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Gluten Free

Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip“As while other passions in your life may, at some point, begin to bank their fires, the shared happiness of good homemade food can last as long as we do.”
Jenni Ferrari-Adler

Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip is perhaps the yummiest dip I have made in a while. From an out and out eggplant hater, to one who got sold over a smokey roasted eggplant {or brinjal or ‘baingan’ as referred to here locally} one fine day, the journey was uneventful. There are some things I just will not touch with a barge-pole. Eggplant was one of those. For a long time. Until 3 years ago.

Persian Roasted Eggplant  Walnut DipThen one day I tasted a Baingan ka Bharta made by a lady who used to cook at my mothers. The flavours had me captivated, and her style of cooking this quintessential Indian vegetarian dish had me smitten. Garlicky, smokey, earthy, firey was what she presented on the table that memorable day. One bite down, and I chased her for the recipe. Simple as ever, it was a game changer for me. Then came a dip I tasted at Ruchira’s place more recently. Sold again!Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut DipThis Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip is inspired by both the recipes. The twice used garlic from the bharta, and the creaminess from the dip. Can there ever be too much garlic? For me, no. I love it with a vengeance, and here the roasted garlic pods with eggplant bit gives the dip subtle undertones. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. I love adding walnuts to dip so in they went, while the Greek yogurt adds the right creaminess that the dip demands. All in all it has a lot to offer. Go ahead and add some roasted paprika to it if you like, maybe some pomegranate pearls to give it a juicy pop of flavour and colour. Persian Roasted Eggplant & Walnut DipIn the blender and smooth, this barely takes time and is a great make ahead party option. It also doubles up as a useful ‘sauce‘ for wraps, or a sandwich spread if you like. I served the Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip with these equally earthy Rosemary Garlic Sesame Millet Crackers I made recently. The more garlicky, the better! And of course, since the dip was ready and sitting there, I decided to experiment with it for a few pictures.Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut DipJust different backgrounds, angles, light, what have you! Some work, some don’t, but the important thing is to keep experimenting. Darter & yours truly have announced our next Food Styling & Photography Workshop  in Delhi this September, our 5th one here, so it’s always fun to experiment and share ideas. Food Styling and Photography Workshop Sep 2016I tell the participants to try and shoot everyday, to constantly experiment with different backgrounds, angles, light and moods. I do just the same.

Food props, Food styling, Food Photography

Food props, Food styling, Food Photography, Flatlay, World Photography DayEveryday. With whatever I have on hand. If I haven’t baked or cooked something ‘image worthy’, then I just grab raw produce, knick-knacks or props from an earlier shoot, things lying on my desk, stuff I like, then shoot them in frame. It’s a huge learning process, and therapeutic too. The important thing is to experiment, to keep your mind open. I can never say that enough!

And that’s how I got to this delicious Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip too, with an open mind!

Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip ... earthy, smokey, moorish, delicious!
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This Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip has a lot to offer. The twice used garlic, the walnuts, then the creaminess from Greek yogurt make it endearing. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. Play around with ingredients to suit your palette. That's the beauty of dips.
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip ... earthy, smokey, moorish, delicious!
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
This Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip has a lot to offer. The twice used garlic, the walnuts, then the creaminess from Greek yogurt make it endearing. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. Play around with ingredients to suit your palette. That's the beauty of dips.
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Roasted eggplant walnut dip
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cut 1/2" slits into sides of eggplant and push in 4 cloves of unpeeled garlic. Roast over low flame {or under broiler} until charred {like for baingan ka bharta.} Leave covered in a bowl to cool.
  2. Remove garlic and press out roasted pods. Discard skin. peel off charred skin of eggplant. Chop roughly. {Can be done a day or so in advance}
  3. While the eggplant is cooling, heat ghee in heavy bottom pan and caramelise onions and garlic.
  4. Place in cooled eggplant with with caramelised onions & garlic and remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in chopped chives. Taste and adjust seasoning. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and keep for a couple of hours/overnight for flavours to mature. Top with chopped walnuts and chives.
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Eggless Cheesecake with Mango Lime Sauce

“The only way cheese is dessert is when it’s followed by the word cake.”
Michele Gorman

Eggless Cheesecake with Mango Lime Sauce must be the easiest dessert to make. Minimum fuss, barely four ingredients, one bowl dump and quick hand whisk, can’t ask for much more in a dessert for summer. I make this often, and am constantly amazed at how versatile I can get with it. Even if summer has slipped by, please make the basic cheesecake and dress it up with anything you like – a salted butter caramel sauce, a berry reduction, a dark chocolate ganache, a homemade preserve, maybe grated chocolate and toasted nuts.

Mango Dessert Collage I made a series of mango based desserts this summer. Have been busy with work, some travel, loads of house work etc. Did I mention the guinea pig? Now there are TWO just because they are social animals so a pair seemed right. Then there is Coco who now eats ALL vegetables with renewed interest trying to beat the guinea pigs at their game!

Coco with Guinea PigIn any case, that I procrastinate is quite obvious else this would have been on the blog a while ago. I made this a short while ago, and recently shared the image on Facebook and Instagram. With so many requests for the recipe, I thought I had better share it before summer sneaks by us, while a few of you can still make it.

Eggless Cheesecake with Mango Lime Sauce So here you are. A quick, eggless delicious cheesecake that is a western take on an old Indian classic, ‘bhapa doi’. Make the Eggless Cheesecake with Mango Lime Sauce a day ahead, chill well, and then enjoy the compliments that come your way. Looks like a lot of work, but all this actually needs is half an hour in total. The mango sauce compliments it beautifully, and makes it look pretty too if you ‘dress it up’ a little. I had fun cutting out shapes with a sharp cookie cutter!Eggless cheesecake I’ve baked this several times before. With summer stone fruit, a Mishti Doi Cheesecake for  a festive feel, a Salted Butter Caramel Cheesecake, and a Dark Chocolate Orange Cheesecake too.

Eggless cheesecake with summer stone fruit

Mishti Doi Eggless Baked CheesecakeSo grab your bowl and whisk and get baking!

Eggless Cheesecake with Mango Lime Sauce
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Quick, eggless delicious, the Eggless Cheesecake with Mango Lime Sauce is the Western take on an old Indian classic, 'bhapa doi'. Make it a day ahead, chill well, and then enjoy the compliments that come your way. Looks like a lot of work, but all this actually needs is half an hour in total. The Mango sauce compliments it beautifully, and makes it look pretty too.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 2-4 hours
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 2-4 hours
Eggless Cheesecake with Mango Lime Sauce
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Quick, eggless delicious, the Eggless Cheesecake with Mango Lime Sauce is the Western take on an old Indian classic, 'bhapa doi'. Make it a day ahead, chill well, and then enjoy the compliments that come your way. Looks like a lot of work, but all this actually needs is half an hour in total. The Mango sauce compliments it beautifully, and makes it look pretty too.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 2-4 hours
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 2-4 hours
Instructions
Eggless Lime Cheesecake
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 6" dessert ring with a double layer of foil to come up around the edges so the mixture doesn't leak. You can also use a loose bottomed tin but make sure you wrap it with foil too.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together all ingredients for cheesecake until smooth.
  3. Turn into prepared tin and bake for 15 minutes. Leave to cool in tin, then cover and place to chill in fridge overnight.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce for topping.
Mango Lime Sauce
  1. Place the mango juice a in a heavy bottom pan with lime zest and sugar, and cook over medium high heat until halved in quantity. {If you like a slight hint of chili, you can add half a slit deseeded green chili for 2-3 minutes, and then discard it}
  2. Once the juice has reduced, add the lime juice and corn flour stirring until it thickens to desired consistency. The sauce will thicken a bit more on cooling.
  3. Cool sauce, and then chill overnight with the cheesecake. {The sauce can be made in advance}
  4. Top with cutouts from mango slices, fresh basil leaves, flowers if in bloom. Chill until ready to serve!
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Indulgent Hot Chocolate Mix “Blustery cold days should be spend propped up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a pile of comic books.”
Bill Watterson

Hot Chocolate Mix. This mix took a long time coming. I’ve been thinking of making it forever yet for some reason winter never really ‘arrived’, if you know what I mean. Until mid January this year, we’ve had an alarmingly mild winter. It saw the mustard fields flower before time, and other such signs that could spell disaster for winter crops and the months ahead. Then thankfully a cold spell arrived just in the nick of time. Shudder to think what might have been had we not seen these last few weeks of the below 7C temperatures.Hot Chocolate Mix And that prompted me into action. The kid that loves a good hot chocolate, yet labels on hot chocolate mixes alarm me. The fine print reads a lot of stuff which shouldn’t really be in a comfort drink, leave alone in the body. It also seems oxymoron to buy something which is possibly the easiest and quickest to create at home. Hot Chocolate Mix Good quality ingredients will give you the best hot chocolate mix ever. All you need is a sturdy food processor which is probably part of every kitchen today. My thermomix whirs into action for things like this. Till today, it’s been my best kitchen buy ever. Sturdy, dependable and fun to use. Of course this mix can be made in any dry grinder too. Hot Chocolate Mix If you want to do it by hand, do try and grate the chocolate as small as possible to allow quick dissolving. Else by the time you stir in the hot water, the drink might well become cold chocolate. Not a bad idea for cooler days when they come!!

Recipe: Indulgent Hot Chocolate Mix
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Summary: Indulgent delicious Hot Chocolate Mix. Ready in minutes, this is great comfort food to have on hand in winter. It  seems oxymoron to buy something which is possibly the easiest and quickest to create at home. Good quality ingredients will give you the best hot chocolate mix ever. All you need is a sturdy food processor.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 200g milk powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped

Method:

  1. Place chocolate and brown sugar in bowl of food processor and process until powdered.
  2. Add cocoa powder, milk powder and insides of scraped vanilla bean. Process again for a minute or so until well blended.
  3. Transfer to a clear airtight jar.
  4. Use approximately 4 heaped teaspoonfuls for a mug of hot chocolate. Place mix in mug and top with boiling hot water. Stir until smooth. Top with cream or marshmallows as desired.

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