Baking | Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake …. delicious mouthful!

“Some of us come on earth seeing.
Some of us come on earth seeing color.”
Louise Nevelson

Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake … a bake that ended my bout of lack of inspiration. The heat and humidity is killing. Back from Leh, an exhausting trip that was messed up by the travel agent, didn’t seem to make life better. It was a trip I had waited for forever … then came the mail a few hours before we were due to leave about an error in bookings their end! Try that at 11000ft, tired teens, rarefied oxygen levels …. just didn’t work!

Leh, Kashmir 2015The past few months have seen my nose to the grinding stone, trying to make up for lost time. A project to be completed, the daughter to be packed off to uni, loads of emails in the things to do, a few small things in the pipeline … and then the everyday meals, laundry, grocery, dog etc. Of course hungry teens at home for summer vacation didn’t seem to make life easier.

PlumsThis was a few days before she left. They were hungry yet again. There is this time in the afternoon between 3 and 4 that some hunger goblins visit our home. I wish I could turn invisible at 3 o clock! Really do. Those goblins have surfaced without fail for the past month. I decided to beat them to it.

resh plums, summer stone fruitI had plums in the fridge… and thoughts of a whole wheat fresh plum cake I had made last year! It was time to work on those lines. A last minute thought made me save some whipped egg whites for the top; wanted to make a visually fun cake. Little did I know that when it would bake, it would endlessly remind me of our trip to Leh.Leh, Kashmir, IndiaWhy? Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw when we landed in Leh. To our mind, we were going into the mountains, at 11000 feet, the majestic Himalayas which would be GREEN and snow topped. 11000ft to me meant more snow that would exceed any we had seen when we visited Srinagar, Kashmir in March. Leh, Kashmir 2014Boy were we gobsmacked. I think we didn’t realise that Leh is a cold dessert. I could’ve never imagined those endless mountains of mud, rock and BROWN! Very National Geographic, very awe inspiring, very unlike what we expected.Leh, Kashmir 2015 That’s not to say the view wasn’t stunning. It certainly was. Still this cake reminded me so much of the vast rocky terrain. Mountains higher than one can imagine, and all made of mud, rocks, actually HUGE boulders, and in many places not a spot of vegetation…

Leh, Kashmir 2015… until we reached where we were booked to stay. On the way to the beautiful Nimmu House, which we eventually got to after the travel agent messed up our bookings, we even saw something like a Grand Canyon. Nature never fails to astound!

Leh, Kashmir 2015 Such a vast terrain, never ending mountains, beautiful wooden gates, doors I could pack and run away with, windows too.Leh, Kashmir 2015 Rustic outdoors that left you wanting for more, more than the eyes could capture. Fresh mountain air as clean and crisp as could be. The landscape was unreal at times, took my breath away …. yet left me with ‘brown’ stamped in my mind.

Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake And then the tray bake happened, just on the go. One look at it and it was an uncanny feeling. It reminded me of the Leh landscape in so many ways. Unexpected, rustically beautiful {in my eyes}, with unusual tones the brown sugar meringue picked up with the dark chocolate melting into it.

Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake One bite later and it was pure joy. Moist, deeply chocolaty, delightful plum undertones, what a fun bake this tuned out to be. Must have been the plums that created some berry like magic in there.

Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake There’s still some summer left here in the plains you are enamoured by stone fruit like me. Go grab some plums and begin experimenting. You never know how yummy life might get! Plums, peaches and cherries will soon be gone, and I will sadly miss them. We are looking at a long extended hot season though…sadly, the rains have failed to show up!

Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake Have you ever made a cake inspired by landscape or a vacation? Would love to hear about it!

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Blog Event | Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Café Day, Delhi

“If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.”
Jimmy Wales

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, DelhiI am a HUGE fan of Google, of how dynamic it is; creative and interactive too. In  many ways I know I don’t speak for myself alone as Google marches ahead making life online simpler and simpler. Google India hosted a Google Café Day in Delhi showcasing the search experience for Indian users: English Voice Search in the Indian accent, The Knowledge Graph, and Google Now.

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, DelhiThe demo driven event reflects Google’s continual effort to improve the search experience that will help Indians users find answers on the web more quickly and efficiently. Sandeep Menon, Head of Marketing Google India, led the demo. From asking Google where you can watch the latest movies to finding out cricket scores at the touch of a button,  help is just a click away, or rather just a shout away! Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, Delhi I came home and shouted into the Google Search App of my ‘smart phone’  … “SMS Rohan to have a bath now”. Smartly enough, hand in hand with Google, it first went to SMS, then asked me which Rohan from my phone book … and seconds later the message was sent!! Minutes later a curious Rohan emerged to ask about the unusually cryptic message. Once explained, he was pleasantly surprised and actually went to have a shower!! That explains the magic of Googles Voice Search for mere mortals like me.

customLogo.gifGoogle Café Day was informative and interactive, something that Google India has consistently done. From g|india in September 2012, where Google engaged with the Indian community of developers, business leaders, IT professionals and entrepreneurs who are as passionate about technology as they are …

World Photography Day … to World Photography Day  the Google+ Way in August 2013 in Mumbai, when professional photographers and photo enthusiasts were invited to step into Googles dynamic world of photo sharing. Google invited photographers to embrace technology with its easy to use features, once again showing how dynamic they are as a company.

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, Delhi The Knowledge Graph is Googles growing model of the hundreds of millions of people, places and things that make up our world. Using ambitious technology and massive google-scale computing, The Knowledge Graph attempts to give you relevant information based on this sophisticated database.

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, Delhi The third innovation introduced that day was Google Now, an anticipatory feature within Google Search that brings you the right information even before you ask!! The days weather, traffic en route, traffic hot spots and even alternative route suggestions, flight status, movie listingsGoogle Now brings it all to you proactively when you opt for Google Now in the Google Search App.

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, Delhi The event was interactive, engaging and entertaining with a few special guests. Singer and model Shibani Dandekar, Indian footballer Baichung Bhutia, and Chef Kunal Kapoor were part of the demo team out to make each session fun! Appreciation must be given to the team that set up the stage for the event… attention to detail, excellent creatives, and a lovely play of Google colours made #GoogleHouse fun and imaginative!

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, Delhi A down to earth, approachable team, interactive demos and engaging sessions are trademark of Google India. It’s interesting to see how they progress, how much they enjoy sharing their milestones with users across the spectrum, how ethical and focused they are! For a layman like me, I came back inspired as always. Thank you Google India.

 

Food Feature | A Zoroastrian Rhapsody @ The Oberoi Gurgaon with the oldest Parsi chefs Tehmtan and Shernaz Dumasia

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”
Virginia Woolf

@ the Amaranta Oberoi for a special Parsi lunch created by the legendary Tehmtan and Shernaz DumasiaJust back from a trip to Leh, an invite to a Zoroastrian Rhapsody with the oldest Parsi chefs Tehmtan and Shernaz Dumasia promised to be fun, exciting, engaging and invigorating. It certainly was. Parsi cuisine is an involving experience,and offers the old world charm of a tradition well preserved. The exclusive lunch created by the Dumasias for a bloggers table of eight filled the ‘Amaranta’, Oberoi Gurgaon with endless cacophony and laughter…aMy first visit to the property wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. The Oberoi stands tall … very modernistic, high ceilings, loads of natural light, minimalistic too, ‘glassy‘ and quiet. Then the lovely Mallika walked in with her positive energy and enthusiasm and the silence was history. We met at The Piano Bar, greeted at the door by a stunning sculpture by new age contemporary artist Valay Shinde.Sculpture by Valay Shinde 2

This stunning sculpture in bronze discs and pocket watches is created by Mumbai- based sculptor and video artist, Valay Shende. He uses non-traditional materials like metal, fibre glass, copper and pocket watches to create stark, traditional images- trucks, animals and this dabbawalla!

@ the Amaranta Oberoi for a special Parsi lunchThere has been a bit of Parsi cuisine in our neck of the woods of late, the first that comes to mind, Soda Bottle Openerwala. Both offered different experiences, starkly different at times, yet both special. SBO with it’s endless energy, loud music,casual dining, constant movement, colour, noise etc while Amaranta is quite the opposite in ambiance. Fine dining, pin drop silence {until we spread our wings of course} … everything working like clockwork.

@ the Amaranta Oberoi for a special Parsi lunchThe Oberoi Gurgaon’s fine dining Indian coastal restaurant offers cuisine from nine coastal regions of the country. Guests can enjoy the best of the morning catch flown in everyday from the 7500 kilometre long Indian coastline, just in time for lunch. What impressed me at the Amaranta was the fusion cuisine we were served. A bit of Indian fine dining coastal in perfect harmony with the Dumanias hand cooked Parsi cuisine. @ the Amaranta Oberoi for a special Parsi lunchWe began with a fabulous in house ginger ale, served alongside some addictive bread with interesting sea salts trademark of the Oberoi Gurgaon. Curry leaf & Coconut Powder, Goan Spice, Kerela spice and Lentil & Curry Leaf … stirred into some olive oil offered a magical accompaniment for the fresh bread. In jugalbandi, or perfect harmony, were papad {crackers} served with the Dumanias trademark carrot date chutney. Finger-licking good stuff!

@ the Amaranta Oberoi for a special Parsi lunch 2Loved the starters, though was a bit iffy about the Parsi Lamb Cutlet coz it was a brain cutlet! Jabbering got the better of me, and before I knew it I chomped my way though them without realising that was brain. It was delicious … full of flavour, crisp with a semolina coating. The Chicken Farcha was yum too.

@ the Amaranta Oberoi for a special Parsi lunch created by the legendary Tehmtan and Shernaz Dumasia What made the meal complete was that the chefs joined us at the table. Parsi food is homey, comforting, traditional is satisfying only in good company. Chef Tehmtan talked us through his life, how his day pans out, the celebrities who love his food, the club he runs in Mumbai, songs he sings at the Christian gym every Friday {there’s nothing he doesn’t do}. Up at 4am every morning, he sets off to buy fresh produce, then comes back to wake his beautiful wife … and off they go to cook! Together since 17, the two are inseprable and you can see the harmony they share. He is outgoing, social, media savvy, a quick thinker, cracks jokes every minute. She is a little reserved, cooks diligently, smiles all the time, and looks completely relaxed.

@ the Amaranta Oberoi for a special Parsi lunch We continued to eat amid incessant chatter. Justice was done to everything we were served.Mutton Dhansak with kebab, Patra ni Machi / Banana leaf wrapped steamed pomphret, Jerdaloo Salli Murghi / Chicken cooked in roasted onion and apricot gravy … a champagne sorbet woven through too! It was good food, great company …

@ the Amaranta Oberoi for a special Parsi lunch Time flew by … and soon dessert was served. This was the part I loved the most. Haven’t had a better Lagan nu Custard {a rich baked pudding served at Parsi weddings} ever. Also excellent was the tender coconut ice cream … both desserts in perfect harmony again, and a perfect end to the meal!

Photo courtesy Anamika  @ Anandini Himalaya Tea

Photo courtesy Anamika @ Anindini Tea

Thank you Chef Tehmtan and Shernaz Dumasia for taking precious time out for a table for us, and for sharing the recipes for Patra nu Machi and Lagan nu Custard.. Thank you also Mallika for hosting us at the Oberoi Gurgaon, and Anamika for organising this.  It was a memorable afternoon indeed!

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