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gluten free

Cocoa Mousse-a-Cotta “Eating more consciously now feels like a way of being. I actually think about how my food got to my plate.”
Oprah Winfrey

Cocoa Mousse-a-Cotta a food experiment that went off track, was however delicious! Yet the thought through the day was, “What do we eat today?”, the eternal question for the harried homemaker! Life is a food fight to the finish. Ever since I picked up food blogging, the entire algorithm  of what appeared on our table changed. Biggest change – carbs down, protein up!
Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand PiesStudying home science in school, nutrition, vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates ruled the text book, the interest obviously low. It was only much later as a young mother and food blogger that I connected with those wanton days in school. My food now made sense to me! Yet the protein struggle ruled. Tough fight.
Wholewheat Garlic Oat Soda BreadLife is tough when you are the provider. I sleep every night thinking of the ideal food to serve the next day. Mornings see me hit the ground running, no calories lost of course. With such an informed audience, the questions have changed. When I plan, different food groups run in my head. These Oat Walnut Trifles with Roasted Peaches & Plums for instance – oats, walnuts, clarified butter, low fat cream, fruit, herbs – quite balanced and always welcome.
Oat Walnut Trifles with Vanilla Roasted Peaches & PlumsIt’s often the mains that don’t stand scrutiny! From ‘Oooh this is delicious’, they now say “Looks yum, but first, what’s in it?” On comes a fitness app, the meal fed in, and much to my horror, stripped bare. It says more protein Mama. And I’m left thinking, there’s something missing. We’ve done the list – egg, cottage cheese, nuts, chicken, loads of dairy, fruit as much as I can push.The Sweet Potato Pound Cake with salted butter caramel sauce is a good example. Didn’t pass the protein test!
I beat a hasty retreat and mumble “OK, let me think of something”. More eggs perhaps but there’s a limit to how many! Ideas pop out of my head. The logical one goes like, “Skip dessert today. You’ve reached the sugar limit!!”.Don’t change the topic”, they holler as dessert is polished off! Now guess what? I’ve found the something missing. Protinex!! Happily enough, this gap can be bridged with the help of Protinex in your daily diet.

Chettinad Chicken CurryAs I wrap up for the day, I’ve gone from “What should I do?” to “I’ve got it figured out finally!”  Just a daily glass of Protinex bridges the protein deficiency gap.  Do take the Protein test which will help you figure out how much protein is present in food you create everyday. Maybe add some Protinex to your next dessert? I might!

Did you have days like these where you found something missing?

Tell me please. And while you think, here’s some more food for thought.

A dessert I made the other day, an experiment which went deliciously wrong. A panna cotta which failed, became a mousse-a-cotta, turning out sinfully delicious. Obviously it had something missing, and that seems to be the story of my life at the moment. It’s something that I will erroneously make again till I get the recipe right, and I think you should too! Watch this space while I figure things out!

Cocoa Panna Cotta
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Cocoa Mousse-a-Cotta, a failed panna cotta experiment that became a mousse. Deep, dark, indulgent dessert experiment which turned out deliciously wrong. It had something missing in the ingredients, but certainly not in taste! Try this you must, until I reach the right one!
Servings Prep Time
6 people 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
7 minutes 8 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
7 minutes 8 hours
Cocoa Panna Cotta
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Cocoa Mousse-a-Cotta, a failed panna cotta experiment that became a mousse. Deep, dark, indulgent dessert experiment which turned out deliciously wrong. It had something missing in the ingredients, but certainly not in taste! Try this you must, until I reach the right one!
Servings Prep Time
6 people 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
7 minutes 8 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
7 minutes 8 hours
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Warm milk to tepid and sprinkle over the gelatin. Leave to stand until soft.
  2. Place cream, sugar and cocoa powder in heavy bottom pan, whisk well to mix.
  3. Simmer over low heat until bubbles begin to appear around the edges, stirring constantly else the cocoa will get lumpy.
  4. Take off heat and stir in the gelatin. Whisk well to mix, cool for about 15 minutes, then pour into moulds to se.
  5. Chill overnight. Serve with grated dark chocolate.
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Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone Fruit

“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

Oat Walnut Trifles with Roasted Stone Fruit … one of those really interesting recipes that came together like it was just meant to be. Each element paired beautifully with the other. The oat walnut sponge offered great texture to ‘drink up‘ the juices of the vanilla roasted fruit, healthy as it was! The low fat cream whipped up beautifully with almond undertones, luxuriously settling down atop the soaked fruity sponge in pretty silky swirls. It was a dessert like poetry!

Oat Walnut Genoise SpongeSo much yumminess you might ask, such a divine dessert, yet why am I sharing it so late. Well this time the culprit was this huge scatter brain that jotted the Oat Walnut Genoise Sponge recipe down on that most ‘important scrap of paper, then promptly misplaced the darned thing. Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone FruitIt took me several days to try and locate it, then I just gave up. Bits of the recipe for the sponge stayed in my head. It was quite a delicious nibble on it’s own, and many ‘cubes’ fell to nimble fingers!Oat Walnut Genoise SpongeThen one day this dessert popped up on my insta feed with someone asking for the recipe. Spurred into action by the guilt of a failed promise, I set off once again to make the Oat Walnut Genoise Sponge. Of course I am a sucker for punishment yet I enjoy baking so much, so I recreated the base recipe from what I remembered, and happily it worked out just fine. Oat Walnut Genoise SpongeThis time I baked the dough/batter/dough differently, and for longer, in the form of tiny cookie pies with pretty dark chocolate ganached piped on top. They seemed an obvious choice as I was at the receiving end of some excellent KitchenAid bakeware.Oat & Walnut Cookie Pies with Dark Chocolate Ganache 1000

Oat & Walnut Cookie Pies with Dark Chocolate Ganache Being part of the Kitchen Aid Culinary Council, these are things I really enjoy and am eternally grateful for! The mini pie pan is the sweetest ever, great great quality, and so are the measuring spoons. Fortunately enough, the doughy batter was a great choice for these cookies too!

Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone Fruit

Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone FruitSo here we go, better late than never, Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone Fruit that were good to the last crumb! Feel free to use berries, fruit in season like mangoes etc. If you don’t have time for roasted fruit, make a simple sugar syrup to moisten the oat walnut sponge, and trifle on! Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone FruitTriflesare desserts with immense possibilities, great for failed bakes too as in these ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Puddings.

Oat Walnut Trifle Bowls with Roasted Stone Fruit I am beginning to enjoy the challenge of creating with oats more and more. There is so much and more you can do. If you are like me, a dessert needs to be celebrated. Find a nice bunch of stemmed glasses, or beautiful glassware like this, and assemble your trifle. For a lighter version top with vanilla Greek yogurt, maybe piped almond quark! Will make a fit bressert {dessert for breakfast=bressert}!

Oat Walnut Trifles with Roasted Stone Fruit
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Oat Walnut Trifles with Roasted Stone Fruit came together like they were just meant to be. Every element paired beautifully with the other. The oat walnut sponge offered great texture to 'drink up' the juices of the vanilla roasted fruit. The low fat cream whipped up beautifully with almond undertones luxuriously settling down atop the soaked fruity sponge in silky swirls.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Oat Walnut Trifles with Roasted Stone Fruit
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Oat Walnut Trifles with Roasted Stone Fruit came together like they were just meant to be. Every element paired beautifully with the other. The oat walnut sponge offered great texture to 'drink up' the juices of the vanilla roasted fruit. The low fat cream whipped up beautifully with almond undertones luxuriously settling down atop the soaked fruity sponge in silky swirls.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Oat Walnut Sponge
Vanilla Roasted Peaches & Plums
Servings: people
Instructions
Oat Walnut Sponge
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 8" X 8" square baking tin with parchment.
  2. Place oats, walnut halves, pinch of salt and 20g brown sugar in bowl of blender. Process briefly in short spurts until you get a fine grind. Don't over process else the nuts will leave oil.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the eggs, 100g brown sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on high speed until mousse like and doubled in volume, 5-7 minutes.
  4. Gently fold in half the oat nut mix, then the other half.
  5. Drizzle half the clarified butter over and fold in, then pour over the remaining.
  6. Turn into prepared tin, sprinkle over 1 tsp brown sugar. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Cool in tin completely. Then cut into cubes for the trifle.
Vanilla Roasted Peaches & Plums
  1. Place all ingredients in oven proof dish, stir well to mix and roast for 30 minutes. Discard vanilla bean. Reserve. Note: You can bake this alongside the sponge, or a day or two in advance.
Whipped Almond Cream
  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Whip with an electric hand blender on the highest speed until thick enough to pipe. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
Assemble
  1. Take 6 dessert bowls. Layer the bottom with cubes of oat walnut sponge, top with roasted fruit and juices. Repeat once again. Pipe whipped almond cream swirls on top.
  2. Keep chilled for a couple of hours, if not overnight, top with fresh cut fruit, walnut halves, some fresh herbs and serve.
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Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip“As while other passions in your life may, at some point, begin to bank their fires, the shared happiness of good homemade food can last as long as we do.”
Jenni Ferrari-Adler

Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip is perhaps the yummiest dip I have made in a while. From an out and out eggplant hater, to one who got sold over a smokey roasted eggplant {or brinjal or ‘baingan’ as referred to here locally} one fine day, the journey was uneventful. There are some things I just will not touch with a barge-pole. Eggplant was one of those. For a long time. Until 3 years ago.

Persian Roasted Eggplant  Walnut DipThen one day I tasted a Baingan ka Bharta made by a lady who used to cook at my mothers. The flavours had me captivated, and her style of cooking this quintessential Indian vegetarian dish had me smitten. Garlicky, smokey, earthy, firey was what she presented on the table that memorable day. One bite down, and I chased her for the recipe. Simple as ever, it was a game changer for me. Then came a dip I tasted at Ruchira’s place more recently. Sold again!Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut DipThis Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip is inspired by both the recipes. The twice used garlic from the bharta, and the creaminess from the dip. Can there ever be too much garlic? For me, no. I love it with a vengeance, and here the roasted garlic pods with eggplant bit gives the dip subtle undertones. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. I love adding walnuts to dip so in they went, while the Greek yogurt adds the right creaminess that the dip demands. All in all it has a lot to offer. Go ahead and add some roasted paprika to it if you like, maybe some pomegranate pearls to give it a juicy pop of flavour and colour. Persian Roasted Eggplant & Walnut DipIn the blender and smooth, this barely takes time and is a great make ahead party option. It also doubles up as a useful ‘sauce‘ for wraps, or a sandwich spread if you like. I served the Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip with these equally earthy Rosemary Garlic Sesame Millet Crackers I made recently. The more garlicky, the better! And of course, since the dip was ready and sitting there, I decided to experiment with it for a few pictures.Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut DipJust different backgrounds, angles, light, what have you! Some work, some don’t, but the important thing is to keep experimenting. Darter & yours truly have announced our next Food Styling & Photography Workshop  in Delhi this September, our 5th one here, so it’s always fun to experiment and share ideas. Food Styling and Photography Workshop Sep 2016I tell the participants to try and shoot everyday, to constantly experiment with different backgrounds, angles, light and moods. I do just the same.

Food props, Food styling, Food Photography

Food props, Food styling, Food Photography, Flatlay, World Photography DayEveryday. With whatever I have on hand. If I haven’t baked or cooked something ‘image worthy’, then I just grab raw produce, knick-knacks or props from an earlier shoot, things lying on my desk, stuff I like, then shoot them in frame. It’s a huge learning process, and therapeutic too. The important thing is to experiment, to keep your mind open. I can never say that enough!

And that’s how I got to this delicious Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip too, with an open mind!

Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip ... earthy, smokey, moorish, delicious!
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This Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip has a lot to offer. The twice used garlic, the walnuts, then the creaminess from Greek yogurt make it endearing. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. Play around with ingredients to suit your palette. That's the beauty of dips.
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip ... earthy, smokey, moorish, delicious!
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
This Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip has a lot to offer. The twice used garlic, the walnuts, then the creaminess from Greek yogurt make it endearing. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. Play around with ingredients to suit your palette. That's the beauty of dips.
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Roasted eggplant walnut dip
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cut 1/2" slits into sides of eggplant and push in 4 cloves of unpeeled garlic. Roast over low flame {or under broiler} until charred {like for baingan ka bharta.} Leave covered in a bowl to cool.
  2. Remove garlic and press out roasted pods. Discard skin. peel off charred skin of eggplant. Chop roughly. {Can be done a day or so in advance}
  3. While the eggplant is cooling, heat ghee in heavy bottom pan and caramelise onions and garlic.
  4. Place in cooled eggplant with with caramelised onions & garlic and remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in chopped chives. Taste and adjust seasoning. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and keep for a couple of hours/overnight for flavours to mature. Top with chopped walnuts and chives.
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