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

Baking | GF Mango Almond Quark Roulade … & a Rs 6000 giveaway #inseason #mangoes #glutenfree #dessert #flipkart

“Marge, it’s 3 AM. Shouldn’t you be baking?”
Homer Simpson

GF Mango Almond Quark RouladeGF Mango Almond Quark Roulade … two of my most used and favourite combinations this summer – mango & quark. Add a third to it, almond meal, and there’s going to be some magic; in all possibility, deliciously gluten free too! Summer is the easiest time of the year to make quark, the wonderful creamy slightly tangy curd cheese. Once done, you got to move fast as it is perishable given temperatures hit 45C here through summer.

GF Mango Almond Quark Roulade That said, the record was recently broken at 46C and we might just be looking at 50c!!! The brighter side of course is that we are now into the peak of  stone fruit season, a season I love to love. I love doing Swiss Rolls with a mango filling, or for that matter, any seasonal fruit. Mangoes works really well in an ice cream roll too.

Mango Vanilla Bean Panna CottaMango Pastel de Tres Leches Can you tell that I am really enamoured by the king of fruit? You can find plenty of mango on PAB. The Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta was a winner all the way, as also the memorable Mango Pastel de Tres Leches. Mango Quark MousseOh, and i whipped together a quick Mango Quark Mousse with some of the recent batch of quark and alphonsos. Was YUM! So it’s been mango all the way this past month.

Indian mangoes, Alphonso My earlier Strawberry Almond Roulade {Gluten free} came out beautifully. The minute I lay my eyes on these delicious alphonsos that Harini brought for me from Mumbai, I knew it was time to give the almond roulade another shot. I added some baking powder to the sponge as a last minute thought, separating the eggs, and adding a dash of cream of tartar too. GF Mango Almond Quark Roulade The roulade ‘rolled’ out FAB! The lad who doesn’t like mangoes came and asked me for another helping, commenting that ‘this mango dessert was good stuff’! Baking is fun, a science in many ways where experimenting teaches you  a lot! Baking powder, baking soda or no leavening, to use a regular flour , mixed grain or bake gluten free… so many choices!

PABWhat do I love about desserts, baking & food?  Textures, colours, fruit, seasons, pantry staples … everything inspires me. Adding a handful of a healthy almond meal to a dessert, swapping butter for olive oil, using a fruit to decrease the sugar, you’ll see all of this in my recipes. I’ve been obsessed with using fruit in desserts for a long time; the options are infinite and fun!

Do you like to bake? If yes, then I have a little contest and giveaway for you today…-

Giveaway – Win a Rs.6000 FlipkartVoucher

Giveaway headerI have exciting news for you, dear readers. You stand the chance to win a Rs.6000 Flipkart voucher and order all the little kitchen goodies you have always wanted! I whipped up a little competition for you and participating is as easy as making pancakes. Below you will find 5 easy questions that need to be answered. Post your answers in the comments below to be part of the Quiz-Giveaway. FYI, comments will be moderated so your answers are not visible to others.

Rules of the contest:
-You may only enter once
-The winner will be chosen at random
-The winner will recieve a Rs. 6000 Flipkart voucher
-All 5 answers must be correct in order to win the prize.
-You must be a resident of India.

Giveaway flipkartThe voucher is sponsored by couponspy.in, a website where you can find all of the latest coupons and deals online. Here is what they have to say about this exciting competition:

“We are extremely excited and honoured to have our giveaway featured on such a prominent blog. Everyone in the food industry knows who Deeba is, so we are very grateful that she chose to work with us. To the readers, we hope you have fun participating in this quiz, we had fun creating it and also learnt a few important things about baking in the process.”

But now enough talk, it’s time to Quiz up! Here are the 5 questions. Please remember to leave your answers in the comments box at then end. Also, do make sure you leave a valid email address! Good Luck!!

1) What is a good substitute to use in place of baking powder?

2) What fruit puree is often used as a substitute for fat?

3) True or False: frosting and icing are the same thing?

4) Which flour forms the most gluten?

5) Name a pitted fruit that can be baked into a pie.

 

Other Swiss rolls / roulades at PAB

Red Velvet Swiss Roll
Mango Ice Cream Swiss Roll
Star Anise Roll with Marmalade Sauce
Raspberry Pistachio Roulade

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

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Cooler | Phalsa Berry Sharbat – ‘Blendit’ like Vikas Khanna #summer #cooler #inseason #kitchenaidindia

“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child

Phalsa ka Sharbat Phalsa Berry Sharbat … the much dreaded ‘loo‘ or hot summer winds, dry and dust laden, sweep across the plains of North India. Summer here becomes intolerable at times, with ‘fry eggs on the sidewalk‘ like temperatures threatening your very existence! Then along come some of the best fruit that nature has to offer … and life becomes worthwhile again! This Phalsa Berry Sharbat helps you survive…

Phalsa ka Sharbat With a slew of summer fruit now being offloaded by the truckloads, we could not have asked for more. Red, luscious, juicy cherries, mangoes falling off hand carts, watermelons piled sky high on roadsides, peaches just about beginning to surface, Indian java plums too. And then the phalsa berry, a beautiful, tangy, astringent much awaited native Indian berry!

Phalsa, Grewia asiatica Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, this humble little berry, Grewia asiatica, brings alive childhood nostalgia. Back then, almost 40 years ago, the silent afternoon would be pierced by the shrill cry of the ‘phalsa wala‘. You’d find him with a wicker basket, topped with a very wet gunny bag which he gently peeled back to reveal the precious little berries. The very fragile and perishable phalsa would change hands for a few pennies. Washed gently and tossed in rock salt, we would hungrily suck them, trying to extract the most from the almost impoverished looking fruit.

Phalsa ka SharbatSometimes if we were lucky enough, we would be rewarded with phalsa ka sharbat! It was pain staking to make and a special treat. Life is a little easier now, with gadgets that make life in the kitchen a breeze. Just one sip of this amazing cooler, in colours that uplift the soul,  memories of a quintessential part of Indian summer comes alive! Sharbats or ‘fruit and flower based coolers‘ are the answer to the beat the heat!

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This takes me to the launch of the KitchenAid Pro Line Cordless Hand Blender in association with Masterchef Vikas Khanna in Delhi. The launch is a part of multi city #Blendappetit Tour spanning across India starting from May 20, 2014. While, the cordless blender is a unique, first of its kind, versatile product, it comes with an ultimate experience of ‘anytime anywhere’ blending.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This new blender from Kitchenaid India is a magic machine, ergonomically designed, a thing of beauty. It comes equipped with a rechargeable 12V lithium ion battery which gives it the power to perform efficiently. The super blender can blend, mix, whisk, chop, froth, puree, shred and whip up anything in a flash.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The very sweet and charming Vikas {I was fortunate enough to shoot with him recently} blended a lip smacking good kiwi smoothie from his new book.  The chef was affable as ever; entertaining, engaging, humourous! He connected instantly with the expectant crowd and soon had the gathering mesmerised. Ripples of laughter flooded the studio in Gurgaon with Vikas holding court, spinning out one anecdote after another. Stories of his home, his mother & grandmother, his inspirations, his journey from cooking a Rs 20 meal in Punjab to a Rs 20 lakh meal for Obama … yet humble and grounded as ever, a philosopher at heart!Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The afternoon witnessed the launch of his book- .Hymns from the Soil, his first book on Indian vegetarian food and a tribute to Mother Earth. It is full of nostalgic tales of his childhood, and in many ways ‘our childhood’. The ‘mitti ki khushboo‘ or the smell of the wet soil, planting his own vegetable patch, the vegetable vendors with fresh vegetables, seasons that spelt fresh produce {unlike now when you almost get everything round the year} … a touching evocative connect with the soil of the land. The book is beautifully written, with stunning pictures and recipes that call your name.

Phalsa ka Sharbat With so much talk of the connect of the earth, including the shrill call of the vendor that pierced the afternoon silence then, it’s a good time to share this recipe. I make the Phalsa Berry Sharbat every year, changing the recipe as I evolve, always in panic like the berries might disappear or go out of fashion. The phalsa season is a short one here just through May and June. Juicing these in my Thermomix is a breeze … which is why I make this quite often.

Phalsa ka Sharbat 6Phalsa ka Sharbat Not sure if taste buds change as the years go by, or the flood of flavours available and sugar laden options in packaged juices snatch simple pleasure away. Maybe it’s the slightly astringent aftertaste, but unfortunately, this isn’t the kids favourite sharbat. The boy loves his aam panna or raw mango sharbat, the daughter her cranberry juice. Thankfully both also love the daily fresh watermelon juice & smoothies.

Phalsa ka SharbatThe Phalsa Berry Sharbat takes the summer heat away, refreshes the soul, gives you a generous dose of vitamin C and antioxidants … what more can you ask for in these ‘oven like’ months? Oh yes, and if it takes you on a trip down memory lane, that’s even better! I’m loving it!!

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

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