“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.”
Sophia Loren

Spaghetti & MeatballsIt’s been a while since I posted something savoury here on PAB. A link  that I followed after posting my #pieformikey led me to the beautiful Food52. There was this huge connect I felt; loved the honest to goodness style of posting. Meandering around with Jennifers voice playing in my head , don’t wait for tomorrow, my eye caught a link to Spaghetti and Meatballs… there was going to be no waiting now!
Spaghetti & Meatballs Delving deeper and deeper I landed up at this tried and tested recipe for Truly Tender Meatballs in Rich Tomato Sauce by lastnightsdinner that promised the best meatballs ever in a rich tomato sauce. I knew I had to make this without wasting another day … the tiresome teen had been begging me to make some for ages. Heed Jennifers advice … do it now!
Spaghetti & Meatballs This has entered my recipe folder as one of the BEST.COMFORT.FOODS.EVER! We are a family that love our food, be it the healthy version of Indian Butter Chicken, Pizza {with Peter Reinharts pizza dough}, Chicken Quark Crossover PastryThai Chicken Satay {not blogged yet but made recently & it was delicious} … Spaghetti & Meatballs… or then this version of spaghetti & meatballs. I’ve made meatballs before but these turned out to be the best to date. I think it was the ricotta in there AND a great recipe!!Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti & Meatballs Tell me dear readers, do you have a favourite bunch of comfort food main meal recipes you reach out for over and over again? Would love you to share the links with me.

 [print_this]Recipe: Truly Tender Meatballs in a Rich Tomato Sauce your picture

Summary: A recipe adapted from Last Nights Dinner is true to its title…these are truly tender meatballs in a rich tomato sauce. The secret ingredient probably ricotta that makes the meatballs tender and delicious.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes + chilling time
Ingredients for Chicken Meatballs:

  • 500gm chicken mince {from thigh tenders}
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup ricotta, drained {homemade recipe here}
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp roasted red chili flakes
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & pepper
  • Oil to shallow fry


  1. Run all ingredients in processor until the mince is smooth.
  2. Thermomix: Drop 1 slice of bread in and process on Speed 4 for 10 seconds. Add the onion, garlic and basil and chop on Speed 4 for 10 seconds, scrape down, and process for another 10 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and process on Speed 6 for 15 seconds}
  3. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes {I left mine overnight}
  4. Make small meatballs and shallow fry in batches until golden brown on all sides {don’t over crown the pan}
  5. Remove and keep warm.
  6. Once all done, pour the tomato sauce {recipe follows} into the same pan and simmer the meatballs in the sauce for an hour or so.
  7. Check seasoning, add fresh basil and serve over spaghetti. {About 400gms spaghetti}
  8. Note: Thin out the sauce with some pasta water if it is too thick.

Ingredients for Rich Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 kg tomatoes,
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • Red chili flakes
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1. Saute the finely chopped onion, garlic, basil and bell pepper in olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes and cook covered on simmer till sauce comes together. Blend rough or smooth as you like it. {I left mine medium}
  3. Add zest of 1 lime, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Thermomix: Place onion, garlic,basil, bell pepper in TM jar and process on Speed 4 for 6 seconds. Scrape down sides and repeat. Add EVOO and cook on 100C, reverse speed 2 for 3 minutes. Add halved tomatoes and run on Speed 4 for 7 seconds. Season with red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Cook on 100C/reverse speed 2 for 20 minutes. Once cooked, puree to desired consistency on Speed 8 increasing to 10/ 10-20 seconds depending on how smooth you want the sauce to be.


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“Blues is to jazz what yeast is to bread. Without it, it’s flat.”
Carmen McRae

German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen) With Ricotta & Fresh ThymeMy very last stash of plums found their way into this yeasted dough German Plum Cake {Pflaumenkuchen}. Twitter seems to have taken over as the menu planner for me and PAB! Such is the power of this addictive and inspiring social  networking site that I often bake in an auto mode.German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen) With Ricotta & Fresh Thyme These days, my passion for fruit in desserts / baking is fueled by tweets, be it this No Bake Upside-down Mango Quark Cheesecake for  #pieformikey or the Plum Ginger Summer Fruit Cake for #baketogether. This yeasted German Plum Cake {Pflaumenkuchen was no different. Even though I’ve been missing from twitter largely over the past few months, the tweets get delivered to my mailbox.


MeetaWFLH MeetaWFLH: Ladies hope you will be there for #MONTHLYMINGLE this month. Yeasted Doughs @lifesafeast @vindee @cooksisterblog @Junglefrog @monawise
Aug 16, 1:55 PM via HootSuite

German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen) With Ricotta & Fresh ThymeThe tempting tweet from Meeta found me while I was knee deep in a baby food shoot and production for a client. So much baby food Mr PAB asked? I looked at him incongruously; didn’t he know? The pooch knew where it was headed; she is a baby after all! My kids never had the luxury of a risotto when they were babies … the pooch scored a big high five over them!German Plum Cake {Pflaumenkuchen} With Ricotta & Fresh Thyme Work wound up, and before I knew it I was happily looking at a bowl of rising yeasted dough. It’s so warm here these days, the dough doubled really quick. BLISS! I didn’t do any hard work for kneading the dough silky smooth … it was the Thermomix that turned out perfect looking dough in a couple of minutes. I have never loved working with dough this much!German Plum Cake {Pflaumenkuchen} With Ricotta & Fresh ThymeThe recipe is adapted from one I had bookmarked from the very talented Mowies blog quite a while ago. Maybe I was waiting for Kulsum to host the delightful Monthly Mingle this month; her call – Yeasted Doughs. Could I resist it? Niyet! No way! I made wonderful yeasted Nutella Walnut & Orange Rolls in Feb last year, and I was ready for yeasted dough again! German Plum Cake {Pflaumenkuchen} With Ricotta & Fresh Thyme Meetas tweet just pushed me out of my procrastination and had me scraping a vanilla bean! All thanks to addictive, inspiring twitter… and my fab foodie friends, the dough was patted into place when I contemplated adding some homemade ricotta onto it. To perk it up, I sweetened it with some deep muscavado sugar {thank you Sheetal}, and a little low fat cream for good measure. Worked a charm!German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen) With Ricotta & Fresh ThymeThis is my twist to the Pflaumenkuchen … and it’s certainly a yummy one. A dusting of castor or vanilla sugar and a drizzle of low fat unsweetened cream completes the magic of this cake. Both Mr PAB and the lad compared it to the Plum Ginger Summer Fruit Cakesomewhat similar flavours they said!German Plum Cake {Pflaumenkuchen} With Ricotta & Fresh Thyme

German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen) With Ricotta & Fresh ThymeThis German traditional cake tasted better with cream as the plums were rather tart. I think a drizzle of cream adds a certain indulgent feel to it … like it’s dressed to mingle!! German Plum Cake {Pflaumenkuchen} With Ricotta & Fresh Thyme And just in case you’re wondering where the fresh thyme is, look carefully and you shall see two small sprigs. Sadly, that is all left of my poor plant. This naughty cocker has been having a party outside and the garden, including the herb patch, is history. She chomps her way through all my plants while I try to work, and then sits and eyes my food settings in great hope that she will get a few crumbs! Not a chance!!

[print_this]Recipe: German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen) With Ricotta & Fresh Thyme
your picture

Summary: This is my twist to the Pflaumenkuchen, with some ricotta added to it as topping; it’s certainly a yummy one. A dusting of castor or vanilla sugar and a drizzle of low fat unsweetened cream completes the magic of this cake.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 65g butter
  • 220ml milk
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 packet (7g) dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • A pinch of salt
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 65g sugar
  • Ricotta topping
  • 175gms ricotta {homemade recipe here}
  • 50ml low fat cream
  • 65gm muscavado sugar
  • 1kg plums, stones removed, quartered
  • 1 small bunch of thyme
  • Castor sugar for sprinkling


  1. Pour the milk into a pan, add the butter, place over a medium heat until the butter dissolves into the milk. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. Place flour, yeast, egg, pinch of salt, vanilla bean seeds and sugar int a bowl. Add the warm {not hot}  melted milk/butter mixture and mix by hand or with the hook attachment of your mixer until smooth. {Thermomix: Speed 6, 7 seconds, then Knead for 2 minutes. Do not leave machine unattended while kneading}
  3. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and allow the dough to double in size.
  4. Blend the ricotta with the muscavado sugar and cream until smooth and creamy. {Thermomix: Speed 8, 10 seconds. Scrape sides, repeat again}.
  5. Preheat the oven to 175˚C and line a baking tray {30cm x 40cm} with baking parchment.
  6. Dust a working area with flour, remove the dough from the bowl and knead again. Roll out onto the baking tray making sure to cover the whole surface including the corners. {I patted it into place}
  7. Spread the blended ricotta over the dough, and cover it with plum quarters, and a sprinkling of vanilla sugar if desired. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool, then sprinkle with caster sugar and fresh thyme leaves.


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“There’s your karma ripe as peaches.”
Jack Kerouac

Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake TartNothing inspires like stone fruit and foodie tweets! This tart was meant to be and touched all my favourite bases – fruit, bake, flavour, colours, texture … everything captured in this hugely satisfying Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake Tart. Smooth and satiny like a cheesecake but with far fewer calories, set brilliantly, the peach pairing well with the pistachios, and a subtle orange flavour pleasing the palette!Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake Tart Just as I thought the stone fruit season here had drawn to a close, I was delighted to see some delicious peaches and loads of plums still showing up in the bazaar.Of course I hurried home with some, and with a bit of good luck, created this Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake Tart … an original recipe that I was pleased as punch with!Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake Tart The other day, soul sistah Jamie tweeted that she had a plum ricotta bake on her list of things to do; she got me thinking instantly! Three days later … TADA … this Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake Tart was born! {Jamie & I spent a great deal of time last night discussing ricotta tart recipes. Just what I love about food blogging – similar wavelengths!}Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake TartThe tart was the ray of sunshine in my otherwise packed day. Our little new pooch, Coco, is keeping me on my toes 24 X 7, growing NAUGHTIER by the minute! I had forgotten that a pup has SO MUCH ENERGY and has the potential to drive me to tears at times! But goodness, she’s a C.U.T.E. girl!She’s the proud possession of the teen, who struts her on the arm, showering her with love. As expected, neither of the kids can be shoved out of bed early to take her out… so all the dirty works landed on my platter!!Meher & Coco Oh she is charming, photogenic and a bundle of joy! Those eyes can melt all my annoyance at the mess my garden and home is in … she shreds everything she can lay her little teeth on! Sigh …Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake TartRight, food talk again! I had plums in the fridge too and though I googled for ricotta and plum ideas, leafing through an old cookbook I saw a ricotta kiwi tart. From that point onwards the mind wandered off onto an untrodden path … that’s the way stone fruit inspire me in!Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake TartWhy shouldn’t I do a peach ricotta bake like a cheesecake? Saw some pistachios on the rack. Hmmm … why shouldn’t the base have some for a change? My favourite nuts added beautiful specks of green to the tart shell and subtle flavour too, tying up nicely with the peaches!Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake Tart One thought led to another, and using this pâte sucrée from my Vanilla Plum Frangipane Almond Tart as a base, I set off. Oats – yes, flour – yes, pistachios – yes please! Experimentation with the Thermomix on hand is easy; you can throw in some more of this and that to get a firmer pastry dough … just what I did, and just what I love.Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake Tart The pastry was a little soft as the weather is still very warm and humid, so I gently rolled it out & and patted it with my fingers to line the tin. No trouble though as I pushed and patched the pastry, then allowed it to chill in the freezer for 15 minutes while the oven preheated.Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake Tart The filling was just experimentation too. I made ricotta the day Jamie tweeted about the plum ricotta tart, and let it drain in my curd cheese maker {love this contraption!}. I ran it in the Thermomix, adding stuff randomly, including some candied orange slices I had made last year … and got a satiny smooth, cake batter like filling. Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake Tart Happy Monday to you wonderful folk! It’s a good beginning to my week here. Bundled the kids off to school, tralalalala, fed the forever hungry pooch, turned on the radio to the ‘are you crazy’ levels, got on air and won a wonderful Body Shop gift hamper from Sarthak @ HIT 95 FM … and the weeks looking GOOD!

Recipe: Peach Pistachio Ricotta Cheesecake Tart
your picture

Summary: Smooth and satiny like a cheesecake but with far fewer calories, set brilliantly, the peach pairing well with the pistachios, and a subtle orange flavour pleasing the palette!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes + chilling time

  • 1 recipe pistachio pâte sucrée {recipe follows}
  • Filling
  • 240gms ricotta, drained well {homemade recipe here}
  • 200ml low fat cream
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 5 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1-2 slices of candied orange {optional}
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 4-5 ripe peaches, each sliced into 8-10 sections { I left the peel on}
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam, melted
  • Pistachio Pâte Sucrée
  • 125gms plain flour
  • 50gms oats
  • 50gms pistachios
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 100gm unsalted butter, chilled, diced
  • 1/2 vanilla bean scraped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg


  1. I used a 12X 4 rectangular loose bottomed tart pan, and 2 small 3″ loose bottomed round tart tins.
  2. Pistachio Pâte Sucrée
  3. Whiz the plain flour, oats, pistachios, sugar, salt, baking powder and scraped vanilla bean in the processor. {Thermomix: Speed 10/ 20 seconds}
  4. Add the chilled butter and whiz briefly until you get a crumb like mix. {Thermomix: Speed 10, 15 seconds}
  5. Add the vanilla extract and egg and briefly pulse till it begins to come together {Thermomix: Speed 6 / 10 seconds}
  6. Turn onto work surface and pat together into a ball, handling the dough as little as possible. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes to help the dough relax.
  7. Preheat the oven to 190C.
  8. Roll out the dough and line the tart pan, or if the dough is still ‘softish’, pat into pan {I patted it in as the weather was very warm and the pastry firm, but still soft}. Patch any broken bits with leftover dough, making sure there are no gaps visible.
  9. Bake blind {line the unbaked shell with aluminum foil and place bean/pie weights on top} for 10 minutes. Remove weights and foil and continue to bake for a further 5 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t over brown. Cool in tart pans on rack.
  10. In the meantime, make the ricotta filling.
  11. Whiz the ricotta in the processor until smooth, then add the cream, eggs, vanilla bean, sugar, candied peel if using, and blend until satiny smooth. With the processor running, add the cornflour 1/2 tbsp at a time and process. {Thermomix: Add all above ingredients together and run TM – Speed 10/ 30 seconds}.
  12. Lower the oven temperature to 180C.
  13. Assemble the tart
  14. Line the base of the tart pan with aluminum foil just in case there are cracks in the dough {else place a tray underneath}
  15. Scatter the base of the tart shell with 2 sliced peaches, and pour the ricotta filling over. Top the ricotta with the remaining peach slices, arranging in a pattern if you like,  and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
  16. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the ricotta is firm to touch.
  17. Remove from oven and immediately brush the top with the the melted apricot jam {this seals the moisture in and keeps the fruit looking good}.
  18. Cool completely on racks, and chill for 3-4 hours before serving!


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