Baking | Lime & Strawberry Cream Cake … a splash of pink in December!

“Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!”
C. JoyBell C

Lime & Strawberry Cream CakeLime & Strawberry Cream Cake … a very simple cake made in the Philips AirFryer a few days ago. 15 minutes was all I could manage that day. There have been no desserts of late and the kids were beginning to make strange unhappy sounds. There’s been barely any ‘free time’ what with final exams on for both teens which are well underway. The cake came out surprisingly nice. Lime & Strawberry Cream CakeDidn’t take pictures of it once made as it was slightly domed and I didn’t have time to pretty it up. One bite down and I thought it was really nice. Lime and strawberries pair well. The second round of the strawberry season has finally begun here in North India. Can’t have too much of this delicious fruit.

Lime & Strawberry Cream Cake The sponge was soft but not moist as always because I whisked in the flour instead of folding it in G E N T L Y. So I didn’t get a ‘light as air’ sponge. Still it was quite soft. Interesting!

Lime & Strawberry Cream Cake The easiest way to get cake moist is to give it a good soaking with a simple sugar syrup. Love doing that when I make my pineapple cream cake. If you are doing a black forest cake, you can always reduce the syrup the cherries are canned in, and add a dash of Kirsch or lime juice to it to moisten the sponge.

Lime & Strawberry Cream Cake I thought the Lime & Strawberry Cream Cake was nice enough to share, a quick easy cake, make ahead, light and delicious. A slice was hidden away for a picture opportunity while the rest of the cake was devoured by the happy family. Lime & Strawberry Cream Cake Then late that evening the bell rang. It was the courier with the Samsung Netbook that I had won at the Del Monte recipe contest hosted at Indiblogger.  My entry was the Tropical Cream Pie. Much excitement followed and we found a candy pink gizmo. Even though I’m not a pink person, the netbook is really pretty and very handy! I ♥ it!!

Seems to be an early Christmas over and over again. I am feeling quite pampered … maybe too pampered! First the Philips AirFryer, then Finla spoilt me silly, next Mr PAB got me a Samsung S3. My sister sent me more stuff as her better half was visiting … and just when I thought I had everything and more I could ever ask for, PINK came into my life!

Lime & Strawberry Cream Cake December’s here already. A clutch of days to fly through, a year that’s been packed to the gills. So much happening in this foodie world. Oh, I forgot to tell you that I was pleasantly surprised with some fabulous tea from a beautiful tea company in China. Yes China! And yes tea! Teavirve Blurberry TeaIt’s funny because I am a 100% coffee addict and never drink tea. My first foray into tea was at the Aussie MasterChefs breakfast meet where Sangeeta talked me into sipping some lavender tea. It was wonderful. Then she got me some beautiful green tea from Darjeeling from a recent visit. Teavirve TeaThis herbal and green tea from Teavirve was a nice coincidence. In the bag were samples for green tea, and for Blueberry Fruit Tea and Apple Awakening Fruit Tea. The green tea was similar to others that I have recently sampled, but it was the Blueberry Fruit Tea that was amazing, and stole my heart. Beautiful aromas and subtle flavours of blueberry, black currant, roselle and grapes. The teen is in love with this tea!

Lime & Strawberry Cream Cake The Apple Awakening Fruit Tea is really refreshing too … teasing the palette with an intriguing combination of apple and lemon.  With such an extensive selection which can be shipped across the world, Teavirve is a great gifting option. Green, white, black, Oolong, Pu-erh, herbal, fruit, ice, organic, flavoured … the variety is endless.Teavirve Blurberry TeaTo make the range complete, Teavirve offer a stunning range of teaware too. {They offers worldwide free shipping for orders over $30 … you should check out there collection.}

Don’t miss a post Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking| Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares … charming cookies for Mothers Day!

“If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”
Erma Brombeck

Pebbly Beach Fruit SquaresHappy May! There was a time when as kids we would go around shrieking May Daaaaaay May Daaaaaay on the 1st of May, giggling stupidly at the SOS call. By the time history classes began, May Day was synonymous with Labour Day, where we studied labour relations, about the ILO etc,  and life began to get mundane. May’s here and the only thought that tears through my mind is ‘ALREADY?’ Are we really almost halfway through the year?Pebbly Beach Fruit SquaresLife has been a roller coaster ride of late which might sort of explain why I’ve been a bit slow to post. I’m seeing the beginnings of carpel tunnel and I think a tennis elbow, so am going slow on the computer. Never thought life could be so painful!  Other stressful situations are plenty too though made lighter by the likes of Erma Brombeck who I constantly turn to for comic relief.

“Kids have little computer bodies with disks that store information. They remember who had to do the dishes the last time you had spaghetti, who lost the knob off the Tv set six years ago, who got punished for teasing the dog when he wasn’t teasing the dog and who had to wear girls boots the last time it snowed.”, Erma Brombeck

Battling the teen and pre teen continue to pose ‘challenging‘ situations. I attended a wonderful parenting workshop at school. Importantly learnt that the brain largely consists of the frontal lobe or the office {The executive functions of the frontal lobes involve the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions}, override and suppress unacceptable social responses, and determine similarities and differences between things or events. Therefore, it is involved in higher mental functions}.

‘Most children’s first words are “Mama” or “Daddy.” Mine were, “Do I have to use my own money?”, Erma Brombeck

The other important part of the brain is the amygdala which performs a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions. As luck would have it, the little amygdala, which is highly developed in adolescents,  is apparently very reactive and irrational and packs a punch. I hear that the functional frontal will develop in teens only over the next few years! We’ve come to accept {read forced} that we are talking long-haul teen issues! Any of you in the same boat, dear readers?Pebbly Beach Fruit SquaresTo add to the drama, the pre-teen lad decided to carve wood with a Swiss knife while I was getting dinner ready 2 days ago. Did anyone hear an S.O.S.? It wasn’t long before we headed for the hospital at dinner time with him almost fainting with blood loss. 3 deep gashed since the wood took flight! Nothing that first aid couldn’t fix but just makes you believe that there is so much more you can do in a day! Exciting times! Next day in school he figured he could play ‘defence‘ in soccer and came back yesterday with a sprained ankle. Sigh…New born kittensWith trouble always comes some sunshine, and a stray has littered in our front yard for the second time. She’s given birth to the cutest little kittens. I asked Man Friday to hand them to me while the poor Mum was out foraging for grub. Here they are at 2 days old…cute precious ‘handul’! The Mum-cat of course growls, is grumpy and always looks exhausted! Mums out there – sound familiar? To all of you wonderful mothers reading this … a Happy Mothers Day for everything you do for your off springs!Pebbly Beach Fruit SquaresWhile my little world is being rocked, there are far greater things rocking the world. Who would have known about Abbotabad, a town founded by Major James Abbot, once in India, and now in Pakistan? The world is rid of its enemy number one, and the media uproar leaves even lesser time for blogging.

Source: British Library

I didn’t bake for 2-3 days, and yesterday the lad came home to say his friends in school opened his snack box and were disappointed that he didn’t ‘get something your mother made‘. I had given him store bought cookies! Time to get a hold on life, so it was back to baking. Yes bake I had to, and blogging happily follows!Pebbly Beach Fruit SquaresI saw these at Food Gal and they charmed the socks off my feet. I’m a HUGE fan of Alice Medrich. These squares reminded me of the good old days in the sweltering heat where we read books in shades of LARGE raintrees and tamarind trees, no fans, no air-conditioners, no frets, no worries. Just a well thumbed Enid Blyton borrowed from the neighbourhood library, devoured page by page as we greedily sucked at ice cubes in tall steel glasses of  home made lime juice.Pebbly Beach Fruit SquaresMaking the cookies was therapeutic and relaxing. Carolyn’s posts strike a connect with me. Her writing is engaging, evocative and often prods the memory to relive the days gone by. That connect is what I enjoy most about food and food blogs.  I made the first batch as squares. For the second lot, I use some leftover roasted balsamic strawberries {from this Eggless Chocolate Layered Cake & this Quarkauflauf}, rolled the dough into logs, chilled it and sliced the logs like pin wheel cookies. Both version were delicious, and would make great Mothers Day cookies.

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

Frozen Dessert| Strawberry Fresh Mint & Lime Sorbet … summer’s here & macarons too!

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Nat King Cole

Strawberry Fresh Mint SorbetSome songs will never be forgotten, and some voices will live forever. He was singing the song in his rich, deep, baritone voice {in my head of course} as I caught sight of the sorbet in my reader. Nat King Cole had no clue, but I so knew I was going to make it soon. It sounded easy,breezy and beautiful. What I didn’t know was that I would be walking into the kitchen in the next 10 minutes and whizzing it together.Strawberry Fresh Mint SorbetIf you own a food processor, or better still, a Thermomix, summer will never be better. My herb garden is absolutely thriving for some unknown reason, the first summer that I’ve had great success with growing herbs. Mint I have always had plenty of, and basil too. For the thyme, rosemary, purple basil, chives, parsley, coriander and oregano I must thank the lovely folk from Hometown Seeds, which specializes in high quality garden and herb seeds, for sending me a selection of herb seeds.Strawberry Fresh Mint SorbetI have never been so excited at seeing a lush potful of thyme and the beginnings of rosemary. The thyme is thriving, and I used it in these Strawberry Apple Crumbles here. The rosemary is looking good but will take a while to become ‘plant enough‘ to use. If you saw my overflowing patch of mint you’d  turn an envious green! Every neighbour who walks by asks me for some. I often pull it out, roots and all and hand it to them to grow a patch of their own … sharing some mint love! Its a beautiful fresh herb, yet I don’t use it as often as I should.Strawberry Fresh Mint Sorbet & MacaronsI’ve been hurriedly freezing bags of strawberries this past month as I feared they would disappear with the mercury rising; it’s touching 37C these days.  Yet strangely enough, the prices have come down, and the quality improved! Lush, red strawberries are still flooding the market, so what better way to celebrate than to use my frozen berries and make this beautiful sorbet.Strawberry Fresh Mint Sorbet & macaronsThis sorbet changed the way I look at mint, and makes me guard my mint patch a little more. The frozen delight tantalizes the palette and is bowl licking good  … oh-so-refreshing!! I made the recipe from what I remembered reading, which in my case meant that ingredients changed along the way. Proves a point that the memory isn’t as good as it used to be!Strawberry Fresh Mint SorbetI added juice of a lime instead of the vanilla extract {I could have sworn I read lime and not extract …sigh!}, and I didn’t register the food colour. Just as well that I didn’t because the natural colour in itself is tantalizing… as was the taste. I urge you to go and buy and freeze strawberries, and whip up this fabulous, no fat delight which makes you welcome summer with open arms. Oh the colours and oh the flavours … A D D I C T I V E!!Chocolate Macarons with Strawberry Fresh Mint SorbetI had a wee bit that I saved up to pair with chocolate macarons I made for this month. Our theme for April at MacTweets is CHOCOLAT! This month of April, the MacKitchen is being devoted to chocolate. Chocolate Macarons are taking over! Jamie & I called for you to create something sensational, surprising, unique, something beautiful, delectable, tantalizing, something worthy of a Mac Attack using chocolate.Chocolate Macarons with Strawberry Fresh Mint SorbetPair it with a  novel ingredient which will add texture or flavor or color, something, anything which will accentuate, complement the chocolate flavor and make for one spectacular mac! These chocolate macaron shells paired with a sweet/tart strawberry fresh lime sorbet screamed summer, tantalizing, sensational and delectable.

Do you want to join Jamie and me making MACARONS??

If you do, you are most welcome to join the
‘Attack’. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog
MacTweets. The rules for can be found here. You can always join this month, or the next if you like. Just drop us a mail or tweet.


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


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