” Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
George Eliot

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with salted butter caramel sauceSweet Potato Pound Cake with salted butter caramel sauce.  Autumns here. There’s a nip in the early morning air, and the nights are getting cooler each passing day. The weather’s changing and suddenly earthy, warm, spicy feels good. I love the way one season gives way to another, inspiring you to move from one ingredient to ingredient, light spices to moorish ones. Fall is in the air. With it cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace all dance in the air with heady aromas.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with salted butter caramel sauce The tin of pumpkin pie spice calls my name come October. It’s a strange connect and a warm one too. Felt like a Pumpkin Pie Spice and Walnut Loaf Cake with Buttermilk Frosting was to be baked again. I did shift gears suddenly. All thanks to a rather late discovery over the past couple of years, the sweet potato. This very humble root vegetable, earthy, flavourful, unassuming, surprisingly sweet and quite delicious, offers immense possibilities.Old DelhiSweet potatoes are also a quintessential part of Old Delhi, especially in winter. Street carts piled high with sweet potatoes roasted in coal, that taste is quite unparalleled, best enjoyed then and there. Chopped up and tossed in lime juice and a typical chaat masala, or spice mix, I don’t bother recreating that at home. It’s the ambiance of the old city that adds to the flavour! So at home it is often a salad, tikkis, oven roasted fries {absolutely delicious}. Then 2 days ago, this cake happened. Sweet Potato Pound Cake with salted butter caramel sauceI tried to keep it a whole food cakesweet potato puree + brown sugar + whole wheat flour + homemade sweet butter. An experiment with fingers crossed. An experiment off an earlier wholegrain pound cake recipe. You will notice optional walnuts in the ingredients listed. I was never really sure how edible the cake would turn out to be, so I skipped them. It turned out unexpectedly delicious. Moist, full of flavour and even better the next day. Was even good cold out of the fridge. An earthy rustic treat!

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with salted butter caramel sauce The deep dark salted butter caramel sauce made a good experiment better! That I am addicted to it is all the fault of the Cookaroo. She swears by this sauce from Smitten Kitchen and is never far from deliciousness. It’s  fabulous to store in the fridge. Drizzle over just about anything to add to the oomph. Reminds me  of the chewy taffy that the nuns used to sell at the tuck shop at school in Bangalore. Also of the gooey insides of the 5 Star bars that fascinated and tempted the sweet tooth when young.  The salted edge is what makes this sauce a winner. Must warn you that it is very addictive, and can burn the greedy tasters tongue. Pairs beautifully with cakes and especially fall flavours – pears, apple, pumpkins,walnuts …

Wild figs goolar

Autumn produce - Sweet Potato, Wild figsDid I forget figs? With fall here, the produce is changing. Exciting times ahead as far as food goes. I am having a field day literally! With the camera my trusted companion, this cannot be a better time of the year for moody shooters like me. From buying up sweet potatoes like there’s no tomorrow, to foraging wild figs {goolar}, autumn is keeping me busy.Sweet Potato Pound Cake with salted butter caramel sauce

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“Chocolate is natures way of making up for Mondays”

Almost Flourless Bittersweet Chocolate Cake Almost Flourless GF Bittersweet Chocolate Cake … just one of those thoughts you wake up with and possibly one of the easiest cakes to bake. One of the most indulgent as well, if you love intense, deep, dark chocolate that is. The cake tastes better the next day as it chills in the fridge, and the flavours mature.Almost Flourless Bittersweet Chocolate CakeSorry I keep going missing from the blog ever so often. Life seems to be on some kind of race track. Even though I don’t feel like I’m doing much, the months are galloping by. Bat an eye lid and you’re into the next month. I have dozens of unposted blogs in my drafts folder, all waiting in the sidelines for want of images to be processed. I promised myself in the beginning of the year that I would be better organized, blog more often, and what not.Almost Flourless Bittersweet Chocolate Cake Clearly that didn’t happen! It’s simpler bakes like this that I feel the immediate need to share, like something that everyone should bake. It uses kitchen staples, minimal ingredients, is minimum fuss and quite delicious to serve up. If you don’t have ground oats, use normal ones. The texture might vary slightly. oats If you don’t have oats at all, think different flours. Wholewheat flour {aata} will work if GF is not your concern. Alternatively, you could use buckwheat flour {kuttu ka aata}, amaranth flour {rajgira}, even almond meal or walnut meal. If using different flours, please begin checking for doneness 45 minutes after you pop the cake in. Different flours, nut meals etc have different liquid absorption ratios. We wouldn’t want an over baked, or for that matter, an under baked cake, would we? Chocolate walnut gateauBaking with alternate grains and nut meals is always fun. Here’s a  Chocolate Walnut Gateau I baked with walnut meal and oats a short  while ago for Fit Foodie. It’s gluten free and quite moorish. You can find the recipe here. This Almost Flourless Bittersweet Chocolate Cake is a twist on the first cake I ever baked for Saffola Oats at FitFoodie.in, one that was shot for Food Food channel too. Saffola recipes collageThe engagement was one of the best I had as it’s pushed me to experiment like never before. The collaboration continues and is a really enjoyable one.

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“Bread, milk and butter are of venerable antiquity. They taste of the morning of the world.”
Leigh Hunt

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Triflessummer of happiness in ever sense of the word. It’s a celebration of flavours, of the season, of delicious, healthy things in life. The good thing is that the Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles recipe is very doable, quick and quite hassle free. Almond meal in the sponge makes it gluten free too! Play around with ingredients in your pantry and fridge, skip the almonds if you are catering to nut allergy or don’t have any on hand. Substitute the nut meal with plain flour or 1/2 whole wheat + 1/2 all purpose flour.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Mother Dairy #SummerOfHappinessThe idea is to enjoy every season in the most delicious way. An even easier way might be to omit the sponge completely. Layer fresh fruit and Mother Dairys creamy and yum fruit yogurt, chill for a bit, and voila – light, healthy, refreshing summer dessert. Or make a granola fruit yogurt parfait with granola, fruit and fruit yogurt. It’s the Mother Dairy #SummerOfHappiness. Explore how much easier can it get with their line of products. For me fruit pairings are fab, specifically yogurt with fruit in any possible way, and summer is the best time for it!Mother DairyI am a through and through dairy lover. I can live forever on dairy products – milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, flavoured yogurts. It’s no coincidence that you will find loads of recipes using dairy on my blogs. Yogurt, buttermilk, cream, cottage cheese are some things I use really often. Panna Cotta, layered cream cakes, cookies, cakes, smoothies, desserts in glasses, cheese from scratch. Did I forget smoked butter paneer, the quintessential Indian Kadhi, savoury buttermilk lassi, buttermilk chicken pizzaKadhi  Indian yogurt curry

White butter and gheeClarified butter? Yes please! I collect top of the milk cream and churn out sweet butter every week. Gives me all that I need for baking. You will also find me making ghee or clarified butter every alternative weekend. Pure liquid gold. Nothing like a drizzle of ghee on a dal, a tadka of ghee to a kadhi, or naans smeared with this good fat. Say what you may, but I am old school here. Butter and ghee are good fats, and make food taste great when used in moderation. For other times, there is always cold pressed sesame oil, virgin olive oil, or good old mustard oil!

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles So, when I saw the ongoing challenge ‘Summer of Happiness‘ at Mother Dairy it was back to the good old days and a wave of nostalgia hit me. Back in the late 1970’s when we returned from a posting in Bangalore, we lived in the Central Vista Officers Mess for a couple of months waiting for regular accommodation. School was CJM at Gol Dak Khana, New Delhi. Every morning my mother drove us to school in a rickety old olive green Fiat, MEV6909 {the number still imprinted in my head}. Because we refused to drink the watery warm milk served in the Officers Mess, it was routine to stop by Mother Dairy, glug a tall glass of milk down right there every morning, and then be dropped to school. I cannot imagine doing that now, be seen glugging milk with wild abandon at the familiar blue and white Mother Dairy kiosk in school uniform, yet the taste of pasteurized milk ‘from the tap’ is a happy memory, a nostalgic connect. GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Decades later, I used to take my little one to buy milk, pop the token or ‘coin’ into the slot at the kiosk, telling him that there was a cow on the other side that delivers milk. For several years he naively believed me, and still laughs each time we pass the kiosk or stop by to buy something from there. I suspect a lot of folk might have carried similar tales to little ones back then, the fascination writ across faces completely worth every token of milk drawn! Kids are less gullible now, and Mother Dairy has moved on from milk and butter to a lot more!

The journey seeing them expand has been a fulfilling one. I still remember the first tub of blueberry yogurt I raced home with, and the whoop of delight my daughter let out. It was her favourite one, a product that till today remains on top of her list. Then came more stuff and we were spoilt for choice. Mishti Doi, Aam Doi, Mango Yogurt, Blueberry Yogurt, Mango Lassi, Strawberry Lassi all regulars at home. GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt TriflesEven though I set yogurt at home everyday, my Creamy Dip is always from a tub of Mother Dairy yogurt {nothing else works as well}. Quark, a soft, unripened curd cheese, is also something I regularly make, always with full fat milk and cultured buttermilk from the blue and white kiosk! Quark on hand opens the door to so many more recipe ideas.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles As I wrap up, I’m going to leave you with another collage of things I have made over the years using dairy products. Hope that inspires you to get motivated, begin thinking and create a recipe for this ‘Summer of Happiness‘. From smoothies, to cheesecakes, to desserts in glasses, to savoury curries, korma, buttermilk chicken, pancakes with fruit yogurt, dream on!

Summer of Happiness. PAB It’s a simple challenge, sweet or savoury is up to you, maybe both sweet & savoury in one! There are seven products you can choose from; details here. Take a look at the seven delicious recipes Chef Vikas Khanna has created for the Summer of Happiness, one that is more inspiring than the other. He talks about enhancing flavours, playing with textures, pairing dairy with interesting ingredients, spicing things up, and last but not the least, presentation.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Submit innovative recipes at Summer of Happiness using any of the 7 products, and the best recipes will win goodies from Mother Dairy. 

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