Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Daring Baker Challenge - Brown Butter Pound Cake n Vanilla Icecream Petit Fours for Daksayani's Birthday

It's that time of the year when chocolate is taboo and flavours reign supreme..... It's Daksayani's birthday. She's allergic to chocolate so August's Daring Baker Challenge was just so right for us.... Petit Fours of Brown Butter Pound Cake. In the Petit Fours I substituted the chocolate glaze with a thick lemon curd.

The brown butter pound cake recipe is adapted from the October 2009 edition of Gourmet. The vanilla ice cream is from ice cream genius David Lebovitz, adapted from The Perfect Scoop. The chocolate glaze for the petit fours is a larger adapted version of this ganache from Godiva Chocolate and the meringue for the Baked Alaska is a larger version of this meringue from Gourmet, May 1995.

We celebrated her birthday in Mall rd with everyone on the occasion of Guru Poornima. Don't know why but suddenly Daks did a U-Turn n became so camera shy.....

Happy Birthday Daks.....

Her Birthday party was a 'Health Theme'.... The kids had a blast doing loads of activities... They were quite a handful... ;)

The cake was her delight and full of figures of kids playing games, playing golf, doing yoga, fruit n vegetables....

All the kids planted saplings and had a whale of a time playing with the mud... The grins are a dead giveways of the fun they had.... :)

The tug of war had girls vs. boys fun.... little do the girls know that this tug of war is gonna go on for life.... :) Ha.. Ha... Ha.... Hope the kids parents aren't reading this.... Lol....

Brown Butter Pound Cake
Ingredients: [I made a half of this quantity]
19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Ice Cream
Ingredients: [I made a half of this quantity]
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)
2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.
3. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.
4. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.
5. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2007/07/making_ice_crea_1.html

Assembly Instructions – Ice Cream Petit Fours
1. Line a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups (450ml to 500ml) ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours. [Since I had made cup cakes, I used the cup cake moulds to set my petit fours as individual servings]
2. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.
3. Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.
4. Make the chocolate glaze (I made lemon curd, see above.)
5. While the glaze cools, trim ¾” (2cm) off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square 7.5” (19cm) ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty five petit fours, each 1.5”x1.5” (4cmx4cm).
6. Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it. [I used Lemon Curd]
7. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.

Was making a cake, the batter was put in a lined cake tin...... then ELECTRICITY played T-R-U-A-N-T.... Boooooohooooo :( Didn't have time to lose.... had to quickly transfer the batter to cupcake moulds and cook it in whatever heat the oven had left after 5 minutes of cooking. Thank fully the batter cooked quickly as I had divided it into cupcake moulds. Hence the recipe above has Cake mentioned everywhere while the pictures have Cupcakes :(
The amount this challenge made me weep is unbelievable n it made me work till the wee hours of the night blending into the early hours of day....
Had it not been for Daks's birthday, would have done it the next day...... Ahhhhhh... what all this girl makes me do.....

We loved the cake, but after I knew the quantity of butter used, it's not happening in my kitchen again unlike the other Daking Baker challenges (which i've made over n over on popular demand). This cake has way too much butter.
The cake however was awesome as a Petit four. Do try it if using butter is not an issue with you.

Thoughts about Old Treatises on Food and Cooking ~ By My Guest Sid (Chef at Large)

This is my celebrations for reaching 200 blog posts.... A lot of you will wonder, why am I not making something fancy to celebrate it. Getting to the 200th post has been a journey full of wonderful people who walked with me in life and some joined me thru the blog world.

So I thought of having an event called 'Celebrations' where I would open out my blog to some of my friends who would share some parts of their journey with me as Guest Posts......

My guest today is Sid of Chef at Large fame. He's done software for 18 years and gave it up to pursue his hobby of 'Food' fulltime. He's reviewed 177 restaurants in Delhi NCR, posted 223 recipes on chefatlarge.in between him n his contributors as I write. He sums up the space of ChefatLarge on facebook really well saying "We talk about food, share food experiences and recipes, go out together... essentially have a really nice time with all aspects of food. :) Plus a few giveaways every now and then, some random, some with contests... food nonetheless. :D"

Sid had given my reference to The Shangri-La for a tasting table at 19 Oriental Avenue. This was our first meeting... was very memorable one with his special card trick[I won't give away what it is... ask him when you meet him :) ] and all the chatter about food....

He became my tester for a new recipe of Sugarfree Cherry Brownies. We would interact often on facebook. His photography skills are quite something. His food pictures make me droooolll... and A special set was the one where he was experimenting with HDR... Awesome, turned a simple olive oil condiment set into something so exotic that it made me not just droooool but also begin writing a food story...... :) His breakfast album on facebook made me crave for breakfast at lunch, dinner and breakfast...

Here's some more eye candy of his clicks for food lovers....

We met at a Wonton making class and special lunch organized by Intercontinental Eros and a few days later at Chocolate making workshop there itself.
A small something for the Indian readers of Sid.... He will select 1 lucky commenter to win complimentary vouchers of Stone, Moets Restaurant Complex in Defence Colony Market, New Delhi. So be sure to leave a note at the end of this post with your location. Readers in other countries can share the same with anyone in proximity of the restaurant.

Sid Writes.....

Writing a guest post isn't half as tough as it seems to be. It's double! For one, you're acutely aware you're writing as a 'guest' on someone elses blog. You want to be polite, interesting, relevant and all those other politically correct and nice things that you wouldn't normally think about when writing on your own blog. What makes it a little tougher is the certain knowledge that Ms. Chandra will without doubt turn up her pretty nose and say, 'This sucks! What were you thinking?', without it giving another thought. Frankness IMHO is overrated... but Nachiketa manages to get away with the most atrocious statements without causing the least offence.

On the subject of frankness, I know this chap who every now and then starts off with, "If I can be blunt with you", and then says something wildly offensive, something that gets you goggle eyed and mad. But then he did mention the disclaimer before gushing his unique brand of insightful honesty. I'm sure there are others in my shoes, figuratively speaking, who aren't sure about what to write and don't want to risk offending The Wrathful Nachiketa by refusing or begging off. Perhaps a little something that would provide inspiration to those poor souls, caught between the Nachiketa and a hard place, risking eternal damnation by not writing a guest post.

BTW I met Nachiketa through a giveaway on Deeba's blog. She's one of the bubbliest people I've ever met and her her energy levels are... infectious to say the least. Congratulations Nachiketa on your 200th post. It's a good thing, nice feeling and great going girl!

Perhaps I'll just share my current obsession, old treatises on food and cooking. It is really so very interesting to find and read old cooking related texts. Most provide a great deal of insight into the general beliefs at the time. For example, The 'Boke of Kervynge' published in 1508, says, '... beware of grene sallettes & rawe fruytes for they wyll make our soverayne seke ...' or 'Beware of green salads and raw fruits for they will make your master sick'. It also has some very interesting recipes like:

Wynge that partryche.
Take a partryche and reyse his legges and his wynges as a henne / & ye mynce hym sauce hym with wyne poudre of gynger & salte / than set it upon a chaufyng-dysshe of coles to warme and serve it.

Then there are the recipe books from more recent times. One book I always remember is 'Good Things to Eat' by Rufus Estes, published in 1911. In his introduction Rufus writes, 'I was born in Murray County, Tennessee, in 1857, a slave. I was given the name of my master, D. J. Estes, who owned my mother's family, consisting of seven boys and two girls, I being the youngest of the family.'. Here's Rufus' recipe for Asparagus Soup:

Take three pounds of knuckle of veal and put it to boil in a gallon of water with a couple of bunches of asparagus, boil for three hours, strain, and return the juice to the pot. Add another bunch of asparagus, chopped fine, and boil for twenty minutes, mix a tablespoonful of flour in a cup of milk and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper, let it come to a boil, and serve at once.

A recent addition to my collection is 'The Khaki Kook Book', published in 1917, that describes itself as '[a] Collection of a hundred cheap and practical recipes mostly from Hindustan', written by Mary Kennedy Core during her time in Bareilly, India. She begins with her thoughts on Indian kitchens...

Perhaps she might do some of it if she had an up-to-date little kitchen, with linoleum on the floor, if there were a sink and a gas range, and all sorts of lovely pots and pans, but alas! in India there is not even a kitchen. It is a cook-house, and is quite detached from the rest of the house. If she cooked there, the missionary lady would have to keep running back and forth in the hot sun or in the pouring rain of the monsoon. There is no linoleum--only a damp, uneven stone floor, and there is no sink--all the work requiring water is done on the floor by a drain-pipe, and sometimes if the screen gets broken over the mouth of the drain-pipe, toads come hopping in, and sometimes even cobras come squirming through. The Indian cook-house is always dark and smoky. There is no little gas range; just a primitive cooking place made of bricks plastered together. This contains a number of holes in which are inserted grates. Charcoal fires are burning in these little grates. Charcoal has to be fanned and fanned with a black and grimy fan to get it into the glowing stage. Of course a clean fan would do as well, but one never sees a clean fan in an Indian cook-house.

... and continues on to some recipes, one of which I cooked for lunch yesterday - Beef Curry.

Cut a pound of fresh beef into bits. Any cheap cut does well for this. Slice an onion very thinly, and fry together in a dessert-spoonful of fat of any kind, the meat, onion, and two teaspoonfuls of curry powder. When they are nicely browned add several cups of water and simmer gently until the meat is very tender and the onion has become a pulp, thereby thickening the curry gravy. This requires long, slow cooking. More water may be added from time to time. If one has a fireless cooker, it should always be used in curry making. Serve with rice prepared according to taste. In India, curry and rice are always served in separate dishes. The rice is served first and the curry taken out and put over it. Usually chutney (Chapter VIII) is eaten with curry and rice.

(Spanish Rice from a 1905 recipe and Curried Beef from a 1912 recipe.)

When you begin to get obsessed with all things old and edible, as I have, then other little bits of information begin exposing themselves to you, such as this letter, written in 1556 by Jacob Bifrons about cheese and cheese making in Switzerland. It begins with:

My son, returning to Curia in Pontissella, told me you suggested that I should write to you about the ways of cheesemaking and the types of cheese of our region. This I now do most willingly, and I hope that this will be pleasing to you. There are two types of cheese which concern us; one lean and called 'domestic' since it is made both in the house and in the Alps and its use goes back before the memory of man. The other type is called 'fat' cheese and it was brought from Italy into our region in the last 30 years.

Books such as 'The Forme of Cury', which was published around 1780 and compiled around 1390 were written as historical compilations in their own time and provide a storehouse of information, as do books like 'The Accomplisht Cook' published in 1685, that has a recipe quite similar to one in The Boke of Kervynge. Being a copycat in 1685 must have been so much simpler than it is now. For the authors part, he was replicating a recipe from a book that was nearly two hundred years old. Considering the expensive nature of books at the time, there was probably little chance of being caught out. It also clearly illustrates the changes that took place in the English language over a period of about 180 years.

Wing that Partridg.
Raise his legs, and his wing as a hen, if you mince him sauce him with wine, powder of ginger, and salt, and set him upon a chafing dish of coals to warm and serve.

I could go on and on, on this sort of thing. Suffice to say, we can greatly increase our understanding of food and the culinary arts by delving into the past. In fact, that's the easy way out, because food today didn't just become the way it is out of the blue. It evolved. It was gradually influenced by history, politics, the military and geography among other factors to reach the state it is in today. What better way to understands it's path than to obtain and read books such as these?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rummmmmmy.... Coffee Cinnamon Rum Cake ~ By my Guest Radhika

This is my celebrations for reaching 200 blog posts.... A lot of you will wonder, why am I not making something fancy to celebrate it. Getting to the 200th post has been a journey full of wonderful people who walked with me in life and some joined me thru the blog world.

So I thought of having an event called 'Celebrations' where I would open out my blog to some of my friends who would share some parts of their journey with me as Guest Posts......

My guest today Radhika, met her while doing my MBA.... She's such a lively person with an amazing sense of humour.

For her birthday I made 'Sugarfree Cherry Brownies'. We had such a blast at Hard Rock cafe, having met after a while as we had all gotten busy with work. The fun we have together just cannot be put down in words.

We met for lunch to welcome the new year and ended up having coffee [how can we talk about rads and not mention C-O-F-F-E-E :), rads should have been born in Ghana on a coffee plantation] at Tea leaf n Coffee bean.....
I just wouldn't let them eat/drink anything the whole afternoon, till I was done clicking. Yes, I admit, am an incurable 'Foodus Bloggerus'. [If you dine with us, you’ll learn the art of patience. Yes we even want to photograph the bread and butter. Food is better a bit colder right? Or so we’d like to convince you.
This is something most people complain of when they go out with us..... They're getting familiar with this symptom now... Like they have a choice lol.. ;-) ]

A small something for the Indian readers of Radhika.... She will select 1 lucky commenter to win complimentary vouchers of Route 04, a diner tucked away in Khan Market, New Delhi. So be sure to leave a note at the end of this post with your location. Readers in other countries can share the same with anyone in proximity of the restaurant.

Radhika Writes.....

On the of 200th post on Nachiketa’s Crazy over Desserts, a small tribute to the Woman behind those gorgeous lip smacking desserts...:-)

As All Never-Ending Stories ‘Begin....

Once upon a time, there lived a princess (that’s ME!!) who thought she had met all genres of mankind and couldn’t be surprised out of her Nikes anymore. Little did she know, that 2001 would be the year when she would meet one of the most intriguing, beguiling and infuriating Soul that God ever created [He never did have the strength I guess to try to replicate it ;-) ]

As the princess walked into her very first class of International Business in the “renowned” Amity B. School, she felt like someone was Tap dancing over her grave. But as soon as she glanced around, shared a few smiles and kind words with an Enigma known to the world as Nachiketa Chandra, the world weary princess(ME) knew she still has a lot to learn in the art of living :)

“Nachi Maa” as she is fondly known by everyone in Amity who adores this hyperactive, loud voiced and stubborn woman is one of the few friends I am lucky to have in my life for close to 10 years now. Full of energy that can give Sun a run for its money, more stubborn than a mule and supportive to the end is what makes Nachi someone that you love to hate and hate to love ;-) She was the one who talked me (more like coerced me) into wearing a SAREE for a Managing Self presentation so that our group can give a professional front, never forgotten the sheer fear of trying not to fall flat on my face while talking about “Managing Self”!!!!
Right from the days of browbeating some special few like Shuchi, Kanika, Surbhi and me to prepare notes in the library before exams, to encouraging me and Shuchi to give a stint in the kitchen, it’s been a rollercoaster journey throughout!

I have this habit (bad?) of penning down my emotions, especially when I feel that I'm falling into the dark abyss of nothingness and despair. Nachi and Shuchi have always been my truest critics and have always encouraged me to let go through my writing, even though it’s bad enough not to be even tagged as “Writing” at times.

So Nachi, I herby dedicate this emotional torture that I penned down to you... for this is what you are to me! Love you loads! God Bless u always!


As We Travel Down The Mysterious Road Called Life,
Often We Come Across Lives That Touch Us Deep Inside...
Guiding Us Through The Mystifying Paths Of Love Lost And Broken Hearts,
Helping Us Get Back On Our Feet As We Stumble Down in Self Doubt…
Protecting Us Against The Torrent Storms Of Failures And Misgivings..
A Shield of Strength and Full of Selfless Giving..
These Blessed Souls…Whom We Meet In Our Journey..
Might Get Separated At Crossroads of Time,
But They Leave A Poignant Print in Our Thoughts and Mind..
For They Know You Better Than You Know Yourself,
And Would Always Be A Part of Your Innermost Self...
That’s Why They Are Called Friends…

After taking a VRS (temporarily), after slogging nonstop for 6.5 years, due to a back problem, I was left twirling my thumbs with sheer boredom with my first and only love, novels, also not engaging my grey cells for long! I started visiting Nachi’s blog more often and was inspired to try some quickie cake baking in the microwave. I baked a “Coffee Cinnamon Rum Cake” as my first attempt which turned out to be as how first attempts often do, edible but not as appealing to the eye. In walked Nachi with her taste buds and mind filled with ideas of how to present it better. She didn’t let me give up my futile attempts at baking, much to the dismay of my family members who are the first ones to suffer every time I experiment in the kitchen :)
Microwave Coffee Cake

Self rising flour/maida- 1 cup
Milk- 1/4 cup
Brown Sugar- 3/4 cup
Butter,softened- 3/4 cup
Instant coffee- 3 tablespoon
Boiling water- 1 tablespoon
Baking powder- 1 teaspoon
Eggs- 2
Vanilla essence- 2 tablespoon

[Substitutions I made- Instead of vanilla essence, added 1 tablespoon of cocoa + 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon Powder. Also, added a splash of spiced rum, one can use any dark rum or even sherry would do]

Preheat the oven at 180 c
Grease and line an 8' round cake tin
Sift Flour and Baking powder, Cocoa and Cinnamon Powder twice and keep aside.
Dissolve Instant Coffee in the water.
Cream butter and sugar till fluffy.
Add eggs 1 by 1, beating well.
Add rum and mix.
Alternatively add flour and milk to the mix, beginning and ending with flour.
Pour in greased tin and bake for 30-35 minutes
MICROWAVE- 80% for 8 minutes as per the recipe.
[My variation: baked at 180 c in convection mode for 25 minutes.]

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lite recipes for right health! Colorful Bell Pepper & Sprouts Salad ~ By My Guest Sanjeeta KK

This is my celebrations for reaching 200 blog posts.... A lot of you will wonder, why am I not making something fancy to celebrate it. Getting to the 200th post has been a journey full of wonderful people who walked with me in life and some joined me thru the blog world.

So I thought of having an event called 'Celebrations' where I would open out my blog to some of my friends who would share some parts of their journey with me as Guest Posts......

My guest today Sanjeeta KK of Lite bite."Lite recipes for right health!"

She has easy vegetarian recipes where taste matters but health is the driving force behind all her dishes. Not to forget the wonderful pictures.
Her Baking Bites are quite a bytefull..... :) Who thought festive eating can have healthy options too... Step in Sanjeeta with Festive Bites. Checkout her Wholewheat Halwa yummy.... I want some now....

Planning for the lunchbox is a perennial thought that haunts all mothers, be it for their kids[Mine still has nightmares] or the husbands. She make it all so simple with Lunchbox Bites.

We had this interesting exchange:
Nachiketa: What's the source of this information, some study or practical experience. Would like to mention that in the article to make it more credible. Have you actually used the points you've mentioned for weight loss?
Sanjeeta:Source of information is practical experience. I am 40+ now and am glad that the points in the article did help me look and stay trim and fit.

Had me in splits... so much for sources... mummies know best, I give in.... Bow Down....
Afterall it was my mom who turned my diet around and sister insisting on exercising which helped me to Minus 17 kgs.... :)

The most true and striking thing Sanjeeta says is "Cooking is an art which comes to you only when YOU hold a ladle. A great chef is not born but is made gradually after a series of hits & trials and chaos in her/his kitchen.
Be ready to experiment, innovate and put in that extra effort to make your loved ones feel special.

A small something for the Indian readers of Sanjeeta KK.... She will select 1 lucky commenter to win complimentary vouchers of elemenation, Sector 62, Noida, for massage n Spa, Salsa or Kick-Boxing or Yoga, 50% discount of Gym membership. So be sure to leave a note at the end of this post with your location. Readers in other countries can share the same with anyone in proximity of the restaurant.

Sanjeeta KK Writes.....

First and foremost I take the opportunity to thank Nachiketa the author of this wonderful blog www.crazyoverdesserts.com for inviting me here.
Blogging is that magnificent platform through which we all are connected to each other, a medium where we share our common passion for food and bound together.

Since we are connected to each other with food and cuisine, I thought of sharing my views on food and health.
Ideas, some of which make sense while some other may sound weird. But rest assured it helps me staying trim and fit.

1. Drink lots of water before eating, preferably cold water it reduces hunger.
2. Avoid eating in groups, as you tend to eat more while talking with others.
3. Stock lots of fruits and keep munching as and when you feel, will make you feel satiated and eat less.
4. Make crunchy salads with interesting dressings and nibble on it during lunch and dinnertime.
5. I like to boil fresh corn and keep munching on it the whole day. It will give you the feeling of satiation besides loads of health benefits.
6. Nuts are a good bet provided you know the limit; else you will gain extra calories.
7. Lazy & depressed mind tend to indulge in food. Keep yourself busy in some kind of activities such as gardening, stitching etc.
8. Last but not the least is to have a dream and keep chasing it. Makes you content (mind, body and stomach too).

Here is a quick and refreshing recipe for a healthy salad. I make it often and keep nibbling it as and when I am hungry.

Colorful Bell Pepper & Sprouts Salad


1 cup of Black eyed Beans
1 cup of Black Channa

Multi color Bell pepper
Salt as desired
White Pepper powder as desired
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp of Olive oil

Wash and soak the grams the whole night.
Drain the water and keep for sprouting in a muslin cloth or a sprout maker.
Take a big bowl and add both the legumes.
Add rest of the ingredients in it and mix it thoroughly.
A refreshing and healthy salad of sprouts and bell pepper is ready to snack.

Hope you enjoyed reading these tips on staying slim and the quick & healthy salad. Thanks again Nachiketa for your efforts, best wishes & congrats for your 200th mark in blog posts.
Opportunities like these help to unlock the creativity and getting closure to beautiful people and make friends. Keep up the good work.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Super Hmmmmmmmm...... Mocha Marble Cheesecakelets ~ By My Guest Ria

This is my celebrations for reaching 200 blog posts.... A lot of you will wonder, why am I not making something fancy to celebrate it. Getting to the 200th post has been a journey full of wonderful people who walked with me in life and some joined me thru the blog world.

So I thought of having an event called 'Celebrations' where I would open out my blog to some of my friends who would share some parts of their journey with me as Guest Posts......

My guest today Ria of Ria's Collections. She is a certified cake decorator, freelance food writer, stylist and a photographer. Having followed her blog for a while... am testimony to all of these. Add to all this.... She is C-R-E-A-T-I-V-E, dedicated and hardworking. She's recently got married to Jobin. She stitched [since her hobbies are hand embroidery,sketching, tatting n crocheting] flowers for her wedding saree and veil and not to mention a 3 tier wedding cake all on her own...... bow down.. really admire you girlie...

Her kitchen is to die for, drop dead gorgeous[not more than her though].... and a hubby who bakes her a chocolate cake and she's featured on a cooking show too.... talk about talent... :)

She's someone who truly enjoys cooking.... it's so obvious from the variety of heads she's got under her belt... u name it... she git it covered... Appetizers, Drinks, Breads, Salads, Cakes, Brownies & Gateaux, East Meets West, Indian goodies, Curries, Pickles, Sauces, Dips, Chutneys, Desserts and Traditional Sweets, Cookies and More. You can find her recipie index here

Her Lavender Infused Stone Fruit Tartelettes had me in fits of delight as did her story on Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

I had loved her Tiramisu cake with Homemade Mascarpone Cheese, and wait till you see what she's made for me.....

A small something for the Indian readers of Ria.... She will select 1 lucky commenter to win complimentary vouchers of Javagreen, South Extention, New Delhi. It's chain of gourmet coffee shops. So be sure to leave a note at the end of this post with your location. Readers in other countries can share the same with anyone in proximity of the restaurant.

Ria Writes.....

Hello foodies,
I am Ria Mathew,author of Ria's Collections, a true product of India blogging from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Nachiketa and I have been associated through our food blogs and I shouldn't forget to mention, Facebook :-) I love her enthusiasm to bake and share the goodies with her loved ones! I do the same here. Bake and share!

So, when I received an email from N asking if I could do a guest post, I willingly accepted. I had to make something which we both haven't made before, and of course, it had to be a dessert!That evening I went to our library and went through the whole section of dessert books and finally picked up one. Then it was a task to choose from it. I know Nachiketa & myself has a soft spot for cheesecakes & coffee,especially Tiramisu Cheesecake, so cheesecake it was!

Recipe adapted from A Year in Chocolate by Alice Medrich

Chocolate wafer crumbs/Oreo cookie crumbs-1 1/2 c ( I used Parle-G + 2 tbsp of cocoa powder)
Butter-6 tbsp, melted
Sugar-1/4 c
Coffee powder-1 1/2 tsp

Milk chocolate-40 g
Coffee powder-3/4 tsp
Boiling water-1 1/2 tbsp
Cream cheese-650 g
Sugar-1/2 c
Vanilla extract-1 1/2 tsp
Eggs-2, at room temperature

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F.
2. Powder the cookies into the fine powder and mix it with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and half way up the sides of the pan.
4. Bake for 10 mins. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.

1. Lower the oven temperature to 160 C/325 F.
2. Place the chocolate in a bowl with coffee powder. Pour the boiling water over it and stir until smooth. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, beat cream cheese till smooth, about 30 secs. Scrape the bowl and beaters.
4. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth, 1-2 mins.
5. Add 1 egg and beat until just incorporated.Scrape bowl and beaters.
6. Beat in the 2nd egg. Stir 1 cup of the batter into the chocolate mixture.

1. Pour the white colour batter over the prepared crust.
2. Put dollops of the milk chocolate batter over the white colour batter.
3. Swirl and create a marbled effect using a butter knife making sure that you don't scrape the crust.
4. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
5. Bake until the edges of the cake are puffed and center looks moist and jiggles when tapped, 35-45 mins.
6. Remove from the oven and run a paring knife around the edges of the filling (this is to release the filling, if it is sticking to the tin).DO NOT remove it from the tin.
7. Place the cake on a cooling rack and invert a bowl/pot over it so that it cools down slowly.
8. Cover and refrigerate the cake for atleast 5 hours before serving.

I hope you all enjoyed the cheesecakelets! They were a big hit with us!

Nachiketa, I wish you all the best and may you have many many more! To another 200!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Air Devil with the Biggest Smile n Heart ~ By my Guest Pinakini

This is my celebrations for reaching 200 blog posts.... A lot of you will wonder, why am I not making something fancy to celebrate it. Getting to the 200th post has been a journey full of wonderful people who walked with me in life and some joined me thru the blog world.

So I thought of having an event called 'Celebrations' where I would open out my blog to some of my friends who would share some parts of their journey with me as Guest Posts......

My guest today is Pinakini. She's known to me thru my colleague Vivek and his wife Pushpanjali. She's Pushpanjali's sister.... Haven't met her as often as would like in the physical world as I have on facebook.

She's such a lively person whose presence illuminates any party(really knows how to kick it up) n who loves Chocolate as much as I do :)

Her updates on facebook evoke such strong reactions amongst us... :) We have a rollicking time. Some of her status's read like this.....
" Laugh your heart out, dance in the rain..... Cherish the moment, let go of the pain..... Live, laugh, love, forgive and forget..... lifes too short to be living with regrets!!!"

"News Flash - - - "Scientists ve revealed that beer contains traces of female hormones.
To prove the theory, scientists fed 100 men 12 pints of beer each. They observed that 100% of them gained weight, talked excessively without ...making sense, became emotional and couldn't drive..... No further testing is planned." LOL :-D"

"If you don't think sin is fun, you haven't been committing the right sins. ;-)"

"When you meet someone who is nice, can cook and do housework--don't hesitate a minute--marry him !!!!!! Ha ha ;)"

"Sign on a plumber's truck: 'We repair what your husband just fixed.' "

"Humko jo mili hai zindagi.... gaati hai... hasti hai.... pagli si hai zara.... moody hai.... ziddi hai....Ruthe bhi.... maane bhi.... har lamha nayi Hai zindagi.... lovin it!!!! :))"

"Huge Raindrops splattering on my windscreen.... Beautiful love ballads on the radio... Bas ek garam chai ki pyaali ho..... :-)"

"Think everyone should go to college, get a degree and then spend six months as a bartender, six months as a cabdriver and six months bagpacking.... Then they would really be educated !!!!! :)"

"Devoured a whole bar of Cadburys Dairy Milk Silk.... Wow what a start.... Hope the rest of the day is as sweet !!!!!!!! :-D"

She's married to Sanjeev and the 2 of them manage Air Devils, a flying club which is the epitome of breaking into a new world of adventure, discovery, & excitement. Her sense of adventure is amazing... takes n the new, wild and loveable with equal ease.
Her daughter Yashna is equally a bright spark and enjoys being clicked as much as her mummy n masi n me. With vivek arround, there's no dirth of pictures for us posers.

A small something for the Indian readers of Pinakini.... She will select 1 lucky commenter to win complimentary vouchers of Kairali, Andheria Modh, New Delhi. It's an ayurvedic heath center which offers holistic benefits. So be sure to leave a note at the end of this post with your location. Readers in other countries can share the same with anyone in proximity of the restaurant.

Pinakini Writes.....
The first time I heard about this girl, in, my brother-in-law's office, who was lookin ‘oh so amazin’ cos she had lost oodles n oodles of weight…. And I felt an instant sense of bonding…. I think only the ‘biggest losers’ know the perseverance, mental strength and effort required to lose big !!!

I can think of a number of things Nachi n I DON’T have in common… for starters I think we've met just a couple of times…. There’s a huge age difference…. Yes yes I am the older one…. The part time working, full time wife n mom whose main focus is home n family… Work is second… third… fifth… er can I make it last… on my list of priorities… Nachi is young, successful, gorgeous… Add to that a high flying career !!!

Pinakini DOES NOT like cooking…. In fact if it wasn’t this 11 yr old goin on 40… Who, in a bite, glares n grouches “ mommmm… ye aapne nahi banaaya hai na…!!!!!”… amply backed by her dad… I don’t think I would really venture into the kitchen!!! Simply put, I cook only coz it gives me a ridiculous sense of satisfaction to see whats going into their stomachs ….. and yes, the smiles on their faces are bliss :)

Whereas Nachi BAKES… cooks… broils… grills… I mean it’s a passion with a capital P !!!! and BAKES WOW !!! I've been special enough to be presented with the delliiiciiioouus cakes, desserts n not to mention the scrumptious banoffie pies which can give Big Chill in Delhi a good run for their money!!! And anybody whose eaten at Big Chill knows what a compliment this is!!!!

Like I said earlier, Nachi n I have not really interacted much… We don’t party, work or socialize together… We haven’t even gone out for any holidays or trips or have very many common friends… so much so that if u ask me what her favorite place, favorite food or even favorite color is, I would draw a blank BUT THEN there is ONE thing that binds us together… That is our zest for life…. We both have this passion and positivity towards life… The hunger to seize each day…. Make the most of every moment… Live, love, laugh… fly……the world is ours to take :)

So lets keep ROCKING baby…… DIVAS in our sphere…

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cheers to a new Friendship!!! Blueberry Cheesecake for Nachiketa ~ By my Guest Gauri

This is my celebrations for reaching 200 blog posts.... A lot of you will wonder, why am I not making something fancy to celebrate it. Getting to the 200th post has been a journey full of wonderful people who walked with me in life and some joined me thru the blog world.

So I thought of having an event called 'Celebrations' where I would open out my blog to some of my friends who would share some parts of their journey with me as Guest Posts......

My guest today is Gauri. She's less Shuchi's cousin and more a friend now. Have known her over the years but the last few months have seen us bond like no other chemical reaction... [Terrible Pj.. I know]. She's so forthcoming, gregarious and fun to be with. Her super creativity obviously makes her associated with the advertising profession.

Her reputation as a baker precedes her in any gathering.... This was the first time I tasted her Chocolate Cake... being the calorie counting person that I am, won't eat dessert for the heck of it[why? cause I need to watch the calorie meter]... But t-h-i-s cake... 1 bite and I was sold.... I couldn't stop till I finished all that was in front of me....[Read, H-U-G-E helping] It was absolutely amazing [Should ask her to share the recipe on her blog... what's the url? we are trying to get her to start one...SOON]. At Shuchi's place she treated us to her famous Blueberry Cheesecake... Drooooooooolllllll... Was so yummy.... had to close my eyes n relish it......[Recipe below]. Thanks for sharing it.

Our umbrella girl has a lovely garden in her tastefully done up home. She's uses fresh produce in her kitchen and grows her own herbs like parsley, mint, basil and oregano. Someone who bakes her own Bread.... Bow down... Bread is still uncharted territory for me.... the first n singular attempt was a futile flop for me. I need to take lessons from her.

She's married to Kartick... [total techno geek material, nice guy, fun to be with :) ]. They make such a lovely couple. He even makes her breakfast occasionally...... Am going to invite myself over soon.... :)
Hoping to see your blog soon....

A small something for the Indian readers of Gauri.... She will select 1 lucky commenter to win complimentary meal vouchers of Mist at The park, CP, New Delhi. It's inspired by the element of water, a 24 hour dining restaurant. So be sure to leave a note at the end of this post with your location. Readers in other countries can share the same with anyone in proximity of the restaurant.

Gauri Writes.....

"Food is not about impressing people. It's about making them feel comfortable." Ina Garten, 'The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook'

- Thats what this wonderful girl does to all of us !!!

I have known Nachiketa now for almost 8 years, but only as Shuchi’s (my cousin) bum chum buddy. We met a couple of times at Shuchi’s parties or family gatherings limiting our conversations to ‘polite conversations’.

However it was Shuchi’s birthday this year when I discovered a new friend in Nachi.
We were all out partying and celebrating Shuchi’s birthday……..Awe, such a ball we had, and by the end of those rolling 3 hours, Nachi and I had mutual admiration for the Chef in us.

A couple of drinks and some appetizing recipe exchanges did the trick. She’s a gem to cherish, bubbly, strong headed, amazingly gorgeous, full of warmth, wonderful fun loving person.

Nachi’s was one of the first blogs I started reading and frequenting. Love the way she weaves a story around the most simple things in life…….Simply beautiful!!!
She is a great source of inspiration for a non blogger like me who’s never confident with what I write….. (just like right now) and is always full of encouragement for everyone.
She not only writes well but also bakes well. I do refer to her blog every time I want to try out a new recipe. Nachi is someone who is open and honest about her recipes, she shares whole heartedly. I love this thing about her………..like she says…… “why hide!!!” I agree with you Nachi, we owe it to the very ‘Art of Cooking’ that we spread and share correct knowledge…..after all we have also learnt it from someone……whoever…… a book, a cookery show cookery class or our mothers or grandmothers.

When Nachi asked me to write a blog post for her 200th Post Celebrations, I was quite excited and felt honoured…….

Congratulations on your 200th Post Nachi……
Happy Blogging Always……….
Love you loads !!!

Blueberry Cheesecake
I have tried many variations of the blueberry cheesecake. This is my own variation / adaptation and by far is the most appreciated version. Like my best critic (my husband) would say this is the most yummilicious version with the right balance of tanginess and sweet and the just the right texture. It feels creamy but at the same time not heavy.

20 Digestive Biscuits
4 tbsp Melted Butter
8-9” Diameter loose bottom cake tin

500g Cream (I use Amul cream)
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
6 tbsp of Cream Cheese (Homemade, which is essentially hung curd)
5 tsp Gelatine soaked in about ½ cup water
Juice of I fresh lemon
1tsp Vanilla Extract

½ bottle or about 5-6 tbsp of blueberry jam
2 tbsp of cornflour


1. Grind the digestive biscuits to a coarse powder.
2. Add the butter and mix well. Spread this mixture on the base of the loose bottom cake tin. Press well with the back of a spoon or a katori. Keep in the fridge to set for an hour.
3. Soak gelatin in ½ cup water and heat it till it dissolves completely. Make sure the gelatin DOES NOT come to a boil. Keep aside.
4. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. To it add the lemon juice and vanilla extract. One the mixture becomes nice and creamy, add the amul cream and beat well with a hand mixer. Now add the gelatin and mix well again, till the gelatin blends in completely.
5. Pour over the biscuit base and keep in the fridge for 3-4 hours to set.
6. Topping: Mix cornflour with ¼ cup water. Keep aside.

In a pan heat the blueberry jam, add the cornflour and mix well. Keep the flame low and keep mixing till the jam thickens slightly.
Pour this mix over the already set cheesecake. Spread it evenly and let it set for another 3 hours.