Baking | Dark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat Cake … a nostalgic favourite with jaggery & ‘top of the milk cream’ or ‘malai’

“Food is a gift and should be treated reverentially,
romanced and ritualized and seasoned with memory”
Chris Bohialian

Dark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat CakeDark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat Cake … a nostalgic favourite with ‘top of the milk cream’ or ‘malai’. It brings back memories of  the quintessential ‘malai’ or ‘top of the milk cream’ cakes from yesteryear. Decades ago, every Indian household use to boil milk, collect the top of the milk cream, use some as is and  make sweet butter of the rest. The more adventurous ones used to bake a delicious homey comforting cake with ‘malai’. This is my rendition of those good old days!Dark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat Cake & Coffee I am possibly among the few who still boil milk everyday, collect the ‘top of the milk cream’ or ‘malai’ and religiously make sweet butter at home. Some butter finds itself being clarified into ghee, while some cream escapes into cakes like these. I first made this cake for Saffola Fit Foodie, and loved the way it turned out.Dark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat Cake 3Just a few days back, the very large hearted Cookaroo shared some fabulous Danish cocoa powder with me. How generous can generous be, but she is! So is the very sweet Amrita who gave the boxes of cocoa to her! One look at my stash, and it was time to bake. I did the Dark Chocolate & Walnut Wholewheat Cake first, this time using gur {jaggery} instead of sugar, and adding walnuts too. {Gur/jaggery is a type of unrefined, solid brown sugar made from boiling sugar cane juice until dry. It has deep, earthy undertones}.

Wholewheat & Oat Cocoa Chocolate Chippers I also experimented with some cookies, wholegrain and oats, and hopefully they will see light of day on the blog soon. I know the poor blog is being neglected, but believe you me, it is just too cold up here in the North to do anything. Hopefully this too shall pass, the weather will become a little bearable and I shall begin typing sweet nothings again! Baking @ PABThat’s not to say I am not baking. I am. Loads!

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

Desserts in Glasses| Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding {eggless} & a Cranberry Cocktail Fruit Jelly…

“I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not.”
Erica Bauermeister

Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding {eggless} … with the festive season well underway, it’s always the more the merrier when it comes to desserts. Leave it to me, and I would pretty much try and squeeze and recreate every dessert to fit into wine glasses, or any glasses for that matter. There is something quite ethereal and fun about it. Convenient and quick too!

Desserts in glassesThis is what the year is probably going to be like. Quick recipes. Fun too. Hopefully will get a handle on the techs behind the camera. The healthy, or rather healthier twist is also going to rule. Feels like a lot more chocolate through winter, and then loads of summer fruit in the hot months. So much to look forward to.Nutcracker 1 800I am a huge believer in individually portioned desserts, preferably in glasses. It’s fun to layer in them, fun to see the visual delight they offer and fun to see kids faces light up while holding a stem glass. That I also play around with different sizes and kinds of glasses is a personal choice. I need to break the monotony of life, of setting, of serving and of course of taking photographs.

Cosmo chocolate puddingSo this is a recipe I recently did for Cosmopolitan India. The criteria was interesting … an original recipe, easy to cook, shouldn’t take longer than 20-30 minutes to put together and most importantly, it should boast ingredients with ‘beauty benefits’. Create anything you like as long as it will do the skin some good. OatsI have been working a LOT with oats of late, especially with my association with Fit Foodie. Well oats are good for the skin too, as a scrub, as a face pack, and of course ‘in a dish to eat’!! Chocolate and honey fitted right in! Just my kind of recipe, and one that went well with the theme!Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding

So Good for You!
Oats are big on anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that battle skin probs, and they work as a natural moisturizer. Dark chocolate repairs dry skin, shields against UV rays, erases fine lines and wrinkles, adds shine to locks, and promotes hair growth!

I did another interesting dessert in a glass for a magazine I write for. It was a Cranberry Cocktail Fruit Jelly, which appeared in Abraxas NU this December. The recipe is festive, it’s fun and it’s make ahead! See…
Cranberry Tropical Fruit Jelly Page_2On another note, I was thrilled to be featured in the VOGUE India, Food & Drink Guide 2015 … doing what I like to do best! The guide showcased ‘food bloggers who are excellent photographers’. Yours truly found mention there!

cats

Vogue India, Food Guide 2015

Cheers to the new year. What is your favourite ‘dessert in a glass’ OR favourite way to serve dessert?

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

 

No Bake |Smoothies galore … and the difference between a food processor and blender #smoothies #healthy #seasonal #freshproduce

“I have more healthy cravings than my normal eating habits, like I crave fruit and cold things like smoothies.”
Kourtney Kardashian

SmooothiesSmoothies … you gotta love them. As the years pass by, the head wins over the heart. You know that it’s easier to gulp down a smoothie than chew through a buncha green leaves! And you also know that however good or bad it tastes, a well balanced, seasonal smoothie is going to do you a load of good. Headed for SmoothiesIt’s pointless waiting for the new year to come and make resolutions, so I just got the ball rolling and made them before! Post the Jaipur trip, what with all the over the top indulgence and pampering, I had but one thing on my mind, get FIT!OatsI have begun taking tiny steps. I’m eating healthier, I’m not eating out a lot, fewer food reviews, some form of exercise … and of course smoothies. I’ve also been invited to join the Fit Foodie panel on Saffola, which just gives me more reason to work towards my goal! I’ve put together a small graphic to make things easier. Play around with these three groups {not an exhaustive list} , add some yogurt, milk, buttermilk, almond milk, fruit juice or maybe water as required. I also throw in  spoon or two of oats at times.Food groups for smoothiesDo you smoothie? Here’s a bunch of recipes to set you off if you want to join in. You can find some here too. I basically go through the fridge to find what I can use and pair. Smoothies I made three versions yesterday, and surprisingly enough the persimmon one was the best. The spinach, cuke and tender coconut water was nice too. The banana smoothie we have everyday, so that was quite normal, but normal good. Such fun. The processor is such a magic machine!

Persimmon smoothieThe processor is a blessing in disguise for soups too, though the immersion blender works really well in most cases. A while ago however someone asked me what the difference was between a food processor and blender. I have both in the kitchen, and it set me thinking. Thought I’d try and answer the query here just in case you had similar questions. Hope it helps…

Food processors and blenders, what are the differences between them?

If you only have a small kitchen then you may be wondering if you really need both a blender and a food processor. The fact is that although both gadgets have blades, and a reputation for dicing and slicing, they actually have quite different uses.
If you are going to be able to do all of the jobs you need to in a kitchen the chances are you are going to want to use a blender and a food processor at some point; especially if you regularly make smoothies or soups.
When does a blender come into its own?
The shape and blades of a blender are designed to cater for soft fruit and liquids. The name really says it all; these gadgets are excellent for blending ingredients into such delights as tasty smoothies. Depending on what fittings your blender has it may be able to cope with slicing ice for use in the smoothies; this can make them into an extra special treat on a hot summer day.
These tasty additions to any menu are a great way of getting fruit into a child’s diet. You can use the pulp produced when you are juicing to create imaginative and colorful smoothies that most children will love. The shape of a blender is slender and designed to accommodate soft and liquid products, and not usually more solid produce.
What about a food processor?
If you are using liquids then it’s a good idea to stick to using your blender, but for anything more solid you should switch to a food processor. Food processors have blades that are designed for chopping and slicing.
They also have a bowl that is larger and can accommodate more solid produce. If you have vegetables that you want to reduce in to small pieces to use in a soup then a food processor is the perfect gadget to use. It can cope with all sorts of vegetables and nuts, and in no time you will have all of the ingredients you need to make as much delicious soup as you want.
Which is the best to have, a blender or a food processor?
The answer to this question is really going to depend on what you need to do most. Is it more important to you to be able to blend together liquids, making drinks and smoothies; or is it more important to you to be able to slice vegetables for soups or stews?
It may be that you need to do both. There are blenders that have blades which provide a certain amount of chopping capacity, and food processors can deal with a very small amount of liquid, but generally if you want to be able to blend and chop you are going to have to make room in your kitchen for both a blender and a food processor.

Headed for smoothiesSo I guess it’s time to SMOOTHIE! Come join me. Grab a bunch of fresh seasonal produce, pair it with a medium you like, throw in some nuts, seeds, herbs and get going. Once you’re done, what’s next? Soup maybe?

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

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