape of a flute.
  6. Once rolled into a flute, cut small pieces of the flute so you get pinwheel shapes and place them in a dish.
  7. Bake these pinwheels for 12-13 mintues until they are golden brown and puffed up.
  8. And you have a perfect appetizer/snack for you 🙂

Just to make you aware that it will have a tangy taste because of the jalapenos so don’t worry if it tastes a bit tangy 🙂

Hope you enjoy it with the ice cold margarita as I did 🙂

Your suggestions are welcome 🙂


Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – One step towards a healthy snack :)

I think I must’ve mentioned several times on previous blog posts that I do not have much of a sweet tooth. In fact, back in India, I used to very rarely eat anything sweet. And it did not help that most of Indian desserts or sweets are cloyingly sweet. Subtlety isn’t a strong point of traditional Indian “mithais”. However, after coming to the UK, I discovered that a sweet dish does not necessarily have to rely on sweetness to score on the flavor front. And one of the first items to convince me of this was the cookie. Cookies could be crunchy, crumbly, chewy, sweet, bitter, gingery, buttery… so many possibilities. I kinda fell in love with cookies. 🙂

Having already posted a cookie recipe before, I decided to go healthy this time and do the very popular peanut butter oatmeal cookies. These are butter-free, gluten-free and have all the goodness of oats with a little bit of naughtiness in the form of dark chocolate chips 😉

I have picked this recipe from a blogger named Monique.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes ~15-18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • Creamy or chunky peanut butter – 1 cup
  • Dark brown sugar – 2/3 cup
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Large eggs – 2
  • Rolled oats – 2/3 cup
  • Baking Soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Chocolate chips – 2/3 cup

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (170 degrees C)
  2. Mix oats and baking soda in a bowl and keep aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract and eggs with an electric whisk for 3 mintues until well blended.
  4. Add the oats mixture into the peanut butter batter. Mix well.
  5. Add the chocolate chips to the batter and fold in gently.
  6. Please note that the mixture will be sticky in nature. Take two teaspoons and scoop small balls of cookies onto a flat baking dish (on a baking paper).
  7. Flatten the top and make sure to keep a little distance while place the cookie balls.
  8. Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes and remove when the edges begin to turn brown.
  9. The cookies may look a little underdone but they will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking dish and then tranfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Have it with a glass of milk and you are good to go for sometime 🙂

Would be happy to hear from you 🙂


Limoncello Trifle – Little bit of Italy & a little bit of England :)

I had always dreamt of visiting Italy since I was a little kid. I did not know anything about Italy at that time but the country fascinated me and the thought of going there for a vacation seemed like fun. I finally got a chance to visit Italy in Dec 2011 and it was one of the most cherished vacations ever! 6 days passed in a flash. There are so many beautiful memories I have; food, places, people, nature, architecture, scenic beauty… Needless to say, the food I ate there was the most authentic Italian cuisine that I have ever tasted. When I returned, I just had to try to recreate the Italian taste. There was a bottle of Limoncello that I had bought from my trip. Since I knew that Limoncello was a uniquely Italian Liqueur, I decided to incorporate it in a dessert. Luckily, I came across Jamie’s recipes about a trifle which had limoncello and bingo! So, here is a fusion of Italy and England for you 🙂

Limoncello Trifle

Limoncello Trifle

Ingredients:

  • Oranges – 3
  • Limoncello -75 ml
  • Sponge Fingers – 100 grams
  • Mascarpone – 250 grams
  • Icing Sugar – 2 tablespoons + extra for dusting
  • Semi-skimmed Milk – 100 ml
  • Lemon – 1
  • Pure Vanilla Extract/paste – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh Raspberries – 250 grams
  • 1 bar of good quality dark chocolate (100% cocoa) for grating

Steps:

  1. Take a dish (preferably flat) and squeeze the juice of 3 oranges. Add the Limoncello and mix well.
  2. Mix mascarpone, milk, vanilla extract and icing sugar in a separate bowl. Grate the zest of a lemon and squeeze half of its juice. Mix well with a spatula or an electric whisk. Please do not over whisk to avoid any chance of splitting the mascarpone cheese.
  3. Dip the sponge fingers in the orange + limoncello mixture, a couple of seconds on each side and start layering your bowl with them.
  4. Once one layer is completed, cover it with the mascarpone batter. Grate some dark chocolate over this layer along with some raspberries.
  5. Repeat a layer of sponge fingers dipped in orange + limoncello. And cover the sponge fingers with the remaining mascarpone batter.
  6. Grate the remaining dark chocolate on the top along with the remaining raspberries and keep it in the fridge overnight to set.
  7. Just before serving, sprinkle the icing sugar and serve.

This is a perfect summer dessert which makes my heart happy and joyous 🙂 🙂

Hope you and your guests love this dessert.

Do share your experience 🙂


Homemade Spinach & Pepperjack Cheese stuffed Chicken breasts wrapped in Parma Ham

I have been an eggetarian almost all my life. But while doing post-graduation, one of my closest friends introduced (read forced ;)) me to try chicken. The first dish that I tried was Chilli Chicken and it still is my favorite. After that, for a very long time, I only used to eat very few chicken dishes, all of them made with boneless chicken. It was only when I got married that I started eating chicken in all forms. As I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts, my husband is an amazing cook and one of his specialties is cooking chicken. Still, I was not very comfortable in trying out any chicken dishes which were not Indian (spicy) but my brother slowly introduced me to milder, subtle flavored chicken and I must say I have come to love them too! So, here is one such recipe made with chicken breasts, which is very simple to make and super delicious 🙂

Preparation of Breasts

Preparation of Breasts

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Spinach Leaves – 150 grams
  • Sour Cream – 1/4 cup
  • Shredded Pepperjack Cheese – 1/4 cup  (you can also use Monterey Jack Cheese)
  • Garlic, minced – 4 cloves
  • Red Chillies – 2 (deseeded if don’t want to make it hot)
  • Skinless, boneless Chicken Breast Halves – 2
  • Black Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – To taste
  • Parma Ham (optional) – 6 slices

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 392 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Blanch the spinach by adding it to a boiling water followed by plunging it into chilled water. Alternatively, you can heat it in microwave for 3 minutes or until wilted.
  3. Chop the blanched/wilted spinach roughly and make sure you have drained all of its water. Transfer it into a bowl.
  4. Add sour cream, garlic, chillies and pepperjack cheese. Mix well until it has formed a smooth texture.
  5. Lay the chicken breasts out on a clean surface, and make a slit down the side of each of the breasts to either form a pocket or to open a flap like I did (see figure 1 from the image above).
  6. Spoon some of the spinach mixture inside each pocket or on the thicker side and close the flap. Refer to image 1.
  7. Now, wrap the breasts with parma ham slices and secure the assembly with toothpicks. Wrapping with parma ham is, of course, optional so if you do not want to use the ham, simply secure the breasts with toothpicks. Arrange the prepared breasts in a shallow cooking dish, as shown in figure 2.
  8. Bake it for 25 minutes at 200 degrees C and your dish is ready.
  9. You can have it with rice or boiled veggies. I usually like my chicken with stir fried veggies and herbed couscous.
Homemade Spinach & Pepper Jack Cheese stuffed Chicken breasts wrapped in Parma Ham with sides of stir fried veggies and couscous.

Homemade Spinach & Pepper Jack Cheese stuffed Chicken breasts wrapped in Parma Ham with sides of stir fried veggies and couscous.

I would love to know your experience and would love to hear about any other inventive accompaniments to go with the chicken 🙂


Baked Vegetable or Veg Au Gratin

Indore (a city in Central India and my hometown) is a food heaven. If you are an India-based foodie, Indore is a must-visit place for you, if only for its food. It has been more than a decade that I have left Indore but I always dream of visiting my hometown, especially since I now want to take my husband who will surely love the trip. Indore has a street called Chappan Dukaan (which literally translates to 56 Shops) and all these are food shops. You name it and you will find it here. Well, the reason that I am talking about Indore, and especially Chappan Dukaan, is because this is the place where I tasted the heavenly Baked Veggies (later on I got to know that it is also called Veg au Gratin). I vividly remember that my Dad’s office was near this place and I often used to ask him to get this dish as a take away only for me.

I tried Veg au Gratin in many other places after leaving Indore but nothing matched the taste. So I thought that why don’t I give it a try. The recipe is largely from my memory of the dish I used to love in Indore. For white sauce, I have adapted Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe that you can find here.

Baked Veggies

Baked Veggies

Ingredients for the White Sauce

  • Onion, small or medium sized – 1
  • Cloves – 4
  • Bay Leaves – 2 or 3 (depending on the size of onion and the size of bay leaves)
  • Milk – 2 1/2 cups
  • Butter – 2 tablespoons
  • Fine Flour – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and White Pepper – To taste

Ingredients for the baked vegetables

  • Chopped french beans – 1 cup
  • Chopped carrots – 1/2 cup
  • Green peas – 1/2 cup
  • Fresh Pineapple – 1 cup
  • Chopped cauliflower – 1/2 cup
  • Baby corn (optional) – 1 cup
  • Salt – To taste
  • Sugar – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Grated cheddar cheese – To cover the dish
  • Baking Tray

Steps for making White Sauce:

  1. Peel the onion and wrap it with bay leaves using cloves to pin the leaves onto the onion. This is called Onion Cloute.
  2. Heat the milk in a pan and add the prepared Onion Cloute to it.
  3. Bring it to a boil then turn off the heat. Drain the milk in a bowl and keep aside to cool.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  5. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the prepared milk to get a smooth sauce.
  7. Simmer gently till it starts to thicken and season with salt and white pepper.

Steps for making Baked Veggies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Cook the veggies (except pineapple) half-way through in water with salt and sugar on a high heat or in the microwave. Drain the vegetables and allow it to cool for sometime.
  3. Add the pineapples in the drained vegetable and put all the vegetables in a baking dish.
  4. Pour the white sauce over it. Make sure that the vegetables are totally immersed in white sauce.
  5. Bake it for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Take it out and cover it with the grated cheese and bake until the cheese melts and serve hot 🙂

In terms of veggies, you can add/remove as per your taste. But, do keep the pineapple as it adds a lot of flavor 🙂

I hope you enjoyed making and eating my version of Baked Veggies 🙂

I would love to know your experience 🙂


Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Loaf

Love at first sight! This happened with me when I first saw photos of Marble Cake while browsing online. Until then I had not tasted this cake. I loved how beautiful the cake looked, especially the swirls, so I decided that I had to give it an attempt. I can’t say that my attempt was entirely successful as far as the swirls are concerned but did it taste good! I will definitely try my hand at this cake again until I get the swirls I desire 😀 I will update this post with the photos of perfect swirls and the technique that I used to achieve them. This recipe is adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe with some minor tweaks in it.

Marble Cake_Watermarked

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • Self-raising flour – 275 grams
  • Golden Caster Sugar – 225 grams
  • Unsalted Butter, softened – 225 grams
  • Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Large eggs at room temperature – 4
  • Milk – 2 tablespoons
  • Vanilla Extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Zest of 1/2 Orange or 1 lemon
  • 100% natural cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons
  • Hot/boiling water – 2 tablespoons

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Butter and line a 900 grams (2lb) loaf tin. You can use any sort of tin available to you.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Keep it aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  4. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Fold in the sifted flour along with the milk. Mix well to ensure that there are no lumps.
  6. Once the batter has been mixed well, remove about 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl.
  7. Now, add orange zest and vanilla extract to the bigger (2/3rd) portion of the batter.
  8. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and boiling water together until smooth with no lumps.
  9. Allow to cool slightly then add to the 1/3 portion of the batter that was separated out earlier. Mix well.
  10. Spoon the vanilla and chocolate batter randomly into the prepared tin until all of the mixture is used up. Gently level the surface. You can also refer to this link which will help you out in making the swirls 🙂
  11. Bake it for 50 minutes to an hour, until the cake is well risen and a knife or a skewer inserted through the center of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before cutting it.

I hope you are happy with the outcome. This is such a beautiful and delicious cake that you can bake it on any special occasion 🙂

Do share your experience 🙂


Canapé Salad – Tomato Mozzarella Basil Salad

Sometimes simplicity can be beautiful… and delicious. A great example of this is “Insalata Pomodori e Mozzarella Bascilico or in other words, Tomato Mozzarella Basil Salad” :D. All it takes are four main ingredients and a little bit of seasoning to come up with a vibrant, dainty-looking starter, that is delicious and refreshes the palate. For me, tomato, mozzarella and basil are a match made in heaven. Needless to say, this is one of my favorite salads 🙂

Tomato Mozzarella Basil Salad

Tomato Mozzarella Basil Salad

Serves 4 people

Ingredients:

  • Cherry Tomatoes, preferably on the vine – 20 (or more if you have a big gathering)
  • Fresh Basil Leaves – 20 (a bunch or 1 packet)
  • Italian Mozzarella  – 200 grams or 20 Bocconcini Balls (more if you have a big gathering)
  • Cocktail Sticks – 20

For the dressing:

  • Oregano – 1 teaspoon
  • Italian Herbs – 1 teaspoon
  • Black pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Lemon Juice – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – To taste
  • Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

Steps:

  1. Cut the tomatoes and olives in half and add them to a mixing bowl.
  2. Cut mozzarella into cubes or use individiual bocconcini balls. As a rough guide for the size of the cubes, ensure that the cubes are roughly the same size as the halved tomatoes. Add the cubed mozzarella to the mixing bowl with tomatoes and olives.
  3. Roughly tear the basil leaves with your hands and add them to the mixing bowl.
  4. Add oregano, italian herbs, black pepper, salt, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil into a small bowl and mix well.
  5. Add this dressing to the mixing bowl and lightly toss either with the hands or two large spoons.
  6. You can either serve the salad as is or thread the dressed tomatoes, mozzarella, olives and basil leaves onto the cocktail sticks alternating each of these ingredients. For a visual cue, you can refer to the photo on the post.

Voila! See, I don’t always post complicated recipes 😉

The best way to enjoy this salad is freshly made, just before eating. This is because, leaving the mozzarella and other ingredients after dressing them will lead to a soggy salad.

I hope you and your guests enjoy this refreshing little salad 🙂

As always, your feedback is welcome 🙂


Happy Hour at Tea time – Rum ‘n Raisin Cake

The inspiration for this flavor came from one of my favorite chocolate flavors, Rum ‘n Raisin. This is *the* only flavored chocolate that I can eat without getting bored 😀 So, I decided to bake a cake with this flavor thinking I would love it in a cake as well and I was not disappointed at all. In fact, I loved it so much, that I tried a different version of this cake and now both are my favorites 🙂 One is a plain Rum ‘n Raisin flavored sponge and the other is a Chocolate flavored variant of the same. Both variants follow the same basic recipe expect for an additional step for the chocolate flavored one.

Just a heads up, for best results, soak the raisins/dried fruits in the rum overnight or more. By doing this, you are infusing the flavor of rum into the raisins/dried fruits which will then hold that flavor better through the baking process.

Rum 'n Raisin

Ingredients:

  • Chopped Raisins – 1 cup (for a twist, you can add a cup of mixed dried fruits instead of just raisins)
  • Dark Rum – ¾ cup (you can change the quantity as per your taste)
  • Unsalted Butter – 225 grams
  • Self-raising flour – 280 grams (you can also use plain flour)
  • Caster Sugar – 200 grams
  • Large Eggs, at room temperature – 4
  • Baking Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 ½ teaspoons
  • Grated Orange Zest – 1 tablespoon (you can also use orange essence/extract)
  • Milk – ¼ cup
  • Cocoa Powder (only for the chocolate variant) – ¾ cup (it always helps to use 100% natural Cocoa Powder)
  • Boiling Water (only for the chocolate variant) – 2 or 3 tablespoons

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F (165 degree C). Butter and line an 8″ round/square tin.
  2. Drain the soaked raisins/dried fruits. We will keep the rum used for soaking and the drained raisins/dried fruits separate.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Keep it aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  5. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Mix in the orange zest (essence/extract) along with the pure vanilla extract. Mix well.
  7. Fold in flour, milk and rum (from which the raisins/dried fruits were drained out earlier) in the whisked butter sugar mixture one by one until well combined. Please follow steps 8 & 9, additionally, for the chocolate variant else skip directly to step 10.
  8. Only for chocolate variant: In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and boiling water together until smooth with no lumps.
  9. Only for chocolate variant: Allow to cool slightly then add to the cake mixture until evenly blended.
  10. Fold in half of the raisins/dried fruits in the batter. Mix well.
  11. Pour half of the batter in the lined tin. Add a layer of the remaining raisins/dried fruits and top it up with the rest of the batter.
  12. Bake it for about 60 minutes until a knife or a skewer inserted through the center of the cake comes out clean.
  13. Remove from the oven and let in cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before cutting it.

Have it with a cuppa tea or coffee to add a dash of happiness to a dull day 🙂

Your feedback is always welcome 🙂

P.S. You can turn this cake non-alcholic by replacing the Rum with Apple Juice.


Orange Chantilly Cream filled Golden Profiteroles with Dark Chocolate Sauce

In the almost 3 years that I have lived in the UK, I had never tried Profiteroles until this Christmas when I was on a vacation in Cornwall with my husband and brother. These guys picked up Profiteroles from the local store and oh boy, did I love them! I had not tasted anything quite as delicious and soft in a long, long time. From the moment I tasted them, I knew I had to make them myself. So when I searched for a suitable recipe, I was utterly surprised to know that they were fairly simple to make and tasted absolutely divine.

Orange Chantilly Cream filled Golden Profiteroles with Dark Chocolate Sauce

Orange Chantilly Cream filled Golden Profiteroles with Dark Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients:

For the Choux Pastry

  • Plain Flour – 115 gms
  • Cold Water – 200 ml
  • Caster Sugar – 4 teaspoons
  • Unsalted Butter – 85gms, plus extra for greasing
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Large Eggs, beaten – 3

For Cream Filling

  • Double Cream – 300 ml
  • 1 Orange Zest
  • Caster Sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon

For Chocolate Sauce

  • Good quality Dark Chocolate (preferably with 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces – 100gms
  • Water – 80 ml
  • Milk – 1/2 to 1 cup
  • Caster Sugar – 80gms

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c/400°F/Gas 6. Place a small roasting tin in the bottom of the over to heat.
  2. For the Choux Pastry, place the water, sugar and butter into a large saucepan. Heat gently until the butter is melted.
  3. Turn up the heat, then quickly pour in the flour and salt all in one go.
  4. Remove from the heat and beat the mixture vigorously until a smooth paste is formed. Once the mixture comes away from the side of the pan, transfer to a large bowl and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth and glossy and has a soft dropping consistency.
  6. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Using a piping bag and plain 1cm/½in nozzle, pipe the mixture into small balls in lines across the baking sheet.
  7. Gently rub the top of each ball with a wet finger – this helps to make a crisper top.
  8. Place the baking sheet into the oven. Pour half cup of water in the roasting tin which we have already kept to heat. This helps to create more steam in the oven and make the pastry rise better.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden-brown. If the profiteroles are too pale, they will become soggy when cool.
  10. Remove from the oven and turn the oven off. Prick the base of each profiteroles with a skewer.
  11. Place back onto the baking sheet with the hole in the base facing upwards and return to the oven for 5-7 minutes. The warm air from the oven helps to dry out the middle of the profiteroles.
  12. For filling, lightly whip the cream with the orange zest, sugar and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. When the profiteroles are cold, use a piping bag to pipe the cream into the Profiteroles.
  13. For Chocolate Sauce, place the water and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to the boil to make a syrup.
  14. Reduce the heat to a simmer and place the chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over the pan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until melted.
  15. Take the pan off the heat, pur the syrup mixture and milk into the chocolate and stir until smooth and well combined. Note: You can keep the sauce refrigerated for later use. Add a little milk and heat the sauce in the microwave for 10 seconds and you are good to go 🙂
  16. To serve, place cream-filled profiteroles into a large serving dish and pour the chocolate sauce over the arranged profiteroles. You can serve it hot or cold 🙂

I hope you like them the way I did!

Your feedback is always welcome 🙂


Homemade Ravioli with Ricotta and Spinach Filling, Served with Tuscan Tomato Sauce

They say, the thing you hate the most turns out to be the thing that you tend to fall in love with. And I relate to this so much because I used to have a strong feeling of dislike towards Italian food. My husband, who loves Italian food, slowly introduced me to Italian cuisine during our courtship and since then, Italian has become *the* most favorite cuisine. The first (and now favorite) dish that I fell in love with was “Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli”. So one day, I was on a mission to make homemade ravioli with my favorite filling along with Tomato Sauce. So, here goes the recipe 🙂

Ravioli with Ricotta and Spinach Filling, Served with a Tuscan Tomato Sauce

Ravioli with Ricotta and Spinach Filling, Served with a Tuscan Tomato Sauce

Fresh Egg Pasta: Makes enough for about 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Regular flour (or 00 flour if you can get it) – 2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling the pasta
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Large eggs – 3
  • Olive Oil – 1/4 cup or 50 ml
  • Baking Sheet

Steps:

  1. Put flour into a bowl; make a well in the centre add the eggs and salt.
  2. Mix together with your hands, keep kneading until it all comes together.
  3. Drizzle some quality olive oil into the dough and knead it through.
  4. Wrap the dough with cling-film and put into the fridge to rest, for about 20 minutes. Note: At this point, the pasta dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let it come back to room temperature before rolling.
  5. Sprinkle a baking sheet generously with flour and scrape the ball of dough on top. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Dust the portions with flour and cover with a clean dishtowel. Note: The name of the game at this point is to keep everything well-floured to prevent the pasta from sticking to itself or the roller as you work. If the dough starts to feel sticky as you roll it, sprinkle it with flour. Also sprinkle flour on any pasta you’re not working (rolled, cut or otherwise) with and keep it covered with a dishtowel.
  6. Roll as thin as possible, lifting and moving the dough constantly to make sure it doesn’t stick. Sprinkle the dough generously with flour and then gently roll it up.
  7. Thinner the rolled out pasta, better the ravioli. Also the rolled out pasta needs to be uniform in thickness.
  8. With a cookie cutter or upside-down water-glass or a small upside down steel bowl, cut out circles (or any shape you prefer) from the rolled out pasta.

Filling

Ingredients:

  • Ricotta – 250gms
  • Spinach, wilted, really well-drained – 1 bag
  • Nutmeg – 1/2 tsp
  • Pecorino, grated  – 20gms
  • Basil Leaves – 3-5 leaves
  • Salt – to taste
  • Parmesan, grated – 1 tbsp

Steps:

  1. Chop the wilted spinach roughly, add the ricotta, and grate in some nutmeg to flavor.
  2. Add some finely torn basil leaves through, 3 -5 leaves (optional).
  3. Finally add the grated pecorino and mix it lightly.
  4. Try to keep the texture of this mixture a little rough and crumbly. Preferably avoid over-mixing it into a smooth paste

Tuscan Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Garlic, chopped very finely – 4-5 cloves
  • Tinned cherry tomatoes –  1 tin
  • Basil Leaves – 8-10 (you can change the quantity as per your taste)
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • Chilli flakes – 1 tbsp (you can change the quantity as per your taste)
  • Salt – to taste

Steps:

  1. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan, add chopped garlic, basil and a little salt. Cook gently to let all the flavors merge.
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes and gently cook for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Finally sprinkle lightly with some chilli.

Making the Ravioli: 

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add salt (do not add oil to the boiling water as you may have heard/read somewhere) keep the water at a rolling boil as you make the ravioli.
  2. With a teaspoon, take a spoon of the mixture and place it just off the center of the pasta discs/any shape which you have made earlier.
  3. Brush the edges of the pasta discs with water and fold it over. Press out any little air bubbles. Repeat this process for all your pasta discs. Dust the finished ravioli with flour to keep them from sticking together.
  4. Place the ravioli gently into the boiling water.
  5. The ravioli will only take a couple of minutes to cook.
  6. Take the cooked ravioli out of the water put on a plate drizzle with olive oil and grate a little pecorino cheese over.

To Serve: Spoon a little tomato sauce over the dressed ravioli and serve immediately with garnish of grated Parmesan and a Basil Leaf.

Phew! I know it is a lot of work but believe me, it is so delicious and the pride you feel on making pasta from scratch makes it worthwhile. Enjoy it with a glass of red wine 🙂

Your feedback is welcome 🙂


Egg Noodles with Stir-Fried Veggies

Who doesn’t like Chinese Food! Whether it’s Indo-Chinese that we get back in India or the “Hakka Noodles” we make at home or the authentic Chinese we get in specialty restaurants. Here is one of my all time favorite Chinese Dishes, Egg Noodles with Stir-Fried Veggies. The best part about this dish is, everything! Simple to cook, healthy, colorful and needless to say, delicious.

Egg Noodles with Stir-Fried Veggies

Egg Noodles with Stir-Fried Veggies

Ingredients:

  • Egg Noodles – 3 nests
  • Red Onions, sliced – 2 medium
  • Carrot, cut into thin strips – 1 medium
  • Green Capsicum, cut into thin strips – 1 medium
  • Cabbage, finely shredded – 1/4 small
  • Ginger, finely chopped – 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic, finely chopped – 1 teaspoon
  • Red Chilies – 3 (change it as per your eat preference)
  • Spring Onions, finely chopped – 6 stocks
  • Bean Sprouts – 1 cup
  • Soy Sauce – 1 1/2 tablespoon
  • Salt & Pepper – to taste
  • Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Water – 2 lts

Steps:

  1. Bring the water to a rolling boil in a saucepan and add salt & few drops of oil to the boiling water.
  2. Add the egg noodle nests to the boiling water and cook till almost done.
  3. Quickly drain the noodles and transfer them to cold water in order to stop the noodles from continuing to cook in the residual heat and also to refresh them. Drain the noodles again and spread them out on a plate to cool.
  4. Place a wok on high heat. For best results, use a carbon steel wok rather than one with a non-stick coating (as the non-stick coating does not allow the food to sear/caramelize adequately, plus non-stick coatings are not rated for very high heat).
  5. Add oil to the wok and continue heating the wok till the oil just starts to smoke. Stir fries are best done at very high temperatures which caramelize the veggies (or meat, if you are stir frying it) without over-cooking them.
  6. Add the chopped ginger, garlic and red chilies to the hot oil and stir for about 10-15 seconds.
  7. Then add the sliced red onions and continue to stir for about half a minute.
  8. Add the shredded cabbage and carrots and keep stirring for about a minute. Please note all the cooking is to be done on high heat.
  9. Now add the sliced capsicum and most of the bean sprouts, leaving about quarter of the bean sprouts for adding later. Continue stirring for a couple of minutes.
  10. Add about 3 quarters of the spring onions while stirring continuously. It is important that spring onions are not added too early in the stir frying process as they have a delicate flavour. Set aside quarter of the spring onions to add later, just like the bean sprouts.
  11. Add salt, pepper and soy sauce to the stir frying veggies and stir with a light hand to ensure the soy sauce has coated the veggies.
  12. Now add the noodles to the wok and toss everything to mix the noodles and veggies together.
  13. Add the remaining spring onions and bean sprouts to the wok and toss well for one final time. The spring onions and bean sprouts added at this late stage add freshness and crunchy texture to the dish.
  14. Serve hot and enjoy this quick and easy dish with a tall, cold drink. 🙂

Your feedback and suggestions are welcome 🙂


Ginger & Cinnamon Spiced Cookies

I have a habit of keeping a box of cookies with me in the office and one day, I stumbled upon Ginger Cookies at our local grocery shop. And after that, my husband and I are hooked onto it. So I thought, why not give it a try and attempted making them at home but with a little improvisation by added Cinnamon in it and it tasted heavenly!

Ginger & Cinnamon Spiced Cookies

Ginger & Cinnamon Spiced Cookies

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour – 2 1/4 cups
  • Ground Ginger – 2 teaspoons
  • Ground Cinnamon – 2 teaspoons
  • A pinch of Ground Nutmeg powder
  • Ground Cloves – 1/2 teaspoons
  • Baking Soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Margarine, softened – 3/4 cup (you can also replace it with unsalted butter)
  • White/Caster Sugar – 1 cup
  • 1 Large Egg at room temperature
  • Water – 1 tablespoon
  • Molasses – 1/4 cup (you can also replace it with soft dark brown sugar)
  • White Sugar – 2 tablespoons

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine (or unsalted butter) and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the egg and then stir in the water and molasses (or soft brown sugar). Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture, it should form a soft dough.
  5. Shape dough into walnut sized balls and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar .
  6. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto a lightly greased baking tray and flatten slightly.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 mins in the preheated oven.
  8. When they are hot, they may appear soft but allow them to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
  9. You can store them in an airtight container so that they last longer.

Have it with a cuppa tea or coffee on a rainy/snowy day and it will brighten you up 🙂


Tilgul Barfi on the occasion of Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is the day when, according to Hindu astronomy, the sun enters the rashi (zodiac) of Makara (Capricorn). This happens in the English month of January, on the 14th to be exact, when the sun passes through the winter solstice, from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. Makar Sankranti is considered very auspicious as it signifies a new beginning. It is also known as Uttarayan. In the coastal regions, it is a harvest festival.

To celebrate Makar Sankranti, it is a ritual to make and distribute Til-gul (sesame seed and jaggery) Barfi which signifies the feelings of brotherhood and harmony. Not to offend anyone but I generally don’t follow (read believe) any of such rituals which are being followed but as a foodie, I love to try out anything new. So last year around the same time, I tried my mother-in-law’s recipe (with the little help of husband) to make Tilgul Barfi and to my utter surprise, I simply loved it. And I fell in love with the recipe because it is so simple. Please note that the texture of the Barfi is not soft, it is more like Chikki.

Tilgul Barfi!

Tilgul Barfi!

Ingredients:

  • Sesame Seeds or Til (white) – 300gms
  • Jaggery (gur), grated – 300gms
  • Ghee – 3 1/2tablespoons
  • Cashewnuts, roughly chopped – 10/15
  • Almonds, roughly chopped – 10/15
  • Raisins – 10/15
  • Pistachio, roughly chopped – 10/15
  • Green cardamom powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

Steps:

  1. Roast the Sesame Seeds (til) in a non-stick pan on a medium heat until they are lightly brown and crispy. 
  2. Remove Sesame Seeds from the heat and mix in cashewnuts, almonds, raisins, pistachio, salt and green cardamom powder. Mix them uniformly.
  3. Prepare a flat plate by greasing it with half teaspoon melted ghee. Keep aside for later.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons ghee in a deep non-stick pan.  Add Jaggery and mix well until it is melted completely.
  5. Put the heat to medium and keep stirring the melted jaggery. To check if it ready for barfi, take cold water in a bowl and drop a few drops of melted jaggery in the water. It should solidify and when bitten it should be crunchy, not sticky. Keep stirring continuously until you have reached this stage, not letting the jaggery burn or catch the bottom of the pan.
  6. Take the melted jaggery off the heat and add the sesame-dry fruits mixture to it. Combine the mixture, please note the addition of sesame seed mixture brings the temperature of the melted jaggery very fast so you have to work very quickly in combining the dry ingredients into the melted jaggery.
  7. Immediately, empty the mixture onto the greased plate and working fast flatten the mixture onto the plate using the back of a flat bottom bowl. Please note that mixture should be flattened out into a roughly uniform thickness.
  8. Once done, while the flattened mixture is still warm, use a pizza cutter or a knife to mark it into any shapes of your liking so that they can be easily broken into Barfis when the mixture is cool and hardened. Please refer the above picture for the square shapes I cut.
  9. Leave the mixture for at least a couple hours to let the Barfis solidify.
  10. Break the Barfi into the shapes you laid out earlier.

Wish you all a very Happy Sankranti 🙂 🙂


Zucchini wrapped Mint & Coriander Chicken Kebabs

I don’t consider myself to be a non-vegetarian but rather a chicken-atarian. In fact its only been less than a decade since I have starting eating chicken. So I often find myself searching for all sorts of chicken recipes. And to be honest, I have not tried many recipes but I love the way my husband cooks chicken. So here is one of the recipes which I really loved making (needless to say loved eating to) and I found it very easy to cook. Whenever I am searching for any recipes, I tend to look at the ingredients which are easily available in any household and can be cooked anytime. These chicken kebabs will be a good starter if you are cooking for loads of friends. These can be grilled, char-grilled, cooked on barbecue or cooked in oven (I had cooked it in oven) This recipe has been inspired from Jamie Oliver’s recipe with quite a few tweaks of my own.

Zucchini wrapped Mint & Coriander Chicken Kebabs

Zucchini wrapped Mint & Coriander Chicken Kebabs

Ingredients:

  • 500 gms boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 zucchini/courgettes, sliced very thinly lengthways
  • 6-8 bamboo skewers (soak them in water)
  • few sticks of fresh rosemary, lower leaves removed, tips kept on

For the marinade:

  • 1 handful fresh coriander
  • 1 1/2 handful fresh mint
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 spring onions
  • 6 green/red chillies (adjust the heat according to your taste)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees Celsius or around 480 degrees Fahrenheit on the grill setting.
  2. Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes and place them in a bowl.
  3. Blanch the zucchini/courgette strips in salted boiling water for 30 seconds then drain them with the cold water and allow them to cool.
  4. Blitz all the marinade ingredients in a food processor, then loosen to a paste with a little olive oil.
  5. Add the marinade to the chicken pieces and mix well.
  6. Allow to sit for up to an hour. Then wrap the marinated chicken pieces with the zucchini/courgette strips and then pierce them onto the skewers.
  7. Arrange the skewers on a baking try so that the front and the back of the skewers rest on the opposite sides of the baking tray rim. Avoid letting the chicken pieces rest on the bottom of the tray. Another suggestion is to line the baking tray with aluminum foil so it helps in cleaning up later.
  8. Original Jamie Oliver’s recipe suggests using Rosemary sticks as skewers but I found it a bit cumbersome so I used bamboo skewers instead. I scattered the rosemary sticks/leaves on top of the skewers just before they went into the oven.
  9. Put the baking tray with the skewers arranged in the aforementioned manner in the oven for 8-10 mins. After 8-10 mins, turn the skewers and brush the chicken pieces with some olive oil and leave the skewers for a further 8-10 mins.
  10. Feel free to cut a piece open to check if they’re done.
  11. Once done, serve them hot, preferably with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on them. You can serve the kebabs with coriander chutney or with cucumber and mint raita.

I hope you enjoy making the kebabs and do leave your feedback/suggestions below.


Tiramisù – Pick-me-up

Tiramisù is one of the first desserts that I tried my hand at. I have never had a sweet tooth, in fact there was a time when I used to hate anything sweet. But Tiramisù which literally translates to “pick-me-up“, made me fall in love with desserts so much that I decided to wear the apron and go about making it at home. To my utter surprise, it was fairly simple and I must have made it at least a dozen times. And the even bigger surprise was that everyone who tasted it seemed to love it. I use the following recipe which is a result of lot of tweaks and adjustments over time and I hope you like the result.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Ingredients:

– 3 large eggs
– 250ml Marsala Wine (you can decrease or increase the amount of wine depending on your preference. You can also use any other dessert wine if you want but Marsala and Tiramisù are best friends)
– 250gms Mascarpone Cheese (you can use more if you want to make the layers richer)
– 8-9 teaspoons instant coffee granules (you can also use instant espresso granules to make it stronger/bitter)
– 3 tablespoons golden caster sugar (you can change it depending on the sweetness you would prefer)
– Sponge fingers/Savoiardi biscuits to cover the bowl at least twice. Preferred shape of the bowl is rectangular with a good depth.
– Cocoa Powder for dusting
– 4 pieces of grated 70% Dark Chocolate.

Steps:

  1. Boil 150ml of water and add the coffee in it. Cool it down and add 200ml of your choice of wine as mentioned above.
  2. Separate egg whites and yolks, making sure that the bowl in which you will whisk the egg whites is absolutely clean and the whites do not have any traces of the yolk. Any impurities in the egg whites will cause problems while whisking.
  3. Add the caster sugar in the yolks and beat it till the mixture is smooth and glossy.
  4. Add the Mascarpone cheese and remaining (50ml) wine in the yolk and beat it until its smooth.
  5. Beat the egg whites to form soft peaks and fold it gently into the Mascarpone cheese batter.
  6. Dip the sponge fingers in the coffee+wine mixture, a couple of seconds on each side and start layering your bowl with them.
  7. Once one layer is completed, cover it with the cheese+egg white batter. Grate some dark chocolate over this layer
  8. Repeat a layer of sponge fingers dipped in coffee+wine. And cover the sponger fingers with the remaining cheese+egg white batter.
  9. Grate the remaining dark chocolate on the top and keep it in the fridge overnight to set.
  10. Just before serving, sprinkle the cocoa powder.

I hope you like the flavors and enjoy making it as much as you will love eating it. I would be happy if you leave your feedback/suggestions.