Baking | Double Chocolate Strawberry Pavlovas … sweet indulgence!

“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”
Ernestine Ulmer

Double Chocolate Strawberry PavlovasDouble Chocolate Strawberry Pavlovas! They weren’t for V Day; coincidentally just got made the same day. Himanshu messaged early in the morning on FB and we began discussing feet, macarons, failed feet, Mactweets and what not. I had a batch of egg whites in the freezer. The egg whites ex the Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte were frozen for tempting times like this. Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu CharlotteI had some more frozen ex a batch of lime curd I had made for a recipe feature in Good Housekeeping. Egg whites are sweet creatures, maintenance free, and ever obliging. Happy to be frozen, and equally happy to defrost! I got mac-nostalgic and brought them down. Then the day got real, took on proportions that were very macaron unfriendly…Lime CurdI almost convinced myself to make macarons with the whites, the only problem with the beauties is the high risk of failure. That day had already had a tiring beginning. I was in no mood to punish myself. Besides, I find macarons really pretty to look at but sometimes too sweet to eat. Is it only me? Anyone else? I’ve had Double Chocolate Strawberry Pavlovas on my mind for long! I’ve made others before - Tropical Fruit Pavlova  and Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse, Brandied Cherries and PeachesHowever, the double chocolate ones at What Katie Ate dance in my head almost every time I see strawberries! Double Chocolate Strawberry PavlovasMust be something about the V Day over-hype but the passionate red strawberries did shout out to me. India isn’t raspberry country yet something tells me that in the years to come, raspberries and blueberry punnets might flood the market. There was a time when we used to crave good fresh strawberries. Now we are spoilt for choice twice or thrice a year! Double Chocolate Strawberry Pavlovas I made Double Chocolate Strawberry Pavlovas instead. There’s no recipe for chocolate pavlova that is as often used as Nigellas, and I found it a couple of years ago at WKA! If you want to indulge yourself in goodness and spoil yourself silly, look no further …

Double Chocolate Strawberry Pavlovas The Domestic Goddess does it the best, and in indulgent style. Pavlovas are pretty simple creatures. A few basics under your belt and you can churn them out with your eyes shut. Do read Katies post for some pearls of pav wisdom!

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


Baking| Cheddar Rosemary Cheese Straws & Chocolate Walnut Fudge … Diwali

“The true essentials of a feast are only fun and feed.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Cheese Straws, Chocolate Walnut Fudge

The past week was hectic, like being on a baking express! It was the festival of lights, Diwali, here in India, and I decided to bake something as gifts for everyone …. Did I say life became H E C T I C?

DiwaliDiwali is traditionally a festival where people exchange gifts, which include loads of Indian sweetmeats and nuts etc. This year, I gifted home made edibles to most of the near and dear ones … from Buttermilk Pound Cakes to Brownies. For snacks at home, here’s what I made… something savoury, and something sweet.

Cheddar Rosemary Cheese StrawsI loved these Parmesan Cheese Straws with Rosemary when I saw them at Barbara’s beautiful blog Modern Comfort Food. Each post is well written, the pictures gorgeous. Her recipes are simple, straightforward, and full of flavour. I especially loved the ease of these cheese straws where I ran everything in the bowl of the food processor, and voila … we had dough for the straws!

Cheddar Rosemary Cheese StrawsI didn’t even need to chill the dough as it came together beautifully, smooth and easy to roll. I think I might have browned the cheese straws a little extra, or maybe they have a darker hue as compared to the ones on Barbara’s blog, as I used extra cayenne pepper, and additional red chili flakes. The yogurt dip and balsamic vinegar added a tangy twist to the straws, making them very very addictive.

Cheddar Cheese Rosemary StrawsI had to hide them from the kids to stop them being wolfed down. That’s how good they were. They can be made in advance, and the recipe can easily be doubled {which I think is a better idea because they do disappear too soon}! I didn’t realise that they were meant to be straight. I just noticed this when I went across to get the link from Barbara’s blog… anyhow, I gave them all a good twist!

Cheddar Rosemary Cheese StrawsCheddar Rosemary Cheese Straws
Adapted minimally from Modern Comfort Food
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 cup extra sharp mature cheddar, grated
1/4 cup butter, frozen, grated
2 small garlic clove, sliced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon yogurt {I used some yogurt dip}
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp roasted red chili flakes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary {or 1/2 teaspoon dried}
Method:
Combine the flour, cheese, butter, garlic, cayenne, red chili flakes, rosemary and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are blended to the consistency of coarse crumbs.
Add the yogurt dip/yogurt and balsamic vinegar. Pulse until the mixture forms a ball. Chill the dough, wrapped, for 30 minutes or more.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, cut to fit.
On a sheet of parchment or wax paper, roll out the chilled dough to a level 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick rectangle of about 6 inches in width. Using a long knife, dipped in flour, cut the dough into thin strips, as shown in the above photo, and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for approximately 14-16 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Cool to room temperature on cake racks and serve. This recipe can be doubled.

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Diwali Last year I had made savoury and sweet too… these spicy baked chickpeas from Cathy’s blog, and Rasmalai, an Indian dessert where I used ricotta. This year the time just flew by as I’ve had a busy month, so for sweet I had to pick something express, something fuss free, yet something additive to the sweet tooth! How could I not turn back to chocolate fudge, a fudge with pistachios that my own little Goddess in the making had made a few years ago. Needless to say, times have changed … and how!

Rohan makes chocolate walnut fudgeThat Goddess today decided she was far too busy with her friends, so the Domestic God in the making was roped in. I made him stir and stir, the poor guy, but he was p a t i e n t! He did a great job, concentrated and stirred, while I quickly chopped the nuts on the side, and took a few shots! I had used pistachios the last time, so opted to use walnuts today. Holy yum is the word!

These are absolutely addictive little bites; keep them under lock and key if you know what I mean. The Domestic Goddess not in the making anymore reappeared magically to lick the bowls, spatulas and spoons clean once all the dirty work was done. Then she handed the lad a small scraping to taste, rather disdainfully! The good natured blighter that he is, declared “Condensed milk has never tasted this good before!!

Chocolate Walnut FudgeChocolate Walnut Fudge
Minimally adapted from recipe by Nigella Lawson
Ingredients:
350gms dark chocolate / roughly broken up
1 can condensed milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 cup walnuts
Method:
Melt the chopped chocolate, condensed milk, butter, and salt in a heavy based pan on a low heat.
Put the nuts into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin, until broken up into both big and little pieces.
Add the nuts to the melted chocolate and condensed milk and stir well to mix.
Pour this mixture into a 9-inch square foil tray, smoothing the top.
Let the fudge cool and then refrigerate until set.
You can then cut into small pieces approximately 3/4 by 1 3/4 inches or cutting 8 by 8 lines in the tin to give 64 pieces.
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

I want to thank two great foodies in India who made me feel very special by sending me these gorgeous gifts recently. Gifts from the ♥ that I was so touched to receive.

Thank you Kishi for this absolutely delicious Raspberry Bavarian Cream Cake, as well as a jar of cocoa nibs which is something I have longed to have in my larder. Kishi can be found at Foodaholics. Do check out her customised range of cakes etc for all occasions. She delivers across Delhi and the NCR!

Sugar Plum FairyAlso a big shout out to Mia in Goa, who blogs at Bright Morning Star, for a delicious bunch of goodies. Gourmet vanilla beans {lots of them; something I can never have enough of}, cookie cutters – fluted, snowflakes, Xmas trees! Also included in the box were Goan curry pastes and some delicious guava jelly. Mia has begun a BLOGGING BY MAIL BUDDY event for Indian Food Bloggers. Do check it out!

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

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