Baking| Strawberry Almond Roulade {Gluten free} … baking for a friend!

“A recipe is not meant to be followed exactly… it is a canvas on which you can embroider.”
Roger Verge

Strawberry Almond Roulade {Gluten free}Its been a busy few days, and I can feel the blog pressure more than ever before! It’s not that I don’t bake; it’s just that I don’t seem to find the time to blog the baking, or more importantly get those pictures out of the camera! I made this gluten free Strawberry & Cream Swiss Roll a few days ago for an impromptu dessert as Mr PAB was on my case…Strawberry Almond Roulade {Gluten free}“What’s for dessert?” he pestered the day before. “Nothing? Why?” As if the pressure of feeding the blog wasn’t bad enough, I could see that the family suffering sugar cravings. We had guests for dinner and made this in a hurry; big hurry. Wasn’t sure if it would bake, roll or come out right as I became the queen of substitutions as I worked the recipe.Strawberry Almond Roulade {Gluten Free}I had in mind the basic sponge that I always use for a Swiss roll { 3ggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour}. Then a sudden burst of inspiration, or rather madness,and I decide to experiment. Flour was replaced with almond meal and I threw in an extra egg. As it baked, it looked puffy and uneven and I was mentally calculating the time I had to make something else. Otherwise, I’d just serve strawberries and cream …Strawberry Almond Roulade {Gluten Free}Thankfully it baked alright, looked slightly uneven yet obligingly rolled. The end result was delicious, filling and all! It delivered a nice crumb and a beautiful marriage of flavours. It’s a basic recipe, an idea that you can use as a springboard. Customise it to your taste, pipe some graffiti all over the top to dress it up a little {this piping used to be my signature style a few years ago}, else just sift some icing sugar over it. Just pretties it up a bit, and hides the few cracks that might be visible.Strawberry Almond Roulade {Gluten Free} This post has been delayed and I am finally back to doing what I love best  … ♥ BAKE ♥ BLOG ♥. Was honoured to guest post for Anuradha @ Bakers Street {love the name of her blog; I would love to live there}. My choice wasn’t an easy one, given the deliciousness Bakers Street churns out week after week. Muffins, cheesecakes, pound cakes and much more. So I figured she might enjoy this roulade. Do navigate your way to HERE for the recipe!

Other Swiss rolls / roulades at PAB

Red Velvet Swiss Roll
Mango Ice Cream Swiss Roll
Star Anise Roll with Marmalade Sauce

Some updates:

Thank you Open Kitchen Magazine for picking Passionate About Baking for the Best Blog February 2012 badge.

In their words, “Each month the editors reward the 10 best blogs around the world who have excelled in originality, aesthetics and skill in the kitchen!”

I am truly honoured to be one among 10 fabulous food blogs, including Tartlette.


Thank you also Food On The Table for featuring me as an “Everyday Foodie“.

As they said … ” Our new program honors the most exceptional food bloggers. We noticed your blog because it falls under the health and food blog niche, and the content that your blog offers is exceptional. The badge will distinguish you as an “Everyday Foodie”, and also distinguish your blog as a go-to source for information regarding food and health-related topics.”


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

Cooking| ‘Baingan ka Bharta’ / Roasted Eggplant Stirfry … Guest Post

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience”
James Beard

Baingan ka bharta/Roasted Eggplant Stir FryMy hate hate relationship with the eggplant goes back to childhood, yet never say never may be cliched but true,  and it was love at first bite recently. It took one spoonful of this ‘Baingan ka Bhurta‘ 2 months ago to radically change my opinion, and I am glad I didn’t need to wait any longer.  Some time back, I ‘met‘ a very talented Croatian food blogger, TamaraBite My Cake over Povitica / Croatian Sweet Walnut Bread , one of my most cherished bakes to date! When this lovely lady from beautiful Croatia invited me to her Eat Global table, I offered her  this simple vegetarian stir fry, a savoury dish native to India.Baingan Ka Bharta  Roasted Eggplant Stirfry {Indian veg side dish}From childhood my culinary likes and dislike were very strong. While fruits were a relatively easy YES, veggies fell into HATES and LOVES. I intensely disliked that purple egg plant, the aubergine, or the humble ‘baingan’ as it is called in India. In my years of food blogging, I often read ‘excited eggplant food posts‘ and  wondered HOW on earth anyone could love that purple monster! To each his own and my happy non brinjal life carried on.Baingan Ka Bharta  Roasted Eggplant Stirfry {Indian veg side dish}Then one day my Mums help came by to cook for me as she was away. I had folk over and bought every vegetable under the sun {bittergourd, spinach, eggplant, beans, lady fingers, potatoes, pumpkin}. ‘Sushma‘ is an express cook and I love her different takes on the way food appears on the table. She takes a lot of pride in what she makes, yet at the end looks on nervously, awaiting approval!Baingan Ka Bharta  Roasted Eggplant Stirfry {Indian veg side dish}She decided to roast the brinjal and some time later hesitatingly asked me to check if it was cooked to my liking, check the salt etc. That look on her face, and I braced myself … how could I say no? So I gingerly took a TEENY quarter-spoonful … the rest was history! Stupid me. What had I been missing out on?Baingan Ka Bharta  Roasted Eggplant Stirfry {Indian veg side dish} I couldn’t believe I had missed this for so long.So I bring to Tamara’s global table an Indian preparation of the humble, now beautiful, eggplant, which is lip smacking good, and is worth every morsel! I cannot keep from eating spoonful after spoonful. Do go across to Bite My Cake for the recipe. What a good time to share something comforting that brings Indian cuisine to the forefront other than our famed Butter Chicken!Baingan Ka Bharta  Roasted Eggplant Stirfry {Indian veg side dish}I think this would be great served on a platter with pita chips too. It’s a simple dish, bursting with smoky good flavour, and fresh green chilies and coriander leaves. Reduce the green chilies if you aren’t very used to ‘hot’ food, but do add one at least.

As I sign off, I must announce the winner for the Shabby Apple Apron Giveaway. It’s Rachel @ Teacher by Day – Chef by Night who said “I think my favorite thing about this pie is the adorable little snowflake cut-out on the top!(I like S.A.on FB and am now spending time trying to figure out how to spend my money!)” Congrats Rachel. Will mail you soon, and the lovely folk at Shabby Apple will be in touch with you too! Thank you for joining the giveaway!

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


Guest Post | AFBHLS … and ‘My 7 Links’

“Have a focus, creativity loves constraints. Be able to answer the questions, who is your audience and why would they be interested in your site?” “Who are you trying to reach?” Answer the following question to yourself, “my blog is for ________ who are looking for _______.” Find your genius!”
Todd and Diane @ White on Rice Couple

AFBHLS & My 7 LinksWhen Sanjeeta @ Litebite {don’t you just love the name?} asked me if I’d like to be part of her series ‘Awesome Food Bloggers and Their Healthy-Living Secrets’, how could I say no. I feel honoured to share my thoughts on ‘healthy living‘. AFBHLS attempts to bring forth some food bloggers who will share their experiences on food, recipes, health and ways of cooking with you all.PABSanjeeta runs a wonderful blog in India, healthy and delicious, and keeps a hawks eye on nutrition, diet and healthy stuff that she churns out of her kitchen. ‘Have kids, will innovate’ seems to keep her going, yet she manages to take out time to introduce her 97 year old grandmother to new cuisines! Bravo…. I will attempt to add my own two penny bit to the healthy series, things that are important to me, things that shape the way my world is. The word cloud above might give you a sneak peek…

Catch the rest @ Lite Bites with a recipe for a Peach & Plum Crostata.

Meanwhile I shall continue an invite from my dear friend Hélène Péloquin @ La Cuisine d’Hélène who has a beautiful food blog in Canada. We met virtually about 3 years ago, and have been in touch over Blogger Aid, chocolate  and much more! Both our better halves are in the aviation line, while family, food and blogging fill our days! It’s a pleasure to do the project ‘My Seven Links’ that she nominated me to join!

The goal? Katie @ Tripbase spells it out … To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

How wonderful is the idea behind My 7 Links. I think this has a lot in it for the blog author as it does for the reader! I ♥ it! Forgive me if I go overboard as I’m having a field day diving into my little blogs past!

Your most beautiful post

Quark Mousse Cake with Roasted Balsamic Strawberries. This was one of my favourite posts {and desserts}. It has a bit of everything I really love. Baking {♥♥♥}, fruit, roasted strawberries, homemade curd cheese, and a dark chocolate filigree border to the cake. I feel inspired each time I look at it {if I may say so myself} …

Your most popular post

I think this turned out to be the granola that changed my life {in some ways}, Chocolate Granola {gluten free}adapted minimally  from Bea’s gorgeous La Tartine Gourmande.

Easy as can be, healthy beyond belief, and addictive as a snack anytime of the day. I put together some parfaits using the granola with left over quark cream and strawberries from this Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake. The possibilities are endless.

 Your most controversial post

I must be blessed as I haven’t run into a controversial post {as yet} … Amen!

Your most helpful post

… is one of my favourite food related  subjects, Say CHEESE; It’s Homemade, a 24,24,24 I did for Foodbuzz in 2009 on making soft cheese at home. It covers cottage cheese, mascarpone, ricotta, quark and mozzarella {I didn’t have much luck with the mozzarella though}, and recipes that used each. I really enjoyed doing it, and have helped loads of foodies try their hand at making some.

A post whose success surprised you

It was a Secret Recipe Club post, and I was assigned my sweet friend Barbaras beautiful blog for it. I picked Old Fashioned {Eggless} Layered Chocolate Cake with Balsamic Strawberries & Cream. It tasted fabulous, but I was amazed at the runaway attention it got!Later learnt that the cake was picked by Ree Drummond @ Web Deliciousness: Strawberries! @ The Pioneer Woman Cooks where she said “This is the first time I’ve seen this food blog and the photos are just spectacular, not to mention the treats themselves. Wow. Here’s another one. Whipped Strawberry Curd Cream Tartlets with Walnut Shortbread Crust. My, oh my. I don’t know what to say.” … that day my page hits soared to 11000!!

A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce … was this Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce that I posted on Mothers Day. It was the first time I had ever heard of a marquise and was absolutely charmed by it! Blog visitors were busy celebrating Mothers Day too so this delicious dessert got a tad neglected!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceAs you might see by now, I have a firm fruit accent to my blog. I ♥ pairing desserts with fruits. And bittersweet chocolate? Yes please!!

The post that you are most proud of

Matcha Macarons with Preserved Brandied Cherries & MascarponeFood bloggers are a community that take pride and value everything they blog about. I am no different; I bake, cook and blog with a passion, and really enjoy what I do. One post that made me happy was Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry Filling that I made to mark World Macaron Day / Jour de Macaron  for MacTweets {a macaron blog Jamie & I co-host}.Matcha Macarons with Preserved Brandied Cherries & MascarponeThis post was also a tribute to the spirit of the Japanese people who displayed strength and dignity in the face of unimaginable adversity when the horrific tsunami hit their nation in the beginning of March 2011.

My 7 Links is a wonderful initiative, one I absolutely enjoyed.Thank you KatieHélène.
My nominated bloggers are…

Jamie @ Lifes A Feast

Shulie @ Food Wanderings

Amanda @ Amanda’s Cooking

Suma @ Cakes & More

Barbara @ Barbara Bakes

As I end, I’d like to thank, the largest community of bloggers in India who provide a platform to showcase Indian bloggers and help them promote to a large audience, for interviewing me so graciously.

I was honoured by this introduction… “We are all set to welcome the person who has made baking very interesting and taken to the next level in India. Say Hello to Deeba Rajpal, the blogger behind one of the finest baking and food blogs in India, Passionate about Baking. Pre-heat your ovens as we are sure, you will get the urge to bake something after reading this interview.”  {you can find the rest here…}

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

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