Dec 30, 2015

Orange and Honey Chicken ...a new year special Colab with Oriya Rasoi and A Dollop of that

As we inch closer to the New year 2016, new resolutions are being made,hearts are filled with new hopes ,plans for reaching out for newer opportunities discussed but here I am stuck with my New Year's Eve dinner menu.

Our house guests left yesterday and it's that time of the year in Goa when people are here for merrymaking and celebrating the festive season and invariably all houses are filled with guests,all resorts ,hotels and shacks are jampacked and Goa is bursting at its seams.

For years have been enjoying the new year in Goa ,partying hard but this time as I was getting my house back in order,pondered whether to be in a crowded ,wild Goa or just spend a quiet New Years eve with my parents and sister and her family in Bangalore.

And my kids shrieked in joy when they heard my plans and thanks to a wonderful better half ...he was ready for a drive down to our destination .And so here I am all packed up and ready to spend a peaceful New Year's Eve with near and dear ones.

Have finally planned to make a succulent,skillet Chicken with savory, tangy, honey orange sauce  for the main course.Nothing beats a hearty home cooked meal with the whole family on the table. This recipe yields a moist, juicy and absolutely delightful chicken steeped in an addictive honey orange sauce  and takes just 20-25 minutes to prepare. Serve the scrumptious chicken with steamed rice and enjoy.
Adapted from rasamalaysia but have tweaked the recipe according to our tastes.

You require

1/2 kg Chicken breasts
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp refine oil
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp Asian cooking wine,optional
1 orange ,sliced round with the skin
1/2 C coloured peppers,sliced thin
1 tbsp parsley ,chopped
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Salt to taste

For the sauce
1/2 C orange juice
3 1/2 tbsp honey
1-2 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Can adjust the measure of ingredients according to your taste


  • Marinate the Chicken breasts with soy sauce and wine and salt which has to be added very little as soy sauce has sodium in it.
  • Add all the ingredients under sauce and whisk well.Keep aside.
  • In a  heated pan or skillet pan fry the chicken on medium heat till well browned on both sides . keep aside in a platter.
  • In the same pan add the oil and fry the minced garlic until slightly browned.
  • Add the chicken to the pan followed by the sauce.Turn the heat to low and cook the chicken with the sauce till the sauce reduces a bit.....for nearly 7-8 minutes.
  • Add the sliced orange roundels and the coloured pepper,cook for 2 minutes and switch off the flame.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and parsley and serve hot.

A very happy new year 2016 and wishing you all an amazing year ahead !!
And please do have a look at my blogger friends posts before leaving my space.
Sweta's Sticky Chicken Bites here.

Parinaaz's White sauce Chicken Cheese croquettes here.

Dec 23, 2015

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Baking is much a Christmas tradition as stockings and carols.And  Sugar cookies are a rage in the Christmas season.Nothing beats an iced Sugar cookie made from scratch.... A sinfully sweet Christmas treat .

Our house is filled with the Christmas spirit and the mother and daughter trio brought more cheer by baking these classic old fashioned sugar cookies and decorating them.These pretty cookies are a classic addition to the holiday cookie tray.

By the time we completed decorating them it was past midnight and the kitchen counter was full of sugar,butter,icing,sprinkles ,colours but then we had a whale of a time cutting them out in festive shapes and icing them...the right way to get into the holiday spirit and bonding with each other.

Today evening our house guests arrive for the holidays and my daughters are over the moon planning their days with the elder cousin .Makes me remember my childhood days with our cousins and the gala time we had in the holidays.

This cookie recipe doesn't ask for chilling the cookie dough, but if you still want to chill it you can go ahead.As for decoration a little corn syrup can be added to the sugar mix to give a sheen to the icing but it's optional.

This recipe is adapted from a friend's blog Naive cook cooks.
These pretty sugar cookies go as an entry for Helen of CasaCostello for her baking event Bake of the week.

You require( makes nearly 2 dozen cookies)
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 C soft Unsalted butter
3/4 C powdered Sugar
1/2 an egg,whisked
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp milk

For the Icing
1C icing Sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Food colouring


  • Whisk the flour, baking soda and baking powder together,keep aside.
  • In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar till fluffy with a hand mixer.
  • Add the vanilla and egg,beat .
  • Add the dry ingredients gradually and mix.
  • Add the milk and form into a soft dough,it should be soft and not wet.
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface and if it's wet adjust it with a little flour added to it and if it's dry add a little milk.
  • Form into a ball and cover with a cling film and chill it for an hour if chilling the dough, otherwise roll it out straightaway.
  • After removing from the fridge wait for a few minutes for the dough to soften so that it's easy to roll it out.
  • Roll the dough on a floured surface and with holiday theme cookie cutters cut them out and lay them on a cookie tray with parchment paper.
  • Bake them in a preheated oven at 180 deg C for 8-10 mins.If you want them crisp you can bake it a little longer .I like them chewy in the middle and crisp at the sides .
  • For the icing ,mix the icing Sugar with the milk and vanilla and make sure the mixture is not flowy,adjust the milk and icing sugar as needed.
  • Divide the mix according to the colours you want and transfer them to piping bags,can use zip locks as piping bags.
  • While cutting holes in the piping bags make sure the hole isn't too big or it will be difficult to make outlines.
  • Decorate the cookies with piping the outlines first and then filling them and spread with a butter knife.
  • Decorate with sprinkles and let them set overnight before storing.

Enjoy the soft,chewy,delicious cookies and a merry Christmas !

Dec 21, 2015

Gingerbread Mini bundts with a White chocolate ganache drizzle...for the holiday season

Its that time of the year again when the world falls in love,every song you hear seems to say Merry Christmas .....the Christmas waltz playing in my wifi radio ,Christmas cheer everywhere,the aroma of Christmas baking ,a cup of coffee and my laptop...and this is the best moment of this year.

The smell of holiday bread,cookies,cakes ,pies and other goodies is in air.And the blogosphere too overflowing with gingerbread cookies,Yule logs,fruit cakes and cute Santa hats.And baking is so therapeutic and can you not contract the baking fever when Christmas is in air.

And how can you not bake gingerbread in Christmas...the old fashioned gingerbread is everyone s holiday favourite.When you bake a gingerbread recipe the smell wafting around the house is wonderful.This time I have made mini gingerbread bundts with a white chocolate ganache drizzle on top.Have been smitten with my mini bundts pan since the time I have got it home.

Gingerbread foods vary from a moist loaf cake to a ginger biscuit ,the ingredients comprise mainly of ginger, spices, honey or molasses.Molasses is used in baked goods to give colour,moistness and flavour.I have used a bundts pan but can be baked in a loaf or square dish too.

This recipe is adapted from Joy of baking.
I am sending these beauties to Helen of Casa Costello for her event Bake of the Week.

You Require (for 9-10 mini bundts)
2 C all purpose Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Cloves
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/2 C brown Sugar
1/4 C fine white sugar
2 large Eggs at room temperature
1/2 C butter or3/4 C refine oil
1/2 C molasses,unsulphured
1 C milk
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger or1/4 C chopped crystallized ginger

For the Ganache
1C cream
2 C chopped white chocolate


  • Preheat the oven to 180 deg C and grease the dish .
  • In a bowl whisk the flour,spices,baking powder, baking soda,lemon zest and chopped ginger.
  • With a hand mixer cream the butter and sugar till fluffy,add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition .
  • Add the molasses and beat  to combine.
  • Now add the dry ingredients and milk alternately beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.beat till incorporated,finally with a spatula mix the batter with cut and fold method,scraping from the bottom and sides.
  • Pour the batter in the pan or the dish and bake for 18-20 mins for the mini bundts and for 30-35 mins for the loaf or square dish or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Take out from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
  • For the ganache  heat the cream in a saucepan ,don't boil.Add it to the chopped chocolate in a bowl,wait for 30 seconds and whisk to melt and combine.
  • After it cools to room temperature,pour in a piping bag and drizzle on the bundt cakes.

A Merry Christmas to you all !!

Dec 15, 2015

Pomegranate Jelly and Vanilla Yoghurt Panna Cotta

How can you not feel Christmassy in December in the land of sun ,sand and sea,Goa.Christmas is in the air and I thought we might as well get into the spirit of things and spread some festive cheer.My younger one is already so excited about it as she is practicing Carols in school for Christmas and our tree is up with all those wonderful ornamental decorations and the twinkling fairy lights .

As we decorated our tree with carols playing in the background I decided to have the long pending ladies get together at my place within the next two days.With a Christmassy spring in my steps I planned the brunch ,the invitations and the menu .

An array of holiday salads with Pita bread for the lovely,health conscious ladies was an idea appreciated by the guests themselves.For the dessert I baked mini Hummingbird bundts and made a bright red and white pomegranate and yoghurt Panna cotta in small dessert glasses with sparkling pomegranate kernels on top.The Panna cotta stole the show and the yoghurt in it gave a subtle touch of tanginess which complimented the pomegranate jelly beautifully. With my Christmas runner and bright coloured salads and desserts my brunch table had beautiful hues of colours and ready to be

Panna Cotta is a sophisticated Italian dessert made simply by cooking cream,gelatine and sugar .In this recipe the vanilla flavoured Panna Cotta is layered with pomegranate jelly ,apt red and white dessert for Christmas.

Today I am doing a Christmas Colab with my blogger friend Parinaaz Marolia of A dollop of that! And her post is on delicious Christmas Linzer Cookies.

You require
For the jelly layer
4 oz raspberry jelly crystals
10 fl oz pomegranate juice
2 tbsp grenadine ( concentrated pomegranate syrup)

For the panna cotta layer
1 tbsp powdered gelatine
1/4 C hot water
7 fl oz flowing cream( I used double cream)
3 1/2 oz castor sugar
10 oz Greek yoghurt/ hung yoghurt
01 Vanilla pod,seeds only

 For the topping
2 tbsp pomegranate kernels
Few mint leaves


  • Prepare the jelly as per instructions on the pack except use pomegranate juice and grenadine instead of water.
  • Leave to cool for 10 mins stirring in between otherwise the jelly starts to set.
  • While the mixture is a little warm ,pour into small dessert glasses or wine glasses with the glasses propped in a slant.
  • I propped the glasses to one side in a muffin tray so that the layers can be set in a slant and put the tray in the fridge.Individual ramekins ,egg cartons or loaf dish can also be used.
  • Leave the jelly to set in the fridge for an hour or two.
  • For the panna cotta mix the gelatine with the hot water till it dissolves properly.
  • Place the cream,sugar and the vanilla seeds in a saucepan and heat it gently,just enough for the sugar to dissolve,stirring all the time .
  • Remove from heat and add the gelatine to the creamy mixture and let it cool for 10- 15 mins.
  • Meanwhile put the yoghurt in a bowl and whisk to loosen it.
  • Once cool add the cream mixture to the yoghurt and whisk it gently together.
  • Remove the jelly glasses from the fridge and keep them in an upright position,you will notice that the jelly has set in a slant.
  • Now pour the cool creamy yogurt mix carefully and evenly filling up the glasses and return the glasses back to the fridge for 2-3 hours.
  • Once the dessert is set garnish with pomegranate crystals and mint leaves and serve.

Do not forget to peep into my friend Parinaaz's blog A dollop of that! to have a bite of those jammy,delicious,melt in the mouth Linzer cookies.

Dec 10, 2015

Cauliflower masala curry/Phula Kobi aloo Tarkari

Some things remain fresh in our memories forever,specially the sight and smell of fragrant ,spicy desi curries ...a trip down memory lane.A wave of nostalgia swept over me as I scurried around the house doing everyday errands while the aroma of cauliflower potato curry on the stove, simmering away to glory wafted in the house.

Nostalgia is such a cozy feeling, so I try to revisit my food memories by cooking my Aai' s( maternal grandmother) signature dishes.None of my curries are as good as hers,I lack the patience with which she kept on sautéing the masala till the raw smell would go away and the masala would look a beautiful dark red colour .The love and fondness with which she cooked each and every dish made it more tasty and appealing.Miss her presence around me and this is how I ward off the empty cooking dishes in her style..those smells take me back to her kitchen where I would keep on jabbering to her non stop as she whipped up fragrant ,mouthwatering array of dishes.

Food is an indispensable part of our Odiya culture.Odiyas are fond of eating and can spend the whole day in the kitchen cooking .And my Aai was one of those who would be in the kitchen whole day dishing out authentic ,delectable creations with her love and warmth.

This Phula Kobi Aloo Jhola is her style and recipe though she always used masalas fresh ,roasted and grounded that moment and that made her curries more aromatic in comparison to our off the
shelves masalas.Could not learn her garam masala recipe when she was with us my curries do lack her signature touch.

In this curry the cauliflower and potato is pan fried  in mustard oil till half cooked and then added to the cooked masalas.In this curry hot water is added for the gravy.The other alternative which is called a Phula Kobi Aloo Kasaa is cooked without the addition of water and cook the veggies with the masalas and they are a great combo with Puris and Parathas.

You require
01 medium sized Cauliflower ,cut into medium florets
02 medium sized Potatoes,cubed according to the size of the florets
02 onions,grated or pureed or chopped fine
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
02 tomatoes,chopped
02 green chillies,chopped or slit
3-4 green cardamoms
2 inch cinnamon
3-4 cloves
1-2 bay leaves
01 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp Garam Masala powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 C hot water
Coriander leaves to garnish
Salt to taste


  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok till smoking point ,then add the cauliflower florets and cubed potatoes,pan fry till little brown spots appear on them and they are half cooked and keep aside.
  • In the same wok heat the mustard oil the same way,add sugar,add cumin seeds ,bay leaves and the spices or khada garam masalas,add the onion when the spices start spluttering.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and the chillies when the onions are light brown and keep on frying till the raw smell goes off ,add the turmeric powder and the tomatoes and sauté till the masala starts leaving the sides.
  • Now add the half cooked veggies and cook for 5 more minutes,stirring in between.
  • Add the hot water and salt and cover the curry and let it simmer in medium flame for 7-10 minutes.
  • Check the veggies ,if it's cooked to satisfaction then sprinkle the garam masala and cinnamon powder,give one good boil and switch off the flame.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and enjoy with hot steaming rice and dal.

Dec 3, 2015

Methi Paneer Malai/Cottage cheese in fenugreek and cream curry

Paneer or cottage Cheese is a staple Indian food that Indian households cannot do without in their meals, a substitute for meat for the die hard vegetarians.Its our favourite Indian Cheese made by curdling fresh  milk in vinegar,lemon juice ,curd or any other food acids.

And in East India paneer is the ubiquitous Chenna ,all sweet dishes in Odisha,Bengal and Assam are made from Paneer.Chenna is a crumbly and moist form of Paneer.Its an ultimate favourite in North India and made with butter or spinach,or peas or stuffed in parathas ,infact innumerable spicy,delicious varieties of paneer dishes.

And cheers to our own desi cheese, it's a hot favourite of my kids. Infact I feel they should wear a " I love Paneer" badge on them.They love Paneer in any form whether it's a paratha or a sandwich stuffing or a curry or a pulao or the easy peasy Paneer Bhurjee .

My today's post Methi Paneer Malai is actually adapted from the recipe Methi mutter malai,chunks of Paneer in a creamy fenugreek based Curry .Compliments well with Rotis,Parathas or Naan.Yummy is the word you would utter after a spoonful of this rich tasty combo.The garnish of fresh cream makes
it tempting and gives a nice touch of subtelty to this delicious paneer dish.

You require

For the Masala paste
2 medium sized onions ,chopped
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste/ ginger and garlic chopped according to 1 tbsp paste
1 big tomato,chopped
2 tbsp chopped cashews,soaked in water
1 green chilli,chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp oil

For the gravy
250 gms Paneer,diced according to the size you want
2 C fresh Fenugreek/ Methi leaves
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam Masala powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilli powder/1/2 tsp if you want less spicy.
1/4 C cream,whisked
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dry fenugreek leaves for garnish
1 C hot water
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste


  • Wash the fenugreek leaves,chop it and add 1/2 tsp  salt,keep it aside for 15 mins and then squeeze out the water.This helps in removing the bitterness from the leaves.
  • Take 1 tbsp oil in a pan,add cumin seeds and when it splutters add the chopped onion,fry till transparent.
  • Add the ginger garlic and green chillies,chopped or paste,fry till the raw smell goes away.
  • Now add the chopped tomato and sauté till the masala starts leaving the sides of the pan.
  • Remove from fire and let it cool a little,once warm grind the masala in a mixer with the soaked and drained cashews and a little water added to it.
  • In the same pan take 2 tbsp oil and once heated add the chopped and squeezed fenugreek leaves and fry on a low medium flame till they lessen in quantity.
  • Add the ground masala paste,the coriander,turmeric and chilli powder to it and sauté till For 6-7 minutes and oil starts releasing.
  • Add the hot water,give a nice boil to the methi gravy and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  • Now add the whisked cream,paneer,garam masala and the sugar,mix well and switch of the flame.Garnish with dried fenugreek leaves.
  • Serve hot with Rotis or Naan and enjoy the rich flavourful curry.

Nov 27, 2015

Mung sprouts Poha/ Flattened rice with green gram sprouts

It's a constant challenge for me to churn out a different, tasty,nutritious and well presented breakfast option without repeating every single day for my kids.Kids get bored of food so fast.And breakfast being the important meal of the day is needed for health and mental well being both for adults and children.

During one of those mornings when I hadn't decided what to make for the kids' lunchbox the previous night,these sprouted green mung came to my rescue.As I opened the fridge in the morning groggy eyed after a late night ,these bright green sprouts peeped from the shelves invitingly giving me an instant idea to use them in a nutritious combination with beaten rice or Poha.The Eureka moment worked and the combo was a hit with the kids,the lunch boxes came back polished clean.

Green gram sprouts are always readily found in my pantry as I use them in salad,Upma,poha,pulaos etc.The humble sprouted mung beans are nutritional powerhouses And are a favourite because of their ease and taste.Low calorie and high in vitamin C these can be used in burger patties,for making stews or a easy one pot casserole with mixed veggies.

I am sending this healthy and delicious breakfast to Sadhna 's event My Legume Love Affair and Srivalli's event Come, Join us for breakfast.

You Require  ( 2 Servings)
1C Poha or flattened Rice
1/2 C Sprouted Green Gram or Mung
1/4 C Peanuts
1/2 fresh lime
1 medium Onion , chopped
1 green chilli,chopped
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 -2 tbsp refined oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp fresh coriander ,chopped( optional)


  • Wash the flattened Rice in a big strainer making sure not to wash it too much as the rice tends to break and let the water drain out.Add salt and lime juice to it and keep aside.
  • Steam the sprouts in a microwave for 2 mins .
  • In a pan or wok heat the oil,add the peanuts and fry them till done,when they start crackling  add mustard seeds and curry leaves and let them splutter.
  • Add the chopped onions and chillies and fry till transparent, now add the sprouts and turmeric and sauté for a minute.
  • Lastly add the poha or flattened rice on low flame and mix till the turmeric gets incorporated properly and the poha looks yellow uniformly.
  • Add the coriander and cover it and switch off the flame.
  • Uncover after 2 minutes and serve.
  • Enjoy with a cup of ginger tea.

Nov 23, 2015

A minty avocado,watermelon and a feta salad

Whether it's indulging in a third large cup of coffee ,an extra slice of pizza in lunch ,too much beer in Tuesdays Happy Hours or just binging to your hearts content during the festive season,the result is the same.You feel like crap afterwards.The more you eat in excess the more emptier you feel.

After the larger than life Indian festivities which revolve a lot around tempting delicacies and mindless eating it's time to detox now with some recipes screaming health.Its a good time to cleanse your body of the toxins with the Christmas air setting in,much reason to eat,shop and be merry ....again!!

Dietary detox is basically eliminating certain foods, avoiding alcohol and caffeine and loading up on fresh fruits, veggies and juices.Sometimes it results in weight loss and increased energy. Starting your
meals with a salad helps you to attain weight loss and reap many health benefits too.

Salads are a meal in itself or accompaniment to a meal.The word Salad itself sounds so healthy...light,quick and easy to digest.But a salad can turn treacherous if we top it up with creamy,cholesterol laden dressings and fatty high calorie mix ins.

This refreshing Avocado watermelon feta salad not only screams health but is tasty too and the mint leaves impart a fresh minty flavour to it.The dressing is lime juice,seasonings and a drizzle of olive oil which is essential fats and is needed by the body to absorb nutrients from the salad.

This salad is being shared with Lisa of Lisa' s kitchen and Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes for their blog event No Croutons Required this month.

03 Servings
You require

01  large Avocado,peeled and diced
01 long Cucumber,peeled and diced
01 C watermelon,diced
01 medium Tomato,diced
01 small red onion,sliced thin
100 gms Feta cheese,cubed
2 tbsp ,fresh mint leaves,chopped
1/2 C pomegranate kernels
Juice of 01 Lime
Extra virgin Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large bowl ,add all the ingredients except the lime,olive oil and the seasonings.
  • Squeeze the lime juice on the top, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper .
  • Stir gently and serve.

Nov 22, 2015

Moroccan chicken with chickpeas and raisins

My bucket list continuously keeps on getting updated,altered,contemplated and rejuvenated.And the recent update to the list is visiting the mesmerising ,awe- inspiring Morocco.Visiting Egypt was a dream of mine from as long as I can remember.Now that Egypt is tick marked Morocco is my dream destination ,a land of kasbahs ,medinas,arid desert landscapes and the very authentic sweet and spicy
Tagines and Couscous.

Moroccan cooking abounds in aromatic subtle spices and intriguing flavour combinations.Most of the dishes are convenient,comfort food as well as delicious and hearty.My blog would soon be flooded with an array of these dishes as I have been cooking these delicacies regularly and would love to blog about the magical flavours of Moroccan cuisine.

This chicken with chickpeas curry is a wonderful dish,though had doubts in adding raisins to it but that's what gave a different twist to the curry.The honey ,lemon zest,cinnamon and paprika impart a sweet as well as spicy flavour to the chicken .A divine combination with a bowl of steamed rice.I have used boneless breasts here but the authentic curry asks for chicken thighs.

You require

2 lbs Chicken,boneless breasts
01 onion,chopped
1 tbsp  minced Garlic
1/2 tbsp cumin powder,
1/2 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp lemon zest,grated
1 tbsp flour
2 C chicken broth
2 tbsp honey
3/4 C chickpeas,soaked,boiled,drained
3 tbsp oil


  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown well on both sides and keep aside in a plate.
  • Add garlic and onion to the saucepan and sauté till onions are transparent.
  • Add the cumin,turmeric,paprika and cinnamon ,stir and cook for a minute.
  • Stir in the chicken broth,honey ,lemon zest and flour,incorporate till well blended.
  • Add the browned chicken and cook covered for 10-15 minutes.
  • Now stir in the raisins and chickpeas and simmer uncovered for 10 more minutes or till the chicken is cooked properly.
  • Serve with hot steamed rice .

Nov 17, 2015

Some Diwali shots of my traditional home

Diwali ,a colourful and happy celebration , that time of the year when you decorate and prepare your house for the traditional festivities .Fire crackers,lighting of clay lamps,decorative candles,the wonderful aroma of the sweets and savouries ,rangolis are a few things that depicts this Festival of Lights.The candles and diyas illuminating every corner of the house is a spectacular sight and a pleasure to the eyes.Sharing with you all a few Diwali shots of our traditional home and my Diwali table.

Katori chaat,Kesariya kheer and motichur parfait,Labanga latika,eggless Gulkand cupcakes with a pan liqueur frosting and a Chocolate mousse gulabjamun tart

My diwali delicacies

Applesauce spice bundt cake with a brown sugar glaze

A busy week of Diwali festivities and excitement and then the sudden lull ....schools have reopened with the elder one s exams starting today,and the little ones sports day practices.So back to the monotonous humdrum life with lunchbox preparations,dirty laundry,healthy menu plan, homework, etc.

Thanks to the blog and my blogger friends ,have something to look forward to every single day.Checking out the food posts with my morning cup of tea has become my favourite time of the day.

Took quite a long break for Diwali as it was quite hectic with squadron coming home and my eccentric streak making me prepare every single delicacy at home.But theres a different kind of satisfaction when you see the pleasure on people's faces while gorging on the dish prepared by you.

Finally my break ended today when I remembered that it was Monday and time to send my weeks baking to the weekly baking event held by Helen of Casa Costello.

Last week my fruit basket was overflowing with apples and my girls were busy gorging on the sweets of the festivities.Before the apples got spoilt I decided to make apple sauce and freeze it  and made a applesauce cake with spices and drizzled home made brown sugar glaze on it.You can refer to my Home made Apple Sauce recipe here.If spice is your thing you will love this moist and spicy cake.The lemon zest in the cake brightens the flavour of the cake and the delicious brown sugar glaze gives a nice edge to it.

You Require

For the Cake
2 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground all spice ( substitute with  ground 1/2 tsp cinnamon,cloves nutmeg each)
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 C unsalted butter( room temp)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 large eggs ,room temperature
3/4 C ground sugar2/3 C  brown sugar
1C applesauce
1 big Apple ,peeled and chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C walnuts or pecans chopped( optional)

For the brown sugar glaze
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar ,packed
3 tbsp heavy cream
3/4 C powdered sugar or icing sugar,sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 180 deg C,grease a 9 " pan bundt or tube pan and dust it with flour .
  • Sift the flour,salt,baking soda and all spice and Add the pecans if using and keep it aside.
  • Beat the butter and lemon zest with an electric mixer till smooth and creamy.
  • Add the sugar gradually and blend it well with the mixer,add the brown sugar and beat till smooth.
  • Now add the eggs one at a time and beat well till well blended.
  • Add the chopped apples and vanilla and blend with mixer speed low.
  • Finally with the mixer speed low or medium add the flour/ nut mix in 3 additions and the applesauce in 2 additions starting and ending with the flour.Mix just until incorporated .
  • Spoon the mixture into the bundt pan,level the top and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 mins or till a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 mins and add the glaze when the cake is still warm,so invert the cake carefully onto a rack so that it doesn't break.
  • For the glaze,melt the butter with the brown sugar in a saucepan over low heat.
  • Add the heavy cream and cook till it comes to a gentle boil and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the sugar in two additions whisking constantly.
  • Add the vanilla and whisk until smooth.
  • If it is too runny ,add some more icing sugar and if it's too thick add little cream.
  • It should be of pouring consistency and hardens fast,pour the glaze on the warm cake quickly and let it drip naturally down the sides.
  • Enjoy the moist,spicy cake with a cup of tea.

Nov 7, 2015

Labanga Latika / Lavang Latika

Diwali is just round the corner and what better day to do a recipe collaboration with two of my blogger friends, Parinaaz Marolia who mostly blogs about Parsi delicacies in her blog A dollop of that.Today her post is on chocolates with honey pistachio and the boozy brandy fillings...a festive favourite of many.

And with Shweta Biswal of Oriya rasoi who's not only from Odisha but also my place type too,that makes her all the more special.She blogs about authentic Odiya food and her post Chuda ghassa parfait is a traditional dish presented in a contemporary style.

I am making some food memories in my kitchen today.And I want to preserve these memories I have from my childhood with my parents and sister and my near and dear ones ,the cooking memories that I am part of with my husband and children and the ones we create daily.The best way to preserve them is to document those memories in my blog and share with you all.

This sweetmeat Lavang Latika has beautiful childhood memories of marriages in my family.Odiyas    have a custom of sending sweets with the bride during Bidai for her in laws ,their relatives and neighbours .People actually wait for the" Bahu Bhaara", the term used for the loads of sweets which come with the bride when she comes to the grooms place post wedding.Every wedding memory of my child hood had labangalatika as one of the sweets in the Bhaara and down the years this gorgeous  sweetmeat had become my favourite.

When it was my turn to get married ,I made sure the Labangalatika tin was safe and secure in the crowd of relatives and my mother in law was sweet enough to keep the huge tin in my room so that I could gorge on them whenever I wanted and none of the relatives actually got to taste a single piece.And till date the hubby dear and in laws have a good laugh about it.

All those years have passed but the love for the labangalatika s hasn't lessened an ounce ..our love
affair is still going strong and I don't hesitate to make them in my home whenever the occasion arises
and on this festive occasion of Deepawali ,my kitchen is smelling of the heavenly khoya and the subtle flavour of the frying of those beauties.

These sweets are small parcels stuffed with a sweet filling of khoya and coconut ,sealed with a clove,  deep fried and dunked in sugar syrup.The name is derived from the word Lavang or clove.Its famous in the neighbouring states of Bengal and Assam too.

The traditional Odiya recipe has coconut in the stuffing but I omitted as my children are not fond of coconut.The latikas are crisp from outside and soft inside.There are a few things to be kept in mind before preparing them .They have to be fried in medium heat as they will brown faster on the outside and will not cook from inside.They have to be dunked in sugar syrup for a min or two,more than that will make them soft.

You Require

For the Latika

2C maida or all purpose flour
4 tbsp melted ghee or clarified butter
Water to bind the dough
Oil to deep fry
18-20 lavang or cloves

For the stuffing

1C khoya
1/2 C desiccated coconut
1 tbsp Ghee
1/3 C powdered sugar or according to taste
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 C chopped dry fruits ( optional)

For the sugar syrup

1 1/2 C sugar
1 C water
1/2 tsp cardamom or elaichi powder
5-6 cloves

how to roll out and form the latikas


  • Add the maida and the melted ghee in a bowl,mix with fingertips till they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the required amount of water and knead into a stiff dough,cover with a wet cloth and keep it aside for half an hour.
  • Meanwhile take ghee in a pan and fry the khoya in low heat,keep stirring till they start 
  • gathering from the sides and look a little dry.Keep stirring constantly  the khoya has a tendency to scorch the bottom of the pan.
  • Switch off the flame and wait for the khoya to cool.
  • After its a little cool ,add desiccated coconut,powdered sugar,cardamom powder and the dry fruits, mix properly. Alternately, If you are using fresh grated coconut then you can add all the stuffing together in the pan and stir over low heat  till it looks like a smooth dough.
  • For the sugar syrup add all ingredients and boil on high flame till it reaches one thread consistency.
  • For rolling out the latikas,Divide the dough into equal sized balls.
  • Roll each ball into a thin chapati ,the size of a puri.
  • Put some stuffing in the centre and fold it from both the sides,overlapping each other,now fold both the open ends overlapping each other as shown in the pic and seal with a lavang or clove.
  • Now deep fry the latikas in a wok in medium heat,cook till light golden brown on both the sides.
  • Drain the latikas and dunk them in the prepared sugar syrup for a min or two.
  • Drain the sugar syrup and enjoy them hot or cold,when hot they are soft and once cold they have a nice,sugary,crunchy crust on them.

And please take a peep in my friends blogs...
Parinaaz's Special assorted chocolates

Chuda ghassa parfait

Nov 6, 2015

Classic Fresh Basil Pesto from scratch


The fondness for convenience foods in India has grown in leaps and bounds.Processed food is just everywhere, despite numerous news stories warning us of the dangers.The key to the success of processed food is is not only quick and simple but also reliable.

Though my mom was a career woman and had limited time in the kitchen ,had never seen a single processed food in my house.Yes,I am harping about it but hats off to her except for an occasional sauce or a jam bottle everything was made from scratch .It is labour intensive but the satisfaction of not spoiling your and your loved ones health is there at the end of the day.

Have always tried my best to make masalas and sauces from scratch but I also do give in to the lure of the colourful bottles and cans and laziness.But with age I have slowly started to like the idea of making your own convenience food which is healthy and less expensive too.

Pesto is a traditional Italian Recipe and has the distinct flavours of fresh basil,pine nuts,garlic,olive oil and cheese.Its used as a sauce for pasta,as a sauce for sandwiches ,as a pizza sauce,as salad dressing or just to flavour a hot bowl of soup.Pine nuts can be substituted with walnuts too.The sauce is diluted with milk or cream in a Pasta.The ingredients are pounded together in a pestle..hence the name pesto.

In this classic version of pesto, the basil leaves are blanched in hot boiling water and then shocked in ice water to give the sauce a brilliant green hue and to reduce any bitterness.Pesto is best when had fresh but can be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container for 2 weeks with a thin layer of olive oil on the surface.

You Require (makes 1/2 cup)

2 tbsp walnuts/ pine nuts ,Toasted and chopped
2C fresh basil leaves ,loosely packed , blanched and shocked
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
I tsp chopped garlic
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients into a blender and blend into a smooth paste.
Use as required.

For a vegan version of Pesto omit the cheese.

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