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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Baking | Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake … & Your Wish is My App #Indiblogger #Nokia #NDTV

“Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.”
T.S. Eliot

Whole wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake 1Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake … a healthier, whole grain version of an international favourite. The cake was as delicious as it was simple and rather plain in appearance. A healthy makeover, a cake I was inspired to make a while ago with leftover ‘tres leches‘ or 3 milk syrup from a Daring Bakers challenge. Then I had made a much fancier layered Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Mango Three Milk Cake.

Mango Pastel de Tres LechesI forgot to share the whole wheat version until the other day when I was trying to dream up some app ideas for an Indiblogger event I attended. One thought led to another, and also took me back to the Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake which I had forgotten to share as promised.

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches But first a little introduction to the event that inspired me to ‘wish‘! It was an interesting evening which launched Season II of the Your Wish is My App meet with Indiblogger and Nokia Lumia. It promised to be an entertaining evening with a live wire bunch of folk on stage. The line up included New York based, Michelin starred celebrity chef Vikas Khanna, TV anchor and  super gadget guru Rajiv Makhni, and someone best known as the father of the Indian gaming industry, Vishal Gondal.

Your Wish is My App Indiblgger NoikaThat it would be entertaining was expected; that it would be side splitting funny, hysterical laughs and packed with madness and mayhem wasn’t. The trio kept us in splits, a 100% engaging and interactive. The crowds loved them, especially Vikas Khanna who wears his heart on his sleeve. The attendance crossed 300 and for a while the stage shuddered under the weight of almost everyone who wanted to be ‘there with the guys’!

Photo courtesy Vj Sharma @ Photo Journey

Photo courtesy Vj Sharma @ Photo Journey

With sound touching the ‘are you crazy‘ levels, it was an entertaining evening of ‘Apps and Blogging‘ alright. Have you ever thought to yourself “I wish there was an app for this! ” was the question asked.

Healthy food makeoverI did have some app-etising thoughts in my head, but very enthusiastic techies present in large numbers overtook my confidence pretty soon. Food bloggers were few, the techie majority hungry for bytes. My ideas just didn’t flow. On the drive back however I suddenly had a head full of possible ‘wishes’ ! Apps that would bring together a local farmer/produce community in touch with buyers … a farm to table app!

fresh pumpkin pureeApps that would encourage the use of local produce, suggest indigenous substitutes for international recipe, and also give a nutritional analysis of a recipe, maybe a possible calorie count too. An app that would make us think differently perhaps, support a local food and farmer community, encourage us to lean towards healthier food habits, and analyse our plates to see what we eat.

Roasted bell peppers
Roasted bell pepper pesto

Why apps? With over 2200 million mobile handsets being sold in India each year, the numbers are only set to grow. With mind boggling numbers of 130 million users who access the internet via smart phones, it only makes business sense to step into apps! Season I at Nokia saw 38000 app ideas being offered, out of which 1200 have already been converted into apps.

Here’s one that would be on top of my wishlist for a food community at large. Since all of us aren’t recipe developers and experimenters, how about an app that offers a healthy alternative to a normal recipe? Not sure if it’s achievable, or if it’s a hair brained non tech idea, but I love the very thought. While I have the time to experiment, substitute, indulge in my hobby / obsession, a lot of food lovers might not be on the same plate.

Healthy food

Maybe call it a Glocal Healthy Recipe App? It would need to offer healthier substitutes for recipes, locally available alternates, a calorie count, nutritional info if possible etc. The idea is to try and stay local even with global recipes, Glocal if you like. That in turn reduces out carbon footprint, makes us support the local farmer and producer community, encourages us to think out of the box; more than anything else, experiment!

Whole wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake Here’s an example of a healthy makeover. This Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake is a whole wheat version of the Tres Leches Cake {or a “three milks cake”}. Incidentally, the basic cake is also a healthier whole grain version of the pound cake. Whole wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake The Tres Leches is a light cake, with many air bubbles. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk. Enjoy it!

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The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies … healthy sweet pies with promise

“Never doubt that a small, committed group of people with pies can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Subcommandante Tofutti

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie PiesWholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies …  come December and the Daring Bakers challenge to end 2013 was to bake whoopies. Given all the frenzied baking over Christmas, these were fun. Whoopies always are. Relaxed, super creative and ‘in sync with the holiday season‘, they were a wonderful pick to end the year!

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies

The December Daring Bakers’ Challenge had us all cheering – the lovely and talented Bourbonnatrix of Bourbonnatrix Bakes was our hostess and challenged us to make fun, delicious and creative whoopie pies! Delicious little cake-like cookies sandwiching luscious filling in any flavors we chose… What else is there to say but “Whoopie!”

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies I still remember my first whoopies, Oatmeal Nutella Whoopie Pies adapted minimally from a great recipe from Ree @ Pioneer Woman. Those were a big hit with the kids and adults alike. At the time Mr PAB did say they were oversweet. I reduced the sugar this time around. They were perfect!

Whoopie pies are a cross between a cookie and a cake (not a pie!), with two round, mound-shaped halves sandwiching a sweet creamy filling. According to Wikipedia, Whoopie pies are considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. It is also Maine’s official state treat. The traditional Whoopie pie consists of a chocolate cake and a vanilla marshmallow filling, but pumpkin and gingerbread cake is also common enough. 

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies Onto this challenge, I knew I was going to go wholegrain, so half my work was cut out. I based my recipe on the Oatmeal Nutella Whoopie Pies measurements, changing a few bits and bobs here and there. It worked quite well actually. The Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies began disappearing at an alarming rate!

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies Of course they aren’t as light, cakey and airy as all purpose flour whoopies. These are heavier to bite, more earthy, more rustic and definitely more healthy. I was glad I did the challenge pretty early in the month with red and green firmly in place. Later, each day raced into the next, the month literally galloping towards the end.

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies One look and bite into the whoopies and both kids {and Mr PAB} exclaimed, “You’ve made these before!” Bravo to good food memories! I had made my first whoopie pies back in May 2012 fresh from an invigorating trip into Old Delhi, one of my favourite places to be in. Time flies ….

It’s difficult to believe the year’s almost drawing to an end. December has almost vanished. It’s been a busy year. Being a Daring Baker is always a positive part of every year, though losing our co-founder Lis unexpectedly left us crestfallen. Knowing her, she would like the whisks in the kitchen to mix non-stop. Through these challenges, her spirit lives on.

Daring Bakers 2013 challengesThe challenges I have enjoyed through 2013 include Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter FillingSwedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes, Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk CakeMomofukus {Infamous} Crack PieSavoury Phyllo Pot Pies and Rye Cheddar Crackers & Pizza Dough Crisps.

Do stop by here and check out some real cutie pies the talented Daring Bakers are whooping with! Thank you Bourbonnatrix for the fun challenge. Thank you too Ivonne of  Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!

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