There’s more to life than chocolate, but not right now.

THUD! It was that all too familiar noise of the postie chucking a parcel over the gate again. While I braced myself for probable disaster & broken bits of parcel, the son raced out yelling, “Mama, must be something for your blog!” Excitement writ on his face, the expectation of a new foodie flavour or recipe lighting up his life, he does enjoy the little joys of my blogging. A foodie through and through, he was spot on! Came in waving a brown floppy parcel, his eyes searching my face for a ‘go ahead’ to get to the contents! The nod from Mama followed, and soon he was waving a delicious package of Milled Flaxseed, Cocoa and Berries from Linwoods UK.
Linswood UK are a health food company based in the UK and manufacture an astonishing range of products – fresh, dairy and packaged. My first experience with their products was after the Food Blogger Connect ’09 in London where we got a goodie bag full of exciting stuff thanks to Bethany of Dirty Kitchen Secrets. Linwoods was one of the sponsors and they had included a bag of milled flour which I experimented with  in an Apple CrispMilled Nut Flour Macarons and in this French Fougasse.

A friend coming from the UK got me another bag recently, and I continue to use it to enhance nutrition in desserts and breads I bake. Of this cocoa berry product, the company says, “Linwoods Milled Flaxseed, Cocoa and Berries blend boasts incredible antioxidants qualities, particularly when compared to other fruit and vegetables. An adult would need to eat a total of 1 cabbage, 3 full broccoli, 6 carrots, 3 apples, 1 grapefruit and 10 tomatoes to get the same amount of antioxidants contained in just two spoonfuls of this new super food!” 

The cocoa berry mix called my name and I dreamt of several ways to use it …. but Mr PAB who was recovering from an illness decided to have a relapse, and left me with little time to experiment!  Linswood asked us to create recipes using the product, and here is my contribution. The idea took off as snack brownies, but the creation in the end was more like dessert nirvana

Decadent  and delicious! I have to say I was surprised at the amount of flavour the Linwoods mix offered them! Made brownies using their cocoa product, enhanced with a little melted dark chocolate. Also substituted 25gms butter with 25gms EVOO, and added some brandied burgundy cherries to the mix. This is my entry for the Linwoods Cocoa Delight Recipe Development Competition.

My one and only jar of brandied burgundy cherries was disappearing fast, and I felt compelled to use them again before they were gone. I recently topped these divine Chocolate Pavlovas we did for the Daring Bakers with these preserved cherries. Adding some to the brownie batter, I thought the brownies might turn out nice, but I didn’t expect them to turn out this nice. The cocoa berry mix and dark chocolate added great depth in colour and flavour, and the brandied bing cherries took them straight  from snack to ‘dessert’ level! Moist, dark and deep, the verdict was out the minute I sliced them! YUM!!

Served them up with some unsweetened whipped cream topped with some more preserved cherries of course! Thank you Linwoods for this wonderful product. Loved experimenting with it, and hope to try it on some more sweet stuff in the near future. Thank you  gorgeous Bethany for introducing me to the world of Linwoods!

Cocoa Berry Dessert Brownies
Own recipe
75gms unsalted butter, soft
25gms Extra Virgin Olive Oil {EVOO}
2/3 cups vanilla sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
50gms dark chocolate, melted and mixed with 1 tsp EVOO
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup Milled Flaxseed, Cocoa and Berry mix from Linwoods
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brandied burgundy cherries, drained, halved

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Line a 8″ round Victoria sandwich tin, or 7 X 11″ baking tin.
Place the flour, milled flaxseed, cocoa and berry mix, baking powder and salt in a bowl, and mix uniformly with balloon whisk.
Beat the butter, EVOO and vanilla sugar till smooth, 1 minute on high.
Add the vanilla extract and eggs, and beat for another minute. Pour in the melted dark chocolate in a stream, beating to incorporate constantly.

Fold in the mixed dry ingredients and the drained, chopped preserved cherries.{I reserved a few cherries for the top}
Turn into prepared tin, and bake for 20-25 minutes / until a tester comes out clean. Cool on rack completely, chill for a few hours / overnight, else they might be too fragile to cut. Turn out gently, slice and serve.
Serve with unsweetend whipped cream, and some brandied cherries.

Note: The brownies stay well in the fridge, and can be served chilled. They remain moist because of the preserved cherries.
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”
Henry David Thoreau

This is a beautiful season. … festive warmth, mulled spices, apples, nuts, dried fruit…add to it memories of a great trip to London, and it’s all magic. I fell in love with Autumn when it arrived, and thought that was my most favourite season. Now that December is happily upon us, I think I love it even more than Autumn. It’s the season to be jolly!

This is a short crisp post about the apple crisp I made on my return from the UK last week. I am busy these days. Food, fun, festivities … and family! Apologies for the lack of posts but have been a little caught up ever since I got back from the Food Blogger Connect in London. The daughter appearing for her final examinations doesn’t seem to make things easier of course.

I got back to baking pretty soon when I returned. I came back and the son fell to my feet begging me for dessert! ‘We haven’t had ‘dessert’ for four days, Mama’, he hollered. Chocolate in bars obviously doesn’t qualify for dessert any more, so I set to make the easiest thing I could in limited time. It had to be a fruit based dessert, and the only fruit at home were apples…

… so I zeroed in on a crisp! Just had to add some ‘London nostalgia’ to my dessert. What I decided to use was the LinswoodMilled nut flour‘ from the enviable goodie bag that we got at the FBC ’09.

The bags were organised by no other than fabulous Beth of Dirty Kitchen Secrets, and would have left you drooling! The Linswood site is worth a stop over because it’s brimming with a wonderful array of super foods as well as recipe ideas! Thank you Beth … I do love my goodie bag to bits!! That’s what inspired my CRISP!!

What’s the difference between grunts, slumps, buckles, cobblers, crisps, crunches, pandowdies, and brown betties?
All of these quick and simple desserts are made of fruit topped with a biscuit dough or a crumbly mixture of flour, butter, and sugar.
If biscuit dough is dropped by the spoonful on top of the fruit, it makes a lumpy, “cobbled” surface–like a street paved with round stones–and so the dish is a COBBLER.
Traditionally, if the biscuit is stirred into the fruit during cooking, it’s a PANDOWDY.
To be a CRISP, a CRUMBLE, or a CRUNCH, the fruit must be topped with some variation of a butter, sugar, and flour topping.
Typically, a CRUMBLE has flour, sugar, butter, and oatmeal; a CRISP has flour, sugar, butter and nuts; and a CRUNCH has sugar, butter, and breadcrumbs. There are also cake-like (instead of biscuit-like) variations, which include BROWN BETTIES and BUCKLES.
Some of the funny names, which date back to early American cooking, have a British influence (you know, the people who created BUBBLE and SQUEAK). SLUMPS and GRUNTS, for example, both have a large biscuit over the fruit. But a SLUMP is cooked uncovered, so it slumps on the serving plate, and a GRUNT is covered, which steams the biscuit topping and lets the fruit gurgle–or grunt–while cooking.


Serves 8
6-8 firm apples; (crisp ones, a bit tart are fine)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsps vanilla sugar or regular
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup black dried grapes or raisins
2 heaped tbsps plain flour
2 tbsps brown sugar

2 heaped tbsps milled organic seeds
1/4 cup butter; chilled
1/2 cup rolled oats

Core,peel and dice apples. Toss them with lemon juice immediately after all have been chopped or they turn brown.
Mix in the dried black grapes, walnuts, cinnamon & sugar.
Put into 8 individual ramekins or a shallow pie dish (9” or 23cm or 1L), and press lightly into place.

To prepare crumble:
Mix milled flour, plain flour and sugar with a spoon in a dry bowl.
Put in cold butter cut into pieces and work with finger tips to make a breadcrumbs like texture.
Now toss in the oats lightly with a spoon.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Put this crumble over the apple mixture, pressing down gently to cover the top & seal the fruit in.
Bake till top light brown and stewed apple juice begins to appear on edges/about 30minutes. If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil until done.

Serve with either a dollop of whipped cream, or vanilla ice-cream.
Warm in microwave if need be before serving.
The Indibloggies voting is now open.
Passionate About Baking has been nominated for Best Food Blog. You can vote here if you like.
Thank you for stopping by!
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.”
Herman Melville ‘Connect’ … To join or fasten together.

We connected. At every level … friend, food, blogger, emotions … we finally met! Am back from Food Blogger Connect in London, and reliving warm memories, connections, amazing friendships & a feeling of happiness … some sadness too. Did time have to fly by so soon? It’s difficult to express in words what we all experienced, maybe pictures will help explain. Was impossible to imagine virtual hugs turning into reality, but it happened? We built bridges and connected the ‘dots’! Phew, crossing the almost non-existent line between virtual connect & real connect was the most powerful emotion I’ve experienced in ages. Who would have thought that there could be so many more ‘bridge the gaps’ in life. Cementing relationships we built on twitter… yes, it was certainly love at first sight as Jamie said!! I had met Pam just a short while before off her flight from France at London’s Heathrow airport, and we were hysterical with excitement from word go. Time whizzed by & before we knew it we were checking into our hotel in Central London. How did we get here so soon?We talked non stop from the time we met, and trooped down to Oxford Street, past stunning Marble Arch, & hit the shops. ‘I have no shopping to do’, declared Pam … you think that was true? Once we hit the shops, she was a goner and ‘wild’! I spent the day chasing her from shop to shop … we enjoyed ourselves!Finally it was time to meet the ‘gang’…
Amazing feeling, we just stood there at the Eros statue at Picadilly and jumped with joy. Our first meeting, a few of us still missing, yet surreal in every way. Nervous uncertainty, childlike excitement … unbelievably we were together in beautiful London, a city which is charming in every which way. Goosebumpy feeling to know that this was happening in real time…

Squeals of endless joy, shrieks of ‘is that what you look like’, screams of ‘ Oooh so you aren’t that tall after all’ found us – Mowie, Alessio, Beth, Jamie and Pam framing memories in London. Our first meeting & we hit it off. Gosh, it was like we’d known each other forever. There was Beth looking sexy as ever in her pink beret & applique coat, charming Mowie without the camera lens on the eye, my twin sistah Jamie, sweet as expected but not as strapping tall as I thought …woohoo! There was sweet Alessio, dear man with his wonderful Italian accent. Yay! Finally group hugs, and then a scream went out. Hilda was here. More hugs!! She smothered us! Dinner was at Busaba Eathai at Soho, a Thai restaurant Mowie recommended for which we waited in the cold for over 30 minutes, keeping each other warm with the incessant talk & laughter. ‘Twas worth the wait! Once inside, you could tell that we were attracting attention. Not a word from other eaters around us, everyone was looking at us weirdly, yet amused. There we were … touching the leaves under the spring rolls, sniffing the pad thai to figure out flavours, styling food to get crappy night shots of food, discussing the FBC, and taking pictures of every crumb that crossed the table oblivious to the eyes following us. The food was great, finger licking good, just excellent stuff.FUN!! Great first meeting & SO MUCH FUN! Wound up quite late & we trooped out to a ‘follow me’ call from dashing Mowie … hysterical, giggly & happy to be together in London! Finally time for the FBC the next afternoon, and we met at Levante restaurant. A beautiful place, dimly lit by exotic lamps, warm interiors, just right for the meeting. Through the first 30 minutes the place resonated with shrieks of excitement, and then it was food first … delicious Lebanese cuisine. A memorable meal indeed!Time for business! The afternoon began with a wonderful talk on food photography & styling by talented Meeta from What’s For Lunch Honey who let us in on her secrets to beautiful food photographs and styling. She passed the baton on to Kang from London Eater who kept us mesmerized by his talk on food photography, techniques, taking pictures in low light etc. His post here is beautifully written with gorgeous pictures.Next we had a talk by 2 fun ladies – Jeanne from Cook Sistah & my twin sistah Jamie from Lifes A Feast about blogging in general, focus, content, writers block, comment envy (LOL) etc. That was a much head nodding session, absolute connect. What followed was an all important talk by Jeanne about copyright issues & legal aspects of blogging, and the day was finally wrapped up by Kang with a talk on social networking issues and blogging. The twitteratzi was abuzz by then. We were happy fish in a big pond & his perspective was very interesting.

Out to dinner again, and this time we met at Vivat Bacchus, one of London’s most successful and popular restaurants at London Bridge. It has become known for the range and quality of its wines, and the innovation and flair of its modern European menu. A beautiful restaurant chosen by Jeanne & we took the place by storm. Were finally told that we could no longer take any more pictures with the flash on!!
Mowie, Davina, Meeta, Nicole
We all sat there enjoying our meals with speciality world platters, French, Greek , Italian, Spanish, South African, it was all there. The chitter chatter continues deliciously into the wee hours of the night in good company. This time Meeta, Nic, Davina, Sunita were also there & Jeanne of course! No one in a hurry, no one in the mood to move. So much to say…all of us taking in the feeling of being together, & loving it.

The food walk the next morning, & we met in a slight drizzle at Marylebone Farmers’ Market. Happy to be together again, clutching bags & umbrellas, we trooped off to the whole food market with our star attraction, Hilda’s gorgeous little papoose, who blinked her beautiful eyes at all the giggly girls (& boys). We caught Mowie & Beth slurping some fresh Oysters with lemon & sea salt & descended on them. The market was lovely. Fresh breads, home baked cakes, quiches, Christmas breads, ginger parking, vine ripened tomatoes, gourmet cheese … foodie nirvana!Chattering 19 to a dozen, happiness was the mood, never ending good company, we set off to visit a cheese tasting cafe & then eventually settled down to a meal. Thereafter it was adieu from me as I had a flight to catch, and adieu from Sunita as she had to leave to. Heartbreaking farewells as we all wished we could stretch time endlessly, but all good things come to an end, and this did too! It’s been a fun session at the FBC, a huge learning ground, things to do in the pipeline, and groundwork already begun for FBC10!
Oh and did I tell you we got the most envious goodie bags organised by Beth at th FBC. Sea salt, milled flour, olives, matured cheddar … a whole bag of yum stuff. I got back & baked of course, using something from the bag. Here’s a sneak peek… Apple Crisp
…the recipe to come soon! I also came back loaded with gifts from these beautiful people I met. Pam & Sunita are still chuckling at the way I was trying to stuff my suitcase & trying to drag it to Paddington!! I am so overwhelmed and will share my goodies with you in a later post!
Don’t miss a post
Please wait...

Subscribe to my newsletter

Want to be notified when the article is published? Do enter your email address and name below to be the first to know.
%d bloggers like this: