Tag Archives: breakfast

{Breakfast Banter} New York Coffee : Restaurant Review

29 Mar

It is no secret how much I adore this first meal of the day. Breakfast was and shall remain the single most important meal for me. I plan my breakfast carefully and take time to enjoy my breakfast, however meagre  because that sets the mood for the rest of the day. Weekend breakfasts are even more important because that is the time I take out to spend with the family while having my favourite meal of the day. For this very reason, I was extremely excited to visit the New York Coffee outlet with my family at The Walk in Riffa. To begin with, I have to say, this newish New York Coffee outlet is impressive – full of sunshine, large, spacious, and airy – it gives you a feeling of a relaxed setting.

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Within one quick glance several things caught my eye with regards to the decor. Modern and contemporary with an easy vibe is how I can describe the decor of the cafe. I was overcome with a sudden urge to sit down with my laptop and start writing a new novel or a blog post such as this whilst enjoying a nice cup of cappuccino. My thoughts were interrupted by the cheerful staff at the Cafe who welcomed me with great enthusiasm. The smiling server explained to us our breakfast and brunch options and also made explicit mentions of the offers of the day. We settled for a sumptuous American breakfast and an omelette (my way) while my daughter ordered for a sugary crepe along with a carrot cake.

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While our orders were being prepared in the kitchen, I took the opportunity to walk around the cafe. They have a small outdoor seating area which was dappled in the mid – morning sun. I also loitered around the shelves that housed different coffee and tea selections. The aroma of coffee was so inviting that I was half tempted to ask for an espresso instead of the orange juice I had ordered.

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I also happened to have a quick chat the General Manager of the outlet who filled me in with all the details about the outlet.  The New York Coffee outlet at the Walk in Riffa is open 24 hours. I was also told that it is the only coffee outlet in Bahrain that roasts and grinds their own coffee locally. Armed with this interesting trivia, I went back to my seat as the server had brought our piping, hot breakfast.

My husband had the omelette (my way) with brown toast and a large glass of fresh orange juice. He was enjoying his breakfast so much that I did not feel like interrupting him to ask how he found the fare. My daughter tucked into her sugary crepe on which there was  a pool of melted butter. Light and mildly sweet, the crepe was just perfect.  As for my breakfast platter – two fried eggs (runny), chicken sausages, salad, brown toast and fresh orange juice – was sumptuous!  I have an aversion towards sausages but these were done so well that they seemed like a treat. Later when my husband finished his breakfast and was sipping his orange juice he mentioned that he wouldn’t mind coming in here for this very plate of omelette every weekend. My daughter enjoyed her slice of the carrot cake mumbling “mmmm, mmmm” in between. That itself was a good indicator of how much she was enjoying her treat.

 

 

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Finally, when we were patting our warm bellies the server asked us to try their special drink. We couldn’t fathom eating or drinking anything more but he insisted and we thought ‘why not! It’s the weekend!” . He brought in two icy-looking drinks called Honey dew and Mango -tango. While placing these drinks, the server informed that these drinks are special because they are ‘low cal. In my experience, I know of many drinks that are supposedly low cal but are full of sugar. So I challenged him, “ How low?”  ”

“Only 7 cals!!“, he replied

That was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe it. We went to the counter and he showed me his premix and described to me the method of preparation and I realized it was true. I enjoyed my drink with a greater gusto. The honey-dew was refreshing and I have a feeling its is going to be hugely popular this summer. 

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All in all, it was a wonderful morning spent savouring one gastronomic delight after the other. Bahrain!! Chuck your usual breakfast dos and go to New York Coffee. I dare say, you won’t regret it!

*This is a sponsored post but all the views and opinions expressed are my own.

The Breakfast Post – Poached eggs in baked beans

26 Oct

A few days back I tweeted about my love for breakfasts.

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It indeed is the most important meal for me and that love has been sown and nurtured by my mother who made sure we had amazing home-made breakfast on our table every day. I looked back to my archives and found what little love I have actually shown through my blog posts – very few breakfast recipes that showcase not even an ounce of what this meal of the day means to me.

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So to bring that a balance back I thought I really need to put out some breakfast dishes that are not only easy to put together but also sumptuous. Most of the times, you will notice that eggs feature prominently. That is because I LOVE EGGS. I find that they are filling, tasty and oh-so versatile to use.

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This egg recipe is the easiest of them all and can be whipped up in no time. I didn’t bother with making the baked beans from the scratch. Breakfast preparation is a hurried affair and there’s only time to flip open a can and pour the contents out on certain days. Not the method I usually prefer but at times I do pick convenience over ideology [ about eating healthy, less sugar, less salt, less processed food and all that]
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It also struck me that I want as many breakfast recipes I can lay my hands on. Especially the tried and the tested ones. So I call out to all the foodies and breakfast lovers to share their recipes either as  a guest post on my blog or on your own  blog with a link back or simply a recipe or even a photograph depicting why they love breakfast and what breakfast means to them.

Come join the BREAKFAST BANTER AT SLICE OF MY LYFE

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Grab a badge and tell me all your breakfast stories which may be laced with memories old and new. How a certain kind of breakfast brings out the best in you for the rest of the day.  Hope to hear from all the breakfast lovers soon. You can email me your recipes  and pictures at dazzler29 [at] gmail [dot] com

Now back to the recipe.

This baked beans can be made as spicy or as sweet as you want it to be.  With crisp brown toast they are a match made in heaven.

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CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW THE RECIPE BETTER

In other news, I am on Instagram now and you can follow me at sliceofmylyfe. I am a late entrant no doubt but I am quite enjoying keeping in touch with all the other lovers of life in pictures. This late entry gives me the opportunity of going back to my older posts and life and enjoy those pictures once again. I hope you do too!

Here’s a sample!

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Spinach and Mushroom scrambled eggs

27 Sep

I have no agenda today.

No stories to share.

Just a simple spinach and mushroom egg scramble  recipe which is the answer to the ‘rumbly in my tumbly’ on most days.

The most I do is to add a few more vegetables that I fancy on certain days or which seem to be lurking in the corners of my vegetable tray, never getting used.

The seasoning is something I do not mess with. I like to stick to the basics – salt and pepper. Only.

The preparation takes 10 minutes which includes the rough chopping of vegetables – onions, spinach and mushrooms & beating of the eggs.  The next 5 minutes is all about witnessing the scrambled goodness come together.

These pictures are from our visit to Nice. We chose service apartments for the access they provide to little kitchenettes. It is important when you travel with a toddler. They need they regular grub once a while. I made this scrambled eggs with vegetables more than once which turned out to be one of the many fulfilling meals on our trip to France.

So here is the story in pictures + a recipe card that tells you (unnecessarily) what you need to do to make this dish.

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 It is yummy and it is quick to whip up.  Take it from me, you will be making this every other day tweaking it to your taste buds.

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Build your Halloumi event at McDonalds, Bahrain

27 Aug

Last Sunday I did something  different. I took a detour from the routine and headed to the McDonalds outlet on Exhibition Road. When I stepped in, I was greeted by some heavily suited gentlemen with wide smiles. I was directed to their first floor by the McDonalds’s staff where I met Dunia from Obai and Hill (@Obaiandhill). Okay, let me just start from the beginning.

I was invited by a PR team in Bahrain called Obai and Hill to attend McDonalds’s “Build your Halloumi” promotional event. Since it was happening on a working day, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to a make it. But finally, all the stars aligned and I got a few hours off from work and accepted their invite.

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Halloumi is a typical middle eastern cheese that is semi hard, brined and has a high melting point. This makes it easy to grill or fry it.  This is one of the cheeses that I love and regularly use at home in salads and sandwiches.  McDonalds struck a chord here and I wanted to see what they do with one of my favourite ingredients.  The event included a kitchen tour and breakfast at McDs.

McD's ground floor

McD’s ground floor

Armed with my camera I took the flight of stairs to reach the first floor. I was quite apprehensive because expected a swarm of media to be there with their flashing cameras and such. But I was immediately put to ease by Dunia of the PR team Obai and Hill and the McDonalds’s General Manager Mr. Ahmad.  The staff served me some coffee and I perked up to capture the event on my blog.

They took a batch of 4-5 people for the McDs kitchen tour ( on the ground floor), at a time. I must assume that I was the only food blogger there or maybe I missed meeting them. The tour was being guided by Mr. Ali who is McDs incharge of quality control and supply chain.

Mr. Ali taking us through the McDonalds kitchen tour

Mr. Ali taking us through the McDonalds kitchen tour

He told us about the high standard of quality control that McDs adheres to in storing its frozen and dry ingredients. He took us to the cold storage and showed us around. He also asserted about the highest standard of hygiene maintained and asked us to wash our hands before we embarked on our Halloumi sandwich building expedition.

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He first, introduced us to the ingredients of the muffin sandwich which included my favourite – Halloumi cheese, olive paste, shredded lettuce, tomato slices and the muffin slices. 5 ingredients were too little, I thought. It was quite similar to what I made at home for my family. I wondered if it would have the McD addictive magic to it. In a line we parked ourselves with our plastic gloves against the counter, ready to make our sandwiches.

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As per the staff’s directions we plied the already toasted muffin sides with 1 tsp of olive paste, a handful of shredded lettuce, thick slice of tomato and grilled Halloumi ( grilled to perfection for 45 seconds each on both sides, stressed Mr. Ali). We assembled our mini tower of ingredients on our sandwich as hustled to go back to the first floor where our respective tags with toothpicks  were waiting to be pinned on the Halloumi sandwich.

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It was heart warming to see my blog’s name on one of the tags along with several other media tags. Watching my “Slice of my lyfe” tagged halloumi sandwich standing  proudly among others, made me smile.

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Soon Dunia whisked us away to take photos with our sandwiches at the Halloumi photo booth. It was as funny as it was memorable. People made funny faces whilst pretending to eat their sandwiches.

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The staff then served us our choice of breakfast of egg McMuffin and hash browns and orange juice. I had a ball photographing the venue, the ingredients, listening to the media chattering among themselves and biting into my Halloumi sandwich. I must say, I was in for a surprise. It did taste absolutely wonderful inspite of using just 5 ingredients.

It felt like home made sandwich with a sprinkling of McDs magic. 

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sumptuous breakfast

I have to admit that I was quite nervous going on my own to a promotional event but the PR team of Dunia and Zara put me at ease and I found myself enjoying the flurry of activities. My hearty congratulations to McDonalds for having launched such a healthy breakfast option with my very favourite halloumi and a big thumbs up to Obai and Hill team for putting together a fab event with exciting activities that engaged everybody. I had a wonderful time and when i went back to work with my goody bag, I spent the rest of the day musing to myself – I am lovin’ it!

Of Routines & Breakfasts (with Poha)

19 Mar

In my previous post, where in the list of 7 things, I mentioned I am a stickler for routines. It may come as a surprise even to people who have known me  for years.But without a pattern to my daily life, I am a goner. I look for reassurance that a daily routine lends to my life. The simple idea wherein, certain activities  have to be performed at a certain time, every single day, provides the much-needed succor in the otherwise chaotic events that life constantly presents. Certain days are shakier than others and to come out alive and unscathed to the solid ground that a routine provides is something I do not take for granted. Every single day requires that we think and process information and take tough decisions and it is only a routine that lets the brain go passive and lets it relax by making us function involuntarily.

From getting up everyday at 5 45 am till the time I hit the bed at 10 30 pm or 11 pm, I feel secure with the idea that most things wouldn’t change no matter what new circumstances present themselves without a prior warning. Having said that, it is a given that I do not adjust to change easily. Probably it has also to do with the fact that I am a taurus who tend to resist change with all that they can. I have never been good at change and usually take a horrible amount of effort  and time to not spin out of control.

Funnily if you meet me I may come across as the spur of the moment kind of person but at a much primitive level, my need to adhere to a routine is way stronger. I pretend to enjoy spontaneity most of the times but my poor brain at that time is dealing with an emergency short-circuit. Marrying a man who is also routine-oriented, made my life a lot easier.

Before Mimi was born, I had a set pattern to very single day which largely meant going to work and having a fitness routine in place. Weekends were meant for the spontaneous stuff that didn’t make me the boring figure that I have already succeeded in establishing myself as in the first few paragraphs of this post. I went dancing, took dancing classes, met friends, made short trips, watched movies and did things that didn’t mirror my weekdays. When Mimi arrived, inspite of all the mental notes and preparations, my life took a 180 degree flip and routines were sent flying out of the window. I grappled, coaxed, pepped talked myself and even after 2 years of being a stay at home mum, I didn’t have a routine in place. I just couldn’t manage. At all times, I felt like a failure. Now with my job, a new routine has been staring at me, claws and fangs baring. The past week has been chaotic but some semblance of what seems like a routine that may last seems to be taking shape. I know I will have to work towards getting the details in place and every day is going to be a step towards that.

Ironically, I know the blog speaks about something completely different but consider that as a testimony of my futile attempts to steady my routine- less life the past 2 and a half years. But a few things still didn’t change and that were my breakfast habits. Poha which is flattened rice is one of my family’s favourite breakfast options. Without fail, poha turns up on our breakfast table atleast twice a week. Embellished or unadorned, this makes for a tasty and filling breakfast. During my recent trip to India, I happened to eat a divine version of this humble dish and swore to recreate the magic during one of our Poha breakfast days.

Poha, in my honest opinion, does require a certain level of skill. My initial attempts at it ended in large mass of yellow lumps. Finally after practicing for a few months, I started to get it right. Now it seems like I can do it with my eyes closed. The base recipe remains the same but it can be garnished with anything that you please.  I made 3 different versions with different garnishes such as peanuts, pomegranate, sev, boondi and cheese.

Recipe for Poha

Ingredients

Poha – 2 and half cups ( use the thicker variety as the thinner versions tend to disintegrate)

Red onions – 3 medium-sized or 2 large ( we love a lot of onions in our poha)

Peanuts ,skinned and boiled – a handful

Turmeric – 1/2 a tsp

salt to taste

green chillies, chopped  – 1 or 2 ( optional. I didn’t use any)

Sugar – 1 tsp

Oil – 3 tbsp

cumin seeds – 2 tsp

fresh coriander for garnish

Lemon juice – a few tbsp

pomegranate – for garnish

boondi, sev, scrape some cheese – as per your preference.

Preparation

1. Wash and chop onions finely and keep aside

2. In a kadhaai/ wok heat some oil and brown cumin seeds.

3. Add the onions and let them turn translucent.

4. Meanwhile while the onions are cooking, wash the poha on a sieve under a tap. Squeeze out water as carefully as you can. You want only an optimum amount of water to be absorbed by poha otherwise it will reduce into a lump when you start cooking.

5. Once the onions have cooked, add turmeric, salt, sugar, peanuts and let it be for a few seconds before you add the washed poha.

6. Mix it up well. Poha doesn’t really need any cooking so once all of this is thoroughly mixed you can just take it off the heat and garnish it with fresh chopped coriander and others of your choice.

7.  Add lemon juice and mix well.

8. Serve hot with chai.

The other options that can be added to make poha as varied as possible are chopped, boiled potatoes, peas , carrots etc.

Even on days when every bit of my life is off track, making and serving poha tells me all is not lost. It reminds me that my routine however a little skewed, exists. Breakfast fads may come and go but good old poha always stays in my list of meals for all seasons.

Muffin Mondays : Hazelnut & Cherry Jam Muffins

5 Mar

I missed Muffin Mondays so many weeks in a row. I have to admit that I did miss baking muffins.

What do I miss about it?

Well, making muffins was not just about baking muffins. It was the whole process, the journey of waking up early on a Saturday morning while the house is still sound asleep, tip toeing to the kitchen and looking at my Money plant that is growing so well. The the leaves are large and dark green, spreading themselves to form a sort of shade over the sink. I see new tendrils wrapping themselves around the older thicker stems. It is such a joy. Then I take a deep breath and look at my recipe book. Yes I have a recipe book which has sheaves of papers, cuttings, scraps of recipes, scribbles and food quotes. I rummage through them and find the latest recipe that An has sent us all. I had written it down quickly the night before so that I could start making the muffins, unhindered. I preheat the oven with a light of a matchstick and warm my hands. Then I grease my new heart-shaped silicon muffin moulds and suddenly just looking at them takes me back in time. I am reminded of my honeymoon, the day that I got married, the day Mimi was born, the day I resigned from my job, the day I walked off from office and took a plane to see my hubby in the UK and never returned for the next 1 year, the day when I fell terribly sick when my hubby was away and there was nobody to buy me medicines, the day when Mimi walked for the first time, the nights when I had to rock a 2 month old Mimi to sleep, falling asleep in the process.

Memories keep tumbling over each other, building blocks and then falling again. They race against each other for my time to reminiscence them in detail. I shake the unpleasant ones off and dwell on the nicer ones. The ones that make me smile as I mix the batter for my muffins. The roasted hazelnut reminds me of the smoky nights in Delhi when my hubby and I were still dating and he would drop me home. We would linger around at the door of my paying guest apartment wondering what we should do. To steal a kiss or a peck when nobody was looking and then I rush indoors while he lingered some more at the door before finally saying good-bye until we met again the following day.

The batter, now looked smooth and shiny with the hazelnut browned bits peeping out. I dollop a spoonful in the cups and then add a spoonful of cherry jam and then cover it all up another dollop of the batter.

I woke up from my stupor and realized I had spent a lot of time reminiscing and I need to prep everything by the time my family woke up. Breakfast had to be laid, tea had to be brewed, bread had to be toasted and fruits had to be washed. Yet again, I fell back into thinking about a time when we had no worries, my hubby and I would take off as soon as we woke up for a car ride across the city, right to the opposite end of the city to have a sumptuous breakfast at Chandni chowk in Delhi. Alas, such spontaneity I miss sometimes but life has given me so many moments to treasure and make up for the ones that I miss.

Now for the Recipe, I halved the recipe and got 7 muffins. But when I took the first bite, I regretted halving the recipe. It was a good, good muffin to have around the house for a mid day snack or a late night binge. The original recipe called for plum jam but I had cherry and fig preserves and used them instead. My toddler who is an ardent Jam hater ate around the jam and spat the fruit preserves out. So I think I can declare these muffins a hit, I suppose. I am jotting down the recipe with its original proportions.

The Recipe for Hazelnut – Cherry Jam Muffins

From Women’s Weekly

Ingredients

90 grams butter, melted

21/2 cups (375 grams) self raising flour

1/2 cup (55 grams) hazelnut meal ( I roasted hazelnuts and then ground them using mortal and pestle. They weren’t very fine and that gave the muffins a very nibble worthy texture)

2/3 cup (150 grams) caster sugar

1 egg, beaten lightly

1 cup (250 ml) milk

1/2 cup (160 grams) plum jam ( I used cherry jam and fig jam)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 200C/gas mark 6/400F

2. Grease a 12 hole muffin pan or line with muffin liners

3. In a large bowl, combine butter, flour, hazelnut meal, sugar, egg and milk.

4. Spoon half of the muffin mixture into the prepared pan and make a well in each muffin, spoon in rounded teaspoons of jam and top with remaing muffin mixture

5. Bake for 18-20 minutes


So you see, muffin making means all this to me; early mornings, tantalizing aroma of muffins baking and memory-walking. Like I mentioned before, it is a process and I enjoy every single step. But this time, I took it a step further and while my muffins were baking and turning into golden domes, I hurriedly walked to my cupboard and got my photo album out. I flipped through as many photos I could in those 20 minutes before I got my golden cups of hazelnut-cherry deliciousness out. I scattered the photos all over the table as I took my first bite and savoured the freshly baked muffin. Then the memories started to rearrange themselves keeping in order with the photographs that I had lined up. My Saturday morning was spent nibbling on this perky, full of flavour and jam-filled gorgeousness of a muffin. Every muffin baking adventure has had me going back and forth in time and that is why I enjoy it so much. The spell was broken when my toddler walked into the kitchen and promptly climbed my lap. We shuffled through the photos together, one by one and she was so happy to recognize every face in each photograph.

If you want to experience a wonderful weekend like I did, then you need to get in touch with Anuradha because 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

Muffin Mondays : Oreo Muffins

2 Jan

Happy New Year, you guys!!

How did your New Year celebrations go?  Mine was absolutely super. My daughter danced and tottered around the dance floor until 2 am and I watched her all the time. It was the best feeling ever.

It’s the morning after, you know… well not the kind you all want to hear about but the morning after where I am still reeling from the after effects of partying too hard. My legs ache from those heels, my head feels a little heavy and all I want to do is pull a comforter over my head and sleep the entire day. But I cannot,  because I believe that whatever I do on the 1st of New Year, I would be doing it all through out the year.  So I did all the wonderful things that mean so much to me because I want to do them all around the year and much more.

1. Video chatted on Skype with my parents and listened to my father’s New Year advice in perfect silence.

2. Lot of cuddling with hubby and Mimi.

3. Spoke to all my best friends.

4. Had my favourite Teriyaki noodle soup ( love that stuff)

5. Lazed around and read Ruth Reichl’s memoir about being a Restaurant Critic called ” Garlic and Sapphires” . Hilarious stuff.

6. Wrote a bit

7. Took photographs with my wonderfully talented  friend, Namit.

8. Made Oreo Muffins!!!!

Shucks!! I should have gone shopping too!

How awesome can a list get? I mean it has drama, action, and so much romance in it. Perfect! Just the way I wanted it to be without planning too much.

Now here we are back with the last of the Holiday Muffin series and I am so excited to usher in the New Year with some scrumptious Oreo Muffins. When you think oreos and then Muffins, whats not to like!

Only change I made was I halved the recipe since I already had some candied rose petal and chocolate cake I had made on New Year’s eve. Though I understand that there cannot be anything like too much cake, halving it ensured I had more Oreos left to dunk  into my milk  at breakfast. *laughs her evil laugh*. I am jotting down the recipe here with its original proportions.

Recipe for Oreo Muffins

Source: Food.com

Ingredients

1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/4 cup margarine

20 Oreo cookies

Preparation

1. In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, set aside

2. In small bowl, combine milk, sour cream, and egg

3. Stir the egg mixture in to the flour mixture with margarine until just blended

4. Gently stir in the cookies

5. Spoon batter greased  muffin pan cups.

6. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

7. Remove from pan, cool on wire rack.

8. Serve warm or cold.

These muffins looked wonderful with little specks of Oreo cookies that I crushed into the batter. I used a few to chop them into quarters to embellish the muffins. They looked quite royal, methinks. I had some chocolate ganache in my refrigerator from my Black Forest Cake preparation which I used to frost the Oreo Muffins. They were simply decadent and the best possible muffins to sign off such a wonderful series of Holiday Muffins.

I have to thank Anuradha for letting me participate as it has helped me gain a good number of gorgeous muffin recipes and make acquaintance with such splendidly talented fellow bakers.

My friend Namit, whom I have been urging for ages to start his photography blog, has helped me click these muffin pictures. Thanks so much, Namit.

In other news, my Black forest cake photo was accepted by Tastespotting and that makes me so happy that I had to share the news here.

Here’s wishing each one of you a wonderful, sweet start to this New Year.

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.

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