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 | Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies … #comfortfood #cookies #eggless #wholegrain

“You’ll never convince me that there’s more to life than chocolate chip cookies”
Charles M. Shultz

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain CookiesEggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies … cookies that are meant to be shared! I haven’t posted a cookie recipe for a while on PAB. Possibly since I don’t make new variations very often, or when I do, I forget to jot the recipe down. Ones that I regularly make are all time favourites like Wholewheat & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies & these Not Quite Anzac cookies.

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies That morning I was due to meet a sweet girl who was coming in to meet me from halfway across India. I knew she was a vegetarian and I wanted to bake something eggless for her. Cookies seemed a good idea for the coffee morning. I had some Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse chilling in the fridge for her too.

Spring Spring has all but given way to summer. Mornings and evenings are beautifully pleasant; the season inspires like no other. Flowers bloom, fruits spill off bazaar shelves, birds chirp, butterflies zip around. Baking is fun in this weather though baking cookies is fun any time!!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies The cookies came out delicious, even better since they were packed with nutrition and whole grains. I love the idea of adding nut meal to cookies. In my case I have to since the daughter dislikes nuts with a vengeance. She loves cookies with nut meal though!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies I baked another batch soon after as we flew into breathtakingly beautiful Srinagar for a short vacation. It’s always nice to carry a ‘taste of home’ with us. Though Srinagar is known for its little bakeries that dot the length and breadth of the city, my humble cookies were much in demand with the kids too! Srinagar, India ... paradise on earthOne look at the ingredients in the recipe and you’ll see the cookie goodness I am talking about. Almonds, whole wheat, amaranth {my latest obsession}, oats, and honey instead of  corn syrup!  Told you … these are deliciously healthy cookies. Indulgent too!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies Try them. Cookies don’t get simpler than these. One bowl goodness, fun to make, get the kids involved. Do watch them towards the end of baking. Honey in baked goods tends to lead to faster browning. So do keep an eye!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies Healthy, fun recipes with amaranth, whole grains, oats {read lots of oats}, unrefined sugars, honey etc have kept me busy of late. I’ve been involved in doing a project for Saffola Oats here in India.

Whole foodShot two recipe videos with the very sweet Michelin Starred Chef Vikas Khanna for Food Food Channel, India as part of the engagement. You can catch the first episode for a Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Gateau {Gluten free} which has been uploaded onto You-tube.

Baking | Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies … Baking and other activities for the family this summer

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”
Charles Bowden

Chocolate Oat Walnut BrowniesChocolate Oat Almond Walnut Brownies … you can’t have enough brownie recipes under your belt. The younger teen is suddenly showing sporadic bursts of interests in the kitchen. Maybe he’s trying to beat the heat, or maybe discovering a new hobby. Maybe forever H U  N G R Y, he thinks it’s best

Wholewheat Double Chocolate Brownies I was pleasantly surprised some time back when he sauntered into the kitchen in his PJs while I was stirring brownies. Nonchalantly he took the whisk and bowl from me, and made the batter like he had been doing it for years! So I asked him to get up early a few days ago to bake another batch. He made these as we were off for a weekend to Calcutta.

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies It’s a nice way to engage kids in the kitchen, brilliant actually. Brownies are forgiving creatures. Delicious too! The batter gets stirred together in minutes, and these are less messy. It’s a simple one bowl recipe. Nothing much can go wrong.

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies 2You can see how the lad had a go at them. He stirred them together gently, and then in a moment of happiness, gave the batter a vigorous  stir up! Soon we had a batch of Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies. These are gluten-free.

{Research suggests that pure, uncontaminated oats and oat products are not toxic to the majority of adults and children with coeliac disease. However the vast majority of oats and oats products on the market are contaminated with wheat, rye and/or barley. Processing, such as milling, makes them unsuitable for people with coeliac disease. The protein found in oats is called avenin, which is similar to gluten. There is some evidence to suggest that some people with coeliac disease may even react to pure, uncontaminated oats.}

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies This recipe is ever forgiving and came out good. Good enough for the kids to enjoy, good enough for the younger teen to flaunt them. I made them”,  he announces to all and sundry, then goes on to devour another rightful square! Milk and brownies forever welcome!

Lemon Ginger Creme Brulee

Lemon Ginger Creme Brulee He also enjoyed brûléeing the crème brûlée we made a few days ago. It’s nice to involve kids in the kitchen during the summer break. Beware though, the mess is yours to clean if you have teens like mine! He seems to be loving it. So does the elder sis. She baked the cocker a special doggie birthday cake a few days ago. I was skeptical. Needn’t have been. She had a blast and made it look so pretty! Baking is now a big option in the vacations!

Doggie birthday cake These Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies were for Calcutta, the city of joy! Not a planned vacation, but a weekend getaway to join Mr PAB who had work there. Another inspiring Indian city covered, another opportunity to experience a rich culture. O Calcutta … you are just so beautiful!

CalcuttaThere’s been a lot of Bengali influence in my life of late. I was recently interviewed by Sananda magazine, the east Indian version of Femina, in an anniversary special. These days, Mr PAB regularly visits Calcutta on work, coming home laden with intriguing tales! I’ve also recently reviewed a Bengali cookbook cum food journey ‘Bong Moms Cookbook’ for a magazine. That brought the Bong culture and cuisine onto my table.

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies What are your plans these holidays? We’re halfway through the vacations here. Between internships and a theatre workshop, we’ve crossed the halfway mark. With Master Chef Oz around the corner, hopefully some culinary skills might get polished. Did I forget to mention some candid photography that the kids did too? They both get pretty trigger happy now and then!

Get cooking this summer Here are some simple recipes to get the kids into the kitchen with … Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Brownies, Creme au Chocolat Shots, Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits, Simplest & Best 2 ingredient Dark Chocolate Mousse, Whole Wheat & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies, Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip WookiesAlmond Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream, One Bowl Milk Chocolate Brownies, Strawberry Fro Yo

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

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