Blogger Event | LumiaApptasting, World Feast by Vikas Khanna… and wholegrain lingonberry thumbprint cookies #wholegrain #cookies #LumiaApptasting #VikasKhanna #RajivMakhni #WorldFeast

“BE OPEN TO new thoughts, to new people, to new principles, to new ideas, to new experiences. “NEW” MAKES US GROW”
Rossana Condoleo

LumiaApptasting and World FeastWith the Chenin Blanc chilled just right and a good wine from Fratelli at that, recommended by Ruchira, it was a nice beginning to the LumiaApptasting event held recently. With the promise of sumptuous food, refreshing drinks and a garnishing of apps , it was an evening of fun brought to us by Microsoft in collaboration with Women on Wanderlust {WOW}.

LumiaApptasting and World Feast The evening was introduced by the sweet and vivacious Poonam Kaul, Director, Communications, Nokia India, and then handed over to the hilarious duo who are quite trademark of LumiaApptasting – Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna and Tech Guru Rajiv Makhni, the boys or rather men from Amritsar. Both in perfect sync with each other, with a ‘dress code pink’ ladies only event in place, they soon had all the women literally eating out of their hands!

LumiaApptasting and World Feast Promising a hell of a journey, it took off pretty soon. Blind tasting, blind guessing, songs, dance, drama … the LumiaApptasting had it all. Woven through the evening were the perfect apps to tackle all your pre-holiday tasks, track your belongings and getting acquainted with fellow travelers. Plenty of ice breakers thrown in! Interestingly, the event wove it’s way across the entire group, and at different times you could here applause, sighs, gasps as the spoken word touched various nerves at different times. LumiaApptasting and World Feast LumiaApptasting is a unique concept that take mobile apps out of the tech space and brings them right to consumers in a relevant sort of a way. It’s a fun, innovative way that brings  technology and lifestyle together in more ways that one would ever imagine, possibly in any and every sphere of life. We were a motley group of women … wanderers and bloggers. Bloggers I believe from different fields – food, lifestyle, maybe technology too. LumiaApptasting and World Feast From an app to help discover the unknown treasures of your holiday destination, to immortalising your favourite holiday moments with awesome imagine apps, the line up of apps were creative. They included Face Swap, Wise Quotes, Wacky facts, & the Self Defense App. The latter two my favourites! Did I mention that the trailer of Fifty Shades of Grey was played? Yes that happened too!LumiaApptasting and World Feast The evening ended with the launch of Vikas Khanna‘s new book World Feast. In a departure from Indian cuisine prominent in his last few books, his latest book offers a treasury of multicultured flavours, taking our taste-buds for a journey across the world.  A beautifully photographed book that captures the very essence of New York, and knocks your breath away at times. Being generous to a fault, the chef made sure each lady left with a copy of his book in the goodie bag that evening! That was a real WOW moment for all of us, a book with a 120 recipes so imaginatively created.

World Feast by Vikas Khanna,Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies Through simple, wholesome and staple recipes to complex combinations of textures and flavors, the book offers it all. Chef Vikas Khanna has brought in inspiration from some of the worlds iconic cooks, cafes and home kitchens, and allows you to add your own imagination and experience as you turn pages.

World Feast by Vikas Khanna,Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies And that is what I did. The boy has been on my case for stained glass cookies. They were a norm during his growing up years every Christmas, the fascination of candy melting to transparent magic while baking. Turning the pages, I stopped at the thumbprint cookies. Those were ‘growing up’ cookies too, so before I knew it I was in the kitchen.

World Feast by Vikas Khanna,Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies

I took the liberty of playing with the recipe Ojasvi’s Raspberry Thumbprint Cookie to give it my own wholegrain twist. It worked. Beautifully. The boy was thrilled, and said they were the best ever. Mr PAB took one look and said they were like the ones he used to beg his mother to buy each time he visited his ‘nani‘ or maternal grandmother when he was a kid. Now I was thrilled too! True old fashioned cookies!!

World Feast by Vikas Khanna,Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies Things I changed. All purpose flour for a combination of wholewheat and almond meal, some baking soda to help them stay light, brown sugar and instead of white, and a wild lingonberry preserve from Ikea to fill. The Slyt Blaber is the son’s favourite preserve. He got hooked on to it several years ago when we first visited Sydney. Thankfully Hong Kong has a great Ikea, so the Swedish preserve supply continues!

World Feast by Vikas Khanna,Lingonberry Thumbprint Cookies The cookies turned out really nice. They flattened out slightly more than those in the book. Perhaps I should have chilled the dough, perhaps added a spoon or two more of flour. Next  batch. Nevertheless they were crisp beautiful and delicious! I made this a Fit Foodie recipe.

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Baking | Wholegrain Holiday Biscotti {chocolate+cranberries+ginger+walnuts} … #‎saffolafitfoodie‬ #wholegrain #healthy #cookies

“Eat clean. Think straight. Work consistently. Speak positively. Motivate others. Believe in yourself.” Toni Sorenson

Wholegrain holiday biscottiWholegrain Holiday Biscotti. It’s strange that I post biscotti every so often. Each time Mr PAB travels I brace myself for the request. “Do you think you’ll have time to make me some biscotti?” Yes he is that predictable. And me? Equally unpredictable. Even if I am torn for time, I know I will definitely bake a batch. The unpredictable bit is that I cannot make the same recipe over and over again.IMG_4322That the biscotti was going to be healthy and wholegrain was a given. The beginning of the holiday season means a lot of additional flavours begin to dance in the head. Crystallised ginger, dried cranberries, orange, and walnuts of course… fun fun fun! Baking the batch gave me a chance to play around with this beautiful Acacia Wooden Cutting Board from Engrave that I recently received. Chopped the walnuts, ginger and cranberries on it, flipped it over and shot some more…Engrave

Meat or mushrooms, this rugged chopping board can handle it all. Hand crafted from a single block of Acacia wood, this rustic looking board is as comfortable in the lap as it on the kitchen counter. If you find one side is worn out from months if frantic chopping, flip it around for a second stint.

engraveEngrave have got a whole lot of fun, innovative and interesting products online. I especially love the Acacia range, but there’s plenty more in the lifestyle range. Their engraving and personalized products really stand out. There is loads of creativity on offer that includes plaques, canvas, name plates, ipad engraving … Wholegrain holiday biscotti 2…. back to baking and the queen of substitutions kicked in. It was going to be a chocolate base. Most whole grains work really well with chocolate, so no question of messing around there. I like that this recipe worked out well. Plenty of wholegrain – buckwheat flour, wholewheat flour and oats, it’s packed with nuts, ginger, cranberries too … all good for the winters. The recipe is a healthier take on the chocolate almond biscotti I made several years ago…. and that brings me to the Fit Foodie meter.

As you might know, I was part of the Saffola Oats campaign led by Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna last year to develop healthy and tasty recipes.Using wholegrain and healthy ingredients like oats, buckwheat flour, amaranth flour, whole sugars etc., I discovered a whole new world! There’s been no looking back…Cookshow with Chef Vikas Khanna , Deeba Rajpal Food Food TV, fitfoodieI developed  bunch of fun and interesting recipes. You can now find these on the FIT FOODIE website. There were a couple of videos shot for Food Food Channel as well. They are on the Saffola Fit Foodie site and on you tube too.This year around, I have been invited to hop on board and join their ‘Fit Foodie Panel‘.

Our panel of experts is the one that creates, carefully scrutinizes and approves every recipe that is available on the site. Headed by Michelin starred chef, Vikas Khanna, it includes die hard foodies, eminent chefs, popular food bloggers and renowned nutritionists who ensure that the scale is perfectly balanced on both health and taste. They cook, they taste and yes, they share exactly what works to spin that delightfully healthy meal on the table!

Saffola Fit Foodie Panel

The site offers another interesting concept that’s been developed by the efficient and creative team behind brand Saffola… the Fit Foodie Meter. It works hard to improve normally used recipes and give them a healthier makeover of sorts, yet keeps the tasty factor in place.

Fit foodie meter

The Fit Foodie Meter score is in a comparative format. The meter always shows the score for two recipes: 1) The ‘Regular Recipe’ or the most commonly prepared form of the dish and 2) The ‘Fit Foodie Recipe’ or the recipe presented in this website, which is an improved/modified version of the original dish. For example, if one were to take pizza as the dish, the Fit Foodie Meter would show the score for a regular veg pizza (Regular Recipe) and that for the Green Pizza (Fit Foodie Recipe) whose recipe is presented on this website. The greater the difference between the two scores, the higher the nutritive value of the Fit Foodie recipe in comparison to the Regular Recipe.

So join us at Saffola Fit Foodie as we try and get you healthier takes on recipes. Feel free to request for ‘recipe makeovers’ . Together we can reach our goal of tasty & healthy recipes. You can submit your healthier versions of recipes too. It’s a lifestyle change. Come be part of it!


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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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