Baking | GF Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake … #glutenfree by default #quark #dessert

“Reminiscent of childhood memories, luxury, sweetness and sensuality, chocolate is more than just a food. It is therapy.”
Christelle Le Ru

Dark Chocolate Quark CheesecakeGF Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake … some recipes are just meant to be, and this is one of them. Come summer and quark is constantly being prepped at home. There is never a definite plan for where it goes, yet the fact that I am ‘creating’ a low fat unripened cheese is enough to keep me happy. This tangy cheese finds its way into just about anything. And this something was truly delicious!

Quark dessertsIt’s QUARK all the way! A layered parfait, savoury or sweet, in a curry instead of yogurt, while cooking chicken as a filling for wraps, turnovers like in these Chicken Quark Cross-over Puff Pastry, in frozen yogurt instead of yogurt … or then in cheesecakes of course! That this cheesecake turned out to be gluten free as well is purely incidental …but more about that in a bit!

Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  There is something infinitely comforting in turning all the ingredients into the bowl of the food processor and celebrating that the filling is ‘ready’ to go into the oven. Simple! Yes that simple, but then cheesecakes usually are. The tough part is waiting for them to cool down, and leaving them sitting in the fridge overnight. The toughest bit however is when you experiment, it takes forever to figure out whether it worked, or didn’t. This one certainly was a YES! Best chocolate cheesecake ever!

Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  A few cheesecake basics you might like to keep in mind… Try and bake the cheesecake in a water bath so it cooks evenly and the top doesn’t crack. Prebake the biscuit base especially if you are doing a quark version as the filling is moister than when using a cream cheese. If doing a biscuit base, it’s a nice idea to paint the prebaked base with a brush of melted dark chocolate; keeps the base from going soggy. Make sure the quark is well drained for a full day or two. Above all, use the best quality ingredients. A good dark couverture makes this cheesecake really sing!

Quite a while ago I did these Mini Quark Chocolate Cheesecakes which popped up thanks to Google while I was looking for quark inspiration. Inspired by myself {if I may say so myself}, it was time to bake a dark chocolate quark cheesecake. I had the base ready! Well actually, I had a baking disaster whereby my almond sponge flowed inexplicably out of my baking tin. I think the tin was too small and I was left with a 3/4 sponge to salvage. The idea in my head was trifles with quark and strawberries, and Googling led me ‘you know where‘!

Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  Within minutes, the hapless sponge was blitzed into breadcrumbs in the Thermomix, then rapidly pressed into the baking tin to cushion a base for the cheesecake. You can gauge how much I enjoyed doing this GF Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake! It was the fastest cheesecake I have ever bunged into an oven! I have included a biscuit base recipe below as the coincidence of you having a failed sponge on your hands might be too much to ask for.

Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  But if you are up to it, adventurous enough, a sucker for punishment like me AND/OR looking for a gluten free version, then I’ve included the recipe for an almond sponge too. It’s one I use often, here for eg in the Strawberry Almond Roulade. I swopped the Swiss roll pan for a tin, subsequently suffering defeat.

Upcycled Blondie PuddingUpcycling failed desserts {as above} is fun, and one small shove from Ruchira fixed me for life. Upcycle everything that fails is my only thought when I end up with a baking disaster. Eton Mess is a fine example and one that appeared several times as dessert when making macarons was an obsession. Just recently, when an over baked batch of blondies stared me in the face, they headed for the most delicious ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding!

Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  And another piece of happiness … this beautiful ceramic platter that Ruchira got for me recently. It has me absolutely smitten, a new addition to my endless props. That it is round and scalloped, that it is a beautiful shade of blue, that it has tiny dots like a running stitch on the edges, and that it is flat works for me like magic! That she bought it from here in India also makes me thrilled. Wholegrain Anzac Cookies I have a few other bits and bobs of ceramic that tie up with it, so while I enjoy my ever growing {read exploding} prop collection,  I’ll leave you with a recipe that I am sure you will enjoy.Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake  I topped the Dark Chocolate Quark Cheesecake with tiny grated chocolate curls. You could also consider  topping it with unsweetened cream and balsamic roasted strawberries, maybe a salted caramel sauce. My homemade recipe for quark can be found here! Also, find more recipes that use quark on my blog.

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

Fresh | Strawberry Kiwi Fruit Salad … go light with summer #healthy #summerfood

Strawberry Kiwi Fruit SaladIt’s the time of the year where your palette changes as the season changes. Springs given way to summer, and thankfully it’s been kind of mild so far. The flavours are shifting gear from hearty earthy soups to salads and smoothies galore.

Summer foods, healthyGrilled is in … sandwiches & barbeque. With it comes breads – wholegrain, chewy, deep, delicious. Yes the yeast in action gives rise to some fine French fougasse and foccacias and no one is complaining. Healthy food in Delhi is in, and it’s fun to see the change in food trends.summer coolersThe past two years have seen a shift in gears towards light food in Delhi. Though the number of  stand alone salad bars in Delhi are still limited, most coffee shops and restaurants have a live salad counter which throw up the most amazing of fresh and cooked salads all day long. Nirulas Pot Pourri was possibly the first ‘salad bar in Delhi’, one that brings back old memories of the 1980’s. Stone Fruit SaladWe would hang out on the ground floor in Connaught Place, having ‘escaped’ from school, sinking our teeth into 21 Love and Jamoca Almond Fudge. the Hot Chocolate Fudge was slightly steeper, so that was for special days, toasted cashews on top and the works! We’d climb upstairs sometimes to treat ourselves to the occasional grilled sandwich, passing by the salad bar, but never stopping for any! The precious pennies were saved to buy real food in our eyes, not pineapples and Russian salad!!

Healthy food makeoverHow times change when you grow up. How food on the table changes too! It’s actually a combination of an internet explosion, social media, interest in food, spending time in the kitchen, reading cookbooks and blogs non stop that lead to awakening. One constantly questions ‘what is on the plate’? And it’s a great way for youngsters to learn too!Fruit salad The son will not eat a meal without salad, he begins every morning with a fruit salad … it’s the best thing in the world he declares! What’s the fuss all about you might wonder. Nothing at all. It’s the Strawberry Kiwi Fruit Salad that I’ve been making for years. This is a simple, refreshing, make ahead or make instantly glass of joy.

SaladsStrawberries and kiwi are two very vitamin rich fruit, though can try experimenting with maybe melons and kiwi, or mango and strawberries, maybe litchi and melon… whatever is in season and forms part of your local produce. Throw in a bunch of fresh herbs from the garden, sit back and refresh yourself this summer!

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


Grilling | GRILL IN with summer … a charcoal grill & herby lime chicken

“Barbecue should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
Albert Einstein

Grill In with herby Italian chicken Summer’s here and with it fun, healthier and lighter food. Did I forget the D word? Delicious too! There’s been quite a shift in the way I look at food, develop recipes, serve it up etc. The grains have gone whole, the sugars are less refined, usually natural or brown, and the oils are cold pressed or then clarified butter. Natural homemade white butter too. If you look at things, it’s actually a lifestyle change, teenie step by step, and it’s interesting to see how things can change bit by bit.

Eat healthyWith developing healthy and tasty recipes for Fit Foodie, to drinking more water, upping the protein and walking the extra mile with the GOQii campaign, this year couldn’t have begun on a better note. It isn’t about losing weight and the eternal calorie count. I’ve learnt as time goes by that holistic is better, that lifestyles are better when balanced, that changes don’t happen overnight.

Baby mustard greens stir fryAll this aligns with my food philosophy, being a locavore and eating seasonal. With the temperature rising, I thought I’d buy a sandwich grill. Online browsing is the best option for housebound me these days as I have work going on at home. landing up at the recently launched Home Store section of one of my favourite haunts, I was blown away by the choice.

Outdoor grill, FlipkartSO MUCH CHOICE! I almost forgot what I had landed up for…. my imagination took flight. Beginning from singular thoughts of a sandwich press, the boundaries expanded and how! I shifted gears and knew I now wanted a grilling something. Oh yes, good thought now that I was also cutting back carbs. I wanted a grill! So I set off and OH DEAR! Faced with more choice, online shopping has never been better. My search for grills threw up more temptation by way of the header ‘Barbeque & Grills’. Such fun. The prices are quite reasonable too from under Rs 1000 to about Rs 5000, I found enough choice for my kitchen and home. I have never seen so many colours too.

enamelware charcoal grill, flipkart So it was definitely this I zeroed in on an enamelware charcoal grill. Such a compact fun design, with the option of no legs {counter top}, half stand or stand on wheels, couldn’t have asked for more. Time to toss coins. Which colour? Red blue, green, white, yellow, black? Good heavens! Asked the lad at home because I oscillated between black and red. White he said with conviction, so white it was!Grill In with herby Italian chicken

An outdoor grill in summer is fun, fun, fun. This one is so convenient to use and compact too. The store {can mention Flipkart} is very prompt with updates and delivers expertly. Unpacking it, I loved the packaging and the thought behind the product. Such fun… I ave myself a pat on the back for such a great choice!

Grill In with herby Italian chicken
So here we go. A simple herby lime barbeque chicken to inaugurate my latest online indulgence. You must go and check out the range available. There are some great discounts available that you possibly won’t find in store. Oh, and don’t forget to tell me what you went looking for, and what you eventually bought. Were you strong willed, or weak willed distracted like me, hopping from one page to another, spoilt for choice?

Grill In with herby Italian chicken And I bought another something. You know my love for stoneware and black Manipur pottery. I was pleasantly surprised to see quite an extensive range of this online. To add to my collection, I bought this beautiful flat rectangular serving dish. Was a perfect fit to serve the skewers on. They’ve got an enviable range. For those who cannot make it to Dilli Haat, this is the place to go.

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