Mango Mint Parfait

Mango Mint Parfait

If you like mango, mint, whipped cream and easy desserts, you will love this Mango Mint Parfait. It is perfect for hot summer days that call for a chilled seasonal dessert. Oh, summers make me so lethargic. I can barely get my butt out of bed in the mornings to workout (I have been playing hooky more often than I would like to admit). It is a good thing that it has been so busy or I would just be warming my butt on the couch in frontof a fan all day watching Grey’s Anatomy and reading some adventure fiction. We have been hosting guests for the last two weeks and our house is booked for this week and the next week and the week after! I am loving this. I never knew I enjoyed being a host so much. I can cook more, bake more and experiment more in general. Surely, I will suffer from empty nest syndrome once the guest deluge is passed. Any tips Mommy?? Also, there are 120 summer festivals going on in Toronto that we need to keep track of along-with the weather. Our calendars are full of events and you would have seen many […]

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Pimm’s Summer Fruit Crumble

It is summer and everyone wants to be out and about. I get it! So, I won’t blabber on too much coz I have some sun to soak up, patios to be at and summer cocktails to sip! Do people here drink Pimm’s Cup? Or is it just an English thing? My sister-in-law, who is not a big dessert person, made a Pimm’s fruit crumble and she loved it. I trust her taste buds so I had to make it! But not before I made a couple of drinks for myself and I discovered I quite enjoy the herby, citrusy flavour. I haven’t had one of these since I first tasted it in a small town outside of London while visiting some friends. I am an Aperol Spritzer person and that is usually my summer drink of choice. However, it is nice to change it up and since I have purchased a bottle of Pimm’s now, I think I will be drinking Pimm’s long drinks with lots of fruit this summer! Since everyone is looking for easy summer desserts, this is a great option, especially to make good use of all that gorgeous fruits we are buying in bulk! And since I am a big sucker for mini / individual portion desserts and adding alcohol in my dessert, this one hits all the right notes. I mean, I am pretty sure that 80% of the time you have a chilled drink at hand while cooking so why not add some to the food right! From start to finish this takes about 45 mins with actual standing-at-the-counter time being 10 mins. Really, every amateur baker / cook should have a crumble in their repertoire because it is so easy, delicious and fool-proof! And intermediate / advanced bakers need not feel shame in making such a delightfully easy dessert because sometimes you need to chill with everyone else without having to fret over a show stopping 4-layer cake in a hot kitchen! Notes - I used rhubarb and cherries because that is what I had at home, but you can substitute for your choice of fruit. Make sure to chop into small pieces. - Use all AP flour if you prefer, I like the mix of the two and the nutty taste of whole wheat. - Baking the crumble topping in two layers helps all of it to crisp evenly – ref. Fine Cooking - The crumble is ready when the fruits is bubbling and overflowing. Make sure to place the ramekins on parchment lined baking sheet for easy clean-up. Pimms Summer Fruit Crumble Ingredients – makes 4 individual servings For the Rhubarb Cherry Filling 1 cup (135g) Rhubarb – chopped into ¼ inch pieces 1 cup (170g) Cherries – pitted and chopped into half 3 tbsp Pimm’s ½ tbsp Cornflour 1 tsp lemon zest 3 – 5 tbsp fine granulated sugar (at 3 tbsp, it is slightly tart. Go up to 5 tbsp for a sweeter filling) For the Crumble Topping ¼ cup (55g) butter – medium soft ¼ cup (40g) brown sugar ¼ cup (25g) AP flour 3tbsp whole wheat flour ¼ cup pecans – chopped Make the Fruit Crumble Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 4 ramekins slightly with butter. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Mix all the crumble topping ingredients in another bowl with two forks or your fingers till it comes together in chunks. If it seems to wet, add some more whole wheat flour – 1 tbsp at a time. It should not be too dry and grainy and not too wet like a dough. You need whole pecan sized chunks. Divide the filling equally amongst the ramekins. Top with a thin layer of topping. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Add the rest of the topping and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes till the filling is bubbling over and the topping is golden brown. Enjoy warm with a chilled Pimm’s drink!

A super easy summery dessert with rhubarb and cherries and a to die for pecan crumble, this Pimm’s Summer Fruit Crumble is great for summer entertaining! It is summer and everyone wants to be out and about. I get it! So, I won’t blabber on too much because I have some sun to soak up, patios to be at and summer cocktails to sip! Do people here drink Pimm’s Cup? Or is it just an English thing? My sister-in-law, who is not a big dessert person, made a Pimm’s fruit crumble and she loved it. I trust her taste buds so I had to make it! But not before I made a couple of drinks for myself and I discovered I quite enjoy the herby, citrusy flavour. I haven’t had one of these since I first tasted it in a small town outside of London while visiting some friends a couple of years back. I am an Aperol Spritzer person and that is usually my summer drink of choice. However, it is nice to change it up and since I have purchased a bottle of Pimm’s now, I think I will be drinking Pimm’s long drinks with lots of fruit […]

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Mango Ginger Popsicles

Mango, Ginger Popsicles I have highly sensitive teeth. I could never bite into anything that is sub-zero degrees even when my permanent teeth had newly popped and were probably at their strongest! As a kid, when we got to treat ourselves to kulfis i.e. the Indian street food ice-cream on a stick I’d slowly suck on it while half of it melted in streams down my hands, and invariably the last few bites would drop to the floor. All these years later, my teeth have obviously not become less sensitive; it’s a miracle they are still there after all the sugar attack they endure. As an adult, I stick to ice-creams in bowls (boring? Trying having sensitive teeth!) Watching others bite into popsicles gives me goosebumps! But its #popsicle week and I had to participate, because we want to constantly be part of something, even if it is a virtual summer party exploding with happy, colorful ice-pops. Last summer when I started using Instagram seriously i.e. started using the explore feature and following a bunch of bloggers is when I first heard of popsicle week. We were homeless and moving between Airbnbs and I didn’t have much kitchen equipment or molds. A feeble attempt in the sweltering Kingston heat of 2016, in an AC-less Airbnb yielded some pretty rubbish maple walnut popsicles. So, I stuck with store bought ice-creams. This year, I was determined to make it. I had an idea jotted down weeks in advance – a boozy iced tea popsicle like a long island. But that did not work for me. It was like eating ice and the teeth do not enjoy eating ice. A quick brainstorming session later with my better half who suggested I stick fruit pieces on a stick or something to that effect, we decided to go with mango. Every summer I am remined of eating pureed chilled mango with a hint of cardamom served with puris. Then I kick myself for not eating more mangoes when I was in India, because really the quality and variety here is quite terrible. Can’t stick a piece of not-so-great mango on a stick and call it happy popsicle week, so I added some ginger, coconut milk and honey. Whizzed it and froze it. Simple and quite tasty that is if you like the mango-ginger combination. If you don’t, you should just eat a slice of mango or head to Wit and Vinegar and browse through 100s of popsicle ideas! Mango, Ginger Popsicles Ingredients – makes 6 – 8 skinny popsicles Flesh from 3 ripe medium mangoes ¼ cup of coconut cream / coconut milk 1 ½ - 2 tbsps freshly grated ginger (depending on taste – start with 1 tbsp) ½ tsp cardamom powder 2 – 4 tbsp honey (depending on how sweet the mangoes are) For Garnish ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 2tbsp coconut oil 1tbsp candied ginger 1 tsp granulated sugar coconut flakes To make the popsicles Put all ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Taste and adjust spice and honey. Pour into molds. Stick the sticks in. Freeze overnight. Melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil in a heatproof bowl in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Stir well between intervals. Once smooth, set aside to cool slightly. While the chocolate cools, chop up the candied ginger very finely and mix with the sugar. You could also give the two a whiz in a spice grinder. Set aside in a small bowl. Put coconut flakes in another small bowl. Remove popsicles from their molds. Working with one at a time, dip into the melted chocolate, immediately sprinkle with some coconut flakes and some ginger-sugar mixture. Set on a plate. Repeat with all and eat immediately or keep in freezer.

Mango ginger popsicles for mango lovers! These are refined sugar free, dairy free and so so easy to make! I have highly sensitive teeth. I could never bite into anything that is sub-zero degrees even when my permanent teeth had newly popped and were probably at their strongest! As a kid, when we got to treat ourselves to kulfis i.e. the Indian street food ice-cream on a stick I’d slowly suck on it while half of it melted in streams down my hands, and invariably the last few bites would drop to the floor. All these years later, my teeth have obviously not become less sensitive; it’s a miracle they are still there after all the sugar attack they endure. As an adult, I stick to ice-creams in bowls (boring? Trying having sensitive teeth!) Watching others bite into popsicles gives me goosebumps! But its #popsicleweek and I had to participate, because we want to constantly be part of something, even if it is a virtual summer party exploding with happy, colorful ice-pops. Last summer when I started using Instagram seriously i.e. started using the explore feature and following a bunch of bloggers is when I first heard of popsicle week. […]

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Triple Coconut Cake

Triple Coconut Cake

A deliciously light and moist coconut cake, lightly covered in coconut swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with coconut caramel sauce. This Triple Coconut Cake is a delightful tropical party in your mouth. Triple Coconut Cake has been sitting on my list of things to bake for months now. However, I kept procrastinating because I felt that a cake so gloriously delicious (in my head) should be baked for a special occasion to feed many people. This week my sister suddenly decided to visit from New York and she loves cake almost as much as I do and what is a more special occasion to make a Triple Coconut Cake than when you are meeting your sister after 5 whole months! I did think of dedicating this to my dad since Father’s Day is around the corner, but a coconut cake is hardly what a Keralite man will be thrilled about! I mean, coconut is our staple food. The flesh, the milk, the water go into almost every dish we prepare at home. From our breakfasts to our desserts, everything has coconut. So much so that, when I was in school, I would hate being on coconut grating duty especially on […]

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Chocolate Whisky Caramel Pots de Creme + Blog Anniversary!

Chocolate Whisky Caramel Pots de Creme

Dark chocolate, coffee and whisky come together in this chocolate whisky caramel pots de crème, guaranteed to satisfy the most intense chocolate cravings! May 22, 2016, I put up my first blog post – it was more a mini thesis on pound cakes. The simple, basic, humble pound cake so fascinated me. It was the perfect beginning to my baking journey. I was so green and so obsessed with the idea of starting at the very beginning. Getting my foundations right. Ahem… all that went out of the window after a couple of wins in the oven! Soon my experiments were dictated by my cravings and whims rather than the structured list I had set out at the start which involved tackling one baking basic after another. There are no regrets. I am sure that most bloggers struggle at the start to find their true niche, their area of expertise. It is a journey of evolution, we grow with it, we learn new things, discover new paths and new interests along the way. By the time we have been blogging for a year or maybe even two, we may have found something we know from the bottom of our tummies that we want […]

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Cardamom Coconut Panna Cotta and Turmeric Cake Crumb

Cardamom Panna Cotta Turmeric Cake Crumbs

A delightful dessert for two, this light, smooth, cardamom coconut panna cotta is accompanied by crunch from some leftover turmeric cake. I read the Momfuku Milk Bar book and fell inspired by Christina Tosi’s philosophy of using all sorts of things from your pantry and freezer in your baked goods. The idea of repurposing leftovers speaks to me, because I really dislike wasting food. It is one of the main reasons why I bake in small quantities as much as possible and without resorting to using 1/4th of an egg because really the quantity of egg decides how small my baking project will be. Trust me it is a pain to measure out 1 ½ tbsp of egg for something. I have tried. One of the first google searches I did when I was tinkering with the idea of starting a blog was “what do food bloggers do with excess food”, coming in after “how do food bloggers stay fit?” Well I did not find any satisfactory answers to both questions. I suppose everyone tackles it in their own way. So, I picked going small where my baking was concerned. We are two people so I had to think about […]

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Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Semifreddo

no churn strawberry ice-cream

This no churn strawberry ice-cream or semifreddo is super easy to make, creamy and delicious. The balsamic roasted strawberries make extra sauce that you can douse the ice-cream in!     When warm spring-like days arrive much earlier than they should, do you rejoice, smile like a goofball all day, instantly dig out your shorts and hit the nearest ice-cream shop or do you secretly fret about global warming? I do both! Then I eat an extra portion of dessert because ofcourse dessert is the solution for everything. That is why I make this strawberry semifreddo in mini loaf pans so I can dig into my very own cute little loaf of creamy, goodness. Fretting aside, we had a beautiful weekend here in Toronto and everyone seemed happy. We got over-excited and went for very long walks (I call it death march) then suffered from ‘feet sole’ pain! Then Steve picked up pints of strawberries because they were on sale and since I prefer to turn fruits into dessert than eat them raw like fruits should be eaten, I decided that this is a weekend for ice-cream. Strawberry ice-cream. And since I have been dying to roast strawberries ever since that first […]

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Chocolate Stout Cake w Brown Butter Frosting

This decadent chocolate Guinness cake slathered with a speckled, deeply nutty brown butter Swiss buttercream and doused in a whiskey caramel sauce is truly a celebration cake that is sure to make you feel happy! 30 is not the birthday that launches you harshly into your middle age. 30 is the birthday where you celebrate the end of an era - the 20s – where mistakes were made (lots of ugly ones), lessons were learnt (mostly in a bad way), discovering who you are felt impossible and highs of first real job, first serious relationship, first real apartment, first independent foreign travel were only dimmed by the lows of those ‘firsts’ not living upto their expectations. But there is a delicious excitement in goofing up and blaming it on lack of experience and naiveté. There is mystery and intrigue and desperation in finding out how your life will turn out when you are a grown up. When I turned 30, I told everyone that next year I will celebrate 29 and subsequently keep moving the clock backwards. Well, I didn’t do that. Forgot to buy 2 and 9 numbered candles. So here I am 31! Anyhow, who wants to repeat the absurdities of the 20s. Sure it was fun and exciting times. 20s or any fun time is just that only because there is a limited period to it. Just as clearance sales are exciting because, they are on for only a week! So, I celebrated my 31st birthday, trying not to fight it too much, with a grown-up chocolate cake with brown butter frosting – a bit more elegant than chocolate on chocolate (which by the way is always my first choice of cake) If it is my birthday celebration cake, there had to be booze in it. So instead of making my most favorite chocolate cake, I went with a Stout Cake adapted from Epicurious only in the method. I used Nigella’s slightly easier method of adding everything into the same pan. The can of Guinness had been sitting in my pantry forever and I wouldn’t let Steve drink it because I was storing it for ‘baking purposes’. My cake tops cracked, I think because I baked it in 5inch pans and poured a lot of batter into them. So 6 inch would do the trick. Anyway, I simply chopped off the cracked tops, it did not affect the taste. These cakes are lip-smacking delicious. Earthy and intense and a dark chocolate lovers dream. A brown butter buttercream only seemed appropriate because it is my new love and I like to make beurre noisette just for the nutty fragrance it makes in my kitchen. There seems to be Whiskey caramel sitting in a jar in my refrigerator at all times so I was more than happy to add an additional boozy element to this cake. Finally the pile of crushed chocolate cookies on top because as a baking blogger there is always some cookies or cake leftovers in the fridge which you can throw on top of a cake for extra goodness and no one can stop me from eating pure indulgence in this form on my 31st birthday! Celebrate! Chocolate Stout Cake w Brown Butter Frosting Ingredients – Makes one 6 inch 4 layered cake For the Cake 1 cup stout 1 cup, 2 sticks unsalted butter – cut into pieces ¾ cup Dutch cocoa powder 2 cups flour 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar ½ tbsp. baking soda ¾ tsp salt 2 large eggs ½ + 2tbsp sour cream Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and line two 6” round pans with parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper sticks out to form higher walls. Pour the stout into a large saucepan and place on medium heat. Add butter pieces and heat till melted. As soon as all the butter has melted, add in the sugar and cocoa powder and whisk till fully incorporated and smooth. In a measuring jug or small bowl, beat the eggs and sour cream thoroughly and add to the stout mixture. Mix well. Finally add the flour and baking soda and whisk till completely mixed. Pour into prepared pans and bake in the lower third of the oven for 35 – 40 minutes or till a skewer toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven. Let cool till safe to handle. Turn cakes onto a wire-rack and let cool completely. Stick in the freezer for atleast one hour before frosting. For the Brown Butter Swiss Buttercream 1 ½ cup butter 1 ½ cup fine granulated sugar 4 egg whites 1/4 tsp salt Heat butter in a small saucepan on high heat. Once it starts to bubble, stir intermittently with a rubber spatula and keep a eye. Once you see specks of dark brown and smell deliciousness in the air take it off the heat. As it cools, stir it once in a while so that it solidifies evenly or all the good brown bits will settle at the bottom. It should be completely cooled (slightly chilled) and solidified but still a little soft. Whisk sugar and egg whites together and set it on a double boiler over simmering water. Using a candy thermometer is recommended for accuracy. Whisk occasionally and heat the mixture to 140 – 160F. Test the mixture between your thumb and index finger to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture feels silky smooth between your fingers. As soon as it reaches this temperature, take it off the heat, transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high for a good 7 -8 minutes till peaks form and the mixture is cooled. Once this meringue mix is completely cool, replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment and run on medium high. Start adding the butter in pieces. Keep whisking till fully incorporated and the buttercream is smooth, glossy and stiff. Whiskey Caramel Sauce – ½ cup Assembly When the cakes are completely cooled, cut of the tops evenly with a serrated knife. Then cut both cakes into halves to make 4 pieces. Here is a great video showing how to cut a cake in layers. Place one layer on a cake stand. Spoon butter cream into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and pipe a border on the cake layer. Spoon some Whiskey Caramel onto the cake within the piped barrier. With a offset spatula, spread some buttercream on top of the caramel and smooth it. Repeat two more times. Place the topmost layer of the cake. Spread some buttercream on the top and sides with the spatula to frost lightly. Spoon some caramel sauce on top and along the edges. IF you have some leftover chocolate cake or cookies, crush and pile on top for extra indulgence. Best enjoyed at room temperature in shockingly large pieces.

This decadent chocolate Guinness cake slathered with a speckled, deeply nutty brown butter Swiss buttercream and doused in a whiskey caramel sauce is truly a celebration cake that is sure to make you feel happy! 30 is not the birthday that launches you harshly into your middle age. 30 is the birthday where you celebrate the end of an era – the 20s – where mistakes were made (lots of ugly ones), lessons were learnt (mostly in a bad way), discovering who you are felt impossible and highs of first real job, first serious relationship, first real apartment, first independent foreign travel were only dimmed by the lows of those ‘firsts’ not living upto their expectations. But there is a delicious excitement in goofing up and blaming it on lack of experience and naiveté. There is mystery and intrigue and desperation in finding out how your life will turn out when you are a grown up. When I turned 30, I told everyone that next year I will celebrate 29 and subsequently keep moving the clock backwards. Well, I didn’t do that. Forgot to buy 2 and 9 numbered candles. So here I am 31! Anyhow, who wants to repeat […]

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A Very Grapefruit-y Trifle

Grapefruit curd

Grapefruit is in season and many of us may have a bitter-sour relationship with it, but in dessert form it transforms into a sweet, tart, bright fruit that is far from the diet-food version of itself. Full disclosure – I struggled with this one. In my very first FBC newsletter I came across the call for recipe round-ups for January. It is citrus month and by the time I saw the mail, the deadlines for lemon and orange had already passed. Ofcourse I wanted orange. Who doesn’t want orange! Grapefruit and lime were still open opportunities so after giving it a thorough thought, I decided to go with grapefruit. Primarily because I have this hate-hate relationship with the fruit that began in Dubai when I went through a crash diet phase where I force-fed myself half a grapefruit every morning, before coffee! Yikes. I had held on to that for way too long. It was time to let go. Challenge myself and all! I had this amazing idea of making grapefruit kulfi. I did make grapefruit kulfi after grilling and pureeing the fruit and cooking the milk down to half and freezing the weird concoction that seemed wrong even before […]

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Golden Milk Cake

Golden Milk Turmeric Cake

Golden Milk Cake is the ‘cake’ version of golden milk or turmeric spice milk. It is warming and cozy and light and fluffy and full of aromatic spices. The cardamom glaze is sweet and sticky with a heady fragrance. To be honest, I am feeling like I am going back to office after two weeks of fun, awesome, indulgent holidays. You know, like it is my very first day at my first job and I know nothing, I am clueless about what to do, how to do and so I switch on my assigned computer, grab a mouse and rotate it on the screen or click random folders frantically to look busy. I feel the pressure of 2017 on me! Especially for the blog, like I need to give it more validation by investing more time and energy into it. And often, with stress comes, turmoil, indecisiveness, nail biting, day-dreaming and total blanket blankness. I planned to work on my new calendar – nothing, I planned to do a couple of recipes in advance – blank, I planned to study and experiment with Pinterest – nada. From time to time I find myself in this state of blank immobility. I […]

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