Baking | Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {Gluten Free}… New Zealand Avocado Season Launch #cake #glutenfree #healthy #wholegrain

“I ♥ Avocados”

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} & the New Zealand Avocado Season Launch, New Delhi with Masterchef Kunal KapoorAvocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {Gluten Free}…a cake inspired by so much avocado goodness that we saw at the New Zealand Avocado Season Launch. Last week saw loads of avocado recipes churned out by the very talented and sweet Chef Kunal Kapoor at the New Zealand High Commission, New Delhi.

Celebrity Masterchef Kunal Kapur said “New Zealand Hass avocados are an amazing healthy and versatile wholefood that contain the good fats needed to maintain a healthy heart. They interestingly blend with everyday Indian meals and the soft buttery texture and nutty flavour goes really well with many traditional dishes such as Bhel Puri and Tawa Pulao. They also blend seamlessly with curries”.

 New Zealand Avocado Season Launch with Chef Kunal KapoorIt’s always interesting to see what the chef does with food, creating innovative recipes, often off the beaten path. He put  avocados right into the heart of Indian cuisine, the pairings quite unexpected and intriguing. I loved the idea of a New Zealand Avocado and Cheese Parantha, New Zealand Avocado Bhel Puri, New Zealand Avocado & Cucumber Soup, AVAVZA Avocado & Vanilla Srikhand and a New Zealand Avocado and Kiwi Lassi. Other recipes included New Zealand Avocado and Chicken Kebabs, New Zealand Avocado and Coconut Stew, New Zealand Avocado and Tuna Cheese Toast,New Zealand Avocado Tawa Pulao , New Zealand Avocado & Coconut chutney.Avocado

Health benefits of New Zealand Avocado

Beautiful skin The vitamins & antioxidants in Avocado can improve your skin from the inside
Energy & vitality The iron, niacin and vitamin B6 in Avocado support energy levels and help to unlock energy from your food
Healthy heart The good fats and omega acids in Avocado help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels
Nutrient booster Avocados help your body absorb more nutrients from other foods they are eaten with
Protection Vitamin C in Avocado contributes to  protection of cells from free radical damage
Healthy digestion Fibre in Avocado keeps your digestive system in shape

With Chef Kunal Kapoor & Chef Sabyasachi Gorai at the New Zealand High Commission for the Launch of the avocado season, Oct 2014It was an interesting and fun evening, with loads of good company too. Two of my favourite chefs I recently spoke about were there – Kunal and Saby, or formally Master Chef Kunal Kapoor and Chef Sabyasachi Gorai. Also present were a great bunch of foodies. The evening disappeared amidst non stop banter, laughter, fine avocado based bites, and choicest NZ wine.AvocadoWe came away with an avocado each. I swapped my normal green one for this ripe one because I fell in love with the pinkish red hue. It seemed a good fit for Pinktober too! I had an idea in my head after all the avocado talk! Back home, my ripe and ready to eat av headed for a gluten free chocolate cake; a cake where the New Zealand Avocado and Indian buckwheat flour aka kuttu ka aata met. Fab pairing!

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free}The cake was yet another experiment. A delicious one. I was fairly confident it would work, but you really never know until you slice it, nibble at a few crumbs etc. It was divine. Fudgy fudgy fudgy. Sinfully chocolaty too; a fallen chocolate cake.

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} I substituted 50% of the fat {butter} with the mashed avocado to reduce the fat content and add some fibre, iron, niacin etc. The  Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {Gluten Free} tasted even better the next day. Maybe the flavours matured. It was fudgier, the chocolate taste was deeper, and it stayed as moist as moist could be. The crumb is delicate because the only flour in here is a gluten free buckwheat flour, or ‘kuttu ka aata‘ as locally called. Handle it with care!

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} Try this if you like. You can always use almond meal to keep it gluten free, or use whole wheat flour to keep it healthy and whole grain. It’s been a while since I’ve used plain all purpose flour, and I’m not in a hurry to do so! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I might skip the butter altogether next time.

Avocado Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cake {gluten free} Well now I’m going to keep my eyes open for more avocados as I have a few sweet and savoury ideas brewing in my head. Avocados are not commercially grown in India. They do grow down south in a few private gardens as I remember seeing the beautiful fruit hanging off trees when we went on a midnight walk while attending the IFBM in August! Until then, it’ll have to be New Zealand avocados for me!

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

Event | Food Styling Workshop at Indian Food Bloggers Meet, Bangalore 2014 – ‘food-o-graphy’

… where food tells your story!

THEMEDo moods, colours, stories, ingredients, seasons, connects, props and everything in between paint your daily canvas?  They do for me, an obsessed baker and cook, a ‘locavore’ by design, who enjoys getting food to the table with seasonal ingredients and local produce. Phalsa ka Sharbat Give me an ingredient, offer me an idea … that’s enough for the magic to begin! Thoughts flow, the lens focuses and I begin to dream!

Phalsa ka SharbatWriting my food blog since Aug 2007 made me move from just baking, to baking and taking pictures. Then came the abundant inspiration from the magical internet. Styling the food for the lens became second nature; stuff my dreams are made up of.Amaranth Oat Walnut Ginger Cookies I want to tell my story, and most of the time it is through pictures with some words to tie the post together! I am seldom lost for inspiration as seasons, colours, ingredients, people all inspire me. When I hit a road block, you will probably find me at Pinterest.

Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta I devour cookbooks for meals. I am fascinated as I turn pages of my favourite authors … Ottolenghi, Donna Hay to name a couple. They inspire me. I dream food, FOOD in pictures actually. Vibrant, rich, colourful, moody, picturesque … then wake up with thoughts of how to capture my dreams.Coffee Shortbread Cookies I am also an obessive prop collector, hardly a secret from those who know me. I’ve been one for years, even before I began food styling. Vintage and rustic props make my DNA! So when Aparna asked if I might be interested in doing a Food Styling workshop at the IFBM in August, I said YES PLEASE!

Hazelnuts and kumquatsFood styling is something I love, and something I find engaging. The good thing…the more you see, the more you share, the more you learn. Creativity is very individual, and for me, it exposes a part of me in every frame. Moody more often than never, I sometimes step across to the lighter side too … whatever tells my story!

Roasted bell peppersHomemade evaporated milk for Tres LechesSo hope to see you at the Indian Food Bloggers Meet at Bangalore for a little ‘ food-o-graphy

Summary of the Food Styling Workshop – Every food story is unique, rich and worth a share. Through the lens, I’m here to discuss how to capture the story behind your food. Connecting the ‘dots’ or rather crumbs, let’s try and see how we can slowly develop our trademark style!'food-o-graphy' by Deeba Rajpal. A Food Styling workshop at the Indian Food Bloggers Meet 2014

Will discuss basic planning, building a frame, setting the mood, using props to tell your story.

PAB food stylingHope to see you there! Would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, thinks you might like included etc. Look forward to catching up with you!

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

Cooler | Phalsa Berry Sharbat – ‘Blendit’ like Vikas Khanna #summer #cooler #inseason #kitchenaidindia

“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child

Phalsa ka Sharbat Phalsa Berry Sharbat … the much dreaded ‘loo‘ or hot summer winds, dry and dust laden, sweep across the plains of North India. Summer here becomes intolerable at times, with ‘fry eggs on the sidewalk‘ like temperatures threatening your very existence! Then along come some of the best fruit that nature has to offer … and life becomes worthwhile again! This Phalsa Berry Sharbat helps you survive…

Phalsa ka Sharbat With a slew of summer fruit now being offloaded by the truckloads, we could not have asked for more. Red, luscious, juicy cherries, mangoes falling off hand carts, watermelons piled sky high on roadsides, peaches just about beginning to surface, Indian java plums too. And then the phalsa berry, a beautiful, tangy, astringent much awaited native Indian berry!

Phalsa, Grewia asiatica Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, this humble little berry, Grewia asiatica, brings alive childhood nostalgia. Back then, almost 40 years ago, the silent afternoon would be pierced by the shrill cry of the ‘phalsa wala‘. You’d find him with a wicker basket, topped with a very wet gunny bag which he gently peeled back to reveal the precious little berries. The very fragile and perishable phalsa would change hands for a few pennies. Washed gently and tossed in rock salt, we would hungrily suck them, trying to extract the most from the almost impoverished looking fruit.

Phalsa ka SharbatSometimes if we were lucky enough, we would be rewarded with phalsa ka sharbat! It was pain staking to make and a special treat. Life is a little easier now, with gadgets that make life in the kitchen a breeze. Just one sip of this amazing cooler, in colours that uplift the soul,  memories of a quintessential part of Indian summer comes alive! Sharbats or ‘fruit and flower based coolers‘ are the answer to the beat the heat!

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This takes me to the launch of the KitchenAid Pro Line Cordless Hand Blender in association with Masterchef Vikas Khanna in Delhi. The launch is a part of multi city #Blendappetit Tour spanning across India starting from May 20, 2014. While, the cordless blender is a unique, first of its kind, versatile product, it comes with an ultimate experience of ‘anytime anywhere’ blending.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This new blender from Kitchenaid India is a magic machine, ergonomically designed, a thing of beauty. It comes equipped with a rechargeable 12V lithium ion battery which gives it the power to perform efficiently. The super blender can blend, mix, whisk, chop, froth, puree, shred and whip up anything in a flash.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The very sweet and charming Vikas {I was fortunate enough to shoot with him recently} blended a lip smacking good kiwi smoothie from his new book.  The chef was affable as ever; entertaining, engaging, humourous! He connected instantly with the expectant crowd and soon had the gathering mesmerised. Ripples of laughter flooded the studio in Gurgaon with Vikas holding court, spinning out one anecdote after another. Stories of his home, his mother & grandmother, his inspirations, his journey from cooking a Rs 20 meal in Punjab to a Rs 20 lakh meal for Obama … yet humble and grounded as ever, a philosopher at heart!Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The afternoon witnessed the launch of his book- .Hymns from the Soil, his first book on Indian vegetarian food and a tribute to Mother Earth. It is full of nostalgic tales of his childhood, and in many ways ‘our childhood’. The ‘mitti ki khushboo‘ or the smell of the wet soil, planting his own vegetable patch, the vegetable vendors with fresh vegetables, seasons that spelt fresh produce {unlike now when you almost get everything round the year} … a touching evocative connect with the soil of the land. The book is beautifully written, with stunning pictures and recipes that call your name.

Phalsa ka Sharbat With so much talk of the connect of the earth, including the shrill call of the vendor that pierced the afternoon silence then, it’s a good time to share this recipe. I make the Phalsa Berry Sharbat every year, changing the recipe as I evolve, always in panic like the berries might disappear or go out of fashion. The phalsa season is a short one here just through May and June. Juicing these in my Thermomix is a breeze … which is why I make this quite often.

Phalsa ka Sharbat 6Phalsa ka Sharbat Not sure if taste buds change as the years go by, or the flood of flavours available and sugar laden options in packaged juices snatch simple pleasure away. Maybe it’s the slightly astringent aftertaste, but unfortunately, this isn’t the kids favourite sharbat. The boy loves his aam panna or raw mango sharbat, the daughter her cranberry juice. Thankfully both also love the daily fresh watermelon juice & smoothies.

Phalsa ka SharbatThe Phalsa Berry Sharbat takes the summer heat away, refreshes the soul, gives you a generous dose of vitamin C and antioxidants … what more can you ask for in these ‘oven like’ months? Oh yes, and if it takes you on a trip down memory lane, that’s even better! I’m loving it!!

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

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