Tag Archives: bake

Goat Cheese, Prunes and Pistachio Savory cake

24 Jan

Traditionally, cake would evoke images of sweet bakes with or without frosting. In France, cakes can be sweet as well as savory. The French savory cakes use ingredients such as strong tasting cheeses, ham, prunes etc. while the Americans call it a loaf or bread such as zucchini bread, tomato bread, cheese bread and such. These savory cakes/ breads are  served in France as before dinner treats along with drinks. This particular savory cake that I share with you today is a Rachel Khoo recipe. I have been following Rachel Khoo’s inspiring story and her videos on BBC. You can read her story in this interview here.

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Ms. Khoo calls herself a ‘Food creative’ which is a title good enough to create intrigue. She promises that her’s is a fresh approach to all things edible. Flipping through her recipes made me believe that she does keep her promise. Her recipes seem simple yet interesting enough through their flavour combinations. I have tried two of her recipes and both of them turned out marvelous. One of them was the flourless chocolate swirl cake and  then I attempted this savory cake.

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I was quite sure that my family was going to reject this unusual cake on the table for evening tea. The strongly flavoured goat cheese, the soft sweetness of the prunes and the nutty flavour of the pistachio rendered the cake an exotic taste. My family was hooked. I served it toasted and with salted butter. It is a match made in heaven.

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The next time I make it I would love to see how it would taste with whole wheat flour. If it works well, then I have a healthier version to keep for future use. What I also loved about the loaf is the fact that despite it looking so simple it photographed so well. The hint of green from the pistachio, the black from the prunes and the white from the goat cheese against the yellow-brown load looked wonderful.

CPPC4I see my list of bookmarked recipes and am startled to find that most of them are Rachel Khoo’s recipes. It goes on to show much her recipes have drawn me in. I have to get her “My little Paris Kitchen” or her latest cook book ” My little French Kitchen” which I hear has her own hand – drawn illustrations.

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For the recipe, here goes:

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Hope you guys try this cake and see for yourself how wonderful savory cakes are as well. I am a convert for sure.

News and My Culinary Bucket list + Millionaire’s Shortbread

9 Feb

Well how do I begin..

Lots of news to share.

First things first. You may recollect I had requested all my blogger friends and readers for Facebook votes for a photo contest that Mimi (my daughter) was participating. The news is she won the title of the cutest kid in Bahrain. Mimi won a professional portfolio as the prize for winning the contest. The details of how Summer ( the professional photographer) managed to get some shots that were portfolio -worthy would be a blog post in itself. In a nutshell, I can summarize the photo shoot as:

Mimi– hates wearing girly stuff- made to wear a dress- cranky best- hell broke loose- wouldn’t pose- cried till her nose was red– a super stressed hubby and me– a super patient photographer( Summer Weeks)– asked us parents to step out– sorted the shoot and the change of clothes herself– got some photos that were portfolio worthy– phew!

Well the moral of the 58 word story is – the photos are here and I am so glad to share a few of them in this post as a thank you to all my blogger friends who took time out to vote for Mimi. We are so happy with the photos and at what a beautiful job Summer has done.

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Now for the second round of update – My recipes were featured in one of the leading Magazines in Bahrain – The Bahrain Confidential. For this I have only one person to thank – Pooja Rajpal – my beautiful friend. I have blogged about these recipes and you could take a look at them here and here.

BahCon-Anita-LRFor the third round of update. I have, inspired by Sally, decided to build a culinary bucket list for this year. This is no rocket science stuff. It includes all the culinary pursuit that I have been procrastinating endlessly. Either I am too lazy or plain scared to take it up. So to put all that unimportant fears and insecurities on the side and take up all the challenges  one by one would be my culinary goal for the year. In the bargain, I feel, this bucket list will give my blog a new and adventurous feel. Basically, anything to keep going. Otherwise, knowing me, I would keep making those old-fashioned chocolate cakes, brownies and cookies over and over again. This bucket list not only features new bakes and recipes I intend to try but also would help me push my gastronomical boundaries. Ofcourse the list is subject to change.

Why?

Because its my list. I can do what I want to with it. ( that’s just me justifying my ever-changing goals in life!!)

So here goes my Culinary Bucket list in no particular order:

Barbecue– It may sound funny but I have never got the opportunity to attend a barbecue. But I did in early January, this year and I can’t wait to share my experience of doing so with the locals here in Bahrain. So this I can safely tick off my list.

Macarons – Dread to even try. Have been procrastinating for too long. Have to tackle the bulls by its horns now.

Pavlova – Plain laziness. The only worry I have is, what would I do with all the yolks that remain once I used all the whites of the egg.

Oyster – Ernest Hemmingway called it tasting the sea. I would like to experience this myself. Hopefully, this should happen sometime in April ( why April? I won’t tell you, just yet)

Quail eggs – I have seen these delicate, patterned eggs on the supermarket shelves but using them in my recipes always made me uneasy. Hoping to put a good quail egg recipe on this blog.

Baklawa – Being in this part of the world, its shameful that I haven’t tried my hand at any dessert of the middle eastern origin. Considering how much I love Baklawa and enjoy licking off the honey laced pastry bits off my fingers, its time I try and recreate this beautiful dessert at home.

Learn how to pipe – Chocolate ganache has been my go-to cake decorating option all the time. My piping skills are absolutely dud and I need to try to do some skillful piping this year to put my piping related anxiety at rest.

Swiss roll – I failed miserably at making the yule log for Christmas. It was a defeat in every sense. The log, the rolling, the cream filling; everything. The Swiss Roll will be conquered.

KhandviThis Gujarati (Indian) delicious snack made from gram flour has given me a tough time. But again, like the Swiss Roll, I shall endeavour to tame this rogue snack.

Jalebi I have been aspiring to make Jalebis for as long as I remember. I know for sure that my hubby would be very thrilled to see this in my culinary bucketlist.

Now with that out-of-the-way, I shall  turn my attention to this delicious, wickedly sinful and indulgent shortbread called the Millionaire’s shortbread that uses more butter than you can imagine and tastes a bit like heaven.

A slice of heaven would be a perfect description.

While the other description would be – ‘ deliciously buttery, crumbly shortbread with a layer of insanely addictive fudge and topped with a shiny coat of melted chocolate. This tri-layered slice of heaven is a calorie bomb but what is life without a little indulgence here and there. During times like this when I am savouring a delicate slice of Nigella’s Shortbread, I tend to completely forget about my New Year resolutions about losing weight and such insignificant issues.

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Surprisingly, it is very easy and quick to assemble as most of Nigella’s baking treats are. Literally three short steps and its done. That trickiest part is to be patient let the darn thing set well. But I am not blessed with that virtue and cut them into slices before it had the time to meld into each other like a single unit. The result was  as you can see in the pictures, uneven slices that don’t look good in photos and the chocolate layer sliding over the fudge layer that reminded me of drifting continents.

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I console myself with the fact that food needs to taste great; never-mind it doesn’t look too good.

I packed these shortbread pieces for my daughters last day of the term party and took some to office.

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Now for the final update, that I remember at the fag end, because there is so much happening that I am losing count. My hubby and my sweet friend Gayathri participated in a Quiz contest – India Quiz 2013 on the eve of the Indian Republic Day in Bahrain and won the 2nd prize. It was a fantastic moment for us. My hubby had been an avid quizzer during his college days but I never had the chance to see him in action. This was the first time I saw him participate and do so well and finally win it. It was a moment of ultimate pride for me. Also that Gayathri was his quiz partner made it ultra special. Kudos to both of you and I am so so so so proud of you!!!

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Now for the Recipe Card;

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Hope you all have an (nice) eventful week ahead!

Baguette Bread Pudding for Mother’s Day

12 May

I realized how lucky I am when I was browsing through all my old photographs. My parents have inevitably been a part of every milestone of my life.  Be it my first singing performance in front of a large audience, Annual sports day, or  my graduation day ceremony, my wedding (ofcourse), at the birth of my daughter, her first birthday, the launch of my first book ( a post coming up soon with the details) and so on. I feel blessed and so loved by a set of parents who have helped, guided and supported me in all my life’s decisions. 13th May being Mother’s Day, I take this opportunity to tell them how infinitely lucky I feel to have them in my life and how much they mean to me.

These days, they are visiting us in Bahrain and it has been the most relaxed, stress free period in a long, long time. Mimi had a small accident where she fell of the sofa and broke her right elbow. The impact of the fall was quite severe and her right arm had to be plastered for 3 weeks. I was at my wits end when I couldn’t figure out how I was going to manage her, my work, home and everything else. I do have the most dependable nanny in the world but I was still apprehensive considering how Mimi was going to spend her whole day at home when I was at work.  So I asked my parents to come down and they obliged without a thought. They had a lot of pressing commitments back home but when it comes to their grand-daughter, they pushed everything in the back burner and hopped on the first flight to Bahrain. They have been here for the last 3 weeks and we have another week with them. I feel sad already thinking that they would be leaving soon and soon there will be  heart-shaped void for a long, long time before things get back to normal. Mimi’s cast is off and my parents have been a great influence when it comes to teaching her new things, our language and every little detail. Mimi has started speaking a lot more and expresses herself more clearly. When my parents leave Mimi will miss them more than ever.

While they are here, I made sure I  made every day count, especially the weekends. My dad is extremely fond of baked goodies so I made him an apple cake, raspberry brownies, the chocolate cherry cupcakes, Palmiers ( post on the way), hopefully a cheesecake and some fruit cake before he leaves. My mother is passionate about cooking and loves to watch me in action so that she can go back home and try some of it on her own. She gives me ideas on how I can improve something or change ingredients. She has a creative streak in her which she unleashes effortlessly in the kitchen. My father has a way with words and he gives me ideas about how I can write new posts on my blog on varied topics. Both of them read my blog with great interest and give me their honest opinion about it.

So you see, it is a win-win.

I know I am going to miss them terribly when they leave and I cannot wait to plan my next trip to see them in Kerala. Though it is Mother’s Day tomorrow, I would want to wish my dad also because they are a team; my mom and dad. They have do things together, take decisions together and there not a single instance that I recall where they haven’t stuck together during the thick and the thin. These are the values they have passed on to me and my brother – Family always comes first.

 I made them some baguette bread pudding and they loved it more than all the other baked goodies. Bread and butter pudding has been my eternal favourite as long as I remember. My mother used to make a non-baked version of the bread and the butter pudding which I used to love. Unfortunately she doesn’t remember how to make it after all this time. That is the reason why she encourages me to detail it all down on my blog for posterity.

The baguette was a few days old and that really enhanced the flavour of the pudding. Also, it is important not to be stingy when it comes to butter because bread and butter pudding requires loads of butter-love. I added cranberries because I wanted their tartness to shine through the dull sweetness of the custard. I remembered to soak the cranberries in rum overnight and in the morning they had soaked in all the alcoholic goodness.  I blow torched the bread pudding to give it a brownish-black crust because my hubby loves a little burnt taste in his bread pudding. Burnt sugar on the top provides the much needed textrue to the otherwise ooey-gooey bread pudding.

Though Mimi doesn’t know it is Mother’s Day tomorrow and what it means to our relationship, I know for a fact that she would run to me when I come back from work. The delight on her face is beyond compare and lights up the dreariest day. I look forward to that reaction every single day after I come back from work. A few years down the lane, I am also looking forward to the hand made beautiful cards she is going to make for me 🙂

Wishing all mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day because this day like every day is  a testimony of the fact that we are the moving force in our child’s life. We have the power to mould them into the individuals that they are today or would be in the future. To carry out this  immense responsibility I wish from the higher power to give each one of us enough strength and determination.

Being Prepared With a No- Bake White Chocolate, Cinnamon Infused Orange Cheese Cake

23 Mar

Quite a title!

But it was only fair to include every ingredient that made this cheesecake so special. It was my friend, Namit’s birthday a few days ago. He is practically family after 2 years of our friendship. On his birthday, I invited him to come home and have dinner of dum aloo, boondi raita  and parathas with us. Knowing Namit, who likes everything to be very simple; no fanfare, no loud celebrations for him. I have also realized that he likes subtle flavours so I thought cheesecake may fit the bill perfectly.

Making this no- bake version of  a cheesecake is what I prefer when I am short of time but want to impress too. I referred plenty of cheesecake recipes and couldn’t put my finger on any one of them so I combined two or three of them and came up with an amalgamated version. It was really exciting to put it altogether, praying fervently that it should set and not fall apart when I try to loosen the springform pan around the sides.

This Cheese cake is special because it has the deep, satisfying flavours of the cinnamon infused oranges that take it to the next level. The fresh golden orange slices bubble and sizzle in a sugary syrup with cinnamon to bring out the exotic in them. The flavours are subtle but vibrant in parts. That makes this cake a class apart. Whenever I have someone coming home for dinner etc, I like to prepare a bit in advance so that I don’t feel harried in the end. Bits and pieces add up in the end to make a spectacular event.

All this talk about preparation makes me recall my experience on the first day at work. As I had mentioned in my previous post about having joined work, I felt underwhelmed by my lack of confidence on the first day at work. I felt my nerves giving away every time I had to pick up the phone to talk to people. I stressed and prayed for the day to end quickly. It wasn’t the most memorable experience. The same evening I had my writers’ circle meeting to attend. I met my dear friend Pooja, ( also a member of the writers’ circle) after work and we took off to attend the meeting. By some divine design, the session was about how to feel confident and excel at public speaking. Mr. Mohamed Isa – A distinguished Toastmasters speaker and a speaking coach gave us a wonderful insight into how one can excel in their personal and professional life by being able to speak confidently.

It was so apt for me and I thanked my stars as the session was most useful. He shared his ideas through plenty of funny anecdotes from his life that had his audience in splits. He emphasized on BEING PREPARED and GAUGING THE AUDIENCE for an effective and confident performance. All my life, I have never underestimated the importance of being prepared.  Be it exams or some presentation at work, I have always prepared well. His session only reiterated what I had known all along. It was time to get the focus back and take things in my control at work. I made mental notes for the next day and surprisingly enough I was able to sail through the day. Hopefully, I should be able to build up on this confidence to be able to tackle anything that is thrown my way at work.

 So I made this cheese cake a day in advance so that in case it flops for any reason, I would have enough time to put together another cake for the d-day. But preparing well ensured I put in sufficient time and energy into it – which basically meant, I was able to give it my best shot. I put this cheesecake in the refrigerator to set overnight and set it did. I arranged the golden slices on top of the cake and inhaled the divine concoction. It was stimulating to say the least.

Recipe for White Chocolate and Cinnamon Infused Orange Cheesecake

Ingredients

For the infused orange slices

Oranges – 4, large

water -2 cups

sugar – 300 gms

cinnamon stick – 1

For the Cheesecake Crust

Digestive biscuits – 180 gm

butter – 75  gm, melted

For the cheese cake

White Chocolate – 400 gm

Cream cheese – 300 gm

Double Cream – 200 ml

Preparation

1. Crush the biscuits with a rolling pin to fine crumbs and add the melted butter and mix well. Tip the mix into a 20 cm lined, loose bottomed cake tin/springform cake tin. Smooth the top of the crumb+butter mix with a spoon and put it in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.

2. Peel and slice or keep the peel on like I did for the oranges and place them in a bowl. Use 3 oranges for this. The last orange has to be grated and the zest kept in a separate bowl.

3. In a saucepan, bring the sugar-water and cinnamon to a boil until slightly thick and syrupy. Pour the syrup over the sliced oranges and the zest (half and half  or to cover both of them completely in their separate bowls) and cover for 30 minutes. You can do this in the morning and keep aside. The flavours will get more time to infuse and the scent of orange and cinnamon will give you a heady feeling. That’s a fantastic feeling to have, trust me.

4. Melt the white chocolate in a microwave and then allow it to cool slightly.

5. Beat the cream cheese and double cream until soft and thick., then stir in the white chocolate. To this add the cinnamon-sugar syrup infused orange zest and mix well. Don’t allow too much of the sugar syrup to fall into the mixture. We have to keep the mixture dense for it to set.

6. Pour this batter on the biscuit base and push it into the fridge to set overnight.

7. Once ready to serve, layer the orange slices on the cheesecake in concentric circles.

The birthday cake was enjoyed by all of us but soon we realized that even a thin slice of this cheesecake goes a long way. It was filling, flavourful and beautiful to look at. So I took Mr. Mohamed Isa’s words to heart – preparing well in advance  by making cheesecake ahead of when it was needed and gauging my audience who was none other than Namit. The birthday boy definitely seemed very happy.

Thoughts on the Year End, a Wedding Anniversary & a Black Forest Cake

31 Dec

Wow! We are nearing the end now, only to begin something new. This cycle never felt this surreal before.

May be it is an age thing.

I haven’t yet settled into my 30’s . It worries me to see the little changes that are happening every single day that mark a little deterioration. A grey hair, that slowing down of pace, that need to sit down a second after a 30 minute run, that dejection at the discovery that my favourite stores do not have my current dress size, the increasing responsibilities and the inability to relax. 2 years ago I did not feel this way. As 2012 approaches at a neck-break speed, I want to hold on to 2011 a little longer only to realize how futile it is.  Until 2 years ago, I embraced each year with the such furor and excitement that it would have felt a little short of  being annoying.

Yes it is definitely an age thing. 

2012 makes me jittery as there are many things that worry me. I do my best to push them back since I know everything will settle itself the way it does, on its own. I hope it does. Even pray.

2011 was a blessed year for me. It was a year that let me settle in this new country as I found new friends and interests. It offered me the luxury of time to engage with my creative side through writing, blogging, cooking, baking, photography and so much more. I know for a fact that this investment will not go in waste. While I worry about how 2012 is going to treat me, I also feel content in many ways that eluded me for so long. For long, I tried to find my calling but got no answers inspite of much contemplation. But life, in its funny little way, showed me my calling, silently, slowly and without warning. That I understand what my calling is now, is also may be because I am certain age now. I am settling down, my thoughts are settling down, my life is settling down.

So it is an age thing after all. 

Who knew there would be such grace in deterioration!

But as I age, other things in my life only improve; my marriage and my understanding of how to balance everything in life. My hubby and I celebrated our 6th Wedding Anniversary and it was a quiet affair. No party, no excess of any sort was required. Just us.

We felt thankful about how our life had shaped, that we have each other and we have Mimi. We realized that inspite of  the incredible comfort that we share, we will never take each other for granted. We also reminded ourselves that despite the little ups and downs, we shared a friendship that is true and rare – and that we are safe in this marriage we have built and are building every day.

So now the age thing isn’t so bad. 

The Wedding Anniversary celebration was marked by the cutting of our favourite – The Black Forest Cake. A few hours of toil in the kitchen paid off when it was well received and savored.

Recipe for the Black Forest Cake

Adapted from here

Ingredients

For the chocolate sponge

7 eggs

250g caster sugar

200g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

 For the cherry compote

1/3 cup caster sugar

600g pitted fresh cherries, halved

1 tbs rum

For the cherry sugar syrup

90g caster sugar

¼ cup cherry juice

For the chocolate hazelnut praline mousse

½ cup caster sugar

½ cup hazelnuts, toasted lightly and skinned

300g chopped dark chocolate

3 egg yolks

300ml thickened cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the mascarpone cream

500g mascarpone

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 tbs icing sugar

For the dark chocolate ganache

150ml cream

200g chopped dark chocolate

shaved chocolate – to decorate

fresh cherries- to decorate

Preparation

1. For the chocolate sponge, preheat oven to 160°C . Grease and line 2 x 20cm springform cake pans.

2. Add eggs and sugar to a heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, and set over a saucepan of simmering water over very low heat. Whisk the mixture until 37°C. Remove the bowl from the heat and beat with an electric mixer on a medium-low speed for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture has cooled and thickened to a mousse-like consistency. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together twice. Using a large metal spoon, fold the dry mixture into the egg mixture in 3 batches until combined, adding the vanilla extract with the first dry batch.

3. Pour the mixture into the lined cake pans and smooth surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until sponge springs back when lightly touched. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto wire racks until cake has cooled completely.

4. For the cherry compote, add the sugar to a non-stick saucepan and place over medium heat. Once the sugar begins to dissolve add the cherries and cook until they start to release their juices. Add the rum and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and thickened. Strain, reserving liquor.

5.  For the cherry syrup, heat 170ml water and the sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved cherry juice and compote liquor. Allow to cool.

6. For the chocolate hazelnut praline mousse, line a baking sheet. In a dry heavy-based saucepan, cook sugar over medium heat, stirring, until melted. Once melted, cook without stirring, swirling pan, until lightly golden. Add hazelnuts, stirring until well coated. Immediately pour mixture onto the baking sheet and cool completely. Break praline into pieces. Place into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.

7. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk the egg yolks in a small heatproof bowl. Heat 250ml of the cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir through half of the hot cream into the egg yolks. Return the mixture to the saucepan over low heat and stir until thickened. Strain into a clean bowl. Stir the melted chocolate into the hot custard. Add the vanilla and allow to cool. Whisk the remaining cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the chocolate mixture with the praline, until just combined. Set aside.

9. For the mascarpone cream, beat the mascarpone, vanilla and sugar in a bowl until smooth and slightly thicker in volume.

10. For the chocolate ganache, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside. Bring the cream to just below boiling point in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, then add the melted chocolate and stir until smooth. Allow to cool until thick but still pouring consistency.

11. To assemble the cake, slice both cakes into thirds. Place the base of 1 cake onto a serving plate and brush with some of the cherry syrup. Spread over half of the chocolate praline mousse.

12. Place the next layer of cake onto a board, and brush with cherry syrup. Spread over half of the mascarpone cream. Divide the cherries into two parts for two separate layers. Place cherries around the border of the cake, 5mm from its edge and scatter remaining in the middle. Carefully remove layer from the board and place on top of the first layer. Repeat each layering process on the board (you will have 1 spare slice of cake), starting with the praline mousse and ending with the cherries on the mascarpone cream.

13. Place the final layer of the cake on a wire rack sitting over a baking tray. Evenly pour the ganache over the cake, ensuring it is completely coated. When the ganache has set, place on top of the layered cake. Decorate with shaved chocolate and  fresh cherries.

This is a perfect special occasion cake and the flavours are simply fantastic. All the layers blend beautifully and each mouthful is like  Christmas in your mouth. So that was how we toasted our marriage and celebrated being together.

But this post wouldn’t quite be complete if I were not to mention that the Black Forest assembling was a tough task since I haven’t yet perfected the art of slicing the cake in threes or twos. As I assembled one layer over the other, it started to tilt on one side because of the irregularity in the slices. I was angry and disappointed about how I ruined so many hours of work by my careless slicing. I went ahead with the final pruning and kept it in the refrigerator for chilling, checking it time and again to see if the layers hadn’t slid down. All of sudden, I just felt I should just let it be. Nobody was judging me and I knew what a sincere effort I had put into making this fabulous cake.  An hour in the chiller and the cake looked perfect ( atleast in my eyes) inspite of its imperfection because it was a labor of love. That was the moment when I had an important insight.

Based on that insight, for the first time in years, I have decided not to make any resolutions for the New Year. This comes from a realization that in order to grow, improve and learn, I will have to let go. I know how difficult it is for me to relinquish control and just let things be.

So 2012 will be the year of ‘Just Being’.

Wishing each one of you a Sparkling New Year, full of joy, luck and prosperity. God Bless!!

Muffin Monday : Jam Filled Muffins

19 Sep

Can you imagine looking forward to Mondays?

I do. There are few reasons :-

1. In this part of the world (Bahrain), the working week starts on a SUNDAY.  Incredible isn’t it? So it is all about ‘SULLEN SUNDAYS’ and Monday means  I am a little closer to the weekend ( which are FRIDAY and SATURDAY).

2. I am a stay-at-home mum and I am on duty 24X7 looking after my daughter. I never get an off. So Sundays or Mondays or Tuesdays or any day don’t really matter to me.  I enjoy what I do which is spend time with my daughter and my days just fly and meld into each other. There are days when I have no clue about the day or the date. Time flies when you are having fun, they say. They speak the truth.

3. The biggest reason of them all – it’s that day when all the Muffin Monday posts come up!!

This Monday, Anuradha of BakerStreet invited us to bake Jam filled Muffins which are simple to put together and kid friendly. Oozing jam and soft muffins are such a great match. The recipe is from allrecipes.com

Recipe for Jam Filled Muffins

 Ingredients

1 and 3/4 cups Flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup milk

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 eggs

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/2 cup jam  ( I used peach jam)

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 400F

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

3. In another bowl, lightly beat eggs, milk, butter and lemon rind.

4. Pour into the dry ingredients and the stir until moistened.

5. Spoon half batter, make a well, add jam, spoon the remaining batter and bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden.

I followed the recipe as it was given and added jam of my choice, which was a very sweet peach jam. I used it sparingly as it was quite sweet. But after baking, I wished I hadn’t been that stingy. Anyhow, that would my big note for the next time, since this was the first time I was filling something within a batter and baking.

Taking photos was fun as I had my daughter trying to thwart every single attempt of mine to get a good shot. After more than 60-70 odd clicks I managed to get a few. She was really enjoying eating the lemon rind off the spoon and licking the jam side by side.  She also had a jolly time imitating me clicking photographs.

Mimi, my daughter goes to a playschool now. So I have two hours to myself to indulge on some jam filled muffins and a hot cup of black coffee.

So happy Monday, everybody. Hope the week flies by and you are able to accomplish everything that you set your heart on.

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.    

Random Bakes of Kindness & a Thank You Note to Vanessa

7 Sep

A few months back, I did recipe testing for Vanessa Kimbell, who is the author of the fabulous book ‘PREPPED‘. I tested her recipe for Chocolate Savory cookies which were nothing short of gourmet cookies with a homely touch. I was thrilled to bits when she mentioned me and my blog on her blog. I kept track of how she was managing the whole show- writing the book, maintaining a blog, her three children, a house, cooking, baking, marketing, a radio show… Phew. The list is endless. How can somebody do so much at one time! But that’s Vanessa for you. I was impressed by her passion and it is this passion that fuels her to give her best at all times.

Fast forward and one day I receive a package. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it was from Vanessa. It contained her gorgeously sexy book – Prepped. It is shocking pink in colour and contains page after page of spectacular photographs. It was easy to understand that this book is a blessing in disguise for all those spontaneous moments such as unexpected guests, impromptu parties et al. It gave me brilliant ideas and ways to save time by prepping a few basic things beforehand so that it eliminates the last-minute cooking hassles.

I kept flipping through it again and again, completely overwhelmed by her gesture. Since then I had been meaning to do a post to thank her as well as try one of the recipes in her book.

The opportunity came in the form of an initiative by Vanessa herself. She called out to all food bloggers to participate in her Random Bakes of Kindness Project. In her own words, she described the initiative as,

“Blogging seems so me myself and I recently.  It’s so easy to focus on nothing but the food and my own life and I  really wanted to add a human element to baking.  Sometimes it’s not about the food as such .. it’s more about the person eating the food and how it makes them feel. I am sure there must be someone in your life who deserves a spontaneous thank you, a kind word and some recognition for just being a marvelous person. I know it’s a bit random .. but that is what makes it out of the usual and for me that makes it special.  The unexpected just means more.”

This was a fantastic way to thank her as well as do my good deed for the day. I decided to participate and for the same baked ” Chocolate Cookies”  from Prepped.

Morsed is a sweet little guy who works with our building housekeeping team. Once every week he comes to my apartment and works very hard to keep it spic and span. He originally hails from Bangladesh and misses his family a lot. This is one emotion we are all familiar with. He has been doing housekeeping for us for a long time and I thought his services deserved to be acknowledged in a special way. I baked a batch of Chocolate cookies and gave it to him as a Eid gift. He was absolutely taken aback since he didn’t expect it at all. He fumbled and floundered, and I couldn’t help but giggle 🙂 . He blushed the most when I took a picture of him. I have never seen anybody so nervous but I am sure the cookies will more than make up for all the awkwardness.

So that is how I concluded my Random Bake of Kindness project with Vanessa. But I feel, it will not stop here. It is a splendid feeling to do something out of the blue for someone who might not expect it. I think, I have caught the bug; drivers, building caretakers, maids, shopkeepers, watch out!

Jokes aside, I must thank Vanessa for sending me a personally signed copy of her book, for starting this wonderful initiative and giving me and opportunity to look outside of me. The cookies were delicious and that gives me tremendous encouragement to try out other recipes as well.

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