Baking | Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pesto … In season with bell peppers

“… the way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world. Daily, our eating turns nature into culture, transforming the body of the world into our bodies and minds.” 
Michael Pollan

Roasted bell pepper pesto Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pesto is what my roasted bell peppers were headed for! It’s strange how winter in the subcontinent is different from winter in the west. Come winter and the local bazaars are flooded with the best of fresh produce. It’s the time of the year when colours paint the vegetable shops in brilliant hues. It’s time for bell peppers, celery, broccoli, strawberries, cape gooseberries, mustard greens, fenugreek, garlic greens, beets and beet greens, juicy tomatoes ... and of course truckloads of cauliflower!

herbs veggies fruitsThis year we’ve had a deluge of local bell peppers. At a dollar and a half a kilo, these beauties are a steal. I toss bell peppers into just about everything. The kids thankfully love them in every form, the dog is a willing accomplice too. Any obliging little bits that jump off the chopping board head straight into Coco’s greedy little mouth!

Roasted bell peppersEach time I bake something, I throw in a few peppers  to roast alongside. I love char grilling them; sometimes use the Air Fryer when the oven isn’t on! Roasted bell peppers work well in tossed into pastas, in salads, in sandwiches, on bruschetta, also in pasta sauces.

Roasted bell pepper pesto Which brings me to the pesto. It’s absolutely brilliant and so adaptable! Play around with the ingredients as you like. Use the pesto in a pasta sauce, as a sandwich spread, as a dip, thin it out as a salad dressing, add it to a chicken bake, in quesadillas, with kebabs, stuff it into roast potatoes, even add it to soup …. it never fails to please!

Roasted bell pepper pesto I LOVE it paired with peppery arugula which is growing with wild abandon in my very neglected patch. Add a little feta, maybe caramelised onions, some smoked chicken ham to please the kids …. and I’m in business! I love a good green pesto too, and you can well imagine where my next bunch of arugula is headed! What is your most fun way to use pesto? And which pesto do you love the most?

Nirlep Anodized CookwarePlease don’t forget to enter the ‘Nirlep Handi giveaway‘ if you have an Indian address. I’ve been cooking up a storm in mine. You could soon be doing the same very soon! The giveaway ends tomorrow!

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

No Bake | Cherry Frozen Yogurt … summer is for stone fruit #lovestonefruit

“I doubt whether the world holds for any one a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice-cream.”
Heywood Broun

Fresh Cherry Frozen YogurtCherry Fro Yo … you could fall in love with the colour alone. My heart skipped a beat when I started whirring the thermomix. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Deep, red, bursting with flavour. It was love at first sight! At first bite too!!

Fresh Cherry Frozen Yogurt Tis the season for frozen desserts. Mangoes have been around for a bit but they aren’t at their juiciest tastiest best yet. Next came plums, and hot on their heels cherries. Cherries are what win my heart over year after year.

cherriesI think they are the best fruit of all; immense possibilities. I’ve had a good run this season already. Other than popping loads into my mouth, I’ve done a crisp and loads of balsamic cherries. They’re a great way to top a dessert, a cheesecake or even a sundae. I topped a dark chocolate mousse with some. Heaven!!

Fresh Cherry Frozen Yogurt I had about 1/3rd box leftover the other day. A fro yo was dancing in my head after I spoke to the sweet Cookaroo. She was having a field day down south making chikoo ice cream and mango sorbet to beat the heat. I had to make something frozen soon!

Fresh Cherry Frozen Yogurt There was yogurt hanging in the fridge for a potato salad. That was enough to get me on the frozen yogurt trip. I’ve made a Fresh Cherry Fro Yo 2 years ago, a recipe that cooked the cherries down etc. I decided to go the raw way this time. Something newer, something fresher!

Fresh Cherry Frozen Yogurt How much can you go wrong with fresh luscious juicy cherries, yogurt and sugar? Throw some kirsch in and you’ll be licking the bowl clean. Just what happened to me. This recipe is headed off to a monthly challenge called  ‘Our Growing Edge‘ hosted at Bunny Eats Design, a beautiful blog penned by Genie.

Our Growing Edge is the part of us that is still learning and experimenting. It’s the part that you regularly grow and improve, be it from real passion or a conscious effort.

This monthly event aims to connect and inspire us to try new things and to compile a monthly snapshot of what food bloggers are getting up to.

Genie is a graphic designer obsessed with food and bunnies and lives in New Zealand. Her initiative above aims to connect and inspire us to try new things and to compile a monthly snapshot of what food bloggers are getting up to. This is one food experience I just had to share!

Cherries, , stone fruit, summerFresh Cherry Frozen Yogurt ‘Heartachingly’, 300g of cherries made just a small quantity of frozen yogurt. It’s ironical that when you make a small teeny amount of anything, it comes out amazingly good! This must have been the best fro yo I’ve made. Best on all counts – colour, taste, depth of flavour, burst of fruit. YUM!!

Fresh Cherry Frozen Yogurt I can see loads of this beautiful fro yo through summer. Maybe a cherry buttermilk sorbet too. Also loads of red splashes all over the kitchen, tiles and all, while pitting these juicy berries. Beware of the red drips, murderous red! Years of pitting have ensured I wear an apron. The black apron tells no tales! The tiles can be scrubbed clean!

Plum Fro Yo for BBC GFYou can make fro yo pops too. I’ve done a plum version of  fro yo in an ‘eggless desserts’ feature I did for BBC Good Food this month. It’s the Plum Fro Yo {picture above} and is quite as delectable as the cherry fro yo. The collage below has the different desserts I created and shot for them. The magazine is on the shelves now. A digital version is available here.

Eggless Desserts for BBC Good Food

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Baking | Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau … deep, dark, delicious & flour-less!

“If chocolate is the answer, the question is irrelevant.”

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone GateauThe Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau came about 3 days ago. I needed to wanted to bake a cake for our anniversary. There was inspiration aplenty with fresh strawberries from a recent trip to the Baramati vineyards near Pune urging me to do something. Preferably something good. The cake is a result of the many ideas that were brimming in my crowded head.

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau My thoughts included something chocolate, definitely dark chocolate. Also something flourless as I attempt to cut back on flour and carbs. Almond meal was a choice, but that funnily that didn’t happen even though I love baking with almond meal. Pistachios got included because some good folk sent me a bag to taste.

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau Homemade mascarpone increasingly a natural choice as it is far better behaved than the low fat cream that we get here. It obliges in charming way, so I made a batch the previous night. Balsamic strawberries came around in an attempt to stop my recent shopping from spoilage as the mercury rises! And finally, the meringue on top because I find the effect quite captivating and whimsical. Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau I’ve done a Chocolate Meringue Strawberry Cream Slice and Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake in the past, so I know the combination and technique work well. This time around the almonds were replaced with pistachio slivers, the play of colours quite intriguing.

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau Needed a mood uplift as I have been feeling rather unaccomplished of late. Too much work = too much stress = no time for fun stuff. This gateau was fun!

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau 4It’s a cake as simple as it gets. No flour, so no gluten. The texture is rich and moist. Eggs, sugar, chocolate and a little water is all it takes. I threw in some pure vanilla extract too.

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau A meringue on top always bakes up rustic pretty. Slivered nuts like almonds or pistachios add to the charm. The play of colours is visually uplifting as well. If your meringue begins to colour up too quick, tent it with some foil. My oven uses just the lower element for baking so the top is safe.

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau Mr PAB was amazed at the cake; couldn’t believe that it was flour-less. Praised it endlessly and thought I was a magician! I did feel quite accomplished eventually even though there are plenty of flour-less cakes around. A bonus is that this one has no butter!

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau It turned out to be a pretty cake. Pretty delicious too! Moist, dark, deep, chocolaty, indulgent, fruity, therapeutic, flour-less,  sans butter … and fun!

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