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almonds

Overnight Thandai Oats wth peaches and plums“Fussing over food was important. It gave a shape to the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner; beginning, middle, end.”
Robert Hellenga, Philosophy Made Simple

Overnight Thandai Oats with Peaches & Plums, a no brainer at best. A recipe that took far too long to come, one that is the easiest and has a nice gentle touch. The home made Thandai Nut Mix adds a delightful touch, tying in well with the almond milk, sabja/basil seeeds and melon seeds. Of course, feel free to use chia seeds as they are super foods too, though imported. I use basil because they are locally available and swell up so beautifully. My sweet friend Madhuli @ My Food Court makes sure my supply of basil seeds is never ending.PeachesPeaches and almonds make for great pairing. What’s not to love about a breakfast that offers everything in a bowl? Oats, nuts and seasonal fruit? The nut factor comes in from this Thandai mix. Holi collageThandai, or sardai, is a cold drink prepared with a mixture of almonds, fennel seeds, magaztari seeds, rose petals, pepper, vetiver seeds, cardamom, saffron, milk and sugar. It’s a traditional cooler from the Indian subcontinent, one that is very popular around Holi, the festival of colour. 3 Rose Sabja Thandai Thandai 2 1000 Thandai 1000The recipe for my Thandai Nut Mix is here on the KitchenAid India blog. There are hundreds of versions of the mix online, some more complex than others, yet most customisable to taste. Feel free to use your own, or a store bought variety, else add almond meal or chopped walnuts. If nuts are not your thing, maybe just skip them but do try this once. It’s quite gentle on the palette and ties in well with the stone fruit.Oat Walnut Trifles with Vanilla Roasted Peaches & PlumsTalking about stone fruit, this is the best time of the year to enjoy them to the maximum. I use them as much as I can these days. In bakes like crumbles, or trifles {as above}, just simply much through them, or then like this lemonade below. Elevate your simple everyday lemonade or nimbu paani to a Peach and Cherry Lemonade. Peach & Cherry Lemonade 2 1000Allow peach slices, pitted cherries and fresh mint leaves to sit in the lemonade for about an hour in the fridge. You’ll be delighted with the change in colour and gentle flavour.

 

Overnight Thandai Oats with peaches and plums
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What can be better than waking up to a chilled healthy and delicious breakfast on a warm summer morning. These Overnight Thandai Oats with peaches and plums are the best thing to wake up to. A no cook, beautifully balanced breakfast for a great start to the day! Oats + nuts + seeds + fruit herbs all share space in a make ahead jar. Use any seasonal fruit you like. Berries, mango, kiwi, pineapple, sapota etc.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 8 hours
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 8 hours
Overnight Thandai Oats with peaches and plums
Print Recipe
What can be better than waking up to a chilled healthy and delicious breakfast on a warm summer morning. These Overnight Thandai Oats with peaches and plums are the best thing to wake up to. A no cook, beautifully balanced breakfast for a great start to the day! Oats + nuts + seeds + fruit herbs all share space in a make ahead jar. Use any seasonal fruit you like. Berries, mango, kiwi, pineapple, sapota etc.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 8 hours
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 8 hours
Ingredients
Overnight Thandai Oats
Topping
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Overnight Thandai Oats
  2. Divide the oats, Thandai mix, melon seeds, basil/sabja seeds and brown sugar between 2 lidded glass jars. Top with just enough milk to soak the mix.
  3. Stir gently, cover and leave to stand in the fridge overnight.
  4. Topping
  5. Next morning top with sliced fresh peaces and plums, scatter over with melon seeds and fresh mint
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Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping “Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.”
Jo Brand

Moist, dark and absolutely delicious are words enough to describe this Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping. The base is a simple chocolate genoise sponge, layered with a low fat whipped cream. The top is a brown sugar meringue topped with slivered almonds, quite optional if you are torn for time, but it does add a lovely touch to the final look. The secret to the moist cake and whipping up low fat cream is melted, cooled clarified butter/ghee. This is my new favourite sponge recipe and my new favourite light buttercream.Eggs and chocolateIt’s been a busy last few months and I stare at a hungry blog. We’ve had a great food styling workshop just recently, packed to the gills, on one of the hottest days of the season. It was a LOT of work and planning, but it was all so worth it. The venue {Lodi – The Garden Restaurant, New Delhi}, the folk who attended, the food we ate and shot, was all great fun. A great learning experience too.Food Styling Workshop, The Lodi, New DelhiThen of course there is obsessive everyday shooting, something that keeps me so engrossed, I often lose track of time. Some work for others, some for myself, yet all a learning process. Add to that Sunday Stills where I join Simi as she shoots stills. Pitcher #sundaystillsAmaltasThe Masala Dabba with Dolphia has fallen prey to procrastination but I will get back there soon since spices is what I enjoy shooting a lot! Gundu Chilies from Karaikudi

Masala Dabba, spices

The Masala Dabba #2Getting back to baking and this wonderful cake, here’s something I recently discovered. I often find a lot of folk these days baking out of a box and frosting the cake with ready made cream,  ingredients loaded with preservatives, enhancers, emulsifiers and what not. Read the label and you’ll figure out. Baking  or cooking ‘from scratch’ conjures up images of cooking with fresh ingredients and lovingly preparing meals. Boxed meals emphasize just the convenience. Add a few ingredients and then you’re done. Making a cake from scratch gives you control over the quality of the ingredients, also allowing for a bit more creativity. Wholewheat Dark Chocolate Fudgy Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting 3 1000 1Creativity and experimenting go hand in hand. The revelation that I could use clarified butter / ghee instead of normal butter has made life really simple for me. The recipes need to be adapted a little here and there, but the huge plus is that clarified butter stays good on the shelf for long. You don’t need to melt and cool in summer as it doesn’t set hard at warm temperatures. The convenience of use is indescribable in weather like we have here these days at 45C! That’s how I got the low fat 20%  cream to whip up so I could pipe it.  Wholewheat Dark Chocolate Fudgy Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting 2 1000 1Worked each time but once when it was really really hot and humid. Whip chilled low fat cream to medium soft peaks at a high speed. Then drizzle in about a teaspoon of cool melted clarified butter / ghee for every 100ml of cream and continue to whip at high speed, you will notice the cream gradually firming up and holding shape. This is because you’re putting the fat back into low fat cream. I have also seen this works better with the ‘Go’ brand of fresh cream as compared to ‘Amul’ {in India}. Do let me know if it works for you!Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping Well everyone can’t ‘do it from scratch’, and even though additives etc are often considered part of the package when it comes to boxed meals, it really doesn’t have to be. Interestingly enough, at least one company thought that way. San Francisco-based food tech company Hampton Creek offers a new take on shelf-ready foods, striving to take out additives and other unnatural ingredients from common, off-the-shelf goods. For eg, their premade cookie dough doesn’t contain common additives, is an eggless dough mix that is also dairy-free. Baking from a box or a premade mix can be as mouth-watering as a meal made from scratch; guess you need to know what to look for.

Until then, here’s my Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping Cake!

Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping
Print Recipe
Moist, dark and absolutely delicious are words enough to describe this Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping. The base is a simple chocolate genoise sponge, layered with a low fat whipped cream. The top is a brown sugar meringue topped with slivered almonds, quite optional if you are torn for time, but it does add a lovely touch to the final look. The secret to the moist cake and whipping up the cream is melted, cooled clarified butter/ghee. This is my new favourite sponge recipe.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping
Print Recipe
Moist, dark and absolutely delicious are words enough to describe this Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping. The base is a simple chocolate genoise sponge, layered with a low fat whipped cream. The top is a brown sugar meringue topped with slivered almonds, quite optional if you are torn for time, but it does add a lovely touch to the final look. The secret to the moist cake and whipping up the cream is melted, cooled clarified butter/ghee. This is my new favourite sponge recipe.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Ingredients
Chocolate Genoise Sponge 1
Meringue topping
Servings: people
Instructions
Chocolate Genoise Sponge 1
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line the sides and bottom of 2 8" spring-form round tin with parchment. {I have just 1 tin and an oven that fits only 1 cake at a time. I kept the parchment ready while the first sponge baked}
  2. Place 4 eggs and 1 egg yolk in the bowl of the stand mixer with 125g brown sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk on high speed until light, very mousse like and tripled in volume, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt 2 times. Reserve.
  4. Place cooled clarified butter in a medium sized bowl. reserve.
  5. Once the eggs are whisked and mousse like, sift over 1/3 of the flour/cocoa mix and gently stir in in figure 8 moves so that the beaten air doesn't escape. Repeat 2 more times.
  6. Take about a cup of this batter and fold into bowl with melted ghee to loosed the mixture. Now turn this batter back into main batter and gently mix through taking care not to release the beaten air.
  7. Turn into prepared tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes, untl a pick inserted comes out clean.
Chocolate Genoise Sponge 2
  1. Repeat as above, turn into prepared tin and top with brown sugar meringue spreading gently and uniformly with an offset spatula. Scatter slivered almonds over and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until a pick inserted comes out clean.
Brown sugar meringue
  1. Whisk the egg whites with brown sugar on high speed to stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.
Frosting and filling
  1. Place chilled cream, icing sugar, clarified butter in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk at highest speed for 7-9 minutes until stiff peaks form. Adjust sweetness if required.
Assemble
  1. Gently cut each cake into two horizontal layers. They will be very moist and delicate.
  2. Place one layer on the cake platter, top with about 1 cup of whipped cream, spread evenly. Repeat with remaining 3 layers. Frost the sides of the cake with remaining frosting, maybe pipe a border around.
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Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake ... Mooz Formaggio, local artisan cheese at its best“Dessert without cheese is like a beauty with only one eye”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Triple Cheese Moozberry Cheesecake must be one of the best cheesecakes I have made. Ever. And I have made many over the years, almost all with homemade quark, and they’ve all been special. Yet this one turned out to be even better. It baked up perfectly, has a mix of 3 soft cheeses in it, and the most delicious topping of balsamic cherries infused with rosemary and vanilla. If it wasn’t good enough, I topped it with green almonds which are also in season these days. You can imagine, well almost, how wonderful this might have been.Cherries

Green almonds

Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake And of course  I need to explain why it’s called a Triple Cheese Moozberry Cheesecake. Well the guys from Mooz Formaggio were nice enough to send me a huge lot of their cheese range to sample.  Their range has been developed and designed by a fourth generation Italian cheesemaker. Delightfully enough, the Mooz folk are manufacturing all their cheese here locally and it matches up to admirably to imported cheese available.Mooz CheeseFor those who do know me, dairy is my weakness, and fresh cheese even more. For those who don’t know me, well now you do!! Fresh cheese has long held me fascinated. That it is not processed, that is has a million uses other than just eating out of a bowl or tub, that it is healthy as well as healthier than imported/processed cheese are huge pluses for me. I’ve explored and made fresh cheese – mascarpone, ricotta, quark, cottage cheese for really long, and in turn done several desserts with them.Cherries & green almondsSavoury stuff too, but what I really do enjoy is desserts using unripened f soft cheese. When I make quark myself, I just chuck it into a concoction, play around a little and then bake. When Mooz showed up, it was a new level of luxury. Imagine, I didn’t have to make my own cheese, so the mind went into overdrive. The plan was for a mascarpone galette with cherries. A nice batch of cherries recently pitted and frozen seemed just right for a wholegrain galette.Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake The mind is a strange place when creative ideas get buzzing. Just looking at the little tubs suddenly got me thinking further, and I knew it had to be a cheesecake. Time to experiment. I grabbed the ricotta, quark and cream cheese and turned the oven on. The recipe is simple, an experiment on a quark cheesecake I make often. This time I added zest of a Bitter Citron Lemon that Sanjeeta mailed me from Chennai, and also zest from a lime from the garden. They say lime zest cuts out any eggy aromas from a cake, and ‘they’ weren’t wrong!Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake Must admit to a million butterflies in my tummy as the cheesecake baked. I had my fingers crossed on this one. How I wished it would turn out well. It baked up beautifully, water bath and all, the tin size worked just perfect too, no cracks on top, didn’t sink like a crater. I was thrilled. An overnight rest in the fridge and I was up early next morning to do a topping, cherries of course. I infused them with some fresh rosemary, a few sprigs that have turned into a plant ex Switzerland, some bitter citron zest from down south, and some aged balsamic and brown sugar.

Cherries and rosemaryDarned delicious if I may say so myself, and fabulous pairing with cheesecake. The cheesecake itself darned delicious too, and got a standing ovation. You should must try making it. To cut the calories, or maybe extra work, or both, you can even go crust-less. Maybe bake mini cheesecakes.

Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake The entire line from Mooz is really really good, including the sour cream. So many varieties, such great flavour. You are literally spoilt for choice as far as sour cream goes. Lemon, peri peri, jalapeno, chipotle {one of our favourites}, yes they have them all. I did a quick smoked chicken farelle with the chipotle sour cream, flavoured with loads of garlic, with fresh lime and rosemary from the garden. Turned out great. Even crumbed chicken with sour cream is yum!! And nachos of course!!Mooz Pasta Also really good  are the Chili Toasty and Plain Toasty, generous stringy cheese slices for grilled sandwiches. Quite addictive and great quality, your grilled toast might never be the same again. The Chili Toasty especially has a great chili flavour and kick. The only cheese that disappointed was the mozzarella which had a slight bitter aftertaste. Not sure why that happened as all the cheese was perfectly stored and from the same batch.Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake

 

Baking | Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake... local artisan cheese at its best!
Print Recipe
Triple Cheese Moozberry Cheesecake must be one of the best cheesecakes I have made. It baked up perfectly, has a mix of 3 soft cheeses in it, and the most delicious topping of balsamic cherries infused with rosemary and vanilla. If it wasn't good enough, I topped it with green almonds which are also in season these days. The best thing is that this uses locally produced artisan cheese from Mooz.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Baking | Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake... local artisan cheese at its best!
Print Recipe
Triple Cheese Moozberry Cheesecake must be one of the best cheesecakes I have made. It baked up perfectly, has a mix of 3 soft cheeses in it, and the most delicious topping of balsamic cherries infused with rosemary and vanilla. If it wasn't good enough, I topped it with green almonds which are also in season these days. The best thing is that this uses locally produced artisan cheese from Mooz.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Crust
Balsamic Rosemary Infused Cherries
Servings: people
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line the base of an 8″ loose bottomed tin with parchment, and lightly grease sides..
  2. Run the biscuits, chilled butter and whole almonds in food processor until ground and a moist crumb forms. {Thermomix: Speed 8, 10 seconds, repeat once}
  3. Turn into the baking tin and press the crumbs into the base, building up the sides a bit if desired. Chill while you preheat the oven, and make the filling.
Filling
  1. Place the quark, ricotta, cream cheese, egg yolks, cornflour, 40g sugar,vanilla, cream and lime zest if using into the bowl of your food processor and run on medium speed till smooth. {Thermomix: Speed 6, 10 seconds}
  2. Beat the whites with the remaining 90g sugar to firm peaks. Gently fold this through the quark cheese mixture and pour over the biscuit base.
  3. Bake at 200C for 15 minutes, and then at 180C for about 45 minutes until firm.
  4. Allow to cool completely in oven, leaving the door ajar.
  5. Cover well and chill before serving, preferably overnight. Serve topped with Balsamic Rosemary Infused Cherries.
Balsamic Rosemary Infused Cherries
  1. Place all ingredients in heavy bottom non reactive pan and simmer gently for 5-7 minutes, until cherries soften. Taste and adjust sweetness if required.
  2. Remove cherries to a bowl, and reduce syrup in pan until nice an thick. Strain over reserved cherries, discarding the vanilla bean and rosemary. Chill completely before topping cheesecake.
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