Monday, 30 December 2013

Black Forest Gateau {Cherry + Kirsch + Vanilla}

Yet another beautiful year is coming to an end! December is a month of joy and celebrations for most people around the world. In my house this month is quite special as its around Nikhil's birthday :) This year I baked a decadent Black Forest Gateau for the birthday boy and he loved it :D
The soft, moist chocolate sponge layered with whipped cream and kirsch'ed cherries with a liberal spread of chocolate shavings are nothing short of a celebration cake. The fresh cherries on top scream out the awesome combination with just the right amount of chocolatyness drenched in fruity glory!!! 

Black Forest Gateau
Recipe adapted from Ria's Collection

As I had trouble hiding the decorated cake, there was no element of surprise for Nikhil this year. He was basically getting pretty impatient, waiting for the clock to strike 12 that night ;) Cake was wiped off clean from the cake stand by the next day, leaving me not a piece to share with my neighbour! It was indeed a gorgeous cake both in and out... Hope you would try this too for a special someone on a special occasion!!

Above pic is clicked in daylight during my prep phase. Later I did not get the opportunity to shoot better photos as the cake was long gone...
And that's us (below pic)! clicked during the midnight cake cutting session :D

Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas Cookie!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We celebrated Christmas this year with our friends, Nishima & Ajin. A beautifully decorated & well lit X'mas tree, glamorous garlands and ornaments added all the glory to the festive spread on table. Oh! it was non-stop entertainment from the time we dug out our stockings at midnight and pealed out our gifts till we hit the bed the next day :) All thanks to the wonderful hosts :D

It has been quite busy for the past few weeks, we had a beautiful winter get-away just before Christmas. So I had been baking lemon drizzle loaves and batches of these cookies for our friends, neighbours and colleagues. Must say was quite happy to get amazing feedback from Nikhil's office and others alike. I enjoyed baking them as well as packing them away... they made really cute lil gifts!!!

Christmas Chocolate Cookies {snow dusted}
Recipe adapted from Entertaining with Beth

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

☁ Fruit Crumble ☁

Fall is here... along comes the shorter days and chillier nights! It is a common sight to spot the vents from heaters smoking out, while they warms up everyone's homes. People should have pulled out their winter clothing from storage by now!

sun setting @ 4 pm!

Baking is good all year through but is the best in these frosty months. It warms up your kitchen and fills up your home with nice fresh aroma of baking as well :) There is something very comforting about baking a crumble though. 

fruit crumble

Well! this gorgeous bake is all crisp n crunchy on top, with all the fruity goodness underneath. Give it a try, you sure will love it :D

☁ Fruit Crumble ☁
Recipe adapted from Abel&Cole

Tumble Crumble

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Abel & Cole {My first personal review}

On a lazy afternoon, I was introduced to Abel & Cole, a one stop shop for all the organic goodness. They work directly with some of the best farmers, butchers and bakers in the area to get us some of the freshest of produce. No harmful additives whatsoever. They reuse their packing materials and follow a host of environment friendly policies which is quite impressive. 
from my veg box!
As you already know, organic produce are pricey! But I believe that Abel & Cole is economical as they pack and deliver only seasonal produce. One other plus is definitely the wonderful team working behind the scenes, they are some of the loveliest people who offer a lot more in terms of quality and impeccable service. 
from my fruit box!
On my usual visits to the supermarket, I end up picking good looking but less flavoursome veggies, and its rinse repeat all over again!! With Abel & Cole, my choices have become more bolder and I have been continuously experimenting with loads of new varieties of vegetables and fruits. They cater to almost anything you want, almost... 
dairy products!
Now have you seen this vegetable before (pic below)? If yes, did you get the opportunity to taste them? If no, order some right away @ Abel & Cole :) These rainbow chards are absolutely a gorgeous bunch to munch at! 
rainbow chard!
Initially I took the leap to register with them, enticed by their offer for a free cook book and 4th free fruit/veg box. The journey continued beyond that, as I was impressed with their organic products and lovely service.
my first veg+fruit box!
They deliver in our area on monday's (this day is not a dull day for me any more)  and I can't help but say that I get very excited every time I open the boxes:) Most often you get to know what comes with the boxes every week, however if you have disliked any item, the element of surprise to find the replacement is there. Not to mention the happiness or awwness when you get some really beautiful vegetable which you happen to be seeing for the first time ever. They also make a habit of pampering us with occasional freebies and appreciations. 
As part of their faultless service, they always clear any problems you have had with the week's delivery. I have received some very thoughtful recipe cards and other favors. Recently I was given the opportunity to hand away 3 free veg-box cards, and needless to say they were a hit!
They host an array of competitions online, and one among them is the monthly recipe competition. See what I won for last months competition :D 
my win on recipe competition!
Hope you enjoy shopping @ Abel & Cole. Wishing you all a very happy holiday season, Merry Christmas :)
early x'mas present!

mini mince pie!

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I wrote this review as a personal choice :) 
                                                                                 ♥ Thank You ♥

Friday, 8 November 2013

❀ Tomato Chutney {Quick & Easy} ❀

A perfect south Indian condiment that just raises the sensation of many flavours in your mouth. Refreshing with a fair share of creaminess from the coconut but traces of heat from dry red chillies and slight tangyness from tomato. This recipe is a simple one which allows your breakfast to go that extra bit special!  

Tomato Chutney {Quick & Easy}
Recipe adapted from MariasMenu

Tomato Chutney {Quick & Easy}

Another flavourful chutney to add that extra zing to any usual dish. Simple as you need only few ingredients and quick & easy to prepare... A definite must-try!!
Tomato Chutney {Recipe card}
Recipe card {above}; Detailed recipe {below}

Thursday, 31 October 2013

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ My blog turned 1 ♬ ♫ ♪ ♩

Originally I baked this cake to celebrate my sweet sis-in-law's birthday :) In-spite of she staying many air miles across, the much  justifiable excuse for this chocolate indulgence was that I completed one happy year of blogging, Now does that not call for a celebration :)

When I started my blogging journey, the only expectation I had set was,  irrespective of any situations, I should post consistently and I am happy to say that I was able to meet that expectation. Many a thanks to my better half for all the positive criticism, nudges n reviews n what not! I found myself truly immersed in drafting the many posts, clicking photographs, styling food and last but not the least experimenting recipes... My family, friends & readers have also supported me to keep my blog live... Thank You to each one of you :) I hope you continue enjoying my culinary trysts. 

Coffee & Chocolate Cake ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa {Ina Garten}
Rich chocolate & coffee cake with candle
Of the many things in my life which brought happiness, I can proudly say that this blog is definitely one of them. Cheers to my fellow bloggers out there, who have made a unique niche for themselves in the world of food blogging!

Rich chocolate & coffee cake, sliced

Featured in this post is an easy to bake chocolate & coffee cake which is super moist and perfect for celebrating any occasion with a bunch of chocoholics! Give this recipe a shot and make any day even special.

Rich chocolate & coffee cake!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Chicken Pot Pie ♨ - My first Daring Baker's challenge!

Although I remember reading some interesting posts about daring baker's challenge on some of my favorite blog's, it was quite recently that I decided to register. So like any other enthusiastic blogger I was all eyes for the month's challenge. I am sure by now you know what my challenge was. So in the following weeks I laid out my choicest plans for creating an out of the world pie. I decided to settle for an authentic pot pie with steaming chicken (& lots of veggies) filling in white sauce, well contained in a flaky buttery short crust pastry!  
Watch this space for a similar post on fish pie (salmon in coconut milk as filling)...but for now I would like you to bake and dig into a nice chicken pot pie on a chilly night... I am sure once you prepare a pie, the request for more would keep coming in!!

Chicken Pot Pie ♨

Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savoury pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savoury flavours and fillings from our own home or region.                                                                                           

Chicken Pot Pie ♨ - My first Daring Baker's challenge post
Recipe adapted from MariasMenu

Chicken Pot Pie ♨

There are a few ways to get creative here, try different kinds of crust and fillings. Once you decide these, inspire the artist in you and get your creative juices flowing with pie side crimping or top crust designing (lattice, cut out shapes ...). Use your signature style and personalize the pies as these are definitely going to get repeated on your menu!! Thank you Hannah for this challenge, you made me go that extra bit to make my pie super special :D

Chicken Pot Pie with lattice top crust ♨

Chicken Pot Pie with simple designed top crust ♨

Chicken Pot Pie with hearty top crust ♨

Monday, 14 October 2013

Thakkali Curry {Tomato curry}

Thani Naadan! (absolutely traditional!) Well this is yet another simple curry which you can rely on any time-crunched day of your life. This is indeed a comforting food which can be stirred up on  any rainy day for a bit of sunshine :) Kerala meal can be made special quite easily by combining an assortment of plain and simple dishes. Fish fry, thoran (vegetable stir fry of sorts), a portion of fluffy rice and a creamy tomato gravy is one of my favorite combination. So here is Thakkali Curry {Tomato curry}, a curry in a hurry!

Thakkali Curry {Tomato curry}

Thakkali Curry

Monday, 7 October 2013

⁂ Golden Chutney ⁂

Chutneys are pretty popular these days. Many seasonal fruits & vegetables are enjoyed all year through in the form of chutneys these days. But at home when we say chutney, there are a few variants which have been around for quite some generations ( especially in south India)! Mostly we refer to them by their colour {red orange green} :) 
Now this is one chutney my amma kind of discovered as we are a couple of nut lovers. It is rich spicy crunchy and brings forth a whole new twist of flavours from the roasted nuts dancing on our tongue! Indulgence is what this recipe really is! So I hope you would definitely try this out :D

Golden Chutney
My Amma's recipe
Golden Chutney

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Carrot & Beans Thoran {stir fry of sorts from Kerala}

Thani Naadan! (absolutely traditional). One of the most common comment from some of my friends were that I should post some day-to-day Kerala recipes which I cook @ home. These may be simple recipes, but they still have their takers (it seems). The only problem is my laziness to pull out my camera and take some good snaps before eating my meals :) Anyways this month I have decided to dedicate this space for some simple dishes right out of my kitchen... 
So this one here is a simple method of cooking for most types of vegetables. For this recipe I have combined beans + carrot (a personal fav among many others). So here's to traditions and traditional recipes!

Carrot  & Beans Thoran {stir fry of sorts from Kerala}

As I had to keep reminding myself to click the finished product, I thought why not keep clicking till it gets to the table!
Beans & Carrot Thoran

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Water is precious... every drop

Spread the word! 
Save energy for a better tomorrow.
Water is precious... every drop...

Water is precious... every drop

  1. Run fewer but fuller loads on washing machine.
  2. Buy energy efficient appliances.
  3. Heat only required amount of water in kettle.
  4. Use a broom instead of hose to clean your porch.
  5. Check for water leaks and fix them soon.
  6. Be careful and try to turn off the tap when you brush your teeth or shampoo in shower or while scrubbing dishes. Take shorter showers too.
  7. Carry your reusable bags to supermarkets, grocery stores or for food take-away.
  8. Unplug your electronics when not in use and save power.
  9. Go digital and cut paper use (Stop paper bills and subscribe for e-bills).
  10. Fill your freezer, since the fuller it is, the less energy it uses.
  11. Print on both sides of paper whenever possible.
  12. Buy and use fluorescent light bulbs.
Just few pointers to start with...

Thursday, 26 September 2013

♓ Meen Pollichathu {Fish} ♓

My family and close friends know that I luvvvv.. fish! What I had realized lately is that I do not really have the same intensity of likeness to fish prepared in all cuisines. My inclination is always towards naadan (traditional Kerala) preparations  So when I got hooked to this recipe, it was no surprise!!!
Authentic meen pollichathu is prepared in banana leaves and not in an oven :) But this recipe lets us still savor the good old taste of a spicy naadan dish, by baking the fish in aluminium foil, fully covered in all the masala... slurpppp :D I had prepared this on various occasion's while having my friends over for meals and trust me everyone loved this!

♓ Meen Pollichathu ♓
Recipe adapted from My Kitchen Antics & Mrs.K.M.Mathew 

Meen Pollichathu @ Nam's Diary

♓ Meen Pollichathu close up ♓

Monday, 23 September 2013

✌ Vanilla Butter Cookies ✌ {Egg-less}

This was one of those days, I really wanted to bake something but there were no eggs at home. Glum and broody I decided to find my luck among egg-less recipes! Defeated I decided to walk up to our local store to get some eggs and adorn my baking apron. That's when my bestie pinged me this awesome and wonderful {egg-less} recipe for melting moments aka vanilla butter cookies. It is a very simple basic cookie recipe and the results are truly irresistible. So drop your siesta plans and get cookie-ing!!

✌ Vanilla Butter Cookies ✌ {Egg-less}
Recipe adapted from Nishima 
Vanilla Butter Cookies getting ready for baking

Vanilla Butter Cookies getting ready for foto shoot

Vanilla Butter Cookies!!!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Chocolate Roulade

Recently my best friend from school decided to visit me after a long time! She had repeatedly stressed for some cake presence whilst she came over. She has an adorable three year old daughter too whom I wanted to impress {The fairy cup cakes were exactly what caught her attention as soon as she stepped in; Ta daa mission successful}. I had plans for some good food of course and when it came to a choice for dessert, I zeroed in on Chocolate roulade. Something that would just melt in the mouth and look every bit sophisticated on the cake stand, aside from being easy to whip n bake :). I would definitely recommend this if you have few guests over for more than one meal. In midst of all the fun and laughter, I was able to get only two decent snaps of my roulade before it thoroughly disappeared!!!

Chocolate Roulade
Recipe adapted from BBC (Mary Berry's)
Chocolate Roulade

Thursday, 29 August 2013

♡ Swirl's & Heart Cake for Our Wedding Anniversary ♡

August is a month of ample significance for me & Nikhil and our wedding anniversary makes it super special :D. Right from the very beginning of this month, we had been super busy with our friends coming over on the weekends. Days were filled with fun frolic n good food. 
To make our special day still stand out, I had planned to bake a beautiful cake with a cute lil surprise inside - A little pink heart. I knew Nikhil would steal some glimpses of the decorated cake but the heart inside was a toughy! Luckily everything went as planned and the cake came out really well. The cake is quite rich,but you will still have your family/friends asking for second serves. The outcome will definitely make the baker happy...and not to mention the lucky people munching on it!

♡ Swirl's & Heart Cake for Our Wedding Anniversary ♡ ♡ 
Recipe adapted from the book The Great British Bake Off How to turn everyday bakes into showstoppers
Swirl's & Heart Cake
Swirl's & Heart Cake closer look
 ♡ ♡Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary ♡ ♡ 
Beautiful floating tea-lights!
 ♡ ♡ Beautiful tea-lights ♡ ♡ 
Heart inside cake revealed!!!
 ♡ ♡  Heart inside Cake ♡ ♡ 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Homemade Granola ☼

Granola is quite simply combining many health foods and baking it to a crispier self. When we buy these at supermarkets, they usually come pricey and may not be exactly filled with our favorite bits. So batch up your own, by mixing in all your favorite nuts and seeds. You will definitely find it handy on most mornings ☼, to have a jar full of your favorite goodness in your kitchen!

Homemade Granola ☼ 
Recipe adapted from BBC Good food 
Homemade Granola ☼

Monday, 12 August 2013

✿ Butterfly Cupcakes ✿

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over,
it became a butterfly"
✿ Butterfly Cupcakes ✿

Butterflies symbolize transformation... they accepts massive changes as part of their month long life! Humans on another hand handle and welcome only selective changes. We must learn to keep faith,  from these tiny beautiful creatures :) We must try and spread happiness to all lives we touch... making this indeed a better place to live in.
OK! Philosophy 101 aside, these are simple cupcakes, made with lots of love and a bit of creativity. I had spotted these beauties at a local bakery and was dying to make them since then. So go ahead and transform plain cupcakes to wonderful things of beauty!    

ƸӜƷ Butterfly Cupcakes ƸӜƷ
✿ Butterfly Cupcakes ✿

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Blueberry Banana Muffins!!

Muffins are often eaten as breakfast. These gorgeous bakes are deliciously moist and low fat too :) I have to say I have not been a big fan of banana flavored bakes but for those who enjoy these; they are simply incredible! Except for the flour, rest of the ingredients scream healthy. I did read that we could try using other healthier flour options (maybe next time!). Summer here is bursting with fruits & berries in all colors and shapes and textures...making it very hard to resist any quick buys at stores ;) On a normal hurried morning, you can bite into one of these and wipe it off with a full  glass full of smoothie'ness... rest assured you should be quite set for a fresh and fabulous day!

Blueberry Banana Muffins
Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food
Blueberry Banana Muffins display

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Meen Pulimulaku / Tangy & Hot Fish curry {Kerala style}

Yet another traditional treat! This is a versatile dish which can be combined easily on a breakfast platter or a lunch/ dinner platter. As the name suggests this dish awakens one's taste buds to the fullest with each morsel pouring in a wave of tangyness and heat :D 
This recipe was a much loved one for my amma until she became a vegetarian. Back in those days she used to make this mostly with smaller fishes like sardines and other similar varieties. Tangy & hot fish curry goes best with Tapioca/ Kappa Puzhukku or plain rice. I hope you enjoy this much loved authentic Kerala dish!

Meen Pulimulaku / Tangy & Hot Fish curry {Kerala style}
Recipe adapted from my Amma
Meen Pulimulaku / Tangy & Hot Fish curry {Kerala style}

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

Fresh strawberries are in season and they look absolutely gorgeous!!!
Fresh strawberries

Smoothies basically give you incredible choices! If you are in a haste in the mornings or you simply need a nutritious but quick breakfast, a smoothie is the answer :) Blend in whatever seasonal fruits and vegetables you like, and you get a glass full of required proteins, vitamins and antioxidants. Now this is a simple yet creamy Strawberry-Banana Smoothie, definitely a good way to kick start your day :D

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie
Strawberry-Banana Smoothie
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