Sunday, November 20, 2011

In one moment

Eternity; that moment before the storm;
Of anticipation, dread, and change

That single hesitation before the arrow leaves the bow
and that last thought that flickers in the eye, before it hits the heart

a Lifetime; That moment before the earth shatters into half;
of peace and acceptance and fate

That one in drawn breath before the world sets on fire
and that last hope of life, before it turns to dust

An entire life lived in one single moment.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Crash 'nd Burn - Epic Kitchen Disasters....

kitchen disaster
*Photo from here. Let me know if I'm violating any copyrights, and I'll take it off.

Anyone who's given me a patient sympathetic ear in the last few months, knows that my oven isn't exactly in the best of health. It blows a fuse after maybe half an hour , and then after every five minutes or so. In the throe of it's tantrums, it's also managed to blow the microwave oven, with constant voltage fluctuations.
So I try to stay away from the oven, it's been ages since I've baked anything, and with a sigh that would make a martyr proud, I longingly stare at all the beautiful things that the world around me is baking, and go into a dream world where there are no bratty ovens and no circuit trips.

But yesterday was different, my Hulk-esque bug for baking finally took over, and I decided to make cookies that I had bookmarked since almost 3 months. So, I mixed the flour, cocoa, baking soda and sugar , shut down all other electrical equipment and nervously started preheating the oven. Added the butter...rolled out half the cookie dough, scrounged around for a small round bottle lid and cut cookies. Put 'em on my blue cookie sheet, and shoved 'em in, breathed a sigh of relief, so far so good. Then a little more confident, I started playing around with the other half of the dough, adding chocolate chips, rolling, re rolling.....and then that ominous burning smell! I was so happy that the oven still hadn't given up, that I forgot to check the cookies, and the first batch was burnt to cinder!!! So much for the oven not shutting down on it's own!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Of tortillas and wraps....

Most of my decisions on food start off with a random ingredient that I spot during grocery shopping trips. So recently when I found a can of re-fried beans, I started imagining spicy and tangy, and I just had to pick it up.
Initially I wanted to make Enchiladas, but then common sense returned, when I realized that I had never made tortillas before and that if the tortillas got messed up, I'd be left with chilli sauce and a can full of fried beans.

So I made wraps instead!

The best part about the wraps is of course the Tortillas. These are flour tortillas, soft and delicate, and look really pretty! I think I see Enchiladas on the horizon soon!!

The recipe is from here  with slight quantity changes in the oil and baking powder. It is also adapted for 6 tortillas instead of 8.

Flour Tortillas Recipe: (for 6 tortillas)

1.5 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3 teaspoons of oil
1/2 cup warm milk

Stuffed Indian Bread with Cauliflower (Gobi Parantha)

Paranthas are extremely versatile and filling food, and transforms boring veggies into delicious breads.
All you need is some pickle, or a bit of yoghurt, or even tomato ketchup. Ofcourse a hot finger burning Parantha doesnt even need that, as long as you have a nice spoonful(or 2-3) of white butter to go along with it.

I love making paranthas, they are easy, and can be stuffed and rolled in different ways. The rule of thumb I use for any parantha is the same, the softness of the dough should be the same as the softness of the filling. A too liquidy or soft filling, and it won't spread to the edges, and will make rolling out sticky and messy. A harder filling, and it will tear through the dough. Also if you are adding raw ingredients to the stuffing like onions and garlic, they should be very finely chopped.

Gobi Paranthas require the stuffing to be cooked till the cauliflower becomes soft and dry.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011



I want to stop, but I know I never will

I want to pull back, but I keep trudging still

I'm petrified and alone, my mind overwhelmed
I want to float awhile, but I'm sinking myself in.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lollipops(Hard Candy)

I am making hard candy for the first time ever. I am never comfortable around boiling sugar, and I have frankly no clue about all the different stages sugar goes through. But this time around I decided to make a candy basket for my cute li'l niece.

There are a lot of recipes out there, mostly using corn syrup. But it's not easily available here, so I used honey instead, and a dash of lemon.

Just when I thought I had a candy thermometer, it turned out that the maximum temperature it reads is a 110 deg C, while I need somewhere around 160. So I had to use the old method, where you drop a bit of the boiling sugar in cold water and see if it becomes brittle.

The recipe is from here : , I just added a twist of lime to it for flavor.

The following is a great resource if you don't have a candy thermometer:

I found some plastic thing with rounds in it, I cut off the edges of three of the circles and used it as a lollipop mould

Others drying on greased butter paper, without a mould

I don't have a picture of the finished candy yet, as they are still drying out(fingers crossed, they'll turn out ok). You will get to see the candy basket soon!!

*Update: I totally messed up the caramels I was planning to add to the basket....To top it, I pulled a few lollipops before they could set(impatient me), so now all I have is 3 good ones.....and no time to make bye bye home made candy's not your time yet !!! But I will make another attempt quite soon!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Snapshots from Saurashtra...In the pursuit of food

We had Kathiyawadi food (Saurashtra is also called as Kathiyawad) at Amidhara Resort at Gir.

A typical Kathiyawadi Thali looks like this

Bharwanu Ringana(Stuffed Green Aubergines)

Tomato Sev Bhaaji

Baajre ke roti ( Flat Millet bread)
This is served with fresh white butter and fresh Jaggery, that is made from Sugar cane juice and tastes heavenly)

Ras waale Aloo(Potato curry)

Moong Khichdi (Rice cooked with soaked Green gram)  served with Ghee(clarified butter)

Gujurati food at Dwaraka(at hotel Damji)

Other foods in the region
Saurashtra is dotted with shops that sell fresh snacks, like Chivda, Samosas, Patty, Pedhas and chikkis. It is also famous for a large variety of ice-creams in vivid flavors like Rajbhog. It's worth taking just a culinary trip to Saurashtra for their different savoury and sweet foods.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Snapshots from Saurashtra...Part 2(Porbander, Dwaraka and Rajkot)

Porbander....dotted with shops, all closed (on Sundays)

The town square, with Mahatma Gandhi at the center..

His birth place
Beautiful three storeyed house

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Snapshots from Saurashtra...Part 1 (Junagadh, Gir and Veraval)

A Vav(deep well) at Junagadh fort. It's one of the earliest known Vavs and is cut from a single rock.

A Bavdi...(smaller well)

We spotted a Neel Gai at Gir quietly grazing. (Asian Antelope) It looks like a cross between a cow and a deer.

And lions, lazing around in the sun..

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Embrace the power you are born with....

Power is liberation....Liberation is happiness
Power is instinctive...let it guide...

Power is a positive changes and shifts things
Power is change....Power to change the world

Power is only destructive if you think you own it....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The chocolate experiment....part deux

It's not valentine's day yet....but why wait for it?

Pink Hearts are always in...

In fact, Pink chocolate is ALWAYS in...especially when it tastes deliciously of rum!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Alu wadis ( Colocasia rolls)

Alu wadis are prevalent in both Gujurati as well as Maharashtrian cuisine.However there are some differences in the stuffing and the way we eat it.
While Gujuratis eat them steamed with oil tadka, we normally shallow/deep fry them after steaming.

My mom got huge Alu(Colocasia) leaves, for making this snack, which is a favorite with us. Though it might work with any leaves,the use of these leaves is ideal, because they are thicker and stronger than other leafy vegetables, and can stand stacking, folding, rolling and steaming with sturdiness and character.

I don't have the recipe in exact quantities because I was just clicking pictures while my mom made them, but I will list out the ingredients and you can just play it along by taste(or you can get the recipe off any Indian food blog)

The roll filling is mainly made of Gram flour to which we add a bit of rice flour(for crispness), salt, paprika, asafoetida, turmeric, jaggery and tamarind pulp and water, to make a spreadable paste. It should taste sweet and sour, with a little heat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The first time I saw someone make Gnocchi was in the Australian Master Chef competition. That's the time I realized it didn't look too intimidating, but never got around to making it. One of the reasons maybe that it requires egg, and though I use egg in desserts, I hate using egg in my main course, especially in pasta.
I know, totally weird.

I always thought that gnocchi becomes airy and light because of egg, so an eggless version was out of the question. Until recently, I stumbled here. Chef Joey Camapanaro maintains that Gnocchi without egg turns out lighter due to the high starch content in flour.

So I tried his method. It's an easy to follow recipe.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Chocolate Experiment

My oven is most probably on its last lap. It's become unsafe to use it any more, so I have to take a break from baking. So I did the one thing that I always wanted to do, work with chocolate and see how it responds...

Now I do make chocolates at home, for gifting purposes. But I've never really tried soft centers and truffles.
So this time my focus was to reach a truffle that I would be satisfied with, as till now the only truffles I've wholeheartedly liked are the Lindt ones.

I used two different recipes, for the center.

The first one was a mixture of cream, cocoa and chocolate solidified quite quickly in the refrigerator overnight, and I could make nice little balls , that I refroze. I then dipped these in melted chocolate. Since the balls were already frozen, the chocolate covering immediately solidified.

The next recipe uses a center made with whipping egg whites and adding a reduced cream and chocolate mixture and rum. I thought this will become lighter, but it ended up becoming sticky and melted at soon as it was exposed to room temperature. So I made chocolates with liquid centres instead.

For this, I refrigerated the chocolate tray, and gave a first layer of chocolate that solidified immediately.

Yep, I'm messy when it comes to chocolate...

Freeze this for 5 min, fill it with the liquid mixture, freeze again, and cover it with a layer of chocolate again. Freeze one last time, and you get nice shiny chocolate cubes. I was lazy and didn't scrape the top layer of chocolate, which is why I've got haphazard edges at the bottom ...

Though both tasted pretty good (the egg white one was smoother, and might make a really good dip), the round truffles with cocoa centers tasted better the next day, and the centers were really soft.
If I have to make truffles again, I'll definitely use the first recipe...

Friday, September 02, 2011


Every year on Ganesha Chaturthi, I hover around my mom, like a little kid, trying to sneak spoonfuls of sweetened coconut filling, while she efficiently makes the most artisitic modaks that I have ever tasted in my life. For the uninitiated, modak is a sweet that the lord Ganesha loves, and is made of steamed rice flour with a sweet coconut filling.
It's tricky to make, needs nimble fingers and years of practice. My mom has been making these since she was maybe just 10 years old, and reminisces a bit painfully of a time when people used to be hearty eaters, and would easily eat them in dozens at the least. 
With all that experience, she makes a mean modak. What do I do? I meddle and take pictures with sticky hands and steam and sugar covered cellphones.

So here's how it went pictures....

A plateful of modaks, waiting to be steamed :)

There you go...steamed, pretty and oh so yummy, all for you....!! (Sorry for the fuzzy quality, there was steam on my lens after a totally useless attempt to catch the steam on camera)

Maharashtrian Food: Most people do not know about Maharashtrian food, and those who do, think that our food is made up of Zunka Bhakar and Wadapav, and coconut fish curry. However after years of seeing my mom make the most varied variety of complicated and delectable dishes, I strongly feel that I need to do my bit, however small, of getting a few of the dishes across to my readers. In this endeavor, I promise to introduce you to all the typical fare that requires more than just curry masala and coconut milk. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Two little lovers

Two little lovers sat on a wrought iron gate
He sang of her beauty
She sang about his strength

Two little lovers flew away to their nest
But one song of passion
Lingered on the moonlit fence

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Almond cake with orange caramel...

I'm having oven's really depressing. Our oven has been in this world for almost 30 years, and in oven years, I'm sure that's very very old. It trips the fuse after every 10-15 minutes, and my heart stops because an oven that suddenly gives up, can do nasty things to a cake gently wanting to rise up and stay there...

Thankfully, today, despite of all the oven troubles and a hovering nagging depressing thought that I might not be able to bake for quite some time now, my cake persevered

I took the recipe for the orange caramel from "Cakes and Bakes" cookbook from the Food Lovers series, while the cake is something I threw together, because I didn't have poppy seeds, and in any case they are prohibitively expensive here. I also think that almond and orange is a combination that is not exploited enough.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Caramelized walnuts

My mom has, for some mom-ly reason unknown to me, hoarded walnuts. She also suddenly decided that the stock needs to deplete a bit, before all of them go bad. I always thought walnuts have a shelf life longer than the dinosaurs, but then we know it didn't workout too well for them.
Anyway, cutting a long story short, these nuts are now my responsibility, considering I insisted I deal with them.

The first of a few nutty recipes to come, and the simplest one yet, Caramelized Walnuts. I've always wanted to make these since I tasted them at my sister's place (read ate the whole bag). I love the caramelly-salty-nutty combination, and I added a small twist which makes them much more delightful than the store bought ones.

You will need:
1 cup of walnuts
1/4th cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1-2 teaspoons of rose water(This can be skipped, or substituted by another flavor. Coffee might taste really nice)

Add walnuts, sugar and rose water and toss in the pan. Put the mix on medium flame, continuously stirring and coating the walnuts until the sugar first melts and then turns into caramel.

Add the salt and keep tossing and stirring till walnuts become a rich golden brown color. Immediately remove from the heat and spread on a very lightly greased plate. Total cooking time is about 2-3 minutes.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Espresso cookies...

I made cookies with white chocolate and coffee. "joy the baker " made these, and I just had to try these(Click highlighted link for recipe).

The only thing I would change in these almost perfect cookies is I'll use powdered sugar next time.

Please make these, you won't regret it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sweet Imitations...

Its' Sunday. Sin day. When Im at my laziest best.

Also when I get incoherent random urges, to eat Italian food.

So I made pasta...a very healthy wheat pasta with veggies and grilled aubergines.

I then went ahead and dealt a knockout punch to all the nutrition, with a stupendously calorific tiramisu imitation.

I used rum instead of marsala wine, sponge cake instead of ladyfinger cookies, didnt bother to brew espresso, but just swilled coffee granules with rum and cold water and dipped the cut up cake in it.
Also since I try to avoid eggs in recipes where I can, no raw egg white.

Yeah, I can be pretttty lazy and Im sure the Italians out there are not going to be pleased....but I put that thing together in 15 minutes, so time saved is a Sunday enjoyed.

Please pretend you didn't see the cocoa all over the rim...

Saturday, July 09, 2011

When it rains...'s absolutely essential to do two things

Go for a long run in the's exhilarating...
(Make sure you run carefully, slipping is NOT fun, and make sure you wear a windcheater to keep the torso warm so that you dont end up getting pneumonia)

Throw together a hot apple crumble...

Monday, July 04, 2011

A bit o' spice and everything nice...

Making a cake for my dad is tough. He doesnot like gimmicky cakes, frosting or other frills. He likes his cake straight out of the oven, or if not, then the cake should have a rustic character and flavor that makes up for not being warm.
He also likes his coffee, which doesnot seem relevant at this point, but trust me, it is...

After a lot of thought, I decided to make a rum n' raisin cake. Now the next hurdle I faced was finding a good recipe which didnot use buttermilk, or too many eggs, or applesauce. I've realised that buttermilk lends a certain shiny bubble dry texture to the cake, which I was sure my dad wouldn't really like.

So I finally decided to stop wasting time, and made my own recipe, going along with whatever felt right while making it.
It turned out really well, moist, full of flavor and my Dad went for a second helping, which means he loved it!!!!

Now, while I was throwing ingredients together, my mom decided we'd have an unconventional cake cutting, and offer small cups of freshly brewed coffee infused with saffron and nutmeg!!! That combination was stupendous!!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

And then there was cake.....

I had the most fabulous b'day this including me time, gifts from M.A.C, pampering, time with my mom and sis, good food.....and ofcourse, cake.
I was barred from baking anything for myself. And nothing seemed to be happening till the day before, of my bday.
I kept dropping hints, noone took them, or so I thought....

On the actual day, my mom got up really early, and turned out this special thing for me...

IT's a cherry cake, she'd put in real cherries in it. Have I ever mentioned that my mom is an excellent baker....I have a long way to go before I reach her instinctive baking...
The taste is incomparable, she's put in ingredients without measuring, so I unfortunately dont have the recipe :(
But it was one happy birthday :D

I havent been able to capture it quite right, but the cake was slightly pink with surprisingly juicy cherries, and pink buttercream.
Did I say I had an awesome b'day?

Monday, June 13, 2011


I recently combined two different methods, and various kinds of flours to create a cookie that tastes like shortbread, and is full of iron and calcium!! So while it looks very weird, it is extremely addictive and has a nice rustic flavor to it.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Red peppers!!!

Since I'm the only one in the family with a penchant for spicy food, normally my mom makes a red pepper preserve for me. These red peppers are extra hot, extremely spicy, and touching it can induce burning for a day or two.

This time while she was cutting and deseeding them, I flicked a couple of peppers, topped it with vinegar and a bit of salt. My mom has an extremely old bottle of great quality vinegar, which has been extracted from grapes.

What a pretty red color!!

In the meanwhile, she made a chunky sauce of peppers, garlic and salt.
While using this preserve, she normally heats up a tbsp of oil, adds a tsp of mustard seeds to crackle, a pinch of asafoetida powder and a small pinch turmeric to the oil. This she then pours on the preserve and its ready to eat!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Millionaire's Shortbread

I have no idea why these bars have such a weird name...but I made them anyways...
I found conflicting recipes, but my layers have shortbread, dulce de leche(that I nuked in the microwave) and dark chocolate. I didnt bother adding any corn/golden syrup or honey to the dulce de leche.

The recipe is easily available anywhere and super easy, so I'm just putting up the pics.
(To see how to make Dulce de leche, check this post)