Baking | Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers, and a quick Hummus #comfortfood #simple #savoury

“Comfort food….food that reassures. Is different things to different people.”
David Tanis

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & HummusOat & Wheat Cheese Crackers, and a quick Hummus…for one of those days when you are tired, feeling under the weather and craving comforting food. For days like this only quick, simple and flavourful seriously works. For days like these, a food processor is your best friend. Nothing to beat a workhorse that does everything, takes the work out of the cooking or baking, pampers you unknowingly, and delivers like nothing else!

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus I had a bunch of chickpeas left over as I boiled extra the other day while stirring up a quick chickpea curry. I always boil extra chickpeas as having some on hand offers plenty of quick rustle up food ideas. Salads for one. I made this layered savoury chickpea parfait often. Doubles up as a healthy, filling and quite delicious tiffin too!

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus But I was in a mood for crackers. Just one of those strange days where I craved baking something savoury, and had an idea in my head. Working as a fit foodie makes me constantly strive for fun wholegrain alternatives to things. They got to be yum too. I used butter in these crackers, but I think you could easily use olive oil. I might throw in some ground nut meal too the next time to substitute some of the flour. Just a thought…and more ideas to work on!Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus The hummus happened as I was inspired by a quick hummus recipe that popped into my inbox not so long ago. I recall it having sesame paste as optional and it stayed in my head. There is nothing much to a hummus or chickpea dip. Just throw a bunch of ingredients into the faithful food processor, give them a whir. Balance flavours as you so desire.

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus More garlic if you are like us, more lime juice too. Plenty of extra virgin olive oil, maybe fresh herbs. Skip the smoked  paprika if you don’t have some on hand, degi mirch {kashmiri mirch} or red chili flakes. I have to say though that smoked paprika adds some fine earthy, moorish flavours to the dip…

Wholemeal Crackers with Baba Ghanoush & Muhammara There are other dips you could try. A Quark, Garlic and Chives Dip, Baba Ghanoush or Muhamarra would be wonderful here too. Else if nothing else, some nice cheese, fruit and wine will complete your cheese board.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Travelogue | Jaipur… a trip down memory lane #India #travel #Jaipur

Atithi Devo Bhawah” Maharaja Jai Singh II

Jaipur, IndiaWriting about my trip into Old Delhi not so long ago evoked considerable interest. India has such a diverse and vibrant map, that it’s fun to talk about what the country has to offer. Sometimes getting off a recipe allows me to pursue something I enjoy otherwise, travel through India. I’ve done a fair bit of travel across the length and breath of this beautiful land. It’s a wonderful feeling to share a few bytes!Srinagar March 2014 We spent precious days in Srinagar in March last year, probably our most memorable trip in a while as we flew into the beautiful valley. Srinagar was truly ‘Paradise on Earth’. Soon after, bitten by the travel bug yet again, we headed for Leh, another absolute gem but so different from anything you can think of. We couldn’t get enough of it, and will hopefully go back there someday!Leh, Kashmir 2014

Leh, Kashmir 2014India is as diverse as diverse can be. Every nook and corner has something special to offer. Living in the NCR makes travel to cities like Agra, Jaipur and Amritsar quite easy to visit. Just a road trip away, it’s time to dive into one of my favourite cities to explore – Jaipur. With good expressways that lead to a city ready for international tourists, if you drive to Jaipur, make sure you take a breakfast or tea break at one of the dhabas en route!En route Jaipur, November 2014Winter is generally high season and even though there are a number of budget hotels in Jaipur, getting a reservation is quite difficult. Book in advance if possible, especially if you plan to be there during the festival season.  We visited Jaipur a couple of months ago as guests of the JW Marriott. While this might cater to slightly high budget guests, there are a number of affordable hotels in Jaipur as well.

Jaipur MarriottWith festivals like the Jaipur Literature Festival held annually since 2006, there are a plethora of hotel options available. If on a shoestring budget like friends of mine who visited in November last year, the best option would be bed and breakfast hotels in Jaipur.  Once comfortably settled in, the city is yours to enjoy.

Jaipur Marriott, O2 SpaWe had a really nice tour guide and taxi that the hotel provided. What ensured was two days of fun, fun and more fun. Jaipur is a beautiful city with the awe inspiring architecture, so well looked after too. Heritage around every corner, it is really well planned. The Pink City as Jaipur is also called, is truly ready for the global tourist, and is a photographers delight!

Jaipur , the Pink City courtesy Jaipur MarriottSpots not to be missed … to begin with , the City Palace. It can knock your breath away. Beautifully maintained, clean, embellished  doors in the central courtyard for every season, puppet shows, some souvenir shops too. Interesting bric a brac, old buggeys, family trees all delight the visitor.

Jaipur IndiaJust outside the city palace is Hawa Mahal, an architectural marvel. Dated in history, it’s a beautiful facade that has hundreds of small balconies and windows that allowed women in purdah to sit within and watch processions in the days of yore. The Hawa Mahal has a fascinating facade, while interesting shops dot the street around. Clothes, quilts, leather, silver, accessories, souvenirs … but don’t forget to bargain as you can get easily fleeced!Jaipur IndiaYour next stop should be Amer Fort sitting atop a hill. Just the drive up to the fort will amaze you. Precision of architecture, huge bolstered walls made of heavy rocks, beautiful landscape. One is filled with wonder at how something so gigantic and perfect could have been constructed so many hundred years ago. Yet another well maintained historical building, and it is heartening to see so many local tourists visiting the fort over weekends.

lunch @ Okra, Jaipur MarriottHow can you visit a city and not eat? If you are looking for fine dining, head straight for the JW Marriot. With four classy restaurants, there is something for everyone there. The 24 hour coffee shop will leave you wishing your stomach was an endless pit. The choice blows you away, with the freshest best food. If it’s Indian you crave, the Saffron is highly recommended. Make sure you try a signature smoked butter chicken, silky smooth saffron paneer, finger licking good maa ki dal and garlic naan. Also make time to stop by the Jaipur Baking Company at the hotel as it churns out the best freshly baked goodies money can buy!

Spice Court JaipurIf you are out in the city, and would like a quick meal stop then the Spice Court will not disappoint. We had the best famous Lal Maas at the beautiful Spice Court. The restaurant has a colonial feel to it, and offers a nice laid back atmosphere. No one seems to be in a hurry. For the sweet tooth, just alongside is a patisserie which offers the great desserts. Enter it and for a moment you get transported to a Parisian cafe.

Jaipur, IndiaWe hit the best local food joints too, and we couldn’t get enough of them. Must tries include pani poories, local word famous ghewar and of course the kachoris. Go with an appetite because the kachoris in Jaipur cannot be found elsewhere. Rawat ki Kachori has the best {read BEST} kachoris in town. Eat a couple, pack a few …you will not regret carrying back ‘the taste of Jaipur’. It one of the only ways to keep the holiday alive after you leave the Pink City!

Don’t miss a post Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake … for the love of baking & blogging

“Bake with love…”
Manuela Kjeilen

Dark Chocolate Mousse CakeChocolaty, chocolaty, chocolaty, this Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake is a chocolate lovers delight. Make ahead and not very difficult, it’s a lovely cake to make for a special occasion.The instructions might appear a little involved, but once you read them a couple of times, you can see it’s not to difficult. After all, a special occasion cake must have ‘some work’ to make it special!

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake So the other day Simi asked on FB…I think valentine’s day dessert is more to feed the blog than the valentine. Seriously, who agrees with me ??? It was quite interesting {and quite predictable too} to see blogs well fed over V Day! It’s been a trend for a few years now. Come V Day and loads of RED pops up across the globe! Such fun to see the creativity.

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake I am quite the same. The blog must be looked after, in turn the love shared with the readers. That the family gets to eat the goodies is just purely coincidental and good fortune IMHO!  I don’t think I could’ve attempted so many different techniques and desserts religiously over the years had it not been for this little blog!

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake This cake happened also because of the KitchenAid contest. I spoke about it when I recently shared the Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch Blondies recipe. It’s a fun contest, even if only for participation sake, and Ruchira’s been telling us for long to send our entries in. I think I got lazy, until the bakeware arrived. Then the mind began to think.Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte I first thought a Charlotte like the Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte. With strawberries really painting the bazaar red, chocolate seemed a good pairing. So the saviordi went chocolate, and eventually I settled for a dark chocolate mousse filling. The mousse might make for a really nice stand alone mousse dessert too, after you play around with quantities a bit. That seems a likely possibility in the near future.

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte The saviordi recipe is based on a basic one I used a while ago when I did a tiramisu from scratch, zabaglione, mascarpone from scratch and all. That was one marathon baking session, and I can’t imagine what possessed me! As compared to that, this cake is an absolute cake walk!

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake So go on, try baking this cake someday. Be creative, take a leap of imagination. Do a genoise sponge base if you like, with a liqueur spiked mousse. Maybe a coffee chocolate combination, maybe vanilla orange, or a salted butter caramel swirled in there somehow. The possibilities are infinite, with baking fun galore!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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