Baking | Red Berry Crumbles … Around the World with the Tadka Girls {a book review}

“Each individual has a unique food personality. The key is finding the balance point at which you feel great and are healthy.”
Rachel Frank

Red Berry CrumblesRed Berry Crumbles from a chick lit cookbook. A youthful, racy, around the world in 80 recipes cookbook with a catch to every name. The Tadka girls who blog at Tadka Pasta present fresh and imaginative recipes from their repertoire of travelling the globe. From the bylanes of Shanghai to the farmers market of Santa Monica, they leave no stone unturned. Their experiments in different cuisines have a personal touch … the inimitable Indian Tadka style of their own kitchen.

Red Berry CrumblesRanjini Rao and Ruchira Ramanujan offer you flavours galore, sometimes quirky enough to make you sit up. Real life stories accompany each recipe, setting the scene and connect that make the book more interesting. At times however, the written word tends to get cumbersome. You want to get to the recipe quick.

Red Berry CrumblesWith the book nicely divided into interesting sections – like bites n brews, sweet treats, signature tadka, funnibles etc, there’s plenty in it for everyone. The Red Berry Crumbles was a recipe I enjoyed. Good for an everyday dessert. Go a step further, perk it up a little and make it special for the holiday season!

Red Berry Crumbles The layout and design of the book is something I like; the simple scrapbook layout which adds to the appeal. Not overpowering, yet aesthetic. Notes with almost every recipe are quite welcome. It is thoughts like this that make a difference!

Red Berry CrumblesWhat should I try first from the book? I thought I’d hand it out to junior. NOT something sweet I ‘gently suggested’ {read instructed}! He came back within minutes mumbling Red Berry Crumble. When I said there aren’t the sort of local berries here that we you see in the book, he was quick to retort … they say you can use strawberries! Kids grow up faster than you can imagine. Smarter too. “I checked the ingredients,” he said.

Red Berry Crumbles At times the recipe title font {and dual headings} confuse. Different fonts and different header designs salt and pepper the book. I think fun stuff like this is possibly targeted at the younger reader, new adventurous cooks in the kitchen. The recipes infuse new life into old classics, a pinch of chaat masala here, a tadka there!

Red Berry CrumblesMultigrain tortillas, DIY Oatnut bread, green chutney pesto, cawliflower soup, Tadka’s own chicken curry, chocolate bark, sundried tomato and herb crackers, Tadka style baklava dessert … yumminess aplenty. An African touch here, a Persian footprint there. Interesting indeed!

Red Berry Crumbles The Red Berry Crumbles offer a burst of colour, texture and fun! They bring alive the holiday season. A crumble is right up our street. This looked and smelt fab as it stepped out of the oven! I added some extra fruit to accommodate an extra serving. I also substituted the plain flour in the crumble topping with whole wheat flour.

Red Berry Crumbles That’s just how crumbles are … very accomodating and simmering in rustic goodness. In a few recipes, I find some basic standardisation missing. It’s best to either go with cup measurements or weight. A combination of the two in the same recipe makes me want to retype and correct!

Red Berry Crumbles A serving of light cream on the side, or some ice cream as suggested by the girls, will dress up this simple weekday dessert for guests. I think you can assemble it in advance and pop it into the oven about an hour before dinner! The red juices that spill out of the ramekins will win you over!!

Red Berry CrumblesThe crumble was delicious. The flavours paired beautifully. We loved it!! You could use frozen berries if you like! I threw in some frozen mulberries too. I leave you to dive into the recipe, while I go to explore the book some more!

Before I sign off I’d like to thank Praveen for including Passionate About Baking in the list of the Top Indian Food Blogs of 2013. I am honoured to be part of the list. Humbled too!

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

Baking | Traditional Savarins with Crème Patisserie : Daring Bakers – you win some, you lose some!

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Traditional savarinsSavarins. It was the Daring Bakers time of the month on the 27th. I missed posting. Missed not because I didn’t complete the challenge, but despite baking very early in the month, something didn’t quite work out right. I lost the steam to post it. Yet, as a part of this fantastic group, I have a larger responsibility so here goes. Better late than never I guess!

Traditional savarins 3

Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

Traditional savarins Time to share something that didn’t quite work out right, yet was pretty to photograph. Also time to ponder why. You win some, you lose some. I often lose some but that doesn’t reach my blog. The amount I experiment at home gives me huge ground for failure. Thankfully you are not at that receiving end as who would like to read about the ones that went wrong?

Traditional savarins I loved baking these. The dough seemed good too, maybe didn’t pass the windowpane test. They came out looking rustic pretty. I made half the recipe suggested. Even half made loads of mini savarins. Where did the problem lie? Not sure what I did wrong, and why things went astray, but the savarins refused to ‘drink up‘!Traditional savarins

Traditional savarins I soaked the little ones in an Orange Spice Tea Syrup, then filled the centres with pastry cream. Some were topped with balsamic strawberries and others with candied kumquats. They looked irresistible. 

Traditional savarins 6We ate them. They were OK. The kids didn’t ask for seconds immediately. Quite perplexed at the fate as they were rather dry inside. Maybe I should have dunked them in hot spiced tea syrup.

Traditional savarinsI reserved the larger ones for later. They went into a filter coffee syrup, hot this time, and I had plans for Tiramisu Savarin. I was sure I had figured out the issue. Sadly I hadn’t. The blighters didn’t drink up the coffee and get soaking good! For a paired pastry cream, I had lofty ideas. I added some espresso and homemade irish cream to the pastry cream and whipped up some delicious Tiramisu pastry cream.

LFP Day 4 DOFDidn’t hit the ball out of the park. At all. The good bit was that I used the little savarins for a food photography 30 day exercise I was part of with Neel @ Learn Food Photography. So many savarins on hand ensured that I had something to shoot for 3-4 days! The above pictures explore depth of field {f2.8/f11/f22}. Today is the last day of the exercise. It was a fabulous learning experience.

Traditional savarinsDid I regret that the savarins failed? I did feel sad, but didn’t regret it. No! Baking is always a learning experience, this was just a little steeper! I might not try the recipe again since it was quite involved. You can view it here, and I am sure you will have better luck. A lot of Daring Bakers certainly did. Check them out here.

Traditional savarins

Balsamic Strawberries with basilI have included the Crème Patisserie recipe below, and balsamic strawberries too. It is one that I make in the Thermomix and it takes me all of 7-9 minutes. You can try making it the traditional way keeping the ingredients the same. It’s a yum recipe. I put it to good use on the Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Fallen Gateau. Was delicious!


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

Baking | Lime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes … fresh and exciting ‘one bowl cakes’ for summer!

“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 Marzipan Mini Bundt CakesLime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes … charming little tea cakes and a nice departure from my recent adventures with bittersweet chocolate. These little babies came together thanks to all the yummy food gifts I get ever so often. I am eternally grateful for them, they offer a constant source of inspiration.

Lime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes Finla sent me some marzipan when Haan was visiting India a while ago. She sent me sacks full of stuff actually. So much that I think of her every time I bake because there is always a connect at the baking level. I was also at the receiving end of loads of other baking ingredients that another visiting friend from the UK brought for me.

Lime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes  It’s a touching feeling, nice to be at the receiving end I mean. Growing up, being at ‘that‘ end wasn’t always nice. Now it’s all good! For the baker in me, it can’t get better than this.

Lime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes  Summer has arrived in North India with a vengeance. Not yet into May and we are already hitting the 40C mark. The promise of stone fruit, summer berries, litchis, mangoes and melons lures me, but there’s work to do. I need to get the perishables into the fridge. Can’t leave even chocolate out as ‘room temperature‘ is another story!


 Everything melts … E V E R Y T H I N G! Even poor Coco looks like she will melt, eyes and all! 

Lime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes  So as I sat settling stuff into my ‘baking fridge,‘ I found many yummy ingredients. So rather than settling stuff, I settled down to bake something I had bookmarked – A Lemon Marzipan Cake. It would need to go the lime way though, as we are not a ‘lemon country‘.

Lime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes  My penchant for mini servings and petite cakes cannot be understated. I reached out for my sweet little mini bundt cake tin that I had bought from Old Delhi in 2009. For some reason I didn’t use it until 2 weeks ago. That was the first time {post yet to see light of day} but I was smitten! A mini bundt tray is a brilliant idea.

Lime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes I loved the Lime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes.  The batter gave me a bakers dozen – 12 mini bundts and one a little bigger! The texture of the batter was interesting; almost thick and sticky. Must have been the golden syrup doing something in there. The consistency was somewhere in between a cake batter and a cookie batter! It did get me a little unsure but then again, it was ready to bake!

Lime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes This is my first time using marzipan in a cake. It added delicious new dimensions to these petite cakes. The lime and marzipan paired beautifully, the glaze adding a nice touch to them. I like mini bundts because you have the choice of adding a teeny helping of fresh fruit, or a dessert sauce, or whipped cream, maybe even preserves. For food on the go, a picnic or snack box, they are good to go as is!

Lime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes It’s always fun when the kids get back in from school. The first question always is – what did you do {as in make in food terms} today. All roads lead to the kitchen! From sudden peace and quiet, it’s always a burst of activity, dog happier than ever that the kids are finally home!

Lime Marzipan Mini Bundt Cakes  So I served them mini bundts with fresh fruit, strawberries and mulberries, and strawberry & mulberry smoothies on the side! Colourful, pretty and fun, I was glad I made these little bundts! Simple, ONE BOWL {yes indeed} and fuss free, it’s a great recipe to have on hand.

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

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