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‘Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me’
Audrey Hepburn

Dark, divine, sinful, creamy, chocolaty and as simple as can be, these Mini Dark Chocolate Cheesecakes are just the answer for chocolate cravings of all types. If you’re looking for a quick bake ahead ‘sweet something’ for the one you love, look no further.  This is my to go recipe minimally adapted from a winner by Ruchira @ Cookaroo.Of course you can always bake one large cheesecake and be done with it, like I’ve done here with this Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Wine Macerated Strawberries. Yet, IMHO, there is something entirely charming and lovable about small petite desserts.So make single servings, or double as your heart might signal, dress these up with a swoosh of whipped mascarpone spiked with a liqueur. That was my initial idea but I ran out of time as usual. So I fast tracked and gave these a dusting of cocoa powder, a topping of fresh strawberries, some dark chocolate shavings…and a mint sprig just for the pop of colour.And yes, in my hurry to get this dessert ready for friends who were over for lunch, I forgot to add cream to the cheesecake batter. I baked for a slightly lesser time, hoping things would behave. They did. The little bites were richer, denser and more chocolaty…which isn’t really a bad thing though!So here you go, the recipe as I did it that day. And as I said, this is a foolproof recipe, my firm favourite, tried by several folk. So when are you going to make it?

Mini Dark Chocolate Cheesecakes
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Dark, divine, sinful, creamy, chocolaty and as simple as can be, these Mini Dark Chocolate Cheesecakes are just the answer for chocolate cravings of all types. If you're looking for a quick bake ahead sweet something for the one you love, look no further. Recipe minimally adapted from Ruchira @thegreatcookaroo.com. This is my to go recipe.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 4-5 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 4-5 hours
Mini Dark Chocolate Cheesecakes
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Dark, divine, sinful, creamy, chocolaty and as simple as can be, these Mini Dark Chocolate Cheesecakes are just the answer for chocolate cravings of all types. If you're looking for a quick bake ahead sweet something for the one you love, look no further. Recipe minimally adapted from Ruchira @thegreatcookaroo.com. This is my to go recipe.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 4-5 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 4-5 hours
Instructions
Biscuit base
  1. Whiz the biscuits, brown sugar and cocoa in food processor until you get a fine meal. Add butter,whiz again to mix. Press into 8″ loose bottom tin. Chill in the freezer while you get the filling ready, and the oven preheats.
Dark Chocolate Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 160C.
  2. Place all ingredients of the filling in bowl of food processor, and blend well to mix, 1-2 minutes on medium speed.
  3. Pour into crust, and bake for 30 minutes hour. Leave to cool in the oven, then cover and chill for 4-6 hours, better overnight.
Topping
  1. Dust with cocoa powder, top with diced strawberries and dark chocolate flakes. Garnish with mint. Serve cold, or leave at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
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Comfort food … food that reassures is different things to different people.”
David Tanis

Crudites with Creamy Garlic Dip and Seedy Buckwheat Crackers might well be one of my favourite ways to rustle up something simple and quite addictive for an everyday healthy nibble, a small get together, or even a lunch box snack. The dip is as simple as it is finger licking good, and is a great way to get your protein fix for the day.  Crudites on the side, in every colour, make this complete! Comfort food for the soul!The recipe is a no brainer, a simple very simple whisking together of staple cooking ingredients that will possibly already be in your kitchen. These are ingredients that were meant to be together. The recipe is adapted from a very old one that I got while in college in Delhi University. A friends grandmother made a basic version often, and I gleefully went back home to recreate the recipe then much to the amazement of the family. This was in the late 1980’s!!Much changed since then, the recipe evolved gradually. This is its current form. When Mother Dairy asked if I’d like to take do a few recipes for #CreamOfAllFood and taking over their instagram handle for a week, I knew this had to be shared too. This is our favourite dip, and is worth every share! Mother Dairy products have been a part of my growing up years, bringing up the kids, my kitchen, my culinary life. I am quite sure they are in your life too!While I absolutely love doing sweet desserts and dishes, my heart belongs to savoury. Add garlic, fresh herbs, a dash of lime juice to any savoury dish and I’m a happy camper. Add cream to it, and now we’re talking. This Creamy Garlic Dip is possibly the simplest example of taking something delicious to finger licking good addictive! The cream made that happen!!Use this as a basic recipe. I added garlic and garlic greens to it. Sriracha might be really nice in here too. Maybe tahini, maybe grated red radish, or even finely chopped walnuts, fresh coriander and chilies. Who knows what might hit the chord with you. I urge you to try.Begin basic. Hung yogurt, cream, grated garlic and salt is a good beginning. Then build as you go. And so many more reasons to enjoy this. Dahi/yogurt, garlic, fresh herbs, lime juice … think good gut bacteria and protein, think minerals, think garlic and its health promoting phytonutrients, think Vitamin C. As always, above all, think S I M P L E!! As simple as the Fruits with Cream & Granola Parfaits which I did in the #InstaCookingClass #1.So wait no further. I whisked together the recipe on Instastories the Mother Dairy Instagram handle that I’ve taking over this week. This was #InstaCookingClass #2. Catch me there, or on the Mother Dairy FaceBook page later this week. Love to hear if you liked it {or not}, what recipes you might like to see in future, and what you’d like to make with the #CreamOfAllFood!And oh, did I tell you that I love pairing dips with wholegrain crackers? So I turned the oven on, and began throwing in stuff of all sorts into the Thermomix. One seed followed another, one flour followed another, and luckily enough the ending was good. The experiment worked!The crackers were a ‘cracker of an idea’! The dough was so good and loaded with SEEDS! It behaved beautifully so I made some savoury shells in the my favourite mini pie pan from Kitchen Aid too. Seedy wholewheat & buckwheat canapes filled with a creamy garlic dip, and pickled radishes are as delicious as they sound! Do make these as well if you are a passionate baker like me. Else crudites in  seasonal colours like bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes are great too!

Creamy Garlic Dip and Seedy Buckwheat Crackers
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Crudites with Creamy Garlic Dip and Seedy Buckwheat Crackers might well be one of my favourite ways to rustle up something simple and quite addictive for an everyday healthy nibble, a small get together, or even a lunch box snack. The dip is as simple as it is finger licking good, and is a great way to get your protein fix for the day. Crudites on the side, in every colour, make the platter balanced!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 2-3 hours
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 2-3 hours
Creamy Garlic Dip and Seedy Buckwheat Crackers
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Crudites with Creamy Garlic Dip and Seedy Buckwheat Crackers might well be one of my favourite ways to rustle up something simple and quite addictive for an everyday healthy nibble, a small get together, or even a lunch box snack. The dip is as simple as it is finger licking good, and is a great way to get your protein fix for the day. Crudites on the side, in every colour, make the platter balanced!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 2-3 hours
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 2-3 hours
Instructions
Creamy Garlic Dip
  1. Whisk the cream + yogurt + olive oil + salt + lime juice until smooth.
  2. Finely chop remaining ingredients including the stalks of the coriander and greens of the green garlic.
  3. Stir in.
  4. Taste & adjust seasoning.
  5. Tip: Use as a dip, on crackers, on canapes, in a roll, as a marinadeSeedy wholegrain buckwheat crackers
Seedy wholegrain buckwheat crackers
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind together 65g sunflower seeds, almond meal, flax seeds, white & black sesame seeds.
  2. Add the smoked sea salt, buckwheat flour and wholewheat flour. Stir to mix, followed by the clarified butter. Mix again on high speed to distribute the fat evenly.
  3. Add the additional 35g sunflower seeds and stir to mix {low speed}.
  4. Stir the honey into the water, and slowly drizzle in enough to make a stiff yet pliable dough. Add more if required. {All flours have a different absorption capacity.If the dough is soft, add a tbsp or two of buckwheat flour}.
  5. Allow the dough to rest covered for a bit while you preheat the oven.
  6. Divide the dough into 4. Roll out one portion as thin as possible between 2 sheets of parchment paper.
  7. You can either cut into shapes using a pastry wheel/pizza cutter/knife, or leave it as one whole and roughly break it up. Alternatively, you could stamp out into fluted round shapes with a cookie cutter, and bake into tiny bite sized canape shells. I used the KitchenAid mini pie tray for some.
  8. Bake until they feel firm and begin to colour. Keep an eye on them after 20 minutes as they can colour and burn petty quick.
  9. Cool completely on cookie racks, and store in an airtight container
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“It didn’t matter how big our house was; it mattered that there was love in it.”
Peter Buffett

Gingerbread Garam Masala House – some things in life take long, some miss the date, yet any project made with love is better late than never. I had plans to make a Gingerbread House over Christmas. It was something I have longed to make again for along time. With travel and other commitments it never happened. Until now….In Bangalore in November I chanced upon a billboard from Casa Grande, and it talked about a dream house. An acquaintance had booked one of those and was quite thrilled. Talking to her about her dream home, for some reason this bakers mind connected to a gingerbread house, a dream I had nurtured for long, something I longed to bake again. That set me thinking about how my dream home might be.The elements danced in my head, plans to bake moving forward. First the foundation, or oops main flavours! A recent trip into Old Delhi meant a shifting of gears from ginger to garam masala in flavouring. Such is the power of inspiration. My dream home would have garam masala aromas wafting through it. I often bake my Christmas cake with garam masala, and I can tell you that it is wonderful sweet & warm!Hence I set to work at my first free moment. Can I tell you that building a gingerbread house is a lofty project, needs a couple of hands to help, is an arduous task, yet you fall in love with it once it’s made? Yes, all that and more. 

Drawing the same parallel, so is the home you choose to live in. Make it a good choice. It’s a lofty order to build it together like this Gingerbread Garam Masala House, so it’s best left to safe hands. A good company like Casa Grande a Chennai based real estate enterprise which is driven by a strong belief in building aspirations and fulfilling them. It designs and develops quality livings spaces and operates in niche residential segments like luxury villas and apartments in Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Cochin.Well they take care of all the hard work, quality work, delivering on time all part of the deal, leaving me to take care of my edible dreams. And baking this dream home wasn’t easy by any standard. You need a firm cookie dough to keep it all together, like a good foundation does a dream home. I adapted an earlier gingerbread recipe, made it a 100% wholegrain and smelling sweetly of garam masala. Wasn’t sure my house would stand but here we are. Looks like it came together.It has all the elements I’d like in my dream home. A rustic look, simple lines, sloping roofs, loads of windows that would let in light, and a ton of greenery. The roof is covered with flower cutouts. A few snowflakes too just because it was just Christmas, and just because I love how beautiful they look. And oh yes, how could I forget to mention the beautiful aromas of garam masala cookies wafting through my kitchen.I had real fun putting this together with the daughter. You do need more hands than one to bring together this sweet little home. What would your dream home be like?

Gingerbread Garam Masala House
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The Garam Masala Gingerbread House is my wholegrain take on traditional Scandinavian Gingerbread House. Sweet, spicy and warm and fun to build, this little dream house is well worth the time and effort!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Gingerbread Garam Masala House
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
The Garam Masala Gingerbread House is my wholegrain take on traditional Scandinavian Gingerbread House. Sweet, spicy and warm and fun to build, this little dream house is well worth the time and effort!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Garam Masala Biscuit dough
Sugar glue
Servings: people
Instructions
Garam Masala Biscuit dough
  1. In the bowl of the food processor, process the chilled butter and jaggery for 1-2 minutes on high speed until you get a breadcrumb like mix
  2. Add the cinnamon powder and garam masala. Stir the baking soda into a 1/4 cup of boiling water Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375’F (190’C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm.
  4. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place. {I rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick, cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end.}
  5. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.
Royal icing
  1. Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.
Sugar glue
  1. Place in a heavy bottom saucepan and simmer over low heat just until the sugar dissolves. Take off heat. Dredge or brush the edges of the pieces to glue them together. If the syrup crystallizes, remake it.
  2. Note: Please be very careful while working with hot sugar syrup as it can burn the skin.
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