Baking | ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding … when things go wrong as they sometimes will!

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Miguel de Cervantes

Upcycled Blondie Pudding‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Puddingand whatta strange name might this be? It’s natural to wonder but you know, things happen. So I was baking YET ANOTHER BATCH {I can bake these in my sleep now} of the kids favourite blondies, and then there was an emergency. Not an emergency emergency, but one that required me to hurriedly nip out of the house to get some work done. I seldom leave while I am baking. The blondies were about done, like 5 minutes to go. I peeped in, and then thought, nah, not done. Should give them an extra 10 minutes!

Upcycled Blondie Pudding Well that’s the difference between Wholegrain Butterscotch Blondies and the‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding! Just ten minutes. TEN! Got back, they were done, cooled… and I thought, oh dear, slightly over done. The boy readied to sink his teeth into gooey, moist blondies, and was disappointed. “Ummm, NO. What did you do? You messed them up. Same taste, not gooey Mama.” It was a ‘shove the blondies down his throat now‘ sort of a moment, but I desisted.

Upcycled Blondie Pudding They sat there in the box for a few days. ‘He‘ didn’t even look at them. The dog did. Often. I was tempted to, but I couldn’t give sweet to the poor pooch. I debated what to do, then eventually ran out of patience, and thought, that’s it. Trash ‘em! As luck would have it, just that day Ruchira swung by. We were in the kitchen and the box caught her eye. ‘What’s that?’ ‘Ruined batch of blondies.’ ‘Whatchya gonna do with them?’ ‘Chuck them. Overbaked.  Too dry!’

Upcycled Blondie Pudding She took a little nibble, eyes shining said, ‘Upcycle them!’ We both dissolved into puddles of giggles as we had spent all morning discussing up-cycling furniture.  Oooh whatta good great idea that was. And that is just what I did the next morning. Such fun. Just the very name ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding gave me the energy and soon I had sweet little glasses of up-cycled dessert!

Upcycled Blondie PuddingThey were a HIT! A simple vanilla pastry cream brought together in the Thermomix in under 10 minutes. Crumbled blondies and butterscotch chips. The pastry cream smothered the dry blondies in it’s love, and the end result was love at every bite!addictive good. The spoon scraping the bottom of the glasses was the sweetest sound ever! Can’t wait for another over baked batch!

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Food Diaries | DALS THE WAY TO GO … 3 Quick Dal Recipes Made With Less Water

“If you take more of your protein from vegetable or plant-based foods, good studies have shown that you will live longer.”
Professor Jeya Henry

Dals, 3 Quick Dal Recipes Made With Less WaterThe pure comfort of that bowl of dal, the nostalgia engulfs me each time I smell the aroma of onions being fried in clarified butter. Such is the power of food, and in my opinion, these protein rich dals / lentils offer deep deep comfort in every bowl. The humble khichadi is the meal on the go at our place, with dollops of home made yogurt and kumquat green chilli pickle. Did I forget a liberal drizzle of ghee? Yes please!

DalsLiving in India, dal was synonymous with meals when we grew up. From the bowl that I loved, to many that I didn’t, the dal journey has come a long way. There was dal served on the many long train journeys from Delhi to Bangalore as we were growing up, to diluted iquidy dals served in the Officers Mess where we dined often. There was the piquant luxurious ambi wali dal in UP during the summer. Working at the airport in the late 1980’s saw many a midnight meal after flight departures at dhabas that dotted the vicinity. Nothing could beat the comfort of that dhaba dal with the fresh tandoori roti. Pure magic. As always, dhabas in India never disappoint.

Dals From the dhaba to Bukhara, as small bowl of Dal Bukhara and there is born another memory. This one is a truly indulgent dal, one which is a  tradition in itself, a dal simmered over slow coal fires all night long, a world renowned dal. My memories of this dal go back to the late 80’s and early 90’s … the taste lingers on.

DalsThat’s the power of food, and the power of dal. Yet another dal milestone came by way of home science in school. We mastered the Moong Dal with Spinach, and post marriage this was the only dal I cooked, day in and day out. It’s the only one I was confident about. I am sure the house was FED UP with my lack of creativity but no one said a word. The only other alternative I offered was Moong Masoor Dal, a quick 5 minute dal that my mother often made. I still make that a lot. I love the flavours. A tadka of zeera, garlic and hari mirch complete it.

DalsNow my dal repertoire has grown with many years of food blogging and traveling across India. I love the pure comfort of dals from Uttar Pradesh to the genius use of dals down south. Every part of India celebrates this macro nutrient or power house of protein in their own special way. From a finger licking good haleem, to a Parsi dhansak, to moong dal dhoklas and cheelas, the more you indulge in this cheapest form of protein the better. Dress it up, sizzle it, grind it to perfection, simmer it to luxury, or soak it into a salad, DALS THE WAY TO GO!

DalsTo mark World Water Day, I’m here with Tata I-Shakti dals to serve you three easy dal recipes that require minimum water to wash since they are unpolished. They cook faster too. The recipes use very little water in ingredients. One simple salad inspired by a typical Koshambri a dear friend made a few months ago, though his was with carrots, radish and peanuts. DAL 3 ways with Tata I-ShaktiThe bhune masale wali masoor dal is an old UP favourite which has been stepped up using seasonal greens, rocket in this case, as I have it growing in abundance. The peppery leaves add interesting flavour to it, and reduces the requirement for extra water. The third is a really quick coconut based dal chutney that I learnt when I was in Bangalore recently.

DalsAll these recipes are dal based, so naturally protein and fibre rich. With their high fibre content, pulses lower cholesterol levels and protect the heart. They are also an important source of iron and vitamin B in a vegetarian diet.  Pulses are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fibre. According to the World Health Organisation, dals are a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

DalsDo you have a favourite way of doing dal? I’d love to know.

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Travelogue | Pune on my mind … another trip down memory lane

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
Anita Desai

Pune DiariesThe sweet Cookaroo stopped by the other day to meet Coco, our little cocker spaniel. She carried some Misal Pav with her. Misal Pav is a traditional Maharashtrian dish usually made with sprouted moong dal/lentils, served with a local bread, pav. Like a blast from the past, the flavours took me back to a visit to Pune a couple of years ago. We were a bunch of food bloggers en route to Baramati invited to visit the Four Seasons Winery. That trip was special as we hit it off well. A common factor tied us together… food! Wine too actually.

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India With a burgeoning number of affordable hotels in Pune, it’s worth a visit especially if you go in season. Also known as the Queen of the Deccan or Oxford of the East, the cultural capital of Maharashtra offers you a glimpse into a different side of India. For me, the old world charm tempts me to go back. It’s a city I’ve been to a few times, the first visit almost 5 years ago. At the time, Pune was awakening to the IT scene, and change was noticeable.

Pune DiariesIt was a visible energetic young IT crowd versus the retired services crowd that chose Pune as the destination for their sunset years. Zippy cars wrestled for road space with vintage fiats, heralds and ambassadors, old Parsi couples strolled with oblivion as chatty groups of youngsters raced by queuing up for the seasons fresh Alphonso ice cream. The city embraced the past with ease as it marched into the promising future.

Pune DiariesPune is now both a holiday destination and a bustling business hub. For me as a tourist, the old world charm still rules. A stopover at the Mall Road is a must. It is fascinating to see the old Badhani Waferwala still holding fort with glitzy cafes springing up around. Cheese & Widow Wafers sell as much as burgers and pizzas!

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India As times have gone by, the city has grown. So have hotel options including several affordable budget hotels in Pune. It is amazing to see the variety of properties you can choose from these days from 3 star hotels in Pune to high end properties and resorts. The city has them all!

Dabeli, Pune DiariesFor a foodie, Pune offers some of the most fun food, especially street food. That brings me to Misal Pav. Bedekar Tea Stall is famous for its Misal Pav and is quite a star attraction. If you are even more adventurous, then do try some ‘real’ street food too, quite literally off the street!. The sweet lady in her make shift cart pampered us with goodness. She made us the most yummiest Vada Pavs ever, so typical of this region.

Pune Diaries Pune is quite warm during the day. We guzzled down loads of fresh coconut water. Few steps down the road, and cartloads of summer fruit greeted us … strawberries, mulberries, fresh figs and more. We bought them by the kilos the day we were due to fly back home. It is near impossible to find such luscious gorgeous fruit back in the plains of North India!

Pune DiariesWill quickly touch on a few spots around Pune which were memorable. The Turf Club for its nostalgic ambiance, a legacy that the British left behind. And as I mentioned earlier, a quick trot up and down the Mall Road of course. I discovered a small shop tucked away in a corner selling vintage collectibles! My spoon collection took wings!!

Shinde Chhatri, Pune DiariesAnother beautiful spot to stop by is the Shinde Chhatri, a memorial dedicated to the 18th century military leader Mahadji Shinde of the Maratha army under the Peshwas from 1760 to 1780. With exquisite architecture and intricate carvings, it is one of the most significant landmarks in the city reminiscent of the Maratha rule.

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India And if you have a couple of extra days, might I suggest a day trip or so to the vineyards that surround outer Pune? We visited the Four Seasons Winery in Baramati and it was a fantastic experience. Just one look at the images and you know the promise a visit to the winery holds!

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