Wednesday 30 December 2015

Palak Raita

Come Winter and my list of must have's spring out from my recipe diary. My little kitchen bustles with a variety of bakes with seasonal fruits and dishes with vegetables. I start the long list with one ingredient at a time and think of various ways to use it. The fruits end up in cakes, tarts etc and the vegetables get experimented in a variety of sabzi's, soups or eaten just like that, boiled and sauteed in a little butter.
My favourite way to eat spinach leaves, raw and fresh, is in this recipe of Palak Raita. The idea came from someone who shared a salad recipe on the same lines. Since then, it is a winter ritual to have this raita at least once. 
The sight of fresh bright green Spinach leaves in the vegetable patch of our house in Allahabad made me share this simple and humble recipe. Vanya, my daughter, and me have been enjoying ourselves feasting on fresh produce from the garden.
When making be careful to choose baby spinach leaves, tender and fresh. Wash them well and just roll them, a few at a time, and very finely slice them. Do not skip the roasted cumin powder as it gives a very distinct and important flavour to the humble raita. I like my raita with a little dash of sugar to balance the taste. Skip it if you do not like. 

Spinach leaves/Palak in the vegetable patch

Ingredients : No measurements here. All ingredients are as per your taste and requirement
  • Curd 
  • handful of baby spinach leaves
  • roasted cumin seed/jeera powder
  • red chilly powder
  • rock salt
  • sugar
Procedure : 

Wash spinach leaves well. Take care to choose the small baby leaves. Roll the leaves and slice them as fine as possible.
Beat curd with a fork and add sugar, salt and red chilly powder. If curd is thick add milk/water to thin it.
Add spinach leaves and mix.
Roast cumin seeds on a hot griddle and then grind them. Sprinkle it on curd and mix.
Garnish with some spinach leaves and with a sprinkle of red chilly and roasted cumin powder.

Happy Palak relishing

Saturday 26 December 2015

Easy Strawberry Icecream

Vaanya, my four and a half year old daughter, is at a 'I love everything Pink' stage. Pink is not just her favourite colour but the only colour she wants everything around her to be in. Her fetish is not just limited to clothes but even food. She chooses to eat her oreo biscuits in strawberry flavour because it is pink! If she could, she would have painted the entire city pink.
Last month when we got a box of strawberries home, this simple and quick recipe was on my mind for my darling pink daughter. As I thought, the mere all natural pink colour of this ice cream made her eat spoonfuls straight from the container. The super easy recipe worked perfect and I did not have to use any artificial colour. 

Ingredients : 
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 1 cup condensed milk
  • strawberries, chopped, as required
Procedure : 
Take a little less than 1/2 cup of whipping cream (to achieve 1 cup of whipped cream) and whip it to stiff peaks. 
Fold in the condensed milk and whip it again.
Fold in chopped strawberries and put the mixture in a freezer proof container and freeze for 3-4 hours. 
Scoop out and enjoy the soft serve type ice cream.

Happy Pink ice cream relishing

Sunday 20 December 2015

Sugar Cookies shaped as Gingerbread men

Vaanya, my four and half year old daughter, is at a stage where she is enjoying the world of fairy tales and stories. During the Durga Puja holidays, she got a scrapbook assignment from her Montessori to illustrate her favourite story. Vaanya chose to draw pictures of Goldilocks and the three bears. After the school reopened each story from the scrapbook was read in the class. 
Vaanya's classmate Alvira had chosen The story of Gingerbread Man. Alvira's mother, knowing my passion for baking requested me to bake some Gingerbread cookies for the class. The happy baker in me jumped on the chance to make these cute cookies. We decided not to go the traditional way of adding ginger and spices to the cookies and planned to keep them simple. 
These simple sugar cookies are inspired from Sayantani's blog and I have added a wee bit of cocoa powder to give them a little colour. The cookies are shaped in the Gingerbread man and are decorated with melted white chocolate. 
I was happy to see kids with their gingerbread shaped cookies merrily chomping on it. These cookies are a perfect Christmas treat.

Recipe source : A homemaker's diary

Ingredients : yields about 3 dozen cookies of medium size
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 200 gms butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 170 degree Celsius.
Take butter and sugar in a bowl and beat till it gets light and fluffy.
Sieve all purpose flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Add egg and vanilla essence to the butter-sugar mixture and mix well.
Add the flour mixture in 3-4 additions and keep mixing. 
Knead into a dough and wrap in a plastic or cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Take a little of the dough and roll it to the desired thickness, preferably 1/3rd of an inch.
Cut cookies in desired shape and place them on a butter paper lined baking tray.
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Decorate the cookies with melted white chocolate piping or icing sugar mixed with little water. You may add food colour to make colourful icing.

Happy Cookie enjoying

Monday 14 December 2015

Chocolate Cloud Roll with Strawberry cream filling

Winter time marketing is so much fun as you get to see and buy such a fresh and colourful range of vegetables and fruits. Fresh strawberries boxes are nowadays seen with every fruit seller and with the prices now reduced to almost  half with what it started off, I decided to do a strawberry recipes marathon. 
My first thought was to simply fill a tried and tested Chocolate cloud roll recipe with whipped cream tossed with strawberries. This particular recipe has been made by me many times but has never been documented in the blog. Amongst all the baking books sitting pretty on my bookshelf, Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum is my favourite for many reasons than one. Firstly she gives scientific explanations to her bakes and her recipes are very detailed and easy to follow. Her Chocolate Cloud roll recipe is as delicate as it sounds and has a melt in mouth texture.
As Rose mentions, this is more of a flourless souffle than a cake. With no flour to give it a definite texture this cake is very very light and is just about sweet. I have usually filled the cake with a dark chocolate ganache but this time tried a whipped cream and strawberry filling. The cake can have endless fillings from a jam, chocolate ganache, coffee flavoured cream filling or just a plain whipped cream with fruits filling. 
Do not forget to follow the baking tin instruction which mentions a grease, line,  grease and then flour. This is very important as the cake otherwise will stick to your butter/parchment paper. 

Recipe source : Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Ingredients : I have reduced the recipe to 1/2 and baked in a 11X8 " jelly roll pan
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3 tbsp and a 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar, separate 
  • 50 gms melted dark chocolate
  • a pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
Strawberry cream : 
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream
  • 4-5 chopped strawberries
Garnish : 
  • melted dark chocolate
  • chopped strawberries
  • icing sugar


Preheat oven to 176 degree Celsius.
Grease your jelly roll pan and then line it with butter/parchment paper and then grease it again and lightly flour it. 
Take egg whites in a bowl and beat till foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat again till soft peaks form. Sprinkle 1/2 tbsp sugar and beat again till stiff peaks form. 
In another bowl beat 3 tbsp sugar and egg yolks for about 3-4 minutes till light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate and beat again till incorporated.
With a rubber spatula or a whisk, fold 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk-chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture.
Pour batter in the prepared tin and spread with the spatula. Bake for 15 minutes.
Take a piece of butter/parchment paper the size of the tin and sprinkle it with cocoa powder. Invert the cake on it and let it cool. Remove the parchment paper to spread the strawberry filling and roll the cake gently. 
Garnish with a dusting of icing sugar/powdered sugar, melted dark chocolate drizzle and chopped strawberries. 
Slice and serve.

Happy cake relishing

Thursday 10 December 2015

Cold oven Fig and almond tea cake

Winters are here and it is by far my most favourite season because it is the season to bake and indulge in all sinful good things. Baking in the holiday season is such a delight and is soul therapy. The fresh produce in the markets has pushed my lazy self to whip up some bakes and enjoy them.
On a recent trip to our fruit vendor, my husband Vishal spotted fresh figs. He was quick to point them out to me but I refused saying that they will be expensive. But Vishal knowing how much I love to bake with fresh fruits urged me to buy and use them. The box of figs sat in my fridge for two days before the thought of them getting spoilt made me push myself to start baking. 
A quick browse on the net led me to this cold oven tea cake recipe. I have heard of the cold oven baking method but had never tried it. Cold oven baking method is more popular with the pound cake recipe where putting your cake in a cold oven and then adjusting the temperature is believed to help make the cake dense and achieve a more crisp crust on the top. The cake is basically baked at low temperature for a long time in a cold oven which has not been preheated. 
As weird as the method sounds, it worked wonders for my experiment. My cake was, most arguably, the best one I have ever baked. The cake does not rise much which gives it a compact dense texture and the crust on top is to die for. I cooked my fresh figs with some sugar and brandy and used them in the cake along with roasted and chopped almonds. The fresh figs on top added to the figilicious experience. Pairing the slice of cake with our evening tea was just the right thing for this weather.  

Recipe source : Hungry rabbit. I have reduced the recipe to 1/4th and adapted it to yield a 6X3" cake loaf.

Ingredients :
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour + 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/4 cup + 2tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk (I used Dabur Homemade tetrapack) 
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • a drop of almond extract(optional)
  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 8-10 almonds, dry roasted on a pan and chopped
Fig filling
  • 2 fresh figs, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp brandy or water

Procedure : 

Fig filing:
Put chopped figs and sugar in a saucepan and add brandy or water. Let it simmer on medium heat till the consistency becomes thick and the figs gets squashed. Cool.

Cold oven tea cake : 
Grease and line 6X3 loaf pan.
In a bowl, combine all pupose flour, cornflour, salt and baking powder.
In a small bowl, mix coconut milk with vanilla and almond extract.
Take butter and sugar in a big bowl and beat till it becomes light and fluffy.
Add egg and beat.
Now add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with the coconut milk mixture. 
Add the roasted and chopped almonds to the mixture and drop in little chunks of the fig filling. 
Lightly fold the mixture and pour batter to the prepared baking tin. 
Put the tin in the cold oven and adjust oven temperature to 170 degree Celsius for 30 minutes. Do not open the oven door in between.
Garnish with some powdered sugar, fresh fig slices and chopped almonds. 


  • You may use dried figs instead of the fresh figs I have used for the filling. Just chop dried figs and use them in the batter.
  • Instead of coconut milk, you may use normal milk

Sending this recipe to Kolkata Food Bloggers ongoing event Baking Palooza 2015. Check out the page for some more exciting holiday bakes. 

Happy tea cake enjoying

Momo Lover's Delicacyz..!

There is a word in the food world that started as a name of humble dish somewhere up in the deserted pocket on the Himalayan Range that now has become a culinary league by itself. Its a dish that now is universally loved by one and all, from young to old and people from all walks of life. It is one of the few dishes that one can find people selling as a street food to to all the way up at five star and fine fining restaurants. You must have guessed the name of the dish. Yes its the humble Momo.

My first thought, reviewing Momo Lover's Delicacys as a part of Kolkata Food Bloggers Team, was what can I expect and not expect for the outlet to offer.

There were two simple point for me to consider.

The first was how would a new outlet such as this, amidst zillions of others in the city, can place itself into recognition.

The second thought was if the momos at the outlet would be able to level or even breach the two other places in the city which I consider the best place that gives momos.

My first impression of the outlet as I approached it, situated at the parallel street from Gariahart Auto Stand (which was simpler to find than I originally thought). was the cleanliness and organization of the same.

I noticed that they had trade marked their brand, which a lot of other places do not even think about in the beginning.
Then I noticed that they had taken a lot of small details into consideration such as fire safety and having a clean looking staff to work.

We met up with the manager, and later the owner, who was very courteous. We talked a lot on how the idea sprout out in his mind while he was working for a job and then decided to quit and start this full time.

Moving over tot he menu card I was first of all quite amazed at the range of momos that they had to offer. We setteled for trying Mutton Momo, Fish Momo, Chicken and Veg Soya Momo.

This was the first time I had mutton momo. I never could imagine that we could have momos made from mutton also. It gave a very beautiful flavour. At the outset along with it the soup that was served as an ac-compliment was simply outstanding. It was one of the best momo soup that was served to me. Stock with a touch of lime leaves (that is generally used in thai dishes) gave a very beautiful flavour. In my opinion, the soup could have the ability to be sold just by itself without the momos and I would go back over and over just because of it.

The Fish Momo was outstanding. Very amazing fill of the minced fillets. It was interesting that the outlet made these momos in different shape to identify from one to the other.

The chicken momo was the true test as it was this that help me to compare it with other outlets. I expected it to have a very thin maida on the outside and with a lot of chicken inside. Of course there is a ratio to consider with the other mince as well but a lot of other places give more proportionate of onions than chicken. When there was a time when the price of onion sky rocketed I did notice some momo outlet mixing in huge amount of cabbage in place of onion. Nevertheless, in the mid segment market, outlet generally use a lot of onions/cabbage and just traces of chicken and sell them as chicken momos. At the Momo Lover's I was very impressed with the wholesomeness of chicken that they had filled and now I must admit that it now has become my third point in the city that gives really good momos.

The veg soya momo was very interesting as it had a beautiful mince of the soya chunks along with other beggies that go with it. Something different in a way that if I am given to have the soya momo, I would probably not miss eating a non veg momo. Certainly a lot better than just plain veg momo.

I am very thankful for the Momo Lover's Delicacyz for inviting us to relish their really amazing momos. It certainly is an outlet where they have announced their arrival and I am optimistic, given that they maintain their quality, they would be a great place to make a bee line all the time.

Happy Momo-ing

Vishal Tupper


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