Thursday, March 31, 2011

Almond Mocha Brownies to Celebrate 8 Fabulous Years at Infoedge....

Nothing is work unless you'd rather be doing something else.
George Halas

A good boss makes his men realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they consistently do better work than they thought they could.
~Charles Erwin Wilson

This is exactly what my bosses n mentors have done for the last 8 years.... Sanjeev, Hitesh, Ambarish, Simeryn, Saroja, Ayesha, Vivek, Vibhore, Deepali, Vineet and Partha have been my mentors and bosses... It's on 31st March 2003 when I joined Infoedge fresh out of business school..... In 8 years I've learnt so much in Infoedge, not just about work but so many other things which are way more important in life....

Celebrating 8 years at Infoedge with my favorite flavours, making Almond Mocha Brownies....

These brownies are rich, dense and full of flavours like all my years at Infoedge... Have seen it grow from Fledgling to Eagle... few lakhs to many crores.... very proud of the entire team...

We've had a blast working.... making new products, analyzing data, drawing up marketing plans, managing ad campaigns.... late nights... revamps....these times spent in office have been most fun despite being the most tiring.... leading to winning contests...

This was the training workshop which changed so much for me... so many new friends, a fresh new perspective.... a super experience. How can we forget what the long meetings would do to Shiv..... The wonderful 'Prashikshan' workshops where many eminent personalities spoke with us....

Have hosted some lovely parties on my birthday at home...... we've had loads of fun... pictionary and tambola being an important part of all the parties with free flowing alcohol and yummy food. It was so much fun organising the Spring theme & Red n White parties.....

Our outdoor camping, rafting and parasailing trips have been really adventurous. Have had the most fun with Vivek, Julie, Puneet Makkar and Puneet Chawla(Mad Hatter) amongst others. The Tunganath trip stands out as the most difficult yet exciting one.

Diwali parties in office have been a blast... dressing up for fashion shows, shine n shimmer, dabangifying the show... spreading cheer n festivity...... poking fun at all the seniors(risking our jobs n appraisals)... making special presentations and awards.... awesome shows hosted by Payal and Harveen...

All festivals and special days like Independence day n Christmas saw us coming together and doing all sorts of crazy stuff.... The boys would constantly be pushed into doing off-the-cuff stuff at these celebrations making for some very precious memories....

Lots of weddings and new family members were added.... some farewells were much more painful that others... but they were friends for life.... Food and food trips (esp to Chandni Chowk) have always been a huge highlight for all of us...

I saw these Brownies on Martha Stewart's site and lost my heart.... I just had to make these for my celebration....

Almond Mocha Brownies
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
few toasted almonds for garnishing

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 9-inch square baking pan with butter. Line bottom and two sides with a strip of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the two sides. Butter paper, and set pan aside. In a small bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. Place butter and chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of gently simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes; remove bowl from pan. Add sugar; mix to combine. Add eggs, and mix to combine. Add flour mixture; mix just until moistened (do not overmix). Add instant espresso powder. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.
3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan for 30 minutes. Using paper overhang, lift brownies out of pan; transfer to a rack to cool completely (still on paper). On a cutting board, using a dampened serrated knife, cut into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.

The parties we've done are just something else... most of the censored pictures are still censored. all the people who attended these will see these pictures n have huge grins across their faces.... just like I do now :))))
A few party rituals, lots of pictures of people and food n drinks.... crazy pictures of silly things we did... insane behavior n total masti.....

There is so much more to life at infoedge, 1 post isn't enough to capture them all. Would like to thank everyone who made these 8 wonderful years pass by in a jiffy... Would I change anything about them.... [In retrospect No, yet some stuff for improvement yes]... Just like I won't change a thing in these brownies....

Sending these warm fudgy brownies to wish Divya all the best for her 3rd Blog Anniversary e-Party and she is giving away a gooey gooey brownie book!!! Pl drop by to wish her...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Waldorf Salad

Apples at hand and a friend coming over to meet my sister..... Salad is the first thought...

Washington Apple Commission India office contacted me about the launch of Washington Apples in India. Had made Steamed Pudding and Apple Crumble with the Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Cripps Pink. Have decided to use the Gala and Fuji to make Waldorf Salad.

Waldorf Salad
1 medium Apple, cored and coarsely chopped
1 medium Tomato, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup halved grapes
1 Cucumber; peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup reduced calorie mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/3 cup lemon flavor yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
Slices of Feta Cheese
Lettuce leaves (optional)
[be sure to wash all ingredients well]
1.Toss together the apples, celery, grapes, feta cheese and tomatoes in a large bowl.
2.Stir together the mayonnaise or salad dressing, yogurt and honey in a small bowl; fold gently into fruit mixture.
3.Cover and chill for an hour or so.
4.Serve on lettuce leaves if desired or just chop them up n toss them in just before serving.

Health Benefits
The proverb "An apple a day keeps the doctor away.", addressing the health effects of the fruit, dates from the 19th century Wales. Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Compared to many other fruits and vegetables, apples contain relatively low amounts of vitamin C, but are a rich source of other antioxidant compounds. The fiber content, while less than in most other fruits, helps regulate bowel movements and may thus reduce the risk of colon cancer. They may also help with heart disease, weight loss, and controlling cholesterol. The fiber contained in apples reduces cholesterol by preventing reabsorption, and (like most fruits and vegetables) they are bulky for their caloric content Source-Wikipedia.

I enjoyed the freshness of this crunchy salad..... It's an ideal thing to serve to hungry lawyers who come home after a hard day of work..... :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Washington Apples come to India, We steam them into puddings and bake them into Apple Crumble

Steamed Apple pudding.... mix them with fruits or mix them with chocolate chips n walnuts or just bake them with a crumble.... either ways we're keeping the doctor away.....

Washington Apple Commission India office contacted me about the launch of Washington Apples in India. Had to excuse myself as I was busy with my sister's wedding. They very sweetly sent across a lovely gift pack of the produce for me to try out....

The varieties in my box-of-goodies were Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Cripps Pink and Braeburn. There is loads of more information on their website You can view the rest of their varieties here. Since apples are seasonal fruits... view their availability here. They have some nice dessert recipes here(wish they had original pics and ran a contest for user's pictures). What I kept wondering was... How are these apples so picture perfect??? just no marks on their skin.... Then I read about the concept of 'Edible Wax' on the fruit for protection and meant to be washed off in a good wash before consumption. I am not quite comfortable with this idea... hence spent ages washing the fruit well before consumption.

Now that they are washed n clean... let me bite into these juicy, flavourful n gorgeous produce.
Since I had hurt my foot and was barely able to hobble around the kitchen so something complicated was out of question. Washington Apple Commission India office informs me that the apples have a shelf life of about a week when kept in refrigerator... How could I let such lovely produce wait even for a day.... So I had my neighbour come over to help.... He kept me in great company and yes did earn his dessert by zesting some oranges for me.... while making a presentation for work...

Using my new corer cum slicer, I set about very purposefully... couldn't stop grinning at the lovely Apple Flower I got .... This time I added chocolate pieces to the Apple crumble... they were lovely melted n gooey after baking. The next addition was Cinnamon Sugar from FabIndia... Yes I did over indulge with this shaker....

My flavour mix for the pudding bowls.
Fruity:Cherries soaked in Brandy, BlackCurrant Jam.
Warm Spice: cinnamon and cloves.
Chocolatey: Chocolate Chips, Orange Jam and Fresh Orange Zest

The beautiful ramekins were gifted to me by Gauri of Backyard Baker for my Birthday, earlier this year. I was waiting for something suitable to bake in them especially with me hobbling around... These apples were just the right thing.... Thank you Gauri :)

Red Delicious(sweet, juicy and has crisp yellow flesh; for eating as is or for salads), Golden Delicious(very well suited for salads; for Squishy used like sauces), Granny Smith(tart and crisp; mostly pies and baking, even salads) and Cripps Pink(sweet, mildly tart and crisp in texture; for eating, salads and baking.) were used in my pudding bowls.

I made a homogeneous mixture of 2 beaten eggs(1/2 for each bowl used), 1 cup Flour(1/4 for each bowl used), 4 level tablespoons of Sugar (1 for each bowl used), 1 scraped Vanilla Bean (1/4 for each bowl used). Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Divide the batter amongst, chopped apples into each bowl. Sprinkle some cinnamon to bring out the flavour.
Add the different flavours for each bowl.... I went quite over board with them, 1 was with Orange Jam, Fresh Orange Zest and chocolate chips. Another was with nutella(ah good old nutella... *huge starry eyed grin on my face*) Walnuts and Chocolate chips....
After all the preparation... I find out that sometime between the time I put on the onen to pre-heat and my mixing the flavours... THE-OVEN-STOPPED-HEATING.... Wails of distress....
Raced my mind quickly, how do I save these fabulous bowls of flavour...... I remembered my 1st Daring Baker Challenge where the cooking method was steaming. I quickly set about heating some water in small water baths to steam these apple pudding ramekins...

Apple Crumple: was a real quick fix for my dessert craving neighbour(who refuses to be photographed) His dad liked it too. The over board shaker of Cinnamon Sugar was toned with Vanilla Icecream..... Apple Crumple with Icecream was a yummy combination.
Chocolate Apple Pudding:This was rated the best by my neighbour in appearance.
Fruity Apple Pudding: This was rated the best by my neighbour on taste cause I also put in a few grapes and they added a tanginess to the fruity flavours.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Banoffee Pie with double dose of 'ffee' for Swati n Richa

Does working in different business verticals, being on different floors stop us[Swati, Richa and me] from being upto monkey business..... We are at it again... take a look for yourself....
The double dose of 'ffee' was for Coffee and Toffee.... both of which are a fav with us.
Swati and Richa have both moved on to different workplaces..... This post is being pulled out of my drafts folder to say.... Miss you guys...

Thanks Swati for the totally yummy n healthy salad you sent across for me :)

Banoffee Pie
2 Ripe Bananas
1 Tin Sweetened Condensed Milk
250 ml Double Cream[Whipped]
2 tablespoons Coffee Powder
Coffee Powder or Chocolate Chips for decoration.

For the Base:
1/2 packet Glucose Biscuits [abt 100gms]
60 gm Butter [softened, not melted]
20gm Grain Sugar

For the Base:
1. Crush the glucose biscuits finely [not to powder], mix in the granular sugar.
2. Bind them together with the softened butter till the mixture is course. [i use the back of a spoon, you could use ure hands if you like]
3. Place this on the base of the dish in which you want to make the pie and serve.
4. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

For the Toffee:
1. Put the condensed milk in a heavy bottom pan and gently bring to the boil stirring continuously so mixture does not burn.
2. Boil till it is a light caramel.
3. Don't over do it as it will make the toffee too hard.
4. Split the toffee into 2 bowls, add the coffee to 1 bowl and mix well
1. Slice the bananas over the biscuit base.
2. Pour cooled toffee over sliced bananas, using the 2 separate bowls in layers.
You may want to do a double layer aswell for the love of the banoffee.. :-)
3. Beat the cream until stiff and cover the toffee
4. Chill (it's very important)
5. Just before serving sprinkle Coffee powder or chocolate chips for decoration.

Swati: Thank you !! :* heaven on earth....
Before she ate: Woohoo...i luv surprises :))
Waiting !!
After she ate: Banofee wid da twist.....i am lucky to eat the whole thing coz dad does not take bananna n mom has too much of cough n cold....both of them hd a bite da whole thing is for me...yippee :))
Yummmiiiillliiiooouuusssss :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

All my answers in Orange Lemon Sugarfree Panna cotta

“Orange is the happiest color.” says Frank Sinatra

After making Pannacotta for the February Daring Baker Challenge, with what else could I wish Babaji Happy birthday.... Making Parshad is always such a delight... :)

The Orange, Lemon Sugarfree panacotta is a winner all the way... why?
This is the single answer to so many dietary restrictions... Diabetic (Sugarfree), Egg Allergy(No Egg), Migraine(No Chocolate, No Coffee).

The song 'IF TODAY WAS YOUR LAST DAY' is ringing in my head..... Birthday's are the start of a new year.. a new you and what all would we really like to do....
Just can't get this song from the album Dark Horse by Nickelback out of my head.....


My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If Today Was Your Last Day
and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday'
Would you live each moment like your last'
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have'
If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life
What's worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts 'cause there's no second try
So live like you'll never live it twice
Don't take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day
and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday'
Would you live each moment like your last'
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have'
Would you call old friends you never see'
Reminisce of memories
Would you forgive your enemies'
Would you find that one you're dreamin' of'
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart'
You know it's never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
'Cause you can't rewind a moment in this life
Let nothin' stand in your way
Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day
and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday'

Would you live each moment like your last'
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have'
Would you call old friends you never see'
Reminisce of memories
Would you forgive your enemies'
Would you find that one you're dreamin' of'
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Strawberry n Almond Brownies, Filling in the Craving

Had bid adieu to strawberries in my earlier post..... but I found some more nice ones in the market.... quickly put them into my basket lest they vanish....
I won't have too much to say in this post..... this anecdote will spill the nutty beans[pun intended]...

A young man was at the dentist for a check up. With much tutting, the dentist examined all his teeth. Finally he announced crossly "Young Man, you've been eating far too many sweet things, several of your teeth need filling."
"Oh goody!" he replied happily. "Can I have chocolate filling please?"

My neighbour Gaurav, has been eating loads of my Chocolate Peanut Peppermint Brittle, Chocolate Fudge and now Chocolate Strawberry Brownies...

It's actually true... He's been going to the dentist for fillings... does that stop him from chomping away at my Strawberry n Almond Brownies.... nahhhhh..... the brownie monster chomps them all up in 1 go... :)

Just before saying a final Bye Bye for the season to strawberries[only till next year :) ]....sending these fruitful brownies to wish Divya all the best for her 3rd Blog Anniversary e-Party and she is giving away a gooey gooey brownie book!!! Pl drop by to wish her...

Gaurav says... You are an absolute rockstar baker...!!! Awesome stuff!!!!